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Pointers in Legal and Judicial Ethics

2015 Bar Examinations

Prof. Victoria V. Loanzon
Final Advice
1. Legal and Judicial Ethics is the last subject of the bar examinations. Save the BEST for last.
2. Think before you write your final answers. Find time to make an outline using only key words in your
questionnaire. Manage your time properly. If there are 30 questions, make a mathematical computation to
divide the 4 hours allotted for you to finish the exams.
3. Remember questions in Legal and Judicial Ethics deal, more or less, with appropriate standards of behavior.
You can surmise from the narration of facts if ones act is inappropriate. Remember to apply your inherent
sense of what is right and what is wrong in a given situation.
4. In case of doubt, think whether the action involved serves the ends of justice, improves the administration of
justice and protects the rights of the individuals. If it does not fall within these general guideposts, then it must
be unethical and violates of the canons for the bench and the bar.
5. Follow the basic guidelines that all lawyers, whether in private practice or in government service, must serve
the ends of justice, preserve the justice system, protect the rights of individuals; and both members of bar and
the bench are the vanguards of justice.
6. Relax, have fun. It is just a matter of time for you to reap the rewards of hard work and realize a lifetime
Like most of you, I will take a much needed rest after November 29. I stayed up many nights reading cases and
related laws. I have made every effort possible to prepare the weekly pointers in all the eight bar subjects with
the hope that in my small and humble way, I will able to help you build your career in the legal profession in the
same way my professors at the U.P. College of Law prepared me to become a lawyer.
All the best! Stay well. Keep faith.


I The Attorneys Oath
Q. Write the Attorneys Oath
A. I, ________________ do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines;
I will support its Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities
I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court;
I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit, neither give aid nor
consent to the same;
I will delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my
knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients; and
I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help
me God. (Rules of Court, Form 28)
Q. What are the sources of ethical standards for the members of the bench and bar?
A. (1) Constitution Article VIII The Judicial Department, Sec. 5(5),
Article VI The Legislative Department, Sec.14,
Article VII The Executive Department, Sec. 13,
Article IX Constitutional Commissions, IX-A, Sec. 2;
(2) The Attorneys Oath;
(3) The Code of Professional Responsibility;
(4) The Code of Judicial Ethics;
(5) The Rules of Court; (6) 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice;
(7) MCLE Rules;
(8) JBC Rules;

(9) Issuances of the Supreme Court;

(10) Legislations from Congress (creation and jurisdiction of appellate and other lower courts, also the Lapid
Law on legal aid service of lawyers);
(11) Jurisprudence; and
(12) Scholarly Writings on Legal and Judicial Ethics.
Q. What is the four-fold duty of a lawyer?
A. The Four-fold duty of a lawyer - to Society, the Legal Profession, the Courts and Clients.
Q. What is the practice of law?
A. The practice of law is performing any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law,
legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. Paguia v. Office of the President, 621 SCRA 600
Q. What is the privilege of the practice of law?
A. The practice of law is a mere privilege and not a right. The admission of lawyers and the rules governing the
practice of law is a constitutional mandate given to the Supreme Court. Elements of the legal profession are:
organization, learning, and the spirit of public service. (Section 5 (5), Article VIII, Constitution)
Cayetano v. Monsod (G. R. No. 100113, September 3, 1991, 201 SCRA 210): The practice of law is not limited
to appearances in court as a litigator but also the work of a corporate lawyer in preparation of documents and
the giving of legal advice.
Paguia v. Office of the President (621 SCRA 600): A lawyer suspended from the practice of law is precluded
from applying his knowledge of law in and out of court while undergoing his suspension. A suspended lawyer
cannot even appear on behalf of a relative as a friend because he would inevitably apply his knowledge of the
Q. What is included in the practice of law?
A. The practice of law includes: the preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special
proceedings; conveyancing, the preparation of legal instruments of all kinds; and the giving of all legal advice
to clients.
Q. A group of businessmen decided to incorporate a stock corporation with the primary objective of giving
legal guidance to their clients who regularly invest in publicly listed companies. They intend to hire at least
25 lawyers who will perform the work. If you were the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange
Commission, will you approve the registration of the subject company?
A. No. The practice of law is not a business and lawyers cannot form stock corporations to practice the
profession. It is also prohibited for lawyers to allow non-lawyers to practice law nor are lawyers allowed to
share their legal fees with non-lawyers. Ulep v. The Legal Clinic, Inc., (Bar Matter No. 550, June 17, 1993)
Q. How may one pursue the practice of law?
A. The practice of law as a profession may only be exercised by natural persons, who are lawyers, either as solo
practitioners or in partnership with other lawyers.
Q. What are the primary characteristics which distinguish the legal profession from business?
A. 1. The practice of law involves a duty of public service of which the emolument is a by-product and one may
obtain eminence without making much money.
2. The practice of law creates a relation as an officer of the court whose primary role is to assist in the
administration of justice involving thorough sincerity, integrity and reliability.
3. The practice of law creates a relation with clients with the highest fiduciary degree.
4. The practice of law creates a relation which other lawyers which requires candor, fairness and decency
avoiding any kind of encroachment upon others practice.
Q. What is the nature of a law partnership?
A. A partnership in the practice of law is a mere relationship or association of lawyers with the sole purpose of
rendering legal services. It is not a legal entity and is not even a taxpayer and any lawyer in the partnership is
considered a solo practitioner who is the tax payer. (Tan v. Del Rosario, Jr., 237 SCRA324)
Q. What is the rule of use of Firm Name?
A. Petition For Authority To Continue Use Of The Firm Name "Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano, HERNANDEZ &

1979.]The Court held that: ". . . It is of the essence of a profession that it is practiced in a spirit of public
service. A trade . . .aims primarily at personal gain; a profession at the exercise of powers beneficial to
mankind. x x x. But the member of a profession does not regard himself as in competition with his professional
brethren. He is not bartering his services as is the artisan nor exchanging the products of his skill and learning
as the farmer sells wheat or corn. x x x The best service of the professional man is often rendered for no
equivalent or for a trifling equivalent and it is his pride to do what he does in a way worthy of his profession
even if done with no expectation of reward. This spirit of public service in which the profession of law is and
ought to be exercised is a prerequisite of sound administration of justice according to law. The other two
elements of a profession, namely, organization and pursuit of a learned art have their justification in that they
secure and maintain that spirit.
ADRIANO E. DACANAY v. BAKER & MCKENZIE, ADM. CASE NO. 2131 MAY 10, 1985. The S.C. held
that Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Rules
of Court). As pointed out by the Solicitor General, respondents' use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie
constitutes a representation that being associated with the firm they could "render legal services of the highest
quality to multinational business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and investment"
Q. What is the rule on representation by a law firm?
ATTY. WHELMA F. SITON-YAP, A.C. No. 5914, March 11, 2015, Reyes, J.:
The Court said that it cannot simply yield to complainants change of heart by refuting their own statements
against the respondents and praying that the complaint for disbarment they filed be dismissed. It bears
emphasizing that any misconduct on the part of the lawyer not only hurts the clients cause but is even more
disparaging on the integrity of the legal profession itself. Thus, for tarnishing the reputation of the profession, a
lawyer may still be disciplined notwithstanding the complainants pardon or withdrawal from the case for as
long as there is evidence to support any finding of culpability. A case for suspension or disbarment may
proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainants, if the facts proven so warrant. It
follows that the withdrawal of the complainant from the case, or even the filing of an affidavit of desistance,
does not conclude the administrative case against an erring lawyer.
Q. A disbarment case was filed against Atty. Balauitan. The basis of the complaint was a Deed of Sale
executed between the lawyer and the complainant. Atty. Balauitan moved for the dismissal of the case
arguing that the matter does involve any lawyer-client relationship. Is his legal argument tenable?
A. A lawyer cannot have a dichotomy between his private life and his professional responsibility as a lawyer.
He can be disbarred even if there is no lawyer-client relationship between him and a complainant in a
disbarment case and if the transaction involves his sale of a portion of his real property. Gacias v. Balauitan
(507 SCRA 8, 2006)
Q. Can an individual practicing before the Shaira court affix the prefix ATTY. before his name?
A. No. While the Supreme Court administers the examinations for one to practice before the Shari a courts, any
one admitted is not allowed to use the prefix ATTY. unless he is also a member of the Philippine bar. Shari a
courts have limited jurisdiction particularly on matters related to personal, family and property law consistent
with the provisions of the Constitution and national laws. Alawi v. Alauya, A.M. SDC-97-2-P, February 24,
II. Qualifications for Admission to the Practice of Law
Q. What are the requirements for admission to the practice of law?
A. Sec. 2, Rule138 of the Rules of Court provides for the following qualifications: One must be a citizen of the
Philippines, at least 21 years of age (take note this requirement was imposed when the age of majority was 21),
must be a resident of the Philippines, must have obtained his law degree in a local school (Sections 5 & 6,
Rules of Court), possesses Good Moral Character (presentation of proof of good moral character, certification
that one does not have any pending charges or have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude)
Q. Mr. Roberto Lo was born in Australia of Filipino parents. After he completed his college degree in
Business Administration in Sydney, Australia, he enrolled in one of the universities in Metro Manila to
obtain his law degree. He successfully graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree and is now processing his
documents to be able to take his bar examinations. Can he qualify to take the bar examinations? Justify your
A. Yes. Under the 1987 Constitution, Roberto Lo is considered a natural-born Filipino since both his parents
remain Filipino citizens at the time of his birth. He also completed his law degree from a local school in Metro

Q. Can a Filipino citizen be allowed to take the bar when he obtained his law degree from Columbia
University in New York?
A. No. Every person intending to be admitted to the practice of law in the Philippines must meet all the
qualifications under Sections 5 and 6 of Rule 138. (In Re: Application of Adriano M. Hernandez, July 27,
Q. Christian San Juan passed the bar with a passing grade of 80.50%. He was not allowed to take his oath
because Cristina Garcia, his childhood sweetheart with whom he has a child without benefit of marriage,
filed a timely motion to exclude him from the oath taking ceremonies. Was Cristina justified in preventing
San Juan from taking his Attorneys Oath? Why?
A. Yes, because San Juan does not possess good moral character which is a requirement for admission to the
Barba v. Pedro (61SCRA 484, 1974): A bar passer who sired a child with a public school teacher was not
allowed to take his oath for lack of good moral character but was allowed to do so after 18 years based on
testimonials of his reformation when he worked as a community social development worker after passing the
Q. Santiago Go was conditionally allowed to take the bar examinations because he indicated in his
application for admission that there are only two pending civil cases against him at that time and no criminal
charges were filed against him at the time of his application for admission to the practice of law. Santiago
Go successfully passed the bar examinations and landed 5th in said examinations. Before taking his oath,
Leticia Sia asked the Supreme Court not to allow Go to take his oath because she actually filed a rape case
against him which case remains pending but which information Go withheld in his application. Will her
request be given due course?
A. Yes. If it can be established that the bar passer does not possess good moral character, he will not be allowed
to take his oath.
Zaguirre v. Castillo, (A.C. No. 4921, March 6, 2003): Good moral character is required for admission to law
and misrepresentation about his true legal status will be a ground for a bar passer was suspended indefinitely
upon passing the bar.
Q. Is possession of good moral character required only for admission to the practice of law?
A. Maintenance of good moral character is required to retain continued membership in the bar.
Mecaral v. Velasquez (A.C. No 8392 June 29, 2010): The Supreme Court disbarred a lawyer who founded a
religious cult and made his secretary a sex slave.
Cordon v. Balicanta (Adm. Case No. 2797, October 4, 2002, 390 SCRA 299 (2002): The S.C. disbarred a
lawyer who used his knowledge of the law to commit fraud against his client by forming a corporation out of
the estate of the deceased husband of the complainant. The lawyer made himself the sole signatory of said
company which allowed him to mortgage several properties of the corporation which were eventually
foreclosed by the creditor bank.
Arellano University, Inc. v. Mijares III, 605 SCRA 93, 2009: The S.C. disbarred a lawyer who admitted in his
Affidavit in the disbarment case against him that he asked for facilitation fee to bribe the Vice Mayor of
Manila in the course of his engagement as counsel. The S.C. referred the case to the Ombudsman against the
Vice Mayor and the lawyer for the crime of bribery. The Court held that a lawyers professional fee does not
include facilitation fee.
Q. What is the coverage of the annual bar examinations?
A. Bar Subjects under Sec. 9, Rule 138, Rules of Court include: Political Law, Labor and Social Legislation,
Civil Law, Taxation, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law and Legal and Judicial Ethics and Practical
Q. What is the essence of bar examinations?
A. Public policy demands that any person seeking admission to the bar in the Philippines be required to furnish
satisfactory proof of his knowledge of the law and ethical standards and of his possession of such degree of
learning and proficiency in law as may be deemed necessary for the due performance of the duties of lawyer.
Q. Candido completed his law degree in October 2015. He wanted to become a lawyer but he realized that it
was too late for him to take the November 2015 bar examinations. Can he file a petition to the Supreme
Court to be allowed to take his special bar examinations?
A. No. The Supreme Court administers the bar examinations only once a year.

Q. Fernando, a Filipino citizen, completed his study of law in Spain and was allowed to practice law in
Spain. He sought permission from the Supreme Court that he be allowed to be admitted to Philippine bar. In
his petition he invoked the provisions of the Treaty on Academic Degrees and Professions between the
Philippines and Spain. How will you rule on the petition of Fernando?
A. I will deny Fernandos petition. Fernando has remained a Filipino citizen and he cannot invoke the
provisions of the treaty which is founded on reciprocity of the nationals of each country and the grant of the
privilege is always subject to the domestic laws of both countries. In Re: Garcia, 2 SCRA 985
Q. Define the following:
1. Attorneys-at Law: the class of persons who are by license, officers of the court, empowered to appear,
prosecute and defend, and upon whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are developed by law as a
consequence. Cul v. Cul, 120 Phil. 729
2. Attorney-in-Fact: an agent whose authority is strictly limited by the instrument appointing him. His authority
is provided in a special power of attorney or a general power of attorney or letter of authority. An attorney-infact is not necessarily a lawyer.
3. Counsel de oficio: a counsel, appointed or assigned by the court, from among such members of the bar in
good standing who, by reason of their experience and ability may adequately defend the accused. The person
need not be a member of the bar if no lawyer is available in a given locality. (Sec. 7, Rule 116, Rules of Court)
A counsel de oficio is appointed to defend an indigent in a criminal action (Sections 3, 4, and 5, Rule 116; Sec.
32, Rule 138); or to represent a destitute party in a case (Sec.31, Rule 138).
4. Attorney Ad Hoc: a person named and appointed by the court to defend an absentee defendant in a suit in
which the appointment is made.
5. Attorney of Record: a member of the bar appointed by a client to represent in cause of a court and upon
whom service of papers may be made.
6. Of Counsel: a member of the bar who is associated with a law office but does not normally appear as counsel
of record of cases handled by the law office.
7. Lead Counsel: a member of the bar who charged with the principal management and direction of a partylitigant.
8. House Counsel: a member of the bar who acts as attorney for a business company as an employee of such
company and renders legal advice on matters necessary in the ordinary course of its business.
9. Amicus Curiae: a friend of the court. A person with strong interest in or views on the subject matter of the
action. One who is considered as an experience and impartial attorney to help in the disposition of issues
submitted to the Court. (Sec. 36, Rule 138)
10. Amicus Curiae par Excellence: bar associations who appear in court as amici curiae or friends of the court.
Like an individual amicus curiae, amicus curiae par excellence do not represent any party to the case but act as
consultant in a doubtful issue for resolution of the court. They do not receive any compensation for their legal
services to the court.
11. Counsel de parte: a lawyer retained by a party litigant, usually, for a fee, to prosecute or defend his cause in
court. The term implies freedom of choice either on the part of the lawyer to accept the employment or on the
part of the litigant to continue or terminate the retainer at any time.
12. Pro bono Counsel: a lawyer who renders legal services without charging any professional fees but does not
shoulder the costs of litigation on behalf of his client.
13. Advocate: a lawyer who pleads on behalf of a third party.
14. Barrister: In England, a person entitled to practice law as an advocate or counsel in superior courts.
15. Solicitor: In England, a person prosecuting or defending suits in a Court of Chancery. A Court of Chancery
is a court which administers equity and proceeding according to the forms and principles of equity.
16. Proctor: In England , an attorney in in the admiralty and ecclesiastical courts whose duties and business
correspond exactly to those of an attorney-at-law or solicitor in a Chancery.
Q. What is barratry?
A. It is the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up quarrels in suits. It is frowned upon as it is against
public policy.
Q. What is ambulance chasing?
A. This practice originated in New York, where through a lawyer or his agent, cases are literally solicited in
hospitals or in police precincts. The evils sought to be prevented by this practice are: fomenting litigation;
subornation of perjury; mulcting of innocent persons upon manufactured causes of action; defrauding injured
III. Appearance of Non-Lawyers

