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TOPIC: NECESSITY OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER IN THE LIFE OF A LAWYER

JOSEFINA ROYONG, complainant, vs. ATTY. ARISTON OBLENA, respondent.


A.C. No. 376 April 30, 1963

FACTS:

In a verified complaint filed with this Court on January 14, 1959, complainant Josefina Royong charged the
respondent Ariston J. Oblena, a member of the Philippine Bar, with rape allegedly committed on her person in the manner
described therein. Upon requirement of this Court, the respondent filed his answer denying all the allegations in the
complaint and praying that he be not disbarred. On February 3, 1959, this Court referred the case to the Solicitor General
for investigation, report and recommendation.

After hearing, the investigators submitted a report with the finding that: 1) Respondent used his knowledge of the
law to take advantage by having illicit relations with complainant, knowing as he did, that by committing immoral acts on
her, he was free from any criminal liability; and 2) Respondent committed gross immorality by continuously cohabiting
with a married woman even after he became a lawyer in 1955 to the present; and 3) That respondent falsified the truth as
to his moral character in his petition to take the 1954 bar examinations, being then immorally (adulterously) in
cohabitation with his common-law wife, Briccia Angeles, a married woman. The investigators also recommended that the
respondent be disbarred or alternatively, be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year.

ISSUE:

Whether or not illicit relations with the complainant Josefina Royong and the open cohabitation with Briccia
Angeles, a married woman, are sufficient grounds to cause the respondent's disbarment.

HELD:

Yes. The tendency of the decisions of this Court has been toward the conclusion that a member of the bar may be
removed or suspended from office as a lawyer for other than statutory grounds. Indeed, the rule is so phrased as to be
broad enough to cover practically any misconduct of a lawyer (In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 567). In the case at bar, the moral
depravity of the respondent is most apparent. His pretension that before complainant completed her eighteenth birthday,
he refrained from having sexual intercourse with her, so as not to incur criminal liability, as he himself declared and
that he limited himself merely to kissing and embracing her and sucking her tongue, indicates a scheming mind, which
together with his knowledge of the law, he took advantage of, for his lurid purpose.

Furthermore, the blunt admission of his illicit relations with the complainant reveals the respondent to be a person
who would suffer no moral compunction for his acts if the same could be done without fear of criminal liability. He has,
by these acts, proven himself to be devoid of the moral integrity expected of a member of the bar.

Respondent, therefore, did not possess a good moral character at the time he applied for admission to the bar.

NOTES:

It is true that the respondent has not been convicted of rape, seduction, or adultery on this count, and that the
grounds upon which the disbarment proceedings is based are not among those enumerated by Section 25, Rule
127 of the Rules of Court for which a lawyer may be disbarred. But it has already been held that this enumeration
is not exclusive and that the power of the courts to exclude unfit and unworthy members of the profession is
inherent; it is a necessary incident to the proper administration of justice; it may be exercised without any special
statutory authority, and in all proper cases unless positively prohibited by statute; and the power may be exercised
in any manner that will give the party be disbarred a fair trial and a fair opportunity to be heard. (1 Francisco,
Rules of Court [1958 ed.] 698, citing In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 567). Although it is a well settled rule that the
legislature (or the Supreme Court by virtue of its rule-making power) may provide that certain acts or conduct
shall require disbarment, the accepted doctrine is that statutes and rules merely regulate the power to disbar
instead of creating it, and that such statutes (or rules) do not restrict the general powers of the court over
attorneys, who are its officers, and that they may be removed for other than statutory grounds (7 C.J.S. 734).
In the United States, where from our system of legal ethics is derived, "the continued possession of a fair private
and professional character or a good moral character is a requisite condition for the rightful continuance in
the practice of law for one who has been admitted, and its loss requires suspension or disbarment even though
the statutes do not specify that as a ground of disbarment". The moral turpitude for which an attorney may be
disbarred may consist of misconduct in either his professional or non-professional activities (5 Am. Jur. 417).

CORDON V. BALICANTA (2002) (lawyer who duped mother-daughter of their lands)

FACTS:

When Rosaura Cordons husband died, she and her daughter, Rosemarie, inherited around 21 parcels of land in
Zamboanga City. Atty. Jesus Balicanta settled the estate of her late husband and also advised the Cordons on how to
manage their inheritance. He enticed them to organize a corporation and transfer their properties to such corporation for
development. Thus, Rosaura Enterprises, Inc. was born and the Cordons assumed majority ownership. However, it was
Balicanta who served as the Chairman of the Board, President, General Manager, and Treasurer. More than that, Balicanta
also transferred the titles of the property to one Tion Suy Ong. He also made them sign a voting trust agreement and a SPA
allowing Balicanta to sell and mortgage the Cordons properties.

Using a spurious board resolution, Balicanta obtained a P2.2 Million loan from the Land Bank of the
Philippines,supposedly to develop the Baliwasan Commercial Center using 9 of the Cordons properties as collateral.
However, it waslater found out that the structure was made out of poor materials such as sawali. For four years, Balicanta
did not pay asingle demand despite numerous demand and notice from LBP.

Finally, in 1983, Rosemarie found out what was happening when she saw that Balicanta had their ancestral home
demolished, selling the land to Tion Suy Ong again, and transferred her mom to a house in a different town on the pretext
that their home was being renovated. Thereafter, the Cordons filed a disbarment case against Balicanta with the IBP
Comission on Bar Discipline. Commissioner Cunanan issued a report recommending Balicantas disbarment. While
Balicantas disbarment was pending review before Executive VP and Northern Luzon Governor Pilando, Balicanta
alleged that Commissioner Cunanans report was penned by the Cordons lawyers. Aside from this, Balicantas main
defense is that he hid not do anything out of line, that he was only doing his job, and it was the Cordons who should be
held accountable for being negligent in the running of the corporation.

