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Handout No.

15

SUGGESTED .ANSWERS TO THE 2016


BAR EXAMINATIONS
IN
. LEGAL ETHICS

I
State the duties of a lawyer imposed by the Lawyer's Oath. ( 5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The following are the duties of a lawyer imposed by the lawyer's


oath:
1. To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines,
2. To support its Constitution,
3. To obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly
constituted authorities,
4. To do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of the same in any
court,
5. Not to wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false
or unlawful suit, nor to give nor to consent to the doing of the
same;
6. To delay no man for money or malice,
7. To conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his
knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity to the courts as
to his clients,
8. To impose upon himself that voluntary obligation without any
mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

II

State at least five (5) instances where judges should disqualify themselves
from'' participating
. in any proceedings. where their impartiality might reasonably
' . . . - . . . ' '

. be questioneci. (5%)
"

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Any five (5) of the following instances provided in Section 5, Canon 3


of the New Code of Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary:

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(a) The judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a
party or personal . knowledge of disputed evidentiary
facts concerning the proceedings;.
(b) The judge previously served as a lawyer or was a
material witness in the matter in controversy;
(c) The judge or a member of his or her family has an
economic interest in the outcome of the matter in
controversy;
(d) The judge served as executor, administrator, guardian,
trustee 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;
(e) The judge's ruling in a lower court is the subject of
review;
(f) The judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a
party litigant within the sixth civil degree or to counsel
within the fourth civil degree; or
(g) The judge knows that his or her 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
proceedings".

Section 1, Rule 137, of the Revised Rules of Court, provides for


similar grounds.

III
' '

Differentiate "retaining lien" from "charging lien." (5%)


SUGGESTED ANSWER:
A retaining lien gives the lawyer the right to reta.in the funds,
documents and papers of the client which have. lawfully come into his
possession, until his lawful fees and disbursements have been paid. A
charging lien is a lien upon all judgments for payment of a sum of money
and executions thereof, to ensure payment of his fees and disbursements in
the said case.

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A retaining lien is a passive lien; the lawyer is not required to
perform any act except to hold on to the client's .funds, documents 'and
papers, until his fees and. disbursements are paid. A charging lien is an
active lien; the lawyer is required to file a motion in court, with copy served
on the adverse party, to have a statement of his claim to such fees and
disbursements charged or attached to the decision in such case and
executions thereof.
A retaining lien is a, general lien; it may be resorted to in order to
secure payment of the lawyer's fees in all the cases he has handled and
services he has rendered to the client. A charging lien is a special lien; it
can be utilized for the purpose of collecting only the unpaid fees and
disbursements of the lawyer in the case where the judgment for a sum of
money may be secured;

IV
[a]. A sign was posted at the building where the law office of Atty. Redentor
' Walahg-Talo is located. The sign reads:
Atty. Redentor A. Walang, Talo
Chairman, IBP Legal Aid Committee
Makati City IBP Chapter
Free conciliation, mediation and court representation
Suite 210, Galaxy Building, J.P. Rizal Street, Makati City

Does the posting constitute solicitation? (2.5%)


SUGGESTED ANSWER:

[a] There is nothing wrong with this advertiement, The statement that
he is the chairman of the IBP Legal Aid Committee is factual and
true. Canon 27 of the Canons of Professional Ethics states that
"memberships and offices in bar associations and committees
thereof'' may be included in a lawyer's advertisement. The statement
that he gives free consultation, mediation and court representation
services ' is for the purpose' of promoting the IBP Legal Aid
Committee'.

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' '

[bl . Suppose the sign rads:


Atty.
.
' ' '
Redentor
. . .
A. Walang-Talo
-

Attorney and Counsel-at-Law


General practitioner
(Accepts pro bona cases pursuant to the IBP Legal Aid Program).

Does the posting constitute solicitation? (2.5%)

, ... SUGGESTED ANSWER:

[b] On the other hand, this advertisement is for the benefit of the lawyer
alone, and constitutes solicitation.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:

[b[ This does not constitute solicitation. The lawyer does not claim to be
a specialist, but only a "general practitioner". The statement that he
accepts pro bono cases is not for the purpose of promoting his
"business", as "pro bono" means "for free".

