ESCUETA, petitioners, s. T!E !ONORA"LE SANDIGAN"A#AN, $irst Di ision, REPU"LIC O$ T!E P!ILIPPINES, ACTING T!ROUG! T!E PRESIDENTIAL CO%%ISSION ON GOOD GOVERN%ENT, and RAUL S. ROCO, respondents. Facts: The matters raised herein are an offshoot of the institution of the Complaint on July 31, 1987 before the Sandi anbayan by the !epublic of the "hilippines, throu h the "residential Commission on #ood #o$ernment a ainst %duardo &' Co(uan co, Jr', as one of the principal defendants, for the reco$ery of alle ed ill) otten *ealth, *hich includes shares of stoc+s in the named corporations in "C## Case ,o' 33 -Ci$il Case ,o' ..33/, entitled 0!epublic of the "hilippines $ersus %duardo Co(uan co, et al'0 1mon the dependants named in the case are herein petitioners Teodoro !e ala, %d ardo J' 1n ara, 1$elino 2' Cru3, Jose C' Concepcion, !o elio 1' 2inluan, 2ictor "' 4a3atin, %duardo 5' %scueta and "ara(a #' 6ayudini, and herein pri$ate respondent !aul S' !oco, *ho all *ere then partners of the la* firm 1n ara, 1bello, Concepcion, !e ala and Cru3 4a* 7ffices -hereinafter referred to as the 1CC!1 4a* Firm/' 1CC!1 4a* Firm performed le al ser$ices for its clients, *hich included, amon others, the or ani3ation and ac8uisition of business associations and9or or ani3ations, *ith the correlati$e and incidental ser$ices *here its members acted as incorporators, or simply, as stoc+holders' &ore specifically, in the performance of these ser$ices, the members of the la* firm deli$ered to its client documents *hich substantiate the client:s e8uity holdin s, i'e', stoc+ certificates endorsed in blan+ representin the shares re istered in the client:s name, and a blan+ deed of trust or assi nment co$erin said shares' ;n the course of their dealin s *ith their clients, the members of the la* firm ac8uire information relati$e to the assets of clients as *ell as their personal and business circumstances' !espondent "C## set the follo*in conditions precedent for the e<clusion of petitioners, namely: -a/ the disclosure of the identity of its clients= -b/ submission of documents substantiatin the la*yer)client relationship= and -c/ the submission of the deeds of assi nments petitioners e<ecuted in fa$or of its client co$erin their respecti$e shareholdin s' ;ssue: &ay the petitioners in$o+e the attorney) client pri$ile e in refusin to diclose the identity of their clients> 6eld: ?es' 1s a matter of public policy, a client:s identity should not be shrouded in mystery' 5nder this premise, the eneral rule in our (urisdiction as *ell as in the 5nited States is that a la*yer may not in$o+e the pri$ile e and refuse to di$ul e the name or identity of this client' The reasons ad$anced for the eneral rule are *ell established' First, the court has a ri ht to +no* that the client *hose pri$ile ed information is sou ht to be protected is flesh and blood' Second, the pri$ile e be ins to e<ist only after the attorney)client relationship has been established' The attorney)client pri$ile e does not attach until there is a client' Third, the pri$ile e enerally pertains to the sub(ect matter of the relationship' Finally, due process considerations re8uire that the opposin party should, as a eneral rule, +no* his ad$ersary' 01 party suin or sued is entitled to +no* *ho his opponent is'0 6e cannot be obli ed to rope in the dar+ a ainst un+no*n forces' ,ot*ithstandin these considerations, the eneral rule is ho*e$er 8ualified by some important

therefore. petitioners a$e their professional ad$ice in the form of. In Re S'(ip F1CTS T*o separate "etitions *ere filed before this Court 1/ by the sur$i$in partners of 1tty' 1le<ander Sycip. particularly the third. such that disclosure *ould then re$eal client confidences' The circumstances in$ol$in the en a ement of la*yers in the case at bench. and @/ by the sur$i$in partners of 1tty' 6erminio 73aeta. by no less than the "C## itself' The +ey lies in the three specific conditions laid do*n by the "C## *hich constitutes petitioners: tic+et to non)prosecution should they accede thereto: -a/ the disclosure of the identity of its clients= -b/ submission of documents substantiatin the la*yer)client relationship= and -c/ the submission of the deeds of assi nment petitioners e<ecuted in fa$or of their clients co$erin their respecti$e shareholdin s' From these conditions. 197E. in their capacity as la*yers. a partnership is not prohibited from continuin its business under a firm name . the alle ed accumulation of ill) otten *ealth in the aforementioned corporations' Furthermore.n turn. disclosure of the alle ed client:s name *ould lead to establish said client:s connection *ith the $ery fact in issue of the case. under the third main e<ception. re ardin the financial and corporate structure. *hich is pri$ile ed information. i'e'. in the *ords of Baird. by re$ealin the client:s name. the said name *ould furnish the only lin+ that *ould form the chain of testimony necessary to con$ict an indi$idual of a crime. *here none other*ise e<ists' . 197E. therefore. the names of partners *ho had passed a*ay' . both "etitions *ere ordered consolidated' "etitioners 1' base their petitions on the follo*in ar uments: 5nder the la*. prayin that they be allo*ed to continue usin . 197C. ha$e a le itimate fear that identifyin their clients *ould implicate them in the $ery acti$ity for *hich le al ad$ice had been sou ht.n the Court:s !esolution of September @. frame*or+ and set)up of the corporations in 8uestion' . clearly re$eal that the instant case falls under at least t*o e<ceptions to the eneral rule' First.e<ceptions' 1/ Client identity is pri$ile ed *here a stron probability e<ists that re$ealin the client:s name *ould implicate that client in the $ery acti$ity for *hich he sou ht the la*yer:s ad$ice' @/ Ahere disclosure *ould open the client to ci$il liability= his identity is pri$ile ed' 3/ Ahere the o$ernment:s la*yers ha$e no case a ainst an attorney:s client unless. it constituted an inte ral part of their duties as la*yers' "etitioners. re$elation of the client:s name *ould ob$iously pro$ide the necessary lin+ for the prosecution to build its case.t is the lin+. information relatin to the identity of a client may fall *ithin the ambit of the pri$ile e *hen the client:s name itself has an independent si nificance. protects the sub(ect matter or the substance -*ithout *hich there *ould be not attorney)client relationship/' The lin+ bet*een the alle ed criminal offense and the le al ad$ice or le al ser$ice sou ht *as duly establishes in the case at bar. because the pri$ile e. *e can readily deduce that the clients indeed consulted the petitioners. the aforementioned deeds of assi nment co$erin their client:s shareholdin s' There is no 8uestion that the preparation of the aforestated documents *as part and parcel of petitioners: le al ser$ice to their clients' &ore important. as stated earlier. 0that *ould ine$itably form the chain of testimony necessary to con$ict the -client/ of a ' ' ' crime'0 &. the client:s name is pri$ile ed' Summari3in these e<ceptions. amon others. *ho died on February 1D. in the names of their firms. *ho died on &ay C.

