You are on page 1of 87

1

REPUBLIC ACT No. 6397


AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE INTEGRATION OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR,
AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR.
Section 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme
Court may adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar
under such conditions as it shall see fit in order to raise the standards of the
legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the bar to
discharge its public responsibility more effectively.
Section 2. The sum of five hundred thousand pesos is hereby appropriated,
out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to carry
out the purposes of this Act. Thereafter, such sums as may be necessary for
the same purpose shall be included in the annual appropriations for the
Supreme Court.
Section 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Approved: September 17, 1971
2/7/00 4:43 PM
SECOND DIVISION
[A.C No. 4749. January 20, 2000]
SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR., complainant, vs. ATTY. FRANCISCO R.
LLAMAS, respondent.
DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a complaint for misrepresentation and non-payment of bar
membership dues filed against respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas.
In a letter-complaint to this Court dated February 8, 1997, complainant
Soliman M. Santos, Jr., himself a member of the bar, alleged that:
On my oath as an attorney, I wish to bring to your attention and
appropriate sanction the matter of Atty. Francisco R. Llamas who,
for a number of years now, has not indicated the proper PTR and
IBP O.R. Nos. and data (date & place of issuance) in his
1

pleadings. If at all, he only indicates "IBP Rizal 259060" but he


has been using this for at least three years already, as shown by
the following attached sample pleadings in various courts in
1995, 1996 and 1997: (originals available)

Anne "Ex-Parte Manifestation and Submission"


x
dated December 1, 1995 in Civil Case No. QA...... 95-25253, RTC, Br. 224, QC
.-

Anne "Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation Motion" dated


x
November 13, 1996 in Sp. Proc. No. 95-030,
B...... RTC Br. 259 (not 257), Paraaque, MM
.-

Anne
x
C......
.-

"An Urgent and Respectful Plea for extension


of Time to File Required Comment and
Opposition" dated January 17, 1997 in CA-G.R.
SP (not Civil Case) No. 42286, CA 6th Div.

This matter is being brought in the context of Rule 138, Section 1


which qualifies that only a duly admitted member of the bar
"who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law".
There is also Rule 139-A, Section 10 which provides that "default
in the payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant
suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in
such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of
the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys."
Among others, I seek clarification (e.g. a certification) and
appropriate action on the bar standing of Atty. Francisco R.
Llamas both with the Bar Confidant and with the IBP, especially
its Rizal Chapter of which Atty. Llamas purports to be a
member. Jksm
Please note that while Atty. Llamas indicates "IBP Rizal 259060"
sometimes, he does not indicate any PTR for payment of
professional tax.

Under the Rules, particularly Rule 138, Sections 27 and 28,


suspension of an attorney may be done not only by the Supreme
Court but also by the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court
(thus, we are also copy furnishing some of these courts).
Finally, it is relevant to note the track record of Atty. Francisco R.
Llamas, as shown by:
1........his dismissal as Pasay City Judge per Supreme Court
Admin. Matter No. 1037-CJ En Banc Decision on October 28, 1981
( in SCRA )
2........his conviction for estafa per Decision dated June 30, 1994
in Crim. Case No. 11787, RTC Br. 66, Makati, MM (see attached
copy of the Order dated February 14, 1995 denying the motion
for reconsideration of the conviction which is purportedly on
appeal in the Court of Appeals).
Attached to the letter-complaint were the pleadings dated December 1,
1995, November 13, 1996, and January 17, 1997 referred to by complainant,
bearing, at the end thereof, what appears to be respondents signature
above his name, address and the receipt number "IBP Rizal 259060." [1] Also
attached was a copy of the order,[2] dated February 14, 1995, issued by Judge
Eriberto U. Rosario, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, Makati, denying
respondents motion for reconsideration of his conviction, in Criminal Case
No. 11787, for violation of Art. 316, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code.
On April 18, 1997, complainant filed a certification[3] dated March 18, 1997,
by the then president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Atty. Ida R.
Macalinao-Javier, that respondents "last payment of his IBP dues was in
1991. Since then he has not paid or remitted any amount to cover his
membership fees up to the present."
On July 7, 1997, respondent was required to comment on the complaint
within ten days from receipt of notice, after which the case was referred to
the IBP for investigation, report and recommendation. In his commentmemorandum,[4] dated June 3, 1998, respondent alleged:[5]
3. That with respect to the complainants absurd claim that for
using in 1995, 1996 and 1997 the same O.R. No. 259060 of the
Rizal IBP, respondent is automatically no longer a member in
good standing.
Precisely, as cited under the context of Rule 138, only an
admitted member of the bar who is in good standing is entitled
to practice law.
3

The complainants basis in claiming that the undersigned was no


longer in good standing, were as above cited, the October 28,
1981 Supreme Court decision of dismissal and the February 14,
1995 conviction for Violation of Article 316 RPC, concealment of
encumbrances. Chief
As above pointed out also, the Supreme Court dismissal decision
was set aside and reversed and respondent was even promoted
from City Judge of Pasay City to Regional Trial Court Judge of
Makati, Br. 150.
Also as pointed out, the February 14, 1995 decision in Crim. Case
No. 11787 was appealed to the Court of Appeals and is still
pending.
Complainant need not even file this complaint if indeed the
decision of dismissal as a Judge was never set aside and
reversed, and also had the decision of conviction for a light
felony, been affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Undersigned
himself would surrender his right or privilege to practice law.
4. That complainant capitalizes on the fact that respondent had
been delinquent in his dues.
Undersigned since 1992 have publicly made it clear per his
Income Tax Return, up to the present, that he had only a limited
practice of law. In fact, in his Income Tax Return, his principal
occupation is a farmer of which he is. His 30 hectares orchard
and pineapple farm is located at Calauan, Laguna.
Moreover, and more than anything else, respondent being a
Senior Citizen since 1992, is legally exempt under Section 4 of
Rep. Act 7432 which took effect in 1992, in the payment of taxes,
income taxes as an example. Being thus exempt, he honestly
believe in view of his detachment from a total practice of law,
but only in a limited practice, the subsequent payment by him of
dues with the Integrated Bar is covered by such exemption. In
fact, he never exercised his rights as an IBP member to vote and
be voted upon.
Nonetheless, if despite such honest belief of being covered by
the exemption and if only to show that he never in any manner
wilfully and deliberately failed and refused compliance with such
dues, he is willing at any time to fulfill and pay all past dues even
with interests, charges and surcharges and penalties. He is ready
to tender such fulfillment or payment, not for allegedly saving his
4

skin as again irrelevantly and frustratingly insinuated for


vindictive purposes by the complainant, but as an honest act of
accepting reality if indeed it is reality for him to pay such dues
despite his candor and honest belief in all food faith, to the
contrary. Esmsc
On December 4, 1998, the IBP Board of Governors passed a
resolution[6] adopting and approving the report and recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner which found respondent guilty, and
recommended his suspension from the practice of law for three months and
until he pays his IBP dues. Respondent moved for a reconsideration of the
decision, but this was denied by the IBP in a resolution,[7] dated April 22,
1999. Hence, pursuant to Rule 139-B, 12(b) of the Rules of Court, this case
is here for final action on the decision of the IBP ordering respondents
suspension for three months.
The findings of IBP Commissioner Alfredo Sanz are as follows:
On the first issue, Complainant has shown "respondents nonindication of the proper IBP O.R. and PTR numbers in his
pleadings (Annexes "A", "B" and "C" of the letter complaint, more
particularly his use of "IBP Rizal 259060 for at least three years."
The records also show a "Certification dated March 24, 1997 from
IBP Rizal Chapter President Ida R. Makahinud Javier that
respondents last payment of his IBP dues was in 1991."
While these allegations are neither denied nor categorically
admitted by respondent, he has invoked and cited that "being a
Senior Citizen since 1992, he is legally exempt under Section 4 of
Republic Act No. 7432 which took effect in 1992 in the payment
of taxes, income taxes as an example."
....
The above cited provision of law is not applicable in the present
case. In fact, respondent admitted that he is still in the practice
of law when he alleged that the "undersigned since 1992 have
publicly made it clear per his Income tax Return up to the
present time that he had only a limited practice of law." (par. 4 of
Respondents Memorandum).
Therefore respondent is not exempt from paying his yearly dues
to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Esmmis

On the second issue, complainant claims that respondent has


misled the court about his standing in the IBP by using the same
IBP O.R. number in his pleadings of at least six years and
therefore liable for his actions. Respondent in his memorandum
did not discuss this issue.
First. Indeed, respondent admits that since 1992, he has engaged in law
practice without having paid his IBP dues. He likewise admits that, as
appearing in the pleadings submitted by complainant to this Court, he
indicated "IBP-Rizal 259060" in the pleadings he filed in court, at least for the
years 1995, 1996, and 1997, thus misrepresenting that such was his IBP
chapter membership and receipt number for the years in which those
pleadings were filed. He claims, however, that he is only engaged in a
"limited" practice and that he believes in good faith that he is exempt from
the payment of taxes, such as income tax, under R.A. No. 7432, 4 as a
senior citizen since 1992.
Rule 139-A provides:
Sec. 9. Membership dues. - Every member of the Integrated Bar
shall pay such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall
determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. A fixed sum
equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the collections from each
Chapter shall be set aside as a Welfare Fund for disabled
members of the Chapter and the compulsory heirs of deceased
members thereof.
Sec. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. - Subject to the
provisions of Section 12 of this Rule, default in the payment of
annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of
membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment
for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the
delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys.
In accordance with these provisions, respondent can engage in the practice
of law only by paying his dues, and it does not matter that his practice is
"limited." While it is true that R.A. No. 7432, 4 grants senior citizens
"exemption from the payment of individual income taxes: provided, that their
annual taxable income does not exceed the poverty level as determined by
the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for that year," the
exemption does not include payment of membership or association dues.
Second. By indicating "IBP-Rizal 259060" in his pleadings and thereby
misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had paid his IBP dues to
the Rizal Chapter, respondent is guilty of violating the Code of Professional
Responsibility which provides:
6

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,


immoral or deceitful conduct.
CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE
INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION, AND
SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR. Esmso
CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD
FAITH TO THE COURT.
Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to
the doing of any court; nor shall he mislead or allow the court to
be misled by any artifice.
Respondents failure to pay his IBP dues and his misrepresentation in the
pleadings he filed in court indeed merit the most severe penalty. However, in
view of respondents advanced age, his express willingness to pay his dues
and plea for a more temperate application of the law,[8] we believe the
penalty of one year suspension from the practice of law or until he has paid
his IBP dues, whichever is later, is appropriate.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas is SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR, or until he has paid his IBP dues, whichever
is later. Let a copy of this decision be attached to Atty. Llamas personal
record in the Office of the Bar Confidant and copies be furnished to all
chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and to all courts in the land.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ.,
concur. ULANDU

[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]

Rollo, pp. 4-9.


Id., p. 11.
Id., p. 13.
Records, pp. 35-42.
Id., pp. 39-40.
Records, p. 57.
Rollo, p. 38.
Comment-Memorandum, pp. 6-7; Records, pp. 40-41.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
A.M. No. 491 October 6, 1989
IN THE MATTER OF THE INQUIRY INTO THE 1989 ELECTIONS OF THE
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES.

PER CURIAM:
In the election of the national officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
(hereafter "IBP") held on June 3, 1989 at the Philippine International
Convention Center (or PICC), the following were elected by the House of
Delegates (composed of 120 chapter presidents or their alternates) and
proclaimed as officers:

NAME

POSITION

Atty. Violeta Drilon

President

Atty. Bella Tiro

Executive Vice-President

Atty. Salvador Lao

Chairman, House of Delegates

Atty. Renato F.
Ronquillo

Secretary, House of Delegates

Atty. Teodoro Quicoy

Treasurer, House of Delegates

Atty. Oscar Badelles

Sergeant at Arms, House of Delegates

Atty. Justiniano Cortes

Governor & Vice-President for Northern


Luzon

Atty. Ciriaco Atienza

Governor & Vice-President for Central


Luzon

Atty. Mario Jalandoni

Governor & Vice-President for Metro


Manila

Atty. Jose Aguilar


Grapilon

Governor & Vice-President for Southern


Luzon

Atty. Teodoro Almine

Governor & Vice-President for Bicolandia

Atty. Porfirio Siyangco

Governor & Vice-President for Eastern


Visayas

Atty. Ricardo Teruel

Governor & Vice-President for Western


Visayas

Atty. Gladys Tiongco

Governor & Vice-President for Eastern


Mindanao

Atty. Simeon
Datumanong

Governor & Vice-President for Western


Mindanao

10

The newly-elected officers were set to take the their oath of office on July
4,1989, before the Supreme Court en banc. However,disturbed by the
widespread reports received by some members of the Court from lawyers
who had witnessed or participated in the proceedings and the adverse
comments published in the columns of some newspapers about the intensive
electioneering and overspending by the candidates, led by the main
protagonists for the office of president of the association, namely, Attorneys
Nereo Paculdo, Ramon Nisce, and Violeta C. Drilon, the alleged use of
government planes, and the officious intervention of certain public officials to
influence the voting, all of which were done in violation of the IBP By-Laws
which prohibit such activities. The Supreme Courten banc, exercising its
power of supervision over the Integrated Bar, resolved to suspend the oathtaking of the IBP officers-elect and to inquire into the veracity of the reports.
It should be stated at the outset that the election process itself (i.e. the
voting and the canvassing of votes on June 3, 1989) which was conducted by
the "IBP Comelec," headed by Justice Reynato Puno of the Court of Appeals,
was unanimously adjudged by the participants and observers to be above
board. For Justice Puno took it upon himself to device safeguards to prevent
tampering with, and marking of, the ballots.
What the Court viewed with considerable concern was the reported
electioneering and extravagance that characterized the campaign conducted
by the three candidates for president of the IBP.
I. MEDIA ACCOUNT OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN.
Emil Jurado, in his column "IBP Group Questions Drilon Election" (Manila
Standard, Sunday, June 17, 1989), Luis Mauricio, in two successive columns:
"The Invertebrated Bar" (Malaya, June 10, 1989) and "The Disintegrating Bar"
(Malaya, June 20, 1989), and Teodoro Locsin Jr. in an article, entitled "PamPam" (The Philippines Free Press, July 8,1989), and the editorial, entitled
'Wrong Forum" of the Daily Globe (June 8, 1989), were unanimously critical of
the "vote-buying and pressure tactics" allegedly employed in the campaign
by the three principal candidates: Attys. Violeta C. Drilon, Nereo Paculdo and
Ramon Nisce who reportedly "poured heart, soul, money and influence to win
over the 120 IBP delegates."
Mr. Jurado mentioned the resentment of Atty. Drilon's rivals who felt at a
disadvantage because Atty. Drilon allegedly used PNB helicopters to visit farflung IBP chapters on the pretext of distributing Bigay Puso donations, and
she had the added advantage of having regional directors and labor arbiters
of the Department of Labor and Employment (who had been granted leaves
of absence by her husband, the Labor Secretary) campaigning for her.
Jurado's informants alleged that there was rampant vote-buying by some
members of the U.P. Sigma Rho Fraternity (Secretary Drilon's fraternity), as
10

11

well as by some lawyers of ACCRA (Angara, Concepcion, Cruz, Regala and


Abello Law Office) where Mrs. Drilon is employed, and that government
positions were promised to others by the office of the Labor Secretary.
Mr. Mauricio in his column wrote about the same matters and, in addition,
mentioned "talk of personnel of the Department of Labor, especially
conciliators and employers, notably Chinese Filipinos, giving aid and comfort
to her (Atty. Drilon's) candidacy," the billeting of out-of-town delegates in
plush hotels where they were reportedly "wined and dined continuously,
womened and subjected to endless haggling over the price of their votes x x
x" which allegedly "ranged from Pl5,000 to P20,000, and, on the day of the
election, some twelve to twenty votes which were believed crucial,
appreciated to P50,000."
In his second column, Mr. Mauricio mentioned "how a top official of the
judiciary allegedly involved himself in IBP politics on election day by
closeting himself with campaigners as they plotted their election strategy in
a room of the PICC (the Philippine International Convention Center where the
convention/election were held) during a recess x x x."
Mr. Locsin in his column and editorial substantially re-echoed Mauricio's
reports with some embellishments.
II. THE COURT'S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE.
Responding to the critical reports, the Court, in its en banc resolution dated
June 15, 1989, directed the outgoing and incoming members of the IBP Board
of Governors, the principal officers and Chairman of the House of Delegates
to appear before it on Tuesday, June 20, 1989, at 2:00 o'clock p.m., and there
to inform the Court on the veracity of the aforementioned reports and to
recommend, for the consideration of the Court, appropriate approaches to
the problem of confirming and strengthening adherence to the fundamental
principles of the IBP.
In that resolution the Court "call[ed] to mind that a basic postulate of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), heavily stressed at the time of its
organization and commencement of existence, is that the IBP shall be nonpolitical in character and that there shall be no lobbying nor campaigning in
the choice of members of the Board of Governors and of the House of
Delegates, and of the IBP officers, national, or regional, or chapter. The
fundamental assumption was that officers, delegates and governors would
be chosen on the basis of professional merit and willingness and ability to
serve."
The resolution went on to say that the "Court is deeply disturbed to note that
in connection with the election of members of the Board of Governors and of
11

12

the House of Delegates, there is a widespread belief, based on reports


carried by media and transmitted as well by word of mouth, that there was
extensive and intensive campaigning by candidates for IBP positions as well
as expenditure of considerable sums of money by candidates, including votebuying, direct or indirect."
The venerable retired Supreme Court Justice and IBP President Emeritus, Jose
B.L. Reyes, attended the dialogue, upon invitation of the Court, to give
counsel and advice. The meeting between the Court en banc on the one
hand, and the outgoing and in coming IBP officers on the other, was an
informal one. Thereafter, the Court resolved to conduct a formal inquiry to
determine whether the prohibited acts and activities enumerated in the IBP
By-Laws were committed before and during the 1989 elections of IBP's
national officers.
The Court en banc formed a committee and designated Senior Associate
Justice Andres R. Narvasa, as Chairman, and Associate Justices Teodoro R.
Padilla, Emilio A. Gancayco, Abraham F. Sarmiento, and Carolina C. GrioAquino, as members, to conduct the inquiry. The Clerk of Court, Atty. Daniel
Martinez, acted as the committee's Recording Secretary.
A total of forty-nine (49) witnesses appeared and testified in response to
subpoenas issued by the Court to shed light on the conduct of the elections.
The managers of three five-star hotels the Philippine Plaza, the Hyatt, and
the Holiday Inn where the three protagonists (Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo)
allegedly set up their respective headquarters and where they billeted their
supporters were summoned. The officer of the Philippine National Bank and
the Air Transport Office were called to enlighten the Court on the charge that
an IBP presidential candidate and the members of her slate used PNB planes
to ferry them to distant places in their campaign to win the votes of
delegates. The Philippine Airlines officials were called to testify on the charge
that some candidates gave free air fares to delegates to the convention.
Officials of the Labor Department were also called to enable the Court to
ascertain the truth of the reports that labor officials openly campaigned or
worked for the election of Atty. Drilon.
The newspaper columnists, Messrs. Luis Mauricio, Jesus Bigornia and Emil
Jurado were subpoenaed to determine the nature of their sources of
information relative to the IBP elections. Their stories were based, they said,
on letters, phone calls and personal interviews with persons who claimed to
have knowledge of the facts, but whom they, invoking the Press Freedom
Law, refused to identify.
The Committee has since submitted its Report after receiving, and analyzing
and assessing evidence given by such persons as were perceived to have
12

13

direct and personal knowledge of the relevant facts; and the Court, after
deliberating thereon, has Resolved to accept and adopt the same.
III. PROHIBITED ACTS AND PRACTICES UNDER IBP BY-LAWS.
Article I, Section 4 of the IBP By-Laws emphasizes the "strictly non-political"
character of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, thus:
"SEC. 4. Non-political Bar. The Integrated Bar is strictly nonpolitical, and every activity tending to impair this basic feature is
strictly prohibited and shall be penalized accordingly. No lawyer
holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office
in the Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality
thereof shall be eligible for election or appointment to any
position in the Integrated Bar or any Chapter thereof. A Delegate,
Governor, officer or employee of the Integrated Bar, or an officer
or employee of any Chapter thereof shall be considered ipso
facto resigned from his position as of the moment he files his
certificate of candidacy for any elective public office or accepts
appointment to any judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office
in the Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality
thereof. "'
Section 14 of the same By-Laws enumerates the prohibited acts
relative to IBP elections:
SEC. 14. Prohibited acts and practices relative to elections.
The following acts and practices relative to election are
prohibited, whether committed by a candidate for any elective
office in the Integrated Bar or by any other member, directly or
indirectly, in any form or manner, by himself or through another
person:
(a) Distribution, except on election day, of election campaign
material;
(b) Distribution, on election day, of election campaign material
other than a statement of the biodata of a candidate on not more
than one page of a legal-size sheet of paper; or causing
distribution of such statement to be done by persons other than
those authorized by the officer presiding at the elections;
(c) Campaigning for or against any candidate, while holding an
elective, judicial, quasi-judicial or prosecutory office in the
Government or any political subdivision, agency or
instrumentality thereof;
13

