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De La Salle University

College of Law
Problem Areas in Legal Ethics
Summer Term 2016
Atty. Victoria V. Loanzon


This course introduces law students to the goals, rules, and regulation of the Philippine legal profession and its members. While most professors handling this course
would only deal with Legal Ethics, this particular course is organized into two parts: Legal Ethics and Judicial Ethics. In Part One – Legal Ethics engages students to
study the professional responsibility and values, professional codes of conduct, regulation, rules, and practice of the legal profession governing law students and
practicing lawyers. In Part Two – Judicial Ethics, the students examine judicial qualifications, professional roles and responsibilities,
powers and duties, ethics and ethical constraints, codes of conduct, core values, disciplinary actions, grounds, and proceedings, and administrative matters within the
judiciary system. An overarching purpose is to guide students in formulating their own professional ethical practice and values and deep commitment to their
professional responsibility in supporting democracy, protecting justice, and exercising the rule of law.

PREREQUISITES: Basic Legal Ethics


By the end of the course, the student will be able to:

1) Demonstrate an understanding of the goals, practice, rules, and regulation of the Philippine legal profession.
2) Apply concepts, principles, and standards of ethics and rules of the legal and judiciary professions in analyzing problem areas in legal ethics.
3) Use legal and ethical concepts and standards in formulating their own professional ethical practice and commitment to their professional responsibility.

I –The Attorney’s Oath

A. Sources of Ethical Standards for Members of the Bench and Bar: (1) Constitution
Article VIII – The Judicial Department, Sec. 5(5), Article VII – The Executive Department, Sec. 13, Article VI – The Legislative Department,
Sec.14, Article IX – Constitutional Commissions, IX-A, Sec. 2; (2) The Attorney’s Oath; (3)The Code of Professional Responsibility; (4) The
Code of Judicial Ethics; (5) The Rules of Court; (6) 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice; (7) MCLE Rules; (8) JBC Rules; (9) Issuances of the
Supreme Court; (10) Legislations from Congress (creation and jurisdiction of appellate and other lower courts, also the Lapid Law on legal aid
service of lawyers); (11) Jurisprudence; and (12 ) Scholarly Writings on Legal and Judicial Ethics.
Gacias v. Balauitan (507 SCRA 8, 2006)

B. The Oath
“I, ________________ do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines;
I will support its Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein;
I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court;
I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit, neither give aid nor consent to the same;
I will delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and discretion, with all
good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients; and
I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God.” (Rules of Court,
Form 28)
Alawi v. Alauya, A.M. SDC-97-2-P, February 24, 1997
The Four-fold duty of a lawyer - to Society, the Legal Profession, the Courts and Clients.
Distinctions on the different roles of a lawyer:
1. Attorneys-at Law: a class of persons who are by license, officers of the court, empowered to appear, prosecute and defend, and upon whom
peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are developed by law as a consequence. Cul v. Cul, 120 Phil. 729
2. Attorney-in-Fact: an agent whose authority is strictly limited by the instrument appointing him. His authority is provided in a special power
of attorney or a general power of attorney or letter of authority. An attorney-in-fact is not necessarily a lawyer.
3. Counsel de officio: a counsel, appointed or assigned by the court, from among such members of the bar in good standing who, by reason of
their experience and ability may adequately defend the accused. The person need not be a member of the bar if no lawyer is available in a given
locality. (Sec. 7, Rule 116, Rules of Court)
A counsel de officio is appointed to defend an indigent in a criminal action (Sections 3, 4, and 5, Rule 116; Sec. 32, Rule 138); or to represent a
destitute party in a case (Sec.31, Rule 138).
4. Attorney Ad Hoc: a person named and appointed by the court to defend an absentee defendant in a suit in which the appointment is made.
5. Attorney of Record: a member of the bar appointed by a client to represent in cause of a court and upon whom service of papers may be
6. Of Counsel: a member of the bar who is associated with a law office but does not normally appear as counsel of record of cases handled by
the law office.
7. Lead Counsel: a member of the bar who charged with the principal management and direction of a party-litigant.
8. House Counsel: a member of the bar who acts as attorney for a business company as an employee of such company and renders legal advice
on matters necessary in the ordinary course of its business.
9. Amicus Curiae: a friend of the court. A person with strong interest in or views on the subject matter of the action. One who is considered as
an experience and impartial attorney to help in the disposition of issues submitted to the Court. (Sec. 36, Rule 138)
10. Amicus Curiae par Excellence: bar associations who appear in court as amici curiae or friends of the court. Like an individual amicus
curiae, amicus curiae par excellence do not represent any party to the case but act as consultant in a doubtful issue for resolution of the court.
They do not receive any compensation for their legal services to the court.

11. Counsel de parte: a lawyer retained by a party litigant, usually, for a fee, to prosecute or defend his cause in court. The term implies
freedom of choice either on the part of the lawyer to accept the employment or on the part of the litigant to continue or terminate the retainer at
any time.
12. Pro bono Counsel: a lawyer who renders legal services without charging any professional fees but does not shoulder the costs of litigation
on behalf of his client.
13. Advocate: a lawyer who pleads on behalf of a third party.
14. Barrister: In England, a person entitled to practice law as an advocate or counsel in superior courts.
15. Solicitor: In England, a person prosecuting or defending suits in a Court of Chancery. A Court of Chancery is a court which administers
equity and proceeding according to the forms and principles of equity.
16. Proctor: In England, an attorney in the admiralty and ecclesiastical courts whose duties and business correspond exactly to those of an
attorney-at-law or solicitor in a Chancery.

