Você está na página 1de 21

1

Cayetano v. Monsod
G.R. No. 100113, September 3, 1991
Facts:
Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by
President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of
Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by
the Secretariat of the Commission on
Appointments on April 25, 1991.
Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly
Monsod does not possess the required qualification of
having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten
years .On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments
confirmed the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the
COMELEC.On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of
offi ce. On the same day, he assumed offi ce as
Chairman of the COMELEC. Challenging the validity of
the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of
Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a
citizen and taxpayer, fi led the instant petition
for certiorari and Prohibition praying that
said confi rmation
and thec o n s e q u e n t a p p o i n t m e n t o f M o n s o d a
s Chairman of the Commission on Elections
be declared null and void.
Issue:
Whether the appointment of Chairman Monsod of
Comelec violates Section 1 (1), Article IX-C of the 1987
Constitution?
Held:
The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IXC, that there shall be a Commission on Elections
composed of a C h a i r m a n a n d s i x
Commissioners who shall be natural-born
citizens of the Philippines and, at the time
o f t h e i r appointment, at least thirty-fi ve years of
age, holders of a college degree, and must not
have been candidates for any elective position in the
immediately preceding elections. However, a majority
thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the
Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of
law for at least ten years. Atty. Christian Monsod is a
member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar
examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86-55%. He
has been dues paying member of the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 197273. He has also been paying his professional license fees
as lawyer for more than ten years. At this point, it might
be helpful to define private practice. The term, as
commonly understood, means "an individual
or organization engaged in the business of delivering legal
services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who practice alone are often
called" sole practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called
"firms." The firm is usually a partnership and members of
the firm are the partners. Some fi rms may be
organized as professional corporations and the
members called shareholders. In either case, the
members of the fi rm are the experienced
attorneys. In most fi rms, there are younger or
more inexperienced salaried attorneys called
"associates."Hence, the Commission on the basis of
evidence submitted doling the public hearings on
Monsod's confirmation,
implicitlyd e t e r m i n e d t h a t h e p o s s e s s e d t h e n e
c e s s a r y q u a l i fi c a t i o n s a s r e q u i r e d b y l a w. T
h e j u d g m e n t r e n d e r e d b y t h e Commission in
the exercise of such an acknowledged power is
beyond judicial interference except only upon a

clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting


to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1
Constitution). Thus,only where such grave abuse of
discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with
the Commission's judgment. In the instant case, there is
no occasion for the exercise of the Court's corrective
power, since no abuse, much less a grave abuse of
discretion, that would amount to lack or excess of
jurisdiction and would warrant the issuance of the
writs prayed, for has been clearly shown. Besides in
the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service
Commission, he Court said that, Appointment is
an essentially discretionary power and must be
performed by the offi cer in which it is vested
according to his best lights, the only condition
being that the appointee should possess
the qualifi cations required by law. If he does, then
the appointment cannot be faulted on the ground that
there are others better qualified who should have been
preferred. This is a political question involving
considerations of wisdom which only the appointing
authority can decide
PHILIPPINE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION vs AGRAVA
G.R. No. L-12426
February 16, 1959
FACTS:
Herein petitioner filed for prohibition and injunction
against respondent Agrava, the Director of Philippines
Patent Office due to a circular the latter issued scheduling
an examination for determining who are qualified to
practice as patent attorneys before the Philippines Patent
Office.
Petitioner contended that one who has passed the bar
examinations and is licensed by the Supreme Court to
practice law in the Philippines and who is in good standing,
is duly qualified to practice before the Philippines Patent
Office, and that Agrava is in excess of his jurisdiction and
is in violation of the law for requiring such examination as
condition precedent before members of the bar may be
allowed to represent applicants in the preparation and
prosecution of applications for patents. Undaunted, Agrava
argued that that the prosecution of patent cases does not
involve entirely or purely the practice of law and that the
Rules of Court do not prohibit the Patent Office from
requiring further condition or qualification from those who
would wish to handle cases before the Patent Office.
ISSUE:
Whether appearance before the Patent Office and the
preparation and the prosecution of patent applications,
etc., constitutes or is included in the practice of law
HELD:
Yes. The practice of law includes such appearance before
the Patent Office, the representation of applicants,
oppositors, and other persons, and the prosecution of their
applications for patent, their oppositions thereto, or the
enforcement of their rights in patent cases. Although the
transaction of business in the Patent Office involves the
use and application of technical and scientific knowledge
and training, still, all such business has to be rendered in
accordance with the Patent Law, as well as other laws,
including the Rules and Regulations promulgated by the
Patent Office in accordance with law. All these things
involve the applications of laws, legal principles, practice
and procedure. They call for legal knowledge, training and
experience for which a member of the bar has been
prepared.
As stated in 5 Am. Jur,
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases
or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of
pleadings and other papers incident to actions and social

2
proceedings, the management of such actions and
proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts,
and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients,
and all action taken for them in matters connected with
the law corporation services, assessment and
condemnation services contemplating an appearance
before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage,
enforcement of a creditors claim in bankruptcy and
insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in
attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship
have been held to constitute law practice as do the
preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the
work done involves the determination by the trained legal
mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions.
The Supreme Court ruled that under the present law,
members of the Philippine Bar authorized by the Supreme
Court to practice law, and in good standing, may practice
their profession before the Patent Office, since much of the
business in said office involves the interpretation and
determination of the scope and application of the Patent
Law and other laws applicable, as well as the presentation
of evidence to establish facts involved; that part of the
functions of the Patent director are judicial or quasijudicial, so much so that appeals from his orders and
decisions are, taken to the Supreme Court.
ALAWI VS ALAUYA
Facts:
Sophia Alawi was a sale representative of E.B. Villarosa &
Partner Co., Ltd. of Davao City. Ashari Alauya is the
incumber executive of clerk of court of the 4th Judicial
Shari'a District in Marawi City. It appears that through
Alawi's agency, a contract was executed for the purchase
on installments by Alauya of one of the housing units
belonging to the above mentioned firm (hereafter, simply
Villarosa & Co.); and in connection therewith, a housing
loan was also granted to Alauya by the National Home
Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC). Not long
afterwards, or more precisely on December 15, 1995,
Alauya addressed a letter to the President of Villarosa &
Co. advising of the termination of his contract with the
company.
Ruling:
1. As regards Alauya's use of the title of "Attorney," this
Court has already had occasion to declare that persons
who pass the Shari'a Bar are not full-fledged members of
the Philippine Bar, hence may only practice law before
Shari'a courts. The title of "attorney" is reserved to those
who, having obtained the necessary degree in the study of
law and successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have
been admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and
remain members thereof in good standing; and it is they
only who are authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction.
2. WHEREFORE, respondent Ashari M. Alauya is
hereby REPRIMANDED for the use of excessively
intemperate, insulting or virulent language, i.e., language
unbecoming a judicial officer, and for usurping the title of
attorney; and he is warned that any similar or other
impropriety or misconduct in the future will be dealt with
more severely.
Aguirre v RanaB.M. No. 1036June 10, 2003Topic: Practice
of Law

ConceptFacts
: Rana was among those who passed the 2000 Bar
Examinations. While not yet a lawyerfor not being allowed

to sign to the Roll of Attorneys because of the pending


resolution of thecharge against him, he appeared as
counsel of George Bunan in the May 2001 Elections
beforethe Municipal Board of Election Canvassers of
Mandaon, Masbate. He also filed a pleading
entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the
Canvassing of Votes in same Precincts for theOffice of Vice
Mayor, wherein he signed as counsel for Geor
ge Bunan. Also, mayoraltycandidate Emily Estipano-Hao
retained Rana as her counsel and Rana himself, in a
petition praying for the proclamation of Estipano-Hao as
the winning candidate for mayor, signed ascounsel in
the aforementioned petition. Aguirre then filed a petition
against Rana for Denial of Admission to the Bar and
charging himfor unauthorized practice of law, grave
misconduct, violation of law and grave misrepresentation.
Issue
: Whether or not Rana should be denied Admission to the
Bar
Held
: Yes, Rana should be denied Admission to the Bar. The
evidences clearly shows that Ranawas engaged in the
practice of law when he appeared in the proceedings
before the MBEC, filed various pleadings and referred
himself as counsel knowing fully that he was not yet a
member of the Bar.
Although Rana passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and
took the lawyers oath, it is the signing of
the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged
lawyer. 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. Thus, it can be withheld
even from one who has passed the bar examinations, if
the person seeking admission had practiced law without a
license.
IN RE: PETITION TO SIGN IN THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS
MICHAEL A. MEDADO, Petitioner.
RESOLUTION
SERENO, C.J.:
We resolve the instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of
Attorneys filed by petitioner Michael A. Medado (Medado).
Medado graduated from the University of the Philippines
with the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 19791and passed
the same years bar examinations with a general weighted
average of 82.7.2cralaw virtualaw library
On 7 May 1980, he took the Attorneys Oath at the
Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) together
with the successful bar examinees.3 He was scheduled to
sign in the Roll of Attorneys on 13 May 1980, 4 but he failed
to do so on his scheduled date, allegedly because he had
misplaced the Notice to Sign the Roll of Attorneys 5 given
by the Bar Office when he went home to his province for a
vacation.6cralaw virtualaw library
Several years later, while rummaging through his old
college files, Medado found the Notice to Sign the Roll of
Attorneys. It was then that he 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.7cralaw virtualaw library
By the time Medado found the notice, he was already
working. He stated that he was mainly doing corporate
and taxation work, and that he was not actively involved
in litigation practice. Thus, he operated under the

3
mistaken belief [that] since he ha[d] already taken the
oath, the signing of the Roll of Attorneys was not as
urgent, nor as crucial to his status as a lawyer; 8 and the
matter of signing in the Roll of Attorneys lost its urgency
and compulsion, and was subsequently forgotten.9cralaw
virtualaw library
In 2005, when Medado attended Mandatory Continuing
Legal Education (MCLE) seminars, he was required to
provide his roll number in order for his MCLE compliances
to be credited.10 Not having signed in the Roll of Attorneys,
he was unable to provide his roll number.
About seven years later, or on 6 February 2012, Medado
filed the instant Petition, praying that he be allowed to
sign in the Roll of Attorneys.11cralaw virtualaw library
The Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) conducted a
clarificatory conference on the matter on 21 September
201212 and submitted a Report and Recommendation to
this Court on 4 February 2013.13The OBC recommended
that the instant petition be denied for petitioners gross
negligence, gross misconduct and utter lack of merit. 14 It
explained that, based on his answers during the
clarificatory conference, petitioner could offer no valid
justification for his negligence in signing in the Roll of
Attorneys.15cralaw virtualaw library
After a judicious review of the records, we grant Medados
prayer in the instant petition, subject to the payment of a
fine and the imposition of a penalty equivalent to
suspension from the practice of law.
At the outset, we note that not allowing Medado to sign in
the Roll of Attorneys would be akin to imposing upon him
the ultimate penalty of disbarment, a penalty that we
have reserved for the most serious ethical transgressions
of members of the Bar.
In this case, the records do not show that this action is
warranted.
For one, petitioner demonstrated good faith and good
moral character when he finally filed the instant Petition to
Sign in the Roll of Attorneys. We note that it was not a
third party who called this Courts attention to petitioners
omission; rather, it was Medado himself who
acknowledged his own lapse, albeit after the passage of
more than 30 years. When asked by the Bar Confidant why
it took him this long to file the instant petition, Medado
very candidly replied:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibrary
Mahirap hong i-explain yan pero, yun bang at the time,
what can you say? Takot ka kung anong mangyayari sa
yo, you dont know whats gonna happen. At the same
time, its a combination of apprehension and anxiety of
whats gonna happen. And, finally its the right thing to do.
I have to come here sign the roll and take the oath as
necessary.16
For another, petitioner has not been subject to any action
for disqualification from the practice of law, 17 which is
more than what we can say of other individuals who were
successfully admitted as members of the Philippine Bar.
For this Court, this fact demonstrates that petitioner strove
to adhere to the strict requirements of the ethics of the
profession, and that he has prima facie shown that he
possesses the character required to be a member of the
Philippine Bar.
Finally, Medado appears to have been a competent and
able legal practitioner, having held various positions at the

