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[A.C. No. 5737.

October 25, 2004]


FERDINAND A. CRUZ, complainant, vs. ATTY. STANLEY CABRERA, respondent.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
FACTS:

Ferdinand A. Cruz charges Atty. Stanley Cabrera with misconduct in violation of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.
Cruz alleges that he is a fourth year law student; he instituted several actions against his
neighbors; he appeared for and in his behalf in his own cases; he met respondent who
acted as the counsel of his neighbors;
During a hearing: Atty. Cabrera said So, may we know your honor, if he is a lawyer or
not? Because your honor, he (pertaining to the complainant) is misrepresenting himself to
be a lawyer! Respondent, this time engulfed with anger in a raising voice said: Appear
ka ng appear, pumasa ka muna;
Respondents imputations were uncalled for and the latters act of compelling the court to
ask complainant whether he is a lawyer or not was intended to malign him before the
public, inasmuch as respondent knew that complainant is not a lawyer, having appeared
for and in his behalf as a party litigant in prior cases; respondents imputations of
complainants misrepresentation as a lawyer was patently with malice to discredit his
honor, with the intention to threaten him not to appear anymore in cases respondent was
handling; the manner, substance, tone of voice and how the words appear ka ng appear,
pumasa ka muna! were uttered were totally with the intention to annoy, vex and humiliate,
malign, ridicule, incriminate and discredit complainant before the public.
In his Comment, RESPONDENT CONTENDS that the complaint filed against him is a
vicious scheme to dissuade him from appearing as counsel for the Mina family against
whom complainant had filed several civil and criminal cases including him to further
complainants illegal practice of law; complainants complaint occurred during a judicial
proceeding wherein complainant was able to represent himself considering that he was
appearing in barong tagalog thus the presiding judge was misled when she issued an
order stating [i]n todays hearing both lawyers appeared; because of which, respondent
stated: Your honor I would like to manifest that this counsel (referring to complainant)
who represents the plaintiff in this case is not a lawyer, he stated pumasa ka muna out of
indignation because of complainants temerity in misrepresenting himself as lawyer;
Violating Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides:
A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive,
offensive or otherwise improper.
Respondent did not refute the fact that the same utterances he made in open court against
the complainant had been the basis for his indictment of Oral Defamation and later
Unjust Vexation under Criminal Cases Nos. 02-1031 and No. 02-2136 respectively,
pending trial before MTC Branch 45, Pasay City.
Likewise respondent did not refute complainants allegation that in 1979 he was held in
contempt and was not allowed to practice law for seven years by the Supreme Court for
his fondness in using contumacious language in his dealing with others.
From the facts obtaining, it is apparent that the utterance hurled by the respondent in the
manner, substance and tone of his voice which was not refuted by him that appear ka ng

appear, pumasa ka muna in whatever manner it was uttered are in itself not only abusive
but insulting specially on the part of law students who have not yet taken nor passed the
bar examination required of them.
Respondent should have been more discreet and cautious in informing the court if it was
his purpose relative to complainants appearance in court; although the latter appeared
only in his behalf but not for others if he had complied with the requirements of Rule 138
(Sections 1 and 3) of the Rules of Court.
IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution to annul and set aside the recommendation
of the investigating commissioner and to approve the dismissal of the case for lack of
merit.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the hurling of words appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka muna and other
statements made by Atty. Cabrera are in violation of Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which provides: A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language
which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.
HELD:
NO.
Based on the facts of this case, such outburst came about when respondent pointed out to the trial
court that complainant is not a lawyer to correct the judges impression of complainants
appearance, inasmuch as the judge, in her Order of January 14, 2002, noted that complainant is a
lawyer. SUCH SINGLE OUTBURST, THOUGH UNCALLED FOR, IS NOT OF SUCH
MAGNITUDE AS TO WARRANT RESPONDENTS SUSPENSION OR REPROOF. It is but a
product of impulsiveness or the heat of the moment in the course of an argument between them.
It has been said that lawyers should not be held to too strict an account for words said in the heat
of the moment, because of chagrin at losing cases, and that the big way is for the court to
condone even contemptuous language.
Nonetheless, we remind respondent that complainant is not precluded from litigating personally
his cases.
This provision means that in a litigation, parties may personally do everything during its progress
-- from its commencement to its termination. When they, however, act as their own attorneys,
they are restricted to the same rules of evidence and procedure as those qualified to practice law;
otherwise, ignorance would be unjustifiably rewarded. Individuals have long been permitted to
manage, prosecute and defend their own actions; and when they do so, they are not considered to
be in the practice of law. One does not practice law by acting for himself any more than he
practices medicine by rendering first aid to himself.
The practice of law, though impossible to define exactly, involves the exercise of a profession or
vocation usually for gain, mainly as attorney by acting in a representative capacity and as

counsel by rendering legal advise to others. Private practice has been defined by this Court as
follows:
x x x. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary action,
a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise. Practice
of law to fall within the prohibition of statute [referring to the prohibition for judges and other
officials or employees of the superior courts or of the Office of the Solicitor General from
engaging in private practice] has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's
self out to the public, as a lawyer and demanding payment for such services. x x x.
Clearly, in appearing for herself, complainant was not customarily or habitually holding herself
out to the public as a lawyer. Neither was she demanding payment for such services. Hence, she
cannot be said to be in the practice of law.
On the other hand, all lawyers should take heed that lawyers are licensed officers of the courts
who are empowered to appear, prosecute and defend; and upon whom peculiar duties,
responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence. Membership in the bar
imposes upon them certain obligations. Mandated to maintain the dignity of the legal profession,
they must conduct themselves honorably and fairly. Though a lawyers language may be forceful
and emphatic, it should always be dignified and respectful, befitting the dignity of the legal
profession. The use of intemperate language and unkind ascriptions has no place in the dignity of
judicial forum.
WHEREFORE, the complaint against respondent Atty. Stanley Cabrera for misconduct in
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility is DISMISSED for lack of merit. He is,
however, admonished to be more circumspect in the performance of his duties as an officer of
the court.
A.M. No. 1162
August 29, 1975
IN RE: VICTORIO D. LANUEVO, former Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court,
respondent.
MAKASIAR, J.:
Administrative proceedings against Victorio D. Lanuevo for disbarment;
Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang for disbarment;
Hon. Bernardo Pardo, Hon. Ramon Pamatian, Atty. Manuel C. Tomacruz; Atty. Manuel G.
Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. for disciplinary action for
their acts and omissions during the 1971 Bar Examinations.
In his request dated March 29, 1972 contained in a confidential letter to the Court for recorrection and re-evaluation of his answer to the 1971 Bar Examinations question, Oscar
Landicho who flunked in the 1971, 1968 and 1967 Bar Examinations with a grade of 70.5%,
65.35% and 67.55%, respectively invited the attention of the Court to "The starling fact that
the grade in one examination (Civil Law) of at least one bar candidate was raised for one reason
or another, before the bar results were released this year" (Confidential Letter, p. 2. Vol. I, rec.).
This was confirmed, according to him, by the Civil Law Examiner himself (Hon. Ramon C.

Pamatian) as well as by Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo. He further therein stated "that there
are strong reasons to believe that the grades in other examination notebooks in other subjects
also underwent alternations to raise the grades prior to the release of the results.
Note that this was without any formal motion or request from the proper parties, i.e., the bar
candidates concerned. If the examiners concerned reconsidered their grades without formal
motion, there is no reason why they may not do so now when proper request answer motion
therefor is made. It would be contrary to due process postulates. Might not one say that some
candidates got unfair and unjust treatment, for their grades were not asked to be reconsidered
'unofficially'? Why the discrimination? Does this not afford sufficient reason for the Court en
banc to go into these matters by its conceded power to ultimately decide the matter of admission
to the bar?" (p. 2, Confidential Letter, Vol. I, rec.).
Acting on the aforesaid confidential letter, the Court checked the records of the 1971 Bar
Examinations and found that the grades in five subjects Political Law and Public International
Law, Civil Law, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law and Remedial Law of a successful bar
candidate with office code No. 954 underwent some changes which, however, were duly initialed
and authenticated by the respective examiner concerned. Further check of the records revealed
that the bar candidate with office code No. 954 is one Ramon E. Galang, a perennial bar
candidate, who flunked in the 1969, 1966, 1964, 1963, and 1962 bar examinations with a grade
of 67.55%, 68.65%, 72.75%, 68.2%, 56.45% and 57.3%, respectively. He passed in the 1971 bar
examinations with a grade of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% by virtue of a Court of
74.15%, which was considered as 75% as the passing mark for the 1971 bar examinations.
Upon the direction of the Court, the 1971 Bar Examination Chairman requested Bar Confidant
Victorio D. Lanuevo and the five (5) bar examiners concerned to submit their sworn statements
on the matter, with which request they complied.
In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, said Bar Confidant admitted having brought the five
examination notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Ramon E. Galang, back to the respective
examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-checking, stating the circumstances under which the same
was done and his reasons for doing the same.
Each of the five (5) examiners in his individual sworn statement admitted having re-evaluated
and/or re-checked the notebook involved pertaining to his subject upon the representation to him
by Bar Confidant Lanuevo that he has the authority to do the same and that the examinee
concerned failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing.
Finding a prima facie case against the respondents warranting a formal investigation, the Court
required, in a resolution dated March 5, 1973, Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo "to show cause
within ten (10) days from notice why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of
Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 34, rec.). Considering that the re-evaluation of the
examination papers of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was unauthorized, and
therefore he did not obtain a passing average in the 1971 bar examinations, the Court likewise
resolved on March 5, 1971 to requires him "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why
his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 99, rec.).

The five examiners concerned were also required by the Court "to show cause within ten (10)
days from notice why no disciplinary action should be taken against them" (Adm. Case No. 1164,
p. 31, rec.).
Respondent Tomacruz filed his answer on March 12, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.).
while respondents Pardo, Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Lanuevo filed theirs on March 19,
1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 60-63, 32-35, 40-41, 36-39 and 35-38, rec.). At the hearing on
August 27, 1973, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in addition to, and in
amplication of, his answer filed on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.).
Respondent Galang filed his unverified answer on March 16, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp.
100-104, rec.). He was required by the Court to verify the same and complaince came on May 18,
1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 106-110,) rec.).
In the course of the investigation, it was found that it was not respondent Bernardo Pardo who reevaluated and/or re-checked examination booklet with Office Code No. 954 in Political Law and
Public International Law of examinee Ramon Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, but Guillermo
Pablo, Jr., examiner in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercise, who was asked to help in the
correction of a number of examination notebooks in Political Law and Public International Law
to meet the deadline for submission (pp. 17-24, Vol. V, rec.). Because of this development, Atty.
Guillermo Pablo, Jr. was likewise included as respondent in Administrative Case No. 1164. Hon.
Bernardo Pardo remainded as a respondent for it was also discovered that another paper in
Political Law and Public International Law also underwent re-evaluation and/or re-checking.
This notebook with Office Code No. 1662 turned out to be owned by another successful
candidate by the name of Ernesto Quitaleg. Further investigation resulted in the discovery of
another re-evaluation and/or re-checking of a notebook in the subject of Mercantile Law
resulting in the change of the grade from 4% to 50% This notebook bearing Office Code No. 110
is owned by another successful candidate by the name of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. Quitaleg and Ty
dela Cruz and the latter's father were summoned to testify in the investigation.
An investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation upon request of the
Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee as Investigation Officer, showed that one
Romy Galang y Esguerra, alias Ramon E. Galang, a student in the School of Law of Manuel L.
Quezon University, was, on September 8, 1959, charged with the crime of slight physical injuries
in the Municipal Court of Manila committed on Eufrosino F. de Vera, another student of the
same university. Confronted with this information at the hearing of August 13, 1973 (Vol. V, pp.
20-21, 32, rec.), respondent Galang declared that he does not remember having been charged
with the crime of slight physical injuries in that case. (Vol. VI, pp. 45-60, rec.).
Respondent Galang, in all his application to take the bar examinations, did not make mention of
this fact which he is required under the rules to do.
The joint investigation of all the cases commenced on July 17, 1973 and was terminated on
October 2, 1973. Thereafter, parties-respondents were required to submit their memoranda.
Respondents Lanuevo, Galang and Pardo submitted their respective memorandum on November
14, 1973.

Before the joint hearing commenced, Oscar Landicho took up permanent residence in Australia,
where he is believed to be gainfully employed. Hence, he was not summoned to testify.
At the joint investigation, all respondents, except respondent Pablo, who offered as evidence
only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as
their direct evidence the affidavits and answers earlier submitted by them to the Court. The same
became the basis for their cross-examination.
In their individual sworn statements and answer, which they offered as their direct testimony in
the investigation conducted by the Court, the respondent-examiners recounted the circumstances
under which they re-evaluated and/or re-checked the examination notebooks in question.
In His affidavit dated April 11, 1972, respondent Judge (later Associate Justice of the Court of
Appeals) Ramon C. Pamatian, examiner in Civil Law, affirmed:
2.
That one evening sometime in December last year, while I was correcting the
examination notebooks, Atty. Lanuevo, Bar Confidant, explained to me that it is the practice and
the policy in bar examinations that he (Atty. Lanuevo) make a review of the grades obtained in
all subjects and if he finds that candidate obtained an extraordinary high grade in one subject and
a rather low one in another, he will bring back the latter to the examiner concerned for reevaluation and change of grade;
3.
That sometime in the latter part of January of this year, he brought back to me an
examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, because according to him the owner of the
paper is on the borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will
get passing mark;
4.
That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and policy
of the Supreme Court to do so in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in
doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%;
5.
That only one notebook in Civil Law was brought back to me for such re-evaluation and
upon verifying my files I found that the notebook is numbered '95;
6.
That the original grade was 64% and my re-evaluation of the answers were based on the
same standard used in the correction and evaluation of all others; thus, Nos. 3 and 4 with original
grades of 7% each was reconsidered to 10%; No. 5 with 4% to 5%; No. 7 with 3% to 5%; and
No. 8 with 8% to 10% (emphasis supplied).
His answer dated March 19, 1973 substantially reiterated his allegations in his April 11, 1972
affidavit with following additional statements:
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3.
... However the grades in Nos. 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10, were not reconsidered as it is no longer
to make the reconsideration of these answers because of the same evaluation and standard; hence,
Nos. 1, 2 and 10 remainded at 5% and Nos. 6 and 9 at 10%;
4.
That at the time I made the reconsideration of examination booklet No. 951 I did not
know the identity of its owner until I received this resolution of the Honorable Supreme Court
nor the identities of the examiners in other subjects;
5.
That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am
authorized to do so in view of the misrepresentation of said Atty. Lanuevo, based on the
following circumstances:
a)
Since I started correcting the papers on or about October 16, 1971, relationship between
Atty. Lanuevo and myself had developed to the point that with respect to the correction of the
examination booklets of bar candidates I have always followed him and considered his
instructions as reflecting the rules and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court with respect to the
same; that I have no alternative but to take his words;
b)
That considering this relationship and considering his misrepresentation to me as
reflecting the real and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court, I did not bother any more to get
the consent and permission of the Chairman of the Bar Committee. Besides, at that time, I was
isolating myself from all members of the Supreme Court and specially the chairman of the Bar
Committee for fear that I might be identified as a bar examiner;
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e)
That no consideration whatsoever has been received by me in return for such recorrection,
and as proof of it, I declined to consider and evaluate one booklet in Remedial Law aforesaid
because I was not the one who made the original correction of the same (Adm. Case No. 1164,
pp. 32-35, rec.; emphasis supplied).
Then Assistant Solicitor General, now CFI Judge, Bernardo Pardo, examiner in Political Law
and Public International Law, confirmed in his affidavit of April 8, 1972 that:
On a day or two after the Bar Confidant went to my residence to obtain from me the last bag of
two hundred notebooks (bearing examiner's code numbers 1200 to 1400) which according to my
record was on February 5, 1972, he came to my residence at about 7:30 p.m. riding in a
Vokswagen panel of the Supreme Court, with at least two companions. The bar confidant had
with him an examinee's notebook bearing code number 661, and, after the usual amenties, he
requested me if it was possible for me to review and re-examine the said notebook because it
appears that the examinee obtained a grade of 57, whereas, according to the Bar Confidant, the
said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84, if I
recall correctly, in remedial law.
I asked the Bar Confidant if I was allowed to receive or re-examinee the notebook as I had
submitted the same beforehand, and he told me that I was authorized to do so because the same

was still within my control and authority as long as the particular examinee's name had not been
identified or that the code number decode and the examinee's name was revealed. The Bar
Confidant told me that the name of the examinee in the case present bearing code number 661
had not been identified or revealed; and that it might have been possible that I had given a
particularly low grade to said examinee.
Accepting at face value the truth of the Bar Confidant's representations to me, and as it was
humanly possible that I might have erred in the grading of the said notebook, I re-examined the
same, carefully read the answer, and graded it in accordance with the same standards I had used
throughout the grading of the entire notebooks, with the result that the examinee deserved an
increased grade of 66. After again clearing with the Bar Confidant my authority to correct the
grades, and as he had assured me that the code number of the examinee in question had not been
decoded and his name known, ... I therefore corrected the total grade in the notebook and the
grade card attached thereto, and properly initia(l)ed the same. I also corrected the itemized
grades (from item No. 1 to item No. 10) on the two sets of grading sheets, my personal copy
thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought with him the other copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant
brought with him the other copy the grading sheet" (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-59; rec.;
emphasis supplied)
In his answer dated March 17, 1973 which he denominated as "Explanation", respondent
Bernardo P. Pardo adopted and replaced therein by reference the facts stated in his earlier sworn
statement and in additional alleged that:
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3.
At the time I reviewed the examinee's notebook in political and international law, code
numbered 661, I did know the name of the examinee. In fact, I came to know his name only upon
receipt of the resolution of March 5, 1973; now knowing his name, I wish to state that I do not
know him personally, and that I have never met him even up to the present;
4.
At that time, I acted under the impression that I was authorized to make such review, and
had repeatedly asked the Bar Confidant whether I was authorized to make such revision and was
so assured of my authority as the name of the examinee had not yet been decoded or his identity
revealed. The Bar Confidant's assurance was apparently regular and so appeared to be in the
regular course of express prohibition in the rules and guidelines given to me as an examiner, and
the Bar Confidant was my official liaison with the Chairman, as, unless called, I refrained as
much as possible from frequent personal contact with the Chairman lest I be identified as an
examiner. ...;
5.
At the time the Bar Confidant came to see me at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening at my
residence, I felt it inappropriate to verify his authority with the Chairman. It did not appear to me
that his representations were unauthorized or suspicious. Indeed, the Bar Confidant was riding in
the official vehicle of the Supreme Court, a Volkswagen panel, accompanied by two companions,
which was usual, and thus looked like a regular visit to me of the Bar Confidant, as it was about
the same hour that he used to see me:

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7.
Indeed, the notebook code numbered 661 was still in the same condition as when I
submitted the same. In agreeing to review the said notebook code numbered 661, my aim was to
see if I committed an error in the correction, not to make the examinee pass the subject. I
considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that particular
notebook on December 31, 1971, considering especially the representation of the Bar Confidant
that the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84%
in remedial law, if I recall correctly. Of course, it did not strike me as unusual that the Bar
Confidant knew the grades of the examinee in the position to know and that there was nothing
irregular in that:
8.
In political and international law, the original grade obtained by the examinee with
notebook code numbered 661 was 57%. After review, it was increased by 9 points, resulting in a
final grade of 66%. Still, the examinee did not pass the subject, and, as heretofore stated, my aim
was not to make the examinee pass, notwithstanding the representation that he had passed the
other subjects. ...
9.
I quite recall that during the first meeting of the Bar Examiners' Committee consensus
was that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner in said
subject would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular. At the time of the
Committee's first meeting, we still did not know the names of the candidates.
10.
In fine, I was a victim of deception, not a party to it. It had absolutely no knowledge of
the motives of the Bar Confidant or his malfeasance in office, and did not know the examinee
concerned nor had I any kind of contract with him before or rather the review and even up to the
present (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63; rec.; emphasis supplied).
Atty. Manuel Tomacruz, examiner in Criminal Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 12,
1972:
1.

