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A.M. No.

1418 August 31, 1976


JOSE MISAMIN, complainant, vs. ATTORNEY MIGUEL A.
SAN JUAN, respondent.
RESOLUTION

his profession. He contends that his appearance as counsel,


while holding a government position, is not among the grounds
provided by the Rules of Court for the suspension or removal of
attorneys. The respondent also denies having conspired with
the complainant Misamin's attorney in the NLRC proceeding in
order to trick the complainant into signing an admission that he
had been paid his separation pay. Likewise, the respondent
denies giving illegal protection to members of the Chinese
community in Sta. Cruz, Manila." 1

FERNANDO, J.:
It certainly fails to reflect credit on a captain in the Metro Manila
Police Force and a member of the bar, respondent Miguel A.
San Juan, to be charged with being the legal representative of
certain establishments allegedly owned by Filipinos of Chinese
descent and, what is worse, with coercing an employee,
complainant Jose Misamin, to agree to drop the charges filed by
him against his employer Tan Hua, owner of New Cesar's
Bakery, for the violation of the Minimum Wage Law. There was
a denial on the part of respondent. The matter was referred to
the Office of the Solicitor-General for investigation, report and
recommendation. Thereafter, it would seem there was a change
of heart on the part of complainant. That could very well be the
explanation for the non- appearance of the lawyer employed by
him at the scheduled hearings. The efforts of the Solicitor
General to get at the bottom of things were thus set at naught.
Under the circumstances, the outcome of such referral was to
be expected. For the law is rather exacting in its requirement
that there be competent and adequate proof to make out a case
for malpractice. Necessarily, the recommendation was one of
the complaints being dismissed, This is one of those instances
then where this Court is left with hardly any choice. Respondent
cannot be found guilty of malpractice.
Respondent, as noted in the Report of the Solicitor-General,
"admits having appeared as counsel for the New Cesar's Bakery
in the proceeding before the NLRC while he held office as
captain in the Manila Metropolitan Police. However, he contends
that the law did not prohibit him from such isolated exercise of

Then came a detailed account in such Report of the


proceedings: "Pursuant to the resolution of this Honorable Court
of March 21, 1975, the Solicitor General's Office set the case for
investigation on July 2 and 3, 1975. The counsel for the
complainant failed to appear, and the investigation was reset to
August 15, 1975. At the latter date, the same counsel for
complainant was absent. In both instances, the said counsel did
not file written motion for postponement but merely sent the
complainant to explain the reason for his absence. When the
case was again called for hearing on October 16, 1975, counsel
for complainant failed once more to appear. The complainant
who was present explained that his lawyer was busy "preparing
an affidavit in the Court of First Instance of Manila." When asked
if he was willing to proceed with the hearing' in the absence of
his counsel, the complainant declared, apparently without any
prodding, that he wished his complaint withdrawn. He explained
that he brought the present action in an outburst of anger
believing that the respondent San Juan took active part in the
unjust dismissal of his complaint with the NLRC. The
complainant added that after reexamining his case, he believed
the respondent to be without fault and a truly good person." 2
The Report of the Solicitor-General did not take into account
respondent's practice of his profession notwithstanding his
being a police official, as "this is not embraced in Section 27,
Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides the
grounds for the suspension or removal of an attorney. The
respondent's
appearance
at
the
labor
proceeding
notwithstanding that he was an incumbent police officer of the

City of Manila may appropriately be referred to the National


Police Commission and the Civil Service Commission." 3 As a
matter of fact, separate complaints on this ground have been
filed and are under investigation by the Office of the Mayor of
Manila and the National Police Commission." As for the charges
that respondent conspired with complainant's counsel to
mislead complainant to admitting having' received his
separation pay and for giving illegal protection to aliens, it is
understandable why the Report of the Solicitor-General
recommended that they be dismissed for lack of evidence.

as a member of the bar. should refrain from laying himself open


to such doubts and misgivings as to his fitness not only for the
position occupied by him but also for membership in the bar. He
is not worthy of membership in an honorable profession who
does not even take care that his honor remains unsullied
WHEREFORE, this administrative complaint against respondent
Miguel A. San Juan is dismissed for not having been duly
proved. Let a copy of this resolution be spread on his record.
Barredo, Antonio, Aquino and Concepcion, Jr., JJ., concur

The conclusion arrived at by the Solicitor-General that the


complaint cannot prosper is in accordance with the settled law.
As far back as in re Tionko, 4 decided in 1922, the authoritative
doctrine was set forth by Justice Malcolm in this wise: "The
serious consequences of disbarment or suspension should
follow only where there is a clear preponderance of evidence
against the respondent. The presumption is that the attorney is
innocent of the charges preferred and has performed his duty as
an officer of the court in accordance with his oath." 5 The Tionko
doctrine has been subsequently adhered to. 6
This resolution does not in any wise take into consideration
whatever violations there might have been of the Civil Service
Law in view of respondent practicing his profession while
holding his position of Captain in the Metro Manila police force.
That is a matter to be decided in the administrative proceeding
as noted in the recommendation of the Solicitor-General.
Nonetheless, while the charges have to be dismissed, still it
would not be inappropriate for respondent member of the bar to
avoid all appearances of impropriety. Certainly, the fact that the
suspicion could be entertained that far from living true to the
concept of a public office being a public trust, he did make use,
not so much of whatever legal knowledge he possessed, but the
influence that laymen could assume was inherent in the office
held not only to frustrate the beneficent statutory scheme that
labor be justly compensated but also to be at the beck and call
of what the complainant called alien interest, is a matter that
should not pass unnoticed. Respondent, in his future actuations

A.C. No. 7430

February 15, 2012

MARTIN LAHM III and JAMES P. CONCEPCION,


Complainants, vs. LABOR ARBITER JOVENCIO Ll.
MAYOR, JR., Respondent.
RESOLUTION
REYES, J.:
Before us is a verified complaint1 filed by Martin Lahm III and
James P. Concepcion (complainants) praying for the disbarment
of Labor Arbiter Jovencio Ll. Mayor, Jr. (respondent) for alleged
gross misconduct and violation of lawyers oath.
On June 27, 2007, the respondent filed his Comment2 to the
complaint.
In a Resolution3 dated July 18, 2007, the Court referred the
case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for
investigation, report and recommendation.
The antecedent facts, as summarized in the Report and
Recommendation4 dated September 19, 2008 of Commissioner
Romualdo A. Din, Jr. of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline,
are as follows:
On September 5, 2006 a certain David Edward Toze filed a
complaint for illegal dismissal before the Labor Arbitration
Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission against the
members of the Board of Trustees of the International School,
Manila. The same was docketed as NLRC-NCR Case No. 0007381-06 and raffled to the sala of the respondent. Impleaded
as among the party-respondents are the complainants in the
instant case.
On September 7, 2006, David Edward Toze filed a Verified
Motion for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order
and/or Preliminary Injunction Against the Respondents. The said

Motion was set for hearing on September 12, 2006 at 10:00 in


the morning. A day after, on September 8, 2006, the counsel for
the complainants herein entered its appearance and asked for
additional time to oppose and make a comment to the Verified
Motion for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order
and/or Preliminary Injunction Against the Respondents of David
Edward Toze.
Thereafter, the respondent issued an Order dated September
14, 2006 that directs the parties in the said case to maintain the
status quo ante. The complainants herein sought the
reconsideration of the Order dated September 14, 200[6] x x x.
xxxx
On account of the Order dated September 14, 2006, David
Edward Toze was immediately reinstated and assumed his
former position as superintendent of the International School
Manila.
The pending incidents with the above-mentioned illegal
dismissal case were not resolved, however, the scheduled
hearing for the issuance of a preliminary injunction on
September 20, 2006 and September 27, 2006 was postponed.
On January 19, 2007, the co-respondents of the complainants
herein in the said illegal dismissal case filed a motion for an
early resolution of their motion to dismiss the said case, but the
respondent instead issued an Order dated February 6, 2007
requiring the parties to appear in his Office on February 27,
2007 at 10:00 in the morning in order to thresh out David
Edward Toze claim of moral and exemplary damages.
xxxx
The respondent on the other maintains that the Order dated
September 14, 2006 was issued by him on account of [the]
Verified Motion for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining
Order and/or Preliminary Injunction Against the Respondents

that was filed by David Edward Toze, and of the Entry of


Appearance with Motion for Additional Time to File Comment
that was thereafter filed by the counsel for the herein
complainants in the illegal dismissal case pending before the
respondent.
The respondent maintains that in order to prevent irreparable
damage on the person of David Edward Toze, and on account
of the urgency of [the] Verified Motion for the Issuance of a
Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction
Against the Respondents of David Edward Toze, and that the
counsel for respondents in the illegal dismissal case have asked
for a relatively long period of fifteen days for a resetting, he
(respondent) found merit in issuing the Order dated September
14, 2006 that requires the parties to maintain the status quo
ante.
xxx
The respondent argues that [the] instant case should be
dismissed for being premature since the aforementioned illegal
dismissal case is still pending before the Labor Arbitration
Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission, that the
instant case is a subterfuge in order to compel the respondent to
inhibit himself in resolving the said illegal dismissal case
because the complainants did not assail the Order dated
September 14, 2006 before the Court of Appeals under Rule 65
of the Rules of Court.5
Based on the foregoing, the Investigating Commissioner
concluded that: (1) the grounds cited by the respondent to justify
his issuance of the status quo ante order lacks factual basis and
is speculative; (2) the respondent does not have the authority to
issue a temporary restraining order and/or a preliminary
injunction; and (3) the inordinate delay in the resolution of the
motion for reconsideration directed against the September 14,
2006 Order showed an orchestrated effort to keep the status
quo ante until the expiration of David Edward Tozes
employment contract.

Accordingly, the Investigating Commissioner recommended


that:
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that the
respondent be SUSPENDED for a period of six (6) months with
a warning that a repetition of the same or similar incident will be
dealt with more severe penalty.6
On December 11, 2008, the IBP Board of Governors issued
Resolution No. XVIII-2008-6447 which adopted and approved
the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. The
said resolution further pointed out that the Board of Governors
had previously recommended the respondents suspension from
the practice of law for three years in Administrative Case (A.C.)
No. 7314 entitled "Mary Ann T. Flores v. Atty. Jovencio Ll.
Mayor, Jr.".
The respondent sought to reconsider the foregoing disposition,8
but it was denied by the IBP Board of Governors in its
Resolution No. XIX-2011-476 dated June 26, 2011.
The case is now before us for confirmation. We agree with the
IBP Board of Governors that the respondent should be
sanctioned.
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides that a
lawyer may be removed or suspended from the practice of law,
inter alia, for gross misconduct and violation of the lawyers
oath. Thus:
Section 27. Attorneys removed or suspended by Supreme Court
on what grounds. A member of the bar may be removed or
suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for
any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such
office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of
a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath
which he is required to take before the admission to practice, or
for a wilful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court,
or for corruptly or wilful appearing as an attorney for a party to a

case without authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases


at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid
agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice. (emphasis supplied)
A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct
showing any fault or deficiency in his moral character, honesty,
probity or good demeanor.9 Gross misconduct is any
inexcusable, shameful or flagrant unlawful conduct on the part
of a person concerned with the administration of justice; i.e.,
conduct prejudicial to the rights of the parties or to the right
determination of the cause. The motive behind this conduct is
generally a premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose.10
Intrinsically, the instant petition wants this Court to impose
disciplinary sanction against the respondent as a member of the
bar. However, the grounds asserted by the complainants in
support of the administrative charges against the respondent
are intrinsically connected with the discharge of the
respondents quasi-judicial functions.
Nonetheless, it cannot be discounted that the respondent, as a
labor arbiter, is a public officer entrusted to resolve labor
controversies. It is well settled that the Court may suspend or
disbar a lawyer for any conduct on his part showing his
unfitness for the confidence and trust which characterize the
attorney and client relations, and the practice of law before the
courts, or showing such a lack of personal honesty or of good
moral character as to render him unworthy of public
confidence.11
Thus, the fact that the charges against the respondent were
based on his acts committed in the discharge of his functions as
a labor arbiter would not hinder this Court from imposing
disciplinary sanctions against him.
The Code of Professional Responsibility does not cease to
apply to a lawyer simply because he has joined the government
service. In fact, by the express provision of Canon 6 thereof, the
rules governing the conduct of lawyers "shall apply to lawyers in

government service in the discharge of their official tasks."


Thus, where a lawyers misconduct as a government official is of
such nature as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or to show
moral delinquency, then he may be disciplined as a member of
the bar on such grounds.12
In Atty. Vitriolo v. Atty. Dasig,13 we stressed that:
Generally speaking, a lawyer who holds a government office
may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct in
the discharge of his duties as a government official. However, if
said misconduct as a government official also constitutes a
violation of his oath as a lawyer, then he may be disciplined by
this Court as a member of the Bar.
In this case, the record shows that the respondent, on various
occasions, during her tenure as OIC, Legal Services, CHED,
attempted to extort from Betty C. Mangohon, Rosalie B. Dela
Torre, Rocella G. Eje, and Jacqueline N. Ng sums of money as
consideration for her favorable action on their pending
applications or requests before her office. The evidence remains
unrefuted, given the respondents failure, despite the
opportunities afforded her by this Court and the IBP
Commission on Bar Discipline to comment on the charges. We
find that respondents misconduct as a lawyer of the CHED is of
such a character as to affect her qualification as a member of
the Bar, for as a lawyer, she ought to have known that it was
patently unethical and illegal for her to demand sums of money
as consideration for the approval of applications and requests
awaiting action by her office.
xxx
A member of the Bar who assumes public office does not shed
his professional obligations. Hence, the Code of Professional
Responsibility, promulgated on June 21, 1988, was not meant to
govern the conduct of private practitioners alone, but of all
lawyers including those in government service. This is clear
from Canon 6 of said Code. Lawyers in government are public

servants who owe the utmost fidelity to the public service. Thus,
they should be more sensitive in the performance of their
professional obligations, as their conduct is subject to the everconstant scrutiny of the public.

although the same acts may be erroneous. True, a judge may


not be disciplined for error of judgment absent proof that such
error was made with a conscious and deliberate intent to cause
an injustice.17

For a lawyer in public office is expected not only to refrain from


any act or omission which might tend to lessen the trust and
confidence of the citizenry in government, she must also uphold
the dignity of the legal profession at all times and observe a high
standard of honesty and fair dealing. Otherwise said, a lawyer in
government service is a keeper of the public faith and is
burdened with high degree of social responsibility, perhaps
higher than her brethren in private practice.14 (emphasis
supplied and citations omitted)

While a judge may not always be held liable for ignorance of the
law for every erroneous order that he renders, it is also
axiomatic that when the legal principle involved is sufficiently
basic, lack of conversance with it constitutes gross ignorance of
the law. Indeed, even though a judge may not always be
subjected to disciplinary action for every erroneous order or
decision he renders, that relative immunity is not a license to be
negligent or abusive and arbitrary in performing his adjudicatory
prerogatives.18

In Tadlip v. Atty. Borres, Jr.,15 we ruled that an administrative


case against a lawyer for acts committed in his capacity as
provincial adjudicator of the Department of Agrarian Reform
Regional Arbitration Board may be likened to administrative
cases against judges considering that he is part of the quasijudicial system of our government.

When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office to


know and to simply apply it. Anything less would be constitutive
of gross ignorance of the law.19

This Court made a similar pronouncement in Buehs v.


Bacatan16 where the respondent-lawyer was suspended from
the practice of law for acts he committed in his capacity as an
accredited Voluntary Arbitrator of the National Conciliation and
Mediation Board.

Acting on the motion for the issuance of a temporary restraining


order and/or writ of preliminary injunction, the respondent issued
the September 14, 2006 Order requiring the parties to maintain
the status quo ante until the said motion had been resolved. It
should be stressed, however, that at the time the said motion
was filed, the 2005 Rules of Procedure of the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC) is already in effect.

Here, the respondent, being part of the quasi-judicial system of


our government, performs official functions that are akin to those
of judges. Accordingly, the present controversy may be
approximated to administrative cases of judges whose
decisions, including the manner of rendering the same, were
made subject of administrative cases.
As a matter of public policy, not every error or mistake of a
judge in the performance of his official duties renders him liable.
In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a
judge in his official capacity do not always constitute misconduct

In the case at bench, we find the respondent guilty of gross


ignorance of the law.