C. Practice of Law: Concept: a) Privilege: The practice of law is a mere privilege and not a right. The admission of lawyers and the
rules governing the practice of law is a constitutional mandate given to the Supreme Court. Elements of the legal profession are:
organization, learning, and the spirit of public service. (Section 5 (5), Article VIII, Constitution)
Cayetano v. Monsod (201 SCRA 210)
Paguia v. Office of the President (621 SCRA 600)

D. Legal Profession, not a business. The practice of law includes: the preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and
special proceedings; conveyancing, the preparation of legal instruments of all kinds; and the giving of all legal advice to clients. (Ulep v. The
Legal Clinic, Inc., (Bar Matter No. 550, June 17, 1993)

2&3 II. Qualifications for Admission to the Practice of Law

A. Sec. 2, Rule138 of the Rules of Court provides for the following qualifications: One must be a citizen of the Philippines, at least 21
years of age (take note this requirement was imposed when the age of majority was 21), must be a resident of the Philippines, must have
obtained his law degree in a local school (Sections 5 & 6, Rules of Court), possesses Good Moral Character (presentation of proof of good
moral character, certification that one does not have any pending charges or have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude)
Zaguirre v. Castillo, (A.C. No. 4921, March 6, 2003)
Barba v. Pedro (61SCRA 484, 1974)

B. Maintenance of Good Moral Character to Retain Membership in the Bar

Mecaral v. Velasquez (A.C. No 8392 June 29, 2010):
Cordon v. Balicanta (390 SCRA 299 (2002)
Arellano University, Inc. v. Mijares III, (605 SCRA 93, 2009)
Melvyn G. Garcia v. Atty. Raul h. Sesbreño (A.C. No. 7973 and A.C. No. 10457, February 03, 2015, per curiam)
Dr. Elmar o. Perez v. Atty. Tristan A. Catindig and Atty. Karen E. Baydo (A.C. No. 5816, March 10, 2015, per curiam)
Tiong v. Florendo (662 SCR A 1)
Garrido v. Garrido, (611 SCRA 508)

C. Bar Subjects (Sec. 9, Rule 138, Rules of Court): Political Law, Labor and Social Legislation, Civil Law, Taxation, Mercantile Law,
Criminal Law, Remedial Law and Legal and Judicial Ethics and Practical Exercises.

3 III. Appearance of Non-Lawyers

A. Law Student Practice Rule: Rule 138-A of the Rules of court allows a law student to represent indigent clients provided one has
successfully completed the 3rd year of a prescribed four-year curriculum and enrolled in a recognized law school’s clinical legal education
> In Bar Matter No.730 dated June 10, 1998, the Supreme Court required that law student practice before the Regional Trial Court must be
under the direct supervision and control of a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
> Under Section 34 of the Rules of Court, a law student may appear before the first level court as an agent or friend of a party without the
supervision of a member of the bar.
B. non-lawyers in courts: small claims cases
C. non-lawyers in administrative tribunals: HLURB, DENR, DAR, NLRC, etc.
D. proceedings where lawyers are prohibited from appearing: proceedings before the Lupong Tagapamayapa, court ordered
E. Sanctions for practice or appearance without authority
1. Lawyers without authority: Contempt of Court (Sec. 1, Rule 71)
Acts constituting contempt: Misbehavior as an officer of the court, disobedience or resistance to a lawful order of the court, abuse
or unlawful interference with judicial proceedings, obstruction in the administration of justice, misleading the court or making
false allegations, criticisms, insults or veiled threats against the court, aiding in the unauthorized practice of law, unlawful
retention of clients, advising a client to commit a contemptuous act, publications which tend to impede, obstruct, embarrass or
influence courts may degrade the court; disrespectful pleadings.
2. Persons who are not lawyers: Indirect Contempt (Sec. 3 (e), Rule 71)
Ciocon-Reer v. Lubao, 674 SCRA 13

4 IV. Public Officials and Practice of Law
CANON 6 – These Canons shall apply to lawyers in government service in the discharge of their tasks.(Rules 6.01-6.03, Code of
Professional Responsibility):
A. Prohibition or disqualification of former government attorneys: one- year prohibition will apply;
B. Prohibition/Restrictions on Government Lawyers: Who are the public officials not allowed to practice law –
Under the Constitution: The President, Vice President, members of the Constitutional Commissions, members of the judiciary,
members of the cabinet, their deputies and assistants
Under Civil Service Rules: government lawyers in government departments/offices/bureaus, in government owned and controlled
corporations, government financial institutions and those with local government units
Under Special Laws: Governors and Mayors (Local Government Code); Solicitors and trial lawyers of the Office of the Solicitor
General, lawyers of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, Government prosecutors under the DOJ and the Office of the
What is the concept of limited practice of law among public officers: With prior written authorization of the heads of office, some
government lawyers may be authorized to practice law provided they will not represent any party who has an adverse claim against
the government.
Lorenzana v. Fajardo (462 SCRA 1)
Lawyers who represent the government: a)Lawyers tasked to represent government: OSG, OGCC, lawyers in regular departments,
bureaus, offices, lawyers in the government financial institutions, lawyers in government owned and controlled corporations, lawyers
who serve the government’s interest under special contracts/or engagements, lawyers under the local government units; b)
Government lawyers tasked to prosecute: Public Prosecutors from the DOJ and Office of the Ombudsman; c) Government lawyers who
represent indigent litigants: Public Attorneys’ Office
5 VI. Suspension, disbarment and discipline of lawyers (Rule 139-B, Rule of Court)
A. Nature and characteristics of disciplinary actions against lawyers
Sui generis: A class of its own, does not need proof beyond reasonable doubt; may proceed despite separate criminal action
against a lawyer.
Prescription: A disbarment proceeding is imprescriptible; all proceedings are strictly confidential; may proceed despite
withdrawal of the complaint.

