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UST LAW PRE-WEEK NOTES 2014

LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

A. LEGAL ETHICS Q: Eric, a labor federation president, represented Luisa, a


dismissed WXT employee, before the NLRC. Atty. John
1. Practice of Law; Privilege represented Luisa's two co-complainants. In due course,
the NLRC reinstated the three complainants with
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of backwages and awarded 25% of the backwages as
court, which requires the application of law, legal attorneys fees, 15% for Atty. John and 10% for Eric, a non-
procedure, knowledge, training, and experience. (Cayetano lawyer. When WXT appealed to the Court of Appeals, Atty.
v. Monsod, G.R. No. 100113, Sept. 3, 1991) John questioned Erics continued appearance before that
court on Luisas behalf, he not being a lawyer. Is Eric's
The practice of law is not a natural, property or
appearance before the Court of Appeals valid? (2011 Bar
constitutional right but a mere privilege. It is not a right
Question)
granted to anyone who demands it but a privilege to be
extended or withheld in the exercise of sound judicial
A: No, because the practice of law is only reserved for those
discretion. It is a privilege accorded only to those who
qualified for the same. Erics appearance in court on behalf
measure up to certain rigid standards of mental and moral
of another is not sanctioned by the rules. A non-lawyer may
fitness.
only be allowed to appear in court if he is representing
Practice of law; Profession himself not that of another (Sec. 34, Rule 138, Rules of
Court).
A legal profession is not a business. It is not a money-making
trade just like a businessman employing strategy for the Law Student Practice Rule ( Rule 138)
purpose of monetary gain. It is a sacred profession imbued
with public interest whose primary objective is public Q: What is the Student Practice Rule?
service , as it is an essential part in the administration of
A: It is the rule authorizing a law student who has
justice and a profession in pursuit of which pecuniary
successfully completed his 3rd year of the regular four year
reward is considered merely incidental.
prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled in recognized law
2. Qualifications schools clinical legal education program approved by the
Supreme Court, to appear without compensation in any
Any person heretofore duly admitted as a member of the civil, criminal or administrative case before any trial court,
bar, or hereafter admitted as such in accordance with the tribunal, board or officer, to represent indigent clients
provisions of the rule, and who is in good and regular accepted by the legal clinic of the law school, under the
standing, is entitled to practice law. (Sec. 1, Rule 138, direct supervision and control of a member of the IBP
Revised Rules of Court (RRC) accredited by the law school. (2009 Bar Question)

Under Sections 2, 5 and 6 of Rule 138, the applicant Q: Bong Tupak, a second year law student, was charged in
must be: the RTC for Forcible Abduction with Rape. Having
knowledge of criminal law ad procedure, he dismissed the
1. Citizen of the Philippines; counsel de oficio assigned and appeared for himself. HE
2. At least 21 years of age; asserted that there was lack of force. Eventually, the RTC
3. Of Good moral character; found him guilty of consented abduction and imposed the
4. Resident of the Philippines; penalty. Bong Tupak now assails the decision, saying that
5. Must produce before the SC satisfactory Evidence there was violation of due process because he was
of good moral character; allowed to appear for himself and he did not know that
6. No charges against him, involving moral turpitude, consented abduction is a crime. Decide.
have been filed or are pending in any court in the
Philippines (Sec. 2, Rule 138, RRC); A: The RTC should have appointed a counsel de oficio to
7. Must have complied with the Academic assist the accused even if it was not sought or requested by
requirements; the accused. (2012 Bar Question, MCQ)
8. Must Pass the bar examinations;
9. Take the lawyers Oath; and 4. The 5 Strike Rule in taking the Bar
10. Sign the Roll of Attorneys.
The Former 5-Strike Rule was lifted by the Supreme Court
en banc in a resolution on September 3, 2013. Thus, to this
3. Appearance of Non-Lawyers
day, the taking of the bar has no limit.
GR: No. Only those who are licensed to practice law can
Non Lawyers in Court
appear and handle cases in court.
a. Law student practice
XPN:
b. Non-lawyers in court can appear for a party in MTC
a. Law student practice
b. Non-lawyers in court can appear for a party in MTC Note: Section 34, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of
c. Non-lawyers in administrative tribunal can Court expressly allows pro se practice or the right
represent parties in tribunals such as NLRC, of a non-member of the bar to engage in limited
DARAB, Cadastral Courts. practice of law. (Antiquiera, CPR, p. 9)

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UST LAW PRE-WEEK NOTES 2014
LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

c. Non-lawyers in administrative tribunal can 8. Mayors


represent parties in tribunals such as NLRC, Allowed to practice 1. Senators
DARAB, Cadastral Courts. but subject to 2. members of the House
restrictions of Representatives,
Limits on the Appearance of Non-Lawyers 3. Vice-Governors
4. Vice Mayors
1. He should confine his work to non- adversary 5. members of the
contentions; Sanggunians
2. He should not undertake purely legal work, such as the Approval of Civil Service employees (Catu v.
examination or cross- examination of witnesses, or the department head Rellosa, AC 5738, Feb. 9, 2008
presentation of evidence; and required [punong barangay]; Abella v.
Cruzaba, AC 5088, June 3, 2009
3. His services should not be habitually rendered. He [Register of Deeds employee])
should not charge or collect attorneys fees. (PAFLU v.
Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Co., G.R. No. L-23959, Nov.
29,1971) Q: Atty. Fred is a law practitioner and headed a law firm
bearing his name and those of his partners. When Atty.
Fred was elected Congressman, his clients needs were
Non Lawyers in Administrative Bodies handled by the other partners. Later, A, a newly
proclaimed congressman-friend, faced an election protest
1. Non-lawyers may be allowed by law to appear, such as before the HRET, and sought the help of Congressman
union representatives allowed to represent union Fred who immediately directed his law firm to appear for
member in the NLRC, but subject to three limitations: A. B, the protestant, sought the disqualification of Cong.
Freds law firm from appearing before the HRET because
a. should not undertake purely legal work; Cong. Fred is prohibited from practicing his profession.
Decide.
b. should not render services habitually; and
A: No, the prohibition is on Cong. Fred from personally
c. Should not charge or collect attorneys fees.
appearing and not to his partners. (2012 Bar Question,
2. Proceedings where lawyers prohibited from MCQ)
appearing:
Q: Vice Mayor Ron is a well-loved law practitioner because
3. Proceedings before the Katarungan Pambarangay (Art. he assists his constituents especially the indigents. Ed, one
415, Local Government Code) of his friends, who is employed in as Cashier in the Register
of Deeds, sought his assistance because he was charged
4. Small claims proceedings (Secs. 16 & 17, Rule on Small with Malversation in court. Can Vice Mayor Ron appear as
Claims Cases) counsel of Ed?

4. Sanctions for practice or appearance without A: No, because Ed is charged with an offense in relation to
authority his office. (2012 Bar Question, MCQ)

Prohibitions and disqualifications of former government


Lawyers without Persons not lawyers
attorneys:
authority
this constitutes may be punished for
(a) Under R.A. 6713 retired government officials are
malpractice and contempt of court
violation of the allowed to practice their professions, but for a period of one
lawyers oath, for year after their retirement, they are not allowed to practice
which he may be in the office where they had previously been connected.
suspended or
disbarred (b) Under the Code of Professional Responsibility - A
lawyer may not, after leaving government service, accept
5. Public Officials and the Practice of Law engagement or employment in connection with any matter
in which he had intervened while in said service (Rule 6.03;
Prohibited from 1. President PCGG v. Sandiganbayan, 455 SCRA 526).
practicing 2. Department
secretaries (c) Under the Judiciary Retirement Act (R.A. 910)
3. judges and justices retired members of the judiciary cannot appear as counsel
4. prosecutors in cases, civil, criminal or administrative, where the
5. Solicitor General and
government is the adverse party.
members of the OSG
6. members of
Constitutional
Commissions
7. Governors

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

A. Lawyers authorized to represent the c. Encourage his clients to avoid, and/or


government: settle a controversy if it will admit of a
fair settlement. (Rule 1.04)
1. Members of the Office of the Solicitor General
2. State prosecutors Deceitful Conduct is an act that has the proclivity for
3. Members of the Office of the Government fraudulent and deceptive misrepresentation, artifice or
Corporate Counsel device that is used upon another who is ignorant of the fact,
4. Officers who may be authorized by law. to the prejudice and damage of the party imposed upon.
5. Private lawyers retained by government (CPR Annotated, PhilJA)
entities with the approval of the OSG or GOCC Unlawful Conduct is a transgression of any provision of law,
and the Commission on Audit (Rey A. Vargas which need not be a penal law. The presence of evil intent
v. Atty. Michael A. Ignes, A.C. No. 8096, July 5, on the part of the lawyer is not essential in order to bring
2010). his act or omission within the terms of this Rule.
Immoral Conduct refers to a conduct which is willful,
B. Lawyers Oath:
flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral
I, ______ do solemnly swear that: I will maintain indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; will support members of the community. To warrant disciplinary action,
the Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal order the act must not only be merely immoral but GROSSLY
of duly constituted authorities therein; I will do no IMMORAL.
falsehood nor consent to the doing of the same in court;
Moral Turpitude
I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any
Q: Atty. Candido commented in a newspaper that the
groundless, false or unlawful suit, not give aid nor consent
decision of the decision of the Court of Appeals was
to the same; I will delay no man for money or malice, and influenced by a powerful relative of the prevailing party.
will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my The appellate court found him guilty of indirect contempt.
knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as well to Does this involve moral turpitude? Explain.
the courts as to my clients; and I impose upon myself this
A: Moral Turpitude has been defined as everything which is
voluntary obligation, without any mental reservation or
done contrary to justice, modesty or good morals, an act of
purpose of evasion, baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and social
duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to society in
SO HELP ME GOD.
general, contrary to justice, modesty or good morals.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LAWYER (Soriano v. Dizon). Based on this definition, it would appear
that the published comment of Atty. Candido does not
First and Most Important Duty of a Lawyer: constitute Moral Turpitude although contemptuous.
(2010 Bar Question)
Duty to the court. The lawyer is an officer of the
court who sets the judicial machinery with the main mission Canon 2
of assisting the court in the administration of justice. His
1. A lawyer shall make his services available in an
public duties take precedence over his private duties.
efficient and convenient manner
Q: True or False, the duty of a lawyer to his client is more a. Shall not reject, except for valid reasons,
paramount that his duty to the Court. the cause of the defenseless or
oppressed (Rule 2.01). But should not
A: False, a lawyers paramount duty is to the Court. This is accept more cases than he can handle
because he is an officer of the court. (2009 Bar Question) (Canoy v. Ortiz, 453 SCRA 410).
b. In case he cannot accept the case, at
1. Duties to Society least give legal advice to the extent
1. Uphold the Constitution, Obey the laws of the necessary to safeguard his rights. (Rule
land, and Promote respect for the law and legal 2.02)
processes (Canon 1, CPR. (Canon c. Shall not do or permit to be done any act
a. Not engage in unlawful, dishonest, primarily designed to solicit legal
immoral and deceitful conduct. Rule business. (Art. 2.03) (Tan Tek Beng v.
1.01) David, 126 SCRA 289; Linsangan vs.
a. Not counsel or abet activities aimed at Tolentino (A.C. 6672, Sept. 4, 2009)
defiance of the law and lessening d. Shall not charge rates lower than those
confidence in the legal system, (Rule customarily prescribed unless the
1.02) circumstances so warrant (Rule 2.04)
b. Not encourage any suit or proceeding
or delay and any mans cause. (Rule
1.03)

