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2017 Ethics Last Minute Tips

LEGAL ETHICS

(1) State the Lawyers Oath. I, ________, do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, I will support the
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, or 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 these voluntary obligations without any mental reservation or
purpose of evasion. So help me God.

(2) Cite some misconduct of lawyers and the corresponding relevant provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility violated.

(A) Violates duty to society - A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal
processes. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
a. Solicits clients - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily to solicit legal business.
b. Advertises improperly ones qualifications - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading,
deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.
c. Uses ones public office for private gains - A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public position to promote or
advance his private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with his public duties.

(B) Violates duty to legal profession - A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the
activities of the integrated bar.
a. Engages in a scandalous act in his public or public life - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his
fitness to practice law, nor shall he whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession.
b. Disrespects in any way his professional colleagues - A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor towards
his professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel.
c. Engages or assists in unauthorized practice of law - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized
practice of law.

(C) Violates duty to courts - A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court.
a. Does any falsehood in court - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he
mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.
b. Commits an act of disrespect to the courts - A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial
officers and should insist on similar conduct by others.
c. Commits any attempt to influence the courts - A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from any
impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the court.

(D) Violates duty to clients - A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with his clients. A lawyer
shall serve his client with competence and diligence.
a. Refuses to represent client because of his opinion regarding the guilt of said person - A lawyer shall not decline to represent
a person solely on account of the latter's race, sex, creed or status of life, or because of his own opinion regarding the guilt of said
person.
b. Engages in conflict of interest - A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned
given after a full disclosure of the facts.
c. Fails to account money or property of the client - A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or
from the client.
d. Neglects a client - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall
render him liable.
e. Charges unconscionable fees - A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.
f. Violates attorney-client privilege - A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client
relation is terminated.

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PRACTICE OF LAW

(3) What is the practice of law? Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure,
knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession.
Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal
knowledge or skill. (Cayetano vs Monsod, September 3, 1991)

Is a lawyer teaching law subjects engaged in the practice of law? Yes. In view of the broad definition in Cayetano v. Monsod, lawyers when
they teach law are considered engaged in the practice of law. Law professors must be measured against the same canons of prof essional
responsibility applicable to acts of members of the Bar as the fact of being law professors is inextricably entwined with the fact that of being
lawyers. (Re: Letter of the UP Law Faculty Entitled Restoring Integrity: A Statement by the Faculty of the University of the Philippines
College of Law on the Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court, March 8, 2011)

Does the exercise of the powers and functions of a Commission on Human Rights Regional Director constitute practice of law? Yes. The
powers and functions of the CHR Regional Director such as administering oaths and affirmations, and investigating human rights complaints
are characteristics of the legal profession.

What is the effect of suspension of a lawyer from practicing law to his holding a government position requiring the authority to practice
law? When the Supreme Court orders a lawyer suspended from the practice of law, the lawyer must desist from performing all functions
requiring the application of legal knowledge within the period of suspension. This includes desisting from holding a position in government
requiring the authority to practice law.

Can a government agency, such as the Commission on Human Rights, issue a resolution allowing a suspended employee holding a
position requiring authority to practice law to resume in his position? No. Since the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the
practice of law, a government agency cannot, by mere resolutions and .other issuances, modify or defy the SCs orders of suspension from the
practice of law. Said agency can only retain those with the necessary qualifications in the positions they are holding. (Lingan vs. Calubaquib,
June 30, 2014) Quite apart from the constitutional mandate, the disciplinary authority of the Supreme Court over members of the Bar is an
inherent power incidental to the proper administration of justice and essential to an orderly discharge of judicial functions. (Caringal vs. Santos,
February 18, 2015)

(4) In an administrative proceeding, the IBP resolved to suspend the Atty. Advincula from practice of law for two months. He immediately
accepted the resolution and desisted from practice of law. Is his compliance acceptable? No. A lawyer ought to know that it is only the
Court that wields the power to discipline lawyer. The IBP did not possess such power, rendering its recommendation against him incapable of
finality. It is the Courts final determination of his liability as a lawyer that is the reckoning point for the service of sanctions and penalties.
(Advincula vs. Advincula, June 14, 2016)

Does the Supreme Court exercise supervision over the IBP and its affairs? Yes. This is based on the constitutional power of the Supreme
Court to promulgate rules concerning the integrated bar. As such, the Supreme Court wields a continuing power of supervision over the IBP and
its affairs, like the elections of its officers. (In the Matter of Brewing Controversies, April 11, 2013)

(5) What are the primary characteristics which distinguish the legal profession from business? These are: (a) a duty of public service, of
which emolument is a by-product, and in which one may attain the highest eminence without making much money; (b) a relation as officer of
the court to the administration of justice involving thorough sincerity, integrity, and reliability; (c) a relation to client in the highest degree
fiduciary; and (d) a relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by candor, fairness, and unwillingness to resort to current business methods of
advertising and encroachment on their practice, or dealing directly with their clients. (Khan vs. Simbillo, August 19, 2003)

(6) Are persons who pass the Shariah Bar considered attorneys? No. Persons who pass the Sharia Bar are not full-fledged members of the
Philippine Bar, hence, may only practice law before Sharia courts. While one who has been admitted to the Sharia Bar, and one who has been
admitted to the Philippine Bar, may both be considered "counselors," in the sense that they give counsel or advice in a professional capacity,
only the latter is an "attorney." The title "attorney" is reserved to those who, having obtained the necessary degree in the study of law and
successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain members thereof in good
standing; and it is they only who are authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction. (In the matter of the disqualification of Bar Examinee Haron
S. Meling, June 8, 2004)

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(7) Can a Filipino who graduated from foreign law school be admitted to the Philippine Bar Examination? Yes. He must submit to the
Supreme Court certifications showing: (a) completion of all courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Laws or its equivalent degree; (b)
recognition or accreditation of law school by the proper authority; (c) completion of all fourth year subjects in the Bachelor of Laws academic
program in a law school duly recognized by the Philippine government. (Bar Matter 1153, Re: Letter of Atty. Estelito P. Mendoza, March 9,
2010)

(8) In relation to the practice of law, what is moral turpitude? Moral turpitude is an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties
which a man owes to his fellow men or to society in general, contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.

