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ATTY. NOE-LACSAMANA vs. ATTY.

BUSMENTE
A.C. No. 7269 (2011)

FACTS:
Noe-Lacsamana alleged in her complaint that she was the counsel for Irene Bides, the plaintiff in Civil Case No. SCA-2481
before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 167, while Busmente was the counsel for the defendant Imelda B. Ulaso (Ulaso).
Noe-Lacsamana alleged that Ulasos deed of sale over the property subject of Civil Case No. SCA-2481 was annulled, which resulted in
the filing of an ejectment case before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC), San Juan, docketed as Civil Case No. 9284, where Busmente
appeared as counsel.
Another case for falsification was filed against Ulaso where Busmente also appeared as counsel. Noe-Lacsamana alleged that
one Atty. Elizabeth Dela Rosa or Atty. Liza Dela Rosa (Dela Rosa) would accompany Ulaso in court, projecting herself as Busmentes
collaborating counsel. Dela Rosa signed the minutes of the court proceedings in Civil Case No. 9284 nine times from 25 November 2003
to 8 February 2005. Noe-Lacsamana further alleged that the court orders and notices specified Dela Rosa as Busmentes collaborating
counsel. Noe-Lacsamana alleged that upon verification with this Court and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, she discovered that Dela
Rosa was not a lawyer.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is in violation of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states that “[a] lawyer
shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law”

HELD:
It has been established that Dela Rosa who is not a member of the Bar misrepresented herself as respondent’s collaborating
counsel. There was also sufficient evidence to prove that respondent allowed Dela Rosa to illegally practice law, appear in court, and give
legal assistance to respondent’s client. Busmente alleged that Dela Rosas employment in his office ended in 2000 and that Dela Rosa was
able to continue with her illegal practice of law through connivance with Macasieb, another member of Busmentes staff. As pointed out
by the IBP-CBD, Busmente claimed that Macasieb resigned from his office in 2003. Yet, Dela Rosa continued to represent Ulaso until
2005. Pleadings and court notices were still sent to Busmentes office until 2005. The IBP-CBD noted that Dela Rosas practice should
have ended in 2003 when Macasieb left.
The term “practice of law” implies customarily or habitually holding oneself out to the public as a lawyer for compensation as a
source of livelihood or in consideration of his services. Holding one’s self out as a lawyer may be shown by acts indicative of that
purpose, such as identifying oneself as attorney, appearing in court in representation of a client, or associating oneself as a partner of a law
office for the general practice of law.

QUERY OF ATTY. KAREN M. SILVERIO-BUFFE

Facts:

The query, as originally framed, related to Section 7(b)(2) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6713, as amended (or the Code of Conduct and
Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees). This provision places a limitation on public officials and employees during
their incumbency, and those already separated from government employment for a period of one (1) year after separation, in
engaging in the private practice of their profession. Section 7(b)(2) of R.A. No. 6713 provides:

SECTION 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 and employee
and are hereby declared to be unlawful:

xxx

(b) Outside employment and other activities related thereto. - Public officials and employees during their incumbency shall not:

xxx

(2) Engage 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; or

xxx

These prohibitions shall continue to apply for a period of one (1) year after resignation, retirement, or separation from public
office, except in the case of subparagraph (b) (2) above, but the professional concerned cannot practice his profession in connection
with any matter before the office he used to be with, in which case the one-year prohibition shall likewise apply.

The query arose because Atty. Buffe previously worked as Clerk of Court VI of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 81 of
Romblon; she resigned from her position effective February 1, 2008. Thereafter (and within the one-year period of prohibition
mentioned in the above-quoted provision), she engaged in the private practice of law by appearing as private counsel in several
cases before RTC-Branch 81 of Romblon.

Atty. Buffe alleged that Section 7(b)(2) of R.A. No. 6713 gives preferential treatment to an incumbent public employee, who
may engage in the private practice of his profession so long as this practice does not conflict or tend to conflict with his official
functions. In contrast, a public official or employee who has retired, resigned, or has been separated from government service
like her, is prohibited from engaging in private practice on any matter before the office where she used to work, for a period of
one (1) year from the date of her separation from government employment.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Karen Silverio-Buffe may appear as private counsel before RTC-Branch 81 of Romblon within the 1 year
prohibition.

Held:

NO. Section 7 of R.A. No. 6713 generally provides for the prohibited acts and transactions of public officials and employees.
Subsection (b)(2) prohibits them from engaging in the private practice of their profession during their incumbency. As an exception, a
public official or employee can engage in the practice of his or her profession under the following conditions: first, the private practice
is authorized by the Constitution or by the law; and second, the practice will not conflict, or tend to conflict, with his or her official
functions.

The Section 7 prohibitions continue to apply for a period of one year after the public official or employee's resignation,
retirement, or separation from public office, except for the private practice of profession under subsection (b)(2), which can
already be undertaken even within the one-year prohibition period. As an exception to this exception, the one-year prohibited
period applies with respect to any matter before the office the public officer or employee used to work with.

