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MAGIC AREAS IN LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

By: DEAN ED VINCENT S. ALBANO


Bar Review Director
PRACTICE OF LAW

Lawyers Oath
I_______, do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; I
will support its Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted
authorities therein; I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; I will not wittingly or
willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit, nor give aid nor consent to the same; I
will delay no man for money or malice and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my
knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients; and I impose upon
myself this voluntary obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God.

Meaning of practice of law.


Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court which requires the application of law, legal
procedure, knowledge, training and experience. Generally, to practice law is torender any kind of
service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge (Cayetano v.
Monsod, 201 SCRA 210, Sept. 3, 1991).
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. It includes legal advice and
counsel, and the preparation of legal instruments and contracts by which legal rights are secured,
although such matter may or may not be pending in a court (Ulep v. The Legal Clinic, Inc., 223 SCRA
378, June 17, 1993).

BAR MATTER 1153

Filipino citizen who graduated from a foreign law school may be admitted to the Philippine
Bar Examination.
Section 5 of B.M. 1153 provides that a Filipino citizen who graduated from a foreign law school
shall be admitted to the bar examination only upon submission to the Supreme Court of certifications
showing: (a) completion of all courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Laws or its equivalent
degree; (b) recognition or accreditation of the law school by the proper authority; and (c) completion of
all fourth year subjects in the Bachelor of Laws academic program in a law school duly recognized by
the Philippine Government (Bar Matter No. 1153, Re: Letter of Atty. Estelito P. Mendoza Proposing
Reforms in the Bar Examinations through Amendments to Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, March 9,
2010).
A Filipino citizen who completed and obtained his or her degree in Bachelor of Laws or its
equivalent in a foreign law school must also present proof of completion of a separate bachelors
degree.

Can Filipino lawyers practice law under the name of a foreign law firm?
No, the latter not being authorized to practice law in the Philippines. The use of the foreign law
firms name is unethical (Dacanay v. Baker & McKenzie, A.M. No. 2131, May 10, 1985).

Primary characteristics which distinguish the legal profession from a business.


a. Duty of Service of which the emolument is a by-product and in which one may attain the
highest eminence without making such money;
b. A relation as an officer of the court to the administration of justice;
c. A relation to the clients in the highest degree of fiduciary; and
d. A relation to the colleagues at the bar characterized by candor, fairness, and unwillingness to
resort to current business methods of advertising and encroachment on their practice or dealing
with their clients.

2. What are the prohibitions and restrictions in the practice of law?


Practice of Law by Public Officials

General Rule: The appointment or election of an attorney to a government office DISQUALIFIES


him from engaging in the private practice of law.
Public Officials Prohibited to Practice Law Public Officials with Restrictions to
in the Philippines (JOP-GOCC-PS) Practice Law in the Philippines (SSRCF)
1.Judges and other officials or employees of the 1.Senators and Members of the House of
superior court (RRC, Rule 138, Sec. 35); Representatives (CONSTI, Art. VI, Sec. 14);
2.Officials and employees of the Office of the 2.Members of the Sanggunian;
Solicitor General (RRC, Rule 138, Sec. 35); 3.Retired Justice or Judge receiving pension from
3.Government Prosecutors; the government (R.A. 910, Sec. 1); and
4.Governors, city and municipal mayors; 4.Civil Service officers or employees (whose duty
5.Ombudsman and his deputies; does not require his entire time to be at the
6.Chairmen and members of the Constitutional disposal of the government), provided he can
Commissions (CONSTI, Art. IX, Sec. 2); secure a written permit from the head of the
7.Civil service officers or employees whose duties department concerned (Revised Civil Service
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require them to devote their entire time at the Rules, Rule XVIII, Sec. 12); and
disposal of the government; 5.Former government attorney cannot, after
8.President, Vice-President, members of the leaving government service, accept
Cabinet, their deputies and assistants engagement or employment in connection
(CONSTI, Art. VII, Sec. 13); with any matter in which he had intervened
9.Those who, by Special law, are prohibited from while in the said service (CPR, Rule 6.03).
engaging in the practice of their legal
profession, but if so authorized by the
department head, he may, in an isolated case,
act as counsel for a relative or close family
friend (AGPALO, Legal and Judicial Ethics (2009),
pp. 47-54).

Comparison of Prohibitions and Restrictions

Prohibition against Prohibition against Restrictions in the Practice


Members of Legislature Members of the of Law of Retired Judges
Sanggunian
a. Appearing as counsel a. Appear as counsel before a. Any civil case wherein the
before any court of any court in any civil case government or any
justice, electoral tribunals wherein a local government subdivision or
or quasi-judicial and unit or any office, agency or instrumentality thereof is
administrative bodies. The instrumentality of the the adverse party
word appearance government is the adverse b. Any criminal case
includes not only arguing party; wherein an officer or an
a case before any such b. Appear as counsel in any employee of the
body but also filing a criminal case wherein an government is accused of
pleading on behalf of a officer or employee of the an offense committed in
client as by simply filing national or local government relation to his office
a formal motion, plea or is accused of an offense c. Collect any fees for his
answer (Ramos vs. committed in relation to his appearance in any
Manalac, 89 Phil 27). office; administrative
b. Allowing his name to c. Collect any fee for their proceedings to maintain
appear in such pleading appearance in an interest adverse to the
by itself or as part of a administrative proceedings government, provincial or
firm name under the involving the local municipal, or to any of its
signature of another government unit of which he legally constituted officers
qualified lawyer. He is an official;
cannot do indirectly what d. Use property and
the Constitution prohibits personnel of the
directly (In re: David 93 government except when
Phil 46, 1954). the Sanggunian member
concerned is defending the
interest of the government.

Officials who, by express mandate of the law, are prohibited from practicing law, may not, even
with the consent of the department head, engage in the practice of law (Zeta v. Malinao, A.M. No. P-
220, December 20, 1978).
BUT if such official is authorized by the department head, he may, in an isolated case, represent
a relative or a close family friend (Noriega v. Sison, A.M. No. 2266, October 27, 1983).

Appearance of the Solicitor General for one government agency if in so doing his
representation run against the interest of another government agency.
The Solicitor General is the lawyer of the government, its agencies and instrumentalities, and its
officials or agents. When confronted with a situation where one government office takes an adverse
position against another government agency, the Solicitor General should not refrain from performing
his duty as the lawyer of the government. It is incumbent upon him to present to the court what he
considers would legally uphold the best interest of the government although it may run counter to a
clients position. In such instance, the government office adversely affected by the position taken by
the Solicitor General, if it still believes in the merit of its case, may appear in its own behalf through its
legal personnel or representative (Orbos v. CSC, 189 SCRA 458, September 12, 1990).

When Lawyer in government may disciplined as member of the Bar.


As a rule, a lawyer who holds government office may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar
for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a government official. However, if the misconduct also
constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer, he may be disciplined by the Supreme Court as a
member of the Bar. In the case at bar, the acts of Atty. Pedro were not abusive and not arbitrary,
befitting the moral character required of members of the bar. A Local Government Unit (LGU) is
endowed with governmental functions which concern the health, safety and the advancement of the
public good or welfare as affecting the public generally. As Vice-Mayor, his actions were pursuant to the
diligent performance of his sworn duties and responsibilities as duly elected official. As such, Atty. Pedro
may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for acts done in his capacity as Vice-Mayor (Pheschem

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Industrial Corporation v. Atty. Lloyd P. Surigao and Atty. Jesus A. Villardo III,A.C. No. 8269, December
11, 2013).

What are the proceedings in which lawyers are prohibited from appearing?
Practice of Law by Public Officials
General Rule: Only those who are licensed to practice law can appear and handle cases in court
Exceptions:
A party may conduct his case or litigation in
Before the MTC person with the aid of an agent or friend
appointed by him (Rule 138, Sec. 34).
A party may conduct his litigation personally.
But if he gets someone to aid him, that
Before any other court
someone must be an authorized member of the
Bar(Rule 138, Sec. 34).
In a locality where a duly licensed member of
the Bar is NOT available, the judge may
appoint a non-lawyer who is:
In a criminal case before the MTC
a. A resident of that province;
b. Of good repute for probity and ability to
defend the accused (Rule 116, Sec. 7).
A law student who has successfully completed
his 3rd year of the regular four-year prescribed
law curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized
law schools clinical legal education program
approved by the SC may appear, without
compensation, in any civil, criminal or
administrative case before any trial court,
Student Practice Rule tribunal, board or officer, to represent indigent
clients accepted by the Legal Clinic of the law
school (Rule 138-A, Sec. 1). The student shall
be under the direct supervision and control of
a member of the IBP duly accredited by the
law school if he appears in the RTC and
without such supervision if he appears in an
inferior court (Rule 138-A, Sec. 2)
Non-lawyers may appear before the NLRC or
any
Labor Arbiter if they:
Before the NLRC
a. Represent themselves;
b. Represent their organization or members thereof
(LABOR CODE, Art. 222).
A non-lawyer may represent a claimant before
Before a Cadastral Court
the Cadastral Court (ACT No. 2259, Sec. 9).
No attorney shall appear in behalf of or
represent a party at the hearing, unless the
Proceedings before the Small Claims Court
attorney is the plaintiff or defendant (Rule of
Procedure for Small Claims Cases, Sec. 17)

Law student appearing in court.


Section 34, Rule 138 provides that in the court of a justice of the peace, a party may conduct
his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the
aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an
attorney, and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the bar. Thus,
a law student may appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a party without the
supervision of a member of the bar (Cruz v. Hon. Mina, G.R. No. 154207, April 27, 2007).

Nature of the Revolving Door Doctrine.


It is an area of concern in the United States involving ethical considerations applicable to former
government lawyers. It is the process by which lawyers temporarily enter government service from
private life then leave it for large fees in private practice, where they can exploit information, contacts,
and influence garnered in government service. To address this, the disqualification of a former
government lawyer who has entered private practice may be sought based either on "adverse-interest
conflict" or "congruent-interest representation conflict" (PCGG v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 15180912,
April 12, 2005).

How disqualification sought by adverse-interest conflict.


In the "adverse-interest conflict," a former government lawyer is enjoined from representing a
client in private practice if the matter is substantially related to a matter that the lawyer dealt with
while employed by the government and if the interests of the current and former clients are adverse. It
must be observed that the "adverse-interest conflict" applies to all lawyers in that they are generally
disqualified from accepting employment in a subsequent representation if the interests of the former
client and the present client are adverse and the matters involved are the same or substantially related
(PCGG v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 151809-12, April 12, 2005).
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How disqualification sought by congruent-interest representation conflict.
In "congruent-interest representation conflict," the disqualification does not really involve a
conflict at all, because it prohibits the lawyer from representing a private practice client even if the
interests of the former government client and the new client are entirely parallel. The "congruent-
interest representation conflict," unlike the "adverse-interest conflict," is unique to former government
lawyers (PCGG v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 151809-12, April 12, 2005).

LEGAL ETHICS

Duties of an attorney. (CC-AA-RREED)


a. To Counsel and maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear to him to be just, and such
defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable under the law;
b. To maintain inviolate the Confidence, and at every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets in
connection with his client, and to accept no compensation in connection with his clients
business except from him or with his knowledge and approval;
c. To maintain Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to support the Constitution and
obey the laws of the Philippines;
d. To Abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor and
reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which he is
charged;
e. To observe and maintain the Respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers;
f. Never to Reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause of the defenseless or
oppressed;
g. To Employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him, such means only as are
consistent with truth and honor, and never seek to mislead the judge or any judicial officer by
an artifice or false statement of fact or law;
h. Not to Encourage either the commencement or the continuance of an action or proceeding, or
delay any mans cause, from any corrupt motive or interest;
i. In the Defense of a person accused of crime, by all fair and honorable means, regardless of his
personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to present every defense that the law permits,
tothe end that no person may be deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of law (RULES
OF COURT, Rule 138, Sec. 20).

Lawyer-client relationship.

Q The lawyer and client signed a retainership agreement and he received an acceptance
fee. He was the one who prepared the complaint which was filed and he was the one who
prepared the motion to serve summons through publication. Is there a lawyer-client
relationship? Explain.
Answer: Yes, because such acts or circumstances clearly establish lawyer-client relationship. It is
sufficient that the advice and assistance of an attorney is sought and received in any matter pertinent
to his profession. (Toledo v. Kallos, A.M. No. RTJ-05-1900, January 28, 2005, 449 SCRA 446, 457).
Further, acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client relationship. (Amaya v. Atty.
Tecson, 491 Phil. 111, 117 [2005]; Michael Ruby v. Atty. Espejo, et al., A.C. No. 10558, February 23,
2015, Reyes, J, citing Canons 16 & 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility).

Q State the duties of lawyer the moment there is a lawyer-client relationship. Explain.
Answer: The lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of the complainant and is obliged to keep the latter
informed of the status of his case. He is likewise bound to account for all money or property collected or
received from the complainant. He may be held administratively liable for any inaptitude or negligence
he may have had committed in his dealing with the complainant.
In Del Mundo v. Capistrano, A.C. No. 6903, 669 SCRA 462, it was emphasized that indeed, when
a lawyer takes a clients cause, he covenants that he will exercise due diligence in protecting the
latters rights. Failure to exercise that degree of vigilance and attention expected of a good father of a
family makes the lawyer unworthy of the trust reposed on him by his client and makes him answerable
not just to his client but also to the legal profession, the courts and society. His workload does not
justify neglect in handling ones case because it is settled that a lawyer must only accept cases as
much as he can efficiently handle.
Moreover, a lawyer is obliged to hold in trust money of his client that may come to his
possession. As trustee of such funds, he is bound to keep them separate and apart from his own.
Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such as for the filing and processing of a case if not
utilized, must be returned immediately upon demand. Failure to return gives rise to a presumption that
he has misappropriated it in violation of the trust reposed on him. And the conversion of funds
entrusted to him constitutes gross violation of professional ethics and betrayal of public confidence in
the legal profession. (Michael Ruby v. Atty. Espejo, et al., A.C. No. 10558, February 23, 2015, Reyes, J).

Lawyers are officers of the court; expected to act with honesty.

Q Respondent claimed or made to appear that STEELCORP was the licensee of the
technical information and the patent on Hot Dip Coating of Ferrous Strands or Philippine
Patent No. 16269. However, an extensive investigation made by the IBPs Commission on

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Bar Discipline showed that STEELCORP only has rights as a licensee of the technical
information and not the right as a licensee of the patent. Can he be suspended? Explain.
Answer: Yes. Lawyers are officers of the court, called upon to assist in the administration of justice.
They act as vanguards of our legal system, protecting and upholding truth and the rule of law. They are
expected to act with honesty in all their dealings, especially with the court. Verily, the Code of
Professional Responsibility enjoins lawyers from committing or consenting to any falsehood in court or
from allowing the courts to be misled by any artifice. Moreover, they are obliged to observe the rules of
procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. (Plus Builders, Inc. v. Revilla, Jr., 533
Phil. 250 (2006)).
Indeed, the practice of law is not a right but merely a privilege bestowed upon by the State
upon those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for
the conferment of such privilege. One of those requirements is the observance of honesty and candor.
Candor in all their dealings is the very essence of a practitioners honorable membership in the legal
profession. Lawyers are required to act with the highest standard of truthfulness, fair play and nobility
in the conduct of litigation and in their relations with their clients, the opposing parties, the other
counsels and the courts. They are bound by their oath to speak the truth and to conduct themselves
according to the best of their knowledge and discretion, and with fidelity to the courts and their clients.
From the foregoing, it is clear that he violated his duties as a lawyer to avoid dishonest and
deceitful conduct, (Rule 1.01, Canon 1) and to act with candor, fairness and good faith (Rule 10.01,
Canon 10). Also, he desecrated the solemn oath he took before this Court when he sought admission to
the bar, i.e., not to do any falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in Court. Thus, even at the risk of
jeopardizing the probability of prevailing on STEELCORPs application for a search warrant, respondent
should have informed the court of the patents expiration so as to allow the latter to make an informed
decision given all available and pertinent facts. (Sonic Steel Industries, Inc. v. Atty. Chua, A.C. No. 6942,
July 17, 2013).

Neglect of clients cause.


The practice of law is considered a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they
possess and continue to possess the legal qualifications for the profession. As such, lawyers are
expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, morality, honesty, integrity and
fair dealing, and must perform their four-fold duty to society, the legal profession, the courts and their
clients, in accordance with the values and norms embodied in the Code.Lawyers may, thus, be
disciplined for any conduct that is wanting of the above standards whether in their professional or in
their private capacity.
Undeniably, when a lawyer takes a clients cause, he covenants that he will exercise due
diligence in protecting the latters rights. Failure to exercise that degree of vigilance and attention
expected of a good father of a family makes the lawyer unworthy of the trust reposed on him by his
client and makes him answerable not just to client but also to the legal profession, the court and
society.
Moreover, money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose, such as for the processing of
transfer of land title, but not used for the purpose, should be immediately returned. A lawyers failure
to return upon demand the funds held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that
he has appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed to him by his client. Such
act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics. It impairs public confidence
in the legal profession and deserves punishment. (Jinon v. Atty. Jiz, A.C. No. 9615, March 5, 2013).

Lawyer is duty-bound to prevent unauthorized practice of law.


Pursuant to Canon 9 of the Code of Professional responsibility, a lawyer shall not, directly or
indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law.
Rule 9.01 A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task
which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing.
This rule was clearly explained in the case of Cambaliza v. Cristal-Tenorio, 178 Phil. 378 (2004)
where it was held:
The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, the
unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and policy. Public policy
requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in
education and character. The permissive right conferred on the lawyer is an individual
and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards of
moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the
client, and the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice
law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves upon a lawyer to
see that this purpose is attained. Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin
him not to permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to make
possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency, personal or corporate. And,
the law makes it a misbehavior on his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a
layman in the unauthorized practice of law.

In Republic v. Kenrick Development Corporation, 529 Phil. 876 (2006), it was held that the
preparation and signing of a pleading constitute legal work involving the practice of law which is
reserved exclusively for members of the legal profession. Atty. Bancolos authority and duty to sign a
pleading are personal to him. Although he may delegate the signing of a pleading to another lawyer, he
may not delegate it to a non-lawyer. Further, under the Rules of Court, counsels signature serves as a
certification that (1) he has read the pleading; (2) to the best of his knowledge, information and belief

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there is good ground to support it; and (3) it is not interposed for delay. Thus, by affixing ones
signature to a pleading, it is counsel alone who has the responsibility to certify to these matters and
give legal effect to the document. (Tapay, et al. v. Atty. Bancolo, et al., A.C. No. 9604, March 20, 2013).

