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RE: APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE PHILIPPINE BAR,

vs.
VICENTE D. CHING, applicant.
RESOLUTION

KAPUNAN, J.:
Can a legitimate child born under the 1935 Constitution of a Filipino mother and an alien father validly
elect Philippine citizenship fourteen (14) years after he has reached the age of majority? This is the
question sought to be resolved in the present case involving the application for admission to the
Philippine Bar of Vicente D. Ching.
The facts of this case are as follows:
Vicente D. Ching, the legitimate son of the spouses Tat Ching, a Chinese citizen, and Prescila A.
Dulay, a Filipino, was born in Francia West, Tubao, La Union on 11 April 1964. Since his birth, Ching
has resided in the Philippines.
On 17 July 1998, Ching, after having completed a Bachelor of Laws course at the St. Louis University
in Baguio City, filed an application to take the 1998 Bar Examinations. In a Resolution of this Court,
dated 1 September 1998, he was allowed to take the Bar Examinations, subject to the condition that he
must submit to the Court proof of his Philippine citizenship.
In compliance with the above resolution, Ching submitted on 18 November 1998, the following
documents:
1. Certification, dated 9 June 1986, issued by the Board of Accountancy of the
Professional Regulations Commission showing that Ching is a certified public
accountant;
2. Voter Certification, dated 14 June 1997, issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, Election
Officer of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Tubao La Union showing that
Ching is a registered voter of the said place; and
3. Certification, dated 12 October 1998, also issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, showing
that Ching was elected as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Tubao, La Union
during the 12 May 1992 synchronized elections.
On 5 April 1999, the results of the 1998 Bar Examinations were released and Ching was one of the
successful Bar examinees. The oath-taking of the successful Bar examinees was scheduled on 5 May
1999. However, because of the questionable status of Ching's citizenship, he was not allowed to take
his oath. Pursuant to the resolution of this Court, dated 20 April 1999, he was required to submit further
proof of his citizenship. In the same resolution, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was required
to file a comment on Ching's petition for admission to the bar and on the documents evidencing his
Philippine citizenship.
The OSG filed its comment on 8 July 1999, stating that Ching, being the "legitimate child of a Chinese
father and a Filipino mother born under the 1935 Constitution was a Chinese citizen and continued to
be so, unless upon reaching the age of majority he elected Philippine citizenship" 1 in strict compliance
with the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 625 entitled "An Act Providing for the Manner in which
the Option to Elect Philippine Citizenship shall be Declared by a Person Whose Mother is a Filipino
Citizen." The OSG adds that "(w)hat he acquired at best was only an inchoate Philippine citizenship
which he could perfect by election upon reaching the age of majority." 2 In this regard, the OSG
clarifies that "two (2) conditions must concur in order that the election of Philippine citizenship may be
effective, namely: (a) the mother of the person making the election must be a citizen of the Philippines;
and (b) said election must be made upon reaching the age of majority." 3 The OSG then explains the
meaning of the phrase "upon reaching the age of majority:"
The clause "upon reaching the age of majority" has been construed to mean a reasonable
time after reaching the age of majority which had been interpreted by the Secretary of
Justice to be three (3) years (VELAYO, supra at p. 51 citing Op., Sec. of Justice No. 70,
s. 1940, Feb. 27, 1940). Said period may be extended under certain circumstances, as
when a (sic) person concerned has always considered himself a Filipino (ibid., citing Op.
Nos. 355 and 422, s. 1955; 3, 12, 46, 86 and 97, s. 1953). But in Cuenco, it was held that
an election done after over seven (7) years was not made within a reasonable time.
In conclusion, the OSG points out that Ching has not formally elected Philippine citizenship and, if
ever he does, it would already be beyond the "reasonable time" allowed by present jurisprudence.
However, due to the peculiar circumstances surrounding Ching's case, the OSG recommends the
relaxation of the standing rule on the construction of the phrase "reasonable period" and the allowance
of Ching to elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with C.A. No. 625 prior to taking his oath as a
member of the Philippine Bar.
On 27 July 1999, Ching filed a Manifestation, attaching therewith his Affidavit of Election of
Philippine Citizenship and his Oath of Allegiance, both dated 15 July 1999. In his Manifestation, Ching
states:
1. I have always considered myself as a Filipino;
2. I was registered as a Filipino and consistently declared myself as one in my school
records and other official documents;
3. I am practicing a profession (Certified Public Accountant) reserved for Filipino
citizens;
4. I participated in electoral process[es] since the time I was eligible to vote;
5. I had served the people of Tubao, La Union as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan
from 1992 to 1995;
6. I elected Philippine citizenship on July 15, 1999 in accordance with Commonwealth
Act No. 625;
7. My election was expressed in a statement signed and sworn to by me before a notary
public;
8. I accompanied my election of Philippine citizenship with the oath of allegiance to the
Constitution and the Government of the Philippines;
9. I filed my election of Philippine citizenship and my oath of allegiance to (sic) the
Civil Registrar of Tubao La Union, and
10. I paid the amount of TEN PESOS (Ps. 10.00) as filing fees.
Since Ching has already elected Philippine citizenship on 15 July 1999, the question raised is whether
he has elected Philippine citizenship within a "reasonable time." In the affirmative, whether his
citizenship by election retroacted to the time he took the bar examination.
When Ching was born in 1964, the governing charter was the 1935 Constitution. Under Article IV,
Section 1(3) of the 1935 Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate child born of a Filipino mother and
an alien father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age of majority, the
child elected Philippine citizenship. 4 This right to elect Philippine citizenship was recognized in the
1973 Constitution when it provided that "(t)hose who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the
provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five" are citizens of the Philippines. 5
Likewise, this recognition by the 1973 Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Constitution which
states that "(t)hose born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship
upon reaching the age of majority" are Philippine citizens. 6 It should be noted, however, that the 1973
and 1987 Constitutional provisions on the election of Philippine citizenship should not be understood
as having a curative effect on any irregularity in the acquisition of citizenship for those covered by the
1935 Constitution. 7 If the citizenship of a person was subject to challenge under the old charter, it
remains subject to challenge under the new charter even if the judicial challenge had not been
commenced before the effectivity of the new Constitution. 8
C.A. No. 625 which was enacted pursuant to Section 1(3), Article IV of the 1935 Constitution,
prescribes the procedure that should be followed in order to make a valid election of Philippine
citizenship. Under Section 1 thereof, legitimate children born of Filipino mothers may elect Philippine
citizenship by expressing such intention "in a statement to be signed and sworn to by the party
concerned before any officer authorized to administer oaths, and shall be filed with the nearest civil
registry. The said party shall accompany the aforesaid statement with the oath of allegiance to the
Constitution and the Government of the Philippines."
However, the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 did not prescribe a time period within which the
election of Philippine citizenship should be made. The 1935 Charter only provides that the election
should be made "upon reaching the age of majority." The age of majority then commenced upon
reaching twenty-one (21) years. 9 In the opinions of the Secretary of Justice on cases involving the
validity of election of Philippine citizenship, this dilemma was resolved by basing the time period on
the decisions of this Court prior to the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution. In these decisions, the
proper period for electing Philippine citizenship was, in turn, based on the pronouncements of the
Department of State of the United States Government to the effect that the election should be made
within a "reasonable time" after attaining the age of majority. 10 The phrase "reasonable time" has been
interpreted to mean that the election should be made within three (3) years from reaching the age of
majority. 11 However, we held in Cuenco vs. Secretary of Justice, 12 that the three (3) year period is not
an inflexible rule. We said:
It is true that this clause has been construed to mean a reasonable period after reaching
the age of majority, and that the Secretary of Justice has ruled that three (3) years is the
reasonable time to elect Philippine citizenship under the constitutional provision
adverted to above, which period may be extended under certain circumstances, as when
the person concerned has always considered himself a Filipino. 13
However, we cautioned in Cuenco that the extension of the option to elect Philippine citizenship is not
indefinite:
Regardless of the foregoing, petitioner was born on February 16, 1923. He became of
age on February 16, 1944. His election of citizenship was made on May 15, 1951, when
he was over twenty-eight (28) years of age, or over seven (7) years after he had reached
the age of majority. It is clear that said election has not been made "upon reaching the
age of majority." 14
In the present case, Ching, having been born on 11 April 1964, was already thirty-five (35) years old
when he complied with the requirements of C.A. No. 625 on 15 June 1999, or over fourteen (14) years
after he had reached the age of majority. Based on the interpretation of the phrase "upon reaching the
age of majority," Ching's election was clearly beyond, by any reasonable yardstick, the allowable
period within which to exercise the privilege. It should be stated, in this connection, that the special
circumstances invoked by Ching, i.e., his continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines and his
being a certified public accountant, a registered voter and a former elected public official, cannot vest
in him Philippine citizenship as the law specifically lays down the requirements for acquisition of
Philippine citizenship by election.
Definitely, the so-called special circumstances cannot constitute what Ching erroneously labels as
informal election of citizenship. Ching cannot find a refuge in the case of In re: Florencio Mallare, 15

the pertinent portion of which reads:


And even assuming arguendo that Ana Mallare were (sic) legally married to an alien,
Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when he came of age, constitutes a positive act
of election of Philippine citizenship. It has been established that Esteban Mallare was a
registered voter as of April 14, 1928, and that as early as 1925 (when he was about 22
years old), Esteban was already participating in the elections and campaigning for
certain candidate[s]. These acts are sufficient to show his preference for Philippine
citizenship. 16
Ching's reliance on Mallare is misplaced. The facts and circumstances obtaining therein are very
different from those in the present case, thus, negating its applicability. First, Esteban Mallare was born
before the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution and the enactment of C.A. No. 625. Hence, the
requirements and procedures prescribed under the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 for electing
Philippine citizenship would not be applicable to him. Second, the ruling in Mallare was an obiter
since, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, it was not necessary for Esteban Mallare to elect Philippine
citizenship because he was already a Filipino, he being a natural child of a Filipino mother. In this
regard, the Court stated:
Esteban Mallare, natural child of Ana Mallare, a Filipina, is therefore himself a Filipino,
and no other act would be necessary to confer on him all the rights and privileges
attached to Philippine citizenship (U.S. vs. Ong Tianse, 29 Phil. 332; Santos Co vs.
Government of the Philippine Islands, 42 Phil. 543, Serra vs. Republic, L-4223, May 12,
1952, Sy Quimsuan vs. Republic, L-4693, Feb. 16, 1953; Pitallano vs. Republic, L-5111,
June 28, 1954). Neither could any act be taken on the erroneous belief that he is a non-
filipino divest him of the citizenship privileges to which he is rightfully entitled. 17
The ruling in Mallare was reiterated and further elaborated in Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of
Representatives, 18 where we held:
We have jurisprudence that defines "election" as both a formal and an informal process.
In the case of In re: Florencio Mallare (59 SCRA 45 [1974]), the Court held that the
exercise of the right of suffrage and the participation in election exercises constitute a
positive act of election of Philippine citizenship. In the exact pronouncement of the
Court, we held:
Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when he came of age constitutes
a positive act of Philippine citizenship. (p. 52: emphasis supplied)
The private respondent did more than merely exercise his right of suffrage. He has established his life
here in the Philippines.
For those in the peculiar situation of the respondent who cannot be excepted to have
elected Philippine citizenship as they were already citizens, we apply the In Re Mallare
rule.
xxx xxx xxx
The filing of sworn statement or formal declaration is a requirement for those who still
have to elect citizenship. For those already Filipinos when the time to elect came up,
there are acts of deliberate choice which cannot be less binding. Entering a profession
open only to Filipinos, serving in public office where citizenship is a qualification,
voting during election time, running for public office, and other categorical acts of
similar nature are themselves formal manifestations for these persons.
An election of Philippine citizenship presupposes that the person electing is an alien. Or
his status is doubtful because he is a national of two countries. There is no doubt in this
case about Mr. Ong's being a Filipino when he turned twenty-one (21).
We repeat that any election of Philippine citizenship on the part of the private
respondent would not only have been superfluous but it would also have resulted in an
absurdity. How can a Filipino citizen elect Philippine citizenship? 19
The Court, like the OSG, is sympathetic with the plight of Ching. However, even if we consider the
special circumstances in the life of Ching like his having lived in the Philippines all his life and his
consistent belief that he is a Filipino, controlling statutes and jurisprudence constrain us to disagree
with the recommendation of the OSG. Consequently, we hold that Ching failed to validly elect
Philippine citizenship. The span of fourteen (14) years that lapsed from the time he reached the age of
majority until he finally expressed his intention to elect Philippine citizenship is clearly way beyond the
contemplation of the requirement of electing "upon reaching the age of majority." Moreover, Ching has
offered no reason why he delayed his election of Philippine citizenship. The prescribed procedure in
electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and painstaking process. All that is required of
the elector is to execute an affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same
with the nearest civil registry. Ching's unreasonable and unexplained delay in making his election
cannot be simply glossed over.
Philippine citizenship can never be treated like a commodity that can be claimed when needed and
suppressed when convenient. 20 One who is privileged to elect Philippine citizenship has only an
inchoate right to such citizenship. As such, he should avail of the right with fervor, enthusiasm and
promptitude. Sadly, in this case, Ching slept on his opportunity to elect Philippine citizenship and, as a
result. this golden privilege slipped away from his grasp.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court Resolves to DENY Vicente D. Ching's application for
admission to the Philippine Bar.
SO ORDERED.

IN THE MATTER OF THE DISQUALIFICATION OF BAR EXAMINEE HARON S. MELING IN


THE 2002 BAR EXAMINATIONS AND FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AS MEMBER OF THE
PHILIPPINE SHARIA BAR,
ATTY. FROILAN R. MELENDREZ, petitioner,
RESOLUTION
TINGA, J.:
The Court is here confronted with a Petition that seeks twin reliefs, one of which is ripe while the other
has been rendered moot by a supervening event.
The antecedents follow.
On , Atty. Froilan R. Melendrez (Melendrez) filed with the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) a
Petition[1] to disqualify Haron S. Meling (Meling) from taking the 2002 Bar Examinations and to
impose on him the appropriate disciplinary penalty as a member of the Philippine Sharia Bar.
In the Petition, Melendrez alleges that Meling did not disclose in his Petition to take the 2002 Bar
Examinations that he has three (3) pending criminal cases before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities
(MTCC), , namely: Criminal Cases Noa. 15685 and 15686, both for Grave Oral Defamation, and
Criminal Case No. 15687 for Less Serious Physical Injuries.
The above-mentioned cases arose from an incident which occurred on , when Meling allegedly uttered
defamatory words against Melendrez and his wife in front of media practitioners and other people.
Meling also purportedly attacked and hit the face of Melendrez wife causing the injuries to the latter.
Furthermore, Melendrez alleges that Meling has been using the title Attorney in his communications, as
Secretary to the Mayor of Cotabato City, despite the fact that he is not a member of the Bar. Attached
to the Petition is an indorsement letter which shows that Meling used the appellation and appears on its
face to have been received by the Sangguniang Panglungsod of on .
Pursuant to this Courts Resolution[2] dated , Meling filed his Answer with the OBC.
In his Answer,[3] Meling explains that he did not disclose the criminal cases filed against him by
Melendrez because retired Judge Corocoy Moson, their former professor, advised him to settle his
misunderstanding with Melendrez. Believing in good faith that the case would be settled because the
said Judge has moral ascendancy over them, he being their former professor in the of , Meling
considered the three cases that actually arose from a single incident and involving the same parties as
closed and terminated. Moreover, Meling denies the charges and adds that the acts complained of do
not involve moral turpitude.
As regards the use of the title Attorney, Meling admits that some of his communications really
contained the word Attorney as they were, according to him, typed by the office clerk.
In its Report and Recommendation[4] dated , the OBC disposed of the charge of non-disclosure against
Meling in this wise:
The reasons of Meling in not disclosing the criminal cases filed against him in his petition to take the
Bar Examinations are ludicrous. He should have known that only the court of competent jurisdiction
can dismiss cases, not a retired judge nor a law professor. In fact, the cases filed against Meling are still
pending. Furthermore, granting arguendo that these cases were already dismissed, he is still required to
disclose the same for the Court to ascertain his good moral character. Petitions to take the Bar
Examinations are made under oath, and should not be taken lightly by an applicant.
The merit of the cases against Meling is not material in this case. What matters is his act of concealing
them which constitutes dishonesty.
In Bar Matter 1209, the Court stated, thus:
It has been held that good moral character is what a person really is, as distinguished from good
reputation or from the opinion generally entertained of him, the estimate in which he is held by the
public in the place where he is known. Moral character is not a subjective term but one which
corresponds to objective reality. The standard of personal and professional integrity is not satisfied by
such conduct as it merely enables a person to escape the penalty of criminal law. Good moral character
includes at least common honesty.
The non-disclosure of Meling of the criminal cases filed against him makes him also answerable under
Rule 7.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states that a lawyer shall be answerable for
knowingly making a false statement or suppressing a material fact in connection with his application
for admission to the bar.[5]
As regards Melings use of the title Attorney, the OBC had this to say:
Anent the issue of the use of the appellation Attorney in his letters, the explanation of Meling is not
acceptable. Aware that he is not a member of the Bar, there was no valid reason why he signed as
attorney whoever may have typed the letters.
Although there is no showing that Meling is engaged in the practice of law, the fact is, he is signing his
communications as Atty. Haron S. Meling knowing fully well that he is not entitled thereto. As held by
the Court in Bar Matter 1209, the unauthorized use of the appellation attorney may render a person
liable for indirect contempt of court.[6]
Consequently, the OBC recommended that Meling not be allowed to take the Lawyers Oath and sign
the Roll of Attorneys in the event that he passes the Bar Examinations. Further, it recommended that
Melings membership in the Sharia Bar be suspended until further orders from the Court.[7]
We fully concur with the findings and recommendation of the OBC. Meling, however, did not pass the
2003 Bar Examinations. This renders the Petition, insofar as it seeks to prevent Meling from taking the
Lawyers Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys, moot and academic.
On the other hand, the prayer in the same Petition for the Court to impose the appropriate sanctions
upon him as a member of the Sharia Bar is ripe for resolution and has to be acted upon.
Practice of law, whether under the regular or the Sharia Court, is not a matter of right but merely a
privilege bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in the law but who are also known to
possess good moral character.[8] The requirement of good moral character is not only a condition
precedent to admission to the practice of law, its continued possession is also essential for remaining in
the practice of law.[9]
The standard form issued in connection with the application to take the 2002 Bar Examinations
requires the applicant to aver that he or she has not been charged with any act or omission punishable
by law, rule or regulation before a fiscal, judge, officer or administrative body, or indicted for, or
accused or convicted by any court or tribunal of, any offense or crime involving moral turpitude; nor is
there any pending case or charge against him/her. Despite the declaration required by the form, Meling
did not reveal that he has three pending criminal cases. His deliberate silence constitutes concealment,
done under oath at that.
The disclosure requirement is imposed by the Court to determine whether there is satisfactory evidence
of good moral character of the applicant.[10] The nature of whatever cases are pending against the
applicant would aid the Court in determining whether he is endowed with the moral fitness demanded
of a lawyer. By concealing the existence of such cases, the applicant then flunks the test of fitness even
if the cases are ultimately proven to be unwarranted or insufficient to impugn or affect the good moral
character of the applicant.
Melings concealment of the fact that there are three (3) pending criminal cases against him speaks of
his lack of the requisite good moral character and results in the forfeiture of the privilege bestowed
upon him as a member of the Sharia Bar.
Moreover, his use of the appellation Attorney, knowing fully well that he is not entitled to its use,
cannot go unchecked. In Alawi v. Alauya,[11] the Court had the occasion to discuss the impropriety of
the use of the title Attorney by members of the Sharia Bar who are not likewise members of the
Philippine Bar. The respondent therein, an executive clerk of court of the 4th Judicial Sharia District in ,
used the title Attorney in several correspondence in connection with the rescission of a contract entered
into by him in his private capacity. The Court declared that:
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.[12]
The judiciary has no place for dishonest officers of the court, such as Meling in this case. The solemn
task of administering justice demands that those who are privileged to be part of service therein, from
the highest official to the lowliest employee, must not only be competent and dedicated, but likewise
live and practice the virtues of honesty and integrity. Anything short of this standard would diminish
the public's faith in the Judiciary and constitutes infidelity to the constitutional tenet that a public office
is a public trust.
In Leda v. Tabang, supra, the respondent concealed the fact of his marriage in his application to take
the Bar examinations and made conflicting submissions before the Court. As a result, we found the
respondent grossly unfit and unworthy to continue in the practice of law and suspended him therefrom
until further orders from the Court.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED insofar as it seeks the imposition of appropriate sanctions
upon Haron S. Meling as a member of the Philippine Sharia Bar. Accordingly, the membership of
Haron S. Meling in the Philippine Sharia Bar is hereby SUSPENDED until further orders from the
Court, the suspension to take effect immediately. Insofar as the Petition seeks to prevent Haron S.
Meling from taking the Lawyers Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys as a member of the Philippine
Bar, the same is DISMISSED for having become moot and academic.
Copies of this Decision shall be circulated to all the Sharia Courts in the country for their information
and guidance.
SO ORDERED.

