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LEGAL ETHICS

Based on the book


Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

CHAPTER 1 - PRIMARY CHARACTERISTICS WHICH


DISTINGUISH THE LEGAL
INTRODUCTORY PROFESSION
FROM BUSINESS
Preliminary
Legal Ethics 1. A duty of public service.
1. Branch of moral science which 2. A relation, as an officer of the
treats of the duties which an court, to the administration of
attorney owes to the court, to his justice involving thorough sincerity,
client, to his colleagues in the integrity and reliability.
profession and to the public. 3. A relation to clients with the highest
2. It is the embodiment of all degree of fiduciary
principles of morality and 4. A relation to the colleagues at the
refinement that should govern bar characterized by candor, fairness
the conduct of every member of and unwillingness to resort to
the bar current business methods of
The law is not a trade nor a craft but a advertising and encroachment on
profession. their practice, or dealing directly
Its basic ideal is to render public service with their clients.
and secure justice to those who seek its
aid. Definitions
Those enrolled in its ranks should not LEGAL ETHICS
only master its tenets and principles but o Body of all principles of morality
also accord continuing fidelity to them. and refinement that should
Obligation not an easy task due to govern the conduct of every
commercialism in all fields of human member of the bar.
endeavor. o Living spirit of the profession.
To fulfill obligation: o Branch of moral science which
1. Professional standards be treats of duties which an attorney
constantly inculcated among owes to the court, to his client, to
lawyers. his colleagues, and to the public.
2. Manual of equipment rules Terms used to describe a member of
and ethics of the profession the legal profession:
collated, readily available to o Lawyer, Attorney, or Attorney-At-
every attorney. Law.
o Advocate, Barrister, Counsel or
Sources of Legal Ethics: Counselor.
1. The 1987 Constitution. o Proctor, Solicitor.
2. Applicable Jurisprudence. o Spanish: Abogado.
3. Code of Professional o Filipino: Manananggol.
Responsibility. The term refers to that class of persons
4. New Civil Code. who by license are officers of the court
5. Rules of Court. empowered to appear, prosecute, and
6. Revised Penal Code. defend.
7. Local Government Code. A person who is a member of the
Philippine Bar who, by warrant of
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

another, practices law, or acts merely as a consultant to guide the


professionally in legal formalities. court in a doubtful question or issue
Those who passed the Sharia Bar not pending before it.
entitled to be called Attorneys unless Bar refers to the legal profession.
admitted to the Philippine Bar. Bench refers to the judiciary.
Counsel de parte: Client one who engages the services
o An attorney retained by a party of a lawyer for legal advice or for
litigant, usually for a fee, to purposes of prosecuting or defending a
prosecute or defend his cause in suit in behalf and usually for a fee.
court. Lawyer this is the general term for a
o Implies freedom of choice either person trained in the law and
on the attorney or the litigant. authorized to advice and represent
Counsel de oficio: others in legal matters
o Attorney appointed by the court. Attorneys-At-Law that class of
o To defend an indigent defendant persons who are licensed officers of the
in a criminal action. courts empowered to appear, prosecute
o To represent a destitute party. and defend, and upon whom peculiar
Attorney of record: duties, responsibilities and liabilities are
o Attorney whose name, together developed by law as a consequence.
with his address, is entered in the Attorney in fact- simply an agent
record of the case as the whose authority is strictly limited by the
designated counsel of the party instrument appointing him. His
litigant. authority is provided in a special power
o To whom judicial notices are of attorney or general power of
sent. attorney or letter of attorney. He is not
A lawyer of counsel is an necessarily a lawyer.
experienced lawyer, who is usually a Bar Association an association of
retired member of judiciary employed members of the legal profession like the
by law firms as consultant. IBP where membership is integrated or
Amicus Curiae is: compulsory.
o An experienced and impartial House Counsel one who acts as
attorney invited by the court to attorney for business though carried as
appear and help in the disposition an employee of that business and not
of issues submitted to it. as an independent lawyer.
o It implies friendly intervention of Lead Counsel the counsel on either
counsel to call the attention of side of a litigated action who is charged
the court to some matters of law with the principal management and
or facts which might otherwise direction of a partys case, as
escape its notice and in regard to distinguished from his juniors or
which it might go wrong. subordinates.
o Appears in court not to represent Practicing Lawyer one engaged in
any particular party but only to the practice of law who by license are
assist the court. officers of the court and who are
Amicus Curiae par excellence bar empowered to appear, prosecute and
associations who appear in court as defend a clients cause.
amici curiae or friends of the court. Acts
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Pro Se - an appearance by a lawyer in that will control the Supreme Court on


his own behalf. its function to decide who may enjoy
Trial Lawyer one who personally the privilege of practicing law. Could be
handles cases in court, administrative considered unconstitutional.
agencies of boards which mean SC POWER TO REGULATE PRACTICE OF
engaging in actual trial work, either for LAW includes:
the prosecution or for the defense of 1. Authority to define that term.
cases of clients. 2. Prescribe qualifications of a
candidate and the subjects of the
Power to regulate practice of law bar exams.
The Constitution [Art. VIII, Sec. 5(5)] 3. Decide who will be admitted to
vests this power of control and the practice.
regulation in the Supreme Court. The 4. Discipline, suspend, or disbar any
constitutional power to admit unfit or unworthy member of the
candidates to the legal profession is a bar.
judicial function and involves the 5. Reinstate any disbarred attorney.
exercise of discretion. 6. Ordain the integration of the
Const art. XII, sec. 14. Philippine bar.
o The practice of all professions in 7. Punish for contempt any person
the Philippines shall be limited to for unauthorized practice of law.
Filipino citizens, save in cases 8. Exercise overall supervision of the
prescribed by law. legal profession.
The SC acts through a Bar Examination 9. Exercise any other power as may
Committee in the exercise of its judicial be necessary to elevate the
function to admit candidates to the standards of the bar and preserve
legal profession. Thus, the Committee is its identity.
composed of a member of the Court
who acts as Chairman and 8 members Power to regulate the practice of law is
of the bar who acts as examiners in the not an arbitrary or despotic power to be
8 bar subjects with one subject exercised at the pleasure of the court.
assigned to each. It is the duty of the court to exercise it
Practice of law is impressed with public by a sound and just judicial discretion.
interest.
o Attorney takes part in one of the Nature of office of attorney
most important functions of the An attorney is more than a mere agent
State The Administration of because he possesses special powers of
Justice. trust and confidence reposed in him by
o Duty of the State to control and his client.
regulate the practice of law to Independent as the judge.
promote public welfare. In a limited sense, a public officer,
Practice of law is inseparably connected although not in the constitutional or
with the exercise of its judicial power in statutory meaning of the term.
the administration of justice. Occupies a quasi-judicial office because
LEGISLATURES EXERCISE OF POLICE he is in fact an officer of the court.
POWER may enact laws regulating the The title Attorney is reserved to those
practice of law but may not pass a law who has:
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

1. obtained the necessary degree in proper to assume and discharge the


the study of law; responsibilities of an attorney.
2. successfully taken the bar exams; 5. Has the privilege to set the judicial
3. admitted to the IBP; machinery in motion.
4. remain members thereof in good
standing; He can stand up for his right or the
5. been authorized to practice law in right of his client even in the face of a
the Philippines. hostile court.
Membership in the bar is in the He has the right to protest, in respectful
category of a mandate of public service language, any unwarranted treatment
of the highest order. of a witness or any unjustified delay.
Lawyers are oath-bound servants of The rights and privileges which they
society whose conduct are clearly enjoy as officers of the court are
circumscribed by the inflexible norms of necessary for the proper administration
law and ethics. of justice as for the protection of
Primary duty is to the advancement of attorney and his client.
the quest of truth and justice. There can be no strong bar without
courageous and fearless attorneys.
Privileges of an attorney As a man of law, his is necessarily a
1. Privilege and right to practice law leader in the community, looked up to
during good behavior before any as a model citizen.
judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative Integrity, ability, and learning often
tribunal. makes him qualified to administer the
2. Attorneys enjoy the presumption of Executive Departments or the
regularity in the discharge of his duty. Legislative bodies.
(His statements, if relevant or material
to the case, are absolutely privileged Duties of Attorneys (Rule 138, Sec 20)
regardless of their defamatory tenor. MEMORIZE!
He can speak freely and courageously It is the duty of an attorney:
in proceedings without the risk of 1. To maintain allegiance to the
criminal prosecution.) Republic of the Philippines and to
3. Other privileges inherent in his status support the Constitution and obey
as quasi-judicial officer: the laws of the Philippines;
a. Passing the bar is equivalent to 2. To observe and maintain the respect
First-grade Civil Service eligibility due to the courts of justice and
for any position in the classified judicial officers;
service of the government, the 3. To counsel or maintain such actions
duties of which require or proceedings only as appear to him
knowledge of law. to be just, and such defenses only as
b. Second-grade eligibility for any he believes to be honestly debatable
other government position not under the law;
requiring proficiency in the law. 4. To employ, for the purpose of
4. The court, in admitting him to practice, maintaining the causes confided to
presents him to the public as worthy of him, such means only as are
its confidence and as a person fit and consistent with truth and honor, and
never seek to mislead the judge or
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

any judicial officer by an artifice or truthfulness, avoid encroachment in the


false statement of fact or law; business of other lawyers, uphold the
5. To maintain inviolate the confidence, honor of the profession.
and at every peril to himself, to 3. Duties to the COURT respect or
preserve the secrets of his client, defend against criticisms, uphold
and to accept no compensation in authority and dignity, obey order and
connection with his client's business processes, assist in the administration
except from him or with his of justice.
knowledge and approval; 4. Duties to the CLIENT entire
6. To abstain from all offensive devotion to clients interest.
personality and to advance no fact
prejudicial to the honor or reputation Public versus private and personal
of a party or witness, unless duties
required by the justice of the cause PUBLIC DUTY:
with which he is charged; o Obey the law.
7. Not to encourage either the o Aid in the administration of
commencement or the continuance justice.
of an action or proceeding, or delay o Cooperate whenever justice is
any man's cause, from any corrupt imperiled.
motive or interest; PRIVATE DUTY:
8. Never to reject, for any o Faithfully, honestly, and
consideration personal to himself, conscientiously represent the
the cause of the defenseless or interest of his client.
oppressed; PERSONAL DUTY, the obligation he
9. In the defense of a person accused owes to himself.
of crime, by all fair and honorable
means, regardless of his personal Such classification of public and
opinion as to the guilt of the personal results from the three-fold
accused, to present every defense capacity in which attorneys operate:
that the law permits, to the end that o As a Faithful Assistant of the
no person may be deprived of life or court in search of just solution to
liberty, but by due process of law. disputes (Public Duty).
o As a Trusted Agent of his client
FOUR-FOLD DUTIES OF A LAWYER (Private Duty).
o As a Self-employed Businessman
1. Duties to SOCIETY should not (Personal Duty).
violate his responsibility to society, Rules and ethics demand that an
exemplar for righteousness, ready to attorney subordinate his personal and
render legal aid, foster social reforms, private duties to those which he owes
guardian of due process, aware of to the court and to the public.
special role in the solution of special Where his duties to his client conflict
problems and be always ready to lend with those he owes to the court and the
assistance in the study and solution of public, the former must yield to the
social problems. latter.
2. Duties to the LEGAL PROFESSION His obligations to his client take
candor, fairness, courtesy and precedence over his duties to himself.
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

2. A relation as officer of the court


Practice of law as a profession to the administration of justice
The practice of law is a profession, a involving thorough sincerity,
form of public trust, the performance of integrity, and reliability.
which is entrusted only to those who 3. Relation to the client in the
are qualified to possess good moral highest degree fiduciary.
character. 4. Relation to colleagues at the bar
The legal profession is not a trade. characterized by candor, fairness,
To render public service and secure and unwillingness to resort to
justice to those who seek its aid. current business methods of
It is not a business, using bargain advertising and encroachment on
counter methods to reap large profits. their practice, or dealing with
The gaining of livelihood is not a their clients.
profession, but a secondary These characteristics make it a noble
consideration. profession and the privilege to practice
The Code of Professional Responsibility, it is bestowed only upon individuals who
particularly the ethical rule against are competent intellectually,
advertising or solicitation of academically, and morally.
professional employment, rests on the A partnership in the practice of law is a
fundamental postulate that the practice mere relationship or association for
of law is a profession. such particular purpose. It is not a legal
Profession A calling requiring entity. It is not a partnership formed for
specialized knowledge and often the purpose of carrying on a trade or
requiring long academic preparation. business or of holding property.
In fixing fees, remember that the Even if registered with the SEC, any
profession is a branch of the lawyer practicing under a law
administration of justice and not a mere partnership is considered a solo
money-making trade. practitioner who is the taxpayer and not
Law advocacy is not capital that yields the law partnership.
profits. Law prohibits a business or commercial
A calling, unlike mercantile pursuits partnership or juridical entity to engage
which enjoy a greater deal of freedom in the practice of law since such cannot
from government interference, is possess nor comply with the
impressed with public interest. qualifications and requirements of a
Attorney is also entitled to protection lawyer.
from the court against any attempt by
his client to escape payment of his just Necessity of representation by counsel
fees. Employment of a person acquainted
Client is also protected against exaction with the rules becomes a necessity both
by his counsel of excessive fees. to the litigant and to the court.
Litigant is not ordinarily versed in the
Primary Characteristics law and its intricacies.
distinguishing the Legal Profession A court can adjudicate only in
from Business: accordance with the law and the facts
1. A duty of public service, presented pursuant to well-established
emolument is a by-product. rules of procedure and evidence.
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

A person unlearned in the law can In custodial investigations, any person


neither aid litigants nor the court in that under such for the commission of an
regard. offense shall have the right to be
Only a lawyer can properly and informed of his right to remain silent
effectively extend such assistance. and to have competent and
The law profession came into being as a independent counsel preferably of his
result of that procedural development choice and any confession in violation of
of the court, which created the such shall be inadmissible in evidence
necessity for the attorney and made against him.
him an essential part of the judicial
machinery. Consequences of denial of right to
The right of a litigant to counsel is a counsel
recognition of the necessity that a The denial of such right, which may
litigant appear by counsel. either be the absence of assistance of
There can be no fair hearing unless a counsel or the inadequate and grossly
litigant is represented by counsel. negligent representation may have
A court cannot compel a litigant to adverse results.
prosecute or defend his cause 1. Admission of guilt without
personally if he chose to appear by counsel, inadmissible in evidence.
counsel, nor can it assign a counsel de 2. Representation of a person
oficio for an accused and require said claiming to be a lawyer,
counsel to proceed with the trial when conviction shall be set aside and
the accused has previously manifested a new trial undertaken.
his desire to secure the services of a 3. Judgment of conviction even if
counsel de parte. final and executor may still be
SC subjects the lawyer to disciplinary recalled.
action and administrative liability for his 4. Gross ignorance of law and
failure to properly attend to the interest procedure by counsel gives the
of his client. accused another chance to
present his evidence.
Need for, and right to, counsel 5. Litigation may be reopened if the
Party litigant needs the assistance of incompetence, ignorance, or
counsel in al proceedings, inexperience of counsel is so
administrative, civil, or criminal. great and error committed is so
Not being a lawyer, he is ignorant of serious that the client is
the substantive and procedural laws prejudiced and denied his day in
which are applied to resolve disputes. court.
Even if he is a lawyer, his personal or
emotional involvement may adversely When appearance by counsel not
affect his handling of the case. Thus, obligatory
even lawyers who are parties in a case In the Municipal Trial Court, a party
need the guiding hand of counsel. may conduct his litigation in person or
The need of a person for the assistance with the aid of an agent or friend
of counsel is felt more urgently in appointed by him or with an aid of an
criminal than in any other proceeding. attorney.

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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

In Regional Trial Court and Appellate due appreciation of their responsibilities


Courts, a party to a civil suit may either to the courts, to the clients, to the bar,
conduct his litigation personally or by and to the public
attorney unless the party is a juridical Supreme Court applied some of the
person. Canons in case of professional
In Administrative Proceedings, right to misconduct.
counsel is not indispensable to due The Integrated Bar of the Philippines
process. If a respondent had chosen to adopted in 1980 a proposed Code of
represent himself without counsel Professional Responsibility submitted to
cannot later claim denial of due the Supreme Court for approval.
process. In 1988, the Supreme Court
Nothing in the Constitution that says promulgated the Code of Professional
that a party in a non-criminal Responsibility.
proceeding is entitled to be represented The Code consists of 22 Canons and 77
by counsel. Rules, divided into 4 Chapters:
The rule applies only in Civil and 1. The Law and Society.
Administrative cases. It does not apply 2. The Lawyer and the Legal
in cases involving grave and less grave Profession.
offenses where the accused must be 3. The Lawyer and the Courts.
represented by counsel and such right 4. The Lawyer and the Clients.
is not waivable. The Code establishes the norms of
conduct and ethical standards for all
Canons of professional responsibility lawyers.
A lawyer is answerable not only to his Failure to live up to any of its provisions
client but also to the court of which he is ground for disciplinary action.
is an officer. Faithful observance requires a thorough
He should do nothing which may tend understanding of the Code.
to lessen the public confidence in the
fidelity, honesty, and integrity of the
legal profession.
Professional standards serve as the
lawyers chart and compass to resolve
difficult questions of duty and help
minimize ethical delinquencies.
In 1917, the Philippine Bar Association,
realizing that something more than the
Oath and Duties of a Lawyer was
needed to attain the full measure of
public respect, adopted as its own
Canons 1 to 32 of the Canons of
Profession Ethics of the American Bar
Association.
In 1946, it again adopted as its own,
Canons 33 to 47.
Their enforcement by the courts and
observance by lawyers is indicative of a
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

CHAPTER 2 ADMISSION B. What are the causes for


disciplinary action against him.
TO PRACTICE C. Whether he should be disciplined,
suspended, disbarred, or
A. JUDICIAL CONTROL reinstated.

Admission to practice is a judicial Any legislative or executive judgment


function substituting that of the Supreme Court
The power to admit applicants to the in the admission to the practice of law
practice of law is judicial in nature and or suspension, debarment,
involves the exercise of judicial reinstatement infringes upon and
discretion. constitutes as an invalid exercise of the
Traditionally exercised by the Supreme legislative or executive power.
Court as an inherent part of its judicial
power. Legislative power to repeal, alter, or
Rationale comes from the nature of a supplement
judicial function and the role played by The 1935 and 1973 Constitutions
attorneys in the administration of provide that the Supreme Court shall
justice. have the power to promulgate rules
concerning the admission to the
The admission to the practice of law practice of law but may be repealed,
requires: altered, or supplemented by the
1. Previously established Rules and Batasang Pambansa.
Principles. (By Constitutional The 1987 Constitution deleted such
mandate, a primary responsibility provision.
of the Supreme Court) The legislature may, however, enact
2. Concrete Facts, past or present, laws with respect to the first requisite
affecting determinate individuals. for the admission to the bar (Previously
(Brought about by the applicant established Rules and Principles) that
for admission to the bar) applicants should observe.
3. A Decision as to whether the facts A. The legislature may pass a law
are governed by rules and for additional qualifications for
principles. (Involves judicial candidates for admission to the
adjudication which essentially a practice or filling up deficiencies
function of the court) in the requirements for admission
to the bar.
To enable the court to properly B. Such law may not, however, be
discharge its responsibility for the given retroactive effect so as to
efficient and impartial administration entitle a person, not otherwise
and to elevate and maintain the qualified, to be admitted.
standard of the legal profession C. Such law will not preclude the
requires that it must have the primary Supreme Court from fixing other
duty to decide: qualifications and requirements.
A. Who may be admitted to the bar Reason: Legislature has no power to
as one of its officers. grant a layman the privilege to practice
law nor control the Supreme Court in its
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

responsibility to decide who may be A treaty, cannot be so interpreted as to


admitted. entitle a holder of a law degree
obtained in another country to practice
The Legislature, in the exercise of its law in this country without complying
POLICE POWER may, however, enact with the requirements of existing law.
laws regulating the practice of law Accordingly, a Filipino citizen who
to protect the public and promote the obtained a law degree in another
public welfare. country is not entitled to be admitted to
1. A law declaring illegal and the Philippine Bar without complying
punishable the unauthorized with the requirements.
practice of law.
2. Require further examination for Prescribing standards for law schools
any attorney desiring to practice CHED acts as an agency or in aid of the
before any quasi-judicial or Supreme Court in the exercise of its
administrative agency. primary authority to determine who
Whatever law may be passes is merely may be admitted to practice since such
in aid of the judicial power to regulate. authority is by Constitutional mandate
But the legislature MAY NOT pass a law and rests and remains exclusively with
that will control the Supreme Court in the high tribunal.
the performance of its function to CHED merely:
decide who may enjoy the privilege of 1. Exercises regulatory power over
practicing law and any law of that kind law schools or certifies as to the
is unconstitutional as an invalid exercise satisfactory completion of the
of legislative power. prescribed courses of law study
RA 972 (the Bar Flunkers Act) aims to by an applicant for admission to
admit to the Bar, those candidates who the bar examination.
suffered from insufficiency of reading 2. Assumes some responsibility for
materials and inadequate preparation. the quality of instruction and
By its declared objective, the law is training required of an applicant
contrary to public interest because it for membership in the bar.
qualifies 1,094 law graduates who
confessedly had inadequate preparation Supreme Court incidental powers
for the practice of the profession, as (Incidental to its primary authority to
was exactly found by this Tribunal in decide who may be admitted to the
the aforesaid examinations. An bar):
adequate legal preparation is one of the 1. Fixing minimum standards of
vital requisites for the practice of law instruction for all law schools to
that should be developed constantly observe.
and maintained firmly. 2. Setting up of the necessary
administrative machinery to
Executive power in relation to practice determine compliance therewith.
The Chief Executive cannot, by 3. By way of sanction, refusal to
executive order, admit a person to the admit to the bar exams law
practice of law nor can he, by treaty graduates from schools failing to
with another country, modify the rules meet those standards. May be
on the admission to the bar.
ralc2011 10
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

implemented through of legal principles not possessed


accreditation. by ordinary layman.
3. Appearance for clients before
B. WHAT CONSTITUTES PRACTICE OF public tribunals.
LAW
When a person participates in a trial
Practice of Law, generally and advertises himself as a lawyer, he
General principles and doctrines laid is in the practice of law.
down by the courts explaining the Giving advice for compensation
meaning and scope of the term: regarding the legal status and rights of
1. To engage in the practice of law another constitutes practice of law.
is to do any of those acts which One who renders an opinion as to the
are characteristic of the legal proper interpretation of a statute and
profession. receives pay for it, is to that extent,
2. Any activity in or out of court practicing law.
which requires the application of
law, legal principle, practice or Engaging in the practice of law
procedure and calls for legal presupposes the existence of a lawyer-
knowledge, training and client relationship.
experience. (Cayetano vs Where a lawyer undertakes an activity
Monsod) without any such relationship, such as
3. It is not limited to the conduct of teaching law or writing law books or
cases in court. legal articles cannot be said to be
4. Includes legal advice, counseling, engaged in the practice of his
and the preparation of legal profession as a lawyer.
instruments and contracts by
which legal rights are secured, Characteristics of term Practice of
which may or may not be pending Law
in court. The phrase practice of law implies
5. Strictly speaking, the word customarily or habitually holding
practice of law implies the oneself out to the public, as a lawyer,
customary or habitual holding out for compensation as a source of
of oneself to the public as a livelihood or in consideration of his
lawyer and demanding service.
compensation for his services. Holding oneself out may be shown by
[People vs. Villanueva 14 acts indicative of that purpose.
SCRA 111] Thus, a layman is illegally engaged in
the practice when he sends a circular
Three Principal Types of announcing the establishment of a law
Professional Activities: office for the general practice of law, or
1. Legal advice and instructions to when the takes the oath of office as a
the clients to inform them of their lawyer before a notary public and files a
rights and obligations. manifestation with the Supreme Court
2. Preparation for clients of informing his intention to practice law.
documents requiring knowledge

ralc2011 11
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Private practice consists of frequent and 3. Preparation and filing of a


customary actions, more than an pleading, motion, memorandum,
isolated appearance. or brief.
It contemplates succession of acts of 4. Examination of witnesses and
the same nature habitually and presentation of evidence.
customarily holding oneself out to the 5. Management and control of the
public as a lawyer. proceedings in court.
Isolated Appearance:
A. A judge who is prohibited from Representation before other agencies
engaging in private practice of Appearances before any quasi-judicial,
law has not violated this administrative, or legislative agency
prohibition when he appeared as constituting practice of law:
counsel for his cousin pro bono in 1. Interpretation and application of
a criminal case. laws.
B. Appearance as counsel in one 2. Presentation of evidence to
occasion is not conclusive as establish certain facts.
determinative of engagement in 3. Representing an applicant for
the practice of law. registration of trademark, trade
C. Appearance of a city attorney as name, or service mark in the
private prosecutor not within the Philippine Patent Office.
prohibition. (People vs. 4. Advocating or resisting claims
Villanueva) before the NLRC, BoC, or BIR.
5. Representing before a legislative
An isolated appearance may, body regarding a proposed
however, amount to practice: legislation or ordinance.
1. Legislator cannot appear as
counsel before any court of Character of the service and not the
justice or Electoral Tribunals, or place where it is performed is the
quasi-judicial and administrative decisive factor determinative of whether
bodies even in a single instance. the service constitutes practice of law.
2. A laymans representation as Service to prepare and prosecute a just
defense counsel in a criminal case claim before a quasi-judicial or
is invalid and the conviction of administrative body same and
the accused may be set aside, as legitimate as the service rendered in
violative of due process. court in arguing a cause.