B. Disciplinary Proceedings

 by the Supreme Court
motu proprio
 by the IBP Board of
Governors motu proprio
 upon referral by the
Supreme Court
 upon referral by the IBP
Chapter Board
 upon verified complaint
by any person

No Motion for Reconsideration is allowed before the Commissioner

Motion for Reconsideration before the Board of Governors is allowed.
The decision of the Board of Governors (reviewed by SC) must be in writing supported by facts and evidence
presented during the hearing and the applicable provision of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Lao v. Medel (Adm. Case No. 5916, July 1, 2003)
PAGCOR v. Carandang (Adm. Case No. 5700, January 30, 2006)
Catalan, Jr. v. Silvosa (677 SCRA 352)
Bengco v. Bernardo (672 SCRA 8)

C. Grounds for Suspension: Read Section 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court (deceit or any gross misconduct, grossly immoral conduct,
conviction of crime involving moral turpitude, violation of lawyer’s Oath, wilful disobedience of any lawful order, or corruptly or wilfully
appearing as an attorney for a party in a case without authority, malpractice which includes practice of soliciting cases for the purpose of
gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers).
Santeco v. Atty. Luna B. Avance (A.C. No. 5034, February 22, 2011)
Guidelines in Lifting of Suspension
(i) File a Sworn Statement with the Office of the Bar confidant that the respondent lawyer has served the period of
suspension stating that he/she desisted from the practice of law and never appeared in any court during the period of
(ii) Copies of the Sworn Statement must be furnished the chapter of which the respondent lawyer is a member and the
Executive Judges of the Regional Trial Courts and first level courts where respondent lawyer has pending cases.
(iii)If satisfied, the Court will lift the order of suspension and reinstate the erring lawyer

D. Discipline of Filipino lawyers practicing abroad
A decision in a disciplinary action against a Filipino lawyer practicing abroad may also be a basis for a disbarment
proceeding against the same lawyer in the Philippines.
Velez v. De Vera (496 SCRA 345)

6&7 VII. Duties and Responsibilities of a Lawyer

A. Duty to Society
1. Respect for law and legal processes
CANON 1 - A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. (Rules 1.01-
Standards of Morality: Tucay v. Tucay (Adm. Case No. 1474)
Alejandro v. Alejandro (Adm. Case No. 4256)
Joselano Guevarra v. Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala (Adm.CaseNo.7136)
Lawyers must uphold the Rule of Law:
Felipe E. Abella v. Atty. Asteria E. Cruzabra, A. C. 5688, June 4, 2009
Olbes v. Deciembre, (457 SCRA 341, 2005), Manaois v. Deciembre, 562 SCRA 359, 2008, and Mendoza v. Deciembre, (580 SCRA
26, 2009)
2. Efficient and convenient legal services
CANON 2 - A lawyer shall make his legal services available in an efficient and convenient manner compatible with the independence,
integrity and effectiveness of the profession. (Rules 2.01-2.04
Barratry is the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up quarrels in suits. It is frowned upon as it is against public policy.
Ambulance Chasing is a practice which originated in New York, where through a lawyer or his agent, cases are literally solicited in hospitals or
in police precincts. The evils sought to be prevented by this practice are: fomenting litigation; subornation of perjury; mulcting of innocent
persons upon manufactured causes of action; defrauding injured parties.
Lisangan v. Tolentino, A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009
In Re: Tagorda (53 Phil., 37)
3. True, honest, fair, dignified and objective information on legal services
CANON 3 – A lawyer in making known his legal services shall use only the true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or statement
of facts. (Rules 3.01-3.04)
Villatuya v. Tabalingcos, 676 SCRA 37(2012)
4. Participation in the improvement and reforms in the legal system
CANON 4 – A lawyer shall participate in the development of the legal system by initiating or supporting efforts in law reforms and in the
improvement of the administration of justice.
A lawyer is encouraged to participate in the formulation of amendments in the Rules of Court to improve the administration of justice.
A lawyer may attend congressional hearings involving changes in substantive laws; creation of new courts; and redefining jurisdiction of trial
and appellate courts.
5. Participation in legal education program and other related activities
CANON 5 – A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal developments, participate in continuing legal education programs, support efforts to achieve
high standards in law schools as well as in the practical training of law students and assist in disseminating the law and jurisprudence.
A lawyer is expected to comply with the requirements of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education and to participate in the activities of the
IBP and other legal professional
Purpose: MCLE, what it is; who enforces the MCLE; constitution of the MCLE
Board ( A retired justice of the Supreme Court is the Chairman, with the following as members: an incumbent dean of a
recognized law school, a representative from a designated law center, the Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy and
the President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines)
Requirements: Coverage of the MCLE 36-unit requirement ( corresponding units: 6 for Legal Ethics; 6 for prescribed
courses as approved by the MCLE Board, 4 for trail and pre-trial techniques, 4 for legal writing and oral advocacy, 5 for
alternative dispute resolution, 2 for international law and conventions and 9 for updates on substantive and procedural
Period of Compliance: 3-year completion period
Who are exempted: President, Vice President, Members of the Senate and House of Representatives, Members of the
Constitutional Commissions, Governors, Mayors, incumbent and retired members of the judiciary, Cabinet Secretaries and
their undersecretaries, OSG lawyers, OGCC lawyers, Ombudsman and all Deputies of the Ombudsman, Professor and
Reviewers of law for a period of ten years.
Penalties for non-compliance: Imposition of fines, pleadings may be expunge from records of the court, lawyer be can a
subject of suspension or disbarment.

