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Legal and Judicial Ethics

MUST READ CASES (LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS)


Cayetano vs. Monsod, G.R. No. 100113, September 3, 1991Practice of
law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of
law, legal procedure, knowledge, training, and experience. To engage in the
practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the
profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of
service which, device or service requires the use in any degree of legal
knowledge or skill.
- Practice of law is any activity, in or out of court, which requires the
application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training, and
experience.

In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty.


Marcial A. Edillon (IBP Administrative Case No. MDD-1, A.M. No.
1928, August 3, 1978
The practice of law is not a natural, property or constitutional right but a
mere privilege, a privilege clothed with public interest because a lawyer
owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the
profession, to the courts, and to the nation.

The practice of law is a privilege clothed with public interest. A lawyer


owes substantial duties to his client, brethren in the profession, to the
courts, and to the nation.

Petition for Authority to Continue Use of the Firm Name Sycip,


Salazar, Feliciano, Hernandez & Castillo, G.R. No. X92-1, July 30,
1979
A partnership in the practice of law is a mere relationship or association for
such particular purpose. It is not a partnership formed for the purpose of
carrying on a trade or business or of holding property.

A partnership in the practice of law is only for that particular purpose,


it is not similar with a partnership formed for the purpose of carrying
on a trade or business.

Legal and Judicial Ethics

In the Matter of the Petition for Disbarment of Telesforo Diao vs.


Martinez, A.C. No. 244, March 29, 1963
An applicant who has not completed his pre-legal education or completed
the same only after he began his study of law will not be qualified to take the
bar examinations, and if by concealment of that fact he is able to take and
pass the bar examinations and thereafter is admitted to the bar, his passing
the bar examinations will not validate his admission to practice, taking the
prescribed course of legal study in the regular manner being as essential as
the other requirements for membership in the bar.

Completing the prescribed course of legal study is essential before


taking the bar examinations.

Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions vs. Binalbagan Isabela


Sugar Co., G.R. No. L-23959, November 29, 1971
A layman should confine his work to non adversary contentions. He should
not undertake purely legal work such as the examination or crossexamination of witnesses or the presentation of evidence.
- A layman is only allowed to undertake non-adversarial contentions and
not purely legal work like presenting evidence and examining
witnesses.
Ui vs. Bonifacio, A.C. No. 3319, June 8, 2000
Immoral conduct connotes conduct that shows indifference to the moral
norms of society and the opinion of good and respectable members of the
community. For such conduct to warrant disciplinary action, the same must
be grossly immoral, that is, it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute
a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree.

For an immoral conduct to warrant disciplinary action, it has to be


grossly immoral as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled.

Philippine Aluminum Wheels, Inc. vs. FASGI Enterprises, Inc., G.R.


No. 137378, October 12, 2000

Legal and Judicial Ethics


A lawyer cannot compromise the case of his client without the latters
consent even if he believes that the compromise is for the better interest of
the client.

In no event shall a lawyer compromise his clients case without the


latters consent.

In re: Atty. Renerio G. Paas, A.M. No. 01-12-02-SC, April 4, 2003


A lawyer who uses as his office address the office of his wife who is a judge
was found guilty of using a fraudulent, misleading and deceptive address
that had no purpose other than to try to impress either the court in which the
cases are lodged, or his clients that he has close ties to a member of the
judiciary.

The prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the
private interests of others, nor convey or permit others to convey that
they are in a special possession to influence the judge. (Cannon 2, Rule
2.03)

Dacanay vs. Baker & McKenzie, A.M. No. 2131, May 10, 1985
Filipino lawyers cannot practice law under the name of a foreign law firm, as
the latter cannot practice law in the Philippines and the use of the foreign
law firms name is unethical.

Filipino lawyers cannot practice law under the name of a foreign law
firm.

Zualo vs. CFI of Cebu, CA-G.R. No. 27718-R, July 7, 1961


Attorneys should familiarize themselves with the rules and comply with their
requirements. They also are chargeable with notice of changes in the rules

Legal and Judicial Ethics


which have been held as including not only express reglementary provisions
but also a regular practice under the Rules of Court.

Attorneys should be familiar with the Rules of Court and comply with
its requirements including express reglementary provisions.

Jose vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-38581, March 31, 1976
A public prosecutor is a quasi-judicial officer. He is the representative not of
an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to
govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and
whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a
case but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very
definite sense the servant of the law, the two-fold aim of which is that guilt
shall not escape or innocence suffer.

A public prosecutor is a quasi-judicial officer whose interest is to uphold


justice in a criminal prosecution, whose two-fold aim is for the guilty
not to escape and the innocent not to suffer.

General Bank and Trust Co. vs. Ombudsman, G.R. No. 125440,
January 31, 2000
Where the matter referred to in Rule 6.03, in which the lawyer intervened
as a government official in a case is different from the matter or case in
which he intervenes either as incumbent government official or as a former
or retired public officer, there is no violation of Rule 6.03 nor he will be taking
inconsistent positions nor will there be representation of conflict of interests,
nor violation of Sec. 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law.

Rule 6.03 is violated when, after leaving government service, he


accepts employment in connection with the case he intervened while
in government service.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


In the Matter of the Brewing Controversies in the Elections of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, 686 SCRA 791 (2012)
Election through rotation by exclusion is the more established rule in the
IBP. The rule prescribes that once a member of the chapter would be
excluded in the next turn until all have taken their turns in the rotation cycle.
Once a full rotation cycle ends and a fresh cycle commences, all the chapters
in the region are once again entitled to vie but subject again to the rule on
rotation by exclusion.

Rotation by Exclusion dictates that, once a member of the chapter is


elected as governor, his or her chapter would be excluded in the next
turn until all have taken turns in the rotation cycle.

In re: Edillion, A.M. No. 1928 August 3, 1978


We see nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court, under its
constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission
to the practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X,
Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) which power the respondent
acknowledges from requiring members of a privileged class, such as
lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of
regulation of the profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that
the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds
for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration.

Payment of IPB membership fee is constitutional. It is imposed as a


regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out the
objectives and purposes of integration.

In re: Atty. Jose Principe, Bar Matter No. 543, 20 September 20,
1990
There is no such thing as retirement in the IBP as understood in labor law. A
lawyer, however, may terminate his bar membership after filing the required
verified notice of termination with the Secretary of the Integrated Bar.

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-

A lawyer may choose to terminate his Bar membership by filing the


required notice of termination with the Secretary of the Integrated Bar.

In re: Ramon Galang, A.C. No. 1163, August 29, 1975


When the applicant concealed a charge of a crime against him but which
crime does not involve moral turpitude, this concealment nevertheless will
be taken against him. It is the fact of concealment and not the commission of
the crime itself that makes him morally unfit to become a lawyer. When he
made a concealment he perpetrated perjury.

Concealing the commission of a crime whether it involves moral


turpitude or not is perjury, which makes one unfit to become a lawyer.

Royong vs. Oblena, G.R. No. 376, April 30, 1963


It is not necessary that there be prior conviction for the offense before a
lawyer can be disciplined for gross immorality; it is enough that the act
charged, in the language of the law, constitutes a crime.

Prior conviction is not necessary for a lawyer to be disciplined for gross


immorality, it is enough that that the act charged constitutes a crime.

Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd. Employees Association vs. Insular


Life Assurance Co., Ltd., G.R. No. L-25291, January 30, 1971
In citing the Supreme Courts decisions and rulings, it is the bounden duty of
the courts, judges and lawyers to reproduce or copy the same word for word
and punctuation mark by punctuation mark. There is a salient and salutary
reason why they should do this. Only from this Tribunals decisions and
rulings do all other courts, as well as lawyers and litigants take their
bearings. Thus, ever present is the danger that if not faithfully and exactly
quoted, the decisions and rulings of this Court may lose their proper and
correct meaning, to the detriment of the other courts, lawyers and the public
who may thereby be misled.

Legal and Judicial Ethics

Supreme Court rulings and decisions should be faithfully and exactly


quoted, its decisions and rulings may lose their proper and correct
meaning, to the detriment of other courts, lawyers and the public who
may thereby be misled.

Surigao Mineral Reservation Board vs. Cloribel, G.R. No. L-27072,


January 9, 1970
A lawyers language should be forceful but dignified, emphatic but respectful
as befitting an advocate and in keeping with the dignity of the legal
profession.

Arangco vs. Baloso, G.R. No. L-28617, January 31, 1973


If a lawyer is honestly convinced of the futility of an appeal he should not
hesitate to inform his client. He should temper his clients desire to seek
appellate review of such decision for it will only increase the burden on
appellate tribunals, prolong litigation, and expose his client to useless
expenses of suit.

A lawyer should not hesitate to tell his client that an appeal is futile to
avoid useless and expensive suits, and also to decrease the burden of
an appellate tribunal.

Sarenas vs. Ocampos, A.C. No. 4401, January 29, 2004


Every case a lawyer accepts deserves full attention, diligence, skill, and
competence regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee
or for free. It bears emphasis that a client is entitled to the benefit of any and
every remedy and defense that is authorized by the law and expects his
lawyer to assert every such remedy or defense.

Every case a lawyer accepts deserves his full competence and


attention may it be for a fee or for free.

Legal and Judicial Ethics

New Sampaguita Builders Construction, Inc. vs. Philippine National


Bank, G.R. No. 148753, July 30, 2004
A partys engagement of his counsel in another capacity concurrent with the
practice of law is not prohibited, so long as the roles being assumed by such
counsel is made clear to the client. The only reason for this clarification
requirement is that certain ethical considerations operative in one profession
may not be so in the other.

Espiritu vs. Cabredo IV, A.C. 5831, January 23, 2003


The relationship between a lawyer and a client is highly fiduciary; it requires
a high degree of fidelity and good faith. Money or other trust property of the
client coming into the possession of the lawyer should be reported by the
latter and accounted for promptly and should not, under any circumstances,
be commingled with his own or be used by him.

