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LEGAL ETHICS

1.

As a result of a vehicular mishap between a Toyota Land Cruiser


driven by Judge Garcia and the motorcycle driven by Francisco
Ortega, the latter died and Judge Garcia was subsequently charged
with the crime of Reckless Imprudence Resulting to Homicide. Judge
Ortega filed a Motion to Quash the Information on grounds that the
court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged
and over his person. He argued that the Ombudsman should refer
all cases against judges and court personnel filed before his office to
the Supreme Court since it is only the Supreme Court that can
oversee the judges' and court personnel's compliance with all laws,
and take the proper administrative action against them if they
commit any violation thereof by virtue of its constitutional power of
supervision over all courts and court personnel. Resolve the motion
to quash.
A: The Motion to Quash should be denied. Article VIII, Section 6 of
the Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court
administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from
the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals to the lowest municipal
trial court clerk. Hence, it is the Supreme Court that is tasked to
oversee the judges and court personnel and take the proper
administrative action against them if they commit any violation of
the laws of the land. No other branch of government may intrude
into this power, without running afoul of the independence of the
judiciary and the doctrine of separation of powers. However, that
prerogative only extends to administrative supervision. As such, the
Ombudsman cannot encroach upon this Courts task to oversee
judges and court personnel and take the proper administrative
action against them if they commit any violation of the laws of the
land. Since the criminal case filed against Judge Ortega was in no
way related to the performance of his duties as a judge. As such,
the jurisdiction of the MCTC over the case is beyond contestation.

2.

Judge Untalan is a former official of the Mandaluyong city


government entrusted with the duty of settling land disputes. After
he was appointed as a judge, he continued to assist neighbors and
friends, without any compensation, in settling their land differences.
Is there an ethical/professional responsibility problem in this
situation? If a problem exists, what are its implications or potential
consequences?
A: Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct states that a judge
should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all
activities. By using his position to help private persons settle a legal

dispute, Judge Untalan is administratively liable under Rule 2.03 of


the Code of Judicial Conduct. His intentions may have been noble as
he sought to make complainant realize that he had been occupying
by mistake the property subject of the dispute, but Judge Untalan
should be mindful to conduct himself in a manner that gives no
ground for reproach. The Court held in Miranda v. Judge Mangrobang
that a judges private life cannot be dissociated from his public life
and it is, thus, important that his behavior both on and off the
bench be free from any appearance of impropriety.
While there was no categorical finding of bad faith or malice on the
part of respondent Judge, who was motivated by the noble intention
of settling the property dispute between Lozada and Abando,
however, he must bear in mind that his office demands an exacting
standard of decorum to promote public confidence in the integrity
and impartiality of the judiciary. Judge Untalan should be more
prudent in the observance of his dealings with the public to obviate
the mistaken impression of impropriety in that he is probably using
his position as a judge to impose improper pressure or exert undue
influence so as to obtain the desired result in a given situation.
3.

When is inhibition considered as mandatory and when is it


considered as a matter of discretion on the part of a judge?
A: Section 1, Rule 137 of the Revised Rules of Court stated that no
judge or judicial officer shall sit in any case in which he, or his wife
or child, is pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or
otherwise, or in which he is related to either party within the sixth
degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel within the fourth
degree, computed according to the rules of the civil law, or in which
he has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel,
or in which he has presided in any inferior court when his ruling or
decision is the subject of review, without the written consent of all
parties in interest, signed by them and entered upon the record. A
judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself
from sitting in a case, for just or valid reasons other than those
mentioned above.

4.

A Complaint was filed before the Office of the Bar Confidant by Mrs.
Agbulos against Atty. Viray for allegedly notarizing a document
denominated as Affidavit of Non-Tenancy in violation of the Notarial
Law since a competent evidence of identity was not presented. Atty.
Viray argued that the Notarial Rules did not amend Section 163 of
the Local Government Code which only requires the presentation of
a Community Tax Certificate when notarizing a document since the

rules promulgated by the Supreme Court cannot amend the law.


Was the affidavit validly notarized? Explain.
A: The Community Tax Certificate and a competent evidence of
identity must be presented to the Notary Public since the Notarial
Rules did not amend Section 163 of the Local Government Code.
The law and the rule must be complied with.
5.

