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7591, March 20, 2012)
Question: Can a lawyer who entered into a contract of lease with a third
person be held liable for representing himself as the Administrator of his
clients hotel without having a Special Power of Attorney executed in his
Answer: Yes. The lawyer can be held liable for gross misconduct. Gross
misconduct is a transgression of some established or definite rule of action,
more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence, or the corrupt or
persistent violation of the law or disregard of well-known legal rules.
The acts of misrepresenting himself to be authorized to enter into a contract
of lease, and even receiving the benefits of the said contract constitute gross
misconduct. Therefore, the lawyer can be found liable.
Question: Ms. Corazon Nevada delivered to Atty. Casuga pieces of
jewelries worth more than P300,000.00 in the course of her dealings with
him. She asked him to sell them on her behalf. However, despite repeated
demands, Atty. Casuga failed to deliver back to Ms. Nevada the jewelries or
the proceeds of the sale.
Can Ms. Nevada file a disbarment case against her Atty. Casuga even if there
is no lawyer-client relationship between them?
Answer: Yes. Rule 16.03 of the CPR demands that a lawyer shall hold in
trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his
possession. The lawyer was duty-bound to return them upon demand. The
absence of a lawyer-client relationship between Atty. Casuga and Corazon
does not exonerate the former. Both the CPR and case law penalize not only
malpractice and dishonesty in the profession, but also gross misconduct not
connected with the professional duties of the lawyer.
Therefore, Atty. Casuga can be held accountable for breach of his fiduciary
December 3, 2013)
Question: Can a lawyer be held administratively liable for issuing worthless

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Answer: Yes. Lawyers must at all times faithfully perform their duties to
society, to the bar, to the courts and to their clients. The fact that the lawyer
obtained the loan and issued the worthless checks in her private capacity and
not as an attorney of the complainant is of no moment.
Therefore, for issuing worthless checks, the lawyer may be held
administratively accountable. (Lawyer was suspended for three years. She
died while serving her suspension.)
Question: Can a lawyer borrow money from his client without crossing
ethical boundaries?
Answer: No. As a general rule, a lawyer should not borrow money from his
client. Canon 16.04 of the CPR provides that a lawyer shall not borrow
money from his client unless the clients interests are fully protected by the
nature of the case or by independent advice.
Reason: The lawyers duty to society demands his uprightness in his
dealings with third persons.
Thus, while the Court may not ordinarily discipline a lawyer for misconduct
committed in his non-professional or private capacity, the Court may be
justified in suspending or removing him as an attorney where his misconduct
outside of the lawyers professional dealings is so gross in character as to
show him morally unfit and unworthy of the privilege which his license and
the law confer.
Question: What circumstances may warrant a more severe penalty upon a
lawyer in disbarment proceedings where the complaint includes a criminal
offense committed by the lawyer against the complainant?
Answer: The following circumstances may warrant a severe penalty in
disbarment proceeding:
1. unjustified refusal to obey the orders of the IBP directing the lawyer
to file an answer to the complaint;
2. failure to appear at the scheduled mandatory conference before the
Investigating Commissioner; and
3. blatant refusal to heed the directives of the Quezon City Prosecutors
Office for her to file her counter-affidavit in a criminal case.
The above acts violate Canon 10.03: Failure to observe rules of
Question: Can a disbarment case be filed against the lawyer while a
criminal case remains pending which arose from the same commission of a
deplorable act by the lawyer?
Answer: Yes. A disbarment case is sui generis in nature. Thus, a disbarment
case can proceed simultaneously with the criminal case instituted against the
lawyer. To sustain a conviction in a criminal case, the prosecution must
establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt while in a disbarment case, only
preponderance of evidence is required.