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2.
That about weekly, the Bar Confidant would deliver and collect examination books to my
residence at 951 Luna Mencias, Mandaluyong, Rizal.
3.
That towards the end when I had already completed correction of the books in Criminal
Law and was helping in the correction of some of the papers in another subject, the Bar
Confidant brought back to me one (1) paper in Criminal Law saying that that particular examinee
had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his paper in Criminal
Law would be raised a few points to 75% then he would make the general passing average.
4.
That seeing the jurisdiction, I raised the grade to 75%, that is, giving a raise of, if I
remember correctly, 2 or 3 points, initialled the revised mark and revised also the mark and
revised also the mark in the general list.

5.
That I do not recall the number of the book of the examinee concerned" (Adm. Case No.
1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis supplied).
In his answer dated March 12, 1973, respondent Tomacruz stated that "I accepted the word of the
Bar Confidant in good faith and without the slightest inkling as to the identity of the examinee in
question who up to now remains a total stranger and without expectation of nor did I derive any
personal benefit" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.; emphasis supplied).
Atty. Fidel Manalo, examiner in Remedial Law, stated in his affidavit dated April 14, 1972, that:
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2.
Sometime about the late part of January or early part of February 1972, Attorney
Lanuevo, Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court, saw me in my house at No. 1854 Asuncion Street,
Makati, Rizal. He produced to me an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law which I had
previously graded and submitted to him. He informed me that he and others (he used the words
"we") had reviewed the said notebook. He requested me to review the said notebook and
possibly reconsider the grade that I had previously given. He explained that the examine
concerned had done well in other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade that I
had given him in Remedial Law his general average was short of passing. Mr. Lanuevo remarked
that he thought that if the paper were reviewed I might find the examinee deserving of being
admitted to the Bar. As far as I can recall, Mr. Lanuevo particularly called my attention to the
fact in his answers the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good enough English. Mr.
Lanuevo however informed me that whether I would reconsider the grades I had previously
given and submitted was entirely within my discretion.
3.
Believing fully that it was within Mr. Lanuevo's authority as Bar Confidant to address
such a request to me and that the said request was in order, I, in the presence of Mr. Lanuevo,
proceeded tore-read and re-evaluate each and every item of the paper in question. I recall that in
my re-evaluation of the answers, I increased the grades in some items, made deductions in other
items, and maintained the same grades in other items. However, I recall that after Mr. Lanuevo
and I had totalled the new grades that I had given after re-evaluation, the total grade increased by
a few points, but still short of the passing mark of 75% in my subject.
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xxx (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 74-75, rec.; emphasis supplied).

In his answer (response) dated March 18, 1973, respondent Manalo reiterated the contents of his
sworn statement, adding the following:
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5.
In agreeing to re-evaluate the notebook, with resulted in increasing the total grade of the
examinee-concerned in Remedial Law from 63.75% to 74.5%, herein respondent acted in good
faith. It may well be that he could be faulted for not having verified from the Chairman of the
Committee of Bar Examiners the legitimacy of the request made by Mr. Lanuevo. Herein
respondent, however, pleads in attenuation of such omission, that

a)
Having been appointed an Examiner for the first time, he was not aware, not having been
apprised otherwise, that it was not within the authority of the Bar Confidant of the Supreme
Court to request or suggest that the grade of a particular examination notebook be revised or
reconsidered. He had every right to presume, owing to the highly fiduciary nature of the position
of the Bar Confidant, that the request was legitimate.
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c)
In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent carefully
evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answers by the criteria laid
down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's
representation that it was only in that particular subject that the said examine failed, herein
respondent became convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that
previously given to him, but that he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to
be given the passing grade of 75%. It should also be mentioned that, in reappraising the answers,
herein respondent downgraded a previous rating of an answer written by the examinee, from 9.25%
to 9% (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 36-39, rec.; emphasis supplied).
Atty. Manuel Montecillo, examiner in Mercantile Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 17,
1972:
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That during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners' Committee after the Bar
Examinations were held, I was informed that one Bar examinee passed all other subjects except
Mercantile Law;
That I informed the Bar Examiners' Committee that I would be willing to re-evaluate the paper
of this particular Bar candidate;.
That the next day, the Bar Confidant handed to me a Bar candidate's notebook (No. 1613)
showing a grade of 61%;
That I reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers of this particular Bar
candidate I decided to increase his final grade to 71%;
That consequently, I amended my report and duly initialed the changes in the grade sheet (Adm.
Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.; emphasis supplied).
In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Montecillo restated the contents of his sworn
statement of April 17, 1972, and
xxx

xxx

xxx

2.
Supplementary to the foregoing sworn statement, I hereby state that I re-evaluated the
examination notebook of Bar Candidate No. 1613 in Mercantile Law in absolute good faith and
in direct compliance with the agreement made during one of the deliberations of the Bar
Examiners Committee that where a candidate fails in only one subject, the Examiner concerned
should make a re-evaluation of the answers of the candidate concerned, which I did.
3.
Finally, I hereby state that I did not know at the time I made the aforementioned reevaluation that notebook No. 1613 in Mercantile Law pertained to bar examine Ramon E.
Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, and that I have never met up to this time this particular bar
examinee (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, rec.; emphasis supplied).
In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, Bar Confidant Lanuevo stated:
xxx

xxx

xxx

As I was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and the posting
on the record of ratings, I was impressed of the writing and the answers on the first notebook.
This led me to scrutinize all the set of notebooks. Believing that those five merited re-evalation
on the basis of the memorandum circularized to the examiners shortly earlier to the effect that
... in the correction of the papers, substantial weight should then be given to clarify of language
and soundness of reasoning' (par. 4),
I took it upon myself to bring them back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation and/or rechecking.
It is our experience in the Bar Division that immediately after the release of the results of the
examinations, we are usually swarmed with requests of the examinees that they be shown their
notebooks. Many of them would copy their answers and have them checked by their professors.
Eventually some of them would file motions or requests for re-correction and/or re-evaluation.
Right now, we have some 19 of such motions or requests which we are reading for submission to
the Honorable Court.
Often we feel that a few of them are meritorious, but just the same they have to be denied
because the result of the examinations when released is final and irrevocable.
It was to at least minimize the occurrence of such instances that motivated me to bring those
notebooks back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 24, rec.;
emphasis supplied).
In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Lanuevo avers:
That he submitted the notebooks in question to the examiners concerned in his hotest belief that
the same merited re-evaluation; that in so doing, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the
trust reposed in him as bar confidant but on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned;
that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner, because the matter of whether or not re-

evaluation was inorder was left alone to the examiners' decision; and that, to his knowledge, he
does not remember having made the alleged misrepresentation but that he remembers having
brought to the attention of the Committee during the meeting a matter concerning another
examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a grade below 50% in Mercantile
Law. As the Committee agreed to remove the disqualification by way of raising the grade in said
subject, respondent brought the notebook in question to the Examiner concerned who thereby
raised the grade thus enabling the said examinee to pass. If he remembers right, the examinee
concerned is one surnamed "de la Cruz" or "Ty-de la Cruz".
Your Honors, respondent never entertained a notion that his act would stir such serious charges
as would tend to undermine his integrity because he did it in all good faith.
xxx

xxx

xxx (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 35, rec.; emphasis supplied).

On August 27, 1973, during the course of the investigation, respondent Lanuevo filed another
sworn statement in addition to, and in amplification of, his answer, stating:
xxx

xxx

xxx

1.
That I vehemently deny having deceived the examiners concerned into believing that the
examinee involved failed only in their respective subjects, the fact of the matter being that the
notebooks in question were submitted to the respective examiners for re-evaluation believing in
all good faith that they so merited on the basis of the Confidential Memorandum (identified and
marked as Exh. 1-Lanuevo, particularly that portion marked as Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo)which was
circulated to all the examiners earlier, leaving to them entirely the matter of whether or not reevaluation was in order,
2.

That the following coincidence prompted me to pry into the notebooks in question:

Sometime during the latter part of January and the early part of February, 1972, on my way back
to the office (Bar Division) after lunch, I though of buying a sweepstake ticket. I have always
made it a point that the moment I think of so buying, I pick a number from any object and the
first number that comes into my sight becomes the basis of the ticket that I buy. At that moment,
the first number that I saw was "954" boldly printed on an electrical contribance (evidently
belonging to the MERALCO) attached to a post standing along the right sidewalk of P. Faura
street towards the Supreme Court building from San Marcelino street and almost adjacent to the
south-eastern corner of the fence of the Araullo High School(photograph of the number '954', the
contrivance on which it is printed and a portion of the post to which it is attached is identified
and marked as Exhibit 4-Lanuevo and the number "954" as Exh. 4-a-Lanuevo).
With this number (954) in mind, I proceeded to Plaza Sta. Cruz to look for a ticket that would
contain such number. Eventually, I found a ticket, which I then bought, whose last three digits
corresponded to "954". This number became doubly impressive to me because the sum of all the
six digits of the ticket number was "27", a number that is so significant to me that everything I do
I try somewhat instinctively to link or connect it with said number whenever possible. Thus even
in assigning code numbers on the Master List of examinees from 1968 when I first took charge

of the examinations as Bar Confidant up to 1971, I either started with the number "27" (or "227")
or end with said number. (1968 Master List is identified and marked as Exh. 5-Lanuevo and the
figure "27" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 5-a Lanuevo; 1969 Master List as Exh. 6Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 6-a-Lanuevo; 1970 Master List
as Exh. 7-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list as Exh. 7-a-Lanuevo; and the
1971 Master List as Exh. 8-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the end of the list as Exh. 8-aLanuevo).
The significance to me of this number (27) was born out of these incidents in my life, to wit: (a)
On November 27, 1941 while with the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac,
Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, I was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva
Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result. As will be recalled, the last Pacific War broke out on
December 8, 1941. While I was still confined at the hospital, our camp was bombed and strafed
by Japanese planes on December 13, 1941 resulting in many casualties. From then on, I regarded
November 27, 1941 as the beginning of a new life for me having been saved from the possibility
of being among the casualties;(b) On February 27, 1946, I was able to get out of the army byway
of honorable discharge; and (c) on February 27, 1947, I got married and since then we begot
children the youngest of whom was born on February 27, 1957.
Returning to the office that same afternoon after buying the ticket, I resumed my work which at
the time was on the checking of the notebooks. While thus checking, I came upon the notebooks
bearing the office code number "954". As the number was still fresh in my mind, it aroused my
curiosity prompting me to pry into the contents of the notebooks. Impressed by the clarity of the
writing and language and the apparent soundness of the answers and, thereby, believing in all
good faith on the basis of the aforementioned Confidential Memorandum (Exh. 1-Lanuevo and
Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo) that they merited re-evaluation, I set them aside and later on took them back
to the respective examiners for possible review recalling to them the said Confidential
Memorandum but leaving absolutely the matter to their discretion and judgment.
3.
That the alleged misrepresentation or deception could have reference to either of the two
cases which I brought to the attention of the committee during the meeting and which the
Committee agreed to refer back to the respective examines, namely:
(a)
That of an examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a grade below 50%
(47%) in Mercantile Law(the notebooks of this examinee bear the Office Code No. 110,
identified and marked as Exh. 9-Lanuevo and the notebook in Mercantile Law bearing the
Examiner's Code No. 951 with the original grade of 4% increased to 50% after re-evaluation as
Exh. 9-a-Lanuevo); and
(b)
That of an examinee who obtained a borderline general average of 73.15% with a grade
below 60% (57%) in one subject which, at the time, I could not pinpoint having inadvertently left
in the office the data thereon. It turned out that the subject was Political and International Law
under Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (The notebooks of this examinee bear the Office
Code No. 1622 identified and marked as Exh. 10-Lanuevo and the notebook in Political and
International Law bearing the Examiner's Code No. 661 with the original grade of 57% increased
to 66% after re-evaluation, as Exh. 10-a-Lanuevo). This notebook in Political and International

Law is precisely the same notebook mentioned in the sworn statement of Asst. Solicitor General
Bernardo Pardo(Exh. ------- Pardo).
4.
That in each of the two cases mentioned in the next preceding paragraph, only one (1)
subject or notebook was reviewed or re-evaluated, that is, only Mercantile Law in the former;
and only Political and International Law in the latter, under the facts and circumstances I made
known to the Committee and pursuant to which the Committee authorized the referral of the
notebooks involved to the examiners concerned;
5.
That at that juncture, the examiner in Taxation even volunteered to review or re-check
some 19, or so, notebooks in his subject but that I told the Committee that there was very little
time left and that the increase in grade after re-evaluation, unless very highly substantial, may
not alter the outcome since the subject carries the weight of only 10% (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp.
45-47, rec.).
The foregoing last-minute embellishment only serves to accentuate the fact that Lanuevo's story
is devoid of truth. In his sworn statement of April 12, 1972, he was "led to scrutinize all the set
of notebooks" of respondent Galang, because he "was impressed of the writing and the answers
on the first notebook "as he "was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading
sheets and the posting on the record of ratings." In his affidavit of August 27, 1973, he stated that
the number 954 on a Meralco post provoked him "to pry into the contents of the notebooks" of
respondent Galang "bearing office code number '954."
Respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, asserted, among others;
1.
That herein respondent is not acquainted with former BarConfidant Victorio Lanuevo and
never met him before except once when, as required by the latter respondent submitted certain
papers necessary for taking the bar examinations.
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xxx

xxx

4.
That it has been the consistent policy of the Supreme Court not to reconsider "failure"
cases; after the official release thereof; why should it now reconsider a "passing" case, especially
in a situation where the respondent and the bar confidant do not know each other and, indeed,
met only once in the ordinary course of official business?
It is not inevitable, then, to conclude that the entire situation clearly manifests a reasonable doubt
to which respondent is richly entitled?
5.
That respondent, before reading a copy of this Honorable Court's resolution dated March
5, 1973, had no knowledge whatsoever of former Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo's actuations
which are stated in particular in the resolution. In fact, the respondent never knew this man
intimately nor, had the herein respondent utilized anyone to contact the Bar Confidant Lanuevo
in his behalf.

But, assuming as true, the said actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as stated in the Resolution,
which are evidently purported to show as having redounded to the benefit of herein respondent,
these questions arise: First, was the re-evaluation of Respondent's examination papers by the Bar
Examination Committee done only or especially for him and not done generally as regards the
paper of the other bar candidates who are supposed to have failed? If the re-evaluation of
Respondent's grades was done among those of others, then it must have been done as a matter of
policy of the Committee to increase the percentage of passing in that year's examination and,
therefore, the insinuation that only respondent's papers were re-evaluated upon the influence of
Bar Confidant Lanuevo would be unjustifiable, if not far fetched. Secondly, is the fact that
BarConfidant Lanuevo's actuations resulted in herein Respondent's benefit an evidence per se of
Respondent's having caused actuations of Bar confidant Lanuevo to be done in former's behalf?
To assume this could be disastrous in effect because that would be presuming all the members of
the Bar Examination Committee as devoid of integrity, unfit for the bar themselves and the result
of their work that year, as also unworthy of anything. All of these inferences are deductible from
the narration of facts in the resolution, and which only goes to show said narration of facts an
unworthy of credence, or consideration.
xxx

xxx

xxx

7.
This Honorable Tribunal's Resolution of March 5, 1973 would make this Respondent
Account or answer for the actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as well as for the actuations of
the Bar Examiners implying the existence of some conspiracy between them and the Respondent.
The evident imputation is denied and it is contended that the Bar Examiners were in the
performance of their duties and that they should be regarded as such in the consideration of this
case.
xxx

xxx

xxx (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.).

