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Disbarment/Disciplining

of Lawyers

Practice of Law

is NOT a NATURAL or
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT,
but is in the nature of a
PRIVILEGE
or
a
FRANCHISE

DISBARMENT
the
ultimate
disciplining
of
a
lawyer/attorney, which is taking away
his/her license to practice law
permanent removal from the practice
law
(Law.com)

(Blacks Law Dictionary)

act of the Philippine Supreme Court in


withdrawing from an attorney the privilege to
practice law. The name of the lawyer is
stricken out from the Roll of Attorneys &
he/she does not have the right to affix the
prefix Atty. before his/her name. Neither
can he/she sign pleadings even if he/she
does not personally appear in court. (Pineda, Legal
and Judicial Ethics, 1999)

DISBARMENT
is the extreme measure of
discipline & should be resorted
to only in cases where the lawyer
demonstrate an attitude or
course
of
conduct
wholly
inconsistent
with
approved
professional standards.

DISBAR
to deprive a person of the
right to practice as an
attorney at law

Constitutional Basis

Sec. 5(5), 1987 Constitution (Judicial


Department) promulgate rules concerning
protection & enforcement of constitutional
rights; pleading, practice & procedure in all
courts, the admission to the practice of law,
the Integrated Bar & legal assistance to the
underprivileged

Andres v. Cabrera (1984)

The authority and responsibility over the admission,


suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of
attorneys-at-law is vested in the Supreme Court by
the Constitution. This power is indisputably a judicial
function and responsibility. It is judicial in the sense
that discretion is used in its exercise. The function
requires (1) previously established rules and principles,
(2) concrete facts, whether past or present, affecting
determinate individuals, and (3) decision as to whether
these facts are governed by the rules and principles; in
effect, a judicial function of the highest degree. (In re:
Cunanan, Et Al., 94 Phil. 534).

apart from its constitutional mandate, the


disciplinary authority of the Supreme
Court over attorneys is an inherent power
incidental to its proper administration
of justice and essential to the orderly
discharge of its judicial functions
it may exercise such power even without
special statutory basis and in a manner
that will give the party to be disciplined or
disbarred a fair opportunity to be heard

Rayong v. Oblena (1963)

The power of the courts to exclude unfit and


unworthy members of the profession is inherent; it
is
a
necessary
incident
to
the
proper
administration of justice; it may be exercised
without any special statutory authority, and in all
proper cases unless positively prohibited by
statute; and the power may be exercised in any
manner that will give the party be disbarred a fair
trial and a fair opportunity to be heard. (1 Francisco,
Rules of Court [1958 ed.] 698, citing In Re Pelaez, 44 Phil.
567).

In the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the


Court merely calls upon a member of the BAR
to account for his actuations as an officer of
the Court with the end view of preserving the
purity of the legal profession and the proper
and honest administration of justice by purging
the profession of members, who by their
misconduct have proven themselves no longer
worthy to be entrusted with the duties and
responsibilities pertaining to the office of an
attorney. (In re Almacen, 31 SCRA 562)

Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are designed to


ensure that whoever is granted the privilege to practice
law in this country should remain faithful to the Lawyers
Oath. Only thereby can lawyers preserve their fitness to
remain as members of the Law Profession. Any resort to
falsehood or deception, including adopting artifices to
cover up ones misdeeds committed against clients and
the rest of the trusting public, demonstrates an
unworthiness to continue enjoying the privilege to
practice law and highlights the unfitness to remain a
member of the Law Profession. (CHU,v.GUICO, JR A.C. No. 10573,
January 13, 2015)

There is no question that any gross misconduct by an attorney


in his professional or private capacity renders him unfit to
manage the affairs of others, and is a ground for the imposition
of the penalty of suspension or disbarment, because good
moral character is an essential qualification for the admission
of an attorney and for the continuance of such privilege . Chu vs.
Guico, Jr., AC 10573, January 13, 2015)

