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University of Santo Tomas

Faculty of Civil Law

LEGAL AND
JUDICIAL
ETHICS
Questions Asked More
Than Once
(QuAMTO 2017)

*QUAMTO is a compilation of past bar questions with answers as suggested by


UPLC and other distinct luminaries in the academe, and updated by the UST
Academics Committee to fit for the 2017 Bar Exams.

*Bar questions are arranged per topic in accordance with the bar syllabus
released by the Supreme Court and were selected based on their occurrence
on past bar examinations from 1987 to 2016.
ACADEMICS COMMITTEE
CAMILLE ANGELICA B. GONZALES SECRETARY GENERAL

EMNIE VALERIE B. DURAN


IRVIN L. PALANCA
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
LARA NICOLE T. GONZALES
MARIELLA A. MARASIGAN

CAMILLE ANGELICA B. GONZALES LAYOUT AND DESIGN

QUAMTO COMMITTEE MEMBERS

JACKIELYN KRYSTYL NIHAMA BANA


KARL ANTHONY BULAONG
MERVIN MARCOS
KELLY ANN RUBIN
NESTOR FERNANDO SIAZON

ATTY. AL CONRAD B. ESPALDON


ADVISER
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
May LEGALCARE be legally incorporated? Discuss fully.
LEGAL ETHICS QUAMTO (1995 Bar)

LEGAL ETHICS A: A corporation cannot engage in the practice of law even


by hiring lawyers to perform legal work. It has been held
Q: What do you understand by Legal Ethics? Discuss its that only a natural person can engage in the practice of law.
importance and state its sources. A lawyer is burdened with peculiar duties and
responsibilities. A corporation cannot take an oath of office,
A: Legal ethics is that branch of moral science which treats be an officer of the court or subjected to court discipline: it
of the duties that an attorney owes to the court, to his client, cannot engage in law practice directly, it cannot evade the
to his colleagues, in the profession, and to society. requirements by employing competent lawyers to practice
The sources of legal ethics are the Constitution, the Rules of for it. (Matter of Cooperative Law Co., N.Y. 579). Hence,
Court, some particular provisions of statutes, the Code of LEGALCARE cannot be legally incorporated because the
Professional Responsibility and Judicial decisions. principal purpose involves the practice of law.

Legal ethics is important in order to maintain a high moral Practice of law is a privilege, not a right
standard for the lawyer in performing his duties as an
officer of the court, his duties to his client, to the members Q: Is the practice of law a right or a privilege? Discuss
of the legal profession as well as to society. Lawyers wield fully. (1995 Bar)
so much power and influence in society. Unless their acts
are regulated by high norms of ethical conduct they are A: The practice of law is basically a privilege because it is
likely to abuse them. limited to persons of good moral character with special
qualifications duly ascertained and certified. (5 Am. Jur.
270) Thus, only those persons are allowed to practice law,
PRACTICE OF LAW (RULE 138) who by reason of attainments previously acquired through
education and study, have been recognized by the courts as
possessing profound knowledge of legal science. Attorneys
Definition of the practice of law (2005, 1995) are the court’s constituency - to aid it in the administration
of justice. (Dodge v. State, 38 NE 745)
Q: Atty. Yabang was suspended as a member of the Bar
for period of one (1) year. During the period of Law as a profession, not a business or trade (2015,
suspension, he was permitted by his law firm to 2013, 2006, 1997)
continue working in their office, drafting and preparing
pleadings and other legal documents, but was not Q: Why is law a profession and not a trade? (2006 Bar)
allowed to come into direct contact with the firms’
clients. Atty. Yabang was subsequently sued for illegal A: Law is a profession and not a trade because its basic ideal
practice of law. Would the case prosper? Explain. (2005 is to render public service and secure justice for those who
Bar) seek its aid. The gaining of a livelihood is only a secondary
consideration.
A: The Supreme Court has defined the practice of law as any
activity in or out of court, which requires the application of Q: You are the managing partner of a law firm. A new
law, legal principle, practice or procedure and calls for legal foreign airline company, recently granted rights by the
knowledge, training and experience (Cayetano vs. Monsod, Civil Aeronautics Board at the NAIA, is scouting for a
201 SCRA 210 [1991]). Based on this definition, the acts of law firm which could handle its cases in the Philippines
Atty. Yabang of preparing pleadings and other legal and provide legal services to the company and its
documents would constitute practice of law. More so, if his personnel. After discussing with you the extent of the
activities are for the benefit of his law firm, because the legal services your law firm is prepared to render, the
employment of a law firm is the employment of all the general manager gives you a letter-proposal from
members thereof. The case against him will prosper. another law firm in which its time-billing rates and
professional fees for various legal services are
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER: indicated. You are asked to submit a similar letter-
proposal stating your firm's proposed fees. The airline
The traditional concept of practice of law requires the company's general manager also tells you that, if your
existence of a lawyer-client relationship as a requisite. proposed fees would at least be 25 per cent lower than
Pursuant to this concept, inasmuch as Atty. Yabang was not those proposed by the other firm, you will get the
allowed by his law firm to come into direct contact with the company's legal business. How would you react to the
firm’s clients during the period of his suspension, he cannot suggestion? (1997 Bar)
be considered as having engaged in illegal practice of law. .
The case against him will not prosper. A: I will emphasize to the General Manager that the practice
of law is a profession and not a trade. Consequently, I will
Q: Evelyn, Luisa. Myra, Josefina, Pamela and Rose are not propose a lower fee just for the sake of competing with
bona fide members of the Philippine bar. They agree to another firm. Because such practice smacks of
form a close corporation to be named LEGALCARE the commercialism. Moreover, Rule 2. 04 of the Code of
principal purpose of which is “to provide clients legal Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not
services, research and advice as well as trial advocacy charge rates lower than those customarily prescribed
for a fee." The services shall be rendered not only by unless the circumstances so warrant. I will charge fees that
these enterprising pioneers of LEGALCARE but also by will be reasonable under the circumstances.
lawyers to be employed by the projected corporation
on regular monthly salary basis. Q: As a new lawyer, Attorney Novato started with a
practice limited to small claims cases, legal counseling,

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Legal and Judicial Ethics
and notarization of documents. He put up a solo business methods of advertising and encroachment on
practice law office and was assisted by his wife who their, or dealing directly with their clients (In Re Sycip,
served as his secretary/helper. He used a makeshift hut 92 SCRA 1).
in a vacant lot near the local courts and a local transport
regulatory agency. With this strategic location, he Qualifications for admission to the Bar (2004, 2013,
enjoyed heavy patronage assisting walk-in clients in 1997, 2005)
the preparation and filing of pleadings and in the
preparation and notarization of contracts and Q: Upon learning from newspaper reports that bar
documents, and charges a reasonable fee for the candidate Vic Pugote passed the bar examinations. Miss
service. He draws electric power from an extension Adorable immediately lodged a complaint with the
wire connected to an adjoining small restaurant. He put Supreme Court, praying that Vic Pugote be disallowed
up a shingle that reads: “Atty. Novato, Specialist in Small from taking the oath as a member of the Philippine Bar
Claims, Fastest in Notarization; the Be stand Cheapest because he was maintaining illicit sexual relations with
in Copier Services.” several women other than his lawfully wedded spouse.
However, from unexplained reasons, he succeeded to
Is Atty. Novato’s manner of carrying out his take his oath as a lawyer. Later, when confronted with
professional practice –i.e., mixing business with the Miss Adorable’s complaint formally, Pugote moved for
practice of law, announcing his activities via a shingle its dismissal on the ground that it is already moot and
and locating his office as above-described – in keeping academic.
with appropriate ethical and professional practice?
(2013 Bar) Should Miss Adorable’s complaint be dismissed or not?
Explain briefly. (2004 Bar)
A: No. Atty. Novato’s manner of carrying out his
professional practice is not in keeping with appropriate A: It should not be dismissed. Her charge involves a matter
ethical and professional practice. He has degraded the law of good moral character which is not only a requisite for
profession, which may result to loss of respect to lawyers as admission to the Bar, but also a continuing condition for
a whole. remaining a member of the Bar. As such, the admission of
Vic Pugote to the Bar does not render the question moot and
The use of a makeshift hut standing alone would create the academic.
impression that the lawyer does not have a permanent
address which is required to be stated in all pleadings he Q: Miguel Jactar, a fourth year law student, drove his
signs as well as required to be shown in documents he vehicle recklessly and hit the rear bumper of Simplicio
notarizes. Medroso’s vehicle. Instead of stopping, Jactar
accelerated and sped away. Medroso pursued Jactar
His shingle shows that he has considered the law profession and caught up with him at an intersection.
as a business. He should have a separate shingle for his
copier services business. In their confrontation, Jactar dared Medroso to sue,
bragged about his connections with the courts, and
When he included in his shingle the phrases “Specialist in even uttered veiled threats against Medroso. During
Small Claims” and “Fastest in Notarization,” he has the police investigation that followed, Medroso learned
transgressed the rule that a lawyer in making known his that Jactar was reviewing for the Bar examinations.
legal services shall use only dignified information or Under these facts, list and justify the potential
statement of facts (Code of Professional Responsibility, objections that can be made against Jactar’s admission
Canon 3). So also the norm that a lawyer shall not use or to the practice of law. (2013 Bar)
permit the use of any misleading, undignified, self-
laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his A: The potential objection that can be made against Jactar’s
qualifications or legal services (Ibid., Canon 3, Rule 3.01). admission to the practice of law is the absence of good
moral character (Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 2).
The use of the phrases “Specialist in Small Claims” and
“Fastest in Notarization” is misleading advertisement Jactar’s bragging about his connection with the courts and
because they are likely to create an unjustified expectation uttering veiled threats against Medroso are indications of
about the results the lawyer can achieve or implies that the his lack of good moral character. His acts are contrary to
lawyer can achieve results by improper means (ABA Model justice, honesty, modesty or good morals (In re Basa, 41 Phil.
Rule 7.1.b). 276). He has acted in a manner that has violated the private
and social duties which a man owes to his fellowmen, or to
Q: Cite some of the characteristics of the legal society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary
profession which distinguish it from business. (2015 rule of right and duty between man and man (Tak Ng v.
Bar) Republic, G.R. No. L-13017, 106 Phil. 730, December 23,
1959).
A: The primary characteristics which distinguish the legal
profession from a business are: NOTE: Any answer which explains the nature of absence of
good moral character should be given full credit.
1. a duty of public service of which emolument is a by-
product and in which one may attain the highest The following additional objection should not result to a
eminence without making much money; deduction nor should an absence of the additional objection
2. a relation as officer of the court to the administration of also result to a deduction.
justice involving thorough sincerity, integrity and
reliability; a. If light threats would be filed against him, then another
3. a relation to client in the highest degree fiduciary; potential objection would be the pendency of charges
4. a relation to colleagues characterized by candor, against him, involving moral turpitude (Rules of Court,
fairness and unwillingness to resort to current Rule 138, Sec. 2).

2
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QUAMTO (1987-2016)
b. The question states, “Under these facts, list and justify ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
the potential objections that can be made against
Jactar’s admission to the practice of law.” Agpalo has pointed out that the legislature, in the exercise
c. The question requires that an assumption be made that of police power, may enact laws regulating the practice of
Jactar has passed the Bar Examination and is about to law to protect the public and promote public welfare, but it
take his oath as an attorney. It is suggested that the may not pass a law that will control the Supreme Court in
better question should have been: “Under these facts, the performance of its function to decide who may be
list and justify the potential objections that can be made admitted into the practice of law (Agpalo, Legal Ethics, 5th
against Jactar’s being admitted to take the Bar Edition, p. 5). Constitutional Commissioner Joaquin C.
Examination.” Bemas also submits that the matter stays as if the 1935 and
1973 provisions had been re-enacted (Bernas, The
Q: Prior to his admission to the freshman year in a Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. 1992 ed., Vol.
reputable law school, bar examinee A was charged II. p. 293).
before the Municipal Trial Court with damage to
property through reckless imprudence for accidentally APPEARANCE OF NON-LAWYERS
sideswiping a parked jeepney. The case was amicably
settled with A agreeing to pay the claim of the jeepney Law student practice rule (Rule 18-A) (2009, 2006)
owner for P1,000.00. In his application to take the 1997
Bar Examinations, A did not disclose the above incident. Q1: Enumerate the instances when a law student may
Is he qualified to take the Bar Examinations? (1997, appear in court as counsel for a litigant. (2006 Bar)
2005 Bar)
A:
A: Rule 7.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
provides that “a lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly a. Under the Student Practice Rule, a law student who has
making a false statement or suppressing a material fact in successfully completed his third year of the regular
connection with his application for admission to the bar”. In four-year prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled in
the case of In re: Ramon Galang, 66 SCRA 245, the a recognized law school’s clinical legal education
respondent repeatedly omitted to make mention of the fact program approved by the Supreme court, may appear
that there was a pending criminal case for slight physical without compensation in any civil, criminal or
injuries against him in all four (4) applications for administrative case before any trial court, tribunal,
admission to take the bar examinations. He was found to board or officer, to represent indigent clients accepted
have fraudulently concealed and withheld such fact from by the legal clinic of the law school, under the direct
the Supreme Court and committed perjury. The Supreme supervision and control of a member of the Integrated
Court cited the rule that “the concealment of an attorney in Bar of the Philippines if he appears in a Regional Trial
his application to take the bar examinations of the fact that Court, and without such supervision if he appears in an
he had been charged with, or indicted for, an alleged crime, inferior court (Bar Matter 730, June 10, 1997);
is a ground for revocation of his license to practice law.” b. When he appears as an agent or friend of a litigant in an
inferior court (Sec. 34, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court);
A’s failure to disclose that he had been charged with damage c. When he is authorized by law to appear for the
to property through reckless imprudence in his application Government of the Philippines (Sec. 33, Rule 138,
for admission to the bar examinations disqualifies him. It Revised Rules of Court);
does not matter that the offense charged does not involve d. In remote municipalities where members of the bar are
moral turpitude or has been amicably settled. When the not available, the judge of an inferior court may appoint
applicant concealed a charge of a crime against him but a non-lawyer who is a resident the province and of good
which crime does not involve moral turpitude, this repute for probity and ability, to aid the defendant in
concealment nevertheless will be taken against him. It is the his defense (Sec. 4, Rule 116, Revised Rules of Court);
fact of concealment and not the commission of the crime e. A law student may appear before the National Labor
itself that makes him morally unfit to become a lawyer (In Relations Commission or any Labor Arbiter if (a) he
re: Ramon Galang, A.C. No. 1163, August 29, 1975). represents himself, as a party to the case, (b) he
represents an organization or its members with written
Q: Does the legislature have the power to regulate authorization from them, or (c) he is a duly-accredited
admission to the bar and the practice of law? Discuss member of any legal aid office duly recognized by the
fully. (1995 Bar) Department of Justice or the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines in cases referred to by the latter (Art. 222,
A: Congress under the 1987 Constitution has no power to Labor Code; Kanlaon Construction Enterprises Co., Inc. v.
regulate admission to the Bar and the practice of law. Unlike NLRC, 279 SCRA 337 [1997]);
the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, the 1987 Constitution no f. Under the Cadastral Act, a non-lawyer may represent a
longer provides for the power of the legislature to repeal, claimant before the Cadastral Court (Sec. 8, Act No.
alter and supplement the rules promulgated by the 2250).
Supreme Court. Under the 1935 Constitution, the
legislature had the power to repeal, alter the rules Q: What is the student practice rule? (2009 Bar)
promulgated by the Supreme Court although the power and
the responsibility to admit members of the bar resides in A: The Student Practice Rule (Rule 138-A) is the Rule
the Supreme Court. (See In Re: Cunanan, 50 OG 1602) Under authorizing a law student who has successfully completed
the 1987 Constitution however, the Supreme Court has the his 3rd year of the regular four-year prescribed law
exclusive power to promulgate rules concerning the curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized law school’s
enforcement of rights, pleadings and practice and clinical legal education program approved by the Supreme
procedures of all courts and the admission to the practice of Court, to appear without compensation in any civil,
law. (See Art. 8. Section 5, subpar. 3-5). criminal or administrative case before any trial court,
tribunal or board or officer, to represent indigent clients

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Legal and Judicial Ethics
accepted by the legal clinic of the law school, under the to reset the hearing of the case to another day to enable
direct supervision and control of a member of the IBP plaintiff to engage the services of counsel. Plaintiff
accredited by the law school. replied he could manage to prosecute his own case, it
Non-lawyers in courts (1996, 1999) being but a simple case for collection of sum of money.
If you were the Judge, will you allow A to continue
Q: Generally, only those who are members of the bar prosecuting his case by himself alone? (1999 Bar)
can appear in court. Are there exceptions to this rule?
Explain (1996 Bar) A: Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides that
in a Regional Trial Court, a party may conduct his litigation
Answer: personally or by aid of an attorney, and his appearance
must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of
The exceptions to the rule that only those who are members the bar. Hence, if I were the Judge, I will allow A to continue
of the bar can appear in court are the following: prosecuting his case alone, but I will warn him about the
risks involved in his doing so because of his lack of
a. In the municipal trial court, a party may conduct his knowledge of law and legal procedure.
litigation in person or with the aid of an agent or friend
(Sec. 34. Rule 138). ALTERNATIVE ANSWERS:
b. In any other court, a party may conduct his litigation
personally (id.) a. If I were the Judge, I will not allow A to prosecute his
c. In criminal proceedings before a municipal trial court case. Although he is a law graduate, it does not appear
in a locality where a duly licensed member of the bar is that he is familiar with procedural law, having filed the
not available, the court may in its discretion admit or case with the RTC which has no jurisdiction over the
assign a person, resident of the province and of good case in view of the amount involved. The judge is duty
repute for probity and ability, to aid the defendant in bound to see to it that there is no miscarriage of justice.
his defense, although the person so assigned is not a b. No. I shall dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction
duly authorized member of the bar (Sec. 4. Rule 116). because the amount of P50.000.00 is within the
d. Any official or other person appointed or designated in jurisdictional ambit of the Municipal Trial Court.
accordance with law to appear for the Government of Consequently, A could not continue prosecuting the
the Philippines shall have all the rights of a duly case.
authorized member of the bar to appear in any case in
which said government has an interest direct or Non-lawyers in administrative tribunals
indirect (Sec. 33. Rule 138).
e. A senior law student who is enrolled in a recognized Q: Raul Catapang, a law graduate and vice-president for
law school’s clinical education program approved by labor relations of XYZ Labor Union, entered his
the Supreme Court may appear before any court appearance as representative of a member of the union
without compensation to represent indigent clients before the Labor Arbiter in a case for illegal dismissal,
accepted by the Legal Clinic of the law school (Rule 138- unpaid wages and overtime pay. Counsel for the
A). Company objected to Raul’s appearance and moved for
f. Non-lawyers may appear before the NLRC or any Labor his disqualification on the ground that he is not a
Arbiter if they represent themselves or their labor lawyer. If you were the Labor Arbiter, how would you
organization or members thereof (Art. 222, Labor resolve the motion? Why? (2002 Bar)
Code).
g. Under the Cadastral Act, a non-lawyer can rep-resent a A: I will deny the motion to disqualify Raul. Article 222 of
claimant before the Cadastral Court (Sec. 9. Act. 2259). the Labor Code authorizes non-lawyers to appear before
the National Labor Relations Commission or any Labor
Q: A, a mere high school graduate, with the aid of a Arbiter in representation of their organization or members
friend who is a college undergraduate, filed a complaint thereof.
for recovery of a sum of money in the amount of Four
Thousand (P4, 000.00) Pesos in the Metropolitan Trial SANCTIONS FOR PRACTICE OR APPEARANCE
Court of his town. The Clerk of Court told A that his WITHOUT AUTHORITY
complaint might be dismissed for insufficiency as to
form because neither he nor his friend who is assisting Lawyers without authority (2006, 2000)
him is a lawyer. Is the Clerk of Court correct? (1999 Bar)
Q: (1) The Supreme Court suspended indefinitely Atty.
A: The Clerk of Court is not correct. In the Justice of the Fernandez from the practice of law for gross
Peace courts (now known as Municipal Trial Court or immorality. He asked the Municipal Circuit Trial Court
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts or Metropolitan Trial Court), Judge of his town if he can be appointed counsel de
a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of officio for Tony, a childhood friend who is accused of
an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or theft. The judge refused because Atty. Fernandez’s
with the aid of an attorney. (Sec. 34, Rule 138, Rules of Court) name appears in the Supreme Court’s List of Suspended
Lawyers. Atty. Fernandez then inquired if he can appear
Q: A, a law graduate but has not passed the bar as a friend for Tony to defend him. If you were the judge,
examination, filed a Complaint in the Regional Trial will you authorize him to appear in your court as a
Court for recovery of Fifty Thousand (P50, 000.00) friend for Tony?
Pesos owed him by B. At the hearing of the case after
Answer was filed, A appeared by himself alone and A: I will not authorize him to appear as a friend of Tony. The
without counsel to prosecute his case. The defendant accused in a criminal case is entitled to be represented by
pointed out to the Court that A was not a member of the legal counsel, and only a lawyer can be appointed as counsel
bar and suggested that for his own protection, A should de officio. Although a municipal trial court may appoint a
engage the services of a counsel duly accredited as a person of good refute to aid the accused as counsel de officio
member of the Bar. The Judge intimated his willingness in his defense, this is applicable only where members of the

4
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QUAMTO (1987-2016)
bar are not present (Sec. 4, Rule 116, Revised Rules of Court). Q: Lawyer U, a retired Tanodbayan prosecutor, now in
Necessarily, the friend referred to one who is not a lawyer. the private practice of law entered his appearance for
Atty. Fernandez is a lawyer but under indefinite suspension. and in behalf of an accused in a case before the
He should not be allowed to practice law even as a counsel Sandiganbayan. The prosecution moved for his
de officio. disqualification on the ground that he had earlier
appeared for the prosecution in the case and is
(2) Supposing Tony is a defendant in a civil case for knowledgeable about the prosecution's evidence, both
collection of sum of money before the same court, can documentary and testimonial. U contended that he
Atty. Fernandez appear for him to conduct his merely appeared at the arraignment on behalf of the
litigation? (2006 Bar) prosecutor assigned to the case who was absent at the
time. Decide. (Bar)
A: Even if Tony is a defendant in a civil case, Atty. Fernandez
cannot be allowed to appear for him to conduct his A: Lawyer U should be disqualified from entering his
litigation; otherwise, the judge will be violating Canon 9 of appearance in this case even only for arraignment of the
the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that accused. His appearance is deemed to be appearing for
"a lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the conflicting interest.
unauthorized practice of law.
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
ALTERNATIVE ANSWERS TO 1 AND 2:
Canon 36 provides that a lawyer, having once held public
Yes, if Atty. Fernandez was appointed by Tony. Even if Atty. office or having been in public employ, should not, after his
Fernandez was suspended indefinitely, he may appear as retirement, accept employment in connection with any
an. agent or friend of Tony, the party litigant in the matter he has investigated or passed upon while in such
Municipal Trial Court, if Tony appoints him to conduct his office or employ. The contention of U that he merely
case (Sec. 34, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court, Cantimbuhan appeared at the arraignment on behalf of the absent
v. Cruz, Jr., 126 SCRA 190 [1983]) prosecutor, is not enough. As a former Tanodbayan
prosecutor, he certainly had occasion to obtain knowledge
Q: Atty. E entered his appearance as counsel for about the prosecution’s evidence.
defendant F in a case pending before the Regional Trial
Court. F later complained that he did not authorize Atty. Public officials who cannot practice law or can practice
E to appear for him. F moved that the court suspend law with restrictions (1990, 2000)
Atty. E from the practice of law. May the judge grant the
motion? Explain. (2000 Bar) Q: A town mayor was indicted for homicide through
reckless imprudence arising from a vehicular accident.
A: The judge may grant the motion. Unauthorized May his father-in-law who is a lawyer and a
appearance is a ground for suspension or disbarment (Sec. Sangguniang Panlalawigan member represent him in
27, Rule 138, Rules of Court). court? Reason. (2000 Bar)

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER: A: Yes, his father-in-law may represent him in court. Under
the Local Government Code (R.A. 7160), members of the
It depends. A lawyer’s appearance for a party without the Sanggunian may engage in the practice of law, except in the
authority of the latter must be willful, corrupt or following: (1) they shall not appear as counsel before any
contumacious in order that he may be held administratively court in any civil case wherein a local government unit or
liable therefor. But if he has acted in good faith, the any office, agency or instrumentality of the government is
complaint for suspension will fail (Garrido v. Qutsumbing, 28 the adverse party; (2) they shall not appear as counsel in
SCRA 614 [1969]). any criminal case wherein an officer or employee of the
national or local government is accused of an offense
PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND THE PRACTICE OF LAW committed in relation to his office; (3) they shall not collect
any fee for their appearance in administrative proceedings
Prohibition or disqualification of former government including the local government unit of which he is an
attorneys official; and (4) they shall not use property and personnel
of the Government except when the Sanggunian member
Q: Atty. Herminio de Pano is a former Prosecutor of the concerned is defending the interests of the government. In
City of Manila who established his own law office after this case, the town mayor was indicted for homicide
taking advantage of the Early Retirement Law. He was through reckless imprudence, an offense that is not related
approached by Estrella Cabigao to act as private to his office.
prosecutor in an estafa case in which she is the
complainant. It appears that said estafa case was Q: In a civil case before the Regional Trial Court
investigated by Atty. de Pano when he was still a between Mercy Sanchez and Cora Delano, Sanchez
Prosecutor. Should Atty. de Pano accept employment as engaged the services of the Reyes Cruz & Santos Law
private prosecutor in said estafa case? Explain. (1992 Offices. Delano moved for the disqualification of the
Bar) Reyes Cruz & Santos Law Offices on the ground that
Atty. Cruz is an incumbent senator. Rule on the motion
A: Atty. de Pano should not accept the employment as with reasons. (1990 Bar)
private prosecutor as he will be violating Canon 6, Rule 6.03
of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides A: As a judge, I will require that the name of Atty. Cruz, an
that a lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, incumbent Senator, be dropped from any pleading filed in
accept employment in connection with any matter in which court or from any oral appearance for the law firm by any
he had intervened while in said service. other member of the law firm, and should the law firm

