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ETHICS OF LEGAL WRITING

This slide presentation is not


mine. Intended for fair use.
Credits to:
Atty. Linda L. Malenab-Hornilla
Professor II
Philippine Judicial Academy

Communication

is the one skill


that a lawyer has to master. He
uses it to explain a case to his
client; to convince the court of his
theory of offense or defense or to
just simply give advice on a legal
problem.

Effective communication occurs when the


sender and the receiver have the same
understanding of the meaning of the
message. The thought in the message that is
sent is the same thought that message conveyed
to the recipient. There must be a mutual
understanding between the sender and the
receiver of the transmitted idea or information to
be considered an effective communication.

Verbally

In Writing Legal Writing

PLAGIARISM - Plagiarism is the act of


appropriating the literary composition of
another, or parts or passages of his writings, or
the ideas or language of the same, and passing
them off as the product of ones own mind.1

it is peculiarly essential that the system


for establishing and dispensing justice be
developed to a high point of efficiency and
so maintained that the public shall have
absolute confidence in the integrity and
impartiality of its administration.

22. Candor and fairness


The conduct of the lawyer before the court and with
other lawyers should be characterized by candor and
fairness.
It is not candid nor fair for the lawyer knowingly to
misquote the contents of a paper, the testimony of a
witness, the language or the argument of opposing
counsel, of the language of a decision or a textbook; or
with knowledge of its invalidity, to cite as authority a
decision that has been overruled or a statute that has
been repealed, or in argument to assert as a fact that
which has not been proved, or in those jurisdictions
where a side has the opening and closing arguments to
mislead his opponent by concealing or withholding
positions in his opening argument upon which his side
then intends to rely.

CHAPTER II. THE LAWYER AND THE LEGAL


PROFESSION

CANON 8 - A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT


HIMSELF WITH COURTESY, FAIRNESS AND
CANDOR TOWARDS HIS PROFESSIONAL
COLLEAGUES,
AND
SHALL
AVOID
HARASSING TACTICS AGAINST OPPOSING
COUNSEL.

Rule

8.01 - A lawyer shall not,


in his professional dealings,
use
language
which
is
abusive,
offensive
or
otherwise improper.

CHAPTER III. THE LAWYER AND THE


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

Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly


misquote or misrepresent the contents of a
paper, the language or the argument of
opposing counsel, or the text of a decision
or authority, or knowingly cite as law a
provision already rendered inoperative by
repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact
that which has not been proved.

CANON 11 - A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND


MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS
AND TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND SHOULD
INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS.
Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from
scandalous, offensive or menacing language
or behavior before the Courts.

Poor legal writing adversely affects the legal


system:
Failure to cite adverse authority cuts on time of the court
Misrepresenting facts affects integrity of the judicial
process; wastes courts time
Poor writing style burdens the judges to decipher
meanings; wastes courts time

Some errors that may elicit sanctions:

Failing to state the law and the facts


accurately
Poor writing
Lack of civility
plagiarism

LIM SE and BENITO LIM, petitioners,


vs.
THE HONORABLE MANUEL A. ARGEL, in his capacity as Presiding
Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Caloocan City Branch
XXXV; JUANA SAN PEDRO-OCAMPO, FRANCISCO SAN PEDRO,
GENARO BULOTANO, and THE SHERIFF of the City of Baguio
and/or his Deputy/Deputies or DEPUTY ESTEBAN S. PAR,
respondents. G.R. No. L-42800 April 7, 1976

Atty. Homobono A. Adaza in his "motion to lift


the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction" in
this case recklessly and sweepingly contended
that its issuance "has no legal nor factual basis"
and was "unjust and constitutes a serious
miscarriage of justice".

Atty. Adaza, in making it appear that all the respondents


had moved for the lifting of the injunction, gave the
impression that respondent Judge had participated in
that motion. That is another instance showing his
inexperience and unawareness of the practice in
certiorari and prohibition cases. Trial judges who are
made respondents in those special civil actions are only
formal or nominal parties. Therefore, a judge in his
official capacity should not be made to appear as a party
seeking a reversal of an Appellate Court's unfavorable
action on his order or decision (Hon. Alcasid vs. Samson,
102 Phil. 735-6; Taroma vs. Sayo, L-37296, October 30,
1975, 67 SCRA 508, 514).

