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Rule139B
INTEGRATEDBAROFTHEPHILIPPINES

RULE139B
DisbarmentandDisciplineofAttorneys
Section1.HowInstituted. Proceedings for the disbarment, suspension, or discipline of attorneys may be taken by the
SupremeCourtmotupropio,orbytheIntegratedBarofthePhilippines(IBP)upontheverifiedcomplaintofanyperson.The
complaintshallstateclearlyandconciselythefactscomplainedofandshallbesupportedbyaffidavitsofpersonshaving
personalknowledgeofthefactsthereinallegedand/orbysuchdocumentsasmaysubstantiatesaidfacts.
TheIBPBoardofGovernorsmay,motupropiooruponreferralbytheSupremeCourtorbyaChapterBoardofOfficers,orat
theinstanceofanyperson,initiateandprosecuteproperchargesagainsterringattorneysincludingthoseinthegovernment
service.
Six(6)copiesoftheverifiedcomplaintshallbefiledwiththeSecretaryoftheIBPortheSecretaryofanyofitschapterwho
shallforthwithtransmitthesametotheIBPBoardofGovernorsforassignmenttoaninvestigator.
A.PROCEEDINGSINTHEINTEGRATEDBAROFTHEPHILIPPINES
Section 2. National Grievance Investigators. The Board of Governors shall appoint from among IBP members an
Investigator or, when special circumstances so warrant, a panel of three (3) investigators to investigate the complaint. All
Investigators shall take an oath of office in the form prescribed by the Board of Governors. A copy of the Investigator's
appointmentandoathshallbetransmittedtotheSupremeCourt.
AnInvestigatormaybedisqualifiedbyreasonofrelationshipwithinthefourthdegreeofconsanguinityofaffinitytoanyofthe
partiesoftheircounsel,pecuniaryinterest,personalbias,orhishavingactedascounseltohisactingassuchInvestigator.
WheretheInvestigatordoesnotdisqualifyhimself,apartymayappealtotheIBPBoardofGovernors,whichbymajorityvote
ofthememberspresent,therebeingaquorum,mayorderhisdisqualification.
AnyInvestigatormayalsoberemovedforcause,afterduehearing,bythevoteofatleastsix(6)membersoftheIBPBoardof
Governors.ThedecisionoftheBoardofGovernorsinallcasesofdisqualificationorremovalshallbefinal.
Section 3. Duties of the National Grievance Investigator. The National Grievance Investigators shall investigate all
complaintsagainstmembersoftheIntegratedBarreferredtothembytheIBPBoardofGovernors.
Section4.Chapterassistancetocomplainant.TheproperIBPChaptermayassistthecomplainant(s)inthepreparation
andfilingofhiscomplaint(s).
Section5.Serviceordismissal.Ifthecomplaintappearstobemeritorious,theInvestigatorshalldirectthatacopythereof
be served upon the respondent, requiring him to answer the same within fifteen (15) days from the date of service. If the
complaint does not merit action, or if the answer shows to the satisfaction of the Investigator that the complaint is not
meritorious,thesamemaybedismissedbytheBoardofGovernorsuponhisrecommendation.Acopyoftheresolutionof
dismissalshallbefurnishedthecomplainantandtheSupremeCourtwhichmayreviewthecasemotupropioorupontimely
appealofthecomplainantfiledwithin15daysfromnoticeofthedismissalofthecomplainant.
No investigation shall be interrupted or terminated by reason of the desistance, settlement, compromise, restitution,
withdrawalofthecharges,orfailureofthecomplainanttoprosecutethesame,unlesstheSupremeCourtmotupropioor
upon recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors, determines that there is no compelling reason to continue with the
disbarmentorsuspensionproceedingsagainsttherespondent.(AmendmentpursuanttoSupremeCourtResolutiondated
May27,1993reBarMatter356).
Section6.Verificationandserviceofanswer.Theanswershallbeverified.Theoriginalandfive(5)legiblecopiesofthe
answershallbefiledwiththeInvestigator,withproofofserviceofacopythereofonthecomplainantorhiscounsel.
Section7.Administrativecounsel.TheIBPBoardofGovernorsshallappointasuitablememberoftheIntegratedBaras
counseltoassistthecomplainantoftherespondentduringtheinvestigationincaseofneedforsuchassistance.