Does the conviction of the crime of homicide constitute moral turpitude? Homicide may or may not involve moral turpitude depending on
the degree of the crime. Moral turpitude is not involved in every criminal act and is not shown by every known and intentional violation of
statute, but whether any particular conviction involves moral turpitude may be a question of fact and frequently depends on all the surrounding
circumstances. (Garcia vs. Sesbreno, February 3, 2015)

(9) Ferdinand, a fourth year law student, sought permission to enter his appearance for and on his behalf, before the RTC as the plaintiff
in a civil case. Judge Priscilla required the petitioner to secure a written permission from the Court Administrator before he could be
allowed to appear as counsel for himself, a party-litigant. For failure to present the required document and for his failure to satisfy Rule
138-A or the Law Student Practice Rule, the judge denied his appearance. Is the judge correct? No. The judge must have been misled by
the fact that Ferdinand is a law student and must, therefore, be subject to the conditions of the Law Student Practice Rule. It erred in applying
Rule 138-A, when the basis of the Ferdinands claim is Section 34 of Rule 138. The former rule provides for conditions when a law student may
appear in courts, while the latter rule allows the appearance of a non-lawyer as a party representing himself. Thus, Ferdinand, as plaintiff, at his
own instance, can personally conduct the litigation of the civil case. He would then be acting not as a counsel or lawyer, but as a party
exercising his right to represent himself.

Under Section 34, Rule 138, before the first level courts, a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend
appointed by him for that purpose. Can a non-lawyer act as an agent or friend in criminal cases before the first level courts? No. In
respect to the constitutional right of an accused to be heard by himself and counsel, this Court has held that during the trial, the right to counsel
cannot be waived. Even the most intelligent or educated man may have no skill in the science of law, particularly in the rules of procedure, and
without counsel, he may be convicted not because he is guilty but because he does not know how to establish his innocence. (Cruz vs. Mijares,
September 11, 2008) As an exception, in localities where competent members of the bar are not available, the court may appoint any person,
resident of the province and of good repute for probity and ability, to defend the accused. (Section 7, Rule 116, Rules of Court)

(10) The Office of the Solicitor General represents the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and
agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of lawyers. Can it represent a position adverse to the
government? Yes, when it acts as the Peoples Tribune. In these cases, the Solicitor General may take a position adverse and contrary to that
of the Government on the reasoning that it is incumbent upon him to present to the court what he considers would legally uphold the best
interest of the government although it may run counter to a client's position. (Republic vs. Cortez, February 7, 2017)

Should the Office of Solicitor General (OSG) represent local government units? No. The OSGs mandate under the Administrative Code
must be construed taking into account the Local Government Code, which vested exclusive authority upon municipal legal officers to be
counsels of local government units. (OSG vs. Court of Appeals, June 9, 2014)

(11) Section 90 of the Local Government Code provides that Sangguniang Members may practice law subject to the restrictions provided
therein, i.e. appear as counsel before any court in any civil case wherein a local government unit or any office, agency, or
instrumentality of the government is the adverse party. Are members of Sangguniang Barangay subject to the same restrictions? No.
No such interdiction is made on the members of the sangguniang barangay, including punong barangay. Expressio unius est exclusio
alterius. Since they are excluded from any prohibition, the presumption is that they are allowed to practice their profession. And this stands to
reason because they are not mandated to serve full time. In fact, the sangguniang barangay is supposed to hold regular sessions only twice a
month.

Are members of Sangguniang Barangay free to practice law without qualifications? No. A civil service officer or employee whose
responsibilities do not require his time to be fully at the disposal of the government can engage in the private practice of law only with the

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written permission of the head of the department concerned. They must obtain prior written permission of the Secretary of Interior and Local
Government. (Catu vs. Rellosa, February 19, 2008)

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

(12) Can a lawyer be disciplined for acts committed in his private affairs? Yes. A lawyer may be disciplined not only for malpractice and
dishonesty in his profession but also for gross misconduct outside of his professional capacity. While the Supreme 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 licenses and the law confer. (Heenan vs. Espejo, December 3, 2013) A lawyer shall not engage in conduct
that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit
of the legal profession (Rule 7.03, Code of Professional Responsibility)

(13) What are the tests in determining whether a lawyer is guilty of representing conflicting interest? The three tests are: (a) whether a lawyer
is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim for the other client; (b) whether the
acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyers duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite
suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty; and (c) whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent
the full discharge of the lawyers duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the
performance of that duty. (Lee vs. Simando, June 10, 2013)

(14) What is a champertous contract? It pertains to 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. It is not allowed. To permit these
arrangements is to enable the lawyer to acquire additional stake in the outcome of the action which might lead him to consider his own recovery
rather than that of his client or to accept a settlement which might take care of his interest in the verdict to the sacrifice of that of his client in
violation of his duty of undivided fidelity to his clients cause. (Conjugal Partnership of the Spouses Cadavedo vs. Lacaya, January 15, 2014)

(15) What is quantum meruit? Quantum meruit literally meaning as much as he deserves is used as basis for determining an attorneys
professional fees in the absence of an express agreement. The recovery of attorneys fees on the basis of quantum meruit is a device that
prevents an unscrupulous client from running away with the fruits of the legal services of counsel without paying for it and also avoids unjust
enrichment on the part of the attorney himself. (NPC vs. Heirs of Sangkay, August 24, 2011)

