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Atty Rene Bonto

 LEGAL ETHICS – is a branch of moral science, which

treats of the duties which an attorney owes to the court, to
the client, to his colleagues in the profession and to the
public, as embodied in the

 Constitution,
 Rules of Court,
 the Code of Professional Responsibility,
 Canons of Professional Ethics,
 jurisprudence,
 moral laws and
 special laws.
Mr. Google says…
 moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior.
"Judeo-Christian ethics"
 synonyms: moral code, morals, morality, values, rights and
wrongs, principles, ideals, standards (of behavior), value
system, virtues, dictates of conscience"your so-called
newspaper is clearly not burdened by a sense of ethics"
 the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.
What is the Constitutional
basis of the Supreme Court’s
rule-making power?
What is the Constitutional
basis of the Supreme Court’s
power of control over
admission to the practice of
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the
following powers:

(5) Promulgate rules concerning the

protection and enforcement of constitutional
rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all
courts, the admission to the practice of law, the
Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the
The Bar Flunkers’ Act of 1953

 SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of section fourteen,

Rule numbered one hundred twenty-seven of the Rules of Court,
any bar candidate who obtained a general average of seventy
(70) per cent in any bar examinations after July fourth, nineteen
hundred and forty-six up to the August nineteen hundred and
fifty-one bar examinations; seventy-one (71) per cent in the
nineteen hundred and fifty-two bar examinations; seventy-two
(72) per cent in the in the nineteen hundred and fifty-three bar
examinations; seventy-three (73) per cent in the nineteen
hundred and fifty-four bar examinations; seventy-four (74) per
cent in the nineteen hundred and fifty-five bar examinations
without a candidate obtaining a grade below fifty per cent in any
subject, shall be allowed to take and subscribe the
corresponding oath of office as member of the Philippine Bar
Are the Rules of Court Laws?

 “Laws are rules of conduct, just and obligatory,

promulgated by competent authority, for
common observance and benefit” (Sanchez

 …As they do not originate from the legislature,

they cannot be called laws in the strict sense of
the word. However, since they are promulgated
by authority of law, they have the force and
effect of laws. (Alvero vs Dela Rosa 76 Phil 428)
Admission to the Practice of Law

The Supreme Court has the power to control and

regulate the practice of law. Thus, the Constitution,
under Article VIII, Sec. 5 (5) provides:

Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

(5)… the admission to the practice of law…

 Admission to practice is a judicial function
 The authority of the SC over the legal profession is a
constituent element of its judicial power
 What is “practice of Law?” (Cayetano vs
 Practice of Law – any activity, in or out of
court which requires the application of law,
legal procedure, knowledge, training and

To engage in the practice of law is to give

notice or render any kind of service, which or
devise or service requires the use in any
degree of legal knowledge or skill (Cayetano
v. Monsod, 201 SCRA 210).
 Practice without admission
 Practice of law as a:
 Privilege
 Right
Sanctions for Practice Without Authority

 C – contempt of court
 E – estafa
 C – criminal liability under RA 6713 for govt officials
forbidden to practice law
 A – admin liability for officers or employees of the
Civil Service
 D – Disbarment
 S - Suspension
Remedies against
unauthorized practice
 Injunction
 Declaratory relief
 Contempt of court
 Petition for disqualification
 Complaints for disbarment /suspension
The Philippine Bar Exams
Needless to say, to be admitted to
the practice of law, you need to
pass the Bar

 The Bar Exams is the only licensure exam not

administered by the PRC
 Legal Education Board (LEB)
 7,100 examinees in 2015 bar
 6,900+ examinees in 2016 bar
Things to look forward to:

 Regionalization
 Semi-annual bar?
 Reduced number of bar subjects?
 The Supreme Court acts through a Bar Examination
Committee in the Exercise of his judicial function to
admit candidates to the legal profession.
The Bar Examination Committee:

 Composed of (1) member of the Supreme Court who acts

as Chairman and eight (8) members of the bar.