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Legal and Judicial Ethics
refuse, I will disqualify the law firm. My reasons are as Q: Prosecutor Coronel entered his appearance on
follows: behalf of the State before a Family Court in a case for
declaration of nullity of marriage, but he failed to
Article VI, Sec. 14ofthe 1987 Constitution provides that “no appear in all the subsequent proceedings. When
Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may required by the Department of Justice to explain, he
personally appear as counsel before any court of Justice or argued that the parties in the case were ably
before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other represented by their respective counsels and that his
administrative bodies." What is prohibited is personal time would be better employed in more substantial
appearance of the Senator Atty. Cruz, and for as long as the prosecutorial functions, such as investigations,
Senator does not personally appear in court for Mercy inquests and appearances in court hearings. Is Atty.
Sanchez, the prohibition does not apply. Personal Coronel’s explanation tenable? (2006 Bar)
appearance includes not only arguing or attending a
hearing of a case in court but also the signing of a pleading A: Atty. Coronel’s explanation is not tenable the role of the
and filing it in court. Hence, the Senator should not allow his State’s lawyer in nullification of marriage cases is that of
name to appear in pleadings filed in court by itself or as part protector of the institution of marriage (Art 48, Family
of a law firm name, such as Reyes Cruz and Santos Law Code). “The task of protecting marriage as an inviolable
Offices, under the signature of another lawyer in the law social institution requires vigilant and zealous participation
firm, nor should he allow the firm name with his name and not mere pro forma compliance" (Malcampo-Sin v. Sin,
therein to appear as counsel through another lawyer, 355 SCRA 285 [2001]). This role could not be left to the-
without indirectly violating the constitutional restriction, private counsels who have been engaged to protect the
because the signature of an agent amounts to a signing by private interests of the parties.
the Senator through another lawyer is in effect his
appearance, the office of attorney being originally one of LAWYER’S OATH
agency, and because the Senator cannot do indirectly what
the Constitution prohibits directly. The lawyer actually Q: The Lawyer’s Oath is a source of obligation and its
appearing for Mercy Sanchez should drop the name of Atty. violation is a ground for suspension, disbarment, or
Cruz from any pleading or from any oral appearance in other disciplinary action. State in substance the
court, otherwise the law firm could be disqualified. Lawyer’s Oath. (2015, 2009 Bar)
Moreover, Rule 6.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility prohibits a lawyer in government from using Answer:
his public position to promote or advance his private
interests, and the Senator’s name appearing in pleadings or “I, ____________________________________________, having been
in appearances by other lawyers in the law firm may be permitted to continue in the practice of law in the
misconstrued as indirectly influencing the judge to decide Philippines, do solemnly swear that I recognize the
the case in favor of the law firm’s client, which can only be supreme authority of the Republic of the Philippines; I will
avoided by dropping the name of the Senator from the firm support its Constitution and obey the law as well as the legal
name whenever it appears in court. orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I will do
no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; I will
ALTERNATIVE ANSWERS: not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless,
false or unlawful suit, nor give aid nor consent to the same;
a. The motion to disqualify the Reyes Cruz and Santos Law I will delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct
Offices may not prosper as Article VI, Section 14 of the myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge
Constitution prohibits a Senator or Member of the and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as
House of Representatives to personally appear as to my clients; and I impose upon myself this voluntary
counsel in any court of justice. If Attorney Cruz who is a obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of
Senator personally appears, he may be disqualified. evasion. So help me God.”
b. I will deny the motion. The Constitution prohibits
personal appearance by a member of Congress before Q: What is the significance of lawyer's oath? (1996,
the Courts but does not totally prohibit law practice. As 2003 Bar)
long as the Senator does not personally or physically
appear in court, there is no disqualification. A: “The significance of the oath is that it not only impresses
upon the attorney his responsibilities but it also stamps him
Lawyers who are authorized to represent government as an officer of the court with rights, powers and duties as
(2001, 2006) important as those of the judge themselves. The oath of a
lawyer is a condensed code of legal ethics. It is a source of
Q: From the viewpoint of legal ethics, why should it be his obligation and its violation is a ground for his
mandatory that the public prosecutor be present at the suspension, disbarment or other disciplinary action".
trial of a criminal case despite the presence of a private (Agpalo, Legal Ethics, 5th ed., p.59)
prosecutor? (2001 Bar)
Q: Section 20, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court enumerates
A: The public prosecutor must be present at the trial of the nine (9) duties of attorneys. Give at least three (3) of
criminal case despite the presence of a private prosecutor them. (2000, 2007 Bar)
in order to see to it that the interest of the State is well-
guarded and protected, should the private prosecutor be A: Under Section 20, Rule 138, it is the duty of an attorney:
found lacking in competence in prosecuting the case.
Moreover, the primary duty of a public prosecutor is not to 1. To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the
convict but to see to it that justice is done (Rule 6.01, Code of Philippines;
Professional Responsibility). A private prosecutor would be 2. To maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and
naturally interested only in the conviction of the accused. judicial officers;

6
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
3. To counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings Both cases are assigned to Judge Elrey. Although not the
only as appear to him to be just, and such defenses only sole issue in the two cases, the statute of limitations
as he believes to be honestly debatable under the law; issue is critical in both.
4. To employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes Is there an ethical/professional responsibility problem
confided to him such means only as are consistent with in this situation? If a problem exists, what are its
truth and honor, and never seek to mislead the judge or implications or potential consequences? (2013 Bar)
any Judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of
fact or law; A: Yes. There is an ethical/professional responsibility
5. To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril problem that results from the actuation of Atty. Doblar in
to himself, to preserve the secret of his client, and to arguing the reverse positions.
accept no compensation in connection with his client’s
business except from him with his knowledge and The signatures of Atty. Doblar on the pleadings for Eva and
approval; for Marla, constitute a certificate by him that he has read the
6. To abstain from all offensive personality, and to pleadings; that to the best of his knowledge, information
advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation and belief there is good ground to support them; and that
of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the pleadings were not interposed for delay (Rules of Court,
the cause with which he is charged; Rule 7, Sec. 3, 2nd par.). Atty. Doblar could not claim he has
7. Not to encourage either the commencement or the complied with the foregoing requirement because he could
continuance of an action or proceeding or delay any not take a stand for Eva that is contrary to that taken for
man’s cause, from any corrupt motive or interest; Marla. His theory for Eva clearly contradicts his theory for
8. Never to reject, for any consideration personal to Marla. He has violated his professional responsibility
himself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed; mandated under the Rules of Court.
9. In the defense of a person accused of crime, by all fair
and honorable means, regardless of his personal He has likewise violated the ethical responsibility that his
opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to present every appearance in court should be deemed equivalent to an
defense that the law permits, to the end that no person assertion on his honor that in his opinion his client’s case is
may be deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of one proper for judicial determination (Canons of
law. Professional Ethics, Canon 30, 2nd par., last sentence).

Q: State the duties of a lawyer imposed by the Lawyer’s In counseling on the contradictory positions, Atty. Doblar
oath (2016 Bar) has likewise counseled or abetted activities aimed at
defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal
A: The following are the duties of a lawyer imposed by the system (Code of Professional Responsibility, Canon 1, Rule
lawyer’s oath: 1.02) because conflicting opinions may result arising from
an interpretation of the same law.
1. To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines; Atty. Doblar could not seek refuge under the umbrella that
2. To support its Constitution; what he has done was in protection of his clients. This is so
3. To obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly because a lawyer’s duty is not to his client but to the
constituted authorities; administration of justice. To that end, his client’s success is
4. To do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of the same wholly subordinate. His conduct ought to and must always
in any court; be scrupulously observant of the law and ethics (Ernesto
5. Not to wittingly or willingly promote or sue any Pineda, LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS, 211 [1999], citing
groundless, false or unlawful suit nor to give nor to Maglasang v. People, G.R. No. 90083, October 4, 1990).
consent to the doing of the same;
6. To delay no man for money or malice; Any means, not honorable, fair and honest, which is
7. To conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his devotion
his knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity to to his client’s cause, is condemnable and unethical (Ibid.).
the courts as to his clients;
8. To impose upon himself that voluntary obligation Q: Atty. Asilo, a lawyer and a notary public, notarized a
without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. document already prepared by spouses Roger and
Luisa when they approached him. It is stated in the
document to Roger and Luisa formally agreed to live
The Code of Professional Responsibility separately from each other and either one can have a
live-in partner with full consent of the other. What is
the liability of Atty. Asilo, if any? (1998 Bar)
TO SOCIETY (CANONS 1-6)
A: Atty. Asilo may be held administratively liable for
Respect for law and legal processes (2013, 1998, 2010) violating Rule 1.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility - a lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities
Q: Atty. Doblar represents Eva in a contract suit against aimed defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the
Olga. He is also defending Marla in a substantially leg system. An agreement between two spouses to live
identical contract suit filed by Emma. In behalf of Eva, separately from each other and either one could have a live-
Atty. Doblar claims that the statute of limitations runs in partner with full consent of the other, is contrary to law
from the time of the breach of the contract. In the action and morals. The ratification by a notary public who is a
against Marla, Atty. Doblar now argues the reverse lawyer of in illegal or immoral contract or document
position – i.e. that the statute of limitation does not run constitutes malpractice or gross misconduct in office. He
until one year after discovery of the breach. should at least refrain from its consummation. (In re
Santiago, 70 Phil. 661 Panganiban v. Borromeo; 58 Phil. 367,
In re Bucana, 72 SCRA 14).

7
Legal and Judicial Ethics

Q: Atty. XX rented a house of his cousin JJ on a month-


ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE
to-months basis. He left for a 6-month study in Japan
without paying his rentals and electric bills while he Competent Lawyer
was away despite JJ’s repeated demands.

Upon his return to the Philippines, Atty. XX still failed


Reasonable Fee
to settle his rental arrearages and electric bills,
drawing JJ to file an administrative complaint against Call 221-2221
Atty. XX.

Atty. XX contended that his non-payment rentals and The following session day, the Justice called the
bills to his cousin is a personal matter which has no attention of his colleagues and the Bar Confidant was
bearing on his profession as a lawyer and, therefore, he directed to verify the advertisement. It turned out that
did not violate the Code of Professional Responsibility. the number belongs to Attorney X, who was then
Is Atty. XX’s contention in order? Explain. (2010 Bar) directed to explain to the court why he should not be
disciplinarily dealt with for the improper
A: No. In a case involving the same facts, the Supreme Court advertisement. Attorney X, in his answer, averred that
held that having incurred just debts, a lawyer has a moral (1) the advertisement was not improper because his
duty and legal responsibility to settle them when they name was not mentioned in the ad; and (2) he could not
become due. “Verily, lawyers must at all times faithfully be subjected to disciplinary action because there was
perform their duties to society, to the bar, to the court and no complaint against him. Rule on Attorney X’s
to their clients. As part of their duties, they must promptly contention. (2003, 1998 Bar)
pay their financial obligations.” (Wilson Cham v. Atty. Eva
Pata-Moya, 556 SCRA 1 [2008]) A: The advertisement is improper because it is a solicitation
of legal business and is tantamount to self-praise by
True, honest, fair, dignified and objective information claiming to be a “competent lawyer”. The fact that his name
on legal services (2016, 2001, 2003, 1998, 1996, 1994) is not mentioned does not make the advertisement proper.
His identity can be easily determined by calling the
Q: A lone law practitioner Bartolome D. Carton, who telephone number stated. In the case of Ulep v. Legal Clinic,
inherited the law office from his deceased father Inc., 223 SCRA 378, the Supreme Court found a similar
Antonio C. Carton, carries these names:“Carton & advertisement to be improper is spite of the fact that the
Carton Law Office.” Is that permissible or name of a lawyer was also not mentioned.
objectionable? Explain. (2001, 1996, 1994 Bar)
A complaint is not necessary to initiate disciplinary action
A: Rule 3.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility against a lawyer. In Sec. 1, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court,
provides as follows: “In the choice of a firm name, no false, disciplinary action against a lawyer may be initiated by the
misleading or assumed name shall be used; the continued Supreme Court motu proprio.
use of the name of deceased partner is permissible provided
that the firm indicates in all its communications that the Q: Determine whether the following advertisements by
partner is deceased.” Since Atty. Antonio C. Carton is a solo an attorney are ethical or unethical. Write “Ethical” or
practitioner, it is improper for him to use the firm name “Unethical”, as the case may be, opposite each letter and
“Carton & Carton Law Office”, which indicates that he is explain.
and/or was in partnership with his father. Even if he
indicates in all his communication that his father is already 1. A calling card, 2x2 in size, bearing his name in bold
dead, the use of the firm name is still misleading because his print, office, residence and e-mail address,
father was never his partner before. A lawyer is not telephone and facsimile numbers. 

authorized to use in his practice of profession a name other 2. A business card, 3’’x4’’ in size, indicating the
than the one inscribed in the Roll of Attorneys. aforementioned data with his photo, 1’’x1’’ in size.
(2002 Bar) 

Q: Facing disciplinary charges for advertising as a A:
lawyer, Atty. A argues that although the calling card of 1. Ethical – A lawyer, in making known his legal services
his businessman friend indicates his law office and his shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective
legal specialty, the law office is located in his friend’s information or statement of facts (Code of Professional
store. Decide. (2001 Bar) Responsibility, Canon 3). For solicitation to be proper, it
must be compatible with the dignity of the legal
A: This appears to be a circumvention of the prohibition on profession. If made in a modest and decorous manner,
improper advertising. There is no valid reason why the it would bring no injury to the lawyer or to the bar
lawyer’s businessman friend should be handling out calling (Warvelle, Legal Ethics, p.55). 

cards which contains the lawyer’s law office and legal 2. Unethical – The size of the card and the inclusion of the
specialty, even if his office is located in his friend’s store. lawyer’s photo in it smacks of commercialism. It is
What makes it more objectionable is the statement of his highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents
supposed legal specialty. It is highly unethical for an or skill as a merchant. 

attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant.
Q: A sign was posted at the building where the law office
Q: A Justice of the Supreme Court, while reading a of Atty. Redentor Walang-Talo is located. The sign
newspaper one weekend, saw the following reads:
advertisement:
Atty. Redentor A. Walang-Talo
Chairman, IBP Legal Aid Committee
Makati City IBP Chapter

8
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
Free conciliation, mediation and court representation practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life,
Suite 210, Galaxy Building, J.P. Rizal Street, Makati City behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession."
a. Does the posting constitute solicitation?
Q: Sonia, who is engaged in the lending business,
A: There is nothing wrong with the advertisement. The extended to Atty. Roberto a loan of P50, 000.00 with
statement that he is the chairman of the IBP Legal Aid interest of P25, 000.00 to be paid not later than May 20,
Committee is factual and true. Canon 27 of the Code of 2016. To secure the loan, Atty. Roberto signed a
Professional Ethics states that “memberships and offices in promissory note and issued a postdated check. Before
bar associations and committees thereof” may be included the due date, Atty. Roberto requested Sonia to defer the
in a lawyer’s advertisement. The statement that he gives deposit of the check. When Atty. Roberto still failed to
free consultation, mediation and court representation pay, Sonia deposited the check which was dishonored.
services is for the purpose of promoting the IBP Legal Aid Atty. Roberto ignored the notice of dishonor and
Committee. refused to pay.

b. Suppose the sign reads: a. Did Roberto commit any violation of the CPR?
Explain.
Atty. Redentor A. Walang-Talo b. Can he be held civilly liable to Sonia in an
Attorney and Counsel-at-Law administrative case for suspension or disbarment?
General Practitioner (2016 Bar)
(Accepts pro bono cases pursuant to the IBP Legal Aid
Program) A:

Does the posting constitute solicitation? (2016 Bar) a. Atty. Roberto committed a violation of Canon 1 Rule
1.01, Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 in issuing a bouncing check.
A: On the other hand, this advertisement is for the benefit He should very well know that the issuance of a
of the lawyer alone and constitutes solicitation. bouncing check is an unlawful act, a crime involving
moral turpitude. (Co v. Bernardino, A.C. No. 3919,
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER: This does not constitute January 28, 1998)
solicitation. The lawyer does not claim to be a specialist, but b. No. The sole issue in an administrative case is the
only a “general practitioner.” The statement that he accepts determination of whether or not a lawyers is still fit to
pro bono cases is not for the purpose of promoting his continue being a lawyer. The Supreme Court will not
“business’’, as ”pro bono” means “for free.” order the return of money which is not intimately
related to a lawyer-client relationship. (Wong v. Moya,
TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION A.C. 6972, October 17, 2008; Sps. Concepcion v. Atty. De
La Rosa, A.C. No. 10681, Feb. 3, 2015)
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (RULE 139-A)
Courtesy, fairness and candor towards professional
Membership and dues colleagues (1997, 1995, 1989)

Q: Not paying the annual IBP dues. (2008 Bar) Q: You are the counsel of K in his action for specific
performance against DEV. Inc., a subdivision developer
A: It is the duty of every lawyer to support the activities of which is represented by Atty. L. Your client believes
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Canon 7, CPR). Default that the president of DEV, Inc., would be willing to
in payment of IBP dues for six months shall warrant consider an amicable settlement and your client urges
suspension of membership to the Integrated Bar, and you to discuss the matter with DEV. Inc., without the
default to make such payment for one year shall be a ground presence of Atty. L whom he considered to be an
for the removal of the delinquent member from the Roll of impediment to an early compromise. Would it be all
Attorneys (In Re Atty. Marcial Edillon, 84 SCRA 554 [1978]). right for you to negotiate the terms of the compromise
as so suggested above by your client? (1997 Bar)
Upholding the dignity and integrity of the profession
A: No. Rule 8.02, Canon 8 of the Code of Professional
Q: Atty. Kuripot was one of Town Bank's valued clients. Responsibility provides that "a lawyer shall not directly or
In recognition of his loyalty to the bank, he was issued indirectly, encroach upon the professional employment of
a gold credit card with a credit limit of P250, 000.00. another lawyer." Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Ethics
After two months, Atty. Kuripot exceeded his credit is more particular, "a lawyer should not in any way
limit, and refused to pay the monthly charges as they communicate upon the subject of the controversy with a
fell due. Aside from a collection suit, Town Bank also party represented by counsel, much less should he
filed a disbarment case against Atty. Kuripot. undertake to negotiate or compromise the matter with him
but should deal only with his counsel." In the case of Likong
In his comment on the disbarment case, Atty. Kuripot vs. Liin, 235 SCRA 414, a lawyer was suspended for
insisted that he did not violate the Code of Professional negotiating a compromise agreement directly with the
Responsibility, since his obligation to the bank was adverse party without the presence and participation of her
personal in nature and had no relation to his being a counsels.
lawyer. Is Atty. Kuripot correct? Explain your answer.
(2005 Bar) Q: After the pre-trial Atty. Hans Hilado, counsel for
plaintiff Jennifer Ng, persuaded defendant Doris Dy to
A: Atty. Kuripot is not correct. Section 7.03 of the Code of enter into a compromise agreement with the plaintiff
Professional Responsibility provides that “a lawyer shall without the knowledge and participation of defendant’s
not engage in conduct that adversely affects his fitness to counsel, Atty. Jess de Jose. Doris acceded and executed

9
Legal and Judicial Ethics
the agreement. Therein Doris admitted her obligation Q: You had just taken your oath as a lawyer. The
in full and bound herself to pay her obligation to secretary to the president of a big university offered to
Jennifer at 40% interest per annum in ten (10) equal get you as the official notary public of the school. She
monthly installments. The compromise agreement was explained that a lot of students lose their Identification
approved by the court. Cards and are required to secure an affidavit of loss
before they can be issued a new one. She claimed that
Realizing that she was prejudiced, Doris Dy filed an this would be very lucrative for you, as more than 30
administrative complaint against Atty. Hilado alleging students lose their Identification Cards every month.
that the latter prevented her from consulting her However, the secretary wants you to give her one-half
lawyer Atty. de Jose when she entered into the of your earnings therefrom. Will you agree to the
compromise agreement, thereby violating the rules of arrangement? Explain. (2005 Bar)
professional conduct. Atty. Hilado countered that Doris
Dy freely and voluntarily entered into the compromise A: No, I will not agree. Rule 9.02 of the Code of Professional
agreement which in fact was approved by the court. Responsibility provides that “a lawyer shall not divide or
stipulate to divide a fee for legal service with persons not
Was it proper for the judge to approve the compromise licensed to practice law". The secretary is not licensed to
agreement since the terms thereof were just and fair practice law and is not entitled to a share of the fees for
even if counsel for one of the parties was not consulted notarizing affidavits, which is a legal service.
or did not participate therein? Explain. (1995 Bar)
A: It was not proper for the Judge to approve the Q: Atty. Monica Santos-Cruz registered the firm name
compromise agreement without the participation of the “Santos-Cruz Law Office” with the Department of Trade
lawyer of one of the parties, even if the agreement was Just and Industry as a single proprietorship. In her
and fair. Even if a client has exclusive control of the cause of stationery, she printed the names of her husband and a
action and may compromise the same, such right is not friend who are both non-lawyers as her senior partners
absolute. He may not, for example, enter into a compromise in light of their investments in the firm. She allowed her
to defeat the lawyer’s right to a just compensation. Such husband to give out calling cards bearing his name as
right is entitled to protection from the court. senior partner of the firm and to appear in courts to
move for postponements. Did Atty. Santos-Cruz
Q: Gretel’s residence in Makati village was foreclosed violated the Code of Professional Responsibility? Why?
by Joli Bank. Armed with a writ of possession issued by (2010 Bar)
the lower court, the sheriff and Joli Bank’s lawyers
evicted Gretel and padlocked the house. A restraining A: Yes, she did. In the case of Cambaliza v. Cristobal-Tenorio
order issued by the Court of Appeals which Gretel (434 SCRA 288 [2004]), which involves the same facts, the
showed the sheriff was disregarded. Gretel requested Supreme Court held that a lawyer who allows a non-
Hansel, an attorney who lives in the same village, to member of the Bar to misrepresent himself as a lawyer and
assist her in explaining the restraining order, since to practice law, is guilty of violating Canon 9 and Rule 9.01
Gretel’s counsel of record was out of town. The of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provide as
discussion on the restraining order was conducted on follows:
the sidewalk along Gretel’s house. The village security
guards were attracted by the commotion brought about “Canon 9. A lawyer shall not directly or indirectly assist in
by the discussion, so they called the Makati Police and the unauthorized practice of law.”
the CAPCOM who responded immediately. The CAPCOM
colonel, who arrived at the scene with his troop took it “Rule 9.01. A lawyer shall not delegate to any unauthorized
upon himself to open the house and declare Gretel as person the performance of any task which by law may only
the rightful possessor. The colonel invited Gretel and be performed by a member of the bar in good standing.”
Hansel to enter the house. Five days later, Hansel was
made a co-respondent (together with Gretel) in a TO THE COURTS
complaint for trespass to dwelling filed by Joli Bank’s
lawyers before the Makati Fiscal’s office. Candor, fairness and good faith towards the courts
(2000, 1994, 1996, 2015)
Discuss the propriety of the act of Joli Bank’s lawyers,
considering that all lawyers are mandated to conduct Q: In a pending labor case, Atty. A filed a Position Paper
themselves with courtesy, fairness and candor toward on behalf of his client, citing a Supreme Court case and
their professional colleagues and to avoid harassing quoting a portion of the decision therein which he
tactics against opposing counsel. (1989 Bar) stated reflected the ratio decidendi. However, what he
quoted was not actually the Supreme Court ruling but
A: Considering that there was a restraining order issued by the argument of one of the parties to the case. May Atty.
the Court of Appeals, it was proper for Gretel to take steps A be faulted administratively? Explain. (2000 Bar)
to maintain possession of his residence with the assistance
of Hansel as lawyer. A: Yes, he may be faulted administratively. A lawyer owes
candor, fairness and good faith to the court. Rule 10.02 of
It was not proper for the Joli Bank’s lawyers to file an action the Code of Professional Conduct expressly provides that a
of trespass to dwelling against Gretel and lawyer Hansel. lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the
Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides contents of a paper, the language or the argument of
that a lawyer shall conduct himself with fairness and candor opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or authority, or
towards his professional colleagues and shall avoid knowingly cite as law a provision already rendered
harassing tactics against opposing counsel. inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact that
which has not has been proved. To cite an argument of one
No assistance in unauthorized practice of law (2005, of the parties as a ratio decidendi of a Supreme Court
2010) decision shows, at least, lack of diligence on the part of Atty.
A (Commission on Election v. Noynay, 292 SCRA 254).