Representation before the court Activity outside of court


Practice of law, as customarily Practice of law also consists of work
understood, means: performed outside of court:
1. Rendering of services to a o Giving legal advice on large
person, natural or juridical, in variety of subjects.
court on any matter through o Conveyancing and preparation
various stages and in accordance and execution of legal
with rules of procedure. instruments covering an
2. Appearance before the court. extensive field of business and
trust and other affairs.
ralc2011 12
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

No valid distinction can be drawn Any person who has been duly licensed
between part of the work involving as a member of the bar in accordance
appearance in court and that part with the statutory requirements and
involving advice and drafting of who is in good and regular standing is
instruments in his office. entitled to practice law.
Practice of law need not be habitual Two basic statutory requirements:
services in litigations in court. A 1. Must have been admitted to the
persons past work experiences as bar.
lawyer-economist, lawyer-manager, 2. After admission, must remain in
lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, good and regular standing (a
lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and continuing requirement).
lawyer-legislator more than satisfy the
constitutional requirement for Must have been admitted to the bar. A
appointment as Chairman of the lawyer is one who:
COMELEC that he has been engaged in 1. Passed the bar exams.
the active practice of law for at least 2. Taken the lawyers oath before
ten years. (Cayetano v Monsod) the Supreme Court en banc.
3. Signed in the roll of attorneys.
4. Received a certificate of license to
practice law from the Clerk of
Court of the Supreme Court.
ESSENTIAL CRITERIA 5. Furnished satisfactory proof or
DETERMINATIVE educational, moral, and other
OF ENGAGING IN THE PRACTICE OF qualifications.
LAW: (HACA)
1. Habituality- implies customarily or After Admission he or she must:
habitually holding oneself out to the 1. Remain an IBP member in good
public as a lawyer standing by regularly paying IBP
2. Compensation- implies that one dues and other lawful assessments.
must have presented himself to be 2. Pay annual privilege tax.
in the active practice and that his 3. Faithfully observe the rules and
professional services are available to ethics of the legal profession.
the public for compensation, as a 4. Be continually subjected to judicial
source of his livelihood or in disciplinary control.
consideration of his said services.
3. Application of law, legal Compulsory membership to the IBP is
principle, practice, or procedure not violative of a lawyers freedom of
which calls for legal knowledge, association. Integration does not make
training and experience. a lawyer a member of any group of
4. Attorney-client relationship. which he is already a member. He
became a member of the bar when he
passed the Bar Examinations. Bar
C. WHO MAY PRACTICE LAW integration does not compel the lawyer
to associate with anyone. He is free to
Persons entitled to practice law, attend or not attend the meetings of his
generally Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or
ralc2011 13
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

refuse to vote in its elections as he The attorneys continued enjoyment of


chooses. The only compulsion to which the privilege conferred depends upon
he is subjected is the payment of his complying with the ethics and rules
annual dues. The Supreme Court, in of the profession.
order to further the States legitimate
interest in elevating the quality of
professional legal services, may require But practice of law is in the nature of a
that the cost of improving the right. While the practice of law is a
profession in this fashion be shared by privilege, a lawyer cannot be prevented
the subjects and beneficiaries of the from practicing law except for valid
regulatory program the lawyers [In reasons, the practice of law not being a
re: Edillon A.M. 1928] matter of states grace or favor.
He holds office during good behavior
The rigid requirements and conditions and can only be deprived of it for
are designed to admit to its ranks only misconduct.
those who are adequately prepared, The state cannot exclude an attorney
mentally and morally, to discharge the from the practice of law in a manner or
duties of an attorney. for reasons that contravene the due
The purpose, in the final analysis, is to process or equal protection clause of
protect the public, the court, the client, the Constitution.
and the bar from incompetence and
dishonesty of those who are unfit to A quasi-judicial or administrative
become members. agency cannot restrict a lawyers
Only those who are competent, privilege to practice law by imposing
honorable, and reliable may practice conditions that amount to
law. discrimination nor limit such privilege
by requiring the passing of an
examination not sanctioned by law as a
Right and Privilege to practice prerequisite to appearing before such
agency.
The practice of law is not a natural, In that sense, the practice of law is in
property or constitutional right but a the nature of a right which cannot be
mere privilege. lightly or capriciously taken away from
It is not a right granted to anyone who him.
demands it but a privilege to be
extended or withheld in the exercise of Practice without examination
sound judicial discretion. Exceptions to the privilege afforded to
It is in the nature of a franchise Filipino citizens who have passed the
conferred only for merit which must be bar exams to practice law:
earned by hard study, learning and A. Citizens of the United States who:
good conduct. 1. Before July 4, 1946, were
It is a privilege accorded only to those duly licensed members* of
who measure up to certain rigid the Philippine Bar.
standards of mental and moral fitness. 2. In active practice in the
Those standards are neither dispensed courts of the Philippines.
with nor lowered after admission.
ralc2011 14
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

3. In good and regular 3. In a criminal case before the


standing as such. MTC in a locality where a duly
4. Took the oath of office. licensed member of the Bar is not
*Pursuant to the comity clause of the then available, the judge may appoint a
Rules of Examination of Candidates for non-lawyer who is a resident of that
Admission to the Practice of Law in the US province, of good repute for probity
during the American Regime. and ability to represent the accused
B. Filipino citizens*, in the discretion in his defense. [Sec. 7, Rule 116]
of the Court may be admitted 4. Student Practice Rule - A law
without examination, who: student who has successfully
1. Are applicants for completed his 3rd year of the
admission and are enrolled regular 4-year prescribed law
attorneys in good standing curriculum and is enrolled in a
in the Supreme Court of recognized law schools clinical
the United States or in any legal education program approved
circuit court of Appeals or by the SC may appear without
district court therein, or in compensation in any civil, criminal
the highest court of any or administrative case before any
State or Territory of the trial court, tribunal, board or officer,
United States. to represent indigent clients
2. Can show certificates that accepted by the Legal Clinic of the
they have practiced before school. [Sec. 1, Rule 138-A] The
July 4, 1946. student shall be under the direct
3. Have never been supervision and control of a member
suspended or disbarred. of the IBP duly accredited by the law
*Rule 138, Sec. 4, Rules of Court. school. [Sec. 2]
5. Under the Labor Code non-
Practice without admission lawyers may appear before the NLRC
General Rule: Only those who are or any Labor Arbiter if they
licensed to practice law can appear and (a) represent themselves;
handle cases in court. (b)represent their organization or
members thereof [Art. 222,
Exceptions: PD 442]
1. Before the MTC - a party may 6. A non-lawyer or layman may
conduct his case or litigation in represent a claimant before the
person with the aid of an agent or Cadastral Court [Sec. 9, Act. No.
friend appointed by him. [Sec. 34, 2259]
Rule 138] 7. Any official or other person
2. Before any other court a party appointed to appear for the
may conduct his litigation Government of the Philippines in
personally. [Sec. 34, Rule 138]. He accordance with law shall have all
is bound by the same rules in the rights of a duly authorized
conducting the trial of his case. He member of the bar in any case in
cannot, after judgment, claim that which said government has an
he was not properly represented. interest [Sec. 33, Rule 138].

ralc2011 15
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Three Limitations in the appearance But it cannot practice law directly or


of a layman on behalf of another: indirectly by employing a lawyer to
1. Layman should confine his work practice for it or to appear for others for
to non-adversary contentions. its benefit.
Should not undertake purely legal Reasons:
work such as examination of 1. Nature of the privilege and on the
witnesses or presentation of confidential and trust relation
evidence. between attorney and client.
2. Services should not be habitually 2. The corporation (a juridical
rendered. person) cannot perform the
3. Should not charge or collect conditions required for
attorneys fees. membership in the bar, such as
the possession of good moral
Right of party to represent himself character and other special
In Civil Cases, individual litigant has disqualifications, the taking of an
the right to conduct his litigation oath and becoming an officer of
personally. the court, subject to its discipline,
He will still be bound by the same rules suspension or removal.
of procedure and evidence as those 3. The relation of trust and
applicable to a party appearing through confidence cannot arise where
counsel. the attorney is employed by a
He may not be heard to complain later corporation to practice for it, his
that he has been deprived of the right employer and he owing, at best,
to the assistance of counsel. a secondary and divided loyalty
In Criminal Cases involving grave and to the clientele of his corporate
less grave offenses, an accused who is employer.
a layman must always appear by 4. The intervention of the
counsel. He cannot conduct his own corporation is destructive of that
defense, as his right to counsel may not confidential and trust relation and
be waived without violating his right to is obnoxious to the law.
due process of law.
By a Juridical Person: Persons authorized to represent the
General Rule:Iit must always government
appear in court by a duly licensed Any official or other person appointed
member of the bar. or designated in accordance with law to
Exception: In the MTC, it may be appear for the government of the
represented by its agent or officer Philippines or any of its officials shall
who need not be a lawyer. have all the rights of a duly authorized
member of the bar to appear in any
Practice by Corporation case in which the government has an
It is well settled that a corporation interest, direct or indirect, or in which
CANNOT engage in the practice of law. such official is charged in his official
It may, however, hire an attorney to capacity. [Sec. 33, Rule 138].
attend to and conduct its own legal Solicitor General, Assistant Solicitor
business or affairs. General, Solicitors and Trial Attorneys,

ralc2011 16
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

State Prosecutors, Special Counsel,


Special Prosecutor of the Ombudsman. When any of the public officials are
absolutely prohibited, they cease, as a
Three Instances when a lawyer cannot general rule, to engage in private
practice: practice of law and the right to practice
1. Appearance of Parties in Person. - is suspended during tenure of office.
In all katarungang pambarangay
proceedings, the parties must Lawyer member of the Legislature not
appear in person without the absolutely prohibited.
assistance of counsel or Prohibited only from appearing as
representative, except for minors counsel in:
and incompetents who may be 1. Any court of justice.
assisted by their next-of-kin who 2. Electoral Tribunals.
are not lawyers. (SEC. 415. Local 3. Quasi-Judicial or Administrative
Government Code) bodies.
2. Appearance through a
representative must be for a valid What is prohibited is to personally
cause. the representative of an appear.
individual-party must not be a The word appearance includes:
lawyer, and must be related to or 1. Arguing a case before any such
next-of-skin of the individual- body.
party. juridical entities shall not 2. Filing a pleading on behalf of a
be represented by a lawyer in any client as by simply filing a formal
capacity. (A. M. No. 08-8-7-SC, motion, plea or answer.
RULE OF PROCEDURE FOR SMALL Neither can he allow his name to
CLAIMS CASES) appear in such pleading by itself or as
3. A lawyer shall not, after leaving part of a firm name under the signature
government service, accept of another qualified lawyer because the
engagement or employment in signature of an agent amounts to
connection with any matter in signing of a non-qualified senator or
which he had intervened while in congressman, the office of an attorney
said service. (Rule 6.03, CANON being originally of agency, and because
6) he will, by such act, be appearing in
court or quasi-judicial or administrative
Disability of Public Officials to practice body in violation of the constitutional
Appointment or Election to a restriction.
government office disqualifies one to He cannot do indirectly what the
practice law. Constitution prohibits directly.
1. Public office is a Public Trust.
Obliged to perform duties with RESTRICTIONS IN THE PRACTICE OF
exclusive fidelity. LAW OF THE MEMBERS OF THE
2. Avoid conflict of interests. SANGGUNIAN
3. Assure the people of impartiality They shall not:
in the performance of public 1. Appear as counsel before any
functions, thereby promote the court in any civil case wherein a
public welfare. local government unit or any
ralc2011 17
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

office, agency or instrumentality 9. Those prohibited by special laws


of the government is the adverse retired members of the
party; judiciary.
2. Appear as counsel in any criminal
case wherein an officer or A Civil Service Officer can engage in the
employee of the national or local practice of law only if:
government is accused of an 1. The officers responsibilities do
offense committed in relation to not require his time to be fully at
his office; the disposal of the government.
3. Collect any fee for their 2. With written permission from the
appearance in administrative head of the department
proceedings involving the local concerned.
government unit of which he is an
official. [Sec. 90, R.A. 7160] A punong barangay needs to obtain
4. Use property and personnel of written permission from the Secretary
the government except when the of the DILG to appear as counsel.
Sanggunian member concerned is
defending the interest of the Liability for unauthorized practice
government Any person prohibited from engaging in
However, Sanggunian members may the practice of law or assumes to be an
practice their professions, engage in attorney is liable for contempt of court,
any occupation, teach in schools punishable by fine or imprisonment or
except during session hours. both.
Liable for Estafa, defrauds the litigant:
WHO MAY NOT PRACTICE LAW? 1. If such unauthorized practice
Relative Prohibition causes damage to a party.
1. Senators and members of the 2. False representation and
House of Representatives rendering service in court in
(prohibition to appear) behalf of litigant.
2. Members of the Sanggunian.
Absolute Prohibition Criminal and Administrative Liability for
1. All members of the Judiciary government officials prohibited from
2. Judges and other officials as practicing law when doing such.
employees of the Supreme Court.
3. Government prosecutors. Remedies against unauthorized
4. President, Vice President, practice
members of the cabinet. 1. Injunction.
5. Members of Constitutional 2. Declaratory Relief.
Commissions. 3. Contempt of Court.
6. Ombudsman and his deputies. 4. Petition for Disqualification.
7. Solicitor General and Assistant 5. Complaint for Disbarment.
Solicitor General 6. Administrative complaint for public
8. All governors, city and municipal officer.
mayors. 7. Criminal complaint for Estafa

ralc2011 18
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

D. QUALIFICATIONS FOR ADMISSION Public Policy demands that a person


seeking admission to the practice of law
REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION TO must
THE BAR: 1. Possess the required educational
1. Citizen of the Philippines. qualifications.
2. Resident of the Philippines 2. Show a degree of learning and
3. At least 21 years old proficiency in law necessary for
4. Successfully completed all prescribed the due performance of the duties
courses. of a lawyer.
5. Passed the bar exams. To the lawyer is entrusted the
6. Production before the Supreme protection of life, liberty, property, or
Court satisfactory evidence of: honor.
a. Good moral character To approve officially one who is not
b. No charges against him, adequately prepared to such a delicate
involving moral turpitude, task is to create a social danger.
have been filed or are pending
in any court in the Philippines. Bar Examination
Subjects chosen for these exams are
Citizenship and Residence designed to eliminate any one whose
Privilege denied to foreigners. general intelligence, learning, and
Takes into account the close connection mental capacity are inadequate to
of the practice of law with the enable him to assume and discharge
administration of justice. the duties of an attorney.
An alien cannot well maintain allegiance Passing Grade: A general average of
to the Republic of the Philippines, which 75% in all subjects without falling
is required in the Oath of a Lawyer. below 50% in any subject.
In determining the average, the
Good Moral Character subjects given the following relative
Continued possession of good moral weights:
character after admission is a 1. Civil Law 15%
requirement for enjoyment of privilege 2. Labor and Social Legislation 10%
to practice. 3. Mercantile Law 15%
Moral character is what a person really 4. Criminal Law 10%
is as distinguished from good reputation 5. Political and International Law
or opinion generally entertained of him. 15%
Includes at least common honesty. 6. Taxation 10%
Opposite of immorality, which is the 7. Remedial Law 20%
indifference to the moral norms of 8. Legal Ethics and Practical
society. Exercises 5%
This requirement aims to maintain and
uphold the high moral standard and the A candidate who fails for three times is
dignity of the legal profession. disqualified from taking another
examination, unless he has shown to
Educational qualifications the satisfaction of the Court that he
has:

ralc2011 19
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

1. Enrolled and passed regular


fourth year review classes;
2. Attended a pre-bar review American lawyers in active practice of
course. law in the Philippines before July 4,
1946 or a Filipino citizen enrolled as
E. PROCEDURE FOR ADMISSION attorney in the United States before
July 4, 1946, who desires admission
Bar Examination Committee without examination should:
Examinations shall be conducted by a 1. File a petition with the Court
committee of bar examiners to be along with his
appointed by the Supreme Court. This 2. License to practice
committee shall be composed of: 3. Evidence that it has not been
1. A Justice of the Supreme Court, revoked
as chairman and designated by 4. Certificates of professional
the court to serve for one year. standing.
2. Eight (8) members of the
Philippine bar, who shall serve as Disclosure of involvement in any
examiners in the 8 bar subjects criminal case
and hold office for a period of one Applicant must show that no charges
year. against him involving moral turpitude
3. Bar Confidant as liaison officer have been filed or pending in court in
between the Court and Chairman the Philippines (Rule 138, Sec 2, Rules
and the Committee members. of Court)
Also a deputy clerk of court. To enable the court to resolve whether
a particular crime involves moral
Application and supporting documents turpitude, applicant must disclose any
Time for filing proof of qualifications. crime of which he has been charged.
All applicants for admission shall file If what has been concealed does not
with the clerk of the Supreme Court a involve moral turpitude, it is the fact of
duly accomplished application form concealment and not the commission of
together with supporting documents the crime itself that makes him morally
concerning his qualifications at least 15 unfit.
days before the beginning of the
examination. Burden of proof to show qualifications
Applicants shall also file at the same Applicant assumes the burden of proof
time their own affidavits as to their age, to establish his qualifications to the
residence, and citizenship. (Rule 138, satisfaction of the court.
Sec. 7) After having presented prima facie
evidence of his qualifications, any one
Notice of applications.Notice of objecting to his admission may offer
applications for admission shall be contrary evidence to overcome such
published by the clerk of the Supreme prima facie showing. Burden of proof
Court in newspapers published in shifts to the complainant.
Pilipino, English and Spanish, for at
least 10 days before the beginning of Written examinations
the examination. (Rule 138, sec. 8) Annual examination.
ralc2011 20
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

o Examinations for admission to the 4. To keep the examinees identity a


bar of the Philippines shall take secret and thus avoid any influence
place annually in the City of to bear upon the examiner in the
Manila. valuation of his answers:
o They shall be held in four days to a. The exam papers shall be
be designated by the chairman of identified by numbers.
the committee on bar examiners. b. The name of the examinee is
o The subjects shall be distributed written in a piece of paper and
as follows: sealed in an envelope.
1. 1st day: Political and 5. Any candidate who violates any of
International Law the rules concerning the conduct of
(morning), Labor and examination will be barred from
Social Legislation taking such and the same will be
(afternoon); counted as a failure against him.
2. 2nd day: Civil Law
(morning),Taxation The conduct of the bar exams involves
(afternoon); public interest.
3. 3rd day: Mercantile Law Any charge of anomaly requires prompt
(morning) Criminal Law action from the Court to prevent
(afternoon); erosion of public faith in the bar and in
4. 4th day: Remedial Law the court.
(morning) Legal Ethics and
Practical Exercises Correction and revaluation of grades
(afternoon). (Rule 138, The bar examiners correct the
sec. 11.) examination papers and submit the
grades and corrected papers to the bar
The questions shall be the same for all confidant.
examinees. The bar confidant tallies the individual
Examinees shall answer the questions grades of every examinee, computes
personally without help from anyone. the general average, and prepares a
Upon verified application made by an comparative data showing the
examinee stating that his penmanship percentage of passing and failing in
is so poor that it will be difficult to read relation to a certain average.
his answers without much loss of time, Results are submitted to the
the Supreme Court may allow such Examination Committee and to the
examinee to use a noiseless typewriter. Court.

Restrictions to insure integrity in Any request for revaluation of the


examination answers and the grades given should be
1. An examinee is prohibited from made by the examinee addressed to
bringing papers, books or notes into the Court.
the examination room.
2. He is not to communicate with the
other examinees during the exam. Administration of Oath
3. He is not to influence any member of
the committee on bar exams.
ralc2011 21
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Qualified applicants shall take and weigh his actions according to the
subscribe to the Oath of Office as a sworn promises he makes when taking
Lawyer. the lawyers oath. If all lawyers
A prerequisite to the admission of conducted themselves strictly according
practice of law and may only be taken to the lawyers oath and the Code of
before the Supreme Court. Professional responsibility, the
The court may deny the petition to take administration of justice will
the lawyers oath for: undoubtedly fairer, faster and easier for
o Grave misconduct; everyone concerned. (In Re:
o Pending complaint against the Argosino, 270 SCRA 26)
applicant
By taking the lawyers oath, a lawyer
LAWYERS OATH (MEMORIZE!!) becomes the guardian of truth and the
rule of law and an indispensable
I _____ , do solemnly swear that I will instrument in the fair and impartial
maintain allegiance to the Republic of the administration of justice. Good moral
Philippines; character includes at least common
honesty. Deception and other
I will support and defend its Constitution fraudulent acts are not merely
and obey the laws as well as the legal unacceptable practices that are
orders of the duly constituted authorities disgraceful and dishonorable, they
therein; reveal a basic moral flaw. (Olbes vs.
Deciembre, 457 SCRA 341)
I will do no falsehood nor consent to its
commission; Issuance of Certificate
After taking oath, the Supreme Court
I will not wittingly or willingly promote or admits him as a member of the bar for
sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit all courts of the Philippines.
nor give aid nor consent to the same; An order be entered that a certificate of
such record be given him by the clerk of
I will not delay any mans cause for money court.
or malice and will conduct myself as a Such certificate is his license to practice
lawyer according to the best of my law.
knowledge and discretion with all good Thereafter, he signs the roll of
fidelity as well to the court as to my attorneys, which is the official record
clients; and containing the names and signatures of
those who are authorized to practice
I will impose upon myself this obligation law.
voluntarily, without any mental reservation
or purpose of evasion. Payment of IBP dues and privilege tax
Membership by every attorney in the
So help me God. IBP is compulsory.
Obligation to support it financially.
The lawyers oath is not a mere o Every member of the Integrated
ceremony or formality for practicing Bar shall pay such annual dues as
law. Every lawyer should at all times the Board of Governors shall
ralc2011 22
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

determine with the approval of


the Supreme Court.
o Default in payment for 6 months
shall warrant suspension.
o Default in such payment for 1
year shall be a ground for
removal of the name of the
delinquent member from the Roll
of Attorneys.
o However, no action involving
suspension or removal from the
roll shall be effective without final
approval of the Supreme Court.

Conditions sine qua non to the privilege


to practice law and to the retention of
his name in the roll of attorneys :
1. Continued membership
2. Regularly paying membership
dues and other lawful
assessments that it may levy.