B. Duty to the Legal Profession

1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Rule 139-A)
Purposes: To elevate the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public
responsibility more effectively.
Elective Officers: President, Executive Vice President and concurrently a Governor of a Region (chosen by the Board of Governors who will
succeed the national President), Board of Governors from: Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Greater Manila, Southern Luzon, Bicolandia,
Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Eastern Mindanao and Western Mindanao.
Other officers: The IBP shall have a Secretary, Treasurer and such other officers as well as employees the President may appoint with the
consent of the Board of Governors under such terms and conditions specified in the appointment of each officer and/or employee.
Membership and Dues: Non-payment of dues may subject the lawyer to disciplinary action including removal of the name of the delinquent
lawyer from the Roll of Attorneys. (Sec. 9, Rule 139-A)LIFETIME DUE: P12, 500 and ANNUAL DUE: P1, 000

In the Matter of Brewing Controversies in the IBP Elections (A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC, A.C. No. 8292, April 2013)
2. THE LAWYER AS A NOTARY PUBLIC (A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC, effective August 1, 2004, as amended)

Purposes of the Notarial Rules: Promote, serve and protect public interest; to simplify, clarify and modernize the rules governing notaries
public; and to foster ethical conduct among notaries public.

(1). Commissioning of a Notary Public

(2). Qualifications (Section 1, Rule III)
(3). Manner of Obtaining a Commission (Sections 2, 3, 4, 5,6,7,8, 9 and 10 Rule III); and Renewal of Commission (Sections 13 and 14,
Rule III)
(4). Powers and Limitations
Powers (Section 1, Rule IV; Sections 1-4, Rule VII)
Prohibitions (Section 2, Rule IV; Section 1, Rule XII)
Disqualifications (Section 4, Rule IV)
(5). Instances when a Notary Public may refuse to notarize, issue certification (Sections 4, 5 & 6, Rule IV)
(6). Jurisdiction and Period of Validity of Commission (Section 11, Rule III; Section9, Rule IX)
(7). Reportorial Requirement (Section 12, Rule III; Sections 1-6, Rule VI; and Sections 1-2, Rule VIII)
(8). Disciplinary Sanctions/Death of a Notary Public
Revocation of commission ((Section 1, Rule XI)
Suspension from practice as a lawyer
Death of a Notary Public (Section 4, Rule XI)
Espinosa v. Atty. Julieta A.Omana, A.C. No. 9081, October 12, 2011
March 24, 2015.
WILBERTO C. TALISIC v. ATTY. PRIMO R. RINEN, A.C. No. 8761, February 12, 2014
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. Arguelles, 679 SCRA 348 (2012)
Licerio Dizon v. Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr., A.C. No. 10185, March 12, 2014
Important matters to consider:
Jurat (Section 6, Rule II) and Acknowledgment (Section1, Rule II), distinguished
Competent Evidence of Identity (Section 12, Rule 2)
Affirmation or Oath (Section 2, Rule II) and Signature Witnessing (Section 14, Rule II), distinguished

3. Upholding the dignity of the legal profession

CANON 7 – A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the integrated bar.
(Rules 7.01-7.03)
Keld Stemmerik v. Atty. Leonuel N. Mas, A.C. 8010, June 16, 2009
Tiong v. Atty. George M. Florendo (A. C. No. 4428, December 12, 2011
4. Courtesy, fairness and candor towards professional colleagues
CANON 8 – A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor towards his
professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel. (Rules 8.01-8.02)
Atty. Rosalie Dallong-Galicina v. Atty. Virgil R. Castro (A.C. No. 6396. October 25, 2005)
Atty.Florita S. Linco v. Atty. Jimmy D. Lacebral (A.C. No. 7241, October 17, 2011
5. No assistance in the unauthorized practice of law
CANON 9 – A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law. (Rules 9.01-9.02)
Tapay et al v. Attys. Charlie L. Bancolo et al, A. C. No. 9604, March 20, 2013
Atty. Edita Noe – Lacsamana v. Atty. Yolando F. Bustamente (A.C. No. 7269, November
23, 2011
C. Duty to the Courts
1. Candor, fairness and good faith towards the courts
CANON 10 – A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court. (Rules 10.01-10.02)
Read also Rule 138, Section 20(c) and (d), Rules of Court, Duties of Attorneys
Antero J. Pobre v. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, (A.C. No. 7399, August 25, 2009
Natasha Hueysuwan-Florido v. Atty. James Benedict C. Florido (A.C. No. 5624, Jan.20,
2. Respect for courts and judicial officers
CANON 11 – A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by
others (Rules 11.01-11.05)
Re: Letter of the U.P. Law Faculty on Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation of the S.C., A. M. No. 10-10-4-SC, March 8,
3. Assistance in the speedy and efficient administration of justice
CANON 12 – A lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. (Rules
Read also Rule 138, Section 20(g) Rules of Court – Duties of Attorneys; and
Article III, Section 16, Constitution – Right to speedy disposition of cases.
Aida Poblete and Hon. Reuben P. Dela Cruz, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 272, Marikina City,
petitioner, vs. Court of Appeals and William Lu, respondent. (G. R. No. 128859, June 23, 2005)
Godofredo C. Pineda, complaint v. Atty. Teddy C. Macapagal, respondent. (A. C. No. 6062, November 29, 2005)
4. Reliance on merits of his cause and avoidance of any impropriety which tends to influence the appearance of influence upon the
CANON 13 – A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause refrain from any impropriety which tends to influence or gives the appearance of
influencing court. (Rules 13.01- 13.03)
Lantoria v. Bunyi (A.M. Case No. 1769, June 8, 1992): preparation of draft decision
Cruz v. Salva (G. R. 12871, July 25, 1959, 105 Phil. 115) :attracting media attention over a pending case
In Re: Almacen (G.R. No. L-27654, Feb. 18, 1970): post litigation utterances

