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GONZALEZ 166 SCRA 316 Legal Ethics Contemptuous Language Duty of a Lawyer Zaldivar was the governor of Antique. He was charged before the Sandiganbayan for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Gonzales was the then Tanodbayan who was investigating the case. Zaldivar then filed with the Supreme Court a petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus assailing the authority of the Tanodbayan to investigate graft cases under the 1987 Constitution. The Supreme Court, acting on the petition issued a Cease and Desist Order against Gonzalez directing him to temporarily restrain from investigating and filing informations against Zaldivar. Gonzales however proceeded with the investigation and he filed criminal informations against Zaldivar. Gonzalez even had anewspaper interview where he proudly claims that he scored one on the Supreme Court; that the Supreme Courts issuance of the TRO is a manifestation theta the rich and influential persons get favorable actions from the Supreme Court, [while] it is difficult for an ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given due course. Zaldivar then filed a Motion for Contempt against Gonzalez. The Supreme Court then ordered Gonzalez to explain his side. Gonzalez stated that the statements in the newspapers were true; that he was only exercising his freedom of speech; that he is entitled to criticize the rulings of the Court, to point out where he feels the Court may have lapsed into error. He also said, even attaching notes, that not less than six justices of the Supreme Court have approached him to ask him to go slow on Zaldivar and to not embarrass the Supreme Court. ISSUE: Whether or not Gonzalez is guilty of contempt. HELD: Yes. The statements made by respondent Gonzalez clearly constitute contempt and call for the exercise of the disciplinary authority of the Supreme Court. His statements necessarily imply that the justices of the Supreme Court betrayed their oath of office. Such statements constitute the grossest kind of disrespect for the Supreme Court. Such statements very clearly debase and degrade the Supreme Court and, through the Court, the entire system of administration of justice in the country.

Gonzalez is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free speech. What Gonzalez seems unaware of is that freedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interests. One of these fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the integrity and orderly functioning of the administration of justice. There is no antinomy between free expression and the integrity of the system of administering justice. Gonzalez, apart from being a lawyer and an officer of the court, is also a Special Prosecutor who owes duties of fidelity and respect to the Republic and to the Supreme Court as the embodiment and the repository of the judicial power in the governmentof the Republic. The responsibility of Gonzalez to uphold the dignity and authority of the Supreme Court and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice is heavier than that of a private practicing lawyer. Gonzalez is also entitled to criticize the rulings of the court but his criticisms must be bona fide. In the case at bar, his statements, particularly the one where he alleged that members of the Supreme Court approached him, are of no relation to the Zaldivar case. The Supreme Court suspended Gonzalez indefinitely from the practice of law.

99 SANTUYO v HIDALGO FACTS: Santuyo purchased a parcel of land covered by a deed of sale which was notarized by Hidalgo and was entered inhis notarial register 6 years after the date of notarization, Santuyo had a dispute with Danilo German over the ownership of the land Germen presented an affidavit of Hidalgo denying the authenticity if his signature on the deed of sale and that itwas forged Santuyo argued that: o The deed of sale contained all the formalities of a duly notarized document o They had no access to the dry seal of Hidalgo Hidalgo on the other hand claimed that:

He was on vacation at the time that the deed was allegedly notarized o An examination of the document will prove that his signature was forged o He would have remembered Santuyo for he requires that the parties exhibit their community taxcertificates and made them personally acknowledge the documents before he notarize documents IBP: the signature was really forged but Hidalgo must be suspended for 2 years as a notary publicISSUE: W/N Hidalgo must be suspendedHELD: YES!

The responsibility attached to a notary public is sensitive. Hidalgo should have been more discreet and cautious Ithe execution of his duties as such and should not have wholly entrusted everything to the secretaries. Hidalgo is negligent not only in the supposed notarization but foremost in having allowed the office secretaries tomake the necessary entries in his notarial registry which was supposed to be done and kept by him alone andshould not have relied on somebody else.