Ana Salinas filed a case for Violence Against Women and their
Children with a Petition for the Issuance of a Temporary Protection
Order against her husband Roy Salinas before the Regional Trial
Court. After a chamber conference with both parties counsels,
Judge Bitas immediately issued an Order appointing Mervyn Aover
as the administrator of the spouses community properties. Ana
Salinas avers that she did not agree to the appointment of an
administrator, hence, she filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
Order appointing Mervyn Aover as the administrator. In response,
Roy Salinas counsel filed his comment on the motion, with motion
to cite Ana Salinas for indirect contempt for her defiance to the
order of the court by disallowing Mervyn Aover to take over the
management of the spouses community properties. Judge Bitas
summarily held petitioner in contempt of court for violating the
courts order by disallowing the administrator to perform his duty. Is
Judge Bitas correct in issuing an order peremptorily holding Ana
Salinas in contempt of court?
A: Judge Bitas should be held administratively liable for summarily
holding Ana Salinas in contempt of court. Charges for indirect
contempt shall be commenced by a verified petition with supporting
particulars and certified true copies of documents or papers
involved therein, and upon full compliance with the requirements for
filing initiatory pleadings for civil actions in the court concerned. If
the contempt charges arose out of or are related to a principal
action pending in the court, the petition for contempt shall allege
that fact but said petition shall be docketed, heard and decided
separately, unless the court in its discretion orders the consolidation
of the contempt charge and the principal action for joint hearing
and decision. From the foregoing, it is clear that the following
procedural requisites must be complied with before petitioner may
be punished for indirect contempt: First, there must be an order
requiring the petitioner to show cause why she should not be cited
for contempt. Second, the petitioner must be given the opportunity
to comment on the charge against her. Third, there must be a
hearing and the court must investigate the charge and consider
petitioners answer. Finally, only if found guilty will petitioner be
punished accordingly. What is most essential in indirect contempt

cases, however, is that the alleged contemner be granted an


opportunity to meet the charges against him and to be heard in his
defenses.
Here, it appears that Roy Salinas did not file a verified complaint,
but instead initiated the indirect contempt through his
Comment/Opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration with Motion
to Cite Defendant for Indirect Contempt. Regardless of this fact,
however, respondent Judge still issued an order peremptorily
holding petitioner in contempt of court. Moreover, assuming that
the contempt charge was initiated motu proprio by the Court,
respondent Judge still failed to abide by the rules when he did not
require petitioner to show cause why she should not be punished for
contempt. Plainly, respondent Judge's obstinate disregard of
established rules of procedure amounts to gross ignorance of the
law or procedure, since he disregarded the basic procedural
requirements in instituting an indirect contempt charge.
6.

Johnwell Tiggangay ran for the mayoralty position of Kalinga in the


election but lost to Rhustom L. Dagadag by a slim margin. Following
Dagadag's proclamation, Tiggangay filed an electoral protest which
was raffled to the sala of Judge Wacas. Judge Wacas rendered a
Decision finding Dagadag to have won the protested election but at
a reduced winning margin. Tiggangay filed a complaint charging
Judge Wacas with Impropriety and Partiality, alleging that during the
course of the proceedings, he learned that Judge Wacas is
Dagadags second cousin by affinity, the formers aunt is married to
an uncle of Dagadag. Should Judge Wacas be held administratively
liable for Impropriety and Partiality for not inhibiting himself from
hearing the electoral protest case?
A: No. There is no affinity between the blood relatives of one spouse
and the blood relatives of the other. A husband is related by affinity
to his wifes brother, but not to the wife of his wifes brother. There
is no affinity between the husbands brother and the wifes sister;
this is called affinitas affinitatis. There is no relationship by affinity
between Judge Wacas and Dagadag as they are not in-laws of each
other. Thus, Judge Wacas is not disqualified under Sec. 1 of Rule 137
to hear the election case.

7.

Atty. Revilla notarized a complaint-affidavit signed by Heneraline L.


Brosas, a sister of Atty. Revillas wife, without requiring the
presentation of the latters valid identification card. Can this be a
ground for the disbarment of Atty. Revilla?

A: Section 3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice


clearly disqualifies him from notarizing the complaint-affidavit, from
performing the notarial act, since the affiant or principal is his
relative within the fourth civil degree of affinity. Given the clear
provision of the disqualification rule, it behooved upon Atty. Revilla,
Jr. to act with prudence and refuse notarizing the document.
The fact that a valid identification card has not been presented is
immaterial. If the notary public knows the affiants personally, he
need not require them to show their valid identification cards. This
rule is supported by the definition of a "jurat" under Section 6, Rule
II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice.
Atty. Revilla, Jr.s violation of the disqualification rule under Section
3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice is not a sufficient
ground to disbar him. He did not commit any deceit, malpractice,
gross misconduct or gross immoral conduct, or any other serious
ground for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court.
8.

