Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A.M. No.

RTJ-96-1336 July 25, 1996 JOCELYN TALENS-DABON, complainant, vs. JUDGE HERMIN E. ARCEO, respondent. PER CURIAM:p Once again, this Court must strike hard at an erring member of the Judiciary. The case before us stemmed from a sworn-complaint filed by Jocelyn C. TalensDabon, Clerk of Court V of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando Pampanga, charging Judge Hermin E. Arceo, the Executive Judge thereat with gross misconduct. The complaint was later amended to include immorality. Judge Arceo filed his answer with counter-complaint to the main complaint and his answer to the amended complaint. He likewise submit the affidavits of his witnesses. After considering the answers, we issued a Resolution dated February 1, 1996 referring the case to Associate Justice Portia Aliño-Hormachuelos of the Court of Appeals for investigation, report, and recommendations, and at the same time, placing Judge Arceo under preventive suspension for the duration of the investigation (p. 61, Rollo). After request for postponement from both parties, hearings were held on March 4, 19, 20, 21, 22, and on April 1, 8, 10 and 18, 1996. Both parties presented their respective witnesses. Except for Atty. Arnel Santos and Prosecutor Ramon S. Razon, all of Judge Arceo's witnesses were court employees assigned at either the Office of the Clerk of Court or Branch 43 of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga. In due time, the Investigating Justice submitted her Report and Recommendation with the following findings: The evidence shows that complainant Atty. Jocelyn "Joy" C. Talens-Dabon, 29, a resident of Dolores, San Fernando, Pampanga, is the Assistant Clerk of Court of the RTC, San Fernando, Pampanga which item she assumed on August 10, 1995, after working for more than a year as Branch Clerk of Court of RTC Kalookan City under Judge Adoracion G. Angeles. At the time of her assumption to office, she was about to get married to Atty. Dabon, a lawyer who works at the Court of Appeals. She is a Methodist, the same religion as that of respondent's wife and family. Respondent Judge Hermin E. Arceo, 54, a resident of Guiguinto, Bulacan is the Presiding Judge of the RTC Branch 43 in San Fernando, Pampanga. He was newly designated Executive Judge therein vice Judge Teodoro Bay who transferred to Quezon City. His wife is ailing and on dialysis, and has been residing in the U.S. with their daughter since 1989. His family is in the printing business and his translations of some laws and books have been published (Exhs. 15-23). He has pursued further legal studies abroad either as participant or guest. He is President of the Pampanga-Angeles City RTC Judges Association and was designated Presidential Assistant for Operations of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA).

Three days after complainant first reported at the Office of the Clerk of Court, Atty. Elenita Quinsay, she was summoned by respondent. He was typing when she came in and at this first meeting, she was surprised that without even looking up at her, he asked her in a loud voice what she wanted. When he did look at her she was bothered by the way he looked at her from head to foot "as if he were undressing her". Respondent told her that she was going to be detailed to his office as his assistant, a situation which she did not welcome having heard of respondent's reputation in the office as "bastos" and "maniakis" prompting her to work for her transfer to Branch 45 under Judge Adelaida Ala-Medina. On August 21, 1995, complainant received respondent's Executive Order No. 001-95 (Exh. H) requiring her to report to the office of the Executive Judge effective August 28, 1995. Her work was to draft and file memos and circulars, pay telephone and electric bills and other clerical duties assigned to her by respondent. At one time she was designated to act as Branch Clerk of Court of Branch 43 in the absence of OIC Bernardo Taruc. She observed respondent to be rude and disrespectful to her and the other court personnel. He talked in a loud and shouted at them; used offensive words such as "walang isip", "tanga"; told green jokes and stories; made harsh and negative comments about court personnel in the presence of others. Whenever he had the opportunity he would make bodily contact ("chancing") with her and certain female employees. Twice as she was about to go out the door respondent would approach it in big strides so that his body would be in contact with hers and he would press the lower part of his body against her respondent asked her why she was playing with her forefinger, at the same time gesturing with his to signify sexual intercourse. Sometime in November 1995, respondent kissed complainant on the cheek, a fact admitted by him in his testimony. He also admitted kissing witnesses Marilyn Leander, Ester Galicia and other female employees. Sometime in October 1995, the Courts of San Fernando transferred to the Greenfields Country Club due to the inundation of their regular offices with lahar. Ester Galicia whose house was also affected was allowed to house her appliances in the staff room of RTC Branch 43. These included a VCR on which, as testified by witness Bernardo Taruc, a VHS tape entitled "Illegal in Blue" brought by respondent was played at respondent's bidding. The tape contained explicit sex scenes and during its showing respondent would come out of his chamber and tease the female employees about it. Taruc further related that at one time respondent brought and showed to the employees a picture which when held in some way showed figures in coital position. Adding to complainant's apprehensions about respondent's sexual predilection were the revelations of Marilyn Senapilo-Leander, 23, a stenographer of Branch 43. Testifying on her own experiences with respondent, Leander stated that respondent wrote a love poem to her (Exh. A) and that many times while taking dictation from respondent in his chambers, he would suddenly dictate love letters or poems addressed to her as if courting her (Exhs. B to E). He kissed her several times, pointedly stared at her lower parts when she wore tight pants and made body contacts ("chancing"). At one point bursting into tears — which prompted this Investigator to suspend her testimony; she was so agitated — Leander testified of the time that respondent summoned her to his chamber and she found him clad only in briefs. When she turned around to flee, respondent called after her saying "why are you afraid. After all, this is for you".

Leander took into her confidence the most senior employee in Branch 43, OIC Clerk of Court Bernardo Taruc who then took it upon himself to accompany Leander in respondent's office whenever he could or ask other female employees to accompany her. Taruc asked Leander to report the matter to Deputy Court Administrator Reynaldo Suarez but Leander expressed fear of retribution from respondent. When Leander's wedding was set in late 1995, respondent taunted her by saying "Ikay, ang dami ko pa namang balak sa'yo, kinuha pa naman kita ng bahay sa isang subdivision, tapos sinayang mo lang, tanga ka kasi!" This is admitted by respondent who said it was only a joke. Asked why she did not file any complaint against the respondent for sexually harassing her, Marilyn Leander explained: I am afraid considering that I am just an ordinary employee. And I know for a fact that Judge Hermin Arceo is a very influential person, he is very rich. I know he has lots of friends in Pampanga like the Governor. I know I cannot fight by myself alone." (TSN, March 20, 1966, p. 30). For the complainant, these personal and vicarious experiences hit bottom with the incident that happened in the afternoon of December 6, 1995. As testified by complainant, corroborated in parts by Bernardo Taruc, Yolanda Valencia and Rosanna Garcia, complainant was summoned at about 1:30 p.m. to respondent's temporary chamber at Greenfields Country Club by respondent who himself came to the Staff room. By this time, only the Office of the Clerk of Court and RTC Branch 43 had been left at Greenfields; the other RTC branches had returned to their usual offices at the Hall of Justice. The Sangguniang Panglalawigan which had also occupied Greenfields had likewise vacated the building only the day before. At his temporary chamber at Greenfields, respondent occupied two (2) small adjoining rooms while the personnel of the Office of the Clerk of Court and RTC Branch 43 occupied a bigger room called the Maple Room (Please see Exhs. "J", "K", and "2"). In respondent's Floor Plan marked Exhibit "2" it appears that from respondent's chamber, one had to pass a chapel and bar lounge before reaching the staff room. The door to the outer room of the chamber was equipped with a knob and an automatic door closer. When locked from inside, it could not be opened outside except with a key. Since there was no airconditioner, this door was usually held open for ventilation by a chair or a small table. The outer room had filing cabinets and sack of rice lined up on two (2) sides of the wall. The inner room also had a door but without a knob. Respondent had his desk here. The window in this room opened to the lawn of the Country Club. Amid this backdrop in what may have been a somnolent afternoon at Greenfields, complainant entered respondent's office. Already made cautious by respondent's reputation and Mrs. Leander's experience, she took care to check the outer door and noted the chair which prevented it from closing. Her apprehension increased because the hallway was clear of people and only the personnel of Branch 43 and the Office of the Clerk of Court were left holding office there. She entered the inner room, and sat on a chair infront of respondent's desk. They talked about the impending construction of the Hall of Justice. Their conversion was interrupted when Bernardo Taruc dropped by to tell respondent of a phone call for him. Respondent left the room but told complainant to remain for the signing of her Certificate of Service which she was then bringing. After a few minutes respondent returned and they resumed their conversation. When the talk veered to his wife, complainant became uneasy and directed respondent's attention to her unsigned

Certificate of Service. After respondent signed it, complainant prepared to leave the room. At this juncture, respondent handed to her a folded yellow paper containing his handwritten poem (Exh. M; p. 22, Record). Hereunder quoted is the poem and complainant's interpretation of it as contained in her Memorandum: Dumating ka sa buhay ko isang araw ng Agosto Ang baon mo ay 'yong ganda at talinong abogado Ang tamis ng 'yong ngiti ang bumihag sa puso ko Malakas na pampalubag sa mainit kong ulo. Indeed, the last two lines of the first stanza are consistent with complainant's claim regarding respondent's rude manner and erratic mood swings. The second stanza of respondent's poem also jibes with his own testimony that he would often look for complainant whenever he would not see her, and with complainant's testimony that respondent's behavior towards her — his propensity to utter remarks with sexual connotations, his acts of making physical contact with her, among others — Ang akala ko'y gayong lamang magiging pagtingin sa iyo Ako itong amo at ikaw ang emplayado Bakit habang tumatagal isip ko'y nagugulo Pag di ka nakikita'y langing nagagalit ako. The third stanza is most descriptive of respondent's attitude towards complainant which complainant and her witnesses described as rude. It is also consistent with the testimonies of witnesses that respondent would shout at complainant and would crack green jokes towards her: Damdamin kong sumusupling pilit kong itinatago Sa malakas na mga tinig asik at mga biro Ngunit kung nag-iisa puso ko'y nagdurugo Hinahanap ng puso ko ang maganda mong anyo. The fifth stanza jibes with complainant's testimony that respondent gave her an unexpected kiss on at least two occasions: Bawat patak ng luha ko'y mga butil ng pag-ibig Na siya kong kalasag sa pagnanakaw ng halik Sa pisngi mo aking mahal, aking nilalangit Patak ng ulan — sa buhay kong tigang ang nakakawangis. Finally, the fourth and last paragraphs of the poem provides the context of the lascivious acts committed by respondent against complainant on 6 December 1995: Sawimpalad na pag-ibig nabigong pangarap Na ikaw ay maangkin, mahagkan at mayakap Pag-ibig mo'y ibinigay sa higit na mapalad Ako ngayo'y naririto bigong-bigong umiiyak. Kapalaran ay malupit, di kita makatalik Sa ngayon o bukas pagkat di mo ibig Aangkinin kita kahit sa panaginip Gano'n kita kamahal Joy, aking pag-ibig. (Complainant's Memorandum pp. 32-33)

Complainant found the poem repulsive (obscene) particularly the line saying "Kapalaran ay malupit, di kita makatalik sa ngayon at bukas pagkat di mo ibig." In her testimony, complainant said she considered the poem malicious because they were both married persons, and he was a judge and she was his subordinate. Although outraged, complainant respectfully asked permission to leave while putting the poem in the pocket of her blazer. She then proceeded towards the outer room where she was surprised to find the door closed and the chair holding it open now barricaded it. The knob's button was now in a vertical position signifying that door was locked. Complainant was removing the chair when respondent walked to her in big strides asking her for a kiss. Seconds later he was embracing her and trying to kiss her. Complainant evaded and struggled and pushed respondent away. Then panicking, she ran in the direction of the filing cabinets. Respondent caught up with her, embraced her again, pinned her against the filing cabinets and pressed the lower of his body against hers. Complainant screamed for help while resisting and pushing respondent. Then she ran for the open windows of the inner room. But before she could reach it respondent again caught her. In the ensuing struggle, complainant slipped and fell on the floor, her elbows supporting the upper part of her body while her legs were outstretched between respondent's feet. Respondent then bent knees in a somewhat sitting (squatting) position, placed his palms on either side of her head and kissed her on the mouth with his mouth open and his tongue sticking out. As complainant continued to struggle, respondent suddenly stopped and sat on the chair nearest the door of the inner room with his face red and breathing heavily. Complainant angrily shouted "maniac, demonyo, bastos, napakawalanghiya ninyo". Respondent kept muttering "I love you" and was very apologetic offering for his driver to take her home. Complainant headed for the Maple Room where, when she entered, she was observed by Bernardo Taruc and Yolanda Valencia to be flushed in the face and with her hair disheveled. Yolanda particularly found surprising complainant's disheveled hair because complainant considered her (long straight) hair one of her assets and was always arranging it. Rosanna Garcia in her testimony observed that complainant was really angry as shown by the way she grabbed her bag "talagang galit." It is to be noted that Mrs. Rosanna Garcia, 36, was a most reluctant witness. When first subpoenaed, she did not appear and sent a medical certificate (p. 120, Record) that she was suffering from hypertension. She testified that she was asked by respondent to sign an affidavit (Exh. F, pp. 56-57, Record) prepared by him and that eventually, she executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay in her own handwriting (Exh. G) wherein she stated that some of the statements in her earlier affidavit were false and that she was only forced to sign because respondent shouted at her when she refused; that she was afraid of respondent who was her boos. She corroborated complainant's declaration that respondent went to the door of the Maple Room in order to call her (complainant), adding that his call could not be made from his office because he could not be heard as his office was far from the Maple Room. This is in direct contrast to respondent's testimony that he did not summon complainant but she came to him to get the poem that she asked him to make for her. When complainant angrily left the Maple Room, Yolanda Valencia followed and walked with her outside. On the road, complainant told Valencia "napakawalanghiya ni Judge, bastos, demonyo" and vowed that she would tell her family about what respondent did to her so that her father would maul him. As testified by Yolanda Valencia, complainant was so angry "nagdadabog

talaga siya" (TSN, March 19, 1996, p. 194). But as they were already on the road, complainant did not tell Valencia what happened. The next day complainant related her experience to Bernardo Taruc with whom she rode to the office. As testified by Taruc: A. She was telling me about the incident which happened that afternoon of December 6, 1995. Q. Can you tell us what she told you about the December 6, 1995 incident? A. She told me that she was kissed by the Judge inside his office. Q. What else did she tell you, if any? A. She said that she was pushed on the floor and she was very disorganized in relating the incident it was as if she was trying to say all things at the same time. But what I got from her was that she was kissed by the Judge in the office on December 6 on the lips and she was fuming mad. Q. What was your reaction when you heard that from Atty. Talens-Dabot? A. I was . . . I was shocked . . . I don't know the proper term. I was shocked. Q. What did you say or do upon learning the incident? A. When she later on was pacified, she asked me, "what am I doing to do? Am I doing to press charges?" Q. What did you say? A. I told her it is up to her and before doing it she has to weigh all thing, the consequences if she would file a case. Q. Was that the end of the conversation? A. No, she kept on retelling it all over again till we reach the office. (TSN, March 20, 1966, pp. 127-128). Complainant also related what happened to witness Atty. Elenita Quinsay but, as testified by Atty. Quinsay, complainant did not want anybody (else) to know about the kissing incident at that point. Atty. Quinsay advised complainant to talk with respondent and ask for a transfer. On December 12, 1995 complainant went to the Hall of Justice where respondent was, and as he was about to board his car, approached him and verbally broached her request for transfer. He acceded. Thus in the morning of December 18, 1995, complainant brought her written request for transfer dated December 12, 1995 (Exh. N) for respondent's signature, reminding him of his earlier verbal approval. He refused saying he needed her for two (2) administrative cases that he was investigating. When she insisted, he shouted at her saying it was his decision and had to be obeyed. However, he eventually signed the memorandum (Exh. O) transferring her later that morning. Two days later, on December 20, 1995, complainant, after consulting her family, reported the matter to the police and filed with the Municipal Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga criminal cases for acts of lasciviousness (Exh. 3), Violation of Anti-Sexual Harassment Law (Exh. 5) and this administrative case the following day. For his part, respondent mostly denied complainant's allegations. He presented his version of some specific incidents or conduct such as that he was merely imitating complainant's gesture with her forefinger as she

nervously introduced her boyfriend to him . He admitted that he kissed her ("November incident was not the first but it was the last") and other female employees; admitted the pre-wedding incident where he told Mrs. Leander "tanga ka kasi" but said it was only a joke; admitted that his voice is louder than others but he does not shout; admitted that he tells green but "never vulgar" jokes. Denying Marilyn Leander's allegations and disclaiming any knowledge of Exhs. A to E, he described Leander as a "very young funny person, always laughing." In his testimony he never showed why Marilyn Leander, Rosanna Garcia or Yolanda Valencia would testify against him to corroborate complainant's testimony, reserving his venom for Bernardo Taruc. He said Taruc's research work were "not usable". He insinuated that Taruc perjured himself because he was jealous about Marilyn Leander with whom he (Taruc) has a relationship. He declared that nothing happened on December 6, that it was complainant who entered his room to get the poem she herself asked him to make. He called the December 6 incident a "mere fabrication" of complainant in vengeful retaliation of four (4) incident that he either scolded or humiliated her namely: in September 1995 when he reminded, but did not scold, her to report to Branch 43; in November 1995 when he reproached her for not reflecting in her Certificate of Service that she had gone to Hongkong; in the first week of December 1995 when she committed an error in the notice for a judges' meeting; and finally on December 18, 1995, when he scolded her for insisting to allow her to return to the Office of the Clerk of Court. He asserted that he never noticed any change of complainant's behavior towards him and that he was never attracted to her. He dismissed the poem marked Exhibit "M" as nothing more than an intellectual creation "too apocryphal to be true", that it was exaggerated and meant only to praise and entertain complainant. He declared that he had in fact written other poems (Exhs. 25 to 30) including the one published through a certain Fred Roxas (Exh. 25). Belying the kissing incident, he contended that there had been a gardener working at 3:00 to 5:00 that afternoon on the lawn just outside the window of his office, implying that if indeed complainant had screamed, it would have been heard by the gardener. But it is to be noted that this alleged gardener was never presented. (pp. 11-31, Report and Recommendation) Based on the foregoing findings, the Investigating Justice made the following conclusions: a) that there is sufficient evidence to create a moral certainty that respondent committed the acts complained of, especially the violent kissing incident which transpired last December 6, 1995; b) that complainant and her witnesses are credible witnesses who have no ulterior motive or bias to falsely testify against respondent; c) that respondent's denials can not prevail over the weight and probative value of the affirmative assertions of complainant and her witnesses; d) that respondent's poem had dammed him, being documented proof of his sexual intentions towards the complainant; e) that by filing her charges imputing to respondent a crime against chastity and with her background as a lawyer and a court employee, complainant was well-aware that her honor would itself be on trial; f) that it is unbelievable that complainant, a demure newly-married lady and a religious person, would fabricate a story with such severe implications on respondent's professional and personal life just to get even with respondent for an alleged simple scolding incident; and g) that by doing the acts complained of, respondent has tempted the morals of not only complainant but also the other court employees over whom he exercised power and influence as Executive Judge. The Investigating Justice thereupon, recommended that respondent be dismissed from the service with

prejudice to re-appointment in any other government position and with forfeiture of all benefits and privileges appertaining him, if any. The Court has reviewed the record of this case and has thereby satisfied itself that the findings and recommendations of the Investigating Justice are in truth adequately supported by the evidence and are in accord with applicable legal principles. The Court agrees and adopts such findings and recommendations. The integrity of the Judiciary rests not only upon the fact that it is able to administer justice but also upon the perception and confidence of the community that the people who run the system have done justice. At times, the strict manner by which we apply the law may, in fact, do justice but may not necessarily create confidence among the people that justice, indeed, is served. Hence, in order to create such confidence, the people who run the judiciary, particularly judges and justices, must not only be proficient in both the substantive and procedural aspects of the law, but more importantly, they must possess the highest integrity, probity, and unquestionable moral uprightness, both in their public and private lives. Only then can the people be reassured that the wheels of justice in this country run with fairness and equity, thus creating confidence in the judicial system. With the avowed objective of promoting confidence in the Judiciary, we have the following provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct: Canon I Rule 1.01: A Judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence. Canon II Rule 2.00: A Judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities. Rule 2.01: A judge should so behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartially of the judiciary. The Court has adhered and set forth the exacting standards of morality and decency which every member of the judiciary must observe (Sicat vs. Alcantara, 161 SCRA 248 [1988]). A magistrate is judged not only by his official acts but also by his private morals, to the extent that such private morals are externalized (Junio vs. Rivera, 225 SCRA 688 [1993]). He should not only possess proficiency in law but should likewise possess moral integrity for the people look up to him as a virtuous and upright man. In Dy Teban Hardware and Auto Supply Co. vs. Tapucar (102 SCRA 493 [1981]), the Court laid down the rationale why every judge must possess moral integrity, thusly: The personal and official actuations of every member of the judiciary must be beyond reproach and above suspicion. The faith and confidence of the people in the administration of justice can not be maintained if a judge who dispenses it is not equipped with the cardinal judicial virtue of moral integrity and if he obtusely continues to commit affront to public decency. In fact, moral integrity is more than a virtue; it is a necessity in the judiciary. (at p. 504) In Castillo vs. Calanog (199 SCRA 75 [1991]), it was emphasized that: The Code of Judicial Ethics mandates that the conduct of a judge must be free of a whiff of impropriety not only with respect to his performance of his judicial duties, but also to his behavior outside his sala and as a private individual. There is no dichotomy of morality; a public official is also judged by his private morals. The Code dictates that a judge, in order to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, must behave with

propriety at all times. As we have very recently explained, a judge's official life can not simply be detached or separated from his personal existence. Thus: Being the subject of constant public scrutiny, a judge should freely and willingly accept restrictions on conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen. A judge should personify integrity and exemplify honest public service. The personal behavior of a judge, both in the performance of his official duties and in private life should be above suspicion. (at p. 93.) Respondent has failed to measure up these exacting standards. He has behave in a manner unbecoming of a judge and as model of moral uprightness. He has betrayed the people's high expectations and diminished the esteem in which they hold the judiciary in general. We need not repeat the narration of lewd and lustful acts committed by respondent judge in order to conclude that he is indeed unworthy to remain in office. The audacity under which the same were committed and the seeming impunity with which they were perpetrated shock our sense of morality. All roads lead us to the conclusion that respondent judge has failed to behave in a manner that will promote confidence in the judiciary. His actuations, if condoned, would damage the integrity of the judiciary, fomenting distrust in the system. Hence, his acts deserve no less than the severest form of disciplinary sanction of dismissal from the service. The actuations of respondent are aggravated by the fact that complainant is one of his subordinates over whom he exercises control and supervision, he being the executive judge. He took advantage of his position and power in order to carry out his lustful and lascivious desires. Instead of he being in loco parentis over his subordinate employees, respondent was the one who preyed on them, taking advantage of his superior position. Noteworthy then is the following observation of the Investigating Justice: But the very act of forcing himself upon a married woman, being himself of a married man, clearly diverts from the standard of morality expected of a man of less than his standing in society. This is exacerbated by the fact that by doing the acts complained of, he has tempted the morals not only the complainant but also the young Mrs. Marilyn Leander and the other employees in the court over whom he exercised power and influence as Executive Judge. (pp. 36-37.) Respondent may indeed be a legally competent person as evidenced by his published law books (translations from English to Tagalog) and his legal studies abroad, but he has demonstrated himself to be wanting of moral integrity. He has violated the Code of Judicial Conduct which requires every judge to be the embodiment of competence, integrity, and independence and to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. Having tarnished the image of the Judiciary, respondent, the Court holds without any hesitation, must be meted out the severest form of disciplinary sanction—dismissal from the service. As a reminder to all judges, it is fitting to reiterate one of the mandates of the Court in its Circular No. 13 dated July 1, 1987, to wit:

Finally, all trial judges should endeavor to conduct themselves strictly in accordance with the mandate of existing laws and the Code of Judicial Ethics that they be exemplars in the communities and the living personification of justice and the Rule of Law. WHEREFORE, Judge Hermin E. Arceo is hereby DISMISSED from the service for gross misconduct and immorality prejudicial to the best interests of the service, with forfeiture of all retirement benefits and with prejudice to re-employment in any branch of the government, including government-owned and controlled corporations. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Melo, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr., Panganiban and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur. Puno, J., took no part. Bellosillo, J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 100113 September 3, 1991 RENATO CAYETANO, petitioner, vs. CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT, and HON. GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget and Management, respondents. Renato L. Cayetano for and in his own behalf. Sabina E. Acut, Jr. and Mylene Garcia-Albano co-counsel for petitioner. PARAS, J.:p

We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching proportions. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's decision in this case would indubitably have a profound effect on the political aspect of our national existence. The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C: There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding -elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (Emphasis supplied) The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), Article XII-C of the 1973 Constitution which similarly provides: There shall be an independent Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and eight Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age and holders of a college degree. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.' (Emphasis supplied) Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what constitutes practice of law as a legal qualification to an appointive office. Black defines "practice of law" as: The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and technique to serve the interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of legal instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken for them in matters connected with the law. An attorney engages in the practice of law by maintaining an office where he is held out to be-an attorney, using a letterhead describing himself as an attorney, counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel about pending litigation, and fixing and collecting fees for services rendered by his associate. (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.) The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. (Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken, 129 Ohio St. 23, 193 N.E. 650) A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he: ... for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their rights under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and there, in such representative capacity performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v..C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852)

This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v.Agrava, (105 Phil. 173,176-177) stated: The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). (Emphasis supplied) Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of any court and having no immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects, and the preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations and other affairs. Although these transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to become involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and complex situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation to the administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn between that part of the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed by persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1953 ed.] , p. 665-666, citing In re Opinion of the Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A. 139,144). (Emphasis ours) The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation briefing for new lawyers (1974-1975) listed the dimensions of the practice of law in even broader terms as advocacy, counselling and public service. One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of employment in the profession. If what he does exacts knowledge of the law and is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in the active practice of their profession, and he follows some one or more lines of employment such as this he is a practicing attorney at law within the meaning of the statute. (Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW 312) Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. "To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill." (111 ALR 23) The following records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that it has adopted a liberal interpretation of the term "practice of law."

MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I make a manifestation which I forgot to do during our review of the provisions on the Commission on Audit. May I be allowed to make a very brief statement? THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). The Commissioner will please proceed. MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the members of the Commission on Audit. Among others, the qualifications provided for by Section I is that "They must be Members of the Philippine Bar" — I am quoting from the provision — "who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years". To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding members of the Bar who are now employed in the COA or Commission on Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this provision on qualifications regarding members of the Bar does not necessarily refer or involve actual practice of law outside the COA We have to interpret this to mean that as long as the lawyers who are employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their respective work within COA, then they are qualified to be considered for appointment as members or commissioners, even chairman, of the Commission on Audit. This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional Commissions Agencies and we deem it important to take it up on the floor so that interpretation may be made available whenever this provision on qualifications as regards members of the Philippine Bar engaging in practice of law for at least ten years is taken up. MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one question. MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA by a lawyer is equivalent to the requirement of a law practice that is set forth in the Article on the Commission on Audit? MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of COA, although it is auditing, will necessarily involve legal work; it will involve legal work. And, therefore, lawyers who are employed in COA now would have the necessary qualifications in accordance with the Provision on qualifications under our provisions on the Commission on Audit. And, therefore, the answer is yes. MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is that this is equivalent to the practice of law. MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. MR. OPLE. Thank you. ... ( Emphasis supplied) Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among others, that the Chairman and two Commissioners of the Commission on Audit (COA) should either be certified public accountants with not less than ten years of auditing practice, or members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (emphasis supplied) Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many ways synonymous with the word "lawyer." Today, although many lawyers do not engage in private practice, it and this the the

is still a fact that the majority of lawyers are private practitioners. (Gary Munneke, Opportunities in Law Careers [VGM Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986], p. 15). At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. The term, as commonly understood, means "an individual or organization engaged in the business of delivering legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who practice alone are often called "sole practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called "firms." The firm is usually a partnership and members of the firm are the partners. Some firms may be organized as professional corporations and the members called shareholders. In either case, the members of the firm are the experienced attorneys. In most firms, there are younger or more inexperienced salaried attorneyscalled "associates." (Ibid.). The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous, unhelpful defining the practice of law as that which lawyers do. (Charles W. Wolfram, Modern Legal Ethics [West Publishing Co.: Minnesota, 1986], p. 593). The practice of law is defined as the performance of any acts . . . in or out of court, commonly understood to be the practice of law. (State Bar Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145 Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870 [1958] [quoting Grievance Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626 [1941]). Because lawyers perform almost every function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would obviously be too global to be workable. (Wolfram, op. cit.). The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a client is at once the most publicly familiar role for lawyers as well as an uncommon role for the average lawyer. Most lawyers spend little time in courtrooms, and a large percentage spend their entire practice without litigating a case. (Ibid., p. 593). Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue to litigate and the litigating lawyer's role colors much of both the public image and the self perception of the legal profession. (Ibid.). In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public mind reflects history, not reality. (Ibid.). Why is this so? Recall that the late Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer, once articulated on the importance of a lawyer as a business counselor in this wise: "Even today, there are still uninformed laymen whose concept of an attorney is one who principally tries cases before the courts. The members of the bench and bar and the informed laymen such as businessmen, know that in most developed societies today, substantially more legal work is transacted in law offices than in the courtrooms. General practitioners of law who do both litigation and non-litigation work also know that in most cases they find themselves spending more time doing what [is] loosely desccribe[d] as business counseling than in trying cases. The business lawyer has been described as the planner, the diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the surgeon. I[t] need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine, surgery should be avoided where internal medicine can be effective." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig engage in a number of legal tasks, each involving different legal doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal institutions, clients, and other interested parties. Even the increasing numbers of lawyers in specialized practice wig usually perform at least some legal services outside their specialty. And even within a narrow specialty such as tax practice, a lawyer will shift from one legal task or role such as advice-giving to an importantly different one such as representing a client before an administrative agency. (Wolfram, supra, p. 687). By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer is one of the relatively rare types — a litigator who specializes in this work to the exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will require the lawyer to have mastered the full range of traditional lawyer skills of client counselling, advice-giving, document drafting, and negotiation. And increasingly lawyers find that the new skills of evaluation and mediation are both effective for many clients and a source of employment. (Ibid.).

Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in litigation work that is constrained in very important ways, at least theoretically, so as to remove from it some of the salient features of adversarial litigation. Of these special roles, the most prominent is that of prosecutor. In some lawyers' work the constraints are imposed both by the nature of the client and by the way in which the lawyer is organized into a social unit to perform that work. The most common of these roles are those of corporate practice and government legal service. (Ibid.). In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, herein below quoted are emerging trends in corporate law practice, a departure from the traditional concept of practice of law. We are experiencing today what truly may be called a revolutionary transformation in corporate law practice. Lawyers and other professional groups, in particular those members participating in various legal-policy decisional contexts, are finding that understanding the major emerging trends in corporation law is indispensable to intelligent decision-making. Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today requires an accurate understanding of the nature and implications of the corporate law research function accompanied by an accelerating rate of information accumulation. The recognition of the need for such improved corporate legal policy formulation, particularly "model-making" and "contingency planning," has impressed upon us the inadequacy of traditional procedures in many decisional contexts. In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be processed, the sorting and weighing of significant conditional factors, the appraisal of major trends, the necessity of estimating the consequences of given courses of action, and the need for fast decision and response in situations of acute danger have prompted the use of sophisticated concepts of information flow theory, operational analysis, automatic data processing, and electronic computing equipment. Understandably, an improved decisional structure must stress the predictive component of the policy-making process, wherein a "model", of the decisional context or a segment thereof is developed to test projected alternative courses of action in terms of futuristic effects flowing therefrom. Although members of the legal profession are regularly engaged in predicting and projecting the trends of the law, the subject of corporate finance law has received relatively little organized and formalized attention in the philosophy of advancing corporate legal education. Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary approach to legal research has become a vital necessity. Certainly, the general orientation for productive contributions by those trained primarily in the law can be improved through an early introduction to multivariable decisional context and the various approaches for handling such problems. Lawyers, particularly with either a master's or doctorate degree in business administration or management, functioning at the legal policy level of decision-making now have some appreciation for the concepts and analytical techniques of other professions which are currently engaged in similar types of complex decision-making. Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems would require the services of an astute attorney because of the complex legal implications that arise from each and every necessary step in securing and maintaining the business issue raised. (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously referred to as the "abogado de campanilla." He is the "big-time" lawyer, earning big money

and with a clientele composed of the tycoons and magnates of business and industry. Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people could not explain what it is that a corporate lawyer does. For one, the number of attorneys employed by a single corporation will vary with the size and type of the corporation. Many smaller and some large corporations farm out all their legal problems to private law firms. Many others have in-house counsel only for certain matters. Other corporation have a staff large enough to handle most legal problems in-house. A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who handles the legal affairs of a corporation. His areas of concern or jurisdiction may include, inter alia: corporate legal research, tax laws research, acting out as corporate secretary (in board meetings), appearances in both courts and other adjudicatory agencies (including the Securities and Exchange Commission), and in other capacities which require an ability to deal with the law. At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume responsibilities other than the legal affairs of the business of the corporation he is representing. These include such matters as determining policy and becoming involved in management. ( Emphasis supplied.) In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being isolated from the action, or not understanding how one's work actually fits into the work of the orgarnization. This can be frustrating to someone who needs to see the results of his work first hand. In short, a corporate lawyer is sometimes offered this fortune to be more closely involved in the running of the business. Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be engaged by a multinational corporation (MNC). Some large MNCs provide one of the few opportunities available to corporate lawyers to enter the international law field. After all, international law is practiced in a relatively small number of companies and law firms. Because working in a foreign country is perceived by many as glamorous, tills is an area coveted by corporate lawyers. In most cases, however, the overseas jobs go to experienced attorneys while the younger attorneys do their "international practice" in law libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law Practice," May 25,1990, p. 4). This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer in the realm of finance. To borrow the lines of Harvard-educated lawyer Bruce Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who fails to spot problems, a good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent lawyer is one who surmounts them." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a "shot in the arm," so to speak. No longer are we talking of the traditional law teaching method of confining the subject study to the Corporation Code and the Securities Code but an incursion as well into the intertwining modern management issues. Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily with three (3) types of learning: (1) acquisition of insights into current advances which are of particular significance to the corporate counsel; (2) an introduction to usable disciplinary skins applicable to a corporate counsel's management responsibilities; and (3) a devotion to the organization and management of the legal function itself. These three subject areas may be thought of as intersecting circles, with a shared area linking them. Otherwise known as "intersecting managerial

jurisprudence," it forms a unifying theme for the corporate counsel's total learning. Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences affect the counsel's role. For that matter, the corporate lawyer reviews the globalization process, including the resulting strategic repositioning that the firms he provides counsel for are required to make, and the need to think about a corporation's; strategy at multiple levels. The salience of the nation-state is being reduced as firms deal both with global multinational entities and simultaneously with sub-national governmental units. Firms increasingly collaborate not only with public entities but with each other — often with those who are competitors in other arenas. Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-making within the corporation is rapidly changing. The modem corporate lawyer has gained a new role as a stakeholder — in some cases participating in the organization and operations of governance through participation on boards and other decision-making roles. Often these new patterns develop alongside existing legal institutions and laws are perceived as barriers. These trends are complicated as corporations organize for global operations. ( Emphasis supplied) The practising lawyer of today is familiar as well with governmental policies toward the promotion and management of technology. New collaborative arrangements for promoting specific technologies or competitiveness more generally require approaches from industry that differ from older, more adversarial relationships and traditional forms of seeking to influence governmental policies. And there are lessons to be learned from other countries. In Europe, Esprit, Eureka and Race are examples of collaborative efforts between governmental and business Japan's MITI is world famous. (Emphasis supplied) Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of the Corporate Counsel comprises a distinct group within the managerial structure of all kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of both long-term and temporary groups within organizations has been found to be related to indentifiable factors in the group-context interaction such as the groups actively revising their knowledge of the environment coordinating work with outsiders, promoting team achievements within the organization. In general, such external activities are better predictors of team performance than internal group processes. In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the corporate lawyer vis-a-vis the managerial mettle of corporations are challenged. Current research is seeking ways both to anticipate effective managerial procedures and to understand relationships of financial liability and insurance considerations. (Emphasis supplied) Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel, three factors are apropos: First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been found an effective tool for new managerial thinking regarding both planning and pressing immediate problems. An understanding of the role of feedback loops, inventory levels, and rates of flow, enable users to simulate all sorts of systematic problems — physical, economic, managerial, social, and psychological. New programming techniques now make the system dynamics principles more accessible to managers — including corporate counsels. (Emphasis supplied)

Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better decisions involving complexity and uncertainty. In the context of a law department, it can be used to appraise the settlement value of litigation, aid in negotiation settlement, and minimize the cost and risk involved in managing a portfolio of cases. (Emphasis supplied) Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer-based models can be used directly by parties and mediators in all lands of negotiations. All integrated set of such tools provide coherent and effective negotiation support, including hands-on on instruction in these techniques. A simulation case of an international joint venture may be used to illustrate the point. [Be this as it may,] the organization and management of the legal function, concern three pointed areas of consideration, thus: Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills that comprise a major part of the general counsel's responsibilities. They differ from those of remedial law. Preventive lawyering is concerned with minimizing the risks of legal trouble and maximizing legal rights for such legal entities at that time when transactional or similar facts are being considered and made. Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are undertaken those activities of the firm to which legal consequences attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this nation's evolving economic and organizational fabric as firms change to stay competitive in a global, interdependent environment. The practice and theory of "law" is not adequate today to facilitate the relationships needed in trying to make a global economy work. Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's Office. The general counsel has emerged in the last decade as one of the most vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The corporate counsel hear responsibility for key aspects of the firm's strategic issues, including structuring its global operations, managing improved relationships with an increasingly diversified body of employees, managing expanded liability exposure, creating new and varied interactions with public decision-makers, coping internally with more complex make or by decisions. This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing corporate law is not enough to make one a good general corporate counsel nor to give him a full sense of how the legal system shapes corporate activities. And even if the corporate lawyer's aim is not the understand all of the law's effects on corporate activities, he must, at the very least, also gain a working knowledge of the management issues if only to be able to grasp not only the basic legal "constitution' or makeup of the modem corporation. "Business Star", "The Corporate Counsel," April 10, 1991, p. 4). The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench) is to have more than a passing knowledge of financial law affecting each aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit to ignorance of vast tracts of the financial law territory. What transpires next is a dilemma of professional security: Will the lawyer admit ignorance and risk opprobrium?; or will he feign understanding and risk exposure? (Business Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by the Secretariat of the Commission on Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not possess the required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC. On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the same day, he assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC. Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null and void. Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86-55%. He has been a dues paying member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license fees as lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo) After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod worked in the law office of his father. During his stint in the World Bank Group (1963-1970), Monsod worked as an operations officer for about two years in Costa Rica and Panama, which involved getting acquainted with the laws of member-countries negotiating loans and coordinating legal, economic, and project work of the Bank. Upon returning to the Philippines in 1970, he worked with the Meralco Group, served as chief executive officer of an investment bank and subsequently of a business conglomerate, and since 1986, has rendered services to various companies as a legal and economic consultant or chief executive officer. As former Secretary-General (1986) and National Chairman (1987) of NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being knowledgeable in election law. He appeared for NAMFREL in its accreditation hearings before the Comelec. In the field of advocacy, Monsod, in his personal capacity and as former Co-Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's Conference for Human Development, has worked with the under privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor groups, in initiating, lobbying for and engaging in affirmative action for the agrarian reform law and lately the urban land reform bill. Monsod also made use of his legal knowledge as a member of the Davide Commission, a quast judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings (1990) and as a member of the Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and Chairman of its Committee on Accountability of Public Officers, for which he was cited by the President of the Commission, Justice Cecilia MuñozPalma for "innumerable amendments to reconcile government functions with individual freedoms and public accountability and the party-list system for the House of Representative. (pp. 128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis supplied) Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which Atty. Monsod used to be a member. In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a team, and which is adequately constituted to meet the various contingencies that arise during a negotiation. Besides top officials of the Borrower concerned, there are the legal officer (such as the legal counsel), the finance manager, and an operations officer (such as an official involved in negotiating the contracts) who comprise the members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven, "Loan Negotiating Strategies for Developing Country Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Central Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. 11). (Emphasis supplied) After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's Constitution; it lays down the law as far as the loan transaction is concerned. Thus, the meat of any Loan Agreement can be compartmentalized into five (5) fundamental parts: (1) business terms; (2) borrower's representation; (3) conditions of closing; (4) covenants; and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p. 13). In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt restructuring program. For aside from performing the tasks of legislative drafting and legal advising, they score national development policies as key factors in maintaining their countries' sovereignty. (Condensed from the work paper,

entitled "Wanted: Development Lawyers for Developing Nations," submitted by L. Michael Hager, regional legal adviser of the United States Agency for International Development, during the Session on Law for the Development of Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in Ivory Coast, sponsored by the World Peace Through Law Center on August 26-31, 1973). ( Emphasis supplied) Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than purely renegotiation policies, demand expertise in the law of contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting and in renegotiation. Necessarily, a sovereign lawyer may work with an international business specialist or an economist in the formulation of a model loan agreement. Debt restructuring contract agreements contain such a mixture of technical language that they should be carefully drafted and signed only with the advise of competent counsel in conjunction with the guidance of adequate technical support personnel. (See International Law Aspects of the Philippine External Debts, an unpublished dissertation, U.S.T. Graduate School of Law, 1987, p. 321). ( Emphasis supplied) A critical aspect of sovereign debt restructuring/contract construction is the set of terms and conditions which determines the contractual remedies for a failure to perform one or more elements of the contract. A good agreement must not only define the responsibilities of both parties, but must also state the recourse open to either party when the other fails to discharge an obligation. For a compleat debt restructuring represents a devotion to that principle which in the ultimate analysis is sine qua non for foreign loan agreements-an adherence to the rule of law in domestic and international affairs of whose kind U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said: "They carry no banners, they beat no drums; but where they are, men learn that bustle and bush are not the equal of quiet genius and serene mastery." (See Ricardo J. Romulo, "The Role of Lawyers in Foreign Investments," Integrated Bar of the Philippine Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth Quarters, 1977, p. 265). Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term Practice of law". particularly the modern concept of law practice, and taking into consideration the liberal construction intended by the framers of the Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor — verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement — that he has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143 SCRA 327, the Court said: Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be performed by the officer in which it is vested according to his best lights, the only condition being that the appointee should possess the qualifications required by law. If he does, then the appointment cannot be faulted on the ground that there are others better qualified who should have been preferred. This is a political question involving considerations of wisdom which only the appointing authority can decide. (emphasis supplied) No less emphatic was the Court in the case of (Central Bank v. Civil Service Commission, 171 SCRA 744) where it stated: It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this case, and all the other legal requirements are satisfied, the Commission has no alternative but to attest to the appointment in accordance with the Civil Service Law. The

Commission has no authority to revoke an appointment on the ground that another person is more qualified for a particular position. It also has no authority to direct the appointment of a substitute of its choice. To do so would be an encroachment on the discretion vested upon the appointing authority. An appointment is essentially within the discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested, subject to the only condition that the appointee should possess the qualifications required by law. ( Emphasis supplied) The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the case at bar, consists of four (4) stages: (1) nomination; (2) confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; (3) issuance of a commission (in the Philippines, upon submission by the Commission on Appointments of its certificate of confirmation, the President issues the permanent appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath-taking, posting of bond, etc. . . . (Lacson v. Romero, No. L-3081, October 14, 1949; Gonzales, Law on Public Officers, p. 200) The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its consent to the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections is mandated by Section 1(2) SubArticle C, Article IX of the Constitution which provides: The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity. Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice it to say that his definition of the practice of law is the traditional or stereotyped notion of law practice, as distinguished from the modern concept of the practice of law, which modern connotation is exactly what was intended by the eminent framers of the 1987 Constitution. Moreover, Justice Padilla's definition would require generally a habitual law practice, perhaps practised two or three times a week and would outlaw say, law practice once or twice a year for ten consecutive years. Clearly, this is far from the constitutional intent. Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz states that in my written opinion, I made use of a definition of law practice which really means nothing because the definition says that law practice " . . . is what people ordinarily mean by the practice of law." True I cited the definition but only by way of sarcasm as evident from my statement that the definition of law practice by "traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous" or defining a phrase by means of the phrase itself that is being defined. Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the law covers almost all situations, most individuals, in making use of the law, or in advising others on what the law means, are actually practicing law. In that sense, perhaps, but we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr. Monsod is a lawyer, a member of the Philippine Bar, who has been practising law for over ten years. This is different from the acts of persons practising law, without first becoming lawyers. Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even disqualify an elected President of the Philippines, say, on the ground that he lacks one or more qualifications. This matter, I greatly doubt. For one thing, how can an action or petition be brought against the President? And even assuming that he is indeed disqualified, how can the action be entertained since he is the incumbent President? We now proceed: The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted doling the public hearings on Monsod's confirmation, implicitly determined that he possessed the necessary qualifications as

required by law. The judgment rendered by the Commission in the exercise of such an acknowledged power is beyond judicial interference except only upon a clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only where such grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Commission's judgment. In the instant case, there is no occasion for the exercise of the Court's corrective power, since no abuse, much less a grave abuse of discretion, that would amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction and would warrant the issuance of the writs prayed, for has been clearly shown. Additionally, consider the following: (1) If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee by the President, may the Supreme Court reverse the Commission, and thus in effect confirm the appointment? Clearly, the answer is in the negative. (2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee, whom the Commission has confirmed? The answer is likewise clear. (3) If the United States Senate (which is the confirming body in the U.S. Congress) decides to confirm a Presidential nominee, it would be incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would still reverse the U.S. Senate. Finally, one significant legal maxim is: We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit that giveth life. Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the procurator of Judea asked Delilah (who was Samson's beloved) for help in capturing Samson. Delilah agreed on condition that — No blade shall touch his skin; No blood shall flow from his veins. When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured, the procurator placed an iron rod burning white-hot two or three inches away from in front of Samson's eyes. This blinded the man. Upon hearing of what had happened to her beloved, Delilah was beside herself with anger, and fuming with righteous fury, accused the procurator of reneging on his word. The procurator calmly replied: "Did any blade touch his skin? Did any blood flow from his veins?" The procurator was clearly relying on the letter, not the spirit of the agreement. In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby DISMISSED. SO ORDERED. Fernan, C.J., Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur. Feliciano, J., I certify that he voted to dismiss the petition. (Fernan, C.J.) Sarmiento, J., is on leave. Regalado, and Davide, Jr., J., took no part. Separate Opinions NARVASA, J., concurring: I concur with the decision of the majority written by Mr. Justice Paras, albeit only in the result; it does not appear to me that there has been an adequate showing that the challenged determination by the Commission on Appointments-that the appointment of respondent Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections should, on the basis of his stated qualifications and after due assessment thereof, be confirmed-was attended by error so gross as to amount to grave abuse of discretion and consequently merits nullification by

this Court in accordance with the second paragraph of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution. I therefore vote to DENY the petition. PADILLA, J., dissenting: The records of this case will show that when the Court first deliberated on the Petition at bar, I voted not only to require the respondents to comment on the Petition, but I was the sole vote for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to enjoin respondent Monsod from assuming the position of COMELEC Chairman, while the Court deliberated on his constitutional qualification for the office. My purpose in voting for a TRO was to prevent the inconvenience and even embarrassment to all parties concerned were the Court to finally decide for respondent Monsod's disqualification. Moreover, a reading of the Petition then in relation to established jurisprudence already showed prima facie that respondent Monsod did not possess the needed qualification, that is, he had not engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years prior to his appointment as COMELEC Chairman. After considering carefully respondent Monsod's comment, I am even more convinced that the constitutional requirement of "practice of law for at least ten (10) years" has not been met. The procedural barriers interposed by respondents deserve scant consideration because, ultimately, the core issue to be resolved in this petition is the proper construal of the constitutional provision requiring a majority of the membership of COMELEC, including the Chairman thereof to "have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." (Art. IX(C), Section 1(1), 1987 Constitution). Questions involving the construction of constitutional provisions are best left to judicial resolution. As declared in Angara v. Electoral Commission, (63 Phil. 139) "upon the judicial department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and defining constitutional boundaries." The Constitution has imposed clear and specific standards for a COMELEC Chairman. Among these are that he must have been "engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." It is the bounden duty of this Court to ensure that such standard is met and complied with. What constitutes practice of law? As commonly understood, "practice" refers to the actual performance or application of knowledge as distinguished from mere possession of knowledge; it connotes an active, habitual, repeated or customary action. 1 To "practice" law, or any profession for that matter, means, to exercise or pursue an employment or profession actively, habitually, repeatedly or customarily. Therefore, a doctor of medicine who is employed and is habitually performing the tasks of a nursing aide, cannot be said to be in the "practice of medicine." A certified public accountant who works as a clerk, cannot be said to practice his profession as an accountant. In the same way, a lawyer who is employed as a business executive or a corporate manager, other than as head or attorney of a Legal Department of a corporation or a governmental agency, cannot be said to be in the practice of law. As aptly held by this Court in the case of People vs. Villanueva:
2

Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State vs- Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public as a lawyer and demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644,647.) ... (emphasis supplied).

It is worth mentioning that the respondent Commission on Appointments in a Memorandum it prepared, enumerated several factors determinative of whether a particular activity constitutes "practice of law." It states: 1. Habituality. The term "practice of law" implies customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public as a lawyer (People vs. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Boyen, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the establishment of a law office for the general practice of law (U.S. v. Ney Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the oath of office as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with the Supreme Court informing it of his intention to practice law in all courts in the country (People v. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968). Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan, 864). 2. Compensation. Practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to be in the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that his professional services are available to the public for compensation, as a service of his livelihood or in consideration of his said services. (People v. Villanueva, supra). Hence, charging for services such as preparation of documents involving the use of legal knowledge and skill is within the term "practice of law" (Ernani Paño, Bar Reviewer in Legal and Judicial Ethics, 1988 ed., p. 8 citing People v. People's Stockyards State Bank, 176 N.B. 901) and, one who renders an opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, and receives pay for it, is to that extent, practicing law (Martin, supra, p. 806 citing Mendelaun v. Gilbert and Barket Mfg. Co., 290 N.Y.S. 462) If compensation is expected, all advice to clients and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law; are practicing law. (Elwood Fitchette et al., v. Arthur C. Taylor, 94A-L.R. 356-359) 3. Application of law legal principle practice or procedure which calls for legal knowledge, training and experience is within the term "practice of law". (Martin supra) 4. Attorney-client relationship. Engaging in the practice of law presupposes the existence of lawyer-client relationship. Hence, where a lawyer undertakes an activity which requires knowledge of law but involves no attorney-client relationship, such as teaching law or writing law books or articles, he cannot be said to be engaged in the practice of his profession or a lawyer (Agpalo, Legal Ethics, 1989 ed., p. 30). 3 The above-enumerated factors would, I believe, be useful aids in determining whether or not respondent Monsod meets the constitutional qualification of practice of law for at least ten (10) years at the time of his appointment as COMELEC Chairman. The following relevant questions may be asked: 1. Did respondent Monsod perform any of the tasks which are peculiar to the practice of law? 2. Did respondent perform such tasks customarily or habitually? 3. Assuming that he performed any of such tasks habitually, did he do so HABITUALLY FOR AT LEAST TEN (10) YEARS prior to his appointment as COMELEC Chairman? Given the employment or job history of respondent Monsod as appears from the records, I am persuaded that if ever he did perform any of the tasks which constitute the practice of

law, he did not do so HABITUALLY for at least ten (10) years prior to his appointment as COMELEC Chairman. While it may be granted that he performed tasks and activities which could be latitudinarianly considered activities peculiar to the practice of law, like the drafting of legal documents and the rendering of legal opinion or advice, such were isolated transactions or activities which do not qualify his past endeavors as "practice of law." To become engaged in the practice of law, there must be a continuity, or a succession of acts. As observed by the Solicitor General in People vs. Villanueva: 4 Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to be in the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that his professional services are available to the public for a compensation, as a source of his livelihood or in consideration of his said services. ACCORDINGLY, my vote is to GRANT the petition and to declare respondent Monsod as not qualified for the position of COMELEC Chairman for not having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years prior to his appointment to such position. CRUZ, J., dissenting: I am sincerely impressed by the ponencia of my brother Paras but find I must dissent just the same. There are certain points on which I must differ with him while of course respecting hisviewpoint. To begin with, I do not think we are inhibited from examining the qualifications of the respondent simply because his nomination has been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. In my view, this is not a political question that we are barred from resolving. Determination of the appointee's credentials is made on the basis of the established facts, not the discretion of that body. Even if it were, the exercise of that discretion would still be subject to our review. In Luego, which is cited in the ponencia, what was involved was the discretion of the appointing authority to choose between two claimants to the same office who both possessed the required qualifications. It was that kind of discretion that we said could not be reviewed. If a person elected by no less than the sovereign people may be ousted by this Court for lack of the required qualifications, I see no reason why we cannot disqualified an appointee simply because he has passed the Commission on Appointments. Even the President of the Philippines may be declared ineligible by this Court in an appropriate proceeding notwithstanding that he has been found acceptable by no less than the enfranchised citizenry. The reason is that what we would be examining is not the wisdom of his election but whether or not he was qualified to be elected in the first place. Coming now to the qualifications of the private respondent, I fear that the ponencia may have been too sweeping in its definition of the phrase "practice of law" as to render the qualification practically toothless. From the numerous activities accepted as embraced in the term, I have the uncomfortable feeling that one does not even have to be a lawyer to be engaged in the practice of law as long as his activities involve the application of some law, however peripherally. The stock broker and the insurance adjuster and the realtor could come under the definition as they deal with or give advice on matters that are likely "to become involved in litigation." The lawyer is considered engaged in the practice of law even if his main occupation is another business and he interprets and applies some law only as an incident of such business. That covers every company organized under the Corporation Code and regulated by the SEC under P.D. 902-A. Considering the ramifications of the modern society, there is hardly any activity that is not affected by some law or government regulation the

businessman must know about and observe. In fact, again going by the definition, a lawyer does not even have to be part of a business concern to be considered a practitioner. He can be so deemed when, on his own, he rents a house or buys a car or consults a doctor as these acts involve his knowledge and application of the laws regulating such transactions. If he operates a public utility vehicle as his main source of livelihood, he would still be deemed engaged in the practice of law because he must obey the Public Service Act and the rules and regulations of the Energy Regulatory Board. The ponencia quotes an American decision defining the practice of law as the "performance of any acts ... in or out of court, commonly understood to be the practice of law," which tells us absolutely nothing. The decision goes on to say that "because lawyers perform almost every function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would obviously be too global to be workable." The effect of the definition given in the ponencia is to consider virtually every lawyer to be engaged in the practice of law even if he does not earn his living, or at least part of it, as a lawyer. It is enough that his activities are incidentally (even if only remotely) connected with some law, ordinance, or regulation. The possible exception is the lawyer whose income is derived from teaching ballroom dancing or escorting wrinkled ladies with pubescent pretensions. The respondent's credentials are impressive, to be sure, but they do not persuade me that he has been engaged in the practice of law for ten years as required by the Constitution. It is conceded that he has been engaged in business and finance, in which areas he has distinguished himself, but as an executive and economist and not as a practicing lawyer. The plain fact is that he has occupied the various positions listed in his resume by virtue of his experience and prestige as a businessman and not as an attorney-at-law whose principal attention is focused on the law. Even if it be argued that he was acting as a lawyer when he lobbied in Congress for agrarian and urban reform, served in the NAMFREL and the Constitutional Commission (together with non-lawyers like farmers and priests) and was a member of the Davide Commission, he has not proved that his activities in these capacities extended over the prescribed 10-year period of actual practice of the law. He is doubtless eminently qualified for many other positions worthy of his abundant talents but not as Chairman of the Commission on Elections. I have much admiration for respondent Monsod, no less than for Mr. Justice Paras, but I must regretfully vote to grant the petition. GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting: When this petition was filed, there was hope that engaging in the practice of law as a qualification for public office would be settled one way or another in fairly definitive terms. Unfortunately, this was not the result. Of the fourteen (14) member Court, 5 are of the view that Mr. Christian Monsod engaged in the practice of law (with one of these 5 leaving his vote behind while on official leave but not expressing his clear stand on the matter); 4 categorically stating that he did not practice law; 2 voting in the result because there was no error so gross as to amount to grave abuse of discretion; one of official leave with no instructions left behind on how he viewed the issue; and 2 not taking part in the deliberations and the decision. There are two key factors that make our task difficult. First is our reviewing the work of a constitutional Commission on Appointments whose duty is precisely to look into the qualifications of persons appointed to high office. Even if the Commission errs, we have no power to set aside error. We can look only into grave abuse of discretion or whimsically and arbitrariness. Second is our belief that Mr. Monsod possesses superior qualifications in terms of executive ability, proficiency in management, educational background, experience in international banking and finance, and instant recognition by the public. His integrity and competence are not questioned by the petitioner. What is before us is compliance with a specific requirement written into the Constitution.

Inspite of my high regard for Mr. Monsod, I cannot shirk my constitutional duty. He has never engaged in the practice of law for even one year. He is a member of the bar but to say that he has practiced law is stretching the term beyond rational limits. A person may have passed the bar examinations. But if he has not dedicated his life to the law, if he has not engaged in an activity where membership in the bar is a requirement I fail to see how he can claim to have been engaged in the practice of law. Engaging in the practice of law is a qualification not only for COMELEC chairman but also for appointment to the Supreme Court and all lower courts. What kind of Judges or Justices will we have if there main occupation is selling real estate, managing a business corporation, serving in fact-finding committee, working in media, or operating a farm with no active involvement in the law, whether in Government or private practice, except that in one joyful moment in the distant past, they happened to pass the bar examinations? The Constitution uses the phrase "engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years." The deliberate choice of words shows that the practice envisioned is active and regular, not isolated, occasional, accidental, intermittent, incidental, seasonal, or extemporaneous. To be "engaged" in an activity for ten years requires committed participation in something which is the result of one's decisive choice. It means that one is occupied and involved in the enterprise; one is obliged or pledged to carry it out with intent and attention during the tenyear period. I agree with the petitioner that based on the bio-data submitted by respondent Monsod to the Commission on Appointments, the latter has not been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. In fact, if appears that Mr. Monsod has never practiced law except for an alleged one year period after passing the bar examinations when he worked in his father's law firm. Even then his law practice must have been extremely limited because he was also working for M.A. and Ph. D. degrees in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania during that period. How could he practice law in the United States while not a member of the Bar there? The professional life of the respondent follows: 1.15.1. Respondent Monsod's activities since his passing the Bar examinations in 1961 consist of the following: 1. 1961-1963: Pennsylvania M.A. in Economics (Ph. D. candidate), University of

2. 1963-1970: World Bank Group — Economist, Industry Department; Operations, Latin American Department; Division Chief, South Asia and Middle East, International Finance Corporation 3. 1970-1973: Meralco Group — Executive of various companies, i.e., Meralco Securities Corporation, Philippine Petroleum Corporation, Philippine Electric Corporation 4. 1973-1976: Yujuico Group — President, Fil-Capital Development Corporation and affiliated companies 5. 1976-1978: Finaciera Manila — Chief Executive Officer 6. 1978-1986: Guevent Group of Companies — Chief Executive Officer 7. 1986-1987: Philippine Constitutional Commission — Member 8. 1989-1991: The Fact-Finding Commission on the December 1989 Coup Attempt — Member 9. Presently: Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the following companies: a. ACE Container Philippines, Inc.

b. Dataprep, Philippines c. Philippine SUNsystems Products, Inc. d. Semirara Coal Corporation e. CBL Timber Corporation Member of the Board of the Following: a. Engineering Construction Corporation of the Philippines b. First Philippine Energy Corporation c. First Philippine Holdings Corporation d. First Philippine Industrial Corporation e. Graphic Atelier f. Manila Electric Company g. Philippine Commercial Capital, Inc. h. Philippine Electric Corporation i. Tarlac Reforestation and Environment Enterprises j. Tolong Aquaculture Corporation k. Visayan Aquaculture Corporation l. Guimaras Aquaculture Corporation (Rollo, pp. 21-22) There is nothing in the above bio-data which even remotely indicates that respondent Monsod has given the law enough attention or a certain degree of commitment and participation as would support in all sincerity and candor the claim of having engaged in its practice for at least ten years. Instead of working as a lawyer, he has lawyers working for him. Instead of giving receiving that legal advice of legal services, he was the oneadvice and those services as an executive but not as a lawyer. The deliberations before the Commission on Appointments show an effort to equate "engaged in the practice of law" with the use of legal knowledge in various fields of endeavor such as commerce, industry, civic work, blue ribbon investigations, agrarian reform, etc. where such knowledge would be helpful. I regret that I cannot join in playing fast and loose with a term, which even an ordinary layman accepts as having a familiar and customary well-defined meaning. Every resident of this country who has reached the age of discernment has to know, follow, or apply the law at various times in his life. Legal knowledge is useful if not necessary for the business executive, legislator, mayor, barangay captain, teacher, policeman, farmer, fisherman, market vendor, and student to name only a few. And yet, can these people honestly assert that as such, they are engaged in the practice of law? The Constitution requires having been "engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years." It is not satisfied with having been "a member of the Philippine bar for at least ten years." Some American courts have defined the practice of law, as follows: The practice of law involves not only appearance in court in connection with litigation but also services rendered out of court, and it includes the giving of advice or the rendering of any services requiring the use of legal skill or knowledge, such as preparing a will, contract or other instrument, the legal effect of which, under the facts and conditions involved, must be carefully determined. People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. Tinkoff, 399 Ill. 282, 77 N.E.2d 693; People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v. People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill. 462,176 N.E. 901, and cases cited.

It would be difficult, if not impossible to lay down a formula or definition of what constitutes the practice of law. "Practicing law" has been defined as "Practicing as an attorney or counselor at law according to the laws and customs of our courts, is the giving of advice or rendition of any sort of service by any person, firm or corporation when the giving of such advice or rendition of such service requires the use of any degree of legal knowledge or skill." Without adopting that definition, we referred to it as being substantially correct in People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v. People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill. 462,176 N.E. 901. (People v. Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773, 776) For one's actions to come within the purview of practice of law they should not only be activities peculiar to the work of a lawyer, they should also be performed, habitually, frequently or customarily, to wit: xxx xxx xxx Respondent's answers to questions propounded to him were rather evasive. He was asked whether or not he ever prepared contracts for the parties in real-estate transactions where he was not the procuring agent. He answered: "Very seldom." In answer to the question as to how many times he had prepared contracts for the parties during the twenty-one years of his business, he said: "I have no Idea." When asked if it would be more than half a dozen times his answer was I suppose. Asked if he did not recall making the statement to several parties that he had prepared contracts in a large number of instances, he answered: "I don't recall exactly what was said." When asked if he did not remember saying that he had made a practice of preparing deeds, mortgages and contracts and charging a fee to the parties therefor in instances where he was not the broker in the deal, he answered: "Well, I don't believe so, that is not a practice." Pressed further for an answer as to his practice in preparing contracts and deeds for parties where he was not the broker, he finally answered: "I have done about everything that is on the books as far as real estate is concerned." xxx xxx xxx Respondent takes the position that because he is a real-estate broker he has a lawful right to do any legal work in connection with real-estate transactions, especially in drawing of real-estate contracts, deeds, mortgages, notes and the like. There is no doubt but that he has engaged in these practices over the years and has charged for his services in that connection. ... (People v. Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773) xxx xxx xxx ... An attorney, in the most general sense, is a person designated or employed by another to act in his stead; an agent; more especially, one of a class of persons authorized to appear and act for suitors or defendants in legal proceedings. Strictly, these professional persons are attorneys at law, and non-professional agents are properly styled "attorney's in fact;" but the single word is much used as meaning an attorney at law. A person may be an attorney in facto for another, without being an attorney at law. Abb. Law Dict. "Attorney." A public attorney, or attorney at law, says Webster, is an officer of a court of law, legally qualified to prosecute and defend actions in such court on the retainer of clients. "The principal duties of an attorney are (1) to be true to the court and to his client; (2) to manage the business of his client with care, skill, and integrity; (3) to keep his client informed as to the state of his business; (4) to keep his secrets confided to him as such. ... His rights are to be justly compensated for his services." Bouv. Law Dict. tit. "Attorney." The transitive verb "practice," as defined by Webster, means 'to do or perform

frequently, customarily, or habitually; to perform by a succession of acts, as, to practice gaming, ... to carry on in practice, or repeated action; to apply, as a theory, to real life; to exercise, as a profession, trade, art. etc.; as, to practice law or medicine,' etc...." (State v. Bryan, S.E. 522, 523; Emphasis supplied) In this jurisdiction, we have ruled that the practice of law denotes frequency or a succession of acts. Thus, we stated in the case of People v. Villanueva (14 SCRA 109 [1965]): xxx xxx xxx ... Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State v. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public, as a lawyer and demanding payment for such services. ... . (at p. 112) It is to be noted that the Commission on Appointment itself recognizes habituality as a required component of the meaning of practice of law in a Memorandum prepared and issued by it, to wit: l. Habituality. The term 'practice of law' implies customarilyor habitually holding one's self out to the public as a lawyer (People v. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the establishment of a law office for the general practice of law (U.S. v. Noy Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the oath of office as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with the Supreme Court informing it of his intention to practice law in all courts in the country (People v. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968). Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 1 09 citing State v. Cotner, 1 27, p. 1, 87 Kan, 864)." (Rollo, p. 115) xxx xxx xxx While the career as a businessman of respondent Monsod may have profited from his legal knowledge, the use of such legal knowledge is incidental and consists of isolated activities which do not fall under the denomination of practice of law. Admission to the practice of law was not required for membership in the Constitutional Commission or in the Fact-Finding Commission on the 1989 Coup Attempt. Any specific legal activities which may have been assigned to Mr. Monsod while a member may be likened to isolated transactions of foreign corporations in the Philippines which do not categorize the foreign corporations as doing business in the Philippines. As in the practice of law, doing business also should be active and continuous. Isolated business transactions or occasional, incidental and casual transactions are not within the context of doing business. This was our ruling in the case of Antam Consolidated, Inc. v. Court of appeals, 143 SCRA 288 [1986]). Respondent Monsod, corporate executive, civic leader, and member of the Constitutional Commission may possess the background, competence, integrity, and dedication, to qualify for such high offices as President, Vice-President, Senator, Congressman or Governor but the Constitution in prescribing the specific qualification of having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years for the position of COMELEC Chairman has ordered that he may not be confirmed for that office. The Constitution charges the public respondents no less than this Court to obey its mandate. I, therefore, believe that the Commission on Appointments committed grave abuse of discretion in confirming the nomination of respondent Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC. I vote to GRANT the petition.

Bidin, J., dissent Footnotes 1 Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary. 2 14 SCRA 109 3 Commission on Appointments' Memorandum dated 25 June 1991 RE: WHAT CONSTITUTES PRACTICE OF LAW, pp. 6-7.4 14 SCRA 109. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-2662 March 26, 1949 SHIGENORI KURODA, petitioner, vs. Major General RAFAEL JALANDONI, Brigadier General CALIXTO DUQUE, Colonel MARGARITO TORALBA, Colonel IRENEO BUENCONSEJO, Colonel PEDRO TABUENA, Major FEDERICO ARANAS, MELVILLE S. HUSSEY and ROBERT PORT, respondents. Pedro Serran, Jose G. Lukban, and Liberato B. Cinco for petitioner. Fred Ruiz Castro Federico Arenas Mariano Yengco, Jr., Ricardo A. Arcilla and S. Melville Hussey for respondents. MORAN, C.J.: Shigenori Kuroda, formerly a Lieutenant-General of the Japanese Imperial Army and Commanding General of the Japanese Imperial Forces in The Philippines during a period covering 19433 and 19444 who is now charged before a military Commission convened by the Chief of Staff of the Armed forces of the Philippines with having unlawfully disregarded and failed "to discharge his duties as such command, permitting them to commit brutal atrocities and other high crimes against noncombatant civilians and prisoners of the Imperial Japanese Forces in violation of the laws and customs of war" — comes before this Court seeking to establish the illegality of Executive Order No. 68 of the President of the Philippines: to enjoin and prohibit respondents Melville S. Hussey and Robert Port from participating in the prosecution of petitioner's case before the Military Commission and to permanently prohibit respondents from proceeding with the case of petitioners. In support of his case petitioner tenders the following principal arguments. First. — "That Executive Order No. 68 is illegal on the ground that it violates not only the provision of our constitutional law but also our local laws to say nothing of the fact (that) the Philippines is not a signatory nor an adherent to the Hague Convention on Rules and Regulations covering Land Warfare and therefore petitioners is charged of 'crimes' not based on law, national and international." Hence petitioner argues — "That in view off the fact that this commission has been empanelled by virtue of an unconstitutional law an illegal order this commission is without jurisdiction to try herein petitioner." Second. — That the participation in the prosecution of the case against petitioner before the Commission in behalf of the United State of America of attorneys Melville Hussey and Robert Port who are not attorneys authorized by the Supreme Court to practice law in the Philippines is a diminution of our personality as an independent state and their appointment as prosecutor are a violation of our Constitution for the reason that they are not qualified to practice law in the Philippines. Third. — That Attorneys Hussey and Port have no personality as prosecution the United State not being a party in interest in the case.

Executive Order No. 68, establishing a National War Crimes Office prescribing rule and regulation governing the trial of accused war criminals, was issued by the President of the Philippines on the 29th days of July, 1947 This Court holds that this order is valid and constitutional. Article 2 of our Constitution provides in its section 3, that — The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy and adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the of the nation. In accordance with the generally accepted principle of international law of the present day including the Hague Convention the Geneva Convention and significant precedents of international jurisprudence established by the United Nation all those person military or civilian who have been guilty of planning preparing or waging a war of aggression and of the commission of crimes and offenses consequential and incidental thereto in violation of the laws and customs of war, of humanity and civilization are held accountable therefor. Consequently in the promulgation and enforcement of Execution Order No. 68 the President of the Philippines has acted in conformity with the generally accepted and policies of international law which are part of the our Constitution. The promulgation of said executive order is an exercise by the President of his power as Commander in chief of all our armed forces as upheld by this Court in the case of Yamashita vs. Styer (L-129, 42 Off. Gaz., 664) 1 when we said — War is not ended simply because hostilities have ceased. After cessation of armed hostilities incident of war may remain pending which should be disposed of as in time of war. An importance incident to a conduct of war is the adoption of measure by the military command not only to repel and defeat the enemies but to seize and subject to disciplinary measure those enemies who in their attempt to thwart or impede our military effort have violated the law of war. (Ex parte Quirin 317 U.S., 1; 63 Sup. Ct., 2.) Indeed the power to create a military commission for the trial and punishment of war criminals is an aspect of waging war. And in the language of a writer a military commission has jurisdiction so long as a technical state of war continues. This includes the period of an armistice or military occupation up to the effective of a treaty of peace and may extend beyond by treaty agreement. (Cowles Trial of War Criminals by Military Tribunals, America Bar Association Journal June, 1944.) Consequently, the President as Commander in Chief is fully empowered to consummate this unfinished aspect of war namely the trial and punishment of war criminal through the issuance and enforcement of Executive Order No. 68. Petitioner argues that respondent Military Commission has no Jurisdiction to try petitioner for acts committed in violation of the Hague Convention and the Geneva Convention because the Philippines is not a signatory to the first and signed the second only in 1947. It cannot be denied that the rules and regulation of the Hague and Geneva conventions form, part of and are wholly based on the generally accepted principals of international law. In facts these rules and principles were accepted by the two belligerent nation the United State and Japan who were signatories to the two Convention, Such rule and principles therefore form part of the law of our nation even if the Philippines was not a signatory to the conventions embodying them for our Constitution has been deliberately general and extensive in its scope and is not confined to the recognition of rule and principle of international law as continued inn treaties to which our government may have been or shall be a signatory. Furthermore when the crimes charged against petitioner were allegedly committed the Philippines was under the sovereignty of United States and thus we were equally bound together with the United States and with Japan to the right and obligation contained in the treaties between the belligerent countries. These rights and obligation were not erased by our assumption of full sovereignty. If at all our emergency as a free state entitles us to enforce the right on our own of trying and punishing those who committed crimes against crimes against our people. In this connection it is well to remember what we have said in the case of Laurel vs. Misa (76 Phil., 372):

. . . The change of our form government from Commonwealth to Republic does not affect the prosecution of those charged with the crime of treason committed during then Commonwealth because it is an offense against the same sovereign people. . . . By the same token war crimes committed against our people and our government while we were a Commonwealth are triable and punishable by our present Republic. Petitioner challenges the participation of two American attorneys namely Melville S. Hussey and Robert Port in the prosecution of his case on the ground that said attorney's are not qualified to practice law in Philippines in accordance with our Rules of court and the appointment of said attorneys as prosecutors is violative of our national sovereignty. In the first place respondent Military Commission is a special military tribunal governed by a special law and not by the Rules of court which govern ordinary civil court. It has already been shown that Executive Order No. 68 which provides for the organization of such military commission is a valid and constitutional law. There is nothing in said executive order which requires that counsel appearing before said commission must be attorneys qualified to practice law in the Philippines in accordance with the Rules of Court. In facts it is common in military tribunals that counsel for the parties are usually military personnel who are neither attorneys nor even possessed of legal training. Secondly the appointment of the two American attorneys is not violative of our nation sovereignty. It is only fair and proper that United States, which has submitted the vindication of crimes against her government and her people to a tribunal of our nation should be allowed representation in the trial of those very crimes. If there has been any relinquishment of sovereignty it has not been by our government but by the United State Government which has yielded to us the trial and punishment of her enemies. The least that we could do in the spirit of comity is to allow them representation in said trials. Alleging that the United State is not a party in interest in the case petitioner challenges the personality of attorneys Hussey and Port as prosecutors. It is of common knowledge that the United State and its people have been equally if not more greatly aggrieved by the crimes with which petitioner stands charged before the Military Commission. It can be considered a privilege for our Republic that a leader nation should submit the vindication of the honor of its citizens and its government to a military tribunal of our country. The Military Commission having been convened by virtue of a valid law with jurisdiction over the crimes charged which fall under the provisions of Executive Order No. 68, and having said petitioner in its custody, this Court will not interfere with the due process of such Military commission. For all the foregoing the petition is denied with costs de oficio. Paras, Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, Tuason, Montemayor and Reyes, JJ., concur. Separate Opinions PERFECTO, J., dissenting: A military commission was empanelled on December 1, 1948 to try Lt. Gen. Shigenori Kuroda for Violation of the laws and customs of land warfare. Melville S. Hussey and Robert Port, American citizens and not authorized by the Supreme Court to practice law were appointed prosecutor representing the American CIC in the trial of the case. The commission was empanelled under the authority of Executive Order No. 68 of the President of the Philippines the validity of which is challenged by petitioner on constitutional grounds. Petitioner has also challenged the personality of Attorneys Hussey and Port to appear as prosecutors before the commission.

The charges against petitioner has been filed since June 26, 1948 in the name of the people of the Philippines as accusers. We will consideration briefly the challenge against the appearance of Attorneys Hussey and Port. It appearing that they are aliens and have not been authorized by the Supreme Court to practice law there could not be any question that said person cannot appear as prosecutors in petitioner case as with such appearance they would be practicing law against the law. Said violation vanishes however into insignificance at the side of the momentous question involved in the challenge against the validity of Executive Order No. 68. Said order is challenged on several constitutional ground. To get a clear idea of the question raised it is necessary to read the whole context of said order which is reproduced as follows: EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 68. ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL WAR CRIMES OFFICE AND PRESCRIBING RULES AND REGULATION GOVERNING THE TRIAL OF ACCUSED WAR CRIMINAL. I, Manuel Roxas president of the Philippines by virtue of the power vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the Philippines do hereby establish a National War Crimes Office charged with the responsibility of accomplishing the speedy trial of all Japanese accused of war crimes committed in the Philippines and prescribe the rules and regulation such trial. The National War crimes office is established within the office of the Judge Advocate General of the Army of the Philippines and shall function under the direction supervision and control of the Judge Advocate General. It shall proceed to collect from all available sources evidence of war crimes committed in the Philippines from the commencement of hostilities by Japan in December 1941, maintain a record thereof and bring about the prompt trial maintain a record thereof and bring about the prompt trial of the accused. The National War Crimes Office shall maintain direct liaison with the Legal Section General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied power and shall exchange with the said Office information and evidence of war crimes. The following rules and regulation shall govern the trial off person accused as war criminals: ESTABLISHMENT OF MILITARY COMMISSIONS (a) General. — person accused as war criminal shall be tried by military commission to be convened by or under the authority of the Philippines. II. JURISDICTION (a) Over Person. — Thee military commission appointed hereunder shall have jurisdiction over all persons charged with war crimes who are in the custody of the convening authority at the time of the trial. (b) Over Offenses. — The military commission established hereunder shall have jurisdiction over all offenses including but not limited to the following: (1) The planning preparation initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties agreement or assurance or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing. (2) Violation of the laws or customs of war. Such violation shall include but not be limited to murder ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or internees or person on the seas or elsewhere; improper treatment of hostage; plunder of public or private property wanton destruction of cities towns or village; or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(3) Murder extermination enslavement deportation and other inhuman acts committed against civilian population before or during the war or persecution on political racial or religion ground in executive of or in connection with any crime defined herein whether or not in violation of the local laws. III. MEMBERSHIP OF COMMISSIONS (a) Appointment. — The members of each military commission shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines or under authority delegated by him. Alternates may be appointed by the convening authority. Such shall attend all session of the commission, and in case of illness or other incapacity of any principal member, an alternate shall take the place of that member. Any vacancy among the members or alternates, occurring after a trial has begun, may be filled by the convening authority but the substance of all proceeding had evidence taken in that case shall be made known to the said new member or alternate. This facts shall be announced by the president of the commission in open court. (b) Number of Members. — Each commission shall consist of not less than three (3) members. (c) Qualifications. — The convening authority shall appoint to the commission persons whom he determines to be competent to perform the duties involved and not disqualified by personal interest or prejudice, provided that no person shall be appointed to hear a case in which he personally investigated or wherein his presence as a witness is required. One specially qualified member whose ruling is final in so far as concerns the commission on an objection to the admissibility of evidence offered during the trial. (d) Voting. — Except as to the admissibility of evidence all rulings and finding of the Commission shall be by majority vote except that conviction and sentence shall be by the affirmative vote of not less than conviction and sentence shall be by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds (2\3) of the member present. (e) Presiding Member. — In the event that the convening authority does not name one of the member as the presiding member, the senior officer among the member of the Commission present shall preside. IV. PROSECUTORS (a) Appointment. — The convening authority shall designate one or more person to conduct the prosecution before each commission. (b) Duties. — The duties of the prosecutor are: (1) To prepare and present charges and specifications for reference to a commission. (2) To prepare cases for trial and to conduct the prosecution before the commission of all cases referred for trial. V. POWER AND PROCEDURE OF COMMISSION (a) Conduct of the Trial. — A Commission shall: (1) Confine each trial strictly to fair and expeditious hearing on the issues raised by the charges, excluding irrelevant issues or evidence and preventing any unnecessary delay or interference. (2) Deal summarily with any contumacy or contempt, imposing any appropriate punishment therefor. (3) Hold public session when otherwise decided by the commission. (4) Hold each session at such time and place as it shall determine, or as may be directed by the convening authority.

