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B.M. No. 1161 (Re: Proposed Reforms in the Bar Examinations).

- - The Court resolved, upon the recommendation of

the Committee on Continuing Legal Education and Bar Matters, to LIFT the five-strike rule on bar repeaters, provided
that the candidates have enrolled in and passed in regular fourth year review classes as well as attended a pre-bar
review course every time they take the Bar Examinations after failing for the third time, under a curriculum prepared
by the Legal Education Board (LEB), and in law schools accredited by it for that purpose. This rule shall take effect
beginning with the 2014 Bar Examinations.
The resolution provides that the refresher candidates shall attend fourth year review classes under a curriculum
prepared by the LEB and in law schools accredited by the LEB for the purpose. Hence the passage by the LEB of the
appropriate rules was required for the implementation of the resolution.

540 SCRA 424 Civil Law Private International Law Nationality Theory Practice of Law is Reserved for
In 1998, Atty. Benjamin Dacanay went to Canada to seek medical help. In order for him to take advantage
of Canadas free medical aid program he became a Canadian citizen in 2004. In 2006 however, he reacquired his Philippine citizenship pursuant to Republic Act 9225 of the Citizenship Retention and ReAcquisition Act of 2003. In the same year, he returned to the Philippines and he now intends to resume his
practice of law.
ISSUE: Whether or not Benjamin Dacanay may still resume his practice of law.
HELD: Yes. As a rule, the practice of law and other professions in the Philippines are reserved and limited
only to Filipino citizens. Philippine citizenship is a requirement for admission to the bar. So when Dacanay
became a Canadian citizen in 2004, he ceased to have the privilege to practice law in the Philippines.
However, under RA 9225, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of another country is deemed never to
have lost his Philippine citizenship if he reacquires his Filipino citizenship in accordance with RA
9225. Hence, when Dacanay reacquires his Filipino citizenship in 2006, his membership to the Philippine
bar was deemed to have never been terminated.
But does this also mean that he can automatically resume his practice of law right after reacquisition?
No. Dacanay must still comply with several conditions before he can resume his practice of law, to wit:
(a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP;
(b) the payment of professional tax;
(c) the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal education; this is especially
significant to refresh the applicant/petitioners knowledge of Philippine laws and update him of legal
developments and
(d) the retaking of the lawyers oath which will not only remind him of his duties and responsibilities as
a lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also renew his pledge to maintain allegiance to the Republic of
the Philippines.
Compliance with these conditions will restore his good standing as a member of the Philippine bar.
A.M. No. 05-3-04-SC July 22, 2005
Facts: Atty. Noel S. Sorreda wrote a letter addressed to the Chief Justice over his frustrations of the outcome of his cases
decided by the Supreme Court. The letter contained derogatory and malignant remarks which are highly insulting. The
Court accorded Atty. Sorreda to explain, however, instead of appearing before the court, he wrote another letter with
insulting remarks as the first one. The court was thus offended with his remarks.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Sorreda can be held guilty of contempt due to the remarks he has made in his letters addressed
to the court.
Held: Unfounded accusations or allegations or words tending to embarrass the court or to bring it into disrepute have no
place in a pleading. Their employment serves no useful purpose. On the contrary, they constitute direct contempt of court
or contempt in facie curiae and a violation of the lawyers oath and a transgression of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. As officer of the court, Atty. Sorreda has the duty to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts and to
promote confidence in the fair administration of justice.[24] No less must this be and with greater reasons in the case of
the countrys highest court, the Supreme Court, as the last bulwark of justice and democracy
Atty. Sorreda must be reminded that his first duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice, to which his
clients success is wholly subordinate. His conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics.
The use of intemperate language and unkind ascription can hardly be justified nor can it have a place in the dignity of
judicial forum. Civility among members of the legal profession is a treasured tradition that must at no time be lost to it.