14

(d) Formation of tickets, single slates, or combinations of


candidates, as well as the advertisement thereof;
(e) For the purpose of inducing or influencing a member to
withhold his vote, or to vote for or against a candidate, (1)
payment of the dues or other indebtedness of any member; (2)
giving of food, drink, entertainment, transportation or any article
of value, or any similar consideration to any person; or (3)
making a promise or causing an expenditure to be made, offered
or promised to any person."
Section 12(d) of the By-Laws prescribes sanctions for violations of the above
rules:
(d) Any violation of the rules governing elections or commission
of any of the prohibited acts and practices defined in Section 14
prohibited Acts and Practices relative to elections) of the by-laws
of the Integrated Bar shall be a ground for the disqualification of
a candidate or his removal from office if elected, without
prejudice to the imposition of sanctions upon any erring member
pursuant to the By-laws of the Integrated Bar.
At the formal investigation which was conducted by the investigating
committee, the following violations were established:
(1) Prohibited campaigning and solicitation of votes by the candidates for
president, executive vice-president, the officers of candidate the House of
Delegates and Board of Governors.
The three candidates for IBP President Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo began
travelling around the country to solicit the votes of delegates as early as
April 1989. Upon the invitation of IBP President, Leon Garcia, Jr. (t.s.n., July
13,1989, p. 4), they attended the Bench and Bar dialogues held in Cotabato
in April 1989 (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, p. 123), in Tagaytay City, Pampanga, and
in Baguio City (during the conference of chapter presidents of Northern
Luzon (t.s.n., July 3,1989, p. 113; t.s.n., July 10, p. 41; t.s.n., July 13, p. 47)
where they announced their candidacies and met the chapter presidents.
Atty. Nisce admitted that he went around the country seeking the help of IBP
chapter officers, soliciting their votes, and securing their written
endorsements. He personally hand-carried nomination forms and requested
the chapter presidents and delegates to fill up and sign the forms to
formalize their commitment to his nomination for IBP President. He started
campaigning and distributing the nomination forms in March 1989 after the
chapter elections which determined the membership of the House of
Delegates composed of the 120 chapter presidents (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, pp.
14

15

82-86). He obtained forty (40) commitments. He submitted photocopies of


his nomination forms which read:
"Nomination Form

I Join in Nominating
RAMON M. NISCE
as
National President of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines

______________ _______________
Chapter Signature"
Among those who signed the nomination forms were: Onofre P. Tejada,
Candido P. Balbin, Jr., Conizado V. Posadas, Quirico L. Quirico Ernesto S.
Salun-at, Gloria C. Agunos, Oscar B. Bernardo, Feliciano F. Wycoco, Amor L.
Ibarra, Jose M. Atienza, Jose N. Contreras, Romeo T. Mendoza, Leo C.
Medialdea, Jr., Paulino G. Clarin, Julius Z. Neil, Roem J. Arbolado Democrito M.
Perez, Abelardo Fermin, Diosdado B. Villarin, Jr., Daniel C. Macaraeg, Confesor
R. Sansano Dionisio E. Bala, Jr., Emesto A. Amores, Romeo V. Pefianco,
Augurio C. Pamintuan, Atlee T. Viray, Ceferino C. Cabanas, Jose S. Buban,
Diosdado Z. Reloj, Jr., Cesar C. Viola, Oscar C. Fernandez, Ricardo B. Teruel
Rodrigo R. Flores, Sixto Marella, Jr., Arsenio C. Villalon, Renato F. Ronquillo,
Antonio G. Nalapo Romualdo A. Din Jr., Jose P. Icaonapo Jr., and Manuel S.
Person.
Atty. Nisce admitted that he reserved rooms at the Hyatt Hotel based on the
commitments he had obtained (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, pp. 82-85).
Unfortunately, despite those formal commitments, he obtained only 14 votes
in the election (t.s.n., June 29, 1 989, p. 86). The reason, he said, is that.
some of those who had committed their votes to him were "manipulated,
intimidated, pressured, or remunerated" (t.s.n., June 29,1989, pp. 8695;
Exhibit "M-4-Nisce," t.s.n., July 4, 1989, pp. 100-1 04).
(2) Use of PNB plane in the campaign.
15

16

The records of the Philippine National Bank (Exhibit C-1-Crudo and Exhibit C2-Crudo) show that Secretary Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr. of the Department of
Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) borrowed a plane from the
Philippine National Bank for his Bicol CORD (Cabinet Officers for Regional
Development) Assistant, Undersecretary Antonio Tria. The plane manifest
(Exh. C-2-Crudo) listed Atty. Violeta Drilon, Arturo Tusi (Tiu), Assistant
Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Tony Tria, Atty.
Gladys Tiongco, and Amy Wong. Except for Tony Tria, the rest of the
passengers were IBP candidates.
Atty. Drilon admitted that she "hitched" a ride on a PNB plane. She said that
she was informed by Atty. Tiu about the availability of a PNB plane (t.s.n., July
3,1989, pp. 116-118).
Atty. Tiu, who ran for the position of IBP executive vice-president in the Drilon
ticket, testified that sometime in May 1989 he failed to obtain booking from
the Philippine Airlines for the projected trip of his group to Bicol. He went to
the DENR allegedly to follow up some papers for a client. While at the DENR,
he learned that Assistant Secretary Tria was going on an official business in
Bicol for Secretary Fulgencio Factoran and that he would be taking a PNB
plane. As Assistant Secretary Tria is his fraternity brother, he asked if he,
together with the Drilon group, could hitch a ride on the plane to Bicol. His
request was granted. Their purpose in going to Bicol was to assess their
chances in the IBP elections. The Drilon company talked with the IBP chapter
presidents in Daet, Naga, and Legaspi, and asked for their support (t.s.n., July
10, 1989, pp. 549).
Assistant Secretary Antonio S. Tria confirmed the use of a PNB plane by Atty.
Drilon and her group. He recalled that on May 23,1989, DENR Secretary
Factoran instructed him to go to Bicol to monitor certain regional
development projects there and to survey the effect of the typhoon that hit
the region in the middle of May. On the same day, Atty. Tiu, a fraternity
brother (meaning that Tiu belongs to the Sigma Rho fraternity) went to the
DENR office and requested the Secretary (Factoran) if he (Tiu) could be
allowed to hitch a ride on the plane. Assistant Secretary Tria, together with
the Drilon group which included Attorneys Drilon, Grapilon, Amy Wong,
Gladys Tiongco, and Tiu, took off at the Domestic Airport bound for Naga,
Daet and Legaspi. In Legaspi the Drilon group had lunch with Atty. Vicente
Real, Jr., an IBP chapter president (t.s.n., July 10, 1989, pp. 54-69).
(3) Formation of tickets and single slates.
The three candidates, Paculdo, Nisce and Drilon, admitted having formed
their own slates for the election of IBP national officers on June 3, 1989.

16

17

Atty. Paculdo's slate consisted of himself for President; Bella D. Tiro, for
Executive Vice-President; and for Governors: Justiniano P. Cortez (Northern
Luzon), Oscar C. Fernandez (Central Luzon), Mario C.V. Jalandoni (Greater
Manila), Petronilo A. de la Cruz (Southern Luzon), Teodorico C. Almine, Jr.
(Bicolandia), Ricardo B. Teruel (Western Visayas), Porfirio P. Siyangco (Eastern
Visayas), Jesus S. Anonat (Western Mindanao), Guerrero A. Adaza, Jr. (Eastern
Mindanao) (Exhibit M-Nisce).
The Drilon ticket consisted of. Violeta C. Drilon for President, Arturo Tiu for
Executive Vice President, Salvador Lao for Chairman of the House of
Delegates, and, for Governors: Basil Rupisan (Northern 'Luzon), Acong
Atienza (Central Luzon), Amy Wong (Metro Manila), Jose Grapilon (Southern
Tagalog), Teodoro Almine (Bicolandia), Baldomero Estenzo (Eastern Visayas),
Joelito Barrera (Western Visayas), Gladys Tiongco (Eastern Mindanao),
Simeon Datumanong (Western Mindanao) (Exhibit M-1-Nisce).
Atty. Ramon N. Nisce's line-up listed himself and Confessor B. Sansano
Benjamin B. Bernardino, Antonio L. Nalapo Renato F. Ronquillo, Gloria C.
Agunos, Mario Valderrama, Candido P. Balbin Jr., Oscar C. Fernandez, Cesar G.
Viola, Leo C. Medialdea, Jr., Vicente P. Tordilla, Jr., Jose S. Buban, Joel A. Llosa,
Jesus T. Albacite and Oscar V. Badelles.
(4) Giving free transportation to out-of-town delegates and alternates.
Atty. Nisce admitted having bought plane tickets for some delegates to the
convention. He mentioned Oscar Badelles to whom he gave four round-trip
tickets (worth about P10,000) from Iligan City to Manila and back. Badelles
was a voting delegate. Nisce, however, failed to get a written commitment
from him because Atty. Medialdea assured him (Nisce) "sigurado na 'yan,
h'wag mo nang papirmahin." Badelles won as sergeant-at-arms, not in
Nisce's ticket, but in that of Drilon.
Badelles admitted that Nisce sent him three airplane tickets, but he Badelles
said that he did not use them, because if he did, he would be committed to
Nisce, and he Badelles did not want to be committed (t.s.n., July 4,1989, pp.
77-79, 95-96).
Nisce also sent a plane ticket to Atty. Atilano, who was his candidate, and
another ticket to Mrs. Linda Lim of Zamboanga. Records of the Philippine
Airlines showed that Atty. Nisce paid for the plane tickets of Vicente Real, Jr.
(Exh. D-1-Calica), Romeo Fortes (Exh. D-1-Calica), Cesar Batica (Exh. D-2Calica), Jose Buban of Leyte (Exh. D-2-Calica), Delsanto Resuello (Exh. D-3Calica), and Ceferino Cabanas (Exh. D-3-Calica).

17

18

In spite of his efforts and expense, only one of Nisce's candidates won:
Renato Ronquillo of Manila 4, as Secretary of the House of Delegates (t.s.n.
July 3, p. 161).
(5) Giving free hotel accommodations, food, drinks, entertainment to
delegates.
(a) ATTY. NEREO PACULDO
Atty. Paculdo alleged that he booked 24 regular rooms and three suites at the
Holiday Inn, which served as his headquarters. The 24 rooms were to be
occupied by his staff (mostly ladies) and the IBP delegates. The three suites
were to be occupied by himself, the officers of the Capitol Bar Association,
and Atty. Mario Jalandoni. He paid P150,000 for the hotel bills of his
delegates at the Holiday Inn, where a room cost P990 per day with breakfast.
Those listed as guests of Atty. Paculdo at the Holiday Inn were: Emesto C.
Perez, Tolomeo Ligutan Judge Alfonso Combong, Ricardo Caliwag, Antonio
Bisnar, Benedicto Balajadia, Jesus Castro, Restituto Villanueva, Serapio Cribe
Juanita Subia, Teodorico J. Almine, Rudy Gumban, Roem Arbolado, Ricardo
Teruel, Shirley Moises, Ramon Roco, Alberto Trinidad, Teodoro Quicoy Manito
Lucero, Fred Cledera Vicente Tordilla, Julian Ocampo, Francisco Felizmenio
Marvel Clavecilla, Amador Capiral, Eufronio Maristela, Porfirio Siyangco,
William Llanes, Jr., Marciano Neri, Guerrero Adaza, Diosdado Peralta, Luis C.
Formilleza, Jr., Democrito Perez, Bruno Flores, Dennis Rendon, Judge Ceferino
Chan, Mario Jalandoni, Kenneth Siruelo Bella Tiro, Antonio Santos, Tiburcio
Edano James Tan, Cesilo A. Adaza, Francisco Roxas, Angelita Gacutan, Jesse
Pimentel, Judge Jaime Hamoy, Jesus Anonat, Carlos Egay, Judge Carlito
Eisma, Judge Jesus Carbon, Joven Zach, and Benjamin Padon.
Noel de Guzman, Holiday Inn's credit manager, testified that Atty. Paculdo
booked 52 (not 24) rooms, including the presidential suite, which was used
as the Secretariat. The group bookings were made by Atty. Gloria Paculdo,
the wife of Nereo Paculdo (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 63-68). The total sum of
P227,114.89 was paid to Holiday Inn for the use of the rooms.
(b) ATTY. VIOLETA C. DRILON
The delegates and supporters of Atty. Drilon were billeted at the Philippine
Plaza Hotel where her campaign manager, Atty. Renato Callanta, booked 40
rooms, 5 of which were suites. According to Ms. Villanueva, Philippine Plaza
banquet and conventions manager, the contract that Atty. Callanta signed
with the Philippine Plaza was made in the name of the "IBP c/o Atty.
Callanta."

18

19

Mrs. Lourdes Juco, a sales manager of the Philippine Plaza, recalled that it
was Mr. Mariano Benedicto who first came to book rooms for the IBP
delegates. She suggested that he obtain a group (or discounted) rate. He
gave her the name of Atty. Callanta who would make the arrangements with
her. Mr. Benedicto turned out to be the Assistant Secretary of the
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The total sum of P316,411.53 was paid by Atty. Callanta for the rooms, food,
and beverages consumed by the Drilon group, with an unpaid balance of
P302,197.30. Per Attorney Daniel Martinez's last telephone conversation with
Ms. Villanueva, Atty. Callanta still has an outstanding account of P232,782.65
at Philippine Plaza.
Atty. Callanta admitted that he signed the contract for 40 rooms at the
Philippine Plaza. He made a downpayment of P123,000. His "working sheet'
showed that the following persons contributed for that down payment:

(a) Nilo Pena (Quasha Law Office)

19

P 25,000

(b) Antonio Carpio

20,000

(c) Toto Ferrer (Carpio Law Office)

10,000

(d) Jay Castro

10,000

(e) Danny Deen

20,000

(f) Angangco Tan (Angara Law Office)

10,000

(g) Alfonso Reyno

20,000

(h) Cosme Rossel

15,300

20

(t.s.n. July 4, 1 989, pp. 3-4)


Atty. Callanta explained that the above listed persons have been contributing
money every time the IBP embarks on a project. This time, they contributed
so that their partners or associates could attend the legal aid seminar and
the IBP convention too.
Atty. Drilon alleged that she did not know that Atty. Callanta had billeted her
delegates at the Philippine Plaza. She allegedly did not also know in whose
name the room she occupied was registered. But she did ask for a room
where she could rest during the convention. She admitted, however, that she
paid for her hotel room and meals to Atty. Callanta, through Atty. Loanzon
(t.s.n. July 3,1989).
The following were listed as having occupied the rooms reserved by Atty.
Callanta at the Philippine Plaza: Violeta Drilon, Victoria A. Verciles, Victoria C.
Loanzon, Leopoldo A. Consulto Ador Lao, Victoria Borra, Aimee Wong,
Callanta, Pena, Tiu, Gallardo, Acong Atienza, D. Bernardo, Amores, Silao
Caingat, Manuel Yuson, Simeon Datumanong, Manuel Pecson, Sixto Marella,
Joselito Barrera, Radon Macalalag, Oscar Badelles, Antonio Acyatan, Ildefonso
C. Puerto, Nestor Atienza, Gil Batula Array Corot, Dimakuta Corot Romeo
Fortes Irving Petilla, Teodoro Palma, Gil Palma, Danilo Deen, Delsanto,
Resuello, Araneta, Vicente Real, Sylvio Casuncad Espina, Guerrero, Julius
Neri, Linda Lim, Ben Lim, C. Batica, Luis Formilleza, Felix Macalag Mariano
Benedicto, Atilano, Araneta, Renato Callanta.
Atty. Nilo Pena admitted that the Quasha Law Office of which he is a senior
partner, gave P25,000 to Callanta for rooms at the Philippine Plaza so that
some members of his law firm could campaign for the Drilon group (t.s.n. July
5,1989, pp. 7678) during the legal aid seminar and the IBP convention. Most
of the members of his law firm are fraternity brothers of Secretary Drilon
(meaning, members of the Sigma Rho Fraternity). He admitted being
sympathetic to the candidacy of Atty. Drilon and the members of her slate,
two of whom Jose Grapilon and Simeon Datumanong are Sigma Rhoans.
They consider Atty. Drilon as a "sigma rho sister," her husband being a sigma
rhoan.
Atty. Antonio Carpio, also a Sigma Rhoan, reserved a room for the members
of his own firm who attended the legal aid seminar and the convention. He
made the reservation through Atty. Callanta to whom he paid P20,000 (t.s.n.
July 6,1989, pp. 30-34).
20

21

Atty. Carpio assisted Atty. Drilon in her campaign during the convention, by
soliciting the votes of delegates he knew, like Atty. Albacite his former
teacher (but the latter was already committed to Nisce), and Atty. Romy
Fortes, a classmate of his in the U.P. College of Law (t. t.s.n. July 6, 1989, pp.
22, 29, 39).
(c) ATTY. RAMON NISCE.
Atty. Nisce, through his brother-in-law, Ricardo Paras, entered into a contract
with the Hyatt Hotel for a total of 29 rooms plus one (1) seventh-floor room.
He made a downpayment of P20,000 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, p. 58) on April 20,
1989, and P37,632.45 on May 10, or a total of P57,632.45.
Ms. Cecile Flores, Ms. Milagros Ocampo, and Mr. Ramon Jacinto, the sales
department manager, credit manager, and reservation manager,
respectively of the Hyatt, testified that Atty. Nisce's bill amounted to
P216,127.74 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 57-58; Exhibits E-Flores, F-Jacinto GOcampo).
As earlier mentioned, Atty. Nisce admitted that he reserved rooms for those
who committed themselves to his candidacy.
The hotel guests of Atty. Nisce were: Gloria Agunos Dennis Habanel B.
Batula, John E. Asuncion, Reynaldo Cortes, Lourdes Santos, Elmer Datuin,
Romualdo Din, Antonio Nalapo, Israel Damasco, Candido Balbin, Serrano
Balot, Ibarra, Joel Llosa, Eltanal, Ruperto, Asuncion, Q. Pilotin Reymundo P.
Guzman, Zoilo Aguinaldo, Clarin, R. Ronquillo, Dominador Carillo, Filomeno
Balinas, Ernesto Sabulan, Yusop Pangadapun, A. Viray, Icampo, Abelardo
Fermin, C. Quiaoit, Augurio Pamintuan, Daniel Macaraeg, Onofre Tejada.
(6) Campaigning by labor officials for Atty. Violeta Drilon
In violation of the prohibition against "campaigning for or against a candidate
while holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the
Government' (Sec. 14[c], Art. I, IBP By-Laws), Mariano E. Benedicto II,
Assistant Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment, testified that he
took a leave of absence from his office to attend the IBP convention. He
stayed at the Philippine Plaza with the Drilon group admittedly to give "some
moral assistance" to Atty. Violeta Drilon. He did so because he is a member
of the Sigma Rho Fraternity. When asked about the significance of Sigma
Rho, Secretary Benedicto explained: "More than the husband of Mrs. Drilon
being my boss, the significance there is that the husband is my brother in
the Sigma Rho."
He cheered up Mrs., Drilon when her spirits were low. He talked to her
immediate circle which included Art Tiu, Tony Carpio, Nilo Pena, Amy Wong,
21

22

Atty. Grapilon, Victor Lazatin, and Boy Reyno. They assessed the progress of
the campaign, and measured the strengths and weaknesses of the other
groups The group had sessions as early as the later part of May.
Room 114, the suite listed in the name of Assistant Secretary Benedicto
toted up a bill of P23,110 during the 2-day IBP convention/election. A total of
113 phone calls (amounting to Pl,356) were recorded as emanating from his
room.
Opposite Room 114, was Room 112, also a suite, listed in the names of Mrs.
Drilon, Gladys Tiongco (candidate for Governor, Eastern Mindanao) and Amy
Wong (candidate for Governor, Metro Manila). These two rooms served as the
"action center' or "war room" where campaign strategies were discussed
before and during the convention. It was in these rooms where the
supporters of the Drilon group, like Attys. Carpio, Callanta, Benedicto, the
Quasha and the ACCRA lawyers met to plot their moves.
(7) Paying the dues or other indebtedness of any number (Sec. 14[e], IBP BYLaws).
Atty. Teresita C. Sison, IBP Treasurer, testified that she has heard of
candidates paying the IBP dues of lawyers who promised to vote for or
support them, but she has no way of ascertaining whether it was a candidate
who paid the delinquent dues of another, because the receipts are issued in
the name of the member for whom payment is made (t.s.n. June 28, 1989,
pp. 24-28).
She has noticed, though, that there is an upsurge of payments in March,
April, May during any election year. This year, the collections increased by
P100,000 over that of last year (a non-election year from Pl,413,425 to
Pl,524,875 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, p. 25).
(8) Distribution of materials other than bio-data of not more than one page of
legal size sheet of paper (Sec. 14[a], IBP By-Laws).
On the convention floor on the day of the election, Atty. Paculdo caused to be
distributed his bio-data and copies of a leaflet entitled "My Quest," as wen
as, the lists of his slate. Attys. Drilon and Nisce similarly distributed their
tickets and bio-data.
The campaign materials of Atty. Paculdo cost from P15,000 to P20,000. They
were printed by his own printing shop.
(9) Causing distribution of such statement to be done by persons other than
those authorized by the officer presiding at the election (Sec. 14[b], IBP ByLaws).
22

