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PUBLIC OFFICIALS

WHO CANNOT
ENGAGE IN THE
PRIVATE PRACTICE OF
LAW IN
THEPHILIPPINES
1. JUDGES AND OTHER OFFICIALS AS EMPLOYEES OF THE SUPERIOR COURT( RULE 148, SEC. 35, RRC).

2. OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE OSG( IBID). RULE 138 SEC.3`5

3. GOVERNMENT PROSECUTORS (PEO V. VILLANUEVA, 14 SCRA 109). - IF PERMITTED BY THEIR


DEPARTMENT HEAD SHOULD ONLY BE IN ISOLATED CASES INVOLVING RELATIVES OR CLOSE FAMILY
FRIENDS

4. PRESIDENT, VICE-PRESIDENT, MEMBERS OF THE CABINET, THEIR DEPUTIES AND ASSISTANTS, (ART.
VIII SEC. 15, 1987 CONSTITUTION).

5. CHAIRMEN AND MEMBERS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS (ART. IX-A, SEC. 2, 1987
CONSTITUTION).

6. OMBUDSMAN AND HIS DEPUTIES (ART. IX, SEC. 8 (2 NDPAR.), 1987 CONSTITUTION).

7. ALL GOVERNORS, CITY AND MUNICIPAL MAYORS (R.A. NO. 7160, SEC. 90).

PUBLIC OFFICIALS WITH RESTRICTIONS IN


THE PRACTICE OF LAW
1. NO SENATOR OR MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE MAY
PERSONALLY APPEAR AS COUNSEL BEFORE ANY COURT OF JUSTICE AS
BEFORE THE ELECTORAL TRIBUNALS, AS QUASI-JUDICIAL AND OTHER
ADMINISTRATION BODIES (ART. VI, SEC. 14, 1987 CONSTITUTION).

2. UNDER THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (RA 7160, SEC. 91)SANGGUNIAN


MEMBERS MAY PRACTICE THEIR PROFESSIONS PROVIDED THAT IF THEY
ARE MEMBERS OF THE BAR, THEY SHALL NOT:

. APPEAR AS COUNSEL BEFORE ANY COURT IN ANY CIVIL CASE


WHEREIN A LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT OR ANY OFFICE, AGENCY, OR
INSTRUMENTALITY OF THE GOVERNMENT IS THE ADVERSE PARTY;
APPEAR AS COUNSEL IN ANY CRIMINAL CASE WHEREIN AN
OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE NATIONAL OR LOCAL
GOVERNMENT IS ACCUSED OF AN OFFENSE COMMITTED IN
RELATION TO HIS OFFICE;

COLLECT ANY FEE FOR THEIR APPEARANCE IN


ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS INVOLVING THE LOCAL
GOVERNMENT UNIT OF WHICH HE IS AN OFFICIAL;

USE PROPERTY AND PERSONNEL OF THE GOVERNMENT


EXCEPT WHEN THE SANGGUNIAN MEMBER CONCERNED IS
DEFENDING THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.
WILFREDO M. CATU VS. ATTY. VICENTE G.
RELLOSA
A.C. NO. 5738, FEBRUARY 19, 2008
FACTS.
PETITIONER INITIATED A COMPLAINT AGAINST ELIZABETH CATU AND ANTONIO PASTOR WHO
WERE OCCUPYING ONE OF THE UNITS IN A BUILDING IN MALATE WHICH WAS OWNED BY THE
FORMER. THE SAID COMPLAINT WAS FILED IN THE LUPONG TAGAPAMAYAPA OF BARANGAY
723, ZONE 79 OF THE 5TH DISTRICT OF MANILA WHERE RESPONDENT WAS THE PUNONG
BARANGAY. THE PARTIES, HAVING BEEN SUMMONED FOR CONCILIATION PROCEEDINGS AND
FAILING TO ARRIVE AT AN AMICABLE SETTLEMENT, WERE ISSUED BY THE RESPONDENT A
CERTIFICATION FOR THE FILING OF THE APPROPRIATE ACTION IN COURT.