Q. What is the Student Practice Rule?

A. Law Student Practice Rule: Rule 138-A of the Rules of court allows a law student to represent indigent
clients provided one has successfully completed the 3rd year of a prescribed four-year curriculum and enrolled
in a recognized law schools clinical legal education program
> In Bar Matter No.730 dated June 10, 1998, the Supreme Court required that law student practice before the
Regional Trial Court must be under the direct supervision and control of a member of the Integrated Bar of the
> Under Section 34 of the Rules of Court, a law student may appear before the first level court as an agent or
friend of a party without the supervision of a member of the bar.
Q. Under what circumstances can non-lawyers represent parties?
A. Non-lawyers may appear in the following:
1. Non-lawyers in first level courts: small claims cases
2. Non-lawyers in administrative tribunals: HLURB, DENR, DAR, NLRC, etc.
3. Proceedings where lawyers are prohibited from appearing: proceedings before the Lupong Tagapamayapa,
4. Non-lawyers in court ordered mediation

Q. What are the sanctions for practice or appearance without authority?

1. Lawyers without authority: Contempt of Court (Sec. 1, Rule 71)
Acts constituting contempt: Misbehavior as an officer of the court, disobedience or resistance to a lawful
order of the court, abuse or unlawful interference with judicial proceedings, obstruction in the administration
of justice, misleading the court or making false allegations, criticisms, insults or veiled threats against the
court, aiding in the unauthorized practice of law, unlawful retention of clients, advising a client to commit a
contemptuous act, publications which tend to impede, obstruct, embarrass or influence courts may degrade the
court; disrespectful pleadings.

2. Persons who are not lawyers: Indirect Contempt (Sec. 3 (e), Rule 71)
Ciocon-Reer v. Lubao (674 SCRA 13): Karaan would always appear in court and he even files pleadings
without indicating any Roll of Attorney No., PTR, MCLE and IBP O.R.No. After investigation, OCA found out
that the 71 year old Karaan was not in fact a lawyer. He was found guilty of indirect contempt of court and
fined P10,000.00 without imprisonment.
IV. Public Officials and Practice of Law
Q. Are government lawyers covered by the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR)?
A. Yes. CANON 6 of the CPR provides: These Canons shall apply to lawyers in government service in
the discharge of their tasks.(Rules 6.01-6.03, Code of Professional Responsibility).
Q. What is the one-year ban rule on government lawyers?
A. Former government attorneys are prohibited or disqualified from the representing any interest adverse to the
government within the one-year period when they were separated from service.
Q. Who are the public officials not allowed to practice law?
A. Under the Constitution: The President, Vice President, members of the Constitutional Commissions,
members of the judiciary, members of the cabinet, their deputies and assistants
Under Civil Service Rules: government lawyers in government departments/offices/bureaus, in government
owned and controlled corporations, government financial institutions and those with local government units
Under Special Laws: Governors and Mayors (Local Government Code); Solicitors and trial lawyers of the
Office of the Solicitor General, lawyers of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, Government
prosecutors under the DOJ and the Office of the Ombudsman
Q. What is the concept of limited practice of law among public officers?
A. With prior written authorization of the heads of office, some government lawyers may be authorized to
practice law provided they will not represent any party who has an adverse claim against the government.
Lorenzana v. Fajardo ( 462 SCRA 1 (2005)): A lawyer is guilty of violating the Civil Service rule on double
compensation when he accepted an appointment as a lawyer of the Urban Affairs Office of the City of Manila
and a member of the PLEB of Quezon City.
Q. Who are the lawyers who represent the government?

A. The lawyers tasked to represent government: OSG, OGCC, lawyers in regular departments, bureaus, offices,
lawyers in the government financial institutions, lawyers in government owned and controlled corporations,
lawyers who serve the governments interest under special contracts/or engagements, lawyers under the local
government units.
Q. Who are the lawyers who represent the interest of the state in criminal cases?
A. Government lawyers tasked to prosecute and represent the interest of the state are the Public Prosecutors
from the DOJ and Office of the Ombudsman.
Q. Who are the government lawyers who represent indigent litigants?
A. Lawyers who work with the Public Attorneys Office represent the indigent litigants.
Q. Can the Supreme Court motu propio discipline lawyers?
A. Yes.
People of the Philippines v. The Hon. Juanito C. Castaneda, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 208290, December 11,
2013.CTA in conformity with the Run After the Smugglers (RATS) Group of the Revenue Collection Monitoring
Group (RCMG) of the BOC tried the private respondents for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the
Philippines, as amended. S.C. said that it could not countenance the following patent violations of the
government prosecutors: failure of the prosecution failed to present certified true copies of the documentary
evidence under Section 7, Rule 130 and Section 127, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court and the petition for
certiorari was filed beyond the reglamentary period. This stance taken by the lawyers in government service
rouses the Courts vigilance against inefficiency in the administration of justice and the presumption that the
case was doomed by design from the start was doomed by design from the start. Verily, the lawyers
representing the offices under the executive branch should be reminded that they still remain as officers of the
court from whom a high sense of competence and fervor is expected. The Court reminded the lawyers in the
BOC that the canons embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility equally apply to lawyers in
government service in the discharge of their official tasks.
Q. May a labor arbiter apply a principle in Corporation Law to support his decision in a labor dispute?
SALIMATHAR V. NAMBI, A.C. No. 7158, March 09, 2015, DEL CASTILLO, J.: This is a Complaint for
Disbarment filed against then Labor Arbiter Salimathar v. Nambi (respondent) on the ground of gross
ignorance of the law in issuing an Amended Alias Writ of Execution against M.A. Blocks Work, Inc. and its
incorporators, the herein complainants, who are not parties to the case. The Court held that the labor arbiter
had legal basis to pierce the corporate veil to serve the ends of justice but he was reprimanded for not
complying with the lawful orders of the IBP and the Court.
VI. Suspension, disbarment and discipline of lawyers (Rule 139-B, Rule of Court)
Q. What is the nature and characteristics of disciplinary actions against lawyers?
A. Disbarment or disciplinary actions against lawyers are sui generis. It is c class of its own and does not need
proof beyond reasonable doubt. A disbarment proceeding is imprescriptible; all proceedings are strictly
confidential; may proceed despite withdrawal of the complaint.
Bengco v. Bernardo, 672 SCRA 352 (2012): S.C. said that administrative cases against lawyers do not
prescribe. Despite the considerable lapse of time between the commission of the infraction and the time of
filing, there is need to determine the administrative liability of lawyers.
Catalan, Jr. v. Silvosa, 677 SCRA 352(2012): A lawyer cannot escape the disciplining arm of the Court
despite any delay in the filing of an administrative case against a lawyer.
Rules on Disbarment (Rule 139-B)
Initiation of a Complaint
By the Supreme Court motu proprio
By the IBP Board of Governors motu proprio
Upon referral by the S.C.
Upon referral by the IBP Chapter Board
Upon verified complaint by any person

IBP Board of

Chairman, CBD


May uphold the findings
May reverse the findings
May amend the findings

must be based onbefore the Commissioner.
No motion
facts, reasons, in writing
Motion for Reconsideration before the Board of Governor is allowed.
Decision of IBP Board of Governors is reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Q. Describe the proceedings before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the
A. Proceedings before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
The complaint is referred to the Investigating Commissioner.
The Investigating Commissioner presides over the disbarment proceedings allowing complainant to
prove his allegations and for the lawyer to establish his defense.
After evaluation, the Investigating Commissioner submits his findings and recommendation to the
Chairman of the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD).
No Motion for Reconsideration is allowed before the Investigating Commissioner
The Chairman of the CBD submits the report of the Investigating Commissioner to the Board of
In a meeting called for the purpose, the Board of Governors evaluates the report and renders its own
Motion for Reconsideration before the Board of Governors is allowed.
The decision of the Board of Governors (reviewed by SC) must be in writing supported by facts and
evidence presented during the hearing and the applicable provision of the Code of Professional
Q. Who may initiate disbarment proceedings?
No. 9116, March 12, 2014.The S.C. held that the complainants have personality to file the disbarment case.
In Heck v. Judge Santos, the Court held that [a]ny interested person or the court motu proprio may initiate
disciplinary proceedings. The right to institute disbarment proceedings is not confined to clients nor is it
necessary that the person complaining suffered injury from the alleged wrongdoing. Disbarment proceedings
being sui generis, the procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings that only the real partyin-interest must initiate the suit will not apply.
Q. Can a disbarment case be dismissed upon motion of the complainant?
ATTY. WHELMA F. SITON-YAP, A.C. No. 5914, March 11, 2015, Reyes, J.:
The Court said that it cannot simply yield to complainants change of heart by refuting their own statements
against the respondents and praying that the complaint for disbarment they filed be dismissed. It bears
emphasizing that any misconduct on the part of the lawyer not only hurts the clients cause but is even more
disparaging on the integrity of the legal profession itself. Thus, for tarnishing the reputation of the profession, a
lawyer may still be disciplined notwithstanding the complainants pardon or withdrawal from the case for as
long as there is evidence to support any finding of culpability. A case for suspension or disbarment may
proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainants, if the facts proven so warrant. It
follows that the withdrawal of the complainant from the case, or even the filing of an affidavit of desistance,
does not conclude the administrative case against an erring lawyer.

Q. Can a lawyer move for dismissal of the disbarment case against him based on prejudicial question?
A. No. A disbarment proceeding being sui generis can proceed independently of any criminal action instituted
against the lawyer.
ANTONINA S. SOSA v. ATTY. MANUEL V. MENDOZA, A.C. No. 8776, March 22, 2015, Brion, J. This is a
complaint for the disbarment/suspension of Atty. Manuel V. Mendoza (Atty. Mendoza) filed on October 22, 2010 by
Antonina S. Sosa (Ms. Sosa), for violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility arising from nonpayment of debt.
A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not a civil action where the complainant is a plaintiff and the
respondent lawyer is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress
for private grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare. For violation of
Rule 1.01, the lawyer was suspended from the practice of law for one year.
Q. Can a lawyer set up the defense of double jeopardy in a disbarment case against him?
A. No. The defense of double jeopardy cannot be invoked in a disbarment proceeding.
Garrido v. Garrido, 611 SCRA 508 (21010): S.C. reiterated the rule that laws dealing with double jeopardy
or with procedure . . . do not apply in the determination of lawyers qualifications or fitness for membership in
the Bar. . . The S.C. said first, that for admission a candidate must meet all the requirements because the
practice of law is a component of the administration of justice and involves service to the public; and second,
admission qualifications are also required for the continued enjoyment of the privilege to practice and lack of
qualifications is a matter of public concern and S.C. may inquire into them.
Q. Can a lawyer move for dismissal of a disciplinary case against him on the ground that the complainants
are not the injured party to the case?
A. No because the practice of law is imbued with public interest and institution of complaints against lawyers is
not predicated on a lawyer-client relationship.
Nestor Figueras and Bienvenido Victoria, Jr. v. Atty. Diosdado B. Jimenez, A.C. No. 9116, March 12,
2014.The S.C. held that the complainants have personality to file the disbarment case. In Heck v. Judge Santos,
the Court held that [a]ny interested person or the court motu proprio may initiate disciplinary proceedings.
The right to institute disbarment proceedings is not confined to clients nor is it necessary that the person
complaining suffered injury from the alleged wrongdoing. Disbarment proceedings being sui generis, the
procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings that only the real party-in-interest must initiate
the suit will not apply.
Q. What is the effect of conviction upon the practice of law of a lawyer?
A. Catalan, Jr. v. Silvosa, 677 SCRA 352 (2012): A lawyer convicted of direct bribery can be a subject of
disbarment proceedings. Direct bribery is a crime involving moral turpitude. The defense that his conviction
was not in his capacity as a lawyer but as a public officer betrays the unmistakable lack of integrity in his
In Re: Atty. Rodolfo D.Pactolin, 670 SCRA 366(2112): The conviction of Atty. Pactolin before the
Sandiganbayan for the crime of Falsification of Public Document is contrary to justice, honesty and good
morals. This is a crime involving moral turpitude. Even if the IBP recommended dismissal of the case, S.C.
disbarred him because disbarment is the appropriate penalty for conviction by final judgment for a crime
involving moral turpitude.
Q. Can a judge who has been dismissed from the judiciary still be a subject of a disbarment proceeding?
A. Yes. OCA v. Liangco, 662 SCRA 103 (2011): The dismissal of a judge from service will not preclude the
filing of a disbarment case against him before the IBP. The disbarment was based on the same grounds for his
dismissal: gross misconduct and inexcusable ignorance. He failed to make a distinction between a Resolution
and an Ordinance and that as judge, he cannot render an Opinion but rather he must receive evidence and
make a decision after termination of trial. It will be the IBP who will investigate a judge who has retired from
the judiciary and not the Supreme Court.
Q. What is the proof required to establish the culpability of a lawyer in a disbarment proceeding?
APO1 JOSE B. CASPE v. ATTY. AQUILINO A. MEJICA, A.C. No. 10679, March 10, 2015, Villarama, J.:
In disciplinary proceedings against members of the bar, only clear preponderance of evidence is required to
establish liability. As long as the evidence presented by complainant or that taken judicial notice of by the
Court is more convincing and worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto, the imposition of
disciplinary sanction is justified. The Court has required that a complainant has the onus of proving the
charges against respondent by clear, convincing and satisfactory evidence. Caspe alleged the controversy
started when Atty. Mejica disregarded conflict of interest rules. Caspe said that when he filed a complaint for