Attorney-Client relationship is highly fiduciary which requires high


degree of fidelity and good faith.

Lorenzana Food Corporation vs. Daria, A.C. No. 2736, May 27, 1991
An attorney owes loyalty to his client not only in the case in which he has
represented him but also after the relation of attorney and client has
terminated. It is not a good practice to permit him afterwards to defend in
another case other persons against his former client under the pretext that
the case is distinct from and independent of the former case.

A lawyer owes loyalty to his client even after the termination of their
relationship, such that its not good practice to accept a case against
his former client.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corp. vs. De Dios Transportation Co.,
Inc and De Dios Marikina Transit Corp., G.R. No. 147010, July 18,
2003
Notice of withdrawal without conformity of client is a mere scrap of paper.
The lawyer remains bound to the case of the client.

Notice of withdrawal needs the conformity of the client to be binding.

De Jesus-Paras v. Vailoces, Adm. Case No. 439 (1961)


Double jeopardy cannot be availed of in disbarment proceedings against an
attorney. Disbarment does not partake of a criminal proceeding. Thus a
lawyer who was found guilty of falsification of public documents cannot put
up the defense of double jeopardy in the disbarment proceeding filed against
him which is based on the same facts as the criminal case.

Disbarment does not partake the nature of criminal proceedings, thus


double jeopardy cannot be availed of as a defense.

Sps Arcing v. Atty. Cefra (2013)


The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a lawyer shall serve
his client with competence and diligence, shall not neglect a legal matter
entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render
him liable and in addition, to keep the client informed of the status of his
case. A lawyers lethargy from the perspective of the Canons is both
unprofessional and unethical showing lack of diligence and inattention to his
duties as a lawyer and warrants disciplinary sanction.

A lawyer shall serve his client with utmost competence and diligence,
any negligence relating thereto shall render him liable. In addition, he
is obliged to keep his client informed of the status of the case.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


Cuenco v. Fernan, 158 SCRA 29 (1988)
Complaints for disbarment may not lie against impeachable officers of the
government during their tenure. They may only be removed from office by
impeachment for and conviction of certain offenses.

Impeachable officers of the government cannot be disbarred during


their tenure and can only be removed from office through
impeachment and conviction of certain offenses.

Siao Aba et al v. Atty. De Guzman Jr et al (2011)


The Court has consistently held that in suspension or disbarment
proceedings against lawyers, the lawyer enjoys the presumption of
innocence, and the burden of proof rests upon the complainant. The
evidence required in the suspension or disbarment proceedings is
preponderance of evidence. In case the evidence of the parties are equally
balanced, the equipoise doctrine mandates a decision in favor of the
defendant.

Preponderance of evidence is required for any suspension or


disbarment proceedings, the lawyer enjoys the presumption of
innocence and the burden of proof lies upon the complainant.

Uy v. Mercado (1987)
Res Ipsa Loquitor applies to both judges and lawyers. Judges had been
dismissed form the service without the need of a formal investigation
because based on the records, the gross misconduct or inefficacy of the
judges clearly appears.

Judges and lawyers can be dismissed without the need of formal


investigation since Res Ipsa Liquitor applies to both of them.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


Benigno Reas v. Carlos Relacion, (2011)
1. The Courts disciplinary authority is not dependent on or cannot be
frustrated by the private arrangements entered into by the parties;
otherwise, the prompt and fair administration of justice, as well as the
discipline of court personnel, will be undermined.
(2) Public interest is at stake in the conduct and actuations of the officials
and employees of the Judiciary.
(3) The Courts interest in the affairs of the Judiciary is a paramount concern
that bows to no limits.

The compromise agreement between parties does not necessarily


warrant the dismissal of the administrative case.

Cui v. Cui, G.R. No. L-18727 , August 31, 1964


Whether or not the applicant shall be reinstated rests to a great extent in the
sound discretion of the court. The court action will depend, generally
speaking, on whether or not it decides that the public interest in the orderly
and impartial administration of justice will be conserved by the applicant's
participation therein in the capacity of an attorney and counselor at law. The
applicant must, like a candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the court
that he is a person of good moral character a fit and proper person to
practice law. The court will take into consideration the applicant's character
and standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and character of the charge
for which he was disbarred, his conduct subsequent to the disbarment, and
the time that has elapsed between the disbarment and the application for
reinstatement.

Suspended or disbarred applicants restitution rest within the sound


discretion of the court. The applicant like a candidate for admission to
the bar, must satisfy the court that he is a person of good moral
character, a fit and proper person to practice law.

Baylon v. Almo, (2008)


Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with
substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or
authorized may act as notaries public. A notarial document is by law entitled

Legal and Judicial Ethics


to full faith and credit upon its face. Courts, administrative agencies and the
public at large must be able to rely upon the acknowledgement executed by
a notary public.

Notarization is invested with substantive public interest, such that only


those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public.

Sicat v. Arriola, (2005)

The act of a lawyer notarizing a Special Power of Attorney knowing that the
person who allegedly executed it is dead is a serious breach of the sacred
obligation imposed upon him by the Code of Professional Responsibility,
specifically Rule 1.01 of Canon 1.

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


conduct. (Rule 1.01 of Canon 1)

Sales v. CA, 211 SCRA 858,865, G.R. No. L-40145 July 29, 1992
Notary may Notarize Instruments which refer to properties located outside
his territorial jurisdiction. What is important under the Notarial Law is that
the notary public concerned has authority to acknowledge the document
executed within his territorial jurisdiction.

Jandoquile v. Revilla, A.C. No. 9514, 10 April 2013


If the notary public personally knows the affiant, he need not require them to
show their valid identification cards. This rule is supported by the definition
of jurat under Sec. 6, Rule II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice.

Valid IDs are not necessary if the affiant is personally known by the
Notary Public.

Legal and Judicial Ethics

Gahol vs. Riodigue, 64 SCRA 494


If the decision rendered by the judge is still on appeal, the judge cannot be
disqualified on the ground of knowingly rendering an unjust judgment.

Ethelwoldo E. Fernandez, Antonio A. Henson & Angel S. Ong Vs.


Court of Appeals Asso. Justices Ramon M. Bato, Jr., Isaias P.
Dicdican, A.M. OCA IPI No. 12-201-CA-J. February 19, 2013
It is also worth mentioning that the provisions of Article 204 of the Revised
Penal Code as to "rendering knowingly unjust judgment" refer to an
individual judge who does so "in any case submitted to him for decision"
and has no application to the members of a collegiate court such as
the Sandiganbayan or its divisions, who reach their conclusions in
consultation and accordingly render their collective judgment after due
deliberation. It also follows, consequently, that a charge of violation of the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on the ground that such a collective
decision is "unjust" cannot prosper.

Cases against judges on the grounds of unjust decision, applies only to


individual judges and not to members of the collegiate court since their
judgment is collective and after due deliberation.

Tan vs. Rosete, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1563, September 8, 2004 (formerly


A.M. OCA IPI No. 02-1207-MTJ
In this case, the Court ruled that [r]espondents act of sending a member of
his staff to talk with complainant and show copies of his draft decisions, and
his act of meeting with litigants outside the office premises beyond office
hours violate the standard of judicial conduct required to be observed by
members of the Bench.

It is important that a judges personal behavior both in the


performance of his duties and his daily life, be free from any
appearance of impropriety as to be beyond reproach.

Legal and Judicial Ethics

Salud vs. Alumbres, A.M. No. RTJ-00-159, June 23, 2003


The Code of Judicial Conduct mandates judges to administer justice without
delay and directs every judge to dispose of the courts business promptly
within the period prescribed by the law and the rules. Delay ultimately
affects the image of the judiciary. Failure to comply with the mandate of the
Constitution and of the Code of Judicial Conduct constitutes serious
misconduct, which is detrimental to the honor and integrity of a judicial
office. Inability to decide a case despite the ample time prescribed is
inexcusable, constitutes gross inefficiency, and warrants administrative
sanction of the defaulting judge.

Judges should administer justice without delay and dispose of the


courts business promptly within the period prescribed by the law and
the rules.

Anonymous Vs. Judge Rio C. Achas, MTCC Branch 2, Ozamiz City,


MIsamis Occidental, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801. February 27, 2013
It is not commendable, proper or moral for a judge to be perceived as going
out with a woman not his wife. Such is a blemish to his integrity and
propriety, as well as to that of the Judiciary.

A judge should not blemish his integrity and propriety, as well as that
of the Judiciary.

Armi M. Flordeliza, et al. vs. Judge Julia A. Reyes, A.M. No. MTJ-061625, September 18, 2009
Those who don the judicial robe must observe judicial decorum which
requires magistrate to be at all times temperate in their language, refraining
from inflammatory or excessive rhetoric or from resorting to language of
vilification. The respondents use of vulgar language has no place in the
court. The frequent nocturnal gimmicks also impair the respect due to her as
a Judge. Furthermore, borrowing money from her staff is not illegal per se but

Legal and Judicial Ethics


this is an unbecoming conduct of a judge because she exerted moral
ascendancy over her staff.

A judge must at all times observe judicial decorum.

Atty. Melvin D.C. Mane vs. Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen A.M. No.
RTJ-08-2119, June 30, 2008
An alumnus of a particular law school has no monopoly of knowledge of the
law. For a judge to determine the fitness or competence of a lawyer primarily
on the basis of his alma mater is clearly an engagement in an argumentum
ad hominem. In the case, the judge questions the capability and credibility of
the complainant just because he was not a graduate from UP Law School.
The Court has reminded members of the bench that even on the face of
boorish behavior from those they deal with, they ought to conduct
themselves in a manner befitting gentlemen and high officers of the court.

A judge should not determine the competence of a lawyer primarily on


the basis of his alma mater.

Pimentel vs. Salanga, G.R. No. L-27934, September 18, 1967


A judge may not be legally prohibited from sitting in a litigation. But when
suggestion is made of record that he might be induced to act in favor of one
party or with bias or prejudice against a litigant arising out of circumstances
reasonably capable of inciting such a state of mind, he should conduct a
careful self-examination. He should exercise his discretion in a way that the
people's faith in the courts of justice is not impaired.