D. Duty to Clients
1. Availability of Service without Discrimination
(i) Services regardless of a person’s status
CANON 14 – A lawyer shall not refuse his services to the needy. (Rules 14.01-14.04)
Read: Rule 138, Section 20, Rules of Court on Duties of Attorneys (h) and (i)
Rule 138, Section 31, Rules of Court on Attorneys for Destitute Litigant
(ii) Services as counsel de officio ONLY IN CRIMINAL CASES
- Appointment as Counsel de officio (to represent accused in criminal proceedings)
Read: Rule 116, Section 6, Rules of Court, Right to Counsel of an Accused
Rule 117, Section 7, Rules of Court, Appointment of Counsel de officio during trial
Who may be appointed: Lawyer in good standing; or any person who reside where the case is filed, of good repute for probity
and ability where there is no lawyer in the jurisdiction.
What factors to consider: gravity of the offense, difficulty of the issues involved and experience and ability of the appointee.

- Designation of Counsel de officio before an appellate court

Read: Rule 124, Section 2, Rules of Court: Conditions for appointment: accused is in prison, there is no counsel de parte on appeal
and accused signed notice of appeal himself
(iii) Valid grounds for refusal: where engagement may result into conflict of interest, when lawyer is unable to represent a party due to
pressing professional matters that need his attention, when what the client wishes the client to undertake is patently illegal, when the
client agrees in writing to retire his representation or where after due notice and hearing, the court allows the counsel to withdraw his
appearance in an action or special proceeding, other similar grounds.

2. Candor, fairness and loyalty to clients

CANON 21 – A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relation is terminated.
(i) Confidentiality rule: Rule will cover partners in legal profession and non-legal staff working for the lawyer.
(ii) Privileged communications. Sec. 21(b), Rule 130 will apply.
(iii) Conflict of interest: Disclose matters that would give rise to representation of two adverse interests. Conflict of Interest, concept;
when lawyer may lawyer may held accountable; liability
Pacana v. Pascual-Lopez (A.C. No. 8243, July 24, 2009)
Ferdinand A. Samson v. Atty. Edgardo O. Era (A.C. No. 6664, July 16, 2013)

Notes on Issue of Conflict of Interest: The nature of lawyer and client relationship is one of trust and confidence of the highest degree.
1. A lawyer would be representing a client whose interest is directly adverse to any of his present or former clients.
2. A lawyer may only be allowed to represent a client involving the same or a substantially related matter that is materially adverse to
the former client only if the former client consents to it after consultation.
3. Throughout the course of a lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer learns all the facts connected with the client’s case, including the
weak and strong points of the case. Knowledge and information gathered in the course of the relationship must be treated as sacred
and guarded with care and to avoid the appearance of treachery and double- dealing, for only then can litigants be encouraged to
entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is paramount in the administration of justice.
3. Candid and honest advice to clients: Give a fair assessment of the case referral.
CANON 15 – A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with his clients. (Rules 15.01-15.08)
When lawyer-client relationship commences: no formal contract is needed, it is sufficient that the advice and assistance of an attorney is
sought and received in any manner pertinent to his profession.

4. Compliance with laws: No one is above the Rule of Law

5. Concurrent practice of another profession: pay separate PTRs; one profession is governed by the Professional Regulation
Commission and the legal profession by the Supreme Court.

5. Dealing with Client’s monies and properties

CANON 16 – A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his profession. (Rules 16.01-16.04)
(i)Fiduciary relationship
(ii) Co-mingling of funds: A lawyer must not co-mingle his personal funds with those of his client.
(iii) Delivery of funds: A lawyer must promptly surrender to his client and/ or account for any money received by way of a money
judgment or proceeds from a transaction he handled in the course of his engagement.
(iv) Borrowing or lending: A lawyer must refrain from borrowing money from his client.
Please note: Article 1491(5), New Civil Code which covers the prohibition against lawyers to participate in any public or judicial
auction of a property or rights where his professional services were engaged.
Bayonla et al v. Atty. Purita A. Reyes (A. C. No. 4808, November 22, 2011)
Freeman v. Atty. Zenaida P. Reyes (A. C. No. 6246, November 15, 2011)
Important matters to consider on fiduciary duty:
(1). Lawyers are bound to promptly account for money or property received in the course of his engagement as counsel.
(2). Even if a lawyer has a lien for fees, he is bound to turnover any property or money received on behalf of his client.
(3). The turnover of money or property to his client is subject to lawyer’s lien.
All costs of litigation must be borne by the client.

6. Fidelity to client’s cause

CANON 17 – A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him.
Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. v. Atty. Leo J. Palma (A. C. No. 2474, June 30, 2005)
Reddi v. Sebrio, Jr (Adm. Case No. 7027, January 30, 2009)
7. Duty to Serve with Competence and Diligence
(i) Adequate protection: A lawyer must ensure the appropriate legal reliefs for his client.
(ii) Negligence: A client is bound by the negligence of his counsel.
(iii) Collaborating Counsel: With the consent of the client, a collaborating counsel may participate in an on-going case.
(iv) Duty to apprise client: The lawyer must inform the client of the status of the case.
CANON 18 – A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. (Rules 18.01-18.04)
Carlito P. Carandang v. Atty. Gilbert S. Obmina (A. C. No. 7813,
April 21, 2007)
Representation with zeal within legal bounds
(i) Use of fair and honest means: A lawyer must only employ such legal strategy allowed by the circumstances.
(ii) Client’s fraud: A lawyer must not condone any illegal acts of his client.
(iii) Procedure in handling the case: The lawyer’s acceptance and the limits of the engagement of his services must be made clear at the
commencement of the lawyer-client relationship.
CANON 19 – A lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law.
Dimagiba v. Montalvo, Jr. (Adm. Case No. 1424, October 15, 1991)
Ong v. Unto (Adm. Case No. 2417, February 6, 2003)
CANON 20 – A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.
Attorney’s fees: (i) Acceptance fees; (ii) Contingency fee arrangements; (iii) Attorney’s liens; (iv) Fees and controversies with clients;
(v) Concepts of attorney’s fees -
(a) Ordinary concept (based on agreement or customary practice); and (b) extraordinary concept (award of attorney’s fees is given to