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Ambulance Chasing
A solicitation of almost any kind of legal business by laymen employed by an attorney for the
purpose or by an attorney himself.

Barratry
A lawyers act of fomenting suits among individuals and offering his legal services to one of
them for monetary motives or purposes.

Distinguish a contingent contract from a champertous contract.


A contingent contract is an agreement whereby the fee, usually a fixed percentage of what may
be recovered, is made to depend on the success of the action. Such contract is valid in this jurisdiction.
On the other hand, a champertous contract is one where the lawyer agrees to conduct the litigation on
his own account and to pay the expenses thereof, and to receive as his fee a portion of the proceeds of
the judgment. It is contrary to public policy and invalid because it violates the fiduciary relationship
between the lawyer and his client (Bautista v. Gonzales, 182 SCRA 15, [1990]).

Doctrine of imputed knowledge.


The knowledge acquired by an attorney during the time that he is acting within the scope of his
authority is imputed to the client. An attorney, who has notice of matter affecting his client, has
communicated the same to his principal in the course of professional dealings. The doctrine applies
whether or not the lawyer actually communicated to the client whatever he learned in his professional
capacity since the attorney and his client, being in legal contemplation, one juridical person.
.
Concept of gross misconduct.
Gross misconduct is any inexcusable, shameful or flagrant unlawful conduct on the part of a
person concerned with the administration of justice; i.e., conduct prejudicial to the rights of the parties
or to the right determination of the cause. The motive behind this conduct is generally a premeditated,
obstinate or intentional purpose (OCA v. Atty. Liangco, A.C. No. 5355, December 13, 2011).

Nature of an attorney-client relationship.


a. Strictly Personal;
b. Highly Confidential; and
c. Fiduciary.

PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATION

21. What are the limitations of Privileged Communication?


a. The communication or the physical object must have been transmitted to the counsel by the
client for the purpose of seeking legal advice; and
b. The privilege is limited or has reference only to communications which are within the ambit of
lawful employment and does not extend to those transmitted in contemplation of future crimes
or frauds.
The rule on privileged communication is applicable to students under the Law Student Practice
Rule or Rule 138-A.

22. Who are covered by the privilege?


a. Client;
b. Lawyer; and
c. Lawyers secretary, stenographer, or clerk who acquired confidential information in such
capacity, save only when the client and the attorney jointly consent thereto (RULES OF COURT,
Rule 130, Sec. 21(b)).

23. What are the exceptions to the attorney-client confidentiality privilege?


a. When there is consent or waiver of client;
i. Waiver cannot be made partially. A waiver in part is a waiver in whole for a client may not
remove the seal of confidentiality for his advantage and insist that it be privileged as to so
much as makes to the disadvantage of his adversary (Orient Ins. Co. vs Revilla, 54 Phil. 919,
1930).
b. When the law requires disclosure;
c. When disclosure is made to protect the lawyers rights (i.e., to collect his fees or defend himself,
his employees or associates or by judicial action); and
d. When such communications are made in contemplation of a crime or the perpetuation of a
fraudbuta communication relating to a fraud already committed is privileged.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Tests to determine conflict of interest.

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a. When a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the
same time, to oppose that claim for the other client;
b. When the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyers duty of
undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing
in the performance of that duty; and
c. When the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a former client any
confidential information acquired through their connection or previous employment (PINEDA,
Legal Ethics [2009], p. 247).

Test in conflict of interest.


Dr. Lee may sue Atty. Simando on the ground of violating Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the Code of
Professional. One test in determining whether a lawyer is guilty of representing conflicting interest is
whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same
time, to oppose that claim for the client. Atty. Simando was the one who introduced Dr. Lee and
Mejorado to each other for the purpose of entering into a financial transaction while having knowledge
that Dr. Lees interests could possibly run in conflict with Mejorados interests which ironically such
clients interests, he is duty-bound to protect. Thus, Atty. Simando is guilty of representing conflicting
interests for which he may be sued (Dr. Teresita Lee v. Atty. Amador L. Simando, A.C. No. 9537, June
10, 2013).

Conflict of interest.

Q In a complaint against a lawyer for violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility


Bernardino alleged that the death certificate of his aunt, Rufina de Castro Turla, was
falsified by Atty. Santos. Atty. Santos used the falsified death certificate to support the
Affidavit of Self-Adjudication prepared by Atty. Santos states that he was the sole heir of
the wife.
Years later, Atty. Santos on behalf of Marilu Turla, daughter of Rufina and Mariano
Tulra, filed a Complaint for sum of money with prayer for Writ of Preliminary Injunction and
temporary restraining order against Bernardino. The Complaint alleged that Marilu Turla is
an heir of Mariano Turla, which allegedly contradicted the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication that
Atty. Santos drafted. Hence, Atty. Santos represented client with conflicting interests thus,
the complaint.
As regards the issue on conflict of interest, Atty. Santos argued that he did not
represent and was not representing conflicting interests since Mariano Turla was already
dead. Further, he was representing Marilu Turla against those who has an interest in her
fathers estate. Mariano Turlas Affidavit of Self-Adjudication never stated that there was
no other legal heirs but only that Mariano Turla was the sole heir of Rufino Turla. Is the
lawyer administratively liable? Explain.
Answer: Yes. Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that a lawyer shall
observed candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with his client. Furthermore, a
lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a
full disclosure of the facts.
The rule on conflict of interest is based on the fiduciary obligation in a lawyer-client relationship.
Lawyers must treat all information received from their clients with utmost confidentiality in order to
encourage client to fully inform their counsels of the facts of their case. (Samson v. Atty. Era, A.C. No.
6664, July 16, 2013, 701 SCRA 241, 252 [Per J. Bensamin, En Banc]). In Hornilla v. Atty. Salunat, 453
Phil. 108 [2003] [Per J. Ynares-Santiago, First Division], the court explained what conflict of interest
means:
There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of
two or more opposing parties. The test is whether or not in behalf of one client, it is
the lawyers duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to oppose it for the
other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument will be opposed by him
when he argues for the other client. This rule covers not only cases in which
confidential communications have been confided, but also those in which no
confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also, there is conflict of interests if the
acceptance of the new retainer will require the attorney to perform an act which will
injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which he represents him and also
whether he will be called upon in his new relation to use against his first client any
knowledge acquired through their connection. Another test of the inconsistency of
interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the
full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite
suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.

Applying the test to determine whether conflict of interest exists, respondent would necessarily
refute Mariano Turlas claim that he is Rufina Turlas sole heir when he agreed to represent Marilu Turla.
Worse, he knew that Mariano Turla was not the only heir. (Bernardino v. Atty. Victor Rey Santos, A.C. No.
10583; Atty. Jose Caringal v. Atty. Santos, A.C. No. 10583 & 10584, February 18, 2015).

Q is the rule against prohibition of representing conflicting interest absolute? Explain.


Answer: No. Rule 15.03 provides for an exception, specifically, by written consent of all concerned
given after a full disclosure of the facts. Respondent had the duty to inform Mariano Turla and Marilu
Turla that there is a conflict of interest and to obtain their written consent. (Bernardino v. Atty. Victor

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Rey Santos, A.C. No. 10583; Atty. Jose Caringal v. Atty. Santos, A.C. No. 10583 & 10584, February 18,
2015, Leonen, J).

ATTORNEYS FEES

Kinds of attorneys lien.


a. Charging Lien - is an equitable right to have the fees and lawful disbursements due a lawyer for
his services in a suit secured to him out of the judgment for the payment of money and
executions issued in pursuance thereof in the particular suit; and
b. Retaining Lien - a right merely to retain the funds, documents, and papers as against the client
until the attorney is fully paid his fees.

Concepts of Attorneys Fees.


a. Ordinary concept - the reasonable compensation paid to a lawyer by his client for the legal
services the former renders; compensation is paid for the cost and/or results of legal services
per agreement or as may be assessed.
b. Extraordinary concept - deemed indemnity for damages ordered by the court to be paid by the
losing party to the winning party. The instances when these may be awarded are enumerated in
Article 2208 of the Civil Code, specifically in its paragraph 7 on actions for recovery of wages,
and is payable not to the lawyer but to the client, unless the client and his lawyer have agreed
that the award shall accrue to the lawyer as additional or part of compensation(Kaisahan at
Kapatiran ng mga Manggagawa at Kawani sa MWC-East Zone Union v. Manila Water Company,
Inc., G.R. No. 174179, November 16, 2011).

24. The spouses Cadavedo and Atty. Lacaya entered into a compromise agreement
concerning the division of the subject lot where Atty. Lacaya ultimately agreed to
acquire one half of the subject property of Cadavedos. Atty. Lacaya defrayed all of the
litigation expenses without providing for reimbursement, in exchange for a contingency
fee consisting of one-half of the subject lot. Is the contingency of his fees justified the
compromise agreement and rendered the agreed fee under the compromise agreement
reasonable?
No. First, this agreement is champertous and is contrary to public policy. Second, the contingent fee
arrangement in this case expressly transgresses the Canons of Professional Ethics and, impliedly,
the Code of Professional Responsibility. Under Rule 42 of the Canons of Professional Ethics, a lawyer
may not properly agree with a client that the lawyer shall pay or beat the expense of litigation.
Lastly, the questioned attorneys fee should be declared void for being excessive and
unconscionable. The contingent fee of one-half of the subject lot was allegedly agreed to secure the
services of Atty. Lacaya. A large fee is only allowed in the showing that special skills and additional
work had been involved. The issue involved in that case was simple and did not require of Atty.
Lacaya extensive skill, effort and research. The issue simply dealt with the prohibition against the
sale of a homestead lot within five years from its acquisition(Cadavedo v. Lacaya, G.R. No. 173188,
January 15, 2014).

DISBARMENT

Grounds for disbarment.


a. Deceit;
b. Malpractice and other gross misconduct;
c. Grossly Immoral Conduct;
d. Conviction of crime involving moral turpitude;
e. Violation of oath of office;
f. Willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and
g. Corrupt or willful appearance for a client without authority to do so (RULES OF COURT, Rule 138,
Sec.27).

Other statutory grounds:


a. Acquisition of an interest in the subject matter of the litigation, either through purchase or
assignment (CIVIL CODE, Art. 1491);
b. Breach of professional duty, inexcusable negligence, or ignorance, or for the revelation of the
clients secrets (RPC, Art. 208); and
c. Representing conflicting interests (RPC, Art. 209).

Q Who has the power to discipline members of the Bar? Explain.


Answer: The authority to discipline members of the Bar is vested under the 1987 Constitution in the
Supreme Court. It is provided that the Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules
concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in
all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the
underprivileged. (Bernardino v. Atty. Victor Rey Santos, A.C. No. 10583; Atty. Jose Caringal v. Atty.
Santos, A.C. No. 10583 & 10584, February 18, 2015, Leonen, J).

Q Explain the plenary power of the SC over attorneys.


Answer: The Supreme Court has the power to discipline officers of the court and members of the court
and members of the Bar. The Supreme Court, as regular and guardian of the legal profession, has

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plenary disciplinary authority over attorneys. The authority to discipline lawyers stems from the Courts
constitutional mandate to regulate admission to the practice of law, which includes as well authority to
regulate the practice itself of law. Quite apart from this constitutional mandate, the disciplinary
authority of the Supreme Court over members of the Bar is an inherent power incidental to the proper
administration of justice and essential to an orderly discharge of judicial functions
The disciplinary authority of the Court over members of the Bar is but corollary to the Courts
exclusive power of admission to the Bar. A lawyer is not merely a professional but also an officer of the
court and as such, he is called upon to share in the task and responsibility of dispensing justice and
resolving disputes in society. (Bernardino v. Atty. Victor Rey Santos, A.C. No. 10583; Atty. Jose Caringal
v. Atty. Santos, A.C. No. 10583 & 10584, February 18, 2015, Leonen, J citing Zaldivar v. SB, 248 Phil.
542 [1988]).

Q Is the Constitution the only basis of the power to discipline members of the Bar?
Explain.
Answer: No. The Courts authority is restated under Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which provides that a
member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for
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 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).

Q State the role of the Integrated Bar of the Phils. in the SCs power to discipline lawyers.
Explain.
Answer: In Ramirez v. Buhayang-Margallo, A.C. No. 10537 p. 8 [Per J. Leonen, En Banc], the Court
emphasized the authority of the court to impose disciplinary action on those admitted to the practice of
law, where it ruled that parenthetically, it is the SC that has the constitutionally mandated duty to
discipline lawyers. (Constitution [1987], Art. VIII, Sec. 5[5]). Under the current rules, the duty to assist
fact finding can be delegated to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. The findings of the Integrated
Bar, however, can only be recommendatory, consistent with the constitutional power of the SC. Its
recommended penalties are also, by its nature, recommendatory. (A.C. No. 10537, p. 8 [Per J. Leonen,
En Banc]).
The authority given to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines is based on Rule 139-B, Section 1 of
the Rules of Court, which provides that proceedings for the disbarment, suspension or discipline of
attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court motu proprio, or by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
upon the verified complaint of any person. However, this authority is only to assist the Court with
the investigation of the case, to determine factual findings, and to recommend, at best, the penalty
that may be imposed on the erring lawyer. (Bernardino v. Atty. Victor Rey Santos, A.C. No. 10583; Atty.
Jose Caringal v. Atty. Santos, A.C. No. 10583 & 10584, February 18, 2015).

30. The Rules of Court enumerate the grounds or causes for which an attorney may be
disbarred or suspended. May he be disciplined on other grounds in disregard of the
principle of inclusion unius est exclusion alterius?
Yes. The statutory grounds for disbarment or suspension are not to be taken as a limitation on the
general powers of the courts in this respect. The inherent powers of the court over its officers
cannot be restricted (Haliliv. Court of Industrial Relations, 130 SCRA 138).

Lawyer was disbarred due to immoral conduct.


Marriage is an inviolable institution. Inviolable because anyone who breaches the marriage is
bound to be punished. In this case, a lawyer was disbarred for making a mockery of marriage, having
contracted marriage twice especially so during the existence of his first and valid marriage.
This case is about a lawyer, and a law professor who got married to his first wife, claiming that
he married her because she got pregnant and he was afraid that she would make a scandal out of her
pregnancy should he refuse to marry her and which would jeopardize his scholarship in the Harvard
Law School. While married to his first wife, he met his best friend since the mid-1960s and started to
court her. He told her that he was in the process of obtaining a divorce decree from the Dominican
Republic from his wife and that he would marry her once the divorce decree was obtained. In 1984, he
was able to obtain a decree of divorce and assured her that it was lawful and valid and there was no
longer any impediment for them to marry. So, they got married in the USA.s she came to know later on
that the divorce decree is not recognized in the Philippines. When confronted about it, he assured her
that he would legalize their marriage once he obtained a declaration of nullity of his marriage with his
first wife. Then, she received an anonymous letter that he was maintaining a scandalous affair with
another woman and later on, she came upon a lone letter signed by him addressed to the other
woman. Ultimately, he abandoned her and their son, hence, she filed a Disbarment case against him.
In his comment, he claimed that his second wife knew that their marriage was not valid
because of his previous existing marriage and that he married her because he loved her and was afraid
of losing her. He merely desired to lend a modicum of legitimacy to their relationship.
On the part of the alleged relationship with another woman who happened to be a lawyer, the
latter denied it. She admitted having been employed in his law firm and that he courted her but she
rejected him because he was already married and too old for her. She later on resigned from the law
firm.
The basic issue is whether the lawyer committed gross immorality with would warrant his
disbarment.

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In ordering the disbarment of the lawyer, the Supreme Court said that a lawyer shall not engage
in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. (Rule 1.01, Code of Professional Responsibility.
Citing Armobit v. Armobit, 590 Phil. 207[2008] the Court ruled:
The requirement of good moral character is of much greater import, as far as the
general public is concerned, than the possession of legal learning. 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 ones good standing in that exclusive and honored
fraternity. Good moral character is more than just the absence of bad 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. This must be so because vast
interests are committed to his care; he is the recipient of unbounded trust and
confidence; he deals with his clients property, reputation, his life, his all. (Cordon v.
Balicanta, 439 Phil. 95 [2002]).

In this regard, Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides that a lawyer may be
removed or suspended from the practice of law, inter alia, for grossly immoral conduct. Thus:
Sec. 27. Attorneys removed 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 for 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 the
admission to practice, or for a wilfull disobedience of any lawful order of a superior
court, or for corruptly or willful 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.

A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct showing any fault or deficiency in
his moral character, honesty, probity or good demeanor. (Sps. Donato v. Atty. Asuncion, Sr., 468 Phil.
329, 335 [2004]). Immoral conduct involves acts that are willful, flagrant, or shameless, and that show
a moral indifference to the opinion of the upright and respectable members of the community. Immoral
conduct is gross when it is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act, or so unprincipled as to be
reprehensible to a high degree, or when committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances
as to shock the communitys sense of decency. The Court makes these distinctions, as the supreme
penalty of disbarment arising from conduct requires grossly immoral, not simply immoral, conduct. (See
Garrido v. Attys. Garrido and Valencia, 625 Phil. 347, 358 [2010]).
From his own admission, he knew that the divorce decree he obtained from the court in the
Dominican Republic was not recognized in our jurisdiction as he and his wife were both Filipino citizens
at that time. He knew that he was still validly married to his first wife; that he cannot marry anew
unless his previous marriage be properly declared a nullity. Otherwise, his subsequent marriage would
be void. This notwithstanding, he still married his best friend. The foregoing circumstances seriously
tainted his sense of social propriety and moral values. It is a blatant and purposeful disregard of our
laws on marriage.

Effect of marriage in the USA.


