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In the creation of lawyer-client relationship, there are rules, ethical

conduct and duties that breathe life into it, among those, the fiduciary
duty to his client which is of a very delicate, exacting and confidential For the privilege to arise, first and foremost is the requisite that an
character, requiring a very high degree of fidelity and good faith, that attorney-client relation exist. The test is whether the communications
is required by reason of necessity and public interest based on the are made to an attorney with a view to obtaining professional
hypothesis that abstinence from seeking legal advice in a good cause assistance or advice.3
is an evil which is fatal to the administration of justice.

It is also the strict sence of fidelity of a lawyer to his client that The phrase with a view to obtaining professional assistance or advice
distinguishes him from any other professional in society. includes preparatory consultations prior to the formalization of a
Statute Law (a) The Revised Penal Code (RPC) provides: ART. 209. professional employment, but with an intent on the part of the would-
Betrayal of trust by an attorney or solicitor-Revelation of Secrets- In be client to engage the services of the attorney in the future.
addition to the proper administrative action, the penalty of prison
correccional in its minimum period, or a fine ranging from P200 to
P1,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any attorney-at-law or LEGAL ETHICS; LAWYER-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP; BOUND BY RULES,
solicitor (procurador judicial) who, by any malicious breach of ETHICAL CONDUCT AND DUTIES; RATIONALE.- In the creation of
professional duty or inexcusable negligence or ignorance, shall lawyer-client relationship, there are rules, ethical conduct and duties
prejudice his client, or reveal any of the secrets of the latter learned by that breathe life into it, among those, the fiduciary duty to his client
him in his professional capacity. The same penalty shall be imposed which is of a very delicate, exacting and confidential character,
upon an attorney-at-law or solicitor (procurador judicial) who, having requiring a very high degree of fidelity and good faith, that is required
undertaken the defense of a client or having received confidential by reason of necessity and public interest based on the hypothesis that
information from said client in a case, shall undertake the defense of abstinence from seeking legal advice in a good cause is an evil which
the opposing party in the same case, without the consent of his first is fatal to the administration of justice. It is also the strict sence of
client. The RPC prohibits and penalizes any revelation of secrets of the fidelity of a lawyer to his client that distinguishes him from any other
client by the attorney learned by him in his professional capacity. professional in society. This conception is entrenched and embodies
This revelation is punishable whether it be through malicious intent or centuries of established and stable tradition. Considerations favoring
otherwise, i.e., through negligence or ignorance. confidentiality in lawyer-client relationships are many and serve several
constitutional and policy concerns. In the constitutional sphere, the
The statute likewise prohibits an attorney to defend a clients opponent privilege gives flesh to one of the most sacrosanct rights available to
in the same case wherein he undertook to defend the said client, or the accused, the right to counsel. If a client were made to choose
reveal any confidential information from said client to the opponent, between legal representation without effective communication and
without consent from the former.
disclosure and legal representation with all his secrets revealed then consultation, then the professional employments is established.
he might be compelled, in some instances, to either opt to stay away
from the judicial system or to lose the right to counsel.If the price of Likewise, a lawyer-client relationship exists notwithstanding the close
disclosure is too high, or if it amounts to self incrimination, then the personal relationship between the lawyer and the complainant or the
flow of information would be curtailed thereby rendering the right non-payment of the formers fees.
practically nugatory. The threat this represents against another
sacrosanct individual right, the right to be presumed innocent is at Dean Wigmore lists the essential factors to establish the existence of
once self-evident. Encouraging full disclosure to a lawyer by one the attorney-client privilege communication, viz:
seeking legal services opens the door to a whole spectrum of legal
options which would otherwise be circumscribed by limited information (1) Where legal advice of any kind is sought (2) from a professional
engendered by a fear of disclosure. An effective lawyer-client legal adviser in his capacity as such, (3) the communications relating
relationship is largely between lawyer and client which in turn requires to that purpose, (4) made in confidence (5) by the client, (6) are at his
a situation which encourages a dynamic and fruitful exchange and flow instance permanently protected (7) from disclosure by himself or by
of information. It necessarily follows that in order to attain effective the legal advisor, (8) except the protection be waived.
representation, the lawyer must invoke the privilege not as a matter of
option but as a matter of duty and professional responsibility.
The purpose of the rule of confidentiality is actually to protect the
client from possible breach of confidence as a result of a consultation
A lawyer-client relationship was established from the very first moment with a lawyer.
complainant asked respondent for legal advise regarding the formers
business. To constitute professional employment, it is not essential The seriousness of the respondents offense notwithstanding, the
that the client employed the attorney professionally on any previous Court feels that there is room for compassion, absent compelling
occasion. evidence that the respondent acted with ill-will. Without meaning to
condone the error of respondents ways, what at bottom is before the
It is not necessary that any retainer be paid, promised, or charged; Court is two former friends becoming bitter enemies and filing charges
neither is it material that the attorney consulted did not afterward and counter-charges against each other using whatever convenient
handle the case for which his service had been sought. tools and data were readily available. Unfortunately, the personal
information respondent gathered from her conversation with
It a person, in respect to business affairs or troubles of any kind, complainant became handy in her quest to even the score. At the end
consults a lawyer with a view to obtaining professional advice or of the day, it appears clear to us that respondent was actuated by the
assistance, and the attorney voluntarily permits or acquiesces with the urge to retaliate without perhaps realizing that, in the process of giving
vent to a negative sentiment, she was violating the rule on Exceptions:
confidentiality.
When by divulging such identity, it would implicate the client to that
same controversy for which the lawyers services were required.