23

Atty. Paculdo employed uniformed girls to distribute his campaign materials


on the convention floor. Atty. Carpio noted that there were more campaign
materials distributed at the convention site this year than in previous years.
The election was more heated and expensive (t.s.n. July 6,1989, p. 39).
Atty. Benjamin Bernardino, the incumbent President of the IBP Rizal Chapter,
and a candidate for chairman of the House of Delegates on Nisce's ticket,
testified that campaign materials were distributed during the convention by
girls and by lawyers. He saw members of the ACCRA law firm campaigning
for Atty. Drilon (t.s.n. July 3,1989, pp. 142-145).
(10) Inducing or influencing a member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or
against a candidate (Sec. 14[e], IBP BY-Laws).
Atty. Bernardino disclosed that his cousin, Atty. Romeo Capulong, urged him
to withdraw his candidacy for chairman of the House of Delegates and to run
as vice-chairman in Violy Drilon's slate, but he declined (t.s.n. July 3,1989,
pp. 137, 149).
Atty. Gloria Agunos personnel director of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel in Baguio
and president of the Baguio-Benguet IBP Chapter, recalled that in the third
week of May 1989, after the Tripartite meet of the Department of Labor &
Employment at the Green Valley Country Club in Baguio City, she met Atty.
Drilon, together with two labor officers of Region 1, Attys. Filomeno Balbin
and Atty. Mansala Atty. Drilon solicited her (Atty. Agunos') vote and invited
her to stay at the Philippine Plaza where a room would be available for her.
Atty. Paculdo also tried to enlist her support during the chapter presidents'
meeting to choose their nominee for governor for the Northern Luzon region
(t.s.n. July 13,1989, pp. 43-54).
Atty. Nisce testified that a Manila Chapter 4 delegate, Marcial Magsino, who
had earlier committed his vote to Nisce changed his mind when he was
offered a judgeship (This statement, however, is admittedly hearsay). When
Nisce confronted Magsino about the alleged offer, the latter denied that
there was such an offer. Nisce's informant was Antonio G. Nalapo an IBP
candidate who also withdrew.
Another Nisce candidate, Cesar Viola, withdrew from the race and refused to
be nominated (t.s.n. June 29, 1989, p. 104). Vicente P. Tordilla who was
Nisce's candidate for Governor became Paculdo's candidate instead (t.s.n.
June 29, 1989, p. 104).
Nisce recalled that during the Bench and Bar Dialogue in Cotabato City,
Court Administrator Tiro went around saying, "I am not campaigning, but my
wife is a candidate." Nisce said that the presidents of several IBP chapters
informed him that labor officials were campaigning for Mrs. Drilon (t.s.n. June
23

24

29,1989, pp. 109-110). He mentioned Ciony de la Cerna, who allegedly


campaigned in La Union (t.s.n. June 29,1989,p.111)
Atty. Joel A. Llosa, Nisce's supporter and candidate for governor of the
Western Visayas, expressed his disappointment over the IBP elections
because some delegates flip-flopped from one camp to another. He testified
that when he arrived at the Manila Domestic Airport he was met by an
assistant regional director of the DOLE who offered to bring him to the
Philippine Plaza, but he declined the offer. During the legal aid seminar, Atty.
Drilon invited him to transfer to the Philippine Plaza where a room had been
reserved for him. He declined the invitation (t.s.n. July 4,1989, pp. 102-106).
Atty. Llosa said that while he was still in Dumaguete City, he already knew
that the three candidates had their headquarters in separate hotels: Paculdo,
at the Holiday Inn; Drilon, at the Philippine Plaza; and Nisce, at the Hyatt. He
knew about this because a week before the elections, representatives of Atty.
Drilon went to Dumaguete City to campaign. He mentioned Atty. Rodil
Montebon of the ACCRA Law Office, accompanied by Atty. Julve the Assistant
Regional Director of the Department of Labor in Dumaguete City. These two,
he said, offered to give him two PAL tickets and accommodations at the
Philippine Plaza (t.s.n. July 4,1989, pp. 101-104). But he declined the offer
because he was already committed to Atty. Nisce.
Atty. Llosa also revealed that before he left for Manila on May 31, 1989, a
businessman, Henry Dy, approached him to convince him to vote for Atty.
Paculdo. But Llosa told Dy that he was already committed to Nisce.
He did not receive any plane tickets from Atty. Nisce because he and his two
companions (Atty. Eltanal and Atty. Ruperto) had earlier bought their own
tickets for Manila (t.s.n. July 4, 1989, p. 101).
SUMMARY OF CAMPAIGN EXPENSES INCURRED
BY THE CANDIDATES
Atty. Paculdo admitted having spent some P250,000 during his three weeks
of campaigning. Of this amount, the Capitol Bar Association (of which he was
the chapter president) contributed about P150,000. The Capitol Bar
Association is a voluntary bar association composed of Quezon City lawyers.
He spent about P100,000 to defray the expenses of his trips to the provinces
(Bicol provinces, Pampanga, Abra, Mountain Province and Bulacan) (t.s.n.
June 29,1989, pp. 9-14).
Atty. Nisce's hotel bills at the Hyatt amounted to P216,127.74. This does not
include the expenses for his campaign which began several months before
24

25

the June 3rd election, and his purchases of airplane tickets for some
delegates.
The records of the Philippine Plaza Hotel, headquarters of Atty. Drilon's camp,
showed that her campaign rang up over P600,000 in hotel bills. Atty. Callanta
paid P316,411.53 for the rooms, food, and beverage consumed by Atty.
Drilon's supporters, but still left an unpaid bill of P302,197.30 at convention's
end.
FINDINGS.
From all the foregoing, it is evident that the manner in which the principal
candidates for the national positions in the Integrated Bar conducted their
campaign preparatory to the elections on June 3, 1989, violated Section 14
of the IBP By-Laws and made a travesty of the idea of a "strictly nonpolitical" Integrated Bar enshrined in Section 4 of the By-Laws.
The setting up of campaign headquarters by the three principal candidates
(Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo) in five-star hotels: The Philippine Plaza, the
Holiday Inn and The Hyatt the better for them to corral and entertain the
delegates billeted therein; the island hopping to solicit the votes of the
chapter presidents who comprise the 120-member House of Delegates that
elects the national officers and regional governors; the formation of tickets,
slates, or line-ups of candidates for the other elective positions aligned with,
or supporting, either Drilon, Paculdo or Nisce; the procurement of written
commitments and the distribution of nomination forms to be filled up by the
delegates; the reservation of rooms for delegates in three big hotels, at the
expense of the presidential candidates; the use of a PNB plane by Drilon and
some members of her ticket to enable them to "assess their chances" among
the chapter presidents in the Bicol provinces; the printing and distribution of
tickets and bio-data of the candidates which in the case of Paculdo
admittedly cost him some P15,000 to P20,000; the employment of uniformed
girls (by Paculdo) and lawyers (by Drilon) to distribute their campaign
materials on the convention floor on the day of the election; the giving of
assistance by the Undersecretary of Labor to Mrs. Drilon and her group; the
use of labor arbiters to meet delegates at the airport and escort them to the
Philippine Plaza Hotel; the giving of pre-paid plane tickets and hotel
accommodations to delegates (and some families who accompanied them) in
exchange for their support; the pirating of some candidates by inducing
them to "hop" or "flipflop" from one ticket to another for some rumored
consideration; all these practices made a political circus of the proceedings
and tainted the whole election process.
The candidates and many of the participants in that election not only
violated the By-Laws of the IBP but also the ethics of the legal profession
which imposes on all lawyers, as a corollary of their obligation to obey and
25

26

uphold the constitution and the laws, the duty to "promote respect for law
and legal processes" and to abstain from 'activities aimed at defiance of the
law or at lessening confidence in the legal system" (Rule 1.02, Canon 1, Code
of Professional Responsibility). Respect for law is gravely eroded when
lawyers themselves, who are supposed to be millions of the law, engage in
unlawful practices and cavalierly brush aside the very rules that the IBP
formulated for their observance.
The unseemly ardor with which the candidates pursued the presidency of the
association detracted from the dignity of the legal profession. The spectacle
of lawyers bribing or being bribed to vote one way or another, certainly did
not uphold the honor of the profession nor elevate it in the public's esteem.
The Court notes with grave concern what appear to be the evasions, denials
and outright prevarications that tainted the statements of the witnesses,
including tome of the candidates, during the initial hearing conducted by it
before its fact-finding committee was created. The subsequent investigation
conducted by this Committee has revealed that those parties had been less
than candid with the Court and seem to have conspired among themselves
to deceive it or at least withhold vital information from it to conceal the
irregularities committed during the campaign.
CONCLUSIONS.
It has been mentioned with no little insistence that the provision in the 1987
Constitution (See. 8, Art. VIII) providing for a Judicial and Bar Council
composed of seven (7) members among whom is "a representative of the
Integrated Bar," tasked to participate in the selection of nominees for
appointment to vacant positions in the judiciary, may be the reason why the
position of IBP president has attracted so much interest among the lawyers.
The much coveted "power" erroneously perceived to be inherent in that
office might have caused the corruption of the IBP elections. To impress upon
the participants in that electoral exercise the seriousness of the misconduct
which attended it and the stern disapproval with which it is viewed by this
Court, and to restore the non-political character of the IBP and reduce, if not
entirely eliminate, expensive electioneering for the top positions in the
organization which, as the recently concluded elections revealed, spawned
unethical practices which seriously diminished the stature of the IBP as an
association of the practitioners of a noble and honored profession, the Court
hereby ORDERS:
1. The IBP elections held on June3,1989 should be as they are hereby
annulled.

26

27

2. The provisions of the IBP By-Laws for the direct election by the House of
Delegates (approved by this Court in its resolution of July 9, 1985 in Bar
Matter No. 287) of the following national officers:
(a) the officers of the House of Delegates;
(b) the IBP president; and
(c) the executive vice-president,
be repealed, this Court being empowered to amend, modify or repeal the ByLaws of the IBP under Section 77, Art. XI of said By-Laws.
3. The former system of having the IBP President and Executive VicePresident elected by the Board of Governors (composed of the governors of
the nine [91 IBP regions) from among themselves (as provided in Sec. 47,
Art. VII, Original IBP By-Laws) should be restored. The right of automatic
succession by the Executive Vice-President to the presidency upon the
expiration of their two-year term (which was abolished by this Court's
resolution dated July 9,1985 in Bar Matter No. 287) should be as it is hereby
restored.
4. At the end of the President's two-year term, the Executive Vice-President
shall automatically succeed to the office of president. The incoming board of
governors shall then elect an Executive Vice-President from among
themselves. The position of Executive Vice-President shall be rotated among
the nine (9) IBP regions. One who has served as president may not run for
election as Executive Vice-President in a succeeding election until after the
rotation of the presidency among the nine (9) regions shall have been
completed; whereupon, the rotation shall begin anew.
5. Section 47 of Article VII is hereby amended to read as follows:
Section 47. National Officers. The Integrated Bar of the
Philippines shall have a President and Executive Vice-President to
be chosen by the Board of Governors from among nine (9)
regional governors, as much as practicable, on a rotation basis.
The governors shall be ex oficio Vice-President for their
respective regions. There shall also be a Secretary and Treasurer
of the Board of Governors to be appointed by the President with
the consent of the Board.
6. Section 33(b), Art. V, IBP By-Laws, is hereby amended as follows:
(b) The President and Executive Vice President of the IBP shall be
the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively, of the House of
27

28

Delegates. The Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant-at-Arms shall


be appointed by the President with the consent of the House of
Delegates.'
7. Section 33(g) of Article V providing for the positions of Chairman, ViceChairman, Secretary-Treasurer and Sergeant-at- Arms of the House of
Delegates is hereby repealed
8. Section 37, Article VI is hereby amended to read as follows:
Section 37. Composition of the Board. The Integrated Bar of
the Philippines shall be governed by a Board of Governors
consisting of nine (9) Governors from the nine (9) regions as
delineated in Section 3 of the Integration Rule, on the
representation basis of one (1) Governor for each region to be
elected by the members of the House of Delegates from that
region only. The position of Governor should be rotated among
the different Chapters in the region.
9. Section 39, Article V is hereby amended as follows:
Section 39. Nomination and election of the Governors at least
one (1) month before the national convention the delegates from
each region shall elect the governor for their region, the choice
of which shall as much as possible be rotated among the
chapters in the region.
10. Section33(a), Article V hereby is amended by addingthe following
provision as part of the first paragraph:
No convention of the House of Delegates nor of the general
membership shall be held prior to any election in an election
year.
11. Section 39, (a), (b), (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), and (7) of Article VI should
be as they are hereby deleted.
All other provisions of the By-Laws including its amendment by the
Resolution en banc of this Court of July 9, 1985 (Bar Matter No. 287) that are
inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed or modified.
12. Special elections for the Board of Governors shall be held in the nine (9)
IBP regions within three (3) months, after the promulgation of the Court's
resolution in this case. Within thirty (30) days thereafter, the Board of
Governors shall meet at the IBP Central Office in Manila to elect from among
themselves the IBP national president and executive vice-president. In these
28

29

special elections, the candidates in the election of the national officers held
on June 3,1989, particularly identified in Sub-Head 3 of this Resolution
entitled "Formation of Tickets and Single Slates," as well as those identified
in this Resolution as connected with any of the irregularities attendant upon
that election, are ineligible and may not present themselves as candidate for
any position.
13. Pending such special elections, a caretaker board shall be appointed by
the Court to administer the affairs of the IBP. The Court makes clear that the
dispositions here made are without prejudice to its adoption in due time of
such further and other measures as are warranted in the premises.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla. Bidin,
Sarmiento, Cortes, Grio-Aquino and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Fernan, C.J. and Medialdea, J., took no part.
Gutierrez, Jr., J., is on leave.
EN BANC
[B.M. No. 1370. May 9, 2005]
LETTER OF ATTY. CECILIO Y. AREVALO, JR., REQUESTING EXEMPTION
FROM PAYMENT OF IBP DUES.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
This is a request for exemption from payment of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) dues filed by petitioner Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo, Jr.
In his letter,[1] dated 22 September 2004, petitioner sought exemption
from payment of IBP dues in the amount of P12,035.00 as alleged unpaid
accountability for the years 1977-2005. He alleged that after being
admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1961, he became part of the Philippine Civil
Service from July 1962 until 1986, then migrated to, and worked in, the USA
in December 1986 until his retirement in the year 2003. He maintained that
he cannot be assessed IBP dues for the years that he was working in the
Philippine Civil Service since the Civil Service law prohibits the practice of
29

30

ones profession while in government service, and neither can he be


assessed for the years when he was working in the USA.
On 05 October 2004, the letter was referred to the IBP for comment.[2]
On 16 November 2004, the IBP submitted its comment [3] stating inter
alia: that membership in the IBP is not based on the actual practice of law;
that a lawyer continues to be included in the Roll of Attorneys as long as he
continues to be a member of the IBP; that one of the obligations of a
member is the payment of annual dues as determined by the IBP Board of
Governors and duly approved by the Supreme Court as provided for in
Sections 9 and 10, Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court; that the validity of
imposing dues on the IBP members has been upheld as necessary to defray
the cost of an Integrated Bar Program; and that the policy of the IBP Board of
Governors of no exemption from payment of dues is but an implementation
of the Courts directives for all members of the IBP to help in defraying the
cost of integration of the bar. It maintained that there is no rule allowing the
exemption of payment of annual dues as requested by respondent, that what
is allowed is voluntary termination and reinstatement of membership. It
asserted that what petitioner could have done was to inform the secretary of
the IBP of his intention to stay abroad, so that his membership in the IBP
could have been terminated, thus, his obligation to pay dues could have
been stopped. It also alleged that the IBP Board of Governors is in the
process of discussing proposals for the creation of an inactive status for its
members, which if approved by the Board of Governors and by this Court,
will exempt inactive IBP members from payment of the annual dues.
In his reply[4] dated 22 February 2005, petitioner contends that what he is
questioning is the IBP Board of Governors Policy of Non-Exemption in the
payment of annual membership dues of lawyers regardless of whether or not
they are engaged in active or inactive practice. He asseverates that the
Policy of Non-Exemption in the payment of annual membership dues suffers
from constitutional infirmities, such as equal protection clause and the due
process clause. He also posits that compulsory payment of the IBP annual
membership dues would indubitably be oppressive to him considering that
he has been in an inactive status and is without income derived from his law
practice. He adds that his removal from nonpayment of annual membership
dues would constitute deprivation of property right without due process of
law. Lastly, he claims that non-practice of law by a lawyer-member in
inactive status is neither injurious to active law practitioners, to fellow
30

31

lawyers in inactive status, nor to the community where the inactive lawyersmembers reside.
Plainly, the issue here is: whether or nor petitioner is entitled to
exemption from payment of his dues during the time that he was inactive in
the practice of law that is, when he was in the Civil Service from 1962-1986
and he was working abroad from 1986-2003?
We rule in the negative.
An Integrated Bar is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must
belong, as distinguished from bar association organized by individual lawyers
themselves, membership in which is voluntary. Integration of the Bar is
essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded an
opportunity to do his shares in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well
as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under
the direction of the State, an Integrated Bar is an official national body of
which all lawyers are required to be members. They are, therefore, subject
to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including the
requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective
discharge of the purposes of the Bar, and adherence to a code of
professional ethics or professional responsibility, breach of which constitutes
sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause
appearing, a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending
member.[5]
The integration of the Philippine Bar means the official unification of the
entire lawyer population. This requires membership and financial support of
every attorney as condition sine qua nonto the practice of law and the
retention of his name in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court.[6]
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He
is free to attend or not to attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter
or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only compulsion
to which he is subjected is the payment of his annual dues. The Supreme
Court, in order to foster the States legitimate interest in elevating the
quality of professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving
the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of
the regulatory program the lawyers.[7]

31

32

Moreover, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court,


under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the
admission to the practice of law and in the integration of the Philippine
Bar[8] - which power required members of a privileged class, such as lawyers
are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of
the profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is,
indeed, imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for
carrying out the noble objectives and purposes of integration.
The rationale for prescribing dues has been explained in the Integration
of the Philippine Bar,[9] thus:
For the court to prescribe dues to be paid by the members does not mean
that the Court is attempting to levy a tax.
A membership fee in the Bar association is an exaction for regulation, while
tax purpose of a tax is a revenue. If the judiciary has inherent power to
regulate the Bar, it follows that as an incident to regulation, it may impose a
membership fee for that purpose. It would not be possible to put on an
integrated Bar program without means to defray the expenses. The doctrine
of implied powers necessarily carries with it the power to impose such
exaction.
The only limitation upon the States power to regulate the privilege of law is
that the regulation does not impose an unconstitutional burden. The public
interest promoted by the integration of the Bar far outweighs the slight
inconvenience to a member resulting from his required payment of the
annual dues.
Thus, payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the
IBP, of which no one is exempt. This means that the compulsory nature of
payment of dues subsists for as long as ones membership in the IBP remains
regardless of the lack of practice of, or the type of practice, the member is
engaged in.
There is nothing in the law or rules which allows exemption from payment
of membership dues. At most, as correctly observed by the IBP, he could
have informed the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his intention to stay
abroad before he left. In such case, his membership in the IBP could have
been terminated and his obligation to pay dues could have been
discontinued.
32

33

As abovementioned, the IBP in its comment stated that the IBP Board of
Governors is in the process of discussing the situation of members under
inactive status and the nonpayment of their dues during such inactivity. In
the meantime, petitioner is duty bound to comply with his obligation to pay
membership dues to the IBP.
Petitioner also contends that the enforcement of the penalty of removal
would amount to a deprivation of property without due process and hence
infringes on one of his constitutional rights.

[10]

This question has been settled in the case of In re Atty. Marcial Edillon,
in this wise:

. . . Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being
one that entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession, we do not
here pause to consider at length, as it [is] clear that under the police power
of the State, and under the necessary powers granted to the Court to
perpetuate its existence, the respondents right to practice law before the
courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and
inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is
recognize[d], then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty
may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or
arbitrary.
But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right
but a mere privilege, and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power
of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyers public responsibilities.
As a final note, it must be borne in mind that membership in the bar is a
privilege burdened with conditions,[11] one of which is the payment of
membership dues. Failure to abide by any of them entails the loss of such
privilege if the gravity thereof warrants such drastic move.
WHEREFORE, petitioners request for exemption from payment of IBP
dues is DENIED. He is ordered to pay P12,035.00, the amount assessed by
the IBP as membership fees for the years 1977-2005, within a non-extendible
period of ten (10) days from receipt of this decision, with a warning that
failure to do so will merit his suspension from the practice of law.
SO ORDERED.

33

34

Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago,


Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales,
Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, Tinga, and Garcia, JJ.,concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
A.C. No. 7199
July 22, 2009
[Formerly CBD 04-1386]
FOODSPHERE, INC., Complainant,
vs.
ATTY. MELANIO L. MAURICIO, JR., Respondent.
DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
Foodsphere, Inc. (complainant), a corporation engaged in the business of
meat processing and manufacture and distribution of canned goods and
grocery products under the brand name "CDO," filed a Verified Complaint1 for
disbarment before the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines (IBP) against Atty. Melanio L. Mauricio, Jr., popularly
known as "Batas Mauricio" (respondent), a writer/columnist of tabloids
including Balitang Patas BATAS, Bagong TIKTIK, TORO and HATAW!, and a
host of a television program KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS telecast over UNTV and
of a radio program Double B-BATAS NG BAYAN aired over DZBB, for (1)
grossly immoral conduct; (2) violation of lawyers oath and (3) disrespect to
the courts and to investigating prosecutors.
The facts that spawned the filing of the complaint are as follows:
On June 22, 2004, a certain Alberto Cordero (Cordero) purportedly bought
from a grocery in Valenzuela City canned goods including a can of CDO Liver
spread. On June 27, 2004, as Cordero and his relatives were eating bread
with the CDO Liver spread, they found the spread to be sour and soon
discovered a colony of worms inside the can.

34

35

Corderos wife thus filed a complaint with the Bureau of Food and Drug
Administration (BFAD). Laboratory examination confirmed the presence of
parasites in the Liver spread.
Pursuant to Joint DTI-DOH-DA Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1993, the
BFAD conducted a conciliation hearing on July 27, 2004 during which the
spouses Cordero demanded P150,000 as damages from complainant.
Complainant refused to heed the demand, however, as being in
contravention of company policy and, in any event, "outrageous."
Complainant instead offered to return actual medical and incidental
expenses incurred by the Corderos as long as they were supported by
receipts, but the offer was turned down. And the Corderos threatened to
bring the matter to the attention of the media.
Complainant was later required by the BFAD to file its Answer to the
complaint. In the meantime or on August 6, 2004, respondent sent
complainant via fax a copy of the front page of the would-be August 10-16,
2004 issue of the tabloid Balitang Patas BATAS, Vol. 1, No. 122 which
complainant found to contain articles maligning, discrediting and imputing
vices and defects to it and its products. Respondent threatened to publish
the articles unless complainant gave in to the P150,000 demand of the
Corderos. Complainant thereupon reiterated its counter-offer earlier
conveyed to the Corderos, but respondent turned it down.
Respondent later proposed to settle the matter for P50,000, P15,000 of
which would go to the Corderos andP35,000 to his Batas Foundation. And
respondent directed complainant to place paid advertisements in the
tabloids and television program.
The Corderos eventually forged a KASUNDUAN3 seeking the withdrawal of
their complaint before the BFAD. The BFAD thus dismissed the
complaint.4 Respondent, who affixed his signature to the KASUNDUAN as a
witness, later wrote in one of his articles/columns in a tabloid that he
prepared the document.
On August 11, 2004, respondent sent complainant an Advertising
Contract5 asking complainant to advertise in the tabloid Balitang Patas BATAS
for its next 24 weekly issues at P15,000 per issue or a total amount
of P360,000, and a Program Profile6 of the television program KAKAMPI MO
ANG BATAS also asking complainant to place spot advertisements with the
following rate cards: (a) spot buy 15-second TVC at P4,000; (b) spot buy 30second TVC at P7,700; and (c) season buy [13 episodes, 26 spots] of 30second TVC for P130,000.