(b) Rights of the Accused. — The accused shall be entitled: (1) To have in advance of the trial a copy of the charges and specifications clearly worded so as to apprise the accused of each offense charged. (2) To be represented, prior to and during trial, by counsel appointed by the convening authority or counsel of his own choice, or to conduct his own defense. (3) To testify in his own behalf and have his counsel present relevant evidence at the trial in support of his defense, and cross-examine each adverse witness who personally appears before the commission. (4) To have the substance of the charges and specifications, the proceedings and any documentary evidence translated, when he is unable otherwise to understand them. (c) Witnesses. — The Commission shall have power: (1) To summon witnesses and require their attendance and testimony; to administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses and other persons and to question witnesses. (2) To require the production of documents and other evidentiary material. (3) To delegate the Prosecutors appointed by the convening authority the powers and duties set forth in (1) and (2) above. (4) To have evidence taken by a special commissioner appointed by the commission. (d) Evidence. (1) The commission shall admit such evidence as in its opinion shall be of assistance in proving or disproving the charge, or such as in the commission's opinion would have probative value in the mind of a reasonable man. The commission shall apply the rules of evidence and pleading set forth herein with the greatest liberality to achieve expeditious procedure. In particular, and without limiting in any way the scope of the foregoing general rules, the following evidence may be admitted: (a) Any document, irrespective of its classification, which appears to the commission to have been signed or issued by any officer, department, agency or member of the armed forces of any Government without proof of the signature or of the issuance of the document. (b) Any report which appears to the commission to have been signed or issued by the International Red Cross or a member of any medical service personnel, or by any investigator or intelligence officer, or by any other person whom commission considers as possessing knowledge of the matters contained in the report. (c) Affidavits, depositions or other signed statements. (d) Any diary, letter to other document, including sworn statements, appearing to the commission to contain information relating to the charge. (e) A copy of any document or other secondary evidence of the contents, if the original is not immediately available. (2) The commission shall take judicial notice of facts of common knowledge, official government documents of any nation, and the proceedings, records and findings of military or other agencies of any of the United Nation. (3) A commission may require the prosecution and the defense to make a preliminary offer of proof whereupon the commission may rule in advance on the admissibility of such evidence. (4) The official position of the accused shall not absolve him from responsibility nor be considered in mitigation of punishment. Further action pursuant to an order of the accused's superior, or of his Government, shall not constitute a defense, but may be

considered in mitigation of punishment if the commission determines that justice so requires. (5) All purposed confessions or statements of the accused shall bee admissible in evidence without any showing that they were voluntarily made. If it is shown that such confession or statement was procured by mean which the commission believe to have been of such a character that may have caused the accused to make a false statement the commission may strike out or disregard any such portion thereof as was so procured. (e) Trial Procedure. — The proceedings of each trial shall be conducted substantially as follows unless modified by the commission to suit the particular circumstances: (1) Each charge and specification shall be read or its substance stated in open court. (2) The presiding member shall ask each accused whether he pleads "Guilty" or "Not guilty." (3) The prosecution shall make its opening statement."(4) The presiding member may at this or any other time require the prosecutor to state what evidence he proposes to submit to the commission and the commission thereupon may rule upon the admissibility of such evidence. (4) The witnesses and other evidence for the prosecution shall be heard or presented. At the close of the case for the prosecution, the commission may, on motion of the defense for a finding of not guilty, consider and rule whether he evidence before the commission may defer action on any such motion and permit or require the prosecution to reopen its case and produce any further available evidence. (5) The defense may make an opening statement prior to presenting its case. The presiding member may, at this any other time require the defense to state what evidence it proposes to submit to the commission where upon the commission may rule upon the admissibility of such evidence. (6) The witnesses and other evidence for the defense shall be heard or presented. Thereafter, the prosecution and defense may introduce such evidence in rebuttal as the commission may rule as being admissible. (7) The defense and thereafter the prosecution shall address the commission. (8) The commission thereafter shall consider the case in closed session and unless otherwise directed by the convening authority, announce in open court its judgment and sentence if any. The commission may state the reason on which judgment is based. ( f ) Record of Proceedings. — Each commission shall make a separate record of its proceeding in the trial of each case brought before it. The record shall be prepared by the prosecutor under the direction of the commission and submitted to the defense counsel. The commission shall be responsible for its accuracy. Such record, certified by the presiding member of the commission or his successor, shall be delivered to the convening authority as soon as possible after the trial. (g) Sentence. — The commission may sentence an accused, upon conviction to death by hanging or shooting, imprisonment for life or for any less term, fine or such other punishment as the commission shall determine to be proper. (h) Approval of Sentence. — No. sentence of a military commission shall be carried into effect until approved by the chief off Staff: Provided, That no sentence of death or life imprisonment shall be carried into execution until confirmed by the President of the Philippines. For the purpose of his review the Chief of Staff shall create a Board of Review to be composed of not more than three officers none of whom shall be on duty with or assigned to the Judge Advocate General's Office. The Chief of Staff shall have authority to approve, mitigate remit in whole or in part, commute, suspend,

reduce or otherwise alter the sentence imposed, or (without prejudice to the accused) remand the case for rehearing before a new military commission; but he shall not have authority to increase the severity of the sentence. Except as herein otherwise provided the judgment and sentence of a commission shall final and not subject to review by any other tribunal. VI. RULE-MAKING POWER Supplementary Rule and Forms. — Each commission shall adopt rules and forms to govern its procedure, not inconsistent with the provision of this Order, or such rules and forms as may be prescribed by the convening authority]or by the President of the Philippines. VII. The amount of amount of seven hundred thousand pesos is hereby set aside out of the appropriations for the Army of the Philippines for use by the National War Crimes Office in the accomplishment of its mission as hereinabove set forth, and shall be expended in accordance with the recommendation of the Judge Advocate General as approved by the President. The buildings, fixtures, installations, messing, and billeting equipment and other property herefore used by then Legal Section, Manila Branch, of the General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Power, which will be turned over by the United States Army to the Philippines Government through the Foreign Liquidation Commission and the Surplus Property Commission are hereby specification reserved for use off the National War Crimes Office. Executive Order No. 64, dated August 16, 1945, is hereby repealed. Done in the City of Manila, this 29th day of July in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, and of the Independence of the Philippines, the second. MANUEL ROXAS President of the Philippines By the President: EMILIO ABELLO Chief of the Executive Office EXECUTIVE LEGISLATION Executive Order No. 68 is a veritable piece of Legislative measure, without the benefit of congressional enactment. The first question that is trust at our face spearheading a group of other no less important question, is whether or not the President of the Philippines may exercise the legislative power expressly vested in Congress by the Constitution. . The Constitution provides: The Legislative powers shall be vested in a Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. (Section 1, Article VI.) While there is no express provision in the fundamental law prohibiting the exercise of legislative power by agencies other than Congress, a reading of the whole context of the Constitution would dispel any doubt as to the constitutional intent that the legislative power is to be exercised exclusively by Congress, subject only to the veto power of the President of the President of the Philippines, to the specific provision which allow the president of the Philippines to suspend the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus and to place any part of the Philippines under martial law, and to the rule-making power expressly vested by the Constitution in the Supreme Court. There cannot be any question that the member of the Constitutional Convention were believers in the tripartite system of government as originally enunciated by Aristotle, further

elaborated by Montequieu and accepted and practiced by modern democracies, especially the United State of America, whose Constitution, after which ours has been patterned, has allocated the three power of government — legislative, executive, judicial — to distinct and separate department of government. Because the power vested by our Constitution to the several department of the government are in the nature of grants, not recognition of pre-existing power, no department of government may exercise any power or authority not expressly granted by the Constitution or by law by virtue express authority of the Constitution. Executive Order No. 68 establishes a National War Crimes Office and the power to establish government office is essentially legislative. The order provides that person accused as war criminals shall be tried by military commissions. Whether such a provision is substantive or adjective, it is clearly legislative in nature. It confers upon military commissions jurisdiction to try all persons charge with war crimes. The power to define and allocate jurisdiction for the prosecution of person accused of any crime is exclusively vested by the Constitution in Congress. . It provides rules of procedure for the conduct of trial of trial. This provision on procedural subject constitutes a usurpation of the rule-making power vested by Constitution in the Supreme Court. It authorized military commission to adopt additional rule of procedure. If the President of the Philippines cannot exercise the rule -making power vested by the Constitution in the Supreme Court, he cannot, with more reason, delegate that power to military commission. It appropriates the sum of P7000,000 for the expenses of the National War Crimes office established by the said Executive Order No. 68. This constitutes another usurpation of legislative power as the power to vote appropriations belongs to Congress. Executive Order No. 68., is, therefore, null and void, because, though it the President of the Philippines usurped power expressly vested by the Constitution in Congress and in the Supreme Court. Challenged to show the constitutional or legal authority under which the President issued Executive Order No. 68, respondent could not give any definite answer. They attempted, however, to suggest that the President of the Philippines issued Executive Order No. 68 under the emergency power granted to him by Commonwealth Act No. 600, as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 620, and Commonwealth Act No. 671, both of which are transcribed below: COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 600. AN ACT DECLARING A STATE OF EMERGENCY AND AUTHORIZING THE PRESIDENT TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATION TO SAFEGUARD THE INTEGRITY OF THE PHILIPPINES AND TO INSURE THE TRANQUILITY OF ITS INHABITANTS. Be it enacted by the National Assembly of the Philippines: SECTION 1. The existence of war in many parts of the world has created a national emergency which makes it necessary to invest the President of the Philippines with extraordinary power in order to safeguard the integrity of the Philippines and to insure the tranquility of its inhabitants, by suppressing espionage, lawlessness, and all subversive to the people adequate shelter and clothing and sufficient food supply, and by providing means for the speedy evacuation of the civilian population the establishment of an air protective service and the organization of volunteer guard units, and to adopt such other measures as he may deem necessary for the interest of the public. To carry out this policy the President is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations which shall have the force and effect off law until the date of

adjournment of the next regulation which shall have the force and effect of law until the date of adjournment of the next regular session of the First Congress of the Philippines, unless sooner amended or repealed by the Congress of Philippines. Such rules and regulation may embrace the following objects: (1) to suppress espionage and other subversive activities; (2) to require all able-bodied citizens (a) when not engaged in any lawful occupation, to engage in farming or other productive activities or (b) to perform such services as may bee necessary in the public interest; (3) to take over farm lands in order to prevent or shortage of crops and hunger and destitution; (4) to take over industrial establishment in order to insure adequate production, controlling wages and profits therein; (5) to prohibit lockouts and strikes whenever necessary to prevent the unwarranted suspension of work in productive enterprises or in the interest of national security; (6) to regulate the normal hours of work for wage-earning and salaried employees in industrial or business undertakings of all kinds; (7) to insure an even distribution of labor among the productive enterprises; (8) to commandership and other means of transportation in order to maintain, as much as possible, adequate and continued transportation facilities; (9) to requisition and take over any public service or enterprise for use or operation by the Government;(10) to regulate rents and the prices of articles or commodities of prime necessity, both imported and locally produced or manufactured; and (11) to prevent, locally or generally, scarcity, monopolization, hoarding injurious speculations, and private control affecting the supply, distribution and movement of foods, clothing, fuel, fertilizer, chemical, building, material, implements, machinery, and equipment required in agriculture and industry, with power to requisition these commodities subject to the payment of just compensation. (As amended by Com. Act No. 620.) SEC. 2. For the purpose of administering this Act and carrying out its objective, the President may designate any officer, without additional compensation, or any department, bureau, office, or instrumentality of the National Government. SEC. 3. Any person, firm, or corporation found guilty of the violation of any provision of this Act or of this Act or any of the rules or regulations promulgated by the President under the authority of section one of this Act shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than ten years or by a fine of not more than ten thousand pesos, or by both. If such violation is committed by a firm or corporation, the manager, managing director, or person charge with the management of the business of such firm, or corporation shall be criminally responsible therefor. SEC. 4. The President shall report to the national Assembly within the first ten days from the date of the opening of its next regular session whatever action has been taken by him under the authority herein granted. SEC. 5. To carry out the purposed of this Act, the President is authorized to spend such amounts as may be necessary from the sum appropriated under section five Commonwealth Act Numbered four hundred and ninety-eight. SEC. 6. If any province of this Act shall be declared by any court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional and void, such declaration shall not invalidate the remainder of this Act. SEC. 7. This Act shall take upon its approval. Approved, August 19, 1940. COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 671 AN ACT DECLARING A STATE OF TOTAL EMERGENCY AS A RESULT OF WAR INVOLVING THE PHILIPPINES AND AUTHORIZING THE PRESIDENT TO PROMULGATE RULE AND REGULATIONS TO MEET SUCH EMERGENCY.

Be it enacted the National Assembly of the Philippines; SECTION 1. The existed of war between the United State and other countries of Europe and Asia, which involves the Philippines, makes it necessary to invest the President with extraordinary powers in order to meet the resulting emergency. SEC. 2. Pursuant to the provision of Article VI, section 16, of the Constitution, the President is hereby authorized, during the existence of the emergency, to promulgate such rules and regulation as he may deem necessary to carry out the national policy declared in section 1 hereof. Accordingly, he is, among other things, empowered (a) to transfer the seat of the Government or any of its subdivisions, branches, department, offices, agencies or instrumentalities; (b) to reorganize the Government of the Commonwealth including the determination of the order of precedence of the heads of the Executive Department; (c) to create new subdivision, branches, departments, offices, agency or instrumentalities of government and to abolish any of those already existing; (d) to continue in force laws and appropriation which would lapse or otherwise became inoperative, and to modify or suspend the operation or application of those of an administrative character; (e) to imposed new taxes or to increase, reduce, suspend, or abolish those in existence; (f) to raise funds through the issuance of bonds or otherwise, and to authorize the expensive of the proceeds thereof; (g) to authorize the National, provincial, city or municipal governments to incur in overdrafts for purposes that he may approve; (h) to declare the suspension of the collection of credits or the payment of debts; and (i) to exercise such other power as he may deem necessary to enable the Government to fulfill its responsibilities and to maintain and enforce its authority. SEC. 3. The President of the Philippines report thereto all the rules and regulation promulgated by him under the power herein granted. SEC. 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval and the rules and regulations. promulgated hereunder shall be in force and effect until the Congress of the Philippines shall otherwise provide. Approved December 16, 1941. The above Acts cannot validly be invoked, Executive Order No. 68 was issued on July 29, 1947. Said Acts had elapsed upon the liberation of the Philippines form the Japanese forces or, at the latest, when the surrender of Japan was signed in Tokyo on September 2, 1945. When both Acts were enacted by the Second National Assembly, we happened to have taken direct part in their consideration and passage, not only as one of the members of said legislative body as chairman of the Committee on Third Reading population Known as the "Little Senate." We are, therefore in a position to state that said measures were enacted by the second national Assembly for the purpose of facing the emergency of impending war and of the Pacific War that finally broke out with the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. We approved said extraordinary measures, by which under the exceptional circumstances then prevailing legislative power were delegated to the President of the Philippines, by virtue of the following provisions of the Constitution: In time of war or other national emergency, the Congress may by law authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe to promulgate rules and regulations to carry out declared national policy. (Article VI, section 26.) It has never been the purpose of the National Assembly to extend the delegation beyond the emergency created by the war as to extend it farther would be violative of the express provision of the Constitution. We are of the opinion that there is no doubt on this question.; but if there could still be any the same should be resolved in favor of the presumption that the National Assembly did not intend to violate the fundamental law.

The absurdity of the contention that the emergency Acts continued in effect even after the surrender of Japan can not be gainsaid. Only a few months after liberation and even before the surrender of Japan, or since the middle of 1945, the Congress started to function normally. In the hypothesis that the contention can prevail, then, since 1945, that is, four years ago, even after the Commonwealth was already replaced by the Republic of the Philippines with the proclamation of our Independence, two district, separate and independence legislative organs, — Congress and the President of the Philippines — would have been and would continue enacting laws, the former to enact laws of every nature including those of emergency character, and the latter to enact laws, in the form of executive orders, under the so-called emergency powers. The situation would be pregnant with dangers to peace and order to the rights and liberties of the people and to Philippines democracy. Should there be any disagreement between Congress and the President of the Philippines, a possibility that no one can dispute the President of the Philippines may take advantage of he long recess of Congress (two-thirds of every year ) to repeal and overrule legislative enactments of Congress, and may set up a veritable system of dictatorship, absolutely repugnant to the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Executive Order No. 68 is equally offensive to the Constitution because it violates the fundamental guarantees of the due process and equal protection of the law. It is especially so, because it permit the admission of many kinds evidence by which no innocent person can afford to get acquittal and by which it is impossible to determine whether an accused is guilty or not beyond all reasonable doubt. The rules of evidence adopted in Executive Order No. 68 are a reproduction of the regulation governing the trial of twelve criminal, issued by General Douglas Mac Arthur, Commander in Chief of the United State Armed Forces in Western Pacific, for the purpose of trying among other, General Yamashita and Homma. What we said in our concurring and dissenting opinion to the decision promulgated on December 19, 1945, in the Yamashita case, L-129, and in our concurring and dissenting opinion to the resolution of January 23, 1946 in disposing the Homma case, L-244, are perfectly applicable to the offensive rules of evidence in Executive Order No. 68. Said rules of evidence are repugnant to conscience as under them no justice can expected. For all the foregoing, conformably with our position in the Yamashita and Homma cases, we vote to declare Executive Order No. 68 null and void and to grant petition.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

BAR MATTER No. 914 October 1, 1999 RE: APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE PHILIPPINE BAR, vs. VICENTE D. CHING, applicant. RESOLUTION

KAPUNAN, J.: Can a legitimate child born under the 1935 Constitution of a Filipino mother and an alien father validly elect Philippine citizenship fourteen (14) years after he has reached the age of majority? This is the question sought to be resolved in the present case involving the application for admission to the Philippine Bar of Vicente D. Ching. The facts of this case are as follows: Vicente D. Ching, the legitimate son of the spouses Tat Ching, a Chinese citizen, and Prescila A. Dulay, a Filipino, was born in Francia West, Tubao, La Union on 11 April 1964. Since his birth, Ching has resided in the Philippines. On 17 July 1998, Ching, after having completed a Bachelor of Laws course at the St. Louis University in Baguio City, filed an application to take the 1998 Bar Examinations. In a Resolution of this Court, dated 1 September 1998, he was allowed to take the Bar Examinations, subject to the condition that he must submit to the Court proof of his Philippine citizenship. In compliance with the above resolution, Ching submitted on 18 November 1998, the following documents: 1. Certification, dated 9 June 1986, issued by the Board of Accountancy of the Professional Regulations Commission showing that Ching is a certified public accountant;

2. Voter Certification, dated 14 June 1997, issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, Election Officer of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Tubao La Union showing that Ching is a registered voter of the said place; and 3. Certification, dated 12 October 1998, also issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, showing that Ching was elected as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Tubao, La Union during the 12 May 1992 synchronized elections. On 5 April 1999, the results of the 1998 Bar Examinations were released and Ching was one of the successful Bar examinees. The oath-taking of the successful Bar examinees was scheduled on 5 May 1999. However, because of the questionable status of Ching's citizenship, he was not allowed to take his oath. Pursuant to the resolution of this Court, dated 20 April 1999, he was required to submit further proof of his citizenship. In the same resolution, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was required to file a comment on Ching's petition for admission to the bar and on the documents evidencing his Philippine citizenship. The OSG filed its comment on 8 July 1999, stating that Ching, being the "legitimate child of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother born under the 1935 Constitution was a Chinese citizen and continued to be so, unless upon reaching the age of majority he elected Philippine citizenship" 1 in strict compliance with the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 625 entitled "An Act Providing for the Manner in which the Option to Elect Philippine Citizenship shall be Declared by a Person Whose Mother is a Filipino Citizen." The OSG adds that "(w)hat he acquired at best was only an inchoate Philippine citizenship which he could perfect by election upon reaching the age of majority." 2 In this regard, the OSG clarifies that "two (2) conditions must concur in order that the election of Philippine citizenship may be effective, namely: (a) the mother of the person making the election must be a citizen of the Philippines; and (b) said election must be made upon reaching the age of majority." 3 The OSG then explains the meaning of the phrase "upon reaching the age of majority:" The clause "upon reaching the age of majority" has been construed to mean a reasonable time after reaching the age of majority which had been interpreted by the Secretary of Justice to be three (3) years (VELAYO, supra at p. 51 citing Op., Sec. of Justice No. 70, s. 1940, Feb. 27, 1940). Said period may be extended under certain circumstances, as when a (sic) person concerned has always considered himself a Filipino (ibid., citing Op. Nos. 355 and 422, s. 1955; 3, 12, 46, 86 and 97, s. 1953). But in Cuenco, it was held that an election done after over seven (7) years was not made within a reasonable time. In conclusion, the OSG points out that Ching has not formally elected Philippine citizenship and, if ever he does, it would already be beyond the "reasonable time" allowed by present jurisprudence. However, due to the peculiar circumstances surrounding Ching's case, the OSG recommends the relaxation of the standing rule on the construction of the phrase "reasonable period" and the allowance of Ching to elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with C.A. No. 625 prior to taking his oath as a member of the Philippine Bar. On 27 July 1999, Ching filed a Manifestation, attaching therewith his Affidavit of Election of Philippine Citizenship and his Oath of Allegiance, both dated 15 July 1999. In his Manifestation, Ching states: 1. I have always considered myself as a Filipino;

2. I was registered as a Filipino and consistently declared myself as one in my school records and other official documents; 3. I am practicing a profession (Certified Public Accountant) reserved for Filipino citizens; 4. I participated in electoral process[es] since the time I was eligible to vote; 5. I had served the people of Tubao, La Union as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan from 1992 to 1995; 6. I elected Philippine citizenship on July 15, 1999 in accordance with Commonwealth Act No. 625; 7. My election was expressed in a statement signed and sworn to by me before a notary public; 8. I accompanied my election of Philippine citizenship with the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the Government of the Philippines; 9. I filed my election of Philippine citizenship and my oath of allegiance to (sic) the Civil Registrar of Tubao La Union, and 10. I paid the amount of TEN PESOS (Ps. 10.00) as filing fees. Since Ching has already elected Philippine citizenship on 15 July 1999, the question raised is whether he has elected Philippine citizenship within a "reasonable time." In the affirmative, whether his citizenship by election retroacted to the time he took the bar examination. When Ching was born in 1964, the governing charter was the 1935 Constitution. Under Article IV, Section 1(3) of the 1935 Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate child born of a Filipino mother and an alien father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age of majority, the child elected Philippine citizenship. 4 This right to elect Philippine citizenship was recognized in the 1973 Constitution when it provided that "(t)hose who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five" are citizens of the Philippines. 5 Likewise, this recognition by the 1973 Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Constitution which states that "(t)hose born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority" are Philippine citizens. 6 It should be noted, however, that the 1973 and 1987 Constitutional provisions on the election of Philippine citizenship should not be understood as having a curative effect on any irregularity in the acquisition of citizenship for those covered by the 1935 Constitution. 7 If the citizenship of a person was subject to challenge under the old charter, it remains subject to challenge under the new charter even if the judicial challenge had not been commenced before the effectivity of the new Constitution. 8 C.A. No. 625 which was enacted pursuant to Section 1(3), Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, prescribes the procedure that should be followed in order to make a valid election of Philippine citizenship. Under Section 1 thereof, legitimate children born of Filipino mothers may elect Philippine citizenship by expressing such intention "in a statement to be signed and sworn to by the party concerned before any officer authorized to administer oaths, and shall be filed with the nearest civil registry. The said party shall accompany the aforesaid

statement with the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the Government of the Philippines." However, the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 did not prescribe a time period within which the election of Philippine citizenship should be made. The 1935 Charter only provides that the election should be made "upon reaching the age of majority." The age of majority then commenced upon reaching twenty-one (21) years. 9 In the opinions of the Secretary of Justice on cases involving the validity of election of Philippine citizenship, this dilemma was resolved by basing the time period on the decisions of this Court prior to the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution. In these decisions, the proper period for electing Philippine citizenship was, in turn, based on the pronouncements of the Department of State of the United States Government to the effect that the election should be made within a "reasonable time" after attaining the age of majority. 10 The phrase "reasonable time" has been interpreted to mean that the election should be made within three (3) years from reaching the age of majority. 11 However, we held in Cuenco vs. Secretary of Justice, 12 that the three (3) year period is not an inflexible rule. We said: It is true that this clause has been construed to mean a reasonable period after reaching the age of majority, and that the Secretary of Justice has ruled that three (3) years is the reasonable time to elect Philippine citizenship under the constitutional provision adverted to above, which period may be extended under certain circumstances, as when the person concerned has always considered himself a Filipino. 13 However, we cautioned in Cuenco that the extension of the option to elect Philippine citizenship is not indefinite: Regardless of the foregoing, petitioner was born on February 16, 1923. He became of age on February 16, 1944. His election of citizenship was made on May 15, 1951, when he was over twenty-eight (28) years of age, or over seven (7) years after he had reached the age of majority. It is clear that said election has not been made "upon reaching the age of majority." 14 In the present case, Ching, having been born on 11 April 1964, was already thirty-five (35) years old when he complied with the requirements of C.A. No. 625 on 15 June 1999, or over fourteen (14) years after he had reached the age of majority. Based on the interpretation of the phrase "upon reaching the age of majority," Ching's election was clearly beyond, by any reasonable yardstick, the allowable period within which to exercise the privilege. It should be stated, in this connection, that the special circumstances invoked by Ching, i.e., his continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines and his being a certified public accountant, a registered voter and a former elected public official, cannot vest in him Philippine citizenship as the law specifically lays down the requirements for acquisition of Philippine citizenship by election. Definitely, the so-called special circumstances cannot constitute what Ching erroneously labels as informal election of citizenship. Ching cannot find a refuge in the case of In re: Florencio Mallare, 15 the pertinent portion of which reads: And even assuming arguendo that Ana Mallare were (sic) legally married to an alien, Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when he came of age, constitutes a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship. It has been established that Esteban Mallare was a

registered voter as of April 14, 1928, and that as early as 1925 (when he was about 22 years old), Esteban was already participating in the elections and campaigning for certain candidate[s]. These acts are sufficient to show his preference for Philippine citizenship. 16 Ching's reliance on Mallare is misplaced. The facts and circumstances obtaining therein are very different from those in the present case, thus, negating its applicability. First, Esteban Mallare was born before the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution and the enactment of C.A. No. 625. Hence, the requirements and procedures prescribed under the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 for electing Philippine citizenship would not be applicable to him. Second, the ruling in Mallare was an obiter since, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, it was not necessary for Esteban Mallare to elect Philippine citizenship because he was already a Filipino, he being a natural child of a Filipino mother. In this regard, the Court stated: Esteban Mallare, natural child of Ana Mallare, a Filipina, is therefore himself a Filipino, and no other act would be necessary to confer on him all the rights and privileges attached to Philippine citizenship (U.S. vs. Ong Tianse, 29 Phil. 332; Santos Co vs. Government of the Philippine Islands, 42 Phil. 543, Serra vs. Republic, L-4223, May 12, 1952, Sy Quimsuan vs. Republic, L-4693, Feb. 16, 1953; Pitallano vs. Republic, L-5111, June 28, 1954). Neither could any act be taken on the erroneous belief that he is a non-filipino divest him of the citizenship privileges to which he is rightfully entitled. 17 The ruling in Mallare was reiterated and further elaborated in Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 18 where we held: We have jurisprudence that defines "election" as both a formal and an informal process. In the case of In re: Florencio Mallare (59 SCRA 45 [1974]), the Court held that the exercise of the right of suffrage and the participation in election exercises constitute a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship. In the exact pronouncement of the Court, we held: Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when he came of age constitutes a positive act of Philippine citizenship. (p. 52: emphasis supplied) The private respondent did more than merely exercise his right of suffrage. He has established his life here in the Philippines. For those in the peculiar situation of the respondent who cannot be excepted to have elected Philippine citizenship as they were already citizens, we apply the In Re Mallare rule. xxx xxx xxx The filing of sworn statement or formal declaration is a requirement for those who still have to elect citizenship. For those already Filipinos when the time to elect came up, there are acts of deliberate choice which cannot be less binding. Entering a profession open only to Filipinos, serving in public office where citizenship is a qualification, voting during election time, running for public office, and other categorical acts of similar nature are themselves formal manifestations for these persons. An election of Philippine citizenship presupposes that the person electing is an alien. Or his status is doubtful because he is a national of two countries. There is no doubt in this case about Mr. Ong's being a Filipino when he turned twenty-one (21).

We repeat that any election of Philippine citizenship on the part of the private respondent would not only have been superfluous but it would also have resulted in an absurdity. How can a Filipino citizen elect Philippine citizenship? 19 The Court, like the OSG, is sympathetic with the plight of Ching. However, even if we consider the special circumstances in the life of Ching like his having lived in the Philippines all his life and his consistent belief that he is a Filipino, controlling statutes and jurisprudence constrain us to disagree with the recommendation of the OSG. Consequently, we hold that Ching failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship. The span of fourteen (14) years that lapsed from the time he reached the age of majority until he finally expressed his intention to elect Philippine citizenship is clearly way beyond the contemplation of the requirement of electing "upon reaching the age of majority." Moreover, Ching has offered no reason why he delayed his election of Philippine citizenship. The prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and painstaking process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same with the nearest civil registry. Ching's unreasonable and unexplained delay in making his election cannot be simply glossed over. Philippine citizenship can never be treated like a commodity that can be claimed when needed and suppressed when convenient. 20 One who is privileged to elect Philippine citizenship has only an inchoate right to such citizenship. As such, he should avail of the right with fervor, enthusiasm and promptitude. Sadly, in this case, Ching slept on his opportunity to elect Philippine citizenship and, as a result. this golden privilege slipped away from his grasp. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court Resolves to DENY Vicente D. Ching's application for admission to the Philippine Bar. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila B.M. SBC- 591 December 1, 1977 IN RE: PETITION FOR REINSTATEMENT IN THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS AND FOR READMISSION TO PRACTICE OF LAW IN ALL THE COURTS OF THE PHILIPPINES AS ATTORNEY AND COUNSELLOR AT LAW. OSCAR R. QUILALA.

GUERRERO, J.

This is a petition for reinstatement in the Roll of Attorneys and for re-admission to the practice of law in the Philippines. Petitioner was first admitted to the practice of law in 1971 after passing the Bar Examinations in 1970. This Court, however, ordered the cancellation of his name in the Roll of Attorneys when the cancellation of his alien certificate of registration was disallowed by the Department of Justice in 1973. It appears from the petition and the documentary evidence submitted that petitioner was born in Manila, Philippines on May 27, 1947, the legitimate son of the spouses Pelagio P. Quilala, an American citizen, and Julia Ramos, Filipino, as shown in the certified copy of the birth certificate of petitioner issued by the Civil Registrar of Manila. 1 His father is a native born Filipino who had gone to the United States where he was drafted into the United States Army and consequently acquired U.S. citizenship by naturalization. He was with the United States Liberation Forces that landed in Leyte and there met and married petitioner's mother. Petitioner grew up and was raised in the Philippines and upon reaching the age of 23 years, he elected Philippine citizenship 2 and took his oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen on May 20, 1970, 3 which oath and affidavit of election were registered with the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City on May 28, 1970. 4 Petitioner took up Law at San Beda College, Manila and was admitted to take the 1970 Bar Examinations on condition that he will submit proof of cancellation of his alien certificate of registration with the Bureau of Immigration. lie passed the 1970 bar examinations successfully with a rating of 77%. On March 5, 1971, the Commissioner of Immigration, Edmundo M. Reyes, issued an order granting the petitioner's petition to cancel his alien registry, (ACR No. B- 1 1)0085 and NBCR No. 167123, both issued in Manila on January 29, 1971 and March 4, 1971, respectively. 5 Accordingly, petitioner was allowed and he took his oath as member of the Philippines Bar on March 8, 1971 and signed his name in the Roll of Attorneys. 6 On January 9, 1973. the Undersecretary of Justice ruled against the order of the Commissioner of Immigration on the ground that "the only evidence presented to prove that his mother was a Filipino citizen prior to her marriage is the petitioner's birth certificate. As regards the baptismal certificate and marriage contract of the petitioner's mother, said documents are inadmissible in evidence being merely xerox copies which have not been duly verified from the original thereof." 7 Thereupon, on October 17, 1975, the Clerk of Court of this Court informed the petitioner that his office was in receipt of a letter dated October 2, 1975 from the American Consul, United States Embassy, Manila, inquiring as to whether or not the disallowance of petitioner's election of Philippine citizenship by the Undersecretary of Justice would affect the validity of his oath of office as member of the Philippine Bar. 8 In reply, petitioner wrote a letters 9 on January 8, 1976 to the Clerk of Court informing him that petitioner was not disturbing the denial by the Department of Justice of his election of Philippine citizenship in view of the ruling of the United States Department of State contained in the letter of the American consul to him dated December 10, 1975 which ruling states that if petitioner's election of Philippine citizenship was granted, petitioner would be divested of his U.S. citizenship. 10 This Court, having been informed that petitioner has decided not to disturb the denial by the Department of Justice of his election of Philippine citizenship, ordered the cancellation of petitioner's name in the roll of attorneys in its Resolution dated February 6, 1976. 11

It is also shown that petitioner left for the United States and after a year of stay therein, he came back to the Philippines realizing, according to him, that "his roots, upbringing, education and professional training are completely and typically Filipino, the totality of which constitutes the very being, existence and survival of petitioner which can never find a home in any other place but the Philippines and besides, the primary evidence needed to move for reconsideration of the denial of petitioner's citizenship election are already available for submission to the Department of Justice." Thereupon, petitioner moved for reconsideration of the order of the Undersecretary of Justice dated January 9, 1973 and this time, the Undersecretary of Justice in his Ist Indorsement of August 12, 1977 affirmed the order of the Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation dated March 5, 1971, granting the petitioner to cancel the alien certificate of registration of petitioner "it appearing from the within records and the additional documents submitted to this Department that he was born on May 27, 1947 in Manila, the legitimate child of Pelagio Philip Quilala an American citizen, and Julia Ramos, a Filipino citizen prior to her marriage, and that within a reasonable time after attaining the age of majority, he elected Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of Section 1 (4), Article IV, of the 1935 Constitution, in relation to Section 1 (3), Article III, of the present Constitution, and Commonwealth Act No. 625 (1941). thereby becoming a citizen of the Philippines. 12 We find that the petition is in order. There is no question that petitioner, born of a Filipino mother and an American citizen has the right to elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority which Petitioner elected on May 26, 1970 at the age of 23 years and immediately took his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on the same day, which documents were duly registered in the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City on May 28, 1970. After the Undersecretary of Justice reconsidered his order denying the cancellation of the alien certificate of registration of the petitioner by the Commissioner of Immigration, and affirmed the cancellation of petitioner's alien registry, there is no more legal obstacle to his becoming a Filipino citizen. ACCORDINGLY, the petition is granted, allowing petitioner to be reinstated in the roll of attorneys and to be re-admitted to the practice of law in the Philippines. SO ORDERED. Castro, C.J., Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Antonio, Muñoz Palma, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Martin, Santos and Fernandez, JJ., concur. Separate Opinions MAKASIAR, J., concurring: Concurs with the opinion that the dispositive Portion should categorically declare petitioner a Filipino citizen.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila

EN BANC

B.M. No. 712 July 13, 1995 IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAKING OF SUCCESSFUL BAR APPLICANT AL C. ARGOSINO, petitioner. RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.: A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 101, charging Mr. A.C. Argosino along with thirteen (13) other individuals, with the crime of homicide in connection with the death of one Raul Camaligan on 8 September 1991. The death of Raul Camaligan stemmed from the infliction of severe physical injuries upon him in the course of "hazing" conducted as part of university fraternity initiation rites. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused then entered into plea bargaining with the prosecution and as a result of such bargaining, pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of homicide through reckless imprudence. This plea was accepted by the trial court. In a judgment dated 11 February 1993, each of the fourteen (14) accused individuals was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a period ranging from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years. Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues filed an application for probation with the lower court. The application for probation was granted in an Order dated 18 June 1993 issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Pedro T. Santiago. The period of probation was set at two (2) years, counted from the probationer's initial report to the probation officer assigned to supervise him. Less than a month later, on 13 July 1993, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition for Admission to Take the 1993 Bar Examinations. In this Petition, he disclosed the fact of his criminal conviction and his then probation status. He was allowed to take the 1993 Bar Examinations in this Court's En Banc Resolution dated 14 August 1993. 1 He passed the Bar Examination. He was not, however, allowed to take the lawyer's oath of office. On 15 April 1994, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition with this Court to allow him to take the attorney's oath of office and to admit him to the practice of law, averring that Judge Pedro T. Santiago had terminated his probation period by virtue of an Order dated 11 April 1994. We note that his probation period did not last for more than ten (10) months from the time of the Order of Judge Santiago granting him probation dated 18 June 1993. Since then, Mr. Argosino has filed three (3) Motions for Early Resolution of his Petition for Admission to the Bar. The practice of law is not a natural, absolute or constitutional right to be granted to everyone who demands it. Rather, it is a high personal privilege limited to citizens of good moral character, with special educational qualifications, duly ascertained and certified. 2 The essentiality of good moral character in those who would be lawyers is stressed in the

following excerpts which we quote with approval and which we regard as having persuasive effect: In Re Farmer: xxx xxx xxx This "upright character" prescribed by the statute, as a condition precedent to the applicant's right to receive a license to practice law in North Carolina, and of which he must, in addition to other requisites, satisfy the court, includes all the elements necessary to make up such a character. It is something more than an absence of bad character. It is the good name which the applicant has acquired, or should have acquired, through association with his fellows. It means that he must have conducted himself as a man of upright character ordinarily would, or should, or does. Such character expresses itself, not in negatives nor in following the line of least resistance, but quite often, in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and the resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is wrong. . . . xxx xxx xxx And we may pause to say that this requirement of the statute is eminently proper. Consider for a moment the duties of a lawyer. He is sought as counsellor, and his advice comes home, in its ultimate effect, to every man's fireside. Vast interests are committed to his care; he is the recipient of unbounded trust and confidence; he deals with is client's property, reputation, his life, his all. An attorney at law is a sworn officer of the Court, whose chief concern, as such, is to aid the administration of justice. . . . xxx xxx xxx 4 In Re Application of Kaufman, 5 citing Re Law Examination of 1926 (1926) 191 Wis 359, 210 NW 710: It can also be truthfully said that there exists nowhere greater temptations to deviate from the straight and narrow path than in the multiplicity of circumstances that arise in the practice of profession. For these reasons the wisdom of requiring an applicant for admission to the bar to possess a high moral standard therefore becomes clearly apparent, and the board of bar examiners as an arm of the court, is required to cause a minute examination to be made of the moral standard of each candidate for admission to practice. . . . It needs no further argument, therefore, to arrive at the conclusion that the highest degree of scrutiny must be exercised as to the moral character of a candidate who presents himself for admission to the bar. The evil must, if possible, be successfully met at its very source, and prevented, for, after a lawyer has once been admitted, and has pursued his profession, and has established himself therein, a far more difficult situation is presented to the court when proceedings are instituted for disbarment and for the recalling and annulment of his license. In Re Keenan: 6 The right to practice law is not one of the inherent rights of every citizen, as in the right to carry on an ordinary trade or business. It is a peculiar privilege granted and continued only to those who demonstrate special fitness in intellectual attainment and in moral character. All may aspire to it on an absolutely equal basis, but not all will attain it. Elaborate machinery has been set up to test applicants by standards fair to all and to separate the fit
3

from the unfit. Only those who pass the test are allowed to enter the profession, and only those who maintain the standards are allowed to remain in it. Re Rouss: 7 Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions, and a fair private and professional character is one of them; to refuse admission to an unworthy applicant is not to punish him for past offense: an examination into character, like the examination into learning, is merely a test of fitness. Cobb vs. Judge of Superior Court: 8 Attorney's are licensed because of their learning and ability, so that they may not only protect the rights and interests of their clients, but be able to assist court in the trial of the cause. Yet what protection to clients or assistance to courts could such agents give? They are required to be of good moral character, so that the agents and officers of the court, which they are, may not bring discredit upon the due administration of the law, and it is of the highest possible consequence that both those who have not such qualifications in the first instance, or who, having had them, have fallen therefrom, shall not be permitted to appear in courts to aid in the administration of justice. It has also been stressed that the requirement of good moral character is, in fact, of greater importance so far as the general public and the proper administration of justice are concerned, than the possession of legal learning: . . . (In re Applicants for License, 55 S.E. 635, 143 N.C. 1, 10 L.R.A. [N.S.] 288, 10 Ann./Cas. 187): The public policy of our state has always been to admit no person to the practice of the law unless he covered an upright moral character. The possession of this by the attorney is more important, if anything, to the public and to the proper administration of justice than legal learning. Legal learning may be acquired in after years, but if the applicant passes the threshold of the bar with a bad moral character the chances are that his character will remain bad, and that he will become a disgrace instead of an ornament to his great calling — a curse instead of a benefit to his community — a Quirk, a Gammon or a Snap, instead of a Davis, a Smith or a Ruffin. 9 All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect of those seeking admission to the Bar. The scope of such inquiry is, indeed, said to be properly broader than inquiry into the moral proceedings for disbarment: Re Stepsay:
10

The inquiry as to the moral character of an attorney in a proceeding for his admission to practice is broader in scope than in a disbarment proceeding. Re Wells:
11

. . . that an applicant's contention that upon application for admission to the California Bar the court cannot reject him for want of good moral character unless it appears that he has been guilty of acts which would be cause for his disbarment or suspension, could not be

sustained; that the inquiry is broader in its scope than that in a disbarment proceeding, and the court may receive any evidence which tends to show the applicant's character as respects honesty, integrity, and general morality, and may no doubt refuse admission upon proofs that might not establish his guilt of any of the acts declared to be causes for disbarment. The requirement of good moral character to be satisfied by those who would seek admission to the bar must of necessity be more stringent than the norm of conduct expected from members of the general public. There is a very real need to prevent a general perception that entry into the legal profession is open to individuals with inadequate moral qualifications. The growth of such a perception would signal the progressive destruction of our people's confidence in their courts of law and in our legal system as we know it. 12 Mr. Argosino's participation in the deplorable "hazing" activities certainly fell far short of the required standard of good moral character. The deliberate (rather than merely accidental or inadvertent) infliction of severe physical injuries which proximately led to the death of the unfortunate Raul Camaligan, certainly indicated serious character flaws on the part of those who inflicted such injuries. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused had failed to discharge their moral duty to protect the life and well-being of a "neophyte" who had, by seeking admission to the fraternity involved, reposed trust and confidence in all of them that, at the very least, he would not be beaten and kicked to death like a useless stray dog. Thus, participation in the prolonged and mindless physical beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan constituted evident rejection of that moral duty and was totally irresponsible behavior, which makes impossible a finding that the participant was then possessed of good moral character. Now that the original period of probation granted by the trial court has expired, the Court is prepared to consider de novo the question of whether applicant A.C. Argosino has purged himself of the obvious deficiency in moral character referred to above. We stress that good moral character is a requirement possession of which must be demonstrated not only at the time of application for permission to take the bar examinations but also, and more importantly, at the time of application for admission to the bar and to take the attorney's oath of office. Mr. Argosino must, therefore, submit to this Court, for its examination and consideration, evidence that he may be now regarded as complying with the requirement of good moral character imposed upon those seeking admission to the bar. His evidence may consist, inter alia, of sworn certifications from responsible members of the community who have a good reputation for truth and who have actually known Mr. Argosino for a significant period of time, particularly since the judgment of conviction was rendered by Judge Santiago. He should show to the Court how he has tried to make up for the senseless killing of a helpless student to the family of the deceased student and to the community at large. Mr. Argosino must, in other words, submit relevant evidence to show that he is a different person now, that he has become morally fit for admission to the ancient and learned profession of the law. Finally, Mr. Argosino is hereby DIRECTED to inform this Court, by appropriate written manifestation, of the names and addresses of the father and mother (in default thereof, brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan), within ten (10) day from notice hereof. Let a

copy of this Resolution be furnished to the parents or brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan. Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero and Melo, JJ., concur. Bellosillo, J. is on leave.

Footnotes 1 There is some indication that clerical error attended the grant of permission to take the 1993 Bar Examinations. The En Banc Resolution of this Court dated 24 August 1993 entitled "Re: Applications to Take the 1993 Bar Examinations," stated on page 2 thereof: "The Court further Resolved to ALLOW the following candidates with dismissed charges or complaints, to take the 1993 Bar Examinations: 3349. Al C. Argosino (Emphasis supplied) In fact, applicant Argosino had been convicted and sentenced and then paroled.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

B.M. No. 712 March 19, 1997 RE: PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE LAWYERS OATH RESOLUTION

PADILLA, J.: Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino passed the bar examinations held in 1993. The Court however deferred his oath-taking due to his previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting In Homicide. The criminal case which resulted in petitioner's conviction, arose from the death of a neophyte during fraternity initiation rites sometime in September 1991. Petitioner and seven (7) other accused initially entered pleas of not guilty to homicide charges. The eight (8) accused later withdrew their initial pleas and upon re-arraignment all pleaded guilty to reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.

On the basis of such pleas, the trial court rendered judgment dated 11 February 1993 imposing on each of the accused a sentence of imprisonment of from two (2) years four (4) months :and one (1) day to four (4) years. On 18 June 1993, the trial court granted herein petitioner's application for probation. On 11 April 1994, the trial court issued an order approving a report dated 6 April 1994 submitted by the Probation Officer recommending petitioner's discharge from probation. On 14 April 1994, petitioner filed before this Court a petition to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath based on the order of his discharge from probation. On 13 July 1995, the Court through then Senior Associate Justice Florentino P. Feliciano issued a resolution requiring petitioner Al C. Argosino to submit to the Court evidence that he may now be regarded as complying with the requirement of good moral character imposed upon those seeking admission to the bar. In compliance with the above resolution, petitioner submitted no less than fifteen (15) certifications/letters executed by among others two (2) senators, five (5) trial court judges, and six (6) members of religious orders. Petitioner likewise submitted evidence that a scholarship foundation had been established in honor of Raul Camaligan, the hazing victim, through joint efforts of the latter's family and the eight (8) accused in the criminal case. On 26 September 1995, the Court required Atty. Gilbert Camaligan, father of Raul, to comment on petitioner's prayer to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath. In his comment dated 4 December 1995, Atty. Camaligan states that: a. He still believes that the infliction of severe physical injuries which led to the death of his son was deliberate rather than accidental. The offense therefore was not only homicide but murder since the accused took advantage of the neophyte's helplessness implying abuse of confidence, taking advantage of superior strength and treachery. b. He consented to the accused's plea of guilt to the lesser offense of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide only out of pity for the mothers of the accused and a pregnant wife of one of the accused who went to their house on Christmas day 1991 and Maundy Thursday 1992, literally on their knees, crying and begging for forgiveness and compassion. They also told him that the father of one of the accused had died of a heart attack upon learning of his son's involvement in the incident. c. As a Christian, he has forgiven petitioner and his co-accused for the death of his son. However, as a loving father who had lost a son whom he had hoped would succeed him in his law practice, he still feels the pain of an untimely demise and the stigma of the gruesome manner of his death. d. He is not in a position to say whether petitioner is now morally fit for admission to the bar. He therefore submits the matter to the sound discretion of the Court. The practice of law is a privilege granted only to those who possess the strict intellectual and moral qualifications required of lawyers who are instruments in the effective and efficient administration of justice. It is the sworn duty of this Court not only to "weed out"

lawyers who have become a disgrace to the noble profession of the law but, also of equal importance, to prevent "misfits" from taking the lawyer's oath, thereby further tarnishing the public image of lawyers which in recent years has undoubtedly become less than irreproachable. The resolution of the issue before us required weighing and reweighing of the reasons for allowing or disallowing petitioner's admission to the practice of law. The senseless beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan constituted evident absence of that moral fitness required for admission to the bar since they were totally irresponsible, irrelevant and uncalled for. In the 13 July 1995 resolution in this case we stated: . . . participation in the prolonged and mindless physical behavior, [which] makes impossible a finding that the participant [herein petitioner] was then possessed of good moral character. 1 In the same resolution, however, we stated that the Court is prepared to consider de novo the question of whether petitioner has purged himself of the obvious deficiency in moral character referred to above. Before anything else, the Court understands and shares the sentiment of Atty. Gilbert Camaligan. The death of one's child is, for a parent, a most traumatic experience. The suffering becomes even more pronounced and profound in cases where the death is due to causes other than natural or accidental but due to the reckless imprudence of third parties. The feeling then becomes a struggle between grief and anger directed at the cause of death. Atty. Camaligan's statement before the Court- manifesting his having forgiven the accused is no less than praiseworthy and commendable. It is exceptional for a parent, given the circumstances in this case, to find room for forgiveness. However, Atty. Camaligan admits that he is still not in a position to state if petitioner is now morally fit to be a lawyer. After a very careful evaluation of this case, we resolve to allow petitioner Al Caparros Argosino to take the lawyer's oath, sign the Roll of Attorneys and practice the legal profession with the following admonition: In allowing Mr. Argosino to take the lawyer's oath, the Court recognizes that Mr. Argosino is not inherently of bad moral fiber. On the contrary, the various certifications show that he is a devout Catholic with a genuine concern for civic duties and public service. The Court is persuaded that Mr. Argosino has exerted all efforts to atone for the death of Raul Camaligan. We are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, taking judicial notice of the general tendency of youth to be rash, temerarious and uncalculating. We stress to Mr. Argosino that the lawyer's oath is NOT a mere ceremony or formality for practicing law. Every lawyer should at ALL TIMES weigh his actions according to the sworn promises he makes when taking the lawyer's oath. If all lawyers conducted themselves strictly according to the lawyer's oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility, the

administration of justice will undoubtedly be faster, fairer and easier for everyone concerned. The Court sincerely hopes that Mr. Argosino will continue with the assistance he has been giving to his community. As a lawyer he will now be in a better position to render legal and other services to the more unfortunate members of society. PREMISES CONSIDERED, petitioner Al Caparros Argosino is hereby ALLOWED to take the lawyer's oath on a date to be set by the Court, to sign the Roll of Attorneys and, thereafter, to practice the legal profession. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr., Panganiban and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC B.M. No. 810 January 27, 1998 IN RE: PETITION TO TAKE THE LAWYER'S OATH BY ARTHUR M. CUEVAS, JR. RESOLUTION FRANCISCO, J.:

Petitioner Arthur M. Cuevas, Jr., recently passed the 1996 Bar Examinations 1. His oathtaking was held in abeyance in view of the Court's resolution dated August 27, 1996 which permitted him to take the Bar Examinations "subject to the condition that should (he) pass the same, (he) shall not be allowed to take the lawyer's oath pending approval of the Court . . ." due to his previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting In Homicide. The conviction stemmed from petitioner's participation in the initiation rites of the LEX TALIONIS FRATERNITAS, a fraternity in the SAN BEDA COLLEGE OF LAW, sometime in September 1991, where Raul I. Camaligan, a neophyte, died as a result of the personal violence inflicted upon him. Thereafter, petitioner applied for and was granted probation. On May 10, 1995, he was discharged from probation and his case considered closed and terminated. In this petition, received by the Court on May 5, 1997, petitioner prays that "he be allowed to take his lawyer's oath at the Court's most convenient time" 2 attaching thereto the Order dated May 16, 1995 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 10 of Antique discharging him from his probation, and certifications attesting to his righteous, peaceful and law abiding character issued by: (a) the Mayor of the Municipality of Hamtic, Antique; (b) the Officer-inCharge of Hamtic Police Station; (c) the Sangguniang Kabataan of Pob. III, Hamtic, through its chairman and officers; (d) a member of the IBP Iloilo Chapter; (e) the Parish Priest and Vicar General of St. Joseph Cathedral, San Jose, Antique; and (f) the President of the Parish Pastoral Council, Parish of Sta. Monica, Hamtic, Antique. On July 15, 1997, the Court, before acting on petitioner's application, resolved to require Atty. Gilbert D. Camaligan, father of the deceased hazing victim Raul I. Camaligan, to comment thereon. In compliance with the Court's directive, Atty. Gilbert D. Camaligan filed his comment which states as follows: 1 — He fully appreciates the benign concern given by this Hon. Court in allowing him to comment to the pending petition of Arthur M. Cuevas to take the lawyer's oath, and hereby expresses his genuine gratitude to such gesture. 2 — He conforms completely to the observation of the Hon. Court in its resolution dated March 19, 1997 in Bar Matter No. 712 that the infliction of severe physical injuries which approximately led to the death of the unfortunate Raul Camaligan was deliberate (rather than merely accidental or inadvertent) thus, indicating serious character flaws on the part of those who inflicted such injuries. This is consistent with his stand at the outset of the proceedings of the criminal case against the petitioner and his co-defendants that they are liable not only for the crime of homicide but murder, since they took advantage of the neophytes' helpless and defenseless condition when they were "beaten and kicked to death like a useless stray dog", suggesting the presence of abuse of confidence, taking advantage of superior strength and treachery (People vs. Gagoco, 58 Phil. 524). 3 — He, however, has consented to the accused-students' plea of guilty to the lesser offense of reckless imprudence resulting to the homicide, including the petitioner, out of pity to their mothers and a pregnant wife of the accused who went together at his house in Lucena City, literally kneeling, crying and begging for forgiveness for their sons, on a Christmas day in 1991 and on Maundy Thursday in 1992, during which they reported that the father of one of the accused died of heart attack upon learning of his son's involvement in the case. 4 — As a Christian, he has forgiven the petitioner and his co-defendants in the criminal case for the death of his son. But as a loving father, who lost a son in whom he has high hope to

become a good lawyer — to succeed him, he still feels the pain of his untimely demise, and the stigma of the gruesome manner of taking his life. This he cannot forget. 5 — He is not, right now, in a position to say whether petitioner, since then has become morally fit for admission to the noble profession of the law. He politely submits this matter to the sound and judicious discretion of the Hon. Court. 3 At the outset, the Court shares the sentiment of Atty. Gilbert D. Camaligan and commiserates with the untimely death of his son. Nonetheless, Atty. Gilbert D. Camaligan admits that "[h]e is not, right now, in a position to say whether petitioner since then has become morally fit . . ." and submits petitioner's plea to be admitted to the noble profession of law to the sound and judicious discretion of the Court. The petition before the Court requires the balancing of the reasons for disallowing or allowing petitioner's admission to the noble profession of law. His deliberate participation in the senseless beatings over a helpless neophyte which resulted to the latter's untimely demise indicates absence of that moral fitness required for admission to the bar. And as the practice of law is a privilege extended only to the few who possess the high standards of intellectual and moral qualifications the Court is duty bound to prevent the entry of undeserving aspirants, as well as to exclude those who have been admitted but have become a disgrace to the profession. The Court, nonetheless, is willing to give petitioner a chance in the same manner that it recently allowed Al Caparros Argosino, petitioner's coaccused below, to take the lawyer's oath. 4 Petitioner Arthur M. Cuevas, Jr.'s discharge from probation without any infraction of the attendant conditions therefor and the various certifications attesting to his righteous, peaceful and civic-oriented character prove that he has taken decisive steps to purge himself of his deficiency in moral character and atone for the unfortunate death of Raul I. Camaligan. The Court is prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, taking judicial notice of the general tendency of the youth to be rash, temerarious and uncalculating. 5 Let it be stressed to herein petitioner that the lawyer's oath is not a mere formality recited for a few minutes in the glare of flashing cameras and before the presence of select witnesses. Petitioner is exhorted to conduct himself beyond reproach at all times and to live strictly according to his oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. And, to paraphrase Mr. Justice Padilla's comment in the sister case of Re: Petition of Al Agrosino To Take Lawyer's Oath, Bar Matter No. 712, March 19, 1997, "[t]he Court sincerely hopes that" Mr. Cuevas, Jr., "will continue with the assistance he has been giving to his community. As a lawyer he will now be in a better position to render legal and other services to the more unfortunate members of society" 6. ACCORDINGLY, the Court hereby resolved to allow petitioner Arthur M.. Cuevas, Jr., to take the lawyer's oath and to sign the Roll of Attorneys on a date to be set by the Court, subject to the payment of appropriate fees. Let this resolution be attached to petitioner's personal records in the Office of the Bar Confidant. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC B.M. No. 135 January 29, 1987 PETITION OF SOCORRO LADRERA, 1954 SUCCESSFUL BAR EXAMINEE TO TAKE THE LAWYER'S OATH. RESOLUTION

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: Socorro Ke. Ladrera passed the 1954 bar examinations. Before he could participate in the scheduled oath taking of successful bar examinees, an administrative complaint for immorality was filed against him by Lucila C. Casas. Lucila stated that she and Ladrera were married on May 23, 1944 and that when she married him he represented himself to be single. Sometime in 1948, Lucila learned that her husband had been previously married on March 23, 1936 to Florencia Orticio by whom he had a child called Monserrat. Lucila filed a case for annulment of her marriage to Ladrera on October 5, 1949. A decision was rendered on February 13, 1950 annulling the marriage and ordering Ladrera to give P40.00 a month for the support of his three minor children with Lucila. In 1951, Socorro Ladrera filed a civil case to declare his first wife, Florencia Orticio as presumptively dead, In a November 24, 1951 decision, the Court of First Instance of Davao stated that Ladrera and Orticio were married on March 23, 1936 in the Roman Catholic church of Capul, Samar. The couple had a daughter, Monserrat Ladrera, who lived with the petitioner from birth up to the date of the decision. It appears that, while the couple were living in Cebu, Florencia Orticio eloped with a certain Ramon E steban and left the conjugal home without the petitioner's knowledge. Inspite of allegedly determined searches by the petitioner in Samar, Cebu, Bohol, and Manila, Florencia could not be located or her whereabouts ascertained. The court therefore ruled "that the petition to declare Florencia Orticio presumptively dead for all intents and purposes of law has satisfactorily been established." Petitioner Ladrera had three children with his second wife, Lucila C. Casas. Sometime after the judicial declaration that his first wife was presumptively dead, Ladrera married his third wife, Socorro Santos by whom he has five children. After Ladrera married a third time, his first wife showed up and filed a bigamy case against him with the Court of First Instance of Davao. According to the immorality complaint filed by Lucila, the second wife, this bigamy case was later dismissed as a result of alleged monetary concessions which Ladrera made in favor of Orticio. Incidentally, the latest information about Florencia Orticio is that she is quite well off, having inherited properties from her parents and that she teaches Spanish at the University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman, Samar.

On the basis of the administrative complaint filed against Ladrera, this Court suspended his oath taking and directed him to file an answer to the complaint. In his Answer, Ladrera alleged that: ... [W]hen he married complainant, he honestly believed that his first wife, Florencia Orticio, was already dead; that complainant in fact knew that respondent was previously married because respondent's child with Florencia Orticio lived with respondent and complainant after the latter's marriage and until its annulment; that respondent has paid all the monthly pensions to complainant's three minor children; that respondent later discovered that complainant's motive in suing for annulment of her marriage to respondent was to get a share of the properties acquired by respondent, and as a matter of fact, complainant has squandered and sold the properties adjudicated to her in Civil Case No. 470, and the money realized from the sales was not used for the benefit of their children; that the value of the properties adjudicated to the complainant in the case for liquidation of conjugal properties was approximately P37,000.00; that respondent married Socorro Santos and still lives with her in view of the decision in Civil Case No. 501, dated November 24, 1951, declaring respondent's first wife, Florencia Orticio presumptively dead; that respondent's admission in Civil Case No. 399 for annulment of complainant's marriage, that Florencia Orticio was alive and residing in Manila was made in good faith, he having then received information from his brother, Fr. Emerardo Ladrera, that Florencia Orticio was in Manila; that subsequent search and inquiries, however, led the respondent to believe that Florencia Orticio was not alive and this resulted in the filing by respondent of the petition in Civil Case No. 501, praying that Florencia Orticio be declared presumptively dead; that Criminal Case No. 1863, against the respondent for bigamy, was dismissed by the Court of First Instance of Davao upon motion of the City Attorney of Davao; that the mere filing of civil cases against respondent does not necessarily reflect immorality on his part, not to mention the circumstances that said cases were settled or otherwise dismissed; that complainant's charges were motivated by hatred and revenge, intended as a ruse to compel respondent to give to complainant another ten hectares of first class agricultural land located in Monteverde, Calinan, Davao City, plus complainant's desire to put respondent down politically. The then Supreme Court Clerk of Court, Jose S. de la Cruz, was ordered to investigate the administrative charge and to submit his report. On August 31, 1955, de la Cruz submitted his Report, the salient portion of which reads: It is noteworthy that the complainant had chosen not to testify in the investigation, and that by merely presenting documentary evidence consisting of copies of the complaint for annulment of marriage in Civil Case No. 399; the decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao in said case annulling the marriage between complainant and respondent; the decision in Special Case No. 501 wherein the Court of First Instance of Davao declared respondent's first wife, Florencia Orticio, presumptively dead; the order of the Court of First Instance of Davao in Criminal Case No. 1863 against respondent for bigamy, dismissing said case, the complainant is basing her charges of immorality against respondent upon the latter's bad faith arising from the fact that, while in the annulment proceedings respondent and his attorney admitted that Florencia Orticio was alive, in Special Case No. 501 filed in 1951 by respondent, the latter claimed that said Florencia Orticio could not be located and was unheard from for several years, and from the fact that he married for the third time

Socorro Santos while respondent's first wife was alive, and who, as a matter of fact, filed a case for bigamy against respondent. Upon the other hand, the respondent testified during the investigation and declared that he acted in good faith, first, in marrying complainant; secondly, in instituting Special Case No. 501; and, thirdly, in marrying Socorro Santos. He explained that when he married complainant in 1944, he honestly believed that his first wife, Florencia Orticio, was already dead; that he had to admit in the annulment proceedings, Civil Case No. 399, that Florencia was alive because of a letter he received from his brother, Fr. Ladrera; that he filed the subsequent Special Case No. 501 after suspecting that complainant's purpose in annulling her marriage to respondent was merely to obtain her snare in the conjugal properties, and in order also to establish definitely his civil status; and that he married his third wife, Socorro Santos, after the decision in Special Case No. 501, declaring his first wife Florencia presumptively dead, had become final. While the complainant's charges are based upon inferences or assumptions, the testimony of respondent is unrefuted that he acted in good faith In the first place, the fact that no annulment proceeding was instituted by complainant until after three children were born to her marriage with respondent, at least shows that Florencia Orticio was not generally known to be alive. In the second place, the admission by respondent and his counsel in the annulment proceeding that Florencia was alive, is explained by respondent's receipt of a letter from his brother, Fr. Ladrera, to the effect that she might still be living, which at any rate was the very fact alleged in the complaint for annulment. In the third place, respondent was constrained to file Special Case No. 501 because he subsequently realized that complainant annulled her marriage to respondent mainly to get her share of their conjugal properties, and because he also wanted to respondent settle his own civil status after failing to locate the whereabouts of his first wife, Florencia Orticio; and the respondent undoubtedly had the right to look for Florencia after his marriage to complainant was judicially set aside on the ground that Florencia was alive. It is very significant that no opposition whatsoever was interposed in Special Case No. 501 either by complainant or by Florencia inspite of due publication of the proceedings; and the final decision therein can be said to have legally paved the way for respondent's third marriage to Socorro Santos. As a matter of fact, in the order of the Court of First Instance of Davao dismissing the bigamy case against respondent, it was in effect held that respondent married Socorro Santos without fraudulent intent, and said order had become final. Complainant's allegation that respondent has failed to comply with his obligation to pay the monthly support of his three children with complainant as ordered in the decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao in Civil Case No. 399, is neither touched nor pressed in complainant's memorandum. At any rate, complainant may avail herself of any appropriate civil remedy for the collection or enforcement (or even increase) of said support; and respondent has presented evidence to show that he had complied with his obligation at least to the date of this investigation in March, 1955. The claim that respondent is immoral because of the filing against him of several civil cases, deserves no serious consideration since, according to respondent's evidence, said cases, aside from having been dismissed or otherwise settled, do not necessarily imply moral perversity. WHEREFORE, it is recommended that respondent Socorro Ke. Ladrera be allowed to take the lawyer's oath.

The favorable recommendation, notwithstanding, this Court, on September 7, 1955 issued a resolution disqualifying Ladrera from taking the lawyer's oath, to wit: Acting upon the complaint for immorality filed by Lucila Casas against Socorro Ke. Ladrera, 1954 successful bar candidate; the answer filed by the latter; the evidence taken during the investigation; the report of the investigator; as well as all the circumstances surrounding the case, the Court RESOLVED to disqualify respondent Socorro Ke. Ladrera from taking the lawyer's oath A motion for reconsideration of the above-quoted resolution was denied in another resolution issued on October 11, 1955. Up to now or more than thirty-one years after he passed the bar examinations, Ladrera has not been allowed to take the lawyer's oath. All his motions to allow him to take the oath filed every year without fail beginning on May 23, 1956 up to September 7, 1982 have been denied. Before us, now is Ladrera's April 15, 1985 urgent motion, to wit: NOW COMES your petitioner, by and for himself and unto tills Honorable Supreme Tribunal most respectfully stated: That your petitioner has been deprived from taking his Lawyer's Oath as member of the Philippine Bar since January 20, 1955, because of a petition of Lucila C. Casas who has long ago withdrawn her complaint and has in fact attested to the good reputation and character of the herein respondent; That considering the time that has elapsed which is already more than thirty (30) years is more than sufficient punishment, your respondent now prays this Honorable Tribunal to grant him the privilege to take the Lawyer's Oath together with the new successful candidates scheduled to take their oath on April 25, 1985 at the Philippine Convention Center, Manila. On October 4, 1986, he wrote another letter, this time to the Court Administrator asking for the approval of his petition of nearly 32 years. An applicant for admission to the bar must be of good moral character. (Rule 138, Sec. 2). What constitutes good moral character within the meaning of the rule has been elucidated in precedent cases. In Carmen E. Bacarro v. Ruben M. Pinataca (127 SCRA 218), this Court cited various precedent cases and ruled: One of the indispensable requisites for admission to the Philippine Bar is that the applicant must be of good moral character. This requirement aims to maintain and uphold the high moral standards and the dignity of the legal profession, and one of the ways of achieving this end is to admit to the practice of this noble profession only those persons who are known to be honest and to possess good moral character. (Martin, Ruperto G., "Legal & Judicial Ethics," 5th ed., p. 15, citing In Re Parazo, 82 Phil 230) As a man of law, (a lawyer) is necessarily a leader of the community, looked up to as a model citizen. (Planza v. Archangel 21 SCRA 1, 4). He sets an example to his fellow citizens not only for his respect for the law, but also for his clean living. (Martin, supra, p. 36) Thus, becoming a lawyer is more than just going through a law course and passing the Bar examinations. One who has the lofty

aspiration of becoming a member of the Philippine Bar must satisfy this Court, which has the power, jurisdiction and duty to pass upon the qualifications, ability and moral character of candidates for admission to the Bar, that he has measured up to that rigid and Ideal standard of moral fitness required by his chosen vocation. The Court, in the past, consistently denied the annual petitions of Ladrera that he be allowed to take the lawyer's oath. He claimed that when he married his second wife, he sincerely believed that his first wife was already dead. He married his third wife only after the first wife had been declared presumptively dead and after his second marriage-e had been annulled. There may have been compliance with a strict or narrow interpretation of the letter of the law but the Court was of the view that Ladrera had failed to live up to the high moral standards required for membership in the Bar. All of that, however, is in the past. Ladrera now states that if he has committed an act which justified the suspension from taking the lawyer's oath, the time that has elapsed is more than sufficient punishment. He submits that "he humbly believes with all candor and sincerity that he has more than atoned for it by living a very moral and exemplary life since then." Apart from his marital misadventures, there is nothing in the records to warrant a permanent denial of Ladreras petition, He worked as a janitor-messenger in Cebu City while pursuing his college education at night. He has also served in fairly important positions in the government such as Technical Assistant to President Ramon Magsaysay, Special Assistant to President Carlos P. Garcia, and member and later Chairman of the Board of People's Homesite and Housing Corporation. He has served as Treasurer of the Escolta Walking Corporation and Director of the Foreign Affairs Association of the Philippines. As early as 1960, then Senator Quintin Paredes endorsed Ladrera's petition stating that the latter was "honest, dependable, and trustworthy" and followed this up with another endorsement in 1966. In July 13, 1966, Lucila Casas filed a motion for the withdrawal or dismissal of her complaint. Casas stated as her "considered opinion" that Ladrera has been sufficiently punished by the then 12-year suspension of his oathtaking as a lawyer. Casas stated that her children by Ladrera — Teresita, graduating with AB and BSC degrees; Belen, preparatory medicine student; and Socorro, Jr. an engineering student — were suffering from the stigma of the punishment which arose from her complaint. Casas observed that Ladrera was "behaving well and leading an exemplary life." The records show various indorsements of good character from lawyers, a law professor in Davao City, a congressman, and others. A priest, Fr. Emiliano Sabandal attested that Ladrera "is a man of high moral character, humble and possessed with an innate religious quality; as a consequence thereof he is a daily communicant of the blessed sacrament." In the 32 years since Ladrera passed the bar examinations, he has supported and sent through college all his children by the three women he married — a daughter by Florencia Orticio, three children by Lucila Casas, and five children by Socorro Santos. Some of the children have joined their father in his many petitions asking for the privilege of taking his lawyer's oath.

Ladrera was a guerrilla officer during World War II in Bohol and Mindanao. After the war, he was elected head of the Davao War Veterans Association and led the veterans' movement to acquire some of the lands left by Japanese-owners. He became a successful businessman in Davao, acquiring a gasoline station, three corn and rice mills, and a transportation line called "Ladrera Overland Transit". There was moral deliquency in Mr. Ladrera's younger days but he has made up for it by observing a respectable, useful, and religious life since then. Thirty-two years of rejecting his petitions are enough for chastisement and retribution. Considering that the respondent has realized the wrongfulness of his past conduct and demonstrated a sincere willingness to make up for that moral lapse, the Court has decided to admit him to membership in the Philippine bar. WHEREFORE, the PETITION of Mr. Socorro Ke. Ladrera to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath is hereby GRANTED. SO ORDERED. Teehankee, C.J., Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Alampay, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Padilla and Bidin, JJ., concur. Gancayco, J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC B.M. No. L-68 November 21, 1984 ANNABELLE J. POMPERADA, complainant, vs. BENJAMIN JOCHICO y PAMA, respondent. Romeo Perez and Mario Pomperada for complainant. Federico R. Agcaoili for respondent. RESOLUTION

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:

Respondent Benjamin P. Jochico, a successful Bar examinee in 1981, was disallowed by the Court to join the mass oathtaking on May 4, 1982 because of a written formal complaint filed by complainant, Annabelle J. Pomperada, with this Court charging him of grossly immoral conduct and actuations that make him unfit to become a member of the Philippine Bar. Specifically, the charges are: (a) On February 20, 1979, complainant and respondent agreed to get married and respondent facilitated all the necessary papers and documents for a marriage contract which turned out to be fake; (b) Respondent had complainant sign a prepared marriage contract and when complainant inquired whether it was necessary for them to appear before the officiating judge, respondent informed her that it was not necessary because the judge knew personally both complainant and respondent, and respondent assured complainant that he would just take care of the signing of the marriage contract by Judge Felino Garcia of the City Court of Bacolod later respondent gave complainant a copy of the marriage contract which appeared to have been signed already by Judge Garcia; a verification, however, revealed that the marriage between complainant and respondent was not registered in the Local Civil Registrar's Office and in a further confrontation with Judge Felino Garcia the latter denied having signed the marriage contract ... and denied as his own the signature which purports to be the signature of Judge Felino Garcia in the marriage contract; (c) Respondent filed income tax returns jointly with Nenita Martelino Ureta, the latter indicated as his spouse for the years 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976 and enumerated two children as dependents. Then in the years 1979 and 1980 he filed income tax returns but he indicated complainant as his spouse. In view of the foregoing facts and circumstances which clearly point to the culpability respondent, it is respectfully submitted that respondent is not fit to become a member the Philippine Bar because, instead of being a trustworthy defender of the legal rights individuals, respondent will be a disgrace to the legal profession as he has already shown be grossly dishonest, seriously immoral and unhesitant in openly violating our laws. of of of to

Comment was required of respondent, who vehemently denied the charges contending that "he had always acted in an irreproachable manner". Attached to his comment were testimonials of his good moral character given by some residents of Bacolod City (Annexes "A" to "G"). His specific denials follow: (a) Respondent vehemently denies the allegations under paragraph 5 of the Complaint, the truth of the matter is that the "marriage" alleged by complainant was only a game concocted during the celebration of complainant's birthday on February 20, 1979 stemming from the suggestion of respondent's secretary, Gina Porcel to enliven the complainant's birthday party. (b) Respondent specifically denies the allegations under paragraph 6 of the Complaint, the truth of the matter is that, complainant was the one who cajoled respondent to sign the marriage contract in front of the guests during the birthday party as part of the planned game.

(c) Respondent specifically denies paragraph 7 of the Complaint, the truth of the matter is that, the marriage contract attached to the Complaint as Annex "A" and allegedly signed by Judge Garcia is wanting and bereft of any validity and can be considered as a mere scrap of paper and complainant was and is fully aware of such fact. (d) Respondent vehemently denies the allegations co in paragraph 8 of the Complaint, the truth of the matter is that dent's mother never assured anybody of the status of her son for it is of common knowledge to everyone, including complainant, that respondent is an unmarried person with two children. (e) Respondent admits paragraph 9 of the Complaint in so far as his being a Certified Public Accountant and a law student in l979 and presently a successful bar candidate, but specifically denies the allegations that complainant helped respondent financially during his studies as well as during his review, the truth of the matter is that, there was no need to financially support respondent in his studies for since 1967 he has been a CPA practitioner and earning a modest income in the exercise of such profession. (f) Respondent specifically denies paragraph 10 of the Complaint for the reason that respondent cannot abandon a marital abode which does not exist, the truth of the matter is that respondent is not married to complainant. (g) Respondent vehemently denies the allegation contained in paragraph 11 of the Complaint as without factual basis and purely conjectural, the truth of the matter is that, as already aforestated, respondent is an unmarried person with two children with a woman who is now married to a certain Al Abueg in Kalibo, Aklan. (h) Respondent vehemently denies the allegations contained in paragraph 12 of the Complaint, to wit: (a) as to the allegation that complainant accidentally found among the papers in a table drawer copies of income tax returns filed by respondent jointly with Nenita Utera, the truth of the matter is that, complainant did not find said income tax returns accidentally but, instead procured the same when she illegally ransacked respondent's office and removed all the things found in said Jochico Accounting Office. ... and (b) as to the allegation that respondent jointly filed income tax returns with Nenita Ureta and indicated in said return as his spouse with the names of the two children as dependents, the same is admitted, respondent stated that Nenita Ureta as his wife for the simple reason that in accounting practice when children are claimed as dependents in the income tax return, then the name of the mother is, likewise, stated in the return. (i) Respondent vehemently and specifically denies the allegation contained in paragraph 15 of the Complaint, the truth of the matter is that respondent has never forged any signature, much less that of Judge Felino Garcia, the City Judge of Bacolod. As already stated, respondent vigorously asserted that there was no judge present on February 20, 1979 during her birthday and the game and the document already cited did not contain any name and signature of my judge in a space specifically provided for the name and signature of a judge in a marriage contract. Respondent could not in any manner assure complainant that he would just take care of having the marriage contract signed by Judge Garcia as the same was a mere game. Such claimed assurance was a false allegation of complainant to discredit respondent before the Honorable Supreme Court.

(j) Respondent admits having filed his income tax returns, as it is his duty to do so, just like other good and law abiding citizens, but strongly denies all other allegations, contained in paragraph 16 of the Complaint, the truth of the matter is respondent instructed one of his secretaries to complete the income tax return and to have the same filed. The income tax returns in 1979 and 1980 were an completed by Mary Ann Bais and filed exactly on the date of the deadline. (k) Respondent specifically denies the allegation contained in paragraph 20 of the Complaint for the reason that as already propounded in paragraph 12 of this comment, the mere inclusion of a person in the income tax return as a spouse, does not, in truth and in fact, make a person a legally married person. ... The inclusion of Nenita Martelino Ureta as a spouse in the income tax return was to indicate the mother of the children who are listed as dependents in the income tax return. (l) Respondent specifically denies the allegation contained in paragraph 21 of the Complaint. The truth of the matter is, respondent has been filing a complete and accurate income tax return stating facts which he believes to be true. This is evidenced by the fact that up to the present time, no investigation, assessment or inspection of books of accounts of respondent has been made by the Bureau of Internal Revenue or other government agencies; neither is there any pending investigation of tax fraud against respondent. (m) Respondent specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs 22, 23 & 24 of the Complaint as self-serving and fabrication of facts to unduly gain the sympathy of the Honorable Supreme Court for the reasons already stated in the preceeding premises. After the issues had been joined, the case was referred to the Chief Attorney of this Court for investigation, report and recommendation. Hearings were initially held in Manila. But upon complainant's request, as both parties and their witnesses were residents of Bacolod City, and because she could not afford the expenses in coming to Manila, the Court authorized the transfer of venue of the hearings to Bacolod City. Pending submission of memoranda and written offer of exhibits, complainant filed a Motion, dated June 14, 1984, to declare respondent in contempt for engaging in the practice of law despite the fact that he was disallowed to take the lawyer's oath, and praying that he be enjoined from doing so. Required to comment, respondent has failed to do so. On July 26, 1984, the Chief Attorney submitted her Memorandum Report with the following observations: ... As shown by the records of the case the existence of the marriage contract in its original and duplicate original forms Identified as Exhibits "B","B-l", "B-2", "B-3" and "B-3-A" which were intended to apprise the Honorable Court that a marriage contract between the parties actually took place were admitted and confirmed by the respondent in all his pronouncements. Respondent, however, is questioning the validity of said contract, claiming that it was just a paper bereft of validity because it was just a manifestation wedding played in a birthday celebration in honor of the latter knew that it was such. On the other hand, complainant admittedly did not exhibit the marriage contract form as a valid document. She had declared consistently that the alleged marriage contract was fake but she wanted to show the same to the Court to prove the extent of the moral depravity of respondent because she had argued along that by means of that same marriage contract responded

deceived her into believing that she was really and legally married to him causing her to request for a change of status in her office record files at the 3M Phils., Inc. where she was an executive based on the marriage contract which was after all false and to show the propensity of respondent of committing a violation of the law by faking the signature of Judge Felino Garcia as officiating officer of the marriage celebration staged on February 20, 1979 to serve his selfish ends. It is her belief that a person who could commit such deception, one who was want only capable of flouting with any other person's feelings and confidence, not to mention the fact that she had lived as wife with the man for almost nine (9) years, does not deserve to become a member of the Philippine Bar. The testimonials of respondent's witnesses, namely Federico Fieldad, Jorge Abastillas and respondent himself (t.s.n., pp. 15-46, Sept. 21, 1983, Tabligan; t.s.n., pp. 37-71, Sept. 22, 1983, Ursal; t.s.n., pp. 47-86, Sept. 22, 1983; Ursal) which were geared to destroy the credulity of complainant's evidence. Respondent's efforts to show that the lone and only piece of paper which he claimed was signed by himself, his friends Fieldad and Abastillas during a mock game of a wedding staged during a drinking spree boomeranged when complainant's counsel produced the duplicate original of the document before their very eyes in the course of their respective cross-examinations and when asked to Identify their signatures in said duplicate original they were all caught flat footed and exhibited confusion during the investigation. Complainant's exhibits "C", "D", "E", "F", "G", and "H", the contents of which and signatures were admitted as true and correct by respondent, except the alleged insertion in Exhibits "G" and "H" of the name of Anabelle Pomperada in the space reserved for spouse are clear and unrebutted evidence to show that respondent have had illicit liaison with Nenita Martelino Ureta and had begotten illegitimate children with her; and that respondent had falsified and untruthfully filed up his income tax returns for the years 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976. His defense that he had to write the name of Nenita Martelino Ureta as wife in said income tax returns in conformity with accounting practice because when dependent children are claimed as deductible items for income tax purposes the name of their mother must also appear, did not for a moment erase the established fact that said income tax returns were not truthful accounts of the data contained therein and, therefore, punishable by penalties of perjury. The same exhibits were mute yet unshakable proof that respondent had for almost (9) years maintained an illicit relationship with complainant. The testimony of witness Mary Ann Bais for respondent who testified before your investigator after complainant and respondent were excluded from the investigating room per her request, that the insertion of Annabelle Pomperada's name as spouse in the income tax returns of Benjamin Jochico for the years 1979 and 1980 were because of the insistent direction of Annabelle fell flat upon witness' cross-examination. This witness' testimony that only the name Annabelle Pomperada was inserted in the income tax returns mentioned, contrary to the direction of Benjamin Jochico that she copied from a draft prepared by the latter is belied completely when she was asked to explain the categorical discrepancies in her testimony and the data written in the filer's copy or duplicate original of the income tax returns where the wife's income, taxes withheld from wife, standard deductions for a working wife and status of the filer were data computed together with those of Benjamin Jochico in order to arrive at the amount of tax payable to the government by the tax filer. While on the witness stand this witness' demeanor and behaviour were appraised as indicative of untruthfulness and lying (t.s.n., pp. 7-45, Sept. 22, 1983, Bellocillo). Respondent's testimony which consisted of answers to direct questions propounded by his counsel were reiterations of all his defense an denials in his Comment which were characterized with elaborate verbosity and were merely corroborative. it was a long and

clear admission of illicit liaison with complainant for nine (9) years and filing of false income tax returns that do not speak well of his standards of decency and morality. The Investigator's recommendation and conclusion follow: IN THE LIGHT OF THE ABOVE exposition of the facts and circumstances involved in BAR MATTER No. 68 (Annabelle Pomperada vs. Benjamin Jochico y Pama, a successful bar examinee) it is humbly recommended that a finding that respondent Benjamin Jochico y Pama had committed gross immoral conduct as charged and, therefore, should be disallowed to take the oath as a member of the Philippine Bar be made, to continue until such time when he can show the Honorable Court that he has amended his ways and has conformed to the rules of conduct that are necessarily required as accepted standards of members of the legal profession in this Court. The Report is in order and the recommendation is well taken. It is evident that respondent fails to meet the standard of moral fitness for membership in the legal profession. Whether the marriage was a joke as respondent claims, or a trick played on her as claimed by complainant, it does not speak well of respondent's moral values. Respondent had made a mockery of marriage, a basic social institution, which public policy cherishes and protects (Article 216, Civil Code). Respondent's testimony was a long and clear admission of illicit liaison with Complainant for nine years, and before that with another woman, and of the filing of false Income Tax Returns. Those actuations do not conform to the standard norms of honesty, decency and moral conduct required of an aspiring member of the legal profession. ACCORDINGLY, the petition of respondent to be allowed to take the oath as a member of the Bar and to sign the Roll of Attorneys is hereby denied. The Court Administrator is directed to circularize all Courts that the respondent has not been allowed to take the oath as a member of the Bar. A copy of the circular should also be sent to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. The Clerk of Court is directed to file with the City Fiscal of Bacolod City the appropriate complaints for Falsification of Public Document and Perjury. Let copy of this Decision be furnished the Board of Accountancy of the Professional Regulatory Commission for such action as it may deem appropriate, respondent being a Certified Public Accountant. SO ORDERED. Teehankee, Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Abad Santos, Plana, Escolin, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr., De la Fuente and Cuevas, JJ., concur. Fernando, C.J., and Aquino, J., took no part.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

B.M. No. 44 February 24, 1992 EUFROSINA Y. TAN, complainant, vs. NICOLAS EL. SABANDAL, respondent. SBC No. 609 February 24, 1992 MOISES B. BOQUIA, complainant, vs. NICOLAS EL. SABANDAL, respondent. SBC No. 616 February 24, 1992 HERVE DAGPIN, complainant, vs. NICOLAS EL. SABANDAL, respondent. Nelbert T. Paculan for respondent. Moises B. Boquia for himself and Herve Dagpin. RESOLUTION

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: On 29 November 1983, * this Court sustained the charge of unauthorized practice of law filed against respondent Sabandal and accordingly denied the latter's petition to be allowed to take the oath as member of the Philippine Bar and to sign the Roll of Attorneys.