The Section 7 prohibitions are predicated on the principle that public office is a public trust; and serve to remove any impropriety,
real or imagined, which may occur in government transactions between a former government official or employee and his or
her former colleagues, subordinates or superiors. The prohibitions also promote the observance and the efficient use of every
moment of the prescribed office hours to serve the public.

Parenthetically, in the case of court employees, Section 7(b)(2) of R.A. No. 6713 is not the only prohibition to contend with;
Section 5, Canon 3 of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel also applies. The latter provision provides the definitive rule on
the "outside employment" that an incumbent court official or court employee may undertake in addition to his official duties:

Outside employment may be allowed by the head of office provided it complies with all of the following requirements:

(a) The outside employment is not with a person or entity that practices law before the courts or conducts business with the Judiciary;

(b) The outside employment can be performed outside of normal working hours and is not incompatible with the performance of the
court personnel's duties and responsibilities;

(c) That outside employment does not require the practice of law; Provided, however, that court personnel may render services as
professor, lecturer, or resource person in law schools, review or continuing education centers or similar institutions;

(d) The outside employment does not require or induce the court personnel to disclose confidential information acquired while
performing officials duties;

(e) The outside employment shall not be with the legislative or executive branch of government, unless specifically authorized by the
Supreme Court.

Where a conflict of interest exists, may reasonably appear to exist, or where the outside employment reflects adversely on the
integrity of the Judiciary, the court personnel shall not accept outside employment. [Emphasis supplied]

In both the above discussed aspect of R.A. No. 6713 and the quoted Canon 3, the practice of law is covered; the practice of law is a
practice of profession, while Canon 3 specifically mentions any outside employment requiring the practice of law. In Cayetano v.
Monsod, we defined the practice of law as any activity, in and out of court, that requires the application of law, legal procedure,
knowledge, training and experience. Moreover, we ruled that to engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are
characteristics of the profession; to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device or service requires the use
in any degree of legal knowledge or skill. Under both provisions, a common objective is to avoid any conflict of interest on the
part of the employee who may wittingly or unwittingly use confidential information acquired from his employment, or use his
or her familiarity with court personnel still with the previous office.
After separation from the service, Section 5, Canon 3 of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel ceases to apply as it applies
specifically to incumbents, but Section 7 and its subsection (b)(2) of R.A. No. 6713 continue to apply to the extent discussed above.
Atty. Buffe's situation falls under Section 7.

A distinctive feature of this administrative matter is Atty. Buffe's admission that she immediately engaged in private practice of law
within the one-year period of prohibition stated in Section 7(b)(2) of R.A. No. 6713.

As we discussed above, a clerk of court can already engage in the practice of law immediately after her separation from the
service and without any period limitation that applies to other prohibitions under Section 7 of R.A. No. 6713. The clerk of
court's limitation is that she cannot practice her profession within one year before the office where he or she used to work
with. In a comparison between a resigned, retired or separated official or employee, on the one hand, and an incumbent official
or employee, on the other, the former has the advantage because the limitation is only with respect to the office he or she used
to work with and only for a period of one year. The incumbent cannot practice at all, save only where specifically allowed by
the Constitution and the law and only in areas where no conflict of interests exists. This analysis again disproves Atty. Buffe's
basic premises.

By acting in a manner that R.A. No. 6713 brands as "unlawful," Atty. Buffe contravened Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, which provides:

CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE
RESPECT FOR LAW AND FOR LEGAL PROCESSES

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.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we find Atty. Karen M. Silverio-Buffe GUILTY of professional misconduct for violating Rule
1.01 of Canon 1 and Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. She is hereby FINED in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000.00), and STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of this violation and the commission of other acts of professional
misconduct shall be dealt with more severely.

AGUIRRE vs. RANA

B. M. No. 1036 June 10, 2003

FACTS: Respondent Edwin L. Rana was among those who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations. Respondent, while not yet a lawyer,
appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001 elections before the Municipal Board of Election Canvassers of Mandaon, Masbate
and 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. Furthermore, respondent also signed as counsel for
Emily Estipona-Hao on 19 May 2001 in the petition filed before the MBEC praying for the proclamation of Estipona-Hao as the winning
candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate. 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 filed against respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to the
Bar. On 22 May 2001, respondent was allowed to take the lawyer’s oath but was disallowed from signing the Roll of Attorneys until he
is cleared of the charges against him.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent shall be denied Admission to the Bar.

RULING: 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.

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 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. True, respondent here
passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawyer’s 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. Respondent should know that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be
performed, namely: his lawyer’s oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys.