On Lawyer’s fees and other charges:

Read Rule 138, Section 24, Rules of Court on Compensation of Attorneys
Rule 138, Section 12, Rules of Court on Compensation for Attorneys de officio
Rule 138, Section 37, Rules of Court on Charging Lien
Right of a lawyer: A charging lien is the right which the attorney has upon all judgments for payment of money, and executions in
pursuance of such judgments, obtained in favor of the client, to secure reimbursement for advances made and payment of attorney’s
Conchita Baltazar, et al. v. Atty. Juan B. Bañez, Jr., (A.C. No. 9091, December 11, 2013).
Retaining fee (can partake of an acceptance fee) and professional fees for services rendered (include the payment of such amount of
amount as may be agreed upon by the parties in the course of handling a legal matter for the client)
Read Rule 20.01 of CPR and Rule 138, Section 24 on factors to consider in charging fees (importance of the subject matter of controversy,
extent of services rendered, professional standing)
Concept of Quantum Meruit: a lawyer will receive such amount commensurate the services he rendered.
On costs of litigation: A champertous contract may result where a lawyer assumes all expenses for litigation and reimbursement is
contingent on the outcome of the case. This is strictly prohibited under Rule 16-04 of the CPR.
Champerty is different from a contingent fee contract because in the latter the lawyer gets reimbursed for the advances made for the client
in the course of representation, whether he wins the suit or not; only the amount of professional fees is contingent upon winning.
In Re: The Conjugal Partnership of the Spouses Vicente Cadavedo and Benita Arcoy-Cadavedo (both deceased), substituted by
their Heirs, namely: Herminia, Pastora, Heirs of Fructiosa, Heirs of Raquel, Evangeline, Vicente, Jr., and Armand, all surnamed
Cadavedo (G.R. No. 173188. January 15, 2014)
8. Preservation of client’s confidences: (i) Prohibited disclosures and use; (ii) Disclosures, when allowed: The disclosures made a client
to a lawyer are covered by the privileged communications rule. The lawyer may, however, disclose information relayed to him by a client
when the latter is about to commit a crime or when there is a dispute between the lawyer and his client and the information is vital in the
defense of the lawyer.
Palm v. Atty. Felipe Iledan, Jr. (A.C. No. 8243, July 24, 2009)

CANON 22 – A lawyer shall withdraw his services only for good cause and upon notice appropriate in the circumstances.

9. Withdrawal of Services: valid, justifiable reasons for withdrawal

7 VIII. Readmission to the Bar and Resumption to Practice Law

In Re: Oath taking of Argosino (B.M. 712, July 13, 1995 and En Banc Resolution dated March 19, 1997)
Bernardo v. Mejia, (531 SCRA 639)
Re: 2003 Bar Examinations (Atty. Danilo de Guzman), 586 SCRA 372
Macarubbo v. Macarubbo (January 22, 2013
Resumption to Practice of a Balikbayan Lawyer: Requisites - Updating and full payment of all IBP membership dues; Payment of
Professional Tax; Completion of MCLE credit units; and Retaking of the Lawyer’s Oath. (Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law
of Benjamin M. Dacanay, 540 SCRA 424)

8 Written Exercises

9 I. Sources of Judicial Ethics: 1. The Constitution; 2. The Rules of Court; 3. Statues creating courts; 4. The New Canons of Judicial
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary (took effect on June 1, 2004 per A.M. 03-05-01-SC) which was patterned after the Bangalore
Draft of Code of Judicial Conduct; and .5. Code of Judicial Conduct

9 II. Membership in the Judiciary

Qualifying to the Bench
1. Members of the Supreme Court and lower appellate courts: Section 7(1), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution mandates that a Justice of
the Supreme Court and all collegiate appellate courts must be a natural born Filipino.
Qualifications of SC Justice: natural born Filipino, at least be 40 years old, must have been for 15 years or more a judge of a lower court or
engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.

2. Members of the lower courts (regional trial courts and first level courts): Section 7(2), article VIII, 1987 Constitution provides that
Congress shall provide for qualifications but one must be citizen of the Philippines and member of the Philippine Bar.

3. Common qualification for all members of the judiciary, Section 7(3), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution provides: “A member of the
Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.”
Villanueva v. JBC (2015)
Jardeleza vs. Chief Justice Sereno and JBC (2015)

4. Term of Office: Section 11, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution provides that members of the judiciary “shall hold office during good behavior
until they reach 70 years old or they become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office.”

