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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.
Rule 2.01. A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid reasons, the cause of the defenseless or the
Rule 2.02. In such cases, even if the lawyer does not accept a case, he shall not refuse to render
legal advice to the person concerned if only to the extent necessary to safeguard the latters
Rule 2.03. A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed to primarily solicit legal
Rule 2.04. A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than those customarily prescribed unless the
circumstances so warrant.


o Not to Reject the Defenseless or Oppressed (Rule 2.01)
o Not to Refuse to Give Legal Advice (Rule 2.02)
o No Solicitation (Rule 2.03)
o No Rates Other than Customarily Charged (Rule 2.04)

I. Rule 2.01. A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid reasons, the cause of the defenseless
or the oppressed.
Legal aid is not a matter of charity. It is a means for the correction of social imbalance that may
and often do lead to injustice, for which reason it is a public responsibility of the Bar. The spirit of
public service should, therefore, underlie all legal aid offices. The same should be administered
to indigent and deserving members of the community on all cases, matters and situations in
which legal aid may be necessary to forestall an injustice. (IBP Handbook, Guidelines Governing
the Establishment and Operation of the Legal Aid Office, Art. 1, Sec. 1) A lawyer may not refuse
to accept representation of an indigent unless: (a) he is in no position to carry out the work
effectively or competently or (b) he labours under a conflict of interest between him and the
prospective client or between a present client and the prospective client (Rule 14.03)
Ledesma, who was appointed Election Registrar of his municipality, was not excused
from acting as counsel in criminal proceedings that had started that same year.
Moreover, to avoid the frustration of the case, especially such as where the
defendants are indigent, a lawyermay be required to act as a counsel de oficio. The
fact that his services were rendered without remuneration should not occasion a
diminution of his zeal. Most importantly, the Constitution blessed the accused with
the right to be heard by himself and by counsel. This manifests the indispensable role
of a lawyer in the defense of the accused. (Ledesma v.Climaco, 57 SCRA 473 (1974))


The only attorneys who cannot practice law by reason of their office are Judges, or other officials or employees
of the superior courts or the office of the solicitor General (Section 32 Rule 127 of the Rules of Court
[Section 35 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court]. The lawyer involved not being among them,
remained as counsel of record since he did not file a motion to withdraw as defendant-appellants counsel after
his appointment as Register of Deeds. Nor was substitution of attorney asked either by him or by the new
counsel for the defendant-appellant (People vs. Williams CA G.R. Nos. 00375-76, February 28, 1963)
To avoid any frustration thereof, especially in the case of an indigent defendant, a lawyer may be
required to act as counsel de officio (People v. Daban) Moreover, The right of an accused in a criminal case to
be represented by counsel is a constitutional right of the highest importance, and there can be no fair hearing
with due process of law unless he is fully informed of his rights in this regard and given opportunity to enjoy
them (People vs. Holgado, L-2809, March 22, 1950)
The trial court in a criminal case has authority to provide the accused with a counsel de officio for such
action as it may deem fit to safeguard the rights of the accused (Provincial Fiscal of Rizal vs. Judge
Muoz Palma, L-15325, August 31, 1930)

Amer Hussain S. Pangcoga

Legal Ethics

Adelino H. Ledesma v. Hon. Rafael C. Climaco


Petitioner Ledesma was assigned as counsel de parte for an accused in a case

pending in the sala of the respondent judge. On October 13, 1964, Ledesma
was appointed Election Registrar for the Municipality of Cadiz, Negros
Occidental. He commenced discharging his duties, and filed a motion to
withdraw from his position as counsel de parte. The respondent Judge denied
him and also appointed him as counsel de oficio for the two defendants. On
November 6, Ledesma filed a motion to be allowed to withdraw as counsel de
oficio, because the Comelec requires full time service which could prevent him
from handling adequately the defense. Judge denied the motion. So Ledesma
instituted this certiorari proceeding.


Whether or not the order of the respondent judged in denying the motion of
the petitioner is a grave abuse of discretion?


No, Ledesma's withdrawal would be an act showing his lack of fidelity to the
duty rqeuired of the legal profession. He ought to have known that
membership in the bar is burdened with conditions. The legal profession is
dedicated to the ideal of service, and is not a mere trade. A lawyer may be
required to act as counsel de oficio to aid in the performance of the
administration of justice. The fact that such services are rendered without pay
should not diminish the lawyer's zeal.