A judge may voluntary inhibit himself from a case to preserve the


peoples faith in the courts of justice.

Aleria, Jr. vs. Velez, G.R. No. 127400 November 16, 1998

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The bias and prejudice must be shown to have stemmed from an extrajudicial source and result in an opinion on the merits on some basis other
than the evidence presented.

Oktubre vs. Velasco, A.M. No. MTJ 02-1444, July 20, 2004
A municipal judge who filed complaints in his own court for robbery and
malicious mischief against a party for the purpose of protecting the property
interests of the judges co-heirs, and then issued warrants of arrest against
the party, was found guilty of serious misconduct and ordered dismissed
from the bench before he was able to recuse himself. The Supreme Court
held that "his subsequent inhibition from the cases which he filed in his own
court does not detract from his culpability for he should have not taken
cognizance of the cases in the first place the evil that the rule on
disqualification seeks to prevent is the denial of a party of his right to due
process.

A judge should not take part in a proceeding where his impartiality


might be reasonably questioned. (Rule 3.12 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct)

DATU INOCENCIO C. SIAWAN vs. JUDGE AQUILINO A. INOPIQUEZ, JR.,


A.M. No. MTJ-95-1056. May 21, 2001
The purpose of the prohibition is to prevent not only a conflict of interest but
also the appearance of impropriety on the part of a judge. The failure of
respondent judge to inhibit himself in the case of his uncle constitutes an
abuse of his authority and undermines public confidence in the impartiality
of judges.

Purpose of inhibition is to prevent conflict of interest and avoid the


appearance of impropriety on the part of the judge.

Office of the Court Administrator vs. Paderanga A.M. No. RTJ-011660, August 25 2005

Legal and Judicial Ethics


A judge is commanded at all times to be mindful of the high calling of a
dispassionate and impartial arbiter expected at all times to be a cerebral
man who deliberately holds in check the tug and pull of purely personal
preferences which he shares with his fellow mortals. Judges should refrain
from inviting counsel for one side into their chambers after or prior to
sessions in court without disclosing to the other counsel the reason for such
meetings, being aggressive in demeanor towards a lawyer appearing before
them, and making public comments, or allowing court staff to make
comments, on pending cases.

A judge should be patient, attentive and courteous to all lawyers,


especially the inexperienced, to litigants, witnesses, and others
appearing before the court. In addition, a judges role to those who
appear in court must be that of temperance, patience and courtesy.

Manansala III vs. Asdala, A.M. No. RTJ-05-1916, May 10 2005


A judge was found liable for gross misconduct when he made phone calls to
the station commander on behalf of a family friend who had been detained,
and asked her bailiff to look into the status of the car that had been left in
the parking lot when the friend had been arrested.

RULE 2.04. A Judge shall refrain from influencing in any manner the
outcome of litigation or dispute pending before another court or
administrative agency.

Venancio Inonog vs. Judge Francisco B. Ibay, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2175,


July 28, 2009
Respondent judge cited complainant in contempt of court because
complainant parked his superiors vehicle at the parking space
reserved for respondent judge. A magistrate must exhibit that hallmark
of judicial temperament of utmost sobriety and self-restraint which are
indispensable qualities of every judge. Respondent judge should not have
allowed himself to be annoyed to a point that he would even waste valuable
court time and resources on a trivial matter.

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-

A judge should exhibit utmost sobriety and self-restraint, and not allow
oneself to be annoyed to a point of wasting valuable court time and
resources on trivial matter.

J. King & Sons Company, Inc. vs. Judge Agapito L. Hontanosas, Jr.,
A.M. No. RTJ-03-1802, September 21, 2004

The Court reiterates the common sense rule that once retired, judges may no
longer decide cases. Neither may they, or even their successors, promulgate
decisions written while they were still in office. In short, once retired, they
can no longer write or promulgate decisions, orders or other actions proper
only to incumbents.

Once retired, a judge can no longer write or promulgate decisions,


orders or other actions proper only to incumbents.

Atty. Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu vs. Judge Raphael B. Yrastorza,


Sr., A.M. RTJ-03-1793, February 5, 2004

A judges duty to observe courtesy to those who appear before him is not
limited to lawyers. The said duty also includes being courteous to litigants
and witnesses. Respondents conduct towards Consuelo Aznar leaves a lot to
be desired. As stated in the complaint, respondent ordered Consuelo Aznar
to go back to her house to get the original documents in five minutes or he
would dismiss the case. Respondent did not offer any explanation to this
charge against him. Respondents act in this instance smacks of judicial
tyranny.

A judges duty to observe courtesy to those who appear before him is


not limited to lawyers, this duty extends to litigants and witnesses.

Mataga v. Rosete, A.M. No. MTJ-03-1488, October 13, 2004

Legal and Judicial Ethics


Judges should organize their courts to ensure the prompt and convenient
dispatch of business and should not tolerate misconduct by clerks, sheriffs
and other assistants who are sometimes prone to expect favors or special
treatment due to their professional relationship with the judge. All personnel
involved in the dispensation of justice should conduct themselves with a high
degree of responsibility.

Atty. Manuel J. Jimenez, Jr. Vs. Presiding Judge Michael M.


Amdengan, Municipal Trail Court, Angono Rizal, A.M. No. MTJ-121818. February 13, 2013
In this case, respondent judge was found guilty of gross inefficiency for
having failed to resolve the ejectment case within the prescribed 30-day
period after the filing of the parties respective Position Papers, pursuant to
Rule 70 of the Rules of Court and the 1991 Revised Rules on Summary
Procedure. The Supreme Court took into consideration the judges candid
admission and acceptance of his infraction as factors in imposing only a fine
and also took into account his age and frail health, although these factors
did not in any way absolve him from liability or excuse him from
diligently fulfilling his duties.
-

A judges age and frail health does not absolve him from the liability or
excuse him from diligently fulfilling his duties.

Narciso G. Dulalia v. Judge Afable E. Cajigal, RTC, Br. 96, Quezon


City, A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 10-3492-RTJ, December 4, 2013
Well entrenched is the rule that a judge may not be administratively
sanctioned for mere errors of judgment in the absence of showing of any bad
faith, fraud, malice, gross ignorance, corrupt purpose, or a deliberate intent
to do an injustice on his or her part. Moreover, as a matter of public policy, a
judge cannot be subjected to liability for any of his official acts, no matter
how erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith.

A judge acting in good faith can never be subjected to any liability for
any of his official acts, no matter how erroneous.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


Epifania M. Neri vs. Judge Barulio L. Hurtado, Jr., A.M. No. RTJ-001584, February 18, 2004
Judge Hurtados failure to return the money he received from Neri while he
was still a clerk of court constitutes simple misconduct.

Anonymous Vs. Judge Rio C. Achas, MTCC Branch 2, Ozamiz City,


MIsamis Occidental, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801. February 27, 2013

Under Section 1 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, anonymous complaints


may be filed against judges, but they must be supported by public records of
indubitable integrity. Courts have acted in such instances needing no
corroboration by evidence to be offered by the complainant. Thus, for
anonymous complaints, the burden of proof in administrative proceedings
which usually rests with the complainant, must be buttressed by indubitable
public records and by what is sufficiently proven during the investigation. If
the burden of proof is not overcome, the respondent is under no obligation to
prove his defense.

Anonymous complaints may be filed against judges, but they must be


supported by public records of indubitable integrity to prosper.

GERMAN WENCESLAO CRUZ, JR. vs. JUDGE DANIEL C. JOVEN,


Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Sipocot, Camarines Sur, A.M. No. MTJ00-1270 January 23, 2001

Neither is the mere filing of an administrative case against a judge a ground


for disqualifying him from hearing the case, for if on every occasion the
party apparently aggrieved would be allowed to either stop the proceedings
in order to await the final decision on the desired disqualification, or demand
the immediate inhibition of the judge on the basis alone of his being so
charged, many cases would have to be kept pending or perhaps there would
not be enough judges to handle all the cases pending in all the court.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


-

Filing of administrative case against a judge does not disqualify him


from hearing the case.

Anna Liza Valmores-Salinas v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, Regional


Trial Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City, A.M. No. RTJ-12-2335 (2013)
The following procedural requisites must be complied with before petitioner
may be punished for indirect contempt: First, there must be an order
requiring the petitioner to show cause why she should not be cited for
contempt. Second, the petitioner must be given the opportunity to comment
on the charge against her. Third, there must be a hearing and the court must
investigate the charge and consider petitioners answer. Finally, only if found
guilty will petitioner be punished accordingly. What is most essential in
indirect contempt cases, however, is that the alleged contemner be granted
an opportunity to meet the charges against him and to be heard in his
defenses. Plainly, respondent Judge's obstinate disregard of established rules
of procedure amounts to gross ignorance of the law or procedure, since he
disregarded the basic procedural requirements in instituting an indirect
contempt charge.
-

A judges disregard of basic procedural requirements in instituting an


indirect contempt charge or established rules of procedure in general,
amounts to gross ignorance of the law or procedure.

Carmen P. Edano v. Judge Fatima Gonzales-Asdala and Stenographer


Myrla del Pilar Nicandro, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1974 (2013)
The personal letters written by the respondent seeking for the mercy of the
Supreme Court in order to lighten the penalties imposed upon her were
treated as Motions for Reconsideration. Filing of multiple Motions for
Reconsideration in the guise of personal letters to whoever sits as the Chief
Magistrate of the Court, is trifling with the judicial processes to evade a final
judgment.
-Personal letter
reconsideration.

may

be

treated

by

the

court

as

motion

for

Sonia C. Decena and Rey C. Decena v. Judge Nilo Malanyaon, A.M.