Laurel Law Office,18 Petron, Petrophil Corporation, the


Philippine National Oil Company, and the Energy
Development Corporation.19cralaw virtualaw library
All these demonstrate Medados worth to become a fullfledged member of the Philippine Bar. While the practice
of law is not a right but a privilege, 20 this Court will not
unwarrantedly withhold this privilege from individuals who
have shown mental fitness and moral fiber to withstand
the rigors of the profession.
That said, however, we cannot fully exculpate petitioner
Medado from all liability for his years of inaction.
Petitioner has been engaged in the practice of law since
1980, a period spanning more than 30 years, without
having signed in the Roll of Attorneys.21 He justifies this
behavior by characterizing his acts as neither willful nor
intentional but based on a mistaken belief and an honest
error of judgment.22cralaw virtualaw library
We disagree.
While an honest mistake of fact could be used to excuse a
person from the legal consequences of his acts 23 as it
negates malice or evil motive,24 a mistake of law cannot
be utilized as a lawful justification, because everyone is
presumed to know the law and its
consequences.25 Ignorantia facti excusat; ignorantia legis
neminem excusat.
Applying these principles to the case at bar, 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 merely an attendance record, he could no
longer claim an honest mistake of fact as a valid
justification. At that point, Medado should have known that
he was not a full-fledged member of the Philippine Bar
because of his failure to sign in the Roll of Attorneys, as it
was the act of signing therein that would have made him
so.26 When, in spite of this knowledge, he chose to
continue practicing law without taking the necessary steps
to complete all the requirements for admission to the Bar,
he willfully engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
Under the Rules of Court, the unauthorized practice of law
by ones assuming to be an attorney or officer of the court,
and acting as such without authority, may constitute
indirect contempt of court, 27which is punishable by fine or
imprisonment or both.28 Such a finding, however, is in the
nature of criminal contempt29 and must be reached after
the filing of charges and the conduct of hearings. 30 In this
case, while it appears quite clearly that petitioner
committed indirect contempt of court by knowingly
engaging in unauthorized practice of law, we refrain from
making any finding of liability for indirect contempt, as no
formal charge pertaining thereto has been filed against
him.
Knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of law
likewise transgresses Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which provides:chanrobles virtua1aw
1ibrary
CANON 9 A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist
in the unauthorized practice of law.
While a reading of Canon 9 appears to merely prohibit
lawyers from assisting in the unauthorized practice of law,
the unauthorized practice of law by the lawyer himself is

4
subsumed under this provision, because at the heart of
Canon 9 is the lawyers 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 comport themselves in accordance with the
ethical standards of the legal profession.
Turning now to the applicable penalty, previous violations
of Canon 9 have warranted the penalty of suspension from
the practice of law.31 As Medado is not yet a full-fledged
lawyer, we cannot suspend him from the practice of law.
However, we see it fit to impose upon him a penalty akin
to suspension by allowing him to sign in the Roll of
Attorneys one (1) year after receipt of this Resolution. For
his transgression of the prohibition against the
unauthorized practice of law, we likewise see it fit to fine
him in the amount of P32,000. During the one year period,
petitioner is warned that he is not allowed to engage in
the practice of law, and is sternly warned that doing any
act that constitutes practice of law before he has signed in
the Roll of Attorneys will be dealt with severely by this
Court.
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of
Attorneys is hereby GRANTED. Petitioner Michael A.
Medado is ALLOWED to sign in the Roll of Attorneys ONE
(1) YEAR after receipt of this Resolution. Petitioner is
likewise ORDERED to pay a FINE of P32,000 for his
unauthorized practice of law. During the one year period,
petitioner is NOT ALLOWED to practice law, and
is STERNLY WARNED that doing any act that constitutes
practice of law before he has signed in the Roll of
Attorneys will be dealt with severely by this Court.
Let a copy of this Resolution be furnished the Office of the
Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and
the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all
courts in the country.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
SO ORDERED.
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 Canadas 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 membershi
IN RE: PETITION TO RE-ACQUIRE THE PRIVILEGE TO
PRACTICE LAW IN THE PHILIPPINES, EPIFANIO B. MUNESES,
Petitioner.
IN RE EPIFANIO MUNESES
(Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship)
B.M. No. 2112

On June 8, 2009, petitioner Epifanio B. Muneses with the


Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) praying that he be
granted the privilege to practice law in the Philippines.
Petitioner became a member of the IBP in 1966 but lost his
privilege to practice law when he became a American
citizen in 1981. In 2006, he re-acquired his Philippine
citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 or the Citizenship
Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003 by taking his
oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen before the Philippine
Consulate in Washington, D.C. He intends to retire in the
Philippines and if granted, to resume the practice of law.
The Court reiterates that Filipino citizenship is a
requirement for admission to the bar and is, in fact, a
continuing requirement for the practice of law. The loss
thereof means termination of the petitioners membership
in the bar; ipso jure the privilege to engage in the practice
of law. Under R.A. No. 9225, natural-born citizens who
have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their
naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are deemed
to have re-acquired their Philippine citizenship upon taking
the oath of allegiance to the Republic. Thus, a Filipino
lawyer who becomes a citizen of another country and later
re-acquires his Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225,
remains to be a member of the Philippine Bar. However,
as stated in Dacanay, the right to resume the practice of
law is not automatic. R.A. No. 9225 provides that a person
who intends to practice his profession in the Philippines
must apply with the proper authority for a license or
permit to engage in such practice.
Thus, in pursuance to the qualifications laid down by the
Court for the practice of law, the OBC required, and
incompliance thereof, petitioner submitted the following:
1. Petition for Re-Acquisition of Philippine Citizenship;
2. Order (for Re-Acquisition of Philippine citizenship);
3. Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines;

Keyw

but a

be a
or pe

5
4. Certificate of Re-Acquisition/Retention of Philippine
Citizenship issued by the Bureau of Immigration, in lieu of
the IC;
5. Certification dated May 19, 2010 of the IBP-Surigao City
Chapter attesting to his good moral character as well as
his updated payment of annual membership dues;
6. Professional Tax Receipt (PTR) for the year 2010;
7. Certificate of Compliance with the MCLE for the 2nd
compliance period; and
8. Certification dated December 5, 2008 of Atty. Gloria
Estenzo-Ramos, Coordinator, UC-MCLE Program,
University of Cebu, College of Law attesting to his
compliance with the MCLE.
The OBC further required the petitioner to update his
compliance, particularly with the MCLE. After all the
requirements were satisfactorily complied with and finding
that the petitioner has met all the qualifications, the OBC
recommended that the petitioner be allowed to resume his
practice of law.
WHEREFORE, the petition of Attorney Epifanio B. Muneses
is hereby GRANTED, subject to the condition that he shall
re-take the Lawyer's Oath on a date to be set by the Court
and subject to the payment of appropriate fees.
Javellana v. v. DILG
G.R. No. 102549 August 10, 1992
Grio-Aquino, J.

On September 21, 1991, Secretary Luis T.


Santos issued Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 setting
forth guidelines for the practice of professions by local
elective officials.
In an order dated May 2, 1991, Javellanas
motion to dismiss was denied by the public respondents.
His motion for reconsideration was likewise denied on June
20, 1991.
Five months later or on October 10, 1991, the Local
Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160) was signed into law,
Section 90 of which provides:
Sec. 90. Practice of Profession. (a) All governors, city
and municipal mayors are prohibited from practicing their
profession or engaging in any occupation other than the
exercise of their functions as local chief executives.
(b) Sanggunian members may practice their professions,
engage in any occupation, or teach in schools except
during session hours: Provided, That sanggunian members
who are members of the Bar shall not:
(1)
Appear as counsel before any court in any civil case
wherein a local government unit or any office, agency, or
instrumentality of the government is the adverse party;
(2) Appear as counsel in any criminal case wherein an
officer or employee of the national or local government is
accused of an offense committed in relation to his office;

Facts:
Attorney Erwin B. Javellana was an elected City
Councilor of Bago City, Negros Occidental. On October 5,
1989, City Engineer Ernesto C. Divinagracia filed
Administrative Case No. C-10-90 against Javellana for: (1)
violation of Department of Local Government (DLG)
Memorandum Circular No. 80-38 dated June 10, 1980 in
relation to DLG Memorandum Circular No. 74-58 and of
Section 7, paragraph b, No. 2 of Republic Act No. 6713,
otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and (2) for
oppression, misconduct and abuse of authority.
Divinagracias complaint alleged that Javellana, an
incumbent member of the City Council or Sanggunian
Panglungsod of Bago City, and a lawyer by profession, has
continuously engaged in the practice of law without
securing authority for that purpose from the Regional
Director, Department of Local Government, as required by
DLG Memorandum Circular No. 80-38 in relation to DLG
Memorandum Circular No. 74-58 of the same department;
that on July 8, 1989, Javellana, as counsel for Antonio
Javiero and Rolando Catapang, filed a case against City
Engineer Ernesto C. Divinagracia of Bago City for Illegal
Dismissal and Reinstatement with Damages putting him
in public ridicule; that Javellana also appeared as counsel
in several criminal and civil cases in the city, without prior
authority of the DLG Regional Director, in violation of DLG
Memorandum Circular No. 80-38.
On August 13, 1990, a formal hearing of the
complaint was held in Iloilo City in which the complainant,
Engineer Divinagracia, and the respondent, Councilor
Javellana, presented their respective evidence.
Meanwhile, on September 10, 1990, Javellana requested
the DLG for a permit to continue his practice of law for the
reasons stated in his letter-request.

(3) Collect any fee for their appearance in administrative


proceedingsinvolving the local government unit of which
he is an official; and
(4) Use property and personnel of the Government
except when the sanggunian member concerned is
defending the interest of the Government.
(c) Doctors of medicine may practice their profession even
during official hours of work only on occasions of
emergency: Provided, That the officials concerned do not
derive monetary compensation therefrom.
Issue:
whether or not DLG Memorandum Circulars Nos.
80-38 and 90-81 are unconstitutional because the
Supreme Court has the sole and exclusive authority to
regulate the practice of law
Held:
No. Petitioners contention that Section 90 of the
Local Government Code of 1991 and DLG Memorandum
Circular No. 90-81 violate Article VIII, Section 5 of the
Constitution is completely off tangent. Neither the statute
nor the circular trenches upon the Supreme Courts power
and authority to prescribe rules on the practice of law. The
Local Government Code and DLG Memorandum Circular
No. 90-81 simply prescribe rules of conduct for public
officials to avoid conflicts of interest between the
discharge of their public duties and the private practice of
their profession, in those instances where the law allows it.
Catu vs Rellosa
FACTS: Petitioner initiated a complaint against Elizabeth
Catu and Antonio Pastor who were occupying one of the
units in a building in Malate which was owned by the

6
former. The said complaint was filed in the Lupong
Tagapamayapa of Barangay 723, Zone 79 of the
5th District of Manila where respondent was the punong
barangay. The parties, having been summoned for
conciliation proceedings and failing to arrive at an
amicable settlement, were issued by the respondent
a certification for the filing of the appropriate action in
court. Petitioner, thus, filed a complaint for ejectment
against Elizabeth and Pastor in the Metropolitan Trial Court
of Manila where respondent entered his appearance as
counsel for the defendants. Because of this, petitioner
filed the instant administrative complaint against the
respondent on the ground that he committed an act of
impropriety as a lawyer and as a public officer when he
stood as counsel for the defendantsdespite the fact that
he presided over the conciliation proceedings between the
litigants as punong barangay. In his defense, respondent
claimed that as punong barangay, he performed his task
without bias and that he acceded to Elizabeths request to
handle the case for free as she was financially
distressed. The complaint was then referred to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) where after
evaluation, they found sufficient ground to discipline
respondent. According to them, respondent violated Rule
6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and, as an
elective official, the prohibition under Section 7(b) (2) of
RA 6713. Consequently, for the violation of the latter
prohibition, respondent committed a breach of Canon 1.
Consequently, for the violation of the latter prohibition,
respondent was then recommended suspension from the
practice of law for one month with a stern warning that the
commission of the same or similar act will be dealt with
more severely.
ISSUE: Whether or not the foregoing findings regarding the
transgression of respondent as well as the
recommendation on the imposable penalty of the
respondent were proper.
HELD: No. First, respondent cannot be found liable for
violation of Rule 6.03 the Code of Professional
Responsibility as this applies only to a lawyer who has
left government service and in connection to former
government lawyers who are prohibited from accepting
employment in connection with any matter in which [they]
had intervened while in their service. In the case at bar,
respondent was an incumbent punong barangay.
Apparently, he does not fall within the purview of the said
provision.
Second, it is not Section 90 of RA 7160 but Section 7(b) (2)
of RA 6713 which governs the practice of profession of
elective local government officials. While RA 6713
generally applies to all public officials and employees, RA
7160, being a special law, constitutes an exception to RA
6713 .Moreover, while under RA 7160,certain local
elective officials (like governors, mayors, provincial
board members and councilors) are expressly subjected
to a total or partial proscription to practice their
profession or engage in any occupation, no such
interdiction is made on the punong barangay and the
members of the sangguniang barangay. Expressio unius
est exclusio alterius since they are excluded from any
prohibition, the presumption is that they are allowed to
practice their profession. Respondent, therefore, is not
forbidden to practice his profession.