10
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
Q: Atty. Billy, a young associate in a medium-sized law dined Atty. X several times. Atty. X convinced B not to
firm, was in a rush to meet the deadline for filing his appear at the scheduled hearings. Due to non-
appellant’s brief. He used the internet for legal research appearance of B, the estafa case was dismissed for
by typing keywords on his favorite search engine, failure to prosecute. B, however, was never paid. Thus,
which led him to many websites containing text of she filed a case for disbarment against Atty. X. Does the
Philippine jurisprudence. None of these sites was conduct of Atty. X constitute malpractice? Explain.
owned or maintained by the Supreme Court. He found a (1996 Bar)
case believed to be directly applicable to his client’s
cause, so he copied the text of the decision from the blog A: Yes, the conduct of Atty. S constitutes malpractice. A
of another law firm, and pasted the text to the lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court. He
document he was working on. The formatting of the text shall not do any falsehood or shall be mislead or allow the
he had copied was lost when he pasted it to the court to be misled by any artifice. He owes loyalty to his
document, and he could not distinguish anymore, client. In a case involving similar facts, the Supreme Court
which portions were the actual findings or rulings of found that the lawyer concerned obstructed the
the Supreme Court, and which were quoted portions administration of justice and suspended him for two years
from the other sources that were used in the body of the (Cantome v. Ducusin, 57 Phil. 20)
decision. Since his deadline was fast approaching, he
decided to just make it appear as if every word he Respect for the courts and judicial officers (2016, 2015,
quoted was part of the ruling of the Court, thinking that 2010, 1993, 1996)
it would not be discovered.
Q: Atty. Luna Tek maintains an account in the social
Atty. Billy’s opponent, Atty. Ally, a very conscientious media network called Twitter and has 1,000 followers
former editor of her school’s law journal, noticed many there, including fellow lawyers and some clients. Her
discrepancies in Atty. Billy’s supposed quotations from Twitter account is public so even her non-followers
the Supreme Court decision when she read the text of could see and read her posts, which are called tweets.
the case from her copy of the Philippine Reports. Atty. She oftentimes takes to Twitter to vent about her daily
Billy failed to reproduce the punctuation marks and sources of stress like traffic or to comment about
font sizes used by the Court. Worse, he quoted the current events. She also tweets her disagreement and
arguments of one party as presented in the case, which disgust with the decisions of the Supreme Court by
arguments happened to be favorable to his position, insulting and blatantly cursing the individual Justices
and not the ruling or reasoning of the Court, but this and the Court as an institution.
distinction was not apparent in his brief. Appalled, she
filed a complaint against him. a. Does Atty. Luna Tek act in a manner consistent with
the Code of Professional Responsibility? Explain
a. Did Atty. Billy fail in his duty as a lawyer? What the reasons for your answer.
rules did he violate, if any? b. Describe the relationship between a lawyer and the
b. How should lawyer quote a Supreme Court courts. (2015 Bar)
decision? (2015, 1994 Bar) A:

A: a. Atty. Luna did not act in a manner consistent with the


Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). Canon 11 of
A. Atty. Billy has violated Canon 10, Rules 10.01 and 10.02 the Code provides that “a lawyer shall observe and
of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) which maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial
provide as follows: officers and should insist on similar conduct with
others.” As an officer of the court, a lawyer should set
CANON 10. A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND the example in maintaining a respectful attitude
GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT. towards the court. Moreover, he should abstain from
offensive language in criticizing the courts. Atty. Luna
Rule 10.01. A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent Tek violated this rule in insulting and blatantly cursing
the individual Justices and the Supreme Court in her
to the doing of any in court; nor shall he mislead or allow
tweets. Lawyers are expected to carry their ethical
the Court to be misled by any artifice.
responsibilities with them in cyberspace (Lorenzana v.
Judge Ma. Cecilia L. Austria, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2200, April
Rule 10.02. A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or
2, 2014).
misrepresent the contents of a paper, the language or the
b. A lawyer is an officer of the court. As such, he is much a
argument of the opposing counsel, or the text of a decision
part of the machinery of justice as a judge is. The judge
or authority, or knowingly cite a law a provision already
depends on the lawyer for the proper performance of
rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as
his judicial duties. Thus, Canon 10 enjoins a lawyer to
a fact that which has not been proved.
be candid with the courts; Canon 11 requires him to
show respect to judicial officers; and Canon 12 urges
B. They should be verbatim reproductions of the Supreme
him to exert every effort and consider it his duty to
Court’s decisions, down to the last word and punctuation
assist in the speedy and efficient administration of
mark (Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd., Employees Association
justice.
v. Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd., G.R. No. L-25291, January
30, 1971, 37 SCRA 244).
Q: Atty. Y, in his Motion for Reconsideration of the
Decision rendered by the National Labor Relations
Q: Atty. X was retained by E in a case for violation of BP
Commission (NLRC), alleged that there was connivance
22 filed by B before the scheduled hearing, Atty. X
of the NLRC Commissioners with Atty. X for monetary
assured B that E would pay the value of the dishonored
considerations in arriving at the questioned Decision.
check. Elated at the prospect of being paid, B wined and
He insulted the Commissioners for their ineptness in

11
Legal and Judicial Ethics
appreciating the facts as borne by the evidence and slander of courts and judges on the other. A publication
presented. in or outside the court tending to impede, obstruct,
embarrass or influence the courts in administering Justice
Atty. X files an administrative complaint against Atty. Y in a pending suit, or to degrade the courts, destroy public
for using abusive language. confidence in them or bring them in any way into disrepute,
whether or not there is a pending litigation, transcends the
Atty. Y posits that as lawyer for the down-trodden limits of fair comment. Such publication or intemperate and
laborers, he is entitled to express his righteous anger unfair criticism is a gross violation of the lawyer’s duty to
against the Commissioners for having cheated them; respect the courts. It is a misconduct that subjects him to
that his allegations in the Motion for Reconsideration disciplinary action.
are absolutely privileged; and that proscription against
the use of abusive language does not cover pleadings Q: Atty. Harold wrote in the Philippine Star his view that
filed with the NLRC, as it is not a court, nor are any of its the decision of the Supreme Court in a big land case is
Commissioners Justice or Judges. incorrect and should be re-examined. The decision is
not yet final. Atty. Alfonso, the counsel for the winning
Is Atty. Y administratively liable under the Code of party in that case, filed a complaint for disbarment
Professional Responsibility? Explain. (2010 Bar) against Atty. Harold for violation of sub judice rule and
Canon 11 of the CPR that a lawyer shall observe and
A: Atty. Y “has clearly violated Canons 8 and 11 of the Code maintain respect due to the courts. Explain the sub
of Professional Responsibility and is administratively liable. judice rule and rule on the disbarment case. (2016 Bar)
A lawyer shall not in his professional dealings, use language
which is abusive, offense or otherwise improper” (Rule 8.01, A: The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures
CPR). A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or pertaining to pending judicial proceedings, not only by
menacing language or behavior before the courts (Rule participants in the pending case, members of the bar and
11.03, CPR). bench, litigants and witnesses, but also to the public in
general, which necessarily includes the media, in order to
In the case of Johnny Ng v. Atty. Benjamin C. Alar (507 SCRA avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or
465 [2006]), which involves the same facts, the Supreme obstructing the administration of justice. A violation of this
Court held that the argument that the NLRC is not a court, is rule may render one liable for indirect contempt under Sec.
unavailing. The lawyers remains a member of the Bar, an 3(d), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. The specific rationale for
“oath-bound servant of the law, whose first duty is not to his the sub judice rule is that courts, in the decision of issues of
client but to the administration of justice and whose fact and law should be immune from every extraneous
conduct ought to be and must be scrupulously observant of influence; that facts should be decided upon evidence
the law and ethics.” produced in court; and that the determination of such facts
should be uninfluenced by bias, prejudice or sympathies.
The Supreme Court also held that the argument that labor (Marantan v. Diokno, 716 SCRA 164, Feb. 12, 2014) After a
practitioners are entitled to some latitude of righteous case is decided, however, the decision is open to criticism,
anger is unavailing. It does not deter the Court from subject only to the condition that all such criticism shall be
exercising its supervisory authority over lawyers who bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of decency and
misbehave or fail to live up to that standard expected of propriety.
them as members of the bar.
A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand,
Q: Having lost in the Regional Trial Court and then in and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on
the Court of Appeals, Atty. Mercado appealed to the the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross
Supreme Court. In a minute resolution, the Supreme violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is such a
Court denied his petition for review for lack of merit. He misconduct that subjects a lawyer to disciplinary action. (In
filed a motion for reconsideration which was also re Almace, G.R. L-27654, February 18, 1970)
denied. After the judgment had become final and
executory, Atty. Mercado publicly criticized the In this case, the published comment of Atty. Harold was
Supreme Court for having rendered what he called an made after the decision of the Supreme Court was rendered,
unjust judgment, even as he ridiculed the members of but the same was not yet final. The case was still pending.
the Court by direct insults and vituperative Hence, the publication of such comment was inappropriate,
innuendoes. Asked to explain why he should not be and Atty. Harold may be penalized for indirect contempt of
punished for his clearly contemptuous statements, court.
Atty. Mercado sets up the defense that his statements
were uttered after the litigation had been finally ALTERNATIVE ANSWER: Although the comment of Atty.
terminated and that he is entitled to criticize Judicial Harold was made while the case was technically pending, it
actuations. Is Atty. Mercado's contention tenable? was made after a decision was rendered, and the comment
Explain. (1993 Bar) made is within the grounds of decency and propriety.
Hence, the lawyer does not deserve punishment for the
A: Atty. Mercado’s contention is not tenable. While he is free same.
to criticize the decision itself, he is not at liberty to call said
judgment an unjust judgment and to ridicule the members Q: The Code of Professional Responsibility is to lawyers,
of the court. It is one thing to analyze and criticize the as the Code of Judicial Conduct is to members of the
decision itself, which is proper, and it is another thing to bench. How would you characterize the relationship
ridicule the members of the court, which is wrong. The right between the Judge and a lawyer? Explain. (1996 Bar)
of a lawyer to comment on or criticize the decision of a judge
or his actuations is not unlimited. It is the cardinal condition A: The Code of Professional Responsibility requires lawyers
of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not to observe and maintain respect for judicial officers (Canon
spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm 11). On the other hand, the Code of Judicial Conduct
exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and abuse requires judge to be patient, attentive and courteous to

12
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
lawyers (Rule 3) In a word, lawyers and judges owe each he should promptly inform the injured person or his
other mutual respect and courtesy. counsel, so that they may take appropriate steps". A literal
application of these ethical injunctions requires the
ALTERNATIVE ANSWERS: disclosure of the falsification. On the other hand, the
attorney’s duty to keep inviolate the client's confidence
a. The relationship between a judge and a lawyer must be demands that he refrain from revealing the client’s wrong-
based on independence and self-respect. He must doing, the same being a past offense. Resigning as a lawyer
neither be a mindless fawning slave of the judge, nor will enable the lawyer to observe such loyalties. If the
must he take an attitude of hostility towards the Judge. decision is already final, as a lawyer, I would advise my
The lawyer must maintain toward the court a respectful client to withdraw any claim on the donation mortis causa
attitude and to uphold and protect the dignity of the and have the property be given to the rightful owner of the
court. property the subject matter of the donation.
b. Being an officer of the court, the first and foremost duty
of the lawyer is to the court. He is bound to obey lawful This action is in compliance with my duty as a lawyer to
orders and decisions of the court. Like the court itself, assist in the administration of justice and in compliance of
the lawyer is an instrument to advance the ends of my oath: “I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of
justice. Should there be a conflict between the duty to any in court; that I will not wittingly or willingly promote or
his client and that of the court, he should resolve the sue any groundless, false and or unlawful suit, nor give aid
conflict against his client and obey the lawful orders of nor consent to the same”.
the court. On the other hand, judges should be
courteous and impartial to counsel. To maintain Q: Atty. Vidal, a semi-retired Metro Manila law
impartiality, the judge should not associate too much practitioner, has a cattle ranch in the remote
with lawyers. municipality of Carranglan, Nueva Ecija. He attends to
his law office in Manila on Mondays, Tuesdays and
Assistance in the speedy and efficient administration of Wednesdays, and spends the rest of the week in his
justice (2003, 1993) cattle ranch riding horses and castrating bulls.

Q: The Supreme Court issued a resolution in a case In a criminal case pending before the Municipal Trial
pending before it, requiring the petitioner to file, within Court of Carranglan, the only other licensed member of
ten (10) days from notice, a reply to the respondent's the Bar is representing the private complainant. The
comment. Attorney A, representing the petitioner, accused is a detention prisoner. The judge wants to
failed to file the reply despite the lapse of thirty (30) expedite proceedings.
days from receipt of the Court’s resolution. The
Supreme Court dismissed the petition for non- 1. What must the judge do to expedite proceedings?
compliance with its resolution. Attorney A timely 2. If Atty. Vidal is appointed to act as counsel de oficio
moved for the reconsideration of the dismissal of the for the accused, could he refuse by saying that in the
petition, claiming that his secretary, who was quite new province, he does not want to do anything except
in the office, failed to remind him of the deadline within ride horses and castrate bulls? Explain. (1993 Bar)
which to file a reply. Resolve Attorney A's motion.
(2003 Bar) A:

A: Attorney A’s motion is not meritorious. He has violated 1. The judge may appoint Atty. Vidal as counsel de officio
Rule 12.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which in order to expedite the proceedings. This is especially
provides that “a lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions because the accused is a detention prisoner who is
of time to file pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period presumed to be indigent and cannot retain a paid
lapse without submitting the same or offering an counsel.
explanation for his failure to do so”. His claim that it was the 2. Atty. Vidal cannot validly refuse the appointment as
fault of his secretary is not sufficient. He cannot take refuge counsel de officio. While it is true that he stays in the
behind the inefficiency of his secretary because the latter is province to rest during the latter part of the week as
not a guardian of the lawyer’s responsibilities (Nidua v. lawyer he must comply with his oath to assist in the
Lazaro, 174 SCRA 581 [1989]). administration of justice. This is precisely one of the
objectives of the Integrated Bar which is to compel all
Q: Atty. Cua wins a case involving a donation mortis lawyers whether in the active practice or not to comply
causa. Afterwards, she discovers, and is convinced, that with their obligation to assist in the administration of
the Deed of Donation was falsified, and that it was her justice.
client who did the falsification. If you were Atty. Cua
what would you do? Explain. (1993 Bar) Reliance on merits of his cause and avoidance of any
impropriety which tends to influence or gives the
A: If I were Atty. Cua., I would resign as his lawyer. The appearance of influence upon the courts (2013, 2000,
question as to whether the attorney should disclose the 1994, 2001)
falsification to the court or to the prosecuting attorney
involves a balancing of loyalties. One ethical rule states that Q: Atty. Hermano requested his fraternity brother,
“counsel upon the trial of a cause in which perjury has been Judge Patron, to introduce him to Judge Apestado,
committed owes it to the profession and the public to bring before whom he has a case that had been pending for
the matter to the knowledge of the prosecuting authorities". sometime.
Another ethical rule provides that when “a lawyer discovers
that some fraud or deception has been practiced, which is Judge Patron, a close friend of Judge Apestado, acceded
unjustly imposed upon the court or a party, he should to the request, telling the latter that Atty. Hermano is
endeavor to rectify it; at first by advising his client, and if his his fraternity “brod” and that Atty. Hermano simply
client refuses to forego the advantage thus unjustly gained, wanted to ask for advice on how to expedite the

13
Legal and Judicial Ethics
resolution of his case. They met, as arranged, in the fine Judge K takes his breakfast at a coffee shop near his
dining restaurant of a five-star hotel. Atty. Hermano (Judge K's) boarding house, Atty. J made it a point to be
hosted the dinner. at the coffee shop at about the time that Judge K takes
his breakfast. Comment on Atty. J's acts. Do they violate
Did Atty. Hermano, Judge Patron and Judge Apestado the Code of Professional Responsibility? (2000 Bar)
commit any ethical/administrative violation for which
they can be held liable? (2013 Bar) A: Yes, his actions violate the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Canon 13 of the said Code provides that a
A: Yes, the three (3) of them committed lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain
ethical/administrative violations for which they can be held from any impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the
liable. appearance of influencing the court. Rule 13.01 of the same
Code provides that a lawyer shall not extend extraordinary
For hosting the dinner, Atty. Hermano acted in attention or hospitality to, nor seek opportunity for,
contravention of ethical standards. A lawyer should refrain cultivating familiarity with Judges. Atty. J obviously sought
from any impropriety which tends to influence or give the opportunity for cultivating familiarity with Judge K by being
appearance of influencing the court (Code of Professional at the coffee shop where the latter takes his breakfast, and
Responsibility, Canon 13, Rule 13.01). A lawyer shall not is extending extraordinary attention to the judge by inviting
extend extraordinary attention or hospitality to, nor seek him to be a principal sponsor at the wedding of his son.
opportunity for cultivating familiarity with judges (Ibid.,
Canon 13, Rule 13.01). Marked attention and unusual Q: After a study of the records and deciding that
hospitality on the part of a lawyer to a judge, uncalled for by plaintiff was entitled to a favorable Judgment, Judge
the personal relations on the parties, subject both the judge Reyes requested Atty. Sta. Ana, counsel for the plaintiff,
and the lawyer to misconstruction of motive and should be to prepare the draft of the decision. Judge Reyes then
avoided (Canons of Professional Ethics, canon 3, 2nd par., 1st reviewed the draft prepared by Atty. Sta. Ana and
sentence). Even if the purpose of the meeting was merely to adopted it as his decision for plaintiff. Judge Reyes saw
“ask advice on how to expedite the resolution of his case,” nothing unethical in this procedure as he would ask the
Atty. Hermano still acted outside of the bounds of ethical other party to do the same if it were the prevailing
conduct. This is so because a lawyer deserves rebuke and party.
denunciation for any device or attempt to gain from a judge
a special personal consideration or favor (Ibid., Canon 3, 2nd Please comment on whether Judge Reyes' approach to
par., 2nd sentence). decision-writing is ethical and proper. (1994 Bar)

Both judge patron and Judge Apestado may be held liable A: This procedure of Judge Reyes is unethical because the
for having the dinner meeting with Atty. Hermano. Judges judge is duty bound to study the case himself; he must
shall ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach, personally and directly prepare his decisions and not
but that it is perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable delegate it to another person especially a lawyer in the case
observer (New Code of Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, (See Section 1. Rule 36, Rules of Court).
Canon 2, Sec.1). Judges shall avoid impropriety and the
appearance of impropriety in all of their activities (Ibid., ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
Canon 4, Sec. 1). Their having dinner with Atty. Hermano, a
practicing lawyer, could be construed as appearance of In the case of Lantoria vs. Bunyi, 209 SCRA 528, a lawyer was
impropriety. suspended for preparing drafts of decisions for a judge. The
Supreme Court held that this violated Canon No. 13 and
Judge Patron for having allowed himself to be used as a Rule 13.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
“bridge” by Atty. Hermano, his fraternity “brod”, to meet provide that:
with Judge Apestado exhibited judicial misconduct in the
following manner: Judges shall refrain from influencing in “CANON 13. – A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his case
any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending and refrain from any impropriety which tends to influence,
before another court (Ibid., Canon 1, Sec. 3). Furthermore, in or gives the appearance of influencing the court."
allowing Atty. Hermano to take advantage of his fraternity
bond, Judge Patron allowed the prestige of judicial office to “Rule 13.01 – A lawyer should not extend extraordinary
advance the private interests of others, conveyed or attention or hospitality to nor seek opportunity for
permitted hos fraternity “brod” to convey the impression cultivating familiarity with the judge."
that he is in a special position to influence the judge (Ibid.,
Canon 1, Sec 4, 2nd sentence). Conversely, therefore, a judge should not ask lawyers of
parties to a case before him to draft his decisions. “A judge
The specific violations of Judge Apestado were committed should so behave at all times as to promote public
when he allowed himself to be convinced by Judge Patron confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary."
to have the dinner meeting with Atty. Hermano to discuss (Rule 2.01, Code of Judicial Conduct)
how the case may be expedited. In performing judicial
duties, judges shall be independent form judicial colleagues Q: Atty. A is offered professional engagement to appear
in respect of decisions which the judge is obliged to make before Judge B who is A’s relative, compadre and former
independently (Ibid., Canon 1, Sec. 2). Finally, in having office colleague. Is A ethically compelled to refuse the
dinner meeting with Atty. Hermano who has a pending case engagement? Why? (2001 Bar)
with his sala, Judge Apestado has exhibited an appearance
of impropriety in his activities (Ibid., Canon 4, Sec 1). A: There is no ethical constraint against a lawyer appearing
before a judge who is a relative, compadre or former office
Q: Atty. J requested Judge K to be a principal sponsor at colleague as long as the lawyer avoids giving the impression
the wedding of his son. Atty. J met Judge K a month that he can influence the judge. On the other hand, the judge
before during the IBP-sponsored reception to welcome is required by the Code of Judicial Conduct not to take part
Judge K into the community, and having learned that in any proceeding where his impartiality may be reasonably

14
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
questioned (Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 3.12). Among the because of his own opinion regarding the guilt of said
grounds for mandatory disqualification of the judge is if any person. It is for the judge, not the lawyer, to decide the guilt
of the lawyers is a relative by consanguinity or affinity of the accused, who is presumed to be innocent until his
within the fourth degree. guilt is proved beyond reasonable doubt by procedure
recognized by law.
Q: Rico, an amiable, sociable lawyer, owns a share in
Marina Golf Club, easily one of the more posh golf Q: Atty. DD’s services were engaged by Mr. BB as
courses. He relishes hosting parties for government defense counsel in a lawsuit. In the course of the
officials and members of the bench. proceedings, Atty. DD discovered that Mr. BB was an
agnostic and a homosexual. By reason thereof, Atty. DD
One day, he had a chance meeting with a judge in the filed a motion to withdraw as counsel without Mr. BB’s
Intramuros golf course. The two readily got along well express consent. Is Atty. DD’s motion legally tenable?
and had since been regularly playing golf together at Reason briefly. (2004 Bar)
the Marina Golf Club.
A: No. Atty. DD’s motion is not legally tenable. He has no
a. If Atty. Rico does not discuss cases with members of valid cause to terminate his services. His client, Mr. BB,
the bench during parties and golf games, is he being an agnostic and homosexual, should not be deprived
violating the Code of Professional Responsibility? of his counsel’s representation solely for that reason. A
Explain. lawyer shall not decline to represent a person solely on
b. How about the members of the bench who grace the account of the latter’s race, sex, creed or status of life or
parties of Rico, are they violating the Code of because of his own opinion regarding the guilt of said
Judicial Conduct? Explain. (2010 Bar) person (Code of Professional Responsibility, Canon 14, Rule
14.01).
A:
Q: Your services as a lawyer are engaged by John Dizon
a. Yes. A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention to defend him from the charge of malversation of public
or hospitality to, nor seek opportunity for cultivating funds before the Sandiganbayan. John confessed to you
familiarity with judges (Code of Professional that he actually misappropriated the amount charged
Responsibility, Rule 13.01). Moreover, he should refrain but he said it was out of extreme necessity to pay for the
from any impropriety which gives the appearance of emergency operation of his wife.
influencing the court (CPR, Canon 13). In regularly
playing golf with judges, Atty. Rico will certainly raise Will you agree to defend him? State your reason. (1990
the suspicion that they discuss cases during the game, Bar)
although they actually do not. However, if Rico is
known to be a non-practicing lawyer, there is not much A: I will agree to defend him, notwithstanding his
of an ethical problem. confession to me that he actually misappropriated the
b. Members of the bench who grace the parties of Atty. amount. Rule 14.01 of the Code of Professional
Rico would be guilty of violating Sec. 3, Canon 4 of the Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not decline to
New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary represent a person because of his own opinion regarding
which provides that “judges shall, in their personal the guilt of the person. One of the duties of an attorney is
relations with individual members of the legal that he should, in the defense of a person accused of a crime,
profession who practice regularly in their court, avoid by all fair and honorable means regardless of his personal
situations which might reasonably give rise to the opinion as to guilt of the accused, present every defense that
suspicion or appearance of favoritism or partiality”. It the law permits, to the end that no person may be deprived
has been held that “if a judge is seen eating and drinking of life liberty but by due process of law. The burden of proof
in public places with a lawyer who has cases pending in lies with the prosecution and if the prosecution fails to
his or her sala, public suspicion may be aroused, thus discharge such burden, the lawyer can always invoke the
tending to erode the trust of litigants in the impartiality presumption of innocence for the acquittal of his client. If
of the judge” (Padilla v. Zantua, 237 SCRA 670). But if the prosecution proves the guilt of the accused beyond
Atty. Rico is not a practicing lawyer, such suspicion may reasonable doubt, the lawyer can strive to lower the penalty
not be aroused. by presenting mitigating circumstances, for he is not
necessarily expected to sustain the client’s innocence. A
TO THE CLIENTS lawyer is an advocate, not a judge, and if he has rendered
effective legal assistance to his client as allowed by law, he
AVAILABILITY OF SERVICE WITHOUT can rightfully say that he has faithfully discharged his duties
DISCRIMINATION as a lawyer, even if the accused is found guilty by the court.

Services regardless of a person’s status (2004, 2000, Services as counsel de officio (1991, 1996, 1994, 1993)
1996, 1990)
Q: May a lawyer decline an appointment by the court as
Q: M was criminally charged with violation of a special counsel de oficio for an accused because he believes,
law. He tried to engage the service of Atty. N. Atty. N and is fully convinced that the accused is guilty of the
believed, however, that M is guilty on account of which crime charged? (1991 Bar)
he declined. Would it be ethical for Atty. N to decline?
Explain. (2000, 1996 Bar) A: A lawyer may not decline an appointment as counsel de
oficio even if he is convinced that the accused is guilty. It is
A: It would not be ethical for Atty. N to decline. Rule 14.01 his obligation to at least protect his rights. He might even
of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that’ a have him acquitted or at least reduce his penalty depending
lawyer shall not decline to represent a person solely on on the evidence presented during the trial.
account of the latter’s race, sex, creed or status of life, or

15
Legal and Judicial Ethics
Q: In a homicide case, Atty. M was appointed by the order to expedite the proceedings. This is especially
Court as counsel de oficio for F, the accused. After trial, because the accused is a detention prisoner who is
F was acquitted. Atty. M sent F a bill for attorney’s fees. presumed to be indigent and cannot retain a paid
counsel.
a. Can F be compelled to pay? Explain. b. Atty. Vidal cannot validly refuse the appointment as
b. Can F employ a counsel de parte to collaborate with counsel de oficio. While it is true that he stays in the
Atty. M, his counsel de oficio? Explain. (1996 Bar) province to rest during the latter part of the week as
lawyer he must comply with his oath to assist in the
A: administration of justice. Precisely one of the objectives
of the Integrated Bar is to compel all lawyers in the
a. No, F may not be compelled to pay attorney’s fees. A active practice of law to comply with their obligation to
counsel de officio is a lawyer appointed to render assist the courts in the administration of justice.
professional services in favor of an indigent client. In
the absence of a law allowing compensation, he cannot Valid grounds for refusal to serve (2015, 2001, 2014)
charge the indigent litigant for his professional
services. One of the obligations which the lawyer Q: Give three instances when a lawyer is allowed to
assumed when he took his oath as a lawyer is to render withdraw his/her services. (2015 Bar)
free legal services when required by the law to do so.
The Rules of Court provides a token compensation for A:
an attorney de officio to be paid by the state.
b. He may do so, but if he can afford to employ a counsel 1. When the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of
de parte, then he is no longer indigent and will not need conduct in connection with the matter he is handling;
a counsel de officio. The latter can withdraw as his 2. When the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct
counsel if he chooses to. violative of these canons and rules; 

3. When his inability to work with co-counsel will not
Q: Atty. Aguirre, as counsel de oficio for Boy promote the best interest of the client;
Batongbakal, was able to win an acquittal for Boy who 4. When the mental or physical condition of the lawyer
was charged with robbery in band. A year later, Atty. renders it difficult for him to carry out the employment
Aguirre discovered that Boy in fact had a lot of money effectively;
which he had been bragging was part of the loot in the 5. When the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the
crime for which he was acquitted. Knowing that Boy services or fails to comply with the retainer agreement;
could no longer be prosecuted on the ground of double 6. When the lawyer is elected or appointed to a public
jeopardy, Atty. Aguirre sent him a bill for his services as office; and
his counsel de oficio. 7. Other similar cases. 