The allegations of the verified petition, which the


movants carelessly ignored, show the flagrant falsity
of those contentions. The petitioners made out a
strong prima facie case for the ex parte issuance of a
mandatory injunction.
Movants-respondents invoke section 5, Rule 58 of the
Rules of Court which directs that generally a
preliminary injunction should be issued upon notice
and hearing. They also invoke paragraph 17 (15) of
the Canons of Judicial Ethics adopted by tile American
and Philippine Bar Associations and b tile Secretary of
Justice in his Administrative Order No. 162 dated
August 1, 1946 (42 0. G, 1803).

Those canons do not apply to this court, a collegiate


court. Nor does section j of the Rule 58 apply to this
Court. It applies to trial judges. The purpose is to
prevent them from restoring to the arbitrary, corrupt and
abusive exercise of the power to issue injunctions.
Atty. Adaza also cites the rule that injunction operates
upon unperformed acts but not those already
consummated. That ruling refers to preventive
injunctions, not to mandatory injunctions which require
the performance of a particular act (Sec. 1, Rule 58 of
the Rules of Court), such as the mandatory injunction in
forcible entry cases (Arts. 539 and 1674, Civil Code; Sec.
3, Rule 70, Rules of Court).

It is obvious that Atty. Adaza's characterization of the


mandatory injunction as "unjust and a miscarriage of
justice" and as devoid of factual and legal basis is
unfounded and unwarranted. He treated a resolution
of this Court as if it were a pleading of an adversary
which he could assail in unrestrained and abrasive
language.
His
unjustified
and
disrespectful
characterization carries with it obvious derogatory
implications or innuendos which clearly constitute
direct contempt or contempt facie curiae (Sec. 1, Rule
71, Rules of Court; Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil.
724, 728; De Joya vs. CFI of Rizal, Pasay City Branch,
99 Phil. 907,916; Malolos vs. Reyes, 111 Phil. 1113;
Sison vs. Sandejas, 105 Phil. 1279).

We hold Atty. Adaza guilty of direct contempt.


However, considering his manifest inexperience in
appellate court practice, instead of punishing him
with imprisonment or fine, he is hereby severely
reprimanded and warned that a repetition of the
said act would be more drastically dealt with.

Atty. Almacen filed a "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's


Certificate of Title, in protest against what he therein asserts
is "a great injustice committed against his client by this
Supreme Court." He indicts this Court, in his own phrase, as a
tribunal "peopled by men who are calloused to our pleas for
justice, who ignore without reasons their own applicable
decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution
with impunity." His client's he continues, who was deeply
aggrieved by this Court's "unjust judgment," has become
"one of the sacrificial victims before the altar of hypocrisy." In
the same breath that he alludes to the classic symbol of
justice, he ridicules the members of this Court, saying "that
justice as administered by the present members of the
Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb." He
then vows to argue the cause of his client "in the people's
forum," so that "the people may know of the silent injustice's
committed by this Court," and that "whatever mistakes,
wrongs and injustices that were committed must never be
repeated."

He ends his petition with a prayer that


... a resolution issue ordering the Clerk of
Court to receive the certificate of the
undersigned attorney and counsellor-at-law
IN TRUST with reservation that at any time
in the future and in the event we regain our
faith and confidence, we may retrieve our
title to assume the practice of the noblest
profession.

The petition has its roots in the denial of his


motion for reconsideration (MR)of an adverse
decision against his client, the defendant
Antonio Calero. Atty. Almacen failed to notify the
plaintiff of the place and time for hearing of his
MR. Plaintiff moved for execution of judgment
for lack of notice. He appealed the decision. The
Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal based on
Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu
Construction & Co., L-16636, June 24, 1965
(appeal considered a mere scrap of paper)

moved to reconsider this resolution, urging that


Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. is not decisive. At the
same time he filed a pleading entitled "Latest
decision of the Supreme Court in Support of
Motion for Reconsideration," citing Republic of the
Philippines vs. Gregorio A. Venturanza, L-20417,
decided by this Court on May 30, 1966,

contends that there are some important


distinctions between this case and that of Manila
Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction
& Co., G.R. No. L- 16636, June 24, 1965, relied
upon by this Court in its resolution of May 8,
1967. Appellant further states that in the latest
case, Republic vs. Venturanza, L-20417, May 30,
1966, decided by the Supreme Court concerning
the question raised by appellant's motion, the
ruling is contrary to the doctrine laid down in the
Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. case.