35

36

As a sign of goodwill, complainant offered to buy three full-page


advertisements in the tabloid amounting toP45,000 at P15,000 per
advertisement, and three spots of 30-second TVC in the television program
at P7,700 each or a total of P23,100. Acting on complainants offer,
respondent relayed to it that he and his Executive Producer were
disappointed with the offer and threatened to proceed with the publication of
the articles/columns.7
On August 28, 2004, respondent, in his radio program Double B- Batas ng
Bayan at radio station DZBB, announced the holding of a supposed contest
sponsored by said program, which announcement was transcribed as follows:
"OK, at meron akong pa-contest, total magpapasko na o ha, meron pacontest si Batas Mauricio ang Batas ng Bayan. Ito yung ating pa-contest,
hulaan ninyo, tatawag kayo sa telepono, 433-7549 at 433-7553. Ang mga
premyo babanggitin po natin sa susunod pero ito muna ang contest, o,
aling liver spread ang may uod? Yan kita ninyo yan, ayan malalaman
ninyo yan. Pagka-nahulaan yan ah, at sasagot kayo sa akin, aling liver
spread ang may uod at anong companya ang gumagawa
nyan? Itawag po ninyo sa 433-7549 st 433-7553. Open po an[g] contest na
ito sa lahat ng ating tagapakinig. Pipiliin natin ang mananalo, kung tama ang
inyong sagot. Ang tanong, aling liver spread sa Pilipinas an[g] may
uod? 8 (Emphasis and italics in the original; underscoring supplied)
And respondent wrote in his columns in the tabloids articles which put
complainant in bad light. Thus, in the August 31- September 6, 2004 issue
of Balitang Patas BATAS, he wrote an article captioned "KADIRI ANG CDO
LIVER SPREAD!" In another article, he wrote "IBA PANG PRODUKTO NG CDO
SILIPIN!"9 which appeared in the same publication in its September 7-13,
2004 issue. And still in the same publication, its September 14-20, 2004
issue, he wrote another article entitled "DAPAT BANG PIGILIN ANG CDO."10
Respondent continued his tirade against complainant in his column LAGING
HANDA published in another tabloid, BAGONG TIKTIK, with the following
articles:11 (a) "Uod sa liver spread," Setyembre 6, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.276);12(b)
"Uod, itinanggi ng CDO," Setyembre 7, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.277);13 (c)
"Pagpapatigil sa CDO," Setyembre 8, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.278);14 (d) "Uod sa
liver spread kumpirmado," Setyembre 9, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.279);15 (e)
"Salaysay ng nakakain ng uod," Setyembre 10, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.280);16 (f)
"Kaso VS. CDO itinuloy," Setyembre 11, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.281);17 (g) "Kasong
Kidnapping laban sa CDO guards," Setyembre 14, 2004 (Taon 7,
Blg.284);18 (h) "Brutalidad ng CDO guards," Setyembre 15, 2004 (Taon 7,
Blg.285);19 (i) "CDO guards pinababanatan sa PNP," Setyembre 17, 2004
(Taon 7, Blg.287);20 (j) "May uod na CDO liver spread sa Puregold binili,"
Setyembre 18, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.288);21 (k) "Desperado na ang CDO,"
Setyembre 20, 2004 (Taon 7, Blg.290);22 (l) "Atty. Rufus Rodriguez pumadrino
36

37

sa CDO," Setyembre 21, 2004 (Taon 7,Blg. 291);23 (m) "Kasunduan ng CDO at
Pamilya Cordero," Setyembre 22, 2004 (Taon 7,Blg. 292);24 (n) "Bakit
nagbayad ng P50 libo ang CDO," Setyembre 23, 2004 (Taon 7,Blg. 293). 25
In his September 8, 2004 column "Anggulo ng Batas" published in Hataw!,
respondent wrote an article "Reaksyon pa sa uod ng CDO Liver Spread."26
And respondent, in several episodes in September 2004 of his television
program Kakampi Mo ang Batas aired over UNTV, repeatedly complained of
what complainant claimed to be the "same baseless and malicious
allegations/issues" against it.27
Complainant thus filed criminal complaints against respondent and several
others for Libel and Threatening to Publish Libel under Articles 353 and 356
of the Revised Penal Code before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon
City and Valenzuela City. The complaints were pending at he time of the filing
of the present administrative complaint.28
In the criminal complaints pending before the Office of the City Prosecutor of
Valenzuela City, docketed as I.S. Nos. V-04-2917-2933, respondent filed his
Entry of Appearance with Highly Urgent Motion to Elevate These Cases to the
Department of Justice,29 alleging:
xxxx
2.N. The question here is this: What gives, Honorable (???) Prosecutors of the
Office of the City Prosecutor of Valenzuela City?
xxxx
2.R. Can an ordinary person like Villarez simply be tossed around, waiting for
miracles to happen?
2.S. Why? How much miracle is needed to happen here before this Office
would ever act on his complaint?
xxxx
8. With a City Prosecutor acting the way he did in the case filed by Villarez,
and with an investigating prosecutor virtually kowtowing to the wishes of his
boss, the Chief Prosecutor, can Respondents expect justice to be meted to
them?
9. With utmost due respect, Respondents have reason to believe that justice
would elude them in this Office of the City Prosecutor of Valenzuela City, not
37

38

because of the injustice of their cause, but, more importantly, because of the
injustice of the system;
10. Couple all of these with reports that many a government office in
Valenzuela City had been the willing recipient of too many generosities in the
past of the Complainant, and also with reports that a top official of the City
had campaigned for his much coveted position in the past distributing
products of the Complainant, what would one expect the Respondents to
think?
11. Of course, not to be lost sight of here is the attitude and behavior
displayed even by mere staff and underlings of this Office to people who dare
complain against the Complainant in their respective turfs. Perhaps, top
officials of this Office should investigate and ask their associates and
relatives incognito to file, even if on a pakunwari basis only, complaints
against the Complainant, and they would surely be given the same rough
and insulting treatment that Respondent Villarez got when he filed his
kidnapping charge here;30
And in a Motion to Dismiss [the case] for Lack of Jurisdiction31 which
respondent filed, as counsel for his therein co-respondents-staffers of the
newspaper Hataw!, before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Valenzuela
City, respondent alleged:
xxxx
5. If the Complainant or its lawyer merely used even a little of whatever
is inside their thick skulls, they would have clearly deduced that this
Office has no jurisdiction over this action.32 (Emphasis supplied)
xxxx
Meanwhile, on October 26, 2004, complainant filed a civil case against
respondent and several others, docketed as Civil Case No. 249-V-04, 33 before
the Regional Trial Court, Valenzuela City and raffled to Branch 75 thereof.
The pending cases against him and the issuance of a status quo order
notwithstanding, respondent continued to publish articles against
complainant34 and to malign complainant through his television shows.
Acting on the present administrative complaint, the Investigating
Commissioner of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) came up with the
following findings in his October 5, 2005 Report and Recommendation:35
I.
38

39

xxxx
In Civil Case No. 249-V-04 entitled "Foodsphere, Inc. vs. Atty. [Melanio]
Mauricio, et al.", the Order dated 10 December 2004 (Annex O of the
Complaint) was issued by Presiding Judge Dionisio C. Sison which in part
reads:
"Anent the plaintiffs prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order
included in the instant plaintiffs motion, this Court, inasmuch as the
defendants failed to appear in court or file an opposition thereto, is
constrained to GRANT the said plaintiffs prater, as it is GRANTED, in order to
maintain STATUS QUO, and that allthe defendants, their agents,
representatives or any person acting for and in behalf are hereby
restrained/enjoined from further publishing, televising and/or broadcasting
any matter subject of the Complaint in the instant case more specifically the
imputation of vices and/or defects on plaintiff and its products."
Complainant alleged that the above-quoted Order was served on respondent
by the Branch Sheriff on 13 December 2004. Respondent has not denied the
issuance of the Order dated 10 December 2004 or his receipt of a copy
thereof on 13 December 2004.
Despite his receipt of the Order dated 10 December 2004, and the clear
directive therein addressed to him to desists [sic] from "further publishing,
televising and/or broadcasting any matter subject of the Complaint in the
instant case more specifically the imputation of vices and/or defects on
plaintiff and its products", respondent in clear defiance of this Order came
out with articles on the prohibited subject matter in his column "Atty. Batas",
2004 in the December 16 and 17, 2004 issues of the tabloid "Balitang Bayan
Toro" (Annexes Q and Q-1 of the Complaint).
The above actuations of respondent are also in violation of Rule 13.03 of the
Canon of Professional Responsibilitywhich reads: "A lawyer shall not make
public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse
public opinion for or against a party."
II.
xxxx
In I.S. No. V.04-2917-2933, then pending before the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Valenzuela City, respondent filed his "Entry of Appearance with
Highly Urgent Motion to Elevate These Cases To the Department of Justice".
In said pleading, respondent made the following statements:
xxxx
39

40

The above language employed by respondent undoubtedly casts aspersions


on the integrity of the Office of the City Prosecutor and all the
Prosecutors connected with said Office. Respondent clearly assailed the
impartiality and fairness of the said Office in handling cases filed before it
and did not even design to submit any evidence to substantiate said wild
allegations. The use by respondent of the above-quoted language in his
pleadings is manifestly violative of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which provides: "A lawyer [s]hall [o]bserve and [m]aintain
[t]he [re]spect [d]ue [t]o [t]he [c]ourts [a]nd [t]o [j]udicial [o]fficers [a]nd
[s]hould [i]nsist [o]n [s]imilar [c]onduct [b]y [o]thers."
III.
The "Kasunduan" entered into by the Spouses Cordero and herein
complainant (Annex C of the Complaint) was admittedly prepared, witnessed
and signed by herein respondent.
xxxx
In its Order dated 16 August 2004, the Bureau of Food and Drugs recognized
that the said "Kasunduan" was not contrary to law, morals, good customs,
public order and policy, and this accordingly dismissed the complaint filed by
the Spouses Cordero against herein complainant.
However, even after the execution of the "Kasunduan" and the consequent
dismissal of the complaint of his clients against herein complainant,
respondent inexplicably launched a media offensive intended to disparage
and put to ridicule herein complainant. On record are the numerous articles
of respondent published in 3 tabloids commencing from 31 August to 17
December 2004 (Annexes G to Q-1). As already above-stated, respondent
continued to come out with these articles against complainant in his tabloid
columns despite a temporary restraining order issued against him expressly
prohibiting such actions. Respondent did not deny that he indeed wrote said
articles and submitted them for publication in the tabloids.
Respondent claims that he was prompted by his sense of public service, that
is, to expose the defects of complainants products to the consuming public.
Complainant claims that there is a baser motive to the actions of respondent.
Complainant avers that respondent retaliated for complainants failure to
give in to respondents "request" that complainant advertise in the tabloids
and television programs of respondent. Complainants explanation is more
credible. Nevertheless, whatever the true motive of respondent for his
barrage of articles against complainant does not detract from the fact
that respondent consciously violated the spirit behind the "Kasunduan" which
he himself prepared and signed and submitted to the BFAD for approval.
Respondent was less than forthright when he prepared said "Kasunduan" and
40

41

then turned around and proceeded to lambaste complainant for what was
supposedly already settled in said agreement. Complainant would have been
better of with the BFAD case proceeding as it could have defended itself
against the charges of the Spouses Cordero. Complainant was helpless
against the attacks of respondent, a media personality. The actuations of
respondent constituted, to say the least, deceitful conduct contemplated
under Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.36 (Underscoring supplied)
The IBP Board of Governors, by Resolution No. XVIII-2006-114 dated March
20, 2006, adopted the findings and recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner to suspend respondent from the practice of law for two years.
The Court finds the findings/evaluation of the IBP well-taken.
The Court, once again, takes this occasion to emphasize the necessity for
every lawyer to act and comport himself in a manner that promotes public
confidence in the integrity of the legal profession,37 which confidence may be
eroded by the irresponsible and improper conduct of a member of the bar.
By the above-recited acts, respondent violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which mandates lawyers to refrain from engaging
in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. For, as the IBP found, he
engaged in deceitful conduct by, inter alia, taking advantage of the
complaint against CDO to advance his interest to obtain funds for his Batas
Foundation and seek sponsorships and advertisements for the tabloids and
his television program.
He also violated Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
mandates:
A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending
case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.
For despite the pendency of the civil case against him and the issuance of a
status quo order restraining/enjoining further publishing, televising and
broadcasting of any matter relative to the complaint of CDO, respondent
continued with his attacks against complainant and its products. At the same
time, respondent violated Canon 1 also of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which mandates lawyers to "uphold the Constitution, obey the
laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes." For he
defied said status quo order, despite his (respondents) oath as a member of
the legal profession to "obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly
constituted authorities."

41

42

Further, respondent violated Canon 8 and Rule 8.01 of the Code of


Professional Responsibility which mandate, viz:
CANON 8 - A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor
toward his professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against
opposing counsel.
Rule 8.01 A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language
which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper, by using intemperate
language.
Apropos is the following reminder in Saberon v. Larong:38
To be sure, the adversarial nature of our legal system has tempted members
of the bar to use strong language in pursuit of their duty to advance the
interests of their clients.
However, while a lawyer is entitled to present his case with vigor and
courage, such enthusiasm does not justify the use of offensive and abusive
language. Language abounds with countless possibilities for one to be
emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory, illuminating but not
offensive.1awphi1
On many occasions, the Court has reminded members of the Bar to abstain
from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor
and reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the
cause with which he is charged. In keeping with the dignity of the legal
profession, a lawyers language even in his pleadings must be
dignified.39 (Underscoring supplied)
By failing to live up to his oath and to comply with the exacting standards of
the legal profession, respondent alsoviolated Canon 7 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, which directs a lawyer to "at all times uphold the
integrity and the dignity of the legal profession."401avvph!1
The power of the media to form or influence public opinion cannot be
underestimated. In Dalisay v. Mauricio, Jr.,41the therein complainant engaged
therein-herein respondents services as "she was impressed by the pro-poor
and pro-justice advocacy of respondent, a media personality," 42 only to later
find out that after he demanded and the therein complainant paid an
exorbitant fee, no action was taken nor any pleadings prepared by him.
Respondent was suspended for six months.
On reading the articles respondent published, not to mention listening to him
over the radio and watching him on television, it cannot be gainsaid that the
same could, to a certain extent, have affected the sales of complainant.
42

43

Back to Dalisay, this Court, in denying therein-herein respondents motion for


reconsideration, took note of the fact that respondent was motivated by
vindictiveness when he filed falsification charges against the therein
complainant.43
To the Court, suspension of respondent from the practice of law for three
years is, in the premises, sufficient.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Melanio Mauricio is, for violation of the lawyers oath and
breach of ethics of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of
Professional Responsibility, SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three
years effective upon his receipt of this Decision. He is warned that a
repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.
Let a copy of this Decision be attached to his personal record and copies
furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court
Administrator for dissemination to all courts.
SO ORDERED.
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

43

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

CONSUELO YNARESSANTIAGO
Associate Justice

RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice

ANTONIO EDUARDO B.
NACHURA
Associate Justice

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE
CASTRO
Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

44

Associate Justice

Associate Justice

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice

Footnotes
1

Rollo (Vol. I of the CBD rollo), pp. 1-21.

Annex "B" of the complaint, id. at 23.

Annexes "C" and "C-1," id. at 24-25.

Annex "F," id at 29. The Order reads:


Before us is a "Kasunduan" dated 10 August 2004 duly signed by
the parties praying that the above-entitled case be dismissed
with prejudice on the ground that they have agreed to settle
their differences amicably.
The Joint DTI-DOH-DA Administrative Order No. 1 s. 1993, the
"Rules and Regulations Implementing the provisions of Chapter
III[,] Title V of RA 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of
the Philippines" provides for the encouragement of both parties
to settle the case amicably. (Rule III, Section 1, C.1)
The agreement of the parties is not contrary to law, morals, good
customs, public order and policy.
PRESCINDING FROM THE FOREGOING, the above-captioned case
is hereby DISMISSED.
xxxx

[A.C. No. 5379. May 9, 2003]


WALTER
T.
YOUNG, complainant,
BATUEGAS, MIGUELITO
NAZARENO
FRANKLIN Q. SUSA, respondents.
44

vs.
V.

CEASAR
LLANTINO

G.
and

45

RESOLUTION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
On December 29, 2000, Atty. Walter T. Young filed a Verified AffidavitComplaint for disbarment against Attys. Ceasar G. Batuegas, Miguelito
Nazareno V. Llantino and Franklin Q. Susa for allegedly committing deliberate
falsehood in court and violating the lawyers oath.[1]
Complainant is the private prosecutor in Criminal Case No. 00-187627 for
Murder, entitled People of the Philippines versus Crisanto Arana, Jr.,
pending before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 27. On December
13, 2000, respondents Batuegas and Llantino, as counsel for accused, filed a
Manifestation with Motion for Bail, alleging that the accused has voluntarily
surrendered to a person in authority. As such, he is now under
detention.[2] Upon personal verification with the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) where accused Arana allegedly surrendered, complainant
learned that he surrendered only on December 14, 2000, as shown by the
Certificate of Detention executed by Atty. Rogelio M. Mamauag, Chief of the
Security Management Division of the NBI.
Respondent Susa, the Branch Clerk of Court of RTC of Manila, Branch 27,
calendared the motion on December 15, 2000 despite the foregoing
irregularity and other formal defects, namely, the lack of notice of hearing to
the private complainant, violation of the three-day notice rule, and the failure
to attach the Certificate of Detention which was referred to in the Motion as
Annex 1.
Respondents filed their respective comments, declaring that on
December 13, 2000, upon learning that a warrant of arrest was issued
against their client, they filed the Manifestation with Motion for Bail with the
trial court. Then they immediately fetched the accused in Cavite and
brought him to the NBI to voluntarily surrender. However, due to heavy
traffic, they arrived at the NBI at 2:00 a.m. the next day; hence, the
certificate of detention indicated that the accused surrendered on December
14, 2000. They argued that there was neither unethical conduct nor
falsehood in the subject pleading as their client has voluntarily surrendered
and was detained at the NBI. As regards the lack of notice of hearing, they
contend that complainant, as private prosecutor, was not entitled to any
notice. Nevertheless, they furnished the State and City prosecutors copies of
45

46

the motion with notice of hearing thereof. Moreover, the hearing of a motion
on shorter notice is allowed under Rule 15, Sec. 4(2) of the Rules of Court.[3]
For his part, respondent Susa argues in his comment that he was no
longer in court when his co-respondents filed the Manifestation with Motion
for Bail. Ms. Teofila A. Pea, Clerk III, received the said Motion and noticed
that it was set for hearing on December 15, 2000 and the Certificate of
Detention was not attached. However, the presiding judge instructed her to
receive the Motion subject to the presentation of the Certificate of Detention
before the hearing. Thus, the inclusion of the Motion in the courts calendar
on December 15, 2000 was authorized by the presiding judge and, thus, was
done by respondent Susa in faithful performance of his ministerial duty.
In a Resolution dated August 13, 2001,[4] the instant case was referred to
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation, report and
recommendation or decision.
On December 7, 2001, the Investigating Commissioner, Rebecca
Villanueva-Maala, submitted her report and recommendation as follows:
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, it is respectfully
recommended that Atty. Ceasar G. Batuegas and Atty. Miguelito Nazareno V.
Llantino be suspended from the practice of their profession as a
lawyer/member of the Bar for a period of six (6) months from receipt
hereof. The complaint against Atty. Franklin Q. Susa, upon the other hand, is
hereby recommended dismissed for lack of merit.[5]
The foregoing Report and Recommendation was adopted and approved
by the IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline in Resolution No. XV-2002-400, to
wit:
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED,
the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the
above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution/Decision as Annex
A; and, finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on
record and the applicable laws and rules, and in view of respondents
commission of deliberate falsehood, Atty. Batuegas and Atty. Llantino are
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months. The
complaint against Atty. Susa is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.[6]

46

47

We agree with the findings and recommendations of the Investigating


Commissioner. Respondents Batuegas and Llantino are guilty of deliberate
falsehood.
A lawyer must be a disciple of truth.[7] He swore upon his admission to
the Bar that he will do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in
court and he shall conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his
knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his
clients.[8] He should bear in mind that as an officer of the court his high
vocation is to correctly inform the court upon the law and the facts of the
case and to aid it in doing justice and arriving at correct conclusion. [9] The
courts, on the other hand, are entitled to expect only complete honesty from
lawyers appearing and pleading before them.[10] While a lawyer has the
solemn duty to defend his clients rights and is expected to display the
utmost zeal in defense of his clients cause, his conduct must never be at the
expense of truth.[11]
The Court may disbar or suspend a lawyer for misconduct, whether in his
professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral
character, in honesty, probity, and good demeanor, thus proving unworthy to
continue as an officer of the court.[12]
Evidently, respondent lawyers fell short of the duties and responsibilities
expected from them as members of the bar. Anticipating that their Motion
for Bail will be denied by the court if it found that it had no jurisdiction over
the person of the accused, they craftily concealed the truth by alleging that
accused had voluntarily surrendered to a person in authority and was under
detention. Obviously, such artifice was a deliberate ruse to mislead the court
and thereby contribute to injustice. To knowingly allege an untrue statement
of fact in the pleading is a contemptuous conduct that we strongly
condemn. They violated their oath when they resorted to deception.
Respondents contend that their allegation of the accuseds detention was
merely a statement of an ultimate fact which still had to be proved by
evidence at the hearing of the Motion. That they were able to show that
their client was already under the custody of the NBI at the hearing held on
December 15, 2000 does not exonerate them. The fact remains that the
allegation that the accused was in the custody of the NBI on December 13,
2000 was false.
In Comia vs. Antona, we held:
47

48

It is of no moment that the accused eventually surrendered to the police


authorities on the same date tentatively scheduled for the hearing of the
application for bail. To our mind, such supervening event is of no bearing
and immaterial; it does not absolve respondent judge from administrative
liability considering that he should not have accorded recognition to the
application for bail filed on behalf of persons who, at that point, were devoid
of personality to ask such specific affirmative relief from the court.[13]
In this jurisdiction, whether bail is a matter of right or discretion,
reasonable notice of hearing is required to be given to the prosecutor or
fiscal, or at least, he must be asked for his recommendation.[14]
In the case at bar, the prosecution was served with notice of hearing of
the motion for bail two days prior to the scheduled date. Although a motion
may be heard on short notice, respondents failed to show any good cause to
justify the non-observance of the three-day notice rule. Verily, as lawyers,
they are obliged to observe the rules of procedure and not to misuse them to
defeat the ends of justice.[15]
Finally, we are in accord with the Investigating Commissioner that
respondent clerk of court should not be made administratively liable for
including the Motion in the calendar of the trial court, considering that it was
authorized by the presiding judge. However, he is reminded that his
administrative functions, although not involving the discretion or judgment of
a judge, are vital to the prompt and sound administration of justice. [16] Thus,
he should not hesitate to inform the judge if he should find any act or
conduct on the part of lawyers which are contrary to the established rules of
procedure.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Attys. Ceasar G.
Batuegas, Miguelito Nazareno V. Llantino are found guilty of committing
deliberate falsehood. Accordingly, they areSUSPENDED from the practice of
law for a period of six (6) months with a warning that a repetition of the
same or similar act will be dealt with more severely.
Let a copy of this Resolution be attached to the personal records of Attys.
Ceasar G. Batuegas and Miguelito Nazareno V. Llantino in the Office of the
Bar Confidant and copies thereof be furnished the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines.
SO ORDERED.
48

49

Davide, Jr., Vitug, Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
December 3, 1948
In re Investigation of ANGEL J. PARAZO for alleged leakage of
questions in some subjects in the 1948 Bar Examinations.
Felixberto M. Serrano for respondent.
Enrique M. Fernando and Francisco A. Rodrigo, Abelardo Subido, and Arturo
A. Alafriz (for the Philippine Lawyers' Association) as amici curiae.