I
The evidence thus disclosed clearly demonstrates how respondent Lanuevo systematically and
cleverly initiated and prepared the stage leading to the re-evalation and/or recorrection of the
answers of respondent Galang by deceiving separately and individually the respondentsexaminers to make the desired revision without prior authority from the Supreme Court after the
corrected notebooks had been submitted to the Court through the respondent Bar Confidant, who
is simply the custodian thereof for and in behalf of the Court.
It appears that one evening, sometime around the middle part of December, 1971, just before
Christmas day, respondent Lanuevo approached Civil Law examiner Pamatian while the latter
was in the process of correcting examination booklets, and then and there made the
representations that as BarConfidant, he makes a review of the grades obtained in all subjects of
the examinees and if he finds that a candidate obtains an extraordinarily high grade in one
subject and a rather low one on another, he will bring back to the examiner concerned the
notebook for re-evaluation and change of grade(Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 5556; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.).

Sometime in the latter part of January, 1972, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondentexaminer Pamatian an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, representing that the
examinee who owned the particular notebook is on the borderline of passing and if his grade in
said subject could be reconsidered to 75%, the said examine will get a passing average.
Respondent-examiner Pamatian took respondent Lanuevo's word and under the belief that was
really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court and in his further belief that he was just
manifesting cooperation in doing so, he re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the examinee's
grade in said subject to 75% from 64%. The particular notebook belonged to an examinee with
Examiner's Code Number 95 and with Office Code Number 954. This examinee is Ramon E.
Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. Respondent Pamatian did not know the identity of the examinee
at the time he re-evaluated the said booklet (Exhs. 1-Pamatian, 2-Pamatian, and 3-Pamatian,
Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-33, 55-56, 57; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.).
Before Justice Pamatian made the revision, Examinee Galang failed in seven subjects including
Civil Law. After such revision, examinee Galang still failed in six subjects and could not obtain
the passing average of 75% for admission to the Bar.
Thereafter, about the latter part of January, 1972 or early part of February, 1972, respondent
Lanuevo went to the residence of respondent-examiner Fidel Manalo at 1854 Asuncion Street,
Makati, Rizal, with an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law, which respondent Manalo and
previously corrected and graded. Respondent Lanuevo then requested respondent Manalo to
review the said notebook and possibly to reconsider the grade given, explaining and representing
that "they" has reviewed the said notebook and that the examinee concerned had done well in
other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade given said examinee by
respondent Manalo in Remedial Law, the general average of said examinee was short of passing.
Respondent Lanuevo likewise made the remark and observation that he thought that if the
notebook were reviewed, respondent Manalo might yet find the examinee deserving of being
admitted to the Bar. Respondent Lanuevo also particularly called the attention of respondent
Manalo to the fact that in his answers, the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good
English. Furthermore, respondent Lanuevo called the attention of respondent Manalo to
Paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum that read as follows:
4.
Examination questions should be more a test of logic, knowledge of legal fundamentals,
and ability to analyze and solve legal problems rather than a test of memory; in the correction of
papers, substantial weight should be given to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning.
Respondent Manalo was, however, informed by respondent Lanuevo that the matter of
reconsideration was entirely within his (Manalo's) discretion. Respondent Manalo, believing that
respondent Lanuevo, as Bar Confidant, had the authority to make such request and further
believing that such request was in order, proceeded to re-evaluate the examinee's answers in the
presence of Lanuevo, resulting in an increase of the examinee's grade in that particular subject,
Remedial Law, from 63.25% to 74.5%. Respondent Manalo authenticated with his signature the
changes made by him in the notebook and in the grading sheet. The said notebook examiner's
code number is 136, instead of 310 as earlier mentioned by him in his affidavit, and belonged to
Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1 & 2- Manalo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 3639, 74-75; Vol. V, pp. 50-53, rec.).

But even after the re-evaluation by Atty. Manalo, Examinee Galang could not make the passing
grade due to his failing marks in five subjects.
Likewise, in the latter part of January, 1972, on one occasion when respondent Lanuevo went to
deliver to respondent Guillermo Pablo, Jr. in the latter's house a new batch of examination papers
in Political Law and Public International Law to be corrected, respondent Lanuevo brought out a
notebook in Political Law bearing Examiner's Code Number 1752 (Exh. 5-Pardo, Adm. Case No.
1164, p. 66, rec.), informing respondent Pablo that particular examinee who owns the said
notebook seems to have passed in all other subjects except in Political Law and Public
International Law; and that if the said notebook would be re-evaluated and the mark be increased
to at least 75%, said examinee will pass the bar examinations. After satisfying himself from
respondent that this is possible the respondent Bar Confidant informing him that this is the
practice of the Court to help out examinees who are failing in just one subject respondent
Pablo acceded to the request and thereby told the Bar Confidant to just leave the said notebook.
Respondent Pablo thereafter re-evaluated the answers, this time with leniency. After the reevaluation, the grade was increased to 78% from 68%, or an increase of 10%. Respondent Pablo
then made the corresponding corrections in the grading sheet and accordingly initialed the
charges made. This notebook with Office Code Number 954 also belonged to Ramon E. Galang,
alias Roman E. Galang (Vol. V, pp. 43-46, rec.).
After the re-evaluation by Atty. Pablo, Jr., examinee Galang's general average was still below the
passing grade, because of his failing marks in four subjects.
Towards the end of the correction of examination notebooks, respondent Lanuevo brought back
to respondent Tomacruz one examination booklet in Criminal Law, with the former informing
the latter, who was then helping in the correction of papers in Political Law and Public
International Law, as he had already finished correcting the examination notebooks in his
assigned subject Criminal Law that the examinee who owns that particular notebook had
missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his grade in Criminal Law
would be raised a few points to 75%, then the examinee would make the passing grade.
Accepting the words of respondent Lanuevo, and seeing the justification and because he did not
want to be the one causing the failure of the examinee, respondent Tomacruz raised the grade
from 64% to 75% and thereafter, he initialed the revised mark and also revised the mark in the
general list and likewise initialed the same. The examinee's Examiner Code Number is 746 while
his Office Code Number is 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang
(Exhs. 1, 2 & 3-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 65, 66 and 71; Vol. V, pp. 24-25, 60-61,
rec.).
Respondent Tomacruz does not recall having been shown any memo by respondent Lanuevo
when the latter approached him for this particular re-evaluation; but he remembers Lanuevo
declaring to him that where a candidate had almost made the passing average but had failed in
one subject, as a matter of policy of the Court, leniency is applied in reviewing the examinee's
notebook in the failing subject. He recalls, however, that he was provided a copy of the
Confidential Memorandum but this was long before the re-evaluation requested by respondent
Lanuevo as the same was received by him before the examination period (Vol. V, p. 61, rec.).

However, such revision by Atty. Tomacruz could not raise Galang's general average to a passing
grade because of his failing mark in three more subjects, including Mercantile Law. For the
revision of examinee Galang's notebook in Mercantile Law, respondent Lanuevo neatly set the
last phase of his quite ingenious scheme by securing authorization from the Bar Examination
Committee for the examiner in Mercantile Law tore-evaluate said notebook.
At the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee on February 8, 1972, respondent
Lanuevo suggested that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the
examiner concerned would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular and the
Committee adopted the suggestion (Exhs. A & B-Montecillo, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No.
1164, pp. 41, 72, 63; Vol. Vi, p. 16, rec.).
At a subsequent meeting of the Bar Examination Committee, respondent Montecillo was
informed by respondent Lanuevo that a candidate passed all other subjects except Mercantile
Law. This information was made during the meeting within hearing of the order members, who
were all closely seated together. Respondent Montecillo made known his willingness toreevaluate the particular paper. The next day, respondent Lanuevo handed to respondent
Montecillo a bar candidate's notebook with Examiner's Code Number 1613 with a grade of 61%.
Respondent Montecillo then reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers,
decided to increase the final grade to 71%. The matter was not however thereafter officially
brought to the Committee for consideration or decision (Exhs. A& B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No.
1164, pp. 40-41, 70-71; Vol. V, pp. 33-34, rec.).
Respondent Montecillo declared that without being given the information that the particular
examinee failed only in his subject and passed all the others, he would not have consented to
make the re-evaluation of the said paper (Vol. V, p. 33, rec.).Respondent Montecillo likewise
added that there was only one instance he remembers, which is substantiated by his personal
records, that he had to change the grade of an examinee after he had submitted his report,
referring to the notebook of examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, with
Examiner's Code Number 1613 and with Office Code Number 954 (Vol. V, pp. 34-35, rec.).
A day or two after February 5, 1972, when respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of
respondent-examiner Pardo to obtain the last bag of 200 notebooks, respondent Lanuevo
returned to the residence of respondent Pardo riding in a Volkswagen panel of the Supreme
Court of the Philippines with two companions. According to respondent Lanuevo, this was
around the second week of February, 1972, after the first meeting of the Bar Examination
Committee. respondent Lanuevo had with him on that occasion an examinee's notebook bearing
Examiner's Code No. 661. Respondent Lanuevo, after the usual amenities, requested respondent
Pardo to review and re-examine, if possible, the said notebook because, according to respondent
Lanuevo, the examine who owns that particular notebook obtained higher grades in other
subjects, the highest of which is 84% in Remedial Law. After clearing with respondent Lanuevo
his authority to reconsider the grades, respondent Pardo re-evaluated the answers of the examine
concerned, resulting in an increase of grade from 57% of 66%. Said notebook has number 1622
as office code number. It belonged to examinee Ernesto Quitaleg (Exhs. 1 & 2-Pardo, Adm. Case
No. 1164, pp. 58-63; Vol. V, pp. 12-24, 29-30, rec.).

II
Re: Administrative Case No. 1162, Victorio D. Lanuevo, respondent.
A
UNAUTHORIZED RE-EVALUATION OF THE ANSWERS OF EXAMINE RAMON E.
GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, IN ALL FIVE (5) MAJOR SUBJECTS.
Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having requested on his own initiative the five
examiners concerned to re-evaluate the five notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E.
Galang, that eventually resulted in the increase of Galang's average from 66.25% to the passing
grade 74.15%, or a total increase of eight (8) weighted points, more or less, that enabled Galang
to hurdle the 1971 Bar examinations via a resolution of the Court making 74% the passing
average for that year's examination without any grade below fifty percent (50%) in any subject.
Galang thereafter took his lawyer's oath. It is likewise beyond dispute that he had no authority
from the Court or the Committee to initiate such steps towards the said re-evaluation of the
answers of Galang or of other examinees.
Denying that he made representations to the examiners concerned that respondent Galang failed
only in their respective subjects and/or was on the borderline of passing, Respondent Lanuevo
sought to justify his actuations on the authority of the aforequoted paragraph 4 of the
Confidential Memorandum(Exhs. 1 and 1-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Cases Nos. 1162 & 1164, p. 51,
Adm. Case No. 1162; Vol. VII, p. 4, rec.) distributed to the members of the Bar Examination
Committee. He maintains that he acted in good faith and "in his honest belief that the same
merited re-evaluation; that in doing so, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the trust
reposed in him as BarConfidant but on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned; and
that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner because the matter of whether or not reevaluation was in order was left alone to the examiners' decision ..." (Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm.
Case No. 1162, pp. 35-37, rec.).
But as openly admitted by him in the course of the investigation, the said confidential
memorandum was intended solely for the examiners to guide them in the initial correction of the
examination papers and never as a basis for him to even suggest to the examiners the reevaluation of the examination papers of the examinees (Vol. VII, p. 23, rec.). Any such
suggestion or request is not only presumptuous but also offensive to the norms of delicacy.
We believe the Examiners Pablo, Manalo, Montecillo, Tomacruz, Pardo and Pamatian
whose declarations on the matter of the misrepresentations and deceptions committed by
respondent Lanuevo, are clear and consistent as well as corroborate each other.
For indeed the facts unfolded by the declarations of the respondents-examiners (Adm. Case No.
1164) and clarified by extensive cross-examination conducted during the investigation and
hearing of the cases show how respondent Lanuevo adroitly maneuvered the passing of
examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang in the 1971 Bar Examinations. It is patent

likewise from the records that respondent Lanuevo too undue advantage of the trust and
confidence reposed in him by the Court and the Examiners implicit in his position as
BarConfidant as well as the trust and confidence that prevailed in and characterized his
relationship with the five members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee, who were thus
deceived and induced into re-evaluating the answers of only respondent Galang in five subjects
that resulted in the increase of his grades therein, ultimately enabling him to be admitted a
member of the Philippine Bar.
It was plain, simple and unmitigated deception that characterized respondent Lanuevo's wellstudied and well-calculated moves in successively representing separately to each of the five
examiners concerned to the effect that the examinee failed only in his particular subject and/or
was on the borderline of passing. To repeat, the before the unauthorized re-evaluations were
made, Galang failed in the five (5) major subjects and in two (2) minor subjects while his general
average was only 66.25% which under no circumstances or standard could it be honestly
claimed that the examinee failed only in one, or he was on the borderline of passing. In fact,
before the first notebook of Galang was referred back to the examiner concerned for reevaluation, Galang had only one passing mark and this was in Legal Ethics and Practical
Exercises, a minor subject, with grade of 81%. The averages and individual grades of Galang
before and after the unauthorized re-evaluation are as follows:
B

1. Political Law Public


International Law
68%
or 30 weighted points
B
A
I

78% = 10 pts.

Labor Laws and Social


Legislations 67% 67% = no reevaluation made.
2. Civil Law 64% 75% = 1 points
or 33 weighted points.
Taxation
74%
evaluation made.

74% = no re-

3. Mercantile Law
61%
or 30 weighted points.

71% = 10 pts.

4. Criminal Law
22 weighted points.

75% = 11 pts. or

64%

5. Remedial Law
63.75% (64) 75.5% (75%) =
11 pts. or 44 weighted points.

Legal Ethics and Practical


Exercises
81% 81% = no reevaluation made.

General Weighted Averages 66.25%

74.15%

Hence, by the simple expedient of initiating the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang in the
five (5) subjects under the circumstances already narrated, Galang's original average of 66.25%
was increased to 74.15% or an increase of 7.9 weighted points, to the great damage and prejudice
of the integrity of the Bar examinations and to the disadvantage of the other examinees. He did
this in favor only of examinee Galang, with the possible addition of examinees Ernesto Quitaleg
and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. But only one notebook was re-evaluated for each of the latter who
Political Law and Public International Law for Quitaleg and Mercantile Law for Ty dela Cruz.
The Office of the Bar Confidant, it must be stressed, has absolutely nothing to do in the reevaluation or reconsideration of the grades of examinees who fail to make the passing mark
before or after their notebooks are submitted to it by the Examiners. After the corrected
notebooks are submitted to him by the Examiners, his only function is to tally the individual
grades of every examinee in all subjects taken and thereafter compute the general average. That
done, he will then prepare a comparative data showing the percentage of passing and failing in
relation to a certain average to be submitted to the Committee and to the Court and on the basis
of which the Court will determine the passing average, whether 75 or 74 or 73, etc. The Bar
Confidant has no business evaluating the answers of the examinees and cannot assume the
functions of passing upon the appraisal made by the Examiners concerned. He is not the over-all
Examiner. He cannot presume to know better than the examiner. Any request for re-evaluation
should be done by the examinee and the same should be addressed to the Court, which alone can
validly act thereon. A Bar Confidant who takes such initiative, exposes himself to suspicion and
thereby compromises his position as well as the image of the Court.
Respondent Lanuevo's claim that he was merely doing justice to Galang without any intention of
betraying the trust and confidence reposed in him by the Court as Bar Confidant, can hardly
invite belief in the fact of the incontrovertible fact that he singled out Galang's papers for reevaluation, leaving out the papers of more than ninety (90) examinees with far better averages
ranging from 70% to 73.9% of which he was fully aware (Vol. VI, pp. 46-47, 101, rec.), which
could be more properly claimed as borderline cases. This fact further betrays respondent
Lanuevo's claim of absolute good faith in referring back the papers of Galang to the Examiners
for re-evaluation. For certainly, as against the original weighted average of 66.25% of Galang,
there can hardly be any dispute that the cases of the aforesaid more than ninety (90) examinees
were more deserving of reconsideration. Hence, in trying to do justice to Galang, as claimed by
respondent Lanuevo, grave injustice was inflicted on the other examinees of the 1971 Bar
examinations, especially the said more than ninety candidates. And the unexplained failure of
respondent Lanuevo to apprise the Court or the Committee or even the Bar Chairman of the fact
of re-evaluation before or after the said re-evaluation and increase of grades, precludes, as the
same is inconsistent with, any pretension of good faith.

His request for the re-evaluation of the notebook in Political Law and International Law of
Ernesto Quitaleg and the notebook in Mercantile Law of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz to give his
actuations in the case of Galang a semblance of impartiality, hoping that the over ninety
examinees who were far better situated than Galang would not give him away. Even the reevaluation of one notebook of Quitaleg and one notebook of Ty dela Cruz violated the agreement
of the members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee to re-evaluate when the examinee
concerned fails only in one subject. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz failed in four (4) and three (3)
subjects respectively as hereinafter shown.
The strange story concerning the figures 954, the office code number given to Galang's notebook,
unveiled for the first time by respondent Lanuevo in his suplemental sworn statement(Exh. 3Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47. rec.) filed during the investigation with this Court as
to why he pried into the papers of Galang deserves scant consideration. It only serves to picture a
man desperately clutching at straws in the wind for support. Furthermore, it was revealed by
respondent Lanuevo for the first time only on August 27, 1973 or a period of more than five 95)
months after he filed his answer on March 19, 1973(Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp.
35-36, rec.), showing that it was just an after-thought.
B
REFERRAL OF EXAMINEE ALFREDO TY DELA CRUZ NOTEBOOK IN MERCHANTILE
LAW TO RAISE HIS GRADE OF 47% TO 50% TO EXAMINER MANUEL MONTECILLO
AND OF EXAMINEE ERNESTO QUITALEG'S NOTEBOOK IN POLITICAL LAW TO
EXAMINER BERNARDO PARDO FOR RE-EVALUATION, RESULTING IN THE
INCREASE OF HIS GRADE IN THAT SUBJECT FROM 57% TO 66%.
Likewise, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having referred back the aforesaid
notebooks on Mercantile Law and Political Law respectively of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz and
Ernesto Quitaleg to the Examiners concerned.
The records are not clear, however, under what circumstances the notebooks of Ty dela Cruz and
Quitaleg were referred back to the Examiners concerned. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that
these two cases were officially brought to the Bar Examination Committee during its first
meeting (Vol. VI, pp. 50-51, rec.) and the latter decided to refer them back to the Examiners
concerned for re-evaluation with respect to the case of Quitaleg and to remove the
disqualification in the case of Ty dela Cruz(Vol. VI, pp. 33-39, 84-86, rec.). Respondent
Lanuevo further claimed that the date of these two cases were contained in a sheet of paper
which was presented at the said first meeting of the Committee (Vol. VI, pp. 39-43, 49-51, rec.).
Likewise a record of the dates of every meeting of the Committee was made by respondent
Lanuevo (Vol. VI, p. 28, rec.). The alleged sheet containing the date of the two examinees and
record of the dates of the meeting of the Committee were not presented by respondent Lanuevo
as, according to him, he left them inadvertently in his desk in the Confidential Room when he
went on leave after the release of the Bar results (Vol. VI, pp. 28, 41-45, rec.). It appears,
however, that the inventory conducted by officials of the Court in the Confidential Room of
respondent Lanuevo did not yield any such sheet of record (Exh. X, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 74,
rec.; Vol. VIII, pp. 11-13, 20-22, 29-31, rec.).

