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11 Feb 2017

I. Passing the Bar and Practice of Law


Bar Matter No. 1036 (403 SCRA 342)
10 June 2003


Aguirre charged Rana with unauthorized practice of law, grave misconduct, violation
of law, and grave misrepresentation. The charge was made one day before the
scheduled mass oath-taking of successful examinees of the 2000 Bar Exams.
It was alleged that Rana, while not yet a full-fledged lawyer, appeared and
represented himself as counsel for vice mayoralty candidate George Bunan and filed
a pleading before the Municipal Board of Election Canvassers.
Rana disputed the allegation and said that he assisted and advised Bunin not as a
lawyer but a person who knows the law. Nonetheless, Rana admitted that he signed
the 19 May 2001 pleading but he did not represented himself as an attorney.
In her Reply, Aguirre refuted Ranas claim and further alleged that the respondent
signed himself as counsel for another candidate, Emily Estipona-Hao. In response to
the allegation, Rana reiterated himself and averred that the case is politically
The Supreme Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar Confidant and the OBC
found that respondent indeed appeared before the MBEC as counsel for Bunin in the
May 2001 elections. The OBC likewise found that respondent appeared and actively
participated in the MBEC proceedings even before he took the lawyers oath on 22
May 2001.


WON passing the Bar Examinations entitles one to the practice of law?



The fact the Rana passed the Bar Exams is immaterial. It is the signing in the Roll of
Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer. Passing the bar is not the only
qualification to become an attorney-at-law. There are two essential requisites for
becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: the lawyers oath to be
administered by the Supreme Court and the signing of the Roll of Attorneys.

In this case, Rana was engaged in the practice of law when he appeared in the
proceedings before the MBEC and filed various pleadings, without license to do so.
Respondent called himself counsel knowing fully well that he was not a member of
the Bar. Having held himself out as counsel knowing that he had no authority to
practice law, respondent has shown moral unfitness to be a member of the Philippine

Under Section 3 (e) of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who engages in the
unauthorized practice of law is liable for indirect contempt of court.
II. What is Practice of Law?


201 SCRA 210
03 September 1991


Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of

chairman of the COMELEC. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly
Monsod does not posses required qualification of having been engaged in the
practice of law for at least ten years.

The 1987 constitution provides in Section 1, Article IX-C: There shall be a

Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall
be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at
least thirty-five years of age. (H)owever, a majority thereof, including the Chairman,
shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law
for at least ten years.


WON Monsod posses the required qualification of having engaged in the practice of
law for at least ten years?



The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it
embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and
special proceeding, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of
clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. Practice of law means
any activity, in or out court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure,
knowledge, training and experience.

The contention that Atty. Monsod does not posses the required qualification of having
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years is incorrect since Atty. Monsods
past work experience as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-
entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of
both rich and the poor verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement for the
position of COMELEC chairman, The respondent has been engaged in the practice
of law for at least ten years does In the view of the foregoing, the petition is
Adm. Case No. 5737, 441 SCRA 211
25 October 2004


Ferdinand A. Cruz was a fourth year law student; since the latter part of 2001, he
instituted several actions against his neighbors (the Mina family) wherein he
appeared for and in his behalf in his own cases.
During a hearing, Atty. Cabrera, counsel for the Mina family, and Cruz met before the
sala of Judge Caridad Cuerdo. Atty. Cabrera pointed out to the trial court that Cruz is
not a lawyer to correct the judges impression of complainants appearance. In the
middle of the exchange, Atty. Cabrera uttered appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka
Cruz charged Atty. Stanley Cabrera with misconduct in violation of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and for the transgression of the very ethics that lawyers
are sworn to uphold. (Rule 8.01: A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use
language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.)
The case was referred to the IBP and thereafter, Commissioner Lydia Navarro
recommended the suspension of Atty. Cabrera for three months. However, the IBP
Board of Governors passed a resolution to annul and set aside the recommendation
of Comm. Navarro. (Nonetheless, the Court noted that the IBP Board failed to
observe procedural requirements when it did not stated the facts and the reason why
the recommendation of Comm. Navarro was annulled and set aside).