A lawyer must comply with the


requirement regarding payment of
membership even though his practice is
limited.
The exemption from payment of
individual income taxes for senior
citizens does not include payment of
IBP membership dues.

ralc2011 23
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

CHAPTER 3 LAWYERS A. UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION


AND THE LAW
DUTIES TO SOCIETY
Duty to uphold the Constitution and
obey the law
MEMORY AID FOR CANONS UNDER First and foremost duty of a lawyer is
THIS SECTION: to:
1. Promote and Respect the Law and Legal 1. Maintain allegiance to the
Process (Canon 1) Republic of the Philippines;
2. Provide Efficient and Convenient Legal 2. Uphold the Constitution and
Services (Canon 2) 3. Obey the laws of the land.
3. Information on Legal Services that is Code of Professional Responsibility
true, Honest, Fair and Dignified (Canon underscores the primacy of such duty.
3) Canon 1: A lawyer shall uphold
4. Support for Legal Reforms and the Constitution, obey the laws of
Administration of Justice (Canon 4) the land, and promote respect for
5. Participate in Legal Education Program law and legal processes.
(Canon 5)
6. Applies to Lawyers in Government Role of lawyers in the community:
Service (Canon 6) While the duty to uphold the
Constitution and obey the law is
an obligation imposed on every
CANON 1: A lawyer shall uphold the citizen, a lawyer assumes
constitution, obey the laws of the land and responsibilities well beyond the
promote respect for law and legal process. basic requirements of good
citizenship.
Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not As a servant of the law, a lawyer
engage in unlawful, dishonest, should moreover make himself an
immoral or deceitful conduct. example for others to emulate.
Being a lawyer, he is supposed to
Rule 1.02. A lawyer shall not be a model in the community in
counsel or abet activities aimed at so far as respect for the law is
defiance of the law or at lessening concerned.
confidence in the legal profession.
A lawyers responsibilities are greater
Rule 1.03. A lawyer shall not, for than those of a private citizen.
any corrupt motive or interest, He must not subvert the law by
encourage any suit or delay any counseling in activities which are in
mans cause. defiance of the law.
He should not allow his services to be
Rule 1.04. A lawyer shall encourage engaged by an organization whose
his clients to avoid, end or settle a members are violating the law, to
controversy if it will admit of a fair defend them when they get caught.
settlement
Duty not to engage in unlawful
conduct
ralc2011 24
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Canon 1, Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not He should not allow his services to be
engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral engaged by an organization whose
or deceitful conduct. member as violating the law, to defend
them when they get caught.
As servant of the law, a lawyer should
moreover make himself an exemplar for The Supreme Court will not denounce
others to emulate. criticismmade by anyone against the
Duty to obey the law and promote Court for, if well founded, can truly
respect for law and legal processes have constructive effects in the task of
demands that he shall not engage in the Court, but it will not countenance
unlawful, dishonest, and immoral, or any wrongdoing nor allow the erosion of
deceitful conduct. our peoples faith in the judicial system,
Unlawful conduct is an act or omission let alone, by those who have been
which is against the law. privileged by it to practise law in the
Dishonesty involves lying or cheating. Philippines. (Estrada v.
Immoral or deceitful conduct is that Sandiganbayan, 416 SCRA 465
which is willful, flagrant or shameless (2003))
and which shows a moral indifference to
the opinion of the good and respectable Terrel was found guilty of malpractice
members of the community. or gross misconduct for assisting in the
establishment and acting as counsel for
Moral turpitude includes everything the Centro Bellas Artes Club, an
which is done contrary to justice, organization intending to evade the
honesty, modesty, or good morals. It practice of law. (In Re Terrel (1903))
involves an act of baseness, vileness, or
depravity in the private duties which a
man owed his fellowmen, or to society Duty not to encourage lawsuits
in general, contrary to the accepted and Rule 1.03. A lawyer shall not, for any
customary rule of right and duty corrupt motive or interest, encourage
between man and woman, or conduct any suit or delay any mans cause.
contrary to justice, honesty, modesty,
or good morals. Among the unprofessional acts which
come within the prohibition include the
Duty not to counsel illegal activities lawyers:
Canon1, Rule 1.02. A lawyer shall not 1. Volunteering advice to bring
counsel or abet activities aimed at lawsuit, except in rare cases
defiance of the law or at lessening where ties of blood, relationship,
confidence in the legal profession. or trust.
2. Hunting up defects in titles or
A lawyer who defies a writ or other causes of action.
preliminary injunction has flouted his 3. Seeking out claims for personal
duties as a lawyer. injuries or those having any other
He should not promote an organization grounds of action to secure them
known to be violating the law nor assist as clients.
it in a scheme which he knows is 4. Initiating a meeting of the
dishonest members of a club and inducing
ralc2011 25
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

them to organize and contest a fees which are often considerably less
legislation under his guidance. when the cause is amicably settled. The
5. Purchasing notes to collect them problem of conflict of interests must be
by litigation at a profit. resolved against self-interest.

Purpose of the prohibition: To prevent Parties to an amicable settlement enjoy


ambulance chasing - solicitation of benefits better than those which can
almost any kind of legal business by legally be secured to them by judicial
laymen employed by an attorney for procedure.
the purpose or by the attorney himself. Litigation involves time, expense, and ill
feelings, which may well be avoided by
Ambulance chasing has spawned the settlement of the action.
recognized evils and is prohibited A compromise or even a confession of
because: judgment will:
1. It stirs up litigation with resulting 1. Accord respect to the just claim
burdens on courts and the public; of the other party;
2. Supports perjury. 2. Save the client additional
3. Defrauds innocent persons by expenses;
judgments, upon manufactured 3. Help prevent clogging of the
causes of actions. docket.
4. Defrauds injured persons having
proper causes of action but
ignorant of legal rights and court
procedure by means of contracts
which retain exorbitant expenses
and by settlement made for quick
returns of fees against the rights
of the injured persons.

Duty to encourage amicable


settlement
Rule 1.04. A lawyer shall encourage his
clients to avoid, end or settle a
controversy if it will admit of a fair
settlement.

The function of a lawyer is not only to


conduct litigation but to avoid it where
possible, by advising settlement or
withholding suit.
He/she must act as mediator for
compromise rather than an instigator
and conflict.
What sometimes beclouds a lawyers
judgment as to what is best for his
client is his/her eye on the attorneys
ralc2011 26
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

the responsibility of the bar to make


such services available.
CANON 2: A lawyer shall make his legal A wide gap exists between the need
services available in an efficient and and its satisfaction. This has been
convenient manner compatible with the mainly ascribed mainly to 2 reasons:
independence, integrity and effectiveness 1. Poverty and the consequent
of the profession. inability to pay.
2. Ignorance not only of the need of
Rule 2.01. A lawyer shall not reject, legal services but also of where to
except for valid reasons, the cause find a competent and dependable
of the defenseless or the oppressed. lawyer.

Rule 2.02. In such cases, even if A lawyer shall not reject the cause of
the lawyer does not accept a case, the defenseless
he shall not refuse to render legal Rule 2.01. A lawyer shall not reject,
advice to the person concerned if except for valid reasons, the cause of
only to the extent necessary to the defenseless or the oppressed.
safeguard the latters rights. Stems from one of the obligations
incident to the status and privileges of a
Rule 2.03. A lawyer shall not do or lawyer To represent the poor and
permit to be done any act designed oppressed in the prosecution of their
to primarily solicit legal business. claims or the defense of their rights.
Even in those instances in which he
Rule 2.04. A lawyer shall not may not, for valid reasons, accept the
charge rates lower than those case, the lawyer shall not refuse to
customarily prescribed unless the render legal advice to the person
circumstances so warrant. concerned if only to the extent
necessary to safeguard the latters
B. MAKING LEGAL SERVICES rights. (Rule 2.02.)
AVAILABLE
The duty of a lawyer to accept the
Generally cause of the defenseless and the
A lawyer shall make his legal services oppressed empowers the court to
available in an efficient and convenient require him to render professional
manner compatible with the services to any party in a case, if the
independence, integrity and party is without means to employ an
effectiveness of the profession. attorney and the services of a lawyer
A lawyer who is qualified to provide are necessary to protect the rights of
efficient legal services should make such party or secure the ends of justice.
available such services to those who are To designate him as counsel de oficio
in need thereof. for an accused if the latter is unable to
IBP Committee that drafted the Code employ a counsel de parte.
explained: A person in need of legal The lawyer so assigned has to render
services should be able to find a lawyer effective legal services, under the pain
who is qualified to provide them. It is of disciplinary sanction should he fail or

ralc2011 27
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

neglect to do so, until he is excused 2. He shall not decline to represent a


therefrom by the court. person solely on account of the
Every lawyer should: latters race, sex, creed or status of
1. Welcome the assignment as an life or because of his own opinion
opportunity to render public regarding the guilt of said person.
service; (Canon 14, Rule 14.01)
2. Show that the practice of law is a 3. If there is serious and sufficient
profession; and cause, an appointment as counsel de
3. Demonstrate that the efficient oficio or as amici curiae, or a request
discharge of his duties does not from the Integrated Bar of the
depend upon payment or amount Philippines or any of its chapters for
of fees. rendition of free legal aid. (Canon
14, Rule 14.02)
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines
through its Committee on Legal Aid has EXCEPTION TO THE EXCEPTION: A
established legal aid offices throughout lawyer may refuse to accept
the country. representation of an indigent client if:
Its objective is to provide on a a. He is not in a position to carry
nationwide basis legal services in favor out the work effectively or
of the poor segment of society. competently;
Their policy is that legal aid is not a b. He labors under a conflict of
matter of charity. It is a means for the interests between him and the
correction of social imbalance that may prospective client or between a
and often do lead to injustice, which present client and the prospective
makes it a public responsibility of the client. (Canon 14, Rule 14.03)
Bar.
A valid reason to refuse is when the
A lawyer shall not refuse to render lawyer is not in a position to carry out
legal advice the work effectively and competently.
Rule 2.02. In such cases, even if the However he shall still render legal
lawyer does not accept a case, he shall advice (such as those pertaining to
not refuse to render legal advice to the preliminary steps a person can take).
person concerned if only to the extent But he shall refrain from giving legal
necessary to safeguard the latters advice if the reason for not accepting
rights. the case is that there involves a conflict
of interest (between him and a
GENERAL RULE: A lawyer may refuse prospective client or between a present
to accept the cause of the defenseless client and a prospective client).
or the oppressed. A lawyer is not In the case mentioned above, rendering
obliged legal advice to the prospective client
to act as legal counsel for any person who will establish an attorney-client
may wish to become his client. relationship between them and this will
constitute a violation of the rule
EXCEPTIONS: prohibiting a lawyer from representing
1. A lawyer shall not refuse his services conflicting interests. (Canon 15, Rule
to the needy. 15.03)
ralc2011 28
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

850 (Mandatory Continuing Legal


Participating in legal development Education), are required every 3 years
to complete at least 36 hours of
CANON 5: A lawyer shall keep abreast of continuing legal education activities,
legal developments, participate in with appropriate penalties for failure to
continuing legal education programs, do so.
support efforts to achieve highest
standards in law schools as well as in the C. APPLICABILITY OF CODE TO
practical training of law students and assist GOVERNMENT LAWYERS
in disseminating information regarding law
and jurisprudence. CANON 6. These Canons shall apply to
lawyers in government service in the
discharge of their official duties.
It is the bounden duty of counsel in the Rule 6.01. The primary duty of a
active practice to keep abreast of lawyer in public prosecution is not to
decisions of the Supreme Court and convict but to see that justice is
changes in the law. done. The suppression of facts or the
It is imperative that judges should be concealment of witnesses capable of
conversant with basic legal principles establishing the innocence of the
and with the changes in the law and accused is highly reprehensible and
with the latest decisions and is cause for disciplinary action.
precedents.
For service in the judiciary and being in Rule 6.02. A lawyer in government
the active practice of law require service shall not use his public
continuous study and research on the position to promote or advance his
law from beginning to end. private interests, nor allow the latter
to interfere with his public duties.
Legal education should be a continuing
concern. Rule 6.03. A lawyer shall not, after
After admission to practice, a lawyer leaving government service, accept
incurs a three-fold obligation: engagement or employment in
1. He owes it to himself to continue connection with any matter in which
improving his knowledge of the he had intervened while in said
law. service.
2. He owes it to his profession to
take an active interest in the
maintenance of high standards of
legal obligation.
3. He owes it to the lay public to Code is applicable to government
make the law a part of its social lawyers
consciousness. Canon 6 makes the Code of Professional
Responsibility applicable to lawyers in
Mandatory Continuing Legal Education government service in the discharge of
(MCLE) their official duties.
Members of the IBP, except those
exempt under Rule 7 of Bar Matter No.
ralc2011 29
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

The reason for the rule is that a lawyer Rule 6.01. The primary duty of a
does not shed his professional lawyer in public prosecution is not to
obligations upon assuming public office. convict but to see that justice is done.
In fact, his professional obligations The suppression of facts or the
should make him more sensitive to his concealment of witnesses capable of
official obligations because a lawyers establishing the innocence of the
disreputable conduct is more likely to accused is highly reprehensible and is
be magnified in the public eye. cause for disciplinary action.

As government counsel, they have the A public prosecutor is a quasi-judicial


added duty to abide by the policy of the officer who represents, not an ordinary
State to promote a high standard of party to a controversy, but sovereignty.
ethics in public service. This sovereignty has its obligation to
As part of the government bureaucracy, govern impartially. Therefore, the
it is incumbent upon lawyers to perform interest in a criminal prosecution is not
and discharge their duties with the that it shall win a case but that justice
highest degree of professionalism, shall be done.
intelligence, and skill, and to extend
prompt, courteous, and adequate A public prosecutor should not hesitate
service to the public. to recommend to the court the acquittal
of the accused if the evidence in his
Fundamental principle in public law: possession shows that the accused is
Public office is a public trust. innocent.
A public servant owes utmost fidelity to If he finds no legal basis to sustain a
the public service. conviction, he should not hesitate to
Norms of conduct required of public recommend that the accused be
officials: acquitted.
1. Uphold the public interest over For his finest hour is not when he wins
and above personal interest. a case with the conviction of the
2. Discharge their duties with the accused. His finest hour is still when,
highest degree of excellence, overcoming the advocates natural
professionalism, intelligence, and obsession for victory, he stands up
skill. before the court and pleads not for the
3. Act with justness and sincerity. conviction of the accused but for his
4. Provide service without acquittal. For indeed, his noble task is
discrimination. to prosecute only the guilty and to
5. Extend prompt, courteous, and protect the innocent.
adequate service to the public.
6. Be loyal to the Republic. Restrictions on the functions of public
7. Commit themselves to democratic prosecutor
way of life and values. Public prosecutors should not allow
8. Live modest lives. giving the impression that their noble
office is being used, wittingly or
A prosecutor shall see to it that justice unwittingly, for political ends or other
is done purposes alien to the basic objective of
serving the interests of justice
ralc2011 30
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

evenhandedly, without fear or favor to


any and all litigants, whether rich or Role of the private prosecutor
poor, weak or strong, powerless or GENERAL RULE: Where the civil action
mighty. for recovery of civil liability is instituted
in the criminal action, the offended
It is his duty to refrain from improper party may intervene by counsel in the
methods calculated to produce a prosecution of the offense. (Rule 110,
wrongful conviction. Sec. 16. Rules of Court)
He should not offer as proof of the guilt EXCEPTIONS: Public prosecutor has
of the accused which is illegally seized. direction and control of the prosecution:
Nor suppress facts or conceal witnesses 1. Where from the nature of the
capable of establishing the innocence of crime and the law defining and
the accused. punishing it, no civil liability
arises in favor of a private
It is improper for a public prosecutor offended party.
to: 2. In cases where from the nature of
1. Assist in the escape of a prisoner. the offense, the offended party is
2. Institute a criminal action to force entitled to civil indemnity arising
settlement of a case. therefrom but he has:
3. Agree to refrain from prosecuting a. Waived the civil action or
a person in consideration of some b. Expressly reserved the
reward. right to institute it
4. Receive money for dismissing a separately from the
complaint. criminal action.
5. Induce an accused to plead
guilty. The role of the private prosecutor in
6. Willfully fail to prosecute criminal actions is to represent the
violations of law. private offended party with respect to
7. Have a secret partner with whom the civil action for the recovery of civil
he divides the attorneys fees. liability arising from the offense.
His sole purpose is to enforce the civil
In appeals, the Solicitor General has liability and not to demand the
control punishment of the accused.
GENERAL RULE: The Solicitor General
shall represent the People in criminal Intervention by private lawyer is
actions brought to the Court of Appeals subject to prosecutors control
and the Supreme Court. The intervention of the private
EXCEPTION: In all cases elevated to the prosecutor in the criminal prosecution is
Sandiganbayan and from there to the always subject to the direction and
Supreme Court, the Office of the control of the public prosecutor.
Ombudsman, through its special Public prosecutor is duty bound to take
prosecutor, shall represent the People. charge of the prosecution until its
9RA 8249) termination.
EXCEPTION TO THE EXCEPTION: Cases While he may allow the private
filed pursuant to Executive Order Nos. prosecutor to actively handle the
1, 2, 14, and 14-A issued in 1986.
ralc2011 31
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

conduct of the trial, his duty to direct Rule 6.02. A lawyer in government
and control requires that: service shall not use his public position
1. He must be present during the to promote or advance his private
proceedings. interests, nor allow the latter to
2. He must at any time, take over interfere with his public duties.
the conduct of the trial from the
private prosecutor. If the law allows a public official to
practice law concurrently, he must not
Where the prosecutor turned over the use his public position to feather his law
active conduct of the trial to the private practice.
prosecutor who presented testimonial Neither should he accept any private
evidence even when the public legal business in which his duty to his
prosecutor was absent during the trial, client will or may conflict with his
the evidence presented could not be official duties, and if some unforeseen
considered as valid evidence of the conflict with his official duties arises he
People of the Philippines. should terminate his professional
However, it applies only to courts which relationship.
are provided by law with their own
prosecutors, and not to Municipal Trial A public official should see to it that his
Courts which have no trial prosecutors. private activity does not interfere with
A private prosecutor taking over a the discharge of his official functions.
criminal action cannot take a stand He should avoid all impropriety and the
different from or opposed to that of the appearance of impropriety.
public prosecutor or cannot adopt a Neither should he inferentially create a
stand inconsistent with that of the public image that he is utilizing his
Solicitor General, otherwise it would be public position to advance his
tantamount to giving him the direction professional success or personal
and control of the criminal proceedings, interest at the expense of the public.
contrary to law and settled rules on the
matter. RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and
When the public prosecutor should Employees.
take over handling of the case Sec. 7(b). In addition to acts and
A public prosecutor should not allow the omissions of public officials and employees
trial in the hands of a private not prescribed in the Constitution and
prosecutor to degenerate into a private existing laws, the following shall constitute
prosecution. prohibited acts and transactions of any
The administration of criminal law public official and employee and are
should never be for the accomplishment hereby declared to be
of a private gain or advantage nor it be unlawful:
a vehicle of oppression for the (b) Outside employment and other
gratification of private malice. activities related thereto.Public officials
and employees during their incumbency
A lawyer shall not use his public shall not:
position to promote his private 1. Own, control, manage or accept
interest employment as officer employee,
ralc2011 32
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

consultant, counsel, broker, agent, The Court ruled that ATty Mendoza could
trustee or nominee / in any private not be disqualified from representing the
enterprise regulated, supervised or LGC. The Court explained:
licensed by their office / unless The key to unlock Rule 6.03 lies in
expressly allowed by law; comprehending.
2. Engage in the private practice of 1. The meaning of matter
their profession unless authorized by referred to in the rules.
the Constitution or law, provided 2. The metes and bounds of the
that such practice will not conflict or intervention made by the
tend to conflict with their official former government lawyer on
functions; or the matter.
3. Recommend any person to any The American Bar Association, in its
position in a private enterprise which Formal Opinion 342, defined matter
has a regular or pending official as:
transaction with their office. o Any discrete, isolatable act as
well as identifiable transaction
and not merely an act of
Former official may not accept certain drafting, enforcing or
employment interpreting government or
Rule 6.03. A lawyer shall not, after agency procedures,
leaving government service, accept regulations or laws, or briefing
engagement or employment in abstract principles of law.
connection with any matter in which he The matter or the act of Atty.
had intervened while in said service. Mendoza as Solicitor General is
advising the Central Bank on how to
The restriction covers engagement and proceed with Genbanks liquidation is
employment, which means that he held not to be the matter
cannot accept any work or employment contemplated by Rule 6.03.
from anyone that will involve or relate Clearly, ABA Formal Opinion 342
to the matter in which he intervened as stresses that Atty. Mendozas acts did
a public official, except on behalf of the not fall within the scope of the term
body or authority which he served matter.
during his public employment. It is given that respondent Mendoza
had nothing to do with the decision of
PCGG v. Sandiganbayan, 455 SCRA the Central Bank to liquidate Genbank
526 (2005)): and did not even participate in the sale
PCGG seeks to disqualify Atty. Estelito of Genbank to Allied Bank.
Mendoza as counsel for the Lucio Group of The matter which he got himself
Companies in the suit involving the involved was informing the Central
sequestration of shares of stock of the LGC bank on the procedure by law to
as alleged ill-gotten wealth, on the ground liquidate Genbank.
that as former Solicitor General, he It is not the same as the subject
intervened in the matter of the liquidation matter of the civil case of
of Genbank, which was subsequently sequestration of stocks owned by Tan in
purchased by LGC. Allied Bank on the alleged ground that

ralc2011 33
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

they are ill-gotten. This case does not


involve the liquidation of Genbank.
Whether the shares of stock of Allied
Bank are ill-gotten is far removed from
the issue of the dissolution and
liquidation of Genbank.

Intervention is interference that may


affect the interest of and influence others.
Intervention must not be insubstantial and
insignificant.

Substantial responsibility is required by


the prohibition.

In interpreting Rule 6.03, the Court also


cast a harsh eye on its use as a litigation
tactic to harass opposing counsel as well
as deprive his client of competent legal
representation.

In the case at bar, the new attempt to


disqualify respondent Mendoza has long
been a dead issue, resuscitated after the
lapse of many years and only after PCGG
has lost many legal incidents in the hands
of the respondent.

It is also submitted that the Court should


apply Rule 6.03 in all its strictness for it
correctly disfavors lawyers who switch
sides and intended to avoid conflict of
loyalties. It is claimed that switching
sides carries the danger that former
government employee may compromise
confidential official information in the
process.