Respondent Examiner Montecillo, Mercantile Law, maintained that there was only one notebook
in Mercantile Law which was officially brought to him and this is substantiated by his personal
file and record (Vol. VI, pp. 34-35, rec.). According to him, this notebook's examiner code
number is 1613 (Vol. V, p.35, rec.) and is owned by Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang.
It appears, however, that the original grade of 47% in Mercantile Law of Ty dela Cruz was
changed to 50% as appearing in the cover of the notebook of said examinee and the change is
authenticated with the initial of Examiner Montecillo. He was present when respondent Lanuevo
presented in evidence the notebook of Ty dela Cruz bearing Examiner code number 951 and
Office Code Number 110 as Exhibit 9-Lanuevo in Administrative Case No. 1162, and the figures
47 crossed out, replaced by the figures 50 bearing the initial of Examiner Montecillo as Exhibit
9-a-Lanuevo (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 48, rec.; Vol. VI, pp. 23-24, Vol. VIII, p. 4, rec.); but Atty.
Montecillo did not interpose any objection to their admission in evidence.
In this connection, respondent Examiner Pardo testified that he remembers a case of an examinee
presented to the Committee, who obtained passing marks in all subjects except in one and the
Committee agreed to refer back to the Examiner concerned the notebook in the subject in which
the examinee failed (Vol. V, pp. 15-16, rec.). He cannot recall the subject, but he is certain that it
was not Political Law (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.).Further, Pardo declared that he is not aware of any
case of an examinee who was on the borderline of passing but who got a grade below 50% in one
subject that was taken up by the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 16-17, rec.).
Examiner Montecillo testified that it was the notebook with Examiner Code Number 1613
(belonging to Galang) which was referred to the Committee and the Committee agreed to return
it to the Examiner concerned. The day following the meeting in which the case of an examinee
with Code Number 1613 was taken up, respondent Lanuevo handed him said notebook and he
accordingly re-evaluated it. This particular notebook with Office Code Number 954 belongs to
Galang.
Examiner Tomacruz recalled a case of an examinee whose problem was Mercantile Law that was
taken up by the Committee. He is not certain of any other case brought to the Committee (Vol. V,
pp. 59-61, rec.). Pardo declared that there was no case of an examinee that was referred to the
Committee that involved Political Law. He re-evaluated the answers of Ernesto Quitaleg in
Political Law upon the representation made by respondent Lanuevo to him.
As heretofore stated, it was this consensus at the meeting on February 8, 1972 of the members of
the Committee that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed all the others, the
Examiner in whose subject the examinee failed should re-evaluate or recheck the notebook (Vol.
V, p. 16, rec.: Exh. 2-Pardo, allegation No. 9, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63, Exh. AMontecillo, Allegation No. 2, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and Exh. B-Montecillo, Adm.
Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.).
At the time the notebook of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law with a grade of 57% was referred
back to Examiner Pardo, said examinee had other failing grades in three (3) subjects, as follows:
Labor Laws

3%

Taxation

69%

Mercantile Law

68%

Ernesto Quitaleg's grades and averages before and after the re-evaluation of his grade in Political
Law are as follows:
B

Political Law 57% 66% = 9 pts. or 27


weighted points
Labor Laws 73% 73% = No reevaluation
Civil Law
75% 75% = "
Taxation
69% 69% = "
Mercantile Law
68% 68% = "
Criminal Law 78% 78% = "
Remedial Law 85% 85% = "
Legal Ethics 83% 83% = "

Average (weighted)

73.15%

74.5%

(Vol. VI, pp. 26-27; Exhs. 10 and 10-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, rec.)
Alfredo Ty dela Cruz, at the time his notebook in Mercantile Law was referred to Examiner
Montecillo to remove the disqualification grade of 47% in said subject, had two (2) other failing
grades. These are:
Political Law 70%
Taxation
72%
His grades and averages before and after the disqualifying grade was removed are as follows:
B

Political Law 70% 70% = No reevaluation


Labor Laws 75% 75% = "
Civil Law
89% 89% = "
Taxation
72% 72% = "
Mercantile Law
47% 50% = 3 pts. or 9
weighted points
Criminal Law 78% 78% = no reevaluation
Remedial Law 88% 88% = "
Legal Ethics 79% 79% = "

Weighted Averages

74.95%

75.4%

(Vol. VI, pp. 26-27, rec.).


The re-evaluation of the answers of Quitaleg in Political Law and the answers of Ty dela Cruz in
Mercantile Law, violated the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee in February, 1971,
which violation was due to the misrepresentation of respondent Lanuevo.
It must be stated that the referral of the notebook of Galang in Mercantile Law to Examiner
Montecillo can hardly be said to be covered by the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee
because even at the time of said referral, which was after the unauthorized re-evaluation of his
answers of four (4) subjects, Galang had still failing grades in Taxation and Labor Laws. His reevaluated grade of 74.5% in Remedial Law was considered 75% under the Confidential
Memorandum and was so entered in the record. His grade in Mercantile Law as subsequently reevaluated by Examiner Montecillo was 71%.
Respondent Lanuevo is therefore guilty of serious misconduct of having betrayed the trust
and confidence reposed in him as Bar Confidant, thereby impairing the integrity of the Bar
examinations and undermining public faith in the Supreme Court. He should be disbarred.
As to whether Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz should be disbarred or their names
stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, it is believed that they should be required to show cause and
the corresponding investigation conducted.
III
Re: Administrative Case No. 1163, Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, respondent.
A
The name of respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, should likewise be stricken
off the Roll of Attorneys. This is a necessary consequence of the un-authorized re-evaluation of
his answers in five(5) major subjects Civil Law, Political and International Law, Criminal
Law, Remedial Law, and Mercantile Law.
The judicial function of the Supreme Court in admitting candidates to the legal profession, which
necessarily involves the exercise of discretion, requires: (1) previous established rules and
principles; (2) concrete facts, whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals; and (3)
a decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and principles (In re: Cunanan
Flunkers' Petition for Admission to the Bar -- 94 Phil. 534, 544-545). The determination of
whether a bar candidate has obtained the required passing grade certainly involves discretion
(Legal and Judicial Ethics, Justice Martin, 1969 ed., p. 13).
In the exercise of this function, the Court acts through a Bar Examination Committee, composed
of a member of the Court who acts as Chairman and eight (8) members of the Bar who act as

examiners in the eight (8) bar subjects with one subject assigned to each. Acting as a sort of
liaison officer between the Court and the Bar Chairman, on one hand, and the individual
members of the Committee, on the other, is the Bar Confidant who is at the same time a deputy
clerk of the Court. Necessarily, every act of the Committee in connection with the exercise of
discretion in the admission of examinees to membership of the Bar must be in accordance with
the established rules of the Court and must always be subject to the final approval of the Court.
With respect to the Bar Confidant, whose position is primarily confidential as the designation
indicates, his functions in connection with the conduct of the Bar examinations are defined and
circumscribed by the Court and must be strictly adhered to.
The re-evaluation by the Examiners concerned of the examination answers of respondent Galang
in five (5) subjects, as already clearly established, was initiated by Respondent Lanuevo without
any authority from the Court, a serious breach of the trust and confidence reposed by the Court in
him as Bar Confidant. Consequently, the re-evaluation that enabled respondent Galang to pass
the 1971 Bar examinations and to be admitted to the Bar is a complete nullity. The Bar Confidant
does not possess any discretion with respect to the matter of admission of examinees to the Bar.
He is not clothed with authority to determine whether or not an examinee's answers merit reevaluation or re-evaluation or whether the Examiner's appraisal of such answers is correct. And
whether or not the examinee benefited was in connivance or a privy thereto is immaterial. What
is decisive is whether the proceedings or incidents that led to the candidate's admission to the Bar
were in accordance with the rules.
B
Section 2 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964, in connection, among others, with
the character requirement of candidates for admission to the Bar, provides that "every applicant
for admission as a member of the Bar must be ... of good moral
character ... and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral
character, and that no charges against him involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are
pending in any court in the Philippines." Prior to 1964, or under the old Rules of Court, a bar
applicant was required to produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory testimonials of good
moral character (Sec. 2, Rule 127). Under both rules, every applicant is duty bound to lay before
the Court all his involvement in any criminal case, pending or otherwise terminated, to enable
the Court to fully ascertain or determine applicant's moral character. Furthermore, as to what
crime involves moral turpitude, is for the supreme Court to determine. Hence, the necessity of
laying before or informing the Court of one's personal record whether he was criminally
indicted, acquitted, convicted or the case dismissed or is still pending becomes more
compelling. The forms for application to take the Bar examinations provided by the Supreme
Court beginning the year 1965 require the disclosure not only of criminal cases involving moral
turpitude filed or pending against the applicant but also of all other criminal cases of which he
has been accused. It is of course true that the application form used by respondent Galang when
he took the Bar for the first time in 1962 did not expressly require the disclosure of the
applicant's criminal records, if any. But as already intimated, implicit in his task to show
satisfactory evidence or proof of good moral character is his obligation to reveal to the Court all
his involvement in any criminal case so that the Court can consider them in the ascertainment

and determination of his moral character. And undeniably, with the applicant's criminal records
before it, the Court will be in a better position to consider the applicant's moral character; for it
could not be gainsaid that an applicant's involvement in any criminal case, whether pending or
terminated by its dismissal or applicant's acquittal or conviction, has a bearing upon his character
or fitness for admission to the Bar. In 1963 and 1964, when respondent Galang took the Bar for
the second and third time, respectively, the application form provided by the Court for use of
applicants already required the applicant to declare under oath that "he has not been accused of,
indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any offense involving moral turpitude; and
that there is no pending case of that nature against him." By 1966, when Galang took the Bar
examinations for the fourth time, the application form prepared by the Court for use of applicants
required the applicant to reveal all his criminal cases whether involving moral turpitude or not. In
paragraph 4 of that form, the applicant is required under oath to declare that "he has not been
charged with any offense before a Fiscal, Municipal Judge, or other officer; or accused of,
indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any crime involving moral turpitude; nor is
there a pending case against him" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 56, rec.). Yet, respondent Galang
continued to intentionally withhold or conceal from the Court his criminal case of slight physical
injuries which was then and until now is pending in the City Court of Manila; and thereafter
repeatedly omitted to make mention of the same in his applications to take the Bar examinations
in 1967, 1969 and 1971.
All told, respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, is guilty of fraudulently
concealing and withholding from the Court his pending criminal case for physical injuries in
1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1971; and in 1966, 1967,1969 and 1971, he committed
perjury when he declared under oath that he had no pending criminal case in court. By falsely
representing to the Court that he had no criminal case pending in court, respondent Galang was
allowed unconditionally to take the Bar examinations seven (7) times and in 1972 was allowed to
take his oath.
That the concealment of an attorney in his application to take the Bar examinations of the fact
that he had been charged with, or indicted for, an alleged crime, is a ground for revocation of his
license to practice law is well settled (see 165 ALR 1151, 7 CJS 741). Thus:
[1]
It requires no argument to reach the conclusion that the respondent, in withholding from
the board of law examiners and from the justice of this court, to whom he applied for admission,
information respecting so serious a matter as an indictment for a felony, was guilty of fraud upon
the court (cases cited).
[2]
It is equally clear that, had the board of law examiners, or the judge to whom he applied
for admission, been apprised of the true situation, neither the certificate of the board nor of the
judge would have been forthcoming (State ex rel. Board of Law Examiners v. Podell, 207 N
W 709 710).
The license of respondent Podell was revoke and annulled, and he was required to surrender to
the clerk of court the license issued to him, and his name was stricken from the roll of attorneys
(p. 710).

Likewise in Re Carpel, it was declared that:


[1]
The power to admit to the bar on motion is conferred in the discretion of the Appellate
Division.' In the exercise of the discretion, the court should be informed truthfully and frankly of
matters tending to show the character of the applicant and his standing at the bar of the state from
which he comes. The finding of indictments against him, one of which was still outstanding at
the time of his motion, were facts which should have been submitted to the court, with such
explanations as were available. Silence respecting them was reprehensible, as tending to deceive
the court (165 NYS, 102, 104; emphasis supplied).
Carpel's admission to the bar was revoked (p. 105).
Furthermore, respondent's persistent denial of his involvement in any criminal case despite his
having been apprised by the Investigation of some of the circumstances of the criminal case
including the very name of the victim in that case(he finally admitted it when he was confronted
by the victim himself, who was called to testify thereon), and his continued failure for about
thirteen years to clear his name in that criminal case up to the present time, indicate his lack of
the requisite attributes of honesty, probity and good demeanor. He is therefore unworthy of
becoming a member of the noble profession of law.
While this aspect of the investigation was not part of the formal resolution of the Court requiring
him to explain why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, respondent
Galang was, as early as August, 1973, apprised of his omission to reveal to the Court his pending
criminal case. Yet he did not offer any explanation for such omission.
Under the circumstances in which respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was
allowed to take the Bar examinations and the highly irregular manner in which he passed the Bar,
WE have no other alternative but to order the surrender of his attorney's certificate and the
striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys. For as WE said in Re Felipe del Rosario:
The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted every one who demands it, but is a
privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of sound discretion. The standards of the
legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to escape the penalties of
the criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to receive one whose integrity is
questionable as an officer of the court, to clothe him with all the prestige of its confidence, and
then to permit him to hold himself as a duly authorized member of the bar (citing American
cases) [52 Phil. 399-401].
What WE now do with respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, in this present
case is not without any precedent in this jurisdiction. WE had on several occasions in the past
nullified the admission of successful bar candidates to the membership of the Bar on the grounds,
among others, of (a)misrepresentations of, or false pretenses relative to, the requirement on
applicant's educational attainment [Tapel vs. Publico, resolution of the Supreme Court striking
off the name of Juan T. Publico from the Roll of Attorneys on the basis of the findings of the
Court Investigators contained in their report and recommendation, Feb. 23, 1962; In re: Telesforo
A. Diao, 7 SCRA 475-478; (b) lack of good moral character [In re: Peralta, 101 Phil. 313-314];

and (c) fraudulent passing of the Bar examinations [People vs. Romualdez -- re: Luis Mabunay,
57 Phil. 151; In re: Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399 and People vs. Castro and Doe, 54 Phil. 42]. In the
cases of Romualdez (Mabunay) and Castro, the Court found that the grades of Mabunay and
Castro were falsified and they were convicted of the crime of falsification of public documents.
IV
RE: Administrative Case No. 1164, Assistant Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (now CFI Judge),
Judge Ramon Pamatian(Later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, now deceased)Atty.
Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo, Atty. Manuel Tomacruz and Atty. Guillermo Pablo,
Jr., respondents.
All respondents Bar examiners candidly admitted having made the re-evaluation and/or recorrection of the papers in question upon the misrepresentation of respondent BarConfidant
Lanuevo. All, however, professed good faith; and that they re-evaluated or increased the grades
of the notebooks without knowing the identity of the examinee who owned the said notebooks;
and that they did the same without any consideration or expectation of any. These the records
clearly demonstrate and WE are of the opinion and WE so declare that indeed the respondentsexaminers made the re-evaluation or re-correcion in good faith and without any consideration
whatsoever.
Considering however the vital public interest involved in the matter of admission of members to
the Bar, the respondents bar examiners, under the circumstances, should have exercised greater
care and caution and should have been more inquisitive before acceding to the request of
respondent Bar Confidant Lanuevo. They could have asked the Chairman of the Bar
Examination Committee, who would have referred the matter to the Supreme Court. At least the
respondents-examiners should have required respondent Lanuevo to produce or show them the
complete grades and/or the average of the examinee represented by respondent Lanuevo to have
failed only in their respective and particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing to
fully satisfy themselves that the examinee concerned was really so circumstances. This they
could have easily done and the stain on the Bar examinations could have been avoided.
Respondent Bar examiners Montecillo, Pamatian, and Manalo claimed and so declared under
oath that the answers of respondent Galang really deserved or merited the increased grades; and
so with respondent Pardo in connection with the re-evaluation of Ernesto Quitaleg's answers in
Political Law. With respect to respondents Tomacruz and Pablo, it would appear that they
increased the grades of Galang in their respective subject solely because of the
misrepresentations of Respondent Lanuevo. Hence, in the words of respondent Tomacruz: "You
brought to me one paper and you said that this particular examinee had almost passed, however,
in my subject he received 60 something, I cannot remember the exact average and if he would
get a few points higher, he would get a passing average. I agreed to do that because I did not
wish to be the one causing his failure. ..." (Vol. V, pp. 60-61, rec.; see also allegations 3 and 4,
Exh. 1-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis ours). And respondent Pablo: "...
he told me that this particular examinee seems to have passed in allot her subject except this
subject and that if I can re-evaluate this examination notebook and increase the mark to at least
75, this particular examinee will pass the bar examinations so I believe I asked him 'Is this being

done?' and he said 'Yes, that is the practice used to be done before to help out examinees who are
failing in just one subject' so I readily acceded to his request and said 'Just leave it with me and I
will try to re-evaluate' and he left it with me and what i did was to go over the book and tried to
be as lenient as I could. While I did not mark correct the answers which were wrong, what I did
was to be more lenient and if the answers was correct although it was not complete I raise the
grade so I had a total of 78 instead of 68 and what I did was to correct the grading sheet
accordingly and initial the changes" (Vol. V, pp. 44-45, rec.; emphasis supplied).
It could not be seriously denied, however, that the favorable re-evaluations made by respondents
Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Pardo notwithstanding their declarations that the increases in
grades they gave were deserved by the examinee concerned, were to a certain extent influenced
by the misrepresentation and deception committed by respondent Lanuevo. Thus in their own
words:
Montecillo
Q And by reason of that information you made the re-evaluation of the paper?
A

Yeas, your Honor.