 The 8 members act as examiners for the 8 bar subjects

with one subject assigned to each.

 The Bar Confidant acts as a sort of liaison officer between

the court and the Bar Chairman on the other hand, and
the individual members of the committee on the
other. He is at the same time a deputy clerk of court.

 Admission of examinees is always subject to the final

approval of the court.
Requirements for admission to the Bar

 citizen of the Philippines (In re: Benjamin

 Philippine resident
 at least 21 years of age
 of good moral character (Tapucar vs Tapucar)
 no charges against him, involving moral
turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any
court in the Philippines.
 Educational qualification
crimes involving moral
 estafa
 bribery
 murder
 seduction
 abduction
 smuggling
 falsification of public documents

Moral Turpitude: any thing that is done contrary to

justice, honesty, modesty or good morals.
 Moral Turpitude: any thing that is done
contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good

 Immoral Conduct: that conduct which is

willful, flagrant, or shameless and which
shows a moral indifference to the opinion of
the good and respectable members of the
community (Arciga vs. Maniwag, 106 SCRA
 Grossly Immoral Conduct: 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; it is a
which shows a MORAL INDIFFERENCE to the
opinion of respectable members of the
community. (Narag vs. Narag, 1998)
Examples of Grossly Immoral Conduct

 Abandonment of wife and cohabiting with another woman

(Obusan vs. Obusan, AM 1392, April 2, 1984

 A lawyer who had carnal knowledge with a woman through a

promise of marriage which he did not fulfill (Quingwa vs.

 Seduction of a woman who is the niece of a married woman

with whom the respondent lawyer had adulterous relations
(Royong vs Oblena)

 Delivering bribe money to a judge on request of the clients

(Lee vs Abastillas)
 Requirement of Good Moral Character: a continuing

 good moral character is not only a condition precedent

for admission to the legal profession, but it must also
remain intact in order to maintain one’s good standing in
that exclusive and honored fraternity. (Tapucar vs.
Tapucar, 1998)
The Bar Exams

 8 Bar subjects
 4 Sundays in November
 75% passing rate (no grade below 50% in any
The 8 Bar subjects
Labor (PM) 10
2ND SUNDAY Civil Law (AM) 15
Taxation Law (PM) 10
3RD SUNDAY Merc Law (AM) 15
Crim Law (PM) 10
4TH SUNDAY Remedial Law (AM) 20
Legal Ethics and 5
Prac Exercises
Year Passing Percentage
2015 26. 21% (1,731 out of 7,146)
2014 18.82% (1,126 out of 5,984)
2013 22.18% (1,174 out of 5,293)
2012 17.76% (949 out of 5,343 )
2011 31.95% (1,913 out of 5,987)
2010 20.26% (982 out of 4,847)
2005 27.22% (1,526 out of 5,607)
2000 20.84% (979 out of 4,698)
1995 30.90% (987 out of 3,194)
1990 27.94% (866 out of 3,100)
1985 25.78% (701 out of 2,719)
1980 33.61% (605 out of 1,800)
1978 56.93% (1,076 out of 1,890)
University of the Philippines College of Law - forty-seven (47) bar topnotchers
Ateneo de Manila Law School - twenty-one (21) bar topnotchers
San Beda College of Law - nine (9) bar topnotchers
Philippine Law School - five (5) bar topnotchers
Far Eastern University Institute of Law - four (4) bar topnotchers
University of Manila College of Law - four (4) bar topnotchers
University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law - three (3) bar topnotchers
University of the Cordilleras (formerly Baguio Colleges Foundation) College of
Law - two (2) bar topnotchers
Manila Law College Foundation (formerly Escuela de Derecho de Manila) - one
(1) bar topnotcher
Manuel L. Quezon University College of Law - one (1) bar topnotcher
Holy Name University (formerly Divine Word College of Tagbilaran) - one (1) bar
University of the East College of Law - one (1) bar topnotcher
San Sebastian College - Recoletos - one (1) bar topnotcher
Notre Dame University (Philippines) - one (1) bar topnotcher
Highest scores in specific
bar subjects
 While no bar examinee has ever reached a
100% general average, several bar examinees
have garnered perfect and near-perfect
grades in specific bar subjects.
 In 1930, Tecla San Andres-Ziga (future
Senator) of the University of the Philippines
got a grade of 99% in Remedial Law.