The act of respondent Mendoza in


informing the Central Bank on the
procedure how to liquidate Genbank is a
different matter from the subject matter of
Civil Case No. 0005 which is about
sequestration of the shares of respondents
Tan in Allied Bank. There is no switching
sides for no two sides are involved.
ralc2011 34
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

CHAPTER 4: THE LAWYERS It is necessary that lawyers strive to


uphold the honor and maintain dignity
DUTIES of the profession and to improve the
TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION law and the administration of justice.
The respect of the public to the legal
profession is enhanced by the faithful
A. UPHOLDING INTEGRITY OF performance of the lawyers duties to
PROFESSION the court, to society, to his brethren in
the profession, and to his client.
Canon 7: A lawyer shall at all times Such respect is diminished whenever a
uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal member betrays the trust and
profession and support the activities of the confidence reposed in him by his client.
integrated bar. Public confidence in law and lawyers
may be eroded by the irresponsible and
Rule 7.01. A lawyer shall be improper conduct of a member of the
answerable for knowingly making a bar.
false statement or suppressing a Thus, every lawyer should act in a
material fact in connection with his manner that would promote public
application for admission to the bar. confidence in the integrity of the
profession.
Rule 7.02. A lawyer shall not A lawyer should also involve in and
support the application for admission actively support the activities of the
to the bar of any person known by IBP.
him to be unqualified in respect to
character, education, or other A person shall make no false
relevant attribute. statement in his application for
admission to the bar
Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not Rule 7.01. A lawyer shall be
engage in conduct that adversely answerable for knowingly making a
reflects on his fitness to practice law, false statement or suppressing a
nor shall he, whether in public or material fact in connection with his
private life, behave in a scandalous application for admission to the bar.
manner to the discredit of the legal Observance of the duties and
profession. responsibilities of a lawyer begins even
as a law student. A students failure to
Generally live up to them may be a ground for SC
Canon 7: A lawyer shall at all times to refuse admission to practice or for
uphold the integrity and dignity of the disbarment should SC learn later on
legal profession and support the about his/her transgressions.
activities of the integrated bar. A person seeking to be admitted to the
Maintenance of a high standard of legal bar must show that he has all the
proficiency and fair dealing is a qualifications and none of the
prerequisite to making the bar an disqualifications prescribed by law.
effective instrument in the proper
administration of justice. A lawyer shall not support unqualified
applicant to the bar
ralc2011 35
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Rule 7.02. A lawyer shall not support Gross immorality reflective of


the application for admission to the bar unfitness to practice
of any person known by him to be Acts of personal immorality in his
unqualified in respect to character, private relation with the opposite sex.
education, or other relevant attribute. Gross immorality of the act, not merely
A lawyer should not readily execute an immorality, to justify suspension or
affidavit of good moral character in disbarment.
favor of an applicant who has not live Grossly Immoral Act
up to the standard set by law. 1. One that is so corrupt and false
He should volunteer information or as to constitute a criminal act.
cooperate in any investigation 2. Unprincipled or disgraceful as to
concerning alleged anomaly in the bar be reprehensible to a high
examination. This is to help guard the degree.
profession from candidates who are Acts of gross immorality, justifying
unfit or unqualified. denial of application to take the
He should expose without fear or favor lawyers oath or suspension or
before the SC corrupt or dishonest disbarment :
conduct in the profession and should 1. Living an adulterous life with a
not hesitate to accept professional married woman.
employment against a lawyer who has 2. Maintaining illicit relations with a
wronged his client. niece.
3. Abandonment of his lawful wife to
A lawyer shall always conduct himself live with another woman.
ethically and morally 4. Contracting marriage while first
The best way a lawyer can uphold the marriage still subsisting.
integrity and dignity of the profession is 5. Seducing a woman to have carnal
not to engage in conduct that adversely knowledge with her on the basis
reflects on his fitness to practice law, of misrepresentation that he is
nor shall he, whether in public or going to marry her, that he is
private life, behave in a scandalous single, or that they are already
manner to the discredit of the legal married upon signing a mere
profession. (Rule 7.03.) application for marriage license.
He should endeavor to conduct himself 6. Carnal knowledge with a student
in such a way as to give credit to the by taking advantage of his
legal profession and to inspire the position.
confidence, respect, and trust of his However, mere intimacy between man
clients and the community. and woman either of whom possess no
Acts which adversely reflect on the legal impediment to marry, voluntarily
lawyers fitness to practice law, which carried on and devoid of any deceit on
justify suspension: the part of the lawyer, is not corrupt or
1. Gross immorality. unprincipled to warrant disciplinary
2. Conviction of a crime involving action as member of the bar. Even if
moral turpitude. the relationship results in the woman
3. Fraudulent transactions. giving birth to a child so long as he
admits paternity and agrees to support
the child.
ralc2011 36
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Cohabitation per se is not grossly 4. Concealing in an information


immoral. sheet required by law in
o Whether a lawyers sexual connection with his employment
congress with a woman not his the fact that he was charged with
wife should be characterized as or convicted of a crime.
grossly immoral will depend upon 5. Borrowing money as a guardian
the surrounding circumstances. for his benefit upon the wards
Even if the evidence is not sufficient to property as collateral without the
hold a lawyer liable for gross courts approval.
immorality, may nonetheless be 6. Encashing a check payable to his
reprimanded where such evidence deceased cousin by signing the
shows failure on his part to comply with latters name.
the rigorous standards of conduct. 7. Falsifying a power of attorney and
using it to collect the money due
Conviction of a crime involving moral the principal and converting it to
turpitude his benefit.
Moral turpitude: 8. Misappropriating money
o Anything which is done contrary belonging to his employer.
to justice, honesty, modesty, or
good morals.
o Any act of vileness, baseness, or
depravity in the private and social
duties a man owes his fellowmen
or to society, contrary to the
accepted rule of right and duty
between man and woman.
o In general, all crimes which fraud
or deceit is an element.
Lawyers convicted of such crime are
either suspended or disbarred.

Commission of fraud or falsehood


Commission of such may badly reflect
on his fitness to practice law.
He may be administratively disciplined.
Acts of misconduct calling for
disciplinary actions:
1. Falsely stating in a deed of sale
that the property is free from
liens or encumbrances.
2. Knowingly taking part in a false
and simulated transaction.
3. Making it appear that a vendor,
long dead, executed a document
of sale in his favor.

ralc2011 37
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

profession and will not receive


B. LAWYERS RELATION WITH OTHER sympathy from the Court.
LAWYERS Duty of lawyer to restrain his client
from improprieties and to terminate his
Canon 8. A lawyer shall conduct himself relation with him if the latter persists in
with courtesy, fairness, and candor toward his wrongdoing.
his professional colleagues, and shall avoid A lawyer should not use, to his or his
harassing tactics against opposing counsel. clients benefit, the secrets of the
adverse party acquired through design
Rule 8.01. A lawyer shall not, in or inadvertence.
professional dealings, use language A lawyer who thinks a case is weak may
which is abusive, offensive or not criticize the lawyer who accepts it,
otherwise improper. much less should he attribute to him
evil motive for taking up the clients
Rule 8.02. A lawyer shall not, cause.
directly or indirectly, encroach upon It is not, however, improper for a
the professional employment of lawyer to accept employment to compel
another lawyer; however, it is the another lawyer to honor the just claim
right of any lawyer, without fear or of a layman. His action toward such
favor, to give proper advice and end, as writing a letter of demand to
assistance to those seeking relief the lawyer, is not unethical since it is
against unfaithful or neglectful mere honest effort to serve the interest
counsel. of the client.

A lawyer should use temperate


Generally language
Membership in the bar imposes upon Rule 8.01. A lawyer shall not, in
lawyers certain obligations to one professional dealings, use language
another. which is abusive, offensive or otherwise
What makes the practice of law a improper.
profession: His arguments, written or oral, should
o Observance of honorable, candid, be gracious to both the court and the
and courteous dealings with other opposing counsel.
lawyers. Should be of such words as may be
o Fidelity to known and recognized properly addressed by one gentleman
customs and practices of the bar. to another.
Do as adversaries do in law: strive
Candor, fairness, and truthfulness mightily but eat and drink as friends.
should characterize relations Whatever may be the ill-feelings
The Court reminds parties and counsels between the clients should not influence
to:avoid further squabbles and counsel in their conduct and demeanor
unnecessary filing of administrative toward each other.
cases against each other. They should scrupulously avoid all
Mutual bickering and unjustified personalities and personal history or
recriminations between attorneys personal peculiarities and idiosyncrasies
detract from the dignity of the legal of the other.
ralc2011 38
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

should deal only with his counsel. It is


A lawyer shall not encroach upon incumbent upon the lawyer most
business of another particularly to avoid everything that
Rule 8.02. A lawyer shall not, directly may tend to mislead a party not
or indirectly, encroach upon the represented by counsel, and he should
professional employment of another not undertake to advise him as to the
lawyer; however, it is the right of any law.
lawyer, without fear or favor, to give A lawyer should not, in the absence of
proper advice and assistance to those the adverse partys counsel, interview
seeking relief against unfaithful or the adverse party and question him as
neglectful counsel. to the facts of the case even if the
A lawyer should not steal the other adverse party was willing to do so.
lawyers client nor induce the latter to Neither should he sanction the attempt
retain him by promise of better service, of his client to settle a litigated matter
good result or reduced fees for his with the adverse party without the
services. Neither should he disparage consent nor knowledge of the latters
another, make comparisons or publicize counsel.
his talent as a means to further his law
practice. Association as a colleague in a case
It is, however, the right of a lawyer, A clients proffer of assistance of
without fear or favor, to give proper additional counsel should not be
advice to those seeking relief against regarded as evidence of want of
unfaithful or neglectful counsel. confidence but the matter should be left
He may accept employment to handle a to the determination of the client.
matter previously handled by another The 2nd lawyer should communicate
lawyer, provided that the other lawyer with the 1st before making an
has been given notice of termination of appearance. Should the 1st lawyer
service. Without such notice, he shall object, he should decline association
only appear once he has obtained but if the 1st lawyer is relieved, he may
conformity or has, at the very least, come into the case.
given sufficient notice of contemplated When there is conflict of opinions
substitution. between two lawyers jointly associated
A lawyers appearance in the case in a case, the client should decide. The
without notice to the first lawyer decision should be accepted unless the
amounts to an improper encroachment nature of the difference makes it
upon the professional employment of impracticable for the lawyer whose
the original counsel. judgment has been overruled to
cooperate effectively. In this event, it is
Negotiation with opposite party his/her duty to ask client to relieve
Canon 9 of the Canons of Professional him/her.
Ethics provides that a lawyer shall not
in any way communicate upon the
subject of controversy with a party C. PREVENTING UNAUTHORIZED
represented by counsel, much less PRACTICE OF LAW
should he undertake to negotiate or
compromise the matter with him, but
ralc2011 39
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Canon 9. A lawyer shall not, directly or unlicensed to practice law and not
indirectly, assist in the unauthorized subject to the disciplinary control of the
practice of law. court.
The law makes it a misbehavior on the
Rule 9.01. A lawyer shall not part of the lawyer to aid a layman in
delegate to any unqualified person the unauthorized practice of law.
the performance of any task which A person not admitted to the bar may
by law may only be performed by a not hold himself out to the public as
member of the Bar in good standing. engaged in the practice of law, either
alone or as associated with a practicing
Rule 9.02. A lawyer shall not divide attorney under a firm name. (US v.
or stipulate to divide a fee for legal Ney (1907))
services with persons not licensed to He may not form a partnership with a
practice law, except: lay accountant to specialize in income
1. there is a pre-existing agreement tax work unless he ceases to hold
with a partner or associate that, himself out as a lawyer and strictly
upon the latters death, money shall confine his activities to such as are
be paid over a reasonable period of open to lay accountants.
time to his estate or to persons
specified in the agreement; or Intervention of intermediary not
2. Where a lawyer undertakes to allowed
complete unfinished or legal Prohibition on intermediary to intervene
business of a deceased lawyer; or in the performance of lawyers
3. Where a lawyer or law firm professional obligations.
includes non-lawyer employees in a Lawyers relation to client is personal
retirement plan, even if the plan is and responsibility is direct.
based in whole or in part, on profit- Intervention of lay agency between
sharing arrangement. lawyer and the client is forbidden.
It is thus improper for a lawyer to
Duty to prevent unauthorized practice accept employment from an automobile
of law club which, in soliciting membership,
Canon 9. A lawyer shall not, directly or offers free services of it legal
indirectly, assist in the unauthorized department to members.
practice of law. Employment should not include the
Public policy requires that the practice rendering of legal services to members
of law be limited to those individuals of such an organization in respect to
found duly qualified in education and their individual affairs.
character. A charitable society rendering aid to the
The permissive right conferred on the indigent is not, however, an
lawyer is an individual and limited intermediary within the meaning of the
privilege subject to withdrawal if he rule.
fails to maintain proper standards of
moral and professional conduct. A lawyer shall not delegate legal work
Purpose is to protect the public, the to non-lawyers
court, the client, and the bar from Rule 9.01. A lawyer shall not delegate
incompetence and dishonesty of those to any unqualified person the
ralc2011 40
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

performance of any task which by law The third exception to the rule does not
may only be performed by a member of involve, strictly speaking, a division of
the Bar in good standing. legal fees with non-lawyer employees.
He should not delegate to a layman any The retirement benefits in the form of
work which involves the application of pension represent additional deferred
law, such as: wages or compensation for past
1. The computation and services of the employees
determination of the period within Impropriety arises where the effect of
which to appeal and adverse the arrangement is to make the estate
judgment. or heir a member of the partnership
2. Examination of witnesses. along with the surviving partners, or
3. Presentation of evidence. where the estate or heir is to receive a
Can employ secretaries, investigators, percentage of fees that may be paid
detectives, researches as long as they from future business of the deceased
are not involved in the practice of law lawyers clients. Such fees no longer
(e.g., not writing pleadings, appearing represent compensation for past
in court, etc.) services of the deceased lawyer.
An agreement between a union lawyer
A lawyer shall not divide fees with and a layman president of the union to
non-lawyers divide equally the attorneys fees that
Rule 9.02. A lawyer shall not divide or may be awarded in a labor case violates
stipulate to divide a fee for legal the rule.
services with persons not licensed to
practice law.
Exceptions: D. SOLICITATION AND ADVERTISING
1. Where there is a pre-existing
agreement with a partner or A lawyer shall not solicit legal
associate that, upon the latters business
death, money shall be paid over a The law prohibits lawyers from soliciting
reasonable period of time to his cases for the purpose of gain, either
estate or to persons specified in the personally, or through paid agents or
agreement. brokers, and makes the act
2. Where a lawyer undertakes to malpractice. (Rule 138, Sec. 27, Rules
complete unfinished or legal or Court)
business of a deceased lawyer. Sec. 27. Attorneys removed or
3. Where a lawyer or law firm includes suspended by Supreme Court on what
non-lawyer employees in a grounds. - A member of the bar may be
retirement plan, even if the plan is removed or suspended from his office
based in whole or in part, on as attorney by the Supreme Court for
profitsharing arrangement. any deceit, malpractice, or other gross
misconduct in such office, grossly
The first two exceptions to the rule immoral conduct, or by reason of his
represent compensation for legal conviction of a crime involving moral
service rendered by the deceased turpitude, or for any violation of the
lawyer during his lifetime, which is paid oath which he is required to take before
to his estate or heirs. admission to practice, or for a wilfull
ralc2011 41
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

disobedience of any lawful order of a indigent or a person having difficulty


superior court, or for corruptly or paying the usual fee.
wilfully appearing as an attorney for a
party to a case without authority so to A lawyer cannot advertise his talent;
do. The practice of soliciting cases at reasons therfor
law for the purpose of gain, either General rule: A lawyer cannot advertise
personally or through paid agents or his talent as a shopkeeper advertises
brokers, constitutes malpractice. his wares.
Rule 2.03. A lawyer shall not do or Restriction originated from practices in
permit to be done any act designed to the Inns of Court of England.
primarily solicit legal business. Young men studying to become
Among those that fall under the barristers regarded the law as primarily
prohibition: a form of public service in which the
1. A lawyer who recommends gaining of a livelihood was but a
employment of himself, his secondary consideration.
partner, associate, or member of A lawyer is a member of an honorable
his legal staff to a non-lawyer profession whose primary purpose is to
who has not sought his advice render public service and help secure
regarding employment of a justice and in which remuneration is a
lawyer. mere incident.
2. A lawyer who compensates and To allow a lawyer to advertise his talent
gives anything of value to a or skill is to commercialize the practice
person or organization to of law, lower the profession in public
recommend or secure his confidence and lessen its ability to
employment of a client. render efficiently that high character of
3. A lawyer who gives a reward for service to which every member of the
having made a recommendation bar is called.
resulting in his employment by a If competitive advertising were
client. permitted, the conscientious and ethical
lawyers will unavoidably be at the
A lawyer shall not charge lower rates mercy of the braggart.
to attract business
An unethical practice of indirect Proper or permissible advertising or
solicitation of legal business. solicitation
Rule 2.04. A lawyer shall not charge Not all advertising or solicitation are
rates lower than those customarily prohibited.
prescribed unless the circumstances so What makes solicitation improper is:
warrant. 1. the employment of such methods
What the rule prohibits is the as are incompatible with the
competition in the matter of charging traditional dignity of a lawyer and
professional fees for the purpose of maintenance of correct
attracting clients in favor of a lawyer professional standards or
with lower rates. 2. the use of artificial means to
The rule does not prohibit the charging augment the publicity that
of a reduced fee or none at all, to an normally results from what a
lawyer does.
ralc2011 42
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Best advertising for a lawyer: A well- full time position as corporate


merited reputation for professional counsel;
capacity and fidelity to trust. if in media, those acts incidental to
Good and efficient service to a client as his practice (i.e., not his own
well as to the community has a way of initiative);
publicizing itself and catching public write articles for publication giving
attention. information upon the law (and not
That publicity is a normal by-product of individual rights or advising through
effective service. column/ TV broadcast, lest such be
A good and reputable lawyer needs no considered indirect advertising);
artificial stimulus to generate it and to if entering into other businesses
magnify his success. (which are not inconsistent with
EXCEPTIONS: lawyers duties) then it is advisable
1. Those which are expressly that they be entirely separate and
allowed. apart such that a layman could
2. Those which are necessarily distinguish between the two
implied from the restrictions. functions.

publication in reputable law list with Writing legal articles


brief biographical and other An attorney may with propriety write
informative data which may include articles for publications in which he
name, associates, address, phone gives information upon the law; but he
numbers, branches of law practised, should not accept employment from
birthday, day admitted to the bar, such publications to advise inquiries in
schools and dates attended, degrees respect to their individual rights.
and distinctions, authorships, (Canon 40, Code of Professional Ethics)
teaching positions, associations, A lawyer may properly write and sell for
legal fraternities and societies, publication, articles of general nature
references and regularly represented on legal subjects in a law journal.
clients must be published for that
purpose; What should be guarded against is the
an ordinary, simple professional violation of the ethical principles
card; concerning:
publication of simple announcement 1. Improper advertising by a lawyer.
of opening of law firm, change of 2. Giving of legal advice to one with
firm; whom no attorney-client
telephone directory (but not under relationship exists.
designation of special branch of 3. Aiding of a layman to engage in
law); unauthorized practice of law.
if acting as an associate (specialising
in a branch of law), may publish a Engaging in business or other
brief and dignified announcement to occupation
lawyers (law list, law journal); It is not uncommon to see lawyers
seeking a public office (which can be combining law practice with some other
filled only by a lawyer); lawful occupation.

ralc2011 43
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

The fact that he is a lawyer does not regarding his qualifications or legal
preclude him from engaging in services.
business. Rule 3.04. A lawyer shall not pay or
Impropriety arises when the nature and give anything of value to
manner of business is inconsistent with representatives of the mass media in
the duties of the lawyer such as when it anticipation of, or in return for, publicity
is used as a cloak for indirect to attract legal business.
solicitation on his behalf. Similarly, he should not resort to
It is necessary that the lawyer keeps indirect advertisements, such as
any business in which he is engaged, furnishing or inspiring newspaper
entirely separate and apart from his comments, or procuring his photograph
practice. to be published.
He shall make it clear to his client in
what capacity he is acting.
Businesses closely associated with the CANON 3: A lawyer in making known his legal
practice of law: services shall use only true, honest, fair,
o Collection agency. dignified and objective information or
o Real estate brokerage. statement of facts.
o Insurance agency.
Rule 3.01. A lawyer shall not use or
o Mortgage service. permit the use of any false, fraudulent,
o Tax service and consultancy. misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-
laudatory, or unfair statement or claim
A lawyer shall make clear whether he regarding his qualifications or legal
is acting in another capacity services.
Rule 15.08. A lawyer who is engaged
in another profession or occupation Rule 3.02. In the choice of a firm
concurrently with the practice of law name, no false, misleading or assumed
shall make clear to his client whether name shall be used. The continued use
he is acting as a lawyer or in another of the name of a deceased partner is
permissible provided that the firm
capacity.
indicates in all its communications that
The reason is that certain ethical said partner is deceased.
considerations governing the attorney-
client relationship may be operative in Rule 3.03. Where a partner accepts
one and not in the other. public office, he shall withdraw from the
firm and his name shall be dropped
Lawyer shall not use false statement from the firm name unless the law
regarding his qualification or service allows him to practice law concurrently.
CANON 3: A lawyer in making known
his legal services shall use only true, Rule 3.04. A lawyer shall not pay or
give anything of value to
honest, fair, dignified and objective
representatives of the mass media in
information or statement of facts. anticipation of, or in return for, publicity
Rule 3.01. A lawyer shall not use or to attract legal business.
permit the use of any false, fraudulent,
misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-
laudatory, or unfair statement or claim

ralc2011 44
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

It is not a business partnership under


the Civil Code.
It is highly unethical for an attorney to No person should be admitted or held
advertise his talents or skill as a out as a member who is not a lawyer.
merchant advertises his wares. The law Rule 3.02. In the choice of a firm
is a profession and not a business. The name, no false, misleading or assumed
lawyer may not sell or obtain name shall be used. The continued use
employment himself or through others of the name of a deceased partner is
for to do so would be unprofessional. It permissible provided that the firm
is destructive of the honor of a great indicates in all its communications that
profession. It lowers the standards of said partner is deceased.
that profession. It works against the The reason for allowing the continued
confidence of the community and it use of the name of a deceased partner
results in needless litigation. (In Re: is that all the partners, by their joint
Tagorda, 53 Phil 37 (1929))7 efforts over a period of time,
Tagorda was suspended for soliciting contributed to the goodwill attached to
business. Before Tagordas election to the firm name, and this goodwill is
the provincial board of Isabela, he used disturbed by a change in firm name
a card offering services as an attorney every time a partner dies.
and a notary public free. The card also Filipino lawyers cannot practice law
stated that he was a candidate for the under the name of a foreign law firm,
provincial board. After his election, he as the latter cannot practice law in the
wrote a letter to the barrio lieutenant Philippines.
informing him that he would continue The use of the foreign law firm in the
his practice as lawyer and asking that country is unethical:
the lieutenant transmit this information o The respondents use of the firm
to the barrio. name constitutes a
Examples of improper advertising: representation that being
o Distribution of a diary which has associated with Baker and
an attorneys card printed in the McKenzie they could render legal
cover. services to the highest quality to
o Procuring a lawyers name to be multinational business enterprises
written in an automobile and others engaged in foreign
insurance policy with direction to trade and investment. This is
the insured to contact the unethical because Baker &
attorney in case of accident. McKenzie is not authorized to
practice law here. (Dacanay v.
Baker and McKenzie, 136
A lawyer shall not use false or SCRA 349 (1985))
misleading firm name
Law partnership among lawyers for the A partner who accepts public office
general practice of law is common. should withdraw from the firm;
Such partnership is a mere association exception
of lawyers for such purpose and is a Rule 3.03. Where a partner accepts
non-legal entity. public office, he shall withdraw from the
firm and his name shall be dropped
ralc2011 45
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

from the firm name unless the law national organization of the legal
allows him to practice law concurrently. profession based on the recognition of
The purpose of the rule is to prevent the lawyer as an officer of the court.
the law firm from using his name to Integration fosters cohesion among
attract legal business and to avoid lawyers and ensures the promotion of
suspicion of undue influence. the objectives of the legal profession
pursuant to the principle of maximum
A lawyer shall not seek media bar autonomy with minimum
publicity supervision by the Supreme Court.
Rule 3.04. A lawyer shall not pay or
give anything of value to Power to integrate the bar
representatives of the mass media in The Constitution vests upon the
anticipation of, or in return for, publicity Supreme Court the power to integrate
to attract legal business. the Philippine bar.
Media publicity, as a normal by-product Such power is an inherent part of the
of efficient legal service, is not Courts constitutional authority over the
improper. bar.
What is improper is for a lawyer to Supreme Court may adopt rules of
resort to propaganda to secure media court to effect the integration of the
publicity for the purpose of attracting Philippine Bar. (RA 6397 AN ACT
legal business. PROVIDING FOR THE INTEGRATION OF
The purpose of the rule is to prevent THE PHILIPPINE BAR)
some lawyers from gaining unfair However, RA 6397 neither confers a
advantage over others through the use new power nor restricts the Courts
of gimmickry. inherent power but is a mere legislative
o Procuring his photograph to be declaration that the integration will
published in connection with promote public interest or will raise the
cases he is handling. standard of the legal profession.
o Making a courtroom scene to January 16, 1973, Supreme Court
attract the attention of ordained the integration of the
newspapermen. Philippine Bar.
o Arranging for the purpose an Presidential Decree 181
interview with him by media (CONSTITUTING THE INTEGRATED BAR
people. OF THE PHILIPPINES INTO A BODY
CORPORATE AND PROVIDING
E. THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE THERETO
PHILIPPINES FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ITS
PURPOSES) constituted the Integrated
Integration of the bar Bar into a corporate body.
The official unification of the entire
lawyer population. Constitutionality of integration
Requires membership and financial Constitutionality hinges on the effects
support of every attorney as a condition of bar integration on the lawyers
sine qua non to the practice of law. constitutional rights of freedom of
Bar integration signifies the setting up association and freedom of speech and
by the government authority of a
ralc2011 46
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