MONTEMAYOR, J.:
The present case had its origin in a story or news item prepared and written
by the defendant, Angel J. Parazo, a duly accredited reporter of the Star
Reporter, a local daily of general circulation, that appeared on the front page
of the issue of September 14, 1948. The story was preceded by the headline
in large letters "CLAIM 'LEAK' IN LAST BAR TESTS," followed by another in
slightly smaller letters "Applicants In Uproar, Want Anomaly Probed; One
School Favored," under the name "By Angel J. Parazo of the Star
Reporter Staff." For purposes of reference we quote the news item in full:
Leakage in some subjects in the recent bar examinations were
denounced by some of the law graduates who took part in the tests, to
the Star Reporter this morning.
These examinees claim to have seen mimeograph copies of the
questions in one subject, days before the tests were given, in the
Philippine Normal School.
Only students of one private university in Sampaloc had those
mimeographed questions on said subject fully one week before the
tests.
49

50

The students who made the denunciation to the Star Reporter claim
that the tests actually given were similar in every respect to those they
had seen students of this private university holding proudly around the
city.
The students who claim to have seen the tests which leaked are
demanding that the Supreme Court institute an immediate probe into
the matter, to find out the source of the leakage, and annul the test
papers of the students of the particular university possessed of those
tests before the examinations.
The discovery of the alleged leakage in the tests of the bar
examinations came close on the heels of the revelations in
the Philippine Collegian, official organ of the student body of the
University of the Philippines, on recent government tests wherein the
questions had come into the possession of nearly all the graduates of
some private technical schools.
To the publication, evidently, the attention of the Supreme Court must have
been called, and Mr. Justice Padilla, who had previously been designated
Chairman of the Committee of Bar Examiners for this year, by authority of
the Court, instructed Mr. Jose de la Cruz as Commissioner with the assistance
of Mr. E. Soriano, Clerk of Court to cite Mr. Parazo for questioning and
investigation. In this connection, and for purposes of showing the interest of
the Supreme Court in the news item and its implications, it may here be
stated that this Court is and for many years has been, in charge of the Bar
Examinations held every year, including that of this year, held in August,
1948. Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution of the Philippines authorizes
this Court to promulgate rules concerning admission to the practice of law,
and pursuant to that authority, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court was
promulgated, under which rule, this Court conducts the Bar Examinations
yearly, appoints a Committee of Bar Examiners to be presided by one of the
Justices, to serve for one year, acts on the report of the committee and
finally, admits to the Bar and to the practice of law, the candidates and
examinees who have passed the examinations.
The investigation of Mr. Parazo was conducted on September 18, 1948, on
which occasion he testified under oath and, answering questions directed to
him by Messrs. Cruz and Soriano admitted that he was the author of the
news item; that he wrote up the story and had it published, in good faith and
in a spirit of public service; and that he knew the persons who gave him the
information which formed the basis of his publication but that he declined to
reveal their names because the information was given to him in confidence
and his informants did not wish to have their identities revealed. The
investigators informed Parazo that this was a serious matter involving the
confidence of the public in the regularity and cleanliness of the Bar
50

51

Examinations and also in the Supreme Court which conducted said


examinations, and repeatedly appealed to his civic spirit and sense of public
service, pleading with and urging him to reveal the names of his informants
so that the Supreme Court may be in a position to start and conduct the
necessary investigation in order to verify their charge and complaint and
take action against the party or parties responsible for the alleged
irregularity and anomaly, if found true, but Parazo consistently refused to
make the revelation.
In the meantime, the writer of this opinion who was appointed to the
Supreme Court as associate Justice in the latter part of August, 1948, was
designated to succeed Mr. Justice Padilla as Chairman of the Committee of
Bar Examiners when the said Justice was appointed Secretary of Justice. The
writer of this opinion was furnished a copy of the transcript of the
investigation conducted on September 18, 1948, and he made a report
thereof to the Court in banc, resulting in the issuance of the resolution of this
Court dated October 7, 1948, which reads as follows:
In relation with the news item that appeared in the front page of
the Star Reporter, issue of September 14, 1948, regarding alleged
leakage in some bar examination questions, which examinations were
held in August 1948, Mr. Jose de la Cruz, as Commissioner, and Mr. E.
Soriano, as Clerk of Court, were authorized by Mr. Justice Sabino Padilla
then chairman of the committee of bar examiners to conduct an
investigation thereof, particularly to receive the testimony of Mr. Angel
J. Parazo, the reporter responsible for and author of said news item. An
investigation was conducted on September 18, 1948; stenographic
notes were taken of the testimony of Mr. Parazo, and Mr. Justice
Marcelino R. Montemayor, the new chairman of the committee of bar
examiners, has submitted the transcript of said notes for the
consideration of this Court.
From the record of said investigation, it is clear that Mr. Parazo has
deliberately and consistently declined and refused to reveal the
identity of the persons supposed to have given him the data and
information on which his news item was based, despite the repeated
appeals made to his civic spirit, and for his cooperations, in order to
enable this Court to conduct a thorough investigation of the alleged
bar examination anomaly, Resolved, to authorize Mr. Justice
Montemayor to cite Mr. Parazo before him, explain to him that the
interests of the State demand and so this Court requires that he reveal
the source or sources of his information and of his news item, and to
warn him that his refusal to make the revelation demanded will be
regarded as contempt of court and penalized accordingly. Mr. Justice
Montemayor will advise the Court of the result.
51

52

Acting upon this resolution, the writer of this opinion cited Mr. Parazo to
appear before him on October 13, 1948. He appeared on the date set and it
was clearly explained to him that the interest of the State demands and this
court requires that he reveal the source of sources of his information and of
his news item; that this was a very serious matter involving the confidence of
the people in general and the law practitioners and bar examinees in
particular, in the regularity and cleanliness of the bar examinations; that it
also involves the good name and reputation of the bar examiners who are
appointed by this Court to prepare the bar examinations questions and later
pass upon and correct the examinations questions and last but not least, it
also involves and is bound to affect the confidence of the whole country in
the very Supreme Court which is conducting the bar examinations. It was
further explained to him that the Supreme Court is keenly interested in
investigating the alleged anomaly and leakage of the examination questions
and is determined to punish the party or parties responsible therefor but that
without his help, specially the identities of the persons who furnished him the
information and who could give the court the necessary data and evidence,
the Court could not even begin the investigation because there would be no
basis from which to start, not even a clue from which to formulate a theory.
Lastly, Parazo was told that under the law he could be punished if he refused
to make the revelation, punishment which may even involve imprisonment.
Because of the seriousness of the matter, Parazo was advised to think it over
and consider the consequences, and if he need time within which to do this
and so that he might even consult the editor and publisher of his paper,
the Star Reporter, he could be given an extension of time, and at his request,
the investigation was postponed to October 15, 1948. On that date he
appeared, accompanied by his counsel, Atty. Felixberto M. Serrano. The
writer of this opinion in the presence of his counsel, several newspapermen,
Clerk of Court Soriano, Deputy Clerk of Court Cruz, and Mr. Chanliongco
made a formal demand on Mr. Parazo to reveal the identities of his
informants, under oath, but he declined and refused to make the revelation.
At the request of his counsel, that before this Court take action upon his
refusal to reveal, he be accorded a hearing, with the consent of the Court
first obtained, a public hearing was held on the same day, October 15, 1948
in the course of which, Attorney Serrano extensively and ably argued the
case of his client, invoking the benefits of Republic Act No. 53, the first
section of which reads as follows:
SECTION 1. The publisher, editor or duly accredited reporter of any
newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation cannot be
compelled to reveal the source of any news-report or information
appearing in said publication which was related in confidence to such
publisher, editor or reporter, unless the court or a House or committee
of Congress finds that such revelation is demanded by the interest of
the state.
52

53

This Court has given this case prolonged, careful and mature consideration,
involving as it does interesting and important points of law as well as
questions of national importance. Counsel contends that the phrase "interest
of the state" found at the end of section 1 of Republic Act No. 53 means and
refers only to the security of the state, that is to say that only
when National Security or public safety is involved, may this Court compel
the defendant to reveal the source or sources of his news report or
information. We confess that it was not easy to decide this legal question on
which the conviction or acquittal of Parazo hinges. As a matter of facts, the
vote of the Justice is not unanimous.
In an effort to determine the intent of the Legislature that passed Republic
Act No. 53, particularly the Senate were it originated, we examined the
record of the proceedings in said legislative body when this Act, then Senate
Bill No. 6 was being discussed. We gathered from the said record that the
original bill prepared by Senator Sotto provided that the immunity to be
accorded a publisher, editor, or reporter of any newspaper was absolute and
that under no circumstance could he be compelled to reveal the source of his
information or news report. The committee, however, under the
chairmanship of Senator Cuenco inserted an amendment or change, by
adding to the end of section 1 of the clause "unless the court finds that such
revelation is demanded by the public interest."
When the bill as amended was recommended for approval on second
reading, Senator Sotto, the author of the original bill proposed an
amendment by eliminating the clause added by the committee "unless the
court finds that such revelation is demanded by the public interest," claiming
that said clause would kill the purposed of the bill. This amendment of
Senator Sotto was discussed. Various Senators objected to the elimination of
the clause already referred to on the ground that without such exception and
by giving complete immunity to editors, reporters, etc., many abuses may be
committed. Senator Cuenco, Committee chairman, in advocating the
disapproval of the Sotto amendment, and in defending the exception
embodied in the amendment introduced by the Committee, consisting in the
clause: "unless the court finds that such revelation is demanded by the
public interest," said that the Committee could not accept the Sotto
amendment because there may be cases, perhaps few, in which the interest
of the public or the interest of the state required that the names of the
informants be published or known. He gave as one example a case of a
newspaperman publishing information referring to a theft of the plans of forts
or fortifications. He argued that if the immunity accorded a newspaperman
should be absolute, as sought by the Sotto amendment, the author of the
theft might go scott-free. When the Sotto amendment was put to a vote, it
was disapproved. Finally, Senator Sotto proposed another amendment by
changing the phrase "public interest" at the end of section 1 as amended by
the Committee be changed to and substituted by the phrase "interest of the
53

54

state," claiming that the phrase public interest was too elastic. Without much
discussion this last amendment was approved, and this phrase is now found
in the Act as finally approved.
In view of the contention now advanced, that the phrase "interest of the
state" is confined to cases involving the "security of the state" or "public
safety," one might wonder or speculate on why the last amendment
proposed by Senator Sotto, changing the phrase "public interest" to "interest
of the state," was approved without much discussion. But we notice from the
records of the deliberations on and discussion of the bill in the Senate that
the phrase "public interest" was used interchangeably by some Senators with
the phrase "interest of the state." For instance, although the bill, as amended
by the Committee presided by Senator Cuenco, used the words "public
interest, "when Senator Cuenco sponsored the bill before the Senate he used
in his speech or remarks the phrase "interest of the State" (interes del
Estado). Again, although the bill, as sponsored by the Cuenco Committee and
discussed by the Senate, used the words "public interest, "Senator Sebastian
referred to the exception by using the phrase "interest of the state." This
understanding of at least two of the Senators, who took part in the
discussion, about the similarity or interchangeability of the two phrases
"public interest" and "interest of the estate," may account for the readiness
or lack of objection on the part of the Senate, after it had rejected the first
Sotto amendment, to accept the second Sotto amendment, changing the
phrase "public interest" to "interest of the state."
In referring to a case wherein the security of the state or public safety was
involved, such as the theft of the plans of fortifications, Senator Cuenco was
obviously giving it only as an example of what he meant by "interest of the
state;" it was not meant to be the only case or example. We do not propose
to define or fix the limits or scope of the phrase "interest of the state;" but
we can say that the phrase "interest of the state" can not be confined and
limited to the "security of the state" or to "public safety" alone. These
synonymous phrases, "security of the state" and "public safety," are not
uncommon terms and we can well presume that the legislators were familiar
with them. The phrase "public safety," is used in Article III, section 1(5) of the
Constitution of the Philippines, where it says that "the privacy of
communications and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful
order of the court or when public safety and order require otherwise;" and
Article VII, section 10(2) of the same Constitution provided that the President
may suspend the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus, in case of invasion,
insurrection, etc., when the public safety requires it.
The phrase "National Security" is used at the beginning of Book II of the
Revised Penal Code, thus: Title I, Crimes against National Security and the
law of Nations, Chapter I, Crimes against National Security. Then, more
recently, the phrase "National Security" was used in section 2, and the
54

55

phrase "public security" was equally used in section 19, of Commonwealth


Act No. 682 creating the People's Court, promulgated on September 25,
1945. If, as contended, the Philippine Congress, particularly the Philippine
Senate, had meant to limit the exception to the immunity of newspapermen
only to cases where the "security of the state," i.e., "National Security" is
involved, it could easily and readily have used such phrase or any one of
similar phrases like "public safety,""National Security," or "public security" of
which it must have been familiar. Since it did not do so, there is valid reason
to believe that that was not in the mind and intent of the legislators, and
that, in using the phrase "interest of the state," it extended the scope and
the limits of the exception when a newspaperman or reporter may be
compelled to reveal the sources of his information.
The phrase "interest of the state" is quite broad and extensive. It is of course
more general and broader than "security of the state." Although not as broad
and comprehensive as "public interest" which may include most anything
though of minor importance, but affecting the public, such as for instance,
the establishment and maintenance of barrio roads, electric light and ice
plants, parks, markets, etc., the phrase "interest of the estate" even under a
conservative interpretation, may and does include cases and matters of
national importance in which the whole state and nations, not only a branch
or instrumentality thereof such as a province, city or town, or a part of the
public, is interested or would be affected, such as the principal functions of
Government like administration of justice, public school system, and such
matters like social justice, scientific research, practice of law or of medicine,
impeachment of high Government officials, treaties with other nations,
integrity of the three coordinate branches of the Government, their relations
to each other, and the discharge of their functions, etc.
We are satisfied that the present case easily comes under the phrase
"interest of the state." Under constitutional provision, article VIII, section 13,
Constitution of the Philippines, the Supreme Court takes charge of the
admission of members to the Philippine Bar. By its Rules of Court, it has
prescribed the qualifications of the candidates to the Bar Examinations, and
it has equally prescribed the subject of the said Bar Examinations. Every
year, the Supreme Court appoints the Bar examiners who prepare the
questions, then correct the examination papers submitted by the examinees,
and later make their report to the Supreme Court. Only those Bar
Examination candidates who are found to have obtained to passing grade
are admitted to the Bar and licensed to practice law. There are now
thousands of members of the Philippine Bar, scattered all over the
Philippines, practicing law or occupying important Government posts
requiring membership in the Bar as a prerequisite, and every year, quite a
number, sometimes several hundreds, are added to the legal fold. The
Supreme Court and the Philippine Bar have always tried to maintain a high
standard for the legal profession, both in academic preparation and legal
55

56

training, as well as in honesty and fair dealing. The Court and the licensed
lawyers themselves are vitally interested in keeping this high standard; and
one of the ways of achieving this end is to admit to the practice of this noble
profession only those persons who are known to be honest, possess good
moral character, and show proficiency in and knowledge of the law by the
standard set by this Court by passing the Bar Examinations honestly and in
the regular and usual manner. It is of public knowledge that perhaps by
general inclination or the conditions obtaining in this country, or the great
demand for the services of licensed lawyers, law as compared to other
professions, is the most popular in these islands. The predominantly greater
number of members of the Bar, schools and colleges of law as compared to
those of other learned professions, attest to this fact. And one important
thing to bear in mind is that the Judiciary, from the Supreme Court down to
the Justice of the Peace Courts, provincial fiscalships and other prosecuting
attorneys, and the legal departments of the Government, draw exclusively
from the Bar to fill their positions. Consequently, any charge or insinuation of
anomaly in the conduct of Bar Examinations, of necessity is imbued with
wide and general interest and national importance.
If it is true that Bar Examination questions, for some reason or another, find
their way out and get into the hands of Bar examinees before the
examinations are actually given, and as a result thereof some examinees
succeed in illegally and improperly obtaining passing grades and are later
admitted to the Bar and to the practice of law, when otherwise they should
not be, then the present members of the legal profession would have reason
to resent and be alarmed; and if this is continued it would not be long before
the legal profession will have fallen into disrepute. The public would naturally
lose confidence in the lawyers, specially in the new ones, because a person
contemplating to go to court to seek redress or to defend himself before it
would not know whether a particular lawyer to whom he is entrusting his
case has legally passed the Bar Examinations because of sufficient and
adequate preparation and training, and that he is honest, or whether he was
one of those who had succeeded in getting hold of Bar Examination
questions in advance, passed the Bar Examinations illegally, and then
started his legal career with this act of dishonesty. Particularly, the Bar
examinees who, by intense study and conscientious preparations, have
honestly passed the Bar Examinations and are admitted to practice law,
would be affected by this anomaly, because they would ever be under a
cloud of suspicion, since from the point of view of the public, they might be
among those who had made use of Bar Examination questions obtained
before hand. And, incidentally, the morale of the hundreds of students and
graduates of the different law schools, studying law and later preparing for
the Bar Examinations, would be affected, even disastrously, for in them may
be born the idea that there is no need of much law study and preparation
inasmuch as it is possible and not difficult to obtain copies of questions
before the examinations and pass them and be admitted to the Bar.
56

57

The cloud of suspicion would, equally, hang over the Bar examiners
themselves, eight eminent lawyers who in a spirit of public service and civic
spirit, have consented to serve on the Committee of Examiners at the
request and designation of this Court. They would be suspected, one or
two or more of them that through negligence, or connivance, or downright
corruption, they have made possible the release if they have not themselves
actually released, before examination day, the questions they had prepared.
The employees of the Supreme Court in charge of the Bar Examinations,
specially those who copy or mimeograph the original copies furnished by the
Bar examiners, would all be under suspicion. And, lastly, and more important
still, the Supreme Court itself which has to overall supervision and control
over the examinations, would share the suspicion, as a result of which the
confidence of the people in this High Tribunal, which public confidence, the
members of this Court like to think and believe, it still enjoys, might be
affected and shaken. All these considerations of vital importance, in our
opinion, can and will sufficiently cause the present case to fall and be
included within the meaning of the phrase "interest of the state," involving
as it does, not only the interests of students and graduates of the law
schools and colleges, and of the entire legal profession of this country as well
as the good name and reputation of the members of the Committee of Bar
Examiners, including the employees of the Supreme Court having charge of
and connections with said examinations, but also the highest Tribunal of the
land itself which represents one of the three coordinate and independent
branches or departments of the Philippine Government.
In support of if not in addition to the power granted by section 1 of Republic
Act. No. 53 to this Court, we have the inherent power of courts in general,
specially of the Supreme Court as representative of the Judicial Department,
to adopt proper and adequate measures to preserve their integrity, and
render possible and facilitate the exercise of their functions, including, as in
the present case, the investigation of charges of error, abuse or misconduct
of their officials and subordinates, including lawyers, who are officers of the
Court. (Province of Tarlac vs. Gale, 26 Phil., 350; 21 C.J.S. 41, 138.) As we
have previously stated, the revelation demanded of the respondent, of the
identity of his informants, is essential and necessary to the investigation of
the charge contained in the publication already mentioned.
It will be noticed from Parazo's news item as quoted in the first part of this
decision, that, informants, law graduates and bar examinees, were
denouncing the supposed anomaly consisting of the alleged leakage of the
Bar Examination questions to the Supreme Court for due investigation. If
those persons really meant and intended to make a bona fide and effective
denunciation, with expectation of results, the right place to air their
grievance was the Supreme Court itself, not a newspaper; and if they truly
wanted an investigation, they should have come forward and furnished or
stood ready to furnish the facts on which to base and from which to start an
57