Q
Would you have re-evaluated the paper of your own accord in the absence of such
information?
A
No, your Honor, because I have submitted my report at that time" (Vol. V, p. 33, rec.; see
also allegations in paragraphs 2, 3, 4 & 5, Affidavit of April 17, 1972, Exh. B-Montecillo;
allegation No. 2, Answer dated march 19, 1973, Exh. A-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp.
40-41, and 72, rec.).
Pamatian
3.
That sometime in the later part of January of this year, he brought back to me an
examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation because according to him the owner of the
paper is on the borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will
get passing mark;
4.
That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and policy
of the Supreme Court to do so and in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in
doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%; ..." (Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm.
Case No. 1164, p. 55, rec.); and
5.
That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am
authorized to do so in view of them is representation of said Atty. Victorio Lanuevo, ..." (Exh. 1Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 33-34, rec.).
Manalo

(c)
In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent carefully
evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answer by the criteria laid
down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of the doubt in view of Mr.
Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that particular subject that said examinee failed,
herein respondent became convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that
previously given him, but he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to be given
the passing grade of
75%. ..."(allegation 5-c, p. 38, Exh. 1-Manalo, rec.; emphasis supplied).
Pardo
... I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that particular
notebook on December 31,1971, considering especially the representation of the Bar Confidant
that the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84%
in Remedial Law, if I recall
correctly. ... (allegation 7, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 62, rec.; emphasis supplied).
With the misrepresentations and the circumstances utilized by respondent Lanuevo to induce the
herein examiners to make the re-evaluation adverted to, no one among them can truly claim that
the re-evaluation effected by them was impartial or free from any improper influence, their
conceded integrity, honesty and competence notwithstanding.
Consequently, Galang cannot justifiably claim that he deserved the increased grades given after
the said re-evaluations(Galang's memo attached to the records, Adm. Case No. 1163).
At any rate, WE are convinced, in the light of the explanations of the respondents-examiners,
which were earlier quoted in full, that their actuations in connection with the re-evaluation of the
answers of Galang in five (5) subjects do not warrant or deserve the imposition of any
disciplinary action. WE find their explanations satisfactory. Nevertheless, WE are constrained to
remind herein respondents-examiners that their participation in the admission of members to the
Bar is one impressed with the highest consideration of public interest absolute purity of the
proceedings and so are required to exercise the greatest or utmost case and vigilance in the
performance of their duties relative thereto.
V
Respondent Atty. Victorio D. Lanuevo, in his memorandum filed on November 14, 1973,
claimed that respondent-examiner Pamatian "in bringing up this unfounded cause, or lending
undue assistance or support thereto ... was motivated with vindictiveness due to respondent's
refusal to be pressured into helping his (examiner's) alleged friend a participant in the 1971
Bar Examinations whom said examiner named as Oscar Landicho and who, the records will
show, did not pass said examinations (p. 9, Lanuevo's memo, Adm. Case No. 1162).
It must be stated that this is a very serious charge against the honor and integrity of the late
Justice Ramon Pamatian, who passed away on October 18, 1973 and therefore cannot refute
Lanuevo's insinuations. Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo did not bring this out during the

investigation which in his words is "essential to his defense. "His pretension that he did not make
this charge during the investigation when Justice Pamatian was still alive, and deferred the filing
of such charge against Justice Pamatian and possibly also against Oscar Landicho before the
latter departed for Australia "until this case shall have been terminated lest it be misread or
misinterpreted as being intended as a leverage for a favorable outcome of this case on the part of
respondent or an act of reprisal", does not invite belief; because he does not impugn the motives
of the five other members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee, who also affirmed that he
deceived them into re-evaluating or revising the grades of respondent Galang in their respective
subjects.
It appears, however, that after the release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, Oscar
Landicho, who failed in that examinations, went to see and did see Civil Law examiner Pamatian
for the purpose of seeking his help in connection with the 1971 Bar Examinations. Examiner
Pamatian advised Landicho to see the Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee.
Examiner Pamatian mentioned in passing to Landicho that an examination booklet was reevaluated by him (Pamatian) before the release of the said bar results (Vol. V, pp. 6-7, rec). Even
though such information was divulged by respondent Pamatian after the official release of the
bar results, it remains an indecorous act, hardly expected of a member of the Judiciary who
should exhibit restraint in his actuations demanded by resolute adherence to the rules of delicacy.
His unseemly act tended to undermine the integrity of the bar examinations and to impair public
faith in the Supreme Court.
VI
The investigation failed to unearth direct evidence that the illegal machination of respondent
Lanuevo to enable Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations was committed for valuable
consideration.
A
There are, however, acquisitions made by Respondent Lanuevo immediately after the official
release of the 1971 Bar examinations in February, 1972, which may be out of proportion to his
salary as Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court.
1.
On April 5, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife acquired from the BF Homes, Inc. a
house and lot with an area of 374 square meters, more or less, for the amount of P84,114.00. The
deed of sale was dated March 5, 1972 but was notarized only on April 5, 1972. On the same date,
however, respondent Lanuevo and his wife executed two (2)mortgages covering the said house
and lot in favor of BF Homes, Inc. in the total amount of P67,291.20 (First mortgage
P58,879.80, Entry No. 90913: date of instrument April 5, 1972, date of inscription April
20, 1972: Second mortgage P8,411.40, Entry No. 90914: date of instrument April 5, 1972,
date of inscription April 20, 1972). [D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.]. Respondent Lanuevo paid as
down payment the amount of only P17,000.00, which according to him is equivalent to 20%,
more or less, of the purchase price of P84,114.00. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that P5,000.00
of the P17,000.00 was his savings while the remaining the P12,000.00 came from his sister in

Okinawa in the form of a loan and received by him through a niece before Christmas of 1971 in
dollars ($2000) [Vol. VII, pp. 41-48; Vol. VIII, pp. 2-3, rec.]
It appears, however, that his alleged P5,000.00 savings and P12,000.00 loan from his sister; are
not fully reflected and accounted for in respondent's 1971 Statement of Assets and Liabilities
which he filed on January 17, 1972.
In said 1971 statement, respondent Lanuevo listed under Assets a bank deposit in the amount of
only P2,000.00. In his 1972 statement, his bank deposit listed under Assets was in the amount of
P1,011.00, which shows therefore that of the P2,000.00 bank deposit listed in his 1971 statement
under Assets, only the amount of P989.00 was used or withdrawn. The amount of P18,000.00
receivable listed under Assets in his 1971 statement was not realized because the transaction
therein involved did not push through (Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent
Lanuevo from 1965 to 1972; Vol. VIII, pp. 47-48, rec.).
Likewise, the alleged December, 1971 $2000 loan of respondent from his married sister in
Okinawa is extremely doubtful. In the first place, said amount of $2000 (P12,000.00) is not
reflected in his 1971 Statement of Assets and Liabilities filed on January 17, 1972. Secondly, the
alleged note which he allegedly received from his sister at the time he received the $200 was not
even presented by respondent during the investigation. And according to Respondent Lanuevo
himself, while he considered this a loan, his sister did not seriously consider it as one. In fact, no
mode or time of payment was agreed upon by them. And furthermore, during the investigation,
respondent Lanuevo promised to furnish the Investigator the address of his sister in Okinawa.
Said promise was not fulfilled as borne out by the records. Considering that there is no showing
that his sister, who has a family of her own, is among the top earners in Okinawa or has saved a
lot of money to give to him, the conclusion, therefore, that the P17,000.00 of respondent
Lanuevo was either an ill-gotten or undeclared income is inevitable under the foregoing
circumstances.
On August 14, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife mortgaged their BF Homes house and lot
to the GSIS for the amount of P65,000.00 (Entry No. 4992: August 14, 1972 date of
instrument; August 23, 1972 date of inscription). On February 28, 1973, the second mortgage
in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90914, was redeemed by respondent and was subsequently
cancelled on March 20,1973, Entry No. 30143. Subsequently, or on March 2, 1973 the first
mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90913 was also redeemed by respondent Lanuevo
and thereafter cancelled on March 20, 1973, (See D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.). Hence, only the
mortgage in favor of GSIS remains as the encumbrance of respondent's house and lot. According
to respondent Lanuevo, the monthly amortization of the GSIS mortgage is P778.00 a month, but
that since May of 1973, he was unable to pay the same. In his 1972 Statement of Assets and
Liabilities, which he filed in connection with his resignation and retirement (filed October 13,
1972), the house and lot declared as part of his assets, were valued at P75,756.90. Listed,
however, as an item in his liabilities in the same statement was the GSIS real estate loan in the
amount of P64,200.00 (1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities).
2.
Listed as an asset in his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities is a 1956 VW car
valued at P5,200.00. That he acquired this car sometime between January, 1972 and November,

1972 could be inferred from the fact that no such car or any car was listed in his statement of
assets and liabilities of 1971 or in the years previous to 1965. It appears, however, that his listed
total assets, excluding receivables in his 1971 Statement was P19,000.00, while in his 1972 (as
of November, 1972) Statement, his listed total assets, excluding the house and lot was
P18,211.00, including the said 1956 VW car worth P5,200.00.
The proximity in point of time between the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations and the
acquisition of the above-mentioned properties, tends to link or tie up the said acquisitions with
the illegal machination committed by respondent Lanuevo with respect to respondent Galang's
examination papers or to show that the money used by respondent Lanuevo in the acquisition of
the above properties came from respondent Galang in consideration of his passing the Bar.
During the early stage of this investigation but after the Court had informed respondent Lanuevo
of the serious irregularities in the 1971 Bar examinations alleged in Oscar Landicho's
Confidential Letter and in fact, after Respondent Lanuevo had filed on April 12, 1972 his sworn
statement on the matter, as ordered by the Court, respondent Lanuevo surprisingly filed his letter
or resignation on October 13, 1972 with the end in view of retiring from the Court. His
resignation before he was required to show cause on March 5, 1973 but after he was informed of
the said irregularities, is indicative of a consciousness of guilt.
It must be noted that immediately after the official release of the results of the 1971 Bar
examinations, respondent Lanuevo went on vacation and sick leave from March 16, 1972 to
January 15, 1973, obtaining the case value thereof in lump sum in the amount of P11,000.00. He
initially claimed at the investigation that h e used a part thereof as a down payment for his BF
Homes house and lot (Vol. VII, pp. 40-48, rec.), which he bought on April 5, 1972.
Criminal proceedings may be instituted against respondent Lanuevo under Section 3 (a & e) in
relation to Section 9 of Republic Act No. 1379 (Anti-Graft Law) for:
(a)
Persuading inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a
violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in
connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be presented, induced, or
influenced to commit such violation or offense.
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(e)
Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private
party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official
administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evidence bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or
government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.
Section 8 of said Republic Act No. 3019 authorizes the dismissal or removal of a public officer
once it is determined that his property or money "is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as
such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately
acquired property ... " (Sec. 2, Rep. Act 1379; Sec. 8, Rep. Act 3019).

It should be stressed, however, that respondent Lanuevo's aforementioned Statements of Assets


and Liabilities were not presented or taken up during the investigation; but they were examined
as they are part of the records of this Court.
B
There are likewise circumstances indicating possible contacts between respondent Ramon E.
Galang and/or his father and respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo before the latter become the bar
Confidant.
1.
Respondent Ramon E. Galang was a beneficiary of the G.I Bill of Rights educational
program of the Philippine Veterans Board from his high school days 1951 to 1955 up to
his pre-law studies at the MLQ Educational Institution (now MLQ University) 1955 to 1958.
From 1948 to 1958, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo was connected with the Philippine Veterans
Board which is the governmental agency entrusted with the affairs of our veterans including the
implementation of the Veterans Bill of Rights. From 1955 to 1958, Respondent Lanuevo
successively held the position of Junior Investigator, Veterans Claims Investigator, Supervising
Veterans Investigator and Veterans Claims Investigator (Service Record, p. 9, Adm. Case No.
1162). During that period of time, therefore, respondent Lanuevo had direct contacts with
applicants and beneficiaries of the Veterans Bill of Rights. Galang's educational benefits was
approved on March 16, 1954, retroactive as of the date of waiver July 31, 1951, which is also
the date of filing (A, Vol. IV, rec.).
It is alleged by respondent Ramon E. Galang that it was his father who all the time attended to
the availment of the said educational benefits and even when he was already in Manila taking up
his pre-law at MLQ Educational Institution from 1955 to 1958. In 1955, respondent Galang was
already 19 years old, and from 1957 to 1958, he was employed as a technical assistant in the
office of Senator Roy (Vol. V, pp. 79-80, 86-87, rec.).[Subsequently, during the investigation, he
claimed that he was the private secretary of Senator Puyat in 1957 (Vol. VI, pp. 12-13, rec.)]. It
appears, however, that a copy of the notice-letter dated June 28, 1955 of the Philippine Veterans
Board to the MLQ Educational Institution on the approval of the transfer of respondent Galang
from Sta. Rita Institute to the MLQ Educational Institution effective the first semester of the
school year 1955-56 was directly addressed and furnished to respondent Ramon E. Galang at
2292 Int. 8 Banal St., Tondo, Manila (A-12, Vol. IV, rec.).
Respondent Ramon E. Galang further declared that he never went to the Office of the Philippine
Veterans to follow up his educational benefits and claimed that he does not even know the
location of the said office. He does not also know whether beneficiaries of the G.I. Bill of Rights
educational benefits are required to go to the Philippine Veterans Board every semester to submit
their ratings (Vol. V, p. 86, rec.). But respondent Galang admits that he had gone to the GSIS and
City Court of Manila, although he insists that he never bothered to take a look at the neighboring
buildings (Vol. V, pp. 93-94, rec.). The huge and imposing Philippine Veterans Building is
beside the GSIS building and is obliquely across the City Court building.

2.
Respondent Lanuevo stated that as an investigator in the Philippine Veterans Board, he
investigated claims for the several benefits given to veterans like educational benefits and
disability benefits; that he does not remember, however, whether in the course of his duties as
veterans investigator, he came across the application of Ramon E. Galang for educational
benefits; and that he does not know the father of Mr. Ramon E. Galang and has never met him
(Vol. VII, pp. 28, 49, rec.).
3.
Respondent Lanuevo, as a member of the USAFEE, belonged to the 91st Infantry
operating at Zambales and then Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, shortly before the war (Vol. VII, pp.
48-49, rec.). Later he joined the guerrilla movement in Samar.
He used to be a member of the Philippine Veterans Legion especially while working with the
Philippine Veterans Board(Vol. VII, p. 49, rec.).
He does not know the Banal Regiment of the guerrillas, to which Galang's father belonged.
During the Japanese occupation, his guerrilla outfit was operating in Samar only and he had no
communications with other guerrilla organization in other parts of the country.
He attended meetings of the Philippine Veterans Legion in his chapter in Samar only and does
not remember having attended its meeting here in Manila, even while he was employed with the
Philippine Veterans Board. He is not a member of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (Vol.
VII, p.51, rec.).
On November 27, 1941, while respondent Lanuevo was with the Philippine Army stationed at
Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, he was stricken with pneumonia and was
hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result and was still confined there when
their camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13, 1941 (Sworn statement
of respondent Lanuevo dated August 27, 1973, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 46, rec.).
German Galang, father of respondent Galang, was a member of the Banal Guerilla Forces,
otherwise known as the Banal Regiment. He was commissioned and inducted as a member
thereof on January 16, 1942 and was given the rank of first lieutenant. His unit "was attached and
served into the XI-Corps, US Army; XIII-C US Army, 43rd Div., US Army, stationed
headquarters at Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija and with the 38th Division, US army stationed at
Corregidor in the mopping-up operations against the enemies, from 9 May 1945 date of
recognition to 31 December 1945, date of demobilization"(Affidavit of Jose Banal dated
December 22, 1947, Vol. IV, A-3, rec.).
It should be stressed that once the bar examiner has submitted the corrected notebooks to the Bar
Confidant, the same cannot be withdrawn for any purpose whatsoever without prior authority
from the Court. Consequently, this Court expresses herein its strong disapproval of the actuations
of the bar examiners in Administrative Case No. 1164 as above delineated.
WHEREFORE, IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1162, RESPONDENT VICTORIO D.
LANUEVO IS HEREBY DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ORDERED STRICKEN FROM
THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS; AND IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1163,

RESPONDENT RAMON E. GALANG, alias Roman E. GALANG, IS HEREBY LIKEWISE


DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ALSO ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE ROLL OF
ATTORNEYS.