It has also not escaped the attention of the Court that he married her best friend in the USA.
Considering that he knew that his previous marriage remained valid, the logical conclusion is that he
wanted to marry her in the USA for the added security of avoiding any charge of bigamy by entering
into the subsequent marriage outside Philippine jurisdiction.
Moreover, assuming arguendo that his claim is true, it matters not that his best friend knew that
their marriage is a nullity. The fact still remains that he resorted to various legal strategies in order to
render a faade of validity to his otherwise invalid marriage to her. Such act is, at the very least, so
unprincipled that it is reprehensible to the highest degree.
While the fact that he decided to separate from her to pursue another woman, in itself, cannot
be considered a grossly immoral conduct, such fact forms part of the pattern showing his propensity
towards immoral conduct. Lest it be misunderstood, the Courts finding of gross immoral conduct is
hinged not on his desertion of his second wife, but on his contracting of a subsequent marriage during
the subsistence of his previous marriage to his first wife.
The moral delinquency that affects the fitness of a member of the bar to continue as such
includes conduct that outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the community, conduct for
instance, which makes a mockery of the inviolable social institution of marriage. (See Cordova v.
Cordova, 259 Phil. 278 [1989]). In various cases, the Court has held that disbarment is warranted when
a lawyer abandons his lawful wife and maintains an illicit relationship with another woman who has
borne him a child. (See Tucay v. Atty. Tucay, 376 Phil. 336 [1999]; Narag v. Atty. Narag, 353 Phil. 643,
663 [1998]; Obusan v. Obusan, Jr., 213 Phil. 437, 440 [1984]).
His subsequent marriage during the subsistence of his previous one definitely manifests a
deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution and
affirmed by our laws. By his own admission, he made a mockery out of the institution of marriage,
taking advantage of his legal skills in the process. He exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of
morality required of him as a member of the bar, which thus warrant the penalty of disbarment.
The Court ruled that it was not unmindful of the rule that the power to disbar must be exercised
with great caution, and only in a clear case of misconduct that seriously affects the standing and
character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court and as a member of the bar. Where a lesser penalty,
such as temporary suspension, could accomplish the end desired, disbarment should never be decreed.

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Nevertheless, in this case, the seriousness of the offense compeled the Court to wield its power to
disbar, as it appears to be the most ppropriate penalty. (Dr. Elmar O. Perez v. Atty. Tristan Catindig et
al., A.C. No. 5816, March 10, 2015).

Suspension; authority to appear as consel terminates after death of client.


In Villahermosa, Sr. v. Atty. Isidro Caracol, A.C. No. 7325, January 21, 2015, Villarama, J, a lawyer
was suspended for having appeared for a client even after he has already passed away. Worst, he did
not inform the court of the clients death, instead, he filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of
execution. The SC has this to say:
Held: The Rules of Court under Rule 138, Section 21 provides for a presumption of a lawyers
appearance on behalf of his client, hence:
SEC. 21. Authority of attorney to appear. An attorney is presumed to be
properly authorized to represent any cause in which he appears, and no written
power of attorney is required to authorize him to appear in court for his client, but the
presidingjudge may, on motion of either party and on reasonable grounds
therefor being shown, require any attorney who assumes the right to appear in
a case to produce or prove the authority under which he appears, and to disclose,
whenever pertinent to any issue, the name of the person who employed him, and may
thereupon make such order as justice requires. An attorney willfully appearing in court for
a person without being employed, unless by leave of the court, may be punished for
contempt as an officer of the court who has misbehaved in his official transactions.

In Land Bank of the Philippines v. Pamintuan Devt. Co., 510 Phil. 839 [2005], the Court said that
while a lawyer is not required to present proof of his representation, when a court requires that he show
such authorization, it is imperative that he show his authority to act. Thus:
A lawyer is not even required to present a written authorization from the client. In
fact, the absence of a formal notice of entry of appearance will not invalidate the acts
performed by the counsel in his clients name. However, [a] court, on its own initiative or
on motion of the other party may require a lawyer to adduce authorization from the client.

Lawyers must be mindful that an attorney has no power to act as counsel for a person without
being retained nor may he appear in court without being employed unless by leave of court. If an
attorney appears on a clients behalf without a retainer or the requisite authority neither the litigant
whom he purports to represent nor the adverse party may be bound or affected by his appearance
unless the purported client ratifies or is estopped to deny his assumed authority. If a lawyer corruptly or
willfully appears as an attorney for a party to a case without authority, he may be disciplined or
punished for contempt as an officer of the court who has misbehaved in his official transaction.

Suspension; lawyer appeared as counsel while serving suspension.

Q A lawyer was serving suspension when she represented her husband in a pending case.
May she be suspended? Explain.
Answer: Yes, because of willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or
willfully appearing as an attorney of a party 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.
She would have deserved a harsher penalty, but the Court recognized the fact that it is part of
the Filipino culture that amid an adversity, families will always look out and extend a helping hand to a
family member, more so, in this case, to a spouse. Thus, considering that her actuation was prompted
by her affection to her husband and that in essence, she was not representing a client but rather a
spouse, we deem it proper to mitigate the severeness of her penalty. (Feliciano v. Atty. Carmelita
Bautista-Lozada, A.C. No. 7593, March 11, 2015).

Lawyer be disbarred for misconduct in his private capacity.


A lawyer may be disbarred for any misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity.
Any interested person or the court motu proprio may initiate disciplinary proceedings.

Effect of a misconduct committed outside Philippine jurisdiction.


If he commits misconduct outside Philippine jurisdiction, which is also a ground for disciplinary
action under Philippine law, he may be suspended or disbarred in this country. The judgment, resolution
or order of the foreign court or disciplinary agency shall be prima facie evidence of the ground for
disbarment or suspension (Supreme Court Resolution dated February 21, 1992 amending RULES OF
COURT, Rule 138, Sec. 27).

Effect of suspension from practice of law abroad.


The suspension of a lawyer from the practice of law in another country automatically does not
result in his suspension or disbarment in the Philippines.
The acts which led to his suspension in another country, are mere grounds for disbarment or
suspension in this jurisdiction, and only if the basis of the foreign courts action includes any of the
grounds for disbarment or suspension in this jurisdiction (In re: Suspension from the practice of law in
the territory of Guam of Atty. Maquera, A.M. No. 793, July 30, 2004).

Requirements in a complaint for disbarment.


a. It must be verified;

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b. It must state clearly and concisely the facts complained of;
c. It must be supported by affidavits of persons having personal knowledge of facts therein
alleged, or documents which may substantiate it; and
d. It must be filed with six (6) copies furnished the Secretary of the IBP or any of its chapter.

Material misrepresentation by a Bar Candidate.


A, who filed his application to take the Bar Examination and stated that he is single when in
truth he is married. He committed a gross misrepresentation of a material fact made in utter bad faith.
That false statement, if it had been known, would have disqualified him outright from taking the Bar
Examinations as it indubitably exhibited a lack of good moral character (Leda v.Tabang, 206 SCRA 395).

Disbarment proceeding confidential as a rule; exception.


The publicizing of the disbarment case of Atty. Santos is not a violation of the confidentiality
rule. As a general rule, disbarment proceedings are confidential in nature until their final resolution and
the final decision of the Supreme Court. However, if there is a legitimate public interest, the media is
not prohibited from making a fair, true, and accurate report of a disbarment complaint. The filing of a
disbarment complaint against Atty. Santos is itself a matter of public concern considering that it arose
from a massacre case that is a high-profile case. The interest of the public is not on Atty. Santos himself
but primarily on his involvement and participation as defense counsel in the said case(Fortun
v.Quinsayas, G.R. No. 194578, February 13, 2013).

Doctrine of res ipsa loquitor in disciplinary cases.


This principle which means the thing speaks for itself, applies to both judges and lawyers.
Judges had been dismissed from the service without the need of a formal investigation because based
on the records the gross misconduct or inefficacy of the judges clearly appears (Uy v. Mercado[1987]).
Theres no need of a trial-type proceeding (Prudential Bank v. Castro [1986]).

Effect if the complainant in a disbarment case executes an affidavit of withdrawal of the


case.
A case of disbarment or suspension may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the
complainant. What matters is whether, on the basis of the facts borne out by the record, the charge of
deceit and grossly immoral conduct has been duly proven (Rayos-Ombac v. Rayos,285 SCRA 93).

Q A lawyer consented to the submission of a falsified affidavit in order to beat the


deadline in an electoral protest. A complaint against him was filed, but he contended that
he has been discharged from all causes of action when the complainant filed a Release
Waiver and Discharge. Is his contention correct? Why?
Answer: No. A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest
of the complainant. What matters is whether, on the basis of the facts borne out by the record, the
charge of deceit and grossly immoral conduct has been proven. This rule is premised on the nature of
disciplinary proceedings. A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not a civil action where the
complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no
private interest and afford no redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely
for the public welfare. They are undertaken for the purpose of preserving courts of justice from the
official administration of persons unfit to practice in them. The attorney is called to answer to the court
for his conduct as an officer of the court. The complainant or the person who called the attention of the
court to the attorneys alleged misconduct is in no sense a party, and has generally no interest in the
outcome except as all good citizens may have in the proper administration of justice.
The lawyer was found guilty of violating the Lawyers Oath and Rule 10.01, Canon 10 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility by submitting a falsified document before a court. (Atty. Umaguing
v. Atty. Wallen R. De Vera, A.C. No. 10451, February 4, 2015, Perlas-Bernabe, J).

Q What is the basic purpose of administrative proceedings against lawyers? Explain.


Answer: Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are designed to ensure that whoever is granted the
privilege to practice law in this country should remain faithful to the Lawyers Oath. Only thereby can
lawyers preserve their fitness to remain as members of the Law Profession. Any resort to falsehood or
deception, including adopting artifices to cover up ones misdeeds committed against clients and the
rest of the trusting public, evinces an unworthiness to continue enjoying the privilege to practice law
and highlights the unfitness to remain a member of the Law Profession. It deserves for the guilty lawyer
stern disciplinary sanctions. (Atty. Umaguing v. Atty. Wallen R. De Vera, A.C. No. 10451, February 4,
2015, Perlas-Bernabe, J).

Dismissal of criminal case, does not preclude disbarment case.

Q A lawyer defrauded a client by executing and notarizing a Deed of Sale so she could
apply for a loan in clients/complainants behalf. The document cannot be located especially
so that she did not submit her notarial register to the Clerk of Court. Hence, complainant
could not prove her claim that her signature was forged. She facilitated the sale in favor of
a third person without complainants approval. She was charged criminally, but the case
was dismissed as her guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. State the effect of her
acquittal on the disbarment case against her. Explain.
Answer: Her acquittal has no effect on the disbarment case.

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The criminal case of estafa from which she was acquitted, as her guilt was not proven beyond
reasonable doubt, is different from the administrative case, and each must be disposed of according to
the facts and the law applicable to each case. Section 5, in relation to Sections 1 and 2, Rule 133, Rules
of Court states that in administrative cases, only substantial evidence is required, not proof beyond
reasonable doubt as in criminal cases, or preponderance of evidence as in civil cases. Substantial
evidence is that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
justify a conclusion. (Freeman v. Reyes, A.C. No. 6246, November 15, 2011).
Freeman v. Reyes, A.C. No. 6246, November 15, 2011, held that the dismissal of a criminal
case does not preclude the continuance of a separate and independent action for administrative
liability, as the weight of evidence necessary to establish the culpability is merely substantial evidence.
An administrative case can proceed independently, even if there was a full-blown trial wherein, based
on both prosecution and defense evidence, the trial court eventually rendered a judgment of acquittal,
on the ground either that the prosecution failed to prove the respondent's guilt beyond reasonable
doubt, or that no crime was committed.
The purpose of disbarment is to protect the courts and the public from the misconduct of the
officers of the court and to ensure the administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise this
important function shall be competent, honorable and trustworthy men in whom courts and clients may
repose confidence. The burden of proof rests upon the complainant, and the Court will exercise its
disciplinary power only if she establishes her case by clear, convincing and satisfactory evidence. (Pena
v. Atty. Paterno, A.C. No. 4191, June 10, 2013).

35. Discuss the Rules on Suspension or Removal of Members of the Bar


Nature of the case Where to File Quantum of Applicable to
Evidence
If administrative in It shall be filed with Clear and Lawyers, Members of
nature the Convincing Evidence the
Office of the Court a degree lower Judiciary
Administrator of the than proof beyond
Supreme Court. reasonable doubt

If criminal and not Proof Beyond Members of the


purely administrative Reasonable Doubt; Judiciary, If the
The general rules in ground is/are
regard to misconduct in office,
admissibility of willful neglect,
evidence in criminal corruption and/or
trials apply. incompetence
If for an impeachable It must be coursed Proof Beyond Only Supreme Court
offense through the House Reasonable Doubt; Justices are subject to
of Representatives Penal in nature and impeachment
or the Senate in governed by the rules
accordance with the on criminal case.
Rules on
Impeachment.
If the misconduct of It must be filed with Clear and Lawyers holding
a government the Office of the Convincing government offices
official is of such a Court Administrator evidence; the erring
character as to of the government official
affect his Supreme Court may be disciplined
qualification as a as a member of the
lawyer or to show Bar for misconduct
moral delinquency in the discharge of
his duties as such.
The lawyers oath is
a source of his
obligation and its
violation is a ground
for a disciplinary
action.

Payment of IBP dues; no exemption.


There are no exemptions from payment of IBP membership dues.
A lawyer can engage in the practice of law only by paying his dues, and it does not matter if his
practice is limited. Moreover, senior citizens are not exempted (Santos v. Llamas, (2000)).
A lawyer staying abroad should informthe 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 (Letter of Atty. Cecilio Arevalo, (2005)).

A lawyer who holds a government position may not be disciplined as a member of the bar
for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a government official.
However, if the misconduct also constitutes a violation of the CPR or the lawyers oath or is of
such character as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or shows moral delinquency on his part, such

13 |ABRC2016.Pointers in Legal and Judicial Ethics (combined)/EVSA/crys


individual may be disciplined as a member of the bar for such misconduct (Pimentel, Jr. v. Llorente, A.C.
No. 4680, August 29, 2000).

READMISSION

Nature of reinstatement of a disbarred lawyer.


It is an inherent power of the Court grant reinstatement. The Court should see to it that only
those who establish their present moral fitness and knowledge of the law will be readmitted to the Bar.
Thus, though the doors to the practice of law are never permanently closed on a disbarred attorney,
the Court owes a duty to the legal profession as well as to the general public to ensure that if the doors
are opened, it is done so only as a matter of justice.

Qualifications in case of readmission as a lawyer.


The lawyer has to demonstrate and prove by clear and convincing evidence that he or she is
again worthy of membership in the Bar. The Court will take into consideration his or her character and
standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and character of the charge/s for which he or she was
disbarred, his or her conduct subsequent to the disbarment, and the time that has elapsed in between
the disbarment and the application for reinstatement (Que v. Atty. Revilla, Jr., A.C. No.7054, November
11, 2014).

Guidelines in deciding request for judicial clemency.


The Court has laid down the following guidelines in resolving requests for judicial clemency: 1)
there must be proof of remorse and reformation; 2) sufficient time must have lapsed from the
imposition of the penalty to ensure reformation; 3) the age of the person must show that he still has
productive years ahead of him; 4) there must be a showing of promise and potential for public service;
and 5) other relevant factors and circumstances that may justify clemency. Given the gravity of dela
Cruzs transgressions, it becomes imperative to require factual support for his allegations of remorse
and reform. However, his petition is not supported by any single proof of his professed repentance and
no independent evidence or relevant circumstances to justify clemency (Mamasaw Sultan Aliv. Hon.
Baguinda-Ali Pacalna, A.M. No. MTJ-03-1505, November 27, 2013).

Requirements in case a dual citizen wants to practice law in the Philippines.


Thus, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of another country and later re-acquires his
Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225, remains to be a member of the Philippine Bar. However, the
right to resume the practice of law is not automatic. R.A. No. 9225 provides that a person who intends
to practice his profession in the Philippines must apply with the proper authority for a license or permit
to engage in such practice. Adherence to rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of the highest
degree of morality, faithful observance of the legal profession, compliance with the mandatory
continuing legal education requirement and payment of membership fees to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) are the conditions required for membership in good standing in the bar and for
enjoying the privilege to practice law (In re: Petition to Re-acquire the Privilege to Practice law in the
Philippines, Epifanio B. Muneses, B.M. No. 2112, July 24, 2012).

THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

36. Nenita is the sole and exclusive legal heir of Pacita by virtue of a court order. Atty.
Madamot is the illegitimate half-cousin of Nenita administering the properties. Despite
the order of the court declaring Nenita as the successor-in-interest to all of Pacitas
properties, as well as her requests for the accounting and delivery of the dividends and
other proceeds or benefits coming from Pacitas stockholdings in various corporations
Atty. Madamot acting as the administrator, still mortgaged a commercial property in
favor of Philippine Savings Bank although there is already an existing Trust Agreement
wherein Atty. Madamot, in his capacity as President of URCI, recognized Nenita to be the
true and beneficial owner of the same. Is Atty. Madamot administratively liable for
serious misconduct?
Yes. Atty. Madamot is GUILTY of violating Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility by mortgaging the subject property, notwithstanding the apparent dispute over the
same. Regardless of the merits of his own claim as president, Atty. Madamot should have exhibited
prudent restraint becoming of a legal exemplar. He should not have exposed himself even to the
slightest risk of committing a property violation nor any action which would endanger the Bars
reputation. Verily, members of the Bar are expected at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity
of the legal profession and refrain from any act or omission which might lessen the trust and
confidence reposed by the public in the fidelity, honesty, and integrity of the legal profession. By no
insignificant measure, respondent blemished not only his integrity as a member of the Bar, but also
that of the legal profession. In other words, his conduct fell short of the exacting standards
expected of him as a guardian of law and justice (Yupangco-Nakpil v. Atty. Uy, A.C. No. 9115,
September 17, 2014).

Lawyer who refuses to pay debt; effect.

14 |ABRC2016.Pointers in Legal and Judicial Ethics (combined)/EVSA/crys


The Court may hold a lawyer as having violated Canon 7 of the CPR which provides that a
lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the
activities of the integrated bar. In unduly borrowing money from his clients and by blatantly refusing to
pay the same, he abused the trust and confidence reposed in him by his clients, and, in so doing, failed
to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. Thus, he should be equally held
administratively liable on this score (Spouses Concepcion v. Atty.dela Rosa A.C. No. 10681, February 3,
2015).

