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The petitioner, the respondents legal wife, filed a complaint-affidavit and

a supplemental affidavit for disbarment against the respondents Atty. Angel E.
Garrido and Atty. Romana P. Valencia before the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines Committee on Discipline, charging them with gross immorality,
in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01, of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. The complaint arose after the petitioner caught wind through
her daughter that her husband was having an affair with a woman other
than his wife and already had a child with her; and the same
information was confirmed when one of her daughters saw that her
husband walking in a Robinsons mall with the other respondent, Atty.
Valencia, with their child in tow.
First, the respondents filed a Motion for Suspension of Proceedings in
view of the criminal complaint for concubinage Maelotisea filed against them,
and the Petition for Declaration of Nullity (of marriage) Atty. Garrido filed to
nullify his marriage to Maelotisea. The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline
denied this motion for lack of merit.
Second, the respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaints after
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City declared the marriage between Atty.
Garrido and Maelotisea "an absolute nullity." Since Maelotisea was never the
legal wife of Atty. Garrido, the respondents argued that she had no personality
to file her complaints against them. The respondents also alleged that they had
not committed any immoral act since they married when Atty. Garrido was
already a widower, and the acts complained of were committed before his
admission to the bar. The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline also denied this
Third, Maelotisea filed a motion for the dismissal of the complaints she
filed against the respondents, arguing that she wanted to maintain friendly
relations with Atty. Garrido, who is the father of her six (6) children. The IBP
Commission on Bar Discipline likewise denied this motion.
After a much further investigation into the matter, the time and effort
given yielded results telling her that Atty. Valencia and her legal husband had
been married in Hong Kong. Moreover, on June 1993, her husband left their
conjugal home and joined Atty. Ramona Paguida Valencia at their residence,
and has since failed to render much needed financial support. In their defense,
they postulated that they were not lawyers as of yet when they committed the
supposed immorality, so as such, they were not guilty of a violation of
Canon1, Rule 1.01.
Whether or not Atty. Garridos and Valencias actions constitute a violation of
Canon 1, Rule1.01 and thus a good enough cause for their disbarment, despite
the offense being supposedly committed when they were not lawyers.


Yes. Membership in the Bar is a privilege, and as a privilege bestowed

by law through the Supreme Court, membership in the Bar can be
withdrawn where circumstances show the lawyers lack of the essential
qualifications required of lawyers, be they academic or moral. In the present
case, the Court had resolved to withdraw this privilege from Atty. Angel E.
Garrido and Atty. Rowena P. Valencia for the reason of their blatant violation of
Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
commands that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral
or deceitful conduct. Furthermore, The contention of respondent that they were
not yet lawyers when they got married shall not afford them exemption from
sanctions; good moral character was already required as a condition
precedent to admission to the Bar.
As a lawyer, a person whom the community looked up to, Atty. Garrido a
nd Valencia wereshouldered with the expectation that they would set a good
example in promoting obedience to the Constitution and the laws. When they
violated the law and distorted it to cater to his own personal needs and selfish
motives, not only did their actions discredit the legal profession. Such actions
by themselves, without even including the fact of Garridos abandonment of
paternal responsibility, to the detriment of his children by the petitioner; or the
fact that Valencia married Garrido despite knowing of his other marriages to
two other women including the petitioner, are clear indications of a lack of
moral values not consistent with the proper conduct of practicing lawyers
within the country. As such, their disbarment is affirmed.
Cruz v. Mijares


Petitioner Cruz sought permission to enter his appearance for and on his
behalf, before the RTC in a civil case for Abatement of Nuisance. Petitioner, a
fourth year law student, anchors his claim on Section 34 of Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court that a nonlawyer may appear before any court and conduct his
litigation personally.
During the pretrial, Judge Priscilla Mijares required the petitioner to
secure a written permission from the Court Administrator before he could be
allowed to appear as counsel for himself, a partylitigant. Atty. Stanley Cabrera,
counsel for Benjamin Mina, Jr., filed a Motion to Dismiss instead of a pretrial
brief to which petitioner Cruz vehemently objected alleging that a Motion to
Dismiss is not allowed after the Answer had been filed. Judge Mijares then
remarked, Hay naku, masama yung marunong pa sa Huwes. Ok? and
proceeded to hear the pending Motion to Dismiss and calendared the next
hearing. Petitioner Cruz filed a Manifestation and Motion to Inhibit, praying for
the voluntary inhibition of Judge Mijares. The Motion alleged that expected
partiality on the part of the respondent judge in the conduct of the trial could
be inferred from the contumacious remarks of Judge Mijares during the pre-
trial. It asserts that the judge, in uttering an uncalled for remark, reflects a
negative frame of mind, which engenders the belief that justice will not be
In an Order, Judge Mijares denied the motion for inhibition stating that
throwing tenuous allegations of partiality based on the said remark is not
enough to warrant her voluntary inhibition, considering that it was said even
prior to the start of pretrial. Petitioner filed a MR of the said order.
Judge Mijares denied the motion with finality. In the same Order, the
trial court held that for the failure of petitioner Cruz to submit the promised
document and jurisprudence, and for his failure to satisfy the requirements or
conditions under Rule 138A of the Rules of Court, his appearance was denied.
In MR, petitioner reiterated that the basis of his appearance was not Rule
138A, but Section 34 of Rule 138. He contended that the two Rules were
distinct and are applicable to different circumstances, but the respondent
judge denied the same, still invoking Rule 138A. Petitioner filed this case with