A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for gross misconduct


or for transgressions defined by the rules as grounds to strip a
lawyer of professional license. Considering, however, the
serious consequences of either penalty, the Court will exercise
its power to disbar or suspend only upon a clear, convincing,
and satisfactory proof of misconduct that seriously affects the
standing of a lawyer as an officer of the court and as member
of the bar. (Ruby vs. Espejo and Bayot AC 10558, Feb. 23, 2015)

Purpose of Disbarment
1.Protection of the Courts and the public
from misconduct of the Officers of the
Court
2.Insure and safeguard the proper
administration of justice
3.Public Welfare

Purpose of Disbarment
The purpose of disbarment is not meant as a
punishment to deprive an attorney of a means
of livelihood but rather to protect the Courts
and the public from the misconduct of the
Officers of the Court and to insure the proper
administration of justice (Geeslin v. Navarro 185 SCRA 230)
To deter others from similar misconduct and as
an indication to the public that the Courts will
maintain the ethical standards of the legal

Thus, the power to disbar attorneys ought


always to be exercised with great caution, and
only in clear cases of misconduct which
seriously affects the standing and character of
the lawyer as an officer of the court and
member of the bar (Siervo v. Infante 1976)

Lawyers are called upon to obey court orders and


processes and respondent's deference is underscored
by the fact that willful disregard thereof will subject
the lawyer not only to punishment for contempt but to
disciplinary sanctions as well. In fact, graver
responsibility is imposed upon a lawyer than any other
to uphold the integrity of the courts and to show
respect to their processes.
A lawyer's blatant disregard or refusal to comply with
the Court's orders underscores her disrespect of the
Court's lawful orders which is only too deserving of
admonition. (Enriquez vs. Lavadia, Jr. AC 5686 June 16, 2015)

Disbarment of lawyers is a proceeding that aims to


purge the law profession of unworthy members of the
bar. It is intended to preserve the nobility and honor
of the legal profession. While the Supreme Court has
the plenary power to discipline erring lawyers
through this kind of proceedings, it does so in the
most vigilant manner so as not to frustrate its
preservative principle. The Court, in the exercise of
its sound judicial discretion, is inclined to impose a
less severe punishment if, through it, the end desire
of reforming the errant lawyer is possible.
(FELICIANO,v.BAUTISTA-LOZADA A.C. No. 7593, March 11, 2015)

The CPR was promulgated to guide the members of the


bar by informing them of the deportment expected of
them in leading both their professional and private
lives. Primarily, it aims to protect the integrity and
nobility of the legal profession, to breed honest and
principled lawyers and prune the association of the
unworthy.
Proceedings to discipline erring members of the bar are
not instituted to protect and promote the public good
only but also to maintain the dignity of the profession
by the weeding out of those who have proven themselves
unworthy thereof. (SPS AMATORIO,v.DY YAP AND SITON-YAP A.C. No.
5914, March 11, 2015)

Rule 138, Sec. 27 Rules of Court - Grounds


disbarment/suspension of lawyers by the SC

for

Deceit
Malpractice
Gross misconduct
Grossly immoral conduct
Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude
Violation of the lawyers oath
Willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court
Corruption
Willful appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without
authority to do so
Soliciting cases for gain
Personally
Through an agent/broker

How initiated (Sec. 1, Rule 139-B Rules of Court)


- By the Supreme Court motu propio upon verified complaint
and refer it either to the IBP, the Solicitor General or any
officer of the Supreme Court or lower court judge, for
investigation, report and recommendation
- By the IBP Board of Governors
motu proprio
upon referral by the Supreme Court
upon referral by the IBP Chapter Board of Officers
at the instance of any person,
initiate and prosecute proper charges against erring
attorneys including those in the government service
the power to disbar, reinstate lawyers inherently a judicial
function, exclusive to the SC alone (Andres v. Cabrera 127 SCRA 802)

COMPLAINT

state clearly & concisely the facts


complained of
supported
affidavits of persons having personal
knowledge of the facts therein alleged ,
and
documents, that may substantiate
said facts

DISBARMENT
Nature sui generis means of its own kind.
Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis:
It is not civil nor criminal action.
It is not a trial of an action.
It does not involve private interest, but public
interest.
It is rather an investigation into the conduct or
fitness of a lawyer as an officer of the court.
Complainants are only witnesses. They need not be
aggrieved parties.