Third, notwithstanding all of these, respondent still should


have procured a prior permission or authorization from the
head of his Department, as required by civil service
regulations. The failure of respondent to comply with
Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules
constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer: to obey the
laws. In acting as counsel for a party without first securing
the required written permission, respondent not only
engaged in the unauthorized practice of law but also
violated a civilservice rules which is a breach of Rule 1.01
of the Code of Professional Responsibility:
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
For not living up to his oath as well as for not complying
with the exacting ethical standards of the legal profession,
respondent failed to comply with Canon 7 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility:
CANON 7. A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE
INTEGRITY AND THE DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL
PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE
INTEGRATED BAR.
A lawyer who disobeys the law disrespects it. In so doing,
he disregards legal ethics and disgraces the dignity of
the legal profession. Every lawyer should act and comport
himself in a manner that promotes public confidence in
the integrity of the legal profession. A member of the bar
may be disbarred or suspended from his office as an
attorney for violation of the lawyer's oath and/or for breach
of the ethics of the legal profession as embodied in the
Code of Professional Responsibility.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Vicente G. Rellosa is hereby
found GUILTYof professional misconduct for violating his
oath as a lawyer and Canons 1 and 7 and Rule 1.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. He is
therefore SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period
of six monthseffective from his receipt of this resolution.
He is sternly WARNED that any repetition of similar acts
shall be dealt with more severely.
Respondent is strongly advised to look up and take to
heart the meaning of the word delicadeza.
Magno vs Velasco-Jacoba (way case digest)
In her sworn complaint, as endorsed by the President of
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Nueva Ecija
Chapter, Atty. Evelyn J. Magno charged Atty. Olivia
Velasco-Jacoba, a member of the same IBP provincial
chapter, with willful violation of (a) Section 415 of the
Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991 and (b) Canon 4 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility.
This disciplinary case arose out of a disagreement
that complainant had with her uncle, Lorenzo Inos, over a
landscaping contract they had entered into. In a bid to
have the stand-off between them settled, complainant
addressed a letter, styled Sumbong,[1] to Bonifacio
Alcantara, barangay captain of Brgy. San Pascual,
Talavera, Nueva Ecija. At the barangay
conciliation/confrontation proceedings conducted on
January 5, 2003, respondent, on the strength of a Special
Power of Attorney signed by Lorenzo Inos, appeared for
the latter, accompanied by his son, Lorenzito.
Complainants objection to respondents appearance
elicited the response that Lorenzo Inos is entitled to be

7
represented by a lawyer inasmuch as complainant is
herself a lawyer. And as to complainants retort that her
being a lawyer is merely coincidental, respondent
countered that she is appearing as an attorney-in-fact, not
as counsel, of Lorenzo Inos.
Complainant enumerated specific instances, with
supporting documentation, tending to prove that
respondent had, in the course of the conciliation
proceedings before the Punong Barangay, acted as Inos
Lorenzos counsel instead of as his attorney-in-fact. This is
what complainant said in her complaint: [2]
5. xxx Atty. Olivia Jacoba asked for an ocular
inspection of the subject matter of the complaint. A
heated argument took place because Lorencito Inos said
that [complainants brother] Melencio Magno, Jr. made
alterations in the lagoon . Afterwards Atty. Olivia
Jacoba . . . returned to the barangay hall to have the
incident recorded in the barangay blotter.... attached as
Annex A
6. That on January 12, 2003, Lorenzo Inos
appeared before the hearing also with the assistance of
[respondent]. When the minutes of the proceeding (sic)
was read, [respondent] averred that the minutes is partial
in favor of the complainant because only her statements
were recorded for which reason, marginal insertions were
made to include what [respondent] wanted to be put on
record. She also signed as saksi in the minutes .
7. xxx In a letter (answer to the "sumbong) sent to
the Punong Barangay dated December 22, 2002, she
signed representing herself as Family Legal Counsel of Inos
Family, a copy of the letter is attached as Annex C . . . .
(Words in bracket added.)
In an Order dated February 17, 2003, Atty. Victor C.
Fernandez, IBP Director for Bar Discipline, directed the
respondent to submit, within fifteen (15) days from notice,
her answer to the complaint, otherwise she will be
considered as in default.[3]
The case, docketed as CBD No. 03-1061, was
assigned to Commissioner Rebecca Villanueva-Maala, who
admitted respondents answer notwithstanding her earlier
order of July 15, 2003, declaring respondent in default for
failure to file an answer in due time.[4]
In her Answer, respondent alleged that the
administrative complaint was filed with the Office of
the Punong Barangay, instead of before the Lupong
Tagapamayapa, and heard by Punong Barangay Bonifacio
Alcantara alone, instead of the collegial Lupon or a
conciliation panel known as pangkat. Prescinding from this
premise, respondent submits that the prohibition against a
lawyer appearing to assist a client in katarungan
pambarangay proceedings does not apply. Further, she
argued that her appearance was not as a lawyer, but only
as an attorney-in-fact.
In her report dated October 6, 2003,[5] Commissioner
Maala stated that the charge of complainant has been
established by clear preponderance of evidence and, on
that basis, recommended that respondent be suspended
from the practice of her profession for a period of six (6)
months. On the other hand, the Board of Governors, IBP
Commission on Bar Discipline, while agreeing with the

inculpatory finding of the investigating commissioner,


recommended in its Resolution No. XVI-2003-235,[6] a
lighter penalty, to wit:
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby
ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and
Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the
above-entitled case, herein made part of this
Resolution/Decision as Annex "A"; and, finding the
recommendation fully supported by the evidence on
record and the applicable laws and rules, with
modification, and considering respondent's actuations was
in violation of Section 415 which expressly prohibits the
presence and representation by lawyers in the Katarungan
Pambarangay, Atty. Olivia Velasco-Jacoba is
hereby ADMONISHED.
This resolution is now before us for confirmation.
Section 415 of the LGC of 1991[7], on the
subject Katarungang Pambarangay, provides:
Section 415. Appearance of Parties in Person. - In
all katarungang pambarangay proceedings, the parties
must appear in person without the assistance of the
counsel or representative, except for minors and
incompetents who may be assisted by their next of kin
who are not lawyers.
The above-quoted provision clearly requires the
personal appearance of the parties in katarungan
pambarangay conciliation proceedings, unassisted by
counsel or representative. The rationale behind the
personal appearance requirement is to enable the lupon to
secure first hand and direct information about the facts
and issues,[8] the exception being in cases where minors or
incompetents are parties. There can be no quibbling that
laymen of goodwill can easily agree to conciliate and
settle their disputes between themselves without what
sometimes is the unsettling assistance of lawyers whose
presence could sometimes obfuscate and confuse issues.
[9]
Worse still, the participation of lawyers with their
penchant to use their analytical skills and legal knowledge
tend to prolong instead of expedite settlement of the case.
The prohibition against the presence of a lawyer in a
barangay conciliation proceedings was not, to be sure, lost
on respondent. Her defense that the aforequoted Section
415 of the LGC does not apply since complainant
addressed her Sumbong to the barangay captain of Brgy.
San Pascual who thereafter proceeded to hear the same is
specious at best. In this regard, suffice it to state that
complainant wrote her Sumbong with the end in view of
availing herself of the benefits of barangay justice. That
she addressed her Sumbong to the barangay captain is
really of little moment since the latter chairs the Lupong
Tagapamayapa.[10]
Lest it be overlooked, the prohibition in question
applies to all katarungan barangay proceedings. Section
412(a)[11] the LGC of 1991 clearly provides that, as a
precondition to filing a complaint in court, the parties shall
go through the conciliation process either before
the lupon chairman or the lupon or pangkat. As what
happened in this case, the punong barangay, as chairman
of the Lupon Tagapamayapa, conducted the conciliation

8
proceedings to resolve the disputes between the two
parties.
Given the above perspective, we join the IBP
Commission on Bar Discipline in its determination that
respondent transgressed the prohibition prescribed in
Section 415 of the LGC. However, its recommended
penalty of mere admonition must have to be modified.
Doubtless, respondents conduct tended to undermine the
laudable purpose of the katarungan pambarangay system.
What compounded matters was when respondent
repeatedly ignored complainants protestation against her
continued appearance in the barangay conciliation
proceedings.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Olivia Velasco-Jacoba is
hereby FINED in the amount of Five Thousand Pesos
(P5,000.00) for willful violation of Section 415 of the Local
Government Code of 1991 with WARNING that commission
of similar acts of impropriety on her part in the future will
be dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.
Re: 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS
RESOLUTION
PER CURIAM:
On 22 September 2003, the day following the bar
examination in Mercantile Law, Justice Jose C. Vitug,
Chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations Committee, was
apprised of a rumored leakage in the examination on the
subject. After making his own inquiries, Justice Vitug
reported the matter to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.,
and to the other members of the Court, recommending
that the bar examination on the subject be nullified and
that an investigation be conducted forthwith. On 23
September 2003, the Court adopted the recommendation
of Justice Vitug, and resolved to nullify the examination in
Mercantile Law and to hold another examination on 04
October 2003 at eight oclock in the evening (being the
earliest available time and date) at the De La Salle
University, Taft Avenue, Manila. The resolution was issued
without prejudice to any action that the Court would
further take on the matter.
Following the issuance of the resolution, the Court
received numerous petitions and motions from the
Philippine Association of Law Schools and various other
groups and persons, expressing agreement to the
nullification of the bar examinations in Mercantile Law but
voicing strong reservations against the holding of another
examination on the subject. Several reasons were
advanced by petitioners or movants, among these reasons
being the physical, emotional and financial difficulties that
would be encountered by the examinees, if another
examination on the subject were to be held anew.
Alternative proposals submitted to the Court included the
spreading out of the weight of Mercantile Law among the
remaining seven bar subjects, i.e., to determine and
gauge the results of the examinations on the basis only of
the performance of the examinees in the seven bar
subjects. In a resolution, dated 29 September 2003, the
Court, finding merit in the submissions, resolved to cancel
the scheduled examination in Mercantile Law on 04
October 2003 and to allocate the fifteen percentage points
among the seven bar examination subjects. In the same
resolution, the Court further resolved to create a
Committee composed of three retired members of the
Court that would conduct a thorough investigation of the
incident subject of the 23 September 2003 resolution.

In a resolution, dated 07 October 2003, the Court adopted


the computation in the allocation of the fifteen percentage
points for Mercantile Law among the remaining seven bar
examination subjects, to wit:
Subject Original Adjusted Relative Adjusted
Percentage Percentage Weight Relative
Weight Weight Weight
Political and
International
Law 15% 17.647% 3 3.53%
Labor and
Social
Legislation 10% 11.765% 2 2.35%
Civil law 15% 17.647% 3 3.53%
Taxation 10% 11.765% 2 2.35%
Criminal law 10% 11.765% 2 2.35%
Remedial
Law 20% 23.529% 4 4.71%
Legal Ethics
and Practical
Exercises 5% 5.882% 1 1.18%
100% 20%
In another resolution, dated 14 October 2003, the Court
designated the following retired Associate Justices of the
Supreme Court to compose the Investigating Committee:
Chairman: Justice Carolina C. Grio-Aquino
Members: Justice Jose A.R. Melo
Justice Vicente V. Mendoza
The Investigating Committee was tasked to determine and
identify the source of leakage, the parties responsible
therefor or who might have benefited therefrom,
recommend sanctions against all those found to have
been responsible for, or who would have benefited from,
the incident in question and to recommend measures to
the Court to safeguard the integrity of the bar
examinations.
On 15 January 2004, the Investigating Committee
submitted its report and recommendation to the Court,
herein reproduced in full; thus In the morning of September 21, 2003, the third Sunday of
the 2003 bar examinations, the examination in
commercial law was held in De la Salle University on Taft
Avenue, Manila, the venue of the bar examinations since
1995. The next day, the newspapers carried news of an
alleged leakage in the said examination.[1]
Upon hearing the news and making preliminary inquiries
of his own, Justice Jose C. Vitug, chairman of the 2003 Bar
Examinations Committee, reported the matter to the Chief
Justice and recommended that the examination in
mercantile law be cancelled and that a formal
investigation of the leakage be undertaken.
Acting on the report and recommendation of Justice Vitug,
the Court, in a resolution dated September 23, 2003,
nullified the examination in mercantile law and resolved to
hold another examination in that subject on Saturday,
October 4, 2003 at eight oclock in the evening (being the
earliest available time and date) at the same venue.
However, because numerous petitions, protests, and
motions for reconsideration were filed against the retaking
of the examination in mercantile law, the Court cancelled
the holding of such examination. On the recommendation
of the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Court instead
decided to allocate the fifteen (15) percentage points for
mercantile law among the seven (7) other bar examination
subjects (Resolution dated October 7, 2003).
In a Resolution dated September 29, 2003, the Supreme
Court created an Investigating Committee composed of
three (3) retired Members of the Court to conduct an
investigation of the leakage and to submit its findings and
recommendations on or before December 15, 2003.