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

Canon 3 costs and expenses and by settlement made for quick


In making known his legal services, use only true, honest, returns of fees and against just rights of the injured
fair, dignified and objective information persons (Hightower v. Detroit Edison Co. 247 NW 97,
1993)
1. Not use any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive,
undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement of
Q: Atty. Melissa witnessed the car accident that resulted
claim. (Rule 3.01) (Khan v. Simbillo, 409 SCRA 209)
in injury to Manny, a friend of hers. While visiting him at
2. Continued use of name of deceased partner permitted
the hospital, she advised him about what action he
provided firm indicates that he is deceased. (Rule 3.02)
needed to take regarding the accident. Is Atty. Melissa
(In re Sycip, Salazar, 92 SCRA 1)
subject to disciplinary action if she eventually handles the
3. When partner joins public office, his name should be
case for him?
dropped, unless he is allowed to practice law
concurrently (Rule 3.03) A: No. It is unprofessional for a lawyer to volunteer advice
4. Not pay members of media in return for publicity (Rule to bring a lawsuit, except in rare cases where ties of blood,
3.04) relationship or trust make it his duty to do so (Canon 28,
CPE). In the case at hand, since Atty. Melissa is a friend of
5. A lawyer shall participate in the development of the the injured person, she may not be admonished for
legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law extending some legal advice to a friend in need. (2011 Bar
reform and in the improvement of the administration Question)
of justice (Canon 4)
Q: Atty. Nelson recently passed the Bar and wanted to
6. A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal developments; specialize I marine labor law. He gave out calling cards
participate in continuing legal education programs, with his name, address and telephone number in front,
support efforts to achieve high standards in law and the following words at the back: We provide legal
schools as well as in the practical training of students assistance to overseas seamen who are repatriated due to
and assist in disseminating the law and jurisprudence. illness, injury or death. We also offer FINANCIAL
(Dulalia v. Cruz, AC 6854, Aug. 20, 2007) ASSISTANCE. Does this constitute ethical misconduct?

A: Yes, because the offer of financial assistance is an


Examples of Advertisements considered as deceptive undignified way of luring clients. (2012 Bar Question, MCQ)

1. Misstatements of fact
2. Suggestions that the ingenuity or prior record of a
Duties to the Legal Profession
lawyer rather than the justice of the claim are the
principal factors likely to determine the result The Integrated Bar of the Philippines
3. Inclusion of information irrelevant on selecting a
lawyer Membership in the IBP is Mandatory, even for lawyers
4. Representations concerning the quality of service, abroad.
which cannot be measured or verified.
Integration of the Bar is the official unification of the entire
Barratry v. Ambulance Chasing lawyer population ordained by the Supreme Court on
January 16, 1973.
Barratry is an offense of frequently exciting and stirring up
quarrels and suits, either at law or otherwise; lawyers act Integration is constitutional (In re Integration, 49 SCRA 22)
of fomenting suits among individuals and offering his legal Membership and Dues
services to one of them. Barratry is not a crime under the
Philippine laws. However, it is proscribed by the rules of Q: Atty. Gelly passed the Bar in 1975. After taking his oath,
legal ethics. he did not enlist in any IBP chapter because he went to the
USA topursue a Masters Degree. Eventually, he passed
Ambulance chasing is an act of chasing victims of accidents the state bar and specialized in Immigration Law. In 2005,
for the purpose of talking to the said victims (or relatives) he returned to the Philippines and was hired by a law firm.
He wishes to pay his IBP dues for the current year but the
and offering his legal services for the filing of a case against
IBP is charging him rom 1975 up to the present and
the person(s) who caused the accident(s). It has spawned a threatening him with expulsion if he does not comply. Is
number of recognized evils such as: the IBP correct?

1. Fomenting of litigation with resulting burdens on the A: Atty. Gelly should pay the dues from 1975 to the present
courts and the public; since membership in the IBP is compulsory. (2012 Bar
2. Subordination of perjury; Question)
3. Mulcting of innocent persons by judgments, upon
manufactured causes of action; and
4. Defrauding of injured persons having proper causes of
action but ignorant of legal rights and court procedures
by means of contracts which retain exorbitant
percentages of recovery and illegal charges for court

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

Effect of Non-Payment of Dues Canon 8

Default in the payment of annual dues for six months shall Q: Atty. Y, in his Motion for Reconsideration of the
warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, Decision rendered by the National Labor Relations
and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground Commission (NLRC), alleged that there was connivance of
for the removal of the name of the delinquent member the NLRC Commissioners with Atty. X for monetary
from the Roll of Attorneys (Sec. 10, Rule 139-A, RRC) subject considerations in arriving at the questioned Decision. He
to the requirement of due process insulted the Commissioners for their ineptness in
appreciating the facts as borne by the evidence presented.
Atty. X files an administrative complaint against Atty. Y for
using abusive language. Atty. Y posits that as lawyer for
The IBP and its Processes the down-trodden laborers, he is entitled to express his
righteous anger against the Commissioners for having
Principle of Rotation
cheated them; that his allegations in the Motion for
Pursuant to the principle of rotation, the governorship of a Reconsideration are absolutely privileged; and that
region shall rotate once in as many terms as the number of proscription against the use of abusive language does not
chapters there are in the region, to give every chapter a cover pleadings filed with the NLRC, as it is not a court, nor
chance to represent the region in the Board of Governors. are any of its Commissioners Justices or Judges. Is Atty. Y
Thus, in a region composed of 5 chapters, each chapter is administratively liable under the Code of Professional
entitled to the governorship once in every 5 terms, or once Responsibility? Explain.
every ten (10) years, since a term is two (2) years (Atty.
A: Atty. Y clearly violated Canon 8 of the CPR and is
Magsino et al. v. Atty. Vinluan, A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC,
administratively liable. A lawyer shall not in his professional
December 14, 2010)
dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or
Prohibited Practice otherwise improper. A lawyer shall abstain from
scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behaviour
Q: In the election of national officers of the IBP, the before the courts. In the case of Johnny Ng v. Atty. Banjamin
Supreme Court received reports of electioneering and Alar, which involves the same facts, the SC held that the
extravagance that characterized the campaign conducted argument that the NLRC is not a court is unavailing. The
by the 3 candidates (Paculdo, Nisce and Mrs. Drilon) for lawyer remains a member of the Bar, an oath-bound
President of the IBP. It is alleged that they used servant of the law whose first duty is not to his client but to
government planes, give free accommodations to voters the administration of justice and whose conduct ought to
to expensive hotels and there has been intervention of be and must be scrupulously observant of the law and
public officials to influence the voting. Is there a violation ethics. (2010 Bar Question)
of the IBP by-laws? Is there sufficient ground for the
Supreme Court to suspend the oath taking of the officials? Canon 9

Q: Atty. Monica Santos-Cruz registered in the firm name


A: Yes. The candidates for the national positions in the IBP
Santos-Cruz Law Office with the DTI as a single
conducted their campaign preparatory to the election on
proprietorship. In her stationery, she printed the name o
June 3, 1989 in violation of Section 14 of the IBP by-laws
her husband and a friend who were both non-lawyers as
and the Rules of Court, that the IBP shall be strictly non-
her senior partners in light of their investments in the firm.
political. Also the ethics of the legal profession imposed on
She allowed her husband to give out calling cards bearing
all lawyers has been violated corollary to their obligation to
his name as senior partner of the firm and to appear in
obey and uphold the constitution and the laws, the duty to
courts to move for postponements. Dis Atty. Santos-Cruz
promote respect for law and legal processes and to abstain
violate the Code of Professional Responsibility? Why?
activities aimed at the defiance of the law or at lessening
confidence in the legal system. (In Re: IBP Elections, B.M. A: Yes, she did. In the case of Cambaliza v. Tenorio (2004),
491, Oct. 6, 1989 which involves the same facts, the Supreme Court held that
a lawyer who allows a non-member of the bar to
IBP Election misrepresent himself as a lawyerand to practice law is guilty
of violating Canon 9 and Rule 9.01 of the Code of
Q: Atty. Aga was appointed as treasurer by the IBP
Professional Responsibility which provides as follows:
President with the approval of the Board of Governors for
Canon 9. A lawyer shall not directly or
a term coterminous with that of the President. A year
indirectly assist in the unauthorized practice of law and
thereafter, Atty. Aga ran as barangay chairman of their
Rule 9.01: A Lawyer shall not delegate to any unauthorized
place, and took a leave of absence of two week to
person the performance of any task which by law may only
campaign. May Atty. Aga re-assume as treasurer after his
be performed by a member of the bar in good standing.
leave of absence?
(2010 Bar Question)
A: No, because he is deemed resigned upon the filing of his
certificate of candidacy. (2012 Bar Question, MCQ)