PETITIONER, THUS, FILED A COMPLAINT FOR EJECTMENT AGAINST ELIZABETH AND PASTOR
IN THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT OF MANILA WHERE RESPONDENT ENTERED HIS
APPEARANCE AS COUNSEL FOR THE DEFENDANTS. BECAUSE OF THIS, PETITIONER FILED
THE INSTANT ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT AGAINST THE RESPONDENT ON THE GROUND
THAT HE COMMITTED AN ACT OF IMPROPRIETY AS A LAWYER AND AS A PUBLIC OFFICER
WHEN HE STOOD AS COUNSEL FOR THE DEFENDANTS DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE PRESIDED
OVER THE CONCILIATION PROCEEDINGS BETWEEN THE LITIGANTS AS PUNONG BARANGAY.
IN HIS DEFENSE, RESPONDENT CLAIMED THAT AS PUNONG
BARANGAY, HE PERFORMED HIS TASK WITHOUT BIAS AND THAT
HE ACCEDED TO ELIZABETHS REQUEST TO HANDLE THE CASE
FOR FREE AS SHE WAS FINANCIALLY DISTRESSED.

THE COMPLAINT WAS THEN REFERRED TO THE INTEGRATED BAR


OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP) WHERE AFTER EVALUATION, THEY
FOUND SUFFICIENT GROUND TO DISCIPLINE RESPONDENT.
ACCORDING TO THEM, RESPONDENT VIOLATED RULE 6.03 OF
THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND, AS AN
ELECTIVE OFFICIAL, THE PROHIBITION UNDER SECTION 7(B) (2)
OF RA6713. CONSEQUENTLY, FOR THE VIOLATION OF THE
LATTER PROHIBITION, RESPONDENT COMMITTED A BREACH OF
CANON 1. RESPONDENT WAS THEN RECOMMENDED FOR
SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW.
ISSUE. WHETHER OR NOT
ATTY. RELLOSA VIOLATED
THE CODE OF
PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY.
RULING.AYES. CIVIL SERVICE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WHOSE
RESPONSIBILITIES DO NOT REQUIRE HIS TIME TO BE FULLY AT
THE DISPOSAL OF THE GOVERNMENT CAN ENGAGE IN THE
PRIVATE PRACTICE OF LAW ONLY WITH THE WRITTEN
PERMISSION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED
IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 12, RULE XVIII OF THE
REVISED CIVIL SERVICE RULES.

NOTWITHSTANDING ALL OF THESE, RESPONDENT STILL


SHOULD HAVE PROCURED A PRIOR PERMISSION OR
AUTHORIZATION FROM THE HEAD OF HIS DEPARTMENT, AS
REQUIRED BY CIVIL SERVICE REGULATIONS. FOR THIS FAILURE,
RESPONDED VIOLATED HIS OATH AS A LAWYER, THAT IS, TO
OBEY THE LAWS, RULE 1.01, CPR AND, FOR NOT COMPLYING
WITH THE ETHICAL STANDARDS OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION,
CANON 7, CPR.

RESPONDENT WAS FOUND GUILTY OF PROFESSIONAL


A.C. NO. 9018, APRIL 20, 2016
TERESITA P. FAJARDO, COMPLAINANT, V. ATTY. NICANOR C. ALVAREZ, RESPONDENT.