From 1984-1988, Sabandal filed Motions for Reconsideration of the aforesaid Resolution, all of which were either denied or "Noted without action." The Court, however, on 10 February 1989, after considering his plea for mercy and forgiveness, his willingness to reform and the several testimonials attesting to his good moral character and civic consciousness, reconsidered its earlier Resolution and finally allowed him to take the lawyer's oath "with the Court binding him to his assurance that he shall strictly abide by and adhere to the language, meaning and spirit of the Lawyer's Oath and the highest standards of the legal profession" (Yap Tan v. Sabandal, 10 February 1989, 170 SCRA 211). However, before a date could be set for Sabandal's oath-taking, complainants Tan, Dagpin and Boquia each filed separate motions for reconsideration of the Resolution of 10 February 1989. These were acted upon in the Resolution of 4 July 1989 hereunder quoted, in part, for ready reference: On 7 April 1989, Complainant Herve Dagpin in SBC No. 616, and Complainant Moises Boquia in SBC No. 609 also filed a Motion for Reconsideration of our Resolution allowing respondent to take his oath. They alleged that respondent had deliberately and maliciously excluded them in his Petition of 28 June 1988. That, of course, is without merit considering that in his Petition of 28 June 1988, respondent had discussed said cases quite lengthily. On 27 April 1989, Complainant Tan also manifested that Complainant Benjamin Cabigon in BM No. 59 and Complainant Cornelio Agnis in SBC No. 624, had passed away so that they are in no position to submit their respective Comments. One of the considerations we had taken into account in allowing respondent to take his oath, was a testimonial from the IBP Zamboanga del Norte Chapter, dated 29 December 1986, certifying that respondent was "acting with morality and has been careful in his actuations in the community." Complainant Tan maintains that said IBP testimonial was signed only by the then President of the IBP, Zamboanga del Norte Chapter, Atty. Senen O. Angeles, without authorization from the Board of Officers of said Chapter; and that Atty. Angeles was respondent's own counsel as well as the lawyer of respondent's parents-in-law in CAR Case No. 347, Ozamiz City. Attached to Complainant's Motion for Reconsideration was a Certification, dated 24 February 1989, signed by the IBP Zamboanga del Norte Chapter President, Atty. Norberto L. Nuevas, stating that "the present Board of Officers with the undersigned as President had not issued any testimonial attesting to the good moral character and civic consciousness of Mr. Nicolas Sabandal." In his Comment, received by the Court on 27 March 1989, respondent states that the IBP testimonial referred to by Complainant Tan must have been that signed by the former IBP Zamboanga del Norte Chapter President, Atty. Senen O. Angeles, addressed to the Chief Justice, dated 29 December 1986, and that he himself had not submitted to the Court any certification from the IBP Zamboanga del Norte Chapter Board of Officers of 1988-1989. Under the circumstances, the Court has deemed it best to require the present Board of Officers of the IBP, Zamboanga del Norte Chapter, to MANIFEST whether or not it is willing to give a testimonial certifying to respondent's good moral character as to entitle him to take the lawyer's oath, and if not, the reason therefor. The Executive Judge of the Regional Trial

Court of Zamboanga del Norte is likewise required to submit a COMMENT on respondent's moral fitness to be a member of the Bar. Compliance herewith is required within ten (10) days from notice. Pursuant to the aforesaid Resolution, Judge Pelagio R. Lachica, Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga del Norte, filed his Comment, dated 4 August 1989, and received on 25 August 1989, pertinently reading: The undersigned, who is not well acquainted personally with the respondent, is not aware of any acts committed by him as would disqualify him from admission to the Bar. It might be relevant to mention, however, that there is Civil Case No. 3747 entitled Republic of the Philippines, Represented by the Director of Lands, Plaintiff, versus Nicolas Sabandal, Register of Deeds of Zamboanga del Norte and Rural Bank of Pinan, (Zamboanga del Norte), Inc., for Cancellation of Title and/or Reversion pending in this Court in which said respondent, per complaint filed by the Office of the Solicitor General, is alleged to have secured a free patent and later a certificate of title to a parcel of land which, upon investigation, turned out to be a swampland and not susceptible of acquisition under a free patent, and which he later mortgaged to the Rural Bank of Pinan (ZN) Inc. The mortgage was later foreclosed and the land sold at public auction and respondent has not redeemed the land until the present. (Emphasis Supplied) The IBP Zamboanga del Norte Chapter also submitted a Certification, dated 2 February 1990, signed by its Secretary Peter Y. Co and attested to by its President Gil L. Batula, to wit: This is to certify that based on the certifications issued by the Office of the Clerk of Court— Municipal Trial Court in the City of Dipolog; Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga del Norte and the Office of the Provincial and City Prosecutors, Mr. Nicolas E. Sabandal has not been convicted of any crime, nor is there any pending derogatory criminal case against him. Based on the above findings, the Board does not find any acts committed by the petitioner to disqualify him from admission to the Philippine Bar. We required the complainants to comment on the aforesaid IBP Certification and to reply to Executive Judge Pelagio Lachica's comment in our Resolution of 15 February 1990. On 17 April 1990, after taking note of the unrelenting vehement objections of complainants Tan (in BM 44) and Boquia (in SBC 616) and the Certification by Executive Judge Lachica, dated 4 August 1989, that there is a pending case before his Court involving respondent Sabandal, this Court resolved to DEFER the setting of a date for the oath-taking of respondent Sabandal and required Judge Lachica to inform this Court of the outcome of the case entitled Republic v. Sabandal, (Civil Case 3747), pending before his "Sala" as soon as resolved. In the meantime, on 18 April 1990, the Court received another Comment, dated 13 March 1990, by complainant Herve Dagpin in SBC 609, vehemently objecting to the oath-taking of respondent Sabandal and describing his actuations in Civil Case 3747 as manipulative and surreptitious. This comment was Noted in the Resolution of 22 May 1990. In a letter, addressed to the Chief Justice, dated 15 August 1990, complainant Tan in Bar Matter 44, informed the Court that her relationship with Sabandal has "already been

restored," as he had asked forgiveness for what has been done to her and that she finds no necessity in pursuing her case against him. Complainant Tan further stated that she sees no further reason to oppose his admission to the Bar as he had shown sincere repentance and reformation which she believes make him morally fit to become a member of the Philippine Bar. "In view of this development," the letter stated, "we highly recommend him for admission to the legal profession and request this Honorable Court to schedule his oathtaking at a time most convenient." This letter was Noted in the Resolution of 2 October 1990, which also required a comment on Tan's letter from complainants Boquia and Dagpin. Moises Boquia, for himself, and complainant Dagpin, in their comment, dated 5 November 1990, stated thus: Eufrosina Yap Tan's letter dated 15 August 1990 is a private personal disposition which raises the question whether personal forgiveness is enough basis to exculpate and obliterate these cases. On our part, we believe and maintain the importance and finality of the Honorable Supreme Court's resolutions in these cases. . . . It is not within the personal competence, jurisdiction and discretion of any party to change or amend said final resolutions which are already res judicata. Viewed in the light of the foregoing final and executory resolutions, these cases therefore should not in the least be considered as anything which is subject and subservient to the changing moods and dispositions of the parties, devoid of any permanency or finality. Respondent's scheming change in tactics and strategy could not improve his case. The above was "Noted" in the Resolution of 29 November 1990. In compliance with the Resolution of 2 October 1990, Judge Pacifico M. Garcia, Regional Trial Court Judge of Branch 8, Dipolog City (who apparently succeeded Judge Pelagio Lachica, the latter having availed of optional retirement on 30 June 1990) submitted to this Court, on 17 December 1990, a copy of the "Judgment," dated 12 December 1990, in Civil Case 3747, entitled "Republic of the Philippines v. Nicolas Sabandal et al" for Cancellation of Title and/or Reversion, which, according to him, was already considered closed and terminated. Said judgment reveals that an amicable settlement, dated 24 October 1990, had been reached between the principal parties, approved by the Trial Court, and conformed to by the counsel for defendant Rural Bank of Pinan. Briefly, the said amicable settlement cancelled the Original Certificate of Title under Free Patent in Sabandal's name and the latter's mortgage thereof in favor of the Rural Bank of Pinan; provided for the surrender of the certificate of title to the Register of Deeds for proper annotation; reverted to the mass of public domain the land covered by the aforesaid Certificate of' Title with defendant Sabandal refraining from exercising acts of possession or ownership over said land; caused the defendant Sabandal to pay defendant Rural Bank of Pinan the sum of P35,000 for the loan and interest; and the Rural Bank of Pinan to waive its cross-claims against defendant Nicolas Sabandal. Judge Pacifico Garcia's letter and the afore-mentioned Judgment were NOTED in our Resolution of 29 January 1991. In the same Resolution, complainants Tan, Boquia and Dagpin were required to comment on the same.

Upon request of Sabandal, a certification, dated 20 December 1990, was sent by Executive judge Jesus Angeles of the RTC of Zamboanga del Norte, certifying that Sabandal has no pending case with his Court and that he has no cause to object to his admission to the Philippine Bar. This was "Noted" in the Resolution of 26 February 1991. Meanwhile, Sabandal reiterated his prayer to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath in a Motion dated 8 June 1991. In our Resolution of 1 August 1991, we deferred action on the aforesaid Motion pending compliance by the complainants with the Resolution of 29 January 1991 requiring them to comment on the letter of Judge Pacifico M. Garcia. To date, only complainant Tan has complied with the said Resolution by submitting a Comment, dated 29 August 1991, stating that the termination of Civil Case No. 3747 is "proof of Sabandal's sincere reformation, of his repentance with restitution of the rights of complainants he violated," and that "there is no more reason to oppose his admission to the Bar." This was "Noted" in the Resolution of 24 September 1991. In a Manifestation, dated 6 December 1991, Sabandal reiterates his plea to be allowed to take the Lawyer's Oath. His plea must be DENIED. In our Resolution of 10 February 1989, Sabandal was allowed to take the oath, ten (10) years having elapsed from the time he took and passed the 1976 Bar examinations, after careful consideration of his show of contrition and willingness to reform. Also taken cognizance of were the several testimonials attesting to his good moral character and civic consciousness. At that time, we had not received the objections from complainant Tan to Sabandal's taking the oath nor were we aware of the gravity of the civil case against him. It turns out that Civil Case No. 3747 entitled "Republic of the Philippines v. Nicolas Sabandal" was instituted by the Government in 1985 and was brought about because of respondent's procurement of a certificate of free patent over a parcel of land belonging to the public domain and its use as security for a mortgage in order to obtain a loan. At that time, Sabandal was an employee of the Bureau of Lands. He did not submit any defense and was declared it default by order of the RTC dated 26 November 1986. The controversy was eventually settled by mere compromise with respondent surrendering the bogus certificate of title to the government and paying-off the mortgagor, "to buy peace and forestall further expenses of litigation incurred by defendants" (Rollo, Judgment in Civil Case No. 3747). The Office of the Solicitor General interposed no objection to the approval of the said amicable settlement and prayed that judgment be rendered in accordance therewith, "as the amicable settlement may amount to a confession by the defendant" (Rollo, supra). It must also be stressed that in 1985, at the time said case was instituted, Sabandal's petition to take the lawyer's oath had already been denied on 29 November 1983 and he was then submitting to this Court motions for reconsideration alleging his good moral character without, however, mentioning the pendency of that civil case against him. In view of the nature of that case and the circumstances attending its termination, the Court now entertains second thoughts about respondent's fitness to become a member of the Bar. It should be recalled that Sabandal worked as Land Investigator at the Bureau of Lands. Said employment facilitated his procurement of the free patent title over property which he could

not but have known was public land. This was manipulative on his part and does not speak well of his moral character. It is a manifestation of gross dishonesty while in the public service, which can not be erased by the termination of the case filed by the Republic against him where no determination of his guilt or innocence was made because the suit had been compromised. Although as the Solicitor General had pointed out, the amicable settlement was tantamount to a confession on his part. What is more, he could not but have known of the intrinsic invalidity of his title and yet he took advantage of it by securing a bank loan, mortgaging it as collateral, and notwithstanding the foreclosure of the mortgage and the sale of the land at public auction, he did not lift a finger to redeem the same until the civil case filed against him was eventually compromised. This is a sad reflection on his sense of honor and fair dealing. His failure to reveal to this Court the pendency of the civil case for Reversion filed against him during the period that he was submitting several Motions for Reconsideration before us also reveal his lack of candor and truthfulness. There are testimonials attesting to his good moral character, yes. But these were confined to lack of knowledge of the pendency of any criminal case against him and were obviously made without awareness of the facts and circumstances surrounding the case instituted by the Government against him. Those testimonials can not, therefore, outweigh nor smother his acts of dishonesty and lack of good moral character. That the other complainants, namely, Moises Boquia (in SBC 606) and Herve Dagpin (in SBC 619) have not submitted any opposition to his motion to take the oath, is of no moment. They have already expressed their objections in their earlier comments. That complainant Tan has withdrawn her objection to his taking the oath can neither tilt the balance in his favor, the basis of her complaint treating as it does of another subject matter. Time and again, it has been held that the practice of law is not a matter of right. It is a privilege bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in the law but who are also known to possess good moral character: The Supreme Court and the Philippine Bar have always tried to maintain a high standard for the legal profession, both in academic preparation and legal training as well as in honesty and fair dealing. The Court and the licensed lawyers themselves are vitally interested in keeping this high standard; and one of the ways of achieving this end is to admit to the practice of this noble profession only those persons who are known to be honest and to possess good moral character. . . . (In re Parazo, 82 Phil. 230). Although the term "good moral character" admits of broad dimensions, it has been defined as "including at least common honesty" (Royong v. Oblena, Adm. Case No. 376, April 30, 1963, 7 SCRA 859; In re Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399 [1928]). It has also been held that no moral qualification for bar membership is more important than truthfulness or candor (Fellner v. Bar Association of Baltimore City, 131 A. 2d 729). WHEREFORE, finding respondent Sabandal to be unfit to become a member of the BAR, this Court's Resolution, dated 10 February 1989 is RECALLED and his prayer to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath is hereby denied. SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero and Nocon, JJ., concur.

Footnotes * In Bar Matter No. 44 (Eufrosina Yap Tan and Nicolas El. Sabandal) Bar Matter No. 59 (Benjamin Cabigon v. Nicolas El Sabandal) & SBC 624 (Cornelio Agnis and Diomedes Agnis v. Nicolas El. Sabandal) [126 SCRA 60].

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A.C. No. 376 April 30, 1963

JOSEFINA ROYONG, complainant, vs. ATTY. ARISTON OBLENA, respondent. BARRERA, J.: In a verified complaint filed with this Court on January 14, 1959, complainant Josefina Royong charged the respondent Ariston J. Oblena, a member of the Philippine Bar, with rape allegedly committed on her person in the manner described therein. Upon requirement of this Court, the respondent filed his answer denying all the allegations in the complaint and praying that he be not disbarred. On February 3, 1959, this Court referred the case to the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation. On July 10, 1961, the Solicitor General submitted his report on the case with the recommendation that the respondent "be permanently removed from his office lawyer and his name be stricken from the roll of attorneys". The pertinent part of the report reads as follows: The complainant testified that after lunch on August 5, 1958, Cecilia Angeles, her foster mother, left her alone in their house and went down to the pig sty to feed the pigs. At about 1:00 p.m., while she" (complainant) was ironing clothes on the second floor of the house the respondent entered and read a newspaper at her back. Suddenly he covered her mouth with one hand and with the other hand dragged her to one of the bedrooms of the house and forced her to lie down on the floor. She did not shout for help because he threatened her and her family with death. He next undressed as she lay on the floor, then had sexual intercourse with her after he removed her panties and gave her hard blows on the thigh with his fist to subdue her resistance. After the sexual intercourse, he warned her not to report him to her foster parents, otherwise, he would kill her and all the members of her family. She resumed ironing clothes after he left until 5:00 o'clock that afternoon when she joined her foster mother on the first floor of the house. As a result of the sexual intercourse she became pregnant and gave birth to a baby on June 2, 1959 (pp. 4-8, 21, 23, 26, 27, t.s.n., hearing of Aug. 5, 1959). She admitted that had she shouted for help she would have been heard by the neighbors that she did not report the outrage to anyone because of the threat made by the respondent; that she still frequented the respondent's house after August 5, 1959, sometimes when he was alone, ran errands for him, cooked his coffee, and received his mail for him. Once, on November 14, 1958, when respondent was sick of influenza, she was left alone with him in his house while her aunt Briccia Angeles left for Manila to buy medicine (pp. 11, 14-18, 24, t.s.n., hearing of August 5, 1959). The respondent on the witness stand denied that he raped the complainant (p. 3, t.s.n., hearing of March 25 1960). He testified that after lunch on August 5, 1958, he went to the Commission Of Civil Service to follow up his appointment as technical assistant in the office of the mayor of Makati, Rizal, and read the record of the administrative case against Buenaventura Perez (pp. 23, 24, 34, t.s.n., hearing of March 25, 1960, Exhs. 1 and 2). The respondent, however, admitted that he had illicit relations with the complainant from January, 1957 to December, 1958, when their clandestine affair was discovered by the complainant's foster parents, but to avoid criminal liability for seduction, according to him,

he limited himself to kissing and embracing her and sucking her tongue before she completed her eighteenth birthday. They had their first sexual intercourse on May 11, 1958, after she had reached eighteen, and the second one week later, on May 18. The last intercourse took place before Christmas in December, 1958. In all, they had sexual intercourse about fifty times, mostly in her house and sometimes in his house whenever they had the opportunity. He intended to marry her when she could legally contract marriage without her foster parents' intervention, 'in case occasion will permit ... because we cannot ask permission to marry, for her foster parents will object and even my commonlaw wife, will object.' After the discovery of their relationship by the complainant's foster parents, he confessed the affair to Briccia, explaining that he wanted to have a child, something she (Briccia) could not give him. (pp. 14-16, 19-25, t.s.n., hearing of March 25, 1960). xxx xxx xxx

FINDINGS AND COMMENT There is no controversy that the respondent had carnal knowledge of the complainant. The complainant claims she surrendered to him under circumstances of violence and intimidation, but the undersigned are convinced that the sexual intercourse was performed not once but repeatedly and with her consent. From her behaviour before and after the alleged rape, she appears to have been more a sweetheart than of the victim of an outrage involving her honor .... But the foregoing observations notwithstanding, the undersigned cannot in conscience recommend respondent's exoneration. The respondent tempted Briccia Angeles to live maritally with him not long after she and her husband parted, and it is not improbable that the spouses never reconciled because of him. His own evidence shows that, tiring of her after more than fifteen years of adulterous relationship with her and on the convenient excuse that she, Briccia Angeles, could not bear a child, he seduced Josefina Andalis, then 17 or 18 years of age, resulting in her pregnancy and the birth of a child, on June 2, 1959. The seduction was accomplished with grave abuse of confidence and by means of promises of marriage which he knew he could not fulfill without grievous injury to the woman who forsook her husband so that he, respondent, could have all of her. He also took advantage of his moral influence over her. From childhood, Josefina Andalis, treated him as an uncle and called him 'tata' (uncle), undoubtedly because he is the paramour of a sister of her mother. Considering her age (she was 17 or 18 years old then), it is not difficult to see why she could not resist him. The evidence further shows that on July 22, 1954, the respondent filed a sworn petition dated May 22, 1954 alleging "that he is a person of good moral character" (Par. 3) and praying that the Supreme Court permit him "to take the bar examinations to be given on the first Saturday of August, 1954, or at any time as the Court may fix.." But he was not then the person of good moral character he represented himself to be. From 1942 to the present, he has continuously lived an adulterous life with Briccia Angeles whose husband is still alive, knowing that his concubine is a married woman and that her marriage still subsists. This fact permanently disqualified him from taking the bar examinations, and had it been known to the Supreme Court in 1954, he would not have been permitted to take the bar examinations that year or thereafter, or to take his oath of office as a lawyer. As he

was then permanently disqualified from admission to the Philippine Bar by reason of his adulterous relations with a married woman, it is submitted that the same misconduct should be sufficient ground for his permanent disbarment, unless we recognize a double standard of morality, one for membership to the Philippine Bar and another for disbarment from the office of a lawyer. xxx xxx xxx

RECOMMENDATION Wherefore, the undersigned respectfully recommend that after due hearing, respondent Ariston J. Oblena be permanently removed from his office as a lawyer and his name be stricken from the roll of attorneys. In view of his own findings as a result of his investigation, that even if respondent did not commit the alleged rape nevertheless he was guilty of other misconduct, the Solicitor General formulated another complaint which he appended to his report, charging the respondent of falsely and deliberately alleging in his application for admission to the bar that he is a person of good moral character; of living adulterously with Briccia Angeles at the same time maintaining illicit relations with the complainant Josefina Royong, niece of Briccia, thus rendering him unworthy of public confidence and unfit and unsafe to manage the legal business of others, and praying that this Court render judgment ordering "the permanent removal of the respondent ... from his office as a lawyer and the cancellation of his name from the roll of attorneys." In his answer to this formal complaint, respondent alleged the special defense that "the complaint does not merit action", since the causes of action in the said complaint are different and foreign from the original cause of action for rape and that "the complaint lacks the necessary formalities called for in Sec. 1, Rule 128 of the Rules of Court." Respondent prayed that after due notice and hearing for additional evidence, the complaint be dismissed. On September 13, 1961, this Court designated the Court Investigators to receive the additional evidence. Accordingly the case was set for hearing of which the parties were duly notified. On September 29, 1961, respondent asked leave to submit a memorandum which was granted, and on October 9, 1961 the same was filed, alleging the following: 1) That the charge of rape has not been proven; 2) That no act of seduction was committed by the respondent; 3) That no act of perjury or fraudulent concealment was committed by the respondent when he filed his petition for admission to the bar; and 4) That the respondent is not morally unfit to be a member of the bar. Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1äwphï1.ñët At the hearing on November 16, 1961, respondent presented his common-law wife, Briccia Angeles, who testified as follows: ... Respondent is her common-law husband (t.s.n. 23). She first met respondent on December 16, 1941 at Cavinti, Laguna (t.s.n. 23). She and her sister Cecilia Angeles-Royong

were evacuated to Cavinti by the Red Cross (t.s.n. 23). She was already married (to Teodoro Arines) at the time (t.s.n. 24). She and Arines are from Iriga, Camarines Sur (t.s.n. 24). Respondent and one Mr. Flores registered them (t.s.n. 24) as evacuees. When Mr. Flores asked her about her status she told him she was 'single' (t.s.n. 25). She and her sister, Cecilia, were then told to stay at respondent's house, respondent courted her (t.s.n. 26). Respondent asked her if she was married and she told him 'we will talk about that later on' (t.s.n. 26). She told respondent she was married (to Arines) when she and respondent were already living together as 'husband and wife', in 1942( t.s.n. 26). Respondent asked her to marry him, when they were living as husband and wife (t.s.n. 27). Her sister Cecilia left Cavinti 2 months after their arrival thereat, but she did not go with her because she and respondent 'had already a good understanding'(sexual relations) [t.s.n. 27]. Later, she left Cavinti and went to her hometown in Iriga, Camarines Sur, because respondent was already reluctant to live with her and he told her it was better for her to go home to Iriga (t.s.n. 25). Arriving at Iriga, she met her legitimate husband (Arines), who told her he had already a wife, named Conching Guevara (t.s.n. 28-29). She then went back to Cavinti (in 1943), with her father, and lived with respondent (t.s.n. 29). Respondent eventually agreed that she live with him (t.s.n. 35); in fact, she is still presently living with respondent (t.s.n. 35) [Report of Court Investigators, March 6, 1962, pp. 5-6]." Thereafter, respondent requested permission to submit an affidavit at a later date, which request was also granted. The affidavit was filed on December 16, 1961, the respondent averring, among others, the following:. ... That he never committed any act or crime of seduction against the complainant, because the latter was born on February 19, 1940, and his first sexual intercourse with her took place on May 11, 1958, when she was already above 18 years of age; that he had been living with his common-law wife, Briccia Angeles, for almost 20 years, but from the time he began courting her, he 'had no intention to alienate' her love for her husband, Arines, or to commit the crime of adultery; that he courted Briccia on October 16, 1941, and was shortly thereafter accepted by her; that on February 21, 1942, he found Briccia alone in his house, who told him that her sister, Cecilia, had gone to Pagsanjan with the other evacuees; that from said date (February 21), to the present, he and Briccia had been living together as common-law husband and wife; that 2 or 3 weeks thereafter, he asked Briccia to marry him, but she confessed she was already married, and maybe her husband (Arines) was still living in Iriga; that he could not then drive Briccia away, because she was a stranger in the place, nor could he urge her to join her sister Cecilia, as the latter had left Pagsanjan; that in 1943 she told Briccia to separate from him and to return to Iriga, and urged her never to see him again; that contrary to his expectations, Briccia returned to Cavinti 3 months thereafter; that Briccia strongly insisted to live with him again, telling him that she cannot separate from him anymore, as he was ashamed; that Briccia's father told him that Briccia's husband (Arines) had agreed not to molest them as in fact he (Arines) was already living with another woman; that he had 'no choice but to live with her' (Briccia) again; that when he filed his petition to take the bar examinations in 1954, he 'did not have the slightest intention to hide' from this Court the fact of his 'open cohabitation with a married woman' (Briccia Angeles); that he did not state said fact in his petition, because he did not see in the form of the petition being used in 1954 that the fact must be stated; and that since his birth, he thought and believed he was a man of good moral character, and it was only from the Solicitor General that he first learned he was not so; and that he did not commit perjury or

fraudulent concealment when he filed his petition to take the bar examinations in 1954." (Report of the Court Investigators, pp. 6-8, March 6, 1962). After hearing, the investigators submitted a report with the finding that: 1) Respondent used his knowledge of the law to take advantage by having illicit relations with complainant, knowing as he did, that by committing immoral acts on her, he was free from any criminal liability; and 2) Respondent committed gross immorality by continuously cohabiting with a married woman even after he became a lawyer in 1955 to the present; and 3) That respondent falsified the truth as to his moral character in his petition to take the 1954 bar examinations, being then immorally (adulterously) in cohabitation with his common-law wife, Briccia Angeles, a married woman. The investigators also recommended that the respondent be disbarred or alternatively, be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year. Upon the submission of this report, a copy of which was served on respondent, through his counsel of record, the case was set for hearing before the Court on April 30, 1962. Respondent asked leave to file his memorandum in lieu of oral argument. This was granted and the corresponding memorandum was duly filed. It is an admitted and uncontroverted fact that the respondent had sexual relations with the complainant several times, and as a consequence she bore him a child on June 2, 1959; and that he likewise continuously cohabited with Briccia Angeles, in an adulterous manner, from 1942 up to the present. The main point in issue is thus limited illicit relations with the complainant Josefina Royong the and the open cohabitation with Briccia Angeles, a married woman, are sufficient grounds to cause the respondent's disbarment. It is argued by the respondent that he is not liable for disbarment notwithstanding his illicit relations with the complainant and his open cohabitation with Briccia Angeles, a married woman, because he has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude. It is true that the respondent has not been convicted of rape, seduction, or adultery on this count, and that the grounds upon which the disbarment proceedings is based are not among those enumerated by Section 25, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court for which a lawyer may be disbarred. But it has already been held that this enumeration is not exclusive and that the power of the courts to exclude unfit and unworthy members of the profession is inherent; it is a necessary incident to the proper administration of justice; it may be exercised without any special statutory authority, and in all proper cases unless positively prohibited by statute; and the power may be exercised in any manner that will give the party be disbarred a fair trial and a fair opportunity to be heard. (1 Francisco, Rules of Court [1958 ed.] 698, citing In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 567). Although it is a well settled rule that the legislature (or the Supreme Court by virtue of its rule-making power) may provide that certain acts or conduct shall require disbarment, the accepted doctrine is that statutes and rules merely regulate the power to disbar instead of creating it, and that such statutes (or rules) do not restrict the general powers of the court over attorneys, who are its officers, and that they may be removed for other than statutory grounds (7 C.J.S. 734). In the United States, where from our system of legal ethics is derived, "the continued possession of a fair private and professional character or a good moral character is a requisite condition for the rightful continuance in the practice of law for one who has been admitted, and its loss requires

suspension or disbarment even though the statutes do not specify that as a ground of disbarment". The moral turpitude for which an attorney may be disbarred may consist of misconduct in either his professional or non-professional activities (5 Am. Jur. 417). The tendency of the decisions of this Court has been toward the conclusion that a member of the bar may be removed or suspended from office as a lawyer for other than statutory grounds. Indeed, the rule is so phrased as to be broad enough to cover practically any misconduct of a lawyer (In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 567). In the case at bar, the moral depravity of the respondent is most apparent. His pretension that before complainant completed her eighteenth birthday, he refrained from having sexual intercourse with her, so as not to incur criminal liability, as he himself declared — and that he limited himself merely to kissing and embracing her and sucking her tongue, indicates a scheming mind, which together with his knowledge of the law, he took advantage of, for his lurid purpose. Moreover, his act becomes more despicable considering that the complainant was the niece of his common-law wife and that he enjoyed a moral ascendancy over her who looked up to him as her uncle. As the Solicitor General observed: "He also took advantage of his moral influence over her. From childhood, Josefina Andalis (Royong), treated him as an uncle and called him 'tata' (uncle), undoubtedly because he is the paramour of a sister of her mother. Considering her age (she was 17 or 18 years old then), her inexperience and his moral ascendency over her, it is not difficult to see why she could not resist him." Furthermore, the blunt admission of his illicit relations with the complainant reveals the respondent to be a person who would suffer no moral compunction for his acts if the same could be done without fear of criminal liability. He has, by these acts, proven himself to be devoid of the moral integrity expected of a member of the bar. The respondent's misconduct, although unrelated to his office, may constitute sufficient grounds for disbarment. This is a principle we have followed since the ruling in In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 567, where this Court quoted with approval the following portion of the decision of the Supreme Court of Kansas in the case of Peyton's Appeal (12 Kan. 398, 404), to wit:. The nature of the office, the trust relation which exists between attorney and client, as well as between court and attorney, and the statutory rule prescribing the qualifications of attorneys, uniformly require that an attorney be a person of good moral character. If that qualification is a condition precedent to a license or privilege to enter upon the practice of the law, it would seem to be equally essential during the continuance of the practice and the exercise of the privilege. So it is held that an attorney will be removed not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties, which shows him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him. (Emphasis supplied). Respondent's conduct though unrelated to his office and in no way directly bearing on his profession, has nevertheless rendered him unfit and unworthy of the privileges of a lawyer. We cannot give sanction to his acts. For us to do so would be — as the Solicitor General puts it — recognizing "a double standard of morality, one for membership to the Philippine Bar, and another for disbarment from the office of the lawyer." If we concede that respondent's adulterous relations and his simultaneous seduction of his paramour's niece did not and do not disqualify him from continuing with his office of lawyer, this Court would in effect be requiring moral integrity as an essential prerequisite for admission to the bar, only to later

on tolerate and close its eyes to the moral depravity and character degeneration of the members of the bar. The decisions relied upon by the respondent in justifying his stand that even if he admittedly committed fornication, this is no ground for disbarment, are not controlling. Fornication, if committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as have proven in this case, as to shock common sense of decency, certainly may justify positive action by the Court in protecting the prestige of the noble profession of the law. The reasons advanced by the respondent why he continued his adulterous relations with Briccia Angeles, in that she helped him in some way finish his law studies, and that his "sense of propriety and Christian charity" did not allow him to abandon her after his admission to the bar after almost 13 years of cohabitation, are hardly an excuse for his moral dereliction. The means he employed, as he stated, in order to extricate himself from the predicament he found himself in, by courting the complainant and maintaining sexual relations with her makes his conduct more revolting. An immoral act cannot justify another immoral act. The noblest means he could have employed was to have married the complainant as he was then free to do so. But to continue maintaining adulterous relations with a married woman and simultaneously maintaining promiscuous relations with the latter's niece is moral perversion that can not be condoned. Respondent's conduct therefore renders him unfit and unworthy for the privileges of the legal profession. As good character is an essential qualification for admission of an attorney to practice, he may be removed therefrom whenever he ceases to possess such character (7 C.J.S. 735). The respondent further maintains that the Solicitor General exceeded his authority in filing the present complaint against him for seduction, adultery and perjury, as it charges an offense or offenses different from those originally charged in the complaint of January 14, 1959 for rape, and cites as authority Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 128 of the Rules of Court, which state:. SEC. 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. SEC. 5. Complaint of the Solicitor General. Answer of the 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 days. The contention is devoid of merit. Nothing in the language of the foregoing rules requires the Solicitor General to charge in his complaint the same offense charged in the complaint originally filed by the complainant for disbarment. Precisely, the law provides that should the Solicitor General find sufficient grounds to proceed against the respondent, he shall file the corresponding complaint, accompanied by the evidence introduced in his investigation. The Solicitor General therefore is at liberty to file any case against the respondent he may be justified by the evidence adduced during the investigation.. The respondent also maintains that he did not falsify his petition to take the bar examinations in 1954 since according to his own opinion and estimation of himself at that

time, he was a person of good moral character. This contention is clearly erroneous. One's own approximation of himself is not a gauge to his moral character. Moral character is not a subjective term, but one which corresponds to objective reality. Moral character is what a person really is, and not what he or other people think he is. As former Chief Justice Moran observed: An applicant for license to practice law is required to show good moral character, or what he really is, as distinguished from good reputation, or from the opinion generally entertained of him, the estimate in which he is held by the public in the place where he is known. As has been said, ante the standard of personal and professional integrity which should be applied to persons admitted to practice law is not satisfied by such conduct as merely enables them to escape the penalties of criminal law. Good moral character includes at least common honesty (3 Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, [1957 ed.] 626, citing In Re Weinstein, 42 P. [2d] 744 B.L.D., Cooper v. Greeley. 1 Den. [N.Y.] 3447; In Re Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399; and People v. Macauley, 82 N.E. 612). Respondent, therefore, did not possess a good moral character at the time he applied for admission to the bar. He lived an adulterous life with Briccia Angeles, and the fact that people who knew him seemed to have acquiesced to his status, did not render him a person of good moral character. It is of no moment that his immoral state was discovered then or now as he is clearly not fit to remain a member of the bar. WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby entered striking the name of herein respondent, Ariston J. Oblena, from the roll of attorneys. Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Paredes, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur. Padilla, Reyes, J.B.L., and Dizon, JJ., took no part.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

A.M. No. 4148 July 30, 1998 REMEDIOS RAMIREZ TAPUCAR, complainant,

vs. Atty. LAURO L. TAPUCAR, respondent.

PER CURIAM: In a letter-complaint dated November 22, 1993, complainant Remedios Ramirez Tapucar sought the disbarment of her husband, Atty. Lauro L. Tapucar, on the ground of continuing grossly immoral conduct for cohabiting with a certain Elena (Helen) Peña under scandalous circumstances. 1 Prior to this complaint, respondent was already administratively charged four times for conduct unbecoming an officer of the court. In Administrative Matter No. 1740, resolved on April 11, 1980, respondent, at that time the Judge of Butuan City, was meted the penalty of six months suspension without pay, 2 while in Administrative Matters Nos. 1720, 1911 and 2300-CFI, which were consolidated, 3 this Court on January 31, 1981 ordered the separation from the service of respondent. 4 Now he faces disbarment. The records reveal the following facts: From the Report and Recommendation of the Commission on Bar Discipline, it appears that complainant and respondent married on October 29, 1953 at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Quezon City. They established their residence in Antipolo, Rizal, where eight of their eleven children were born. In 1962 respondent relocated his family to Dadiangas, Cotabato (now Gen. Santos City), where his last three children were born and where he practiced his profession until his appointment as a CFI Judge in Butuan City on January 30, 1976. In August, 1976, shortly after being appointed as CFI Judge, respondent began cohabiting with a certain Elena (Helen) Peña, in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte. On December 28, 1977, Elena gave birth to their first child, named Ofelia Sembrano Peña. In view of this cohabitation, a certain Atty. Tranquilino Calo filed an administrative complaint against respondent for immorality. After investigation, the penalty of suspension from office for a period of six months without pay was meted by this Court upon respondent. 5 Despite this penalty, respondent still continued to cohabit with Elena, giving rise to another charge of immorality and other administrative cases, such as: conduct unbecoming an officer of the court, and grossly immoral conduct. These cases were consolidated and after investigation, this Court ordered his dismissal and separation from the service. 6 But his dismissal as a judge did not impel respondent to mend his ways. He continued living with Elena, which resulted in the birth on September 20, 1989, of their second child named Laella Peña Tapucar. Moreover, he completely abandoned complainant and his children by her.

Respondent later moved from Nasipit, Agusan del Norte back to Antipolo, Rizal, bringing along Elena and their two children. And on March 5, 1992, respondent contracted marriage with Elena in a ceremony solemnized by MTC Judge Isagani A. Geronimo of Antipolo, Rizal. This was done while the respondent's marriage to complainant subsists, as nothing on record shows the dissolution thereof. Complainant, in the meanwhile, had migrated to United States of America upon her retirement from the government service in 1990. However, her children, who remained in Antipolo, kept her posted of the misery they allegedly suffered because of their father's acts, including deception and intrigues against them. Thus, despite having previously withdrawn a similar case which she filed in 1976, complainant was forced to file the present petition for disbarment under the compulsion of the maternal impulse to shield and protect her children from the despotic and cruel acts of their own father. Complainant secured the assistance of her eldest daughter, Atty. Ma. Susana Tapucar-Baua, to represent her in this case. Consistent with Section 20, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, the matter was referred to the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation, report and recommendation. After conducting a thorough investigation, the Commission through Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez recommended that respondent be disbarred, and his name be stricken off the roll of attorneys. Mainly, this was premised on the ground that, notwithstanding sanctions previously imposed upon him by the Honorable Supreme Court, respondent continued the illicit liaison with Elena. 7 In his report Commissioner Fernandez noted that, instead of contradicting the charges against him, respondent displayed arrogance, and even made a mockery of the law and the Court, as when he said: I have been ordered suspended by Supreme Court for two months without pay in 1980 for having a mistress, the same girl Ms. Elena (Helen) Peña, now my wife. Being ordered separated in later administrative case constitute double jeopardy. If now disbarred for marrying Ms. Elena Peña will constitute triple jeopardy. If that's the law so be it. 8 Based on said report, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, passed on May 17, 1997, a Resolution adopting the Commissioner's recommendation, as follows: RESOLUTION NO. XII-97-97 Adm. Case No. 4148 Remedios Ramirez Tapucar vs. Atty. Lauro L. Tapucar RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of the Resolution/Decision as Annex "A"; and, finding the recommendation therein to be fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, Respondent Atty. Lauro L. Tapucar is hereby DISBARRED and that his name be stricken off the roll of attorneys.

We find the Report and Recommendation of Commissioner Fernandez, as approved and adopted by the Board of Governors of IBP, more than sufficient to justify and support the foregoing Resolution, herein considered as the recommendation to this Court by said Board pursuant to Rule 139-B, Sec. 12 (b), of the Rules of Court. * We are in agreement that respondent's actuations merit the penalty of disbarment. Well settled is the rule that good moral character is not only a condition precedent for admission to the legal profession, but it must also remain intact in order to maintain one's good standing in that exclusive and honored fraternity. 9 There is perhaps no profession after that of the sacred ministry in which a high-toned morality is more imperative than that of law. 10 The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that: Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. (Emphasis supplied.) As this Court often reminds members of the Bar, they must live up to the standards and norms expected of the legal profession, by upholding the ideals and tenets embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility always. Lawyers must maintain a high standard of legal proficiency, as well as morality including honesty, integrity and fair dealing. For they are at all times subject to the scrutinizing eye of public opinion and community approbation. Needless to state, those whose conduct — both public and private — fails this scrutiny would have to be disciplined and, after appropriate proceedings, penalized accordingly. Moreover, it should be recalled that respondent here was once a member of the judiciary, a fact that aggravates his professional infractions. For having occupied that place of honor in the Bench, he knew a judge's actuations ought to be free from any appearance of impropriety. 11 For a judge is the visible representation of the law and, more importantly, of justice. Ordinary citizens consider him as a source of strength that fortifies their will to obey the law. 12 Indeed, a judge should avoid the slightest infraction of the law in all of his actuations, lest it be a demoralizing example to others. 13 Surely, respondent could not have forgotten the Code of Judicial Conduct entirely as to lose its moral imperatives. 14 Like a judge who is held to a high standard of integrity and ethical conduct, 15 an attorneyat-law is also invested with public trust. Judges and lawyers serve in the administration of justice. Admittedly, as officers of the court, lawyers must ensure the faith and confidence of the public that justice is administered with dignity and civility. A high degree of moral integrity is expected of a lawyer in the community where he resides. He must maintain due regard for public decency in an orderly society. A lawyer is expected at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. 16 Exacted from him, as a member of the profession charged with the responsibility to stand as a shield in the defense of what is right, are such positive qualities of decency, truthfulness and responsibility that have been compendiously described as "moral character." To achieve such end, every lawyer needs to strive at all times to honor and maintain the dignity of his profession, and thus improve not only the public regard for the Bar but also the administration of justice.

On these considerations, the Court may disbar or suspend a lawyer for misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity, and good demeanor, thus proving unworthy to continue as an officer of the court. 17 The power to disbar, however, is one to be exercised with great caution, and only in a clear case of misconduct which seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court and member of the bar. 18 For disbarment proceedings are intended to afford the parties thereto full opportunity to vindicate their cause before disciplinary action is taken, to assure the general public that those who are tasked with the duty of administering justice are competent, honorable, trustworthy men and women in whom the Courts and the clients may repose full confidence. In the case of Obusan vs. Obusan, Jr., 19 a complaint for disbarment was filed against a member of the bar by his wife. She was able to prove that he had abandoned his wife and their son; and that he had adulterous relations with a married but separated woman. Respondent was not able to overcome the evidence presented by his wife that he was guilty of grossly immoral conduct. In another case, 20 a lawyer was disbarred when he abandoned his lawful wife and cohabited with another woman who had borne him a child. The Court held that respondent failed to maintain the highest degree of morality expected and required of a member of the bar. In the present case, the record shows that despite previous sanctions imposed upon him by this Court, respondent continued his illicit liaison with a woman other than his lawfullywedded wife. The report of the Commissioner assigned to investigate thoroughly the complaint found respondent far from contrite; on the contrary, he exhibited a cavalier attitude, even arrogance, in the face of charges against him. The IBP Board of Governors, tasked to determine whether he still merited the privileges extended to a member of the legal profession, resolved the matter against him. For indeed, evidence of grossly immoral conduct abounds against him and could not be explained away. Keeping a mistress, entering into another marriage while a prior one still subsists, as well as abandoning and/or mistreating complainant and their children, show his disregard of family obligations, morality and decency, the law and the lawyer's oath. Such gross misbehavior over a long period of time clearly shows a serious flaw in respondent's character, his moral indifference to scandal in the community, and his outright defiance of established norms. All these could not but put the legal profession in disrepute and place the integrity of the administration of justice in peril, hence the need for strict but appropriate disciplinary action. IN VIEW THEREOF, respondent Atty. Lauro L. Tapucar is hereby DISBARRED. The Clerk of Court is directed to strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Melo, Puno Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Martinez and Quisumbing, JJ., concur. Bellosillo and Purisima, JJ., took no part.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A.M. No. 997 September 10, 1979 PILAR ABAIGAR, complainant, vs. DAVID D.C. PAZ, respondent.

FERNANDEZ, J.: On April 27, 1971, Pilar Abaigar filed this administrative case for disbarment against David D. C. Paz, a member of the Philippine Bar. The verified complaint alleged that sometime in March 1970, the complainant, Pilar Abaigar sought the aid of a legal counsel regarding her divorce case filed by her husband in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, U.S.A.; that she called on the telephone the office of Congressman Bagatsing in Manila; that the respondent David D.C. Paz, answered the telephone call and volunteered his legal services; that believing that the respondent had the necessary legal experience, the complainant confided her legal problems to him: that after the termination of the divorce case, the respondent became exceedingly friendly with the complainant and started to profess his love for her; that at the start, the complainant was hesitant in continuing the cordial relations between her and the respondent but the respondent made her believe that although he was living with another woman, his relations with said woman were no impediment that the respondent convinced the complainant that he had been compelled to contract a civil marriage with the woman and that since it was not a marriage under the church laws, it was no bar for him to get married under the church laws with the complainant; that the respondent proposed marriage to the complainant; that believing in this good faith, the complainant accepted the proposal of the respondent; that sometime in the latter part of November 1970, an application for the issuance of a marriage license to the complainant and the respondent was made and executed: that thereafter, the respondent convinced the complainant that since they were going to get married anyway, they should act as husband and wife; that because of the confidence which the complainant reposed upon the respondent, she reluctantly acceded to said demands; that as a result of their being together, the complainant became pregnant but due to causes beyond her control, the pregnancy was lost; that sometime in the third week of April 1971, one Virginia

Paz was introduced to the complainant by the respondent; that said Virginia Paz was the woman previously referred to by the respondent as his wife with whom he had contracted a forced civil marriage; that said Virginia Paz, in the course of the meeting, informed the complainant that there had been actually two marriages between Virginia Paz and the respondent, one under the civil law and one under the church law; that upon being confronted by the complainant, the respondent made no explanation whatsoever and merely kept silent; that since that time, the respondent had done nothing to make amends for having deceived the complainant and for having taken advantage of her; and that the complainant has no other recourse but to ask for the disbarment of the respondent who is a member of the Philippine Bar and an officer of the courts of justice. 1 In his answer filed on June 10, 1971, the respondent denied having had any illicit relations with the complainant and alleged that when the complainant called by telephone Congressman Ramon D. Bagatsing, the respondent advised complainant to come to the office; that on the next day when the complainant came to the office of Congressman Bagatsing, she was at first referred to Atty. Geronimo Flores of the Legal Assistance Service to handle the case; that two or three days thereafter, the complainant requested the respondent to personally handle her case; that on October 30, 1970, the respondent prepared a letter to complainant's husband, Samuel L. Navales, which letter was signed by Congressman Bagatsing; that sometime in the latter part of October 1970, the complainant borrowed from the respondent the sum of P200.00 to complete the payment for the hospitalization and treatment of her brother, Eric, at the Makati Medical Center: that as a act of pity, the respondent gave her the loan; that after the election for delegates to the Constitutional Convention in November 1970, the complainant called at the residence of the respondent and asked help in filing a case against the assailant of her brother who was stabbed in Olongapo City; that the wound sustained by complainant's brother was only superficial and he could not Identify his assailant, hence, no criminal case was filed; that after the trip to Olongapo, the complainant requested the help of the respondent to recommend her admission to a hospital because of abdominal and chest pains; that the respondent recommended complainant to be admitted to the Singian Clinic located at General Solano Street, San Miguel Manila; that on December 20, 1970, the complainant caged up the respondent at his residence by telephone and requested him to assist her mother, Mrs. Cecilia Abaigar to file a criminal action against her minor sister, Vilma Abaigar for disobedience; that the respondent prepares a complaint on the same night and a sworn statement of her mother, Mrs. Cecilia Abaigar that he accompanied the complainant to the Fiscal's Office at Pasig, Rizal and to the Municipal Court of Mandaluyong, Rizal where Criminal Case No. 23994 entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Vilma Abaigar was filed by her mother; that the respondent also helped the mother of the complainant to prepare and file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Court of First Instance of Rizal; that by reason of said petition for habeas corpus, the mother of the complainant was able to take Vilma Abaigar into her custody although the petition was denied; that the respondent had never informed the complainant that he was compelled to contract a civil marriage with his wife; that the respondent never proposed marriage to the complainant; that the respondent has no recollection of the supposed application for the issuance of a marriage license in the latter part of November 1970; that respondent and complainant had never acted as husband and wife; and that the respondent had not deceived complainant nor taken advantage of her. 2

In a resolution dated August 20, 1971, this Court referred this case to the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation. 3 After hearing the parties, the Solicitor General submitted on June 30, 1973 his report and recommendation containing the following findings: The complaint seeks the disbarment of respondent Paz on grounds that may properly fall under the category of deceit and grossly immoral conduct as found in Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Assuming for the moment that there had been sexual intercourse between complainant and respondent, the first inquiry, we respectfully submit, is whether respondent Paz practiced demotion on complainant by making her believe that notwithstanding their subsisting marriages to their respective spouses, they could legally get married to each other and based on his promise of marriage, she consented to go to bed with him. Complainant admitted that during her alleged romantic liason with respondent, she was married to a certain Samuel Navales, also a Filipino, who divorced her in the U.S.A. sometime in the middle of 1970 (par. 2, Complaint; p. 46, t.s.n., November 18, 1971). She also admitted that before she submitted herself to his sexual desires, she was informed by him that, he had a wife with whom he was civilly married but that the marriage was void because it was either fake or 'forced' (sic). Whether there was deceit hinges on whether complainant actually believed the representation of respondent that they could legally marry. Highly intelligent that she is and with the educational background that she has, it is difficult to accept the proposition that she swallowed hook, line and sinker his supposed assurances that notwithstanding full awareness by both of the existence of each other's previous marriages, no legal impediment stood in the way of their getting married ecclesiastically. It is worthwhile repeating that complainant was a fifth placer in the Board Examinations for Chemical Engineering. She was licensed as a chemical engineer in 1964 or 1965, after which she taught at one time or another in different schools and colleges in Manila. In 1970 or 1971 when she was supposedly tricked into surrendering her body on a promise of marriage, she was already in her late twenties. It is improbable that at this age, she was still ignorant of the law regarding indissolubility of marriage. Before jumping headlong into accepting respondent's proposal that they act as husband and wife, she should have pondered upon the serious legal implications and complications of a second marriage for both of them. She could have easily asked a lawyer for advice on the matter. Complainant's own neighbor in Mandaluyong, Rizal is a lawyer by the name of Atty. Paler whose wife testified on her behalf. According to Mrs. Paler, her husband and complainant used to converse (p. 18, t.s.n., November 23, 1971). In these conversations complainant could have asked, perhaps in a casual manner, Mrs. Paler's husband as to the legal effects of a divorce obtained abroad by a Filipino citizen or the effects of a marriage brought about through the use of force and intimidation in order to settle whatever doubts she had in her mind. The truth however, of the matter is that complainant did not even have to consult a lawyer to know that she could not legally marry respondent. It is of no little significance that some persons utilized by complainant as witnesses on her behalf because of their supposed knowledge of her relations with respondent, were themselves aware that divorce is not recognized in this country. Thus Mrs. Paler categorically stated that she knew for a fact that

divorce obtained abroad is not recognized in the Philippines (p. 19, t.s.n., November 23, 1971). The same admission was elicited from Fr. Troy de los Santos, another witness for the complainant. Fr. de los Santos who used to be her spiritual adviser admitted at one point of his testimony that divorce obtained abroad cannot be recognized in the Philippines insofar as state laws are concerned and complainant knew about this (pp. 33-34, t.s.n., November 23, 1971). Thus, the Jesuit priest declared under cross-examination: Q Do you know that complainant's husband is still alive? A Yes. Q Up to the present? A Yes. Q Do you know that divorce is not recognized in the Philippines? A I know, but the church does not recognize divorce. Q How about the State, do you know that the State recognize divorce? A As far as my knowledge, I do not think that our laws permit divorce. Continuing with his testimony, Fr. de los Santos stated: Q Did not the fact that complainant's husband is still have and that divorce is not recognized in ' the Philippines be considered an impediment to complainant's marriage to anyone? A Yes. Q Did you inform her so? A She knows about that. (33,34, t.s.n., Id.) Again, granting that complainant did not actually comprehend the existence of a legal bar to her remarriage, 'not being steeped in the intricacies of the law'. just the mere realization that both respondent's wife and her own husband being still have was enough to stir her mind and to impel her to make her own investigation. She could have, for instance, made discreet inquiries as to who was the woman respondent was married to and verified his claim whether he was forced into the marriage. Or, perhaps, she could simply have asked Congressman Bagatsing about respondent's personal status. After all she was competent enough to prepare, without anyone's help her own affidavit, Exhibit 'A', and resourceful enough to make research in the Supreme Court's Library on the subject of disbarment (pp. 63, 89, t.s.n., November 18, 1971). What conclusion then can a reasonable mind draw from the given premises? Either complainant was so helplessly naive as to be beguiled by respondent's blandishments or. comprehending fully the legal impossibility of the fulfillment of his marriage proposals, she unconditionally laid herself prostrate to his charms, too much enamored of him to care about anything else. For, as philosopher Blaise Pascal has so pithily stated of the profundity

of human love, 'love has reasons that reason cannot explain.' Since complainant cannot hide behind the camouflage of innocence, considering her intellectual capacity and educational background, no other conclusion is possible 'except that she voluntarily submitted to sexual intimacy with respondent without entertaining any illusion or hope of sublimating the illicit relations by legal union. The question is intriguing whether respondent ever made vehement protestations of love and actually made an offer of marriage to complainant. If there was, the evidence adduced does not clearly show. Complainant asserted that she had evidence in the form of love letters and the marriage application form showing respondent's sustained courtship and offer of marriage. However, such purported documents were not presented, complainant making the excuse that respondent tricked her into giving him the envelope containing the evidence. Such explanation, however, staggers human credulity considering that the supposed documents were vital to establish the case. It is simply preposterous that she would easily Dart with the documents and give them to no other than the respondent himself . Be that as it may, if respondent had made an offer of marriage, it is not clearly established that complainant's submission to his sexual desires was not on account of the offer but for the gratification of her mundane human longings. The next question is whether there was sexual intimacy between complainant and respondent. Complainant testified that she acceded to his proposal that they live as husband and wife and as a matter of fact they had three sexual intercourses that took place in the Tower Hotel and Singian Clinic in Manila and in the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City. While there is no proof that sexual intimacy took place in Singian Clinic except her testimony, her allegation that they had trysts at the Tower Hotel and Sulo Hotel was supported by the guest cards at said hotels, Exhibits 'A' and 'B'. Notwithstanding respondent's denial that the 'Mrs.' stated in the entry in said guest cards was a 'good-time' woman, not the complainant, common sense will tell us that complainant could not have known that respondent lodged in said hotels on those particular dates unless she was the woman whom respondent brought there. On this score, we are inclined to believe that evidence has been sufficiently adduced to establish that intimacy between complainant and respondent took place once in the Tower Hotel and once in the Sulo Hotel. As the Honorable Court has stated, when the lawyer's integrity is challenged by evidence, it is not enough that he denies the charges against him; he must meet the issues and overcome the evidence for the relator and to show proof that he still maintains the highest degree of morality and integrity which at all times he is expected of him (Quingwa vs. Puno, Adm. Case No. 389, Feb. 28, 1967; 19 SCRA 439). Insofar as this point is concerned, the evidence of the complainant as to the trysts they had in the two hotels has not been met and overthrown by respondent. 4 Upon considering the report and recommendation filed by the Solicitor General, this Court, in a resolution dated July 29, 1972, resolved to require the Solicitor General to file the corresponding complaint against the respondent, David D.C. Paz, pursuant to Section 5 of Rule 139 of the Revised Rules of Court. 5 On September 4, 1975, the Solicitor General filed the corresponding complaint against David D.C. Paz praying that the respondent be suspended for a period of at least six months from the practice of law, with a warning that similar transgressions in the future win be dealt with more severely.

Meanwhile the complainant sent a verified letter-petition dated March 29, 1974 to the then Chief Justice Querube C. Makalintal wherein the complainant asked this Court to look into the suspicious activities of a certain Rodolfo del Prado, who allegedly in connivance with the respondent, David D.C. Paz, made her sign an affidavit prejudicial to her interest. Among other allegations, the complainant stated in her verified complaint the following. 6. That there never is an illicit relationship between Atty. Paz and me at present because I believed all along that he was single and able to marry me. In fact, our relationship is aboveboard just like any engaged couple. 7. That I was made to understand by the Citizens Legal Assistant Office that the tenor of the affidavit made by Mr. Rudolfo Del Prado is such that the consideration for the illicit relationship was promissory note which to all intents and purposes is immoral and illegal. 8. That I am only after the collection of the loan which Atty. Paz got from me and not revenge for his deception. 6 The foregoing portions of her letter militate against the credibility of the complainant. In her complainant for disbarment, she pictured the respondent as morally perverse. However, in the aforementioned letter, she states that there never was an illicit relationship between her and the respondent, Atty. David D.C. Paz, and that their relationship was aboveboard just like any engaged couple. And finally, she avers that she was only after the collection of the loan which the respondent got from her and not for revenge for his deception. It has been held that the power of this Court to disbar a lawyer should be exercised with caution because of its serious consequences. 7 The burden of proof rests upon the complainant and the case against a respondent must be established by convincing proof. 8 In Arboleda vs. Gatchalian, this Court held: The Court has held that in disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon the complainant and the charge against the lawyer must be established by convincing proof (Go vs. Candoy, A.C. No. 736, Oct. 23, 1967, 21 SCRA 439; Toquib vs. Tomol, Jr., A.C. No. 554, March 25, 1970, 32 SCRA 156; in re Atty. Felizardo M. de Guzman, A.C. No. 838, Jan. 21. 1974, 55 SCRA 139). The record must disclose as free from doubt a case which compels the exercise by this Court of its disciplinary powers. The corrupt character of the act done must be clearly demonstrated. Moreover' considering the serious consequences, of the disbarment or suspension of a member of the Bar, We have consistently held that clearly preponderant evidence is necessary to justify the imposition of either penalty (De Guzman vs. Tadeo, 68 Phil. 554; Lim vs. Antonio, A.C. No. 848, Sept. 30, 1971, 41 SCRA 44). This Court likewise held that where there is no proof that respondent lawyer was guilty of any unethical conduct, harassment and malpractice, the disbarment case against him should be dismissed (Ricafort vs. Baltazar, A.C. No. 661, June 26, 1967, 20 SCRA 418; Delos Santos vs. Bolanos A.C. No. 483, July 21, 1967, 20 SCRA 763). 9 The evidence adduced by the complainant has failed to establish any cause for disciplinary action against the respondent. As the Solicitor General said in his report, "From all indications, there is little room for doubt that she filed his disbarment case not in redress of

a wrong, for there was no wrong committed. It was a voluntary act of indiscretion between two consenting adults who were fully aware of the consequences of their deed and for which they were responsible only to their own private consciences." WHEREFORE, the administrative complaint for disbarment is hereby DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

Barredo, Concepcion Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro and Melencio- Herrera, JJ., concur. Aquino, J., concurs in the result. Fernando, C.J.,Teehankee, Antonio JJ., took no part. Santos,J., is on leave

Separate Opinions

MAKASIAR, J., dissenting: Suspension for three months of respondent, from the practice of law, is justified by the adulterous acts in the hotel as the complainant was and is not legally divorced from her husband.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila

SECOND DIVISION A.M. No. 545-SBC December 26, 1974 PURISIMA BARBA, complainant, vs. HECTOR S. PEDRO, respondent. RESOLUTION FERNANDO, J.:p Hector S. Pedro, a successful bar candidate in the 1956 examinations, having obtained an average of 81.16%, but thus far unsuccessful in his efforts to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath, which had to be deferred because of a complaint for immorality filed against him by Purisima Barba, reiterates his plea for admission to the bar. It is unquestioned that he had amorous relations with the complainant resulting in the birth of a child. He failed, however, to marry her, having thereafter chosen another woman for his bride. After the lapse of eighteen years, and considering that his conduct in the meanwhile has not on the whole shown to be blameworthy, this Court feels that he has sufficiently atoned for that youthful indiscretion, having in mind likewise, that people of prominence in the municipality where he resides, did intercede on his behalf. Accordingly the long-sought privilege of membership in the bar will not be denied him any longer, but with this caveat. He must comply with his moral and legal obligation to his child born out of wedlock with complainant Purisima Barba. He has in his favor a resolution of this Court that dates back to January 15, 1969: "In the matter of the petition of Hector S. Pedro to take the oath as member of the Philippine Bar, alleging that while he passed the bar examinations given by this Court in 1956 with an average of 81.16%, he was not permitted to take his oath as a member of the Philippine Bar by reason of an administrative complaint against him filed with this Court be a Miss Purisima Barba of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, the complaint alleging immorality in that petitioner, sometime in July, 1953, came to her house and with lewd designs succeeded in gratifying his carnal desires, an act repeated thereafter on three different occasions accompanied by pledges to marry, as a result of which a child was born on April 23, 1954, a matter which when investigated resulted in a report that the complaint was well-grounded, petitioner being prevented thus from taking his oath; the present petition alleging further that petitioner is now married to Mrs. Estela U. Pedro, a public school teacher of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, and that from January 4, 1960 up to the present, he has been employed as community development worker with the Presidential Arm on Community Development (PACD) that he has since then conducted himself well in his relations with the community as well as in the performance of his duties as such official, attaching to his petition certifications of his good behavior from the Municipal Mayor of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, the Provincial Development Officer of the PACD, the President of the San Nicolas Bar Association, and the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, and a resolution of the Ilocos Norte Bar Association and likewise enclosing an affidavit of complainant Miss Purisima Barba attesting to petitioner's good conduct and behavior and expressing that she no longer has any opposition to his taking his oath as a lawyer this Court resolved to defer action on such petition until petitioner has given satisfactory proof to this Court as to the action subsequently pursued by him with reference to the child who was born out of his relations with complainant Miss Purisima Barba." 1 Thereafter came this

resolution of February 26, 1969: "Hector S. Pedro having offered proof as to the action subsequently pursued by him with reference to the child who was born out of his relations with complainant Purisima Barba, in compliance with the resolution of January 15, 1969, [the Court resolved] to allow respondent Hector S. Pedro to take the lawyer's oath." 2 Unfortunately, before he could do so in accordance with the above resolution, there was a letter from the aforesaid complainant Purisima Barba objecting to his taking his oath as a lawyer, premised on the fact that the affidavit submitted by him as to her withdrawal of her opposition to his membership in the bar did not represent her true feelings. Thereafter, on March 6, 1969, this Court suspended the effectivity of its previous resolution of February 26, 1969, which would have allowed him to take the lawyer's oath. Moreover, he was required to comment. This he did in a pleading submitted on March 28, 1969. He denied the allegation of falsity concerning the affidavit of complainant. This Court then, in another resolution of April 8, 1969, referred the matter to its Legal Officer, Ricardo Paras Jr., for investigation and report. A report was submitted on August 26, 1969. It stated that after a careful evaluation of the testimony given by the complainant and the respondent, the conclusion is warranted that complainant "had all along thought that the document Exhibit "A" was an affidavit of recognition of their daughter, Imelda, and definitely not an affidavit of withdrawal of her opposition to Mr. Pedro's admission to the Philippine Bar." 3 The parties were heard on the matter on January 19, 1970, with the complainant standing fast on her firm resolve to prevent respondent from taking the lawyer's oath. That attitude she has maintained all this while. It remains her deep conviction that respondent lacks good moral character, as proven by his failure to marry her "after having carnal knowledge of her." As she pointed out in her last pleading dated July 5, 1972: "The respondent was twenty seven years old when he committed the acts complained of and he was very much qualified to marry the complainant herein, but he did not comply with his promise to march her to the altar. Instead he married another woman." 4 It cannot be denied that respondent's conduct left much to be desired. He had committed a transgression, if not against the law, against the high moral standard requisite for membership in the bar. He had proven false to his word. What is worse, he did sully her honor. This on the one side. On the other hand, eighteen years had gone by from the time of the 1956 examinations. He was a successful bar candidate but because of this lapse from moral propriety, he has not been allowed to take the lawyer's oath. It likewise appears, from the testimonials submitted, that he has behaved rather well. At least, no other misdeed has been attributed to him. There is no affront to reason then in ruling that the punishment, while deserved, has lasted long enough. He has sufficiently rehabilitated himself. Retribution has been exacted, He has expiated for his offense. It is understandable that the bitterness in the heart of complainant cannot easily be erased, but that should not prove decisive. Even the most heinous of crimes prescribe after a certain period. 5 Moreover, as the transgression resulted from the frailty of flesh, the sociologist MacIver referring to it as "so powerful an appetite," an imperative of life closely associated with the "recklessness and the caprice of desire," 6 this Court feels that all the years he has been denied the privilege of being a lawyer would satisfy the requirement that failure to live up to the requisite moral standard is not to be taken lightly. It could also be said that in offenses of this character, the blame hardly belongs to the man alone. 7

It must be impressed on respondent Hector S. Pedro, the lawyer's oath is to be granted, it is indispensable, bar in good standing, that he complies with the moral him as the father of the child born out of wedlock complainant Purisima Barba.

however, that while his plea to take if he expects to be a member of the and legal obligation incumbent upon as a result of his relationship with

WHEREFORE, the resolution of March 6, 1969, suspending a previous resolution of February 26, 1969, is set aside and in accordance therewith, respondent Hector S. Pedro is allowed to take the lawyer's oath as was provided in the February 26, 1969 resolution. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

A.M. No. 1162 August 29, 1975 IN RE: VICTORIO D. LANUEVO, former Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court, Respondent. A.C. No. 1163 August 29, 1975 IN RE: RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, 1971 Bar Examinee, Respondent. A.M. No. 1164 August 29, 1975 IN RE: HON. BERNARDO PARDO, HON. RAMON PAMATIAN, ATTY. MANUEL TOMACRUZ, ATTY. FIDEL MANALO 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. Fidel Manalo and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. - for disciplinary action - for their acts and omissions during the 1971 Bar Examinations.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary In his request dated March 29, 1972 contained in a confidential letter to the Court for recorrection and re-evaluation of his answer to the 1971 Bar Examinations question, Oscar Landicho - who flunked in the 1971, 1968 and 1967 Bar Examinations with 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 Law Examiner himself (Hon. Ramon C. Pamatian) as well as by Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo. He further

therein stated "that there 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 contrary to due process postulates. Might not one say that some candidates got unfair and unjust treatment, for their grades were not asked to be reconsidered 'unofficially'? Why the discrimination? Does this not afford sufficient reason for the Court en banc to go into these matters by its conceded power to ultimately decide the matter of admission to the bar?" (p. 2, Confidential Letter, Vol. I, rec.).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Acting on the aforesaid confidential letter, the Court checked the records of the 1971 Bar Examinations and found that the grades in five subjects - Political Law and Public International Law, Civil Law, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law and Remedial Law - of a successful bar candidate with office code No. 954 underwent some changes which, however, were duly initialed and authenticated by the respective examiner concerned. Further check of the records revealed that the bar candidate with office 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 in the 1971 bar examinations with a grade of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% by virtue of a Court of 74.15%, which was considered 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 the five (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 the circumstances 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 reevaluated 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 the same 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 dated March 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 the 1971 bar examinations, the Court likewise resolved on March 5, 1971 to requires him "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 99, rec.). The five examiners concerned 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, and in amplication of, his answer filed on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 4547, rec.). Respondent Galang filed his unverified answer on March 16, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.). He was required by the Court to verify the same 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-checked examination 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 in the 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 as respondent in Administrative Case No. 1164. Hon. Bernardo Pardo remainded as a respondent for it was also discovered that another 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 Mercantile Law 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 to testify 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 student in the School of Law of Manuel L. Quezon University, was, on September 8, 1959, charged with the crime of slight physical 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 declared that 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 required under 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 be gainfully 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, submitted as 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 by the Court, the respondent-examiners recounted the circumstances under which they re-evaluated and/or re-checked the examination 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 examinations that 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 examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, because according to him the owner of the paper is on the borderline 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 the Supreme 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 upon verifying 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 same standard 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% to 10% (emphasis supplied). His answer dated March 19, 1973 substantially reiterated his allegations in his April 11, 1972 affidavit with following additional statements: xxx xxx xxx 3. ... However the grades in Nos. 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10, were not reconsidered as it is no longer to make the reconsideration of these answers because of the same evaluation and standard; hence, Nos. 1, 2 and 10 remainded 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 the identity 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 to the correction of the examination booklets of bar candidates I have always followed 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 me as 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 the Supreme Court and specially the chairman of the Bar Committee for fear that I might be identified as a bar examiner; xxx xxx xxx e) 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 not the one who made the original correction of the same (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-35, rec.; emphasis supplied). 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 two hundred notebooks (bearing examiner's code numbers 1200 to 1400) which according to my record was on February 5, 1972, he came to my residence at about 7:30 p.m. riding in a Vokswagen panel of the Supreme 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 to review 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. 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 my control and authority as long as the particular examinee's name had not been identified or that the code number decode and the examinee's name was revealed. The Bar Confidant told me that the name of the examinee in the case present bearing code number 661 had not been identified or revealed; and that it might 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, carefully read the answer, and graded it in accordance with the same standards I had used throughout the grading of the entire notebooks, with the result that the examinee deserved an increased grade of 66. After again clearing with the Bar Confidant my authority to correct the grades, and as he had assured me that the code number of the examinee in

question had not been decoded and his name known, ... I therefore corrected the total grade in the notebook and the grade card attached thereto, and properly initia(l)ed the same. I also corrected the itemized grades (from item No. 1 to item No. 10) on the two sets of grading sheets, my personal copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought with him the other copy thereof, and the 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 and replaced therein by reference the facts stated in his earlier sworn statement and in additional alleged that: xxx xxx xxx 3. 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 the resolution 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; chanrobles virtual law library 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 my official 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, I felt it inappropriate to verify his authority with the Chairman. It did not appear to me that his representations were unauthorized or suspicious. Indeed, the Bar Confidant was riding in the official vehicle 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 he used to see me: chanrobles virtual law library xxx xxx xxx 7. Indeed, the notebook code numbered 661 was still in the same condition as when I submitted the same. In agreeing to review the said notebook code numbered 661, my aim was to see if I committed an error 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 in other subjects, the highest of which was 84% in remedial law, if I recall correctly. Of course, it did not strike me as unusual that the Bar Confidant knew the grades of the examinee in the position to know and that there was nothing irregular in that: 8. In political and international law, the original grade obtained by the examinee with notebook code numbered 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 the examinee 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 where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner in said subject would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular. At the time of the Committee's first meeting, we still did not 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 motives of the Bar Confidant or his malfeasance in office, and did not know the examinee concerned nor had I any 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 xxx 2. That about weekly, the Bar Confidant would deliver and collect examination books to my residence at 951 Luna Mencias, Mandaluyong, Rizal. 3. That towards the end when I had already completed correction of the books in Criminal Law and was helping in the correction of some of the papers in another subject, the Bar Confidant brought back to me one (1) paper in Criminal Law saying that that particular examinee had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his paper in Criminal Law would be raised a few points to 75% 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 in the 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 faith and without the slightest inkling as to the identity of the examinee in question who up to now remains a total stranger and without 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 2. Sometime about the late part of January or early part of February 1972, Attorney Lanuevo, Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court, saw me in my house at No. 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal. He produced to me an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law which I had previously graded and submitted to him. He informed me that he and others (he used the words "we") had reviewed the said notebook. He requested me to review the said

notebook and possibly reconsider the grade that I had previously given. He explained that the examine concerned had done well in other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade that I had given him in Remedial Law his general average was short of passing. Mr. Lanuevo remarked that he thought that if the paper were reviewed I might find the examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar. As far as I can recall, Mr. Lanuevo particularly called my attention to the fact in his answers the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good enough English. Mr. Lanuevo however informed me that whether I would reconsider the grades I had previously given and submitted was entirely within my discretion. 3. Believing fully that it was within Mr. Lanuevo's authority as Bar Confidant to address such a request to me and that the said request was in order, I, in the presence of Mr. Lanuevo, proceeded tore-read and re-evaluate each and every item of the paper in question. I recall that in my re-evaluation of the answers, I increased the grades in some items, made deductions in other items, and maintained the same grades in other items. However, I recall that after Mr. Lanuevo and I had totalled the new grades that I had given after re-evaluation, the total grade increased by a few points, but still short of the passing mark of 75% in my subject. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 74-75, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer (response) dated March 18, 1973, respondent Manalo reiterated the contents of his sworn statement, adding the following: xxx xxx xxx 5. In agreeing to re-evaluate the notebook, with resulted in increasing the total grade of the examinee-concerned in Remedial Law from 63.75% to 74.5%, herein respondent acted in good faith. It may well be that he could be faulted for not having verified from the Chairman of the Committee of Bar Examiners the legitimacy of the request made by Mr. Lanuevo. Herein respondent, however, pleads in attenuation of such omission, that a) Having been appointed an Examiner for the first time, he was not aware, not having been apprised otherwise, that it was not within the authority of the Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court to request or suggest that the grade of a particular examination notebook be revised or reconsidered. He had every right to presume, owing to the highly fiduciary nature of the position of the Bar Confidant, that the request was legitimate. xxx xxx xxx c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent carefully evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answers by the criteria laid down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that particular subject that the said examine failed, herein respondent became convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that previously given to him, but that he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to be given the passing grade of 75%. It should also be mentioned that, in reappraising the answers, herein respondent downgraded a previous rating of an answer written by the examinee, from 9.25% to 9% (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 36-39, rec.; emphasis supplied).

