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UNIVERSITY OF CEBU - BANILAD

COLLEGE OF LAW
LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS
Second Semester AY 2014-2015
B. Duties and responsibilities of a lawyer
CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
I.

THE LAWYER AND SOCIETY

MacIver, The Social Significance of Professional Ethics


Canon 1 Promote and Respect Law and Legal Process
9. ZALDIVAR v. GONZALES, GR No. 79690, 166 SCRA 316 (1988)
Legal Ethics Contemptuous Language Duty of a Lawyer
Zaldivar was the governor of Antique. He was charged before the Sandiganbayan for
violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Gonzales was the then Tanodbayan
who was investigating the case. Zaldivar then filed with the Supreme Court a petition for
Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus assailing the authority of the Tanodbayan to
investigate graft cases under the 1987 Constitution. The Supreme Court, acting on the
petition issued a Cease and Desist Order against Gonzalez directing him to temporarily
restrain from investigating and filing information against Zaldivar.
Gonzales however proceeded with the investigation and he filed criminal information
against Zaldivar. Gonzalez even had a newspaper interview where he proudly claims that
he scored one on the Supreme Court; that the Supreme Courts issuance of the TRO is a
manifestation theta the rich and influential persons get favorable actions from the
Supreme Court, [while] it is difficult for an ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given
due course.
Zaldivar then filed a Motion for Contempt against Gonzalez. The Supreme Court then
ordered Gonzalez to explain his side. Gonzalez stated that the statements in the
newspapers were true; that he was only exercising his freedom of speech; that he is
entitled to criticize the rulings of the Court, to point out where he feels the Court may have
lapsed into error. He also said, even attaching notes, that not less than six justices of the
Supreme Court have approached him to ask him to go slow on Zaldivar and to not
embarrass the Supreme Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not Gonzalez is guilty of contempt.
HELD: Yes. The statements made by respondent Gonzalez clearly constitute contempt
and call for the exercise of the disciplinary authority of the Supreme Court. His statements
necessarily imply that the justices of the Supreme Court betrayed their oath of office. Such
statements constitute the grossest kind of disrespect for the Supreme Court. Such
statements very clearly debase and degrade the Supreme Court and, through the Court,
the entire system of administration of justice in the country.

Gonzalez is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free speech. What Gonzalez seems
unaware of is that freedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is
not absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and
accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interests. One of these
fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the integrity and orderly functioning of
the administration of justice. There is no antinomy between free expression and the
integrity of the system of administering justice.
Gonzalez, apart from being a lawyer and an officer of the court, is also a Special
Prosecutor who owes duties of fidelity and respect to the Republic and to the Supreme
Court as the embodiment and the repository of the judicial power in the government of the
Republic. The responsibility of Gonzalez to uphold the dignity and authority of the
Supreme Court and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice is heavier than
that of a private practicing lawyer.
Gonzalez is also entitled to criticize the rulings of the court but his criticisms must be bona
fide. In the case at bar, his statements, particularly the one where he alleged that
members of the Supreme Court approached him, are of no relation to the Zaldivar case.
The Supreme Court suspended Gonzalez indefinitely from the practice of law.
10. SPOUSES SANTUYO v. HIDALGO, 448 SCRA 282 (2005)
CORONA; January 17, 2005
NATURE: Administrative case in SC for Serious Misconduct and Dishonesty.
FACTS
- Petitioners Benjamin Santuyo and Editha Santuyo accused respondent Atty. Edwin
Hidalgo of serious misconduct and dishonesty for breach of his lawyers oath and
notarial law
- In Dec 1991, couple purchased parcel of land covered by deed of sale
- It was allegedly notarized by Hidalgo and entered in his notarial register
- Six years later, couple had dispute with Danilo German over ownership of said land;
German presented an affidavit executed by Hidalgo denying authenticity of his
signature on deed of sale
Petitioners' Claim
- Hidalgo overlooked the fact that deed of sale contained ALL the legal formalities of a
duly notarized document (including impression of his notarial dry seal) - Santuyos could
not have forged the signature, not being learned in technicalities surrounding notarial
act - They had no access to his notarial seal and notarial register, and they could not
have made any imprint of his seal or signature.
Respondents' Comments
- He denied having notarized any deed of sale for disputed property. - He once worked as
junior lawyer at Carpio General and Jacob Law Office; and admitted that he notarized
several documents in that office.
- As a matter of procedure, documents were scrutinized by senior lawyers, and only with
their approval could notarization be done.