Constantino was accused of estafa by Hazel, the wife of Judge Andres,


for misappropriating the ring she entrusted to him. Since Judge Andres was
present when Hazel handed the ring to Constantino, he was compelled by his
wife to testify as a witness for the prosecution in the criminal case. Did the
judge commit any violation of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the
1
'' ' Philippihe Judiciary? Explain. (5%)
; , . .

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Section 4, Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the


Philippine Judiciary provides (hat "Judges shall not participate in the
determination of a case in which any member of their family
represents a litigant or is associated in any manner with the case." Judge
Constantino's appearance as a witness in the criminal case in which his
wife was the offended party is violative of this rule. It may also be violative
of Section 3, Canon 1, which provides that "judges shall refrain from

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influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending
before another court or administrative agency".

VI

Andrew engaged the services of Atty. Juju under a contingent fee


agreement to help him file a complaint for damages against his employer,
Wilkon Shipping, Inc. Atty. Juju handled Andrew's case for two (2) years
before the Labor Arbiter and the National Labor Relations Commission
(NLRC), filing the necessary pleadings and attending several hearings. The
complaint, however, was dismissed. To improve his chances, Andrew replaced
Atty. Juju with Atty. Jen, who eventually succeeded in getting a favorable
decision from the Court of Appeals, which became final When Andrew's
claims were satisfied by Wilkon, Atty. Juju filed a collection suit against him
claiming that he (Atty. Juju) is entitled to attorney's fees for the services he
rendered for two (2) years. WiU the collection suit prosper? Explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

, The collection case will not prosper. The agreement for attorney's
fees between Andrew and Atty. Juju was a contingent fee agreement. A
contingent fee agreement is one in which the lawyer will be paid a fee only
when he is successful in handling the case of the client. In this case, Atty.
Juju was not successful in handling the case of Andrew. It was Atty. Jen
who won the case for the client.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:

Atty. Juju is entitled to attorney's fees based on quantum meruit. The


case was decided in favor of Andrew by the Court of Appeals. In appealed
cases, the appellate court relies on what is presented during the hearings,
and no other evidence is presented at that stage.

VII
Apollo hired Atty. Dennis to file an action for damages. Since Apollo
has no money, he entered into a contingent fee agreement where Atty. Dennis
will shoulder all expenses of litigation and will not charge for legal services. In

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case of a favorable decision, Apollo agreed to transfer to his lawyer a lot in
Cebu. Eventually, Apollo won the case. Atty. Dennis asked Apollo to execute
the deed of sale, but the latter refused upon advice of a friend that the
agreement is illegal. Due to threats of legal action by his lawyer, Apollo filed a
complaint before the Supreme Court alleging that the agreement is a
champertous contract. Rule on the legality of the agreement on contingent fee
and the propriety of getting the property of Apollo. Explain. (5%) ..
SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The contract for attorney's fees between Atty. Dennis and Apollo is
indeed a champertous agreement A champertous agreement is similar to a
contingent fee agreement wherein the lawyer will be paid only if he is
successful in handling the case. But what makes it champertous is the
provision, as in this case, that the lawyer will shoulder all the expenses of
litigation. That makes the lawyer a businessman who invested in the case
in the hope that he will profit from such investment. A contingent fee
contract is valid, while a champertous agreement is invalid.

With regard to the acquisition by Atty. Dennis of Apollo's property


in Cebu, the same will not be in violation of Article 1491 of the New Civil
Code, if the contract was simply a contingent fee contract, because the
property in Cebu was not involved in the case that Atty. Dennis handled,
and. the lot will not be transferred . to. Atty. Dennis until the case was
terminated.

VIII
Arthur hired Atty. Jojo to file a complaint for the collection of
PS00,000.00. He agreed to pay Atty. Jojo the amounts of Pl00,000.00 as
acceptance fee and Pl00,000.00 as success fee. Arthur paid PS0,000.00 as
partial payment of the acceptance fee with the promise to pay the balance of
PS0,000.00 after presentation of Arthur's. evidence. During the pre-trial, the
defendant paid to Atty. Jojo the amount of Pl00,000.00 as partial payment of
his debt. Considering that he has not yet been paid of the balance of his
acceptance fee, Atty. Jojo applied PS0,000.00 to the balance of the acceptance
fee and the remaining PS0,000,00 was deposited in his bank account for
safekeeping. Despite the lapse of one (1) month, Arthur was not infon11ed of