 In 1949, Anacleto C. Mañgaser of the

Philippine Law School earned 100% in
Mercantile Law
 In 1953, Juan Ponce Enrile (future Defense
Minister and Senate President) of
the University of the Philippines College of
Law, where he graduated salutatorian and
cum laude, earned 100% in Mercantile
Law and placed 11th in the bar exams of that
 In 1955, Raul Gonzales (future Congressman, Secretary of
Justice and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel) of
the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law earned
99% in Remedial Law and 95% in International Law.
 In 1973, Renato Franciso (Executive Judge of
RTC Malolos, Bulacan) of the Ateneo de
Manila Law School obtained a perfect score
of 100% in Criminal Law.
 In 1997, Maria Celia H. Fernandez of
the University of the Philippines College of
Law, where she graduated salutatorian and
cum laude, earned 100% in Legal Ethics
 In 2001, Rodolfo Ma. A. Ponferrada, that
year's valedictorian of the University of the
Philippines College of Law, obtained a perfect
score of 100% in Remedial Law
 Jesus Paolo U. Protacio (90.05%), 2001
valedictorian of the Ateneo de Manila Law
School got a perfect score of 100% in
Criminal Law
 In 2005, Gladys V. Gervacio of the University
of Perpetual Help-Rizal earned a perfect
100% in two bar subjects—Legal Ethics
Increasing difficulty

 The growing volume of Philippine cases and

statutory laws is unprecedented!

 In the 1930s, a distant relative of Imelda

Romualdez Marcos who was a Justice in the
High Court resigned after a controversy
involving the bar examinations.

 On November 23, 1979, the High Court, per

Justice Pacifico de Castro ordered new
examinations in labor and social legislation
and taxation.

 On May 7, 1982, 12 of the Supreme Court's 14

justices resigned amid expose "that the court
fixed the bar-examination score of a
member's son so that he would pass."

 Associate Justice Fidel Purisima, chairman of

the bar committee, did not disclose that he
had a nephew who was taking the bar
examination in that year. He was merely
censured and his honoraria as bar examiner
were forfeited.