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

3. Duty to the Courts accused the Court of perpetrating extraordinary injustice


by dismissing the petition of the comfort women said
Canon 13 case. The insult to the members of the Court was
aggravated by imputations of deliberately delaying the
Q: On a Saturday, Atty. Paterno filed a petition for Writ of resolution of the said case, its dismissal on the basis of
Amparo with the CA. Impelled by the urgency of the polluted sources, the Courts alleged indifference to the
issuance of the writ, Atty. Paterno persuaded his friend, cause of petitioners, as well as the supposed alarming lack
CA Justice Johnny Dela Cruz, to issue the Writ of Amparo of concern of the members of the Court for even the most
and the notice of hearing without the signature of the two basic values of decency and respect.
other Justices members of the CA division. Are Atty.
Paterno and Justice Dela Cruz guilty of unethical conduct? A: While most agree that the right to criticize the judiciary
Explain. is critical to maintaining a free and democratic society,
there is also a general consensus that healthy criticism only
A: Yes. Atty. Paterno violated Canon 13 of the CPR which goes so far. The court must insist on being permitted to
provides that a lawyer shall rely on the merits of his cause proceed to the disposition of its business in an orderly
and refrain from any impropriety which tends to influence manner, free from outside interference obstructive of its
or gives the appearance of influencing the court. Atty. functions and tending to embarrass the administration of
Paterno has relied on his friendship with the Justice to justice.
obtain a Writ of Amparo without a hearing. He thus makes
it appear that he can influence the court. Justice Dela Cruz The Court could hardly perceive any reasonable purpose for
violated sec. 3, canon 4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct for the facultys less than objective comments except to
the Philippine Judiciary, which provides that judges shall, discredit the April 28, 2010 Decision in the Vinuya case and
in their personal relations with individual members of the undermine the Courts honesty, integrity and competence
legal profession who practice regularly in their courts, avoid in addressing the motion for its reconsideration. As if the
situations which might reasonable give rise to the suspicion case on the comfort womens claims is not controversial
or appearance of favoritism or partiality. (2009 Bar enough, the UP Law Faculty would fan the flames and invite
Question) resentment against a resolution that would not reverse the
said decision. This runs contrary to their obligation as law
Q: Rico, an amiable, sociable lawyer, owns a share in professors and officers of the Court to be the first to uphold
Marina Golf Club, easily one of the more posh golf courses. the dignity and authority of this Court, to which they owe
He relishes hosting parties for government officials and fidelity according to the oath they have taken as attorneys,
members of the bench. One day, he had a chance meeting and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice.
with a judge in the Intramuros golf course. The two readily Their actions likewise constitute violations of Canons 10,
got along well and had since been regularly playing golf 11, and 13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of
together at the Marina Golf Club. If Atty. Rico does not Professional Responsibility. (Re: Letter of the UP Law
discuss cases with members of the bench during parties Faculty entitled Restoring Integrity: A Statement by the
and golf games, is he violating the Code of Professional Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on
Responsibility? Explain. How about the members of the the Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the
bench who grace the parties of Rico, are they violating the Supreme Court.(A.M. No. 10-10-4-SC, Oct. 19, 2010)
Code of Judicial Conduct? Explain.
4. Duty to Clients
A: Yes. A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention or
hospitality to, nor seek opportunity for cultivating Counsel de Oficio
familiarity with judges. Moreover, he should refrain from
any impropriety which gives the appearance of influencing 1. Members of the bar in good standing;
the court. In regularly playing golf with the judges, Atty. 2. Any person, resident of the province and of good
Rico will certainly raise the suspicion that they discuss cases repute for probity and ability, in localities without
during the game, although they actually do not. However, if lawyers
Rico is known to be a non-practicing lawyer, there is not
much of an ethical problem.
Members of the bench who grace the parties of Guidelines in appointing a Counsel de Oficio
Atty. Rico will be guilty of violating Canon 4 of the New Code
of Judicial Conduct which provides that judges shall, in their 1. Gravity of offense
personal relations with individual members of the legal 2. Difficulty of questions that may arise; and
profession who practice regularly in their court, avoid 3. Experience and ability of appointee
situations which might reasonably give rise to the suspicion
of or appearance of partiality. It has been held that if a
Amicus Curiae friend of the court; appointed to advise the
judge is seen eating or drinking in public places with a
court in complex cases.
lawyer who has a case pending in his sala, public suspicion
Amicus Curiae par Eexcellance the entire bar pro bono
may be aroused, thus tending to erode the trust of litigants
legal service without expecting payment
in the impartiality of the judge. (2010 Bar Question)
Lawyers Right to decline employment
Q: Members of the faculty of the UP College of Law
published a statement on the allegations of plagiarism and GR: A lawyer is not obliged to act as legal counsel for any
misrepresentation relative to the Courts decision person who may wish to become his client. He has the right
in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary. The authors directly

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

to decline employment. 1. Between the attorneys interest and that of a client; or


between a private clients interests and that of the
XPN: government or any of its instrumentalities.

1. A lawyer shall not refuse his services to the needy. Q: What are the three (3) tests to determine conflict of
(Canon 14) interest for practicing lawyers? Explain each briefly.
2. He shall not decline to represent a person solely on
account of the latters race, sex, creed or status in life
A: (1) When in representation of one client, a lawyer is
or because of his own opinion regarding the guilt of
required to fight for an issue or claim, but is also duty-
said person (Rule 14.01); (1990, 1993, 2000, 2002,
bound to oppose it for another client; (2) When the
2006 Bar Questions)
acceptance of the new retainer will require an attorney to
3. He shall not decline, except for serious and efficient
perform an act that may injuriously affect the first client or
cause like
when called upon in a new relation o use against the firs
a. If he is not in a position to carryout effectively or
client any knowledge acquired through their professional
competently; and
connection; (3)When the acceptance of a new relation
b. If he labors under a conflict of interest between
would prevent the full discharge of an attorneys duty to
him and the prospective client. (Rule 14.03)
give undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or would
invite suspicion or unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the
Privileged Communication performance of that duty. (2009 Bar Question)

A privileged communication is one that refers to A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his
information transmitted by voluntary act of disclosure client that may come into his possession. (Canon 16)
between attorney and client in confidence and by means
which, so far as the client is aware discloses the information a. A lawyer shall account for all money or property
to no third person other than one reasonably necessary for collected or received for or received from the
the transmission of the information or the accomplishment client (Rule 16.01) (Yuhico v. Guttierez, AC8391,
of the purpose for which it was given. Nov. 23, 2010 ; Tan v. Balon, AC 6483, Aug. 31,
2007)).
a. Money given for a purpose must be
used for such purpose; otherwise,
Privileged Client Identity
returned to client immediately.
Client identity is privileged where a strong probability exists ii. Failure to do so will raise presumption
that revealing the clients name would implicate that client that lawyer misappropriated it. (De
in the very activity for which he sought the lawyers advice. Chavez-Blanco v. Lumasag, Jr., AC
(Regala v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 105938, Sept. 20, 1996) 5195, Apr. 10, 2009)
b. A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client
separate and apart from his own and those of
Q: After representing Lenie in an important lawsuit from others kept by him. (Rule 16.02)
1992 to 1995, Atty. Jennifer lost touch of her client. Ten c. A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of
years later in 2005, Evelyn asked Atty. Jennifer to client upon demand. However, he shall have a
represent her in an action against Lenie. Such action lien over the funds and may apply so much
involved certain facts, some confidential, to which Atty. thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful
Jennifer was privy because she handled Lenie's old case. fees and disbursements, giving notice promptly
Can Atty. Jennifer act as counsel for Evelyn? (2011 Bar thereafter to his client. (Rule 16.03)
Question) A Lawyer may not apply clients funds to
his fees if client is still objecting to the
A: No. A lawyer shall preserve the confidences or secrets of amount thereof. (Genato v. Adaza, 328
his client even after the attorney-client relation is SCRA 694; Lemoine v. Balon, 414
terminated. He shall not reveal the confidence or secrets of SCRA511).
his client except upon the instances provided for by the
rules. (Rule 21.01, Canon 21, Code of Professional A lawyer will not be ordered to return money given to him
Responsibility) for facilitation fee. (Arellano University v. Mijares, AC
380, Nov. 30. 2009)
Conflict of Interest
Lawyer borrowing money from client
GR: An attorney cannot represent diverse interests.
Not allowed unless the clients interests are fully protected
XPN: Representation of conflicting interest may be allowed by the nature of the case or by independent advice.
where the parties consent to the representation after full
disclosure of facts. (Nakpil v. Valdez, A.C. No. 2040, Mar. 4,
1998)
Lawyer lending money to client
XPN to XPN: Where the conflict is:
Not allowed except when in the interest of justice, he has
to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

handling for the client. (Rule 16.04, Code of Professional is no reimbursement. Thus, he is investing in the outcome
Responsibiility). of the case. (2010 Bar Question)

Attorneys Fees Attorneys Liens

Attorneys Retaining Lien


Q: Atty. Franciscos retainer agreement with RXU said that
his attorney's fees in its case against CRP shall be 15% of A retaining lien is the right of an attorney to retain the
the amounts collected. Atty. Francisco asked the trial court funds, documents and papers of his client who have
to issue a temporary restraining order against CRP but this lawfully come into his possession and may retain the same
was denied, prompting him to file a petition for certiorari until his lawful fees and disbursements have been paid, and
with the Court of Appeals to question the order of denial. may apply such funds to the satisfaction thereof.
At this point, RXU terminated Atty. Franciscos services.
When the parties later settled their dispute amicably, CRP Attorneys Charging Lien
paid RXU P100 million. Because of this, Atty. Francisco came
around and claimed a 15% share in the amount. What A charging lien is the right of a lawyer to the same extent
should be his attorneys fees? upon all judgments for the payment of money, and
executions issued in pursuance of such judgments which he
A: A reasonable amount that the court shall fix upon proof has secured in a litigation of his client, from and after the
of quantum meruit whc means as much as he deserves. time when he shall have caused a statement of his claim of
(2011 Bar Question) such lien to be entered upon the records of the court
rendering such judgment, or issuing such execution, and
Contingency Fee Contracts shall have caused written notice thereof to be delivered to
his client and to the adverse party; and he shall have the
Q: For services to be rendered by Atty. Delmonico as same right and power over such judgments and executions
counsel for Wag Yu in a case involving 5,000 square meters as his client would have to enforce his lien and secure the
(sq.m.) of land, the two agreed on a success fee of P50,000 payment of his fees and disbursements. (Sec. 37, Rule 138,
plus 500 sq.m. of the land. The trial court rendered Revised Rules of Court)
judgment in favor of Wag Yu which became final and
Q: True or False: A charging lien, as distinguished from
executory. After receiving P50,000, Atty. Delmonico
a retaining lien, is an active lien which can be enforced by
demanded the transfer to him of the promised 500 sq.m.
execution.
Instead of complying, Wag Yu filed an administrative
complaint charging Atty. Delmonico with violation of the A: TRUE. It is active because it requires the lawyer to charge
Code of Professional Responsibility and Article 1491(5) of the judgment and its execution for the payment of his fees.
the Civil Code for demanding the delivery of a portion of (2009 Bar Question)
the land subject of litigation. Is Atty. Delmonico liable
under the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Civil Withdrawal of services
Code? Explain.
a. A lawyer may withdraw his services only for good
A: Atty. Delmonico is not guilty of violating the CPR and the cause and upon notice appropriate in the
Civil Code. He and his client agreed on a success fee of circumstances (Canon 22).
50,000 plus 500 sq. of the land involved in the case he was
handling. This is a contingent fee contract which is allowed Grounds for withdrawal:
under Canon 20 of the CPR and Canon 13 of the CPE. A
contingent fee agreement does not violate Art. 1491 of the (1) client pursues am illegal or immoral course
Civil Code because the transfer or assignment of the of
property in litigation takes effect only after the finality of a (2) conduct;
favorable judgment. (2010 Bar Question) (3) client insists that lawyer violate canons
and rules;
Champertous Contracts (4) inability to work with co-counsel to
detriment of client;
Q: Farida engaged the services of Atty. Garudo to represent
(5) mental or physical condition of lawyer
her in a complaint for damages. The two agreed that all
makes it
expenses incurred in connection with the case would first
(6) difficult for him to continue;
be shouldered by Atty. Garudo and he would be paid for his
(1) client deliberately fails to pay attorneys
legal services and reimbursed for all expenses which he had
fees;
advanced out of whatever Farida may receive upon the
(2) election or appointment to public office;
termination of the case. What kind of contract is this?
(3) other similar cases (Rule 22.01)
A: This appears to be a Champertous Contract, which is
invalid. Atty. Garudo agreed to shoulder all expenses in
connection with the case and Farida will reimburse him only
out of whatever Farida may receive upon termination of the
case. In other words, Atty. Garudo will be reimbursed only
if he will be successful in winning the case. If he is not, there