Beltran Jr. vs. Abad, 132 SCRA 453 (BM 139)

FACTS:

Mr. Elmo S. Abad was a successful examinee of the 1978 bar examinations. His subsequent practice of law was questioned and
complained by the President of Philippine Trial Lawyers’ Association, Inc. Respondent explained that:

– He had already paid for the Bar Admission Fee;

– He was notified of the oath-taking by the Supreme Court and signed the Lawyer’s Oath by one clerk in the Office of the Bar
Confidante;

– He participated Annual General Meeting of IBP Quezon City, and paid his statement dues and was included as a voting member
for officers and directors – also conferred to him a certificate of Membership in Good Standing from IBP QC Chapter;

– The Supreme Court never issued any order in the striking of his name in the roll of attorneys, and paid his dues and PTR;

ISSUE:

Whether or not the respondent is guilty of contempt of court.

HELD:

YES. Respondent was sentenced fine and imprisonment for twenty five (25) days.

Respondent should know that the circumstances which he narrated do not constitute his admission to the Philippine Bar and the right
(or privilege) to practice law thereafter. He should know that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed,
namely: his lawyer’s oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys.

He was found in violation of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court:

SEC. 3. Indirect contempt to be punished after charge and hearing – x x x:

(e) Assuming to be an attorney or an officer of a court, and acting as such without authority; Xxx

From which respondent cannot further deny.

Letter of Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo


Facts:

Atty. Arevalo wrote a letter to the SC requesting for exemption from payment of his IBP dues from 1977-2005 in the amount of
P12,035.00. He contends that after admission to the Bar he worked at the Civil Service Commission then migrated to the US until
his retirement. His contention to be exempt is that his employment with the CSC prohibits him to practice his law profession and
he did not practice the same while in the US. The compulsion that he pays his IBP annual membership is oppressive since he has
an inactive status as a lawyer. His removal from the profession because of non-payment of the same constitutes to
the deprivation of his property rights bereft of due process of the law.

Issues:

1. Is petitioner entitled to exemption from payment of his dues during the time that he was inactive in the practice of law that is,
when he was in the Civil Service from 1962-1986 and he was working abroad from 1986-2003?

2. Does the enforcement of the penalty of removal amount to a deprivation of property without due process?
Held:
1. No. A membership fee in the Bar association is an exaction for regulation. If the judiciary has inherent power to regulate the
Bar, it follows that as an incident to regulation, it may impose a membership fee for that purpose. It would not be possible to put
on an integrated Bar program without means to defray the expenses. The doctrine of implied powers necessarily carries with it
the power to impose such exaction.

The payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the IBP, of which no one is exempt. This means that the
compulsory nature of payment of dues subsists for as long as ones membership in the IBP remains regardless of the lack of
practice of, or the type of practice, the member is engaged in.

2. No. Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of a license to practice
a profession, we do not here pause to consider at length, as it [is] clear that under the police power of the State, and under the
necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondents right to practice law before the courts of this
country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure
is recognize[d], then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not
void as unreasonable or arbitrary.

But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege, and as such must bow to the
inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyers public responsibilities.

As a final note, it must be borne in mind that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions, one of which is the
payment of membership dues. Failure to abide by any of them entails the loss of such privilege if the gravity thereof warrants
such drastic move.

N RE: PETITION TO SIGN IN THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS MICHAEL A. MEDADO


FACTS:

Michael A. Medado passed the Philippine bar exams in 1979. On 7 May 1980, he took the Attorney’s Oath at the PICC.
He was scheduled to sign in the Roll of Attorneys on 13 May 1980, but failed to do so allegedly because he had
misplaced the Notice to Sign the Roll of Attorneys. Several years later, while rummaging through his things, he found said
Notice. He then realized that he had not signed in the roll, and that what he had signed at the entrance of the PICC was
probably just an attendance record.

He thought that since he already took the oath, the signing of the Roll of Attorneys was not as important. The matter of
signing in the Roll of Attorneys was subsequently forgotten.

In 2005, when Medado attended MCLE seminars, he was required to provide his roll number for his MCLE compliances to
be credited. Not having signed in the Roll of Attorneys, he was unable to provide his roll number.

About seven years later, in 2012, Medado filed the instant Petition, praying that he be allowed to sign in the Roll of
Attorneys. Medado justifies this lapse by characterizing his acts as “neither willful nor intentional but based on a mistaken
belief and an honest error of judgment.

The Office of the Bar Confidant recommended that the instant petition be denied for petitioner’s gross negligence, gross
misconduct and utter lack of merit, saying that petitioner could offer no valid justification for his negligence in signing in the
Roll of Attorneys.

ISSUE:

Whether or not petitioner may be allowed to sign the Roll of Attorneys.

RULING:

Yes, the Supreme Court granted the petition subject to the payment of a fine and the imposition of a penalty equivalent to
suspension from the practice of law.

