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LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES. Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. Rule 1.03 - A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any man’s cause. Rule 1.04 - A lawyer shall encourage his clients to avoid, end or settle a controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement.
GARRIDO vs. GARRIDO Facts: The petitioner, the respondent’s legal wife, filed a complaint-affidavit and a supplemental affidavit for disbarment against the respondents Atty. Angel E. Garrido and Atty. Romana P. Valencia before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Committee on Discipline, charging them with gross immorality, in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01, of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The complaint arose after the petitioner caught wind through her daughter that her husband was having an affair with a woman other than his wife and already had a child with her; and the same information was confirmed when oner of her daughters saw that her husband walking in a Robinsons mall with the other respondent, Atty. Valencia, with their child in tow. After a much further investigation into the matter, the time and effort given yielded results telling her that Atty. Valencia and her legal husband had been married in Hong Kong. Moreover, on June 1993, her husband left their conjugal home and joined Atty. Ramona Paguida Valencia at their residence, and has since failed to render much needed financial support. In their defense, they postulated that they were not lawyers as of yet when they committed the supposed immorality, so as such, they were not guilty of a violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01. Issue: Whether or not Atty. Garrido’s and Valencia’s actions constitute a violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and thus a good enough cause for their disbarment, despite the offense being supposedly committed when they were not lawyers. Held: Yes. Membership in the Bar is a privilege, and as a privilege bestowed by law through the Supreme Court, membership in the Bar can be withdrawn where circumstances show the lawyer’s lack of the essential qualifications required of lawyers, be they academic or moral. In the present case, the Court had resolved to withdraw this privilege from Atty. Angel E. Garrido and Atty. Rowena P. Valencia for the reason of their blatant violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which commands that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Furthermore, The contention of respondent that they were not yet lawyers when they got married shall not afford them exemption from sanctions; good moral character was already required as a condition precedent to admission to the Bar. As a lawyer, a person whom the community looked up to, Atty. Garrido and Valencia were shouldered with the expectation that they would set a good example in promoting obedience to the Constitution and the laws. When they violated the law and distorted it to cater to his own personal needs and selfish motives, not only did their actions discredit the legal profession. Such actions by themselves, without even including the fact of Garrido’s abandonment of paternal responsibility, to the detriment of his children by the petitioner; or the fact that Valencia married Garrido despite knowing of his other marriages to two other women including the petitioner, are clear indications of a lack of moral values not consistent with the proper conduct of practicing lawyers within the country. As such, their disbarment is affirmed.
NARAG vs. NARAG Facts: Atty. Narag’s spouse filed a petition for disbarment in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that her husband courted one of his students, later maintaining her as a mistress and having children by her after moving out of their conjugal home. Atty. Narag, however, claimed that he had been faithful to his wife throughout their marriage and alleged that his wife was a possessive, jealous woman who constantly abused him and merely filed the complaint out of spite. Nevertheless, the IBP disbarred him, hence, the current petition. Issue: Whether or not the commission of an act of gross immoral conduct is enough grounds to disbar a lawyer immediately. Held: Narag failed to prove his innocence because he failed to refute the testimony given against him. Moreover, it was proved in the previous trials that his actions were of public knowledge and brought disrepute and suffering to his wife and children. Good moral character is a continuing qualification required of every member of the bar; when a lawyer fails to meet the exacting standard of moral integrity, the Supreme Court may withdraw his or her privilege to practice law. Hence when a lawyer is found guilty of gross immoral conduct, he may be suspended or disbarred. Grossly immoral means that an act is so corrupt and damaging to the reputation of the legal profession as to constitute a criminal act, or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree or committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the common sense of decency. As a lawyer, one must not only refrain from adulterous relationships but must not behave in a way that scandalizes the public by creating a belief that he is flouting those moral standards. It is clear by Atty. Narag’s actions that he is unfit to continue working as a lawyer out of his moral deficiency.