ISSUES:

1. W/N Atty. Balicanta should be disbarred

HELD/RATIO:

1. YES, Balicantas actions show an organized plan to deceive the Cordons and deprive them of their property.
In fact, Balicantas deceptions show in the evidence he adduced to supposedly defend himself. In his supporting evidence,
it showed that the Cordons only owned 266 of Rosaura Enterprises, Inc.s shares when the factual finding of the IBP
Committee showed that the Cordons owned 1,711 out of 1,750 shares. Also, Balicantas actions were done without the
approval of the corporations Board of Directors. It was also never explained why the Cordons, despite holding around
90% of the companys outstanding stock, were never participated in any of the corporations actions.

These fraudulent acts should not be permitted to continue, especially from the member of the bar. The relation
between an attorney and his client is highly fiduciary in nature. Balicanta cant hide behind the corporations separate
juridical personality because he blatantly used the corporate veil to perpetrate his fraudulent acts. In this case, it is clear
that Balicanta behaved in a way that merits more than a mere suspension.
TOPIC: LAWYER AND SOCIETY

DONTON VS TANSINGCO
A.C 6057
June 27, 2006

FACTS:

o Peter Donton filed a complaint against Atty. Emmanuel Tansingco, as the notary public who notarized the
Occupancy Agreement, and against others (Duane Stier, and Emelyn Manggay) for estafa thru falsification of
public document.

o A disbarment complaint filed by petitioner on May 20, 2003 against respondent Atty. Emmanual O. Tansingco
for serious misconduct and deliberate violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and 1.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility arose when respondent Atty. Tansingco filed a counter-charge of perjury against Donton.

o Atty. Tansingco in his complaint stated that he prepared and notarized the Occupancy Agreement at the request
of Mr. Stier, an owner and long-time resident of a real property located at Cubao, Quezon City. Since Mr. Stier is
a U.S. Citizen and thereby disqualified to own real property in his name, he agreed that the property be
transferred in the name of Mr. Donton, a Filipino.

o Donton averred that Atty. Tansingcos act of preparing the Occupancy Agreement, despite knowledge that Stier is
a foreign national, constitutes serious misconduct and is a deliberate violation of the Code. Donton prayed that
Atty. Tansingco be disbarred.

o Atty. Tansingco claimed that complainant Donton filed disbarment case against him upon the instigation of
complainants counsel, Atty. Bonifacio A. Aletajan, because he refused to act witness in the criminal case against
Stier and Manggay.

o In Resolution dated October 1, 2003, the court referred the matter to the IBP for investigation, report and
recommendation and for which the latter, through Commissioner Milagros San Juan of the IBP Commission of
Discipline recommended suspension from the practice of law for two years and cancellation of his commission
as Notary Public.

o The IBP Board of Governors adopted, with modification, the Report and recommended respondents suspension
from the practice of law for six months.

o The report was then forwarded to SC as mandated under Section 12(b), Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court.

ISSUE:

Whether or Not Atty. Tansingco is guilty of serious misconduct?

RULING:

o Yes. Atty. Tansingco is liable for violation of Canon 1 and Rule 1.02 of the Code. The Court ruled that a lawyer
should not render any service or give advice to any client which will involve defiance of the laws which he is
bound to uphold and obey. A lawyer who assists a client in a dishonest scheme or who connives in violating law
commits an act which justifies disciplinary action against the lawyer.

o Atty. Tansingco had sworn to uphold the Constitution. Thus, he violated his oath and the Code when he prepared
and notarized the Occupancy Agreement to evade the law against foreign ownership of lands. Atty. Tansingco
used his knowledge of the law to achieve an unlawful end. Such an act amounts to malpractice in his office, for
which he may be suspended. As such, respondent is being suspended for six (6) months.
CASE DIGEST:

SORIANO vs. DIZON

FACTS:

A complaint-affidavit for the disbarment of Atty. Manuel Dizon, filed by Roberto Soriano with the Commission on Bar
Discipline (CBD) of the Intergrated Bar of the Philippines. Complainant Soriano alleged that respondent had violated
Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and that the conviction of the latter for frustrated homicide,
which involved moral turpitude, should result in his disbarment. According to the unrefuted statements of complainant,
Atty. Dizon, who has yet to comply with this particular undertaking, even appealed the civil liability to the Court of
Appeals

ISSUE:

Whether or not the atty. Dizon violates Canon 1 of rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibilities

HELD:

Yes. It is also glaringly clear that respondent seriously transgressed Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
through his illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm his unjust refusal to satisfy his civil liabilities. He has thus brazenly
violated the law and disobeyed the lawful orders of the courts. We remind him that, both in his attorneys oath and in the
Code of Professional Responsibility, he bound himself to obey the laws of the land.

All told, Atty. Dizon has shown through this incident that he is wanting in even a basic sense of justice. He obtained the
benevolence of the trial court when it suspended his sentence and granted him probation. And yet, it has been four years
since he was ordered to settle his civil liabilities to complainant. To date, respondent remains adamant in refusing to fulfill
that obligation. By his extreme impetuosity and intolerance, as shown by his violent reaction to a simple traffic
altercation, he has taken away the earning capacity, good health, and youthful vigor of his victim. Still, Atty. Dizon
begrudges complainant the measly amount that could never even fully restore what the latter has lost.

PAGCOR VS. ATTY. DANTE A. CARANDANG

FACTS:

Atty. Carandang, respondent, is the president of Bingo Royale, Incorporated (Bingo Royale), a private corporation
organized under the laws of the Philippines.

On February 2, 1999, PAGCOR and Bingo Royale executed a Grant of Authority to Operate Bingo Games.
Article V of this document mandates Bingo Royale to remit 20% of its gross sales to PAGCOR. This 20% is
divided into 15% to PAGCOR and 5% franchise tax to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

In the course of its operations, Bingo Royale incurred arrears amounting to P6,064,833.14 as of November 15,
2001. Instead of demanding the payment therefor, PAGCOR allowed Bingo Royale and respondent Atty.
Carandang to pay the said amount in monthly installment of P300,000.00 from July 2001 to June 2003.

Bingo Royale then issued to PAGCOR twenty four (24) Bank of Commerce checks in the sum of P7,200,000.00
signed by respondent.