Admittedly, under the 1990 Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, the


labor arbiter has, in proper cases, the authority to issue writs of
preliminary injunction and/or restraining orders. Section 1, Rule
XI of the 1990 Rules of Procedure of the NLRC provides that:
Section 1. Injunction in Ordinary Labor Disputes. A preliminary
injunction or restraining order may be granted by the
Commission through its Divisions pursuant to the provisions of
paragraph (e) of Article 218 of the Labor Code, as amended,

when it is established on the basis of the sworn allegations in


the petition that the acts complained of involving or arising from
any labor dispute before the Commission, which, if not
restrained or performed forthwith, may cause grave or
irreparable damage to any party or render ineffectual any
decision in favor of such party.

of preliminary injunctions and/or writ of preliminary injunction, at


present, is limited to reception of evidence as may be delegated
by the NLRC. Thus, Section 4, Rule X of the 2005 Rules of
Procedure of the NLRC provides that:

If necessary, the Commission may require the petitioner to post


a bond and writ of preliminary injunction or restraining order
shall become effective only upon the approval of the bond which
shall answer for any damage that may be suffered by the party
enjoined, if it is finally determined that the petitioner is not
entitled thereto.

Section 4. Reception of Evidence; Delegation. - The reception of


evidence for the application of a writ of injunction may be
delegated by the Commission to any of its Labor Arbiters who
shall conduct such hearings in such places as he may
determine to be accessible to the parties and their witnesses,
and shall thereafter submit his report and recommendation to
the Commission within fifteen (15) days from such delegation.
(emphasis supplied)

The foregoing ancillary power may be exercised by the Labor


Arbiters only as an incident to the cases pending before them in
order to preserve the rights of the parties during the pendency of
the case, but excluding labor disputes involving strike or lockout.
(emphasis supplied)

The foregoing rule is clear and leaves no room for interpretation.


However, the respondent, in violation of the said rule,
vehemently insist that he has the authority to issue writs of
preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order. On
this point, the Investigating Commissioner aptly ruled that:

Nevertheless, under the 2005 Rules of Procedure of the NLRC,


the labor arbiters no longer has the authority to issue writs of
preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining orders.
Under Section 1, Rule X of the 2005 Rules of Procedure of the
NLRC, only the NLRC, through its Divisions, may issue writs of
preliminary injunction and temporary restraining orders. Thus:

The respondent should, in the first place, not entertained


Edward Tozes Verified Motion for the Issuance of a Temporary
Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction Against the
Respondents. He should have denied it outright on the basis of
Section 1, Rule X of the 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the
National Labor Relations Commission.

Section 1. Injunction in Ordinary Labor Disputes. - A preliminary


injunction or restraining order may be granted by the
Commission through its Divisions pursuant to the provisions of
paragraph (e) of Article 218 of the Labor Code, as amended,
when it is established on the basis of the sworn allegations in
the petition that the acts complained of involving or arising from
any labor dispute before the Commission, which, if not
restrained or performed forthwith, may cause grave or
irreparable damage to any party or render ineffectual any
decision in favor of such party. (emphasis supplied)

xxxx

The role of the labor arbiters, with regard to the issuance of writs

The respondent, being a Labor Arbiter of the Arbitration Branch


of the National Labor Relations Commission, should have been
familiar with Sections 1 and 4 of the 2005 Revised Rules of
procedure of the National Labor Relations Commission. The
first, states that it is the Commission of the [NLRC] that may
grant a preliminary injunction or restraining order. While the
second, states [that] Labor Arbiters [may] conduct hearings on
the application of preliminary injunction or restraining order only
in a delegated capacity.20

What made matters worse is the unnecessary delay on the part


of the respondent in resolving the motion for reconsideration of
the September 14, 2006 Order. The unfounded insistence of the
respondent on his supposed authority to issue writs of
preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order, taken
together with the delay in the resolution of the said motion for
reconsideration, would clearly show that the respondent
deliberately intended to cause prejudice to the complainants.
On this score, the Investigating Commissioner keenly observed
that:
The Commission is very much disturbed with the effect of the
Order dated September 14, 2006 and the delay in the resolution
of the pending incidents in the illegal dismissal case before the
respondent.
Conspicuously, Section 3 (Term of Contract) of the Employment
Contract between David Edward Toze and International School
Manila provides that David Edward Toze will render work as a
superintendent for the school years August 2005-July 2006 and
August 2006-July 2007.
The Order dated September 14, 2006 in effect reinstates David
Edward Toze as superintendent of International School of
Manila until the resolution of the formers Verified Motion for the
Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary
Injunction Against the Respondents.
Since the Employment Contract between David Edward Toze
and International School Manila is about to expire or end on
August 2007, prudence dictates that the respondent expediently
resolved [sic] the merits of David Edward Tozes Verified Motion
for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or
Preliminary Injunction Against the Respondents because any
delay in the resolution thereof would result to undue benefit in
favor of David Edward Toze and unwarranted prejudice to
International School Manila.

xxxx
At the time the respondent inhibited himself from resolving the
illegal dismissal case before him, there are barely four (4)
months left with the Employment Contract between David
Edward Toze and International School Manila.
From the foregoing, there is an inordinate delay in the resolution
of the reconsideration of the Order dated September 14, 2006
that does not escape the attention of this Commission. There
appears an orchestrated effort to delay the resolution of the
reconsideration of the Order dated September 14, 2006 and
keep status quo ante until expiration of David Edward Tozes
Employment Contract with International School Manila come
August 2007, thereby rendering the illegal dismissal case moot
and academic.
xxxx
Furthermore, the procrastination exhibited by the respondent in
the resolution of [the] assailed Order x x x should not be
countenanced, specially, under the circumstance that is
attendant with the term of the Employment Contract between
David Edward Toze and International School Manila. The
respondents lackadaisical attitude in sitting over the pending
incident before him for more than five (5) months only to
thereafter inhibit himself therefrom, shows the respondents
disregard to settled rules and jurisprudence.1wphi1 Failure to
decide a case or resolve a motion within the reglementary
period constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition
of administrative sanction against the erring magistrate x x x.
The respondent, being a Labor Arbiter, is akin to judges, and
enjoined to decide a case with dispatch. Any delay, no matter
how short, in the disposition of cases undermine the peoples
faith and confidence in the judiciary x x x. 21
Indubitably, the respondent failed to live up to his duties as a
lawyer in consonance with the strictures of the lawyers oath and
the Code of Professional Responsibility, thereby occasioning

sanction from this Court.


In stubbornly insisting that he has the authority to issue writs of
preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order
contrary to the clear import of the 2005 Rules of Procedure of
the NLRC, the respondent violated Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which mandates lawyers to "obey
the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal
processes".
All told, we find the respondent to have committed gross
ignorance of the law, his acts as a labor arbiter in the case
below being inexcusable thus unquestionably resulting into
prejudice to the rights of the parties therein.
Having established the foregoing, we now proceed to determine
the appropriate penalty to be imposed.
Under Rule 14022 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M.
No. 01-8-10-SC, gross ignorance of the law is a serious
charge,23 punishable by a fine of more than P20,000.00, but not
exceeding P40,000.00, suspension from office without salary
and other benefits for more than three but not exceeding six
months, or dismissal from the service.24
In Tadlip v. Atty. Borres, Jr., the respondent-lawyer and
provincial adjudicator, found guilty of gross ignorance of the law,
was suspended from the practice of law for six months.
Additionally, in parallel cases,25 a judge found guilty of gross
ignorance of the law was meted the penalty of suspension for
six months.
Here, the IBP Board of Governors recommended that the
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six
months with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar
incident would be dealt with more severe penalty. We adopt the
foregoing recommendation.
This Court notes that the IBP Board of Governors had

previously recommended the respondents suspension from the


practice of law for three years in A.C. No. 7314, entitled "Mary
Ann T. Flores v. Atty. Jovencio Ll. Mayor, Jr.". This case,
however, is still pending.
It cannot be gainsaid that since public office is a public trust, the
ethical conduct demanded upon lawyers in the government
service is more exacting than the standards for those in private
practice. Lawyers in the government service are subject to
constant public scrutiny under norms of public accountability.
They also bear the heavy burden of having to put aside their
private interest in favor of the interest of the public; their private
activities should not interfere with the discharge of their official
functions.26
At this point, the respondent should be reminded of our
exhortation in Republic of the Philippines v. Judge Caguioa, 27
thus:
Ignorance of the law is the mainspring of injustice. Judges are
called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance
with statutes and procedural rules. Basic rules should be at the
palm of their hands. Their inexcusable failure to observe basic
laws and rules will render them administratively liable.1wphi1
Where the law involved is simple and elementary, lack of
conversance with it constitutes gross ignorance of the law.
"Verily, for transgressing the elementary jurisdictional limits of
his court, respondent should be administratively liable for gross
ignorance of the law."
"When the inefficiency springs from a failure to consider so
basic and elemental a rule, a law or a principle in the discharge
of his functions, a judge is either too incompetent and
undeserving of the position and title he holds or he is too vicious
that the oversight or omission was deliberately done in bad faith
and in grave abuse of judicial authority."28 (citations omitted)
WHEREFORE, finding respondent Atty. Jovencio Ll. Mayor, Jr.
guilty of gross ignorance of the law in violation of his lawyers

oath and of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Court


resolved to SUSPEND respondent from the practice of law for a
period of six (6) months, with a WARNING that commission of
the same or similar offense in the future will result in the
imposition of a more severe penalty.
Let copies of this Resolution be furnished the IBP, as well as the
Office of the Bar Confidant and the Court Administrator who
shall circulate it to all courts for their information and guidance
and likewise be entered in the record of the respondent as
attorney.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. Nos. 151809-12. April 12, 2005


PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT
(PCGG),
Petitioners,
vs. SANDIGANBAYAN
(Fifth
Division), LUCIO C. TAN, CARMEN KHAO TAN, FLORENCIO
T. SANTOS, NATIVIDAD P. SANTOS, DOMINGO CHUA, TAN
HUI NEE, MARIANO TAN ENG LIAN, ESTATE OF BENITO
TAN KEE HIONG (represented by TARCIANA C. TAN),
FLORENCIO N. SANTOS, JR., HARRY C. TAN, TAN ENG
CHAN, CHUNG POE KEE, MARIANO KHOO, MANUEL
KHOO, MIGUEL KHOO, JAIME KHOO, ELIZABETH KHOO,
CELSO RANOLA, WILLIAM T. WONG, ERNESTO B. LIM,
BENJAMIN T. ALBACITA, WILLY CO, ALLIED BANKING
CORP., ALLIED LEASING AND FINANCE CORPORATION,
ASIA BREWERY, INC., BASIC HOLDINGS CORP.,
FOREMOST FARMS, INC., FORTUNE TOBACCO CORP.,
GRANDSPAN
DEVELOPMENT
CORP.,
HIMMEL
INDUSTRIES, IRIS HOLDINGS AND DEVELOPMENT CORP.,
JEWEL HOLDINGS, INC., MANUFACTURING SERVICES
AND TRADE CORP., MARANAW HOTELS AND RESORT
CORP., NORTHERN TOBACCO REDRYING PLANT,
PROGRESSIVE FARMS, INC., SHAREHOLDINGS, INC.,
SIPALAY TRADING CORP., VIRGO HOLDINGS &
DEVELOPMENT CORP., and ATTY. ESTELITO P.
MENDOZA, Respondents.
DECISION
PUNO, J.:
This case is prima impressiones and it is weighted with
significance for it concerns on one hand, the efforts of the Bar to
upgrade the ethics of lawyers in government service and on the
other, its effect on the right of government to recruit competent
counsel to defend its interests.
In 1976, General Bank and Trust Company (GENBANK)
encountered financial difficulties. GENBANK had extended

considerable financial support to Filcapital Development


Corporation causing it to incur daily overdrawings on its current
account with the Central Bank.1 It was later found by the Central
Bank that GENBANK had approved various loans to directors,
officers, stockholders and related interests totaling P172.3
million, of which 59% was classified as doubtful and P0.505
million as uncollectible.2 As a bailout, the Central Bank
extended emergency loans to GENBANK which reached a
total of P310 million.3 Despite the mega loans, GENBANK
failed to recover from its financial woes. On March 25, 1977, the
Central Bank issued a resolution declaring GENBANK
insolvent and unable to resume business with safety to its
depositors, creditors and the general public, and ordering its
liquidation.4 A public bidding of GENBANKs assets was
held from March 26 to 28, 1977, wherein the Lucio Tan group
submitted the winning bid.5 Subsequently, former Solicitor
General Estelito P. Mendoza filed a petition with the then
Court of First Instance praying for the assistance and
supervision of the court in GENBANKs liquidation as mandated
by Section 29 of Republic Act No. 265.
In February 1986, the EDSA I revolution toppled the Marcos
government. One of the first acts of President Corazon C.
Aquino was to establish the Presidential Commission on Good
Government (PCGG) to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of
former President Ferdinand Marcos, his family and his cronies.
Pursuant to this mandate, the PCGG, on July 17, 1987, filed
with the Sandiganbayan a complaint for "reversion,
reconveyance, restitution, accounting and damages"
against respondents Lucio Tan, Carmen Khao Tan, Florencio T.
Santos, Natividad P. Santos, Domingo Chua, Tan Hui Nee,
Mariano Tan Eng Lian, Estate of Benito Tan Kee Hiong,
Florencio N. Santos, Jr., Harry C. Tan, Tan Eng Chan, Chung
Poe Kee, Mariano Khoo, Manuel Khoo, Miguel Khoo, Jaime
Khoo, Elizabeth Khoo, Celso Ranola, William T. Wong, Ernesto
B. Lim, Benjamin T. Albacita, Willy Co, Allied Banking
Corporation (Allied Bank), Allied Leasing and Finance
Corporation, Asia Brewery, Inc., Basic Holdings Corp., Foremost
Farms, Inc., Fortune Tobacco Corporation, Grandspan

Development Corp., Himmel Industries, Iris Holdings and


Development Corp., Jewel Holdings, Inc., Manufacturing
Services and Trade Corp., Maranaw Hotels and Resort Corp.,
Northern Tobacco Redrying Plant, Progressive Farms, Inc.,
Shareholdings, Inc., Sipalay Trading Corp., Virgo Holdings &
Development Corp., (collectively referred to herein as
respondents Tan, et al.), then President Ferdinand E. Marcos,
Imelda R. Marcos, Panfilo O. Domingo, Cesar Zalamea, Don
Ferry and Gregorio Licaros. The case was docketed as Civil
Case No. 0005 of the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan.6
In connection therewith, the PCGG issued several writs of
sequestration on properties allegedly acquired by the abovenamed persons by taking advantage of their close relationship
and influence with former President Marcos.
Respondents Tan, et al. repaired to this Court and filed petitions
for certiorari, prohibition and injunction to nullify, among others,
the writs of sequestration issued by the PCGG.7 After the filing
of the parties comments, this Court referred the cases to the
Sandiganbayan for proper disposition. These cases were
docketed as Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099. In all these cases,
respondents Tan, et al. were represented by their counsel,
former Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, who has then
resumed his private practice of law.
On February 5, 1991, the PCGG filed motions to disqualify
respondent Mendoza as counsel for respondents Tan, et al. with
the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan in Civil Case Nos.
00058 and 0096-0099.9 The motions alleged that respondent
Mendoza, as then Solicitor General10 and counsel to Central
Bank, "actively intervened" in the liquidation of GENBANK,
which was subsequently acquired by respondents Tan, et al.
and became Allied Banking Corporation. Respondent Mendoza
allegedly "intervened" in the acquisition of GENBANK by
respondents Tan, et al. when, in his capacity as then Solicitor
General, he advised the Central Banks officials on the
procedure to bring about GENBANKs liquidation and appeared
as counsel for the Central Bank in connection with its petition for
assistance in the liquidation of GENBANK which he filed with

the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Manila


and was docketed as Special Proceeding No. 107812. The
motions to disqualify invoked Rule 6.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Rule 6.03 prohibits former
government lawyers from accepting "engagement or
employment in connection with any matter in which he had
intervened while in said service."
On April 22, 1991 the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan
issued a resolution denying PCGGs motion to disqualify
respondent Mendoza in Civil Case No. 0005.11 It found that the
PCGG failed to prove the existence of an inconsistency between
respondent Mendozas former function as Solicitor General and
his present employment as counsel of the Lucio Tan group. It
noted that respondent Mendoza did not take a position adverse
to that taken on behalf of the Central Bank during his term as
Solicitor General.12 It further ruled that respondent Mendozas
appearance as counsel for respondents Tan, et al. was beyond
the one-year prohibited period under Section 7(b) of Republic
Act No. 6713 since he ceased to be Solicitor General in the year
1986. The said section prohibits a former public official or
employee from practicing his profession in connection with any
matter before the office he used to be with within one year from
his resignation, retirement or separation from public office. 13 The
PCGG did not seek any reconsideration of the ruling.14
It appears that Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099 were transferred
from the Sandiganbayans Second Division to the Fifth
Division.15 In its resolution dated July 11, 2001, the Fifth Division
of the Sandiganbayan denied the other PCGGs motion to
disqualify respondent Mendoza.16 It adopted the resolution of
its Second Division dated April 22, 1991, and observed that the
arguments were the same in substance as the motion to
disqualify filed in Civil Case No. 0005. The PCGG sought
reconsideration of the ruling but its motion was denied in its
resolution dated December 5, 2001.17
Hence, the recourse to this Court by the PCGG assailing the
resolutions dated July 11, 2001 and December 5, 2001 of the