When is recovery of attorneys fees on the basis of quantum meruit authorized? Recovery of attorney's fees on the basis of quantum
meruit is authorized when (1) there is no express contract for payment of attorney's fees agreed upon between the lawyer and the client; (2)
when although there is a formal contract for attorney's fees, the fees stipulated are found unconscionable or unreasonable by the court; and (3)
when the contract for attorney's fee's is void due to purely formal defects of execution; (4) when the counsel, for justifiable cause, was not able
to finish the case to its conclusion; (5) when lawyer and client disregard the contract for attorney's fees (Rilloraza vs. Eastern
Telecommunications, July 2, 1999)

(16) When is the proper time to determine the propriety of attorneys fees or amount thereof? While a claim for attorneys fees may be filed
before the judgment is rendered, the determination as to the propriety of the fees or as to the amount thereof will have to be held in abeyance
until the main case from which the lawyers claim for attorneys fees may arise has become final. Otherwise, the determination to be made by
the courts will be premature. Of course, a petition for attorneys fees may be filed before the judgment in favor of the client is satisfied or the
proceeds thereof delivered to the client. (Rosario vs. De Guzman, July 10, 2013)

(17) Can a client enter into a compromise agreement without the intervention of a lawyer? Yes. The client is generally conceded to have
exclusive control over the subject matter of the litigation and may at anytime, if acting in good faith, settle and adjust the cause of action out of
court before judgment, even without the attorneys intervention.

Can a client terminate the attorney-client relationship at any time with or without cause? Yes. But this right of the client is not unlimited
because good faith is required in terminating the relationship. The limitation is based on Article 19 of the Civil Code, which mandates that
"every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe
honesty and good faith." The right is also subject to the right of the attorney to be compensated, as provided under the Rules of Court.

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Are counsels entitled to attorneys fees, on the basis of a written agreement, if a compromise agreement is reached without the
intervention of a lawyer? Yes. In the absence of the lawyers fault, consent or waiver, a client cannot deprive the lawyer of his just fees already
earned in the guise of a justifiable reason. Payment of its adequate and reasonable compensation could not be annulled by the settlement of the
litigation without its participation and conformity. It remains entitled to the compensation, and its right is safeguarded by the Court because its
members are officers of the Court who are as entitled to judicial protection against injustice or imposition of fraud committed by the client as
much as the client is against their abuses as her counsel. (Malvar vs. Kraft, September 9, 2013)

(18) Atty. Mariano undertook to pay Engr. Gilbert 20% of attorneys fees as referral fee he will receive from the client in the referred case.
Is this acceptable? No. Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the Code which prohibits a lawyer from dividing or stipulating to divide a fee for legal services
with persons not licensed to practice law, except where there is a pre-existing agreement with a partner or associate that, upon the latters death,
money shall be paid over a reasonable period of time to his estate or to the persons specified in the agreement; or (b) where the lawyer
undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased lawyer; or (c) where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer employees in a
retirement plan even if the plan is based in whole or in part, on a profit sharing agreement. Here, none of the exceptions applies. (Tumbokon vs.
Pefianco, August 1, 2012)

(19) Distinguish the ordinary versus the extraordinary concepts of attorneys fees. In its ordinary concept, an attorneys fee is the reasonable
compensation paid to a lawyer by his client for the legal services the former renders; compensation is paid for the cost and/or results of legal
services per agreement or as may be assessed. In its extraordinary concept, attorneys fees are deemed indemnity for damages ordered by the
court to be paid by the losing party to the winning party. The instances when these may be awarded are enumerated in Article 2208 of the Civil
Code, and is payable not to the lawyer but to the client, unless the client and his lawyer have agreed that the award shall accrue to the lawyer as
additional or part of compensation. (Tangga-an vs. Philippine Transamarine, March 13, 2013)

(20) What is the effect of non-payment of IBP dues? Default in the payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of
membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent
member from the Roll of Attorneys. (Buehs vs. Bacatan, June 30, 2009)

(21) Is a lawyer entitled to exemption from payment of his dues during the time that he was inactive in the practice of law, such as when he
was in government service and he was working abroad? No. Payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the IBP, of
which no one is exempt. There is nothing in the law or rules which allow exemption from payment of membership dues. (Letter of Atty.
Arevalo, May 9, 2005)

(22) Explain the rotation by exclusion rule in the election of IBP officers. The IBP shall have a President, an Executive Vice President (EVP),
and nine (9) Regional Governors, consisting of the IBP Board of Governors (IBP-BOG). Both the President and the EVP hold office for a term
of two (2) years. The President is then automatically succeeded by the EVP. The IBP-BOG shall elect the EVP from among themselves each by
a vote of at least five (5) governors. A region, whose representative has just been elected as Executive Vice President, can no longer have its
representative elected for the same position in subsequent elections until after all regions have had the opportunity to be elected as such. At the
end of the rotational cycle, all regions, except the region whose representative has just served the immediately preceding term, may be elected
for another term as Executive Vice-President in the new rotational cycle. The region whose representative served last in the previous rotational
cycle may be elected Executive Vice-President only after the first term of the new rotational cycle ends, subject once more to the rule on
exclusion. The order of rotation by exclusion shall be without prejudice to the regions entering into a consensus to adopt any pre-ordained
sequence in the new rotation cycle provided each region will have its turn in the rotation. The violation of the rotation rule in any election shall
be penalized by annulment of the election and disqualification of the offender from the election or appointment to any office in the IBP. (In the
Matter of Brewing Controversies, April 11, 2013)

DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS

(23) Explain the sui generis characteristic of disciplinary cases against lawyers. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. Neither
purely civil nor purely criminal, they do not involve a trial of an action or a suit, but is rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of
one of its officers. Not being intended to inflict punishment, it is in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor
a prosecutor therein. It may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. Public interest is its primary objective, and the real question for
determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary
powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of
preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of members who by

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their misconduct have proved themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an
attorney. In such posture, there can thus be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor. (Ylaya vs. Gacott, January 30, 2013)

(24) Explain the due process requirement in disciplinary cases. A lawyer shall not be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law until she
has had full opportunity upon reasonable notice to answer the charges against her, to produce witnesses in her behalf, and to be heard by herself
or counsel. Due process in an administrative context does not require trial-type proceedings similar to those in courts of justice. Where
opportunity to be heard either through oral arguments or through pleadings is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process. The
requirements are satisfied where the parties are afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the controversy at hand.
(Bayonla vs. Reyes, November 22, 2011)

(25) Must good faith motivate the complaints against lawyers? Yes. The Court, whose officer every lawyer is, must shield such fragility from
mindless assault by the unscrupulous and the malicious. It can do so, firstly, by quickly cutting down any patently frivolous complaint against a
lawyer; and, secondly, by demanding good faith from whoever brings any accusation of unethical conduct. Thus, a complaint to vex or harass a
lawyer must be immediately dismissed. (De Leon vs. Castelo, January 12, 2011)

(26) What is the quantum of proof necessary in disciplinary proceedings? Substantial evidence. This holding should quell any further confusion
on the proper evidentiary threshold to be applied in administrative cases against lawyers. (Reyes vs. Nieva, September 6, 2016)

Should disbarment cases be filed only by real parties in interest? No. The procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings
that only the real party-in-interest must initiate the suit does not apply in disbarment cases. In fact, the person who called the attention of the
court to a lawyers misconduct is in no sense a party, and generally has no interest in the outcome. (Figueras vs. Jimenez, March 12, 2014)

Can a person who has not suffered injury file the disbarment case? Yes. Any 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 are matters of public interest and the only basis for the judgment is the
proof or failure of proof of the charges. (Figueras vs. Jimenez, March 12, 2014)

Will the withdrawal of disbarment complaint or desistance by complainant automatically exonerate respondent lawyer from charges?
No. A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainant. What matters is whether, on
the basis of the facts borne out by the record, the charges constituting the grounds for disbarment have been duly proven. The complainant or the
person who called the attention of the court to the attorney's alleged misconduct is in no sense a party, and has generally no interest in the
outcome except as all good citizens may have in the proper administration of justice. (Quiachon vs. Ramos, June 4, 2014)

(27) Rule VIII, Section 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Committee on Bar Discpline-IBP provides that a complaint for disbarment,
suspension or discipline of attorneys prescribes in two (2) years from the date of the professional misconduct. Is this valid? No. An
administrative complaint against a member of the bar does not prescribe. It is the duty of the Supreme Court to protect the integrity of the
practice of law as well as the administration of justice. Thus, no matter how much time has elapsed from the time of the commission of the act
complained of and the time of the institution of the complaint, erring members of the bench and bar cannot escape the disciplining arm of the
Court. (Frias vs. Bautista-Lozada, May 4, 2006)

(28) Is there a prohibition of direct filing with the Supreme Court of administrative complaints against lawyers? None. This is to emphasize
its role as the guardian of the legal profession with the ultimate disciplinary power over attorneys. The recent amendment to Rule 139-B
(allowing filing of verified complaint of any person before the Supreme Court) eliminated any ambiguity about the authority of the Court to
directly receive administrative complaints against attorneys.

Is the Supreme Court who received an administrative complaint against lawyers always required to refer the matter to the IBP for
investigation, report, and recommendation? No. The Court may dispense with the referral to the IBP and resolve the charge without delay.
This happens particularly when the charge is patently frivolous, or insincere, or unwarranted, or intended only to harass and spite the respondent
attorney. (Christian Spiritists vs. Mangallay, March 16, 2016)

(29) May the Supreme Court in disciplinary proceedings order the guilty lawyer to pay amounts he owes to the complaining party? As a rule,
no. In disciplinary proceedings against lawyers, the only issue is whether the officer of the court is still fit to be allowed to continue as a member
of the Bar. In such cases, the Court's only concern is the determination of respondent's administrative liability; it should not involve his civil

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liability for money received from his client in a transaction separate, distinct, and not intrinsically linked to his professional engagement.
(Concepcion vs Dela Rosa, February 3, 2015) As an exception, when a lawyer receives money from a client for a particular purpose involving
the client-attorney relationship, he is bound to render an accounting to the client showing that the money was spent for that particular purpose. If
the lawyer does not use the money for the intended purpose, he must immediately return the money to his client. (Navarro vs. Solidum, January
28, 2014)

(30) What are the grounds for disbarment or suspension? A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the
Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of
a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a will
disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority.
(Re: Decision dated 17 March 2011, July 21, 2015)

(31) Can a lawyer who gave a wrong advice in good faith liable? No. An attorney-at-law is not expected to know all the law. For an honest
mistake or error, an attorney is not liable. (Paguia vs. Molina, June 4, 2014)

(32) Atty. Quinsayas filed a disbarment case against Atty. Fortun for delaying the proceedings concerning the Maguindanao Massacre. Atty.
Quinsayas distributed copies of the disbarment complaint to the media. Consequently, the media reported in television and published in
newspaper the highlights of the disbarment complaint. Did Atty. Quinsayas violate the confidentiality rule in disbarment proceedings?
Yes. As a general rule, disbarment proceedings are confidential in nature until their final resolution and the final decision of the Supreme Court.
As a lawyer and an officer of the Court, Atty. Quinsayas is familiar with the confidential nature of disbarment proceedings. However, instead of
preserving its confidentiality, Atty. Quinsayas disseminated copies of the disbarment complaint against petitioner to members of the media
which act constitutes indirect contempt of court.

