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Regala vs.

Court of First Instance
FACTS OF THE CASE

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), raised a complaint
before the Sandiganbayan (SB) against Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. and Teodoro
Regala and his partners in the ACCRA law firm, for the recovery of alleged ill-gotten
wealth, which includes shares of stocks in the named corporations in PCGG Case No.
33 (Civil Case No. 0033), entitled "Republic of the Philippines versus Eduardo
Cojuangco, et al." During the course of the proceedings, PCGG filed a "Motion to
Admit Third Amended Complaint" which excluded private respondent Raul S. Roco
from the complaint on his undertaking that he will reveal the identity of the
principal/s for whom he acted as nominee/stockholder.

In their answer to the Expanded Amended Complaint, ACCRA lawyers requested
that PCGG similarly grant the same treatment to them as accorded Roco. The PCGG
has offered to the ACCRA lawyers the same conditions availed of by Roco but the
ACCRA lawyers have refused to disclose the identities of their clients. ACCRA
lawyers filed the petition for certiorari, invoking that the Honorable Sandiganbayan
gravely abused its discretion: In subjecting petitioners ACCRA lawyers who acted to
the strict application of the law of agency

In not considering petitioners ACCRA lawyers and Mr. Roco as similarly
situated and,
therefore, deserving of equal treatment.

In not holding that, under the facts of this case, the attorney-client privilege
prohibits
petitioners ACCRA lawyers from revealing the identity of their client(s) and
other information requested by PCGG.

In not requiring that the dropping of party-defendants by the PCGG must be
based on
reasonable and just grounds and with due consideration to equal protection
of the law

ISSUE
Whether or not client’s identity in a case involving and acquiring companies
allegedly sourced from illgotten wealth is privileged and disclosure of such is
unethical.

RULING
The court held that the client identity in this case is privileged. As a matter of public
policy, a client's identity should not be shrouded in mystery. This general rule is
however qualified by some important exceptions:

the said name would furnish the only link that would form the chain of testimony necessary to convict an individual of a crime.Client identity is privileged where a strong probability exists that revealing the client's name would implicate that client in the very activity for which he sought the lawyer's advice. 2. .1. Where the government's lawyers have no case against an attorney's client unless. by revealing the client's name.Where disclosure would open the client to civil liability 3.