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the payment. Arthur sued Atty. Jojo for keeping the money and argues that the
latter violated the rules under Canon 16 of the CPR that a lawyer shall holds in
trust all monies of his client that may come into his possession. Atty. Jojo
claims he has a lien on the monies paid to him by the defendant. Rule on the
complaint and explain. (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Atty. Jojo violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional


Responsibility which provides that "a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys
and properties of his client that may come into his possession",. and . Rule
16.01, which provides that "a lawyer shall account for all money or
property collected or received for or from the client". Atty. Jojo received
Pl00,000.00 from the defendant as partial payment of his debt to Arthur.
Instead of holding the said amount in trust for Arthur, Atty. Jojo applied
PS0,000.00 to the unpaid balance of his acceptance fee, and deposited the
other PS0,000.00 in his bank account. While Rule 6.03 provides that a
lawyer shall have a lien over the funds of his client and may apply so much
thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements,
the Supreme Court has held that this is applicable only if there is an
agreement between the lawyer as to the payment of his fees and the client is
notified of the receipt of payment for him. There was no notice of the
payment made to the client, and no agreement between Atty. Jojo and
Arthur as to when the balance of the former's acceptance fee shuld be
made. In fact, Arthur promised to pay the same after presentation of his
evidnce.. Moreover, when Atty. Jojo deposited .the balance of PS0,000.00
ip. his bank account , he violated Rule 16.02 which provides that "a lawyer
shall. keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and
with those of others kept by him".

IX
Atty. Tristan filed a motion to disqualify Judge Robert from hearing a
civil case on the ground that the latter was the classmate and fraternity brother
of Atty .. Mark, Atty. '{ristan's opposing counsel. Judge Robert denied the
motion on the ground that under Rule 3.12 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, he
is not required to inhibit in all cases where his classmates and fraternity brothers
are participating lawyers in cases before him. Is Judge Robert correct in
denying the motion? (5%)

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SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Judge Robert is correct in denying the motion for inhibition,on the


ground that he was the classmate
. of Atty. Tristan's adverse counsel.
. .

That one of the counsels in a case was a classmate of the judge is not
a mandatory ground for his disqualification (Vda. de Bonifacio v. BLT Bus
Co., Inc., G.R. No. L-26810, 34 August 31, 1970, 34 SCRA 618 /1970]; Santos
v. Lacurom, A.M. No. RTJ-04-1823, August 28, 2006). However, he may
inhibit on . the discretionary. ground that his refusal to inhibit may
reasonably cause the parties to lose trust and confidence on the court.

X
Atty. Harold wrote in the Philippine Star his view that the decision of the
Supreme Court in a big land case is incorrect and should be re-examined. The
decision is not yet final. Atty. Alfonso, the counsel for the winning party in that
case, filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty. Harold for violation of the
sub Judice rule and Canon 11 of the CPR that a lawyer shall observe and
maintain the respect due to the courts. Explain the sub Judice rule and rule on
the disbarment case. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to


pending judicial proceedings, not only by participants in the pending case,
members of the bar and bench, litigants and witnesses, but also to the
public in general, which necessarily includes the media, in order to avoid
prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the
administration of justice. A violation of this rule may render one liable for
indirect contempt under Sec. 3(d), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. The
specific rationale for the sub judice rule is that courts, in the decision of
issues of fact and law should be immune from every extraneous influence;
that facts should be decided upon evidence produced in court; and that the
determination of such facts should be uninfluenced by bias, prejudice or
sympathies. (Marantan v. Diokno, 716 SCRA 164, .G.R. No. 205956,
February 12, 2014). After a case is decided; however, the decision is open
to criticism, subject only to the condition that all such criticism shall be
bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety.
"A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and
abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other.
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Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect
to courts. It is such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer to disciplinary
action" (In re Almacen, G.R. L-27654, 18 February, 1970, 31 SCRA 562
/1970]).

In this case, the published comment of Atty. Harold was made after
the decision of the Supreme Court was rendered, but the same was not yet
final. The case was still pending. Hence, the publication of such comment
was inappropriate, and Atty. Harold may be penalized for indirect
contempt of court.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:

Although the comment of Atty. Harold was made while the case was
technically still pending, it was made after a decision was rendered, and the
comment made is within the grounds of decency and propriety. Hence, the
lawyer does not deserve punishment for the same.