An administrative case for gross incompetence, inefficiency,


negligence, and dereliction of duty was filed against Judge Andaya
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 53, Lucena City, Quezon.
However, the action was brought in court only after he retired on
March 27, 2009. Did Judges Andayas retirement bar the Supreme
Court from pursuing the administrative proceeding against him?
A: A judges retirement effectively barred the Court from pursuing
the instant administrative proceeding that was instituted after his
tenure in office, and divested the Court, much less the OCA, of any
jurisdiction to still subject him to the rules and regulations of the
judiciary and/or to penalize him for the infractions committed while
he was still in the service. The Court has lost jurisdiction to find him
liable for the cases and motions left unresolved prior to his
retirement.

9.

What are the three tests provided by Jurisprudence in determining


whether a lawyer is guilty of representing conflicting interest?

A: Jurisprudence has provided three tests in determining whether a


lawyer is guilty of representing conflicting interest. One test is
whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in
behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim for

the other client. Thus, if a lawyers argument for one client has to
be opposed by that same lawyer in arguing for the other client,
there is a violation of the rule. Another test of inconsistency of
interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent
the full discharge of the lawyers duty of undivided fidelity and
loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or doubledealing in the performance of that duty. Still another test is whether
the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a
former client any confidential information acquired through their
connection or previous employment.
10.

During the pendency of a litigation case between Czarina Malvar


and Kraft Foods Phils, a Compromise Agreement was executed by
the parties. Atty. Perez, believing that the compromise agreement
was authored by Kraft Foods Phils to evade a possible loss of
P182,000,000.00 or more as a result of the labor litigation, refused
to withdraw the case. Considering Atty. Perez as a major stumbling
block in the settlement of her case, Malvar terminated his services.
Claiming that Malvar unceremoniously and without any justifiable
reason terminated his legal service and required him to withdraw
from the case, Atty. Perez filed a Motion for Intervention to recover
his full compensation based on his written agreement with Malvar.
Can the Motion for Intervention prosper?
A: Atty. Perez has the right recover in full its compensation based on
its written agreement with his client who unceremoniously and
without any justifiable reason terminated its legal service and
required it to withdraw from the case. A client may at any time
dismiss his attorney or substitute another in his place, but if the
contract between client and attorney has been reduced to writing
and the dismissal of the attorney was without justifiable cause, he
shall be entitled to recover from the client the full compensation
stipulated in the contract. However, the attorney may, in the
discretion of the court, intervene in the case to protect his rights.
For the payment of his compensation the attorney shall have a lien
upon all judgments for the payment of money, and executions
issued in pursuance of such judgment, rendered in the case wherein
his services had been retained by the client.

11.

Medado graduated from the University of the Philippines with the


degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1979 and passed the same years bar
examinations. He took the Attorneys Oath but failed to Sign the Roll
of Attorneys allegedly because he had misplaced the Notice to Sign
the Roll of Attorneys given by the Bar Office when he went home to

his province for a vacation. Several years later, while rummaging


through his old college files, Medado found the Notice to Sign the
Roll of Attorneys. It was then that he realized that he had not signed
in the roll, and that what he had signed at the entrance of the PICC
was probably just an attendance record. By the time Medado found
the notice, he was already working. He stated that he was mainly
doing corporate and taxation work, and that he was not actively
involved in litigation practice. Thus, he operated under the mistaken
belief that since he had already taken the oath, the signing of the
Roll of Attorneys was not as urgent, nor as crucial to his status as a
lawyer; and the matter of signing in the Roll of Attorneys lost its
urgency and compulsion, and was subsequently forgotten. In 2005,
when Medado attended Mandatory Continuing Legal Education
(MCLE) seminars, he was required to provide his roll number in
order for his MCLE compliances to be credited. Not having signed in
the Roll of Attorneys, he was unable to provide his roll number.
About seven years later, Medado filed a Petition to the Supreme
Court praying that he be allowed to sign in the Roll of Attorneys.
Should the petition be granted?
A: Yes. Not allowing Medado to sign in the Roll of Attorneys would
be akin to imposing upon him the ultimate penalty of disbarment, a
penalty that we have reserved for the most serious ethical
transgressions of members of the Bar. In this case, the records do
not show that this action is warranted.
Under the Rules of Court, the unauthorized practice of law by ones
assuming to be an attorney or officer of the court, and acting as
such without authority, may constitute indirect contempt of court,
which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. Such a finding,
however, is in the nature of criminal contempt and must be reached
after the filing of charges and the conduct of hearings. In this case,
while it appears quite clearly that Medado committed indirect
contempt of court by knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice
of law, we refrain from making any finding of liability for indirect
contempt, as no formal charge pertaining thereto has been filed
against him. Knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of law
likewise transgresses Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which provided that a lawyer shall not, directly or
indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law. While a reading
of Canon 9 appears to merely prohibit lawyers from assisting in the
unauthorized practice of law, the unauthorized practice of law by
the lawyer himself is subsumed under this provision, because at the
heart of Canon 9 is the lawyers duty to prevent the unauthorized
practice of law. This duty likewise applies to law students and Bar
candidates. As aspiring members of the Bar, they are bound to