A lawyer may be disciplined not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession but
also for gross misconduct outside of his professional capacity.
Lawyers must at all times faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and
to their clients. The fact that a lawyer obtained the loan and issued the worthless checks in her private
capacity and not as an attorney of a person is of no moment. A lawyer may be disciplined not only for
malpractice and dishonesty in his profession but also for gross misconduct outside of his professional
capacity. While the Court may not ordinarily discipline a lawyer for misconduct committed in his non-
professional or private capacity, the Court may be justified in suspending or removing him as an
attorney where his misconduct outside of the lawyers professional dealings is so gross in character as
to show him morally unfit and unworthy of the privilege which his licenses and the law confer.
Further, the misconduct of the lawyer is aggravated by her unjustified refusal to obey the orders
of the IBP directing her to file an answer to the complaint and to appear at the scheduled mandatory
conference. This constitutes blatant disrespect for the IBP which amounts to conduct unbecoming a
lawyer.
Undoubtedly, a lawyers issuance of worthless checks and her blatant refusal to heed the
directives of the Quezon City Prosecutors Office and the IBP contravene Canon 1, Rule 1.01; Canon 7,
Rule 7.03; and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. (Victoria C. Heenan v. Atty. Erlina
Espejo, A.C. No. 10050, December 3, 2013, Velasco, Jr., J)

The nature of the office of a lawyer requires that s/he shall be of good moral character. This
qualification is not only a condition precedent to the admission to the legal profession, but
its continued possession is essential to maintain ones good standing in the profession.
The Court found that the complainants could not have been defrauded without the
representations of respondent. He knew that his representations were false since the filing fee for a
petition for reconstitution in 2001 was only P3,145, and other expenses including the publication of the
filing of the petition could not have cost more than P20,000. It is clear that he employed deceit in
convincing complainants to part with their hard earned money and the latter could not have been
easily swayed to lend the money were it not for his misrepresentations and failed promises as a
member of the bar. He also failed to pay his just and legal obligation.
His disobedience to the directives of the IBP in failing to participate in the proceedings before it
is in reality a gross and blatant disrespect to the Court. Failing in this duty as a member of the bar
which is being supervised by the Court under the Constitution, the SC found that a heavier sanction
should fall on respondent. Thus, penalty is increased to 6 months suspension from the practice of law.
(Sps. Amador, et al. v. Atty. Antoniutti K. Palaa, A.C. No. 7434, August 23, 2007, Velasco, Jr., J)

Senator Santiago, as a member of the Bar and officer of the court, like any other, is duty-
bound to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court and to maintain the respect due its
members.
Senator Santiagos privilege speech attacking the Chief Justice and other members of the
Supreme Court was not actionable criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court.
However, the lady senator clearly violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Needless to stress, Senator Santiago, as a member of the Bar and officer of the court,
like any other, is duty-bound to uphold the dignity and authority of the Court and to maintain the
respect due its members. Lawyers in public service are keepers of public faith and are burdened with
the higher degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than their brethren in private practice.
Senator Santiago should have known, as any perceptive individual, the impact her statements would
make on the peoples faith in the integrity of the courts. (Antero J. Pobre v. Sen. Miriam Defensor-
Santiago, A.C. No. 7399, August 25, 2009, Velasco, Jr., J)

The lawyer should not be sitting idly by and leave the rights of the client in a state of
uncertainty. The failure to file a brief resulting in the dismissal of an appeal constitutes
inexcusable negligence.
A retained counsel is expected to serve the client with competence and diligence. This duty
includes not merely reviewing the cases entrusted to the counsels care and giving the client sound
legal advice, but also properly representing the client in court, attending scheduled hearings, preparing
and filing required pleadings, prosecuting the handled cases with reasonable dispatch, and urging their
termination without waiting for the client or the court to prod him or her to do so. The lawyer should not
be sitting idly by and leave the rights of the client in a state of uncertainty. The failure to file a brief
resulting in the dismissal of an appeal constitutes inexcusable negligence. This default translates to a
violation of the injunction of Canon 18, Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
(Antonio Conlu v. Atty. Ireneo Aredonio, Jr., A.C. No. 4955, September 12, 2011, Velasco, Jr., J)

A lawyer is first and foremost an officer of the court. As such, he is expected to respect the
courts order and processes.

15 |ABRC2016.Pointers in Legal and Judicial Ethics (combined)/EVSA/crys


A lawyer is guilty of grave misconduct arising from his violation of Canon 16 of the CPR which
provides that money of the client or collected for the client or other trust property coming into the
profession of the lawyer should be reported and accounted for promptly and should not under any
circumstances be commingled with his own or be used by him.
A lawyer is first and foremost an officer of the court. As such, he is expected to respect the
courts order and processes. A lawyer miserably fell short of his duties as such officer. He trifled with the
writ of attachment the court issued. He was remiss in his obligation of taking good care of the attached
cars. He also allowed the use of the Nissan Sentra car by persons who had no business using it. He did
not inform the court or at least the sheriff of the destruction of the Volvo car. What is worse is that he
took custody of them without so much as informing the court, let alone securing, its authority.
For his negligence and unauthorized possession of the cars, the Court found him guilty of
infidelity in the custody of the attached cars and grave misconduct. We must mention, at this juncture,
that the victorious parties in the case are not without legal recourse in recovering the Volvo's value
from him should they desire to do so. (Atty. Ricardo M. Salomon, Jr. v. Atty. Joselito Frial, A.C. No. 7820,
September 12, 2008, Velasco, Jr., J)

Notaries public should refrain from affixing their signature and notarial seal on a document
unless the persons who signed it are the same individuals who executed and personally
appeared before the notaries public to attest to the truth of what are stated therein.
Notaries public should refrain from affixing their signature and notarial seal on a document
unless the persons who signed it are the same individuals who executed and personally appeared
before the notaries public to attest to the truth of what are stated therein. Without the appearance of
the person who actually executed the document in question, notaries public would be unable to verify
the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the
partys free act or deed. Furthermore, notaries public are required by the Notarial Law to certify that
the party to the instrument has acknowledged and presented before the notaries public the proper
residence certificate (or exemption from the residence certificate) and to enter its number, place, and
date of issue as part of certification.
The 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice now requires a party to the instrument to present
competent evidence of identity: (a) at least one current identification document issued by an official
agency bearing the photograph and signature of the individual; (b) the oath or affirmation of one
credible witness not privy to the instrument, document or transaction who is personally known to the
notary public and who personally knows the individual, or of two credible witnesses neither of whom is
privy to the instrument, document or transaction who each personally knows the individual and shows
to the notary public documentary identification. For failing to meet such requirements, Atty. Dimaanos
notarial commission was revoked. He was disqualified from being commission for 2 years and was
suspended from the practice of law for 1 year. (Dolores I. Dela Cruz, et al. v. Atty. Jose R. Dimaano, Jr.,
A.C. No. 7781, September 12, 2008, Velasco, Jr., J)

37. Atty. Nonnatus P. Chua claimed that ALUMCORP, a company where he was the Vice-
President and the corporate legal counsel, was the licensee of the technical information
and the patent on Cold Dip Covering of Sulfurous Strands or Philippine Patent No.
14344. However, an investigation on the matter showed that ALUMCORP only has rights
as a licensee of the technical information and not the rights as a licensee of the patent.
Did Atty. Mendoza violate the Code of Professional Responsibility?
Yes. Atty. Nonnatus P. Chua violated the Code of Professional Responsibility. Rule 10.01 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing
of any in Court, nor shall he mislead or allow the Court to be misled by an artifice. In the case bar,
by making it appear that ALUMCORP has the rights as a licensee of the patent, when it fact it has no
such rights, Atty. Mendoza violated the mandate of the abovementioned Rule. As such, Atty.
Mendoza is guilty of deliberately misleading and intentionally deceiving the court, violating the
Code of Professional Responsibility (Sonic Steel Industries, Inc. vs Chua, A.C. No. 6942 July 17,
2013).

38. A lawyer consented to the submission of a falsified affidavit in order to beat the
deadline in an electoral protest. A complaint against him was filed, but he contended
that he has been discharged from all causes of action when the complainant filed a
Release Waiver and Discharge. Is his contention correct? Why?
No. A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the
complainant. What matters is whether, on the basis of the facts borne out by the record, the charge
of deceit and grossly immoral conduct has been proven. This rule is premised on the nature of
disciplinary proceedings. A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not a civil action where the
complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a defendant.
Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private grievance.
They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare and for preserving courts of
justice from the official administration of persons unfit to practice in them. The attorney is called to
answer to the court for his conduct as an officer of the court. The complainant or the person who
called the attention of the court to the attorneys alleged misconduct is in no sense a party, and has
generally no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in the proper
administration of justice.
The lawyer was found guilty of violating the Lawyers Oath and Rule 10.01, Canon 10 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility by submitting a falsified document before a court (Atty. Umaguing v.
Atty. Wallen R. De Vera, A.C. No. 10451, February 4, 2015, Perlas-Bernabe, J).

16 |ABRC2016.Pointers in Legal and Judicial Ethics (combined)/EVSA/crys


39. Baldado ran and won in the 2004 National and Local Elections. Nival, a losing candidate,
filed a Petition for Quo Warranto with the RTC against Baldado, questioning his
qualifications as a candidate. Baldado hired the legal services of Atty. Mejica for the said
case. The RTC rendered a Decision, directing the issuance of a Writ of Quo Warranto
ousting Baldado from the Office of the Sangguniang Bayan. On May 19, 2005, Atty.
Mejica received a copy of the Decision of the trial court, and he had a period of five days
to appeal the Decision to the COMELEC. Atty. Mejica did not file an appeal within the
said period because according to him, the notice of the decision could not be deemed
officially received by him, as the decision had not yet been promulgated in open court.
Is Atty. Mejica in any way liable for his failure to appeal?
Yes. Atty. Mejica is liable of gross negligence, gross incompetence and gross ignorance of the law for
failing to appeal the Decision of the trial court. Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
provides, A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. Once a lawyer agrees to
take up the cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of
the trust and confidence reposed in him. Atty. Mejica should have kept himself abreast of Lindo v.
COMELEC which states that notice in advance of promulgation is not part of the process of
promulgation. Thus, respondent is guilty of gross negligence, gross incompetence, and gross
ignorance of the law for failing to appeal the trial court's decision in the quo warranto case before
the COMELEC within 5 days (Augusto P. Baldado v. Atty. Aquilino A. Mejica A.C. No. 9120, March 11,
2013).

Lawyer may be disciplined for acts committed in his professional or private affairs.
Well entrenched in this jurisdiction is the rule that a lawyer may be disciplined for misconduct
committed either in his professional or private capacity. The test is whether his conduct shows him to
be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether his conduct renders
him unworthy to continue as an officer of the Court(Tan, Jr. v. Gumba, A.C. No. 9000, October 5, 2011,
658 SCRA 527, 532; Roa v. Moreno, A.C. No. 8382, April 21, 2010, 618 SCRA 693, 699). Verily, Canon 7
of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates all lawyers to uphold at all times the dignity and
integrity of the Legal Profession. Lawyers are similarly required under Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the same
Code not to engage in any unlawful, dishonest and immoral or deceitful conduct. Failure to observe
these tenets of the Code of Professional Responsibility exposes the lawyer to disciplinary sanctions as
provided in Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, as amended, viz.:
Section 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds
therefor. A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as
attorney by the Supreme Court for 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 the
admission to practice, or for a wilful disobedience 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(Campuganv. Atty. Tolentino, Jr., A.C. No. 8261; Campugan v. Atty. Caluya,
A.C. No. 8725, March 11, 2015, Bersamin).

Lawyer not to neglect duties.


A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable. As stated, every case that is entrusted to a lawyer deserves his full
attention whether he accepts this for a fee or free. Even assuming that Mendoza had not remitted the
full payment of the filing fee, he should have found a way to speak to his client and inform him about
the insufficiency of the filing fee so he could file the complaint. Atty. Santos obviously lacked
professionalism in dealing with complainant and showed incompetence when he failed to file the
appropriate charges (Vda. De Dominguez v. Atty. Agleron Sr., A.C. No. 5359, March 10, 2014).

40. Atty. Mendoza, in her capacity as the Solicitor General, advised the Central Bank on the
procedure to liquidate GenBank and she filed a Petition for liquidation of Genbank,
which later on became Allied bank controlled by Lucio Tan. The PCGG in cases for ill-
gotten wealth against Lucio Tan and Allied Bank moved to disqualify Atty. Mendoza for
having been the counsel for Central bank before and for actively intervening in the
liquidation of GenBank. Is Atty. Mendoza disqualified from accepting employment in
connection with any matter in which she had intervened while in Government office
under Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility?
No. Giving advice on the procedure for liquidation does not come under the term matter and
cannot disqualify Atty. Mendoza. The subject matter of the case for liquidation is different from the
sequestration of stocks involved in the PCGG cases. Intervention under Rule 6.03 means the act of
a person who has the power to influence the subject proceedings or in which had participated
personally and substantially as a public officer, Also, ruling otherwise will deprive the former
government lawyer the freedom to exercise his profession (Domondon, Legal and Judicial Ethics
with Bar Questions 1920-1998 and Supreme Court Decisions up to December, 1998, 1999).

41. Dario leased from Ben a building space where she operated a bar. Meanwhile, Dario
entered a Retainer Agreement with RazSally Law Office where Atty. Raz and Atty. Sally
are partners. Ben terminated the lease for non-payment of rentals. Thereafter, one Nora
took over the operation of the bar under the latters business name. Dario filed an

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ejectment case against Nora. Atty. Raz however, appeared as counsel for Nora despite
the subsistence of the Retainer Agreement with RazSally Law Office. Thus, a disbarment
case was filed against Atty. Raz. Atty. Raz argues that while Dario is a client of RazSally
Law Office, his case is actually handled only by his partner Atty. Sally and that he has no
knowledge of any information entrusted to his partner. Decide the case.
Atty. Raz is incorrect. A lawyer who takes up the cause of the adversary of the party who has
engaged the services of his law firm brings the law profession into public disrepute and suspicion
and undermines the integrity of justice. Thus, Atty. Raz's argument that he never took advantage of
any information acquired by his law firm in the course of its professional dealings with the
complainant, even assuming it to be true, is of no moment. A lawyers act of representing and
defending the other party of the case who was impleaded as one of the defendants in a case filed
by his client during the subsistence of the Retainer Agreement is a clear violation of Rule 15.03 of
Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which mandates that a lawyer shall not
represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full
disclosure of the facts. Indeed, Atty. Raz could have simply advised both Dario and Nora to instead
engage the services of another lawyer (Daging v. Atty. Davis, A.C. no. 9395, November 12, 2014).

Valid retaining lien.


A valid retaining lien has the following elements: An attorneys retaining lien is fully recognized
if the presence of the following elements concur: (1) lawyer-client relationship; (2) lawful possession of
the clients funds, documents and papers; and (3) unsatisfied claim for attorneys fees. In the case at
bar, the enumeration of cases Atty. John worked on for Peter must be substantiated. When there is no
unsatisfied claim for attorneys fees, lawyers cannot validly retain their clients funds or properties
(Spouses San Pedro v. Atty. Mendoza, A.C. no. 5440, December 10, 2014).
ALTERNATIVE ANS: NO. Even assuming that Atty. Mendoza had proven all the requisites for a
valid retaining lien, he cannot appropriate for himself his clients funds without the proper accounting
and notice to the client. The rule is that when there is "a disagreement, or when the client disputes the
amount claimed by the lawyer, the lawyer should not arbitrarily apply the funds in his possession to the
payment of his fees (Spouses San Pedro v. Atty.Mendoza, A.C. No. 5440, December 10, 2014).

Nature of lawyer, binding upon client.


Nothing is more settled than the rule that the negligence and mistakes of the counsel are
binding on the client. However, in this case, Atty. Corpuz cannot entirely be faulted for the conviction of
Pedro and Juan. The facts of the case show that Juan and Pedro were also negligent in attending their
hearing and causing several postponement. Truly, a litigant bears the responsibility to monitor the
status of his case, for no prudent party leaves the fate of his case entirely in the hands of his lawyer. It
is the client's duty to be in contact with his lawyer from time to time in order to be informed of the
progress and developments of his case. Hence, to merely rely on the bare reassurances of his lawyer
that everything is being taken cared of is not enough. As clients, it is the petitioners' correlative duty to
be in contact with Atty. Corpuz from time to time to inform themselves of the status of their case.
"Diligence is required not only from lawyers but also from their clients" (Resurreccion v. People, G.R.
No. 192866, July 9, 2014).

Effect if attorneys fees being charged is unreasonable.


Respondent's claim for his unpaid professional fees that would legally give him the right to
retain the property of his client until he receives what is allegedly due him has been paid has no basis
and, thus, is invalid. In collecting from complainant exorbitant fees, respondent violated Canon 20 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, which mandates that a lawyer shall charge only fair and
reasonable fees. It is highly improper for a lawyer to impose additional professional fees upon his client
which were never mentioned nor agreed upon at the time of the engagement of his services (Miranda
v.Carpio, A.C. No. 6281, September 26, 2011).

Recovery of attorneys fees.

Q How can attorneys fees for professional services be recovered? Explain.


Answer: It is well settled that a claim for attorneys fees may be asserted either in the very action in
which the services of a lawyer had been rendered or in a separate action. With respect to the first
situation, the remedy for recovering attorneys fees as an incident of the main action may be availed of
only when something is due to the client. Attorneys fees cannot be determined until after the main
litigation has been decided and the subject of the recovery is at the disposition of the court. The issue
over attorneys fees only arises when something has been recovered from which the fee is to be paid.
While a claim for attorneys fees may be filed before the judgment is rendered, the
determination as to the propriety of the fees or as to the amount thereof will have to be held in
abeyance until the main case from which the lawyers claim for attorneys fees may arise has become
final. Otherwise, the determination to be made by the courts will be premature. Of course, a petition for
attorneys fees may be filed before the judgment in favor of the client is satisfied or the proceeds
thereof delivered to the client. (Rosario, Jr. v. de Guzman, et al., G.R. No. 191247, July 10, 2013).
It is apparent from the foregoing discussion that a lawyer has two options as to when to file his
claim for professional fees. Hence, private respondent was well within his rights when he made his
claim and waited for the finality of the judgment for holiday pay differential, instead of filing it ahead of
the awards complete resolution. To declare that a lawyer may file a claim for fees in the same action
only before the judgment is reviewed by a higher tribunal would deprive him of his aforestated options
and render ineffective the foregoing pronouncements of this Court.

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Q Is it not that practice of law is not a business, hence, the services of a lawyer should for
free? Explain.
Answer: No. It is beyond question that considerable amount of time was exerted by the lawyer in
ensuring the successful defense of the clients cause. He deserves to be awarded attorneys fees.
The fact that the practice of law is not a business and the attorney plays a vital role in the
administration of justice underscores the need to secure him his honorarium lawfully earned as a
means to preserve the decorum and respectability of the legal profession. A lawyer is as much entitled
to judicial protection against injustice, imposition or fraud on the part of his client as the client against
abuse on the part of his counsel. The duty of the court is not alone to see that a lawyer acts in a proper
and lawful manner; it is also its duty to see to it that a lawyer is paid his just fees. With his capital
consisting of his brains and with his skill acquired at tremendous cost not only in money but in
expenditure of time and energy, he is entitled to the protection of any judicial tribunal against any
attempt on the part of his client to escape payment of his just compensation. It would be ironic if after
putting forth the best in him to secure justice for his client he himself would not get his due. (Rosario, Jr.
v. de Guzman, et al., G.R. No. 191247, July 10, 2013).