XI
George, an American citizen doing business in the Philippines, bought a
lot in Manila and secured the services of Atty. Henry for the execution of the
required documents. Atty. Henry prepared a Deed of Sale of Land using the
name of George's friend, Pete, as the buyer. In order to protect George's
interests and ensuring his free and undisturbed use of the property for an
indefinite period of time, Atty. Henry also prepared a Counter Deed of Sale and
Occupancy Agreement signed by Pete in favor of George. A competitor of
George filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty. Henry on the ground that
he violated the Constitution and the CPR. Rule on the complaint and explain.
(5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:

I will rule in favor of the complainant, In the case of Donton v.


Tansingco, . ' (A.C, . No.
.
6057, June 27, 2006, 493 SCRA 1 /2006}), which
involves the same. facts as in this case, the Supreme Court held that in
preparing an Occupancy Agreement, the lawyer in the said case advised
and aided a foreigner in circumventing the constitutional prohibition
against foreign ownership of land. Thus, the Supreme Court held that the
lawyer used his knowledge of the law to achieve an unlawful end, which

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amounts to malpractice in his office, for which he may be suspended. That
ruling is equally applicable in this case.

XII
Jaybee engaged the services of Atty. Pete to defend him in a criminal case
for .murder.. During trial, when the defense was presenting its evidence, Jaybee
admitted to Atty. Pete that he killed the victim in the case. Atty. Pete withdrew
from the case. Jaybee sued Atty. Pete for disbarment alleging that the latter
violated Canon 15 of the CPR that "a lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and
loyalty in all his dealing and transactions with his client" and Canon 17 of the
CPR that "a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his .client and he shall be
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. " . Rule on the case and
explain. (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:

I will rule in favor of Atty. Pete. A lawyer's duty of entire devotion


to his client's cause must be performed within the bounds of the law.
Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that "a
lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law".
Canon 15 of the Canons of Professional Ethics also provides that:

"The lawyer owes 'entire devotion to the interest of the


client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his rights
and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability,' to the end
that nothing be taken or be withheld from him, save by the
rules of law, legally applied. No fear of judicial disfavor or
public popularity should restrain him from the full discharge
of his duty. In the judicial forum the client is entitled to the
benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is authorized
by the law of the land, and he may expect, his lawyer to assert
every such remedy or defense. But it is steadfastly to be borne
in mind that the great trust of the lawyer is to be performed
within and not without the bounds of the law. The office of the
attorney does not permit, much less does it de.mand of him for
any client, violation of law or any manner of fraud or
chicanery. He must obey his own conscience and not that of his
client".

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Moreover, Rule 19.02. of the Code of Professional Responsibility
provides that "a lawyer who has received information that his client has in
the course of his representation, perpetuated fraud upon a person or
tribunal, shall promptly call upon the client to rectify the same, and failing
which he shall terminate the relationship with such client in accordance
with the Rules of Court". But, of course, the Atty.. Pele [should] not reveal
what Jaybee revealed to him, because the same is covered by the duty of
confidentiality under Canon 21 of the same code.

XIII
Atty. Dennis is the head of the Provincial DILG Office in Sultan Kudarat.
In view of the lack of lawyers and notaries public in the province and because of
numerous requests that the DILG provide a notary public, Atty. Dennis was
constrained to apply for a commission for the RTC, which was granted. He was
able to notarize thousand of documents and affidavits until Atty. Antonio, the
only notary public in the province, charged Atty. Dennis with misconduct and
violation of the CPR. Is the charge correct? Explain. (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The performance of the duties of a notary public constitutes practice


of law. A lawyer in the government service may either be prohibited from
practicing law during his tenure, or allowed to practice but subject to some
restrictions. There is no law prohibiting a Provincial DILG Officer from
practicing his profession. But as a Civil Service officer, he can clo so only
with the consent of his Department Head (Catu v. Rellosa, A.C. No. 5738.
Feb. 19, 2008).

XIV
Sonia, who is engaged in the lending business, extended to Atty. Roberto
a loan of PS0,000.00 with interest of P25,000.00 to be paid not later than May
20 2016. To secure the loan, Atty. Roberto signed a promissory note and issued
a postdated check. Before the due date, Atty. Roberto requested Sonia to defer.
the deposit of the check. When Atty. Roberto still failed to pay, Sonia deposited
the check which was dishonored. Atty. Roberto ignored the notice of dishonor
and refused to pay.