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(CANON 16.04)
PALAA (A.C. No. 7434, August 23, 2007)
Question: Atty. Palaa borrowed from Sps. Tejada the amount of P100K with
interest of P70K payable in three months to allow him to reconstitute the
title of his real property.
After the lapse of three months without fulfilling his promise to pay the
principal of his loan and its interest, Sps. Amador asked Atty. Palaa to settle
his obligation. The demands remain unheeded. Can Atty. Palaa be held
administratively liable for not settling his loan despite persistent demand
from the creditor-spouses?
Answer: Yes. The complainants could not have been defrauded without the
representations of respondent. A promise of a high interest convinced the
complainants to give a loan of P100K to respondent lawyer. He knew that
his representations were false since the filing fee for a petition for
reconstitution and other expenses including the publication of the filing of
the petition could not have cost more than P20,000. It is clear that he
employed deceit in convincing complainants to part with their hard earned
money; and the latter could not have been easily swayed to lend the money
were it not for his misrepresentations and failed promises as a member of the
Therefore, Atty. Palaa is liable for not paying his just obligation.
Question: Can a Senator who is also a lawyer in her privilege speech refer
to the justices of the Supreme Court as a court of idiots without incurring
any administrative liability?
Answer: Yes. Senator Santiagos privilege speech is not actionable
criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. She is
covered by her parliamentary immunity but the Court reminded the Senator
that as a member of the bar, she is sworn to give respect to the Court.
Question: Is a member of Congress bound the Canons of Professional
(N.B. Please refer to Canon 6, Code of Professional Responsibility)
Answer: Yes. Lawyers in public service are keepers of public faith and are
burdened with the higher degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than
their brethren in private practice. Thus, a member of Congress can be found
guilty of violating Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility if a disrespectful utterance is made against the
court. As a member of the Bar and officer of the court, like any other, a
member of Congress is duty-bound to uphold the dignity and authority of the
Court and to maintain the respect due to the bench.
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4955, September 12, 2011)
Question: Can a client file an administrative complaint against a lawyer
after the former discovered that the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal
for non-filing of the appellants brief within the reglamentary period?
Answer: Yes. The Court said that it must be remembered that a retained
counsel is expected to serve the client with competence and diligence.
This duty includes not merely reviewing the cases entrusted to the counsels
care and giving the client sound legal advice, but also properly representing
the client in court, attending scheduled hearings, preparing and filing
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. The lawyer should not be sitting idly by and leave
the rights of the client in a state of uncertainty. The failure to file a brief
resulting in the dismissal of an appeal constitutes inexcusable negligence.
This default translates to a violation of the injunction of Canon 18, Rules
18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Question: What is the liability of a lawyer who tried to mislead the court as
to the date of actual receipt of the decision?
Answer: By his act, the lawyer had indulged in deliberate falsehood,
contrary to the self-explanatory prescriptions of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and
Canon 10, Rule 10.01.
The lawyer should be penalized for his lack of candor to the court when he
tried to mislead the appellate court about the receipt of a copy of its decision.
(The act was done to make it appear that a timely appeal was filed.)
Question: What is the remedy of the Supreme Court when a lawyer
continues to refuse its order for him to comment on the disbarment case filed
against him?
Answer: The Supreme Court may order the National Bureau of
Investigation to arrest the defiant lawyer at his last known address or in any
other place where he may be found.
SINGSON (G.R. No. 157384, June 5, 2009)
Question: Can a lawyer be a subject of a disbarment proceeding for
attempting to bribe a judge to secure a favorable judgment?

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Answer: Yes. Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility

enjoins a lawyer to refrain from any impropriety which tends to
influence or gives the appearance of influencing the court. The
possibility of an attempted bribery is not far from reality considering
lawyers persistent phone calls to the judge.
Question: What would be an appropriate remedy upon a lawyer who
attempted to bribe a judge in order to secure a favorable ruling?
Answer: Heeding the injunction against decreeing disbarment where a lesser
sanction would suffice to accomplish the desired end, a suspension for one
year from the practice of law was found to be appropriate in a case when the
lawyer attempted to bribe a judge.
(A.C. No. 7820, September 12, 2008)
Question: Atty. Frial was the counsel of Lucy Lo (complainant) in a case
against Atty. Salomon (defendant). A writ of attachment was issued in
favor of Lo for Salomons Volvo and Nissan Sentra. In a complaint for
disbarment, Atty. Salomon alleged that the attaching sheriff of Manila
turned over the attached vehicles to Atty. Frial without any authority from
the court. Was the action of the sheriff proper?
Answer: No. The sheriffs action was not proper. The sheriff must deposit
any object which has been ordered attached to the premises of the court.
Therefore, the sheriff can be a subject of an administrative case for violation
of his duty.
Question: A lawyer assumed responsibility to take custody of two vehicles
which were covered by a court order. Unfortunately, one of the vehicles
caught fire. The lawyer never informed the court that one of the attached
vehicles was now a total wreck. Can the lawyer be held liable for this
unfortunate incident?
Answer: Yes. He is guilty of grave misconduct arising from his violation of
Canon 16 of the CPR which provides that money of the client or collected
for the client or other trust property coming into the profession of the lawyer
should be reported and accounted for promptly and should not under any
circumstances be commingled with his own or be used by him.