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

C. SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF Court. Either one may file a motion for
LAWYERS reconsideration with the IBP Board before
appealing.
Rationale: Practice of law is in the nature of a privilege.
Hence, the same may be suspended or removed from the
(9) Supreme Court renders decision, by division if
lawyer for reasons provided in the rules, law and
penalty is fine of P10,000 less and/or
jurisprudence.
suspension for one year or less, and by the
Sui Generis court en banc, if penalty is fine of more than
P10,000.00 and/or suspension for more than
Does not prescribe
one year, or disbarment.
The following are specific grounds for suspension or
Discipline for Practice in Foreign Jurisdiction:
disbarment of a lawyer:
(1) They may likewise be disciplined in the
a. Deceit;
Philippines if their misconduct in the foreign
b. Malpractice;
jurisdiction also constitutes ground for
c. Grossly immoral conduct
discipline here.
d. Conviction of a crime involving moral
(2) But they are entitled to due process here, and
turpitude;
the decision of the authorities abroad shall only
e. Violation of oath of office;
be considered as prima facie evidence of
f. Willful disobedience of any lawful order of a
misconduct.
superior court
g. Corrupt or willful appearance as an attorney Q: Cliff and Greta were law school sweethearts. Cliff
for a party to a case without authority to do became a lawyer, but Greta dropped out. One day, Cliff
so. (Sec. 27, Rule 138, RRC) asked Greta to sign a marriage contract. The following day,
h. Non-payment of IBP membership dues Cliff showed Greta the document already signed by an
(Santos, Jr. v. Atty. Llas, Adm. Case No. 4749, alleged solemnizing officer and two witnesses. Cliff then
January 20, 2000) told Greta that they were already married and Greta
HOWEVER, The statutory enumeration is not to be taken as consented to go on a honeymoon. Thereafter, the couple
a limitation on the general power of SC to suspend or disbar cohabited and begot a child. Two years later, Cliff left
a lawyer. (In Re: Puno, A.C. No. 389, Feb. 28, 1967) HENCE, Greta and married a Venezuelan beauty. Incensed, Greta
the grounds enumerated are NOT exclusive. filed a disbarment complaint against Cliff. Will the case
prosper? Explain.
Proceedings in Disbarment:
A: The disbarment case will prosper. In the case of Cabrera
(1) initiated by the Supreme court motu propio or
v. Agustin,a lawyer who deceived a woman to believe that
by the IBP, or upon verified complaint by any
they were already married after they had signed an
person filed with the Supreme Court or an IBP
application for marriage license, and afterward tok
Chapter
advantage of her belief to saisfy his lust, until she bore him
(2) if complaint prima facie meritorious, referred
a child, was considered by the Supreme Court to e lacking
to the IBP, or the Solicitor General, any officer
in integrity and good morals to remain a member of the
of the Court or a judge of a lower court
Bar. (2009 Bar Question)
(3) IBP Board of Governors assigns complaint to
Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD).
(4) CBD will assign complaint to a Commissioner or Q: Atty. Hyde, a bachelor, practices law in the Philippines.
group Commissioners. On long weekends, he dates beautiful actresses in Hong
(5) If complaint found meritorious, Kong. Kristine, a neighbor in the Philippines, filed with the
Commissioner(s) will require respondent to file Supreme Court an administrative complaint against the
an answer. lawyer because of sex videos uploaded through the
(6) Commissioner will conduct hearing in which internet showing Atty. Hydes sordid dalliance with the
respondent is accorded due process. actresses in Hong Kong.In his answer, Atty. Hyde (1)
(7) After hearing, Commissioner(s) will submit questions the legal personality and interest of Kristine to
Report and Recommendation to IBP Board of institute the complaint and (2) insists that he is a bachelor
Governors. and the sex videos relate to his private life which is outside
(8) Board of Governors will render decision, either public scrutiny and have nothing to do with his law
exonerating the respondent and dismissing the practice.Rule on the validity of Atty. Hydes defenses.
case, or imposing a sanction less than
suspension, or recommending suspension or A: The legal personality and interest of Kristine to initiate
disbarment to the Supreme Court. the complaint for disbarment is immaterial. A disbarment
proceeding is Sui Generis, neither of civil or criminal
Exoneration may be appealed by the character. Its sole purpose is to determine whether or not
a lawyer is still deserving to be a member of the bar. In a
complainant to the Supreme Court. Sanction of
real sense, Kristine is not a plaintiff, hence, interest on her
less than suspension or disbarment may be
part is not required.
appealed by the respondent to the Supreme

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

Atty. Hydes second defense is untenable. His duty practice of law and has not appeared in any court
not to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful during the period of his or her suspension.
conduct, as well as his duty not to engage in scandalous 4. Copies of the sworn statement shall be furnished
conduct to the discredit of the legal profession, is applicable the Local Chapter of the IBP and to the Executive
to his private as well as professional life. (2009 Bar Judge of the courts where he or she has pending
Question) cases and/or has appeared as counsel.
5. The Sworn Statement shall be considered as proof
Q: Is the defense of Atty. R in a disbarment complaint for of respondents compliance with the order of
immorality filed by his paramour P that P is in pari delicto suspension.
material or a ground for exoneration? Explain. 6. Any finding or report contrary to the statements
made by the lawyer under oath shall be ground for
A: The defense of in pari delicto is immaterial in an imposition of a more severe punishment, or
administrative case which is sui generis. The administrative disbarment, as may be warranted. (Maniago
case is about the lawyers conduct, not the womans. (2010 vs. Atty. De Dios, A.C. No. 78472, March 30, 2010)
Bar Question)
Lifting of Suspension
Affidavit of Desistance: Effects
The lifting of a lawyers suspension is not automatic
Q: Arabella filed a complaint for disbarment against her upon the end of the period stated in the Courts decision,
estranged husband Atty. P on the ground of immorality and an order from the Court lifting the suspension at the
and use of illegal drugs. After Arabella presented evidence end of the period is necessary in order to enable [him] to
and rested her case before the Investigating resume the practice of his profession. (J.K. Mercado and
Commissioner of the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline, she Sons Agricultural Enterprises, Inc. et al. v. Atty. de Vera, et
filed an Affidavit of Desistance and motion to dismiss the al. and Atty. de Vera v. Atty. Encanto, et al.)
complaint, she and her husband having reconciled for the
sake of their children. You are the Investigating
Commissioner of the IBP. Bearing in mind that the family
Disbarment
is a social institution which the State is duty-bound to
preserve, what will be your action on Arabellas motion to Lawyers who have been disbarred: The Supreme Court may
dismiss the complaint? reinstate a disbarred lawyer upon proof that he has
regained his good moral character and can again be
A: I would still deny the motion to dismiss. The general rule
entrusted with the privileges of a lawyer.
is that no investigation shall be interrupted or terminated
by reason of desistance, settlement, compromise,
restitution, withdrawal of charges or failure of complainant
to prosecute the same unless the SC motu proprio or upon Q: X filed proceedings for disbarment against his lawyer,
recommendation of the IBP Board determines that there is Atty. C, following the latters conviction for estafa for
no compelling reason to continue with the proceedings. An misappropriating funds belonging to his client (X). While the
affidavit of desistance will have no effect on it, being a sui proceedings for disbarment was pending, the President
generis proceeding. (2010 Bar Question) granted absolute pardon in favor of Atty. C. Atty. C, then,
moved for the dismissal of the disbarment case. Should the
D. READMISSION TO THE BAR motion be granted?

Reinstatement and its Requirements A: An absolute pardon by the President is one that operates
to wipe out the conviction as well as the offense itself. The
Reinstatement is the restoration in disbarment proceedings grant thereof to a lawyer is a bar to a proceeding for
a disbarred lawyer the privilege to practice law. The disbarment against him, if such proceeding is based solely
applicant must, satisfy the Court that he is a person of good on the fact of such conviction. (In re: Parcasio, A.C. No. 100,
moral character a fit and proper person to practice law. Feb. 18, 1976)
Suspension But where the proceeding to disbar is founded on the
professional misconduct involved in the transaction which
1. After a finding that the respondent lawyer must be
culminated in his conviction, the effect of the pardon is only
suspended from the practice of law, the Court
to relieve him of the penal consequences of his act and does
shall render a decision imposing the penalty.
not operate as a bar to the disbarment proceeding,
2. Unless the Court explicitly states that decision is
inasmuch as the criminal acts may nevertheless constitute
immediately executory upon receipt thereof, the
proof that the attorney does not possess good moral
respondent has 15 days within which to file a
character. (In re: Lontok, 43 Phil. 293, Apr. 7, 1922)
motion for reconsideration thereof. Denial of the
motion for reconsideration shall render the
decision final and executory.
3. Upon expiration of the period of suspension, the
respondent shall file a Sworn Statement with the
Court through the Office of the Bar Confidant Resumption of the Practice of Law
stating therein that he or she has desisted from the

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

Q: After passing the Philippine Bar in 1986, Atty. Richards MCLE for a newly admitted member of the bar: Starts on
practiced law until 1996 when he migrated to Australia the first day of the month of his admission. (Sec. 5, last par.
where he subsequently became an Australian citizen in Bar Matter No. 850)
2000. As he kept abreast of legal developments, petitioner
learned about the Citizenship Retention and Re- Q: Atty. Galing is a Bar topnotcher. He has been teaching
Acquisition Act of 2003 (Republic Act No. 9225), pursuant major subjects in a law school for eight (8) years and has
to which he reacquired his Philippine citizenship in 2006. mastered the subjects he is handling. Is he exempt from
He took his oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen at the the MCLE requirement?
Philippine embassy in Canberra, Australia. Jaded by the
laid back life in the outback, he returned to the Philippines A: No, eight (8) years experience is not enough. (2012 Bar
in December 2008. After the holidays, he established his Question, MCQ)
own law office and resumed his practice of law. Months
later, a concerned woman who had secured copies of Atty.
Richards naturalization papers with consular Q: Atty. Rey has been a professor in the Legal
authentication, filed with the Supreme Court an Management Department of Y University for thirty (30)
anonymous complaint against him for illegal practice of years. He teaches Constitution,Obligation and Contracts,
law. Insurance, Introduction to Law. Is he exempted from the
MCLE requirement?
May the Supreme Court act upon the complaint filed by an
anonymous person? Why or why not? Is respondent A: No, because he is not teaching in the College of Law.
entitled to resume the practice of law? Explain. (2012 Bar Question, MCQ)

A: Yes, the SC may act upon the complaint filed by an Consequences of Noncompliance
anonymous complainant, because the basis of the
complaint consists of documents with consular A member who fails to comply with the requirements after
authentications which can be verified being public records. the 60-day period shall be listed as delinquent member by
There is no need to identify the complainant when the the IBP Board of Governors upon recommendation of the
evidence is documented and verifiable. Besides, the SC or Committee on MCLE.
the IBP may initiate disbarment proceedings motu proprio.