on the nature of the dues exacted from as an exercise of the police


him. power of the State.
In upholding the constitutionality of The inherent power of the
integration, the Supreme Court quoted Supreme Court to regulate
approvingly the report of the the bar includes the
Commission on Bar Integration on the authority to integrate the
matter as follows: bar.
o Freedom of Association To o Regulatory fee For the Court to
compel a lawyer to be a member prescribe dues does not mean
of an integrated bar is not that the Court levies a tax.
violative of his constitutional A membership fee is an
freedom to associate (or the exaction for regulation,
corollary right not to associate). while the purpose of a tax
Integration does not make is revenue.
a lawyer a member of any An integrated bar program
group of which he is not would not be possible to
already a member. He push through without
became a member of the means to defray the
bar when he passed the bar concomitant expenses.
exams. All that integration The public interest
does is to provide an promoted by integration far
official national outweighs the
organization for the well- inconsequential
defined but unorganized inconvenience to a member
and incohesive group of that might result from his
which every lawyer is required payment of annual
already a member. dues.
Bar integration does not o Freedom of Speech A lawyer is
compel the lawyer to free, as he has always been, to
associate with anyone. He voice his views on any subject in
is free to attend or not any manner he wishes, even
attend the meetings. though such views be opposed to
The compulsion to which positions taken by the unified
he is subjected is the bar.
payment of annual dues. For the Integrated Bar to
The issue, therefore, is a use a members dues to
question of compelled promote measures to which
financial support of group said member is opposed,
activities, not involuntary would not nullify or
membership in any other adversely affect his
aspect. freedom of speech.
Assuming that bar Since a State may
integration does compel a constitutionally condition
lawyer to be a member, the right to practice law
such compulsion is justified upon membership, it is
difficult to understand why
ralc2011 47
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

it should become 2. Foster and maintain, on the


unconstitutional for the bar part of its members, high
to use the members dues ideals of integrity, learning,
to fulfill the very purposes professional competence,
for which it was public service and conduct;
established. 3. Safeguard the professional
o Fair to all lawyers Bar interests of its members;
integration is not unfair to 4. Cultivate among its
lawyers already practicing members a spirit of
because although the cordiality and brotherhood;
requirement to pay dues is a new 5. Provide a forum for the
regulation. It will give the discussion of law,
member a new system which jurisprudence, law reform,
they hitherto have not had, and pleading, practice and
through which, by proper work, procedure, and the
they will receive benefits they relations of the Bar to the
have not hereto enjoyed. Bench and to the public,
Because it will apply equally to all and publish information
lawyers. Because it is a new relating thereto;
regulation in exchange for new 6. Encourage and foster legal
benefits, it is not retroactive, education; and
unequal, or unfair. 7. Promote a continuing
program of legal research
Purposes and objectives of the in substantive and
Integrated Bar adjective law, and make
By-laws Integrated Bar Philippines reports and
Sec. 2. Objectives and purposes. - The recommendations thereon.
following are the general objectives of
the Integrated bar: The purposes of an integrated Bar, in
o to elevate the standards of the general, are:
legal profession, 1. Assist in the administration of
o to improve the administration of justice;
justice; and 2. Foster and maintain on the part
o to enable the Bar to discharge its of its members high ideals of
public responsibilities more integrity, learning, professional
effectively. competence, public service and
o The purposes of the Integrated conduct;
Bar include, without being limited 3. Safeguard the professional
to, those specified in the per interests of its members;
curiam Resolution of the Supreme 4. Cultivate among its members a
Court dated January 9, 1973 spirit of cordiality and
ordaining the integration of the brotherhood;
Philippine Bar, to wit: 5. Provide a forum for the discussion
1. Assist in the administration of law, jurisprudence, law reform,
of justice; pleading, practice and procedure,
and the relations of the Bar to the
ralc2011 48
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Bench and to the public, and the country so that the poor may not
publish information relating lack competent legal service;
thereto; 9. Distribute educational and
6. Encourage and foster legal informational materials that are
education; difficult to obtain in many of our
7. Promote a continuing program of provinces;
legal research in substantive and 10. Devise and maintain a
adjective law, and make reports program of continuing legal
and recommendations thereon; education for practising attorneys in
and order to elevate the standards of the
8. Enable the Bar to discharge its profession throughout the country;
public responsibility effectively. 11. Enforce rigid ethical
standards, and promulgate minimum
Integration of the Bar will, among other fees schedules;
things, make it possible for the legal 12. Create law centers and
profession to: establish law libraries for legal
1. Render more effective assistance in research;
maintaining the Rule of Law; 13. Conduct campaigns to
2. Protect lawyers and litigants against educate the people on their legal
the abuse of tyrannical judges and rights and obligations, on the
prosecuting officers; importance of preventive legal
3. Discharge, fully and properly, its advice, and on the functions and
responsibility in the disciplining duties of the Filipino lawyer; and
and/or removal of incompetent and 14. Generate and maintain
unworthy judges and prosecuting pervasive and meaningful country-
officers; wide involvement of the lawyer
4. Shield the judiciary, which population in the solution of the
traditionally cannot defend itself multifarious problems that afflict the
except within its own forum, from nation. (In re Integration of the
the assaults that politics and self- Bar of the Philippines)
interest may level at it, and assist it
to maintain its integrity, impartiality Non-political bar
and independence; By-laws Integrated Bar Philippines
5. Have an effective voice in the Sec. 4. Non-political bar. - The
selection of judges and prosecuting Integrated Bar is strictly non-political,
officers; and every activity tending to impair this
6. Prevent the unauthorized practice of basic feature is strictly prohibited and
law, and break up any monopoly of shall be penalized accordingly. No
local practice maintained through lawyer holding an elective, judicial,
influence or position; quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in
7. Establish welfare funds for families the Government or any political
of disabled and deceased lawyers; subdivision or instrumentality thereof
8. Provide placement services, and shall be eligible for election or
establish legal aid offices and set up appointment to any position in the
lawyer reference services throughout Integrated Bar or any Chapter thereof.
A Delegate, Governor, officer or
ralc2011 49
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

employee of the Integrated Bar, or an practice of law shall, not later


officer or employee of any Chapter than December 31, 1974, register
therof shall be considered ipso facto in the Integrated Bar as
resigned from his position as of the hereunder required, at the
moment he files his certificate of national office or at the office of
candidacy for any elective public office his Chapter.
or accepts appointment to any judicial,
quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in Every person admitted to the
the Government or any political practice of law after these by-
subdivision or instrumentality thereof. laws become effective shall
register in like manner not later
The election of IBP officers is required than sixty days after such
to be conducted on a non-political admission.
basis. Partisan politics may thus
invalidate the elections. Registration shall be
Partisan political activities of candidates accomplished by signing and
for IBP positions, such as setting up filing in duplicate the prescribed
campaign headquarters, island-hopping registration form containing such
to solicit votes of chapter presidents, information as may be required
made a political circus of the by the Board of Governors,
proceedings and tainted the whole including the following:
election process. The candidates a. Full name, sex and civil
violated the IBP by-laws and of the status;
ethics of the legal profession. b. Month, date, year and
place of birth;
Membership, resignation, retirement, c. Office address(es);
and reinstatement d. Residence address(es);
By-laws Integrated Bar Philippines e. Occupation(s) or
o Sec. 18. Membership. - The employment;
following persons are, f. Name of law school and
automatically and without year of graduation;
exception members of the g. Year of admission to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines: Bar; and
a. All lawyers whose names h. Field(s) of specialization in
were in the Roll of law, if any.
Attorneys of the Supreme
Court as of January 16, It shall be the duty of the Secretary
1973; and of every Chapter to promptly
b. All lawyers whose names forward a copy of each accomplished
were included or are registration form to the national
entered therein after the office.
said date.
o Sec. 19. Registration. - Unless o Sec. 20. Members in good
he has already previously standing. - Every member who
registered, every member has paid all membership dues
heretofore admitted to the and all authorized special
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

assessments, plus surcharges


owing thereon, and who is not
under suspension from the Membership dues and effect of
practice of law or from nonpayment thereof
membership privileges, is a Sec. 23. Membership dues. - On or
member in good standing. before the 31st day of December, every
member of the Integrated Bar shall pay
o Sec. 21. Voluntary termination of annual dues for the ensuing fiscal year
membership; reinstatement. - A in the amount of FIVE HUNDRED PESOS
member may terminate his at the National Office or at the office of
membership by filing a verified his Chapter, to take effect on January
notice to that effect with the 1, 1995.
Secretary of the Integrated Bar,
who shall immediately bring the Subject to approval by the Supreme
matter to the attention of the Court, the Board of Governors may
Supreme Court. Forthwith, he increase the annual membership dues,
shall cease to be a member and or modify the apportionment thereof.
his name shall be stricken from
the Roll of Attorneys. All lawyers shall indicate in all
pleadings, motions and papers
Reinstatement may be made in signed and filed by them in any
accordance with rules and court in the Philippines - and in the
regulations prescribed by the case of government lawyers, in all
Board of Governors and approved official documents issued by them -
by the Court. the number and date of their official
receipt indicating payment of their
o Sec. 22. Retirement; annual membership dues to the
reinstatement. - Any member in Integrated Bar of the Philippines for
good standing who shall have the current year, or in the case of
attained the age of seventy-five life members, their life membership
years, or who shall have been roll number. (As amended pursuant
forty years as lawyer shall, by to Bar Matter No. 668).
reason of physical disability or
judicially adjudged mental Sec. 24. Effect of non-payment of
incapacity, be unable to engage dues. - Except for the fiscal year
in the practice of Law, may be 1974- 1975, any member who has
retired from the Integrated Bar not paid his membership dues for
upon verified petition to the any given fiscal year on or before
Board of Governors. Retired the last day (June 30) of the
members shall not practice law or immediately preceding fiscal year
be required to pay dues. shall be considered as dues-
delinquent members. For the fiscal
A retired member may be year 1974-1975 any member who
reinstated to active membership has not paid the annual dues on or
upon written application to and before November 30, 1974 shall be
approval by the Board. considered a dues-delinquent. If the
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

delinquency continues until the respective members, but each Chapter


following December 31, the Board of shall have at least one Delegate.
Governors shall by Resolution At the local level are the Chapter
forthwith suspend all his officials.
membership privileges other than Sec. 26. Chapters. - A Chapter of the
the practice of law. Integrated Bar shall be organized in
every province existing on the date of
Sec. 25. Remission or lifting of the effectivity of the Integration Rule.
sanctions. - The Board of Governors Except as hereinbelow provided, every
may, for justifiable reasons, remit or city shall be considered part of the
lift sanctions already imposed and province within which it was
authorize the retroactive geographically situated prior to its
reinstatement of the member creation as a city.
concerned. However, sanctions
imposed or approved by the National officers
Supreme Court may be remitted or Sec. 50. Duties of officers. - (a)
lifted only by the Court. President: The President shall be
the chief executive of the Integrated
Organizational Setup Bar, and shall preside at all meetings
Sec. 47. National Officers. - The of the Board of Governors.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall (b) Executive Vice President: The
have a President and Executive Vice Executive Vice President shall
President to be chosen by the Board of exercise the powers and perform the
Governors from among nine (9) functions and duties of the President
regional governors, as much as during the absence or inability of the
practicable, on a rotation basis. The latter to act, and shall perform such
governors shall be ex officio Vice other functions and duties as are
President for their respective regions. assigned to him by the President and
There shall also be a Secretary and the Board of Governors.
Treasurer of the Board of Governors to (c) Governors: In addition to his
be appointed by the President with the duties as a member of the Board of
consent of the Board. (As amended Governors, each elective Governor
pursuant to Bar Matter 491). shall act as representative of his
The deliberative body is the House of Region in the Board. He shall
Delegates. promote, coordinate and correlate
Sec. 30. Composition of the House. activities of the Chapters within his
- The Integrated Bar shall have a House Region.
of Delegates composed of not more (d) Secretary: The Secretary shall
than one hundred and twenty members attend all meetings of the Board of
apportioned among all the Chapters. Governors, and keep a record of all
On or before December 31, 1974, and the proceedings thereof; prepare
every two years thereafter, the Board and maintain a register of all
of Governors shall make a members of the Integrated Bar;
reappointment of Delegates among all notify national officers as well as
the Chapters as nearly as may be members of national committees of
according to the number of their their election or appointments;
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

cause to be prepared the necessary activities of the Integrated Bar. It shall


official ballots for the election of have authority, inter alia, to:
Governors; and perform such other a. Fix the date, time and place of every
duties as are assigned to him by convention of the House of Delegates;
these By-Laws, by the President and b. Make appropriations and authorize
by the Board of Governors. disbursements from the funds of the
(e) Treasurer: The Treasurer shall Integrated Bar;
collect, receive, recorder and c. Engage the services of employees,
disburse ad funds of the Integrated define their duties and fix their
Bar; compensation;
Sec. 49. Terms of office. - The d. Receive, consider and act on reports
President and the Executive Vice and recommendations submitted by the
President shall hold office for a term House of Delegates or its committees;
of two years from July 1 following e. Provide for the publication of the
their election until June 30 of their Journal of the Integrated Bar;
second year in office and until their f. Administer the Welfare Fund;
successors shall have been duly g. Fill vacancies, however arising in the
chosen and qualified. positions of officers of the Integrated
Bar;
Board of Governors h. Subject to the approval of the Supreme
Sec. 39. Nomination and election of the Court, promulgate Canons of
Governors. - At least one (1) month Professional Responsibility for all
before the national convention the members of the Integrated Bar;
delegates from each region shall elect i. Promulgate rules and regulations for
the governor for their region, the choice the establishment and maintenance of
of which shall as much as possible be lawyer referral services throughout the
rotated among the chapters in the Philippines;
region. j. Subject to the approval of the Supreme
The Integrated bar is governed by a Court, impose special assessments for
Board of Governors consisting 9 specific national purposes, and impose,
Governors from the 9 regions. or recommend sanctions for non-
The President and the Executive Vice payment or delinquency in the payment
President, if chosen by the Governors thereof;
from outside themselves, shall ipso k. Prescribe such rules and regulations as
facto become members of the board. may be necessary and proper to carry
Sec. 38. Term of office. - The out the objectives and purposes of the
Governors shall hold office for a term of Integrated Bar; and
two years from July 1 immediately l. Perform such other functions as may be
following their election to June 30 of necessary or expedient in the interest
their second year in office and until of the Integrated Bar.
their successors shall have been duly
chosen and qualified.
Sec. 41. Functions of the Board. - In the discharge of its duties, the Board
The Board of Governors shall have of Governors is assisted by national
general charge of the affairs and committees.
o Committee on Chapter Affairs.
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o Committee on Legal Aid. Delegate. Additional Delegates and


o Committee on Administration of alternates shall in proper cases be
Justice. elected by the Board of Officers of the
o Committee on Legal Education Chapter. Members of the Board of
and Bar Admissions. Governors who are not Delegates shall
o Committee on Professional be members ex oficio of the House,
Responsibility, Discipline and without the right to vote.
Disbarment. Sec. 34. Special convention. -
o Committee on Research Services. Special conventions of the House may
o Committee on Legislation. be called by the Board of Governors
o Committee on Public Services. motu proprio, or upon written petition
o Committee on Inter-Professional therefor filed with the Secretary of the
and Business Relations. Integrated Bar signed by not less than
o Committee on Books and thirty Delegates.
Publications. Sec. 33. (b) The President and
o Committee on Unauthorized Executive Vice President of the IBP shall
Practice of Law. be the Chairman and Vice-Chairman,
o Committee on Law Reporting. respectively, of the House of Delegates.
o Budget committee. The Secretary, Treasurer, and
Sergeant-at-Arms shall be appointed by
House of Delegates the President with the consent of the
The deliberative body of the IBP is the House of Delegates.
House of delegates.
Sec. 30. Composition of the House. Chapter Government
- The Integrated Bar shall have a House The fundamental objective of the
of Delegates composed of not more Chapter is to administer the affairs of
than one hundred and twenty members the IBP within its territorial jurisdiction
apportioned among all the Chapters. under the general direction and
On or before December 31, 1974, and supervision of the Board of Governors.
every two years thereafter, the Board Sec. 2. Objectives and purposes. -
of Governors shall make a The following are the general objectives
reappointment of Delegates among all of the Integrated bar:
the Chapters as nearly as may be o to elevate the standards of the
according to the number of their legal profession,
respective members, but each Chapter o to improve the administration of
shall have at least one Delegate. justice; and
Sec. 31. Membership. - The o to enable the Bar to discharge its
membership of the House of Delegates public responsibilities more
shall consist of all the Chapter effectively.
Presidents and in the case of Chapters Each chapter has its own government.
entitled to more than one Delegate The chapter government is vested in a
each, the Vice Presidents of the Board of Officers composed of a
Chapters and such additional Delegates President, a Vice-President, a
as the Chapters are entitled to. Unless Secretary, a Treasurer, and five
the Vice President is already a Directors who shall be elected at the
Delegate, he shall be an alternate
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

biennial meeting and shall hold office


for a term of 2 years.

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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

CHAPTER 5: LAWYERS A lawyer should be candid and truthful


to the court
DUTIES TO COURTS Canon 10. A Lawyer owes candor, fairness
and good faith to the Court.
He is an officer of the court exercising a
A. LAWYER OWES CANDOR AND privilege, which is indispensable in the
FAIRNESS TO THE COURTS administration of justice.
If he were to act other than candidly,
Canon 10. A Lawyer owes candor, fairness and fairly, and truthfully, the administration
good faith to the Court. of justice will suffer as a result thereby.
Supreme Court aptly underscored
Rule 10.01. A lawyer shall not do any
reasons:
falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any
in Court, nor shall he mislead or allow the o He is an officer of the court
Court to be misled by an artifice. exercising privileges
indispensable to the
Rule 10.02. A lawyer shall not knowingly administration of justice.
misquote or misrepresent the contents of o Courts are entitled to expect only
a paper, the language or the argument of
complete honesty from lawyers
opposing counsel, or the text of a decision
or authority, or knowingly cite as law a
appearing before them.
provision already rendered inoperative by o Like the court itself, he is an
repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact instrument to advance its ends
that which has not been proved. the speedy, efficient, and
impartial adjudication of cases.
Rule 10.03. A lawyer shall observe the It is thus unprofessional to deal other
rules of procedure and shall not misuse
than candidly with the facts in taking
them to defeat the ends of justice.
statements of witnesses, in drawing
affidavits, and other documents, and in
Lawyers duties to court, generally
the presentation of causes.
A lawyer is, first and foremost, an
A lawyer, however, though an officer of
officer of the court.
the court, is not an umpire but an
His duties to the court are more
advocate.
significant than those which he owes to
His personal belief in the soundness of
his client.
his cause or of the authorities
His first duty is not to his client but to
supporting it is irrelevant.
the administration of justice.
Clients success is wholly subordinate.
A lawyer shall do no falsehood
His conduct ought to be scrupulously
Rule 10.01. A lawyer shall not do any
observant of the law and ethics of the falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in
profession. Court, nor shall he mislead or allow the Court
Should there be conflict between his to be misled by an artifice.
duty to his client and that to the court, He swore, upon his admission to the
he should resolve such conflict in favor practice, that will do no falsehood and
of the latter. conduct himself according to the best of
Primary responsibility being to uphold his knowledge and discretion with all
the cause of justice. good fidelity to the court and to his
client; never to seek to mislead the

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courts by an artifice or false statement lawyers to reproduce or copy the same


of fact or law. word for word and punctuation mark by
The oat embodies the fundamental punctuation mark.
duties of a lawyer, which he must honor Only from the Supreme Courts rulings
as there would be a great detriment to, do all other courts, as well as lawyers
if not a failure of, the administration of and litigants, take their bearing.
justice if courts could not rely on the New Civil Code, Article 8. Judicial
representations of the lawyers in the decisions applying or interpreting the
handling of their cases. laws or the Constitution shall form a part
A lawyer should not conceal the truth of the legal system of the Philippines.
from the court, nor mislead the court in Thus, ever present is the danger that if
any manner no matter how demanding not faithfully and exactly quoted, the
his duties to his client may be. decisions and rulings of the Supreme
No client is entitled to receive from the Court may lose their proper and correct
lawyer any service involving dishonesty meaning, to the detriment of other
to the courts. courts, lawyers, and the public who
A lawyers should neither endeavor by may be misled.
dishonest means to mislead the court or If inferior courts and members of the
the adverse party nor make false bar meticulously check and recheck
allegations in a pleading. their citations of authorities, appellate
It is improper for counsel of the courts will be precluded from acting on
accused to ask him to plead guilty to an misinformation and save precious time
offense which counsel knows his client in finding out whether the citations are
did not commit. correct.

A lawyer shall not misuse rules of


procedure
A lawyer should not misquote nor Rule 10.03. A lawyer shall observe the rules
misrepresent of procedure and shall not misuse them to
Rule 10.02. A lawyer shall not knowingly defeat the ends of justice.
misquote or misrepresent the contents of a Rules of procedure offer innumerable
paper, the language or the argument of opportunities and means for delay and
opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or to defeat the ends of justice.
authority, or knowingly cite as law a provision Procedural rules are instruments in the
already rendered inoperative by repeal or speedy and efficient administration of
amendment, or assert as a fact that which
has not been proved.
justice. They should be used to achieve
A lawyer who deliberately made it such end and not to derail it.
appear that the quotations in his motion Filing of multiple petitions constitutes
for reconsideration were findings of the abuse of the courts processes.
Supreme Court, when they were just He should not use his knowledge of law
part of the memorandum of the Court as an instrument to harass a party.
Administrator, and who misspelled the While a lawyer owes fidelity to the
name of the complainant and made the cause of his client, it should not be at
wrong citation of authority. the expense of truth and administration
In signing the Courts decisions, it is the of justice.
bounden duty of courts, judges, and
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A judicious study of the facts and the A lawyer violates Canon 11 of the code
law should advise him when a case when:
should not be filed, as it would only o He threatens the judge with the
clutter the dockets. filing of an administrative charge
if his motion is not granted.
B. OBSERVING AND MAINTAINING o Berating the researcher of the
RESPECT DUE THE COURTS AND court in his pleading is
JUDICIAL OFFICERS disrespectful to the court itself.
o A lawyer who openly defied the
temporary restraining order
Canon 11. A lawyer shall observe and maintain issued by the Court of Appeals.
the respect due to the courts and judicial officers
and should insist on similar conduct by others.
Obeying court orders
Rule 11.01. A lawyer shall appear in Lawyers are particularly called upon to
court properly attired. obey court orders and processes. They
should stand foremost in complying
Rule 11.02. A lawyer shall punctually with the courts directives and
appear at court hearings. instructions.
Disrespect to judicial incumbents is
Rule 11.03. A lawyer shall abstain from
scandalous, offensive or menacing disrespect to that branch of the
language or behavior before the courts. government to which they belong as
well as to the State which has instituted
Rule 11.04. A lawyer shall not attribute the judicial system.
to a Judge motives not supported by the It may happen that counsel possesses
record or have no materiality to the case. greater knowledge of the law than the
judge who presides. It may also happen
Rule 11.05. A lawyer shall submit
grievances against a Judge to the proper that since no court claims infallibility,
authorities only. judges may grossly err in their
decisions. Nevertheless, discipline and
self-restraint on the part of the
Respect due the courts members of the bar even under these
Canon 11. A lawyer shall observe and adverse conditions are necessary to the
maintain the respect due to the courts and orderly administration of justice.
judicial officers and should insist on similar
Obedience to lawful orders of the court
conduct by others.
is underscored by the fact that a willful
This canon should constantly remind
disregard thereof may subject the
lawyers that second only to the duty of
lawyer not only to punishment for
maintaining allegiance to the Republic,
contempt but to disciplinary action as
and to support the Constitution, and
an officer of the court.
obey the laws of the land, it is the duty
The word willful conveys the idea of
of all attorneys to observe and maintain
flagrant misconduct such as would
the respect due to the courts of justice
indicate a disposition on the part of a
and judicial officers.
lawyer so refractory in character as to
Respect of courts helps build the high
affect his qualifications and standing for
esteem and regard toward them, which
the further exercise of his profession.
is essential to the proper administration
of justice.
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
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A lawyer who gives a clearly Inexcusable absence from, or repeated


unsatisfactory explanation as to why he tardiness in attending a pre-trial or
failed to comply with a lawful order hearing may subject the lawyer to
commits an act within the meaning of disciplinary action and may prejudice
the term willful disobedience. his client who may be declared in
default.
Defending judges from unjust
criticism A lawyer shall abstain from offensive
It is the attorneys duty as an officer of language or behavior
the court to defend a judge from A lawyers language should be forceful
unfounded criticism or groundless but dignified, emphatic but respectful
personal attack. as befitting an advocate and in keeping
This requires of him not only to refrain with the dignity of the legal profession.
from subjecting the judge to wild and His arguments should be gracious to
groundless accusation but also to both the court and opposing counsel
discourage other people from so doing. and be of such words as may be
By the very nature of his position as properly addressed by one gentleman
judge, he lacks the power, outside of to another.
his court, to defend himself against The use of abusive language by counsel
unfounded criticism and it is the against the opposing counsel
attorney who can better more constitutes at the same time, a
appropriately support the judiciary. disrespect to the dignity of the court.
Rule 11.03. A lawyer shall abstain from
A lawyer shall appear in proper attire scandalous, offensive or menacing language
Rule 11.01. A lawyer shall appear in court or behavior before the courts.
properly attired. While he should so abstain from using
Should be a Barong Tagalog or a coat such language, he may use strong
and tie, either of which is the language to drive home a point. He has
recognized formal attire in the country. the right to be assiduous and zealous in
Respect to the court must begin with the prosecution or defense of the
the lawyers outward physical clients cause.
appearance in court. He should be courageous enough to
Sloppy or informal attire adversely point out errors, arbitrariness, and
reflects on the lawyer and demeans the injustice of the courts and judges. The
dignity and solemnity of the court fear of provoking displeasure of the
proceedings. offended judges must not deter him
If he dresses improperly, he may be from complying with this duty to object
cited for contempt. to illegal or erroneous judicial decisions.
He should be allowed some latitude of
Lawyers shall be punctual remark or comment in the furtherance
A lawyer shows respect to the court by of the causes he upholds.
appearing during the trial punctually It must never be forgotten that a lawyer pleads;
and in proper attire. he does not dictate. He should be courageous, fair,
and circumspect, not petulant, combative, or
He owes it to his client, to the court,
bellicose in his dealings with the court.
and to the public.
A lawyer should not assail, without basis, the
personal integrity of a judge and accuse him of

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misfeasance in an attempt to hide his own His right to criticize the acts of courts and judges
inadequacies and omissions to escape criticism of in a proper and respectful way and through
his client. legitimate channels is well recognized.
Rule 11.04. A lawyer shall not attribute to a
Judge motives not supported by the record or A lawyer shall submit grievances to proper
authorities
have no materiality to the case.
The duty to support the judge does not, however,
Disrespectful, abusive, and abrasive preclude a lawyer from filing administrative
language, offensive personalities, complaints against erring judges.
unfounded accusations, or intemperate Rule 11.05. A lawyer shall submit grievances
words tending to obstruct, embarrass, against a Judge to the proper authorities only.
That they be filed with the Supreme Court
or influence the court have no place in a
which has administrative supervision over all
pleading. courts and the power to discipline judges of
Neither does the mistake of a judge in some of his
lower courts.
rulings warrant the use of offensive language.
In championing the cause of his client, a lawyer Constitution Article VIII Section 6.
should not resort to insulting or disparaging The Supreme Court shall have
language amounting to disrespect toward the administrative supervision over all
court.
courts and the personnel thereof.
A judge should be courteous to the lawyer to Constitution Article VIII Section
merit respect 11.
The duty to observe and maintain respect is not a
xxx
one-way duty from a lawyer to a judge. A judge
should also be courteous to counsel, especially The Supreme Court en banc shall have
those who are young and inexperienced. the power to discipline judges of lower
courts, or order their dismissal by a
Upholding courts authority and dignity
vote of a majority of the Members who
As an officer of the court, a lawyer
actually took part in the deliberations
should uphold the dignity and authority
on the issues in the case and voted
of the court and not promote distrust in
thereon.
the administration of justice (Canon A lawyer may prefer charges against a judge
10). only after proper circumspection and without
He should seek to preserve faith in the the use of disrespectful language or offensive
courts and help build and not destroy personalities.
the high esteem and regard toward A lawyer may not file administrative
them. complaints against judges until he has
exhausted judicial remedies which result in a
He should prevent anybody from
finding that the judge has gravely erred.
harboring and encouraging discontent.