Section8.Investigation.Uponjoinderofissuesoruponfailureoftherespondenttoanswer,theInvestigatorshall,with
deliberatespeed,proceedwiththeinvestigationofthecase.Heshallhavethepowertoissuesubpoenasandadminister
oaths.Therespondentshallbegivenfullopportunitytodefendhimself,topresentwitnessesonhisbehalf,andbeheardby
himselfandcounsel.However,ifuponreasonablenotice,therespondentfailstoappear,theinvestigationshallproceedex
parte.
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TheInvestigatorshallterminatetheinvestigationwithinthree(3)monthsfromthedateofitscommencement,unlessextended
forgoodcausebytheBoardofGovernorsuponpriorapplication.
WillfulfailureorrefusaltoobeyasubpoenaoranyotherlawfulorderissuedbytheInvestigatorshallbedealtwithasfor
indirect contempt of court. The corresponding charge shall be filed by the Investigator before the IBP Board of Governors
whichshallrequiretheallegedcontemnortoshowcausewithinten(10)daysfromnotice.TheIBPBoardofGovernorsmay
thereafter conduct hearings, if necessary, in accordance with the procedure set forth in this Rule for hearings before the
Investigator. Such hearing shall as far as practicable be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its commencement.
Thereafter,theIBPBoardofGovernorsshallwithinalikeperiodoffifteen(15)daysissuearesolutionsettingforthitsfindings
and recommendations, which shall forthwith be transmitted to the Supreme Court for final action and if warranted, the
impositionofpenalty.
Section9.Depositions.DepositionsmaybetakeninaccordancewiththeRulesofCourtwithleaveoftheinvestigator(s).
Within the Philippines, depositions may be taken before any member of the Board of Governors, the President of any
Chapter,oranyofficerauthorizedbylawtoadministeroaths.
DepositionsmaybetakenoutsidethePhilippinesbeforediplomaticorconsularrepresentativeofthePhilippineGovernment
orbeforeanypersonagreeduponbythepartiesordesignatedbytheBoardofGovernors.
Any suitable member of the Integrated Bar in the place where a deposition shall be taken may be designated by the
Investigatortoassistthecomplainantortherespondentintakingadeposition.
Section10.ReportofInvestigator.Notlaterthanthirty(30)daysfromtheterminationoftheinvestigation,theInvestigator
shallsubmitareportcontaininghisfindingsoffactandrecommendationstotheIBPBoardofGovernors,togetherwiththe
stenographicnotesandthetranscriptthereof,andalltheevidencepresentedduringtheinvestigation.Thesubmissionofthe
reportneednotawaitthetranscriptionofthestenographicnotes,itbeingsufficientthatthereportreproducesubstantiallyfrom
theInvestigator'spersonalnotesanyrelevantandpertinenttestimonies.
Section11.Defects.Nodefectinacomplaint,notice,answer,orintheproceedingortheInvestigator'sReportshallbe
considered as substantial unless the Board of Governors, upon considering the whole record, finds that such defect has
resulted or may result in a miscarriage of justice, in which event the Board shall take such remedial action as the
circumstancesmaywarrant,includinginvalidationoftheentireproceedings.
Section12.ReviewanddecisionbytheBoardofGovernors.
a) Every case heard by an investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP Board of Governors upon the record and
evidencetransmittedtoitbytheInvestigatorwithhisreport.ThedecisionoftheBoarduponsuchreviewshallbein
writingandshallclearlyanddistinctlystatethefactsandthereasonsonwhichitisbased.Itshallbepromulgated
within a period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next meeting of the Board following the submittal of the
Investigator'sReport.
b)IftheBoard,bythevoteofamajorityofitstotalmembership,determinesthattherespondentshouldbesuspended
fromthepracticeoflawordisbarred,itshallissuearesolutionsettingforthitsfindingsandrecommendationswhich,
togetherwiththewholerecordofthecase,shallforthwithbetransmittedtotheSupremeCourtforfinalaction.
c)IftherespondentisexoneratedbytheBoardorthedisciplinarysanctionimposedbyitislessthansuspensionor
disbarment (such as admonition, reprimand, or fine) it shall issue a decision exonerating respondent or imposing
suchsanction.Thecaseshallbedeemedterminatedunlessuponpetitionofthecomplainantorotherinterestedparty
filedwiththeSupremeCourtwithinfifteen(15)daysfromnoticeoftheBoard'sresolution,theSupremeCourtorders
otherwise.
d)NoticeoftheresolutionordecisionoftheBoardshallbegiventoallpartiesthroughtheircounsel.Acopyofthe
sameshallbetransmittedtotheSupremeCourt.