Fifth Division of the Sandiganbayan via a petition for certiorari


and prohibition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure.18 The PCGG alleged that the Fifth Division acted
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in issuing the assailed resolutions contending that: 1)
Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility prohibits a
former government lawyer from accepting employment in
connection with any matter in which he intervened; 2) the
prohibition in the Rule is not time-bound; 3) that Central Bank
could not waive the objection to respondent Mendozas
appearance on behalf of the PCGG; and 4) the resolution in
Civil Case No. 0005 was interlocutory, thus res judicata does
not apply.19
The petition at bar raises procedural and substantive issues of
law. In view, however, of the import and impact of Rule 6.03 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility to the legal profession
and the government, we shall cut our way and forthwith resolve
the substantive issue.
I
Substantive Issue
The key issue is whether Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility applies to respondent Mendoza. Again, the
prohibition states: "A lawyer shall not, after leaving government
service, accept engagement or employment in connection with
any matter in which he had intervened while in the said
service."
I.A. The history of Rule 6.03
A proper resolution of this case necessitates that we trace the
historical lineage of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, ethical
standards for lawyers were pervasive in England and other

parts of Europe. The early statements of standards did not


resemble modern codes of conduct. They were not detailed or
collected in one source but surprisingly were comprehensive for
their time. The principal thrust of the standards was directed
towards the litigation conduct of lawyers. It underscored the
central duty of truth and fairness in litigation as superior to any
obligation to the client. The formulations of the litigation duties
were at times intricate, including specific pleading standards, an
obligation to inform the court of falsehoods and a duty to explore
settlement alternatives. Most of the lawyer's other basic duties -competency, diligence, loyalty, confidentiality, reasonable fees
and service to the poor -- originated in the litigation context, but
ultimately had broader application to all aspects of a lawyer's
practice.
The forms of lawyer regulation in colonial and early postrevolutionary America did not differ markedly from those in
England. The colonies and early states used oaths, statutes,
judicial oversight, and procedural rules to govern attorney
behavior. The difference from England was in the pervasiveness
and continuity of such regulation. The standards set in England
varied over time, but the variation in early America was far
greater. The American regulation fluctuated within a single
colony and differed from colony to colony. Many regulations had
the effect of setting some standards of conduct, but the
regulation was sporadic, leaving gaps in the substantive
standards. Only three of the traditional core duties can be fairly
characterized as pervasive in the formal, positive law of the
colonial and post-revolutionary period: the duties of litigation
fairness, competency and reasonable fees.20
The nineteenth century has been termed the "dark ages" of
legal ethics in the United States. By mid-century, American
legal reformers were filling the void in two ways. First, David
Dudley Field, the drafter of the highly influential New York "Field
Code," introduced a new set of uniform standards of conduct for
lawyers. This concise statement of eight statutory duties
became law in several states in the second half of the
nineteenth century. At the same time, legal educators, such as

David Hoffman and George Sharswood, and many other


lawyers were working to flesh out the broad outline of a lawyer's
duties. These reformers wrote about legal ethics in
unprecedented detail and thus brought a new level of
understanding to a lawyer's duties. A number of mid-nineteenth
century laws and statutes, other than the Field Code, governed
lawyer behavior. A few forms of colonial regulations e.g., the
"do no falsehood" oath and the deceit prohibitions -- persisted in
some states. Procedural law continued to directly, or indirectly,
limit an attorney's litigation behavior. The developing law of
agency recognized basic duties of competence, loyalty and
safeguarding of client property. Evidence law started to
recognize with less equivocation the attorney-client privilege and
its underlying theory of confidentiality. Thus, all of the core
duties, with the likely exception of service to the poor, had some
basis in formal law. Yet, as in the colonial and early postrevolutionary periods, these standards were isolated and did not
provide a comprehensive statement of a lawyer's duties. The
reformers, by contrast, were more comprehensive in their
discussion of a lawyer's duties, and they actually ushered a new
era in American legal ethics.21
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, a new form of
ethical standards began to guide lawyers in their practice the
bar association code of legal ethics. The bar codes were
detailed ethical standards formulated by lawyers for lawyers.
They combined the two primary sources of ethical guidance
from the nineteenth century. Like the academic discourses, the
bar association codes gave detail to the statutory statements of
duty and the oaths of office. Unlike the academic lectures,
however, the bar association codes retained some of the official
imprimatur of the statutes and oaths. Over time, the bar
association codes became extremely popular that states
adopted them as binding rules of law. Critical to the
development of the new codes was the re-emergence of bar
associations themselves. Local bar associations formed
sporadically during the colonial period, but they disbanded by
the early nineteenth century. In the late nineteenth century, bar
associations began to form again, picking up where their

colonial predecessors had left off. Many of the new bar


associations, most notably the Alabama State Bar Association
and the American Bar Association, assumed on the task of
drafting substantive standards of conduct for their members.22
In 1887, Alabama became the first state with a comprehensive
bar association code of ethics. The 1887 Alabama Code of
Ethics was the model for several states codes, and it was the
foundation for the American Bar Association's (ABA) 1908
Canons of Ethics.23
In 1917, the Philippine Bar found that the oath and duties of a
lawyer were insufficient to attain the full measure of public
respect to which the legal profession was entitled. In that year,
the Philippine Bar Association adopted as its own, Canons 1 to
32 of the ABA Canons of Professional Ethics.24
As early as 1924, some ABA members have questioned the
form and function of the canons. Among their concerns was the
"revolving door" or "the process by which lawyers and others
temporarily enter government service from private life and then
leave it for large fees in private practice, where they can exploit
information, contacts, and influence garnered in government
service."25 These concerns were classified as adverse-interest
conflicts" and "congruent-interest conflicts." "Adverseinterest conflicts" exist where the matter in which the former
government lawyer represents a client in private practice is
substantially related to a matter that the lawyer dealt with while
employed by the government and the interests of the current
and former are adverse.26 On the other hand, "congruentinterest representation conflicts" are unique to government
lawyers and apply primarily to former government lawyers. 27 For
several years, the ABA attempted to correct and update the
canons through new canons, individual amendments and
interpretative opinions. In 1928, the ABA amended one canon
and added thirteen new canons.28 To deal with problems
peculiar to former government lawyers, Canon 36 was minted
which disqualified them both for "adverse-interest conflicts" and
"congruent-interest representation conflicts."29 The rationale for

disqualification is rooted in a concern that the government


lawyers largely discretionary actions would be influenced by the
temptation to take action on behalf of the government client that
later could be to the advantage of parties who might later
become private practice clients.30 Canon 36 provides, viz.:
36. Retirement from judicial position or public employment
A lawyer should not accept employment as an advocate in any
matter upon the merits of which he has previously acted in a
judicial capacity.
A lawyer, having once held public office or having been in
the public employ should not, after his retirement, accept
employment in connection with any matter he has
investigated or passed upon while in such office or employ.
Over the next thirty years, the ABA continued to amend many of
the canons and added Canons 46 and 47 in 1933 and 1937,
respectively.31
In 1946, the Philippine Bar Association again adopted as its
own Canons 33 to 47 of the ABA Canons of Professional
Ethics.32
By the middle of the twentieth century, there was growing
consensus that the ABA Canons needed more meaningful
revision. In 1964, the ABA President-elect Lewis Powell asked
for the creation of a committee to study the "adequacy and
effectiveness" of the ABA Canons. The committee
recommended that the canons needed substantial revision, in
part because the ABA Canons failed to distinguish between "the
inspirational and the proscriptive" and were thus unsuccessful in
enforcement. The legal profession in the United States likewise
observed that Canon 36 of the ABA Canons of Professional
Ethics resulted in unnecessary disqualification of lawyers for
negligible participation in matters during their employment with
the government.

The unfairness of Canon 36 compelled ABA to replace it in


the 1969 ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility.33
The basic ethical principles in the Code of Professional
Responsibility were supplemented by Disciplinary Rules that
defined minimum rules of conduct to which the lawyer must
adhere.34 In the case of Canon 9, DR 9-101(b)35 became the
applicable supplementary norm. The drafting committee
reformulated the canons into the Model Code of Professional
Responsibility, and, in August of 1969, the ABA House of
Delegates approved the Model Code.36
Despite these amendments, legal practitioners remained
unsatisfied with the results and indefinite standards set forth by
DR 9-101(b) and the Model Code of Professional Responsibility
as a whole. Thus, in August 1983, the ABA adopted new
Model Rules of Professional Responsibility. The Model
Rules used the "restatement format," where the conduct
standards were set-out in rules, with comments following each
rule. The new format was intended to give better guidance and
clarity for enforcement "because the only enforceable standards
were the black letter Rules." The Model Rules eliminated the
broad canons altogether and reduced the emphasis on narrative
discussion, by placing comments after the rules and limiting
comment discussion to the content of the black letter rules. The
Model Rules made a number of substantive improvements
particularly with regard to conflicts of interests.37 In particular,
the ABA did away with Canon 9, citing the hopeless
dependence of the concept of impropriety on the subjective
views of anxious clients as well as the norms indefinite
nature.38
In cadence with these changes, the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) adopted a proposed Code of Professional
Responsibility in 1980 which it submitted to this Court for
approval. The Code was drafted to reflect the local customs,
traditions, and practices of the bar and to conform with new
realities. On June 21, 1988, this Court promulgated the Code
of Professional Responsibility.39 Rule 6.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility deals particularly with former

government lawyers, and provides, viz.:


Rule 6.03 A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service,
accept engagement or employment in connection with any
matter in which he had intervened while in said service.
Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility retained
the general structure of paragraph 2, Canon 36 of the Canons of
Professional Ethics but replaced the expansive phrase
"investigated and passed upon" with the word "intervened."
It is, therefore, properly applicable to both "adverse-interest
conflicts" and "congruent-interest conflicts."
The case at bar does not involve the "adverse interest"
aspect of Rule 6.03. Respondent Mendoza, it is conceded, has
no adverse interest problem when he acted as Solicitor General
in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 and later as counsel of respondents
Tan, et al. in Civil Case No. 0005 and Civil Case Nos. 00960099 before the Sandiganbayan. Nonetheless, there remains
the issue of whether there exists a "congruent-interest
conflict" sufficient to disqualify respondent Mendoza from
representing respondents Tan, et al.
I.B. The "congruent interest" aspect of Rule 6.03
The key to unlock Rule 6.03 lies in comprehending first, the
meaning of "matter" referred to in the rule and, second, the
metes and bounds of the "intervention" made by the former
government lawyer on the "matter." The American Bar
Association in its Formal Opinion 342, defined "matter" as any
discrete, isolatable act as well as identifiable transaction or
conduct involving a particular situation and specific party, and
not merely an act of drafting, enforcing or interpreting
government or agency procedures, regulations or laws, or
briefing abstract principles of law.
Firstly, it is critical that we pinpoint the "matter" which was the
subject of intervention by respondent Mendoza while he was the
Solicitor General. The PCGG relates the following acts of

respondent Mendoza as constituting the "matter" where he


intervened as a Solicitor General, viz:40
The PCGGs Case for Atty. Mendozas Disqualification
The PCGG imputes grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
Sandiganbayan (Fifth Division) in issuing the assailed
Resolutions dated July 11, 2001 and December 5, 2001 denying
the motion to disqualify Atty. Mendoza as counsel for
respondents Tan, et al. The PCGG insists that Atty. Mendoza,
as then Solicitor General, actively intervened in the closure of
GENBANK by advising the Central Bank on how to proceed with
the said banks liquidation and even filing the petition for its
liquidation with the CFI of Manila.
As proof thereof, the PCGG cites the Memorandum dated
March 29, 1977 prepared by certain key officials of the Central
Bank, namely, then Senior Deputy Governor Amado R. Brinas,
then Deputy Governor Jaime C. Laya, then Deputy Governor
and General Counsel Gabriel C. Singson, then Special Assistant
to the Governor Carlota P. Valenzuela, then Asistant to the
Governor Arnulfo B. Aurellano and then Director of Department
of Commercial and Savings Bank Antonio T. Castro, Jr., where
they averred that on March 28, 1977, they had a conference
with the Solicitor General (Atty. Mendoza), who advised them on
how to proceed with the liquidation of GENBANK. The pertinent
portion of the said memorandum states:
Immediately after said meeting, we had a conference with the
Solicitor General and he advised that the following procedure
should be taken:
1. Management should submit a memorandum to the Monetary
Board reporting that studies and evaluation had been made
since the last examination of the bank as of August 31, 1976
and it is believed that the bank can not be reorganized or placed
in a condition so that it may be permitted to resume business
with safety to its depositors and creditors and the general public.

2. If the said report is confirmed by the Monetary Board, it shall


order the liquidation of the bank and indicate the manner of its
liquidation and approve a liquidation plan.
3. The Central Bank shall inform the principal stockholders of
Genbank of the foregoing decision to liquidate the bank and the
liquidation plan approved by the Monetary Board.
4. The Solicitor General shall then file a petition in the Court of
First Instance reciting the proceedings which had been taken
and praying the assistance of the Court in the liquidation of
Genbank.
The PCGG further cites the Minutes No. 13 dated March 29,
1977 of the Monetary Board where it was shown that Atty.
Mendoza was furnished copies of pertinent documents relating
to GENBANK in order to aid him in filing with the court the
petition for assistance in the banks liquidation. The pertinent
portion of the said minutes reads:
The Board decided as follows:
...
E. To authorize Management to furnish the Solicitor General
with a copy of the subject memorandum of the Director,
Department of Commercial and Savings Bank dated March 29,
1977, together with copies of:
1. Memorandum of the Deputy Governor, Supervision and
Examination Sector, to the Monetary Board, dated March 25,
1977, containing a report on the current situation of Genbank;
2. Aide Memoire on the Antecedent Facts Re: General Bank
and Trust Co., dated March 23, 1977;
3. Memorandum of the Director, Department of Commercial and
Savings Bank, to the Monetary Board, dated March 24, 1977,
submitting, pursuant to Section 29 of R.A. No. 265, as amended

by P.D. No. 1007, a repot on the state of insolvency of


Genbank, together with its attachments; and
4. Such other documents as may be necessary or needed by
the Solicitor General for his use in then CFI-praying the
assistance of the Court in the liquidation of Genbank.
Beyond doubt, therefore, the "matter" or the act of respondent
Mendoza as Solicitor General involved in the case at bar is
"advising the Central Bank, on how to proceed with the said
banks liquidation and even filing the petition for its liquidation
with the CFI of Manila." In fine, the Court should resolve
whether his act of advising the Central Bank on the legal
procedure to liquidate GENBANK is included within the concept
of "matter" under Rule 6.03. The procedure of liquidation is
given in black and white in Republic Act No. 265, section 29, viz:
The provision reads in part:
SEC. 29. Proceedings upon insolvency. Whenever, upon
examination by the head of the appropriate supervising or
examining department or his examiners or agents into the
condition of any bank or non-bank financial intermediary
performing quasi-banking functions, it shall be disclosed that the
condition of the same is one of insolvency, or that its
continuance in business would involve probable loss to its
depositors or creditors, it shall be the duty of the department
head concerned forthwith, in writing, to inform the Monetary
Board of the facts, and the Board may, upon finding the
statements of the department head to be true, forbid the
institution to do business in the Philippines and shall designate
an official of the Central Bank or a person of recognized
competence in banking or finance, as receiver to immediately
take charge of its assets and liabilities, as expeditiously as
possible collect and gather all the assets and administer the
same for the benefit of its creditors, exercising all the powers
necessary for these purposes including, but not limited to,
bringing suits and foreclosing mortgages in the name of the
bank or non-bank financial intermediary performing quasi-

banking functions.
...
If the Monetary Board shall determine and confirm within the
said period that the bank or non-bank financial intermediary
performing quasi-banking functions is insolvent or cannot
resume business with safety to its depositors, creditors and the
general public, it shall, if the public interest requires, order its
liquidation, indicate the manner of its liquidation and approve a
liquidation plan. The Central Bank shall, by the Solicitor
General, file a petition in the Court of First Instance reciting the
proceedings which have been taken and praying the assistance
of the court in the liquidation of such institution. The court shall
have jurisdiction in the same proceedings to adjudicate disputed
claims against the bank or non-bank financial intermediary
performing quasi-banking functions and enforce individual
liabilities of the stockholders and do all that is necessary to
preserve the assets of such institution and to implement the
liquidation plan approved by the Monetary Board. The Monetary
Board shall designate an official of the Central Bank, or a
person of recognized competence in banking or finance, as
liquidator who shall take over the functions of the receiver
previously appointed by the Monetary Board under this Section.
The liquidator shall, with all convenient speed, convert the
assets of the banking institution or non-bank financial
intermediary performing quasi-banking functions to money or
sell, assign or otherwise dispose of the same to creditors and
other parties for the purpose of paying the debts of such
institution and he may, in the name of the bank or non-bank
financial intermediary performing quasi-banking functions,
institute such actions as may be necessary in the appropriate
court to collect and recover accounts and assets of such
institution.
The provisions of any law to the contrary notwithstanding, the
actions of the Monetary Board under this Section and the
second paragraph of Section 34 of this Act shall be final and
executory, and can be set aside by the court only if there is