Hence, Atty. Sorreda has transcended the permissible bounds of fair comment and constructive criticism to the detriment
of the orderly administration of justice. Free expression, after all, must not be used as a vehicle to satisfy ones irrational
obsession to demean, ridicule, degrade and even destroy this Court and its magistrates. Thus, ATTY. NOEL S. SORREDA
is found guilty both of contempt of court and violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility amounting to gross
misconduct as an officer of the court and member of the Bar.
In Re: Al C. Argosino 246 SCRA 14 (1995)
The practice of law is a high personal privilege limited to citizens of good moral character, with special
education qualifications, duly ascertained and certified.
Requirement of good moral character is of greater importance so far as the general public and proper
administration of justice is concerned.
All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect of those seeking admission to
the Bar.
Requirement of good moral character to be satisfied by those who would seek admission to the bar must
be a necessity more stringent than the norm of conduct expected from members of the general public.
Participation in the prolonged mindless physical beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan constituted
evident rejection of that moral duty and was totally irresponsible behavior, which makes impossible a
finding that the participant was possessed of good moral character.
Good moral character is a requirement possession of which must be demonstrated at the time of the
application for permission to take the bar examinations and more importantly at the time of application for
admission to the bar and to take the attorney's oath of office.
On February 4, 1992 ,Argosino, together with 13 others, was charged with the crime of homicide in
connection with the death of one Raul Camaligan. The death of Camaligan stemmed from the affliction of
severe physical injuries upon him in course of "hazing" conducted as part of the university fraternity
initiation rites. On February 11, 1993, the accused were consequently sentenced to suffer imprisonment for
a period ranging from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years.
Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues filed an application for probation with the lower
court. The application was granted on June 18 1993. The period of probation was set at two (2) years,
counted from the probationer's initial report to the probation officer assigned to supervise him.
Less than a month later, Argosino filed a petition to take the bar exam. He was allowed and he passed the
exam, but was not allowed to take the lawyer's oath of office.
On April 15, 1994, Argosino filed a petition to allow him to take the attorney's oath and be admitted to the
practice of law. He averred that his probation period had been terminated. It is noted that his probation
period did not last for more than 10 months.
ISSUE: Whether Argosino should be allowed to take the oath of attorney and be admitted to the practice of
Mr. Argosino must submit to this Court evidence that he may now be regarded as complying with the
requirement of good moral character imposed upon those who are seeking admission to the bar. He should
show to the Court how he has tried to make up for the senseless killing of a helpless student to the family
of the deceased student and to the community at large. In short, he must show evidence that he is a
different person now, that he has become morally fit for admission to the profession of law.
He is already directed to inform the Court, by appropriate written manifestation, of the names of the
parents or brothers and sisters of Camaligan from notice.

179 SCRA 680 Legal Ethics Moral Delinquency

In 1985, Atty. Laurence Cordova, while being married to Salvacion Delizo and with two children, left his wife and children to
cohabit with another married woman. In 1986, Salvacion and Cordova had a reconciliation where Cordova promised to leave
his mistress. But apparently, Cordova still continued to cheat on her wife as apparently, Cordova again lived with another
woman and worse, he took one of his children with him and hid the child away from Salvacion.
In 1988, Salvacion filed a letter-complaint for disbarment against Cordova. Eventually, multiple hearing dates were sent but no
hearing took place because neither party appeared. In 1989, Salvacion sent a telegraphic message to the Commission on Bar
Discipline intimating that she and her husband has reconciled. The Commission, since Salvacion failed to submit her evidence
ex parte, merely recommended the reprimand and admonishment of Cordova.
ISSUE: Whether or not Cordova should be merely reprimanded.
HELD: No. He should be suspended indefinitely until he presents evidence that he has been morally reformed and that there
was true reconciliation between him and his wife. Before a person can be admitted to the bar, one requirement is that he
possesses good moral character. That requirement is not exhausted and dispensed with upon admission to membership of the
bar. On the contrary, that requirement persists as a continuing condition for membership in the Bar in good standing. The moral
delinquency that affects the fitness of a member of the bar to continue as such includes conduct that outrages the generally

accepted moral standards of the community, conduct for instance, which makes a mockery of the inviolable social institution
or marriage such was the case in the case at bar.
Legal Ethics Practice of Law