9
The Court designated the following retired Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court to compose the Committee:
Chairman: Justice CAROLINA GRIO-AQUINO
Members: Justice JOSE A. R. MELO
Justice VICENTE V. MENDOZA
The Investigating Committee was directed to determine
and identify the source of the leakage, the parties
responsible therefor and those who benefited therefrom,
and to recommend measures to safeguard the integrity of
the bar examinations.
The investigation commenced on October 21, 2003 and
continued up to November 7, 2003. The following
witnesses appeared and testified at the investigation:
1. Associate Justice Jose C. Vitug, chairman of the 2003
Bar Examinations Committee;
2. Atty. Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, law clerk in the office of
Justice Vitug
3. Atty. Marcial O. T. Balgos, examiner in mercantile law;
4. Cheryl Palma, private secretary of Atty. Balgos;
5. Atty. Danilo De Guzman, assistant lawyer in the firm of
Balgos & Perez;
6. Atty. Enrico G. Velasco, managing partner of Balgos &
Perez;
7. Eduardo J. F. Abella, reviewer in commercial law at
the Lex Review Center;
8. Silvestre T. Atienza, office manager of Balgos & Perez;
9. Reynita Villasis, private secretary of Atty. De Guzman;
10. Ronan Garvida, fraternity brother of Atty. De Guzman;
11. Ronald F. Collado, most illustrious brother of the Beta
Sigma Lambda Fraternity;
12. Jovito M. Salonga, Asst. Division Chief of Systems
Development for Judicial Application, MlSO;
The Committee held nine (9) meetings - six times to
conduct the investigation and three times to deliberate on
its report.
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JOSE C. VITUG, chairman of the Bar
Examinations Committee, testified that on Monday
morning, September 22, 2003, the day after the Bar
examination in mercantile or commercial law, upon
arriving in his office in the Supreme Court, his secretary,
[2]
Rose Kawada, informed him that one of the law clerks,
Atty. Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, told her that a friend of hers
named Ma. Cecilia Delgado-Carbajosa, a bar examinee
from Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City, who was
staying at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Paco, confided to her
that something was wrong with the examination in
mercantile law, because previous to the
examination, i.e., on Saturday afternoon, the eve of the
examination, she received a copy of the test questions in
that subject. She did not pay attention to the test
questions because no answers were provided, and she
was hard-pressed to finish her review of that subject, using
other available bar review materials, of which there were
plenty coming from various bar review centers.
However, upon perusing the questions after the
examinations, Cecilia noticed that many of them were the
same questions that were asked in the just-concludedexamination.
Justice Vitug requested Marlo to invite her friend to his
office in the Supreme Court, but Carbajosa declined the
invitation. So, Justice Vitug suggested that Marlo and Rose
invite Carbajosa to meet them at Robinsons Place, Ermita.
She agreed to do that.
Cecilia Carbajosa arrived at Robinsons Place at the
appointed time and showed the test questions to Rose and
Marlo. Rose obtained a xerox copy of the leaked questions
and compared them with the bar questions in mercantile
law. On the back of the pages, she wrote, in her own hand,
the differences she noted between the leaked questions
and the bar examination questions.

Rose and Marlo delivered the copy of the leaked questions


to Justice Vitug who compared them with the bar
examination questions in mercantile law. He found the
leaked questions to be the exact same questions which
the examiner in mercantile law, Attorney Marcial O. T.
Balgos, had prepared and submitted to him as chairman of
the Bar Examinations Committee. However, not all of
those questions were asked in the bar examination.
According to Justice Vitug, only 75% of the final bar
questions were questions prepared by Atty. Balgos; 25%
prepared by Justice Vitug himself, were included in the
final bar examination. The questions prepared by Justice
Vitug were not among the leaked test questions.
Apart from the published news stories about the leakage,
Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and Justice Vitug
received, by telephone and mail, reports of the leakage
from Dean Mariano F. Magsalin, Jr. of the Arellano Law
Foundation (Exh. H) and a certain Dale Philip R. De los
Reyes (Exh. B -B-3), attaching copies of the leaked
questions and the fax transmittal sheet showing that the
source of the questions was Danny De Guzman who faxed
them to Ronan Garvida on September 17, 2003, four days
before the examination in mercantile law on September
21, 2003 (Exh. B-1).
ATTORNEY MARLO MAGDOZA-MALAGAR was subpoenaed
by the Committee. She identified the copy of the leaked
questions that came from Cecilia Carbajosa (Exh. A). She
testified that, according to Carbajosa, the latter received
the test questions from one of her co-bar reviewees
staying, like her, at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Paco, and
also enrolled in the review classes at the Lex Review
Center at the corner of P. Faura Street and Roxas
Boulevard, Ermita. She did not pay for the hand-out
because the Lex Review Center gives them away for free
to its bar reviewees.
ATTORNEY MARCIAL O. T. BALGOS, 71 years of age, senior
partner in the law firm of BALGOS AND PEREZ with offices
in Rm. 1009 West Tektite Tower, Exchange Road, Ortigas
Center, Pasig City, testified that in November 2002, Justice
Jose C. Vitug, as chair of the Committee on the 2003 Bar
Examinations, invited him to be the examiner in
commercial law. He accepted the assignment and almost
immediately began the preparation of test questions on
the subject. Using his personal computer in the law office,
he prepared for three consecutive days, three (3) sets of
test questions which covered the entire subject of
Mercantile Law (pp. 3-5, tsn, Oct. 24, 2003). As he did not
know how to prepare the questionnaire in final form, he
asked his private secretary, Cheryl Palma, to format the
questions (p. 13, tsn, Oct. 24, 2003). And, as he did not
know how to print the questionnaire, he likewise asked
Cheryl Palma to make a print-out (Id., pp. 14-15). All of this
was done inside his office with only him and his secretary
there. His secretary printed only one copy (Id., p. 15). He
then placed the printed copy of the test questions,
consisting of three sets, in an envelope which he sealed,
and called up Justice Vitug to inform him that he was
bringing the questions to the latters office that afternoon.
However, as Justice Vitug was leaving his office shortly, he
advised Atty. Balgos to give the sealed envelope to his
confidential assistant who had been instructed to keep it.
When Atty. Balgos arrived in the office of Justice Vitug, he
was met by Justice Vitugs confidential assistant to whom
he entrusted the sealed envelope containing the test
questions (pp. 19-26, tsn, Oct. 24, 2003).
Atty. Balgos admitted that he does not know how to
operate a computer except to type on it. He does not
know how to open and close his own computer which has
a password for that purpose. In fact, he did not know, as
he still does, the password. It is his secretary, Cheryl

10
Palma, who opened and closed his computer for him (p.
45, tsn, Oct. 24, 2003).
Atty. Balgos testified that he did not devise the password
himself. It was Cheryl Palma who devised it (Id., p. 71).
His computer is exclusively for his own use. It is located
inside his room which is locked when he is not in the
office. He comes to the office every other day only.
He thought that his computer was safely insulated from
third parties, and that he alone had access to it. He was
surprised to discover, when reports of the bar leakage
broke out, that his computer was in fact interconnected
with the computers of his nine (9) assistant attorneys (tsn,
pp. 30,45). As a matter of fact, the employees - Jovito M.
Salonga and Benjamin R. Katly - of the Courts
Management Information Systems Office (MISO) who,
upon the request of Atty. Balgos, were directed by the
Investigating Committee to inspect the computer system
in his office, reported that there were 16, not 9, computers
connected to each other via Local Area Network (LAN) and
one (1) stand-alone computer connected to the internet
(Exh. M). Atty. Balgos law partner, former Justice Secretary
Hernando Perez, also had a computer, but Perez took it
away when he became the Secretary of Justice.
The nine (9) assistant attorneys with computers,
connected to Attorney Balgos computer, are:
1. Zorayda Zosobrado (she resigned in July 2003)
2. Claravel Javier
3. Rolynne Torio
4. Mark Warner Rosal
5. Charlynne Subia
6. Danilo De Guzman (resigned on October 22, 2003 [Exh.
D])
7. Enrico G. Velasco, managing partner
8. Concepcion De los Santos
9. Pamela June Jalandoni
Upon learning from Justice Vitug of the leakage of the bar
questions prepared by him in mercantile law, Atty. Balgos
immediately called together and questioned his office
staff. He interrogated all of them except Atty. Danilo De
Guzman who was absent then. All of them professed to
know nothing about the bar leakage.
He questioned Silvestre Atienza, the office manager,
Atienza is only a second year law student at MLQU. But he
is an expert in installing and operating computers. It was
he and/or his brother Gregorio who interconnected the
computers in the law office, including Attorney Balgos
computer, without the latters knowledge and permission.
Atienza admitted to Attorney Balgos that he participated in
the bar operations or bar ops of the Beta Sigma Lambda
law fraternity of which he is a member, but he clarified
that his participation consisted only of bringing food to the
MLQU bar examinees (Tsn, pp. 46-47, Oct. 24, 2003).
The next day, Attorney Balgos questioned Attorney Danilo
De Guzman, also a member of the Beta Sigma Lambda
fraternity, FEU chapter. De Guzman admitted to him that
he downloaded the test questions from Attorney Balgos
computer and faxed a copy to a fraternity brother.
Attorney Balgos was convinced that De Guzman was the
source of the leakage of his test questions in mercantile
law (Tsn, p. 52, Oct. 24, 2003).
Attorney Balgos prepared a COMPARISON (Exh. E) of the
juxtaposed final bar questions and his proposed test
questions, with marginal markings made by Justice Vicente
V. Mendoza (Ret.), indicating whether the questions are
similar: (S); or different: (D), together with the percentage
points corresponding to each question. On the basis of this
comparative table and Atty. Balgos indications as to which
questions were the same or different from those given in
the final questionnaire, Justice Mendoza computed the
credit points contained in the proposed leaked questions.

The proposed questions constituted 82% of the final bar


questions. Attached to this Report as Annex A is the
comparative table and the computation of credit points
marked as Exh. E-1.
CHERYL PALMA, 34 years old, private secretary of Attorney
Balgos for the past six years, testified that she did not
type the test questions. She admitted, however, that it
was she who formatted the questions and printed one
copy as directed by her employer. She confirmed Atty.
Balgos testimony regarding her participation in the
operation of his personal computer. She disclosed that
what appears in Atty. Balgos computer can be seen in the
neighborhood network if the other computers are open
and not in use; that Silvestre Atienza of the accounting
section, can access Atty. Balgos computer when the latter
is open and not in use.
ATTORNEY ENRICO VELASCO, managing partner of the
firm, testified that on October 16, 2003, he sent De
Guzman a memo (Exh. C) giving him 72 hours to explain in
writing why you should not be terminated for causing the
Firm an undeserved condemnation and dishonor because
of the leakage aforesaid.
On October 22, 2003, De Guzman handed in his
resignation effective immediately. He explained that:
Causing the firm, its partners and members to suffer from
undeserved condemnation and humiliation is not only
farthest from, but totally out of, my mind. It is just
unfortunate that the incident subject matter of your
memorandum occurred. Rest assured, though, that I have
never been part of any deliberate scheme to malign the
good reputation and integrity of the firm, its partners and
members. (Exh. D)
DANILO DE GUZMAN testified that he joined Balgos &
Perez in April 2000. He obtained his LLB degree from FEU
in 1998. As a student, he was an awardee for academic
excellence. He passed the 1998 bar examinations with a
grade of 86.4%. In FEU, he joined the Beta Sigma Lambda
law fraternity which has chapters in MLQU, UE and MSU
(Mindanao State University). As a member of the
fraternity, he was active during bar examinations and
participated in the fraternitys bar ops.
He testified that sometime in May 2003, when he was
exploring Atty. Balgos computer, (which he often did
without the owners knowledge or permission), to download
materials which he thought might be useful to save for
future use, he found and downloaded the test questions in
mercantile law consisting of 12 pages. He allegedly
thought they were quizzers for a book that Atty. Balgos
might be preparing. He saved them in his hard disk.
He thought of faxing the test questions to one of his
fraternity brods, a certain Ronan Garvida who, De Guzman
thought, was taking the 2003 bar examinations. Garvida is
also a law graduate from FEU. He had taken the 2002 bar
examinations, but did not pass.
On September 17, 2003, four days before the mercantile
law bar examination, De Guzman faxed a copy of the 12page-test questions (Exhs. I, I-1, I-2, I-3) to Garvida
because earlier he was informed by Garvida that he was
retaking the bar examinations. He advised Garvida to
share the questions with other Betan examinees. He
allegedly did not charge anything for the test questions.
Later, after the examination was over, Garvida texted
(sent a text message on his cell phone) him (De Guzman),
that he did not take the bar examination.
Besides Garvida, De Guzman faxed the mercantile law bar
questions to another fraternity brother named Arlan
(surname unknown), through Reynita (Nanette) Villasis, his
secretary (Tsn, pp. 20-28, Oct. 29, 2003). But he himself
faxed the questions to still another brod named Erwin Tan
who had helped him during the bar ops in 1998 when he