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Therefore, he is guilty of violating his fiduciary duty. Fiduciary duty

includes the task of ensuring any property held in favor the client is
adequately preserved.
Reason: A lawyer is first and foremost an officer of the court. As such, he is
expected to respect the courts order and processes. He miserably fell short
of his duties as such officer. He trifled with the writ of attachment the court
issued. He was remiss in his obligation of taking good care of the attached
cars. He also allowed the use of the Nissan Sentra car by persons who had
no business using it. He did not inform the court or at least the sheriff of the
destruction of the Volvo car. What is worse is that he took custody of the
attached vehicles without so much as informing the court, let alone securing,
its authority.
7591, March 20, 2012)
Question: Can a lawyer notarize a document which bears his own signature
as a stockholder of the company which entered into a contract of lease with a
tenant with the same company?
Answer: No. The notarial law disqualifies a notary public from performing
a notarial act if he or she is a party to the instrument or document. When he
notarized the same contract without qualification that he signed it as a
stockholder of the company, he went against the function of a Notary Public
to guard against any illegal or immoral arrangement.
Therefore, the lawyer violated his commission as a Notary Public.
ATTY. JOSE R. DIMAANO, JR. (A.C. No. 7781, September 12, 2008)
Question: Atty. Dimaano notarized an Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate
with Waiver of Rights where the complainants signatures were forged;
they did not appear nor acknowledged the same before Atty. Dimaano as
notarizing officer; and the community tax certificates in the document were
not theirs. Can Atty. Dimaano be subjected to disciplinary action for his
lapses as a Notary Public?
Answer: Yes. Atty. Dimaano violated the 2004 Notarial Law. A Notary
Public should refrain from affixing his signature and notarial seal on a
document unless the persons who signed it are the same individuals who
executed and personally appeared before the notary public to attest to
the truth of what are stated therein. Without the appearance of the person
who actually executed the document in question, a notary public would be
unable to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party
and to ascertain that the document is the partys free act or deed. The
document requires that proper formalities be strictly observed.

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Question: What are the formalities required before a Notary Public can affix
his signature to a notarial deed which requires acknowledgment?
Answer: The 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice now requires a party to the
instrument to present
(a) at least one current identification document issued by an official agency
bearing the photograph and signature of the individual; and
(b) the oath or affirmation of one credible witness not privy to the
instrument, document or transaction who is personally known to the notary
public; and who personally knows the individual, or of two credible
witnesses neither of whom is privy to the instrument, document or
transaction who each personally knows the individual and shows to the
notary public competent proof of identity.
The Notary Public must ascertain the identities of the affiant(s) and the
witnesses to the document. He must also ensure that all parties must sign on
the left side margin of each and every page of the document.
The details of the notarized document must be recorded in the notarial
register (Notarial Book) of the commissioned lawyer.
MTJ-08-1703, June 17, 2008)
Question: Complainants are the accused in a criminal case wherein they
were charged with qualified theft of bus starters and different tools
amounting to P187,000. Judge Nicasio Bartolome, the MTC judge
presiding over the case, issued a warrant of arrest against them and detained
them in the provincial jail. Was the judge correct in assuming jurisdiction of
the case?
Answer: No. The respondent judge should have not assumed jurisdiction
because at the time the case was instituted the amount involved is
P187,000 which is beyond the jurisdiction of a first level court. The
respondent judge exhibited his unfamiliarity with the Rules on Criminal
Procedure. He is guilty of violating Sections 3 and 5, Rule 112 of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
He also betrayed his lack of
competence which is a constitutional qualification for a member of the
judiciary. He likewise violated Canon 6 of the Code of Judicial Conduct on
Competence and Diligence.
Question: Respondent judge took more than three (3) months to issue the
Joint Resolution ordering the return of the cases to the provincial prosecutor
for further preliminary investigation. The rule mandates that he should
resolve this issue within a period of ten (10) days. Was the action of the
judge proper?