MCLE

42. Who are exempted from MCLE?


The Executive
a. The President, Vice-President, and the Secretaries and Undersecretaries of executive
departments;
b. The Chief State Counsel, Chief State Prosecutor and Assistant Secretaries of the Department of
Justice;
c. The Solicitor-General and the Assistant Solicitor-General;
d. The Government Corporate Counsel, Deputy and Assistant Government Corporate Counsel;
e. Heads of government agencies exercising quasi-judicial functions; and
f. Governors and Mayors.

The Legislative
Senators and Members of the House of Representatives;

The Judiciary
The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the SC, incumbent and retired justices of the judiciary,
incumbent members of the Judicial and Bar Council and incumbent court lawyers covered by the
Philippine Judicial Academy Program of Continuing Legal Education;

The Constitutional Bodies


a. The Chairman and Members of the Constitutional Commissions;
b. The Ombudsman, the Overall Deputy Ombudsman, the Deputy Ombudsman and the Special
Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman;

The Academe
a. Incumbent deans, bar reviewers and professors of law who have teaching experience for at
least
10 years in accredited law schools;
b. The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and members of the Corps of Professional Lecturers of the
Philippine Judicial Academy; and

Non-practicing lawyers
a. Those who are not in law practice, private or public.
b. Those who have retired from law practice with the approval of the IBP Board of Governors.

Other exemptions
A member may file a verified request setting forth good cause for exemption (such as physical
disability, illness, post graduate study abroad, proven expertise in law, etc.) from compliance with
or modification of any of the requirements, including an extension of time for compliance, in
accordance with a procedure to be established by the MCLE Committee.

Effect of failure to indicate in all pleadings filed the number and date of issue of their MCLE
Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of Exemption.
The Court En Banc issued a Resolution dated January 14, 2014, which reads as follows: B.M.
No. 1922 (Re: Recommendation of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education [MCLE] Board to Indicate
in All Pleadings Filed with the Courts the Counsel's MCLE Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of
Exemption). - The Court Resolved, upon the recommendation of the MCLE Governing Board, to: (a)
AMEND the June 3, 2008 resolution by repealing the phrase "Failure to disclose the required
information would cause the dismissal of the case and the expunction of the pleadings from the
records" and replacing it with "Failure to disclose the required information would subject the counsel to
appropriate penalty and disciplinary action"

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NOTARIAL PRACTICE RULE

Community tax certificate not a competent evidence of identity.


A notary public can no longer accept a cedula or a community tax certificate (CTC), the
successor document to the residence certificate originally required by the Notarial Law as proof of
identity. Such does not even contain a photograph of the person to whom it is issued. Further, CTC may
be easily obtained by anyone, without any supporting papers, thereby debasing its value as an identity
document.

Notary public who notarizes a document even without the presence of the party, may he be
suspended.
A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are
the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and
the truth of what are stated therein. These acts of the affiants cannot be delegated because what are
stated therein are facts they have personal knowledge of and are personally sworn to. Otherwise, their
representatives names should appear in the said documents as the ones who executed the same.
The function of a notary public is, among others, to guard against any illegal or immoral
arrangements. By affixing his notarial seal on the instrument, he converted the Deed of Absolute Sale,
from a private document into a public document. In doing so, he effectively proclaimed to the world
that: (a) all the parties therein personally appeared before him; (b) they are all personally known to
him; (c) they were the same persons who executed the instruments; (d) he inquired into the
voluntariness of execution of the instrument; and (e) they acknowledged personally before him that
they voluntarily and freely executed the same. A notary public is mandated to discharge his sacred
duties with faithful observance and utmost respect for the legal solemnity of an oath in an
acknowledgment or jurat. The act of certifying under oath an irregular Deed of Absolute Sale without
requiring the personal appearance of the persons executing the same constitutes gross negligence in
the performance of duty as a notary public(Salita v. Atty. Reynaldo Salve, A.C. No. 8101, February 4,
2015, Perlas-Bernabe).

MANDATORY LEGAL AID SERVICE (BM 2012)

Mandatory legal aid service.


The mandatory legal aid service mandates every practicing lawyer to render a minimum of 60
hours of free legal aid services to indigent litigants yearly. Said 60 hours shall be spread within the
period of 12 months, with a minimum of 5 hours of free legal aid services each month. However, where
it is necessary for the practicing lawyer to render legal aid service for more than 5 hours in one month,
the excess hours may be credited to the said lawyer for the succeeding periods (B.M. 2012, Sec. 5[a],
par. 1).

Indigent and pauper litigants.


They are those whose gross income and that of their immediate family do not exceed an
amountdouble the monthly minimum wage of an employee and who do not own real property with a
fair market value as stated in the current tax declaration of more than three hundred thousand pesos
(P300,000.00).

Practicing lawyer covered by this bar matter.


They are members of the Philippine Bar who appear for and in behalf of parties in courts of law
and quasi-judicial agencies. The term "practicing lawyers" shall EXCLUDE:
a. Government employees and incumbent elective officials not allowed by law to practice;
b. Lawyers who by law are not allowed to appear in court;
c. Supervising lawyers of students enrolled in law student practice in duly accredited legal clinics
of law schools and lawyers of NGOs and peoples organizations (POs) who by the nature of their
work already render free legal aid to indigent and pauper litigants; and
d. Lawyers not covered under subparagraphs (i) to (iii) including those who are employed in the
private sector but do not appear for and in behalf of parties in courts of law and quasi-judicial
agencies.

FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE ACT (RA 9999)

43. What is R.A. 9999?


This law will allow indigent litigants to acquire the services of renowned lawyers and law firms for
free.
A lawyer or professional partnerships rendering actual free legal services, as defined by the
Supreme Court, shall be entitled to an allowable deduction from the gross income, the amount that
could have been collected for the actual free legal services rendered or up to ten percent (10%) of
the gross income derived from the actual performance of the legal profession, whichever is lower:
Provided, That the actual free legal services herein contemplated shall be exclusive of the minimum
sixty (60)hour mandatory legal aid services rendered to indigent litigants as required under the

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Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Services for Practicing Lawyers, under BAR Matter No. 2012, issued by
the Supreme Court (R.A. 9999, Sec. 5).
The PAO, Department of Justice (DOJ) and other legal aid clinics accredited by the Supreme Court
shall refer pauper litigants to identified lawyers and professional partnerships. It shall issue a
certification that services were rendered by the lawyer or the professional partnership under this
act.
The certification shall include the cost of the actual services given.

JUDICIAL ETHICS

Principles that govern the Bangalore Draft.


The Bangalore Draft is founded upon a universal recognition that:
1. A competent, independent and impartial judiciary is essential if the courts are to fulfill their role
in upholding constitutionalism and the rule of law;
2. Public confidence in the judicial system and in the moral authority and integrity of the judiciary
is of utmost importance in a modern democratic society; and
3. It is essential that judges, individually and collectively, respect and honor judicial office as a
public trust and strive to enhance and maintain confidence in the judicial system (New Code of
Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, A.M. No. 03-05-01-SC, June 1, 2004).

44. Judge L is assigned in Turtle Province. His brother ran for Governor in Rabbit Province.
During the election period, Judge L took a leave of absence to help his brother
conceptualize the campaign strategy. He even contributed a modest amount to the
campaign kitty and hosted lunches and dinners. Did Judge L incur administrative and/or
criminal liability? (Bar, 2010)
Yes. Judge L incurred administrative liability. Rule 5.18 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which applies
suppletorily to the New Code of Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, provides that [A] Judge is
entitled to entertain personal views on political questions, but to avoid suspicion of political
partisanship, a judge shall not make political speeches, contribute to party funds, publicly endorse
candidates for political office or participate in other partisan political activities.
He may also be held criminally liable for violation of Sec. 26 (I) of the Omnibus Election Code, which
penalizes any officer or employee in the civil service who, directly or indirectly, intervenes, in any
election campaign or engages in any partisan political activity, except to vote or to preserve public
order.

Judges of the first and second level courts are allowed to receive assistance from the local
government units where they are stationed.
The Supreme Court has upheld the grant of allowances by local government units to judges,
prosecutors, public elementary and high school techers, and other national government officials
stationed in or assigned to the locality pursuant to Sections 447(a)(1)(xi), 458(a)(1)(xi) and 468(a)(1)
(xi) of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code. The Supreme Court held
that to rule against the power of the LGUs to grant allowances to judges will subvert the principle of
local autonomy zealously guaranteed by the Constitution. Hence, it is not improper for judges and
justices to receive allowances from local government units, since it is allowed by law for LGUs to give
the same (Dadole v. Commission on Audit (393 SCRA 262 [2002]), and Leynes v. Commission on Audit
(418 SCRA 180 [2003]).

Unethical for a judge to influence outcome of a case.


The conduct of a Judge may be considered unethical if he influences the outcome of a case.
Rule 2.04 of the Code of Judicial Conduct (now Sec. 3, Canon 1 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for
the Judiciary) provides that a judge should refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of
litigation or dispute pending before another court or administrative agency. Although Judge A did not
suggest to Judge C in whose favor the case should be decided, the fact that he introduced B as his
cousin is enough suggestion as to how the case should be decided. Canon 2 of the Code (now Sec. 1,
Canon 4 of the New Code) explicitly provides that a judge should avoid impropriety and the
appearance of impropriety in all activities.

No financial or business dealings of a judge.


Judge is guilty of violating Canon 5, Rule 5.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct for his act of
transacting with complainant in facilitating the transfer of the titles of the properties from
complainant's mother to complainant and her siblings during the conference in respondent judge's
chamber. Canon 5, Rule 5.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, provides, A judge shall refrain from
financial or business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on the court's partiality, interfere with the
proper performance of judicial activities, or increase involvement with lawyers or persons likely to come
before the court. A judge should so manage investments and other financial interests as to minimize
the number of cases giving ground for disqualification (Florence Ebersole Del Mar- Schuchman v. Judge
Efren M. Cacatian, A.M. No. RTJ-11-2279, April 6, 2011).

A judge as a witness in a document; not practice of law.


A judge who merely acted as a witness to a document and who explained to the party waiving
his rights of redemption over mortgaged properties and the consequences thereof, does not engage
himself in the practice of law. This appears to be more applicable to the case of Judge Maawain. He did
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not give professional advice in anticipation of litigation. He was just asked to review the deed of
extrajudicial settlement of estate. He signed merely as an instrumental witness and not as a legal
counsel. Besides, his act was an isolated act (De Castro v. Capulong, 118 SCRA 5 (1982)).

Act of judge of asking questions during trial is proper.


The judge can justify his intervention on any of the grounds mentioned by the rule, namely, to
promote justice, avoid waste of time, or clear up some obscurity. Thus, if in asking four questions
alternately with counsel for the defendant, Judge Mausisa was only trying to clear up some obscurity,
he cannot be accused of undue interference. But if his searching questions were such as to give the
impression that he was already acting as a counsel for the defendant, his conduct is improper (U.P. LAW
COMPLEX, Answer to the Bar Examination Questions in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises).

Burden of proof in administrative complaints against judges.


In administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving the allegations in his
complaint with substantial evidence, i.e., that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. Further, it is settled that the assessment of the
credibility of witnesses is a function primarily lodged in the Investigating Justice. The finding of
investigating magistrates are generally given great weight by the Court by reason of the unmatched
opportunity to see the deportment of the witnesses as they testified. The rule which concedes due
respect, and even finality, to the assessment of credibility of witnesses by trial judges in civil and
criminal cases applies a fortiori to administrative cases. However, there are some exceptions to the rule
according finality to the trial judges assessment of a witness testimony, such as when his evaluation
was reached arbitrarily or when the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or
circumstances of weight and substance which would affect the result of the case(Samahan ng mga
Babae sa Hudikatura (Samabahu) v. Judge Cesar O. Untalan, A.M. No. RTC-13-2363, February 25, 2015,
Villarama).

Nature of the Extra-Judicial Source Rule.


The said rules state that to warrant disqualification, the bias and prejudice must be shown to
have stemmed from an extra-judicial source and result in an opinion on the merits on some basis other
than what the judge learned from his participation in the case (Dipatuan v Mangotara, A.C. No. RTJ-09-
2190, April 23, 2010).

Distinctions between disqualification and inhibition of a judge.


Disqualification, compared to inhibition, is mandatory. The judge has no discretion. Further, the
grounds for the disqualification of a judge are enumerated in the Rules of Court. On the other hand, the
basis for inhibition is broad enough to leave the matter to the judges sound judgment.

Remittal of disqualification of a judge.


A judge disqualified may, instead of withdrawing from the proceeding, disclose on the records
the basis of disqualification. If, based on such disclosure, the parties and lawyers, independently of the
judge's participation, all agree in writing that the reason for inhibition is immaterial or unsubstantial,
the judge may then participate in the proceeding. The agreement, signed by all parties and lawyers,
shall be incorporated in the record of the proceedings (1989 Code, Canon 3, Rule 3.13).

Exceptions to the rule that judges and members of their families cannot accept gifts, award
or benefit.
Judges may accept gifts provided that it might not reasonably be perceived as intended to
influence him/her. Section 7(d) of RA 6713 allows the following: (NST)
i Gift of Nominal value tendered and received as a souvenir or mark of courtesy;
ii Scholarship or fellowship grant or medical treatment;
iii Travel grants or expenses for travel taking place entirely outside the Philippines of more
than nominal value if such acceptance is appropriate or consistent with the interest of the
Philippines, and permitted by the head office, branch or agency to which the judge belongs.

A judge may not stay at his house to make some research, resolve motions and make
decisions during days when he does not have scheduled hearings.
A judge must report to his office even if he has no hearing on regular days. Pursuant to Circular
No. 13, dated July 1, 1987, the Supreme Court emphasized the need for punctuality and the faithful
observance of office hours with Judges being enjoined to strictly observe the requirement of eight (8)
hours of service a day. This was reiterated in Administrative Circular No. 1 of January 28, 1988. In a
decided case, it was said that the law regulating court sessions does not permit any day off from
regular office hours to enable a judge to engage exclusively in research or decision-writing, no matter
how important (Lacuron v.Atienza, A.M. No. RTJ-90-456, January 14, 1992).

45. When can judges of the Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts perform
the function of notaries public ex officio, even if the notarization of the documents is not
in connection with the exercise of their official functions and duties?
MTC and MCTC judges assigned to municipalities of circuits with no lawyers or notaries public may,
in their capacity as notary public ex officio perform any act within the competency of a regular
notary public, provide that (1) all notarial fees charged be for the account of the government and
turned over to the municipal treasurer (Lapena vs Marcos, A.M. No. 1969-MJ), and (2) certification

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be made in the notarized documents attesting to the lack of any lawyer or notary public in such
municipality or circuit (Abadilla vs Tabiliran, A.M. MTC-92-716).

46. A judge is prohibited to serve as an executor, administrator, trustee, guardian and a


fiduciary. Is this rule absolute?
No. When the estate, trust, ward or person for whom he will act is a member of the immediate
family which is limited to the spouse and relatives within the second degree of consanguinity
provided that the judges services as fiduciary shall not interfere with the performance of his
judicial functions.

47. What is the duty to sit?


It is the duty of the judge to ensure that they would not be unnecessarily disqualified from a case.
The majority view is that the rule of disqualification of judges must yield to the demands of
necessity. A judge is not disqualified to sit in a case if there is no other judge available to hear and
decide the case. The doctrine operates on the principle that a basic judge is better than no judge at
all. Under such circumstances, it is the duty of the disqualified judge to hear and decide the
controversy, however disagreeable it may be (Parayno v. Menese, G.R. No. 112684, April 26, 1994).

Judge may not be subjected to disciplinary action for mere errors of judgment.
For the liability to attach for gross negligence of the law, the assailed order, decision or
actuation of a judge must not only be found erroneous but, most importantly, it must be established
that the judge was moved by bad faith, dishonesty, hatred, or some other like motive ( Dela Cruz v.
Concepcion, 235 SCRA 597).

When a judge is liable for rendering an unjust judgment.


A judge may be held liable for rendering an unjust judgment when he acts in bad faith, malice,
revenge or some other like motive (Heirs of the late Nassir Yasin v. Felix, 250 SCRA 545).

Judge may not grant nbail motu proprio.


The judges act of fixing the accuseds bail and reducing the same motu proprio is not merely a
deficiency in prudence, discretion and judgment on the part of the said judge, but a patent disregard of
well-known rules. When an error is so gross and patent, such error produces an inference of bad faith,
making the judge liable for gross ignorance of the law. Thus, the judge is administratively liable (Jorda
v. Judge Bitas, RTJ-14-2376, March 5, 2014).

Judge may be held liable on the basis of the anonymous letter-complaint.

Under Section 1 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, anonymous complaints may be filed against
judges, but they must be supported by public records of indubitable integrity. Courts have acted in such
instances needing no corroboration by evidence to be offered by the complainant. Thus, for anonymous
complaints, the burden of proof in administrative proceedings which usually rests with the complainant,
must be buttressed by indubitable public records and by what is sufficiently proven during the
investigation. If the burden of proof is not overcome, the respondent is under no obligation to prove his
defense (Anonymous v. Achas, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801, February 27, 2013).

48. A complaint was filed 24 years after the alleged offending act was committed, when the
judge was still a practicing lawyer prior to his appointment as judge. Will the complaint
be barred by prescription?
No. No matter how much time has elapsed from the time of the commission of the act complained
of and the time of the institution of the complaint, erring members of the bench and bar cannot
escape the disciplining arm of the Court (Heck v. Santos, A.M. No. RTJ-01-1657, February 23, 2004,
cited in AGUIRRE, 2014).

If a judge has already retired when an administrative case was filed against him, he is no
longer within the courts jurisdiction.
In order for the Court to acquire jurisdiction over an administrative case, the complaint must be
filed during the incumbency of the respondent. Once jurisdiction is acquired, it is not lost by reason of
respondents cessation from office. Administrative cases against judges instituted after tenure in office
effectively barred the Court from pursuing the administrative proceedings. Even if there are no
promulgated rules on the conduct of judicial audit, the absence of such rules should not serve as
license to recommend the imposition of penalties to retired judges who, during their incumbency, were
never given a chance to explain the circumstances behind the results of the judicial audit (Office of the
Court Administrator v. Andaya, A.M. NO. RTJ-09-2181, June 25, 2013).