A lawyer shall not attribute to a judge C. ASSISTING THE COURT IN SPEEDY AND
improper motives EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
A judge may commit errors, he may abuse his
discretion in the resolution of issues before him. Canon 12. A lawyer shall exert every effort and
They do not, however, justify a lawyer to consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient
attribute to a Judge, motives not administration of justice.
supported by the record or have no Rule 12.01. A lawyer shall not appear for trial
materiality to the case. (Rule 11.04). unless he has adequately prepared himself on
He should not make hasty accusation against the the law and the facts of his case, the evidence
judge without any cogent and valid ground existing he will adduce and the order of its preference.
in the record. He should also be ready with the original
The rule allows criticism so long as it is supported documents for comparison with the copies.
by the record or is material to the case.
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
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Rule 12.02. A lawyer shall not file multiple


actions arising from the same cause.
A lawyer should come to court
Rule 12.03. A lawyer shall not, after obtaining adequately prepared
extensions of time to file pleadings, Rule 12.01. A lawyer shall not appear for trial
memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse unless he has adequately prepared himself on the
without submitting to the same or offering an law and the facts of his case, the evidence he will
explanation for his failure to do so. adduce and the order of its preference. He should
also be ready with the original documents for
Rule 12.04. A lawyer shall not unduly delay a comparison with the copies.
case, impede the execution of a judgment or Rule 18.02 - A lawyer shall not handle
misuse court processes. any legal matter without adequate
Rule 12.05 A lawyer shall refrain from talking preparation.
to his witness during the break or recess in the Canon 18 - A lawyer shall serve his
trial, while the witness is still under client with competence and diligence.
examination. Without adequate preparation, the lawyer may not
be able to effectively assist the court in the
Rule 12.06 A lawyer shall not knowingly assist efficient administration of justice. Nonobservance
a witness to misrepresent himself or to of this rule might result in:
impersonate another. 1. The postponement of the pre-trial or
hearing, which would thus entail delay in
Rule 12.07 A lawyer shall not abuse, the early disposition of the case,
browbeat or harass a witness nor needlessly 2. The judge may consider the client
inconvenience him. nonsuited or in default or
3. The judge may consider the case deemed
Rule 12.08 - A lawyer shall avoid testifying in submitted for decision without clients
behalf of his client, except: evidence, to his prejudice.

(a) on formal matters, such as the mailing, A lawyer shall not file multiple actions
authentication or custody of an instrument, Litigation must end and terminate
and the like; or sometime and somewhere.
Once a judgment has become final, the
(b) on substantial matters, in cases where his
testimony is essential to the ends of justice, in winning party be not deprived of that
which event he must, during his testimony, verdict.
entrust the trial of the case to another counsel. For this reason, a lawyer should not file
several actions arising from the same
Duty to assist in the administration of cause or seeking substantially identical
justice, generally reliefs as those that had already been
Being an officer of the court, he is an finally disposed of.
instrument to advance its ends the A lawyer violates his oath when he
speedy, efficient, impartial, correct, and prostitutes judicial process to secure for
inexpensive adjudication of cases and his client what is not justly and validly
the prompt satisfaction of final due him such as improper steps taken
judgments. as a means of draining the resources of
Canon 12. A lawyer shall exert every effort and the proper party.
consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and
efficient administration of justice.
He is first and foremost an officer of the A lawyer shall not resort to forum
court. His duties to the court are more shopping
significant than those which he owes to Rule 12.02. A lawyer shall not file multiple actions
arising from the same cause.
his client.

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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

He is prohibited from filing a petition Duty to disclose pending case


with the Court of Appeals or the Every party filing an initiatory pleading
Regional Trial Court where a similar is required to swear under oath that he
petition has been filed or pending with has not and will not commit forum
the Supreme Court, and vice versa. shopping.
Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of This requires disclosure of any pending
Court: case at the time the initiatory pleading
The plaintiff or principal party shall certify under is filed.
oath in the complaining or other initiatory pleading
asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn
The fact that the initiatory pleading is
certification annexed thereto and simultaneously not based on the same cause of action
filed therewith: as the pending case is not a valid
excuse for non-compliance with the
a) that he has not theretofore commenced any
action or filed any claim involving the same issues disclosure requirement.
in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and,
to the best of his knowledge, no such other action Verification must be signed by the
or claim is pending therein;
party, not his counsel; exception
b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a The certification against forum shopping
complete statement of the present status thereof; must be signed by the party himself as
and he has personal knowledge of the facts
c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or
therein stated. It should not be
similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, executed by his counsel.
he shall report that fact within 5 days therefrom to Exceptions:
the court wherein his aforesaid complaint or o Where there are two or more
initiatory pleading has been filed.
parties, all of them must sign the
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements verification and non-forum
shall not be curable by mere amendment of the certification, unless the one who
complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall
cause for the dismissal of the case without
signs, has been authorized to
prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion execute the same on behalf of
after hearing. The submission of false certification the petitioner.
or non-compliance with any of the undertaking o Where the joint parties are
therein shall constitute indirect contempt of court,
without prejudice to the corresponding husband and wife involving their
administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of property, only the husband may
the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful sign the verification.
and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be
o If the party is a juridical person
ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and
shall constitute direct contempt, as well as a cause (corporation, partnership), the
for administrative sanctions. certification must be executed by
a corporate officer or agent duly
Forum shopping is the improper authorized by its board of
practice of going from one court to directors.
another in the hope of securing a o A non-forum certification
favorable relief in one court which executed by counsel of the party
another court has denied or the filing of is fatally defective, unless the
repetitious suits or proceedings in counsel certifies in the
different courts concerning substantially certification that he has personal
the same subject matter. knowledge of the facts therein
stated and gives justifiable
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

reason why the party himself offended party recover damages twice for the
same act or omission charged in the criminal
cannot sign. action.
The reason is that only the party
himself has actual knowledge of Sanctions for violation
whether or not he has initiated similar Failure to file the certification against forum
shopping is fatal to the complaint or petition.
actions in different courts or agencies. Subsequent filing of the certification does not cure
the fatal defect.
Test to determine forum shopping Rules of Court, Rule 7, Section 5, paragraph 2:
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirement
The test in determining is whether the
shall not be curable by mere amendment of the
elements of litis pendentia (a pending complaint or other initiatory pleading, but shall be
suit) are present or whether final cause for the dismissal of the case without
judgment in one case will amount to res prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion
and after hearing. The submission of a false
judicata in the other. certification or non-compliance with any of the
Res judicata a doctrine which undertakings therein shall constitute indirect
precludes parties from re-litigating contempt of court, without prejudice to the
issues actually litigated and determined corresponding administrative and criminal actions.
If the acts of the party or his counsel clearly
by a prior and final judgment. It requires: constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping,
o That there be a decision on the the same shall be ground for dismissal with
merits; prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt, as
o By a court of competent jurisdiction; well as cause for administrative sanctions.
o The decision is final;
o And the two actions involved identical Lawyer to temper clients propensity to litigate
parties, subject matter, and causes of It is the duty of the lawyer to resist the
action. whims and caprices of his client and to
If any one of these elements is absent, there is no
forum shopping.
temper the clients inclination to
There is forum shopping where there are identity litigate.
of parties or interest, rights asserted, and reliefs Rules of Court, Rule 7, Section 3,
sought in different tribunals. paragraph 2: The signature of counsel
EXCEPTION:
The filing of a civil case in court does not constitutes a certificate by him that he
preclude the filing of a criminal action arising has read the pleading; that to the best
from the same set of facts on which the civil of his knowledge, information, and
action is based, as the law allows it. There is
belief, there is good ground to support
no forum-shopping in such instances.
it; and that it is not interposed for
Rules of Court, Rule 111, Section 1: Institution delay.
of criminal and civil actions (a) When a This rule imposes upon a lawyer the
criminal action is instituted, the civil action for
the recovery of civil liability arising from the
affirmative duty to check useless
offense charged shall be deemed instituted litigations, willful violation of which may
with the criminal action unless the offended subject him to disciplinary action, or
party waives the civil action, reserves the right render him liable for costs of litigation.
to institute it separately, or institutes the civil
action prior to the civil action. A litigant may seek his legal assistance
for reasons other than to vindicate a
Section 3: When civil action may proceed legal wrong or other than to prosecute
independently. In the cases provided in
Articles 32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code
a valid cause.
of the Philippines, the independent civil action The purpose may either be:
may be brought by the offended party. It shall o To harass a party or injure the
proceed independently of the criminal action opposite party or work oppression
and shall require only a preponderance of
evidence. In no case, however, may the or wrong.
ralc2011 63
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

o To pre-empt the initiative of an alive and its decision is binding upon


honest claimant by filing the suit the heirs of the deceased client.
to delay the payment of a just Similarly, it is his duty to inform the
claim. court of any change of his address.
o To drain the resources of the Although his failure to do so will not
poorer party by way of prevent any notice sent to his address
compelling him to submit out of of record to be effective, his conduct
sheer exhaustion. may delay the disposition of the case
While a client may withhold facts from and prejudice the interest of his client.
his counsel or give him false
information to attain unlawful ends, a A lawyer shall not delay or impede the
lawyer can easily see through the execution of judgment
clients action. When that purpose Rule 12.04. A lawyer shall not unduly delay a
becomes evident, the lawyer should not case, impede the execution of a judgment or
misuse court processes.
allow himself to be a party to its
The law makes it the lawyers duty to
realization or even withdraw from the
delay no man for money or malice.
case.
Rules of Court, Rule 7, Section 3,
paragraph 2: The signature of counsel
A lawyer shall file his pleadings within
constitutes a certificate by him that he
the period
Rule 12.03. A lawyer shall not, after obtaining has read the pleading; that to the best
extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or of his knowledge, information, and
briefs, let the period lapse without submitting to belief, there is good ground to support
the same or offering an explanation for his failure
it; and that it is not interposed for
to do so.
Pressure of work or the need for more delay.
time to finish the job often constrains a For where a lawyer insisted on the
lawyer to ask the court for an extension clients patently unmeritorious case or
of time to file a pleading, interposed an appeal merely to delay
memorandum, or brief. The lawyers litigation or thwart the prompt
failure to make an explanation satisfaction of the prevailing partys just
constitutes discourtesy to the court. and valid claim, the court may adjudge
Where a lawyers motion for extension of time to the lawyer liable to pay treble costs.
file a pleading, memorandum or brief has remained Procedural rules are precisely designed
unacted by the court, the least that is expected of to accomplish the purpose of rendering
him is to file it within the period asked for.
justice to the parties to a lawsuits free
Duty to inform clients death and change of from the laws delays.
counsels address A lawyer should use those rules for the
Rules of Court, Rule 3, Section 16: Death of purpose and not for its frustration.
party; duty of counsel: Whenever a party to a
pending action dies, and the claim is not thereby Litigation is not a game of technicalities
distinguished, it shall be the duty of his counsel to in which one, more deeply schooled and
inform the court within thirty (30) days after such skilled in the subtle art of movement
death of the fact thereof, and to give the name
and address of his legal representative or
and position, entraps and destroys the
representatives. Failure of counsel to comply with other. It is rather a contest in which
this duty shall be a ground for disciplinary action. each contending party fully and fairly
If no such notice is made, the court will lays before the court the facts in issue
proceed to conclusion as if the party is

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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

and then asks that justice be done upon Rule 12.06 A lawyer shall not knowingly assist a
the merits. witness to misrepresent himself or to impersonate
another.
A lawyer should not hide behind a maze
While he may interview witnesses in
of technicalities to delay if not defect
advance of trial or attend to their needs
the recovery of what is justly due and
if they have no adequate means of
demandable.
defraying their own expenses, the
lawyer should avoid any such action as
Lawyer to discourage appellate review
may be misinterpreted as an attempt to
If a lawyer is honestly convinced of the
influence the witness as to what to say
futility of an appeal in a civil suit, he
in court.
should not hesitate to inform his
A lawyer who presents a witness whom
disappointed client that most likely the
he knows will give a false testimony
verdict would not be altered.
may be subjected to disciplinary action.
He should advise his client to accept the
judgment of the trial court and thus
Lawyers shall not harass a witness
accord respect to the just claim of the Rule 12.07 A lawyer shall not abuse, browbeat or
opposite party. harass a witness nor needlessly inconvenience
He should temper his clients desire to him.
seek appellate review of such decision. Duty to always treat adverse witnesses
Unless he could sufficient cause for with fairness and due consideration.
reversal, he would only succeed in Rules of Court, Rule 138, Section 20:
planting false hopes in his clients mind,
increase the burden on appellate (f) To abstain from all offensive
tribunals, prolong litigation personality and to advance no fact
unnecessarily, and expose his client to prejudicial to the honor or reputation of
useless expenses of suit. a party or witness, unless required by
It has also been held that the failure of the justice of the cause with which he is
counsel to file an appeal is negligent in charged;
the performance of his duties to his
client. If the lawyer does not hear from A lawyer shall avoid testifying for a
the client, he should perfect an appeal client
within the period. Rule 12.08 - A lawyer shall avoid testifying in
behalf of his client, except:

A lawyer shall not talk to a witness


during recess (a) on formal matters, such as the mailing,
Rule 12.05 A lawyer shall refrain from talking to authentication or custody of an instrument,
his witness during the break or recess in the trial, and the like; or
while the witness is still under examination.
The purpose of the rule is to avoid any (b) on substantial matters, in cases where his
suspicion that he is coaching the testimony is essential to the ends of justice, in
witness of what to say during the which event he must, during his testimony,
entrust the trial of the case to another counsel.
resumption of the examination.
The rule prohibits the practice of the
A lawyer shall not assist a witness to
lawyer taking the witness stand and
misrepresent
asking questions to him and answering
them as a witness.
ralc2011 65
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

While the law does not disqualify a


lawyer from being a witness and an
advocate at the same time in a case, A lawyer should rely on the merits of
the practice is violative of the rule on his case
professional conduct. CANON 13 - A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of
It would also be improper for a lawyer his cause and refrain from any impropriety which
tends to influence, or gives the appearance of
to accept employment in a case where influencing the court.
it would be his duty to attack the Improper acts lessen the confidence of
testimony to be given by his partner on the public in the impartial
behalf of the opposite side. administration of justice and should be
The underlying reason for the avoided.
impropriety of a lawyer acting in such
dual capacity: A lawyer shall not extend hospitality
o The function of a witness is to tell to a judge
the facts. Rule 13.01 - A lawyer shall not extend
o The function of an advocate is extraordinary attention or hospitality to, nor seek
that of a partisan. opportunity for cultivating familiarity with Judges.
It is difficult to distinguish between the The unusual attention may subject both
zeal of an advocate and the fairness the judge and the lawyer to suspicion.
o The common practice of some lawyers
and impartiality of a disinterested
making judges and prosecutors godfathers
witness. of their children to enhance their influence
It is hard to disassociate his relation to and their law practice should be avoided by
his client as an attorney and his relation judges and lawyers alike.
o A lawyer should not see a judge in
to the party as a witness. chamber and talk to him about a case he is
handling and pending in the judges court.
D. AVOIDING IMPROPRIETY THAT o A lawyer should not communicate to the
TENDS TO INFLUENCE THE COURT judge the merits of a pending case.

A lawyer shall not publicly discuss


CANON 13 - A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his pending cases
cause and refrain from any impropriety which tends to Rule 13.02 - A lawyer shall not make public
influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the statements in the media regarding a pending case
court. tending to arouse public opinion for or against a
party.
Newspaper publications by a lawyer
Rule 13.01 - A lawyer shall not extend
extraordinary attention or hospitality to, nor
concerning pending litigation may
seek opportunity for cultivating familiarity with interfere with a fair trial and prejudice
Judges. the impartial administration of justice.
The restriction, however, does not
Rule 13.02 - A lawyer shall not make public prohibit issuance of statements made
statements in the media regarding a pending by public officials charged with the duty
case tending to arouse public opinion for or of prosecuting or defending actions in
against a party. court.
However, such statements should avoid
Rule 13.03 - A lawyer shall not brook or invite
any statement of fact likely to create an
interference by another branch or agency of
the government in the normal course of adverse attitude in the public mind.
judicial proceedings.

ralc2011 66
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Criticism of pending and concluded A lawyer is expected to consider it his


lititation duty to expose the shortcomings and
The right of a lawyer to comment on a indiscretions of courts and judges.
pending litigation or to impugn the In the prosecution of appeals, for
impartiality of a judge to decide it is example, he points out the errors of
much circumscribed. lower courts.
What he can ordinarily say against a In articles written for law journals, he
concluded litigation the manner the dissects with detachment the doctrinal
judge handed down the decision therein pronouncement of courts and fearlessly
may not be generally said to a pending lays bare for all to see the flaws and
action. inconsistencies of the doctrines.
The court, in a pending litigation, must
be shielded from embarrassment or A lawyer shall not invite judicial
influence in its duty of deciding the interference
case. Rule 13.03 - A lawyer shall not brook or invite
interference by another branch or agency of the
On the other hand, once a litigation is government in the normal course of judicial
concluded, the judge is subject to the proceedings.
same criticism as any other public It endangers the independence of the
official. A lawyer enjoys wider latitude judiciary.
of comment or criticism.

Limitations on right to criticize


The right of a lawyer to comment is not
unlimited. It is the cardinal condition of
all such criticism that it shall be bona
fide and shall not spell over the walls of
decency and propriety.
Unfair criticism is a gross violation of
the lawyers duty to respect the courts.

Right and duty of lawyer to criticize


the courts
The rule is not, however, intended to
prevent criticism of the judicial acts. For
the guarantees of free speech and free
press include the right to criticize the
judicial conduct.
Whether the law was wisely or badly
enforced is a fit subject for proper
comment.
If the people cannot criticize a judge
the same as any other public official,
public opinion will be effectively
muzzled.

ralc2011 67
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

CHAPTER 6: NATURE AND CREATION OF The lawyer is also as independent as a judge,


ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP with powers entirely different from and
superior to those of an ordinary agent.
CANON 14. A lawyer shall not refuse his services Moreover, he is an officer of the court.
to the needy. The relation of attorney and client is strictly
personal and highly confidential.
Rule 14.01. A lawyer shall not decline to Its creation breathes life to the rules and
represent a person solely on account of ethics of the legal profession and requires of
the latters race, sex, creed or status of an attorney who accepts a retainer a high
life, or because of his own opinion standard of conduct and an appreciation of
regarding the guilt of said person. his duties to his client, to the court, to the
bar, and to the public.
Rule 14.02. A lawyer shall not decline,
except for serious and sufficient cause, an Relation as strictly personal
appointment as counsel de oficio or as The relationship involves mutual trust and
amici curiae, or a request from the confidence to the highest degree.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any of The personal character of the relation
its chapters for rendition of free legal aid. prohibits its delegation in favor of another
attorney without the clients consent.
Rule 14.03. A lawyer may refuse to What may not be delegated: The relationship
accept representation of an indigent client itself.
if: It also terminates upon the death of either
the client or the attorney.
a. He is not in a position to carry The deceased attorneys personal
out the work effectively or representative has no right to assign pending
competently; cases to a counsel of his choice. Such matter
is for the client to decide.
b. He labors under a conflict of A client can terminate the relationship at any
interests between him and the time with or without cause.
prospective client or between a An attorney, however, being an officer of the
present client and the prospective court, enjoys no similar right. He may be
client. permitted to withdraw from the case only with
the consent of the client or that of the court.
Rule 14.04. A lawyer who accepts the Only a proper sense of detachment will
cause of a person unable to pay his enable the attorney to adequately serve the
professional fees shall observe the same interest of his client.
standard of conduct governing his The personal relation does not require an
relations with paying clients. attorney to adopt as his own, the troubles of
his client for he is likely to lose his composure
and equanimity.
A. NATURE OF RELATION It is advisable for a lawyer who is a party
litigant not to appear for himself or for a close
Nature of client relationship, generally relative.
Historically, the nature of lawyer-client His personal involvement may blur his sense
relationship is premised on the Roman Law of duty and purpose and affect his
concepts of location conduction operarum performance, to his or the clients detriment.
(contract of lease of services) and mandato In that situation, he should ask another
(contract of agency) lawyer who can act with more detachment
In modern day, an attorney is more than a and less emotional involvement to undertake
mere agent or servant because he possesses the active prosecution or defense of the case.
special powers of trust and confidence
reposed on him by his client. Relation as fiduciary and confidential

ralc2011 68
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

The relation is highly fiduciary in nature and The term retainer may refer to either of 2
of a very delicate, exacting, and confidential concepts:
character. 1. The act of the client engaging the
It demands undivided allegiance, a high services of an attorney to render legal
degree of good faith, disinterestedness, advice or defend or prosecute his
candor, fairness, loyalty, fidelity, and absolute cause in court.
integrity in all his dealings with his clients and a. General Retainer its purpose
utter renunciation of every personal is to secure beforehand, the
advantage conflicting with the interest of his services of an attorney for any
client. legal problem that may
His responsibilities to his client should, afterward arise.
however, be reconciled with his duties to the b. Special Retainer has
court. Each of them requires fidelity and reference to a particular case or
loyalty in varying degrees within limits. service only.
Deviation from such limits may invite the 2. The retaining fee which a client pays
exercise of disciplinary power by the court. to an attorney when the latter is
retained.
Rules protective of relation o It is a preliminary fee paid to
The preservation and protection of that insure and secure his future
relation will encourage a client to entrust his services.
legal problems to an attorney, which is of o To remunerate him for being
paramount importance to the administration deprived of the opportunity of
of justice. rendering services to the other
Rules promulgated, in the nature of party by being retained by one
injunctions peculiarly addressed to an party.
attorney: o It is apart from what the client
1. To exert his best effort and learning in has agreed to pay for the
the protection of the interest of his services which he has retained
client; him to perform.
2. To promptly account for any fund or Its purpose: To prevent undue hardship on
property entrusted by or received for the part of the attorney based on the rule
his client; forbidding him from acting as counsel for the
3. Not to purchase or acquire, any other party after he has been retained by or
property or interest of is client in has given professional advice to the opposite
litigation; party.
4. To forever keep inviolate his clients
secrets or confidence, and not to
abuse them; Necessity of retainer
5. Not to represent a party whose An attorney has no power to act as counsel or
interest is adverse to that of his client legal representative for a person without
even after the termination of the being retained.
relation. He may not appear in court for a party
The Supreme Court requires strict obedience without being employed, unless by leave of
to those rules and subjects the attorney to court.
discipline and administrative liability for Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 21.
inexcusable breach thereof to protect the .
public, the court, and the client from An attorney willfully appearing in court for a
dishonesty and incompetence of unfaithful person without being employed, unless by
lawyers. leave of the court, may be punished for
contempt as an officer of the court who has
B. RETAINER OR EMPLOYMENT misbehaved in his official transactions.
Neither the purported client nor the adverse
Concept of term retainer party may be bound by his appearance unless
ralc2011 69
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

the former ratifies or is stopped to deny the o Signing a pleading for and on behalf of
assumed authority. another counsel of record.