FACTS: AROUND 2009, TERESITA HIRED ATTY. ALVAREZ TO HANDLE SEVERAL


CASES FILED AGAINST HER BEFORE THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN. ATTY.
ALVAREZ WAS THEN WORKING IN THE LEGAL SECTION OF THE NATIONAL CENTER
FOR MENTAL HEALTH. HE ASKED FOR P1,400,000.00 AS ACCEPTANCE FEE.
HOWEVER, ATTY. ALVAREZ DID NOT ENTER HIS APPEARANCE BEFORE THE OFFICE
OF THE OMBUDSMAN NOR SIGN ANY PLEADINGS AND

ATTY. ALVAREZ ASSURED TERESITA THAT HE HAD FRIENDS CONNECTED WITH


THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN WHO COULD HELP WITH DISMISSING HER CASE
FOR A CERTAIN FEE. ATTY. ALVAREZ SAID THAT HE NEEDED TO PAY THE AMOUNT
OF P500,000.00 TO HIS FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES WORKING AT THE OFFICE
OF THE OMBUDSMAN TO HAVE THE CASES AGAINST TERESITA DISMISSED.
HOWEVER, HOWEVER, JUST TWO (2) WEEKS AFTER TERESITA AND ATTY. ALVAREZ
TALKED, THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN ISSUED A RESOLUTION AND DECISION
RECOMMENDING THE FILING OF A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AGAINST TERESITA, AND HER
DISMISSAL FROM SERVICE, RESPECTIVELY
TERESITA THEN DEMANDED THAT ATTY. ALVAREZ RETURN AT LEAST A
PORTION OF THE AMOUNT SHE GAVE. ATTY. ALVAREZ PROMISED TO
RETURN THE AMOUNT TO TERESITA; HOWEVER, HE FAILED TO FULFILL
THIS PROMISE. 9 TERESITA SENT A DEMAND LETTER TO ATTY. ALVAREZ,
WHICH HE FAILED TO HEED.
ON THE OTHER HAND, ATTY. ALVAREZ CLAIMS THAT HE IS LEGAL OFFICER
III OF THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH UNDER THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. HE HAS AUTHORITY TO ENGAGE IN PRIVATE
PRACTICE OF THE PROFESSION. HE REPRESENTED TERESITA IN SEVERAL
CASES BEFORE THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN.
HE CLAIMS THAT TERESITA HAD AN ARRANGEMENT WITH HIM TO
CONSULT HIM WHENEVER A CASE WAS FILED AGAINST HER.
ATTY. ALVAREZ AND TERESITA HAD AN ARRANGEMENT THAT TERESITA WOULD
CONSULT ATTY. ALVAREZ WHENEVER A CASE WAS FILED AGAINST HER.
AFTERWARDS, ATTY. ALVAREZ WOULD EVALUATE THE CASE AND CALL
TERESITA TO DISCUSS HIS FEES IN ACCEPTING AND HANDLING THE CASE.
ON JULY 10, 2009, ATTY. ALVAREZ RECEIVED A CALL FROM TERESITA
REGARDING A MEETING AT SHANGRI-LA MALL TO DISCUSS THE DECISION AND
RESOLUTION SHE RECEIVED FROM THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
DISMISSING HER FROM SERVICE FOR DISHONESTY AND INDICTING HER FOR
VIOLATION OF SECTION 3 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019, RESPECTIVELY.20 ATTY.
ALVAREZ ACCEPTED THE CASE AND ASKED FOR P500,000.00 AS ACCEPTANCE
FEE.21 ACCORDING TO ATTY. ALVAREZ, HE ARRIVED AT THE AMOUNT AFTER
CONSIDERING THE DIFFICULTY OF THE CASE AND THE WORKLOAD THAT
WOULD BE INVOLVED, WHICH WOULD INCLUDE APPEALS BEFORE THE COURT
OF APPEALS AND THIS COURT. HOWEVER, THE FEE IS EXCLUSIVE OF FILING
FEES, APPEARANCE FEES, AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS FEES SUCH AS COSTS
FOR PHOTOCOPYING AND MAILING.
ON THE LAST DAY FOR FILING OF THE PETITION FOR REVIEW OF THE OFFICE
OF THE OMBUDSMAN'S DECISION, TERESITA INFORMED ATTY. ALVAREZ THAT
SHE WAS NO LONGER INTERESTED IN RETAINING ATTY. ALVAREZ'S SERVICES
AS SHE HAD HIRED ATTY. TYRONE CONTADO FROM NUEVA ECIJA, WHO WAS
ATTY. ALVAREZ'S CO-COUNSEL IN THE CASES AGAINST TERESITA.