13 SICAT v ARIOLA Facts: Arturo Sicat, Board Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Rizal charged Atty. Gregorio E. Ariola of committing fraud, deceit, and falsehood in notarizing a Special Power of Attorney (SPA). Said SPA was purportedly executed by Juanito Benitez, of the JC Benitez Architect and Technical Management.Said company had a contract with the Municipality of Cainta for the construction of low cost houses. What is fraudulent about it is the fact that the SPA was notarized more than 2 months after the death of Benitez,the person who supposedly executed it. P3,700T was paid to JC Benitez Architect and Technical Management for services not rendered (as consultants). Ariola claims that the document he notarized was superfluous and unnecessary, and prejudiced no one, and therefore he should be exonerated the document was cancelled the same day he notarized it, hence legally there was no public document that existed. Issue:nW/N Ariola can be held liable. Held: Yes. Notaries public should not authenticate documents unless the persons who signed them are the very same persons who executed them and personally appeared before them, to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. His assertion of falsehood in a public document contravened one of the most cherished tenets of the legal profession and potentially cast suspicion on the truthfulness of every notarial act.

Ariola is disbarred, and not merely suspended for a year. UI VS. BONIFACIO Facts: Lesli Ui filed an administrative complaint for disbarment against Atty. Iris Bonifacio on the ground of immorality, for allegedly carrying an immoral relationship with Carlos Ui, her (Lesli) husband. In the proceeding before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, Iris attached a photocopy of a marriage certificate that said that she and Carlos got married in 1985 but according to the certificate of marriage obtained from the Hawaii State Department of Health, they were married in 1987. Issue: Whether or not Atty. Iris Bonifacio conducted herself in an immoral manner for which she deserves to be barred from the practice of law. Held: NO. The practice of law is a privilege. The bar candidate does not have the right to enjoy the practice of the legal profession simply by passing the bar, he must also have a continued possession of good moral character. A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct , which has been defined as the conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the good and respectable members of the community. Lawyers, as keepers of public faith, are burdened with a higher degree of social responsibility and thus must handle their personal affairs with great caution. Iris Bonifacio was imprudent in managing her personal affairs. However the fact remains that her relationship with Carlos, clothed as it was with what she believed as a valid marriage, cannot be considered immoral. Immorality 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, it must be grossly immoral, it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree. A lawyer is not only required to refrain from adulterous relationships but must also behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral standards. Her act of distancing herself on her discovery that Carlos was married proves that she had no

intention of flaunting the law and the high moral standard of the legal profession. On the matter of the falsified marriage certificate, it is contrary to human experience and highly improbable that she did not know the year of her marriage or she failed to check that the information on the document she attached to her Answer were correct. Lawyers are called upon to safeguard the integrity of the Bar, free from misdeeds and acts of malpractice.


Facts: Figueroa and Barranco were sweethearts since their teens. Their intimacy eventually resulted to a son born out of wedlock. At this point (1964) Barranco promised Figueroa that he would marry her when he passes the bar examinations. After four takes, he finally passed but did not hold true to his promise of marriage. In 1971, their relationship ended. Years later, he married another woman. When Barranco was about to take his oath to enter the legal profession, Figueroa filed a complaint relaying to the court what happened between her and Barranco. Until 1988, Barranco has filed three motions to dismiss because Figueroa still would not persecute and because for the past years, he has become elected in the Sangguniang Bayan, has actively participated in various civic organizations and has acquired a good standing within his community while the case was pending. The court sought theopinion of the IBP which recommended that Barranco be allowed to take his oath. Figueroa reappeared and intercepted the scheduled oath-taking of Barranco which led to its delay. Issue: Whether or not Barranco should be allowed to take his oath despite the accusations of Figueroa. Held: Yes. The maintenance of an intimate relationship between a man and a woman, both of whom had no impediment to marry and voluntarily carried on with the affair, does not amount to a grossly immoral conduct even if a child was born out of the relationship. His previous acts may be said to be a question to his moral character but none of these are so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree. Her allegations that she was forced to have sexual relations with him cannot lie as evidenced by her continued cohabitation with him even after their child was born in 1964. The ignobleness of his treatment of Figueroa is sufficiently punished by the 26 years that he has been prevented from entering the profession he has worked so hard for.