SOPHIA ALAWI, complainant, vs. ASHARY M. ALAUYA, Clerk of Court VI, Shari'a District Court,
Marawi City, respondent.
DECISION
NARVASA, C.J.:
Sophia Alawi was (and presumably still is) a sales representative (or coordinator) of E. B. Villarosa &
Partners Co., Ltd. of Davao City, a real estate and housing company. Ashari M. Alauya is the
incumbent executive clerk of court of the 4th Judicial Shari'a District in Marawi City. They were
classmates, and used to be friends.
It appears that through Alawi's agency, a contract was executed for the purchase on installments by
Alauya of one of the housing units belonging to the above mentioned firm (hereafter, simply Villarosa
& Co.); and in connection therewith, a housing loan was also granted to Alauya by the National Home
Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).
Not long afterwards, or more precisely on December 15, 1995, Alauya addressed a letter to the
President of Villarosa & Co. advising of the termination of his contract with the company. He wrote:
" ** I am formally and officially withdrawing from and notifying you of my intent to terminate the
Contract/Agreement entered into between me and your company, as represented by your Sales
Agent/Coordinator, SOPHIA ALAWI, of your company's branch office here in Cagayan de Oro City,
on the grounds that my consent was vitiated by gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, dishonesty and
abuse of confidence by the aforesaid sales agent which made said contract void ab initio. Said sales
agent acting in bad faith perpetrated such illegal and unauthorized acts which made said contract an
Onerous Contract prejudicial to my rights and interests."
He then proceeded to expound in considerable detail and quite acerbic language on the "grounds which
could evidence the bad faith, deceit, fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty and abuse of confidence by
the unscrupulous sales agent ** ;" and closed with the plea that Villarosa & Co. "agree for the mutual
rescission of our contract, even as I inform you that I categorically state on record that I am terminating
the contract **. I hope I do not have to resort to any legal action before said onerous and manipulated
contract against my interest be annulled. I was actually fooled by your sales agent, hence the need to
annul the controversial contract."
Alauya sent a copy of the letter to the Vice-President of Villarosa & Co. at San Pedro, Gusa, Cagayan
de Oro City. The envelope containing it, and which actually went through the post, bore no stamps.
Instead at the right hand corner above the description of the addressee, the words, "Free Postage PD
26," had been typed.
On the same date, December 15, 1995, Alauya also wrote to Mr. Fermin T. Arzaga, Vice-President,
Credit & Collection Group of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) at Salcedo
Village, Makati City, repudiating as fraudulent and void his contract with Villarosa & Co.; and asking
for cancellation of his housing loan in connection therewith, which was payable from salary deductions
at the rate of P4,338.00 a month. Among other things, he said:
" ** (T)hrough this written notice, I am terminating, as I hereby annul, cancel, rescind and voided, the
'manipulated contract' entered into between me and the E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd., as
represented by its sales agent/coordinator, SOPHIA ALAWI, who maliciously and fraudulently
manipulated said contract and unlawfully secured and pursued the housing loan without my authority
and against my will. Thus, the contract itself is deemed to be void ab initio in view of the attending
circumstances, that my consent was vitiated by misrepresentation, fraud, deceit, dishonesty, and abuse
of confidence; and that there was no meeting of the minds between me and the swindling sales agent
who concealed the real facts from me."
And, as in his letter to Villarosa & Co., he narrated in some detail what he took to be the anomalous
actuations of Sophia Alawi.
Alauya wrote three other letters to Mr. Arzaga of the NHMFC, dated February 21, 1996, April 15,
1996, and May 3, 1996, in all of which, for the same reasons already cited, he insisted on the
cancellation of his housing loan and discontinuance of deductions from his salary on account thereof.a
He also wrote on January 18, 1996 to Ms. Corazon M. Ordoez, Head of the Fiscal Management &
Budget Office, and to the Chief, Finance Division, both of this Court, to stop deductions from his
salary in relation to the loan in question, again asserting the anomalous manner by which he was
allegedly duped into entering into the contracts by "the scheming sales agent."b
The upshot was that in May, 1996, the NHMFC wrote to the Supreme Court requesting it to stop
deductions on Alauya's UHLP loan "effective May 1996," and began negotiating with Villarosa & Co.
"for the buy-back of ** (Alauya's) mortgage, and ** the refund of ** (his) payments."c
On learning of Alauya's letter to Villarosa & Co. of December 15, 1995, Sophia Alawi filed with this
Court a verified complaint dated January 25, 1996 -- to which she appended a copy of the letter, and of
the above mentioned envelope bearing the typewritten words, "Free Postage PD 26."[1] In that
complaint, she accused Alauya of:
1. "Imputation of malicious and libelous charges with no solid grounds through manifest ignorance and
evident bad faith;"
2. "Causing undue injury to, and blemishing her honor and established reputation;"
3. "Unauthorized enjoyment of the privilege of free postage **;" and
4. Usurpation of the title of "attorney," which only regular members of the Philippine Bar may properly
use.
She deplored Alauya's references to her as "unscrupulous, swindler, forger, manipulator, etc." without
"even a bit of evidence to cloth (sic) his allegations with the essence of truth," denouncing his
imputations as irresponsible, "all concoctions, lies, baseless and coupled with manifest ignorance and
evident bad faith," and asserting that all her dealings with Alauya had been regular and completely
transparent. She closed with the plea that Alauya "be dismissed from the service, or be appropriately
disciplined (sic) ** "
The Court resolved to order Alauya to comment on the complaint. Conformably with established usage
that notices of resolutions emanate from the corresponding Office of the Clerk of Court, the notice of
resolution in this case was signed by Atty. Alfredo P. Marasigan, Assistant Division Clerk of Court.[2]
Alauya first submitted a "Preliminary Comment"[3] in which he questioned the authority of Atty.
Marasigan to require an explanation of him, this power pertaining, according to him, not to "a mere
Asst. Div. Clerk of Court investigating an Executive Clerk of Court." but only to the District Judge, the
Court Administrator or the Chief Justice, and voiced the suspicion that the Resolution was the result of
a "strong link" between Ms. Alawi and Atty. Marasigan's office. He also averred that the complaint had
no factual basis; Alawi was envious of him for being not only "the Executive Clerk of court and ex-
officio Provincial Sheriff and District Registrar," but also "a scion of a Royal Family **."[4]
In a subsequent letter to Atty. Marasigan, but this time in much less aggressive, even obsequious
tones,[5] Alauya requested the former to give him a copy of the complaint in order that he might
comment thereon.[6] He stated that his acts as clerk of court were done in good faith and within the
confines of the law; and that Sophia Alawi as sales agent of Villarosa & Co. had, by falsifying his
signature, fraudulently bound him to a housing loan contract entailing monthly deductions of P4,333.10
from his salary.
And in his comment thereafter submitted under date of June 5, 1996, Alauya contended that it was he
who had suffered "undue injury, mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded feelings and untold
financial suffering," considering that in six months, a total of P26,028.60 had been deducted from his
salary.[7] He declared that there was no basis for the complaint; in communicating with Villarosa & Co.
he had merely acted in defense of his rights. He denied any abuse of the franking privilege, saying that
he gave P20.00 plus transportation fare to a subordinate whom he entrusted with the mailing of certain
letters; that the words: "Free Postage PD 26," were typewritten on the envelope by some other person,
an averment corroborated by the affidavit of Absamen C. Domocao, Clerk IV (subscribed and sworn to
before respondent himself, and attached to the comment as Annex J);[8] and as far as he knew, his
subordinate mailed the letters with the use of the money he had given for postage, and if those letters
were indeed mixed with the official mail of the court, this had occurred inadvertently and because of an
honest mistake.[9]
Alauya justified his use of the title, "attorney," by the assertion that it is "lexically synonymous" with
"Counsellors-at-law," a title to which Shari'a lawyers have a rightful claim, adding that he prefers the
title of "attorney" because "counsellor" is often mistaken for "councilor," "konsehal or the Maranao
term "consial," connoting a local legislator beholden to the mayor. Withal, he does not consider himself
a lawyer.
He pleads for the Court's compassion, alleging that what he did "is expected of any man unduly
prejudiced and injured."[10] He claims he was manipulated into reposing his trust in Alawi, a classmate
and friend.[11] He was induced to sign a blank contract on Alawi's assurance that she would show the
completed document to him later for correction, but she had since avoided him; despite "numerous
letters and follow-ups" he still does not know where the property -- subject of his supposed agreement
with Alawi's principal, Villarosa & Co. -- is situated;[12] He says Alawi somehow got his GSIS policy
from his wife, and although she promised to return it the next day, she did not do so until after several
months. He also claims that in connection with his contract with Villarosa & Co., Alawi forged his
signature on such pertinent documents as those regarding the down payment, clearance, lay-out, receipt
of the key of the house, salary deduction, none of which he ever saw.[13]
Averring in fine that his acts in question were done without malice, Alauya prays for the dismissal of
the complaint for lack of merit, it consisting of "fallacious, malicious and baseless allegations," and
complainant Alawi having come to the Court with unclean hands, her complicity in the fraudulent
housing loan being apparent and demonstrable.
It may be mentioned that in contrast to his two (2) letters to Assistant Clerk of Court Marasigan (dated
April 19, 1996 and April 22, 1996), and his two (2) earlier letters both dated December 15, 1996 -- all
of which he signed as "Atty. Ashary M. Alauya" -- in his Comment of June 5, 1996, he does not use the
title but refers to himself as "DATU ASHARY M. ALAUYA."
The Court referred the case to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and
recommendation.[14]
The first accusation against Alauya is that in his aforesaid letters, he made "malicious and libelous
charges (against Alawi) with no solid grounds through manifest ignorance and evident bad faith,"
resulting in "undue injury to (her) and blemishing her honor and established reputation." In those
letters, Alauya had written inter alia that:
1) Alawi obtained his consent to the contracts in question "by gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud,
dishonesty and abuse of confidence;"
2) Alawi acted in bad faith and perpetrated ** illegal and unauthorized acts ** ** prejudicial to ** (his)
rights and interests;"
3) Alawi was an "unscrupulous (and "swindling") sales agent" who had fooled him by "deceit, fraud,
misrepresentation, dishonesty and abuse of confidence;" and
4) Alawi had maliciously and fraudulently manipulated the contract with Villarosa & Co., and
unlawfully secured and pursued the housing loan without ** (his) authority and against ** (his) will,"
and "concealed the real facts **."
Alauya's defense essentially is that in making these statements, he was merely acting in defense of his
rights, and doing only what "is expected of any man unduly prejudiced and injured," who had suffered
"mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded feelings and untold financial suffering," considering that in
six months, a total of P26,028.60 had been deducted from his salary.[15]
The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713) inter alia
enunciates the State policy of promoting a high standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the
public service.[16] Section 4 of the Code commands that "(p)ublic officials and employees ** at all
times respect the rights of others, and ** refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good
customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest."[17] More than once has this
Court emphasized that "the conduct and behavior of every official and employee of an agency involved
in the administration of justice, from the presiding judge to the most junior clerk, should be
circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Their conduct must at all times be characterized
by, among others, strict propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep the respect of the public for the
judiciary."[18]
Now, it does not appear to the Court consistent with good morals, good customs or public policy, or
respect for the rights of others, to couch denunciations of acts believed -- however sincerely -- to be
deceitful, fraudulent or malicious, in excessively intemperate. insulting or virulent language. Alauya is
evidently convinced that he has a right of action against Sophia Alawi. The law requires that he
exercise that right with propriety, without malice or vindictiveness, or undue harm to anyone; in a
manner consistent with good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, supra; or otherwise
stated, that he "act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."[19]
Righteous indignation, or vindication of right cannot justify resort to vituperative language, or
downright name-calling. As a member of the Shari'a Bar and an officer of a Court, Alawi is subject to a
standard of conduct more stringent than for most other government workers. As a man of the law, he
may not use language which is abusive, offensive, scandalous, menacing, or otherwise improper.[20] As
a judicial employee, it is expected that he accord respect for the person and the rights of others at all
times, and that his every act and word should be characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy, dignity.
His radical deviation from these salutary norms might perhaps be mitigated, but cannot be excused, by
his strongly held conviction that he had been grievously wronged.
As regards Alauya's use of the title of "Attorney," this Court has already had occasion to declare that
persons who pass the Shari'a Bar are not full-fledged members of the Philippine Bar, hence may only
practice law before Shari'a courts.[21] While one who has been admitted to the Shari'a Bar, and one who
has been admitted to the Philippine Bar, may both be considered "counsellors," in the sense that they
give counsel or advice in a professional capacity, only the latter is an "attorney." The title of "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.
Alauya says he does not wish to use the title, "counsellor" or "counsellor-at-law," because in his region,
there are pejorative connotations to the term, or it is confusingly similar to that given to local
legislators. The ratiocination, valid or not, is of no moment. His disinclination to use the title of
"counsellor" does not warrant his use of the title of attorney.
Finally, respecting Alauya's alleged unauthorized use of the franking privilege, the record contains no
evidence adequately establishing the accusation.
WHEREFORE, respondent Ashari M. Alauya is hereby REPRIMANDED for the use of excessively
intemperate, insulting or virulent language, i.e., language unbecoming a judicial officer, and for
usurping the title of attorney; and he is warned that any similar or other impropriety or misconduct in
the future will be dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. 1162 August 29, 1975


IN RE: VICTORIO D. LANUEVO, former Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court,
respondent.
A.C. No. 1163 August 29, 1975
IN RE: RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, 1971 Bar Examinee, respondent.
A.M. No. 1164 August 29, 1975
IN RE: HON. BERNARDO PARDO, HON. RAMON PAMATIAN, ATTY. MANUEL
TOMACRUZ, ATTY. FIDEL MANALO and ATTY. GUILLERMO PABLO, JR., Members,
1971 Bar Examining Committee, respondent.

MAKASIAR, J.:
Administrative proceedings against Victorio D. Lanuevo — for disbarment; Ramon E. Galang, alias
Roman E. Galang — for disbarment; Hon. Bernardo Pardo, Hon. Ramon Pamatian, Atty. Manuel C.
Tomacruz; Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. — for
disciplinary action — for their acts and omissions during the 1971 Bar Examinations.
In his request dated March 29, 1972 contained in a confidential letter to the Court for re-correction and
re-evaluation of his answer to the 1971 Bar Examinations question, Oscar Landicho — who flunked in
the 1971, 1968 and 1967 Bar Examinations with a grade of 70.5%, 65.35% and 67.55%, respectively
— invited the attention of the Court to "The starling fact that the grade in one examination (Civil Law)
of at least one bar candidate was raised for one reason or another, before the bar results were released
this year" (Confidential Letter, p. 2. Vol. I, rec.). This was confirmed, according to him, by the Civil
Law Examiner himself (Hon. Ramon C. Pamatian) as well as by Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo.
He further therein stated "that there are strong reasons to believe that the grades in other examination
notebooks in other subjects also underwent alternations — to raise the grades — prior to the release of
the results. Note that this was without any formal motion or request from the proper parties, i.e., the bar
candidates concerned. If the examiners concerned reconsidered their grades without formal motion,
there is no reason why they may not do so now when proper request answer motion therefor is made. It
would be contrary to due process postulates. Might not one say that some candidates got unfair and
unjust treatment, for their grades were not asked to be reconsidered 'unofficially'? Why the
discrimination? Does this not afford sufficient reason for the Court en banc to go into these matters by
its conceded power to ultimately decide the matter of admission to the bar?" (p. 2, Confidential Letter,
Vol. I, rec.).
Acting on the aforesaid confidential letter, the Court checked the records of the 1971 Bar Examinations
and found that the grades in five subjects — Political Law and Public International Law, Civil Law,
Mercantile Law, Criminal Law and Remedial Law — of a successful bar candidate with office code
No. 954 underwent some changes which, however, were duly initialed and authenticated by the
respective examiner concerned. Further check of the records revealed that the bar candidate with office
code No. 954 is one Ramon E. Galang, a perennial bar candidate, who flunked in the 1969, 1966, 1964,
1963, and 1962 bar examinations with a grade of 67.55%, 68.65%, 72.75%, 68.2%, 56.45% and
57.3%, respectively. He passed in the 1971 bar examinations with a grade of 74.15%, which was
considered as 75% by virtue of a Court of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% as the passing mark
for the 1971 bar examinations.
Upon the direction of the Court, the 1971 Bar Examination Chairman requested Bar Confidant Victorio
D. Lanuevo and the five (5) bar examiners concerned to submit their sworn statements on the matter,
with which request they complied.
In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, said Bar Confidant admitted having brought the five
examination notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Ramon E. Galang, back to the respective examiners
for re-evaluation and/or re-checking, stating the circumstances under which the same was done and his
reasons for doing the same.
Each of the five (5) examiners in his individual sworn statement admitted having re-evaluated and/or
re-checked the notebook involved pertaining to his subject upon the representation to him by Bar
Confidant Lanuevo that he has the authority to do the same and that the examinee concerned failed
only in his particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing.
Finding a prima facie case against the respondents warranting a formal investigation, the Court
required, in a resolution dated March 5, 1973, Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo "to show cause within
ten (10) days from notice why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" (Adm. Case
No. 1162, p. 34, rec.). Considering that the re-evaluation of the examination papers of Ramon E.
Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was unauthorized, and therefore he did not obtain a passing average in
the 1971 bar examinations, the Court likewise resolved on March 5, 1971 to requires him "to show
cause within ten (10) days from notice why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys"
(Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 99, rec.). The five examiners concerned were also required by the Court "to
show cause within ten (10) days from notice why no disciplinary action should be taken against them"
(Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 31, rec.).
Respondent Tomacruz filed his answer on March 12, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.). while
respondents Pardo, Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Lanuevo filed theirs on March 19, 1973 (Adm.
Case No. 1162, pp. 60-63, 32-35, 40-41, 36-39 and 35-38, rec.). At the hearing on August 27, 1973,
respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in addition to, and in amplication of, his answer
filed on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.). Respondent Galang filed his unverified
answer on March 16, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.). He was required by the Court to
verify the same and complaince came on May 18, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 106-110,) rec.).
In the course of the investigation, it was found that it was not respondent Bernardo Pardo who re-
evaluated and/or re-checked examination booklet with Office Code No. 954 in Political Law and Public
International Law of examinee Ramon Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, but Guillermo Pablo, Jr.,
examiner in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercise, who was asked to help in the correction of a number
of examination notebooks in Political Law and Public International Law to meet the deadline for
submission (pp. 17-24, Vol. V, rec.). Because of this development, Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. was
likewise included as respondent in Administrative Case No. 1164. Hon. Bernardo Pardo remainded as a
respondent for it was also discovered that another paper in Political Law and Public International Law
also underwent re-evaluation and/or re-checking. This notebook with Office Code No. 1662 turned out
to be owned by another successful candidate by the name of Ernesto Quitaleg. Further investigation
resulted in the discovery of another re-evaluation and/or re-checking of a notebook in the subject of
Mercantile Law resulting in the change of the grade from 4% to 50% This notebook bearing Office
Code No. 110 is owned by another successful candidate by the name of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. Quitaleg
and Ty dela Cruz and the latter's father were summoned to testify in the investigation.
An investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation upon request of the Chairman of
the 1971 Bar Examination Committee as Investigation Officer, showed that one Romy Galang y
Esguerra, alias Ramon E. Galang, a student in the School of Law of Manuel L. Quezon University,
was, on September 8, 1959, charged with the crime of slight physical injuries in the Municipal Court of
Manila committed on Eufrosino F. de Vera, another student of the same university. Confronted with
this information at the hearing of August 13, 1973 (Vol. V, pp. 20-21, 32, rec.), respondent Galang
declared that he does not remember having been charged with the crime of slight physical injuries in
that case. (Vol. VI, pp. 45-60, rec.).
Respondent Galang, in all his application to take the bar examinations, did not make mention of this
fact which he is required under the rules to do.
The joint investigation of all the cases commenced on July 17, 1973 and was terminated on October 2,
1973. Thereafter, parties-respondents were required to submit their memoranda. Respondents Lanuevo,
Galang and Pardo submitted their respective memorandum on November 14, 1973.
Before the joint hearing commenced, Oscar Landicho took up permanent residence in Australia, where
he is believed to be gainfully employed. Hence, he was not summoned to testify.
At the joint investigation, all respondents, except respondent Pablo, who offered as evidence only his
oral testimony, submitted as their direct evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct
evidence the affidavits and answers earlier submitted by them to the Court. The same became the basis
for their cross-examination.
In their individual sworn statements and answer, which they offered as their direct testimony in the
investigation conducted by the Court, the respondent-examiners recounted the circumstances under
which they re-evaluated and/or re-checked the examination notebooks in question.
In His affidavit dated April 11, 1972, respondent Judge (later Associate Justice of the Court of
Appeals) Ramon C. Pamatian, examiner in Civil Law, affirmed:
2. That one evening sometime in December last year, while I was correcting the
examination notebooks, Atty. Lanuevo, Bar Confidant, explained to me that it is the
practice and the policy in bar examinations that he (Atty. Lanuevo) make a review of the
grades obtained in all subjects and if he finds that candidate obtained an extraordinary
high grade in one subject and a rather low one in another, he will bring back the latter
to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation and change of grade;
3. That sometime in the latter part of January of this year, he brought back to me an
examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, because according to him the owner
of the paper is on the borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the
candidate concerned will get passing mark;
4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and
policy of the Supreme Court to do so in the further belief that I was just manifesting
cooperation in doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%;
5. That only one notebook in Civil Law was brought back to me for such re-evaluation
and upon verifying my files I found that the notebook is numbered '95;
6. That the original grade was 64% and my re-evaluation of the answers were based on
the same standard used in the correction and evaluation of all others; thus, Nos. 3 and 4
with original grades of 7% each was reconsidered to 10%; No. 5 with 4% to 5%; No. 7
with 3% to 5%; and No. 8 with 8% to 10% (emphasis supplied).
His answer dated March 19, 1973 substantially reiterated his allegations in his April 11, 1972 affidavit
with following additional statements:
xxx xxx xxx
3. ... However the grades in Nos. 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10, were not reconsidered as it is no
longer to make the reconsideration of these answers because of the same evaluation and
standard; hence, Nos. 1, 2 and 10 remainded at 5% and Nos. 6 and 9 at 10%;
4. That at the time I made the reconsideration of examination booklet No. 951 I did not
know the identity of its owner until I received this resolution of the Honorable Supreme
Court nor the identities of the examiners in other subjects;
5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am
authorized to do so in view of the misrepresentation of said Atty. Lanuevo, based on the
following circumstances:
a) Since I started correcting the papers on or about October 16, 1971,
relationship between Atty. Lanuevo and myself had developed to the
point that with respect to the correction of the examination booklets of bar
candidates I have always followed him and considered his instructions as
reflecting the rules and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court with
respect to the same; that I have no alternative but to take his words;
b) That considering this relationship and considering his
misrepresentation to me as reflecting the real and policy of the Honorable
Supreme Court, I did not bother any more to get the consent and
permission of the Chairman of the Bar Committee. Besides, at that time, I
was isolating myself from all members of the Supreme Court and
specially the chairman of the Bar Committee for fear that I might be
identified as a bar examiner;
xxx xxx xxx
e) That no consideration whatsoever has been received by me in return for such
recorrection, and as proof of it, I declined to consider and evaluate one booklet in
Remedial Law aforesaid because I was not the one who made the original correction of
the same (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-35, rec.; emphasis supplied).
Then Assistant Solicitor General, now CFI Judge, Bernardo Pardo, examiner in Political Law and
Public International Law, confirmed in his affidavit of April 8, 1972 that:
On a day or two after the Bar Confidant went to my residence to obtain from me the last
bag of two hundred notebooks (bearing examiner's code numbers 1200 to 1400) which
according to my record was on February 5, 1972, he came to my residence at about 7:30
p.m. riding in a Vokswagen panel of the Supreme Court, with at least two companions.
The bar confidant had with him an examinee's notebook bearing code number 661, and,
after the usual amenties, he requested me if it was possible for me to review and re-
examine the said notebook because it appears that the examinee obtained a grade of 57,
whereas, according to the Bar Confidant, the said examinee had obtained higher grades
in other subjects, the highest of which was 84, if I recall correctly, in remedial law.
I asked the Bar Confidant if I was allowed to receive or re-examinee the notebook as I
had submitted the same beforehand, and he told me that I was authorized to do so
because the same was still within my control and authority as long as the particular
examinee's name had not been identified or that the code number decode and the
examinee's name was revealed. The Bar Confidant told me that the name of the
examinee in the case present bearing code number 661 had not been identified or
revealed; and that it might have been possible that I had given a particularly low grade to
said examinee.
Accepting at face value the truth of the Bar Confidant's representations to me, and as it
was humanly possible that I might have erred in the grading of the said notebook, I re-
examined the same, carefully read the answer, and graded it in accordance with the same
standards I had used throughout the grading of the entire notebooks, with the result that
the examinee deserved an increased grade of 66. After again clearing with the Bar
Confidant my authority to correct the grades, and as he had assured me that the code
number of the examinee in question had not been decoded and his name known, ... I
therefore corrected the total grade in the notebook and the grade card attached thereto,
and properly initia(l)ed the same. I also corrected the itemized grades (from item No. 1
to item No. 10) on the two sets of grading sheets, my personal copy thereof, and the Bar
Confidant brought with him the other copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought with
him the other copy the grading sheet" (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-59; rec.; emphasis
supplied)
In his answer dated March 17, 1973 which he denominated as "Explanation", respondent Bernardo P.
Pardo adopted and replaced therein by reference the facts stated in his earlier sworn statement and in
additional alleged that:
xxx xxx xxx
3. At the time I reviewed the examinee's notebook in political and international law,
code numbered 661, I did know the name of the examinee. In fact, I came to know his
name only upon receipt of the resolution of March 5, 1973; now knowing his name, I
wish to state that I do not know him personally, and that I have never met him even up
to the present;
4. At that time, I acted under the impression that I was authorized to make such review,
and had repeatedly asked the Bar Confidant whether I was authorized to make such
revision and was so assured of my authority as the name of the examinee had not yet
been decoded or his identity revealed. The Bar Confidant's assurance was apparently
regular and so appeared to be in the regular course of express prohibition in the rules
and guidelines given to me as an examiner, and the Bar Confidant was my official
liaison with the Chairman, as, unless called, I refrained as much as possible from
frequent personal contact with the Chairman lest I be identified as an examiner. ...;
5. At the time the Bar Confidant came to see me at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening at
my residence, I felt it inappropriate to verify his authority with the Chairman. It did not
appear to me that his representations were unauthorized or suspicious. Indeed, the Bar
Confidant was riding in the official vehicle of the Supreme Court, a Volkswagen panel,
accompanied by two companions, which was usual, and thus looked like a regular visit
to me of the Bar Confidant, as it was about the same hour that he used to see me:
xxx xxx xxx
7. Indeed, the notebook code numbered 661 was still in the same condition as when I
submitted the same. In agreeing to review the said notebook code numbered 661, my
aim was to see if I committed an error in the correction, not to make the examinee pass
the subject. I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected
that particular notebook on December 31, 1971, considering especially the
representation of the Bar Confidant that the said examinee had obtained higher grades
in other subjects, the highest of which was 84% in remedial law, if I recall correctly. Of
course, it did not strike me as unusual that the Bar Confidant knew the grades of the
examinee in the position to know and that there was nothing irregular in that:
8. In political and international law, the original grade obtained by the examinee with
notebook code numbered 661 was 57%. After review, it was increased by 9 points,
resulting in a final grade of 66%. Still, the examinee did not pass the subject, and, as
heretofore stated, my aim was not to make the examinee pass, notwithstanding the
representation that he had passed the other subjects. ...
9. I quite recall that during the first meeting of the Bar Examiners' Committee consensus
was that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner
in said subject would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular. At the
time of the Committee's first meeting, we still did not know the names of the candidates.
10. In fine, I was a victim of deception, not a party to it. It had absolutely no knowledge
of the motives of the Bar Confidant or his malfeasance in office, and did not know the
examinee concerned nor had I any kind of contract with him before or rather the review
and even up to the present (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63; rec.; emphasis supplied).
Atty. Manuel Tomacruz, examiner in Criminal Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 12, 1972:
1. xxx xxx xxx
2. That about weekly, the Bar Confidant would deliver and collect examination books to
my residence at 951 Luna Mencias, Mandaluyong, Rizal.
3. That towards the end when I had already completed correction of the books in
Criminal Law and was helping in the correction of some of the papers in another subject,
the Bar Confidant brought back to me one (1) paper in Criminal Law saying that that
particular examinee had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and
that if his paper in Criminal Law would be raised a few points to 75% then he would
make the general passing average.
4. That seeing the jurisdiction, I raised the grade to 75%, that is, giving a raise of, if I
remember correctly, 2 or 3 points, initialled the revised mark and revised also the mark
and revised also the mark in the general list.
5. That I do not recall the number of the book of the examinee concerned" (Adm. Case
No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis supplied).
In his answer dated March 12, 1973, respondent Tomacruz stated that "I accepted the word of the Bar
Confidant in good faith and without the slightest inkling as to the identity of the examinee in question
who up to now remains a total stranger and without expectation of nor did I derive any personal
benefit" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.; emphasis supplied).
Atty. Fidel Manalo, examiner in Remedial Law, stated in his affidavit dated April 14, 1972, that:
xxx xxx xxx
2. Sometime about the late part of January or early part of February 1972, Attorney
Lanuevo, Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court, saw me in my house at No. 1854
Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal. He produced to me an examinee's notebook in Remedial
Law which I had previously graded and submitted to him. He informed me that he and
others (he used the words "we") had reviewed the said notebook. He requested me to
review the said notebook and possibly reconsider the grade that I had previously given.
He explained that the examine concerned had done well in other subjects, but that
because of the comparatively low grade that I had given him in Remedial Law his
general average was short of passing. Mr. Lanuevo remarked that he thought that if the
paper were reviewed I might find the examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar.
As far as I can recall, Mr. Lanuevo particularly called my attention to the fact in his
answers the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good enough English. Mr.
Lanuevo however informed me that whether I would reconsider the grades I had
previously given and submitted was entirely within my discretion.
3. Believing fully that it was within Mr. Lanuevo's authority as Bar Confidant to address
such a request to me and that the said request was in order, I, in the presence of Mr.
Lanuevo, proceeded tore-read and re-evaluate each and every item of the paper in
question. I recall that in my re-evaluation of the answers, I increased the grades in some
items, made deductions in other items, and maintained the same grades in other items.
However, I recall that after Mr. Lanuevo and I had totalled the new grades that I had
given after re-evaluation, the total grade increased by a few points, but still short of the
passing mark of 75% in my subject.
xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 74-75, rec.; emphasis supplied).
In his answer (response) dated March 18, 1973, respondent Manalo reiterated the contents of his sworn
statement, adding the following:
xxx xxx xxx
5. In agreeing to re-evaluate the notebook, with resulted in increasing the total grade of
the examinee-concerned in Remedial Law from 63.75% to 74.5%, herein respondent
acted in good faith. It may well be that he could be faulted for not having verified from
the Chairman of the Committee of Bar Examiners the legitimacy of the request made by
Mr. Lanuevo. Herein respondent, however, pleads in attenuation of such omission, that