attempted murder against Antonio Rodriguez, Jr., Atty. Mejica served as Caspes counsel. When Rodriguez, Jr.
filed his counter-affidavit, it was Atty. Mejica who counseled and represented him. The Court found Atty.
Aquilino A. Mejica GUILTY of violation of Rules 1.03, 1.04 and 10.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and suspended him from the practice of law for two years.
Q. Does the lawyer have the burden of proof in a disbarment case?
A. No. Joven and Reynaldo C. Rasing v. Atty. Pablo R. Cruz and Frankie O. Magsalin III, A.C. No. 7686,
July 31, 2013. The burden of proof in disbarment and suspension proceedings always rests on the shoulders of
the complainant. The Court exercises its disciplinary power only if the complainant establishes the complaint
by clearly preponderant evidence that warrants the imposition of the harsh penalty. In this case, complainants
failed to discharge their burden of proving that respondents ordered their secretary to stamp a much later date
instead of the actual date of receipt for the purpose of extending the ten-day period within which to file a
Motion for Reconsideration under the NLRC Rules of Procedure. Such claim is merely anchored on speculation
and conjecture and not backed by any clear preponderant evidence necessary to justify the imposition of
administrative penalty on a member of the Bar.
Atty. Alan F. Paguia v. Atty. Manuel T. Molina, A.C. No. 9881, June 4, 2014.The S.C. said in when it comes to
administrative cases against lawyers, two things are to be considered: quantum of proof, which requires clearly
preponderant evidence; and burden of proof, which is on the complainant. Here, the complaint was without
factual basis. Even if Atty. Molina did provide his clients legal advice, he still cannot be held administratively
liable without any showing that his act was attended with bad faith or malice. The default rule is presumption of
good faith.
Q. What is the effect of the withdrawal of a disbarment case?
A. Adelia V. Quiachon v. Atty. Joseph Ador A. Ramos, A.C. No. 9317, June 4, 2014. The S.C. held that the
withdrawal of a disbarment case against a lawyer does not terminate or abate the jurisdiction of the IBP and of
the Court to continue an administrative proceeding against a lawyer-respondent as a member of the Philippine
Bar. The complainant in a disbarment case is not a direct party to the case, but a witness who brought the
matter to the attention of the Court. In this case, Atty. Ramos violated Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility. Thus, the appropriate penalty should be imposed despite the desistance of
complainant or the withdrawal of the charges
Q. What are the grounds for suspension (Disbarment)?
A. Section 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court provides the following grounds: deceit or any gross misconduct,
grossly immoral conduct, conviction of crime involving moral turpitude, violation of lawyers Oath, willful
disobedience of any lawful order, or corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party in a case without
authority, malpractice which includes practice of soliciting cases for the purpose of gain, either personally or
through paid agents or brokers..
Rose Bunagan-Bansig v. Atty. Rogelio Juan A. Celera, A.C. No. 5581, January 14, 2014. The Court ordered
Celera disbarred for contracting a second marriage when his first marriage with Complainant was still
subsisting. The Supreme Court held that for purposes of the disbarment proceeding, the Marriage Certificates
bearing the name of Atty. Celera are competent and convincing evidence to prove that he committed bigamy,
which renders him unfit to continue as a member of the Bar. Atty. Celera exhibited a deplorable lack of that
degree of morality required of him as a member of the Bar. He made a mockery of marriage, a sacred
institution demanding respect and dignity. His act of contracting a second marriage while his first marriage is
subsisting constituted grossly immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of
the Revised Rules of Court.
Edgardo Areola v. Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza, A.C. No. 10135, January 15, 2014. This case involves a PAO
who advised her clients Iyak-iyakan lang ninyo si Judge Martin at palalayain na kayo. Malambot ang puso
noon.Thus, a complaint was lodged against her for violation of the attorneys oath, deceit, malpractice or
other gross misconduct in office under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. S. C. held that Atty.
Mendoza made irresponsible advices to her clients in violation of Rule 1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. It is the mandate of Rule 1.02 that a lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities
aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. Rule 15.07 states that a lawyer
shall impress upon his client compliance with the laws and the principles of fairness. However, while her
remark was inappropriate and unbecoming, her comment was not disparaging and reproachful so as to cause
dishonor and disgrace to the Judiciary. Thus, she was only reprimanded and sternly warned.
2015, VILLARAMA, JR., J.: The Rules of Court under Rule 138, Section 21 provides for a presumption of a
lawyers appearance on behalf of his client, hence: SEC. 21. Authority of attorney to appear. An attorney is
presumed to be properly authorized to represent any cause in which he appears, and no written power of
attorney is required to authorize him to appear in court for his client, but the presiding judge may, on motion of

either party and on reasonable grounds therefor being shown, require any attorney who assumes the right to
appear in a case to produce or prove the authority under which he appears, and to disclose, whenever pertinent
to any issue, the name of the person who employed him, and may thereupon make such order as justice
requires. An attorney willfully appearing in court for a person without being employed, unless by leave of the
court, may be punished for contempt as an officer of the court who has misbehaved in his official transactions.
An attorney-client relationship terminates upon death of either client or the lawyer. Thus, a lawyer must be
more circumspect in his demeanor and attitude towards the public in general as agents of the judicial system.
TERESITA B. ENRIQUEZ, v. ATTY. TRINA DE VERA, A.C. No. 8330, March 16, 2015, Leonen, J. An
administrative complaint for disbarment or suspension was filed by complainant Teresita B. Enriquez against
Atty. Trina De Vera. The Court found Atty. Trina De Vera committed serious misconduct and should be held
administratively liable for the issuance and dishonor of several post-dated checks. She was suspended from the
practice of law for one year
Q. What are the guidelines in lifting of the order of suspension of the lawyer?
A. MANIEGO v. DE DIOS, 617 SCRA 142 (2010). The Court held that after the period of suspension, the
resumption to practice is not automatic. The Court issued the following guidelines:
1. After a finding that the respondent lawyer must be suspended from the practice of law, the Court shall render
a decision rendering the penalty.
2. Unless the Court explicitly states that the decision is immediately executory upon receipt thereof, respondent
has 15 days within which to file a motion for reconsideration thereof. The denial of said motion shall render the
decision final and executory.
3. Upon the expiration of the period of suspension, respondent shall file a Sworn Statement with the Court,
through the Office of the Bar Confidant that he or she has desisted from the practice of law and has not
appeared in any court during the period of his or her suspension;
4. Copies of the Sworn Statement shall be furnished to the local chapter of the IBP and to the Executive Judge
of the courts where respondent has pending cases handled by him or her, and where he or she has appeared as
5. The Sworn Statement shall be considered as proof of respondents compliance with the order of suspension;
6. Any finding or report contrary to the statements made by the respondent under oath shall be a ground for
imposition of a more severe punishment, or disbarment, as may be warranted.
To summarize:
(i) File a Sworn Statement with the Office of the Bar confidant that the respondent lawyer has served the period
of suspension stating that he/she desisted from the practice of law and never appeared in any court during the
period of suspension.
(ii) Copies of the Sworn Statement must be furnished the chapter of which the respondent lawyer is a member
and the Executive Judges of the Regional Trial Courts and first level courts where respondent lawyer has
pending cases.
(iii) If satisfied, the Court will lift the order of suspension and reinstate the erring lawyer
Q. What is the effect of an adverse disciplinary action instituted abroad against a Filipino lawyer?
A. A decision in a disciplinary action against a Filipino lawyer practicing abroad may also be a basis for a
disbarment proceeding against the same lawyer in the Philippines.
Velez v. De Vera, 496 SCRA 345 (2006): A finding of fact by the California State Bar can be a basis of an
administrative complaint against a Filipino lawyer before the IBP.
Q. Can the penalty of a lawyer be mitigated by virtue of relationship?
2015. On December 13, 2005, the Court en banc promulgated a Resolution in A.C. No. 6656 entitled Bobie
Rose V. Frias vs. Atty. Carmencita Bautista Lozada3 suspending Atty. Lozada for two years for violation of
Rules 15.03 and 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
During her period of suspension she represented her husband where complainant Feliciano was a party. The
Supreme Court said it recognizes the fact that it is part of the Filipino culture that amid an adversity, families
will always look out and extend a helping hand to a family member, more so, in this case, to a spouse. Thus,
considering that Atty. Lozada's actuation was prompted by her affection to her husband and that in essence, she
was not representing a client but rather a spouse, we deem it proper to mitigate the severeness of her penalty.
Reinstatement after Disbarment
Readmission to the Bar and Resumption to Practice Law
Q. Can a bar passer convicted of a homicide still be admitted to the practice of law?

A. Yes. IN RE: OATH TAKING OF ARGOSINO, B.M. 712, July 13, 1995 and En Banc Resolution dated
March 19, 1997. A lawyer who was involved in the fatal death of a neophyte in the initiation rites of his
fraternity was finally allowed to take his oath after he showed several proofs of testimonial of good character.
Q. Can a disbarred lawyer be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys?
A. Yes. RE: 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS (ATTY. DANILO DE GUZMAN), 586 SCRA 372 A lawyer who
leaked the bar questions in Mercantile Law prepared by a founding partner in his law firm was reinstated upon
proof of good moral character during his period of suspension.
MACARUBBO v. MACARUBBO, A.M. 6148, January 22, 2013. Macarubbo was disbarred for contracting
three marriages. While the disbarment case was pending, Macarrubo resorted to filing separate civil actions to
annul two of said marriages. Eight years after his disbarment, he filed a Petition for Extraordinary Mercy for
reinstatement in the Roll of Attorneys. In granting his Petition, the Court considered the following guidelines set
forth in Re: Letter of Augustus C. Diaz, MTC Branch 37, Appealing for Clemency (533 SCRA 534, 2010):
1. There must be proof of remorse and reformation. These shall include but should not be limited to
certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or chapter(s) of the IBP, judges or judges associations and
prominent members of the community with proven integrity and probity. A subsequent finding of guilt in an
administrative case for the same or similar misconduct will give rise to a strong presumption of nonreformation.
2. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the imposition of penalty to ensure a period of reform.
3. The age of the person asking for clemency must show that he has still productive years ahead of him that can
be put to good use by giving him a chance to redeem himself.
4. There must be a showing of promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or contribution
to legal scholarship and the development of the legal system or administrative and other relevant skills), as well
as potential for public service.
5. There must be other relevant factors and circumstances that may justify clemency
The Court concluded with a reminder that to enjoy continued member in the legal profession, one must be a
person of good moral character.
Resumption to Practice of a Balikbayan Lawyer
Requisites - Updating and full payment of all IBP membership dues; Payment of Professional Tax;
Completion of MCLE credit units; and Retaking of the Lawyers Oath
Q. Can a former Filipino resume his practice of law in the Philippines?
PHILIPPINES (EPIFANIO B. MUNESES), 677 SCRA 364 (2012). The S.C. said that a Filipino lawyer who
has been naturalized in another country does not automatically enjoy the right to resume his practice of law
when returns to the Philippines. It held that under the Rules of Admission to the Philippine bar, one must be a
Filipino citizen. Thus, when he assumed another citizenship, he ipso facto lost his Filipino citizenship. The
returning Filipino lawyer must repatriate himself under the provisions of R.A. 9225. Said law says that all
Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine
citizenship under the conditions of (R.A. 9225).
R.A. 9225 provides that if a person intends to practice the legal profession in the Philippines and he reacquires
his Filipino citizenship pursuant to its provisions (he shall apply with the proper authority for a license or
permit to engage in such practice.
Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law of Benjamin M. Dacanay, 540 SCRA 424: To reacquire, the
authority to resume his practice of law, the repatriated Filipino must:
1. Update and pay in full his annual membership dues in the IBP;
2. Pay his professional tax;
3. Complete his 36 credit hours of MCLE to refresh him of his knowledge of Philippine laws, rules of practice,
recent jurisprudence and update him of recent legal developments (MCLE will be from the time he was absent
in the Philippines up to the time he resumes his practice);and
4. Retake his oath which will not only remind him of his duties and responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer
of the Court, but also to renew his pledge to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.
VII. Duties and Responsibilities of a Lawyer
A. Duty to Society
1. Respect for law and legal processes
CANON 1 - A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and
legal processes. (Rules 1.01-1.04)

Q. What does respect for rule of law include?

A. The lawyer must at all times in the protection of the rights of client ensure compliance with the law
governing the issues of the pending case. FERNANDO W. CHU v. ATTY. JOSE C. GUICO, JR., A.C. No.
10573, January 13, 2015, PER CURIAM: Fernando W. Chu invokes the Courts disciplinary authority in
resolving this disbarment complaint against his former lawyer, respondent Atty. Jose C. Guico, Jr., whom he
has accused of gross misconduct. Atty. Guico was disbarred for having had violated Rules 1.01 and 1.02,
Canon I of the Code of Professional Responsibility for demanding and receiving P580,000.00 from Chu which
constituted an act of extortion and misrepresentation that caused dishonor to and contempt for the legal
Q. What are the standards of morality required of a lawyer?
A. MELVYN G. GARCIA v. ATTY. RAUL H. SESBREO, A.C. No. 7973 and A.C. No. 10457, February 03,
2015, PER CURIAM: Two complaints for disbarment were filed by Dr. Melvyn G. Garcia (Garcia) against
Atty. Raul H. Sesbreo. The two cases, docketed as A.C. No. 7973 and A.C. No. 10457, were consolidated in the
Courts Resolution dated 30 September 2014. The IBP-CBD consolidated A.C. No. 7973 with CBD Case No.
08-2273. The parties agreed on the sole issue to be resolved: whether moral turpitude is involved in a
conviction for homicide. The Court held in the affirmative and ordered Sesbreno disbarred.
5816, March 10, 2015, PER CURIAM. Complainant charged the two lawyers with gross immoral conduct.
Atty. Catindig was disbarred for contracting a second marriage with the complainant while his first marriage
was still subsisting. The charge against Atty. Baydo was dismissed for lack of evidence.
Tiong v. Florendo, 662 SCR A 1 (2011): The S.C. held that a lawyers act of having an affair with his clients
wife manifested his disrespect for the laws on the sanctity of marriage and his own marital vow of fidelity. His
illicit relationship with the wife of his client showed that he violated Canon 17 of the CPR for abuse of the trust
and confidence reposed in him. An Affidavit of Desistance or any other sworn statement with the same effect
will not excuse the lawyer because any disciplinary proceeding is clothed with public interest.
Garrido v. Garrido, 611 SCRA 508 (2010): A charge of immorality was brought before the lawyer for having
contracted three marriages. He left his first wife to pursue his study of law. He contracted his second marriage
upon misrepresentation that he is single. He engaged in an extra marital affair with a lawyer whom he
eventually married in Hongkong while his second marriage was subsisting. Such conduct betrayed his moral
depravity for which he was disbarred. The lady lawyer was eventually disbarred for knowing that Garrido had
other two subsisting marriages when she had her romantic relationship with him even before she became a
Q. What constitutes deceitful conduct on the part of the lawyer?
A. Brennisen v. Contawi, 670 SCRA 358(2012): The S.C. disbarred a lawyer who acted with deceit when,
through the use of a falsified document, he effected the unauthorized mortgage and sale of his clients property
for his personal benefit.
Bueno v. Raneses, 687 SCRA 711(2012): The S.C. disbarred a lawyer who practically asked the client to sell
everything for the sake of winning the case, only to end up not really doing anything. By asking money from his
client for a purportedly bribery to the judge to win a case, the lawyer tarnished the image of the judiciary and
put a black mark in the legal profession as well.
Natividad P. Navarro and Hilda S. Presbitero v. Atty. Ivan M. Solidum, Jr., A.C. No. 9872, January 28,
2014.The Court held that Atty. Solidum, Jr. violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Conduct, as used in the Rule, is not confined to the performance of a lawyers professional duties. The test is
whether his conduct shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or
whether it renders him unworthy to continue as an officer of the court. Atty. Solidum, Jr. was held guilty of
engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct, both in his professional capacity with respect to his client,
Presbitero, and in his private capacity with respect to complainant Navarro. Both Presbitero and Navarro
allowed Atty. Solidum, Jr. to draft the terms of the loan agreements. Atty. Solidum, Jr. drafted the subject
documents with full knowledge that the interest rates were exorbitant. Taking advantage of the provisions in the
instruments, he later assailed the validity of the same agreements which he personally prepared. He issued
checks that were drawn from his sons account whose name was similar to his without informing complainants.
Further, the records do not indicate any undertaking on his part to pay the loans he obtained from
complainants. The fiduciary nature of the relationship between the counsel and his client imposes on the lawyer

the duty to account for the money or property collected or received for or from his client. Atty. Solidum, Jr.
failed to fulfill this duty.
2. Efficient and convenient legal services
CANON 2 - A lawyer shall make his legal services available in an efficient and convenient manner compatible
with the independence, integrity and effectiveness of the profession. (Rules 2.01-2.04
Q. When is a lawyer guilty of encroaching on another lawyers practice?
A. Lisangan v. Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009: A lawyer who allowed his paralegal/secretary to
solicit the clients of a fellow lawyer with a promise of financial assistance was suspended by the S.C. and
reminded lawyers that their calling cards must only contain their name, fields of practice, contact details and
nothing more. The prohibition applies to the non-legal staff in order to curb any abuse of the privilege of the
3. True, honest, fair, dignified and objective information on legal services
CANON 3 A lawyer in making known his legal services shall use only the true, honest, fair, dignified and
objective information or statement of facts. (Rules 3.01-3.04)
Q. Can a lawyer be held liable for the allegations set forth in a pleading which has been verified by his
A. No. De Leon v. Castelo, 639 SCRA 237 (2011): The S.C. held that with the cloak of privilege, lawyers can
freely and courageously speak for their clients, verbally or in writing, in the course of judicial and quasijudicial proceedings, without running the risk of incurring criminal prosecution or actions for damages.
4. Participation in the improvement and reforms in the legal system
CANON 4 A lawyer shall participate in the development of the legal system by initiating or supporting efforts
in law reforms and in the improvement of the administration of justice.
A lawyer is encouraged to participate in the formulation of amendments in the Rules of Court to improve the
administration of justice.
A lawyer may attend congressional hearings involving changes in substantive laws; creation of new courts; and
redefining jurisdiction of trial and appellate courts.
5. Participation in legal education program and other related activities
CANON 5 A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal developments, participate in continuing legal education
programs, support efforts to achieve high standards in law schools as well as in the practical training of law
students and assist in disseminating the law and jurisprudence.
A lawyer is expected to comply with the requirements of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education and to
participate in the activities of the IBP and other legal professional organizations.
Purpose: MCLE, what it is; who enforces the MCLE
Q. What is the composition of constitution of the MCLE Board?
A. The MCLE Board is composed of a retired justice of the Supreme Court is the Chairman, with the following
as members: an incumbent dean of a recognized law school, a representative from a designated law center, the
Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy and the President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Q. What are the requirements to complete the MCLE?
A. Coverage of the MCLE 36-unit requirement ( corresponding units: 6 for Legal Ethics; 6 for prescribed
courses as approved by the MCLE Board, 4 for trail and pre-trial techniques, 4 for legal writing and oral
advocacy, 5 for alternative dispute resolution, 2 for international law and conventions and 9 for updates on
substantive and procedural laws)
Q. What is the period of compliance for ones MCLE?
A. A lawyer has 3-year completion period.
Q. Who are exempted from the MCLE requirement?
A. President, Vice President, Members of the Senate and House of Representatives, Members of the
Constitutional Commissions, Governors, Mayors, incumbent and retired members of the judiciary, Cabinet
Secretaries and their undersecretaries, OSG lawyers, OGCC lawyers, Ombudsman and all Deputies of the
Ombudsman, Professor and Reviewers of law for a period of ten years.