WON the outburst of Atty. Cabrera constitutes a misconduct in violation of the Code
of Professional Responsibility so as to warrant suspension?


NO, but the respondent should be admonished to be more circumspect in the

performance of his duties as officer of the court.

The outburst, though uncalled for, is not of such magnitude as to warrant respondents
suspension or reproof. It has been said that lawyers should not be held to too strict an
account for words said in the heat of the moment.

Nonetheless, membership in the bar imposes upon them certain obligations. Mandated
to maintain the dignity of the legal profession, they must conduct themselves honorably
and fairly. Though a lawyers language may be forceful and emphatic, it should always
be dignified and respectful, befitting the dignity of the legal profession. The use of
intemperate language and unkind ascriptions has no place in the dignity of judicial forum.
III. Law Student and Practice of Law


G.R. No. 154207, 522 SCRA 382
27 April 2007


On September 25, 2000, Ferdinand A. Cruz, then a third year law student, filed
before the MeTC a formal Entry of Appearance, as private prosecutor, in a Criminal
Case for Grave Threats, where his father, Mariano Cruz, is the complaining witness.
Cruz justified his appearance as private prosecutor on the bases of Section 34 of
Rule 1381 of the Rules of Court and the ruling of the Court En Banc in Cantimbuhan
v. Judge Cruz, Jr.2 that a non-lawyer may appear before the inferior courts as an
agent or friend of a party litigant.
The petitioner furthermore avers that his appearance was with the prior conformity of
the public prosecutor and a written authority of Mariano Cruz appointing him to be his
agent in the prosecution of the said criminal case.
However, the MeTC denied permission for petitioner to appear as private prosecutor
on the ground that Circular No. 19 governing limited law student practice in
conjunction with Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court (Law Student Practice Rule) 2
should take precedence over the ruling of the Court laid down in Cantimbuhan.
Cruz filed a Motion for Reconsideration but was denied by the MeTC. He also
appealed the ruling before the RTC but his petition was dismissed. Hence, Cruz filed
a petition before the Supreme Court seeking for the reversal of the order of the RTC
and for the MeTC to admit the Entry of Appearance of Cruz as private prosecutor.

WON a law student, may appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a
party litigant?



There is really no problem as to the application of Section 34 of Rule 138 and Rule 138-
A. In the former, the appearance of a non-lawyer, as an agent or friend of a party litigant,
is expressly allowed, while the latter rule provides for conditions when a law student, not
as an agent or a friend of a party litigant, may appear before the courts.

Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the inferior courts by a non-lawyer
is allowed, irrespective of whether or not he is a law student. As succinctly clarified in Bar

1 Section 34. By whom litigation conducted. In the court of a justice of the peace a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of
an agent or friend appointed by him for the purpose, or with the aid an attorney. In any other court, a party may conduct his litigation personally or
by aid of an attorney, and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the bar.


Section 1. Conditions for Student Practice.A law student who has successfully completed his 3rd year of the regular four-year prescribed law
curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized law schools clinical legal education program approved by the Supreme Court, may appear without
compensation in any civil, criminal or administrative case before any trial court, tribunal, board or officer, to represent indigent clients accepted by
the legal clinic of the law school.

Sec. 2. Appearance.The appearance of the law student authorized by this rule, shall be under the direct supervision and control of a member of
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines duly accredited by the law school. Any and all pleadings, motions, briefs, memoranda or other papers to be
filed, must be signed by the supervising attorney for and in behalf of the legal clinic.
Matter No. 730, by virtue of Section 34, Rule 138, a law student may appear, as an agent
or a friend of a party litigant, without the supervision of a lawyer before inferior courts.

IV. Membership in the IBP


AC-1928, 84 SCRA 554
03 August 1978


On November 29, 1975, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors
unanimously adopted a Resolution recommending to the Court the removal of the
name of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon from its Roll of Attorneys for stubborn refusal to pay
his membership dues to the IBP.
Commenting on the Resolution, Atty. Edillon reiterated his refusal to pay the
membership fees due from him and insisted that his constitutional right to life, liberty,
and property and right to association is being violated, and that the Court has no
jurisdiction to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys.