CANON 2 - A LAWYER SHALL MAKE HIS LEGAL SERVICES AVAILABLE IN AN EFFICIENT AND CONVENIENT MANNER COMPATIBLE WITH THE INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY AND EFFECTIVE-NESS OF THE PROFESSION. Rule 2.01 - A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid reasons, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed. Rule 2.02 - In such cases, even if the lawyer does not accept a case, he shall not refuse to render legal advice to the person concerned if only to the extent necessary to safeguard the latter’s rights. Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal business. Rule 2.04 - A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than those customarily prescribed unless the circumstances so warrant.
LINSANGAN vs. TOLENTINO Facts: A complaint for disbarment was filed by Pedro Linsangan against Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino for solicitation of clients and encroachment of professional services. Complaint alleged that respondent, with the help of paralegal Fe Marie Labiano, convinced his clients to transfer legal representation. Respondent promised them financial assistance and expeditious collection on their claims. To induce them to hire his services, he persistently called them and sent them text messages. To support his allegations, complainant presented the sworn affidavit of James Grogorio attesting that Labiano tried to prevail upon him to sever his lawyer-client relations with complainant and utilize respondent’s services instead, in exchange for a loan of P50, 000.00. Complainant also attached “respondent’s” calling card. Respondent, in his defence, denied knowing Labiano and authorizing the printing and circulation of the said calling card. Issue: Whether the respondent encroached the professional practice of complainant. Held: Yes. Rule 2.03 of the CPR provides that a lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal business. Hence, lawyers are prohibited from soliciting cases for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers. Such actuation constitutes malpractice, a ground for disbarment. Rule 2.03 should be read in connection with Rule 1.03 of the CPR which provides that lawyer, shall not for any corrupt motive or interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any man’s cause. This rule proscribes “ambulance chasing” (the solicitation of almost any kind of legal business by an attorney, personally or through an agent in order to gain employment) as a measure to protect the community from barratry and champerty. In the case at bar, complainant presented substantial evidence (consisting of the sworn statements of the very same persons coaxed by Labiano and referred to respondent’s office) to prove that respondent indeed solicited legal business as well as profited from referrals’ suits. Through Labiano’s actions, respondent’s law practice was benefited. Hapless seamen were enticed to transfer representation on the strength of Labiano’s word that respondent could produce a more favourable result. Based on the foregoing, respondent clearly solicited employment violating Rule 2.03, and Rule 1.03 and Canon 3 of the CPR and section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Any act of solicitations constitutes malpractice which calls for the exercise of the Court’s disciplinary powers. Violation of anti-solicitation statues warrants serious sanctions for initiating contact with a prospective client for the purpose of obtaining employment. Thus in this jurisdiction, we adhere to the rule to protect the public from the Machiavellian machinations of unscrupulous lawyers and to uphold the nobility of the legal profession. Canon 2 : A lawyer shall make his legal services available in an efficient and convenient manner compatible with the independence, integrity and effectiveness of the profession. Rule 2.03: A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal business
THE DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS vs. ESTANISLAO R. BAYOT Facts: The respondent, who is an attorney-at-law, is charged with malpractice for having published an advertisement in the Sunday Tribune of June 13, 1943, which assured the prompt issuance of a marriage license and a marriage arranged to the wishes of the parties through their assistance. Respondent first denied having published the said advertisement but subsequently admitted having caused its publication and prayed for "the indulgence and mercy" of the Court. Issue: Whether or not respondent acted in violation of the Code of Ethics which prohibits the solicitation of legal business (Also provided in the Code of Professional Responsibility, Canon 2) Held: It is undeniable that the advertisement in question was a flagrant violation by the respondent of the ethics of his profession, it being a brazen solicitation of business from the public. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among other things that "the practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice." It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares. Law is a profession and not a trade. The lawyer degrades himself and his profession who stoops to and adopts the practices of mercantilism by advertising his services or offering them to the public. As a member of the bar, he defiles the temple of justice with mercenary activities as the money-changers of old defiled the temple of Jehovah. "The most worth and effective advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer . . . is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome of character and conduct." (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.) The Court decided that the respondent should be reprimanded.