[B.M. No. 1370. May 9, 2005]


LETTER OF ATTY. CECILIO Y. AREVALO, JR., REQUESTING EXEMPTION FROM
PAYMENT OF IBP DUES.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
This is a request for exemption from payment of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) dues
filed by petitioner Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo, Jr.
In his letter,[1] dated 22 September 2004, petitioner sought exemption from payment of IBP dues
in the amount of P12,035.00 as alleged unpaid accountability for the years 1977-2005. He
alleged that after being admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1961, he became part of the Philippine
Civil Service from July 1962 until 1986, then migrated to, and worked in, the USA in December
1986 until his retirement in the year 2003. He maintained that he cannot be assessed IBP dues for
the years that he was working in the Philippine Civil Service since the Civil Service law
prohibits the practice of ones profession while in government service, and neither can he be
assessed for the years when he was working in the USA.
On 05 October 2004, the letter was referred to the IBP for comment.[2]
On 16 November 2004, the IBP submitted its comment[3] stating inter alia: that membership in
the IBP is not based on the actual practice of law; that a lawyer continues to be included in the
Roll of Attorneys as long as he continues to be a member of the IBP; that one of the obligations
of a member is the payment of annual dues as determined by the IBP Board of Governors and
duly approved by the Supreme Court as provided for in Sections 9 and 10, Rule 139-A of the
Rules of Court; that the validity of imposing dues on the IBP members has been upheld as
necessary to defray the cost of an Integrated Bar Program; and that the policy of the IBP Board
of Governors of no exemption from payment of dues is but an implementation of the Courts
directives for all members of the IBP to help in defraying the cost of integration of the bar. It
maintained that there is no rule allowing the exemption of payment of annual dues as requested
by respondent, that what is allowed is voluntary termination and reinstatement of membership. It
asserted that what petitioner could have done was to inform the secretary of the IBP of his
intention to stay abroad, so that his membership in the IBP could have been terminated, thus, his
obligation to pay dues could have been stopped. It also alleged that the IBP Board of Governors
is in the process of discussing proposals for the creation of an inactive status for its members,
which if approved by the Board of Governors and by this Court, will exempt inactive IBP
members from payment of the annual dues.

In his reply[4] dated 22 February 2005, petitioner contends that what he is questioning is the IBP
Board of Governors Policy of Non-Exemption in the payment of annual membership dues of
lawyers regardless of whether or not they are engaged in active or inactive practice. He
asseverates that the Policy of Non-Exemption in the payment of annual membership dues suffers
from constitutional infirmities, such as equal protection clause and the due process clause. He
also posits that compulsory payment of the IBP annual membership dues would indubitably be
oppressive to him considering that he has been in an inactive status and is without income
derived from his law practice. He adds that his removal from nonpayment of annual membership
dues would constitute deprivation of property right without due process of law. Lastly, he claims
that non-practice of law by a lawyer-member in inactive status is neither injurious to active law
practitioners, to fellow lawyers in inactive status, nor to the community where the inactive
lawyers-members reside.
Plainly, the issue here is: whether or nor petitioner is entitled to exemption from payment of his
dues during the time that he was inactive in the practice of law that is, when he was in the Civil
Service from 1962-1986 and he was working abroad from 1986-2003?
We rule in the negative.
An Integrated Bar is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished
from bar association organized by individual lawyers themselves, membership in which is
voluntary. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is
afforded an opportunity to do his shares in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as
obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under the direction of the State,
an Integrated Bar is an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be members.
They are, therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including
the requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes
of the Bar, and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional responsibility, breach
of which constitutes sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause
appearing, a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member.[5]
The integration of the Philippine Bar means the official unification of the entire lawyer
population. This requires membership and financial support of every attorney as condition sine
qua non to the practice of law and the retention of his name in the Roll of Attorneys of the
Supreme Court.[6]
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not
to attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he
chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of his annual dues. The
Supreme Court, in order to foster the States legitimate interest in elevating the quality of
professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion
be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program the lawyers.[7]
Moreover, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court, under its constitutional
power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and in the
integration of the Philippine Bar[8] - which power required members of a privileged class, such

as lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the
profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is, indeed, imposed as a
regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out the noble objectives and purposes of
integration.
The rationale for prescribing dues has been explained in the Integration of the Philippine Bar,[9]
thus:
For the court to prescribe dues to be paid by the members does not mean that the Court is
attempting to levy a tax.
A membership fee in the Bar association is an exaction for regulation, while tax purpose of a tax
is a revenue. If the judiciary has inherent power to regulate the Bar, it follows that as an incident
to regulation, it may impose a membership fee for that purpose. It would not be possible to put
on an integrated Bar program without means to defray the expenses. The doctrine of implied
powers necessarily carries with it the power to impose such exaction.
The only limitation upon the States power to regulate the privilege of law is that the regulation
does not impose an unconstitutional burden. The public interest promoted by the integration of
the Bar far outweighs the slight inconvenience to a member resulting from his required payment
of the annual dues.
Thus, payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the IBP, of which no one is
exempt. This means that the compulsory nature of payment of dues subsists for as long as ones
membership in the IBP remains regardless of the lack of practice of, or the type of practice, the
member is engaged in.
There is nothing in the law or rules which allows exemption from payment of membership dues.
At most, as correctly observed by the IBP, he could have informed the Secretary of the
Integrated Bar of his intention to stay abroad before he left. In such case, his membership in the
IBP could have been terminated and his obligation to pay dues could have been discontinued.
As abovementioned, the IBP in its comment stated that the IBP Board of Governors is in the
process of discussing the situation of members under inactive status and the nonpayment of their
dues during such inactivity. In the meantime, petitioner is duty bound to comply with his
obligation to pay membership dues to the IBP.
Petitioner also contends that the enforcement of the penalty of removal would amount to a
deprivation of property without due process and hence infringes on one of his constitutional
rights.
This question has been settled in the case of In re Atty. Marcial Edillon,[10] in this wise:
. . . Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the
holder of a license to practice a profession, we do not here pause to consider at length, as it [is]
clear that under the police power of the State, and under the necessary powers granted to the

Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondents right to practice law before the courts of this
country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose
the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize[d], then a penalty designed to enforce its payment,
which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary.
But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege,
and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the
lawyers public responsibilities.
As a final note, it must be borne in mind that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with
conditions,[11] one of which is the payment of membership dues. Failure to abide by any of
them entails the loss of such privilege if the gravity thereof warrants such drastic move.
WHEREFORE, petitioners request for exemption from payment of IBP dues is DENIED. He is
ordered to pay P12,035.00, the amount assessed by the IBP as membership fees for the years
1977-2005, within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from receipt of this decision, with a
warning that failure to do so will merit his suspension from the practice of law.
SO ORDERED.

B.M. No. 712 July 13, 1995


IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAKING OF
SUCCESSFUL BAR APPLICANT AL C. ARGOSINO, petitioner.
RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.:
A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, Branch 101, charging Mr. A.C. Argosino along with thirteen (13) other individuals, with
the crime of homicide in connection with the death of one Raul Camaligan on 8 September 1991.
The death of Raul Camaligan stemmed from the infliction of severe physical injuries upon him
in the course of "hazing" conducted as part of university fraternity initiation rites. Mr. Argosino
and his co-accused then entered into plea bargaining with the prosecution and as a result of such
bargaining, pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of homicide through reckless imprudence. This
plea was accepted by the trial court. In a judgment dated 11 February 1993, each of the fourteen
(14) accused individuals was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a period ranging from two (2)
years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years.
Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues filed an application for probation with
the lower court. The application for probation was granted in an Order dated 18 June 1993 issued

by Regional Trial Court Judge Pedro T. Santiago. The period of probation was set at two (2)
years, counted from the probationer's initial report to the probation officer assigned to supervise
him.
Less than a month later, on 13 July 1993, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition for Admission to Take
the 1993 Bar Examinations. In this Petition, he disclosed the fact of his criminal conviction and
his then probation status. He was allowed to take the 1993 Bar Examinations in this Court's En
Banc Resolution dated 14 August 1993. 1 He passed the Bar Examination. He was not, however,
allowed to take the lawyer's oath of office.
On 15 April 1994, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition with this Court to allow him to take the
attorney's oath of office and to admit him to the practice of law, averring that Judge Pedro T.
Santiago had terminated his probation period by virtue of an Order dated 11 April 1994. We note
that his probation period did not last for more than ten (10) months from the time of the Order of
Judge Santiago granting him probation dated 18 June 1993. Since then, Mr. Argosino has filed
three (3) Motions for Early Resolution of his Petition for Admission to the Bar.
The practice of law is not a natural, absolute or constitutional right to be granted to everyone
who demands it. Rather, it is a high personal privilege limited to citizens of good moral character,
with special educational qualifications, duly ascertained and certified. 2 The essentiality of good
moral character in those who would be lawyers is stressed in the following excerpts which we
quote with approval and which we regard as having persuasive effect:
In Re Farmer: 3
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This "upright character" prescribed by the statute, as a condition precedent to the applicant's right
to receive a license to practice law in North Carolina, and of which he must, in addition to other
requisites, satisfy the court, includes all the elements necessary to make up such a character. It is
something more than an absence of bad character. It is the good name which the applicant has
acquired, or should have acquired, through association with his fellows. It means that he must
have conducted himself as a man of upright character ordinarily would, or should, or does. Such
character expresses itself, not in negatives nor in following the line of least resistance, but quite
often, in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and the resolve not to do the pleasant
thing if it is wrong. . . .
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xxx

And we may pause to say that this requirement of the statute is eminently proper. Consider for a
moment the duties of a lawyer. He is sought as counsellor, and his advice comes home, in its
ultimate effect, to every man's fireside. Vast interests are committed to his care; he is the
recipient of unbounded trust and confidence; he deals with is client's property, reputation, his life,
his all. An attorney at law is a sworn officer of the Court, whose chief concern, as such, is to aid
the administration of justice. . . .

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xxx 4

In Re Application of Kaufman, 5 citing Re Law Examination of 1926 (1926) 191 Wis 359, 210
NW 710:
It can also be truthfully said that there exists nowhere greater temptations to deviate from the
straight and narrow path than in the multiplicity of circumstances that arise in the practice of
profession. For these reasons the wisdom of requiring an applicant for admission to the bar to
possess a high moral standard therefore becomes clearly apparent, and the board of bar
examiners as an arm of the court, is required to cause a minute examination to be made of the
moral standard of each candidate for admission to practice. . . . It needs no further argument,
therefore, to arrive at the conclusion that the highest degree of scrutiny must be exercised as to
the moral character of a candidate who presents himself for admission to the bar. The evil must,
if possible, be successfully met at its very source, and prevented, for, after a lawyer has once
been admitted, and has pursued his profession, and has established himself therein, a far more
difficult situation is presented to the court when proceedings are instituted for disbarment and for
the recalling and annulment of his license.
In Re Keenan: 6
The right to practice law is not one of the inherent rights of every citizen, as in the right to carry
on an ordinary trade or business. It is a peculiar privilege granted and continued only to those
who demonstrate special fitness in intellectual attainment and in moral character. All may aspire
to it on an absolutely equal basis, but not all will attain it. Elaborate machinery has been set up to
test applicants by standards fair to all and to separate the fit from the unfit. Only those who pass
the test are allowed to enter the profession, and only those who maintain the standards are
allowed to remain in it.
Re Rouss: 7
Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions, and a fair private and
professional character is one of them; to refuse admission to an unworthy applicant is not to
punish him for past offense: an examination into character, like the examination into learning, is
merely a test of fitness.
Cobb vs. Judge of Superior Court: 8
Attorney's are licensed because of their learning and ability, so that they may not only protect the
rights and interests of their clients, but be able to assist court in the trial of the cause. Yet what
protection to clients or assistance to courts could such agents give? They are required to be of
good moral character, so that the agents and officers of the court, which they are, may not bring
discredit upon the due administration of the law, and it is of the highest possible consequence
that both those who have not such qualifications in the first instance, or who, having had them,
have fallen therefrom, shall not be permitted to appear in courts to aid in the administration of
justice.

It has also been stressed that the requirement of good moral character is, in fact, of greater
importance so far as the general public and the proper administration of justice are concerned,
than the possession of legal learning:
. . . (In re Applicants for License, 55 S.E. 635, 143 N.C. 1, 10 L.R.A. [N.S.] 288, 10 Ann./Cas.
187):
The public policy of our state has always been to admit no person to the practice of the law
unless he covered an upright moral character. The possession of this by the attorney is more
important, if anything, to the public and to the proper administration of justice than legal learning.
Legal learning may be acquired in after years, but if the applicant passes the threshold of the bar
with a bad moral character the chances are that his character will remain bad, and that he will
become a disgrace instead of an ornament to his great calling a curse instead of a benefit to
his community a Quirk, a Gammon or a Snap, instead of a Davis, a Smith or a Ruffin. 9
All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect of those seeking
admission to the Bar. The scope of such inquiry is, indeed, said to be properly broader than
inquiry into the moral proceedings for disbarment:
Re Stepsay: 10
The inquiry as to the moral character of an attorney in a proceeding for his admission to practice
is broader in scope than in a disbarment proceeding.
Re Wells: 11
. . . that an applicant's contention that upon application for admission to the California Bar the
court cannot reject him for want of good moral character unless it appears that he has been guilty
of acts which would be cause for his disbarment or suspension, could not be sustained; that the
inquiry is broader in its scope than that in a disbarment proceeding, and the court may receive
any evidence which tends to show the applicant's character as respects honesty, integrity, and
general morality, and may no doubt refuse admission upon proofs that might not establish his
guilt of any of the acts declared to be causes for disbarment.
The requirement of good moral character to be satisfied by those who would seek admission to
the bar must of necessity be more stringent than the norm of conduct expected from members of
the general public. There is a very real need to prevent a general perception that entry into the
legal profession is open to individuals with inadequate moral qualifications. The growth of such
a perception would signal the progressive destruction of our people's confidence in their courts
of law and in our legal system as we know it. 12
Mr. Argosino's participation in the deplorable "hazing" activities certainly fell far short of the
required standard of good moral character. The deliberate (rather than merely accidental or
inadvertent) infliction of severe physical injuries which proximately led to the death of the
unfortunate Raul Camaligan, certainly indicated serious character flaws on the part of those who
inflicted such injuries. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused had failed to discharge their moral duty

to protect the life and well-being of a "neophyte" who had, by seeking admission to the fraternity
involved, reposed trust and confidence in all of them that, at the very least, he would not be
beaten and kicked to death like a useless stray dog. Thus, participation in the prolonged and
mindless physical beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan constituted evident rejection of that
moral duty and was totally irresponsible behavior, which makes impossible a finding that the
participant was then possessed of good moral character.
Now that the original period of probation granted by the trial court has expired, the Court is
prepared to consider de novo the question of whether applicant A.C. Argosino has purged
himself of the obvious deficiency in moral character referred to above. We stress that good moral
character is a requirement possession of which must be demonstrated not only at the time of
application for permission to take the bar examinations but also, and more importantly, at the
time of application for admission to the bar and to take the attorney's oath of office.
Mr. Argosino must, therefore, submit to this Court, for its examination and consideration,
evidence that he may be now regarded as complying with the requirement of good moral
character imposed upon those seeking admission to the bar. His evidence may consist, inter alia,
of sworn certifications from responsible members of the community who have a good reputation
for truth and who have actually known Mr. Argosino for a significant period of time, particularly
since the judgment of conviction was rendered by Judge Santiago. He should show to the Court
how he has tried to make up for the senseless killing of a helpless student to the family of the
deceased student and to the community at large. Mr. Argosino must, in other words, submit
relevant evidence to show that he is a different person now, that he has become morally fit for
admission to the ancient and learned profession of the law.
Finally, Mr. Argosino is hereby DIRECTED to inform this Court, by appropriate written
manifestation, of the names and addresses of the father and mother (in default thereof, brothers
and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan), within ten (10) day from notice hereof. Let a copy of this
Resolution be furnished to the parents or brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan.