ON JUNE 1, 2011, TERESITA FILED BEFORE THE OFFICE OF THE BAR


CONFIDANT A VERIFIED COMPLAINT PRAYING FOR THE DISBARMENT OF ATTY.
ALVAREZ.
ISSUE :

WHETHER RESPONDENT ATTY. NICANOR C.


ALVAREZ, AS A LAWYER WORKING IN THE
LEGAL SECTION OF THE NATIONAL CENTER
FOR MENTAL HEALTH UNDER THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, IS AUTHORIZED
TO ENGAGE IN THE PRIVATE PRACTICE OF
LAW
RULING : WE FIND THAT RESPONDENT COMMITTED
UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF HIS PROFESSION.
RESPONDENT PRACTICED LAW EVEN IF HE DID NOT SIGN ANY PLEADING. IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS CASE, HIS
SURREPTITIOUS ACTUATIONS REVEAL ILLICIT INTENT. NOT ONLY DID HE DO UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE, HIS ACTS ALSO
SHOW BADGES OF OFFERING TO PEDDLE INFLUENCE IN THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN

PRACTICE OF LAW MEANS ANY ACTIVITY, IN OR OUT OF COURT, WHICH REQUIRES THE APPLICATION OF LAW, LEGAL
PROCEDURE, KNOWLEDGE, TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE. "TO ENGAGE IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW IS TO PERFORM THOSE ACTS
WHICH ARE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PROFESSION. GENERALLY, TO PRACTICE LAW IS TO GIVE NOTICE OR RENDER ANY
KIND OF SERVICE, WHICH DEVICE OR SERVICE REQUIRES THE USE IN ANY DEGREE OF LEGAL KNOWLEDGE OR SKILL.

UNDER SECTION 7(B)(2) OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6713, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL
STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES, AND MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 17, SERIES OF 1986, 53 GOVERNMENT
OFFICIALS OR EMPLOYEES ARE PROHIBITED FROM ENGAGING IN PRIVATE PRACTICE OF THEIR PROFESSION UNLESS
AUTHORIZED BY THEIR DEPARTMENT HEADS. MORE IMPORTANTLY, IF AUTHORIZED, THE PRACTICE OF PROFESSION MUST
NOT CONFLICT NOR TEND TO CONFLICT WITH THE OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE.

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6713:

SECTION 7. PROHIBITED ACTS AND TRANSACTIONS . - IN ADDITION TO ACTS AND OMISSIONS OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND
EMPLOYEES NOW PRESCRIBED IN THE CONSTITUTION AND EXISTING LAWS, THE FOLLOWING SHALL CONSTITUTE PROHIBITED
ACTS AND TRANSACTIONS OF ANY PUBLIC OFFICIAL AND EMPLOYEE AND ARE HEREBY DECLARED TO BE UNLAWFUL:

(B) OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT AND OTHER ACTIVITIES RELATED THERETO. - PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES DURING THEIR
INCUMBENCY SHALL NOT:

(2) ENGAGE IN THE PRIVATE PRACTICE OF THEIR PROFESSION UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY THE CONSTITUTION OR LAW,
PROVIDED, THAT SUCH PRACTICE WILL NOT CONFLICT OR TEND TO CONFLICT WITH THEIR OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS.
MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 17:
THE AUTHORITY TO GRANT PERMISSION TO ANY OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE SHALL BE
GRANTED BY THE HEAD OF THE MINISTRY OR AGENCY IN ACCORDANCE WITH
SECTION 12, RULE XVIII OF THE REVISED CIVIL SERVICE RULES, WHICH PROVIDES

"SEC. 12. NO OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL ENGAGE DIRECTLY IN ANY PRIVATE