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[a] Did Atty. Roberto commit any violation of the CPR? Explain.
(2.5%).

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

[a] Atty. Roberto committed a violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01,


Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 in issuing a bouncing check. He should very well
know that the issuance of a bouncing check is an unlawful act, a crime
involving moral turpitude (Co v. Bernardino, A.C. No. 3919,January 28,
1998).

[b] Can he be held civilly liable to Sonia in an administrative case for


suspension or disbarment?. Explain. (2.5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:

[b] No. The sole issue in an administrative case is the


determination of whether or not a lawyer is still fit to continue being a
lawyer. The Supreme Court will not order the return of money which is
not intimately related to a lawyer-client relationship (Wong v. Moya, A.C.
6972, October 17, 2008; Sps.Concepcion v. Atty. de la Rosa, A.C. No. 10681,
Feb. 3, 2015).

xv
Atty. Alex entered into an agreement for his legal services with Johnny
where it is provided that the latter.will pay hiI)l Pl00,000.00 as acceptance fee
and Pl00,000.00 upon submission of the case for decision. The court granted
Johnny moral damages, exemplary damages and attorney's fees of Pl00,000.00.
After execution of the judgment, Atty. Alex kept the Pl 00,000.00 as his
attorney's fees. Johnny sued Atty. Alex for violation of the CPR claiming that
the attorney's fees award by the court belong to him. Decide the case with
reasons. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

I will rule in favor of Johnny. The Pl00,000.00 awarded to him as


moral damages, exemplary damages and attorney's fees, are items of
damages which are due to him as plaintiff in the case. Attorney's fees
awarded to a party pursuant to Article 2208 of the New Civil Code,
constitute extraordinary attorney's fees which belong to the client, not to

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the lawyer. It is not the ordinary attorney's fees which is the
cqmpensation due from a client to his lawyer.

XVI
Pedro was accused of the crime of murder before the RTC and was found
guilty of homicide. His counsel, Atty. Nestor, told him that he will file an
appeal before the Court of Appeals (CA) because he believes that the claim of
self-defense of Pedro will be given merit by the appellate court and that he will
be acquitted. Pedro explains that he is amenable to the penalty imposed upon
him. Despite the opposition of the accused, Atty. Nestor went on with the
appeal. The CA decided that the conviction should be for murder in view of the
qualifying circumstance. A petition with the High Court proved futile. Pedro
hires you to file a disbarment suit against Atty. Nestor. What cannon or rule of
the CPR will you use as ground for the suit. Explain. (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:

I will base my action on. Canon 19, particularly Rule 19.03 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility which.provides that "a lawyer shall not
allow the client to dictate the procedure in handling the case." The other
side of the coin of this rule is that the substantive aspects of the case are
within the sole authority of the client to decide. The lawyer's authority is
limited only to the procedural aspects of the case. Certainly, the matter of
whether or not to appeal an adverse decision is a substantive matter which
is exclusively for the client to decide. Having filed an appeal against the
decision of his client, the lawyer should be held liable for its negative result.

XVII
Jojo, a resident of Cavite, agreed to purchase the lot owned by Tristan, a
resident of Bulacan. Atty. Agaton, Jojo's lawyer who is also a notary public,
prepared the Deed of Sale and Jojo signed the document in Cavite. Atty.
Agaton then went to Bulacan to get the signature of Tristan. Thereafter, Atty.
Agaton went back to his office. in Cavite where he notarized the Deed of Sale.

Is the notarization legal and valid? Explain. (5%)

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SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The notarization is not legal and valid. Rule IV, Section 2 (b) of the
2004 Rules on Notarial Practice provides that a person shall not perform a
notarial act if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or
document is not personally in the notary's presence at the time of
notarization. Tristan was not in Atty. Agustin's presence when the latter
notarized the deed of sale in his office in Cavite; moreover, Tristan signed
in Bulacan which is outside the Atty. Agustin's territorial jurisdiction.