B. Yes, as long as he observes the procedure laid down in Q: In order to comply with the MCLE requirements, Atty.
Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law of Ausente enrolled in a seminar given by an MCLE provider.
Benjamin M. Dacanay, to wit; Whenever he has court or other professional
A. Updating and payment in full of the commitments, he would send his messenger or a member
annual membership dues in the IBP; of his legal staff to register his attendance at the MCLE
B. Payment of professional tax sessions so he could be credited with the required
C. Completion of atleast 36 credit hours of qualifying attendance. He would also ask them to secure
mandatory continuing legal education the printed handouts and the lecturers CDs, all of which
and; he studied in his free time. Atty. Ausente should be
D. Pretaking of the lawyers oath. (2010 Bar _________.
Question)
A: Sanctioned because he circumvented or evaded full
compliance with the MCLE requirements. (2013 Bar
Question)
E. MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION
Exemptions:
Requirements of completion of MCLE 1. President and Vice-President, Secretaries
and Undersecretaries of Executive
Members of the IBP, unless exempted under Rule 7, shall Departments
complete every 3 years at least 36 hours of continuing legal 2. Senators and Members of the House of
education activities. The 36 hours shall be divided as Representatives
follows: 3. Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the
1. 6 hours legal ethics Supreme Court, incumbent and retired
2. 4 hours trial and pretrial skills members of the judiciary, incumbent
3. 5 hours alternative dispute resolution members of the Judicial and Bar Council,
4. 9 hours updates on substantive and procedural incumbent court lawyers covered by the
laws and jurisprudence Philippine Judicial Academy
5. 4 hours legal writing and oral advocacy 4. Chief State Counsel, Chief State
6. 2 hours international law and international Prosecutor, and Assistant Secretaries of
conventions the Department of Justice
7. Remaining 6 hours such other subjects as may be 5. Solicitor General and Assistant Solicitor
prescribed by the Committee on MCLE General
6. Government Corporate Counsel, Deputy
an Assistant Government Corporate
Counsel

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

7. Chairmen and Members of Constitutional 2. A notary is disqualified from performing a


Commissions notarial act if he:
8. The Ombudsman, over-all Deputy (a) is a party to the document or instrument
Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman and to be notarized;
Special Prosecutor of the Office of the (b) will receive as a direct or indirect result
Ombudsman any advantage, right, title, interest, cash,
9. Heads of government agencies exercising property or other consideration;
quasi-judicial functions (c) is a spouse, common law partner,
10. Incumbent deans, bar reviewers and ancestor, descendant or relative by
professors of law who have teaching affinity or consanguinity of the principal
experience for a lest ten years in within the fourth civil degree
accredited law schools 3. A Notary public shall not perform a notarial
11. The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and act if
members of the Corps of Professors and (a) he knows or has good reason to believe
Professorial Lecturers of the Philippine that the transaction is unlawful or
Judicial Academy immoral,
12. Governors and mayors (b) the signatory shows a demeanor which
13. Those who are not in law practice, private engenders reasonable doubt as to the
or public consequence of the transaction,
14. Those who have retired from law practice (c) The signatory is not acting of his own free
approved by the IBP Board of Governors will.
15. Good cause 4. A Notary Public shall not
(a) execute a certificate containing
information known or believed to be
false,
F. LAW ON NOTARIAL PRACTICE (b) affix an official signature or seal on a
notarial certificate that is incomplete.
Qualifications:
Notarial Register a permanently bound book
1. Citizen of the Philippines
containing a chronological record of notarial acts,
2. Over 21 years of age
with the following particulars:
3. Resident of the Philippines for at least 1 year
1. Entry number
4. Maintains a regular place of work In the city or
2. date and time of act
province where the commission is to be issued,
3. type of notarial act
5. Member of the Philippine bar in good standing
4. type and description of instrument
6. Has not been convicted in the first instance of
5. name and address of each principal
a crime involving moral turpitude.
6. name or address of each witness
7. fee charged
Term of office: two (2) years, commencing from the first
8. address where notarization was
day of January of the year in which the commission was
performed if not in regular place of
issued.
work
9. any other circumstance.
Powers :
1. Acknowledgments
Jurisdiction of Notary Public and place of
2. Oaths and affirmations
notarization:
3. Jurats
1. Jurisdiction territorial jurisdiction of the
4. Signature witnessing
commissioning court. (TanTiong Bio v.
5. Copy certifications
Gonzales, AC 6634, Aug. 23, 2007)
6. Any other act authorized by the Rules
2. Place of notarization regular place of work,
7. Witnessing signing by thumbmark
except:
8. Signing on behalf of disabled person.

i. public office, convention halls,


Limitations:
and similar places where oaths
1. A notary shall not perform a notarial act if the
of office may be administered,
person involved as signatory of the
ii. public function areas in hotels
instrument:
and similar places for the signing
(a) is not in the notarys presence personally
of documents or instruments
at the time of notarization, (Heirs of
requiring notarization,
Villanueva v. Beradio, AC 6270, Jasn 23,
iii. hospitals and other medical
2007)
institutions where a party to an
(b) is not personally known to the notary or
instrument is confined for
identified through competent document
treatment.,
of identity. (Gonzales v. Padiernos, AC
iv. any place where a party to an
6713, Dec. 8, 2008)
instrument is under detention.

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

Q: A party to a contract does not know how to write.


Revocation of Commission Executive judge may Neither can he affix his thumbmark because both hands
revoke commission: were amputated. How will that person execute the
1. For any ground for which an application contract?
for a commission may be denied;
2. Where the notary public A: The party may ask the notary public to sign in his behalf.
i. fails to keep a notarial register; (2012 Bar Question, MCQ)
ii. fails to make a proper entry in
his notarial register;
iii. fails to send a copy of his entries
Q: Raul sought Elys disbarment for notarizing a deed of
to the Executive within10 days
sale knowing that four of the sellers were dead. Ely
of the following month;
admitted that he notarized the deed of sale but only after
iv. fails to affix to
his client assured him that the signatures of the others
acknowledgments date of
were authentic. Later, Raul moved to have the complaint
expiration of his commission;
against him dismissed on the ground that it was filed
v. fails to submit his notarial
because of a misunderstanding which had already been
register, when filled, to the
clarified. This prompted the IBP to recommend the
Executive Judge;
dismissal of the complaint. Can the dismissal be allowed?
vi. fails to make his report to the
Executive Judge within a A: No. given Elys admission that he notarized the
reasonable time, concerning the document when some signatories were absent. (Sec. 2, Rule
performance of his duties, as IV, A. M. No. 02-8-13-SC) (2011 Bar Question)
may be required by the Judge;
vii. fails to require the presence of a Regular place of work or business of a notary public
principal at the time of a notarial
act; The regular place of work or business refers to a stationary
viii. fails to identify a principal on the office in the city or province wherein the notary public
basis of personal knowledge or renders legal and notarial services. (Sec. 11, Rule II, 2004
competent evidence; Rules on Notarial Practice)
ix. executes a false or incomplete
certificate; Q: Atty. Sabungero obtained a notarial commission. One
x. knowingly perform or fails to Sunday, while he was at the cockpit, a person approached
perform any other act him with an affidavit that needed to be notarized. Atty.
prohibited or mandated by the Sabungero immediately pulled out from his pocket his
Rules; small notarial seal, and notarized the document. Was the
xi. commits any other dereliction or affidavit validly notarized? Explain.
act which in the judgment of the
A: Sec. 2 Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice
Executive Judge constitutes
provides that a Notary Public shall not perform a notarial
good cause for revocation of
act outside his regular place of work, except in few
commission or imposition of
exceptional occasions, at the request of the parties.
administrative sanction.
Notarizing in a cockpit is not one of such exceptions. The
prohibition is aimed to eliminate the practice of ambulatory
Q: Enumerate the instances when a Notary Public may notarization. However, assuming that the cockpit is within
authenticate documents without requiring the physical his notarial jurisdiction, the notarization may be valid but
presence of the signatories. the notary may be disciplined. (2009 Bar Question)

1. If the signatory is old or sick or otherwise Competent Evidence of Identity refers to the identification
unable to appear, his presence may be of an individual based on:
dispensed with if one credible witness
1. At least one current identification document issued by
not privy to the instrument and who is
an official agency bearing the photograph and
known to the notary public, certifies
signature of the individual such as but not limited to
under oath or affirmation the identity of
those enumerated in the law.
the signatory.
2. The oath or affirmation of one credible witness not
2. If two credible witnesses neither of
privy to the instrument, document or transaction who
whom is privy to the instrument, not
is personally known to the notary public and who
known to the notary public but can
personally knows the individual, or of two credible
present their own competent evidence
witnesses neither of whom is privy to the instrument,
of identity of the signatory.
document or transaction who each personally knows
3. In cases of copy certification and
the individual and shows to the notary public
issuance of certified true copies. (2010
documentary identification. (Amendment to Sec. 12
Bar Question)
(a), Rule II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, Feb.
19, 2008).

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Q: Under the 2004 Rules of Notarial Practice, what may Draft of the Code of Judicial Conduct is intended to be a
used to satisfy the requirement of "competent evidence Universal Declaration of Judicial Standards applicable in all
of identity"? judiciaries. As such, it was adopted by the Supreme Court
as its Code of Judicial Conduct, in solidarity with the other
A: (C) Voters ID, NBI clearance, Drivers license.(2013 Bar jurisdictions in the world. (2009 Bar Question)
Question)
The six (6) canons under the New Code of Judicial Conduct
b. Sanctions: for the Philippine Judiciary
1. The Executive Judge shall cause the
prosecution of any person who: 1. Independence
i. knowingly acts or impersonates 2. Integrity
a notary public; 3. Impartiality
ii. knowingly obtains, conceals, 4. Propriety
defaces, or destroys the seal, 5. Equality
notarial register, or official 6. Competence and Diligence
records of a notary public, and Independence pre-requisite for the rule of law and
iii. knowingly solicits, coerces, or in fundamental guarantee of a fair trial (Canon 1).
any way influences a notary
public to commit official Covers individual and institutional independence
misconduct. of judges and the judiciary.
The Executive Judge concerned shall submit semestral Sec. 1 judges shall exercise functions on the basis
reports to the Supreme Court on discipline and prosecution of facts and law, independently, free from
of notaries public. influence from any quarter.
o Go vs. CA, 206 SCRA 165 public opinion
G. CANONS OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS o Ramirez v. Corpuz-Macandog, 144 SCRA
462 public official
The Canons of Professional Ethics (CPE) were
o Sec. 2 judges shall be independent from
framed by the American Bar Association in 1908 and
judicial colleagues.
were adopted in the Philippines in 1917 and
subsequently revised in 1946. It is one of the sources
o Sec. 3 - judges shall refrain from
or the main basis of our legal ethics at the present influencing another court or
which is the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). administrative agency.
While the CPE is superseded by the CPR, the CPE
continues to be an invaluable source of knowledge and
understanding of legal ethics. Sabitsana v. Villamor, 202 SCRA 405 pressuring
MTC judge
Note: Most of the provisions of the Code of o Sec. 4 - judicial prestige should not be
Professional Ethics are incorporated in the Code of used to advance private interests of
Professional Responsibility. others.

o Sec. 5 judges shall be free from


inappropriate connection with the
II. JUDICIAL ETHICS executive and judicial branches.