Cont.
It can proceed regardless of lack of interest of
complainants.
Prejudicial question is not involved.
Imprescriptible.
Res judicata does not apply.
Desistance, settlement, compromise, restitution,
withdrawal of the charge or failure of complainant
to prosecute or pursue the same does not interrupt
or terminate the proceeding.
Due process of law.

Cont.
It is private and confidential while pending.
Rule of in pari delicto is not applicable
Penalty cannot be in the alternative
Quantum of proof
Monetary claims cannot be granted except
restitution and return of money and
properties of the client given in the course
of the lawyer-client relationship

Disbarment proceedings aresui generisand


can proceed independently of civil and
criminal cases. As Justice Malcolm stated
[t]he serious consequences of disbarment or
suspension should follow only where there is a
clear preponderance of evidence against the
respondent. The presumption is that the
attorney is innocent of the charges pr[o]ferred
and has performed his duty as an officer of the
court in accordance with his oath. (GUARIN
v.LIMPIN, A.C. No. 10576, January 14, 2015)

The right to institute disbarment proceedings is not

confined to clients nor is it necessary that the person


complaining
suffered
injury
from
the
alleged
wrongdoing. The procedural requirement observed in
ordinary civil proceedings that only the real party-ininterest must initiate the suit does not apply in
disbarment cases. Disbarment proceedings are matters
of public interest and the only basis for the judgment is
the proof or failure of proof of the charges. Further, the
Supreme Court held that a lawyer engaged to represent
a client in a case bears the responsibility of protecting
the latters interest with utmost diligence. (Figueras and Victoria,
Jr. v. Jimenez, A.C. No. 9116, March 12, 2014)

A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of interest


or lack of interest of the complainant. What matters is whether, on the
basis of the facts borne out by the record, the charge of deceit and
grossly immoral conduct has been proven.
A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not a civil action where
the complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a defendant.
Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no
redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted
solely for the public welfare. They are undertaken for the purpose of
preserving courts of justice from the official administration of persons
unfit to practice in them.
The attorney is called to answer to the court for his conduct as an
officer of the court. The complainant or the person who called the
attention of the court to the attorneys alleged misconduct is in no
sense a party, and has generally no interest in the outcome except as
all good citizens may have in the proper administration of justice.
(Umaguing vs. De Vera AC 10451, Feb. 4, 2015)

Without a doubt, a violation of the high moral standards of


the legal profession justifies the imposition of the
appropriate
penalties,
including
suspension
and
disbarment.These penalties are imposed with great caution,
because they are the most severe forms of disciplinary
action and their consequences are beyond repair.
Disbarment, in particular, may be imposed only in a clear
case of misconduct that seriously affects the standing and
the character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court and as
a member of the bar. The Court, however, does not hesitate
to impose the penalty of disbarment when the guilty party
has become a repeat offender. (Flores v. Mayor, Jr.,AC 7314 Aug. 25,
2015)

Disbarment proceeding is separate and distinct from a criminal action filed against
a lawyer even if they involve the same set of facts.A finding of guilt in the criminal
case will not necessarily result in a finding of liability in the administrative case.
Conversely, the acquittal does not necessarily exculpate one administratively.
A criminal prosecution will not constitute a prejudicial question even if the same
facts and circumstances are attendant in the administrative proceedings. Besides, it
is not sound judicial policy to await the final resolution of a criminal case before a
complaint against a lawyer may be acted upon; otherwise, this Court will be
rendered helpless to apply the rules on admission to, and continuing membership
in, the legal profession during the whole period that the criminal case is pending
final disposition, when the objectives of the two proceedings are vastly disparate.
Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private
grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare and for
preserving courts of justice from the official ministration of persons unfit to
practice law. The attorney is called to answer to the court for his conduct as an
officer of the court. (SPS. SAUNDERS,v.PAGANO-CALDE, A.C. No. 8708 August 12, 2015)