11
(De Guzman) took the bar examinations (Id., p. 28). He
obtained the cell phone numbers of Arlan and Erwin Tan
from Gabby Tanpiengco whom he informed by text
message, that they were guide questions, not tips, in the
mercantile law examination.
When he was confronted by Attorney Velasco on
Wednesday after the examination, (news of the leakage
was already in all the newspapers), De Guzman admitted
to Attorney Velasco that he faxed the questions to his
fraternity brothers, but he did not reveal where he got the
test questions.
De Guzman received a text message from Erwin Tan
acknowledging that he received the test questions.
However, Erwin informed him that the questions were
kalat na kalat (all over the place) even if he did not share
them with others (Tsn, pp. 54-55, Oct. 29, 2003).
De Guzman also contacted Garvida who informed him that
he gave copies of the test questions to Betans Randy Iigo
and James Bugain.
Arlan also texted De Guzman that almost all the questions
were asked in the examination. Erwin Tan commented that
many of the leaked questions were asked in the
examination, pero hindi exacto; mi binago (they were not
exactly the same; there were some changes).
De Guzman tried to text Garvida, but he received no
response.
De Guzman disclosed that he learned how to operate a
computer from Silvestre Atienza, the office manager, and
through self-study, by asking those who are
knowledgeable on computers. He has been using
computers since 1997, and he bought his own computer in
2001, a Pentium 3, which he uses at home.
REYNITA VILLASIS, the 36-year-old legal secretary of
Attorney De Guzman, submitted her affidavit (Exh. F) and
orally affirmed her participation in the reproduction and
transmittal by fax of the leaked test questions in
mercantile law to Ronan Garvida and Arlan, as testified by
De Guzman.
RONAN GARVIDA, appeared before the Investigating
Committee in compliance with the subpoena that was
issued to him. Garvida graduated from FEU College of Law
in 2000. He is about 32 years of age. While still a student
in 1998, he was afflicted with multiple sclerosis or MS, a
disease of the nervous system that attacks the nerve
sheaths of the brain and spinal cord. It is a chronic
disabling disease although it may have periods of
remission. It causes its victim to walk with erratic, stiff and
staggering gait; the hands and fingers may tremble in
performing simple actions; the eyesight can be impaired,
and speech may be slow and slurred (p. 737, Vol. 2,
Readers Digest Medical Encyclopedia, 1971 Ed., compiled
by Benjamin F. Miller, M.D.). All these symptoms were
present when Garvida testified before the Committee
on November 6, 2003 to answer its questions regarding
his involvement in the leakage of the examiners test
questions in mercantile law.
Garvida testified that when he was a freshman at FEU, he
became a member of the Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity
where he met and was befriended by Attorney De Guzman
who was his senior by one and a half years. Although they
had been out of touch since he went home to the province
on account of the recurrence of his illness, De Guzman
was able [to] get this cell phone number from his
compadre, Atty. Joseph Pajara. De Guzman told Garvida
that he was faxing him possible questions in the bar
examination in mercantile law. Because the test questions
had no answers, De Guzman stressed that they were not
tips but only possible test questions.
Garvida had intended to take the 2003 bar examinations.
He enrolled in the Consortium Review Center in FEU,

paying P10,000.00 as enrollment fee. However, on his way


to the Supreme Court to file his application to take the bar
examination, he suffered pains in his wrist - symptoms
that his MS had recurred. His physician advised him to go
to the National Orthopedic Hospital in Quezon City for
treatment. This he did.
He gave up his plan to take the 2003 bar examinations.
Nevertheless, he continued to attend the review classes at
the Consortium Review Center because he did not want to
waste completely the P10,000-enrollment fee that he paid
for the review course (Nahihinayang ako). That was
presumably why De Guzman thought that Garvida was
taking the bar exams and sent him a copy of the test
questions in mercantile law.
Upon receipt of the test questions, Garvida faxed a copy to
his brod Randy Iigo who was reviewing at
the Consortium Review Center. Randy photocopied them
for distribution to other fraternity brods. Some of the brods
doubted the usefulness of the test questions, but Randy
who has a high regard for De Guzman, believed that the
questions were tips. Garvida did not fax the questions to
any other person than Randy Iigo. He allegedly did not sell
the questions to Randy. I could not do that to a brod, he
explained.
In view of the fact that one of the copies of the leaked test
questions (Exh. H) bore on the left margin a rubber stamp
composed of the Greek initials BEA-MLQU, indicating that
the source of that copy was the Beta Sigma Lambda
chapter at MLQU, the Committee subpoenaed Ronald
Collado, the Most Illustrious Brother of the Beta Sigma
Lambda fraternity of MLQU.
RONALD COLLADO is a senior law student at the MLQU. He
admitted that his fraternity conducted Bar Ops for the
2003 bar exams. Bar Ops are the biggest activity of the
fraternity every year. They start as soon as new officers of
the fraternity are elected in June, and they continue until
the bar examinations are over. The bar operations consist
of soliciting funds from alumni brods and friends to be
spent in reproducing bar review materials for the use of
their barristers (bar candidates) in the various review
centers, providing meals for their brod-barristers on
examination days; and to rent a bar site or place near De
la Salle University where the examinees and the frat
members can convene and take their meals during the
break time. The Betans bar site for the 2003 bar
examinations was located on Leon Guinto Street, Malate.
On September 19 and 21, before [the] start of the
examination, Collados fraternity distributed bar review
materials for the mercantile law examination to the
examinees who came to the bar site. The test questions
(Exh. H) were received by Collado from a brod, Alan
Guiapal, who had received them from Randy Iigo.
Collado caused 30 copies of the test questions to be
printed with the logo and initials of the fraternity (BEAMLQU) for distribution to the 30 MLQU examinees taking
the bar exams. Because of time constraints, frat members
were unable to answer the test questions despite the
clamor for answers, so, they were given out as is - without
answers.
DEAN EDUARDO J. F. ABELLA of
the Jose Rizal University law school in Mandaluyong City,
was the reviewer in Mercantile Law and Practical Exercises
at the Lex Review Center which is operated by the Lex
Review & Seminars Inc., of which Dean Abella is one of the
incorporators. He learned about the leakage of test
questions in mercantile law when he was delivering the
pre-week lecture on Legal Forms at the Arellano University.
The leaked questions were shown to him by his secretary,
Jenylyn Domingo, after the mercantile law exam. He
missed the Saturday lecture in mercantile law because he

12
was suffering from a touch of flu. He gave his last lecture
on the subject on Wednesday or Thursday before the
exam. He denied having bought or obtained and
distributed the leaked test questions in Mercantile Law to
the bar reviewees in the Lex Review Center.
FINDINGS
The Committee finds that the leaked test questions in
Mercantile Law were the questions which the examiner,
Attorney Marcial O. T. Balgos, had prepared and submitted
to Justice Jose C. Vitug, as chairman of the 2003 Bar
Examinations Committee. The questions constituted 82%
of the questions asked in the examination in Mercantile
Law in the morning of September 21, 2003, Sunday, in
some cases with slight changes which were not substantial
and in other cases exactly as proposed by Atty. Balgos.
Hence, any bar examinee who was able to get hold of the
leaked questions before the mercantile law examination
and answered them correctly, would have been assured of
passing the examination with at least a grade of 82%!
The circumstance that the leaked test questions consisted
entirely of test questions prepared by Atty. Balgos, proves
conclusively that the leakage originated from his office,
not from the Office of Justice Vitug, the Bar
Examinations Chairman.
Atty. Balgos claimed that the leaked test questions were
prepared by him on his computer. Without any doubt, the
source of the leaked test questions was Atty. Balgos
computer. The culprit who stole or downloaded them from
Atty. Balgos computer without the latters knowledge and
consent, and who faxed them to other persons, was Atty.
Balgos legal assistant, Attorney Danilo De Guzman, who
voluntarily confessed the deed to the Investigating
Committee. De Guzman revealed that he faxed the test
questions, with the help of his secretary Reynita Villasis, to
his fraternity brods, namely, Ronan Garvida, Arlan (whose
surname he could not recall), and Erwin Tan.
In turn, Ronan Garvida faxed the test questions to Betans
Randy Iigo and James Bugain.
Randy Iigo passed a copy or copies of the same questions
to another Betan, Alan Guiapal, who gave a copy to the
MLQU-Beta Sigma [Lambdas] Most Illustrious Brother,
Ronald F. Collado, who ordered the printing and
distribution of 30 copies to the MLQUs 30 bar candidates.
Attorney Danilo De Guzmans act of downloading Attorney
Balgos test questions in mercantile law from the latters
computer, without his knowledge and permission, was a
criminal act of larceny. It was theft of intellectual property;
the test questions were intellectual property of Attorney
Balgos, being the product of his intellect and legal
knowledge.
Besides theft, De Guzman also committed an unlawful
infraction of Attorney Balgos right to privacy of
communication, and to security of his papers and effects
against unauthorized search and seizure - rights zealously
protected by the Bill of Rights of our Constitution (Sections
2 and 3, Article III, 1987 Constitution).
He transgressed the very first canon of the lawyers Code
of Professional Responsibility which provides that [a]
lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the
land, and promote respect for law and legal processes.
By transmitting and distributing the stolen test questions
to some members of the Beta Sigma Lambda Fraternity,
possibly for pecuniary profit and to given them undue
advantage over the other examiners in the mercantile law
examination, De Guzman abetted cheating or dishonesty
by his fraternity brothers in the examination, which is
violative of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, as well as Canon 7 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility for members of the
Bar, which provide:

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,


dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct
Canon 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE
INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND
SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.
De Guzman was guilty of grave misconduct unbecoming a
member of the Bar. He violated the law instead of
promoting respect for it and degraded the noble
profession of law instead of upholding its dignity and
integrity. His actuations impaired public respect for the
Court, and damaged the integrity of the bar examinations
as the final measure of a law graduates academic
preparedness to embark upon the practice of law.
However, the Investigating Committee does not believe
that De Guzman was solely responsible for the leakage of
Atty. Balgos proposed test questions in the mercantile law
examination. The Committee does not believe that he
acted alone, or did not have the assistance and
cooperation of other persons, such as:
Cheryl Palma, Atty. Balgos private secretary, who,
according to Atty. Balgos himself, was the only person who
knew the password, who could open and close his
computer; and who had the key to his office where his
computer was kept. Since a computer may not be
accessed or downloaded unless it is opened, someone
must have opened Atty. Balgos computer in order for De
Guzman to retrieve the test questions stored therein.
Silvestre Atienza, also a fraternity brod of De Guzman, who
was responsible for interconnecting Atty. Balgos computer
with the other computers outside Atty. Balgos room or
office, and who was the only other person, besides Cheryl
Palma, who knew the password of Atty. Balgos computer.
The following persons who received from De Guzman, and
distributed copies of the leaked test questions, appear to
have conspired with him to steal and profit from the sale
of the test questions. They could not have been motivated
solely by a desire to help the fraternity, for the leakage
was widespread (kalat na kalat) according to Erwin Tan.
The possible co-conspirators were:
Ronan Garvida,
Arlan,
Erwin Tan,
Randy Iigo,
Ronald Collado, and
Allan Guiapal
The Committee does not believe that De Guzman
recklessly broke the law and risked his job and future as a
lawyer, out of love for the Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity.
There must have been an ulterior material consideration
for his breaking the law and tearing the shroud of secrecy
that, he very well knows, covers the bar examinations.
On the other hand, the Committee finds that the theft of
the test questions from Atty. Balgos computer could have
been avoided if Atty. Balgos had exercised due diligence in
safeguarding the secrecy of the test questions which he
prepared. As the computer is a powerful modern machine
which he admittedly is not fairly familiar with, he should
not have trusted it to deep secret the test questions that
he stored in its hard disk. He admittedly did not know the
password of his computer. He relied on his secretary to
use the password to open and close his computer. He kept
his computer in a room to which other persons had access.
Unfamiliar with the use of the machine whose potential for
mischief he could not have been totally unaware of, he
should have avoided its use for so sensitive an
undertaking as typing the questions in the bar
examination. After all he knew how to use the typewriter
in the use of which he is quite proficient. Atty. Balgos
should therefore have prepared the test questions in his
trusty typewriter, in the privacy of his home, (instead of

13
his law office), where they would have been safe from the
prying eyes of secretaries and assistant attorneys. Atty.
Balgos negligence in the preparation and safekeeping of
his proposed test questions for the bar examination in
mercantile law, was not the proximate cause of the bar
leakage; it was, in fact, the root cause. For, if he had taken
those simple precautions to protect the secrecy of his
papers, nobody could have stolen them and copied and
circulated them. The integrity of the bar examinations
would not have been sullied by the scandal. He admitted
that Mali siguro ako, but that was what happened (43
tsn, Oct. 24, 2003).
RECOMMENDATION
This Honorable court in the case of Burbe v. Magulta, A.C.
No. 5713, June 10, 2002, 383 SCRA 276, pronounced the
following reminder for lawyers: Members of the bar must
do nothing that may tend to lessen in any degree the
confidence of the public in the fidelity, the honesty and
integrity of the profession. In another case, it likewise
intoned: We cannot overstress the duty of a lawyer to at
all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal
profession. He can do this by faithfully performing his
duties to society, to the bar, to the courts, and to his
clients. (Reyes v. Javier, A.C. No. 5574, February 2, 2002,
375 SCRA 538). It goes without saying that a lawyer who
violates this precept of the profession by committing a
gross misconduct which dishonors and diminishes the
publics respect for the legal profession, should be
disciplined.
After careful deliberation, the Investigating Committee
recommends that:
1. Attorney Danilo De Guzman be DISBARRED for he had
shown that he is morally unfit to continue as a member of
the legal profession, for grave dishonesty, lack of integrity,
and criminal behavior. In addition, he should make a
written PUBLIC APOLOGY and pay DAMAGES to the
Supreme Court for involving it in another bar scandal,
causing the cancellation of the mercantile law
examination, and wreaking havoc upon the image of this
institution.
2. Attorney Marcial O. T. Balgos should be REPRIMANDED
by the Court and likewise be required to make a written
APOLOGY to the Court for the public scandal he brought
upon it as a result of his negligence and lack of due care in
preparing and safeguarding his proposed test questions in
mercantile law. As the Court had to cancel the Mercantile
Law examination on account of the leakage of Attorney
Balgos test questions, which comprised 82% of the bar
questions in that examination, Atty. Balgos is not entitled
to receive any honorarium as examiner for that subject.
3. FURTHER INVESTIGATION of Danilo De Guzman, Cheryl
Palma, Silvestre Atienza, Ronan Garvida, Arlan, Erwin Tan,
Randy Iigo, James Bugain, Ronald Collado and Allan
Guiapal by the National Bureau of Investigation and the
Philippine National Police, with a view to their criminal
prosecution as probable co-conspirators in the theft and
leakage of the test questions in mercantile law.
With regard to recommending measures to safeguard the
integrity of the bar examinations and prevent a repetition
of future leakage in the said examinations, inasmuch as
this matter is at present under study by the Courts
Committee on Legal Education and Bar Matters, as an
aspect of proposals for bar reforms, the Investigating
Committee believes it would be well-advised to refrain
from including in this report what may turn out to be
duplicative, if not contrary, recommendations on the
matter.[3]
The Court adopts the report, including with some
modifications the recommendation, of the Investigating
Committee. The Court, certainly will not countenance any