Not allowing Medado to sign in the Roll of Attorneys would be akin to imposing upon him the ultimate penalty of
disbarment, a penalty reserved for the most serious ethical transgressions. In this case, said action is not warranted.
The Court considered Medado’s demonstration of good faith in filing the petition himself, albeit after the passage of more
than 30 years; that he has shown that he possesses the character required to be a member of the Philippine Bar; and that
he appears to have been a competent and able legal practitioner, having held various positions at different firms and
companies.

However, Medado is not free from all liability for his years of inaction.

A mistake of law cannot be utilized as a lawful justification, because everyone is presumed to know the law and its
consequences.

Medado may have at first operated under an honest mistake of fact when he thought that what he had signed at the PICC
entrance before the oath-taking was already the Roll of Attorneys. However, the moment he realized that what he had
signed was just an attendance record, he could no longer claim an honest mistake of fact as a valid justification. At that
point, he should have known that he was not a full-fledged member of the Philippine Bar, as it was the act of signing
therein that would have made him so. When, in spite of this knowledge, he chose to continue practicing law, he willfully
engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

Knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of law likewise transgresses Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. At the heart of Canon 9 is the lawyer’s duty to prevent the unauthorized practice of law. This duty likewise
applies to law students and Bar candidates. As aspiring members of the Bar, they are bound to conduct themselves in
accordance with the ethical standards of the legal profession.

Medado cannot be suspended as he is not yet a full-fledged lawyer. However, the Court imposed upon him a penalty akin
to suspension by allowing him to sign in the Roll of Attorneys one (1) year after receipt of the Resolution. He was also
made to pay a fine of P32,000. Also, during the one-year period, petitioner was not allowed to engage in the practice of
law.

NORMA TAN vs. BENEDICTO M. BALAJADIA

Docket Number: G.R. No. 169517 Date: March 14, 2006

Facts of the Case

This is an original petition for contempt filed by petitioners Rogelio Tan, Norma Tan and Maliyawao Pagayokan
against respondent Benedicto Balajadia. Petitioners allege that on May 8, 2005, respondent filed a criminal case against
them with the Office of the City of Prosecutor of Baguio City for usurpation of authority, grave coercion and violation of
city tax ordinance due to the alleged illegal collection of parking fees by petitioners from respondent.

In paragraph 5 of the complaint-affidavit, respondent asserted that he is a "practicing lawyer based in Baguio
City with office address at Room B-207, 2/F Lopez Building, Session Road, Baguio City. However, certifications issued by
the Office of the Bar Confidant3 and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines showed that respondent has never been
admitted to the Philippine Bar. Hence, petitioners claim that respondent is liable for indirect contempt for
misrepresenting himself as a lawyer.

Respondent avers that the allegation in paragraph 5 of the complaint-affidavit that he is a practicing lawyer was
an honest mistake. He claims that the secretary of Atty. Paterno Aquino prepared the subject complaint-affidavit which
was patterned after Atty. Aquino’s complaint-affidavit. It appears that Atty. Aquino had previously filed a complaint-
affidavit against petitioners involving the same subject matter.

Issue/s

1. Whether respondent is liable for indirect contempt for misrepresenting himself as a lawyer?

Ruling:

No. The respondent is not liable for indirect contempt. 1. SC ruled that records support respondent’s claim that he never
intended to project himself as a lawyer to the public. It was a clear inadvertence on the part of the secretary of Atty
Aquino.
Respondent has satisfactorily shown that the allegation that he is a practicing lawyer was the result of
inadvertence and cannot, by itself, establish intent as to make him liable for indirect contempt. In the cases where we
found a party liable for the unauthorized practice of law, the party was guilty of some overt act like signing court
pleadings on behalf of his client; appearing before court hearings as an attorney; manifesting before the court that he
will practice law despite being previously denied admission to the bar; or deliberately attempting to practice law and
holding out himself as an attorney through circulars with full knowledge that he is not licensed to do so.

In the case at bar, no evidence was presented to show that respondent acted as an attorney or that he intended
to practice law. Consequently, he cannot be made liable for indirect contempt considering his lack of intent to illegally
practice law.

Disposition: Petition dismissed. Respondent is WARNED to be more careful and circumspect in his future actions.

Additional Notes: Section 3(e), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court provides: Section 3. Indirect contempt to be punished after
charge and hearing. – After a charge in writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the respondent to comment
thereon within such period as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by himself or counsel, a person guilty of any of
the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt:

x x x x (e) Assuming to be an attorney or an officer of a court, and acting as such without authority;

In RE: Petition for Reinstatement in the Roll of Attorneys, JUAN T. PUBLICO


FACTS:
THREE PETITIONS (from Publico, faculty of Polytechnic University, Civic Association in Manila):
Petition to take the Bar Exam in 1960 after failing in the 1959 Bar Examination.

His uncle, TAPEL, opposed the petition alleging that his nephew is not a person of good moral character for having
misrepresented, sometime in 1950, when he was 16 years old, that he was eligible for 3rd year high school by utilizing the
school records of his cousin and name-sake, Juan M. Publico.
i. PUBLICO has not completed Grade 4
ii. Tapel instituted an administrative case against his nephew for falsification of school records or credentials.