Q. What the penalties for non-compliance?

A. Imposition of fines, pleadings may be expunge from records of the court, lawyer be can a subject of
suspension or disbarment.
B. Duty to the Legal Profession
1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Rule 139-A): A lawyer cannot be a full-fledged member of the bar,
he has not signed the Roll of Attorneys after taking his Oath as a lawyer.
Q. When does one become a full-fledged attorney?
A. In re: Petition of Atty. Medado to sign Roll of Attorneys, B.M. No. 2540, September 24, 2013: Petitioner
Medado passed the bar examinations in 1979. He took the Attorneys Oath thereafter, and was scheduled to sign
the Roll of Attorneys, but failed to do so. It was only in 2005 that he realized that he did not sign the Roll after
being asked his Roll number when he attended his MCLE. Thirty (30) years after passing the bar, Medado filed
a Petition to allow him to sign in the Roll of Attorneys. The Supreme Court held that while an honest mistake of
fact could be used to excuse a person from the legal consequences of his acts as it negates malice or evil motive,
a mistake of law cannot be utilized as a lawful justification, because everyone is presumed to know the law and
its consequences. Knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of law transgresses Canon 9 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Such Canon also applies to law students and bar candidates. Medado was imposed
a penalty akin to suspension by allowing him to sign one (1) year after receipt of the Courts Resolution.
Q. What is the Integrated Bar of the Philippines?
A. Purposes of the IBP: To elevate the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice,
and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively.
Elective Officers: President, Executive Vice President and concurrently a Governor of a Region (chosen by the
Board of Governors who will succeed the national President), Board of Governors from: Northern Luzon,
Central Luzon, Greater Manila, Southern Luzon, Bicolandia, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Eastern
Mindanao and Western Mindanao.
Other officers: The IBP shall have a Secretary, Treasurer and such other officers as well as employees the
President may appoint with the consent of the Board of Governors under such terms and conditions specified in
the appointment of each officer and/or employee.
Membership and Dues: Non-payment of dues may subject the lawyer to disciplinary action including removal
of the name of the delinquent lawyer from the Roll of Attorneys. (Sec. 9, Rule 139-A)LIFETIME DUE: P12,
500 and ANNUAL DUE: P1, 000
In the Matter of Brewing Controversies in the IBP Elections (A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC, A.C. No. 8292, April
2013): Lawyers seeking positions in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines must respect the rotational rule. The
rotational rule is adopted to allow equal opportunity for all lawyers in different regions to have access to
positions of leadership in the IBP. The S.C. also reminded IBP officers that they should not use the Court as
referee for their intramurals.

2. THE LAWYER AS A NOTARY PUBLIC (A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC, effective August 1, 2004, as
Q. What are the purposes of the Notarial Rules?
A. Promote, serve and protect public interest; to simplify, clarify and modernize the rules governing notaries
public; and to foster ethical conduct among notaries public.
Please take note the relevant provisions of the 2004 Notarial Rules: (Take particular attention of the date
when a document was notarized. A document notarized before the effectivity of the 2004 Notarial Rules
will be governed by the relevant provisions of the Revised Administrative Code where the cedula will
suffice as proof of identity.)
A.C. No. 10132, March 24, 2015. The complainants charged Atty. Examen of notarizing Deeds of Sale where
his brother was the vendee. In his defense, Atty. Examen said that at the time of the execution of the subject
Deeds of Sale the Notarial Rules of 2004 were not yet in effect. Under the Revised Administrative Code which
governed the notarial practice there was no prohibition on notarizing documents of relatives up to the fourth
civil degree of consanguinity and affinity. The Court, however, held Atty. Examen liable for not ascertaining the
details of the cedulas of the affiants. He relied on the entries made by his secretary. The Court suspended Atty.
Roberto E. Examen from the practice of law for TWO (2) YEARS. In addition, his present notarial commission, if any,
was likewise REVOKED, and he is DISQUALIFIED from reappointment as a notary public for a period of two (2) years
from finality of this decision.

(1). Commissioning of a Notary Public

WILBERTO C. TALISIC v. ATTY. PRIMO R. RINEN, A.C. No. 8761, February 12, 2014: A lawyers
notarial commission was revoked and he was not allowed to renew the same for one year for failure to
ascertain the identities of the parties who executed an Extra Judicial Partition with Sale which allowed the
transfer to Spouses Durante of a parcel of land. Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is
invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as
notaries public.
(2). Qualifications (Section 1, Rule III)
(3). Manner of Obtaining a Commission (Sections 2, 3, 4, 5,6,7,8, 9 and 10 Rule III); and Renewal of
Commission (Sections 13 and 14, Rule III)
(4). Powers and Limitations
Powers (Section 1, Rule IV; Sections 1-4, Rule VII)
Prohibitions (Section 2, Rule IV; Section 1, Rule XII)
Disqualifications (Section 4, Rule IV)
(5). Instances when a Notary Public may refuse to notarize, issue certification (Sections 4, 5 & 6, Rule IV)
(6). Jurisdiction and Period of Validity of Commission (Section 11, Rule III; Section9, Rule IX)
January 21, 2015, MENDOZA, J.: A review of the records and evidence presented by complainants shows
that Atty. Siapno indeed maintained a law office in Lingayen, Pangasinan, just beside the law office of one of
the complainants, Atty. Elizabeth Tugade. It was also proven that Atty. Siapno notarized several instruments
with an expired notarial commission outside the territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning court. Section 11,
Rule III of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice provides:
Jurisdiction and Term A person commissioned as notary public may perform notarial acts in any place within
the territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning court for a period of two (2) years commencing the first day of
January of the year in which the commissioning is made, unless earlier revoked or the notary public has
resigned under these Rules and the Rules of Court.
(7). Reportorial Requirement (Section 12, Rule III; Sections 1-6, Rule VI; and Sections 1-2, Rule VIII)
Leonen, J: For not faithfully reflecting the notarial deeds in his registration book, Atty. Joselito Troy Suello
was found GUILTY of violating Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the 2004
Rules on Notarial Practice. Accordingly, he was SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) months;
his notarial commission was immediately revoked; and was DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as
notary public for one (1) year
(8). Disciplinary Sanctions/Death of a Notary Public
Revocation of commission ((Section 1, Rule XI)
Suspension from practice as a lawyer
Death of a Notary Public (Section 4, Rule XI)
Q. Can a notary public dissolve marriage?
A. No. Espinosa v. Atty. Julieta A.Omana, A.C. No. 9081, October 12, 2011: The S.C. revoked the notarial
commission of a lawyer and she was likewise suspended from the practice of law for notarizing a document
which effectively dissolved the marriage of the complainants.
Q. Is a lawyer required to recall the identity of the affiants after a lapse of five years?
A. No. Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. Arguelles, 679 SCRA 348 (2012): The S.C. held that it is
sufficient for the Notary Public to ascertain the identities of the affiants and the witnesses at the time of the
execution of the document. The Notary Public must rely on the presumption that the proofs of identity of the
parties were issued by the public agencies in the regular course of the discharge of their responsibilities. It is
also not practical for a notary public to recall the affiants 12 years after they personally appeared before him.
Q. Can a lawyer continue to notarize documents with an expired commission?
A. No. Tenoso v. Echanez, A.C. No. 8384, 11 April 2013: By performing his duties without renewing his
notarial commission, the S.C. said that he committed acts of falsehood and must be punished.
Q. Can a lawyer notarize the statement executed by his sister-in-law?
A. No. Jandoquile v. Revilla, A.C. No.9514, 10 April 2013: The Notarial Rules of 2004 disqualifies lawyers
from notarizing documents of relatives up to the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. The defense of
Atty. Revilla that he notarized the Affidavit-Complaint of his relative by his virtue of the fact that he was the
counsel in the criminal case is not availing according to the Court. The S.C. held that since he signed it with the
details of his notarial commission leads to no other conclusion that he signed it as a Notary Public and not as

counsel. The S.C. reiterated the rule that where the affiants are personally known to the Notary Public, the jurat
must state so, otherwise, parties must show proof of competent identity.
Q. Can ones notarial commission included in the conduct of the disbarment of the lawyer although the same
was not raised in the complaint?
A. Yes. Virtusio v. Virtusio, 680 SCRA 1(2012): The IBP Investigating Commissioner discovered in the course
of the disciplinary proceeding against Virtusio that she failed to renew her notarial commission in 2006 and
2007. While it was not a subject of the complaint, the S.C. held that the infraction can be scrutinized in the
investigation. The S.C. revoked the notarial commission of the lawyer, did not allow her to renew the same and
suspended her from the practice of law for deliberate falsehood for holding out to the public that she has been
properly commissioned to notarized documents.
Q. What is the culpability of a lawyer for failure to ascertain the identity of an affiant?
A. Wilberto C. Talisic v. Atty. Primo R. Rinen, A.C. No. 8761, February 12, 2014: A lawyers notarial
commission was revoked and he was not allowed to renew the same for one year for failure to ascertain the
identities of the parties who executed an Extra Judicial Partition with Sale which allowed the transfer to
Spouses Durante of a parcel of land. Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested
with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public.
Carlito Ang v. Atty. James Joseph Gupana, A.C. No. 4545. February 5, 2014: The Supreme Court held that
Atty. Gupanas revocation of his notarial commission, disqualification from being commissioned as a notary
public for a period of two years and suspension from the practice of law for one year are in order for failure to
require the personal presence of the affiant in an Affidavit of Loss purportedly executed in 1994.
Licerio Dizon v. Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr., A.C. No. 10185, March 12, 2014 . The S.C. held that as a
notary public, Atty. Cabucana, Jr. should not notarize a document unless the person who signs it is the same
person executing it and personally appearing before him to attest to the truth of its contents. This is to enable
him to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is
the partys free and voluntary act and deed. Thus, Atty. Cabucana, Jr. was found violating Rule 1.01, Canon 1
of the Code of Professional Responsibility and suspended from the practice of law for three months. His
notarial commission was revoked and he was prohibited from being commissioned as a notary public for two
Q. What is the liability of a lawyer for notarizing a document when the affiant is already dead?
A. Atty.Florita S. Linco v. Atty. Jimmy D. Lacebral, A.C. No. 7241, October 17, 2011: A notary public who
notarized a Deed of Donation of another lawyer one day after his death to the detriment of the interests of the
surviving lawyer-spouse, was suspended by the S.C.
Important matters to consider:
Jurat (Section 6, Rule II) and Acknowledgment (Section1, Rule II), distinguished
Competent Evidence of Identity (Section 12, Rule 2)
2015, Leonen, J. Without the ascertaining the personal presence of the affiants, the Court imposed upon the
errant lawyer the perpetual disqualification for notarial commission, revocation of notarial commission and
suspension from the practice of law. The lawyer was found to have notarized a Deed of Sale of a property while
the complainants were abroad.
Q. Can a notary public delegate his duties as a notary public?
A. No. MELANIO S. SALITA, v. ATTY. REYNALDO T. SALVE. A.C. No. 8101, February 04, 2015,
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the
same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and
the truth of what are stated therein. These acts of the affiants cannot be delegated because what are stated
therein are facts they have personal knowledge of and are personally sworn to. Otherwise, their
representatives names should appear in the said documents as the ones who executed the same. As a lawyer
commissioned to be a notary public, Atty. Salve is mandated to discharge his sacred duties with faithful
observance and utmost respect for the legal solemnity of an oath in an acknowledgment or jurat.
Affirmation or Oath (Section 2, Rule II) and Signature Witnessing (Section 14, Rule II), distinguished
3. Upholding the dignity of the legal profession