49. State, with a brief explanation, whether the judge concerned may be sanctioned for the
conduct stated below.
a) Refusing to inhibit himself although one of the lawyers in the case is his second
cousin.
b) Deciding a case in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling but adding that he does
not agree with the ruling.

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c) Dictating his decision in open court immediately after trial.

a) One of the mandatory grounds for inhibition of a judge is when he is related to any of the
lawyers handling a case before him within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity
(Sec. 5 [f], New Code of Judicial Conduct, Section 1, Rule 137, Rules of Court). A second cousin
of a judge is his relative within the sixth degree. Hence, he may not be sanctioned for not
inhibiting on such ground.
b) There is nothing wrong with such action. In fact, if a judge of a lower court feels that a decision
of the Supreme Court is against his way of reasoning or against his conscience, he may state his
opinion, but apply the law in accordance with the interpretation of the Supreme Court (Alberto
v. CFI of Manila, G.R. No. L-26364, May 29, 1968).
c) There is no rule prohibiting such conduct, especially in simple cases such as when an accused
pleads guilty to an Information for a minor offense. But in complex and serious cases, such
conduct may be considered inappropriate and the judge accused of arriving at hasty decisions.
In the case of Young v. De Guzman, A.M. No. RTJ-96-1365, February 18, 1999, the Supreme
Court gave this advice:
x x x (T)he judge must not sacrifice for expediencys sake the fundamental requirements of
due process nor to forget that he must conscientiously endeavor each time to seek the truth, to
know and aptly apply the law, and to dispose of the controversy objectively and impartially, all
to the end that justice is done to every party (U.P. LAW COMPLEX, Answer to the Bar
Examination Questions in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises).

In ejectment cases, the first duty of a judge is to examine the allegations in the complaint
and the evidence appended to it, and to dismiss the case outright on any of the grounds
apparent for the dismissal of a civil action. If there is a ground for dismissal existing and
apparent upon the filing of the complaint, and yet the judge allowed the case to
unnecessarily drag on, the judge is guilty of undue delay in rendering a decision.
Under the Rule on Summary Procedure, the first duty of the respondent upon the filing of the
case for ejectment was to examine the allegations in the complaint and the evidence appended to it,
and to dismiss the case outright on any of the grounds apparent for the dismissal of a civil action. In
this case, the ground for dismissing the Civil Case existed and was apparent upon the filing of the basic
complaint. The representatives lack of personality was reflected in the corporate secretary's certificate
appended to the complaint. Yet, respondent judge allowed the case to unnecessarily drag on for more
than five years. Further, respondent having allowed several and doubtless unnecessary postponements
which contributed to the delay in the resolution of what was otherwise a simple case. Undue delay in
rendering a decision or order constitutes a less serious offense for which respondent is subjected to a
fine. (Josefina Naguiat v. Judge Mario B. Capellan, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1782 [Formerly OCA IPI No. 05-1807-
MTJ], March 23, 2011, Velasco, Jr., J)

Gross ignorance of the law on the part of a judge presupposes an appalling lack of
familiarity with simple rules of law or procedures and well-established jurisprudence which
tends to erode the public trust in the competence and fairness of the court which he
personifies.
Gross ignorance of the law on the part of a judge presupposes an appalling lack of familiarity
with simple rules of law or procedures and well-established jurisprudence which tends to erode the
public trust in the competence and fairness of the court which he personifies. Not to know the law as
basic, almost elementary, as the Rules of Court, or acting in disregard of established rule of law as if he
were not aware of the same constitutes gross ignorance whence no one is excused, especially an RTC
judge.
Respondent judge, in granting provisional custody over Geoffrey, Jr. in favor of his mother,
Eltesa, did not disregard the res judicata rule. The more appropriate description of the legal situation
engendered by the March 15, 2011 Order issued amidst the persistent plea of the child not to be
returned to his father, is that respondent judge exhibited fidelity to jurisprudential command to accord
primacy to the welfare and interest of a minor child. As it were, the matter of custody, to borrow from
Espiritu v. Court of Appeals," is not permanent and unalterable and can always be re-examined and
adjusted." And as aptly observed in a separate opinion in Dacasin v. Dacasin, a custody agreement can
never be regarded as "permanent and unbending," the simple reason being that the situation of the
parents and even of the child can change, such that sticking to the agreed arrangement would no
longer be to the latters best interest. In a very real sense, then, a judgment involving the custody of a
minor child cannot be accorded the force and effect of res judicata. (Geoffrey Beckett v. Judge Olegario
R. Sarmiento, A.M. RTJ-12-2326, January 30, 2013, Velasco, Jr., J)
No less than the 1987 Constitution, specifically Section 15(1), Article VIII, mandates lower courts
to decide or resolve all cases or matters within three (3) months from their date of submission. In
relation to this mandate, the Code of Judicial Conduct directs judges to dispose of their business
promptly and decide cases within the required period. The Court, in Administrative Circular No. 3-99
dated January 15, 1999, likewise requires judges to scrupulously observe the periods provided in the
Constitution. Failure to decide cases within the reglementary period, without strong and justifiable
reason, constitutes gross inefficiency warranting the imposition of an administrative sanction on the
defaulting judge. (Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon. Leodegario C. Quilatan, A.M. No. MTJ-09-
1745, September 27, 2010, Velasco, Jr., J)

Effect if judge delays the disposition of cases of his sala.

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A judges delay in acting on pending cases clearly demonstrated his inefficiency. He failed to
control the proceedings or course of the cases; to impose deadlines in the submission of documents or
performance of acts incident to the disposition of cases; and to resolve pending incidents on time; and
take appropriate action on incidents arising in the course of proceedings. A judge should at all times
remain in full control of the proceedings in his sala. Court management is ultimately his responsibility.
The court has always considered the failure of a judge to decide a case within ninety (90) days
as gross inefficiency and imposed either fine or suspension from service without pay for such. The fines
imposed vary in each case, depending chiefly on the number of cases not decided within the
reglementary period and other factors, to wit: the presence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances
the damage suffered by the parties as a result of the delay, the health and age of the judge, etc.
(Bernardo v. Judge Peter Montojo, A.M. No. MTJ-10-1754, October 20, 2010, Leonardo-de Castro, J).

Effect if a judge failed to decide 23 cases already submitted for decision within the
reglementary period.
Article VIII, Section 15(1) of the 1987 Constitution provides that lower courts have three months
within which to decide cases or resolve matters submitted to them for resolution. Moreover, Canon 3,
Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to dispose of their business promptly and
decide cases within the required period. In addition, under SC Administrative Circular No. 13 judges
shall observe scrupulously the periods prescribed by Article VIII, Section 15, of the Constitution for the
adjudication and resolution of all cases or matters submitted in their courts. Thus, all cases or matters
must be decided or resolved within twelve months from date of submission by all lower collegiate
courts while all other lower courts are given a period of three months to do so. The Court has
reiterated this admonition in SC Administrative Circular No. 3-99 which requires all judges to
scrupulously observe the periods prescribed in the Constitution for deciding cases and the failure to
comply therewith is considered a serious violation of the constitutional right of the parties to speedy
disposition of their cases. (Re: Submitted for Decision Before Judge Baluma, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2355,
September 2, 2013, Leonardo-de Castro, J).

Reason for the need to decide cases promptly.


The Court has consistently impressed upon judges the need to decide cases promptly and
expeditiously under the time-honored precept that justice delayed is justice denied. Every judge should
decide cases with dispatch and should be careful, punctual, and observant in the performance of his
functions for delay in the disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the
judiciary, lowers its standards and brings it into disrepute. Failure to decide a case within the
reglementary period is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency warranting the imposition of
administrative sanctions on the defaulting judge. (Re: Submitted for Decision Before Judge Baluma,
A.M. No. RTJ-13-2355, September 2, 2013, Leonardo-de Castro, J).
At the same time, however, the Court is also aware of the heavy case load of trial courts. The
Court has allowed reasonable extensions of time need to decide cases, but such extensions must first
be requested from the Court. A judge cannot by himself choose to prolong the period for deciding cases
beyond that authorized by law.

Q A judge was charged administratively for having delayed the rendition of judgment in
several cases submitted before him. May he be held liable? Explain.
Answer: Yes. Decision-making, among other duties, is the primordial and most important duty of a
member of the bench. The speedy disposition of cases in the courts is a primary aim of the judiciary so
the ends of justice may not be compromised and the judiciary will be true to its commitment to provide
litigants their constitutional right to a speedy trial and a speedy disposition of their cases.
A judge is mandated to render a decision not more than 90 days from the time a case is
submitted for decision. Judges are to dispose of the courts business promptly and decide cases within
the period specified in the Constitution, that is, 3 months from the filing of the last pleading, brief or
memorandum. Failure to observe said rule constitutes a ground for administrative sanction against the
defaulting judge, absent sufficient justification for his non-compliance therewith.
Rule 1.02, Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct states that judges should administer justice
without delay. Rule 3.05 of Canon 3 states that judges shall dispose of the courts business promptly
and decide cases within the required periods. In Office of the Court Administrator v. Javellana, the Court
held that:
A judge cannot choose his deadline for deciding cases pending before him.
Without an extension granted by this Court, the failure to decide even a single case within
the required period constitutes gross inefficiency that merits administrative sanction.
The Code of Judicial Conduct, specifically Canon3, Rule 3.05 mandates judges to
attend promptly to the business of the court and decide cases within the periods
prescribed by law and the Rules. Under the 1987 Constitution, lower court judges are also
mandated to decide cases within 90 days from submission. (OCA v. Judge Bustamante,
A.M. No. MTJ-12-1806, April 7, 2014, Leonardo-de Castro, J).
Judges must closely adhere to the Code of Judicial Conduct in order to preserve
the integrity, competence and independence of the judiciary and make the administration
of justice more efficient. Time and again, we have stressed the need to strictly observe
this duty so as not to negate our efforts to minimize, if not totally eradicate, the twin
problems of congestion and delay that have long plagued our courts.
In Office of the Court Administrator v. Garcia-Blanco, the Court held that the 90-
day reglementary period is mandatory. Failure to decide cases within the reglementary

25 |ABRC2016.Pointers in Legal and Judicial Ethics (combined)/EVSA/crys


period constitutes a ground for administrative liability except when there are valid
reasons for the delay.

Q State the effect if there is delay in the rendition of judgments. Explain.


Answer: Any delay in the administration of justice, no matter how brief, deprives the litigant of his right
to speedy disposition of his case. Not only does it magnify the cost of seeking justice, it undermines the
peoples faith and confidence in the judiciary, lowers its standards, and brings it to disrepute.
A member of the bench cannot pay mere lip service to the 90-day requirement; he/she should
instead persevere in its implementation. Heavy caseload and demanding workload are not valid reasons
to fall behind the mandatory period for disposition of cases. The Court usually allows reasonably
extensions of time to decide cases in view of the heavy caseload of the trial courts. If a judge is unable
to comply with the 90-day reglementary period for deciding cases or matters, he/she can, for good
reasons, ask for an extension and such request is generally granted. But the judge did not ask for an
extension in any of these cases. Having failed to decide a case within the required period, without any
order of extension granted by the Court, Judge Bustamante is liable for undue delay that merits
administrative sanction. (OCA v. Judge Bustamante, A.M. No. MTJ-12-1806, April 7, 2014, Leonardo-de
Castro, J).

Q A judge cited a person in contempt and ordered his detention for an inadvertent
usurpation of his parking lot on the theory that there was improper conduct on his part in
doing so. May the judge be penalized? Explain.
Answer: Yes. Under the Rules, after a charge in writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the
respondent to comment thereon within such period as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by
himself or counsel, a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt:
x x x.
(d) Any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or
degrade the administration of justice.

The phrase improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the
administration of justice is so broad and general that it encompasses wide spectrum of acts that could
constitute indirect contempt. However, the act of complainant in parking his car in a slot allegedly
reserved for respondent judge does not fall under this category. There was no showing that he acted
with malice and/or bad faith or that he was improperly motivated to delay the proceedings of the court
by making use of the parking slot supposedly reserved for respondent judge. It cannot also be said that
act of complainant constitutes disrespect to the dignity of the court. In sum, the incident is too flimsy
and inconsequential to be the basis of an indirect contempt proceeding. (Inonong v. Judge Francisco
Ibay, A.M. No. RTC-09-2175, July 28, 2009, Leonardo-de Castro, J).

When act considered contemptuous.


An act to be considered contemptuous must be clearly contrary or prohibited by the order of the
Court. A person cannot, for disobedience, be punished for contempt unless the act which is forbidden or
required to be done is clearly and exactly defined, so that there can be no reasonable doubt or
uncertainty as to what specific act or thing is forbidden or required. Here, the act of complainant is not
contrary or clearly prohibited by an order of the court.
The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts so as to preserve order in judicial
proceedings as well as to uphold the administration of justice. The courts must exercise the power of
contempt for purposes that are impersonal because that power is intended as a safeguard not for the
judges but for the functions they exercise. Thus, judges have, time and again, been enjoined to exercise
their contempt power judiciously, sparingly, with utmost restraint and with the end in view of utilizing
the same for correction and preservation of the dignity of the court, not for retaliation or vindication.
Respondent Judges act of unceremoniously citing complainant in contempt is a clear evidence of his
unjustified use of authority vested upon him by law.
Besides possessing the requisite learning in the law, a magistrate must exhibit that hallmark of
judicial temperament of utmost sobriety and self-restraint which are indispensable qualities of every
judge. Respondent judge himself has characterized this incident as a petty disturbance and he should
have not allowed himself to be annoyed to a point that he would even waste valuable court time and
resources on a trivial matter.
As for the appropriate penalty to be imposed, since this was not the first time respondent judge
was charged with grave abuse of authority in connection with his misuse of his contempt power. He was
fined in the amount of P40,000.00 (Lu Ym v. Mahinay).

Effect if a municipal court judge prepared and notarized an Extrajudicial Partition with
Sale.
SC Circular No. 1-90 prohibits judges from undertaking the preparation and acknowledgment of
private documents, contracts and other deeds of conveyance which have no direct relation to the
discharge of their official functions. In this case, respondent judge admitted that he prepared both the
document itself, entitled Extra-Judicial Partition with Simultaneous Absolute Deed of Sale and the
acknowledgment of the said document, which had no relation at all to the performance of his function
as a judge. These acts of respondent judge are clearly proscribed by the aforesaid Circular.
While it may be true that no notary public was available or residing within respondent judges
territorial jurisdiction, as shown by the certifications issued by the RTC Clerk of Court and the Municipal
Mayor of Talibon, Bohol, SC Circular No. 1-90 specifically requires that a certification attesting to the lack
of any lawyer or notary public in the said municipality or circuit be made in the notarized document.

26 |ABRC2016.Pointers in Legal and Judicial Ethics (combined)/EVSA/crys


Here, no such certification was made in the Extra-Judicial Partition with Simultaneous Absolute Deed of
Sale. Respondent judge also failed to indicate in his answer as to whether or not any notarial fee was
charged for that transaction, and if so, whether the same was turned over to the Municipal Treasurer of
Talibon, Bohol. Clearly, then, respondent judge, who was the sitting judge of the MCTC, Talibon-Getafe,
Bohol, failed to comply with the aforesaid conditions prescribed by SC Circular No. 1-90, even if he could
have acted as notary public ex-officio in the absence of any lawyer or notary public in the municipality
or circuit to which he was assigned. (Fuentes v. Judge Buno, A.M. No. MTJ-99-1204, July 28, 2008,
Leonardo-de Castro, J).

Effect if judge did not set the preliminary conference of an ejectment suit within 30 days
after the answer was filed.
Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a judge shall dispose of the
courts business promptly and decide cases within the required periods. In general, courts are required
to decide cases submitted for decision within three months from the date of such submission. With
respect to cases falling under the Rule on Summary Procedure, first level court are only allowed 30 days
following the receipt of the last affidavit and position paper, or the expiration of the period for filing the
same, within which to render judgment.
Competence is a mark of a good judge. When a judge displays an utter lack of familiarity with
the rules, he erodes the publics confidence in the competence of our courts. It is highly imperative that
judges be conversant with the law and basic legal principles. Basic legal procedures must be at the
palm of a judges hands. (Hipe v. Judge Literato, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1781, April 25, 2012, Leoanrdo-de
Castro, J).
The Court has constantly impressed upon judges the need to decide cases promptly and
expeditiously, for it cannot be gainsaid that justice delayed is justice denied. Delay in the disposition of
cases undermines the peoples faith and confidence in the judiciary. Hence, judges are enjoined to
decide cases with dispatch. Their failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the
imposition of administrative sanction on them.

Administrative complaints against judges are viewed with utmost care.

Q A judge was charged with sexual harassment by one of the employees of the court,
Allegedly, he kissed the lady-employee, rubbed his body against hers. when she pushed
him, he knelt down with one hand clasping her waist while the other was on her breast.
There was however no substantial evidence to prove the allegations. Can the judge be
penalized? Explain.
Answer: No, considering that there was no sufficient evidence to create a moral certainty that the judge
committed the act, he should be exonerated. Administrative complaints against members of the
judiciary are viewed by the Court with utmost care, for proceedings of this nature affect not only the
reputation of the respondents concerned, but the integrity of the entire judiciary as well. (Aquino v.
Acosta, 429 Phil. 498 [2002]). Considering that the complainants failed to present substantial evidence
to prove the alleged sexual advances committed against them by respondent, elementary justice
dictates that he be exonerated from the said charge. (Samahan ng mga Babae sa Hudikatura
(Samabahu) v. Judge Cesar O. Untalan, A.M. No. RTC-13-2363, February 25, 2015, Villarama, J).

Q In administrative complaints against judges who has the burden of proof? Explain.
Answer: In administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving the allegations in his
complaint with substantial evidence, i.e., that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. Further, it is settled that the assessment of the
credibility of witnesses is a function primarily lodged in the Investigating Justice. The finding of
investigating magistrates are generally given great weight by the Court by reason of the unmatched
opportunity to see the deportment of the witnesses as they testified. The rule which concedes due
respect, and even finality, to the assessment of credibility of witnesses by trial judges in civil and
criminal cases applies a fortiori to administrative cases. However, there are some exceptions to the rule
according finality to the trial judges assessment of a witness testimony, such as when his evaluation
was reached arbitrarily or when the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or
circumstances of weight and substance which would affect the result of the case. (Samahan ng mga
Babae sa Hudikatura (Samabahu) v. Judge Cesar O. Untalan, A.M. No. RTC-13-2363, February 25, 2015,
Villarama, J).