The two sources of judicial ethics are:


o Sec. 6 judges shall be independent in
a. New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine relation to society in general.
Judiciary (Bangalore Draft);
o Sec. 7 judges shall maintain and
Promulgated April 27, 2004; effective June 1, 2004. enhance institutional and operational
independence of the judiciary.
b. Code of Judicial Conduct
o Sec. 8 - judges shall promote high
Promulgated by the Supreme Court of the standards of judicial conduct in order to
Philippines on September , 1989; effective promote public confidence in the
October 20, 1989. judiciary which is fundamental to the
maintenance of judicial independence.

Q: True or False: The Bangalore Draft, approved at a


Roundtable Meeting of Chief Justices held at The Hague, is Integrity essential in the official and personal demeanor
now the New Code of Judicial Conduct in the Philippines. of judges. (Canon 2)

A: TRUE. The whereas clause of the New Code of Judicial


Conduct in the Philippines provides that the Bangalore

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o Sec. 1 judges conduct should not only (b) The judge has previously served as
be above reproach but perceived to be a lawyer or was a material witness
above reproach. in the matter in controversy.
(c) The judge or member of his family
In the judiciary, moral integrity is has an economic interest in the
more than a cardinal virtue. It is a outcome of the matter in
necessity. (Fernandez v. Hamoy, 436 SCRA controversy.
186) (d) The judge served as executor,
administrator, guardian, trustee or
Ignorance of the law is a mark of lawyer in the matter in controversy,
incompetence, and where the law or a former associate of the judge
served as counsel during their
involved is elementary, ignorance thereof
association, or the judge or lawyer
is considered an indication of lack of was a material witness therein.
integrity (Macalintal v. Teh, 280 SCRA (e) The judges ruling in a lower court
623) is the subject of review.
Sandoval v. CA, 260 SCRA
o Sec. 2 - conduct of judges must reaffirm 283 partial participation
peoples faith in the integrity of the (f) The judge is related by
judiciary. consanguinity or affinity to a party
litigant within the sixth civil degree
o Sec. 3 - judges should take appropriate or to counsel within the fourth civil
disciplinary measures against lawyers degree.
and court personnel. Villaluz v. Mijares, 288 SCRA
594 petitioner is judges
Impartiality essential to the proper discharge of the daughter
judicial office. (Canon 3)

o Sec. 1 Judges shall perform duties without Q: True or False: A companion or employee of the judge
favor, bias or prejudice. who lives in the judges household is included in the
definition of the "judges family."
o Sec. 2 - Judges should ensure that their
conduct maintains and enhances the A: True. A judges family includes the spouse, son, daughter,
confidence of the public in the impartiality of son in law, daughter in law and any other relative by
the judge and the judiciary. consanguinity or affinity within the sixth civil degree, or a
person who is a companion or employee of the judge and
Pimentel v. Salanga, 21 SCRA 160 who lives in his household. (2009 Bar Question)
peoples faith in the judiciary
(g) The judge knows that his or her
Parayno v. Meneses, 231 SCRA 807 spouse or child has a financial
duty to sit interest as heir, legatee, creditor,
fiduciary, or otherwise, in the
subject matter in controversy, or in
o Sec. 3 Judges shall conduct themselves so as a party to the proceeding, or any
to minimize occasions in which it will be other interest that could be
necessary for them to be disqualified from substantially affected by the
hearing or deciding a case. outcome of the proceedings.

o Sec. 4 Judges shall not make any comment o Sec. 6. If the parties and lawyer, independently of
might be expected to influence the outcome the judges participation, all agree in writing that
of the proceeding before him. the reason for the inhibition is immaterial or
unsubstantial, the judge may then participate in the
o Sec. 5 Judges shall disqualify themselves in proceedings. The agreement, signed by all the
any proceedings in which they are unable to parties and lawyers, shall be incorporated in the
decide the matter impartially or in which it record of the proceedings.
may appear to a reasonable observer that
they are unable to decide the matter Remittal of disqualification Code of Judicial
impartially. (Ref. Sec. 1, Rule 137, Rules of conduct
Court)
(a) The judge has actual bias or Propriety essential to all activities of a judge. (Canon 4)
prejudice concerning a party or
personal knowledge of disputed o Sec. 1 Judges shall avoid impropriety and
evidentiary facts. appearance of impropriety in all their activities.
a. Acts not per se improper can be perceived
by the larger community as such.

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b. Judge who heard case while on vacation otherwise interfere with the performance of
and dressed only in a polo shirt (Liwanag judicial duties.
v. Lusre, A.M> MTJ-08-98-1168, April 21,
1999); tasteless jokes in a wedding In re Designation of Judge Rodolfo Manzano,
ceremony (Hadap v. Lee, 114 SCRA 559). AM 88-7-861-RTC consitutional prohibition
o Sec. 2 - Judges must accept personal restrictions against designation of judges to agencies
that might be viewed as burdensome by ordinary performing quasi-judicial or administrative
citizens, and in particular conduct themselves in a
functions.
way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial
office. o Sec. 11 - Judges shall not practice law while the
o Sec. 3 In their relations with lawyers who holder of judicial office.
practice regularly before their courts, judges
shall avoid situations giving rise to suspicions or MTC judges as notaries public ex officio, may
appearance of favoritism or partiality. not notarize private documenrts, except (1) when
o Sec. 4 A judge shall not participate in
no lawyers available in the municipality, and (2)
determination of a case in which any member
of their family represents a litigant or is in any notarial feees are paid to the governments
manner associated with the case. account.
o Sec. 5 - A judge shall not allow the use of his
residence by members of the legal profession o Sec. 12 Judges may form or join associations of
to receive clients of the latter or of other judges or participate in other organization
members of the legal profession. representing the interests of judges.
o Sec. 6 In exercising freedom of expression, o Sec. 13 Judges and members of their families
belief, association and assembly, judges shall shall neither ask for nor accept any gift, bequest,
conduct themselves in such a manner as to loan or favor in relation to anything done or to be
preserve the dignity, impartiality and done or entitled to be done by him in connection
independence of the judicial office. with the performance of his judicial duties.
o Sec. 14. Judges shall not knowingly permit court
Macias v. Arula, 115 SCRA 135 participating in a staff or others subject to their influence, direction
political rally or authority, to ask for or accept any gift, bequest,
In re Judge Acua, 464 SCRA 250 use of expletives loan or favor in relation to anything done or to be
done or entitled to be done in connection with
their duties and functions.
o Sec. 7 Judges shall inform themselves about their o Sec. 15. Subject to law and to any local
personal fiduciary and financial interests and those requirements of public disclosure, judges may
of the members of their family. receive a token gift, award or benefit as
o Sec. 8 Judges shall not use or lend the prestige of appropriate to the occasion on which it is made,
the judicial office to advance their private interests provided that such gift, award or benefit might not
or those of a member of their family, or any one be reasonably perceived as intended to influence
else. the judge in the performance of official duties or
otherwise give rise to an appearance of partiality.
Vistan v. Nicolas, 201 SCR 524 filed
Gifts from foreign sources governed by Sec. 7 (d) of
complaint for estafa in his own sala and assisted in
R.A. 6713.
issuance of warrant of arrest.
Dionisio v. Escao, 302 SCRA 411 posting Equality - essential to the due performance of judicial
notices for family restaurnt business in court duties. (Canon 5)
bulletin board
o Sec. 1 Judges shall be aware of and understand
Q: A retired member of the Judiciary is now engaged in diversity in society and differences arising from
private practice. In attending hearings, he uses his car various sources.
bearing his protocol plate which was issued to him while a. Awareness of international instruments
still in the service. Pass on the ethical aspect of the judges concerning equality of humn beings, and
use of the protocol plate. rights of women and children.
b. Gender and Development Mainstreaming
A: The judges use of his protocol plate after his retirement Plan for the Philippine Judicial System
is unethical. He is no longer entitled to use such plate after adopted on December 9, 2003.
his retirement. As a practicing lawyer, he should not engage c. Judges should avoid first impressions,
in unlawful, immoral or deceitful conduct. His continued hasty conclusions and prejudgments.
use of such plate is dishonest conduct. (2010 Bar Question)
o Sec. 2 Judges shall not in performance of judicial
o Sec. 9 Confidential information acquired by a duties manifest bias or prejudice on irrelevant
judges in their official capacity shall not be used for grounds.
any other purpose related to their judicial duties.
o Sec. 10 Judges may engage in activities that do
not detract from the dignity of the judicial office or

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o Sec.3 - Judges shall carry out judicial duties with obligations of his office. The robe is a part of the judges
appropriate consideration for all persons, without appearance and is as important as the gavel. The
differentiation on any irrelevant ground. Supreme Court added that while circumstances, such
as a medical condition claimed by the respondent
o Sec. 4. Judges shall not permit court staff to judge, may exempt one from complying with A.C. no.
differentiate between persons concerned in a 25, he must first secure the Courts permission for such
matter before the judge on any irrelevant ground. exemption. He cannot simply excuse himself, like
respondent judge, from complying with the
o Sec. 5 Judges shall require lawyers in proceedings requirement. (2009 Bar Question)
before the court to refrain from manifesting bias
or prejudice based on irrelevant grounds. Liabilities

Competence and diligence prerequisite to the due Q: Reacting to newspaper articles and verbal complaints
performance of judicial duties. (Canon 6) on alleged rampant sale of Temporary Restraining Orders
by Judge X, the Supreme Court ordered the conduct of a
o Sec. 1 Judicial duties of a judge shall take discreet investigation by the Office of the Court
precedence over all other activities. Administrator. Judges in the place where Judge X is
o Sec. 2 Judges shall devote their professional assigned confirmed the complaints. What administrative
activity to judicial duties, which include other tasks charge/s may be leveled against Judge X? Explain.
relevant to the judicial office or the courts
A: He could be charged with gross misconduct, arising from
operations.
violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. He
o Sec. 3 Judges shall take reasonable steps to
could also be charged with violations of Canon 4 of the New
maintain and enhance their knowledge, skill and
Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary which
personal qualities for the proper performance of
provides that judges and members of their families shall
judicial duties.
neither ask for, nor accept, any gift, bequest, loan or favor
o Sec. 4 Judges shall keep themselves informed
in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be
about relevant developments of international law,
done by him or her inj connection with the performance of
including international conventions and other
judicial duties. (2010 Bar Question)
instruments establishing human rights norms.