Barrios vs. Atty. Francisco, november 12, 2004 Facts: atty. Martinez was convicted of the crime involving bp 22. He was also involved in another estafa case pertaining to his legal services rendered on the victim of dona paz tragedy.the victim he represented filed a complaint because of the compensation that the victim had received from sulpicio lines which was later deducted by atty. Martinez.on sept. 27, 2003 the ibp board of governors passed a resolution approving the report and the recommendation of its investigating commissioner.on dec. 3, 2003 respondent filed an mr and reinvestigation. Issue: is the crime of issuing worthless check constituting moral turpitude? is the act of the respondent considered to be a ground for disbarment? Ruling: yes,the court finds the respondent guilty of bp 22 which imports deceit and violation of his attorneys oath and code of professional responsibility. in this case, the court also finds disbarment as the appropriate penalty and ordered that the name of the respondent be stricken from the roll of attorneys.

Case: Donton vs Tansingco A.C 6057June 27, 2006 Facts: O n M a y 2 0 , 2 0 0 3 , P e t e r T . D o n t o n (complainant) f i l e d a c r i m i n a l complaint for estafa thru falsification of public document against Duane O. S t i e r , E m e l y n A . M a g g a y , a n d respondent Atty. Emmanuel O. T a n s i n g c o , a s t h e n o t a r y p u b l i c w h o notarized the Occupancy Agreement. Subsequently, respondent Tansingco filed a counter-charge for perjury against complainant. The affidavit-complaint stated that: T h e O C C U P A N C Y A G R E E M E N T d a t e d September 11, 1995 was prepared and notarized under the following circumstances: o A. Mr. Duane O. Stier is the owner and long-time resident of a real property located at No. 33 Don Jose Street,Bgy. San Roque, Murphy, Cubao,Quezon City. o B. Sometime in September 1995, Mr.Stier a U.S. citizen and thereby disqualified to own real property in his n a m e a g r e e d t h a t t h e p r o p e r t y b e transferred in the name of Dr.Donton, a Filipino. o C . M r . S t i e r , i n t h e p r e s e n c e o f M r . Donton, requested me to prepare s e v e r a l d o c u m e n t s t h a t

w o u l d g u a r a n t e e r e c o g n i t i o n o f h i m b e i n g the actual owner of the property d e s p i t e t h e t r a n s f e r o f t i t l e i n t h e name of Mr. Donton. o D. For this purpose, I prepared, among others, the OCCUPANCY AGREEMENT, recognizing Mr. Stiers free and undisturbed use of the property for his residence and business operations. The OCCUPANCY AGREEMENT was tied u p w i t h a l o a n w h i c h M r . S t i e r h a d extended to Mr. Donton. Thereafter, complainant prayed that respondent be disbarred in violation of the Code for the act of preparing the Occupancy Agreement, despite the knowledge that Stier was disqualified t o o w n a r e a l p r o p e r t y f o r b e i n g a foreign national. On Oct 1, 2003 the Court referred the matter to the IBP for investigation and o n F e b 2 6 , 2 0 0 4 , C o m m i s s i o n e r S a n Juan found respondent liable for taking p a r t i n a s c h e m e t o c i r c u m v e n t t h e constitutional prohibition against foreign ownership of land in the P h i l i p p i n e s a n d r e c o m m e n d e d respondents suspension from the practice of law for 2 years and cancellation of his commission as Notary Public. O n A p r i l 1 6 , 2 0 0 4 , t h e I B P B o a r d o f Governors adopted the report with modification and recommended respondents suspension from the practice of law for 6 months. Then on July 28, 2004, respondent filed a motion for reconsideration before the IBP stating that his practice of law is his only means of supporting his family and 6 minor children. Issue: WON respondent is guilty of violation of Canon I and Rule 1.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Held: A lawyer should not render any service or give advice to any client which will involve defiance of the laws which he is bound to uphold. Respondents knowledge that Stier, a US citizen, was disqualified from owning real property and his preparation of

Occupancy Agreement that would guarantee Stiers recognition as the actual owner o f t h e p r o p e r t y , a i d e d i n circumventing the constitutionalprohibition against foreign ownershipo f l a n d s . T h u s , h e v i o l a t e d h i s o a t h and the Code when he prepared and notarized the Occupancy Agreement. Respondent used his knowledge of the law to achieve an unlawful end. Such an act amounts to malpractice in his o f f i c e , f o r w h i c h h e m a y b e suspended.