Atty. Manuel Montecillo, examiner in Mercantile Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 17, 1972: xxx xxx xxx That during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners' Committee after the Bar Examinations were held, I was informed that one Bar examinee passed all other subjects except Mercantile Law; That I informed the Bar Examiners' Committee that I would be willing to re-evaluate the paper of this particular Bar candidate;. That the next day, the Bar Confidant handed to me a Bar candidate's notebook (No. 1613) showing a grade of 61%; That I reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers of this particular Bar candidate I decided to increase his final grade to 71%; That consequently, I amended my report and duly initialed the changes in the grade sheet (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Montecillo restated the contents of his sworn statement of April 17, 1972, and xxx xxx xxx 2. Supplementary to the foregoing sworn statement, I hereby state that I re-evaluated the examination notebook of Bar Candidate No. 1613 in Mercantile Law in absolute good faith and in direct compliance with the agreement made during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners Committee that where a candidate fails in only one subject, the Examiner concerned should make a re-evaluation of the answers of the candidate concerned, which I did. 3. Finally, I hereby state that I did not know at the time I made the aforementioned reevaluation that notebook No. 1613 in Mercantile Law pertained to bar examine Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, and that I have never met up to this time this particular bar examinee (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, Bar Confidant Lanuevo stated: xxx xxx xxx As I was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and the posting on the record of ratings, I was impressed of the writing and the answers on the first notebook. This led me to scrutinize all the set of notebooks. Believing that those five merited re-evalation on the basis of the memorandum circularized to the examiners shortly earlier to the effect that ... in the correction of the papers, substantial weight should then be given to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning' (par. 4),

I took it upon myself to bring them back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-checking. It is our experience in the Bar Division that immediately after the release of the results of the examinations, we are usually swarmed with requests of the examinees that they be shown their notebooks. Many of them would copy their answers and have them checked by their professors. Eventually some of them would file motions or requests for re-correction and/or re-evaluation. Right now, we have some 19 of such motions or requests which we are reading for submission to the Honorable Court. Often we feel that a few of them are meritorious, but just the same they have to be denied because the result of the examinations when released is final and irrevocable. It was to at least minimize the occurrence of such instances that motivated me to bring those notebooks back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 24, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Lanuevo avers: That he submitted the notebooks in question to the examiners concerned in his hotest belief that the same merited re-evaluation; that in so doing, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as bar confidant but on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned; that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner, because the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was inorder was left alone to the examiners' decision; and that, to his knowledge, he does not remember having made the alleged misrepresentation but that he remembers having brought to the attention of the Committee during the meeting a matter concerning another examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a grade below 50% in Mercantile Law. As the Committee agreed to remove the disqualification by way of raising the grade in said subject, respondent brought the notebook in question to the Examiner concerned who thereby raised the grade thus enabling the said examinee to pass. If he remembers right, the examinee concerned is one surnamed "de la Cruz" or "Ty-de la Cruz". Your Honors, respondent never entertained a notion that his act would stir such serious charges as would tend to undermine his integrity because he did it in all good faith. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 35, rec.; emphasis supplied). On August 27, 1973, during the course of the investigation, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in addition to, and in amplification of, his answer, stating: xxx xxx xxx chanrobles virtual law library 1. That I vehemently deny having deceived the examiners concerned into believing that the examinee involved failed only in their respective subjects, the fact of the matter being that the notebooks in question were submitted to the respective examiners for re-evaluation believing in all good faith that they so merited on the basis of the Confidential Memorandum (identified and marked as Exh. 1-Lanuevo, particularly that portion marked as Exh. 1-aLanuevo)which was circulated to all the examiners earlier, leaving to them entirely the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was in order,

2. That the following coincidence prompted me to pry into the notebooks in question: Sometime during the latter part of January and the early part of February, 1972, on my way back to the office (Bar Division) after lunch, I though of buying a sweepstake ticket. I have always made it a point that the moment I think of so buying, I pick a number from any object and the first number that comes into my sight becomes the basis of the ticket that I buy. At that moment, the first number that I saw was "954" boldly printed on an electrical contribance (evidently belonging to the MERALCO) attached to a post standing along the right sidewalk of P. Faura street towards the Supreme Court building from San Marcelino street and almost adjacent to the south-eastern corner of the fence of the Araullo High School(photograph of the number '954', the contrivance on which it is printed and a portion of the post to which it is attached is identified and marked as Exhibit 4-Lanuevo and the number "954" as Exh. 4-a-Lanuevo). With this number (954) in mind, I proceeded to Plaza Sta. Cruz to look for a ticket that would contain such number. Eventually, I found a ticket, which I then bought, whose last three digits corresponded to "954". This number became doubly impressive to me because the sum of all the six digits of the ticket number was "27", a number that is so significant to me that everything I do I try somewhat instinctively to link or connect it with said number whenever possible. Thus even in assigning code numbers on the Master List of examinees from 1968 when I first took charge of the examinations as Bar Confidant up to 1971, I either started with the number "27" (or "227") or end with said number. (1968 Master List is identified and marked as Exh. 5-Lanuevo and the figure "27" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 5-a Lanuevo; 1969 Master List as Exh. 6-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 6-a-Lanuevo; 1970 Master List as Exh. 7-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list as Exh. 7-a-Lanuevo; and the 1971 Master List as Exh. 8-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the end of the list as Exh. 8-a-Lanuevo). The significance to me of this number (27) was born out of these incidents in my life, to wit: (a) On November 27, 1941 while with the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, I was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result. As will be recalled, the last Pacific War broke out on December 8, 1941. While I was still confined at the hospital, our camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13, 1941 resulting in many casualties. From then on, I regarded November 27, 1941 as the beginning of a new life for me having been saved from the possibility of being among the casualties;(b) On February 27, 1946, I was able to get out of the army byway of honorable discharge; and (c) on February 27, 1947, I got married and since then we begot children the youngest of whom was born on February 27, 1957. Returning to the office that same afternoon after buying the ticket, I resumed my work which at the time was on the checking of the notebooks. While thus checking, I came upon the notebooks bearing the office code number "954". As the number was still fresh in my mind, it aroused my curiosity prompting me to pry into the contents of the notebooks. Impressed by the clarity of the writing and language and the apparent soundness of the answers and, thereby, believing in all good faith on the basis of the aforementioned Confidential Memorandum (Exh. 1-Lanuevo and Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo) that they merited reevaluation, I set them aside and later on took them back to the respective examiners for

possible review recalling to them the said Confidential Memorandum but leaving absolutely the matter to their discretion and judgment. 3. That the alleged misrepresentation or deception could have reference to either of the two cases which I brought to the attention of the committee during the meeting and which the Committee agreed to refer back to the respective examines, namely: (a) That of an examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a grade below 50% (47%) in Mercantile Law(the notebooks of this examinee bear the Office Code No. 110, identified and marked as Exh. 9-Lanuevo and the notebook in Mercantile Law bearing the Examiner's Code No. 951 with the original grade of 4% increased to 50% after re-evaluation as Exh. 9-a-Lanuevo); and (b) That of an examinee who obtained a borderline general average of 73.15% with a grade below 60% (57%) in one subject which, at the time, I could not pinpoint having inadvertently left in the office the data thereon. It turned out that the subject was Political and International Law under Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (The notebooks of this examinee bear the Office Code No. 1622 identified and marked as Exh. 10-Lanuevo and the notebook in Political and International Law bearing the Examiner's Code No. 661 with the original grade of 57% increased to 66% after re-evaluation, as Exh. 10-a-Lanuevo). This notebook in Political and International Law is precisely the same notebook mentioned in the sworn statement of Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo(Exh. ------- Pardo). 4. That in each of the two cases mentioned in the next preceding paragraph, only one (1) subject or notebook was reviewed or re-evaluated, that is, only Mercantile Law in the former; and only Political and International Law in the latter, under the facts and circumstances I made known to the Committee and pursuant to which the Committee authorized the referral of the notebooks involved to the examiners concerned; 5. That at that juncture, the examiner in Taxation even volunteered to review or re-check some 19, or so, notebooks in his subject but that I told the Committee that there was very little time left and that the increase in grade after re-evaluation, unless very highly substantial, may not alter the outcome since the subject carries the weight of only 10% (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.). The foregoing last-minute embellishment only serves to accentuate the fact that Lanuevo's story is devoid of truth. In his sworn statement of April 12, 1972, he was "led to scrutinize all the set of notebooks" of respondent Galang, because he "was impressed of the writing and the answers on the first notebook "as he "was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and the posting on the record of ratings." In his affidavit of August 27, 1973, he stated that the number 954 on a Meralco post provoked him "to pry into the contents of the notebooks" of respondent Galang "bearing office code number '954." Respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, asserted, among others; 1. That herein respondent is not acquainted with former BarConfidant Victorio Lanuevo and never met him before except once when, as required by the latter respondent submitted certain papers necessary for taking the bar examinations.

xxx xxx xxx 4. That it has been the consistent policy of the Supreme Court not to reconsider "failure" cases; after the official release thereof; why should it now reconsider a "passing" case, especially in a situation where the respondent and the bar confidant do not know each other and, indeed, met only once in the ordinary course of official business? It is not inevitable, then, to conclude that the entire situation clearly manifests a reasonable doubt to which respondent is richly entitled? 5. That respondent, before reading a copy of this Honorable Court's resolution dated March 5, 1973, had no knowledge whatsoever of former Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo's actuations which are stated in particular in the resolution. In fact, the respondent never knew this man intimately nor, had the herein respondent utilized anyone to contact the Bar Confidant Lanuevo in his behalf. But, assuming as true, the said actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as stated in the Resolution, which are evidently purported to show as having redounded to the benefit of herein respondent, these questions arise: First, was the re-evaluation of Respondent's examination papers by the Bar Examination Committee done only or especially for him and not done generally as regards the paper of the other bar candidates who are supposed to have failed? If the re-evaluation of Respondent's grades was done among those of others, then it must have been done as a matter of policy of the Committee to increase the percentage of passing in that year's examination and, therefore, the insinuation that only respondent's papers were re-evaluated upon the influence of Bar Confidant Lanuevo would be unjustifiable, if not far fetched. Secondly, is the fact that BarConfidant Lanuevo's actuations resulted in herein Respondent's benefit an evidence per se of Respondent's having caused actuations of Bar confidant Lanuevo to be done in former's behalf? To assume this could be disastrous in effect because that would be presuming all the members of the Bar Examination Committee as devoid of integrity, unfit for the bar themselves and the result of their work that year, as also unworthy of anything. All of these inferences are deductible from the narration of facts in the resolution, and which only goes to show said narration of facts an unworthy of credence, or consideration. xxx xxx xxx 7. This Honorable Tribunal's Resolution of March 5, 1973 would make this Respondent Account or answer for the actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as well as for the actuations of the Bar Examiners implying the existence of some conspiracy between them and the Respondent. The evident imputation is denied and it is contended that the Bar Examiners were in the performance of their duties and that they should be regarded as such in the consideration of this case. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.). I The evidence thus disclosed clearly demonstrates how respondent Lanuevo systematically and cleverly initiated and prepared the stage leading to the re-evalation and/or recorrection of the answers of respondent Galang by deceiving separately and individually the

respondents-examiners to make the desired revision without prior authority from the Supreme Court after the corrected notebooks had been submitted to the Court through the respondent Bar Confidant, who is simply the custodian thereof for and in behalf of the Court. It appears that one evening, sometime around the middle part of December, 1971, just before Christmas day, respondent Lanuevo approached Civil Law examiner Pamatian while the latter was in the process of correcting examination booklets, and then and there made the representations that as BarConfidant, he makes a review of the grades obtained in all subjects of the examinees and if he finds that a candidate obtains an extraordinarily high grade in one subject and a rather low one on another, he will bring back to the examiner concerned the notebook for re-evaluation and change of grade(Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 55-56; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.). Sometime in the latter part of January, 1972, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondent-examiner Pamatian an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, representing that the examinee who owned the particular notebook is on the borderline of passing and if his grade in said subject could be reconsidered to 75%, the said examine will get a passing average. Respondent-examiner Pamatian took respondent Lanuevo's word and under the belief that was really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court and in his further belief that he was just manifesting cooperation in doing so, he re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the examinee's grade in said subject to 75% from 64%. The particular notebook belonged to an examinee with Examiner's Code Number 95 and with Office Code Number 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. Respondent Pamatian did not know the identity of the examinee at the time he re-evaluated the said booklet (Exhs. 1-Pamatian, 2-Pamatian, and 3-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-33, 55-56, 57; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.). Before Justice Pamatian made the revision, Examinee Galang failed in seven subjects including Civil Law. After such revision, examinee Galang still failed in six subjects and could not obtain the passing average of 75% for admission to the Bar. Thereafter, about the latter part of January, 1972 or early part of February, 1972, respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of respondent-examiner Fidel Manalo at 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal, with an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law, which respondent Manalo and previously corrected and graded. Respondent Lanuevo then requested respondent Manalo to review the said notebook and possibly to reconsider the grade given, explaining and representing that "they" has reviewed the said notebook and that the examinee concerned had done well in other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade given said examinee by respondent Manalo in Remedial Law, the general average of said examinee was short of passing. Respondent Lanuevo likewise made the remark and observation that he thought that if the notebook were reviewed, respondent Manalo might yet find the examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar. Respondent Lanuevo also particularly called the attention of respondent Manalo to the fact that in his answers, the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good English. Furthermore, respondent Lanuevo called the attention of respondent Manalo to Paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum that read as follows: 4. Examination questions should be more a test of logic, knowledge of legal fundamentals, and ability to analyze and solve legal problems rather than a test of memory; in the

correction of papers, substantial weight should be given to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning. Respondent Manalo was, however, informed by respondent Lanuevo that the matter of reconsideration was entirely within his (Manalo's) discretion. Respondent Manalo, believing that respondent Lanuevo, as Bar Confidant, had the authority to make such request and further believing that such request was in order, proceeded to re-evaluate the examinee's answers in the presence of Lanuevo, resulting in an increase of the examinee's grade in that particular subject, Remedial Law, from 63.25% to 74.5%. Respondent Manalo authenticated with his signature the changes made by him in the notebook and in the grading sheet. The said notebook examiner's code number is 136, instead of 310 as earlier mentioned by him in his affidavit, and belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1 & 2- Manalo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 36-39, 74-75; Vol. V, pp. 50-53, rec.). But even after the re-evaluation by Atty. Manalo, Examinee Galang could not make the passing grade due to his failing marks in five subjects. Likewise, in the latter part of January, 1972, on one occasion when respondent Lanuevo went to deliver to respondent Guillermo Pablo, Jr. in the latter's house a new batch of examination papers in Political Law and Public International Law to be corrected, respondent Lanuevo brought out a notebook in Political Law bearing Examiner's Code Number 1752 (Exh. 5-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 66, rec.), informing respondent Pablo that particular examinee who owns the said notebook seems to have passed in all other subjects except in Political Law and Public International Law; and that if the said notebook would be reevaluated and the mark be increased to at least 75%, said examinee will pass the bar examinations. After satisfying himself from respondent that this is possible - the respondent Bar Confidant informing him that this is the practice of the Court to help out examinees who are failing in just one subject - respondent Pablo acceded to the request and thereby told the Bar Confidant to just leave the said notebook. Respondent Pablo thereafter re-evaluated the answers, this time with leniency. After the re-evaluation, the grade was increased to 78% from 68%, or an increase of 10%. Respondent Pablo then made the corresponding corrections in the grading sheet and accordingly initialed the charges made. This notebook with Office Code Number 954 also belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Vol. V, pp. 43-46, rec.). After the re-evaluation by Atty. Pablo, Jr., examinee Galang's general average was still below the passing grade, because of his failing marks in four subjects. Towards the end of the correction of examination notebooks, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondent Tomacruz one examination booklet in Criminal Law, with the former informing the latter, who was then helping in the correction of papers in Political Law and Public International Law, as he had already finished correcting the examination notebooks in his assigned subject - Criminal Law - that the examinee who owns that particular notebook had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his grade in Criminal Law would be raised a few points to 75%, then the examinee would make the passing grade. Accepting the words of respondent Lanuevo, and seeing the justification and because he did not want to be the one causing the failure of the examinee, respondent Tomacruz raised the grade from 64% to 75% and thereafter, he initialed the revised mark and also revised the mark in the general list and likewise initialed the same. The examinee's Examiner Code

Number is 746 while his Office Code Number is 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1, 2 & 3-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 65, 66 and 71; Vol. V, pp. 24-25, 60-61, rec.). Respondent Tomacruz does not recall having been shown any memo by respondent Lanuevo when the latter approached him for this particular re-evaluation; but he remembers Lanuevo declaring to him that where a candidate had almost made the passing average but had failed in one subject, as a matter of policy of the Court, leniency is applied in reviewing the examinee's notebook in the failing subject. He recalls, however, that he was provided a copy of the Confidential Memorandum but this was long before the re-evaluation requested by respondent Lanuevo as the same was received by him before the examination period (Vol. V, p. 61, rec.). However, such revision by Atty. Tomacruz could not raise Galang's general average to a passing grade because of his failing mark in three more subjects, including Mercantile Law. For the revision of examinee Galang's notebook in Mercantile Law, respondent Lanuevo neatly set the last phase of his quite ingenious scheme - by securing authorization from the Bar Examination Committee for the examiner in Mercantile Law tore-evaluate said notebook. At the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee on February 8, 1972, respondent Lanuevo suggested that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner concerned would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular and the Committee adopted the suggestion (Exhs. A & B-Montecillo, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 41, 72, 63; Vol. Vi, p. 16, rec.). At a subsequent meeting of the Bar Examination Committee, respondent Montecillo was informed by respondent Lanuevo that a candidate passed all other subjects except Mercantile Law. This information was made during the meeting within hearing of the order members, who were all closely seated together. Respondent Montecillo made known his willingness tore-evaluate the particular paper. The next day, respondent Lanuevo handed to respondent Montecillo a bar candidate's notebook with Examiner's Code Number 1613 with a grade of 61%. Respondent Montecillo then reviewed the whole paper and after reevaluating the answers, decided to increase the final grade to 71%. The matter was not however thereafter officially brought to the Committee for consideration or decision (Exhs. A& B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, 70-71; Vol. V, pp. 33-34, rec.). Respondent Montecillo declared that without being given the information that the particular examinee failed only in his subject and passed all the others, he would not have consented to make the re-evaluation of the said paper (Vol. V, p. 33, rec.).Respondent Montecillo likewise added that there was only one instance he remembers, which is substantiated by his personal records, that he had to change the grade of an examinee after he had submitted his report, referring to the notebook of examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, with Examiner's Code Number 1613 and with Office Code Number 954 (Vol. V, pp. 34-35, rec.). A day or two after February 5, 1972, when respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of respondent-examiner Pardo to obtain the last bag of 200 notebooks, respondent Lanuevo returned to the residence of respondent Pardo riding in a Volkswagen panel of the Supreme Court of the Philippines with two companions. According to respondent Lanuevo, this was around the second week of February, 1972, after the first meeting of the Bar Examination

Committee. respondent Lanuevo had with him on that occasion an examinee's notebook bearing Examiner's Code No. 661. Respondent Lanuevo, after the usual amenities, requested respondent Pardo to review and re-examine, if possible, the said notebook because, according to respondent Lanuevo, the examine who owns that particular notebook obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which is 84% in Remedial Law. After clearing with respondent Lanuevo his authority to reconsider the grades, respondent Pardo re-evaluated the answers of the examine concerned, resulting in an increase of grade from 57% of 66%. Said notebook has number 1622 as office code number. It belonged to examinee Ernesto Quitaleg (Exhs. 1 & 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-63; Vol. V, pp. 12-24, 29-30, rec.). II chanrobles virtual law library Re: Administrative Case No. 1162, Victorio D. Lanuevo, respondent. A UNAUTHORIZED RE-EVALUATION OF THE ANSWERS OF EXAMINE RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, IN ALL FIVE (5) MAJOR SUBJECTS.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having requested on his own initiative the five examiners concerned to re-evaluate the five notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, that eventually resulted in the increase of Galang's average from 66.25% to the passing grade 74.15%, or a total increase of eight (8) weighted points, more or less, that enabled Galang to hurdle the 1971 Bar examinations via a resolution of the Court making 74% the passing average for that year's examination without any grade below fifty percent (50%) in any subject. Galang thereafter took his lawyer's oath. It is likewise beyond dispute that he had no authority from the Court or the Committee to initiate such steps towards the said re-evaluation of the answers of Galang or of other examinees. Denying that he made representations to the examiners concerned that respondent Galang failed only in their respective subjects and/or was on the borderline of passing, Respondent Lanuevo sought to justify his actuations on the authority of the aforequoted paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum(Exhs. 1 and 1-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Cases Nos. 1162 & 1164, p. 51, Adm. Case No. 1162; Vol. VII, p. 4, rec.) distributed to the members of the Bar Examination Committee. He maintains that he acted in good faith and "in his honest belief that the same merited re-evaluation; that in doing so, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as BarConfidant but on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned; and that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner because the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was in order was left alone to the examiners' decision ..." (Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-37, rec.). But as openly admitted by him in the course of the investigation, the said confidential memorandum was intended solely for the examiners to guide them in the initial correction of the examination papers and never as a basis for him to even suggest to the examiners the re-evaluation of the examination papers of the examinees (Vol. VII, p. 23, rec.). Any such suggestion or request is not only presumptuous but also offensive to the norms of delicacy.

We believe the Examiners - Pablo, Manalo, Montecillo, Tomacruz, Pardo and Pamatian whose declarations on the matter of the misrepresentations and deceptions committed by respondent Lanuevo, are clear and consistent as well as corroborate each other. For indeed the facts unfolded by the declarations of the respondents-examiners (Adm. Case No. 1164) and clarified by extensive cross-examination conducted during the investigation and hearing of the cases show how respondent Lanuevo adroitly maneuvered the passing of examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang in the 1971 Bar Examinations. It is patent likewise from the records that respondent Lanuevo too undue advantage of the trust and confidence reposed in him by the Court and the Examiners implicit in his position as BarConfidant as well as the trust and confidence that prevailed in and characterized his relationship with the five members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee, who were thus deceived and induced into re-evaluating the answers of only respondent Galang in five subjects that resulted in the increase of his grades therein, ultimately enabling him to be admitted a member of the Philippine Bar. It was plain, simple and unmitigated deception that characterized respondent Lanuevo's well-studied and well-calculated moves in successively representing separately to each of the five examiners concerned to the effect that the examinee failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing. To repeat, the before the unauthorized reevaluations were made, Galang failed in the five (5) major subjects and in two (2) minor subjects while his general average was only 66.25% - which under no circumstances or standard could it be honestly claimed that the examinee failed only in one, or he was on the borderline of passing. In fact, before the first notebook of Galang was referred back to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation, Galang had only one passing mark and this was in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, a minor subject, with grade of 81%. The averages and individual grades of Galang before and after the unauthorized re-evaluation are as follows: BAI 1. Political Law Public International Law 68% 78% = 10 pts. or 30 weighted points BAI Labor Laws and Social Legislations 67% 67% = no reevaluation made. 2. Civil Law 64% 75% = 1 points or 33 weighted points. Taxation 74% 74% = no reevaluation made. 3. Mercantile Law 61% 71% = 10 pts. or 30 weighted points. 4. Criminal Law 64% 75% = 11 pts. or 22 weighted points.

5. Remedial Law 63.75% (64) 75.5% (75%) = 11 pts. or 44 weighted points. Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises 81% 81% = no re-evaluation made. -----------General Weighted Averages 66.25% 74.15% Hence, by the simple expedient of initiating the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang in the five (5) subjects under the circumstances already narrated, Galang's original average of 66.25% was increased to 74.15% or an increase of 7.9 weighted points, to the great damage and prejudice of the integrity of the Bar examinations and to the disadvantage of the other examinees. He did this in favor only of examinee Galang, with the possible addition of examinees Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. But only one notebook was reevaluated for each of the latter who - Political Law and Public International Law for Quitaleg and Mercantile Law for Ty dela Cruz. The Office of the Bar Confidant, it must be stressed, has absolutely nothing to do in the reevaluation or reconsideration of the grades of examinees who fail to make the passing mark before or after their notebooks are submitted to it by the Examiners. After the corrected notebooks are submitted to him by the Examiners, his only function is to tally the individual grades of every examinee in all subjects taken and thereafter compute the general average. That done, he will then prepare a comparative data showing the percentage of passing and failing in relation to a certain average to be submitted to the Committee and to the Court and on the basis of which the Court will determine the passing average, whether 75 or 74 or 73, etc. The Bar Confidant has no business evaluating the answers of the examinees and cannot assume the functions of passing upon the appraisal made by the Examiners concerned. He is not the over-all Examiner. He cannot presume to know better than the examiner. Any request for re-evaluation should be done by the examinee and the same should be addressed to the Court, which alone can validly act thereon. A Bar Confidant who takes such initiative, exposes himself to suspicion and thereby compromises his position as well as the image of the Court. Respondent Lanuevo's claim that he was merely doing justice to Galang without any intention of betraying the trust and confidence reposed in him by the Court as Bar Confidant, can hardly invite belief in the fact of the incontrovertible fact that he singled out Galang's papers for re-evaluation, leaving out the papers of more than ninety (90) examinees with far better averages ranging from 70% to 73.9% of which he was fully aware (Vol. VI, pp. 46-47, 101, rec.), which could be more properly claimed as borderline cases. This fact further betrays respondent Lanuevo's claim of absolute good faith in referring back the papers of Galang to the Examiners for re-evaluation. For certainly, as against the original weighted average of 66.25% of Galang, there can hardly be any dispute that the cases of the aforesaid more than ninety (90) examinees were more deserving of reconsideration. Hence, in trying to do justice to Galang, as claimed by respondent Lanuevo, grave injustice was inflicted on the other examinees of the 1971 Bar examinations, especially the said more than ninety candidates. And the unexplained failure of respondent Lanuevo to apprise the Court or the Committee or even the Bar Chairman of the fact of re-evaluation before or after

the said re-evaluation and increase of grades, precludes, as the same is inconsistent with, any pretension of good faith. His request for the re-evaluation of the notebook in Political Law and International Law of Ernesto Quitaleg and the notebook in Mercantile Law of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz to give his actuations in the case of Galang a semblance of impartiality, hoping that the over ninety examinees who were far better situated than Galang would not give him away. Even the reevaluation of one notebook of Quitaleg and one notebook of Ty dela Cruz violated the agreement of the members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee to re-evaluate when the examinee concerned fails only in one subject. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz failed in four (4) and three (3) subjects respectively - as hereinafter shown. The strange story concerning the figures 954, the office code number given to Galang's notebook, unveiled for the first time by respondent Lanuevo in his suplemental sworn statement(Exh. 3- Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47. rec.) filed during the investigation with this Court as to why he pried into the papers of Galang deserves scant consideration. It only serves to picture a man desperately clutching at straws in the wind for support. Furthermore, it was revealed by respondent Lanuevo for the first time only on August 27, 1973 or a period of more than five 95) months after he filed his answer on March 19, 1973(Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-36, rec.), showing that it was just an after-thought. B chanrobles virtual law library REFERRAL OF EXAMINEE ALFREDO TY DELA CRUZ NOTEBOOK IN MERCHANTILE LAW TO RAISE HIS GRADE OF 47% TO 50% TO EXAMINER MANUEL MONTECILLO AND OF EXAMINEE ERNESTO QUITALEG'S NOTEBOOK IN POLITICAL LAW TO EXAMINER BERNARDO PARDO FOR RE-EVALUATION, RESULTING IN THE INCREASE OF HIS GRADE IN THAT SUBJECT FROM 57% TO 66%. Likewise, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having referred back the aforesaid notebooks on Mercantile Law and Political Law respectively of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz and Ernesto Quitaleg to the Examiners concerned. The records are not clear, however, under what circumstances the notebooks of Ty dela Cruz and Quitaleg were referred back to the Examiners concerned. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that these two cases were officially brought to the Bar Examination Committee during its first meeting (Vol. VI, pp. 50-51, rec.) and the latter decided to refer them back to the Examiners concerned for re-evaluation with respect to the case of Quitaleg and to remove the disqualification in the case of Ty dela Cruz(Vol. VI, pp. 33-39, 84-86, rec.). Respondent Lanuevo further claimed that the date of these two cases were contained in a sheet of paper which was presented at the said first meeting of the Committee (Vol. VI, pp. 39-43, 49-51, rec.). Likewise a record of the dates of every meeting of the Committee was made by respondent Lanuevo (Vol. VI, p. 28, rec.). The alleged sheet containing the date of the two examinees and record of the dates of the meeting of the Committee were not presented by respondent Lanuevo as, according to him, he left them inadvertently in his desk in the Confidential Room when he went on leave after the release of the Bar results (Vol. VI, pp. 28, 41-45, rec.). It appears, however, that the inventory conducted by officials of the Court in the Confidential Room of respondent Lanuevo did not yield any such sheet of record (Exh. X, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 74, rec.; Vol. VIII, pp. 11-13, 20-22, 29-31, rec.).

Respondent Examiner Montecillo, Mercantile Law, maintained that there was only one notebook in Mercantile Law which was officially brought to him and this is substantiated by his personal file and record (Vol. VI, pp. 34-35, rec.). According to him, this notebook's examiner code number is 1613 (Vol. V, p.35, rec.) and is owned by Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. It appears, however, that the original grade of 47% in Mercantile Law of Ty dela Cruz was changed to 50% as appearing in the cover of the notebook of said examinee and the change is authenticated with the initial of Examiner Montecillo. He was present when respondent Lanuevo presented in evidence the notebook of Ty dela Cruz bearing Examiner code number 951 and Office Code Number 110 as Exhibit 9-Lanuevo in Administrative Case No. 1162, and the figures 47 crossed out, replaced by the figures 50 bearing the initial of Examiner Montecillo as Exhibit 9-a-Lanuevo (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 48, rec.; Vol. VI, pp. 23-24, Vol. VIII, p. 4, rec.); but Atty. Montecillo did not interpose any objection to their admission in evidence. In this connection, respondent Examiner Pardo testified that he remembers a case of an examinee presented to the Committee, who obtained passing marks in all subjects except in one and the Committee agreed to refer back to the Examiner concerned the notebook in the subject in which the examinee failed (Vol. V, pp. 15-16, rec.). He cannot recall the subject, but he is certain that it was not Political Law (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.).Further, Pardo declared that he is not aware of any case of an examinee who was on the borderline of passing but who got a grade below 50% in one subject that was taken up by the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 1617, rec.). Examiner Montecillo testified that it was the notebook with Examiner Code Number 1613 (belonging to Galang) which was referred to the Committee and the Committee agreed to return it to the Examiner concerned. The day following the meeting in which the case of an examinee with Code Number 1613 was taken up, respondent Lanuevo handed him said notebook and he accordingly re-evaluated it. This particular notebook with Office Code Number 954 belongs to Galang. Examiner Tomacruz recalled a case of an examinee whose problem was Mercantile Law that was taken up by the Committee. He is not certain of any other case brought to the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 59-61, rec.). Pardo declared that there was no case of an examinee that was referred to the Committee that involved Political Law. He re-evaluated the answers of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law upon the representation made by respondent Lanuevo to him. As heretofore stated, it was this consensus at the meeting on February 8, 1972 of the members of the Committee that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed all the others, the Examiner in whose subject the examinee failed should re-evaluate or recheck the notebook (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.: Exh. 2-Pardo, allegation No. 9, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63, Exh. A-Montecillo, Allegation No. 2, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and Exh. B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.). At the time the notebook of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law with a grade of 57% was referred back to Examiner Pardo, said examinee had other failing grades in three (3) subjects, as follows: Labor Laws 3%

Taxation 69% Mercantile Law 68% Ernesto Quitaleg's grades and averages before and after the re-evaluation of his grade in Political Law are as follows: BA Political Law 57% 66% = 9 pts. or 27 weighted points Labor Laws 73% 73% = No reevaluation Civil Law 75% 75% = " Taxation 69% 69% = " Mercantile Law 68% 68% = " Criminal Law 78% 78% = " Remedial Law 85% 85% = " Legal Ethics 83% 83% = "

Average (weighted) 73.15% 74.5% (Vol. VI, pp. 26-27; Exhs. 10 and 10-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, rec.) chanrobles virtual law library Alfredo Ty dela Cruz, at the time his notebook in Mercantile Law was referred to Examiner Montecillo to remove the disqualification grade of 47% in said subject, had two (2) other failing grades. These are: Political Law 70% Taxation 72% His grades and averages before and after the disqualifying grade was removed are as follows: B A chanrobles virtual law library Political Law 70% 70% = No reevaluation Labor Laws 75% 75% = " Civil Law 89% 89% = " Taxation 72% 72% = " Mercantile Law 47% 50% = 3 pts. or 9 weighted points Criminal Law 78% 78% = no reevaluation Remedial Law 88% 88% = " Legal Ethics 79% 79% = " ----------------Weighted Averages 74.95% 75.4% (Vol. VI, pp. 26-27, rec.).

The re-evaluation of the answers of Quitaleg in Political Law and the answers of Ty dela Cruz in Mercantile Law, violated the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee in February, 1971, which violation was due to the misrepresentation of respondent Lanuevo. It must be stated that the referral of the notebook of Galang in Mercantile Law to Examiner Montecillo can hardly be said to be covered by the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee because even at the time of said referral, which was after the unauthorized reevaluation of his answers of four (4) subjects, Galang had still failing grades in Taxation and Labor Laws. His re-evaluated grade of 74.5% in Remedial Law was considered 75% under the Confidential Memorandum and was so entered in the record. His grade in Mercantile Law as subsequently re-evaluated by Examiner Montecillo was 71%. Respondent Lanuevo is therefore guilty of serious misconduct - of having betrayed the trust and confidence reposed in him as Bar Confidant, thereby impairing the integrity of the Bar examinations and undermining public faith in the Supreme Court. He should be disbarred. As to whether Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz should be disbarred or their names stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, it is believed that they should be required to show cause and the corresponding investigation conducted. III chanrobles virtual law library Re: Administrative Case No. 1163, Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, respondent. A chanrobles virtual law library The name of respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, should likewise be stricken off the Roll of Attorneys. This is a necessary consequence of the un-authorized reevaluation of his answers in five(5) major subjects - Civil Law, Political and International Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law, and Mercantile Law. The judicial function of the Supreme Court in admitting candidates to the legal profession, which necessarily involves the exercise of discretion, requires: (1) previous established rules and principles; (2) concrete facts, whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals; and (3) a decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and principles (In re: Cunanan - Flunkers' Petition for Admission to the Bar -- 94 Phil. 534, 544545). The determination of whether a bar candidate has obtained the required passing grade certainly involves discretion (Legal and Judicial Ethics, Justice Martin, 1969 ed., p. 13). In the exercise of this function, the Court acts through a Bar Examination Committee, composed of a member of the Court who acts as Chairman and eight (8) members of the Bar who act as examiners in the eight (8) bar subjects with one subject assigned to each. Acting as a sort of liaison officer between the Court and the Bar Chairman, on one hand, and the individual members of the Committee, on the other, is the Bar Confidant who is at the same time a deputy clerk of the Court. Necessarily, every act of the Committee in connection with the exercise of discretion in the admission of examinees to membership of the Bar must be in accordance with the established rules of the Court and must always be subject to the final approval of the Court. With respect to the Bar Confidant, whose position is primarily confidential as the designation indicates, his functions in connection with the conduct of the

Bar examinations are defined and circumscribed by the Court and must be strictly adhered to.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The re-evaluation by the Examiners concerned of the examination answers of respondent Galang in five (5) subjects, as already clearly established, was initiated by Respondent Lanuevo without any authority from the Court, a serious breach of the trust and confidence reposed by the Court in him as Bar Confidant. Consequently, the re-evaluation that enabled respondent Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations and to be admitted to the Bar is a complete nullity. The Bar Confidant does not possess any discretion with respect to the matter of admission of examinees to the Bar. He is not clothed with authority to determine whether or not an examinee's answers merit re-evaluation or re-evaluation or whether the Examiner's appraisal of such answers is correct. And whether or not the examinee benefited was in connivance or a privy thereto is immaterial. What is decisive is whether the proceedings or incidents that led to the candidate's admission to the Bar were in accordance with the rules. B Section 2 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964, in connection, among others, with the character requirement of candidates for admission to the Bar, provides that "every applicant for admission as a member of the Bar must be ... of good moral character ... and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and that no charges against him involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines." Prior to 1964, or under the old Rules of Court, a bar applicant was required to produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory testimonials of good moral character (Sec. 2, Rule 127). Under both rules, every applicant is duty bound to lay before the Court all his involvement in any criminal case, pending or otherwise terminated, to enable the Court to fully ascertain or determine applicant's moral character. Furthermore, as to what crime involves moral turpitude, is for the supreme Court to determine. Hence, the necessity of laying before or informing the Court of one's personal record - whether he was criminally indicted, acquitted, convicted or the case dismissed or is still pending - becomes more compelling. The forms for application to take the Bar examinations provided by the Supreme Court beginning the year 1965 require the disclosure not only of criminal cases involving moral turpitude filed or pending against the applicant but also of all other criminal cases of which he has been accused. It is of course true that the application form used by respondent Galang when he took the Bar for the first time in 1962 did not expressly require the disclosure of the applicant's criminal records, if any. But as already intimated, implicit in his task to show satisfactory evidence or proof of good moral character is his obligation to reveal to the Court all his involvement in any criminal case so that the Court can consider them in the ascertainment and determination of his moral character. And undeniably, with the applicant's criminal records before it, the Court will be in a better position to consider the applicant's moral character; for it could not be gainsaid that an applicant's involvement in any criminal case, whether pending or terminated by its dismissal or applicant's acquittal or conviction, has a bearing upon his character or fitness for admission to the Bar. In 1963 and 1964, when respondent Galang took the Bar for the second and third time, respectively, the application form provided by the Court for use of applicants already required the applicant to declare under oath that "he has not been accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any offense involving moral turpitude; and that there is no pending case of that nature against him." By 1966, when

Galang took the Bar examinations for the fourth time, the application form prepared by the Court for use of applicants required the applicant to reveal all his criminal cases whether involving moral turpitude or not. In paragraph 4 of that form, the applicant is required under oath to declare that "he has not been charged with any offense before a Fiscal, Municipal Judge, or other officer; or accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any crime involving moral turpitude; nor is there a pending case against him" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 56, rec.). Yet, respondent Galang continued to intentionally withhold or conceal from the Court his criminal case of slight physical injuries which was then and until now is pending in the City Court of Manila; and thereafter repeatedly omitted to make mention of the same in his applications to take the Bar examinations in 1967, 1969 and 1971. All told, respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, is guilty of fraudulently concealing and withholding from the Court his pending criminal case for physical injuries in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1971; and in 1966, 1967,1969 and 1971, he committed perjury when he declared under oath that he had no pending criminal case in court. By falsely representing to the Court that he had no criminal case pending in court, respondent Galang was allowed unconditionally to take the Bar examinations seven (7) times and in 1972 was allowed to take his oath. That the concealment of an attorney in his application to take the Bar examinations of the fact that he had been charged with, or indicted for, an alleged crime, is a ground for revocation of his license to practice law is well - settled (see 165 ALR 1151, 7 CJS 741). Thus: [1] It requires no argument to reach the conclusion that the respondent, in withholding from the board of law examiners and from the justice of this court, to whom he applied for admission, information respecting so serious a matter as an indictment for a felony, was guilty of fraud upon the court (cases cited). [2] It is equally clear that, had the board of law examiners, or the judge to whom he applied for admission, been apprised of the true situation, neither the certificate of the board nor of the judge would have been forthcoming (State ex rel. Board of Law Examiners v. Podell, 207 N - W - 709 - 710). The license of respondent Podell was revoke and annulled, and he was required to surrender to the clerk of court the license issued to him, and his name was stricken from the roll of attorneys (p. 710). Likewise in Re Carpel, it was declared that: [1] The power to admit to the bar on motion is conferred in the discretion of the Appellate Division.' In the exercise of the discretion, the court should be informed truthfully and frankly of matters tending to show the character of the applicant and his standing at the bar of the state from which he comes. The finding of indictments against him, one of which was still outstanding at the time of his motion, were facts which should have been submitted to the court, with such explanations as were available. Silence respecting them was reprehensible, as tending to deceive the court (165 NYS, 102, 104; emphasis supplied). Carpel's admission to the bar was revoked (p. 105).

Furthermore, respondent's persistent denial of his involvement in any criminal case despite his having been apprised by the Investigation of some of the circumstances of the criminal case including the very name of the victim in that case(he finally admitted it when he was confronted by the victim himself, who was called to testify thereon), and his continued failure for about thirteen years to clear his name in that criminal case up to the present time, indicate his lack of the requisite attributes of honesty, probity and good demeanor. He is therefore unworthy of becoming a member of the noble profession of law. While this aspect of the investigation was not part of the formal resolution of the Court requiring him to explain why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, respondent Galang was, as early as August, 1973, apprised of his omission to reveal to the Court his pending criminal case. Yet he did not offer any explanation for such omission. Under the circumstances in which respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was allowed to take the Bar examinations and the highly irregular manner in which he passed the Bar, WE have no other alternative but to order the surrender of his attorney's certificate and the striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys. For as WE said in Re Felipe del Rosario: The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted every one who demands it, but is a privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of sound discretion. The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to escape the penalties of the criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to receive one whose integrity is questionable as an officer of the court, to clothe him with all the prestige of its confidence, and then to permit him to hold himself as a duly authorized member of the bar (citing American cases) [52 Phil. 399-401]. What WE now do with respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, in this present case is not without any precedent in this jurisdiction. WE had on several occasions in the past nullified the admission of successful bar candidates to the membership of the Bar on the grounds, among others, of (a)misrepresentations of, or false pretenses relative to, the requirement on applicant's educational attainment [Tapel vs. Publico, resolution of the Supreme Court striking off the name of Juan T. Publico from the Roll of Attorneys on the basis of the findings of the Court Investigators contained in their report and recommendation, Feb. 23, 1962; In re: Telesforo A. Diao, 7 SCRA 475-478; (b) lack of good moral character [In re: Peralta, 101 Phil. 313-314]; and (c) fraudulent passing of the Bar examinations [People vs. Romualdez -- re: Luis Mabunay, 57 Phil. 151; In re: Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399 and People vs. Castro and Doe, 54 Phil. 42]. In the cases of Romualdez (Mabunay) and Castro, the Court found that the grades of Mabunay and Castro were falsified and they were convicted of the crime of falsification of public documents. IV chanrobles virtual law library RE: Administrative Case No. 1164, Assistant Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (now CFI Judge), Judge Ramon Pamatian(Later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, now deceased)Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo, Atty. Manuel Tomacruz and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr., respondents. All respondents Bar examiners candidly admitted having made the re-evaluation and/or recorrection of the papers in question upon the misrepresentation of respondent BarConfidant

Lanuevo. All, however, professed good faith; and that they re-evaluated or increased the grades of the notebooks without knowing the identity of the examinee who owned the said notebooks; and that they did the same without any consideration or expectation of any. These the records clearly demonstrate and WE are of the opinion and WE so declare that indeed the respondents-examiners made the re-evaluation or re-correcion in good faith and without any consideration whatsoever. Considering however the vital public interest involved in the matter of admission of members to the Bar, the respondents bar examiners, under the circumstances, should have exercised greater care and caution and should have been more inquisitive before acceding to the request of respondent Bar Confidant Lanuevo. They could have asked the Chairman of the Bar Examination Committee, who would have referred the matter to the Supreme Court. At least the respondents-examiners should have required respondent Lanuevo to produce or show them the complete grades and/or the average of the examinee represented by respondent Lanuevo to have failed only in their respective and particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing to fully satisfy themselves that the examinee concerned was really so circumstances. This they could have easily done and the stain on the Bar examinations could have been avoided. Respondent Bar examiners Montecillo, Pamatian, and Manalo claimed and so declared under oath that the answers of respondent Galang really deserved or merited the increased grades; and so with respondent Pardo in connection with the re-evaluation of Ernesto Quitaleg's answers in Political Law. With respect to respondents Tomacruz and Pablo, it would appear that they increased the grades of Galang in their respective subject solely because of the misrepresentations of Respondent Lanuevo. Hence, in the words of respondent Tomacruz: "You brought to me one paper and you said that this particular examinee had almost passed, however, in my subject he received 60 something, I cannot remember the exact average and if he would get a few points higher, he would get a passing average. I agreed to do that because I did not wish to be the one causing his failure. ..." (Vol. V, pp. 60-61, rec.; see also allegations 3 and 4, Exh. 1-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis ours). And respondent Pablo: "... he told me that this particular examinee seems to have passed in allot her subject except this subject and that if I can reevaluate this examination notebook and increase the mark to at least 75, this particular examinee will pass the bar examinations so I believe I asked him 'Is this being done?' and he said 'Yes, that is the practice used to be done before to help out examinees who are failing in just one subject' so I readily acceded to his request and said 'Just leave it with me and I will try to re-evaluate' and he left it with me and what i did was to go over the book and tried to be as lenient as I could. While I did not mark correct the answers which were wrong, what I did was to be more lenient and if the answers was correct although it was not complete I raise the grade so I had a total of 78 instead of 68 and what I did was to correct the grading sheet accordingly and initial the changes" (Vol. V, pp. 44-45, rec.; emphasis supplied). It could not be seriously denied, however, that the favorable re-evaluations made by respondents Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Pardo notwithstanding their declarations that the increases in grades they gave were deserved by the examinee concerned, were to a certain extent influenced by the misrepresentation and deception committed by respondent Lanuevo. Thus in their own words: Montecillo -

Q And by reason of that information you made the re-evaluation of the paper? A Yeas, your Honor. Q Would you have re-evaluated the paper of your own accord in the absence of such information? A No, your Honor, because I have submitted my report at that time" (Vol. V, p. 33, rec.; see also allegations in paragraphs 2, 3, 4 & 5, Affidavit of April 17, 1972, Exh. B-Montecillo; allegation No. 2, Answer dated march 19, 1973, Exh. A-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and 72, rec.). Pamatian 3. That sometime in the later part of January of this year, he brought back to me an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation because according to him the owner of the paper is on the borderline 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 the Supreme Court to do so and in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%; ..." (Exh. 2Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 55, rec.); and 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 them is representation of said Atty. Victorio Lanuevo, ..." (Exh. 1-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 33-34, rec.). Manalo (c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent carefully evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answer by the criteria laid down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of the doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that particular subject that said examinee failed, herein respondent became convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that previously given him, but he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to be given the passing grade of 75%. ..."(allegation 5-c, p. 38, Exh. 1-Manalo, rec.; emphasis supplied). Pardo ... 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 in other subjects, the highest of which was 84% in Remedial Law, if I recall correctly. ... (allegation 7, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 62, rec.; emphasis supplied). With the misrepresentations and the circumstances utilized by respondent Lanuevo to induce the herein examiners to make the re-evaluation adverted to, no one among them can

truly claim that the re-evaluation effected by them was impartial or free from any improper influence, their conceded integrity, honesty and competence notwithstanding. Consequently, Galang cannot justifiably claim that he deserved the increased grades given after the said re-evaluations(Galang's memo attached to the records, Adm. Case No. 1163). At any rate, WE are convinced, in the light of the explanations of the respondentsexaminers, which were earlier quoted in full, that their actuations in connection with the reevaluation of the answers of Galang in five (5) subjects do not warrant or deserve the imposition of any disciplinary action. WE find their explanations satisfactory. Nevertheless, WE are constrained to remind herein respondents-examiners that their participation in the admission of members to the Bar is one impressed with the highest consideration of public interest - absolute purity of the proceedings - and so are required to exercise the greatest or utmost case and vigilance in the performance of their duties relative thereto.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library V chanrobles virtual law library Respondent Atty. Victorio D. Lanuevo, in his memorandum filed on November 14, 1973, claimed that respondent-examiner Pamatian "in bringing up this unfounded cause, or lending undue assistance or support thereto ... was motivated with vindictiveness due to respondent's refusal to be pressured into helping his (examiner's) alleged friend - a participant in the 1971 Bar Examinations whom said examiner named as Oscar Landicho and who, the records will show, did not pass said examinations (p. 9, Lanuevo's memo, Adm. Case No. 1162). It must be stated that this is a very serious charge against the honor and integrity of the late Justice Ramon Pamatian, who passed away on October 18, 1973 and therefore cannot refute Lanuevo's insinuations. Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo did not bring this out during the investigation which in his words is "essential to his defense. "His pretension that he did not make this charge during the investigation when Justice Pamatian was still alive, and deferred the filing of such charge against Justice Pamatian and possibly also against Oscar Landicho before the latter departed for Australia "until this case shall have been terminated lest it be misread or misinterpreted as being intended as a leverage for a favorable outcome of this case on the part of respondent or an act of reprisal", does not invite belief; because he does not impugn the motives of the five other members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee, who also affirmed that he deceived them into re-evaluating or revising the grades of respondent Galang in their respective subjects. It appears, however, that after the release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, Oscar Landicho, who failed in that examinations, went to see and did see Civil Law examiner Pamatian for the purpose of seeking his help in connection with the 1971 Bar Examinations. Examiner Pamatian advised Landicho to see the Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee. Examiner Pamatian mentioned in passing to Landicho that an examination booklet was re-evaluated by him (Pamatian) before the release of the said bar results (Vol. V, pp. 6-7, rec). Even though such information was divulged by respondent Pamatian after the official release of the bar results, it remains an indecorous act, hardly expected of a member of the Judiciary who should exhibit restraint in his actuations demanded by resolute adherence to the rules of delicacy. His unseemly act tended to undermine the integrity of the bar examinations and to impair public faith in the Supreme Court.

VI The investigation failed to unearth direct evidence that the illegal machination of respondent Lanuevo to enable Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations was committed for valuable consideration. A There are, however, acquisitions made by Respondent Lanuevo immediately after the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations in February, 1972, which may be out of proportion to his salary as Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court. 1. On April 5, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife acquired from the BF Homes, Inc. a house and lot with an area of 374 square meters, more or less, for the amount of P84,114.00. The deed of sale was dated March 5, 1972 but was notarized only on April 5, 1972. On the same date, however, respondent Lanuevo and his wife executed two (2)mortgages covering the said house and lot in favor of BF Homes, Inc. in the total amount of P67,291.20 (First mortgage - P58,879.80, Entry No. 90913: date of instrument - April 5, 1972, date of inscription - April 20, 1972: Second mortgage - P8,411.40, Entry No. 90914: date of instrument - April 5, 1972, date of inscription - April 20, 1972). [D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.]. Respondent Lanuevo paid as down payment the amount of only P17,000.00, which according to him is equivalent to 20%, more or less, of the purchase price of P84,114.00. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that P5,000.00 of the P17,000.00 was his savings while the remaining the P12,000.00 came from his sister in Okinawa in the form of a loan and received by him through a niece before Christmas of 1971 in dollars ($2000) [Vol. VII, pp. 41-48; Vol. VIII, pp. 2-3, rec.] It appears, however, that his alleged P5,000.00 savings and P12,000.00 loan from his sister; are not fully reflected and accounted for in respondent's 1971 Statement of Assets and Liabilities which he filed on January 17, 1972. In said 1971 statement, respondent Lanuevo listed under Assets a bank deposit in the amount of only P2,000.00. In his 1972 statement, his bank deposit listed under Assets was in the amount of P1,011.00, which shows therefore that of the P2,000.00 bank deposit listed in his 1971 statement under Assets, only the amount of P989.00 was used or withdrawn. The amount of P18,000.00 receivable listed under Assets in his 1971 statement was not realized because the transaction therein involved did not push through (Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent Lanuevo from 1965 to 1972; Vol. VIII, pp. 47-48, rec.). Likewise, the alleged December, 1971 $2000 loan of respondent from his married sister in Okinawa is extremely doubtful. In the first place, said amount of $2000 (P12,000.00) is not reflected in his 1971 Statement of Assets and Liabilities filed on January 17, 1972. Secondly, the alleged note which he allegedly received from his sister at the time he received the $200 was not even presented by respondent during the investigation. And according to Respondent Lanuevo himself, while he considered this a loan, his sister did not seriously consider it as one. In fact, no mode or time of payment was agreed upon by them. And furthermore, during the investigation, respondent Lanuevo promised to furnish the Investigator the address of his sister in Okinawa. Said promise was not fulfilled as borne out by the records. Considering that there is no showing that his sister, who has a family of her own, is among the top earners in Okinawa or has saved a lot of money to give to him, the

conclusion, therefore, that the P17,000.00 of respondent Lanuevo was either an ill-gotten or undeclared income is inevitable under the foregoing circumstances. On August 14, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife mortgaged their BF Homes house and lot to the GSIS for the amount of P65,000.00 (Entry No. 4992: August 14, 1972 - date of instrument; August 23, 1972 - date of inscription). On February 28, 1973, the second mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90914, was redeemed by respondent and was subsequently cancelled on March 20,1973, Entry No. 30143. Subsequently, or on March 2, 1973 the first mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90913 was also redeemed by respondent Lanuevo and thereafter cancelled on March 20, 1973, (See D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.). Hence, only the mortgage in favor of GSIS remains as the encumbrance of respondent's house and lot. According to respondent Lanuevo, the monthly amortization of the GSIS mortgage is P778.00 a month, but that since May of 1973, he was unable to pay the same. In his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities, which he filed in connection with his resignation and retirement (filed October 13, 1972), the house and lot declared as part of his assets, were valued at P75,756.90. Listed, however, as an item in his liabilities in the same statement was the GSIS real estate loan in the amount of P64,200.00 (1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities). 2. Listed as an asset in his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities is a 1956 VW car valued at P5,200.00. That he acquired this car sometime between January, 1972 and November, 1972 could be inferred from the fact that no such car or any car was listed in his statement of assets and liabilities of 1971 or in the years previous to 1965. It appears, however, that his listed total assets, excluding receivables in his 1971 Statement was P19,000.00, while in his 1972 (as of November, 1972) Statement, his listed total assets, excluding the house and lot was P18,211.00, including the said 1956 VW car worth P5,200.00. The proximity in point of time between the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations and the acquisition of the above-mentioned properties, tends to link or tie up the said acquisitions with the illegal machination committed by respondent Lanuevo with respect to respondent Galang's examination papers or to show that the money used by respondent Lanuevo in the acquisition of the above properties came from respondent Galang in consideration of his passing the Bar. During the early stage of this investigation but after the Court had informed respondent Lanuevo of the serious irregularities in the 1971 Bar examinations alleged in Oscar Landicho's Confidential Letter and in fact, after Respondent Lanuevo had filed on April 12, 1972 his sworn statement on the matter, as ordered by the Court, respondent Lanuevo surprisingly filed his letter or resignation on October 13, 1972 with the end in view of retiring from the Court. His resignation before he was required to show cause on March 5, 1973 but after he was informed of the said irregularities, is indicative of a consciousness of guilt. It must be noted that immediately after the official release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, respondent Lanuevo went on vacation and sick leave from March 16, 1972 to January 15, 1973, obtaining the case value thereof in lump sum in the amount of P11,000.00. He initially claimed at the investigation that h e used a part thereof as a down payment for his BF Homes house and lot (Vol. VII, pp. 40-48, rec.), which he bought on April 5, 1972.

Criminal proceedings may be instituted against respondent Lanuevo under Section 3 (a & e) in relation to Section 9 of Republic Act No. 1379 (Anti-Graft Law) for: (a) Persuading inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be presented, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense. xxx xxx xxx (e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evidence bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. Section 8 of said Republic Act No. 3019 authorizes the dismissal or removal of a public officer once it is determined that his property or money "is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property ... " (Sec. 2, Rep. Act 1379; Sec. 8, Rep. Act 3019). It should be stressed, however, that respondent Lanuevo's aforementioned Statements of Assets and Liabilities were not presented or taken up during the investigation; but they were examined as they are part of the records of this Court. B chanrobles virtual law library There are likewise circumstances indicating possible contacts between respondent Ramon E. Galang and/or his father and respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo before the latter become the bar Confidant. 1. Respondent Ramon E. Galang was a beneficiary of the G.I Bill of Rights educational program of the Philippine Veterans Board from his high school days - 1951 to 1955 - up to his pre-law studies at the MLQ Educational Institution (now MLQ University) - 1955 to 1958. From 1948 to 1958, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo was connected with the Philippine Veterans Board which is the governmental agency entrusted with the affairs of our veterans including the implementation of the Veterans Bill of Rights. From 1955 to 1958, Respondent Lanuevo successively held the position of Junior Investigator, Veterans Claims Investigator, Supervising Veterans Investigator and Veterans Claims Investigator (Service Record, p. 9, Adm. Case No. 1162). During that period of time, therefore, respondent Lanuevo had direct contacts with applicants and beneficiaries of the Veterans Bill of Rights. Galang's educational benefits was approved on March 16, 1954, retroactive as of the date of waiver July 31, 1951, which is also the date of filing (A, Vol. IV, rec.). It is alleged by respondent Ramon E. Galang that it was his father who all the time attended to the availment of the said educational benefits and even when he was already in Manila taking up his pre-law at MLQ Educational Institution from 1955 to 1958. In 1955, respondent Galang was already 19 years old, and from 1957 to 1958, he was employed as a technical assistant in the office of Senator Roy (Vol. V, pp. 79-80, 86-87, rec.).[Subsequently, during the investigation, he claimed that he was the private secretary of Senator Puyat in 1957

(Vol. VI, pp. 12-13, rec.)]. It appears, however, that a copy of the notice-letter dated June 28, 1955 of the Philippine Veterans Board to the MLQ Educational Institution on the approval of the transfer of respondent Galang from Sta. Rita Institute to the MLQ Educational Institution effective the first semester of the school year 1955-56 was directly addressed and furnished to respondent Ramon E. Galang at 2292 Int. 8 Banal St., Tondo, Manila (A-12, Vol. IV, rec.). Respondent Ramon E. Galang further declared that he never went to the Office of the Philippine Veterans to follow up his educational benefits and claimed that he does not even know the location of the said office. He does not also know whether beneficiaries of the G.I. Bill of Rights educational benefits are required to go to the Philippine Veterans Board every semester to submit their ratings (Vol. V, p. 86, rec.). But respondent Galang admits that he had gone to the GSIS and City Court of Manila, although he insists that he never bothered to take a look at the neighboring buildings (Vol. V, pp. 93-94, rec.). The huge and imposing Philippine Veterans Building is beside the GSIS building and is obliquely across the City Court building. 2. Respondent Lanuevo stated that as an investigator in the Philippine Veterans Board, he investigated claims for the several benefits given to veterans like educational benefits and disability benefits; that he does not remember, however, whether in the course of his duties as veterans investigator, he came across the application of Ramon E. Galang for educational benefits; and that he does not know the father of Mr. Ramon E. Galang and has never met him (Vol. VII, pp. 28, 49, rec.). 3. Respondent Lanuevo, as a member of the USAFEE, belonged to the 91st Infantry operating at Zambales and then Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, shortly before the war (Vol. VII, pp. 48-49, rec.). Later he joined the guerrilla movement in Samar. He used to be a member of the Philippine Veterans Legion especially while working with the Philippine Veterans Board(Vol. VII, p. 49, rec.). He does not know the Banal Regiment of the guerrillas, to which Galang's father belonged. During the Japanese occupation, his guerrilla outfit was operating in Samar only and he had no communications with other guerrilla organization in other parts of the country. He attended meetings of the Philippine Veterans Legion in his chapter in Samar only and does not remember having attended its meeting here in Manila, even while he was employed with the Philippine Veterans Board. He is not a member of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (Vol. VII, p.51, rec.). On November 27, 1941, while respondent Lanuevo was with the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, he was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result and was still confined there when their camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13, 1941 (Sworn statement of respondent Lanuevo dated August 27, 1973, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 46, rec.). German Galang, father of respondent Galang, was a member of the Banal Guerilla Forces, otherwise known as the Banal Regiment. He was commissioned and inducted as a member thereof on January 16, 1942 and was given the rank of first lieutenant. His unit "was attached and served into the XI-Corps, US Army; XIII-C US Army, 43rd Div., US Army,

stationed headquarters at Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija and with the 38th Division, US army stationed at Corregidor in the mopping-up operations against the enemies, from 9 May 1945 date of recognition to 31 December 1945, date of demobilization"(Affidavit of Jose Banal dated December 22, 1947, Vol. IV, A-3, rec.). It should be stressed that once the bar examiner has submitted the corrected notebooks to the Bar Confidant, the same cannot be withdrawn for any purpose whatsoever without prior authority from the Court. Consequently, this Court expresses herein its strong disapproval of the actuations of the bar examiners in Administrative Case No. 1164 as above delineated. WHEREFORE, IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1162, RESPONDENT VICTORIO D. LANUEVO IS HEREBY DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS; AND IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1163, RESPONDENT RAMON E. GALANG, alias Roman E. GALANG, IS HEREBY LIKEWISE DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ALSO ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS. Makalintal, C.J., Castro, Fernando, Barredo, Esguerra, Muñoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur. Teehankee, J., concurs in the result. Antonio, J., is on official leave. Concepcion and Martin, JJ., took no part.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC December 3, 1948 In re Investigation of ANGEL J. PARAZO for alleged leakage of questions in some subjects in the 1948 Bar Examinations. Felixberto M. Serrano for respondent. Enrique M. Fernando and Francisco A. Rodrigo, Abelardo Subido, and Arturo A. Alafriz (for the Philippine Lawyers' Association) as amici curiae.

MONTEMAYOR, J.: The present case had its origin in a story or news item prepared and written by the defendant, Angel J. Parazo, a duly accredited reporter of the Star Reporter, a local daily of general circulation, that appeared on the front page of the issue of September 14, 1948. The story was preceded by the headline in large letters — "CLAIM 'LEAK' IN LAST BAR TESTS," followed by another in slightly smaller letters — "Applicants In Uproar, Want Anomaly Probed; One School Favored," under the name — "By Angel J. Parazo of the Star Reporter Staff." For purposes of reference we quote the news item in full: Leakage in some subjects in the recent bar examinations were denounced by some of the law graduates who took part in the tests, to the Star Reporter this morning. These examinees claim to have seen mimeograph copies of the questions in one subject, days before the tests were given, in the Philippine Normal School. Only students of one private university in Sampaloc had those mimeographed questions on said subject fully one week before the tests. The students who made the denunciation to the Star Reporter claim that the tests actually given were similar in every respect to those they had seen students of this private university holding proudly around the city. The students who claim to have seen the tests which leaked are demanding that the Supreme Court institute an immediate probe into the matter, to find out the source of the leakage, and annul the test papers of the students of the particular university possessed of those tests before the examinations.

The discovery of the alleged leakage in the tests of the bar examinations came close on the heels of the revelations in the Philippine Collegian, official organ of the student body of the University of the Philippines, on recent government tests wherein the questions had come into the possession of nearly all the graduates of some private technical schools. To the publication, evidently, the attention of the Supreme Court must have been called, and Mr. Justice Padilla, who had previously been designated Chairman of the Committee of Bar Examiners for this year, by authority of the Court, instructed Mr. Jose de la Cruz as Commissioner with the assistance of Mr. E. Soriano, Clerk of Court to cite Mr. Parazo for questioning and investigation. In this connection, and for purposes of showing the interest of the Supreme Court in the news item and its implications, it may here be stated that this Court is and for many years has been, in charge of the Bar Examinations held every year, including that of this year, held in August, 1948. Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution of the Philippines authorizes this Court to promulgate rules concerning admission to the practice of law, and pursuant to that authority, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court was promulgated, under which rule, this Court conducts the Bar Examinations yearly, appoints a Committee of Bar Examiners to be presided by one of the Justices, to serve for one year, acts on the report of the committee and finally, admits to the Bar and to the practice of law, the candidates and examinees who have passed the examinations. The investigation of Mr. Parazo was conducted on September 18, 1948, on which occasion he testified under oath and, answering questions directed to him by Messrs. Cruz and Soriano admitted that he was the author of the news item; that he wrote up the story and had it published, in good faith and in a spirit of public service; and that he knew the persons who gave him the information which formed the basis of his publication but that he declined to reveal their names because the information was given to him in confidence and his informants did not wish to have their identities revealed. The investigators informed Parazo that this was a serious matter involving the confidence of the public in the regularity and cleanliness of the Bar Examinations and also in the Supreme Court which conducted said examinations, and repeatedly appealed to his civic spirit and sense of public service, pleading with and urging him to reveal the names of his informants so that the Supreme Court may be in a position to start and conduct the necessary investigation in order to verify their charge and complaint and take action against the party or parties responsible for the alleged irregularity and anomaly, if found true, but Parazo consistently refused to make the revelation. In the meantime, the writer of this opinion who was appointed to the Supreme Court as associate Justice in the latter part of August, 1948, was designated to succeed Mr. Justice Padilla as Chairman of the Committee of Bar Examiners when the said Justice was appointed Secretary of Justice. The writer of this opinion was furnished a copy of the transcript of the investigation conducted on September 18, 1948, and he made a report thereof to the Court in banc, resulting in the issuance of the resolution of this Court dated October 7, 1948, which reads as follows: In relation with the news item that appeared in the front page of the Star Reporter, issue of September 14, 1948, regarding alleged leakage in some bar examination questions, which examinations were held in August 1948, Mr. Jose de la Cruz, as Commissioner, and Mr. E. Soriano, as Clerk of Court, were authorized by Mr. Justice Sabino Padilla then chairman of the committee of bar examiners to conduct an investigation thereof, particularly to receive

the testimony of Mr. Angel J. Parazo, the reporter responsible for and author of said news item. An investigation was conducted on September 18, 1948; stenographic notes were taken of the testimony of Mr. Parazo, and Mr. Justice Marcelino R. Montemayor, the new chairman of the committee of bar examiners, has submitted the transcript of said notes for the consideration of this Court. From the record of said investigation, it is clear that Mr. Parazo has deliberately and consistently declined and refused to reveal the identity of the persons supposed to have given him the data and information on which his news item was based, despite the repeated appeals made to his civic spirit, and for his cooperations, in order to enable this Court to conduct a thorough investigation of the alleged bar examination anomaly, Resolved, to authorize Mr. Justice Montemayor to cite Mr. Parazo before him, explain to him that the interests of the State demand and so this Court requires that he reveal the source or sources of his information and of his news item, and to warn him that his refusal to make the revelation demanded will be regarded as contempt of court and penalized accordingly. Mr. Justice Montemayor will advise the Court of the result. Acting upon this resolution, the writer of this opinion cited Mr. Parazo to appear before him on October 13, 1948. He appeared on the date set and it was clearly explained to him that the interest of the State demands and this court requires that he reveal the source of sources of his information and of his news item; that this was a very serious matter involving the confidence of the people in general and the law practitioners and bar examinees in particular, in the regularity and cleanliness of the bar examinations; that it also involves the good name and reputation of the bar examiners who are appointed by this Court to prepare the bar examinations questions and later pass upon and correct the examinations questions and last but not least, it also involves and is bound to affect the confidence of the whole country in the very Supreme Court which is conducting the bar examinations. It was further explained to him that the Supreme Court is keenly interested in investigating the alleged anomaly and leakage of the examination questions and is determined to punish the party or parties responsible therefor but that without his help, specially the identities of the persons who furnished him the information and who could give the court the necessary data and evidence, the Court could not even begin the investigation because there would be no basis from which to start, not even a clue from which to formulate a theory. Lastly, Parazo was told that under the law he could be punished if he refused to make the revelation, punishment which may even involve imprisonment. Because of the seriousness of the matter, Parazo was advised to think it over and consider the consequences, and if he need time within which to do this and so that he might even consult the editor and publisher of his paper, the Star Reporter, he could be given an extension of time, and at his request, the investigation was postponed to October 15, 1948. On that date he appeared, accompanied by his counsel, Atty. Felixberto M. Serrano. The writer of this opinion in the presence of his counsel, several newspapermen, Clerk of Court Soriano, Deputy Clerk of Court Cruz, and Mr. Chanliongco made a formal demand on Mr. Parazo to reveal the identities of his informants, under oath, but he declined and refused to make the revelation. At the request of his counsel, that before this Court take action upon his refusal to reveal, he be accorded a hearing, with the consent of the Court first obtained, a public hearing was held on the same day, October 15, 1948 in the course of which, Attorney Serrano extensively and ably argued the case of his client, invoking the benefits of Republic Act No. 53, the first section of which reads as follows:

SECTION 1. The publisher, editor or duly accredited reporter of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation cannot be compelled to reveal the source of any newsreport or information appearing in said publication which was related in confidence to such publisher, editor or reporter, unless the court or a House or committee of Congress finds that such revelation is demanded by the interest of the state. This Court has given this case prolonged, careful and mature consideration, involving as it does interesting and important points of law as well as questions of national importance. Counsel contends that the phrase "interest of the state" found at the end of section 1 of Republic Act No. 53 means and refers only to the security of the state, that is to say — that only when National Security or public safety is involved, may this Court compel the defendant to reveal the source or sources of his news report or information. We confess that it was not easy to decide this legal question on which the conviction or acquittal of Parazo hinges. As a matter of facts, the vote of the Justice is not unanimous. In an effort to determine the intent of the Legislature that passed Republic Act No. 53, particularly the Senate were it originated, we examined the record of the proceedings in said legislative body when this Act, then Senate Bill No. 6 was being discussed. We gathered from the said record that the original bill prepared by Senator Sotto provided that the immunity to be accorded a publisher, editor, or reporter of any newspaper was absolute and that under no circumstance could he be compelled to reveal the source of his information or news report. The committee, however, under the chairmanship of Senator Cuenco inserted an amendment or change, by adding to the end of section 1 of the clause "unless the court finds that such revelation is demanded by the public interest." When the bill as amended was recommended for approval on second reading, Senator Sotto, the author of the original bill proposed an amendment by eliminating the clause added by the committee — "unless the court finds that such revelation is demanded by the public interest," claiming that said clause would kill the purposed of the bill. This amendment of Senator Sotto was discussed. Various Senators objected to the elimination of the clause already referred to on the ground that without such exception and by giving complete immunity to editors, reporters, etc., many abuses may be committed. Senator Cuenco, Committee chairman, in advocating the disapproval of the Sotto amendment, and in defending the exception embodied in the amendment introduced by the Committee, consisting in the clause: "unless the court finds that such revelation is demanded by the public interest," said that the Committee could not accept the Sotto amendment because there may be cases, perhaps few, in which the interest of the public or the interest of the state required that the names of the informants be published or known. He gave as one example a case of a newspaperman publishing information referring to a theft of the plans of forts or fortifications. He argued that if the immunity accorded a newspaperman should be absolute, as sought by the Sotto amendment, the author of the theft might go scott-free. When the Sotto amendment was put to a vote, it was disapproved. Finally, Senator Sotto proposed another amendment by changing the phrase "public interest" at the end of section 1 as amended by the Committee be changed to and substituted by the phrase "interest of the state," claiming that the phrase public interest was too elastic. Without much discussion this last amendment was approved, and this phrase is now found in the Act as finally approved.

In view of the contention now advanced, that the phrase "interest of the state" is confined to cases involving the "security of the state" or "public safety," one might wonder or speculate on why the last amendment proposed by Senator Sotto, changing the phrase "public interest" to "interest of the state," was approved without much discussion. But we notice from the records of the deliberations on and discussion of the bill in the Senate that the phrase "public interest" was used interchangeably by some Senators with the phrase "interest of the state." For instance, although the bill, as amended by the Committee presided by Senator Cuenco, used the words "public interest, "when Senator Cuenco sponsored the bill before the Senate he used in his speech or remarks the phrase "interest of the State" (interes del Estado). Again, although the bill, as sponsored by the Cuenco Committee and discussed by the Senate, used the words "public interest, "Senator Sebastian referred to the exception by using the phrase "interest of the state." This understanding of at least two of the Senators, who took part in the discussion, about the similarity or interchangeability of the two phrases "public interest" and "interest of the estate," may account for the readiness or lack of objection on the part of the Senate, after it had rejected the first Sotto amendment, to accept the second Sotto amendment, changing the phrase "public interest" to "interest of the state." In referring to a case wherein the security of the state or public safety was involved, such as the theft of the plans of fortifications, Senator Cuenco was obviously giving it only as an example of what he meant by "interest of the state;" it was not meant to be the only case or example. We do not propose to define or fix the limits or scope of the phrase "interest of the state;" but we can say that the phrase "interest of the state" can not be confined and limited to the "security of the state" or to "public safety" alone. These synonymous phrases, — "security of the state" and "public safety," — are not uncommon terms and we can well presume that the legislators were familiar with them. The phrase "public safety," is used in Article III, section 1(5) of the Constitution of the Philippines, where it says that "the privacy of communications and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court or when public safety and order require otherwise;" and Article VII, section 10(2) of the same Constitution provided that the President may suspend the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus, in case of invasion, insurrection, etc., when the public safety requires it. The phrase "National Security" is used at the beginning of Book II of the Revised Penal Code, thus: Title I, — Crimes against National Security and the law of Nations, Chapter I, — Crimes against National Security. Then, more recently, the phrase "National Security" was used in section 2, and the phrase "public security" was equally used in section 19, of Commonwealth Act No. 682 creating the People's Court, promulgated on September 25, 1945. If, as contended, the Philippine Congress, particularly the Philippine Senate, had meant to limit the exception to the immunity of newspapermen only to cases where the "security of the state," i.e., "National Security" is involved, it could easily and readily have used such phrase or any one of similar phrases like "public safety," "National Security," or "public security" of which it must have been familiar. Since it did not do so, there is valid reason to believe that that was not in the mind and intent of the legislators, and that, in using the phrase "interest of the state," it extended the scope and the limits of the exception when a newspaperman or reporter may be compelled to reveal the sources of his information. The phrase "interest of the state" is quite broad and extensive. It is of course more general and broader than "security of the state." Although not as broad and comprehensive as "public interest" which may include most anything though of minor importance, but affecting

the public, such as for instance, the establishment and maintenance of barrio roads, electric light and ice plants, parks, markets, etc., the phrase "interest of the estate" even under a conservative interpretation, may and does include cases and matters of national importance in which the whole state and nations, not only a branch or instrumentality thereof such as a province, city or town, or a part of the public, is interested or would be affected, such as the principal functions of Government like administration of justice, public school system, and such matters like social justice, scientific research, practice of law or of medicine, impeachment of high Government officials, treaties with other nations, integrity of the three coordinate branches of the Government, their relations to each other, and the discharge of their functions, etc. We are satisfied that the present case easily comes under the phrase "interest of the state." Under constitutional provision, article VIII, section 13, Constitution of the Philippines, the Supreme Court takes charge of the admission of members to the Philippine Bar. By its Rules of Court, it has prescribed the qualifications of the candidates to the Bar Examinations, and it has equally prescribed the subject of the said Bar Examinations. Every year, the Supreme Court appoints the Bar examiners who prepare the questions, then correct the examination papers submitted by the examinees, and later make their report to the Supreme Court. Only those Bar Examination candidates who are found to have obtained to passing grade are admitted to the Bar and licensed to practice law. There are now thousands of members of the Philippine Bar, scattered all over the Philippines, practicing law or occupying important Government posts requiring membership in the Bar as a prerequisite, and every year, quite a number, sometimes several hundreds, are added to the legal fold. The Supreme Court and the Philippine Bar have always tried to maintain a high standard for the legal profession, both in academic preparation and legal training, as well as in honesty and fair dealing. The Court and the licensed lawyers themselves are vitally interested in keeping this high standard; and one of the ways of achieving this end is to admit to the practice of this noble profession only those persons who are known to be honest, possess good moral character, and show proficiency in and knowledge of the law by the standard set by this Court by passing the Bar Examinations honestly and in the regular and usual manner. It is of public knowledge that perhaps by general inclination or the conditions obtaining in this country, or the great demand for the services of licensed lawyers, law as compared to other professions, is the most popular in these islands. The predominantly greater number of members of the Bar, schools and colleges of law as compared to those of other learned professions, attest to this fact. And one important thing to bear in mind is that the Judiciary, from the Supreme Court down to the Justice of the Peace Courts, provincial fiscalships and other prosecuting attorneys, and the legal departments of the Government, draw exclusively from the Bar to fill their positions. Consequently, any charge or insinuation of anomaly in the conduct of Bar Examinations, of necessity is imbued with wide and general interest and national importance. If it is true that Bar Examination questions, for some reason or another, find their way out and get into the hands of Bar examinees before the examinations are actually given, and as a result thereof some examinees succeed in illegally and improperly obtaining passing grades and are later admitted to the Bar and to the practice of law, when otherwise they should not be, then the present members of the legal profession would have reason to resent and be alarmed; and if this is continued it would not be long before the legal profession will have fallen into disrepute. The public would naturally lose confidence in the lawyers, specially in the new ones, because a person contemplating to go to court to seek

redress or to defend himself before it would not know whether a particular lawyer to whom he is entrusting his case has legally passed the Bar Examinations because of sufficient and adequate preparation and training, and that he is honest, or whether he was one of those who had succeeded in getting hold of Bar Examination questions in advance, passed the Bar Examinations illegally, and then started his legal career with this act of dishonesty. Particularly, the Bar examinees who, by intense study and conscientious preparations, have honestly passed the Bar Examinations and are admitted to practice law, would be affected by this anomaly, because they would ever be under a cloud of suspicion, since from the point of view of the public, they might be among those who had made use of Bar Examination questions obtained before hand. And, incidentally, the morale of the hundreds of students and graduates of the different law schools, studying law and later preparing for the Bar Examinations, would be affected, even disastrously, for in them may be born the idea that there is no need of much law study and preparation inasmuch as it is possible and not difficult to obtain copies of questions before the examinations and pass them and be admitted to the Bar. The cloud of suspicion would, equally, hang over the Bar examiners themselves, eight eminent lawyers who in a spirit of public service and civic spirit, have consented to serve on the Committee of Examiners at the request and designation of this Court. They would be suspected, — one or two or more of them — that through negligence, or connivance, or downright corruption, they have made possible the release if they have not themselves actually released, before examination day, the questions they had prepared. The employees of the Supreme Court in charge of the Bar Examinations, specially those who copy or mimeograph the original copies furnished by the Bar examiners, would all be under suspicion. And, lastly, and more important still, the Supreme Court itself which has to overall supervision and control over the examinations, would share the suspicion, as a result of which the confidence of the people in this High Tribunal, which public confidence, the members of this Court like to think and believe, it still enjoys, might be affected and shaken. All these considerations of vital importance, in our opinion, can and will sufficiently cause the present case to fall and be included within the meaning of the phrase "interest of the state," involving as it does, not only the interests of students and graduates of the law schools and colleges, and of the entire legal profession of this country as well as the good name and reputation of the members of the Committee of Bar Examiners, including the employees of the Supreme Court having charge of and connections with said examinations, but also the highest Tribunal of the land itself which represents one of the three coordinate and independent branches or departments of the Philippine Government. In support of if not in addition to the power granted by section 1 of Republic Act. No. 53 to this Court, we have the inherent power of courts in general, specially of the Supreme Court as representative of the Judicial Department, to adopt proper and adequate measures to preserve their integrity, and render possible and facilitate the exercise of their functions, including, as in the present case, the investigation of charges of error, abuse or misconduct of their officials and subordinates, including lawyers, who are officers of the Court. (Province of Tarlac vs. Gale, 26 Phil., 350; 21 C.J.S. 41, 138.) As we have previously stated, the revelation demanded of the respondent, of the identity of his informants, is essential and necessary to the investigation of the charge contained in the publication already mentioned. It will be noticed from Parazo's news item as quoted in the first part of this decision, that, informants, law graduates and bar examinees, were denouncing the supposed anomaly —

consisting of the alleged leakage of the Bar Examination questions — to the Supreme Court for due investigation. If those persons really meant and intended to make a bona fide and effective denunciation, with expectation of results, the right place to air their grievance was the Supreme Court itself, not a newspaper; and if they truly wanted an investigation, they should have come forward and furnished or stood ready to furnish the facts on which to base and from which to start an investigation, instead of concealing themselves behind the curtain of press immunity. Examining the news item in question, it is therein claimed and assured that Bar Examination questions in at least one subject had been obtained and used by bar examinees coming from a certain university, one week before the examinations were actually held. Parazo in his statements and answers during the investigation said that examination questions in several subjects were involved in the anomaly. But no copy or copies of said examination questions were furnished us. No one is willing to testify that he actually saw said alleged copies of examination questions; that they were actually and carefully compared with the legitimate examination questions given out on the day of the examination and found to be identical; no one is ready and willing to reveal the identity of the persons or bar examinees said to have been seen with the said Bar Examination questions, although they as well as the university where they came from, was known; and even the law subjects to which the questions pertained are not disclosed; and, lastly, we are not allowed to know even the identity of respondent Parazo's informants who claim to have seen all these things. In this connection it may be stated that in the las Bar Examinations held in August, 1948, approximately nine hundred candidates took them, each candidate writing his answers in a book for each subject. There were eight subjects, each belonging to and corresponding to each one of the eight bar examiners. There were therefore eight sets of bar examination questions, and multiplying these eight sets of questions by nine hundred candidates, gives a total of seven thousand two hundred (7,200) examination papers involved, in the hand of eight different examiners. The examination books or papers bear no names or identifications of their writers or owners and said ownership and identification will not be known until the books or papers are all corrected and graded. Without definite assurance based on reliable witnesses under oath that the alleged anomaly had actually been committed, — evidence on the identity of the persons in possession of the alleged copies of questions prematurely released or illegally obtained and made use of, the law subjects or subjects involved, the university from which said persons come, this Court does not feel capable of or warranted in taking any step, such as blindly and desperately revising each and every one of the 7,200 examination books with the fond but forlorn hope of finding any similarity or identity in the answers of any group of examinees and basing thereon any definite finding or conclusion. Apart from the enormity of the task and its hopelessness, this Court may not and cannot base its findings and conclusions, especially in any serious and delicate matter as is the present, on that kind of evidence. Under these circumstances, this Court, for lack of basis, data and information, is unable to conduct, nay, even start, an investigation; and, unless and until the respondent herein reveals the identities of his informants, and those informants and or others with facts and reliable evidence, aid and cooperate with the Court in its endeavor to further examine and probe into the charges contained in the news items, said charges are considered and held to be without basis, proof or foundation. When the Supreme Court decided to demand of the respondent herein that he reveal the names of his informants, it was not impelled or motivated by mere idle curiosity. It truly

wanted information on which to start an investigation because it is vitally interested in keeping the Bar Examinations clean and above board and specially, not only to protect the members of the Bar and those aspiring for membership therein and the public dealing with the members thereof and the Bar Examiners who cooperate with and act as agents of this Court in preparing the examination questions and correcting the examination papers, but also, as already stated, to keep the confidence of the people in this High Tribunal as regards the discharge of its function relative to the admission to the practice of law. These, it can only do by investigating any Bar Examination anomaly, fixing responsibility and punishing those found guilty, even annulling examinations already held, or else declaring the charges as not proven, if, as a result of the investigation, it is found that there is insufficiency or lack of evidence. In demanding from the respondent that he reveal the sources of his information, this Court did not intend to punish those informants or hold them liable. It merely wanted their help and cooperation. In this Court's endeavor to probe thoroughly the anomaly, or irregularity allegedly committed, it was its intention not only to adopt the necessary measures to punish the guilty parties, if the charges are found to be true, but also even to annul the examinations themselves, in justice to the innocent parties who had taken but did not pass the examinations. We say this because in every examination, whether conducted by the Government or by a private institution, certain standards are unconsciously adopted on which to base the passing grade. For instance, if, as a result of the correction of many or all of the examination papers, it is found that only very few have passed it, the examiner might reasonably think that the questions he gave were unduly difficult or hard to understand, or too long, as a result of which he may be more liberal and be more lenient and make allowances. On the hand, if too many obtain passing grade, the examiner may think that the examination questions were too easy and constitute an inadequate measure of the legal knowledge and training required to be a lawyer, and so he may raise his standard and become more strict in his correction of the papers and his appreciation of the answers. So, in a case where examinees, especially if many, succeed in getting hold of questions long before examinations day, and study and prepare the answers to those questions, it may result that when the examiner finds that many of the examinees have easily and correctly answered the questions, he may think that said questions were too easy, raise the standard by being strict in his correction of the papers, thereby giving a grade below passing to a number of examinees who otherwise would have validly passed the examinations. In conclusion, we find that the interest of the state in the present case demands that the respondent Angel J. Parazo reveal the source or sources of his information which formed the basis of his news items or story in the September 14, 1948 issue of the Star Reporter, quoted at the beginning of his decision, and that, in refusing to make the revelation which this Court required of him, he committed contempt of Court. The respondent repeatedly stated during the investigation that he knew the names and identities of the persons who furnished him the information. In other words, he omitted and still refuses to do an act commanded by this Court which is yet in his power to perform. (Rule 64, section 7, Rules of Court.)Ordinarily, in such cases, he can and should be imprisoned indefinitely until he complied with the demand. However, considering that case like the present are not common or frequent, in this jurisdiction, and that there is no reason and immediate necessity for imposing a heavy penalty, as may be done in other cases where it is advisable or necessary to mete out severe penalties to meet a situation of an alarming number of cases of a certain offense or a crime wave, and, considering further the youthful age of the respondent, the

majority of the members of this Court have decided to order, as it hereby orders, his immediate arrest and confinement in jail for a period of one (1) month, unless, before the expiration of that period he makes to this Court the revelation demanded of him. So ordered. Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, and Tuason, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions Perfecto, J., concurring and dissenting: The facts in this case, as narrated in the decision penned by Mr. Justice Montemayor, justify conclusively the finding of the majority that respondent is guilty of contempt for his stubborn refusal to obey an order of this Court. Section 1 of Republic Act No. 53, invoked by respondent in his defense, does not protect him. It would protect him only if we could agree with his theory that the words "interest of the state" used in the law should be read to mean security of the state or public safety. But there is nothing in the whole text of Republic Act No. 53 and/or in the intention of those who drafted and enacted it, as can be gleaned in the Senate journal, or in the grammatical, rhetorical, or philosophical meaning of the words in question, that can justify the limiting or narrowing of the scope of the ideas that they embrace within the small circle of public security or safety of the state. The word "interest" in the phrase "interest of the state" represents a world of ideas and concepts within the ideas of security or safety occupy a place, however privileged, insignificant in magnitude. There is no legal basis for us to reduce the purpose of the law, as conveyed by its very words, to a minimum that, if given effect, would virtually amend the law without the benefit of congressional enactment. Such would be violative of the Constitution. In the tug of war between the theory of absolute privilege of the author of the original bill and the Senate committee that would limit the privilege up to the point where it runs in conflict with the wide area of public interest, the opposing sides arrived at a meeting ground in which the line of limitation was pushed up to the place where the privilege may be in conflict with the interest of the state. No one is authorized to push that line of limitation still farther to the fence surrounding the safety of the state. We have to stop at the line of limitation set by Congress. To hurdle it is to transgress the law. No matter how much we may agree with the side maintaining the absolute privilege or reducing any limitation to an imaginable minimum, or how much we may sympathize with its failure in the Senate or in Congress, we are powerless to retrieve that side from its plight. We are not authorized to inject in the statute a law of our own creation, or make of a legislative failure a success, and thus defeat the legislative intent. There is no alternative for the losing legislative side except to bide for time and wait for a more respective mood of Congress. Contempt of court is an offense that should not be left unpunished, especially if it consists in the disobedience of a judicial order. The orders of a court demand obedience for their

effectiveness. Administration of justice is impossible with unenforceable judicial orders. The effectiveness of judicial orders is the elan vital of the administration of justice. To disobey an order of court is a terrible thing because it means sowing the seeds of anarchy and chaos. The Supreme Court, if it can help it, will never allow such a thing to obtain. Anyone may imagine a state or a human society smoothly functioning without an executive department or without a legislative department. As a matter of fact, in this Republic, Congress functions only one third of the year. During the remaining two thirds of the year the life of the nation does not suffer any impairment. It can even be said that during those two thirds of the year there is more normalcy than during the Congressional session when legislative reforms and the enactment of new laws cannot but produce some public uneasiness, sometimes, amounting to a real crisis in the way of life of the people. No one can imagine the possibility of an orderly human society without some effective system of administration of justice, functioning without long interruptions. While we cannot overemphasize the importance of upholding judicial authority to its full measure and this Supreme Court will never take lightly any disobedience to or defiance of its orders, and it should mete out to all affected parties the tremendous weight of its power and will punish, without fear or favor, the guilty parties, regardless of who they may be, in the present case we are constrained to disagree with the penalty imposed upon respondent. Respondent is punished under section 7 of Rule 64, the same section we have already declared invalid in our opinion in the Harden case, 81 Phil., 741. The provision of law applicable to respondent is contained in section 6 of Rule 64, under which a person guilty of contempt may be fined in a sum not exceeding P1,000 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both. Considering that there are mitigating circumstances that attenuate respondent's responsibility, — youthfulness, honest but wrong belief in the existence of a privilege, absence of substantial harm, — we should not impose upon respondent a stiffer penalty than that which we imposed in the case of Benito M. Sakdalan, L-278 1, the very one which, as can be gleaned from the Senate journal, prompted the enactment of Republic Act No. 53. We cannot agree with the proviso in the majority opinion leaving to respondent the discretion to reduce the imprisonment imposed by the simple process of making the revelation exacted from him. The penalty should be measured by the responsibility, and that measure cannot be left at the discretion of the guilty one. His future revelation will not diminish or in any way affect his responsibility for the offense he has already perpetrated. His past disobedience cannot be attenuated by a future action. The past cannot be remade. What has been done cannot be undone. These are verities no one can eloign. We vote to impose upon respondent two days of imprisonment. PARAS, J., dissenting: If, as insisted by the respondent, he wrote up and published in the newspaper Star Reporter the story (Claim "Leak" in Last Bar Tests) quoted in full in the decision of the majority, in good faith and in a spirit of public service, he voluntarily should have revealed the identities of his informants, thereby enabling this Court, conformably to the alleged demands of denouncing bar examinees, to "institute an immediate probe into the matter, to find out the source of the leakage, and annual the test papers of the students of the particular university

possessed of those tests before the examinations." If he was in fact motivated by a spirit of public service, he should at least have tried to secure their consent to the revelation. The point I want to underscore is that newspaper reporters should be fearless as well in publishing stories as in substantiating their truth. And if I am constrained to dissent from the ruling of the majority, it is only because the respondent, in my opinion, cannot legally be compelled to make the revelation, in view of Republic Act No. 53 — which this Court is bound to enforce — providing that "the publisher, editor or duly accredited reporter of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation cannot be compelled to reveal the source of any news-report or information appearing in said publication which was related in confidence to such publisher, editor or reporter, unless the court or a House or committee of Congress finds that such revelation is demanded by the interest of the state." I have no hesitancy in believing that the phrase "interest of the state," as used in the Act, refers exclusively to matters affecting the security or safety of the state. In this connection, it is necessary to remember that the original bill sponsored by Senator Sotto provided for absolute immunity. The committee on revision of laws, however, inserted an amendment by adding the clause "unless the court finds that such revelation is demanded by the public interest." Senator Sotto's attempt to suppress this clause failed, after which, in view of the remarks of the Chairman of the committee presently to be mentioned, Senator Sotto proposed to change the words "public interest" into "interest of the state," a proposal that was readily accepted. Hence, the use of the latter phrase in Republic Act No. 53. Our task now is to discover the meaning and scope of the phrase "interest of the state," as intended by the lawmakers. In this task, it is important to recall that the original intention of the author of the bill was to provide for absolute immunity, and this purpose should not of course be unduly defeated by any subsequent exception, especially when the limited sphere of the change is apparent from the deliberations of the lawmakers. For instance, in explaining the reason of the committee for opposing Senator Sotto's advocacy of absolute immunity and of the suppression of the clause "unless the court finds that such revelation is demanded by the public interest," added to the original bill, Senator Cuenco gave the example of a newspaperman who publishes an information regarding theft of plans of forts and fortifications, in which case Senator Cuenco believed that "el interes publico y el interes mismo del Estado requieran que se publique el nombre del informante." Again, after proposing the change of "public interest" to "interest of the state," Senator Sotto, when asked by Senator Garcia as to the essential difference between the two phrases, explained that "La diferencia esta en que puede haber un caso de espionaje, como el citado por el Senador Cuenco, delito en que esta interesado el Estado y no se puede discutir al autor, y la frase `public interest' es muy elastica. En cambio, se se pone `interest of the state,' claramente se entenderia que mediando el interes del Estado, el periodista estara obligado a revelar la fuente de su informacion." Last but not least, it should be noted that the Act in question was prompted by the desire of its sponsor to prevent the repetition of the case of Benito Sakdalan, a reporter who was imprisoned for refusing to reveal the source of the information contained in a news item admittedly not affecting, like the story published by the respondent, the security or safety of the State. It logically follows that the phrase "interest of the state" was intended to be limited to cases portrayed by the examples (theft of plans of forts and fortifications and espionage), given during the deliberations which solely affect the security or safety of the state.