convincing proof that the action is plainly arbitrary and made in


bad faith. No restraining order or injunction shall be issued by
the court enjoining the Central Bank from implementing its
actions under this Section and the second paragraph of Section
34 of this Act, unless there is convincing proof that the action of
the Monetary Board is plainly arbitrary and made in bad faith
and the petitioner or plaintiff files with the clerk or judge of the
court in which the action is pending a bond executed in favor of
the Central Bank, in an amount to be fixed by the court. The
restraining order or injunction shall be refused or, if granted,
shall be dissolved upon filing by the Central Bank of a bond,
which shall be in the form of cash or Central Bank cashier(s)
check, in an amount twice the amount of the bond of the
petitioner or plaintiff conditioned that it will pay the damages
which the petitioner or plaintiff may suffer by the refusal or the
dissolution of the injunction. The provisions of Rule 58 of the
New Rules of Court insofar as they are applicable and not
inconsistent with the provisions of this Section shall govern the
issuance and dissolution of the restraining order or injunction
contemplated in this Section.
Insolvency, under this Act, shall be understood to mean the
inability of a bank or non-bank financial intermediary performing
quasi-banking functions to pay its liabilities as they fall due in
the usual and ordinary course of business. Provided, however,
That this shall not include the inability to pay of an otherwise
non-insolvent bank or non-bank financial intermediary
performing quasi-banking functions caused by extraordinary
demands induced by financial panic commonly evidenced by a
run on the bank or non-bank financial intermediary performing
quasi-banking functions in the banking or financial community.
The appointment of a conservator under Section 28-A of this Act
or the appointment of a receiver under this Section shall be
vested exclusively with the Monetary Board, the provision of any
law, general or special, to the contrary notwithstanding. (As
amended by PD Nos. 72, 1007, 1771 & 1827, Jan. 16, 1981)
We hold that this advice given by respondent Mendoza on the

procedure to liquidate GENBANK is not the "matter"


contemplated by Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. ABA Formal Opinion No. 342 is clear as
daylight in stressing that the "drafting, enforcing or
interpreting government or agency procedures, regulations or
laws, or briefing abstract principles of law" are acts which do
not fall within the scope of the term "matter" and cannot
disqualify.

respondent Mendoza because his alleged intervention while


a Solicitor General in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 is an
intervention on a matter different from the matter involved
in Civil Case No. 0096.

Secondly, it can even be conceded for the sake of argument


that the above act of respondent Mendoza falls within the
definition of matter per ABA Formal Opinion No. 342. Be that as
it may, the said act of respondent Mendoza which is the
"matter" involved in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 is entirely different
from the "matter" involved in Civil Case No. 0096. Again, the
plain facts speak for themselves. It is given that respondent
Mendoza had nothing to do with the decision of the Central
Bank to liquidate GENBANK. It is also given that he did not
participate in the sale of GENBANK to Allied Bank. The
"matter" where he got himself involved was in informing
Central Bank on the procedure provided by law to liquidate
GENBANK thru the courts and in filing the necessary petition in
Sp. Proc. No. 107812 in the then Court of First Instance. The
subject "matter" of Sp. Proc. No. 107812, therefore, is not
the same nor is related to but is different from the subject
"matter" in Civil Case No. 0096. Civil Case No. 0096 involves
the sequestration of the stocks owned by respondents Tan, et
al., in Allied Bank on the alleged ground that they are ill-gotten.
The case does not involve the liquidation of GENBANK. Nor
does it involve the sale of GENBANK to Allied Bank. Whether
the shares of stock of the reorganized Allied Bank are ill-gotten
is far removed from the issue of the dissolution and liquidation
of GENBANK. GENBANK was liquidated by the Central Bank
due, among others, to the alleged banking malpractices of its
owners and officers. In other words, the legality of the liquidation
of GENBANK is not an issue in the sequestration cases. Indeed,
the jurisdiction of the PCGG does not include the dissolution
and liquidation of banks. It goes without saying that Code 6.03
of the Code of Professional Responsibility cannot apply to

1: to enter or appear as an irrelevant or extraneous feature or


circumstance . . . 2: to occur, fall, or come in between points of
time or events . . . 3: to come in or between by way of hindrance
or modification: INTERPOSE . . . 4: to occur or lie between two
things (Paris, where the same city lay on both sides of an
intervening river . . .)41

Thirdly, we now slide to the metes and bounds of the


"intervention" contemplated by Rule 6.03. "Intervene" means,
viz.:

On the other hand, "intervention" is defined as:


1: the act or fact of intervening: INTERPOSITION; 2:
interference that may affect the interests of others.42
There are, therefore, two possible interpretations of the word
"intervene." Under the first interpretation, "intervene" includes
participation in a proceeding even if the intervention is irrelevant
or has no effect or little influence.43 Under the second
interpretation, "intervene" only includes an act of a person who
has the power to influence the subject proceedings. 44 We hold
that this second meaning is more appropriate to give to the word
"intervention" under Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility in light of its history. The evils sought to be
remedied by the Rule do not exist where the government lawyer
does an act which can be considered as innocuous such as "x x
x drafting, enforcing or interpreting government or agency
procedures, regulations or laws, or briefing abstract principles of
law."
In fine, the intervention cannot be insubstantial and
insignificant. Originally, Canon 36 provided that a former
government lawyer "should not, after his retirement, accept

employment in connection with any matter which he has


investigated or passed upon while in such office or employ."
As aforediscussed, the broad sweep of the phrase "which he
has investigated or passed upon" resulted in unjust
disqualification of former government lawyers. The 1969 Code
restricted its latitude, hence, in DR 9-101(b), the prohibition
extended only to a matter in which the lawyer, while in the
government service, had "substantial responsibility." The
1983 Model Rules further constricted the reach of the rule. MR
1.11(a) provides that "a lawyer shall not represent a private
client in connection with a matter in which the lawyer
participated personally and substantially as a public officer
or employee."
It is, however, alleged that the intervention of respondent
Mendoza in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 is significant and substantial.
We disagree. For one, the petition in the special proceedings is
an initiatory pleading, hence, it has to be signed by
respondent Mendoza as the then sitting Solicitor General. For
another, the record is arid as to the actual participation of
respondent Mendoza in the subsequent proceedings. Indeed,
the case was in slumberville for a long number of years. None of
the parties pushed for its early termination. Moreover, we note
that the petition filed merely seeks the assistance of the court in
the liquidation of GENBANK. The principal role of the court in
this type of proceedings is to assist the Central Bank in
determining claims of creditors against the GENBANK. The
role of the court is not strictly as a court of justice but as an
agent to assist the Central Bank in determining the claims of
creditors. In such a proceeding, the participation of the Office of
the Solicitor General is not that of the usual court litigator
protecting the interest of government.
II
Balancing Policy Considerations
To be sure, Rule 6.03 of our Code of Professional Responsibility
represents a commendable effort on the part of the IBP to

upgrade the ethics of lawyers in the government service. As


aforestressed, it is a take-off from similar efforts especially by
the ABA which have not been without difficulties. To date, the
legal profession in the United States is still fine tuning its DR 9101(b) rule.
In fathoming the depth and breadth of Rule 6.03 of our Code of
Professional Responsibility, the Court took account of various
policy considerations to assure that its interpretation and
application to the case at bar will achieve its end without
necessarily prejudicing other values of equal importance. Thus,
the rule was not interpreted to cause a chilling effect on
government recruitment of able legal talent. At present, it is
already difficult for government to match compensation offered
by the private sector and it is unlikely that government will be
able to reverse that situation. The observation is not inaccurate
that the only card that the government may play to recruit
lawyers is have them defer present income in return for the
experience and contacts that can later be exchanged for higher
income in private practice.45 Rightly, Judge Kaufman warned
that the sacrifice of entering government service would be too
great for most men to endure should ethical rules prevent them
from engaging in the practice of a technical specialty which they
devoted years in acquiring and cause the firm with which they
become associated to be disqualified.46 Indeed, "to make
government service more difficult to exit can only make it less
appealing to enter."47
In interpreting Rule 6.03, the Court also cast a harsh eye on its
use as a litigation tactic to harass opposing counsel as well
as deprive his client of competent legal representation. The
danger that the rule will be misused to bludgeon an opposing
counsel is not a mere guesswork. The Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia has noted "the tactical use of motions to
disqualify counsel in order to delay proceedings, deprive the
opposing party of counsel of its choice, and harass and
embarrass the opponent," and observed that the tactic was "so
prevalent in large civil cases in recent years as to prompt
frequent judicial and academic commentary."48 Even the United

States Supreme Court found no quarrel with the Court of


Appeals description of disqualification motions as "a dangerous
game."49 In the case at bar, the new attempt to disqualify
respondent Mendoza is difficult to divine. The disqualification of
respondent Mendoza has long been a dead issue. It was
resuscitated after the lapse of many years and only after PCGG
has lost many legal incidents in the hands of respondent
Mendoza. For a fact, the recycled motion for disqualification in
the case at bar was filed more than four years after the filing of
the petitions for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with the
Supreme Court which were subsequently remanded to the
Sandiganbayan and docketed as Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099.50
At the very least, the circumstances under which the motion to
disqualify in the case at bar were refiled put petitioners motive
as highly suspect.
Similarly, the Court in interpreting Rule 6.03 was not
unconcerned with the prejudice to the client which will be
caused by its misapplication. It cannot be doubted that granting
a disqualification motion causes the client to lose not only the
law firm of choice, but probably an individual lawyer in whom the
client has confidence.51 The client with a disqualified lawyer
must start again often without the benefit of the work done by
the latter.52 The effects of this prejudice to the right to choose an
effective counsel cannot be overstated for it can result in denial
of due process.
The Court has to consider also the possible adverse effect
of a truncated reading of the rule on the official
independence of lawyers in the government service.
According to Prof. Morgan: "An individual who has the security
of knowing he or she can find private employment upon leaving
the government is free to work vigorously, challenge official
positions when he or she believes them to be in error, and resist
illegal demands by superiors. An employee who lacks this
assurance of private employment does not enjoy such
freedom."53 He adds: "Any system that affects the right to take a
new job affects the ability to quit the old job and any limit on the
ability to quit inhibits official independence."54 The case at bar

involves the position of Solicitor General, the office once


occupied by respondent Mendoza. It cannot be overly stressed
that the position of Solicitor General should be endowed
with a great degree of independence. It is this independence
that allows the Solicitor General to recommend acquittal of the
innocent; it is this independence that gives him the right to
refuse to defend officials who violate the trust of their office. Any
undue dimunition of the independence of the Solicitor General
will have a corrosive effect on the rule of law.
No less significant a consideration is the deprivation of the
former government lawyer of the freedom to exercise his
profession. Given the current state of our law, the
disqualification of a former government lawyer may extend to all
members of his law firm.55 Former government lawyers stand in
danger of becoming the lepers of the legal profession.
It is, however, proffered that the mischief sought to be remedied
by Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is the
possible appearance of impropriety and loss of public
confidence in government. But as well observed, the accuracy
of gauging public perceptions is a highly speculative exercise at
best56 which can lead to untoward results.57 No less than Judge
Kaufman doubts that the lessening of restrictions as to former
government attorneys will have any detrimental effect on that
free flow of information between the government-client and its
attorneys which the canons seek to protect.58 Notably, the
appearance of impropriety theory has been rejected in the
1983 ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct59 and some
courts have abandoned per se disqualification based on Canons
4 and 9 when an actual conflict of interest exists, and demand
an evaluation of the interests of the defendant, government, the
witnesses in the case, and the public.60
It is also submitted that the Court should apply Rule 6.03 in all
its strictness for it correctly disfavors lawyers who "switch
sides." It is claimed that "switching sides" carries the danger
that former government employee may compromise
confidential official information in the process. But this

concern does not cast a shadow in the case at bar. As aforediscussed, the act of respondent Mendoza in informing the
Central Bank on the procedure how to liquidate GENBANK is a
different matter from the subject matter of Civil Case No. 0005
which is about the sequestration of the shares of respondents
Tan, et al., in Allied Bank. Consequently, the danger that
confidential official information might be divulged is nil, if not
inexistent. To be sure, there are no inconsistent "sides" to be
bothered about in the case at bar. For there is no question that
in lawyering for respondents Tan, et al., respondent Mendoza is
not working against the interest of Central Bank. On the
contrary, he is indirectly defending the validity of the action of
Central Bank in liquidating GENBANK and selling it later to
Allied Bank. Their interests coincide instead of colliding. It is
for this reason that Central Bank offered no objection to the
lawyering of respondent Mendoza in Civil Case No. 0005 in
defense of respondents Tan, et al. There is no switching of
sides for no two sides are involved.
It is also urged that the Court should consider that Rule 6.03 is
intended to avoid conflict of loyalties, i.e., that a government
employee might be subject to a conflict of loyalties while still in
government service.61 The example given by the proponents of
this argument is that a lawyer who plans to work for the
company that he or she is currently charged with prosecuting
might be tempted to prosecute less vigorously.62 In the
cautionary words of the Association of the Bar Committee in
1960: "The greatest public risks arising from post employment
conduct may well occur during the period of employment
through the dampening of aggressive administration of
government policies."63 Prof. Morgan, however, considers this
concern as "probably excessive."64 He opines "x x x it is hard to
imagine that a private firm would feel secure hiding someone
who had just been disloyal to his or her last client the
government. Interviews with lawyers consistently confirm that
law firms want the best government lawyers the ones who
were hardest to beat not the least qualified or least vigorous
advocates."65 But again, this particular concern is a non
factor in the case at bar. There is no charge against

respondent Mendoza that he advised Central Bank on how to


liquidate GENBANK with an eye in later defending respondents
Tan, et al. of Allied Bank. Indeed, he continues defending both
the interests of Central Bank and respondents Tan, et al. in the
above cases.
Likewise, the Court is nudged to consider the need to curtail
what is perceived as the "excessive influence of former
officials" or their "clout."66 Prof. Morgan again warns against
extending this concern too far. He explains the rationale for his
warning, viz: "Much of what appears to be an employees
influence may actually be the power or authority of his or her
position, power that evaporates quickly upon departure from
government x x x."67 More, he contends that the concern can be
demeaning to those sitting in government. To quote him further:
"x x x The idea that, present officials make significant decisions
based on friendship rather than on the merit says more about
the present officials than about their former co-worker friends. It
implies a lack of will or talent, or both, in federal officials that
does not seem justified or intended, and it ignores the possibility
that the officials will tend to disfavor their friends in order to
avoid even the appearance of favoritism."68
III
The question of fairness
Mr. Justices Panganiban and Carpio are of the view, among
others, that the congruent interest prong of Rule 6.03 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility should be subject to a
prescriptive period. Mr. Justice Tinga opines that the rule cannot
apply retroactively to respondent Mendoza. Obviously, and
rightly so, they are disquieted by the fact that (1) when
respondent Mendoza was the Solicitor General, Rule 6.03 has
not yet adopted by the IBP and approved by this Court, and (2)
the bid to disqualify respondent Mendoza was made after the
lapse of time whose length cannot, by any standard, qualify as
reasonable. At bottom, the point they make relates to the
unfairness of the rule if applied without any prescriptive period

and retroactively, at that. Their concern is legitimate and


deserves to be initially addressed by the IBP and our Committee
on Revision of the Rules of Court.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition assailing the resolutions dated
July 11, 2001 and December 5, 2001 of the Fifth Division of the
Sandiganbayan in Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099 is denied.
No cost.
SO ORDERED

A.M. No. 491 October 6, 1989

Atty. Ciriaco Atienza

IN THE MATTER OF THE INQUIRY INTO THE 1989


ELECTIONS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE
PHILIPPINES.

Governor & Vice-President


for Central Luzon

Atty. Mario Jalandoni

Governor & Vice-President


for Metro Manila

PER CURIAM:

Atty. Jose Aguilar Grapilon

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:

for Southern Luzon


Atty. Teodoro Almine

POSITION

Atty. Violeta Drilon

President

Atty. Bella Tiro

Executive Vice-President

Atty. Salvador Lao

Chairman, House of Delegates

Atty. Renato F. Ronquillo

Secretary, House of Delegates

Atty. Teodoro Quicoy

Treasurer, House of Delegates

Atty. Oscar Badelles

Sergeant at Arms, House

Governor & Vice-Presiden


t for Bicolandia

Atty. Porfirio Siyangco


NAME

Governor & Vice-President

Governor & Vice-President


for Eastern Visayas

Atty. Ricardo Teruel

Governor & Vice-President


for Western Visayas

Atty. Gladys Tiongco

Governor & Vice-President


for Eastern Mindanao

Atty. Simeon Datumanong

Governor & Vice-President


for Western Mindanao

of Delegates
Atty. Justiniano Cortes

Governor & Vice-President


for Northern Luzon

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 oath-taking of the IBP officerselect 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. Grio-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 BYLAWS.