58

investigation, instead of concealing themselves behind the curtain of press


immunity.
Examining the news item in question, it is therein claimed and assured that
Bar Examination questions in at least one subject had been obtained and
used by bar examinees coming from a certain university, one week before
the examinations were actually held. Parazo in his statements and answers
during the investigation said that examination questions in several subjects
were involved in the anomaly. But no copy or copies of said examination
questions were furnished us. No one is willing to testify that he actually saw
said alleged copies of examination questions; that they were actually and
carefully compared with the legitimate examination questions given out on
the day of the examination and found to be identical; no one is ready and
willing to reveal the identity of the persons or bar examinees said to have
been seen with the said Bar Examination questions, although they as well as
the university where they came from, was known; and even the law subjects
to which the questions pertained are not disclosed; and, lastly, we are not
allowed to know even the identity of respondent Parazo's informants who
claim to have seen all these things.
In this connection it may be stated that in the las Bar Examinations held in
August, 1948, approximately nine hundred candidates took them, each
candidate writing his answers in a book for each subject. There were eight
subjects, each belonging to and corresponding to each one of the eight bar
examiners. There were therefore eight sets of bar examination questions,
and multiplying these eight sets of questions by nine hundred candidates,
gives a total of seven thousand two hundred (7,200) examination papers
involved, in the hand of eight different examiners. The examination books or
papers bear no names or identifications of their writers or owners and said
ownership and identification will not be known until the books or papers are
all corrected and graded. Without definite assurance based on reliable
witnesses under oath that the alleged anomaly had actually been
committed, evidence on the identity of the persons in possession of the
alleged copies of questions prematurely released or illegally obtained and
made use of, the law subjects or subjects involved, the university from which
said persons come, this Court does not feel capable of or warranted in taking
any step, such as blindly and desperately revising each and every one of the
7,200 examination books with the fond but forlorn hope of finding any
similarity or identity in the answers of any group of examinees and basing
thereon any definite finding or conclusion. Apart from the enormity of the
task and its hopelessness, this Court may not and cannot base its findings
and conclusions, especially in any serious and delicate matter as is the
present, on that kind of evidence. Under these circumstances, this Court, for
lack of basis, data and information, is unable to conduct, nay, even start, an
investigation; and, unless and until the respondent herein reveals the
identities of his informants, and those informants and or others with facts
58

59

and reliable evidence, aid and cooperate with the Court in its endeavor to
further examine and probe into the charges contained in the news items,
said charges are considered and held to be without basis, proof or
foundation.
When the Supreme Court decided to demand of the respondent herein that
he reveal the names of his informants, it was not impelled or motivated by
mere idle curiosity. It truly wanted information on which to start an
investigation because it is vitally interested in keeping the Bar Examinations
clean and above board and specially, not only to protect the members of the
Bar and those aspiring for membership therein and the public dealing with
the members thereof and the Bar Examiners who cooperate with and act as
agents of this Court in preparing the examination questions and correcting
the examination papers, but also, as already stated, to keep the confidence
of the people in this High Tribunal as regards the discharge of its function
relative to the admission to the practice of law. These, it can only do by
investigating any Bar Examination anomaly, fixing responsibility and
punishing those found guilty, even annulling examinations already held, or
else declaring the charges as not proven, if, as a result of the investigation, it
is found that there is insufficiency or lack of evidence. In demanding from the
respondent that he reveal the sources of his information, this Court did not
intend to punish those informants or hold them liable. It merely wanted their
help and cooperation. In this Court's endeavor to probe thoroughly the
anomaly, or irregularity allegedly committed, it was its intention not only to
adopt the necessary measures to punish the guilty parties, if the charges are
found to be true, but also even to annul the examinations themselves, in
justice to the innocent parties who had taken but did not pass the
examinations. We say this because in every examination, whether conducted
by the Government or by a private institution, certain standards are
unconsciously adopted on which to base the passing grade. For instance, if,
as a result of the correction of many or all of the examination papers, it is
found that only very few have passed it, the examiner might reasonably
think that the questions he gave were unduly difficult or hard to understand,
or too long, as a result of which he may be more liberal and be more lenient
and make allowances. On the hand, if too many obtain passing grade, the
examiner may think that the examination questions were too easy and
constitute an inadequate measure of the legal knowledge and training
required to be a lawyer, and so he may raise his standard and become more
strict in his correction of the papers and his appreciation of the answers. So,
in a case where examinees, especially if many, succeed in getting hold of
questions long before examinations day, and study and prepare the answers
to those questions, it may result that when the examiner finds that many of
the examinees have easily and correctly answered the questions, he may
think that said questions were too easy, raise the standard by being strict in
his correction of the papers, thereby giving a grade below passing to a
59

60

number of examinees who otherwise would have validly passed the


examinations.
In conclusion, we find that the interest of the state in the present case
demands that the respondent Angel J. Parazo reveal the source or sources of
his information which formed the basis of his news items or story in the
September 14, 1948 issue of the Star Reporter, quoted at the beginning of
his decision, and that, in refusing to make the revelation which this Court
required of him, he committed contempt of Court. The respondent repeatedly
stated during the investigation that he knew the names and identities of the
persons who furnished him the information. In other words, he omitted and
still refuses to do an act commanded by this Court which is yet in his power
to perform. (Rule 64, section 7, Rules of Court.)Ordinarily, in such cases, he
can and should be imprisoned indefinitely until he complied with the
demand. However, considering that case like the present are not common or
frequent, in this jurisdiction, and that there is no reason and immediate
necessity for imposing a heavy penalty, as may be done in other cases
where it is advisable or necessary to mete out severe penalties to meet a
situation of an alarming number of cases of a certain offense or a crime
wave, and, considering further the youthful age of the respondent, the
majority of the members of this Court have decided to order, as it hereby
orders, his immediate arrest and confinement in jail for a period of one (1)
month, unless, before the expiration of that period he makes to this Court
the revelation demanded of him. So ordered.
Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, and Tuason, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
Perfecto, J., concurring and dissenting:
The facts in this case, as narrated in the decision penned by Mr. Justice
Montemayor, justify conclusively the finding of the majority that respondent
is guilty of contempt for his stubborn refusal to obey an order of this Court.
Section 1 of Republic Act No. 53, invoked by respondent in his defense, does
not protect him. It would protect him only if we could agree with his theory
that the words "interest of the state" used in the law should be read to mean
security of the state or public safety. But there is nothing in the whole text of
Republic Act No. 53 and/or in the intention of those who drafted and enacted
it, as can be gleaned in the Senate journal, or in the grammatical, rhetorical,
or philosophical meaning of the words in question, that can justify the
60

61

limiting or narrowing of the scope of the ideas that they embrace within the
small circle of public security or safety of the state.
The word "interest" in the phrase "interest of the state" represents a world of
ideas and concepts within the ideas of security or safety occupy a place,
however privileged, insignificant in magnitude. There is no legal basis for us
to reduce the purpose of the law, as conveyed by its very words, to a
minimum that, if given effect, would virtually amend the law without the
benefit of congressional enactment. Such would be violative of the
Constitution.
In the tug of war between the theory of absolute privilege of the author of
the original bill and the Senate committee that would limit the privilege up to
the point where it runs in conflict with the wide area of public interest, the
opposing sides arrived at a meeting ground in which the line of limitation
was pushed up to the place where the privilege may be in conflict with the
interest of the state. No one is authorized to push that line of limitation still
farther to the fence surrounding the safety of the state. We have to stop at
the line of limitation set by Congress. To hurdle it is to transgress the law.
No matter how much we may agree with the side maintaining the absolute
privilege or reducing any limitation to an imaginable minimum, or how much
we may sympathize with its failure in the Senate or in Congress, we are
powerless to retrieve that side from its plight. We are not authorized to inject
in the statute a law of our own creation, or make of a legislative failure a
success, and thus defeat the legislative intent. There is no alternative for the
losing legislative side except to bide for time and wait for a more respective
mood of Congress.
Contempt of court is an offense that should not be left unpunished,
especially if it consists in the disobedience of a judicial order. The orders of a
court demand obedience for their effectiveness. Administration of justice is
impossible with unenforceable judicial orders. The effectiveness of judicial
orders is the elan vital of the administration of justice. To disobey an order of
court is a terrible thing because it means sowing the seeds of anarchy and
chaos. The Supreme Court, if it can help it, will never allow such a thing to
obtain.
Anyone may imagine a state or a human society smoothly functioning
without an executive department or without a legislative department. As a
matter of fact, in this Republic, Congress functions only one third of the year.
During the remaining two thirds of the year the life of the nation does not
suffer any impairment. It can even be said that during those two thirds of the
year there is more normalcy than during the Congressional session when
legislative reforms and the enactment of new laws cannot but produce some
public uneasiness, sometimes, amounting to a real crisis in the way of life of
61

62

the people. No one can imagine the possibility of an orderly human society
without some effective system of administration of justice, functioning
without long interruptions.
While we cannot overemphasize the importance of upholding judicial
authority to its full measure and this Supreme Court will never take lightly
any disobedience to or defiance of its orders, and it should mete out to all
affected parties the tremendous weight of its power and will punish, without
fear or favor, the guilty parties, regardless of who they may be, in the
present case we are constrained to disagree with the penalty imposed upon
respondent.
Respondent is punished under section 7 of Rule 64, the same section we
have already declared invalid in our opinion in the Harden case, 81 Phil., 741.
The provision of law applicable to respondent is contained in section 6 of
Rule 64, under which a person guilty of contempt may be fined in a sum not
exceeding P1,000 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
Considering that there are mitigating circumstances that attenuate
respondent's responsibility, youthfulness, honest but wrong belief in the
existence of a privilege, absence of substantial harm, we should not
impose upon respondent a stiffer penalty than that which we imposed in the
case of Benito M. Sakdalan, L-2781, the very one which, as can be gleaned
from the Senate journal, prompted the enactment of Republic Act No. 53.
We cannot agree with the proviso in the majority opinion leaving to
respondent the discretion to reduce the imprisonment imposed by the simple
process of making the revelation exacted from him. The penalty should be
measured by the responsibility, and that measure cannot be left at the
discretion of the guilty one. His future revelation will not diminish or in any
way affect his responsibility for the offense he has already perpetrated. His
past disobedience cannot be attenuated by a future action. The past cannot
be remade. What has been done cannot be undone. These are verities no
one can eloign.
We vote to impose upon respondent two days of imprisonment.
PARAS, J., dissenting:
If, as insisted by the respondent, he wrote up and published in the
newspaper Star Reporter the story (Claim "Leak" in Last Bar Tests) quoted in
full in the decision of the majority, in good faith and in a spirit of public
service, he voluntarily should have revealed the identities of his informants,
thereby enabling this Court, conformably to the alleged demands of
denouncing bar examinees, to "institute an immediate probe into the matter,
to find out the source of the leakage, and annual the test papers of the
students of the particular university possessed of those tests before the
62

63

examinations." If he was in fact motivated by a spirit of public service, he


should at least have tried to secure their consent to the revelation. The point
I want to underscore is that newspaper reporters should be fearless as well in
publishing stories as in substantiating their truth. And if I am constrained to
dissent from the ruling of the majority, it is only because the respondent, in
my opinion, cannot legally be compelled to make the revelation, in view of
Republic Act No. 53 which this Court is bound to enforce providing that
"the publisher, editor or duly accredited reporter of any newspaper,
magazine or periodical of general circulation cannot be compelled to reveal
the source of any news-report or information appearing in said publication
which was related in confidence to such publisher, editor or reporter, unless
the court or a House or committee of Congress finds that such revelation is
demanded by the interest of the state." I have no hesitancy in believing that
the phrase "interest of the state," as used in the Act, refers exclusively to
matters affecting the security or safety of the state.
In this connection, it is necessary to remember that the original bill
sponsored by Senator Sotto provided for absolute immunity. The committee
on revision of laws, however, inserted an amendment by adding the clause
"unless the court finds that such revelation is demanded by the public
interest." Senator Sotto's attempt to suppress this clause failed, after which,
in view of the remarks of the Chairman of the committee presently to be
mentioned, Senator Sotto proposed to change the words "public interest"
into "interest of the state," a proposal that was readily accepted. Hence, the
use of the latter phrase in Republic Act No. 53.
Our task now is to discover the meaning and scope of the phrase "interest of
the state," as intended by the lawmakers. In this task, it is important to recall
that the original intention of the author of the bill was to provide for absolute
immunity, and this purpose should not of course be unduly defeated by any
subsequent exception, especially when the limited sphere of the change is
apparent from the deliberations of the lawmakers. For instance, in explaining
the reason of the committee for opposing Senator Sotto's advocacy of
absolute immunity and of the suppression of the clause "unless the court
finds that such revelation is demanded by the public interest," added to the
original bill, Senator Cuenco gave the example of a newspaperman who
publishes an information regarding theft of plans of forts and fortifications, in
which case Senator Cuenco believed that "el interes publico y el interes
mismo del Estado requieran que se publique el nombre del informante."
Again, after proposing the change of "public interest" to "interest of the
state," Senator Sotto, when asked by Senator Garcia as to the essential
difference between the two phrases, explained that "La diferencia esta en
que puede haber un caso de espionaje, como el citado por el Senador
Cuenco, delito en que esta interesado el Estado y no se puede discutir al
autor, y la frase `public interest' es muy elastica. En cambio, se se pone
`interest of the state,' claramente se entenderia que mediando el interes del
63

64

Estado, el periodista estara obligado a revelar la fuente de su informacion."


Last but not least, it should be noted that the Act in question was prompted
by the desire of its sponsor to prevent the repetition of the case of Benito
Sakdalan, a reporter who was imprisoned for refusing to reveal the source of
the information contained in a news item admittedly not affecting, like the
story published by the respondent, the security or safety of the State. It
logically follows that the phrase "interest of the state" was intended to be
limited to cases portrayed by the examples (theft of plans of forts and
fortifications and espionage), given during the deliberations which solely
affect the security or safety of the state.
It is immaterial whether the law did not employ phrases like "public safety,"
"national Security," or "public security," or whether "public interest" and
"interest of the state" were interchangeably used in the discussions, as long
as in using the phrase "interest of the state" in Act No. 53, the lawmakers
definitely knew and accordingly recorded, by specific examples, what they
intended to convey. Conjectures cannot prevail over the clear legislative
intent.
The exception provided in the Act in question should be strictly construed so
as not to frustrate the main purpose of the law. This would further make the
law more consonant with the spirit of the constitutional provisions that "the
privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except
upon lawful order of the Court or when public safety and order require
otherwise"(Article III, section 1, paragraph 5), and that no law shall be
passed abridging the freedom of the press (Article III, section 1, paragraph
8).
It may not be amiss to add that the refusal of the respondent to disclose the
source of his information does not absolutely prevent this Court from
verifying, by any reasonable and feasible means, the truth of the alleged
anomaly; and it is certainly not required, by the mere publication of the story
in question, to admit the accuracy of said story if its investigation should fail
because of lack of evidence or of the refusal of those who know to come out
and testify.
In my opinion, the respondent has not committed any contempt of this Court.
Briones, M., dissenting:
Deploro no podeer estar conforme con la decision de la mayoria sobre este
incidente. Me preocupa como al que mas el buen nobmre, el prestigio, la
respetabilidad de esta Corte Suprema baluarte inexpugnable de las
libertades y fueros civiles pero hay algo que me preocupa mas y esla
substancia misma de esas libertades y fueros. En realidad, en tanto la Corte
Suprema crece y se agiganta en el concepto publico en cuanto ella se
64

65

mantiene enhiesta en la cima de la cumbre donde la coloca su categoria y


constituye la ultima esperanza del ciudadano cuando en su derredor todo
parece crujir y requebrajarse.
El recurrido, Angel Parazo, es reportero del periodico diario "The Star
Reporter" que se edita en Manila. A raiz de los ultimos examenes de
abogacia, publico un articulo informativo en el que se decia que algunos
examinandos habian visto copias de algunos cuestionarios antes de la
celebracion de los examenes y que dichas copias fueron utilizadas por los
examinandos procedentes de cierta universidad privada. El Magistrado
encargado de los examenes emplazo al recurrido para que explicase la
noticia y diese los nombres de sus informantes a fin de poder investigarles
minuciosamente y ver la manera de adoptar las medidas que fueran
procedentes. El recurrido comparecio, pero se nego en absoluto a revelar el
origen de su informacion. De ahi el presente expediente por desacato.
La controversia gira en torno a la interpretacion del articulo 1 de la Ley de la
Republica No. 53, aprobada por el Congreso en su ultimo periodo de
sesiones. Dicho articulo se lee como sigue:
El publicista, editor o reportero debidamente acreditado de cualquier
periodico, revista o publicacion periodica de circulacion general, no
puede ser compelido a revelar el origen de cualquier noticia o
informacion que le haya sido transmitida en confianza y que haya
aparecido en dicho periodico, revista o publicacion, a menos que el
tribunal o una camara del Congreso o un comite del mismo halley y
determine que el interes del Estado requiere que se haga tal
revelacion.
Podemos tomar conocimiento judicial de las motivaciones de esta ley como
tema de historia contemporanea. Hace dos aos un juez del Tribunal del
Pueblo (People's Court) lanzo publicamente algunos ataques contra esta
Corte. Un periodista, Benito Sakdalan, se hizo eco de dichos ataques
publicando bajo su firma y responsabilidad un articulo informativo acerca del
particular. A instancia de parte, un Magistrado de esta Corte mando
emplazar a Sakdalan para una investigacion del incidente. Sakdalan
comparecio, pero cuando se le pregunto de quien habia recibido su
informacion, negose en absoluto a hacer la revelacion exigid. El Magistrado
de referencia ordeno entonces que se le detuviera a Sakdalan en la
escribania de esta Corte por dos dias, en castigo por lo que se creyo un
desacato.
El caso Sakdalan causo un revuelo tremendo en la prensa, despertando entre
sus camaradas una general simpatia perfectamente explicable. Sakdalan se
convirtio en heroe del dia, por lo menos en las columnas de los periodicos. El
tono predominante de los comentarios periodisticos era que Sakdalan estaba
65

66

justificado en su negativa,que el sagrado de la conciencia del periodista


debia ser respetado, y que la orden de detencion constituia una violacionde
la libertad de la prensa. El revuelo repercutio en los circulos legislativos,
culminando en las aprobacion de la Ley de la Republica No. 53 que nos
ocupa.
Resulta importante y util destacar este fondo historico, pues por ello se
explican ciertas caracteristicas del proyecto de ley original presentado en el
Senado. Una de las mas salientes, por ejemplo, era lo absoluto del privilegio:
no se proveia ninguna excepcion, ninguna salvedad, no pudiendose obligar
al periodista a revelar el origen de su informacion bajo ninguna
circunstancia.
La medida tiene antecedentes bien conocidos en nuestra misma legislacion.
Primeramente en el antiguo Codigo de Procedimiento Civil, y ahora en el
Reglamento de los Tribunales, figuran ciertas disposiciones que restringen la
libertad para testificar o el derecho de examinar a ciertos testigos sobre
determinadas materias. Verbigracia, en nuestra ley sobre pruebas y
evidencias, regla 123, seccion 26, se provee lo siguiente:
xxx

xxx

xxx

(e) El abogado no puede, sin el consentimiento de su cliente, ser


examinado respecto a una conversacion que tuvo con este, o acerca
de algun consejo que le diera como tal, ni tampoco el
secretario,taquigrafo o empleado de un abogado, sin el consentimiento
del cliente y del abogado, pueden ser examinados respecto a un hecho
cuyo conocimiento hayan adquirido en el desempeo de sus deberes.
(f) A ninguna persona debidemante autorizada para ejercer la
medicina, la cirugia o la obstetricia, se obligara en alguna causa civil, a
revelar, sin el consentimento del paciente, cualquier informe que dicha
persona haya adquirido al sistir al paciente con caracter profesional,
que necesariamente hubo de adquirir para poder obrar con tal
caracter, y que tienda a denigrar la dignidad del paciente.
(g) El clerigo o sacerdote no puede ser examinado sin el
consentimiento de su penitente, respecto a la confesion que le haya
hehco este, en su caracter sacerdotal, y en cumplimiento de los
deberes que le impone la religion a que pertenece.
(h) El funcionario publico no puede ser examinado mientras este en el
ejercicio de su cargo, o despues, respecto a lo que se le hubiese
comunicado en confidencia oficial, cuando el tribunal determine que el
interes poublico se perjudicara con la revelacion.
66