act or conduct that can impair not only the integrity of the
Bar Examinations but the trust reposed on the Court.
The Court also takes note that Mr. Jovito M. Salonga and
Mr. Benjamin R. Katly, two of its employees assigned to
the Management Information Systems Office (MISO), who
were tasked by the Investigating Committee to inspect the
computer system in the office of Atty. Balgos, found that
the Courts Computer-Assisted Legal Research
(CALR) database[4] was installed in the computer used by
Atty. Balgos. Mr. Salonga and Mr. Katly reported that the
system, which was developed by the MISO, was intended
for the exclusive use of the Court. The installation thereof
to any external computer would be unauthorized without
the permission of the Court. Atty. Velasco informed the two
Court employees that the CALR database was installed by
Atty. De Guzman on the computer being used by Atty.
Balgos. The matter would also need further investigation
to determine how Atty. De Guzman was able to obtain a
copy of the Courts CALR database.
WHEREFORE, the Court, acting on the recommendations of
the Investigating Committee, hereby resolves to (1) DISBAR Atty. DANILO DE GUZMAN from the practice of
law effective upon his receipt of this RESOLUTION;
(2) REPRIMAND Atty. MARCIAL O.T. BALGOS and
DISENTITLE him from receiving any honorarium as an
Examiner in Mercantile Law;
(3) Direct the National Bureau of Investigation (a) to
undertake further investigation of Danilo De Guzman,
Cheryl Palma, Silvestre Atienza, Ronan Garvida, Erwin Tan,
Randy Iigo, James Bugain, Ronald Collado and Allan
Guiapal with a view to determining their participation and
respective accountabilities in the bar examination leakage
and to conduct an investigation on how Danilo De Guzman
was able to secure a copy of the Supreme Courts CALR
database.
Let a copy of this Resolution be made part of the records
of Danilo De Guzman in the Office of the Bar Confidant,
Supreme Court of the Philippines, and copies to be
furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and
circulated by the Office of the Court Administrator to all
courts.
SO ORDERED.
Barrientos vs. Libiran-Meteoro
on 12:27 PM in Case Digests, Legal Ethics
FACTS:
In September 2000, the lawyer issued several Equitable
PCIBank Checks in favor of Barrientos and Mercado for the
payment of a pre-existing debt. The checks bounced due
to insufficient funds, thus, charges for violation of B.P. 22
were filed. The lawyer asked for deferment of the criminal
charges and promised to pay her debt several times, but
failed to pay the full amount, even after a complaint for
disbarment was filed against her.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is guilty of gross misconduct
HELD:
The Supreme Court ruled in the affirmative.
The failure to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless
checks constitute gross misconduct, for which a lawyer
may be sanctioned with suspension from the practice of
law. Lawyers are the instruments for the administration of
justice and the vanguards of our legal system. They are

14
expected to maintain not only legal proficiency but also a
high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair
dealings so that the peoples faith and confidence in the
judicial system is ensured. They must at all times faithfully
perform their duties to society, to the bar, the courts and
to their clients, which include prompt payment of financial
obligations. They must conduct themselves in a manner
that reflect the values and norms of the legal profession as
embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility.
The issuance of checks which were later dishonored for
having been drawn against a closed account indicates a
lawyers unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed on
her. It shows a lack of personal honesty and good moral
character as to render her unworthy of public confidence.
The issuance of a series of worthless checks also shows
the remorseless attitude of respondent, unmindful to the
deleterious effects of such act to the public interest and
public order. It also manifests a lawyers low regard to her
commitment to the oath she has taken when she joined
her peers, seriously and irreparably tarnishing the image
of the profession she should hold in high esteem.
Mere issuance of worthless checks by a lawyer, regardless
of whether or not the same were issued in his professional
capacity to a client, calls for appropriate disciplinary
measures.
Barrios vs. Atty. Francisco martinezA.c.no.4585, november
12, 2004
Facts: atty. Martinez was convicted of the crime involving
bp 22. He was also involved in another estafa
case pertaining to his legal servicesrendered on the victim
of dona paz tragedy.the victim he represented
filed a complaint because of the compensation that the
victim had received from sulpicio lines which
waslater deducted by atty. Martinez.on sept. 27, 2003 the
ibp board of governors passed aresolution
approving the report and the recommendation of its
investigatingcommissioner.on dec. 3, 2003
respondent filed an mr and reinvestigation.
Issue: is the crime of issuing worthless check constituting
moral turpitude?is the act of the respondent considered to
be a ground for disbarment?
Ruling: yes,the court finds the respondent guilty of bp 22
which imports deceit andviolation of his
attorneys oath and code of professional responsibility.in
this case, thecourt also finds disbarment as the
appropriate penalty and ordered that the name of
therespondent be stricken from the roll of attorneys.
A-1 FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC.,
complainant,
vs. ATTY. LAARNI N. VALERIO,
respondent.
A.C. No. 8390 July 2, 2010PERALTA,
J
FACTS
On November 13, 2001, A-1 Financial Services, Inc., a
financing corporation, granted the loan application of Atty.
Valerio amounting to P50,000.00. To secure the payment
of the loan obligation, Atty. Valerio issued a postdated
check.
However, upon presentation at the bank for payment on
its maturity date,the check was dishonored due to
insufficient funds. As of the filing of the instant case,
despite repeated demands to pay her obligation, Atty.
Valerio failed to pay the whole amount of her obligation On
January 18, 2006, complainant filed an administrative

complaint against Atty. Valerio before theIntegrated Bar of


the Philippines (IBP).On September 13, 2007, the IBP-CBD
directed Atty. Valerio to appear before the mandatory
conference.Atty. Valerio, again, failed to attend the
conference. Subsequently, in an Order dated November
15,2007, the IBP ordered the parties to submit their
position papers. No position paper was submitted byAtty.
Valerio.Thus, in its Report and Recommendation dated
September 16, 2008, the IBP-CBD recommended thatAtty.
Valerio be suspended from the practice of law for a period
of two (2) years, having found her guiltyof gross
misconduct.
ISSUE
Whether or not IBP erred in imposing sanction on the
respondent
.
HELD
No. In
Lao v. Medel
, the Court held that the deliberate failure to pay just
debts and the issuance ofworthless checks constitute
gross misconduct for which a lawyer may be sanctioned
with one-yearsuspension from the practice of law. The
same sanction was imposed on the respondent-lawyerin
Rangwani v. Dino,
having found guilty of gross misconduct for issuing bad
checks in payment of apiece of property, the title to which
was only entrusted to him by the complainant.However, in
this case, the Court deem it reasonable to affirm the
sanction imposed by the IBP-CBD,
i.e
.,Atty. Valerio was ordered suspended from the practice of
law for two (2) years, because, aside fromissuing
worthless checks and failing to pay her debts, she has also
shown wanton disregard of the IBPsand Court Orders in
the course of the proceedings.
NOTES

Atty. Valerios conduct in the course of the IBP and court


proceedings is also a matter of seriousconcern. She failed
to answer the complaint against her. Despite due notice,
she failed to attendthe disciplinary hearings set by the IBP.
She also ignored the proceedings before the court as
shelikewise failed to both answer the complaint against
her and appear during her arraignment,
14despite orders and notices from the court. Clearly, this
conduct runs counter to the precepts ofthe Code of
Professional Responsibility and violates the lawyers oath
which imposes upon every member of the Bar the duty to
delay no man for money or malice. Atty. Valerio has failed
to live up to the values and norms of the legal profession
as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Cham vs. Paita-Moya
Facts: this is a case charged against the respondent due
to the failure of the latter issettling her rental dues against
the defendant for the contract of lease she had entered on
the realty and development corp. Represented by the
complainant as president. the alleged default in rental
payments was done in a deceitful manner as the
respondent surreptitiously abandoned the rented
apartment bringing along the door key and leaving an
unpaid electric bills. this prompted the leas or to send
demand to the leasee for the pament of said rentals.the
respondent argued, that,she did not vacated the place
surreptitiously but instead give way to the owners

15
demand of vacating for the renovation of the building .she
further reasoned out that she was able to pay his rental
dues and even allowed to extend its rentals even in the
expiration of their contract.
Issue: is the act of the respondent, a violation of her code
of professional responsibility?
Ruling: yes, the court finds the conduct of the respondent
violative of the code of professional responsibility, it also
emphasized the moral duty and legal responsibility of the
respondent to settle just debts when due. the court found
the respondent guilty of gross misconduct and hereby
suspending her from practicing law for one month.
Guevarra vs. Eala A.C. No. 7136 August 1, 2007
Joselano Guevarra vs. Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala
A.C. No. 7136

intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a


woman who is not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any
other place, shall be punished by prision correccional in its
minimum and medium period. Section 2 of ART. XV states
that Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the
foundation of the family and shall be protected by the
state. Respondents grossly immoral conduct runs afoul of
the constitution and the laws, that he as a lawyer has
sworn to uphold. Hence the court declared Atty. Jose
Emmanul M. Eala DISBARRED for grossly immoral conduct,
violation of his oath of office, and violation of canon 1,
Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
Figueroa vs. Barranco
Post under case digests, Legal Ethics at Thursday, March
01, 2012 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind

August 1, 2007
Facts: On March 4, 2002 a complaint of disbarment was
filed before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Committee on Bar Discipline against Atty. Jose Emmanuel
M. Eala a.k.a. Noli Eala for grossly immoral conduct and
unmitigated violation of the lawyers oath. In the
Complaint, Guevarra first met the respondent in January
2000 when his then fiance Irene Moje introduced
respondent to him as her friend who was married to
Marianne Tantoco with whom he had three children.
After his marriage to Irene on October 7, 2000,
Complainant noticed that from January to March 2001,
Irene had been receiving from respondent Cellphone calls,
as well as messages some which read I love you, I miss
you, or Meet you at Megamall. He also noticed that
Irene habitually went home very late at night or early in
the morning of the following day, and sometimes did not
go home from work. When he asked her whereabouts, she
replied that she slept at her parents house in Binangonan,
Rizal or she was busy with her work.
In February or March 2001, complainant saw Irene and
Respondent together on two occasions. On the second
occasion, he confronted them following which Irene
abandoned the conjugal house. On April 22, 2001
complainant went uninvited to Irenes birthday celebration
at which he saw her and the respondent celebrating with
her family and friends. Out of embarrassment, anger and
humiliation, he left the venue immediately. Following that
incident, Irene went to the conjugal house and hauled off
all her personal belongings. Complainant later found a
handwritten letter dated October 7, 2007, the day of his
wedding to Irene, Complainant soon saw respondents car
and that of Irene constantly parked at No. 71-B11 Street,
New Manila where as he was later learn sometime in April
2001, Irene was already residing. He also learned still later
that when his friends saw Irene on about January 18, 2002
together with respondent during a concert, she was
pregnant.
Issue: Whether Concubinage or Adulterous relationship, be
the reason for the disbarment of Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala.
Held: Lawyers oath stated that a lawyer should support
the Constitution and obey the laws, Meaning he shall not
make use of deceit, malpractice, or other gross
misconduct, grossly immoral conduct, or be convicted in
any crime involving moral turpitude. In the case at bar
Atty. Eala was accused of Concubinage, under ART. 334 of
the Revised Penal Code, Any husband who shall keep a
mistress in a conjugal dwelling, or, shall have sexual