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. (Rules 7.01-7.03)
Q. What is the liability of a lawyer for failure to uphold the dignity of the legal profession?
A. The lawyer may be disbarred by the Supreme Court which he tarnishes the image of the legal profession
which tends to erode public trust in the administration of justice.
Keld Stemmerik v. Atty. Leonuel N. Mas, A.C. 8010, June 16, 2009: A lawyer was disbarred by taking
advantage of the lack of knowledge of Philippine laws by a foreigner. Atty. Mas drew up a Deed of Sale of a
property in Subic which is part of public domain and therefore outside the commerce of man.
OCA v. Liangco, supra: S.C. said: We are appalled by the respondents ignorance of the basic rules of
procedure. His wanton use of court processes in this case without regard for the repercussions on the rights
and property of others clearly shows his unfitness to remain a member of the bar.
In Re: Pactolin, supra: The S.C. ruled: As a rule, this Court exercises the power to disbar with caution. x x
yet this Court has also consistently pronounced that disbarment is the appropriate penalty for conviction by
final judgment for a crime involving moral turpitude. x xx His conduct only exacerbates his offense and shows
that he falls short of the exacting standards expected of him as a vanguard of the legal profession.
4. Courtesy, fairness and candor towards professional colleagues
CANON 8 A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor towards his
professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel. (Rules 8.01-8.02)
Q. Can a lawyer share his professional fees with a non-lawyer?
A. No. As a general rule a lawyer is not allowed to his professional fees with a non-lawyer.
Villatuya v. Tabalingcos, 676 SCRA 37(2012): This disbarment case is hinged on the complainants demand
from respondent lawyer to settle money obligations out of their business transactions. The first ground he
raised involves non-payment of agreed fees for every Stay Order obtained from the court and 10% commission
from every referral; the second is that the lawyer set up two financial companies as fronts to solicit legal
services and committing two counts of bigamy for having married two other women while his first marriage was
still subsisting.
On the first issue, the Court said that there is violation where a lawyer shares his fees with a non-lawyer. In
this case, complainant failed to proffer evidence. On the issue of solicitation, the Court held that it would
appear that there was an attempt to circumvent the prohibition on advertising ones services, reprimand is the
proper penalty because there is no evidence on the prevalence to use the two financial companies to solicit. The
Court reminded lawyer to be clear as to what services they are rendering if they have multiple professions. On
the issue of gross immorality, the belated move of the lawyer to institute civil actions to annul his marriages
will not exculpate him. The Court held: x x x respondent exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality
required of him x x x. He made a mockery of marriage, x x x. His acts of committing bigamy twice constituted
gross immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of
Tumbokon v. Pefianco, 678 SCRA 60 (2012): This case also deals with the lawyers commitment to share a
portion of his legal fees with a non-lawyer in a case for partition of estate which complainant referred to
Pefianco. The lawyer was found guilty of this violation by his admission in a letter he wrote to the parties in the
partition case. On the second charge of abandoning his legal wife to cohabit with his mistress with whom he
has four children, the Court that it was a clear betrayal of the marital vow of fidelity or sexual relations
outside marriage and is considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of the
sanctity of marriage and marital vows protected by the Constitution and affirmed by our laws.
5. No assistance in the unauthorized practice of law
CANON 9 A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law. (Rules 9.019.02)
Q. What constitutes unauthorized practice of law?
A. Tapay et al v. Attys. Charlie L. Bancolo et al, A. C. No. 9604, March 20, 2013: A lawyer who allowed his
secretary to sign his pleading in the Office of the Ombudsman is guilty of violation of Canon 9.Only lawyers are
allowed to sign pleadings and the same cannot be delegated.
Atty. Edita Noe Lacsamana v. Atty. Yolando F. Bustamente (A.C. No. 7269, November
23, 2011: A lawyer who allowed a paralegal to attend court hearings on his behalf has violated Canon 9
because only lawyers are allowed to undertake representation clients before the regional trial courts.
TUMBOKON v. PEFIANCO, 678 SCRA 60 (2012): This case also deals with the lawyers commitment to
share a portion of his legal fees with a non-lawyer in a case for partition of estate which complainant referred

to Pefianco. The lawyer was found guilty of this violation by his admission in a letter he wrote to the parties in
the partition case. On the second charge of abandoning his legal wife to cohabit with his mistress with whom he
has four children, the Court that it was a clear betrayal of the marital vow of fidelity or sexual relations
outside marriage and is considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of the
sanctity of marriage and marital vows protected by the Constitution and affirmed by our laws.
C. Duty to the Courts
1. Candor, fairness and good faith towards the courts
CANON 10 A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court. (Rules 10.01-10.02)
Read also Rule 138, Section 20(c) and (d), Rules of Court, Duties of Attorneys
Q. Can a Senator be exonerated from any liability for calling the Supreme Court as a court of idiots?
A. Antero J. Pobre v. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, A.C. No. 7399, August 25, 2009. S.C. exonerated the
respondent for calling the S.C. justices as a court of idiots. She invoked parliamentary immunity.

Q. Is a lawyer liable for resorting to a fraudulent order of the court to gain custody of his minor children?
A. Yes. Natasha Hueysuwan-Florido v. Atty. James Benedict C. Florido, A.C. No. 5624, Jan.20, 2004). S.C.
suspended lawyer for resorting to a fraudulent order purportedly issued by the Court of Appeals awarding
custody of his children pending the annulment case filed by his complainant-wife.
2. Respect for courts and judicial officers
CANON 11 A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and
should insist on similar conduct by others (Rules 11.01-11.05)
Q. Are professors of law considered engaged in the practice of profession and are therefore subject to
disciplinary action of the Supreme Court? De Castro, J.
A. Yes. Re: Letter of the U.P. Law Faculty on Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation of the S.C.,
A. M. No. 10-10-4-SC, March 8, 2011. The S.C. reminded the faculty members of the U.P.College of Law to be
more circumscribed with the filing of similar complaint against the members of the judiciary. It noted that the
concerned justice already admitted the lapse and that it was not done with malice. His good faith relieved him
from any kind of administrative liability.
3. Assistance in the speedy and efficient administration of justice
CANON 12 A lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient
administration of justice. (Rules 12.01-12.08)
Read also Rule 138, Section 20(g) Rules of Court Duties of Attorneys; and
Article III, Section 16, Constitution Right to speedy disposition of cases.
4. Reliance on merits of his cause and avoidance of any impropriety which tends to influence the
appearance of influence upon the courts
CANON 13 A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause refrain from any impropriety which tends to
influence or gives the appearance of influencing court. (Rules 13.01- 13.03)
Q. Can a lawyer be held liable for drafting the decision on behalf of a judge in an effort to help declog court
A. Yes. Lantoria v. Bunyi, A.M. Case No. 1769, June 8, 1992. A lawyer should not take it upon himself to
prepare a draft decision on behalf of a judge. Such an action of the counsel undermines the competence of the
judiciary and will tend to erode confidence in the judicial system.
Q. Is it proper for a lawyer to make pronouncements in the media regarding a pending case?
A. No. Cruz v. Salva, G. R. 12871, July 25, 1959, 105 Phil. 115. The S.C. cautioned lawyers from attracting
media attention over a pending case.
Q. Are court decisions subject to criticism?
A. Yes. In Re: Almacen G.R. No. L-27654, Feb. 18, 1970. Lawyers as part of free speech may criticize
decisions of the Court but such post litigation utterances must never be resorted in order to malign the Court.
D. Duty to Clients

(i) Services regardless of a persons status

CANON 14 A lawyer shall not refuse his services to the needy. (Rules 14.01-14.04)
Read: Rule 138, Section 20, Rules of Court on Duties of Attorneys (h) and (i)
Rule 138, Section 31, Rules of Court on Attorneys for Destitute Litigant
(ii) Services as counsel de oficio primarily in CRIMINAL CASES
- Appointment as Counsel de oficio (to represent accused in criminal proceedings)
Read: Rule 116, Section 6, Rules of Court, Right to Counsel of an Accused
Rule 117, Section 7, Rules of Court, Appointment of Counsel de oficio during trial
Q. Who may be appointed as counsel de oficio?
A. A lawyer in good standing; or any person who reside where the case is filed, of good repute for probity and
ability where there is no lawyer in the jurisdiction.
Q. What factors are considered in the appointment of a counsel de oficio?
A. The following factors are considered: gravity of the offense, difficulty of the issues involved and experience
and ability of the appointee.
Q. What is the rule of the designation of Counsel de officio before an appellate court?
A. Rule 124, Section 2, Rules of Court: Conditions for appointment: accused is in prison, there is no counsel de
parte on appeal and accused signed notice of appeal himself.
Q. What are valid grounds for refusal to be engaged as counsel?
A. The following grounds may be invoked: where engagement may result into conflict of interest, when lawyer
is unable to represent a party due to pressing professional matters that need his attention, when what the client
wishes the client to undertake is patently illegal, when the client agrees in writing to retire his representation or
where after due notice and hearing, the court allows the counsel to withdraw his appearance in an action or
special proceeding, other similar grounds.
2. Candor, fairness and loyalty to clients
CANON 21 A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client
relation is terminated.
(i) Confidentiality rule: Rule will cover partners in legal profession and non-legal staff working for the
(ii) Privileged communications. Sec. 21(b), Rule 130 will apply.
(iii) Conflict of interest: Disclose matters that would give rise to representation of two adverse interests.
Conflict of Interest, concept; when lawyer may lawyer may held accountable; liability
Q. When can a lawyer be found liable for conflict of interest?
A. Pacana v. Pascual-Lpez, A.C. No. 8243, July 24, 2009. A lawyer who acted as a retained counsel of a
company was disbarred for also rendering advice to the creditors of the company. The S.C. reminded lawyers to
avoid at all times any occasion where they will represent two adverse interests.
Notes on Issue of Conflict of Interest: The nature of lawyer and client relationship is one of trust and
confidence of the highest degree.
1. A lawyer would be representing a client whose interest is directly adverse to any of his present or
former clients.
2. A lawyer may only be allowed to represent a client involving the same or a substantially related matter
that is materially adverse to the former client only if the former client consents to it after consultation.
3. Throughout the course of a lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer learns all the facts connected with the
clients case, including the weak and strong points of the case. Knowledge and information gathered in
the course of the relationship must be treated as sacred and guarded with care and to avoid the
appearance of treachery and double- dealing, for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their
secrets to their lawyers, which is paramount in the administration of justice.
3. Candid and honest advice to clients: Give a fair assessment of the case referral.
CANON 15 A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with his
clients. (Rules 15.01-15.08)
When lawyer-client relationship commences: no formal contract is needed, it is sufficient that the advice and
assistance of an attorney is sought and received in any manner pertinent to his profession.
Ferdinand A. Samson v. Atty. Edgardo O. Era, A.C. No. 6664, July 16, 2013. S.C. said that the termination of
the attorney-client relationship does not justify a lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict with

that of the former client. The spirit behind this rule is that the clients confidence once given should not be
stripped by the mere expiration of the professional employment. As a general rule, the ban on disclosure of
clients confidences is perpetual. Thus, Atty. Era was found guilty of Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 and Canon 17 of
the CPR and was suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years
4. Compliance with laws: No one is above the Rule of Law
5. Concurrent practice of another profession: pay separate PTRs; one profession is governed by the
Professional Regulation Commission and the legal profession by the Supreme Court.
5. Dealing with Clients monies and properties
CANON 16 A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his
profession. (Rules 16.01-16.04)
(i)Fiduciary relationship
(ii) Co-mingling of funds: A lawyer must not co-mingle his personal funds with those of his client.
(iii) Delivery of funds: A lawyer must promptly surrender to his client and/ or account for any money
received by way of a money judgment or proceeds from a transaction he handled in the course of his
(iv) Borrowing or lending: A lawyer must refrain from borrowing money from his client.
Please note: Article 1491(5), New Civil Code which covers the prohibition against lawyers to
participate in any public or judicial auction of a property or rights where his professional services
were engaged.
Q. Is it proper for a lawyer to ask from her client for an advance for her professional fees and thereafter not
render any kind of legal service to the client? A.
A. No. Victoria C. Heenan v. Atty. Erlinda Espejo, A.C. No. 10050, December 3, 2013. S.C. found Atty. Espejo
guilty of gross misconduct for failure pay a personal loan to her client which she initially asked as an advance
for her professional fees. The deliberate failure to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless checks constitute
gross misconduct. A lawyer may be disciplined not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession but
also for gross misconduct outside of his professional capacity. Thus, Atty. Espejo was suspended from the
practice of law for two (2) years.
CECILIA AGNO VS. ATTY. MARCIANO J. CAGATAN [558 SCRA 1, December 7, 2010] A lawyer who
paid another with a personal check from a bank account which he knew has already been closed exhibited an
extremely low regard to his commitment to the oath he took when he joined his peers, thereby seriously
tarnishing the image of the profession which he should hold in high esteem.
Q. What instances would indicate violation of a lawyers fiduciary duty?
A. Bayonla et al v. Atty. Purita A. Reyes, A. C. No. 4808, November 22, 2011. For her failure to turn over to
her clients the just compensation in an expropriation case, S.C. disbarred the respondent lawyer.
Freeman v. Atty. Zenaida P. Reyes, A. C. No. 6246, November 15, 2011. S.C. disbarred respondent-lawyer for
employing deceit to personally gain from the proceeds of the insurance claims and retirement benefits of the
deceased British spouse of the complainant.
Important matters to consider on fiduciary duty:
(1). Lawyers are bound to promptly account for money or property received in the course of his
engagement as counsel.
(2). Even if a lawyer has a lien for fees, he is bound to turnover any property or money received on
behalf of his client.
(3). The turnover of money or property to his client is subject to lawyers lien.
All costs of litigation must be borne by the client.
5. Fidelity to clients cause
CANON 17 A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and shall be mindful of the trust and confidence
reposed in him.
Q. What is the nature of a lawyer-client relationship?
A. Josefina Carranza vida de Zaldvar v. Atty. Ramon SG Cabanes, Jr., A.C. No. 7749, July 8, 2013. S.C.
suspended respondent lawyer for gross negligence in violation of Canon 17, and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of
Canon 18 of the CPR. S.C. reiterated that the relationship between an attorney and his client is one imbued
with utmost trust and confidence. Whether his services are paid or rendered pro bono, a lawyers duty of
competence and diligence includes not merely reviewing the cases entrusted to the counsels care or giving
sound legal advice, but also consists of properly representing the client before any court or tribunal, attending
scheduled hearings or conferences, preparing and filing the required pleadings, prosecuting the handled cases

with reasonable dispatch, and urging their termination without waiting for the client or the court to prod him or
her to do so. While such negligence or carelessness is incapable of exact formulation, the Court has
consistently held that the lawyers mere failure to perform the obligations due his client is per se a violation.
Notes on Issue of Conflict of Interest: The nature of lawyer and client relationship is one of trust and
confidence of the highest degree.
4. A lawyer would be representing a client whose interest is directly adverse to any of his present or
former clients.
5. A lawyer may only be allowed to represent a client involving the same or a substantially related matter
that is materially adverse to the former client only if the former client consents to it after consultation.
6. Throughout the course of a lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer learns all the facts connected with the
clients case, including the weak and strong points of the case. Knowledge and information gathered in
the course of the relationship must be treated as sacred and guarded with care and to avoid the
appearance of treachery and double-dealing, for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their
secrets to their lawyers, which is paramount in the administration of justice.

(iv) Duty to apprise client: The lawyer must inform the client of the status of the case.
CANON 18 A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. (Rules 18.01-18.04)
Q. What characterizes the duty of a lawyer to serve his client with competence and diligence?
A. Felipe C. Dagala v. Atty. Jose C. Quesada, Jr. and Atty. Amado T. Adquilen, A.C. No. 5044, December 2,
2013. S.C. reiterated the need for lawyers to be ever mindful of the cause of their clients and accordingly
exercise the required degree of diligence in handling their affairs. For his part, the lawyer is required to
maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, and to devote his full attention, skill, and competence
to the case, regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. He is expected to act
with honesty in all his dealings, especially with the courts. These principles are embodied in Rule 1.01 of Canon
1, Rule 10.01 of Canon 10, Canon 17 and Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the CPR. Atty. Quesadas failure to attend
the scheduled conference hearings, despite due notice and without any proper justification, exhibits his
inexcusable lack of care and diligence in managing his clients cause in violation of Canon 17 and Rule 18.03,
Canon 18 of the CPR.
Stephan Brunet and Virginia Romanillo Brunet v. Atty. Ronald L. Guaren, A.C. No. 10164, March 10, 2014.
For having violated Canons 17 and 18 of the CPR, Atty. Guaren was suspended from the practice of law for six
months. Despite acceptance of the amount of P7,000.00 for the titling of complainants lot, he failed to perform
his obligation and allowing 5 years to elapse without any progress on the referral. S.C. reiterated that the
practice of law is not a business and it reminded lawyers that the duty to public service and to the
administration of justice should be the primary consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their personal
interests or what they owe to themselves. Lawyering is not primarily meant to be a money-making venture, and
law advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields profits
Julian Penilla v. Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr., A.C. No. 9149, September 4, 2013: The Court held that Atty. Alcid,
Jr. violated Canon 18 and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility when he filed a
criminal case for estafa when the facts of the case would have warranted the filing of a civil case for breach of
contract; when the case was dismissed he committed another similar blunder by filing a civil case for specific
performance and damages before the RTC, when he should have filed it with the MTC; and he did not also
apprise complainant of the status of the cases. Atty. Alcid, Jr. is not only guilty of incompetence in handling the
cases. His lack of professionalism in dealing with complainant is gross and inexcusable. The legal profession
dictates that it is not a mere duty, but an obligation, of a lawyer to accord the highest degree of fidelity, zeal
and fervor in the protection of the clients interest.
Carlito P. Carandang v. Atty. Gilbert S. Obmina, A. C. No. 7813, Apr. 21, 2009.In a June 3, 2013 case, S.C.
reiterated that the Attorneys negligence to file an appellate brief and his failure to inform the client that the
case was dismissed because of his negligence is guilty of violating Canon 18. Similarly, a lawyer who falsifies
the date of receipt of the decision to make it appear that the time was filed within the prescriptive period is also
guilty of negligence and was slapped with a monetary fine.
Ermelinda Lad vda. De Dominguez, represented by her Attorney-in-Fact, Vicente A. Pichon v. Atty. Arnulfo
M. Agleron Sr.,A.C. No. 5359, March 10, 2014.The S. C. held that once a lawyer takes up the cause of his
client, he is duty bound to serve his client with competence, and to attend to his clients cause with diligence,
care and devotion regardless of whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. He owes fidelity to such cause and
must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on him. For his failure to promptly file a pleading