Valdez vs. Dabon, Jr. A.C. No. 7353 , Nov. 16, 2015
When deciding upon the appropriate sanction, the Court must consider that
the primary purposes of disciplinary proceedings are to protect the public; to
foster public confidence in the Bar; to preserve the integrity of the
profession; and to deter other lawyers from similar misconduct.
Disciplinary proceedings are means of protecting the administration of
justice by requiring those who carry out this important function to be
competent, honorable and reliable men in whom courts and clients may
repose confidence.
While it is discretionary upon the Court to impose a particular sanction that
it may deem proper against an erring lawyer, it should neither be arbitrary
and despotic nor motivated by personal animosity or prejudice, but should
ever be controlled by the imperative need to scrupulously guard the purity
and independence of the bar and to exact from the lawyer strict compliance
with his duties to the court, to his client, to his brethren in the profession
and to the public.

Cont.

Valdez vs. Dabon, Jr. A.C. No. 7353 , Nov. 16, 2015

The power to disbar or suspend ought always to be exercised on the


preservative and not on the vindictive principle, with great caution
and only for the most weighty reasons and only on clear cases of
misconduct which seriously affect the standing and character of the
lawyer as an officer of the court and member of the Bar.
Only those acts which cause loss of moral character should merit
disbarment or suspension, while those acts which neither affect nor
erode the moral character of the lawyer should only justify a lesser
sanction unless they are of such nature and to such extent as to
clearly show the lawyer's unfitness to continue in the practice of law.
The dubious character of the act charged as well as the motivation
which induced the lawyer to commit it must be clearly demonstrated
before suspension or disbarment is meted out. The mitigating or
aggravating circumstances that attended the commission of the
offense should also be considered.

Figueras and Victoria, Jr. v. Jimenez, A.C. No. 9116, March 12,
2014
The right to institute disbarment proceedings is not confined
to clients nor is it necessary that the person complaining
suffered injury from the alleged wrongdoing. The procedural
requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings that only
the real party-in-interest must initiate the suit does not apply
in disbarment cases. Disbarment proceedings are matters of
public interest and the only basis for the judgment is the
proof or failure of proof of the charges. Further, the Supreme
Court held that a lawyer engaged to represent a client in a
case bears the responsibility of protecting the latters interest
with utmost diligence.

ECRAELA,v.PANGALANGAN A.C. No. 10676, September 08, 2015


in suspension or disbarment proceedings against lawyers, the lawyer enjoys the
presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof rests upon the complainant to prove
the allegations in his complaint. The evidence required in suspension or disbarment
proceedings is preponderance of evidence. In case the evidence of the parties are equally
balanced, the equipoise doctrine mandates a decision in favor of the respondent.
"[t]he grounds expressed in Section 27, Rule 138. of the Rules of Court are not limitative
and are broad enough to. cover any misconduct x x x of a lawyer in his professional or
private capacity." To reiterate, possession of good moral character is not only a condition
precedent to the practice of law, but a continuing qualification for all members of the bar.
GARCIA,v.SESBREO A.C. No. 7973 and A.C. No. 10457, February 04, 2015

Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states that a member of the bar may be
disbarred or suspended as attorney by this Court by reason of his conviction of a crime
involving moral turpitude. This Court has ruled that disbarment is the appropriate
penalty for conviction by final judgment for a crime involving moral turpitude.Moral
turpitude is an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man
owes to his fellow men or to society in general,contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or
good morals.
A violation of the high moral standards of the legal profession justifies the imposition of
the appropriate penalty against a lawyer, including the penalty of disbarment.