Facts: Figueroa and Barranco were sweethearts since their


teens. Their intimacy eventually resulted to a son born out
of wedlock. At this point (1964) Barranco promised
Figueroa that he would marry her when he passes the bar
examinations. After four takes, he finally passed but did
not hold true to his promise of marriage. In 1971, their
relationship ended. Years later, he married another
woman. When Barranco was about to take his oath to
enter the legal profession, Figueroa filed a complaint
relaying to the court what happened between her
and Barranco. Until 1988, Barranco has filed three motions
to dismiss because Figueroa still would not persecute and
because for the past years, he has become elected in the
Sangguniang Bayan, has actively participated in various
civic organizations and has acquired a good standing
within his community while the case was pending. The
court sought the opinion of the IBP which recommended
that Barranco be allowed to take his oath. Figueroa
reappeared and intercepted the scheduled oath-taking
of Barranco which led to its delay.
Issue: Whether or not Barranco should be allowed to take
his oath despite the accusations of Figueroa.
Held: Yes. The maintenance of an intimate relationship
between a man and a woman, both of whom had no
impediment to marry and voluntarily carried on with the
affair, does not amount to a grossly immoral conduct even
if a child was born out of the relationship. His previous acts
may be said to be a question to his moral character but
none of these are so corrupt and false as to constitute
a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be
reprehensible to a high degree. Her allegations that she
was forced to have sexual relations with him cannot lie as
evidenced by her continued cohabitation with him even
after their child was born in 1964. The ignobleness of his
treatment of Figueroa is sufficiently punished by the 26
years that he has been prevented from entering the
profession he has worked so hard for.
CYNTHIA ADVINCULA, Complainant,
vs.
ATTY. ERNESTO M. MACABATA, Respondent
Facts:
The case is a disbarment case against
respondent on the ground of gross immorality. It was
alleged that sometime in December 2004, complainant
seek for legal advice from peitioner regarding her
collectibles from a travel company. Respondent sent
Demand Letter and sometime in February 2005, they met

16
at Zensho Restaurant to discuss the possibility of filing
complaint against the travel company because the latter
failed to settle the accounts. That after that said meeting,
the respondent "held her arm and kissed her on the cheek
while embracing her very tightly."
The two met again to finalize the draft for the
complaint and while on their way home after the said
meeting, the respondent suddenly stopped the car and
things went out of hand. Thus she decided to refer the
case to another lawyer.
Issue:
Whether or not the respondent committed acts
are grossly immoral which would warrant the disbarment
or suspension from the practice of law.
Held:
The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
CANON I x x x
Rule 1.01-- A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
CANON 7-- A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity
and dignity of the legal profession and support the
activities of the Integrated Bar.
xxxx
Rule 7.03-- A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall
he, whether in public or private life, behave in a
scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
The SC held that lawyers are expected to abide
the tenets of morality, not only upon admission to the Bar
but all throughtout their legal career as lawyers belong to
an exclusive and honored fraternity. Lawyers are called
upon to safeguard the integrity of the legal profession and
should adhere to the unwaveringly to the highest standard
of morality. The respondent admitted to the act of kissing
the complainant on the lips as evidenced as well of his
asking for apology from complainant in his text message.
Regardless of the fact that the respondent admitted that
he kissed the complainant but the Court held that this was
not accompanied by malice because the respondent
immediately asked for forgiveness after sensing the
annoyance of the respondent after texting him. Thus the
Court held that this is not grossly immoral nor highly
reprehensible which will warrant disbarment or
suspension. But the Court reprimanded respondent to be
more prudent and cautious.
Zaguirre vs Castillo
Facts:
Atty. Alfredo Castillo was already married with three
children when he had an affair with Carmelita
Zaguirre. This occurred sometime from 1996 to 1997,
while Castillo was reviewing for the bar and before the
release of its results. Zaguirre then got pregnant allegedly
with Castillos daughter. The latter, who was already a
lawyer, notarized an affidavit recognizing the child and

promising for her support which did not materialize after


the birth of the child. The Court found him guilty of Gross
Immoral Conduct to which Castillo filed a motion for
reconsideration.
The IBP commented that until Castillo admits the paternity
of the child and agrees to support her. In his defense, the
latter presented different certificates appreciating his
services as a lawyer and proving his good moral
character. His wife even submitted a handwritten letter
stating his amicability as a husband and father despite the
affair. More than a year since the original decision
rendered by the Court, Castillo reiterated his willingness to
support the child to the Court and attached a photocopy of
post-dated checks addressed to Zaguirre for the months of
March to December 2005 in the amount of Php2,000.00
each.
Issue:
Whether or not Atty. Alfredo Castillo is guilty of gross
immoral conduct, making him punishable of Indefinite
Suspension.
Held:
Yes. The Supreme Court ruled that the respondent, Atty.
Alfredo Castillo, is guilty of gross immoral conduct and
should be punished with the penalty of Indefinite
Suspension. The attempt of respondent to renege on his
notarized statement recognizing and undertaking to
support his child by Carmelita demonstrates a certain
unscrupulousness on his part which is highly censurable,
unbecoming a member of a noble profession, tantamount
to self-stultification.
This Court has repeatedly held: "as officers of the court,
lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character
but must also be seen to be of good moral character and
leading lives in accordance with the highest moral
standards of the community. More specifically, a member
of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to
refrain from adulterous relationships or the keeping of
mistresses but must also so behave himself as to avoid
scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is
flouting those moral standards." While respondent does
not deny having an extra-marital affair with complainant
he seeks understanding from the Court, pointing out that
"men by nature are polygamous," and that what happened
between them was "nothing but mutual lust and desire."
The Court is not convinced. In fact, it is appalled at the
reprehensible, amoral attitude of the respondent.
The Court found that Castillos show of repentance and
active service to the community is a just and reasonable
ground to convert the original penalty of indefinite
suspension to a definite suspension of two years.
Furthermore, the Court noted that Zaguirres further claim
for the support of her child should be addressed to the
proper court in a proper case.
Ventura v Samson
FACTS:
C o m p l a i n a n t fi l e d
a C o m p l a i n t f o r D i s b a r m e n t o r
Suspension before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline
against respondent Samson for grossly immoral conduct.
Ve n t u r a a l l e g e d t h a t S a m s o n r a
p e d h e r s e v e r a l times when she was only
! years old.
" r e s p o n d e n t a d m i t t e d
t h a t h e d i d i n f a c t h a v e s e x with

17
complainant but that their sexual encounters were
consensual and that he even compensated Ventura with
money. She claimed that Ventura held a grudge e against
him and instituted the suit as an act of vengeance
. E v e n t u a l l y c o m p l a i n a n t
d e s i s t e d $ a d m i t t i n g t h a t their sexual
encounters were consensual.
D e s p i t e t h i s S a m s o n w a s f o u n d
g u i l t y $ a n d w a s suspended for ' years. (e
instituted present case as)ing the IBP to reconsider his
penalty.
ISSUE/S AND HELD:
W/O Samson should be disbarred.
YES.
Re s p o n d e n t s a c t o f h a v i n g
s e x w i t h a y o u n g l a s s $ the daughter of
his former employee$ constitutes gross immoral conduct
that warrants sanction. (e not onlyadmitted to what he did
but also showed no remorse whatsoever.
Stemmerik v. Mas
FACTS
Stemmerik is a citizen and resident of Denmark.
In one of his trips in thePhilippines, he met Atty.
Mas. Since he was marveled at the beauty of
thecountry, he wanted to buy a real property and
consulted Atty. Mas. The lattertold Stemmerik that
he could legally acquire a real property in
the Phils. andeven suggested a 86K hectare land in
Subic, Zambales. Atty. Mas, as the atty.-in-fact of
Stemmerik bought the property from a certain Bonifacio
de Mesa. Thecontract to sell provided that De Mesa sold
the property to Ailyn Gonzales for3.8M. Then, in
another notarized deed made by Att y. Mas, it was
stated that Gonzales received the funds from Stemmerik.
In preparing all these documents,Atty. Mas received 400K
fee from Stemmerik. The latter also gave Atty. Mas,
the3.8M purchase price to which the latter issued a
receipt.S u d d e n l y , A t t y. M a s b e c o m e
scarce and no longer answer the calls
o f Stemmerik. When Stemmerik visited the Phils, he
engaged the service of the Fernandez Law Office and
found out the subject property is inalienable, being located
in the former U.S. military reservation. Also, he
was apprised that aliens cannot own real properties in the
Phils. Meanwhile, Atty. Mas had already abandoned his
office and his whereabouts is unknown. Stemmerik filed an
action for disbarment against Atty. Mas before the
Commission on Bar Discipline but Atty. Mas never
appeared.
ISSUE: WON Atty. Mas should be disbarred?
HELD: YES!!!
Law yers, as members of a noble profession,
have the duty to promote r e s p e c t f o r t h e
l a w a n d u p h o l d t h e i n t e g r i t y o f t h e b a r.
A s m e n a n d w o m e n entrusted with the law, they
must ensure that the law functions to protect liberty and
not as an instrument of oppression or deception.
Respondent has been weighed by the exacting standards
of the legal profession and has been found wanting.
Respondent committed a serious breach of his oath as a
lawyer. He is alsoguilty of culpable violation of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, thecode of ethics of the legal
profession.

By making it appear that de Mesa undertook to sell the


property to complainant and that de Mesa thereafter sold
the property to Gonzales who made the purchase for and
in behalf of complainant, he falsified public documents
and knowingly violated the Anti-Dummy Law. All lawyers
take an oath to support the Constitution, to obey the laws
and to do no falsehood.
21
That oath is neither mere formal ceremony nor hollow
words. It is a sacred trust that should be upheld and kept
inviolable at all times.
22
Lawyers are servants of the law
23
and the law is their master. They should notsimply obey
the laws, they should also inspire respect for and
obedience thereto by serving as exemplars worthy of
emulation. Indeed, that is the first precept of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
Ulep vs Legal Clinic
In 1984, The Legal Clinic was formed by Atty. Rogelio
Nogales. Its aim, according to Nogales was to move
toward specialization and to cater to clients who cannot
afford the services of big law firms. Now, Atty. Mauricio
Ulep filed a complaint against The Legal Clinic because of
the latters advertisements which contain the following:
SECRET MARRIAGE?
P560.00 for a valid marriage.
Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE. ANNULMENT. VISA.
THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.
Please call: 521-0767; 521-7232; 522-2041
8:30am 6:00pm
7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila
GUAM DIVORCE
DON PARKINSON
An attorney in Guam is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam
Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning Monday to
Friday during office hours.
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration
Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special
Retirees Visa. Declaration of Absence. Remarriage to
Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil.
US/Foreign Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children.
Call Marivic.
THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.
7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila nr. US Embassy
Tel. 521-7232, 521-7251, 522-2041, 521-0767
It is also alleged that The Legal Clinic published an article
entitled Rx for Legal Problems in Star Week of Philippine
Star wherein Nogales stated that they The Legal Clinic is
composed of specialists that can take care of a clients
problem no matter how complicated it is even if it is as
complicated as the Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion
situation. He said that he and his staff of lawyers, who, like
doctors, are specialists in various fields, can take care of
it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and
criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor, litigation and
family law. These specialists are backed up by a battery of
paralegals, counselors and attorneys.
As for its advertisement, Nogales said it should be allowed
in view of the jurisprudence in the US which now allows it
(John Bates vs The State Bar of Arizona). And that besides,
the advertisement is merely making known to the public
the services that The Legal Clinic offers.
ISSUE: Whether or not The Legal Clinic is engaged in the
practice of law; whether such is allowed; whether or not its
advertisement may be allowed.

18
HELD: Yes, The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of
law however, such practice is not allowed. The Legal Clinic
is composed mainly of paralegals. The services it offered
include various legal problems wherein a client may avail
of legal services from simple documentation to complex
litigation and corporate undertakings. Most of these
services are undoubtedly beyond the domain of
paralegals, but rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers
engaged in the practice of law. Under Philippine
jurisdiction however, the services being offered by Legal
Clinic which constitute practice of law cannot be
performed by paralegals. Only a person duly admitted as a
member of the bar and who is in good and regular
standing, is entitled to practice law.
Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned
advertisements, the Code of Professional Responsibility
provides that a lawyer in making known his legal services
shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective
information or statement of facts. The standards of the
legal profession condemn the lawyers advertisement of
his talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of
his profession, advertise his talents or skills as in a manner
similar to a merchant advertising his goods. Further, the
advertisements of Legal Clinic seem to promote divorce,
secret marriage, bigamous marriage, and other
circumventions of law which their experts can facilitate.
Such is highly reprehensible.
The Supreme Court also noted which forms of
advertisement are allowed. The best advertising possible
for a lawyer is a well-merited reputation for professional
capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the
outcome of character and conduct. Good and efficient
service to a client as well as to the community has a way
of publicizing itself and catching public attention. That
publicity is a normal by-product of effective service which
is right and proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no
artificial stimulus to generate it and to magnify his
success. He easily sees the difference between a normal
by-product of able service and the unwholesome result of
propaganda. The Supreme Court also enumerated the
following as allowed forms of advertisement:
Advertisement in a reputable law list
Use of ordinary simple professional card
Listing in a phone directory but without designation as to
his specialization.
Khan vs Simbollo
Facts:
Res. Atty. Simbillo publicized his legal services in 3major
newpapers, the PDI, MB, and the PhilStar, which read
"Annulment of Marriage Specialist," and claimed as an
expertin handling annulment cases, and that he can
guarantee
courts decree within 4 to 6 months time
and that the fee was Php 48,000. Then petitioner
Khan filed administrative charges in IBP against the
respondent for improper advertising and soliciting legal
business, in which the IBP found the respondent guilty.
Issue:
WON the respondent is guilty of violating Rule 2.03
and3.01 of CPR.
Held:
Yes. The practice of law is not a business. It is a profession
in which duty to public service, not money, is the primary
consideration. Respondent was suspended from the
practice of law for 1 year and was sternly warned that are
petition of the same or similar offense will be dealt more
severely.

Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any


act designed primarily to solicit legal business.Rule 3.01

A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of x x x selflaudatory orunfair statement or claim regarding his
qualifications or legal services.
MANUEL G. VILLATUYA v. ATTY. BEDE S. TABALINGCOS A.C.
No. 6622, July 10, 2012 Case Digest
FACTS:
Complainant, Manuel G. Villatuya filed a Complaint for
Disbarment on December 06, 2004 against respondent,
Atty. Bede S. Tabalingcos. In a resolution, the court
required the respondent to file a comment, which the
respondent did. The complaint was then referred to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation.
In a mandatory conference called for by the Commission
on Bar Discipline of the IBP, complainant and his counsel,
and the respondent appeared and submitted issues for
resolution. The commission ordered the parties to submit
their verified position papers.
In the position paper submitted by the complainant on
August 1, 2005, he averred that he was employed by the
respondent as financial consultant to assist the
respondent in a number of corporate rehabilitation cases.
Complainant claimed that they had a verbal agreement
whereby he would be entitled to 50,000 for every Stay
Order issued by the court in the cases they would handle,
in addition to ten percent (10%) of the fees paid by their
clients. Notwithstanding, 18 Stay Orders that was issued
by the courts as a result of his work and the respondent
being able to rake in millions from the cases that they
were working on together, the latter did not pay the
amount due to him. He also alleged that respondent
engaged in unlawful solicitation of cases by setting up two
financial consultancy firms as fronts for his legal services.
On the third charge of gross immorality, complainant
accused respondent of committing two counts of bigamy
for having married two other women while his first
marriage was subsisting.
In his defense, respondent denied charges against him
and asserted that the complainant was not an employee of
his law firm but rather an employee of Jesi and Jane
Management, Inc., one of the financial consultancy firms.
Respondent alleged that complainant was unprofessional
and incompetent in performing his job and that there was
no verbal agreement between them regarding the
payment of fees and the sharing of professional fees paid
by his clients. He proffered documents showing that the
salary of complainant had been paid. Respondent also
denied committing any unlawful solicitation. To support his
contention, respondent attached a Joint Venture
Agreement and an affidavit executed by the Vice-President
for operations of Jesi and Jane Management, Inc. On the
charge of gross immorality, respondent assailed the
Affidavit of a dismissed messenger of Jesi and Jane
Management, Inc., as having no probative value, since it
had been retracted by the affiant himself. Respondent did
not specifically address the allegations regarding his
alleged bigamous marriages with two other women
On January 9, 2006, complainant filed a Motion to Admit
Copies of 3 Marriage Contracts of respondent wherein he
attached the certified true copies of the Marriage
Contracts referred to in the Certification issued by the

19
NSO.
On January 16, 2006, respondent submitted his Opposition
to the Motion to Admit filed by complainant, claiming that
he was not given the opportunity to controvert them. He
disclosed that criminal cases for bigamy were filed against
him by the complainant before the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Manila. He also informed the Commission
that he filed Petition for Declaration of Nullity of the first
two marriage contracts. In both petitions, he claimed that
he had recently discovered that there were Marriage
Contracts in the records of the NSO bearing his name and
allegedly executed with Rowena Pion and Pilar Lozano on
different occasions.
The Commission scheduled a clarificatory hearing on 20
November 2007. Respondent moved for the suspension of
the resolution of the administrative case against him,
pending outcome of petition for nullification he filed with
RTC, but was denied. The Commission resolved that the
administrative case against him be submitted for
resolution.
On February 27, 2008, the Commission promulgated its
Report and Recommendation addressing the specific
charges against respondent. The first charge, for
dishonesty for the nonpayment of certain shares in the
fees, was dismissed for lack of merit. On the second
charge, the Commission found respondent to have
violated the rule on the solicitation of client for having
advertised his legal services and unlawfully solicited
cases. It recommended that he be reprimanded for the
violation. As for the third charge, the Commission found
respondent to be guilty of gross immorality for violating
Rules 1.01 and 7.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court. Due to the gravity of the acts of respondent, the
Commission recommended that he be disbarred, and that
his name be stricken off the roll of attorneys.
On April 15, 2008, the IBP Board of Governors, through its
Resolution No. XVIII-2008-154, adopted and approved the
Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner.
On August 1, 2008, respondent filed a Motion for
Reconsideration, arguing that the recommendation to
disbar him was premature.
On June 26, 2011, the IBP Board of Governors denied the
Motions for Reconsideration and affirmed their Resolution
dated April 15, 2008 recommending respondents
disbarment.
ISSUES:
1. Whether respondent violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility by nonpayment of fees to complainant;
2. Whether respondent violated the rule against unlawful
solicitation; and
3. Whether respondent is guilty of gross immoral conduct
for having married thrice.
RULING:
First charge: Dishonesty for non-payments of share in the
fees.

Supreme Court affirmed the IBPs dismissal of the first


charge against respondent, but did not concur with the
rationale behind it. The first charge, if proven to be true is
based on an agreement that is violative of Rule 9.02 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. A lawyer is proscribed
by the Code to divide or agree to divide the fees for legal
services rende-red with a person not licensed to practice
law. In the case of Tan Tek Beng v. David, Supreme Court
held that an agreement between a lawyer and a layperson
to share the fees collected from clients secured by the
layperson is null and void, and that the lawyer involved
may be disciplined for unethical conduct. Considering that
complainants allegations in this case had not been
proven, the IBP correctly dismissed the charge against
respondent on this matter.
Second charge: Unlawful solicitation of clients.
In its Report, the IBP established the truth of these
allegations and ruled that respondent had violated the rule
on the solicitation of clients, but it failed to point out the
specific provision that was breached. Based on the facts of
the case, he violated Rule 2.03 of the Code, which
prohibits lawyers from soliciting cases for the purpose of
profit.
A lawyer is not prohibited from engaging in business or
other lawful occupation. Impropriety arises, though, when
the business is of such a nature or is conducted in such a
manner as to be inconsistent with the lawyers duties as a
member of the bar. This inconsistency arises when the
business is one that can readily lend itself to the
procurement of professional employment for the lawyer;
or that can be used as a cloak for indirect solicitation on
the lawyers behalf; or is of a nature that, if handled by a
lawyer, would be regarded as the practice of law.
It is clear from the documentary evidence submitted by
complainant that Jesi & Jane Management, Inc., which
purports to be a financial and legal consultant, was indeed
a vehicle used by respondent as a means to
procure professional employment; specifically for
corporate rehabilitation cases.
Rule 15.08 of the Code mandates that the lawyer is
mandated to inform the client whether the former is acting
as a lawyer or in another capacity. This duty is a must in
those occupations related to the practice of law. In this
case, it is confusing for the client if it is not clear whether
respondent is offering consultancy or legal services.
Considering, however, that complainant has not proven
the degree of prevalence of this practice by respondent,
the Supreme Court affirm the recommendation to
reprimand the latter for violating Rules 2.03 and 15.08 of
the Code.
Third charge: Bigamy.
The Supreme Court have consistently held that a
disbarment case is sui generis. Its focus is on the
qualification and fitness of a lawyer to continue
membership in the bar and not the procedural
technicalities in filing the case. Thus, in Garrido v. Garrido:
Laws dealing with double jeopardy or with procedure
such as the verification of pleadings and prejudicial
questions, or in this case, prescription of offenses or the
filing of affidavits of desistance by the complainant do
not apply in the determination of a lawyer's qualifications
and fitness for membership in the Bar. We have so ruled in

20
the past and we see no reason to depart from this ruling.
First, admission to the practice of law is a component of
the administration of justice and is a matter of public
interest because it involves service to the public. The
admission qualifications are also qualifications for the
continued enjoyment of the privilege to practice law.
Second, lack of qualifications or the violation of the
standards for the practice of law, like criminal cases, is a
matter of public concern that the State may inquire into
through this Court.
In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon
the complainant. In this case, complainant submitted NSOcertified true copies to prove that respondent entered into
two marriages while the latters first marriage was still
subsisting. While respondent denied entering into the
second and the third marriages, he resorted to vague
assertions tantamount to a negative pregnant.
What has been clearly established here is the fact that
respondent entered into marriage twice while his first
marriage was still subsisting. In Bustamante-Alejandro v.
Alejandro, 56 we held thus:
[W]e have in a number of cases disciplined members of
the Bar whom we found guilty of misconduct which
demonstrated a lack of that good moral character required
of them not only as a condition precedent for their
admission to the Bar but, likewise, for their continued
membership therein. No distinction has been made as to
whether the misconduct was committed in the lawyers
professional capacity or in his private life. This is because
a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an
attorney at one time and a mere citizen at another. He is
expected to be competent, honorable and reliable at all
times since he who cannot apply and abide by the laws in
his private affairs, can hardly be expected to do so in his
professional dealings nor lead others in doing so.
Professional honesty and honor are not to be expected as
the accompaniment of dishonesty and dishonor in other
relations. The administration of justice, in which the lawyer
plays an important role being an officer of the court,
demands a high degree of intellectual and moral
competency on his part so that the courts and clients may
rightly repose confidence in him.
Respondent exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of
morality required of him as a member of the bar. He made
a mockery of marriage, a sacred institution demanding
respect and dignity.57 His acts of committing bigamy
twice constituted grossly immoral conduct and are
grounds for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the
Revised Rules of Court.58
The Supreme Court adopted the recommendation of the
IBP to disbar respondent and ordered that his name be
stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.
FACTS:
Eulogio B. Reyes, now deceased, filed an action for
damages against the Director of Public Works and BR
Sebastian Enterprises. Trial court found B.R. Sebastian
liable for damages but absolved other defendants. B.R.
Sebastian, thru its counsel, the law firm of Baizas, Alberto
and Associates, timely appealed the adverse decision to
the respondent Court of Appeals. During the pendency of
the appeal, Eulogio B. Reyes died and was substituted by
his heirs. On February 1974, B.R Sebastian, thru its
counsel of record, received notice to file Appellants Brief
within 45 days from receipt thereof; however, it failed to
comply. Court of Appeals issued a Resolution requiring said
counsel to show cause why the appeal should not be

dismissed for failure to file the Appellants Brief within the


reglementary period. On September 1974, Court of
Appeals dismissed the appeal. On September 1974,
petitioner, this time thru the BAIZAS LAW OFFICE, filed a
motion for reconsideration of the resolution dismissing its
appeal alleging that as a result of the death of Atty. Crispin
Baizas, senior partner in the law firm. Atty. Rodolfo
Espiritu, the lawyer who handled this case in the trial court
and who is believed to have also attended to the
preparation of the Appellants Brief but failed to submit it
through oversight and inadvertence, had also left the firm.
Court denied the motion for reconsideration. No action
was taken by petitioner from within the period to file a
petition for review, the same became final and executory,
and the records of the case were remanded. Trial court
issued a writ of execution. But on November 1975,
petitioner filed with Court of Appeals a Motion to Reinstate
Appeal with Prayer for Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction but was subsequently denied. Petitioner filed
prohibition and mandamus, with prayer for preliminary
injunction with the Supreme Court to Court of Appeals
denial of petitioners motion. SC required them to
comment and soon after, some amendments were made.
Ultimately, the petition was denied. But on May 1976,
petitioner filed a motion for its reconsideration claiming
that since it was deprived of the right to appeal without
fault on its part, the petition should be given due course.
Supreme Court reconsidered and required both parties to
submit simultaneously their respective Memoranda.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent Court of Appeals gravely
abused its discretion in denying petitioners motion to
reinstate its appeal, previously dismissed for failure to file
the Appellants Brief
HELD:
No. The Supreme Court held that no fraud is involved in
the present case. What was present was simple
negligence on the part of petitioners counsel, which is
neither excusable nor unavoidable. Petitioner thus failed to
demonstrate sufficient cause to warrant a favorable action
on its plea. Granting that the power or discretion to
reinstate an appeal that had been dismissed is included in
or implied from the power or discretion to dismiss an
appeal, still such power or discretion must be exercised
upon a showing of good and sufficient cause, in like
manner as the power or discretion vested in the appellate
court to allow extensions of time for the filing of briefs.
There must be such a showing which would call for,
prompt and justify its exercise. Otherwise, it cannot and
must not be upheld. The confusion in the office of the
law firm following the death of Atty. Crispin Baizas is not a
valid justification for its failure to file the Brief. With Baizas
death, the responsibility of Atty. Alberto and his Associates
to the petitioner as counsel remained until withdrawal by
the former of their appearance in the manner provided by
the Rules of Court. The law firm should have re-assigned
the case to another associate or, it could have withdrawn
as counsel in the manner provided by the Rules of Court
so that the petitioner could contract the services of a new
lawyer. The rule is settled that negligence of counsel binds
the client. Moreover, petitioner itself was guilty of
negligence when it failed to make inquiries from counsel
regarding its case.

21