PUBLICO PASSED THE BAR, took the lawyer's oath, and signed the Roll of Attorneys.
Legal Officer-Investigator, Ricardo Paras, Jr., investigated and reported:
September 1961, Dulcisimo Tapel dropped the complaint on the ground that his witnesses had turned hostile.
i. Motion denied, his witnesses had already testified.

Recommended PUBLICO’s name to be stricken off the roll of attorneys.


i. Respondent falsified his school records
ii. Thereby violating the provisions of Sections 5 and 6, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court, which require
completion by a bar examinee or candidate of the prescribed courses in elementary, high, pre-law and law school, prior to his
admission to the practice of law.
11 years later, PUBLICO filed a Petition for Reinstatement alleging that he had never received, for had he been informed, nor
did he have any knowledge of the Resolution of the Court ordering the Bar Division to strike his name from the Roll of
Attorneys.
He was advised to inquire into the outcome of the disbarment case against him.
He resigned from all his positions in public and private offices, and transferred to Manila.
Prayed that Court allow reinstatement taking into consideration his exemplary conduct from the time he became a lawyer, his
services to the community the numerous awards, resolutions and/'or commendations he received,
i. Court denied the Petition.
ii. Petitioner moved for reconsideration was denied by the Court for lack of merit.
5th plea avers that his enrollment in Third Year High School in Manila was through the initiative of his uncle, Dulcisimo B.
Tapel who accompanied him to school and enrolled him in a grade level above his qualifications in spite of his demonstrations
i. Misrepresentation committed was precipitated by his uncle; that being merely 16 year old, he could not be
expected to act with discernment as he was still under the influence of his uncle, who later on caused his disbarment
ii. No opposition has been filed to any of the petitions.

ISSUE:
WON PUBLICO can be reinstated, for being in exemplary moral character despite not completing pre-law requirements? YES.

HELD:
Petitioner is hereby ordered REINSTATED in the Roll of Attorneys.
REINSTATEMENT CRITERIA:
WON the applicant shall be reinstated rests to a great extent in the sound discretion of the court,

Court action will depend WON it decides that the public interest in the orderly and impartial administration of justice will be
conserved by the applicant's participation therein in the capacity of an attorney and counselor at law.