How about the media? No. While disbarment proceedings are confidential, in this case, however, the filing of a disbarment complaint against
petitioner is itself a matter of public concern considering that it arose from the Maguindanao Massacre case. Indeed, the allegations in the
disbarment complaint relate to petitioners supposed actions involving the Maguindanao Massacre case. Since the disbarment complaint is a
matter of public interest, legitimate media had a right to publish such fact under freedom of the press. The media groups and personalities
merely acted on a news lead they received when they reported the filing of the disbarment complaint. (Fortun vs. Quinsayas, February 13, 2013)

(33) In a meeting where there was an attempt to settle the case, Heck blurted out I will not believe the authorities of the Philippines.
Prosecutor Gamotin slightly raised his voice and responded If you will not believe the authorities of the Philippines, you have no place
in this country, you can go home. May the act of the prosecutor be sanctioned? No. The prosecutor was not then reacting to an attack on
his person, but to Hecks disrespectful remark against Philippine authorities in general. Any self-respecting government official like the
respondent should feel justly affronted by any expression or show of disrespect in his presence, including harsh words like those uttered by
Heck. Lawyers may be expected to maintain their composure and decorum at all times, but they are still human, and their emotions are like
those of other normal people placed in unexpected situations that can crack their veneer of self-control. (Heck vs. Gamotin, March 18, 2014)

(34) May a member of the Philippine Bar who was disbarred or suspended from the practice of law in a foreign jurisdiction where he has
also been admitted as an attorney be meted the same sanction as a member of the Philippine Bar for the same infraction committed in
the foreign jurisdiction? Yes. The disbarment or suspension of a member of the Philippine Bar by a competent court or other disciplinatory
agency in a foreign jurisdiction where he has also been admitted as an attorney is a ground for his disbarment or suspension if the basis of such
action includes any of the acts for disbarment or suspension provided under the Rules of Court. The judgment, resolution or order of the foreign
court or disciplinary agency shall be prima facie evidence of the ground for disbarment or suspension. (In re: Suspension from Practice of Law
in the Territory of Guam of Atty. Leon G. Maquera, July 30, 2004)

(35) Does the loss of Filipino citizenship ipso jure mean termination of the privilege to practice law? Yes. Filipino citizenship is a requirement
for admission to the bar and is, in fact, a continuing requirement for the practice of law. The loss thereof means termination of the petitioners
membership in the bar; ipso jure the privilege to engage in the practice of law. (In re: Petition to Re-acquire the Privilege to Practice Law in the
Philippines, Epifanio B. Muneses, July 24, 2010)

(36) How can a Filipino lawyer who lost his citizenship and subsequently reacquired it under RA 9225 resume his practice of law in the
Philippines? Before a lawyer who reacquires Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 can resume his law practice, he must first secure from
this Court the authority to do so, conditioned on:

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(a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP;
(b) the payment of professional tax;
(c) the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal education; this is especially significant to refresh the
applicant/petitioners knowledge of Philippine laws and update him of legal developments and
(d) the retaking of the lawyers oath which will not only remind him of his duties and responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court,
but also renew his pledge to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. (Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law, Benjamin M.
Dacanay, December 17, 2007)

(37) What are the guidelines in lifting an order suspending a lawyer from the practice of law? The following are the guidelines:
1) After a finding that respondent lawyer must be suspended from the practice of law, the Court shall render a decision imposing 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, stating therein 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/or where he or she has appeared as counsel;
5) The Sworn Statement shall be considered as proof of respondents compliance with the order of suspension;
6) Any finding or report contrary to the statements made by the lawyer under oath shall be a ground for the imposition of a more severe
punishment, or disbarment, as may be warranted. (Maniago vs. De Dios, March 30, 2010)

Is the lawyers suspension automatically lifted upon the lapse of the suspension period? No. The lawyer must submit the required
documents and wait for an order from the Court lifting the suspension before he or she resumes the practice of law. (Paras vs. Paras, March 13,
2017)

(38) What are the guidelines in resolving requests for a disbarred lawyer to be able to practice again law? The following are the guidelines:
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 Integrated Bar of the Philippines, 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 the penalty to ensure a period of reform.
3. The age of the person asking for clemency must show that he still has productive years ahead of him that can be put to good use by giving
him a chance to redeem himself.
4. There must be a showing of promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or contribution to legal scholarship and the
development of the legal system or administrative and other relevant skills), as well as potential for public service.
5. There must be other relevant factors and circumstances that may justify clemency. (Macarubbo vs. Macarubbo, January 22, 2013)

Will an attorney disbarred for committing a crime involving moral turpitude be readmitted to bar when he is given executive clemency?
Yes, provided it is absolute and unconditional, restoring him to his full civil and political rights. Thus, a mere commutation of sentence will not
cause his readmission to the bar. (Garcia vs. Sesbreno, February 3, 2015)

MANDATORY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION

(39) What are the purposes of the MCLE? The purposes of MCLE are to ensure that throughout their career, members of the IBP keep abreast
with law and jurisprudence, maintain the ethics of the profession and enhance the standards of the practice of law. (Arnado vs. Adaza, August
26, 2015)

(40) What is the effect of non-compliance with MCLE? A member who, for whatever reason, is in non-compliance at the end of the compliance
period shall pay a non-compliance fee. Additionally, a member who fails to comply with the requirements after the sixty (60) day period for
compliance has expired, shall be listed as a delinquent member of the IBP upon the recommendation of the MCLE Committee. A delinquent
member shall not be permitted to practice law until such time as adequate proof of compliance is received by the MCLE Committee. (Arnado
vs. Adaza, August 26, 2015)