It is immaterial whether the law did not employ phrases like "public safety," "national Security," or "public security," or whether "public interest" and "interest of the state" were interchangeably used in the discussions, as long as in using the phrase "interest of the state" in Act No. 53, the lawmakers definitely knew and accordingly recorded, by specific examples, what they intended to convey. Conjectures cannot prevail over the clear legislative intent. The exception provided in the Act in question should be strictly construed so as not to frustrate the main purpose of the law. This would further make the law more consonant with the spirit of the constitutional provisions that "the privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the Court or when public safety and order require otherwise"(Article III, section 1, paragraph 5), and that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of the press (Article III, section 1, paragraph 8). It may not be amiss to add that the refusal of the respondent to disclose the source of his information does not absolutely prevent this Court from verifying, by any reasonable and feasible means, the truth of the alleged anomaly; and it is certainly not required, by the mere publication of the story in question, to admit the accuracy of said story if its investigation should fail because of lack of evidence or of the refusal of those who know to come out and testify. In my opinion, the respondent has not committed any contempt of this Court. Briones, M., dissenting: Deploro no podeer estar conforme con la decision de la mayoria sobre este incidente. Me preocupa como al que mas el buen nobmre, el prestigio, la respetabilidad de esta Corte Suprema — baluarte inexpugnable de las libertades y fueros civiles — pero hay algo que me preocupa mas y esla substancia misma de esas libertades y fueros. En realidad, en tanto la Corte Suprema crece y se agiganta en el concepto publico en cuanto ella se mantiene enhiesta en la cima de la cumbre donde la coloca su categoria y constituye la ultima esperanza del ciudadano cuando en su derredor todo parece crujir y requebrajarse. El recurrido, Angel Parazo, es reportero del periodico diario "The Star Reporter" que se edita en Manila. A raiz de los ultimos examenes de abogacia, publico un articulo informativo en el que se decia que algunos examinandos habian visto copias de algunos cuestionarios antes de la celebracion de los examenes y que dichas copias fueron utilizadas por los examinandos procedentes de cierta universidad privada. El Magistrado encargado de los examenes emplazo al recurrido para que explicase la noticia y diese los nombres de sus informantes a fin de poder investigarles minuciosamente y ver la manera de adoptar las medidas que fueran procedentes. El recurrido comparecio, pero se nego en absoluto a revelar el origen de su informacion. De ahi el presente expediente por desacato. La controversia gira en torno a la interpretacion del articulo 1 de la Ley de la Republica No. 53, aprobada por el Congreso en su ultimo periodo de sesiones. Dicho articulo se lee como sigue: El publicista, editor o reportero debidamente acreditado de cualquier periodico, revista o publicacion periodica de circulacion general, no puede ser compelido a revelar el origen de cualquier noticia o informacion que le haya sido transmitida en confianza y que haya

aparecido en dicho periodico, revista o publicacion, a menos que el tribunal o una camara del Congreso o un comite del mismo halley y determine que el interes del Estado requiere que se haga tal revelacion. Podemos tomar conocimiento judicial de las motivaciones de esta ley como tema de historia contemporanea. Hace dos años un juez del Tribunal del Pueblo (People's Court) lanzo publicamente algunos ataques contra esta Corte. Un periodista, Benito Sakdalan, se hizo eco de dichos ataques publicando bajo su firma y responsabilidad un articulo informativo acerca del particular. A instancia de parte, un Magistrado de esta Corte mando emplazar a Sakdalan para una investigacion del incidente. Sakdalan comparecio, pero cuando se le pregunto de quien habia recibido su informacion, negose en absoluto a hacer la revelacion exigid. El Magistrado de referencia ordeno entonces que se le detuviera a Sakdalan en la escribania de esta Corte por dos dias, en castigo por lo que se creyo un desacato. El caso Sakdalan causo un revuelo tremendo en la prensa, despertando entre sus camaradas una general simpatia perfectamente explicable. Sakdalan se convirtio en heroe del dia, por lo menos en las columnas de los periodicos. El tono predominante de los comentarios periodisticos era que Sakdalan estaba justificado en su negativa,que el sagrado de la conciencia del periodista debia ser respetado, y que la orden de detencion constituia una violacionde la libertad de la prensa. El revuelo repercutio en los circulos legislativos, culminando en las aprobacion de la Ley de la Republica No. 53 que nos ocupa. Resulta importante y util destacar este fondo historico, pues por ello se explican ciertas caracteristicas del proyecto de ley original presentado en el Senado. Una de las mas salientes, por ejemplo, era lo absoluto del privilegio: no se proveia ninguna excepcion, ninguna salvedad, no pudiendose obligar al periodista a revelar el origen de su informacion bajo ninguna circunstancia. La medida tiene antecedentes bien conocidos en nuestra misma legislacion. Primeramente en el antiguo Codigo de Procedimiento Civil, y ahora en el Reglamento de los Tribunales, figuran ciertas disposiciones que restringen la libertad para testificar o el derecho de examinar a ciertos testigos sobre determinadas materias. Verbigracia, en nuestra ley sobre pruebas y evidencias, regla 123, seccion 26, se provee lo siguiente:

(e) El abogado no puede, sin el consentimiento de su cliente, ser examinado respecto a una conversacion que tuvo con este, o acerca de algun consejo que le diera como tal, ni tampoco el secretario,taquigrafo o empleado de un abogado, sin el consentimiento del cliente y del abogado, pueden ser examinados respecto a un hecho cuyo conocimiento hayan adquirido en el desempeño de sus deberes. (f) A ninguna persona debidemante autorizada para ejercer la medicina, la cirugia o la obstetricia, se obligara en alguna causa civil, a revelar, sin el consentimento del paciente, cualquier informe que dicha persona haya adquirido al sistir al paciente con caracter profesional, que necesariamente hubo de adquirir para poder obrar con tal caracter, y que tienda a denigrar la dignidad del paciente.

(g) El clerigo o sacerdote no puede ser examinado sin el consentimiento de su penitente, respecto a la confesion que le haya hehco este, en su caracter sacerdotal, y en cumplimiento de los deberes que le impone la religion a que pertenece. (h) El funcionario publico no puede ser examinado mientras este en el ejercicio de su cargo, o despues, respecto a lo que se le hubiese comunicado en confidencia oficial, cuando el tribunal determine que el interes poublico se perjudicara con la revelacion. Es indudable que la medida coloca al periodista en la categoria de estas exenciones especialisimas, situandole al nivel del sacerdote, del abogado y del medico. El Senador Cuenco, ponente del proyecto de ley al ponerse a discusion, dijo en parte lo que sigue a modo de explicacion de sus elevados fines: El proyecto de ley que esta ahora bajo la consideracion de esta Camara tiene por objeto eximir al director, redactor o reporter de un periodico, de la obligacion de revelar el nombre de la persona de quien haya obtenido una informacion, a menos que el interes del Estado asi lo requiera. La legislacion que se trata de dictar ne es del todo nueva. Nuestra ley procesal considera como privilegiada y digna de ser mantenida en secreto toda communicacion recibida por el sacerdote, el abogado y el medico en el ejercicio de su ministerio o profesion. El proyecto no solo dignifica y eleva la profesion periodistica, sino que da facilidades a los periodicos para obtener noticias. (El subrayado es nuestro.) El periodismo, mas que un medio para obtener bienes materiales, es un apostolado, un sacerdocio. El periodista no es un mercachifle, sino una persona llamada a cumplir una mision elevada, sublime, augusta. La hoja periodica es catedra. De ella irradia la luz que difunde la cultura, la instruccion, los principios eticos y morales, las reglas de una ciudadania honrada y patriotica. (Diario de sesiiones del Senado, Julio 9, 1946.) Elevar y ennoblecer la profesion del periodista y dar facilidades a los periodicos para obtener una informacion honrada, veridica, imparcial y constructiva — cometido essencial de una buena prensa, digna del apelativo de cuarto poder del Estado — tal es el objeto fundamental de la medida, en franse definidora del Senador Cuenco, ponente de la misma y chairman del comite de revision de leyes del Senado. Es importante destacar esta motivacion legislativa, pues ello nos ayuda, al interpretar la ley, a determinar si el privilegio debe ser entendido rigidamente en contra o liberalmente en pro del periodista. Estimo que la indicada exposicion de motivos justifica, mas aun, requiere una interpretacion liberal. Como queda dicho, en el proyecto de ley original presentado por el Senador Sotto el privilegio se establecia de una manera absoluta, incondicional. Sin embargo, el comite de revision de leyes del Senado al cual se habia endosado el bill, lo informo con una enmienda, añadiendo al final del articulo 1 transcrito arriba las siguientes palabras: "unless the court finds that such revelation is demanded by the public interest."* Al discutirse, sin embargo, el proyecto en pleno Senado, Sotto formulo una enmienda mediante la supresion de la salvedad insertada por el comite, tratando asi de restaurar la fraseologia original del proyecto. Cuenco, en su caracter de ponente y chairman del comite de revision de leyes, se opuso a la enmienda Sotto por supresion y siguio un debate bastante extenso. Sotto dijo enfaticamente que "esas palabras deben suprimirse porque matan el objeto del proyecto de ley. Si, como ha dicho el sesudo presidente del comite de revision de leyes, el pretende colocar al periodista en el mismo nivel del sacerdote, tengamos en cuenta que en el caso de este no hay esa excepcion."

Cuenco, cerrando el debate, hizo las siguientas manifestaciones en contra de la enmienda Sotto: El Sen. CUENCO. Señor Presidente, como ya he manifestado el Comite siente no poder aceptar la enmienda, porque puede haber casos, quiza muy contados, en que el interes publico y el interesmismo del Estado requieran que se publique el nombre del informante. Supongamos que un periodista publicara una informacion referente al hurto o sustraccion de unos planos de fortalezas o de un sitio importante de defensa. Si la inmunidad que se otorga al periodista fuese absoluta, como la que se propone en la enmienda, el autor de la sustraccion pordria quedar impune. Señor Presidente: he sido periodista por espacio de veinticinco años y me honro en serlo, antes que abogado, antes que legislador, pero, por lo mismo que tengo un concepto elevado de la profesion no quisiera que se diese el caso de que una traicion al estado quedase impune: que nosotros llevasemos a extremos exagerados la proteccion que se da al periodista. Puesta a votacion la enmienda, fue rechazada, votanda a favor 3 y en contra 7. Sotto, sin embargo, no se dio por enteramente derrotado. Esforzandose por sacar avante su proyecto de ley con la menor cortapisa posible para la lilbertad de la prensa, propuso otra enmienda en el sentido de sustituir las palabras "public interest" con "interest of the State," de tal suerte que la salvedad se leyera como sigue: "unless the court finds that such revelation is demanded by the interest of the State."* Ya no hubo debate sobre esta enmienda: el mismo comite la acepto, por boca de su chairman el Senador Cuenco. Puesto a votacion, la misma se aprobo por unanimidad. Sin embargo, antes de la votacion, el Senador Garcia pregunto que diferencia esencial habia entre las frases "public interest" e "interest of the State". Sotto contesto que "la diferencia esta en que puede haber uncaso de espionaje como el citado por el Senador Cuenco, delito en que esta interesado el Estado y no se puede descubrir al autor," mientras que, por otro lado, la frase "public interest" es muy elastica." "En cambio — continuo Sotto — si se pone "interest of the State", claramente se entenderia que mediando el interes del Estado, el periodista estara obligado a revelar la fuente de su informacion." (Diario de Sesiones del Senado, supra.) De lo expuesto resulta evidente que la sustitucion de la frase "public interest" por la de "interest of the State"no fue simplemente casual e inimportante, sino que fue harto deliberada, hecha con el proposito de restringir el alcance de la salvedad. Se dijo que la frase "public interest"es muy elastico y el Senado, en pleno, acepto este pronunciamiento. Asi que se puso "interest of the State" para denotar que solo se podria obligar al periodista a descurbirir, como testigo, la fuente de su informacion cuando el Estado estuviese vitalmente interesado en la materia; es decir, cuando estuviese envuelta la seguridad del Estado, de la Nacion, conceptos que en este caso se confundirian. En ejemplo del espionaje citado por el Senador Cuenco, abona esta interpretacion. "Interes del Estado" tiene aqui un significado particularisimo, repelente de otros casos extraños a la seguridad nacional: ese significado no puedeser mas que el interes del Estado en su propia viad, en su propia seguridad. No cabe extender el alcance de la frase a otros casos en que el Estado pudiera estar mas o menos interesado, porque si la intencion del Congreso fuera esa, la frase "public interest" seria mas que suficiente, pues la misma cubre y comprende todos los matices publicos desde la seguridad del Estado y de la Nacion hasta el ultimo asunto en que el publico

tuviera interes hasta cierto punto. Esta forma de interpretar es tanto mas logica, obligada, cuanto que los legisladores aceptaron y aprobaron unanimemente el pronunciamiento de que la frase "public interest" era muy elastica, cubria demasiado. Por tanto, hay que concluir que cuando adoptaron la frase sustitutiva "interest of the State," la adoptaron para limitar, para restringir la salved, reduciendola solamente a algunos casos, muy contados, segun expresion del Senador Cuenco. "¿Que casos son estos" Entiendo que deben ser congeneres, es decir, del mismo tipo que el caso de espionaje citado; es decir, casos que afecten vitalmente a la seguridad del Estado, de la Nacion. Verbigracia: una conspiracion para derrocar violentamente nuestra forma de gobierno y establecer en su lugar una dictadura comunista totalitaria al estilo sovietico, seria uno de esos muy contados de que habla el Senador ponente. No cabe aplicar, extender la frase a casos de otra especie, de otro genero, porque ese equivaldria a establecer un "standard," una norma de interpretacion arbitraria, hasta caprichosa, como mas adelante voy a demostrar, apreciando que el interes del Estado esta entrañado en algunos asuntos y matices de caracter publico y excluyendolo, sin embargo, de otros, yen esto sin mas guia y norma que la opinion harto debatible del juez o tribunal sentenciador sobre lo que es digno de ser catalogado bajo la frase "interes del Estado" y sobre lo que no lo es. Resulta evidente, de lo dicho, que no es exacto y carece de fundamento lo que en la decision de la mayoria se afirma, a saber: que las frases "public interest" o "interest of the State" se entendieron y usaron indistintamente por los Senadores. Por el contrario, el Diario de Sesiones del Senado demuestra de un modo inequivoco que los Senadores sabian muy bien lo que hacian al cambiar una frasse por otra y se daban perfecta cuenta de que el cambio no era simplemente gramatical o lexicografico, sino qu entrañaba una considerable diferencia en cuanto al significado y alcance de la salvedad o excepcion. Sabian muy bien quela frase "public interest" es muy elastica, al decir del Senador Sotto, y que desde luego tiene un marco mucho mas amplio que la frase "interest of the State." La presuncion es que los legisladores toman muy en serio la tarea de legislar y que cuando cambian una frase por otra lo hacen no por simple capricho, sino con verdadera deliberacion. La tarea legislativa no es un juego de niños. Pero ¿que mejor prueba de la diferencia entre ambos conceptos que la misma admision de la mayoria en su decisional decir que "interest of the State" is not as broad and comprehensive as "public interest" which may include most anything though of minor importance but affecting the public"1 ...?lawphil.net La endoblez de la teoria de la mayoria salta a la vista si se examinan sus implicaciones y consecuencias. ¿Por que decide la mayoria que en el presente caso se halla envuelto el interes del Estado y que, por tanto, el recurrido esta obligado a revealr la fuente de su informacion y si no lo hace incurre en desacato, punible con prision? Por varias razones que se exponen en la decision, entre las cuales se destacan las siguientes: (a) los examenes de abogados estan colocados bajo la alta supervision de esta Corte Suprema, cuyo prestigio, buen nombre y respectabilidad es de supremo interes del Estado el conservar y mantener; (b) miles de abogados se hallan esparcidos por el pais ejerciendo su noble profesion, y centenares si no miles se anaden cada año a esa vasta legion; asi que la Corte Suprema y esta enorme masa de letrados estanvitalmente interesados en elevar el "standard" profesional, procurando que entren solo los idoneos, moral e intelectualmente, y este interes cae tambien bajo la catagoria de "interes del Estado"; (c) acaso por natural inclinacion, la abogacia es la profesion mas popular en Filipinas; de ahi la abundancia de colegios y escuelas de derecho en donde estudian miles de jovenes de ambos sexos aspirando a ponerse la toa de Marco Tulio; de ahi naturalmente tambien el interes del

Estado en que esa profesion tan popularno caiga en descredito, cosa que ocurriria facilmente si los examenes de abogados no se efectuasen propia y honradamente como una prueba rigida de la capacidad y caracter de los examinandos, circulando previamente cuestionarios de "contrabando" tal como se ha denunciado en el articulo informativo que nos ocupa; (d) entre los abogados se escoge el personal para la judicatura y la administracion de justicia — magistrados, jueces de primera instancia, fiscales, jueces de paz y letrados en las diferentes oficinas y agencias del gobierno; de ahi que sea naturalmente tambien interes del Estado el conservar la integridad y buen nombre de una profesion que proporciona al gobierno y a la nacion tan valiosos servidores y elementos; (e) en la pureza de los examenes de abogados esta envuelto no solo el buen nombre de la Corte Suprema como queda dicho, sino tambien el buen nombre de la junta examinadora y de los empleados de la Corte que intervienen y vigilan dichos examenes; asi que todo cargo de venalidad y corrupcion tiene que afectar a dicho buen nombre y proyectar una sombra de sospecha sobre el mismo; de ahi que sea interes del Estado el que se investiguen implacablemente los cargos para depurar los hechos y hallar la verdad castigando a los culpables si los hay, y purificando de tal manera los examenes, pero si, por otro lado, los cargos resultaren falsos, reivindicando el buen nombre de los afectados; (f) en resumen, de lo dicho se sigue que los examenes de abogados tienen importancia nacional y, por tanto, cualesquier cargos de venalidad, corrupcion e irregularidad tienen tambien importancia nacional y es interes del Estado el que se investiguen hasta el limite maximo de las posibilidades legales. En ultimo analisis, se puede decir que la mayoria estima envuelto en el presente caso el "interes del Estado, "primero, porque se trata de la profesion de abogado — profesion de noble y vasta significacion social, juridica y politica — y, segundo, porque tratandose de acusaciones referentes a los examenes de abogados cuya supervision corresponde a esta Corte Suprema, el buen nombre, el prestigio y la respetabilidad de este alto tribunal estan necesariamente afectados. Veamos ahora si la tesis puede resistir a un examen rigido, objetivo. No sere yo quien discuta o ponga en tela de juicio la prestancia, el elevado rango de la profesion de abogado a la cual me honro en pertenecer. Pero ¿que hay de las otras profesiones? ¿Son ellas menos dignas de merecer el supremo interes del Estado? Durante las deliberaciones sobre el presente asunto tuve ocasion de formular estas preguntas y otras semejantes. Recuerdo que inclusive cite casos especificos preguntando, por ejemplo, si en los examenes de medicos, farmaceuticos, ingenieros, dentistas y nurses, no podira tambien considerarse envuelto el interes del Estado si al igual que en este asunto se formulasen graves cargos de irregularidad, corrupcion y venalidad. Respecto al caso de los medicos no obtuve una contestacion categorica, definitiva; pero con relacion a las otras profesiones, la respuesta fue decididamente negativa; respecto a ellas, no cabria invovar el interes del Estado — su rango, su significacion social no justificarian tal invocacion. Ahora veo que en la decision de la mayoria el ejercicio de la medicina se incluyo entre los "casos y materias de importancia nacional, en los cuales el Estado o la nacion entera, y no solo un ramo o instrumento del mismo como una provincia, una ciudad o una pueblo, o una parte del publico, esta interesado o podrina quedar afectado." Asique, a juicio de la mayoria, el ejercicio de la medicina es al parecer de indole tan nacional y tan importante como "interes del Estado"; al paso que las otras profesiones y vocaciones quedan definitivamente excluidas del coto privilegiado.

Los farmeceuticos, sin embargo, podrian naturalmente formular las siguientes preguntas: ¿Por que se va a postergar nuestra honrada y benemerita profesion? ¿no nos cuesta tanto tiempo y tantos esfuerzos, si no mas, hacer la carrera que el abogado, verbigracia? ¿no prestamos acaso a la sociedad, a la humanidad, un servicio tan util, tan indispensable y tan importante como el de cualquier otro profesional? ¿no somos quienes preparamaos con infinito ciudado las drogas y medicamentos que prescribe y receta el medico? ¿no esta en nuestras manos la salud, la vida, e incluso la muerte de los ciudadanos, de los hombres? ¿por que, pues, se va a sentenciar que el interes del Estado no esta vinculado en nuestra profesion? Por su parte, los ingeniereos de todas clases — civiles, industriales, quimicos, mecanicos, navales, mineros, etc. — podrian hacer estas embarazosas preguntas: "¿Por que todos los mimos y caricias van a ser para los abogados? ¿nada mas que porque la mayor parte del tiempo nos ponemos la humilde blusa del obrero y estamos casi siempre sucios -- la suciedad inherente al sudor y mugre del trabajo? ¿no construimos acaso los caminos, los puentes, los sistemas de aquas, los sistemas de regadio, los hermosos y enormes edificios particulares y publicos, las ingentes fabricas, en una palabra, todo eso que constituye la maravillade los presentes tiempos, traduciendo en realidad tangible lo que no parecia ser mas que loca fantasia de la imaginacion de los poetas? ¿no hemos acaso conquistado el secreto divino de los atomos, desencadenando, es verdad, las fuerzas ciegas de la destruccion sobre el mundo, pero tambien abriendo para el genero humano vastos panoramas y perspectivas de progreso y bienestar casi ilimitado? Se dice que la abogacia es la carrera mas popular y mas codiciada en Filipinas, pero ¿no existe el peligro de que esta popularidad se este fomentando insensatamente a expensas de la vitalidad de la nacion? ¿nose cree acaso llegado el momento de que los caudillos y directores del pensamiento en este pais emprendan una seria cruzada para orientar las aficiones y energias de nuestra juventud hacia carreras mas practicas y mas constructivas no solo para ellos particularmente, sino sobre todo para la nacion? ¿por que se va a consagrar precisamente con una sentencia judicial — nada menos que del mas alto tribunal — la supremacia de la profesion de abogado en este pais, en desdoro de las otras profesiones, por que?" Y asi, por el estilo, las otras profesiones podrian reclamar y pretender con jusiticia que tienen tanta categoria como los abogados para que se considere aplicable a ellas el concepto juridico "interes del Estado" de que habla la ley de la Republica No. 53 que nos ocupa. Y si esto fuese asi, esto es, se estimase envuelto el "interes del Estado" en casi todas las materias, verbigracia, hasta en los examenes de nurses, al punto de que interes del Estado equivaldria practicamente a interes publico ¿que quedaria entonces del privilegio concedido por dicha ley a la prensa? ¿no seria mas bien una letra muerta, como predijo el Senador Sotto al pedir la supresion de la salvedad o excepcion? Se dice, con cierto enfasis, que la profesion de abogado tiene una calidad excepcional, un rango privilegiado, porque de ella se escogen y nombran los magistrados, los jueces de primera instancia, los jueces de paz y los fiscales, en una palabra, el personal basico de la administracion de justicia. Se ha insinuado inclusive que de esa profesion surgen regularmente los lideres politicos y sociales de las naciones y pueblos. Comencemos por esto ultimo. ¿Tienen los abogados la exclusiva del liderato publicos y social del mundo? Esto lo diria un panegirista de la profesion en un discurso de fin de curso de un colegio de leyes, pero la historia nos dice que el liderato no ha sido nunca cuestion profesional, sino que el lider ha surgido como un precipitado individual o social independientemente de las

profesiones y oficios. Ha habido y hay en el mundo muchos caudillos no abogados y, por cierto, los mejores no siemprehan sido siempre los de esta clase. Es verad que hubo un Lincoln — abogado — uno de los caudillos mas sobresalientes que la democraica produjera en el mundo; pero tembien hubo un Washington — agrimensor — padre de la nacion que produjo a Lincoln. Y el caso de Filipinas es todavia mas tipico como demostracion de las tesis de que el cuadillaje no es cuestion profesional. Como todo el mundo sabe, nuestros dos mas grandes caudillos en el pasado no eran abogados; Rizal era medico; y Bonifacio, el llamado padre de la democracia filipina, no solo no era profesional, sino que apenas era nada, academicamente hablando — era un simple bodeguero, un verdadero plebeyo. Sin embargo, esto no le impidio, mientras fraguaba el acero candente del Katipunan, empaparse en las gestas de la revolucion francesa leyendo a Thiers en español. (¿Cuantos de nuestros abogados — dicho sea entre parentesis — sobre todo de la epoca de Bonifacio, habran leido, o siquiera visto el forro, de la Revolucion Francesa de Thiers?) Es verdad que el personal basico de la administracion de justicia esta compuesto de abogados, pero en la misma decision de la mayoria se reconoce que la administracion de justicia es solo una de las principales funciones del gobierno y a renglon seguido se apunta el sistema de enseñanza publica (public school system) como otra funcion de importancia nacional. Entonces cabe preguntar: ¿porque no se va a considerar tambien envuelto el "interes del Estado" en los examenes de maestros, sobre todo si sonde servicio civil? No solo los maestros constituyen la base de nuestro sistema de enseñanza publica, sino que incluso tienen mas envergadura nacional porque se cuentan por miles, formando la clase mas numerosa de nuestros servidores publicos. Sin embargo, en opinion de la mayoria los maestros no tienen suficiente calibre como los abogados para que se extienda aplicable a ellos la frase "interes del Estado" usada en la referida ley de Republica No. 53. Este no es mas que uno de los absurdos a que conduce la arbitrariedad de la norma adoptada por la mayoria en su decision. Analizare ahora el argumento aquiles de la mayoria. Se dice que el interes del Estado se halla envuelto en el presente caso porque de por medio anda el prestigio, el buen nombre de esta Corte Suprema en virtud de las facultades de alta supervision que ejerce sobre los examenes de abogados. El que escribe estas lineas no cede a nadie en su celo por mantener incolume el prestigio de esta Corte; pero, al propio tiempo, no puede cerrar los ojos a la realidad, a saber: que no somos mas que uno de los tres poderes del Estado; que estos poderes son iquales y ninguno de ellos tiene mas prestigio que el otro. Los examenes de abogados no tienen mas importancia y envergadura nacional porque los supervisamos que, por ejemplo, los examenes de ingenieros y farmeceuticos, cuyas juntas examinandoras son nombradas por el poder ejecutivo y son responsables ante el mismo. El poder ejecutivotiene tanto derecho como esta Corte para velar por su prestigio y buen nombre. Si, como al parecer admite la mayoria, el interes del Estado no se extiende a los examenes de ingenieros y farmaceuticos por no ser materia de suficiente monta nacional, luego tampoco debe extenderse a los examenes de abogados tan solo porque la Corte Suprema tiene intima relacion con estos en virtud de sus facultades de supervision, pues, como queda dicho, ningun poder es mas prestigioso que el otro — desde luego esta Corte no puede pretender se mas que los otros poderes del Estado. Puede aducirse, por analogia, otro buen argumento en favor de la tesis de esta disidencia. Una de las garantias constitucionales es la inviolabilidad del secreto del la comunicacion y correspondencia, excepto cuando la seguridad publica y el orden requieran otra cosa y

mediante una orden legal del tribunal. (Constitucion de Filipinas, Articulo III, seccion 5, bill de derechos.) Es verdad que la constitucion habla de seguridad publica, mientras que la ley de la Republica No. 53 habla de interes del Estado, pero la letra aqui no es lo importante, sino la identidad del fondo, de la substancia del privilegio. Se ha insinuado que si se permitiera al periodista ocultar la fuente de su informacion tratandose de asuntos publicos de reconocida seriedad, ello fomentaria la intriga y la cobardia entre los ciudadanos, sancionando la abyectada anonimidad, aquello de "tirar la piedra escondiendo la mano." El argumento tiene cierta fuerza, pero es de dobrel filo. Si se admite la falta o flojedad del valor civico entre los ciudadanos "¿que de malo hay en que, mientras se fomente y fortalezca esa virtud con la educacion de las masas y los habitos de una ciudadania militante, se deje a la prensa cierta latitud y cierta libertad para sacar el mejor partido posible de la anonimidad informativa en sus campañas contra la corrupcion, los abusos y las anomalias? Con esto se lograria, por lo menos, que la prensa cumpliese y realizase su cometido social concierta efecacia descorriendo parte del velo, y dejando que el Estado, con sus agencias de investigacion del crimen y de los chanchullos, haga el resto. Por ejemplo, en el presente caso: ¿por quela Corte Suprema va a insistir en actuar como se fueseuna agencia policiaca? ¿por que va a tratar al periodista como se este fuese un detective, obligandole a revelar todos sus datos, incluso los nombres de sus informantes? Nos quejamos de nuestra impotencia ante al silencio contumaz del recurrido: ¿por que no entregar el caso a la National Bureau of Investigation — la famosa NBI cuya eficiencia todos reconocen — y dejar que la misma sea guien se entienda con el recurrido y maneje la informacion de estecon la tecnica y medios de que dispone para sus investigaciones? En realidad, el periodista ya rinde un buen serviciocuando denuncia un anomalia si bien reservandose el nombre de su informante. ¿Por que castigarle si insiste en conservar su secreto, excepto cuando medie la seguridad del Estado y de la Nacion, unica salvedad que establece la ley? Esta bien que no se le premie o aplauda por el bien que hace, pero castigarle? Es el colmo! Es que, se dira, el periodista puede obrar de mal fe denunciando unas anomalias imaginarias y provocando conello un tremendo escandalo con todos los daños y perjuicios que de ello pueden seguirse para el buen nombre y la reputacion de las personas y de las instituciones. Es verdad. No se puede negar que hay bribones en la prensa — esos que en otras ocasiones he llamado "tuisanes de la pluma," peores a veces que los salteadores de caminos. Tampoco se puede negar que hay lo que se llama prensa amarilla, dedicada a cultivar el sensacionalismo malsano y morboso. Pero el remedio contra esto no es la ley de la Republica No. 53 que nos ocupa; existen otros remedios, unos en el codigo penal; otros, en la misma ley de desacato; y otros, en el desprecio, repulsa y hostilidad de la misma opinion publica, ya que, despues de todo, la prensa no puede vivir sino del favor publico. Poco despues de la liberacion un periodista publico un articulo virulento denunciando supuestas anomalias o irrigularidades en relacion con los examenes de abogados celebrados durente la ocupacion japonesa. Se le emplazo para que probase sus cargos. No los probo: era evidente la mala fe. Le castigamos por desacato y si no se le impuso una pena mas severa fue porque canto la palinodia retractandose. (Vease In re Francisco Brillantes, por desacato.) La Ley de la Republica No. 53 es una medida liberal, progresiva, concebida y promulgada par capacitar la prensa a realizar su transcendental cometido del mejor modo posible. La

prensa es una de las mas preciosas conquistas y posesiones de nuestra civilizacion. Se puede prescindir de algunas cosas — jamas de una prensa libre, veraz, eficiente. Sin este formidable implemento social, la democracia no se puede concebir. Por tanto, la ley debiera interpretarse libremente, hasta el maximo grado de liberalidad, compatible con la vida y seguridad del Estado. El caso Sakdalan, que se origino en esta Corte, fue la causa ocasional que determino la aprobacion de esa ley. Es, en verdad, una deplorable coincidencia que el caso Sakdalan se repita en esta misma Corte con el presente caso de Parazo, y en peores terminos y circunstancias, pues mientrs a Sakdalan se le tuvo arrestado por solamente dos dias, a Parazo se le va a encarcelar ahora por un mes. Mucho me temo que esta decision enturbie una ejecutoria tan preclara de liberalismo como la que abrillanta nuestra jurisprudencia en materias sobre libertad de imprenta. Voto en favor de la exoneracion de recurrido.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila

EN BANC December 7, 1928 In re FELIPE DEL ROSARIO Felipe del Rosario in his own behalf. City Fiscal Guevara for the Government. MALCOLM, J.: The supplementary report on bar examination irregularities of the fiscal of the City of Manila, dealing with the case of Felipe del Rosario, has been laid before the court for consideration and action. It is recommended by the city fiscal that Felipe del Rosario be ordered to surrender his certificate of attorney and that he be forever prohibited from taking the bar examination. An answer to the report has been permitted to be made, in which the court is asked to disapprove the report and to direct the setting aside of the suspension to practice law by the respondent, heretofore ordered by the court. Felipe del Rosario was a candidate in the bar examination who failed for the second time in 1925. He presented himself for the succeeding bar examination in 1926 and again was unable to obtain the required rating. Then on March 29, 1927, he authorized the filing of a motion for the revision of his papers for 1925 based on an alleged mistake in the computation of his grades. The court, acting in good faith, granted this motion, and admitted Felipe del Rosario to the bar, but with justices dissenting. Subsequently, during the general investigation of bar examination matters being conducted by the city fiscal, this case was taken up, with the result that a criminal charge was lodged in the Court of First Instance of Manila against Juan Villaflor, a former employee of the court and Felipe del Rosario. Villaflor pleaded guilty to the information and was sentenced accordingly. Del Rosario pleaded not guilty, and at the conclusion of the trial was acquitted for lack of evidence. The acquittal of Felipe del Rosario upon the criminal charge is not a bar to these proceedings. The court is now acting in an entirely different capacity from that which courts assume in trying criminal cases. It is asking a great deal of the members of the court to have them believe that Felipe del Rosario was totally unaware of the illegal machinations culminating in the falsification of public documents, of which he was the sole beneficiary. Indeed, the conviction of Juan Villaflor in itself demonstrates that Felipe del Rosario has no legal right to his attorney's certificate. While to admit Felipe del Rosario again to the bar examination would be tantamount to a declaration of professional purity which we are totally unable to pronounce. The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted every one who demands it, but is a privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of a sound discretion. The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to escape the penalties of the criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to receive one whose integrity is questionable as an officer of the court, to clothe him with all the prestige of its confidence, and then to permit him to hold himself out as a duly authorized member of the bar. (In re Terrell [1903], 2 Phil., 266; People ex rel. Colorado Bar Association vs. Thomas [1906], 36 Colo., 126; 10 Ann. Cas., 886 and note; People vs. Macauley [1907], 230 Ill., 208; Ex parte Wall [1882], 107 U. S., 265.) The recommendation contained in the special report pertaining to Felipe del Rosario is approved, and within a period of ten days from receipt of notice, the respondent shall

surrender his attorney's certificate to the clerk of this court.
Street, Villamor, Ostrand, Romualdez and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.

Avanceña,

C.

J.,

Johnson,

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION A.M. No. 1053 August 31, 1981 SANTA PANGAN, complainant, vs. ATTY. DIONISIO RAMOS, respondent. RE S O L U T I O N DE CASTRO, J.: On November 29, 1971, Santa Pangan filed before this Court a verified complaint charging respondent Atty. Dionisio Ramos with gross immorality, the latter having misrepresented himself as still "single" when he started courting complainant, proposed marriage to her and finally succeeded in marrying her even with full consciousness that his first marriage to his first wife was still valid and subsisting. 1 (A Criminal Case for bigamy was also filed by the complainant against the respondent in the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXI, docketed as Criminal Case No. 15528). In his answer to the complaint, respondent denied the material allegations thereof for being without legal or factual basis. He prayed for the dismissal of the complaint for failure to state cause of action against respondent. 2 The case was referred to the Office of the Solicitor General for report, investigation and recommendation. On June 1, 1976, the Solicitor General submitted his report finding respondent Ramos guilty as charged, with a recommendation for suspension from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years, pursuant to Section 7, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. 3 Subsequently, the corresponding complaint for his suspension from the practice of law was filed. On September 13, 1976, respondent filed his answer to the complaint and moved for the appointment of a commissioner to hear and take additional evidence in his behalf, which, however, was denied by the Court per its Resolution of October 6, 1976. At the hearing of February 25, 1977, respondent, acting as counsel for his own behalf, moved for the presentation of additional evidence, which was, however, opposed by complainant's counsel on the ground that respondent is resorting to dilatory tactics. At the hearing of September 2, 1977, complainant and respondent appeared and the Court set the hearing of the case for the purpose of reception of additional evidence before its Legal Officer-Investigator. Meanwhile, on September 7, 1979, the Court, speaking through Justice Felix Antonio, severely REPRIMANDED respondent Dionisio Ramos, with warning that a repetition of the same overt act may warrant his suspension or disbarment from the practice of law. 4 The reprimand was administered because respondent used the name "Pedro Dionisio Ramos" in connection with Criminal Case No. 35906. He averred that he had a right to do so because in

his Birth Certificate his name is "Pedro Dionisio Ramos," and his parents are Pedro Ramos and Carmen Dayaw, and that the D.D. in "Pedro DD Ramos" is but an abbreviation of "Dionisio Dayaw" his other given name and maternal surname. The Court opined that respondent in effect resorted to deception. He demonstrated "lack of candor in dealing with the courts." At the hearing of October 23, 1979, Solicitor Celia Reyes appeared submitting the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXI, in Criminal Case No. 15528, acquitting respondent of the charges of bigamy on grounds of insufficiency of evidence, for having contracted the second marriage with the complainant. On January 15, 1980, the Legal Officer-Investigator submitted his report concurring in the findings of the Solicitor General, although he recommended a penalty of a minimum fiveyear suspension from the practice of law, with prospect for the imposition of a total disbarment from the practice of law, as the Court finds fit and appropriate. 5 On February 27, 1981, counsel for complainant filed its motion to expedite disposition of the case, further alleging that respondent Ramos is still using the name of Pedro Dionisio Ramos and PDD Ramos in two pleadings filed before the Court of First Instance of Manila, disregarding the Resolution of this Court dated September 7, 1979. 6 Commenting, respondent admitted the allegations of complainant's counsel but alleged that he signed the pleadings inadvertently because of poor eyesight. The facts, as found by the Solicitor General who investigated the case, and the Legal OfficerInvestigator before whom the additional evidence was presented, are as follows: Respondent was admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1964. He was legally married to and living with Editha Encarnado the marriage with her having been celebrated on September 4, 1963. Both complainant and respondent were officemates in the Office of Councilor Lito Puyat, City Hall, Manila since 1967. With the convenience thus offered, respondent, representing himself to be "single," began courting complainant, proposed civil marriage to her to be later followed with a church celebration after which they will live together as husband and wife. From January 1968 to February 1971, they had carnal knowledge of each other in various hotels in Manila, particularly the Golden Gate Motel and Salem Motel. Sometime in June 1970, complainant informed respondent that she was pregnant. Whereupon, both agreed to get a quick marriage. Accordingly, complainant and respondent filed their respective applications for a marriage license (Exhs. "H", "H-1" and "H-2") and based thereon, they obtained a marriage license issued on June 16, 1970 (Exh. "D") and celebrated their marriage before Minister Isidro Dizon on June 18, 1970 (Exh. "B"). After the marriage, complainant and respondent agreed to have a church marriage before they live together as husband and wife, although they continued to have sexual trysts. Respondent was invited by complainant to meet the latter's mother to whom respondent expressed his desire to marry complainant, to which proposal complainant's mother agreed, provided respondent bring his parents with him to ask for complainant's hand. Several weeks had passed and respondent failed to bring his parents to complainant's home. Complainant and her mother became suspicious. They made inquiries about the personal status of respondent and they ultimately discovered that respondent was already married to one Editha Encarnado (Exhs. "C" and "E"). After discovering that respondent was a married man, complainant resigned from her job as receptionist from the office of Councilor Lito Puyat. She stopped having intimate

relationship with respondent and because of the humiliation and embarassment she suffered before her friends and officemates, she filed the present disbarment case. Upon the other-hand, respondent tried to prove, through his affidavit subscribed before Asst. City Fiscal Primitivo Peñaranda of Manila, that he never misrepresented himself to be "single" and that complainant knew at the outset of his married status; that it was purely complainant's wish to carry on a love affair with him as described in his affidavit; that he was threatened and forced to sign blank marriage contract forms and applications for marriage license by the brothers of the complainant who are allegedly notorious police characters; that his signature in the marriage contract (Exh. "B") was forged and falsified; that the marriage contract was only celebrated as a cover-up of the pregnancy of the complainant; and that the disbarment proceedings were initiated by complainant because he refused to elope with complainant and abandon his wife Editha Encarnado and he stopped giving her money and avoided seeing her again. Upon a review of the record, We are convinced that respondent Dionisio Ramos is guilty of grossly immoral conduct which warrants proper action from this Court. His own declarations in his affidavit corroborate this imputation of immorality. Thus, in his affidavit subscribed before Asst. Fiscal Primitive Peñaranda of Manila on Feb. 22, 1967, respondent frankly admitted having carnal relations with complainant for several times. What is more, respondent claimed that he was threatened and forced by complainant's brothers to celebrate the marriage dated June 18, 1980, but in the same breath, he admitted having carnal affairs with complainant after the celebration of the marriage. Worse still, respondent misrepresented his civil status as "single", courted complainant, proposed marriage to her — knowing his legal impediments to marry complainant, respondent's motives were clearly and grossly immoral — won her confidence and married her while his first marriage to his present wife still validly subsists. In Villasanta vs. Peralta, 7 where respondent was disbarred because he made love with complainant, procured the preparation of a false marriage contract and arranged a false wedding with complainant while his first wife was still alive and their marriage still valid and existing, this Court held: "the act of respondent of contracting the second marriage (even his act in making love to another woman while his first wife is still alive and their marriage still valid and existing) is contrary to honesty, justice, decency and morality. Respondent made a mockery of marriage which is a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity." It is of importance that members of the ancient and learned profession of law must conform with the highest standards of morality. As stated in paragraph 29 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics: "The lawyer should aid in guarding the Bar against the admission to the profession of candidates unfit or unqualified because deficient in either moral character or education. He should strive at all times to uphold the honor and to maintain the dignity of the profession and to improve not only the law but also the administration of justice." 8 Respondent, however, submits that having been acquitted by the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXI, of the charge of bigamy, the immorality charges filed against him in this disbarment case should be dismissed. The acquittal of respondent Ramos upon the criminal charge is not a bar to these proceedings. The standards of legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to escape the penalties of the criminal law. Moreover,

this Court in disbarment proceedings is acting in an entirely different capacity from that which courts assume in trying criminal cases. 9 This Court has already severely reprimanded respondent from using a name other than authorized name in the "Roll of Attorneys" and was warned that a repetition of the same overt act may warrant his suspension of disbarment from office in the future. Notwithstanding such reprimand and warning, however, respondent repeated the same overt act of using an unauthorized name in two pleadings filed before the Court of First Instance of Manila. His explanation that he had done so inadvertently because of poor eyesight appears unsatisfactory. He should have employed more caution and prudence in filing pleadings before courts considering the fact that he had already been warned and reprimanded by this Court. Respondent's conduct, thus, suggests lack of candor and respect in his dealing with this Court. He has violated his oath of office of assuming the duty of good faith and honorable dealings with the court, of being respectful to it and of being obedient to its rules and lawful orders. In the light of the foregoing, the Court finds that respondent committed a grossly immoral act, as found both by the Solicitor General and this Court's Legal Officer-Investigator, and as recommended by the Solicitor General, respondent is hereby suspended from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years, for gross immorality, and an additional one (1) year for his willful disregard of a lawful order against his using an unauthorized name, in serious disrespect of this Court. SO ORDERED. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. L-27654 February 18, 1970 IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. VICENTE RAUL ALMACEN In L-27654, ANTONIO H. CALERO, vs. VIRGINIA Y. YAPTINCHAY. RESOLUTION

CASTRO, J.: Before us is Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen's "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title," filed on September 25, 1967, in protest against what he therein asserts is "a great injustice committed against his client by this Supreme Court." 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 injustice's 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 ... 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. He reiterated and disclosed to the press the contents of the aforementioned petition. Thus, on September 26, 1967, the Manila Times published statements attributed to him, as follows: Vicente Raul Almacen, in an unprecedented petition, said he did it to expose the tribunal's "unconstitutional and obnoxious" practice of arbitrarily denying petitions or appeals without any reason. Because of the tribunal's "short-cut justice," Almacen deplored, his client was condemned to pay P120,000, without knowing why he lost the case. xxx xxx xxx There is no use continuing his law practice, Almacen said in this petition, "where our Supreme Court is composed of men who are calloused to our pleas for justice, who ignore without reason their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity. xxx xxx xxx He expressed the hope that by divesting himself of his title by which he earns his living, the present members of the Supreme Court "will become responsive to all cases brought to its attention without discrimination, and will purge itself of those unconstitutional and obnoxious "lack of merit" or "denied resolutions. (Emphasis supplied) Atty. Almacen's statement that ... our own Supreme Court is composed of men who are calloused to our pleas of [sic] justice, who ignore their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity was quoted by columnist Vicente Albano Pacis in the issue of the Manila Chronicle of September 28, 1967. In connection therewith, Pacis commented that Atty. Almacen had "accused the high tribunal of offenses so serious that the Court must clear itself," and that "his charge is one of the constitutional bases for impeachment."

The genesis of this unfortunate incident was a civil case entitled Virginia Y. Yaptinchay vs. Antonio H. Calero,1 in which Atty. Almacen was counsel for the defendant. The trial court, after due hearing, rendered judgment against his client. On June 15, 1966 Atty. Almacen received a copy of the decision. Twenty days later, or on July 5, 1966, he moved for its reconsideration. He served on the adverse counsel a copy of the motion, but did not notify the latter of the time and place of hearing on said motion. Meanwhile, on July 18, 1966, the plaintiff moved for execution of the judgment. For "lack of proof of service," the trial court denied both motions. To prove that he did serve on the adverse party a copy of his first motion for reconsideration, Atty. Almacen filed on August 17, 1966 a second motion for reconsideration to which he attached the required registry return card. This second motion for reconsideration, however, was ordered withdrawn by the trial court on August 30, 1966, upon verbal motion of Atty. Almacen himself, who, earlier, that is, on August 22, 1966, had already perfected the appeal. Because the plaintiff interposed no objection to the record on appeal and appeal bond, the trial court elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. But the Court of Appeals, on the authority of this Court's decision in Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., L-16636, June 24, 1965, dismissed the appeal, in the following words: Upon consideration of the motion dated March 27, 1967, filed by plaintiff-appellee praying that the appeal be dismissed, and of the opposition thereto filed by defendant-appellant; the Court RESOLVED TO DISMISS, as it hereby dismisses, the appeal, for the reason that the motion for reconsideration dated July 5, 1966 (pp. 90-113, printed record on appeal) does not contain a notice of time and place of hearing thereof and is, therefore, a useless piece of paper (Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., G.R. No. L-16636, June 24, 1965), which did not interrupt the running of the period to appeal, and, consequently, the appeal was perfected out of time. Atty. Almacen moved to reconsider this resolution, urging that Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. is not decisive. At the same time he filed a pleading entitled "Latest decision of the Supreme Court in Support of Motion for Reconsideration," citing Republic of the Philippines vs. Gregorio A. Venturanza, L-20417, decided by this Court on May 30, 1966, as the applicable case. Again, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration, thus: Before this Court for resolution are the motion dated May 9, 1967 and the supplement thereto of the same date filed by defendant- appellant, praying for reconsideration of the resolution of May 8, 1967, dismissing the appeal. Appellant contends that there are some important distinctions between this case and that of Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., G.R. No. L- 16636, June 24, 1965, relied upon by this Court in its resolution of May 8, 1967. Appellant further states that in the latest case, Republic vs. Venturanza, L-20417, May 30, 1966, decided by the Supreme Court concerning the question raised by appellant's motion, the ruling is contrary to the doctrine laid down in the Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. case. There is no substantial distinction between this case and that of Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. In the case of Republic vs. Venturanza, the resolution denying the motion to dismiss the appeal, based on grounds similar to those raised herein was issued on November 26, 1962, which was much earlier than the date of promulgation of the decision in the Manila Surety

Case, which was June 24, 1965. Further, the resolution in the Venturanza case was interlocutory and the Supreme Court issued it "without prejudice to appellee's restoring the point in the brief." In the main decision in said case (Rep. vs. Venturanza the Supreme Court passed upon the issue sub silencio presumably because of its prior decisions contrary to the resolution of November 26, 1962, one of which is that in the Manila Surety and Fidelity case. Therefore Republic vs. Venturanza is no authority on the matter in issue. Atty. Almacen then appealed to this Court by certiorari. We refused to take the case, and by minute resolution denied the appeal. Denied shortly thereafter was his motion for reconsideration as well as his petition for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration and for extension of time. Entry of judgment was made on September 8, 1967. Hence, the second motion for reconsideration filed by him after the Said date was ordered expunged from the records. It was at this juncture that Atty. Almacen gave vent to his disappointment by filing his "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title," already adverted to — a pleading that is interspersed from beginning to end with the insolent contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory remarks hereinbefore reproduced, against this Court as well as its individual members, a behavior that is as unprecedented as it is unprofessional. Nonetheless we decided by resolution dated September 28, 1967 to withhold action on his petition until he shall have actually surrendered his certificate. Patiently, we waited for him to make good his proffer. No word came from him. So he was reminded to turn over his certificate, which he had earlier vociferously offered to surrender, so that this Court could act on his petition. To said reminder he manifested "that he has no pending petition in connection with Case G.R. No. L-27654, Calero vs. Yaptinchay, said case is now final and executory;" that this Court's September 28, 1967 resolution did not require him to do either a positive or negative act; and that since his offer was not accepted, he "chose to pursue the negative act." In the exercise of its inherent power to discipline a member of the bar for contumely and gross misconduct, this Court on November 17, 1967 resolved to require Atty. Almacen to show cause "why no disciplinary action should be taken against him." Denying the charges contained in the November 17 resolution, he asked for permission "to give reasons and cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against him ... in an open and public hearing." This Court resolved (on December 7) "to require Atty. Almacen to state, within five days from notice hereof, his reasons for such request, otherwise, oral argument shall be deemed waived and incident submitted for decision." To this resolution he manifested that since this Court is "the complainant, prosecutor and Judge," he preferred to be heard and to answer questions "in person and in an open and public hearing" so that this Court could observe his sincerity and candor. He also asked for leave to file a written explanation "in the event this Court has no time to hear him in person." To give him the ampliest latitude for his defense, he was allowed to file a written explanation and thereafter was heard in oral argument. His written answer, as undignified and cynical as it is unchastened, offers -no apology. Far from being contrite Atty. Almacen unremittingly repeats his jeremiad of lamentations, this time embellishing it with abundant sarcasm and innuendo. Thus: At the start, let me quote passages from the Holy Bible, Chapter 7, St. Matthew: —

"Do not judge, that you may not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged, and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you. But why dost thou see the speck in thy brother's eye, and yet dost not consider the beam in thy own eye? Or how can thou say to thy brother, "Let me cast out the speck from thy eye"; and behold, there is a beam in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam from thy own eye, and then thou wilt see clearly to cast out the speck from thy brother's eyes." "Therefore all that you wish men to do to you, even to do you also to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets." xxx xxx xxx Your respondent has no intention of disavowing the statements mentioned in his petition. On the contrary, he refirms the truth of what he stated, compatible with his lawyer's oath that he will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court. But he vigorously DENY under oath that the underscored statements contained in the CHARGE are insolent, contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory to the individual members of the Court; that they tend to bring the entire Court, without justification, into disrepute; and constitute conduct unbecoming of a member of the noble profession of law. xxx xxx xxx Respondent stands four-square that his statement is borne by TRUTH and has been asserted with NO MALICE BEFORE AND AFTER THOUGHT but mainly motivated with the highest interest of justice that in the particular case of our client, the members have shown callousness to our various pleas for JUSTICE, our pleadings will bear us on this matter, ... xxx xxx xxx To all these beggings, supplications, words of humility, appeals for charity, generosity, fairness, understanding, sympathy and above all in the highest interest of JUSTICE, — what did we get from this COURT? One word, DENIED, with all its hardiness and insensibility. That was the unfeeling of the Court towards our pleas and prayers, in simple word, it is plain callousness towards our particular case. xxx xxx xxx Now that your respondent has the guts to tell the members of the Court that notwithstanding the violation of the Constitution, you remained unpunished, this Court in the reverse order of natural things, is now in the attempt to inflict punishment on your respondent for acts he said in good faith. Did His Honors care to listen to our pleadings and supplications for JUSTICE, CHARITY, GENEROSITY and FAIRNESS? Did His Honors attempt to justify their stubborn denial with any semblance of reason, NEVER. Now that your respondent is given the opportunity to face you, he reiterates the same statement with emphasis, DID YOU? Sir. Is this. the way of life in the Philippines today, that even our own President, said: — "the story is current, though nebulous ,is to its truth, it is still being circulated that justice in the Philippines today is not what it is used to be before the war. There are those who have told me frankly and brutally that justice is a commodity, a marketable commodity in the Philippines."

xxx xxx xxx We condemn the SIN, not the SINNER. We detest the ACTS, not the ACTOR. We attack the decision of this Court, not the members. ... We were provoked. We were compelled by force of necessity. We were angry but we waited for the finality of the decision. We waited until this Court has performed its duties. We never interfered nor obstruct in the performance of their duties. But in the end, after seeing that the Constitution has placed finality on your judgment against our client and sensing that you have not performed your duties with "circumspection, carefulness, confidence and wisdom", your Respondent rise to claim his God given right to speak the truth and his Constitutional right of free speech. xxx xxx xxx The INJUSTICES which we have attributed to this Court and the further violations we sought to be prevented is impliedly shared by our President. ... . xxx xxx xxx What has been abhored and condemned, are the very things that were applied to us. Recalling Madam Roland's famous apostrophe during the French revolution, "O Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name", we may dare say, "O JUSTICE, what technicalities are committed in thy name' or more appropriately, 'O JUSTICE, what injustices are committed in thy name." xxx xxx xxx We must admit that this Court is not free from commission of any abuses, but who would correct such abuses considering that yours is a court of last resort. A strong public opinion must be generated so as to curtail these abuses. xxx xxx xxx The phrase, Justice is blind is symbolize in paintings that can be found in all courts and government offices. We have added only two more symbols, that it is also deaf and dumb. Deaf in the sense that no members of this Court has ever heard our cries for charity, generosity, fairness, understanding sympathy and for justice; dumb in the sense, that inspite of our beggings, supplications, and pleadings to give us reasons why our appeal has been DENIED, not one word was spoken or given ... We refer to no human defect or ailment in the above statement. We only describe the. impersonal state of things and nothing more. xxx xxx xxx As we have stated, we have lost our faith and confidence in the members of this Court and for which reason we offered to surrender our lawyer's certificate, IN TRUST ONLY. Because what has been lost today may be regained tomorrow. As the offer was intended as our selfimposed sacrifice, then we alone may decide as to when we must end our self-sacrifice. If we have to choose between forcing ourselves to have faith and confidence in the members of the Court but disregard our Constitution and to uphold the Constitution and be condemned by the members of this Court, there is no choice, we must uphold the latter.

But overlooking, for the nonce, the vituperative chaff which he claims is not intended as a studied disrespect to this Court, let us examine the grain of his grievances. He chafes at the minute resolution denial of his petition for review. We are quite aware of the criticisms2 expressed against this Court's practice of rejecting petitions by minute resolutions. We have been asked to do away with it, to state the facts and the law, and to spell out the reasons for denial. We have given this suggestion very careful thought. For we know the abject frustration of a lawyer who tediously collates the facts and for many weary hours meticulously marshalls his arguments, only to have his efforts rebuffed with a terse unadorned denial. Truth to tell, however, most petitions rejected by this Court are utterly frivolous and ought never to have been lodged at all. 3 The rest do exhibit a first-impression cogency, but fail to, withstand critical scrutiny. By and large, this Court has been generous in giving due course to petitions for certiorari. Be this as it may, were we to accept every case or write a full opinion for every petition we reject, we would be unable to carry out effectively the burden placed upon us by the Constitution. The proper role of the Supreme Court, as Mr. Chief Justice Vinson of the U.S. Supreme Court has defined it, is to decide "only those cases which present questions whose resolutions will have immediate importance beyond the particular facts and parties involved." Pertinent here is the observation of Mr. Justice Frankfurter in Maryland vs. Baltimore Radio Show, 94 L. ed 562, 566: A variety of considerations underlie denials of the writ, and as to the same petition different reasons may read different justices to the same result ... . Since there are these conflicting, and, to the uninformed, even confusing reasons for denying petitions for certiorari, it has been suggested from time to time that the Court indicate its reasons for denial. Practical considerations preclude. In order that the Court may be enabled to discharge its indispensable duties, Congress has placed the control of the Court's business, in effect, within the Court's discretion. During the last three terms the Court disposed of 260, 217, 224 cases, respectively, on their merits. For the same three terms the Court denied, respectively, 1,260, 1,105,1,189 petitions calling for discretionary review. If the Court is to do its work it would not be feasible to give reasons, however brief, for refusing to take these cases. The tune that would be required is prohibitive. Apart from the fact that as already indicated different reasons not infrequently move different members of the Court in concluding that a particular case at a particular time makes review undesirable. Six years ago, in Novino, et al., vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 1,21098, May 31, 1963 (60 O.G. 8099), this Court, through the then Chief Justice Cesar Bengzon, articulated its considered view on this matter. There, the petitioners counsel urged that a "lack of merit" resolution violates Section 12 of Article VIII of the Constitution. Said Chief Justice Bengzon: In connection with identical short resolutions, the same question has been raised before; and we held that these "resolutions" are not "decisions" within the above constitutional requirement. They merely hold that the petition for review should not be entertained in view of the provisions of Rule 46 of the Rules of Court; and even ordinary lawyers have all this time so understood it. It should be remembered that a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion; and so there is no

need to fully explain the court's denial. For one thing, the facts and the law are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals' opinion. By the way, this mode of disposal has — as intended — helped the Court in alleviating its heavy docket; it was patterned after the practice of the U.S. Supreme Court, wherein petitions for review are often merely ordered "dismissed". We underscore the fact that cases taken to this Court on petitions for certiorari from the Court of Appeals have had the benefit of appellate review. Hence, the need for compelling reasons to buttress such petitions if this Court is to be moved into accepting them. For it is axiomatic that the supervisory jurisdiction vested upon this Court over the Court of Appeals is not intended to give every losing party another hearing. This axiom is implied in sec. 4 of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which recites: Review of Court of Appeals' decision discretionary.—A review is not a matter of right but of sound judicial discretion, and will be granted only when there are special and important reasons therefor. The following, while neither controlling nor fully measuring the court's discretion, indicate the character of reasons which will be considered: (a) When the Court of Appeals has decided a question of substance, not theretofore determined by the Supreme Court, nor has decided it in a way probably not in accord with law or with the applicable decisions of the Supreme Court; (b) When the Court of Appeals has so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings, or so far sanctioned such departure by the lower court, as to call for the exercise of the power of supervision. Recalling Atty. Almacen's petition for review, we found, upon a thoroughgoing examination of the pleadings. and records, that the Court of Appeals had fully and correctly considered the dismissal of his appeal in the light of the law and applicable decisions of this Court. Far from straying away from the "accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings," it traced the procedural lines etched by this Court in a number of decisions. There was, therefore, no need for this Court to exercise its supervisory power. As a law practitioner who was admitted to the Bar as far back as 1941, Atty. Almacen knew — or ought to have known — that for a motion for reconsideration to stay the running of the period of appeal, the movant must not only serve a copy of the motion upon the adverse party (which he did), but also notify the adverse party of the time and place of hearing (which admittedly he did not). This rule was unequivocally articulated in Manila Surety & Fidelity vs. Batu Construction & Co., supra: The written notice referred to evidently is prescribed for motions in general by Rule 15, Sections 4 and 5 (formerly Rule 26), which provides that such notice shall state the time, and place of hearing and shall be served upon all the Parties concerned at least three days in advance. And according to Section 6 of the same Rule no motion shall be acted upon by the court without proof of such notice. Indeed it has been held that in such a case the motion is nothing but a useless piece of paper (Philippine National Bank v. Damasco, I,18638, Feb. 28, 1963; citing Manakil v. Revilla, 42 Phil. 81; Roman Catholic Bishop of Lipa v. Municipality of Unisan, 41 Phil. 866; and Director of Lands vs. Sanz, 45 Phil. 117). The reason is obvious: Unless the movant sets the time and place of hearing the Court would

have no way to determine whether that party agrees to or objects to the motion, and if he objects, to hear him on his objection, since the Rules themselves do not fix any period within which he may file his reply or opposition. If Atty. Almacen failed to move the appellate court to review the lower court's judgment, he has only himself to blame. His own negligence caused the forfeiture of the remedy of appeal, which, incidentally, is not a matter of right. To shift away from himself the consequences of his carelessness, he looked for a "whipping boy." But he made sure that he assumed the posture of a martyr, and, in offering to surrender his professional certificate, he took the liberty of vilifying this Court and inflicting his exacerbating rancor on the members thereof. It would thus appear that there is no justification for his scurrilous and scandalous outbursts. Nonetheless we gave this unprecedented act of Atty. Almacen the most circumspect consideration. We know that it is natural for a lawyer to express his dissatisfaction each time he loses what he sanguinely believes to be a meritorious case. That is why lawyers are given 'wide latitude to differ with, and voice their disapproval of, not only the courts' rulings but, also the manner in which they are handed down. Moreover, every citizen has the right to comment upon and criticize the actuations of public officers. This right is not diminished by the fact that the criticism is aimed at a judicial authority,4 or that it is articulated by a lawyer.5 Such right is especially recognized where the criticism concerns a concluded litigation,6 because then the court's actuations are thrown open to public consumption.7 "Our decisions and all our official actions," said the Supreme Court of Nebraska,8 "are public property, and the press and the people have the undoubted right to comment on them, criticize and censure them as they see fit. Judicial officers, like other public servants, must answer for their official actions before the chancery of public opinion." The likely danger of confusing the fury of human reaction to an attack on one's integrity, competence and honesty, with "imminent danger to the administration of justice," is the reason why courts have been loath to inflict punishment on those who assail their actuations.9 This danger lurks especially in such a case as this where those who Sit as members of an entire Court are themselves collectively the aggrieved parties. Courts thus treat with forbearance and restraint a lawyer who vigorously assails their actuations. 10 For courageous and fearless advocates are the strands that weave durability into the tapestry of justice. Hence, as citizen and officer of the court, every lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to expose the shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and judges. 11 Courts and judges are not sacrosanct. 12 They should and expect critical evaluation of their performance. 13 For like the executive and the legislative branches, the judiciary is rooted in the soil of democratic society, nourished by the periodic appraisal of the citizens whom it is expected to serve. Well-recognized therefore is the right of a lawyer, both as an officer of the court and as a citizen, to criticize in properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges. The reason is that

An attorney does not surrender, in assuming the important place accorded to him in the administration of justice, his right as a citizen to criticize the decisions of the courts in a fair and respectful manner, and the independence of the bar, as well as of the judiciary, has always been encouraged by the courts. (In re Ades, 6 F Supp. 487) . Criticism of the courts has, indeed, been an important part of the traditional work of the bar. In the prosecution of appeals, he points out the errors of lower courts. In written for law journals he dissects with detachment the doctrinal pronouncements of courts and fearlessly lays bare for -all to see that flaws and inconsistence" of the doctrines (Hill v. Lyman, 126 NYS 2d 286). As aptly stated by Chief Justice Sharswood in Ex Parte Steinman, 40 Am. Rep. 641: No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expansion or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities for observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. ... To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood, by the judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained. ... . 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 for 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. Dee. 657, 665). Above all others, the members of the bar have the beat Opportunity to become conversant with the character and efficiency of our judges. No class is less likely to abuse the privilege, as no other class has as great an interest in the preservation of an able and upright bench. (State Board of Examiners in Law v. Hart, 116 N.W. 212, 216) To curtail the right of a lawyer to be critical of the foibles of courts and judges is to seal the lips of those in the best position to give advice and who might consider it their duty to speak disparagingly. "Under such a rule," so far as the bar is concerned, "the merits of a sitting judge may be rehearsed, but as to his demerits there must be profound silence." (State v. Circuit Court, 72 N.W. 196) 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 ... to the courts; 14 and the Rules of Court constantly remind him "to observe and maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers." 15 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: ... 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) We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual endowment That is his privilege. And he may suffer frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. That is his misfortune. Some such frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to harden into a belief that he may attack a court's decision in words calculated to jettison the time-honored aphorism that courts are the temples of right. (Per Justice Sanchez in Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer, L-22979. June 26, 1967) 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 16 or in the course of a political, campaign, 17 if couched in insulting language as to bring into scorn and disrepute the administration of justice, may subject the attorney to disciplinary action. Of fundamental pertinence at this juncture is an examination of relevant parallel precedents. 1. Admitting that a "judge as a public official is neither sacrosanct nor immune to public criticism of his conduct in office," the Supreme Court of Florida in State v. Calhoon, 102 So. 2d 604, 608, nevertheless declared that "any conduct of a lawyer which brings into scorn and disrepute the administration of justice demands condemnation and the application of appropriate penalties," adding that: It would be contrary to, every democratic theory to hold that a judge or a court is beyond bona fide comments and criticisms which do not exceed the bounds of decency and truth or which are not aimed at. the destruction of public confidence in the judicial system as such. However, when the likely impairment of the administration of justice the direct product of false and scandalous accusations then the rule is otherwise.

2. In In Re Glenn, 130 N.W. 2d 672, an attorney was suspended for putting out and circulating a leaflet entitled "JUSTICE??? IN OTUMWA," which accused a municipal judge of having committed judicial error, of being so prejudiced as to deny his clients a fair trial on appeal and of being subject to the control of a group of city officials. As a prefatory statement he wrote: "They say that Justice is BLIND, but it took Municipal Judge Willard to prove that it is also DEAF and DUMB!" The court did not hesitate to find that the leaflet went much further than the accused, as a lawyer, had a right to do. The entire publication evidences a desire on the part Of the accused to belittle and besmirch the court and to bring it into disrepute with the general public. 3. In In Re Humphrey, 163 Pac. 60, the Supreme Court of California affirmed the two-year suspension of an attorney who published a circular assailing a judge who at that time was a candidate for re-election to a judicial office. The circular which referred to two decisions of the judge concluded with a statement that the judge "used his judicial office to enable -said bank to keep that money." Said the court: We are aware that there is a line of authorities which place no limit to the criticism members of the bar may make regarding the capacity, impartiality, or integrity of the courts, even though it extends to the deliberate publication by the attorney capable of correct reasoning of baseless insinuations against the intelligence and integrity of the highest courts. See State Board, etc. v. Hart. 116 N.W. 212, 17 LRA (N.S.) 585, 15 Ann Cas 197 and note: Ex parte Steinman 95 Pac. 220, 40 Am. Rep. 637. In the first case mentioned it was observed, for instance: "It may be (although we do not so decide) that a libelous publication by an attorney, directed against a judicial officer, could be so vile and of such a nature as to justify the disbarment of its author." Yet the false charges made by an attorney in that case were of graver character than those made by the respondent here. But, in our view, the better rule is that which requires of those who are permitted to enjoy the privilege of practicing law the strictest observance at all times of the principles of truth, honesty and fairness, especially in their criticism of the courts, to the end that the public confidence in the due administration of justice be upheld, and the dignity and usefulness of the courts be maintained. In re Collins, 81 Pac. 220. 4. In People ex rel Chicago Bar Asso. v. Metzen, 123 N.E. 734, an attorney, representing a woman who had been granted a divorce, attacked the judge who set aside the decree on bill of review. He wrote the judge a threatening letter and gave the press the story of a proposed libel suit against the judge and others. The letter began: Unless the record in In re Petersen v. Petersen is cleared up so that my name is protected from the libel, lies, and perjury committed in the cases involved, I shall be compelled to resort to such drastic action as the law allows and the case warrants. Further, he said: "However let me assure you I do not intend to allow such dastardly work to go unchallenged," and said that he was engaged in dealing with men and not irresponsible political manikins or appearances of men. Ordering the attorney's disbarment, the Supreme Court of Illinois declared:

... Judges are not exempt from just criticism, and whenever there is proper ground for serious complaint against a judge, it is the right and duty of a lawyer to submit his grievances to the proper authorities, but the public interest and the administration of the law demand that the courts should have the confidence and respect of the people. Unjust criticism, insulting language, and offensive conduct toward the judges personally by attorneys, who are officers of the court, which tend to bring the courts and the law into disrepute and to destroy public confidence in their integrity, cannot be permitted. The letter written to the judge was plainly an attempt to intimidate and influence him in the discharge of judicial functions, and the bringing of the unauthorized suit, together with the write-up in the Sunday papers, was intended and calculated to bring the court into disrepute with the public. 5. In a public speech, a Rhode Island lawyer accused the courts of the state of being influenced by corruption and greed, saying that the seats of the Supreme Court were bartered. It does not appear that the attorney had criticized any of the opinions or decisions of the Court. The lawyer was charged with unprofessional conduct, and was ordered suspended for a period of two years. The Court said: A calumny of that character, if believed, would tend to weaken the authority of the court against whose members it was made, bring its judgments into contempt, undermine its influence as an unbiased arbiter of the people's right, and interfere with the administration of justice. ... Because a man is a member of the bar the court will not, under the guise of disciplinary proceedings, deprive him of any part of that freedom of speech which he possesses as a citizen. The acts and decisions of the courts of this state, in cases that have reached final determination, are not exempt from fair and honest comment and criticism. It is only when an attorney transcends the limits of legitimate criticism that he will be held responsible for an abuse of his liberty of speech. We well understand that an independent bar, as well as independent court, is always a vigilant defender of civil rights. In Re Troy, 111 Atl. 723. 725. 6. In In Re Rockmore, 111 NYS 879, an attorney was suspended for six months for submitting to an appellate court an affidavit reflecting upon the judicial integrity of the court from which the appeal was taken. Such action, the Court said, constitutes unprofessional conduct justifying suspension from practice, notwithstanding that he fully retracted and withdrew the statements, and asserted that the affidavit was the result of an impulse caused by what he considered grave injustice. The Court said: We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that there is a growing habit in the profession of criticising the motives and integrity of judicial officers in the discharge of their duties, and thereby reflecting on the administration of justice and creating the impression that judicial action is influenced by corrupt or improper motives. Every attorney of this court, as well as every other citizen, has the right and it is his duty, to submit charges to the authorities in whom is vested the power to remove judicial officers for any conduct or act of a judicial officer that tends to show a violation of his duties, or would justify an inference that he is false to his trust, or has improperly administered the duties devolved upon him; and such charges to the tribunal, if based upon reasonable inferences, will be encouraged, and the person making them protected. ... While we recognize the inherent right of an attorney in a case decided against

him, or the right of the Public generally, to criticise the decisions of the courts, or the reasons announced for them, the habit of criticising the motives of judicial officers in the performance of their official duties, when the proceeding is not against the officers whose acts or motives are criticised, tends to subvert the confidence of the community in the courts of justice and in the administration of justice; and when such charges are made by officers of the courts, who are bound by their duty to protect the administration of justice, the attorney making such charges is guilty of professional misconduct. 7. In In Re Mitchell, 71 So. 467, a lawyer published this statement: I accepted the decision in this case, however, with patience, barring possible temporary observations more or less vituperative and finally concluded, that, as my clients were foreigners, it might have been expecting too much to look for a decision in their favor against a widow residing here. The Supreme Court of Alabama declared that: ... the expressions above set out, not only transcend the bounds of propriety and privileged criticism, but are an unwarranted attack, direct, or by insinuation and innuendo, upon the motives and integrity of this court, and make out a prima facie case of improper conduct upon the part of a lawyer who holds a license from this court and who is under oath to demean himself with all good fidelity to the court as well as to his client. The charges, however, were dismissed after the attorney apologized to the Court. 8. In State ex rel. Dabney v. Breckenridge, 258 Pac. 747, an attorney published in a newspaper an article in which he impugned the motives of the court and its members to try a case, charging the court of having arbitrarily and for a sinister purpose undertaken to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. The Court suspended the respondent for 30 days, saying that: The privileges which the law gives to members of the bar is one most subversive of the public good, if the conduct of such members does not measure up to the requirements of the law itself, as well as to the ethics of the profession. ... The right of free speech and free discussion as to judicial determination is of prime importance under our system and ideals of government. No right thinking man would concede for a moment that the best interest to private citizens, as well as to public officials, whether he labors in a judicial capacity or otherwise, would be served by denying this right of free speech to any individual. But such right does not have as its corollary that members of the bar who are sworn to act honestly and honorably both with their client and with the courts where justice is administered, if administered at all, could ever properly serve their client or the public good by designedly misstating facts or carelessly asserting the law. Truth and honesty of purpose by members of the bar in such discussion is necessary. The health of a municipality is none the less impaired by a polluted water supply than is the health of the thought of a community toward the judiciary by the filthy wanton, and malignant misuse of members of the bar of the confidence the public, through its duly established courts, has reposed in them to deal with the affairs of the private individual, the protection of whose rights he lends his strength and money to maintain the judiciary. For such conduct on the part of the members of the bar the law itself demands retribution — not the court.

9. In Bar Ass'n of San Francisco v. Philbrook, 170 Pac. 440, the filing of an affidavit by an attorney in a pending action using in respect to the several judges the terms criminal corrupt, and wicked conspiracies,," "criminal confederates," "colossal and confident insolence," "criminal prosecution," "calculated brutality," "a corrupt deadfall," and similar phrases, was considered conduct unbecoming of a member of the bar, and the name of the erring lawyer was ordered stricken from the roll of attorneys. 10. In State Board of Examiners v. Hart, 116 N.W. 215, the erring attorney claimed that greater latitude should be allowed in case of criticism of cases finally adjudicated than in those pending. This lawyer wrote a personal letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Minnesota impugning both the intelligence and the integrity of the said Chief Justice and his associates in the decisions of certain appeals in which he had been attorney for the defeated litigants. The letters were published in a newspaper. One of the letters contained this paragraph: You assigned it (the property involved) to one who has no better right to it than the burglar to his plunder. It seems like robbing a widow to reward a fraud, with the court acting as a fence, or umpire, watchful and vigilant that the widow got no undue advantage. ... The point is this: Is a proper motive for the decisions discoverable, short of assigning to the court emasculated intelligence, or a constipation of morals and faithlessness to duty? If the state bar association, or a committee chosen from its rank, or the faculty of the University Law School, aided by the researches of its hundreds of bright, active students, or if any member of the court, or any other person, can formulate a statement of a correct motive for the decision, which shall not require fumigation before it is stated, and quarantine after it is made, it will gratify every right-minded citizen of the state to read it. The Supreme Court of Minnesota, in ordering the suspension of the attorney for six months, delivered its opinion as follows: The question remains whether the accused was guilty of professional misconduct in sending to the Chief Justice the letter addressed to him. This was done, as we have found, for the very purpose of insulting him and the other justices of this court; and the insult was so directed to the Chief Justice personally because of acts done by him and his associates in their official capacity. Such a communication, so made, could never subserve any good purpose. Its only effect in any case would be to gratify the spite of an angry attorney and humiliate the officers so assailed. It would not and could not ever enlighten the public in regard to their judicial capacity or integrity. Nor was it an exercise by the accused of any constitutional right, or of any privilege which any reputable attorney, uninfluenced by passion, could ever have any occasion or desire to assert. No judicial officer, with due regard to his position, can resent such an insult otherwise than by methods sanctioned by law; and for any words, oral or written, however abusive, vile, or indecent, addressed secretly to the judge alone, he can have no redress in any action triable by a jury. "The sending of a libelous communication or libelous matter to the person defamed does not constitute an actionable publication." 18 Am. & Eng. Enc. Law (2d Ed.) p. 1017. In these respects the sending by the accused of this letter to the Chief Justice was wholly different from his other acts charged in the accusation, and, as we have said, wholly different principles are applicable thereto.