a) Having been appointed an Examiner for the first time, he was not
aware, not having been apprised otherwise, that it was not within the
authority of the Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court to request or suggest
that the grade of a particular examination notebook be revised or
reconsidered. He had every right to presume, owing to the highly
fiduciary nature of the position of the Bar Confidant, that the request was
legitimate.
xxx xxx xxx
c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein
respondent carefully evaluated each and every answer written in the
notebook. Testing the answers by the criteria laid down by the Court, and
giving the said examinee the benefit of doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's
representation that it was only in that particular subject that the said
examine failed, herein respondent became convinced that the said
examinee deserved a higher grade than that previously given to him, but
that he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to be
given the passing grade of 75%. It should also be mentioned that, in
reappraising the answers, herein respondent downgraded a previous rating
of an answer written by the examinee, from 9.25% to 9% (Adm. Case No.
1164, pp. 36-39, rec.; emphasis supplied).
Atty. Manuel Montecillo, examiner in Mercantile Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 17, 1972:
xxx xxx xxx
That during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners' Committee after the Bar
Examinations were held, I was informed that one Bar examinee passed all other subjects
except Mercantile Law;
That I informed the Bar Examiners' Committee that I would be willing to re-evaluate the
paper of this particular Bar candidate;.
That the next day, the Bar Confidant handed to me a Bar candidate's notebook (No.
1613) showing a grade of 61%;
That I reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers of this particular
Bar candidate I decided to increase his final grade to 71%;
That consequently, I amended my report and duly initialed the changes in the grade
sheet (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.; emphasis supplied).
In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Montecillo restated the contents of his sworn
statement of April 17, 1972, and
xxx xxx xxx
2. Supplementary to the foregoing sworn statement, I hereby state that I re-evaluated the
examination notebook of Bar Candidate No. 1613 in Mercantile Law in absolute good
faith and in direct compliance with the agreement made during one of the deliberations
of the Bar Examiners Committee that where a candidate fails in only one subject, the
Examiner concerned should make a re-evaluation of the answers of the candidate
concerned, which I did.
3. Finally, I hereby state that I did not know at the time I made the aforementioned re-
evaluation that notebook No. 1613 in Mercantile Law pertained to bar examine Ramon
E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, and that I have never met up to this time this
particular bar examinee (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, rec.; emphasis supplied).
In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, Bar Confidant Lanuevo stated:
xxx xxx xxx
As I was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and the
posting on the record of ratings, I was impressed of the writing and the answers on the
first notebook. This led me to scrutinize all the set of notebooks. Believing that those five
merited re-evalation on the basis of the memorandum circularized to the examiners
shortly earlier to the effect that
... in the correction of the papers, substantial weight should then be given
to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning' (par. 4),
I took it upon myself to bring them back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation
and/or re-checking.
It is our experience in the Bar Division that immediately after the release of the results of
the examinations, we are usually swarmed with requests of the examinees that they be
shown their notebooks. Many of them would copy their answers and have them checked
by their professors. Eventually some of them would file motions or requests for re-
correction and/or re-evaluation. Right now, we have some 19 of such motions or
requests which we are reading for submission to the Honorable Court.
Often we feel that a few of them are meritorious, but just the same they have to be
denied because the result of the examinations when released is final and irrevocable.
It was to at least minimize the occurrence of such instances that motivated me to bring
those notebooks back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation" (Adm. Case No.
1162, p. 24, rec.; emphasis supplied).
In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Lanuevo avers:
That he submitted the notebooks in question to the examiners concerned in his hotest
belief that the same merited re-evaluation; that in so doing, it was not his intention to
forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as bar confidant but on the contrary to do
justice to the examinee concerned; that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner,
because the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was inorder was left alone to the
examiners' decision; and that, to his knowledge, he does not remember having made the
alleged misrepresentation but that he remembers having brought to the attention of the
Committee during the meeting a matter concerning another examinee who obtained a
passing general average but with a grade below 50% in Mercantile Law. As the
Committee agreed to remove the disqualification by way of raising the grade in said
subject, respondent brought the notebook in question to the Examiner concerned who
thereby raised the grade thus enabling the said examinee to pass. If he remembers right,
the examinee concerned is one surnamed "de la Cruz" or "Ty-de la Cruz".
Your Honors, respondent never entertained a notion that his act would stir such serious
charges as would tend to undermine his integrity because he did it in all good faith.
xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 35, rec.; emphasis supplied).
On August 27, 1973, during the course of the investigation, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn
statement in addition to, and in amplification of, his answer, stating:
xxx xxx xxx
1. That I vehemently deny having deceived the examiners concerned into believing that
the examinee involved failed only in their respective subjects, the fact of the matter
being that the notebooks in question were submitted to the respective examiners for re-
evaluation believing in all good faith that they so merited on the basis of the
Confidential Memorandum (identified and marked as Exh. 1-Lanuevo, particularly that
portion marked as Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo)which was circulated to all the examiners earlier,
leaving to them entirely the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was in order,
2. That the following coincidence prompted me to pry into the notebooks in question:
Sometime during the latter part of January and the early part of February,
1972, on my way back to the office (Bar Division) after lunch, I though of
buying a sweepstake ticket. I have always made it a point that the moment
I think of so buying, I pick a number from any object and the first number
that comes into my sight becomes the basis of the ticket that I buy. At that
moment, the first number that I saw was "954" boldly printed on an
electrical contribance (evidently belonging to the MERALCO) attached to
a post standing along the right sidewalk of P. Faura street towards the
Supreme Court building from San Marcelino street and almost adjacent to
the south-eastern corner of the fence of the Araullo High
School(photograph of the number '954', the contrivance on which it is
printed and a portion of the post to which it is attached is identified and
marked as Exhibit 4-Lanuevo and the number "954" as Exh. 4-a-
Lanuevo).
With this number (954) in mind, I proceeded to Plaza Sta. Cruz to look
for a ticket that would contain such number. Eventually, I found a ticket,
which I then bought, whose last three digits corresponded to "954". This
number became doubly impressive to me because the sum of all the six
digits of the ticket number was "27", a number that is so significant to me
that everything I do I try somewhat instinctively to link or connect it with
said number whenever possible. Thus even in assigning code numbers on
the Master List of examinees from 1968 when I first took charge of the
examinations as Bar Confidant up to 1971, I either started with the
number "27" (or "227") or end with said number. (1968 Master List is
identified and marked as Exh. 5-Lanuevo and the figure "27" at the
beginning of the list, as Exh. 5-a Lanuevo; 1969 Master List as Exh. 6-
Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 6-a-
Lanuevo; 1970 Master List as Exh. 7-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the
beginning of the list as Exh. 7-a-Lanuevo; and the 1971 Master List as
Exh. 8-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the end of the list as Exh. 8-a-
Lanuevo).
The significance to me of this number (27) was born out of these
incidents in my life, to wit: (a) On November 27, 1941 while with the
Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija,
I was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija
Provincial Hospital as a result. As will be recalled, the last Pacific War
broke out on December 8, 1941. While I was still confined at the hospital,
our camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13,
1941 resulting in many casualties. From then on, I regarded November
27, 1941 as the beginning of a new life for me having been saved from
the possibility of being among the casualties;(b) On February 27, 1946, I
was able to get out of the army byway of honorable discharge; and (c) on
February 27, 1947, I got married and since then we begot children the
youngest of whom was born on February 27, 1957.
Returning to the office that same afternoon after buying the ticket, I
resumed my work which at the time was on the checking of the
notebooks. While thus checking, I came upon the notebooks bearing the
office code number "954". As the number was still fresh in my mind, it
aroused my curiosity prompting me to pry into the contents of the
notebooks. Impressed by the clarity of the writing and language and the
apparent soundness of the answers and, thereby, believing in all good
faith on the basis of the aforementioned Confidential Memorandum (Exh.
1-Lanuevo and Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo) that they merited re-evaluation, I set
them aside and later on took them back to the respective examiners for
possible review recalling to them the said Confidential Memorandum but
leaving absolutely the matter to their discretion and judgment.
3. That the alleged misrepresentation or deception could have reference to either of the
two cases which I brought to the attention of the committee during the meeting and
which the Committee agreed to refer back to the respective examines, namely:
(a) That of an examinee who obtained a passing general average but with
a grade below 50% (47%) in Mercantile Law(the notebooks of this
examinee bear the Office Code No. 110, identified and marked as Exh. 9-
Lanuevo and the notebook in Mercantile Law bearing the Examiner's
Code No. 951 with the original grade of 4% increased to 50% after re-
evaluation as Exh. 9-a-Lanuevo); and
(b) That of an examinee who obtained a borderline general average of
73.15% with a grade below 60% (57%) in one subject which, at the time,
I could not pinpoint having inadvertently left in the office the data
thereon. It turned out that the subject was Political and International Law
under Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (The notebooks of this
examinee bear the Office Code No. 1622 identified and marked as Exh.
10-Lanuevo and the notebook in Political and International Law bearing
the Examiner's Code No. 661 with the original grade of 57% increased to
66% after re-evaluation, as Exh. 10-a-Lanuevo). This notebook in
Political and International Law is precisely the same notebook mentioned
in the sworn statement of Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo(Exh. ---
---- Pardo).
4. That in each of the two cases mentioned in the next preceding paragraph, only one (1)
subject or notebook was reviewed or re-evaluated, that is, only Mercantile Law in the
former; and only Political and International Law in the latter, under the facts and
circumstances I made known to the Committee and pursuant to which the Committee
authorized the referral of the notebooks involved to the examiners concerned;
5. That at that juncture, the examiner in Taxation even volunteered to review or re-check
some 19, or so, notebooks in his subject but that I told the Committee that there was very
little time left and that the increase in grade after re-evaluation, unless very highly
substantial, may not alter the outcome since the subject carries the weight of only 10%
(Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.).
The foregoing last-minute embellishment only serves to accentuate the fact that Lanuevo's story is
devoid of truth. In his sworn statement of April 12, 1972, he was "led to scrutinize all the set of
notebooks" of respondent Galang, because he "was impressed of the writing and the answers on the
first notebook "as he "was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and
the posting on the record of ratings." In his affidavit of August 27, 1973, he stated that the number 954
on a Meralco post provoked him "to pry into the contents of the notebooks" of respondent Galang
"bearing office code number '954."
Respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, asserted, among others;
1. That herein respondent is not acquainted with former BarConfidant Victorio Lanuevo
and never met him before except once when, as required by the latter respondent
submitted certain papers necessary for taking the bar examinations.
xxx xxx xxx
4. That it has been the consistent policy of the Supreme Court not to reconsider "failure"
cases; after the official release thereof; why should it now reconsider a "passing" case,
especially in a situation where the respondent and the bar confidant do not know each
other and, indeed, met only once in the ordinary course of official business?
It is not inevitable, then, to conclude that the entire situation clearly manifests a
reasonable doubt to which respondent is richly entitled?
5. That respondent, before reading a copy of this Honorable Court's resolution dated
March 5, 1973, had no knowledge whatsoever of former Bar Confidant Victorio
Lanuevo's actuations which are stated in particular in the resolution. In fact, the
respondent never knew this man intimately nor, had the herein respondent utilized
anyone to contact the Bar Confidant Lanuevo in his behalf.
But, assuming as true, the said actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as stated in the
Resolution, which are evidently purported to show as having redounded to the benefit of
herein respondent, these questions arise: First, was the re-evaluation of Respondent's
examination papers by the Bar Examination Committee done only or especially for him
and not done generally as regards the paper of the other bar candidates who are supposed
to have failed? If the re-evaluation of Respondent's grades was done among those of
others, then it must have been done as a matter of policy of the Committee to increase
the percentage of passing in that year's examination and, therefore, the insinuation that
only respondent's papers were re-evaluated upon the influence of Bar Confidant
Lanuevo would be unjustifiable, if not far fetched. Secondly, is the fact that
BarConfidant Lanuevo's actuations resulted in herein Respondent's benefit an evidence
per se of Respondent's having caused actuations of Bar confidant Lanuevo to be done in
former's behalf? To assume this could be disastrous in effect because that would be
presuming all the members of the Bar Examination Committee as devoid of integrity,
unfit for the bar themselves and the result of their work that year, as also unworthy of
anything. All of these inferences are deductible from the narration of facts in the
resolution, and which only goes to show said narration of facts an unworthy of credence,
or consideration.
xxx xxx xxx
7. This Honorable Tribunal's Resolution of March 5, 1973 would make this Respondent
Account or answer for the actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as well as for the
actuations of the Bar Examiners implying the existence of some conspiracy between
them and the Respondent. The evident imputation is denied and it is contended that the
Bar Examiners were in the performance of their duties and that they should be regarded
as such in the consideration of this case.
xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.).
I
The evidence thus disclosed clearly demonstrates how respondent Lanuevo systematically and cleverly
initiated and prepared the stage leading to the re-evalation and/or recorrection of the answers of
respondent Galang by deceiving separately and individually the respondents-examiners to make the
desired revision without prior authority from the Supreme Court after the corrected notebooks had been
submitted to the Court through the respondent Bar Confidant, who is simply the custodian thereof for
and in behalf of the Court.
It appears that one evening, sometime around the middle part of December, 1971, just before Christmas
day, respondent Lanuevo approached Civil Law examiner Pamatian while the latter was in the process
of correcting examination booklets, and then and there made the representations that as BarConfidant,
he makes a review of the grades obtained in all subjects of the examinees and if he finds that a
candidate obtains an extraordinarily high grade in one subject and a rather low one on another, he will
bring back to the examiner concerned the notebook for re-evaluation and change of grade(Exh. 2-
Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 55-56; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.).
Sometime in the latter part of January, 1972, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondent-
examiner Pamatian an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, representing that the
examinee who owned the particular notebook is on the borderline of passing and if his grade in said
subject could be reconsidered to 75%, the said examine will get a passing average. Respondent-
examiner Pamatian took respondent Lanuevo's word and under the belief that was really the practice
and policy of the Supreme Court and in his further belief that he was just manifesting cooperation in
doing so, he re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the examinee's grade in said subject to 75% from
64%. The particular notebook belonged to an examinee with Examiner's Code Number 95 and with
Office Code Number 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. Respondent
Pamatian did not know the identity of the examinee at the time he re-evaluated the said booklet (Exhs.
1-Pamatian, 2-Pamatian, and 3-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-33, 55-56, 57; Vol. V, pp. 3-4,
rec.).
Before Justice Pamatian made the revision, Examinee Galang failed in seven subjects including Civil
Law. After such revision, examinee Galang still failed in six subjects and could not obtain the passing
average of 75% for admission to the Bar.
Thereafter, about the latter part of January, 1972 or early part of February, 1972, respondent Lanuevo
went to the residence of respondent-examiner Fidel Manalo at 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal,
with an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law, which respondent Manalo and previously corrected and
graded. Respondent Lanuevo then requested respondent Manalo to review the said notebook and
possibly to reconsider the grade given, explaining and representing that "they" has reviewed the said
notebook and that the examinee concerned had done well in other subjects, but that because of the
comparatively low grade given said examinee by respondent Manalo in Remedial Law, the general
average of said examinee was short of passing. Respondent Lanuevo likewise made the remark and
observation that he thought that if the notebook were reviewed, respondent Manalo might yet find the
examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar. Respondent Lanuevo also particularly called the
attention of respondent Manalo to the fact that in his answers, the examinee expressed himself clearly
and in good English. Furthermore, respondent Lanuevo called the attention of respondent Manalo to
Paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum that read as follows:
4. Examination questions should be more a test of logic, knowledge of legal
fundamentals, and ability to analyze and solve legal problems rather than a test of
memory; in the correction of papers, substantial weight should be given to clarify of
language and soundness of reasoning.
Respondent Manalo was, however, informed by respondent Lanuevo that the matter of reconsideration
was entirely within his (Manalo's) discretion. Respondent Manalo, believing that respondent Lanuevo,
as Bar Confidant, had the authority to make such request and further believing that such request was in
order, proceeded to re-evaluate the examinee's answers in the presence of Lanuevo, resulting in an
increase of the examinee's grade in that particular subject, Remedial Law, from 63.25% to 74.5%.
Respondent Manalo authenticated with his signature the changes made by him in the notebook and in
the grading sheet. The said notebook examiner's code number is 136, instead of 310 as earlier
mentioned by him in his affidavit, and belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1
& 2- Manalo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 36-39, 74-75; Vol. V, pp. 50-53, rec.).
But even after the re-evaluation by Atty. Manalo, Examinee Galang could not make the passing grade
due to his failing marks in five subjects.
Likewise, in the latter part of January, 1972, on one occasion when respondent Lanuevo went to deliver
to respondent Guillermo Pablo, Jr. in the latter's house a new batch of examination papers in Political
Law and Public International Law to be corrected, respondent Lanuevo brought out a notebook in
Political Law bearing Examiner's Code Number 1752 (Exh. 5-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 66, rec.),
informing respondent Pablo that particular examinee who owns the said notebook seems to have
passed in all other subjects except in Political Law and Public International Law; and that if the said
notebook would be re-evaluated and the mark be increased to at least 75%, said examinee will pass the
bar examinations. After satisfying himself from respondent that this is possible — the respondent Bar
Confidant informing him that this is the practice of the Court to help out examinees who are failing in
just one subject — respondent Pablo acceded to the request and thereby told the Bar Confidant to just
leave the said notebook. Respondent Pablo thereafter re-evaluated the answers, this time with leniency.
After the re-evaluation, the grade was increased to 78% from 68%, or an increase of 10%. Respondent
Pablo then made the corresponding corrections in the grading sheet and accordingly initialed the
charges made. This notebook with Office Code Number 954 also belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias
Roman E. Galang (Vol. V, pp. 43-46, rec.).
After the re-evaluation by Atty. Pablo, Jr., examinee Galang's general average was still below the
passing grade, because of his failing marks in four subjects.
Towards the end of the correction of examination notebooks, respondent Lanuevo brought back to
respondent Tomacruz one examination booklet in Criminal Law, with the former informing the latter,
who was then helping in the correction of papers in Political Law and Public International Law, as he
had already finished correcting the examination notebooks in his assigned subject — Criminal Law —
that the examinee who owns that particular notebook had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of
a percent and that if his grade in Criminal Law would be raised a few points to 75%, then the examinee
would make the passing grade. Accepting the words of respondent Lanuevo, and seeing the
justification and because he did not want to be the one causing the failure of the examinee, respondent
Tomacruz raised the grade from 64% to 75% and thereafter, he initialed the revised mark and also
revised the mark in the general list and likewise initialed the same. The examinee's Examiner Code
Number is 746 while his Office Code Number is 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman
E. Galang (Exhs. 1, 2 & 3-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 65, 66 and 71; Vol. V, pp. 24-25, 60-
61, rec.).
Respondent Tomacruz does not recall having been shown any memo by respondent Lanuevo when the
latter approached him for this particular re-evaluation; but he remembers Lanuevo declaring to him that
where a candidate had almost made the passing average but had failed in one subject, as a matter of
policy of the Court, leniency is applied in reviewing the examinee's notebook in the failing subject. He
recalls, however, that he was provided a copy of the Confidential Memorandum but this was long
before the re-evaluation requested by respondent Lanuevo as the same was received by him before the
examination period (Vol. V, p. 61, rec.).
However, such revision by Atty. Tomacruz could not raise Galang's general average to a passing grade
because of his failing mark in three more subjects, including Mercantile Law. For the revision of
examinee Galang's notebook in Mercantile Law, respondent Lanuevo neatly set the last phase of his
quite ingenious scheme — by securing authorization from the Bar Examination Committee for the
examiner in Mercantile Law tore-evaluate said notebook.
At the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee on February 8, 1972, respondent Lanuevo
suggested that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner
concerned would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular and the Committee adopted
the suggestion (Exhs. A & B-Montecillo, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 41, 72, 63; Vol. Vi,
p. 16, rec.).
At a subsequent meeting of the Bar Examination Committee, respondent Montecillo was informed by
respondent Lanuevo that a candidate passed all other subjects except Mercantile Law. This information
was made during the meeting within hearing of the order members, who were all closely seated
together. Respondent Montecillo made known his willingness tore-evaluate the particular paper. The
next day, respondent Lanuevo handed to respondent Montecillo a bar candidate's notebook with
Examiner's Code Number 1613 with a grade of 61%. Respondent Montecillo then reviewed the whole
paper and after re-evaluating the answers, decided to increase the final grade to 71%. The matter was
not however thereafter officially brought to the Committee for consideration or decision (Exhs. A& B-
Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, 70-71; Vol. V, pp. 33-34, rec.).
Respondent Montecillo declared that without being given the information that the particular examinee
failed only in his subject and passed all the others, he would not have consented to make the re-
evaluation of the said paper (Vol. V, p. 33, rec.).Respondent Montecillo likewise added that there was
only one instance he remembers, which is substantiated by his personal records, that he had to change
the grade of an examinee after he had submitted his report, referring to the notebook of examinee
Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, with Examiner's Code Number 1613 and with Office Code
Number 954 (Vol. V, pp. 34-35, rec.).
A day or two after February 5, 1972, when respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of respondent-
examiner Pardo to obtain the last bag of 200 notebooks, respondent Lanuevo returned to the residence
of respondent Pardo riding in a Volkswagen panel of the Supreme Court of the Philippines with two
companions. According to respondent Lanuevo, this was around the second week of February, 1972,
after the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee. respondent Lanuevo had with him on that
occasion an examinee's notebook bearing Examiner's Code No. 661. Respondent Lanuevo, after the
usual amenities, requested respondent Pardo to review and re-examine, if possible, the said notebook
because, according to respondent Lanuevo, the examine who owns that particular notebook obtained
higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which is 84% in Remedial Law. After clearing with
respondent Lanuevo his authority to reconsider the grades, respondent Pardo re-evaluated the answers
of the examine concerned, resulting in an increase of grade from 57% of 66%. Said notebook has
number 1622 as office code number. It belonged to examinee Ernesto Quitaleg (Exhs. 1 & 2-Pardo,
Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-63; Vol. V, pp. 12-24, 29-30, rec.).
II
Re: Administrative Case No. 1162, Victorio D. Lanuevo, respondent.
A
UNAUTHORIZED RE-EVALUATION OF THE ANSWERS OF EXAMINE RAMON E. GALANG,
alias ROMAN E. GALANG, IN ALL FIVE (5) MAJOR SUBJECTS.
Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having requested on his own initiative the five examiners
concerned to re-evaluate the five notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, that
eventually resulted in the increase of Galang's average from 66.25% to the passing grade 74.15%, or a
total increase of eight (8) weighted points, more or less, that enabled Galang to hurdle the 1971 Bar
examinations via a resolution of the Court making 74% the passing average for that year's examination
without any grade below fifty percent (50%) in any subject. Galang thereafter took his lawyer's oath. It
is likewise beyond dispute that he had no authority from the Court or the Committee to initiate such
steps towards the said re-evaluation of the answers of Galang or of other examinees.
Denying that he made representations to the examiners concerned that respondent Galang failed only in
their respective subjects and/or was on the borderline of passing, Respondent Lanuevo sought to justify
his actuations on the authority of the aforequoted paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum(Exhs.
1 and 1-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Cases Nos. 1162 & 1164, p. 51, Adm. Case No. 1162; Vol. VII, p. 4, rec.)
distributed to the members of the Bar Examination Committee. He maintains that he acted in good faith
and "in his honest belief that the same merited re-evaluation; that in doing so, it was not his intention to
forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as BarConfidant but on the contrary to do justice to the
examinee concerned; and that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner because the matter of
whether or not re-evaluation was in order was left alone to the examiners' decision ..." (Exh. 2-
Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-37, rec.).
But as openly admitted by him in the course of the investigation, the said confidential memorandum
was intended solely for the examiners to guide them in the initial correction of the examination papers
and never as a basis for him to even suggest to the examiners the re-evaluation of the examination
papers of the examinees (Vol. VII, p. 23, rec.). Any such suggestion or request is not only
presumptuous but also offensive to the norms of delicacy.
We believe the Examiners — Pablo, Manalo, Montecillo, Tomacruz, Pardo and Pamatian — whose
declarations on the matter of the misrepresentations and deceptions committed by respondent Lanuevo,
are clear and consistent as well as corroborate each other.
For indeed the facts unfolded by the declarations of the respondents-examiners (Adm. Case No. 1164)
and clarified by extensive cross-examination conducted during the investigation and hearing of the
cases show how respondent Lanuevo adroitly maneuvered the passing of examinee Ramon E. Galang,
alias Roman E. Galang in the 1971 Bar Examinations. It is patent likewise from the records that
respondent Lanuevo too undue advantage of the trust and confidence reposed in him by the Court and
the Examiners implicit in his position as BarConfidant as well as the trust and confidence that prevailed
in and characterized his relationship with the five members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee,
who were thus deceived and induced into re-evaluating the answers of only respondent Galang in five
subjects that resulted in the increase of his grades therein, ultimately enabling him to be admitted a
member of the Philippine Bar.
It was plain, simple and unmitigated deception that characterized respondent Lanuevo's well-studied
and well-calculated moves in successively representing separately to each of the five examiners
concerned to the effect that the examinee failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the
borderline of passing. To repeat, the before the unauthorized re-evaluations were made, Galang failed
in the five (5) major subjects and in two (2) minor subjects while his general average was only 66.25%
— which under no circumstances or standard could it be honestly claimed that the examinee failed only
in one, or he was on the borderline of passing. In fact, before the first notebook of Galang was referred
back to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation, Galang had only one passing mark and this was in
Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, a minor subject, with grade of 81%. The averages and individual
grades of Galang before and after the unauthorized re-evaluation are as follows:
BAI
1. Political Law Public
International Law 68% 78% = 10 pts.
or 30 weighted points
BAI
Labor Laws and Social
Legislations 67% 67% = no re-
evaluation made.
2. Civil Law 64% 75% = 1 points
or 33 weighted points.
Taxation 74% 74% = no re-
evaluation made.
3. Mercantile Law 61% 71% = 10 pts.
or 30 weighted points.
4. Criminal Law 64% 75% = 11 pts. or
22 weighted points.
5. Remedial Law 63.75% (64) 75.5% (75%) =
11 pts. or 44 weighted points.
Legal Ethics and Practical
Exercises 81% 81% = no re-
evaluation made.
————————————
General Weighted Averages 66.25% 74.15%
Hence, by the simple expedient of initiating the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang in the five (5)
subjects under the circumstances already narrated, Galang's original average of 66.25% was increased
to 74.15% or an increase of 7.9 weighted points, to the great damage and prejudice of the integrity of
the Bar examinations and to the disadvantage of the other examinees. He did this in favor only of
examinee Galang, with the possible addition of examinees Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz.
But only one notebook was re-evaluated for each of the latter who — Political Law and Public
International Law for Quitaleg and Mercantile Law for Ty dela Cruz.
The Office of the Bar Confidant, it must be stressed, has absolutely nothing to do in the re-evaluation
or reconsideration of the grades of examinees who fail to make the passing mark before or after their
notebooks are submitted to it by the Examiners. After the corrected notebooks are submitted to him by
the Examiners, his only function is to tally the individual grades of every examinee in all subjects taken
and thereafter compute the general average. That done, he will then prepare a comparative data
showing the percentage of passing and failing in relation to a certain average to be submitted to the
Committee and to the Court and on the basis of which the Court will determine the passing average,
whether 75 or 74 or 73, etc. The Bar Confidant has no business evaluating the answers of the
examinees and cannot assume the functions of passing upon the appraisal made by the Examiners
concerned. He is not the over-all Examiner. He cannot presume to know better than the examiner. Any
request for re-evaluation should be done by the examinee and the same should be addressed to the
Court, which alone can validly act thereon. A Bar Confidant who takes such initiative, exposes himself
to suspicion and thereby compromises his position as well as the image of the Court.
Respondent Lanuevo's claim that he was merely doing justice to Galang without any intention of
betraying the trust and confidence reposed in him by the Court as Bar Confidant, can hardly invite
belief in the fact of the incontrovertible fact that he singled out Galang's papers for re-evaluation,
leaving out the papers of more than ninety (90) examinees with far better averages ranging from 70%
to 73.9% of which he was fully aware (Vol. VI, pp. 46-47, 101, rec.), which could be more properly
claimed as borderline cases. This fact further betrays respondent Lanuevo's claim of absolute good faith
in referring back the papers of Galang to the Examiners for re-evaluation. For certainly, as against the
original weighted average of 66.25% of Galang, there can hardly be any dispute that the cases of the
aforesaid more than ninety (90) examinees were more deserving of reconsideration. Hence, in trying to
do justice to Galang, as claimed by respondent Lanuevo, grave injustice was inflicted on the other
examinees of the 1971 Bar examinations, especially the said more than ninety candidates. And the
unexplained failure of respondent Lanuevo to apprise the Court or the Committee or even the Bar
Chairman of the fact of re-evaluation before or after the said re-evaluation and increase of grades,
precludes, as the same is inconsistent with, any pretension of good faith.
His request for the re-evaluation of the notebook in Political Law and International Law of Ernesto
Quitaleg and the notebook in Mercantile Law of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz to give his actuations in the case
of Galang a semblance of impartiality, hoping that the over ninety examinees who were far better
situated than Galang would not give him away. Even the re-evaluation of one notebook of Quitaleg and
one notebook of Ty dela Cruz violated the agreement of the members of the 1971 Bar Examination
Committee to re-evaluate when the examinee concerned fails only in one subject. Quitaleg and Ty dela
Cruz failed in four (4) and three (3) subjects respectively — as hereinafter shown.
The strange story concerning the figures 954, the office code number given to Galang's notebook,
unveiled for the first time by respondent Lanuevo in his suplemental sworn statement(Exh. 3- Lanuevo,
Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47. rec.) filed during the investigation with this Court as to why he pried
into the papers of Galang deserves scant consideration. It only serves to picture a man desperately
clutching at straws in the wind for support. Furthermore, it was revealed by respondent Lanuevo for the
first time only on August 27, 1973 or a period of more than five 95) months after he filed his answer on
March 19, 1973(Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-36, rec.), showing that it was just an
after-thought.
B
REFERRAL OF EXAMINEE ALFREDO TY DELA CRUZ NOTEBOOK IN MERCHANTILE LAW
TO RAISE HIS GRADE OF 47% TO 50% TO EXAMINER MANUEL MONTECILLO AND OF
EXAMINEE ERNESTO QUITALEG'S NOTEBOOK IN POLITICAL LAW TO EXAMINER
BERNARDO PARDO FOR RE-EVALUATION, RESULTING IN THE INCREASE OF HIS GRADE
IN THAT SUBJECT FROM 57% TO 66%.
Likewise, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having referred back the aforesaid notebooks on
Mercantile Law and Political Law respectively of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz and Ernesto Quitaleg to the
Examiners concerned.
The records are not clear, however, under what circumstances the notebooks of Ty dela Cruz and
Quitaleg were referred back to the Examiners concerned. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that these two
cases were officially brought to the Bar Examination Committee during its first meeting (Vol. VI, pp.
50-51, rec.) and the latter decided to refer them back to the Examiners concerned for re-evaluation with
respect to the case of Quitaleg and to remove the disqualification in the case of Ty dela Cruz(Vol. VI,
pp. 33-39, 84-86, rec.). Respondent Lanuevo further claimed that the date of these two cases were
contained in a sheet of paper which was presented at the said first meeting of the Committee (Vol. VI,
pp. 39-43, 49-51, rec.). Likewise a record of the dates of every meeting of the Committee was made by
respondent Lanuevo (Vol. VI, p. 28, rec.). The alleged sheet containing the date of the two examinees
and record of the dates of the meeting of the Committee were not presented by respondent Lanuevo as,
according to him, he left them inadvertently in his desk in the Confidential Room when he went on
leave after the release of the Bar results (Vol. VI, pp. 28, 41-45, rec.). It appears, however, that the
inventory conducted by officials of the Court in the Confidential Room of respondent Lanuevo did not
yield any such sheet of record (Exh. X, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 74, rec.; Vol. VIII, pp. 11-13, 20-22,
29-31, rec.).
Respondent Examiner Montecillo, Mercantile Law, maintained that there was only one notebook in
Mercantile Law which was officially brought to him and this is substantiated by his personal file and
record (Vol. VI, pp. 34-35, rec.). According to him, this notebook's examiner code number is 1613
(Vol. V, p.35, rec.) and is owned by Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. It appears, however,
that the original grade of 47% in Mercantile Law of Ty dela Cruz was changed to 50% as appearing in
the cover of the notebook of said examinee and the change is authenticated with the initial of Examiner
Montecillo. He was present when respondent Lanuevo presented in evidence the notebook of Ty dela
Cruz bearing Examiner code number 951 and Office Code Number 110 as Exhibit 9-Lanuevo in
Administrative Case No. 1162, and the figures 47 crossed out, replaced by the figures 50 bearing the
initial of Examiner Montecillo as Exhibit 9-a-Lanuevo (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 48, rec.; Vol. VI, pp.
23-24, Vol. VIII, p. 4, rec.); but Atty. Montecillo did not interpose any objection to their admission in
evidence.
In this connection, respondent Examiner Pardo testified that he remembers a case of an examinee