SS5% A7.n re ulatin other professions. the le islature has authori3ed the adoption of firm names *ithout any restriction as to the use. of the name of a deceased partner= 3' The Canons of "rofessional %thics are not trans ressed by the continued use of the name of a deceased partner in the firm name of a la* partnership= D' There is no possibility of imposition or deception because the deaths of their respecti$e deceased partners *ere *ell)publici3ed in all ne*spapers of eneral circulation for se$eral days= the stationeries no* bein used by them carry ne* letterheads indicatin the years *hen their respecti$e deceased partners *ere connected *ith the firm= petitioners *ill notify all leadin national and international la* directories of the fact of their respecti$e deceased partners: deaths' C' .dentifies the indi$idual members of the firm' E' The continued use of a deceased partner:s name in the firm name of la* partnerships has been consistently allo*ed by 5'S' Courts and is an accepted practice in the le al profession of most countries in the *orld' . or at least in the #reater &anila 1rea.t is a mere relationship or association for a particular purpose' . it is unethical for the la* firms to continue usin the name a deceased partner' 6%4F ?%S' This is not the first time that this issue has reached the Supreme Court' . 1rticle 18D. the Court has ordered a ainst the practice of includin a deceased partner:s name in a firm name' The court said in $ie* of the personal and confidential nature of the relations bet*een attorney and client. it has been stated that 0the use of a nom de plume. and the hi h standards demanded in the canons of professional ethics.*hich includes the name of a deceased partner= in fact. in such firm name. of the Ci$il Code may not be applied' The article cannot be applied' . of the indi$idual property of the deceased partner for debts contracted by the person or partnership *hich continues the business usin the partnership name or the name of the deceased partner as part thereof' 1lso. assumed or trade name in la* practice is improper' The usual reason i$en for different standards of conduct bein applicable to the practice of la* from those pertainin to business is that the la* is a profession' .t is not a partnership formed for the purpose of carryin on trade or business or of holdin property'0 Thus. treats more of a commercial partnership *ith a ood *ill to protect rather than of a professional partnership' Second. no practice should be allo*ed *hich e$en in a remote de ree could i$e rise to the possibility of deception' The court a$e $arious reasons *hy such a practice should not be allo*ed' First.n the past. of the Ci$il Code e<plicitly sanctions the practice= @' . 1rticle 18D.t primarily deals *ith the e<emption from liability in cases of a dissol$ed partnership.o local custom prohibits the continued use of a deceased partner:s name in a professional firm:s name= there is no custom or usa e in the "hilippines. 1rticle 18D. *hich reco ni3es that the name of a la* firm necessarily . a partnership for the practice of la* cannot be li+ened to partnerships formed by other professionals or for business' 1 partnership for the practice of la* is not a le al entity' . such as accountancy and en ineerin .

ho*e$er.#4?. petitioners cannot rely on Canon 33 of the Canons of "rofessional %thics of the 1merican Bar 1ssociation0 in support of their petitions' ..dentify the more acti$e and9or more senior members or partners of the la* firm' The possibility of deception upon the public. under our custom. real or conse8uential.t is true that Canon 33 does not consider as unethical the continued use of the name of a deceased or former partner in the firm name of a la* partnership *hen such a practice is permissible by local custom but the Canon *arns that care should be ta+en that no imposition or deception is practiced throu h this use' .t must be conceded that in the "hilippines. be included in the listin of indi$iduals *ho ha$e been partners in their firms indicatin the years durin *hich they ser$ed as such' . ."0 and 07G1%T10 from their respecti$e firm names' Those names may.Third. no local custom permits or allo*s the continued use of a deceased or former partner:s name in the firm names of la* partnerships' Firm names. *here the name of a deceased partner continues to be used cannot be ruled out' 1 person in search of le al counsel mi ht be uided by the familiar rin of a distin uished name appearin in a firm title' 1CC7!F. the petitions filed herein are denied and petitioners ad$ised to drop the names 0S?C.