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Answer: No. The Rules on Criminal Procedure requires a judge to submit

his resolution of the case within ten (10) days after the preliminary
investigation and transmit the resolution of the case to the provincial or city
prosecutor. There is no question that the judge took inordinate delay of three
(3) months in submitting his resolution of the preliminary investigation. He
violated Canon 6 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which requires the
qualities of competence and diligence.
Question: Under the foregoing facts, what liability did the respondent judge
Answer: The judge betrayed his gross ignorance of the law. When a judge
shows utter unfamiliarity with fundamental rules and procedures, he
contributes to the erosion of public confidence in the judicial system.
Ignorance of the law is a mainspring of injustice.
When judges show professional incompetence, and are ignorant of basic and
fundamental rules, they are guilty of gross ignorance of the law and
procedures. This is a serious charge under Sec. 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of
Sec. 11(A) of Rule 140 punishes the offense. He also violated Canon 6 of
the Code of Judicial Conduct on competence and diligence.
JUDGE, MTCC, BR. 1, MALOLOS CITY, BULACAN (A.M. No. MTJ11-1782 [Formerly OCA IPI No. 05-1807-MTJ], March 23, 2011)
Question: An ejectment case was filed before the MTC. On its face, the
allegations do not constitute any ground for the court to take jurisdiction.
What action must the judge take under the premises?
Answer: The judge must dismiss the case. In ejectment cases, the first
duty of a judge is to examine the allegations in the complaint and the
evidence appended to it, and to dismiss the case outright on any of the
grounds apparent in the allegations and order the dismissal of a civil action.
If there is a ground for dismissal existing and apparent upon the filing of the
complaint, and yet the judge allowed the case to unnecessarily drag on, the
judge is guilty of undue delay in rendering a decision. (Canon 6 on
Competence and Diligence, Code of Judicial Conduct)
Question: What would constitute undue delay in rendering a decision or
Answer: Undue delay in rendering a judgment exists where a ground for
dismissing the civil case was patent on the face of the allegations and yet the
judge did not dismiss the case outright. Also, when the representatives
lack of personality was reflected in the corporate secretary's certificate
appended to the complaint and yet, respondent judge allowed the case to
unnecessarily drag on for more than five years.
QUESTION: What would be a reasonable penalty for the administrative
offense of undue delay in rendering judgment?
ANSWER: A judge who allowed several and doubtless unnecessary
postponements which contributed to the delay in the resolution of what was
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otherwise a simple case may be subjected to a monetary fine. The Court held
that undue delay in rendering a decision or order constitutes a less serious
offense for which respondent judge is subjected to a fine. (Violation of
Canon 6, Competence and Diligence, Code of Judicial Conduct)
ELBINIAS, CA - Mindanao Station (A.M. OCA IPI No. 08-127-CA-J,
*Question: How may an administrative complaint be initiated against a
Answer: Sec. 1 Rule 140 of the Rules of Court provides for the ways on
how to institute administrative proceedings against judges. Under this rule,
the three ways to initiate the complaint are:
First, motu proprio by the Supreme Court;
Second, upon verified complaint with affidavits of persons having personal
knowledge of the facts alleged therein or by documents which may
substantiate said allegations; or
Third, upon an anonymous complaint supported by public records of
indubitable integrity.
*Question: Certain employees of the Court of Appeals filed a lettercomplaint against a justice of the court for: Gross Inefficiency; Bribe
Solicitation; Drinking Liquor in Office Premises; Personal Use of
Government Property and Resources; Falsification of a Favored Employees
Daily Time Record; Disrespect Towards fellow Justices; Oppression through
Intemperate, Oppressive and Threatening Language; and Grave Abuse of
The letter-complaint was signed by all the complaining employees but
was not verified. Will the case prosper?
Answer: No. An unverified letter-complaint cannot be a basis of an
administrative complaint against a judge. Under Section 1, Rule 140 of the
Rules of Court, an administrative case against a judge must be verified.
A complainant must attest to his personal knowledge of the allegations
embodied in his verified letter-complaint.
*Question: Can the Court take cognizance of an anonymous lettercomplaint against a judge?
Answer: Yes. In Sinsuat v. Hidalgo, the Court took cognizance of the
unverified motion and subsequent letters of complainants submitted to the
Office of the Court Administrator since the unverified complaint was
properly considered as an anonymous complaint and the material
allegations were not only admitted by respondent judge but are also
verifiable from public records of indubitable integrity, i.e., records of the
trial court, as aptly found by the CA.