Please give your reasoned comments on the ethical Q: When may refusal of a counsel to act as counsel de
considerations involved, if any, in the above case. (1994 oficio be justified on grounds aside from reasons of
Bar) health, extensive travel abroad, or similar reasons of
urgency? Support your answer. (2001 Bar)
A: A counsel de oficio is a lawyer appointed by the court to
defend an indigent defendant in a criminal case. The lawyer A: Other justified grounds for refusal to act as counsel de
designated as counsel de officio cannot charge the indigent oficio are:
litigant for his professional services. In a sense, there is no
contract for legal services between him and the defendant. a. Too many de oficio cases assigned to the lawyer (People
In the absence of an express or implied contract, there is no v. Daeng, 49 SCRA 222);
obligation to compensate. Suing his client for attorney’s fees b. Conflict of interest (Rule 14.03, CPR);
might also involve a violation of the confidential nature of a c. Lawyer is not in a position to carry out the work
lawyer-client relationship.
effectively or competently (supra);
d. Lawyer is prohibited from practicing law by reason of
Q: Atty. Vidal, a semi-retired Metro Manila law his public office which prohibits appearances in court;
practitioner, has a cattle ranch in the remote and
municipality of Caranglan, Neuva Ecija. He attends to e. Lawyer is preoccupied with too many cases which will
his law office in Manila on Mondays, Tuesdays and spell prejudice to the new clients.
Wednesdays, and spends the rest of the week in his
cattle ranch riding horses and castrating bulls. In a Q: A is accused of robbery in a complaint filed by B. A
criminal case pending before the Municipal Trial Court sought free legal assistance from the Public Attorney’s
of Caranglan, the only other licensed member of the Bar Office (PAO) and Atty. C was assigned to handle his case.
is representing the private complainant. The accused is After reviewing the facts as stated in the complaint and
a detention prisoner. The judge wants to expedite as narrated by A, Atty. C is convinced that A is guilty.
proceedings.
a. May Atty. C refuse to handle the defense of A and ask
a. What must the judge do to expedite proceedings? to be relieved? Explain fully.
b. If Attorney Vidal is appointed to act as counsel de b. In problem (a), if the lawyer is counsel de parte for
oficio for the accused, could he refuse by saying that the accused and he learns later after accepting the
in the province, he does not want to do anything case and while trial is ongoing that his client was
except ride horses and castrate bulls? Explain. indeed the perpetrator of the crime, may the lawyer
(1993 Bar) withdraw his appearance from the case? Why or
why not? (2014 Bar) 

A:

a. The judge may appoint Atty. Vidal as counsel de oficio in A:

16
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
a. Rule 14.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility he works as manager. Is Simon’s revelation to Atty.
provides that a lawyer shall not decline to represent a Holgado covered by the Attorney-client privilege?
person solely on account of his own opinion regarding (2006 Bar)
the guilt of the said person. It is not the duty of a lawyer
to determine whether the accused is guilty or not, but A: Simon’s revelation to Atty. Holgado is not covered by the
the judge’s. Besides, in a criminal case, the accused is lawyer-client privilege. In the first place, it was not made on
presumed innocent, and he is entitled to an acquittal account of a lawyer-client relationship, that is, it was not
unless his guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. The made for the purpose of seeking legal advice. In the second
role of the lawyer is to see to it that his constitutional place, it was not made in confidence (Mercado v. Vitriolo,
right to due process is observed. 
 459 SCRA 1). In the third place, the attorney-client privilege
b. He may withdraw his appearance but in accordance does not cover information concerning a crime or a fraud
with procedure in Sec. 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. being committed or proposed to be committed.
Moreover, Rule 19.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility provides that “a lawyer who has received Q: Maria and Atty. Evangeline met each other and
information that his client has, in the course of the became good friends at zumba class. One day, Maria
representation, perpetuated a fraud upon a person or approached Atty. Evangeline for legal advice. It turned
tribunal, shall promptly call upon the client to rectify out that Maria, a nurse, previously worked in the
the same, and failing which, he shall terminate the Middle East. So she could more easily leave for work
relationship with such client in accordance with the abroad, she declared in all her documents that she was
Rules of Court.” still single. However, Maria was already married with
two children. Maria again had plans to apply for work
CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND LOYALTY TO CLIENTS abroad but this time, wished to have all her papers in
order. Atty. Evangeline, claiming that she was already
Privileged communications (1999, 2006, 2015) overloaded with other cases, referred Maria’s case to
another lawyer. Maria found it appalling that after Atty.
Q: A, who is charged in Court with estafa for Evangeline had learned of her secrets, the latter
misappropriating funds entrusted to him by B, refused to handle her case.
consulted Atty. C about the case with the intention of
engaging his services as defense counsel. Because A Maria’s friendship with Atty. Evangeline permanently
could not afford to pay the fee that Atty. C was charging turned sour after Maria filed an administrative case
him, A engaged the services of another counsel, Atty. D. against the latter for failing to return borrowed
At the trial of the case for the estafa against A, the jewelry. Atty. Evangeline, on the other hand, threatened
prosecutor announced in open court that his next to charge Maria with a criminal case for falsification of
witness was Atty. C, whom he was calling to the witness public documents, based on the disclosures Maria had
stand. Counsel for A, Atty. D, vigorously opposed the earlier made to Atty. Evangeline.
prosecutor’s move on the ground Atty. C may not be
called as witness for the prosecution as he might Was the consultation of Maria with Atty. Evangeline
disclose a would-be client’s confidence and secret. considered privilege? (2015 Bar)
Asked by the presiding Judge what would be the nature
of Atty. C’s testimony, the prosecutor said it has A: The consultation of Maria with Atty. Evangeline is
something to do with how A obtained from B the funds considered privileged. The moment the complainant
that the latter received from the former but failed to approached the then receptive respondent to seek legal
account for. Thereupon, Atty. A vigorously opposed the advice, a veritable lawyer-client relationship evolved
prosecutor’s motion. If you were the Judge, how would between the two. Such relationship imposes upon the
you rule on the matter? (1999 Bar) lawyer certain restrictions circumscribed by the ethics of
the profession. Among the burdens of the relationship is
A: If I were the judge, I will not allow Atty. C to take the that which enjoins the lawyer to keep inviolate confidential
witness stand. When A consulted Atty. C about his case, a information acquired or revealed during legal
lawyer-client relationship was established between them. It consultations. The fact that one is, at the end of the day not
does not matter that A did not eventually engage his inclined to handle the client’s case is hardly of consequence.
services because of his fees; such relationship has already Of little moment too, is the fact that no formal professional
been created (Hilado v. David, 84 Phil 569). A lawyer shall be engagement follows consultation. Nor will it make any
bound by the rule on privileged communication in respect difference, that no contract whatsoever was executed by the
to matters disclosed to him by a prospective client (Code of parties to memorialize the relationship (Hadjula v.
Professional Responsibility, Rule 15.02). The rule on Madianda, A.C. No. 6711, July 3, 2007).
privileged communication provides that an attorney
cannot, without the consent of his client, be examined as to Conflict of Interest (2016, 1997, 1993, 2009, 1992,
any communication made by the client to him (Rules of 2014, 2003, 1991, 1994, 2006, 1999, 1993, 2005)
Court, Rule 130, Sec. 21 [b]). The prosecutor has announced
that Atty. C will be asked about how A obtained from B the Q: St. Ivan’s Hospital, Inc. (St. Ivan’s) and allied
funds that he failed to account for. Atty. C’s knowledge of Construction Co. (Allied) separately retained the legal
such matter could have come only from A. services of Tomas and Benedicto Law Offices. St. Ivan’s
engaged the service of Allied for the construction of a
Q: In the course of a drinking spree with Atty. Holgado new building but failed to pay the contract price after
who has always been his counsel in business deals, the completion of the works. A complaint for sum of
Simon bragged about his recent sexual adventures with money was filed by Atty. Budoy, a former associate of
socialites known for their expensive tastes. When Atty. Tomas and Benedicto Law Offices, on behalf of Allied
Holgado asked Simon how he manages to finance his against St. Ivan’s. St. Ivans, lost the case and was held
escapades, the latter answered that he has been using liable to Allied.
the bank deposits of rich clients of Banco Filipino where

17
Legal and Judicial Ethics
Thereafter, St. Ivan’s filed a disbarment complaint party against his present client even in a totally unrelated
against Atty. Budoy. It claimed that while Atty. Budo has case. With regard to former client, the traditional rule is to
established his own law office, an arrangement was distinguish between related and unrelated cases. A lawyer
made whereby Tomas and Benedicto Law Offices assign may not represent a subsequent client against former client
cases for him to handle, and that it can be assumed that in a controversy that is related, directly or indirectly, to the
Tomas and Benedicto Law Offices collaborate with Atty. subject matter of the previous litigation in which he
Budo in the cases referred to him, creating a conflict of appeared for the former client, otherwise, he may. However,
interest. Rule on the complaint with reasons. (2016 in the case of Rosacia vs. Atty.B. Bulalacao, 248 SCRA 665, the
Bar) Supreme Court ruled that a lawyer may not accept a case
against a former client, even on an unrelated matter.
A: I will rule in favor of St. Ivan’s and against Atty. Budoy. St.
Ivan’s was a client of Tomas and Benedicto Law Offices, of The Court reiterates that an attorney owes loyalty to his
which Atty. Budoy was an associate attorney. As such, St. client not in the case in which he has represented him but
Ivan’s was also his client, because of the principle that when also after the relation of attorney and client has terminated
a party hires a law firm, he hires all the lawyers therein. as it is not good practice to permit afterwards to defend in
Moreover, Atty. Budoy was in a position to know the another case other person against his former client under
information transmitted by St. Ivan’s to the firm. “There is the pretext that the other case. It behooves respondent not
conflict of interest if the acceptance of a new retainer will only to keep inviolate the client’s confidence but also to
require the lawyer to perform a act which will injuriously avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for
affect his new client in any matter in which he represents only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their
him, and also whether he will be called upon in his new secrets to their attorneys which is of paramount importance
relation to use against his first client any knowledge in the administration of justice.
acquired during their relation.” (Hornilla v. Salunat, 453
Phil. 108, July 01, 2003) Q: Atty. Belle Montes is a former partner in the Rosales
Law Office which is representing Corporation X before
“As such, a lawyer is prohibited from representing new the Securities and Exchange Commission. Atty. Montes
clients whose interests oppose those of a former client in who is now practicing on his own, entered her
any manner, whether or not they are parties in the same appearance as counsel for Corporation Y in a suit
action or on totally unrelated cases. The prohibition is between said corporation and Corporation X. Atty.
founded on the principles of public policy and good taste.” Montes claims that since she did not personally handle
(Anglo v. Atty. Valencia, A.C. No. 10567, Feb. 25, 2015) the case of Corporation X when she was still with the
Rosales Law Office she will not be representing
Q: Mrs. F, a young matron, was referred to you for legal conflicting interests. Is such argument valid? Explain.
advice by your good friend in connection with the (1992 Bar)
matron’s jewelry business. She related to you the facts
regarding a sale on consignment of pieces of jewelry to A: Atty. Belle Montes will be deemed to be appearing for
someone she did not name or identify. Since she was conflicting interests if she appears for Corporation Y against
referred to you by a close friend, you did not bill her for Corporation X.
the consultation. Neither did she offer to compensate
you. Six months later, Mrs. G, the wife of the general This question is similar to the case of Philippine Blooming
manager of a client company of your law firm, asked Mills vs. Court of Appeals. In said case, the Philippine
you to defend her in a criminal case for estafa filed by Blooming Mills was the retainer of the ACCRA Law Office.
Mrs. F. Would you agree to handle her case? (1997 Bar) Three lawyers of the ACCRA Law Office separated from said
law firm and established their own law office. The three
A: First, I will inquire if the case for estafa filed by Mrs. F lawyers were disqualified from appearing for a corporation
against the wife of the general manager is the same matter against the Philippine Blooming Mills.
concerning which Mrs. F consulted me six months before. If
it is a same matter, I will not be able to handle the case for The rule which prohibits appearing for conflicting interests
the general manager’s wife, because of a conflict of applies to law firms. The employment of one member of a
interests. When Mrs. F consulted me and I give her law firm is considered as an employment of the law firm and
professional advice, a lawyer-client relationship was that the employment of a law firm is equivalent to a retainer
created between us, regardless of the fact that I was not of the members thereof.
compensated for it. It would involve a conflict of interests if
I will handle the case for the opposite party on the same Q: R is a retained counsel of ABC Bank-Ermita Branch.
matter (Hilado v. David, 84 Phil. 571). One day, his balikbayan compadre, B, consulted him
about his unclaimed deposits with the said branch of
Q: Explain your understanding of “Conflict of Interests” ABC Bank, which the bank had refused to give to him
under the Code of professional Responsibility. (2009, claiming that the account had become dormant. R
1997, 1993 Bar) agreed to file a case against the bank with the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Manila. B lost the case, but upon the
A: A lawyer is prohibited from representing conflicting advice of R, he no longer appealed the decision. B later
interests. There is conflict of interests within the context of discovered that R was the retained counsel of ABC
the rule when, on behalf of client, it is the lawyer’s duty to Bank-Ermita Branch.
contend for that which his duty to another client requires
him to oppose. Another test is whether the acceptance of a Does B have any remedy? Discuss the legal and ethical
new lawyer-client relation will prevent a lawyer from implications of the problem. (2014 Bar)
discharging fully his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty
to another client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or A: Atty. R clearly violated the rule against representing
double-dealing in the performance thereof. conflicting interests (Rule 15.03, Code of Professional
Responsibility). B may file an action to set aside the
It is improper for a lawyer to appear as counsel for one judgment on the theory that if a lawyer is disqualified from

18
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
appearing as counsel for a party on account of conflict of a number of its patented drugs had been duplicated and
interests, he is presumed to have impropriety and sold in the market under ABC Company’s brand names.
prejudicially advised and represented the party in the XYZ Corporation turned to the law firm and asked it to
conduct of the litigation from beginning to end. He may also bring suit against ABC Company for patent
file an action for damages against Atty. R, aside from an infringement on several counts. What are the ethical
administrative complaint due to his misconduct. He was considerations involved in this case and how are you
prejudiced by the adverse decision against him, which he no going to resolve them? (1994 Bar)
longer appealed upon the advice of Atty. R.
A: A lawyer may refuse to accept the representation of a
Q: You are the counsel for the estate of a deceased client if he labors under conflict of interests between him
person. Your wife is a practicing Certified Public and the prospective client or between a present client and
Accountant. She was asked by her client to prepare and the prospective client (Code of Professional Responsibility,
submit an itemized claim against the estate you are Canon 14, Rule 14.03). It is unprofessional for a lawyer to
representing. She asks for your advice on the legal represent conflicting interests, except by express consent of
propriety of her client’s claim. What advice would you all concerned given after full disclosure of the fact (Canons
give her? Explain. (2003 Bar) of Professional Ethics, Canon 6). A lawyer cannot accept a
case against a present client either in the same case or in a
A: I would advise her that it will be improper for her to totally unrelated case.
handle her client’s claim against the estate. As a counsel for
the estate, it is my duty to preserve the estate. Her client’s Q: Atty. Juan Cruz, a practicing lawyer, was employed by
claim seeks to reduce the said estate. If she will handle such Pilipinas Bank as its bank attorney and notary public in
claim, I can be suspected of representing conflicting three of its branches in Manila. While thus employed,
interests. The interests of the estate and of its creditors are Maria del Rio, who was unaware of Atty. Cruz’s
adverse to each other (Nakpil v. Valdez, 288 SCRA 75). Even employment in the bank, engaged Atty. Cruz’s services
if she is a different person, the fact that she is my wife will as a lawyer in a case that was filed by Pilipinas Bank for
still give rise to the impression that we are acting as one. collection of sum of money involving one of its branches
in Quezon City which Atty. Cruz accepted. The Quezon
Q: You are the lawyer of Mr.”H”, the plaintiff, in a civil City Regional Trial Court, after due proceeding and
case for rescission of contract. The prospects for an hearing, rendered judgment in favor of Pilipinas Bank
amicable settlement look bright. Impressed by your and against Maria del Rio who wanted to appeal the
ability, Mr. “I”, the defendant, would like very much to adverse judgment. But upon advice of Atty. Cruz, the
retain you as his defense counsel in a criminal case for adverse judgment was not appealed. Thereafter, Maria
homicide through reckless imprudence. Mr. “I” wants del Rio learned Atty. Cruz was employed by Pilipinas
you to forthwith enter your appearance, the Bank as one of its attorneys. She now consults with you
arraignment already having been scheduled. Would and asks you to take legal steps against Atty. Cruz for
you accept the offer? (1997 Bar) his apparent misconduct. What do you think of what
Atty. Cruz did? Is there a valid and legal basis to
A: It depends. If the criminal case for homicide through discipline him? (2006, 1999 Bar)
reckless imprudence is against Mr. “H”, I cannot accept the
same for that will involve a conflict of interest, although it is A: In agreeing to represent Maria del Rio in a case which
an unrelated case. Pilipinas Bank filed against her, Atty. Cruz violated the rule
against representing conflicting interests. Rule 15.03 of the
But if it will not involve Mr. “H”, I can accept the same. Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer
However, to avoid suspicion and misunderstanding, it shall not represent conflicting interests except by written
would be better if I inform Mr. “H” about the offer and consent of all concerned after a full disclosure of the facts. It
secure his conformity to my handling the same. is improper for a lawyer to appear as counsel for a person
whose interest conflicts with that of his present or former
Q: Atty. B acted as counsel for C in a civil case. He also client, even in an unrelated case (Philippine National Bank
acted as counsel for D against C in another civil case. v. Cedo, 243 SCRA 1). It does not matter that the Pilipinas
When D lost his case against C, he filed an Bank branch in Quezon City is not one of the branches he
administrative complaint against Atty. B for conflict of services in Manila. The bank itself is his client. This
interests. Decide. (1991 Bar) constitutes malpractice for which Atty. Cruz can be
disciplined.
A: If the case of C in the first case is entirely different and
not related with the case of D against C, there is no conflict Q: Huey Company and Dewey Corporation are both
of interests. If the two cases however are related wherein retainer clients of Atty. Anama. He is the Corporate
the attorney has knowledge of the evidence of C then there Secretary of Huey Company. He represents Dewey
is conflict of interests. Rule 15.01 provides that: A lawyer in Corporation in three pending litigation cases. Dewey
conferring with a prospective client shall ascertain as soon Corporation wants to file a civil case against Huey
as practicable whether the matter would involve a conflict Company and has requested Atty. Anama to handle the
with another client or his own interest, and if so, shall case. What are the options available to Atty. Anama?
forthwith inform the prospective client. Rule 15.03 further Explain your answer. (1993 Bar)
provides that: A lawyer shall not represent conflicting
interests except by written consent of all concerned given A: The options available to Atty. Anama are:
after a full disclosure of the facts.
1. To decline to accept the case because to do so will
Q: The law firm of Sale, Santiago and Aldeguer has an constitute representing conflicting interests. It is
existing and current retainership agreement with XYZ unethical for a lawyer to represent a client in a case 

Corporation and ABC Company, both of which were against another client in the said case. 

pharmaceutical firms. XYZ Corporation discovered that

19
Legal and Judicial Ethics
2. To accept to file the case against Huey Company, after difference on his decision to withdraw. Moreover, he may
full disclosure to both retained clients and upon their retain the fees he has already received, his withdrawal
express and written consent. The written consent may being justified (Pineda, Legal & Judicial Ethics, 1994 edition,
free him from the charge of representing conflicting p. 223), unless the same is unconscionable.
interests, because written consent amounts to a release
by the clients of the lawyer’s obligation not to represent Q: What are the three (3) tests to determine conflict of
conflicting interests. interest for practicing lawyers? Explain each briefly.
(2009 Bar)
Q: Atty. Japzon, a former partner of XXX law firm, is
representing Kapuso Corporation in a civil case against A:
Kapamilya Corporation whose legal counsel is XXX law
firm. Atty. Japzon claims that she never handled the 1. When in representation of one client, a lawyer is
case of Kapamilya Corporation when she was still with required to fight for an issue or claim, but is also duty
XXX law firm. Is there a conflict of interests? Explain. bound to oppose it for another client;
(2005 Bar) 2. When the acceptance of the new retainer will require
an attorney to perform an act that may injuriously
A: There is a conflict of interests when a lawyer represents affect the first client or when called upon in a new
inconsistent interests. This rule covers not only cases in relation to use against the first client any knowledge
which confidential communications have been confided, acquired through their professional connection;
but also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or
will be used. Also, there is conflict of interests if the new When the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the
retainer will require the attorney to perform an act which full discharge of an attorney’s duty to give undivided fidelity
will injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which and loyalty to the client or would invite suspicion of
he represents him and also whether he will be called upon unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that
in his new relation to use against his first client any duty (Northwestern University v. Arquillo, 415 SCRA 513
knowledge acquired through their connection (Santos vs. [2005]).
Beltran, 418 SCRA 17). Since Atty. Japzon was a partner of
the XXX law firm which has Kapamilya Corporation as its CLIENT’S MONEYS AND PROPERTIES
client, she cannot handle a case against it as such will
involve conflict of interests. The employment of a law firm Fiduciary relationship
is equivalent to the retainer of the members therof. It does
not matter if Atty. Japzon never handled a case of the Q: A lawyer charged his client P10, 000.00 for filing fees
Kapamilya Corporation when she was still with the XXX law pertaining to the complaint he filed in court. He actually
firm. spent only P1, 000.00. He did not account the balance.
May his client charge him for misconduct as a member
Representation with zeal within legal bounds (1995, of the Philippine bar? Explain your answer. (1990 Bar)
2009)
A: The client may charge his lawyer with misconduct for not
Q: Winnie retained the services of Atty. Derecho to file accounting for the balance on P9, 000.00. It is well-settled
a collection case against Carmen. Winnie paid Atty. that where the client gives his lawyer money for a specific
Derecho a sizeable retainer’s fee which the latter purpose, such as to pay the docket fees for the filing of an
accepted. Later, in the process of determining the action in court, so much of the money not used for the
amount of debt to be collected from Carmen, Atty. purpose belongs to the client and the lawyer holds in it trust
Derecho noticed that of the total claim of 8.5 Million, for him. And it is the lawyer’s duty to promptly account for
certain invoices covering 3.5 Million appeared to be all money received from his client. For this reason, the
irregular. Winnie while admitting the irregularity lawyer’s failure to account for the balance of the money not
assures her lawyer that there would be no problem as spent for filing fees will render him liable for
Carmen was by nature negligent in keeping her records misappropriation, which is a ground for disbarment.
and would not notice the mistakes anyway. Atty.
Derecho tried to convince Winnie to exclude the Client’s moneys and properties; Fidelity to client’s
amount of 3.5 Million but Winnie refused. As a cause
consequence Atty. Derecho terminated their
relationship and withdrew from the case. Was Atty. Q: C engaged the services of attorney D concerning
Derecho right in terminating their relationship and various mortgage contracts entered into by her
withdrawing from the case? How about the fact that he husband from whom she is separated fearful that her
had already accepted a sizeable retainer’s fee from his real estate properties will be foreclosed and of
client? Discuss fully. (1995 Bar) impending suits for sums of money against her.
Attorney D advised C to give him her land titles covering
A: Atty. Derecho was right in terminating the lawyer-client her lots so he could sell them to enable her to pay her
relationship and withdrawing from the case. Rule 22.01 of creditors. He then persuaded her to execute deeds of
the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a sale in his favor without any monetary or valuable
lawyer may withdraw his services when the client pursues consideration, to which C agreed on condition that he
an illegal or immoral course of conduct in connection with would sell the lots and from the proceeds pay her
the matter he is handling, or when the client insists that the creditors. Later on, C came to know that attorney D did
lawyer pursue conduct violative of the canons and rules. not sell her lots but instead paid her creditors with his
Rule 15.07 provides that a lawyer shall impress upon his own funds and had her land titles registered in his
client compliance with the laws and the principles of name. Did attorney D violate the Code of Professional
fairness. While he owes his client warm zeal, it should Responsibility? Explain. (2009, 2007 Bar)
always be within the bounds of the law (Code of Professional
Responsibility, Canon 19). The fact that Atty. Derecho had A: The decision of the Supreme Court in the case of
already accepted a sizeable retainer’s fee should make no Hernandez v. Go (450 SCRA 1) is squarely applicable to this

20
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
problem. Under the same set of facts, the Supreme Court himself the lots entrusted to him by his client are, by any
held the lawyer to have violated Canons 16 and 17 of the standard, acts constituting gross misconduct. The lawyer in
Code of Professional Responsibility, which provide as that case was disbarred.
follows:
FIDELITY TO CLIENT’S CAUSE
Canon 16. A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and
properties of his client hat may come into his possession. Competence and diligence (2000, 1993, 1998, 2014,
2002, 1989, 2001)
Canon 17. A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client
and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed a. Adequate protection
in him.
Q: X was indicted for murder. As he had no counsel on
The Supreme Court further held that the lawyer concerned arraignment, the trial court appointed Atty. A as his
has engaged in deceitful, dishonest, unlawful and grossly counsel de oficio. When Atty. A asked X what was his
immoral acts, which might lessen the trust and confidence stand, X said he was guilty. X thereupon pleaded guilty.
reposed by the public in the fidelity, honesty, and integrity Trial was thereafter conducted. When the turn of the
of the legal profession, consequently, the Court disbarred defense to present evidence came, Atty. A manifested
him. that he was not presenting any and that he was
submitting the case for decision, praying that X’s plea
Delivery of Funds (2000, 2009) be considered mitigating. Did Atty. A’s assistance or
conduct approximate the competence and diligence
Q: D was charged with estafa by C before the barangay which the Code of Professional Responsibility expected
for misappropriating the proceeds of sale of jewelry on of him? Explain. (2000 Bar)
commission. In settlement of the case, D turned over to
the barangay captain, a lawyer, the amount of P2, A: No. It is the duty of defense counsel when his client
000.00 with the request that the barangay captain turn desires to enter a plea of guilty to fully acquaint himself with
over the money to C. Several months passed without C the facts and surrounding circumstances of the case, advise
being advised of the status of her complaint. C his client of his constitutional rights and the full import of a
contacted D who informed her that she (D) had long plea of guilty, see to it that the prescribed procedure is
before turned over the amount of P2, 000.00 to the observed, present evidence, including possible mitigating
barangay captain who undertook to give the money to circumstances, so that the precise degree of his client's
her (C). C thus filed a case against the barangay captain culpability is established and the appropriate penalty is
who at once remitted the amount of P2, 000.00 to C. May imposed, and thus leave no room for doubt that there was a
the barangay captain be faulted administratively? mistake or misunderstanding as to the nature of the charges
Explain. (2000 Bar) to which his client has pleaded guilty. Atty. A has fallen short
of this required conduct.
A: Yes. The Code of Professional Responsibility applies to
lawyers who are in the government service. As a general Q: Your services as a lawyer were engaged by Manuel
rule, a lawyer who holds a government office may not be Jalandoni to defend him from the charge of
disciplined as a member of the bar for misconduct in the malversation of public funds before the
discharge of his office as a government official. However, if Sandiganbayan. Manuel confessed to you that he
that misconduct as a government official is of such actually misappropriated the amount out of extreme
character as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or to show necessity to pay for the emergency operation of his
moral delinquency, then he may be disciplined as a member wife. Will you agree to defend him? State your reasons.
of the bar on such ground (Dinsay v. Ctoco, 264 SCRA 703 (1993 Bar)
[1996]). In the case of Penticostes v. Ibanez, 304 SCRA 281
[1999], a barangay captain who failed to remit for several A: Yes, I will agree to defend Manuel Jalandoni even if he
months the amount given to him for payment of an admitted to me that he malversed public funds. A lawyer
obligation, was found to have violated the Code of has the duty to defend an accused even if he knows that he
Professional Conduct. is guilty - at least to defend his rights. He might be able to
find some mitigating or extenuating circumstances.
Q: Marlyn, a widow engaged the services of Atty. Moreover, it is not the lawyer who shall decide whether the
Romanito in order to avert the foreclosure of several accused is guilty. It is the task of the Judge.
parcels of land mortgaged by her late husband to
several creditors. Atty. Romanito advised the widow to b. Negligence
execute in his favor deeds of sale over the properties, so
that he could sell them and generate funds to pay her Q: Nene approached Atty. Nilo and asked him if it was
creditors. The widow agreed. Atty. Romanito did not alright to buy a piece of land which Maneng was selling.
sell the properties, but paid the mortgage creditors What was shown by Maneng to Nene was an Original
with his own funds, and had the land titles registered in Certificate of Title with many annotations and old
his name. Atty. Romanito succeeds in averting the patches, to which Nene expressed suspicion. However,
foreclosure. Is he administratively liable? Reasons. Atty. Nilo, desirous of pushing through with the
(2009 Bar) transaction because of the high notarial fee promised to
him, told Nene that the title was alright and that she
A: Yes, Atty. Romanito is administratively liable. The basic should not worry since he is an attorney and that he
facts in this case are the same as the facts in Hernandez v. Go knew Maneng well. He notarized the Deed of Sale and
(450 SCRA 1 [2005]), where the Supreme Court found the Nene paid Maneng P 108, 000.00. It turned out that
lawyer to have violated Canons 16 and 17 of the Code of Maneng had previously sold the same property to
Professional Responsibility, and disbarred him. The another person. For the injustice done to Nene, may
Supreme Court held that a lawyer’s acts of acquiring for Atty. Nilo be disciplined? (1998 Bar)