However, when the checks were deposited after the end of each month at the Land Bank, U.N. Avenue Branch,
Manila, they were all dishonored by reason of Bingo Royales Closed Account.
Despite PAGCORs demand letters dated November 12 and December 12, 2001, and February 12, 2002,
respondent failed to pay the amounts of the checks. Thus, PAGCOR filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor
of Manila criminal complaints for violations of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 22 against respondent.

PAGCOR contends that in issuing those bouncing checks, respondent is liable for serious misconduct, violation of
the Attorneys Oath and violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility; and prays that his name be stricken
from the Roll of Attorneys.

In his Opposition to the complaint, respondent averred that he is not liable for issuing bouncing checks because
they were drawn by Bingo Royale. His act of doing so is not related to the office of a lawyer.
ISSUE:

Whether or not respondent Atty. Carandang is liable for serious misconduct and violated the Attorneys oath and code of
professional responsibility.

HELD:

Whether to issue or not checks in favor of a payee is a voluntary act. It is clearly a choice for an individual (especially
one learned in the law), whether in a personal capacity or officer of a corporation, to do so after assessing and weighing
the consequences and risks for doing so. As President of BRI, he cannot be said to be unaware of the probability that
BRI, the company he runs, could not raise funds, totally or partially, to cover the checks as they fell due. The desire to
continue the operations of his company does not excuse respondents act of violating the law by issuing worthless
checks. Moreover, inability to pay is not a ground, under the Civil Code, to suspend nor extinguish an obligation.
Specifically, respondent contends that because of business reverses or inability to generate funds, BRI should be excused
from making good the payment of the checks. If this theory is sustained, debtors will merely state that they no longer
have the capacity to pay and, consequently, not obliged to pay on time, nor fully or partially, their debt to creditors.
Surely, undersigned cannot agree with this contention.

VICTOR Lingan VS. Attys. Romeo Calubaquib and Jimmu P. Baliga


A.C. No. 5377, June 15, 2006

FACTS:

A complaint for disbarment was filed by Victor Lingan against Attys. Romeo Calubaquib and Jimmy Baliga on
November 16, 2000. Complainant alleged that respondents, both notaries public, falsified certain public documents, as
follows:
A complaint for annulment of title with damages filed by Isaac Villegas against complainant with the Regional
Trial Court of Tuguegarao, Cagayan. Respondent Calubaquib signed the verification and certification of non-
forum shopping of the complaint as notary public and entered the same as Doc. No. 182; Page No. 38; Book No.
CLXXII; Series of 1996, which according to the records of the National Archives, the document entered as Doc.
No. 182; Page 38; Book No. CLXXII; Series of 1996 in respondent Calubaquibs notarial register was an
affidavit of one Daniel Malayao.

A special power of attorney dated September 10, 1996 executed by Isaac Villegas appointing
respondent Calubaquib as his attorney-in-fact to enter into a compromise agreement under such terms and
conditions acceptable to him which was notarized by respondent Baliga and entered as Doc. No. 548, Page No.
110; Book No. VIII; Series of 1996, which according to respondent Baligas notarial register, Doc. No. 548;
Page No. 110; Book No. VIII; Series of 1996 pertains to an affidavit of loss of one Pedro Telan, dated August
26, 1996.

A petition for reappointment as notary public for and in Tuguegarao,Cagayan by respondent Baliga, which was
notarized by respondent Calubaquib and entered in his notarial register as Doc. No. 31, Page No. 08, Book No.
CXXX, Series of 1995. However, Notarial Register Book No. CXXX was for the year 1996 and entered there
as Doc. No. 31, Page No. 08 was a cancellation of real estate mortgage dated January 11, 1996.
Respondents Calubaquib and Baliga both admitted the incorrectness of the entries and simply attributed them to the
inadvertence in good faith of their secretary and legal assistants to whom they had left the task of entering all his notarial
documents.

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondents violated the Notarial Practice Law

HELD:

It is abundantly clear that the notary public is personally accountable for all entries in his notarial register. Section 245 of
the Notarial Law provides that every notary public shall keep a register to be known as the notarial register, wherein
record shall be made of all his official acts as notary; and he shall supply a certified copy of such record, or any part
thereof, to any person applying for it and paying the legal fees therefore. Section 246 of the same law also provides that
the notary public shall enter in such register, in chronological order, the nature of each instrument executed, sworn to, or
acknowledged before him, the person executing, swearing to, or acknowledging the instrument, the witnesses, if any, to
the signature, the date of execution, oath, or acknowledgment of the instrument, the fees collected by him for his services
as notary in connection therewith, and, when the instrument is a contract, he shall keep a correct copy thereof as part of
his records, and shall likewise enter in said records a brief description of the substance thereof and shall give to each entry
a consecutive number, beginning with number one in each calendar year. The notary shall give to each instrument
executed, sworn to, or acknowledged before him a number corresponding to the one in his register, and shall also state on
the instrument the page or pages of his register on which the same is recorded. No blank line shall be left between entries.

In this connection, Section 249(b) provides that the failure of the notary to make the proper entry or entries in his notarial
register touching his notarial acts in the manner required by law shall, in the discretion of the proper judge of first
instance, be sufficient ground for the revocation of his commission:

Respondents cannot be relieved of responsibility for the violation of the aforesaid sections by passing the buck to their
secretaries, a reprehensible practice which to this day persists despite our open condemnation.

Notarization is not an empty, meaningless or routinary act but one invested with substantive public interest, such that only
those who are qualified or authorized to do so may act as notaries public. The protection of that interest necessarily
requires that those not qualified or authorized to act must be prevented from inflicting themselves upon the public, the
courts and the administrative offices in general.

Notarization by a notary public converts a private document into a public one and makes it admissible in evidence without
further proof of its authenticity. Notaries public must therefore observe utmost care with respect to the basic requirements
of their duties.

ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY V. DELA CRUZ (2006) DISBARMENT, IMMORAL CONDUCT

Doctrine:

Immoral conduct is that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the
opinion of the good and respectable members of the community and what is grossly immoral, that is, it must be so
corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree.

The power to disbar must be exercised with great caution, and may be imposed only in a clear case of misconduct that
seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court. Disbarment should never be decreed
where any lesser penalty could accomplish the end desire.