The conduct of the accused was in every way discreditable; but so far as he exercised the rights of a citizen, guaranteed by the Constitution and sanctioned by considerations of public policy, to which reference has been made, he was immune, as we hold, from the penalty here sought to be enforced. To that extent his rights as a citizen were paramount to the obligation which he had assumed as an officer of this court. When, however he proceeded and thus assailed the Chief Justice personally, he exercised no right which the court can recognize, but, on the contrary, willfully violated his obligation to maintain the respect due to courts and judicial officers. "This obligation is not discharged by merely observing the rules of courteous demeanor in open court, but it includes abstaining out of court from all insulting language and offensive conduct toward the judges personally for their official acts." Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. (U.S.) 355, 20 L. Ed. 646. And there appears to be no distinction, as regards the principle involved, between the indignity of an assault by an attorney upon a judge, induced by his official act, and a personal insult for like cause by written or spoken words addressed to the judge in his chambers or at his home or elsewhere. Either act constitutes misconduct wholly different from criticism of judicial acts addressed or spoken to others. The distinction made is, we think entirely logical and well sustained by authority. It was recognized in Ex parte McLeod supra. While the court in that case, as has been shown, fully sustained the right of a citizen to criticise rulings of the court in actions which are ended, it held that one might be summarily punished for assaulting a judicial officer, in that case a commissioner of the court, for his rulings in a cause wholly concluded. "Is it in the power of any person," said the court, "by insulting or assaulting the judge because of official acts, if only the assailant restrains his passion until the judge leaves the building, to compel the judge to forfeit either his own self-respect to the regard of the people by tame submission to the indignity, or else set in his own person the evil example of punishing the insult by taking the law in his own hands? ... No high-minded, manly man would hold judicial office under such conditions." That a communication such as this, addressed to the Judge personally, constitutes professional delinquency for which a professional punishment may be imposed, has been directly decided. "An attorney who, after being defeated in a case, wrote a personal letter to the trial justice, complaining of his conduct and reflecting upon his integrity as a justice, is guilty of misconduct and will be disciplined by the court." Matter of Manheim 133 App. Div. 136, 99 N.Y. Supp. 87 The same is held in Re Griffin (City Ct.) 1 N.Y. 7 and in Re Wilkes (City Ct.) 3 N.Y. In the latter case it appeared that the accused attorney had addressed a sealed letter to a justice of the City Court of New York, in which it was stated, in reference to his decision: "It is not law; neither is it common sense. The result is I have been robbed of 80." And it was decided that, while such conduct was not a contempt under the state, the matter should be "called to the attention of the Supreme Court, which has power to discipline the attorney." "If," says the court, "counsel learned in the law are permitted by writings leveled at the heads of judges, to charge them with ignorance, with unjust rulings, and with robbery, either as principals or accessories, it will not be long before the general public may feel that they may redress their fancied grievances in like manner, and thus the lot of a judge will be anything but a happy one, and the administration of justice will fall into bad repute." The recent case of Johnson v. State (Ala.) 44 South. 671, was in this respect much the same as the case at bar. The accused, an attorney at law, wrote and mailed a letter to the circuit judge, which the latter received by due course of mail, at his home, while not holding court, and which referred in insulting terms to the conduct of the judge in a cause wherein the accused had been one of the attorneys. For this it was held that the attorney was rightly

disbarred in having "willfully failed to maintain respect due to him [the judge] as a judicial officer, and thereby breached his oath as an attorney." As recognizing the same principle, and in support of its application to the facts of this case, we cite the following: Ex parte Bradley, 7 Wall (U.S.) 364, 19 L. Ed. 214; Beene v. State, 22 Ark. 149; Commonwealth v. Dandridge, 2 Va. Cas. 408; People v. Green, 7 Colo 237, 244, 3 Pac. 65, 374, 49 Am. Rep. 351; Smith's Appeal, 179 Pa. 14, 36 Atl. 134; Scouten's Appeal, 186 Pa. 270, Atl. 481. Our conclusion is that the charges against the accused have been so far sustained as to make it our duty to impose such a penalty as may be sufficient lesson to him and a suitable warning to others. ... 11. In Cobb v. United States, 172 F. 641, the court affirmed a lawyer's suspension for 18 months for publishing a letter in a newspaper in which he accused a judge of being under the sinister influence of a gang that had paralyzed him for two years. 12. In In Re Graves, 221 Pac. 411, the court held that an attorney's unjustifiable attack against the official acts and decisions of a judge constitutes "moral turpitude." There, the attorney was disbarred for criticising not only the judge, but his decisions in general claiming that the judge was dishonest in reaching his decisions and unfair in his general conduct of a case. 13. In In Re Doss, 12 N.E. 2d 659, an attorney published newspaper articles after the trial of cases, criticising the court in intemperate language. The invariable effect of this sort of propaganda, said the court, is to breed disrespect for courts and bring the legal profession into disrepute with the public, for which reason the lawyer was disbarred. 14. In State v. Grimes, 354 Pac. 2d 108, an attorney, dissatisfied with the loss of a case, prepared over a period of years vicious attacks on jurists. The Oklahoma Supreme Court declared that his acts involved such gross moral turpitude as to make him unfit as a member of the bar. His disbarment was ordered, even though he expressed an intention to resign from the bar. The teaching derived from the above disquisition and impressive affluence of judicial pronouncements is indubitable: Post-litigation utterances or publications, made by lawyers, critical of the courts and their judicial actuations, whether amounting to a crime or not, which transcend the permissible bounds of fair comment and legitimate criticism and thereby tend to bring them into disrepute or to subvert public confidence in their integrity and in the orderly administration of justice, constitute grave professional misconduct which may be visited with disbarment or other lesser appropriate disciplinary sanctions by the Supreme Court in the exercise of the prerogatives inherent in it as the duly constituted guardian of the morals and ethics of the legal fraternity. Of course, rarely have we wielded our disciplinary powers in the face of unwarranted outbursts of counsel such as those catalogued in the above-cited jurisprudence. Cases of comparable nature have generally been disposed of under the power of courts to punish for contempt which, although resting on different bases and calculated to attain a different end, nevertheless illustrates that universal abhorrence of such condemnable practices. A perusal of the more representative of these instances may afford enlightenment.

1. In Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil. 724, where counsel branded the denial of his motion for reconsideration as "absolutely erroneous and constituting an outrage to the rigths of the petitioner Felipe Salcedo and a mockery of the popular will expressed at the polls," this Court, although conceding that It is right and plausible that an attorney, in defending the cause and rights of his client, should do so with all the fervor and energy of which he is capable, but it is not, and never will be so for him to exercise said right by resorting to intimidation or proceeding without the propriety and respect which the dignity of the courts requires. The reason for this is that respect for the courts guarantees the stability of their institution. Without such guaranty, said institution would be resting on a very shaky foundation, found counsel guilty of contempt inasmuch as, in its opinion, the statements made disclosed ... an inexcusable disrespect of the authority of the court and an intentional contempt of its dignity, because the court is thereby charged with no less than having proceeded in utter disregard of the laws, the rights to the parties, and 'of the untoward consequences, or with having abused its power and mocked and flouted the rights of Attorney Vicente J. Francisco's client ... . 2. In In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595, counsel, a senator and the author of the Press Freedom Law, reaching to, the imprisonment for contempt of one Angel Parazo, who, invoking said law, refused to divulge the source of a news item carried in his paper, caused to be published in i local newspaper a statement expressing his regret "that our High Tribunal has not only erroneously interpreted said law, but it is once more putting in evidence the incompetency or narrow mindedness of the majority of its members," and his belief that "In the wake of so many blunders and injustices deliberately committed during these last years, ... the only remedy to put an end to go much evil, is to change the members of the Supreme Court," which tribunal he denounced as "a constant peril to liberty and democracy" and "a far cry from the impregnable bulwark of justice of those memorable times of Cayetano Arellano, Victorino Mapa, Manuel Araullo and other learned jurists who were the honor and glory of the Philippine Judiciary." He there also announced that one of the first measures he would introduce in then forthcoming session of Congress would have for its object the complete reorganization of the Supreme Court. Finding him in contempt, despite his avowals of good faith and his invocation of the guarantee of free speech, this Court declared: But in the above-quoted written statement which he caused to be published in the press, the respondent does not merely criticize or comment on the decision of the Parazo case, which was then and still is pending consideration by this Court upon petition of Angel Parazo. He not only intends to intimidate the members of this Court with the presentation of a bill in the next Congress, of which he is one of the members, reorganizing the Supreme Court and reducing the number of Justices from eleven, so as to change the members of this Court which decided the Parazo case, who according to his statement, are incompetent and narrow minded, in order to influence the final decision of said case by this Court, and thus embarrass or obstruct the administration of justice. But the respondent also attacks the honesty and integrity of this Court for the apparent purpose of bringing the Justices of this Court into disrepute and degrading the administration. of justice ... . 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 Que

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. Significantly, too, the Court therein hastened to emphasize that ... an attorney as an officer of the court is under special obligation to be respectful in his conduct and communication to the courts; he may be removed from office or stricken from the roll of attorneys as being guilty of flagrant misconduct (17 L.R.A. [N.S.], 586, 594.) 3. In Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer: In re Proceedings against Alfonso Ponce Enrile, et al., supra, where counsel charged this Court with having "repeatedly fallen" into ,the pitfall of blindly adhering to its previous "erroneous" pronouncements, "in disregard of the law on jurisdiction" of the Court of Industrial Relations, our condemnation of counsel's misconduct was unequivocal. Articulating the sentiments of the Court, Mr. Justice Sanchez stressed: As we look back at the language (heretofore quoted) employed in the motion for reconsideration, implications there are which inescapably arrest attention. It speaks of one pitfall into which this Court has repeatedly fallen whenever the jurisdiction of the Court of Industrial Relations comes into question. That pitfall is the tendency of this Court to rely on its own pronouncements in disregard of the law on jurisdiction. It makes a sweeping charge that the decisions of this Court, blindly adhere to earlier rulings without as much as making any reference to and analysis of the pertinent statute governing the jurisdiction of the industrial court. The plain import of all these is that this Court is so patently inept that in determining the jurisdiction of the industrial court, it has committed error and continuously repeated that error to the point of perpetuation. It pictures this Court as one which refuses to hew to the line drawn by the law on jurisdictional boundaries. Implicit in the quoted statements is that the pronouncements of this Court on the jurisdiction of the industrial court are not entitled to respect. Those statements detract much from the dignity of and respect due this Court. They bring into question the capability of the members — and some former members of this Court to render justice. The second paragraph quoted yields a tone of sarcasm which counsel labelled as "so called" the "rule against splitting of jurisdiction." Similar thoughts and sentiments have been expressed in other cases of brevity, need not now be reviewed in detail.
18

which, in the interest

Of course, a common denominator underlies the aforecited cases — all of them involved contumacious statements made in pleadings filed pending litigation. So that, in line with the

doctrinal rule that the protective mantle of contempt may ordinarily be invoked only against scurrilous remarks or malicious innuendoes while a court mulls over a pending case and not after the conclusion thereof, 19 Atty. Almacen would now seek to sidestep the thrust of a contempt charge by his studied emphasis that the remarks for which he is now called upon to account were made only after this Court had written finis to his appeal. This is of no moment. The rule that bars contempt after a judicial proceeding has terminated, has lost much of its vitality. For sometime, this was the prevailing view in this jurisdiction. The first stir for a modification thereof, however, came when, in People vs. Alarcon, 20 the then Chief Justice Manuel V. Moran dissented with the holding of the majority, speaking thru Justice Jose P. Laurel, which upheld the rule above-adverted to. A complete disengagement from the settled rule was later to be made in In re Brillantes, 21 a contempt proceeding, where the editor of the Manila Guardian was adjudged in contempt for publishing an editorial which asserted that the 1944 Bar Examinations were conducted in a farcical manner after the question of the validity of the said examinations had been resolved and the case closed. Virtually, this was an adoption of the view expressed by Chief Justice Moran in his dissent in Alarcon to the effect that them may still be contempt by publication even after a case has been terminated. Said Chief Justice Moran in Alarcon: A publication which tends to impede, obstruct, embarrass or influence the courts in administering justice in a pending suit or proceeding, constitutes criminal contempt which is 'summarily punishable by courts. A publication which tends to degrade the courts and to destroy public confidence in them or that which tends to bring them in any way into disrepute, constitutes likewise criminal contempt, and is equally punishable by courts. What is sought, in the first kind of contempt, to be shielded against the influence of newspaper comments, is the all-important duty of the courts to administer justice in the decision of a pending case. In the second kind of contempt, the punitive hand of justice is extended to vindicate the courts from any act or conduct calculated to bring them into disfavor or to destroy public confidence in them. In the first there is no contempt where there is no action pending, as there is no decision which might in any way be influenced by the newspaper publication. In the second, the contempt exists, with or without a pending case, as what is sought to be protected is the court itself and its dignity. Courts would lose their utility if public confidence in them is destroyed. Accordingly, no comfort is afforded Atty. Almacen by the circumstance that his statements and actuations now under consideration were made only after the judgment in his client's appeal had attained finality. He could as much be liable for contempt therefor as if it had been perpetrated during the pendency of the said appeal. More than this, however, consideration of whether or not he could be held liable for contempt for such post litigation utterances and actuations, is here immaterial. By the tenor of our Resolution of November 17, 1967, we have confronted the situation here presented solely in so far as it concerns Atty. Almacen's professional identity, his sworn duty as a lawyer and his fitness as an officer of this Court, in the exercise of the disciplinary power the morals inherent in our authority and duty to safeguard and ethics of the legal profession and to preserve its ranks from the intrusions of unprincipled and unworthy disciples of the noblest of callings. In this inquiry, the pendency or non-pendency of a case in court is altogether of no consequence. The sole objective of this proceeding is to preserve the purity

of the legal profession, by removing or suspending a member whose misconduct has proved himself unfit to continue to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney. Undoubtedly, this is well within our authority to do. By constitutional mandate, 22 our is the solemn duty, amongst others, to determine the rules for admission to the practice of law. Inherent in this prerogative is the corresponding authority to discipline and exclude from the practice of law those who have proved themselves unworthy of continued membership in the Bar. Thus — The power to discipline attorneys, who are officers of the court, is an inherent and incidental power in courts of record, and one which is essential to an orderly discharge of judicial functions. To deny its existence is equivalent to a declaration that the conduct of attorneys towards courts and clients is not subject to restraint. Such a view is without support in any respectable authority, and cannot be tolerated. Any court having the right to admit attorneys to practice and in this state that power is vested in this court-has the inherent right, in the exercise of a sound judicial discretion to exclude them from practice. 23 This, because the admission of a lawyer to the practice of law is a representation to all that he is worthy of their confidence and respect. So much so that — ... whenever it is made to appear to the court that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust and confidence of the public and of the courts, it becomes, not only the right, but the duty, of the court which made him one of its officers, and gave him the privilege of ministering within its bar, to withdraw the privilege. Therefore it is almost universally held that both the admission and disbarment of attorneys are judicial acts, and that one is admitted to the bar and exercises his functions as an attorney, not as a matter of right, but as a privilege conditioned on his own behavior and the exercise of a just and sound judicial discretion. 24 Indeed, in this jurisdiction, that power to remove or suspend has risen above being a mere inherent or incidental power. It has been elevated to an express mandate by the Rules of Court. 25 Our authority and duty in the premises being unmistakable, we now proceed to make an assessment of whether or not the utterances and actuations of Atty. Almacen here in question are properly the object of disciplinary sanctions. The proffered surrender of his lawyer's certificate is, of course, purely potestative on Atty. Almacen's part. Unorthodox though it may seem, no statute, no law stands in its way. Beyond making the mere offer, however, he went farther. In haughty and coarse language, he actually availed of the said move as a vehicle for his vicious tirade against this Court. The integrated entirety of his petition bristles with vile insults all calculated to drive home his contempt for and disrespect to the Court and its members. Picturing his client as "a sacrificial victim at the altar of hypocrisy," he categorically denounces the justice administered by this Court to be not only blind "but also deaf and dumb." With unmitigated acerbity, he virtually makes this Court and its members with verbal talons, imputing to the Court the perpetration of "silent injustices" and "short-cut justice" while at the same time branding its members as "calloused to pleas of justice." And, true to his announced threat to argue the cause of his client "in the people's forum," he caused the publication in the papers

of an account of his actuations, in a calculated effort ;to startle the public, stir up public indignation and disrespect toward the Court. Called upon to make an explanation, he expressed no regret, offered no apology. Instead, with characteristic arrogance, he rehashed and reiterated his vituperative attacks and, alluding to the Scriptures, virtually tarred and feathered the Court and its members as inveterate hypocrites incapable of administering justice and unworthy to impose disciplinary sanctions upon him. The virulence so blatantly evident in Atty. Almacen's petition, answer and oral argumentation speaks for itself. The vicious language used and the scurrilous innuendoes they carried far transcend the permissible bounds of legitimate criticism. They could never serve any purpose but to gratify the spite of an irate attorney, attract public attention to himself and, more important of all, bring ;this Court and its members into disrepute and destroy public confidence in them to the detriment of the orderly administration of justice. Odium of this character and texture presents no redeeming feature, and completely negates any pretense of passionate commitment to the truth. It is not a whit less than a classic example of gross misconduct, gross violation of the lawyer's oath and gross transgression of the Canons of Legal Ethics. As such, it cannot be allowed to go unrebuked. The way for the exertion of our disciplinary powers is thus laid clear, and the need therefor is unavoidable. We must once more stress our explicit disclaimer of immunity from criticism. Like any other Government entity in a viable democracy, the Court is not, and should not be, above criticism. But a critique of the Court must be intelligent and discriminating, fitting to its high function as the court of last resort. And more than this, valid and healthy criticism is by no means synonymous to obloquy, and requires detachment and disinterestedness, real qualities approached only through constant striving to attain them. Any criticism of the Court must, possess the quality of judiciousness and must be informed -by perspective and infused by philosophy. 26 It is not accurate to say, nor is it an obstacle to the exercise of our authority in ;the premises, that, as Atty. Almacen would have appear, the members of the Court are the "complainants, prosecutors and judges" all rolled up into one in this instance. This is an utter misapprehension, if not a total distortion, not only of the nature of the proceeding at hand but also of our role therein. Accent should be laid on the fact that disciplinary proceedings like the present are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, this proceeding is not — and does not involve — a trial of an action or a suit, but is rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of its officers. 27 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. 28 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. 29 In such posture, there can thus be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor.

Undeniably, the members of the Court are, to a certain degree, aggrieved parties. Any tirade against the Court as a body is necessarily and inextricably as much so against the individual members thereof. But in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court acts as an entity separate and distinct from the individual personalities of its members. Consistently with the intrinsic nature of a collegiate court, the individual members act not as such individuals but. only as a duly constituted court. Their distinct individualities are lost in the majesty of their office. 30 So that, in a very real sense, if there be any complainant in the case at bar, it can only be the Court itself, not the individual members thereof — as well as the people themselves whose rights, fortunes and properties, nay, even lives, would be placed at grave hazard should the administration of justice be threatened by the retention in the Bar of men unfit to discharge the solemn responsibilities of membership in the legal fraternity. Finally, the power to exclude persons from the practice of law is but a necessary incident of the power to admit persons to said practice. By constitutional precept, this power is vested exclusively in this Court. This duty it cannot abdicate just as much as it cannot unilaterally renounce jurisdiction legally invested upon it. 31 So that even if it be conceded that the members collectively are in a sense the aggrieved parties, that fact alone does not and cannot disqualify them from the exercise of that power because public policy demands that they., acting as a Court, exercise the power in all cases which call for disciplinary action. The present is such a case. In the end, the imagined anomaly of the merger in one entity of the personalities of complainant, prosecutor and judge is absolutely inexistent. Last to engage our attention is the nature and extent of the sanctions that may be visited upon Atty. Almacen for his transgressions. As marked out by the Rules of Court, these may range from mere suspension to total removal or disbarment. 32 The discretion to assess under the circumstances the imposable sanction is, of course, primarily addressed to the sound discretion of the Court which, being neither arbitrary and despotic nor motivated by personal animosity or prejudice, should ever be controlled by the imperative need that the purity and independence of the Bar be scrupulously guarded and the dignity of and respect due to the Court be zealously maintained. That the misconduct committed by Atty. Almacen is of considerable gravity cannot be overemphasized. However, heeding the stern injunction that disbarment should never be decreed where a lesser sanction would accomplish the end desired, and believing that it may not perhaps be futile to hope that in the sober light of some future day, Atty. Almacen will realize that abrasive language never fails to do disservice to an advocate and that in every effervescence of candor there is ample room for the added glow of respect, it is our view that suspension will suffice under the circumstances. His demonstrated persistence in his misconduct by neither manifesting repentance nor offering apology therefor leave us no way of determining how long that suspension should last and, accordingly, we are impelled to decree that the same should be indefinite. This, we are empowered to do not alone because jurisprudence grants us discretion on the matter 33 but also because, even without the comforting support of precedent, it is obvious that if we have authority to completely exclude a person from the practice of law, there is no reason why indefinite suspension, which is lesser in degree and effect, can be regarded as falling outside of the compass of that authority. The merit of this choice is best shown by the fact that it will then be left to Atty. Almacen to determine for himself how long or how short that suspension shall last. For, at any time after the suspension becomes effective he may prove to this Court that he is once again fit to resume the practice of law.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS THE SENSE of the Court that Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen be, as he is hereby, suspended from the practice of law until further orders, the suspension to take effect immediately. Let copies of this resolution. be furnished the Secretary of Justice, the Solicitor General and the Court of Appeals for their information and guidance. Concepcion,. C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Teehankee, Barredo and Villamor JJ., concur. Fernando, J., took no part.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A.C. 1928 December 19, 1980 In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILLION (IBP Administrative Case No. MDD-1), petitioner, FERNANDO, C.J.: The full and plenary discretion in the exercise of its competence to reinstate a disbarred member of the bar admits of no doubt. All the relevant factors bearing on the specific case, public interest, the integrity of the profession and the welfare of the recreant who had purged himself of his guilt are given their due weight. Respondent Marcial A. Edillon was disbarred on August 3, 1978, 1 the vote being unanimous with the late. Chief Justice Castro ponente. From June 5, 1979, he had repeatedly pleaded that he be reinstated. The minute resolution dated October 23, 1980, granted such prayer. It was there made clear that it "is without prejudice to issuing an extended opinion." 2 Before doing so, a recital of the background facts that led to the disbarment of respondent may not be amiss. As set forth in the resolution penned by the late Chief Justice Castro: "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 should be submit 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." 3 Reference was then made to 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 as found in Rules of Court: '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. 4 The submission of respondent Edillion as summarized in the aforesaid resolution "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. 5 It was pointed out in the resolution that such issues was raised on 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. 6 The unanimous conclusion reached by the Court was that the integration of the Philippine Bar raises no constitutional question and is therefore legally unobjectionable, "and, within the context of contemporary conditions in the Philippine, has become an imperative means to raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility fully and effectively." 7 As mentioned at the outset, the vote was unanimous. From the time the decision was rendered, there were various pleadings filed by respondent for reinstatement starting with a motion for reconsideration dated August 19, 1978. Characterized as it was by persistence in his adamantine refusal to admit the full competence of the Court on the matter, it was not unexpected that it would be denied. So it turned out. 8 It was the consensus that he continued to be oblivious to certain balic juridical concepts, the appreciation of which does not even require great depth of intellect. Since respondent could not be said to be that deficient in legal knowledge and since his pleadings in other cases coming before this Tribunal were quite literate, even if rather generously sprinkled with invective for which he had been duly taken to task, there was the impression that his recalcitrance arose from and sheer obstinacy. Necessary, the extreme penalty of disbarment visited on him was more than justified. Since then, however, there were other communications to this Court where a different attitude on his part was discernible. 9 The tone of defiance was gone and circumstances of a mitigating character invoked — the state of his health and his advanced age. He likewise spoke of the welfare of former clients who still rely on him for counsel, their confidence apparently undiminished. For he had in his career been a valiant, if at times unreasonable, defender of the causes entrusted to him. This Court, in the light of the above, felt that reinstatement could be ordered and so it did in the resolution of October 23, 1980. It made certain that there was full acceptance on his part of the competence of this Tribunal in the exercise of its plenary power to regulate the legal profession and can integrate the bar and that the dues were duly paid. Moreover, the fact that more than two years had elapsed during which he war. barred from exercising his

profession was likewise taken into account. It may likewise be said that as in the case of the inherent power to punish for contempt and paraphrasing the dictum of Justice Malcolm in Villavicencio v. Lukban, 10 the power to discipline, especially if amounting to disbarment, should be exercised on the preservative and not on the vindictive principle. 11 One last word. It has been pertinently observed that there is no irretrievable finality as far as admission to the bar is concerned. So it is likewise as to loss of membership. What must ever be borne in mind is that membership in the bar, to follow Cardozo, is a privilege burdened with conditions. Failure to abide by any of them entails the loss of such privilege if the gravity thereof warrant such drastic move. Thereafter a sufficient time having elapsed and after actuations evidencing that there was due contrition on the part of the transgressor, he may once again be considered for the restoration of such a privilege. Hence, our resolution of October 23, 1980. The Court restores to membership to the bar Marcial A. Edillon. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A.M. No. 491 October 6, 1989 IN THE MATTER OF THE INQUIRY INTO THE 1989 ELECTIONS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES.

PER CURIAM: In the election of the national officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (hereafter "IBP") held on June 3, 1989 at the Philippine International Convention Center (or PICC), the following were elected by the House of Delegates (composed of 120 chapter presidents or their alternates) and proclaimed as officers: NAME Atty. Violeta Drilon Atty. Bella Tiro Atty. Salvador Lao Atty. Renato F. Ronquillo Atty. Teodoro Quicoy POSITION President Executive Vice-President Chairman, House of Delegates Secretary, House of Delegates Treasurer, House of Delegates

Atty. Oscar Badelles Atty. Justiniano Cortes Atty. Ciriaco Atienza Atty. Mario Jalandoni Atty. Jose Aguilar Grapilon Atty. Teodoro Almine Atty. Porfirio Siyangco Atty. Ricardo Teruel Atty. Gladys Tiongco Atty. Simeon Datumanong

Sergeant at Arms, House of Delegates Governor & Vice-President for Northern Luzon Governor & Vice-President for Central Luzon Governor & Vice-President for Metro Manila Governor & Vice-President for Southern Luzon Governor & Vice-President for Bicolandia Governor & Vice-President for Eastern Visayas Governor & Vice-President for Western Visayas Governor & Vice-President for Eastern Mindanao Governor & Vice-President for Western Mindanao

The newly-elected officers were set to take the their oath of office on July 4,1989, before the Supreme Court en banc. However,disturbed by the widespread reports received by some members of the Court from lawyers who had witnessed or participated in the proceedings and the adverse comments published in the columns of some newspapers about the intensive electioneering and overspending by the candidates, led by the main protagonists for the office of president of the association, namely, Attorneys Nereo Paculdo, Ramon Nisce, and Violeta C. Drilon, the alleged use of government planes, and the officious intervention of certain public officials to influence the voting, all of which were done in violation of the IBP By-Laws which prohibit such activities. The Supreme Court en banc, exercising its power of supervision over the Integrated Bar, resolved to suspend the oathtaking of the IBP officers-elect and to inquire into the veracity of the reports. It should be stated at the outset that the election process itself (i.e. the voting and the canvassing of votes on June 3, 1989) which was conducted by the "IBP Comelec," headed by Justice Reynato Puno of the Court of Appeals, was unanimously adjudged by the participants and observers to be above board. For Justice Puno took it upon himself to device safeguards to prevent tampering with, and marking of, the ballots. What the Court viewed with considerable concern was the reported electioneering and extravagance that characterized the campaign conducted by the three candidates for president of the IBP. I. MEDIA ACCOUNT OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

Emil Jurado, in his column "IBP Group Questions Drilon Election" (Manila Standard, Sunday, June 17, 1989), Luis Mauricio, in two successive columns: "The Invertebrated Bar" (Malaya, June 10, 1989) and "The Disintegrating Bar" (Malaya, June 20, 1989), and Teodoro Locsin Jr. in an article, entitled "Pam-Pam" (The Philippines Free Press, July 8,1989), and the editorial, entitled 'Wrong Forum" of the Daily Globe (June 8, 1989), were unanimously critical of the "vote-buying and pressure tactics" allegedly employed in the campaign by the three principal candidates: Attys. Violeta C. Drilon, Nereo Paculdo and Ramon Nisce who reportedly "poured heart, soul, money and influence to win over the 120 IBP delegates." Mr. Jurado mentioned the resentment of Atty. Drilon's rivals who felt at a disadvantage because Atty. Drilon allegedly used PNB helicopters to visit far-flung IBP chapters on the pretext of distributing Bigay Puso donations, and she had the added advantage of having regional directors and labor arbiters of the Department of Labor and Employment (who had been granted leaves of absence by her husband, the Labor Secretary) campaigning for her. Jurado's informants alleged that there was rampant vote-buying by some members of the U.P. Sigma Rho Fraternity (Secretary Drilon's fraternity), as well as by some lawyers of ACCRA (Angara, Concepcion, Cruz, Regala and Abello Law Office) where Mrs. Drilon is employed, and that government positions were promised to others by the office of the Labor Secretary. Mr. Mauricio in his column wrote about the same matters and, in addition, mentioned "talk of personnel of the Department of Labor, especially conciliators and employers, notably Chinese Filipinos, giving aid and comfort to her (Atty. Drilon's) candidacy," the billeting of out-of-town delegates in plush hotels where they were reportedly "wined and dined continuously, womened and subjected to endless haggling over the price of their votes x x x" which allegedly "ranged from Pl5,000 to P20,000, and, on the day of the election, some twelve to twenty votes which were believed crucial, appreciated to P50,000." In his second column, Mr. Mauricio mentioned "how a top official of the judiciary allegedly involved himself in IBP politics on election day by closeting himself with campaigners as they plotted their election strategy in a room of the PICC (the Philippine International Convention Center where the convention/election were held) during a recess x x x." Mr. Locsin in his column and editorial substantially re-echoed Mauricio's reports with some embellishments. II. THE COURT'S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE. Responding to the critical reports, the Court, in its en banc resolution dated June 15, 1989, directed the outgoing and incoming members of the IBP Board of Governors, the principal officers and Chairman of the House of Delegates to appear before it on Tuesday, June 20, 1989, at 2:00 o'clock p.m., and there to inform the Court on the veracity of the aforementioned reports and to recommend, for the consideration of the Court, appropriate approaches to the problem of confirming and strengthening adherence to the fundamental principles of the IBP. In that resolution the Court "call[ed] to mind that a basic postulate of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), heavily stressed at the time of its organization and commencement of existence, is that the IBP shall be non-political in character and that there shall be no lobbying nor campaigning in the choice of members of the Board of Governors and of the

House of Delegates, and of the IBP officers, national, or regional, or chapter. The fundamental assumption was that officers, delegates and governors would be chosen on the basis of professional merit and willingness and ability to serve." The resolution went on to say that the "Court is deeply disturbed to note that in connection with the election of members of the Board of Governors and of the House of Delegates, there is a widespread belief, based on reports carried by media and transmitted as well by word of mouth, that there was extensive and intensive campaigning by candidates for IBP positions as well as expenditure of considerable sums of money by candidates, including vote-buying, direct or indirect." The venerable retired Supreme Court Justice and IBP President Emeritus, Jose B.L. Reyes, attended the dialogue, upon invitation of the Court, to give counsel and advice. The meeting between the Court en banc on the one hand, and the outgoing and in coming IBP officers on the other, was an informal one. Thereafter, the Court resolved to conduct a formal inquiry to determine whether the prohibited acts and activities enumerated in the IBP By-Laws were committed before and during the 1989 elections of IBP's national officers. The Court en banc formed a committee and designated Senior Associate Justice Andres R. Narvasa, as Chairman, and Associate Justices Teodoro R. Padilla, Emilio A. Gancayco, Abraham F. Sarmiento, and Carolina C. Griño-Aquino, as members, to conduct the inquiry. The Clerk of Court, Atty. Daniel Martinez, acted as the committee's Recording Secretary. A total of forty-nine (49) witnesses appeared and testified in response to subpoenas issued by the Court to shed light on the conduct of the elections. The managers of three five-star hotels the Philippine Plaza, the Hyatt, and the Holiday Inn where the three protagonists (Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo) allegedly set up their respective headquarters and where they billeted their supporters were summoned. The officer of the Philippine National Bank and the Air Transport Office were called to enlighten the Court on the charge that an IBP presidential candidate and the members of her slate used PNB planes to ferry them to distant places in their campaign to win the votes of delegates. The Philippine Airlines officials were called to testify on the charge that some candidates gave free air fares to delegates to the convention. Officials of the Labor Department were also called to enable the Court to ascertain the truth of the reports that labor officials openly campaigned or worked for the election of Atty. Drilon. The newspaper columnists, Messrs. Luis Mauricio, Jesus Bigornia and Emil Jurado were subpoenaed to determine the nature of their sources of information relative to the IBP elections. Their stories were based, they said, on letters, phone calls and personal interviews with persons who claimed to have knowledge of the facts, but whom they, invoking the Press Freedom Law, refused to identify. The Committee has since submitted its Report after receiving, and analyzing and assessing evidence given by such persons as were perceived to have direct and personal knowledge of the relevant facts; and the Court, after deliberating thereon, has Resolved to accept and adopt the same. III. PROHIBITED ACTS AND PRACTICES UNDER IBP BY-LAWS.

Article I, Section 4 of the IBP By-Laws emphasizes the "strictly non-political" character of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, thus: "SEC. 4. Non-political Bar. — The Integrated Bar is strictly non-political, and every activity tending to impair this basic feature is strictly prohibited and shall be penalized accordingly. No lawyer holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof shall be eligible for election or appointment to any position in the Integrated Bar or any Chapter thereof. A Delegate, Governor, officer or employee of the Integrated Bar, or an officer or employee of any Chapter thereof shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his position as of the moment he files his certificate of candidacy for any elective public office or accepts appointment to any judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof. "' Section 14 of the same By-Laws enumerates the prohibited acts relative to IBP elections: SEC. 14. Prohibited acts and practices relative to elections. — The following acts and practices relative to election are prohibited, whether committed by a candidate for any elective office in the Integrated Bar or by any other member, directly or indirectly, in any form or manner, by himself or through another person: (a) Distribution, except on election day, of election campaign material; (b) Distribution, on election day, of election campaign material other than a statement of the biodata of a candidate on not more than one page of a legal-size sheet of paper; or causing distribution of such statement to be done by persons other than those authorized by the officer presiding at the elections; (c) Campaigning for or against any candidate, while holding an elective, judicial, quasijudicial or prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof; (d) Formation of tickets, single slates, or combinations of candidates, as well as the advertisement thereof; (e) For the purpose of inducing or influencing a member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or against a candidate, (1) payment of the dues or other indebtedness of any member; (2) giving of food, drink, entertainment, transportation or any article of value, or any similar consideration to any person; or (3) making a promise or causing an expenditure to be made, offered or promised to any person." Section 12(d) of the By-Laws prescribes sanctions for violations of the above rules: (d) Any violation of the rules governing elections or commission of any of the prohibited acts and practices defined in Section 14 prohibited Acts and Practices relative to elections) of the by-laws of the Integrated Bar shall be a ground for the disqualification of a candidate or his removal from office if elected, without prejudice to the imposition of sanctions upon any erring member pursuant to the By-laws of the Integrated Bar. At the formal investigation which was conducted by the investigating committee, the following violations were established:

(1) Prohibited campaigning and solicitation of votes by the candidates for president, executive vice-president, the officers of candidate the House of Delegates and Board of Governors. The three candidates for IBP President Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo began travelling around the country to solicit the votes of delegates as early as April 1989. Upon the invitation of IBP President, Leon Garcia, Jr. (t.s.n., July 13,1989, p. 4), they attended the Bench and Bar dialogues held in Cotabato in April 1989 (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, p. 123), in Tagaytay City, Pampanga, and in Baguio City (during the conference of chapter presidents of Northern Luzon (t.s.n., July 3,1989, p. 113; t.s.n., July 10, p. 41; t.s.n., July 13, p. 47) where they announced their candidacies and met the chapter presidents. Atty. Nisce admitted that he went around the country seeking the help of IBP chapter officers, soliciting their votes, and securing their written endorsements. He personally handcarried nomination forms and requested the chapter presidents and delegates to fill up and sign the forms to formalize their commitment to his nomination for IBP President. He started campaigning and distributing the nomination forms in March 1989 after the chapter elections which determined the membership of the House of Delegates composed of the 120 chapter presidents (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, pp. 82-86). He obtained forty (40) commitments. He submitted photocopies of his nomination forms which read: "Nomination Form

I Join in Nominating RAMON M. NISCE as National President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines

______________ _______________ Chapter Signature" Among those who signed the nomination forms were: Onofre P. Tejada, Candido P. Balbin, Jr., Conizado V. Posadas, Quirico L. Quirico Ernesto S. Salun-at, Gloria C. Agunos, Oscar B. Bernardo, Feliciano F. Wycoco, Amor L. Ibarra, Jose M. Atienza, Jose N. Contreras, Romeo T. Mendoza, Leo C. Medialdea, Jr., Paulino G. Clarin, Julius Z. Neil, Roem J. Arbolado Democrito M. Perez, Abelardo Fermin, Diosdado B. Villarin, Jr., Daniel C. Macaraeg, Confesor R. Sansano Dionisio E. Bala, Jr., Emesto A. Amores, Romeo V. Pefianco, Augurio C. Pamintuan, Atlee T. Viray, Ceferino C. Cabanas, Jose S. Buban, Diosdado Z. Reloj, Jr., Cesar C. Viola, Oscar C. Fernandez, Ricardo B. Teruel Rodrigo R. Flores, Sixto Marella, Jr., Arsenio C. Villalon, Renato F. Ronquillo, Antonio G. Nalapo Romualdo A. Din Jr., Jose P. Icaonapo Jr., and Manuel S. Person.

Atty. Nisce admitted that he reserved rooms at the Hyatt Hotel based on the commitments he had obtained (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, pp. 82-85). Unfortunately, despite those formal commitments, he obtained only 14 votes in the election (t.s.n., June 29, 1 989, p. 86). The reason, he said, is that. some of those who had committed their votes to him were "manipulated, intimidated, pressured, or remunerated" (t.s.n., June 29,1989, pp. 8695; Exhibit "M-4-Nisce," t.s.n., July 4, 1989, pp. 100-1 04). (2) Use of PNB plane in the campaign. The records of the Philippine National Bank (Exhibit C-1-Crudo and Exhibit C-2-Crudo) show that Secretary Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr. of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) borrowed a plane from the Philippine National Bank for his Bicol CORD (Cabinet Officers for Regional Development) Assistant, Undersecretary Antonio Tria. The plane manifest (Exh. C-2-Crudo) listed Atty. Violeta Drilon, Arturo Tusi (Tiu), Assistant Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Tony Tria, Atty. Gladys Tiongco, and Amy Wong. Except for Tony Tria, the rest of the passengers were IBP candidates. Atty. Drilon admitted that she "hitched" a ride on a PNB plane. She said that she was informed by Atty. Tiu about the availability of a PNB plane (t.s.n., July 3,1989, pp. 116-118). Atty. Tiu, who ran for the position of IBP executive vice-president in the Drilon ticket, testified that sometime in May 1989 he failed to obtain booking from the Philippine Airlines for the projected trip of his group to Bicol. He went to the DENR allegedly to follow up some papers for a client. While at the DENR, he learned that Assistant Secretary Tria was going on an official business in Bicol for Secretary Fulgencio Factoran and that he would be taking a PNB plane. As Assistant Secretary Tria is his fraternity brother, he asked if he, together with the Drilon group, could hitch a ride on the plane to Bicol. His request was granted. Their purpose in going to Bicol was to assess their chances in the IBP elections. The Drilon company talked with the IBP chapter presidents in Daet, Naga, and Legaspi, and asked for their support (t.s.n., July 10, 1989, pp. 549). Assistant Secretary Antonio S. Tria confirmed the use of a PNB plane by Atty. Drilon and her group. He recalled that on May 23,1989, DENR Secretary Factoran instructed him to go to Bicol to monitor certain regional development projects there and to survey the effect of the typhoon that hit the region in the middle of May. On the same day, Atty. Tiu, a fraternity brother (meaning that Tiu belongs to the Sigma Rho fraternity) went to the DENR office and requested the Secretary (Factoran) if he (Tiu) could be allowed to hitch a ride on the plane. Assistant Secretary Tria, together with the Drilon group which included Attorneys Drilon, Grapilon, Amy Wong, Gladys Tiongco, and Tiu, took off at the Domestic Airport bound for Naga, Daet and Legaspi. In Legaspi the Drilon group had lunch with Atty. Vicente Real, Jr., an IBP chapter president (t.s.n., July 10, 1989, pp. 54-69). (3) Formation of tickets and single slates. The three candidates, Paculdo, Nisce and Drilon, admitted having formed their own slates for the election of IBP national officers on June 3, 1989. Atty. Paculdo's slate consisted of — himself for President; Bella D. Tiro, for Executive VicePresident; and for Governors: Justiniano P. Cortez (Northern Luzon), Oscar C. Fernandez (Central Luzon), Mario C.V. Jalandoni (Greater Manila), Petronilo A. de la Cruz (Southern

Luzon), Teodorico C. Almine, Jr. (Bicolandia), Ricardo B. Teruel (Western Visayas), Porfirio P. Siyangco (Eastern Visayas), Jesus S. Anonat (Western Mindanao), Guerrero A. Adaza, Jr. (Eastern Mindanao) (Exhibit M-Nisce). The Drilon ticket consisted of. Violeta C. Drilon for President, Arturo Tiu for Executive Vice President, Salvador Lao for Chairman of the House of Delegates, and, for Governors: Basil Rupisan (Northern 'Luzon), Acong Atienza (Central Luzon), Amy Wong (Metro Manila), Jose Grapilon (Southern Tagalog), Teodoro Almine (Bicolandia), Baldomero Estenzo (Eastern Visayas), Joelito Barrera (Western Visayas), Gladys Tiongco (Eastern Mindanao), Simeon Datumanong (Western Mindanao) (Exhibit M-1-Nisce). Atty. Ramon N. Nisce's line-up listed himself and Confessor B. Sansano Benjamin B. Bernardino, Antonio L. Nalapo Renato F. Ronquillo, Gloria C. Agunos, Mario Valderrama, Candido P. Balbin Jr., Oscar C. Fernandez, Cesar G. Viola, Leo C. Medialdea, Jr., Vicente P. Tordilla, Jr., Jose S. Buban, Joel A. Llosa, Jesus T. Albacite and Oscar V. Badelles. (4) Giving free transportation to out-of-town delegates and alternates. Atty. Nisce admitted having bought plane tickets for some delegates to the convention. He mentioned Oscar Badelles to whom he gave four round-trip tickets (worth about P10,000) from Iligan City to Manila and back. Badelles was a voting delegate. Nisce, however, failed to get a written commitment from him because Atty. Medialdea assured him (Nisce) "sigurado na 'yan, h'wag mo nang papirmahin." Badelles won as sergeant-at-arms, not in Nisce's ticket, but in that of Drilon. Badelles admitted that Nisce sent him three airplane tickets, but he Badelles said that he did not use them, because if he did, he would be committed to Nisce, and he Badelles did not want to be committed (t.s.n., July 4,1989, pp. 77-79, 95-96). Nisce also sent a plane ticket to Atty. Atilano, who was his candidate, and another ticket to Mrs. Linda Lim of Zamboanga. Records of the Philippine Airlines showed that Atty. Nisce paid for the plane tickets of Vicente Real, Jr. (Exh. D-1-Calica), Romeo Fortes (Exh. D-1-Calica), Cesar Batica (Exh. D-2-Calica), Jose Buban of Leyte (Exh. D-2-Calica), Delsanto Resuello (Exh. D-3- Calica), and Ceferino Cabanas (Exh. D-3-Calica). In spite of his efforts and expense, only one of Nisce's candidates won: Renato Ronquillo of Manila 4, as Secretary of the House of Delegates (t.s.n. July 3, p. 161). (5) Giving free hotel accommodations, food, drinks, entertainment to delegates. (a) ATTY. NEREO PACULDO Atty. Paculdo alleged that he booked 24 regular rooms and three suites at the Holiday Inn, which served as his headquarters. The 24 rooms were to be occupied by his staff (mostly ladies) and the IBP delegates. The three suites were to be occupied by himself, the officers of the Capitol Bar Association, and Atty. Mario Jalandoni. He paid P150,000 for the hotel bills of his delegates at the Holiday Inn, where a room cost P990 per day with breakfast. Those listed as guests of Atty. Paculdo at the Holiday Inn were: Emesto C. Perez, Tolomeo Ligutan Judge Alfonso Combong, Ricardo Caliwag, Antonio Bisnar, Benedicto Balajadia, Jesus Castro, Restituto Villanueva, Serapio Cribe Juanita Subia, Teodorico J. Almine, Rudy Gumban,

Roem Arbolado, Ricardo Teruel, Shirley Moises, Ramon Roco, Alberto Trinidad, Teodoro Quicoy Manito Lucero, Fred Cledera Vicente Tordilla, Julian Ocampo, Francisco Felizmenio Marvel Clavecilla, Amador Capiral, Eufronio Maristela, Porfirio Siyangco, William Llanes, Jr., Marciano Neri, Guerrero Adaza, Diosdado Peralta, Luis C. Formilleza, Jr., Democrito Perez, Bruno Flores, Dennis Rendon, Judge Ceferino Chan, Mario Jalandoni, Kenneth Siruelo Bella Tiro, Antonio Santos, Tiburcio Edano James Tan, Cesilo A. Adaza, Francisco Roxas, Angelita Gacutan, Jesse Pimentel, Judge Jaime Hamoy, Jesus Anonat, Carlos Egay, Judge Carlito Eisma, Judge Jesus Carbon, Joven Zach, and Benjamin Padon. Noel de Guzman, Holiday Inn's credit manager, testified that Atty. Paculdo booked 52 (not 24) rooms, including the presidential suite, which was used as the Secretariat. The group bookings were made by Atty. Gloria Paculdo, the wife of Nereo Paculdo (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 63-68). The total sum of P227,114.89 was paid to Holiday Inn for the use of the rooms. (b) ATTY. VIOLETA C. DRILON The delegates and supporters of Atty. Drilon were billeted at the Philippine Plaza Hotel where her campaign manager, Atty. Renato Callanta, booked 40 rooms, 5 of which were suites. According to Ms. Villanueva, Philippine Plaza banquet and conventions manager, the contract that Atty. Callanta signed with the Philippine Plaza was made in the name of the "IBP c/o Atty. Callanta." Mrs. Lourdes Juco, a sales manager of the Philippine Plaza, recalled that it was Mr. Mariano Benedicto who first came to book rooms for the IBP delegates. She suggested that he obtain a group (or discounted) rate. He gave her the name of Atty. Callanta who would make the arrangements with her. Mr. Benedicto turned out to be the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The total sum of P316,411.53 was paid by Atty. Callanta for the rooms, food, and beverages consumed by the Drilon group, with an unpaid balance of P302,197.30. Per Attorney Daniel Martinez's last telephone conversation with Ms. Villanueva, Atty. Callanta still has an outstanding account of P232,782.65 at Philippine Plaza. Atty. Callanta admitted that he signed the contract for 40 rooms at the Philippine Plaza. He made a downpayment of P123,000. His "working sheet' showed that the following persons contributed for that down payment: (a) Nilo Pena (Quasha Law Office) (b) Antonio Carpio (c) Toto Ferrer (Carpio Law Office) (d) Jay Castro (e) Danny Deen P 25,000 20,000 10,000 10,000 20,000

(f) Angangco Tan (Angara Law Office) (g) Alfonso Reyno (h) Cosme Rossel (t.s.n. July 4, 1 989, pp. 3-4)

10,000 20,000 15,300

Atty. Callanta explained that the above listed persons have been contributing money every time the IBP embarks on a project. This time, they contributed so that their partners or associates could attend the legal aid seminar and the IBP convention too. Atty. Drilon alleged that she did not know that Atty. Callanta had billeted her delegates at the Philippine Plaza. She allegedly did not also know in whose name the room she occupied was registered. But she did ask for a room where she could rest during the convention. She admitted, however, that she paid for her hotel room and meals to Atty. Callanta, through Atty. Loanzon (t.s.n. July 3,1989). The following were listed as having occupied the rooms reserved by Atty. Callanta at the Philippine Plaza: Violeta Drilon, Victoria A. Verciles, Victoria C. Loanzon, Leopoldo A. Consulto Ador Lao, Victoria Borra, Aimee Wong, Callanta, Pena, Tiu, Gallardo, Acong Atienza, D. Bernardo, Amores, Silao Caingat, Manuel Yuson, Simeon Datumanong, Manuel Pecson, Sixto Marella, Joselito Barrera, Radon Macalalag, Oscar Badelles, Antonio Acyatan, Ildefonso C. Puerto, Nestor Atienza, Gil Batula Array Corot, Dimakuta Corot Romeo Fortes Irving Petilla, Teodoro Palma, Gil Palma, Danilo Deen, Delsanto, Resuello, Araneta, Vicente Real, Sylvio Casuncad Espina, Guerrero, Julius Neri, Linda Lim, Ben Lim, C. Batica, Luis Formilleza, Felix Macalag Mariano Benedicto, Atilano, Araneta, Renato Callanta. Atty. Nilo Pena admitted that the Quasha Law Office of which he is a senior partner, gave P25,000 to Callanta for rooms at the Philippine Plaza so that some members of his law firm could campaign for the Drilon group (t.s.n. July 5,1989, pp. 7678) during the legal aid seminar and the IBP convention. Most of the members of his law firm are fraternity brothers of Secretary Drilon (meaning, members of the Sigma Rho Fraternity). He admitted being sympathetic to the candidacy of Atty. Drilon and the members of her slate, two of whom Jose Grapilon and Simeon Datumanong — are Sigma Rhoans. They consider Atty. Drilon as a "sigma rho sister," her husband being a sigma rhoan. Atty. Antonio Carpio, also a Sigma Rhoan, reserved a room for the members of his own firm who attended the legal aid seminar and the convention. He made the reservation through Atty. Callanta to whom he paid P20,000 (t.s.n. July 6,1989, pp. 30-34). Atty. Carpio assisted Atty. Drilon in her campaign during the convention, by soliciting the votes of delegates he knew, like Atty. Albacite his former teacher (but the latter was already committed to Nisce), and Atty. Romy Fortes, a classmate of his in the U.P. College of Law (t. t.s.n. July 6, 1989, pp. 22, 29, 39). (c) ATTY. RAMON NISCE.

Atty. Nisce, through his brother-in-law, Ricardo Paras, entered into a contract with the Hyatt Hotel for a total of 29 rooms plus one (1) seventh-floor room. He made a downpayment of P20,000 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, p. 58) on April 20, 1989, and P37,632.45 on May 10, or a total of P57,632.45. Ms. Cecile Flores, Ms. Milagros Ocampo, and Mr. Ramon Jacinto, the sales department manager, credit manager, and reservation manager, respectively of the Hyatt, testified that Atty. Nisce's bill amounted to P216,127.74 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 57-58; Exhibits E-Flores, F-Jacinto G-Ocampo). As earlier mentioned, Atty. Nisce admitted that he reserved rooms for those who committed themselves to his candidacy. The hotel guests of Atty. Nisce were: Gloria Agunos Dennis Habanel B. Batula, John E. Asuncion, Reynaldo Cortes, Lourdes Santos, Elmer Datuin, Romualdo Din, Antonio Nalapo, Israel Damasco, Candido Balbin, Serrano Balot, Ibarra, Joel Llosa, Eltanal, Ruperto, Asuncion, Q. Pilotin Reymundo P. Guzman, Zoilo Aguinaldo, Clarin, R. Ronquillo, Dominador Carillo, Filomeno Balinas, Ernesto Sabulan, Yusop Pangadapun, A. Viray, Icampo, Abelardo Fermin, C. Quiaoit, Augurio Pamintuan, Daniel Macaraeg, Onofre Tejada. (6) Campaigning by labor officials for Atty. Violeta Drilon In violation of the prohibition against "campaigning for or against a candidate while holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government' (Sec. 14[c], Art. I, IBP By-Laws), Mariano E. Benedicto II, Assistant Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment, testified that he took a leave of absence from his office to attend the IBP convention. He stayed at the Philippine Plaza with the Drilon group admittedly to give "some moral assistance" to Atty. Violeta Drilon. He did so because he is a member of the Sigma Rho Fraternity. When asked about the significance of Sigma Rho, Secretary Benedicto explained: "More than the husband of Mrs. Drilon being my boss, the significance there is that the husband is my brother in the Sigma Rho." He cheered up Mrs., Drilon when her spirits were low. He talked to her immediate circle which included Art Tiu, Tony Carpio, Nilo Pena, Amy Wong, Atty. Grapilon, Victor Lazatin, and Boy Reyno. They assessed the progress of the campaign, and measured the strengths and weaknesses of the other groups The group had sessions as early as the later part of May. Room 114, the suite listed in the name of Assistant Secretary Benedicto toted up a bill of P23,110 during the 2-day IBP convention/election. A total of 113 phone calls (amounting to Pl,356) were recorded as emanating from his room. Opposite Room 114, was Room 112, also a suite, listed in the names of Mrs. Drilon, Gladys Tiongco (candidate for Governor, Eastern Mindanao) and Amy Wong (candidate for Governor, Metro Manila). These two rooms served as the "action center' or "war room" where campaign strategies were discussed before and during the convention. It was in these rooms where the supporters of the Drilon group, like Attys. Carpio, Callanta, Benedicto, the Quasha and the ACCRA lawyers met to plot their moves. (7) Paying the dues or other indebtedness of any number (Sec. 14[e], IBP BY-Laws).

Atty. Teresita C. Sison, IBP Treasurer, testified that she has heard of candidates paying the IBP dues of lawyers who promised to vote for or support them, but she has no way of ascertaining whether it was a candidate who paid the delinquent dues of another, because the receipts are issued in the name of the member for whom payment is made (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 24-28). She has noticed, though, that there is an upsurge of payments in March, April, May during any election year. This year, the collections increased by P100,000 over that of last year (a non-election year from Pl,413,425 to Pl,524,875 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, p. 25). (8) Distribution of materials other than bio-data of not more than one page of legal size sheet of paper (Sec. 14[a], IBP By-Laws). On the convention floor on the day of the election, Atty. Paculdo caused to be distributed his bio-data and copies of a leaflet entitled "My Quest," as wen as, the lists of his slate. Attys. Drilon and Nisce similarly distributed their tickets and bio-data. The campaign materials of Atty. Paculdo cost from P15,000 to P20,000. They were printed by his own printing shop. (9) Causing distribution of such statement to be done by persons other than those authorized by the officer presiding at the election (Sec. 14[b], IBP By-Laws). Atty. Paculdo employed uniformed girls to distribute his campaign materials on the convention floor. Atty. Carpio noted that there were more campaign materials distributed at the convention site this year than in previous years. The election was more heated and expensive (t.s.n. July 6,1989, p. 39). Atty. Benjamin Bernardino, the incumbent President of the IBP Rizal Chapter, and a candidate for chairman of the House of Delegates on Nisce's ticket, testified that campaign materials were distributed during the convention by girls and by lawyers. He saw members of the ACCRA law firm campaigning for Atty. Drilon (t.s.n. July 3,1989, pp. 142-145). (10) Inducing or influencing a member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or against a candidate (Sec. 14[e], IBP BY-Laws). Atty. Bernardino disclosed that his cousin, Atty. Romeo Capulong, urged him to withdraw his candidacy for chairman of the House of Delegates and to run as vice-chairman in Violy Drilon's slate, but he declined (t.s.n. July 3,1989, pp. 137, 149). Atty. Gloria Agunos personnel director of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel in Baguio and president of the Baguio-Benguet IBP Chapter, recalled that in the third week of May 1989, after the Tripartite meet of the Department of Labor & Employment at the Green Valley Country Club in Baguio City, she met Atty. Drilon, together with two labor officers of Region 1, Attys. Filomeno Balbin and Atty. Mansala Atty. Drilon solicited her (Atty. Agunos') vote and invited her to stay at the Philippine Plaza where a room would be available for her. Atty. Paculdo also tried to enlist her support during the chapter presidents' meeting to choose their nominee for governor for the Northern Luzon region (t.s.n. July 13,1989, pp. 43-54). Atty. Nisce testified that a Manila Chapter 4 delegate, Marcial Magsino, who had earlier committed his vote to Nisce changed his mind when he was offered a judgeship (This

statement, however, is admittedly hearsay). When Nisce confronted Magsino about the alleged offer, the latter denied that there was such an offer. Nisce's informant was Antonio G. Nalapo an IBP candidate who also withdrew. Another Nisce candidate, Cesar Viola, withdrew from the race and refused to be nominated (t.s.n. June 29, 1989, p. 104). Vicente P. Tordilla who was Nisce's candidate for Governor became Paculdo's candidate instead (t.s.n. June 29, 1989, p. 104). Nisce recalled that during the Bench and Bar Dialogue in Cotabato City, Court Administrator Tiro went around saying, "I am not campaigning, but my wife is a candidate." Nisce said that the presidents of several IBP chapters informed him that labor officials were campaigning for Mrs. Drilon (t.s.n. June 29,1989, pp. 109-110). He mentioned Ciony de la Cerna, who allegedly campaigned in La Union (t.s.n. June 29,1989,p.111) Atty. Joel A. Llosa, Nisce's supporter and candidate for governor of the Western Visayas, expressed his disappointment over the IBP elections because some delegates flip-flopped from one camp to another. He testified that when he arrived at the Manila Domestic Airport he was met by an assistant regional director of the DOLE who offered to bring him to the Philippine Plaza, but he declined the offer. During the legal aid seminar, Atty. Drilon invited him to transfer to the Philippine Plaza where a room had been reserved for him. He declined the invitation (t.s.n. July 4,1989, pp. 102-106). Atty. Llosa said that while he was still in Dumaguete City, he already knew that the three candidates had their headquarters in separate hotels: Paculdo, at the Holiday Inn; Drilon, at the Philippine Plaza; and Nisce, at the Hyatt. He knew about this because a week before the elections, representatives of Atty. Drilon went to Dumaguete City to campaign. He mentioned Atty. Rodil Montebon of the ACCRA Law Office, accompanied by Atty. Julve the Assistant Regional Director of the Department of Labor in Dumaguete City. These two, he said, offered to give him two PAL tickets and accommodations at the Philippine Plaza (t.s.n. July 4,1989, pp. 101-104). But he declined the offer because he was already committed to Atty. Nisce. Atty. Llosa also revealed that before he left for Manila on May 31, 1989, a businessman, Henry Dy, approached him to convince him to vote for Atty. Paculdo. But Llosa told Dy that he was already committed to Nisce. He did not receive any plane tickets from Atty. Nisce because he and his two companions (Atty. Eltanal and Atty. Ruperto) had earlier bought their own tickets for Manila (t.s.n. July 4, 1989, p. 101). SUMMARY OF CAMPAIGN EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE CANDIDATES Atty. Paculdo admitted having spent some P250,000 during his three weeks of campaigning. Of this amount, the Capitol Bar Association (of which he was the chapter president) contributed about P150,000. The Capitol Bar Association is a voluntary bar association composed of Quezon City lawyers. He spent about P100,000 to defray the expenses of his trips to the provinces (Bicol provinces, Pampanga, Abra, Mountain Province and Bulacan) (t.s.n. June 29,1989, pp. 9-14).

Atty. Nisce's hotel bills at the Hyatt amounted to P216,127.74. This does not include the expenses for his campaign which began several months before the June 3rd election, and his purchases of airplane tickets for some delegates. The records of the Philippine Plaza Hotel, headquarters of Atty. Drilon's camp, showed that her campaign rang up over P600,000 in hotel bills. Atty. Callanta paid P316,411.53 for the rooms, food, and beverage consumed by Atty. Drilon's supporters, but still left an unpaid bill of P302,197.30 at convention's end. FINDINGS. From all the foregoing, it is evident that the manner in which the principal candidates for the national positions in the Integrated Bar conducted their campaign preparatory to the elections on June 3, 1989, violated Section 14 of the IBP By-Laws and made a travesty of the idea of a "strictly non-political" Integrated Bar enshrined in Section 4 of the By-Laws. The setting up of campaign headquarters by the three principal candidates (Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo) in five-star hotels: The Philippine Plaza, the Holiday Inn and The Hyatt the better for them to corral and entertain the delegates billeted therein; the island hopping to solicit the votes of the chapter presidents who comprise the 120-member House of Delegates that elects the national officers and regional governors; the formation of tickets, slates, or line-ups of candidates for the other elective positions aligned with, or supporting, either Drilon, Paculdo or Nisce; the procurement of written commitments and the distribution of nomination forms to be filled up by the delegates; the reservation of rooms for delegates in three big hotels, at the expense of the presidential candidates; the use of a PNB plane by Drilon and some members of her ticket to enable them to "assess their chances" among the chapter presidents in the Bicol provinces; the printing and distribution of tickets and bio-data of the candidates which in the case of Paculdo admittedly cost him some P15,000 to P20,000; the employment of uniformed girls (by Paculdo) and lawyers (by Drilon) to distribute their campaign materials on the convention floor on the day of the election; the giving of assistance by the Undersecretary of Labor to Mrs. Drilon and her group; the use of labor arbiters to meet delegates at the airport and escort them to the Philippine Plaza Hotel; the giving of pre-paid plane tickets and hotel accommodations to delegates (and some families who accompanied them) in exchange for their support; the pirating of some candidates by inducing them to "hop" or "flipflop" from one ticket to another for some rumored consideration; all these practices made a political circus of the proceedings and tainted the whole election process. The candidates and many of the participants in that election not only violated the By-Laws of the IBP but also the ethics of the legal profession which imposes on all lawyers, as a corollary of their obligation to obey and uphold the constitution and the laws, the duty to "promote respect for law and legal processes" and to abstain from 'activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system" (Rule 1.02, Canon 1, Code of Professional Responsibility). Respect for law is gravely eroded when lawyers themselves, who are supposed to be millions of the law, engage in unlawful practices and cavalierly brush aside the very rules that the IBP formulated for their observance. The unseemly ardor with which the candidates pursued the presidency of the association detracted from the dignity of the legal profession. The spectacle of lawyers bribing or being

bribed to vote one way or another, certainly did not uphold the honor of the profession nor elevate it in the public's esteem. The Court notes with grave concern what appear to be the evasions, denials and outright prevarications that tainted the statements of the witnesses, including tome of the candidates, during the initial hearing conducted by it before its fact-finding committee was created. The subsequent investigation conducted by this Committee has revealed that those parties had been less than candid with the Court and seem to have conspired among themselves to deceive it or at least withhold vital information from it to conceal the irregularities committed during the campaign. CONCLUSIONS. It has been mentioned with no little insistence that the provision in the 1987 Constitution (See. 8, Art. VIII) providing for a Judicial and Bar Council composed of seven (7) members among whom is "a representative of the Integrated Bar," tasked to participate in the selection of nominees for appointment to vacant positions in the judiciary, may be the reason why the position of IBP president has attracted so much interest among the lawyers. The much coveted "power" erroneously perceived to be inherent in that office might have caused the corruption of the IBP elections. To impress upon the participants in that electoral exercise the seriousness of the misconduct which attended it and the stern disapproval with which it is viewed by this Court, and to restore the non-political character of the IBP and reduce, if not entirely eliminate, expensive electioneering for the top positions in the organization which, as the recently concluded elections revealed, spawned unethical practices which seriously diminished the stature of the IBP as an association of the practitioners of a noble and honored profession, the Court hereby ORDERS: 1. The IBP elections held on June3,1989 should be as they are hereby annulled. 2. The provisions of the IBP By-Laws for the direct election by the House of Delegates (approved by this Court in its resolution of July 9, 1985 in Bar Matter No. 287) of the following national officers: (a) the officers of the House of Delegates; (b) the IBP president; and (c) the executive vice-president, be repealed, this Court being empowered to amend, modify or repeal the By-Laws of the IBP under Section 77, Art. XI of said By-Laws. 3. The former system of having the IBP President and Executive Vice-President elected by the Board of Governors (composed of the governors of the nine [91 IBP regions) from among themselves (as provided in Sec. 47, Art. VII, Original IBP By-Laws) should be restored. The right of automatic succession by the Executive Vice-President to the presidency upon the expiration of their two-year term (which was abolished by this Court's resolution dated July 9,1985 in Bar Matter No. 287) should be as it is hereby restored. 4. At the end of the President's two-year term, the Executive Vice-President shall automatically succeed to the office of president. The incoming board of governors shall then

elect an Executive Vice-President from among themselves. The position of Executive VicePresident shall be rotated among the nine (9) IBP regions. One who has served as president may not run for election as Executive Vice-President in a succeeding election until after the rotation of the presidency among the nine (9) regions shall have been completed; whereupon, the rotation shall begin anew. 5. Section 47 of Article VII is hereby amended to read as follows: Section 47. National Officers. — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall have a President and Executive Vice-President to be chosen by the Board of Governors from among nine (9) regional governors, as much as practicable, on a rotation basis. The governors shall be ex oficio Vice-President for their respective regions. There shall also be a Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Governors to be appointed by the President with the consent of the Board. 6. Section 33(b), Art. V, IBP By-Laws, is hereby amended as follows: (b) The President and Executive Vice President of the IBP shall be the Chairman and ViceChairman, respectively, of the House of Delegates. The Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeantat-Arms shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the House of Delegates.' 7. Section 33(g) of Article V providing for the positions of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary-Treasurer and Sergeant-at- Arms of the House of Delegates is hereby repealed 8. Section 37, Article VI is hereby amended to read as follows: Section 37. Composition of the Board. — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall be governed by a Board of Governors consisting of nine (9) Governors from the nine (9) regions as delineated in Section 3 of the Integration Rule, on the representation basis of one (1) Governor for each region to be elected by the members of the House of Delegates from that region only. The position of Governor should be rotated among the different Chapters in the region. 9. Section 39, Article V is hereby amended as follows: Section 39. Nomination and election of the Governors at least one (1) month before the national convention the delegates from each region shall elect the governor for their region, the choice of which shall as much as possible be rotated among the chapters in the region. 10. Section33(a), Article V hereby is amended by addingthe following provision as part of the first paragraph: No convention of the House of Delegates nor of the general membership shall be held prior to any election in an election year. 11. Section 39, (a), (b), (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), and (7) of Article VI should be as they are hereby deleted. All other provisions of the By-Laws including its amendment by the Resolution en banc of this Court of July 9, 1985 (Bar Matter No. 287) that are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed or modified.

12. Special elections for the Board of Governors shall be held in the nine (9) IBP regions within three (3) months, after the promulgation of the Court's resolution in this case. Within thirty (30) days thereafter, the Board of Governors shall meet at the IBP Central Office in Manila to elect from among themselves the IBP national president and executive vicepresident. In these special elections, the candidates in the election of the national officers held on June 3,1989, particularly identified in Sub-Head 3 of this Resolution entitled "Formation of Tickets and Single Slates," as well as those identified in this Resolution as connected with any of the irregularities attendant upon that election, are ineligible and may not present themselves as candidate for any position. 13. Pending such special elections, a caretaker board shall be appointed by the Court to administer the affairs of the IBP. The Court makes clear that the dispositions here made are without prejudice to its adoption in due time of such further and other measures as are warranted in the premises. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla. Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, Griño-Aquino and Regalado, JJ., concur. Fernan, C.J. and Medialdea, J., took no part. Gutierrez, Jr., J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

A.C. No. 2797

October 4, 2002

ROSAURA P. CORDON, complainant, vs. JESUS BALICANTA, respondent. RESOLUTION PER CURIAM: On August 21, 1985, herein complainant Rosaura Cordon filed with this Court a complaint for disbarment, docketed as Administrative Case No. 2797, against Atty. Jesus Balicanta. After respondent’s comment to the complaint and complainant’s reply thereto, this Court, on March 29, 1995 referred the matter to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP, for brevity) for investigation, report and recommendation within 90 days from notice. Commissioner George Briones of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline was initially tasked to investigate the case. Commissioner Briones was later on replaced by Commissioner Renato Cunanan. Complainant filed a supplemental complaint which was duly admitted and, as agreed upon, the parties filed their respective position papers. Based on her complaint, supplemental complaint, reply and position paper, the complainant alleged the following facts: When her husband Felixberto C. Jaldon died, herein complainant Rosaura Cordon and her daughter Rosemarie inherited the properties left by the said decedent. All in all, complainant and her daughter inherited 21 parcels of land located in Zamboanga City. The lawyer who helped her settle the estate of her late husband was respondent Jesus Balicanta. Sometime in the early part of 1981, respondent enticed complainant and her daughter to organize a corporation that would develop the said real properties into a high-scale commercial complex with a beautiful penthouse for complainant. Relying on these apparently sincere proposals, complainant and her daughter assigned 19 parcels of land to Rosaura Enterprises, Incorporated, a newly-formed and duly registered corporation in which they assumed majority ownership. The subject parcels of land were then registered in the name of the corporation. Thereafter, respondent single-handedly ran the affairs of the corporation in his capacity as Chairman of the Board, President, General Manager and Treasurer. The respondent also made complainant sign a document which turned out to be a voting trust agreement. Respondent likewise succeeded in making complainant sign a special power of attorney to sell and mortgage some of the parcels of land she inherited from her deceased husband. She later discovered that respondent transferred the titles of the properties to a certain Tion Suy Ong who became the new registered owner thereof. Respondent never accounted for the proceeds of said transfers. In 1981, respondent, using a spurious board resolution, contracted a loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP, for brevity) in the amount of Two Million Two Hundred Twenty Pesos (P2,220,000) using as collateral 9 of the real properties that the complainant and her daughter contributed to the corporation. The respondent ostensibly intended to use the money to construct the Baliwasan Commercial Center (BCC, for brevity). Complainant later

on found out that the structure was made of poor materials such as sawali, coco lumber and bamboo which could not have cost the corporation anything close to the amount of the loan secured. For four years from the time the debt was contracted, respondent failed to pay even a single installment. As a result, the LBP, in a letter dated May 22, 1985, informed respondent that the past due amortizations and interest had already accumulated to Seven Hundred Twentynine Thousand Five Hundred Three Pesos and Twenty-five Centavos (P729,503.25). The LBP made a demand on respondent for payment for the tenth time. Meanwhile, when the BCC commenced its operations, respondent started to earn revenues from the rentals of BCC’s tenants. On October 28, 1987, the LBP foreclosed on the 9 mortgaged properties due to nonpayment of the loan. Respondent did not exert any effort to redeem the foreclosed properties. Worse, he sold the corporation’s right to redeem the mortgaged properties to a certain Hadji Mahmud Jammang through a fake board resolution dated January 14, 1989 which clothed himself with the authority to do so. Complainant and her daughter, the majority stockholders, were never informed of the alleged meeting held on that date. Again, respondent never accounted for the proceeds of the sale of the right to redeem. Respondent also sold to Jammang a parcel of land belonging to complainant and her daughter which was contiguous to the foreclosed properties and evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 62807. He never accounted for the proceeds of the sale. Sometime in 1983, complainant’s daughter, Rosemarie, discovered that their ancestral home had been demolished and that her mother, herein complainant, was being detained in a small nipa shack in a place called Culianan. Through the help of Atty. Linda Lim, Rosemarie was able to locate her mother. Rosemarie later learned that respondent took complainant away from her house on the pretext that said ancestral home was going to be remodeled and painted. But respondent demolished the ancestral home and sold the lot to Tion Suy Ong, using another spurious board resolution designated as Board Resolution No. 1, series of 1992. The resolution contained the minutes of an alleged organizational meeting of the directors of the corporation and was signed by Alexander Wee, Angel Fernando, Erwin Fernando and Gabriel Solivar. Complainant and her daughter did not know how these persons became stockholders and directors of the corporation. Respondent again did not account for the proceeds of the sale. Complainant and her daughter made several demands on respondent for the delivery of the real properties they allegedly assigned to the corporation, for an accounting of the proceeds of the LBP loan and as well as the properties sold, and for the rentals earned by BCC. But the demands remained unheeded. Hence, complainant and her daughter, in a letter dated June 4, 1985, terminated the services of respondent as their lawyer and repeated their demands for accounting and turn-over of the corporate funds, and the return of the 19 titles that respondent transferred to the corporation. They also threatened him with legal action in a letter dated August 3, 1985. Soon after, complainant found out from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC, for brevity) that Rosaura Enterprises, Inc., due to respondent’s refusal and neglect, failed to submit the corporation’s annual financial statements for 1981, 1982 and 1983; SEC General

Information Sheets for 1982, 1983 and 1984; Minutes of Annual Meetings for 1982, 1983 and 1984; and Minutes of Annual Meetings of Directors for 1982, 1983 and 1984. Complainant also discovered that respondent collected rental payments from the tenants of BCC and issued handwritten receipts which he signed, not as an officer of the corporation but as the attorney-at-law of complainant. Respondent also used the tennis court of BCC to dry his palay and did not keep the buildings in a satisfactory state, so much so that the divisions were losing plywood and other materials to thieves. Complainant likewise accused respondent of circulating rumors among her friends and relatives that she had become insane to prevent them from believing whatever complainant said. According to complainant, respondent proposed that she legally separate from her present husband so that the latter would not inherit from her and that respondent be adopted as her son. For his defense, respondent, in his comment and position paper, denied employing deceit and machination in convincing complainant and her daughter to assign their real properties to the corporation; that they freely and voluntary executed the deeds of assignment and the voting trust agreement that they signed; that he did not single-handedly manage the corporation as evidenced by certifications of the officers and directors of the corporation; that he did not use spurious board resolutions authorizing him to contract a loan or sell the properties assigned by the complainant and her daughter; that complainant and her daughter should be the ones who should render an accounting of the records and revenues inasmuch as, since 1984 up to the present, the part-time corporate book-keeper, with the connivance of the complainant and her daughter, had custody of the corporate records; that complainant and her daughter sabotaged the operation of BCC when they illegally took control of it in 1986; that he never pocketed any of the proceeds of the properties contributed by the complainant and her daughter; that the demolition of the ancestral home followed legal procedures; that complainant was never detained in Culianan but she freely and voluntarily lived with the family of P03 Joel Constantino as evidenced by complainant’s own letter denying she was kidnapped; and that the instant disbarment case should be dismissed for being premature, considering the pendency of cases before the SEC and the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga involving him and complainant. Based on the pleadings and position papers submitted by the parties, Commissioner Renato Cunanan, in his report1 dated July 1, 1999, recommended respondent’s disbarment based on the following findings: "A. The complainant, Rosaura Jaldon-Cordon and her daughter, Rosemarie were stockholders of a corporation, together with respondent, named Rosaura Enterprises, Inc. "Per the Articles of Incorporation marked as Annex ‘A’ of Complainant’s Position Paper, complainant’s subscription consists of 55% of the outstanding capital stock while her daughter’s consists of 18%, giving them a total of 73%. Respondent’s holdings consist of 24% while three other incorporators, Rosauro L. Alvarez, Vicente T. Mañalac and Darhan S. Graciano each held 1% of the capital stock of the corporation. "B. On April 5, 1981, complainant and her daughter Rosemarie Jaldon executed two Deeds of Transfer and Assignment conveying and transferring to the corporation 19 parcels of land in exchange for shares of stock in the corporation.

"x x x

xxx

xxx

"C. Both Deeds of Assignment particularly page 3 thereof indicate that respondent accepted said assignment of properties and titles in behalf of the corporation as Treasurer. The deeds were signed on April 5, 1981. "x x x xxx xxx

"Together, therefore, complainant and her daughter owned 1,711 shares of the 1,750 shares comprising the authorized capital stock of the corporation of 97% thereof. "No increase in capitalization was applied for by the corporation. "F. Respondent claims in his Comment, his Answer and his Position Paper that on April 4, 1981 he was elected as Chairman and Director and on April 5, 1981 he was elected President of the corporation. Respondent’s own Annexes marked as ‘G’ and ‘G-1’ of his Comment show that on April 4, 1981 he was not only elected as Chairman and Director as he claims but as ‘Director, Board Chairman and President.’ The purported minutes was only signed by respondent and an acting Secretary by the name of Vicente Mañalac. "Said Annex does not show who was elected Treasurer. "Respondent’s Annex ‘H’ and ‘H-1’ shows that in the alleged organizational meeting of the directors on April 5, 1981 a certain Farnacio Bucoy was elected Treasurer. Bucoy’s name does not appear as an incorporator nor a stockholder anywhere in the documents submitted. "The purported minutes of the organizational meeting of the directors was signed only by respondent Balicanta and a Secretary named Verisimo Martin. "G. Since respondent was elected as Director, Chairman and President on April 4, 1981 as respondent’s own Annexes ‘G’ to ‘G-1’ would show, then complainant’s claim that respondent was likewise acting as Treasurer of two corporations bear truth and credence as respondent signed and accepted the titles to 19 parcels of land ceded by the complainant and her daughter, as Treasurer on April 5, 1981 after he was already purportedly elected as Chairman, President and Director. "H. Respondent misleads the Commission into believing that all the directors signed the minutes marked as Exhibit ‘H’ to ‘H-1’ by stating that the same was ‘duly signed by all the Board of Directors’ when the document itself shows that only he and one Verisimo Martin signed the same. "He also claims that ‘all the stockholders signed’ the minutes of organizational meeting marked as Annexes ‘G’ and ‘G-1’ of his Comment yet the same shows that only the acting Chairman and acting Secretary signed. "I. Respondent claims that the Board or its representative was authorized by the stockholders comprising 2/3 of the outstanding capital stock, as required by law, to mortgage the parcels of land belonging to the corporation, which were all assigned to the corporation by complainant and her daughter, by virtue of Annex ‘I’ and ‘I-1’: attached to his Comment.

"The subject attachment however reveals that only the following persons signed their conformity to the said resolution: respondent Balicanta who owned 109 shares, Vicente Mañalac (1 share), Daihan Graciano (1 share). "Complainants who collectively held a total of 1,711 shares out of the 1,750 outstanding capital stock of the corporation were not represented in the purported stockholders’ meeting authorizing the mortgage of the subject properties. "The 2/3 vote required by law was therefore not complied with yet respondent proceeded to mortgage the subject 9 parcels of land by the corporation. "J. Respondent further relies on Annex ‘J’ of his Comment, purportedly the minutes of a special meeting of the Board of Directors authorizing him to obtain a loan and mortgage the properties of the corporation dated August 29, 1981. This claim is baseless. The required ratification of 2/3 by the stockholders of records was not met. Again, respondent attempts to mislead the Commission and Court. "K. Further, the constitution of the Board is dubious. The alleged minutes of the organizational meeting of the stockholders electing the members of the Board, have not been duly signed by the stockholders as shown in respondent’s annex ‘G’ which was purportedly the organizational meeting of the stockholders. "L. Also, Annex ‘J’ of respondent’s Comment which purportedly authorized him to obtain a loan and to mortgage the 9 parcels of land was only signed by himself and a secretary. "M. In said Annex 'J' of respondent’s Comment he stated that complainant Rosaura Cordon was on leave by virtue of a voting trust agreement allegedly executed by complainant ‘in his favor covering all her shares of stock.’ The claim is baseless. The voting trust referred to by respondent (annex ‘D’ of his Comment), even if it were assumed to be valid, covered only 266 shares of complainants yet she owned a total of 1,039 shares after she and her daughter ceded in favor of the corporation 19 parcels of land. "Being a former lawyer to complainant, respondent should have ensured that her interest was safeguarded. Yet, complainant was apparently and deliberately left our (sic) on the pretext that, she had executed a voting trust agreement in favor of respondent. "It is suspicious that complainant was made to sign a voting trust agreement on 21 August 1981 and immediately thereafter, the resolutions authorizing respondent to obtain a loan and to mortgage the 9 parcels of land were passed and approved. "N. It is also highly irregular for respondent who is a lawyer, to allow a situation to happen where, with the exclusion of complainant as director the result was that there remained only 4 members of the Board,. "O. Respondent’s own pleadings submitted to the Commission contradict each other. "1. For instance, while in his Comment respondent DENIES that he employed deceit and machination in convincing the complainant and her daughter to sign the articles of incorporation of Rosaura Enterprises and in ceding to the corporation 19 parcels of land in Zamboanga City, because ‘they freely, intelligently and voluntarily signed’ the same, yet, in his Position Paper, respondent took another stance.