CHU,v.GUICO, JR A.C. No. 10573, January 13, 2015

In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests on the complainant to


establish respondent attorneys liability by clear, convincing and
satisfactory evidence. Indeed, this Court has consistently required clearly
preponderant evidence to justify the imposition of either disbarment or
suspension as penalty.
Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are designed to ensure that
whoever is granted the privilege to practice law in this country should
remain faithful to the Lawyers Oath. Only thereby can lawyers preserve their
fitness to remain as members of the Law Profession. Any resort to falsehood or
deception, including adopting artifices to cover up ones misdeeds committed
against clients and the rest of the trusting public, evinces an unworthiness to
continue enjoying the privilege to practice law and highlights the unfitness to
remain a member of the Law Profession. It deserves for the guilty lawyer stern
disciplinary sanctions.

WITHDRAWAL OF COMPLAINT
The Supreme Court held that the withdrawal of a
disbarment case against a lawyer does not
terminate or abate the jurisdiction of the IBP and
of this Court to continue an administrative
proceeding against a lawyer-respondent as a
member of the Philippine Bar. The complainant in
a disbarment case is not a direct party to the case,
but a witness who brought the matter to the
attention of the Court. (Quiachon v. Ramos,A.C. No. 9317
June 4, 2014)

The Code of Professional Responsibility was promulgated to guide the


members of the bar by informing them of the deportment expected of them in
leading both their professional and private lives - it aims to protect the
integrity and nobility of the legal profession, to breed honest and principled
lawyers and prune the association of the unworthy.
It is for the foregoing reason that the Court cannot simply yield to
complainants change of heart by refuting their own statements against the
respondents and praying that the complaint for disbarment they filed be
dismissed.
A case for suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of interest
or lack of interest of the complainants, if the facts proven so
warrant.It follows that the withdrawal of the complainant from the
case, or even the filing of an affidavit of desistance, does not conclude
the administrative case against an erring lawyer. (SPS AMATORIO,v.DY YAP
AND SITON-YAP A.C. No. 5914, March 11, 2015)

Prescription: A disbarment proceeding is imprescriptible; all


proceedings are strictly confidential; may proceed despite
withdrawal of the complaint.
Bengco v. Bernanrdo, 672 SCRA 352 (2012): S.C. said that
administrative cases against lawyers do not prescribe.
Despite the considerable lapse of time between the
commission of the infraction and the time of filing, there is
need to determine the administrative liability of lawyers.
Catalan, Jr. V. Silvosa, 677 SCRA 352(2012): A lawyer cannot
escape the disciplining arm of the Court despite any delay
in the filing of an administrative case against a lawyer.

Heck v. Santos (2004)


[T]here can be no other conclusion than that an administrative complaint against an
erring lawyer who was thereafter appointed as a judge, albeit filed only after twentyfour years after the offending act was committed, is not barred by prescription. If the
rule were otherwise, members of the bar would be emboldened to disregard the very oath
they took as lawyers, prescinding from the fact that as long as no private complainant
would immediately come forward, they stand a chance of being completely exonerated from
whatever administrative liability they ought to answer for. It is the duty of this Court to
protect the integrity of the practice of law as well as the administration of justice.
No matter how much time has elapsed from the time of the commission of the act
complained of and the time of the institution of the complaint, erring members of the
bench and bar cannot escape the disciplining arm of the Court.This categorical
pronouncement is aimed at unscrupulous members of the bench and bar, to deter
them from committing acts which violate the Code of Professional Responsibility, the
Code of Judicial Conduct, or the Lawyers Oath. This should particularly apply in this
case, considering the seriousness of the matter involved - the respondents dishonesty and
the sanctity of notarial documents. Thus, even the lapse of considerable time, from the
commission of the offending act to the institution of the administrative complaint, will not
erase the administrative culpability of a lawyer who notarizes documents without the
requisite authority therefor.

Garrido v. Garrido & Valencia (Feb. 2010)

Laws dealing with double jeopardy or with procedure


such as the verification of pleading and prejudicial
questions or in this case prescription of the offense
or the filing of affidavit of desistance by the
complainant do not apply to the determination of a
lawyers qualification & fitness for membership in the
BAR.
Admission to the practice of law is a component of
the administration of justice & is a matter of public
interest because it involves service to the public.
Lack of qualification or violation of the standards for
the practice of law, is a matter of public concern that
the State may inquire into through this Court.