CANON 3 - A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN HIS LEGAL SERVICES SHALL USE ONLY TRUE, HONEST, FAIR, DIGNIFIED AND OBJECTIVE INFORMATION OR STATEMENT OF FACTS. Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services. Rule 3.02 - In the choice of a firm name, no false, misleading or assumed name shall be used. The continued use of the name of a deceased partner is permissible provided that the firm indicates in all its communications that said partner is deceased. Rule 3.03 - Where a partner accepts public office, he shall withdraw from the firm and his name shall be dropped from the firm name unless the law allows him to practice law concurrently. Rule 3.04 - A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of value to representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business.
ATTY. ISMAEL G. KHAN, JR. vs. ATTY. RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO Facts: The administrative complaint arose from the paid advertisement that appeared in the July 5, 2000 issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer which read: Annulment of Marriage Specialist 5324333/521-2667. Ms. Ma. Theresa Espeleta, a staff member of the Public Information Office of the Supreme Court, took notice of the advertisement and inquired by pretending as an interested party. After such inquiry, confirming that Atty. Rizalino Simbillo is actually promoting himself as an expert in handling annulment cases and is guaranteeing a court decree within four to six months with a fee of P48,000 to be paid in installment basis, further research was conducted by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA). The research revealed other similar advertisements published in two other newspapers – August 2 and 6, 2000 issues of Manila Bulletin and August 5, 2000 issue of The Philippine Star. Atty. Ismael Khan, Jr., afterwards, in his capacity as Assistant Court Administrator and Chief of the Public Information Office filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Simbillo for improper advertising and solicitation in violation of Rule 2.03 and Rule 3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court. The IBP, taking cognizance of the referral to investigate, report and recommend, found the respondent guilty. Respondent, then, filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, which was denied. Hence, this petition for certiorari. Issue: Whether or not Atty. Rizalino Simbillo is guilty of violating Rule 2.03 and Rule 3.01 of CPR. Held: Yes. The Court agreed with the IBP’s resolution, holding that the practice of law is not a business but a profession in which duty to public service and not money is the primary consideration. By advertising himself as an “Annulment Specialist,” he undermined the stability and sanctity of marriage —encouraging people who might have otherwise been disinclined and would have refrained from dissolving their marriage bonds, to do so. In addition, although solicitation of legal business is not altogether proscribed, for solicitation to be proper, it must be compatible with the dignity of the legal profession which the petitioner failed to do. Therefore, the Court suspended the petitioner from the practice of law for one year and sternly warned him that a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.
MAURICIO C. ULEP vs. THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC. Facts: The petitioner prays that this Court order the respondent to cease and desist from issuing advertisements similar to or of the same tenor as that of Annexes A and B of the petition and to perpetually prohibit persons or entities from making advertisements pertaining to the exercise of the law profession other than those allowed by law. The two Annexes provided the following: Annex A SECRET MARRIAGE? P560.00 for a valid marriage. Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE. ANNULMENT. VISA. THE Please call: 521-0767, LEGAL 5217232, 5222041 CLINIC, INC. 8:30 am-6:00 pm 7-Flr. Victoria Bldg. UN Ave., Mla
Annex B GUAM DIVORCE DON PARKINSON an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning Monday to Friday during office hours. Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special Retiree's Visa. Declaration of Absence. Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children. Call Marivic. THE 7 F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave. LEGAL Ermita, Manila nr. US Embassy CLINIC, INC. 1 Tel. 521-7232521-7251 522-2041; 521-0767
The petitioner claimed that the advertisements are unethical and demeaning of the law profession and destructive of the confidence of the community in the integrity of the members of the bar and that as a member of the legal profession, he is ashamed and offended by such advertisements. In contrast, the respondents, in their comment, argued that they are not engaged in the practice of law but in the rendering of legal support services thru paralegals with the use of modern computers and electronic machines. Furthermore, they contested that even if these are legal services, the act of advertising should be allowed under Bates vs. State Bar of Arizona. The Court, Issue: Whether or not the services offered by the Legal Clinic constitutes the practice of law and whether or not advertising of such services violates the Code of Professional Responsibility.
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