XVIII
City Prosecutor Philip prosecuted the criminal case for the murder of the
city mayor against the accused Reynaldo, the losing mayoralty candidate. There
was no private prosecutor and Phillip personally handled the prosecution of the
case from arraignment up to the presentation of the evidence for the ac.cused.
Before the trial, Alfonso approached Phillip and confessed that he is the killer of
the city mayor and not Reynaldo. When the case was called for trial, Phillip
manifested before the court that Alfonso approached him and admitted that he
killed the mayor and asked the court for whatever proper action it may take.
The counsel for the accused took advantage of the presence of Alfonso, who
ws placed on the witness stand and elicited testimonial evidence. The court
eventually acquitted Reynaldo.. The heirs of the city mayor filed a disbarment
case against Phillip on the ground that it is his duty to see.to it that the criminal.
is convicted and punished. They believed Reynaldo is the real killer and
Alfonso was only a fall guy and that Reynaldo could not have been acquitted
were it not for the disclosure of Phillip. Phillip argues that the City Prosecutor
is not for the offended party or the heirs of the victim but it is his main duty that
"Justice be done". Did Phillip commit any violation of the CPR? Explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:
' Phillip did not commit any violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.. Rule. 6.01 categorically states that "the primary duty of a
lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict but to see that justice
is done. The suppression of facts or the concealment of witnesses capable
of establishing the innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible and is
cause for disciplinary action". A public prosecutor "is a representative not
of an ordinary party in a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation

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to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all"
(Suarez v. Platon, 69 Phil. 556, G.R. No. 46371, 7 February, 1990).

XIX
St. Ivan's Hospital, Inc. (St. Ivan's) and Allied Construction Co. (Allied)
separately retained the legal services of Tomas and Benedicto Law Offices. St.
Ivan's engaged the services of Allied for the construction of a new building but
failed to pay the contract price after the completion of the works. A complaint
for sum of money was filed by Atty. Budoy, a former associate of Tomas and
Benedicto law Offices, on behalf of Allied against St Ivan's. St. Ivan's lost the
case and was held liable to Allied.
Thereafter, St Ivan's filed a disbarment complaint against Atty. Budoy. It
. claimed that while Atty. Budoy has established his own law office, an
arrangement was made whereby Tomas and Benedicto Law Offices assign cases
for him to handle, and that it can be assumed that Tomas and Benedicto Law
Offices collaborate with Atty. Budoy in the cases referred to him, creating a
conflict of interest. Rule on the complaint with reasons. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:
.I will rule in favor of St. Ivan's .and against Atty. Budoy. St. Ivan's
,was a client of Tomas and Benedicto Law Offices, of which Atty 1 Budoy
.was an associate attorney. As such, St. Ivan's was also his client, becase of
the principle that when a party hires a law firm, he hires all the la\\'.f,ers
therein. Moreover, Atty. Budoy was in a position to know the information
transmitted by St. Ivan's to the firm. "There is conflict of interest if the
acceptance of a new retainer will require the lawyer to perform an act
which will injuriously affect his new client in any matter in which he
represents him, and also whether he will be called upon in his new relation
to use against his first client any knowledge acquired during their relation"
(Hornilla v. Salunat, 453 Phil. 108, A.C. No. 5804, July 1, 2003).

"As such, a lawyer is prohibited from representing new clients whose


interests oppose those of a former client in any manner, whether or not
they are parties in the same action or on totally unrelated cases. The
prohibition is founded on the principles of public policy and good taste"
(Anglo v. Atty. Valencia, A.C. No. 10567, February 25, 2015).

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xx
Atty. Gail was separated from her husband, Dino, for more than ten (I 0)
years due to incompatibility. She fell in love with Mica who was also separated
from her husband. She filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of her
marriage. with Dino, and also a petition for the declaration of nullity of the
marriage of Mica with her husband. While the cases were pending, Atty. Gail
and Mica lived in their respective residences but were often seen together in
parties, events and in public places. Dino filed a disbarment complaint against
Atty. Gail for immorality, alleging that Atty. Gail and Mica are lovers. Decide
whether Atty. Gail should be sanctioned for immorality. (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:

I will rule in favor of Atty. Gail. In the first place, being seen
together with Mica in parties, events and public places is not sufficient
proof of immorality, which has been defined as "that conduct which is
willful, flagrant or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the
opinion of good and respectable members of the community" (Arciga v.
Maniwang, A.M. No. 1608, August 14, 1981; 106 SCRA 591). Besides, I will
be mindful of the injunction in Section 1, Canon 5 of the New Code of
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, which provides that "a judge shall be
aware of, and understand, diversity in society and differences arising from
various sources, including but not limited to race, religion, national origin,
'caste, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, social and economic
status and other like causes."

- oOo -

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