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SOLIMAN, VICTOR JERIC B.

PROBLEM AREAS IN LEGAL ETHICS - 3A


JUDGE ARNULFO CABREDO
SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

1. Section 5, Canon 3, of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary
provides for the following ground to disqualify a judge from trying a case:

a. the judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a party or personal knowledge of
disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings;
b. the judge previously served as a lawyer or was a material witness in the matter in
controversy;
c. the judge, or a member of his or her family, has an economic interest in the
outcome of the matter in controversy;
d. the judge served as executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or lawyer in the case
or matter in controversy, or a former associate of the judge served as counsel
during their association, or the judge or lawyer was a material witness therein;
e. the judges ruling in a lower court is the subject of review;
f. the judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth
civil degree or to counsel within the fourth civil degree; or
g. the judge knows that his or her spouse or child has a financial interest, as heir,
legatee, creditor, fiduciary, or otherwise, in the subject matter in controversy or in a
party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by
the outcome of the proceedings.

This list is, however, not exclusive.

2. The law on agency provides that an act performed by the counsel, for or on behalf of his
client, by virtue and within the scope of a general or implied authority, is regarded as an act
of the latter. Hence, the mistake of the former, though prejudicial to the client binds the
latter.

3. Yes. The law on agency provides, as a general rule, that in an attorney- client
relationship, the act of the counsel shall bind his client, provided, the former performs by
virtue and within the scope of a general or implied authority given by the latter.

However, this rule in not absolute and admits the following exceptions:

a. where reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of
law;
b. when its application will result in outright deprivation of the clients liberty or
property; or
c. where the interests of justice so require.

4. Qualified. The Family Code provides, that relations of the spouses shall be governed by
their marriage settlement executed during the marriage. Such marriage settlement shall be
valid and binding provided the marriage is subsequently celebrated.
In the instant case, if the spouses executed a marriage settlement during their marriage,
incorporating therein their agreement as to the custody of their children, support, division
of property and a provision stating that neither of them should institute a case for adultery
and concubinage, the same shall be valid.

However, if no marriage settlement was executed, the pertinent provisions of the


Family Code shall apply. Consequently, if no valid marriage exist between the spouses, or
when one was celebrated but was subsequently annulled or judicially declared void, the
stipulations agreed to by the parties as confirmed by the court shall be binding.

5. No. The rules under the Canons on Legal and Judicial Ethics provide that a lawyer shall
not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal business. Further,
lawyers best advertisement is his unquestionable integrity and competence. He may
however, be allowed to advertise under the following circumstances:

a. notices in newspapers announcing the opening of the law firm and its address;
b. notice of change of the law firms address;
c. giving of calling cards; and
d. write- ups in legal periodicals carrying the by- line where the name of the lawyer
and his address appears.

In the instant case, the lawyers balik- bayan friends act of publishing the formers
expertise in a newspaper of general circulation, although not directly, is in clear violation of
the aforementioned rule and is thus, unethical.

6. No. The law on agency provides for the theory on imputed knowledge. This theory
states that, knowledge of the agent is presumed imputed to the principal even though the
former never communicated such knowledge to the latter.

This rule, however, cannot be applied conversely. In the instant case, the client, being
the principal, cannot just hire a collaborating lawyer without informing his present counsel
on record, as the agent, of such subsequent undertaking.

7. The lawyers act is ethical. The Canons of Professional Ethics provide, that a lawyer may
with propriety write articles for publications in which he gives information upon the law; but
he could not accept employment from such publication to advice inquiries in respect to their
individual rights.

In the instant case, discussion of legal stories and cases decided by the Court in a regular
column of a newspaper of general circulation is within the ambit of what the law
contemplates as giving information of the law.

8. Rule 139- B of the Rules of Court provide for the procedure in disbarment cases:

Proceedings for the disbarment of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court motu
propio, or by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) upon the verified complaint of any
person.
A. PROCEEDINGS IN THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES

a. The Board of Governors shall appoint from among IBP members an Investigator or,
when special circumstances so warrant, a panel of three (3) investigators to
investigate the complaint.
b. The National Grievance Investigators shall investigate all complaints against
members of the Integrated Bar referred to them by the IBP Board of Governors.
c. If the complaint appears to be meritorious, the Investigator shall direct that a copy
thereof be served upon the respondent, requiring him to answer the same within
fifteen (15) days from the date of service. If the complaint does not merit action, or
if the answer shows to the satisfaction of the Investigator that the complaint is not
meritorious, the same may be dismissed by the Board of Governors upon his
recommendation. A copy of the resolution of dismissal shall be furnished the
complainant and the Supreme Court which may review the case motu propio or
upon timely appeal of the complainant filed within 15 days from notice of the
dismissal of the complainant.
d. No investigation shall be interrupted or terminated by reason of the desistance,
settlement, compromise, restitution, withdrawal of the charges, or failure of the
complainant to prosecute the same, unless the Supreme Court motu propio or upon
recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors, determines that there is no
compelling reason to continue with the disbarment or suspension proceedings
against the respondent.
e. Upon joinder of issues or upon failure of the respondent to answer, the Investigator
shall, with deliberate speed, proceed with the investigation of the case. He shall
have the power to issue subpoenas and administer oaths. The respondent shall be
given full opportunity to defend himself, to present witnesses on his behalf, and be
heard by himself and counsel. However, if upon reasonable notice, the respondent
fails to appear, the investigation shall proceed ex parte.
f. The Investigator shall terminate the investigation within three (3) months from the
date of its commencement, unless extended for good cause by the Board of
Governors upon prior application.
g. Not later than thirty (30) days from the termination of the investigation, the
Investigator shall submit a report containing his findings of fact and
recommendations to the IBP Board of Governors, together with the stenographic
notes and the transcript thereof, and all the evidence presented during the
investigation.
h. Every case heard by an investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP Board of Governors
upon the record and evidence transmitted to it by the Investigator with his report.
The decision of the Board upon such review shall be in writing and shall clearly and
distinctly state the facts and the reasons on which it is based. It shall be
promulgated within a period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next meeting
of the Board following the submittal of the Investigator's Report.
i. Notice of the resolution or decision of the Board shall be given to all parties through
their counsel. A copy of the same shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court.

B. PROCEEDINGS IN THE SUPREME COURT


j. In proceedings initiated motu propio by the Supreme Court or in other proceedings
when the interest of justice so requires, the Supreme Court may refer the case for
investigation to the Solicitor-General or to any officer of the Supreme Court or judge
of a lower court, in which case the investigation shall proceed in the same manner
provided in letters c- g hereof, save that the review of the report of investigation
shall be conducted directly by the Supreme Court.
k. Based upon the evidence adduced at the investigation, the Solicitor General or
other Investigator designated by the Supreme Court shall submit to the Supreme
Court a report containing his findings of fact and recommendations for the final
action of the Supreme Court.