In 1991, Christian Monsod was appointed as the Chairman of the Commission on Elections. His appointment was affirmed by
the Commission on Appointments. Monsods appointment was opposed by Renato Cayetano on the ground that he does not
qualify for he failed to meet the Constitutional requirement which provides that the chairman of the COMELEC should have
been engaged in the practice law for at least ten years.
Monsods track record as a lawyer: Passed the bar in 1960 with a rating of 86.55%.
Immediately after passing, worked in his fathers law firm for one year.
Thereafter, until 1970, he went abroad where he had a degree in economics and held various positions in various foreign
In 1970, he returned to the Philippines and held executive jobs for various local corporations until 1986.
In 1986, he became a member of the Constitutional Commission.
ISSUE: Whether or not Monsod qualifies as chairman of the COMELEC. What constitutes practice of law?
HELD: Yes. Atty. Monsods past work experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry,
a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor verily more than satisfy the
constitutional requirement that he has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
As noted by various authorities, the practice of law is not limited to court appearances. The members of the bench and bar and
the informed laymen such as businessmen, know that in most developed societies today, substantially more legal work is
transacted in law offices than in the courtrooms. General practitioners of law who do both litigation and non-litigation work also
know that in most cases they find themselves spending more time doing what is loosely described as business counseling than in
trying cases. In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig engage in a number of legal tasks, each
involving different legal doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal institutions, clients, and other interested parties. Even the
increasing numbers of lawyers in specialized practice wig usually perform at least some legal services outside their specialty.
By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer is one of the relatively rare types a litigator who
specializes in this work to the exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will require the lawyer to have mastered the full range
of traditional lawyer skills of client counseling, advice-giving, document drafting, and negotiation.Legal Profession Admission to the Bar Citizenship Requirement
In 1998, Vicente Ching finished his law degree at the Saint Louis University in Baguio City. He
eventually passed the bar but he was advised that he needs to show proof that he is a Filipino citizen
before he be allowed to take his oath. Apparently, Chings father was a Chinese citizen but his mother
was a Filipino citizen. His parents were married before he was born in 1963. Under the 1935
Constitution, a legitimate child, whose one parent is a foreigner, acquires the foreign citizenship of
the foreign parent. Ching maintained that he has always considered himself as a Filipino; that he is a
certified public accountant a profession reserved for Filipinos; that he even served as a councilor in
a municipality in La Union.
The Solicitor-General commented on the case by saying that as a legitimate child of a Chinese and a
Filipino, Ching should have elected Filipino citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; that under
prevailing jurisprudence, upon reaching the age of majority is construed as within 7 years after
reaching the age of majority (in his case 21 years old because he was born in 1964 while the 1935
Constitution was in place).
Ching did elect Filipino citizenship but he only did so when he was preparing for the bar in 1998 or 14
years after reaching the age of majority. Nevertheless, the Solicitor-General recommended that the
rule be relaxed due to the special circumstance of Ching.
ISSUE: Whether or not Ching should be allowed to take the lawyers oath.
HELD: No. Unfortunately, he belatedly elected Filipino citizenship. The Supreme Court cannot agree
with the recommendation of the Solicitor-General. Fourteen years had lapsed and its way beyond the
allowable 7 year period. The Supreme Court even noted that the period is originally 3 years but it was
extended to 7 years. (It seems it cant be extended any further). Chings special circumstances cant
be considered. It is not enough that he considered all his life that he is a Filipino; that he is a

professional and a public officer (was) serving this country. The rules for citizenship are in place.
Further, Ching didnt give any explanation why he belatedly chose to elect Filipino citizenship (but I
guess its simply because he never thought hes Chinese not until he applied to take the bar). The
prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and painstaking
process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship
and, thereafter, file the same with the nearest civil registry. Chings unreasonable and unexplained
delay in making his election cannot be simply glossed over.