21
Legal and Judicial Ethics
not look at the employment of a collaborating counsel as a
A: Yes. Atty. Nilo is guilty of gross negligence in protecting loss of confidence in him.
the interests of his client. A lawyer shall not neglect a legal
matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection Q: Atty. A objects to the collaboration of Atty. B as
therewith shall render him liable (Rule 18.03, Code of proposed by Client C in a pending case. How would A, B
Professional Responsibility). Worse, he was negligent and C handle the situation? (2001 Bar)
because he placed his own interest in receiving a high
notarial fee over and above the Interest of his client. In the A: A, B, and C may handle the situation in the following
case of Nadayag v. Grageda, 237 SCRA 202, which involves manner:
similar facts, the Supreme Court held that the lawyer
"should have been conscientious in seeing to it that justice a. "A" can offer to withdraw his services. Rule 22.01(c) of
permeated every aspect of a transaction for which his the Code of Professional Responsibility allows a lawyer
services had been engaged, in conformity with the avowed to withdraw his services if his inability to work with co-
duties of a worthy member of the Bar." counsel will not promote the best interest of his client.
Here, by objecting to the collaboration of Atty. B, Atty. A
Q: May a lawyer be held liable for damages by his client foresees his inability to work with the former. “A” may
for the lawyer’s failure to file the necessary pleadings with withdraw to give his client a free hand in
to prosecute the client’s case and as a result of which protecting his interest.
the client suffered damages? (2014 Bar) b. "B" should refuse to accept the case, otherwise, he may
be encroaching on the professional employment of
A: Yes, he may be held liable. Rule 18.03 of the Code of another lawyer. A lawyer should decline association as
Professional Responsibility provides that “a lawyer shall colleague if it is objectionable to the original counsel,
not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his but if the lawyer first retained is relieved, another may
negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.” come into the case. (Canon 7, Canons of Professional
But attorney-client relationship, want of reasonable care Ethics).
and diligence, and injury sustained by the client as the c. "C" the client must choose only one of the lawyers. If he
proximate result thereof, are the prerequisites to the wants Atty. B as his lawyer, he should formally
maintenance of an action for damages against a lawyer. terminate the services of "A" so "B" can formally enter
his appearance in the case.
Q:

a. State the rule on whether a client is bound by the REPRESENTATION WITH ZEAL WITHIN LEGAL
mistake of his counsel. BOUNDS
b. On account of his mistake, is counsel liable to his
client for damages? Explain. (2002 Bar) Use of fair and honest means

A: Q: Under Canon 19 of the Code of Professional


Responsibility, "a lawyer shall represent his client with
a. A client is bound by the mistakes of his lawyer [Cabales zeal within the bounds of the law." How far, in general
v. fiery, 94 SCRA 374 (1979); Valerio v. Secretary of terms, may a lawyer go in advocating, supporting and
Agriculture, 7 SCRA 719(1963)]. However, when the defending the cause of his client in a criminal case filed
lawyer has practically sold his client down the river or against the latter? (2003, 1997 Bar)
when the negligence is so gross that the client was
deprived of due process, the client is not bound by the A: The right to counsel must be more than just the presence
negligence of the lawyer [PHHC v. Tiongco, 12 SCRA of a lawyer in the courtroom or the mere propounding of
471(1964); San Miguel Corp. v. Laguesma, 236 SCRA standard questions and objections. The right to counsel
595(1994)]. means that the accused is simply accorded legal assistance
b. A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to extended by a counsel who commits himself to the cause of
him and his negligence in connection therewith shall the defense and acts accordingly. The right assumes an
make him liable (Rule 18.03, Code of Professional active involvement by the lawyer in the proceedings,
Responsibility). A client who suffers prejudice by reason particularly at the trial of the case, his bearing constantly in
of his counsel’s inexcusable negligence in the discharge mind the basic rights of the accused, his being well-versed
of his duty may file an action for damages against him. on the case, and his knowing the fundamental procedure,
However, there must be a showing that had the lawyer essential laws and existing jurisprudence. The right of an
exercised due diligence, the client under the facts and accused to counsel finds substance in the performance by
the law would have succeeded in recovering from the the lawyer of his sworn duty of fidelity to his client. Tersely
adverse party or in resisting the claim of the latter. put, it means an efficient and truly decisive legal assistance
and not a simple prefunctory representation. (People v.
c. Collaborating counsel Bemas, 306 SCRA 293 [1999], cited in People v. Sta. Teresa,
354 SCRA 697 [2001]). However, a lawyer shall employ only
Q: May a client hire additional counsel as collaborating honorable and honest means in the maintenance of his
counsel over and above the objection of the original client’s cause. (Section 20, Rule 128).
counsel? (2014, 1989 Bar)
Client’s fraud (2001, 2014)
A: Yes, the client is entitled to have as many lawyers as he
can afford. Professional courtesy, however, demands that a Q: Atty. A discovered his client's fraud against the
lawyer retained as a collaborating counsel should at least adverse party. What steps should he take so that his
communicate with the original counsel and should at least client will secure only that which is legally and justly
communicate with the original counsel before entering his due him? (2001 Bar)
appearance. On the part of the original counsel, he should

22
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
A: A lawyer who has received information that his client Pending the resolution of the motion to dismiss in Civil
has, in the course of the representation, perpetrated a fraud Case No. 2222, the RTC granted on February 9, 2015 the
upon a person or tribunal, shall promptly call upon the motion for issuance of a writ of execution in Civil Case
client to rectify the same, and failing which he shall No. 1111 and placed the spouses Manuel in possession
terminate the relationship with such client in accordance of the land. Atty. Enriquez, based on a purported oral
with the Rules of Court. (Rule 19.02, Code of Professional agreement with the spouses Manuel, laid claim to ½ of
Conduct) the land, measuring 100,000.00 square meters with
market value of P1, 750, 000.00, as his attorney’s fees.
Q: A is accused of robbery in a complaint filed by B. A
sought free legal assistance from the Public Attorney’s Atty. Enriquez caused the subdivision of the land in two
Office (PAO) and Atty. C was assigned to handle his case. equal portions and entered into the half he
After reviewing the facts as stated in the complaint and appropriated for himself. Based on the professional
as narrated by A, Atty. C is convinced that A is guilty. and ethical standards for lawyers, may Atty. Enriquez
claim ½ of the land as his contingency fee? Why? (2015
If the lawyer is counsel de parte for the accused and he Bar)
learns later after accepting the case and while trial is
ongoing that his client was indeed the perpetrator of A: Atty. Enriquez may not claim ½ of the land as his
the crime, may the lawyer withdraw his appearance contingency fee. In the first place, a lawyer cannot charge
from the case? Why or why not? (2014 Bar) his client a contingent fee or a percentage of the amount
recovered as his fees in the absence of an express contract
A: He may withdraw his appearance but in accordance with to that effect. (Corpus v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-40424,
procedure in Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. June 30, 1980, 98 SCRA 424). There is no such contract in this
Moreover, Rule 19.02 of the Code of Professional case. As a matter of fact, the claim of a purported oral
Responsibility provides that “a lawyer who has received agreement for a contingency fee of ½ of the land is
information that his client has, in the course of contradicted by the allegation in the Complaint in Civil Case
representation, perpetuated a fraud upon a person or No. 1111 for a contingency fee of P200, 000.00 only.
tribunal, shall promptly call upon the client to rectify the
same, and failing which, he shall terminate the relationship Moreover, the amount claimed as contingent fee appears to
with such client in accordance with the Rules of Court.” be excessive and unreasonable. The issue involved in the
case was simple and did not require extensive skill, effort
Attorney’s Fees (2016, 2015, 2002, 1999, 2008, 2014, and research on the part of Atty. Enriquez.
2000, 1998, 1995, 2007, 2010, 1988, 1997, 1994, 1991)
Furthermore, Atty. Enriquez caused the division of the land
a. Contingency fee arrangements and appropriate one half thereof, pending resolution of the
motion to dismiss in Civil Case No. 2222. This constitutes a
Q: The spouses Manuel were the registered owners of a violation of Article 1491 of the New Civil Code, because the
parcel of land measuring about 200,000 square meters. case in which the property is involved has not yet been
On May 4, 2008, the spouses Manuel sold the land for terminated (The Conjugal Partnership of the Spouse
P3, 500, 000.00 to the spouses Rivera who were issued Cadavedo v. Victorino T. Lacaya, G.R. No. 173188, January 15,
a certificate of title for said land in their names. Because 2014).
the spouses Rivera failed to pay the balance of the
purchase price for the land, the spouses Manuel, Q: Atty. CJ handled the case for plaintiff GE against
through Atty. Enriquez, instituted an action on March defendant XY in an action for damages. Judgment was
18, 2010 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for sum rendered for plaintiff GE. When a writ of execution was
of money and/or annulment of sale, docketed as Civil issued, the sheriff levied on a 400 square meter lot of
Case No. 1111. The complaint in Civil Case No. 1111 defendant XY. Pursuant to their contingent fee contract,
specifically alleged that Atty. Enriquez would be paid plaintiff GE executed a deed of assignment in favor of
P200, 000.00 as attorney’s fees on contingent basis. The Atty. CJ of one-half of the lot. Atty. CJ accepted the
RTC subsequently promulgated its decision upholding assignment.
the sale of the land to the spouses Rivera. Atty. Enriquez
timely filed an appeal on behalf of the spouses Manuel Is the contract for contingent fee valid? Explain. (2002
before the Court of Appeals. The appellate court found Bar)
for the spouses Manuel, declared the sale of the land to
the spouses Rivera null and void, and ordered the A: Contract for contingent fee is a contract wherein the
cancellation of the spouses Rivera’s certificate of title attorney’s fee, usually a percentage of what may be
for the land. The Supreme Court dismissed the spouses recovered in the action, is made to depend upon the success
Rivera’s appeal for lack of merit. With the finality of of the lawyer in enforcing or defending his client’s right. It
judgment in Civil Case No. 1111 on October 20, 2014, is a valid contract, unlike a champertous contract which is
Atty. Enriquez filed a motion for the issuance of a writ invalid because the lawyer undertakes to shoulder the
of execution. expenses of the litigation. However, the amount of the fee
agreed upon may be reduced by the courts if it should be
Meanwhile, the spouses Rivera filed on November 10, unconscionable. Fifty percent (50%) of what the client
2014 before the RTC a case for quieting of title against might recover may or may not be unconscionable
the spouses Manuel, docketed as Civil Case No. 2222. depending on the factors to be considered in determining
The spouses Manuel, again through Atty. Enriquez, filed the reasonableness of an attorney's fee.
a motion to dismiss Civil Case No. 2222 on the ground of
res judicata given the final judgment in Civil Case No. Q: Atty. A’s services as a lawyer were engaged by B to
1111. recover from C certain construction materials and
equipment. Because B did not have the means of defray
the expenses of litigation, he proposed to Atty. A that he

23
Legal and Judicial Ethics
(A) shoulders all expenses of the litigation and he (B) decided by settlement of the property developer, the
would pay him (A) a portion of the construction attorney’s fee of P150 Million would be unconscionable.
materials and equipment to be recovered as
compensation for his professional services. b. Attorney’s Liens

May Atty. A correctly agree to such arrangement? (1999 Q: M engaged the services of Atty. D to prosecute his
Bar) annulment of marriage case in the Regional Trial Court
(RTC). After a long-drawn trial, Atty. D was able to
A: No, Atty. A may not correctly agree to such an agreement. secure a favourable judgment from the court.
Unfortunately, M failed to pay in full the stipulated
Such an arrangement would constitute a champertous attorney’s fees of Atty. D. How can Atty. D collect his fees
contract which is considered void due to public policy, from M? Discuss fully. (2014 Bar)
because it would make him acquire a stake in the outcome
of the litigation which might lead him to place his own A: He can allot his fees either by filing a motion in the
interest above that of the client. (Bautista v. Gonzales, 182 annulment of marriage case that he handled, and to order M
SCRA 151) A champertous contract is one in which a lawyer to pay the same, or he can file a separate action for the
undertakes to prosecute a case, and bear all the expenses in recovery of his attorney’s fees. Of the two, the first is
connection therewith without right of reimbursement, and preferable because the judge in the annulment case will be
will be paid his fees by way of a portion of the property or in a better position to evaluate the amount and value of his
amount that may be recovered, contingent on the success of services. In the meantime, he may avail of the retaining lien,
his efforts. It is different from a contingent fee contract, which is to retain the moneys and properties of M in his
which is valid, in which the lawyer will also be paid possession until he is paid for his services, or a charging
depending on the success of his efforts, but he does not lien, which is to charge the money judgment in the case for
undertake to shoulder all the expenses in the case. He may the payment of his fees.
advance such expenses but always subject to
reimbursement by his client. Q: Define an attorney's retaining lien. (2000, 1998 Bar)

Q: Chester asked Laarni to handle his claim to a sizeable A: A retaining lien is the right of an attorney to retain the
parcel of land in Quezon City against a well-known funds, documents, and papers of his client which have
property developer on a contingent fee basis. Laarni lawfully come into his possession until his lawful fees and
asked for 15% of the land that may be recovered or disbursements have been paid, and to apply such funds to
15% of whatever monetary settlement that may be the satisfaction thereof (Sec. 37, Rule 138, Rules of Court).
received from the property developer as her only fee
contingent upon securing a favorable final judgment or Q: Upon being replaced by Justice C, Atty. B, the former
compromise settlement. Chester signed the contingent counsel of the parents of the victims of the OZONE Disco
fee agreement. tragedy, was directed to forward all the documents in
his possession to Justice C. Atty. B refused, demanding
Assume the property developer settled the case after full compensation pursuant to their written contract.
the case was decided by the Regional Trial Court in Sensing that a favorable Judgment was forthcoming,
favor of Chester for P1 Billion. Chester refused to pay Atty. B filed a motion in court relative to his attorney’s
Laarni PI50 Million on the ground that it is excessive. fees, furnishing his former clients with copies thereof.
Is the refusal justified? Explain. (2008 Bar)
Is Atty. B legally and ethically correct in refusing to turn
A: The refusal of Chester to pay is unjustified. A contingent over the documents and in filing the motion? Explain.
fee is impliedly sanctioned by Rule 20.01 (f) of the CPR. A (1998 Bar)
much higher compensation is allowed as contingent fees in
consideration of the risk that the lawyer will get nothing if A: Atty. B is legally and ethically correct in refusing to turn
the suit fails. In several cases, the Supreme Court has over the documents. He is entitled to a retaining lien which
indicated that a contingent fee of 30% of the money or gives him the right to retain the funds, documents and
property that may be recovered is reasonable. Moreover, papers of his client which have lawfully come to his
although the developer settled the case, it was after the case possession until his lawful fees and disbursement have
was decided by the Regional Trial Court in favor of Chester, been paid (Sec. 37, Rule 138. Rules of Court. Rule 16.03, Code
which shows that Atty. Laarni has already rendered service of Professional Responsibility). Likewise, he is legally and
to the client. ethically correct in filing a motion in court relative to his
fees. He is entitled to a charging lien upon all judgments for
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER: the payment of money, and executions issued in pursuance
of such judgments, which he has secured in a litigation of his
Chester’s refusal to pay Atty. Laarni P150 million as client, from and after the time when the records of the court
attorney’s fees on the ground that it is excessive, is justified. rendering such judgment or issuing such execution (ibid.)
In the case of Sesbreno v. Court of Appeals (245 SCRA 30
[1995]), the Supreme Court held that “contingent fee Q: Harold secured the services of Atty. Jarencio to
contracts are under the supervision and close scrutiny of collect from various debtors. Accordingly. Atty.
the court in order that clients may be protected from unjust Jarencio filed collection cases against the debtors of
charges” and that “its validity depends on a large measure Harold and in fact obtained favorable Judgments in
on the reasonableness of the stipulated fees under the some. Atty. Jarencio demanded from Harold his
circumstances of each case.” Also, “stipulated attorney’s attorney’s fees pursuant to their agreement but Harold
fees are unconscionable whenever the amount is by far so refused. When one of the defendants paid his
disproportionate compared to the value of the services indebtedness of 20, 000.00 through Atty. Jarencio, the
rendered as to amount to fraud perpetuated against the latter refused to turn over the money to Harold;
client.” Considering the circumstances that the case was instead, Atty. Jarencio applied the amount to his
attorney’s fees having in mind the provisions of the

24
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
Civil Code on legal compensation or set-off to justify his disbursements of the lawyer in the case where the
act. judgment for a sum of money may be secured.

Was Atty. Jarencio correct in refusing to turn over to his c. Fees and controversies with clients (Quantum
client the amount he collected? Discuss fully. (1995 Meruit)
Bar)
Q:
A: A lawyer has a retaining lien which entitled him to retain
possession of a client’s document, money or other property a. Explain the doctrine of quantum meruit in
which come into the hands of the attorney professionally, determining the amount of attorney’s fees.
until the general balance due him for professional services b. Identify the factors to be considered in determining
is paid. Under Rule 138, Section 37 of the Rules of Court, the attorney’s fees on a quantum meruit basis. (2015,
attorney cannot be compelled to surrender the documents 2014, 2007, 1998 Bar)
in his possession without prior proof that his fees have been
duly satisfied. A:

However, Atty. Jarencio here cannot appropriate the sum of a. Quantum meruit means as much as the services of a
20 ,000.00. If there is a dispute between him and Harold as lawyer are worth. Recovery of attorney’s fees on the
to the amount of the fees that he can collect, what he should basis of quantum meruit is authorized when (1) there
do if Harold disputes the amount of the fees he is entitled, is no express contract for the payment of attorney’s
he must file an action for the recovery of his fee or record a fees; (2) although there is a contract for attorney’s fees,
charging lien so that the court can fix the amount to which the fees stipulated are found unconscionable by the
he is entitled. court; (3) the contract for attorney’s fees is void due to
formal defects of execution; (4) the lawyer was not able
Q: The vendor filed a case against the vendee for the to finish the case for justifiable cause; (5) the lawyer
annulment of the sale of a piece of land. and the client disregard the contract for attorney’s fees;
and (6) the client dismissed his counsel or the latter
Assume the vendee obtained a summary judgment withdrew therefrom, for valid reasons.
against the vendor. Would the counsel for the b. The factors are those set in Rule 20.01 of the Coe of
defendant vendee be entitled to enforce a charging Professional Reponsibility (CPR), as follows:
lien? Explain. (2008 Bar)
i. the time spent and the extent of the services
A: A charging lien, to be enforceable as security for payment rendered or required;
of attorney’s fees, requires as a condition sine qua non a ii. the novelty and difficulty of the questions
judgment for money and execution in pursuance of such involved;
judgment secured in the main action by the attorney in iii. the importance of the subject matter;
favor of his client (Metropolitan Bank v. Court of Appeals, iv. the skill demanded;
181 SCRA 367 [1990]). A summary judgment against the v. the probability of losing other employment as a
vendor in this case only means that his complaint was result of acceptance of the proffered case;
dismissed. This is not a judgment for payment of money, vi. the customary charges for similar services and
hence, a charging lien cannot attach. However, if the the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to which
judgment should include a money judgment in favor of the he belongs;
vendee on his counterclaim, a charging lien can properly be vii. the amount involved in the controversy and the
enforced. benefits resulting to the client from the service;
viii. the contingency or certainty of compensation;
Q: Differentiate “retaining lien” from “charging lien” ix. the character of the employment, whether
(2016 Bar) occasional or established; and
x. the professional standing of the lawyer.
A: A retaining lien gives the lawyer the right to retain the
funds, documents and papers of the client which have Q: A inherited a parcel of land situated in Batasan Hills
lawfully come into his possession, until his lawful fees and which is occupied by informal settlers. He wants to eject
disbursements have been paid. A charging lien is a lien upon the occupants, but he has no financial means to pursue
all judgments for payment of sum of money and executions the ejectment case. He contracted the services of Atty.
thereof, to ensure payment of his fees and disbursements in B, who agreed to defray all the expenses of the suit on
the said case. the condition that he will be paid one-half (1/2) of the
property to be recovered as his compensation.
A retaining lien is a passive lien; the lawyer is not required
to perform any act except to hold on to the client’s funds, What is the kind of attorney’s fees? Can Atty. B enforce
documents and papers, until his fees and disbursements are this contract against A? What are the respective
paid. A charging lien is an active lien; the lawyer is required remedies relative to the collection of attorney’s fees, if
to file a motion in court, with copy served on the adverse any, of A and Atty. B against each other? (2014, 2010,
party, to have a statement of his claim to such fees and 1988 Bar)
disbursements charged or attached to the decision in such
case and executions thereof. A: This is a champertous fee agreement because Atty. B
agreed to defray all the expenses of the action and will be
A retaining lien is general lien; it may be resorted to in order paid only if he is successful in recovering A’s property. Atty.
to secure payment of the lawyer’s fees in all the cases he has B cannot enforce it because it is contrary to public policy
handled and services he has rendered to the client. A and the ethics of the legal profession. The remedy of A is to
charging lien is a special lien; it can be utilized for the file an action to have the agreement declared null and void,
purpose of collecting only the unpaid fees and or simply to refuse to pay attorney’s fees to Atty. B on the

25
Legal and Judicial Ethics
basis of the said agreement. On the other hand, Atty. B will
still be entitled to collect attorney’s fees on a quantum a. Did the judge act within his discretion in awarding
meruit basis. He may bring an action to collect such fees. attorney's fees?
b. As counsel for the plaintiff, are you entitled to
Q: Discuss the propriety of a lawyer filing a suit against receive the attorney's fees thus awarded in
his client concerning his fees. (1998 Bar) addition to your stipulated legal fees? (1994 Bar)

A: Rule 20.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility A:


provides that “a lawyer shall avoid controversies with his
clients concerning his compensation and shall resort to a. A party may recover attorney's fees in cases of
judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice or malicious prosecution against him in an action for
fraud.” The legal profession is not a money-making trade damages against the party responsible therefore (Art.
but a form of public service. Lawyers should avoid giving 2208 (3), Civil Code). But he must prove not only that he
the impression that they are mercenary (Perez v. Scottish was acquitted in the criminal action, but that the person
Union and National Insurance Co., 76 Phil. 325). It might even who charged him knowingly made a false statement of
turn out to be unproductive for him for potential clients are facts to induce the prosecutor to prosecute or that the
likely to avoid a lawyer with a reputation of suing his clients. institution of the criminal action was prompted by a
sinister design to vex or humiliate him and to cast upon
d. Concepts of Attorney’s fees him dishonor and disgrace.
b. No. Attorney’s fees in the concept or as an item of
Extraordinary concept damages is an indemnity for damages sustained by the
client, and belongs to him.
Q: A real estate company, elated over the decision in a
case regarding a dispute over a personal matter Q: A, after taking his oath as a lawyer in 1985, was
between its top sales representative and his neighbor, maliciously charged with the crime of seduction by
gifted Atty. O, who represented its sales representative Amor, his former girlfriend. Her parents instigated the
in the litigation, with a 240-square-meter lot in its filing of the case. A appeared for and defended himself.
newly developed subdivision. The case handled by Atty. In the decision acquitting him, the court explicitly
O had nothing to do with the sales representative in the stated that he was a victim of malicious prosecution. A
litigation, with a 240 square-meter lot in its newly then filed a complaint for damages and attorney’s
developed subdivision. The case handled by Atty. O had against Amor and her parents. A likewise appeared for
nothing to do with the sales representative's work for himself in the case. Can her recover attorney’s fees?
the real estate company. The latter's offer of the lot, (1991 Bar)
which Atty. O accepted, was in consideration of its sales
representative’s being the firm's Number One A: No. Attorney A is not entitled to attorney's fees. He may,
salesman. Was there a breach of the Code of however, be entitled to attorney’s fees in the form of
Professional Responsibility by Atty. O when he accepts damages upon proof of bad faith of the defendant and a
the 240 square-meter lot? (1997 Bar) definite ruling be made by the court on the claim.

A: Rule 20.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility PRESERVATION OF CLIENT’S CONFIDENCES


provides that a lawyer shall not, without the full knowledge
and consent of the client, accept any fee, reward, costs, Prohibited disclosures and use (1999, 2008, 2009)
commission, interests, rebate of forwarding allowance or
other compensation whatsoever related to his professional Q: A, who is charged in Court with estafa for
employment from anyone other than the client. misappropriating funds entrusted to him by B,
consulted Atty. C about the case with the intention of
There should be no room for suspicion on the part of the engaging his services as defense counsel. Because A
client that his lawyer is receiving compensation in could not afford to pay the fee that Atty. C was charging
connection with the case from third persons with hostile him, A engaged the services of another counsel, Atty. D.
interests (Report of IBP Committee, p. 112). Even if the secret At the trial of the case for estafa against A the
compensation comes from a friendly person, if the act is prosecutor announced in open court that his next
discovered, it is bound to create dissension in the client- witness was Atty. C. whom he was calling to the witness
lawyer relationship. Worse, the lawyer will be able to enrich stand. Counsel for A. Atty. D, vigorously opposed the
himself by receiving more than what is due him as prosecutor's move on the ground that Atty. C may not
attorney’s fees. (Pineda. Legal & Judicial Ethics, 1995 ed. p. be called as a witness for the prosecution as he might
243) disclose a would be client's confidence and secret.
Asked by the presiding Judge what would be the nature
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER: of Atty. C's testimony, the prosecutor answered it has
something to do with how A obtained from B the funds
The gift of the real estate company does not come from the that the latter received from the former but failed to
adverse party, hence, there is no violation of the lawyer is account for. Thereupon, Atty. A vigorously opposed the
duty of loyalty to his clients. The property given was not his prosecutor's motion.
client's property involved in the litigation. Hence, it does
not violate Article 1491 of the Civil Code. The lawyer's If you were the Judge, how would you rule on the
acceptance of the gift is proper. However, it would be better matter? (1999 Bar)
if he informs his client.
A: If I were the judge, I will not allow Atty. C to take the
Q: Deciding a case for malicious prosecution, Judge witness stand. When A consulted Atty. C about his case, a
Sales awarded attorney's fees and expenses of lawyer-client relationship was established between them. It
litigation, in addition to exemplary damages, to the does not matter that A did not eventually engage his
plaintiff. services because of his fees; such relationship has already

26
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
been created (Hilado v. David, 84 Phil 569). A lawyer shall be project and had falsified records to cut implementing
bound by the rule on privileged communication in respect costs after the award of the project.
to matters disclosed to him by a prospective client (Rule
15.02 Code of Professional Responsibility). The rule on The government filed a civil action to annul the
privileged communication provides that an attorney infrastructure contract and has subpoenaed Atty. Roto
cannot, without the consent of his client, be examined as to to testify against the company president and the
any communication made by the client to him (Sec. 21 [b], corporation regarding the bribery. Atty. Roto moved to
Rule 130, Rules of Court). The prosecutor has announced quash the subpoena, asserting that lawyer-client
that Atty. C will be asked about how A obtained from B the privilege prevents him from testifying against the
funds that he failed to account for. Atty. C's knowledge of president and the corporation.
such matter could have come only from A.
Resolve the motion to quash. (2013 Bar)
COMMENT: There seems to be a typographical error in the
last sentence which refers to Atty. A. Perhaps, the examiner A: Motion denied. The motion should be denied because
intended to refer to simply A or to his counsel Atty. D. It is Atty. Roto did not learn of the bribery and falsification in
recommended that the use by the candidate of Atty. A connection with a lawyer-client relation. Being a corporate
should not detract from the appreciation of his answer. secretary does not create a lawyer-client relation because
membership to the Bar is not a requirement to perform the
Q: Christine was appointed counsel de oficio for Zuma, functions of a corporate secretary. Consequently, Atty. Roto
who was accused of raping his own daughter. Zuma does not owe any obligation of confidentiality to the
pleaded not guilty but thereafter privately admitted to corporation.
Christine that he did commit the crime charged.
Atty. Roto may be compelled to testify. As an officer of the
Can Christine disclose the admission of Zuma to the court, a “lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his
court? Why or why not? (2008 Bar) duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of
justice” (Code of Professional Responsibility, Canon 12).
A: Christine cannot disclose the admission of Zuma to the Furthermore, “a lawyer owes candor, fairness and good
Court. If she does so, she will violate her obligation to faith to the court” (Ibid., Canon 10).
preserve confidences or secrets of her client (Canon 21, Rule
21.02, CPR). The privileged communication between lawyer ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
and client may be used as a shield to defend crimes already
committed. Motion Granted. It is true that being a corporate secretary
does not necessarily constitute a lawyer-client relationship.
Q: When Atty. Romualdo interviewed his client, However, Atty. Roto may be considered in the practice of
Vicente, who is accused of murder, the latter confessed law if part of his duties as a corporate secretary is to give
that he killed the victim in cold blood. Vicente also said legal advice to or prepares legal documents for the
that when he takes the witness stand, he will deny corporation. Thus a lawyer-client relationship may have
having done so. Is Atty. Romualdo obliged, under his been constituted between Atty. Roto and the corporation.
oath as lawyer, to inform the judge (a) that his client is Consequently, it is his duty as an attorney “to maintain
guilty? (2009 Bar) inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to
preserve the secrets of his client” (Rules of Court, Rule 138,
A: Atty. Romualdo cannot reveal to the judge that Vicente is Sec. 20, par. E, paraphrasing and arrangement supplied).
guilty. He is bound to keep what Vicente told him in
confidence, because that is an admission of a crime already Atty. Roto learned from the company president of the
committed. bribery and falsification, while Atty. Roto was in the course
of his performance of his duties as corporate secretary.
Disclosure, when allowed (2009, 2013, 1998, 1988, Thus, he could not be examined on that matter without the
1987) consent of his client. [Ibid., Rule 130, Sec. 24(b)].

Q: When Atty. Romualdo interviewed his client, Vicente, Q: A mayor charged with Homicide engaged your
who is accused of murder, the latter confessed that he services as his lawyer. Since there is only one witness to
killed the victim in cold blood. Vicente also said that the incident, the mayor disclosed to you his plan to kill
when he takes the witness stand, he will deny having the lone witness through a contrived vehicular
done so. Is Atty. Romualdo obliged, under his oath as accident.
lawyer, to inform the judge that (b) his client will
commit perjury on the witness stand? Explain. (2009 a. What are the moral and legal obligations of an
Bar) attorney to the mayor and to the authorities?
b. Should the killing push through and are you certain
A: Atty. Romualdo can reveal to the judge that Vicente will that the mayor is the one responsible, are you
commit perjury on the witness stand. This is already a under obligation to disclose to the authorities what
revelation of a crime still to be committed, and that lies was confided to you? Is this not a privileged
outside the mantle of privileged communication. communication between client and attorney?
(1998 Bar)
Q: Atty. Serafin Roto is the Corporate Secretary of a
construction corporation that has secured a multi- A:
million infrastructure project from the government. In
the course of his duties as corporate secretary, he a. It is the duty of an attorney to divulge the
learned from the company president that the communication of his client as to his announced
corporation had resorted to bribery to secure the intention to commit a crime to the proper authorities to

27
Legal and Judicial Ethics
prevent the act or to protect the person against whom was filed by Atty. Z, B terminated his services and hired
it is threatened. a new lawyer for the same amount of attorney’s fees.
b. Public policy and the lawyer's duty to counsel How much attorney’s fees is Atty. Z entitled? (2014 Bar)
obedience to the law forbid that an attorney should
assist in the commission of a crime or permit the A: Atty. Z is entitled to the entire amount of the attorney’s
relation of attorney and client to conceal a wrongdoing. fees agreed upon because his services were terminated by
He owes it to himself and to the public to use his best the client without just cause (Sec. 26, Rule 138, Rules of
efforts to restrain his client from doing any unlawful act Court).
and if, notwithstanding his advise, his client proceeds Q: Atty. Bravo represents Carlos Negar (an insurance
to execute the illegal deed, he may disclose it or be agent for Dormir Insurance Co.) in a suit filed by
examined as to any communication relating thereto. insurance claimant Andy Limot who also sued Dormir
There is privileged communication only as to crimes Insurance. The insurance policy requires the
already committed before its communication to the insured/claimant to give a written notice to the
lawyer. insurance company or its agent within 60 days from the
occurrence of the loss.
Q: In a prosecution for murder against a ranking army
officer, the latter engaged the services of Atty. Carlos Limot testified during the trial that he had mailed the
Malilin, a well-known trial lawyer, to whom the officer notice of the loss to the insurance agent, but admitted
in one of their conferences disclosed a plan to that he lost the registry receipt so that he did not have
“eliminate” or “salvage”— i.e., kill or otherwise cause to any documentary evidence of the fact of mailing and of
disappear— the only witness, a fellow military officer, the timeliness of the mailed notice. Dormir Insurance
through a contrived traffic or highway accident. denied liability, contending that the timely notice had
not been given either to the company or its agent. Atty.
a. What are the legal and moral obligations of Atty. Bravo’s client, agent Negar, testified and confirmed that
Carlos Malillin to his client and to the authorities, he never received any notice.
under the given circumstances?
b. Should the planned “accident” take place and the A few days after Negar testified, he admitted to Atty,
only witness for the prosecution be killed as a Bravo that he had lied when he denied receipt of
result, is Atty. Carlos Malillin under any obligation Limot’s notice, he did receive the notice by mail but
to disclose to the authorities the plan that his client immediately shredded it to defeat Limot’s claim.
had mentioned to him as above mentioned?
Reasons. (1988, 1987 Bar) If you were Atty. Bravo, what would you do in light of
your client’s disclosure that he perjured himself when
A: he testified? (2013 Bar)

a. Attorney Malillin has the moral and legal obligation to A: If I were Atty. Bravo I shall promptly call upon Carlo
advise the army officer not to execute his plan. If the Negar, my client, to rectify his perjured testimony by
accused army officer does not abide by his advise, Atty. recanting the same before the court.
Malillin should withdraw from the case.
b. Atty. Malillin has the obligation to testify in said case if Should he refuse or fail to do so I shall then terminate my
he is called upon by the Court to do so. The obligation relationship with him (Code of Professional Responsibility,
of the lawyer to keep the secrets of his client obtained Canon 19, Rule 19.02) stating that with his having
in the course of his employment covers only lawful committed perjury he pursued an illegal conduct in
purposes. connection with the case (Ibid., Canon 22, Rule 22.01).

Withdrawal of services (2015, 1997, 1988, 2014, 2013, Since my client Limot refuses to forego the advantage thus
1998, 1994, 1989) unjustly gained as a result of his perjury, I should promptly
inform the injured person or his counsel, so that they may
Q: Give three instances when a lawyer is allowed to take the appropriate steps (Canons of Professional Ethics,
withdraw his/her services. (2015, 1997, 1988 Bar) Canon 41).

A: (Any three of the following:) Finally, as part of my duty to do no falsehood, nor consent
to the doing of any in court (Code of Professional
1. When the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of Responsibility, Canon 10, Rule 10.01, and the Attorney’s
conduct in connection with the matter he is handling; oath). I shall file a manifestation with the court attaching
2. When the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct thereto the notice of termination as Limot’s counsel.
violative of these canons and rules;
3. When his inability to work with co-counsel will not Q: On the eve of the initial hearing for the reception of
promote the best interest of the client; evidence for the defense, the defendant and his counsel
4. When the mental or physical condition of the lawyer had a conference where the client directed the lawyer
renders it difficult for him to carry out the employment to present as principal defense witnesses two (2)
effectively; persons whose testimonies were personally known to
5. When the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the the lawyer to have been perjured. The lawyer informed
services or fails to comply with the retainer agreement; his client that he refused to go along with the
6. When the lawyer is elected or appointed to apublic unwarranted course of action proposed by the
office. defendant. But the client insisted on his directive, or
7. Other similar cases. else he would not pay the agreed attorney’s fees.
When the case was called for hearing the next morning,
Q: B hired Atty. Z to file a replevin case against C for an the lawyer forthwith moved in open court that he be
agreed acceptance fee of P30, 000.00 which was relieved as counsel for the defendant. Both the
evidenced by a written contract. After the complaint

28
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
defendant and the plaintiffs counsel objected to the Q: Is the defense of Atty. R in a disbarment complaint
motion. for immorality filed by his paramour P that P is in pari
delicto material or a ground for exoneration? Explain.
Under the given facts, is the defense lawyer legally (2010 Bar)
justified in seeking withdrawal from the case? Why or
why not? Reason briefly. (2004 Bar) A: The defense of in pari delicto is immaterial in an
administrative case which is sui generis. The administrative
A: Yes, he is justified. Under Rule 22.01 of the Code of case is about the lawyer’s conduct, not the woman’s (Mortel
Professional Responsibility, a lawyer may withdraw his v. Aspiras, 100 Phil. 586 [1956]; Po Cham v. Pizarro, 467 SCRA
services "if the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct 1 [2005]; Marjorie F. Samaniego v. Atty. Andrew V. Ferrer,
violative of these canons and rules". The insistence of the 555 SCRA 1 [2008]).
client that the lawyer present witnesses whom he
personally knows to have been perjured, will expose him to Q: Arabella filed a complaint for disbarment against her
criminal and civil liability and violate his duty of candor, estranged husband Atty. P on the ground of immorality
fairness and good faith to the court. and use of illegal drugs.

Q: Atty. X filed a notice of withdrawal of appearance as After Arabella presented evidence and rested her case
counsel for the accused Y after the prosecution rested before the Investigating Commissioner of the IBP
its case. The reason for the withdrawal of Atty. X was Committee on Bar Discipline, she filed an Affidavit of
the failure of accused Y to affix his conformity to the Desistance and motion to dismiss the complaint, she
demand of Atty. X for increase in attorney’s fees. Is the and her husband having reconciled for the sake of
ground for withdrawal justified? Explain. (Bar) their children.

A: The ground for the withdrawal is not justified. Rule 22.01 You are the Investigating Commissioner of the IBP.
(e) of the Code of Professional responsibility provides that Bearing in mind that the family is a social institution
a lawyer may withdraw his services when the client which the State is duty-bound to preserve, what will
deliberately fails to pay the fees for his services or fails to be your action on Arabella’s motion to dismiss the
comply with the retainer agreement. In this case, the client complaint? (2010 Bar)
has not failed to pay the lawyer’s fees or to comply with the
retainer agreement. He has only refused to agree with the A: I would still deny the motion to dismiss. The general rule
lawyer’s demand for an increase in his fees. It is his right to is that “no investigation shall be interrupted or terminated
refuse; that is part of his freedom of contract. by reason of the desistance, settlement, compromise,
restitution, withdrawal of the charges or failure of the
Q: State the rule on (a) the right of the client to dismiss complainant to prosecute the same unless the Supreme
his lawyer and (b) the prerogative of a lawyer to Court motu proprio or upon recommendation of the IBP
withdraw as counsel. (1998, 1994, 1989 Bar) Board of Governors determines that there is no compelling
reason to continue with the proceedings. An administrative
A: investigation of a lawyer is sui generis, neither a civil nor
criminal proceeding. An affidavit of desistance has no place
a. A client has the right to dismiss his lawyer at any time, in it.
with or without just cause. The existence or non-
existence of just cause is material only for determining Q: A proceeding for disbarment is considered sui
the right of the lawyer to compensation for services generis, explain briefly, giving at least five (5) reasons
rendered. The client's right to terminate the lawyer's in support of your answer. (2002 Bar)
services springs from the strictly personal and highly
confidential nature of the relationship between the A: A disbarment proceeding is sui generis or a class by itself,
lawyer and the client. Once the client loses confidence because of the following reasons:
in his lawyer, he has the right to dismiss him.
b. On the other hand, the lawyer does not have an a. It Is neither a civil nor a criminal proceeding;
unqualified right to withdraw as counsel. As an officer b. Double jeopardy cannot be availed of as a defense;
of the court, he may not withdraw or be permitted to c. It can be initiated motu proprio by the Supreme Court
withdraw as counsel if such withdrawal will work or by the IBP;
injustice to a client or frustrate the ends of justice. A d. It can proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest
lawyer may withdraw at any time with his client's of the complainant;
written consent. Without such consent, he may e. It is imprescriptible;
withdraw his services only for good cause and upon f. It is confidential;
notice appropriate in the circumstances (Canon 22, g. It is in itself due process.
Code of Professional Responsibility).
Q: Alleging that Atty. Malibu seduced her when she was
only sixteen (16) years old, which resulted in her
SUSPENSION, DISBARMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF pregnancy and the birth of a baby girl, Miss Magayon
LAWYERS (RULE 139-B, RULES OF COURT) filed a complaint for his disbarment seven years after
the alleged seduction was committed.

NATURE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF DISCIPLINARY Atty. Malibu contended that, considering the period of
ACTIONS AGAINST LAWYERS delay, the complaint filed against him can no longer be
entertained much less prosecuted because the alleged
Sui generis (2010, 2002, 2004, 2000) offense has already prescribed.

29
Legal and Judicial Ethics
Is Atty. Malibu’s contention tenable or not? Reason only constitutes prima facie evidence of unethical conduct
briefly. (2004 Bar) as a lawyer. He is entitled to be given an opportunity to
defend himself in an investigation to be conducted in
A: Atty. Malibu’s contention is not tenable. Disciplinary accordance with Rule 139 of the Revised Rules of Court (In
proceedings are sui generis. They are neither civil nor Re: Suspension from the Practice of Law in the Territory of
criminal proceedings. Its purpose is not to punish the Guam of Atty. Leon Maquera, B.M. 793, July 30, 2004; Velez v.
individual lawyer but to safeguard the administration of De Vera, A.C. No. 6697, July 25, 2006).
justice by protecting the court and the public from the
misconduct of lawyers and to remove from the profession Q: Cliff and Greta were law school sweethearts. Cliff
of law persons whose disregard of their oath of office became a lawyer, but Greta dropped out. One day, Cliff
proves them unfit to continue discharging the trust reposed asked Greta to sign a marriage contract. The following
in them as members of the bar. Disbarment is day, Cliff showed Greta the document already signed by
imprescriptible. Unlike ordinary proceedings, it is not an alleged solemnizing officer and two witnesses. Cliff
subject to the defense of prescription. The ordinary statute then told Greta that they were already married and
of limitations has no application to disbarment proceedings Greta consented to go on a honeymoon. Thereafter, the
(Cazo v. Degamo, 20 SCRA 1162 [1967]). couple cohabited and begot a child. Two years later,
Cliff left Greta and married a Venezuelan beauty.
Q: C filed a verified administrative complaint against Incensed, Greta filed a disbarment complaint against
Atty. D. In the course of the investigation, C presented Cliff. Will the case prosper? Explain. (2009 Bar)
an affidavit of desistance which she identified on the
witness stand. What course of action should the A: The disbarment case will prosper. In the case of Cabrera
investigator take? Explain. (2000 Bar) v. Agustin (106 Phil. 256 [1959]), a lawyer who deceived a
woman to believe that they were already married after they
A: The investigator should continue with the investigation. had signed an application for a marriage license, and
A disbarment proceeding is sui generis, neither a civil nor afterwards took advantage of her belief to satisfy his lust,
criminal action. As such, a desistance by the complainant is until she bore him a child, was considered by the Supreme
unimportant. The case may proceed regardless of interest Court to be lacking in integrity and good moral character to
or lack of interest of the complainant (Rayos-Ombac v. remain a member of the bar.
Rayos, 285 SCRA 93 [1998]). If the evidence on record
warrants, the respondent may be suspended or disbarred Q: Atty. Walasunto has been a member of the Philippine
regardless of the desistance of the complainant. Of course, Bar for twenty (20) years but has never plied his
if the complainant refuses to testify and the charges cannot profession as a lawyer. His sole means of livelihood is
then be substantiated, the court will have no alternative but selling and buying real estate. In one of his transactions
to dismiss the case. as a real estate broker, he issued a bouncing check. He
was criminally prosecuted and subsequently convicted
Grounds (2015, 2014, 2006, 2002, 2009, 2004, 1992, for violating B.P. Big. 22. In the disbarment proceedings
1989) filed against him, Atty. Walasunto contended that his
conviction for violation of B.P. Big. 22 was not a valid
Q: What are the grounds for disbarment or suspension ground for disciplinary action against a member of the
from office of an attorney? (2015 Bar) bar. He further argued that his act in issuing the check
was done in relation to his calling as a real estate
A: Under Sec. 27, Rule 138, the grounds for suspension or broker and not in relation to the exercise of the
disbarment of a lawyer are “any deceit, malpractice, or profession of a lawyer.
other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral
conduct, or by reason of conviction of a crime involving Are the contentions of Atty. Walasunto meritorious or
moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is not? Reason. (2004, 1992 Bar)
required to take before admission to practice, or for a willful
disobedience appearing as an attorney for a party or to a A: No. His contentions are not meritorious. In the first place,
cause without authority to do so.” The practice of soliciting a ground for disbarment is conviction of a crime involving
cases for the purposes of gain, either personally or through moral turpitude (Sec. 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court), and the
paid agents or brokers constitutes malpractice. violation of B.P. 22 is considered to be a crime involving
moral turpitude (People v. Tuanda, 181 SCRA 692 [1990]). In
Q: Atty. Forma is a member of the Philippine Bar. He the second place, Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional
went to New York City, took the New York State Bar, and Responsibility provides that “a lawyer shall not engage in
passed the same. He then practiced in New York City. conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law,
One of his American clients filed a case for disbarment nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a
against him for pocketing the money which was scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.”
entrusted to him as payment for the filing fee and other Additionally, Rule 1.01 of the same Code provides that “a
incidental expenses of his damage suit. Atty. Forma was lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
later disbarred for dishonesty. Disheartened, Atty. deceitful conduct."
Forma came back to the Philippines and practiced as a
lawyer. Q: The agreement between the estranged husband and
wife provided for, among others, the liquidation of the
Will his disbarment in New York be used against him conjugal partnership of gains, custody of the children,
for purposes of disbarment proceedings here in the and support for the children. In the same agreement,
Philippines? (2014, 2006, 2002 Bar) the couple waived the right to prosecute each other for
bigamy, adultery, concubinage and whatever acts of
A: Atty. Forma may be disbarred in the Philippines if the infidelity. There was also a condonation provision. The
ground for his disbarment in New York is also a ground for agreement was prepared and notarized by a lawyer
disbarment in this country. But he is still entitled to due who was the best man at the wedding. What are the
process of law, and the foreign court’s judgment against him

30
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
liabilities, if any, of this lawyer? Explain your answer. public scrutiny and have nothing to do with his law
(1989 Bar) practice.

A: The document executed by the spouses is immoral and Rule on the validity of Atty. Hyde’s defenses. (2009 Bar)
contrary to law. The lawyer who drafted and notarized all
said documents committed malpractice and can be A:
disbarred or suspended. Although the principal duty of the
notary public is to ascertain the identity of the parties and a. The legal personality and interest of Kristine to initiate
the voluntariness of the declaration, it is nevertheless the complaint for disbarment is immaterial. A
incumbent upon him to guard against any illegal or immoral disbarment proceedings is sue generis, neither a civil
agreement. nor a criminal proceeding. Its sole purpose is to
determine whether or not a lawyer is still deserving to
Proceedings (2004, 2014, 2009, 2003, 1999, 1998, be a member of the bar. In a real sense, Kristine is not a
1994, 1990, 1989) plaintiff; hence, interest on her part is not required.
b. Atty. Hyde’s second defense is untenable. His duty not
Q: A disbarment complaint against a lawyer was to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful
referred by the Supreme Court to a Judge of the conduct under Rule 1.01 of the CPR, as well as his duty
Regional Trial Court for investigation, report and not to engage in scandalous conduct to the discredit of
recommendation. On the date set for the hearing of the the legal profession under Rule 7.03, is applicable to his
complaint, the Judge had the case called for trial in open private as well as to his professional life.
court and proceeded to receive evidence for the
complainant. What would you have done if you were the Q: Y hired Attorney X to represent him in a collection
counsel for the respondent-lawyer? Why? Reason case he filed against Z. The parties later on agreed to
briefly. (2004 Bar) settle the case and Z turned over to Attorney X the
amount of P25, 000.00 as partial settlement of his
A: I would object to the holding of a trial in public. obligation. Attorney X kept the money. Y, upon learning
Disciplinary proceedings against an attorney are of Attorney X’s action, filed a disbarment case against
confidential in nature until its termination. The professional the latter before the Supreme Court, which in turn,
success of a lawyer depends almost entirely on his good referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the
reputation. If that is tarnished, it is difficult to restore the Philippines for investigation, report and
same (Ibanez v. Vina, 107 SCRA 607 [1981]). To avoid the recommendation.
unnecessary ruin of a lawyer’s name, disbarment
proceedings are directed to be confidential until their final The IBP Commissioner tasked to investigate the case
determination (Sec. 18, Rule 139-B, Rules of Court). reviewed all the pleadings submitted by Y and Attorney
X and their respective witnesses, and promptly made a
Q: Atty. D was required by Judge H of the Regional Trial report recommending that Attorney X be suspended for
Court (RTC) of Manila to show cause why he should not six months. The IBP Board of Governors adopted the
be punished for contempt of court for shouting recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner.
invectives at the opposing counsel and harassing his Attorney X assailed his suspension on the ground of an
witness. impingement on his right to due process. Is Attorney X's
contention sustainable? Explain. (2003 Bar)
Assuming that there was sufficient cause or ground,
may Judge H suspend Atty. D from the practice of law? A: There is no impingement on Attorney X’s right to due
If Judge H finds that the actuations of Atty. D are grossly process. The IBP Commissioner tasked to investigate the
unethical and unbecoming of a member of the bar, may case reviewed all the pleadings of the parties and their
Judge H disbar Atty. D instead? respective witnesses. This implies that Atty. A was given an
opportunity to present his side. Due process has been
Explain your answer. (2014 Bar) satisfied. This is especially true if the principle of res ipsa
loquitur is applicable. (However, it may be noted that the
A: Under Section 28, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a Regional IBP Board of Governors is not authorized to impose the
Trial Court may suspend a lawyer from the practice of law penalty of suspension).
for any of the causes provided in Section 27, until further
action of the Supreme Court. But it may not disbar him, for Q: A engaged the services of Atty. B to defend him in a
only the Supreme Court can disbar a lawyer pursuant to its case for collection of sum of money that was brought
constitutional power to admit persons to the practice of against him in the Municipal Trial Court by D. Despite
law. notice of the scheduled dates of hearing, Atty. B failed
to appear much less to inform A about it. The case was
Q: Atty. Hyde, a bachelor, practices law in the decided against A. It was only when the adverse
Philippines. On long weekend, he dates beautiful judgment was being executed against him that A
actresses in Hong Kong. Kristine, a neighbor in the learned he had lost the case. When he went to see
Philippines, filed with the Supreme Court an counsel, Atty. B put up the excuse that he was busy
administrative complaint against the lawyer because of attending to his cases which were more important than
sex videos uploaded through the internet showing Atty. A's.
Hyde’s sordid dalliance with the actresses in Hong
Kong. Before whom can A seek redress against Atty. B who
apparently was negligent in attending his case? (1999
In his answer, Atty. Hyde (1) questions the legal Bar)
personality and interest of Kristine to institute the
complaint and (2) insists that he is a bachelor and the A: He may file a verified complaint against Atty. B, asking
sex videos relate to his private life which is outside that he be administratively disciplined, with either the

31
Legal and Judicial Ethics
Supreme Court, the Board of Governors of the Integrated lawyer does not deprive the court of the authority to
Bar of the Philippines (IBP), or the EBP Chapter to which proceed to determine the matter. Nor does it necessary
Atty. B belongs. (Sec. 1, Rule 139-B). result in the dismissal of the complaint, except when, as a
consequence of withdrawal or desistance, no evidence is
ADDITIONAL ANSWER: adduced to prove the charges. Since a disbarment
proceeding is neither a civil nor a criminal action but one
He may also file a complaint against Atty. B before a presented solely for public interest, the fact that the
Regional Trial Court or Municipal Trial Court, depending on complainant and the respondent have considered the case
the amount involved, for damages he may have sustained closed, is unimportant.
due to the latter's negligence.
As hearing officer, I will deny the motion of Atty. Cruz and
Q: When Atty. Aldrin received copy of the decision of the continue the hearings.
Court of Appeals, he filed a motion for reconsideration
using intemperate and disrespectful language with a Q: A lawyer charged his client P 10,000.00 for filing fees
subtle threat that “knowingly rendering an unjust pertaining to the complaint he filed in court. He actually
judgment is punishable under the Revised Penal Code." spent only P1, 000,00. He did not account for the
balance.
The Court of Appeals ordered him to explain why he
should not be cited in contempt of court. Instead of Suppose that the lawyer should be charged, how and
complying, he submitted to the Court of Appeals his where should the complaint be filed? Explain your
Petition to Retire from the practice of law which he answer. (1990 Bar)
immediately filed with the Supreme Court after
receiving the citation for contempt. May he be allowed A: The client may file a verified complaint for disbarment
to retire from the practice of law? (1998 Bar) against his lawyer. His verified complaint shall state clearly
and concisely the facts complained of and shall be
A: No. A practicing lawyer and officer of the court facing supported by affidavits of person or persons having
contempt proceedings cannot just be allowed to voluntarily personal knowledge of the facts therein alleged and/or by
retire from the practice of law which would negate the such documents as may substantiate said facts. The client
inherent power of the court to punish him for contempt. may file the complaint directly with the Supreme Court, in
(Montecillo v. Gica, 60 SCRA 234) which case at least 18 copies thereof shall be filed, and the
Supreme Court may refer the complaint to the IBP Board of
Q: Ben filed proceedings for disbarment against his Governors for appropriate action, such as assigning the
lawyer, Atty. Co, following the latter’s conviction for complaint to an investigator, or to the Solicitor General or
estafa for misappropriating funds belonging to his court officer or judge for investigation when the interest of
client (Ben). While the proceedings for disbarment was justice requires. The client may, however, file his complaint,
pending, the President granted absolute pardon in in six copies, with the IBP Board of Governors, which will
favor of Atty. Co. Atty. Co. then, moved for the dismissal then assign the case to an investigator for investigation, or
of the disbarment case. with the Secretary of a local chapter of the IBP, which will
in turn transmit the same to the IBP Board of Governors for
Should the motion be granted? (1998 Bar) assignment to an investigator. (Rule 139-B of the Rules of
Court).
A: An absolute pardon by the President is one that operates
to wipe out the conviction as well as the offense itself. The Q: How may a proceeding for disbarment, suspension
grant thereof to a lawyer is a bar to a proceeding for or discipline of attorneys be instituted? (1989 Bar)
disbarment against him, if such proceeding is based solely
on the fact of such conviction (In re Parcasion, 69 SCRA 336). A: A proceeding for disbarment, or suspension or discipline
But where the proceeding to disbar is founded on the of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court, the Court
professional misconduct involved in the transaction which of Appeals or the Regional Trial Court, on its own motion, or
culminated in his conviction, the effect of the pardon is only upon complaint under oath of another in writing. The
to relieve him of the penal consequences of his act and does Integrated Bar of the Philippines may investigate the matter
not operate as a bar to the disbarment proceeding, and recommend to the Supreme Court the disbarment and
inasmuch as the criminal acts may nevertheless constitute suspension from the practice of law of the erring lawyer.
proof that the attorney does not possess good moral
character (In re Lontoc, 43 Phil. 293). DISCIPLINE OF FILIPINO LAWYERS PRACTICING
ABROAD (2006, 2002)
Q: A verified complaint for disbarment was filed against
Atty. Cruz who was accused of misappropriating funds Q: Atty. Perez was admitted as a member of the New
belonging to the complainant. The matter was referred York Bar. While in Manhattan, he was convicted of
to the IBP which forthwith conducted an investigation estafa and was disbarred.
through its local chapter. During the pendency of the
investigation, the complainant filed an Affidavit of Does his disbarment in New York a ground for his
Desistance claiming that Atty. Cruz had already automatic disbarment in the Philippines? (2006 Bar)
reimbursed him for the funds which he had accused
him of unlawfully spending for his own use. Atty. Cruz A: The disbarment or suspension of a member of the
moved for the dismissal of the complaint. Philippine Bar by a competent court or other disciplinary
agency in a foreign jurisdiction where he has also been
As the hearing officer, how will you act on the motion of admitted as an attorney is a ground for his disbarment or
Atty. Cruz? (1994 Bar) suspension if the basis of such action includes any of the
acts hereinabove enumerated.
A: The desistance of a complaint in a disbarment
proceedings or his withdrawal of the charges against a

32
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
The judgment, resolution or order of the foreign court or A: The plea of the Faculty of Law of the University of the
disciplinary agency shall be prima facie evidence of the Philippines asking compassion on behalf of Atty. Juan
ground for disbarment or suspension (pars. 2 & 3, Section Santos is not well taken.
27, Rule 138, as amended by Supreme Court Resolution, dated
February 13, 1992). In order that a lawyer who was disbarred can be reinstated,
he must show with convincing proof that he has good moral
Thus, the disbarment of Atty. Perez in New York for estafa character acquired through positive efforts, honorable
is a ground for his disbarment in the Philippines. However, dealings and moral reformation as to be fit to practice law
such disbarment in the Philippines is not automatic. Atty. again. Mere allegation of compassion for a lawyer is not
Perez is still entitled to due notice and hearing. (In Re sufficient. In one decision of the Supreme Court, in order
Suspension from the Practice of Law in the Territory of Guam that a disbarred lawyer can be reinstated, he must prove his
of Atty. Leon G. Maquera, 435 SCRA 417 (2004]). good moral character as if he is applying for admission to
the bar.
Q: Atty. LA is a member of the Philippine Bar and the
California Bar in the United States. For willful LAWYERS WHO HAVE BEEN REPATRIATED (2013,
disobedience of a lawful order of a Superior Court in 2010)
Los Angeles, Atty. LA was suspended from the practice
of law in California for one (1) year. Q: Atty. Repatriar, a law school classmate, approached
you on your 25th Class Reunion, with questions on how
May his suspension abroad be considered a ground for he can resume the practice of law in the Philippines. He
disciplinary action against Atty. LA in the Philippines? left the country in 1977 after two (2) years of initial law
Why? (2002 Bar) practice, and migrated to the United States where he
was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New
A: The suspension of Atty. LA from the practice of law York. He asks that you give him a formal legal opinion
abroad may be considered as a ground for disciplinary on his query.
action here if such suspension was based on one of the
grounds for disbarment in the Philippines or shows a loss Outline briefly the steps and the supporting legal
of his good moral character, a qualification he has to reasons you would state in your legal opinion on what
maintain in order to remain a member of the Philippine Atty. Repatriar should do to resume his Philippine
Bar. practice. (2013 Bar)
A: Atty. Repatriar must prepare a sworn petition to
reacquire the privilege to practice law in the Philippines. He
READMISSION TO THE BAR should manifest in his petition his desire to resume his law
practice in the Philippines, and he is not disqualified to
practice law. The “right to resume the practice of law” is not
LAWYERS WHO HAVE BEEN DISBARRED (1994, 1993) automatic. R.A. No. 9225 provides that a person who
intends to practice his profession in the Philippines must
Q: Atty. Queliza was convicted of qualified seduction. He apply with the proper authority for a license or permit to
was subsequently disbarred at the initiative of the IBP. engage in such practice. It cannot be overstressed that the
Before he could complete the service of his sentence, he practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. It is
was given an absolute pardon by the President. He so delicately affected with public interest that it is both the
thereupon petitioned the Supreme Court for power and duty of the State (through this Court) to control
reinstatement to the practice of law as a legal and and regulate it in order to protect and promote the public
logical consequence of the absolute pardon. welfare.

Is he entitled to reinstatement? (1994 Bar) Adherence to rigid standards of mental fitness,


maintenance of the highest degree of morality, faithful
A: An absolute pardon granted to a lawyer who has been observance of the legal profession, compliance with the
previously disbarred for conviction of a crime involving mandatory continuing legal education requirement and
moral turpitude does not automatically entitle him to payment of membership fees to the Integrated Bar of the
reinstatement. The matter of his reinstatement is still Philippines (IBP) are the conditions required for
subject to the discretion of the Supreme Court. He should membership in good standing in the bar and for enjoying
still show by evidence aside from the absolute pardon that the privilege to practice of law. Any breach by a lawyer of
he is now a person of good moral character, a fit and proper any of these conditions makes him unworthy of the trust
person to practice law (In Re Rovero, 101 SCRA 797). and confidence which the courts and clients repose in him
for the continued exercise of his professional privilege” (In
Q: The Faculty of the College of Law of the University of re: Petition to re-acquire the privilege to practice law in the
the Philippines pleaded for compassion on behalf of Philippines, Epifanio B. Muneses, B.M. No. 2112, July 24,
Atty. Juan Santos. The Supreme Court had earlier found 2012).
Atty. Santos guilty of grave professional misconduct
and imposed upon him “an indefinite suspension, He should file the petition with the Supreme Court, through
leaving it to him to prove at some future and opportune the Bar Confidant accompanied by the original or certified
time that he shall have once again regained the fitness copies of the following documents:
to be allowed to resume the practice of law as an officer
of the court." 1. Showing that he is still a Filipino citizen. ”The Court
reiterates that Filipino citizenship is a requirement for
Is the plea of the Faculty for Atty. Juan Santos well admission to the bar and is, in fact, a continuing
taken? Explain. (1993 Bar) requirement for the practice of law” (In re: Petition to
re-acquire the privilege to practice law in the Philippines,
B.M. No. 2112, supra). Having retained Philippine

33
Legal and Judicial Ethics
citizenship could be evidenced by the Philippine c. Completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory
passport, the U.S. Green card showing Philippine continuing legal education; and,
citizenship and U.S. residency or other authentic d. Pretaking of the lawyer’s oath.
documents which the Supreme Court may require.

On the other hand, if Atty. Repatriar has lost his Philippine NOTARIAL PRACTICE (A.M. NO. 02-8-13-SC, AS
citizenship, he must submit the following: AMENDED)

a. Petition for Re-Acquisition of Philippine Citizenship;


b. Order (for Re-Acquisition of Philippine citizenship); POWERS AND LIMITATIONS (2010, 1995)
c. Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines;
d. Identification Certificate (IC) issued by the Bureau of Q: Enumerate the instances when a Notary Public may
Immigration. authenticate documents without requiring the physical
presence of the signatories. (2010 Bar)
The loss of Filipino citizenship means termination of Atty.
Repatriar’s membership in the bar; ipso jure the privilege to A:
engage in the practice of law. Under R.A. No. 9225, natural-
born citizens who have lost their Philippine citizenship by 1. If the signatory is old or sick or otherwise unable to
reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign appear, his presence may be dispensed with if one
country are deemed to have re-acquired their Philippine credible witness not privy to the instrument and who is
citizenship upon taking the oath of allegiance to the known to the notary public, certifies under oath or
Republic. Thus, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of affirmation the identity of the signatory.
another country and later re-acquires his Philippine 2. If two credible witnesses neither of whom is privy to
citizenship under R.A. No. 9225, remains to be a member of the instrument, not known to the notary public but can
the Philippine Bar (B.M. No. 2112, In re: Petition to re- present their own competent evidence of identity,
acquire the privilege to practice law in the Philippines, certify under oath or affirmation to the identity of the
supra). signatory.
3. In case of copy certification and issuance of certified
2. Certification from the IBP indicating updated payments true copies.
of annual membership dues;
3. Proof of payment of professional tax; and Q: What are the powers and duties of a notary public?
4. Certificate of compliance issued by the MCLE Office. (1995 Bar)
(Ibid.)
5. A certificate of good moral character attested to by at A: Every notary public shall have power to administer all
least three (3) members of the bar; and oaths and affirmations provided for by law, in all matters
6. A certification from the State Bar of New York that Atty. incidents to his notarial office, and in the execution of
Repatriar does not have any previous or pending affidavits, depositions, and other documents requiring an
disciplinary action filed against him before that body. oath; to receive the proof or acknowledgment of all writings
relating to commerce or navigation, such as bills of
Q: After passing the Philippine Bar in 1986, Richards exchange, bottomries, mortgages, and hypothecations of
practiced law until 1996 when he migrated to Australia ships, vessels, or boats, charter parties or affreightments,
where he subsequently became an Australian citizen in letters of attorney, deeds, mortgages, transfers and
2000. As he kept abreast of legal developments, assignments of land or buildings, or an interest therein, and
petitioner learned about the Citizenship Retention and such other writings as are commonly proved or
Re-Acquisition Act of 2003 (Republic Act No. 9225), acknowledged before notaries; to act as a magistrate in the
pursuant to which he reacquired his Philippine writing of affidavits or depositions, and to make
citizenship in 2006. He took his oath of allegiance as a declarations and certify the truth thereof under his seal of
Filipino citizen at the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, office, concerning all matters done by him by virtue of his
Australia. Jaded by the laid back life in the outback, he office. (Sec. 241, Notarial Law)
returned to the Philippines in December 2008. After
the holidays, he established his own law office and The duties of a notary public are the following:
resumed his practice of law.
1. To keep a notarial register;
Months later, a concerned woman who had secured 2. To make the proper entry or entries in the notarial
copies of Atty. Richards’ naturalization papers with register touching his notarial acts in the manner
consular authentication, filed with the Supreme Court required by the law;
an anonymous complaint against him for illegal 3. To send the copy of the entries to the proper clerk of
practice of law. court within the first 10 days of the month next
following;
Is respondent entitled to resume the practice of Law? 4. To affix to acknowledgments the date of expiration of
Explain. (2010 Bar) his commission, as required by law;
5. To forward his notarial register, when filled, to the
A: Yes, as long as he observes the procedure laid down in proper clerk of court;
Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law of Benjamin M. 6. To make report, within a reasonable time, to the proper
Dacanay (B.M. No. 1678, December 17, 2007, 540 SCRA 424), judge concerning the performance of his duties, as may
to wit: be required by such judge;
7. To make the proper notation regarding residence
a. Updating and payment in full of the annual membership certificates. (Sec. 247, Rev. Adm. Code)
dues in the IBP;
b. Payment of the professional tax;

34
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
Q: Comment on the propriety of the acts of the public in the City of Manila shall be co-extensive with said
municipal judge who prepared and notarized the city. No notary shall possess authority to do any notarial act
following documents: beyond the limits of his jurisdiction. (Sec. 240, Rev. Adm.
Code)
a. a deed of absolute sale executed by two of his
friends; Q: Atty. Z, a notary public commissioned in Quezon City,
b. an extrajudicial settlement of estate of his cousins; attended a wedding at Makati. B requested Z to notarize
c. a memorandum of agreement between a building a deed of sale executed between X and Y who were both
contractor and a neighboring municipality; in Baguio City. Atty. Z who has a portable notarial seal,
d. a memorandum of agreement between another notarized the document. Subsequently, X assailed the
private contractor and the municipality where he document alleging that his signature thereon was
sits as judge. (1995 Bar) falsified. X filed a case for disbarment against Atty. Z.

A: Municipal Judges may not engage in notarial work except Will the complaint prosper? Explain. (1996 Bar)
as notaries public ex-officio. As notaries public ex-officio,
they may engage only in notarization of documents A: Atty. Z may be held criminally liable for violating Article
connected with the exercise of their judicial functions. They 171 (Falsification by Public Officer) of the Revised Penal
may not as such notaries public ex-officio, undertake the Code, by making it appear that X and Y appeared and
preparation and acknowledgment of private documents, acknowledged having executed the deed of sale before him,
contracts and other acts of conveyance, which bear no when in fact they did not so appear or acknowledged. He
relation to the performance of their functions as judges. may also be administratively liable for not obeying the laws
of the land (Canon 1, Code of Professional Responsibility).
However, taking judicial notice of the fact that there are still Moreover, his jurisdiction as notary is only in Quezon City.
municipalities which have neither lawyers nor notaries
public, the Supreme Court ruled that MTC and MCTC Judges Q: Jojo, a resident of Cavite, agreed to purchase the lot
assigned to municipalities or circuits with no lawyers or owned by Tristan, a resident of Bulacan. Atty. Agaton,
notaries public may, in their capacity as notaries public ex- Jojo’s lawyer who is also a notary public, prepared the
officio, perform any act within the competency of a regular Deed of Sale and Jojo signed the document in Cavite.
notary public, provided that: (1) all notarial fees charged be Atty. Agaton then went to Bulacan to get the signature
for the account of the Government and turned to the of Tristan. Thereafter, Atty. Agaton went back to his
municipal treasurer and (2) certification be made in the office in Cavite where he notarized the Deed of Sale. Is
notarized documents attesting to the lack of any lawyer or the notarization legal and valid? Explain. (2016 Bar)
notary public of such municipality or circuit. (Balayon, Jr. vs.
Ocampo, 218 SCRA 13) A: The Notarization is not legal and valid. Rule IV, Section
2(b) of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice provides that a
On the basis of the foregoing, I would say that the propriety person shall not perform a notarial act if the person
of the actuations of the municipal judge in this problem involved as signatory to the instrument or document is not
depends on whether or not there are notaries public personally in the notary’s presence at the time of
available in his community. If there are notaries available, notarization.Tristan was not in Atty. Agaton’s presence
his acts are improper. Otherwise they are proper, provided when the latter notarized the deed of sale in his office in
that the two conditions mentioned above are complied Cavite; moreover, Tristan signed in Bulacan which is
with. outside the Atty. Agaton’s territorial jurisdiction.

JURISDICTION OF NOTARY PUBLIC AND PLACE OF


NOTARIZATION (2016, 2009, 1995, 1996) CANONS OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS

Q: Atty. Sabungero obtained a notarial commission.


One Sunday, while he was at the cockpit, a person Q: Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, what
approached him with an affidavit that needed to be is the principal obligation of a lawyer towards:
notarized. Atty. Sabungero immediately pulled out
from his pocket his small notarial seal, and notarized a. The legal professional and the Integrated Bar?
the document. Was the affidavit validly notarized? b. His professional colleagues?
Explain. (2009 Bar) c. The development of the legal system?
d. The administration of justice?
A: Section 2, Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice e. His client? (2004 Bar)
provides that a Notary Public shall not perform a notarial
act outside his regular place of work, except in few A:
exceptional occasions or situations, at the request of the
parties. Notarizing in a cockpit is not one of such a. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and
exceptions. The prohibition is aimed to eliminate the dignity of the legal profession, and support the
practice of ambulatory notarization. However, assuming activities of the integrated bar. (Canon 7, Code of
that the cockpit is within his notarial jurisdiction, the Professional Responsibility)
notarization may be valid but the notary public should be b. A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness
disciplined. and candor towards his professional colleagues, and
shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel.
Q: What is the extent of the jurisdiction of a notary (Canon 8, Code of Professional Responsibility)
public? (1995 Bar) c. A lawyer shall participate in the improvement of the
legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law
A: The Jurisdiction of a notary public in a province shall be reform and in the administration of justice. (Canon 4,
co-extensive with the province. The jurisdiction of a notary Code of Professional Responsibility)

35
Legal and Judicial Ethics
judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion,
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER: disqualify himself from sitting in a case, for just and
valid reasons other than those mentioned above”. The
a. A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal developments, New Code of Professional Conduct for the Philippine
participate in continuing legal education programs, Judiciary adds that “judges shall disqualify themselves
support efforts to achieve high standards in law schools from participating in any proceedings in which they are
as well as in the practical training of law students and unable to decide the matter impartially or in which it
assist in disseminating information regarding the law may appear to a reasonable observer that they are
and jurisprudence. (Canon 5, Code of Professional unable to decide the matter impartially.”
Responsibility)
b. A lawyer shall exert every effort and consider his duty There is no mandatory ground for Judge Lucio to
to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of disqualify himself. The second cousin of his wife, a sixth
justice. (Canon 12, Code of Professional Responsibility) degree relative, is appearing not as a party but as
counsel.
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
b. If none of the parties moves for his disqualification,
a. A lawyer shall participate in the improvement of the Judge Lucio may proceed with the case. All the more so
legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law if, without the participation of the Judge, the parties and
reform and in the administration of justice. (Canon 4, their lawyers execute a written agreement that Judge
Code of Professional Responsibility) Lucio may proceed with the same, and such agreement
b. A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in Is signed by them and made a part of the records of the
all his dealings and transactions with his client. (Canon case.
15, Code of Professional Responsibility)
Q: Rebecca’s complaint was raffled to the sala of Judge
A. Rebecca is a daughter of Judge A’s wife by a previous
JUDICIAL ETHICS marriage. This is known to the defendant who does not,
however, file a motion to inhibit the Judge.
Disqualification of Justices and Judges (Rule 137) Is the Judge justified in not inhibiting himself from the
(2015, 2010, 1997, 1991, 1989, 1988, 2010, 1998) case? (2010 Bar)

Q: In a land registration case before Judge Lucio, the A: The judge is not justified in not inhibiting himself. It is
petitioner is represented by the second cousin of Judge mandatory for him to inhibit if he is related to any of the
Lucio’s wife. parties by consanguinity or affiant within the sixth civil
degree (Sec. 3 [f] Canon 3, New Code of Judicial Conduct for
a. Differentiate between compulsory and voluntary the Philippine Judiciary). Judge A, being the stepfather of
disqualification and determine if Judge Lucio Rebecca, is related to her by affinity by just one degree.
should disqualify himself under either “Judges shall disqualify themselves from participating in
circumstances. any proceeding in which they are unable to decide the
b. If none of the parties move for his disqualification, matter impartially or in which it may appear to a reasonable
may Judge Lucio proceed with the case? (2015 Bar) observer that they are unable to decide the matter
impartially” (Id., Sec. 5, Canon 3). The fact that Rebecca is a
A: daughter of Judge A’s wife is liable to make a reasonable
observer doubt his impartially.
a. In compulsory disqualification, the judge is compelled
to inhibit himself from presiding over a case when any Q: RTC Judge Q is a deacon in the Iglesia ni Kristo church
of the ground provided by the law or the rules exist. in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City. R, a member of
Under Section 1, Rule 137 of the Revised Rules of Court, the same religious sect belonging to the same INK
no judge or judicial officer shall sit in any case (1) in community in San Francisco del Monte, filed a case
which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily interested against S who belongs to the El Shaddai charismatic
as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise, or (2) in which group. The case was raffled to Judge Q's sala. The lawyer
he is related to either party within the sixth degree of of S filed a motion to disqualify Judge Q on the ground
consanguinity or affinity or to counsel within the fourth that since he and the plaintiff belonged to the same
degree computed according to the rules of the civil law, religious sect and community in San Francisco del
or (3) in which he has been executor, administrator, Monte, Judge Q would not possess the cold neutrality of
trustee or counsel, or (4) in which he has presided in an impartial judge. Judge Q denied the motion on the
any inferior court when his ruling or decision is the ground that the, reason invoked for his disqualification
subject of review, without consent of all parties in was not among the grounds for disqualification under
interest and entered upon the record. the Rules of Court and the Code of Judicial Conduct. Was
Judge Q’s denial of the motion for inhibition well
Section 5, Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct founded? (1997 Bar)
for the Philippine Judiciary adds the following grounds:
A: The fact that Judge Q and Litigant R both belong to the
a. the judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a Iglesia Ni Kristo while Litigant S belongs to the El Shaddai
party or personal knowledge of disputed group, is not a mandatory ground for disqualifying Judge Q
evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings; from presiding over the case. The motion for his inhibition
b. the judge has previously served as a lawyer or was is addressed to his sound discretion and he should exercise
a material witness in the matter under controversy. the same in a way the people's faith in the courts of justice
is not impaired. He should reflect on the probability that a
In voluntary disqualification, a judge may inhibit losing party might nurture at the back of his mind the
himself in the exercise of his discretion. Paragraph 2, thought that the Judge had unmeritoriously tilted the scales
Rule 137 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that “a of Justice against him (Dimacuha vs. Concepcion. 117 SCRA

36
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
630). Under the circumstances of this case, where the only whether the judge can act independently and
ground given for his disqualification is that he and one of courageously in deciding the case according to his
the litigants are members of the same religious community, conscience. Inhibition is not allowed at every instance
I believe that his denial of the motion for his disqualification that a friend, classmate, associate or patron of a
is proper. In Vda. de Ignacio v. BLT Bus Co., 34 SCRA 618, the presiding judge appears before him as counsel for one
Supreme Court held that the fact that one of the counsels in of the parties to a case. “Utang na loob”, per se, should
a case was a classmate of the trial judge is not a legal ground not be a hindrance to the administration of justice. Nor
for the disqualification of the judge. should recognition of such value in Philippine society
prevent the performance of one’s duties as judge, x x x.
Q: Lawyer W lost his ejectment case in the Municipal (Masadao and Elizaga Re: Criminal Case No. 4954-M;
Trial Court. He appealed the decision to the RTC which 155 SCRA 78-79). However, in order to avoid any
V, the judge thereof, affirmed through a memorandum suspicion of partiality, it is better to the judge to
decision. He filed a motion for reconsideration praying voluntarily inhibit himself.
that the RTC should state the facts and the law on which
its decision is based. Judge V denied his motion. Instead Q: Judge L is assigned in Turtle Province. His brother
of filing a Petition for Review, lawyer W filed an ran for Governor in Rabbit Province. During the
administrative complaint against Judge V for breach of election period this year, judge L took a leave of
the Code of Judicial Conduct. What is the liability of absence to help his brother conceptualize the campaign
Judge V, if any? (1991 Bar) strategy. He even contributed a modest amount to the
campaign kitty and hosted lunches and dinners.
A: There is no breach of the Code of Judicial Conduct
committed by the RTC Judge. The memorandum decision Did Judge L incur administrative and/or criminal
rendered in an appeal from the Municipal Court in its liability? Explain. (2010 Bar)
original jurisdiction carries with it the statement of facts
found by the Municipal Court which are deemed affirmed by A: Judge L incurred administrative liability. Rule 5.18 of the
the RTC judge. Memorandum decisions are allowed on Code of Judicial Conduct (which is applicable in a suppletory
appeal. character to the New Code of Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary) provides that “[A] Judge is entitled to entertain
Q: personal views on political questions, but to avoid suspicion
of political partisanship, a judge shall not make political
1. Discuss briefly the grounds for disqualification or speeches, contribute to party funds, publicly endorse
inhibition of judges to try a case. candidates for political office or participate in other
2. A judge rendered a decision in a criminal case partisan political activities.”
finding the accused guilty of estafa. Counsel for the
accused filed a motion for reconsideration which He may also be held criminally liable for violation of Section
was submitted without arguments. Later, another 26 (I) of the Omnibus Election Code, which penalizes any
lawyer entered his appearance for the accused. The officer or employee in the civil service who, directly or
judge issued an order inhibiting himself from indirectly, intervenes, in any election campaign or engages
further sitting in the case because the latter lawyer in any partisan political activity, except to vote or to
had been among those who recommended him to preserve public order.
the Bench. Can the judge's voluntary inhibition be
sustained? (1989, 1988 Bar) Q: Judge C was appointed MTC Judge in 1993.
Subsequently, the Judicial and Bar Council received
A: information that previously he had been dismissed as
Assistant City Prosecutor of Manila. It appeared that
1. Under Rule 137 Section 1 of the Rules of Court, a judge when he applied for appointment to the Judiciary, his
is disqualified to sit in every case in which he, or his answer to the question in the personal Data Sheet -
wife or child, is pecuniarily interested as heirs; legatee, “Have you ever been retired, dismissed or forced to
creditor, or otherwise, or in which he is related to either resign from any employment?" was - “Optional under
party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or Republic Act No. 1145.” The truth is, he was dismissed
affinity, or to counsel within the fourth degree for gross misconduct as Assistant City prosecutor.
computed according to the rules of civil law or in which
he has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee May he be dismissed as Judge? [1998 Bar]
or counsel, or in which he has presided in any inferior
court when his ruling or decision is the subject of A: Yes. By his concealment of his previous dismissal from
review, without the written consent of all parties in the public service, which the Judicial and Bar Council would
interest, signed by them and entered upon the record. have taken into consideration in acting on his application
This rule enumerates the grounds under which a judge for appointment as a judge, he (the judge) committed an act
is legally disqualified from sitting in a case, and of dishonesty that rendered him unfit to be appointed, and
excludes all other grounds not specified therein. The to remain, in the Judiciary he has tarnished with his
judge may, however, in the exercise of his sound falsehood. (Re: Inquiry on the Appointment of Judge Enrique
discretion, disqualify himself from sitting in a case, for A. Cube, 227 SCRA 193; Jose Estacion, 181 SCRA 33, Estanislao
just or valid reasons other than those mentioned above. Belan, August 6, 1998).

Under said rule, the judge may voluntarily inhibit Compulsory (2016, 2004, 1999)
himself from sitting in a case, for just and valid reasons
other than those mentioned in the rule. Q: State at least five (5) instances where judges should
2. The judge may not voluntarily inhibit himself by the disqualify themselves from participating in any
mere fact that a lawyer recommended him to the Bench. proceedings where their impartiality might reasonably
In fact, the appearance of said lawyer is attest as to be questioned (2016 Bar)

37
Legal and Judicial Ethics
SCRA 41). He need not wait for a motion of the parties in
A: Any five (5) of the following instances provided in Sec. 5, order to disqualify himself.
Canon 3 of the New Code of Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary: Voluntary (2014, 2013, 2004, 1988)

a. The judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a Q: Judge Clint Braso is hearing a case between Mr.
party or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary Timothy and Khristopher Company, a company where
facts concerning the proceedings; his wife used to work as one of its Junior Executives for
b. The judge previously served as a lawyer or was a several years. Doubting the impartiality of the Judge,
material witness in the matter in controversy; Mr. Timothy filed a motion to inhibit Judge Clint Braso
c. The judge or a member of his or her family has an refused on the ground that his wife has long resigned
economic interest in the outcome of the matter in from the company. Decide. (2014 Bar)
controversy;
d. The judge served as executor, administrator, guardian, A: The fact that Judge Braso’s wife used to work for
trustee or lawyer in the case or matter in controversy, Khristopher Company is not a mandatory ground for his
or a former associate of the judge served as counsel inhibition. However, Section 2, Canon 3 of the New Code of
during their association, or the judge or lawyer was a Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary provides that
material witness therein; judges should disqualify themselves from participating in
e. The judge’s ruling in a lower court is the subject of any proceeding in which “it may appear to a reasonable
review; observer that they are unable to decide the matter in
f. The judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a partially.” The Supreme Court has advised that a judge
party litigant within the sixth civil degree or to counsel “should exercise his decision in a way that the people’s faith
within the fourth civil degree; or in the courts of justice is not impaired” (Pimentel v. Salanga,
g. The judge knows that his or her spouse or child has a G.R. No. L-27934, September 18, 1967). While it may not be
financial interest, as heir, legatee, creditor, fiduciary, or reasonable to believe that Judge Braso cannot be impartial
otherwise, in the subject matter in controversy or in a because his wife used to work as a Junior Executive for
party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could Khristopher Company, the better part of prudence would
be substantially affected by the outcome of the dictate that he inhibit himself from the case involving the
proceedings. said company.

Section 1, Rue 137 of the Revised Rules of Court, provides Q: Justice B of the Court of Appeals (CA) was a former
for similar grounds. Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge. A case which he heard
as a trial judge was raffled off to him. The appellant
Q: In a case for homicide filed before the Regional Trial sought his disqualification from the case but he refused
Court (RTC), Presiding Judge Quintero issued an order on the ground that he was not the judge who decided
for the arrest of the accused, granted a motion for the the case as he was already promoted to the appellate
reduction of bail, and set the date for the arraignment court before he could decide the case.
of the accused. Subsequently, Judge Quintero inhibited
himself from the case, alleging that even before the case Was the refusal of Justice B to recuse from the case
was raffled to his court, he already had personal proper? Explain your answer. (2014 Bar)
knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the case.
Is Judge Quintero’s inhibition justified? Explain. (2009, A: The refusal of Justice B to recuse from the case is
2004 Bar) improper. In the case of Sandoval v. CA (G.R. No. 106657,
August 1, 1996, 260 SCRA 283), involving the same facts, the
A: Judge Quintero’s inhibition is justified. One of the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals Justice
grounds for inhibition under Section 5, Canon 3 of the New concerned was not legally bound to inhibit himself from the
Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary is case. However, he “should have been more prudent and
“where the judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a circumspect and declined to take on the case, owing to his
party or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts earlier involvement in the case,” because “a judge should
concerning the proceedings.” not handle a case in which he might be perceived, rightly or
wrongly, to be susceptible to bias and partiality.” This axiom
Q: In a case before him, it was the son of Municipal Trial is “intended to preserve and promote public confidence in
Court Judge X who appeared as counsel for the plaintiff. the integrity and respect for the judiciary.”
After the proceeding, judgment was rendered in favor
of the plaintiff and against the defendant, B. the Q: The criminal case arising from the P10 Billion Peso
defendant in the case, complained against Judge X for pork barrel scandal was raffled to Sandiganbayan
not disqualifying himself in hearing and deciding the Justice Marciano Cobarde. Afraid that he would
case. In his defense, Judge X alleged that he did not antagonize the parties, his political patrons and
disqualify himself in the case because the defendant ultimately, his judicial career, he decided to inhibit
never sought his disqualification. from participating in the case, giving “personal
reasons” as his justification.
Is Judge X liable for misconduct in office? (1999 Bar)
If you were to question the inhibition of SB Justice
A: Judge X is liable for misconduct in office. Rule 3.12 of the Cobarde, on what legal basis, and where and how will
Code of Judicial Conduct provides that a judge should take you do this? (2013 Bar)
no part in a proceeding where his impartiality might
reasonably be questioned. In fact, it is mandatory for him to A: The grounds relied upon by Justice Cobarde for his
inhibit or disqualify himself if he is related by consanguinity inhibition conveys the impression that “the parties” and
or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree or to “his political patrons” are in a special position improperly
counsel within the fourth degree (Hurtado v. Jurdalena, 84 to influence him in the performance of judicial duties (New
Code of Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, Canon 4, Sec. 8).

38
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
Furthermore, the Sandiganbayan sits in Divisions, so the INITIATION OF COMPLAINT AGAINST JUDGES AND
fears of Justice Cobarde are unfounded. Justice Cobarde JUSTICES (2015, 2014)
should not shirk from the performance of his judicial duties.
I would file a motion with the Division of the Sandiganbayan Q: An anonymous letter addressed to the Supreme
in which Justice Cobarde is sitting for the remittal of his Court was sent by one Malcolm X, a concerned citizen,
voluntary inhibition. I would advance in motion the reasons complaining against Judge Hambog, Presiding Judge of
why the “personal reasons” set forth by the Justice are the RTC of Mahangin City, Branch 7. Malcolm X reported
insubstantial and does not merit his inhibition. I would that Judge Hambog is acting arrogantly in court; using
likewise set the motion for hearing as appropriate. abusive and inappropriate language; and embarrassing
and insulting parties, witnesses, and even lawyers
Q4: Assume that your friend and colleague, Judge Peter appearing before him. Attached to the letter were pages
X. Mahinay, a Regional Trial Court judge stationed at KL from transcripts of records in several cases heard
City, would seek your advice regarding his intention to before Judge Hambog, with Judge Hambog’s arrogant,
ask the permission of the Supreme Court to act as abusive, inappropriate, embarrassing and/or insulting
counsel for and thus represent his wife in the trial of a remarks or comments highlighted.
civil case for damages pending before the Regional
Trial Court of Aparri, Cagayan. Describe briefly the procedure followed when giving
due course to a complaint against an RTC judge. (2015
What would be your advice to him? Discuss briefly. Bar)
(2004 Bar)
A: If the complaint is sufficient in form and substance, a
A: I would advise him against it. Rule 5.07 of the Code of copy thereof shall be sent to the respondent, and he shall be
Judicial Conduct expressly and absolutely prohibits judges required to comment within 10 days from date of service.
from engaging in the private practice of law, because of the Upon the filing of the respondent’s comment, the Supreme
incompatible nature between the duties of a judge and a Court shall refer the matter to the Office of the Court
lawyer. Moreover, as a Judge he can influence to a certain Administrator for evaluation, report and recommendation,
extent the outcome of the case even if it is with another or assign the case to a Justice of the Court of Appeals, for
court. A Judge shall refrain from influencing in any manner investigation, report and recommendation. The
the outcome of litigation or dispute pending before another investigating Justice shall set a date for the hearing and
court or administrative agency (Rule 2.04, Code of Judicial notify the parties thereof, and they may present evidence,
Conduct). oral or documentary, at such hearing. The investigating
Justice shall terminate the investigation within 90 days
Q: On what grounds may a judge be disqualified, or from its commencement, and submit his report and
asked to voluntarily inhibit himself from hearing a recommendation to the Supreme Court within 30 days from
case? Briefly explain each ground. (1988 Bar) the termination of the investigation. The Supreme Court
shall take action on the report as the facts and the law may
A: Rule 137, Section 1 of the Rules of Court provides that a warrant (Rule 140).
judge is disqualified from sitting on any case in which he or
his wife or child is pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, Q: Judge A has an illicit relationship with B, his Branch
creditor or otherwise or in which he is related to either Clerk of Court. C, the wife of Judge A, discovered the
party within sixth degree of consanguinity of affinity or to illicit affair and consulted a lawyer to vindicate her
counsel within the fourth civil degree. violated marital rights. If you were that lawyer, what
would you advice C, and if she agrees and asks you to
Under the last sentence of Rule 137, Section 1 of the Rules proceed to take action, what is the legal procedure that
of Court, a judge may voluntarily inhibit himself from you should follow? Discuss fully. (2014 Bar)
participating in a case for just and valid reasons.
A: I will advice her to file an administrative case against
The rule on voluntarily inhibition of judges was set by the Judge A with the Supreme Court. I can tell her that she can
Supreme Court in Pimentel v. Salonga, 21 SCRA 160 as also file civil or criminal actions against him. But an
follows: administrative case is confidential in nature and will not
unnecessarily drag the name and reputation of the court
All the foregoing notwithstanding, this into the picture.
should be a good occasion as any to draw
the attention of all judges to appropriate DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY
guidelines in a situation where their
capacity to try and decide fairly and Lower court judges and justices of the Court of Appeals,
judiciously comes to the fore by way of Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals (Rule 140)
challenge from any one of the parties. A (1991, 1989, 1988)
judge may not be legally prohibited from
sitting in a litigation. But when the Q: A complaint for rape against ZZ was filed by the
suggestion is made of record that he might father of Dulce, an 11-year old girl, with the Municipal
be induced to act in favor 'of one party or Trial Court of Bantayan, Cebu. After preliminary
with bias or prejudice ‘against a litigant examination of the offended party and the witnesses,
arising out of circumstances reasonably Judge YY of said court issued an order finding probable
capable of inciting such a state of mind, he cause and ordering the arrest of ZZ without bail. ZZ was
should conduct a careful self-examination. arrested and detained. He file: (1) a Waiver of
Preliminary Investigation, and (2) an Ex- Parte Motion
He should exercise his discretion in a way that the people’s to Fix Bail Bond. Judge YY granted the waiver and
faith in the courts of justice is not impaired. forthwith elevated the records of the case to the RTC,

39
Legal and Judicial Ethics
which forwarded the same to the Office of the The danger in applying the res ipsa loquitur rule is that the
Provincial Prosecutor. judge may have committed only an error of judgment. His
outright dismissal does violence to the jurisprudence set In
Ten (10) days after the elevation of the records. YY, Re Horilleno, 43 Phil. 212.
acting on the Motion To Fix Bail, issued an order fixing
the bail bond at P20, 000.00. The father of Dulce filed The other view taken by the Supreme Court is that the
against YY an administrative complaint for ignorance of lawyer or a judge can be suspended or dismissed based in
law, oppression, grave abuse of discretion and his activities or decision, as long as he has been given an
partiality. If you were the executive judge of the RTC opportunity to explain his side. No investigation is
designated to investigate the case and to make a report necessary.
and recommendation thereon, what would be your
recommendation? (1991 Bar) Grounds (2013, 2005, 1998, 1996)

A: The facts narrated in this case is similar to the decision of Q: An Audit team from the Office of the Court
the Supreme Court in 1989. The judge was found guilty of Administrator found that Judge Contaminada
ignorance of the law for granting bail despite the fact that committed serious infractions through the
he had already lost jurisdiction after elevating the records indiscriminate grant of petitions for annulment of
of the case to the Regional Trial Court. marriage and legal separation. In one year, the judge
granted 300 of such petitions when the average number
If I am the RTC Judge assigned to investigate the case I of petitions of similar nature granted by an individual
would recommend the dismissal of the Judge for gross judge in his region was only 24 petitions per annum.
ignorance of the law.
The audit revealed many different defects in the
Q: Under the grievance procedures in Rule 139-B of the granted petitions; many petitions had not been
Rules of Court, may judges be investigated by the verified; the required copies of some petitions were not
Integrated Bar of the Philippines? Explain. (1989 Bar) furnished to the Office of the Solicitor General and the
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor; docket fees had not
A: Judges may not be investigated under the grievance been fully paid; the parties were not actual residents
procedure in Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court. Complaints within the territorial jurisdiction of the court; and, in
against judges are filed with the Supreme Court which has some cases, there was no record of the cross-
administrative supervision over all courts. This was the examinations conducted by the pubic prosecutor or any
ruling of the Supreme Court in a minute resolution in reply documentary evidence marked and formally offered.
to the letter of acting Presiding Justice of the Court of All these, viewed in their totality, supported the
Appeals Rodolfo Nocon 03 January 1989. improvident and indiscriminate grant that the OCA
found.
Q: In Administrative Circular No. 1 addressed to all
lower courts dated January 28, 1988, the Supreme If you were the counsel for Andy Malasuerte and other
Court stressed: litigants whose marriages had been improperly and
finally annulled, discuss your options in
All judges are reminded that the administratively proceeding against Judge
Supreme Court has applied the “Res Contaminada, and state where and how you would
Ipsa Loquitur” rule in the removal of exercise these options. (2013 Bar)
judges even without any formal
investigation whenever a decision, on A: As a counsel for Andy Malasuerte, I have the option of
its face, indicates gross incompetence participating in the administrative proceedings by filing a
or gross ignorance of the law or gross verified complaint in writing against Judge Contaminado,
misconduct (See: People vs. Valenzuela, with the Office of the Court Administrator, supported by
135 SCRA 712; Cathay Pacific Airways vs. affidavits of persons who have personal knowledge of the
Romillo, Jr., 142 SCRA 262). facts alleged therein or by documents which may
substantiate said allegations. The complaint shall state
The application of the “res ipsa loquitur” rule in the clearly and concisely the acts and omissions constituting
removal of judges is assailed in various quarters as violations of standards of conduct prescribed for judges by
inconsistent with due process and fair play. law, the Rules of Court, the Code of Judicial Conduct (Rules
of Court, Rule 140, Sec. 1) and the new Code of Conduct for
Is there basis for such a reaction? Explain. (1988 Bar) the Philippine Judiciary.

A: In one view, there is a basis for the reaction against the Q: Judge Horacio would usually go to the cockpits on
res ipsa loquitur rule on removing judges. According to the Saturdays for relaxation, as the owner of the cockpit is
position taken by the Philippine Bar Association. The res a friend of his. He also goes to the casino once a week to
ipsa loquitur rule might violate the principle of due process, accompany his wife who loves to play the slot machines.
that is the right to be heard before one is condemned Because of this, Judge Horacio was administratively
charged. When asked to explain, he said that although
Moreover, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court provides for the he goes to these places, he only watches and does not
procedure for the removal of judges. Upon service of the place any bets.
complaint against him, he is entitled to file his answer. If the
answer merits a hearing, it is referred to a justice of the Is his explanation tenable? Explain. (2005 Bar)
Court of Appeals for investigation, the report of the
investigation is submitted to the Supreme Court for proper A: The explanation of Judge Horacio is not tenable. In the
disposition. case of City of Tagbilaran vs. Hontanosas, Jr., 375 SCRA 1
[2002], the Supreme Court penalized a city court judge for
going to gambling casinos and cockpits on weekends.

40
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
According to the Court, going to a casino violates Circular
No. 4, dated August 27, 1980, which enjoins judges of A: He may be considered as undeserving and removed from
inferior courts from playing or being present in gambling office. This problem falls squarely under the decision of the
casinos. Supreme Court in the case of Court Administrator v.
Estacion, 181 SCRA 33, wherein a complaint was filed
The prohibition refers to both actual gambling and mere concerning the appointment of a Regional Trial Court judge
presence in gambling casinos. A judge’s personal behavior, notwithstanding the fact that he was then facing criminal
not only in the performance of judicial duties, but also in his charges for homicide and attempted homicide. The Judge
everyday life, should be beyond reproach. also claimed that (a) he enjoys the presumption of
innocence, (b) the said cases, even if sustained, do not
With regard to going to cockpits, the Supreme Court held involved moral turpitude, and (c) before an administrative
that “verily, it is plainly despicable to see a judge inside a complaint based on a criminal prosecution is given due
cockpit and more so, to see him bet therein. Mixing with the course, there must be a conviction by final judgment. The
crowd of cockfighting enthusiasts and bettors is Supreme Court held:
unbecoming a judge and undoubtedly impairs the respect
due him. Ultimately, the Judiciary suffers therefrom because “The argument that he had not yet been convicted and
a judge is a visible representation of the Judiciary" (City of should be presumed innocent is beside the point, and so is
Tagbilaran v. Hontanosas, Jr., ibid at p. 8). the contention that the crimes of homicide and attempted
homicide do not involve moral turpitude. The important
Q: Before he joined the bench, Judge J was a vice-mayor. consideration is that he had a duty to inform appointing
Judge J resumed writing a weekly column in a local authority and this Court of the pending criminal charges
newspaper. In his column, Judge J wrote: against him to enable them to determine on the basis of his
record, eligibility for the position he was seeking. He did not
“It was wondering if the present vice-mayor can shed discharge that duty. His record did not contain the
off his crocodile hide so that he can feel the clamor of important information in question because he deliberately
the public for the resignation of hoodlum public officers withheld and thus effectively hid it. His lack of candor is as
of which he is one". obvious as his reason for suppression of such vital fact,
which he knew would have been taken into account against
When charged administratively, Judge J invoked him if it had been disclosed.
freedom of expression. Is his defense tenable? Explain. As stressed in the report, it behooves every prospective
(Bar) appointee to the judiciary to apprise the appointing
authority of every matter bearing on his fitness for judicial
A: The Judge’s reliance on freedom of expression is office, including such circumstances as may reflect on his
untenable. The judge's vicious writings compromise his integrity and probity. These are qualifications specifically
duties as judge in the impartial administration of justice. His required of appointees to the judiciary under Article VIII,
writings lack judicial decorum which requires the use of Sec. 7 (3) of the Constitution. The fact alone of his
temperate language at all times. The judge should not concealment of the two criminal cases against him is clear
instigate litigation (Galang v. Santos, 307 SCRA 583 [1999], proof of his lack of the said qualifications and renders him
Royeca v. Animas. 71 SCRA 1 [1976]). unworthy to sit as a Judge."

Q: A judge, in order to ease his clogged docket, would The respondent Judge was accordingly removed from
exert efforts to compel the accused in criminal cases to office.
plead guilty to a lesser offense and advise party
litigants in civil cases, whose positions appear weak, to
accept the compromise offered by the opposing party. PRACTICAL EXERCISES

Is the practice legally acceptable? (1998 Bar)


SIMPLE CONTRACTS – LEASE, SALE OF REALTY
A: The practice is legally acceptable as long as the judge
does not exert pressure on the parties and takes care that Q: Prepare a Contract of Lease of an apartment unit,
he does not appear to have prejudged the case. Where a (1998, 1996, 1988, 1987)
judge has told a party that his case is weak before the latter
was fully heard, such was considered as a ground for his A:
disqualification (Castillo v. Juan, 62 SCRA 124).
CONTRACT OF LEASE
Q: A Judge of the Regional Trial Court, notwithstanding
the fact that he was facing criminal charges at the time KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:
he obtained his appointment, did not disclose the
pendency of the cases either to the President or to the This contract of lease, entered into by and between:
Supreme Court. He claims that: (a) he enjoys
presumption of innocence in the pending criminal A.B., Filipino, of legal age, single, with residence at
cases; (b) that the said cases even if sustained after trial _______________ and hereafter called the LESSOR
do not involve moral turpitude; and (3) before an
administrative complaint based on a criminal - and-
prosecution can be given due course there must be a
conviction by final Judgment. B.D., Filipino, of legal age, single, with residence at
_________________and hereafter called the LESSEE.
May the Judge be considered as an undeserving
appointee and therefore be removed from his office? WITNESSETH:
(1996 Bar)

41
Legal and Judicial Ethics
THAT, for and in consideration of the rentals to be Deeds of Manila, and which is more particularly described
paid, the LESSOR has hereby leased to the LESSEE and the as follows:
LESSEE hereby accepts the same In lease, the * following
described property: (technical description)

(description of apartment) IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have


signed these presents at Manila, this 26th day of September,
subject to the following terms and conditions: 2005.

1. Period of the Lease- GERRY CRUZ ANGELO SANTOS


Vendor Vendee
2. Rentals to be Paid – T.I.N. _________ T.I.N. _________

3. (Other terms and conditions) By:

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have signed JON CRUZ


these presents, at __________________, this Attorney-in-Fact
_________________day of _____________, 1998.
WITNESSES:

A.B. ___________________ _________________


C.D.
Lessor
Lessee ACKNOWLEDGMENT

WITNESSES REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES)


CITY OF MANILA ) S.S.
(acknowledgment)
IN THE CITY OF MANILA, Philippines, personally
Q: Gerry Cruz is the owner of a 1,000-square meter lot appeared before me, Mr. JON CRUZ, with Community Tax
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 12345 Certificate No. ____________ issued at ____________ on
located in Sampaloc. Metro Manila. Gerry decided to ______________, 2005, in his capacity as Attorney-in-Fact of Mr.
sell the property but did not have the time to look for a GERRY CRUZ, with Community Tax Certificate No.
buyer. He then designated his brother, Jon, to look for a ____________ issued at ____________ on ______________, 2005, both
buyer and negotiate the sale. Jon met Angelo Santos of whom are personally known to me to be the same
who expressed his interest to buy the lot. Angelo agreed persons who executed the foregoing instrument, and they
to pay PI Million for the property on September 26. acknowledged to me that the same is their free and
2005. voluntary act and deed, and the free and voluntary act and
deed of the principal whom Mr. JON CRUZ represents.
Draft the Deed of Sale of Real Property. (2005, 1991,
1989) I further certify that the foregoing instrument is a
deed of sale of a parcel of land located in Sampaloc, Manila,
A: and consists of ____ pages, including this page, and is signed
on each and every page by the said parties and their
DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE instrumental witnesses.

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: WITNESS MY HAND AND SEAL.

This instrument, executed by and between: NOTARY PUBLIC


My Commission expires on December 31, 2005
GERRY CRUZ, of legal age, single, and a resident of (Address)
_______________, herein represented by his Attorney-in- Fact, Commission No._______, Manila
JON CRUZ, of legal age and a resident of _____________ and Attorney’s Roll No.
_____________ hereafter referred to as the VENDOR, IBP Membership No.
PTR O.R. No. ________, Manila, 2005
- and -
Doc. No.
ANGELO SANTOS, Filipino, of legal age, single, a resident of Page No.
_____________ and hereafter referred to as the VENDEE, Book No.
Series of 2005.
WITNESSETH:
PROMISSORY NOTE
THAT, for and in consideration of the sum of One
Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00), in hand paid by the VENDEE Q: Prepare a negotiable promissory note. (1994, 1991 Bar)
to the VENDOR and receipt of which is herein
acknowledged by the latter, the VENDOR has sold, A:
transferred and conveyed, and by these presents does
hereby sell, transfer and convey, unto the VENDEE, that City of Manila, September 28, 1994
certain parcel of land with an area of 1,000 square meters, 6,000.00
more or less, located in Sampaloc, Manila, covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 12345 of the Register of

42
UST BAR OPERATIONS
QUAMTO (1987-2016)
Thirty (30) days after date, I, Arturo M. Padilla, hereby
promise to pay to the order of Milagros Concepcion, the sum
of six thousand (6,000.00) Pesos (Philippine Currency).

(Sgd.) Arturo M. Padilla

VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATE OF NON-FORUM


SHOPPING

Q: Prepare a Verification and Certification against


Forum Shopping. (2010, 2003)

A:

VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION AGAINST


FORUM SHOPPING

X, after being duly sworn, hereby deposes


and states:

That he is the plaintiff in the above-


entitled case; that he has caused the foregoing
Complaint to be prepared; that he has read the
same and that the allegations of fact therein
contained are true of his personal knowledge or
based on authentic documents;

That (a) he has not heretofore commenced


any action of filed an claim involving the same
issued in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial
agency, and to the best of his knowledge, no such
other action or claim is pending therein; and (b) if
he should thereafter learn that the same of similar
action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall
report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to
this Honorable Court.

43