comport themselves in accordance with the ethical standards of the


legal profession.
12.

Atty. Espejo, after being introduced to Victoria by a common friend,


obtained a loan from the latter in the amount of P250,000.00.
Despite successive demands by Victoria, Atty. Espejo failed to fulfill
her obligation. Instead, she issued worthless checks to settle her
loan. Can Atty. Espejo be disbarred due to the fact that she issued
worthless checks despite the fact that the loan was obtained in her
private capacity?
A: The fact that Atty. Espejo obtained the loan and issued the
worthless checks in her private capacity and not as an attorney of
Victoria is of no moment. A lawyer may be disciplined not only for
malpractice and dishonesty in his profession but also for his
misconduct outside of his professional capacity. While the Court
may not ordinarily discipline a lawyer for misconduct committed in
his non-professional capacity, the Court may be justified in
suspending or removing him as an attorney where his misconduct
outside the lawyers professional dealings is so gross in character to
show him morally unfit and unworthy of the privilege which his
licenses and the law confer.

13.

Atty. Lacaya and Vicente Cadavedo entered into a contract with the
following stipulation: That due to the above circumstances, the
plaintiffs were forced to hire a lawyer on contingent basis and if
they become the prevailing parties in the case at bar, they will pay
the sum of P2,000.00 for attorneys fees. Is the stipulation in the
contract is valid?
A: This agreement is champertous and is contrary to public policy.
Champerty, along with maintenance (of which champerty is an
aggravated form), is a common law doctrine that traces its origin to
the medieval period. The doctrine of maintenance was directed
"against wanton and in officious intermeddling in the disputes of
others in which the intermeddler has no interest whatever, and
where the assistance rendered is without justification or excuse.
"Champerty, on the other hand, is characterized by "the receipt of a
share of the proceeds of the litigation by the intermeddler. "Some
common law court decisions, however, add a second factor in
determining champertous contracts, namely, that the lawyer must
also, "at his own expense maintain, and take all the risks of, the
litigation."
As matters currently stand, any agreement by a lawyer to "conduct
the litigation in his own account, to pay the expenses thereof or to

save his client therefrom and to receive as his fee a portion of the
proceeds of the judgment is obnoxious to the law." The rule of the
profession that forbids a lawyer from contracting with his client for
part of the thing in litigation in exchange for conducting the case at
the lawyers expense is designed to prevent the lawyer from
acquiring an interest between him and his client. To permit these
arrangements is to enable the lawyer to "acquire additional stake in
the outcome of the action which might lead him to consider his own
recovery rather than that of his client or to accept a settlement
which might take care of his interest in the verdict to the sacrifice of
that of his client in violation of his duty of undivided fidelity to his
clients cause."
14.