In Re: Terrel [2 Phil 266 (May 15, 1903)] Post under case digests, Legal Ethics at Monday, March 05, 2012 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind Facts: Terrel was ordered to show cause why he should not be suspended as a member of the bar of the city of Manila He assisted in the organization Centro Bellas Artes Club, after he had been notified that the organization was made for the purpose of evading the law He acted as attorney for said club during the time of and after its organization, which was known for the purpose of evading the law In US vs. Terrel, he was charged with estafa. The court reviewed his testimony and decided that the charges were true and made an order suspending him from office as lawyer in the Philippine Islands. Issue: Whether or not the court was justified in suspending Terrel. Held: Yes, suspended for one year The promoting of organizations, with knowledge of their objects, for the purpose of violating or evading the laws against crime constitutes such misconduct on the part of an attorney, an officer of the court, as amounts to malpractice or gross misconduct in hisoffice, and for which he may be removed or suspended. The assisting of a client in a scheme which the attorney knows to be dishonest, or the conniving at a violation of law, are acts which justify disbarment. HOWEVER, Terrel was acquitted in US vs. Terrel on the charge of estafa. While unprofessional, is not criminal in nature. Hence, Terrel is suspended for one year (as opposed to permanent suspension).


Issues: 1. WON Plunder Law is unconstitutional for being vague No. As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be sustained. The amended information itself closely tracks the language of law, indicating w/ reasonable certainty the various elements of the offense w/c the petitioner is alleged to have committed. We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous that will confuse petitioner in his defense. Petitioner however bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition of the terms combination and series in the key phrase a combination or series of overt or criminal acts. These omissions, according to the petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny him the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, hence violative of his fundamental right to due process. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms are used herein, or because of the employment of terms without defining them. A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence most necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. A facial challenge is allowed to be made to vague statute and to one which is overbroad because of possible chilling effect upon protected speech. The possible harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of other may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes. But in criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech. 2. WON the Plunder Law requires less evidence for providing the predicate crimes of plunder and therefore violates the rights of the accused to due process No. Sec. 4 (Rule of Evidence) states that: For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and every criminal

act done by the accused in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. In a criminal prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes, the accused always has in his favor the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the State succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the accused is entitled to an acquittal. The reasonable doubt standard has acquired such exalted stature in the realm of constitutional law as it gives life to the Due Process Clause which protects the accused against conviction except upon proof of reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged. Not everything alleged in the information needs to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. What is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is every element of the crime chargedthe element of the offense. Relative to petitioners contentions on the purported defect of Sec. 4 is his submission that pattern is a very important element of the crime of plunder; and that Sec. 4 is two-pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive element of the crime, such that without it the accused cannot be convicted of plunder We do not subscribe to petitioners stand. Primarily, all the essential elements of plunder can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to sec. 1 par. (d). Sec. 4 purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for the prosecution of a criminal case for plunder. Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or establish any substantive right in favor of the accused but only operated in furtherance of a remedy. What is crucial for the prosecution is to present sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude exacted by the fundamental law to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. 3. WON Plunder as defined in RA 7080 is a malum prohibitum, and if so, whether it is within the power of Congress to so classify it. No. It is malum in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens rea must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended information alleges that the crime of plunder was committed willfully, unlawfully and criminally. It thus alleges guilty knowledge on the part of petitioner.

In support of his contention In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the requirement of mens rea and that is the reason he claims the statute is void, petitioner cites the following remarks of Senator Taada made during the deliberation on S.B. No.733 Senator Taada was only saying that where the charge is conspiracy to commit plunder, the prosecution need not prove each and every criminal act done to further the scheme or conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. As far as the acts constituting the pattern are concerned, however, the elements of the crime must be proved and the requisite mens rea must be shown. The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Revised Penal Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an element of plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is determined by his criminal intent. Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se must be deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative by the decision of Congress in 1993 to include it among the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes that are, by their very nature, despicable, either because life was callously taken or the victim is treated like an animal and utterly dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal course of his or her growth as a human being. There are crimes however in which the abomination lies in the significance and implications of the subject criminal acts in the scheme of the larger socio-political and economic context in which the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and provide for its poor and underprivileged masses. The legislative declaration in R.A. No.7659 that plunder is a heinous offense implies that it is a malum in se. For when the acts punished are inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they are mala in se and it does not matter that such acts are punished in a special law, especially since in the case of plunder the predicate crimes are mainly mala in se. Held: PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 otherwise known as the Plunder Law, as amended by RA 7659, is CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the petition to declare the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of merit