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(41) What is the effect of failure to indicate in all pleadings filed the number and date of issue of the lawyers MCLE Certificate of
Compliance or Certificate of Exemption? Failure to disclose the required information would subject the counsel to appropriate penalty and
disciplinary action. Prior to the amendment of rules on MCLE on 14 January 2014, failure to disclose the required information would cause the
dismissal of the case and the expunction of the pleadings from the records. The prevailing rule now is failure to disclose the required
information would subject the counsel to appropriate penalty and disciplinary action. (People vs. Arrojado, November 9, 2015)

NOTARIAL PRACTICE RULE

(42) Is the community tax certificate (CTC) a competent evidence of identity? No. A CTC, which bears no photograph, is no longer a valid form
of identification for purposes of notarization of legal documents. Recognizing the established unreliability of a CTC in proving the identity of a
person who wishes to have his document notarized, it is no longer included in the list of competent evidence of identity that notaries public
should use in ascertaining the identity of persons appearing before them to have their documents notarized. (Amora vs. COMELEC, January 25,
2011)

(43) What are the rules of MTC and MCTC judges in relation to their capacity to act as notaries public? The following are the rules:
(a) As a rule, MTC and MCTC judges cannot engage in notarial work as it constitutes private practice of law, which judges are prohibited to
engage in.
(b) MTC and MCTC judges are allowed to perform the functions of notaries public in ex officio capacity provided they may not, as notaries
public ex officio, undertake the preparation and acknowledgment of private documents, contracts and other acts of conveyances which bear
no direct relation to the performance of their functions as judges
(c) MTC and MCTC judges assigned to municipalities or circuits with no lawyers or notaries public may, in the capacity as notaries public ex
officio, perform any act within the competency of a regular notary public, provided that: (1) all notarial fees charged be for the account of
the Government and turned over to the municipal treasurer; and, (2) certification be made in the notarized documents attesting to the lack
of any lawyer or notary public in such municipality or circuit.

Judge Rojo, as notary public ex officio, notarized an affidavit of cohabitation of the parties whose marriage he subsequently solemnized.
Is the affidavit of cohabitation a document which bears direct relation to the performance of the function of a judge? No. Affidavits of
cohabitation are documents not connected with the judges official function and duty to solemnize marriages. Notarizing affidavits of
cohabitation is inconsistent with the duty, as solemnizing officer, to examine the parties requirements for marriage. If the solemnizing officer
notarized the affidavit of cohabitation, he cannot objectively examine and review the affidavits statements before performing the marriage
ceremony. Should there be any irregularity or false statements in the affidavit of cohabitation he notarized, he cannot be expected to admit that
he solemnized the marriage despite the irregularity or false allegation. (Tupal vs. Rojo, February 24, 2014)

(44) What is the effect of defective notarization? A defective notarization will strip the document of its public character and reduce it to a private
instrument, and the evidentiary standard of its validity shall be based on preponderance of evidence. (January 15, 2014) [It is submitted,
however, that when the law requires notarization as requirement for validity of document, a defective notarization will render the document
void.]

(45) A notary public notarized the complaint-affidavit executed by his sister-in-law. Did the notary public violate the notarial rules? Yes.
Under the notarial rules, a notary public is disqualified from performing a notarial act if he is a spouse, common-law partner, ancestor,
descendant, or relative by affinity or consanguinity of the principal within the fourth civil degree. (Jandoquile vs. Revilla, April 10, 2013)

JUDICIAL ETHICS

(46) Cite some misconduct of judges and the corresponding provisions of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary
(Bangalore Draft) violated.

(A) Independence - Judicial independence is a pre-requisite to the rule of law and a fundamental guarantee of a fair trial. A judge shall
therefore uphold and exemplify judicial independence in both its individual and institutional aspects.
b. Allows being influenced by others - Judges shall exercise the judicial function independently on the basis of their assessment of
the facts and in accordance with a conscientious understanding of the law, free of any extraneous influence, inducement,
pressure, threat or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

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c. Influences another - Judges shall refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending before
another court or administrative agency.
d. Uses ones public office for private gains - Judges shall not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence judicial
conduct or judgment. The prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the private interests of others, nor convey
or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge.

(B) Integrity - Integrity is essential not only to the proper discharge of the judicial office but also to the personal demeanor of judges.
a. Engages or appears to engage in questionable conduct - Judges shall ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach, but
that it is perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable observer.

(C) Impartiality - Impartiality is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office. It applies not only to the decision itself but also to
the process by which the decision is made.
a. Commits impartiality - Judges shall perform their judicial duties without favor, bias or prejudice.
b. Comments improperly on pending cases - Judges shall not knowingly, while a proceeding is before or could come before them,
make any comment that might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome of such proceeding or impair the manifest fairness of
the process. Nor shall judges make any comment in public or otherwise that might affect the fair trial of any person or issue.
c. Fails to inhibit themselves on matters which they must inhibit - Judges shall disqualify themselves from participating in any
proceedings in which they are unable to decide the matter impartially or in which it may appear to a reasonable observer that they
are unable to decide the matter impartially.

(D) Propriety - Propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of all the activities of a judge.
a. Commits any form of impropriety - Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities.
b. Engages in private practice of law - Judges shall not practice law whilst the holder of judicial office.
c. Asks or allows family members to ask for bribes - Judges and members of their families shall neither ask for, nor accept, any
gift, bequest, loan or favor in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done by him or her in connection with the
performance of judicial duties.

(E) Equality - Ensuring equality of treatment to all before the courts is essential to the due performance of the judicial office.
a. Discriminates others on account of sex, religion or other irrelevant grounds - Judges shall not, in the performance of judicial
duties, by words or conduct, manifest bias or prejudice towards any person or group on irrelevant grounds.