The Heirs of Mcabangkit sued National Power Corporation for


recovery of damages and of property with the alternative prayer for
the payment of just compensation. Atty. Dibaratun was the original
counsel of the Heirs of Macabangkit. When the appeal was
submitted for decision in the Court of Appeals, Atty. Ballelos filed his
entry of appearance and a motion for early decision. When the
Court of Appeals rendered its decision, the same was furnished
solely to Atty. Ballelos. However, shortly before the rendition of the
decision, Atty. Dibaratun filed in the Court of Appeals a motion to
register attorneys lien, alleging that he did not withdraw his
appearance and he was not aware of the entry of appearance by
Atty. Ballelos. Amir Macabangkit, one of the heirs of Macabangkit,
confirmed Atty. Dibaratuns representation through an ex parte
manifestation that he filed in his own behalf and on behalf of his
siblings. Amir imputed malpractice to Atty. Ballelos for having filed
an entry of appearance bearing his forged signature and for
plagiarism for copying verbatim the arguments contained in the
pleadings previously filed by Atty. Dibaratun. Atty. Ballelos claimed
that he was hired by the other heirs of Mcabangkit. Both Atty.
Dibaratun and Atty. Ballelos posited that their entitlement to
attorneys fees was contingent. What is the appropriate attorneys
fees? Who is entitled to attorneys fees?
A: With neither Atty. Dibaratun nor Atty. Ballelos presenting a
written agreement bearing upon their supposed contingent fees, the
only way to determine their right to appropriate attorneys fees is to
apply the principle of quantum meruit. Quantum meruit literally
meaning as much as he deserves is used as basis for
determining an attorneys professional fees in the absence of an
express agreement. The recovery of attorneys fees on the basis
of quantum meruit is a device that prevents an unscrupulous client
from running away with the fruits of the legal services of counsel
without paying for it and also avoids unjust enrichment on the part

of the attorney himself. An attorney must show that he is entitled to


reasonable compensation for the effort in pursuing the clients
cause, taking into account certain factors in fixing the amount of
legal fees.
Atty. Dibaratun, the attorney from the outset, unquestionably
carried the bulk of the legal demands of the case. His
representation of all the Heirs of Macabangkit was not denied by
any of them. In fairness and justice, the Court accords full
recognition to Atty. Dibaratun as the counsel de parte of the Heirs of
Macabangkit who discharged his responsibility in the prosecution of
the clients cause to its successful end. It is he, not Atty. Ballelos,
who was entitled to the full amount of attorneys fees that the
clients ought to pay to their attorney. Given the amount and quality
of his legal work, his diligence and the time he expended in
ensuring the success of his prosecution of the clients cause, he
deserves the recognition, notwithstanding that some of the clients
might appear to have retained Atty. Ballelos after the rendition of a
favorable judgment. Atty. Ballelos may claim only from Cebu,
Batowa-an, Sayana, Nasser, Manta and Edgar, the only parties who
engaged him. The Court considers his work in the case as very
minimal.
15.

Robert Seares, Jr. filed a complaint against Atty. Alzate charging her
with incompetence, professional negligence and violation of the
prohibition against conflicting interests. Seares alleged that Atty.
Alzate was his legal counsel when he ran for the position of
Municipal Mayor of Dolores, Abra. When he lost, Atty. Alzate filed in
his behalf a Petition of Protest Ad Cautelam, however, the same was
dismissed for being fatally defective. Several months later, Atty.
Alzate insisted on filing a Petition of Protest, but the petition was
also dismissed on the ground that it was already time barred. After
sometime, Seares again ran for Municipal Mayor and won. He
subsequently learned that his political opponents retained Atty.
Alzate as their counsel. Barely two months in office, Seares was
charged by one Carlito Turqueza with abuse of authority, oppression
and grave misconduct and Atty. Alzate was the one who represented
the latter as counsel. Seares stated that Atty. Alzate made false and
hurtful statements in the memorandum that she prepared in that
administrative case in order to attack him. He asserts that Atty.
Alzate violated Canon 15, Canon 17 and Canon 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility for negligently handling his election
protest, for prosecuting him, and for uttering false and hurtful
allegations against him. Hence, he prays that she should be
disbarred. Did Atty. Alzate violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility?

A: There is no conflict of interest in a situation where a lawyer


represents his present client against his former client, so long as no
confidential information acquired during the previous employment
was used against the former client by the lawyer. The prohibition
does not cover a situation where the subject matter of the present
engagement is totally unrelated to the previous engagement of the
attorney.
16.