Cases on Requirement of Good Moral Character:

In The Matter Of The Disqualification Of Bar Examinee Haron S. Meling In The 2002 Bar Examinations
And For Disciplinary Action As Member Of The Philippine Sharia Bar, Atty. Froilan R. Melendrez, B.M.
No. 1154, June 8, 2004
In Bar Matter 1209, the Court stated, thus:
It has been held that good moral character is what a person really is, as distinguished
from good reputation or from the opinion generally entertained of him, the estimate in
which he is held by the public in the place where he is known. Moral character is not a
subjective term but one which corresponds to objective reality. The standard of personal
and professional integrity is not satisfied by such conduct as it merely enables a person
to escape the penalty of criminal law. Good moral character includes at least common
In Re: Petition Of Al Argosino To Take The Lawyers Oath, B.M. No. 712, March 19, 1997
We stress to Mr. Argosino that the lawyer's oath is NOT a mere ceremony or formality for practicing
law. Every lawyer should at ALL TIMES weigh his actions according to the sworn promises he makes
when taking the lawyer's oath. If all lawyers conducted themselves strictly according to the lawyer's
oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility, the administration of justice will undoubtedly be
faster, fairer and easier for everyone concerned.
Cayetano vs. Monsod, G.R. No. 100113, September 3, 1991
Black defines "practice of law" as:
The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and
technique to serve the interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or
advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of pleadings, and
other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of legal
instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients
and all actions taken for them in matters connected with the law. An attorney engages in the practice
of law by maintaining an office where he is held out to be-an attorney, using a letterhead describing
himself as an attorney, counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel about
pending litigation, and fixing and collecting fees for services rendered by his associate. (Black's Law
Dictionary, 3rd ed.)
The provision on qualifications regarding members of the Bar does not necessarily refer or involve
actual practice of law outside the COA We have to interpret this to mean that as long as the lawyers
who are employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their respective work
within COA, then they are qualified to be considered for appointment as members or commissioners,
even chairman, of the Commission on Audit.

The Practice of Law a Profession, Not a Business

Lawyering is not primarily meant to be a money-making venture, and law advocacy is
not a capital that necessarily yields profits. The gaining of a livelihood is not a
professional but a secondary consideration. Duty to public service and to the
administration of justice should be the primary consideration of lawyers, who must
subordinate their personal interests or what they owe to themselves. The practice of law
is a noble calling in which emolument is a byproduct, and the highest eminence may be
attained without making much money.

Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that lawyers shall hold
in trust all moneys of their clients and properties that may come into their possession.

Lawyers who convert the funds entrusted to them are in gross violation of professional
ethics and are guilty of betrayal of public confidence in the legal profession.
Section 1. Conditions for Student Practice. A law student who has successfully
completed his 3rd year of the regular four-year prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled
in a recognized law school's clinical legal education program approved by the Supreme
Court, may appear without compensation in any civil, criminal or administrative case
before any trial court, tribunal, board or officer, to represent indigent clients accepted by
the legal clinic of the law school.
Sec. 2. Appearance. The appearance of the law student authorized by this rule, shall
be under the direct supervision and control of a member of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines duly accredited by the law school. Any and all pleadings, motions, briefs,
memoranda or other papers to be filed, must be signed by the supervising attorney for
and in behalf of the legal clinic.
The rule, however, is different if the law student appears before an inferior court, where
the issues and procedure are relatively simple. In inferior courts, a law student may
appear in his personal capacity without the supervision of a lawyer. Section 34, Rule 138
SEC. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. In the Court of a municipality a party
may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him
for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may conduct
his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney and his appearance must be either
personal or by a duly authorized member of the bar.

Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the inferior courts by a non-lawyer
is allowed, irrespective of whether or not he is a law student. As succinctly clarified in Bar
Matter No. 730, by virtue of Section 34, Rule 138, a law student may appear, as an agent
or a friend of a party litigant, without the supervision of a lawyer before inferior courts.
Cordova vs. Cordova, A.M. No. 3249, November 29, 1989
After a review of the record, we agree with the findings of fact of the IBP Board. We also
agree that the most recent reconciliation between complainant and respondent,
assuming the same to be real, does not excuse and wipe away the misconduct and
immoral behavior of the respondent carried out in public, and necessarily adversely
reflecting upon him as a member of the Bar and upon the Philippine Bar itself. An
applicant for admission to membership in the bar is required to show that he is
possessed of good moral character. That requirement is not exhausted and dispensed
with upon admission to membership of the bar. On the contrary, that requirement
persists as a continuing condition for membership in the Bar in good standing.