Court ruled no substantial distinction. Venturanza


case (1962) decided earlier than Manila Surety
(1965). Venturanza decision interlocutory and is
no no authority on the matter in issue. Atty.
Almacen gave vent to his frustration by filing the
pleading which is
is interspersed from beginning to end with the
insolent contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and
derogatory remarks hereinbefore reproduced,
against this Court as well as its individual
members, a behavior that is as unprecedented as
it is unprofessional.

Our conclusion is that the charges against the


accused have been so far sustained as to make it
our duty to impose such a penalty as may be
sufficient lesson to him and a suitable warning to
others. ...

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS THE SENSE of the Court that


Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen be, as he is hereby,
suspended from the practice of law until further
orders, the suspension to take effect immediately.

. . while it may be true that different causes of


action are indeed involved, it is their total
inconsistency, nay, total opposition with each
other which raises doubts about the respondent's
sincerity. It escapes this Commission [on Bar
Discipline] how Respondent can, in good faith,
allege to be a lawful tenant one moment, and be
an owner the next.

Respondent herein, as a lawyer, was remiss in his


duty to correctly inform the court of the law and
the facts of this case. He failed to allege in his
complaint the fact that a prior dispute had been
existing between the parties before the PARAB,
thus deceiving the court and giving it an
inaccurate appreciation of facts.
In this he is guilty of consenting to if not
actual commission of a falsehood before a
court, again in violation of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.3 respondent Atty.
Enrique L. Nace is hereby REPRIMANDED for
his misconduct, with a warning that a
repetition of the same or similar acts shall be
more severely dealt with.

There is no denying that the quality of a decision


rendered by the judge such as herein respondent,
is a reflection on the integrity of the court in
dispensing justice to whom it is due. Respondent
was at the very least careless in failing to read
carefully the decision that he signed. In fact, both
the original and amended decisions still contained
errors in grammar and syntax indicating that there
was no adequate editing of the decision that was
signed by him.

There can, however, be no dispute behind the


errors of grammar and syntax and the fatally
infirmed "dispositive portion" is the inefficiency,
neglect of duty or carelessness on the part of the
respondent betraying the absence of due care,
diligence, conscientiousness and thoroughness

We must add, however, that it is not the respondent alone


who must be blamed for such unmitigated faux pas. The
counsel for the parties in the case knew or ought to have
known the fatal defect of the dispositive portion and the
obvious inefficacy of any writ of execution, yet, the
plaintiff's counsel still filed a motion for execution, while
the counsel for the defendants the complainant herein
merely filed a motion for reconsideration based solely
on the ground that the plaintiff did not file her pre-trial
brief and that there was no valid pre-trial order.
Obviously, the complainant initially believed in the
completeness of the decision. As a matter of fact, when he
assailed the 25 January 1993 Decision, he alleged that
what was amended was a " final decision," a position
totally inconsistent with his claim that the latter was void
as declared by the RTC of Bulacan. As officers of the court
who owe to it candor, fairness and good faith, 12 both
attorneys should have called the court's attention to the
glaring defect of the "dispositive portion" of the 28 June
1991 Decision.

As to the complainant, we note that in his


complaint in this case he alleged under oath that
after the defendants filed their answer, the
respondent "without any hearing, or at least this
counsel was never notified of any such hearing,"
rendered the 28 June 1991 Decision. This is of
course inaccurate, if not outright false. What the
complainant conveniently left out in his
complaint was that, as disclosed in the Comment
which he did not refute, after the defendants'
answer with counterclaim was admitted by the
court, the case was set for preliminary
conference and thereafter the parties were
required to submit their position papers and the
affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence.

xxx The failure to divulge the foregoing facts may have


been intended by the complainant to give his
complaint a strong prima facie case against the
respondent. While he was entitled to adopt certain
strategies in his pleadings, he forgot that he owes to this
Court absolute candor, fairness and good faith. This
Court can neither condone nor tolerate attempts to
mislead it through suppression of important facts which
would have a bearing on its initial action. Complainant
should, therefore, be admonished to faithfully adhere to
the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Respondent, Delia T. Sutton, a member of the Philippine


Bar, connected with the law firm of Salonga, Ordoez, Yap,
Parlade, and Associates, must be held accountable for
failure to live up to that exacting standard expected of
counsel, more specifically with reference to a duty owing
this Tribunal. She failed to meet the test of candor and
honesty required of pleaders when, in a petition for
certiorari prepared by her to review a Court of Appeals
decision, she attributed to it a finding of facts in reckless
disregard, to say the least, of what in truth was its version
as to what transpired. When given an opportunity to make
proper amends, both in her appearance before us and
thereafter in her memorandum, there was lacking any
showing of regret for a misconduct so obvious and so
inexcusable. Such an attitude of intransigence hardly
commends itself. Her liability is clear. Only her relative
inexperience in the ways of the law did save her from a
penalty graver than severe censure. So we rule.