67

Es indudable que la medida coloca al periodista en la categoria de estas


exenciones especialisimas, situandole al nivel del sacerdote, del abogado y
del medico. El Senador Cuenco, ponente del proyecto de ley al ponerse a
discusion, dijo en parte lo que sigue a modo de explicacion de sus elevados
fines:
El proyecto de ley que esta ahora bajo la consideracion de esta
Camara tiene por objeto eximir al director, redactor o reporter de un
periodico, de la obligacion de revelar el nombre de la persona de quien
haya obtenido una informacion, a menos que el interes del Estado asi
lo requiera. La legislacion que se trata de dictar ne es del todo nueva.
Nuestra ley procesal considera como privilegiada y digna de ser
mantenida en secreto toda communicacion recibida por el sacerdote,
el abogado y el medico en el ejercicio de su ministerio o profesion. El
proyecto no solo dignifica y eleva la profesion periodistica, sino que da
facilidades a los periodicos para obtener noticias. (El subrayado es
nuestro.)
El periodismo, mas que un medio para obtener bienes materiales, es
un apostolado, un sacerdocio. El periodista no es un mercachifle, sino
una persona llamada a cumplir una mision elevada, sublime, augusta.
La hoja periodica es catedra. De ella irradia la luz que difunde la
cultura, la instruccion, los principios eticos y morales, las reglas de una
ciudadania honrada y patriotica. (Diario de sesiiones del Senado, Julio
9, 1946.)
Elevar y ennoblecer la profesion del periodista y dar facilidades a los
periodicos para obtener una informacion honrada, veridica, imparcial y
constructiva cometido essencial de una buena prensa, digna del apelativo
de cuarto poder del Estado tal es el objeto fundamental de la medida, en
franse definidora del Senador Cuenco, ponente de la misma y chairman del
comite de revision de leyes del Senado. Es importante destacar esta
motivacion legislativa, pues ello nos ayuda, al interpretar la ley, a determinar
si el privilegio debe ser entendido rigidamente en contra o liberalmente en
pro del periodista. Estimo que la indicada exposicion de motivos justifica,
mas aun, requiere una interpretacion liberal.
Como queda dicho, en el proyecto de ley original presentado por el Senador
Sotto el privilegio se establecia de una manera absoluta, incondicional. Sin
embargo, el comite de revision de leyes del Senado al cual se habia
endosado el bill, lo informo con una enmienda, aadiendo al final del articulo
1 transcrito arriba las siguientes palabras: "unless the court finds that such
revelation is demanded by the public interest."* Al discutirse, sin embargo, el
proyecto en pleno Senado, Sotto formulo una enmienda mediante la
supresion de la salvedad insertada por el comite, tratando asi de restaurar la
fraseologia original del proyecto. Cuenco, en su caracter de ponente
67

68

y chairman del comite de revision de leyes, se opuso a la enmienda Sotto


por supresion y siguio un debate bastante extenso. Sotto dijo enfaticamente
que "esas palabras deben suprimirse porque matan el objeto del proyecto de
ley. Si, como ha dicho el sesudo presidente del comite de revision de leyes,
el pretende colocar al periodista en el mismo nivel del sacerdote, tengamos
en cuenta que en el caso de este no hay esa excepcion."
Cuenco, cerrando el debate, hizo las siguientas manifestaciones en contra de
la enmienda Sotto:
El Sen. CUENCO. Seor Presidente, como ya he manifestado el Comite
siente no poder aceptar la enmienda, porque puede haber casos, quiza
muy contados, en que el interes publico y el interesmismo del Estado
requieran que se publique el nombre del informante. Supongamos que
un periodista publicara una informacion referente al hurto o
sustraccion de unos planos de fortalezas o de un sitio importante de
defensa. Si la inmunidad que se otorga al periodista fuese absoluta,
como la que se propone en la enmienda, el autor de la sustraccion
pordria quedar impune.
Seor Presidente: he sido periodista por espacio de veinticinco aos y
me honro en serlo, antes que abogado, antes que legislador, pero, por
lo mismo que tengo un concepto elevado de la profesion no quisiera
que se diese el caso de que una traicion al estado quedase impune:
que nosotros llevasemos a extremos exagerados la proteccion que se
da al periodista.
Puesta a votacion la enmienda, fue rechazada, votanda a favor 3 y en contra
7.
Sotto, sin embargo, no se dio por enteramente derrotado. Esforzandose por
sacar avante su proyecto de ley con la menor cortapisa posible para la
lilbertad de la prensa, propuso otra enmienda en el sentido de sustituir las
palabras "public interest" con "interest of the State," de tal suerte que la
salvedad se leyera como sigue: "unless the court finds that such revelation is
demanded by the interest of the State."* Ya no hubo debate sobre esta
enmienda: el mismo comite la acepto, por boca de su chairman el Senador
Cuenco. Puesto a votacion, la misma se aprobo por unanimidad. Sin
embargo, antes de la votacion, el Senador Garcia pregunto que diferencia
esencial habia entre las frases "public interest" e "interest of the State".
Sotto contesto que "la diferencia esta en que puede haber uncaso de
espionaje como el citado por el Senador Cuenco, delito en que esta
interesado el Estado y no se puede descubrir al autor," mientras que, por
otro lado, la frase "public interest" es muy elastica." "En cambio continuo
Sotto si se pone "interest of the State", claramente se entenderia que
68

69

mediando el interes del Estado, el periodista estara obligado a revelar la


fuente de su informacion." (Diario de Sesiones del Senado, supra.)
De lo expuesto resulta evidente que la sustitucion de la frase "public
interest" por la de "interest of the State"no fue simplemente casual e
inimportante, sino que fue harto deliberada, hecha con el proposito de
restringir el alcance de la salvedad. Se dijo que la frase "public interest"es
muy elastico y el Senado, en pleno, acepto este pronunciamiento. Asi que se
puso "interest of the State" para denotar que solo se podria obligar al
periodista a descurbirir, como testigo, la fuente de su informacion cuando el
Estado estuviese vitalmente interesado en la materia; es decir, cuando
estuviese envuelta la seguridad del Estado, de la Nacion, conceptos que en
este caso se confundirian. En ejemplo del espionaje citado por el Senador
Cuenco, abona esta interpretacion. "Interes del Estado" tiene aqui un
significado particularisimo, repelente de otros casos extraos a la seguridad
nacional: ese significado no puedeser mas que el interes del Estado en su
propia viad, en su propia seguridad. No cabe extender el alcance de la frase
a otros casos en que el Estado pudiera estar mas o menos interesado,
porque si la intencion del Congreso fuera esa, la frase "public interest" seria
mas que suficiente, pues la misma cubre y comprende todos los matices
publicos desde la seguridad del Estado y de la Nacion hasta el ultimo asunto
en que el publico tuviera interes hasta cierto punto. Esta forma de
interpretar es tanto mas logica, obligada, cuanto que los legisladores
aceptaron y aprobaron unanimemente el pronunciamiento de que la frase
"public interest" era muy elastica, cubria demasiado. Por tanto, hay que
concluir que cuando adoptaron la frase sustitutiva "interest of the State," la
adoptaron para limitar, para restringir la salved, reduciendola solamente a
algunos casos, muy contados, segun expresion del Senador Cuenco. "Que
casos son estos" Entiendo que deben ser congeneres, es decir, del mismo
tipo que el caso de espionaje citado; es decir, casos que afecten vitalmente a
la seguridad del Estado, de la Nacion. Verbigracia: una conspiracion para
derrocar violentamente nuestra forma de gobierno y establecer en su lugar
una dictadura comunista totalitaria al estilo sovietico, seria uno de esos muy
contados de que habla el Senador ponente. No cabe aplicar, extender la
frase a casos de otra especie, de otro genero, porque ese equivaldria a
establecer un "standard," una norma de interpretacion arbitraria, hasta
caprichosa, como mas adelante voy a demostrar, apreciando que el interes
del Estado esta entraado en algunos asuntos y matices de caracter publico
y excluyendolo, sin embargo, de otros, yen esto sin mas guia y norma que la
opinion harto debatible del juez o tribunal sentenciador sobre lo que es digno
de ser catalogado bajo la frase "interes del Estado" y sobre lo que no lo es.
Resulta evidente, de lo dicho, que no es exacto y carece de fundamento lo
que en la decision de la mayoria se afirma, a saber: que las frases "public
interest" o "interest of the State" se entendieron y usaron indistintamente
por los Senadores. Por el contrario, el Diario de Sesiones del Senado
69

70

demuestra de un modo inequivoco que los Senadores sabian muy bien lo


que hacian al cambiar una frasse por otra y se daban perfecta cuenta de que
el cambio no era simplemente gramatical o lexicografico, sino qu entraaba
una considerable diferencia en cuanto al significado y alcance de la salvedad
o excepcion. Sabian muy bien quela frase "public interest" es muy elastica,
al decir del Senador Sotto, y que desde luego tiene un marco mucho mas
amplio que la frase "interest of the State." La presuncion es que los
legisladores toman muy en serio la tarea de legislar y que cuando cambian
una frase por otra lo hacen no por simple capricho, sino con verdadera
deliberacion. La tarea legislativa no es un juego de nios. Pero que mejor
prueba de la diferencia entre ambos conceptos que la misma admision de la
mayoria en su decisional decir que "interest of the State" is not as broad and
comprehensive as "public interest" which may include most anything though
of minor importance but affecting the public"1 ...?lawphil.net
La endoblez de la teoria de la mayoria salta a la vista si se examinan sus
implicaciones y consecuencias. Por que decide la mayoria que en el
presente caso se halla envuelto el interes del Estado y que, por tanto, el
recurrido esta obligado a revealr la fuente de su informacion y si no lo hace
incurre en desacato, punible con prision? Por varias razones que se exponen
en la decision, entre las cuales se destacan las siguientes: (a) los examenes
de abogados estan colocados bajo la alta supervision de esta Corte Suprema,
cuyo prestigio, buen nombre y respectabilidad es de supremo interes del
Estado el conservar y mantener; (b) miles de abogados se hallan esparcidos
por el pais ejerciendo su noble profesion, y centenares si no miles se anaden
cada ao a esa vasta legion; asi que la Corte Suprema y esta enorme masa
de letrados estanvitalmente interesados en elevar el "standard" profesional,
procurando que entren solo los idoneos, moral e intelectualmente, y este
interes cae tambien bajo la catagoria de "interes del Estado"; (c) acaso por
natural inclinacion, la abogacia es la profesion mas popular en Filipinas; de
ahi la abundancia de colegios y escuelas de derecho en donde estudian
miles de jovenes de ambos sexos aspirando a ponerse la toa de Marco Tulio;
de ahi naturalmente tambien el interes del Estado en que esa profesion tan
popularno caiga en descredito, cosa que ocurriria facilmente si los examenes
de abogados no se efectuasen propia y honradamente como una prueba
rigida de la capacidad y caracter de los examinandos, circulando
previamente cuestionarios de "contrabando" tal como se ha denunciado en
el articulo informativo que nos ocupa; (d) entre los abogados se escoge el
personal para la judicatura y la administracion de justicia magistrados,
jueces de primera instancia, fiscales, jueces de paz y letrados en las
diferentes oficinas y agencias del gobierno; de ahi que sea naturalmente
tambien interes del Estado el conservar la integridad y buen nombre de una
profesion que proporciona al gobierno y a la nacion tan valiosos servidores y
elementos; (e) en la pureza de los examenes de abogados esta envuelto no
solo el buen nombre de la Corte Suprema como queda dicho, sino tambien el
buen nombre de la junta examinadora y de los empleados de la Corte que
70

71

intervienen y vigilan dichos examenes; asi que todo cargo de venalidad y


corrupcion tiene que afectar a dicho buen nombre y proyectar una sombra
de sospecha sobre el mismo; de ahi que sea interes del Estado el que se
investiguen implacablemente los cargos para depurar los hechos y hallar la
verdad castigando a los culpables si los hay, y purificando de tal manera los
examenes, pero si, por otro lado, los cargos resultaren falsos, reivindicando
el buen nombre de los afectados; (f) en resumen, de lo dicho se sigue que los
examenes de abogados tienen importancia nacional y, por tanto, cualesquier
cargos de venalidad, corrupcion e irregularidad tienen tambien importancia
nacional y es interes del Estado el que se investiguen hasta el limite maximo
de las posibilidades legales.
En ultimo analisis, se puede decir que la mayoria estima envuelto en el
presente caso el "interes del Estado,"primero, porque se trata de la profesion
de abogado profesion de noble y vasta significacion social, juridica y
politica y, segundo, porque tratandose de acusaciones referentes a los
examenes de abogados cuya supervision corresponde a esta Corte Suprema,
el buen nombre, el prestigio y la respetabilidad de este alto tribunal estan
necesariamente afectados. Veamos ahora si la tesis puede resistir a un
examen rigido, objetivo.
No sere yo quien discuta o ponga en tela de juicio la prestancia, el elevado
rango de la profesion de abogado a la cual me honro en pertenecer. Pero
que hay de las otras profesiones? Son ellas menos dignas de merecer el
supremo interes del Estado? Durante las deliberaciones sobre el presente
asunto tuve ocasion de formular estas preguntas y otras semejantes.
Recuerdo que inclusive cite casos especificos preguntando, por ejemplo, si
en los examenes de medicos, farmaceuticos, ingenieros, dentistas y nurses,
no podira tambien considerarse envuelto el interes del Estado si al igual que
en este asunto se formulasen graves cargos de irregularidad, corrupcion y
venalidad. Respecto al caso de los medicos no obtuve una contestacion
categorica, definitiva; pero con relacion a las otras profesiones, la respuesta
fue decididamente negativa; respecto a ellas, no cabria invovar el interes del
Estado su rango, su significacion social no justificarian tal invocacion.
Ahora veo que en la decision de la mayoria el ejercicio de la medicina se
incluyo entre los "casos y materias de importancia nacional, en los cuales el
Estado o la nacion entera, y no solo un ramo o instrumento del mismo como
una provincia, una ciudad o una pueblo, o una parte del publico, esta
interesado o podrina quedar afectado." Asique, a juicio de la mayoria, el
ejercicio de la medicina es al parecer de indole tan nacional y tan importante
como "interes del Estado"; al paso que las otras profesiones y vocaciones
quedan definitivamente excluidas del coto privilegiado.
Los farmeceuticos, sin embargo, podrian naturalmente formular las
siguientes preguntas: Por que se va a postergar nuestra honrada y
benemerita profesion? no nos cuesta tanto tiempo y tantos esfuerzos, si no
71

72

mas, hacer la carrera que el abogado, verbigracia? no prestamos acaso a la


sociedad, a la humanidad, un servicio tan util, tan indispensable y tan
importante como el de cualquier otro profesional? no somos quienes
preparamaos con infinito ciudado las drogas y medicamentos que prescribe y
receta el medico? no esta en nuestras manos la salud, la vida, e incluso la
muerte de los ciudadanos, de los hombres? por que, pues, se va a
sentenciar que el interes del Estado no esta vinculado en nuestra profesion?
Por su parte, los ingeniereos de todas clases civiles, industriales, quimicos,
mecanicos, navales, mineros, etc. podrian hacer estas embarazosas
preguntas: "Por que todos los mimos y caricias van a ser para los
abogados? nada mas que porque la mayor parte del tiempo nos ponemos la
humilde blusa del obrero y estamos casi siempre sucios -- la suciedad
inherente al sudor y mugre del trabajo? no construimos acaso los caminos,
los puentes, los sistemas de aquas, los sistemas de regadio, los hermosos y
enormes edificios particulares y publicos, las ingentes fabricas, en una
palabra, todo eso que constituye la maravillade los presentes tiempos,
traduciendo en realidad tangible lo que no parecia ser mas que loca fantasia
de la imaginacion de los poetas? no hemos acaso conquistado el secreto
divino de los atomos, desencadenando, es verdad, las fuerzas ciegas de la
destruccion sobre el mundo, pero tambien abriendo para el genero humano
vastos panoramas y perspectivas de progreso y bienestar casi ilimitado? Se
dice que la abogacia es la carrera mas popular y mas codiciada en Filipinas,
pero no existe el peligro de que esta popularidad se este fomentando
insensatamente a expensas de la vitalidad de la nacion? nose cree acaso
llegado el momento de que los caudillos y directores del pensamiento en
este pais emprendan una seria cruzada para orientar las aficiones y energias
de nuestra juventud hacia carreras mas practicas y mas constructivas no
solo para ellos particularmente, sino sobre todo para la nacion? por que se
va a consagrar precisamente con una sentencia judicial nada menos que
del mas alto tribunal la supremacia de la profesion de abogado en este
pais, en desdoro de las otras profesiones, por que?"
Y asi, por el estilo, las otras profesiones podrian reclamar y pretender con
jusiticia que tienen tanta categoria como los abogados para que se considere
aplicable a ellas el concepto juridico "interes del Estado" de que habla la ley
de la Republica No. 53 que nos ocupa. Y si esto fuese asi, esto es, se
estimase envuelto el "interes del Estado" en casi todas las materias,
verbigracia, hasta en los examenes de nurses, al punto de que interes del
Estado equivaldria practicamente a interes publico que quedaria entonces
del privilegio concedido por dicha ley a la prensa? no seria mas bien una
letra muerta, como predijo el Senador Sotto al pedir la supresion de la
salvedad o excepcion?
Se dice, con cierto enfasis, que la profesion de abogado tiene una calidad
excepcional, un rango privilegiado, porque de ella se escogen y nombran los
72

73

magistrados, los jueces de primera instancia, los jueces de paz y los fiscales,
en una palabra, el personal basico de la administracion de justicia. Se ha
insinuado inclusive que de esa profesion surgen regularmente los lideres
politicos y sociales de las naciones y pueblos. Comencemos por esto ultimo.
Tienen los abogados la exclusiva del liderato publicos y social del mundo?
Esto lo diria un panegirista de la profesion en un discurso de fin de curso de
un colegio de leyes, pero la historia nos dice que el liderato no ha sido nunca
cuestion profesional, sino que el lider ha surgido como un precipitado
individual o social independientemente de las profesiones y oficios. Ha
habido y hay en el mundo muchos caudillos no abogados y, por cierto, los
mejores no siemprehan sido siempre los de esta clase. Es verad que hubo un
Lincoln abogado uno de los caudillos mas sobresalientes que la
democraica produjera en el mundo; pero tembien hubo un Washington
agrimensor padre de la nacion que produjo a Lincoln. Y el caso de Filipinas
es todavia mas tipico como demostracion de las tesis de que el cuadillaje no
es cuestion profesional. Como todo el mundo sabe, nuestros dos mas
grandes caudillos en el pasado no eran abogados; Rizal era medico; y
Bonifacio, el llamado padre de la democracia filipina, no solo no era
profesional, sino que apenas era nada, academicamente hablando era un
simple bodeguero, un verdadero plebeyo. Sin embargo, esto no le impidio,
mientras fraguaba el acero candente del Katipunan, empaparse en las gestas
de la revolucion francesa leyendo a Thiers en espaol. (Cuantos de nuestros
abogados dicho sea entre parentesis sobre todo de la epoca de
Bonifacio, habran leido, o siquiera visto el forro, de la Revolucion Francesa de
Thiers?)
Es verdad que el personal basico de la administracion de justicia esta
compuesto de abogados, pero en la misma decision de la mayoria se
reconoce que la administracion de justicia es solo una de las principales
funciones del gobierno y a renglon seguido se apunta el sistema de
enseanza publica (public school system) como otra funcion de importancia
nacional. Entonces cabe preguntar: porque no se va a considerar tambien
envuelto el "interes del Estado" en los examenes de maestros, sobre todo si
sonde servicio civil? No solo los maestros constituyen la base de nuestro
sistema de enseanza publica, sino que incluso tienen mas envergadura
nacional porque se cuentan por miles, formando la clase mas numerosa de
nuestros servidores publicos. Sin embargo, en opinion de la mayoria los
maestros no tienen suficiente calibre como los abogados para que se
extienda aplicable a ellos la frase "interes del Estado" usada en la referida
ley de Republica No. 53. Este no es mas que uno de los absurdos a que
conduce la arbitrariedad de la norma adoptada por la mayoria en su
decision.
Analizare ahora el argumento aquiles de la mayoria. Se dice que el interes
del Estado se halla envuelto en el presente caso porque de por medio anda
el prestigio, el buen nombre de esta Corte Suprema en virtud de las
73

74

facultades de alta supervision que ejerce sobre los examenes de abogados.