(1) WON the compulsory membership of lawyers in the IBP violates the constitutional
right to association?
(2) WON the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to strike the name of an individual
from the Roll of Attorneys?


(1) NO.

Bar Integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. The only
compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court,
in order to further the States legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional
legal services, may require that the cost of improving the professional in his fashion be
shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory programthe lawyers.

Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer to be member
of the Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of
the State. The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with and
regulate personal liberty, property and occupations.

(2) YES.

Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike the
name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys, it is sufficient to state that the matters of
admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation
and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions
and responsibilities, and the authorities holding such are legion.

Further, the Constitution grants the Supreme Court the power to promulgate rules
concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the
practice of law, it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests
the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and
supervision of the practice of law.
Thus, having violated Sec. 10, Rule 139-A of the Rules of the Court and the By-Laws of
the IBP, Atty. Edillon was disbarred and stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.

V. Payment of IBP Dues



B.M. No. 1370, 458 SCRA 209,

09 May 2005


In his letter dated 22 September 2004, Atty. Cecilio Arevalo sought exemption from
payment of IBP dues in the amount of P12, 035.00 as alleged unpaid accountability
for the years 1977-2005.
In 1961, Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo was admitted to the Philippine Bar. From 1962 to
1986, he became part of the Philippine Civil Service, then migrated to, and worked in,
the USA in December 1986 until his retirement in the year 2003.
He maintained that he cannot be assessed IBP dues for the years that he was
working in the Philippine Civil Service since the Civil Service law prohibits the
practice of ones profession while in government service, and neither can he be
assessed for the years when he was working in the USA.
Commenting on Atty. Arevalos letter, the IBP stated that membership in the IBP is
not based on the actual practice of law; that a lawyer continues to be included in the
Roll of Attorneys as long as he continues to be a member of the IBP; that one of the
obligations of a member is the payment of annual dues; and that the policy of the IBP
Board of Governors of no exemption from payment of dues is but an implementation
of the Courts directives for all members of the IBP to help in defraying the cost of
integration of the bar.

WON Atty. Arevalo is entitled to exemption from payment of his dues during the time
that he was inactive in the practice of law?



The payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the IBP, of which no

one is exempt. This means that the compulsory nature of payment of dues subsists for
as long as ones membership in the IBP remains regardless of the lack of practice of, or
the type of practice, the member is engaged in. There is nothing in the law or rules which
allows exemption from payment of membership dues. At most, as correctly observed by
the IBP, he could have informed the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his intention to
stay abroad before he left. In such case, his membership in the IBP could have been
terminated and his obligation to pay dues could have been discontinued.

Hence, Atty. Arevalo was ordered by the Court to pay the amount of the dues covering
the period of 1977 to 2005, within ten days from the receipt of the decision, with a
warning that failure to do so will merit his suspension from the practice of law.
Adm. Case No. 4749, 322 SCRA 529
20 January 2000


A letter-complaint was filed before the Supreme Court by Atty. Soliman Santos
against Atty. Francisco Llamas. Atty. Santos alleged among others that Atty. Llamas
has been using the same IBP O.R. Number for three years.
On April 18, 1997, complainant filed a certification dated March 18, 1997, by the then
president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Atty. Ida R. Macalinao-Javier, that
respondents last payment of his IBP dues was in 1991. Since then he has not paid
or remitted any amount to cover his membership fees up to the present.
In response to the allegation against him, Atty. Llamas in his comment-memorandum
stated that since he was already a senior citizen and thus exempted from payment of
taxes, he honestly believe in view of his detachment from a total practice of law, but
only in a limited practice, the subsequent payment by him of dues with the Integrated
Bar is covered by such exemption. Also, he never exercised his rights as an IBP
member to vote and be voted upon.
Atty. Llamas nonetheless stated that if despite such honest belief of being covered by
the exemption and if only to show that he never in any manner wilfully and
deliberately failed and refused compliance with such dues, he is willing at any time to
fulfill and pay all past dues even with interests, charges and surcharges and
On December 4, 1998, the IBP Board of Governors passed a resolution adopting and
approving the report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner which
found respondent guilty, and recommended his suspension from the practice of law
for three months and until he pays his IBP dues.

WON Atty. Llamas is guilty for failure to pay IBP dues and misrepresentation in his


While it is true that senior citizens are granted the exemption from the payment of
individual income taxes: provided, that their annual taxable income does not exceed
the poverty level as determined by the National Economic and Development Authority
(NEDA) for that year, the exemption does not include payment of membership or
association dues.

By indicating IBP-Rizal 259060 in his pleadings and thereby misrepresenting to the

public and the courts that he had paid his IBP dues to the Rizal Chapter, Atty. Llamas
is guilty of violating the following rules/canons of the Code of Professional

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


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

Atty. Llamass failure to pay his IBP dues and his misrepresentation in the pleadings
he filed in court indeed merit the most severe penalty. However, in view of
respondents advanced age, his express willingness to pay his dues and plea for a
more temperate application of the law, we believe the penalty of one year suspension
from the practice of law or until he has paid his IBP dues, whichever is later, is

VI. Citizenship Requirement


B.M. No. 1678, 540 SCRA 424
17 December 2007


Benjamin M. Dacanay was admitted to the Philippine bar in March 1960. He

practiced law until he migrated to Canada in De-cember 1998 to seek medical
attention for his ailments. He subsequently applied for Canadian citizenship to avail
of Canadas free medical aid program. His application was approved and he became
a Canadian citizen in May 2004.
On July 14, 2006, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Re-
Acquisition Act of 2003), petitioner reacquired his Philippine citizenship.1 On that day,
he took his oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen before the Philippine Consulate
General in Toronto, Canada. Thereafter, he returned to the Philippines and now
intends to resume his law practice.


WON Dacanay lost his membership in the Philippine bar when he gave up his
Philippine citizenship in May 2004?


The Constitution provides that the practice of all professions in the Philippines shall be
limited to Filipino citizens save in cases prescribed by law.3 In other words, the loss of
Filipino citizenship ipso jure terminates the privilege to practice law in the Philippines.
The practice of law is a privilege denied to foreigners.

3 ART. XII, SEC 14. The sustained development of a reservoir of national talents consisting of Filipino scientists, entrepreneurs, professionals,
managers, high-level technical manpower and skilled workers and craftsmen in all fields shall be promoted by the State. The State shall
encourage appropriate technology and regulate its transfer for the national benefit.

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

Before a lawyer who reacquires Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 can resume
his law practice, he must first secure from this Court the authority to do so,
conditioned on: (a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in
the IBP; (b) the payment of professional tax; (c) the completion of at least 36 credit
hours of mandatory continuing legal education; this is specially significant to refresh
the applicant/petitioners knowledge of Philippine laws and update him of legal
developments and (d) the retaking of the lawyers oath which will not only remind him
of his duties and responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also
renew his pledge to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.
I___________ of ___________ do solemnly
swear that I will maintain allegiance to the
Republic of the Philippines; I will support its
Constitution and obey the laws as well as the
legal orders of the duly constituted authorities
therein; I will do no falsehood, nor consent to
the doing of any in court; I will not wittingly nor
willingly promote or sue any groundless, false
or unlawful suit, or give aid nor consent to the
same; I will delay no man for money or malice,
and will conduct myself as a lawyer according
to the best of my knowledge and discretion
with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to
my clients; and I impose upon myself this
voluntary obligation without any mental
reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me
Arizona Supreme Court No. SB-04-0079-M211


James Joseph Hamm, the Petitioner, was sentenced to life in prison for one-count
of first degree murder to which he pled guilty.
Prior to serving his sentence, Hamm had been separated from his wife with whom he
had a son and had supported himself by selling and using marijuana, other drugs and
drinking alcohol.
The crime for which Hamm was sentenced to life imprisonment is for the murder of
Morley and Well, who were killed by Hamm along with two accomplices, Garland
Wells and Bill Reeser. The three robbed and killed Morley and Well by shooting them
with a gun and leaving their bodies lying in the dessert.
While in prison, Hamm exhibited good conduct and became a model prisoner which
earned him aconditioned parole.
Hamm was released after serving nearly seventeen years in prison. From
conditioned parole, Hamm absolutely discharged on December 2001.
While on parole, Hamm graduated from the Arizona State University College of Law.
In July 1999, Hamm passed the Arizona bar examination and, in 2004, filed his
Character and Fitness Report with the Committee. However, the Committee
recommended that Hamm cannot be admitted to the Bar.