on page 5 thereof a portion of the decision


appealed from, summing up evidence for the
defense, and makes reference thereto "findings"
of the Court of Appeals, which is not true

on page 6 of the petition, petitioner states,


referring to a portion of the same quotation,
that
the
same
"are
the
established
uncontroverted facts recognized by the Court of
Appeals," which is, likewise, untrue;

on page 8 of the petition, it is averred "It being


conceded that the two versions recounted above are by
themselves credible, although they are conflicting the
same cannot be binding on, and is therefore, reviewable
by the Honorable Supreme Court. Where the findings of
fact of the Court of Appeals [are conflicting], the same
[are not binding] on the Supreme Court. (Cesica v.
Villaseca, G.R. L-9590, April 30, 1957)" although, in fact,
no conflicting findings of fact are made in the decision
appealed from;

on page 9 of the petition, it is alleged that the


Court of Appeals had"affirmed the minimum
penalty of one (1) year and one (1) day imposed
by the lower court," although, in fact, minimum
penalty imposed by the trial court was "four(4)
months of arresto mayor";
Defense of the firm was enthusiasm and
zealousness

The court said optimism was misplaced. It betrayed on


its face more than just a hint of lack of candor, of
minimizing the effects of grave inaccuracies in the
attribution to the Court of Appeals certain alleged facts
not so considered as such. It was then to say that the
least a far from meticulous appraisal of the matter in
issue. Much of what was therein contained did not ring
true xxx Even with due recognition then that counsel is
expected to display the utmost zeal in defense of a
client's cause, it must never be at the expense of
deviation from the truth.

As set forth in the applicable Canon of Legal


Ethics: "Nothing operates more certainly to create
or to foster popular prejudice against lawyers as
a class, and to deprive the profession of that full
measure of public esteem and confidence which
belongs to the proper discharge of its duties than
does the false claim, often set up by the
unscrupulous in defense of questionable
transactions, that it is the duty of the lawyer to
do whatever may enable him to succeed in
winning his client's cause." 3 What is more, the
obligation to the bench, especially to this Court,
for candor and honesty takes precedence.

At the same time, the attitude displayed by one of the


senior partners, Attorney Sedfrey A. Ordoez, both in
the appearances before the Court and in the pleadings
submitted, must be commended. He has made
manifest that his awareness of the role properly
incumbent on counsel, especially in his relationship to
this Court, is deep-seated. It must be stated, however,
that in the future he, as well as the other senior
partners, should exercise greater care in the
supervision of the attorneys connected with their law
firm, perhaps inexperienced as yet but nonetheless
called upon to comply with the peremptory tenets of
ethical conduct.

Respondent was lawyer of Heirs of Fabiana Arejola,


including Nelia Ziga in a land registration case. He also
filed a Notice of Attorneys Lien. Complainant filed
this administrative case when it was found out that he
used a erroneous name when he filed for registration. In
his defense, he denies the lawyer-client relationship and
claims that he only gave advice and assistance and there
was no written contract.
The Court ruled that a written contract is not essential
to establish the relation. Besides, the Notice of
Attorneys Lien contradicts respondents denials.

Further, we cannot countenance


respondents use of the erroneous name in
the Deed of Absolute Sale which he prepared.
As complainants cousin and co-heir, it would
lead to utter incredulity if he disavows
knowledge of her name. He cannot justify
such use by reason of inadvertence or
mistake. And in our opinion, we do not need
to divine his motives to call it a reprehensible
act.
Xxx

Xxx
Likewise, respondent should be taken to task for
the false statements he made in his Comment.
He denied the existence of attorney-client
relationship when it truth he was counsel for the
complainant. Respondent should be reminded
that by taking the lawyers oath, he became a
guardian of truth and the rule of law, and an
indispensable instrument in the fair and
impartial administration of justice.

The Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to


Inhibit (MRMI) contains insults and diatribes
against the NLRC, attacking both its moral and
intellectual integrity, replete with implied
accusations of partiality, impropriety and lack of
diligence. Respondent used improper and
offensive language in his pleadings that does
not admit any justification. Ex.
x x x If this is not grave abuse of discretion on the
part of the NLRC, First Division, it is ignominious
ignorance of the law on the part of the
commissioners concerned.

If labor arbiter Santos was cross-eyed in his findings


of fact, the Honorable Commissioners of the First
Division are doubly so and with malice thrown in.
Commissioner Dinopol xxx He is a shame to the
NLRC and should not be allowed to have anything to
do with the instant case any more.
x x x They should have taken judicial notice of this
prevalent practices of employers xxx. If the
Honorable Commissioners, of the First Division do
not know this, they are indeed irrelevant to real life.

Xxx It must be remembered that the language vehicle


does not run short of expressions which are emphatic
but respectful, convincing but not derogatory,
illuminating but not offensive. A lawyer's language
should be forceful but dignified, emphatic but respectful
as befitting an advocate and in keeping with the dignity
of the legal profession. Submitting pleadings containing
countless insults and diatribes against the NLRC and
attacking both its moral and intellectual integrity, hardly
measures to the sobriety of speech demanded of a
lawyer.

xxx ACCORDINGLY, we find respondent Atty. Benjamin C. Alar

GUILTY of violation of Canons 8 and 11 of the Code of Professional


Responsibility. He is imposed a fine of P5,000.00 with STERN
WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future
will be dealt with more severely.

Lacurom v. Jacoba, A.C. No. 5921, May 10, 2006.


Though a lawyer's language may be forceful and
emphatic, it should always be dignified and
respectful, befitting the dignity of the legal
profession. The use of unnecessary language is
proscribed if we are to promote high esteem in the
courts and trust in judicial administration.
xxx In Uy v. Depasucat, 455 Phil. 9 (2003) the Court
held that a lawyer shall abstain from scandalous,
offensive or menacing language or behavior before
the Courts.

Atty. Sabino Padilla was found guilty by the RTC judge


of direct contempt for his innuendos that the judge
was not fair and wanted to keep the case.
The SC ruled xxx Malicious attacks on courts
have in some cases been treated as libel, in other
cases as contempt of court, and as a sufficient
ground for disbarment. However, mere criticism
or comment on the correctness or wrongness,
soundness or unsoundness of the decision of the
court in a pending case made in good faith may
be tolerated.

Lawyers may not be held to too strict an account for


words said in the heat of the moment, because of
chagrin at losing cases, and that the big way is for the
court to condone even contemptuous language. While
judges must exercise patience, lawyers must also
observe temperate language as well. At this juncture,
we admonish all lawyers to observe the following
canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
which read: "Canon 8. Rule 8.01 A lawyer shall not,
in his professional dealings, use language which is
abusive, offensive or otherwise improper. "Canon 11
A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect
due to the courts and to judicial officers and should
insist on similar conduct by others."

Xxx Snide remarks or even sarcastic innuendoes


do not necessarily assume that level of contumely
actionable under Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of
Court
After a perusal of the charges of direct contempt
of court, we find that Atty. Padilla's innuendoes
are not necessarily disrespectful to the court as to
be considered contumacious. A lawyer's remarks
explaining his position in a case under
consideration do not necessarily assume the level
of contempt that justifies the court to exercise the
power of contempt.

Judge Bersamin granted the issuance of a


subpoena duces tecum upon a motion of
the accused. Petitioner objected to the
issuance claiming that she and the public
prosecutor should have been informed
earlier and furnished a copy considering
that prosecution was to present evidence.
She called this action and the waiting for
the accused, who was late for arraignment,
irregular. Judge declared petitioner in
contempt.

Petitioner's allegation that the proceedings before the trial


court were "irregular" therefore lacks basis. Such statement,
when read with petitioner's remark that the so-called
irregularities "show the accused's control over the court and
court procedure," is nothing short of contemptuous.
The latter statement is particularly alarming for it implies that
court proceedings are a mere farce, and the court a mere
stooge, a marionette subject to the manipulation of the
opposing party. It suggests that the judge was moved by
considerations other than his sense of justice and fair play
thereby calling into question the integrity and independence
of the court. Such statement tends to bring the authority and
administration of law into disrespect and constitutes a
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
Rule 11.03 A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous,
offensive or menacing language or behavior before the
courts.

