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PCGG V SANDIGANBAYAN case at bar is “advising the Central Bank, on how

to proceed with the said bank’s liquidation and even filing


FACTS the petition for its liquidation in CFI of Manila. The Court
held that the advice given by respondent Mendoza on the
procedure to liquidate GENBANK is not the “matter”
In 1976 the General Bank and Trust Company (GENBANK)
contemplated by Rule 6.03 of the Code
encountered financial difficulties. GENBANK had extended
of Professional Responsibility. ABA Formal Opinion No. 342
considerable financial support to
is clear in stressing that “drafting, enforcing or interpreting
Filcapital Development Corporation causing it to incur daily
government or agency procedures, regulations and laws, or
overdrawings on its current account with Central Bank.
briefing abstract principles of law are acts which do not fall
Despite the mega loans GENBANK failed to recover from its
within the scope of the term “matter” and cannot
financial woes. The Central Bank issued a resolution
disqualify. Respondent Mendoza had nothing to do with the
declaring GENBANK insolvent and unable to
decision of the Central Bank to liquidate GENBANK. He also
resume business with safety to its depositors, creditors and
did not participate in the sale of GENBANK to Allied Bank.
the general public, and ordering its liquidation. A public
The legality of the liquidation of GENBANK is not an issue in
bidding of GENBANK’s assets was held where Lucio Tan
the sequestration cases. Indeed, the jurisdiction of the
group submitted the winning bid. Solicitor General Estelito
PCGG does not include the dissolution and liquidation of
Mendoza filed a petition with the CFI praying for
banks. Thus, the Code 6.03 of the Code
the assistance and supervision of the court in GENBANK’s
of Professional Responsibility cannot apply to respondent
liquidation as mandated by RA 265. After EDSA Revolution I
Mendoza because his alleged intervention while SolGen is
Pres Aquino established the PCGG to recover the alleged ill-
an intervention on a matter different from the matter
gotten wealth of former Pres Marcos, his family and
involved in the Civil case of sequestration. In the metes and
cronies. Pursuant to this mandate, the PCGG filed with the
bounds of the “intervention”. The applicable meaning as
Sandiganbayan a complaint for reversion, reconveyance,
the term is used in the Code of Professional Ethics is that it
restitution against respondents Lucio Tan, at.al. PCGG
is an act of a person who has the power to influence the
issued several writs of sequestration on properties allegedly
subject proceedings. The evil sought to be remedied by the
acquired by them by taking advantage of their close
Code do not exist where the government lawyer does not
relationship and influence with former Pres. Marcos. The
act which can be considered as innocuous such as “ drafting,
abovementioned respondents Tan, et. al are represented as
enforcing, or interpreting government or agency
their counsel, former Solicitor General Mendoza. PCGG filed
procedures, regulations or laws or briefing abstract
motions to disqualify respondent Mendoza as counsel for
principles of law.” The court rules that the intervention of
respondents Tan et. al. with Sandiganbayan. It
Mendoza is not significant and substantial. He merely
was alleged that Mendoza as then Sol Gen and counsel
petitions that the court gives assistance in the liquidation of
to Central Bank actively intervened in the liquidation of
GENBANK. The role of court is not strictly as a court of
GENBANK which was subsequently acquired by
justice but as an agent to assist the Central Bank in
respondents Tan et. al., which subsequently became
determining the claims of creditors. In such a proceeding
Allied Banking Corporation. The motions to disqualify
the role of the SolGen is not that of the usual court litigator
invoked Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
protecting the interest of government.
which prohibits former government lawyers from accepting
Petition assailing the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan is
“engagement” or employment in connection with any
denied.
matter in which he had intervened while in the said service.
Relevant Dissenting Opinion of Justice Callejo:
The Sandiganbayan issued a resolution denyting PCGG’s
Rule 6.03 is a restatement of Canon 36 of
motion to disqualify respondent Mendoza. It failed to prove
the Canons of Professional Ethics: “ A lawyer, having once
the existence of an inconsistency between respondent
held public office or having been in the public employ,
Mendoza’s former function as SolGen and his present
should not after his retirement accept employment in
employment as counsel of the Lucio Tan group. PCGGs
connection with any matter which he has investigated or
recourse to this court assailing the Resolutions of the
passed upon while in such office or employ.”
Sandiganbayan.
Indeed, the restriction against a public official from using his
public position as a vehicle to promote or advance his
ISSUE private interests extends beyond his tenure on certain
matters in which he intervened as a public official. Rule 6.03
Whether Rule 6.03 of the Code makes this restriction specifically applicable to lawyers who
of Professional Responsibility applies to respondent once held public office.” A plain reading shows that the
Mendoza. The prohibition states: “A lawyer shall not, after interdiction 1. applies to a lawyer who once served in the
leaving government service, accept engagement or government and 2. relates to his accepting “engagement or
employment in connection with any matter in which he had employment” in connection with any matter in which he
intervened while in the said service.” had intervened while in the service.

HELD

The case at bar does not involve the “adverse interest”


aspect of Rule 6.03. Respondent Mendoza, it is conceded,
has no adverse interest problem when he acted as SOlGen
and later as counsel of respondents et.al. before the
Sandiganbayan. However there is still the issue of whether
there exists a “congruent-interest conflict” sufficient to
disqualify respondent Mendoza from representing
respondents et. al. The key is unlocking the meaning of
“matter” and the metes and bounds of “intervention” that
he made on the matter. Beyond doubt that the “matter” or
the act of respondent Mendoza as SolGen involved in the