he already signed on the ground that his client did not send the filing fees and 30% of his professional fees, the
S.C. was suspended for three months The Court said that this act exhibited his lack of professionalism.
To summarize:
On the Duty to Serve with Competence and Diligence
(i) Adequate protection: A lawyer must ensure the appropriate legal reliefs for his client.
(ii) Negligence: A client is bound by the negligence of his counsel.
(iii) Collaborating Counsel: With the consent of the client, a collaborating counsel may participate in an
on-going case
7. Representation with zeal within legal bounds
Q. What is the recourse of a party who has lost a case?
A. Re: Verified Complaint of Tomas S. Merdegia against Hon. Vicente S.E. Veloso, etc. /Re: Resolution
dated October 8, 2013 in OCA IPI No. 12-205-CA-J against Atty. Homobono Adaza II, IPI No. 12-205-CAJ/A.C. No. 10300, December 10, 2013. S.C. held administrative complaints against justices cannot and should
not substitute for appeal and other judicial remedies against an assailed decision or ruling. While a lawyer has
a duty to represent his client with zeal, he must do so within the bounds provided by law. It found Atty. Adaza
guilty of indirect contempt for his failure to impress upon his client the features of the Philippine adversarial
system, the substance of the law on ethics and respect for the judicial system, and his own failure to heed what
his duties as a professional and as an officer of the Court demand of him in acting for his client before the
(i) Use of fair and honest means: A lawyer must only employ such legal strategy allowed by the
(ii) Clients fraud: A lawyer must not condone any illegal acts of his client.
(iii) Procedure in handling the case: The lawyers acceptance and the limits of the engagement of his
services must be made clear at the commencement of the lawyer-client relationship.
CANON 19 A lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law.
Q. When will the lawyer be held accountable for violation of the responsibility to serve his client with zeal
within the bounds of law?
Dimagiba v. Montalvo, Jr. Adm. Case No. 1424, October 15, 1991. Lawyer was disbarred for stretching for
almost 49 years a case involving a probate of a will from which more than other ten criminal and civil suits
were instituted.
A. Ong v. Unto, Adm. Case No. 2417, February 6, 2003. S.C. suspended a lawyer for six months for using
harassing tactics to harass a party from him his client wanted to obtain child support.
CANON 20 A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.
Czarina T. Malvar v. Kraft Foods Phils., Inc., et al., G.R. No. 183952, September 9, 2011: The case stemmed
from the execution of a final decision with the C.A. in a labor litigation. Petitioner Malvar, however, entered
into a compromise agreement with the respondents pending appeal without informing her counsel. Malvars
counsel filed a Motion to Intervene to Protect Attorneys Rights.
S.C., on considerations of equity and fairness, disapproved of the tendencies of clients compromising their
cases behind the backs of their attorneys for the purpose of unreasonably reducing or completely setting to
naught the stipulated contingent fees. It said that even if the compensation of the attorney is dependent only on
winning the litigation, the subsequent withdrawal of the case upon the clients initiative would not deprive the
attorney of the legitimate compensation for professional services rendered.
Attorneys fees: (i) Acceptance fees; (ii) Contingency fee arrangements; (iii) Attorneys liens; (iv) Fees
and controversies with clients; (v) Concepts of attorneys fees - (a) ordinary concept and (b)
extraordinary concept.
On Lawyers fees and other charges:
Read Rule 138, Section 24, Rules of Court on Compensation of Attorneys
Rule 138, Section 12, Rules of Court on Compensation for Attorneys de officio
Rule 138, Section 37, Rules of Court on Charging Lien
Q. What is a charging lien?
A. A charging lien is the right which the attorney has upon all judgments for payment of money, and executions
in pursuance of such judgments, obtained in favor of the client, to secure reimbursement for advances made and
payment of attorneys fees.

Q. What is a retaining fee?

A. A retaining fee can partake of an acceptance fee and covers professional fees for services rendered
including the payment of such amount of amount as may be agreed upon by the parties in the course of
handling a legal matter for the client.
Read Rule 20.01 of CPR and Rule 138, Section 24 on factors to consider in charging fees (importance of the
subject matter of controversy, extent of services rendered, professional standing)
Q. What is the concept of Quantum Meruit?
A. A lawyer will receive such amount commensurate the services he rendered during the period of lawyerclient relationship which may have been severed by either party during the pendency of the referral. It may also
collected in event of the death of counsel before the resolution of the case.
Q. What is champerty?
A. A champertous contract may result where a lawyer assumes all expenses for litigation and reimbursement is
contingent on the outcome of the case. This is strictly prohibited under Rule 16-04 of the CPR.
Champerty is different from a contingent fee contract because in the latter the lawyer gets reimbursed for the
advances made for the client in the course of representation, whether he wins the suit or not; only the
amount of professional fees is contingent upon winning.
Q. May a lawyer have a lien on a judgment to protect his professional fees?
A. Yes. Conchita Baltazar, et al. v. Atty. Juan B. Baez, Jr., A.C. No. 9091, December 11, 2013.
Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court allows an attorney to intervene in a case to protect his rights
concerning the payment of his compensation. The court, may at its discretion, allow the lawyer to have a lien
upon all judgments for the payment of money rendered in a case in which his services have been retained by the
client. In this case, however, the contract for legal services is in the nature of a champertous contract an
agreement whereby an attorney undertakes to pay the expenses of the proceedings to enforce the clients rights
in exchange for some bargain to have a part of the thing in dispute. Such contracts are prohibited under Canon
16.04 of the CPR, which states that lawyers shall not lend money to a client, except when in the interest of
justice, they have to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter they are handling for the client.
Q. What is the nature of a champertous contract?
A. In Re: The Conjugal Partnership of the Spouses Vicente Cadavedo and Benita Arcoy-Cadavedo (both
deceased), substituted by their Heirs, namely: Herminia, Pastora, Heirs of Fructiosa, Heirs of Raquel,
Evangeline, Vicente, Jr., and Armand, all surnamed Cadavedo, G.R. No. 173188. January 15, 2014.The
Court held that the contingent fee of P2000 should control the agreement of counsel and his clients although the
same was contingent upon winning the case. The Court said that granting arguendo that the spouses Cadavedo
and Atty. Lacaya indeed entered into an oral contingent fee agreement securing to the latter one-half of the
subject lot, the agreement is void. The agreement is champertous and is contrary to public policy. Any
agreement by a lawyer to conduct the litigation in his own account, to pay the expenses thereof or to save his
client therefrom and to receive as his fee a portion of the proceeds of the judgment is obnoxious to the law.
8. Preservation of clients confidences: (i) Prohibited disclosures and use; (ii) Disclosures, when allowed:
The disclosures made a client to a lawyer are covered by the privileged communications rule. The lawyer
may, however, disclose information relayed to him by a client when the latter is about to commit a crime or
when there is a dispute between the lawyer and his client and the information is vital in the defense of the
Q. When is lawyer released from his non-disclosure duty?
A. Palm v. Atty. Felipe Iledan, Jr. A.C. No. 8243, July 24, 2009. The S.C. held that a lawyer is released from
his non-disclosure duty when he files with a government agency a pleading or any document on behalf of his
client. The Court said that the right to information is protected under the Bill of Rights.
CANON 22 A lawyer shall withdraw his services only for good cause and upon notice appropriate in the
9. Withdrawal of Services: valid, justifiable reasons for withdrawal


I. Sources of Judicial Ethics: 1. The Constitution; 2. The Rules of Court; 3. Statues creating courts; 4.
The New Canons of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary (took effect on June 1, 2004 per A.M.
03-05-01-SC) which was patterned after the Bangalore Draft of Code of Judicial Conduct; and .5. Code of
Judicial Conduct
II. Membership in the Judiciary
Qualifying to the Bench
1. Members of the Supreme Court and lower appellate courts: Section 7(1), Article VIII, 1987
Constitution mandates that a Justice of the Supreme Court and all collegiate appellate courts must be a
natural born Filipino.
Qualifications of SC Justice: natural born Filipino, at least be 40 years old, must have been for 15 years or
more a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.
2. Members of the lower courts (regional trial courts and first level courts): Section 7(2), article VIII, 1987
Constitution provides that Congress shall provide for qualifications but one must be citizen of the Philippines
and member of the Philippine Bar.
3. Common qualification for all members of the judiciary, Section 7(3), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution
provides: A member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and
4. Term of Office: Section 11, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution provides that members of the judiciary shall
hold office during good behavior until they reach 70 years old or they become incapacitated to discharge the
duties of their office.
5. Manner of Selection and Appointment (Read Section 8, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution for the
composition, powers and term of office of members of the Judicial and Bar Council)
Chavez v. JBC, et al., G.R. No. 202242, July 17, 2012: Congress is entitled only to one seat in the JBC and not
one for each house.
Recent rulings related to the JBC:
Villanueva v. JBC (2015): A first level trial court must await a 5-year period before he can be promoted as
RTC judge. The Court sustained the power of the JBC to prescribe rules in the screening of qualified candidates
to the judiciary to ensure that only men of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence will be
appointed to the bench.
Jardeleza vs. Chief Justice Sereno and JBC (2015): Having been denied due process, Jardeleza should be
included in the list of nominees to be appointed as justice of the Supreme Court. An issue about his integrity
was raised in the selection process but Jardeleza was never given the opportunity to be heard to overturn the
allegation against him.
Appointments made by the President in the judiciary do not need any confirmation by the Commission on
Appointments. (Section 9. Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
Please note that:
Any vacancy in the Supreme Court must be filled within 90 days from the occurrence thereof. (Section
4(1), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
For lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments within 90 days from the submission of the
list. (Section 9, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
Requirements in the discharge of responsibilities of members of the judiciary:
1. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly, the
facts and law on which it is based. (Section 14, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
2. Dedicated service to the judiciary
3. Members of the judiciary shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or
administrative functions. (Section12, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
4. SALN Requirement
Members of the Supreme Court shall not only report all their assets, liabilities, and net worth
upon assumption to duty but they must disclose such to the PUBLIC in the manner provided by
law. (Section 17, Article XI, 1987 Constitution)
5. Allegiance to the Philippine Government. Any public officer owes allegiance to the Philippine
government and its Constitution and a public officer who seeks to change citizenship or acquire
the status of an immigrant of another country during his tenure shall be dealt with by law.(Section
18, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
III. Qualities (I.I.I. PECd): Independence, Integrity, Impartiality, Propriety, Equality and Competence
and diligence
A. Uphold the Dignity and Independence of the Court
CANON 1 A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the Judiciary. (Sections 1-7)

Two aspects of independence: institutional independence and personal independence: What is expected of
judges: to discharge their functions based solely on a fair assessment of the facts and invoking the appropriate
provision of law in resolving issues presented before the court; and shield themselves from any kind of
influence from any party involved in the case.
In Re: Verified Complaint of Engr. Oscar L. Ongjoco, 664 SCRA 465 (2012): A complaint against justices of
the Court of Appeals must be dismissed if the same is baseless and the recourse of the party is to seek judicial
relief from an adverse decision.
In Re: S.C. Resolution dated 28April 2003 in G.R. Nos. 146817 and 145822, (Atty. Pena) 669 SCRA
530(2012): A motion to inhibit the ponente in a pending case before the S.C. based on suspicion of bribery in
the form of a brand new Mercedes Benz and collusion with another senior associate justice of S.C. cannot be
given due course. Counsel must show proof that a connection and direct correlation exists between his failure
to receive a copy of its Motion for Clarification of the other party. He alleged that the incident did not allow
him to refute the allegations therein. The Court said that such imputation is completely untenable and
Talens-Dabon v. Arceo, A.M. 1. No. RTJ-96-1336, July 25, 1996: A judge was dismissed from service for gross
misconduct for sexually harassing his Clerk of Court.
Go v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 101837, February 11, 1992, 206 SCRA 165. The Court held that the
complainant was not deprived of due process when the charge against him was upgraded from grave serious
injuries to homicide. It said that when the death occurred after the filing of the first information the same can be
amended as a matter of course.
B. Avoid Impropriety: CANON 2 A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in
all activities. (Sections 1-3)
Rex M. Tupal v. Judge Remegio V. Rojo, etc., A.M. No. MTJ-14-1842. February 24, 2014.The Court held
Judge Rojo guilty of violating the New Code of Judicial Conduct and Circular No. 190, and of gross ignorance
of the law. He was suspended for six months for having notarized affidavits of cohabitation, which were
documents not connected with the exercise of his official functions and duties as solemnizing officer. He also
notarized affidavits of cohabitation without certifying that lawyers or notaries public were lacking in his courts
territorial jurisdiction. As a solemnizing officer, the judges only duty involving the affidavit of cohabitation is
to examine whether the parties have indeed lived together for at least five years without legal impediment to
marry. The Guidelines does not state that the judge can notarize the parties affidavit of cohabitation.
Notarizing affidavits of cohabitation is inconsistent with the duty to examine the parties requirements for
marriage. Circular No. 190 dated February 26, 1990. Circular No. 190 allows municipal trial court judges
to act as notaries public ex officio and notarize documents only if connected with their official functions and
Samson v. Judge Caballero, A. M. No. RT J-08- 213, 595 SCRA 423. The newly appointed judge was not
allowed to assume his post as RTC judge of Cabanatuan City for his material misrepresentation in his
application form. Caballero did not disclose that a graft and corruption charge was filed against him before the
Office of the Ombudsman when he served as a prosecutor.
Suarez v. Judge Dilag, A. M. No. RT J-06-2014, March 4, 2009, 580 SCRA 491. A judge was dismissed from
service due to gross misconduct. The judge was found to have officiated several marriage rites in a short span
of time without having resolved the numerous cases pending before his court.
Santos v. Judge Arcaya- Chua, A. M. No. MT J-07-20093, February 17, 2009. A judge was suspended by the
Court for having accepted money to intercede on behalf of her husbands relative in a pending case before the
Supreme Court where she was previously employed.
Inonog v. Judge Ibay, A. M. No. RT J-09-2175, July 28, 2009, 594 SCRA 168. A judge was fined by the Court
for oppressive conduct for citing a driver in contempt of court for having parked the car of his employer in
the parking slot assigned to the judge. The judge imposed upon the driver a monetary fine.
Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Edwin C. Larida, Jr., RTC, Branch 18, Tagaytay City, A.M. No.
RTJ-08-2151, March 11, 2014. The Court held that Judge Larida, Jr. committed several lapses, specifically the
non-submission to the Court of the required inventory of locally-funded employees, and his allowing Marticio to
draft court orders. Such lapses manifested a wrong attitude towards administrative rules and regulations issued
for the governance and administration of the lower courts, to the extent of disregarding them, as well as a laxity
in the control of his Branch and in the supervision of its functioning staff. The omission to submit the inventory
should not be blamed on Atty. Calma as the Branch Clerk of Court. Although it was very likely that Judge
Larida, Jr. had tasked Atty. Calma to do and submit the inventory in his behalf, Judge Larida, Jr. as the
Presiding Judge himself remained to be the officer directly burdened with the responsibility for doing so.
Further, for knowingly allowing detailed employees to solicit commissions from bonding companies, Judge
Larida, Jr. contravened the Code of Judicial Conduct, which imposed on him the duty to take or initiate
appropriate disciplinary measures against court personnel for unprofessional conduct of which he would have
become aware.