Xxx
What we have before us is not without precedent. Time and
again, this Court has admonished and punished, in varying
degrees, members of the Bar for statements, disrespectful or
irreverent, acrimonious or defamatory, of this Court or the
lower courts. 3 Resort by an attorney in a motion for
reconsideration to words which may drag this Court down
into disrepute, is frowned upon as "neither justified nor in the
least necessary, because in order to call the attention of the
court in a special way to the essential points relied upon in
his argument and to emphasize the force thereof, the many
reasons stated in the motion" are "sufficient," and such words
"superfluous." 4 It is in this context that we must say that just
because Atty. Armonio "thought best to focus the attention"
of this Court "to the issue in the case" does not give him
unbridled license in language. To be sure, lawyers may come
up with various methods, perhaps much more effective, in
calling the Court's attention to the issue involved. The
language vehicle does not run short of expressions, emphatic
but respectful, convincing but not derogatory, illuminating
but not offensive.

Complainant accused respondent of deceit and


gross misconduct. The latter joined a group of
tenants who opposed their eviction from a land
owned by the complainant claiming they are
tenants. After almost three months, the alleged
tenants, including Nace, filed a case before the
RTC for the annulment of complainant's land
titles claiming that they are the owners of the
land under the old Spanish title. . Magdaluyo
accused Nace of having deliberately committed
a falsehood and of forum-shopping.

The Court concurred with the findings and


recommendation of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
that Nace should be reprimanded for his unprofessional
and improper acts. There was a violation of the
prohibition in the Code of Professional Responsibility
against engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct.
He was, indeed, less than sincere in asserting two conflicting
rights over a portion of land that, in all probability, he knew not
to be his. What made matters worse was his participation in
bringing such claims to court, knowing them to be contradictory
and therefore cannot both be true, though both could be totally
false. In this he is guilty of consenting to if not actual
commission of a falsehood before a court, again in violation of
the Code of Professional Responsibility.

As a lawyer, respondent is bound by his oath


to do no falsehood or consent to its
commission and to conduct himself as a
lawyer according to the best of his
knowledge and discretion. The lawyer's oath
is a source of obligations and violation
thereof is a ground for suspension,
disbarment, or other disciplinary action.
Respondent's acts are clearly in violation of
his solemn oath as a lawyer that this Court
will not tolerate.

Complainant maintains that the act of


respondent Judge in allowing the respondent
lawyer to copy the complaint in Civil Case No.
1081-BG and to present it to court as the
latter's work does violence to Rule 1.01, Canon
1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
which provides that a judge should be the
embodiment of competence, integrity and
independence. Complainant also asserts that in
placing his signature in the complaint not
written by him, respondent lawyer committed
deceit, which serves as a ground for his
disbarment.

petitioner's assertion that respondent judge


allowed the respondent lawyer to copy the
complaint in Civil Case No. 1081-BG is unfounded.
In the same vein, petitioner's inference that
respondent judge intended to try Civil Case No.
1518-BG is a blatant fabrication. The records of
the case refute this. Reading his petition, it is
evident that petitioner cunningly attempted to
mislead this court to believe that respondent judge
is still conducting the proceedings in Civil Case No.
1518-BG and had refused to inhibit himself there
from. His intent to deceive this court to achieve his
end to vex and harass the respondents is
undeniable.

xxx If truth be told, the allegations in the


instant petition was ingeniously written to
deliberately and maliciously withhold and
suppress the fact that the respondent judge
had already inhibited himself from taking
cognizance of Civil Case No. 1518-BG and
that the records thereof had in fact been
transmitted to RTC Branch 33. The
respondent judge, in fact, issued an Order dated
23 January 2004 inhibiting himself from the
case.

In her report, Justice Salonga recommended the


dismissal of the complaint against
respondents, and that complainant be
admonished for filing the frivolous complaint.

Complainant Atty. Marcos V. Prieto is FINED


P5,000.00 for filing a frivolous suit with a
STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same
or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

The allegation that respondent admitted tampering with


or altering the records is obviously an attempt by
complainant either to obtain a favorable action by
misleading the trial court or to badger, annoy, and cast
disrepute to the respondent judge.
Second, complainant's explanation concerning the
questioned counter-affidavits is unsatisfactory. If there
were indeed counter-affidavit in the records or at least
attached to complainant's Motion to Resolve Pending
Motions, he should have said so in his Reply or
Supplemental to Reply or appended copies of the said
counter-affidavits, but he did none of these. Instead, he
contended that the failure of respondent judge to object
to the lack of counter-affidavits was an admission of the
veracity of his assertion. This is sophistry.

Needless to say, disrespectful, abusive and


abrasive language, offensive personalities,
unfounded accusations, or intemperate words
tending to obstruct, embarrass, or influence the
court in administering justice or to bring it into
disrepute have no place in a pleading.
complainant Romulo SJ Tolentino is
REPRIMANDED for breach of Canon 10, Rules
10.01 and 10.02 as well as Canon 11, Rule 11.03
of the Code of Professional Responsibility by
threatening respondent judge that if his motions
were not granted, respondent judge would be
administratively charged..