Rule 139 B, Section 18 (Rules of Court)


Sec. 18 Confidentiality Proceedings against
attorneys shall be private & confidential.
However, the final order of the Supreme
Court shall be published like its decisions in
other cases.
Exception: in case of waiver

Villalon v. IAC (1986)

While proceedings against attorneys should,


indeed, be private and confidential except for the
final order which shall be made public, (Section
10, Rule 139), that confidentiality is a privileged/
right which may be waived by the very lawyer in
whom and for the protection of whose personal
and professional reputation it is vested,
pursuant to the general principle that rights may
be waived unless the waiver is contrary to public
policy, among others. (Article 6, Civil Code).

Burden of Proof/Quantum of Proof

This Court has stated that a lawyer may be disciplined or


suspended for any misconduct, whether in his professional or
private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in good moral
character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor as to render him
unworthy to continue as an officer of the Court.
In disciplinary proceedings against members of the bar, only
clear preponderance of evidence is required to establish
liability. As long as the evidence presented by complainant or
that taken judicial notice of by the Court is more convincing and
worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto,
the imposition of disciplinary sanction is justified.The Court
has required that a complainant has the onus of proving the
charges against respondent by clear, convincing and
satisfactory evidence. (Caspe vs. Mejica AC 10679, March 10, 2015)

The burden of proof in disbarment and suspension proceedings


always rests on the shoulders of the complainant.
The Court exercises its disciplinary power only if the
complainant establishes the complaint byclearly preponderant
evidencethat warrants the imposition of the harsh penalty. In
this case, complainants failed to discharge their burden of proving
that respondents ordered their secretary to stamp a much later date
instead of the actual date of receipt for the purpose of extending the
ten-day period within which to file a Motion for Reconsideration .
Such claim is merely anchored on speculation and conjecture and
not backed by any clear preponderant evidence necessary to justify
the imposition of administrative penalty on a member of the Bar.
(Rasing v. Cruz and Magsalin III,A.C. No. 7686, July 31, 2013)

The Supreme Court in dismissing the complaint


held that when it comes to administrative cases
against lawyers, two things are to be considered:
quantum of proof, which requires clearly
preponderant evidence; and burden of proof, which
is on the complainant.
Bare allegations are not proof. Even if respondent
did provide his clients legal advice, he still cannot
be held administratively liable without any showing
that his act was attended with bad faith or malice.
The default rule is presumption of good faith. (Paguia
v. Molina, A.C. No. 9881, June 4, 2014)

In suspension or disbarment proceedings against lawyers, the lawyer


enjoys the presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof rests
upon the complainant to prove the allegations in his complaint. The
evidence required in suspension or disbarment proceedings is
preponderance of evidence. In case the evidence of the parties are
equally balanced, the equipoise doctrine mandates a decision in
favor of the respondent. ( ECRAELA,v.PANGALANGAN A.C. No. 10676,
September 08, 2015)

In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests on the


complainant to establish respondent attorneys liability by clear,
convincing and satisfactory evidence. Indeed, this Court has
consistently required clearly preponderant evidence to justify the
imposition of either disbarment or suspension as penalty.
(CHU,v.GUICO, JR A.C. No. 10573, January 13, 2015)

Re-admission

When exercising its inherent power to grant reinstatement, the Court should
see to it that only those who establish their present moral fitness and
knowledge of the law will be readmitted to the Bar. The doors to the practice of
law are never permanently closed on a disbarred attorney, the Court owes a
duty to the legal profession as well as to the general public to ensure that if
the doors are opened, it is done so only as a matter of justice.
Basic inquiry in a petition for reinstatement - whether the Iawyer has
sufficiently rehabilitated himself or herself in conduct and character. Whether
the applicant shall be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys rests to a great extent
on the sound discretion of the Court. The lawyer has to demonstrate and prove
by clear and convincing evidence that he or she is again worthy of
membership in the Bar. The Court will take into consideration his or her
character and standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and character of
the charge/s for which he or she was disbarred, his or her conduct
subsequent to the disbarment, and the time that has elapsed in between the
disbarment and the application for reinstatement.