5. Manner of Selection and Appointment (Read Section 8, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution for the composition, powers and term of
office of members of the Judicial and Bar Council)
Chavez v. JBC, et al., G.R. No. 202242, July 17, 2012
Appointments made by the President in the judiciary do not need any confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. (Section 9. Article
VIII, 1987 Constitution)
Please note that:
Any vacancy in the Supreme Court must be filled within 90 days from the occurrence thereof. (Section 4(1), Article VIII, 1987
For lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments within 90 days from the submission of the list. (Section 9, Article VIII,
1987 Constitution)
Requirements in the discharge of responsibilities of members of the judiciary:
1. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly, the facts and law on which it is
based. (Section 14, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
2. Dedicated service to the judiciary
3. Members of the judiciary shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions.
(Section12, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
4. SALN Requirement
Members of the Supreme Court shall not only report all their assets, liabilities, and net worth upon assumption to duty but
they must disclose such to the PUBLIC in the manner provided by law. (Section 17, Article XI, 1987 Constitution)
5. Allegiance to the Philippine Government. Any public officer owes allegiance to the Philippine government and its
Constitution and a public officer who seeks to change citizenship or acquire the status of an immigrant of another country
during his tenure shall be dealt with by law.(Section 18, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)

10 & 11 III. Qualities (I.I.I. PECd): Independence, Integrity, Impartiality, Propriety, Equality and Competence and diligence

A. Uphold the Dignity and Independence of the Court

CANON 1 – A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the Judiciary. (Sections 1-7)
Two aspects of independence: institutional independence and personal independence: What is expected of judges: to discharge their functions
based solely on a fair assessment of the facts and invoking the appropriate provision of law in resolving issues presented before the court; and
shield themselves from any kind of influence from any party involved in the case.
Talens-Dabon v. Arceo, A.M. No. RTJ-96-1336, July 25, 1996
Dela Cruz v. Pascua, A. M. No. RTJ-99-146, June 26, 2001,359 SCRA 569
Go v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 101837, February 11, 1992, 206 SCRA 165

B. Avoid Impropriety: CANON 2 – A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities. (Sections 1-3)
Samson v. Judge Caballero, A. M. No. RT J-08- 213, 595 SCRA 423
Suarez v. Judge Dilag, A. M. No. RT J-06-2014, March 4, 2009, 580 SCRA 491.
Santos v. Judge Arcaya- Chua, A. M. No. MT J-07-20093, February 17, 2009
Inonog v. Judge Ibay, A. M. No. RT J-09-2175, July 28, 2009, 594 SCRA 168.

C. Maintain Impartiality
CANON 3 – A judge should perform official duties honestly, and with impartiality and diligence. (Sections 1-6)
Concerned Lawyers of Bulacan v. Judge Vilalon-Pornillos, 592 SCRA 36
Paco v. Quilala, et. Al., A. M. No. RT J-02-1699, 413 SCRA 364
Complaint against Chief Justice Corona dated Sept. 14, 2011 filed by Inter-Petal Recreational Corp., A.M. No. 12-6-10 SC,
June 13, 2012
Villaluz v. Mijares, A. M. No. RT J-98-1402, April 3, 1998, 288 SCRA 594

D. Duty to Improve the Law and the Administration of Justice

CANON 4: A judge may, with due regard to official duties, engage in activities to improve the law, the legal system and the administration of
justice. (Sections 1-15)
Albos v. Alaba, A.M. No. MTJ-91517, March 11, 1994.

E. Duty to Avoid Conflict with Judicial Responsibilities

CANON 5: A judge should regulate extra-judicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict of judicial duties. (Sections 1 - 5)
Re. Conviction of Judge Angeles, A. M. No. RT J-06-9-5215, 543 SCRA
Guanzon v. Judge Rufon, 537 SCRA 38
Sy v. Judge Fineza, A. M. RT J-03-1808, October 15, 2003, 413 SCRA 374

F. Duty to Exhibit Competence and Diligence

CANON 6: Competence and Diligence (Sections 1-7)
Biggel v. Judge Pamintuan, A. M. No. RT J- 08-2101, 559 SCRA 344
Bayaca v. Judge Ramos, A. M. No. MT J-07-1676, 577 SCRA 93

IV. Disqualification of Justices and Judges (Rule 137)

Prohibition on practice of profession: No member of the judiciary may practice their profession during their incumbency.

A. Prescriptive Duty to resolve pending matters

All matters pending with the Supreme Court must be resolved with 24 months;
Twelve (12) months for all collegiate appellate courts; and
Three (3) months for all other lower courts. (Section 15(1), 1987 Constitution)

B. Disqualification and Inhibition of Judges: may be voluntary or involuntary: There are two rules governing the qualification and
voluntary inhibition of judges: Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court; and Rule 3. 12 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for
the Philippine Judiciary. Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court provides:” Disqualification of judges. – No judge or judicial
officer shall sit in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise , or in
which he is related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel within the fourth degree,
computed according to the rules of the civil law, or in which he has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or
in which he has presided in any inferior court when his ruling or decision is the subject of review, without the written consent of all
parties in interest, signed by them and entered upon the record.
A judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself from sitting in case, for just or valid reasons other than those
mentioned above.” (ex. If judge served as wedding sponsor to one of the litigants or litigant is his “kasambahay.”)

Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary states:
“Rule 3.12. – A Judge should take no part in proceeding where the judge’s impartially might reasonably be questioned.
These cases include, among others, proceedings where:
The judge has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;
The judge served as executor, administrator, guardian, trustees or lawyer in the case or matter in controversy, or a former associate
of the judge served as counsel during their association, or the judge or lawyer was a material witness therein;
The judge’s ruling in a lower court is the subject of review;
The judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree or to co counsel within the fourth degree;
The judge knows that his spouse or child has a financial interest, as heir, legatee, creditor, fiduciary, or otherwise, in the subject
matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the

1. Voluntary Inhibition: When voluntary inhibition be done: A judge is allowed under the second paragraph of Section 1 of Rule 137 of the
Rules of Court, supra, to voluntary inhibit from a case for just or valid reasons other than those grounds of disqualification.
How voluntary inhibition is effected: A judge may motu proprio or on motion of a party voluntarily recluse from a case if he has good or valid
reasons which render him incapable of acting objectively on the case.
When a judge should not inhibit himself: Absent any ground for disqualification, a judge should not inhibit and if a motion to that effect is
filed, he should deny it if, despite the circumstances cited by the movant, he honestly believes that he can act on the case objectively.