On 30 October 1992 the Court found movant,


Atty. Benjamin M. Dacanay, guilty of
intercalating a material fact in a decision of
the Court of Appeals, which he appealed to
this Court on certiorari, thereby altering the
factual findings of the Court of Appeals with
the apparent purpose of misleading this
Court in order to obtain a favorable
judgment. Consequently, Atty. Dacanay was
disbarred from the practice of law.

Respondent failed to file the appeal to an NLRC


decision on time. He claims that he received
the decision of the NLRC on Sept. 10 while the
return of the registry receipt showed that he
received it on September 8, 1998. Agravante
lied when he said he received the Labor
Arbiter's decision on September 10, 1998 in
order to make it appear that his Memorandum
of Appeal was filed on time. Commissioner
Dulay concluded that Agravante misled the
NLRC when he certified in his Memorandum of
Appeal that he received the adverse decision of
the Labor Arbiter on September 10, 1998.

CANON 10 A lawyer owes candor,


fairness and good faith to the court.
It is codified further in the following rule of
the Code of Professional Responsibility:
Rule 10.01 A lawyer shall not do any
falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any
in court; nor shall he mislead or allow the
court to be misled by any artifice.

In the case of Perea v. Almadro, 23 the respondent therein


was similarly punished for negligence in the discharge of
his duty as well as misrepresentation committed before
the court. In said case, the respondent lawyer failed to file
a demurrer to the evidence after asking for leave to file the
same. He compounded this transgression by spinning
concocting stories about the loss of the file of his draft,
which somehow led him to believe that the pleading had
already been filed. Finding him guilty of serious neglect of
his duties as a lawyer and of open disrespect for the court
and the authority it represents, as embodied in Canon 18,
Rules 18.03 and 18.04 and Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, the Court suspended
the respondent therein from the practice of law for one (1)
year and imposed a fine in the amount of Ten Thousand
(P10,000.00)
Respondent meted the same penalty.

MA. CORAZON D. FULGENCIO, complainant, vs. ATTY. BIENVENIDO G.


MARTIN, respondent. [A.C. No. 3223. May 29, 2003.]
The Court further held that the respondent violated Rule 10.01 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility and his oath as a lawyer that
he shall not do any falsehood, when he made an untruthful
statement in the Acknowledgement portion of the documents that
Kua personally appeared before him. Respondent was also
suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months.

MARY DE V. FRAUENDORFF, petitioner, vs. JUDGE JOSE R. CASTRO,


Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City
Branch IX, ZODIAC PHARMACEUTICAL CO., INC. & SAMTOP
INVESTMENT & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents.
Counsel for petitioner should in the future be less inaccurate in his
indictments against the Courts. By and large and considering that
counsel Agcaoili's broadsides may be deemed as manifestation of
excessive zeal, and, anyway, this is the first occasion he has
committed such a fault, the Court is inclined to consider reminders
and admonitions above as sufficient.

This is an incident arising out of the Bel-air cases


where the Court ordered Atty. Sangco to show
cause why he should not be held for contempt
because of the following remarks:
Xxx This Decision of this Court in the aboveentitled case reads more like a Brief for Ayala
Xxx [t]he Court not only put to serious
question its own integrity and competence but
also jeopardized its own campaign against
graft and corruption undeniably pervading the
judiciary

Xxx The blatant disregard of controlling,


documented and admitted facts not put in issue,
such as those summarily ignored in this case; the
extraordinary efforts exerted to justify such
arbitrariness and the very strained and
unwarranted conclusions drawn therefrom, are
unparalleled in the history of this Court . . .
Xxx [T]o ignore the fact that Jupiter Street was
originally constructed for the exclusive benefit of
the residents of Bel-Air Village, or rule that
respondent Court's admission of said fact is
"inaccurate," as Ayala's Counsel himself would like
to do but did not even contend, is a manifestation
of this Court's unusual partiality to Ayala and puts
to serious question its integrity on that account . .

. . . [i]t is submitted that this ruling is the most


serious reflection on the Court's competence and
integrity and exemplifies its manifest partiality
towards Ayala.
xxx
To totally disregard Ayala's written letter of
application for special membership in BAVA
xxx without giving any reason therefor, smacks
of judicial arrogance . .
xxx
[A]re all these unusual exercise of such
arbitrariness above suspicion? Will the current
campaign of this Court against graft and
corruption in the judiciary be enhanced by such
broad discretionary power of courts?