Applicant must, like a candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the court that he is a person of good moral character — a fit
and proper person to practice law.
Court will take into consideration the applicant's character and standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and character of the
charge for which he was disbarred, his conduct subsequent to the disbarment, and the time that has elapsed between the
disbarment and the application for reinstatement.
PATRICIA FIGUEROA, complainant, vs. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR., respondent.
In a complaint made way back in 1971, Patricia Figueroa petitioned that respondent Simeon Barranco, Jr. be denied
admission to the legal profession. Respondent had passed the 1970 bar examinations on the fourth attempt, after
unsuccessful attempts in 1966, 1967 and 1968. Before he could take his oath, however, complainant filed the instant petition
averring that respondent and she had been sweethearts, that a child out of wedlock was born to them and that respondent
did not fulfill his repeated promises to marry her.
The facts were manifested in hearings held before Investigator Victor F. Sevilla in June and July 1971. Respondent
and complainant were townmates in Janiuay, Iloilo. Since 1953, when they were both in their teens, they were
steadies. Respondent even acted as escort to complainant when she reigned as Queen at the 1953 town
fiesta. Complainant first acceded to sexual congress with respondent sometime in 1960. Their intimacy yielded a son, Rafael
Barranco, born on December 11, 1964.[1] It was after the child was born, complainant alleged, that respondent first promised
he would marry her after he passes the bar examinations. Their relationship continued and respondent allegedly made more
than twenty or thirty promises of marriage. He gave only P10.00 for the child on the latters birthdays. Her trust in him and
their relationship ended in 1971, when she learned that respondent married another woman. Hence, this petition.
Upon complainants motion, the Court authorized the taking of testimonies of witnesses by deposition in 1972. On
February 18, 1974, respondent filed a Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss the case citing complainants failure to comment
on the motion of Judge Cuello seeking to be relieved from the duty to take aforesaid testimonies by deposition. Complainant
filed her comment stating that she had justifiable reasons in failing to file the earlier comment required and that she remains
interested in the resolution of the present case. On June 18, 1974, the Court denied respondents motion to dismiss.
On October 2, 1980, the Court once again denied a motion to dismiss on the ground of abandonment filed by
respondent on September 17, 1979.[2] Respondents third motion to dismiss was noted in the Courts Resolution dated
September 15, 1982.[3] In 1988, respondent repeated his request, citing his election as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan
of Janiuay, Iloilo from 1980-1986, his active participation in civic organizations and good standing in the community as well
as the length of time this case has been pending as reasons to allow him to take his oath as a lawyer. [4]
On September 29, 1988, the Court resolved to dismiss the complaint for failure of complainant to prosecute the case
for an unreasonable period of time and to allow Simeon Barranco, Jr. to take the lawyers oath upon payment of the required
fees.[5]
Respondents hopes were again dashed on November 17, 1988 when the Court, in response to complainants
opposition, resolved to cancel his scheduled oath-taking. On June 1, 1993, the Court referred the case to the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation.
The IBPs report dated May 17, 1997 recommended the dismissal of the case and that respondent be allowed to take
the lawyers oath.
We agree.
Respondent was prevented from taking the lawyers oath in 1971 because of the charges of gross immorality made by
complainant. To recapitulate, respondent bore an illegitimate child with his sweetheart, Patricia Figueroa, who also claims
that he did not fulfill his promise to marry her after he passes the bar examinations.
We find that these facts do not constitute gross immorality warranting the permanent exclusion of respondent from the
legal profession. His engaging in premarital sexual relations with complainant and promises to marry suggests a doubtful
moral character on his part but the same does not constitute grossly immoral conduct. The Court has held that to justify
suspension or disbarment the act complained of must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. A grossly immoral act is
one that is so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a
high degree.[6] It is a willful, flagrant, or shameless act which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of respectable
members of the community.[7]
We find the ruling in Arciga v. Maniwang[8] quite relevant because mere intimacy between a man and a woman, both
of whom possess no impediment to marry, voluntarily carried on and devoid of any deceit on the part of respondent, is
neither so corrupt nor so unprincipled as to warrant the imposition of disciplinary sanction against him, even if as a result of
such relationship a child was born out of wedlock.[9]
Respondent and complainant were sweethearts whose sexual relations were evidently consensual. We do not find
complainants assertions that she had been forced into sexual intercourse, credible. She continued to see and be
respondents girlfriend even after she had given birth to a son in 1964 and until 1971. All those years of amicable and intimate
relations refute her allegations that she was forced to have sexual congress with him. Complainant was then an adult who
voluntarily and actively pursued their relationship and was not an innocent young girl who could be easily led
astray. Unfortunately, respondent chose to marry and settle permanently with another woman. We cannot castigate a man
for seeking out the partner of his dreams, for marriage is a sacred and perpetual bond which should be entered into because
of love, not for any other reason.
We cannot help viewing the instant complaint as an act of revenge of a woman scorned, bitter and unforgiving to the
end. It is also intended to make respondent suffer severely and it seems, perpetually, sacrificing the profession he worked
very hard to be admitted into. Even assuming that his past indiscretions are ignoble, the twenty-six years that respondent
has been prevented from being a lawyer constitute sufficient punishment therefor. During this time there appears to be no
other indiscretion attributed to him.[10] Respondent, who is now sixty-two years of age, should thus be allowed, albeit
belatedly, to take the lawyers oath.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. Respondent Simeon Barranco, Jr. is ALLOWED to take his
oath as a lawyer upon payment of the proper fees.

Supreme Court of Arizona,En Banc.


In the Matter of James Joseph HAMM, Applicant.

PARTIES

1. JAMES JOSEPH HAMM, PETITIONER


2. William Morley and Zane Staples, Victims
3. Garland Wells and Bill Reeser, Accomplice

FACTS
James Joseph Hamm filed a petition to appeal the denial of his application for admission to the State Bar of Arizona, for
previously being convicted of murder “execution style”. He recounted his reformation while in prison, from finishing
summa cum laude in National Arizona University to doing community service work. He was granted excetive clemency.
He then graduated from law school and passed the bar in Arizona. However,his application was denied for failure to
comply with the good moral character requirement.

FACTS
1. James Joseph Hamm, petitioned the SC of Arizona to reconsider the denial of his application for admission to the State Bar of
Arizona, pursuant to recommendation of the Committee on Character and Fitness Committee.

2. In 1973, when James Hamm was 25, he had been separated from his wife with whom he had a son, ans he had to support
himself by selling small quantities of marijuana, and at the same time using such substance among other drugs and alcohol.

3. On Sept 6, 1974, Morley and Staples, college students from missouri, opted to buy 20 pounds of marijuana. However, Hamm
wasn’t able to acquire such quantity. Instead of calling off the transaction, Hamm, with his accomplices(Wells and Reeser),
decided to rob Willard and Zane of the money intended for the purchase of such Marijuana.

4. Sept 7, the day of the transaction, Wells and Hamm directed Morley and Staples to drive to the outskirts to complete the drug
transaction;  Reeser followed in another vehicle. Both Wells and Hamm carried guns;  Morley and Staples were unarmed.