(F) Competence and Diligence - Competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of judicial office.
a. Inefficiently performs judicial tasks, e.g. rendering of decision - Judges shall perform all judicial duties, including the
delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness.
b. Fails to maintain decorum in court - Judges shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the court and be
patient, dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official
capacity. Judges shall require similar conduct of legal representatives, court staff and others subject to their influence, direction
or control.

(47) A judge opened an account in a social networking site, i.e. Facebook. In her account, she posted with her upper body barely
covered by a shawl, suggesting nothing was worn underneath except a brassier. Is the act of a judge in opening the social media
account proper? Yes. The New Code of Judicial Conduct does not prohibit a judge from joining or maintaining an account in a social
networking site i.e. Facebook. The New Code of Judicial Conduct recognizes that judges, like any other citizen, are entitled to freedom of
expression. Joining a social networking site is an exercise of ones freedom of expression. The respondent judges act of joining a social
networking site is, therefore, per se not violative of the New Code of Judicial Conduct.

How about the posting of the judge of her upper body barely covered by a shawl, is it proper? No. The New Code of Judicial
Conduct, however, imposes a correlative restriction on judges: in the exercise of their freedom of expression, they should always conduct
themselves in a manner that preserves the dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the Judiciary. The judge
disregarded the propriety and appearance of propriety required of her when she posted photos of herself wearing an off-shouldered
suggestive dress and made this available for public viewing. (Lorenzana vs. Austria, April 2, 2014)

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(48) Vice-Mayor Batu, on behalf of the Sangguniang Bayan, requested the good office of MTC Judge Liangco for legal opinion about a
house to be demolished. The judge complied and issued a legal opinion on the matter. Is the act of the judge correct? No. As judge
of a first-level court, Judge Liangco is expected to know that he has no jurisdiction to entertain a petition for declaratory relief. He is
presumed to know that in his capacity as judge, he cannot render a legal opinion in the absence of a justiciable question. Judges do not, and
are not allowed, to issue legal opinions. Their opinions are always in the context of judicial decisions, or concurring and dissenting
opinions in the case of collegiate courts, and always in the context of contested proceedings. (OCA vs. Liangco, December 13, 2011)

(49) In the course of investigation of the Pork Barrel Scam by the Senate, whistle-blowers implicated Sandiganbayan Justice Ong as
having been instrumental with the acquittal of Janet Lim Napoles on charges of misuse of funds for AFP Kevlar helmets. A news
website also published a photograph of Justice Ong with Napoles, and others involved in the Pork Barrel Scam. Justice Ong, in a
letter, addressed Chief Justice Sereno, he categorically stated that he never attended any party or social event hosted by Napoles or
her family, before she had a case, while the Kevlar cases were pending, or at anytime thereafter. During the administrative
investigation, Justice Ong denied the imputations against him, reiterating most of his explanations in the letter addressed to Chief
Justice. He nevertheless admitted that he went to Napoless office twice sometime in March 2012, on purely personal matters. What
provisions of the New Code of Judicial Conduct did Justice Ong violate? Justice Ong violated Canon 2. Canon 2 provides Integrity is
essential not only to the proper discharge of the judicial office, but also to the personal demeanor of judges. Before the S upreme Court,
even prior to the commencement of administrative investigation, Justice Ong was less than candid. In his letter to Chief Justice where he
vehemently denied having attended parties or social events hosted by Napoles, he failed to mention his visits at the office of the latter,
which omission was in fact deliberate as he only mentioned the same after having been pointed out by the whistle blowers.

Justice Ong also violated Canon 4. Section 1, Canon 4 provides Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of
their activities, while Section 2 thereof provides As a subject of constant public scrutiny, judges must accept personal restrictions that
might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly. In particular, judges shall conduct
themselves in a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial office. While the allegation of bribery on the Kevlar cases was not
properly substantiated, Justice Ong is still liable for his act of associating with her, a former accused in a case before him, as evidenced by
his admitted visiting her and the published photograph. There are ways of thanking Napoles without committing acts of impropriety, such
as calling and relaying to her his gratitude, instead of being seen publicly with a former accused in a case where he participated. (Re:
Allegations Made Under Oath at The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Hearing Held on September 26, 2013 Against Associate Justice
Gregory S. Ong, Sandiganbayan, September 23, 2014)

(50) In writing the decision for the Supreme Court in the Vinuya vs Executive Secretary, Justice Del Castillo failed to attribute to the
foreign authors materials that he lifted from their works and used. Has Justice Del Castillo committed an act in violation of judicial
ethics? No. A judge writing to resolve a dispute, whether trial or appellate, is exempted from a charge of plagiarism even if ideas, words or
phrases from a law review article, novel thoughts published in a legal periodical or language from a partys brief are used without giving
attribution. Thus judges are free to use whatever sources they deem appropriate to resolve the matter before them, without fear of reprisal.
This exemption applies to judicial writings intended to decide cases for two reasons: the judge is not writing a literary work and, more
importantly, the purpose of the writing is to resolve a dispute. As a result, judges adjudicating cases are not subject to a claim of legal
plagiarism. (In the Matter of the Charges of Plagiarism, etc., against Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo, February 8, 2011)

(51) Is the 90-day period within which a sitting trial judge should decide a case or resolve a pending matter mandatory? Yes. The 90-day
period within which a sitting trial Judge should decide a case or resolve a pending matter is mandatory. The period is reckoned from the
date of the filing of the last pleading. If the Judge cannot decide or resolve within the period, she can be allowed additional time to do so,
provided she files a written request for the extension of her time to decide the case or resolve the pending matter. Only a valid reason may
excuse a delay. (Lubaton vs. Lazaro, September 2, 2013)