El que escribe estas lineas no cede a nadie en su celo por mantener
incolume el prestigio de esta Corte; pero, al propio tiempo, no puede cerrar
los ojos a la realidad, a saber: que no somos mas que uno de los tres poderes
del Estado; que estos poderes son iquales y ninguno de ellos tiene mas
prestigio que el otro. Los examenes de abogados no tienen mas importancia
y envergadura nacional porque los supervisamos que, por ejemplo, los
examenes de ingenieros y farmeceuticos, cuyas juntas examinandoras son
nombradas por el poder ejecutivo y son responsables ante el mismo. El
poder ejecutivotiene tanto derecho como esta Corte para velar por su
prestigio y buen nombre. Si, como al parecer admite la mayoria, el interes
del Estado no se extiende a los examenes de ingenieros y farmaceuticos por
no ser materia de suficiente monta nacional, luego tampoco debe
extenderse a los examenes de abogados tan solo porque la Corte Suprema
tiene intima relacion con estos en virtud de sus facultades de supervision,
pues, como queda dicho, ningun poder es mas prestigioso que el otro
desde luego esta Corte no puede pretender se mas que los otros poderes del
Estado.
Puede aducirse, por analogia, otro buen argumento en favor de la tesis de
esta disidencia. Una de las garantias constitucionales es la inviolabilidad del
secreto del la comunicacion y correspondencia, excepto cuando la seguridad
publica y el orden requieran otra cosa y mediante una orden legal del
tribunal. (Constitucion de Filipinas, Articulo III, seccion 5, bill de derechos.) Es
verdad que la constitucion habla de seguridad publica, mientras que la ley
de la Republica No. 53 habla de interes del Estado, pero la letra aqui no es lo
importante, sino la identidad del fondo, de la substancia del privilegio.
Se ha insinuado que si se permitiera al periodista ocultar la fuente de su
informacion tratandose de asuntos publicos de reconocida seriedad, ello
fomentaria la intriga y la cobardia entre los ciudadanos, sancionando la
abyectada anonimidad, aquello de "tirar la piedra escondiendo la mano." El
argumento tiene cierta fuerza, pero es de dobrel filo. Si se admite la falta o
flojedad del valor civico entre los ciudadanos "que de malo hay en que,
mientras se fomente y fortalezca esa virtud con la educacion de las masas y
los habitos de una ciudadania militante, se deje a la prensa cierta latitud y
cierta libertad para sacar el mejor partido posible de la anonimidad
informativa en sus campaas contra la corrupcion, los abusos y las
anomalias? Con esto se lograria, por lo menos, que la prensa cumpliese y
realizase su cometido social concierta efecacia descorriendo parte del velo, y
dejando que el Estado, con sus agencias de investigacion del crimen y de los
chanchullos, haga el resto. Por ejemplo, en el presente caso: por quela
Corte Suprema va a insistir en actuar como se fueseuna agencia policiaca?
por que va a tratar al periodista como se este fuese un detective,
obligandole a revelar todos sus datos, incluso los nombres de sus
informantes? Nos quejamos de nuestra impotencia ante al silencio contumaz
74

75

del recurrido: por que no entregar el caso a la National Bureau of


Investigation la famosa NBI cuya eficiencia todos reconocen y dejar que
la misma sea guien se entienda con el recurrido y maneje la informacion de
estecon la tecnica y medios de que dispone para sus investigaciones?
En realidad, el periodista ya rinde un buen serviciocuando denuncia un
anomalia si bien reservandose el nombre de su informante. Por que
castigarle si insiste en conservar su secreto, excepto cuando medie la
seguridad del Estado y de la Nacion, unica salvedad que establece la ley?
Esta bien que no se le premie o aplauda por el bien que hace, pero
castigarle? Es el colmo!
Es que, se dira, el periodista puede obrar de mal fe denunciando unas
anomalias imaginarias y provocando conello un tremendo escandalo con
todos los daos y perjuicios que de ello pueden seguirse para el buen
nombre y la reputacion de las personas y de las instituciones. Es verdad. No
se puede negar que hay bribones en la prensa esos que en otras
ocasiones he llamado "tuisanes de la pluma," peores a veces que los
salteadores de caminos. Tampoco se puede negar que hay lo que se llama
prensa amarilla, dedicada a cultivar el sensacionalismo malsano y morboso.
Pero el remedio contra esto no es la ley de la Republica No. 53 que nos
ocupa; existen otros remedios, unos en el codigo penal; otros, en la misma
ley de desacato; y otros, en el desprecio, repulsa y hostilidad de la misma
opinion publica, ya que, despues de todo, la prensa no puede vivir sino del
favor publico. Poco despues de la liberacion un periodista publico un articulo
virulento denunciando supuestas anomalias o irrigularidades en relacion con
los examenes de abogados celebrados durente la ocupacion japonesa. Se le
emplazo para que probase sus cargos. No los probo: era evidente la mala fe.
Le castigamos por desacato y si no se le impuso una pena mas severa fue
porque canto la palinodia retractandose. (Vease In re Francisco Brillantes, por
desacato.)
La Ley de la Republica No. 53 es una medida liberal, progresiva, concebida y
promulgada par capacitar la prensa a realizar su transcendental cometido
del mejor modo posible. La prensa es una de las mas preciosas conquistas y
posesiones de nuestra civilizacion. Se puede prescindir de algunas cosas
jamas de una prensa libre, veraz, eficiente. Sin este formidable implemento
social, la democracia no se puede concebir. Por tanto, la ley debiera
interpretarse libremente, hasta el maximo grado de liberalidad, compatible
con la vida y seguridad del Estado.
El caso Sakdalan, que se origino en esta Corte, fue la causa ocasional que
determino la aprobacion de esa ley. Es, en verdad, una deplorable
coincidencia que el caso Sakdalan se repita en esta misma Corte con el
presente caso de Parazo, y en peores terminos y circunstancias, pues
mientrs a Sakdalan se le tuvo arrestado por solamente dos dias, a Parazo se
75

76

le va a encarcelar ahora por un mes. Mucho me temo que esta decision


enturbie una ejecutoria tan preclara de liberalismo como la que abrillanta
nuestra jurisprudencia en materias sobre libertad de imprenta.
Voto en favor de la exoneracion de recurrido.

[A.C. No. 4921. March 6, 2003]


CARMELITA
I.
ZAGUIRRE, complainant,
CASTILLO, respondent.

vs. ATTY.

ALFREDO

DECISION
PER CURIAM:
Before this Court is a Petition for Disbarment filed by Carmelita I. Zaguirre
against Atty. Alfredo Castillo on the ground of Gross Immoral Conduct.
The facts as borne by the records are as follows:
Complainant and respondent met sometime in 1996 when the two
became officemates at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
[1]
Respondent courted complainant and promised to marry her while
representing himself to be single.[2] Soon they had an intimate relationship
that started sometime in 1996 and lasted until 1997. [3] During their affair,
respondent was preparing for the bar examinations which he passed. On May
10, 1997, he was admitted as a member of the Philippine Bar. [4] It was only
around the first week of May 1997 that complainant first learned that
respondent was already married when his wife went to her office and
confronted her about her relationship with respondent. [5] On September 10,
1997, respondent, who by now is a lawyer, executed an affidavit, admitting
his relationship with the complainant and recognizing the unborn child she
was carrying as his.[6] On December 09, 1997, complainant gave birth to a
baby girl, Aletha Jessa.[7] By this time however, respondent had started to
refuse recognizing the child and giving her any form of support.[8]
Respondent claims that: he never courted the complainant; what
transpired between them was nothing but mutual lust and desire; he never
76

77

represented himself as single since it was known in the NBI that he was
already married and with children; [9] complainant is almost 10 years older
than him and knew beforehand that he is already married; [10] the child borne
by complainant is not his, because the complainant was seeing other men at
the time they were having an affair. [11] He admits that he signed the affidavit
dated September 10, 1997 but explains that he only did so to save
complainant from embarrassment. Also, he did not know at the time that
complainant was seeing other men.[12]
After due hearing, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline found Atty.
Alfredo Castillo guilty of gross immoral conduct and recommends that he be
meted the penalty of indefinite suspension from the practice of law.
The Court agrees with the findings and recommendation of the IBP.
The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct.
xxx

xxx
xxx

CANON 7 - A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the
legal profession, and support the activities of the Integrated
Bar.
xxx

xxx
xxx

Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on
his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life,
behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
Immoral conduct has been defined as:
xxx that conduct which is so willful, flagrant, or shameless as to show
indifference to the opinion of good and respectable members of the
community. Furthermore, such conduct must not only be immoral,
but grosslyimmoral. That is, it must be so corrupt as to constitute a criminal
act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree or committed

77

78

under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the common


sense of decency.[13]
In his affidavit dated September 10, 1997, duly acknowledged before a
notary public, he declared explicitly:
1. That I had a relationship with one Carmelita Zaguirre, my officemate;
2. That as a result of that relationship, she is presently pregnant with my
child;
3. That I hereby voluntarily recognize the child now under (sic) her womb to
be my own;
4. That I am willing to support the said child henceforth, including his/her
personal and medical needs, education, housing, food, clothing and other
necessities for living, which I will give through his/her mother, Carmelita
Zaguirre, until he/she becomes of legal age and capable to live on his/her
own;
5. That I undertake to sign the birth certificate as an additional proof that
he/she is my child; however, my failure to sign does not negate the
recognition and acknowledgement already done herein;
6. That I am executing this affidavit without compulsion on my part and
being a lawyer, I have full knowledge of the consequence of such
acknowledgment and recognition.[14]
More incriminating is his handwritten letter dated March 12, 1998 which
states in part:
Ayoko ng umabot tayo sa kung saan-saan pa. All your officemates, e.g., Ate
Ging, Glo, Guy and others (say) that I am the look like(sic) of your daughter.
Heres my bargain. I will help you in supporting your daughter, but I cannot
promise fix amount for monthly support of your daughter. However it shall
not be less than P500 but not more than P1,000.[15]
In the recent case of Luguid vs. Judge Camano, Jr., the Court in
castigating a judge stated that:

78

79

...even as an ordinary lawyer, respondent has to conform to the strict


standard of conduct demanded of members of the profession. Certainly,
fathering children by a woman other than his lawful wife fails to meet these
standards.[16]
Siring a child with a woman other than his wife is a conduct way below the
standards of morality required of every lawyer.[17]
Moreover, the attempt of respondent to renege on his notarized
statement recognizing and undertaking to support his child by Carmelita
demonstrates a certain unscrupulousness on his part which is highly
censurable, unbecoming a member of a noble profession, tantamount to selfstultification.[18]
This Court has repeatedly held:
as officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral
character but must also be seen to be of good moral character and leading
lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community. More
specifically, a member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required
to refrain from adulterous relationships or the keeping of mistresses but must
also so behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the
belief that he is flouting those moral standards.[19]
While respondent does not deny having an extra-marital affair with
complainant he seeks understanding from the Court, pointing out that men
by nature are polygamous,[20] and that what happened between them was
nothing but mutual lust and desire. [21] The Court is not convinced. In fact, it
is appalled at the reprehensible, amoral attitude of the respondent.
Respondent claims that he did not use any deception to win her affection.
Granting arguendo that complainant entered into a relationship with him
knowing full well his marital status, still it does not absolve him of gross
immorality for what is in question in a case like this is respondents fitness to
be a member of the legal profession. It is not dependent whether or not the
other party knowingly engaged in an immoral relationship with him.
We agree with the IBP that the defense of in pari delicto is not feasible.
The Court held in Mortel vs. Aspiras:

79

80

In a disbarment proceeding, it is immaterial that the complainant is in pari


delicto because this is not a proceeding to grant relief to the complainant,
but one to purge the law profession of unworthy members, to protect the
public and the courts.[22]
The illicit relationship with Carmelita took place while respondent was
preparing to take the bar examinations. Thus, it cannot be said that it is
unknown to him that an applicant for admission to membership in the bar
must show that he is possessed of good moral character, a requirement
which is not dispensed with upon admission to membership of the bar. [23] This
qualification is not only a condition precedent to admission to the legal
profession, but its continued possession is essential to maintain ones good
standing in the profession;[24] it is a continuing requirement to the practice of
law[25] and therefore admission to the bar does not preclude a subsequent
judicial inquiry, upon proper complaint, into any question concerning his
mental or moral fitness before he became a lawyer. This is because his
admission to practice merely creates a rebuttable presumption that he has
all the qualifications to become a lawyer.
The Court held:
The practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State on
those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the
qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. We must
stress that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A
lawyer has the privilege to practice law only during good behavior. He can be
deprived of his license for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment
of the court after giving him the opportunity to be heard.[26]
and in Dumadag vs. Lumaya:
The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. Adherence to
the rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of the highest degree of
morality and faithful compliance with the rules of the legal profession are the
conditions required for remaining a member of good standing of the bar and
for enjoying the privilege to practice law.[27]
Respondent repeatedly engaged in sexual congress with a woman not his
wife and now refuses to recognize and support a child whom he previously
recognized and promised to support. Clearly therefore, respondent violated
80

81

the standards of morality required of the legal profession and should be


disciplined accordingly.
As consistently held by this Court, disbarment shall not be meted out if a
lesser punishment could be given.[28] Records show that from the time he
took his oath in 1997, he has severed his ties with complainant and now lives
with his wife and children in Mindoro. As of now, the Court does not perceive
this fact as an indication of respondents effort to mend his ways or that he
recognizes the impact of his offense on the noble profession of law.
Nevertheless, the Court deems it more appropriate under the circumstances
that indefinite suspension should be meted out than disbarment. The
suspension shall last until such time that respondent is able to show, to the
full satisfaction of the Court, that he had instilled in himself a firm conviction
of maintaining moral integrity and uprightness required of every member of
the profession.
The rule is settled that a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any
misconduct, even if it pertains to his private activities, as long as it shows
him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity or good demeanor.[29]
ACCORDINGLY, in view of the foregoing, the Court finds respondent
GUILTY of Gross Immoral Conduct and ordered to suffer INDEFINITE
SUSPENSION from the practice of law.
Let a copy of this Decision be attached to Atty. Castillos personal record
in the Office of the Bar Confidant and a copy thereof be furnished the IBP and
all courts throughout the country.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban,
Quisumbing, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales,
Callejo, Sr., and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Ynares-Santiago and Corona, JJ., on leave.

[A.C. No. 4148. July 30, 1998]


81

82

REMEDIOS RAMIREZ TAPUCAR, complainant, vs. ATTY. LAURO L.


TAPUCAR, respondent.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:
In a letter-complaint dated November 22, 1993, complainant Remedios
Ramirez Tapucar sought the disbarment of her husband, Atty. Lauro L.
Tapucar, on the ground of continuing grossly immoral conduct for cohabiting
with a certain Elena (Helen) Pea under scandalous circumstances.[1]
Prior to this complaint, respondent was already administratively charged
four times for conduct unbecoming an officer of the court. in Administrative
Matter No. 1740, resolved on April 11, 1980, respondent, at that time the
Judge of Butuan City, was meted the penalty of six months suspension
without pay,[2] while in Administrative Matter Nos. 1720, 1911 and 2300-CFI,
which were consolidated,[3] this Court on January 31, 1981 ordered the
separation from service of respondent.[4]
Now he faces disbarment.
The records reveal the following facts:
From the Report and Recommendation of the Commission on Bar
Discipline, it appears that complainant and respondent were married on
October 29, 1953 at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Quezon
City. They established their residence in Antipolo, Rizal, were eight of their
eleven children were born. In 1962 respondent relocated his family to
Dadiangas, Cotabato (Now General Santos City), where his last three children
were born and where he practiced his profession until his appointment as a
CFI Judge in Butuan City on January 30, 1976.
In August, 1976, shortly after being appointed as CFI Judge, respondent
began cohabiting with a certain Elena (Helen) Pea, in Nasipit, Agusan Del
Norte. On December 28, 1977 Elena gave birth to their first child, named
Ofelia Sembrano Pea.
In view of this cohabitation, a certain Atty. Tranquilino Calo filed an
administrative complaint against respondent for immorality. After

82

83

investigation, the penalty of suspension from office for a period of six months
without pay was meted by this Court upon respondent.[5]
Despite this penalty, respondent still continued to cohabit with Elena,
giving rise to another charge of immorality and other administrative cases,
such as conduct unbecoming an officer of the court, and grossly immoral
conduct. These cases were consolidated and after investigation, this Court
ordered his dismissal and separation from the service.[6]
But his dismissal as a judge did not impel respondent to mend his
ways. He continued living with Elena, which resulted in the birth on
September 20, 1989, of their second child named Laella Pea
Tapucar. Moreover, he completely abandoned complainant and his children
by her.
Respondent later moved from Nasipit, Agusan del Norte back to Antipolo,
Rizal, bringing along Elena and their two children. And on March 5, 1992,
respondent contracted marriage with Elena in a ceremony solemnized by
Metropolitan Trial Court Judge Isagani A. Geronimo of Antipolo, Rizal. This
was done while the respondents marriage to complainant subsists, as
nothing on record shows the dissolution thereof.
Complainant, in the meanwhile, had migrated to United States of America
upon her retirement from the government service in 1990. However, her
children, who remained in Antipolo, kept her posted of the misery they
allegedly suffered because of their fathers acts, including deception and
intrigues against them. Thus, despite having previously withdrawn a similar
case which she filed in 1976, complainant was forced to file the present
petition for disbarment under the compulsion of the material impulse to
shield and protect her children from the despotic and cruel acts of their own
father. Complainant secured the assistance of her eldest daughter, Atty. Ma.
Susana Tapucar-Baua, to represent her in this case.
Consistent with Section 20, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, the matter
was referred to the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines for investigation, report and recommendation. After conducting a
thorough investigation, the Commission through Commissioner Victor C.
Fernandez recommended that respondent be disbarred, and his name be
stricken off the roll of attorneys. Mainly, this was premised on the ground
that, notwithstanding sanctions previously imposed upon him by the
83

84

Honorable Supreme Court, respondent continued the illicit liaison with Elena.
[7]

In his report Commissioner Fernandez noted that, instead of contradicting


the charges against him, respondent displayed arrogance, and even made a
mockery of the law and the Court, as when he said:
I have been ordered suspended by Supreme Court for two months without
pay in 1980 for having a mistress, the same girl Ms. Elena (Helen) Pea, now
my wife. Being ordered separated in later administrative case constitute
double jeopardy. If now disbarred for marrying Ms. Elena Pea will constitute
triple jeopardy. If thats the law so be it.[8]
Based on said report, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, passed on May 17, 1997, a Resolution adopting the
Commissioners recommendation, as follows:
RESOLUTION NO. XII-97-97
Adm. Case No. 4148
Remedios Ramirez Tapucar vs. Atty. Lauro L. Tapucar
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED,
the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the
above-titled case, herein made part of the Resolution/Decision as Annex A;
and, finding the recommendation therein to be fully supported by the
evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, Respondent Atty. Lauro
L. Tapucar is hereby DISBARRED and that his name be stricken off the roll of
attorneys.
We find the Report and Recommendation of Commissioner Fernandez, as
approved and adopted by the Board of Governors of IBP, more than sufficient
to justify and support the foregoing Resolution, herein considered as the
recommendation to this Court by said Board pursuant to Rule 139-B, Sec.
12(b), of the Rules of Court. * We are in agreement that respondents
actuations merit the penalty of disbarment.
Well settled is the rule that good moral character is not only a condition
precedent for admission to the legal profession, but it must also remain
intact in order to maintain ones good standing in that exclusive and honored
84

85

fraternity.[9] There is perhaps no profession after that of the sacred ministry in


which a high-toned morality is more imperative than that of law. [10] The Code
of Professional Responsibility mandates that:
Rule 1.01.
A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct.
Rule 7.03 A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on
his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private
life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession.*
As this Court often reminds members of the Bar, they must live up to the
standards and norms expected of the legal profession, by upholding the
ideals and tenets embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility
always. Lawyers must maintain a high standards of legal proficiency, as well
as morality including honesty, integrity and fair dealing. For they are at all
times subject to the scrutinizing eye of public opinion and community
approbation. Needless to state, those whose conduct both public and
private fails this scrutiny would have to be disciplined and, after
appropriate proceedings, penalized accordingly.
Moreover, it should be recalled that respondent here was once a member
of the judiciary, a fact that aggravates this professional infractions. For
having occupied that place of honor in the Bench, he knew a judges
actuations ought to be free from any appearance of impropriety. [11] For a
judge is the visible representation of the law, more importantly, of
justice. Ordinary citizens consider him as a source of strength that fortifies
their will to obey the law.[12] Indeed, a judge should avoid the slightest
infraction of the law in all of his actuations, lest it be a demoralizing example
to others.[13] Surely, respondent could not have forgotten the Code of Judicial
Conduct entirely as to lose its moral imperatives.[14]
Like a judge who is held to a high standard of integrity and ethical
conduct,[15] an attorney-at-law is also invested with public trust. Judges and
lawyers serve in the administration of justice. Admittedly, as officers of the
court, lawyers must ensure the faith and confidence of the public that justice
is administered with dignity and civility. A high degree or moral integrity is
expected of a lawyer in the community where he resides. He must maintain
due regard for public decency in an orderly society.
85

86

A lawyer is expected at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity of the
legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar, to
the courts and to his clients. [16] Exacted from him, as a member of the
profession charged with the responsibility to stand as a shield in the defense
of what is right, are such positive qualities of decency, truthfulness and
responsibility that have been compendiously described as moral character.
To achieve such end, every lawyer needs to strive at all times to honor and
maintain the dignity of his profession, and thus improve not only the public
regard for the Bar but also the administration of justice.
On these considerations, the Court may disbar or suspend a lawyer for
misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows him
to be wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity, and good demeanor,
thus proving unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.[17]
The power to disbar, however, is one to be exercised with great caution,
and only in a clear case of misconduct which seriously affects the standing
and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court of and member of the
bar.[18] For disbarment proceedings are intended to afford the parties thereto
full opportunity to vindicate their cause before disciplinary action is taken, to
assure the general public that those who are tasked with the duty of
administering justice are competent, honorable, trustworthy men and women
in whom the Courts and the clients may repose full confidence.
In the case of Obusan vs. Obusan, Jr., [19] a complaint for disbarment was
filed against a member of the bar by his wife. She was able to prove that he
had abandoned his wife and their son; and that he had adulterous relations
with a married but separated woman. Respondent was not able to overcome
the evidence presented by his wife that he was guilty of grossly immoral
conduct. In another case,[20] a lawyer was disbarred when he abandoned his
lawful wife and cohabited with another woman who had borne him a
child. The Court held that respondent failed to maintain the highest degree
of morality expected and required of a member of a bar.
In the present case, the record shows that despite previous sanctions
imposed upon by this Court, respondent continued his illicit liaison with a
woman other than lawfully-wedded wife. The report of the Commissioner
assigned to investigate thoroughly the complaint found respondent far from
contrite; on the contrary, he exhibited a cavalier attitude, even arrogance; in
the face of charges against him. The IBP Board of Governors, tasked to
86

87

determine whether he still merited the privileges extended to a member of


the legal profession, resolved the matter against him. For indeed, evidence
of grossly immoral conduct abounds against him and could not be explained
away. Keeping a mistress, entering into another marriage while a prior one
still subsists, as well as abandoning and/or mistreating complainant and their
children, show his disregard of family obligations, morality and decency, the
law and the lawyers oath. Such gross misbehavior over a long period of
time clearly shows a serious flaw in respondents character, his moral
indifference to scandal in the community, and his outright defiance of
established norms. All these could not but put the legal profession in
disrepute and place the integrity of the administration of justice in peril,
hence the need for strict but appropriate disciplinary action.
IN VIEW THEREOF, respondent Atty. Lauro L. Tapucar is
hereby DISBARRED. The Clerk of Court is directed to strike out his name
from the Roll of Attorneys.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan,
Mendoza, Panganiban, Martinez, and Quisumbing, JJ., concur.
Bellosillo, no part due to personal relationships.
Purisima, J., no part.

87