No. RTJ-10-2217 (2013)
Section 35 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court expressly prohibits sitting judges
from engaging in the private practice of law or giving professional advice to
clients. The prohibition is based on sound reasons of public policy,
considering that the rights, duties, privileges and functions of the office of an
attorney are inherently incompatible with the high official functions, duties,
powers, discretion and privileges of a sitting judge. It also aims to ensure

Legal and Judicial Ethics


that judges give their full time and attention to their judicial duties, prevent
them from extending favors to their own private interests, and assure the
public of their impartiality in the performance of their functions. Thus, an
attorney who accepts an appointment to the Bench must accept that his
right to practice law as a member of the Philippine Bar is thereby suspended,
and it shall continue to be so suspended for the entire period of his
incumbency as a judge. The act of a judge coaching her daughter who is the
counsel of the respondent during a hearing is considered as engaging in
private practice of law. A judge may not involve himself in any activity that is
an aspect of the private practice of law. His acceptance of an appointment to
the Bench inhibits him from engaging in such practice, regardless of the
beneficiary of the activity being a member of his immediate family. The
judges act of doing so renders him guilty of conduct unbecoming of a judge.
-

A judge is expressly prohibited in involving himself in any activity that


is an aspect of the private practice of law. A judge coaching her
daughter who is the counsel of the respondent during a hearing is
considered as engaging in private practice of law.

Office of the Court Administrator v. Lorenza M. Martinez, A.M. No. P06-2223 (2013)
A Clerk of Court is the courts accountable officer. It was not the cash clerk. It
was her duty to supervise and monitor her subordinate to ensure that the
proper procedures were followed in the collection of the courts funds. Being
the custodian of the courts funds, revenues, records, properties, and
premises, she was liable for any loss, shortage, destruction or impairment of
such funds and property. Time and again, the Court reminds that "those
charged with the dispensation of justice, from the justices and judges to the
lowliest clerks, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of
responsibility. A public servant is expected to exhibit, at all times, the highest
degree of honesty and integrity, and should be made accountable to all
those whom he serves. There is no place in the Judiciary for those who
cannot meet the exacting standards of judicial conduct and integrity. The
Court condemns and would never countenance any conduct, act or omission
on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice which would
violate the norm of public accountability and would diminish, or even just
tend to diminish, the faith of the people in the Judiciary."
-

The Clerk of Court being the custodian of the courts funds, revenues,
records, properties, and premises, is liable for any loss, shortage,
destruction or impairment of such funds and property.

Development Bank of the Philippines v. Damvin V. Famero, Sheriff IV,


Regional Trial Court, Branch 43, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, A.M. No. P10-2789 (2013)

Legal and Judicial Ethics


A sheriffs failure to fully implement the writ should not be taken entirely
against him. He could not fulfill his task solely by verbally telling the
occupants to vacate the property as he encountered resistance from the
informal settlers on the property who had built permanent structures thereon
and refused to leave. He, however, cannot fully be excused for his failure to
make periodic reports in the proceedings taken on the writ, as mandated by
Section 14, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. The submission of the return and of
periodic reports by the sheriff is a duty that cannot be taken lightly. It serves
to update the court on the status of the execution and the reasons for the
failure to satisfy its judgment. The periodic reporting also provides the court
insights on how efficient court processes are after a judgments
promulgation. Its overall purpose is to ensure speedy execution of decisions.
A sheriffs failure to make a return and to submit a return within the required
period constitutes inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of
official duties; it is conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
-

A writ of demolition is needed for a property subject for the execution


with improvements constructed or planted by the occupants. Thus, a
sheriffs failure to implement a writ of execution on a property with
informal settlers with permanent structures and failing to file periodic
reports is only guilty of simple neglect of duty.

Czarina T. Malvar v. Kraft Foods Phils., Inc., et al., G.R. No. 183952
(2013)
A client has the absolute right to terminate the attorney-client relationship at
any time with or without cause. But this right of the client is not unlimited
because good faith is required in terminating the relationship. The limitation
is based on Article 19 of the Civil Code, which mandates that "every person
must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act
with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."
The right is also subject to the right of the attorney to be compensated. A
client may at any time dismiss his attorney or substitute another in his place,
but if the contract between client and attorney has been reduced to writing
and the dismissal of the attorney was without justifiable cause, he shall be
entitled to recover from the client the full compensation stipulated in the
contract. However, the attorney may, in the discretion of the court, intervene
in the case to protect his rights. For the payment of his compensation the
attorney shall have a lien upon all judgments for the payment of money, and
executions issued in pursuance of such judgment, rendered in the case
wherein his services had been retained by the client. In the absence of the
lawyers fault, consent or waiver, a client cannot deprive the lawyer of his
just fees already earned in the guise of a justifiable reason. The Court must
thwart any and every effort of clients already served by their attorneys
worthy services to deprive them of their hard-earned compensation. Truly,
the duty of the courts is not only to see to it that attorneys act in a proper

Legal and Judicial Ethics


and lawful manner, but also to see to it that attorneys are paid their just and
lawful fees.
-

A client has the absolute right to terminate the attorney-client


relationship at any time with or without cause, so long as it is exercised
in good faith. In the absence of the lawyers fault, consent or waiver, a
client cannot deprive the lawyer of his just fees already earned in the
guise of a justifiable reason.

Atty. Jerome Norman L. Tacorda for: Odel L. Gedraga v. Judge


Reynaldo B. Clemens, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2359 (2013)
The Judge was very much concerned with following the proper conduct of
trial and ensuring that the One-Day Examination of Witness Rule was
followed; but at the same time, he was sensitive to the fact that the witness
was already exhausted, having testified for almost three hours. The acts of
the respondent judge were far from being ill-motivated and in bad faith as to
justify any administrative liability on his part.
-

A judge who did not strictly observed the One-Day Examination of


Witness Rule due to concern of an exhausted witness, and absence of
ill-motive and bad faith on his part, cannot be held liable for gross
ignorance of the law.

RE: Unauthorized Travel Abroad of Judge Cleto R. Villacorta III,


Regional trial Court Branch 6, Baguio City, A.M. No. 11-9-167-RTC
(2013)
OCA Circular No. 49-2003 (Guidelines on Requests for Travel Abroad and
Extensions for Travel/Stay Abroad) requires that a request must be made for
an extension of the period to travel/stay abroad, and that the request be
received by the OCA ten (10) working days before the expiration of the
original travel authority. Failure to do so would make the absences beyond
the original period unauthorized. Furthermore, Section 50 of Civil Service
Commission Memorandum Circular No. 41, series of 1998, states that an
official or an employee who is absent without approved leave shall not be
entitled to receive the salary corresponding to the period of the unauthorized
leave of absence.
-

Unauthorized absences shall not be entitled to any pay.

The Conjugal Partnership of the Spouses Vicente Cadavedo and


Benita Arcoy-Cadavedo (both deceased), Substituted by their Heirs
v. Atty. Victorino T. Lacaya, G.R. No. 173188 (2014)

Legal and Judicial Ethics


Champerty, along with maintenance (of which champerty is an aggravated
form), is a common law doctrine that traces its origin to the medieval period.
The doctrine of maintenance was directed against wanton and in officious
intermeddling in the disputes of others in which the intermeddler has no
interest whatever, and where the assistance rendered is without justification
or excuse. Champerty, on the other hand, is characterized by the receipt of
a share of the proceeds of the litigation by the intermeddler. Some common
law court decisions, however, add a second factor in determining
champertous contracts, namely, that the lawyer must also, at his own
expense maintain, and take all the risks of, the litigation. In order to
safeguard the administration of justice, instances of champerty and
maintenance were made subject to criminal and tortuous liability and a
common law rule was developed, striking down champertous agreements
and contracts of maintenance as being unenforceable on the grounds of
public policy. Any agreement by a lawyer to conduct the litigation in his own
account, to pay the expenses thereof or to save his client therefrom and to
receive as his fee a portion of the proceeds of the judgment is obnoxious to
the law. The rule of the profession that forbids a lawyer from contracting with
his client for part of the thing in litigation in exchange for conducting the
case at the lawyers expense is designed to prevent the lawyer from
acquiring an interest between him and his client. To permit these
arrangements is to enable the lawyer to acquire additional stake in the
outcome of the action which might lead him to consider his own recovery
rather than that of his client or to accept a settlement which might take care
of his interest in the verdict to the sacrifice of that of his client in violation of
his duty of undivided fidelity to his clients cause.
-

A lawyer is forbidded from contracting with his client for part of the
thing in litigation in exchange for conducting the case at the lawyers
expense is designed to prevent the lawyer from acquiring an interest
between him and his client.

ANTONIO M. LORENZANA, vs. JUDGE MA. CECILIA I. AUSTRIA; A.M.


No. RTJ-09-2200; 2 April 2014
While judges are not prohibited from becoming members of and from taking
part in social networking activities, we remind them that they do not thereby
shed off their status as judges. They carry with them in cyberspace the same
ethical responsibilities and duties that every judge is expected to follow in
his/her everyday activities. It is in this light that we judge the respondent in
the charge of impropriety when she posted her pictures in a manner
viewable by the public. Lest this rule be misunderstood, the New Code of
Judicial Conduct does not prohibit a judge from joining or maintaining an
account in a social networking site such as Friendster. Section 6, Canon 4 of
the New Code of Judicial Conduct recognizes that judges, like any other
citizen, are entitled to freedom of expression. This right includes the freedom

Legal and Judicial Ethics


to hold opinions without interference and impart information and ideas
through any media regardless of frontiers. Joining a social networking site is
an exercise of one's freedom of expression. The respondent judge's act of
joining Friendster is, therefore, per se not violative of the New Code of
Judicial Conduct. Section 6, Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct,
however, also imposes a correlative restriction on judges: in the exercise of
their freedom of expression, they should always conduct themselves in a
manner that preserves the dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality
and independence of the Judiciary. This rule reflects the general principle of
propriety expected of judges in all of their activities, whether it be in the
course of their judicial office or in their personal lives. In particular, Sections
1 and 2 of Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct prohibit impropriety
and even the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities.
A member of the bench cannot pay mere lip service to the 90-day
requirement; he/she should instead persevere in its implementation. 11 Heavy
caseload and demanding workload are not valid reasons to fall behind the
mandatory period for disposition of cases. The Court usually allows
reasonable extensions of time to decide cases in view of the heavy caseload
of the trial courts. If a judge is unable to comply with the 90-day
reglementary period for deciding cases or matters, he/she can, for good
reasons, ask for an extension and such request is generally granted. But
Judge Bustamante did not ask for an extension in any of these cases. Having
failed to decide a case within the required period, without any order of
extension granted by the Court, Judge Bustamante is liable for undue delay
that merits administrative sanction.
-

Judges are not prohibited from joining social networking sites such as
Facebook since this is an exercise of freedom of expression, but they
should conduct themselves with the highest propriety.
Failure to decide a case within the reglamentary period makes a judge
administratively liable for undue delay.

(OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR vs. JUDGE BORROMEO R.


BUSTAMANTE, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, ALAMINOS CITY,
PANGASINAN, A.M. No. MTJ-12-1806, (Formerly A.M. No. 11-4-36MTCC), April 7, 2014)
A judge is responsible, not only for the dispensation of justice but also for
managing his court efficiently to ensure the prompt delivery of court
services. Since he is the one directly responsible for the proper discharge of
his official functions, he should know the cases submitted to him for decision
or resolution, especially those pending for more than 90 days. Failure to
observe said rule constitutes a ground for administrative sanction against
the defaulting judge, absent sufficient justification for his non-compliance
therewith.

Legal and Judicial Ethics

ATTY. ALAN F. PAGUIA VS. ATTY. MANUEL T. MOLINA; A.C. No. 9881;
04 June 2014
The rule on mistakes committed by lawyers in the exercise of their profession
is as follows: An attorney-at-law is not expected to know all the law. For an
honest mistake or error, an attorney is not liable. The default rule is
presumption of good faith. On the other hand, bad faith is never presumed. It
is a conclusion to be drawn from facts. Its determination is thus a question of
fact and is evidentiary. There is no evidence, though, to show that the legal
advice, assuming it was indeed given, was coupled with bad faith, malice, or
ill-will. The presumption of good faith, therefore, stands in this case. The
foregoing considered, complainant failed to prove his case by clear
preponderance of evidence.
-

Should a lawyer commit a mistake or error in giving legal advice, the


default presumption is good faith.

P. AMPONG, COURT INTERPRETER III, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF


ALABEL, SARANGANI PROVINCE, BRANCH 38; A.M. No. P-13-3132; 4
June 2014
That she committed the dishonest act before she joined the RTC does not
take her case out of the administrative reach of the Supreme Court. The
bottom line is administrative jurisdiction over a court employee belongs to
the Supreme Court, regardless of whether the offense was committed before
or after employment in the judiciary.
-

SC has Administrative jurisdiction over a court employee, regardless of


whether the offense was committed before or after employment in the
judiciary.

ARGEL D. HERNANDEZ vs. JUDGE VICTOR C. GELLA, PRESIDING


JUDGE, CLARINCE B. JINTALAN, LEGAL RESEARCHER, and ROWENA B.
JINTALAN, SHERIFF IV, ALL FROM THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
BRANCH 52, SORSOGON CITY; A.M. No. RTJ-13-2356; 9 June 2014
The filing of administrative complaints or just the threats of the filing of such
complaints do subvert and undermine the independence of the Judiciary and
its Judges. Thus, the Court does not tolerate unwarranted administrative
charges brought against sitting magistrates in respect of their judicial
actions. Indeed, no judicial officer should have to fear or apprehend being
held to account or to answer for performing his judicial functions and office
because such performance is a matter of public duty and responsibility. The
office and duty to render and administer justice are function of sovereignty,
and should not be simply taken for granted. It is a general principle,

Legal and Judicial Ethics


abundantly sustained by authority and reason, that no civil action can be
sustained against a judicial officer for the recovery of damages by one
claiming to have been injured by the officer's judicial action within his
jurisdiction. From the very nature of the case, the officer is called upon by
law to exercise his judgment in the matter, and the law holds his duty to the
individual to be performed when he has exercised it, however erroneous or
disastrous in its consequences it may appear either to the party or to others.
-

No civil action can be sustained against a judicial officer for the


recovery of damages by one claiming to have been injured by the
officer's judicial action within his jurisdiction.

EUPROCINA I. CRISOSTOMO, MARILYN L. SOLIS, EVELYN MARQUIZO,


ROSEMARIE BALATUCAN, MILDRED BATANG, MARILEN MINERALES,
AND MELINDA D. SIOTING VS. ATTY. PHILIP Z. A. NAZARENO; A.C.
No. 6677, 10 June 2014
To reiterate, compliance with the certification against forum shopping is
separate from and independent of the avoidance of the act of forum
shopping itself. There is a difference in the treatment between failure to
comply with the certification requirement and violation of the prohibition
against forum shopping not only in terms of imposable sanctions but also in
the manner of enforcing them. The former constitutes sufficient cause for the
dismissal without prejudice to the filing of the complaint or initiatory pleading
upon motion and after hearing, while the latter is a ground for summary
dismissal thereof and for direct contempt. Under Section 5, Rule 7 of the
Rules of Court, the submission of false entries in a certification against forum
shopping constitutes indirect or direct contempt of court, and subjects the
erring counsel to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions.
-

Compliance with the certification against forum shopping is separate


from and independent of the avoidance of the act of forum shopping
itself.

EMILIE SISON-BARIAS vs. JUDGE MARINO E. RUBIA, REGIONAL TRIAL


COURT, BRANCH 24, BIAN, LAGUNA and EILEEN A. PECAA, DATA
ENCODER II, RTC, OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT, BIAN, LAGUNA;
A.M. No. RTJ-14-2388; 10 June 2014
The eight-month delay in the filing of the administrative complaint is of no
consequence. Delay in filing an administrative complaint should not be
construed as basis to question its veracity or credibility. There are
considerations that a litigant must think about before filing an administrative
case against judges and court personnel. This is more so for lawyers where
the possibility of appearing before the judge where an administrative
complaint has been filed is high. Filing an administrative case against

Legal and Judicial Ethics


respondents is a time-consuming ordeal, and it would require additional time
and resources that litigants would rather not expend in the interest of
preserving their rights in the suit. Complainant might have decided to tread
with caution so as not to incur the ire of Judge Rubia for fear of the reprisal
that could take place after the filing of an administrative complaint. Judges
and court personnel wield extraordinary control over court proceedings of
cases filed. Thus, litigants are always cautious in filing administrative cases
against judges and court personnel. In any case, administrative offenses,
including those committed by members of the bench and bar, are not subject
to a fixed period within which they must be reported. To stress how the law
frowns upon even any appearance of impropriety in a magistrate's activities,
it has often been held that a judge must be like Caesar's wife above
suspicion and beyond reproach. Respondent's act discloses a deficiency in
prudence and discretion that a member of the Judiciary must exercise in the
performance of his official functions and of his activities as a private
individual. It is never trite to caution respondent to be prudent and
circumspect in both speech and action, keeping in mind that her conduct in
and outside the courtroom is always under constant observation. Judge Rubia
clearly failed to live up to the standards of his office. By participating in the
dinner meeting and by failing to admonish respondent Pecaa for her
admitted impropriety, respondent Judge Rubia violated Canons 1 and 2 of the
New Code of Judicial Conduct.
-

Delay in filing an administrative complaint against a judge should not


be construed as basis to question its veracity or credibility.

ATTY. AILEEN R. MAGLANA vs. ATTY. JOSE VICENTE R. OPINION; B.M.


No. 2713; 10 June 2014
The rotation rule under Section 39, Article VI, as amended, of the IBP ByLaws actually consists of two underlying directives. First is the directive for
the mandatory and strict implementation of the rotation rule. The rule
mandates that the governorship of a region shall rotate once in as many
terms as there may be chapters in the region. This serves the purpose of
giving every chapter a chance to represent the region in the IBP BOG.
Second is the exception from the mandatory and strict implementation of the
rotation rule. This exception would allow a chapter to waive its turn in the
rotation order, subject to its right to reclaim the governorship at any time
before the rotation is completed.
-

Two underlying directives of the Rotation Rule:


First, the governorship of a region shall rotate once in as many terms
as there may be chapters in the region; and
Second, exception to the rule where a chapter is allowed to waive its
turn in the rotation order, subject to reclaim the governorship at any
time before the rotation is completed.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


HENRY SAMONTE vs. ATTY. GINES ABELLANA; A.C. No. 3452; 23 June
2014
In disciplinary proceedings against lawyers, clearly preponderant evidence is
required to overcome the presumption of innocence in favor of the
respondent lawyers. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are designed
to ensure that whoever is granted the privilege to practice law in this country
should remain faithful to the Lawyer's Oath. Only thereby can lawyers
preserve their fitness to remain as members of the Law Profession. Any
resort to falsehood or deception, including adopting artifices to cover up
one's misdeeds committed against clients and the rest of the trusting public,
evinces an unworthiness to continue enjoying the privilege to practice law
and highlights the unfitness to remain a member of the Law Profession. It
deserves for the guilty lawyer stern disciplinary sanctions. The falsehoods
committed by Atty. Abellana, being aimed at misleading his client and the
Court to bolster his unworthy denial of his neglect in the handling of the
client's case, were unmitigated.
-

Preponderant evidence is required to overcome the presumption of


innocence in favor of a respondent lawyers.