(52) Can a judge be held liable on the basis of an anonymous complaint? Yes. Anonymous complaints may be filed against judges, but they
must be supported by public records of indubitable integrity. Courts have acted in such instances needing no corroboration by evidence to
be offered by the complainant. Thus, for anonymous complaints, the burden of proof in administrative proceedings which usually rests with
the complainant, must be buttressed by indubitable public records and by what is sufficiently proven during the investigation. If the burden
of proof is not overcome, the respondent is under no obligation to prove his defense. (Anonymous vs. Achas, February 7, 2013)

(53) A judge is prohibited from serving as executor, administrator, trustee, guardian or other fiduciary. Why? The intent of the rule is to
limit a judge's involvement in the affairs and interests of private individuals to minimize the risk of conflict with his judicial duties and to

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allow him to devote his undivided attention to the performance of his official functions. When a member of the bench serves as
administrator of the properties of private individuals, he runs the risk of losing his neutrality and impartiality, especially when the interests
of his principal conflicts with those of the litigant who comes before his court.

Is there any exception to the rule? Yes. The only exception to this rule is when the estate or trust belongs to, or the ward is a member of
his immediate family, and only if his service as executor, administrator, trustee, guardian or fiduciary will not interfere with the proper
performance of his judicial duties. (Lopez vs. Lucmayon, September 24, 2014)

(54) What is the sub judice rule? The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to the judicial proceedings in order to
avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice. The rationale for the rule is that it is a
traditional conviction of civilized society everywhere that courts and juries, 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. (Tormis vs. Paredes, February 4, 2015)

(55) Explain the concept of knowingly rendering unjust judgment. Knowingly rendering an unjust judgment constitutes a serious criminal
offense penalized under the Revised Penal Code. To commit the offense, the offender must be a judge who is adequately shown to have
rendered an unjust judgment, not one who merely committed an error of judgment or taken the unpopular side of a controversial point of
law. Good faith and the absence of malice, corrupt motives or improper consideration are sufficient defenses that will shield a judge from
the charge of rendering an unjust decision. In other words, the judge was motivated by hatred, revenge, greed or some other similar motive
in issuing the judgment. Bad faith is, therefore, the ground for liability. Only a superior court acting by virtue of either its appellate or
supervisory jurisdiction over the judicial actions involved may make a determination and declaration that the judgment or final order that
the judicial officer knowingly rendered or issued. Otherwise, the public prosecutor or administrative hearing officer may be usurping a
basic judicial power of review or supervision lodged by the Constitution or by law elsewhere in the appellate court. (Re: Verified
Complaint for Disbarment of AMA Land, Inc., March 11, 2014)

(56) Is the judges asking the counsels appearing before them from which law schools they had graduated constitute conduct
unbecoming of a magistrate? Yes. The randomly asking the counsels appearing before him from which law schools they had graduated,
and his engaging during the hearings in casual conversation about his law school publicizes his professional qualifications and manifests a
lack of the requisite humility demanded of public magistrates. His doing so reflected a vice of self-conceit, bespeaking lack of judicial
temperament and decorum. Judicial decorum demands that they behave with dignity and act with courtesy towards all who appear before
their court. (Rodriguez vs. Ong, April 12, 2011)

(57) Can a judge not formally charged be held administratively liable? Yes. Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, the Supreme Court may
impose its authority upon erring judges whose actuations, on their face, would show gross incompetence, ignorance of the law or
misconduct. The res ipsa loquitur doctrine, however, does not except or dispense with the necessity of proving the facts on which the
inference of evil intent is based. It merely expresses the clearly sound and reasonable conclusion that when such facts are admitted or are
already shown by the record, and no credible explanation that would negative the strong inference of evil intent is forthcoming, no further
hearing to establish them to support a judgment as to the culpability of a respondent is necessary. (In re: Undated Letter of Mr. Louis C.
Biraogo, February 24, 2009)

(58) What is the automatic conversion rule in disciplinary cases of justices, judges and lawyer-court officials? The automatic conversion
rule means that where the charge in the administrative cases against judges and lawyer-court officials are based on grounds which are
likewise grounds for the disciplinary action of members of the Bar for violation of Lawyers Oath, the Code of Professional Responsibility,
and the Canons of Professional Ethics, or for such other forms of breaches of conduct that have been traditionally recognized as grounds
for the discipline of lawyers, said administrative case shall also be considered a disciplinary action against the justice, judge or lawyer-court
official concerned as a member of the Bar. (Samson vs. Caballero, August 5, 2009)

(59) Based on the result of judicial audit conducted after retirement, an administrative case was instituted against Judge Grageda. Does
the SC have jurisdiction over the administrative case? No. His retirement effectively barred the Court from pursuing the instant
administrative proceeding that was instituted after his tenure in office, and divested the Court of any jurisdiction to still subject him to the
rules and regulations of the judiciary and/or to penalize him for the infractions committed while he was still in the service. The Supreme
Court concedes that there are no promulgated rules on the conduct of judicial audit. However, the absence of such rules should not serve as

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license to recommend the imposition of penalties to retired judges who, during their incumbency, were never given a chance to explain the
circumstances behind the results of the judicial audit. (OCA vs. Grageda, March 11, 2013)

(60) Can a judge or justice who refuses to pay his just debts be disciplined? Yes. The Court has repeatedly stressed that it is not a collection
agency for the unpaid debts of its officials and employees, but has nevertheless provided for Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court that
holds its officials and employees administratively liable in unpaid debt situations. Just debts refer to (1) claims adjudicated by a court of
law; or (2) claims, the existence and justness of which are admitted by the debtor. Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court classifies
willful failure to pay a just debt as a serious charge. (Manlapaz vs. Sabillo, February 13, 2013)

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