2. Remittal of Disqualification: Nature of remittal: Remittal of disqualification is the process by which a judge who is disqualified to sit on a
case on any of the grounds enumerated in Section 5, Canon 3, may purge himself of such a disqualification so that he may act upon the case.
How remittal is effected: This process is allowed under Section 6 of the same Canon which provides:
“A judge disqualified as stated above may, instead of withdrawing from the proceeding, disclose on the record the basis of disqualification. If,
based on such disclosure, the parties and lawyers, independently of the judge’s participation, all agree in writing that the reason for inhibition is
immaterial or unsubstantial; the judge may then participate in the proceeding. The Agreement, signed by all the parties and lawyers, shall be
incorporated in the record of the proceedings.”

11 & 12 V. Discipline of Members of the Judiciary

A. Members of the Supreme Court: Impeachment. (Section 2, Article XI, 1987 Constitution); Grounds; and Proceedings
In re: Undated letter of Mr. Louis C. Biraogo, A.M. No. 09-2-19, S.C
In Re: Letter Complaint of Atty. Pena against Justices Carpio and Sereno, A.M. No. 12-6-11- SC

B. Discipline of Appellate Justices and Lower Court Judges: Read Section 11, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution
1. Jurisdiction over disciplinary cases: The Supreme Court en banc shall have the power to discipline appellate justices and lower court
2. Vote required to dismiss a member of the judiciary: A majority vote of all justices who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in
the case and voted thereon.
3. Grounds for disciplinary action over appellate and trial judges

4. Sanctions: fines, suspension, dismissal from office, forfeiture of benefits and disbarment
Office of the Court Administrator v. Atty. Daniel R. Liangco (A.C. No.5355, December 11, 2011)

13 VI. Administrative Aspects over Court Matters, Responsibilities and Discipline of Court Personnel

A. Powers and Duties of Courts and Judicial Officers (Rule 135)

B. Court Records and General Duties of Clerks and Stenographer (Rule 136)

C. Legal Fees (Rule 141): Manner of payment: legal tender; principles of Negotiable Instruments Law will apply; fees in lien; and
persons authorized to collect legal fees

D. Costs: Recovery of costs (Rule 142): a) Prevailing party; b) Dismissed appeal or action
c) Frivolous appeal; d) false allegations; and e) Non-appearance of witness

1. Case related to sheriff’s fees: Sanga v. Alcantara and Bisnar, A.M. No. P-09-2657, January 25, 2010; Dy Teban Trading Co., Inc v. Verga,
A.M. No.-11-2914, March 16, 2011
2. Cases on misconduct of court personnel: Hernando v. Bengson, A.M. No. P-09-2686, March 10, 2010; and March 21, 2012; Consolacion v.
Gambito, A.M. Nos. P-06-2186 and P-12-3026, July 3, 2012; Judge Adlawan v. Capilitan, A.M. No. P-12-3080, August 23, 2012; Celavite-
Vidal v. Aguam, A.M. No. SCC-10-13-P, June 26, 2012
3. Cases on liability related to custody of judicial funds: OCA v. Atty. Lometillo et al., A.M. No. P-09-2637, March 29, 2011; OCA v. Peradilla,
A.M. No. – P-09-2647, July 17, 2012
4. Case for lapse in securing court premises: Re: Theft of Used G.I. Sheets in the SC Compund, Baguio city, A.M. No.2008-15- SC, May 31,
5. Cases on absenteeism and falsification of time records: OCA v. Araya, Jr, Utility Worker, A.M. No. P-12-3053; OCA v. De Lemos et al.,
A.M. P-11-2953, September 28, 2011
6. Case on taking of monetary evidence for personal purpose: OCA v. Musni, A.M. P-11-3024, July 17, 2012
7. Case on neglect of duty: Memo of Judge Yu to Ms. Lagman and Ms. Bassig, A.M. No. P-12-3033, August 15, 2012

In recent cases decided by the S.C. involving court personnel, the Court made the following rulings:
1. A court stenographer must pay just obligations as there is a compelling need to preserve decency in the judiciary.
2. Court personnel is likewise covered by the prohibition that he cannot purchase a property involved within the jurisdiction of their
3. A clerk of court who delays the transmittal of records to the appellate court is guilty of misconduct and merits suspension without
4. A clerk of court who fails to issue an Official Receipt as Commissioner’s fee and the stenographer’s fee exhibits misconduct.
5. A clerk of court who fails to remit money received in the course of his work may be suspended and the amount unremitted will be
deducted from his salary until fully paid.
6. A clerk of court who showed oppressive conduct towards her subordinates may be dismissed from service if the subordinates and
other third parties are able to substantiate their claims.
7. A court personnel who is found guilty of dishonesty, grave misconduct, unlawful behavior or who is found to have a “disposition to
lie, cheat, deceive, defraud or betray; untrustworthiness, lack of integrity, lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; and lack of
fairness and straightforwardness” may face not only administrative investigation by the Office of the Court Administrator but may
likewise be charged for violation of Civil Service Rules and Regulations and violation of the Revised Penal Law and other Special Penal
Laws involving public officers.