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 nonpolitical, 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, quasijudicial, 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, quasi-judicial 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 bylaws 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 hand-carried
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:

______________ _______________
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.

I Join in Nominating

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).

RAMON M. NISCE

(2) Use of PNB plane in the campaign.

as

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

"Nomination Form

National President of the


Integrated Bar of the Philippines

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 vicepresident 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 Vice-President; 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-2Calica), Jose Buban of Leyte (Exh. D-2-Calica), Delsanto
Resuello (Exh. D-3- Calica), and Ceferino Cabanas (Exh. D-3Calica).
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,
entertainment to delegates.

food,

drinks,

(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:

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,
(a) Nilo Pena (Quasha Law Office)
P 25,000 Manuel Yuson, Simeon Datumanong, Manuel Pecson, Sixto
Marella, Joselito Barrera, Radon Macalalag, Oscar Badelles,
(b) Antonio Carpio
20,000 Antonio Acyatan, Ildefonso C. Puerto, Nestor Atienza, Gil Batula
Array Corot, Dimakuta Corot Romeo Fortes Irving Petilla,
(c) Toto Ferrer (Carpio Law Office)
10,000 Teodoro Palma, Gil Palma, Danilo Deen, Delsanto, Resuello,
Araneta, Vicente Real, Sylvio Casuncad Espina, Guerrero,
(d) Jay Castro
10,000 Julius Neri, Linda Lim, Ben Lim, C. Batica, Luis Formilleza, Felix
Macalag Mariano Benedicto, Atilano, Araneta, Renato Callanta.
(e) Danny Deen
20,000
Atty. Nilo Pena admitted that the Quasha Law Office of which he
(f) Angangco Tan (Angara Law Office)
10,000 is a senior partner, gave P25,000 to Callanta for rooms at the
Philippine Plaza so that some members of his law firm could
(g) Alfonso Reyno
20,000 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
(h) Cosme Rossel
15,300 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.
(t.s.n. July 4, 1 989, pp. 3-4)
Drilon as a "sigma rho sister," her husband being a sigma
rhoan.
Atty. Callanta explained that the above listed persons have been

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. 3034).
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 ByLaws), 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 nonelection 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 biodata 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:

until after the rotation of the presidency among the nine (9)
regions shall have been completed; whereupon, the rotation
shall begin anew.

1. The IBP elections held on June3,1989 should be as they are


hereby annulled.

5. Section 47 of Article VII is hereby amended to read as


follows:

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:

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.

(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 ByLaws) 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 Vice-President 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

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 Vice-Chairman, respectively, of the House
of Delegates. The Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant-at-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 Sergeantat- 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 vice-president. 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.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila


EN BANC
A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC

April 11, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF THE BREWING CONTROVERSIES IN


THE ELECTIONS OF THE INTEGRA TED BAR OF THE
PHILIPPINES.
x-----------------------x
A.C. No. 8292
ATTYS. MARCIAL M. MAGSINO, MANUEL M. MARAMBA
and NASSER MARAHOMSALIC, Complainants, vs. ATTYS.
ROGELIO A. VINLUAN, ABELARDO C. ESTRADA,
BONIFACIO T. BARANDON, JR., EVERGISTO S. ESCALON,
and REYMUND JORGE A. MERCADO, Respondents.
RESOLUTION
MENDOZA, J.:
The Court, exercising its power of supervision over the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), resolves this matter of
the election of the Executive Vice-President (EVP) of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for the 2011-2013 term.
This administrative matter was triggered by the Petition for
Intervention filed by petitioner-intervenor IBP-Southern Luzon
Region (IBP-Southern Luzon), seeking a declaration that the
post of EVP-IBP for the 2011-2013 term be held open to all
regions and that it is qualified to field a candidate for the said
position.
This matter comes at the heels of the controversies resolved by
the Court in its December 4, 2012 Resolution regarding the

application of the rotation rule in determining which chapter of


the IBP-Western Visayas region (IBP-Western Visayas) was
qualified to field a candidate for the position of governor. In the
said resolution, the Court clarified that the rotation rule was one
by exclusion. Similar to this recently resolved controversy, the
present dilemma calls for the application of the rotation system
at the national level.
The Factual Antecedents
To understand the nature of the controversy and the issues
presented for resolution, an examination of the structure of the
IBP and its history is in order.
In 1973, the Philippine Bar was integrated 1 to elevate the
standards of the legal profession, to improve the administration
of justice and to enable it to discharge its public responsibility
more effectively.2 Governing the IBP was the IBP Board of
Governors (IBP-BOG), consisting of the governors from each of
the nine (9) geographic regions of the archipelago,3 namely:
Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Greater
Manila, Bicolandia, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Eastern
Mindanao, and Western Mindanao.4 The governors of the IBPBOG are, in turn, elected by the House of Delegates which
consists of members duly apportioned among the chapters of
each region.5
At the helm of the IBP is the IBP National President (IBPPresident),6 who is automatically succeeded by the EVP. When
the Philippine Bar was first integrated, both the IBP-President
and the EVP were elected by the IBP-BOG from among
themselves or from other members of the Integrated Bar, 7 with
the right of automatic succession by the EVP to the presidency
for the next succeeding full term. The presidency rotated among
all the nine regions in such order as the IBP-BOG had
prescribed.8 Both the IBP-President and the EVP held a term of
one (1) year, with the presidency rotating from year to year
among the regions.9

On November 1, 1974, the IBP By-Laws took effect, providing


that the IBP-President and the EVP be chosen by the Board of
Governors from among nine (9) regional governors, as much as
practicable, on a rotation basis.10 It was also provided that the
IBP-President and the EVP hold office for a term of two (2)
years from July 1 following their election until June 30 of their
second year in office and until their successors shall have been
duly chosen and qualified.11
Later, several amendments in the IBP By-Laws were introduced,
among which were the provisions relating to the election of its
national officers. In Bar Matter No. 287, dated July 9, 1985, the
Court approved the recommendation allowing the IBPPresident, the EVP and the officers of the House of Delegates to
be directly elected by the House of Delegates.12
Unfortunately, history recalls that this mode of electing the IBP
national officers was marred with unethical politicking,
electioneering and other distasteful practices. Thus, on October
6, 1989, the Court in Bar Matter No. 491, dated October 6,
1989, ordered: 1] the annulment of the just concluded national
elections; 2] the abolition of the system of election of national
officers by direct action of the House of Delegates; 3] the
restoration of the former system of having the IBP-President and
the EVP elected by the IBP-BOG from among themselves, with
right of succession by the EVP to the presidency and subject to
the rule that "the position of Executive Vice President of the IBP
shall be rotated among the nine (9) IBP regions;" 13 4] the
holding of special elections for the election of the first set of IBPPresident and EVP;14 and 5] the appointment of a caretaker
board to administer the affairs of the IBP pending the holding of
special elections.15
In the same Bar Matter No. 491, the Court ordered the
amendment of Section 47, Article VII of the IBP By-laws, to
read:
SEC. 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 officio 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. (As amended pursuant
to Bar Matter No. 491)
The Executive Vice President shall automatically become
President for the next succeeding term. The Presidency shall
rotate among the nine Regions.16 [Emphasis supplied]
Following the rotation system just ordered, the following
individuals representing the different regions of the IBP served
as IBP-President:

1 Eugene Tan (Capiz)


Western Visayas
January 28, 1990-Ap
.
2 Numeriano Tanopo, Jr.
Central Luzon
April 1991-June 30,
. (Pangasinan)
3 Mervin Encanto
Greater Manila
1993-1995
. (Quezon City)
4 Raoul R. Angangco
Southern Luzon
1995-1997
. (Makati)
5 Jose Aguila Grapilon
Eastern Visayas
1997-1999
. (Biliran)
6 Arthur Lim
Western Mindanao 1999-2001
. (Zambasulta)
7 Teofilo Pilando, Jr.
Northern Luzon
2001-2003
. (Kalinga Apayao)
8 Jose Anselmo Cadiz
Bicolandia
2003-2005
. (Camarines Sur)
On January 27, 1999, in Velez v. de Vera,18 reasoning that the
rotation system applied only to the EVP, the Court considered
the election of then EVP Leonard De Vera (De Vera),
representing the Eastern Mindanao region, as one completing
the first rotational cycle and affirmed the election of Jose
Vicente B. Salazar (Salazar) of the Bicolandia region as EVP.
The Court explained that the rotational cycle would have been

completed with the succession of EVP De Vera, representing


Eastern
Mindanao
as
IBP-President.
For
having
misappropriated his clients funds and committing acts inimical
to the IBP-BOG and the IBP in general, De Vera was removed
as governor of Eastern Mindanao and as EVP, and his removal
was affirmed by the Court.

subsequent election. While their elections as Governors for the


term 2007-2009 can no longer be annulled as this has already
expired, Atty. Vinluan is declared unfit to hold the position of IBP
Executive Vice President for the 2007-2009 term and, therefore,
barred from succeeding as IBP President for the 2009-2011
term;

Thus, Salazar became IBP-President for the 2005-2007 term


with Feliciano Bautista (Bautista) of Central Luzon as EVP. The
term of Salazar was the start of the second rotational cycle.
Bautista eventually succeeded to the IBP presidency with Atty.
Rogelio Vinluan (Vinluan) as his EVP.

4. The proposed amendments to Sections 31, 33, par. (g), 39,


42, and 43, Article VI and Section 47, Article VII of the IBP ByLaws as contained in the Report and Recommendation of the
Special Committee, dated July 9, 2009, are hereby approved
and adopted; and

In 2009, however, the national and regional IBP elections were


again tainted with numerous controversies, which were resolved
by the Court in its December 14, 2010 Resolution,19 in the
following manner:

5. The designation of retired SC Justice Santiago Kapunan as


Officer-in-Charge of the IBP shall continue, unless earlier
revoked by the Court, but not to extend beyond June 30, 2011.
SO ORDERED.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves that:


1. The elections of Attys. Manuel M. Maramba, Erwin M.
Fortunato and Nasser A. Marohomsalic as Governors for the
Greater Manila Region, Western Visayas Region and Western
Mindanao Region, respectively, for the term 2009-2011 are
UPHELD;
2. A special election to elect the IBP Executive Vice President
for the 2009-2011 term is hereby ORDERED to be held under
the supervision of this Court within seven (7) days from receipt
of this Resolution with Attys. Maramba, Fortunato and
Marohomsalic being allowed to represent and vote as dulyelected Governors of their respective regions;
3. Attys. Rogelio Vinluan, Abelardo Estrada, Bonifacio
Barandon, Jr., Evergisto Escalon, and Raymund Mercado are all
found GUILTY of grave professional misconduct arising from
their actuations in connection with the controversies in the
elections in the IBP last April 25, 2009 and May 9, 2009 and are
hereby disqualified to run as national officers of the IBP in any

Attempts to seek reconsideration of the Courts resolution were


denied by the Court in its Resolution, dated February 8, 2011.20
Despite Bar Matter No. 491 and Velez,21 which recognized the
operational fact that the rotation was from the position of
President to that of the EVP, Section 47 was not immediately
amended to reflect the official position of the Court. It was only
amended through the December 14, 2010 Resolution. 22 Section
47 of the IBP By-Laws now reads:
Sec. 47. National Officers. The Integrated Bar of the
Philippines shall have a President, an Executive Vice President,
and nine (9) regional Governors. The Executive Vice President
shall be elected on a strict rotation basis by the Board of
Governors from among themselves, by the vote of at least five
(5) Governors. The Governors shall be ex officio Vice President
for their respective regions. There shall also be a Secretary and
Treasurer of the Board of Governors.
The violation of the rotation rule in any election shall be

penalized by annulment of the election and disqualification of


the offender from election or appointment to any office in the
IBP.
In the special elections that were held thereafter, Roan I.
Libarios (Libarios), representing IBP-Eastern Mindanao Region,
was elected EVP and he later on succeeded as president.
On April 27, 2011, the IBP-BOG, acting on the letter of then
Gov. Erwin M. Fortunato (Fortunato) of IBP-Western Visayas
requested that the Court provide guidance on how it would
proceed with the application of the rotational rule in the regional
elections for governor of IBP-Western Visayas.23
On December 4, 2012, the Court issued a resolution24
addressing the issues with respect to the election of governor
for IBP-Western Visayas. In clarifying that the rotational rule was
one by exclusion, the Court explained that in the election of
governor of a region, all chapters of the region should be given
the opportunity to have their nominees elected as governor, to
the exclusion of those chapters that had already served in the
rotational cycle. Once a rotational cycle would be completed, all
chapters of a region, except the chapter which won in the
immediately preceding elections, could once again have the
equal opportunity to vie for the position of governor of their
region. The chapter that won in the immediately preceding
election, under the rotational cycle just completed, could only vie
for the position of governor after the election of the first governor
in the new cycle.
The Current Controversy
Earlier, on July 27, 2012, IBP-Southern Luzon filed its Motion for
Leave to Intervene and to Admit the Attached Petition In
Intervention25 and the subject Petition In Intervention,26 seeking
a declaration that the post of EVP for the 2011-2013 term be
held open to all regions and that it be qualified to nominate a
candidate for the position of EVP for the 2011-2013 term.

The Petition in Intervention was, in turn, opposed by


Fortunato,27 who insisted that IBP-Western Visayas was the
only region that could vie for the position of EVP for the 20112013 term.
In the December 4, 2012 Resolution, the Court deferred its
action on the intervention sought by the IBP-Southern Luzon
and required the IBP-BOG to submit its comment.28
In its Comment, dated January 2, 2013, the IBP-BOG prayed
that the "IBP-Southern Luzon be allowed to nominate a
candidate for EVP for the 2011-2013 term, without prejudice to
the right of other regions except IBP-Eastern Mindanao, to do
the same."29
The opposition of Fortunato to the subject petition in intervention
of IBP-Southern Luzon was joined by his successor, Marlou B.
Ubano (Ubano), Gov. Manuel L. Enage, Jr. of IBP-Eastern
Visayas,30 and the members of the House of Delegates of IBPWestern Visayas.31 Nasser A. Marohomsalic (Marohomsalic),32
one of the original parties in this case, Gov. Leonor GernoaRomeo33 of IBP-Bicolandia, and the IBP-BOG34 likewise filed
their respective comments.
Position of IBP-Southern Luzon
In support of its bid to qualify in the election for EVP for the
2011-2013 term, IBP-Southern Luzon takes the following
positions:
In view of the Courts resolution to bar its representative,
Vinluan, from succeeding as IBP-President for the 2009-2011
term, the IBP-Southern Luzon was effectively deprived of its
right to the IBP presidency.35
With the election of Eugene A. Tan as IBP-President (January
29, 1990-April 1991), IBP-Western Visayas should no longer be
allowed to field a candidate in the forthcoming election for
EVP.36

As he was just elected on January 5, 2013, Ubano cannot be


considered qualified to seek the position of EVP cum IBPPresident due to his lack of experience.37
Position of IBP-Western Visayas
For its part, IBP-Western Visayas advances the following
arguments in support of its position that it is the only region
qualified to field a candidate for EVP for the 2011-2013 term:
The Petition in Intervention of IBP-Southern Luzon should not
be entertained as it would be contrary to Section 2, Rule 19, it
being filed following the finality of the December 14, 2010
Resolution of the Court.38
With the term of current IBP-President Libarios coming to an
end, IBP-Western Visayas is the only region left qualified to field
a candidate for EVP, pursuant to the December 14, 2010
Resolution of the Court.39
The IBP Southern Luzon had already taken its turn in the
rotation system following the election of Vinluan as EVP (20072009) and Raoul R. Angangco (Angangco) who also served as
EVP during the 1995-1997 term.401wphi1
The election of Eugene Tan cannot be considered as part of
the current rotation as he was elected following the special
elections held as a result of the October 6, 1989 Resolution of
the Court.
Synthesized, the core issues that must be addressed for the
resolution of the Court are the following:
A. Whether the motion for intervention of IBP-Southern Luzon
can be allowed and admitted.
B. Whether the first rotational cycle was completed with the
election of Atty. Leonard De Vera.