B.M. No. 44 February 24, 1992


EUFROSINA Y. TAN, complainant, vs. NICOLAS EL. SABANDAL, respondent.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
FACTS:

Charge of unauthorized practice of law filed against respondent Sabandal and


accordingly denied the latter's petition to be allowed to take the oath as member of the
Philippine Bar and to sign the Roll of Attorneys.
Sabandal filed Motions for Reconsideration of the aforesaid Resolution, all of which
were either denied or "Noted without action." The Court, however, later, after
considering his plea for mercy and forgiveness, his willingness to reform and the several
testimonials attesting to his good moral character and civic consciousness, reconsidered
its earlier Resolution and finally allowed him to take the lawyer's oath "with the Court

binding him to his assurance that he shall strictly abide by and adhere to the language,
meaning and spirit of the Lawyer's Oath and the highest standards of the legal profession"
However, before a date could be set for Sabandal's oath-taking, complainants Tan,
Dagpin and Boquia each filed separate motions for reconsideration of the Resolution
allowing Sabandal to take oath as member of the Bar.
Complainant Tan maintains that said IBP testimonial was signed only by the then
President of the IBP, Zamboanga del Norte Chapter, Atty. Senen O. Angeles, without
authorization from the Board of Officers of said Chapter; and that Atty. Angeles was
respondent's own counsel as well as the lawyer of respondent's parents-in-law.
Attached to Complainant's Motion for Reconsideration was a Certification, dated 24
February 1989, signed by the IBP Zamboanga del Norte Chapter President, Atty.
Norberto L. Nuevas, stating that "the present Board of Officers with the undersigned as
President had not issued any testimonial attesting to the good moral character and civic
consciousness of Mr. Nicolas Sabandal."
Pursuant to the aforesaid Resolution, Judge Pelagio R. Lachica, Executive Judge of the
Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga del Norte, filed his Comment, dated 4 August 1989,
and received on 25 August 1989, pertinently reading:
The undersigned, who is not well acquainted personally with the respondent, is
not aware of any acts committed by him as would disqualify him from admission
to the Bar. It might be relevant to mention, however, that there is Civil Case No.
3747 entitled Republic of the Philippines versus Nicolas Sabandal, Register of
Deeds of Zamboanga del Norte and Rural Bank of Pinan, (Zamboanga del
Norte), Inc., for Cancellation of Title and/or Reversion pending in this Court in
which said respondent, per complaint filed by the Office of the Solicitor General,
is alleged to have secured a free patent and later a certificate of title to a parcel
of land which, upon investigation, turned out to be a swampland and not
susceptible of acquisition under a free patent, and which he later mortgaged to
the Rural Bank of Pinan (ZN) Inc. The mortgage was later foreclosed and the
land sold at public auction and respondent has not redeemed the land until the
present.
Court resolved to DEFER the setting of a date for the oath-taking of respondent
Sabandal.
In a letter, addressed to the Chief Justice, complainant Tan in Bar Matter, informed
the Court that her relationship with Sabandal has "already been restored," as he had
asked forgiveness for what has been done to her and that she finds no necessity in
pursuing her case against him.
In Civil Case 3747, entitled "Republic of the Philippines v. Nicolas Sabandal et al"
for Cancellation of Title and/or Reversion, judgment reveals that an amicable
settlement, had been reached between the principal parties, approved by the Trial
Court, and conformed to by the counsel for defendant Rural Bank of Pinan.
Sabandal reiterates his plea to be allowed to take the Lawyer's Oath.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Nicolas Sabandal should be allowed to take oath as a lawyer despite the fact that
he did not disclose that he has a pending civil case with the court entitled: Republic of the
Philippines v. Sabandal.
HELD:
NO.
At that time, we had not received the objections from complainant Tan to Sabandal's taking the
oath nor were we aware of the gravity of the civil case against him.
It must also be stressed that in 1985, at the time said case was instituted, Sabandal's petition to
take the lawyer's oath had already been denied on 29 November 1983 and he was then
submitting to this Court motions for reconsideration alleging his good moral character without,
however, mentioning the pendency of that civil case against him.
In view of the nature of that case and the circumstances attending its termination, the Court now
entertains second thoughts about respondent's fitness to become a member of the Bar.
Sabandal worked as Land Investigator at the Bureau of Lands. Said employment
facilitated his procurement of the free patent title over property which he could not but
have known was public land. This was manipulative on his part and does not speak well of
his moral character. It is a manifestation of gross dishonesty while in the public service,
which cannot be erased by the termination of the case filed by the Republic against him
where no determination of his guilt or innocence was made because the suit had been
compromised.
Although as the Solicitor General had pointed out, the amicable settlement was tantamount to
a confession on his part. What is more, he could not but have known of the intrinsic invalidity
of his title and yet he took advantage of it by securing a bank loan, mortgaging it as collateral,
and notwithstanding the foreclosure of the mortgage and the sale of the land at public auction, he
did not lift a finger to redeem the same until the civil case filed against him was eventually
compromised. This is a sad reflection on his sense of honor and fair dealing. His failure to
reveal to this Court the pendency of the civil case for Reversion filed against him during
the period that he was submitting several Motions for Reconsideration before us also reveal
his lack of candor and truthfulness.
There are testimonials attesting to his good moral character, yes. But these were confined to lack
of knowledge of the pendency of any criminal case against him and were obviously made
without awareness of the facts and circumstances surrounding the case instituted by the
Government against him. Those testimonials can not, therefore, outweigh nor smother his acts of
dishonesty and lack of good moral character.
Time and again, it has been held that the practice of law is not a matter of right. It is a privilege
bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in the law but who are also known to
possess good moral character:

Although the term "good moral character" admits of broad dimensions, it has been defined as
"including at least common honesty". It has also been held that no moral qualification for bar
membership is more important than truthfulness or candor.

A.M. No. 1928


August 3, 1978
In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILION
(IBP Administrative Case No. MDD-1)
CASTRO, C.J.:

The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the


Philippines.
IBP Board of Governors unanimously adopted Resolution (In the Matter of the
Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to the Court
the removal of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn
refusal to pay his membership dues" to the IBP since the latter's constitution
notwithstanding due notice.
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.
SECTION 1. Organization. There is hereby organized an official national body to be
known as the 'Integrated Bar of the Philippines,' composed of all persons whose names
now appear or may hereafter be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court.
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. ...
RESPONDENTS ARGUMENTS is that the above provisions constitute an invasion
of his constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled, as a pre-condition
to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP
and to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled
financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally
antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to
him by the Constitution.
The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to strike his name
from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that the said matter is not among the
justiciable cases triable by the Court but is rather of an "administrative nature
pertaining to an administrative body."

ISSUE:
Whether or not the requirement to pay membership dues and other fees as a precondition and a
continuing requirement to be a member of the Bar constitutes a deprivation of liberty and
property and if it is constitutional and valid.

HELD:
NO.
An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must belong, as
distinguished from bar associations organized by individual lawyers themselves, membership in
which is voluntary.
Organized by or under the direction of the State, an integrated Bar is an official national body
of which all lawyers are required to be members. They are, therefore, subject to all the rules
prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including the requirement of payment of a reasonable
annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar, and adherence to a code of
professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for
investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing, a recommendation for discipline or
disbarment of the offending member.
The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by overriding considerations of
public interest and public welfare to such an extent as more than constitutionally and legally
justifies the restrictions that integration imposes upon the personal interests and personal
convenience of individual lawyers.
Apropos to the above, it must be stressed that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar
have been uniformly and universally sustained as a VALID EXERCISE OF THE POLICE
POWER OVER AN IMPORTANT PROFESSION.
The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with public
interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in
the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important
functions of the State the administration of justice as an officer of the court. The practice
of law being clothed with public interest, the holder of this privilege must submit to a
degree of control for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has created.
When, therefore, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6397 authorizing the Supreme Court
to "adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such
conditions as it shall see fit," it did so in the exercise of the paramount police power of the
State. The Act's avowal is to "raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the
administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more
effectively."
The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with and regulate personal
liberty, property and occupations. Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and
burdens in order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus,
31 Phil 218), for, as the Latin maxim goes, "SALUS POPULI EST SUPREME LEX." THE
PUBLIC WELFARE IS THE SUPREME LAW. To this fundamental principle of government
the rights of individuals are subordinated.

But the most compelling argument sustaining the constitutionality and validity of Bar
integration in the Philippines is the explicit unequivocal grant of precise power to the
Supreme Court by Section 5 (5) of Article X of the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines,
which reads:
SEC. 5. THE SUPREME COURT SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING POWERS:
(5) PROMULGATE RULES CONCERNING PLEADING, PRACTICE, AND
PROCEDURE IN ALL COURTS, AND THE ADMISSION TO THE PRACTICE OF
LAW AND THE INTEGRATION OF THE BAR ...,
and Section 1 of Republic Act No. 6397, which reads:
SECTION 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme Court may adopt rules
of Court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in
order to raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and
enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively.
Thus, when the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal profession, his practice of law
and his exercise of the said profession, which affect the society at large, were (and are)
subject to the power of the body politic to require him to conform to such regulations as
might be established by the proper authorities for the common good, even to the extent of
interfering with some of his liberties. If he did not wish to submit himself to such
reasonable interference and regulation, he should not have clothed the public with an
interest in his concerns.
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE FEES
The first objection posed by the respondent is THAT THE COURT IS WITHOUT POWER TO
COMPEL HIM TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE
PHILIPPINES, hence, Section 1 of the Court Rule is unconstitutional for it impinges on his
constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to associate). Our answer is: To compel a
lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to
associate.
Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member.
He became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. All that integration
actually does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but
unorganized and incohesive group of which every lawyer is a ready a member.
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not
attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he
chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The
Supreme Court, in order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of
professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion
be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program the lawyers.

2.
The second issue posed by the respondent is that the provision of the Court Rule
requiring payment of a membership fee is void. We see nothing in the Constitution that prohibits
the Court, under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission
to the practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X, Section 5 of the 1973
Constitution) which power the respondent acknowledges from requiring members of a
privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of
regulation of the profession to which they belong.
It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to
raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration.
3.
The respondent further argues that the enforcement of the penalty provisions would
amount to a deprivation of property without due process and hence infringes on one of his
constitutional rights. Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one
that entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession, we do not here pause to consider at
length, as it clear that under the police power of the State, and under the necessary powers
granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondent's right to practise law before the
courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the
power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce
its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or
arbitrary.
BUT WE MUST HERE EMPHASIZE THAT THE PRACTICE OF LAW IS NOT A
PROPERTY RIGHT BUT A MERE PRIVILEGE, AND AS SUCH MUST BOW TO THE
INHERENT REGULATORY POWER OF THE COURT TO EXACT COMPLIANCE
WITH THE LAWYER'S PUBLIC RESPONSIBILITIES.
4.
Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike the
name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys, it is sufficient to state that the matters of
admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and
supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and
responsibilities, and the authorities holding such are legion.
"The power to regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers does not depend upon
constitutional or statutory grounds. It is a power which is inherent in this court as a court
appropriate, indeed necessary, to the proper administration of justice ... the argument that this is
an arbitrary power which the court is arrogating to itself or accepting from the legislative
likewise misconceives the nature of the duty. It has limitations no less real because they are
inherent. It is an unpleasant task to sit in judgment upon a brother member of the Bar,
particularly where, as here, the facts are disputed. It is a grave responsibility, to be assumed only
with a determination to uphold the Ideals and traditions of an honorable profession and to protect
the public from overreaching and fraud. The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty that the
power will not be misused or prostituted. ..."

We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court 139-A and of the ByLaws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines complained of are neither unconstitutional
nor illegal.

A.C. No. 4148


July 30, 1998
REMEDIOS RAMIREZ TAPUCAR, complainant, vs. Atty. LAURO L. TAPUCAR,
respondent.
PER CURIAM:

FACTS:

Complainant and respondent married on October 29, 1953 at the Sacred Heart Roman
Catholic Church in Quezon City. They had 8 of their 11 children were born. In 1962
respondent relocated his family to Dadiangas, Cotabato (now Gen. Santos City), where
his last 3 children were born and where he practiced his profession until his appointment
as a CFI Judge in Butuan City on January 30, 1976.
Shortly after being appointed as CFI Judge, respondent began cohabiting with a
certain Elena (Helen) Pea. Elena gave birth to their first child, named Ofelia
Sembrano Pea.
Atty. Tranquilino Calo filed an administrative complaint against respondent for
immorality.
Despite being suspended, respondent still continued to cohabit with Elena, giving
rise to another charge of immorality and other administrative cases, such as:
conduct unbecoming an officer of the court, and grossly immoral conduct.
Court ordered his dismissal and separation from the service.
But his dismissal as a judge did not impel respondent to mend his ways. He continued
living with Elena, which resulted in the birth of their second child named Laella Pea
Tapucar. Moreover, he completely abandoned complainant and his children by her.
RESPONDENT CONTRACTED MARRIAGE WITH ELENA WHILE THE
RESPONDENT'S MARRIAGE TO COMPLAINANT SUBSISTS.
Complainant was forced to file the present petition for disbarment under the compulsion
of the maternal impulse to shield and protect her children from the despotic and cruel acts
of their own father.
Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines recommended that
respondent be disbarred, and his name be stricken off the roll of attorneys. Mainly, this
was premised on the ground that, notwithstanding sanctions previously imposed upon
him by the Honorable Supreme Court, respondent continued the illicit liaison with Elena
that, instead of contradicting the charges against him, respondent displayed arrogance,
and even made a mockery of the law and the Court.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Tapucar may be disbarred due to the fact of contracting a second marriage
during the subsistence of his first marriage.

HELD:
YES.
Well settled is the rule that good moral character is not only a condition precedent for admission
to the legal profession, but it must also remain intact in order to maintain one's good standing in
that exclusive and honored fraternity.
The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that:
Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice
law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the
discredit of the legal profession.
Lawyers must maintain a high standard of legal proficiency, as well as morality including
honesty, integrity and fair dealing. For they are at all times subject to the scrutinizing eye of
public opinion and community approbation.
Moreover, it should be recalled that respondent here was once a member of the judiciary, a fact
that aggravates his professional infractions. For having occupied that place of honor in the Bench,
he knew a judge's actuations ought to be free from any appearance of impropriety. For a judge
is the visible representation of the law and, more importantly, of justice. Ordinary citizens
consider him as a source of strength that fortifies their will to obey the law. Indeed, a judge
should avoid the slightest infraction of the law in all of his actuations, lest it be a
demoralizing example to others. Surely, respondent could not have forgotten the Code of
Judicial Conduct entirely as to lose its moral imperatives.
Like a judge who is held to a high standard of integrity and ethical conduct, an attorney-at-law is
also invested with public trust. Judges and lawyers serve in the administration of justice.
Admittedly, as officers of the court, lawyers must ensure the faith and confidence of the public
that justice is administered with dignity and civility. A high degree of moral integrity is expected
of a lawyer in the community where he resides. He must maintain due regard for public decency
in an orderly society.
A lawyer is expected at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession by
faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. Exacted
from him, as a member of the profession charged with the responsibility to stand as a shield in
the defense of what is right, are such positive qualities of decency, truthfulness and responsibility
that have been compendiously described as "moral character." To achieve such end, every lawyer
needs to strive at all times to honor and maintain the dignity of his profession, and thus improve
not only the public regard for the Bar but also the administration of justice.

On these considerations, the Court may disbar or suspend a lawyer for misconduct, whether in
his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, in
honesty, probity, and good demeanor, thus proving unworthy to continue as an officer of the
court.
The power to disbar, however, is one to be exercised with great caution, and only in a clear case
of misconduct which seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of
the Court and member of the bar. For disbarment proceedings are intended to afford the parties
thereto full opportunity to vindicate their cause before disciplinary action is taken, to assure the
general public that those who are tasked with the duty of administering justice are competent,
honorable, trustworthy men and women in whom the Courts and the clients may repose full
confidence.
In the present case, the record shows that despite previous sanctions imposed upon him by this
Court, respondent continued his illicit liaison with a woman other than his lawfully-wedded wife.
Keeping a mistress, entering into another marriage while a prior one still subsists, as well as
abandoning and/or mistreating complainant and their children, show his disregard of family
obligations, morality and decency, the law and the lawyer's oath. Such gross misbehavior over a
long period of time clearly shows a serious flaw in respondent's character, his moral indifference
to scandal in the community, and his outright defiance of established norms. All these could not
but put the legal profession in disrepute and place the integrity of the administration of justice in
peril, hence the need for strict but appropriate disciplinary action.

G.R. No. 000 July 18, 1975


IN RE: PEDRO A. AMPARO (1974 Bar Candidate), petitioner,
CASTRO, J.:
FACTS:

Pedro A. Amparo of Bohol filed a petition to take the 1974 Bar examinations. This
petition was granted.
While the examination was in progress, the headwatcher in room 401, Lilian Mendigorin,
reported that examinee Amparo was found reading, at approximately 3:15 o'clock, a piece
of paper containing notes in Criminal Law. He at first refused to surrender the paper, but
later gave it to Mendigorin when she threatened to report the matter to the authorities.
Court en banc unanimously resolved "to disqualify Pedro Amparo from taking the Bar
examinations still to be given, namely, in the subjects of Remedial Law and Labor and
Social Legislation, on Sunday, December 8, 1974, without prejudice to allowing him to
take the Bar examinations after this year."
Amparo requested that "before final action is or becomes effective" he "be given a chance
to explain" his side.
Court reconsidered its prior resolution and allowed Amparo to take the Bar examinations
on the coming Sunday, December 8, 1974, without prejudice to further action by the
Court after a formal and more detailed investigation of the incident.

At the investigation, headwatcher Mendigorin identified Amparo as the Bar examinee


whom she saw reading a piece of paper inside the examination room in the course of the
examination in Criminal Law. The piece of paper, later marked as exhibit C, contains
handwritten notes, on both sides, on the durations of penalties and a formula of
computing them, particularly reclusion temporal. Mendigorin testified that she
approached Amparo and asked for the piece of paper; that he refused and put the paper in
his pocket; that when she approached him a second time, he fished the paper from his
pocket and gave it to her; that when, at the end of the examination period, Amparo
submitted his examination notebook, he told her that he really had intended to cheat. On
cross-examination, she elaborated that Amparo gave the piece of paper only when she
told him that she would bring the matter up to higher authority.
Vernon B. Vasquez, a watcher under headwatcher Mendigorin, corroborated the latter's
testimony. He declared that from a distance of five meters, he saw Amparo reading a
piece of paper on his lap; that he wanted to approach him but his headwatcher was
already ahead of him; and that Amparo thereupon placed the paper in his pocket, but
when Mendigorin threatened to report the matter, Amparo yielded exhibit C with a smile.
In his testimony, Amparo admitted having in his possession, in the course of the
examination, the piece of paper, exhibit C, explaining that because he was perspiring, he
took his handkerchief from his pocket, and out also came the piece of paper which fell to
the floor; that the notes were not in his handwriting as they were given by a friend, and
that it was by accident that he picked up the paper to find out what it was, as he had
forgotten about it, but had no intention to use it; that while he was reading it, the
headwatcher saw him and demanded it from him, but he refused because he thought that
he might need it for "future reference," but when the headwatcher insisted as otherwise
she would report the matter to her supervisor, Amparo surrendered the paper.
On cross-examination, he declared that exhibit C had been in his pocket a long time
before December 1; that he had not changed his pants for three weeks; that when the first
bell rang for the examination in Criminal Law, he was required to put "all his things" out
of the room; that he forgot about the paper inside his pocket; that when he took out his
handkerchief to wipe his perspiration, the paper fell to the floor, and he wondered what it
was and then recalled upon reading it that it had been given by a friend; and that as he
was reading it, "that diligent headwatcher came and asked for that paper." He further
admitted that he knew it is contrary to the rules to bring notes and books inside the
examination room.
Bar candidates Jovencio Fajilan, Norman M. Balagtas and Apolinario O. Calix, Sr., who
were seated near Amparo in room 401, were presented by the respondent as his witnesses,
but all of them professed lack of knowledge about the incident as they were engrossed in
answering the examination questions.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Amparo should
HELD:

It is clear that Amparo, in the course of the examination in Criminal Law, had possession of the
piece of paper containing notes on the durations of penalties and that he knew that it is contrary
to the rules to bring notes and books inside the examination room.
It thus results that he knowingly violated Section 10, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, which
pertinently provides that "Persons taking the examination shall not bring papers, books or
notes into the examination rooms."
Amparo's impression that the notes had no "material use" to him is correct, in the sense that they
bore no reference to any question asked in the examination in Criminal Law; even so he
committed an overt act indicative of an attempt to cheat by reading the notes, His refusal to
surrender the paper containing the notes when first demanded; his eventual surrender of it only
after he was informed that he would be reported; and the facts that the notes pertained to
Criminal Law and the examination then in Criminal Law all these override and rebut his
explanation that he merely read the notes to find out what they were as he had forgotten about
them.
We find the respondent Amparo guilty of (1) bringing notes into the examination room and
(2) attempted cheating. According to the official report of the Bar Confidant, approved by
the Court, Amparo did not pass the 1974 Bar examinations.

[A.C 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.
FACTS:

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

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".

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. 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
2. his conviction for estafa

Complainant filed a certification that respondents "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."

That complainant capitalizes on the fact that respondent had been delinquent in his dues.
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.

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.

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.

IBP Board of Governors passed a resolution 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.

The findings of IBP Commissioner Alfredo Sanz are as follows:

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondents non-indication of the proper IBP O.R. and PTR numbers in his
pleadings for at least three years is sufficient ground to suspend him.
HELD:
Respondents last payment of his IBP dues was in 1991.
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."
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 present time that he
had only a limited practice of law."
Therefore respondent is not exempt from paying his yearly dues to the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines.
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.
Rule 139-A provides:
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.
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.
Respondents 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 respondents advanced
age, his express willingness to pay his dues and plea for a more temperate application of the
law, 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.
[B. M. No. 1036. June 10, 2003]
DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE, complainant, vs. EDWIN L. RANA, respondent.
CARPIO, J.:

FACTS:

Respondent Edwin L. Rana (respondent) was among those who passed the 2000 Bar
Examinations.

One day before the scheduled mass oath-taking of successful bar examinees as members
of the Philippine Bar, complainant Donna Marie Aguirre (complainant) filed against
respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to the Bar.

Complainant charged respondent with unauthorized practice of law, grave


misconduct, violation of law, and grave misrepresentation.

The Court allowed respondent to take his oath. However, the Court ruled that
respondent could not sign the Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of the charge
against him.

Complainant alleges that respondent, while not yet a lawyer:


1. Appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001 elections before the
Municipal Board of Election Canvassers (MBEC). Complainant further alleges
that respondent filed with the MBEC a pleading dated 19 May 2001 entitled
Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts
for the Office of Vice-Mayor. In this pleading, respondent represented himself as
counsel for and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, George Bunan, and signed
the pleading as counsel for George Bunan (Bunan).
2. On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that respondent is a
municipal government employee, being a secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan of
Mandaon, Masbate. As such, respondent is not allowed by law to act as counsel
for a client in any court or administrative body.
3. On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, complainant
accuses respondent of acting as counsel for vice mayoralty candidate George
Bunan (Bunan) without the latter engaging respondents services.

Respondent was allowed by Court to take the lawyers oath but disallowed him from
signing the Roll of Attorneys until he is cleared of the charges against him.

Respondent claims that he decided to assist and advice Bunan, not as a lawyer but as a
person who knows the law. He explains, however, that he did not sign the pleading as a
lawyer or represented himself as an attorney in the pleading.

Respondent claims that he submitted his resignation as Secretary on 11 May 2001 which
was allegedly accepted on the same date.

Complainant alleges that on 19 May 2001 Emily Estipona-Hao (Estipona-Hao) filed a


petition for proclamation as the winning candidate for mayor. Respondent signed as
counsel for Estipona-Hao in this petition. When respondent appeared as counsel before
the MBEC, complainant questioned his appearance on two grounds: (1) respondent had
not taken his oath as a lawyer; and (2) he was an employee of the government.

The OBC believes that respondents misconduct casts a serious doubt on his moral fitness
to be a member of the Bar. The OBC also believes that respondents unauthorized practice
of law is a ground to deny his admission to the practice of law. The OBC therefore
recommends that respondent be denied admission to the Philippine Bar.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Edwin Rana should be denied admission to the Philippine Bar.
HELD:
YES. Respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and thus does not deserve
admission to the Philippine Bar.
Respondent took his oath as lawyer on 22 May 2001. However, the records show that
respondent appeared as counsel for Bunan prior to 22 May 2001, before respondent took
the lawyers oath.
In the pleading entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some
Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor, respondent stated that he was the (U)ndersigned Counsel
for, and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, GEORGE T. BUNAN. Bunan himself wrote the
MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he had authorized Atty. Edwin L. Rana as his counsel to represent
him before the MBEC and similar bodies.
On 14 May 2001, mayoralty candidate Emily Estipona-Hao also retained respondent as her
counsel. On the same date, 14 May 2001, Erly D. Hao informed the MBEC that Atty. Edwin L.
Rana has been authorized by REFORMA LM-PPC as the legal counsel of the party and the
candidate of the said party. Respondent himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he was
entering his appearance as counsel for Mayoralty Candidate Emily Estipona-Hao and for the
REFORMA LM-PPC. On 19 May 2001, respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in the
petition filed before the MBEC praying for the proclamation of Estipona-Hao as the winning
candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate.
ALL THESE HAPPENED EVEN BEFORE RESPONDENT TOOK THE LAWYERS
OATH. CLEARLY, RESPONDENT ENGAGED IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW
WITHOUT BEING A MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR.
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces
the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings,

the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and
courts, and in addition, conveyancing.
In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law,
incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance
before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in
bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in
matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the
preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the determination by
the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions.
In Cayetano v. Monsod,[2] the Court held that practice of law means any activity, in or out of
court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and
experience. To engage in the practice of law is to perform acts which are usually performed
by members of the legal profession. Generally, to practice law is to render any kind of
service which requires the use of legal knowledge or skill.
VERILY, RESPONDENT WAS ENGAGED IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW WHEN HE
APPEARED IN THE PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE MBEC AND FILED VARIOUS
PLEADINGS, WITHOUT LICENSE TO DO SO. Evidence clearly supports the charge of
UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW. Respondent called himself counsel knowing fully
well that he was not a member of the Bar. Having held himself out as counsel knowing that he
had no authority to practice law, respondent has shown moral unfitness to be a member of the
Philippine Bar.
The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a privilege. It is limited to
persons of good moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The
exercise of this privilege presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge, educational
attainment, and even public trust[4] since a lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar candidate
does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar examinations. THE
PRACTICE OF LAW IS A PRIVILEGE THAT CAN BE WITHHELD EVEN FROM
ONE WHO HAS PASSED THE BAR EXAMINATIONS, IF THE PERSON SEEKING
ADMISSION HAD PRACTICED LAW WITHOUT A LICENSE.
The regulation of the practice of law is unquestionably strict. In Beltran, Jr. v. Abad,[6] a
candidate passed the bar examinations but had not taken his oath and signed the Roll of
Attorneys. He was held in contempt of court for practicing law even before his admission to
the Bar.
Under Section 3 (e) of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who engages in the
unauthorized practice of law is liable for INDIRECT CONTEMPT OF COURT.
True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawyers oath. However,
IT IS THE SIGNING IN THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS THAT FINALLY MAKES ONE
A FULL-FLEDGED LAWYER.

The fact that respondent passed the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the
only qualification to become an attorney-at-law.
Respondent should know that TWO ESSENTIAL REQUISITES FOR BECOMING A
LAWYER STILL HAD TO BE PERFORMED, NAMELY: his lawyers oath to be
administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys.
On the charge of violation of law, complainant contends that the law does not allow respondent
to act as counsel for a private client in any court or administrative body since respondent is the
secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan. Respondent tendered his resignation as secretary of the
Sangguniang Bayan prior to the acts complained of as constituting unauthorized practice of law.
In his letter dated 11 May 2001 addressed to Napoleon Relox, vice- mayor and presiding officer
of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent stated that he was resigning effective upon your
acceptance.[10] Vice-Mayor Relox accepted respondents resignation effective 11 May 2001.[11]
Thus, the evidence does not support the charge that respondent acted as counsel for a client while
serving as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan.
On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, evidence shows that Bunan indeed
authorized respondent to represent him as his counsel before the MBEC and similar bodies.
While there was no misrepresentation, respondent nonetheless had no authority to practice law.
WHEREFORE, respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED admission to the Philippine Bar.

BAR MATTER No. 914 October 1, 1999


RE: APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE PHILIPPINE BAR, vs. VICENTE D.
CHING, applicant.
KAPUNAN, J.:
FACTS:

Vicente D. Ching, the legitimate son of the spouses Tat Ching, a Chinese citizen, and
Prescila A. Dulay, a Filipino, was born in Francia West, Tubao, La Union on 11 April
1964. Since his birth, Ching has resided in the Philippines.
Ching, after having completed a Bachelor of Laws course at the St. Louis University in
Baguio City, filed an application to take the 1998 Bar Examinations.
In a Resolution of this Court, he was allowed to take the Bar Examinations, subject to the
condition that he must submit to the Court proof of his Philippine citizenship.
In compliance with the above resolution, Ching submitted on 18 November 1998, the
following documents:
1. Certification, 1986, issued by the Board of Accountancy of the Professional
Regulations Commission showing that Ching is a certified public accountant;
2. Voter Certification, issued by Election Officer of COMELEC showing that
Ching is a registered voter; and
3. Certification, issued by COMELEC showing that Ching was elected as a
member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Tubao, La Union.

Results of the 1998 Bar Examinations were released and Ching was one of the successful
Bar examinees.

However, because of the questionable status of Ching's citizenship, he was not allowed to
take his oath. He was required to submit further proof of his citizenship. In the same
resolution, OSG was required to file a comment on Ching's petition for admission to the
bar and on the documents evidencing his Philippine citizenship.

The OSG filed its comment stating that Ching, being the "legitimate child of a Chinese
father and a Filipino mother born under the 1935 Constitution was a Chinese citizen and
continued to be so, unless upon reaching the age of majority he elected Philippine
citizenship" under Commonwealth Act No. 625 entitled "An Act Providing for the
Manner in which the Option to Elect Philippine Citizenship shall be Declared by a
Person Whose Mother is a Filipino Citizen."

The OSG adds that "(w)hat he acquired at best was only an inchoate Philippine
citizenship which he could perfect by election upon reaching the age of majority." In
this regard, the OSG clarifies that "2 CONDITIONS MUST CONCUR IN ORDER
THAT THE ELECTION OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP MAY BE EFFECTIVE,
NAMELY:
(a) the mother of the person making the election must be a citizen of the
Philippines; and
(b) said election must be made upon reaching the age of majority."
The OSG then explains the meaning of the phrase "upon reaching the age of majority:"
Has been construed to mean a reasonable time after reaching the age of majority
which had been interpreted by the Secretary of Justice to be three (3) years. Said
period may be extended under certain circumstances, as when a (sic) person
concerned has always considered himself a Filipino. But in Cuenco, it was held
that an election done after over seven (7) years was not made within a reasonable
time.

OSG points out that Ching has not formally elected Philippine citizenship and, if ever he
does, it would already be beyond the "reasonable time" allowed by present jurisprudence.

However, due to the peculiar circumstances surrounding Ching's case, the OSG
recommends the relaxation of the standing rule on the construction of the phrase
"reasonable period" and the allowance of Ching to elect Philippine citizenship in
accordance with C.A. No. 625 prior to taking his oath as a member of the Philippine Bar.

On 27 July 1999, Ching filed a Manifestation, attaching therewith his Affidavit of


Election of Philippine Citizenship and his Oath of Allegiance, both dated 15 July 1999. In
his Manifestation, Ching states:
1. I have always considered myself as a Filipino;

2. I was registered as a Filipino and consistently declared myself as one in my


school records and other official documents;
3. I am practicing a profession (Certified Public Accountant) reserved for Filipino
citizens;
4. I participated in electoral process[es] since the time I was eligible to vote;
5. I had served the people of Tubao, La Union as a member of the Sangguniang
Bayan from 1992 to 1995;
6. I elected Philippine citizenship on July 15, 1999 in accordance with
Commonwealth Act No. 625;
7. My election was expressed in a statement signed and sworn to by me before a
notary public;
8. I accompanied my election of Philippine citizenship with the oath of allegiance
to the Constitution and the Government of the Philippines;
9. I filed my election of Philippine citizenship and my oath of allegiance to (sic)
the Civil Registrar of Tubao La Union.
ISSUE:
Whether or not a legitimate child born under the 1935 Constitution of a Filipino mother and an
alien father validly elect Philippine citizenship fourteen (14) years after he has reached the age of
majority?
Since Ching has already elected Philippine citizenship on 15 July 1999, the question raised is
whether he has elected Philippine citizenship within a "reasonable time." Whether or not his
citizenship by election retroacted to the time he took the bar examination.
HELD:
When Ching was born in 1964, the governing charter was the 1935 Constitution. Under Article
IV, Section 1(3) of the 1935 Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate child born of a Filipino
mother and an alien father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age of
majority, the child elected Philippine citizenship.
This right to elect Philippine citizenship was recognized in the 1973 Constitution when it
provided that "(t)hose who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the
Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five" are citizens of the Philippines.
Likewise, this recognition by the 1973 Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Constitution
which states that "(t)hose born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority" are Philippine citizens.
It should be noted, however, that the 1973 and 1987 Constitutional provisions on the election of
Philippine citizenship should not be understood as having a curative effect on any irregularity in
the acquisition of citizenship for those covered by the 1935 Constitution. If the citizenship of a
person was subject to challenge under the old charter, it remains subject to challenge under the

new charter even if the judicial challenge had not been commenced before the effectivity of the
new Constitution.
C.A. No. 625 prescribes the procedure that should be followed in order to make a valid election
of Philippine citizenship. Under Section 1 thereof, legitimate children born of Filipino mothers
may elect Philippine citizenship by expressing such intention "in a statement to be signed and
sworn to by the party concerned before any officer authorized to administer oaths, and shall be
filed with the nearest civil registry. The said party shall accompany the aforesaid statement with
the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the Government of the Philippines."
However, the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 did not prescribe a time period within which
the election of Philippine citizenship should be made. The 1935 Charter only provides that the
election should be made "upon reaching the age of majority." The age of majority then
commenced upon reaching twenty-one (21) years.
In the opinions of the Secretary of Justice on cases involving the validity of election of
Philippine citizenship, this dilemma was resolved by basing the time period on the decisions of
this Court prior to the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution, which, in turn, based on the
pronouncements of the Department of State of the United States Government to the effect that
the election should be made within a "reasonable time" after attaining the age of majority. The
phrase "reasonable time" has been interpreted to mean that the election should be made within
three (3) years from reaching the age of majority.
However, we held in Cuenco vs. Secretary of Justice, 12 that the three (3) year period is not an
inflexible rule. We said:
It is true that this clause has been construed to mean a reasonable period after
reaching the age of majority, and that the Secretary of Justice has ruled that three
(3) years is the reasonable time to elect Philippine citizenship under the
constitutional provision adverted to above, which period may be extended under
certain circumstances, as when the person concerned has always considered
himself a Filipino. 13
However, we cautioned in Cuenco that the extension of the option to elect Philippine citizenship
is not indefinite:
Regardless of the foregoing, petitioner was born on February 16, 1923. He
became of age on February 16, 1944. His election of citizenship was made on
May 15, 1951, when he was over twenty-eight (28) years of age, or over seven (7)
years after he had reached the age of majority. It is clear that said election has not
been made "upon reaching the age of majority."
In the present case, Ching, having been born on 11 April 1964, was already thirty-five (35)
years old when he complied with the requirements of C.A. No. 625 on 15 June 1999, or over
fourteen (14) years after he had reached the age of majority.
Based on the interpretation of the phrase "upon reaching the age of majority," Ching's election
was clearly beyond, by any reasonable yardstick, the allowable period within which to exercise
the privilege. It should be stated, in this connection, that the special circumstances invoked by

Ching, i.e., his continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines and his being a certified
public accountant, a registered voter and a former elected public official, cannot vest in him
Philippine citizenship as the law specifically lays down the requirements for acquisition of
Philippine citizenship by election.
Definitely, the so-called special circumstances cannot constitute what Ching erroneously labels
as informal election of citizenship. Ching's reliance on Mallare is misplaced. The facts and
circumstances obtaining therein are very different from those in the present case, thus, negating
its applicability. First, Esteban Mallare was born before the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution
and the enactment of C.A. No. 625. Hence, the requirements and procedures prescribed under the
1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 for electing Philippine citizenship would not be applicable
to him. Second, the ruling in Mallare was an obiter since, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, it
was not necessary for Esteban Mallare to elect Philippine citizenship because he was already a
Filipino, he being a natural child of a Filipino mother.
The Court, like the OSG, is sympathetic with the plight of Ching. However, even if we
consider the special circumstances in the life of Ching like his having lived in the
Philippines all his life and his consistent belief that he is a Filipino, CONTROLLING
STATUTES AND JURISPRUDENCE CONSTRAIN US TO DISAGREE WITH THE
RECOMMENDATION OF THE OSG.
Consequently, we hold that Ching failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship. The span of
fourteen (14) years that lapsed from the time he reached the age of majority until he finally
expressed his intention to elect Philippine citizenship is clearly way beyond the contemplation of
the requirement of electing "upon reaching the age of majority."
Moreover, Ching has offered no reason why he delayed his election of Philippine citizenship.
The prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and
painstaking process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an affidavit of election of
Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same with the nearest civil registry.
PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP CAN NEVER BE TREATED LIKE A COMMODITY
THAT CAN BE CLAIMED WHEN NEEDED AND SUPPRESSED WHEN
CONVENIENT. One who is privileged to elect Philippine citizenship has only an inchoate right
to such citizenship. As such, he should avail of the right with fervor, enthusiasm and promptitude.
Sadly, in this case, Ching slept on his opportunity to elect Philippine citizenship and, as a result.
this golden privilege slipped away from his grasp.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court Resolves to DENY Vicente D. Ching's
application for admission to the Philippine Bar.