HENRY SAMONTE vs. ATTY. GINES ABELLANA; A.C. No. 3452; 23 June
2014
In disciplinary proceedings against lawyers, clearly preponderant evidence is
required to overcome the presumption of innocence in favor of the
respondent lawyers. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are designed
to ensure that whoever is granted the privilege to practice law in this country
should remain faithful to the Lawyer's Oath. Only thereby can lawyers
preserve their fitness to remain as members of the Law Profession. Any
resort to falsehood or deception, including adopting artifices to cover up
one's misdeeds committed against clients and the rest of the trusting public,
evinces an unworthiness to continue enjoying the privilege to practice law
and highlights the unfitness to remain a member of the Law Profession. It
deserves for the guilty lawyer stern disciplinary sanctions. The falsehoods
committed by Atty. Abellana, being aimed at misleading his client and the
Court to bolster his unworthy denial of his neglect in the handling of the
client's case, were unmitigated.
-

Preponderant evidence is required to overcome the presumption of


innocence in favor of a respondent lawyers.

ALMIRA C. FORONDA, vs. ATTY. JOSE L. ALVAREZ, JR.; A.C. No. 9976;
25 June 2014
The respondent's act of issuing worthless checks is a violation of Rule 1.01 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires that a lawyer shall not
engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. The issuance of
checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn against a closed

Legal and Judicial Ethics


account indicates a lawyer's unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed
on him, shows such lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to
render him unworthy of public confidence, and constitutes a ground for
disciplinary action. It cannot be denied that the respondent's unfulfilled
promise to settle his obligation and the issuance of worthless checks have
seriously breached the complainant's trust. She went so far as to file multiple
criminal cases for violation of B.P. 22 against him. The relationship of an
attorney to his client is highly fiduciary. Canon 15 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and
loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with his client. Necessity and
public interest enjoin lawyers to be honest and truthful when dealing with his
client.
-

A lawyers act of issuing worthless checks is a violation of Rule 1.01 of


the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires that a lawyer
shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

MERCEDITA DE JESUS vs. ATTY. JUVY MELL SANCHEZ-MALIT; A.C. No.


6470; 8 July 2014
Where the notary public admittedly has personal knowledge of a false
statement or information contained in the instrument to be notarized, yet
proceeds to affix the notarial seal on it, the Court must not hesitate to
discipline the notary public accordingly as the circumstances of the case may
dictate. Otherwise, the integrity and sanctity of the notarization process may
be undermined, and public confidence in notarial documents diminished. In
this case, respondent fully knew that complainant was not the owner of the
mortgaged market stall. That complainant comprehended the provisions of
the real estate mortgage contract does not make respondent any less guilty.
If at all, it only heightens the latter's liability for tolerating a wrongful act.
Clearly, respondent's conduct amounted to a breach of Canon 1 and Rules
1.01 23 and 1.02 24 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
-

Knowingly notarizing instrument with false information is a breach of


Canon 1 and Rules 1.01 23 and 1.02 24 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

JOSEPHINE JAZMINES TAN vs. JUDGE SIBANAH E. USMAN, Regional


Trial Court, Branch 28, Catbalogan City, Samar; A.M. No. RTJ-142390; 13 August 2014
It is settled that in administrative proceedings, the burden of proof that
respondent committed the acts complained of rests on the complainant.
Thus, if the complainant, upon whom rests the burden of proving his cause of
action, fails to show in a satisfactory manner the facts upon which she bases
her claim, respondent is under no obligation to prove his exception or
defense. As settled, an accusation of bribery is easy to concoct but difficult

Legal and Judicial Ethics


to prove. The complainant must present a panoply of evidence in support of
such an accusation. Bare allegation would not suffice to hold respondent
liable. In the absence of showing direct and convincing evidence to prove the
alleged bribery, respondent judge cannot be held guilty of said charge.
Inasmuch as what is imputed against the respondent judge connotes a
misconduct so grave that, if proven, it would entail dismissal from the bench,
the quantum of proof required should be more than substantial. The Rules of
Court requires that if a judge should be disciplined for grave misconduct or
any graver offense, as in this case, the evidence against him should be
competent and derived from direct knowledge. The Judiciary to which
respondent belongs demands no less. Before any of its members could be
faulted, competent evidence should be presented, since the charge is penal
in character. Thus, the ground for the removal of a judicial officer should be
established beyond reasonable doubt. Such is the rule where the charge on
which removal is sought is misconduct in office, willful neglect, corruption, or
incompetence. The general rules in regard to admissibility of evidence in
criminal trials apply.
-

In administrative proceedings, the burden of proof that respondent


committed the acts complained of rests on the complainant.

GEORGE T. CHUA vs. JUDGE FORTUNITO L. MADRONA; A.M. No. RTJ14-2394; 1 September 2014.
A trial judge is not accountable for performing his judicial functions and office
because such performance is a matter of public duty and responsibility.
Indeed, the judge's office and duty to render and administer justice, being
functions of sovereignty, should not be simply taken for granted. No
administrative charge for manifest partiality, gross misconduct, and gross
ignorance of the law should be brought against him for the orders issued in
the due course of judicial proceedings.
PRESIDING JUDGE JOSE L. MADRID, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH
51, SORSOGON CITY, vs. ATTY. JUAN S. DEALCA; A.C. No. 7474; 9
September 2014
Although the Court always admires members of the Bar who are imbued with
a high sense of vigilance to weed out from the Judiciary the undesirable
judges and inefficient or undeserving court personnel, any acts taken in that
direction should be unsullied by any taint of insincerity or self-interest. The
noble cause of cleansing the ranks of the Judiciary is not advanced
otherwise. It is for that reason that Atty. Dealca's complaint against Judge
Madrid has failed our judicious scrutiny, for the Court cannot find any trace of
idealism or altruism in the motivations for initiating it. Instead, Atty. Dealca
exhibited his proclivity for vindictiveness and penchant for harassment,
considering that his bringing of charges against judges, court personnel and
even his colleagues in the Law Profession had all stemmed from decisions or

Legal and Judicial Ethics


rulings being adverse to his clients or his side. He well knew, therefore, that
he was thereby crossing the line of propriety, because neither vindictiveness
nor harassment could be a substitute for resorting to the appropriate legal
remedies. He should now be reminded that the aim of every lawsuit should
be to render justice to the parties according to law, not to harass them.
-

The Lawyers Oath exhorts upon the members of the Bar not to
"wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful
suit. Any violation thereof by an attorney constitutes a ground for
disbarment, suspension, or other disciplinary action.

IMELDA CATO GADDI VS. ATTY. LOPE M. VELASCO; A.C. No. 8637; 15
September 2014
Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, and routinary act. It converts a
private document to a public document, making it admissible in evidence
without further proof of its authenticity. A notarial document is, by law,
entitled to full faith and credit upon its face; for this reason, notaries public
must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of
their duties. The 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice provides that a notary
public should not notarize a document unless the signatory to the document
is in the notarys presence personally at the time of the notarization, and
personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified through
competent evidence of identity. At the time of notarization, the signatory
shall sign or affix with a thumb or mark the notary publics notarial register.
The purpose of these requirements is to enable the notary public to verify
the genuineness of the signature and to ascertain that the document is the
signatorys free act and deed. If the signatory is not acting of his or her own
free will, a notary public is mandated to refuse to perform a notarial act. A
notary public is also prohibited from affixing an official signature or seal on a
notarial certificate that is incomplete.
-

A notarial document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its
face, for this reason, notaries public must observe with utmost care the
basic requirements in the performance of their duties.

MARIANO R. CRISTOBAL VS. ATTY. RONALDO E. RENTA; A.C. No.


9925; 17 September 2014
On complainants affidavit of desistance, its execution cannot have the effect
of abating the instant proceedings against respondent in view of the public
service character of the practice of law and the nature of disbarment
proceedings as a public interest concern. A case of suspension or
disbarment is sui generis and not meant to grant relief to a complainant as in
a civil case, but is intended to cleanse the ranks of the legal profession of its

Legal and Judicial Ethics


undesirable members in order to protect the public and the courts. A
disbarment case is not an investigation into the acts of respondent but on his
conduct as an officer of the court and his fitness to continue as a member of
the Bar. Atty. Renta violated Canon 18, Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which mandates lawyers not to neglect a legal matter
entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render
him liable.
-

Affidavit of desistance cannot abate a disbarment proceeding in view


of the public service character of the practice of law and the nature of
disbarment proceedings as a public interest concern.

CF SHARP CREW MANAGEMENT INCORPORATED VS. NICOLAS C.


TORRES; A.C. No. 10438; 23 September 2014
The relationship between a lawyer and his client is highly fiduciary and
ascribes to a lawyer a great degree of fidelity and good faith. The highly
fiduciary nature of this relationship imposes upon the lawyer the duty to
account for the money or property collected or received for or from his client.
This is the standard laid down by Rules 16.01 and 16.03, Canon 16 of the
CPR. A lawyers failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on
behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the
same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by his client.
Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional
ethics. Respondents acts of misappropriation constitute dishonesty, abuse of
trust and confidence reposed in him by the complainant, and betrayal of his
clients interests which he is duty-bound to protect. They are contrary to the
mandate of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR which provides that a lawyer shall
not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or deceitful conduct. Such
malfeasance is not only unacceptable, disgraceful, and dishonorable to the
legal profession; it also reveals a basic moral flaw that makes him unfit to
practice law.
-

A lawyers failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on


behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has
appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed
in him by his client.

RE: ALLEGATIONS MADE UNDER OATH AT THE SENATE BLUE RIBBON


COMMITTEE HEARING HELD ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 AGAINST
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE GREGORY S. ONG; A.M. No. SB-14-21-J; 23
September 2014

Legal and Judicial Ethics


Respondent's act of voluntarily meeting with Napoles at her office on two
occasions was grossly improper and violated Section 1, Canon 4 (Propriety)
of the New Code of Judicial Conduct. They must conduct themselves in such
a manner that they give no ground for reproach. Respondent's acts have
been less than circumspect. He should have kept himself free from any
appearance of impropriety and endeavored to distance himself from any act
liable to create an impression of indecorum. Judges must, at all times, be
beyond reproach and should avoid even the mere suggestion of partiality
and impropriety. Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct states that
propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance
of all the activities of a judge. Regrettably, the conduct of respondent gave
cause for the public in general to doubt the honesty and fairness of his
participation in the Kevlar case and the integrity of our courts of justice.
-

Respondent's act of voluntarily meeting with Napoles at her office on


two occasions was grossly improper and violated Section 1, Canon 4
(Propriety) of the New Code of Judicial Conduct.
Judges must, at all times, be beyond reproach and should avoid even
the mere suggestion of partiality and impropriety.