Antonio M. Lorenzana v. Judge Ma. Cecilia I. Austria, RTC, Br. 2, Batangas City, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2200,
April 2, 2014. The Court held the conduct of Judge Austria of and posting a picture with an indecent attire for
the publics consumption in her Frendster account is inappropriate.. The Court held that she was guilty of
impropriety. While judges are not prohibited from becoming members of and from taking part in social
networking activities, they do not shed off their status as judges. They carry with them in cyberspace the same
ethical responsibilities and duties that every judge is expected to follow in his/her everyday activities. Judge
Austria was guilty of impropriety when she posted her pictures in a manner viewable by the public. Joining
Friendster per se does not violate the New Code of Judicial Conduct. The Court said Judge Austria disregarded
the propriety and appearance of propriety required of her when she posted Friendster photos of herself wearing
an off-shouldered suggestive dress and made this available for public viewing. .
C. Maintain Impartiality
CANON 3 A judge should perform official duties honestly, and with impartiality and diligence. (Sections 1-6)
Concerned Lawyers of Bulacan v. Judge Vilalon-Pornillos, 592 SCRA 36: A judge was dismissed from service
for gross misconduct. Evidence was presented to establish the propensity to exact money from litigants and
lawyers. She also exhibited manifest bias in her demeanor in court.
Paco v. Quilala, et. Al., A. M. No. RT J-02-1699, 413 SCRA 364. A judge together with the Clerk of Court and
the court stenographer assigned to his court were also sanctioned by the S.C. The Court said that except for
clarificatory questions, the judge may not be allowed to ask questions that would elicit answers to favor one of
the parties to the case. It is not also proper for the judge to allow the Clerk of Court to conduct any proceeding
in the absence of the judge and for the stenographer to transcribe such proceedings.
Complaint against Chief Justice Corona dated Sept. 14, 2011 filed by Inter-Petal Recreational Corp., A.M.
No. 12-6-10 SC, June 13, 2012. The complaint raised the issue on the capacity of then Chief Justice to decide
on a pending case without any bias. The S.C. dismissed the complaint because the same has become moot and
academic with the impeachment and eventual removal of Chief Justice Corona from office.
Villaluz v. Mijares, A. M. No. RT J-98-1402, April 3, 1998, 288 SCRA 594. This case was filed by Justice
Villaluz, the former spouse of Pasay City RTC Judge Mijares, against her. The S.C. called the attention of
Mijares that the Rules of Court prohibit judges from hearing cases involving relatives up to the sixth civil
degree of consanguinity or affinity. In the same fashion a member of the bench may not hear cases where a
counsel is a relative up to the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.
D. Duty to Improve the Law and the Administration of Justice
CANON 4: A judge may, with due regard to official duties, engage in activities to improve the law, the legal
system and the administration of justice. (Sections 1-15)
Albos v. Alaba, A.M.No. MTJ-91517, March 11, 1994. A judge who failed to sign the order granting bail to the
accused and who left for an out of town was found to have been remised of his responsibility as a judge.
Danilo E. Lubaton v. Judge Mary Josephine P. Lazaro, Regional Trial Court, Br. 74, Antipolo, Rizal, A.M.
RTJ-12-2320, September 2, 2013. The S.C. held that the 90-day period within which a sitting trial Judge should
decide a case or resolve a pending matter is mandatory. If the Judge cannot decide or resolve within the period,
she can be allowed additional time to do so, provided she files a written request for the extension of her time to
decide the case or resolve the pending matter. The rule, albeit mandatory, is to be implemented with an
awareness of the limitations that may prevent a Judge from being efficient. Under the circumstances specific to
this case, it would be unkind and inconsiderate on the part of the Court to disregard Judge Lazaros limitations
and exact a rigid and literal compliance with the rule. With her undeniably heavy inherited docket and the large
volume of her official workload, she most probably failed to note the need for her to apply for the extension of
the 90-day period to resolve the Motion to Dismiss. .
Re: Cases Submitted for Decision before Hon. Teofilo D. Baluma, Former Judge, Branch 1, Regional Trial
Court, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2355, September 2, 2013.For his failure to sufficiently explain
why he failed to act on the twenty-three (23) cases submitted for decision/resolution, the S.C. imposed upon him
administrative sanctions. The Court held that it has consistently impressed upon judges the need to decide cases
promptly and expeditiously under the time-honored precept that justice delayed is justice denied. Every judge
should decide cases with dispatch and should be careful, punctual, and observant in the performance of his
functions for delay in the disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary,
lowers its standards and brings it into disrepute.
Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon. Santiago E. Soriano, A.M. No. MTJ-07-1683, September 11, 2013.
The S.C. held that Judge Soriano has been remiss in the performance of his judicial duties for his failure to
decide thirty-six (36) cases submitted for decision in MTC and MTCC, which were all due for decision at the
time he compulsorily retired. Such unreasonable delay in deciding cases and resolving incidents and motions,
and his failure to decide the remaining cases before his compulsory retirement constitutes gross inefficiency.
The Court that this warrants the imposition of an administrative sanction on the defaulting judge. Judge
Sorianos inefficiency in managing his caseload was compounded by gross negligence as evinced by the loss of
the records of at least four (4) cases which could no longer be located or reconstituted despite diligent efforts

by his successor. Judge Soriano was responsible for managing his court efficiently to ensure the prompt
delivery of court services, especially the speedy disposition of cases. Thus, Judge Soriano was found guilty of
gross inefficiency and gross ignorance of the law, and fined P40,000 to be taken from the amount withheld from
his retirement benefits.
Re: Failure of Former Judge Antonio A. Carbonell to Decide Cases Submitted for Decision and Resolve
Pending Motions in the RTC, Branch 27, San Fernando, La Union, A.M. No. 08-5-305-RTC, July 9,
2013.The S. C. said that Carbonells failure to decide cases within the reglamentary 90-day period without any
justifiable and credible reasons constitutes gross inefficiency. The reiterated that as a frontline official of the
Judiciary, a trial judge should always act with efficiency and probity. He is duty-bound not only to be faithful to
the law, but also to maintain professional competence. The pursuit of excellence ought always to be his guiding
principle. Such dedication is the least that he can do to sustain the trust and confidence that the public have
reposed in him and the institution he represents. The Court reduced the recommended penalty of fine from
P50,000 to P20,000 considering that Judge Carbonell has retired due to disability, his poor health condition
may have greatly contributed to his inability to efficiently perform his duties as a trial judge.
E. Duty to Avoid Conflict with Judicial Responsibilities
CANON 5: A judge should regulate extra-judicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict of judicial duties.
(Sections 1 - 5)
Re. Conviction of Judge Angeles, A. M. No. RT J-06-9-5215, 543 SCRA. The Court held that a judge cannot be
suspended in the discharge of her responsibilities until after conviction of a criminal offense she allegedly
committed has become final and executory.
Guanzon v. Judge Rufon, 537 SCRA 38. The Court reminded the family court judge to avoid using vulgar
language in the course of the trial. Use of vulgar language insults a witness and may also diminish the respect
of the litigants towards the court because court proceedings are held in public.
Sy v. Judge Fineza, A. M. RT J-03-1808, October 15, 2003, 413 SCRA 374. The Court will not condone the
acts of judges of accepting money from a litigant with a pending case before his court nor should a judge be
seen dining with a litigant facing a criminal case before his court.
F. Duty to Exhibit Competence and Diligence
CANON 6: Competence and Diligence (Sections 1-7)
Narciso G. Dulalia v. Judge Afable E. Cajigal, RTC, Br. 96, Quezon City, A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 10-3492RTJ, December 4, 2013. S.C. said that as a matter of public policy, a judge cannot be subjected to liability for
any of his official acts, no matter how erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith. To hold otherwise would be
to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of
administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. The Court reminded parties that resort to judicial
remedies must be exercised to question the decision of the trial judge. Bad faith on the part of the trial judge
should never be imputed unless the same can be supported by evidence.
Biggel v. Judge Pamintuan, A. M. No. RT J- 08-2101, 559 SCRA 344. The apparent bias exhibited by the judge
shown in the delay in the legal procedure cannot be condoned. S.C. held reminded judges of their pivotal role in
the administration of justice.
Bayaca v. Judge Ramos, A. M. No. MT J-07-1676, 577 SCRA 93. S.C. held that gross misconduct and serious
lapses in the conduct of the affairs of the court merit dismissal from the judiciary except for reasons of
compassion, the Court awarded the retirement benefits of the judge who died during the pendency of this
administrative case.
Ma. Liza M. Jorda, City Prosecutors Office, Tacloban City v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, RTC, Branch 7,
Tacloban City; Prosecutor Leo C. Tabao v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, RTC, Branch 7, Tacloban City,A.M.
No. RTJ-14-2376/A.M. No. RTJ-14-2377. March 5, 2014. The Court held Judge Bitas judge liable for gross
ignorance of the law when he deviated from the requirement of a hearing where there is an application for bail
and aggravated his offense when he also granted bail to Miralles without neither conducting a hearing nor a
motion for application for bail. Judge Bitas acts are not mere deficiency in prudence, discretion and judgment
on his part, but a patent disregard of well-known rules. When an error is so gross and patent, such error
produces an inference of bad faith. Miralles was charged with Qualified Trafficking, which under Section 10
(C) of R.A. No. 9208 is punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of not less than P2,000,000 but not more
than P5,000,000. Thus, by reason of the penalty prescribed by law, the grant of bail is a matter of discretion
which can be exercised only by Judge Bitas after the evidence is submitted in a hearing. The hearing of the
application for bail in capital offenses is absolutely indispensable before a judge can properly determine
whether the prosecutions evidence is weak or strong.
Antonio M. Lorenzana v. Judge Ma. Cecilia I. Austria, RTC, Br. 2, Batangas City, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2200,
April 2, 2014. The Court reiterated the rule that in administrative cases and disbarment proceedings, the
complainant bears the onus of proving the averments of his complaint by substantial evidence. In this case, the
allegations of grave abuse of authority, irregularity in the performance of duty, grave bias and partiality, and

lack of circumspection are devoid of merit because the complainant failed to establish Judge Austrias bad
faith, malice or ill will. The complainant merely pointed to circumstances based on mere conjectures and
suppositions. These, by themselves, however, are not sufficient to prove the accusations. Even granting that the
judge erred in the exercise of her judicial functions, these are legal errors correctible not by a disciplinary
action, but by judicial remedies that are readily available to the complainant. An administrative complaint is
not the appropriate remedy for every irregular or erroneous order or decision issued by a judge where a
judicial remedy is available, such as a motion for reconsideration or an appeal.
Gershon N. Dulang v. Judge Mary Jocelyn G. Regencia, MCTC, Asturias-Balamban, Cebu, A.M. No. MTJ14-1841, June 2, 2014. The Supreme Court held that pursuant to Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct, prompt disposition of cases is attained basically through the efficiency and dedication to duty of
judges. In this case, the civil case was already submitted for resolution. Being an ejectment case, it is governed
by the Rules of Summary Procedure which clearly sets a period of 30 days from the submission of the last
affidavit or position paper within which a decision must be issued. In violation of this rule, Judge Regencia
rendered judgment only more than two years later the judge failed to proffer any acceptable reason in delaying
the disposition of the ejectment case, thus, making her administratively liable for undue delay in rendering a
decision. .
IV. Disqualification of Justices and Judges (Rule 137)
Prohibition on practice of profession: No member of the judiciary may practice their profession during
their incumbency.
A. Prescriptive Duty to resolve pending matters
All matters pending with the Supreme Court must be resolved with 24 months;
Twelve (12) months for all collegiate appellate courts; and
Three (3) months for all other lower courts. (Section 15(1), 1987 Constitution)
B. Disqualification and Inhibition of Judges: may be voluntary or involuntary: There are two rules
governing the qualification and voluntary inhibition of judges: Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of
Court; and Rule 3. 12 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary. Section 1, Rule
137 of the Rules of Court provides: Disqualification of judges. No judge or judicial officer shall sit
in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or
otherwise , or in which he is related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity,
or to counsel within the fourth degree, computed according to the rules of the civil law, or in which he
has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or in which he has presided in any
inferior court when his ruling or decision is the subject of review, without the written consent of all
parties in interest, signed by them and entered upon the record.
A judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself from sitting in case, for just or
valid reasons other than those mentioned above. (ex. If judge served as wedding sponsor to one of the
litigants or litigant is his kasambahay.)
Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary states:
Rule 3.12. A Judge should take no part in proceeding where the judges impartially
reasonably be questioned. These cases include, among others, proceedings where:
The judge has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;
The judge served as executor, administrator, guardian, trustees or lawyer in the case or matter in
controversy, or a former associate of the judge served as counsel during their association, or the judge or
lawyer was a material witness therein;
The judges ruling in a lower court is the subject of review;
The judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree or to cocounsel within the fourth degree;
The judge knows that his spouse or child has a financial interest, as heir, legatee, creditor, fiduciary, or
otherwise, in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that
could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.
1. Voluntary Inhibition: When voluntary inhibition be done: A judge is allowed under the second
paragraph of Section 1 of Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, supra, to voluntary inhibit from a case for just
or valid reasons other than those grounds of disqualification.
Re: Complaint filed by Lucena B. Rallos against Justices Gabriel T. Ingles, Pamela Ann Maxino, and
Carmelita S. Manahan, IPI No. 12-203-CA-J/A.M. No. 12-9-08-CA, December 10, 2013. Complainant
charged Justice Hernando with manifest bias because he voluntarily inhibited himself in CA-G.R. CEB SP.
No. 06676 only after the promulgation of the March 28, 2012 and April 13, 2012 resolutions. Complainant
alleged that she should have been informed of the voluntary inhibition. The Court, however, said that under
the internal rules of the C.A., the same was not necessary. In the spirit of transparency, the Court held that
henceforth all the parties in any action or proceedings should be immediately notified of any mandatory

disqualification or voluntary inhibition of the Justice who has participated in any action of the court, stating
the reason for the mandatory disqualification or voluntary inhibition. The requirement of notice is a
measure to ensure that the disqualification or inhibition has not been resorted to in order to cause injustice
to or to prejudice any party or cause.
How voluntary inhibition is effected: A judge may motu proprio or on motion of a party voluntarily recluse
from a case if he has good or valid reasons which render him incapable of acting objectively on the case.
When a judge should not inhibit himself: Absent any ground for disqualification, a judge should not inhibit
and if a motion to that effect is filed, he should deny it if, despite the circumstances cited by the movant, he
honestly believes that he can act on the case objectively.
2. Remittal of Disqualification: Nature of remittal: Remittal of disqualification is the process by which a
judge who is disqualified to sit on a case on any of the grounds enumerated in Section 5, Canon 3, may purge
himself of such a disqualification so that he may act upon the case.
How remittal is effected: This process is allowed under Section 6 of the same Canon which provides:
A judge disqualified as stated above may, instead of withdrawing from the proceeding, disclose on the record
the basis of disqualification. If, based on such disclosure, the parties and lawyers, independently of the judges
participation, all agree in writing that the reason for inhibition is immaterial or unsubstantial; the judge may
then participate in the proceeding. The Agreement, signed by all the parties and lawyers, shall be incorporated
in the record of the proceedings.
V. Discipline of Members of the Judiciary
A. Members of the Supreme Court: Impeachment. (Section 2, Article XI, 1987 Constitution); Grounds;
and Proceedings
In re: Undated letter of Mr. Louis C. Biraogo, A.M. No. 09-2-19, S.C. The Court fined a retired justice of the
Supreme Court with P500, 000.00 and indefinite suspension for premature release of a decision involving the
citizenship requirement of a member of the House of Representatives.
In Re: Letter Complaint of Atty. Pena against Justices Carpio and Sereno, A.M. No. 12-6-11- SC. The Court
dismissed the complaint for failure of Atty. Pena to substantiate his allegations and that the same are purely
conjectures which cannot be a subject of judicial review.
B. Discipline of Appellate Justices and Lower Court Judges: Read Section 11, Article VIII, 1987
1. Jurisdiction over disciplinary cases: The Supreme Court en banc shall have the power to discipline
appellate justices and lower court judges.
2. Vote required dismissing a member of the judiciary: A majority vote of all justices who actually took part in
the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon.
3. Grounds for disciplinary action over appellate and trial judges
4. Sanctions: fines, suspension, dismissal from office, forfeiture of benefits and disbarment
Office of the Court Administrator v. Atty. Daniel R. Liangco (A.C. No.5355, December 11, 2011). A trial court
judge was dismissed from service for gross misconduct and gross ignorance of the law. He allowed a local
government unit to take possession and awarded ownership of a private property without any expropriation
proceedings having been filed by the government. As a defense, the judge said that what he rendered was not a
decision but only an opinion. After his dismissal, the Court initiated disbarment proceedings against him before
the IBP. The IBP recommended his disbarment which the Court affirmed.
VI. Administrative Aspects over Court Matters, Responsibilities and Discipline of Court Personnel
A. Powers and Duties of Courts and Judicial Officers (Rule 135)
B. Court Records and General Duties of Clerks and Stenographer (Rule 136)
C. Legal Fees (Rule 141): Manner of payment: legal tender; principles of Negotiable Instruments Law
will apply; fees in lien; and persons authorized to collect legal fees
D. Costs: Recovery of costs (Rule 142): a) Prevailing party; b) Dismissed appeal or action
c) Frivolous appeal; d) False allegations; and e) Non-appearance of witness
Survey of Recent Jurisprudence involving employees of the judiciary:
Executive Judge Ma. Ofelia S. Contreras-Soriano v. Clerk III Liza D. Salamanca, Metropolitan Trial Court,
Branch 55, Malabon City, A.M. No. P-13-3119. February 10, 2014. The Executive Judge filed an
administrative case against respondent for unauthorized/unexplained absences and other infractions: (1)
failure to account for and turn over the partial settlement amount of a civil obligation; and (2) failure to
account for and turn over the payment for legal fees she received in a case. The Court held that the acts of
Salamanca constitute dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Dishonesty is defined as a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud. It implies untrustworthiness, lack of
integrity, lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle on the part of the individual who failed to exercise