Liabilities of Lawyers
Civil Liability
1.Client is prejudiced by lawyers negligence or misconduct
2.Breach of fiduciary obligation
3.Civil liability to third persons
4.Libelous words in pleadings; violation of communication privilege
5.Liability for costs of suit (treble costs) when lawyer is made liable for insisting on clients
patently unmeritorious case or interposing appeal merely to delay litigation
Criminal Liability
1.Prejudicing client through malicious breach of professional duty
2.Revealing clients secrets
3.Representing adverse interests
4.Introducing false evidence
5.Misappropriating clients funds (estafa)
Contempt of Court

a. Kinds of Contempt:
Direct consists of misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court or judge as to
interrupt or obstruct the proceedings before the court or the administration of justice;
punished summarily.
Indirect one committed away from the court involving disobedience of or resistance to a
lawful writ, process, order, judgment or command of the court, or tending to belittle,
degrade, obstruct, interrupt or embarrass the court.
Civil- failure to do something ordered by the court which is for the benefit of a party.
Criminal any conduct directed against the authority or dignity of the court.
b. Acts Constituting Contempt:
3.Publication concerning pending litigation
4.Publication tending to degrade the court; disrespectful language in pleadings
5.Misleading the court or obstructing justice
6.Unauthorized practice of law
7.Belligerent attitude
8.Unlawful retention of clients funds
Administrative Liabilities of lawyers
Main Objectives of Disbarment and Suspension: compel the attorney to deal fairly and honestly with his clients; remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to be
entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney; punish the lawyer; set an example or a warning for the other members of the bar; safeguard the administration of justice from incompetent and dishonest lawyers; protect the public
Characteristics of Disbarment Proceedings:
1.Neither a civil nor criminal proceedings;
2.Double jeopardy cannot be availed of in a disbarment proceeding;
3.It can be initiated motu propio by the SC or IBP. It can be initiated without a complaint;
4.It is imprescriptible;
5.Conducted confidentially;
6.It can proceed regardless of the interest of the lack thereof on the part of the
7.It constitutes due process.
Grounds for Disbarment or Suspension:
2.malpractice or other gross misconduct in office;
3.grossly immoral conduct;
4.conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;
5.violation of oath of office;
6.willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court;
7.corrupt or willful appearance as attorney for a party to case without authority to do so
(Sec. 27, Rule 138, RRC)
Procedure for Disbarment
1.Institution either by:
2.the Supreme Court, motu proprio, or
3.the IBP, motu proprio, or
4.upon verified complaint by any person
5.Six copies of the verified complaint shall be filed with the Secretary of the IBP or Secretary
of any of its chapter and shall be forwarded to the IBP Board of Governors.
6.Investigation by the National Grievance Investigators.
7.Submission of investigative report to the IBP Board of Governors.
8.Board of Governors decides within 30 days.

9.Investigation by the Solicitor-General

10.SC renders final decision for disbarment/suspension/dismissal.
Quantum of Proof Required: CLEAR, CONVINCING & SATISFACTORY evidence.
Burden of Proof:Rests on the COMPLAINANT, the one who instituted the suit
Officers authorized to investigate Disbarment cases:
1.Supreme Court
2.IBP through its Commission on Bar Discipline or authorized investigator
3.Office of the Solicitor General
Mitigating Circumstances in Disbarment:
1.Good faith in the acquisition of a property of the client subject of litigation (In re: Ruste, 70
Phil. 243)
2.Inexperience of the lawyer (Munoz v. People, 53 SCRA 190)
3.Age (Lantos v. Gan, 196 SCRA 16)
4.Apology (Munoz v. People, 53 SCRA 190)