RE: ANONYMOUS LETTER vs. JUDGE CORAZON D. SOLUREN,


PRESIDING JUDGE, and RABINDRANATH A. TUZON, LEGAL
RESEARCHER II, both of BRANCH 91, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
BALER, AURORA; A.M. No. P-14-3217; 8 October 2014
Tuzon, being a Legal Researcher, was not authorized to receive any
settlement money from party-litigants. Neither was it shown that Judge
Soluren instructed him to receive the same. Having kept the money in his
possession and exercised control over it, Tuzon evidently overstepped his
authority and, thus, committed a form of misconduct. Considering the
absence of any proof that Tuzon's actions were tainted with corruption, or
with a clear intent to violate the law, or would constitute a flagrant disregard
of an established rule say for instance, by the actual misappropriation of
any amount which came to his possession Tuzon cannot be held liable for
Grave Misconduct but only for Simple Misconduct Court employees like Tuzon
would do well to constantly keep in mind that those in the Judiciary serve as
sentinels of justice, and any act of impropriety on their part immeasurably
affects its honor and dignity and the people's confidence in it.
-

A legal researcher is not authorized to receive any settlement money


from party-litigants. Absent any proof of bad faith, he cannot be held
liable for Grave Misconduct but only for Simple Misconduct.

CONRADO N. QUE vs. ATTY. ANASTACIO E. REVILLA, JR; A.C. No.


7054; 11 November 2014
The basic inquiry in a petition for reinstatement to the practice of law is
whether the lawyer has sufficiently rehabilitated himself or herself in conduct

Legal and Judicial Ethics


and character. Whether the applicant shall be reinstated in the Roll of
Attorneys rests to a great extent on the sound discretion of the Court. The
lawyer has to demonstrate and prove by clear and convincing evidence that
he or she is again worthy of membership in the Bar. The Court will take into
consideration his or her character and standing prior to the disbarment, the
nature and character of the charge/s for which he or she was disbarred, his
or her conduct subsequent to the disbarment, and the time that has elapsed
in between the disbarment and the application for reinstatement. While the
Court sympathizes with the respondent's unfortunate physical condition, we
stress that in considering his application for reinstatement to the practice of
law, the duty of the Court is to determine whether he has established moral
reformation and rehabilitation, disregarding its feeling of sympathy or pity.
-

Reinstatement to the practice of law requires the court to objectively


determine whether the applicant has established moral reformation
and rehabilitation.

ADARIA O. DAGING VS. ATTY. RIZ TINGALON L. DAVIS; A.C. No. 9395,
12 November 2014
Respondent transgressed Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall not represent conflicting
interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full
disclosure of the facts. A lawyer may not, without being guilty of professional
misconduct, act as counsel for a person whose interest conflicts with that of
his present or former client. The prohibition against representing conflicting
interests is absolute and the rule applies even if the lawyer has acted in good
faith and with no intention to represent conflicting interests. A lawyer who
takes up the cause of the adversary of the party who has engaged the
services of his law firm brings the law profession into public disrepute and
suspicion and undermines the integrity of justice. Thus, respondents
argument that he never took advantage of any information acquired by his
law firm in the course of its professional dealings with the complainant, even
assuming it to be true, is of no moment. Undeniably aware of the fact that
complainant is a client of his law firm, respondent should have immediately
informed both the complainant and Balageo that he, as well as the other
members of his law firm, cannot represent any of them in their legal tussle;
otherwise, they would be representing conflicting interests and violate the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Indeed, respondent could have simply
advised both complainant and Balageo to instead engage the services of
another lawyer.
-

The prohibition against representing conflicting interests is absolute


and the rule applies even if the lawyer has acted in good faith and with
no intention to represent conflicting interests.

Legal and Judicial Ethics

DOROTHY FE MAH-AREVALO vs. JUDGE CELSO L. MANTUA, REGIONAL


TRIAL COURT OF PALOMPON, LEYTE, BRANCH 17; A.M. No. RTJ-132360; 19 November 2014
SC Administrative Circular No. 3-92 explicitly states that the Halls of Justice
may only be used for functions related to the administration of justice and for
no other purpose. Similar thereto, Section 3, Part I of A.M. No. 01-9-09-SC
also provides for similar restrictions regarding the use of the Halls of Justice.
In this case, complainant's evidence had sufficiently established that
respondent used his chambers in the Hall of Justice as his residential and
dwelling place. Respondent's defense that he rented a house did not negate
the possibility that he used the Hall of Justice as his residence, since it is
possible that a person could be renting one place while actually and
physically residing in another.
-

The Halls of Justice may only be used for functions related to the
administration of justice and for no other purpose.

ESTRELLA R. SANCHEZ VS. ATTY. NICOLAS C. TORRES, M.D., A.C. No.


10240; 25 November 2014.
In CF Sharp Crew management, Inc. v. Nicolas C. Torres, the Supreme Court
had already disbarred Torres from the practice of law for having been found
guilty of violating Rule 1.01, Canon 1 and Rules 16.01 and 16.03, Canon 16
of the Code of Professional Responsibility. In view of the foregoing, the Court
can no longer impose the penalty of suspension or disbarment against Atty.
Torres, considering that he has already been previously disbarred. We do not
have double or multiple disbarments in our laws or jurisprudence.
Nevertheless, considering that the issues and the infraction committed are
different from his previous infraction, the Court deem it proper to resolve the
instant case and give its corresponding penalty for purposes of recording it in
respondents personal file in the Bar Confidants Office. Atty. Torres is found
guilty of gross misconduct and of violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and is suspended for 2 years from the practice of law.
However, considering that respondent has already been previously disbarred,
this penalty can no longer be imposed.
-

Double or multiple disbarment is inexistent in our laws and


jurisprudence. A previously disbarred lawyer can no longer be
suspended or disbarred.

SPOUSES NICASIO AND DONELITA SAN PEDRO VS. ATTY. ISAGANI A.


MENDOZA; A.C. No. 5440, 26 November 2014

Legal and Judicial Ethics


Respondents assertion of a valid lawyers lien is also untenable. A valid
retaining lien has the following elements: (1) lawyer-client relationship; (2)
lawful possession of the clients funds, documents and papers; and (3)
unsatisfied claim for attorneys fees. Further, the attorneys retaining lien is a
general lien for the balance of the account between the attorney and his
client, and applies to the documents and funds of the client which may come
into the attorneys possession in the course of his employment. Respondent
did not satisfy all the elements of a valid retaining lien. He did not present
evidence as to an unsatisfied claim for attorneys fees. The enumeration of
cases he worked on for complainants remains unsubstantiated. When there
is no unsatisfied claim for attorneys fees, lawyers cannot validly retain their
clients funds or properties. Furthermore, assuming that respondent had
proven all the requisites for a valid retaining lien, he cannot appropriate for
himself his clients funds without the proper accounting and notice to the
client. When there is a disagreement, or when the client disputes the amount
claimed by the lawyer, the lawyer should not arbitrarily apply the funds in his
possession to the payment of his fees.
-

Elements of a valid retaining lien: (1) lawyer-client relationship; (2)


lawful possession of the clients funds, documents and papers; and (3)
unsatisfied claim for attorneys fees.

ATTY. AURELIO C. ANGELES, JR. VS. ATTY. RENATO C. BAGAY; A.C. No.
8103; 03 December 2014 Respondent violated Canon 9 of the CPR which
requires lawyers not to directly or indirectly assist in the unauthorized
practice of law. Due to his negligence that allowed his secretary to sign on
his behalf as notary public, he allowed an unauthorized person to practice
law. By leaving his office open despite his absence in the country and with
his secretary in charge, he virtually allowed his secretary to notarize
documents without any restraint. Respondent also violated his obligation
under Canon 7 of the CPR, which directs every lawyer to uphold at all times
the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. The people who came into
his office while he was away, were clueless as to the illegality of the activity
being conducted therein. They expected that their documents would be
converted into public documents. Instead, they later found out that the
notarization of their documents was a mere sham and without any force and
effect. By prejudicing the persons whose documents were notarized by an
unauthorized person, their faith in the integrity and dignity of the legal
profession was eroded.
-

A lawyer should not directly or indirectly assist in the unauthorized


practice of law.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


ERLINDA FOSTER VS. ATTY. JAIME V. AGTANG; A.C. No. 10579, 10
December 2014
Notably, the Court cannot order respondent to return the money he borrowed
from complainant in his private capacity. In Tria-Samonte v. Obias, the Court
held that it cannot order the lawyer to return money to complainant if he or
she acted in a private capacity because its findings in administrative cases
have no bearing on liabilities which have no intrinsic link to the lawyers
professional engagement. In disciplinary proceedings against lawyers, the
only issue is whether the officer of the court is still fit to be allowed to
continue as a member of the Bar. The only concern of the Court is the
determination of respondents administrative liability. Its findings have no
material bearing on other judicial actions which the parties may choose
against each other. To rule otherwise would in effect deprive respondent of
his right to appeal since administrative cases are filed directly with the Court.
Furthermore, the quantum of evidence required in civil cases is different from
the quantum of evidence required in administrative cases. Furthermore, the
Court has to consider the prescriptive period applicable to civil cases in
contrast to administrative cases which are, as a rule, imprescriptible.
-

The Court cannot order respondent to return the money he borrowed


from complainant in his private capacity.

ANTONIO S. ASCAO, JR., CONSOLACION D. DANTES, BASILISA A.