fairness and straightforwardness in his or her dealings. Conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service, on
the other hand, pertains to any conduct that is detrimental or derogatory or naturally or probably bringing
about a wrong result; it refers to acts or omissions that violate the norm of public accountability and diminish
or tend to diminish the peoples faith in the Judiciary.
De Castro, J. Angelito R. Marquez, et al. v. Judge Venancio M. Ovejera, etc., et al., A.M. No. P-11-2903,
February 5, 2014.In finding the sheriff guilty, the Court cited Section 8 of RA 6713 which requires all
public officials and employees to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of their assets and
liabilities. The requirement of SALN submission is aimed at curtailing and minimizing the opportunities
for official corruption, as well as at maintaining a standard of honesty in the public service. With such
disclosure, the public would, to a reasonable extent, be able to monitor the affluence of public officials,
and, in such manner, provides a check and balance mechanism to verify their undisclosed properties
and/or sources of income. S.C. held that based on Section 8 of RA 6713, all other assets such as
investments, cash on hand or in banks, stocks, bonds, and the like, should be declared by the public
official in his or her SALN. In this case, however, it was established that she only declared the original
amount of her time deposits in her SALN for the years 2004 and 2005, and did not disclose the interests
which had eventually accrued on the same.
Veronica F. Galindez v. Zosima Susbilla-De Vera, A.M. No. P-13-3126, February 4, 2014. The Court found
respondent guilty of grave misconduct Vera for soliciting money to supposedly facilitate a legal proceeding in
court. She was dismissed from service for violating Section 2, Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct for Court
Personnel has enjoined all court personnel from soliciting or accepting any gift, favor or benefit based on any
or explicit understanding that such gift, favor or benefit shall influence their official actions.
The Court further said that o deserve the trust and confidence of the people, Susbilla-De Vera was expected to
have her dealings with the public to be always sincere and above board. She should not lead others to believe
that despite her status as a minor court employee she had the capacity to influence the outcomes of judicial
matters. Her acts did not live up to the expectation, for the records unquestionably showed how she had
deliberately and fraudulently misrepresented her ability to assist the complainant in the adoption of her niece
and nephew.
Concerned Citizen v. Nonita v. Catena, Court Stenographer III, RTC, Br. 50, Puerto Princesa,
Palawan, A.M. OCA IPI No. 02-1321-P, July 16, 2013.Respondent stenographer was dismissed from service
for gross dishonesty in connection with her Civil Service eligibility where she was accused of causing another
person to take the Civil Service Eligibility Examination in her stead. Before the Decision was imposed,
however, respondent resigned but the Court said that despite this, it did not lose jurisdiction over the complaint
and that it did not warrant the dismissal of the same. The Court emphasized that cessation from office by virtue
of her intervening resignation did not warrant the dismissal of the administrative complaint against her, for the
act complained of had been committed when she was still in the service. Nor did such cessation from office
render the administrative case moot and academic. Otherwise, exacting responsibility for administrative
liabilities incurred would be easily avoided or evaded. The Court therefore also ordered her eligibility to be
cancelled, her retirement benefits to be forfeited, and her disqualification from re-employment in the
government service to be perpetual. Her intervening resignation necessarily means that the penalty of dismissal
could no longer be implemented against her. Instead, fine is imposed, the determination of the amount of which
is subject to the sound discretion of the Court.
Office of the Court Administrator v. Noel R. Ong, Deputy Sheriff, Br. 49, et al., A.M. No. P-09-2690. . The
Court held that respondents acts of using the levied car for personal errands and losing it while under their
safekeeping constitute grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty. The Court said misconduct is a
transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction from duty, unlawful
behavior, willful in character, improper or wrong behavior. A misconduct is grave or gross if it is out of
all measure; beyond allowance; flagrant; shameful or such conduct as is not to be excused. Such flagrant
and shameful acts and should not be countenanced. Respondents acts warrant the penalty of dismissal as
provided in Rule 10, Section 46 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. As for
respondent Buencamino, his death is not a ground for the dismissal of the Complaint against him. Respondent
Buencaminos acts take away the publics faith in the judiciary, and these acts should be sanctioned despite his
Sheriffs are reminded that they are repositories of public trust and are under obligation to perform the duties
of their office honestly, faithfully, and to the best of their abilities. Being frontline officials of the justice
system, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs must always strive to maintain public trust in the performance of their
Development Bank of the Philippines, etc. Vs. Damvin V. Famero, Sheriff IV, RTC, Br. 43, Roxas, Oriental
Mindoro, A.M. No. P. _______________: For the respondents lapses in the procedures in the implementation
of the writ of execution, he was found guilty of simple neglect of duty, defined as the failure of an employee to
give attention to the task expected of him. Under Section 52(B)(1) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases

in the Civil Service, simple neglect of duty is a less grave offense punishable by suspension from office for one
(1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months for the first offense, and dismissal for the second offense. In the
imposition of the appropriate penalty, Section 53 of the same Rules allows the disciplining authority to consider
mitigating circumstances in favor of the respondent. The court considered his length of service in the Judiciary,
acknowledgment of infractions, remorse and other family circumstances, among others, in determining the
proper penalty. He was also found to be entitled to the following mitigating circumstances: (1) his more than 24
years of service in the Judiciary; (2) a clear record other than for the present infraction which is his first
offense, (3) the resistance of the informal settlers to leave the property; (4) fear for his life; and (5) his wellgrounded recognition that he could not undertake any demolition without the appropriate court order. After
considering the attendant facts and the mitigating circumstances, the court also considered that the efficiency of
court operations may ensue if the respondents work were to be left unattended by reason of his suspension.
Thus, he was imposed the penalty of fine instead of suspension from service.
Anacleto O. Villahermosa, Sr., et al. v. Victor Sacia, Executive Assistant IV and Efren R. Rivamonte,
etc., A.M. No. CA-14-28-P, February 11, 2014. The Court held that the act of soliciting or receiving money
from litigants constitutes grave misconduct. The S.C. reiterated that The Code of Conduct for Court Personnel
requires that court personnel avoid conflicts of interest in performing official duties. It mandates that court
personnel should not receive tips or other remunerations for assisting or attending to parties engaged in
transactions or involved in actions or proceedings with the judiciary. Further, court personnel cannot take
advantage of the vulnerability of partylitigants. In this case, respondents were found guilty of grave
misconduct and thus, dismissed from service with forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification
from holding public office in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including governmentowned or
controlled corporations.
Office of the Court Administrator v. Donabel M. Savadera, et al., A.M. No. P-04-1903, September 10, 2013.
The S.C. once again called the attention of court personnel that no position demands greater moral
righteousness and uprightness from its holder than a judicial office. Those connected with the dispensation of
justice, from the highest official to the lowliest clerk, carry a heavy burden of responsibility. As frontliners in
the administration of justice, they should live up to the strictest standards of honesty and integrity. They must
bear in mind that the image of a court of justice is necessarily mirrored in the conduct, official or otherwise, of
the men and women who work there.
The respondent court employees were meted out with penalties because the audit team of the Court discovered
cash shortages in the books of accounts of the Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC, Lipa City. As clerk of court,
Atty. Apusen is primarily accountable for all funds collected for the court, whether personally received by him
or by a duly appointed cashier who is under his supervision and control. As custodian of court funds, revenues,
records, properties and premises, he is liable for any loss, shortage, destruction or impairment of said funds
and properties. Being a cash clerk, Savadera is an accountable officer entrusted with the great responsibility of
collecting money belonging to the funds of the court. Clearly, she miserably failed in such responsibility upon
the occurrence of the shortages.
Atty. Rhea R. Alcantara-Aquino v. Mylene H. Dela Cruz, etc., A.M. No. P-13-3141. January 21, 2014. The
Court held that in this case, Dela Cruz failed to live up to these exacting standards. The inculpatory acts
committed by Dela Cruz are so grave as to call for the most severe administrative penalty. Dishonesty and
grave misconduct, both being in the nature of a grave offense, carry the extreme penalty of dismissal from
service with forfeiture of retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits, and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service. This penalty is in accordance with Sections 52 and 58 of the Revised
Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.
Office of the Court Administrator v. Atty. Mona Lisa A. Buencamino, etc., et al. /Re: Report on the financial
audit conducted in the Metropolitan Trial Court etc., A.M. No. P-05-2051/A.M. No. 05-4-118-MeTC. January
21, 2014. The Supreme Court held that the admission of Mapue of her liability does not exculpate Atty.
Buencamino from her own negligence. A clerk of court has general administrative supervision over all the
personnel of the court. The administrative functions of a clerk of court are as vital to the prompt and proper
administration of justice as his judicial duties. As custodian of court funds and revenues, the clerk of court is
primarily accountable for all funds that are collected for the court, whether personally received by him or by a
duly appointed cashier who is under his supervision and control. Atty. Buencamino was remiss in the
performance of her duties as clerk of court. Atty. Buencamino failed to supervise Mapue and to properly
manage the court funds entrusted to her,
Alberto Valdez v. Desiderio W. Macusi, Jr., Sheriff IV, RTC, Branch 25, Tabuk, Kalinga, A.M. No. P-133123, June 10, 2014. Sheriff Macusi was held to be remiss in his duties and thus liable for simple neglect of
duty which is the failure to give attention to a task, or the disregard of a duty due to carelessness or
indifference. The Court held that the 30-day period imposed for the execution of the writ after the judgment has
been received by the sheriff, as well as the periodic report every 30 days, is mandatory. A return which Macusi

referred to as his Partial Report is not acceptable because the court issues a writ, it is incumbent upon the
sheriff to enforce it.
Office of the Court Administrator v. Sarah P. Ampong, etc., A.M. No. P-13-3132, June 4, 2014. The Court
dismissed from service Ampong for being liable for dishonesty in impersonating and taking the November 1991
Civil Service Eligibility Examination for Teachers on behalf of one Decir. Under section 58(a) of the Uniform
Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (URACCS), the penalty of dismissal carries with it the
following administrative disabilities: (a) cancellation of civil service eligibility; (b) forfeiture of retirement
benefits; and (c) perpetual disqualification from re-employment in any government agency or instrumentality,
including any government-owned and controlled corporation or government financial institution. Ampong
should be made to similarly suffer the same. Every employee of the Judiciary should be an example of integrity,
uprightness, and honesty. Court personnel are enjoined to adhere to the exacting standards of morality and
decency in their professional and private conduct in order to preserve the good name and integrity of the courts
of justice.
Atty. Virgilio P. Alconera v. Alfredo T. Pallanan, A.M. No. P-12-3069, January 20, 2014. The Court said that
absent a TRO, an order of quashal, or compliance with Sec. 19, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, respondent
sheriff has no alternative but to enforce the writ. The S.C. did not find the sheriff guilty of the charge of grave
misconduct. He did not enforce the writ of execution because there was still a pending Motion for
Reconsideration before the trial court. S.C. said that misconduct has been defined as a transgression of some
established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public
officer. The misconduct is grave if it involves any of the additional elements of corruption, willful intent to
violate the law, or to disregard established rules, all of which must be established by substantial evidence, and
must necessarily be manifest in a charge of grave misconduct. In this case, there was no element of misconduct
established against the accused.
The sheriffs duty in the execution of a writ is purely ministerial; he is to execute the order of the court strictly
to the letter. He has no discretion whether to execute the judgment or not. When the writ is placed in his hands,
it is his duty, in the absence of any instructions to the contrary, to proceed with reasonable celerity and
promptness to implement it in accordance with its mandate. It is only by doing so could he ensure that the order
is executed without undue delay. This holds especially true herein where the nature of the case requires
immediate execution.
Elpidio Sy, President, Systems Realty Development Corporation v. Edgar Esponilla, Legal Researcher and
Officer-in-Charge, et al., A.M. No. P-06-2261, December 11, 2013. Respondent Esponilla, Legal Researcher
and then Officer-In-Charge of Br. 54 of RTC Manila, and Atty. Buendia, clerk of court and ex-officio sheriff of
RTC Manila were charged with Gross Misconduct, Negligence and Dishonesty for the irregular withdrawal of
deposits for monthly rentals in a civil case based on a purported Ex-Parte Motion to Withdraw Rental Deposits
filed by Atty. Bayhon in the civil case. S.C. held that Atty. Bayhon violated the Lawyers Oath and Canon 10,
Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for failing to explain, in good faith the circumstances
surrounding the filing of the Ex-Parte Motion which he himself filed, for proffering misleading claims in the
course of the subject administrative investigation, and for not having shown and proved that he exerted his best
efforts to secure and submit a copy of the Ex-Parte Motion all in violation of the resolutions issued by the
Court. Atty. Bayhon was suspended for six (6) months from the practice of law.
In recent cases decided by the S.C. involving court personnel, the Court made the following rulings:
1. A court stenographer must pay just obligations as there is a compelling need to preserve decency in the
2. Court personnel are likewise covered by the prohibition that he cannot purchase a property involved
within the jurisdiction of their courts.
3. A clerk of court who delays the transmittal of records to the appellate court is guilty of misconduct and
merits suspension without pay.
4. A clerk of court who fails to issue an Official Receipt as Commissioners fee and the stenographers fee
exhibits misconduct.
5. A clerk of court who fails to remit money received in the course of his work may be suspended and the
amount unremitted will be deducted from his salary until fully paid.
6. A clerk of court who showed oppressive conduct towards her subordinates may be dismissed from
service if the subordinates and other third parties are able to substantiate their claims.
7. A court personnel who is found guilty of dishonesty, grave misconduct, unlawful behavior or who is
found to have a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, defraud or betray; untrustworthiness, lack of integrity,
lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; and lack of fairness and straightforwardness may face
not only administrative investigation by the Office of the Court Administrator but may likewise be

charged for violation of Civil Service Rules and Regulations and violation of the Revised Penal Law and
other Special Penal Laws involving public officers.
Final Note:
It is possible that some questions for Legal and Judicial Ethics might include Practical Exercises.
Please familiarize yourself with the following:
Complaint-Affidavit and Counter-Affidavit
Combined Verification, Certification against Forum Shopping, and Statement of Material Dates
Request for and Notice of Hearing
Proof of Personal Service
Proof of service by registered mail (with Explanation for failure to serve personally)
Special Power of Attorney
General Power of Attorney
Secretarys Certificate
Board Resolutions
Deed of Sale with Mortgage
Letters Rogatory
Judicial Affidavit