C. Whether IBP-Southern Luzon has already served in the


current rotation.
D. Whether the IBP-Western Visayas has already served in the
current rotation.
The Motion for Intervention Should be Allowed and
Admitted
There is no dispute that the Constitution has empowered the
Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning "the integrated
bar."41 Pursuant thereto, the Court wields a continuing power of
supervision over the IBP and its affairs like the elections of its
officers. The current controversy has been precipitated by the
petition in intervention of IBP-Southern Luzon, praying that the
election of the EVP for the 2011-2013 term be opened to all and
that it be considered as qualified to field a candidate for the said
position.
In the exercise of its continuing supervisory power, the Court is
allowing the matter to be raised as an issue because it has not
yet been squarely settled, as will be pointed out later
on.1wphi1 Moreover, it is not only an exercise of its
constitutional and statutory mandated duty, but also of its
symbolic function of providing guiding principles, precepts and
doctrines42 for the purpose of steering the members of the
bench and the bar to the proper path.
It should be noted that this is merely an administrative matter, a
bar matter to be specific, where technical rules are not strictly
applied. In fact, in administrative cases, there is no rule
regarding entry of judgment. Where there is no entry of
judgment, finality and immutability do not come into play. On
several occasions, the Court has re-opened administrative
cases and modified its decisions that had long attained finality in
the interest of justice. A recent example is Talens-Dabon v.
Judge Arceo,43 where the Court lifted the ban against the
disqualification of the respondent from re-employment in
government. In Re: Letter of Judge Augustus C. Diaz,

Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 37, Appealing


for Clemency,44 the Court granted clemency so the respondent
could transfer to a higher position. In Petition for Judicial
Clemency of Judge Irma Zita v. Masamayor,45 the respondent
was given judicial clemency for her past administrative offenses
so she could apply for a lateral transfer.
At any rate, granting that technical rules are strictly applied in
administrative matters, the Court can exercise its power and
prerogative to suspend its own rules and to exempt a case from
their operation if and when justice requires it. "The power to
suspend or even disregard rules of procedure can be so
pervasive and compelling as to alter even that which this Court
itself had already declared final."46
The First Rotational Cycle Already Completed
As earlier recited, Section 47 of the IBP By-Laws was amended
in the December 14, 2010 Resolution47 of the Court to read as
follows:
Sec. 47. National Officers. The Integrated Bar of the
Philippines shall have a President, an Executive Vice President,
and nine (9) regional Governors. The Executive Vice President
shall be elected on a strict rotation basis by the Board of
Governors from among themselves, by the vote of at least five
(5) Governors. The Governors shall be ex officio Vice President
for their respective regions. There shall also be a Secretary and
Treasurer of the Board of Governors.
The violation of the rotation rule in any election shall be
penalized by annulment of the election and disqualification of
the offender from election or appointment to any office in the
IBP.
From the above, it is clear that the amendment was effected to
underscore the shift of the rotation from the position of president
to that of EVP. The purpose of the system being to ensure that
all the regions will have an equal opportunity to serve as EVP

and then automatically succeed as president.


As previously mentioned, in Velez,48 the Court stated that the
rotation system applies to the election of the EVP only and
considered the service of then EVP De Vera, representing the
Eastern Mindanao region, as having completed the first
rotational cycle. For said reason, the Court affirmed the election
of Salazar of Bicolandia as EVP. The Court explained that the
rotation cycle with respect to the presidency would have been
completed with the succession of EVP De Vera as IBPPresident. The specific words used in Velez49 were:
In Bar Matter 491, it is clear that it is the position of IBP EVP
which is actually rotated among the nine Regional Governors.
The rotation with respect to the Presidency is merely a result of
the automatic succession rule of the IBP EVP to the Presidency.
Thus, the rotation rule pertains in particular to the position of IBP
EVP, while the automatic succession rule pertains to the
Presidency. The rotation with respect to the Presidency is but a
consequence of the automatic succession rule provided in
Section 47 of the IBP By-Laws.
In the case at bar, the rotation rule was duly complied with since
upon the election of Atty. De Vera as IBP EVP, each of the nine
IBP regions had already produced an EVP and, thus, the
rotation was completed. It is only unfortunate that the
supervening event of Atty. de Vera's removal as IBP Governor
and EVP rendered it impossible for him to assume the IBP
Presidency. The fact remains, however, that the rotation rule
had been completed despite the non-assumption by Atty. de
Vera to the IBP Presidency.
The notion that the ruling in Velez50 should not be considered at
all by the Court because it is barred by the Omnibus Motion
Rule deserves scant consideration. It may have been earlier
overlooked, but the Court is not barred from motu propio taking
judicial notice of such judicial pronouncement, pursuant to its
continuing supervisory powers over the IBP.

The Second Rotational Cycle


While there may have been no categorical pronouncement in
Velez that the second rotational cycle started with the election of
Salazar as EVP, it cannot be denied that it was so. With the
Velez declaration that the election of De Vera as EVP
completed the first cycle, there can be no other consequence
except that the term of EVP Salazar commenced a new
rotational cycle. From the records, it appears that the following
had already served as EVP in the Second Rotational Cycle:
1. Jose Vicente Salazar
2. Feliciano M. Bautista

Bicolandia
Central Luzon

2005
20052007
3. Rogelio Vinluan
Southern Luzon
20072009
4. Roan L. Libarios
Eastern Mindanao 20092011
As there were only four (4) regions which had served as EVP,
there are still five (5) other regions which have not yet so
served. These regions are:
1. Northern Luzon

The Special Committee failed to take into account the Velez


ruling
In arriving at its December 14, 2010 Resolution,52 the Court then
was confronted with limited issues. Among those were: 1] the
validity of the election of Nasser A. Marohomsalic as governor of
the IBP-Western Mindanao Region; 2] the validity of the election
of Manuel M. Maramba as governor for the Greater Manila
Region for the term 2009-2011; 3] the validity of the election of
Erwin M. Fortunato as governor for Western Visayas Region for
the term 2009-2011; and 4] the validity of the elections for EVP
for the 2009-2011 term presided by then IBP-President Bautista.
The four issues were intertwined since the validity of the
elections presided by IBP-President Bautista was questioned on
the alleged lack of quorum, as it was attended by Marohomsalic,
whose own election was then also being questioned.
With those limited issues resolved, the Court directed that
special elections should be held for the election of EVP for the
remaining 2009-2011 term "to heal the divisions in the IBP and
promote unity by enabling all the nine (9) governors-elect to
elect the EVP in a unified meeting called for that purpose." 53 In
ordering the special elections to be conducted, the Court took
into account the report of the Special Committee as follows:

2. Greater Manila Area


3. Eastern Visayas
4. Western Visayas
5. Western Mindanao
Needless to state, Western Visayas is not the only region that
can vie for EVP for the 2011-2013 term. This answers the query
of Fortunato.
With respect to IBP-Southern Luzon, following the ruling in
Velez,51 it is clear that it already had its turn to serve as EVP in
the Second Rotational Cycle.

The list of national presidents furnished the Special Committee


by the IBP National Secretariat, shows that the governors of the
following regions were President of the IBP during the past nine
(9) terms (1991-2009):
Numeriano Tanopo, Jr. (Pangasinan) --- Central Luzon ------1991-1993
Mervin G. Encanto (Quezon City) -------- Manila --------------1993-1995
Raoul R. Angangco (Makati) ------------- Southern Luzon ----1995-1997

Jose Aguila Grapilon (Biliran) ----------- Eastern Visayas ----


1997-1999
Arthur D. Lim (Zambasulta) ------------- Western Mindanao-1999-2001
Teofilo S. Pilando, Jr. (Kalinga-Apayao)-Northern Luzon --2001-2003
Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz (Camarines Sur) Bicolandia ---------2003-2005
Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz (Camarines Sur) Bicolandia -----2005Aug 2006
Jose Vicente B. Salazar (Albay) ---------- Bicolandia ---- Aug.
2006-2007
Feliciano M. Bautista (Pangasinan) ----- Central Luzon -----2007-2009
Only the governors of the Western Visayas and Eastern
Mindanao regions have not yet had their turn as Executive Vice
President cum next IBP President, while Central Luzon and
Bicolandia have had two (2) terms already.
Therefore, either the governor of the Western Visayas Region,
or the governor of the Eastern Mindanao Region should be
elected as Executive Vice-President for the 2009-2011 term.
The one who is not chosen for this term, shall have his turn in
the next (2011-2013) term. Afterwards, another rotation shall
commence with Greater Manila in the lead, followed by
Southern Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Western Mindanao, Northern
Luzon, Bicolandia, Central Luzon, and either Western Visayas
or Eastern Mindanao at the end of the round.54
Apparently, the report of the Special Committee failed to take
into account the ruling in Velez55 that the service of then EVP
Leonard De Vera, representing the Eastern Mindanao region,

completed the first rotational cycle.


Thus, it committed two inaccuracies. First, it erroneously
reported that "only the governors of the Western Visayas and
Eastern Mindanao regions have not yet had their turn as
Executive Vice President." Second, it erroneously considered
Central Luzon and Bicolandia as having had two terms each in
the First Rotational Cycle, when their second services were for
the Second Rotational Cycle.
The unfortunate fact, however, is that the erroneous statements
of the Special Committee were used as bases for the
recommendation that "either the governor of the Western
Visayas Region, or the governor of the Eastern Mindanao
Region should be elected as Executive Vice-President for the
2009-2011 term."
Worse, they were cited by IBP-Western Visayas as bases to
oppose the Petition in Intervention of IBP-Southern Luzon,
arguing that it would be contrary to Section 2, Rule 19, it being
filed following the finality of the December 14, 2010 Resolution 56
of the Court.
At any rate, the statement of the Court in its December 14, 2010
Resolution57 that "only the governors of the Western Visayas
and Eastern Mindanao regions have not yet had their turn as
Executive Vice President," did not pertain to the lis mota of the
case. Thus, it did not settle anything so as to be deemed a
precedent-setting ruling. Those statements, therefore, could not
be considered as overturning, vacating and setting aside the
ruling in Velez58 that the service of then EVP De Vera
completed the first rotational cycle.
The election of Eugene Tan As IBP President
Much has been said about the election of Eugene Tan as IBPPresident. IBP-Southern Luzon argues that with his election and
service as IBP-President from January 29, 1990 to April 1991,
the IBP-Western Visayas should no longer be allowed to field a

candidate in the forthcoming elections for the EVP. 59 IBPWestern Visayas counters that his election could not be
considered as part of the current rotation as he was elected
following the special elections held as a result of the October 6,
1989 Resolution of the Court. It has also been argued that he
merely served as Interim President.
As Velez60 declared that the election of EVP De Vera completed
the first rotational cycle, it could only mean that all regions had
their respective turns in the first rotational cycle. Thus, in this
second rotational cycle, issues as to the nature of his election
and service as IBP-President during the First Rotational Cycle
are inconsequential.
At any rate, Eugene Tan could not be considered as an interim
president. It was Justice Felix Antonio who was designated by
the Court as Interim Caretaker until the election of the IBPPresident by the elected IBP-BOG. The election of the new
President and Executive Vice-President was directed by the
Court itself and in no way can it be said that they served on an
interim basis. Besides, at that time, under Section 47, the
rotation concerned the presidency only. Section 47 was ordered
to be amended only in the December 14, 2010 Resolution, 61
despite Bar Matter No. 491 and Velez,62 which recognized the
operational fact that the rotation was from the position of
President to that of EVP.
If Eugene Tan served only up to April, 1991, it was not because
he served merely in the interim. He served up to that time only
because he resigned. As reflected in Bar Matter No. 565,
dated October 15, 1991, Tan resigned as IBP-President when
he was charged by several staff members of the IBP in a lettercomplaint to the Chief Justice, with favoritism or discrimination
in the hiring of officers and employees in the IBP and with
extravagant and irregular expenditure of IBP funds. The Court
found the acts of Eugene Tan as constituting grave abuse of
authority and serious misconduct in office, which would have
warranted his removal from office. Considering that he had
earlier tendered his resignation as IBP-President and his term of

office already expired on June 30, 1991, the Court imposed on


him the penalty of severe censure only.63
Moreover, in A.M. No. 491, the Court stressed that: "One who
has served as President of the IBP may not run for election as
EVP-IBP in a succeeding election until after the rotation of the
presidency among the nine (9) regions shall have completed;
whereupon the rotation shall begin anew."
Rotation by Exclusion
As clarified in the December 4, 2012 Resolution of the Court,
the rotation should be by exclusion. In said resolution, it was
stated:
Resolution of the Court
Re: IBP-Western Visayas Region
After an assiduous review of the facts, the issues and the
arguments raised by the parties involved, the Court finds
wisdom in the position of the IBP-BOG, through retired Justice
Santiago M. Kapunan, that at the start of a new rotational cycle
"all chapters are deemed qualified to vie for the governorship for
the 2011-2013 term without prejudice to the chapters entering
into a consensus to adopt any pre-ordained sequence in the
new rotation cycle provided each chapter will have its turn in the
rotation." Stated differently, the IBP-BOG recommends the
adoption of the rotation by exclusion scheme. The Court quotes
with approval the reasons given by the IBP-BOG on this score:
6. After due deliberation, the Board of Governors agreed and
resolved to recommend adherence to the principle of "rotation
by exclusion" based on the following reasons:
a) Election through "rotation by exclusion" is the more
established rule in the IBP. The rule prescribes that once a
member of the chapter is elected as Governor, his chapter
would be excluded in the next turn until all have taken their turns

in the rotation cycle. Once a full rotation cycle ends and a fresh
cycle commences, all the chapters in the region are once again
entitled to vie but subject again to the rule on rotation by
exclusion.
b) Election through a "rotation by exclusion" allows for a more
democratic election process. The rule provides for freedom of
choice while upholding the equitable principle of rotation which
assures that every member-chapter has its turn in every rotation
cycle.
c) On the other hand, rotation by pre-ordained sequence, or
election based on the same order as the previous cycle, tends
to defeat the purpose of an election. The element of choice
which is crucial to a democratic process is virtually removed.
Only one chapter could vie for election at every turn as the
entire sequence, from first to last, is already predetermined by
the order in the previous rotation cycle. This concept of rotation
by pre-ordained sequence negates freedom of choice, which is
the bedrock of any democratic election process.
d) The pronouncement of the Special Committee, which the
Supreme Court may have adopted in AM No. 09-5-2-SC,
involving the application of the rotation rule in the previous
election for GMR may not be controlling, not being one of the
principal issues raised in the GMR elections.
7. Thus, applying the principle of rotation by exclusion in
Western Visayas which starts with a new rotation cycle, all
chapters (with the exception of Romblon) are deemed qualified
to vie for the Governorship for 2011-2013 term without prejudice
to the chapters entering into a consensus to adopt any preordained sequence in the new rotation cycle provided each
chapter will have its turn in the rotation.
The Court takes notice of the predictability of the rotation by
succession scheme. Through the rotation by exclusion scheme,
the elections would be more genuine as the opportunity to serve
as Governor at any time is once again open to all chapters,

unless, of course, a chapter has already served in the new


cycle. While predictability is not altogether avoided, as in the
case where only one chapter remains in the cycle, still, as
previously noted by the Court "the rotation rule should be
applied in harmony with, and not in derogation of, the sovereign
will of the electorate as expressed through the ballot."
Thus, as applied in the IBP-Western Visayas Region, initially, all
the chapters shall have the equal opportunity to vie for the
position of Governor for the next cycle except Romblon, so as
no chapter shall serve consecutively. Every winner shall then be
excluded after its term. Romblon then joins the succeeding
elections after the first winner in the cycle.64
As stated therein, it would be without prejudice to the regions
entering into a consensus to adopt any pre-ordained sequence
in the new rotation cycle, provided each region would have its
turn in the rotation.
As noted by the Court in its December 4, 2012 Resolution, there
is a sense of predictability in the rotation by the pre-ordained
scheme. Through the rotation by exclusion scheme, the
elections will be more genuine, as the opportunity to serve at
any time is once again open to all, unless, of course, a region
has already served in the new cycle. While predictability is not
altogether avoided, as in the case where only one region
remains in the cycle, still, as previously noted by the Court "the
rotation rule should be applied in harmony with, and not in
derogation of, the sovereign will of the electorate as expressed
through the ballot."65
The December 14, 2010 Resolution
That the Court, in its December 14, 2010 Resolution, 66 ordered
the election of the EVP-IBP for the next term based on the
inaccurate report of the Special Committee, is a fact. That
cannot be erased. As a consequence thereof, Libarios of IBPEastern Mindanao is now the IBP President. He, however, is
part of the second rotational cycle because 1] in Velez67 it was

categorically ruled that the service of then EVP De Vera,


representing the Eastern Mindanao region, completed the first
rotational cycle; and 2] he could not be part of the first
rotational cycle because EVP de Vera of the same region had
already been elected as such.
It is to be noted that in the December 14, 2010 Resolution, 68 the
Court did not categorically overturn the ruling in Velez. 69 It
merely directed the election of the next EVP, without any
reference to any rotational cycle.
To declare that the first rotational cycle as not yet completed will
cause more confusion than solution. In fact, it has spawned this
current controversy. To consider the service of current
president, Libarios, as part of the first rotational cycle would
completely ignore the ruling in Velez.70
The Best Option: Open to All Regions
How then do we treat the turns of those who had already served
in the second rotational cycle? Shall we treat them as
anomalies? As aberrant developments, as Justice Brion puts it?
A remedy is to reconcile the conflicting decisions and
resolutions with nothing in mind but the best interest of the IBP.
It appears from the pleadings, however, that the differences are
irresoluble.
To avoid the endless conflicts, confusions and controversies
which have been irritably plaguing the IBP, the solution is to
start another rotational round, a new cycle, open to all
regions. At any rate, all regions, after the election of Libarios,
would be considered as already having its turn in the
presidency. This is not to detract from the fact that under
Section 47, as amended, and from the pertinent rulings, the
position of EVP-IBP is the one being actually rotated, but as
stated in the December 14, 2010 Resolution,71 it will enable the
IBP "to start on a clean and correct slate, free from the
politicking and the under handed tactics that have characterized

the IBP elections for so long."


Section 47 of the IBP By-Laws should be further amended
Whatever the decision of the Court may be, to prevent future
wranglings and guide the IBP in their future course of action,
Section 47 and Section 49 of the IBP By-laws should again be
amended. Stress should be placed on the automatic succession
of the EVP to the position of the president. Surprisingly, the
automatic succession does not appear in present Section 47, as
ordered amended by the Court in the December 14, 2010
Resolution. It should be restored. Accordingly, Section 47 and
Section 49, Article VII, are recommended to read as follows:
Sec. 47. Election of National President Executive Vice
President. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall have a
President, an Executive Vice President, and nine (9) regional
Governors. The Governors shall be ex-officio Vice President for
their respective regions.
The Board of Governors shall elect the President and Executive
Vice President from among themselves each by a vote of at
least five (5) Governors. Upon expiration of the term of the
President, the Executive Vice-President shall automatically
succeed as President.
Each region, as enumerated under Section 3, Rule 139-A of the
Rules of Court, shall have the opportunity to have its
representative elected as Executive Vice-President, provided
that, the election for the position of Executive Vice President
shall be on a strict rotation by exclusion basis. A region, whose
representative has just been elected as Executive Vice
President, can no longer have its representative elected for the
same position in subsequent elections until after all regions
have had the opportunity to be elected as such. At the end of
the rotational cycle, all regions, except the region whose
representative has just served the immediately preceding term,
may be elected for another term as Executive Vice-President in
the new rotational cycle. The region whose representative

served last in the previous rotational cycle may be elected


Executive Vice-President only after the first term of the new
rotational cycle ends, subject once more to the rule on
exclusion.

and employees appointed by the President with the consent of


the Board shall hold office at the pleasure of the Board or for
such term as the Board may fix.
u>Creation of a permanent Committee for IBP Affairs

The order of rotation by exclusion shall be without prejudice to


the regions entering into a consensus to adopt any pre-ordained
sequence in the new rotation cycle provided each region will
have its turn in the rotation.
A violation of the rotation rule in any election shall be penalized
by annulment of the election and disqualification of the offender
from election or appointment to any office in the IBP.
SEC. 49. Terms of office. - The President and the Executive
Vice-President shall hold office for a term of two years from July
1 following their election until June 30 of their second year in
office and until their successors shall have been duly chosen
and qualified.
In the event the President is absent or unable to act, his
functions and duties shall be performed by the Executive Vice
President, and in the event of the death, resignation, or removal
of the President, the Executive Vice President shall serve as
Acting President for the unexpired portion of the term. His
tenure as such shall not be considered a new turn in the
rotation.

To further avoid conflicting and confusing rulings in the various


IBP cases like what happened to this one, the December
14,2010 Resolution and Velez,72 it is recommended that the
Court create a committee for IBP affairs to primarily attend to
the problems and needs of a very important professional body
and to make recommendation for its improvement and
strengthening.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby resolves to:
1] GRANT the Motion for Leave to Intervene and to Admit the
Attached Petition In Intervention;
2] DECLARE that the election for the position of the EVP for the
2011-2013 term be open to all regions.
3] AMEND Section 47 and Section 49, Article VII of the IBP ByLaws to read as recommended in the body of this disposition.
4] CREATE a permanent Committee for IBP Affairs.
SO ORDERED.

In the event of death, resignation, removal or disability of the


Executive Vice President, the Board of Directors shall elect
among the regions qualified to be elected as Executive Vice
President to serve the unexpired portion of the term or period of
disability.
In the event of the death, resignation, removal or disability of
both the President and the Executive Vice President, the Board
of Governors shall elect an Acting President to hold office for the
unexpired portion of the term or during the period of disability.
Unless otherwise provided in these By-Laws, all other officers

Adm. Case No. 4749

January 20, 2000

SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR., complainant, vs. ATTY.


FRANCISCO R. LLAMAS, respondent.
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a complaint for misrepresentation and non-payment of
bar membership dues filed against respondent Atty. Francisco
R. Llamas.
In a letter-complaint to this Court dated February 8, 1997,
complainant Soliman M. Santos, Jr., himself a member of the
bar, alleged that:
On my oath as an attorney, I wish to bring to your attention and
appropriate sanction the matter of Atty. Francisco R. Llamas
who, for a number of years now, has not indicated the proper
PTR and IBP O.R. Nos. and data (date & place of issuance) in
his pleadings. If at all, he only indicates "IBP Rizal 259060" but
he has been using this for at least three years already, as
shown by the following attached sample pleadings in various
courts in 1995, 1996 and 1997: (originals available).
Annex A "Ex-Parte Manifestation and Submission" dated
December 1, 1995 in Civil Case No. Q-95-25253, RTC, Br. 224,
QC.
Annex B "Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation Motion" dated
November 13, 1996 in Sp. Proc. No. 95-030, RTC Br. 259 (not
257), Paraaque, MM.

There is also Rule 139-A, Section 10 which provides that


"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."
Among others, I seek clarification (e.g. a certification) and
appropriate action on the bar standing of Atty. Francisco R.
Llamas both with the Bar Confidant and with the IBP, especially
its Rizal Chapter of which Atty. Llamas purports to be a
member.
Please note that while Atty. Llamas indicates "IBP Rizal 259060"
sometimes, he does not indicate any PTR for payment of
professional tax.
Under the Rules, particularly Rule 138, Sections 27 and 28,
suspension of an attorney may be done not only by the
Supreme Court but also by the Court of Appeals or a Regional
Trial Court (thus, we are also copy furnishing some of these
courts).
Finally, it is relevant to note the track record of Atty. Francisco
R. Llamas, as shown by:
1. his dismissal as Pasay City Judge per Supreme Court Admin.
Matter No. 1037-CJ En Banc Decision on October 28, 1981 (in
SCRA).

Annex C "An Urgent and Respectful Plea for extension of


Time to File Required Comment and Opposition" dated January
17, 1997 in CA-G.R. SP (not Civil Case) No. 42286, CA 6th Div.

2. his conviction for estafa per Decision dated June 30, 1994 in
Crim. Case No. 11787, RTC Br. 66, Makati, MM (see attached
copy of the Order dated February 14, 1995 denying the motion
for reconsideration of the conviction which is purportedly on
appeal in the Court of Appeals).

This matter is being brought in the context of Rule 138, Section


1 which qualifies that only a duly admitted member of the bar
"who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law".

Attached to the letter-complaint were the pleadings dated


December 1, 1995, November 13, 1996, and January 17, 1997
referred to by complainant, bearing, at the end thereof, what

appears to be respondent's signature above his name, address


and the receipt number "IBP Rizal 259060." 1 Also attached was
a copy of the order,2 dated February 14, 1995, issued by Judge
Eriberto U. Rosario, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66,
Makati, denying respondent's motion for reconsideration of his
conviction, in Criminal Case No. 11787, for violation of Art. 316,
par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code.
On April 18, 1997, complainant filed a certification 3 dated March
18, 1997, by the then president of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, Atty. Ida R. Macalinao-Javier, that respondent's
"last payment of his IBP dues was in 1991. Since then he has
not paid or remitted any amount to cover his membership fees
up to the present."

Judge of Makati, Br. 150.


Also as pointed out, the February 14, 1995 decision in Crim.
Case No. 11787 was appealed to the Court of Appeals and is
still pending.
Complainant need not even file this complaint if indeed the
decision of dismissal as a Judge was never set aside and
reversed, and also had the decision of conviction for a light
felony, been affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Undersigned
himself would surrender his right or privilege to practice law.
4. That complainant capitalizes on the fact that respondent had
been delinquent in his dues.

On July 7, 1997, respondent was required to comment on the


complaint within ten days from receipt of notice, after which the
case was referred to the IBP for investigation, report and
recommendation. In his comment-memorandum4 dated June 3,
1998, respondent alleged:5

Undersigned since 1992 have publicly made it clear per his


Income Tax Return, up to the present, that he had only a limited
practice of law. In fact, in his Income Tax Return, his principal
occupation is a farmer of which he is. His 30 hectares orchard
and pineapple farm is located at Calauan, Laguna.

3. That with respect to the complainant's absurd claim that for


using in 1995, 1996 and 1997 the same O.R. No. 259060 of the
Rizal IBP, respondent is automatically no longer a member in
good standing.

Moreover, and more than anything else, respondent being a


Senior Citizen since 1992, is legally exempt under Section 4 of
Rep. Act 7432 which took effect in 1992, in the payment of
taxes, income taxes as an example. Being thus exempt, he
honestly believe in view of his detachment from a total practice
of law, but only in a limited practice, the subsequent payment by
him of dues with the Integrated Bar is covered by such
exemption. In fact, he never exercised his rights as an IBP
member to vote and be voted upon.

Precisely, as cited under the context of Rule 138, only an


admitted member of the bar who is in good standing is entitled
to practice law.
The complainant's basis in claiming that the undersigned was
no longer in good standing, were as above cited, the October
28, 1981 Supreme Court decision of dismissal and the February
14, 1995 conviction for Violation of Article 316 RPC,
concealment of encumbrances.
As above pointed out also, the Supreme Court dismissal
decision was set aside and reversed and respondent was even
promoted from City Judge of Pasay City to Regional Trial Court

Nonetheless, if despite such honest belief of being covered by


the exemption and if only to show that he never in any manner
wilfully and deliberately failed and refused compliance with such
dues, he is willing at any time to fulfill and pay all past dues
even with interests, charges and surcharges and penalties. He
is ready to tender such fulfillment or payment, not for allegedly
saving his skin as again irrelevantly and frustratingly insinuated
for vindictive purposes by the complainant, but as an honest act

of accepting reality if indeed it is reality for him to pay such dues


despite his candor and honest belief in all food faith, to the
contrary.
On December 4, 1998, the IBP Board of Governors passed a
resolution6 adopting and approving the report and
recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner which found
respondent guilty, and recommended his suspension from the
practice of law for three months and until he pays his IBP dues.
Respondent moved for a reconsideration of the decision, but
this was denied by the IBP in a resolution,7 dated April 22, 1999.
Hence, pursuant to Rule 139-B, 12(b) of the Rules of Court,
this case is here for final action on the decision of the IBP
ordering respondent's suspension for three months.
The findings of IBP Commissioner Alfredo Sanz are as follows:
On the first issue, Complainant has shown "respondent's nonindication of the proper IBP O.R. and PTR numbers in his
pleadings (Annexes "A", "B" and "C" of the letter complaint,
more particularly his use of "IBP Rizal 259060 for at least three
years."

present time that he had only a limited practice of law." (par. 4 of


Respondent's Memorandum).
Therefore respondent is not exempt from paying his yearly dues
to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
On the second issue, complainant claims that respondent has
misled the court about his standing in the IBP by using the same
IBP O.R. number in his pleadings of at least six years and
therefore liable for his actions. Respondent in his memorandum
did not discuss this issue.
First. Indeed, respondent admits that since 1992, he has
engaged in law practice without having paid his IBP dues. He
likewise admits that, as appearing in the pleadings submitted by
complainant to this Court, he indicated "IBP-Rizal 259060" in the
pleadings he filed in court, at least for the years 1995, 1996, and
1997, thus misrepresenting that such was his IBP chapter
membership and receipt number for the years in which those
pleadings were filed. He claims, however, that he is only
engaged in a "limited" practice and that he believes in good faith
that he is exempt from the payment of taxes, such as income
tax, under R.A. No. 7432, 4 as a senior citizen since 1992.

The records also show a "Certification dated March 24, 1997


from IBP Rizal Chapter President Ida R. Makahinud Javier that
respondent's last payment of his IBP dues was in 1991."

Rule 139-A provides:

While these allegations are neither denied nor categorically


admitted by respondent, he has invoked and cited that "being a
Senior Citizen since 1992, he is legally exempt under Section 4
of Republic Act No. 7432 which took effect in 1992 in the
payment of taxes, income taxes as an example.

Sec. 9. Membership dues. Every member of the Integrated


Bar shall pay such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall
determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. A fixed sum
equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the collections from each
Chapter shall be set aside as a Welfare Fund for disabled
members of the Chapter and the compulsory heirs of deceased
members thereof.

xxx

xxx

xxx

The above cited provision of law is not applicable in the present


case. In fact, respondent admitted that he is still in the practice
of law when he alleged that the "undersigned since 1992 have
publicly made it clear per his Income tax Return up to the

Sec. 10. 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.


In accordance with these provisions, respondent can engage in
the practice of law only by paying his dues, and it does not
matter that his practice is "limited." While it is true that R.A. No.
7432, 4 grants senior citizens "exemption from the payment of
individual income taxes: provided, that their annual taxable
income does not exceed the poverty level as determined by the
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for that
year," the exemption does not include payment of membership
or association dues.
Second. By indicating "IBP-Rizal 259060" in his pleadings and
thereby misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had
paid his IBP dues to the Rizal Chapter, respondent is guilty of
violating the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides:
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct.
CANON 7 A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE
INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION,
AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.
CANON 10 A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND
GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT.
Rule 10.01 A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent
to the doing of any court; nor shall he mislead or allow the court
to be misled by any artifice.
Respondent's failure to pay his IBP dues and his
misrepresentation in the pleadings he filed in court indeed merit
the most severe penalty. However, in view of respondent's
advanced age, his express willingness to pay his dues and plea
for a more temperate application of the law,8 we believe the
penalty of one year suspension from the practice of law or until
he has paid his IBP dues, whichever is later, is appropriate.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas is


SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR, or
until he has paid his IBP dues, whichever is later. Let a copy of
this decision be attached to Atty. Llamas' personal record in the
Office of the Bar Confidant and copies be furnished to all
chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and to all courts
in the land.1wphi1.nt

A.C. No. 2505 February 21, 1992


EVANGELINE LEDA, complainant, vs. ATTY. TREBONIAN
TABANG, respondent.

PER CURIAM:
Complainant, Evangeline Leda, squarely puts in issue
respondent Atty. Trebonian Tabang's good moral character, in
two Complaints she had filed against him, one docketed as Bar
Matter No. 78 instituted on 6 January 1982, and the present
Administrative Case No. 2505, which is a Petition for
Disbarment, filed on 14 February 1983.
It appears that on 3 October 1976, Respondent and
Complainant contracted marriage at Tigbauan, Iloilo. The
marriage, solemnized by Judge Jose T. Tavarro of Tigbauan,
was performed under Article 76 of the Civil Code 1 as one of
exceptional character (Annex "A", Petition).
The parties agreed to keep the fact of marriage a secret until
after Respondent had finished his law studies (began in l977),
and had taken the Bar examinations (in 1981), allegedly to
ensure a stable future for them. Complainant admits, though,
that they had not lived together as husband and wife (LetterComplaint, 6 January 1982).
Respondent finished his law studies in 1981 and thereafter
applied to take the Bar. In his application, he declared that he
was "single." He then passed the examinations but Complainant
blocked him from taking his Oath by instituting Bar Matter No.
78, claiming that Respondent had acted fraudulently in filling out
his application and, thus, was unworthy to take the lawyer's
Oath for lack of good moral character. Complainant also alleged
that after Respondent's law studies, he became aloof and
"abandoned" her (Petition, par. 5).