5. Hamm sat behind Morley, the driver, and Wells sat behind Staples. At some point, Hamm detected that Staples was
becoming suspicious. As Morley stopped the car, and without making any demand on the victims for money, Hamm shot
Morley in the back of the head, killing him. At the same time, Wells shot Staples. Hamm then shot Staples in the back as he
tried to escape and shot Morley once again. Wells also shot Morley, then pursued Staples, whom he ultimately killed outside of
the car. Hamm and Wells took $1400.00 from the glove compartment, fled the scene in the van driven by Reeser, and left the
bodies of Morley and Staples lying in the desert.

6. Initially, he was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed robbery, Hamm pled guilty to one
count of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for twenty-five years.

7. Once in prison, Hamm began taking steps toward rehabilitation and became a model prisoner. Hamm apparently took
advantage of any and every educational opportunity the prison system had to offer. He obtained a bachelor's degree in applied
sociology, summa cum laude, from Northern Arizona University through a prison study program.

8. He testified that he was the only inmate permitted to head a work crew. Hamm reported to the Committee that he played an
instrumental role on various prison committees, particularly the committee that developed a new grievance procedure within the
Department of Corrections. In addition, he wrote grant proposals for libraries, for handicapped prisoners, and for obtaining
greater legal assistance for prisoners. Hamm founded Middle Ground Prison Reform (Middle Ground), a prisoner and prisoner
family advocacy organization involved in lobbying for laws related to the criminal justice system and prisons. Middle Ground
also provides public education about those topics.

9. In December 2001, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency 2granted Hamm's third application for absolute discharge.

10. Between his release in August 1992 and his absolute discharge in December 2001, Hamm performed thousands of hours of
community service. He advocated for prisoners' rights in various forums by writing position papers, appearing on radio
programs, testifying in legislative hearings, and speaking at churches, schools, and civic organizations. He also appeared in a
public service video encouraging children not to do drugs or join gangs. Hamm now works as the Director of Advocacy Services
at Middle Ground Prison Reform.

11. While on parole, Hamm graduated from the Arizona State University College of Law. In July 1999, Hamm
passed the Arizona bar examination and, in 2004, filed his Character and Fitness Report with the Committee.

ISSUE: WAS THE DENIAL OF THE APPLICATION TO THE BAR OF ARIZONA IMPROPER?

HELD. NO.

Rules 34 through 37 define the requirements for admission to the Bar.The Committee may recommend an applicant for
admission only if that applicant, in addition to meeting other requirements, satisfies the Committee that he or she is of good
moral character. Rule 34(a). The applicant bears the burden of establishing his or her good moral character. If the proof of
good moral character falls short of convincing the Committee on Examinations and Admissions, it is its duty not to recommend
admission.”
The ultimate question in cases such as this is whether the applicant has established good moral character, a concept with which
we have wrestled as we have attempted to define its boundaries.

1) Hamm's unlawful conduct, which included the commission of two violent “execution style” murders and his testimony as to
the facts surrounding the murders.

2) Hamm's omissions on his Application and his testimony in explaining his failure to disclose all required information.

3) Hamm's neglect of his financial responsibilities and/or violation of a longstanding child support court order and his
testimony as to his failure to comply with the court order.

4) Hamm's mental or emotional instability impairing his ability to perform the functions of an attorney including his testimony
as to any diagnosis and treatment.4

After reviewing all these factors, the Committee concluded that Hamm had not met his burden of establishing that he possesses
the requisite character and fitness for admission to the Bar and accordingly recommended that his application be denied. We
now consider the Committee's findings, together with pertinent facts.

The serious nature of Hamm's past criminal conduct is beyond dispute. Hamm acknowledges that no more serious criminal
conduct exists than committing first-degree murder. Our society reserves its harshest punishment for those convicted of such
conduct.

When an applicant has committed first-degree murder, a crime that demonstrates an extreme lack of good
moral character, that applicant must make an extraordinary showing of present good moral character to
establish that he or she is qualified to be admitted to the practice of law. Even assuming that Hamm has
established rehabilitation, showing rehabilitation from criminal conduct does not, in itself, establish good moral character.
Rehabilitation is a necessary, but not sufficient, ingredient of good moral character. An applicant must establish his current
good moral character, independent of and in addition to, evidence of rehabilitation. We conclude that Hamm failed to make
that showing.

Zeta vs. Malinao, 87 SCRA 303 , December 20, 1978


Attorneys; Courts; A lower court employee who has been appearing as counsel in court cases and falsifying his time
record is dismissed from the service the acts committed being grave in nature.—The defense of respondent that “his
participation (sic) for defendants’ cause was gratuitous as they could not engage the services of counsel by reason of
poverty and the absence of one in the locality” cannot, even if true, carry the day for him, considering that in appearing
as counsel in court, he did so without permission from his superiors and, worse, he falsified his time record of service to
conceal his absence from his office on the dates in question. Indeed, the number of times that respondent acted as
counsel under the above circumstances would indicate that he was doing it as a regular practice obviously for
considerations other than pure love of justice.