presented to the Committee, who obtained passing marks in all subjects except in one and the
Committee agreed to refer back to the Examiner concerned the notebook in the subject in which the
examinee failed (Vol. V, pp. 15-16, rec.). He cannot recall the subject, but he is certain that it was not
Political Law (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.).Further, Pardo declared that he is not aware of any case of an
examinee who was on the borderline of passing but who got a grade below 50% in one subject that was
taken up by the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 16-17, rec.).
Examiner Montecillo testified that it was the notebook with Examiner Code Number 1613 (belonging
to Galang) which was referred to the Committee and the Committee agreed to return it to the Examiner
concerned. The day following the meeting in which the case of an examinee with Code Number 1613
was taken up, respondent Lanuevo handed him said notebook and he accordingly re-evaluated it. This
particular notebook with Office Code Number 954 belongs to Galang.
Examiner Tomacruz recalled a case of an examinee whose problem was Mercantile Law that was taken
up by the Committee. He is not certain of any other case brought to the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 59-61,
rec.). Pardo declared that there was no case of an examinee that was referred to the Committee that
involved Political Law. He re-evaluated the answers of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law upon the
representation made by respondent Lanuevo to him.
As heretofore stated, it was this consensus at the meeting on February 8, 1972 of the members of the
Committee that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed all the others, the Examiner in
whose subject the examinee failed should re-evaluate or recheck the notebook (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.: Exh.
2-Pardo, allegation No. 9, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63, Exh. A-Montecillo, Allegation No. 2, Adm.
Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and Exh. B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.).
At the time the notebook of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law with a grade of 57% was referred back to
Examiner Pardo, said examinee had other failing grades in three (3) subjects, as follows:
Labor Laws 3%
Taxation 69%
Mercantile Law 68%
Ernesto Quitaleg's grades and averages before and after the re-evaluation of his grade in Political Law
are as follows:
BA
Political Law 57% 66% = 9 pts. or 27
weighted points
Labor Laws 73% 73% = No reevaluation
Civil Law 75% 75% = "
Taxation 69% 69% = "
Mercantile Law 68% 68% = "
Criminal Law 78% 78% = "
Remedial Law 85% 85% = "
Legal Ethics 83% 83% = "
————————————————
Average (weighted) 73.15% 74.5%
(Vol. VI, pp. 26-27; Exhs. 10 and 10-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, rec.)
Alfredo Ty dela Cruz, at the time his notebook in Mercantile Law was referred to Examiner Montecillo
to remove the disqualification grade of 47% in said subject, had two (2) other failing grades. These are:
Political Law 70%
Taxation 72%
His grades and averages before and after the disqualifying grade was removed are as follows:
BA
Political Law 70% 70% = No reevaluation
Labor Laws 75% 75% = "
Civil Law 89% 89% = "
Taxation 72% 72% = "
Mercantile Law 47% 50% = 3 pts. or 9
weighted points
Criminal Law 78% 78% = no reevaluation
Remedial Law 88% 88% = "
Legal Ethics 79% 79% = "
—————————————————
Weighted Averages 74.95% 75.4%
(Vol. VI, pp. 26-27, rec.).
The re-evaluation of the answers of Quitaleg in Political Law and the answers of Ty dela Cruz in
Mercantile Law, violated the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee in February, 1971, which
violation was due to the misrepresentation of respondent Lanuevo.
It must be stated that the referral of the notebook of Galang in Mercantile Law to Examiner Montecillo
can hardly be said to be covered by the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee because even at
the time of said referral, which was after the unauthorized re-evaluation of his answers of four (4)
subjects, Galang had still failing grades in Taxation and Labor Laws. His re-evaluated grade of 74.5%
in Remedial Law was considered 75% under the Confidential Memorandum and was so entered in the
record. His grade in Mercantile Law as subsequently re-evaluated by Examiner Montecillo was 71%.
Respondent Lanuevo is therefore guilty of serious misconduct — of having betrayed the trust and
confidence reposed in him as Bar Confidant, thereby impairing the integrity of the Bar examinations
and undermining public faith in the Supreme Court. He should be disbarred.
As to whether Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz should be disbarred or their names stricken
from the Roll of Attorneys, it is believed that they should be required to show cause and the
corresponding investigation conducted.
III
Re: Administrative Case No. 1163, Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, respondent.
A
The name of respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, should likewise be stricken off the
Roll of Attorneys. This is a necessary consequence of the un-authorized re-evaluation of his answers in
five(5) major subjects — Civil Law, Political and International Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law,
and Mercantile Law.
The judicial function of the Supreme Court in admitting candidates to the legal profession, which
necessarily involves the exercise of discretion, requires: (1) previous established rules and principles;
(2) concrete facts, whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals; and (3) a decision as to
whether these facts are governed by the rules and principles (In re: Cunanan — Flunkers' Petition for
Admission to the Bar -- 94 Phil. 534, 544-545). The determination of whether a bar candidate has
obtained the required passing grade certainly involves discretion (Legal and Judicial Ethics, Justice
Martin, 1969 ed., p. 13).
In the exercise of this function, the Court acts through a Bar Examination Committee, composed of a
member of the Court who acts as Chairman and eight (8) members of the Bar who act as examiners in
the eight (8) bar subjects with one subject assigned to each. Acting as a sort of liaison officer between
the Court and the Bar Chairman, on one hand, and the individual members of the Committee, on the
other, is the Bar Confidant who is at the same time a deputy clerk of the Court. Necessarily, every act
of the Committee in connection with the exercise of discretion in the admission of examinees to
membership of the Bar must be in accordance with the established rules of the Court and must always
be subject to the final approval of the Court. With respect to the Bar Confidant, whose position is
primarily confidential as the designation indicates, his functions in connection with the conduct of the
Bar examinations are defined and circumscribed by the Court and must be strictly adhered to.
The re-evaluation by the Examiners concerned of the examination answers of respondent Galang in
five (5) subjects, as already clearly established, was initiated by Respondent Lanuevo without any
authority from the Court, a serious breach of the trust and confidence reposed by the Court in him as
Bar Confidant. Consequently, the re-evaluation that enabled respondent Galang to pass the 1971 Bar
examinations and to be admitted to the Bar is a complete nullity. The Bar Confidant does not possess
any discretion with respect to the matter of admission of examinees to the Bar. He is not clothed with
authority to determine whether or not an examinee's answers merit re-evaluation or re-evaluation or
whether the Examiner's appraisal of such answers is correct. And whether or not the examinee
benefited was in connivance or a privy thereto is immaterial. What is decisive is whether the
proceedings or incidents that led to the candidate's admission to the Bar were in accordance with the
rules.
B
Section 2 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964, in connection, among others, with the
character requirement of candidates for admission to the Bar, provides that "every applicant for
admission as a member of the Bar must be ... of good moral
character ... and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character,
and that no charges against him involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court
in the Philippines." Prior to 1964, or under the old Rules of Court, a bar applicant was required to
produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory testimonials of good moral character (Sec. 2, Rule 127).
Under both rules, every applicant is duty bound to lay before the Court all his involvement in any
criminal case, pending or otherwise terminated, to enable the Court to fully ascertain or determine
applicant's moral character. Furthermore, as to what crime involves moral turpitude, is for the supreme
Court to determine. Hence, the necessity of laying before or informing the Court of one's personal
record — whether he was criminally indicted, acquitted, convicted or the case dismissed or is still
pending — becomes more compelling. The forms for application to take the Bar examinations provided
by the Supreme Court beginning the year 1965 require the disclosure not only of criminal cases
involving moral turpitude filed or pending against the applicant but also of all other criminal cases of
which he has been accused. It is of course true that the application form used by respondent Galang
when he took the Bar for the first time in 1962 did not expressly require the disclosure of the
applicant's criminal records, if any. But as already intimated, implicit in his task to show satisfactory
evidence or proof of good moral character is his obligation to reveal to the Court all his involvement in
any criminal case so that the Court can consider them in the ascertainment and determination of his
moral character. And undeniably, with the applicant's criminal records before it, the Court will be in a
better position to consider the applicant's moral character; for it could not be gainsaid that an
applicant's involvement in any criminal case, whether pending or terminated by its dismissal or
applicant's acquittal or conviction, has a bearing upon his character or fitness for admission to the Bar.
In 1963 and 1964, when respondent Galang took the Bar for the second and third time, respectively, the
application form provided by the Court for use of applicants already required the applicant to declare
under oath that "he has not been accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any
offense involving moral turpitude; and that there is no pending case of that nature against him." By
1966, when Galang took the Bar examinations for the fourth time, the application form prepared by the
Court for use of applicants required the applicant to reveal all his criminal cases whether involving
moral turpitude or not. In paragraph 4 of that form, the applicant is required under oath to declare that
"he has not been charged with any offense before a Fiscal, Municipal Judge, or other officer; or
accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any crime involving moral turpitude;
nor is there a pending case against him" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 56, rec.). Yet, respondent Galang
continued to intentionally withhold or conceal from the Court his criminal case of slight physical
injuries which was then and until now is pending in the City Court of Manila; and thereafter repeatedly
omitted to make mention of the same in his applications to take the Bar examinations in 1967, 1969
and 1971.
All told, respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, is guilty of fraudulently concealing and
withholding from the Court his pending criminal case for physical injuries in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966,
1967, 1969 and 1971; and in 1966, 1967,1969 and 1971, he committed perjury when he declared under
oath that he had no pending criminal case in court. By falsely representing to the Court that he had no
criminal case pending in court, respondent Galang was allowed unconditionally to take the Bar
examinations seven (7) times and in 1972 was allowed to take his oath.
That the concealment of an attorney in his application to take the Bar examinations of the fact that he
had been charged with, or indicted for, an alleged crime, is a ground for revocation of his license to
practice law is well — settled (see 165 ALR 1151, 7 CJS 741). Thus:
[1] It requires no argument to reach the conclusion that the respondent, in withholding
from the board of law examiners and from the justice of this court, to whom he applied
for admission, information respecting so serious a matter as an indictment for a felony,
was guilty of fraud upon the court (cases cited).
[2] It is equally clear that, had the board of law examiners, or the judge to whom he
applied for admission, been apprised of the true situation, neither the certificate of the
board nor of the judge would have been forthcoming (State ex rel. Board of Law
Examiners v. Podell, 207 N — W — 709 — 710).
The license of respondent Podell was revoke and annulled, and he was required to surrender to the
clerk of court the license issued to him, and his name was stricken from the roll of attorneys (p. 710).
Likewise in Re Carpel, it was declared that:
[1] The power to admit to the bar on motion is conferred in the discretion of the
Appellate Division.' In the exercise of the discretion, the court should be informed
truthfully and frankly of matters tending to show the character of the applicant and his
standing at the bar of the state from which he comes. The finding of indictments against
him, one of which was still outstanding at the time of his motion, were facts which
should have been submitted to the court, with such explanations as were available.
Silence respecting them was reprehensible, as tending to deceive the court (165 NYS,
102, 104; emphasis supplied).
Carpel's admission to the bar was revoked (p. 105).
Furthermore, respondent's persistent denial of his involvement in any criminal case despite his having
been apprised by the Investigation of some of the circumstances of the criminal case including the very
name of the victim in that case(he finally admitted it when he was confronted by the victim himself,
who was called to testify thereon), and his continued failure for about thirteen years to clear his name
in that criminal case up to the present time, indicate his lack of the requisite attributes of honesty,
probity and good demeanor. He is therefore unworthy of becoming a member of the noble profession
of law.
While this aspect of the investigation was not part of the formal resolution of the Court requiring him to
explain why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, respondent Galang was, as
early as August, 1973, apprised of his omission to reveal to the Court his pending criminal case. Yet he
did not offer any explanation for such omission.
Under the circumstances in which respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was allowed
to take the Bar examinations and the highly irregular manner in which he passed the Bar, WE have no
other alternative but to order the surrender of his attorney's certificate and the striking out of his name
from the Roll of Attorneys. For as WE said in Re Felipe del Rosario:
The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted every one who demands it,
but is a privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of sound discretion. The
standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one
to escape the penalties of the criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to
receive one whose integrity is questionable as an officer of the court, to clothe him with
all the prestige of its confidence, and then to permit him to hold himself as a duly
authorized member of the bar (citing American cases) [52 Phil. 399-401].
What WE now do with respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, in this present case is not
without any precedent in this jurisdiction. WE had on several occasions in the past nullified the
admission of successful bar candidates to the membership of the Bar on the grounds, among others, of
(a)misrepresentations of, or false pretenses relative to, the requirement on applicant's educational
attainment [Tapel vs. Publico, resolution of the Supreme Court striking off the name of Juan T. Publico
from the Roll of Attorneys on the basis of the findings of the Court Investigators contained in their
report and recommendation, Feb. 23, 1962; In re: Telesforo A. Diao, 7 SCRA 475-478; (b) lack of
good moral character [In re: Peralta, 101 Phil. 313-314]; and (c) fraudulent passing of the Bar
examinations [People vs. Romualdez -- re: Luis Mabunay, 57 Phil. 151; In re: Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399
and People vs. Castro and Doe, 54 Phil. 42]. In the cases of Romualdez (Mabunay) and Castro, the
Court found that the grades of Mabunay and Castro were falsified and they were convicted of the crime
of falsification of public documents.
IV
RE: Administrative Case No. 1164, Assistant Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (now CFI Judge),
Judge Ramon Pamatian(Later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, now deceased)Atty. Manuel
G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo, Atty. Manuel Tomacruz and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr.,
respondents.
All respondents Bar examiners candidly admitted having made the re-evaluation and/or re-correction of
the papers in question upon the misrepresentation of respondent BarConfidant Lanuevo. All, however,
professed good faith; and that they re-evaluated or increased the grades of the notebooks without
knowing the identity of the examinee who owned the said notebooks; and that they did the same
without any consideration or expectation of any. These the records clearly demonstrate and WE are of
the opinion and WE so declare that indeed the respondents-examiners made the re-evaluation or re-
correcion in good faith and without any consideration whatsoever.
Considering however the vital public interest involved in the matter of admission of members to the
Bar, the respondents bar examiners, under the circumstances, should have exercised greater care and
caution and should have been more inquisitive before acceding to the request of respondent Bar
Confidant Lanuevo. They could have asked the Chairman of the Bar Examination Committee, who
would have referred the matter to the Supreme Court. At least the respondents-examiners should have
required respondent Lanuevo to produce or show them the complete grades and/or the average of the
examinee represented by respondent Lanuevo to have failed only in their respective and particular
subject and/or was on the borderline of passing to fully satisfy themselves that the examinee concerned
was really so circumstances. This they could have easily done and the stain on the Bar examinations
could have been avoided.
Respondent Bar examiners Montecillo, Pamatian, and Manalo claimed and so declared under oath that
the answers of respondent Galang really deserved or merited the increased grades; and so with
respondent Pardo in connection with the re-evaluation of Ernesto Quitaleg's answers in Political Law.
With respect to respondents Tomacruz and Pablo, it would appear that they increased the grades of
Galang in their respective subject solely because of the misrepresentations of Respondent Lanuevo.
Hence, in the words of respondent Tomacruz: "You brought to me one paper and you said that this
particular examinee had almost passed, however, in my subject he received 60 something, I cannot
remember the exact average and if he would get a few points higher, he would get a passing average. I
agreed to do that because I did not wish to be the one causing his failure. ..." (Vol. V, pp. 60-61, rec.;
see also allegations 3 and 4, Exh. 1-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis ours). And
respondent Pablo: "... he told me that this particular examinee seems to have passed in allot her subject
except this subject and that if I can re-evaluate this examination notebook and increase the mark to at
least 75, this particular examinee will pass the bar examinations so I believe I asked him 'Is this being
done?' and he said 'Yes, that is the practice used to be done before to help out examinees who are
failing in just one subject' so I readily acceded to his request and said 'Just leave it with me and I will
try to re-evaluate' and he left it with me and what i did was to go over the book and tried to be as
lenient as I could. While I did not mark correct the answers which were wrong, what I did was to be
more lenient and if the answers was correct although it was not complete I raise the grade so I had a
total of 78 instead of 68 and what I did was to correct the grading sheet accordingly and initial the
changes" (Vol. V, pp. 44-45, rec.; emphasis supplied).
It could not be seriously denied, however, that the favorable re-evaluations made by respondents
Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Pardo notwithstanding their declarations that the increases in grades
they gave were deserved by the examinee concerned, were to a certain extent influenced by the
misrepresentation and deception committed by respondent Lanuevo. Thus in their own words:
Montecillo —
Q And by reason of that information you made the re-evaluation of the
paper?
A Yeas, your Honor.
Q Would you have re-evaluated the paper of your own accord in the
absence of such information?
A No, your Honor, because I have submitted my report at that time" (Vol.
V, p. 33, rec.; see also allegations in paragraphs 2, 3, 4 & 5, Affidavit of
April 17, 1972, Exh. B-Montecillo; allegation No. 2, Answer dated march
19, 1973, Exh. A-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and 72,
rec.).
Pamatian —
3. That sometime in the later part of January of this year, he brought back to me an
examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation because according to him the owner
of the paper is on the borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate
concerned will get passing mark;
4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and
policy of the Supreme Court to do so and in the further belief that I was just manifesting
cooperation in doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%; ..."
(Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 55, rec.); and
5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am
authorized to do so in view of them is representation of said Atty. Victorio Lanuevo, ..."
(Exh. 1-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 33-34, rec.).
Manalo —
(c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent
carefully evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answer
by the criteria laid down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of the
doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that particular subject
that said examinee failed, herein respondent became convinced that the said examinee
deserved a higher grade than that previously given him, but he did not deserve, in herein
respondent's honest appraisal, to be given the passing grade of
75%. ..."(allegation 5-c, p. 38, Exh. 1-Manalo, rec.; emphasis supplied).
Pardo —
... I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that
particular notebook on December 31,1971, considering especially the representation of
the Bar Confidant that the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects,
the highest of which was 84% in Remedial Law, if I recall
correctly. ... (allegation 7, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 62, rec.; emphasis
supplied).
With the misrepresentations and the circumstances utilized by respondent Lanuevo to induce the herein
examiners to make the re-evaluation adverted to, no one among them can truly claim that the re-
evaluation effected by them was impartial or free from any improper influence, their conceded
integrity, honesty and competence notwithstanding.
Consequently, Galang cannot justifiably claim that he deserved the increased grades given after the
said re-evaluations(Galang's memo attached to the records, Adm. Case No. 1163).
At any rate, WE are convinced, in the light of the explanations of the respondents-examiners, which
were earlier quoted in full, that their actuations in connection with the re-evaluation of the answers of
Galang in five (5) subjects do not warrant or deserve the imposition of any disciplinary action. WE find
their explanations satisfactory. Nevertheless, WE are constrained to remind herein respondents-
examiners that their participation in the admission of members to the Bar is one impressed with the
highest consideration of public interest — absolute purity of the proceedings — and so are required to
exercise the greatest or utmost case and vigilance in the performance of their duties relative thereto.
V
Respondent Atty. Victorio D. Lanuevo, in his memorandum filed on November 14, 1973, claimed that
respondent-examiner Pamatian "in bringing up this unfounded cause, or lending undue assistance or
support thereto ... was motivated with vindictiveness due to respondent's refusal to be pressured into
helping his (examiner's) alleged friend — a participant in the 1971 Bar Examinations whom said
examiner named as Oscar Landicho and who, the records will show, did not pass said examinations (p.
9, Lanuevo's memo, Adm. Case No. 1162).
It must be stated that this is a very serious charge against the honor and integrity of the late Justice
Ramon Pamatian, who passed away on October 18, 1973 and therefore cannot refute Lanuevo's
insinuations. Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo did not bring this out during the investigation which in
his words is "essential to his defense. "His pretension that he did not make this charge during the
investigation when Justice Pamatian was still alive, and deferred the filing of such charge against
Justice Pamatian and possibly also against Oscar Landicho before the latter departed for Australia
"until this case shall have been terminated lest it be misread or misinterpreted as being intended as a
leverage for a favorable outcome of this case on the part of respondent or an act of reprisal", does not
invite belief; because he does not impugn the motives of the five other members of the 1971 Bar
Examination Committee, who also affirmed that he deceived them into re-evaluating or revising the
grades of respondent Galang in their respective subjects.
It appears, however, that after the release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, Oscar Landicho,
who failed in that examinations, went to see and did see Civil Law examiner Pamatian for the purpose
of seeking his help in connection with the 1971 Bar Examinations. Examiner Pamatian advised
Landicho to see the Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee. Examiner Pamatian mentioned
in passing to Landicho that an examination booklet was re-evaluated by him (Pamatian) before the
release of the said bar results (Vol. V, pp. 6-7, rec). Even though such information was divulged by
respondent Pamatian after the official release of the bar results, it remains an indecorous act, hardly
expected of a member of the Judiciary who should exhibit restraint in his actuations demanded by
resolute adherence to the rules of delicacy. His unseemly act tended to undermine the integrity of the
bar examinations and to impair public faith in the Supreme Court.
VI
The investigation failed to unearth direct evidence that the illegal machination of respondent Lanuevo
to enable Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations was committed for valuable consideration.
A
There are, however, acquisitions made by Respondent Lanuevo immediately after the official release of
the 1971 Bar examinations in February, 1972, which may be out of proportion to his salary as Bar
Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court.
1. On April 5, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife acquired from the BF Homes, Inc.
a house and lot with an area of 374 square meters, more or less, for the amount of
P84,114.00. The deed of sale was dated March 5, 1972 but was notarized only on April
5, 1972. On the same date, however, respondent Lanuevo and his wife executed two
(2)mortgages covering the said house and lot in favor of BF Homes, Inc. in the total
amount of P67,291.20 (First mortgage — P58,879.80, Entry No. 90913: date of
instrument — April 5, 1972, date of inscription — April 20, 1972: Second mortgage —
P8,411.40, Entry No. 90914: date of instrument — April 5, 1972, date of inscription —
April 20, 1972). [D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.]. Respondent Lanuevo paid as down payment
the amount of only P17,000.00, which according to him is equivalent to 20%, more or
less, of the purchase price of P84,114.00. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that P5,000.00
of the P17,000.00 was his savings while the remaining the P12,000.00 came from his
sister in Okinawa in the form of a loan and received by him through a niece before
Christmas of 1971 in dollars ($2000) [Vol. VII, pp. 41-48; Vol. VIII, pp. 2-3, rec.]
It appears, however, that his alleged P5,000.00 savings and P12,000.00 loan from his
sister; are not fully reflected and accounted for in respondent's 1971 Statement of Assets
and Liabilities which he filed on January 17, 1972.
In said 1971 statement, respondent Lanuevo listed under Assets a bank deposit in the
amount of only P2,000.00. In his 1972 statement, his bank deposit listed under Assets
was in the amount of P1,011.00, which shows therefore that of the P2,000.00 bank
deposit listed in his 1971 statement under Assets, only the amount of P989.00 was used
or withdrawn. The amount of P18,000.00 receivable listed under Assets in his 1971
statement was not realized because the transaction therein involved did not push through
(Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent Lanuevo from 1965 to 1972; Vol.
VIII, pp. 47-48, rec.).
Likewise, the alleged December, 1971 $2000 loan of respondent from his married sister
in Okinawa is extremely doubtful. In the first place, said amount of $2000 (P12,000.00)
is not reflected in his 1971 Statement of Assets and Liabilities filed on January 17, 1972.
Secondly, the alleged note which he allegedly received from his sister at the time he
received the $200 was not even presented by respondent during the investigation. And
according to Respondent Lanuevo himself, while he considered this a loan, his sister did
not seriously consider it as one. In fact, no mode or time of payment was agreed upon by
them. And furthermore, during the investigation, respondent Lanuevo promised to
furnish the Investigator the address of his sister in Okinawa. Said promise was not
fulfilled as borne out by the records. Considering that there is no showing that his sister,
who has a family of her own, is among the top earners in Okinawa or has saved a lot of
money to give to him, the conclusion, therefore, that the P17,000.00 of respondent
Lanuevo was either an ill-gotten or undeclared income is inevitable under the foregoing
circumstances.
On August 14, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife mortgaged their BF Homes house
and lot to the GSIS for the amount of P65,000.00 (Entry No. 4992: August 14, 1972 —
date of instrument; August 23, 1972 — date of inscription). On February 28, 1973, the
second mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90914, was redeemed by respondent
and was subsequently cancelled on March 20,1973, Entry No. 30143. Subsequently, or
on March 2, 1973 the first mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90913 was also
redeemed by respondent Lanuevo and thereafter cancelled on March 20, 1973, (See D-2
to D-4, Vol. III, rec.). Hence, only the mortgage in favor of GSIS remains as the
encumbrance of respondent's house and lot. According to respondent Lanuevo, the
monthly amortization of the GSIS mortgage is P778.00 a month, but that since May of
1973, he was unable to pay the same. In his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities,
which he filed in connection with his resignation and retirement (filed October 13,
1972), the house and lot declared as part of his assets, were valued at P75,756.90. Listed,
however, as an item in his liabilities in the same statement was the GSIS real estate loan
in the amount of P64,200.00 (1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities).
2. Listed as an asset in his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities is a 1956 VW car
valued at P5,200.00. That he acquired this car sometime between January, 1972 and
November, 1972 could be inferred from the fact that no such car or any car was listed in
his statement of assets and liabilities of 1971 or in the years previous to 1965. It appears,
however, that his listed total assets, excluding receivables in his 1971 Statement was
P19,000.00, while in his 1972 (as of November, 1972) Statement, his listed total assets,
excluding the house and lot was P18,211.00, including the said 1956 VW car worth
P5,200.00.
The proximity in point of time between the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations
and the acquisition of the above-mentioned properties, tends to link or tie up the said
acquisitions with the illegal machination committed by respondent Lanuevo with respect
to respondent Galang's examination papers or to show that the money used by
respondent Lanuevo in the acquisition of the above properties came from respondent
Galang in consideration of his passing the Bar.
During the early stage of this investigation but after the Court had informed respondent Lanuevo of the
serious irregularities in the 1971 Bar examinations alleged in Oscar Landicho's Confidential Letter and
in fact, after Respondent Lanuevo had filed on April 12, 1972 his sworn statement on the matter, as
ordered by the Court, respondent Lanuevo surprisingly filed his letter or resignation on October 13,
1972 with the end in view of retiring from the Court. His resignation before he was required to show
cause on March 5, 1973 but after he was informed of the said irregularities, is indicative of a
consciousness of guilt.
It must be noted that immediately after the official release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations,
respondent Lanuevo went on vacation and sick leave from March 16, 1972 to January 15, 1973,
obtaining the case value thereof in lump sum in the amount of P11,000.00. He initially claimed at the
investigation that h e used a part thereof as a down payment for his BF Homes house and lot (Vol. VII,
pp. 40-48, rec.), which he bought on April 5, 1972.
Criminal proceedings may be instituted against respondent Lanuevo under Section 3 (a & e) in relation
to Section 9 of Republic Act No. 1379 (Anti-Graft Law) for:
(a) Persuading inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act
constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent
authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing
himself to be presented, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.
xxx xxx xxx
(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any
private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his
official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evidence bad
faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and
employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or
permits or other concessions.
Section 8 of said Republic Act No. 3019 authorizes the dismissal or removal of a public officer once it
is determined that his property or money "is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public
officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property
... " (Sec. 2, Rep. Act 1379; Sec. 8, Rep. Act 3019).
It should be stressed, however, that respondent Lanuevo's aforementioned Statements of Assets and
Liabilities were not presented or taken up during the investigation; but they were examined as they are
part of the records of this Court.
B
There are likewise circumstances indicating possible contacts between respondent Ramon E. Galang
and/or his father and respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo before the latter become the bar Confidant.
1. Respondent Ramon E. Galang was a beneficiary of the G.I Bill of Rights educational program of the
Philippine Veterans Board from his high school days — 1951 to 1955 — up to his pre-law studies at
the MLQ Educational Institution (now MLQ University) — 1955 to 1958. From 1948 to 1958,
respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo was connected with the Philippine Veterans Board which is the
governmental agency entrusted with the affairs of our veterans including the implementation of the
Veterans Bill of Rights. From 1955 to 1958, Respondent Lanuevo successively held the position of
Junior Investigator, Veterans Claims Investigator, Supervising Veterans Investigator and Veterans
Claims Investigator (Service Record, p. 9, Adm. Case No. 1162). During that period of time, therefore,
respondent Lanuevo had direct contacts with applicants and beneficiaries of the Veterans Bill of
Rights. Galang's educational benefits was approved on March 16, 1954, retroactive as of the date of
waiver — July 31, 1951, which is also the date of filing (A, Vol. IV, rec.).
It is alleged by respondent Ramon E. Galang that it was his father who all the time attended to the
availment of the said educational benefits and even when he was already in Manila taking up his pre-
law at MLQ Educational Institution from 1955 to 1958. In 1955, respondent Galang was already 19
years old, and from 1957 to 1958, he was employed as a technical assistant in the office of Senator Roy
(Vol. V, pp. 79-80, 86-87, rec.).[Subsequently, during the investigation, he claimed that he was the
private secretary of Senator Puyat in 1957 (Vol. VI, pp. 12-13, rec.)]. It appears, however, that a copy
of the notice-letter dated June 28, 1955 of the Philippine Veterans Board to the MLQ Educational
Institution on the approval of the transfer of respondent Galang from Sta. Rita Institute to the MLQ
Educational Institution effective the first semester of the school year 1955-56 was directly addressed
and furnished to respondent Ramon E. Galang at 2292 Int. 8 Banal St., Tondo, Manila (A-12, Vol. IV,
rec.).
Respondent Ramon E. Galang further declared that he never went to the Office of the Philippine
Veterans to follow up his educational benefits and claimed that he does not even know the location of
the said office. He does not also know whether beneficiaries of the G.I. Bill of Rights educational
benefits are required to go to the Philippine Veterans Board every semester to submit their ratings (Vol.
V, p. 86, rec.). But respondent Galang admits that he had gone to the GSIS and City Court of Manila,
although he insists that he never bothered to take a look at the neighboring buildings (Vol. V, pp. 93-
94, rec.). The huge and imposing Philippine Veterans Building is beside the GSIS building and is
obliquely across the City Court building.
2. Respondent Lanuevo stated that as an investigator in the Philippine Veterans Board, he investigated
claims for the several benefits given to veterans like educational benefits and disability benefits; that he
does not remember, however, whether in the course of his duties as veterans investigator, he came
across the application of Ramon E. Galang for educational benefits; and that he does not know the
father of Mr. Ramon E. Galang and has never met him (Vol. VII, pp. 28, 49, rec.).
3. Respondent Lanuevo, as a member of the USAFEE, belonged to the 91st Infantry operating at
Zambales and then Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, shortly before the war (Vol. VII, pp. 48-49, rec.). Later
he joined the guerrilla movement in Samar.
He used to be a member of the Philippine Veterans Legion especially while working with the
Philippine Veterans Board(Vol. VII, p. 49, rec.).
He does not know the Banal Regiment of the guerrillas, to which Galang's father belonged. During the
Japanese occupation, his guerrilla outfit was operating in Samar only and he had no communications
with other guerrilla organization in other parts of the country.
He attended meetings of the Philippine Veterans Legion in his chapter in Samar only and does not
remember having attended its meeting here in Manila, even while he was employed with the Philippine
Veterans Board. He is not a member of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (Vol. VII, p.51, rec.).
On November 27, 1941, while respondent Lanuevo was with the Philippine Army stationed at Camp
Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, he was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the
Nueva Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result and was still confined there when their camp was bombed
and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13, 1941 (Sworn statement of respondent Lanuevo dated
August 27, 1973, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 46, rec.).
German Galang, father of respondent Galang, was a member of the Banal Guerilla Forces, otherwise
known as the Banal Regiment. He was commissioned and inducted as a member thereof on January 16,
1942 and was given the rank of first lieutenant. His unit "was attached and served into the XI-Corps,
US Army; XIII-C US Army, 43rd Div., US Army, stationed headquarters at Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija and
with the 38th Division, US army stationed at Corregidor in the mopping-up operations against the
enemies, from 9 May 1945 date of recognition to 31 December 1945, date of demobilization"(Affidavit
of Jose Banal dated December 22, 1947, Vol. IV, A-3, rec.).
It should be stressed that once the bar examiner has submitted the corrected notebooks to the Bar
Confidant, the same cannot be withdrawn for any purpose whatsoever without prior authority from the
Court. Consequently, this Court expresses herein its strong disapproval of the actuations of the bar
examiners in Administrative Case No. 1164 as above delineated.
WHEREFORE, IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1162, RESPONDENT VICTORIO D.
LANUEVO IS HEREBY DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE
ROLL OF ATTORNEYS; AND IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1163, RESPONDENT RAMON
E. GALANG, alias Roman E. GALANG, IS HEREBY LIKEWISE DISBARRED AND HIS NAME
ALSO ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS.

DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE, complainant, vs. EDWIN L. RANA, respondent.


DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
Before one is admitted to the Philippine Bar, he must possess the requisite moral integrity for
membership in the legal profession. Possession of moral integrity is of greater importance than
possession of legal learning. The practice of law is a privilege bestowed only on the morally fit. A bar
candidate who is morally unfit cannot practice law even if he passes the bar examinations.
The Facts
Respondent Edwin L. Rana (respondent) was among those who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations.
On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass oath-taking of successful bar examinees as
members of the Philippine Bar, complainant Donna Marie Aguirre (complainant) filed against
respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to the Bar. Complainant charged respondent with
unauthorized practice of law, grave misconduct, violation of law, and grave misrepresentation.
The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a member of the Bar during the scheduled oath-taking
on 22 May 2001 at the Philippine International Convention Center. However, the Court ruled that
respondent could not sign the Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of the charge against him. Thus,
respondent took the lawyers oath on the scheduled date but has not signed the Roll of Attorneys up to
now.
Complainant charges respondent for unauthorized practice of law and grave misconduct. Complainant
alleges that respondent, while not yet a lawyer, appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001
elections before the Municipal Board of Election Canvassers (MBEC) of Mandaon, Masbate.
Complainant further alleges that respondent filed with the MBEC a pleading dated 19 May 2001
entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office
of Vice-Mayor. In this pleading, respondent represented himself as counsel for and in behalf of Vice
Mayoralty Candidate, George Bunan, and signed the pleading as counsel for George Bunan (Bunan).
On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that respondent is a municipal government
employee, being a secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mandaon, Masbate. As such, respondent is
not allowed by law to act as counsel for a client in any court or administrative body.
On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, complainant accuses respondent of acting as
counsel for vice mayoralty candidate George Bunan (Bunan) without the latter engaging respondents
services. Complainant claims that respondent filed the pleading as a ploy to prevent the proclamation of
the winning vice mayoralty candidate.
On 22 May 2001, the Court issued a resolution allowing respondent to take the lawyers oath but
disallowed him from signing the Roll of Attorneys until he is cleared of the charges against him. In the
same resolution, the Court required respondent to comment on the complaint against him.
In his Comment, respondent admits that Bunan sought his specific assistance to represent him before
the MBEC. Respondent claims that he decided to assist and advice Bunan, not as a lawyer but as a
person who knows the law. Respondent admits signing the 19 May 2001 pleading that objected to the
inclusion of certain votes in the canvassing. He explains, however, that he did not sign the pleading as a
lawyer or represented himself as an attorney in the pleading.
On his employment as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent claims that he submitted his
resignation on 11 May 2001 which was allegedly accepted on the same date. He submitted a copy of
the Certification of Receipt of Revocable Resignation dated 28 May 2001 signed by Vice-Mayor
Napoleon Relox. Respondent further claims that the complaint is politically motivated considering that
complainant is the daughter of Silvestre Aguirre, the losing candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate.
Respondent prays that the complaint be dismissed for lack of merit and that he be allowed to sign the
Roll of Attorneys.
On 22 June 2001, complainant filed her Reply to respondents Comment and refuted the claim of
respondent that his appearance before the MBEC was only to extend specific assistance to Bunan.
Complainant alleges that on 19 May 2001 Emily Estipona-Hao (Estipona-Hao) filed a petition for
proclamation as the winning candidate for mayor. Respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in
this petition. When respondent appeared as counsel before the MBEC, complainant questioned his
appearance on two grounds: (1) respondent had not taken his oath as a lawyer; and (2) he was an
employee of the government.
Respondent filed a Reply (Re: Reply to Respondents Comment) reiterating his claim that the instant
administrative case is motivated mainly by political vendetta.
On 17 July 2001, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) for evaluation,
report and recommendation.
OBCs Report and Recommendation
The OBC found that respondent indeed appeared before the MBEC as counsel for Bunan in the May
2001 elections. The minutes of the MBEC proceedings show that respondent actively participated in
the proceedings. The OBC likewise found that respondent appeared in the MBEC proceedings even
before he took the lawyers oath on 22 May 2001. The OBC believes that respondents misconduct casts
a serious doubt on his moral fitness to be a member of the Bar. The OBC also believes that respondents
unauthorized practice of law is a ground to deny his admission to the practice of law. The OBC
therefore recommends that respondent be denied admission to the Philippine Bar.
On the other charges, OBC stated that complainant failed to cite a law which respondent allegedly
violated when he appeared as counsel for Bunan while he was a government employee. Respondent
resigned as secretary and his resignation was accepted. Likewise, respondent was authorized by Bunan
to represent him before the MBEC.
The Courts Ruling
We agree with the findings and conclusions of the OBC that respondent engaged in the unauthorized
practice of law and thus does not deserve admission to the Philippine Bar.
Respondent took his oath as lawyer on 22 May 2001. However, the records show that respondent
appeared as counsel for Bunan prior to 22 May 2001, before respondent took the lawyers oath. In the
pleading entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for
the Office of Vice-Mayor dated 19 May 2001, respondent signed as counsel for George Bunan. In the
first paragraph of the same pleading respondent stated that he was the (U)ndersigned Counsel for, and
in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, GEORGE T. BUNAN. Bunan himself wrote the MBEC on 14
May 2001 that he had authorized Atty. Edwin L. Rana as his counsel to represent him before the
MBEC and similar bodies.
On 14 May 2001, mayoralty candidate Emily Estipona-Hao also retained respondent as her counsel. On
the same date, 14 May 2001, Erly D. Hao informed the MBEC that Atty. Edwin L. Rana has been
authorized by REFORMA LM-PPC as the legal counsel of the party and the candidate of the said party.
Respondent himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he was entering his appearance as counsel
for Mayoralty Candidate Emily Estipona-Hao and for the REFORMA LM-PPC. On 19 May 2001,
respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in the petition filed before the MBEC praying for the
proclamation of Estipona-Hao as the winning candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate.
All these happened even before respondent took the lawyers oath. Clearly, respondent engaged in the
practice of law without being a member of the Philippine Bar.
In Philippine Lawyers Association v. Agrava,[1] the Court elucidated that:
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management
of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition,
conveyancing. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with
the law, incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance
before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy
and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and
guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal
instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal
effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jur. p. 262, 263). (Italics supplied) x x x
In Cayetano v. Monsod,[2] the Court held that 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 acts which are usually performed by members of the legal
profession. Generally, to practice law is to render any kind of service which requires the use of legal
knowledge or skill.
Verily, respondent was engaged in the practice of law when he appeared in the proceedings before the
MBEC and filed various pleadings, without license to do so. Evidence clearly supports the charge of
unauthorized practice of law. Respondent called himself counsel knowing fully well that he was not a
member of the Bar. Having held himself out as counsel knowing that he had no authority to practice
law, respondent has shown moral unfitness to be a member of the Philippine Bar.[3]
The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a privilege. It is limited to persons
of good moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The exercise of this
privilege presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge, educational attainment, and even public
trust[4] since a lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar candidate does not acquire the right to practice
law simply by passing the bar examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld
even from one who has passed the bar examinations, if the person seeking admission had practiced law
without a license.[5]
The regulation of the practice of law is unquestionably strict. In Beltran, Jr. v. Abad,[6] a candidate
passed the bar examinations but had not taken his oath and signed the Roll of Attorneys. He was held in
contempt of court for practicing law even before his admission to the Bar. Under Section 3 (e) of Rule
71 of the Rules of Court, a person who engages in the unauthorized practice of law is liable for indirect
contempt of court.[7]
True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawyers oath. However, it is the
signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer. The fact that respondent
passed the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only qualification to become an
attorney-at-law.[8] Respondent should know that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had
to be performed, namely: his lawyers oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll
of Attorneys.[9]
On the charge of violation of law, complainant contends that the law does not allow respondent to act
as counsel for a private client in any court or administrative body since respondent is the secretary of
the Sangguniang Bayan.
Respondent tendered his resignation as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan prior to the acts
complained of as constituting unauthorized practice of law. In his letter dated 11 May 2001 addressed
to Napoleon Relox, vice- mayor and presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent stated that
he was resigning effective upon your acceptance.[10] Vice-Mayor Relox accepted respondents
resignation effective 11 May 2001.[11] Thus, the evidence does not support the charge that respondent
acted as counsel for a client while serving as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan.
On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, evidence shows that Bunan indeed
authorized respondent to represent him as his counsel before the MBEC and similar bodies. While there
was no misrepresentation, respondent nonetheless had no authority to practice law.
WHEREFORE, respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED admission to the Philippine Bar.
SO ORDERED.