The Supreme Court ruled: To be sure, Atty.


Sangco is entitled to his opinion, but not to
a license to insult the Court with derogatory
statements and recourses to argumenta ad
hominem. In that event, it is the Court's
duty "to act to preserve the honor and
dignity . . . and to safeguard the morals and
ethics of the legal profession."

We are not satisfied with his explanation that


he was merely defending the interests of his
clients. As we held in Laureta, a lawyer's "first
duty is not to his client but to the
administration of justice; to that end, his
client's success is wholly subordinate; and his
conduct ought to and must always be
scrupulously observant of law and ethics." 10
And while a lawyer must advocate his client's
cause in utmost earnest and with the
maximum skill he can marshal, he is not at
liberty to resort to arrogance, intimidation,
and innuendo.

Atty. Sangco himself admits that "[a]s a


judge I have learned to live with and accept
with grace criticisms of my decisions." 13
Apparently, he does not practice what he
preaches. Of course, the Court is not
unreceptive to comment and critique of its
decisions, but provided they are fair and
dignified. Atty. Sangco has transcended the
limits of fair comment for which he
deserves this Court's rebuke.
(1) SUSPENDED from the practice of law for
three (3) months and fine of 500 pesos

UP professors accused Justice Mariano del Castillo of


plagiarism in his failure to acknowledge his sources in
deciding the case Vinuya v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No.
162230, April 28, 2010. In said case, the Court denied
the petition for certiorari filed by Filipino comfort women
to compel certain officers of the executive department2
to espouse their claims for reparation and demand
apology from the Japanese government for the abuses
committed against them by the Japanese soldiers during
World War II. Attys. Roque and Bagares represent the
comfort women in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary, which
is presently the subject of a motion for reconsideration.

Essentially, the faculty of the UP College of


Law, headed by its dean, Atty. Marvic M.V.F.
Leonen, calls for the resignation of Justice
Mariano C. Del Castillo in the face of
allegations of plagiarism in his work.
Plagiarism is the act of appropriating the
literary composition of another, or parts or
passages of his writings, or the ideas or
language of the same, and passing them off
as the product of ones own mind.1

The first paragraph concludes with a reference


to the decision in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary
as a reprehensible act of dishonesty and
misrepresentation by the Highest Court of the
land. Xxx

they went further by directly accusing the Court


of perpetrating extraordinary injustice by
dismissing the petition of the comfort women in
Vinuya v. Executive Secretary.

Par. 9 reads When it dismissed the Vinuya


petition based on misrepresented and
plagiarized materials, the Court decided this
case based on polluted sources. By doing so,
the Supreme Court added insult to injury by
failing to actually exercise its "power to urge
and exhort the Executive Department to take
up the claims of the Vinuya petitioners. Its
callous disposition, coupled with false
sympathy and nonchalance, belies (sic)
[betrays] a more alarming lack of concern for
even the most basic values of decency and
respect. (Emphasis supplied).1avvphi1

The SC views the publication of the statement as


totally unnecessary, uncalled for and a rash act
of misplaced vigilance. Of public knowledge is
the ongoing investigation precisely to determine
the truth of such allegations. More importantly,
the motion for reconsideration of the decision
alleged to contain plagiarized materials is still
pending before the Court. We made it clear in the
case of In re Kelly3 that any publication, pending
a suit, reflecting upon the court, the jury, the
parties, the officers of the court, the counsel with
reference to the suit, or tending to influence the
decision of the controversy, is contempt of court
and is punishable.

Further, it says the Court could hardly perceive any


reasonable purpose for the facultys less than objective
comments except to discredit the April 28, 2010
Decision in the Vinuya case and undermine the Courts
honesty, integrity and competence in addressing the
motion for its reconsideration. As if the case on the
comfort womens claims is not controversial enough,
the UP Law faculty would fan the flames and invite
resentment against a resolution that would not reverse
the said decision. This runs contrary to their obligation
as law professors and officers of the Court to be the
first to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court, to
which they owe fidelity according to the oath they have
taken as attorneys, and not to promote distrust in the
administration of justice.6 Their actions likewise
constitute violations of Canons 10, 11, and 137 and
Rules 1.02 and 11.058 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.91awp++il

MABBALO

DIYOS

Y MEVULU NIKAMU