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Re: 2003 Bar Examinations, Atty.

Daniel de
Guzman, B.M. No. 1722, April 24, 2009
On 22 September 2003, the day following the bar examination in
Mercantile Law, Justice Jose C. Vitug, Chairman of the 2003 Bar
Examinations
Committee, was apprised of a rumored leakage in the examination on
the subject.
With this, the court decided to nullify mercantile law examination and
hold another examination in place of this.
However, petitions were filed because of the emotional, physical and
financial burden to the barristers. The petitions were granted and the
court decided to just spread the percentage of the mercantile law
exam to the remaining 7 bar subjects.
The court appointed 3 retired justices into a Committee to investigate
the leakage issue. The Investigating Committee was tasked to
determine and identify the source of leakage, the parties responsible
therefor or who might have benefited therefrom, recommend sanctions
against all those found to have been responsible for, or who would
have benefited from, the incident in question and to recommend
measures to the Court to safeguard the integrity of the bar
examinations.
Cecilia Carbajosa, a bar examinee found the leakage when she
obtained a copy of the leaked questions and found that they were very
similar to the questions in the bar exam. Upon meeting with the
investigators, she provided a xerox of the leaked questions. The copy
was delivered to Justice Vitug, he found that 82% from examiner Atty.
Balgos was included in the leakage. He also received reports that Atty.
Danilo de Guzman was the source of the leakage, as he faxed the
questions to his fraternity brother, Ronan Gravida four days before the
bar exams.
Atty. Balgos, 71 years old, does not know how to use computer except
to type. His secretary Cheryl Palma formatted the test, printed it and
was also the keeper the Balgos computer password. Balgos didnt

know his computer was linked to 16 computers of his employees.


Balgos interrogated Silvestre Atienza, who interconnected the
computers in the office. He, like Atty. De Guzman, is a member of the
Beta sigma Lambda fraternity.
It was proven that Balgos indeed prepared the questions and that they
came from his computer. His legal assistant, Atty. De Guzman,
actually admitted downloading the questions and faxing them to his
frat brothers Garvida, Arlan, and Erwin Tan. Garvida then faxed it to
his brothers in MLQU (Inigo and Bugain), who then passed copies to
another, and most illustrious brother, Ronald Collado who then spread
it to the MLQU brothers of the fraternity.
The following were alleged, with the recommendation of De Guzmans
disbarment:
Attorney Danilo De Guzmans act of downloading Attorney Balgos
test questions in mercantile law from the latters computer, without his
knowledge and permission, was a criminal act of larceny. It was theft
of intellectual property; the test questions were intellectual property of
Attorney Balgos, being the product of his intellect and legal
knowledge.
Besides theft, De Guzman also committed an unlawful infraction of
Balgos right to privacy of communication and to security of his papers
and effects against unauthorized search and seizurerights zealously
protected by the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. He transgressed the
very first canon of the lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility
which provides that a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the
laws of the land, and
promote respect for law and legal processes.
By transmitting and distributing the stolen test questions to some
members of the Beta Sigma Lambda Fraternity, possibly for pecuniary
profit and to given them undue advantage over the other examiners in
the mercantile law examination, De Guzman abetted cheating or
dishonesty by his fraternity brothers in the examination, which is

violative of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, as well as Canon 7 of the Code of


Professional Responsibility for members of the Bar, which provide:
De Guzman was guilty of grave misconduct unbecoming a member of
the Bar. He violated the law instead of promoting respect for it and
degraded the noble profession of law instead of upholding its dignity
and integrity. His actuations impaired public respect for the Court, and
damaged the integrity of the bar examinations as the final measure of
a law graduates academic preparedness to embark upon the practice
of law.
Also, it was alleged that others were also liable, such as Balgos
himself, who was negligent and failed to prevent the leakage, as well
as the other fraternity brothers who took part in the leakage.
Issues:
1. Should De Guzman be disbarred? YES
2. Is De Guzman the only one liable for the leakage? NO
Held: (Recommendations of the Court)
1. Atty. De Guzman should be disbarred and should write a public
apology, as well as pay damages to the Supreme Court.
2. Atty. Balgos should be reprimanded and also made to issue a
written apology and FURTHER INVESTIGATION of Danilo De
Guzman, Cheryl Palma, Silvestre Atienza, Ronan Garvida, Arlan,
Erwin Tan, Randy Iigo, James Bugain, Ronald Collado and Allan
Guiapal by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine
National Police, with a view to their criminal prosecution as probable
co-conspirators in the theft and leakage of the test questions in
mercantile law.