BUSINESS, VOCATION, OR PROFESSION OR BE CONNECTED WITH ANY COMMERCIAL,
CREDIT, AGRICULTURAL, OR INDUSTRIAL UNDERTAKING WITHOUT A WRITTEN
PERMISSION FROM THE HEAD OF DEPARTMENT; PROVIDED, THAT THIS PROHIBITION
WILL BE ABSOLUTE IN THE CASE OF THOSE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES WHOSE
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES REQUIRE THAT THEIR ENTIRE TIME BE AT THE
DISPOSAL OF THE GOVERNMENT: PROVIDED, FURTHER, THAT IF AN EMPLOYEE IS
GRANTED PERMISSION TO ENGAGE IN OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES, THE TIME SO DEVOTED
OUTSIDE OF OFFICE HOURS SHOULD BE FIXED BY THE CHIEF OF THE AGENCY TO THE
END THAT IT WILL NOT IMPAIR IN ANY WAY THE EFFICIENCY OF THE OTHER OFFICER
OR EMPLOYEE: AND PROVIDED, FINALLY, THAT NO PERMISSION IS NECESSARY IN THE
CASE OF INVESTMENTS, MADE BY AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, WHICH DO NOT
INVOLVE ANY REAL OR APPARENT CONFLICT BETWEEN HIS PRIVATE INTERESTS AND
PUBLIC DUTIES, OR IN ANY WAY INFLUENCE HIM IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS DUTIES,
AND HE SHALL NOT TAKE PART IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THE ENTERPRISE OR
BECOME AN OFFICER OR MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
IN THIS CASE, RESPONDENT WAS GIVEN WRITTEN PERMISSION BY THE HEAD OF THE NATIONAL CENTER
FOR MENTAL HEALTH, WHOSE AUTHORITY WAS DESIGNATED UNDER DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 21, SERIES OF 1999.

HOWEVER, BY ASSISTING AND REPRESENTING COMPLAINANT IN A SUIT AGAINST THE OMBUDSMAN AND
AGAINST GOVERNMENT IN GENERAL, RESPONDENT PUT HIMSELF IN A SITUATION OF CONFLICT OF
INTEREST.

RESPONDENT'S PRACTICE OF PROFESSION WAS EXPRESSLY AND IMPLIEDLY CONDITIONED ON THE


REQUIREMENT THAT HIS PRACTICE WILL NOT BE "IN CONFLICT WITH THE INTEREST OF THE CENTER AND
THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT AS A WHOLE.

THERE IS BASIC CONFLICT OF INTEREST HERE. RESPONDENT IS A PUBLIC OFFICER, AN EMPLOYEE OF


GOVERNMENT. THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN IS PART OF GOVERNMENT. BY APPEARING AGAINST THE
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, RESPONDENT IS GOING AGAINST THE SAME EMPLOYER HE SWORE TO
SERVE.

A CONFLICT OF INTEREST EXISTS WHEN AN INCUMBENT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE REPRESENTS ANOTHER


GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE OR PUBLIC OFFICER IN A CASE PENDING BEFORE THE OFFICE OF THE
OMBUDSMAN. THE INCUMBENT OFFICER ULTIMATELY GOES AGAINST GOVERNMENT'S MANDATE UNDER
THE CONSTITUTION TO PROSECUTE PUBLIC OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE COMMITTED ACTS OR
OMISSIONS THAT APPEAR TO BE ILLEGAL, UNJUST, IMPROPER, OR INEFFICIENT. FURTHERMORE, THIS IS
CONSISTENT WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL DIRECTIVE THAT "[P]UBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES MUST, AT
ALL TIMES, BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE [P]EOPLE, SERVE THEM WITH UTMOST RESPONSIBILITY, INTEGRITY,
LOYALTY, AND EFFICIENCY; ACT WITH PATRIOTISM AND JUSTICE, AND LEAD MODEST LIVES."
A.C. NO. 7388, OCTOBER 19, 2016
ATTY. RUTILLO B. PASOK, COMPLAINANT, V. ATTY. FELIPE G. ZAPATOS, RESPONDENT.

FACTS:
ATTY. FELIPE G. ZAPATOS WAS THE FORMER PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IN OZAMIS
CITY AND RETIRED AS SUCH. BUT BEFORE HIS APPOINTMENT AS RTC JUDGE, HE WAS THE PRESIDING
JUDGE OF THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN TANGUB CITY WHERE HE PRESIDED OVER A FORCIBLE ENTRY
CASE OF RONALD RUPINTA VS. SPS. PACIFICO CONOL AND MALINDA CONOL." ATTY. PASOK WAS THE
COUNSEL OF RUPINTA AND THE DECISION WAS RENDERED AGAINST HIM BY RESPONDENT.

24TH OF NOVEMBER 1994 WHILE RESPONDENT WAS STILL THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF MTCC, ANOTHER CIVIL
COMPLAINT WAS FILED BY RONALD RUPINTA WITH HIS MOTHER, ANASTACIA RUPINTA, AS CO-PLAINTIFF,
AGAINST CARMEN ALFIRE AND PACIFICO CONOL FOR DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF DEED OF ABSOLUTE
SALE, RECONVEYANCE OF OWNERSHIP, ACCOUNTING OF RENTS AND FRUITS AND ATTORNEY'S FEES AND
DAMAGES WITH PETITION TOR THE APPOINTMENT OF A RECEIVER. ATTY. PASOK REPRESENTED THE
PLAINTIFFS AND THE COMPLAINT WAS HEARD BY RESPONDENT AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF MTCC, TANGUB
CITY. WHEN THE CASE WAS ALREADY SCHEDULED FOR TRIAL ON THE MERITS, RESPONDENT SUSPENDED
THE SCHEDULED HEARING "MOTU PROPRIO" FOR REASON THAT THERE WAS STILL AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES
RAISED BY THE DEFENDANTS, LIKE THE ISSUE OF LACK OF JURISDICTION WHICH PROMPTED THE PLAINTIFF
TO FILE A MANIFESTATION AND MEMORANDUM WHICH MADE RESPONDENT TO INHIBIT HIMSELF FROM
TRYING THE CASE.
RESPONDENT WAS APPOINTED PRESIDING JUDGE OF RTC BRANCH 35,
OZAMIS CITY. SOMETIME ON 23 MARCH 2006, THE NEWLY APPOINTED
PRESIDING JUDGE OF MTCC 10TH JUDICIAL REGION, TANGUB CITY, JUDGE
RODOLFO L. VAPOR, ISSUED AN ORDER INFORMING THE PARTIES ON THE
AFORESAID CASE WHETHER THEY WERE AMENABLE FOR HIM TO RENDER
JUDGMENT ON THE CASE OF WHICH COMPLAINANT'S CLIENT AGREED AND
FILED THEIR MEMORANDUM.

HOWEVER, COMPLAINANT WAS SURPRISED WHEN HE RECEIVED A


MANIFESTATION FROM THE DEFENDANTS THAT THEY ARE NOW
REPRESENTED BY RESPONDENT, THE FORMER JUDGE WHO ONCE
PRESIDED OVER THE AFORESAID CASE.

PLAINTIFFS, THROUGH COMPLAINANT, FILED THEIR MEMORANDUM WITHIN 30


DAYS. HOWEVER, JUDGE VAPOR, INSTEAD OF RENDERING JUDGMENT BASED
ON THE MERITS AND EVIDENCES (SIC) ALREADY PRESENTED, ISSUED AN
ORDER DATED 26 MAY 2006, DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT ON THE GROUND
THAT THE COMPLAINT BEING DENOMINATED AS AN ANNULMENT OF A DEED
OF SALE, IS BY NATURE A CLAIM BEYOND PECUNIARY ESTIMATION, HENCE
THE COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION.
THE DECISION DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT WAS APPEALED TO THE RTC, BRANCH 16,
TANGUB CITY PRESIDED BY JUDGE SYLVIA SINGIDAS-MACHACON WHO DIRECTED THE
APPELLANT TO SUBMIT THEIR MEMORANDUM. DESPITE THE WARNING OF THE COMPLAINANT
THAT THE APPEARANCE OF RESPONDENT IS HIGHLY ILLEGAL, IMMORAL, UNETHICAL AND
ADVERSE TO THE INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC, RESPONDENT, BEING THE PREVIOUS PRESIDING
JUDGE, CONTINUED ON WITH HIS APPEARANCE FOR THE APPELLEES BY FILING A MOTION
FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO SUBMIT MEMORANDUM. ON APPEAL, JUDGE MACHACON,
REVERSED THE DECISION OF JUDGE VAPOR SUSTAINING THE STAND OF THE CLIENT OF
RESPONDENT THAT THE ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OF THE CASE IS VESTED WITH THE MTCC,
TANGUB CITY.

WHILE THE AFORESAID APPEALED CASE WAS PENDING BEFORE JUDGE MACHACON,
COMPLAINANT FILED A MOTION TO EXPUNGE FROM THE COURT RECORDS THE MEMORANDUM
FILED BY THE DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES THROUGH THEIR COUNSEL EX-MTC AND RTC JUDGE
FELIPE G. ZAPATOS, ON THE GROUND THAT AS THE FORMER PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE MTCC,
TANGUB CITY, HE IS, DISQUALIFIED TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL FOR THE DEFENDANTS.
RESPONDENT RAISED AS HIS DEFENSE THAT HE CANNOT BE CHARGED NOR PENALIZED OF
ANY VIOLATION AS THE COUNSEL OF THE DEFENDANTS BECAUSE WHEN HE RENDERED THE
FIRST JUDGMENT IN THE FORCIBLE ENTRY CASE, HE BELIEVES HE WAS COMPLETELY IN
ABSOLUTE NEUTRALITY. RESPONDENT, LIKEWISE, JUSTIFIED HIS APPEARANCE AS COUNSEL
FOR THE DEFENDANTS ON THE GROUND THAT HE IS ENCOUNTERING EXTREME POVERTY DUE
TO THE ABSENCE OF ADEQUATE INCOME AND AS A SOURCE OF LIVELIHOOD HE WAS
CONSTRAINED TO HANDLE THE AFORESAID CASE.
ISSUE : WHETHER ATTY.
FELIPE G. ZAPATOS
GUILTY OF VIOLATING
RULE 6.03 OF THE CODE OF
PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY
RULING : YES
RULE 6.03 - A LAWYER SHALL NOT, AFTER LEAVING GOVERNMENT SERVICE, ACCEPT ENGAGEMENT OR EMPLOYMENT IN
CONNECTION WITH ANY MATTER IN WHICH HE HAD INTERVENED WHILE IN SAID SERVICE.

THIS RULE, ACCORDING TO PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT V. SANDIGANBAYAN,8 TRACES ITS LINEAGE
TO CANON 36 OF THE CANONS OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS, VIZ.:

36. RETIREMENT FROM JUDICIAL POSITION OR PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT

A LAWYER SHOULD NOT ACCEPT EMPLOYMENT AS AN ADVOCATE IN ANY MATTER UPON THE MERITS OF WHICH HE
HAS PREVIOUSLY ACTED IN A JUDICIAL CAPACITY.

A LAWYER, HAVING ONCE HELD PUBLIC OFFICE OR HAVING BEEN IN THE PUBLIC EMPLOY SHOULD NOT, AFTER HIS
RETIREMENT, ACCEPT EMPLOYMENT IN CONNECTION WITH ANY MATTER HE HAS INVESTIGATED OR PASSED UPON
WHILE IN SUCH OFFICE OR EMPLOY.

TO COME WITHIN THE AMBIT OF RULE 6.03 OF THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, THE RESPONDENT MUST BE
SHOWN TO HAVE ACCEPTED THE ENGAGEMENT OR EMPLOYMENT IN RELATION TO A MATTER THAT, BY VIRTUE OF HIS
JUDICIAL OFFICE, HE HAD PREVIOUSLY EXERCISED POWER TO INFLUENCE THE OUTCOME OF THE PROCEEDINGS.9 THAT
SHOWING WAS SUFFICIENTLY MADE HEREIN. THE RESPONDENT, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE JUDGE OF THE MTCC OF TANGUB
CITY, PRESIDED OVER THE CASE BEFORE EVENTUALLY INHIBITING HIMSELF FROM FURTHER PROCEEDINGS. HIS ACT OF
PRESIDING CONSTITUTED INTERVENTION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE RULE WHOSE TEXT DOES NOT MENTION THE
DEGREE OR LENGTH OF THE INTERVENTION IN THE PARTICULAR CASE OR MATTER. IT IS ALSO PLAIN AND UNQUESTIONABLE
THAT CANON 36, SUPRA, FROM WHICH THE CANON WAS DERIVED, PROHIBITED HIM AS A FORMER MEMBER OF THE BENCH
FROM HANDLING ANY CASE UPON WHICH HE HAD PREVIOUSLY ACTED IN A JUDICIAL CAPACITY. IN THIS CONTEXT, HE NOT
ONLY EXERCISED THE POWER TO INFLUENCE THE OUTCOME OF THE PROCEEDINGS BUT ALSO HAD A DIRECT HAND IN
BRINGING ABOUT THE RESULT OF THE CASE BY VIRTUE OF HIS HAVING THE POWER TO RULE ON IT.
THE RESPONDENT HAS PLEADED FOR THE SYMPATHY OF THE COURT TOWARDS HIS
PLIGHT OF "POVERTY." ALTHOUGH WE CAN UNDERSTAND HIS CURRENT SITUATION
AND SYMPHATIZE WITH HIM, HIS ACTUATIONS CANNOT BE OVERLOOKED BECAUSE
THEY CONTRAVENED THE EXPRESS LETTER AND SPIRIT OF RULE 6.03 OF THE CODE
OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY . IN ANY CASE, HIS REPRESENTING THE
DEFENDANTS IN THE CIVIL CASES WAS NOT THE ONLY WAY BY WHICH HE COULD
IMPROVE HIS DIRE FINANCIAL SITUATION. IT WOULD NOT BE DIFFICULT FOR HIM,
BEING A LAWYER AND A FORMER MEMBER OF THE BENCH, TO ACCEPT CLIENTS
WHOM HE COULD ETHICALLY REPRESENT IN A PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY. IF THE
ALTERNATIVES OPEN TO HIM WERE NOT ADEQUATE TO HIS LIKING, HE HAD OTHER
RECOURSES, LIKE SERVING AS A NOTARY PUBLIC UNDER A VALID COMMISSION. HIS
TAKING ON OF THE DEFENDANTS' CIVIL CASES DESPITE HIS PREVIOUS DIRECT
INTERVENTION THEREON WHILE STILL A MEMBER OF THE BENCH WAS
IMPERMISSIBLE. HE SHOULD HAVE MAINTAINED HIS ETHICAL INTEGRITY BY
AVOIDING THE ENGAGEMENT BY THE DEFENDANTS.

WHEREFORE, THE COURT FINDS AND PRONOUNCES ATTY. FELIPE G. ZAPATOS


GUILTY OF VIOLATING RULE 6.03 OF CANON 6 OF THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY, AND SUSPENDS HIM FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW FOR A PERIOD OF
ONE (1) MONTH EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIPT OF THIS DECISION, WITH
WARNING THAT A SIMILAR OFFENSE BY HIM WILL BE DEALT WITH MORE SEVERELY.