WON Hamm can be admitted to the Bar?


NO, the Supreme Court decided that Hamm failed to prove his burden that he is of
good moral character on the following grounds:

1. Hamm failed to show rehabilitation from past criminal conduct by

not accepting full responsibility for Staples murder although he accepted
responsibility for the death of Morley.

2. Hamm was not completely up-front in his testimony to the murder of which
he claims that he only intended to rob and not to kill. This is contrary to the
facts he accepted the gun and brings it with him in the car, shot Morley without
attempting robbery and shot hit again to ensure he is dead and shotStaples
when he attempted to escape.
3. Hamms failure to fulfill his long overdue obligation to support his child who he
was aware existed.

4. Hamms failure to disclose the incident involving him and his wife, Donna, when
he submitted his application to the Committee. This incident gave rise to Hamm
being questioned by the law enforcers which should have been reflected by
Hamm in the application

5. Hamms act of quoting lines from Federal Supreme Courts decision and used
the same in the introduction for his petition.

G.R. No. 97239, 221 SCRA 760
12 May 1993


On February 6, 1987, in an act of self-defense, Nestor Micosa stabbed to death one

Reynaldo Ortega inside a beer house in Los Baos, Laguna. For this, he was
accussed of the crime of homicide.
During the pendency of the case, Micosa voluntarily applied for inclusion in IRRIs
Special Separation Program but the application was denied by the IRRI Director
General because he want to retain the services of Micosa because of the latters
skills and talents.
In January 1990, Micosa was later found to be guilty of homicide. However, the trial
court appreciated the presence of mitigating circumstances.
Barely a month after the conviction, the IRRI Director General informed Micosa that
he was appointed as a regular employee. However, the head of the Human Resource
Department of IRRI urged Micosa to resign since he was convicted in a crime
involving moral turpitude.
Micosa sought the assistance of IRRIs Grievance Committee and the committee
recommended to the IRRI Director General to continue Micosas employment.
Notwithstanding the Committees recommendation, the HR Head issued a notice to
Micosa that his employment will be terminated by May 25, 1990. Micosa filed a case
for illegal dismissal. NLRC rendered a judgment in favor of Micosa. The decision of
the NLRC was then appealed to the Supreme Court.


WON the mere conviction of Micosa for homicide constitutes a crime of moral



Moral turpitude has been defined as everything which is done contrary to justice,
modesty, or good morals; an act of baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and
social duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to
justice, honesty, modesty or good morals.
Thus, the precipitate conclusion of IRRI that conviction of the crime of homicide
involves moral turpitude is unwarranted considering that the said crime which resulted
from an act of incomplete self-defense from an unlawful aggression by the victim has
not been so classified as involving moral turpitude.

This is not to say that all convictions of the crime of homicide do not involve moral
turpitude. Homicide may or may not involve moral turpitude depending on the degree
of the crime. Moral turpitude is not involved in every criminal act and is not shown by
every known and intentional violation of statute, but whether any particular conviction
involves moral turpitude may be a question of fact and frequently depends on all the
surrounding circumstances.


A.C. No. 6792, 480 SCRA 1
25 January 2006


Roberto Soriano, a taxi driver, overtook the car being driven by Atty. Manuel Dizon.
Dizon, at the time of the incident, was under the influence of liquor.
Dizon tailed the taxi driver until the latter stopped in a certain street corner.
Thereafter, Dizon violently assaulted Soriano but the latter was able to ward off the
Not to be defeated, Dizon went back to his car and got his gun and wrapped it in a
handkerchief (so that his fingerprints will not be left) to shot Soriano. Soriano was
shot at the neck and could have died of hemorrhage had he not received timely
medical assistance.
Later, the Baguio RTC convicted Dizon of the crime of frustrated homicide. Although
Dizon was placed on probation, Dizon has not yet satisfied his civil liabilities to
Soriano filed a disbarment case with the IBP for violating Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of CPR
which constitutes a sufficient ground for disbarment under Sec. 27, Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court.
Comm. Teresita Herbosa rendered her Report and Recommendation which was later
adopted and approved by the IBP Board of Governors. It was recommended that
Dizon should be disbarred from the practice of law for having been convicted of a
crime involving moral turpitude.