Two general source of international law


custom art and conventional norms. Q: Judge X was invited to be a guest speaker during the
annual convention of a private organization which was
o Sec. 5 Judges shall perform all judicial duties, covered by media. Since he was given the liberty to speak
including the delivery of reserved decisions, on any topic, he discussed the recent decision of the
efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness. Supreme Court declaring that the President is not, under
the Constitution, proscribed from appointing a Chief
o Sec. 6. Judges shall maintain order and decorum in Justice within two months before the election. In his
all proceedings before the court, and be patent, speech, the judge demurred to the Supreme Court
dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, decision and even stressed that the decision is a serious
witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the violation of the Constitution. Did Judge X incur any
judge deals in an official capacity. administrative liability? Explain.

o Sec. 7 Judges shall not engage in conduct If instead of ventilating his opinion before the private
incompatible with the diligent discharge of judicial organization, Judge X incorporated it, as an obiter dictum,
duties. in one of his decisions, did he incur any administrative
liability? Explain.

A: He did not incur administrative liability. Judges, like any


Q: After being diagnosed with stress dermatitis, Judge
other citizen, are entitled to freedom of expression, but in
Rosalind, without seeking permission from the
exercising such rights, they shall always conduct themselves
Supreme Court, refused to wear her robe during court
in a manner as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office
proceedings. When her attention was called, she
and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.
explained that whenever she wears her robe she is
reminded of her heavy caseload, thus making her In deciding cases, a judge is supposed to be faithful to the
tense. This, in turn, triggers the outbreak of skin law, which includes decisions of the SC. If he feels that a
rashes. Is Judge Rosalind justified in not wearing her doctrine enunciated by the SC is against his way of
judicial robe? Explain. reasoning, he may state his personal opinion but should
decide the case in accordance with the law. The fact that
A: Judge Rosalind is no justified. In Chan v. Majaducon, Judge X ventilated his personal opinion in an obiter dictum
the Supreme Court emphasized that the wearing of indicates that he did not decide the case in his personal
robes by judges as required by Adm. Circular No. 25, opinion. But still, it undermines the authority of the SC and
serves the dual purpose of heightened public he may incur administrative liability for it. (2010 Bar
consciousness on the solemnity of judicial proceedings Question)
and in impressing upon the judge the exacting

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Financial Activities

Q: Judges of the first and second level courts are allowed Discipline of Members of the Supreme Court
to receive assistance from the local government units
where they are stationed. The assistance could be in the Impeachment
form of equipment or allowance. Justices at the Court of
Appeals in the regional stations in the Visayas and It is a constitutional process of removing public servants
Mindanao are not necessarily residents there, hence, they from office as an assurance against abusive officials in the
incur additional expenses for their accommodations. Pass country (Impeachment Primer, Official Gazette, 2012).
on the propriety of the Justices receipt of
Object of impeachment
assistance/allowance from the local governments.

A: In Dadole v. COA and Leynes v. COA, the SC upheld the The object of impeachment is solely to determine whether
grant of allowances by LGUs to judges, prosecutors, public or not the official is worthy of the trust conferred upon
elementary and high school teachers and other national him/her. It is not determination of criminal guilt or
government officials assigned in such locality pursuant to innocence as in criminal case (Ibid.).
the Local
Grounds for Impeachment
Government Code. The SC held that to rule against the
power of the LGUs will subvert the principle of local 1. Treason
autonomy zealously granted by the constitution. Hence, it 2. Bribery
is not improper for judges to receive allowances. (2010 Bar 3. Other High Crimes
Question) 4. Graft and Corruption
5. Betrayal of Public Trust (Sec. 2 Art. XI, 1987
Q: On the proposal of Judge G, which was accepted, he and Constitution)
his family donated a lot to the city of Gyoza on the
condition that a public transport terminal would be
constructed thereon. The donation was accepted and the Procedure:
condition was complied with. The family-owned tracts of
land in the vicinity of the donated lot suddenly b. A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed
appreciated in value and became commercially viable as by any member of the House of Representatives or
in fact a restaurant and a hotel were soon after built. Did by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement
the Judge commit any violation of the Code of Judicial by any member thereof.
Conduct? c. The complaint is referred to the proper
committee, and after hearing and a majority vote
A: In Salunday v. Labitoria, the SC held that the act of Justice of it member, the committee shall submit its
Labitoria of recommending the construction of the Hall of report to the House.
Justice in a parcel of land close to a hotel owned by a d. A vote of at least one-third of all the members of
corporation which his wife is a stockholder was not the house shall be necessary either to affirm a
improper because there is no clear indication that in favorable resolution of the committee with the
recommending such, the respondent was impelled by a articles of impeachment, or override its contrary
desire to benefit financially. In the instant case, it seems resolution.
clear that the judge and his family is motivated by and e. The Senate shall have the sole power to try and
anticipated increase in the value of the property. He is then decide all cases of impeachment while sitting for
liable for violation Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial that purpose.
Conduct which provides that judges shall not use the f. No person shall be convicted without the
prestige of the judicial office to advance their private concurrence of two thirds of all the members of
interests or those members of their families or anyone else the Senate.
nor convey the impression that they are in a position to
influence them in a performance of official duty. (2010 Bar Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further
Question) than removal from office and disqualification to hold any
office under the Republic of the Philippines. But the party
convicted shall be liable and subject to prosecution, trial
and punishment according to law. (Secs. 2, 3, 6 and 7,
Article XI, 1987 Constitution)

Disbarment of judges and justices

Judges and justices, being lawyers, may also be disbarred, if


found guilty of certain crimes and/or other causes for
disbarment under the Rules of Court.

Justices of the Supreme Court however may not be


disbarred unless and until they shall have been first
impeached in accordance with the Constitution.

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Q: Is the Law on Secrecy of Foreign Currency Deposit Note: While providing guaranty for that right, the
Account (FCDA) a defense in failing to include a dollar Constitution also provides that the peoples right
deposit in a SALN? to know is limited to matters of public concern
A: No. The issue is not the conflict between the FCDA and is further subject to such limitations as may be
requiring secrecy of foreign currency deposits and the provided by law.
disclosure required by the SALN law, but the Constitution Custodians of public documents must not concern
which requires public officials to declare their assets and themselves with the motives, reasons and objects
does not distinguish between peso and foreign accounts of the persons seeking access to the records. While
(Senator Judge Pangilinan).
public officers in the custody or control of public
The Supreme Court in one case said that the FCDA cannot records have the discretion to regulate the manner
be used as a haven for the corrupt and the criminals. To in which records may be inspected, examined or
interpret it in the manner that the Chief Justice would want copied by interested persons, such discretion does
is to say that the law could be used as a haven to hide not carry with it the authority to prohibit access,
proceeds of criminal acts. (Senator Judge Drilon) inspection, examination, or copying of the records.
Ethical Lessons from Former Chief Justice Coronas Canons 3 and 4 of the new Code of Judicial
Impeachment: Conduct mandate, respectively, that judges shall
ensure that not only is their conduct above
The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, reproach, but that it is perceived to be so in the
found former Chief Justice Corona guilty of the view of the reasonable observer and that judges
failure to disclose to the public his statement of shall avoid improprieties and the appearance of
assets, liabilities, and net worth as required under impropriety in all of their activities. These very
sec. 17, Art. XI of the 1987 Constitution, by a vote stringent standards of decorum are demanded of
of 20-3. all magistrates and employees of the courts. As
Note: It is the "obligation" of an employee to such, those who serve in the judiciary, particularly
submit a sworn statement, as the "public has a justices and judges, must not only know the law
right to know" the employee's assets, liabilities, but must also possess the highest degree of
net worth and financial and business interests. integrity and probity, and an unquestionable
Hence, a court interpreter who failed to include in moral uprightness both in their public and private
her SALN rental payments she received from a lives (Veloso vs. Caminade, A.M. No. RTJ- 01-
market stall was dismissed from service (Rabe v. 1655, July 8, 2004)
Flores, A.M. No. P-97-1247, May 14, 1997). The In the Judiciary, moral integrity is more than a
Senator judges ruled that the law applies to all, cardinal virtue, it is a necessity. The exacting
including the Chief Justice of the Philippines, thus, standards of conduct demanded from judges are
his failure to include his dollar accounts in his SALN designed to promote public confidence in the
warrants his impeachment from office. integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
Mandate upon the Chief Justice to disclose his The integrity of the Judiciary rests not only upon
Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SALN): the fact that it is able to administer justice, but also
1. 1987 Constitution - A public officer or employee upon the perception and confidence of the
shall, upon assumption of office submit a community that the people who run the system
declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and have administered justice. In order to create such
net worth. This includes members of the Supreme confidence, the people who run the judiciary,
Court among others. particularly judges and justices, must not only be
2. R.A. 6713 - Section 8. Statements and Disclosure. proficient in both the substantive and procedural
Public officials and employees have an obligation aspects of the law, but more importantly, they
to accomplish and submit declarations under oath must possess the highest integrity, probity, and
of, and the public has the right to know, their unquestionable moral uprightness, both in their
assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and public and in their private lives. Only then can the
business interests including those of their spouses people be reassured that the wheels of justice in
and of unmarried children under eighteen (18) this country run with fairness and equity, thus
years of age living in their households. creating confidence in the judicial system. (Tan vs.
The basis of the publics right to inquire upon the Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982, December 14,
statement of assets and liabilities or public officers 2007).
rests upon the postulate of public office is a public
trust, which is institutionalized in the Constitution Ethical Aspect of Impeachment
to protect the people from abuse of governmental
Public officers and employees must at all times be
power. accountable to the people, serve them with

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utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and a. Must be corrupt or inspired by an intention to


efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead violate the law; or
modest lives (Sec. 1, Article XI 1987 Constitution). b. Were in persistent disregard for well-known
The principle of accountability provides that all legal rules.
government officials and employees, whether
they be the highest in the land or the lowliest Note: There is misconduct when there is reliable evidence
public servants, shall at all times be answerable for showing that judicial actions are corrupt or inspired by
their misconduct to the people from whom the intent to violate the law or in persistent disregard of legal
government derives its powers. rules.
The purpose of impeachment is to protect the
people from official delinquencies or 2. Inefficiency implies negligence, incompetence,
malfeasances. It is therefore primarily intended for ignorance and carelessness. A judge would be
the protection of the State, not for the punishment inexcusably negligent if he failed to observe in the
of the offender. performance of his duties that diligence, prudence and
It is essential that responsible and competent circumspection which the law requires in the rendition
public officers be chosen for public office to of any public service.
maintain the faith and confidence of the people to
the government otherwise it becomes ineffective. Classifications of Administrative charges
No popular government can survive without the
confidence of the people. It is the lone guarantee 1. Serious
and justification of its existence. 2. Less serious
3. Light