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BELEN, RTC, BR. 36, CALAMBA CITY, LAGUNA (A.M. No. RTJ-092179, September 24, 2012)
Question: Prosecutor Baculi filed information for qualified theft against
Capacete but Judge Belen dismissed the case. In the Motion for
Reconsideration, Prosecutor Baculi stated: The dismissal of the information
by the court was motivated by hatred, ill-will, and prejudice against Asst.
State Prosecutor II Jorge Baculi, the Investigating Prosecutor at the
Preliminary Investigation.
Judge Belen found Baculi guilty of direct contempt and indirect contempt
for the contemptuous nature of the pleadings he filed.
Baculi filed an administrative case against Judge Belen because the judge
did not allow him to air his side for his alleged contemptuous conduct. Will
the case prosper?
Answer: NO, Judge Belen is not administratively liable. The complainant
has not presented any credible evidence to support his allegations. The fact
that Judge Belen had initiated contempt proceedings against him, and in fact
convicted him in such contempt proceedings, does not by itself amount to ill
motives on the part of Judge Belen.
*N.B. The primary responsibility of a prosecutor is not to convict but to
serve the ends of justice.
Regional Trial Court, Branch 24, Cebu City (A.M. No. RTJ-12-2326,
January 30, 2013)
Question: Despite the approval of a compromise agreement in the
annulment of marriage between spouses Beckett, the presiding judge in a
subsequent habeas corpus proceeding, ordered provisional custody of the
minor child to the mother when the agreement awarded custody to the father.
Was the judge guilty of gross ignorance of the law?
Answer: No. Gross ignorance of the law on the part of a judge presupposes
an appalling lack of familiarity with simple rules of law or procedures and
well-established jurisprudence which tends to erode the public trust in the
competence and fairness of the court which he personifies.
Not to know the law as basic, almost elementary, as the Rules of Court, or
acting in disregard of established rule of law as if he were not aware of the
same constitutes gross ignorance whence no one is excused, especially an
RTC judge.
However, the respondent judge, in granting provisional custody over
Geoffrey, Jr. in favor of his mother, Eltesa, did not disregard the res judicata
rule nor was he impartial.
LEODEGARIO C. QUILATAN (A.M. No. MTJ-09-1745, September 27,
Question: Prior to his retirement, the OCA found Judge Quilatan liable for
gross inefficiency for failure to decide the 34 cases submitted for decision
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within the required period. The OCA recommended that the erring judge be
fined fifty thousand pesos (PhP 50,000). Is Judge Quilatan is guilty of gross
Answer: Yes. The Court has repeatedly emphasized the need for judges to
resolve their cases with dispatch. Delay does not only constitute a serious
violation of the parties constitutional right to speedy disposition of
cases, it also erodes the faith and confidence of the people in the
judiciary, lowers its standards, and brings it into disrepute. Without
doubt, Judge Quilatan violated his mandate when he failed to decide 34
cases within three (3) months from their submission, for which he should be
administratively sanctioned. (Violation of Canon 6, Competence and
JIMMY T. GO v. ALBERTO T. LOOYUKO (G.R. No. 147923, October
26, 2007)
Question: During the pendency of the criminal case, the prosecution on
behalf of Go, wanted to present certain witnesses to strengthen the case of
the prosecution. However, the trial court felt no need for the testimonies of
the aforementioned witnesses. This prompted Go to file an administrative
complaint against Judge Nemesio Felix for partiality.
The CA dismissed the complaint of Go. Go failed to establish the partiality
of the presiding judge when it limited the number witnesses. It rationalized
that Judge Felix had the discretion to inhibit himself from the case unless the
ground for his inhibition is that which calls for mandatory inhibition of the
same and in this case no such ground exists. Go insists that there is a valid
ground to inhibit the judge. Is his contention tenable?
Answer: None. There is no valid ground to inhibit the judge as there was no
manifest partiality. Indeed, the adverse rulings on the denial of the proposed
testimonies of the prosecutions witnesses are judicial in nature. Absent
proof that the trial court judge had acted in a wanton, whimsical or
oppressive manner or for an illegal consideration, and similar reasons,
in giving undue advantage to respondent, inhibition is not a remedy to oust
the judge from sitting on the case.
Second, the other two (2) grounds raised by petitioner are also baseless. It is
an age old rule in civil cases that one who alleges a fact has the burden of
proving it and a mere allegation is not evidence.
Regional Trial Court, Branch 25, Tabuk City, Kalinga (A.M. OCA IPI No.
09-3243-RTJ, April 1, 2013)
Question: Complainant charged Judge Wacas of Impropriety and Partiality
for not inhibiting himself in the case alleging that he is Dagadags second
cousin by affinity, the formers aunt is married to an uncle of Dagadag.
Tiggangay made the allegation on the basis of "some reliable sources," not
from his personal knowledge. Judge Wacas maintained that Tiggangay
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never moved for his inhibition during the entire proceedings. Should the
judge inhibit himself under the foregoing facts cited by complainant?
Answer: No. In administrative proceedings, the burden of proof that
respondent committed the acts complained of rests on the complainant. In
the instant case, Tiggangay failed to present substantial evidence to prove his
allegations. One who alleges a fact has the burden of proof and mere
allegation is not evidence.
N.B. As a general rule, the objection for the judge to inhibit himself must
be raised during the trial and not after the judge had rendered an adverse
ruling against the complainant.
Reason: Granting arguendo that the aunt of Judge Wacas is married to the
uncle of respondent Dagadag, such reality is not a ground for the mandatory
inhibition of a Judge as required under Sec. 1of Rule 137, Revised Rules of
Procedure, since there is actually no relation of affinity between Judge
Wacas and Dagadag. Indeed, "there is no affinity between the blood relatives
of one spouse and the blood relatives of the other. A husband is related by
affinity to his wifes brother, but not to the wife of his wifes brother. There
is no affinity between the husbands brother and the wifes sister.
(A.M. No. P-12-3069, January 20, 2014)
Question: Complainant asked respondent sheriff not to execute an adverse
decision since he has not yet received a copy of the denial of the motion
from the adverse judgment
Despite his plea, respondent sheriff still pushed through with the execution
of the judgment and in enforcing, allegedly uttered words degrading to the
reputation of the complainant. The lawyer filed a Complaint-Affidavit
against the respondent sheriff for grave misconduct. Is the respondent
sheriff guilty of grave misconduct?
Answer: Yes, the respondent should be penalized for discourtesy in the
performance of his official duties. As a public officer and a trustee for the
public, it is the ever existing responsibility of respondent to demonstrate
courtesy and civility in his official actuations with the public.
Public service requires integrity and discipline. At all times, employees of
the judiciary are expected to accord respect to the person and the rights of
another, even a co-employee. Their every act and word should be
characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy and dignity.
CRUZ, Process Server, MTCC, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan (A.M. No.
P-07-2321, April 24, 2009)
Question: After complainant judge left her office a few minutes before 5:00
p.m., security guard reported to her that process server Dela Cruz allegedly
arrived in the office, apparently drunk, and hurled invectives while pointing
his fingers at other employees present. Afterwards, respondent process
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server attempted to punch one of them. Can the judge institute an

administrative complaint against Dela Cruz?
Answer: Yes. However, respondents act can only be regarded as simple
misconduct since it has no direct relation to the performance of his official
duties. Respondent committed misconduct when he verbally abused his coemployees and appeared at his place of work drunk. Drinking during office
hours may constitute misconduct and is prohibited under the Civil Service
Rules. Drinking undermines efficiency and is counter-productive. It
generates an unwholesome consequence on a public servant. And when the
culprit is an employee of the court, the image of the judiciary as a whole
cannot but be affected.
In Re: Expiration of Fixed Term of Office of Atty. Saaduddin A. Alauya,
Office of the Jurisconsult, Zamboanga City (A.M. No. 11238-Ret,
August 18, 2015)
Question: In a Resolution, the Court denied Atty. Alauyas request for a
lifetime monthly pension enjoyed by RTC judges. Alauya moved for
reconsideration and argued that the Court en banc conferred upon him the
rank and privileges of a Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge effective October
1996. Armed with this resolution, he claimed that he should enjoy the same
retirement benefits extended to judges. Is the legal argument of Alauya
Answer: Yes. Time and again, the Court has followed the practice of liberal
treatment in passing upon retirement issues and claims, particularly of
judges and justices, obviously in keeping with the beneficial intendment of
retirement laws which is to reward satisfactory past services. At the same
time, these measures provide the retiree with the means to support himself
and his family in his remaining years. On several occasions, the Court has
liberally interpreted retirement laws in keeping with its purpose.
Reason: In Government Service Insurance System v. De Leon: The Court
held that retirement laws, in particular, are liberally construed in favor of
the retiree because their objective is to provide for the retirees sustenance
and, hopefully, even comfort, when he no longer has the capability to earn a
livelihood. The liberal approach aims to achieve the humanitarian purposes
of the law in order that efficiency, security, and well-being of government
employees may be enhanced.
Reason: Indeed, retirement laws are liberally construed and administered in
favor of the persons intended to be benefited, and all doubts are resolved in
favor of the retiree to achieve their humanitarian purpose. Upon the
foregoing perspective, the term privileges of an RTC judge and the
conferment thereof must be considered as covering the retirement benefits
under RA 910, meaning a lump-sum payment of five years salary and a
monthly pension until death after the 5-year period.
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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 therein;
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
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?