"In paragraphs 1.1 and 1.2 of his Position Paper which was submitted 12 years later, respondent claimed that ‘it was actually the idea of Atty. Rosaura L. Alvarez’ that a corporation be put up to incorporate the estate of the late Felixberto D. Jaldon. "2. Likewise, respondent claimed that complainant and her daughter were not directors, hence they were not notified of meetings, in paragraph 2-6 (c) of his Comment he blamed the other stockholders and directors for the corporation’s inability to comply with the Land Bank’s demands saying that they ‘have consistently failed since 1982 to convene (1.) for the annual stockholders’ meetings and (i.i) for the monthly board meeting’. "His own pleadings claim that he had been the Chairman/President since 1981 to the present. If (sic) so, it was his duty to convene the stockholders and the directors for meetings. "Respondent appeared able to convene the stockholders and directors when he needed to make a loan of p2.2 million; when he sold the corporation’s right of redemption over the foreclosed properties of the corporation to Jammang, when he sold one parcel of land covered by TCT 62,807 to Jammang in addition to the 9 parcels of land which were foreclosed, and when he sold the complainant’s ancestral home covered by TCT No. 72,004. "It is thus strange why respondent claims that the corporation could not do anything to save the corporation’s properties from being foreclosed because the stockholders and directors did not convene. "This assertion of respondent is clearly evident of dishonest, deceitful and immoral conduct especially because, in all his acts constituting conveyances of corporate property, respondent used minutes of stockholders’ and directors’ meetings signed only by him and a secretary or signed by him and persons who were not incorporators much less stockholders. "It is worthy of note that in respondent’s Exhibits 15, 16, 17 and 18 of his position paper, there were 7 new stockholders and complainant appeared to have only 266 shares to her name while her daughter Rosemarie had no shares at all. Respondent did not present any proof of conveyance of shares by complainant and her daughter. "It is further worth noting that complainant’s voting trust (annex ‘D’ of respondent’s Comment) where she allegedly entrusted 266 shares to respondent on August 21, 1981 had only a validity of 5 years. Thus, she should have had her entire holdings of 1,283 shares back in her name in August 1986. "Respondent’s purported minutes of stockholders’ meeting (Exhs. ‘15’ and ‘17’) do not reflect this. "There was no explanation whatsoever from respondent on how complainant and her daughter lost their 97% control holding in the corporation. "3. As a further contradiction in respondent’s pleadings, we note that in paragraph 2.7.C of his Comment he said that ‘only recently, this year, 1985, the complainant and her aforenamed daughter examined said voluminous supporting receipts/documents which had previously been examined by the Land Bank for loan releases, during which occasion respondent suggested to them that the corporation will have to hire a full-time book-keeper to put in order said voluminous supporting receipts/documents, to which they adversely

reacted due to lack of corporate money to pay for said book-keeper.’ But in respondent’s Position Paper par. 6.3 he stated that: ‘Anyway, it is not the respondent but rather the complainant who should render a detailed accounting to the corporation of the corporate records as well as corporate revenues/income precisely because since 1994 to the present: ‘(a). The corporate part-time book-keeper Edilberto Benedicto, with the indispensable connivance and instigation of the complainant and her daughter, among others, has custody of the corporate records, xxx’ "4. In other contradictory stance, respondent claims in par. 7.3 of his position paper that ‘complainant and her daughter sabotaged the BCC operations of the corporation by illegally taking over actual control and supervision thereof sometime in 1986, xxx’ "Yet respondent’s own exhibits in his position paper particularly Exhibit 15 and 16 where the subject of the foreclosed properties of the corporation comprising the Baliwasan Commercial Center (BCC) was taken up, complainant and her daughter were not even present nor were they the subject of the discussion, belying respondent’s claim that the complainant and her daughter illegally took actual control of BCC. "5. On the matter of the receipts issued by respondent evidencing payment to him of rentals by lessees of the corporation, attached to the complaint as Annexes ‘H’ to ‘H-17’, respondent claims that the receipts are temporary in nature and that subsequently regular corporate receipts were issued. On their face however the receipts clearly appear to be official receipts, printed and numbered duly signed by the respondent bearing his printed name. "It is difficult to believe that a lawyer of respondent’ stature would issue official receipts to lessees if he only meant to issue temporary ones. "6. With regard to respondent’s claim that the complainant consented to the sale of her ancestral home, covered by TCT No. T-72,004 to one Tion Suy Ong for which he attached as Exhibit 22 to his Position Paper the minutes of an annual meeting of the stockholders, it behooves this Commission why complainant’s signature had to be accompanied by her thumb mark. Furthermore, complainant’s signature appears unstable and shaky. This Office is thus persuaded to believe complainant’s allegation in paragraph 3b of her position paper that since September 1992 up to March 1993 she was being detained by one PO# (sic) Joel Constantino and his wife under instructions from respondent Balicanta. "This conclusion is supported by a letter from respondent dated March 1993, Annex ‘H’ of complainant’s position paper, where respondent ordered Police Officer Constantino ‘to allow Atty. Linda Lim and Rosemarie Jaldon to talk to Tita Rosing.’ "The complainant’s thumb mark together with her visibly unstable shaky signature lends credence to her claim that she was detained in the far flung barrio of Culianan under instructions of respondent while her ancestral home was demolished and the lot sold to one Tion Suy Ong. "It appears that respondent felt compelled to over-ensure complainant’s consent by getting her to affix her thumb mark in addition to her signature.

"7. Respondent likewise denies that he also acted as Corporate Secretary in addition to being the Chairman, President and Treasurer of the corporation. Yet, respondent submitted to this commission documents which are supported to be in the possession of the Corporate Secretary such as the stock and transfer book and minutes of meetings. "The foregoing findings of this Commission are virtual smoking guns that prove on no uncertain terms that respondent, who was the legal counsel of complainant in the latter part of the settlement of the estate of her deceased husband, committed unlawful, immoral and deceitful conduct proscribed by Rule 1.01 of the code of professional responsibility. "Likewise, respondent clearly committed a violation of Canon 15 of the same code which provides that ‘A lawyer should observe candor fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with his client.’ "Respondent’s acts gravely diminish the public’s respect for the integrity of the profession of law for which this Commission recommends that he be meted the penalty of disbarment. "The pendency of the cases at the SEC and the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga filed by complainant against respondent does not preclude a determination of respondent’s culpability as a lawyer. "This Commission cannot further delay the resolution of this complaint filed in 1985 by complainant, and old widow who deserves to find hope and recover her confidence in the judicial system. "The findings of this office, predominantly based on documents adduced by both parties lead to only one rather unpalatable conclusion. That respondent Atty. Jesus F. Balicanta, in his professional relations with herein complainant did in fact employ unlawful, dishonest, and immoral conduct proscribed in no uncertain terms by Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. In addition, respondent’s actions clearly violated Canon 15 to 16 of the same Code. "It is therefore our unpleasant duty to recommend that respondent, having committed acts in violation of the Canons of Professional Responsibility, thereby causing a great disservice to the profession, be meted the ultimate sanction of disbarment."2 On September 30, 1999, while Commissioner Cunanan’s recommendation for respondent’s disbarment was pending review before Executive Vice-President and Northern Luzon Governor Teofilo Pilando, respondent filed a motion requesting "for a full-blown investigation and for invalidation of the entire proceedings and/or remedial action under Section 11, Rule 139-B, Revised Rules of Court," alleging that he had evidence that Commissioner Cunanan’s report was drafted by the lawyers of complainant, Attys. Antonio Cope and Rita Linda Jimeno. He presented two unsigned anonymous letters allegedly coming from a disgruntled employee of Attys. Cope and Jimeno. He claimed to have received these letters in his mailbox.3 Respondent’s motion alleging that Attys. Antonio Cope and Rita Linda Jimeno drafted Commissioner Cunanan’s report was accompanied by a complaint praying for the disbarment of said lawyers including Commissioner Cunanan. The complaint was docketed as CBD Case No. 99-658. After Attys. Cope and Jimeno and Commissioner Cunanan filed

their answers, a hearing was conducted by the Investigating Committee of the IBP Board of Governors. On May 26, 2001, the IBP Board of Governors issued a resolution 4 dismissing for lack of merit the complaint for disbarment against Attys. Cope and Jimeno and Commissioner Cunanan. And in Adm. Case No. 2797, the Board adopted and approved the report and recommendation of Commissioner Cunanan, and meted against herein respondent Balicanta the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for 5 years "for commission of acts of misconduct and disloyalty by taking undue and unfair advantage of his legal knowledge as a lawyer to gain material benefit for himself at the expense of complainant Rosaura P. JaldonCordon and caused serious damage to the complainant."5 To support its decision, the Board uncovered respondent’s fraudulent acts in the very same documents he presented to exonerate himself. It also took note of respondent’s contradictory and irreconcilable statements in the pleadings and position papers he submitted. However, it regarded the penalty of disbarment as too severe for respondent’s misdeeds, considering that the same were his first offense.6 Pursuant to Section 12 (b), Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court,7 the said resolution in Administrative Case No. 2797 imposing the penalty of suspension for 5 years on respondent was automatically elevated to this Court for final action. On the other hand, the dismissal of the complaint for disbarment against Attys. Cope and Jimeno and Commissioner Cunanan, docketed as CBD Case No. 99-658, became final in the absence of any petition for review. This Court confirms the duly supported findings of the IBP Board that respondent committed condemnable acts of deceit against his client. The fraudulent acts he carried out against his client followed a well thought of plan to misappropriate the corporate properties and funds entrusted to him. At the very outset, he embarked on his devious scheme by making himself the President, Chairman of the Board, Director and Treasurer of the corporation, although he knew he was prohibited from assuming the position of President and Treasurer at the same time.8 As Treasurer, he accepted in behalf of the corporation the 19 titles that complainant and her daughter co-owned. The other treasurer appointed, Farnacio Bucoy, did not appear to be a stockholder or director in the corporate records. The minutes of the meetings supposedly electing him and Bucoy as officers of the corporation actually bore the signatures of respondent and the secretary only, contrary to his claim that they were signed by the directors and stockholders. He likewise misled the IBP investigating commission in claiming that the mortgage of 9 of the properties of the corporation previously belonging to complainant and her daughter was ratified by the stockholders owning two-thirds or 67% of the outstanding capital stock when in fact only three stockholders owning 111 out of 1,750 outstanding shares or 6.3% assented thereto. The alleged authorization granting him the power to contract the LBP loan for Two Million Two Hundred Twenty Pesos (P2,220,000) was also not approved by the required minimum of two-thirds of the outstanding capital stock despite respondent’s claim to the contrary. In all these transactions, complainant and her daughter who both owned 1,711 out of the 1,750 outstanding shares of the corporation or 97.7% never had any participation. Neither were they informed thereof. Clearly, there was no quorum for a valid meeting for the discussion and approval of these transactions.

Respondent cannot take refuge in the contested voting trust agreement supposedly executed by complainant and her daughter for the reason that it authorized respondent to represent complainant for only 266 shares. Aside from the dishonest transactions he entered into under the cloak of sham resolutions, he failed to explain several discrepancies in his version of the facts. We hereby reiterate some of these statements noted by Commissioner Cunanan in his findings. First, respondent blamed the directors and the stockholders who failed to convene for the required annual meetings since 1982. However, respondent appeared able to convene the stockholders and directors when he contracted the LBP debt, when he sold to Jammang the corporation’s right of redemption over the foreclosed properties of the corporation, when he sold one parcel of land covered by TCT No. 62807 to Jammang, when he mortgaged the 9 parcels of land to LBP which later foreclosed on said mortgage, and when he sold the complainant’s ancestral home covered by TCT No. 72004. Second, the factual findings of the investigating commission, affirmed by the IBP Board, disclosed that complainant and her daughter own 1,711 out of 1,750 shares of the outstanding capital stock of the corporation, based on the Articles of Incorporation and deeds of transfer of the properties. But respondent’s evidence showed that complainant had only 266 shares of stock in the corporation while her daughter had none, notwithstanding the fact that there was nothing to indicate that complainant and her daughter ever conveyed their shares to others. Respondent likewise did not explain why he did not return the certificates representing the 266 shares after the lapse of 5 years from the time the voting trust certificate was executed in 1981.9 The records show that up to now, the complainant and her daughter own 97% of the outstanding shares but respondent never bothered to explain why they were never asked to participate in or why they were never informed of important corporate decisions. Third, respondent, in his comment, alleged that due to the objection of complainant and her daughter to his proposal to hire an accountant, the corporation had no formal accounting of its revenues and income. However, respondent’s position paper maintained that there was no accounting because the part-time bookkeeper of the corporation connived with complainant and her daughter in keeping the corporate records. Fourth, respondent’s claim that complainant and her daughter took control of the operations of the corporation in 1986 is belied by the fact that complainant and her daughter were not even present in the alleged meeting of the board (which took place after 1986) to discuss the foreclosure of the mortgaged properties. The truth is that he never informed them of such meeting and he never gave control of the corporation to them. Fifth, Commissioner Cunanan found that: "5. on the matter of the receipts issued by respondent evidencing payment to him of rentals by lessees of the corporation, attached to the complaint as Annexes ‘H’ to ‘H-17’, respondent claims that the receipts are temporary in nature and that subsequently regular corporate receipts were issued. On their face however the receipts clearly appear to be

official receipts, printed and numbered duly signed by the respondent bearing his printed name. "It is difficult to believe that a lawyer of respondent’s stature would issue official receipts to lessees if he only meant to issue temporary ones."10 Sixth, respondent denies that he acted as Corporate Secretary aside from being the Chairman, President and Treasurer of the corporation. Yet respondent submitted to the investigating commission documents which were supposed to be in the official possession of the Corporate Secretary alone such as the stock and transfer book and minutes of meetings. Seventh, he alleged in his comment that he was the one who proposed the establishment of the corporation that would invest the properties of the complainant but, in his position paper, he said that it was a certain Atty. Rosauro Alvarez who made the proposal to put up the corporation. After a thorough review of the records, we find that respondent committed grave and serious misconduct that casts dishonor on the legal profession. His misdemeanors reveal a deceitful scheme to use the corporation as a means to convert for his own personal benefit properties left to him in trust by complainant and her daughter. Not even his deviousness could cover up the wrongdoings he committed. The documents he thought could exculpate him were the very same documents that revealed his immoral and shameless ways. These documents were extremely revealing in that they unmasked a man who knew the law and abused it for his personal gain without any qualms of conscience. They painted an intricate web of lies, deceit and opportunism beneath a carefully crafted smokescreen of corporate maneuvers. The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates upon each lawyer, as his duty to society, the obligation to obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. Specifically, he is forbidden to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. 11 If the practice of law is to remain an honorable profession and attain its basic ideal, those enrolled in its ranks should not only master its tenets and principles but should also, in their lives, accord continuing fidelity to them.12 Thus, the requirement of good moral character is of much greater import, as far as the general public is concerned, than the possession of legal learning.13 Lawyers are expected to abide by the tenets of morality, not only upon admission to the Bar but also throughout their legal career, in order to maintain one’s good standing in that exclusive and honored fraternity.14 Good moral character is more than just the absence of bad character. Such character expresses itself in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right and the resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is wrong. 15 This must be so because "vast interests are committed to his care; he is the recipient of unbounded trust and confidence; he deals with his client’s property, reputation, his life, his all."16 Indeed, the words of former Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals Pompeyo Diaz cannot find a more relevant application than in this case: "There are men in any society who are so self-serving that they try to make law serve their selfish ends. In this group of men, the most dangerous is the man of the law who has no

conscience. He has, in the arsenal of his knowledge, the very tools by which he can poison and disrupt society and bring it to an ignoble end."17 Good moral standing is manifested in the duty of the lawyer "to hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession." 18 He is bound "to account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client."19 The relation between an attorney and his client is highly fiduciary in nature. Thus, lawyers are bound to promptly account for money or property received by them on behalf of their clients and failure to do so constitutes professional misconduct.20 This Court holds that respondent cannot invoke the separate personality of the corporation to absolve him from exercising these duties over the properties turned over to him by complainant. He blatantly used the corporate veil to defeat his fiduciary obligation to his client, the complainant. Toleration of such fraudulent conduct was never the reason for the creation of said corporate fiction. The massive fraud perpetrated by respondent on the complainant leaves us no choice but to set aside the veil of corporate entity. For purposes of this action therefore, the properties registered in the name of the corporation should still be considered as properties of complainant and her daughter. The respondent merely held them in trust for complainant (now an ailing 83-year-old) and her daughter. The properties conveyed fraudulently and/or without the requisite authority should be deemed as never to have been transferred, sold or mortgaged at all. Respondent shall be liable, in his personal capacity, to third parties who may have contracted with him in good faith. Based on the aforementioned findings, this Court believes that the gravity of respondent’s offenses cannot be adequately matched by mere suspension as recommended by the IBP. Instead, his wrongdoings deserve the severe penalty of disbarment, without prejudice to his criminal and civil liabilities for his dishonest acts. WHEREFORE, respondent Attorney Jesus T. Balicanta is hereby DISBARRED. The Clerk of Court is directed to strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys. SO ORDERED. Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur. Davide, Jr., C.J., Mendoza, and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., on leave.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-19450 May 27, 1965

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SIMPLICIO VILLANUEVA, defendant-appellant. Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Magno T. Buese for defendant-appellant. PAREDES, J.: On September 4, 1959, the Chief of Police of Alaminos, Laguna, charged Simplicio Villanueva with the Crime of Malicious Mischief before the Justice of the Peace Court of said municipality. Said accused was represented by counsel de officio but later on replaced by counsel de parte. The complainant in the same case was represented by City Attorney Ariston Fule of San Pablo City, having entered his appearance as private prosecutor, after securing the permission of the Secretary of Justice. The condition of his appearance as such, was that every time he would appear at the trial of the case, he would be considered on official leave of absence, and that he would not receive any payment for his services. The appearance of City Attorney Fule as private prosecutor was questioned by the counsel for the accused, invoking the case of Aquino, et al. vs. Blanco, et al., L-1532, Nov. 28, 1947, wherein it was ruled that "when an attorney had been appointed to the position of Assistant Provincial Fiscal or City Fiscal and therein qualified, by operation of law, he ceased to engage in private law practice." Counsel then argued that the JP Court in entertaining the appearance of City Attorney Fule in the case is a violation of the above ruling. On December 17, 1960 the JP issued an order sustaining the legality of the appearance of City Attorney Fule. Under date of January 4, 1961, counsel for the accused presented a "Motion to Inhibit Fiscal Fule from Acting as Private Prosecutor in this Case," this time invoking Section 32, Rule 27, now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court, which bars certain attorneys from practicing. Counsel claims that City Attorney Fule falls under this limitation. The JP Court ruled on the motion by upholding the right of Fule to appear and further stating that he (Fule) was not

actually enagaged in private law practice. This Order was appealed to the CFI of Laguna, presided by the Hon. Hilarion U. Jarencio, which rendered judgment on December 20, 1961, the pertinent portions of which read: The present party of the action. The represented case is one for malicious mischief. There being no reservation by the offended civil liability, the civil action was deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal offended party had, therefore, the right to intervene in the case and be by a legal counsel because of her interest in the civil liability of the accused.

Sec. 31, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court provides that in the court of a justice of the peace a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. Assistant City Attorney Fule appeared in the Justice of the Peace Court as an agent or friend of the offended party. It does not appear that he was being paid for his services or that his appearance was in a professional capacity. As Assistant City Attorney of San Pablo he had no control or intervention whatsoever in the prosecution of crimes committed in the municipality of Alaminos, Laguna, because the prosecution of criminal cases coming from Alaminos are handled by the Office of the Provincial Fiscal and not by the City Attornev of San Pablo. There could be no possible conflict in the duties of Assistant City Attorney Fule as Assistant City Attorney of San Pablo and as private prosecutor in this criminal case. On the other hand, as already pointed out, the offended party in this criminal case had a right to be represented by an agent or a friend to protect her rights in the civil action which was impliedly instituted together with the criminal action. In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that Asst. City Attorney Ariston D. Fule may appear before the Justice of the Peace Court of Alaminos, Laguna as private prosecutor in this criminal case as an agent or a friend of the offended party. WHEREFORE, the appeal from the order of the Justice of the Peace Court of Alaminos, Laguna, allowing the apprearance of Ariston D. Fule as private prosecutor is dismissed, without costs. The above decision is the subject of the instant proceeding. The appeal should be dismissed, for patently being without merits.1äwphï1.ñët Aside from the considerations advanced by the learned trial judge, heretofore reproduced, and which we consider plausible, the fallacy of the theory of defense counsel lies in his confused interpretation of Section 32 of Rule 127 (now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules), which provides that "no judge or other official or employee of the superior courts or of the office of the Solicitor General, shall engage in private practice as a member of the bar or give professional advice to clients." He claims that City Attorney Fule, in appearing as private prosecutor in the case was engaging in private practice. We believe that the isolated appearance of City Attorney Fule did not constitute private practice within the meaning and contemplation of the Rules. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State vs. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public, as customarily and demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644, 647). The appearance as counsel on

one occasion is not conclusive as determinative of engagement in the private practice of law. The following observation of the Solicitor General is noteworthy: Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to be in the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that his professional services are available to the public for a compensation, as a source of his livelihood or in consideration of his said services. For one thing, it has never been refuted that City Attorney Fule had been given permission by his immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice, to represent the complainant in the case at bar, who is a relative. CONFORMABLY WITH ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from should be, as it is hereby affirmed, in all respects, with costs against appellant.. Bengzon, C.J., Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., and Zaldivar, JJ., concur. Bautista Angelo, J., took no part.

The case of JUSTICE SABIO Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A.M. No. 08-8-11-CA September 9, 2008

RE: LETTER OF PRESIDING JUSTICE CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, JR. ON CA-G.R. SP NO. 103692 [Antonio Rosete, et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, et al.] DECISION PER CURIAM: The Judiciary, which is acclaimed as the firmest pillar of our democratic institutions, is vested by the Constitution with the power to settle disputes between parties and to determine their rights and obligations under the law. For judicial decisions, which form part of the law of the land, to be credible instruments in the peaceful and democratic resolution of conflicts, our courts must be perceived to be and, in fact be, impartial, independent, competent and just. To accomplish this end, it is imperative that members of the Judiciary from its highest magistrates to its humblest employees adhere to the strictest code of ethics and the highest standards of propriety and decorum. Indeed, it is unfortunate that one of the country’s second highest courts, the Court of Appeals, should be presently embroiled in scandal and controversy. It is this Court’s bounden duty to determine the culpability or

innocence of the members of the Judiciary involved in the said controversy and to discipline any one whose conduct has failed to conform to the canons of judicial ethics, which uphold integrity, independence, impartiality, competence and propriety in the performance of official functions. The present administrative matter arose from the Letter dated August 1, 2008 of Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. (Presiding Justice Vasquez), referring to this Court for appropriate action the much publicized dispute and charges of impropriety among the justices of the Court of Appeals (CA) involved in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 entitled "Antonio Rosete, et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, et al." To assist in its investigation of this sensitive matter, the Court in its Resolution dated August 4, 2008 constituted a three-person panel (the "Panel of Investigators") composed of retired Justices of the Court; namely, Mme. Justice Carolina Griño-Aquino as Chairperson, Mme. Justice Flerida Ruth P. Romero and Mr. Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. as Members. The Panel of Investigators was tasked to investigate the (a) alleged improprieties of the actions of the Justices of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 (Antonio V. Rosete, et al. v. SEC, et al.); and (b) alleged rejected offer or solicitation of bribe disclosed respectively by Mr. Justice Jose Sabio and Mr. Francis de Borja. A narration of relevant events and facts, as found by the Investigating Panel, follows: On April 15, 2008, Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes (Justice Reyes), then Chairperson of the Ninth Division of the CA, filed an application for leave from May 15, 2008 to June 5, 2008.1 In Office Order No. 149-08-CMV dated May 14, 2008 issued by Presiding Justice Vasquez, Justice Jose C. Mendoza (Justice Mendoza) was designated by the Raffle Committee as Acting Chairman of the Ninth Division during the absence of Justice Reyes. Apart from his duties as regular senior member of the Fifth Division, Justice Mendoza was authorized "to act on all cases submitted to the Ninth Division for final resolution and/or appropriate action, except ponencia, from May 15, 2008 to June 5, 2008 or until Justice Reyes reports back for duty." The said office order likewise applied to the other Division(s) where Justice Reyes had "participated or took part as regular member or in an acting capacity."2 On May 29, 2008, Antonio V. Rosete, Manuel M. Lopez, Felipe B. Alfonso, Jesus P. Francisco, Christian S. Monsod, Elpidio L. Ibañez, and Francis Giles B. Puno, as officers, directors and/or representatives of the Manila Electric Company (hereinafter to be collectively referred to as "Meralco"), filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commissioner Jesus Enrique G. Martinez, Commissioner Hubert B. Guevarra, and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). 3 Aside from the application for immediate issuance of a TRO, petitioners prayed for the issuance of a preliminary injunction that should thereafter be declared permanent, as well as a declaration of nullity of the cease and desist and show cause orders issued by the SEC through Commissioner Martinez. The petition was received by the CA at 10:49 a.m. on May 29, 2008 and docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 103692. On the same day, petitioners simultaneously filed at 10:48 a.m. an urgent motion for a special raffle. Presiding Justice Vasquez granted the motion in a handwritten note on the face of the urgent motion,4 and CA-G.R. No. 103692 was raffled to Justice Vicente Q. Roxas

(Justice Roxas).5 At 3:10 p.m., the Office of Presiding Justice Vasquez received a letter from Atty. Estrella C. Elamparo (Atty. Elamparo), Chief Legal Counsel of the GSIS, requesting the re-raffling of the case "in the presence of the parties in the interest of transparency and fairness."6 At 4:10 p.m. on that day, the GSIS filed an ex-parte motion to defer action on any incident in the petition pending the resolution of their motion for the re-raffle of the case.7 Atty. Elamparo, accompanied by Atty. Orlando P. Polinar, also of the GSIS Law Office, personally filed the urgent motion to defer action on the petition pending the resolution of their motion to re-raffle the case. Since the receiving clerk of the Court of Appeals could not assure them that the motion would be transmitted to the Court of Appeals Division, Attys. Elamparo and Polinar allegedly went to the office of Justice Roxas "for the sole purpose of personally furnishing him a copy" of the motion.8 They initially talked to a male clerk who referred them to one of the lawyers, who, however, told them that it was not possible for them to personally hand a copy of the motion to Justice Roxas. Thus, Attys. Elamparo and Polinar left a copy of the motion to the staff but no one wanted to sign and acknowledge receipt of the copy.9 On May 30, 2008, Justice Reyes filed an application for the extension of his leave until June 6, 2008.10 In the meantime, Justice Mendoza, who had been designated to replace Justice Reyes during the latter’s absence, informed Justice Roxas through a letter that he (Justice Mendoza) was inhibiting from the case on the ground that he used to be a lawyer of the Meralco.11 Hence, in an "Emergency Request for Raffle," Justice Roxas informed the Raffle Committee about the inhibition.12 Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr. (Justice Sabio) was assigned as Acting Chairman of the Ninth Division by raffle, "in lieu of Justice Mendoza."13 At 11:30 a.m., the office of Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal (Justice Dimaranan-Vidal) received a notice of emergency deliberation with the new Acting Chairman of the Special Ninth Division, apparently sent by Justice Roxas, stating that her presence and that of Justice Sabio, Jr. were "indispensable" on account of the "national interest" involved in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692.14 Meanwhile, Atty. Elamparo "received a telephone call from somebody who did not identify herself but (who) said that she had important information regarding the Meralco case." The unidentified caller told Atty. Elamparo that "a TRO was already being prepared and that certain Meralco lawyers had in fact been talking to Justice Roxas." The caller warned Atty. Elamparo against Justice Roxas who had "administrative cases and was ‘very notorious,’" but when prodded, the caller would not disclose more details.15 At about 1:30 p.m. also on May 30, 2008, Justice Sabio received a telephone call in his chambers from his older brother, Chairman Camilo Sabio (Chairman Sabio) of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).16 Chairman Sabio informed his brother that he (Justice Sabio) had been named the "third member" of the division to which the MERALCO-GSIS case had been raffled. Justice Sabio was surprised as he had not yet been "officially informed" about the matter. Chairman Sabio likewise informed him that a TRO had been prepared. Chairman Sabio then tried to convince Justice Sabio "of the rightness of the stand of the GSIS and the SEC," and asked his brother to help the GSIS, which "represents the interest of the poor people." Justice Sabio told his brother that he would "vote according to [his] conscience" and that the most that he could do was "to have

the issuance of the TRO and the injunctive relief scheduled for oral arguments," at which the respondents "must be able to convince" him that the TRO indeed had no legal basis. In his signed testimony,17 which he read before the Panel of Investigators, Chairman Sabio narrated the circumstances of this call to his brother on May 30, 2008. It appears to have been prompted by a call from a member of the Board of Trustees of GSIS. To quote from Chairman Sabio’s testimony: Last May 30, 2008 I was in Davao City Airport with my wife, Marlene, waiting for our 1:25 P.M. PAL flight to Manila. xxx xxx xxx. As we were boarding, I received a call from Atty. Jesus I. Santos, a Member of the Board of Trustees of GSIS. We had known each other and had become friends since before Martial Law because as Chief Counsel of the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) we were opposing counsel in various cases in Bulacan. Attorney Santos informed me that the dispute between the GSIS and MERALCO was now in the Court of Appeals; and, that as a matter of fact, my brother, Justice Sabio, was chair of the Division to which the case had been assigned. Being a Trustee, Attorney Santos requested me to help. I readily welcomed the request for help and thanked him. There was no mystery about his having known of the results of the raffle because the lawyers are notified thereof and are present thereat. As a Trustee, Attorney Santos should be concerned and involved. As such it is his duty to seek assistance for the GSIS where he could legitimately find it. He was right in seeking my assistance. I was aware of the controversy between the GSIS and MERALCO. In essence this was in fact a controversy between the long suffering public and the mighty - financially and politically controlling owners of MERALCO. MERALCO is not only a public utility but also a monopoly. Fortunately, GSIS had taken up the cudgels for the long suffering public, who are at the mercy of MERALCO. xxx xxx x x x.

Immediately, I tried to contact Justice Sabio. But due to the noise I could not hear him. So I waited until we would arrive in Manila. As we were leaving the Airport, I again got in touch with Justice Sabio. After, he confirmed that he was in fact in the Division to which the petition of MERALCO had been raffled. I impressed upon him the character and essence of the controversy. I asked him to help GSIS if the legal situation permitted. He said he would decide according to his conscience. I said: of course. xxx xxx x x x.

On the same day, May 30, 2008, GSIS filed an urgent ex-parte motion to inhibit Justice Roxas from CA-G.R. No. SP 103692.18 The Special Cases Section of the Court of Appeals received a copy of the motion at 11:58 a.m.19 Claiming that the TRO was issued "to pre-empt the hearing" scheduled in the afternoon of that day before the SEC, the GSIS Law Office, through Atty. Marcial C. Pimentel, Jr., set forth its reason for the motion for inhibition as follows:

3. Unfortunately, reports have reached respondent GSIS that the Honorable ponente has been in contact with certain lawyers of MERALCO and has in fact already prepared a draft resolution granting the TRO without affording respondents even a summary hearing. The records of this case was (sic), per information, immediately transmitted to the Honorable ponente upon his instructions. The worries of the respondent were exacerbated when it learned that there are supposedly two administrative cases pending against the Honorable ponente, both of which involve allegations of bias and prejudice. It turned out, however, that at that time, Justice Roxas had not yet been officially notified by the Raffle Committee that the case was raffled to him.20 Moreover, contrary to the allegation of Atty. Elamparo that the raffle was rigged, Justice Roxas had no hand in the raffle proceeding, which was handled by the Division chaired by Justice Mariano del Castillo with the use of a "fool-proof Las Vegas tambiolo, like the lotto machine."21 Justice Roxas brought to the office of Justice Sabio, for the latter’s signature, the TRO which he had prepared, already signed by himself and Justice Dimaranan-Vidal. Convinced of the urgency of the TRO, Justice Sabio signed it on condition that the case will be set for oral arguments. Thus, at 2:08 p.m. on May 30, 2008,22 the Special Ninth Division composed of Justices Sabio, Roxas, and Dimaranan-Vidal, issued the Resolution granting the TRO prayed for by the petitioners and directing the respondents to file their respective comments (not a motion to dismiss) to the petition within ten days from notice, with the petitioners given five days from receipt of that comment within which to file their reply. The Special Ninth Division also set the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction for 10:00 a.m. on June 23 and 24, 2008. In the same Resolution, parties were directed to file their respective memorandum of authorities in connection with the application for a writ of preliminary injunction together with their comments/reply. After the parties had filed their memorandum of authorities relative to the application for a writ of preliminary injunction, the prayer for the said writ would be considered submitted for resolution "forty five (45) days from promulgation of this Resolution." The SEC received a copy of the Resolution at 4:03 p.m. on that day.23 For Justice Roxas, the issuance of the TRO was an implied denial of the motion for inhibition filed against him. There was no need to put in writing the action on the motion for inhibition.24 At 3:00 p.m., the Special Cases Section of the Court of Appeals received the Urgent Motion to Lift Temporary Restraining Order and To Hold Its Enforcement in Abeyance filed by the GSIS.25 Justice Roxas did not act on the Urgent Motion because he did not consider it meritorious.26 On May 31, 2008, Justice Sabio received a cellular phone call from Mr. Francis De Borja (Mr. De Borja), a person he had lost contact with for almost a year already.27 Mr. De Borja greeted him with: "Mabuhay ka, Justice." When Justice Sabio, Jr. asked Mr. De Borja why he said that, Mr. De Borja told him that the Makati Business Club was happy with his having signed the TRO, to which Justice Sabio retorted, "I voted according to my conscience." On June 5, 2008, the GSIS Law Office received a letter dated June 2, 2008 of Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. informing GSIS Chief Legal Counsel, Atty. Elamparo, that the Court of Appeals

could not grant her request for the re-raffling of CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 "in the presence of the parties in the interest of transparency and fairness," as the case had been raffled in accordance with the procedure under the IRCA.28 On June 10, 2008, Justice B. L. Reyes reported back to work.29 On June 11, 2008, at 3:50 p.m.,30 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), appearing for the SEC, filed a manifestation and motion praying for the admission of the comment (to the petition) attached thereto, as well as the advance and additional copies of the memorandum of authorities. On June 12, 2008, at 4:53 p.m., the GSIS filed its comment/opposition to the petition in CAG.R. SP No. 103692,31 as well as its memorandum of authorities. On June 16, 2008, the Division Clerk of Court, Atty. Teresita Custodio (Atty. Custodio), delivered to Justice Reyes the cartilla of the Meralco case, and informed him that a hearing on the prayer for the issuance of a preliminary injunction had been scheduled at 10:00 a.m. on June 23 and 24, 2008.32 However, on the same day, the Division Clerk of Court came back to retrieve the cartilla upon instructions of Justice Sabio. Justice Reyes instructed his staff to return the cartilla and when he asked the Division Clerk of Court why she was retrieving it, she said that Justice Sabio "demanded" that it be returned back to him. "Personally affronted" by the "domineering and superior stance" of Justice Sabio, Justice Reyes "read and re-read Secs. 1, 2(d) & 5, Rule VI (Process of Adjudication)" until he was satisfied that he should sit as Division Chairman in the Meralco case.33 On either June 17 or 18, 2008, Justice Sabio requested the rollo of CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 from Justice Roxas so that he could study the case before the hearing.34 Justice Roxas asked him whether Justice Reyes would preside over the hearing. Justice Sabio explained the reason why he, not Justice Reyes, should preside. Justice Roxas promised to instruct the Division Clerk of Court to send the rollo over to Justice Sabio. The next day, the Division Clerk of Court told Justice Sabio that the rollo was with Justice Reyes. When the rollo was eventually transmitted to Justice Sabio, the Division Clerk of Court asked him whether the rollo should be with Justice Reyes. Justice Sabio explained why the rollo should be with him. On June 18, 2008, petitioners filed a motion for an extension of five days or until June 23, 2008 within which to file their consolidated memoranda of authorities and reply to the comment of the SEC.35 On June 19, 2008, MERALCO filed an ex-parte manifestation together with their reply to the comment of the GSIS.36 Meanwhile, Justice B. L. Reyes asked Atty. Custodio to report on "what transpired between her and Justice Sabio" when she returned the cartilla. "Tearyeyed," Atty. Custodio begged off from making a report.37 Justice Reyes decided to consult the Presiding Justice "to avoid an ugly confrontation" with the Justices on the "highly politicized case involving giants of the Philippine society." He explained to the Presiding Justice his understanding of the relevant IRCA rules and "the actual practice in similar situations in the past." The Presiding Justice promised to talk with Justice Sabio and, "for the sake of transparency and future reference," Justice Reyes requested permission to write an inquiry on the matter.38

On the same day, Justice Reyes wrote Presiding Justice Vasquez a letter39 calling the attention of Justice Edgardo P. Cruz ("Justice Cruz"), Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, to the "dilemma" as to who between him and Justice Sabio should "receive" CA-G.R. SP No. 103692. Justice Reyes posed these questions before the Presiding Justice: Will the case remain with Justice Jose Sabio, Jr. as Acting Chairman of the Special 9th Division and who participated in the initial Resolution of the case? Will the case revert to the regular 9th Division with the undersigned as Chairman? For Justice Reyes, the "dilemma" was engendered by this provision of Section 2 of Rule VI of the IRCA: (2) When, in an original action or petition for review, any of these actions or proceedings, namely: (1) giving due course; (2) granting writ of preliminary injunction; (3) granting new trial; and (4) granting execution pending appeal have been taken, the case shall remain with the Justice to whom the case is assigned for study and report and the Justices who participated therein, regardless of their transfer to other Divisions in the same station. The hearing on the application for preliminary injunction having been scheduled for June 23 and 24, 2008, Justice Reyes considered it "necessary" that the issues be resolved before that date. Moreover, the referral of the controversy to the Presiding Justice would give him sufficient time to seriously study the case before the hearing.40 On June 20, 2008, Presiding Justice Vasquez referred the letter of Justice Reyes to Justice Cruz, Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, noting "some urgency involved as the hearing of the case is on Monday, June 23, 2008."41 On that same day, Justice Cruz wrote Justice Reyes a letter42 quoting Section 2 (d), Rule VI of the IRCA and stating that the "[i]ssuance of a TRO is not among the instances where ‘the Justices who participated’ in the case shall ‘remain’ therein." Hence, Justice Cruz opined that "[n]otwithstanding the issuance of the TRO (not writ of preliminary injunction), the case reverted to the regular Chairman (Justice Reyes) of the Ninth Division upon his return." Justice Reyes received a copy of the letter of Justice Cruz in the afternoon of that day.43 During the hearings of this case, Justice Cruz explained his opinion before the Panel. He opined that the motion to lift the TRO is not a motion for reconsideration because Rule 52 of the Rules of Court states that a motion for reconsideration may be filed with respect to a decision or a final resolution. A TRO is not a final resolution but an interlocutory order. Moreover, since the subject of the hearing on June 23, 2008 was on the application for preliminary injunction, Justice Sabio had no right to participate in the hearing because as an Acting Chairman, his authority was only to act on the motion to lift the TRO. Under the IRCA, the position of Justice Sabio invoked the exception to the general rule in the IRCA. However, the settled principle is to construe a rule strictly against the exception. The participation of Justice Sabio in the hearing on June 23, 2008 was a "passport" to participation in the decision-making process, in violation of the IRCA.44 Justice Reyes having consulted with him, the Presiding Justice referred the matter to Justice Sabio who in turn, opined that "a temporary restraining order is part of the injunctive relief or at least its initial action such that he should be the one to chair the Division." 45 In his

office after that consultation with the Presiding Justice, Justice Reyes found that the Division Clerk of Court had given him a copy of the cartilla just in case he would preside over the hearing.In the evening, the Presiding Justice called up Justice Reyes to inform him that Justice Sabio "insisted that he would preside over the hearing of the case," and that the opinion of Justice Cruz, who was "junior" to Justice Sabio "was no better than his own opinion."46 It turned out that, upon receipt of a copy of the letter of Justice Cruz, Justice Sabio told the Presiding Justice by telephone that he disagreed with the opinion of Justice Cruz "because he did not sign in an official capacity as Chairman of the Rules Committee, but in his personal capacity" and hence, the opinion of Justice Sabio "was as good as his, as in fact I (Justice Sabio, Jr.) am even more senior than he."47 Justice Sabio told the Presiding Justice that he "smelled something fishy" about the move to transfer the case to the Ninth Division especially because Justice Reyes did not inform him about it despite the fact that they were seated together on three occasions. Justice Sabio "smelled something fishy" because a couple or so weeks ago, he attended a Chairpersons’ meeting regarding the leakage of the ponencia of Justice Bato, with Justice Reyes as Chairperson and Justice Jose Mendoza as senior member. The meeting was called because prior to the promulgation of the decision of Justice Bato, the losing party already filed a motion for the inhibition of the ponente. According to Justice Sabio information on the decision could not have been leaked by Justice Bato but by a member of the Division.48 The Presiding Justice "did not do anything anymore" to prevent an "unpalatable" situation at the scheduled June 23, 2008 hearing, notwithstanding the "conflicting opinions" of Justices Reyes and Sabio. The "personal view" of the Presiding Justice was at the time "with Justice Cruz" but Justice Sabio had a "different interpretation." Neither did the Presiding Justice suggest that the Rules Committee be convened because the Committee then had only two members. He felt that it would be "better" if Justices Reyes and Sabio "could settle it between themselves." The Presiding Justice was seeing the Justices "practically" everyday because he did not want "these things to blow up." However, neither did it enter the mind of the Presiding Justice that the hearing on June 23 could be reset. Had he known that there was a motion to inhibit Justice Roxas, he would have changed his position "that it should be the Sabio group."49 Also on June 20, 2008, the GSIS requested permission to conduct a power-point presentation during the hearing.50 Likewise the SEC, through the OSG prayed that it be allowed the use of Microsoft Powerpoint Application at the June 23 and 24, 2008 hearings.51 Justice Roxas did not act on the motions. On June 21, 2008, Justice Sabio came to know that it was the Division chaired by Justice Reyes that would handle the case on account of the opinion of Justice Cruz.52 In the morning of June 23, 2008, Justice Sabio consulted with Justice Martin Villarama, Jr. ("Justice Villarama") who advised him, "in no uncertain terms," that his stand was "correct" and that he should remain in the case.53 Justice Villarama said that the case should remain with the Special Ninth Division "regardless of the transfer of the ponente to the Eighth Division because of the pending motion to lift TRO," which the Special Ninth Division should resolve "following the general rule that when a decision or resolution is rendered by a division, a motion for reconsideration thereof should be acted upon by all the Members of

that division, whether regular or special, which participated in the rendition of the decision or resolution, except in case of death, retirement or resignation of such Member."54 That morning, Justice Roxas also consulted Justice Villarama. The latter told the former that since there was a motion to lift the TRO, Justice Roxas should first rule on the motion. He also advised Justice Roxas to inhibit himself from the case, as there might be a problem (mag-inhibit ka baka magka-problema). Justice Roxas told Justice Villarama that he would follow his "suggestion."55 Justice Reyes also went to the office of Justice Villarama to tell him of his "strong conviction that the issuance of a TRO is not among the instances provided in Sec. 2 (d), Rule VI when the case shall remain with those Justices who participated in the case regardless of their transfer to other division(s)." Justice Villarama told Justice Reyes that per his "understanding and interpretation of said provision, x x x the case should remain with the Special Ninth Division."56 At 9:50 a.m., the Office of the Division Clerk of Court called Justice Reyes to inform him that the parties and their counsels were already in the hearing room. Justice Reyes informed the caller that he could not preside as Justice Sabio had "apparently hardened his position" and he wanted to avoid an "ugly spectacle." His name plate was displayed in the hearing room but Justice Sabio moved to another hearing room.57 Allegedly, the removal of the nameplate of Justice Reyes was the talk of the Court of Appeals for weeks.58 Villaraza Cruz Marcelo and Angangco entered its appearance as counsel for Meralco.59 At the hearing, Justice Sabio presided with Justices Roxas and Dimaranan-Vidal in attendance. Justice Roxas, the ponente, did not ask a single question.60 Not one of the Justices in attendance brought up the motion for inhibition filed by the GSIS against Justice Roxas.61 In open court, the parties in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 agreed to submit, within 15 days, simultaneous memoranda on the injunctive relief prayed for by the petitioners, after which the application for preliminary injunction would be deemed submitted for resolution.62 On June 25, 2008, or about two days after the separate conversations of Justice Villaram with Justices Sabio and Reyes, the Presiding Justice also consulted Justice Villarama about the letter-queries of Justices Roxas and Reyes on which Division should resolve "the matter of injunctive relief or issue the decision" in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692. 63 The Presiding Justice issued Office Order No. 196-08-CMV reconstituting the Committee on Rules and designating Justice Cruz as the Chairperson, with Justices Rebecca De GuiaSalvador, Reyes, Hakim Abdulwahid, and Noel G. Tijam, as members.64 The Committee on Rules was tasked to propose amendments to the IRCA on or before August 15, 2008 "for submission and adoption of the Court en banc." (The office order was later amended by Office Order No. 196-08-CMV on August 4, 2008 to include as members Justices Mario L. Guariña III, Lucas P. Bersamin, and Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores.65) The Rules Committee used to be composed of only three members, namely: Justices Cruz, Abdulwahid, and Roberto Barrios, now deceased, as members, with Justice Cruz as chairperson.66 It was also on June 25, 2008 that Presiding Justice Vasquez issued Office Order No. 200-08CMV stating that, in view of the retirement of Justices Enrique Lanzanas, Lucenito N. Tagle, Agustin S. Dizon, and Rodrigo Cosico, and the appointments of Justices Ruben C. Ayson and Edgardo L. delos Santos, the Divisions would have a new composition effective July 4,

2008.67 Under that office order, Justice Sabio became the Chairman of the Sixth Division, with Justice Dimaranan-Vidal as a member. Justice Reyes became the Chairman of the Eighth Division, with Justices Roxas and Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. ("Justice Bruselas") as members. On June 29, 2008, Justice Reyes went on official leave of absence to use a business class airplane ticket to Sydney, Australia that he had won in an APT Golf Tournament in January 2008. He was still on official leave when the reorganization of the Court of Appeals took place on July 4, 2008.68 On July 1, 2008, Justice Roxas told Justice Sabio that he did not attend the Access to Courts (sic) summit on June 30 and July 1, 2008 at the Court of Appeals Auditorium because he was busy with the Meralco case. Justice Sabio was taken aback because at that time the parties had not yet submitted their memoranda.69 That same afternoon, Mr. De Borja again called up Justice Sabio, seeking to meet with him for an "important" matter. Because Justice Sabio had 6-8 p.m. classes at the Ateneo Law School, they agreed to meet after his classes but not for long because his wife and his daughter, Atty. Silvia Jo Sabio who is an Attorney VI in the Office of the Chief Justice,70 would be waiting for him.71 According to Justice Sabio, the conversation at that meeting with Francis de Borja went as follows: 17. By the time my class was finished at 8 pm, Mr. De Borja was already waiting for me at the Lobby Lounge of the 3rd Floor of the Ateneo Law School. His first words to me were: Alam mo Justice kung sino ang kasama ko sa kotse? Si Manolo Lopez. Then he said: Noong tinatawagan kita at sinabi kong "Mabuhay ka Justice," si Manolo Lopez ang katabi ko noon. Nasa Amerika siya, kaya ako na lang ang pumunta dito para makiusap sa ‘yo. Alam mo, itong kaso na ito is a matter of life and death for the Lopezes. And alam mo naman what the Marcoses did to them, which is being done now by the Arroyos. · At that point he mentioned the impasse between Justice Bienvenido Reyes and myself. He said: Alam naming may problema kayo ni Justice Reyes tungkol sa chairmanship. · I was surprised how he came to know about it, as this was an internal matter of the Court of Appeals which only happened fairly recently and many associate justices of the CA were not even aware of this. Just the same, I explained my stand and why I could not relinquish the chairmanship to Justice Reyes. · He then replied: Alam mo, Justice ang opinion dito ni Nonong Cruz ay i-challenge ang stand mo. Kaya lang, mayroon namang nagsabi na it might become messy. · Then he bragged to me: Ako din ang responsible sa pag-recommend at pag-hire ng Villaraza Law Firm. · Then he explained that he was there to offer me a win-win situation. · He said: Justice, mayroon kaming P10 million. Ready. Just give way to Justice Reyes. · Then I said: Bakit ganun. Nakasisiguro sila sa kanya, sa akin hindi? · He said: Mas komportable lang sila sa kanya.

· At that point, I was shocked that he had a very low regard for me. He was treating me like there was a price on my person. I could not describe my feelings. I was stunned. But at the same time, hindi ko rin magawang bastusin siya because I had known him since 1993 and this was the first time that he had ever treated me like this, or shown that he believed I could be bought. · So I just told him: Francis, I cannot in conscience agree to that. · His answer was: Sabi ko nga sa kanila, mahirap ka talaga papayag. Kasi may anak iyang Opus Dei. Numerary pa. · At this point, I just wanted to leave, so I told him I could not stay long. I told him my wife and lawyer daughter were waiting. · Even then, he was already insistent. His parting words before I left were: Just think about it, Justice.72 At that time, Mr. De Borja was carrying a "sealed" brown paper bag, which he was handling "as if something important" was inside. However, Justice Sabio did not know if the bag contained P10million.73 In his car, Justice Sabio told his wife and his daughter, Silvia Jo, about the offer of Mr. De Borja for Meralco.74 In his affidavit submitted to the Panel of Investigators, Mr. De Borja describes himself as a businessman, a deal maker, and project packager. On July 1, 2008, he invited Justice Sabio for dinner "to touch base" and for chismis about the MERALCO-GSIS case. As the latter would have evening classes at the Ateneo Law School, and his wife and daughter would be waiting in their car after his classes, they just agreed to meet at the lobby-lounge of the School. What Mr. De Borja knew about the MERALCO case allegedly came from news reports but he was interested in the news because he is a "confirmed free-enterpriser." Moreover, De Borja thought that there was "[n]othing like hearing things directly from the horse’s mouth."75 When Mr. De Borja and Justice Sabio met, Mr. De Borja averred he was indeed carrying a bag, not an expensive looking luggage. After parking his car at the Rockwell basement, he took the escalator, intending to walk out of the mall. On his way, he passed by the Kenneth Cole shop and, since it was still early, he looked in and saw a T-shirt he liked. He bought the T-shirt, which he brought before the Panel of Investigators in the grey "Kenneth Cole Reaction" bag. The photographs of the bag and the T-shirt costing P1,650.00 are marked Exhibits "A-De Borja" and "A-1-De Borja" and attached to the rollo of A.M. No. 08-8-11-CA, while the photograph of the receipt issued by the Kenneth Cole Boutique, marked as Exhibit "A-2-De Borja," shows that the purchase was made on July 1, 2008 at 19:47. He stressed the bag did not contain P10 million. Before the Panel, Justice Sabio claimed that the bag Mr. De Borja brought during the hearing was not the bag that Mr. De Borja was carrying when Justice Sabio saw him on July 1, 2008. What Mr. De Borja allegedly brought with him to the lobby-lounge of the Ateneo Law School was a brown bag with paper handle "about 2/3 (of the Kenneth Cole bag) in size." Justice Sabio was told by the Panel that it could be the subject of rebuttal evidence but he did not present such evidence.

According to Mr. De Borja, Manolo Lopez (Mr. Lopez), the owner of MERALCO whose wife was a member of Martha’s Vineyard just like Mr. De Borja’s wife, was also an acquaintance of Mr. De Borja at the Ateneo grade school. Mr. Lopez did not ask him (Mr. De Borja) to contact Justice Sabio. At a party where Mr. De Borja met Mr. Lopez, Mr. De Borja informed him that he knew Justice Sabio but Mr. Lopez did not say anything. Mr. De Borja denied having offered P10 million to Justice Sabio. Instead, he claimed that Justice Sabio informed him that the government has offered him (Justice Sabio) money and a promotion to the Supreme Court to favor GSIS. When Mr. De Borja asked what would it take for Justice Sabio to resist the government’s offer, Justice Sabio allegedly replied: "Fifty Million."76 He alleged that it was Justice Sabio who called up after that July 1, 2008 meeting to "feel" his reaction to the "P50 million solicitation." Justice Sabio asked him: "O, ano, kumusta, ano ang nangyayari." Mr. De Borja admitted having given P300,000 to Justice Sabio, some 15 years ago, as a balato because he came to value the friendship of Justice Sabio that developed while the latter was helping the Roa family in a business transaction. Mr. De Borja earned "more than P25 million" although he received only P3 million as down payment out of the sale of 100 hectares of the Roa property. He gave the balato of 10% of the P3 million to Justice Sabio in cash at the Roa-owned bank in Cagayan de Oro. Since the Roas had a lot of "legal problems," Justice Sabio rendered advice and consultation at the time that he was an RTC judge in Cagayan de Oro. After the promotion of Justice Sabio to the Court of Appeals, Mr. De Borja invited him for dinner. They would see each other at get-togethers of the Roas with whom Mr. De Borja is related, even at a gathering in the house of Mr. De Borja’s mother.77 On July 2, 2008, Justice Sabio that informed Presiding Justice Vasquez that he (Justice Sabio) was offered a bribe (which he rejected) to have him ousted from the Meralco case. The news allegedly shocked the Presiding Justice. Justice Sabio also went to Justice Villarama who was both "shocked and amused." Justice Sabio. did not tell them who the "offeror" was. However, a day or two later, Justice Sabio found out that Mr. De Borja had called their mutual friend, Mrs. Evelyn Clavano, who was also shocked that Mr. De Borja had "the gall to ask her" to convince Justice Sabio to accept the bribe.78 Although Justice Sabio told the Presiding Justice that the offer of P10 million to a Justice was, in the words of Justice Sabio, bastusan na ito, and he knew that bribing a Justice is a criminal act, the Presiding Justice did nothing because he could not "advise a fellow Justice on what to do" - the Justice would know what he should do. Neither did he think of consulting Justices Roxas and Dimaranan-Vidal on the chairmanship impasse.79 On July 3, 2008, to stop Mr. De Borja from pestering him with phone calls and text messages, Justice Sabio called up Mr. De Borja who told him: Mabuti naman Justice tumawag ka, kasi malapit na ang deadline ng submission ng memorandum. Pinag-isipan mo bang mabuti ang offer namin? Kasi sayang din kung di mo tatanggapin, Kasi kahit aabot itong kaso sa Supreme Court, matatalo ka din. Sayang lang ‘yung P10 million. Baka sisihin ka pa ng mga anak mo. Shocked by what he heard, Justice Sabio said "No." Since Mr. De Borja did not seem to understand why he kept saying "No," Justice Sabio explained to him: If I accept that, my conscience will bother me forever. How can I face my wife and two daughters? One a lawyer and the other a Numerary member of Opus Dei? And besides, how can I reconcile my being a member of PHILJA’s Ethics and Judicial Conduct Department; being a lecturer of

the MCLE; and being a pre-bar reviewer of the Ateneo Law School on Legal and Judicial Ethics? Mr. De Borja retorted: Wala naman kaming pinapagawa sa iyo na illegal, eh. Then he added: You know Justice, after two or three weeks, makakalimutan na ito ng mga tao. Meron naman diyang mga Atenista na tumatanggap. Justice Sabio said: I don’t know about them, but I am different. Mr. De Borja then said: Well, if you will not accept, we will be forced to look for other ways. To this, Justice Sabio said: But they will have to contend with me. In parting, Mr. De Borja said: Justice, no matter what, saludo talaga ako sa iyo. Mr. De Borja admitted that Justice Sabio called him up, but denied the above conversation with Justice Sabio. On July 4, 2008, the reorganization of the Court of Appeals became effective and brought Justices Reyes, Roxas and Bruselas to the Eighth Division. Justice Reyes went to see the Presiding Justice about the urgent motion for him to assume the chairmanship of the Division, which shows on its face that the Urgent Motion dated July 10, 2008 was received by the Court of Appeals at 2:08 p.m. on July 10, 2008 and by Atty. Teresita C. Custodio on July 9, 2008. Justice Reyes expressed to the Presiding Justice his apprehension that should he fail to assume the chairmanship, he would face administrative liability for nonfeasance or dereliction of duty. The Presiding Justice suggested that the respondents in the case be required to comment on the Urgent Motion "in a resolution to be issued by the former 9th Division of Justice J.L. Sabio, Jr. since to allow the new Division of Justice B.L. Reyes to issue the resolution x x x would render moot and academic" the same motion. Justice Reyes agreed and told the Presiding Justice that he would be sending over the records to him so that the Presiding Justice could place a note thereon as to what had been agreed upon. However, the records of the case did not reach the Presiding Justice.80 For Justice Roxas, the July 4, 2008 reorganization was mandatory and the Meralco case followed him as its ponente to the Eighth Division. By the reorganization, Justice Sabio was moved from the disbanded Special Ninth Division to the Sixth Division, as the reorganization did not spare any Justice.81 Moreover, the IRCA does not require that the Justices that issued a TRO be the same Justices that will render the decision.82 This is because the TRO does not appear in Section 2 (d), Rule VII of the IRCA. Accordingly, only the issuance of a preliminary injunction could be an exception to the July 4, 2008 reorganization of the CA.83 He believes the IRCA does not require that the Justices who heard the case should also decide it because the CA is a court of record and Justices may rely on the transcript of stenographic notes.84 And so, once the three Justices have signed the decision, the ponente has the "pressing duty" to promulgate the decision.85 Since July 4, 2008, Justice Bruselas alleged that he acted "on all the ponencias" of Justices Reyes and Roxas, "just as they had acted" on his ponencias.86 On July 7, 2008, the GSIS filed its memorandum. On or about July 8, 2008, Atty. Silvia Sabio, to help her father, sought the advice of Atty. Jose Midas Marquez ("Atty. Marquez") regarding the bribery attempt. Atty. Marquez advised that Justice Sabio should write the Chief Justice about the incident, detailing not only the bribery attempt but all that has transpired relative to the chairmanship issue. Atty. Silvia Sabio immediately called her father and relayed Atty. Marquez’s advice. Later that date, Justice Sabio handed his daughter, Silvia, a handwritten letter for her to deliver to the Chief

Justice.87 The handwritten letter, in essence, requested permission for Justice Sabio to "unburden" himself before the Chief Justice on the Meralco case.88 At around 2:30 p.m., Justice Reyes went to see Justice Sabio. The conversation between them, as recalled by Justice Sabio, was as follows: · As soon as he came in, I said: "Why did you stab me behind my back?" He said, "Why, what did I do? I asked him Why is it that you have to resort to that strategy of seeking the opinion of Ed Cruz, in his personal capacity, when we could have discussed the matter with the PJ? · I reminded him that we were seated three times near each other on different occasions only recently and he never mentioned to me about the plan to oust me. · He said: Perhaps that was my fault. I should have talked to you. · I told him, that all the while I thought we were friends. Why did you have to do these things behind my back and not discuss the matter with me face to face? · Then he said it just came about due to the urgent motion; that he was afraid Meralco would take action against him for nonfeasance for not doing his job. · It was then that I said: Are you aware that I was offered 10M for me to give way to you? · I further asked him the following: In the first place, how was the Meralco emissary able to know that there was an impasse between you and me when that was supposed to be an internal matter? → If you will now insist on assuming the chairmanship after I told you of the 10Million offer, what will I think of you? → Are you a Trojan horse? Can you blame me if I think you are part of this whole scheme or shenanigan? → Does not the timing alone stink of corruption? After they failed to convince me of their offer, now they will use you to oust me? Is it because they are certain of your loyalty and they are uncertain with mine? → And why did they file this stupid urgent motion to assume? In my nine years in this court, I have never seen such an animal as this. This is a cowardly act, and whoever advised this stupid motion is also stupid. Why do you have to dignify such a foolish motion? They should file a motion for me to inhibit or recuse myself. → Why is it that Meralco actively participated in the hearing on the 23rd and never raised any question on the alleged irregularity of my having presided over the hearing? → Why do you insist on assuming the case? Are you not aware that several days after the issuance of the TRO, respondents filed a motion for inhibition of Justice Vicente Roxas and a motion to lift the TRO. Who then had the right to resolve such motion? → Under the circumstances, anong iisipin ko sa yo? Ano ang tingin ko ngayon sa iyo?

· His feeble answer was: you. He then said he did not know of those pending motions. (Incidentally, these motions were never resolved.) He also said, wala talaga akong interest dito kundi ayaw ko lang ma charge ng non-feasance for failing to do my duty. · I answered him: Malayo yung non-feasance. Hindi ito nonfeasance. I taught the subject for many years and this is not one of them. · So I told him, I have made my decision on the matter.Bahala ka na. Then I stood up to show him to the door. He was silent after that and before he left, he put his arm around me. For his part, Justice Reyes kept on repeating: "Wala talaga ako dito, wala akong interest kung di yun lang hindi ako ma non-feasance. Justice Sabio thought otherwise. Meanwhile, Justice Roxas brought to the office of Justice Dimaranan-Vidal "the final decision on the MERALCO case" bearing his signature, which he gave to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal for "concurrence/dissent." According to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal, Justice Roxas explained to her the "rationale for his conclusion." Justice Roxas went out for a while and returned "with an expensive looking travelling bag" from where he pulled out the "purported final decision." Before the close of office hours, Justice Roxas returned to the chambers of Justice Dimaranan-Vidal to check if he (Justice Roxas) had signed his decision. When she replied that yes, he had signed it, Justice Roxas said he would pick it up the next day.89 Justice Dimaranan-Vidal signed the decision notwithstanding that on July 8, 2008 the Court of Appeals had been reorganized because she believed that the Special Ninth Division was still existing on account of its having issued the TRO.90 She also concurred with the portion of the decision recommending administrative sanctions against the GSIS lawyers because she believed the OSG or the OGCC should have appeared for the GSIS.91 Also late that day, Justice Villarama told Justice Sabio that he had advised Justice Reyes to "lay off the case" and allow Justice Sabio "to continue" and to resolve the urgent motion for Justice Reyes to assume the chairmanship. Justice Villarama recalled that Justice Reyes repeatedly said: "Wala talaga ako dito Jun, Wala akong personal interest dito." After "a careful and judicious study" of the more than 56-page decision of Justice Roxas, Justice Dimaranan-Vidal signed it. True to his word, Justice Roxas personally picked up the decision that day "purportedly for the action of the Acting Chairman, Justice Sabio," who was then on leave of absence until July 11, 200.92 Notwithstanding the fact that the parties had not submitted their respective memoranda, Justice Dimaranan-Vidal signed the "convincing" ponencia, including three copies of the signature page, because Justice Roxas was insistent of the urgency of the signing of the decision due to the impending lapse of the TRO on July 29, 2008.93 Justice Sabio thought otherwise.94 However, Justice Roxas denied that the decision he gave to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal was the final decision. He denied that he gave it to her for her signature. He said it was only for her to read because she asked to read it. He said it was a mere draft as "everything was unofficial" - there was no rollo or logbook with it, it was not placed in an envelope, and it did not have the "special seal" of Justice Roxas. It allegedly "was thrown in the garbage can." On July 9, 2008, the OSG filed the memorandum for the SEC.

On July 10, 2008, Meralco filed an urgent motion praying that Justice Reyes assume the chairmanship of the Division,95 alleging the reasons for the urgent motion as follows: 5. At the scheduled oral arguments on 23 June 2008 in the instant case, the parties were first directed to one of the Hearing Rooms of the Court of Appeals. At the said room, the name plate of Justice Reyes was already placed on the table for the justices. Thus, petitioners were of the impression that the leave of absence of Justice Reyes was over and that he would be presiding over the oral arguments as Chairman of the Ninth Division of the Honorable Court. 6. However, when the parties were directed to transfer to another Room of the Court of Appeals for the oral arguments in the instant case, petitioners saw that the name plates on the table for the justices included that of Justice Sabio, Jr., together with that (sic) of Justices Roxas and Dimaranan-Vidal. Thereafter, Justice Sabio presided over the oral arguments as Chairman of the Special Ninth Division of the Honorable Court. Petitioners were, thus, of the impression that the regular Chairman of the Ninth Division, Justice Reyes, was still on temporary leave of absence. 7. Subsequently, it has come to the attention of the petitioners that Justice Reyes has already returned from his temporary leave of absence and has resumed his duties as Chairman of the Ninth Division of the Honorable Court. 8. Under the Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals, Justice Sabio, Jr. should now refrain from acting as the chairman of the Division hearing the instant case as he is already disqualified from acting as such upon the return of Justice Reyes. 8.1. With due respect, Justice Reyes cannot shirk from his bounden judicial responsibility of performing his duties and functions as Chairman of the Ninth Division of the Honorable Court. 8.2. Specifically, under Section 3 (d), Rule IV of the 2002 Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals, a case can remain with the justices who participated therein only when any of the following actions have been taken: (a) giving due course; (b) granting of a writ of preliminary injunction; (c) granting of a new trial; or (d) granting of execution pending appeal: xxx xxx x x x.

9. None of the foregoing instances apply with respect to Justice Sabio, Jr.’s continuing hold on the case. Although Justice Sabio, Jr. was one of the Justices who issued the temporary restraining order in favour of the petitioners in the instant case, this circumstance is not among the grounds as above-quoted, when a justice of the Court of Appeals may remain in the Division. 10. As above-quoted, the rule is categorical that it is not the grant of a temporary restraining order but rather the grant of a writ of preliminary injunction that sanctions a justice’s remaining with the Division. Thus, the continued participation of Justice Sabio, Jr., in the instant case, considering the clear Rules of the Honorable Court, is not only irregular but may lead one to conclude that he is exhibiting undue interest in the instant case. On this day, Justice Reyes reported back to work after his trip to Australia.96

On July 11, 2008, Justice Sabio was on leave when Justice Roxas called him up for a meeting to discuss the case. Justice Sabio told him that he needed ample time to read the memoranda of the parties. Justice Roxas promised to send to Justice Sabio the memoranda immediately.97 At 4:00 p.m., Justice Reyes received from the Eighth Division Clerk of Court a copy of Meralco’s Urgent Motion for him to assume the chairmanship of the Ninth Division. On Monday, July 14, 2008 at the flag ceremony, Justice Sabio requested Justice Roxas to meet with him as he had by then read the memoranda of the parties. Justice Roxas initially agreed to the meeting but he later informed Justice Sabio that he had another matter to attend to; neither was he available in the afternoon. Justice Roxas had become scarce. Justice Sabio learned that Justice Dimaranan-Vidal was also looking for Justice Roxas.98 Justice Sabio prepared a resolution on the motion for the reconsideration of the TRO and informed Justices Roxas and Dimaranan-Vidal that he wanted to discuss it with them. The resolution he prepared "never saw light."99 At 10 a.m., Justice Roxas, with his messenger, brought the rollo of CA G.R. SP No. 103692 to Justice Reyes, and told the latter that he and Justice Bruselas would be coming over to deliberate on the case. Ten minutes later, the Eighth Division deliberated on the case.100 After a cursory examination of the rollo, Justice Reyes found that the decision had been signed by Justices Roxas and Bruselas but Justice Reyes asked for more time to study the case.101 A transcript of the "Final Deliberation" on July 14, 2008 is attached to page 1926 of Volume III of the rollo of CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 and marked as Exh. 2- Roxas on page 279 of the rollo of A.M. No. 08-8-11-CA. According to Justice Roxas, it was he who prepared the transcript from memory to "lend credence" to the certification of Justice Reyes at the end of the decision pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the Constitution.102 Justice Reyes denied having seen it or having authorized its transcription. Justice Bruselas did not sign any transcript of the deliberation as he was not aware that a transcript was being taken. There was no stenographer present, as only the three of them, Justices Reyes, Roxas, and Bruselas were present at the deliberation. Neither was there a recording machine. Justice Roxas admittedly prepared the transcript "from memory."103 The statement attributed to Justice Reyes in the transcript that there were "previous deliberations" were "really meetings," which they had twice, in the office of Justice Reyes, according to Justice Roxas.104 On July 15, 2008, when she felt that the timing was right, Atty. Silvia Sabio testified that she handed her father’s letter to the Chief Justice through his private secretary, Ms. Jasmin Mateo.105 A few days later, however, Presiding Justice Vasquez told Justice Sabio that the Chief Justice would no longer meet with him, as the Presiding Justice had apprised the Chief Justice about the matter.106 According to Justice Reyes, at 2:00 p.m. that day, the Office of the Presiding Justice informed him that Justice Sabio was waiting for him in his office. As soon as Justice Reyes was seated, Justice Sabio "berated" him and accused him of "orchestrating matters." Justice Sabio told him that an emissary of MERALCO had offered him P10 million to drop off the case, hence,

he asked that if he was offered that much, how much could have been offered "to the principals?"107 On July 17, 2008, Justice Reyes went back to the office of the Presiding Justice and informed him of the episode in the office of Justice Sabio. He also went to ask Justice Villarama for his opinion as to who was "the rightful claimant" to the chairmanship of the Division that should decide the Meralco case. Justice Villarama allegedly replied that they "were both correct." On July 18, 2008, at the pre-launching meeting for the CA-CMIS, Justice Villarama had a "brief chat" with Justice Bruselas. The former told the latter that "both Justices Sabio and Reyes are correct in the sense that one (1) [of] them can properly assume chairmanship either under the exception provided in Sec. 2 (d), Rule VI of the 2002 IRCA depending on the final disposition of the prayer for injunctive relief, or pursuant to the general rule enshrined in Sec. 7 (b), Rule VI."108 On July 21, 2008, Justice Roxas personally filed with the Presiding Justice109 an "Interpleader Petition"110 praying that Presiding Justice Vasquez "decide which division Chairman (Justice Sabio’s Former Special 9th Division or Justice B. L. Reyes’ 8th Division) should sign the Preliminary Injunction or Decision."111 Justice Roxas averred that "[t]he impasse between two Chairmen from two Divisions has to be resolved much earlier than July 30, 2008 because July 30, 2008 is the expiration date of the TRO issued by the Special 9th Division (signed by Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr., Justice Vicente Q. Roxas [ponente] and Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal)." He opined that the two Chairpersons differed in the interpretation of Sections 1 and 2 (d) in relation to Section 5 of Rule VI on Process of Adjudication of the Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals (IRCA).112 His stand was that the IRCA "should be strictly applied" because "[w]hen the provisions are clear, there is no room for interpretation." Justice Roxas endorsed his "Interpleader Petition" to Justice Reyes for his "signature or dissent" to the "finalized MERALCO Decision," which had been in Justice Reyes’ possession since July 14, 2008.113 He also gave the rollo of the case to Justice Reyes.114 Presiding Justice Vasquez allegedly told Justice Roxas that as Presiding Justice, he had no authority to rule on the Interpleader Petition, which is not an administrative concern over which the Presiding Justice must intervene. Nevertheless, to avoid further discussion, the Presiding Justice told Justice Roxas that he would study the matter.115 On July 22, 2008, Justice Reyes wrote the Presiding Justice a letter on "what was discussed between us last 17 July 2008 at around 3:30 p.m."116 Apparently the Presiding Justice had suggested "to endorse the case and have the Special Ninth Division direct the respondents to file their simultaneous comments on the petitioners’ Urgent Motion (For Honorable BIENVENIDO L. REYES to Assume Chairmanship of the Division in the Instant Case) dated 10 July 2008." Justice Reyes expressed "doubts" that the suggestion was "most prudent," as the dispute "revolves around the correct interpretation" of the IRCA. He believed that since the question was "purely internal," the CA should not seek "enlightenment" from the litigants for it would only be construed against its "competence." He shared Justice Cruz’s and Roxas’ interpretation of the IRCA. Hence, he urged the Presiding Justice to decide the matter; otherwise, he would interpret the rules according to his "best lights and act accordingly."

On July 23, 2008, Presiding Justice Vasquez asked for the rollo of CA G. R. No. SP No. 103692 so he could "properly submit the requested opinion." It was then that he came across the unresolved motion praying for the inhibition of Justice Roxas and the pending urgent motion to lift the TRO or to hold its enforcement in abeyance. The Presiding Justice considered the latter as a motion for reconsideration of the Resolution issuing the TRO.117 Meanwhile, at noon of that day, as Justice Reyes had not yet received "any reaction" from the Presiding Justice, he signed the decision as well as the Certification. It was promulgated on the same day. The decision was promulgated without waiting for the Presiding Justice’s opinion on whether it was the Eighth or Special Ninth Division that should decide the case. Justice Roxas alleged that he did not expect the Presiding Justice to "answer" or resolve the matter anyway. On July 24, 2008, Presiding Justice Vasquez issued his reply to Justice Reyes’ letter and Justice Roxas’ "Interpleader-Petition." The Presiding Justice claimed having doubts on whether he possessed "the authority to decide the subject conflict" simply because under the IRCA, the Presiding Justice has control and supervision only over administrative affairs of the Court. The controversy was certainly not an administrative matter but Section 11 of Rule VIII of the IRCA provides that the Presiding Justice "has the authority to act on any matter not covered" by the Rules although such action should be reported to the Court en banc. The Presiding Justice expressed in his letter the view that "the (Special Ninth) Division that issued the temporary restraining order should continue resolving the injunctive prayer in the petition" because it was the Division that issued the Resolution granting the TRO and setting the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, aside from the fact that the parties did not contest the authority of Justice Sabio as Division Chairman at the time, although Justice Reyes had reported back to work. Moreover, the motion for inhibition and the urgent motion to lift the TRO "have a bearing" on the application of Section 2 of Rule VI of the IRCA, especially because Section 7 (b) of Rule VI118 points to the retention of the case by the Special Ninth Division. Furthermore, the new Division headed by Justice Reyes may not be allowed to resolve the pending incidents because two of its members, Justices Reyes and Bruselas did not participate in the hearing on June 23, 2008. He did not believe that Justice Reyes would be charged with dereliction of duty should he not assume the chairmanship. The Presiding Justice ended his letter with the hope that the matter would be "laid to rest" and that whoever would be dissatisfied "with its outcome may elevate the matter to the Supreme Court." At 2:00 p.m. that day, Justice Sabio informed the Presiding Justice that a decision had been promulgated in the Meralco case the previous day. The Presiding Justice was surprised because Justices Roxas and Reyes had asked him to resolve the impasse on the Division chairmanship. Upon inquiry, the Presiding Justice found that the decision had indeed been promulgated at 4:10 p.m. on July 23, 2008.119 It was also on July 24, 2008 that Justice Dimaranan-Vidal received a call from Justice Sabio, informing her that Meralco had offered him a bribe of P10 million "in exchange for his voluntary stepping out from the Meralco case in order to give way to Justice B. L. Reyes," and that the decision in the Meralco case had been promulgated by the Eighth Division.120 Shocked that Justice Roxas did not inform her "as a matter of judicial courtesy" of the scrapping of the decision which she signed on July 8, 2008, Justice Dimaranan-Vidal wrote a

letter to the Presiding Justice dated July 24, 2008,121 bringing to his attention "the apparent and obvious irregularities in the handing of CA-G.R. SP No. 103692," and complaining about Justice Roxas’ "lack of judicial courtesy" in discarding for reasons she would not know, his "purported final Decision" that he had asked her to sign and which she signed "after a judicious study of the records and rollo thereof." Justice Roxas gave the lame excuse that he had "to incorporate therein some ten pages which he forgot to include in his Decision." Justice Dimaranan-Vidal expressed "surprise and consternation" when she learned "on even date that a Decision" in the case had been promulgated on July 23, 2008 by the Eighth Division chaired by Justice Reyes, with Justices Roxas and Bruselas as members. She said: My deepest regret is that the undersigned who already signed the supposed final draft of the Decision in the instant case which bears the signature of the ponente, was not even informed by the latter as a judicial courtesy at least, of the hurried easing out of the undersigned from the case. This inevitably posed even to an unprejudiced mind the following questions: under what basis was the case suddenly transferred to the 8th Division and why is it that neither the undersigned nor the Acting Chairman Justice SABIO, of the Special 9th Division not consulted thereof? and, foremost, what happened to the Decision which the undersigned signed after devoting her precious time and effort in carefully and laboriously examining the voluminous records and rollo of the case? Sad to say the circumstance obtaining herein constitute a flagrant violation of the provision of Canon 5 particularly Sections 2 and 3 thereof of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary (A.M. No. 03-05-01-SC). On July 25, 2008, Justice Bruselas wrote the Presiding Justice a letter,122 which was "prompted by a disturbing telephone call" he received from Justice Sabio in the morning of July 24, 2008. Justice Sabio informed Justice Bruselas that, "after the injunction hearing" on June 23, 2008, Meralco offered him P10 Million "to either favor them or yield the chair" to Justice Reyes. Justice Sabio told Justice Bruselas that he had informed the Presiding Justice of the "bribery incident" and that he "was disgusted over the turn of events because he should have remained chair of the Special 9th Division that issued the TRO on the case." Justice Bruselas informed Justice Sabio that it was the first time that he heard of the matter and that he had "participated in the deliberation on the case and concurred with the ponencia" of Justice Roxas "without such information ever being taken up." Justice Sabio told Justice Bruselas that he would not leave the matter "as it is" because he would bring it up in the "open, to media, etc." Justice Sabio asked Justice Bruselas that if P10M was offered to him, how much would have been offered to the "others." Troubled by the information, Justice Bruselas went to the Presiding Justice where Justice Dimaranan-Vidal, who had received the same call from Justice Sabio, joined them. After that meeting with the Presiding Justice, Justice Bruselas called up Justice Reyes who confirmed that he had heard about the "bribe offer" but that he did not reveal the same to Justice Bruselas as it "escaped" his mind. The effort of Justice Bruselas "to get in touch" with Justice Roxas proved futile. Allegedly prompted by "the manner by which the decision x x x was arrived at, and how the decision was promulgated," and that unless an "immediate and thorough investigation thereon be undertaken" by the Court of Appeals, "both the individual and institutional integrity of the justices" and of the Court of Appeals would "undoubtedly be tarnished,"

Justice Sabio wrote on July 26, 2008 a letter123 to the Presiding Justice, which precipitated the present investigation. On July 28, 2008, the Philippine Daily Inquirer "carried an account" of the letter of Justice Dimaranan-Vidal to the Presiding Justice, without her knowing how her confidential letter to the Presiding Justice leaked out.124 Before Justice Bruselas delivered his letter to the Presiding Justice, he received a copy of the letter of Justice Sabio and, through a telephone call, reiterated his "full agreement with his desired investigation." The Presiding Justice called the Court of Appeals to an "emergency en banc session at 10:00 a.m. on July 31, 2008 at the Session Hall to elicit the reaction of the Court and on the "possible effect" on the decision rendered. The session was also called in order that the "predicament experienced in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692" could be deliberated upon by the Committee on Rules with a view to amending the IRCA on the reorganization of the Court of Appeals. The Executive Justices of Cebu and Cagayan de Oro, Justices Antonio L. Villamor and Romulo V. Borja, respectively, were instructed to attend the en banc session to report to the other Justices in their stations what transpired at the session, and to "collect the personal reaction, comment or view" of the Justices on the matter.125 In its closed door en banc session on July 31, 2008, "after a torrid discussion of all the issues," the Court of Appeals decided, as follows: (1) Refer the propriety of the actions of the Justices concerned to the Supreme Court, through the Office of the Court Administrator; (2) Leave the matter regarding the validity of the decision rendered in the above-entitled case to the parties for them to take whatever legal steps they may deem appropriate in the usual course of procedure; and (3) Refer the conflict in the interpretation of our Internal Rules to the Committee on Rules of the Court of Appeals in order to prevent the recurrence of a similar situation.126 After the en banc session, Justice Dimaranan-Vidal expressed in a letter for the Presiding Justice127 her "strong reaction" to the paper of Justice Roxas "falsely" imputing to her "grandstanding before the media or resorting to media-recourse instead of just filing an administrative complaint before the Supreme Court," and taking exception to "the equally outrageous, revolting and baseless accusation that she is allegedly clinging" to the case. She asserted that she never leaked a copy of her letter to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as her letter was only intended to bring to the attention of the Presiding Justice "the impropriety done by Justice Roxas in the MERALCO case" that resulted in her having been eased out of the case notwithstanding that she "carefully and judiciously" examined the ponencia with more than 50 pages, after devoting her "precious time" to such study, and affixing her concurrence thereto. Justice Dimaranan-Vidal reiterated her prayer for an investigation of the matter. Meanwhile, on that day, Mr. De Borja, executed an affidavit admitting that he was the businessman referred to by Justice Sabio, Jr. in his letter to Presiding Justice Vasquez. Mr. De Borja publicly claimed having learned "from the news" that Justice Sabio was "one of the

justices" in the case arising from the order of the SEC to nullify the proxies issued in favor of the MERALCO management. He also alleged that Justice Sabio told him about the "blandishments coming from the government side," that he was being offered a promotion to the Supreme Court and money to favor the GSIS position. Mr. De Borja asked Justice Sabio, Jr., "What would it take for you to resist the government’s offer?" and that the response of Justice Sabio, Jr. was "Fifty Million." Justice Sabio asked permission from the Presiding Justice to hold a press conference the next day on account of the publicized affidavit of Mr. De Borja. The Presiding Justice told Justice Sabio that "this is a matter of self-defense on his part," hence, the Presiding Justice cannot stop him from doing so. Justice Sabio issued a signed statement as an "initial response" to the affidavit of Mr. De Borja, "vehemently" denying that Mr. De Borja asked him what it would take for him to inhibit from the case, and that he "never asked for money" from him.128 On August 1, 2008, Justice Sabio called the press conference to read a signed statement entitled "My Reaction to Mr. Francis De Borja’s Affidavit dated July 31, 2008 on the MeralcoSEC Case." Expressing anger at the "filthy lie" of Mr. De Borja, Justice Sabio decided to narrate "almost word for word" his "conversations" with Mr. De Borja. In an affidavit dated August 1, 2008, which Evelyn Clavano129 executed in Davao City, she stated that Francis de Borja requested me if I have the cell phone number of Justice Jose L. Sabio Jr. He related that because he was very close to the Lopezes of Meralco, he wanted to call him regarding his possible inhibition in a certain Meralco case, wherein he was designated as a substitute member of the division vice a justice who was temporarily on leave by reason of sickness. He further said that the Lopezes desire that the same Justice, with whom the Lopezes are more comfortable, to sit in the division. So, I gave Francis de Borja the cell phone number of Justice Jose. L. Sabio, Jr. through business card. xxx xxx x x x.

On August 4, 2008, the Supreme Court constituted the Panel of Investigators to investigate "(1) alleged improprieties of the actions of the Justices of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 (Antonio V. Rosete, et al. v. SEC, et al.) and (2) the alleged rejected offer or solicitation of bribe disclosed respectively by Mr. Justice Jose Sabio and Mr. Francis de Borja." The Panel of Investigators held hearings from August 8 to 23, 2008. Affidavits were submitted to the Panel to serve as the parties’ direct testimonies upon which they were cross-examined by the Panel and the other parties. On September 4, 2008, the Panel of Investigators submitted its Report of even date to the Court en banc.