Guidelines in resolving requests for judicial clemency, to wit:


1. There 'must be proof of remorse and reformation. These shall include but
should not be limited to certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or
chapter(s) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, judges or judges
associations and prominent members of the community with proven integrity
and probity. A subsequent finding of guilt in an administrative case for the
same or similar misconduct will give rise to a strong presumption of nonreformation.
2. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the imposition of the penalty to ensure
a period of reform.
3. The age of the person asking for clemency must show that he still has
productive years ahead of him that can be put to good use by giving him a
chance to redeem himself.
4. There must be a showing of promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning or
legal acumen or contribution to legal scholarship and the development of the
legal system or administrative and other relevant skills), as well as potential for
public service.
5. There must be other relevant factors and circumstances that may justify
clemency.

The Court will grant it only if there is a showing that it is merited.Proof


of reformation and a showing of potential and promise are
indispensable.
While the Court sympathizes with the predicaments of disbarred
lawyers - may it be financial or reputational in cause - it stands firm in
its commitment to the public to preserve the integrity and esteem of the
Bar. As held in a previous case, "in considering [a lawyer's] application
for reinstatement to the practice of law, the duty of the Court is to
determine whether he has established moral reformation and
rehabilitation, disregarding its feeling of sympathy or pity."Ultimately,
with the above discussed guidelines not complied with, the Court has to
be objective and, therefore, denies the petition. (IN THE MATTER OF THE
PETITION FOR REINSTATEMENT OF TORRES AS A MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR.
A.C. No. 5161, August 25, 2015)

QUE,v.REVILLA, JR., A.C. No. 7054, November 11, 2014

The Court considered the conduct of the disbarred attorney before


and after his disbarment, the time that had elapsed from the
disbarment and the application for reinstatement, and more
importantly, the disbarred attorneys' sincere realization and
acknowledgement of guilt.
While he expressly stated in his appeal that he had taken full
responsibility of his misdemeanor, his previous inclination to pass
the blame to other individuals, to invoke self-denial, and to make
alibis for his wrongdoings, contradicted his assertion. The
respondent also failed to submit proof satisfactorily showing his
contrition. He failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence
that he is again worthy of membership in the legal profession.

Cont QUE,v.REVILLA, JR., A.C. No. 7054, Nov. 11, 2014

While the Court sympathizes with the respondent's


unfortunate physical condition, we stress that in
considering his application for reinstatement to the
practice of law, the duty of the Court is to determine
whether he has established moral reformation and
rehabilitation, disregarding its feeling of sympathy or pity.
Surely at this point, this requirement was not met. Until
such time when the respondent can demonstrate to the
Court that he has completely rehabilitated himself and
deserves to resume his membership in the Bar, Our
decision to disbar him from the practice of law stands.

Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law of Dacanay, 540 SCRA 424
Petitioner was admitted to the Philippine bar in March 1960. He practiced law until
he migrated to Canada in December 1998 to seek medical attention for his
ailments. He subsequently applied for Canadian citizenship to avail of Canadas
free medical aid program. His application was approved and he became a
Canadian citizen in May 2004.
On July 14, 2006, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9225 (Citizenship Retention and
Re-Acquisition Act of 2003), petitioner reacquired his Philippine citizenship. On
that day, he took his oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen before the Philippine
Consulate General in Toronto, Canada.
Thereafter, he returned to the Philippines and now intends to resume his law
practice.
There is a question, however, whether petitioner Benjamin M. Dacanay lost his
membership in the Philippine bar when he gave up his Philippine citizenship in
May 2004.