Sufficiency of professional employment In the absence of a written retainer, the


The essential feature of the relation is the fact establishment of the attorney-client
of employment. relationship depends upon the circumstances
While a written agreement for professional of the case.
services is the best evidence to show the The employment or authority to employ an
relation, formality is not an indispensable attorney need not be proved in writing; such
element of the employment of an attorney. fact could be inferred from circumstantial
It is not necessary that a retainer should have evidence.
been paid, promised, or charged. The moment complainant approached the
Nor is it material that the attorney who was then receptive respondent to seek legal
consulted does not afterward undertake the advice, a veritable lawyer-client relationship
case. evolved between the two. Such relationship
The absence of a written contract will not imposes upon the lawyer certain restrictions
preclude a finding that there is a professional circumscribed by the ethics of the profession.
relationship. To keep inviolate, confidential information
The contract may be express or implied. acquired or revealed during legal
An acceptance is implied when the attorney consultations. The fact that one is not inclined
acts in pursuance of a request. to handle the clients case, at the end of the
There is an implied contract of professional day, is hardly of consequence. Of little
employment where an attorney appears on moment is the fact that no formal
behalf of a party without the latter professional engagement follows the
interposing any objection to it. consultation. (Hadjula vs Madianda)
To establish professional relation, it is
sufficient that the advice and assistance of an Employment of law firm
attorney is sought and received in any matter The employment of a law firm is equivalent to
pertinent to his profession. the retainer of the member even though only
If a person consults with an attorney in his one of them is consulted.
professional capacity with the view of Conversely, the employment of one member
obtaining professional advice or assistance, is generally considered as employment of the
and the attorney voluntarily permits or law firm.
acquiesces in such consultation as when he When a client employs the services of a law
listens and gives advice, the professional firm, he employs the entire law firm and not
employment is regarded as established. the lawyer assigned to personally handle the
Circumstances which do not establish an case.
attorney client relationship: In the event that the counsel appearing for
o That an attorney for buyer wrote the client resigns or dies, the firm is bound to
letters to tenants giving them a period provide a replacement.
to exercise their preferential right to Reason for the rule: Information obtained
buy the land, that he prepared the from a client by a member of the law firm is
deed of sale in favor of the buyer, and information imparted on the firm.
that he charged the seller the fees for The member acts in the name and interest of
such services do not make the the firm.
attorney the counsel for the seller as Death of the member does not extinguish the
those matters were wrapped up in the lawyer-client relationship. The responsibility
sale, and could have been done as to continue representation devolves upon the
counsel for the buyer in the remaining lawyers of the firm until they have
furtherance of the latters interests. withdrawn from the case.
o By helping an appellant perfect his
appeal but without entering his Who can employ an attorney
appearance or signing a pleading.
ralc2011 70
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Generally, any person who has the legal


capacity to contract can employ an attorney.
A person suffering from some legal disability
cannot retain a lawyer to appear for him in
court.
Only a general guardian ad litem has the
authority to employ an attorney to represent
a minor or incompetent.
However, the appearance of a lawyer as
authorized by a relative of the minor or
incompetent is intrusive and will have no
effect, except to show the attorneys good
faith in appearing in court.
An agent clothed by his principal with the
power to deal with the principals property or
interest has the authority to engage the
services of an attorney as counsel for the
principal.
The agents authority to employ an attorney
for his principal need not be in writing. It may
be inferred from circumstantial evidence.
General Rule: A wife has the authority to
engage the services of counsel even without
her husbands consent in any of the instances
where she may prosecute or defend an action
without the necessity of joining her husband
as a party litigant.
o Exception: She cannot, however, bind
the conjugal partnership for the
payment of the fees of her lawyer
without the husbands authority.
o Exception to the exception: In a suit
between her and her husband, which
she is compelled to institute or resist
to protect her rights.
General Rule: In a corporation, only the board
of directors has the authority to employ an
attorney to sue or defend an action for the
corporation as the power to sue and be sued
is lodged in them.
o Exceptions:
Such power to employ an
attorney may be delegated in
favor of any of its corporate
officers, expressly or impliedly.
A single stockholder may
institute a derivative suit on
behalf of a corporation and
employ an attorney for that
purpose.

ralc2011 71
LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Without clients, a lawyer may not be able to


C. ETHICAL NORMS AND RESTRICTIONS make a name as a practitioner though how
talented he may be.
Canon 15. A lawyer shall observe candor, On the other hand, a lawyer cannot just
fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and accept any case nor can he employ business
transactions with his clients. methods to solicit professional employment or
Rule 15.01. A lawyer, in conferring with a to advertise his talent and skill to attract
prospective client, shall ascertain as soon prospective clients.
as practicable whether the matter would
involve a conflict with another client or his Lawyer shall ascertain possible conflict of
own interest, and if so, shall forthwith interests
inform the prospective client. Rule 15.01. A lawyer, in conferring with a
prospective client, shall ascertain as soon as
Rule 15.02. A lawyer shall be bound by practicable whether the matter would involve
the rule on privileged communication in a conflict with another client or his own
respect of matters disclosed to him by a interest, and if so, shall forthwith inform the
prospective client. prospective client.
It is the duty of a lawyer to disclose and
Rule 15.03. A lawyer shall not represent explain to a prospective client all
conflicting interests except by written circumstances of his relations to the parties,
consent of all concerned given after a full and any interest in connection with the
disclosure of the facts. controversy, which in his honest judgment,
might influence the client in the selection of a
Rule 15.04. A lawyer may, with the counsel.
written consent of all concerned, act as The disclosure is more for the protection of
mediator, conciliator or arbitrator in the lawyer than that of the client.
settling disputes. If a lawyer conceals the fact that the adverse
party used to be his client, the new client
Rule 15.05. A lawyer when advising his may have reason to suspect, in case of an
client shall give a candid and honest unfavorable judgment, that the circumstance
opinion on the merits and probable results prevented him from the full discharge of his
of the clients case, neither overstating duty.
nor understanding the prospects of the Concealment of facts material to employment
case. may cause his client to lose confidence in
him.
Rule 15.06. A lawyer shall not state or
imply that he is able to influence any Duty to decline employment
public official, tribunal or legislative body. A lawyer should decline professional
employment even though how attractive the
Rule 15.07. A lawyer shall impress upon fee may be if its acceptance will involve a
his client compliance with the laws and violation of any of the rules of the legal
the principles of fairness. profession.
After giving advice to a plaintiff concerning a
Rule 15.08. A lawyer who is engaged in claim, the lawyer may not thereafter accept
another profession or occupation retainer from the defendant to defeat that
concurrently with the practice of law shall claim.
make clear to his client whether he is He may not accept employment from another
acting in a matter adversely affecting any interest of
his former client with respect to which,
confidence has been reposed.
Generally Nor may he handle a case to nullify a contract
A lawyer may only be as successful in the which he prepared.
practice as he has enough paying clientele.
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

He should not accept employment as an to be bad? Johnson: Sir, you do not know it
advocate in any matter in which he had to be good or bad till the judge determines
intervened while in the government service. it..
This canonical injunction is based upon the
necessity that professional integrity and
public confidence in that integrity be It is his business to judge; and you are not to
maintained. be confident in your opinion that a cause is
He may not accept employment from an bad, but to say all you can for your client.
organization to render legal services to A lawyer certainly knows whether a case is
members thereof concerning questions good or bad because it is not only his function
submitted by the members, the answers to but his duty to find out.
which are printed for circulation. In a criminal action, it is the right of the
He may not accept employment as a lawyer to undertake the defense of a person
columnist to answer inquiries for advice as to accused of crime, regardless of his personal
individual rights through the medium of a opinion as to the guilt of the accused;
newspaper column. otherwise, innocent persons, victims only of
Nor may he accept employment from a suspicious circumstances, might be denied
collection agency which solicits business to proper defense.
collect its claims. It is improper for a lawyer to assert in
EXCEPTIONS: Rule 14.03. A lawyer may argument his personal belief in his clients
refuse to accept representation of an indigent innocence or in the justice of his cause.
client if: In a civil action, the rules and ethics of the
o He is not in a position to carry out the profession enjoin a lawyer from taking a bad
work effectively or competently; case.
o He labors under a conflict of interests o Firstly, the signature of counsel
between him and the prospective constitutes a certificate by him that he
client or between a present client and has read the pleading; that to the best
the prospective client. of his knowledge, information, and
belief there is good ground to support
A lawyer shall preserve the secrets of a it; and that it is not interposed for
prospective client delay.
Rule 15.02. A lawyer shall be bound by the
rule on privileged communication in respect of Counsel who deliberately files an
matters disclosed to him by a prospective unsigned pleading, or signs a pleading
client. in violation of this Rule, or alleges
Matters disclosed by a prospective client to a scandalous or indecent matter therein,
lawyer are protected by the rule on privileged or fails to promptly report to the court
communications even if the prospective client a change of his address, shall be
does not thereafter retain the lawyer or the subject to appropriate disciplinary
lawyer declines the employment. action. (Rule 7, Section 3, Rules of
Reason: To make the prospective client Court)
discuss freely whatever he wishes with the o Secondly, it is the duty of an attorney:
lawyer without fear that what he discloses will To counsel or maintain such actions or
not be divulged nor used against him and for proceedings only as appear to him to
the lawyer to be equally free to obtain be just, and such defenses only as he
information from such prospective client. believes to be honestly debatable
under the law; (Rule 138, Section 20
Ethical considerations in taking a bad case (c), Rules of Court)
How can a lawyer take a case which he does o Thirdly, it is the duty of an attorney:
not believe in? Not to encourage either the
The classical answer to the question is the commencement or the continuance of
familiar dialogue Boswell: But what do you an action or proceeding, or delay any
think of supporting a cause which you know man's cause, from any corrupt motive
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

or interest; (Rule 138, Section 20 The primary task of a lawyer, as an advocate,


(g), Rules of Court) is to represent a party litigant in court, either
o Finally, he must decline to conduct a as counsel for plaintiff or for defendant, or as
civil cause or to make a defense when a public prosecutor or as defense counsel.
convinced that it is intended merely to 1. General Rule: A private practitioner is
harass or injure the opposite party or not obligated to act as counsel for any
to work oppression or wrong. person who may wish to become his
If a lawyer were to take a bad civil suit client. He has the right to decline
against a defendant, it will either be to exert employment.
his best efforts toward a compromise or, if 2. Exception: Public prosecutor who
unsuccessful, to advice his client to confess cannot choose cases to prosecute.
judgment.
The reason why laymen often ask the ethical Canon 14: Duty of a lawyer to accept
question how can a lawyer take a case employment insofar as the needy and poor
which he does not believe in? is due partly are concerned. Refusal to accept being made
to unfamiliarity with the rules and ethics of the exception. Two reasons:
the legal profession and partly to a lack of 1. The poor and the needy need most the
appreciation of the rights of an accused. services of a lawyer but hesitate to
secure such because they cannot
D. LAWYER MAY NOT REFUSE HIS SERVICES afford to pay or fear refusal for their
inability to compensate the lawyer.
CANON 14. A lawyer shall not refuse his services to 2. IBP objective to make legal services
the needy. available for those who need them.
Requires a lawyer should not lightly
Rule 14.01. A lawyer shall not decline to
decline employment.
represent a person solely on account of the
latters race, sex, creed or status of life, or
because of his own opinion regarding the guilt A lawyer shall not decline to represent
of said person. unpopular clients
Rule 138, sec. 20 (h-i). Duties of attorneys.
Rule 14.02. A lawyer shall not decline, except It is the duty of an attorney: (h) Never to
for serious and sufficient cause, an reject, for any consideration personal to
appointment as counsel de oficio or as amici himself, the cause of the defenseless or
curiae, or a request from the Integrated Bar of oppressed.
the Philippines or any of its chapters for
Rule 14.01. A lawyer shall not decline to
rendition of free legal aid.
represent a person solely on account of the
Rule 14.03. A lawyer may refuse to accept latters race, sex, creed or status of life, or
representation of an indigent client if: because of his own opinion regarding the guilt
of said person.
a. he is not in a position to carry out
the work effectively or competently; Regardless of his personal feelings, a lawyer
should not decline representation just
b. he labors under a conflict of because a client or a cause is unpopular or
interests between him and the
community reaction is adverse.
prospective client or between a present
History is replete with instances of
client and the prospective client.
distinguished and sacrificial services by
Rule 14.04. A lawyer who accepts the cause lawyers who had represented unpopular
of a person unable to pay his professional fees clients and causes, and received accolade for
shall observe the same standard of conduct such services from peers in the bar.
governing his relations with paying clients.
It is his duty not to decline to represent the
accused regardless of his opinion as to his
Lawyer as advocate, generally guilt.

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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

The law presumes the accused innocent, and 3. Appointment of counsel de oficio for
entitled to acquittal unless his guilt is proved the accused.If it appears from the
beyond reasonable doubt. If the rule were record of the case transmitted that
otherwise, innocent persons, victims of a. the accused is confined in
suspicious circumstances, might be denied prison,
proper defense. b. is without counsel de parte on
appeal, or
A lawyer shall not decline appointment by c. Has signed the notice of appeal
the court or by the IBP himself, the clerk of court of
The relation of attorney and client may be the CA shall designate a
created not only by voluntary agreement but counsel de oficio.
also by appointment as counsel de oficio for a
poor or indigent litigant. An appellant who is not confined in prison
Rule 138, sec. 31 Attorneys for destitute may, upon request, be assigned a counsel de
litigants.A court may assign an attorney to oficio within the 10 days from receipt of the
render professional aid free of charge to any notice to file brief and he establishes his right
party in a case, if upon investigation it thereto by affidavit. (Rule 124, Sec. 2, Rules
appears that the party is destitute and unable of Court)
to employ an attorney, and that the services
of counsel are necessary to secure the ends The court may not assign a counsel de oficio
of justice and to protect the rights of the to defend an accused when he previously
party. It shall be the duty of the attorney so manifested his desire to secure the services
assigned to render the required service, of a counsel de parte. If the court does so, it
unless he is excused therefrom by the court violates the defendants right to counsel, and
for sufficient cause shown. his conviction may be set aside on that
In a criminal action, the court may appoint a ground. If a counsel de oficio is appointed, he
counsel de oficio in the following instances: must protest such appointment.
1. Duty of court to inform accused of his Where a counsel de oficio has been assigned
right to counsel.Before arraignment, to an accused and such counsel has acted
the court shall inform the accused of without objection from the accused, the
his right to counsel and ask him if he conviction cannot be set aside on the sole
desires to have one. Unless the ground that said counsel was not the choice
accused is allowed to defend himself in of the accused.
person or has employed counsel of his
choice, the court must assign a Frequent appointment of same counsel
counsel de oficio to defend him. (Rule discouraged
116, Sec. 6, Rules of Court) The burden of regular practice and the
2. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the possibility of compensation as counsel de
trial court, upon filing a notice of oficio as a regular source of income should
appeal, to ascertain from the caution a court from frequently appointing the
appellant, if confined in prison, same lawyer.
whether he desires the Regional Trial The overburdened counsel may have too little
Court, Court of Appeals, or the time to spare for his de oficio cases or may be
Supreme Court to appoint a counsel de eager to finish such cases to be able to collect
oficio to defend him and to transmit his fees within the earliest possible time.
with the record on a form to be The accused stands to suffer, denied effective
prepared by the clerk of court of the assistance.
appellate court, a certification of
compliance with this duty and the A lawyer may refuse to represent indigent
response of the appellant to his on valid grounds
inquiry. (Rule 122, Sec. 13, Rules of GENERAL RULE: A lawyer is not obliged to act
Court) as counsel for any person who may wish to

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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

become his client. He has the right to decline Amount of attorneys fees or clients financial
employment. capability to pay should not serve as a test to
EXCEPTIONS: determine the extent of the lawyers devotion
1. A lawyer shall not refuse his services to to his clients cause.
the needy or indigent.
2. He shall not decline to represent a person
solely on account of the latters race, sex,
creed or status of life or because of his
own opinion regarding the guilt of said
person. (Canon 14, Rule 14.01)
3. If there is serious and sufficient cause, an
appointment as counsel de oficio or as
amici curiae, or a request from the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any of
its chapters for rendition of free legal aid.
(Canon 14, Rule 14.02)

A government lawyer called upon to represent


the government, any agency, or any officer in
his official capacity either as plaintiff or
defendant in a case, may not generally
decline the assignment.
o Exception: He is disqualified to act as
counsel.
The Solicitor General is the principal law
officer and legal defender of the Government.
o Has discretion in choosing whether to
prosecute or not, or to abandon a
prosecution already started.
o To take a position adverse to the
people of the Philippines in a criminal
case or to that of a government
agency or official when he believes
that justice will be served by taking a
different stand.
o But cannot refrain from performing his
duty as lawyer of the government.
o Mandamus will lie to compel him to
perform if refusal is based on flimsy
grounds.

A lawyer shall observe the same standard


for all clients
Rule 14.04. A lawyer who accepts the cause
of a person unable to pay his professional
fees shall observe the same standard of
conduct governing his relations with paying
clients.
The purpose of the legal profession is to
render public service and secure justice for
those who seek its aid.
The gaining of a livelihood is only a secondary
consideration.
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

CHAPTER 7 LAWYERS
DUTIES IN HANDLING A. ENTIRE DEVOTION WITHIN THE LAW

CLIENTS CAUSE Generally


No lawyer is obliged to act as advocate for
every person who may wish to secure his
Canon 15. A lawyer shall observe candor, services. He has the right to decline
fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and employment.
transactions with his clients. No fear of judicial disfavor or public
unpopularity should restrain him from the full
Rule 15.01. A lawyer, in conferring with a discharge of his duty.
prospective client, shall ascertain as soon In the judicial forum, the client is entitled to
as practicable whether the matter would the benefit of any and every remedy and
involve a conflict with another client or his defense that is authorized by law, and he may
own interest, and if so, shall forthwith expect his lawyer to assert every such
inform the prospective client. remedy or defense.

Rule 15.02. A lawyer shall be bound by Once he agrees to take up the cause of a
the rule on privileged communication in client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause
respect of matters disclosed to him by a and must always be mindful of the trust and
prospective client. confidence reposed in him.
He must serve the client with competence
Rule 15.03. A lawyer shall not represent and diligence, and champion the latters
conflicting interests except by written cause with whole-hearted fidelity, care, and
consent of all concerned given after a full devotion.
disclosure of the facts. A lawyer who performs his duty with diligence
and candor not only protects the interest of
Rule 15.04. A lawyer may, with the his client; he also serves the ends of justice,
written consent of all concerned, act as does honor to the bar, and helps maintain the
mediator, conciliator or arbitrator in respect of the community to the legal
settling disputes. profession. (Aromin v. Atty. Boncavil)

Rule 15.05. A lawyer when advising his


client shall give a candid and honest Every case a lawyer accepts deserves his full
opinion on the merits and probable results attention, diligence, skill, and competence
of the clients case, neither overstating regardless of its importance and whether he
nor understanding the prospects of the accepts it for a fee or free. Certainly, a
case. member of the Bar who is worth his title
cannot afford to practice the profession in a
Rule 15.06. A lawyer shall not state or lackadaisical fashion. A lawyers lethargy is
imply that he is able to influence any both unprofessional and unethical (Jardin v.
public official, tribunal or legislative body. Atty. Villar)

Rule 15.07. A lawyer shall impress upon The court as guardian of the legal profession
his client compliance with the laws and expects a lawyer to employ all the energies at
the principles of fairness. his command. It demands of him the most
scrupulous performance of his duty.
Rule 15.08. A lawyer who is engaged in Negligence thereof will cause delay in the
another profession or occupation administration of justice or prejudice the
concurrently with the practice of law shall litigants rights.
make clear to his client whether he is
acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.

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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Public interest requires that an attorney exert statute shall have been construed and
his best efforts in the prosecution or defense interpreted by competent jurisdiction, he is
of his clients cause. free and is entitled to advice as to its validity
and as to what he conscientiously believes to
A lawyer shall perform duty within the law its just meaning and extent.
Rule 15.07. A lawyer shall impress upon his
client compliance with the laws and the
principles of fairness. But above all a lawyer will find his highest
Duties of attorneys. - It is the duty of an honor in a deserved reputation for fidelity to
attorney: (c) To counsel or maintain such private trust and to public duty, as an honest
actions or proceedings only as appear to him man and as a patriotic and loyal citizen.
to be just, and such defenses only as he
believes to be honestly debatable under the
law. (Rule 138, Sec. 20, Rules of Court) A lawyer shall give candid advice on merits
Duty to secure for the client, through of case
honorable means, only what is justly due him. A lawyer should endeavor to obtain full
knowledge of his client's cause before
A lawyer is required to represent his client advising thereon.
within the bounds of the law. The CPR enjoins Rule 15.05. A lawyer when advising his
him to employ only fair and honest means to client shall give a candid and honest opinion
attain the lawful objectives of his client and on the merits and probable results of the
warns him not to allow his client to dictate clients case, neither overstating nor
procedure in handling the case. He may use understanding the prospects of the case.
arguable construction of the law or rules It is incumbent upon a lawyer to give his
which are favorable to his client. But he is not client an honest opinion on the probable
allowed to knowingly advance a claim or results of the case, with the end vie of
defense that is unwarranted under existing promoting respect for the law and legal
law. processes.