In some occasions, secretaries (by themselves) would affix dry seal of junior associates
on documents relating to cases handled by the law firm. - He normally required parties
to exhibit community tax certificates and to personally acknowledge documents before
him as notary public.
- He knew Editha, but only met Benjamin in Nov 1997 (Meeting was arranged by Editha
so as to personally acknowledge another document) - His alleged signature on deed of
sale was forged (strokes of a lady) - At time it was supposedly notarized, he was on
vacation.
ISSUES
1. WON the signature of respondent on the deed of sale was forged
2. WON respondent is guilty of negligence
HELD
1. Yes. The alleged forged signature was different from Hidalgos signatures in other
documents submitted during the investigation. Santuyos did not state that they
personally appeared before respondent. They were also not sure if he signed the
document; only that his signature appeared on it. They had no personal knowledge as to
who actually affixed the signature.
2. Yes. He was negligent for having wholly entrusted the preparation and other mechanics
of the document for notarization to the office secretaries, including safekeeping of dry seal
and making entries in notarial register. Responsibility attached to a notary public is
sensitive, and respondent should have been more discreet and cautious.
Disposition
Atty. Hidalgo is suspended from his commission as notary public for two (2) years for
negligence in the performance of duties as notary public.
11. SICAT v. ARIOLA, 456 SCRA 93 (2005)
Administrative case in the Supreme Court. Violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility
FACTS
- In an affidavit-complaint, complainat Arturo Sicat, a Board Member of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan of Rizal, charged respondent Atty. Gregorio Ariola, the Municipal
Administrator of Cainta, Rizal with violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility by
committing fraud, deceit and falsehood in his dealings, particularly the notarization of a
Special Power of Attorney(SPA) purportedly executed by one Juanito C. Benitez
According to complainant, respondent made it appear that Benitez executed the said
document on January 4, 2001 when in fact the latter had already died on October 25,
2000. - He alleged that prior to notarization, the Municipality of Cainta had entered into
a contract with J.C. Benitez Architect and Technical Management, represented by
Benitez, for the construction of low-cost houses(project worth=11M). For the services of
the consultants, the Municipality of Cainta issued a check dated January 10, 2001 in the
amount of 3.7M, payable to J.C. Benitez Architects and Technical Management and/or
Cesar Goco. The check was received and cashed by the the latter by virtue of the SPA
notarized by Ariola.

Respondents' Comments
- Respondent explained that as early as May 12, 2000, Benitez had already signed the
SPA. He claimed that due to inadvertence, it was only on January 4, 2001 that he was
able to notarize it. Nevertheless, the SPA notarized by him on January 4, 2001 was not
at all necessary because Benitez had signed a similar SPA in favor of Goco sometime
before his death, on May 12, 2000. Therefore, the SPA was cancelled the same day he
notarized it.
- Moreover, the suit should be dismissed for forum shopping since similar charges had
been filed with the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman
for Luzon. Which complaints were dismissed because the assailed act referred to
violation of the IRR of the Commission on Audit.
- The Court, in its resolution dated March 12, 2003, referred the complaint to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation, report and recommendation. The IBP
recommended that respondent's notarial commission be revoked and that he be
suspended from the practice of law for one year.
ISSUES
WON acts of respondent amounted to a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
HELD
The act was a serious breach of the sacred obligation imposed by the Code of Professional
Responsibility, specifically Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which prohibits engaging in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct..
The undisputed facts show that Benitez died on October 25, 2000. The notarial
acknowledgment of respondent declared that
Benitez appeared before him and acknowledged that the instrument was his clear and
voluntary act. Clearly, respondent lied and intentionally perpetuated an untruthful
statement. - Neither will respondent's defense that the SPA in question was superfluous
and unnecessary, and prejudiced no one, exonerate him of accountability. His assertion of
falsehood in a public document contravened one of the most cherished tenets of the legal
profession and potentially cast suspicion on the truthfulness of every notarial act.
Disposition
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Gregorio E. Ariola, Jr., is found guilty of gross misconduct
and is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law. Let copies of this Resolution be
furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant and entered in the records of respondent, and
brought to the immediate attention of the Ombudsman.
No Unlawful, Dishonest, Immoral, Deceitful Conduct Rule 1.01

12. Ui v. Bonifacio, Adm Case No. 3319, June 8, 2000


Administrative matter in the Supreme Court. Disbarment.
FACTS
Mrs. Ui filed an administrative complaint for disbarment against Atty. Bonifacio on the
ground of immorality, for allegedly carrying on an illicit relationship with her husband Mr.
Ui. In the proceeding before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, Atty. Bonifacio attached

a photocopy of a marriage certificate that said that she and Mr. Ui got married in 1985, but
according to the certificate of marriage obtained from the Hawaii State Department of
Health, they were married in 1987. She claims that she entered the relationship with Mr. Ui
in good faith and that her conduct cannot be considered as willful, flagrant, or shameless,
nor can it suggest moral indifference. She fell in love with Mr. Ui whom she believed to be
single, and, that upon her discovery of his true civil status, she parted ways with him.
ISSUE
WON Atty. Bonifacio conducted herself in an immoral manner for which she deserves to be
barred from the practice of law
HELD
- No. The practice of law is a privilege. A bar candidate does not have the right to enjoy
the practice of the legal profession simply by passing the bar examinations. It is a
privilege that can be revoked, subject to the mandate of due process, once a lawyer
violates his oath and the dictates of legal ethics. One of the conditions prior to the
admission to the bar is that an applicant must possess good moral character. More
importantly, possession of good character must be continuous as a requirement to the
enjoyment of the privilege of law practice. Otherwise, the loss thereof is a ground for
the revocation of such privilege.
- A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct, which has been defined as the
conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to
the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community. Lawyers, as
keepers of the public faith, are burdened with a higher degree of social responsibility
and thus must handle their affairs with great caution. Atty. Bonifacio was imprudent in
managing her personal affairs. However, the fact remains that her relationship with Mr.
Ui, clothed as it was with what she believed was a valid marriage, cannot be considered
immoral. Immorality connotes conduct that shows indifference to the moral norms of
society. Moreover, for such conduct to warrant disciplinary action, the same must be
grossly immoral,that is, it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act
or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree.
- A member of the bar and an officer of the court is not only required to refrain from
adulterous relationships but must also behave himself so as to avoid scandalizing the
public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral standards. Atty. Bonifacios
act of immediately distancing herself from Mr. Ui upon discovering his true civil status
belies just that alleged moral indifference and proves that she fad no intention of
launting the law and the high moral standard of the legal profession. On the matter of
the falsified certificate of marriage, it is contrary to human experience and highly
improbable that she did not know the year of her marriage or that she failed to check
that the information in the document which she attached to her Answer were correct.
Lawyers are called upon to safeguard the integrity of the bar, free from misdeeds and
acts of malpractice.
13. FIGUEROA v. BARRANCO, SBC Case No. 519, 276 SCRA 445 (1997)
FACTS
- In 1971, Patricia Figueroa petitioned that Simeon Barranco, Jr. be denied admission to
the legal profession. Barranco passed the 1970 bar exams on the fourth attempt.

- Figueroa avers that she and Barranco had been sweethearts, that a child was born to
them out of wedlock and that respondent did not fulfill his repeated promises to marry
her.
- Figueroa and Barranco were townmates in Janiuay, Iloilo and were steadies since 1953.
Figueroa first acceded to sexual congress in 1960. A son, Rafael Barranco, was born on
Dec 11, 1964. Barranco promised to marry Figueroa after he passes the bar exams.
Their relationship continued, with more than 20 or 30 promises of marriage. Barranco
gave only P10 for the child on Rafaels birthdays. In 1971, Figueroa learned Barranco
married another woman.
- From 1972 to 1988, several motions to dismiss and comments were filed.
- On Sept 29, 1988, the Court resolved to dismiss the complaint for failure of complainant
to prosecute the case for an unreasonable period of time and to allow Simeon Barranco,
Jr. to take the lawyers oath.
- Nov 17, 1988, the Court, in response to Figueroas opposition, resolved to cancel
Barrancos scheduled oath-taking. - June 1, 1993, the Court referred the case to the IBP.
On May 17, 1997, IBP recommended the dismissal of the case and that respondent be
allowed to take the lawyers oath
ISSUE
WON the facts constitute gross immorality warranting the permanent exclusion of
Barranco from the legal profession
HELD
No. To justify suspension or disbarment, the act complained of must not only be immoral,
but grossly immoral. A grossly immoral act is one that is so corrupt and false as to
constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high
degree. It is a willful, flagrant, or shameless acts which shows a moral indifference to the
opinion of respectable members of the community.
- Barrancos engaging in premarital sexual relations with Figueroa and promises to marry
suggest a doubtful moral character on his part but it does not constitute grossly
immoral conduct.
- Barranco and Figueroa were sweethearts whose sexual relations were evidently
consensual
14. BARRIOS v. MARTINEZ, AC No. 4585, 442 SCRA 324 (2004)
FACTS
- Atty. Martinez was convicted of a violation of BP 22 - Complainant submitted Resolution
dated March 13, 1996, and the Entry of judgment dated March 20, 1996 in an action for
disbarment against Martinez
- July 3, 1996 the Court required respondent to comment on said petition within 10 days
from notice
- February 17, 1997 a second resolution was issued requiring respondent to show cause
why no disciplinary action should be imposed on him for failure to comply with the
earlier Resolution and to submit Comment
- July 7, 1997 the Court imposed a fine of P1000 for respondents failure to comply with
previous resolution within 10 days

- April 27, 1998 the Court fined the respondent an additional P2000 and required him to
comply with the resolution under pain of imprisonment and arrest for a period of 5 days
or until his compliance
- February 3, 1999 the Court declared respondent Martinez guilty of Contempt under
Rule 71, Sec 3(b) of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure and ordered his imprisonment
until he complied with the aforesaid resolution
- April 5, 1999 NBI reported that respondent was arrested in Tacloban City on March 26,
1999 but was subsequently released after having shown proof of compliance with the
resolutions of February 17, 1997 and April 27, 1998 by remitting the amount of P2000
and submitting his overdue Comment:
1. He failed to respond to the Resolution dated February 17, 1997 as he was at that
time undergoing medical treatment at Camp Ruperto Kangleon in Palo, Leyte
2. Complainant passed away sometime in June 1997
3. Said administrative complaint is an offshoot of a civil case which was decided in
respondents favor. Respondent avers that as a result of his moving for the
execution of judgment in his favor and the eviction of the family of complainant, the
latter filed the present administrative case
- September 11, 1997 Robert Visbal of the Provincial Prosecution Office of Tacloban City
submitted a letter to the First Division Clerk of Court alleging that respondent Martinez
also stood charged in another estafa case before the RTC of Tacloban City, as well as a
civil case involving the victims of the Dona Paz tragedy in 1987 for which the RTC of
Basey, Samar rendered a decision against him, his appeal thereto having been
dismissed by the CA.
- June 16, 1999 the Court referred the present case to the IBP for investigation, report,
and recommendation
- The report of IBP stated:
1. Respondent filed a motion for the dismissal of the case on the ground that the
complainant died and that dismissal is warranted because the case filed by him
does not survive due to his demise as a matter of fact, it is extinguished upon his
death. The IBP disagrees, pursuant to Section 1 Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of
Court, the SC or the IBP may initiate the proceedings when they perceive acts of
lawyers which deserve sanctions or when their attention is called by any one and a
probable cause exists that an act has been perpetrated by a lawyer which requires
disciplinary sanctions.
2. Propensity to disregard orders of the SC, as shown by respondent, is an utter lack of
good moral character
3. Respondents conviction of a crime of moral turpitude clearly shows his unfitness to
protect the administration of justice and therefore justifies the imposition of
sanctions against him
4. It is recommended that respondent be disbarred and his name stricken out from the
Roll of Attorneys immediately
- September 27, 2003 the IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution adopting and
approving the report and recommendation of its Investigating Commissioner
- December 3, 2003 Atty. Martinez filed a Motion for Reconsideration and/or
Reinvestigation
- January 14, 2004 the Court required the complainant to file a comment within 10 days

- February 16, 2004 complainants daughter sent a Manifestation and Motion alleging
they have not been furnished with a copy of respondents Motion
ISSUE
WON the crime respondent was convicted of is one involving moral turpitude
HELD
Yes. Moral turpitude includes everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty,
modesty, or good morals. It involves an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the
private duties which a man owes his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the
accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and woman, or conduct
contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.
- The argument of respondent that to disbar him now is tantamount to a deprivation of
property without due process of law is also untenable. The practice of law is a privilege.
The purpose of a proceeding for disbarment is to protect the administration of justice by
requiring that those who exercise this important function shall be competent, honorable
and reliable; men in whom courts and clients may repose confidence.
- Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private
grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare, and for the
purpose of preserving courts of justice from the official ministrations of persons unfit to
practice them.
- The court is also disinclined to take respondents old age and the fact that he served in
the judiciary in various capacities in his favor. If at all, the respondent was held to a
higher standard for it, for a judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity,
and independence, and his conduct should be above reproach.
- The Court based the determination of the penalty from previously decided cases,
holding that disbarment is the appropriate penalty for conviction by final judgment for a
crime of moral turpitude.
Disposition
Respondent was disbarred and his name stricken from the Roll of Attorneys
No Counseling to Defy Law Rule 1.02
15. Donton v. Dr. Tansingco, AC No. 6057, June 27, 2006
16. Velez v. Atty. De Vera A.C. No. 6697, July 25, 2006 (supra)
17. In re Terell, 2 Phil 266 (1903)
18. Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, 416 SCRA 465 (2003)
Not to Encourage Lawsuit or Proceedings Rule 1.03
19. Saburnido v. Madrono, AC No. 4497, 366 SCRA 1 (2001)
20. Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino, AC No. 6672, September 4, 2009
Encourage Client to Avoid Controversy Rule 1.04
21. Ysasi III v. NLRC, GR No. 104599, March 11, 1994

22. Castanedo v. Ago, GR No. L-28546, 65 SCRA 505 (1975)


Canon 2 Provide Efficient and Convenient Legal Services
Not to Reject the Cause of the Defenseless or Oppressed Rule 2.01
IBP Handbook, Guidelines Governing Establishment & Operation of Legal Aid
Ofc, Art 1 sec 1
Not to Refuse to Give Legal Advice Rule 2.02
23. Santiago v. Atty. Rafanan, Ac No. 6252, October 5, 2004
No Solicitation Rule 2.03
Rule 138 sec 27, Rules of Court
24. Linsangan v. Atty. Tolentino (supra)
No Rates Lower Than Customarily Charged Rule 2.04