The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. It is


so delicately affected with public interest that it is both a power
and a duty of the State (through this Court) to control and
regulate it in order to protect and promote the public welfare.
The Constitution provides that the practice of all professions in
the Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens save in cases
prescribed by law.
Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for admission to the
bar, loss thereof terminates membership in the Philippine bar
and, consequently, the privilege to engage in the practice of law.
In other words, the loss of Filipino citizenship ipso jure
terminates the privilege to practice law in the Philippines. The
practice of law is a privilege denied to foreigners.

The exception is when Filipino citizenship is lost by


reason of naturalization as a citizen of another country
but subsequently reacquired pursuant to RA 9225.
This is because "all Philippine citizens who become
citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have
lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of
[RA 9225]."
Therefore, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of
another country is deemed never to have lost his
Philippine citizenship if he reacquires it in accordance
with RA 9225. Although he is also deemed never to have
terminated his membership in the Philippine bar, no
automatic right to resume law practice accrues.

Under RA 9225, if a person intends to practice the legal profession in the Philippines and
he reacquires his Filipino citizenship pursuant to its provisions "(he) shall apply with the
proper authority for a license or permit to engage in such practice." Stated otherwise,
before a lawyer who reacquires Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 can resume his
law practice, he must first secure from this Court the authority to do so, conditioned on:
the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP;
the payment of professional tax;
the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal education;
this is specially significant to refresh the applicant/petitioners knowledge of Philippine
laws and update him of legal developments and
the retaking of the lawyers oath which will not only remind him of his duties and
responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also renew his pledge to
maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.
Compliance with these conditions will restore his good standing as a member of the
Philippine bar. Petition granted subject to compliance with the conditions stated above
and submission of proof of such compliance to the Bar Confidant, after which he may
retake his oath as a member of the Philippine bar.

DISBARMENT of
JUSTICES/JUDGES

In re: Fernan (1988)

A Member of the Supreme Court must first be removed from office via the
constitutional route of impeachment under Sections 2 and 3 of Article XI of
the 1987 Constitution. Should the tenure of the Supreme Court Justice be
thus terminated by impeachment, he may then be held to answer either
criminally or administratively (by disbarment proceedings) for any wrong or
misbehavior that may be proven against him in appropriate proceedings.
The above rule rests on the fundamental principles of judicial independence
and separation of powers. The rule is important because judicial
independence is important. Without the protection of this rule, Members of
the Supreme Court would be brought against them by unsuccessful
litigants or their lawyers or by other parties who, for any number of reasons
might seek to affect the exercise of judicial authority by the Court.

3d Industries & Smart Philippines v. Roxas & Enriquez (2010)

Administrative complaints against judges must


always be examined with a discriminating eye for its
consequential effects are, by their nature, highly
penal, such that they stand to face the sanction of
dismissal and/or disbarment. In order for this
administrative offense to prosper, the subject order
or actuation of the judge in the performance of his
official duties must not only be contrary to existing
law and jurisprudence but, more importantly, must
be attended by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or
corruption.

Concerned Lawyers of Bulacan v. Pornillos (2009)

All those who don the judicial robe must always instill in their
minds the exhortation that the administration of justice is a
mission. Judges, from the lowest to the highest levels, are the gems
in the vast government bureaucracy, beacon lights looked upon as
the embodiments of all what is right, just and proper, the ultimate
weapons against injustice and oppression.
Those who cannot meet the exacting standards of judicial conduct
and integrity have no place in the judiciary.The various violations
of respondent reflect a totality of transgressions of one who no
longer deserves a seat in the bench.This Court will not withhold
penalty when called for to uphold the peoples faith in the judiciary.

EFFECT of
FOREIGN DISBARMENT

If a Filipino lawyer is disbar or suspend from the practice of law


by a competent or disciplinary agency in a foreign
jurisprudence where he has been admitted as an attorney, &
the grounds thereof includes any of the acts enumerated in
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court, such
disbarment or suspension is a ground for his disbarment or
suspension in the Philippines.
The judgment, resolution or order of the foreign court or
disciplinary agency shall be prima facie evidence of the ground
for disbarment or suspension. (Supreme Court Resolution
dated 21 February 1992 amending section 27, Rule 138,
Revised Rules of Court)