FACTS:
This is a disbarment case filed by the Faculty members and Staff of the Saint Louis University-Laboratory High School
(SLU-LHS) against Atty. Rolando C. Dela Cruz, principal of SLU-LHS, predicated on the following grounds: 1. Gross
Misconduct: (a) pending criminal case for child abuse allegedly committed by him against a high school student; (b)
pending administrative case for his alleged unprofessional and unethical acts of misappropriating money supposedly for
the teachers; and (c) pending labor case on alleged illegal deduction of salary by respondent. 2. Grossly Immoral Conduct:
In contracting a second marriage (with Mary Jane Pascua) despite the existence of his first marriage (with Teresita
Rivera); and 3. Malpractice: In notarizing (14) documents from 1988 to 1997 despite the expiration of his notarial
commission on December 31, 1987.

ISSUE:

1. W/N Dela Cruz should be disbarred?

HELD:

1. NO.

A disbarment case is sui generis for it is neither purely civil nor purely criminal but is rather an investigation by the court
into the conduct of its officers. Thus, if the acquittal of a lawyer in a criminal action is not determinative of an
administrative case against him, or if an affidavit of withdrawal of a disbarment case does not affect its course, then
neither will the judgment of annulment of respondents second marriage also exonerate him from a wrongdoing actually
committed. So long as the quantum of proof - clear preponderance of evidence - in disciplinary proceedings against
members of the Bar is met, then liability attaches.

Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court cites grossly immoral conduct as a ground for disbarment. Undoubtedly,
respondents act constitutes immoral conduct. But is it so gross as to warrant his disbarment? Indeed, he exhibited a
deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as a member of the Bar. In particular, he made a mockery of
marriage, which is a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity. Respondent was already a member of the Bar when
he contracted the bigamous second marriage in 1989, having been admitted to the Bar in 1985. As such, he cannot feign
ignorance of the mandate of the law that before a second marriage may be validly contracted, the first and subsisting
marriage must first be annulled by the appropriate court.

Moreover, notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. On the contrary, it is invested with substantive public
interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. A notarial document is by law
entitled to full faith and credit upon its face and, for this reason, notaries public must observe with the utmost care the
basic requirements in the performance of their duties.

The practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess the
qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. It must be understood that the purpose of suspending
or disbarring someone as an attorney is to remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to
be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to an office of attorney and, thus, to protect the public and
those charged with the administration of justice, rather than to punish an attorney. However, in this case, the Court held
that respondents act was not grossly immoral as to warrant his disbarment. From the recommendation and observation of
the IBP investigator, the respondent had no intention to flaunt the law and the high moral standard of the legal profession
as shown by the following: (a) after his first failed marriage and prior to his second marriage (for 7 years), he has not been
romantically involved with any woman; (b) his second marriage was a show of his noble intentions and total love for his
wife; (c) he never absconded from his obligations to support his wife and child; (d) he never disclaimed paternity over the
child and husbandry with relation to his wife; (e) since up to now, he remained celibate.

VITUG VS. RONGCAL

FACTS:

Catherine Joie P. Vitug sought the service of respondent Atty. Diosdado M. Rongcal who was introduced to her by her
former classmate. Complainant asked Atty. Rongcal to represent her in the support case she was going to file against her
former lover, Arnulfo Aquino. Soon after, herein complainant and respondent started having sexual relationship with each
other. According to Vitug, respondent also gave her sweet inducements such as the promise of a job, financial security for
her daughter, and his services as counsel for the prospective claim for support against Aquino.

Respondent allegedly convinced complainant to sign an Affidavit of Disclaimer which the latter signed without reading
the said affidavit. On 14 February 2001, respondent allegedly advised complainant that Aquino gave him P150,000.00
cash and P58,000.00 in two (2) postdated checks to answer for the medical expenses of her daughter. Instead of turning
them over to her, respondent handed her his personal check in the amount of P150,000.00 and promised to give her the
balance of P58,000.00 soon thereafter. However,sometime in April or May 2001, respondent informed her that he could
not give her the said amount because he used it for his political campaign as he was then running for the position of
Provincial Board Member of the 2nd District of Pampanga Complainant argues that respondent's acts constitute a
violation of his oath as a lawyer. She filed an administrative case against Rongcal which was referred to the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines.
It was then recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months and that he be ordered
to return to complainant the amount of P58,000.00 within two months. The same was approved by the IBP Board of
Governors. Respondent then filed a Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Set Case for ClarificatoryQuestioning
with the IBP and a Motion to Reopen/Remand Case for Clarificatory Questioning with the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:

(1) Whether or not respondent be disbarred for immorality

(2) Whether or not respondents act of preparing and notarizing the Affidavit, a document disadvantageous to his client, is
a violation of the Code.

HELD:

(1) NO.

One of the conditions prior to admission to the bar is that an applicant must possess good moral character. Said
requirement persists as a continuing condition for the enjoyment of the privilege of law practice, otherwise, the loss
thereof is a ground for the revocation of such privilege. The Court has held that to justify suspension or disbarment the act
complained of must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. A grossly immoral act is one that is so corrupt and false as
to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree. On sexual relation and
on respondents subsequent marriage, by his own admission, respondent is obviously guilty of immorality in violation of
Rule 1.01 of the Code which statesthat a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
The Court find credence in respondent's assertion that it was impossible for her not to have known of his subsisting
marriage, complainants allegations of deceit were not established by clear preponderant evidence required in disbarment
cases.
(2) NO.

It was not unlawful for respondent to assist his client in entering into a settlement with Aquino after explaining all
available options to her. The law encourages the amicable settlement not only of pending cases but also of disputes which
might otherwise be filed in court. Rule 1.04, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that: A lawyer shall
encourage his clients to avoid, end or settle a controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement. As complainant voluntarily
and intelligently agreed to a settlement with Aquino, she cannot later blame her counsel when she experiences a
change of heart. Suspicion, no matter how strong, is not enough in the absence of contrary evidence, what will prevail is
the presumption that the respondent has regularly performed his duty in accordance with his oath.