W/N respondent court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction when it denied the appearance of the petitioner as
party litigant and when the judge refused to inhibit herself from trying the case


Sec. 34 or Rule 138 recognizes the right of an individual to represent himself in

any case to which he is a party. The Rules state that a party may conduct his
litigation personally or with the aid of an attorney, and that his appearance
must either be personal or by a duly authorized member of the Bar. The
individual litigant may personally do everything in the course of proceedings
from commencement to the termination of the litigation. Considering that a
party personally conducting his litigation is restricted to the same rules of
evidence and procedure as those qualified to practice law, petitioner, not being
a lawyer himself, runs the risk of falling into the snares and hazards of his own
ignorance. Therefore, Cruz as plaintiff, at his own instance, can personally
conduct the litigation. He would then be acting not as a counsel or lawyer, but
as a party exercising his right to represent himself.

The trial court must have been misled by the fact that the petitioner is a law
student and must, therefore, be subject to the conditions of the Law Student
Practice Rule. It erred in applying Rule 138A, when the basis of the petitioners
claim is Section 34 of Rule 138. The former rule provides for conditions when a
law student may appear in courts, while the latter rule allows the appearance
of a nonlawyer as a party representing himself.

On February 17, 1992, appellant was charged with the crime of rape of a girl
less than nine (9) years old, committed on December 28, 1991, in the town of
Barangay San Luis, San Joaquin, Iloilo. Upon arraignment, appellant entered a
plea of not guilty. Trial ensued and the prosecution presented as its witnesses
the victim, her mother, her six (6) year-old playmate, and the medico-legal
officer who examined the victim. The Court finds the accused guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentences him to suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua together its accessory penalty. Appellant contends that
he was represented during trial by a person named Gualberto C. Ompong, who
for all intents and purposes acted as his counsel and even conducted the direct
examination and cross-examinations of the witnesses. On appeal, however,
appellant secured the services of a new lawyer, Atty. Igmedio S. Prado, Jr., who
discovered that Gualberto C. Ompong is actually not a member of the
bar. Further verification with the Office of the Bar Confidant confirmed this
Appellant therefore argues that his deprivation of the right to counsel should
necessarily result in his acquittal of the crime charged.

Is the petitioner entitled to a new trial?

Judgement set aside and case remanded for new trial. Being represented by a
non-lawyer is a denial of due process.

This is so because an accused person is entitled to be represented by

a member of the bar in a criminal case filed against her before the Regional
Trial Court. Unless she is represented by a lawyer, there is great danger that
any defense presented in her behalf will be inadequate considering the legal
perquisites and skills needed in the court proceedings. This would certainly be
a denial of due process.
Even the most intelligent or educated man may have no skill in the
science of the law, particularly in the rules of procedure, and, without counsel,
he may be convicted not because he is guilty but because he does not know
how to establish his innocence. The right of an accused to counsel is
guaranteed to minimize the imbalance in the adversarial system where the
accused is pitted against the awesome prosecutory machinery of the State.
Such a right proceeds from the fundamental principle of due process
which basically means that a person must be heard before being
condemned. The due process requirement is a part of a persons basic rights; it
is not a mere formality that may be dispensed with or performed perfunctorily.

The right to counsel of an accused is enshrined in no less than Article III,

Sections 12 and 14 (2) of the 1987 Constitution. This constitutional mandate is
reflected in Section 1 of Rule 115 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure
which declares the right of the accused at the trial to be present in person and
by counsel at every stage of the proceedings from the arraignment to the
promulgation of judgment.In turn, Section 5 of Article VIII of the 1987
Constitution vests the power to promulgate rules concerning the admission to
the practice of law to the Supreme Court. Section 1 of Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court explicitly states who are entitled to practice law in the Philippines, and
Section 2 thereof clearly provides for the requirements for all applicants for
admission to the bar. Jurisprudence has also held that the right to practice law
is not a natural or constitutional right but is in the nature of a privilege or
franchise. It is limited to persons of good moral character with special
qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The right does not only
presuppose in its possessor integrity, legal standing and attainment, but also
the exercise of a special privilege, highly personal and partaking of the nature
of a public trust.