(1) WON the conviction of Dizon to the crime of frustrated homicide involves moral

(2) WON his guilt warrants disbarment?


(1) YES.

As explained in IRRI v. NLRC, it is for the courts to determine whether or not a crime
involves moral turpitude.
When lawyers are convicted of frustrated homicide, the attending circumstancesnot
the mere fact of their convictionwould demonstrate their fitness to remain in the
legal profession. In the present case, the appalling vindictiveness, treachery, and
brazen dishonesty of respondent clearly show his unworthiness to continue as a
member of the bar.

The totality of the facts unmistakably bears the earmarks of moral turpitude. By his
conduct, respondent revealed his extreme arrogance and feeling of self-importance.
His overreaction also evinced vindictiveness, which was definitely an undesirable trait
in any individual, more so in a lawyer.

It is also glaringly clear that respondent seriously transgressed Canon 1 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility through his illegal possession of an unlicensed
firearmand his unjust refusal to satisfy his civil liabilities. He has thus brazenly violated
the law and disobeyed the lawful orders of the courts.

(2) YES.

The actions of respondent erode rather than enhance public perception of the legal
profession. They constitute moral turpitude for which he should be disbarred.

Under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, conviction for a crime involving
moral turpitude is a ground for disbarment or suspension. By such conviction, a
lawyer is deemed to have become unfit to uphold the administration of justice and to
be no longer possessed of good moral character. In the instant case, respondent has
been found guilty; and he stands convicted, by final judgment, of frustrated homicide.
Soriano vs. Dizon, 480 SCRA 1, A.C. No. 6792 January 25, 2006

A.C. No. 6672, 598 SCRA 133
September 4, 2009


Atty. Linsangan alleged that Atty. Tolentino, with the help of paralegal Fe Marie
Labiano, convinced his clients to transfer legal representation. Tolentino promised
them financial assistance and expeditious collection on their claims.To induce them
to hire his services, he persistently called them and sent them text messages.
Furthermore, the calling card of Atty. Tolentino was presented as evidence. In the
front of the calling card, it was claimed that the law office of Atty. Tolentino offers
financial assistance, among others.
In his defense, Tolentino denied knowing the paralegal Labiano and authorizing the
printing and circulation of the said calling card.
The complaint was referred to the Committee on Bar Discipline of the IBP.
It was found that Tolentino had encroached on the professional practice of
complainant, violating Rule 8.02 and other canons of the CPR. Moreover, he
contravened the rule against soliciting cases for gain, personally or through paid
agents or brokers as stated in Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Hence, the
CBD recommended that respondent be reprimanded with a stern warning that any
repetition would merit a heavier penalty.

WON Atty. Tolentino violated the Code of Professional Responsibility?



Canons of the CPR are rules of conduct all lawyers must adhere to, including the
manner by which a lawyers services are to be made known. Thus, Canon 3 of the
Time and time again, lawyers are reminded that the practice of law is a profession and
not a business; lawyers should not advertise their talents as merchants advertise their
wares. To allow a lawyer to advertise his talent or skill is to commercialize the practice
of law, degrade the profession in the publics estimation and impair its ability to
efficiently render that high character of service to which every member of the bar is
Furthermore, Tolentino violated Rule 1.03 of the CPR which provides: RULE 1.03. A
ambulance chasing (the solicitation of almost any kind of legal business by an
attorney, personally or through an agent in order to gain employment) as a measure to
protect the community from barratry and champerty.
A final word regarding the calling card presented in evidence by petitioner. A lawyers
best advertisement is a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to
trust based on his character and conduct. For this reason, lawyers are only allowed to
announce their services by publication in reputable law lists or use of simple
professional cards. Professional calling cards may only contain the following details:
(a) lawyers name; (b) name of the law firm with which he is connected; (c) address;
(d) telephone number; and, (e) special branch of law practiced.