A.M. No. 3360 January 30, 1990

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, complainant


vs.
ATTY. FE T. TUANDA, respondent

FACTS:
In a Motion to Lift Order of Suspension dated 12 July 1989, respondent Fe T. Tuanda, a
member of the Philippine Bar, asks this Court to lift the suspension from the practice of law
imposed upon her by a decision of the Court of Appeals dated 17 October 1988 in C.A.-G.R. CR
No. 05093.

Consequently, four (4) informations were filed against respondent with the Regional Trial
Court of Manila: (a) one for estafa, docketed as Criminal Case No. 85-38358; and (b) three (3) for
violation of B.P. Blg. 22, docketed respectively as Criminal Cases Nos. 85-38359, 85-38360 and
85-38361.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CR No. 05093 affirmed in toto the decision of
the trial court but, in addition, suspended respondent Tuanda from the practice of law.

On 16 December 1988, respondent filed a Notice of Appeal with the Court of Appeals. The
Court of Appeals, in a Resolution dated 9 January 1989, noted respondent's Notice of Appeal and
advised her "to address her Notice of Appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court, the proper forum."
On 1 February 1989, respondent filed with this Court a Notice of Appeal.

Revised Rules of Court:

Sec. 27. Attorneys renewed or suspended by Supreme Court on what grounds. A


member of the bar may be removed or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme
Court of any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral
conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation
of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a wilful disobedience
of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or wilfully appearing as an attorney for a
party to a case without authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose
of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice. (Italics
supplied)

Sec. 28. Suspension of attorney by the Court of Appeals or a Court of First Instance.
The Court of Appeals or a Court of First Instance may suspend an attorney from practice for any
of the causes named in the last preceding section, and after such suspension such attorney shall
not practice his profession until further action of the Supreme Court in the premises. (Italics
supplied)

Issue:

Whether or not the suspension of Atty. Fe Tuanda be lifted.

NECESSITY OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER IN THE LIFE OF A LAWYER

A. Requisite for admission to the Bar 1. Every applicant for admission as a member of the bar
must be a citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty one years of age, of good moral character,
and a resident of the Philippines, 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 pending in any court in the Philippines (Sec. 2, Rule 138, Rules of Court)

2. A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly making false statement or suppressing a material
fact in connection with his application for admission to the bar. (Rule 701, CPR)

3. A lawyer shall not support the application for admission to the bar of any person known by him
to be unqualified in respect to character, education or other, or other relevant attribute. (Rule
7.02, CPR) B. Condition for maintenance of membership in the Bar

4. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. (Rule 1.01,
Rule of Professional Responsibility [CPR])
5. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, now
should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the
legal profession. (Rule 7.03, CPR)
6. A member of the bar may be removed or suspended from his office as attorney-at-law by the
Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or for gross misconduct in such office, gross immoral
conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation
of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for willful disobedience
or any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a
party to a case without authority to do so. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose
of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers constitutes malpractice. (Sec. 27,
Rule 138, Rules of Court) C. Definitions of good moral character.

7. Good moral character includes at least common honesty (In E Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399,
Royong vs. Oblena, 7 SCRA 859)

8. From a lawyer, to paraphrase Justice Felix Frankfurter, are expected those qualities of
truthspeaking, a high sense of honor, full candor, intellectual honesty, and the strictest
observance of fiduciary responsibility all of which, throughout the centuries, have been
compendiously described as moral character. (Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, Apostacy in the Legal
Profession, 64 SCRA 784.

9. Good moral character is more than just the absence of bad moral character. Such character
expresses itself 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. (Cordon vs. Balicanta, 490 SCRA 299) B. Good moral character and
the duties of a lawyer

CANON 1 - A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and
promote respect for law and the legal processes.

A.C. 6057, June 27, 2006 PETER DONTON vs. ATTY. E. TANSINGCO

By his own admission, respondent admitted that Stier, a U.S. citizen, was disqualified from
owning real property. Yet, in his motion for reconsideration, [12] respondent admitted that he
caused the transfer of ownership to the parcel of land to Stier. Respondent, however, aware of
the prohibition, quickly rectified his act and transferred the title in complainants name. But
respondent provided some safeguards by preparing several documents, including the
Occupancy Agreement, that would guarantee Stiers recognition as the actual owner of the
property despite its transfer in complainants name.In effect, respondent advised and aided Stier
in circumventing the constitutional prohibition against foreign ownership of lands by preparing
said documents. Respondent had sworn to uphold the Constitution. Thus, he violated his oath
and the Code when he prepared and notarized the Occupancy Agreement to evade the law
against foreign ownership of lands. Respondent used his knowledge of the law to achieve an
unlawful end. Such an act amounts to malpractice in his office, for which he may be suspended.

Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.

A.C. No. 5542, July 20, 2006 DAYAN STA. ANA CHRISTIAN NEIGHBORHOOD
ASSOCIATION, INC. vs. ATTY.NAPOLEON ESPIRITU

The fiduciary duty of a lawyer and advocate is what places the law profession in a unique
position of trust and confidence, and distinguishes it from any other calling. Once this trust and
confidence is betrayed, the faith of the people not only in the individual lawyer but also in the
legal profession as a whole is eroded. To this end, all members of the bar are strictly required to
at all times maintain the highest degree of public confidence in the fidelity, honesty and integrity
of their profession. The nature of the office of a lawyer requires that he shall be of good moral
character. This qualification is not only a condition precedent to admission to the legal
profession, but its continued possession is essential to maintain ones good standing in the
profession. Law is a noble profession, and the privilege to practice it is bestowed only upon
individuals who are competent intellectually, academically, and, equally important, morally.
Because they are vanguards of the law and the legal system, lawyers must at all times conduct
themselves, especially in their dealings with their clients and the public at large, with honesty
and integrity in a manner beyond reproach.

A.C. No. 6792, January 25, 2006 ROBERTO SORIANO vs. ATTY. MANUEL DIZON

The totality of the facts unmistakably bears the earmarks of moral turpitude. By his
conduct, respondent revealed his extreme arrogance and feeling of self-importance. As it were,
he acted like a god on the road, who deserved to be venerated and never to be slighted. Clearly,
his inordinate reaction to a simple traffic incident reflected poorly on his fitness to be a member
of the legal profession. His overreaction also evinced vindictiveness, which was definitely an
undesirable trait in any individual, more so in a lawyer. In the tenacity with which he pursued
complainant, we see not the persistence of a person who has been grievously wronged, but the
obstinacy of one trying to assert a false sense of superiority and to exact revenge

A.C. No. 5700, January 30, 2006. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION
vs. ATTY. DANTE A. CARANDANG

Clearly, even if the check was drawn by Bingo Royale, still respondent is liable. In People v.
Tuanda, we explained the nature of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 as follows: The gravamen of the
offense punished by B.P. Blg. 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check or a check
that is dishonored upon its presentation for payment . . . . The thrust of the law is to prohibit
under pain of penal sanctions, the making of worthless checks and putting them in circulation.
Because of its deleterious effects on the public interest, the practice is proscribed by the law. The
law punishes the act not as an offense against property but an offense against public order. The
effects of the issuance of a worthless check transcends the private interests of the parties
directly involved in the transaction and touches the interests of the community at large. The
mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or holder, but also an injury to the public. The
harmful practice of putting valueless commercial papers in circulation, multiplied a thousand
fold, can very well pollute the channels of trade and commerce, injure the banking system and
eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public interest.

A.C. No. 6963. February 9, 2006.] VICTORINA BAUTISTA vs. ATTY. SERGIO E. BERNABE

Respondent's act of notarizing the Magkasanib na Salaysay in the absence of one the
affiants is in violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the
Notarial Law. By affixing his signature and notarial seal on the instrument, he led us to believe
that Basilia personally appeared before him and attested to the truth and veracity of the
contents of the affidavit when in fact it was a certain Pronebo who signed the document.
Respondent's conduct is fraught with dangerous possibilities considering the conclusiveness on
the due execution of a document that our courts and the public accord on notarized documents.
Respondent has clearly failed to exercise utmost diligence in the performance of his function as a
notary public and to comply with the mandates of the law.

A.C. 5377, June 15, 2006 VICTOR LINGAN vs. ATTYS. CALUBAQUIB & BALIGA

Notarization by a notary public converts a private document into a public one and makes it
admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. Notaries public must therefore
observe utmost care with respect to the basic requirements of their duties. Being not only
lawyers but also public officers, respondents should have been acutely aware of their
responsibilities. Respondents acts did not amount to mere simple and excusable negligence.
Having failed to perform their sworn duty, respondents were squarely in violation of Rule 1.01 of
Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

A.C. MONDEJAR vs. ATTY. VIVIAN RUBIA 5907, July 21, 2006 ELSA

The document clearly appears to have been ante-dated in an attempt to exculpate Marilyn
from the AntiDummy charge against her in 2002. The document was allegedly notarized on
January 9, 2001 but a new revised/amended document was made in 2002 bearing the original
date of execution/acknowledgment. If that were so, how could an error have been committed
regarding the other year 2001 original entries in the notarial register, when the purported new
document was to retain the original January 9, 2001 date as it would merely input additional
conditions thereto? The above-quoted discussion by the Investigating IBP Commissioner of why
he discredited respondents explanation behind the conflicting dates appearing in the document
is thus well-taken.

A.C. No. 6010, August 28, 2006 ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL FACULTY & STAFF
vs. ATTY. ROLANDO DELA CRUZ

Undoubtedly, respondents act constitutes immoral conduct. But is it so gross as to


warrant his disbarment? Indeed, he exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality
required of him as a member of the Bar. In particular, he made a mockery of marriage which is a
sacred institution demanding respect and dignity. His act of contracting a second marriage while
the first marriage was still in place, is contrary to honesty, justice, decency and morality
However, measured against the definition, we are not prepared to consider respondents act as
grossly immoral. This finds support in the following recommendation and observation of the IBP
Investigator and IBP Board of Governors.

A.C. No. 6313, September 7, 2006 CATHERINE JOIE P. VITUG vs. ATTY. DIOSDADO
RONGCAL

While it is has been held in disbarment cases that the mere fact of sexual relations
between two unmarried adults is not sufficient to warrant administrative sanction for such illicit
behavior, it is not so with respect to betrayals of the marital vow of fidelity. Even if not all forms
of extra-marital relations are punishable under penal law, sexual relations outside marriage is
considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of the sanctity of
marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution and affirmed by our laws.

A.C. No. 54171 . March 31, 2006. AMADOR Z. MALHABOUR vs. ATTY. ALBERTI R.
SARMIENTO

Respondent failed to comply with the above provisions. Records show and as found by
Investigating Commissioner, respondent committed deceit by making it appear that complainant
executed a Special Power of Attorney authorizing him (respondent) to file with the NLRC a Motion
for Execution and to collect the money judgment awarded to the former. Worse, after receiving
from the NLRC cashier the check amounting to P99,490.00, he retained the amount. It was only
when complainant reported the matter to the NBI that respondent paid him P40,000.00 as partial
payment of the "award." In fact, there still remains an outstanding balance of P10,000.00.
Moreover, as correctly found by IBP Commissioner Maala, respondent has no right to retain or
appropriate unilaterally his lawyer's lien by dividing the money into 60-40 ratio. Obviously, such
conduct is indicative of lack of integrity and propriety. He was clinging to something not his and
to which he had no right.

A, C. No. 6707, March 24, 2006 GISELLA HUYSSEN vs. ATTY. FRED L. GUTIERREZ

Respondents act of asking money from complainant in consideration of the latters


pending application for visas is violative of Rule 1.01 [17] of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which prohibits members of the Bar from engaging or participating in any
unlawful, dishonest, or deceitful acts. Moreover, said acts constitute a breach of Rule 6.02 [18] of
the Code which bars lawyers in government service from promoting their private interest.
Promotion of private interest includes soliciting gifts or anything of monetary value in any
transaction requiring the approval of his office or which may be affected by the functions of his
office. Respondents conduct in office betrays the integrity and good moral character required
from all lawyers, especially from one occupying a high public office. A lawyer in public office is
expected not only to refrain from any act or omission which might tend to lessen the trust and
confidence of the citizenry in government; he must also uphold the dignity of the legal profession
at all times and observe a high standard of honesty and fair dealing. Otherwise said, a lawyer in
government service is a keeper of the public faith and is burdened with high degree of social
responsibility, perhaps higher than his brethren in private practice.

A.C. No. 6705. March 31, 2006. RUTHIE LIM-SANTIAGO vs. ATTY. CARLOS B. SAGUCIO .

Nonetheless, respondent admitted that he rendered his legal services to complainant


while working as a government prosecutor. Even the receipts he signed stated that the payments
by Taggat were for "Retainer's fee." Thus, as correctly pointed out by complainant, respondent
clearly violated the prohibition in RA 6713. However, violations of RA 6713 are not subject to
disciplinary action under the Code of Professional Responsibility unless the violations also
constitute infractions of specific provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Certainly,
the IBP has no jurisdiction to investigate violations of RA 6713 the Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and Employees unless the acts involved also transgress
provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Here, respondent's violation of RA 6713 also
constitutes a violation of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which mandates that "[a] lawyer shall not engage
in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." Respondent's admission that he received
from Taggat fees for legal services while serving as a government prosecutor is an unlawful
conduct, which constitutes a violation of Rule 1.01..

A.C. No. 4517, September 11, 2006 AQUILINO PIMENTEL, JR. vs. ATTY VITALIANO
FABROS, ET AL.

As public officers, respondents failed to live up to the high degree of excellence,


professionalism, intelligence and skill required of them. [16] As lawyers, they were found to have
engaged in unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct. They also violated their oath as
officers of the court to foist no falsehood on anyone. Furthermore, by express provision of Canon
6 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the avoidance of such conduct is demanded of them
as lawyers in the government service: As lawyers in the government service, respondents were
under an even greater obligation to observe the basic tenets of the legal profession because
public office is a public trust.

In re Atty. Marcial Edillon, 84 SCRA 554, August 03, 1978


Bar Integration; Attorneys; Disbarment; Payment of membership dues; Integration of the Bar, its concept and
purpose.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. Integration of the Bar is
essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the
objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to hear 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. 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.
Same; Same; Same; Practice of law and exercise of the legal profession clothed with public interest and lawyers must
be bound by such regulations as might be established by the proper authorities for the common good; Reasons. 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.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Membership dues; Effect of Bar integration upon a lawyers freedom of association;
Compelling a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar not violative of the constitutional freedom to associate
but the only compulsion a lawyer is subjected is the payment of annual dues which is not violation of the
Constitution; Compulsion upon a lawyer if any justified by exercise of police power of the State; Reasons. 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 no violative of his constitution 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 already 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 States legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional
legal services, may require that the cost of improving the professional in his fashion be shared by the subjects and
beneficiaries of the regulatory programthe lawyers. Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a
lawyer to be member of the Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the
State.

Same; Same; Same: Same; Same; Provisions of the Court Rule requiring payment of membership dues by lawyers not
violative of the Constitution; The 1973 Constitution does not prohibit the Supreme Court from requiring lawyers to
pay reasonable membership fees; Nature of membership fees.The second issue posed by the respondent is that the
provision of the Court Rule repairing 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 acknowledgesfrom 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.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Penalties; Enforcement of penalty provisions for non-payment of membership dues
not a deprivation of due process; Reasons; Practice of law in the courts subject to regulation and inquiry; Practice of
law is not property right but mere privilege.That 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 property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the
holder of a license to practise of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of a
license to practise 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 necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondents 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 imposed the fee as regulatory measure is recognized, 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.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Supreme Court; Jurisdiction; The Supreme Court has power and jurisdiction to strike
the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys; Courts jurisdiction provided for in the 1973 Constitution. 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 Courts jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our 1973
Constitution when it explicitly granted to the Court the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading,
practice . . . . . . . and the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar . . . . . (Article X, Sec.
5[5]) The power to pass upon the fitness of the respondent to remain a member of the legal profession is indeed
undoubtedly vested in the Court.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Rule of Court 139-A and ByLaws of the Integrated Bar providing for payment of
membership dues are neither unconstitutional nor illegal; Respondent lawyer disbarred and his name striken from the
Roll of Attorneys in the Supreme Court for repeated failure to pay membership dues; Case at bar.We thus reach the
conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court 139-A and of the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal. x x x It is the unanimous sense of the Court that the respondent
Marcial A. Edillon should be as he is hereby disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered stricken from the Roll of
Attorneys of the Court.

Dacanay vs. Baker & McKenzie, 136 SCRA 349 , May 10, 1985
Attorneys; Use by Philippine lawyers of the firm name of an American law firm is unethical. We hold that Baker &
McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Rules of Court). As
admitted by the respondents in their memorandum, Baker & McKenzie is a professional partner ship organized in 1949
in Chicago, Illinois with members and associates in 30 cities around the world. Respondents, aside from being members
of the Philippine bar, practising under the firm name of Guerrero & Torres, are members or associates of Baker &
McKenzie.

Same; Same.As pointed out by the Solicitor General, respondents use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie constitutes
a representation that being associated with the firm they could render legal services of the highest quality to
multinational business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and investment (p. 3, respondents memo).
This is unethical because Baker & McKenzie is not authorized to practise law here.

In the Matter of the Petition for Authority To Continue use of the Firm name Ozaeta, Romulo, etc., 92 SCRA 1 ,
July 30, 1979
Same; Same; Same; Practice of Law; Partnership for the practice of law, nature of.A partnership for the practice of
law cannot be likened to partnerships formed by other professionals or for business. For one thing, the law on
accountancy specifically allows the use of a trade name in connection with the practice of accountancy. A partnership
for the practice of law is not a legal entity. It is a mere relationship or association for a particular purpose. x x x It is
not a partnership formed for the purpose of carrying on a trade or business or of holding property. Thus, it has been
stated that the use of a nom de plume, assumed or trade name in law practice is improper.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Right to practice law, nature of.The right to practice law is not a natural or
constitutional right but is in the nature of a privilege or franchise. It is limited, to persons of good moral character with
special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The right does not only presuppose in its possessor integrity, legal
standing and attainment, but also the exercise of a special privilege, highly personal and partaking of the nature of a
public trust.

Same; Same; Same; Custom; Continued use of a deceased or former partners name in the firm names of law
partnerships not sanctioned by local custom; Reason; Possibility of deception upon the public where the name of a
deceased partner continues to be used.It is true that Canon 33 does not consider as unethical the continued use of
the name of a deceased or former partner in the firm name of a law partnership when such a practice is permissible by
local custom but the Canon warns that care should be taken that no imposition or deception is practiced through this
use. It must be conceded that in the Philippines, no local custom permits or allows the continued use of a deceased or
former partners name in the firm names of law partnerships. Firm names, under our custom, identify the more active
and/or more senior members or partners of the law firm. A glimpse at the history of the firms of petitioners and of
other law firms in this country would show how their firm names have evolved and changed from time to time as the
composition of the partnership changed. The possibility of deception upon the public, real or consequential, where the
name of a deceased partner continues to be used cannot be ruled out. A person in search of legal counsel might be
guided by the familiar ring of a distinguished name appearing in a firm title.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Evidence; Concept of Customs; To be admissible custom must be proved as a fact;
Distinctions between juridical custom and social custom.Not so in this jurisdiction where there is no local custom
that sanctions the practice. Custom has been defined as a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly
observed (practiced) as a social rule, legally binding and obligatory. Courts take no judicial notice of custom. A custom
must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence. A local custom as a source of right cannot be considered
by a court of justice unless such custom is properly established by competent evidence like any other fact. We find
such proof of the existence of a local custom, and of the elements requisite to constitute the same, wanting herein.
Merely because something is done as a matter of practice does not mean that Courts can rely on the same for purposes
of adjudication as a juridical custom. Juridical custom must be differentiated from social custom. The former can
supplement statutory law or be applied in the absence of such statute. Not so with the latter.

Same; Same; Same; Practice of Law; Practice of law not considered money-making trade but peculiarly related to the
administration of justice.The practice of law is intimately and peculiarly related to the administration of justice and
should not be considered like an ordinary "money-making trade."
Dacanay vs. Baker & McKenzie, 136 SCRA 349 , May 10, 1985
Attorneys; Use by Philippine lawyers of the firm name of an American law firm is unethical. We hold that Baker &
McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Rules of Court). As
admitted by the respondents in their memorandum, Baker & McKenzie is a professional partner ship organized in 1949
in Chicago, Illinois with members and associates in 30 cities around the world. Respondents, aside from being members
of the Philippine bar, practising under the firm name of Guerrero & Torres, are members or associates of Baker &
McKenzie.

Same; Same.As pointed out by the Solicitor General, respondents use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie constitutes
a representation that being associated with the firm they could render legal services of the highest quality to
multinational business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and investment (p. 3, respondents memo).
This is unethical because Baker & McKenzie is not authorized to practise law here.

In the Matter of the Petition for Authority To Continue use of the Firm name Ozaeta, Romulo, etc., 92 SCRA 1 ,
July 30, 1979
Same; Same; Same; Practice of Law; Partnership for the practice of law, nature of.A partnership for the practice of
law cannot be likened to partnerships formed by other professionals or for business. For one thing, the law on
accountancy specifically allows the use of a trade name in connection with the practice of accountancy. A partnership
for the practice of law is not a legal entity. It is a mere relationship or association for a particular purpose. x x x It is
not a partnership formed for the purpose of carrying on a trade or business or of holding property. Thus, it has been
stated that the use of a nom de plume, assumed or trade name in law practice is improper.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Right to practice law, nature of.The right to practice law is not a natural or
constitutional right but is in the nature of a privilege or franchise. It is limited, to persons of good moral character with
special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The right does not only presuppose in its possessor integrity, legal
standing and attainment, but also the exercise of a special privilege, highly personal and partaking of the nature of a
public trust.
Same; Same; Same; Custom; Continued use of a deceased or former partners name in the firm names of law
partnerships not sanctioned by local custom; Reason; Possibility of deception upon the public where the name of a
deceased partner continues to be used.It is true that Canon 33 does not consider as unethical the continued use of
the name of a deceased or former partner in the firm name of a law partnership when such a practice is permissible by
local custom but the Canon warns that care should be taken that no imposition or deception is practiced through this
use. It must be conceded that in the Philippines, no local custom permits or allows the continued use of a deceased or
former partners name in the firm names of law partnerships. Firm names, under our custom, identify the more active
and/or more senior members or partners of the law firm. A glimpse at the history of the firms of petitioners and of
other law firms in this country would show how their firm names have evolved and changed from time to time as the
composition of the partnership changed. The possibility of deception upon the public, real or consequential, where the
name of a deceased partner continues to be used cannot be ruled out. A person in search of legal counsel might be
guided by the familiar ring of a distinguished name appearing in a firm title.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Evidence; Concept of Customs; To be admissible custom must be proved as a fact;
Distinctions between juridical custom and social custom.Not so in this jurisdiction where there is no local custom
that sanctions the practice. Custom has been defined as a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly
observed (practiced) as a social rule, legally binding and obligatory. Courts take no judicial notice of custom. A custom
must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence. A local custom as a source of right cannot be considered
by a court of justice unless such custom is properly established by competent evidence like any other fact. We find
such proof of the existence of a local custom, and of the elements requisite to constitute the same, wanting herein.
Merely because something is done as a matter of practice does not mean that Courts can rely on the same for purposes
of adjudication as a juridical custom. Juridical custom must be differentiated from social custom. The former can
supplement statutory law or be applied in the absence of such statute. Not so with the latter.

Same; Same; Same; Practice of Law; Practice of law not considered money-making trade but peculiarly related to the
administration of justice.The practice of law is intimately and peculiarly related to the administration of justice and
should not be considered like an ordinary "money-making trade."