The Court deferred Respondent's Oath-taking and required him


to answer the Complaint.
Respondent filed his "Explanation," dated 26 May 1982 which
was received on 7 June 1982. Said "Explanation" carries
Complainant's conformity (Records, p. 6). Therein, he admitted
that he was "legally married" to Complainant on 3 October 1976
but that the marriage "was not as yet made and declared public"
so that he could proceed with his law studies and until after he
could take the Bar examinations "in order to keep stable our
future." He also admitted having indicated that he was "single"
in his application to take the Bar "for reason that to my honest
belief, I have still to declare my status as single since my
marriage with the complainant was not as yet made and
declared public." He further averred that he and Complainant
had reconciled as shown by her conformity to the "Explanation,"
for which reason he prayed that the Complaint be dismissed.
Respondent also filed a Motion to Dismiss, dated 2 June 1982.
Attached to it was Complainant's Affidavit of Desistance, which
stated that Bar Matter No. 78 arose out of a misunderstanding
and communication gap and that she was refraining from
pursuing her Complaint against Respondent.
Acting on the aforesaid Motion and Comment, the Court
dismissed Bar Matter No. 78 and allowed Respondent to take
his Oath in a Resolution dated 20 August 1982.
On 14 February 1983, however, Complainant filed this
Administrative Case, this time praying for Respondent's
disbarment based on the following grounds:
a. For having made use of his legal knowledge to contract an
invalid marriage with me assuming that our marriage is not valid,
and making a mockery of our marriage institution.
b. For having misrepresented himself as single when in truth he
is already married in his application to take the bar exam.

c. For being not of good moral character contrary to the


certification he submitted to the Supreme Court;
d. For (sic) guilty of deception for the reason that he deceived
me into signing of the affidavit of desistance and the conformity
to his explanation and later on the comment to his motion to
dismiss, when in truth and in fact he is not sincere, for he only
befriended me to resume our marriage and introduced me to his
family, friends and relatives as his wife, for a bad motive that is
he wanted me to withdraw my complaint against him with the
Supreme Court.
Attached to Complainant's Petition for Disbarment, as Annex
"F," is an undated and unsigned letter addressed to
Complainant, allegedly written by Respondent after he had
already taken his Oath stating, among others, that while he was
grateful for Complainant's help, he "could not force myself to be
yours," did not love her anymore and considered her only a
friend. Their marriage contract was actually void for failure to
comply with the requisites of Article 76 of the Civil Code, among
them the minimum cohabitation for five (5) years before the
celebration of the marriage, an affidavit to that effect by the
solemnizing officer, and that the parties must be at least twentyone (21) years of age, which they were not as they were both
only twenty years old at the time. He advised Complainant not to
do anything more so as not to put her family name "in shame."
As for him, he had "attain(ed) my goal as a full-pledge (sic)
professional and there is nothing you can do for it to take away
from me even (sic) you go to any court." According to
Complainant, although the letter was unsigned, Respondent's
initials appear on the upper left-hand corner of the airmail
envelope (Exh. "8-A-1").
Respondent denied emphatically that he had sent such a letter
contending that it is Complainant who has been indulging in
fantasy and fabrications.
In his Comment in the present case, Respondent avers that he
and Complainant had covenanted not to disclose the marriage

not because he wanted to finish his studies and take the Bar
first but for the reason that said marriage was void from the
beginning in the absence of the requisites of Article 76 of the
Civil Code that the contracting parties shall have lived together
as husband and wife for at least five (5) years before the date of
the marriage and that said parties shall state the same in an
affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer
oaths. He could not have abandoned Complainant because they
had never lived together as husband and wife. When he applied
for the 1981 Bar examinations, he honestly believed that in the
eyes of the law, he was single.
On 7 May 1984, the Court referred the Complaint to the Solicitor
General for investigation, report and recommendation. On 5
March 1990, the Solicitor General submitted his Report, with the
recommendation that Respondent be exonerated from the
charges against him since Complainant failed to attend the
hearings and to substantiate her charges but that he be
reprimanded for making inconsistent and conflicting statements
in the various pleadings he had filed before this Court.
On 26 March 1990, the Court referred the Solicitor General's
Report to the Bar Confidant for evaluation, report and
recommendation. In an undated Report, the latter recommended
the indefinite suspension of Respondent until the status of his
marriage is settled.
Upon the facts on Record even without testimonial evidence
from Complainant, we find Respondent's lack of good moral
character sufficiently established.
Firstly, his declaration in his application for Admission to the
1981 Bar Examinations that he was "single" was a gross
misrepresentation of a material fact made in utter bad faith, for
which he should be made answerable. Rule 7.01, Canon 7,
Chapter II of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly
provides: "A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly making a
false statement or suppression of a material fact in connection
with his application for admission to the bar." That false

statement, if it had been known, would have disqualified him


outright from taking the Bar Examinations as it indubitably
exhibits lack of good moral character.

his studies and take the Bar. In this case, however, he contends
that the reason it was kept a secret was because it was "not in
order from the beginning."

Respondent's protestations that he had acted in good faith in


declaring his status as "single" not only because of his pact with
Complainant to keep the marriage under wraps but also
because that marriage to the Complainant was void from the
beginning, are mere afterthoughts absolutely wanting of merit.
Respondent can not assume that his marriage to Complainant is
void. The presumption is that all the requisites and conditions of
a marriage of an exceptional character under Article 76 of the
Civil Code have been met and that the Judge's official duty in
connection therewith has been regularly performed.

Thirdly, Respondent denies that he had sent the unsigned letter


(Annex "F," Petition) to Complainant. However, its very tenor
coincides with the reasons that he advances in his Comment
why the marriage is void from the beginning, that is, for failure to
comply with the requisites of Article 76 of the Civil Code.

Secondly, Respondent's conduct in adopting conflicting


positions in the various pleadings submitted in Bar Matter No.
78 and in the case at bar is duplicitous and deplorable.
The records show that in Bar Matter No. 78, Respondent had
submitted an "Explanation," in paragraph 1, page 1 of which he
admits having been "legally married" to Complainant. Yet,
during the hearings before the Solicitor General, he denied
under oath that he had submitted any such pleading (t.s.n., p.
21) contending instead that it is only the second page where his
signature appears that he meant to admit and not the averments
on the first page which were merely of Complainant's own
making (ibid., pp. 59-60). However, in his Comment in this
Administrative Case, he admits and makes reference to such
"Explanation" (pars. 3[f]) and [g]; 4[b]).
Again, while in said "Explanation" he admitted having been
"legally married" to Complainant (par. 1), in this case, however,
he denies the legality of the marriage and, instead, harps on its
being void ab initio. He even denies his signature in the
marriage contract.
In Bar Matter No. 78, Respondent also averred that the fact of
marriage was not to be made public so as to allow him to finish

Fourthly, the factual scenario gathered from the records shows


that Respondent had reconciled with Complainant and admitted
the marriage to put a quick finish to Bar Matter No. 78 to enable
him to take the lawyer's Oath, which otherwise he would have
been unable to do. But after he had done so and had become a
"full-pledge (sic) lawyer," he again refused to honor his marriage
to Complainant.
Respondent's lack of good moral character is only too evident.
He has resorted to conflicting submissions before this Court to
suit himself. He has also engaged in devious tactics with
Complainant in order to serve his purpose. In so doing, he has
violated Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
which provides that "a lawyer owes candor, fairness and good
faith to the court" as well as Rule 1001 thereof which states that
"a lawyer should do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of
any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the court to be
misled by any artifice." Courts are entitled to expect only
complete candor and honesty from the lawyers appearing and
pleading before them (Chavez v. Viola, Adm. Case No. 2152, 19
April 1991, 196 SCRA 10). Respondent, through his actuations,
has been lacking in the candor required of him not only as a
member of the Bar but also as an officer of the Court.
It cannot be overemphasized that the requirement of good moral
character is not only a condition precedent to admission to the
practice of law; its continued possession is also essential for
remaining in the practice of law (People v. Tuanda, Adm. Case
No. 3360, 30 January 1990, 181 SCRA 692). As so aptly put by

Mr. Justice George A. Malcolm: "As good character is an


essential qualification for admission of an attorney to practice,
when the attorney's character is bad in such respects as to
show that he is unsafe and unfit to be entrusted with the powers
of an attorney, the courts retain the power to discipline him (Piatt
v. Abordo, 58 Phil. 350 [1933]).
WHEREFORE, finding respondent Trebonian C. Tabang grossly
unfit and unworthy to continue to be entrusted with the duties
and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney, he is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law until further
Orders, the suspension to take effect immediately.
Copies of this Decision shall be entered in his personal record
as an attorney and served on the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines and the Court Administrator who shall circulate the
same to all Courts in the country for their information and
guidance.
SO ORDERED

B. M. No. 1154

June 8, 2004

IN THE MATTER OF THE DISQUALIFICATION OF BAR


EXAMINEE HARON S. MELING IN THE 2002 BAR
EXAMINATIONS AND FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AS
MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE SHARIA BAR, ATTY.
FROILAN R. MELENDREZ, petitioner.
RESOLUTION
TINGA, J.:
The Court is here confronted with a Petition that seeks twin
reliefs, one of which is ripe while the other has been rendered
moot by a supervening event.
The antecedents follow.
On October 14, 2002, Atty. Froilan R. Melendrez (Melendrez)
filed with the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) a Petition1 to
disqualify Haron S. Meling (Meling) from taking the 2002 Bar
Examinations and to impose on him the appropriate disciplinary
penalty as a member of the Philippine Sharia Bar.
In the Petition, Melendrez alleges that Meling did not disclose in
his Petition to take the 2002 Bar Examinations that he has three
(3) pending criminal cases before the Municipal Trial Court in
Cities (MTCC), Cotabato City, namely: Criminal Cases Noa.
15685 and 15686, both for Grave Oral Defamation, and Criminal
Case No. 15687 for Less Serious Physical Injuries.
The above-mentioned cases arose from an incident which
occurred on May 21, 2001, when Meling allegedly uttered
defamatory words against Melendrez and his wife in front of
media practitioners and other people. Meling also purportedly
attacked and hit the face of Melendrez wife causing the injuries
to the latter.
Furthermore, Melendrez alleges that Meling has been using the

title "Attorney" in his communications, as Secretary to the Mayor


of Cotabato City, despite the fact that he is not a member of the
Bar. Attached to the Petition is an indorsement letter which
shows that Meling used the appellation and appears on its face
to have been received by the Sangguniang Panglungsod of
Cotabato City on November 27, 2001.
Pursuant to this Courts R E S O L U T I O N2 dated December
3, 2002, Meling filed his Answer with the OBC.
In his Answer,3 Meling explains that he did not disclose the
criminal cases filed against him by Melendrez because retired
Judge Corocoy Moson, their former professor, advised him to
settle his misunderstanding with Melendrez. Believing in good
faith that the case would be settled because the said Judge has
moral ascendancy over them, he being their former professor in
the College of Law, Meling considered the three cases that
actually arose from a single incident and involving the same
parties as "closed and terminated." Moreover, Meling denies the
charges and adds that the acts complained of do not involve
moral turpitude.
As regards the use of the title "Attorney," Meling admits that
some of his communications really contained the word
"Attorney" as they were, according to him, typed by the office
clerk.
In its Report and Recommendation4 dated December 8, 2003,
the OBC disposed of the charge of non-disclosure against
Meling in this wise:
The reasons of Meling in not disclosing the criminal cases filed
against him in his petition to take the Bar Examinations are
ludicrous. He should have known that only the court of
competent jurisdiction can dismiss cases, not a retired judge nor
a law professor. In fact, the cases filed against Meling are still
pending. Furthermore, granting arguendo that these cases were
already dismissed, he is still required to disclose the same for
the Court to ascertain his good moral character. Petitions to take

the Bar Examinations are made under oath, and should not be
taken lightly by an applicant.
The merit of the cases against Meling is not material in this
case. What matters is his act of concealing them which
constitutes dishonesty.

person liable for indirect contempt of court.6


Consequently, the OBC recommended that Meling not be
allowed to take the Lawyers Oath and sign the Roll of Attorneys
in the event that he passes the Bar Examinations. Further, it
recommended that Melings membership in the Sharia Bar be
suspended until further orders from the Court.7

In Bar Matter 1209, the Court stated, thus:


It has been held that good moral character is what a person
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. Moral
character is not a subjective term but one which corresponds to
objective reality. The standard of personal and professional
integrity is not satisfied by such conduct as it merely enables a
person to escape the penalty of criminal law. Good moral
character includes at least common honesty.
The non-disclosure of Meling of the criminal cases filed against
him makes him also answerable under Rule 7.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which states that "a lawyer shall be
answerable for knowingly making a false statement or
suppressing a material fact in connection with his application for
admission to the bar."5
As regards Melings use of the title "Attorney", the OBC had this
to say:
Anent the issue of the use of the appellation "Attorney" in his
letters, the explanation of Meling is not acceptable. Aware that
he is not a member of the Bar, there was no valid reason why
he signed as "attorney" whoever may have typed the letters.
Although there is no showing that Meling is engaged in the
practice of law, the fact is, he is signing his communications as
"Atty. Haron S. Meling" knowing fully well that he is not entitled
thereto. As held by the Court in Bar Matter 1209, the
unauthorized use of the appellation "attorney" may render a

We fully concur with the findings and recommendation of the


OBC. Meling, however, did not pass the 2003 Bar Examinations.
This renders the Petition, insofar as it seeks to prevent Meling
from taking the Lawyers Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys,
moot and academic.
On the other hand, the prayer in the same Petition for the Court
to impose the appropriate sanctions upon him as a member of
the Sharia Bar is ripe for resolution and has to be acted upon.
Practice of law, whether under the regular or the Sharia Court,
is not a matter of right but merely a privilege bestowed upon
individuals who are not only learned in the law but who are also
known to possess good moral character.8 The requirement of
good moral character is not only a condition precedent to
admission to the practice of law, its continued possession is also
essential for remaining in the practice of law.9
The standard form issued in connection with the application to
take the 2002 Bar Examinations requires the applicant to aver
that he or she "has not been charged with any act or omission
punishable by law, rule or regulation before a fiscal, judge,
officer or administrative body, or indicted for, or accused or
convicted by any court or tribunal of, any offense or crime
involving moral turpitude; nor is there any pending case or
charge against him/her." Despite the declaration required by the
form, Meling did not reveal that he has three pending criminal
cases. His deliberate silence constitutes concealment, done
under oath at that.
The disclosure requirement is imposed by the Court to

determine whether there is satisfactory evidence of good moral


character of the applicant.10 The nature of whatever cases are
pending against the applicant would aid the Court in determining
whether he is endowed with the moral fitness demanded of a
lawyer. By concealing the existence of such cases, the applicant
then flunks the test of fitness even if the cases are ultimately
proven to be unwarranted or insufficient to impugn or affect the
good moral character of the applicant.

such as Meling in this case. The solemn task of administering


justice demands that those who are privileged to be part of
service therein, from the highest official to the lowliest
employee, must not only be competent and dedicated, but
likewise live and practice the virtues of honesty and integrity.
Anything short of this standard would diminish the public's faith
in the Judiciary and constitutes infidelity to the constitutional
tenet that a public office is a public trust.

Melings concealment of the fact that there are three (3) pending
criminal cases against him speaks of his lack of the requisite
good moral character and results in the forfeiture of the privilege
bestowed upon him as a member of the Sharia Bar.

In Leda v. Tabang, supra, the respondent concealed the fact of


his marriage in his application to take the Bar examinations and
made conflicting submissions before the Court. As a result, we
found the respondent grossly unfit and unworthy to continue in
the practice of law and suspended him therefrom until further
orders from the Court.

Moreover, his use of the appellation "Attorney", knowing fully


well that he is not entitled to its use, cannot go unchecked. In
Alawi v. Alauya,11 the Court had the occasion to discuss the
impropriety of the use of the title "Attorney" by members of the
Sharia Bar who are not likewise members of the Philippine Bar.
The respondent therein, an executive clerk of court of the 4th
Judicial Sharia District in Marawi City, used the title "Attorney"
in several correspondence in connection with the rescission of a
contract entered into by him in his private capacity. The Court
declared that:
persons who pass the Sharia Bar are not full-fledged
members of the Philippine Bar, hence, may only practice law
before Sharia courts. While one who has been admitted to the
Sharia Bar, and one who has been admitted to the Philippine
Bar, may both be considered "counselors," in the sense that
they give counsel or advice in a professional capacity, only the
latter is an "attorney." The title "attorney" is reserved to those
who, having obtained the necessary degree in the study of law
and successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been
admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain
members thereof in good standing; and it is they only who are
authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction.12
The judiciary has no place for dishonest officers of the court,

WHEREFORE, the Petition is granted insofar as it seeks the


imposition of appropriate sanctions upon Haron S. Meling as a
member of the Philippine Sharia Bar. Accordingly, the
membership of Haron S. Meling in the Philippine Sharia Bar is
hereby SUSPENDED until further orders from the Court, the
suspension to take effect immediately. Insofar as the Petition
seeks to prevent Haron S. Meling from taking the Lawyers Oath
and signing the Roll of Attorneys as a member of the Philippine
Bar, the same is DISMISSED for having become moot and
academic.
Copies of this Decision shall be circulated to all the Sharia
Courts in the country for their information and guidance.
SO ORDERED

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 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.

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