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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 law.
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.
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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,
REYES." [G.R. NO. X92-1. JULY 30, 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.
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
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?
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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, 1997
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, 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 naturalborn 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, 1993)
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?
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A. Yes, because San Juan does not possess good moral character which is a
requirement for admission to the bar.
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 bar.
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
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
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?
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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
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).
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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
7. Lead Counsel: a member of the bar who charged with the principal
management and direction of a party-litigant.
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 attorneyat-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 parties.
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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,
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).
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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
A. Government lawyers tasked to prosecute and represent the interest of the
state are the Public Prosecutors from the DOJ and Office of the
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
22 | P a g e

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?
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
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.
IBP Board of

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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
Board of Governors

Chairman, CBD


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

No motion for Reconsideration before the Commissioner.

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 Philippines.
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
The Chairman of the CBD submits the report of the Investigating
Commissioner to the Board of Governors.
In a meeting called for the purpose, the Board of Governors evaluates
the report and renders its own resolution.
Motion for Reconsideration before the Board of Governors is
The decision of the Board of Governors (reviewed by SC) must be in
writing supported by facts and evidence presented during the hearing
24 | P a g e

and the applicable provision of the Code of Professional

Q. Who may initiate disbarment proceedings?
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. Can a disbarment case be dismissed upon motion of the complainant?

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.
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 non-payment of

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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
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
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 character.
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
26 | P a g e

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?
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.
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.
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.
Q. What are the grounds for suspension (Disbarment)?
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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.
L.CARACOL, A.C. No. 7325, January 21, 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
28 | P a g e

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.
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

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; and
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
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Trial Courts and first level courts where respondent lawyer has pending
(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?
A. Yes. ALVIN S. FELICIANO v. ATTY. CARMELITA BAUTISTALOZADA, A.C. No. 7593, March 11, 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?
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

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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 non-reformation.
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
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?
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.
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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.
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 profession.
Q. What are the standards of morality required of a lawyer?
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. 082273. 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.
KAREN E. BAYDO, A.C. No. 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
32 | P a g e

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 lawyer.
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. 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
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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 law.
3. True, honest, fair, dignified and objective information on legal
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)

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
34 | P a g e

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 are 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.
35 | P a g e

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. 095-2-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.