Rey Decena had brought an administrative case against Judge


Malanyaons wife, Dr. Amelita, the then Assistant Provincial Health
Officer of Camarines Sur. During the hearing of the administrative
case, Judge Malanyaon was occupying a seat beside his daughter,
Atty. Maria Kristina Malanyaon, the counsel of Dr. Amelita. The
Judges presence therein enabled him to advise his daughter on
what to do and say during the hearing. When the counsel of Decena
inquired regarding the personality of Judge Malanyaon, being seated
at the lawyers bench, the Judge then proudly introduced himself
and manifested that he was the counsel of the respondents counsel.
The Judge stated that he was merely assisting her daughter who
just passed the bar. Subsequently, the complainants lodged an
administrative complaint for conduct unbecoming a judge against
Judge Malanyaon. Are the actuations of Judge Malanyaon constitute
conduct unbecoming of a judge?
A: The act of a judge coaching her daughter who is the counsel of
the respondent during a hearing is considered as engaging in
private practice of law. A judge may not involve himself in any
activity that is an aspect of the private practice of law. His
acceptance of an appointment to the Bench inhibits him from
engaging in such practice, regardless of the beneficiary of the
activity being a member of his immediate family. The judges act of
doing so renders him guilty of conduct unbecoming of a judge.

17.

Atty. De Leon persuaded Arthur, Liza and Ethel to invest in a


business venture that later went bankrupt. Arthur, Liza and Ethel
charged Atty. De Leon with estafa. Simultaneously, they filed an
administrative complaint against Atty. De Leon with the Supreme
Court. If Atty. De Leon is convicted of estafa, will he be disbarred? If
Atty. De Leon is acquitted of the estafa charge, will the disbarment
complaint be dismissed?
A: Moral turpitude includes everything which is done contrary to
justice, honesty, or good morals. In essence and in all respects,
estafa, no doubt, is a crime involving moral turpitude because the
act is unquestionably against justice, honesty and good morals. If
Atty. De Leon is convicted of estafa, then his guilt cannot now be

questioned and his disbarment is inevitable. On the other hand, if


he is acquitted, the disbarment case will not be automatically
dismissed since the quantum of proof required for a criminal case
may not have been sufficient for his conviction but may suffice for
his disbarment
18.

The Supreme Court suspended indefinitely Atty. Cruz from the


practice of law for gross immorality. He asked the Municipal Circuit
Trial Court Judge of his town if he can be appointed counsel de oficio
for Martin, a childhood friend who is accused of theft. The judge
refused because Atty. Cruz's name appears in the Supreme Court's
List of Suspended Lawyers. Atty. Cruz then inquired if he can appear
as a friend for Martin to defend him. If you were the judge, will you
authorize him to appear in your court as a friend for Martin?
A: Suspension is the removal of a lawyer from the practice of law
for a specified minimum period of time. Generally, suspension
should be for a period of time equal to or greater than six months,
but in no event should the time period prior to application for
reinstatement be more than three years. Procedures should be
established to allow a suspended lawyer to apply for reinstatement,
but a lawyer who has been suspended should not be permitted to
return to practice until he has completed a reinstatement process
demonstrating rehabilitation, compliance with all applicable
discipline or disability orders and rules, and fitness to practice law.
Allowing him to act as an agent or friend of a litigant before the
MCTC is akin to doing indirectly what he cannot do directly.

19.

Sheila consulted Atty. Fernandez whether she can successfully


prosecute her case for declaration of nullity of marriage she intends
to file against her husband. Atty. Fernandez advised her in writing
that the case will not prosper for the reasons stated therein. Sheila,
however, decided to file the case and engaged the services of
another lawyer, Atty. Lim. Her husband, Noel, having learned about
the opinion of Atty. Fernandez, hired him as his lawyer. Is Atty.
Fernandezs acquiescence to be Noel's counsel ethical?
A: Yes. There is conflict of interest since the confidential information
Atty. Fernandez acquired during his previous employment with
Sheila can be used against the latter. A lawyer-client relationship
was established from the very first moment complainant asked
respondent for legal advise regarding the formers business. To
constitute professional employment, it is not essential that the
client employed the attorney professionally on any previous
occasion.

It is not necessary that any retainer be paid, promised, or charged;


neither is it material that the attorney consulted did not afterward
handle the case for which his service had been sought. If a person,
in respect to business affairs or troubles of any kind, consults a
lawyer with a view to obtaining professional advice or assistance,
and the attorney voluntarily permits or acquiesces with the
consultation, then the professional employments is established.
20.

Atty. Toquerro was admitted as a member of the New York Bar. While
in Manhattan, he was convicted of estafa and was disbarred. Does
his disbarment in New York a ground for his automatic disbarment in
the Philippines?
A: No. Disbarment in the NY bar is not a ground for disbarment in
the Philippines. At most, it can serve as prima facie evidence for the
disbarment case in the Philippines.