Same; Same; Same.—In the premises, it is quite obvious that the offense committed by respondent is grave, hence it
warrants a more drastic sanction than that of reprimand recommended by Judge Zosa. We find no alternative than to
separate him from the service, with the admonition that he desist from appearing in any court or investigative body
wherein only members of the bar are allowed to practice. Wherefore, respondent Felicisimo Malinao is hereby ordered
dismissed from his position as interpreter in the Court of First Instance, CFI, Zumarraga, Western Samar, with prejudice
to reemployment in the judicial branch of the government.

People vs. Maceda, 323 SCRA 45 , January 24, 2000


Criminal Procedure; As a detention prisoner private respondent Javellana is not allowed to practice his profession as a
necessary consequence of his status as a detention prisoner.—Regarding his continued practice of law, as a detention
prisoner private respondent Javellana is not allowed to practice his profession as a necessary consequence of his status
as a detention prisoner. The trial court’s order was clear that private respondent “is not to be allowed liberty to roam
around but is to be held as a detention prisoner.”—The prohibition to practice law referred not only to Criminal Case No.
4262, but to all other cases as well, except in cases where private respondent would appear in court to defend himself.

Same; All prisoners whether under preventive detention or serving final sentence cannot practice their profession nor
engage in any business or occupation or hold office, elective or appointive, while in detention.—As a matter of law,
when a person indicted for an offense is arrested, he is deemed placed under the custody of the law. He is placed in
actual restraint of liberty in jail so that he may be bound to answer for the commission of the offense. He must be
detained in jail during the pendency of the case against him, unless he is authorized by the court to be released on bail
or on recognizance. Let it be stressed that all prisoners whether under preventive detention or serving final sentence
cannot practice their profession nor engage in any business or occupation, or hold office, elective or appointive, while
in detention. This is a necessary consequence of arrest and detention. Consequently, all the accused in Criminal Cases
Nos. 3350-3355 must be confined in the Provincial Jail of Antique. [People vs. Maceda, 323 SCRA 45(2000)]

Santos, Jr. vs. Atty. Llamas, AC 4749


FACTS:

Atty. Francisco Llamas was complained of not paying his IBP dues.He was also cited in the complaint as not paying his
professional tax or PTR as it was intermittently indicated in his pleadings filed in court. It was also an alleged falsity when
he included his “IBP-Rizal 259060” where in fact he was not in good standing. Petitioner cited that Atty. Llamas was
dismissed as Pasay City Judge. But later revealed that the decision was reversed and he was subsequently promoted as
RTC Judge of Makati. He also had criminal case involving estafabut was appealed pending in the Court of Appeals. In the
numerous violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility, he expressed willingness to settle the IBP dues and plea
for a more temperate application of the law.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Atty. Llamas is guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:

YES. Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for one (1) year, or until he has paid his IBP dues.

RATIO:

Even if he had “limited” practice of law, it does not relieve him of the duties such as payment of IBP dues. Rule 139-A
provides:

Sec. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. — Subject to the provisions of Section 12 of this Rule, default in the payment of
annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for
one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys.

Under the Code of Professional Responsibility:

Rule 1.01 — A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

Rule 10.01 — A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any court; nor shall he mislead or allow the
court to be misled by any artifice.

Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law, Benjamin Dacanay 540 SCRA 424
FACTS: Petitioner was admitted to the Philippine bar in March 1960. He practiced law until he migrated to Canada in
December 1998 to seek medical attention for his ailments. He subsequently applied for Canadian citizenship to avail of
Canada’s free medical aid program. His application was approved and he became a Canadian citizen in May 2004.

In July 2006, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003), petitioner
reacquired his Philippine citizenship. On that day, he took his oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen before the Philippine
Consulate General in Toronto, Canada. Thereafter, he returned to the Philippines and now intends to resume his law
practice.

ISSUE: Whether petitioner may still resume practice?

RULING: Section 2, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides an applicant for admission to the bar be a citizen of the
Philippines, at least twenty-one years of age, of good moral character and a resident of the Philippines.5 He must also
produce before this 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.

Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for admission to the bar, loss thereof terminates membership in the Philippine
bar and, consequently, the privilege to engage in the practice of law. In other words, the loss of Filipino citizenship ipso
jure terminates the privilege to practice law in the Philippines. The practice of law is a privilege denied to foreigners.

The exception is when Filipino citizenship is lost by reason of naturalization as a citizen of another country but
subsequently reacquired pursuant to RA 9225. This is because “all Philippine citizens who become citizens of another
country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of [RA 9225].” Therefore, a
Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of another country is deemed never to have lost his Philippine citizenship if he
reacquires it in accordance with RA 9225.

Before he can can resume his law practice, he must first secure from this Court the authority to do so, conditioned on:

the updating and payment of of IBP membership dues;

the payment of professional tax;

the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal education; this is specially significant to refresh
the applicant/petitioner’s knowledge of Philippine laws and update him of legal developments and

the retaking of the lawyer’s oath.