FIVE J TAXI and/or JUAN S. ARMAMENTO, petitioners,


vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, DOMINGO MALDIGAN and GILBERTO
SABSALON, respondents.
Edgardo G. Fernandez for petitioners.
R E SO L U T I O N

REGALADO, J.:
Petitioners Five J Taxi and/or Juan S. Armamento filed this special civil action for certiorari to annul
the decision 1 of respondent National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) ordering petitioners
to pay private respondents Domingo Maldigan and Gilberto Sabsalon their accumulated
deposits and car wash payments, plus interest thereon at the legal rate from the date of
promulgation of judgment to the date of actual payment, and 10% of the total amount as and
for attorney's fees.
We have given due course to this petition for, while to the cynical the de minimis amounts involved
should not impose upon the valuable time of this Court, we find therein a need to clarify some issues
the resolution of which are important to small wage earners such as taxicab drivers. As we have
heretofore repeatedly demonstrated, this Court does not exist only for the rich or the powerful, with
their reputed monumental cases of national impact. It is also the Court of the poor or the
underprivileged, with the actual quotidian problems that beset their individual lives.
Private respondents Domingo Maldigan and Gilberto Sabsalon were hired by the petitioners as taxi
drivers 2 and, as such, they worked for 4 days weekly on a 24-hour shifting schedule. Aside
from the daily "boundary" of P700.00 for air-conditioned taxi or P450.00 for non-air-
conditioned taxi, they were also required to pay P20.00 for car washing, and to further make a
P15.00 deposit to answer for any deficiency in their "boundary," for every actual working day.
In less than 4 months after Maldigan was hired as an extra driver by the petitioners, he already failed to
report for work for unknown reasons. Later, petitioners learned that he was working for "Mine of Gold"
Taxi Company. With respect to Sabsalon, while driving a taxicab of petitioners on September 6, 1983,
he was held up by his armed passenger who took all his money and thereafter stabbed him. He was
hospitalized and after his discharge, he went to his home province to recuperate.
In January, 1987, Sabsalon was re-admitted by petitioners as a taxi driver under the same terms and
conditions as when he was first employed, but his working schedule was made on an "alternative
basis," that is, he drove only every other day. However, on several occasions, he failed to report for
work during his schedule.
On September 22, 1991, Sabsalon failed to remit his "boundary" of P700.00 for the previous day. Also,
he abandoned his taxicab in Makati without fuel refill worth P300.00. Despite repeated requests of
petitioners for him to report for work, he adamantly refused. Afterwards it was revealed that he was
driving a taxi for "Bulaklak Company."
Sometime in 1989, Maldigan requested petitioners for the reimbursement of his daily cash deposits for
2 years, but herein petitioners told him that not a single centavo was left of his deposits as these were
not even enough to cover the amount spent for the repairs of the taxi he was driving. This was allegedly
the practice adopted by petitioners to recoup the expenses incurred in the repair of their taxicab units.
When Maldigan insisted on the refund of his deposit, petitioners terminated his services. Sabsalon, on
his part, claimed that his termination from employment was effected when he refused to pay for the
washing of his taxi seat covers.
On November 27, 1991, private respondents filed a complaint with the Manila Arbitration Office of the
National Labor Relations Commission charging petitioners with illegal dismissal and illegal
deductions. That complaint was dismissed, the labor arbiter holding that it took private respondents two
years to file the same and such unreasonable delay was not consistent with the natural reaction of a
person who claimed to be unjustly treated, hence the filing of the case could be interpreted as a mere
afterthought.
Respondent NLRC concurred in said findings, with the observation that private respondents failed to
controvert the evidence showing that Maldigan was employed by "Mine of Gold" Taxi Company from
February 10, 1987 to December 10, 1990; that Sabsalon abandoned his taxicab on September 1, 1990;
and that they voluntarily left their jobs for similar employment with other taxi operators. It,
accordingly, affirmed the ruling of the labor arbiter that private respondents' services were not illegally
terminated. It, however, modified the decision of the labor arbiter by ordering petitioners to pay private
respondents the awards stated at the beginning of this resolution.
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration having been denied by the NLRC, this petition is now before us
imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of said public respondent.
This Court has repeatedly declared that the factual findings of quasi-judicial agencies like the NLRC,
which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters, are generally
accorded not only respect but, at times, finality if such findings are supported by substantial evidence. 3
Where, however, such conclusions are not supported by the evidence, they must be struck
down for being whimsical and capricious and, therefore, arrived at with grave abuse of
discretion. 4
Respondent NLRC held that the P15.00 daily deposits made by respondents to defray any shortage in
their "boundary" is covered by the general prohibition in Article 114 of the Labor Code against
requiring employees to make deposits, and that there is no showing that the Secretary of Labor has
recognized the same as a "practice" in the taxi industry. Consequently, the deposits made were illegal
and the respondents must be refunded therefor.
Article 114 of the Labor Code provides as follows:
Art. 114. Deposits for loss or damage. — No employer shall require his worker to make
deposits from which deductions shall be made for the reimbursement of loss of or
damage to tools, materials, or equipment supplied by the employer, except when the
employer is engaged in such trades, occupations or business where the practice of
making deposits is a recognized one, or is necessary or desirable as determined by the
Secretary of Labor in appropriate rules and regulations.
It can be deduced therefrom that the said article provides the rule on deposits for loss or damage to
tools, materials or equipments supplied by the employer. Clearly, the same does not apply to or permit
deposits to defray any deficiency which the taxi driver may incur in the remittance of his "boundary."
Also, when private respondents stopped working for petitioners, the alleged purpose for which
petitioners required such unauthorized deposits no longer existed. In other case, any balance due to
private respondents after proper accounting must be returned to them with legal interest.
However, the unrebutted evidence with regard to the claim of Sabsalon is as follows:
YEAR DEPOSITS SHORTAGES VALES
1987 P 1,403.00 P 567.00 P 1,000.00
1988 720.00 760.00 200.00
1989 686.00 130.00 1,500.00
1990 605.00 570.00
1991 165.00 2,300.00
———— ———— ————
P 3,579.00 P 4,327.00 P 2,700.00
The foregoing accounting shows that from 1987-1991, Sabsalon was able to withdraw his deposits
through vales or he incurred shortages, such that he is even indebted to petitioners in the amount of
P3,448.00. With respect to Maldigan's deposits, nothing was mentioned questioning the same even in
the present petition. We accordingly agree with the recommendation of the Solicitor General that since
the evidence shows that he had not withdrawn the same, he should be reimbursed the amount of his
accumulated cash deposits. 5
On the matter of the car wash payments, the labor arbiter had this to say in his decision: "Anent the
issue of illegal deductions, there is no dispute that as a matter of practice in the taxi industry, after a
tour of duty, it is incumbent upon the driver to restore the unit he has driven to the same clean
condition when he took it out, and as claimed by the respondents (petitioners in the present case),
complainant(s) (private respondents herein) were made to shoulder the expenses for washing, the
amount doled out was paid directly to the person who washed the unit, thus we find nothing illegal in
this practice, much more (sic) to consider the amount paid by the driver as illegal deduction in the
context of the law." 6 (Words in parentheses added.)
Consequently, private respondents are not entitled to the refund of the P20.00 car wash payments they
made. It will be noted that there was nothing to prevent private respondents from cleaning the taxi units
themselves, if they wanted to save their P20.00. Also, as the Solicitor General correctly noted, car
washing after a tour of duty is a practice in the taxi industry, and is, in fact, dictated by fair play.
On the last issue of attorney's fees or service fees for private respondents' authorized representative,
Article 222 of the Labor Code, as amended by Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1691, states that
non-lawyers may appear before the NLRC or any labor arbiter only (1) if they represent themselves, or
(2) if they represent their organization or the members thereof. While it may be true that Guillermo H.
Pulia was the authorized representative of private respondents, he was a non-lawyer who did not fall in
either of the foregoing categories. Hence, by clear mandate of the law, he is not entitled to attorney's
fees.
Furthermore, the statutory rule that an attorney shall be entitled to have and recover from his client a
reasonable compensation for his services 7 necessarily imports the existence of an attorney-client
relationship as a condition for the recovery of attorney's fees, and such relationship cannot
exist unless the client's representative is a lawyer. 8
WHEREFORE, the questioned judgment of respondent National Labor Relations Commission is
hereby MODIFIED by deleting the awards for reimbursement of car wash expenses and attorney's fees
and directing said public respondent to order and effect the computation and payment by petitioners of
the refund for private respondent Domingo Maldigan's deposits, plus legal interest thereon from the
date of finality of this resolution up to the date of actual payment thereof.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. LEONCIO SANTOCILDES, JR. y SIGA-AN,


accused-appellant.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:

Where an accused was not duly represented by a member of the Philippine Bar during trial, the
judgment should be set aside and the case remanded to the trial court for a new trial. A person who
misrepresents himself as a lawyer shall be held liable for indirect contempt of court.
Subject of the present appeal is the decision dated October 29, 1992, of the Regional Trial Court of
Iloilo City, Branch 33, convicting accused-appellant of the crime of rape, sentencing him to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordering him to pay the offended party the amount of P50,000.00
and to pay the costs.
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
On February 17, 1992, appellant was charged with the crime of rape[1] of a girl less than nine (9) years
old, committed on December 28, 1991, in the town of Barangay San Luis, San Joaquin, Iloilo.
Upon arraignment, appellant entered a plea of not guilty. Trial ensued and the prosecution presented as
its witnesses the victim, her mother, her six (6) year-old playmate, and the medico-legal officer who
examined the victim.
For the defense, appellant presented one German Toriales and himself. Appellant denied committing
the rape and claimed that he merely tried to stop the two girls, the victim and her playmate, from
quarreling.
On October 29, 1992, the trial court rendered a decision[2] finding appellant guilty as charged. The dispositive
portion of the decision states:

WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and
sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua together its accessory penalty. The accused is
ordered to pay the amount of P50,000.00 to the complainant and another amount for costs, without
subsidiary penalty in case of failure to pay the civil liability and the cost.
If qualified under Art. 29 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 6127, as amended, and he
has agreed in writing to abide by the same rules imposed upon convicted prisoners, he shall be credited
with the full duration of his preventive imprisonment; otherwise, he shall only be credited with 4/5 of
the same.
SO ORDERED.
Hence, appellant duly filed a Notice of Appeal.[3] In his brief,[4] appellant made the following assignment of
errors:

I. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN FINDING THAT


THE ACCUSED IS GUILTY OF RAPE INSPITE OF CONFLICTING TESTIMONIES OF THE
PRIVATE COMPLAINANT AND HER WITNESSES ON MATERIAL POINTS.
II. THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS DEPRIVED THOUGH NO FAULT OF HIS OWN
TO BE DEFENDED BY A PERSON AUTHORIZED TO PRACTICE LAW AMOUNTING TO
DENIAL OF DUE PROCESS.
Considering the importance of the constitutional right to counsel, we shall now first resolve the issue of
proper representation by a member of the bar raised by appellant.
Appellant contends that he was represented during trial by a person named Gualberto C. Ompong, who
for all intents and purposes acted as his counsel and even conducted the direct examination and cross-
examinations of the witnesses. On appeal, however, appellant secured the services of a new lawyer,
Atty. Igmedio S. Prado, Jr., who discovered that Gualberto C. Ompong is actually not a member of the
bar. Further verification with the Office of the Bar Confidant confirmed this fact.[5] Appellant therefore
argues that his deprivation of the right to counsel should necessarily result in his acquittal of the crime
charged.
The Office of the Solicitor General, on the other hand, maintains that notwithstanding the fact that
appellants counsel during trial was not a member of the bar, appellant was afforded due process since
he has been given an opportunity to be heard and the records reveal that said person presented the
evidence for the defense with the ability of a seasoned lawyer and in general handled the case of
appellant in a professional and skillful manner. However, the right of the accused to be heard by
himself and his counsel, in our view, goes much deeper than the question of ability or skill. It lies at the
heart of our adversarial system of justice. Where the interplay of basic rights of the individual may
collide with the awesome forces of the state, we need a professional learned in the law as well as
ethically committed to defend the accused by all means fair and reasonable.
On the matter of proper representation by a member of the bar, we had occasion to resolve a similar
issue in the case of Delgado v. Court of Appeals.[6] In Delgado, petitioner and two others were
convicted by the trial court of the crime of estafa thru falsification of public and/or official documents.
One accused did not appeal. Petitioner Delgado and her remaining co-accused appealed to the Court of
Appeals, which affirmed petitioners conviction but acquitted her co-accused. After entry of judgment,
petitioner discovered that her lawyer was not a member of the bar and moved to set aside the entry of
judgment. The Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion, hence, she filed a petition for certiorari
with this Court. The Court set aside the assailed judgment and remanded the case to the trial court for a
new trial, explaining that -
This is so because an accused person is entitled to be represented by a member of the bar in a criminal
case filed against her before the Regional Trial Court. Unless she is represented by a lawyer, there is
great danger that any defense presented in her behalf will be inadequate considering the legal
perquisites and skills needed in the court proceedings. This would certainly be a denial of due
process.[7]
Indeed, the right to counsel is of such primordial importance that even if an accused was represented by
three successive counsels from the Public Attorneys Office, the Court has ordered the remand of a rape
case when it found that accused was given mere perfunctory representation by aforesaid counsels such
that appellant was not properly and effectively accorded the right to counsel. In the recent en banc case
of People v. Bermas, G.R. No. 120420, April 21, 1999, the Court, speaking through Justice Vitug,
admonished three (3) PAO lawyers for failing to genuinely protect the interests of the accused and for
having fallen much too short of their responsibility as officers of the court and as members of the Bar.
Verily, we can do no less where the accused was not even duly represented by a certified member of
the Philippine Bar, no matter how zealous his representation might have been.
The presence and participation of counsel in criminal proceedings should never be taken lightly.[8] Even
the most intelligent or educated man may have no skill in the science of the 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.[9] The right of an accused to counsel is guaranteed to minimize the imbalance in the adversarial system where
the accused is pitted against the awesome prosecutory machinery of the State.[10] Such a right proceeds from the
fundamental principle of due process which basically means that a person must be heard before being condemned. The due
process requirement is a part of a persons basic rights; it is not a mere formality that may be dispensed with or performed
perfunctorily.[11]

The right to counsel of an accused is enshrined in no less than Article III, Sections 12 and 14 (2) of the
1987 Constitution. This constitutional mandate is reflected in Section 1 of Rule 115 of the 1985 Rules
of Criminal Procedure which declares the right of the accused at the trial to be present in person and by
counsel at every stage of the proceedings from the arraignment to the promulgation of judgment. In
turn, Section 5 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution vests the power to promulgate rules concerning
the admission to the practice of law to the Supreme Court. Section 1 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
explicitly states who are entitled to practice law in the Philippines, and Section 2 thereof clearly
provides for the requirements for all applicants for admission to the bar. Jurisprudence has also held
that the right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is in the nature of a privilege or
franchise. It is limited to persons of good moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained
and certified. The right does not only presuppose in its possessor integrity, legal standing and
attainment, but also the exercise of a special privilege, highly personal and partaking of the nature of a
public trust.[12] Indeed, so strict is the regulation of the practice of law that in Beltran, Jr. v. Abad,[13] a
Bar candidate who has already successfully hurdled the Bar examinations but has not yet taken his oath
and signed the roll of attorneys, and who was caught in the unauthorized practice of law was held in
contempt of court. Under Section 3 (e) of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who undertakes the
unauthorized practice of law is liable for indirect contempt of court for assuming to be an attorney and
acting as such without authority.
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment is SET ASIDE, and the case is hereby REMANDED to the trial
court for new trial.
With respect to the unauthorized practice of law by the person named Gualberto C. Ompong in
connection with this case, the local Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines of Iloilo City is
DIRECTED to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation regarding this matter and to report its
recommendations to the Court within ninety (90) days from notice of this order. Let all concerned
parties, including the Office of the Bar Confidant, be each furnished a copy of this Decision for their
appropriate action.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF FREE LABOR UNIONS (PAFLU), ENRIQUE ENTILA &
VICTORIANO TENAZAS petitioners,
vs.
BINALBAGAN ISABELA SUGAR COMPANY, COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, &
QUINTIN MUNING respondents.
Cipriano Cid & Associates for petitioners.
Ceferino Magat and Manuel C. Gonzales for respondent Quintin Muning.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:


May a non-lawyer recover attorney's fees for legal services rendered? This is the issue presented in this
petition for review of an order, dated 12 May 1964, and the en banc resolution, dated 8 December
1964, of the Court of Industrial Relations, in its Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo, granting respondent Quintin
Muning a non-lawyer, attorney's fees for professional services in the said case.
The above-named petitioners were complainants in Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo entitled, "PAFLU et al. vs.
Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Co., et al." After trial, the Court of Industrial Relations rendered a decision,
on 29 March 1961, ordering the reinstatement with backwages of complainants Enrique Entila and
Victorino Tenazas. Said decision became final. On 18 October 1963, Cipriano Cid & Associates,
counsel of record for the winning complainants, filed a notice of attorney's lien equivalent to 30% of
the total backwages. On 22 November 1963, Atty. Atanacio Pacis also filed a similar notice for a
reasonable amount. Complainants Entila and Tenazas on 3 December 1963, filed a manifestation
indicating their non-objection to an award of attorney's fees for 25% of their backwages, and, on the
same day, Quentin Muning filed a "Petition for the Award of Services Rendered" equivalent to 20% of
the backwages. Munings petition was opposed by Cipriano Cid & Associates the ground that he is not a
lawyer.
The records of Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo show that the charge was filed by Cipriano Cid & Associates
through Atty. Atanacio Pacis. All the hearings were held in Bacolod City and appearances made in
behalf of the complainants were at first by Attorney Pacis and subsequently by respondent Quintin
Muning.
On 12 May 1964, the Court of Industrial Relations awarded 25% of the backwages as compensation for
professional services rendered in the case, apportioned as follows:
Attys. Cipriano Cid & Associates ............................................. 10%
Quintin Muning ......................................................................... 10%
Atty. Atanacio Pacis ................................................................. 5%
The award of 10% to Quintin Muning who is not a lawyer according to the order, is sought to be
voided in the present petition.
Respondent Muning moved in this Court to dismiss the present petition on the ground of late filing but
his motion was overruled on 20 January 1965.1 He asked for reconsideration, but, considering
that the motion contained averments that go into the merits of the case, this Court admitted
and considered the motion for reconsideration for all purposes as respondent's answer to the
petitioner for review.2 The case was considered submitted for decision without respondent's
brief.3
Applicable to the issue at hand is the principle enunciated in Amalgamated Laborers' Association, et al.
vs. Court of Industrial Relations, et al., L-23467, 27 March 1968,4 that an agreement providing for
the division of attorney's fees, whereby a non-lawyer union president is allowed to share in
said fees with lawyers, is condemned by Canon 34 of Legal Ethics and is immoral and cannot
be justified. An award by a court of attorney's fees is no less immoral in the absence of a
contract, as in the present case.
The provision in Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 875 that —
In the proceeding before the Court or Hearing Examiner thereof, the parties shall not be
required to be represented by legal counsel ...
is no justification for a ruling, that the person representing the party-litigant in the Court of Industrial
Relations, even if he is not a lawyer, is entitled to attorney's fees: for the same section adds that —
it shall be the duty and obligation of the Court or Hearing Officer to examine and cross
examine witnesses on behalf of the parties and to assist in the orderly presentation of
evidence.
thus making it clear that the representation should be exclusively entrusted to duly qualified members
of the bar.
The permission for a non-member of the bar to represent or appear or defend in the said court on behalf
of a party-litigant does not by itself entitle the representative to compensation for such representation.
For Section 24, Rule 138, of the Rules of Court, providing —
Sec. 24. Compensation of attorney's agreement as to fees. — An attorney shall be
entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for
his services, ...
imports the existence of an attorney-client relationship as a condition to the recovery of attorney's fees.
Such a relationship cannot exist unless the client's representative in court be a lawyer. Since respondent
Muning is not one, he cannot establish an attorney-client relationship with Enrique Entila and Victorino
Tenezas or with PAFLU, and he cannot, therefore, recover attorney's fees. Certainly public policy
demands that legal work in representation of parties litigant should be entrusted only to those
possessing tested qualifications and who are sworn, to observe the rules and the ethics of the
profession, as well as being subject to judicial disciplinary control for the protection of courts, clients
and the public.
On the present issue, the rule in American jurisdictions is persuasive. There, it is stated:
But in practically all jurisdictions statutes have now been enacted prohibiting persons
not licensed or admitted to the bar from practising law, and under statutes of this kind,
the great weight of authority is to the effect that compensation for legal services cannot
be recovered by one who has not been admitted to practice before the court or in the
jurisdiction the services were rendered. 5
No one is entitled to recover compensation for services as an attorney at law unless he
has been duly admitted to practice ... and is an attorney in good standing at the time.6
The reasons are that the ethics of the legal profession should not be violated;7 that acting as an
attorney with authority constitutes contempt of court, which is punishable by fine or
imprisonment or both,8 and the law will not assist a person to reap the fruits or benefit of an
act or an act done in violation of law;9 and that if were to be allowed to non-lawyers, it would
leave the public in hopeless confusion as to whom to consult in case of necessity and also
leave the bar in a chaotic condition, aside from the fact that non-lawyers are not amenable to
disciplinary measures. 10
And the general rule above-stated (referring to non-recovery of attorney's fees by non-
lawyers) cannot be circumvented when the services were purely legal, by seeking to
recover as an "agent" and not as an attorney. 11
The weight of the reasons heretofore stated why a non-lawyer may not be awarded attorney's fees
should suffice to refute the possible argument that appearances by non-lawyers before the Court of
Industrial Relations should be excepted on the ground that said court is a court of special jurisdiction;
such special jurisdiction does not weigh the aforesaid reasons and cannot justify an exception.
The other issue in this case is whether or not a union may appeal an award of attorney's fees which are
deductible from the backpay of some of its members. This issue arose because it was the union
PAFLU, alone, that moved for an extension of time to file the present petition for review; union
members Entila and Tenazas did not ask for extension but they were included as petitioners in the
present petition that was subsequently filed, it being contended that, as to them (Entila and Tenazas),
their inclusion in the petition as co-petitioners was belated.
We hold that a union or legitimate labor organization may appeal an award of attorney's fees which are
deductible from the backpay of its members because such union or labor organization is permitted to
institute an action in the industrial court, 12 on behalf of its members; and the union was
organized "for the promotion of the emloyees' moral, social and economic well-being"; 13
hence, if an award is disadvantageous to its members, the union may prosecute an appeal as
an aggrieved party, under Section 6, Republic Act 875, which provides:
Sec. 6. Unfair Labor Practice cases — Appeals. — Any person aggrieved by any order
of the Court may appeal to the Supreme Court of the Philippines ...,
since more often than not the individual unionist is not in a position to bear the financial burden of
litigations.
Petitioners allege that respondent Muning is engaged in the habitual practice of law before the Court of
Industrial Relations, and many of them like him who are not licensed to practice, registering their
appearances as "representatives" and appearing daily before the said court. If true, this is a serious
situation demanding corrective action that respondent court should actively pursue and enforce by
positive action to that purpose. But since this matter was not brought in issue before the court a quo, it
may not be taken up in the present case. Petitioners, however, may file proper action against the
persons alleged to be illegally engaged in the practice of law.
WHEREFORE, the orders under review are hereby set aside insofar as they awarded 10% of the
backwages as attorney's fees for respondent Quintin Muning. Said orders are affirmed in all other
respects. Costs against respondent Muning.
Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Villamor and
Makasiar, JJ. concur.

PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG), petitioner, vs.


SANDIGANBAYAN (Fifth Division), LUCIO C. TAN, CARMEN KHAO TAN, FLORENCIO T.
SANTOS, NATIVIDAD P. SANTOS, DOMINGO CHUA, TAN HUI NEE, MARIANO TAN ENG
LIAN, ESTATE OF BENITO TAN KEE HIONG (represented by TARCIANA C. TAN),
FLORENCIO N. SANTOS, JR., HARRY C. TAN, TAN ENG CHAN, CHUNG POE KEE,
MARIANO KHOO, MANUEL KHOO, MIGUEL KHOO, JAIME KHOO, ELIZABETH KHOO,
CELSO RANOLA, WILLIAM T. WONG, ERNESTO B. LIM, BENJAMIN T. ALBACITA, WILLY
CO, ALLIED BANKING CORP., ALLIED LEASING AND FINANCE CORPORATION, ASIA
BREWERY, INC., BASIC HOLDINGS CORP., FOREMOST FARMS, INC., FORTUNE TOBACCO
CORP., GRANDSPAN DEVELOPMENT CORP., HIMMEL INDUSTRIES, IRIS HOLDINGS AND
DEVELOPMENT CORP., JEWEL HOLDINGS, INC., MANUFACTURING SERVICES AND
TRADE CORP., MARANAW HOTELS AND RESORT CORP., NORTHERN TOBACCO
REDRYING PLANT, PROGRESSIVE FARMS, INC., SHAREHOLDINGS, INC., SIPALAY
TRADING CORP., VIRGO HOLDINGS & DEVELOPMENT CORP., and ATTY. ESTELITO P.
MENDOZA, respondents.
DECISION
PUNO, J.:
This case is prima impressiones and it is weighted with significance for it concerns on one hand, the
efforts of the Bar to upgrade the ethics of lawyers in government service and on the other, its effect on
the right of government to recruit competent counsel to defend its interests.
In 1976, General Bank and Trust Company (GENBANK) encountered financial difficulties.
GENBANK had extended considerable financial support to Filcapital Development Corporation
causing it to incur daily overdrawings on its current account with the Central Bank.[1] It was later
found by the Central Bank that GENBANK had approved various loans to directors, officers,
stockholders and related interests totaling P172.3 million, of which 59% was classified as doubtful and
P0.505 million as uncollectible.[2] As a bailout, the Central Bank extended emergency loans to
GENBANK which reached a total of P310 million.[3] Despite the mega loans, GENBANK failed to
recover from its financial woes. On March 25, 1977, the Central Bank issued a resolution declaring
GENBANK insolvent and unable to resume business with safety to its depositors, creditors and the
general public, and ordering its liquidation.[4] A public bidding of GENBANKs assets was held
from March 26 to 28, 1977, wherein the Lucio Tan group submitted the winning bid.[5] Subsequently,
former Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza filed a petition with the then Court of First Instance
praying for the assistance and supervision of the court in GENBANKs liquidation as mandated by
Section 29 of Republic Act No. 265.
In February 1986, the EDSA I revolution toppled the Marcos government. One of the first acts of
President Corazon C. Aquino was to establish the Presidential Commission on Good Government
(PCGG) to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand Marcos, his family and
his cronies. Pursuant to this mandate, the PCGG, on July 17, 1987, filed with the Sandiganbayan a
complaint for reversion, reconveyance, restitution, accounting and damages against respondents
Lucio Tan, Carmen Khao Tan, Florencio T. Santos, Natividad P. Santos, Domingo Chua, Tan Hui Nee,
Mariano Tan Eng Lian, Estate of Benito Tan Kee Hiong, Florencio N. Santos, Jr., Harry C. Tan, Tan
Eng Chan, Chung Poe Kee, Mariano Khoo, Manuel Khoo, Miguel Khoo, Jaime Khoo, Elizabeth Khoo,
Celso Ranola, William T. Wong, Ernesto B. Lim, Benjamin T. Albacita, Willy Co, Allied Banking
Corporation (Allied Bank), Allied Leasing and Finance Corporation, Asia Brewery, Inc., Basic
Holdings Corp., Foremost Farms, Inc., Fortune Tobacco Corporation, Grandspan Development Corp.,
Himmel Industries, Iris Holdings and Development Corp., Jewel Holdings, Inc., Manufacturing
Services and Trade Corp., Maranaw Hotels and Resort Corp., Northern Tobacco Redrying Plant,
Progressive Farms, Inc., Shareholdings, Inc., Sipalay Trading Corp., Virgo Holdings & Development
Corp., (collectively referred to herein as respondents Tan, et al.), then President Ferdinand E. Marcos,
Imelda R. Marcos, Panfilo O. Domingo, Cesar Zalamea, Don Ferry and Gregorio Licaros. The case
was docketed as Civil Case No. 0005 of the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan.[6] In connection
therewith, the PCGG issued several writs of sequestration on properties allegedly acquired by the
above-named persons by taking advantage of their close relationship and influence with former
President Marcos.
Respondents Tan, et al. repaired to this Court and filed petitions for certiorari, prohibition and
injunction to nullify, among others, the writs of sequestration issued by the PCGG.[7] After the filing
of the parties comments, this Court referred the cases to the Sandiganbayan for proper disposition.
These cases were docketed as Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099. In all these cases, respondents Tan, et al.
were represented by their counsel, former Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, who has then resumed
his private practice of law.
On February 5, 1991, the PCGG filed motions to disqualify respondent Mendoza as counsel for
respondents Tan, et al. with the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan in Civil Case Nos. 0005[8]
and 0096-0099.[9] The motions alleged that respondent Mendoza, as then Solicitor General[10] and
counsel to Central Bank, actively intervened in the liquidation of GENBANK, which was
subsequently acquired by respondents Tan, et al. and became Allied Banking Corporation. Respondent
Mendoza allegedly intervened in the acquisition of GENBANK by respondents Tan, et al. when, in his
capacity as then Solicitor General, he advised the Central Banks officials on the procedure to bring
about GENBANKs liquidation and appeared as counsel for the Central Bank in connection with its
petition for assistance in the liquidation of GENBANK which he filed with the Court of First Instance
(now Regional Trial Court) of Manila and was docketed as Special Proceeding No. 107812. The
motions to disqualify invoked Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Rule 6.03
prohibits former government lawyers from accepting engagement or employment in connection with
any matter in which he had intervened while in said service.
On April 22, 1991 the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan issued a resolution denying PCGGs
motion to disqualify respondent Mendoza in Civil Case No. 0005.[11] It found that the PCGG failed to
prove the existence of an inconsistency between respondent Mendozas former function as Solicitor
General and his present employment as counsel of the Lucio Tan group. It noted that respondent
Mendoza did not take a position adverse to that taken on behalf of the Central Bank during his term as
Solicitor General.[12] It further ruled that respondent Mendozas appearance as counsel for respondents
Tan, et al. was beyond the one-year prohibited period under Section 7(b) of Republic Act No. 6713
since he ceased to be Solicitor General in the year 1986. The said section prohibits a former public
official or employee from practicing his profession in connection with any matter before the office he
used to be with within one year from his resignation, retirement or separation from public office.[13]
The PCGG did not seek any reconsideration of the ruling.[14]
It appears that Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099 were transferred from the Sandiganbayans Second
Division to the Fifth Division.[15] In its resolution dated July 11, 2001, the Fifth Division of the
Sandiganbayan denied the other PCGGs motion to disqualify respondent Mendoza.[16] It adopted the
resolution of its Second Division dated April 22, 1991, and observed that the arguments were the same
in substance as the motion to disqualify filed in Civil Case No. 0005. The PCGG sought
reconsideration of the ruling but its motion was denied in its resolution dated December 5, 2001.[17]
Hence, the recourse to this Court by the PCGG assailing the resolutions dated July 11, 2001 and
December 5, 2001 of the Fifth Division of the Sandiganbayan via a petition for certiorari and
prohibition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.[18] The PCGG alleged that the Fifth
Division acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the
assailed resolutions contending that: 1) Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility prohibits a
former government lawyer from accepting employment in connection with any matter in which he
intervened; 2) the prohibition in the Rule is not time-bound; 3) that Central Bank could not waive the
objection to respondent Mendozas appearance on behalf of the PCGG; and 4) the resolution in Civil
Case No. 0005 was interlocutory, thus res judicata does not apply.[19]
The petition at bar raises procedural and substantive issues of law. In view, however, of the import and
impact of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility to the legal profession and the
government, we shall cut our way and forthwith resolve the substantive issue.
I

Substantive Issue

The key issue is whether Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility applies to respondent
Mendoza. Again, the prohibition states: A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept
engagement or employment in connection with any matter in which he had intervened while in the
said service.

I.A. The history of Rule 6.03

A proper resolution of this case necessitates that we trace the historical lineage of Rule 6.03 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, ethical standards for lawyers were pervasive in England
and other parts of Europe. The early statements of standards did not resemble modern codes of conduct.
They were not detailed or collected in one source but surprisingly were comprehensive for their time.
The principal thrust of the standards was directed towards the litigation conduct of lawyers. It
underscored the central duty of truth and fairness in litigation as superior to any obligation to the client.
The formulations of the litigation duties were at times intricate, including specific pleading standards,
an obligation to inform the court of falsehoods and a duty to explore settlement alternatives. Most of
the lawyer's other basic duties -- competency, diligence, loyalty, confidentiality, reasonable fees and
service to the poor -- originated in the litigation context, but ultimately had broader application to all
aspects of a lawyer's practice.
The forms of lawyer regulation in colonial and early post-revolutionary America did not differ
markedly from those in England. The colonies and early states used oaths, statutes, judicial oversight,
and procedural rules to govern attorney behavior. The difference from England was in the
pervasiveness and continuity of such regulation. The standards set in England varied over time, but the
variation in early America was far greater. The American regulation fluctuated within a single colony
and differed from colony to colony. Many regulations had the effect of setting some standards of
conduct, but the regulation was sporadic, leaving gaps in the substantive standards. Only three of the
traditional core duties can be fairly characterized as pervasive in the formal, positive law of the colonial
and post-revolutionary period: the duties of litigation fairness, competency and reasonable fees.[20]
The nineteenth century has been termed the dark ages of legal ethics in the United States. By mid-
century, American legal reformers were filling the void in two ways. First, David Dudley Field, the
drafter of the highly influential New York Field Code, introduced a new set of uniform standards of
conduct for lawyers. This concise statement of eight statutory duties became law in several states in the
second half of the nineteenth century. At the same time, legal educators, such as David Hoffman and
George Sharswood, and many other lawyers were working to flesh out the broad outline of a lawyer's
duties. These reformers wrote about legal ethics in unprecedented detail and thus brought a new level
of understanding to a lawyer's duties. A number of mid-nineteenth century laws and statutes, other than
the Field Code, governed lawyer behavior. A few forms of colonial regulations e.g., the do no
falsehood oath and the deceit prohibitions -- persisted in some states. Procedural law continued to
directly, or indirectly, limit an attorney's litigation behavior. The developing law of agency recognized
basic duties of competence, loyalty and safeguarding of client property. Evidence law started to
recognize with less equivocation the attorney-client privilege and its underlying theory of
confidentiality. Thus, all of the core duties, with the likely exception of service to the poor, had some
basis in formal law. Yet, as in the colonial and early post-revolutionary periods, these standards were
isolated and did not provide a comprehensive statement of a lawyer's duties. The reformers, by
contrast, were more comprehensive in their discussion of a lawyer's duties, and they actually ushered a
new era in American legal ethics.[21]
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, a new form of ethical standards began to guide lawyers in
their practice the bar association code of legal ethics. The bar codes were detailed ethical standards
formulated by lawyers for lawyers. They combined the two primary sources of ethical guidance from
the nineteenth century. Like the academic discourses, the bar association codes gave detail to the
statutory statements of duty and the oaths of office. Unlike the academic lectures, however, the bar
association codes retained some of the official imprimatur of the statutes and oaths. Over time, the bar
association codes became extremely popular that states adopted them as binding rules of law. Critical
to the development of the new codes was the re-emergence of bar associations themselves. Local bar
associations formed sporadically during the colonial period, but they disbanded by the early nineteenth
century. In the late nineteenth century, bar associations began to form again, picking up where their
colonial predecessors had left off. Many of the new bar associations, most notably the Alabama State
Bar Association and the American Bar Association, assumed on the task of drafting substantive
standards of conduct for their members.[22]
In 1887, Alabama became the first state with a comprehensive bar association code of ethics. The
1887 Alabama Code of Ethics was the model for several states codes, and it was the foundation for the
American Bar Association's (ABA) 1908 Canons of Ethics.[23]
In 1917, the Philippine Bar found that the oath and duties of a lawyer were insufficient to attain the
full measure of public respect to which the legal profession was entitled. In that year, the Philippine
Bar Association adopted as its own, Canons 1 to 32 of the ABA Canons of Professional Ethics.[24]
As early as 1924, some ABA members have questioned the form and function of the canons. Among
their concerns was the revolving door or the process by which lawyers and others temporarily enter
government service from private life and then leave it for large fees in private practice, where they can
exploit information, contacts, and influence garnered in government service.[25] These concerns were
classified as adverse-interest conflicts and congruent-interest conflicts. Adverse-interest conflicts
exist where the matter in which the former government lawyer represents a client in private practice is
substantially related to a matter that the lawyer dealt with while employed by the government and the
interests of the current and former are adverse.[26] On the other hand, congruent-interest
representation conflicts are unique to government lawyers and apply primarily to former government
lawyers.[27] For several years, the ABA attempted to correct and update the canons through new
canons, individual amendments and interpretative opinions. In 1928, the ABA amended one canon and
added thirteen new canons.[28] To deal with problems peculiar to former government lawyers, Canon
36 was minted which disqualified them both for adverse-interest conflicts and congruent-interest
representation conflicts.[29] The rationale for disqualification is rooted in a concern that the
government lawyers largely discretionary actions would be influenced by the temptation to take action
on behalf of the government client that later could be to the advantage of parties who might later
become private practice clients.[30] Canon 36 provides, viz.:
36. Retirement from judicial position or public employment
A lawyer should not accept employment as an advocate in any matter upon the merits of which he has
previously acted in a judicial capacity.
A lawyer, having once held public office or having been in the public employ should not, after his
retirement, accept employment in connection with any matter he has investigated or passed upon
while in such office or employ.
Over the next thirty years, the ABA continued to amend many of the canons and added Canons 46 and
47 in 1933 and 1937, respectively.[31]
In 1946, the Philippine Bar Association again adopted as its own Canons 33 to 47 of the ABA
Canons of Professional Ethics.[32]
By the middle of the twentieth century, there was growing consensus that the ABA Canons needed
more meaningful revision. In 1964, the ABA President-elect Lewis Powell asked for the creation of a
committee to study the adequacy and effectiveness of the ABA Canons. The committee recommended
that the canons needed substantial revision, in part because the ABA Canons failed to distinguish
between the inspirational and the proscriptive and were thus unsuccessful in enforcement. The legal
profession in the United States likewise observed that Canon 36 of the ABA Canons of Professional
Ethics resulted in unnecessary disqualification of lawyers for negligible participation in matters during
their employment with the government.
The unfairness of Canon 36 compelled ABA to replace it in the 1969 ABA Model Code of
Professional Responsibility.[33] The basic ethical principles in the Code of Professional
Responsibility were supplemented by Disciplinary Rules that defined minimum rules of conduct to
which the lawyer must adhere.[34] In the case of Canon 9, DR 9-101(b)[35] became the applicable
supplementary norm. The drafting committee reformulated the canons into the Model Code of
Professional Responsibility, and, in August of 1969, the ABA House of Delegates approved the Model
Code.[36]
Despite these amendments, legal practitioners remained unsatisfied with the results and indefinite
standards set forth by DR 9-101(b) and the Model Code of Professional Responsibility as a whole.
Thus, in August 1983, the ABA adopted new Model Rules of Professional Responsibility. The
Model Rules used the restatement format, where the conduct standards were set-out in rules, with
comments following each rule. The new format was intended to give better guidance and clarity for
enforcement because the only enforceable standards were the black letter Rules. The Model Rules
eliminated the broad canons altogether and reduced the emphasis on narrative discussion, by placing
comments after the rules and limiting comment discussion to the content of the black letter rules. The
Model Rules made a number of substantive improvements particularly with regard to conflicts of
interests.[37] In particular, the ABA did away with Canon 9, citing the hopeless dependence of the
concept of impropriety on the subjective views of anxious clients as well as the norms indefinite
nature.[38]
In cadence with these changes, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) adopted a proposed
Code of Professional Responsibility in 1980 which it submitted to this Court for approval. The
Code was drafted to reflect the local customs, traditions, and practices of the bar and to conform with
new realities. On June 21, 1988, this Court promulgated the Code of Professional
Responsibility.[39] Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility deals particularly with former
government lawyers, and provides, viz.:
Rule 6.03 A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept engagement or employment in
connection with any matter in which he had intervened while in said service.
Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility retained the general structure of paragraph 2,
Canon 36 of the Canons of Professional Ethics but replaced the expansive phrase investigated and
passed upon with the word intervened. It is, therefore, properly applicable to both adverse-interest
conflicts and congruent-interest conflicts.
The case at bar does not involve the adverse interest aspect of Rule 6.03. Respondent Mendoza, it
is conceded, has no adverse interest problem when he acted as Solicitor General in Sp. Proc. No.
107812 and later as counsel of respondents Tan, et al. in Civil Case No. 0005 and Civil Case Nos.
0096-0099 before the Sandiganbayan. Nonetheless, there remains the issue of whether there exists a
congruent-interest conflict sufficient to disqualify respondent Mendoza from representing
respondents Tan, et al.

I.B. The congruent interest aspect of Rule 6.03

The key to unlock Rule 6.03 lies in comprehending first, the meaning of matter referred to in the rule
and, second, the metes and bounds of the intervention made by the former government lawyer on the
matter. The American Bar Association in its Formal Opinion 342, defined matter as any discrete,
isolatable act as well as identifiable transaction or conduct involving a particular situation and specific
party, and not merely an act of drafting, enforcing or interpreting government or agency procedures,
regulations or laws, or briefing abstract principles of law.
Firstly, it is critical that we pinpoint the matter which was the subject of intervention by respondent
Mendoza while he was the Solicitor General. The PCGG relates the following acts of respondent
Mendoza as constituting the matter where he intervened as a Solicitor General, viz:[40]
The PCGGs Case for Atty. Mendozas Disqualification
The PCGG imputes grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Sandiganbayan (Fifth Division) in
issuing the assailed Resolutions dated July 11, 2001 and December 5, 2001 denying the motion to
disqualify Atty. Mendoza as counsel for respondents Tan, et al. The PCGG insists that Atty. Mendoza,
as then Solicitor General, actively intervened in the closure of GENBANK by advising the Central
Bank on how to proceed with the said banks liquidation and even filing the petition for its liquidation
with the CFI of Manila.
As proof thereof, the PCGG cites the Memorandum dated March 29, 1977 prepared by certain key
officials of the Central Bank, namely, then Senior Deputy Governor Amado R. Brinas, then Deputy
Governor Jaime C. Laya, then Deputy Governor and General Counsel Gabriel C. Singson, then Special
Assistant to the Governor Carlota P. Valenzuela, then Asistant to the Governor Arnulfo B. Aurellano
and then Director of Department of Commercial and Savings Bank Antonio T. Castro, Jr., where they
averred that on March 28, 1977, they had a conference with the Solicitor General (Atty. Mendoza),
who advised them on how to proceed with the liquidation of GENBANK. The pertinent portion of the
said memorandum states:
Immediately after said meeting, we had a conference with the Solicitor General and he advised that the
following procedure should be taken:
1. Management should submit a memorandum to the Monetary Board reporting that
studies and evaluation had been made since the last examination of the bank as of August
31, 1976 and it is believed that the bank can not be reorganized or placed in a condition so
that it may be permitted to resume business with safety to its depositors and creditors and
the general public.
2. If the said report is confirmed by the Monetary Board, it shall order the liquidation of
the bank and indicate the manner of its liquidation and approve a liquidation plan.
3. The Central Bank shall inform the principal stockholders of Genbank of the foregoing
decision to liquidate the bank and the liquidation plan approved by the Monetary Board.
4. The Solicitor General shall then file a petition in the Court of First Instance reciting the
proceedings which had been taken and praying the assistance of the Court in the
liquidation of Genbank.
The PCGG further cites the Minutes No. 13 dated March 29, 1977 of the Monetary Board where it was
shown that Atty. Mendoza was furnished copies of pertinent documents relating to GENBANK in
order to aid him in filing with the court the petition for assistance in the banks liquidation. The
pertinent portion of the said minutes reads:
The Board decided as follows:
...
E. To authorize Management to furnish the Solicitor General with a copy of the
subject memorandum of the Director, Department of Commercial and Savings Bank
dated March 29, 1977, together with copies of:
1. Memorandum of the Deputy Governor, Supervision and Examination Sector,
to the Monetary Board, dated March 25, 1977, containing a report on the current
situation of Genbank;
2. Aide Memoire on the Antecedent Facts Re: General Bank and Trust Co., dated
March 23, 1977;
3. Memorandum of the Director, Department of Commercial and Savings Bank,
to the Monetary Board, dated March 24, 1977, submitting, pursuant to Section
29 of R.A. No. 265, as amended by P.D. No. 1007, a repot on the state of
insolvency of Genbank, together with its attachments; and
4. Such other documents as may be necessary or needed by the Solicitor General
for his use in then CFI-praying the assistance of the Court in the liquidation of
Genbank.
Beyond doubt, therefore, the matter or the act of respondent Mendoza as Solicitor General involved in
the case at bar is advising the Central Bank, on how to proceed with the said banks liquidation and
even filing the petition for its liquidation with the CFI of Manila. In fine, the Court should resolve
whether his act of advising the Central Bank on the legal procedure to liquidate GENBANK is
included within the concept of matter under Rule 6.03. The procedure of liquidation is given in
black and white in Republic Act No. 265, section 29, viz:
The provision reads in part:
SEC. 29. Proceedings upon insolvency. Whenever, upon examination by the head of the appropriate
supervising or examining department or his examiners or agents into the condition of any bank or non-
bank financial intermediary performing quasi-banking functions, it shall be disclosed that the condition
of the same is one of insolvency, or that its continuance in business would involve probable loss to its
depositors or creditors, it shall be the duty of the department head concerned forthwith, in writing, to
inform the Monetary Board of the facts, and the Board may, upon finding the statements of the
department head to be true, forbid the institution to do business in the Philippines and shall designate
an official of the Central Bank or a person of recognized competence in banking or finance, as receiver
to immediately take charge of its assets and liabilities, as expeditiously as possible collect and gather
all the assets and administer the same for the benefit of its creditors, exercising all the powers necessary
for these purposes including, but not limited to, bringing suits and foreclosing mortgages in the name of
the bank or non-bank financial intermediary performing quasi-banking functions.
...
If the Monetary Board shall determine and confirm within the said period that the bank or non-bank
financial intermediary performing quasi-banking functions is insolvent or cannot resume business with
safety to its depositors, creditors and the general public, it shall, if the public interest requires, order its
liquidation, indicate the manner of its liquidation and approve a liquidation plan. The Central Bank
shall, by the Solicitor General, file a petition in the Court of First Instance reciting the proceedings
which have been taken and praying the assistance of the court in the liquidation of such institution. The
court shall have jurisdiction in the same proceedings to adjudicate disputed claims against the bank or
non-bank financial intermediary performing quasi-banking functions and enforce individual liabilities
of the stockholders and do all that is necessary to preserve the assets of such institution and to
implement the liquidation plan approved by the Monetary Board. The Monetary Board shall designate
an official of the Central Bank, or a person of recognized competence in banking or finance, as
liquidator who shall take over the functions of the receiver previously appointed by the Monetary
Board under this Section. The liquidator shall, with all convenient speed, convert the assets of the
banking institution or non-bank financial intermediary performing quasi-banking functions to money or
sell, assign or otherwise dispose of the same to creditors and other parties for the purpose of paying the
debts of such institution and he may, in the name of the bank or non-bank financial intermediary
performing quasi-banking functions, institute such actions as may be necessary in the appropriate court
to collect and recover accounts and assets of such institution.
The provisions of any law to the contrary notwithstanding, the actions of the Monetary Board under
this Section and the second paragraph of Section 34 of this Act shall be final and executory, and can be
set aside by the court only if there is convincing proof that the action is plainly arbitrary and made in
bad faith. No restraining order or injunction shall be issued by the court enjoining the Central Bank
from implementing its actions under this Section and the second paragraph of Section 34 of this Act,
unless there is convincing proof that the action of the Monetary Board is plainly arbitrary and made in
bad faith and the petitioner or plaintiff files with the clerk or judge of the court in which the action is
pending a bond executed in favor of the Central Bank, in an amount to be fixed by the court. The
restraining order or injunction shall be refused or, if granted, shall be dissolved upon filing by the
Central Bank of a bond, which shall be in the form of cash or Central Bank cashier(s) check, in an
amount twice the amount of the bond of the petitioner or plaintiff conditioned that it will pay the
damages which the petitioner or plaintiff may suffer by the refusal or the dissolution of the injunction.
The provisions of Rule 58 of the New Rules of Court insofar as they are applicable and not inconsistent
with the provisions of this Section shall govern the issuance and dissolution of the restraining order or
injunction contemplated in this Section.
Insolvency, under this Act, shall be understood to mean the inability of a bank or non-bank financial
intermediary performing quasi-banking functions to pay its liabilities as they fall due in the usual and
ordinary course of business. Provided, however, That this shall not include the inability to pay of an
otherwise non-insolvent bank or non-bank financial intermediary performing quasi-banking functions
caused by extraordinary demands induced by financial panic commonly evidenced by a run on the bank
or non-bank financial intermediary performing quasi-banking functions in the banking or financial
community.
The appointment of a conservator under Section 28-A of this Act or the appointment of a receiver
under this Section shall be vested exclusively with the Monetary Board, the provision of any law,
general or special, to the contrary notwithstanding. (As amended by PD Nos. 72, 1007, 1771 & 1827,
Jan. 16, 1981)
We hold that this advice given by respondent Mendoza on the procedure to liquidate GENBANK is not
the matter contemplated by Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. ABA Formal
Opinion No. 342 is clear as daylight in stressing that the drafting, enforcing or interpreting
government or agency procedures, regulations or laws, or briefing abstract principles of law are acts
which do not fall within the scope of the term matter and cannot disqualify.
Secondly, it can even be conceded for the sake of argument that the above act of respondent Mendoza
falls within the definition of matter per ABA Formal Opinion No. 342. Be that as it may, the said act of
respondent Mendoza which is the matter involved in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 is entirely different from
the matter involved in Civil Case No. 0096. Again, the plain facts speak for themselves. It is given that
respondent Mendoza had nothing to do with the decision of the Central Bank to liquidate GENBANK.
It is also given that he did not participate in the sale of GENBANK to Allied Bank. The matter where
he got himself involved was in informing Central Bank on the procedure provided by law to liquidate
GENBANK thru the courts and in filing the necessary petition in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 in the then
Court of First Instance. The subject matter of Sp. Proc. No. 107812, therefore, is not the same nor
is related to but is different from the subject matter in Civil Case No. 0096. Civil Case No. 0096
involves the sequestration of the stocks owned by respondents Tan, et al., in Allied Bank on the
alleged ground that they are ill-gotten. The case does not involve the liquidation of GENBANK. Nor
does it involve the sale of GENBANK to Allied Bank. Whether the shares of stock of the reorganized
Allied Bank are ill-gotten is far removed from the issue of the dissolution and liquidation of
GENBANK. GENBANK was liquidated by the Central Bank due, among others, to the alleged
banking malpractices of its owners and officers. In other words, the legality of the liquidation of
GENBANK is not an issue in the sequestration cases. Indeed, the jurisdiction of the PCGG does not
include the dissolution and liquidation of banks. It goes without saying that Code 6.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility cannot apply to respondent Mendoza because his alleged intervention
while a Solicitor General in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 is an intervention on a matter different from the
matter involved in Civil Case No. 0096.
Thirdly, we now slide to the metes and bounds of the intervention contemplated by Rule 6.03.
Intervene means, viz.:
1: to enter or appear as an irrelevant or extraneous feature or circumstance . . . 2: to occur, fall, or come
in between points of time or events . . . 3: to come in or between by way of hindrance or modification:
INTERPOSE . . . 4: to occur or lie between two things (Paris, where the same city lay on both sides of
an intervening river . . .)[41]
On the other hand, intervention is defined as:
1: the act or fact of intervening: INTERPOSITION; 2: interference that may affect the interests of
others.[42]
There are, therefore, two possible interpretations of the word intervene. Under the first interpretation,
intervene includes participation in a proceeding even if the intervention is irrelevant or has no effect or
little influence.[43] Under the second interpretation, intervene only includes an act of a person who
has the power to influence the subject proceedings.[44] We hold that this second meaning is more
appropriate to give to the word intervention under Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
in light of its history. The evils sought to be remedied by the Rule do not exist where the government
lawyer does an act which can be considered as innocuous such as x x x drafting, enforcing or
interpreting government or agency procedures, regulations or laws, or briefing abstract principles of
law.
In fine, the intervention cannot be insubstantial and insignificant. Originally, Canon 36 provided that
a former government lawyer should not, after his retirement, accept employment in connection with
any matter which he has investigated or passed upon while in such office or employ. As
aforediscussed, the broad sweep of the phrase which he has investigated or passed upon resulted in
unjust disqualification of former government lawyers. The 1969 Code restricted its latitude, hence, in
DR 9-101(b), the prohibition extended only to a matter in which the lawyer, while in the government
service, had substantial responsibility. The 1983 Model Rules further constricted the reach of the rule.
MR 1.11(a) provides that a lawyer shall not represent a private client in connection with a matter in
which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a public officer or employee.
It is, however, alleged that the intervention of respondent Mendoza in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 is
significant and substantial. We disagree. For one, the petition in the special proceedings is an initiatory
pleading, hence, it has to be signed by respondent Mendoza as the then sitting Solicitor General. For
another, the record is arid as to the actual participation of respondent Mendoza in the subsequent
proceedings. Indeed, the case was in slumberville for a long number of years. None of the parties
pushed for its early termination. Moreover, we note that the petition filed merely seeks the assistance
of the court in the liquidation of GENBANK. The principal role of the court in this type of proceedings
is to assist the Central Bank in determining claims of creditors against the GENBANK. The role of the
court is not strictly as a court of justice but as an agent to assist the Central Bank in determining the
claims of creditors. In such a proceeding, the participation of the Office of the Solicitor General is not
that of the usual court litigator protecting the interest of government.
II