OBALO, JULIETA D. TOLEDO, JOSEPH Z. MAAC, EMILIANO E. LUMBOY,
TITA F. BERNARDO, IGMEDIO L. NOGUERA, FIDEL S. SARMIENTO, SR.,
DAN T. TAUNAN, AMALIA G. SANTOS, AVELINA M. COLONIA, ERIC S.
PASTRANA, AND MARIVEL B. ISON vs. PRESIDING JUDGE JOSE S.
JACINTO, JR., BRANCH 45, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, SAN JOSE
OCCIDENTAL MINDORO; A.M. No. RTJ-15-2405; 12 January 2015
It was the Mayors lawyer, and not respondent judge, who had the duty of
explaining why the mayor left the courtroom without asking for the courts
permission. The New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary
mandates that judges must not only maintain their independence, integrity
and impartiality; they must also avoid any appearance of impropriety or
partiality, which may erode the people's faith in the Judiciary. Members of the
Judiciary should be beyond reproach and suspicion in their conduct, and
should be free from any appearance of impropriety in the discharge of their
official duties, as well as in their personal behavior and everyday life. The
actions of respondent no doubt diminished public confidence and public trust
in him as a judge. He gave petitioners reason to doubt his integrity and
impartiality.
-

Judges should maintain independence, integrity, and impartiality. They


should also avoid any appearance of impropriety or partiality.

Legal and Judicial Ethics

ARCATOMY S. GUARIN vs. ATTY. CHRISTINE A.C. LIMPIN; A.C. No.


10576; 14 January 2015
Members of the bar are reminded that their first duty is to comply with the
rules of procedure, rather than seek exceptions as loopholes. A lawyer who
assists a client in a dishonest scheme or who connives in violating the law
commits an act which justifies disciplinary action against the lawyer. In
allowing herself to be swayed by the business practice of having Mr. de los
Angeles appoint the members of the BOD and officers of the corporation
despite the rules enunciated in the Corporation Code with respect to the
election of such officers, Atty. Limpin has transgressed Rule 1.02 of the CPR.
-

Lawyers first duty is to comply with the rules of procedure and not
seek exceptions as loopholes.

THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF THE SPOUSES VICENTE CADAVEDO


AND BENITA ARCOY-CADAVEDO (BOTH DECEASED), SUBSTITUTED BY
THEIR HEIRS, NAMELY: HERMINIA, PASTORA, HEIRS OF FRUCTUOSA,
HEIRS OF RAQUEL, EVANGELINE, VICENTE, JR., AND ARMANDO, ALL
SURNAMED CADAVEDO VS. VICTORINO T. LACAYA, MARRIED TO ROSA
LEGADOS; G.R. No. 173188, 15 January 2014
While contingent fee agreements are indeed recognized in this jurisdiction as
a valid exception to the prohibitions under Article 1491 (5) of the Civil Code,
this recognition does not apply to the present case. A contingent fee contract
is an agreement in writing where the fee, often a fixed percentage of what
may be recovered in the action, is made to depend upon the success of the
litigation. The payment of the contingent fee is not made during the
pendency of the litigation involving the clients property but only after the
judgment has been rendered in the case handled by the lawyer. In the
present case, we reiterate that the transfer or assignment of the disputed
one-half portion to Atty. Lacaya took place while the subject lot was still
under litigation and the lawyer-client relationship still existed between him
and the spouses Cadavedo. Thus, the general prohibition provided under
Article 1491 of the Civil Code, rather than the exception provided in
jurisprudence, applies. Notably, Atty. Lacaya, in undertaking the spouses
Cadavedos cause pursuant to the terms of the alleged oral contingent fee
agreement, in effect, became a co-proprietor having an equal, if not more,
stake as the spouses Cadavedo. Again, this is void by reason of public policy;
it undermines the fiduciary relationship between him and his clients.
-

Payment of the contingent fee is not made during the pendency of the
litigation involving the clients property but only after the judgment has
been rendered in the case handled by the lawyer.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


AUGUSTO M. AQUINO VS. HON. ISMAEL P. CASABAR, AS PRESIDING
JUDGE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT-GUIMBA, NUEVA ECIJA, BRANCH 33
AND MA. ALA F. DOMINGO AND MARGARITA IRENE F. DOMINGO,
SUBSTITUTING HEIRS OF THE DECEASED ANGEL T. DOMINGO; G.R.
No. 191470, 26 January 2015
A claim for attorneys fees may be asserted either in the very action in which
the services of a lawyer had been rendered or in a separate action. With
respect to the first situation, the remedy for recovering attorneys fees as an
incident of the main action may be availed of only when something is due to
the client. Attorneys fees cannot be determined until after the main
litigation has been decided and the subject of the recovery is at the
disposition of the court. The issue over attorneys fees only arises when
something has been recovered from which the fee is to be paid. While a
claim for attorneys fees may be filed before the judgment is rendered, the
determination as to the propriety of the fees or as to the amount thereof will
have to be held in abeyance until the main case from which the lawyers
claim for attorneys fees may arise has become final. Otherwise, the
determination to be made by the courts will be premature. Of course, a
petition for attorneys fees may be filed before the judgment in favor of the
client is satisfied or the proceeds thereof delivered to the client.
-

A claim for attorneys fees may be asserted either in the very action in
which the services of a lawyer had been rendered or in a separate
action.

AMELVYN G. GARCIA VS. ATTY. RAUL H. SESBREO; A.C. No. 7973


and A.C. No. 10457; 03 February 2015
Homicide may or may not involve moral turpitude depending on the degree
of the crime. Moral turpitude is not involved in every criminal act and is not
shown by every known and intentional violation of statute, but whether any
particular conviction involves moral turpitude may be a question of fact and
frequently depends on all the surrounding circumstances. While generally
but not always, crimes mala in se involve moral turpitude, while crimes mala
prohibita do not, it cannot always be ascertained whether moral turpitude
does or does not exist by classifying a crime as malum in se or as malum
prohibitum, since there are crimes which are mala in se and yet rarely
involve moral turpitude and there are crimes which involve moral turpitude
and are mala prohibita only. It follows therefore, that moral turpitude is
somewhat a vague and indefinite term, the meaning of which must be left to
the process of judicial inclusion or exclusion as the cases are reached.
-

Moral turpitude is somewhat a vague and indefinite term, the meaning


of which must be left to the process of judicial inclusion or exclusion as
the cases are reached.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


JILL M. TORMIS vs. JUDGE MEINRADO P. PAREDES; A.M. No. RTJ-132366; 04 February 2015
The Court cannot sustain the assertion of Judge Paredes that he cannot be
held administratively liable for his negative portrayal of Judge Tormis and
Francis in his class discussions. Judge Paredes should be reminded of the
ethical conduct expected of him as a judge not only in the performance of his
judicial duties, but in his professional and private activities as well. Any
impropriety on the part of Judge Paredes, whether committed in or out of the
court, should not be tolerated for he is not a judge only occasionally. It
should be emphasized that the Code of Judicial Ethics mandates that the
conduct of a judge must be free of a whiff of impropriety not only with
respect to his performance of his judicial duties, but also to his behavior
outside his sala and as a private individual. There is no dichotomy of
morality, a public official is also judged by his private morals. The Code
dictates that a judge, in order to promote public confidence in the integrity
and impartiality of the judiciary, must behave with propriety at all times. A
judges official life cannot simply be detached or separated from his personal
existence. Thus, being a subject of constant public scrutiny, a judge should
freely and willingly accept restrictions on conduct that might be viewed as
burdensome by the ordinary citizen. He should personify judicial integrity
and exemplify honest public service. The personal behavior of a judge, both
in the performance of official duties and in private life should be above
suspicion.
-

Ethical conduct is expected from a judge not only in the performance


of his judicial duties, but in his professional and private activities as
well.

BENITO B. NATE vs. JUDGE LELU P. CONTRERAS, BRANCH 43,


REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, VIRAC, CATANDUANES (THEN CLERK OF
COURT, RTC-IRIGA CITY); A.M. No. RTJ-15-2406; 18 February 2015
Nevertheless, we recognize that the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards
for Public Officials and Employees does allow for limited exceptions. Section
7(b) thereof in relation to Rule X, Section 1(c) of its implementing rules,
provides that public officials and employees are prohibited from engaging in
the private practice of their profession unless authorized by the Constitution,
law, or regulation; and under the condition that their practice will not conflict
or tend to conflict with their official functions. Respondent has satisfactorily
proved that she was granted authority by this Court to represent her father
in Administrative Case No. 6089 provided that she files the corresponding
leaves of absence on the scheduled dates of hearing of the case and that she
will not use official time in preparing for the case. Considering, however,
that the documents notarized by respondent Contreras do not involve a
private or commercial undertaking, and that this is the first time that she has
been charged, the penalty of reprimand is imposed.

Legal and Judicial Ethics


-

Public officials and employees are prohibited from engaging in the


private practice of their profession unless authorized by the
Constitution, law, or regulation

RE: COMPLAINT DATED JANUARY 28, 2014 OF WENEFREDO PARREO,


ET AL., AGAINST HON. CELIA C. LIBREA-LEAGOGO, HON. ELIHU A.
YBAEZ AND HON. AMY C. LAZARO-JAVIER, ASSOCIATE JUSTICES OF
THE COURT OF APPEALS, RELATIVE TO CA G.R. SP NO. 108807; OCA
IPI NO. 14-220-CA-J; 17 March 2015
Although often holding that a heavy caseload is insufficient reason to excuse
a Judge from disposing his cases within the reglementary period, the Court
has applied this rule by considering the causes of the delay. The delay in the
case could not be said to have been incurred by Justice Ybaez with malice
or deliberate attempt to impede the dispensation of justice. He assigned it to
a member of his legal staff, but the latter had fallen seriously ill in the
meantime, forcing him to hire a contractual-lawyer for the purpose. The
latter subsequently joined another agency of the Government on a
permanent basis. Thus, Justice Ybaez could promulgate the decision only on
February 28, 2014. His explanation for the delay, being entirely plausible, is
accepted.
-

Failure to dispose a case within the reglamentary period may be


considered by examining the cause of delay.