According to the Report, "the investigation has revealed irregularities and improprieties committed by the Court of Appeals Justices in connection with the MERALCO case, CA-G.R. SP No. 103692, which are detrimental to the proper administration of justice and damaging to the institutional integrity, independence and public respect for the Judiciary."130 Findings regarding the conduct of Associate Justice Vicente Q. Roxas Justice Roxas inexcusably failed to act on a number of motions of the parties prior to the promulgation of the Decision. As found by the Panel of Investigators, several motions were not resolved or acted upon by Justice Roxas. These were enumerated in the Report as follows: (a) The "Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Defer Action on any Incident of the Petition Pending Resolution of Re-Raffle" filed by GSIS on May 29, 2008 soon after this case was filed on that date (Rollo, pp. 185-186). b) GSIS’ "Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Inhibit" Justice Roxas, which was filed on May 30, 2008. As the motion raised a prejudicial question, Justice Roxas should have resolved it before issuing the TRO sought by Meralco, but he never did (Rollo, pp. 220-223). (c) GSIS’ Motion to Lift TRO which was filed on May 30, 2008 (Rollo, pp. 187-210) (d) GSIS’ Motion filed on June 18, 2008, praying that it be allowed to use Power point at the hearing on June 23, 2008 . On June 20, 2008, the SEC filed a similar motion. Both motions were not acted upon by Justice Roxas (Rollo, pp. 593-621,) (e) Meralco’s "Motion for Extension of Time to file their Consolidated Memorandum of Authorities and Reply to Repondent SEC’s Comment" filed on June 25, 2008 (Rollo, pp. 981987). (f) Meralco’s "Urgent Motion for Honorable Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes to Assume Chairmanship of the Division in the Instant Case," which was filed on July 10, 2008 (Rollo, pp. 1262-1274).131 (emphasis supplied) We agree with the Panel of Investigators that "by ignoring or refusing to act on the motion for his inhibition, Justice Roxas violated Rule V, Section 3, third paragraph of the IRCA, which provides that he should resolve such motion in writing with copies furnished the other members of the Division, the Presiding Justice, the Raffle Committee, and the Division Clerk of Court." The pertinent portion of the said provision states: Sec. 3. Motion to Inhibit a Division or a Justice. - x x x xxx A motion for voluntary inhibition of a Justice shall be acted upon by him alone in writing, copy furnished the other members of the Division, the Presiding Justice, the Raffle Committee and the Division Clerk of Court. This Court cannot agree with Justice Roxas’ proposition that the issuance of the TRO constitutes an implied denial of the motion to inhibit since under IRCA the obligation of the Justice to act on such a motion is mandatory.

Furthermore, the Court finds well-taken the Panel’s finding that "Justice Roxas’ failure to act on the other motions of the parties violated Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the 1989 Code of Judicial Conduct (which applies in a suppletory manner to the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary) providing that: "Rule 3.05. - A judge shall dispose of the court’s business promptly and decide cases within the required periods." Even Section 5, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that "[j]udges shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness." Thus, it has become well-settled in jurisprudence that even just undue delay in the resolving pending motions or incidents within the reglamentary period fixed by law is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency.132 With more reason, this Court finds suspicious and reprehensible the failure of Justice Roxas to act at all on pending motions and incidents in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692. This is in fact not the first time that Justice Roxas has been cited administratively for failure to resolve pending incidents in cases assigned to him. In Orocio v. Roxas, A.M. Nos. 07-115CA-J and CA-08-46-J, this Court imposed a P15,000 fine on Justice Roxas for unwarranted delay in resolving two motions for reconsideration in another case and sternly warned him that future commission any act of impropriety will be dealt with more severely. Justice Roxas is guilty of gross dishonesty. Apart from Justice Roxas’ inexcusable inaction on pending incidents in the Meralco case, the Panel of Investigators found that he had been dishonest and untruthful in relation to the said case. The Court adopts the following findings of the Panel: 2. Justice Roxas was dishonest and untruthful. (a) Justice Roxas admitted that the "Transcript of Final Decision," which is supposed to be a transcript of the deliberation on July 14, 2008 of the Eighth Division on the final decision in the Meralco case was not a true "transcript" of the minutes of the meeting, but purely a "transcript from memory" because no notes were taken, no stenographer was present, and no tape recorder was used. It was in fact a drama which he composed "from my recollection" to comply with Sec. 9, Rule VI of the IRCA which requires that "minutes of the meeting, i.e., deliberation, shall be kept." The so-called "transcript" is a fabrication designed to deceive that there had been compliance - when actually there was none -- with the prerequisite of the IRCA that consultation and/or deliberation among the members of the Division must precede the drafting of a decision. (b) The statement in the "transcript" that it was a "recap from our previous deliberations" was another falsehood because there had been no previous deliberations. (c) The reference in the "transcript" to a "Final Report of Justice Roxas" was also false for Justice Roxas admittedly did not submit a "report" as ponente, as required by Sec. 9, Rule VI of the IRCA, for deliberation by the Eighth Division on July 14, 2008. The "Final Report" which he submitted was admittedly the decision itself which he and Justice Bruselas, Jr. had already signed. The "Final Report" was merely the title of the page that served as the cover of the decision. Hence, Justice B.L. Reyes’ supposed closing statement in the "transcript"

that -- "We have covered every angle of the Final Report of Justice Roxas extensively" is also false. Justice B.L. Reyes testified at the investigation that he had not seen the "transcript" until the copy in the rollo was shown to him by Justice Callejo, Sr. during his crossexamination of Justice B. L. Reyes on August 26, 2008. xxx xxx xxx

(e) Justice Roxas’ testimony that when he brought the Meralco decision to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal on July 8, 2008, it was only a draft for her to read, because she asked if she may read it, not for her to sign it, is completely false. This testimony was labelled by Justice Dimaranan-Vidal as a lie, and she called Justice Roxas a liar, because she did not ask to borrow the decision for her reading pleasure, but Justice Roxas personally brought it to her office for her to sign as a member of the Special Ninth Division. After poring over it the whole night, she signed it, as well as three (3) additional signature pages which were to be attached to three (3) other copies of the decision.133 xxx xxx xxx

Indeed, the fabrications and falsehoods that Justice Roxas blithely proferred to the Panel in explanation/justification of his questioned handling of the Meralco case demonstrated that he lacks the qualification of integrity and honesty expected of a magistrate and a member of the appellate court. Under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, dishonesty is considered a serious offense that may warrant the penalty of dismissal from the service. Under the Rule IV, Section 52 of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, dishonesty is likewise considered a grave offense and warrants the penalty of dismissal even for the first offense. In the past, the Court has had the occasion to rule that: …dishonesty and falsification are considered grave offenses warranting the penalty of dismissal from service upon the commission of the first offense. On numerous occasions, the Court did not hesitate to impose such extreme punishment on employees found guilty of these offenses. Dishonesty, being in the nature of a grave offense, carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from the service with forfeiture of retirement benefits except accrued leave credits, and perpetual disqualification for re-employment in the government service. Dishonesty has no place in the judiciary.134 Justice Roxas showed a lack of courtesy and respect for his colleagues in the Court of Appeals. The Panel of Investigators reported on this matter in this wise: xxx xxx xxx

(f) Justice Roxas was thoughtlessly disrespectful to a colleague and a lady at that, when he unceremoniously discarded, shredded, and burned the decision that Justice DimarananVidal had signed, because he allegedly forgot that Justice Dimaranan-Vidal and Justice Sabio, Jr. had already been "reorganized out" of the Special Ninth Division as of July 4, 2008, hence,

out of the Meralco case. Out of courtesy, he should have explained to Justice DimarananVidal the reason why he was not promulgating the decision which she had signed. The truth, it seems, is that Justice Roxas, who had consulted Justice Villarama, Jr. on which Division should decide the Meralco case, may have been convinced that it should be the Special Ninth Division. That is why he brought his decision to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal for her signature. However, somehow, somewhere, during the night, while Justice Dimaranan-Vidal was patiently poring over his decision, Justice Roxas was persuaded to bring his decision to the Eighth Division (to which he and Justice B.L. Reyes belong after the July 4, 2008 reorganization of the Court), it may have dawned on him that if the case remained in the Special Ninth Division, Justice Sabio, Jr. might dissent, requiring the Presiding Justice to constitute a special division of five. If he (Justice Roxas) should fail to obtain a majority of the Division on his side, he would lose his ponencia; someone else would become the ponente (perhaps Justice Sabio, Jr.). That may be the reason why he junked Justices Sabio, Jr. and Dimaranan-Vidal (even if the latter concurred with his decision) because he was unsure of Justice Sabio, Jr. He chose to cast his lot with his companions in the Eighth Division -Justices B. L. Reyes and Bruselas, Jr. -- with whom he and Meralco were "comfortable". (g) J. Roxas was disrespectful to Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. whose ruling on his "Interpleader Petition" he sought on July 21, 2008, but he promulgated the Meralco decision two (2) days later, on July 23, 2008, without waiting for Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr.’s ruling which came out on July 24, 2008, only three (3) days after the Interpleader Petition was filed by him, and two (2) days after Justice B.L. Reyes also reiterated in writing his request for Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. to resolve the same chairmanship issue raised in the Interpleader. Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. was embarrassed and humiliated by Justices B.L. Reyes’ and Roxas’ lack of courtesy and respect for his position as head of the Court. xxx xxx xxx

There is an old adage which says to gain respect one must learn to give it. If judges and justices are expected to treat litigants, counsels and subordinates with respect and fairness, with more reason, that judges and justices should give their fellow magistrates the courtesy and professional regard due to them as their colleagues in the Judiciary. Thus, in Canon 5, Section 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct, judges are expected to "carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper performance of such duties." This Court cannot view lightly the discourteous manner that Justice Roxas, in his apparent haste to promulgate his decision in the Meralco case, treated his colleagues in the Court of Appeals. It behooves the Court to remind all magistrates that their high office demands compliance with the most exacting standards of propriety and decorum. Justice Roxas’ questionable handling of the Meralco case demonstrates his undue interest therein. In the Report, the Panel of Investigators observed that Justice Roxas in fact began drafting his decision even prior to the submission of the parties’ memoranda. As discussed in the Report:

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xxx

(d) Although the parties were given 15 days after the hearing on June 23, 2008, or up to July 8, 2008, to simultaneously submit their memoranda and memoranda of authorities, and actually submitted: On July 7, 2008 - GSIS’s 39 page- memorandum On July 9, 2008 - SEC’s 62 page-memorandum On July 10, 2008 - MERALCO’s 555 page- memorandum (by messenger) with memorandum of authorities Justice Roxas prepared the decision before the parties had filed their memoranda in the case and submitted it to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal for her signature on July 8, 2008. His "rush to judgment" was indicative of "undue interest and unseemly haste," according to J.Romero. He cheated the parties’ counsel of the time, effort, and energy that they invested in the preparation of their ponderous memoranda which, as it turned out, neither he nor the other members of the Eighth Division bothered to read before signing his decision. He made a mockery of his own order for the parties to submit memoranda, and rendered their compliance a futile exercise. xxx xxx xxx

(underscoring supplied) We agree with Mme. Justice Romero’s observation that the "rush to judgment" (even before the filing of the parties’ memoranda) was indicative of Justice Roxas’ undue interest and unseemly haste, especially when taken together with other circumstances. This inexplicable haste in resolving the case on the merits is likewise apparent in Justice Roxas’ failure to resolve the several pending incidents and instead jumping ahead to deciding the case on the merits; his "rushing" of Justice Dimaranan-Vidal into signing his draft Decision on July 8, 2008 when the parties’ memoranda have not yet all been filed with the CA; his precipitate transfer of the case to the Eighth Division for promulgation of decision, without notice to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal of the Special Ninth Division who had already signed his draft Decision and despite the unresolved Chairmanship dispute between Justice Reyes and Justice Sabio which he (Justice Roxas) even submitted to the Presiding Justice for appropriate action, just a few days before the promulgation. We reiterate here that as the visible representation of the law and justice, judges are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that would enhance respect and confidence of the people in the judicial system. The New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary mandates that judges must not only maintain their independence, integrity and impartiality; but they must also avoid any appearance of impropriety or partiality, which may erode the people’s faith in the judiciary. This standard applies not only to the decision itself, but also to the process by which the decision is made.135 This Court will not hesitate to sanction with the highest penalty magistrates who exhibit manifest undue interest in their assigned cases.136

In sum, this Court finds that Justice Roxas’ multiple violations of the canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct constitute grave misconduct, compounded by dishonesty, undue interest and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, which warrant his DISMISSAL from the service. Findings regarding the conduct of Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr. In the Report, the Panel found that Justice Sabio likewise committed improprieties in relation to the Meralco case. The circumstances of the telephone call of Chairman Sabio to his brother Justice Sabio showed that Justice Sabio failed to uphold the standard of independence and propriety expected of him as a magistrate of the appellate court. In his testimony before the Panel, Chairman Sabio admits that he called up Justice Sabio on May 30, 2008 from Davao City, in response to a resquest for help from a member of the Board of Trustees of Meralco. Notwithstanding the fact that Chairman Sabio called to relay to Justice Sabio the "rightness" of the GSIS’ cause and asked him "to help GSIS" and that Justice Sabio allegedly told his brother that he would act in accordance with his conscience, the same still constituted a violation of Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for lawyers, which provides that: "A lawyer shall x x x refrain from any impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the Court." As they were both members of the Bar, it is incomprehensible to this Court how the brothers can justify their improper conversation regarding the Meralco case. As the Panel observed in its Report: Ironically, both of them found nothing wrong with brother Camilo’s effort to influence his younger brother’s action in the Meralco case, because both believe that our Filipino culture allows brother-to-brother conversation, even if the purpose of one is to influence the other, provided the latter does not agree to do something illegal.137 For the Panel, Justice Sabio violated Sections 1, 4, and 5, Canon 1 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, which provide that Sec. 1. Judges shall exercise the judicial function independently x x x free from extraneous influence, inducement, pressure, threat or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason. xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 4. Judges shall not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. The prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the private interests of others, nor convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. Sec. 5. Judges shall not only be free from inappropriate connections with, and influence by, the executive and legislative branches of government, but must also appear to be free therefrom to a reasonable observer.

In the Investigators’ mind, although Justice Sabio signed the TRO in favour of Meralco contrary to his brother’s advice, Justice Sabio’s "unusual interest in holding on to the Meralco case," seemed to indicate that he may have been actually influenced by his brother "to help GSIS." In arriving at this conclusion, the Panel noted the following circumstances: (1) Justice Sabio adamantly refused to yield the chairmanship of the Special Ninth Division although the regular chairman, Justice Reyes had returned to duty on June 10, 2008; and, (2) Justice Sabio officiously prepared and signed a resolution (a chore for the ponente Justice V. Roxas to perform), requiring the GSIS and the SEC to comment on Meralco’s "Motion for Justice B. Reyes to Assume the Chairmanship of the 9th Division," which he probably intended to delay the decision on the preliminary injunction beyond the life of the TRO to the prejudice of Meralco and the advantage of the GSIS. Based on the facts on record, the Court is wary of declaring that Justice Sabio had been influenced by his brother by speculating that he would have favored GSIS had he been a part of the division which rendered the decision in the Meralco case. However, we do find that it was improper for Justice Sabio to hold on to the chairmanship of the Ninth Division the despite the return of Justice Reyes, when Justice Sabio’s designation as acting chairman was clearly only for the duration of Justice Reyes’ leave of absence. We likewise note with disfavor his stubborn insistence on his own interpretation of the IRCA and hostile, dismissive attitude towards equally well-reasoned positions of his colleagues on the proper interpretation of their rules. Such conduct on the part of Justice Sabio did nothing to aid in the swift and amicable resolution of his dispute with Justice Reyes but rather fanned the flames of resentment between them. We deem this sort of behavior unbecoming for a magistrate of his stature. Justice Sabio’s conversations with Mr. De Borja were improper and indiscreet. On this matter, the Court accepts the following findings in the Report: Knowing the nature of De Borja’s profession, Justice Sabio, Jr. should have been wary of the former. He should have foreseen that De Borja had the Meralco case on his mind when he called Justice Sabio, Jr. True enough, De Borja mentioned the Meralco case and congratulated Justice Sabio, Jr. for having signed the TRO in favour of Meralco. But that was not the last time Justice Sabio, Jr. would hear from De Borja. A month later, after Justice Sabio, Jr. had presided at the hearing of Meralco’s prayer for preliminary injunction on June 23, 2008, and the case was ripening for decision or resolution, De Borja again called up Justice Sabio, Jr. and asked to meet him over dinner to "chit chat" about the Meralco case. Instead of telling off De Borja that he could not, and would not, talk about the Meralco case, Justice Sabio, Jr. agreed to meet De Borja in the lobby-lounge of the Ateneo Law School after his evening class in Legal Ethics in said school. Justice Sabio Jr.’s action of discussing the Meralco case with De Borja was highly inappropriate and indiscreet. First, in talks with his brother; the second time in conversation with De Borja, Justice Sabio, Jr. broke the shield of confidentiality that covers the disposition of cases in the Court in order to preserve and protect the integrity and independence of the Court itself. He ignored the injunction in Canon 1, Section 8 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary that: "Judges shall exhibit and

promote high standards of judicial conduct (and discretion) in order to reinforce public confidence in the judiciary which is fundamental to the maintenance of judicial independence." It was during that meeting with De Borja in the lobby-lounge of the Ateneo Law School, that De Borja allegedly offered him P10 million, in behalf of Meralco, to step out of the case and allow Justice Bienvenido Reyes to assume the chairmanship of the Special Ninth Division because Meralco was "not comfortable" with him (Justice Sabio, Jr.). He rejected the bribe offer because he "could not in conscience accept it." Justice Sabio, Jr. was allegedly shocked and insulted that De Borja would think that he (Justice Sabio, Jr.) could be bribed or bought. The Panel is, however, honestly perplexed why in spite of his outraged respectability, Justice Sabio, Jr. called up De Borja two (2) days later (on July 3, 2008), to tell De Borja to stop "pestering" him with his calls. The Panel is nonplussed because, normally, a person who has been insulted would never want to see, much less speak again, to the person who had disrespected him. He could have just shut off his cell phone to De Borja’s calls. De Borja denied that he reiterated his offer of P10 million to Justice Sabio, Jr. He denied saying that even if the case should go up to the Supreme Court, GSIS would still lose, hence, "saying lang yung P10 million; baka sisihin ka pa ng mga anak mo." He testified that his reply to Justice Sabio, Jr.’s call was "deadma" or indifference. Justice Sabio, Jr. blamed that call of his to a "lapse in judgment" on his part. Be that as it may, the Investigating Panel finds more credible Justice Sabio, Jr.’s story about De Borja’s P10 million-bribe-offer on behalf of Meralco, than De Borja’s denial that he made such an offer. Why does the Panel believe him, and not De Borja? First, because Justice Sabio, Jr. verbally reported the rejected bribe offer to CA Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. the next day - a fact admitted by Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. Second, even though Justice Sabio, Jr. did not mention the bribe-offeror’s name in both his verbal and written reports to Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr., De Borja identified himself to the media as the person alluded to. Third, De Borja’s allegation, that Justice Sabio, Jr. wanted P50 million, not P10 million, is not believable, for, if Justice Sabio, Jr. quoted P50 million as his price, he would not have reported the P10 million bribe offer to Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. He would have waited for Meralco’s reply to his counter-offer.138 xxx xxx xxx

Indeed, the Court agrees with the Panel that the allegation of solicitation on the part of Justice Sabio is not credible. Nevertheless, the continued communications between Justice Sabio and Mr. De Borja even after the latter’s rejected bribery attempt is highly inappropriate and shows poor judgment on the part of Justice Sabio who should have acted in preservation of the dignity of his judicial office and the institution to which he belongs. Premises considered, this Court is of the view that Justice Sabio’s indiscreet and imprudent conversations regarding the Meralco case with his brother and Mr. De Borja and his actuations in the chairmanship dispute with Justice Reyes constitute simple misconduct and

conduct unbecoming of a justice of the Court of Appeals which warrant the penalty of two (2) months suspension without pay. Findings regarding the conduct of Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes. As previously discussed, Justice Reyes appealed to Presiding Justice Vazquez in a letter dated July 22, 2008, reiterating his (Justice Reyes’) request that the Presiding Justice render an opinion which Division of the Court of Appeals - the Eighth Division with him as chairman, or the Special Ninth Division chaired by Justice Sabio should resolve the Meralco case. This was in conjunction with an Interpleader filed by Justice Roxas on the same issue with the Presiding Justice. Yet, despite the fact that the Presiding Justice informed Justices Reyes and Roxas that he would study the matter, Justices Reyes and Justice Roxas, together with Justice Bruselas, promulgated the decision in the Meralco case on July 23, 2008. Justice Reyes and Justice Roxas did not withdraw their request for a ruling nor did either of them advise the Presiding Justice beforehand of their intention to proceed with the resolution of the Meralco case. Thus, when the Presiding Justice issued his ruling on the chairmanship dispute on July 24, 2008, he was unaware of the promulgation of the Meralco decision on July 23, 2008, under the aegis of Justice Reyes’ Eighth Division. As found by the Panel, "Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. was completely taken aback when he learned about it on July 24, 2008, the same day that he issued his opinion on the chairmanship issue which by then had become functus oficio. He felt belittled and humiliated by the discourtesy of the two justices to him." It bears repeating here that under Canon 5, Section 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct, judges are mandated to show the appropriate consideration and respect for their colleagues in the Judiciary. Thus, we adopt the finding of the Panel on this point and find Justice Reyes guilty of simple misconduct, which is mitigated by the fact that he repeatedly asked Presiding Justice Vasquez to act on his request to rule on the conflicting interpretation of the IRCA. However, Justice Reyes should be reprimanded for taking part in the decision of the subject case without awaiting the ruling of the Presiding Justice. Findings regarding the conduct of Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal The Court finds well-taken and adopts the findings of the Panel of Investigators, to wit: Justice Dimaranan-Vidal deviated from the IRCA when she allowed herself to be rushed by Justice Roxas to sign the Meralco decision on July 8, 2008, without reading the parties’ memoranda and without the deliberation among members of the Division required by the IRCA. She knew that the TRO would not expire until July 30, 2008 - some three (3) weeks away from July 8, 2008 - yet she allowed herself to believe Justice Roxas’ misrepresentation that signing the decision was urgent. Her compliance with certain dissembling practices of other justices of the Court, in violation of the IRCA, showed weakness and lack of independence on her part.139 The following sections of Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct are instructive in this regard:

SEC. 1. Judges shall exercise the judicial function independently on the basis of their assessment of the facts and in accordance with a conscientious understanding of the law, free of any extraneous influence, inducement, pressure, threat or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason. SEC. 2. In performing judicial duties, judges shall be independent from judicial colleagues in respect of decisions which the judge is obliged to make independently. Allowing a fellow justice to induce her to deviate from established procedure constitutes conduct unbecoming a justice for which Justice Dimaranan-Vidal should be ADMONISHED to be more circumspect in the performance of her judicial duties. Findings regarding the conduct of Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez It is the view of the Panel of Investigators that Presiding Justice Vasquez failed to provide the leadership expected of him as head of the Court of Appeals. The following quote from the Report summarizes the perceived lapses on the part of the Presiding Justice: Clearly, Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. had been indecisive in dealing with the turmoil arising from the Meralco case. He vacillated and temporized on resolving the impasse between Justice Sabio, Jr. and Justice B. L. Reyes over the chairmanship of the Division that should hear and decide the Meralco case. He failed to take action on the reported bribe-offer by Meralco to J. Sabio, Jr. He hesitated to assert his leadership of the Court even when the parties repeatedly urged him to lay down the rule for them to follow. Was he hampered by the fact that he has relatives - two daughters - employed in the GSIS, and a sister who is a consultant thereof? He pleaded lack of authority. Was he not aware then, or did he discover too late, that under Section 11, Rule VIII of the IRCA, he is in fact authorized to act "on any matter" involving the Court and its members? That Rule provides: Sec. 11. x xx the Presiding Justice or any one acting in his place is authorized to act on any matter not covered by these Rules. Such action shall, however, be reported to the Court en banc. He should have convened the Court en banc as soon asthe alleged bribery attempt on Justice Sabio, Jr. was reported to him, for it was an attempt to corrupt a member of the Court, calling for the "protection and preservation of the integrity of the judicial processes" of the Court, hence, an administrative matter cognizable by the Court en banc. Section 5 (c), Rule I of the IRCA, provides: Sec. 5. Matters cognizable by the Court en banc.- The Court en banc shall, inter alia: (a) x x x (b) Adopt uniform administrative measures, procedures, and policies for the protection and preservation of the integrity of the judicial processes, x x x. Presiding Justice Vasquez admitted his "lapses in judgment."140

In the light of the foregoing observations of the Panel, this Court is of the view that much of the trouble now being faced by the Court of Appeals could have been averted by timely, judicious and decisive action on the part of the Presiding Justice. Certainly, this unpleasant and trying episode in failure to act in the early part of his tenure as Presiding Justice has indelibly impressed upon him what is required of him as leader of the second highest court in the land. Nevertheless, Presiding Justice Vasquez is hereby severely reprimanded for his failure to act promptly and decisively on the controversy as required of him by the IRCA. Findings regarding other personalities involved in the Meralco case Although the Presiding Justice in his letter dated August 1, 2008 only referred to this Court "the propriety of the actions of the Justices concerned" in the Meralco case, we cannot simply turn a blind eye to the facts brought to light during the investigation that relate to potential liabilities of other personalities in the Meralco case. With respect to Chairman Sabio, this Court has the power to discipline members of the Bar and his attempt to influence a member of the Judiciary, his brother at that, should be referred to the Bar Confidant for appropriate action. With respect to Mr. De Borja, the present investigation has given this Court reason to believe that Mr. De Borja may be criminally liable for his attempt to bribe a magistrate of the Court of Appeals. This matter should be referred to the Department of Justice for appropriate action. Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, this per curiam decision was reached after deliberation of the Court en banc. At the outset, the offer of three (3) members of the Court to recuse themselves was denied by the Court. Except for two members of the Court who were allowed to inhibit themselves from the case, the Justices voted as follows: Twelve Justices voted for the dismissal from service of Associate Justice Vicente Q. Roxas and one (1) voted for his suspension from the service for six (6) months. Ten (10) Justices voted for two (2) month suspension from service without pay of Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, one (1) voted for six-month suspension, one (1) for reprimand only as he should be credited for being a "whistle blower" and one (1) for his dismissal from the service. Eight (8) Justices voted to reprimand Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes and five (5) for his suspension from the service for one (1) month. As to the rest, the voting was unanimous. WHEREFORE, the Court RESOLVES as follows: (1) Associate Justice Vicente Q. Roxas is found guilty of multiple violations of the canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct, grave misconduct, dishonesty, undue interest and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and is DISMISSED from the service, with FORFEITURE of all benefits, except accrued leave credits if any, with prejudice to his reemployment in any branch or service of the government including government-owned and controlled corporations; (2) Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr. is found guilty of simple misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a justice of the Court of Appeals and is SUSPENDED for two (2) months without pay, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will warrant a more severe penalty;

(3) Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. is SEVERELY REPRIMANDED for his failure to act promptly and decisively in order to avert the incidents that damaged the image of the Court of Appeals, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will warrant a more severe penalty; (4) Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes is found guilty of simple misconduct with mitigating circumstance and is REPRIMANDED, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will warrant a more severe penalty; (5) Associate Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal is found guilty of conduct unbecoming a Justice of the Court of Appeals and is ADMONISHED to be more circumspect in the discharge of her judicial duties. (6) PCGG Chairman Camilo L. Sabio’s act to influence the judgment of a member of the Judiciary in a pending case is hereby referred to the Bar Confidant for appropriate action; (7) Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr.’s charge against Mr. Francis R. De Borja for attempted bribery of a member of the Judiciary is hereby referred to the Department of Justice for appropriate action. This Decision shall take effect immediately. SO ORDERED. Puno, C.J., Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, Tinga, Chico-Nazario, Velasco, Jr., Nachura, Reyes, Leonardo-de-Castro, Brion, JJ., concur.

Footnotes 108 Affidavit dated August 7, 2008 of Justice Villarama, par. 7. Under the same paragraph, Justice Villarama opined as follows: x x x the pending motion to lift TRO, which in effect is a motion for reconsideration of its issuance in the first place, the former Special Ninth Division x x x which issued the said TRO retains jurisdiction and should resolve the said motion. Upon the other hand, if the application for preliminary injunction is denied or remained unacted upon, the position of Justice Reyes could be sustained on the ground that the exception under Sec. 2 (d), Rule VI does not come into the picture and therefore the ponente of the case (Justice Roxas) and the two (2) other members present Eighth Division) (sic) to which Justice Roxas was transferred should now assume jurisdiction over the case. However, considering the pendency of the motion to lift TRO and the fact that Justice Sabio, Jr. as Acting Chairman of the Special Ninth Division, together with Justices Roxas and Vidal, had presided and heard the oral arguments of the parties on MERALCO\\rquote s application for preliminary injunction, the more prudent course of action is to allow the Special Ninth Division to resolve the motion to lift TRO and other pending matters, as well as the application for issuance of writ of preliminary injunction.

As a matter of procedure and orderly administration of justice in the CA, I think the case should be retained by the Special Ninth Division chaired by Justice Sabio, Jr. until the resolution of the incidents therein, i.e., motion to lift TRO and inhibition. The impracticality of transferring the case to the present division of the ponente (Eighth Division), instead of letting the case remain with those Justices of the Special Ninth Division which had issued a TRO and heard the application for preliminary injunction, is highlighted by the fact that there are pending motions still unresolved, voluminous pleadings and documents have been submitted by both parties which would take time to study and deliberated upon by the Justices, and the extreme urgency of MERALCO\\rquote s petition necessitating swift resolution of the legal issues presented. And as I explained to Justice Bruselas, Jr., in the event that the Special Ninth Division chaired by Justice Sabio, Jr. grants the application for preliminary injunction, Justice Bruselas, Jr. and Justice Reyes would have no authority at all to participate in the case, in accordance with the mandate of Sec. 2 (d), Rule VI of the 2002 IRCA, since the case shall then remain with Justice Roxas and Justices Sabio and Vidal of the former Special Ninth Division, the latter two (2) Justices having both participated in the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. On the other hand, if such application for preliminary injunction is denied by the Special Ninth Division, then said provision would have no application. Hence, there could be no dispute that the two (2) other Members of the present Eighth Division to which Justice Roxas was transferred, Justices Reyes and Bruselas, shall participate in the adjudication of the case; 112 These rules state: Sec. 1. Justice Assigned for Study and Report. \\endash Every case, whether appealed or original, assigned to a Justice for study and report shall be retained by him even if he is transferred to another Division in the same station. Sec. 2. Justices Who May Participate in the Adjudication of Cases. \\endash In the determination of the two other Justices who shall participate in the adjudication of cases, the following shall be observed: xxxx (d) When, in an original action or petition for review, any of these actions or proceedings, namely: (1) giving due course; (2) granting writ of preliminary injunction; (3) granting new trial; (4) granting execution pending appeal have been taken, the case shall remain with the Justice to whom the case is assigned for study and report and the Justices who participated therein, regardless of their transfer to other Divisions in the same station. 118 Section 7 (b) of Rule VI of the IRCA provides that "a motion for reconsideration of a decision or resolution shall be acted upon by the ponente and the other members of the Division, whether of 3 or 5, and whether regular or acting, who participated in the rendition of the decision or resolution sought to be reconsidered, irrespective of whether such members are already in other Divisions at the time the motion for reconsideration is filed or acted upon, provided that they are still in the same station, otherwise Section 2, Rule 6 shall apply." 126 Affidavit of August 7, 2008 of Presiding Justice Vasquez, par. 21. According to the Presiding Justice, at one point, Justice Celia Leagogo commented "something like pera-pera

lang \\lquote yan." She allegedly asked Justice Roxas why he could not answer the question of Justice Dimaranan-Vidal on where the decision she signed was (TSN August 12 [p.m.] 8081). 128 Rollo of A.M. No. 08-8-11-CA, pp. 102 & 120. It reads in full as follows: INITIAL RESPONSE TO THE AFFIDAVIT OF MR. FRANCIS ROA DE BORJA date July 31, 2008. As initial reaction to the affidavit of Francis de Borja. I find it not only ridiculous but also incredible. He has absolutely twisted the facts to suit a wicked end. I vehemently deny that he ever asked me what it takes to inhibit from the case; nor give any reply in the manner that he stated in the affidavit. I NEVER ASKED FOR MONEY. On the contrary, he told me that he was sent by Manolo Lopez, who was with him in the car because it was a matter of life and death for them. And so they wanted the case to be "ensured." He mentioned about the abuses committed against the Lopezes during the Marcos time and now being done by the Arroyo administration. And so he pleaded for me to accept what he called a "win-win situation of ten million." What they are doing now is obviously a SMEAR CAMPAIGN. Since they have the money and the resources, they will do all they can to discredit me. This is only my initial statement. I will hold a press conference at about ten o\\rquote clock in the morning tomorrow at may office in the Court of Appeals and detail everything that transpired between me and Mr. Francis Roa de Borja. 31 July 2008 (Sgd.) JOSE L. SABIO, JR. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE COURT OF APPEALS

The case of ATTY. PAGUIA(Ateneo lawyer suspended indefinitely due to PGMA issue) Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. 176278 : June 25, 2010 ALAN F. PAGUIA, Petitioner, vs. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, and HON. HILARIO DAVIDE, JR., in his capacity as Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, Respondents. RESOLUTION

CARPIO, J.: At issue is the power of Congress to limit the President's prerogative to nominate ambassadors by legislating age qualifications despite the constitutional rule limiting Congress' role in the appointment of ambassadors to the Commission on Appointments' confirmation of nominees.[1] However, for lack of a case or controversy grounded on petitioner's lack of capacity to sue and mootness,[2] we dismiss the petition without

reaching the merits, deferring for another day the resolution of the question raised, novel and fundamental it may be.

Petitioner Alan F. Paguia (petitioner), as citizen and taxpayer, filed this original action for the writ of certiorari to invalidate President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's nomination of respondent former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. (respondent Davide) as Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) for violation of Section 23 of Republic Act No. 7157 (RA 7157), the Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991. Petitioner argues that respondent Davide's age at that time of his nomination in March 2006, 70, disqualifies him from holding his post. Petitioner grounds his argument on Section 23 of RA 7157 pegging the mandatory retirement age of all officers and employees of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) at 65.[3] Petitioner theorizes that Section 23 imposes an absolute rule for all DFA employees, career or non-career; thus, respondent Davide's entry into the DFA ranks discriminates against the rest of the DFA officials and employees. In their separate Comments, respondent Davide, the Office of the President, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (respondents) raise threshold issues against the petition. First, they question petitioner's standing to bring this suit because of his indefinite suspension from the practice of law.[4] Second, the Office of the President and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (public respondents) argue that neither petitioner's citizenship nor his taxpayer status vests him with standing to question respondent Davide's appointment because petitioner remains without personal and substantial interest in the outcome of a suit which does not involve the taxing power of the state or the illegal disbursement of public funds. Third, public respondents question the propriety of this petition, contending that this suit is in truth a petition for quo warranto which can only be filed by a contender for the office in question. On the eligibility of respondent Davide, respondents counter that Section 23's mandated retirement age applies only to career diplomats, excluding from its ambit non-career appointees such as respondent Davide.

The petition presents no case or controversy for petitioner's lack of capacity to sue and mootness. First. Petitioner's citizenship and taxpayer status do not clothe him with standing to bring this suit. We have granted access to citizen's suits on the narrowest of ground: when they raise issues of 'transcendental' importance calling for urgent resolution.[5] Three factors are relevant in our determination to allow third party suits so we can reach and resolve the merits of the crucial issues raised – the character of funds or assets involved in the controversy, a clear disregard of constitutional or statutory prohibition, and the lack of any other party with a more direct and specific interest to bring the suit.[6] None of petitioner's allegations comes close to any of these parameters. Indeed, implicit in a petition seeking a judicial interpretation of a statutory provision on the retirement of government personnel occasioned by its seemingly ambiguous crafting is the admission that a 'clear disregard of constitutional or statutory prohibition' is absent. Further, the DFA is not devoid of personnel with 'more direct and specific interest to bring the suit.' Career ambassadors forced to leave

the service at the mandated retirement age unquestionably hold interest far more substantial and personal than petitioner's generalized interest as a citizen in ensuring enforcement of the law. The same conclusion holds true for petitioner's invocation of his taxpayer status. Taxpayers' contributions to the state's coffers entitle them to question appropriations for expenditures which are claimed to be unconstitutional or illegal.[7] However, the salaries and benefits respondent Davide received commensurate to his diplomatic rank are fixed by law and other executive issuances, the funding for which was included in the appropriations for the DFA's total expenditures contained in the annual budgets Congress passed since respondent Davide's nomination. Having assumed office under color of authority (appointment), respondent Davide is at least a de facto officer entitled to draw salary,[8] negating petitioner's claim of 'illegal expenditure of scarce public funds.'[9] Second. An incapacity to bring legal actions peculiar to petitioner also obtains. Petitioner's suspension from the practice of law bars him from performing 'any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience.'[10] Certainly, preparing a petition raising carefully crafted arguments on equal protection grounds and employing highly legalistic rules of statutory construction to parse Section 23 of RA 7157 falls within the proscribed conduct. Third. A supervening event has rendered this case academic and the relief prayed for moot. Respondent Davide resigned his post at the UN on 1 April 2010. WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philipppines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC [G.R. No. 159486-88. November 25, 2003] PRESIDENT JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, Petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN [SPECIAL DIVISION], HON. MINITA CHICO-NAZARIO, HON. EDILBERTO SANDOVAL, HON. TERESITA LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. RESOLUTION PER CURIAM:

On 23 September 2003, this Court issued its resolution in the above-numbered case; it read: The case for consideration has been brought to this Court via a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed by Joseph Ejercito Estrada, acting through his counsel Attorney Alan F. Paguia, against the Sandiganbayan, et al. The Petition prays 1. That Chief Justice Davide and the rest of the members of the Honorable Court disqualify themselves from hearing and deciding this petition; 2. That the assailed resolutions of the Sandiganbayan be vacated and set aside; and 3. That Criminal Cases No. 26558, No. 26565 and No. 26905 pending before the Sandiganbayan be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Attorney Alan F. Paguia, speaking for petitioner, asserts that the inhibition of the members of the Supreme Court from hearing the petition is called for under Rule 5.10 of the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibiting justices or judges from participating in any partisan political activity which proscription, according to him, the justices have violated by attending the EDSA 2 Rally and by authorizing the assumption of Vice-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the Presidency in violation of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner contends that the justices have thereby prejudged a case that would assail the legality of the act taken by President Arroyo. The subsequent decision of the Court in Estrada v. Arroyo (353 SCRA 452 and 356 SCRA 108) is, petitioner states, a patent mockery of justice and due process. Attorney Paguia first made his appearance for petitioner when he filed an Omnibus Motion on 19 May 2003, before the Sandiganbayan, asking that the appointment of counsels de officio (sic) be declared functus officio and that, being the now counsel de parte, he be notified of all subsequent proceedings in Criminal Cases No. 26558, No. 26565 and No. 26905 pending therein. Finally, Attorney Paguia asked that all the foregoing criminal cases against his client be dismissed. During the hearing of the Omnibus Motion on 30 May 2003, petitioner presented to the court several portions of the book, entitled Reforming the Judiciary, written by Justice Artemio Panganiban, to be part of the evidence for the defense. On 9 June 2003, petitioner filed a motion pleading, among other things, that a) x x x President Estrada be granted the opportunity to prove the truth of the statements contained in Justice Artemio Panganibans book, REFORMING THE JUDICIARY, in relation to the prejudgment committed by the Supreme Court justices against President Estrada in the subject case/s of Estrada v. Arroyo, 353 SCRA 452 and 356 SCRA 108; and, b) A subpoena ad testificandum and duces tecum be issued to Justice Artemio Panganiban, Justice Antonio Carpio, Justice Renato Corona, Secretary Angelo Reyes of the Department of National Defense, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., and Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. for them to testify and bring whatever supporting documents they may have in relation to their direct and indirect participation in the proclamation of Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on January 20, 2001, as cited in the book of Justice Panganiban, including the material events that led to that proclamation and the ruling/s in the Estrada vs. Arroyo, supra. (Rollo, pp. 6-7.)

The truth referred to in paragraph a) of the relief sought in the motion of petitioner pertains to what he claims should have been included in the resolution of the Sandiganbayan; viz: The request of the movant is simply for the Court to include in its Joint Resolution the TRUTH of the acts of Chief Justice Davide, et al., last January 20, 2001 in: a) going to EDSA 2; b) authorizing the proclamation of Vice-President Arroyo as President on the ground of permanent disability even without proof of compliance with the corresponding constitutional conditions, e.g., written declaration by either the President or majority of his cabinet; and c) actually proclaiming Vice-President Arroyo on that same ground of permanent disability. It is patently unreasonable for the Court to refuse to include these material facts which are obviously undeniable. Besides, it is the only defense of President Estrada. (Petition, Rollo, pp. 13-14.) On 2 July 2003, the Sandiganbayan issued an order denying the foregoing motion, as well as the motion to dismiss, filed by petitioner. Forthwith, petitioner filed a Mosyong Pangrekonsiderasyon of the foregoing order. According to Attorney Paguia, during the hearing of his Mosyong Pangrekonsiderasyon on 11 June 2003, the three justices of the Special Division of the Sandiganbayan made manifest their bias and partiality against his client. Thus, he averred, Presiding Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario supposedly employed foul and disrespectful language when she blurted out, Magmumukha naman kaming gago, (Rollo, p. 13.) and Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro characterized the motion as insignificant even before the prosecution could file its comments or opposition thereto, (Rollo, p. 12.) remarking in open court that to grant Estradas motion would result in chaos and disorder. (Ibid.) Prompted by the alleged bias and partial attitude of the Sandiganbayan justices, Attorney Paguia filed, on 14 July 2003, a motion for their disqualification. On 31 July 2003, petitioner received the two assailed resolutions, i.e., the resolution (Promulgated on 30 July 2003.) of 28 July 2003, denying petitioners motion for reconsideration of 6 July 2003; viz: WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused-movant Joseph Ejercito Estradas Mosyong Pangrekonsiderasyon (Na tumutukoy sa Joint Resolution ng Hulyo 2, 2003) dated July 6, 2003 is DENIED for lack of merit. (Rollo, p. 37.) and the resolution (Promulgated on 30 July 2003.) of 25 July 2003, denying petitioners motion for disqualification of 14 July 2003; viz: WHEREFORE, prescinding from all the foregoing, the Court, for want of merit, hereby DENIES the Motion for Disqualification. (Rollo, p. 48.) The instant petition assailing the foregoing orders must be DISMISSED for gross insufficiency in substance and for utter lack of merit. The Sandiganbayan committed no grave abuse of discretion, an indispensable requirement to warrant a recourse to the extraordinary relief of petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. On the one hand, petitioner would disclaim the authority and jurisdiction of the members of this tribunal and, on the other hand, he would elevate the petition now before it to challenge the two

resolutions of the Sandiganbayan. He denounces the decision as being a patent mockery of justice and due process. Attorney Pagula went on to state thatThe act of the public officer, if LAWFUL, is the act of the public office. But the act of the public officer, if UNLAWFUL, is not the act of the public office. Consequently, the act of the justices, if LAWFUL, is the act of the Supreme Court. But the act of the justices, if UNLAWFUL, is not the act of the Supreme Court. It is submitted that the Decision in ESTRADA vs. ARROYO being patently unlawful in view of Rule 5.10 of the CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT, is not the act of the Supreme Court but is merely the wrong or trespass of those individual Justices who falsely spoke and acted in the name of the Supreme Court. (Urbano vs. Chavez, 183 SCRA [347]). Furthermore, it would seem absurd to allow the Justices to use the name of the Supreme Court as a shield for their UNLAWFUL act. (Petition, Rollo, p. 11.) Criticism or comment made in good faith on the correctness or wrongness, soundness or unsoundness, of a decision of the Court would be welcome for, if well-founded, such reaction can enlighten the court and contribute to the correction of an error if committed. (In Re Sotto, 82 Phil 595.) The ruling in Estrada v. Arroyo, being a final judgment, has long put to end any question pertaining to the legality of the ascension of Arroyo into the presidency. By reviving the issue on the validity of the assumption of Mme. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the presidency, Attorney Paguia is vainly seeking to breathe life into the carcass of a long dead issue. Attorney Paguia has not limited his discussions to the merits of his clients case within the judicial forum; indeed, he has repeated his assault on the Court in both broadcast and print media. Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility prohibits a member of the bar from making such public statements on any pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party. By his acts, Attorney Paguia may have stoked the fires of public dissension and posed a potentially dangerous threat to the administration of justice. It is not the first time that Attorney Paguia has exhibited similar conduct towards the Supreme Court. In a letter, dated 30 June 2003, addressed to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., and Associate Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, he has demanded, in a clearly disguised form of forum shopping, for several advisory opinions on matters pending before the Sandiganbayan. In a resolution, dated 08 July 2003, this Court has strongly warned Attorney Alan Paguia, on pain of disciplinary sanction, to desist from further making, directly or indirectly, similar submissions to this Court or to its Members. But, unmindful of the wellmeant admonition to him by the Court, Attorney Paguia appears to persist on end. WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is DISMISSED, and the Court hereby orders Attorney Alan Paguia, counsel for petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, to SHOW CAUSE, within ten days from notice hereof, why he should not be sanctioned for conduct unbecoming a lawyer and an officer of the Court. On 10 October 2003, Atty. Paguia submitted his compliance with the show-cause order. In a three-page pleading, Atty. Paguia, in an obstinate display of defiance, repeated his earlier claim of political partisanship against the members of the Court.

Canon 5.10 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which Atty. Paguia has tirelessly quoted to give some semblance of validity for his groundless attack on the Court and its members, provides Rule 5.10. A judge is entitled to entertain personal views on political questions. But to avoid suspicion of political partisanship, a judge shall not make political speeches, contribute to party funds, publicly endorse candidates for political office or participate in other partisan political activities. Section 79(b) of the Omnibus Election Code defines the term partisan political activities; the law states: The term election campaign or partisan political activity refers to an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to a public office which shall include: (1) Forming organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign for or against a candidate; (2) Holding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate. (3) Making speeches, announcements or commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate for public office; (4) Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate; orchanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (5) Directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges or support for or against a candidate. It should be clear that the phrase partisan political activities, in its statutory context, relates to acts designed to cause the success or the defeat of a particular candidate or candidates who have filed certificates of candidacy to a public office in an election. The taking of an oath of office by any incoming President of the Republic before the Chief Justice of the Philippines is a traditional official function of the Highest Magistrate. The assailed presence of other justices of the Court at such an event could be no different from their appearance in such other official functions as attending the Annual State of the Nation Address by the President of the Philippines before the Legislative Department. The Supreme Court does not claim infallibility; it will not denounce criticism made by anyone against the Court for, if well-founded, can truly have constructive effects in the task of the Court, but it will not countenance any wrongdoing nor allow the erosion of our peoples faith in the judicial system, let alone, by those who have been privileged by it to practice law in the Philippines. Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that the lawyer should observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial officers and, indeed, should insist on similar conduct by others. In liberally imputing sinister and devious motives and questioning the impartiality, integrity, and authority of the members of the Court, Atty.

Paguia has only succeeded in seeking to impede, obstruct and pervert the dispensation of justice. The attention of Atty. Paguia has also been called to the mandate of Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility prohibiting a member of the bar from making such public statements on a case that may tend to arouse public opinion for or against a party. Regrettably, Atty. Paguia has persisted in ignoring the Courts well-meant admonition. On the 7th September 2003 issue of the Daily Tribune, Atty. Paguia wrote to say What is the legal effect of that violation of President Estradas right to due process of law? It renders the decision in Estrada vs. Arroyo unconstitutional and void. The rudiments of fair play were not observed. There was no fair play since it appears that when President Estrada filed his petition, Chief Justice Davide and his fellow justices had already committed to the other party - GMA - with a judgment already made and waiting to be formalized after the litigants shall have undergone the charade of a formal hearing. After the justices had authorized the proclamation of GMA as president, can they be expected to voluntarily admit the unconstitutionality of their own act? Unrelentingly, Atty. Paguia has continued to make public statements of like nature. The Court has already warned Atty. Paguia, on pain of disciplinary sanction, to become mindful of his grave responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court. Apparently, he has chosen not to at all take heed. WHEREFORE, Attorney Alan Paguia is hereby indefinitely suspended from the practice of law, effective upon his receipt hereof, for conduct unbecoming a lawyer and an officer of the Court.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Let copies of this resolution be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and all courts of the land through the Office of the Court Administrator.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, and Tinga, JJ., concur. Carpio, J., no part.

EN BANC FRANCISCO PALON, JR., Complainant, -versus – CARPIO MORALES, CALLEJO, SR., AZCUNA, TINGA, CHICO-NAZARIO, GARCIA, VELASCO, JR., and NACHURA, JJ. Present: PUNO, C.J., QUISUMBING, YNARES-SANTIAGO, SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, ARPIO, AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, CORONA, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1530

JUDGE PLACIDO B. VALLARTA,Promulgated: Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Cabiao-San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, Respondent.March 7, 2007 x-------------------------------------------------------x DECISION PER CURIAM: On 8 December 2000, Carlos Pangilinan (Pangilinan) filed a complaint for Frustrated Murder against Francisco Palon, Jr. (Palon) before the Regional Trial Court of Gapan, Nueva Ecija. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 198-2000.Upon preliminary investigation before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Cabiao-San Isidro, Nueva Ecija (MCTC-Cabiao-San Isidro), respondent Judge Placido B. Vallarta (respondent judge) issued an Order dated 29 May 2001 for the issuance of a warrant of arrest of Palon. It appears that Palon is the offended party in another case,Criminal Case No. 66-01, for Attempted Homicide filed against accused Arturo Mendoza (Mendoza) and Pangilinan.On 7 June 2001, respondent judgeissued a warrant for the arrest of Mendoza and Pangilinan.Respondent judge did not sign the warrant of arrest. Palon filed the instant complaint for Ignorance of the Law, Dereliction of Duty, and Partiality claiming that respondent judge failed to evaluate the Information filed by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Nueva Ecija and likewise failed to sign the warrant of arrest in Criminal Case No.66-01. Palon asserts that respondent judge refused to act on the information because respondent judge is related by affinity within the fourth civil degree to Pangilinan, one of the accused in Criminal Case No. 66-01. Palon further alleges that he filed a motion to remand Criminal Case No. 198-2000 to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Nueva Ecija on the ground that the offense charged is cognizable by the regional trial court and that respondent judge is related to Pangilinans sister. However, respondent judge ignored the motion. Palon also claims that in the scheduled preliminary investigation of Criminal Case No. 1982000, he and his co-accused, with their counsel, were present but the hearings were postponed at the instance of respondent judge. However, on the only occasion that the accused requested for postponement of the hearing because their counsel could not attend, respondent judge allegedly retorted, Wala akong paki-alam kung hindi darating ang abogado ninyo; magsumbong na kayo kahit saan.When respondent judge stepped down from his rostrum, he approached the father of Palon and told him, Kapitbahay, ang magiging bail ninyo ay P20,000 bawat isa; kaysa ibayad ninyo ito sa bail ay ibayad na lang ito kay Carlos Pangilinan, at kung kukulangin man, ay ako na ang bahala, at hulugan ninyo nalang ito. Respondent judge failed to comment on the complaint despite the notice sent to him.He is therefore deemed to have waived his right to file the same. Further, it appears that per

Certification by the Clerk of Court of MCTC-Cabiao-San Isidro, respondent judge filed a letter of resignation on 10 June 2002. The Certification was noted in this Courts Resolution dated 19 July 2004. On 16 February 2004, the Court required the parties to manifest, within ten days from notice, if they were willing to submit the case for resolution based on the pleadings filed.Complainant filed his manifestation stating that respondent judge did not file his answer or any responsive pleading and in fact, he had resigned from the service. Complainant manifested that he was submitting the case for the Courts appropriate resolution.Respondent judge did not file any manifestation. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) stated that respondent judge was given an opportunity to explain his side but he chose not to comply with the Courts directives. His refusal to controvert the allegations against him is deemed an admission of the truth of the charges. Upon verification, the OCA found that respondent judge filed a letter of resignation as municipal judge of MCTC-Cabiao-San Isidro on 10 June 2002.The OCA would have recommended the dismissal ofrespondent judge had he not resigned during the pendency of this case. Instead, the OCA recommended that the benefits and privileges that respondent judge might be entitled to be forfeited with prejudice to reinstatement or re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled agencies or corporations. Respondent judge failed to comment on the complaint or file any responsive pleading or manifestation despite receipt ofnotice to do so.He, instead, filed a letter of resignation.The natural instinct of man impels him to resist an unfounded claim or imputation and defend himself.It is against human nature to just remain reticent and say nothing in the face of false accusations. Hence, silence in this case is an admission of the truth of the charges.Respondent judge is deemed to have admitted the charges against him. Every officer or employee in the judiciary has the duty to obey the orders and processes of this Court without delay.A resolution of this Court requiring comment on an administrative complaint is not a mere request from the Court.It cannot be complied with partially, inadequately, or selectively.Respondents in administrative complaints should comment on all accusations or allegations against them in the administrative complaints because it is their duty to preserve the integrity of the judiciary. The Court will not tolerate indifference of respondents to administrative complaints and to resolutions requiring comment on such administrative complaints. There is no place in the judiciary for those who cannot meet the exacting standards of judicial conduct and integrity. It is gross misconduct, even disrespect to the highest Court of the land, for a respondent judge to exhibit indifference to the resolution requiring him to comment on the accusations in the complaint.Indifference or defiance to this Courts orders or resolutions is punishable with dismissal, suspension, or fine as warranted by the circumstances.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Complainant further alleged that respondent judge failed to evaluate the information or sign the warrant of arrest because the latter is related by affinity within the fourth civil degree to one of the accused in the criminal case. The rule is that a judge who is related within the

sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity to a party is disqualified from sitting in the case without the consent of all parties, expressed in writing, signed by them, and entered in the records.Rule 3.12, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conductprovides: Rule 3.12 A judge should take no part in a proceeding where the judges impartiality might reasonably be questioned. These cases include proceedings where: xxxx (d) The judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree or to counsel within the fourth civil degree; x x x The rationale of the rule on disqualification of judges springs from the long-standing precept that a judge should not handle a case where there is a perception, rightly or wrongly, that he is susceptible to bias and partiality because of relationship or some other ground. On the utterances made by respondent judge, we stress that as a dispenser of justice, a judge should demonstrate sensitivity in his choice of words as normally expected of men of his stature. Here, respondent judge used language hardly the kind of circumspect words expected of a magistrate. Judges must observe judicial decorum, which requires a magistrate to be at all times temperate in his language, refraining from vilification or inflammatory rhetoric. It is essential that judges live up to the high standards demanded by the Code of Judicial Conduct.Patience is an essential part of dispensing justice and courtesy is a mark of culture and good breeding.Belligerent behavior has no place in the judiciary where its judges and personnel should act at all times with self-restraint and civility even when confronted with rudeness and insolence. This is not the first infraction of respondent judge. In A.M. No. MTJ-02-1398 entitled Enriquez v. Vallarta, we found respondent judge guilty of ignorance of the law and delay in the disposition of cases. We fined him P2,000, with a warning that repetition of similar infractions would merit more severe sanctions. In another case, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1541 entitled Jacinto v. Vallarta, the Court found respondent judge guilty of vulgar and unbecoming conduct and fined him P5,000. Another administrative case, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1531 entitled Pastora dela Cruz v. Judge Placido B. Vallarta for Gross Inefficiency, Gross Negligence, and Gross Ignorance of the Law, is pending before this Court. With the previous warning, respondent judge deserves the maximum administrative penalty, which is dismissal from the service. However, since respondent judge has resigned from the service, we can only order the forfeiture of all his benefits, except accrued leave benefits. WHEREFORE, we find respondent Judge Placido B. Vallarta guilty as charged. We declare the FORFEITURE of all benefits due him, except accrued leave benefits, if any, with prejudice to re-employment in the government service, including government-owned or controlled corporations. This judgment is immediately executory. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION ANTERO J. POBRE, Complainant, -versusSen. MIRIAM DEFENSOR- SANTIAGO, Respondent. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Present: CHICO-NAZARIO, J., Acting Chairperson, CARPIO MORALES,* VELASCO, JR., NACHURA, and PERALTA, chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Promulgated: August 25, 2009 x - - - - - ----------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION VELASCO, JR., J.: cralawIn his sworn letter/complaint dated December 22, 2006, with enclosures, Antero J. Pobre invites the Court's attention to the following excerpts of Senator Miriam DefensorSantiago's speech delivered on the Senate floor: cralawx x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated, debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief JusticeArtemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was to be surrounded by idiots. I would rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x. cralacralaw cralawTo Pobre, the foregoing statements reflected a total disrespect on the part of the speaker towards then Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and the other members of the Court and constituted direct contempt of court. Accordingly, Pobre asks that disbarment proceedings or other disciplinary actions be taken against the lady senator. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary In her comment on the complaint dated April 25, 2007, Senator Santiago, through counsel, does not deny making the aforequoted statements. She, however, explained that those statements were covered by the constitutional provision on parliamentary immunity, being part of a speech she delivered in the discharge of her duty as member of Congress or A.C. No. 7399

JJ.

its committee. The purpose of her speech, according to her, was to bring out in the open controversial anomalies in governance with a view to future remedial legislation. She averred that she wanted to expose what she believed “to be an unjust act of the Judicial Bar Council [JBC],” which, after sending out public invitations for nomination to the soon to-be vacated position of Chief Justice, would eventually inform applicants that only incumbent justices of the Supreme Court would qualify for nomination. She felt that the JBC should have at least given an advanced advisory that non-sitting members of the Court, like her, would not be considered for the position of Chief Justice. The immunity Senator Santiago claims is rooted primarily on the provision of Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution, which provides: “A Senator or Member of the House of Representative shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof.” Explaining the import of the underscored portion of the provision, the Court, in Osmeña, Jr. v. Pendatun,said: Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity which is a fundamental privilege cherished in every legislative assembly of the democratic world. As old as the English Parliament, its purpose “is to enable and encourage a representative of the public to discharge his public trust with firmness and success” for “it is indispensably necessary that he should enjoy the fullest liberty of speech and that he should be protected from resentment of every one, however, powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may occasion offense.” cralaw As American jurisprudence puts it, this legislative privilege is founded upon long experience and arises as a means of perpetuating inviolate the functioning process of the legislative department. Without parliamentary immunity, parliament, or its equivalent, would degenerate into a polite and ineffective debating forum.Legislators are immune from deterrents to the uninhibited discharge of their legislative duties, not for their private indulgence, but for the public good. The privilege would be of little value if they could be subjected to the cost and inconvenience and distractions of a trial upon a conclusion of the pleader, or to the hazard of a judgment against them based upon a judge's speculation as to the motives. cralaw This Court is aware of the need and has in fact been in the forefront in upholding the institution of parliamentary immunity and promotion of free speech. Neither has the Court lost sight of the importance of the legislative and oversight functions of the Congress that enable this representative body to look diligently into every affair of government, investigate and denounce anomalies, and talk about how the country and its citizens are being served.Courts do not interfere with the legislature or its members in the manner they perform their functions in the legislative floor or in committee rooms. Any claim of an

unworthy purpose or of the falsity and mala fides of the statement uttered by the member of the Congress does not destroy the privilege. cralaw The disciplinary authority of the assembly cralaw and the voters, not the courts, can properly discourage or correct such abuses committed in the name of parliamentary immunity. Cralaw For the above reasons, the plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the complaint for disbarment or disciplinary action is well taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt, however, that this could not be the last word on the matter. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary The Court wishes to express its deep concern about the language Senator Santiago, a member of the Bar, used in her speech and its effect on the administration of justice. To the Court, the lady senator has undoubtedly crossed the limits of decency and good professional conduct. It is at once apparent that her statements in question were intemperate and highly improper in substance. To reiterate, she was quoted as stating that she wanted “to spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court,” and calling the Court a “Supreme Court of idiots.”

The lady senator alluded to In Re: Vicente Sotto. cralaw We draw her attention to the ensuing passage in Sotto that she should have taken to heart in the first place: x x x [I]f the people lose their confidence in the honesty and integrity 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 would be the result. chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the respect due to the courts should be allowed to erode the people's faith in the judiciary. In this case, the lady senator clearly violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which respectively provide: Canon 8, Rule 8.01.––A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper. chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Canon 11.––A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to the judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others. chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Senator/Atty. Santiago is a cut higher than most lawyers. Her achievements speak for themselves. She was a former Regional Trial Court judge, a law professor, an oft-cited

authority on constitutional and international law, an author of numerous law textbooks, and an elected senator of the land.Needless to stress, Senator Santiago, as a member of the Bar and officer of the court, like any other, is duty-bound to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court and to maintain the respect due its members. Lawyers in public service are keepers of public faith and are burdened with the higher degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than their brethren in private practice. cralaw Senator Santiago should have known, as any perceptive individual, the impact her statements would make on the people's faith in the integrity of the courts. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary As Senator Santiago alleged, she delivered her privilege speech as a prelude to crafting remedial legislation on the JBC. This allegation strikes the Court as an afterthought in light of the insulting tenor of what she said.We quote the passage once more: x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated, debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief JusticeArtemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was to be surrounded by idiots. I would rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x. (Emphasis ours.) A careful re-reading of her utterances would readily show that her statements were expressions of personal anger and frustration at not being considered for the post of Chief Justice. In a sense, therefore, her remarks were outside the pale of her official parliamentary functions. Even parliamentary immunity must not be allowed to be used as a vehicle to ridicule, demean, and destroy the reputation of the Court and its magistrates, nor as armor for personal wrath and disgust. Authorities are agreed that parliamentary immunity is not an individual privilege accorded the individual members of the Parliament or Congress for their personal benefit, but rather a privilege for the benefit of the people and the institution that represents them. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary To be sure, Senator Santiago could have given vent to her anger without indulging in insulting rhetoric and offensive personalities. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Lest it be overlooked, Senator Santiago's outburst was directly traceable to what she considered as an “unjust act” the JBC had taken in connection with her application for the position of Chief Justice. But while the JBC functions under the Court's supervision, its individual members, save perhaps for the Chief Justice who sits as the JBC's ex-officio chairperson, cralaw have no official duty to nominate candidates for appointment to the position of Chief Justice. The Court is, thus, at a loss to understand Senator Santiago's wholesale and indiscriminate assault on the members of the Court and her choice of critical and defamatory words against all of them. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

At any event, equally important as the speech and debate clause of Art. VI, Sec. 11 of the Constitution is Sec. 5(5) of Art. VIII of the Constitution that provides Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: xxxx cralaw(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of the law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. (Emphasis ours.) The Court, besides being authorized to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, exercises specific authority to promulgate rules governing the Integrated Bar with the end in view that the integration of the Bar will, among other things: (4) Shield the judiciary, which traditionally cannot defend itself except within its own forum, from the assaults that politics and self interest may level at it, and assist it to maintain its integrity, impartiality and independence; xxxx (11) Enforce rigid ethical standards x x x. cralaw In Re: Letter Dated 21 February 2005 of Atty. Noel S. Sorreda, cralaw we reiterated our pronouncement in Rheem of the Philippines v. Ferrerthat the duty of attorneys to the courts can only be maintained by rendering no service involving any disrespect to the judicial office which they are bound to uphold. The Court wrote in Rheem of the Philippines: x x x As explicit is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces that “[i]t is the duty of a lawyer 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.” That same canon, as a corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers to support the courts against “unjust criticism and clamor.” And more. The attorney's oath solemnly binds him to a conduct that should be “with all good fidelity x x x to the courts.” Also, in Sorreda, the Court revisited its holding in Surigao Mineral Reservation Board v. Cloribel cralaw that: A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, “like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice.” His duty is to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts to which he owes fidelity, “not to promote distrust in the administration of justice.” Faith in the courts, a lawyer should seek to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice “is disastrous to the continuity of government and to the attainment of the liberties of the people.” Thus has it been said of a lawyer that “[a]s an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that

high esteem and regard towards the courts so essential to the proper administration of justice.” cralaw The lady senator belongs to the legal profession bound by the exacting injunction of a strict Code. Society has entrusted that profession with the administration of the law and dispensation of justice. Generally speaking, a lawyer holding a government office may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct committed while in the discharge of official duties, unless said misconduct also constitutes a violation of his/her oath as a lawyer. cralaw Lawyers may be disciplined even for any conduct committed in their private capacity, as long as their misconduct reflects their want of probity or good demeanor, cralaw a good character being an essential qualification for the admission to the practice of law and for continuance of such privilege.When the Code of Professional Responsibility or the Rules of Court speaks of “conduct” or “misconduct,” the reference is not confined to one's behavior exhibited in connection with the performance of lawyers' professional duties, but also covers any misconduct, which––albeit unrelated to the actual practice of their profession––would show them to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which their license and the law invest in them. cralaw This Court, in its unceasing quest to promote the people's faith in courts and trust in the rule of law, has consistently exercised its disciplinary authority on lawyers who, for malevolent purpose or personal malice, attempt to obstruct the orderly administration of justice, trifle with the integrity of courts, and embarrass or, worse, malign the men and women who compose them. We have done it in the case of former Senator Vicente Sotto in Sotto, in the case ofAtty. Noel Sorreda in Sorreda, and in the case of Atty. Francisco B. Cruzin Tacordan v. Ang cralaw who repeatedly insulted and threatened the Court in a most insolent manner. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary The Court is not hesitant to impose some form of disciplinary sanctions on Senator/Atty. Santiago for what otherwise would have constituted an act of utter disrespect on her part towards the Court and its members. The factual and legal circumstances of this case, however, deter the Court from doing so, even without any sign of remorse from her. Basic constitutional consideration dictates this kind of disposition. chanr We, however, would be remiss in our duty if we let the Senator's offensive and disrespectful language that definitely tended to denigrate the institution pass by. It is imperative on our part to re-instill in Senator/Atty. Santiago her duty to respect courts of justice, especially this Tribunal, and remind her anew that the parliamentary nonaccountabilitythus granted to members of Congress is not to protect them against prosecutions for their own benefit,but to enable them, as the people's representatives, to

perform the functions of their office without fear of being made responsible before the courts or other forums outside the congressional hall. cralawIt is intended to protect members of Congress against government pressure and intimidation aimed at influencing the decision-making prerogatives of Congress and its members. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary The Rules of the Senate itself contains a provision on Unparliamentary Acts and Language that enjoins a Senator from using, under any circumstance, “offensive or improper language against another Senator or against any public institution.” cralawBut as to Senator Santiago's unparliamentary remarks, the Senate President had not apparently called her to order, let alone referred the matter to the Senate Ethics Committee for appropriate disciplinary action, as the Rules dictates under such circumstance. cralaw The lady senator clearly violated the rules of her own chamber. It is unfortunate that her peers bent backwards and avoided imposing their own rules on her. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Finally, the lady senator questions Pobre's motives in filing his complaint, stating that disciplinary proceedings must be undertaken solely for the public welfare. We cannot agree with her more. We cannot overstress that the senator's use of intemperate language to demean and denigrate the highest court of the land is a clear violation of the duty of respect lawyers owe to the courts. cralaw Finally, the Senator asserts that complainant Pobre has failed to prove that she in fact made the statements in question.Suffice it to say in this regard that, although she has not categorically denied making such statements, she has unequivocally said making them as part of her privilege speech. Her implied admission is good enough for the Court. WHEREFORE, the letter-complaint of Antero J. Pobre against Senator/Atty. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is, conformably to Art. VI, Sec. 11 of the Constitution, DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

Hindi ko po sure kung tama tong case na toh. Di po kasi tugma sa 335 SCRA 120.

THIRD DIVISION [A.M. No. MTJ-99-1184. March 2, 2000] AMPARO S. FARRALES and ATTY. RAUL S. SISON, complainants, vs. JUDGE RUBY B. CAMARISTA, respondent. RESOLUTION MELO, J.: Jle-xj chanrobles virtual law library Through a verified complaint dated December 15, 1997, complainants, client and counsel, charged respondent with gross incompetence, gross inefficiency, and ignorance of the law, with regard to two civil cases, as follows: (a) Civil Case No. 144411-CV entitled "Amparo Farrales, represented by her Attorney-in-Fact, Atty. Eldorado T. Lim vs. Mrs. Meny Martin" (also referred to in the record as Menny Martin) for Ejectment/Unlawful Detainer; and Civil Case No. 144414-CV entitled "Amparo Farrales, represented by her Attorney-in-Fact, Atty. Eldorado T. Lim vs. Mrs. Mely Rizon" for Ejectment/Unlawful Detainer. chanrobles virtual law library The factual antecedents of the subject complaint are as follows: chanrobles virtual law library On June 10, 1994 and June 13, 1994, both aforestated cases were filed by complainants and were raffled to Branch I, Metropolitan Trial Court, Manila, presided over by respondent. chanrobles virtual law library In the first case, therein defendant, on June 22, 1994, filed her responsive pleading. On January 25, 1995, respondent, motu proprio issued an order referring the case for conciliation to the barangay chairman of Barangay 676, Zone 73, Ermita, Manila. From January 25, 1995 to January 25, 1996, the case was not calendared for hearing, until herein complainant-counsel, Atty. Raul S. Sison, who took over the case from Atty. Eldorado T. Lim, filed his formal entry of appearance. On February 2, 1996, the plaintiff (complainant herein) filed a motion to set aside the order of January 25, 1995, and to set the case for preliminary conference, which was denied by respondent. Subsequently, the parties submitted themselves to conciliation but no settlement was reached. There being no clarificatory hearing set, the case was deemed submitted for decision as of October, 1996. On February 27, 1997, plaintiff filed a motion for early decision. However, despite repeated follow-ups, the case remained undecided. Lex-juris chanrobles virtual law library

In the second case, the defendant therein, on June 21, 1994, filed a motion for referral to the proper barangay for arbitration and/or conciliation. Later, respondent issued two orders dated November 7, 1994 and January 27, 1995, respectively, directing the parties to conciliate before the Chairman of Barangay 676, Zone 73, Ermita, Manila. Meanwhile, complainant Sison entered his appearance as counsel for plaintiff therein. On February 12, 1996, complainants filed a motion to set aside the order of November 7, 1994, as well as to render judgment. Respondent denied the same and referred the case to said barangay for conciliation proceedings under penalty of the case being dismissed. Subsequently, a certificate to file action was issued by the barangay chairman following defendants failure to appear during the scheduled conciliation meeting. On July 12, 1996, after the lapse of two years and one month from the service of summons, defendant filed her answer. However, notwithstanding the lapse of time in filing the answer and plaintiffs opposition thereto, respondent, in an order dated September 3, 1996, directed the parties to file their respective position papers. After the lapse of thirty days from submission of position papers and there being no decision rendered by respondent, plaintiff filed a motion for early decision on February 27, 1997. When still no decision was rendered, complainant Sison (plaintiffs counsel) wrote respondent on July 18, 1997 requesting that a decision be rendered in the case. Still, the case remained unresolved. chanrobles virtual law library Herein complainants contend that the delay in the disposition of the above-stated cases was a result of respondents lack of basic knowledge of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure and/or her ignorance of the law. They likewise question respondents act of referring the case to the barangay level for conciliation when the parties actually reside in barangays of different cities/municipalities. chanrobles virtual law library Thereafter, complainant Sison submitted his manifestation dated January 26, 1998 informing the Court that despite the filing of the instant administrative complaint, no decision had yet been rendered by respondent in the two civil cases. chanrobles virtual law library In respondents answer, she alleged that the subject civil cases were two of those left by then Acting Presiding Judge Alden Cervantes and were originally pending before Branch 28, Metropolitan Trial Court, Manila before they were reassigned by raffle to respondents sala. She also contends that although barangay conciliation is not necessary in Civil Case No. 144414-CV, she referred the case, motu proprio, to the lupon of the barangay where the realty subject thereof is located in accordance with the last paragraph of Section 2, Presidential Decree No. 1508, and the last paragraph of Section 408 of the Local Government Code of 1991. For failure of the parties to settle the case before the lupon, the same was deemed submitted for decision. chanrobles virtual law library The subject complaint also cited our decision in Administrative Matter No. MTJ-97-1123 (initiated by Atty. Joselito Enriquez against herein respondent on the basis of which the latter was found to be unconscientious and not prompt in the performance of her duties and was fined P3,000.00 with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely). Respondent avers that such conclusion was arrived at since the Court overlooked some facts in her favor in imposing upon her a fine with warning. Jurismis chanrobles virtual law library On March 17, 1999, the Court issued a resolution requiring the parties to manifest if they were submitting the case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings. Atty. Sison filed his

manifestation to the effect that complainants were withdrawing their complaint. Respondent, on the other hand, submitted a supplemental answer or explanation. On the basis of the second, the Office of the Court Administrator recommends that a fine in the amount of P20,000.00 be imposed against respondent with a stern warning that the same or similar acts in the future be dealt with more severely. chanrobles virtual law library The crux of the matter is respondents violation of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure and her erroneous application of the Katarungang Pambarangay Law (Presidential Decree No. 1508). chanrobles virtual law library The Rule on Summary Procedure clearly and undoubtedly provides for the period within which judgment should be rendered. Section 10 thereof provides: SEC. 10. Rendition of judgment.Within thirty (30) days after receipt of the last affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the period for filing the same, the court shall render judgment. chanrobles virtual law library However, should the court find it necessary to clarify certain material facts, it may, during the said period, issue an order specifying the matters to be clarified, and require the parties to submit affidavits or other evidence on the said matters within ten (10) days from receipt of said order. Judgment shall be rendered within fifteen (15) days after the receipt of the last clarificatory affidavits, or the expiration of the period for filing the same. chanrobles virtual law library The court shall not resort to the clarificatory procedure to gain time for the rendition of the judgment. Section 8 thereof, which provides the contents of the record of the preliminary conference, includes a statement as to -c) Whether, on the basis of the pleadings and the stipulations and admissions made by the parties, judgment may be rendered without the need of further proceedings, in which event the judgment shall be rendered within thirty (30) days from issuance of the order; Jj-juris It is thus very clear that the period for rendition of judgment in cases falling under summary procedure is thirty days. This is in keeping with the spirit of the rule which aims to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination of the cases falling thereunder. chanrobles virtual law library The jurisprudential direction consistently taken by the Court adheres to the rule that failure to decide a case within the required period is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency Abarquez vs. Rebosura, 285 SCRA 109 [1998]; In re Judge Jose F. Madara, 104 SCRA 245 [1981]; Longboan vs. Judge Polig, 186 SCRA 557 [1990]; Sabado vs. Cajigal, 219 SCRA 800 [1993]). Delay in disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of the people in the judiciary, lowers its standards, and brings it into disrepute (Abarquez vs. Rebosura, supra). chanrobles virtual law library Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct admonishes all judges to dispose of the courts business promptly and decide cases within the period fixed by law. Rule 3.01 compels them to be faithful to the law and prompts them to maintain professional competence. chanrobles virtual law library

Failure to observe time provisions for the rendition of judgments constitutes a ground for administrative sanction against the defaulting judge (Alfonso-Cortes vs. Maglalang, 227 SCRA 482 [1993]; Mappala vs. Nuñez, 240 SCRA 600 [1995]), absent sufficient justification for his non-compliance therewith (Abarquez vs. Rebosura, supra). Of special import is the requirement under the Rule on Summary Procedure which was intended precisely for the expeditious resolution of cases falling thereunder. For this reason, respondents attempt to excuse herself from such requirement must necessarily fail. chanrobles virtual law library The last affidavits and position paper in Civil Case No. 144411-CV were filed on October 25, 1996, whereas the last pleading (defendants position paper) in Civil Case No. 144414-CV was filed on October 23, 1996. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 10 of the Rule, complainant Sison received the decision in both cases only on February 12, 1998, almost two years from submission of the last affidavits and position papers therein. Jksm chanrobles virtual law library Respondent submits that she cannot be held administratively liable for gross inefficiency because both cases were not originally assigned to her but to Branch 28, Metropolitan Trial Court, Manila, and were only assigned to her on October 24, 1994. She also claims that her court was transferred in an untimely and abrupt manner to a makeshift office too small for proper court operations which left both the court records and court personnel in disarray to such degree that disallowed the latter to have an effective filing system. Further, it is argued that at the time of the pendency of the subject cases, Republic Act No. 7691 which provides for the expanded jurisdiction of the inferior court, was at its peak. Consequently, the sudden deluge of cases unloaded by the regional trial court together with those filed by litigants combined with the deplorable conditions of her court caused the delay. chanrobles virtual law library All the above-stated posturings are lame excuses for a delayed decision, especially when it falls under the Rule on Summary Procedure. To accept them as valid will defeat the very purpose of the rule since any judge would be given the imprimatur of violating the time provisions merely for such frivolous reasons. chanrobles virtual law library In addition, respondent also erroneously applied the Katarungang Pambarangay Law. She anchors her act on Section 2 thereof (or Sec. 408, Republic Act No. 7160) which reads in full: SEC. 408. Subject Matter for Amicable Settlement; Exception Thereto.The lupon of each barangay shall have authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes except: chanrobles virtual law library (a).....Where the party is the government, or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof; chanrobles virtual law library (b).....Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions; chanrobles virtual law library (c).....Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine exceeding Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00); chanrobles virtual law library (d).....Offenses where there is no private offended party; chanrobles virtual law library

(e).....Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities or municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon; Chief chanrobles virtual law library (f).....Disputes involving parties who actually reside in barangays of different cities or municipalities, except where such barangay units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon; chanrobles virtual law library (g).....Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice. The court in which non-criminal cases not falling within the authority of the lupon under this Code are filed may, at any time before trial, motu proprio refer the case to the lupon concerned for amicable settlement. chanrobles virtual law library The last paragraph of the aforecited provision apparently gives the Court discretion to refer the case to the lupon for amicable settlement although it may not fall within the authority of the lupon (such as the civil cases subject of this administrative proceeding). However, referring the subject civil cases to the lupon is saliently an unsound exercise of discretion considering that the matter falls under the Rule on Summary Procedure. As aptly explained in Gachon vs. Devera, Jr. (274 SCRA 540 [1997]), the Rule on Summary Procedure was promulgated for the purpose of achieving "an expeditious and inexpensive determination of cases." The fact that unlawful detainer cases fall under summary procedure, speedy resolution thereof is thus deemed a matter of public policy. Thus, the Rule frowns upon delays. chanrobles virtual law library Manifestly, respondents act of referring the subject cases to the lupon subverts the very nature of the Rule and defeats its objective of expediting the adjudication thereof. Besides, as correctly explained by the Court Administrator, the preliminary conference under Sections 7 and 8 serves the purpose of a possible amicable settlement, viz: SEC. 7. Preliminary conference; appearance of parties.Not later than thirty (30) days after the last answer is filed, a preliminary conference shall be held. The rules on pre-trial in ordinary cases shall be applicable to the preliminary conference unless inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule. chanrobles virtual law library The failure of the plaintiff to appear in the preliminary conference shall be a cause for the dismissal of his complaint. The defendant who appears in the absence of the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment on his counterclaim in accordance with Section 6 hereof. All crossclaims shall be dismissed. Esm chanrobles virtual law library If a sole defendant shall fail to appear, the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment in accordance with Section 6 hereof. This Rule shall not apply where one of two or more defendants sued under a common cause of action who had pleaded a common defense shall appear at the preliminary conference. Section 8 of said Rule reads in full:

SEC. 8. Record of preliminary conference.Within five (5) days after the termination of the preliminary conference, the court shall issue an order stating the matters taken up therein, including but not limited to: chanrobles virtual law library a).....Whether the parties have arrived at an amicable settlement, and if so, the terms thereof; chanrobles virtual law library b).....The stipulations or admissions entered into by the parties; chanrobles virtual law library c).....Whether, on the basis of the pleadings and the stipulations and admissions made by the parties, judgment may be rendered without the need of further proceedings, in which event the judgment shall be rendered within thirty (30) days from issuance of the order; chanrobles virtual law library d).....A clear specification of material facts which remain controverted; and chanrobles virtual law library e).....Such other matters intended to expedite the disposition of the case. The last issue that we have to pass upon is the effect of the affidavit of desistance on respondents administrative liability. In Rogue vs. Grimaldo (260 SCRA 1 [1996]), the complainants, who filed a complaint against a court stenographer for illegal exaction of money, later executed an affidavit of desistance which prompted therein respondent to move for the dismissal of the complaint. We pronounced that the affidavit of desistance by the complainant cannot divest this Court of its jurisdiction to investigate and ascertain the truth of the matter alleged in the complaints against respondent. We cited Caña vs. Santos (234 SCRA 17 [1994]) where we held that "[t]he Court has an interest in the conduct of the officials and employees of the judiciary and in improving the delivery of justice to the people and its efforts in that direction cannot be frustrated by any private arrangement of the parties." Esmsc chanrobles virtual law library All the more in the instant case, which involves a judge, must we apply the above-stated rule for a judge should always be the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence and should administer justice impartially and without delay (Bolalin vs. Occiano, 266 SCRA 203 [1997]). Judges, who are called upon to administer the law and apply it to the facts, should be studious of the principles of law and diligent in endeavoring to ascertain the facts. They should exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with the statutes and procedural rules (Del Callar vs. Salvador, 268 SCRA 320 [1997]). They must always strive to live up to their responsibility of assisting parties litigants in obtaining a just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of their cases and proceedings (Perez vs. Andaya, 286 SCRA 40 [1998]). chanrobles virtual law library Considering that this is not respondents first administrative case of the same nature, we take cognizance of the Court Administrators reasons for recommending a fine of P20,000.00. Nevertheless, we deem the amount of P10,000.00 as a reasonable fine under the circumstances. ACCORDINGLY, respondent Judge Ruby B. Camarista, presiding judge of Branch I, Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, is hereby declared GUILTY of gross incompetence, gross

inefficiency, and ignorance of the law, and is hereby ordered to pay a FINE of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00). She is also WARNED that the commission of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED. Vitug, Panganiban, Purisima, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.