Balancing Policy Considerations

To be sure, Rule 6.03 of our Code of Professional Responsibility represents a commendable effort on
the part of the IBP to upgrade the ethics of lawyers in the government service. As aforestressed, it is a
take-off from similar efforts especially by the ABA which have not been without difficulties. To date,
the legal profession in the United States is still fine tuning its DR 9-101(b) rule.
In fathoming the depth and breadth of Rule 6.03 of our Code of Professional Responsibility, the Court
took account of various policy considerations to assure that its interpretation and application to the
case at bar will achieve its end without necessarily prejudicing other values of equal importance. Thus,
the rule was not interpreted to cause a chilling effect on government recruitment of able legal talent.
At present, it is already difficult for government to match compensation offered by the private sector
and it is unlikely that government will be able to reverse that situation. The observation is not
inaccurate that the only card that the government may play to recruit lawyers is have them defer present
income in return for the experience and contacts that can later be exchanged for higher income in
private practice.[45] Rightly, Judge Kaufman warned that the sacrifice of entering government service
would be too great for most men to endure should ethical rules prevent them from engaging in the
practice of a technical specialty which they devoted years in acquiring and cause the firm with which
they become associated to be disqualified.[46] Indeed, to make government service more difficult to
exit can only make it less appealing to enter.[47]
In interpreting Rule 6.03, the Court also cast a harsh eye on its use as a litigation tactic to harass
opposing counsel as well as deprive his client of competent legal representation. The danger that the
rule will be misused to bludgeon an opposing counsel is not a mere guesswork. The Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia has noted the tactical use of motions to disqualify counsel in order to delay
proceedings, deprive the opposing party of counsel of its choice, and harass and embarrass the
opponent, and observed that the tactic was so prevalent in large civil cases in recent years as to prompt
frequent judicial and academic commentary.[48] Even the United States Supreme Court found no
quarrel with the Court of Appeals description of disqualification motions as a dangerous game.[49] In
the case at bar, the new attempt to disqualify respondent Mendoza is difficult to divine. The
disqualification of respondent Mendoza has long been a dead issue. It was resuscitated after the lapse
of many years and only after PCGG has lost many legal incidents in the hands of respondent Mendoza.
For a fact, the recycled motion for disqualification in the case at bar was filed more than four years
after the filing of the petitions for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with the Supreme Court which
were subsequently remanded to the Sandiganbayan and docketed as Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099.[50]
At the very least, the circumstances under which the motion to disqualify in the case at bar were refiled
put petitioners motive as highly suspect.
Similarly, the Court in interpreting Rule 6.03 was not unconcerned with the prejudice to the
client which will be caused by its misapplication. It cannot be doubted that granting a disqualification
motion causes the client to lose not only the law firm of choice, but probably an individual lawyer in
whom the client has confidence.[51] The client with a disqualified lawyer must start again often
without the benefit of the work done by the latter.[52] The effects of this prejudice to the right to
choose an effective counsel cannot be overstated for it can result in denial of due process.
The Court has to consider also the possible adverse effect of a truncated reading of the rule on
the official independence of lawyers in the government service. According to Prof. Morgan: An
individual who has the security of knowing he or she can find private employment upon leaving the
government is free to work vigorously, challenge official positions when he or she believes them to be
in error, and resist illegal demands by superiors. An employee who lacks this assurance of private
employment does not enjoy such freedom.[53] He adds: Any system that affects the right to take a new
job affects the ability to quit the old job and any limit on the ability to quit inhibits official
independence.[54] The case at bar involves the position of Solicitor General, the office once
occupied by respondent Mendoza. It cannot be overly stressed that the position of Solicitor General
should be endowed with a great degree of independence. It is this independence that allows the
Solicitor General to recommend acquittal of the innocent; it is this independence that gives him the
right to refuse to defend officials who violate the trust of their office. Any undue dimunition of the
independence of the Solicitor General will have a corrosive effect on the rule of law.
No less significant a consideration is the deprivation of the former government lawyer of the
freedom to exercise his profession. Given the current state of our law, the disqualification of a former
government lawyer may extend to all members of his law firm.[55] Former government lawyers stand
in danger of becoming the lepers of the legal profession.
It is, however, proffered that the mischief sought to be remedied by Rule 6.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility is the possible appearance of impropriety and loss of public confidence
in government. But as well observed, the accuracy of gauging public perceptions is a highly speculative
exercise at best[56] which can lead to untoward results.[57] No less than Judge Kaufman doubts that
the lessening of restrictions as to former government attorneys will have any detrimental effect on that
free flow of information between the government-client and its attorneys which the canons seek to
protect.[58] Notably, the appearance of impropriety theory has been rejected in the 1983 ABA
Model Rules of Professional Conduct[59] and some courts have abandoned per se disqualification
based on Canons 4 and 9 when an actual conflict of interest exists, and demand an evaluation of the
interests of the defendant, government, the witnesses in the case, and the public.[60]
It is also submitted that the Court should apply Rule 6.03 in all its strictness for it correctly disfavors
lawyers who switch sides. It is claimed that switching sides carries the danger that former government
employee may compromise confidential official information in the process. But this concern does
not cast a shadow in the case at bar. As afore-discussed, the act of respondent Mendoza in informing
the Central Bank on the procedure how to liquidate GENBANK is a different matter from the subject
matter of Civil Case No. 0005 which is about the sequestration of the shares of respondents Tan, et al.,
in Allied Bank. Consequently, the danger that confidential official information might be divulged is nil,
if not inexistent. To be sure, there are no inconsistent sides to be bothered about in the case at bar. For
there is no question that in lawyering for respondents Tan, et al., respondent Mendoza is not working
against the interest of Central Bank. On the contrary, he is indirectly defending the validity of the
action of Central Bank in liquidating GENBANK and selling it later to Allied Bank. Their interests
coincide instead of colliding. It is for this reason that Central Bank offered no objection to the
lawyering of respondent Mendoza in Civil Case No. 0005 in defense of respondents Tan, et al. There
is no switching of sides for no two sides are involved.
It is also urged that the Court should consider that Rule 6.03 is intended to avoid conflict of loyalties,
i.e., that a government employee might be subject to a conflict of loyalties while still in government
service.[61] The example given by the proponents of this argument is that a lawyer who plans to work
for the company that he or she is currently charged with prosecuting might be tempted to prosecute less
vigorously.[62] In the cautionary words of the Association of the Bar Committee in 1960: The greatest
public risks arising from post employment conduct may well occur during the period of employment
through the dampening of aggressive administration of government policies.[63] Prof. Morgan,
however, considers this concern as probably excessive.[64] He opines x x x it is hard to imagine that a
private firm would feel secure hiding someone who had just been disloyal to his or her last client the
government. Interviews with lawyers consistently confirm that law firms want the best government
lawyers the ones who were hardest to beat not the least qualified or least vigorous advocates.[65] But
again, this particular concern is a non factor in the case at bar. There is no charge against
respondent Mendoza that he advised Central Bank on how to liquidate GENBANK with an eye in later
defending respondents Tan, et al. of Allied Bank. Indeed, he continues defending both the interests of
Central Bank and respondents Tan, et al. in the above cases.
Likewise, the Court is nudged to consider the need to curtail what is perceived as the excessive
influence of former officials or their clout.[66] Prof. Morgan again warns against extending this
concern too far. He explains the rationale for his warning, viz: Much of what appears to be an
employees influence may actually be the power or authority of his or her position, power that
evaporates quickly upon departure from government x x x.[67] More, he contends that the concern can
be demeaning to those sitting in government. To quote him further: x x x The idea that, present
officials make significant decisions based on friendship rather than on the merit says more about the
present officials than about their former co-worker friends. It implies a lack of will or talent, or both, in
federal officials that does not seem justified or intended, and it ignores the possibility that the officials
will tend to disfavor their friends in order to avoid even the appearance of favoritism.[68]
III
The question of fairness
Mr. Justices Panganiban and Carpio are of the view, among others, that the congruent interest prong of
Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility should be subject to a prescriptive period. Mr.
Justice Tinga opines that the rule cannot apply retroactively to respondent Mendoza. Obviously, and
rightly so, they are disquieted by the fact that (1) when respondent Mendoza was the Solicitor General,
Rule 6.03 has not yet adopted by the IBP and approved by this Court, and (2) the bid to disqualify
respondent Mendoza was made after the lapse of time whose length cannot, by any standard, qualify as
reasonable. At bottom, the point they make relates to the unfairness of the rule if applied without any
prescriptive period and retroactively, at that. Their concern is legitimate and deserves to be initially
addressed by the IBP and our Committee on Revision of the Rules of Court.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition assailing the resolutions dated July 11, 2001 and December 5,
2001 of the Fifth Division of the Sandiganbayan in Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099 is denied.
No cost.
SO ORDERED.

WILFREDO M. CATU, A.C. No. 5738


Complainant,
Present:
PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
- v e r s u s - CORONA,
AZCUNA and
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, JJ.
ATTY. VICENTE G. RELLOSA,
Respondent. Promulgated:
February 19, 2008
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
RESOLUTION

CORONA, J.:
Complainant Wilfredo M. Catu is a co-owner of a lot[1] and the building erected thereon

located at 959 San Andres Street, Malate, Manila. His mother and brother, Regina Catu

and Antonio Catu, contested the possession of Elizabeth C. Diaz-Catu[2] and Antonio

Pastor[3] of one of the units in the building. The latter ignored demands for them to

vacate the premises. Thus, a complaint was initiated against them in the Lupong
Tagapamayapa of Barangay 723, Zone 79 of the 5 th District of Manila[4] where the

parties reside.

Respondent, as punong barangay of Barangay 723, summoned the parties to conciliation

meetings.[5] When the parties failed to arrive at an amicable settlement, respondent

issued a certification for the filing of the appropriate action in court.

Thereafter, Regina and Antonio filed a complaint for ejectment against Elizabeth and

Pastor in the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch 11. Respondent entered his

appearance as counsel for the defendants in that case. Because of this, complainant filed

the instant administrative complaint,[6] claiming that respondent committed an act of

impropriety as a lawyer and as a public officer when he stood as counsel for the

defendants despite the fact that he presided over the conciliation proceedings between

the litigants as punong barangay.

In his defense, respondent claimed that one of his duties as punong barangay was to

hear complaints referred to the barangays Lupong Tagapamayapa. As such, he heard the

complaint of Regina and Antonio against Elizabeth and Pastor. As head of the Lupon, he

performed his task with utmost objectivity, without bias or partiality towards any of the

parties. The parties, however, were not able to amicably settle their dispute and Regina

and Antonio filed the ejectment case. It was then that Elizabeth sought his legal

assistance. He acceded to her request. He handled her case for free because she was
financially distressed and he wanted to prevent the commission of a patent injustice

against her.

The complaint was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for

investigation, report and recommendation. As there was no factual issue to thresh out,

the IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) required the parties to submit their

respective position papers. After evaluating the contentions of the parties, the IBP-CBD

found sufficient ground to discipline respondent.[7]

According to the IBP-CBD, respondent admitted that, as punong barangay, he presided

over the conciliation proceedings and heard the complaint of Regina and Antonio

against Elizabeth and Pastor. Subsequently, however, he represented Elizabeth and

Pastor in the ejectment case filed against them by Regina and Antonio. In the course

thereof, he prepared and signed pleadings including the answer with counterclaim, pre-

trial brief, position paper and notice of appeal. By so doing, respondent violated Rule

6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility:

Rule 6.03 A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept engagement or
employment in connection with any matter in which he intervened while in said
service.
Furthermore, as an elective official, respondent contravened the prohibition under

Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713:[8]

SEC. 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. In addition to acts and omissions of public
officials and employees now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the
following shall constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any public official ands
employee and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
xxx xxx xxx
(b) Outside employment and other activities related thereto. Public officials and
employees during their incumbency shall not:
xxx xxx xxx
(2) Engage in the private practice of profession unless authorized by the
Constitution or law, provided that such practice will not conflict or tend to
conflict with their official functions; xxx (emphasis supplied)
According to the IBP-CBD, respondents violation of this prohibition constituted a

breach of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility:

CANON 1. A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE


LAWS OF THE LAND, PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL
PROCESSES. (emphasis supplied)
For these infractions, the IBP-CBD recommended the respondents suspension from the

practice of law for one month with a stern warning that the commission of the same or

similar act will be dealt with more severely.[9] This was adopted and approved by the

IBP Board of Governors.[10]

We modify the foregoing findings regarding the transgression of respondent as well as

the recommendation on the imposable penalty.

RULE 6.03 OF THE CODE


OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY APPLIES
ONLY TO FORMER GOVERNMENT LAWYERS

Respondent cannot be found liable for violation of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional

Responsibility. As worded, that Rule applies only to a lawyer who has left government

service and in connection with any matter in which he intervened while in said service.

In PCGG v. Sandiganbayan,[11] we ruled that Rule 6.03 prohibits former government

lawyers from accepting engagement or employment in connection with any matter in

which [they] had intervened while in said service.


Respondent was an incumbent punong barangay at the time he committed the act

complained of. Therefore, he was not covered by that provision.

SECTION 90 OF RA 7160, NOT SECTION 7(B)(2)


OF RA 6713, GOVERNS THE PRACTICE OF
PROFESSION OF ELECTIVE LOCAL
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713 prohibits public officials and employees, during their

incumbency, from engaging in the private practice of their profession unless authorized

by the Constitution or law, provided that such practice will not conflict or tend to

conflict with their official functions. This is the general law which applies to all public

officials and employees.

For elective local government officials, Section 90 of RA 7160[12] governs:

SEC. 90. Practice of Profession. (a) All governors, city and municipal mayors
are prohibited from practicing their profession or engaging in any occupation other than
the exercise of their functions as local chief executives.
(b) Sanggunian members may practice their professions, engage in any
occupation, or teach in schools except during session hours: Provided, That
sanggunian members who are members of the Bar shall not:
(1) 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;
(2) Appear as counsel in any criminal case wherein an officer or
employee of the national or local government is accused of an offense
committed in relation to his office;
(3) Collect any fee for their appearance in administrative proceedings
involving the local government unit of which he is an official; and
(4) Use property and personnel of the Government except when the
sanggunian member concerned is defending the interest of the Government.
(c) Doctors of medicine may practice their profession even during official hours
of work only on occasions of emergency: Provided, That the officials concerned
do not derive monetary compensation therefrom.
This is a special provision that applies specifically to the practice of profession by

elective local officials. As a special law with a definite scope (that is, the practice of

profession by elective local officials), it constitutes an exception to Section 7(b)(2) of

RA 6713, the general law on engaging in the private practice of profession by public

officials and employees. Lex specialibus derogat generalibus.[13]

Under RA 7160, elective local officials of provinces, cities, municipalities and

barangays are the following: the governor, the vice governor and members of the

sangguniang panlalawigan for provinces; the city mayor, the city vice mayor and the

members of the sangguniang panlungsod for cities; the municipal mayor, the municipal

vice mayor and the members of the sangguniang bayan for municipalities and the

punong barangay, the members of the sangguniang barangay and the members of the

sangguniang kabataan for barangays.

Of these elective local officials, governors, city mayors and municipal mayors are

prohibited from practicing their profession or engaging in any occupation other than the

exercise of their functions as local chief executives. This is because they are required to

render full time service. They should therefore devote all their time and attention to the

performance of their official duties.

On the other hand, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang

panlungsod or sangguniang bayan may practice their professions, engage in any


occupation, or teach in schools except during session hours. In other words, they may

practice their professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in schools outside their

session hours. Unlike governors, city mayors and municipal mayors, members of the

sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan are

required to hold regular sessions only at least once a week.[14] Since the law itself

grants them the authority to practice their professions, engage in any occupation or teach

in schools outside session hours, there is no longer any need for them to secure prior

permission or authorization from any other person or office for any of these purposes.

While, as already discussed, certain local elective officials (like governors, mayors,

provincial board members and councilors) are expressly subjected to a total or partial

proscription to practice their profession or engage in any occupation, no such

interdiction is made on the punong barangay and the members of the sangguniang

barangay. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius.[15] 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.[16]

Accordingly, as punong barangay, respondent was not forbidden to practice his

profession. However, he should have procured prior permission or authorization from

the head of his Department, as required by civil service regulations.

A LAWYER IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE WHO IS


NOT PROHIBITED TO PRACTICE LAW MUST
SECURE PRIOR AUTHORITY FROM THE HEAD
OF HIS DEPARTMENT

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 written permission of the head of the department concerned.[17] Section 12,

Rule XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules provides:

Sec. 12. No officer or employee shall engage directly in any private business,
vocation, or profession or be connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural, or
industrial undertaking without a written permission from the head of the
Department: Provided, That this prohibition will be absolute in the case of those
officers and employees whose duties and responsibilities require that their entire time
be at the disposal of the Government; Provided, further, That if an employee is granted
permission to engage in outside activities, time so devoted outside of office hours
should be fixed by the agency to the end that it will not impair in any way the
efficiency of the officer or employee: And provided, finally, that no permission is
necessary in the case of investments, made by an officer or employee, which do not
involve real or apparent conflict between his private interests and public duties, or in
any way influence him in the discharge of his duties, and he shall not take part in the
management of the enterprise or become an officer of the board of directors. (emphasis
supplied)
As punong barangay, respondent should have therefore obtained the prior written

permission of the Secretary of Interior and Local Government before he entered his

appearance as counsel for Elizabeth and Pastor. This he failed to do.

The failure of respondent to comply with Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Revised

Civil Service Rules constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer: to obey the laws.

Lawyers are servants of the law, vires legis, men of the law. Their paramount duty to

society is to obey the law and promote respect for it. To underscore the primacy and
importance of this duty, it is enshrined as the first canon of the Code of Professional

Responsibility.

In acting as counsel for a party without first securing the required written permission,

respondent not only engaged in the unauthorized practice of law but also violated civil

service rules which is a breach of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility:

Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct. (emphasis supplied)
For not living up to his oath as well as for not complying with the exacting ethical

standards of the legal profession, respondent failed to comply with Canon 7 of the Code

of Professional Responsibility:

CANON 7. A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY


AND THE DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE
ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR. (emphasis supplied)
Indeed, a lawyer who disobeys the law disrespects it. In so doing, he disregards legal

ethics and disgraces the dignity of the legal profession.

Public confidence in the law and in lawyers may be eroded by the irresponsible and

improper conduct of a member of the bar.[18] Every lawyer should act and comport

himself in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the legal

profession.[19]

A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as an attorney for

violation of the lawyers oath[20] and/or for breach of the ethics of the legal profession

as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility.


WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Vicente G. Rellosa is hereby found GUILTY of

professional misconduct for violating his oath as a lawyer and Canons 1 and 7 and Rule

1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is therefore SUSPENDED from the

practice of law for a period of six months effective from his receipt of this resolution.

He is sternly WARNED that any repetition of similar acts shall be dealt with more

severely.

Respondent is strongly advised to look up and take to heart the meaning of the word

delicadeza.

Let a copy of this resolution be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant and entered

into the records of respondent Atty. Vicente G. Rellosa. The Office of the Court

Administrator shall furnish copies to all the courts of the land for their information and

guidance.

SO ORDERED.