Discipline of Members of the Judiciary 1. If the judge is guilty of a serious charge:


(a) dismissal from the service,
Discipline of the Members of the Lower Court Judges, (b) forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as
Justices of the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan the Court may determine, except accrued
leave benefits;
The acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject to (c) disqualification from reinstatement or
disciplinary action. In the absence of fraud, malice or appointment to any public office,
dishonesty in rendering the assailed decision or order, the including government owned or
remedy of the aggrieved party is to elevate the assailed controlled corporation,
(d) Suspension from office without salary and
decision or order to the higher court for review and
other benefits for more than 3 but not
correction. However, an inquiry into a judges civil, criminal exceeding 6 months. and
and/or administrative liability may be made after the (e) A fine of more than P20,000.00 but not
available remedies have been exhausted and decided with exceeding P40,000.00.
finality. (Republic v. Caguioa, A.M. No. RTJ-07-2063, June
26, 2009) 2. If the judge is guilty of a less serious charge:
(a) Suspension from office without salary and
Institution of proceedings for the discipline of judges and other benefits for not less than 1 nor
justices: more than 3 months, or
(b) A fine of more than P10,000.00 but no
Proceedings for the discipline of judges of regular and exceeding P20,000.00.
special courts and justices of the Court of Appeals and the
Sandiganbayan may be instituted: 3. If the judge is guilty of a light charge:
(a) A fine of not less than P1,000.00 but not
1. Motu proprio by the Supreme Court; exceeding P10,000.00, and/or
2. Upon a verified complaint filed before the Supreme (b) Censure,
Court supported by: (c) Reprimand,
a. Affidavit of persons who have personal (d) Admonition with warning.
knowledge of the facts alleged therein; or
b. Documents which may substantiate said
allegations.
3. Anonymous complaint supported by public records of Res Ipsa Loquitor vis--vis Discipline of Judges
indubitable integrity filed with the Supreme Court.
Q: In Administrative Circular No. 1 addressed to all lower
courts dated January 28, 1988, the Supreme Court
stressed that all judges are reminded that the Supreme
Grounds for discipline of judges and justices:
Court has applied the Res Ipsa Loquitor rule in the removal
1. Serious Misconduct implies malice or wrongful of judges even without any formal investigation whenever
intent, not mere error of judgment. a decision, on its face, indicates gross incompetence or
gross ignorance of the law or gross misconduct (Cathay
Judicial acts complained of: Pacific Airways v. Romillo, G.R. No. 64276, 12 August

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1986). The application of the res ipsa loquitor rule in the expressly prohibits him and strikes at the judges authority
removal of judges is assailed in various quarters as to hear and decide the case.
inconsistent with due process and fair play. Is there any
basis for such a reaction? Explain. Exception to the aforementioned grounds: If despite the
parties knowledge of the disqualification gave their written
A:
consent that the otherwise disqualified judge would hear
1. First view - there is a basis for the reaction against and decide their case.
the res ipsa loquitor rule on removing judges.
According to the position taken by the Philippine Bar Voluntary Inhibition according to the Rules of Court states
Association, the res ipsa loquitor rule might violate the that a judge through the exercise of sound discretion may,
principle of due process that is the right to be heard for just or valid reasons to inhibit himself.
before one is condemned.
Note: A presiding judge must maintain and preserve the
Moreover, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court provides for
trust and faith of the parties-litigants. He must hold himself
the procedure for the removal of judges. Upon service
of the complaint against him, he is entitled to file an above reproach and suspicion. At the very sign of lack of
answer. If the answer merits a hearing, it is referred to faith and trust in his actions, whether well-grounded or not,
a justice of the Court of Appeals for investigation, the the judge has no other alternative but to inhibit himself
report of the investigation is submitted to the Supreme from the case (Gutang v. Court of Appeals, 292 SCRA 76).
Court for proper disposition.
Q: In a case for homicide filed before the Regional Trial
The danger in applying the res ipsa loquitor rule is that
Court (RTC), Presiding Judge Quintero issued an order for
the judge may have committed only an error of
the arrest of the accused, granted a motion for the
judgment. His outright dismissal does violence to the
reduction of bail, and set the date for the arraignment of
jurisprudence set in. (In Re Horilleno, 43 Phil. 212,
the accused. Subsequently, Judge Quintero inhibited
March 20, 1922)
himself from the case, alleging that even before the case
2. Second view- According to the Supreme Court the was raffled to his court, he already had personal
lawyer or a judge can be suspended or dismissed based knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the case. Is
on his activities or decision, as long as he has been Judge Quinteros inhibition justified? Explain.
given an opportunity to explain his side. No
investigation is necessary. A: Judge Quinteros inhibition is justified. One of the
grounds for inhibition under Section 5, Canon 3 of the New
Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary is
Quantum of evidence required where a judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a
party or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
The ground for removal of a judicial officer should be concerning the proceedings. (2009 Bar Question)
established beyond reasonable doubt. Such is the rule
where the charge on which the removal is sought is Q: Rebeccas complaint was raffled to the sala of Judge A.
misconduct in office, willful neglect, corruption or Rebecca is a daughter of Judge As wife by a previous
incompetence. The general rules in regard to admissibility marriage. This is known to the defendant who does not,
however, file a motion to inhibit the Judge. Is the Judge
of evidence in criminal trials apply.
justified in not inhibiting himself from the case?
Disqualification of Justice and Judges (Rule 137) A: The Judge is not justified in not inhibiting himself. It is
mandatory for him to inhibit as he is related to any of the
Mandatory or compulsory instances that a judge may be parties by consanguinity or affinity within the sixth civil
disqualified: degree. Judge A, being the stepfather of Rebecca, is related
to her by affinity of just one degree. Judges shall disqualify
1. The judge, or his wife, or child is pecuniarily interested themselves from participating in any proceeding in which
as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise they are unable to decide the matter impartially or in which
2. The judge is related to either party of the case within it may appear to a reasonable observer that they are unable
the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to the to decide the matter impartially. (2010 Bar Question)
counsel within the fourth degree (computed according
to the rule of civil law) Powers and Duties of Courts and Judicial Officers (Rule
3. The judge has been an executor, administrator, 135)
guardian, trustee or counsel
4. The judge has presided in any inferior court when his GR: Courts of justice shall always be open; Justice to be
ruling or decision is the subject of review (Section 1 of promptly and impartially administered.
Rule 317)
XPN: Legal holidays
Rationale: there is a conclusive presumption that the judge
cannot objectively or impartially try the case. The law Requirement of public hearing:

GR: The sitting of every court of justice shall be public

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

XPN: When the evidence to be adduced is of such nature as morning or afternoon session, all the notes he has taken, to
to require their exclusion in the interest of morality or be attached to the record of the case.(Sec. 17, Rule 136,
decency. Rules of Court)

Note: all trials on merits shall be conducted in open court Note: Transcript of notes delivered to the clerk, must be
or regular court room. duly initialed on each page, to be attached to the record of
the case.
Availability to the public of court records:
Legal Fees (RULE 141, A.M. NO. 04-2-04-SC)
GR: The records of every court of justice shall be public
records and shall be available for the inspection of any Payment should be made upon filing of the
interested person, at all proper business hours, under the pleading or other application and the prescribed fee to be
supervision of the clerk having custody of such records. paid in full upon filing of said same. If the fees are not paid,
the Court may refuse to proceed with the action until they
XPN: Unless the court shall, in any special case, have are paid and may dismiss the action or proceeding.
forbidden their publicity, in the interest of morality or
decency. Fees in Lien

Enforceability of inferior courts processes: If the Court awards claim not alleged or more than
that claimed, the amount shall be considered fees in lien
GR: Within the province where the municipality or city lies. and the party concerned shall pay the additional fees which
shall constitute a lien on the judgment in the satisfaction of
XPN: the approval of judge of Regional Trial Court of the
said lien.
province where it would be enforced.
Persons authorized to collect legal fees (list exclusive):
Court Records and General Duties of Clerks and
Stenographer (Rule 136) 1. Clerks of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals,
Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals
Records kept by the clerk: 2. Clerks of Regional Trial Courts
3. Clerks of Court of the First Level Courts
1. General Docket 4. Sheriffs, process servers and other persons serving
2. Judgment and Entries Book processes
5. Notaries
3. Execution Book 6. Other officers taking depositions
Note: records may not be taken from the clerks office Note: The persons herein authorized to collect legal fees
except by order of the court. However, the Solicitor General shall be accountable officers and shall be required to post
or any of his assistants, the provincial fiscal or his deputy, bond in such amount as prescribed by the law.
and the attorneys de officio shall be permitted, upon proper
receipt, to withdraw from the clerks office the record of Exempt from payment of Legal Fees:
any case in which they are interested.
Indigent litigants - the legal fees shall be a
Duties of clerks in general: lien on any judgment rendered in the case
favorable to the indigent litigant unless the court
1. The clerk shall safely keep all records, papers, files, otherwise provides.
exhibits and public property committed to his charge, Republic of the Philippines but does not
including the library of the court, and the seal and include local governments and government-
furniture belonging to his office (Sec. 7, Rule 136, Rules
owned or controlled corporations with or without
of Court);
2. Demand that the stenographer deliver notes of the independent charters.
session of the court to him immediately after each
Costs (Rule 142)
session (Sec. 17, Rule 136, Rules of Court).
Furthermore, in the absence of the judge, the clerk may:
Recovery of Costs
Costs shall be allowed to a prevailing party as a matter of
1. Perform all the duties of the judge in receiving
course. However, the court shall have power, for special
applications, petitions, inventories, reports;
reasons, to adjudge that either party shall pay the costs of
2. Issue orders and notices(Sec. 5, Rule 136, Rules of
an action, or that the same be divided, as may be equitable
Court)

Duty of stenographer: Note: costs cannot be adjudged against the Republic of the
Philippines.
It shall be the duty of the stenographer to deliver
to the clerk of court, immediately at the close of such

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LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS

Dismissed appeal or action


Court retains the power to render judgment for
costs as justice may require.

Frivolous Appeal
Double or Treble Costs shall be imposed on the
plaintiff or appellant, which shall be paid by his attorney, if
so ordered by the Court

False Allegations

False Allegation made without reasonable cause


and found untrue shall subject the offending party to the
reasonable expenses as may have been necessarily incurred
by the other part by reason of such untrue pleading.

Non-appearance of Witnesses

If a Witness fails to appear at the time and place


specified in the subpoena issued by any inferior court, the
costs of the warrant of arrest and of the arrest of the
witness shall be borne by him, if the court determines that
his failure to answer the subpoena was willful and without
excuse.

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