CANON 15 A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all It would open client to civil liability
his dealings and transactions with his client.
The disclosure of such identity will provide for the only link in order to
Rule 15.01 A lawyer in conferring with a prospective client, shall convict the accused, otherwise, the government has no case.
ascertain as soon as practicable whether the matter would involve a
conflict with another client or his own interest, and if so, shall Requisites of Privileged Communication:
forthwith inform the prospective client. Atty.-client relationship (or a kind of consultancy relationship with a
Rule 15.02 A lawyer shall be bound by the rule on privilege prospective client
communication in respect of matters disclosed to him by a prospective Communication made by client to lawyer in the course of lawyers
client. professional employment
Without any testimony from the complainant as to the specific Communication is intended to be confidential (see Rule 130, Sec.
confidential information allegedly divulged by respondent without her 21(b), Rules of Court)
consent, it is difficult, if not impossible to determine if there was any
violation of the rule on privileged communication. Such confidential When communication is not privileged:
information is a crucial link in establishing a breach of the rule on
privileged communication between attorney and client. It is not after pleading has been filed
enough to merely assert the attorney-client privilege.The burden of
communication intended by the client to be sent to a third person
proving that the privilege applies is placed upon the party asserting the
through his counsel (it loses its confidential character as soon as it
privilege.
reaches the hands of third person)
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Even if the communication is unprivileged, the rule of ethics prohibits
Rule on Revealing Clients Identity him from voluntarily revealing or using to his benefit or to that of a
third person, to the disadvantage of the client, the said communication
General Rule: A lawyer may not invoke privilege communication to unless the client consents thereto.
refuse revealing a clients identity. (Regala vs. Sandiganbayan, 262
SCRA 122, September 20, 1996) This is applicable to students under the Student Practice Law Program
CANON 17 A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he another case other persons against his former client
shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him.
under the pretext that the case is distinct from and
No fear of judicial disfavor or public popularity should restrain him
from full discharge of his duty. independent of the former case.

It is the duty of the lawyer at the time of retainer to disclose to the But the lawyer owes a higher loyalty to the courts.
client all the circumstances of his relations to the parties and any Thus when a conflict between the client and the court
interest in, or connection with, the controversy which might influence
the client in the selection of counsel. arises, his first duty is to render loyalty and
The lawyer owes loyalty to his client even after the relation of attorney obedience to the courts.
and client has terminated. It is not good practice to permit him
afterwards to defend in another case other persons against his former
client under the pretext that the case is distinct from and independent
of the former case.

CANON 17 A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of

his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and

confidence reposed in him.

No fear of judicial disfavor or public popularity should

restrain him from full discharge of his duty.

*Lorenzana Food Corp. vs. Daria, 197 SCRA 428

The lawyer owes loyalty to his client even after the

relation of attorney and client has terminated. It is not

good practice to permit him afterwards to defend in