B.PROCEEDINGSINTHESUPREMECOURT
Section 13. Supreme Court Investigation. In proceedings initiated motu propio by the Supreme Court or in other
proceedingswhentheinterestofjusticesorequires,theSupremeCourtmayreferthecaseforinvestigationtotheSolicitor
GeneralortoanyofficeroftheSupremeCourtorjudgeofalowercourt,inwhichcasetheinvestigationshallproceedinthe
same manner provided in sections 6 to 11 hereof, save that the review of the report of investigation shall be conducted
directlybytheSupremeCourt.
Section14.ReportoftheSolicitorGeneralofotherCourtdesignatedInvestigator.Basedupontheevidenceadducedat
theinvestigation,theSolicitorGeneralorotherInvestigatordesignatedbytheSupremeCourtshallsubmittotheSupreme
CourtareportcontaininghisfindingsoffactandrecommendationsforthefinalactionoftheSupremeCourt.
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C.COMMONPROVISIONS
Section15.SuspensionofattorneybySupremeCourt.Afterreceiptofrespondent'sanswerorlapseoftheperiodtherefor,
the Supreme Court, motu propio, or at the instance of the IBP Board of Governors upon the recommendation of the
Investigator,maysuspendanattorneyfromthepracticeofhisprofessionforanyofthecausesspecifiedinRule138,Section
27,duringthependencyoftheinvestigationuntilsuchsuspensionisliftedbytheSupremeCourt.
Section16.SuspensionofattorneybytheCourtofAppealsoraRegionalTrialCourt.1 TheCourtofAppealsorRegional
TrialCourtmaysuspendanattorneyfrompracticeforanyofthecausesnamedinRule138,Section272 ,untilfurtheraction
oftheSupremeCourtinthecase.
Section17.UponsuspensionbyCourtofAppealsorRegionalTrialCourt,furtherproceedingsinSupremeCourt.Upon
suchsuspension,theCourtofAppealsoraRegionalTrialCourtshallforthwithtransmittotheSupremeCourtacertifiedcopy
oftheorderofsuspensionandafullstatementofthefactsuponwhichthesamewasbased.Uponreceiptofsuchcertified
copyandstatement,theSupremeCourtshallmakeafullinvestigationofthecaseandmayrevoke,shortenorextendthe
suspension,ordisbartheattorneyasthefactsmaywarrant.
Section18.Confidentiality.Proceedingsagainstattorneysshallbeprivateandconfidential.However,thefinalorderofthe
SupremeCourtshallbepublishedlikeitsdecisionsinothercases.
Section 19. Expenses. All reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in relation to disciplinary and disbarment
proceedingsarelawfullchargesforwhichthepartiesmaybetaxedascosts.
Section20.EffectivityandTransitoryProvision.ThisRuleshalltakeeffectJune1,1988andshallsupersedethepresent
Rule139entitled"DISBARMENTORSUSPENSIONOFATTORNEYS".AllcasespendinginvestigationbytheOfficeofthe
Solicitor General shall be transferred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors for investigation and
dispositionasprovidedinthisRuleexceptthosecaseswheretheinvestigationhasbeensubstantiallycompleted.
Footnotes
1ThissectionandthefollowingSection17sepersedeSection9ofRule139.
2ThetextofRule138,Section27reads:"SEC.27.AttorneysremovedorsuspendedbytheSupremeCourtonwhat
grounds.AmemberofthebarmayberemovedorsuspendedformhisofficeasattorneybytheSupremeCourtfor
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
admissiontopractice,orforawillfuldisobedienceofanylawfulorderofasuperiorcourt,orforcorruptlyorwillfully
appearingasanattorneyforapartytoacasewithoutauthoritysotodo.Thepracticeofsolicitingcasesatlawforthe
purposeofgain,eitherpersonallyorthroughpaidagentsorbrokers,constitutesmalpractice.
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