Republic Act No. 9999: FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE ACT OF 2010
Legal services- any activity which requires the application of law, legal procedure,
knowledge, training and experiences which shall include, among others, legal advice and
counsel, and the preparation of instruments and contracts, including appearance before
the administrative and quasi-judicial offices, bodies and tribunals handling cases in court,
and other similar services as may be defined by the Supreme Court.
Section 4. Requirements for Availment. - For purposes of availing of the benefits and
services as envisioned in this Act, a lawyer or professional partnership shall secure a
certification from the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), the Department of Justice (DOJ) or
accredited association of the Supreme Court indicating that the said legal services to be
provided are within the services defined by the Supreme Court, and that the agencies
cannot provide the legal services to be provided by the private counsel.
For purpose of determining the number of hours actually provided by the lawyer and/or
professional firm in the provision of legal services, the association and/or organization
duly accredited by the Supreme Court shall issue the necessary certification that said
legal services were actually undertaken.
Section 5. Incentives to Lawyers. - For purposes of this Act, a lawyer or professional
partnerships rendering actual free legal services, as defined by the Supreme Court, shall
be entitled to an allowable deduction from the gross income, the amount that could have
been collected for the actual free legal services rendered or up to ten percent (10%) of
the gross income derived from the actual performance of the legal profession, whichever
is lower: Provided, That the actual free legal services herein contemplated shall be
exclusive of the minimum sixty (60)-hour mandatory legal aid services rendered to
indigent litigants as required under the Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Services for
Practicing Lawyers, under Bar Matter No. 2012, issued by the Supreme Court


effective August 1, 2004, as amended)
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.
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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.)
ATTY. ROBERTO E. EXAMEN, 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
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
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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
(7). Reportorial Requirement (Section 12, Rule III; Sections 1-6, Rule
VI; and Sections 1-2, Rule VIII)
A.C. No. 10695, March 18, 2015, 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)
(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
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.

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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 VIOLATION of ones notarial commission be 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
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
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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 years.

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),
Competent Evidence of Identity (Section 12, Rule 2)
CEFRA, A.C. No. 5482. February 10, 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?
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
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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
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
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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 court.
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 9.01-9.02)
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 nonlawyer 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
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?
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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 complainantwife.
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 12.0112.08)
Read also Rule 138, Section 20(g) Rules of Court Duties of Attorneys;
Article III, Section 16, Constitution Right to speedy disposition of
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 dockets?
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?
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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
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
(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
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

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.
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(i) Confidentiality rule: Rule will cover partners in legal profession and
non-legal staff working for the lawyer.
(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
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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 engagement.
(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
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.
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.
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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
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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
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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. 12205-CA-J against Atty. Homobono Adaza II, IPI No. 12-205-CA-J/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 courts.
(i) Use of fair and honest means: A lawyer must only employ such legal
strategy allowed by the circumstances.
(ii) Clients fraud: A lawyer must not condone any illegal acts of his
(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
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of a will from which more than other ten criminal and civil suits were
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
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
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)
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Q. What is the concept of Quantum Meruit?

A. A lawyer will receive such amount commensurate the services he
rendered during the period of lawyer-client 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
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
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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 circumstances.
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.
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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
Requirements in the discharge of responsibilities of members of the
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)
Canon 1: Independence
Canon 2: Integrity
Canon 3: Impartiality
Canon 4: Propriety
Canon 5: Equality
Canon 6: Competence and diligence
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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 irresponsible.
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
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public ex officio and notarize documents only if connected with their

official functions and duties.
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
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 indecent attire for the
publics consumption in her Frendster account is inappropriate. The Court
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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)
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
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. The rule, albeit
mandatory, is to be implemented with an awareness of the limitations that
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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.
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.
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.
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
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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. 10-3492-RTJ, 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 When an error is
so gross and patent, such error produces an inference of bad faith.
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
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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
Gershon N. Dulang v. Judge Mary Jocelyn G. Regencia, MCTC, AsturiasBalamban, Cebu, A.M. No. MTJ-14-1841, 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
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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
Rule 3.12. A Judge should take no part in proceeding where the
judges impartially
might 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 co-counsel 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. 12203-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.
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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 Constitution
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
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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
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 dispositions 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
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.
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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 to 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 reemployment 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
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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 death.
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 duties.
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 . 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 government
owned or controlled corporations.

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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. P13-3141. 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 re-employment 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,
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Alberto Valdez v. Desiderio W. Macusi, Jr., Sheriff IV, RTC, Branch 25,
Tabuk, Kalinga, A.M. No. P-13-3123, 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-133132, 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 reemployment 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

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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-062261, 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.

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