The trust confided to an attorney must be As officers of the court, counsels are under
performed within the bounds of law. obligation to advice their clients against
His office does not permit violation of law or making untenable and inconsistent claims.
any manner of fraud or chicanery.
He swore, upon his admission to the practice,
to uphold the cause of justice, obey the law, If a lawyer finds his clients contemplated civil
and do no falsehood. suit totally devoid of merit or wholly
defenseless, he should inform his client and
There is nothing in the duty to a client which dissuade him from filing or to compromise
makes it necessary for a lawyer to swear to rather than traverse the incontrovertible.
that which is false, to disregard the truth and If, on the other hand, he finds that his clients
defy the clear purpose of the law, or to obtain cause is fairly meritorious and ripe for judicial
for his client something to which he is not adjudication, he should refrain from making
justly and fairly entitled. bold and confident assurances of success.
To permit lawyers to resort to unscrupulous Rule 15.06. A lawyer shall not state or imply
practices for the protection of the supposed that he is able to influence any public official,
rights of their clients is to defeat the tribunal or legislative body.
administration of justice. The miscarriages to which justice is subject,
When rendering any improper service or by reason of surprises and disappointments in
advice, the lawyer invites stern and just evidence and witnesses, through mistakes
condemnation. and errors of courts, even though only
occasional, admonish lawyers to beware of
He must also observe and advise his client to bold and confident assurances to clients,
observe the statute law, though until a
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

especially where the employment may trial when he is under affliction or


depend upon such assurance. bereavement; forcing the trial on a particular
day to the injury of the opposite lawyer when
no harm will result from a trial at different
time; agreeing to an extension of time for
Duty to comply with clients lawful request signing a bill of exceptions, cross
A lawyer should endeavor to seek instruction interrogatories and the like
from his client on any substantial matter
concerning the litigation, which may require No client has a right to demand that his
decision on the part of the client, such as counsel shall be illiberal, or that he does
whether to compromise the case or to appeal anything therein repugnant to his own sense
an unfavorable judgment. of honor and propriety.
He should give his client sound advice on any
similar matters and comply with the clients Duty to restrain client from impropriety
lawful instructions. A lawyer should use his best efforts to
He should resist and should never follow any restrain and to prevent his clients from doing
unlawful instruction of his client. those things which the lawyer himself ought
In matters of law, it is the client who should not to do, particularly with reference to their
yield to the lawyer. conduct towards courts, judicial officers,
Rule 19.03. A lawyer shall not allow his jurors, witnesses and suitors. If a client
client to dictate the procedure in handling the persists in such wrongdoings the lawyer
case. should terminate their relation.
He should not act like an errand boy at the
beck and call of his client, ready and eager to A lawyer shall not undertake influence-
do his bidding. peddling
He must obey his own conscience and not Rule 15.06. A lawyer shall not state or imply
that of his client. that he is able to influence any public official,
tribunal or legislative body.
The responsibility for advising as to Influence peddling is highly unethical and
questionable defenses is the lawyer's may constitute violation of the Anti-Graft and
responsibility. He cannot escape it but urging Corrupt practices Act.
as an excuse that he is only following his
client's instructions.

A lawyer who files a pleading which contains B. EMPLOYMENT OF HONORABLE MEANS


contemptuous allegations cannot evade
responsibility by saying that he is merely the Duty to employ honorable means only
mouthpiece of his client and that his client Rule 19.01. A lawyer shall employ only fair
verified the same. and honest means to attain the lawful
objectives of his client and shall not present,
He is not just an instrument of his client. participate in presenting or threaten to
While he owes devotion to him, he cannot present unfounded criminal charges to obtain
overstep the bounds set by his responsibility an improper advantage in any case or
proceeding.
as a lawyer. For his duty to the court is not
Rule 138, Sec. 20(d). Duties of attorneys.
secondary to that of his client.
It is the duty of an attorney: (d) To employ,
for the purpose of maintaining the causes
As to incidental matters pending trial, not
confided to him, such means only as are
affecting the merits of the cause, or working consistent with truth and honor, and never
substantial prejudice to the rights of the seek to mislead the judge or any judicial
client, such as forcing the opposite lawyer to
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

officer by an artifice or false statement of fact Prosecuting or defending matrimonial


or law. cases
(c) To counsel or maintain such actions or Civil Code, Art. 52. Marriage is not a mere
proceedings only as appear to him to be just, contract but an inviolable social
and such defenses only as he believes to be institution.
honestly debatable under the law; Civil Code, Art. 88. No judgment annulling
(f) To abstain from all offensive personality a marriage shall be promulgated upon a
and to advance no fact prejudicial to the stipulation of facts or by confession of
honor or reputation of a party or witness, judgment.
unless required by the justice of the cause Civil Code, Art. 101. No decree of legal
with which he is charged; separation shall be promulgated upon a
It is improper for a lawyer to assert in stipulation of facts or by confession of
argument his personal belief in his client's judgment.
innocence or in the justice of his cause. Art. 222. No suit shall be filed or
1. The lawyers personal belief has no maintained between members of the same
real bearing on the case. family unless it should appear that earnest
2. If expression of belief were permitted, efforts toward a compromise have been
it would give improper advantage to made.
the older and better known lawyer
whose opinion would carry more In annulment and legal separation
weight. proceedings, the circumstance that the
3. If such were permitted, omission to State is vitally interested in the
make such assertion might be taken maintenance of the marriage relation does
as an admission of the lack of belief in not make improper the lawyers
the soundness of his clients cause. appearance in securing for his client what
is due him under the law.
Technical defense What is unethical is the lawyers
Some defenses, when employed to defeat participation in any collusion between the
clearly valid claims, may raise questions parties such as:
of propriety. o By encouraging the commission of
Some hold the view that the defenses of a matrimonial offense.
infancy or lack of capacity to be sued, o Fabricating evidence of such
statute of frauds, and statute of offense not actually committed.
limitations may not, in the absence of o Suppressing evidence of a valid
some other defense, be properly raised to defense.
frustrate honest and just demands. A lawyer should also avoid any act which
Much can be said against the soundness of may raise suspicion of collusion.
that view.
The fact that those defenses have been A lawyer should always incline the scale of
provided by law shows that a litigant may his decision in favor of that solution which
avail of them and his counsel may assert will serve best all his loyalties, by
and make them effective. declining the professional employment or
The statute of fraud is designed to prevent terminating a professional relationship.
fraud and the law denies relief to a party
who sleeps on his rights. A lawyer shall rectify clients fraud
Rule 19.02 A lawyer who has received
The negative defense of lack of knowledge information that his client has, in the course
or information as permitted by the rules of the representation, perpetuated a fraud
must be availed of with sincerity and in upon a person or tribunal, shall promptly call
good faith. It must not be employed to upon the client to rectify the same, and failing
delay the litigation. which he shall terminate the relationship with
such client in accordance with the Rules of
Court.
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
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When a lawyer discovers that some fraud or defective complaint that it did not suspend
deception has been practiced, which was the prescriptive period to file an action
unjustly imposed upon the court or party, he betrayed his clients trust and did not
champion his cause.
should endeavor to rectify it; at first by
advising his client, and if his client refuses to
forego the advantage thus unjustly gained, he Duration and extent of a lawyers duty to
should promptly inform the injured person or safeguard clients interest
his counsel, so that they may take The attorneys duty to safeguard the clients
appropriate steps. (Canon 41, Code of interest commences from his retainer until his
Professional Ethics) effective release from the case.
During that period, he is expected to take
Canon 41 may collide with the lawyers duty such reasonable steps and such ordinary care
to keep the clients confidence inviolate, as his clients interests may require.
which may be the reason why the Code of The failure of his client to pay him his fees
Professional Responsibility merely requires does not warrant his abandoning the case.
the lawyer to terminate his relationship with
the client in the event the latter fails or A lawyer shall render service only when
refuses to rectify the fraud. qualified to do so
Rule 18.01. A lawyer shall not undertake a
legal service which he knows or should know
C. WHAT ARE REQUIRED TO PROTECT that he is not qualified to render. However he
CLIENTS INTERESTS may render such service if, with the consent
of his client, he can obtain as collaborating
Generally counsel a lawyer who is competent on the
Canon 18. A lawyer shall serve his client with matter.
competence and diligence.
By accepting a retainer, a lawyer impliedly
represents that: A lawyer shall not handle a case without
a. He possesses requisite degree of adequate preparation
learning, skill, ability which is Rule 18.02. A lawyer shall not handle any
necessary to the practice of his legal matter without adequate preparation.
profession and which other similarly Lawyer should safeguard his clients rights
situated possess; and interests by:
b. He will exert his best judgment in the 1. Thorough study and preparation;
prosecution or defense of the litigation 2. Mastering applicable law and facts
entrusted to him; involved in a case, regardless of the
c. He will exercise reasonable and nature of the assignment; and
ordinary care and diligence in the use 3. Keeping constantly abreast of the
of his skill and in the application of his latest jurisprudence and developments
knowledge to his clients cause; in all branches of the law.
d. He will take such steps as will
adequately safeguard his clients Inadequate preparation spawns adverse
interest. A client may reasonably effects that go far beyond the personal
expect that counsel will make good his interest of the client.
representations. When the merits of one side of a case are not
Rule 18.03. A lawyer shall not neglect a properly presented because of inadequate
legal matter entrusted to him, and his legal presentation, the court may be misled
negligence in connection therewith shall by looking at the case in an uneven light.
render him liable. Careless preparation may cast doubt upon the
lawyers intellectual honesty.
A lawyer who delayed filing an action to
revive a judgment and thereafter filed a
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Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Thorough study and preparation will not executed by a corporate officer who has been
ensure winning the litigation, but there is duly authorized by its board of directors. If
deep satisfaction of having lost a case but there are two or more parties, all of them
won the esteem and respect of his client and should sign.
the approbation of the court in the manner he o Except:
espoused his clients cause with skill, When one has been duly
diligence, ability, and candor. authorized to do so by his co-
party.
Where the petitioners are
husband and wife involving
Preparation of pleadings their property, in which case
A lawyers pleading: only one of them may sign.
o Shows the extent of his study and
preparation; In verifying a pleading, the certification of the
o Articulates his ideas as an officer of notary public must state that the affiant
the court; personally appeared before him, that the
o Mirrors his personality and reflects his affiant is personally known to the notary
conduct and attitude toward the court, public or that the affiant exhibited to him an
the opposing party and his counsel. official identification issued by a government
o Is a document embodying the result of agency showing his picture and signature. As
his work and furnishing the basis on required by the notarial law and rule issued
which to judge his competence. by the Supreme Court.
If a lawyer fails to comply with these
All of the above considerations emphasize the requirements, the complaint may be
need for utmost care in the preparation of a dismissed or his client may lose the case.
pleading. The client is bound by the action of his
A pleader should bear in mind the substantive counsel, as well as by his mistake or
and procedural requirements of the pleading negligence, and may even subject the lawyer
to be filed in the court. to disciplinary action.
He should not suppress or distort material
and vital facts nor omit relevant documents Interviewing witnesses
which bear on the merit or lack of merit of his A lawyer may interview a witness in advance
petition. of trial to guide him in the management of
Honesty toward the court to enable it to litigation.
better appraise its merit or deficiency. A witness is the human instrumentality
The Rules of Court prescribe the procedural through which the law and the judges and
requirements, such as in the verification and lawyers, endeavor to ascertain the truth and
in the certification against forum shopping. to dispense justice to the contending parties.
Rule 7, Sec. 4., Rules of Court: Verification. An attorney violates no ethical rule when he
ascertains from a witness what the latter
Except when otherwise specifically required know and does not know about the facts in
controversy.
by law or rule, pleadings need not be under
What is unethical is to tell the witness to say
oath, verified or accompanied by affidavit.
something which is false.

A pleading is verified by an affidavit that the A lawyer may properly interview any witness
affiant has read the pleading and that the or prospective witness for the opposing side
allegations therein are true and correct of his in any civil or criminal action without the
knowledge and belief. consent of opposing counsel or party. In
doing so, however, he should scrupulously
In the verified certification against forum avoid any suggestion calculated to induce the
shopping, it is signed only by the party witness to suppress or deviate from the truth,
himself and not his lawyer, and it may only be or in any degree to affect his free and
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

untrammeled conduct when appearing at the Rule 13, Sec. 10. Rules of Court
trial or on the witness stand. Completeness of service.
A lawyer may properly obtain statements Service by ordinary mail is complete upon the
from witnesses whose names were furnished
expiration of ten (10) days after mailing,
by the opposing counsel or interview the
employees of the opposing party even though unless the court otherwise provides.
they are under subpoena to appear as Service by registered mail is complete upon
witnesses for the opposite side. actual receipt by the addressee, or after five
If after trial resulting in defendants (5) days from the date he received the first
conviction, his counsel has been advised that notice of the postmaster, whichever date is
a prosecution witness committed perjury, it is earlier.
the lawyers duty to endeavor honorably to
obtain such witness retraction. This rule imposes upon a lawyer the duty to
An adverse party, though he may be used as maintain a system that will insure his prompt
a witness, is not a witness within the meaning receipt of notices and communications sent to
of the rule permitting a lawyer to interview him by mail at his address of record.
the witness of the opposing party. The failure or refusal of a lawyer to claim
A lawyer should not in any way communicate registered mails addressed to him may prove
upon the subject of controversy with a party prejudicial to his clients interests, as when as
represented by counsel, much less should he a consequence thereof, he fails to attend a
undertake to negotiate or compromise the hearing, to file a responsive pleading on time,
matter with him, but should deal only with his pay the docket fee, or appeal an adverse
counsel. judgment.
Circumstances that will not warrant reopening
What to do in case of conflict of trial dates of the litigation nor prevent the service by
Two or more cases set for trial in different registered mail from being effective after 5
courts and on the same date without the days notice:
lawyers previous knowledge should ask for 1. That a lawyer could not afford to hire a
postponement of the latter cases as he should regular clerk to claim his mail.
not give undue preference for the work in one 2. That his clerk failed to call his
against the other. attention to it.
o Except: In favor of that case wherein 3. That the demands of his work required
the court has served warning in view him to be in different places.
of previous repeated postponements 4. That he changed his address without
Motion for postponement should be presented notice to the court thereof.
at such time as practicable to prevent the
adverse party from coming to court with his Notice of change of address
witnesses on the date of trial as to spare Without his address being recorded in the
unnecessary expense. case, a lawyer will not be entitled to be
A lawyer should not assume that his motion served with judicial notice.
for postponement will be granted even if the Without informing the court in writing of such
adverse party conforms since the court is not change, a notice served at the attorneys
bound thereby. original address is binding upon the client.
When the motion for postponement has been Insofar as the court is concerned, the last
denied or the case has been set for trial for address on record is the place where all
the last time, the lawyer must take notices shall be served until the court is
precautionary measures such as notifying the officially informed to the contrary.
court or asking his clients to secure the
services of another lawyer or requesting Notice of death of client
another attorney to appear for him. Rule 3, Sec. 16. Rules of Court: Death of
party; duty of counsel:
Adoption of a system to insure receipt of
mails
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

Whenever a party to a pending action dies, What is required when moving from time to
and the claim is not thereby extinguished, it file pleading or to postpone hearing
shall be duty of his client to inform the court Pressure of work or some unavoidable
within 30 days after such death of the fact reasons may constrain a lawyer to file a
thereof, and to give the name and address of motion for extension of time to file pleadings.
his legal representative or representatives. A lawyer should not assume that such motion
Failure of counsel to comply with this duty will be granted.
shall be a ground for disciplinary action. A lawyer should inquire from the clerk of
court the courts action thereon.
The legal representatives can be substituted He runs the risk of time running out on him.
as parties. Where a motion for extension has remained
The failure of giving such notice binds his unacted, the least that is expected of a
client as well as the heirs of any judgment. lawyer in the meanwhile is to file it within the
The court does not take judicial notice of the time asked for.
death of a party and will render decision as if When there is failure after the lapse of the
the party is alive. period, he should nonetheless file it with a
motion for leave to admit it, stating the
Requiring clerk of court to do his duty reasons for the delay.
Rule 20, Section 1. Rules of Court: Calendar Rule 12.03. A lawyer shall not, after
of cases. obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings,
The clerk of court, under the direct memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse
without submitting to the same or offering an
supervision of the judge, shall keep a
explanation for his failure to do so.
calendar of cases for pre-trial, for trial, those Rule 12.04. A lawyer shall not unduly delay
whose trials were adjourned or postponed, a case, impede the execution of a judgment
and those with motions to set for hearing. or misuse court processes.
The court frowns upon the lawyers practice of
If the clerk of court is negligent, it is the repeatedly seeking extensions and thereafter
lawyers duty to call the attention of the court simply letting the period lapse without
to that fact so that the administration of submitting any pleading or even explanation
justice will not suffer any delay. for their failure.
While an appellant may expect the clerk of Postponement is not a matter of right but of
court to do his duty, it does not discharge the sound judicial discretion.
counsel from the responsibility of seeing that
the record on appeal and evidence are Diligence in handling case
elevated to the appellate court. A lawyer must exercise ordinary diligence or
that reasonable degree of care and skill
Duty to keep client fully informed having reference to the character of the
Duty to advise promptly the client of any business he undertakes to do.
important information. He is not, however, bound to exercise
Notify client of an adverse decision within the extraordinary diligence.
period to appeal to enable the client to decide What amounts to carelessness or negligence
whether to seek appellate review. depends upon the circumstances of the case.
Keeping the client fully informed of important There is want of diligence where:
developments of his case will minimize 1. The lawyer failed, without sufficient
occasions for misunderstanding or loss of justification, to bring an action
trust and confidence. immediately.
The client should not, however, sit idly by. It 2. Failure to file the answer to the
is also the clients duty to make proper complaint within the reglementary
inquiries from his counsel concerning his period.
case. 3. Failure to notify his client of the date
of the hearing.

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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

4. Failure to attend the scheduled pre- Where the client refuses to cooperate or is
trial conference or hearing. nowhere to be found, a lawyer should ask
5. Failure to prosecute the action for a that he be discharged or should apply to the
reasonable period. court that he be released.
6. Failure to inform the client of an Retirement from the case should be made on
adverse judgment within the record. His impending release from
reglementary period to appeal. professional obligation does not excuse him
7. Failure to take steps to have the from the non-performance thereof.
adverse decision reconsidered or
appealed.
8. Failure to ascertain the correct date of D. STANDARD OF DUTY IN CRIMINAL
receipt of the decision. ACTIONS
9. Failure to acquaint himself with what
has happened to the litigation.
10. Failure to pay the docket fee on Duty to render effective legal service
appeal. The lawyer must decline to conduct a civil
11. Failure to claim judicial notices sent to cause or to make a defense when convicted
him by mail. that it is intended merely to harass or to
12. Failure to file the appellants brief. injure the opposite party or to work
oppression or wrong.
A new counsel, who enters his appearance in It is the right of the lawyer to undertake the
midstream, has the duty not only to defense of a person accused of crime,
thoroughly study the case but also to inquire regardless of his personal opinion as to the
as to the status of the case. Failure to do so guilt of the accused.
prevents him from taking required steps and The right of an accused to counsel finds
may adversely affect his clients interests. substance in the performance by the lawyer
Rule 18, Sec. 4, Rules of Court: Appearance of his sworn duty of fidelity to his client. It
of Parties. means an efficient and truly decisive legal
assistance and not simply a perfunctory
It shall be the duty of the parties and their representation.
counsel to appear at the pre-trial. Rule 138, Sec. 20 (i) In the defense of a
person accused of crime, by all fair and
The non-appearance of a party may be honorable means, regardless of his personal
excused only if a valid cause is shown opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to
therefor or if a representative shall appear in present every defense that the law permits,
his behalf fully authorized in writing to enter to the end that no person may be deprived of
into an amicable settlement, to submit to life or liberty, but by due process of law.
alternative modes of dispute resolution, and A lawyer may not cause the transfer, through
to enter into stipulations or admissions of misrepresentation, of a case pending in one
facts and of documents. sala to another of the same court without the
knowledge and consent of the judge taking
Pressure and large volume of legal work cognizance of said case for the purpose of
provide no excuse for the lawyers inability to obtaining from the second sala a more
exercise due diligence in the performance of satisfactory remedy.
his duty to take the necessary legal steps to A lawyer, in seeking reversal of a lower
protect his clients interest. courts conviction of his client, may not
A lawyer who finds it impracticable to attribute to the trial judge personal motives
continue representing a client should inform or attacking him acrimoniously behind his
the latter of his predicament and ask that he back in his appeal brief.
be allowed to withdraw from the case to The interest of the public requires that every
enable the client to engage the services of verdict be rendered only upon the issues
another counsel who can study the situation raised and evidence presented, uninfluenced
and work out a solution.
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

by pleas of counsel to passion, prejudice, or Duty of defense counsel when accused


distorted sense of justice. intends to plead guilty
It is a disgrace to the bar and an affront to Plea of guilty: An admission by the accused of
the court for a lawyer to plead that, on behalf his guilt of a crime as charged in the
of an accused charged with killing a person information and of the truth of the facts
for monetary consideration, that his accused alleged, including the qualifying and
client was a poor, ignorant man blinded by aggravating circumstances.
the promise of wealth, and it was too great a The imposition of sentence proceeds from a
temptation to resist. plea that is truthful and made voluntarily by
It is improper for a lawyer to assert in the accused with full awareness of its
argument his personal belief in his client's consequences and of his rights.
innocence or in the justice of his cause. The It is the duty of defense counsel when his
lawyer is bound, by all fair and honorable client desires to enter a plea of guilty, to:
means, to present every defense that the law 1. Fully acquaint himself with the records
of the land permits, to the end that no person and surrounding circumstances of the
may be deprived of life or liberty but by due case;
process of law. 2. Confer with the accused and obtain
from him his account of what had
What is required of counsel de oficio happened;
He is expected to render effective service and 3. Advise him of his constitutional rights;
to exert his best efforts on behalf of an 4. Thoroughly explain to him the import
indigent accused. of a guilty plea and the inevitable
He has the bounden duty to exert utmost conviction that will follow; and
efforts to defend his client and protect his 5. See to it that the prescribed procedure
rights, no matter how guilty or evil he which experience has shown to be
appears to be. necessary to the administration of
The performance of his duty is all the more justice is strictly followed and
imperative because the life of the accused disclosed in the court records.
hangs in the balance.
He failed in the performance of such duty as In grave offenses, after the plea of guilty, the
counsel for the accused: prudent and proper course to follow is for the
o Where he refused to cross-examine trial court to require the taking of testimony
the offended party in a rape case of the accused so as to establish the precise
because he believed she was telling degree of his culpability and leave no room
the truth and did not present evidence for doubt that there is no mistake or
for the accused. misunderstanding as to the nature of the
o Where barely days after accused client charges.
pleaded not guilty he filed a The review by the Supreme Court of a lower
manifestation in open court that his courts judgment would permit judicial inquiry
client was changing his plea to that of as to the extent a defense counsel has
guilty. performed his duty to an accused who
The court requires strict accountability in the pleaded guilty to a capital offense and would
performance of a lawyers duty to the minimize the denial of an accuseds right to
impoverished client. an effective assistance of counsel.
A counsel de oficio ought not to ask to be Taking of testimony after a plea of guilty
excused from his responsibility for any trivial could also prevent the imposition of an
reason. incorrect penalty.
Nor does his appointment as an election
registrar justify his release from his The guilty plea system is not conducive to a
responsibility as counsel de oficio unless on sound attorney-client relationship.
valid grounds. It has been asserted that there are some
professional writrunners and pleaders
lawyers who handle large volume of cases for
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LEGAL ETHICS
Based on the book
Legal and Judicial Ethics
by Atty. Ruben E. Agpalo

less than spectacular fees by advising,


influencing, cajoling, or even coercing clients Consequences to a client for lawyers breach
to plead guilty, irrespective of their guilt or of trust
innocence. The client may lose his case due to the
A lawyer who has been thrice appointed negligence or misconduct of his counsel
counsel de oficio, cautions the courts from because the client is generally bound by his
frequently appointing the same attorney to lawyers omission or mistake.
prevent the possibility of having the
compensation for services rendered as a
regular source of income, as the counsel
might be inordinately eager to finish the
cases to be able to collect his fees at the
earliest possible time.
And the quickest and easiest way to
accomplish that purpose is to ask an accused
to plead guilty even when counsel knows his
client did not commit the offense.

The guilty plea system puts even the most


reputable lawyer into a trying situation.
Where a guilty plea would be an advantage in
view of the evidence of guilt and the
prosecutions offer to charge him with a lesser
offense, notwithstanding the accused insisting
his innocence.
If he were to advise his client to enter a plea
of not guilty, he may be less than true to his
duty of extending the best legal assistance to
the accused.
On the other hand, if he were to advise a
guilty plea to the lesser offense, a problem
arises as to the correctness of the step taken
especially when evidence is adduced, the
accused appears to be innocent.
There appears to be no immediate solution in
sight to the ethical and economic problems
posed by the guilty plea system.
Such problems underscore the need for a
defense counsel to be conscientious and
diligent in the discharge of his duties to the
accused.

E. CONSEQUENCES OF FAILURE TO
PERFORM DUTIES

Generally
Failure of the lawyer may render him
administratively liable, which may be a
reprimand, warning, suspension from the
practice of law, and even disbarment
depending upon the circumstances and
prejudice caused to the client.
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