Q When is a work-related sexual harassment committed? Explain.


Answer: Under Section 3 of A.M. No. 03-03-13-SC (Re: Rule on Administrative Procedure in Sexual
Harassment Cases and Guidelines on Proper Work Decorum in the Judiciary), work-related sexual
harassment is committed by an official or employee in the judiciary who, having authority, influence or
moral ascendancy over another in a work environment, demands, requests or otherwise requires any
sexual favour from the other, regardless of whether the demand, request or requirement for submission
is accepted by the latter. It is committed when the sexual favour is made as a condition in the hiring or
in the employment, re-employment or continued employment of said individual, or in granting said
individual favourable compensation, terms, conditions, promotions, or privileges; or the refusal to grant
the sexual favour results in limiting, segregating or classifying the employee which in any way would
discriminate, deprive or diminish employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect said
employee. (Samahan ng mga Babae sa Hudikatura (Samabahu) v. Judge Cesar O. Untalan, A.M. No.
RTC-13-2363, February 25, 2015, Villarama, J).

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Judges utter disregard of procedural rules; penalty.

Q A complaint was filed against a judge alleging gross-ignorance of the law and gross
inefficiency. It appears that there were complaints for slight physical injuries before the
MTC. The accused filed a MTD on the ground that there was no prior referral to the Lupon
for conciliation which is prohibited under Sec. 412 of the Local Government Code. The
motion was denied, hence, the complaint. In his answer, the judge admitted and apologized
for his mistake, attributing it to pure oversight and inadvertence. He said that he had
no intention to disregard the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure or apply his own
interpretation of the rule. He explained that the inadvertence was mainly because of the
bulk of work that he had to attend to, as the case was brought to him barely a year since he
was appointed as a judge. He admitted that he erroneously thought that the certification
to file action was for Criminal Case No. 10-13570 and not Criminal Case 10-13569. Can the
judge be penalized? Explain.
Answer: Yes, because of his carelessness in disposing of the motion. His experience as a public attorney
and prosecutor should have ingrained in him well-settled doctrines and basic tenets of law. He cannot
be relieved from the consequences of his actions simply because he was newly appointed and his case
load was heavy. These circumstances are not unique to him. His carelessness disposition of the motions
is a reflection of his competency as a judge in discharging his official duties.
Judges are to be reminded that it is the height of incompetence to dispense cases callously and
in utter disregard of procedural rules. Whether the resort to the shortcuts is borne out of ignorance or
convenience is immaterial. Judges took an oath to dispense their duties with competence and integrity;
to fall short would be a disservice not only to the entire judicial system, but more importantly to the
public. Respondents failure must not be brushed aside. (Chua Keng Sin v. Judge Mangente, A.M. No.
MTJ-15-1851, February 11, 2015, Leonen, J).

Q To be able to render justice, what qualities should a judge possess? Explain.


Answer: To be able to render justice and maintain public confidence in the legal system, judges should
be embodiments of competence, integrity and independence. Judges are also expected to exhibit
more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules and to apply them properly in
all good faith. Judges are likewise expected to demonstrate mastery and the principles of law, keep
abreast of prevailing jurisprudence, and discharge their duties in accordance therewith.
It has been previously held that when a law or a rule is basic, judges owe it to their office to
simply apply the law. Anything less is gross ignorance of the law. There is gross ignorance of the law
when an error committed by the judge was gross patent, deliberate or malicious. It may also be
committed when a judge ignores, contradicts or fails to apply settled law and jurisprudence because of
bad faith, fraud, dishonesty, or corruption. Gross ignorance of the law or incompetence cannot be
excused by a claim of good faith. (Chua Keng Sin v. Judge Mangente, A.M. No. MTJ-15-1851, February
11, 2015, Leonen, J).

Q State the attributes and singularities of a judge? Explain.


Answer: The Constitution states: A member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence,
integrity, probity, and independence. (Art. VII, Sec. 7(3)).
He is a judge who is a man of learning who spends tirelessly the weary hours after midnight
acquainting himself with the great body of traditions and the learning of the law. He bears himself in
the community with friends but without familiars; almost lonely, evoking himself exclusively to the
most exacting mistress that man ever had, the law as a profession in its highest reaches where he not
only interprets the law but applies it, fearing neither friend nor foe, fearing only one thing in the world
that in a moment of abstraction, or due to human weakness, he may in fact commit some error and
fail to do justice. (Estoya v. Abraham-Singson, A.M. RTJ-91-758, September 26, 1994, 237 SCRA 1).
Judges are not common men and women, whose errors men and women forgive and time
forgets. Judges sit as embodiment of the peoples sense of justice, their least recourse where all
institutions have failed. (Dela Cruz v. Pascua, A.M. RTJ-99-1461, June 26, 2001, 359 SCRA 569).

Judges and public opinion

Q Explain the relationship between the judge on the one hand and media and public
opinion on the other.
Answer: Media, as an institution, is undisputedly a pillar of a democratic polity. It is the main engine in
the formulation of public opinion. It can indeed influence in large measure all instrumentalities of
government sometimes, even the judiciary. This reality sometimes clashes with the doctrine of
judicial independence and this happens when media intrudes into the domain of judicial
adjudication. In such a case, judges are advised that, in furtherance of the canon of judicial
independence, they should ignore public opinion, disregard intrusive editorials and columns and brush
aside the horn in arguments and opinions of TV and radio commentators.

In Go v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 101837, February 11, 1992, the SC said:
It appears that the trial court has been moved by a desire to cater to public
opinion to the detriment of the impartial administration of justice. The petitioner as
portrayed by media is not exactly a popular person. Nevertheless, the trial court should
not have been influenced by this irrelevant consideration, remembering instead that its
only guide was the mandate of the law.

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Corollary, a judge should not be afraid to render unpopular decisions. He is not
supposed to seek popularity but to render justice. If a judge believes that his decision is
supported by the evidence and the applicable law, he should render it even if he has a
reasonable apprehension that he would be pillored by media or the public for his
judgment. Justice commands that in such a situation, the judge should be willing to bite
the bullet that is what moral courage is all about! (Libarios v. Dabalos, A.M. RTJ-89-
1286, July 11, 1991, 199 SCRA 48).

Judges and their relationship with society


Section 6, Canon 1 provides:
SECTION 6. Judges shall be independent in relation to society in general and in
relation to the particular parties to a dispute which he or she has to adjudicate.
Q Describe the relationship of a judge with society? Explain.
Answer: It is not necessary to the proper performance of judicial duty that judges should live in
retirement or seclusion; it is desirable that, so far as the reasonable attention to the completion of their
work will permit, they continue to mingle in social intercourse, and that they should not discontinue
their interests in or appearance at meetings of members of the bar. A judge should, however, in
pending or prospective litigation before him be scrupulously careful to avoid such action as may
reasonably tend to weaken the suspicion that his social or business relations or friendships constitute
an element in determining his judicial course. (Canons of Judicial Ethics, Canon 30).
It is desirable that the judge should, as far as reasonably possible, refrain from all relations
which would normally tend to arouse the suspicion that such relations warp his judgment and prevent
an impartial attitude of mind in the administration of judicial duties. (Canons of Judicial Ethics, Canon
25 (Personal investment and relations), paragraph 1, 2 sentence).
Judges are not required to live a hermits life. They should socialize and be sensitive to social
concerns and developments. Judges may join civil, religious or professional organizations but their
membership in these organizations should not interfere with their judicial tasks. There is nothing more
regrettable and probably unbearable for a judge than to suffer an ignominious dismissal from the
service due to slothfulness and inefficiency and failure to render services that could have been fully
rendered were it not for the extrajudicial activities, which distracted the judges time and efforts from
his or her official duties. (E. Pineda, LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS, 1994 ed., p. 392).
More importantly, judges should not fraternize with litigants and their counsel. In fact, they
should make a conscious effort to avoid them in order to avoid the perception that their independence
has been compromised. Under the 1989 Code, a judge must refrain from financial and business
dealings that tend to increase involvement with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court.
(CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT, Canon 5, Rule 5.02).

Canon 3: Impartiality

Q A judge should be impartial. Explain the meaning of impartiality of a judge.


Answer: Impartiality is the capacity of a judge to apply the law and render justice fairly, without favor,
bias or prejudice.
A judge has both the duty of rendering a just decision and the duty of doing it in a manner
completely free from suspicion as to his fairness and integrity. The appearance of bias or prejudice can
be as damaging to public confidence and the administration of justice as actual bias or prejudice.
(Montemayor v. Bermejo, Jr., A.M. No. MTJ-04-1538, March 12, 2004, 425 SCRA 413).
While a judge should profess proficiency in law in order that he can competently construe and
enforce it, it is more important that he should act and behave in a manner that the parties before him
should have confidence in his impartiality. (Fernandez v. Presbitero, A.M. No. 486-MJ, September 13,
1977, 79 SCRA 60; Tan v. Gallardo, Nos. L-41213-14, October 5, 1976, 73 SCRA 306). Verily, a judge
should always exhibit the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. (Cojuangco v. PCGG, G.R. No. 92319-20,
October 2, 1990, 190 SCRA 226; Javier v. COMELEC, G.R. Nos. L-68379-81, September 22, 1986, 144
SCRA 194; Villapando v. Quitain, G.R. No. L-41333, January 20, 1977, 75 SCRA 25; Castillo v. Juan, G.R.
Nos. 39516-17, January 28, 1975, 62 SCRA 124).

Impermissible conduct and comment of a Judge


The manner and attitude of a trial judge are crucial to everyone concerned, the offended party,
no less than the accused. It is not for him to indulge or even to give the appearance of catering to the
at-times human failing of yielding to first impressions. He is to refrain from reaching hasty conclusions
or prejudging matters. It would be deplorable if he lays himself open to the suspicion of reacting to
feelings rather than to facts, of being imprisoned in the net of his own sympathies and predilections. It
must be obvious to the parties, as well as the public, that he follows the traditional mode of
adjudication requiring that he hears both sides with patience and understanding to keep the risk of
reaching an unjust decision at a minimum. It is not necessary that he should possess marked
proficiency in law, but it is essential that he is to hold the balance true. What is equally important is
that he should avoid any conduct that casts doubt on his impartiality. What has been said is not merely
a matter of judicial ethics; it is impressed with constitutional significance. (Castillo v. Juan, 62 SCRA
1245 (1975)).

Undue interference of a Judge in the conduct of trial

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Q A judge ordered the presentation of specific documentary evidence without a
corresponding motion from any party or without the participation of the parties. Is the act
of the judge proper? Why?
Answer: No. The act of the judge constituted undue interference in the conduct of the trial which
tended to build or bolster the case of one of the parties. The judges act violates the canon of
impartiality. (Ty v. Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank, G.R. Nos. 149797-98, February 13, 2004,
422 SCRA 649).
Certainly, a judge can ask questions from witnesses but this should be limited to clarifying
vague points in the narration of witnesses. Questions designed to disentangle obscurity in the
testimony and to elicit additional relevant evidence to fill in the gaps in a testimony are not improper.
(Paco v. Quilala, et. al., A.M. No. RTJ-02-1699, October 15, 2003, 413 SCRA 364). In other words, what is
prohibited is the asking of adversarial or impeaching questions.
In disposing of a criminal case, a judge should avoid appearing like an advocate for either party.
It is also improper for a judge to push actively for amicable settlement against the wishes of a party. A
judges unwelcome persistence makes the judge vulnerable to suspicions of favoritism. (Montemayor v.
Bermejo, Jr., A.M. No. MTJ-04-1535, March 12, 2004, 425 SCRA 40).

Not sufficient basis for inhibition of a Judge for bias or prejudice

Q A party litigant moved for the inhibition of a judge but did not present evidence of
partiality. Should the judge inhibit himself? Explain.
Answer: No. Bare allegations of partially and prejudgment will not suffice in the absence of clear and
convincing evidence to overcome the presumption that the judge will undertake his role to dispense
justice according to law and evidence without fear or favor. (Heirs of Juaban v. Boncale, et. al., G.R. No.
156011, July 6, 2008, 557 SCRA 1; Law Firm of Tungcol & Tibayan v. CA, G.R. No. 169298, July 9, 2008,
557 SCRA 451).
Inhibition must be for just and valid causes: mere impression of bias and partiality is not
ground for a judge to inhibit, especially when the charge is without sufficient basis. ( City of Naga v.
Asuncion, G.R. No. 174042, July 9, 2008, 528 SCRA 528).

Judges knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts

Q A judge inhibited himself on the ground that he had personal knowledge of the disputed
evidentiary facts. Is the act proper? Why?
Answer: In Umale v. Villaluz, G.R. No. 33508, May 25, 1973, 51 SCRA 84, the Supreme Court
commended a judge who voluntarily inhibited himself on the ground that he had personal knowledge of
the case.
When a judge has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the
proceedings, he should recuse from the case.
The purpose of this ground for disqualification is to avoid a situation where a judge may factor
into the decisional process facts which are not borne out by evidence duly presented in and admitted
by the court in the course of trial. Thus, any kind of knowledge of a judge which he obtains
extrajudicially about a case before him should be sufficient reason for him to recuse from the case. For
example, if a judge witnessed the killing of a person, he should disqualify himself from trying a criminal
case involving such incident which is filed and raffled to his court.

Q A Municipal Trial Court judge took cognizance of a criminal complaint lodged by his
brother, and issued a warrant of arrest. May the judge be disciplined for his act? Explain.
Answer: Yes, in fact such judge was dismissed from service. The rule on compulsory disqualification of a
judge to hear a case where, as in the instant case, the respondent judge is related to either party within
the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity rests on the salutary principle that no judge should preside
in a case in which he is not wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent. A judge has both the
duty of rendering a just decision and the duty of doing it in a manner completely free from suspicion as
to his fairness and integrity. The law conclusively presumes that a judge cannot objectively or
impartially sit in such a case and, for that reason, prohibits him and strikes at his authority to hear and
decide it, in the absence of written consent of all parties concerned. The purpose is to preserve the
peoples faith and confidence in the courts justice. (Garcia v. Dela Pena, A.M. No. MTJ-92-637, February
9, 1994, 229 SCRA 766).

Voluntary inhibition
A judge is allowed under the second paragraph of Section 1 of Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, to
voluntary inhibit from a case for just or valid reasons other than those grounds of disqualification. The
judge should always remind himself to hear or decide cases filed or raffled to his court. In inhibition of
judges, a judge may motu proprio or on motion of a party voluntarily recuse from a case if he has good
or valid reasons which render him incapable of acting objectively on the case.
Absent any ground for disqualification, a judge should not inhibit and if a motion to that effect
is filed, he should deny it if, despite the circumstances cited by the movant, he honestly believes that
he can act on the case objectively. That notwithstanding, it may be helpful for a judge, faced with a
motion to inhibit, to consider the counsel of the Supreme Court:
A judge may not be legally prohibited from sitting in a litigation. But when
suggestion is made of record that he might be induced to act in favor of one party or
with bias or prejudice against a litigant arising out of circumstances reasonably capable
of inciting such a state of mind, he should conduct a careful self-examination. He should
30 |ABRC2016.Pointers in Legal and Judicial Ethics (combined)/EVSA/crys
exercise his discretion in a way that the peoples faith in the courts of justice is not
impaired.

One factor that a judge should consider in resolving a motion for voluntary inhibition is the
availability of a judge to take over the case should he decide to recuse from it. Parayno v. Meneses,
G.R. No. 112684, April 26, 1994, 231 SCRA 807, suggests that under the circumstances, the judge
should not inhibit in order that justice may not be delayed.

Competence
The Constitution prescribes that a judge, among others, must be a person of proven
competence. Antithetical to competence is gross ignorance of the law. To constitute gross ignorance of
the law, an error or irregularity on the part of a judge on the application and interpretation of the law
must not only be contrary to law and jurisprudence but should be motivated by bad faith, fraud,
dishonesty, and corruption.

Administrative complaint against justices pending petition with SC is not proper; judicial
remedies should be availed.
The acts complained of in an administrative case against justices of the CA relate to the validity
of the proceedings before the CA which were done in the exercise of their judicial functions. Resort to
administrative charges against them is not proper.
Jurisprudence is replete with cases holding that errors, if any, committed by a judge in the
exercise of his adjudicative functions cannot be corrected through administrative proceedings, but
should instead be assailed through available judicial remedies. (Maylas, Jr. v. Sese, 529 Phil. 594, 597
(2006); Bautista v. Abdulwahid, A.M. OCA IPI No. 06-97-CA-J, May 2, 2006, 488 SCRA 428, 434).
Disciplinary proceedings against judges do not complement, supplement or substitute judicial remedies
and, thus, cannot be pursued simultaneously with the judicial remedies accorded to parties aggrieved
by their erroneous orders or judgments. (Monticalbo v. Maraya, Jr., A.M. No. RTJ-09-2197, April 13, 2011,
648 SCRA 573, 583, citing Flores v. Abesamis, 341 Phil. 299, 313 (1997)).
In Equitable PCI Bank, Inc. v. Lavia, 530 Phil. 441 (2006), it was ruled that resort to and
exhaustion of judicial remedies and a final ruling on the matter, are prerequisites for the taking of
appropriate measures against the judges concerned, whether of criminal, civil or administrative nature.
If the assailed act is subsequently found and declared to be correct, there would be no occasion to
proceed against him at all.
Resort to administrative disciplinary action prior to the final resolution of the judicial issues
involved constitutes an abuse of court processes that serves to disrupt rather than promote the orderly
administration of justice and further clog the courts dockets. Those who seek relief from the courts
must not be allowed to ignore basic legal rules and abuse court processes in their efforts to vindicate
their rights. (Re: Verified Complaint of AMA Land Inc. against Hon. Bueser, et al., A.M. OCA IPI No. 12-
202-CA-J, January 5, 2013; See also: Fernandez, et al. v. CA Associate Justice Bato, et al., A.M. OCA IPI
No. 12-201-CA-J, February 19, 2013).

Judges gross ignorance of the law.


Judges solemnized marriages even if the requirements submitted by the couples were
incomplete and of questionable character. Most of the documents showed visible signs of tampering,
erasures, corrections and superimpositions of entries related to the parties place of residence. These
actions of the judges constitute gross inefficiency. In Vega v. Asdala, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1977, October 23,
2006, it was held that inefficiency implies negligence, incompetence, ignorance and carelessness.
While there is a presumption of regularity in the performance of duties, However, this Court also
said in Sevilla v. Cardenas, G.R. No. 167684, July 31, 2006, it was said that the presumption of
regularity of official acts may be rebutted by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to perform a
duty. The visible superimpositions on the marriage licenses should have alerted the solemnizing
judges to the irregularity of the issuance.
It follows also that although Article 21 of the Family Code requires the submission of the
certificate from the embassy of the foreign party to the local registrar for acquiring a marriage license,
the judges should have been more diligent in reviewing the parties documents and qualifications. As
noted by the OCA, the absence of the required certificates coupled with the presence of mere affidavits
should have aroused suspicion as to the regularity of the marriage license issuance.
The judges gross ignorance of the law is also evident when they solemnized marriages under
Article 34 of the Family Code without the required qualifications and with the existence of legal
impediments such as minority of a party. Marriages of exceptional character such as those made under
Article 34 are, doubtless, the exceptions to the rule on the indispensability of the formal requisite of a
marriage license. Under the rules of statutory construction, exceptions as a general rule should be
strictly but reasonably construed. The affidavits of cohabitation should not be issued and accepted pro
forma particularly in view of the settled rulings of the Court on this matter. The five-year period of
cohabitation should be one of a perfect union valid under the law but rendered imperfect only by the
absence of the marriage contract. (Ninal v. Bayadog, 384 Phil. 661 (2000)). The parties should have
been capacitated to marry each other during the entire period and not only at the time of the marriage.
(Ninal v. Badayog, supra.).
The respondent judges violated Canons 2 and 6 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics which exact
competence, integrity and probity in the performance of their duties. This Court previously said that
Ignorance of the law is a mark of incompetence, and where the law involved is elementary, ignorance
thereof is considered as an indication of lack of integrity. In connection with this, the administration of
justice is considered a sacred task and upon assumption to office, a judge ceases to be an ordinary

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mortal. He or she becomes the visible representation of the law and more importantly of justice. (OCA
v. Judge Necessario, et al., A.M. No. MTJ-07-1691, April 2, 2013).

Judge should avoid impropriety.

Q During the hearing a case, where Mayor Villarosa was a party, stepped out of the
courtroom to take a call. He exited through the door used by the judge and the employees
of the court. According to complainants, the Mayor did not speak to anyone, not even his
lawyer, before leaving the courtroom. Thus, it came as a surprise to everyone when
respondent suddenly explained that the Mayor had to excuse himself for an important
appointment. May the judge be penalized for such action? Explain.
Answer: Yes, because of acts of impropriety. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of
impropriety in all of their activities. (Canon 4).
The above provisions clearly enjoin judges not only from committing acts of impropriety, but
even acts that have the appearance of impropriety. This is because appearance is as important as
reality in the performance of judicial functions. A judge like Ceasar's wife must not only be pure
and faithful, but must also be above suspicion. (Dionisio v. Escao, 362 Phil. 46 [1999]).
In this case, instead of reprimanding Mayor Villarosa for not asking for the courts permission to
leave while the trial was ongoing, respondent appeared to serve as the formers advocate. He did so by
declaring in open court that the abrupt exit of the Mayor should be excused, as the latter had an
important appointment to attend. Respondent does not deny this in his Comment. It was the Mayors
lawyer, and not respondent judge, who had the duty of explaining why the mayor left the courtroom
without asking for the courts permission.
The New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary mandates that judges must not
only maintain their independence, integrity and impartiality; they must also avoid any appearance of
impropriety or partiality, which may erode the people's faith in the Judiciary. (Re: Letter of Presiding
Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. on CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 [Antonio Rosete v. Securities and Exchange
Commission], 586 Phil. 321 [2008]). Members of the Judiciary should be beyond reproach and suspicion
in their conduct, and should be free from any appearance of impropriety in the discharge of their official
duties, as well as in their personal behavior and everyday life. (Ladignon v. Garong, 584 Phil. 352
[2008]).
The actions of respondent no doubt diminished public confidence and public trust in him as a
judge. He gave petitioners reason to doubt his integrity and impartiality. Petitioners cannot be blamed
for thinking that respondent must have directly communicated with Mayor Villarosa. Otherwise, he
would not have been able to explain that the Mayor could no longer return to attend the hearing after
leaving, when not even the latters own lawyers knew that. (Ascano, Jr., et al. v. Judge Jose Jacinto, Jr.,
A.M. No. RTJ-15-2405, January 12, 2015).

CANON 3
IMPARTIALITY

SECTION 2. Judges shall ensure that his or her conduct, both in and out of court, maintains and
enhances the confidence of the public, the legal profession and litigants in the impartiality of the judge
and of the judiciary.
It is clear from all the foregoing that respondent is guilty of conduct unbecoming a judge.

Q Petitioners claimed that during the hearings of a case that the judge argued, berated,
accused, scolded, confused and admonished petitioners without basis or
justification. They further claimed that respondent judge asked complainants confusing
and misleading questions all geared and intended to elicit answers damaging to the cause
of petitioners and favorable to the cause of their adversary. May the judge be penalized
for his actions? Explain.
Answer: Yes. The judge raised his voice and uttered abrasive and unnecessary remarks to petitioners
witness.31 Respondent failed to conduct himself in accordance with the mandate of Section 6, Canon 6
of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, (A.M. NO. 03-05-01-SC [2004]) which
reads:
SECTION 6. Judges shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the
court and be patient, dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers
and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity. Judges shall require similar
conduct of legal representatives, court staff and others subject to their influence, direction
or control.

A Judge should be considerate, courteous and civil to all persons who come to his court, (De la
Cruz v. Carretas, 559 Phil. 5 (2007) citing Retuya v. Equipilag, 180 Phil. 335 [1979]), viz:
It is reprehensible for a judge to humiliate a lawyer, litigant or witness. The act
betrays lack of patience, prudence and restraint. Thus, a judge must at all times be
temperate in his language. He must choose his words, written or spoken, with utmost care
and sufficient control. The wise and just man is esteemed for his discernment. Pleasing
speech increases his persuasiveness. (Ascano, Jr., et al. v. Judge Jose Jacinto, Jr., A.M. No.
RTJ-15-2405, January 12, 2015).

IMPEACHMENT

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50. What are the grounds that may warrant the impeachment of a member of the Supreme
Court?
Section 2, Art. XI of the Constitution provides that: The President, the Vice-President, the Members
of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may
be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of:
a. culpable violation of the Constitution;
b. treason;
c. bribery;
d. graft and corruption;
e. other high crimes or
f. betrayal of public trust.

All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by
impeachment.

51. Atty. Cuenco filed a complaint for the disbarment alleging that Justice Fernan appeared
as counsel for the instituted heirs in the Vito Borromeo intestate estate proceedings,
and despite having already accepted his appointment as an Associate Justice of the
Court, continues to be counsel for the instituted heirs. He also alleged that Justice
Fernan exerted personal efforts to take away the Vito Borromeo proceedings from the
Supreme Court en banc, the First and Second Divisions, to his Office to enable him to
influence the decision or the outcome. The records, however, reveal that Justice Fernan
withdrew as counsel as early as February 19, 1968, long before his appointment to the
Court in April 1986. An annotation appears beside his signature, which states: No part
I appeared as counsel for one of the parties. Will the complaint for disbarment
prosper?
No. Members of the Supreme Court must, under Article VIII (7) (1) of the Constitution, be members
of the Philippine Bar and may be removed from office only by impeachment (Article XI [2],
Constitution). To grant a complaint for disbarment of a Member of the Court during the Member's
incumbency, would in effect be to circumvent and hence to ran afoul of the constitutional mandate
that Members of the Court may be removed from office only by impeachment for and conviction of
certain offenses listed in Article XI (2) of the Constitution (Cuenco v.Fernan, A.M. No. 3135,
February 17, 1988).

ETHICAL LESSONS FROM FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE CORONAS IMPEACHMENT

52. In the case for Xs impeachment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, X admitted that
he has P80 Million in 3 Peso accounts and US$2.4 Million in 4 US Dollar accounts, but
that he had purposely not declared these assets for 2 reasons: (1) That his Peso
accounts represented "co-mingled funds" with the funds belonging to other parties such
as the Basa Guidote Enterprises, Inc. (BGEI) or his children, and (2) That he was not
required to report or declare his foreign currency deposits in his SALN because they
were absolutely confidential under R.A. 6426. Is he correct?
No. If, indeed, any of the Respondents cash deposits were co-mingled with the funds belonging to
other parties, the Respondent was still duty-bound to declare these deposits in his SALN, they being
admittedly under his name. Assuming that any part of such deposits in truth belonged to third
parties, the Respondent could have indicated such third-party funds as corresponding liabilities in
his SALN. That would have reflected his real net worth.
As regards the second contention, the Respondent Chief Justice's reliance on the absolute
confidentiality accorded to foreign currency deposits under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6426 is
grossly misplaced. The Constitution, in Article XI, Sec. 17, provides that "A public officer or
employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often as may be required by law, submit a
declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth. x x x "
The provisions of R.A. 6426 cannot be interpreted as an exception to the unequivocal command and
tenor of Article XI, Sec. 17, of the 1987 Constitution. x x x The so-called conflict of laws between
R.A. Nos. 6713 and 6426 is more illusory than real. Section 8 of R.A. No. 6426 merely prohibits the
examination, inquiry or looking into a foreign currency deposit account by an entity or person other
than the depositor himself. But there is nothing in R.A. No. 6426 which prohibits the depositor from
making a declaration on his own of such foreign currency funds, especially in this case where the
Constitution mandates the depositor who is a public officer to declare all assets under oath (The
vote of the Senate President HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, On Article II of the Articles of Impeachment
against Hon. Chief Justice Renato C. Corona).

RULE 135 POWERS AND DUTIES OF COURTS AND JUDICIALOFFICERS

Sec. 1. Courts always open; justice to be promptly and impartially administered, for the
following:
1. Filing of any pleading, motion or other papers;
2. The trial of cases;
3. Hearing of motions; and
4. Issuance of orders or rendition of judgments.
Exception: Legal holidays

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Sec. 2. Publicity of proceedings and records.
As to publicity of proceedings
General Rule: The sitting of every court of justice shall be public.
Exception: Evidence to be adduced in the interest of morality or decency.

As to publicity of records
General Rule: The records of every court of justice shall be public records, available for the
inspection of any interested person, at all proper business hours, under the supervision of the
clerk having custody of such records,
Exception: Any special case, have forbidden their publicity, in the interest of morality or
decency.

Sec. 3.Process of superior courts enforced throughout the Philippines.


Process issued from a superior court in which a case is pending to bring in a defendant, or for
the arrest of any accused person, or to execute any order or judgment of the court, may be
enforced in any part of the Philippines.

Sec. 4. Process of inferior courts.


Enforceable within the province where the municipality or city lies and shall not be served
outside the boundaries of the province in which they are compromise.
Exception: On the following cases, with the approval of the judge of first instance of said
province;
a. When an order for the delivery of personal property lying outside the province is to be
complied with;
b. When an attachment of real or personal property lying outside the province is to be
made;
c. When the action is against two or more defendants residing in different provinces; and
d. When the place where the case has been brought is that specified in a contract in
writing between the parties, or is the place of the execution of such contract as appears
therefrom;

Writs of execution issued by inferior courts may be enforced in any part of the part of the
Philippines without any previous approval of the judge of first instance.
Criminal process may be issued by a justice of the peace or other inferior court, to be served
outside his province, when the district judge, or in his absence the provincial fiscal, shall certify that
in his opinion the interest of justice require such service.

Sec. 5. Inherent powers of court


a. Preserve and enforce order in its immediate presence;
b. Enforce order in proceedings before it, or before a person or persons empowered to conduct
a judicial investigation under its authority;
c. Compel obedience to its judgments, orders and processes, and to the lawful orders of a
judge out of court, in a case pending therein;
d. Control, in furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial officers, and of all other
persons in any manner connected with a case before it, in every manner appertaining
thereto;
e. Compel the attendance of persons to testify in a case pending therein;
f. Administer or cause to be administered oaths in a case pending therein, and in all other
cases where it may be necessary in the exercise of its powers;
g. Amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conformable to law and
justice; and
h. Authorize a copy of a lost or destroyed pleading or other paper to be filed and used instead
of the original, and to restore, and supply deficiencies in its records and proceedings.

Sec. 6. Means to carry jurisdiction into effect.


When by law, jurisdiction is conferred on a court or judicial officer, all auxiliary writs, processes
and other means necessary to carry it into effect may be employed by such court or officer.
If the procedure to be followed in the exercise of such jurisdiction is not specifically pointed out
by law or by these rules, any suitable process or mode of proceeding may be adopted which
appears comfortable to the spirit of the said law or rules.

Sec. 8. Interlocutory orders out of province.


A judge of first instance shall have power to hear and determine, when within the district
though without his province, any interlocutory motion or issue after due and reasonable notice
to the parties. On the filing in Court of First Instance, the hearings on the following may be had
at any place in the judicial district which the judge shall deem convenient:
1. writ of habeas corpus;
2. release upon bail; and
3. reduction of bail

Sec. 9. Signing judgments out of province.

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Whenever a judge appointed or assigned in any province or branch of a Court of First Instance
in a province shall leave the province by transfer or assignment to another court of equal
jurisdiction, or by expiration of his temporary assignment, without having decided a case totally
heard by him and which was argued or an opportunity given for argument to the parties or their
counsel, it shall be lawful for him to do the following;
1. prepare and sign his decision in said case anywhere within the Philippines;
2. send the same by registered mail to the clerk of the court where the case was heard or
argued to be filed therein as of the date when the same was received by the clerk, in the
same manner as if he had been present in court to direct the filing of the judgment; and
3. If a case has been heard only in part, the Supreme Court, upon petition of any of the parties
to the case and the recommendation of the respective district judge, may also authorize the
judge who has partly heard the case, if no other judge had heard the case in part, to
continue hearing and to decide said case notwithstanding his transfer or appointment to
another court of equal jurisdiction.

RULE 137 DISQUALIFICATION OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS

Grounds for Disqualification and Inhibition of Judges under the Rules of Court:
1. Mandatory or Compulsory Disqualification (RULES OF COURT, Rule 137)(PREP)
a. When he, or his wife, or child is Pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise;
b. When he is Related to either party within the sixth (6 th) degree of consanguinity or affinity or
to counsel within the fourth (4th) civil degree;
c. When he has been an Executor, guardian, administrator, trustee or counsel; or
d. When he has Presided in an inferior court where his ruling or decision is subject to review.

2. Voluntary Inhibition: A judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself,
for just and valid reasons other than those mentioned above (Rule 137, Sec. 1).
Rationale: No judge should handle a case in which he might be perceived, rightly or wrongly,
to be susceptible to bias and partiality (Ubanes v. Court of Appeals, 236 SCRA 72, 1994).

53. Rebeccas complaint was raffled to the sala of Judge A. Rebecca is a daughter of Judge
As wife by a previous marriage. This is known to the defendant who does not, however,
file a motion to inhibit the Judge. Is the Judge justified in not inhibiting himself from the
case?
No. The judge is not justified in not inhibiting himself. It is mandatory for him to inhibit if he is
related to any of the parties bv consanguinity or affinity within the sixth civil. Judge A, being the
stepfather of Rebecca, is related to her by affinity by just one degree. Judges shall disqualify
themselves from participating in any proceeding in which they are unable to decide the matter
impartially or in which it may appear to a reasonable observer that they are unable to decide the
matter impartially. The fact that Rebecca is a daughter of Judge As wife is enough to make a
reasonable observer doubt him impartiality (U.P. LAW COMPLEX, Answer to the Bar Examination
Questions in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises)

54. In a criminal case for falsification and use of falsified document, the judge was charged
with impartiality for having failed to inhibit himself despite the fact that he was related
to the accused within the fourth degree of affinity, the wife of the accused being the
first cousin of the judge. Was the act of the judge proper? Explain.
No. Under Rule 137, Sec. 1 of the Rules of Court, a judge who is related within the sixth degree of
consanguinity or affinity to a party in a case is disqualified from sitting in the case without the
consent of all parties, expressed in writing, signed by them, and entered upon the record. This
prohibition is not limited to cases in which he acts by resolving motions and issuing orders as
respondent judge has done in the subject criminal case. The purpose of the prohibition is to prevent
not only a conflict of interest but also the appearance of impropriety on the part of the judge. A
judge should take no part in a proceeding where his impartiality might reasonably be questioned
(Canon 3, Rule 3.12) and he should administer justice impartially and without delay (Canon 1, Rule
1.02; Lazo v. Judge Antonio Tiong, A.M. No. MTJ-98-1173, December 15, 1998, 101 SCAD 692).

55. RTC Judge Q is a deacon in the Iglesia ni Kristo church in San Francisco del Monte,
Quezon City. R, a member of the same religious sect belonging to the same INK
community in San Francisco del Monte, filed a case against S who belongs to the El
Shaddai charismatic group. The case was raffled to Judge Qs sala. The lawyer of S filed
a motion to disqualify Judge Q on the ground that since he and the plaintiff belonged to
the same religious sect and community in San Francisco del Monte, Judge Q would not
possess the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. Judge Q denied the motion on the
ground that the reason invoked for his disqualification was not among the grounds for
disqualification under the Rules of Court and the Code of Judicial Conduct. Was Judge
Qs denial of the motion for inhibition well-founded?
Yes. The fact that Judge Q and Litigant R both belong to the INK while Litigant S belongs to the El
Shaddai group, is not a mandatory ground for disqualifying Judge Q from presiding over the case.
The motion for his inhibition is addressed to his sound discretion and he should exercise the same
in a way the peoples faith in the courts of justice is not impaired. He should reflect on the

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probability that a losing party might nurture at the back of his mind the thought that the Judge had
unmeritoriously tilted the scales of justice against him (Dimacuha v. Concepcion, 117 SCRA 630).

56. A judge, in order to ease his clogged docket, would exert efforts to compel the accused
in criminal cases to plead guilty to a lesser offense and advise party litigants in civil
cases, whose petitions appear weak, to accept the compromise offered by the opposing
party. Is the practice legally acceptable?
Yes. The practice is legally acceptable as long as the judge does not exert pressure on the parties
and takes care that he does not appear to have prejudged the case. Where a judge has told a party
that his case is weak before the latter was fully heard, such was considered as a ground for his
disqualification (Castillo v. Juan, 62 SCRA 124).

Good Luck to All 2016 Bar Examinees

We Are Praying for Your Success


God Bless

From: ABRC Family

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