 On September 24, 2003, the Supreme Court,

per a bleary-eyed Associate Justice Jose
Vitug, annulled the tests results on
mercantile law after "confirmation of what
could be the most widespread case of
cheating in the 104-year-old bar exams"
Rank Year Name Average School
1st 1954 Florenz D. Regalado 96.7 San Beda College
2nd 1903 Jose L. Quintos 96.33 Escuela de Derecho
3rd 1949 Anacleto C. Mañgaser 95.85 Philippine Law School
4th 1948 Manuel G. Montecillo 95.5 Far Eastern University
University of the
Jovito R. Salonga Philippines
5th 1944 95.3
Jose W. Diokno Special (University of
Santo Tomas)
Ateneo de Manila
7th 1940 Claudio Teehankee 94.35
University of the
8th 1952 Pedro Samson C. Animas 94.25
9th 1953 Leonardo A. Amores 94.05 University of Manila
University of the
10th 1947 Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera 93.85
Rank Year Name Average
Rodolfo Ma. A.
11th 2001 93.8 University of the Philippines
12th (tie) 1914 Manuel C. Goyena 93 University of the Philippines
12th (tie) 1916 Paulino Gullas 93 University of the Philippines
12th (tie) 1932 Hermenegildo Atienza 93 University of the Philippines
15th 2002 Arlene M. Maneja 92.9 University of Santo Tomas
16th 1984 Richard M. Chiu 92.85 Ateneo de Manila University
Cecilia A. Muñoz-
17th 1937 92.6 University of the Philippines
18th 1929 Lorenzo S. Sumulong 92.5 University of the Philippines
19th 1978 Cosme D. Rosell 92.475 University of the Philippines
20th 1933 Lope C. Quimbo 92.45 University of Manila
21st 1971 Henry R. Villarica 92.4 University of the Philippines
22nd 1939 Ferdinand E. Marcos 92.35 University of the Philippines
Manuel A. Roxas - fifth President of the Philippines; 1st placer (92%), 1913 Bar Exams (UP)
Diosdado P. Macapagal - ninth President of the Philippines; 1st placer (89.85%), 1936 Bar
Exams (UST)
Ferdinand E. Marcos - tenth President of the Philippines; 1st placer (92.35%) - 1939 Bar
Exams, Topnotcher (UP).
José P. Laurel - third President of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1915 Bar Exams (UP)
Elpidio C. Quirino - sixth President of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1915 Bar Exams (UP)
Sergio S. Osmeña - fifth President of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1903 Bar Exams (UST)
Manuel L. Quezon - second President of the Philippines; 4th placer, 1903 Bar Exams (UST)
Carlos P. García - eighth President of the Philippines; 7th placer, 1923 Bar Exams (PLS)
Emmanuel N. Pelaez - former Vice-President of the Philippines; 1st placer, 1938 Bar Exams
Arturo M. Tolentino - former Vice-President of the Philippines; 2nd placer, 1934 Bar Exams
Joaquin G. Bernas - former President, Ateneo de Manila University; Dean Emeritus, Ateneo
Law School; 9th placer, 1962 Bar Exam
The bar exam process:

 Petition to SC to take the bar

 Notice of application, publication of
 (conditional and unconditional)
 Bar exam, by question and answer, and in
 Use of “noiseless typewriter” during the bar
 Annual examination
The bar exams

 Committee of examiners (identity is

 Failing candidates to take review course (“3
strike rule”)
 The lifting of the “5 strike rule”
 Admission and oath
 Certificate from OBC
 Attorney’s Roll
 On September 3, 2013, the SC lifted the so-
called “five strike rule”

 After 3 failed attempts, candidate must re-

enroll in a review program
Academic Requirements for Candidates:

 a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences (pre-law course)

 a completed course in:
 civil law
 commercial law
 remedial law
 public international law
 private international law
 political law
 labor and social legislation
 medical jurisprudence
 taxation
 legal ethics
Sources of Legal Ethics:
 Rules of Court
 Lawyer’s Oath
 Jurisprudence
Sources of Judicial Ethics:
 Code of Judicial Conduct
 Constitution (Art VIII, Art IX and Art III)
 New Civil Code (Articles 9, 20, 27, 32, 35, 739, 1491, 2005, 2035, 2046)
 Revised Rules of Court (Rules 71, 135, 137, 139B, 140)
 Revised Penal Code (Articles 204, 205, 206, 207)
 Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019)
 Canons of Judicial Ethics (Adm. Order No. 162)
 Code of Professional Responsibility
 Judiciary Act of 1948 (RA 296)
 Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1930 (BP129)
 Supreme Court Decisions
 Foreign Decisions
 Opinions of authorities
 Other Statutes
 SC Circulars
Definition of terms
 Court –a board or other tribunal which decides a litigation or
contest (Hidalgo v. Manglapus, 64 OG 3189)

 Judge –a public officer who, by virtue of his office, is clothed with

judicial authority, a public officer lawfully appointed to decide litigated
questions in accordance with law.

 De Jure Judge –one who is exercising the office of judge as a matter of

right; and officer of a court who has been duly and legally appointed,
qualified and whose term has not expired.

 De Facto Judge –an officer who is not fully vested with all the powers
and duties conceded to judges, but is exercising the office of a judge
under some color of right.
Qualification of Supreme Court Members:

 Natural born citizen of the Philippines;

 At least 40 years of age;
 Must have been at least for 15 years, a judge of a lower court or engaged
in the practice of law(Sec 7(2), Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution).