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TO SOCIETY...................................... 11
INFORMATION ON LEGAL SERVICES ................... 13
Legal Profession ....................... 1 PARTICIPATION IN THE IMPROVEMENT AND RE-
FORMS IN LEGAL SYSTEM ................................ 15
Practice of Law ......................... 1 PARTICIPATION IN LEGAL EDUCATION PROGRAM 15
CONCEPT .......................................... 1
THE LEGAL PROFESSION ............... 16
FOUR FACTORS IN DETERMINING BAR INTEGRATION ......................................... 16
PRACTICE OF LAW ........................... 1
PROFESSION ................................................. 17
NATURE ............................................ 1 PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES ........................... 18
QUALIFICATIONS..............................2 LAW ............................................................. 19

THE COURTS ................................. 20

LAW STUDENT PRACTICE .................................. 5
THE COURTS ................................................ 20
NON-LAWYERS IN COURTS ................................ 6
MINISTRATION OF JUSTICE .............................. 23
FROM APPEARING ............................................ 7
PEARANCE WITHOUT AUTHORITY .. 7 THE CLIENTS ................................. 28
LAW ................................................ 8 TION ........................................................... 28
GOVERNMENT ATTORNEYS ............................... 8 CLIENT’S MONEY AND PROPERTIES .................. 34
WITH RESTRICTIONS ........................................ 8 COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE...........................36
BOUNDS ....................................................... 37
LAWYERS AUTHORIZED TO REPRE- ATTORNEY’S FEES.......................................... 38
WITHDRAWAL OF SERVICES ............................ 43
LAWYER’S OATH ............................. 9
IMPORTANT TERMS TO REMEMBER .................... 9 Suspension, Disbarment
Duties & Responsibilities of & Discipline of Lawyers ....... 44
Lawyers ................................. 10 DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS AGAINST
IN GENERAL ................................... 10 LAWYERS ...................................... 44

THE FOUR-FOLD DUTIES OF A LAW- GROUNDS ..................................... 46

YER ................................................ 10
LAWYER’S DUTIES TO SOCIETY ......................... 10 PROCEEDINGS ................................ 47
LAWYER’S DUTIES TO THE CLIENT ..................... 10 PRACTICING ABROAD ................... 49


DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS IN GOV- SANCTIONS ................................... 59

ERNMENT ..................................... 49
QUANTUM OF PROOF .................... 49 ....................................................... 59

Readmission to the Bar ........ 51 JUDICIAL ETHICS

PENDED ........................................ 51 Rules on Judicial Ethics ....... 62
LAWYERS WHO HAVE BEEN DIS- Qualities ............................... 62
BARRED ......................................... 51 INDEPENDENCE ............................ 62
LAWYERS WHO HAVE BEEN REPAT- INTEGRITY .................................... 64
RIATED .......................................... 51
IMPARTIALITY ............................... 65
Mandatory Continuing PROPRIETY .................................. 68
Legal Education ...................52
PURPOSE ....................................... 52 EQUALITY ...................................... 72


THE MCLE .......................................52
Discipline of Members of the
COMPLIANCE .................................52 Judiciary .................................75
COMPLIANCE GROUPS ................................... 52 MEMBERS OF THE SUPREME COURT .
COMPLIANCE PERIOD .................................... 52 ........................................................ 75
IMPEACHMENT .............................................. 76
EXEMPTIONS .................................53
SANCTIONS ....................................53
BAR MATTER 2012 ........................ 54
Notarial Practice ...................55 MINISTRATIVE CASES AGAINST CA
LIC ................................................. 55 AND LOWER COURT JUDGES ......... 78


SISTANCE ...................................... 78
NOTARIAL REGISTER .................... 58
GROUNDS ..................................... 78
........................................................ 79
....................................................... 59 BERS OF THE JUDICIARY ................ 79


Disqualifications of Justices &

Judges .................................. 80
COMPULSORY ............................... 80

VOLUNTARY ................................. 80

Powers and Duties of Courts &

Judicial Officers ................... 80
Court Records & General
Duties of Clerk
Stenographer ........................82
Legal Fees ............................ 84
Recovery of Costs ................ 85

PAGE iii

Supervision & Control of Practice of Law

the Legal Profession CONCEPT
The practice of law is any activity, in or out of
CONSTITUTIONAL BASIS court, which requires the application of law,
Const. Art. VIII, sec. 5(5): The Supreme Court legal procedure, knowledge, training and
shall have the following powers: experience. It is to give notice or render any kind
xxx of service, which device or service requires the
(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill.
and enforcement of constitutional rights, [Cayetano v. Monsod (1991)].
pleading, practice and procedure in all courts,
the admission to the practice of law, the FOUR FACTORS IN DETERMINING
integrated bar, and legal assistance to the PRACTICE OF LAW [HACA]: [Padilla’s
under-privileged. xxx dissent in Cayetano v. Monsod]
(1) Habituality – customarily or habitually
The provision recognizes the disciplinary holding one's self out to the public as a
authority of the Court over the members of the lawyer; more than an isolated appearance
bar to be merely incidental to the Court's (2) Application of law, legal principles, practice
exclusive power to admit applicants to the or procedure – calls for legal knowledge,
practice of law [Garrido v. Garrido (2010)]. training and experience.
 Teaching law is considered practice of law
In the judicial system from which ours has been because the fact of their being law
evolved, the admission, suspension, disbarment professors is inextricably intertwined with
and reinstatement of attorneys at law in the the fact that they are lawyers (Re: Letter of
practice of the profession and their supervision UP Law Faculty (2011)).
have been disputably a judicial function and (3) Compensation – one must have presented
responsibility himself to be in the active and continued
practice of the legal profession and that his
Congress has no power to regulate the bar professional services are available to the
(admission to practice). But in the exercise of public for compensation or as a source of
police power it may enact laws regulating the livelihood.
practice of law to protect the public. [In re:  Giving advice for compensation regarding
Cunanan (1954)]. the legal status and rights of another and
for one’s conduct with respect thereto
REGULATORY POWERS constitutes practice of law (Ulep v. The
The power of the SC to regulate the practice of Legal Clinic, Inc. (1993)).
law includes: (4) Attorney-client relationship – where no such
(1) Authority to define practice of law; relationship exists, such as in cases of
(2) Prescribe the qualifications of a candidate to teaching law or writing law books or articles,
and the subjects of the bar examinations; there is no practice of law.
(3) Decide who will be admitted to practice;
(4) Discipline, suspend or disbar any unfit and NATURE
unworthy member of the bar;
(5) Reinstate any disbarred or indefinitely
The practice of law is a privilege bestowed only
suspended attorney;
to those who are morally fit. A bar candidate
(6) Ordain the integration of the Bar;
who is morally unfit cannot practice law even if
(7) Punish for contempt any person for
he passes the bar examinations (Aguirre v. Rana
unauthorized practice of law; and
(8) In general, exercise overall supervision of the
legal profession.



Lawyering is not a business; it is a profession in STATUTORY BASIS
which duty to public service, not money, is the Const., Art. XII, Sec. 14. The practice of all
primary consideration [Burbe v. Magulta (2002)]. professions in the Philippines shall be limited to
Filipino citizens save in cases prescribed by law.
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec.1. Any person Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 2. Every applicant
admitted to the bar and who is in good and for admission as a member of the bar must be a
regular standing is entitled to practice law. citizen of the Philippines.
General rule: Only members of the bar are
entitled to practice law. Ratio: Citizenship ensures allegiance to the
Republic and its laws.
Exceptions: The following are also allowed in
exceptional circumstances: The loss of Filipino citizenship ipso jure
(1) Law students; terminates the privilege to practice law in the
(2) By an agent/friend; Philippines except when citizenship is lost by
(3) By the litigant himself. reason of naturalization and reacquired through
RA 9225 (Petition to Resume Practice of Law of
(1) Citizenship; A Filipino lawyer who has lost and reacquired
(2) Residence; his citizenship under RA 9225 is deemed not to
(3) Age (at least 21 y/o); have lost his Philippine citizenship. However, he
(4) Good moral character and no charges still needs to apply with the Supreme Court for
involving moral turpitude; a license or permit to engage in such practice
(5) Legal Education (pre-law & law proper); after compliance with the following:
(6) Passing the Bar examination; [Section 5(4), RA 9225].
(7) Take the Lawyer’s Oath;* (1) Updating and payment of annual
(8) Sign the Roll of Attorneys.* membership dues in the IBP;
 It is the signing in the roll of attorneys that (2) Payment of professional tax;
finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer (3) Completion of 36 hours of MCLE;
passing the bar is not the only qualification to (4) Retaking of the lawyer’s oath.
become an attorney-at-law. Two essential
requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be RESIDENCE
performed, namely: his lawyer’s oath to be Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 2. Every applicant
administered by this Court and his signature in for admission as a member of the bar must xxx
the roll of attorneys [Aguirre v. Rana (2003)]. be a resident of the Philippines.

GOOD AND REGULAR STANDING: [MDRD] Ratio: His/her duties to his client and to the
(1) Remain a member of the Integrated Bar of court will require that he be readily accessible
the Philippines (IBP); and available.
(2) Regularly pay all IBP dues and other lawful
assessments (e.g., annual privilege tax); AGE
(3) Faithful observance of the rules and ethics of Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 2. Every applicant
the legal profession (e.g., Mandatory for admission as a member of the bar must xxx
Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)); be at least 21 years of age.
(4) Be continually subject to judicial disciplinary
control (Agpalo, Comments on the Code of
Ratio: Maturity and discretion are required in
Professional Responsibility and the Code of
the practice of law.
Judicial Conduct (2004)).



Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 2 Every applicant Pre-Law
for admission as a member of the bar must xxx Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 6. No applicant for
be of good moral character…and must produce admission to the bar examination shall be
before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence admitted unless he presents a certificate that he
of good moral character, and the no charges has satisfied the Secretary of Education that,
against him, involving moral turpitude, have before he began the study of law, he had
been filled or are pending in any court in the pursued and satisfactorily completed in an
Philippines. authorized and recognized university or college,
requiring for admission thereto the completion
Good moral character is a continuing of a four-year high school course, the course of
qualification required of every member of the study prescribed therein for a bachelor’s degree
bar, it is not only a qualification precedent to the in arts or sciences with any of the following
practice of law [Narag v. Narag (1998)]. subjects as major or field of concentration:
political science, logic, english, spanish, history
Definitions and economics.
Absence of a proven conduct or act which has
been historically and traditionally considered as Law Proper
a manifestation of moral turpitude. The act or Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 5(1). All applicants
conduct need not amount to a crime; and even for admission shall, before being admitted to
if it does constitute an offense, a conviction the examination, satisfactorily show that they
upon a criminal charge is not necessary to have regularly studied law for four years, and
demonstrate bad moral character although it successfully completed all prescribed courses,
may show moral depravity [Agpalo (2004)]. in a law school or university, officially approved
and recognized by the Secretary of Education.
Good moral character is what a person really is, The affidavit of the candidate, accompanied by
as distinguished from good reputation or from a certificate from the university or school of law,
the opinion generally entertained of him, the shall be filed as evidence of such facts, and
estimate in which he is held by the public in the further evidence may be required by the court.
place where he is known [In the matter of of
Haron Meling (2004)].
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 5(2) All applicants
The Supreme Court may deny lawyer’s oath- for admission… must show they have
taking based on a conviction for reckless satisfactorily completed the following courses in
imprudence resulting in homicide (hazing case). a law school…
But after submission of evidence and various (1) Civil law
certifications “he may now be regarded as (2) Commercial law
complying with the requirements of good moral (3) Remedial law
character xxx he is not inherently of bad moral (4) Criminal law
fiber” [In re: Argosino (1997)]. (5) Public and private international law
(6) Political law
Concealment of pending criminal cases (7) Labor and social legislation
constitutes lack of good moral character (in (8) Medical jurisprudence
petition to take the bar examinations) [In the (9) Taxation
matter of Haron Meling (2004)]. (10) Legal ethics

Filipino citizens who are graduates of foreign

law schools are allowed to take the bar
examinations provided they show the following:
(1) Completion of all courses leading to the
degree of Bachelor of Laws or its equivalent


(2) Recognition or accreditation of the law When And Where To Take Examinations
school by the proper authority Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 11. …take place
(3) Completion of all the fourth year subjects in annually in the City of Manila. They shall be
a law school duly recognized by the held in four days to be designated by the
Philippine Government [SC Bar Matter 1153: chairman of the committee on bar examiners.
Re: Letter of Atty. Estelito Mendoza (2010)].
Distribution Of Subjects
When To File Permit
morning Political and
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 7. All applicants for International Law
First Day
admission shall file with the clerk of the
Supreme Court the evidence required by Section afternoon Labor and
Social Legislation
2 at least 15 days before the beginning of the
Second morning Civil Law
examination. They shall also file within the
same period the affidavit and certificate Day
afternoon Taxation
required by Section 5.
morning Mercantile Law
Notice Third Day
afternoon Criminal Law
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 8. Notice of
applications for admission shall be published by morning Remedial Law
the clerk of the Supreme Court in newspapers Fourth
published in Filipino, English and Spanish, for at afternoon Legal Ethics and
least ten days before the beginning of the Practical Exercises

Conduct Of Examinations Passing Average

Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 10. Persons taking Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 14. In order that a
the examination shall not bring papers, books candidate may be deemed to have passed his
or notes into the examination rooms. The examinations successfully, he must have
questions shall be the same for all examinees obtained a general average of 75 percent in all
and a copy thereof, in English or Spanish, shall subjects, without falling below 50 percent in
be given to each examinee. Examinees shall any subject.
answer the questions personally without help
from anyone. The relative weights of the subjects used in
determining the average are as follows:
Upon verified application made by an examinee Civil Law 15%
stating that his penmanship is so poor that it Labor and Social Legislation 10%
will be difficult to read his answers without Mercantile Law 15%
much loss of time, the Supreme Court may Criminal Law 10%
allow such examinee to use a typewriter in
Political and International Law 15%
answering the questions. Only noiseless
typewriters shall be allowed to be used. Taxation 10%
Remedial Law 20%
The committee of bar examines shall take such Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises 5%
precautions as are necessary to prevent the
substitution of papers or commission of other
frauds. Examinees shall not place their names
on the examination papers. No oral examination
shall be given.


Committee Of Examiners Disciplinary Measures

Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 12. Examinations Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 13. No candidate
shall be conducted by a committee of bar shall endeavor to influence any member of the
examiners to be appointed by the Supreme committee, and during examination the
Court. This committee shall be composed of a candidates shall not communicate with each
Justice of the Supreme Court, who shall act as other nor shall they give or receive any
chairman, and who shall be designated by the assistance.
court to serve for one year, and eight members
of the bar of the Philippines, who shall hold The candidate who violates this provision, or any
office for a period of one year. The names of the other provision of this rule, shall be barred from
members of this committee shall be published the examination, and the same to count as a
in each volume of the official reports. failure against him, and further disciplinary
action, including permanent disqualification,
Pursuant to Bar Matter No. 1161 (2009), since may be taken in the discretion of the court.
that year, two examiners are designated per bar
subject. Civil Service Eligibility
[RA 1080, as amended by RA 1844]
The Bar Confidant acts as a sort of liaison officer The bar examinations is declared as civil service
between the court and the Bar Chairman on the examinations equivalent to:
other hand, and the individual members of the (1) First grade regular examination for
committee on the other. He is at the same time appointment to a position which requires
a deputy clerk of court. proficiency in law; and
(2) Second grade regular examination for
Results appointment to a position which does not
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 15. Not later than require proficiency in law.
February 15th after the examination, or as soon
thereafter as may be practicable, the committee APPEARANCE OF NON-LAWYERS
shall file its report on the result of such Law Student Practice
examination. The examination papers and notes Rules of Court, Rule 138-A, Sec. 1. A law student
of the committee shall be filed with the clerk who has successfully completed third year of
and may there be examined by the parties in the regular four-year prescribed law curriculum
interest, after the court has approved the report. and is enrolled in a recognized law school's
clinical legal education program approved by
Flunkers the Supreme Court, may appear without
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 16. Candidates who compensation in any civil, criminal or
have failed the bar examinations for three times administrative case before any trial court,
shall be disqualified from taking another tribunal, board or officer, to represent indigent
examination unless they show to the clients accepted by the legal clinic of the law
satisfaction of the court that they have enrolled school.
in and passed regular fourth year review classes
as well as attended a pre-bar review course in a Rules of Court, Rule 138-A, Sec. 2. The
recognized law school. appearance of the law student authorized by
this rule, shall be under the direct supervision
The professors of the individual review subjects and control of a member of the Integrated Bar
attended by the candidates under this rule shall of the Philippines duly accredited by the law
certify under oath that the candidates have school. Any and all pleadings, motions, briefs,
regularly attended classes and passed the memoranda or other papers to be filed, must be
subjects under the same conditions as ordinary signed by the supervising attorney for and in
students and the ratings obtained by them in behalf of the legal clinic.
the particular subject.


Agent or friend
Rules of Court, Rule 138-A, Sec. 3. The Rules Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec.34. In such cases,
safeguarding privileged communications no attorney client relationship exists; not
between attorney and client shall apply to habitual. An agent is usually appointed or a
similar communications made to or received by friend choses in a locality where a licensed
the law student, acting for the legal clinic. member of the bar is not available.

Rules of Court, Rule 138-A, Sec. 4. The law Civil case – a party in a civil suit may conduct his
student shall comply with the standards of litigation either personally or with the aid of an
professional conduct governing members of the attorney unless the party is a juridical person.
ALLOWED IN: MTC, RTC, appellate court (where
bar. Failure of an attorney to provide adequate
supervision of student practice may be a ground the party must appear personally or by counsel)
for disciplinary action.
Criminal cases – [Rules of Court, Rule 116, Sec. 7.]
in localities where members of the bar are not
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 34. A law student available, the court may appoint any person (i.e.,
may appear in his personal capacity without the non-lawyer), who is:
supervision of a lawyer in inferior courts.  A resident of the province
 Of good repute for probity
Clear that appearance before the inferior courts  Ability to defend the accused, in lieu of a
by a non-lawyer is allowed, irrespective of counsel de oficio
whether or not he is a law student [Cruz v. Mina ALLOWED IN: MTC only!
Thus, a law student may appear under the Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 34. By whom
circumstances of Section 38, as an agent or a litigation conducted. In the court of a
friend of a party litigant, without complying with municipality a party may conduct his litigation
the requirements of Rule 138-A, e.g., supervision in person, with the aid of an agent or friend
of a lawyer. appointed by him for that purpose, or with the
aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party
Ratio: The issues involved are relatively simple. may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of
an attorney, and his appearance must be either
NON-LAWYERS IN COURTS personal or by a duly authorized member of the
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 34. In the court of a bar.
municipality a party may conduct his litigation
in person, with the aid of an agent or friend An attorney who is otherwise disqualified to
appointed by him for that purpose, or with the practice law, or has been disbarred or
aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party suspended from practice, can validly prosecute
may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of or defend his own litigation, he having as much
an attorney, and his appearance must be either right as that of a layman in that regard
personal or by a duly authorized member of the [Danforth v. Egan (1920)].
When a person conducts his litigation in person,
Public policy demands that legal work in he is not engaged in the practice of law. One
representation of parties should be entrusted does not practice law by acting for himself any
only to those possessing tested qualifications more than he practices medicine by rendering
[PAFLU v. Binalbagan (1971)]. first aid to himself [[Agpalo]].

The Supreme Court, in the exercise of its judicial

power, can validly authorize a layman to
represent a litigant in court [Agpalo (2004)].


A juridical person may also appear through its (2) Under Section 9, Act 2259 (Cadastral Act), a
non-lawyer agents or officers in the municipal claimant may appear by himself, or by some
trial court. Otherwise, it must be represented by person in his behalf, before a cadastral court.
a lawyer.
In order that these laws will not infringe upon
Section 34 does not distinguish between civil the power of the Supreme Court to regulate the
and criminal cases. However, in criminal cases, practice of law, the following limitations must
the rule is qualified: be observed:
 Under Section 1(c), Rule 115, the accused may  The non-lawyer should confine his work to
defend himself in person “when it sufficiently non-adversary contentions and should not
appears to the court that he can properly undertake purely legal work (i.e., examination
protect his rights without the assistance of of witness, presentation of evidence);
counsel.”  The services should not be habitual;
 Under Section 7, Rule 116, in determining  Attorney’s fees should not be charged
whether a counsel de oficio should be [Agpalo]).
appointed, or, for that matter, whether a
counsel de parte should be required PROCEEDINGS WHERE LAWYERS ARE
(conversely, whether the accused should be PROHIBITED FROM APPEARING
allowed to defend himself in person), the
gravity of the offense and the difficulty of the Small Claims Cases
questions that may arise should be Rules of Procedure in Small Claims, Sec. 17. No
considered. attorney shall appear in behalf of or represent a
party at the hearing, unless the attorney is the
While the right to be represented by counsel is plaintiff or defendant. If the court determines
immutable, the option to secure the services of that a party cannot properly present his/her
counsel de parte is not absolute. The court may claim or defense and needs assistance, the
restrict the accused’s option to retain a counsel court may, in its discretion, allow another
de parte if: individual who is not an attorney to assist that
 He insists on an attorney he cannot afford; party upon the latter's consent.
 He chose a person not a member of the bar;
 The attorney declines for a valid reason (e.g., Katarungang Pambarangay Proceedings
conflict of interest) (People v. Serzo (1997)). Local Government Code (RA 7160), Sec. 45. The
parties must appear in person without the
Non-lawyers in administrative tribunals assistance of the counsel or representative,
Consistently with Section 34, a party may also except for minors and incompetents who may
appear on his own behalf, his organization or be assisted by their next of kin who are not
members thereof, before administrative bodies. lawyers.
This is also expressly allowed in Article 222,
Labor Code.
There are laws which allow representation of APPEARANCE WITHOUT AUTHORITY
another by non-lawyers before such bodies:
(1) The 2011 NLRC Rule of Procedure, Lawyers without authority
promulgated pursuant to Article 218(a), Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 27. Corruptly or
Labor Code, allows (a) non-lawyers, who are willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to
not necessarily a party to the case, to a case without authority to do so is a ground for
represent a union or members thereof, and disbarment or suspension.
(b) non-lawyer owners of establishments, to
appear before it.


Shari’a Bar passesrs are not full-pledged Public officials who cannot practice law or
Philippine Bar members so they may only with restrictions
practive before Shari’a Courts. Both are Absolute prohibition
counselors, but only the latter is an “attorney” (1) Judges and other officials or employees of
[Alawi v Alauya (1997)] superior courts as [Section 35, Rule 148];
(2) Officials and employees of the Office of the
Persons not lawyers Solicitor General [Section 35, Rule 148];
Remedies that can be availed against (3) Government prosecutors [Lim-Santiago v.
unauthorized practice: Sagucio (2006)];
(1) Petition for injunction; (4) President, vice-president, cabinet members,
(2) Declaratory relief; their deputies and assistants [Section 15,
(3) Contempt of court; Article VII, Constitution];
(4) Disqualification; (5) Chairmen and members of constitutional
(5) Criminal complaint for estafa against the commissions [Section 2, Article IX-A,
person who falsely represented himself as a Constitution];
lawyer to the damage of another. (6) Ombudsman and his deputies [Section 8,
2nd par., Article X, Constitution];
PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND PRACTICE OF LAW (7) All governors, city and municipal mayors
[Section 90(a), RA 7160];
Prohibition or disqualification of former (8) Those who, by special law, are prohibited
government attorneys from engaging in the practice of their legal
RA 6713, Sec. 7(b). Public officials and profession.
employees during their incumbency shall not:
 Own, control, manage or accept employment Relative prohibition
as officer employee, consultant, counsel, (1) No senator or member of the House of
broker, agent, trustee or nominee / in any Representatives may personally appear as
private enterprise regulated, supervised or counsel before any court of justice or before
licensed by their office / unless expressly the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and
allowed by law; other administrative bodies [Section 14,
 Engage in the private practice of their Article VI, Constitution];
profession unless authorized by the (2) Sanggunian members may practice law
Constitution or law, provided that such except during session hours and provided
practice will not conflict or tend to conflict they shall not:
with their official functions; (a) Appear as counsel before any court in any
civil case wherein a local government unit
 Recommend any person to any position in a
or any office, agency, or instrumentality of
private enterprise which has a regular or
the government is the adverse party;
pending official transaction with their office.
(b) Appear as counsel in any criminal case
wherein an officer or employee of the
These prohibitions shall continue to apply for a national or local government is accused
period of one year after resignation, retirement of an offense committed in relation to his
or separation from public office, except in case office;
of the second. (c) Collect any fee for their appearance in
administrative proceedings involving the
Also, the one year prohibition applies to practice local government unit of which he is an
of profession in connection with any matter official; and
before the office he used to be with. (d) Use property and personnel of the
government except when the sanggunian
member concerned is defending the
interest of the government [Section 90(b),
RA 7160].


Special restrictions I will delay no man for money or malice, and will
RA 910, Sec. 1. The pension of justices therein is conduct myself as a lawyer according to the
provided with a condition that no retiring justice, best of my knowledge and discretion with all
during the time that he is receiving said pension fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients;
 Appear as counsel before any court in any civil And I impose upon myself this voluntary
case wherein the Government or any obligation without any mental reservation or
subdivision or instrumentality thereof is the purpose of evasion. So help me God.
adverse party;
 In any criminal case wherein and officer or The lawyer's oath is not a mere ceremony or
employee of the government is accused of an formality for practicing law. Every lawyer should
offense committed in relation to his office; or at all times weigh his actions according to the
sworn promises he makes when taking the
 Collect any fee for his appearance in any
lawyer's oath. If all lawyers conducted
administrative proceedings to maintain an
themselves strictly according to the lawyer's
interest adverse to the Government, insular,
oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility,
provincial or municipal, or to any of its legally
the administration of justice will undoubtedly be
constituted officers.
faster, fairer and easier for everyone concerned
[In re: Argosino (1997)].
Any person appointed to appear for the
AMICUS CURIAE - Latin for “friend of court”, a
Government of the Philippines shall be allowed
lawyer who assits the court by giving
to appear in court, subject to pertinent laws.
information or advice regarding questions of
law or of fact. He does not represent any party.
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 17. An applicant ATTORNEY - Officers of the courts, empowered
who has passed the required examination, or to appear, prosecute and defend, and upon
has been otherwise found to be entitled to whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and
admission to the bar, shall take and subscribe liabilities are developed by law as a
before the Supreme Court the corresponding consequence [Cui v. Cui (1964)]
oath of office. Form 28 of the Judicial Standard
Forms prescirbes the following oath to be taken BAR - Refers to the whole body of attorneys,
by the applicant collectively, the members of the legal
I, _______________, do solemnly swear that:
BARRISTER - In England, a person entitled to
I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the practice law as an advocate or counsel in the
Philippines; superior court.

I will support its Constitution and obey the laws BENCH - Denotes the whole body of judges
as well as the legal orders of the duly
constituted authorities therein; NOTARY PUBLIC - A public officer authorized
to certify documents, take affidavits, and
I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing administer oaths. Under 2004 Rules Notarial
of any in court; Practice, all notaries must be lawyers.

I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue SOLICITOR - Government lawyer attached with
any groundless, false or unlawful suit, nor give the OSG
aid nor consent to the same;


Duties & Responsibilities THE FOUR-FOLD DUTIES OF A

of a Lawyer
IN GENERAL Canon 1: Promote and Respect the Law and
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 20. Legal Process
(1) To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Canon 2: Provide Efficient and Convenient
Philippines and to support the Constitution Legal Services
and obey the laws of the Philippines; Canon 3: Information on Legal Services that is
(2) To observe and maintain the respect due to True, Honest, Fair, and Dignified
the courts of justice and judicial officers;
Canon 4: Support for Legal Reforms and
(3) To counsel or maintain such actions or
proceedings only as appear to him to be just, Administration of Justice
and such defenses only as he believes to be Canon 5: Participate in Legal Education
honestly debatable under the law; Canon 6: Canons Apply to Lawyers in
(4) To employ, for the purpose of maintaining Government Service
the causes confided to him, such means only
as are consistent with truth and honor, and
never seek to mislead the judge or any DUTIES TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION
judicial officer by an artifice or false Canon 7: Uphold the Dignity and Integrity in
statement of fact or law; the Profession
(5) To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at Canon 8: Courtesy, Fairness, Candor towards
every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets Professional Colleagues
of his client, and to accept no compensation Canon 9: Unauthorized Practice of Law
in connection with his client’s business
except from him or with his knowledge and
(6) To abstain from all offensive personality and Canon 10: Observe Candor, Fairness and Good
to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or Faith
reputation of a party or witness, unless Canon 11: Respect Courts and Judicial Officers
required by the justice of the cause with Canon 12: Assist in Speedy and Efficient
which he is charge; Administration of Justice
(7) Not to encourage either the commencement Canon 13: Refrain from Act Giving Appearance
or the continuance of an action or of Influence
proceeding, or delay any man’s cause, from
any corrupt motive or interest;
(8) Never to reject, for any consideration DUTIES TO THE CLIENT
personal to himself, the cause of the Canon 14: Service to the Needy
defenseless or oppressed; Canon 15: Observe Candor, Fairness, Loyalty
(9) In the defense of a person accused of crime, Canon 16: Hold in Trust Client’s Moneys and
by all fair and honorable means, regardless Properties
of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the Canon 17: Trust and Confidence
accused, to present every defense that the Canon 18: Competence and Diligence
law permits, to the end that no person may Canon 19: Representation with Zeal
be deprived of life or liberty, but by due
process of law. Canon 20: Attorney’s Fees
Canon 21: Preserve Client’s Confidence
Canon 22: Withdrawal of Services for a Good


TO SOCIETY Examples of act which are NOT grossly

RESPECT FOR LAW & LEGAL (1) Mere intimacy between a man and a woman,
PROCESSES both of whom possess no impediment to
Canon 1. A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, marry, voluntarily carried and devoid of
obey the laws of the land and promote respect deceit on the part of the respondent, even if
for law and legal process. a child was born out of wedlock of such
relationship; it may suggest a doubtful moral
Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, character but not grossly immoral [Figueroa
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. v. Barranco (1997)].
(2) Stealing a kiss from a client [Advincula v.
Macabata (2007)].
Act or omission which is against the law. MORAL TURPITUDE
Dishonesty involves lying or cheating [Agpalo]. Includes everything which is done contrary to
justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals. It
When lawyers are convicted of frustrated involves an act of baseness, vileness, or
homicide, the attending circumstances, not the depravity in the private duties which a man
mere fact of their conviction would demonstrate owed his fellowmen, or to society in general,
their fitness to remain in the legal profession contrary to the accepted and customary rule of
[Soriano v. Dizon (2006)]. right and duty between man and woman, or
conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or
IMMORAL OR DECEITFUL CONDUCT good morals (Barrios v. Martinez (2004)).
That which is willful, flagrant or shameless and
which shows a moral indifference to the opinion Examples of crimes involving moral turpitude
of the good and respectable members of the Murder, estafa, rape, violation of BP 22, bribery,
community [Aguirre, Legal and Judicial Ethics: A bigamy, adultery, seduction, abduction,
Pre-Week Reviewer (2006)]. concubinage and smuggling are considered
crimes involving moral turpitude.
Immorality connotes conduct that shows
indifference to the moral norms of society. For
such conduct to warrant disciplinary action, the Rule 1.02. A lawyer shall not counsel or abet
same must be grossly immoral, it must be so activities aimed at defiance of the law or at
corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act lessening confidence in the legal profession.
or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a
high degree [Ui v. Bonifacio (2000)]. The promotion of organizations, with knowledge
of their objectives, for the purpose of violating or
Examples of grossly immoral acts: evading the laws constitutes such misconduct in
(1) Wanton disregard for the sanctity of his office [In re: Terrell (1903)].
marriage as shown when the lawyer pursued
a married woman and thereafter cohabited The Supreme Court will not countenance any
with her (Guevarra v. Eala (2007)); wrongdoing nor allow erosion of the people’s
(2) Rape of a neighbor’s wife, which constitutes faith in the judicial system [Estrada v.
serious moral depravity, even if his guilt was Sandiganbayan (2003)].
not proved beyond reasonable doubt in the
criminal prosecution for rape (Calub v. Suller Rule 1.03. A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt
(2000)). motive or interest, encourage any suit or delay
any man’s cause.

Barratry or “Maintenance” - Inciting or stirring

up quarrels, litigation or groundless lawsuits is
known as barratry or maintenance.



(1) Volunteering advice to bring lawsuit, except SERVICE
in rare cases where ties of blood, relationship
or trust make it his duty to do so; Canon 2. A lawyer shall make his legal services
(2) Hunting up defects in titles or other causes available in an efficient and convenient manner
of action in order to be employed to bring compatible with the independence, integrity
suit or breed litigation. and effectiveness of the profession.

Ambulance chasing Rule 2.01. A lawyer shall not reject, except for
Refers to accident-site solicitation of almost any valid reasons, the cause of the defenseless or
kind of legal business by laymen employed by the oppressed.
an attorney for the purpose or by the attorney
Const. Art. III, Sec. 11. Free access to the courts
It is prohibited because it encourages perjury, and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal
the defrauding of innocent persons by assistance shall not be denied to any person by
judgments upon manufactured causes of reason of poverty.
actions, and the defrauding of injured persons
having proper causes of action but ignorant of The legal profession is a burdened privilege not
legal rights and court procedure. many are qualified to undertake. A lawyer owes
fidelity to the duty required of the legal
The filing of multiple complaints reflects on a profession. If there is no incompatibility
lawyer’s fitness to be a member of the legal between the defense of the client and the
profession. His conduct of vindictiveness is a position of the lawyer, he should not decline his
decidedly undesirable trait especially when one appointment as counsel de oficio [Ledesma v.
resorts to using the court not to secure justice Climaco (1974)].
but merely to exact revenge. It warrants
dismissal from the judiciary [Saburnido v. Legal aid is not a matter of charity. It is a means
Madrono (2001)]. for the correction of social imbalance that may
and often do lead to injustice, for which reason
Rule 1.04. A lawyer shall encourage his clients to it is a public responsibility of the bar (IBP
avoid, end or settle a controversy if it will admit Handbook, Guidelines Governing the
of a fair settlement. Establishment and Operation of the Legal Aid
The function of a lawyer is not only to conduct
litigation but to avoid it where possible, by Rule 2.02. In such cases, even if the lawyer does
advising settlement or withholding suit. He not accept a case, he shall not refuse to render
must act as mediator for compromise rather legal advice to the person concerned if only to
than an instigator and conflict [Agpalo]. the extent necessary to safeguard the latter’s
A lawyer who abets his client into using the rights.
courts to subvert the very ends of justice by
instigating controversy and conflict although Advice may be on what preliminary steps to take
the client’s cause is without merit. It is every until the client has secured the services of
duty of a counsel to advise his client on the counsel. But he shall refrain from giving legal
merit of his case. A lawyer must resist the advice if the reason for not accepting the case is
whims and caprices of his clients, and temper that there involves a conflict of interest between
his client’s propensity to litigate [Castaneda v. him and a prospective client or between a
Ago (1975)]. present client and a prospective client. [Agpalo]


Rule 2.03. A lawyer shall not do or permit to be Rule 3.01. A lawyer shall not use or permit the
done any act designed to primarily solicit legal use of any false, fraudulent, misleading,
business. deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair
statement or claim regarding his qualifications
The legal practice is not a business but a or legal services.
profession. Unlike a businessman, the lawyer
has: The most worthy and effective advertisement
 Relation to the administration of justice possible, even for a young lawyer, and especially
involving sincerity, integrity and reliability as with his brother lawyers, is the establishment of
an officer of the court; a well-merited reputation for professional
 Duty of public service; capacity and fidelity to trust. This cannot be
 Relation to clients with the highest degree of forced, but must be the outcome of character
fiduciary; and conduct [Canon 27, Canons of Professional
 Relation to colleagues at the bar Ethics; In re: Tagorda (1929)].
characterized by candor, fairness and
unwillingness to resort to business methods of The following are considered allowable
advertising and encroachment on their advertisement:
practice, or dealing directly with their clients (1) Ordinary professional card;
[Agpalo]). (2) Publication in reputable law list with brief
biographical and other informative data
Thus, the practice of soliciting cases at law for which may include:
the purpose of gain, either personally or (a) Name;
through paid agents or brokers, constitutes (b) Associates;
malpractice [Section 27, Rule 138]. (c) Address;
(d) Phone numbers;
(e) Branches of law practiced;
Rule 2.04. A lawyer shall not charge rates lower (f) Birthday;
than those customarily prescribed unless the (g) Day admitted to the bar;
circumstances so warrant. (h) Schools and dates attended;
(i) Degrees and distinctions;
This rule prohibits the competition in the matter (j) Public or quasi-public offices;
of charging professional fees for the purposed (k) Posts of honor;
of attracting clients in favor of the lawyer who (l) Legal authorships;
offers lower rates. The rule does not prohibit a (m) Teaching positions;
lawyer from charging a reduced fee or none at (n) Associations;
all to an indigent or to a person who would have (o) Legal fraternities and societies;
difficulty paying the fee usually charged for such (p) References and regularly represented
services [Agpalo (2004)]. clients must be published for that
purpose (Ulep v. The Legal Clinic, Inc.
OBJECTIVE INFORMATION ON LEGAL (3) Publication of simple announcement of
SERVICES opening of law firm, change of firm;
(4) Listing in telephone directory but not under
designation of special branch of law;
Canon 3. A lawyer in making known his legal (5) If acting as an associate (specializing in a
services shall use only true, honest, fair, branch of law), may publish a brief and
dignified and objective information or statement dignified announcement to lawyers (law list,
of facts. law journal);
(6) If in media, those acts incidental to his
practice and not of his own initiative;
(7) Writing legal articles;


(8) Activity of an association for the purpose of Ratio: All partners by their joint efforts over a
legal representation. period of years contributed to the goodwill
attached to the firm name, and the removal of
Entering into other businesses, which are not the deceased partner’s name disturbs the client
inconsistent with lawyer’s duties. goodwill built through the years.
It is advisable that they be entirely separate and
apart such that a layman could distinguish Firms may not use misleading names showing
between the two functions. association with other firms to purport legal
services of highest quality and ties with
Prohibited advertisements: (Section 27, Canon of multinational business enterprise especially
Professional Ethics) when such firm attached as an associate cannot
(1) Through touters of any kind whether allied legally practice law in the Philippines [Dacanay
real estate firms or trust companies v. Baker and McKenzie (1985)].
advertising to secure the drawing of deeds or
wills; Rule 3.03. Where a partner accepts public office,
(2) Offering retainers in exchange for he shall withdraw from the firm and his name
executorships or trusteeships to be shall be dropped from the firm name unless the
influenced by the lawyer; law allows him to practice law concurrently.
(3) Furnishing or inspiring newspaper
comments concerning the manner of their The purpose of the rule is to prevent the law
conduct, the magnitude of the interests firm from using his name to attract legal
involved, the importance of lawyer’s position, business and to avoid suspicion of undue
and all other like self-laudation. influence.
A lawyer may not properly publish his brief A civil service officer or employee whose duty or
biographical and informative data in a daily responsibility does not require his entire time to
paper, magazine, trade journal or society be at the disposal of the government may not
program in order to solicit legal business [Khan engage in the private practice of law without the
v. Simbillo (2003)]. written permit from the head of the department
concerned [Agpalo (2004)].
It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise
his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his It is unlawful for a public official or employee to,
wares. The law is a profession not a business. among others, engage in the private practice of
Solicitation of cases by himself or through their profession, unless authorized by the
others is unprofessional and lowers the Constitution or law, provided that such practice
standards of the legal profession. [In re: Tagorda will not conflict or tend to conflict with official
(1929)]. functions [Samonte v. Gatdula (1999)].
If the unauthorized practice on the part of a
person who assumes to be an attorney causes
Rule 3.02. In the choice of a firm name, no false, damage to a party, the former may be held
misleading or assumed name shall be used. The liable for estafa.
continued use of the name of a deceased
partner is permissible provided that the firm Rule 3.04. A lawyer shall not pay or give any
indicates in all its communications that said thing of value to representatives of the mass
partner is deceased. media in anticipation of, or in return for,
publicity to attract legal business.
The continued use of the name of a deceased
partner is permissible provided that the firm The purpose of this rule is to prevent some
indicates in all its communications that said lawyers from gaining an unfair advantage over
partner is deceased [Agpalo (2004)]. others through the use of gimmickry, press
agentry or other artificial means.


This rule prohibits from making indirect LAWYERS
publicity gimmick, such as furnishing or
inspiring newspaper comments, procuring his Canon 6. These canons shall apply to lawyers in
photograph to be published in connection with government service in the discharge of their
cases which he is handling, making a courtroom official duties.
scene to attract the attention of newspapermen,
or arranging for the purpose an interview with A member of the bar who assumes public office
him by media people [Agpalo (2004)]. does not shed his professional obligation.
Lawyers in government are public servants who
PARTICIPATION IN THE owe the utmost fidelity to the public service. A
lawyer in public service is a keeper of public
IMPROVEMENT AND REFORMS IN faith and is burdened with a high degree of
THE LEGAL SYSTEM social responsibility, perhaps higher than her
Canon 4. A lawyer shall participate in the brethren in private practice [Vitriolo v. Dasig
development of the legal system by initiating or (2003)].
supporting efforts in law reform and in the
improvement of the administration of justice. Rule 6.01. The primary duty of a lawyer engaged
in public prosecution is not to convict but to see
Examples: that justice is done. The suppression of facts or
(1) Presenting position papers or resolutions for the concealment of witnesses capable of
the introduction of pertinent bills in establishing the innocence of the accused is
Congress; highly reprehensible and is cause for
(2) Submitting petitions to the Supreme Court disciplinary action.
for the amendment of the Rules of Court.
A public prosecutor is a quasi-judicial officer
The Misamis Oriental Chapter of the IBP has with the two-fold aim of which is that guilt shall
been commended by the Supreme Court when not escape or innocence suffer. He should not
it promulgated a resolution wherein it hesitate to recommend to the court the
requested the IBP’s National Committee on acquittal of an accused if the evidence in his
Legal Aid to ask for the exemption from the possession shows that the accused is innocent
payment of filing, docket and other fees of [Agpalo (2004)].
clients of the legal aid offices in the various IBP
chapters [Re: Request of NCLA to Exempt Legal It is upon the discretion of the prosecutor to
Aid Clients from Paying Filing, Docket and Other decide what charge to file upon proper
Fees (2009)]. appreciation of facts and evidences. Fiscals are
not precluded from exercising their sound
PARTICIPATION IN LEGAL discretion in investigation. His primary duty is
EDUCATION PROGRAM not to convict but to see that justice is served
Canon 5. A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal [People v. Pineda (1967)].
developments, participate in continuing legal
education programs, support efforts to achieve Rule 6.02. A lawyer in the government service
high standards in law schools as well as in the shall not use his public position to promote or
practical training of law students and assist in advance his private interests, nor allow the
disseminating information regarding the law latter to interfere with his public duties.
and jurisprudence.


In relation to Rule 3.03, Canon 3, if the law TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION

allows a public official to practice law
concurrently, he must not use his public position
to feather his law practice. Moreover, he should Canon 7. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the
not only avoid all impropriety. Neither should he integrity and dignity of the legal profession and
even inferentially create a public image that he support the activities of the Integrated Bar.
is utilizing his public position to advance his
professional success or personal interest at the BAR INTEGRATION
expense of the public [Agpalo]. RA 6397, Sec. 1. The Supreme Court may adopt
rules of court to effect the integration of the
It bears stressing also that government lawyers Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall
who are public servants owe fidelity to the see fit in order to raise the standards of the
public service, a public trust. As such, they legal profession improve the administration of
should be more sensitive to their professional justice and enable the bar to discharge its
obligations as their disreputable conduct is public responsibility more effectively.
more likely to be magnified in the public eye
[Huyssen v. Gutierrez (2006)]. Integration does not make a lawyer a member
of any group of which he is not already a
Rule 6.03. A lawyer shall not, after leaving member. He became a member of the bar when
government service, accept engagement or he passed the bar examinations. All that
employment in connection with any matter in integration actually does is to provide an official
which he had intervened while in said service. national organization for the well-defined but
unorganized and incohesive group of which
HOW GOVERNMENT LAWYERS MAY LEAVE every lawyer is already a member [In the matter
(1) Retirement;
(2) Resignation; The IBP is essentially a semi-governmental
(3) Expiration of the term of office; entity, a private organization endowed with
(4) Dismissal; certain governmental attributes. While it is
(5) Abandonment. composed of lawyers who are private
individuals, the IBP exists to perform certain
General rule: Practice of profession is allowed vital public functions and to assist the
immediately after leaving public service. government particularly in the improvement of
the administration of justice, the upgrading of
Exceptions: The lawyer cannot practice as to the standards of the legal profession, and its
matters with which he had connection during proper regulation.
his term. This prohibition lasts:
(1) For one year, if he had not intervened; The basic postulate of the IBP is that it is non-
(2) Permanently, if he had intervened. political in character and that there shall be
neither lobbying nor campaigning in the choice
The “matter” contemplated are those that are of the IBP Officers. The fundamental
adverse-interest conflicts (substantial assumption is that the officers would be chosen
relatedness and adversity between the on the basis of professional merit and
government matter and the new client’ matter willingness and ability to serve. The unseemly
in interest) and congruent-interest ardor with which the candidates pursued the
representation conflicts. “Intervention” should presidency of the association detracted from the
be significant and substantial which can or have dignity of the legal profession. The spectacle of
affected the interest of others [PCGG v. lawyers bribing or being bribed to vote did not
Sandiganbayan (2005)]. uphold the honor of the profession nor elevate it
in the public’s esteem [In re: 1989 Elections of
the IBP (1989)].


OBJECTIVES AND PURPOSE OF THE IBP A membership fee in the IBP is an exaction for
General Objectives regulation, while the purpose of a tax is
(1) To elevate the standards of the legal revenue. If the Court has inherent power to
profession; regulate the bar, it follows that as an incident to
(2) To improve the administration of justice; regulation, it may impose a membership fee for
(3) To enable the bar to discharge its public that purpose. It would not be possible to push
responsibility more effectively. through an Integrated Bar program without
means to defray the concomitant expenses. The
Purposes doctrine of implied powers necessarily includes
(1) To assist in the administration of justice; the power to impose such an exaction [In the
(2) To foster and maintain on the part of its matter of the IBP (1973)].
members high ideals of integrity, learning,
professional competence, public service and A lawyer can engage in the practice of law only
conduct; by paying his dues, and it does not matter if his
(3) To safeguard the professional interest of its practice is “limited.” Moreover, senior citizens
members; are not exempted from paying membership
(4) To cultivate among its members a spirit of dues [Santos v. Llamas (2000)].
cordiality and brotherhood;
(5) To provide a forum for the discussion of law, In a case involving a Filipino lawyer staying
jurisprudence, law reform, pleading, practice abroad, the Supreme Court said that there is
and procedure, and the relations of the bar nothing in the law or rules, which allows his
to the bench and to the public, and publish exemption from payment of membership dues.
information relating thereto; At most, he could have informed the Secretary
(6) To encourage and foster legal education; of the Integrated Bar of his intention to stay
(7) To promote a continuing program of legal abroad before he left. In such case, his
research in substantive and adjective law, membership in the IBP could have been
and make reports and recommendations terminated and his obligation to pay dues
thereon. discontinued [Letter of Atty. Arevalo (2005)].


Rules of Court, Rule 139-A, Sec. 9. Every member INTEGRITY OF THE PROFESSION
of the IBP shall pay such annual dues as the Canon 7. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the
Board of Governors shall determine with the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and
approval of the Supreme Court. support the activities of the Integrated Bar.
A fixed sum equivalent to ten percent of the
collection from each Chapter shall be set aside
as a Welfare Fund for disabled members of the Rule 7.01. A lawyer shall be answerable for
Chapter and the compulsory heirs of deceased knowingly making a false statement or
members thereof. suppressing a material fact in connection with
his application for admission to the bar.
Rules of Court, Rule 139-A, Sec. 10. Default in the
payment of annual dues: A lawyer must be a disciple of truth. While a
(1) For six months shall warrant suspension of lawyer has the solemn duty to defend his
membership in the IBP; and client’s rights and is expected to display the
(2) For one year shall be a ground for the utmost zeal in defense of his client’s cause, his
removal of the name of the delinquent conduct must never be at the expense of truth
member from the roll of attorneys. [Young v. Batuegas (2003)].

(1) Disqualification of the applicant from taking
the bar, if the concealment is discovered
before he takes the bar examinations;


(2) Prohibition from taking the lawyer’s oath, if (4) Commission of fraud or falsehood.
the concealment is discovered after the
candidate has taken the bar examinations; or COURTESY, FAIRNESS & CANDOR
(3) Revocation of license to practice, if the TOWARDS PROFESSIONAL
concealment was discovered after he has
taken his lawyer’s oath [In re: Diao (1963)].
Canon 8. A lawyer shall conduct himself with
A declaration in one’s application for admission courtesy, fairness and candor toward his
to the bar examinations that the applicant was professional colleagues, and shall avoid
“single”, when he was in fact married, was a harassing tactics against opposing counsel.
gross misrepresentation of a material fact made
in utter bad faith, for which the applicant should Lawyer DON’Ts:
be made answerable. It indubitably exhibits lack (1) Take advantage of the excusable
of good moral character [Leda v. Tabang (1992)]. unpreparedness or absence of counsel
during the trial of a case;
Rule 7.02. A lawyer shall not support the (2) Make use, to his or to his client’s benefit, the
application for admission to the bar of any secrets of the adverse party acquired
person known by him to be unqualified in through design or inadvertence;
respect to character, education, or other (3) Criticize or impute ill motive to the lawyer
relevant attribute. who accepts what in his opinion is a weak
A lawyer should volunteer information or (4) Proceed to negotiate with the client of
cooperate in any investigation concerning another lawyer to waive all kinds of claim
alleged anomaly in the bar examination so that when the latter is still handling the civil case
those candidates who failed therein can be [Camacho v. Pagulayan (2000)].
ferreted out and those lawyers responsible
therefor can be disbarred [In re: Parazo (1948)]. Rule 8.01. A lawyer shall not, in his professional
dealings, use language, which is abusive,
A lawyer should not readily execute an affidavit offensive or otherwise improper.
of good moral character in favor of an applicant
who has not live up to the standard set by law A lawyer should treat the opposing counsel and
[Agpalo]. his brethren in the law profession with courtesy,
dignity, and civility. They may do as adversaries
Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct do in law: strive mightily but eat and drink as
that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice friends [Valencia v. Cabanting (1991)].
law, nor shall he, whether in public or private
life, behave in a scandalous manner to the Improper Language:
discredit of the legal profession. (1) Behaving without due regard for the trial
court and the opposing counsel and
It is not necessary for a lawyer to be convicted threatening the court that he would file a
for an offense before a lawyer can be disciplined petition for certiorari [Bugaring v. Espanol
for gross immorality [Agpalo]. (2001)];
(2) Filing of a civil case against the opposing
Acts which adversely reflect on a lawyer’s counsel without justification but only to get a
fitness to practice law: leverage in the pending case [Reyes v. Chiong
(1) Having adulterous relationships or keeping (2003)];
mistresses; (3) Calling an adverse counsel as “bobo” or
(2) Siring a child with a woman other than legal using the word “ay que bobo” in reference to
wife (Zaguirre v. Castillo (2003)); the manner of offering evidence [Castillo v.
(3) Conviction of a crime involving moral Padilla (1984)].


Rule 8.02. A lawyer shall not, directly or (4) In the absence of the adverse party’s
indirectly, encroach upon the professional counsel, interview the adverse party and
employment of another lawyer; however, it is question him as to the facts of the case even
the right of any lawyer, without fear or favor, to if the adverse party was willing to do so;
give proper advice and assistance to those (5) Sanction the attempt of his client to settle a
seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful litigated matter with the adverse party
counsel. without the consent nor knowledge of the
latter’s counsel.
A lawyer MAY:
(1) Accept employment to handle a matter NO ASSISTANCE IN UNAUTHORIZED
previously handled by another lawyer: PRACTICE OF LAW
(a) Provided the other lawyer has been given Canon 9. A lawyer shall not, directly or
notice of termination of service lest it indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of
amounts to an improper encroachment law.
upon the professional employment of the
original counsel (Laput v. Remotigue Examples of practice of law:
(1962)); or (1) Legal advice and instructions to clients to
(b) In the absence of a notice of termination inform them of their rights and obligations;
from the client, provided he has obtained (2) Preparation for clients of documents
the conformity of the counsel whom he requiring knowledge of legal principles not
would substitute; or possessed by ordinary laymen;
(c) In the absence of such conformity, a (3) Appearance for clients before public
lawyer must at least give sufficient notice tribunals, whether, administrative, quasi-
to original counsel so that original judicial or legislative agency.
counsel has the opportunity to protect his
claim against the client. Examples of unauthorized practice of law:
(2) Give advice or assistance to any person who (1) Appearing as counsel even before taking
seeks relief against an unfaithful or lawyer’s oath [Aguirre v. Rana (2003)];
neglectful lawyer; (2) Using the title “Attorney” in his name even
(3) Associate as a colleague in a case, provided though he is a Shari’a lawyer [Alawi v. Alauya
he communicate with the original counsel (1997)].
before making an appearance as co-counsel:
(a) Should the original lawyer object, he A corporation cannot engage in the practice law
should decline association but if the directly or indirectly. It may only hire in-house
original lawyer is relieved, he may come lawyers to attend to its legal business. A
into the case; corporation cannot employ a lawyer to appear
(b) Should it be impracticable for him, whose for others for its benefit. A corporation cannot
judgment has been overruled by his co- perform the conditions required membership to
counsel to cooperate effectively, he the bar. In addition, the confidential and trust
should ask client to relieve him. relation between an attorney and his client
cannot arise if the attorney is employed by a
A lawyer MAY NOT: corporation.
(1) Steal another lawyer’s client;
(2) Induce a client to retain him by promise of NOT allowed:
better service, good result or reduced fees for (1) Automobile club that solicits membership by
his services; advertising that it offers free legal services of
(3) Disparage another lawyer, make its legal department to members;
comparisons or publicize his talent as a (2) Collection agency or credit exchange that
means to further his law practice; exploits lawyer’s services;


(3) Bank using lawyer’s name as director in Ratio: Allowing non-lawyers to get attorney’s
advertising its services in drawing wills and fees would confuse the public as to whom they
other legal documents. should consult. It would leave the bar in a
chaotic condition because non-lawyers are also
Unauthorized practice of law applies to both not subject to disciplinary action.
non-lawyers and lawyers prohibited from the
private practice of law. An agreement between a union lawyer and a
layman president of the union to divide equally
Rule 9.01. A lawyer shall not delegate to any the attorney’s fees that may be awarded in a
unqualified person the performance of any task labor case violates this rule, and is illegal and
which by law may only be performed by a immoral [Amalgamated Laborers Assn. v. CIR
member of the bar in good standing. (1968)].

Ratio: The practice of law is limited only to A donation by a lawyer to a labor union of part
individuals who have the necessary educational of his attorney’s fees taken from the proceeds of
qualifications and good moral character. a judgment secured by him for the labor union
Moreover, an attorney-client relationship is a is improper because it amounts to a rebate or
strictly personal one. commission [Halili v. CIR (1965)].

The following may only be undertaken by a A contract between a lawyer and a layman
lawyer: granting the latter a percentage of the fees
(1) The computation and determination of the collected from clients secured by the layman
period within which to appeal an adverse and enjoining the lawyer not to deal directly
judgment [Eco v. Rodriguez (1960)]; with said clients is null and void, and the lawyer
(2) The examination of witnesses or the may be disciplined for unethical conduct [Tan
presentation of evidence [Robinson v. Tek Beng v. David (1983)].
Villafuerte (1911)].
While non-lawyers may appear before the NLRC
Tasks that may be delegated to non-lawyers: or any labor arbiter, they are still not entitled to
(1) The examination of case law; receive professional fees.
(2) Finding and interviewing witnesses; The statutory rule that an attorney shall be
(3) Examining court records; entitled to have and recover from his client a
(4) Delivering papers and similar matters. reasonable compensation or remuneration for
the services they have rendered presupposes
the existence of an attorney-client relationship.
Rule 9.02. A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate Such a relationship cannot exist when the
to divide a fee for legal services with persons not client’s representative is a non-lawyer [Five J
licensed to practice law, except: Taxi v. NLRC (1994)].
(a) Where there is a pre-existing agreement with
a partner or associate that, upon the latter’s
death, money shall be paid over a
reasonable period of time to his estate or to TO THE COURTS
persons specified in the agreement; or CANDOR, FAIRNESS & GOOD FAITH
(b) Where a lawyer undertakes to complete TOWARDS THE COURTS
unfinished legal business of a deceased
lawyer; or
Canon 10. A lawyer owes candor, fairness and
(c) Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-
good faith to the court.
lawyer employees in a retirement plan, even
if the plan is based in whole or in part, on a
profitable sharing arrangement.


A lawyer is, first and foremost, an officer of the A lawyer who deliberately made it appear that
court. Accordingly, should there be a conflict the quotations in his motion for
between his duty to his client and that to the reconsiderations were findings of the Supreme
court, he should resolve the conflict against the Court, when they were just part of the
former and in favor of the latter, his primary memorandum of the Court Administrator, and
responsibility being to uphold the cause of who misspelled the name of the complainant
justice [Cobb Perez v. Lantin (1968)]. and made the wrong citation of authority is
guilty of violation of this rule [COMELEC v.
Candor in all of the lawyer’s dealings is the very Noynay (1998)].
essence of honorable membership in the legal
profession [Cuaresma v. Daquis (1975)]. It is the bounden duty of courts, judges and
lawyers to reproduce or copy the same word-
A lawyer’s conduct before the court should be for-word and punctuation mark-for-punctuation
characterized by candor and fairness. The mark the decisions of the Supreme Court. Ever
administration of justice would gravely suffer if present is the danger that if not faithfully and
lawyers do not act with complete candor and exactly quoted, the decisions and rulings may
honesty before the courts [Serena v. lose their proper and correct meaning, to the
Sandiganbayan (2008)]. detriment of other courts, lawyers and the
public who may thereby be misled [Insular Life
A lawyer must be a disciple of truth. While a Employees Co. v. Insular Life Association (1971)].
lawyer has the solemn duty to defend his
client’s cause, his conduct must never be at the The legal profession demands that lawyers
expense of truth [Young v. Batuegas (2003)]. thoroughly go over pleadings, motions and
other documents dictated or prepared by them,
Rule 10.01. A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, typed or transcribed by their secretaries or
nor consent to the doing of any in court; nor clerks, before filing them with the court. If a
shall he mislead, or allow the court to be misled client is bound by the acts of his counsel, with
by any artifice. more reason should counsel be bound by the
acts of his secretary who merely follows his
A lawyer should not conceal the truth from the orders [Adez Realty, Inc. v. CA (1992)].
court, nor mislead the court in any manner no
matter how demanding his duties to clients may Rule 10.03. A lawyer shall observe the rules of
be. His duties to his client should yield to his procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat
duty to deal candidly with the court. For no the ends of justice.
client is entitled to receive from the lawyer any
service involving dishonesty to the courts Filing multiple actions constitutes an abuse of
[Comments of IBP Committee]. the court’s processes. Those who file multiple or
repetitive actions subject themselves to
Rule 10.02. A lawyer shall not knowingly disciplinary action for incompetence or willful
misquote or misrepresent the contents of a violation of their duties as attorneys to act with
paper, the language or the argument of good fidelity to the courts, and to maintain only
opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or such actions that appear to be just and
authority, or knowingly cite as law a provision consistent with truth and honor [Olivares v.
already rendered inoperative by repeal or Villalon (2007)].
amendment, or assert as a fact that which has
not been proved. A lawyer should not abuse his right of recourse
to the courts for the purpose of arguing a cause
that had been repeatedly rebuffed. [Garcia v.
Francisco (1993)].



OFFICERS Male: Long-sleeve Barong Tagalog or coat and
Canon 11. A lawyer shall observe and maintain Female: Semi-formal attires
the respect due to the courts and to judicial Judges: same attire as above in addition to
officers and should insist on similar conduct by black robes
Courts have ordered a male attorney to wear a
Observing respect due to the courts means that necktie and have prohibited a female attorney
a lawyer should conduct himself toward judges: from wearing a hat. However, the permission of
(1) With courtesy everyone is entitled to expect a dress with a hemline five inches above the
[Paragas v Cruz (1965)]; knee was held to be acceptable as such “had
(2) With the propriety and dignity required by become an accepted mode of dress even in
the courts [Salcedo v Hernandez (1935)]. places of worship” [Aguirre (2006)]
Lawyers are duty bound to uphold the dignity Rule 11.02. A lawyer shall punctually appear at
and authority of the Court to promote the court hearings.
administration of justice. Respect to the courts
guarantees the stability of other institutions. [In
re: Sotto (1949)]. Inexcusable absence from, or repeated
tardiness in, attending a pre-trial or hearing
If a pleading containing derogatory, offensive may subject the lawyer to disciplinary action as
and malicious statements is submitted in the his actions show disrespect to the court and are
same court or judge in which the proceedings therefore considered contemptuous behavior
are pending, it is direct contempt, equivalent as [Agpalo].
it is to a misbehavior committed in the presence
of or so near a court or judge as to interrupt the Non-appearance at hearings on the ground that
administration of justice. Direct contempt is the issue to be heard has become moot and
punishable summarily [In re: Letter of Atty. academic is a lapse in judicial propriety [De
Sorreda (2006)]. Gracia v. Warden of Makati (1976)].

Liberally imputing sinister and devious motives Rule 11.03. A lawyer shall abstain from
and questioning the impartiality, integrity, and scandalous, offensive or menacing language or
authority of the members of the Court result in behavior before the courts.
the obstruction and perversion of the
dispensation of justice [Estrada v. A lawyer’s language should be forceful but
Sandiganbayan (2000)]. dignified, emphatic but respectful, as befitting
an advocate and in keeping with the dignity of
Rule 11.01. A lawyer shall appear in court the legal profession [Surigao Mineral Reservation
properly attired. Board v. Cloribel (1970)].

Respect begins with the lawyer’s outward Lawyers may use strong language to drive home
physical appearance in court. Sloppy or a point; they have a right to be in pursuing a
informal attire adversely reflects on the lawyer client’s cause [The British Co. v De Los Angeles
and demeans the dignity and solemnity of court (1975)].

A lawyer who dresses improperly may be cited

with contempt [Agpalo].


However, the use of abusive language by Rule 11.05. A lawyer shall submit grievances
counsel against the opposing counsel against a Judge to the proper authorities only.
constitutes at the same time a disrespect to the
dignity of the court justice. Moreover, the use of The duty to respect does not preclude a lawyer
impassioned language in pleadings, more often from filing administrative complaints against
than not, creates more heat than light erring judges
[Buenaseda v. Flavier (1993)]. Can still act as counsel for clients who have
legitimate grievances against them.
Lawyers cannot resort to scurrilous remarks that
have the tendency to degrade the courts and However, the lawyer shall not file an
destroy the public confidence in them [In re: administrative case until he has exhausted
Almacen (1970)]. judicial remedies which result in a finding that
the judge has gravely erred [Agpalo].
The court does not close itself to comments and
criticisms so long as they are fair and dignified. It has been held in Maceda v. Vasquez that in
Going beyond the limits of fair comments by criminal complaints against a judge or other
using insulting, disparaging and, intemperate court employees arising from their
language necessitates and warrants a rebuke administrative duties, the Ombudsman must
from the court. While it is expected of lawyers to defer action and refer the same to the Supreme
advocate their client’s cause, they are not at Court for determination whether said judges or
liberty to resort to arrogance, intimidation and court employees acted within the scope of their
innuendo [Sangalang v. IAC (1988)]. administrative duties.

Rule 11.04. A lawyer shall not attribute to a Otherwise, in the absence of any administrative
Judge motives not supported by the record or action, the investigation being conducted by the
have no materiality to the case. Ombudsman encroaches into the court’s power
of administrative supervision over all courts and
The rule allows criticism so long as it is its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of
supported by the record or it is material to the separation of powers.
case. A lawyer’s right to criticize the acts of
courts and judges in a proper and respectful ASSISTANCE IN THE SPEEDY &
way and through legitimate channels is well EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION OF
recognized [Agpalo].
The cardinal condition of all such criticism is
that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over Canon 12. A lawyer shall exert every effort and
the wall of decency and propriety [Zaldivar v. consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and
Gonzales (1989)]. efficient administration of justice.

Any serious accusation against a judicial officer Const. Art. III, Sec. 6. All persons shall have the
that is utterly baseless, unsubstantiated and right to a speedy disposition of their cases
unjustified shall not be countenanced [Go v. before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or
Abrogar]. administrative bodies.

The constitutional right to freedom of

expression of members of the bar may be Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 20(g). It is the duty
circumscribed by their ethical duties as lawyers of an attorney not to encourage either the
to give due respect to the courts and to uphold commencement or the continuance of an action
the public’s faith in the legal profession and the or proceeding or delay any man’s cause from
justice system [Re: Letter of UP Faculty (2011)]. any corrupt motive or interest.


The filing of another action containing the same CIRCUMSTANCE OF FORUM SHOPPING
subject matter, in violation of the doctrine of res (1) When, as a result or in anticipation of an
judicata, runs contrary to this canon [Siy Lim v. adverse decision in one forum, a party seeks
Montano (2006)]. a favorable opinion in another forum through
means other than appeal or certiorari by
Rule 12.01. A lawyer shall not appear for trial raising identical causes of action, subject
unless he has adequately prepared himself on matter and issues.
the law and the facts of his case, the evidence (2) The institution of two or more actions
he will adduce and the order of its proferrence. involving the same parties for the same
He should also be ready with the original cause of action, either simultaneously or
documents for comparison with the copies. successively, on the supposition that one or
the other court would come out with a
Without adequate preparation, the lawyer may favorable disposition [Brown-Araneta v.
not be able to effectively assist the court in the Araneta (2013)].
efficient administration of justice.
An indicium of the presence of, or the test for
NON-OBSERVANCE OF PREPARATION: determining whether a litigant violated the rule
(1) The postponement of the pre-trial or against, forum shopping is where the elements
hearing, which would thus entail delay in the of litis pendentia are present or where a final
early disposition of the case; judgment in one case will amount to res judicata
(2) The judge may consider the client non-suited in the other case.
or in default;
(3) The judge may consider the case deemed FOR THE BAR OF LITIS PENDENTIA TO BE
submitted for decision without client’s INVOKED, THE CONCURRING REQUISITES
evidence, to his prejudice [Agpalo]). MUST BE PRESENT:
(1) Identity of parties, or at least such parties as
Half of the work of the lawyer is done in the represent the same interests in both actions;
office. It is spent in the study and research. (2) Identity of rights asserted and relief prayed
Inadequate preparation obstructs the for, the relief being founded on the same
administration of justice [Martin’s Legal Ethics facts; and
(1988)]. (3) Identity of the two preceding particulars is
such that any judgment rendered in the
A newly hired counsel who appears in a case in pending case, regardless of which party is
the midstream is presumed and obliged to successful, would amount to res judicata in
acquaint himself with all the antecedent the other [HSBC v. Catalan (2004)].
processes and proceedings that have transpired
in the record prior to his takeover [Villasis v. CA RES JUDICATA REQUIRES THAT:
(1974)]. (1) There be a decision on the merits by a court
of competent jurisdiction;
(2) The decision is final; and
Rule 12.02. A lawyer shall not file multiple (3) The two actions involved identical parties,
actions arising from the same cause. subject matter, and causes of action.

Ratio: There is an affirmative duty of a lawyer to

check against useless litigations. His signature
in every pleading constitutes a certificate by him
that to the best of his knowledge there is a good
ground to support it and that it is not to
interpose for delay. The willful violation of this
rule may subject him to appropriate disciplinary
action or render him liable for the costs of
litigation [Agpalo].


COMPLAINT SHOULD BE CERTIFIED Rule 12.03. A lawyer shall not, after obtaining
CONTAINING: extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda
(1) He has not theretofore commenced any or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting
action or filed any claim involving the same the same or offering an explanation for his
issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial failure to do so.
agency and, to the best of his knowledge, no
such other action or claim is pending therein; The court censures the practice of counsels who
if there is such other pending action or claim, secures repeated extensions of time to file their
a complete statement of the present status pleadings and thereafter simply let the period
thereof; and lapse without submitting the pleading on even
(2) If he should thereafter learn that the same or an explanation or manifestation of their failure
similar action or claim has been filed or is to do so. There exists a breach of duty not only
pending, he shall report that fact within five to the court but also to the client [Achacoso v.
days there from to the court wherein his CA (1973)].
aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading
has been filed. An attorney is bound to protect his client’s
interest to the best of his ability and with utmost
Rules of Court, Rule 7, Sec. 5. Failure to comply diligence. A failure to file brief for his client
with the foregoing requirements shall not be certainly constitutes inexcusable negligence on
curable by mere amendment of the complaint his part [Ford v. Daitol (1995)].
or other initiatory pleading but shall cause for
the dismissal of the case without prejudice, Rule 12.04. A lawyer shall not unduly delay a
unless otherwise provided, upon motion after case, impede the execution of a judgment or
hearing. misuse court processes.

Submission of a false certification or non- It is one thing to exert to the utmost one’s ability
compliance with any of the undertakings in a to protect the interest of one’s client. It is quite
certification of no forum shopping: another thing to delay if not defeat the recovery
 Shall constitute indirect contempt of court; of what is justly due and demandable due to the
 Without prejudice to the corresponding misleading acts of a lawyer [Manila Pest Control
administrative and criminal actions. v. WCC (1968)].

If acts of the party or his counsel constitute Once a judgment becomes final and executory,
willful and deliberate forum shopping: the prevailing party should not be denied the
(1) Be a ground for summary dismissal with fruits of his victory by some subterfuge devised
prejudice; by the losing part. Unjustified delay in the
(2) Constitute direct contempt; enforcement of a judgment sets at naught the
(3) Be a cause for administrative sanctions. role of courts in disposing justiciable
controversies with finality [Aguilar v. Manila
The rule against forum shopping and the Banking Corporation (2006)].
requirement that a certification to that effect be
complied with in the filing of complaints, Rule 12.05. A lawyer shall refrain from talking to
petitions or other initiatory pleadings in all his witness during a break or recess in the trial,
courts and agencies applies to quasi-judicial while the witness is still under examination.
bodies, such as the NLRC or Labor Arbiter


Ratio: The purpose is to prevent the suspicion PD 1829 penalizes the following acts:
that he is coaching the witness what to say (1) Threatening directly or indirectly another
during the resumption of the examination; to with the infliction of any wrong upon his
uphold and maintain fair play with the other person, honor or property or that of any
party and to prevent the examining lawyer from immediate member or members of his family
being tempted to coach his own witness to suit in order to prevent such person from
his purpose [Callanta, Legal and Judicial Ethics appearing in the investigation of, or official
Reviewer]. proceedings in, criminal cases, or imposing a
condition, whether lawful or unlawful, in
Rule 12.06. A lawyer shall not knowingly assist a order to prevent a person from appearing in
witness to misrepresent himself or to the investigation of or in official proceedings
impersonate another. in, criminal cases;
(2) Giving of false or fabricated information to
mislead or prevent the law enforcement
Revised Penal Code, Art. 184. The lawyer who agencies from apprehending the offender or
presented a witness knowing him to be a false from protecting the life or property of the
witness is criminally liable for offering false victim; or fabricating information from the
testimony in evidence. The lawyer is both data gathered in confidence by investigating
criminally and administratively liable. authorities for purposes of background
information and not for publication and
Subornation of perjury is committed by a person publishing or disseminating the same to
who knowingly and willfully procures another to mislead the investigator or to the court.
swear falsely and the witness suborned [or
induced] does testify under circumstances Rule 12.08. A lawyer shall avoid testifying in
rendering him guilty of perjury [US v. Ballena behalf of his client, except:
(1911)]. (a) On formal matters, such as the mailing,
authentication or custody of an instrument,
Rule 12.07. A lawyer shall not abuse, browbeat and the like; or
or harass a witness nor needlessly (b) On substantial matters, in cases where his
inconvenience him. testimony is essential to the ends of justice,
in which event he must, during his testimony,
RIGHTS OF WITNESSES [Rules of Court, Rule entrust the trial of the case to another
132, Sec. 3.] counsel.
(1) To be protected from irrelevant, improper or
insulting questions and from a harsh or Ratio: The underlying reason for the impropriety
insulting demeanor; of a lawyer acting in such dual capacity lies in
(2) Not to be detained longer than the interests the difference between the function of a witness
of justice require and that of an advocate.
(3) Not to be examined except as to matters  The function of a witness is to tell the facts
pertinent to the issues before the court; as he recalls then in answer to questions.
(4) Not to give an answer which will tend to  The function of an advocate is that of a
subject him to a penalty for an offense partisan.
unless otherwise provided by law;
(5) Not to give an answer which will tend to It is difficult to distinguish between the zeal of
degrade the witness’ reputation, but a an advocate and the fairness and impartiality of
witness must answer the fact of any previous a disinterested witness. The lawyer will find it
final conviction for a criminal offense. hard to disassociate his relation to his client as
an attorney and his relation to the party as a
witness [Agpalo].


When a lawyer is a witness for his client, except Ratio: Newspaper publications regarding a
as to merely formal matters, such as the pending or anticipated litigation may interfere
attestation or custody of an instrument and the with a fair trial, prejudice the administration of
like, he should leave the trial of the case to other justice, or subject a respondent or an accused to
counsel. Except when essential to the ends of a trial by publicity and create a public inference
justice, a lawyer should avoid testifying in court of guilt against him [Agpalo].
in behalf of his client [PNB v. Uy Teng Piao
(1932)]. Public statements may be considered
contemptuous when the character of the act
RELIANCE ON MERITS OF HIS CAUSE done and its direct tendency to prevent and
& AVOIDANCE OF ANY IMPROPRIETY obstruct the discharge of official duty.
WHICH TENDS TO INFLUENCE OR A lawyer enjoys wider latitude to comment or
GIVES THE APPEARANCE OF criticize the actions of the judge than pending
INFLUENCE UPON THE COURTS litigation [In re: Lozano (1930)].
Canon 13. A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of
his cause and refrain from any impropriety In the original decision of the Supreme Court in
which tends to influence, or gives the Re: Request Radio-TV Coverage of the Trial in the
appearance of influencing the court. Sandiganbayan of the Plunder Cases against
Former President Joseph Estrada (2001), it was
stated that the propriety of granting or denying
Rule 13.01. A lawyer shall not extend the petition involve the weighing out of the
extraordinary attention or hospitality to, nor constitutional guarantees of freedom of the
seek opportunity for cultivating familiarity with press and the right to public information, on the
Judges. one hand, and the fundamental rights of the
accused, on the other hand, along with the
Canon 3, Code of Professional Ethics also provide constitutional power of a court to control its
that a lawyer should avoid marked attention proceedings in ensuring a fair and impartial
and unusual hospitality to a judge uncalled for trial. It was held that when these rights race
by the personal relations of the parties because against one another, the right of the accused
they subject him and the judge to must be preferred to win, considering the
misconceptions of motives. possibility of losing not only the precious liberty
but also the very life of an accused.
In order not to subject both the judge and the
lawyer to suspicion, the common practice of In the resolution of the motion for
some lawyers of making judges and prosecutors reconsideration, the Supreme Court allowed the
godfathers of their children to enhance their video recording of proceedings, but provided
influence and their law practice should be that the release of the tapes for broadcast
avoided by judges and lawyers alike [Report of should be delayed. In so doing, concerns that
IBP Committee]. those taking part in the proceedings will be
playing to the cameras and will thus be
It is improper for a litigant or counsel to see a distracted from the proper performance of their
judge in chambers and talk to him about a roles – whether as counsel, witnesses, court
matter related to the case pending in the court personnel, or judges – will be allayed.
of said judge [Austria v. Masaquel (1967)].
Rule 13.03. A lawyer shall not brook or invite
Rule 13.02. A lawyer shall not make public interference by another branch or agency of the
statements in the media regarding a pending government in the normal course of judicial
case tending to arouse public opinion for or proceedings.
against a party.


Ratio: The rule is based upon the principle of RA 9999, Free Legal Assistance Act of 2010. It is
separation of powers [Aguirre (2006)]. a declared policy of the state to value the
dignity of every human person and guarantee
A complaint against justices cannot be filed the rights of every individual, particularly those
with the Office of the President [Maglasang v. who cannot afford the services of counsel
People (1990)].
Ratio: RA 9999 provides incentives for free legal
RELATED TO service. Thus, a lawyer or professional
Canon 11, Rule 11.5A lawyer shall submit partnerships rendering actual free legal services
grievances against a Judge to the proper shall be entitled to an allowable deduction from
authorities only. the gross income, the amount that could have
been collected for the actual free legal services
rendered or up to 10% of the gross income
TO THE CLIENTS derived from the actual performance of legal
profession, whichever is lower.
(1) Strictly personal; Different from the 60-hour mandatory legal aid
(2) Highly confidential; services under Bar Matter 2012.
(3) Fiduciary.
The contract of employment of a counsel may  A person who has no visible means of income
be express (oral or written) or implied.
or whose income is insufficient for the
subsistence of his family, to be determined by
A written contract between the counsel and the the fiscal or judge, taking into account the
client is the best evidence to show the presence members of his family dependent upon him
of an attorney-client relationship. However, it is
for subsistence (Section 2, RA 6033).
not essential for the employment of an attorney.
 A person who has no visible means of support
or whose income does not exceed P300.00
AVAILABILITY OF SERVICE WITHOUT per month or whose income even in excess of
DISCRIMINATION P300.00 per month is insufficient for the
Canon 14. A lawyer shall not refuse his services subsistence of his family (Section 2, RA 6035).
to the needy.
STATUS (1) (Section 1, RA 6033) All courts shall give
Rule 14.01. A lawyer shall not decline to preference to the hearing and/or disposition
represent a person solely on account of the of criminal cases where an indigent is
latter’s race, sex, creed or status of life, or involved either as the offended party or
because of his own opinion regarding the guilt accused.
of said person. (2) (Section 1, RA 6034) Any indigent litigant
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 20(i). It is the duty may, upon motion, ask the Court for
of an attorney, in the defense of a person adequate travel allowance to enable him and
accused of a crime, by all fair and honorable his indigent witnesses to attendant the
means, regardless of his personal opinion as to hearing of a criminal case commenced by his
the guilt of the accused, to present every complaint or filed against him. The
defense that the law permits, to the end that no allowance shall cover actual transportation
person may be deprived of life or liberty, but by expenses by the cheapest means from his
due process of law. place of residence to the court and back.


When the hearing of the case requires the Counsel De Oficio - Appointed or assigned by
presence of the indigent litigant and/or his the court from among members of the bar in
indigent witnesses in court the whole day or good standing who, by reason of their
for two or more consecutive days, allowances experience and ability.
may, in the discretion of the Court, also cover
reasonable expenses for meal and lodging. A counsel de oficio is expected to render
(3) (Section 1, RA 6035) A stenographer who has effective service and to exert his best efforts on
attended a hearing before an investigating behalf of an indigent accused.
fiscal or trial judge or hearing commissioner
of any quasi-judicial body or administrative MAY BE APPOINTED COUNSEL DE OFICIO:
tribunal and has officially taken notes of the (1) A member of the bar in good standing;
proceeding thereof shall, upon written (2) In localities without lawyers:
request of an indigent or low income litigant, (a) Any person of good repute for probity and
his counsel or duly authorized representative ability (Section 7, Rule 116);
in the case concerned, give within a (b) A municipal judge or a lawyer employed
reasonable period to be determined by the in any branch, subdivision or
fiscal, judge, commissioner or tribunal instrumentality of the government within
hearing the case, a free certified transcript of the province (Section 1, PD 543).
notes take by him on the case.
Rule 14.02. A lawyer shall not decline, except for (1) Gravity of the offense;
serious and sufficient cause, an appointment as (2) Difficulty of the questions that may arise;
counsel de oficio or as amicus curiae, or a (3) Experience and ability of the appointee.
request from the Integrated Bar of the (4) In a criminal action
Philippines or any of its chapters for rendition of (a) Before arraignment, the court shall
free legal aid. inform the accused of his right to counsel
and ask him if he desires to have one.
The court must assign a counsel de oficio
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 20(h) It is the duty to defend him, unless the accused is
of an attorney never to reject for any allowed to defend himself in person, or
consideration personal to himself the cause of has employed counsel of his choice
the defenseless or oppressed; (Section 6, Rule 116);
(b) It is the duty of the clerk of the trial court,
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 31. A court may upon filing of a notice of appeal, to
assign an attorney to render professional aid ascertain from the appellant, if confined
free of charge to any party in a case if upon in prison, whether he desires the Regional
investigation it appears that the party is Trial Court, Court of Appeals or the
destitute and unable to employ an attorney and Supreme Court to appoint a counsel de
that the services of counsel are necessary to oficio;
secure the ends of justice and to protect the (c) If it appears from the record that: (a) the
rights of the party. It shall be the duty of the accused is confined in prison, (b) is
attorney so assigned to render the required without counsel de parte on appeal, or (c)
service unless he is excused therefrom by the has signed the notice of appeal himself,
court for sufficient cause shown. the clerk of Court of Appeals shall
designate a counsel de oficio [Agpalo]).
Counsel De Parte - Employed or retained by
the party himself.


Rules of Court, Rule 124, Sec. 2. An appellant If a lawyer volunteers his services to a client, and
who is not confined in prison may, upon request, therefore not entitled to attorney’s fees, he is
be assigned a counsel de oficio within ten days still bound to attend to a client’s case with all
from receipt of the notice to file brief and he due diligence and zeal. By volunteering his
establishes his right thereto. services, he has established a client-lawyer
relationship [Blanza v. Arcangel (1967)].
A lawyer ought to know that membership in the
bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. It CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND LOYALTY
could be that for some lawyers, especially the TO CLIENTS
neophytes in the profession, being appointed Canon 15. A lawyer shall observe candor,
counsel de oficio is an irksome chore. For those fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and
holding such belief, it may come as a surprise transactions with his clients.
that counsel of repute and of eminence
welcome such an opportunity. It makes even CONFIDENTIALITY RULE
more manifest that law is indeed a profession
dedicated to the ideal of service and not a mere Rule 15.01. A lawyer, in conferring with a
trade [Ledesma v. Climaco (1974)]. prospective client, shall ascertain as soon as
practicable whether the matter would involve a
VALID GROUNDS FOR REFUSAL conflict with another client or his own interest,
and if so, shall forthwith inform the prospective
Rule 14.03. A lawyer may not refuse to accept client.
representation of an indigent client unless:
(a) He is in no position to carry out the work
effectively or competently; The purpose of the rule of confidentiality is
(b) He labors under a conflict of interest actually to protect the client from possible
between him and the prospective client or breach of confidence as a result of a
between a present client and the prospective consultation with a lawyer [Hadjula v. Madianda
client. (2007)].

Should be kept in mind:

A lawyer shall not decline an appointment as (1) A confidential communication refers to
counsel de oficio or as amicus curiae, or a information transmitted by voluntary act of
request from the IBP or any of its chapters for disclosure between attorney and client in
rendition of free legal aid except for serious and confidence and by means which so far as the
sufficient cause. client is aware, discloses the information to
The reason is that one of the burdens of the no third person other than one reasonably
privilege to practice law which an attorney necessary for the transmission of the
voluntarily assumed when he took his oath as a information or the accomplishment of the
lawyer is to render, when so required by the purpose for which it was given [Mercado v.
court, free legal services to indigent litigant. Vitriolo (2005)].
(2) There is a difference between confidences
Under Rule 2.02, Canon 2, even if the lawyer and secrets of clients. While confidences
does not accept a case, he shall not refuse to refer to information protected by attorney-
render legal advice to the person concerned if client privilege under the Rules of Court (i.e.,
only to the extent necessary to safeguard the information pertinent to the case being
latter’s rights. handled), secrets are those other information
gained in the professional relationship that
Rule 14.04. A lawyer who accepts the cause of a the client has requested to be held inviolate
person unable to pay his professional fees shall or the disclosure of which would be
observe the same standard of conduct embarrassing or would likely be detrimental
governing his relations with paying clients. to client (i.e., information not exactly
pertinent to case).


(3) The intent of client to make communication (3) Legal advice must be sought from the
confidential must be apparent. But once attorney in his professional capacity with
conveyed to lawyer, confidentiality attaches respect to communications relating to that
not only to statements but also to other purpose. The information is not privileged if
forms of communication. the advice is not within lawyer’s professional
(4) Communication may be transmitted by any capacity;
form of agency, such as a messenger, an (4) The client must intend the communication
interpreter or any other form of transmission. be confidential.
It is immaterial whether the agent is the
agent of the attorney, the client or both. Includes:
(5) The question of privilege determined by (1) The privilege against disclosure of
court. The burden of proof is on the party confidential communications or information
who asserts the privilege. is limited only to communications which are
legitimately and properly within the scope of
Canon 21 enjoins a lawyer to preserve the a lawful employment of a lawyer. It does not
confidence and secrets of his client even after extend to those made in contemplation of a
the attorney-client relation is terminated. crime or perpetration of a fraud. It is not
within the profession of a lawyer to advise a
PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS client as to how he may commit a crime.
Rule 15.02. A lawyer shall be bound by the rule Thus, the attorney-client privilege does not
on privileged communication in respect of attach, there being no professional
matters disclosed to him by a prospective client. employment in the strict sense (Genato v.
Silapan (2003)).
(2) Confidentiality embraces not only oral or
Rules of Court, Rule 130, Sec. 24(b). An assignee written statements but actions, signs or
of the client’s interest may claim the privilege as other means of communications.
far as the communication affects the realization
of the assigned interest. People entitled to claim privilege:
Generally, the privilege covers the lawyer, client
An attorney cannot, without the consent of his and third persons who by reason of their work
client, be examined as to any communication have acquired information about the case being
made by the client to him or his advice given handled, including:
thereon in the course of professional (a) The attorney’s secretary, stenographer and
employment; nor can an attorney’s secretary, clerk;
stenographer, or clerk be examined, without the (b) The interpreter, messengers, or agents
consent of the client and his employer, transmitting communication;
concerning any fact the knowledge of which has (c) An accountant, scientist, physician,
been acquired in such capacity. engineer who has been hired for effective
(1) The person to whom information is given is a Requisites for information to be considered
lawyer. However, if a person is pretending to privilege:
be a lawyer and client discloses confidential (1) There is an attorney-client relationship or a
communications, the attorney-client kind of consultancy requirement with a
privilege applies; prospective client;
(2) There is legal relationship existing, except in (2) The communication was made by the client
cases of prospective clients; to the lawyer in the course of the lawyer’s
professional employment;
(3) The communication must be intended to be


Exceptions: (3) Where the government's lawyers have no

(1) When a lawyer is accused by the client and case against an attorney's client unless, by
he needs to reveal information to defend revealing the client’s name, the said name
himself; would furnish the only link that would form
(2) When the client discloses the intention to the chain of testimony necessary to convict
commit a crime or unlawful act [Aguirre an individual of a crime, the client's name is
(2006)]. privileged.

For attorney-client privilege to apply, however, Information relating to the identity of the client
the period to be considered is the date when the may fall within the ambit of the privilege when
privileged communication was made by the the client’s name itself has an independent
client to the attorney in relation to either a crime significance, such that disclosure would then
committed in the past or with respect to a crime reveal client confidences [Regala v.
intended to be committed in the future. If the Sandiganbayan (1996)].
crime was committed in the part, the privilege
applies. If it is still to be committee, the privilege General rule: The protection given to the client
does not apply, because the communication is perpetual and does not cease with the
between a lawyer and his client must be for a termination of the litigation, nor is it affected by
lawful purpose or in furtherance of a lawful end the client’s ceasing to employ the attorney and
to be privileged [People v. Sandiganbayan retaining another, or by any other change of
(1996)]. relation between them. It even survives the
death of the client [Bun Siong Yao v. Aurelio
General rule: As a matter of public policy, a (2006)].
client’s identity should not be shrouded in
mystery. Thus, a lawyer may not invoke the Exception: Some privileged communications
privilege and refuse to divulge the name or lose their privileged character by some
identity of this client. supervening act done pursuant to the purpose
of the communication (e.g., a communication
Ratio: intended by the client to be sent to a third
(1) The court has a right to know that the client person through his attorney loses confidential
whose privileged information is sought to be character once it reached the third party).
protected is flesh and blood;
(2) The privilege begins to exist only after the Examples of privileged matters:
attorney-client relationship has been (1) Work product of lawyer (his effort, research
established. The attorney-client privilege and thought contained in his file);
does not attach until there is a client. (2) A report of a physician, an accountant, an
(3) The privilege generally pertains to the engineer or a technician, whose services have
subject matter of the relationship. been secured by a client as part of his
(4) Due process considerations require that the communication to his attorney or by the
opposing party should, as a general rule, attorney to assist him render effective legal
know his adversary. assistance to his client;
(3) Records concerning an accident in which a
Principal exceptions: party is involve;
(1) Client identity is privileged where a strong (4) Consultation which has to do the preparation
probability exists that revealing the client's of a client to take the witness stand.
name would implicate that client in the very
activity for which he sought the lawyer's CONFLICT OF INTEREST
advice. Rule 15.03. A lawyer shall not represent
(2) Where disclosure would open the client to conflicting interests except by written consent of
civil liability, his identity is privileged. all concerned given after a full disclosure of the


There is conflict of interest when a lawyer An attorney’s knowledge of the law and his
represents inconsistent interests of two or more reputation for fidelity may make it easy for the
opposing parties. The test is “whether or not in disputants to settle their differences amicably.
behalf of one client, it is the lawyer’s duty to However, he shall not act as counsel for any of
fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to them. [Agpalo]
oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he
argues for one client, this argument will be Generally an attorney is prohibited from
opposed by him when he argues for the other representing parties with contending positions.
client” [Hornilla v. Salunat (2003)]. However at a certain stage of the controversy,
before it reaches the court, a lawyer may
General rule: A lawyer may not represent two represent conflicting interests with the consent
opposing parties at any point in time. of the parties [Dee v. CA (1989)].

A lawyer need not be the counsel-of-record of CANDID AND HONEST ADVICE TO CLIENTS
either party. He does not have to publicly hold Rule 15.05. A lawyer when advising his client
himself as the counsel of the adverse party nor shall give a candid and honest opinion on the
make efforts to advance the adverse party’s merits and probable results of the client’s case,
conflicting interests of record. It is enough that neither overstating nor understating the
the counsel had a hand in the preparation of the prospects of the case.
pleading of one party.
A lawyer is bound to give candid and honest
Exception: When the parties agree, and for opinion on the merit or lack of merit of client’s
amicable settlement [Agpalo]) case, neither overstating nor understating the
prospect of the case. He should also give an
There is conflict of interest when: honest opinion as to the probable results of the
(1) When there are conflicting duties; case, with the end in view of promoting respect
(2) When the acceptance of the new relations for the law and the legal processes [Agpalo].
invites or actually lead to unfaithfulness or
double-dealing to another client; or COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS
(3) When the attorney will be called upon to use
against his first client any knowledge Rule 15.06. A lawyer shall not state or imply that
acquired in the previous employment. he is able to influence any public official,
tribunal or legislative body.
Note: The test to determine whether there is a
conflict of interest in the representation is Rule 15.07. A lawyer shall impress upon his
probability, not certainty of conflict. client compliance with the laws and principles
of fairness.
Representing adverse interest may result in:
(1) Disqualification as counsel in the new case; This rule protects against influence peddling.
(2) If prejudicial to interests of latter client, Some prospective clients secure the services of
setting aside of a judgment; a particular lawyer or law firm precisely because
(3) Administrative and criminal (for betrayal of he can exert a lot of influence on a judge and
trust) liability; some lawyers exact big fees for such influence
(4) Forfeiture of attorney’s fees. [Agpalo].

Rule 15.04. A lawyer may, with the written

consent of all concerned, act as mediator,
conciliator or arbitrator in settling disputes.


CONCURRENT PRACTICE OF ANOTHER (4) The attorney purchases or acquires the

PROFESSION property or right, by himself or through
Rule 15.08. A lawyer who is engaged in another another, during pendency of litigation.
profession or occupation concurrently with the
practice of law shall make clear to his client The prohibition includes mortgage of property
whether he is acting as a lawyer or in another in litigation to the lawyer. In this case,
capacity. acquisition is merely postponed until
foreclosure but effect is the same. It also
Exercise of dual profession is not prohibited but includes assignment of property [Ordonio v.
a lawyer must make it clear when he is acting as Eduarte (1992)].
a lawyer and when he is otherwise, especially in
occupations related to the practice of law. The purchase by a lawyer of the property in
litigation from his client is void and could
Ratio: Certain ethical considerations may be produce no legal effect [Article 1409(7), Civil
operative in one profession and not in the other Code) (Rubias v. Batiller (1973)].
Article 1491, however, is not applicable in the
A lawyer is not barred from dealing with his following cases:
client but the business transaction must be (1) When the attorney is not a counsel in the
characterized with utmost honesty and good case involving the same property at the time
faith. Business transactions between an of acquisition;
attorney and his client are disfavored and (2) When purchaser is a corporation, even if the
discouraged by policy of law because by virtue attorney was an officer (Tuason v. Tuason
of a lawyer’s office, he is an easy position to take (1974));
advantage of the credulity and ignorance of his (3) When sale took place after termination of
client. Thus, there is no presumption of litigation, except if there was fraud or abuse
innocence or improbability of wrongdoing in of confidential information or where lawyer
favor of lawyers (Nakpil v. Valdez [1998)]. exercised undue influence;
(4) Where property in question is stipulated as
CLIENT’S MONEY AND PROPERTIES part of attorney’s fees, provided that, the
same is contingent upon the favorable
Canon 16. A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys outcome of litigation and, provided further,
and properties of his client that may come into that the fee must be reasonable.
his possession.
New Civil Code, Art. 1491(5). Lawyers cannot Rule 16.01. A lawyer shall account for all money
acquire or purchase, even at a public or judicial or property collected or received for or from the
auction, either in person or through the client.
mediation of another, the property and rights
which may be the object of any litigation in Money collected by a lawyer in pursuance of a
which they take part by virtue of their judgment in favor of his clients is held in trust
profession. and must be immediately turned over to them
[Busiños v. Ricafort (1997)].
Ratio: The prohibition is based on the existing
relation of trust or the lawyer’s peculiar control The fact that a lawyer has a lien for fees on
over the property. money in his hands would not relieve him from
the duty of promptly accounting for the funds
Requisites: received [Daroy v. Legaspi (1975)].
(1) Attorney-client relationship;
(2) The property or interest is in litigation;
(3) The attorney takes part as counsel in the


COMMINGLING OF FUNDS However, an attorney has a lien upon the funds

Rule 16.02. A lawyer shall keep the funds of documents and papers of his client which have
each client separate and apart from his own and lawfully come into his possession and may
those of others kept by him. retain the same until his lawful fees and
disbursements have been paid and may apply
A lawyer, under his oath, pledges himself not to such funds to the satisfaction thereof [Section
delay any man for money or malice and is 137, Rule 138].
bound to conduct himself with all good fidelity
to his clients. He is obligated to report promptly BORROWING AND LENDING
the money of his clients that has come into his Rule 16.04. A lawyer shall not borrow money
possession. Otherwise, he violates Section 25, from his client unless the client’s interests are
Rule 138. He should not commingle it without fully protected by the nature of the case or by
his client’s consent. He should maintain a independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend
reputation for honesty and fidelity to private money to a client except when, in the interest of
trust [Daroy v. Legaspi (1975)]. justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in
a legal matter he is handling for the client.
Rule 16.03. A lawyer shall deliver the funds and The relation of attorney and client is highly
property of his client when due or upon fiduciary in nature and is of a very delicate,
demand. However, he shall have a lien over the exacting and confidential character. A lawyer is
funds and may apply so much thereof as may be duty-bound to observe candor, fairness and
necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with
disbursements, giving notice promptly his clients. The profession, therefore, demands
thereafter to his client. He shall also have a lien of an attorney an absolute abdication of every
to the same extent on all judgments and personal advantage conflicting in any way,
executions he has secured for his client as directly or indirectly, with the interest of his
provided for in the Rules of Court. client [Barnachea v. Quicho (2003)].

The failure of an attorney to return the client’s FIDELITY TO CLIENT’S CAUSE

money upon demand gives rise to the Canon 17. A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of
presumption that he has misappropriated it for his client and he shall be mindful of the trust
his own use to the prejudice of and in violation and confidence reposed in him.
of the trust reposed in him by the client [Jinon v.
Jiz (2013)]. When a lawyer takes a client’s cause, he thereby
Every lawyer has the responsibility to protect covenants that he will exert all effort for its
and advance the interests of his client such that protection until its final conclusion. The failure
he must promptly account for whatever money to exercise due diligence and the abandonment
or property his client may have entrusted to of a client’s cause make such a lawyer unworthy
him. As a mere trustee of said money or of the trust which the client has reposed on him
property, he must hold them separate from that [Cantilller v. Potenciano (1989)].
of his own and make sure that they are used for
their intended purpose. If not used, he must No lawyer is obliged to act either as adviser or
return the money or property immediately to his advocate for every person who may wish to
client upon demand, otherwise the lawyer shall become his client. He has the right to decline
be presumed to have misappropriated the same employment, except as prescribed in Canon 14
in violation of the trust reposed on him. A of the Code of Professional Responsibility. But
lawyer’s conversion of funds entrusted to him is once he agrees to take up the cause of the
a gross violation of professional ethics [Arellano client, no fear or judicial disfavor or public
University, Inc. v. Mijares III (2009)]. unpopularity should restrain him from the full
discharge of his duty [Santiago v. Fojas (1995)].


COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE A lawyer should give adequate attention, care

Canon 18. A lawyer shall serve his client with and time to his cases. This is the reason why a
competence and diligence. practicing lawyer should accept only so many
cases he can handle. Once he agrees to handle a
COLLABORATING COUNSEL case, he should undertake the task with
dedication and care. If he should do any less
Rule 18.01. A lawyer shall not undertake a legal then he is not true to his oath as a lawyer
service which he knows or should know that he [Legarda v. CA (1991)].
is not qualified to render. However, he may
render such service if, with the consent of his Negligence
client, he can obtain as collaborating counsel a General rule: A client is bound by attorney’s
lawyer who is competent on the matter. conduct, negligence and mistake in handling
case or in management of litigation and in
There is implied representation when: procedural technique, and he cannot be heard
(1) That he possess the requisite degree of to complain that result might have been
academic learning, skill and ability in the different had his lawyer proceeded differently.
practice of his profession;
(2) That he will exert his best judgment in the Exceptions: He is not so bound where the
prosecution or defense of the litigation ignorance, incompetence or inexperience of
entrusted to him; lawyer is so great and error so serious that
(3) That he will exercise reasonable and ordinary client, who has good cause is prejudiced and
care and diligence in the pursuit or defense denied a day in court [People v. Manzanilla
of the case; and (1922); Alarcon v. CA (2000)].
(4) That he will take steps as will adequately
safeguard his client’s interests [Islas v. Platon Characterized as negligent:
(1924)]. (1) Failure of counsel to ask for additional time
to answer a complaint resulting in a default
Some cases involve specialized fields of law and judgment against his client [Mapua v.
require special training. A lawyer should not Mendoza (1993)];
accept an undertaking in specific area of law (2) Failure to bring suit immediately, as when it
which he knows or should know he is not was filed when the defendant had already
qualified to enter [Agpalo]. become insolvent and recovery could no
longer be had;
ADEQUATE PREPARATION (3) Failure to ascertain date of receipt from post
Rule 18.02. A lawyer shall not handle any legal office of notice of decision resulting in the
matter without adequate preparation. non-perfection of the appellant’s appeal
[Joven-De Jesus v. PNB (1964)];
A lawyer should safeguard his client’s rights and (4) Failure to file briefs within the reglementary
interests by thorough study and preparation, period [People v. Cawili (1970)];
mastering applicable law and facts involved in a (5) Failure to attend to trial without filing a
case, regardless of the nature of the motion for postponement or without
assignment, and keeping constantly abreast of requesting either of his two partners in the
the latest jurisprudence and developments in all law office to take his place and appear for
branches of the law [Agpalo]. the defendants [Gaerlan v. Bernal (1952)];
(6) Failure to appear at pre-trial [Agravante v.
Patriarca (1990)];
(7) Failure of counsel to notify clients of the
scheduled trial which prevented the latter to
look to another lawyer to represent them
while counsel was in the hospital [Ventura v.
Santos (1993)];


(8) Failure to appear simply because the client REPRESENTATION WITH ZEAL WITHIN
did not go to counsel’s office on the date of LEGAL BOUNDS
the trial as was agreed upon [Alcoriza v. Canon 19. A lawyer shall represent his client
Lumakang (1978)]; with zeal within the bounds of the law.
(9) Failure to pay the appellate docket fee after
receiving the amount for the purpose In the discharge of his duty of entire devotion to
[Capulong v. Alino (1968)].Rule 18.03. A the client’s cause, a lawyer should present every
lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter remedy or defense authorized by law in support
entrusted to him, and his negligence in of his client’s cause regardless of his personal
connection therewith shall render him liable. views [Legarda v. CA (1991)].
If by reason of the lawyer’s negligence, actual USE OF FAIR & HONEST MEANS
loss has been caused to his client, the latter has
a cause of action against him for damages. Rule 19.01. A lawyer shall employ only fair and
However, for the lawyer to be held liable, his honest means to attain the lawful objectives of
failure to exercise reasonable care, skill and his client and shall not present, participate in
diligence must be proximate cause of the loss presenting or threaten to present unfounded
(Callanta). criminal charges to obtain an improper
advantage in any case or proceeding.
Every case a lawyer accepts deserves his full
attention, diligence, skill and competence, Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 20(d). It is the duty
regardless of its importance or whether he of an attorney to employ for the purpose of
accepts for a fee or free. By agreeing to be maintaining the causes confided to him such
someone’s counsel, he represents that he will means only as are consistent with truth and
exercise ordinary diligence or that reasonable honor and never seek to mislead the judge or
degree of care and skill demanded of the any judicial officer by an artifice or false
business he undertakes to do, to protect the statement of fact or law.
client’s interests and take all steps or do all acts
necessary thereof [Uy v. Tansinin (2009)]. Thus, a lawyer should not file or threaten to file
any unfounded or baseless criminal case or
A client is entitled to the benefit of any and cases against the adversaries of his client
every remedy and defense authorized by law, designed to secure a leverage to compel
and is expected to rely on the lawyer to assert adversaries to yield or withdraw their own cases
every such remedy or defense [Garcia v. Bala against the lawyer’s client [Pena v Aparicio
(2005)]. (2007)].
Rule 18.04. A lawyer shall keep the client Rule 19.02. A lawyer who has received
informed of the status of his case and shall information that his client has, in the course of
respond within a reasonable period of time to the representation, perpetrated a fraud upon a
client’s request for information. person or tribunal, shall promptly call upon the
client to rectify the same, and failing which he
It was unnecessary to have the clients wait, and shall terminate the relationship with such client
hope, for six long years on their pension claims. in accordance with the Rules of Court.
Upon their refusal to cooperate, the lawyer
should have forthwith terminated their This rule merely requires the lawyer to
professional relationship instead of keeping terminate his relationship with the client in the
them hanging indefinitely [Blanza v. Arcangel event the latter fails or refuses to rectify the
(1967)]. fraud [Agpalo].


PROCEDURE IN HANDLING THE CASE A written contract for services shall control the
Rule 19.03. A lawyer shall not allow his client to amount to be paid therefore unless found by the
dictate the procedure on handling the case. court to be unconscionable or unreasonable.

The broad implied or apparent powers of an A lawyer cannot recover the full amount
attorney with respect to the conduct or control stipulated in the written contract:
of litigation are, however, limited to matters (1) When the services were not performed, and
which relate only to the procedure or remedy. the lawyer withdrew before the case was
finished, he will be allowed only reasonable
The employment of itself confers upon the fees;
attorney no implied power or authority over the (2) When there is justified dismissal of an
subject matter of the cause of action or defense; attorney, the contract will be nullified and
and, unless the attorney has expressly been payment will be on quantum meruit basis
granted authority with respect thereto, the (3) When the stipulated fees are unconscionable
power to deal with or surrender these matters is or unreasonable;
regarded as remaining exclusively in the client. (4) When the stipulated fees are in excess of
what is expressly provided by law;
The line of demarcation between the respective (5) When the lawyer is guilty of fraud or bad
rights and powers of an attorney and his client faith in the manner of his employment;
is clearly defined. The cause of action, the claim (6) When the counsel’s services are worthless
or demand sued upon, and the subject matter because of negligence;
of the litigation are all within the exclusive (7) When the contract is contrary to laws,
control of a client, and an attorney may not morals, and good policies.
impair, compromise, settle, surrender, or
destroy them without his client's consent. The mere fact that an agreement had been
reached between attorney and client fixing the
But all the proceedings in court to enforce the amount of the attorney’s fees, does not insulate
remedy, to bring the claim, demand, cause of such agreement from review and modification
action, or subject matter of the suit to hearing, by the Court where the fees clearly appear to be
trial, determination, judgment, and execution, excessive or unreasonable [Tanhueco v. De
are within the exclusive control of the attorney Dumo (1989)].
[Belandres v. Lopez Sugar Central Mill (1955)].
In the absence of an express contract, payment
ATTORNEY’S FEES of attorney’s fees may be justified by virtue of
Canon 20. A lawyer shall charge only fair and the innominate contract of facio ut des (I do and
reasonable fees. you give) which is based on the principle that
“no one shall enrich himself at the expense of
another” [Corpuz v. CA (1980)].
An attorney is entitled to have and recover from
his client no more than a reasonable The counsel, if worthy of his hire, is entitled to
compensation for his services with a view to: be fully recompensed for his services. With his
(1) The importance of the subject matter of the capital consisting solely of his brains and his
controversy; skill, acquired at tremendous cost not only in
(2) The extent of the services rendered; and money but in the expenditure of time and
(3) The professional standing of the attorney. energy, he is entitled to the protection of any
judicial tribunal against any attempt on the part
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 24. No court shall of a client to escape payment of his fees.
be bound by the opinion of attorneys as expert [Albano v. Coloma (1967)].
witnesses as to the proper compensation but
may disregard such testimony and base its
conclusion on its own professional knowledge.


(2) When although there is a formal contract of

Rule 20.01. A lawyer shall be guided by the attorney’s fees, the stipulated fees are found
following factors in determining his fees: unconscionable or unreasonable by the
(a) The time spent and the extent of the services court;
rendered or required; (3) When the contract for attorney’s fees is void
(b) The novelty and difficulty of the questions due to purely formal matters or defects of
involved; execution;
(c) The importance of the subject matter; (4) When the counsel, for justifiable cause, was
(d) The skill demanded; not able to finish the case to its conclusion;
(e) The probability of losing other employment (5) When lawyer and client disregard the
as a result of acceptance of the proffered contract of attorney’s fees;
case; (6) When there is a contract but no stipulation
(f) The customary charges for similar services as to attorney’s fees;
and the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter
to which he belongs; Guideline in determining attorney’s fees in
(g) The amount involved in the controversy and quantum meruit basis:
the benefits resulting to the client from the (1) Time spent and extent of the services
service; rendered. A lawyer is justified in fixing higher
(h) The contingency or certainty of fees when the case is so complicated and
compensation; requires more time and efforts to finish it.
(i) The character of the employment, whether (2) Importance of subject matter. The more
occasional or established; and important the subject matter or the bigger
(j) The professional standing of the lawyer. value of the interest or property in litigation,
the higher is the attorney’s fee.
An attorney may be paid in any of the following (3) Novelty and difficulty of questions involved.
manner: When the questions in a case are novel and
(1) A fixed or absolute fee which is payable difficult, greater efforts, deeper study and
regardless of the result of the case; research, are bound to burn the lawyer’s time
(2) A contingent fee that is conditioned to the and stamina considering that there are no
securing of a favorable judgment and local precedents to rely upon.
recovery of money or property and the (4) Skill demanded of the lawyer. The totality of
amount of which may be on a percentage the lawyer’s experience provides him the skill
basis; and competence admired in lawyers.
(3) A fixed fee payable per appearance;
(4) A fixed fee computed by the number of hours The above rules apply in the case of a counsel
spent; de parte. In the case of a counsel de oficio, the
(5) A fixed fee based on a piece of work; counsel may not demand from the accused
(6) A combination of any of the above stipulated attorney’s fees even if he wins the case.
fees. However, subject to availability of funds, the
court may, in its discretion, order an attorney
Quantum meruit employed as counsel de oficio to be
“as much as a lawyer deserves.” Its essential compensated in such sum as the court may fix.
requisite is acceptance of the benefits by one
sought to be charged for services rendered Criteria of the court in fixing the amount:
under circumstances as reasonably to notify him (1) The importance of the subject matter of the
that lawyer expects compensation. controversy;
(2) The extent of the services rendered; and
It is authorized in the following instances: (3) The professional standing of the attorney.
(1) There is no express contract for attorney’s
fees agreed upon between the lawyer and
the client;



Acceptance of money from a client establishes Retaining lien
an attorney-client relationship and gives rise to An attorney shall have a lien upon the funds,
the duty of fidelity to the client’s cause. The documents and papers of his client which have
canons of the legal profession require that once lawfully come into his possession. Thus:
an attorney agrees to handle a case, he should (1) He may retain the same until his lawful fees
undertake the task with zeal, care and utmost and disbursements have been paid; and
devotion. [Emiliano Court Townhouses (2) May apply such funds to the satisfaction
Homeowners Association v. Dioneda (2003)] thereof (Section 37, Rule 138).

Failure to render the legal services agreed upon, Requisites:

despite receipt of an acceptance fee, is a clear (1) Attorney-client relationship;
violation of the Code of Professional (2) Lawful possession by lawyer of the client’s
Responsibility [Macarulay v. Seriña (2005)]. funds, documents and papers in his
professional capacity;
CONTINGENCY FEE ARRANGEMENTS (3) Unsatisfied claim for attorney’s fees or
Distinction between CHAPERTOUS &
CONTINGENT contracts: Charging lien
Champertous contract Contigent contract He shall also have a lien to the same extent
upon all judgments for the payment of money,
The lawyer stipulates the lawyer’s fee, and executions issued in pursuance of such
with his client that he usually a fixed judgments, which he has secured in a litigation
will bear all the percentage of what of his client. This lien exists from and after the
expenses for the may be recovered in time when he shall have caused:
prosecution of the the action, is made to (1) A statement of his claim of such lien to be
case, the recovery of depend upon the entered upon the records of the court
things or property success in the effort to rendering such judgment, or issuing such
being claimed, and enforce or defend the execution; and
the latter pays only client’s right. The (2) Written notice thereof to be delivered to his
upon successful lawyer does not client and to the adverse party.
litigation. undertake to shoulder
the expenses of From then on, he shall have the same right and
litigation. power over such judgments and executions as
This contract is void It is a valid agreement his client would have to enforce his lien and
for being against secure the payment of his just fees and
public policy disbursements (Section 37, Rule 138).

Rule 20.02. A lawyer shall, in cases of referral, Requisites:

with the consent of the client, be entitled to a (1) Attorney-client relationship;
division of fees in proportion to work performed (2) The attorney has rendered services;
and responsibility assumed. (3) A money judgment favorable to the client
has been secured in the action;
(4) The attorney has a claim for attorney’s fees
Rule 20.03. A lawyer shall not, without the full or advances statement of his claim has been
knowledge and consent of the client, accept any duly recorded in the case with notice thereof
fee, reward, costs, commission, interest, rebate served upon the client and adverse party.
or forwarding allowance or other compensation
whatsoever related to his professional
employment from anyone other than the client.


Retaining lien Charging lien Judicial actions to recover attorney’s fees:

(1) An appropriate motion or petition as an
Nature incident in the main action where he
Passive lien. It cannot be Active lien. It can be rendered legal services;
actively enforced. It is a enforced by (2) A separate civil action for collection of
general lien. execution. It is a attorney’s fees.
special lien.
Basis Suits to collect fees should be avoided and only
when the circumstances imperatively require
Lawful possession of Securing of a should a lawyer resort to lawsuit to enforce
funds, papers, favorable money payment of fees. This is but a logical
documents, property judgment for client consequence of the legal profession not
belonging to client primarily being for economic compensation
Coverage [Agpalo].
Covers only funds, Covers all
papers, documents, and judgments for the
Ordinary concept
property in the lawful payment of money
An attorney’s fee is the reasonable
possession of the and executions
compensation paid to a lawyer for the legal
attorney by reason of his issued in pursuance
services he has rendered to a client. Its basis of
professional of such judgment
this compensation is the fact of employment by
the client.
As soon as the lawyer As soon as the claim Extraordinary concept
gets possession of the for attorney’s fees An attorney’s fee is an indemnity for damages
funds, papers, had been entered ordered by the court to be paid by the losing
documents, property into the records of party to the prevailing party in a litigation. The
the case basis of this is any of the cases authorized by
law and is payable not to the lawyer but to the
Notice client – unless they have agreed that the award
Client need not be Client and adverse shall pertain to the lawyer as additional
notified to make it party need to compensation or as part thereof [Traders Royal
effective notified to make it Bank Employees Union-Independent v. NLRC
effective (1997)].
May be exercised before Generally, it is Canon 21. A lawyer shall preserve the confidence
judgment or execution, exercisable only and secrets of his client even after the attorney-
or regardless thereof when the attorney client relation is terminated.
had already secured
a favorable
judgment for his Ratio: This duty exists:
client (1) Because unless the client knows that his
attorney cannot be compelled to reveal what
is told to him, he will suppress what he
FEES AND CONTROVERSIES WITH CLIENTS thinks to be unfavorable and the advice
Rule 20.04. A lawyer shall avoid controversies which follows will be useless if not
with clients concerning his compensation and misleading;
shall resort to judicial action only to prevent (2) To encourage a client to make full disclosure
imposition, injustice or fraud. to his attorney and to place unrestricted
confidence in him in matters affecting his
rights or obligations.


Related Statues Rule 21.03. A lawyer shall not, without the

Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 20(3). It is the duty written consent of his client, give information
of an attorney to maintain inviolate the from his files to an outside agency seeking such
confidence, and at every peril to himself to information for auditing, statistical,
preserve, the secrets of his client and to accept bookkeeping, accounting, data processing, or
no compensation in connection with his client’s any similar purpose.
business except from him or with his knowledge
and approval. The work and product of a lawyer, such as his
effort, research, and thought, and the records of
Rules of Court, Rule 130, Sec. 21(b). An attorney his client, contained in his files are privileged
cannot, without the consent of his client, be matters.
examined as to any communication made by
the client to him or his advice given thereon in Neither the lawyer nor, after his death, his heir,
the course of professional employment; nor can or legal representative may properly disclose
an attorney’s secretary stenographer or clerk be the contents of such file cabinet without client’s
examined without the consent of the client and consent.
his employer concerning any fact the knowledge
of which has been acquired in such capacity. Rule 21.05. A lawyer shall adopt such measures
as may be required to prevent those whose
Revised Penal Code, Art. 209. Criminal liability is services are utilized by him from disclosing or
imposed upon any lawyer who, by any malicious using confidences or secrets of the client.
breach of professional duty or of inexcusable
negligence or ignorance, reveals any of the Professional employment of a law firm is
secrets of the latter learned by him in his equivalent to retainer of the members thereof
professional capacity. The same liability is even though only one partner is consulted.
imposed upon a lawyer who, having undertaken When one partner tells another about the
the defense of a client or having received details of the case, it is not considered as
confidential information from said client in a disclosure to third persons because members of
case, undertakes the defense of the opposing a law firm are considered as one entity.
party in the same case, without the consent of The client’s secrets which clerical aids of lawyers
his first client. learn of in the performance of their services are
covered by privileged communication. It is the
duty of lawyer to ensure that this is being
followed (e.g., execution of confidentiality
Rule 21.02. A lawyer shall not, to the agreements).
disadvantage of his client, use information The prohibition against a lawyer from divulging
acquired in the course of employment, nor shall the confidences and secrets of his clients will
he use the same to his own advantage or that of become futile exercise if his clerical aids are
a third person, unless the client with full given liberty to do what is prohibited of the
knowledge of the circumstances consents lawyer.
Rule 21.06. A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet
A lawyer must have the fullest confidence of his conversation about a client’s affairs even with
client. If confidence is abused, as by the use by members of his family.
the lawyer of the client’s secrets against his
client, the profession will suffer by the loss
thereof [Maturan v. Gonzales (1998)].


A lawyer must not only preserve the confidences WITHDRAWAL OF SERVICES

and secrets of his clients in his law office but Canon 22. A lawyer shall withdraw his services
also outside including his home. He should only for good cause and upon notice
avoid committing calculated indiscretion, that appropriate in the circumstances.
is, accidental revelation of secrets obtained in
his professional employment. Reckless or Causes of termination of attorney-client
imprudent disclosure of the affairs of his clients relationship:
may jeopardize them. Not every member of the (1) Withdrawal of the lawyer;
lawyer’s family has the proper orientation and (2) Death of the lawyer;
training for keeping client’s confidences and (3) Disbarment or suspension of the lawyer from
secrets. the practice of law;
(4) Declaration of presumptive death of the
Rule 21.07. A lawyer shall not reveal that he has lawyer;
been consulted about a particular case except (5) Conviction of a crime and imprisonment of
to avoid possible conflict of interest. the lawyer;
(6) Discharge or dismissal of the lawyer by the
This rule clarifies that privilege communication client;
applies even to prospective clients. (7) Appointment or election of a lawyer to a
government position which prohibits private
The disclosure and the lawyer’s opinion thereon practice of law;
create an attorney-client relationship, even (8) Death of the client;
though the lawyer does not eventually accept (9) Intervening incapacity or incompetence of
the employment or the prospective client did the client during pendency of case;
not thereafter actually engage the lawyer. By (10) Full termination of the case.
the consultation, the lawyer already learned of
the secrets of prospective client. It is not fair if General rule: The client has the right to
he will not be bound by the rule on privileged terminate at any time with or without just cause.
communication in respect of matters disclosed
to him by a prospective client. This rule, of Limitations:
course, is subject to exception of representation (1) The client cannot deprive his counsel of right
of conflicting interests. to be paid services if the dismissal is without
In relation to conflict of interest, the lawyer (2) The client cannot discharge his counsel as an
should ascertain as soon as practicable whether excuse to secure repeated extensions of
the matter would involve a conflict of interest time.
with his other client or with his own. (3) Notice of discharge is required for both the
court and the adverse party.
Rule 21.01. A lawyer shall not reveal the Rule 22.01. A lawyer may withdraw his services
confidences or secrets of his client except: in any of the following cases:
(a) When authorized by the client after (a) When the client pursues an illegal or
acquainting him of the consequences of the immoral course of conduct in connection
disclosure; with the matter he is handling;
(b) When required by law; (b) When the client insists that the lawyer
(c) When necessary to collect his fees or to pursue conduct violative of these canons and
defend himself, his employees or associates rules;
or by judicial action. (c) When his inability to work with co-counsel
will not promote the best interest of the
Rule 21.04. A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client;
client of the firm to partners or associates
thereof unless prohibited by the client.


(d) When the mental or physical condition of the

lawyer renders it difficult for him to carry out Suspension, Disbarment &
the employment effectively;
(e) When the client deliberately fails to pay the
Discipline of Lawyers
fees for the services or fails to comply with
the retainer agreement; NATURE & CHARACTERISTICS
(f) When the lawyer is elected or appointed to
public office; and OF DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
(g) Other similar cases. AGAINST LAWYERS
Although a lawyer may withdraw his services SUI GENERIS
when the client deliberately fails to pay the fees NEITHER PURELY CIVIL NOR PURELY
for the services, withdrawal is unjustified if client CRIMINAL
did not deliberately fail to pay [Montano v. IBP (1) Disciplinary proceedings are sui generis.
(2001)] (2) They are neither purely civil nor purely
criminal. They are not intended to inflict
Rule 22.02. A lawyer who withdraws or is punishment.
discharged shall, subject to a retainer lien, (3) They do not involve a trial of an action or a
immediately turn over all papers and property suit, but is rather an investigation by the
to which the client is entitled, and shall Court into the conduct of its officers. There is
cooperate with his successor in the orderly neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor.
transfer of the matter, including all information (4) They may be initiated by the Court motu
necessary for the proper handling of the matter. proprio. The Court merely calls upon a
member of the Bar to account for his
The following must be complied with for actuations as an officer of the Court with the
substitution of counsel: end in view of preserving the purity of the
(1) Written request for substitution legal profession and the proper and honest
(2) Written consent of client administration of justice in the exercise of its
(3) Written consent of the attorney to be disciplinary powers.
substituted or in the absence, proof of (5) Public interest is the primary objective, and
service of notice of said motion to the the real question for determination is
attorney to be substituted whether or not the attorney is still a fit
person to be allowed the privileges as such
At the discretion of the court, a lawyer, who has [In Re: Almacen (1970), Itong v. Florenido
been dismissed by a client, is allowed to (2011)].
intervene in a case in order to protect the
client’s rights [Obando v. Figueras (2000)]. CONFIDENTIAL
Rules of Court, Rule 139-B, Sec. 18. Proceedings
against attorneys shall be private and
confidential. However, the final order of the
Supreme Court shall be published like its
decisions in other cases.

(1) To enable the Court to make its
investigations free from any extraneous
influence or interference;
(2) To protect the personal and professional
reputation of attorneys and judges from the
baseless charges of disgruntled, vindictive,
and irresponsible clients and litigants;


(3) To deter the press from publishing (2) Investigation is not interrupted or terminated
administrative cases or portions thereof by reason of the desistance, settlement,
without authority [Saludo, Jr. v. CA (2006)]. compromise, restitution, withdrawal of the
charges, or failure of the complainant to
Malicious and unauthorized publication or prosecute the same [Section 5, Rule 139-B].
verbatim reproduction of administrative (3) Laws dealing with double jeopardy or
complaints against lawyers in newspapers by prescription or with procedure like
editors and/or reporters may be actionable. It verification of pleadings and prejudicial
constitutes contempt of court, punishable by questions have no application to disbarment
either a fine or imprisonment or both at the proceedings [Pimentel, Jr. v. Llorente (2000)].
discretion of the Court [Saludo, Jr. v. CA (2006)]. (4) The proceedings are distinct from and
proceeds independently of civil or criminal
In Fortun v. Quinsayas (2013), where the cases. Thus, whatever has been decided in
disbarment cases against Atty. Fortun in the disbarment case cannot be a source of
relation to the Maguindanao Massacre were right that may be enforced in another action.
publicized, the Court held that, since the filing At best, such judgment may only be given
of the disbarment complaint was itself a matter weight when introduced as evidence, but in
of public concern, arising from a very high- no case does it bind the court in the civil
profile case, such that public focus is on the action [Esquivas v. CA (1997)].
event, not on the lawyer himself, the media had (5) The disbarment proceeding does not violate
a right to publish such fact pursuant to the the due process clause. The proceeding
freedom of the press. itself, when instituted in proper cases, is due
process of law [In Re: Montagne (1904)].
The rule is thus restated: In the absence of a (6) In a disbarment proceeding, it is immaterial
legitimate public interest in a disbarment that the complainant is in pari delicto
complaint, members of the media must because the proceeding is not to grant relief
preserve the confidentiality of disbarment to the complainant, but to purge the law
proceedings during its pendency. profession of unworthy members, to protect
the public and the courts [Mortel v. Aspiras
In Villalon v. IAC (1986), testimonies in the (1956)].
disbarment case were presented by the (7) The rule in criminal cases that the penalty
respondent lawyer in said case to impeach the cannot be imposed in the alternative applies
testimonies of witnesses in a civil case. It was in administrative disciplinary cases, which
held that confidentiality “is a privilege/right also involve punitive sanctions [Navarro v.
which may be waived by the very lawyer in whom Meneses III (1998)].
and for the protection of whose personal and (8) Monetary claims cannot be granted except
professional reputation it is vested, pursuant to restitution and return of monies and
the general principle that rights may be waived properties of the client given in the course of
unless the waiver is contrary to public policy, the lawyer-client relationship
among others.” Note that the waiver was made
ex post facto. PRESCRIPTION
Calo v. Degamo (1967), citing American
OTHER CHARACTERISTICS Jurisprudence, stated that the ordinary statutes
(1) Proceedings may be taken by the Supreme of limitation have no application to disbarment
Court motu proprio, and the IBP Board of proceedings, nor does the circumstance that the
Governors may also motu proprio initiate and facts set up as a ground for disbarment
prosecute proper charges against erring constitute a crime, prosecution for which in a
attorneys [Section 1, Rule 139-B]. criminal proceeding is barred by limitation,
affect the disbarment proceedings.


Thus, in Frias v. Bautista-Lozada (2006), Section Gross misconduct

1, Rule VIII of the Rules of Procedure of the Any inexcusable, shameful or flagrant unlawful
Commission on Bar Discipline, which provided conduct on the part of a person concerned in
for a prescription period of two (2) years from the administration of justice which is prejudicial
the date of the professional misconduct, was to the rights of the parties or to the right
struck down for being ultra vires. determination of the cause. Such conduct is
generally motivated by a premeditated,
In Isenhardt v. Real (2012), however, the said obstinate or intentional purpose [Yap v.
prescriptive period was still construed to run Inopiquez, Jr. (2003)].
from the discovery of the misconduct.
GROUNDS Conduct that shows indifference to the moral
Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 27. A member of norms of society and the opinion of good and
the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his respectable members of the community. The
office as attorney by the Supreme Court: conduct must be “grossly immoral” (i.e., so
(1) For any deceit, malpractice or other gross corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act
misconduct in such office; or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a
(2) For grossly immoral conduct; high degree) to warrant disciplinary action [Ui v.
(3) By reason of his conviction of a crime Bonifacio (2000)].
involving moral turpitude;
(4) For any violation of the oath which he is Moral turpitude
required to take before admission to Involves an act of baseness, vileness, or
practice; depravity in the private duties which a man
(5) For willful disobedience of any lawful order owes to his fellow men, or to society in general,
of a superior court; contrary to the accepted and customary rule of
(6) For corruptly or willfully appearing as an right and duty between man and woman, or
attorney for a party to a case without conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or
authority so to do. good morals [Barrios v. Martinez (2004)]. Section
27, Rule 138 requires conviction of the crime.
False representation of a matter of fact whether Other statutory grounds
by words or conduct, by false or misleading (1) Purchase by a lawyer of his client’s property
allegations, or by concealment of that which in litigation [Article 1491, Civil Code]
should have been disclosed which deceives or is constitutes a breach of professional ethics
intended to deceive another so that he shall act for which a disciplinary action may be
upon it to his legal injury [Alcantara v. CA brought against him [Bautista v. Gonzales
(2003)]. (1990)].
(2) Under Article 209, Revised Penal Code,
Malpractice administrative and criminal sanctions may
Refers to any malfeasance or dereliction of duty be imposed upon any attorney-at-law or
committed by a lawyer [Tan Tek Beng v. David solicitor who:
(1983)]. (a) By malicious breach of professional duty
or of inexcusable negligence or
Section 27, Rule 138 states that the practice of ignorance, shall prejudice his client, or
soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, reveal any of the secrets of the latter
either personally or through paid agents or learned by him in his professional
brokers, constitutes malpractice. capacity; or


(b) Having undertaken the defense of a client (2) The IBP upon the verified complaint of any
or having received confidential person (1st par., Section 1, Rule 139-B).
information from said client in a case,
shall undertake the defense of the (3) The complaint shall:
opposing party in the same case, without (4) Be verified;
the consent of his first client. (5) State clearly and concisely the facts
complained of;
The enumeration of the statutory grounds for (6) Be supported by affidavits of persons having
disciplinary action is not exclusive and a lawyer personal knowledge of the facts therein
may be disciplined on grounds other than those alleged and/or by such documents as may
specifically provided in the law [Marcelo v. Javier substantiate said facts;
(1992)]. (7) Be filed in six copies; and
(8) Be filed with the Secretary of the IBP or the
The enumeration is not to be taken as a Secretary of any of its chapters who shall
limitation to the general power of courts to forthwith transmit the same to the IBP Board
suspend or disbar a lawyer. The inherent powers of Governors for assignment to an
of the court over its officers cannot be restricted investigator (1st and 3nd pars., Section 1, Rule
[Quingwa v. Puno (1967)]. 139-B).

MISCONDUCT IN PRIVATE CAPACITY The IBP Board of Governors may initiate and
General rule: a lawyer may not be suspended or prosecute proper charges against any erring
disbarred, and the court may not ordinarily attorneys including the government service:
assume jurisdiction to discipline him for (1) Motu proprio;
misconduct in his non-professional or private (2) Upon referral by the Supreme Court;
capacity. (3) Upon referral by a Chapter Board of Officers;
Exception: where the misconduct outside of the (4) At the instance of any person (2nd par.,
lawyer's professional dealings is so gross a Section 1, Rule 139-B).
character as to show him morally unfit for the
office and unworthy of the privilege which his All charges against the following shall be filed
licenses and the law confer on him, the court with the Supreme Court:
may be justified in suspending or removing him (1) Justices of the Court of Appeals;
from the office of attorney [Co v. Bernardino (2) Justices of the Sandiganbayan;
(1998)]. (3) Judges of the Court of Tax Appeals; and
(4) Judges of lower courts (2nd par., Section 1,
A lawyer may be disbarred for Charges filed against justices and judges before
misrepresentation of or false pretense relative the IBP shall immediately be forwarded to the
to the requirements for admission to practice. Supreme Court for disposition and adjudication,
Thus, the fact that a lawyer lacked any of the including those filed prior to their appointment
qualifications for membership at the time he in the Judiciary (2nd par., Section 1, Rule 139-B).
took his oath is a ground for his disbarment
[Agpalo]; see In Re: Diao (1963) and Lim v. PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE IBP
Antonio (1971)). (1) The complaint will be referred by the IBP
Board of Governors to the National
PROCEEDINGS Grievance Investigators (Section 3, Rule 139-
Proceedings for disbarment, suspension or
discipline of attorneys may be taken by:
(1) The Supreme Court motu proprio; or


(2) If the complaint appears to be meritorious, (8) The complainant may appeal to the
the investigator shall direct that a copy Supreme Court within 15 days from notice of
thereof be served upon the respondent the decision of the Board of Governors
requiring him to answer within 15 days from (Section 12, Rule 139-B).
service. If the complaint is unmeritorious, or
if the answer of the respondent shows that it PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE SUPREME
is not meritorious, he shall recommend to COURT
the Board of Governors that the same be (1) In proceedings initiated motu proprio by the
dismissed. A copy of the resolution of Supreme Court or in other proceedings when
dismissal shall be furnished to the the interest of justice so requires, the
complainant and the Supreme Court, which Supreme Court may refer the case for
may review the case: investigation to:
(a) Motu proprio; or (a) The Solicitor General;
(b) Upon appeal of the complainant within (b) Any officer of the Supreme Court;
15 days from notice of the dismissal (c) Judge of a lower court (Section 13, Rule
(Section 5, Rule 139-B). 139-B).
(3) The IBP shall appoint a counsel to assist the (2) The appointed investigator shall then
complainant or the respondent (Section 7, proceed with the investigation as if the
Rule 139-B). proceedings were before the IBP, save that
(4) Upon joinder of issues or failure of the the review of the report of the investigator
respondent to answer, the investigation shall will be conducted directly by the Supreme
proceed with deliberate speed. If the Court Sections 13 and 14, Rule 139-B.
respondent fails to appear, the investigation
shall proceed ex parte. The investigation will COMMON PROVISIONS
terminate within three months, unless (1) After receipt of respondent’s answer or the
extended for good cause by the Board of lapse of the period therefor, and during the
Governors upon prior application (Section 8, pendency of the investigation until lifted,
Rule 139-B). the Supreme Court may suspend an
(5) The investigator shall make a report, within attorney:
30 days from the termination of the (a) Motu proprio; or
investigation, to the Board of Governors, (b) At the instance of the Board of
containing his findings of facts and Governors upon the recommendation of
recommendations, transcripts and evidence the investigator (Section 16, Rule 139-B).
(Section 10, Rule 139-B). (2) The Court of Appeals or the Regional Trial
(6) The Board of Governors will review the Court may suspend an attorney from
decision of the investigator, and shall practice for any of the causes in Section 37,
promulgate its decision within a period not Rule 138, until further action by the Supreme
exceeding 30 days from the next meeting of Court (Section 16, Rule 139-B).
the Board of Governors following the (3) Upon such suspension by the Court of
submission of the report (Section 12, Rule Appeals or the Regional Trial Court, a
139-B). certified copy of the order of suspension and
(7) If the Board of Governors determines that a full statement of the factual basis thereof
the responded should be suspended or shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court,
disbarred, it shall issue a resolution setting which, upon investigation, may revoke,
forth its findings and recommendations, and shorten, or extend such suspension, or disbar
transmit the same, with the whole record of the attorney (Section 17, Rule 139-B).
the case, to the Supreme Court. If the
respondent is exonerated, or the disciplinary
action less than suspension or disbarment, it
shall issue a decision exonerating
respondent or imposing such sanction
(Section 12, Rule 139-B).


DISCIPLINE OF FILIPINO LAWYERS In several cases involving errant judges, res ipsa
PRACTICING ABROAD loquitor was applied, where there was on the
As amended by Supreme Court Resolution dated face of their assailed decisions, an inexplicable
February 13, 1992, Section 27, Rule 138, provides, grave error bereft of any redeeming feature, a
in addition to the enumeration of the grounds patent railroading of a case to bring about an
for administrative sanction, thus: unjust decision, or a manifestly deliberate intent
“The disbarment or suspension of a member of to wreak an injustice against a hapless party.
the Philippine Bar by a competent court or other The facts themselves, previously proven or
disciplinary agency in a foreign jurisdiction admitted, were of such a character as to give
where he has also been admitted as an attorney rise to a strong inference that evil intent was
is a ground for his disbarment or suspension if present. Such intent, in short, was clearly
the basis of such action includes any of the acts deducible from what was already of record [In
hereinabove enumerated. Re: Dizon (1989)].

“The judgment, resolution or order of the DISCIPLINARY MEASURES

foreign court or disciplinary agency shall be (1) Warning, an act or fact of putting one on his
prima facie evidence of the ground for guard against an impending danger, evil
disbarment or suspension.” consequences or penalties.
(2) Admonition, a gentle or friendly reproof, mild
rebuke, warning or reminder, counseling, on
DISCIPLINE OF LAWYERS IN a fault, error or oversight; an expression of
GOVERNMENT authoritative advice.
A lawyer who holds a government office may (3) Reprimand, a public and formal censure or
not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for severe reproof, administered to a person in
misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a fault by his superior officer or a body to
government official. However, if that which he be-longs. It is imposed on a minor
misconduct as a government official is of such a infraction of the lawyer’s duty to the court or
character as to affect his qualification as a client
lawyer or to show moral delinquency, then he (4) Suspension, a temporary withholding of a
may be disciplined as a member of the bar on lawyer’s right to practice his profession as a
such ground [Gonzales-Austria v. Abaya (1989)]. lawyer for:
(a) A definite period; or
QUANTUM OF PROOF (b) An indefinite period, which amounts to
The serious consequences of disbarment or qualified disbarment, in which case,
suspension should follow only where there is a lawyer determines for himself for how
clear preponderance of evidence against the long or how short his suspension shall
respondent. The presumption is that the last by proving to court that he is once
attorney is innocent of the charges preferred again fit to resume practice of law.
and has performed his duty as an officer of the (5) Censure, an official reprimand.
court in accordance with his oath. [In Re: Tionko (6) Disbarment, the act of the Philippine
(1922)]. Supreme Court in withdrawing from an
attorney the privilege to practice law and
When the evidence of the parties are evenly striking out the name of the lawyer from the
balanced or there is doubt on which side the roll of attorneys.
evidence preponderates, the decision should be (7) Interim suspension, the temporary
against the party with the burden of proof, suspension of a lawyer from the practice of
according to the equipoise doctrine [Siao Aba v. law pending imposition of final discipline. It
De Guzman (2011)]. includes:
(a) Suspension upon conviction of a serious


(b) Suspension when the lawyer’s continuing (g) Ready admission of the infraction
conduct is likely to cause immediate and coupled with explanation and plea for
serious injury to a client or public. forgiveness;
(8) Probation, a sanction that allows a lawyer to (h) Clean record of professional service in
practice law under specified conditions. the past;
(i) Rendered professional services out of
Other sanctions and remedies include: pure generosity;
(1) Restitution; (j) Punished in another capacity for a
(2) Assessment of costs; misconduct for which he now faces a
(3) Limitation upon practice; disbarment proceeding;
(4) Appointment of a receiver; (k) Old Age & long membership (may also
(5) Requirement that a lawyer take the bar be an aggravation de-pending on the
examination or professional responsibility circumstance);
(6) Requirement that a lawyer attend continuing Aggravating Circumstances:
education courses; (1) Prior disciplinary offenses;
(7) Other requirements that the Supreme (2) Dishonest or selfish motive;
Court or disciplinary board deems consistent (3) A pattern of misconduct;
with the purposes of sanctions. (4) Multiple offenses;
(5) Bad faith obstruction of the disciplinary
The disciplinary measure imposed may vary proceeding by intentionally failing to
depending on the modifying circumstance comply with rules or orders of the
present. disciplinary agency;
(6) Submission of false evidence, false
Mitigating Circumstance: statements, or other deceptive practices
(1) Absence of a prior disciplinary record; during the disciplinary process;
(2) Absence of a dishonest or selfish motive; (7) Refusal to acknowledge wrongful nature of
(3) Personal or emotional problems; conduct;
(4) Timely good faith effort to make restitution (8) Vulnerability of victim;
or to rectify consequences of misconduct; (9) Substantial experience in the practice of
(5) Full and free disclosure to disciplinary law;
board or cooperative attitude toward (10) Indifference to making restitution. (IBP
proceedings; Guidelines 9.22)
(6) Inexperience in the practice of law; (11) Others:
(7) Character or reputation; (a) Abuse of authority or of attorney-client
(8) Physical or mental disability or impairment; relationship;
(9) Delay in disciplinary proceedings; (b) Sexual intercourse with a relative;
(10) Interim rehabilitation; (c) Making the institution of marriage a
(11) Imposition of other penalties or sanctions; mockery;
(12) Remorse; (d) Charge of gross immorality;
(13) Remoteness of prior offenses; (e) Previous punishment as member of the
(14) Others: bar;
(a) Good Faith; (f) Defraud upon the government;
(b) Want of intention to commit a wrong; (g) Use of knowledge or information,
(c) Lack of material damage to the acquired in the course of a previous
complaining witness; professional employment, against a
(d) Desistance of complainant; former client.
(e) Error in judgment;
(f) Honest and efficient service in various EFFECT OF EXECUTIVE PARDON
government positions; (1) If the pardon is conditional, the disbarment
case will not be dismissed on the basis


(2) If the pardon is absolute and granted before (3) His conduct subsequent to disbarment [Cui
conviction, the disbarment case will be v. Cui 1964];
dismissed. Absolute pardon by the President (4) His efficient government service [In re:
wipes out conviction as well as offense itself Adriatico (1910)];
and the grant thereof in favor of a lawyer is a (5) The time that has elapsed between
bar to a proceeding for disbarment against disbarment and the application for
him based solely on commission of such reinstatement and the circumstances that he
offense. has been sufficiently punished and
(3) If the pardon is absolute but granted after disciplined [Prudential Bank v. Benjamin
conviction, it does not automatically entitle Grecia (1986)];
him to reinstatement to the bar. It must be (6) Applicant’s appreciation of significance of his
shown by evidence aside from absolute dereliction and his assurance that he now
pardon that he is now a person of good possesses the requisite probity and integrity;
moral character and fit and proper person to (7) Favorable endorsement of the IBP and local
practice law. government officials and citizens of his
community, pleas of his loved ones [Yap Tan
v. Sabandal (1989)];
Readmission to the Bar Guidelines in resolving requests for judicial
clemency of disbarred lawyers:
LAWYERS WHO HAVE BEEN (1) There must be proof of remorse and
SUSPENDED reformation. These include testimonials of
Guidelines in considering the lifting on an order credible institutions and personalities;
of suspension: (2) Sufficient time must have lapsed from the
(1) Upon expiration of the period of suspension, imposition of the penalty to ensure a period
respondent shall file a sworn statement with of reformation;
the court, through the Office of the Bar (3) The age of the person asking for clemency
Confidant, stating therein that he or she has must show that he still has productive years
desisted from the practice of law and has not ahead of him that can be put to good use by
appeared in any court during the period of giving him a chance to redeem himself;
his or her suspension; (4) There must be a showing of promise (e.g.,
(2) Copies of the sworn statement shall be intellectual aptitude, contribution to legal
furnished to the local chapter of the IBP and scholarship), and potential for public service;
to the executive judge of the courts where (5) Other relevant factors to justify clemency
the respondent has pending cases handled [Re: Letter of Judge Diaz (2007)].
by him or her, and/or where he or she has
appeared as counsel; A previously disbarred lawyer who is given
(3) The sworn statement shall be considered as absolute pardon by the President is not
proof of respondent’s compliance with the automatically reinstated, he must still file a
order of suspension [Maniago v. De Dios petition for reinstatement with the Supreme
(2010)]. Court.


In order that there is reinstatement, the Lawyers who reacquire their Philippine
following must be taken into consideration: citizenship should apply to the Supreme Court
(1) The applicant’s character and standing prior for license or permit to practice their profession.
to disbarment; [Section 5(4) RA 9225].
(2) The nature or character of the misconduct
for which he is disbarred;


Mandatory Continuing (b) Editing a law book, law journal or legal

Legal Education (MCLE) (3) Other activities credited to MCLE, such as
rendering mandatory legal aid services
pursuant to Section 8, Bar Matter No. 2012.
(1) Ensure that throughout their career, they COMPLIANCE
keep abreast with law and jurisprudence; COMPLIANCE GROUPS
(2) Maintain the ethics of the profession; and The members of the IBP covered by the
(3) Enhance the standards of the practice of law requirement are divided into three compliance
(Section 1, Rule 1, BM 850). groups:
(1) Compliance Group 1 consists of members in
REQUIREMENTS the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro
Members of the IBP, who not otherwise exempt, Manila;
shall complete, every three years, at least 36 (2) Compliance Group 2 consists members in
hours of continuing legal education activities Luzon outside NCR; and
approved by the MCLE Committee. Of the 36 (3) Compliance Group 3 consists of members in
hours: Visayas and Mindanao.
Legal Ethics 6hrs
Trial and Pre-trial skills 4hrs COMPLIANCE PERIOD
Alternative Disputes 5hrs BM 850, Rule 3, Sec. 1. The initial compliance
Substantive, Procedural, Jurisprudence 9hrs period shall begin not later than three months
Legal Writing % Oral Advocacy 4hrs from the constitution of the MCLE Committee.
The compliance period shall be for 36 months
Int’l Laws & Conventions 2hrs
and shall begin the day after the end of the
Prescribed subjects 6hrs previous compliance period.

The legal education activities may be: For those admitted or readmitted after the
(1) Participatory: establishment of the program, they will be
(a) Attending approved education activities permanently assigned to the appropriate
like seminars, conferences, conventions, compliance group based on their chapter
symposia, in-house education programs, membership on the date of admission or
workshops, dialogues or round table readmission.
(b) Speaking or lecturing, or acting as The initial compliance period after admission or
assigned panelist, reactor, commentator, readmission shall begin on the first day of the
resource speaker, moderator, coordinator month of admission or readmission and shall
or facilitator in approved education end on the same day as that of all other
activities; members in the same compliance group.
(c) Teaching in a law school or lecturing in a
bar review class; However:
(2) Non-participatory: (1) Where four months or less remain of the
(a) Preparing, as an author or co-author, initial compliance period after admission or
written materials published or accepted readmission, the member is not required to
for publication, e.g., in the form of an comply with the program requirement for
article, chapter, book, or book review the initial compliance;
which contribute to the legal education of
the author member, which were not
prepared in the ordinary course of the
member’s practice or employment;


(2) Where more than four months remain of the (11) The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and
initial compliance period after admission or members of the Corps of Professors and
readmission, the member shall be required Professorial Lectures of the Philippine
to complete a number of hours of approved Judicial Academy;
continuing legal education activities equal to (12) Governors and Mayors.
the number of months remaining in the (13) Those who are not in law practice, private
compliance period in which the member is or public; and
admitted or readmitted. Such member shall (14) Those who have retired from law practice
be required to complete a number of hours with the approval of the IBP Board of
of education in legal ethics in proportion to Governors (Sections 1 and 2, Rule 7).
the number of months remaining in the
compliance period. Fractions of hours shall In addition, a member may file a verified request
be rounded up to the next whole number setting forth good cause for exemption (e.g.,
(Section 5, Rule 3, BM 850). physical disability, illness, post graduate study
abroad, proven expertise in law) from
EXEMPTIONS compliance with or modification of any of the
The following members are exempt: requirements, including an extension of time for
(1) The President and the Vice President of the compliance, in accordance with a procedure to
Philippines, and the Secretaries and be established by the MCLE Committee (Section
Undersecretaries of Executives Departments; 3, Rule 7, BM 850).
(2) Senators and Members of the House of
Representatives; When a member ceases to be exempt, the
(3) The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of compliance period begins on the first day of the
the Supreme Court, incumbent and retired month in which he ceases to be exempt and
members of the judiciary, incumbent shall end on the same day as that of all other
members of the Judicial and Bar Council and members in the same Compliance Group
incumbent court lawyers covered by the (Section 4, Rule 7, BM 850).
Philippine Judicial Academy program of
continuing judicial education; SANCTIONS
(4) The Chief State Counsel, Chief State (1) A member who, for whatever reason, is in
Prosecutor and Assistant Secretaries of the non-compliance at the end of the
Department of Justice; compliance period shall pay a non-
(5) The Solicitor General and the Assistant compliance fee.
Solicitor General; (2) Any member who fails to satisfactorily
(6) The Government Corporate Counsel, Deputy comply shall be listed as a delinquent
and Assistant Government Corporate member by the IBP Board of Governors upon
Counsel; the recommendation of the MCLE
(7) The Chairmen and Members of the Committee, in which case, Rule 139-A, Rules
Constitutional Commissions; of Court, governing the IBP, shall apply
(8) The Ombudsman, the Overall Deputy (Sections 1 and 2, Rule 13, BM 850).
Ombudsman, the Deputy Ombudsmen and
the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Under BM 1922 (2008), practicing members of
Ombudsman; the bar are required to indicate in all pleadings
(9) Heads of government agencies exercising filed before the courts or quasi-judicial bodies,
quasi-judicial functions; the number and date of issue of their MCLE
(10) Incumbent deans, bar reviewers and Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of
professors of law who have teaching Exemption, as may be applicable, for the
experience for at least ten years accredited immediately preceding compliance period.
law schools;
Failure to disclose the required information
would cause the dismissal of the case and the
expunction of the pleadings from the records.


BAR MATTER 2012 (a) Whose gross income and that of their
PURPOSE immediate family do not exceed an
The Supreme Court has promulgated The Rule amount double the monthly minimum
on Mandatory Legal Aid Service to enhance the wage of an employee; and
duty of lawyers to society as agents of social (b) Who do not own real property with a fair
change and to the courts as officers thereof by market value as stated in the current tax
helping improve access to justice by the less declaration of more than three hundred
privileged members of society and expedite the thousand (P300,000.00) pesos.
resolution of cases involving them. Mandatory
free legal service by members of the bar and REQUIREMENTS
their active support thereof will aid the efficient The rule requires every practicing lawyer to:
and effective administration of justice especially (1) Render a minimum of 60 hours of free legal
in cases involving indigent and pauper litigants aid services to indigent litigants in a year.
[Section 2, Bar Matter No. 2012 (2009)]. Said 60 hours shall be spread within a
period of twelve 12 months, with a minimum
SCOPE of five hours of free legal aid services each
The rule governs the mandatory requirement for month
practicing lawyers to render free legal aid (2) Coordinate with the Clerk of Court for cases
services in all cases (whether, civil, criminal or where he may render free legal aid service
administrative) involving indigent and pauper and shall be required to secure and obtain a
litigants where the assistance of a lawyer is certificate from the Clerk of Court attesting
needed. It shall also govern the duty of other to the number of hours spent rendering free
members of the legal profession to support the legal aid services in a case (Section 5, BM
legal aid program of the IBP. 2012).

The Section 4, BM 2012, defines: Should a lawyer fail to do so, he shall be
(1) Practicing lawyers as members of the required to explain why he was unable to render
Philippine Bar who appear for and in behalf the minimum prescribed number of hours. If no
of parties in courts of law and quasi-judicial explanation has been given or if the National
agencies, excluding the following: Committee on Legal Aid (NCLA) finds the
(a) Government employees and incumbent explanation unsatisfactory, the NCLA shall
elective officials not allowed by law to make a report and recommendation to the IBP
practice; Board of Governors for the erring lawyer to be
(b) Lawyers who by law are not allowed to declared a member of the IBP who is not in
appear in court; good standing.
(c) Supervising lawyers of students enrolled
in law student practice in duly accredited After acceptance of the recommendation, the
legal clinics of law schools and lawyers of lawyer shall be declared a member not in good
non-governmental organizations and standing. He will be furnished a notice that
peoples’ organizations, who by the nature includes a directive to pay P4000.00 penalty
of their work already render free legal aid which shall accrue to the special fund for the
to indigent and pauper litigants; and legal aid program of the IBP.
(d) Lawyers do not appear for and in behalf
of parties in courts of law and quasi- Any lawyer who fails to comply with these duties
judicial agencies. for at least three consecutive years shall be the
(2) Indigent and pauper litigants as those subject of disciplinary proceedings to be
defined in Algura v. City of Naga (2006) and instituted motu proprio by the Committee on
Section 19, Rule 141, which includes those: Bar Discipline (Section 7, BM 2012).


Notarial Practice In addition, the notary public may perform any

act authorized by the Notarial Rules, such as:
(1) Certifying the affixing of signature by thumb
QUALIFICATIONS OF NOTARY or other mark on an instrument or document
PUBLIC presented for notarization (Section 1(b), Rule
(1) Must be a Filipino citizen;
(2) Signing on behalf of a person who is
(2) Must be over 21 years old;
physically unable to sign or make a mark on
(3) Must be a resident of the Philippines for at
an instrument or document (Section 1(c), Rule
least one year;
III, Notarial Rules).
(4) Must maintain a regular place of work or
business in the city or province where
commission is to be issued; POWERS
(5) Must be a member of the Philippine Bar in ACKNOWLEDGMENT
good standing, with clearances from: An acknowledgment refers to an act in which an
(a) The Office of the Bar Confidant of the individual on a single occasion:
Supreme Court; and (1) Appears in person before the notary public
(b) The IBP; and presents an integrally complete
(6) Must not have been convicted in the first instrument or document;
instance of any crime involving moral (2) Is attested to be personally known to the
turpitude (Section 1, Rule III, Notarial Rules). notary public or identified by the notary
public through competent evidence of
identity as defined by the Notarial Rules; and
TERM OF OFFICE OF NOTARY (3) Represents to the notary public that the
PUBLIC signature on the instrument or document
Notarial Rules, Rule 111, Sec. 11. A person was voluntarily affixed by him for the
commissioned as notary public may perform purposes stated in the instrument or
notarial acts in any place within the territorial document, declares that he has executed the
jurisdiction of the commissioning court for a instrument or document as his free and
period of two years commencing the first day of voluntary act and deed, and, if he acts in a
January of the year in which the commissioning particular representative capacity, that he
is made, unless earlier revoked or the notary has the authority to sign in that capacity
public has resigned under these Rules and the (Section 1, Rule II, Notarial Rules).
Rules of Court.
Affirmation or oath refers to an act in which an
Notarial Rules, Rule 111, Sec. 13. A notary public individual on a single occasion:
may file a written application with the Executive (1) Appears in person before the notary public;
Judge for the renewal of his commission within (2) Is personally known to the notary public or
45 days before the expiration thereof. identified by the notary public through
competent evidence of identity as defined by
A notary public can perform the following (3) Avows under penalty of law to the whole
notarial acts: truth of the contents of the instrument or
(1) Acknowledgments; document (Section 2, Rule II, Notarial Rules).
(2) Oaths and affirmations;
(3) Jurats; JURAT
(4) Signature witnessings; and Jurat refers to an act in which an individual on a
(5) Copy certifications (Section 1(a), Rule III, single occasion:
Notarial Rules). (1) Appears in person before the notary public
and presents an instrument or document;


(2) Is personally known to the notary public or Certifying the Affixing of Signature by Thumb
identified by the notary public through or Other Mark
competent evidence of identity as defined by A notary public is authorized to certify the
the Notarial Rules; affixing of a signature by thumb or other mark
(3) Signs the instrument or document in the on an instrument or document presented for
presence of the notary; and notarization if:
(4) Takes an oath or affirmation before the (1) The thumb or other mark is affixed in the
notary public as to such instrument or presence of the notary public and of two (2)
document (Section 6, Rule II, Notarial Rules). disinterested and unaffected witnesses to
the instrument or document;
In jurat, the principal has to sign the instrument (2) Both witnesses sign their own names in
or document in the presence of the notary addition to the thumb or other mark;
public, unlike in acknowledgment (Uy, The 2004 (3) The notary public writes below the thumb or
Rules on Notarial Practice: A Primer for Notaries other mark: “Thumb or Other Mark affixed by
Public (2004)). (name of signatory by mark) in the presence
of (names and addresses of witnesses) and
SIGNATURE WITNESSING undersigned notary public;” and
Signature witnessing refers to a notarial act in (4) The notary public notarizes the signature by
which an individual on a single occasion: thumb or other mark through an
(1) Appears in person before the notary public acknowledgment, jurat, or signature
and presents an instrument or document; witnessing (Section 1(b), Rule IV, Notarial
(2) Is personally known to the notary public or Rules).
identified by the notary public through
competent evidence of identity as defined by Signing on Behalf of a Person Who is
these Rules; and Physically Unable to Sign or Make a Mark
(3) Signs the instrument or document in the A notary public is authorized to sign on behalf
presence of the notary public (Section 14, of a person who is physically unable to sign or
Rule II, Notarial Rules). make a mark on an instrument or document if:
(1) The notary public is directed by the person
Copy Certification unable to sign or make a mark to sign on his
Copy certification refers to a notarial act in behalf;
which a notary public: (2) The signature of the notary public is affixed
(1) Is presented with an instrument or document in the presence of two disinterested and
that is neither a vital record, a public record, unaffected witnesses to the instrument or
nor publicly recordable; document;
(2) Copies or supervises the copying of the (3) Both witnesses sign their own names ;
instrument or document; (4) The notary public writes below his signature:
(3) Compares the instrument or document with “Signature affixed by notary in presence of
the copy; and (names and addresses of person and two
(4) Determines that the copy is accurate and witnesses);” and
complete (Section, Rule II, Notarial Rules). (5) The notary public notarizes his signature by
acknowledgment or jurat (Section 1(c), Rule
This assists litigators in doing away with the IV, Notarial Rules).
requirement of proving that a copy is a faithful
reproduction of an original instrument or The term “physically unable to sign” does not
document (Uy (2004)). include the situation where a person is
physically unable to sign because he is in
another place (Uy (2004)).


LIMITATIONS (b) The signatory shows a demeanor which

RELATING TO NOTARIAL ACTS engenders in the mind of the notary
(1) A notary public shall not perform a notarial public reasonable doubt as to the
act outside his regular place of work or former's knowledge of the consequences
business; provided, however, that on certain of the transaction requiring a notarial act;
exceptional occasions or situations, a notarial and
act may be performed at the request of the (c) In the notary's judgment, the signatory is
parties in the following sites located within not acting of his or her own free will
his territorial jurisdiction: (Section 4, Rule IV, Notarial Rules);
(a) Public offices, convention halls, and (5) A notary public shall not:
similar places where oaths of office may (a) Execute a certificate containing
be administered; information known or believed by the
(b) Public function areas in hotels and similar notary to be false;
places for the signing of instruments or (b) Affix an official signature or seal on a
documents requiring notarization; notarial certificate that is incomplete
(c) Hospitals and other medical institutions (Section 5, Rule IV, Notarial Rules);
where a party to an instrument or (6) A notary public shall not notarize:
document is confined for treatment; and (a) A blank or incomplete instrument or
(d) Any place where a party to an instrument document; or
or document requiring notarization is (b) An instrument or document without
under detention (Section 2(a), Rule IV, appropriate notarial certification (Section
Notarial Rules); 6, Rule IV, Notarial Rules).
(2) A person shall not perform a notarial act if
the person involved as signatory to the RELATING TO NOTARIAL REGISTER
instrument or document: (1) In the notary's presence, any person may
(a) Is not in the notary's presence personally inspect an entry in the notarial register,
at the time of the notarization; and during regular business hours, provided;
(b) Is not personally known to the notary (a) The person's identity is personally known
public or otherwise identified by the to the notary public or proven through
notary public through competent competent evidence of identity as defined
evidence of identity as defined by the in the Notarial Rules;
Notarial Rules; (b) The person affixes a signature and thumb
(3) A notary public is disqualified from or other mark or other recognized
performing a notarial act if he: identifier, in the notarial register in a
(a) Is a party to the instrument or document separate, dated entry;
that is to be notarized; (c) The person specifies the month, year, type
(b) Will receive, as a direct or indirect result, of instrument or document, and name of
any commission, fee, advantage, right, the principal in the notarial act or acts
title, interest, cash, property, or other sought; and
consideration, except as provided by the (d) The person is shown only the entry or
Notarial Rules and by law; or entries specified by him;
(c) A notary public is disqualified from (2) The notarial register may be examined by a
performing is a spouse, common-law law enforcement officer in the course of an
partner, ancestor, descendant, or relative official investigation or by virtue of a court
by affinity or consanguinity of the order.
principal within the fourth civil degree (3) If the notary public has a reasonable ground
(Section 3, Rule IV, Notarial Rules). to believe that a person has a criminal intent
(4) A notary public shall not perform any or wrongful motive in requesting information
notarial act described in the Notarial Rules if: from the notarial register, the notary shall
(a) The notary knows or has good reason to deny access to any entry or entries therein
believe that the notarial act or transaction (Section 4, Rule VI, Notarial Rules).
is unlawful or immoral;


NOTARIAL REGISTER (b) Whether he presented such draft, bill or

A notarial register refers to a permanently note;
bound book with numbered pages containing a (c) Whether notices were given, to whom and
chronological record of notarial acts performed in what manner; where the same was
by a notary public (Section 5, Rule II, Notarial made, when and to whom and where
Rules). directed; and
(d) Of every other fact touching the same
(Section 2, Rule VI, Notarial Rules).
The following entries are required to be entered
At the time of notarization, the notary's notarial
by the notary public at the time of notarization:
register shall be signed or a thumb or other
(1) The entry number and page number;
mark affixed by each:
(2) The date and time of day of the notarial act;
(1) Principal;
(3) The type of notarial act;
(2) Credible witness swearing or affirming to the
(4) The title or description of the instrument,
identity of a principal; and
document or proceeding;
(3) Witness to a signature by thumb or other
(5) The name and address of each principal;
mark, or to a signing by the notary public on
(6) The competent evidence of identity as
behalf of a person physically unable to sign
defined by the Notarial Rules if the signatory
(Section 3, Rule VI, Notarial Rules).
is not personally known to the notary;
(7) The name and address of each credible
witness swearing to or affirming the person's CLOSING
identity; Notarial Rules, Rule VI, Sec. 2(g). At the end of
(8) The fee charged for the notarial act; each week, the notary public shall certify in his
(9) The address where the notarization was notarial register the number of instruments or
performed if not in the notary's regular place documents executed, sworn to, acknowledged,
of work or business; and or protested before him; or if none, this
(10) Any other circumstance the notary public certificate shall show this fact.
may deem of significance or relevance;
(11) Reasons and circumstances for not SUBMISSION
completing a notarial act; Notarial Rules, Rule VI, Sec. 2(h). A certified copy
(12) Circumstances of any request to inspect or of each month’s entries and a duplicate original
copy an entry in the notarial register, copy of any instrument acknowledged before
including the: the notary public shall, within the first ten days
(a) Requester’s name; of the month following, be forwarded to the
(b) Requester’s address; Clerk of Court and shall be under the
(c) Requester’s signature; responsibility of such officer. If there is no entry
(d) Requester’s thumbmark or other to certify for the month, the notary shall forward
recognized identifier; a statement to this effect in lieu of certified
(e) Evidence of requester’s identity; and copies herein required.
(f) Reasons for refusal to allow inspection or
copying of a journal entry;
(13) Brief description of the substance of a JURISDICTION OF NOTARY PUBLIC
contract presented for notarization; AND PLACE OF NOTARIZATION
(14) In case of a protest of any draft, bill of A person commissioned as notary public may
exchange or promissory note, a full and true perform notarial acts in any place within the
record of all proceedings in relation thereto territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning
and shall note therein: court (Section 11, Rule III, Notarial Rules). This
(a) Whether the demand for the sum of applies even if notarization is allowed in places
money was made, by whom, when and other than the regular place of business of the
where; notary public (Section 2(a), Rule IV, Notarial


REVOCATION OF COMMISSION (a) One credible witness not privy to the

(1) The Executive Judge shall revoke a notarial instrument, document or transaction who
commission for any ground on which an is personally known to the notary public
application for a commission may be denied; and who personally knows the individual;
(2) In addition, the Executive Judge may revoke or
the commission of, or impose appropriate (b) Two credible witnesses neither of whom is
administrative sanctions upon, any notary privy to the instrument, document or
public who: transaction who each personally knows
(a) Fails to keep a notarial register; the individual and shows to the notary
(b) Fails to make the proper entry or entries public documentary identification
in his notarial register concerning his (Section 12, Rule II, Notarial Rules).
notarial acts;
(c) Fails to send the copy of the entries to the SANCTIONS
Executive Judge within the first ten days Notarial Rules, Rule XI, Sec. 1(d). The Executive
of the month following; Judge may motu proprio initiate administrative
(d) Fails to affix to acknowledgments the proceedings against a notary public and impose
date of expiration of his commission; the appropriate administrative sanctions on the
(e) Fails to submit his notarial register, when grounds for revocation of commission
filled, to the Executive Judge; mentioned.
(f) Fails to make his report, within a
reasonable time, to the Executive Judge Also, the Executive Judge shall cause the
concerning the performance of his duties, prosecution of any person who:
as may be required by the judge; (1) Knowingly acts or otherwise impersonates a
(g) Fails to require the presence of a principal notary public;
at the time of the notarial act; (2) Knowingly obtains, conceals, defaces, or
(h) Fails to identify a principal on the basis of destroys the seal, notarial register, or official
personal knowledge or competent records of a notary public; and
evidence; (3) Knowingly solicits, coerces, or in any way
(i)Executes a false or incomplete certificate influences a notary public to commit official
under Section 5, Rule IV; misconduct.
(j)Knowingly performs or fails to perform any
other act prohibited or mandated by
these Rules; and
(k) Commits any other dereliction or act Canons of Professional
which in the judgment of the Executive
Judge constitutes good cause for Ethics
revocation of commission or imposition of
administrative sanction (Section 1(a) and
(b), Rule XI, Notarial Rules). ORIGIN
The Philippine Bar Association adopted the
COMPETENT EVIDENCE OF IDENTITY American Bar Association’s Canons of
Competent evidence of identity means the Professional Ethics in 1917 and 1946.
identification of an individual based on:
(1) At least one current identification document In 1980, the IBP adopted a proposed Code of
issued by an official agency bearing the Professional Responsibility, which was later
photograph and signature of the individual; approved and promulgated by the Supreme
or Court as the present Code of Professional
(2) The oath or affirmation of: Responsibility (PCGG v. Sandiganbayan (2005)).



While the PBA enjoys high regard in the legal

community, the rules or canons it has adopted
are per se binding only on its members.
It would be grave error to declare that the
Canons of Professional Ethics, on their own,
serves as an indisputable source of obligations
and basis of penalties imposable upon
members of the Philippine legal profession.

This would violate the long-established

constitutional principle that it is the Supreme
Court which is tasked with the promulgation of
rules governing the admission to the practice of
law, as well as the pleading, practice and
procedure in all courts.

If provisions of the Canons of Professional Ethics

have jurisprudentially been enforced, or
acknowledged as basis for legal liability by the
Supreme Court, they may be recognized as a
binding standard imposable upon members of
the bar, but not because said canons or the PBA
itself said so, but because the Supreme Court
said so (Tinga, J., Separate Opinion, PCGG v.
Sandiganbayan (2005)).



Sources of Rules on New Code of Judicial

Judicial Ethics Conduct
In November 2002, at a Roundtable Meeting of Canon 1. Judicial independence is a prerequisite
Chief Justices held at the Peace Palace in The to the rule of law and a fundamental guarantee
Hague, the Judicial Group on Strengthening of fair trial. A judge shall therefore, uphold and
Judicial Integrity amended and approved the exemplify judicial independence in both its
Bangalore Draft of the Code of Judicial Conduct. individual and institutional aspects.
Intended to be the Universal Declaration of
Judicial Standards, it is founded on the following INDEPENDENT JUDICIAL FUNCTION
principles: Section 1. Judges shall exercise the judicial
(1) A universal recognition that a competent, function independently:
independent and impartial judiciary is (a) On the basis of their assessment of the facts;
essential if the courts are to fulfill their role (b) In accordance with a conscientious
in upholding constitutionalism and the rule understanding of the law;
of law; (c) Free of any extraneous influence,
(2) Public confidence in the judicial system and inducement, pressure, threat or interference,
in the moral authority and integrity of the direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any
judiciary is of utmost importance in a reason
modern democratic society; and
(3) It is essential that judges, individually and In every case, a judge should endeavor diligently
collectively, respect and honor judicial office to ascertain the facts and the applicable law
as a public trust and strive to enhance and unswayed by partisan or personal interests,
maintain confidence in the judicial system. public opinion or fear of criticism. The fact that
the complainant and his sympathizers had
On April 27, 2004, the draft code was staged a rally demanding the issuance of a
promulgated as the New Code of Judicial warrant of arrest against the accused is not a
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary through A.M. sufficient excuse for the unjustified haste of
No. 03-05-01-SC and given effect on June 1, respondent judge's act of fixing bail without a
2004. hearing [Libarios v. Dabalos (1991)]

CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT Mass media has its duty to fearlessly but
The New Code of Judicial Conduct supersedes faithfully inform the public about events and
the Canons of Judicial Ethics (1946) and the persons. However, when a case has received
Code of Judicial Conduct (1989). However, in wide and sensational publicity, the trial court
case of deficiency or absence of specific should be doubly careful not only to be fair and
provisions, the Canons of Judicial Ethics and the impartial but also to give the appearance of
Code of Judicial Conduct shall be applicable in a complete objectivity in its handling of the case
suppletory character (New Code of Judicial [Gutierrez, Jr., J., Concurring Opinion, Go v. CA
Conduct). (1992)].


OUTSIDE PRESSURE Otherwise, the judge risks undermining public

Section 2. In performing judicial duties, judges confidence not just in him or herself, but in the
shall be independent from judicial colleagues in entire judicial institution [(ABA– Rule of Law
respect of decisions which the judge is obliged Initiative, New Code of Judicial Conduct for the
to make independently. Philippine Judiciary (Annotated) (2007]).

INFLUENCING OUTCOME OF LITIGATION "Judge’s family" includes a judge’s spouse, son,

daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and any
Section 3. Judges shall refrain from influencing other relative by consanguinity or affinity within
in any manner the outcome of litigation or the sixth civil degree, or person who is a
dispute pending before another court or companion or employee of the judge and who
administrative agency. lives in the judge’s household [(Definitions, New
Code of Judicial Conduct]).
Interference by members of the bench in-
pending suits with the end in view of influencing INDEPENDENCE FROM EXECUTIVE AND
the course or the result of litigation does not LEGISLATIVE
only subvert the independence of the judiciary
Section 5. Judges shall not only be free from
but also undermines the people's faith in its
inappropriate connections with, and influence
integrity and impartiality [Sabitsana Jr. v.
by, the executive and legislative branches of
Villamor (1991)]. In this case, Judge Villamor sent
government, but must also appear to be free
a handwritten note to Judge Pitao cautioning
therefrom to a reasonable observer.
him to watch out and exercise care in handling a
case. He made a side remark for the acquittal of
the accused in the case, which tended to Granting bail because of the request of a
influence outcome of the case. congressman, despite belief that the evidence of
guilt against the accused is strong, is
INFLUENCE ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT reprehensible [Tahil v. Eisma (1975)).
Section 4. Judges shall not allow family, social
It is absolutely essential to the proper
or other relationships to influence judicial
administration of justice that courts have full
conduct or judgment. The prestige of judicial
control over the official actions of those through
office shall not be used or lent to advance the
whom the administration of the affairs of the
public interests of others, nor convey or permit
court precedes.
others to convey the impression that they are in
For judicial independence to be a reality, the
a special position to influence the judge.
least interference by or influence from other
governmental departments is of the essence.
This gives instruction to judges not to allow Only this Court has the authority to order a
their family members, friends and associates to personnel accounting of locally-funded
influence them in their judicial conduct or employees assigned in the lower courts to
judgment. Also importantly, a judge should determine the necessity of their detail [Alfonso
ensure that his family members, friends and v. Alonzo-Legasto (2002]).
associates refrain from creating the impression
that they are in a position to influence the judge. It is desirable that the judge should, as far as
Judges should, therefore, at all times remind reasonably possible, refrain from all relations
themselves that they are not in the judiciary to which would normally tend to arouse the
give out favors but to dispense justice. They suspicion that such relations warp or bias his
should also make it clear to the members of judgment, and prevent an impartial attitude of
their family, friends and associates that they will mind in the administration of judicial duties
neither be influenced by anyone, nor would they [ABA (2007]).
allow anyone to interfere in their judicial work.



PARTICULAR PARTIES Canon 2. Integrity is essential not only to the
Section 6. Judges shall be independent in proper discharge of the judicial office but also to
relation to society in general and in relation to the personal demeanor of judges.
the particular parties to a dispute which he or
she has to adjudicate. CONDUCT ABOVE REPROACH
Section 1. Judges shall ensure that not only is
A judge’s act of sending a member of his staff to their conduct above reproach, but that it is
talk with a complainant and show copies of his perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable
draft decisions, and his act of meeting with observer.
litigants outside the office premises beyond
office hours violate the standard of judicial
The exacting standards of conduct demanded
conduct required to be observed by members of
from judges are designed to promote public
the bench. They constitute gross misconduct
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of
which is punishable under Rule 140, Rules of
Court [Tan v. Rosete (2004]). the judiciary because the people’s confidence in
the judicial system is founded not only on the
magnitude of legal knowledge and the
diligence of the members of the bench, but also
on the highest standard of integrity and moral
Section 7. Judges shall encourage and uphold uprightness they are expected to possess. It is
safeguards for the discharge of judicial duties in therefore paramount that a judge’s personal
order to maintain and enhance the institutional behavior both in the performance of his duties
and operational independence of the judiciary. and his daily life, be free from any appearance
of impropriety as to be beyond reproach [Tan v.
Section 8. Judges shall exhibit and promote
high standards of judicial conduct in order to With regard to professional integrity, judges
reinforce public confidence in the judiciary have been penalized for:
which is fundamental to the maintenance of
judicial independence. (1) Demanding and/or accepting bribes [Tan v.
Rosete (2004)];
Sections 7 and 8 are intended to serve as catch- (2) Fraternizing with litigants and/or lawyers
all provisions for all other acts that would [Dela Cruz v. Bersamin (2000]);
guarantee the independence of the judiciary, (3) Altering orders [Rallos v. Gako (2000)];
but which may not have been covered in the (4) Delay in rendering decisions [Fernandez v.
specific instances mentioned in the earlier Hamoy (2004]);
provisions [ABA (2007]). (5) Sexual harassment of employees [Dawa v.
De Asa (1998]);and
The judge should always be imbued with a high (6) Ignorance of the law [Macalintal v. The
sense of duty and responsibility in the discharge (1997]).
of his obligation to promptly and properly
administer justice. He must view himself as a With respect to personal integrity, judges have
priest, for the administration of justice is akin to been penalized for transgressions in their
a religious crusade [Dimatulac v. Villon (1998]). private lives such as:

(1) Keeping and/or flaunting a mistress [In Re:

Judge Marcos (2001]);
(2) Inebriated/drunk behavior [Lachica v.
Flordeliza (1996)];and
(3) Frequenting casinos and cockfights [City of
Tagbilaran v Hontanosas (2002)].



Section 2. The behavior and conduct of judges Canon 3. Impartiality is essential to the proper
must reaffirm the people's faith in the integrity discharge of the judicial office. It applies not
of the judiciary. Justice must not only merely be only to the decision itself but also to the process
done but must also be seen to be done. by which the decision is made.

A judge has the duty to not only render a just The judge must render service with impartiality
and impartial decision, but also render it in such commensurate with the public trust and
a manner as to be free from any suspicion as to confidence reposed in him [Dimatulac v. Villon
its fairness and impartiality, and also as to the (1998]).
judge’s integrity. It is obvious, therefore, that
while judges should possess proficiency in law JUDICIAL DUTIES FREE FROM BIAS
in order that they can competently construe and Section 1. Judges shall perform their judicial
enforce the law, it is more important that they duties without favor, bias, or prejudice.
should act and behave in such a manner that
the parties before them should have confidence
Bare allegations of partiality and prejudgment
in their impartiality [Sibayan-Joaquin v. Javellana
will not suffice [Dimo Realty & Dev. Inc. v.
Dimaculangan (2004]). A judge's conduct must
be clearly indicative of arbitrariness and
DISCIPLINARY ACTION prejudice before it can be stigmatized as biased
Section 3. Judges should take or initiate and partial [Cruz v. Iturralde (2003]).
appropriate disciplinary measures against
lawyers or court personnel for unprofessional Bias and prejudice must be shown to have
conduct of which the judge may have become resulted in an opinion on the merits on the basis
aware. of an extrajudicial source, not on what the judge
learned from participating in the case. As long
The inclination to leniency in the administrative as opinions formed in the course of judicial
supervision of court employees is an proceedings are based on the evidence
undesirable trait. Oftentimes, such leniency presented and the conduct observed by the
provides the court employees the opportunity to magistrate, such opinion – even if later found to
commit minor transgressions of the laws and be erroneous – will not prove personal bias or
slight breaches of official duty ultimately prejudice on the part of the judge. While
leading to vicious delinquencies. A judge should palpable error may be inferred from the decision
constantly keep a watchful eye on the conduct or the order itself, extrinsic evidence is required
of his employees. He should realize that big to establish bias, bad faith, malice or corrupt
start small. His constant scrutiny of the behavior purpose [Gochan v. Gochan (2003]). This is
of his employees would deter any abuse on the known as the extrajudicial source rule.
part of the latter in the exercise of their duties.
Then, his subordinates would know that any
misdemeanor will not remain unchecked. The
slightest semblance of impropriety on the part PROMOTE CONFIDENCE, IMPARTIALITY
of the employees of the court, in the
Section 2. Judges shall ensure that his or her
performance of their official duties stirs ripples
conduct, both in and out of court, maintains and
of public suspicion and public distrust of the
enhances the confidence of the public, the legal
judicial administrators. The slightest breach of
profession and litigants in the impartiality of the
duty by and the slightest irregularity in the
judge and of the judiciary.
conduct of court officers and employees detract
from the dignity of the courts and erode the
faith of the people in the judiciary [Buenaventura
v. Benedicto (1971]).


A judge may not be legally prohibited from In Martinez v. Gironella (1975), a judge was
sitting in a litigation. But when suggestion is disqualified from trying a murder case against
made of record that he might be induced to act the accused (as principal), because, in a decision
in favor of one party or with bias or prejudice in a prior case involving an alleged accessory, he
against a litigant arising out of circumstance stated that the accused in the present case
reasonably capable of inciting such a state of committed the crime.
mind, he should conduct a careful self-
examination. He should exercise his discretion In Palang v. Zosa (1974), the judge, in deciding a
in a way that the people's faith in the courts of previous estafa case, stated that the charge was
justice is not impaired [Pimentel v. Salanga a “clear concocted story” which caused great
(1967]). damage to the accused. When a case for
damages was filed by the accused against the
MINIMIZE INSTANCES OF complainant in the estafa case, the judge
DISQUALIFICATIONS voluntary inhibited himself. The Supreme Court
Section 3. Judges shall, so far as is reasonable, stated that the judge’s inhibition reinforced
so conduct themselves as to minimize the public faith in the impartial administration of
occasions on which it will be necessary for them justice.
to be disqualified from hearing or deciding
Section 5. Judges shall disqualify themselves
The underlying reason for the rules on from participating in any proceedings in which
disqualification is to ensure that a judge, sitting they are unable to decide the matter impartially
in a case, will at all times be free from or in which it may appear to a reasonable
inclinations or prejudices and be well capable to observer that they are unable to decide the
render a just and independent judgment. matter impartially. Such proceedings include,
A litigant is entitled to nothing less than the but are not limited to, instances where:
cold neutrality of a judge. Due process requires (a) The judge has actual bias or prejudice
it [Parayno v. Meneses (1994]). concerning a party or personal knowledge of
disputed evidentiary facts concerning the
The rule of disqualification of judges must yield proceedings;
to demands of necessity. Simply stated, the rule (b) The judge previously served as a lawyer or
of necessity means that a judge is not was a material witness in the matter in
disqualified to sit in a case if there is no other controversy;
judge available to hear and decide the case [46 (c) The judge, or a member of his or her family,
Am. Jur. 2d Judges § 89 (1969]). has an economic interest in the outcome of
the matter in controversy;
PUBLIC COMMENTS; PENDING AND (d) The judge served as executor, administrator,
IMPENDING CASE guardian, trustee, or lawyer in the case or
Section 4. Judges shall not knowingly, while a matter in controversy, or a former associate
proceeding is before, or could come before of the judge served as counsel during their
them, make any comment that might association, or the judge or lawyer was a
reasonably be expected to affect the outcome of material witness therein;
such proceeding or impair the manifest fairness (e) The judge's ruling in a lower court is the
of the process. Nor shall judges make any subject of review;
comment in public or otherwise that might (f) The judge is related by consanguinity or
affect the fair trial of any person or issue. affinity to a party litigant within the 6th civil
degree or to counsel within the fourth civil
degree; or


(g) The judge knows that his or her spouse or In Oktubre v. Velasco (2004), a municipal judge,
child has a financial interest, as heir, legatee, as private complainant, caused three criminal
creditor, fiduciary, or otherwise, in the subject complaints to be filed before his own court. He
matter in controversy or in a party to the also issued a warrant of arrest and subpoenas
proceeding, or any other interest that could before finally inhibiting himself from hearing
be substantially affected by the outcome of the cases. The Supreme Court found him guilty
the proceedings. of grave misconduct, gross ignorance of the law
and grave abuse of authority, and dismissed
In Umale v. Villaluz (1973), a judge inhibited him from service. It stated that the idea that a
himself from trying a robbery case due to his judge can preside over his own case is
personal knowledge of the case. The Supreme anathema to the notion of impartiality and that
Court stated that it is possible that the his subsequent inhibition from the three cases
respondent Judge might be influenced by his does not detract from his culpability for he
personal knowledge of the case when he tries should not have taken cognizance of the cases
and decides the same on the merits, which in the first place.
would certainly constitute a denial of due
process to the party adversely affected by his In Sandoval v. CA (1996), the Supreme Court
judgment or decision. Thus, it is best that, after that an Associate Justice who only partly
some reflection, the judge, on his own initiative presided over a case in the trial court and who
disqualified himself from hearing the robbery did not render the final decision cannot be said
case and thereby rendering himself available as to have been placed in a position where he had
witness to any of the parties subject to cross- to review his own decision and, as such, was not
examination. legally bound, on this ground, to inhibit himself
as ponente of the case. Nevertheless, it was held
In People v. Gomez (1967), the judge dismissed that he should have voluntarily inhibited himself
criminal informations on the suspicion, arising for his earlier involvement in the case
from a dinner invitation from a stranger and a constitutes just or valid reason under Section 1,
subsequent personal investigation, that the Rule 137. A judge should not handle a case in
court was being used as a forum for extortion which he might be perceived, rightly or wrongly,
and exploitation of the persons charged. to be susceptible to bias and partiality.
The Supreme Court found this unstated
extraneous matter makes the dismissal as one PERMITTAL OF DISQUALIFICATIONS
affected with partiality and bias. The prayer of Section 6. A judge disqualified as stated above
the judge to be disqualified in hearing the case may, instead of withdrawing from the
because he has lost all respect in the manner in proceeding, disclose on the records the basis of
which the prosecutor has been prosecuting the disqualification. If based on such disclosure, the
case was granted. parties and lawyers independently of a judge's
participation, all agree in writing that the reason
for the inhibition is immaterial or unsubstantial,
the judge may then participate in the
proceeding. The agreement, signed by all
parties and lawyers, shall be incorporated in the
record of the proceedings.


The decision to continue hearing the case, Violent action in a public place, whatever the
despite the existence of reasons for motive, constitutes serious misconduct and
disqualification should be: (1) coupled with a resultant outrage of the community [Arban v.
bona fide disclosure to the parties-in-litigation, Boraha (1989]).
and (2) subject to express acceptance by all the
parties of the cited reason as not material or It is highly improper for a judge to wield a high-
substantial. The basis of the disqualification powered firearm in public and besieged the
should be disclosed, not mere “personal house of a perceived defamer of character and
reasons” [ABA (2007]). honor in warlike fashion, berating the object of
his ire with his firearm aimed at him [Saburnido
PROPRIETY v. Madrano (2001]).
Canon 4. Propriety and the appearance of
propriety are essential to the performance of all ACCEPTANCS OF PERSONAL
the activities of a judge. RESTRICTIONS
Section 2. As a subject of constant public
AVOIDANCE OF IMPROPRIETY scrutiny, judges must accept personal
restrictions that might be viewed as
Section 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the
burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should
appearance of impropriety in all of their
do so freely and willingly. In particular, judges
shall conduct themselves in a way that is
consistent with the dignity of the judicial office.
By prohibiting not only impropriety but even the
appearance of impropriety, the Code recognizes
Judges are also human beings, with their own
that even acts that are not per se improper can
burdens and private affairs. However, having
nevertheless be perceived by the larger
accepted the esteemed position of judge, they
community as such [ABA (2007)].
ought to have known that more is expected of
Thus, acts of judges which are not illegal may
them than an ordinary citizen.
still violate the Code:
As subjects of constant public scrutiny, personal
(1) Hearing cases on the day when the judge
restrictions that might be viewed as
was supposed to be on official leave [Re:
burdensome by the ordinary citizen should be
Anonymous Complaint Against Acuña freely and willingly accepted by a judge.
(2) Hearing a motion while on vacation in the
In particular, he or she must exhibit conduct
judge’s room dressed in a polo jacket
consistent with the dignity of the judicial office.
[Ignacio v. Valenzuela (1982]);
Indeed, a judge’s personal behavior, not only
(3) Coming out of a hotel together with a
while in the performance of official duties, must
subordinate, even when there is no clear
be beyond reproach, being the visible
evidence of sexual congress [Liwanag v.
personification of law and of justice [Re:
Lustre (1999]); Anonymous Complaint Against Acuña (2005)].
(4) Making a joking remark to a litigant
suggesting for the latter to prove that he
Thus, judges have been rebuked for:
harbored no ill feelings toward the judge [Co
(1) Sexually suggestive advances to women
v. Plata (2005]);
[Mariano v. Gonzales (1982]);
(5) Admonishing the bride and the groom, after
(2) Writing letters asking a married woman to
conducting a marriage ceremony, to sexually
come to the judge’s sala afterfive o’clock in
satisfy each other so that they will not go
the evening [Hadap v. Lee (1982]);
astray [Hadap v. Lee (1982]). (3) Assigning a female stenographer to the
judge’s chambers [Ritual v. Valencia (1978]).


AVOIDANCE OF CONTROVERSY It is grossly improper for a judge to meet with a

Section 3. Judges shall, in their personal litigant at his home and to frequent the karaoke
relations with individual members of the legal bar owned by such litigant, enjoying the use
profession who practice regularly in their court, thereof for free [J. King & Sons v. Hontanosas
avoid situations which might reasonably give (2004)].
rise to the suspicion or appearance of favoritism
or partiality. Fraternizing with litigants tarnishes the
appearance of impartiality. It is improper for a
A judge, who is commanded at all times to be judge to meet privately with the accused
mindful of his high calling and his mission as a without the presence of the complainant [De
dispassionate and impartial arbiter of justice, is Guzman, Jr. v. Sison (2001)].
expected to be “a cerebral man who
deliberately holds in check the tug and pull of FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
purely personal preferences which he shares Section 6. Judges, like any other citizen, are
with his fellow mortals” [OCA v. Paderanga entitled to freedom of expression, belief,
(2005)]. association and assembly, but in exercising such
rights, they shall always conduct themselves in
Constant company [or fraternizing] with a such a manner as to preserve the dignity of the
lawyer tends to breed intimacy and camaraderie judicial office and the impartiality and
to the point that favors in the future may be independence of the judiciary.
asked from a judge which he may find hard to
resist. The actuation of a judge of eating and In the exercise of their civil liberties, judges
drinking in public places with a lawyer who has should be circumspect and ever mindful that
pending cases in his sala may well arouse their continuing commitment to upholding the
suspicion in the public mind, thus tending to judiciary and its values places upon them
erode the trust of the litigants in the impartiality certain implied restraints to their freedom. A
of the judge [Padilla v. Zantua (1994)]. judge was admonished for the appearance of
engaging in partisan politics when he
NOT PARTICIPATE IN CASES WHERE HE participated in a political rally sponsored by one
MAY BE IMPARTIAL party, even though he only explained the
Section 4. Judges shall not participate in the mechanics of block voting to the audience [ABA
determination of a case in which any member of (2007]).
their family represents a litigant or is associated
in any manner with the case. BE INFORMED OF HIS FINANCIAL
This rule rests on the principle that no judge Section 7. Judges shall inform themselves about
should preside in a case in which the judge is their personal fiduciary financial interests and
not wholly free, disinterested, impartial and shall make reasonable efforts to be informed
independent. A judge has both the duty of about the financial interests of members of their
rendering a just decision and the duty of doing it family.
in a manner completely free from suspicion as
to fairness and integrity. The purpose is to Under Section 7(a), RA 6713, public officials and
preserve the people’s faith and confidence in employees are prohibited from directly or
the courts of justice(ABA (2007)). indirectly having any financial or material
interest in any transaction requiring the
NOT ALLOW THE USE OF HIS RESIDENCE BY approval of their office.
Section 5. Judges shall not allow the use of their
residence by a member of the legal profession
to receive clients of the latter or of other
members of the legal profession.


The Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that “a Releasing a draft decision to a party was
judge shall refrain from financial and business considered not as a simple breach of
dealings that tend to reflect adversely on the confidentiality of the decision-making process in
court’s impartiality, interfere with the proper the case of Centrum Agri-Business Realty Corp.
performance of judicial activities, or increase v. Katalbas-Moscardon (1995), but a scheme to
involvement with lawyers or persons likely to extort money from a party.
come before the court. A judge should so
manage investments and other financial Also, a judge’s act of personally furnishing a
interests as to minimize the number of cases party copies of orders issued, without the same
giving grounds for disqualification” [Catbagan v. passing through the court docket, is highly
Barte (2005)]. irregular, giving rise to the suspicion that the
judge is partial to one of the parties in the case
INFLUENCE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT pending before him [Co v. Calimag (2000]).
Section 8. Judges shall not:
(a) Use or lend the prestige of the judicial office Records of cases are necessarily confidential,
to advance their private interests, or those of and to preserve their integrity and
a member of their family or of anyone else; confidentiality, access thereto ought to be
(b) Convey or permit others to convey the limited only to the judge, the parties or their
impression that anyone is in a special counsel and the appropriate court personnel in
position improperly to influence them in the charge of the custody thereof. It is improper to
performance of judicial duties. allow a judge’s wife, who is not a court
employee, much less the employee specifically
A judge, claiming to be an administrator of an in charge of the custody of said records, to have
estate, wrote demand letters to tenants using access thereto [Gordon v. Lilagan (2001)].
the letterhead of his sala for them to pay their
rent in his office. The Supreme Court stated that ENGAGE IN OTHER ACTIVITIES
using the said letterhead and requiring payment Section 10. Subject to the proper performance of
at his office is clearly intended to use the judicial duties, judges may:
prestige of his judicial office to advance private (a) Write, lecture, teach, and participate in
interests [Oktubre v. Velasco (2004]) activities concerning the law, the legal
. system, the administration of justice or
Another judge who, as creditor, filed a collection related matters;
case in a venue where he was one of the trial (b) Appear at a public hearing before an official
judges, was severely censured by the Supreme body concerned with matters relating to the
Court, stating that a sense of propriety should law, the legal system, the administration of
have impelled him to desist from filing in said justice or related matters;
venue, even when, under the law, he had the (c) Engage in other activities if such activities do
choice of venue. In the eyes of the public, it not detract from the dignity of the judicial
arouses suspicion, rightly or wrongly, that office or otherwise interfere with the
advantage is being taken of one’s position(Javier performance of judicial duties.
v. De Guzman, Jr. (1990)).
This section should be read in conjunction with
CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION Section 12, Article VIII, Constitution, which
Section 9. Confidential information acquired by prohibits members of the judiciary from being
judges in their judicial capacity shall not be used designated to any agency performing quasi-
or disclosed by, for any other purpose related to judicial or administrative functions.
their judicial duties.


Thus, membership of a judge in a Provincial (1) All notarial fees charged be for the account
Committee on Justice, which discharges of the Government and turned over to the
administrative functions, will be in violation of municipal treasurer; and
the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court (2) A certification be made in the notarized
stated that this does not mean that judges documents attesting to the lack of any
should adopt monastic insensibility or lawyer or notary public in such municipality
unbecoming indifference to such institutions or circuit [Tabao v. Asis (1996)].
and that even as non-members, they should
render assistance to help promote the laudable FORM ASSOCIATIONS
purposes for which they exist when such Section 12. Judges may form or join associations
assistance may be reasonably incidental to the of judges or participate in other organizations
fulfillment of their judicial duties [In Re: representing the interests of judges.
Designation of Judge Manzano (1988]).
This rule recognizes a difference between
PRACTICE OF PROFESSION membership in associations of judges and
Section 11. Judges shall not practice law whilst membership in associations of other legal
the holder of judicial office. professionals. While attendance at lavish events
hosted by lawyers might create an appearance
This prohibition is based on public policy of impropriety, participation in judges-only
because the rights, duties, privileges and organizations does not [ABA (2007)].
functions of the office of an attorney-at-law are
inherently incompatible with the high official GIFTS, REQUESTS, LOANS
functions, duties, powers, discretion and Section 13. Judges and members of their families
privileges of a judge. It also aims to ensure that shall neither ask for, or accept, any gift, bequest,
judges give their full time and attention to their loan or favor in relation to anything done or to
judicial duties, prevent them from extending be done or omitted to be done by him or her in
special favors to their own private interests and connection with the performance of judicial
assure the public of their impartiality in the duties.
performance of their functions [Carual v. Brusola
(1999]). Under Section 7(d), RA 6713, prohibits
solicitation or acceptance by public officials and
General rule: Municipal judges may not engage employees, directly or indirectly, of any gift,
in notarial work. gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything
of monetary value from any person in the course
Exception: They may do so as notaries public ex- of their official duties or in connection with any
officio, in which case, they may only notarize operation being regulated by, or any transaction
documents connected with the exercise of their which may be affected by the functions of their
official functions. As such, they may not office.
undertake the preparation and
acknowledgement of private documents, The act of a judge in demanding and receiving
contracts and other acts of conveyance, which money from a party-litigant before his court
bear no relation to the performance of their constitute serious misconduct in office. It is this
functions as judges. kind of gross and flaunting misconduct on the
part of those who are charged with the
Exception to the exception: In far-flung responsibility of administering the law and
municipalities which have neither lawyers nor rendering justice that so quickly and surely
notaries public, municipal judges assigned to corrodes the respect for law and the courts
those municipalities or circuits may, in their without which government cannot continue and
capacity as notaries public ex-officio, perform that tears apart the very bonds of our polity
any act within the competence of a regular [Haw Tay v. Singayao (1987]).
notary public,provided:



Section 14. Judges shall not knowingly permit Canon 5. Ensuring equality of treatment to all
court staff of others subject to their influence, before the courts is essential to the due
direction or authority, to ask for, or accept any performance of the judicial office.
gift, bequest, loan or favor in relation to
anything done or to be done or omitted to be This is a new canon not found in the previous
done in connection with their duties of codes of judicial conduct. It expands the
functions. measures to promote equality required by
international human rights agreements [ABA
This section complements the previous section (2007]).
and assures that what the judge cannot do
directly may not be done indirectly through the UNDERSTAND THE DIVERSITY IN SOCIETY
use of employees or staff members [ABA Section 1. Judges shall be aware of, and
(2007]). understand, diversity in society and differences
arising from various sources, including but not
PERMISSIBLE TOKENS AND AWARDS limited to race, color, sex, religion, national
Section 15. Subject to law and to any legal origin, caste, disability, age, marital status,
requirements of public disclosure, judges may sexual orientation, social and economic status
receive a token, gift, award, or benefit as and other like causes.
appropriate to the occasion on which it is made
provided that such gift, award of benefit might To render substantial justice and maintain
not reasonably be perceived as intended to public confidence in the judicial system, judges
influence the judge in the performance of are expected to be aware of the diversity in
judicial duties or otherwise give rise to an society that results from an increased worldwide
appearance of partiality. exchange of people and ideas. Judges must be
able to avoid the infiltration of preconceptions
General rule: Judges and members of their into their decisions. They should be mindful of
families are prohibited from accepting any the various international instruments and
token, gift, award or benefit. treaties ratified by the Philippines, which affirm
the equality of all human beings and establish a
Exception: Subject to legal requirements like norm of non-discrimination without distinction
public disclosure, they may accept gifts as to race, sex, language or religion [ABA
provided that it might not reasonably be (2007)].
perceived as intended to influence judge.
As to gifts or grants from foreign governments, Section 2. Judges shall not, in the performance
Section 7(d),RA 6713 allows: of judicial duties, by words or conduct, manifest
(a) A gift of nominal value tendered and bias or prejudice towards any person or group
received as a souvenir or mark of courtesy; on irrelevant grounds.
(b) A gift in the nature of a scholarship or
fellowship grant or medical treatment; or In every litigation, perhaps much more so in
(c) Travel grants or expenses for travel taking criminal cases, the manner and attitude of a
place entirely outside the Philippine of more trial judge are crucial to everyone concerned,
than nominal value if such acceptance is: the offended party, no less than the accused.
(i) Appropriate or consistent with the
interests of the Philippines; and It is not for him to indulge or even to give the
(ii) Permitted by the head of office, branch or appearance of catering to the at times human
agency to which he belongs. failing of yielding to first impressions.


He is to refrain from reaching hasty conclusions ATTITUDE TO PARTIES APPEARING IN

or prejudging matters. It would be deplorable if COURT
he lays himself open to the suspicion of reacting Section 5. Judges shall require lawyers in
to feelings rather than to facts, of being proceedings before the court to refrain from
imprisoned in the net of his own sympathies and manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or
predilections [Castillo v. Juan (1975)]. prejudice based on irrelevant grounds, except
such as are legally relevant to an issue in
NOT TO DIFFERENTIATE proceedings and may be the subject of
Section 3. Judges shall carry out judicial duties legitimate advocacy.
with appropriate consideration for all persons,
such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court Judges should conduct proceedings in court
staff and judicial colleagues, without with dignity and in a manner that reflects the
differentiation on any irrelevant ground, importance and seriousness of proceedings.
immaterial to the proper performance of such They should maintain order and proper
duties. decorum in the court [Rule 3.03, Canon 3, 1989
Code of Judicial Conduct].
Unequal and disparate treatment in the
courthouse, whether intentional or perceived, is The effect is the same when the insensitive act
unacceptable and can negatively impact the or comment is made by a lawyer appearing in
professional lives of attorneys and employees, the court and the judge does not admonish the
the assessment of claims of litigants, and the lawyer for the insensitivity [ABA (2007)]
respect and credibility of the justice system .
[ABA (2007]). Thus, judges have the duty to prevent lawyers
from violating the rights of witnesses. This
NOT TO INFLUENCE STAFF complements Rule 12.07, Canon 12, which
Section 4. Judges shall not knowingly permit directs that a lawyer shall not abuse, browbeat
court staff or others subject to his or her or harass a witness nor needlessly
influence, direction or control to differentiate inconvenience him.
between persons concerned, in a matter before
the judge, on any irrelevant ground. COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE
Canon 6. Competence and diligence are
Judges should organize their courts to ensure prerequisites to the due performance of judicial
the prompt and convenient dispatch of business office.
and should not tolerate misconduct by clerks,
sheriffs and other assistants who are sometimes A judge must be the embodiment of
prone to expect favors or special treatment due competence, integrity and independence, and
to their professional relationship with the judge. should be studiously careful to avoid even the
Court personnel shall not discriminate by slightest infraction of the law, lest it be a
dispensing special favors to anyone. They shall demoralizing example to others [OCA v. Gines
not allow kinship, rank, position or favors from (1993)].
any party to influence their official acts or duties
[Section 3, Canon 1, Code of Conduct for Court DUTIES TAKE PRECEDENCE
Personnel]. Section 1. The judicial duties of a judge take
precedence over all other activities.


Verily, a judge may, in the exercise of his sound Although a judge is nearing retirement he
discretion, inhibit himself voluntarily from should not relax in his study of the law and
sitting in a case, but it should be based on good, court decisions. Service in the judiciary means a
sound or ethical grounds, or for just and valid continuous study and research on the law from
reasons. No less than imperative is that it is the beginning to end [Ajeno v. Inserto (1976])
judge’s sacred duty to administer justice without
fear or favor [Parayno v. Meneses (1994)]. Judges are not, however, expected to be
infallible; not every error or irregularity
PERFORM ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES committed by judges in the performance of
Section 2. Judges shall devote their professional official duties is subject to administrative
activity to judicial duties, which include not only sanction. In the absence of bad faith, fraud,
the performance of judicial functions and dishonesty, or deliberate intent to do injustice,
responsibilities in court and the making of incorrect rulings do not constitute misconduct
decisions, but also other tasks relevant to the and may not give rise to a charge of gross
judicial office or the court's operations. ignorance of the law [Cruz v. Iturralde (2003)].

Failure to speedily dispose of cases on account Disciplinary proceedings and criminal actions
of missing records of cases reflects an inefficient against judges are not complementary or
and disorderly system in the recording of cases suppletory of, nor a substitute for, these judicial
assigned to a judge’s sala. Proper and efficient remedies, whether ordinary or extraordinary.
court management is as much the judge’s Resort to and exhaustion of these judicial
responsibility, for the court personnel are not remedies are prerequisites for the taking of
the guardians of a judge’s responsibilities. A other measures against the persons of the
judge is expected to ensure that the records of judges concerned, whether of civil,
cases assigned to his sala are intact. There is no administrative, or criminal nature. It is only after
justification for missing records save fortuitous the available judicial remedies have been
events. The loss of not one but eight records is exhausted and the appellate tribunals have
indicative of gross misconduct and inexcusable spoken with finality that the door to an inquiry
negligence unbecoming of a judge [Longboan v. into his criminal, civil, or administrative liability
Polig (1990]). may be said to have opened, or closed
[Maquiran v. Grageda (2005)].
Section 3. Judges shall take reasonable steps to
maintain and enhance their knowledge, skills, Section 4,. Judges shall keep themselves
and personal qualities necessary for the proper informed about the relevant developments of
performance of judicial duties, taking advantage international law, including international
for this purpose of the training and other conventions and other instruments establishing
facilities which should be made available, under human rights norms.
judicial control, to judges.
This is so since, subject to the conditions set
When a judge accepts his position, he owes it to forth in Section 2, Article II and Section 21, Article
the dignity of the court, to the legal profession, VII, Constitution, international law, both
and to the public, to know the very law he is customary and conventional, are part of
supposed to apply to a given controversy. Even Philippine law.
in the remaining years of his stay in the judiciary
he should keep abreast with the changes in the PROMPT DECISION MAKING
law and with the latest decisions and Section 5. Judges shall perform all judicial
precedents. duties, including the delivery of reserved
decisions, efficiently, fairly, and with reasonable


Section 1, Rule 124 requires that justice be Inefficient judges are equally impermissible in
impartially administered without unnecessary the judiciary as the incompetent and dishonest
delay. This principle permeates the whole ones. Any of them tarnishes the image of the
system of judicature, and supports the judiciary or brings it to public contempt,
legitimacy of the decrees of judicial tribunals dishonor or disrespect and must then be
[ABA (2007)]. administratively dealt with and punished
accordingly [Yu-Aensi v. Villanueva (2000]).
MAINTAIN ORDER IN PROCEEDINGS Thus, a judge who issued orders indefinitely
Section 6. Judges shall maintain order and postponing the hearing of an election protest
decorum in all proceedings before the court and was found to be inefficient and to have
be patient, dignified, and courteous in relation transgressed the basic mandatory rules for
to litigants, witnesses, lawyers, and others with expeditious resolution of cases [De la Cruz v.
whom the judge deals in an official capacity. Pascua (2001)].
Judges shall require similar conduct of legal
representatives, court staff and others subject to
their influence, direction and control. Discipline of Members of
A judge was found guilty of committing acts the Judiciary
unbecoming of a judge and abuse of authority
when he shouted invectives and threw a chair at MEMBERS OF THE SUPREME COURT
the complainant, resulting in wrist and other
injuries to the complainant [Briones v. Ante, Jr.
Members of the Supreme Court may be
removed from office on impeachment for, and
conviction of, culpable violation of the
Another judge was found guilty of serious
Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and
misconduct and inefficiency by reason of
corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of
habitual tardiness. He was fined and suspended
public trust (Section 2, Article X, Constitution).
for judicial indolence [Yu-Asensi v. Villanueva
The impeachment of public officials has been
established for removing otherwise
constitutionally tenured and independent public
officials for culpable violation of the
Section 7. Judges shall not engage in conduct Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and
incompatible with the diligent discharge of corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of
judicial duties. public trust. The power to initiate impeachment
cases rests with the House while the power to
A judge is charged with exercising extra care in try the same rests with the Senate.
ensuring that the records of the cases and
official documents in his custody are intact. He Based on Section 3, Article VI, Constitution, the
must adopt a system of record management steps leading to impeachment are as follows:
and organize their dockets in order to bolster (1) A verified complaint for impeachment is filed
the prompt and efficient dispatch of business. by a member of the House or endorsed by
It is, in fact, incumbent upon him to devise an him;
efficient recording and filing system in his court (2) The complaint is included in the order of
because he is after all the one directly business of the House;
responsible for the proper discharge of his (3) The House refers the complaint to the proper
official functions [Beso v. Daguman (2000]). committee;
(4) The committee holds a hearing, approves
the resolution calling for impeachment, and
submits the same to the House;


(5) The House considers the resolution and Article VII: Granting a temporary restraining
votes to approve it by at least one‑third of all order to Former President Arroyo and husband
its members, which resolution becomes the Mike Arroyo after the Department of Justice
article of impeachment to be filed with the prevented them to go out of the country;
Senate when approved; and
(6) The Senate tries the public official under the Article VIII: Graft and corruption when he failed
article [Abad, J., Separate Concurring and refused to account for the judiciary
Opinion, Guttierez v. HOR Committee on development fund and special allowance for the
Justice (2011]). judiciary collections.
IMPEACHMENT On January 16, 2012, the Senate, sitting as an
OVERVIEW impeachment court, began the trial. The
On December 12, 2011, the House of prosecution dropped Articles I, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII,
Representatives voted to impeach Chief Justice leaving only Articles II and III as their grounds
Corona. They charged him with eight articles of for impeachment.
impeachment alleging:
(1) Betrayal of public trust; On May 29, 2012, the Senate found Chief Justice
(2) Graft and corruption; and Corona guilty under Article II of the articles of
(3) Culpable violation of the Constitution. impeachment for his failure to declare his true
statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.
ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT After 20 senators voted in favor of
impeachment under this ground, the Senate no
Article I: Partiality and subservience in cases longer voted under Article III. Three senators
involving the Arroyo administration; voted to acquit Corona on that ground.

Article II: Failure to disclose to the public his QUANTUM OF EVIDENCE USED
statement of assets and liabilities; An impeachment proceeding is sui generis; it is
neither purely political nor criminal. Thus, it
does not require proof beyond reasonable
Article III: Flip-flopping decisions in final and
doubt. In the course of the impeachment trial,
executory cases, creating excessive
the senator-judges expressed differing views.
entanglement with Former President Arroyo,
Some argued that it requires “clear and
and discussing with litigants regarding the
convincing proof,” while some argued that it
cases pending before the Supreme Court;
needs “preponderance of evidence.”

Article IV: Irregularities in issuing a quo-ante The Senate has traditionally left the choice of
order against the House of Representatives in the applicable standard of proof to each
the impeachment of then Ombudsman individual Senator [Black, Impeachment: A
Merceditas Gutierrez; Handbook (1974)).

Article V: Gerrymandering in the case of the 16-

newly created cities and promotion of Dinagat AND JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF
The members of the Supreme Court and judges
of lower courts shall hold office during a good
Article VI: Improper investigation in the behavior until they reach the age of seventy
plagiarism case of Associate Justice Mariano del years or become incapacitated to discharge the
Castillo; duties of their office.


The Supreme Court en banc shall have the INVESTIGATION

power to discipline judges of lower courts, or Upon the filing of the comment of the
order their dismissal by a vote of majority of the respondent or upon the expiration of the period
Members who actually took part in the for such filing, which is ten days from the date of
deliberations on the issues in the case and service to him of the copy of the complaint
voted thereon (Section 11, Article VIII, (Section 2, Rule 140), the Supreme Court shall:
(1) Refer the matter to the Office of the Court
General rule: A judge cannot be subjected to Administrator (OCA) for evaluation, report,
liability – civil, criminal, or administrative – for and recommendation; or
any his official acts, not matter how erroneous, (2) Assign the case for investigation, report, and
as long as he acts in good faith [Valdez v. Valera recommendation to:
(1978)]. (a) A retired member of the Supreme Court,
if the respondent is a justice of the Court
Ratio: A judicial officer, in exercising the of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan;
authority vested in him, shall be free to act the (b) A justice of the Court of Appeals, if the
authority vested in him, and shall be free to act respondent is a judge of a Regional Trial
upon his own convictions, without apprehension Court or of a special court of equivalent
of personal consequences to himself. rank; or
(c) A judge of the Regional Trial Court, if the
This concept of judicial immunity rests upon respondent is a judge of an inferior court
consideration of public policy, its purpose being (Section 3, Rule 140).
to preserve the integrity and independence of
the judiciary [Pabalan v. Guevarra (1976)]. HEARING AND TERMINATION
The investigating justice of judge shall set a day
Exceptions: A judge may be subject to liability for the hearing and send notice to the parties. If
based on the grounds enumerated under Rule the respondent fails to appear, the investigation
140. shall proceed ex parte.

INSTITUTION The investigating justice or judge shall

Proceedings for the discipline of judges of terminate the proceedings:
regular and special courts and justices of the (1) Within 90 days from the date of its
Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan may commencement; or
be instituted: (2) Within such extension as the Supreme Court
(1) Motu proprio by the Supreme Court; may grant (Section 4, Rule 140).
(2) Upon the verified complaint, supported by
affidavits of persons who have personal REPORT AND ACTION
knowledge of the facts alleged therein or by Within 30 days from termination, the
documents which may substantiate said investigating justice or judge shall submit to the
allegations; or Supreme Court a report containing his findings
(3) Upon an anonymous complaint, supported of fact and recommendation, accompanied by
by public records of indubitable integrity. the evidence and pleadings filed by the parties.
The complaint shall be in writing and shall state Such report shall be confidential and shall be
clearly and concisely the acts and omissions for the exclusive use of the Supreme Court.
constituting violations of standards of conduct A copy of the decision or resolution of the court
prescribed for judges (Section 1, Rule 140). shall be attached to the record of the
respondent in the OCA (Sections 5 and 12, Rule

The Supreme Court shall take action on the

report as the facts and the law may warrant
(Section 6, Rule 140).



ADMINISTRATIVE CASES TO DISCIPLINARY (1) Bribery, direct or indirect;
PROCEEDINGS (2) Dishonesty and violations of the Anti-Graft
Pursuant to A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC, and Corrupt Practices Law (RA 3019);
administrative cases against justices of the (3) Gross misconduct constituting violations of
Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan, the Code of Judicial Conduct;
judges of regular and special courts, and court (4) Knowingly rendering an unjust judgment or
officials who are lawyers, shall also be order as determined by a competent court
considered a disciplinary action against them, if in an appropriate proceeding;
they are based on grounds which are likewise (5) Conviction of a crime involving moral
grounds for the disciplinary action of members turpitude;
of the bar for: (6) Willful failure to pay a just debt;
(1) Violation of the Lawyer's Oath; (7) Borrowing money or property from lawyers
(2) Violation of the Code of Professional and litigants in a case pending before the
Responsibility; court;
(3) Violation of the Canons of Professional (8) Immorality;
Ethics; or (9) Gross ignorance of the law or procedure;
(4) Such other forms of breaches of conduct that (10) Partisan political activities; and
have been traditionally recognized as (11) Alcoholism and/or vicious habits (Section
grounds for the discipline of lawyers. 8, Rule 140).

The respondent is required to comment on the The word “misconduct” implies a wrongful
complaint and show cause why he should not intention and not a mere error or judgment. For
also be suspended, disbarred or otherwise serious [or gross] misconduct to exist, there
disciplinarily sanctioned as a member of the must be reliable evidence showing that the
bar. Judgment in both respects may be judicial acts complained of were corrupt or
incorporated in one decision or resolution. inspired by an intention to violate the law, or
were in persistent disregard of well-known legal
EFFECT OF WITHDRAWAL OR DESISTANCE rules [In re: Impeachment of Horrilleno (1922)].
The actuations of a judge seriously affects the
public interest inasmuch as they involve the In the absence of bad faith, fraud, dishonesty, or
administration of justice. It is for this reason that deliberate intent to do injustice, incorrect
a motion to withdraw a complaint will not justify rulings do not constitute misconduct and may
the dismissal of the administrative case against not give rise to a charge of gross ignorance of
the judge. the law [Cruz v. Iturralde (2003)].

To condition administrative actions upon the Less serious charges:

will of every complainant, who may, for one (1) Undue delay in rendering a decision or order,
reason or another, condone a detestable act, is or in transmitting the records of a case;
to strip the Supreme Court of its supervisory (2) Frequently and unjustified absences without
power to discipline erring members of the leave or habitual tardiness;
judiciary [Anguluan v. Taguba (1979)]. (3) Unauthorized practice of law;
(4) Violation of Supreme Court rules, directives,
Complainant's desistance is not an obstacle to and circulars;
the taking of disciplinary action against a judge (5) Receiving additional or double
if the record reveals that he had not performed compensation unless specifically authorized
his duties properly [Espayos v. Lee (1979)]. by law;
(6) Untruthful statements in the certificate of
GROUNDS service; and
Administrative charges are classified as serious, (7) Simple misconduct (Section 9, Rule 140).
less serious, or light (Section 7, Rule 140).


Light charges: He was found guilty for culpable violation of the

(1) Vulgar and unbecoming conduct; Constitution and/or betrayal of public trust for
(2) Gambling in public; not correctly declaring his statements of assets,
(3) Fraternizing with lawyers and litigants with liabilities and net worth.
pending case/cases in his court; and
(4) Undue delay in the submission of monthly The prosecution alleges that he inaccurately
reports. declared his peso and dollar deports, and real
estate properties.
The following have been subject to discipline by The defense argues that he did not declare his
the Supreme Court: dollar deposits and peso deposits because of
(1) Failure to deposit funds with the municipal the banking secrecy and foreign currency
treasurer or produce them despite promise deposit laws. It was also said that some
to do so [Montemayor v. Collado (1981)]; undeclared assets are also co-mingled funds
(2) Misappropriation of fiduciary funds (i.e., that he does not own solely.
proceeds of cash bail bond) by depositing
the check in a personal account, thus SANCTIONS IMPOSED BY THE SUPREME
converting the trust fund to personal use COURT ON ERRING MEMBERS OF THE
[Barja v. Beracio (1976)]; JUDICIARY
(3) Extorting money from a party-litigant who Under Section 11, Rule 140, any of the following
has a pending case [Haw Tay v. Singayao sanctions may be imposed:
(1988)]: (1) If the respondent is guilty of a serious
(4) Solicitation of donation for office charge:
equipment [Lecaroz v. Garcia (1981)]; (a)Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all
(5) Frequent unauthorized absences in office or part of the benefits as the Court may
[Municipal Council of Casiguruhan, Quezon determine, and disqualification from
v. Morales (1974)]; reinstatement or appointment to any
(6) Delay in the disposition of cases in violation public office, including government-
of the canon that a judge must promptly owned or controlled corporations.
dispose of all matters submitted to him Forfeiture of benefits does not include
[Balagot v. Opinion (1991)]; accrued leave credits;
(7) Unduly granting repeated motions for (b) Suspension from office without salary and
postponement [Araza v. Reyes (1975)]; other benefits for more than three but not
(8) Unawareness of or unfamiliarity with the exceeding six months; or
application of the Indeterminate Sentence (c) A fine of more than P20,000.00 but not
Law and duration and graduation of exceeding P40,000.00;
penalties [In re: Paulin (1980)]; (2) If the respondent is guilty of a less serious
(9) Reducing to a ridiculous amount (i.e., charge:
P6,000.00) the bail bond of the accused in (a) Suspension from office without salary
a murder case, enabling him to escape the and other benefits for not less than one
toils of the law [Soriano v. Mabbayad nor more than three months; or
(1975)]. (b) A fine of more than P10,000.00 but not
(10) Imposing the penalty of subsidiary exceeding P20,000.00;
imprisonment on a party for failure to pay (3) If the respondent is guilty of a light charge:
civil indemnity in violation of RA 5465 (a) A fine of not less than P1,000.00 but
[Monsanto v. Palarca (1983)]. not exceeding P10,000.00;and/or
(b) Censure;
Former Chief Justice Corona was the first justice (d) Admonition with warning.
of the Supreme Court to be impeached and


 A judge must maintain and preserve the trust

Disqualification of Justices and faith of the parties-litigants. He must
and Judges hold himself above reproach and suspicion. At
the very first sign of lack of faith and trust to
his actions, whether well-grounded or not, the
judge has no other alternative but inhibit
(Section 1, 1st par., Rule 137). No judge or judicial
himself from the case.
officer shall sit in any case, without the written
 A judge may not be legally prohibited from
consent of all parties in interest and entered
sitting in a litigation, but when circumstances
upon the record, in which:
appear that will induce doubt to his honest
(1) He, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily
interested as heir, legatee, creditor or actuations and probity in favor of either party,
otherwise; or incite such state of mind, he should
(2) He is related to either party within the sixth conduct a careful self-examination. He should
degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to exercise his discretion in a way that the
people's faith in the courts of justice is not
counsel within the fourth degree, computed
impaired. The better course for the judge
according to the rules of the civil law;
under such circumstances is to disqualify
(3) He has been executor, administrator,
himself. That way, he avoids being
guardian, trustee or counsel; or
(4) He has presided in any inferior court when misunderstood, his reputation for probity and
his ruling or decision is the subject of review. objectivity is preserved [Bautista v. Rebueno
 The rule on compulsory disqualification of a  Intimacy or friendship between a judge and an
attorney of record of one of the parties to a
judge to hear a case rests on the salutary
principle that no judge should preside in a suit is no ground for disqualification. That one
case in which he is not wholly free, of the counsels in a case was a classmate of
disinterested, impartial and independent. A the trial judge is not a legal ground for the
disqualification of the said judge.
judge has both the duty of rendering a just
decision and the duty of doing it in a manner  To allow it would unnecessarily burden other
completely free from suspicion as to its trial judges to whom the case would be
fairness and as to his integrity. transferred. But if the relationship between
the judge and an attorney for a party is such
 The law conclusively presumes that a judge
cannot objectively or impartially sit in such a that there would be a natural inclination to
case and, for that reason, prohibits him and prejudice the case, the judge should be
disqualified in order to guaranty a fair trial
strikes at his authority to hear and decide it, in
the absence of written consent of all parties [Query of Executive Judge Estrada (1987)].
concerned. The purpose is to preserve the
people's faith and confidence in the courts'
justice (Garcia v. De La Pena 1994). Powers and Duties of
 The relationship of the judge with one of the
parties may color the facts and distort the law Courts and Judicial
to the prejudice of a just decision. Where this
is probable or even only possible, due process Officers
demands that the judge inhibit himself, if only
out of a sense of delicadeza [Javier v. ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Commission on Elections (1996)]. Courts of justice shall always be open, except on
legal holidays, for the:
VOLUNTARY (1) Filing of any pleadings, motion or other
(Section 1, 2nd par., Rule 137). A judge may, in the papers;
exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself (2) Trial of cases;
from sitting in a case, for just or valid reasons (3) Hearing of motions;and
other than those mentioned.


(4) For the issuance of orders or rendition of (b) When an attachment of real or personal
judgments. property lying outside the province is to
be made;
Justice shall be impartially administered (c) When the action is against two or more
without unnecessary delay(Section 1, Rule 135). defendants residing in different
provinces; and
Publicity of Proceedings (d) When the place where the case has been
General rule: The sitting of every court of justice brought is that specified in a contract in
shall be public. writing between the parties, or the place
of the execution of such contract as
Exception: Any court may, in its discretion, appears therefrom;
exclude the public when the evidence to be (2) Writs of execution issued by inferior courts
adduced is of such nature as to require their may be enforced in any part of the
exclusion in the interest of morality or decency Philippines without any previous approval of
(Section 2, Rule 135). the judge of first instance;
(3) Criminal process may be issued by a justice
PUBLICITY OF RECORDS of the peace or other inferior court, to be
General rule: The records of every court of served outside his province, when the district
justice shall be public records and shall be judge, or in his absence the provincial fiscal,
available for the inspection of any interested shall certify that in his opinion the interests
person: of justices require such service (Section 4,
(1) At all proper business hours; Rule 135).
(2) Under the supervision of the clerk having
custody of such records. INHERENT POWERS OF COURTS:
(1) To preserve and enforce order in its
Exception: The court may, in any special case, immediate presence;
forbid publicity of records, in the interest of (2) To enforce order in proceedings before a
morality or decency (Section 2, Rule 135). person or persons empowered to conduct a
judicial investigation under its authority;
ENFORCEABILITY OF COURT PROCESS (3) To compel obedience to its judgments,
Superior courts orders and processes, and to the lawful order
Process issued from a superior court in which a of judge out of court, in a case pending
case is pending may be enforced in any part of therein;
the Philippines: (4) To control, in furtherance of justice, the
(1) To bring in a defendant; conduct of its ministerial officers, and of all
(2) For the arrest of any accused person; or other persons in any manner connected with
(3) To execute any order or judgment of the a case before it, in every manner
court (Section 3, Rule 135). appertaining thereto;
Inferior courts (5) To compel the attendance of persons to
General rule: Process of inferior courts shall be testify in a case pending therein;
enforceable within the province where the (6) To administer or cause to be administered
municipality or city lies. oaths in a case pending therein, and in all
other cases where it may be necessary in the
Exceptions: exercise of its powers;
(1) It may be served outside the boundaries of (7) To amend and control its process and orders
the province with the approval of the judge of so as to make them conformable to law and
the Regional Trial Court of said province, and justice;
only in the following cases: (8) To authorize copy of a lost or destroyed
(a) When an order for the delivery of personal pleading or other paper to be filed and used
property lying outside the province is to instead of the original, and to restore, and
be complied with; supply deficiencies in its records and
proceedings (Section 5, Rule 135).


MEANS TO CARRY JURISDICTION INTO  He shall send the same by registered mail to
EFFECT the clerk of the court where the case was
When by law, jurisdiction is conferred on a court heard or argued to be filed therein as of the
or judicial officer, all auxiliary writs, processes date when the same was received by the clerk,
and other means necessary to carry it into effect in the same manner as if he had been present
may be employed by such court or officer; and if in court to direct the filing of the judgment.
the procedure to be followed in the exercise of  If a case has been heard only in part, the
such jurisdiction is not specifically pointed out Supreme Court, upon petition of any of the
by law or by these rules, any suitable process or parties to the case and the recommendation
mode of proceeding may be adopted which of respective district judge, may also authorize
appears conformable to the spirit of said law or the judge who has partly heard the case, if no
rules (Section 6, Rule 135). other judge had heard the case in part, to
continue hearing and to decide said case
TRIAL, HEARINGS AND OTHER ACTS notwithstanding his transfer or appointment
 All trial upon the merits shall be conducted in to another court of equal jurisdiction (Section
open court and so far as convenient in a 9, Rule 135).
regular court room.
 All other acts or proceedings may be done or
conducted by a judge in chambers, without
the attendance of the clerk or other court Court Records and
officials (Section 7, Rule 135).
General Duties of Clerks
ORDERS OUT OF and Stenographers
When within the district but without the
province, a judge of Regional Trial Court shall
The clerk’s office, with the clerk or his deputy in
nevertheless have power to hear and determine attendance, shall be open during business
any interlocutory motion or issue after due and
hours on all days, except Sundays and legal
reasonable notice to the parties.
holidays. The clerk of the Supreme Court and
that of the Court of Appeals shall keep the office
The hearing may be had at any place in the
in Manila and all papers authorized or required
judicial district which the judge deems
to be filed therein shall be filed in Manila
convenient on the filing, in any Regional Trial
(Section 3, Rule 136).
(1) Of a petition for the writ of habeas corpus;
(2) For release upon bail or reduction of bail DUTIES OF THE CLERK
(Section 8, Rule 135). ISSUANCE OF PROCESS
(1) The clerk of a superior court shall issue under
SIGNING JUDGMENTS OUT OF PROVINCE the seal of the court all ordinary writs and
It shall be lawful for a judge to prepare and sign process incident to pending cases, the
his decision anywhere within the Philippines: issuance of which does not involve the
(1) Whenever a judge, appointed or assigned in exercise of functions appertaining to the
any province or branch of a Regional Trial court or judge only.
Court in a province, shall leave the province: (2) The clerk may, under the direction of the
(a) By transfer or assignment to another court or judge, make out and sign letters of
court of equal jurisdiction; or administration, appointments of guardians,
(b) By expiration of his temporary trustees and receivers, and all writs and
assignment; process issuing from the court.
(2) Without having decided a case, which was:
(a) Totally heard by him; and RECEPTION OF PAPERS AND
(b) Argued or an opportunity given for PREPARATION OF MINUTES
argument to the parties or their counsel. The clerk of each superior court shall:


(1) Receive and file all pleadings and other The clerk shall prepare, for any person
papers properly presented, endorsing on demanding the same, a copy certified under the
each such paper the time when it was seal of the court of any paper, record, order,
filed;and judgment, or entry in his office, proper to be
(2) Attend all of the sessions of the court and certified, for the fees prescribed by these rules
enter its proceedings for each day in a (Section 11, Rule 136).
minute book to be kept by him(Section 6,
(1) The general docket, judgment book, entries
SAFEKEEPING OF PROPERTY book and execution book shall each be
The clerk shall safely keep all records, papers, indexed in alphabetical order in the names
files, exhibits and public property committed to of the parties, and each of them.
his charge, including the library of the court, (2) If the court so directs, the clerk shall keep
and the seal and furniture belonging to his two or more of either or all of the books and
office (Section 7, Rule 136). dockets above mentioned, separating civil
from criminal cases, or actions from special
KEEPING A GENERAL DOCKET proceedings, or otherwise keeping cases
The clerk shall keep a general docket, each separated by classes as the court shall deem
page of which shall be numbered and prepared best (Section 13, Rule 136).
for receiving all the entries in a single case.
The following shall be entered in the docket, so KEEPING OTHER BOOKS AND OTHER
that by reference to a single page, the history of DUTIES
a case may be seen: The clerk shall keep such other books and
(1) All cases, numbered consecutively in the perform such other duties as the court may
order in which they were received; direct (Section 12, Rule 136).
(2) Under the heading of each case and a
complete title thereof: IN THE ABSENCE OR BY DIRECTION OF
(a) The date of each paper filed or issued; JUDGE
(b) Each order or judgment entered;and
(c) Each other step taken in the case (Section (1) In the absence of the judge, the clerk may
8, Rule 136). perform all the duties of the judge in
receiving applications, petitions, inventories,
KEEPING A JUDGMENT AND ENTRIES BOOK reports, and the issuance of all orders and
The clerk shall keep: notices that follow as a matter of course
(1) A judgment book containing a copy of each under the Rules of Court.
judgment rendered by the court in order of (2) The clerk may also, when directed so to do
its date; and by the judge, receive the accounts of
(2) A book of entries of judgments containing at executors, administrators, guardians,
length in chronological order entries of all trustees, and receivers, and all evidence
final judgments or orders of the court relating to them, or to the settlement of the
(Section 9, Rule 136). estates of deceased persons, or to
guardianships, trusteeships, or receiverships,
and forthwith transmit such reports,
KEEPING OF AN EXECUTION BOOK accounts, and evidence to the judge,
The clerk shall keep an execution book in which together with the findings in relation to the
he or his deputy shall record at length in same, if the judge shall direct him to make
chronological order each execution, and the findings and include the same in his report
officer’s return thereon, by virtue of which real (Section 5, Rule 136).
property has been sold (Section 10, Rule 136).



 No record shall be taken from the clerk’s (4) The date of the appearance of default of
office without an order of the court except as the defendant;
otherwise provided by these rules. (5) The date of presenting the plea, answer, or
 However, the Solicitor General or any of his motion to quash, and the nature of the
assistants, the provincial fiscal or his deputy, same;
and the attorneys de oficio shall be permitted, (6) The minutes of the trial, including the date
upon proper receipt, to withdraw from the thereof and of all adjournments;
clerk’s office the record of any case in which (7) The names and addresses of all witnesses;
they are interested (Section 14, Rule 136). (8) The date and nature of the judgment, and,
in a civil case, the relief granted;
STENOGRAPHER (9) An itemized statement of the costs;
 It shall be the duty of the stenographer who (10) The date of any execution issued, and the
has attended a session of a court either in the date and contents of the return thereon;
morning or in the afternoon, to deliver to the (11) The date of any notice of appeal filed and
clerk of court, immediately at the close of the name of the party filing the same.
such morning or afternoon session, all the
notes he has taken, to be attached to the He shall also:
record of the case. (1) Keep all the pleadings and other papers
 It shall likewise be the duty of the clerk to and exhibits in cases pending in his
demand that the stenographer comply with court;and
said duty. The clerk of court shall stamp the (2) Certify copies of his docket entries and
date on which notes are received by him. other records proper to be certified, for the
fees prescribed by the Rules of Court.
 When such notes are transcribed, the
transcript shall be delivered to the clerk, duly
initialed on each page thereof, to be attached  It shall not be necessary for the municipal or
to the record of the case. city judge to reduce to writing the testimony
of witnesses, except that of the accused in
 Whenever requested by a party, any
preliminary investigations.
statement made by a judge of first instance,
or by a commissioner, with reference to a case
being tried by him, or to any of the parties
thereto, or to any witness or attorney, during Legal Fees
the hearing of such case, shall be made of
record in the stenographic notes (Section 17, MANNER OF PAYMENT
Rule 136). Upon the filing of the pleading or other
application which initiates an action or
DOCKET AND OTHER RECORDS OF proceeding, the fees prescribed therefor shall be
INFERIOR COURTS paid in full (Section 1, Rule 141).
Every municipal or city judge shall keep a well-
bound labeled “docket.” He may keep two FEES IN LIEN
dockets, one for civil and one for criminal cases. The party concerned shall pay additional fees,
where the court in its final judgment awards:
In such docket, he shall enter for each case: (1) A claim not alleged; or
(1) Title of the case including the name of all (2) A relief different from, or more than that
the parties; claimed in the pleading.
(2) The nature of the case, whether civil or
criminal, and if the latter, the offense The additional fees which shall constitute a lien
charged; on the judgment. The clerk of court shall assess
(3) The date of issuing preliminary and and collect the corresponding fees (Section 2,
intermediate process including order of Rule 141).
arrest and subpoenas, and the date and
nature of the return thereon;


PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO COLLECT LEGAL No costs shall be allowed against the Republic
FEES of the Philippines, unless otherwise provided by
Except as otherwise provided in Rule 141, the law(Section 1, Rule 142).
following officers and persons, together with
their assistants and deputies, may demand, DISMISSED ACTION OR APPEAL
receive, and take the several fees hereinafter If an action or appeal is dismissed for want of
mentioned and allowed for any business by jurisdiction or otherwise, the court nevertheless
them respectively done by virtue of their several shall have the power to render judgment for
offices, and no more: costs, as justice may require (Section 2, Rule
(1) Clerks of the Supreme Court, Court of 142).
Appeals, Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax
(2) Clerks of Regional Trial Courts; Where an action or an appeal is found to be
(3) Clerks of first level courts; frivolous, double, or treble costs may be
(4) Sheriffs, process servers and other persons imposed on the plaintiff or appellant, which
serving processes; shall be paid by his attorney, if so ordered by the
(5) Stenographers; court (Section 3, Rule 142).
(6) Notaries;
(7) Other officers taking depositions. FALSE ALLEGATIONS
An averment in a pleading made without
 All fees so collected shall be forthwith reasonable cause and found untrue shall
remitted to the Supreme Court. The persons subject the offending party to the payment of
herein authorized to collect legal fees shall be such reasonable expenses as may have been
accountable officers and shall be required to necessarily incurred by the other party by reason
post bond in such amount as prescribed by of such untrue pleading. The amount of
the law (Section 3, Rule 141). expenses so payable shall be fixed by the judge
 It is not simply the filing of the complaint or in the trial, and taxed as costs (Section 4, Rule
appropriate initiatory pleading but the 142).
payment of the prescribed docket fee that
vests a trial court with jurisdiction over the NON-APPEARANCE OF WITNESS
subject matter or nature of the action. Where If a witness fails to appear at the time and place
the filing of the initiatory pleading is not specified in the subpoena issued by any inferior
accompanied by payment of the docket fee, court, the costs of the warrant of arrest and of
the court may allow payment of the fee within the arrest of the witness shall be paid by the
a reasonable time but in no case beyond the witness if the court shall determine that his
applicable prescriptive or reglementary period failure to answer the subpoena was willful or
[Sun Life Insurance v. Asuncion (1989)]. without just excuse (Section 12, Rule 142).

Recovery of Costs
Unless otherwise provided in the Rules of Court,
costs shall be allowed to the prevailing party as
a matter of course, but the court shall have
power, for special reasons, to adjudge:
(1) That either party shall pay the costs of an
action; or
(2) That the same shall be divided between
them, as may be equitable.