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FIRST DIVISION

[A.M. No. P-99-1287. January 26, 2001]

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, complainant, vs. ATTY. MISAEL M. LADAGA, Branch Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, Branch 133, Makati City, respondent. RESOLUTION
KAPUNAN, J.:

In a Letter, dated August 31, 1998, respondent Atty. Misael M. Ladaga, Branch Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 133, requested the Court Administrator, Justice Alfredo L. Benipayo, for authority to appear as pro bono counsel of his cousin, Narcisa Naldoza Ladaga, in Criminal Case No. 84885, entitled “People vs. Narcisa Naldoza Ladaga” for Falsification of Public Document pending before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 40.[1] While respondent’s letter-request was pending action, Lisa Payoyo Andres, the private complainant in Criminal Case No. 84885, sent a letter to the Court Administrator, dated September 2, 1998, requesting for a certification with regard to respondent’s authority to appear as counsel for the accused in the said criminal case.[2]On September 7, 1998, the Office of the Court Administrator referred the matter to respondent for comment.[3] In his Comment,[4] dated September 14, 1998, respondent admitted that he had appeared in Criminal Case No. 84885 without prior authorization. He reasoned out that the factual circumstances surrounding the criminal case compelled him to handle the defense of his cousin who did not have enough resources to hire the services of a counsel de parte; while, on the other hand, private complainant was a member of a powerful family who was out to get even with his cousin. Furthermore, he rationalized that his appearance in the criminal case did not prejudice his office nor the interest of the public since he did not take advantage of his position. In any case, his appearances in court were covered by leave application approved by the presiding judge. On December 8, 1998, the Court issued a resolution denying respondent’s request for authorization to appear as counsel and directing the Office of the Court Administrator to file formal charges against him for appearing in court without the required authorization from the Court.[5] On January 25, 1999, the Court Administrator filed the instant administrative complaint against respondent for violating Sec. 7(b)(2) of Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,” which provides:

Sec. 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. – In addition to acts and omissions of public officials and employees now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the

following shall constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any public official and employee and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
x x x

(b) Outside employment and other activities related thereto.- Public officials and employees during their incumbency shall not:

x

x

x

(2) Engage in the private practice of their profession unless authorized by the Constitution or law, Provided, that such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with their official functions;
In our Resolution, dated February 9, 1999, we required respondent to comment on the administrative complaint. In his Comment, respondent explained that he and Ms. Ladaga are “close blood cousins” who belong to a “powerless family” from the impoverished town of Bacauag, Surigao del Norte. From childhood until he finished his law degree, Ms. Ladaga had always supported and guided him while he looked up to her as a mentor and an adviser. Because of their close relationship, Ms. Ladaga sought respondent’s help and advice when she was charged in Criminal Case No. 84885 for falsification by the private complainant, Lisa Payoyo Andres, whose only purpose in filing the said criminal case was to “seek vengeance” on her cousin. He explained that his cousin’s discord with Ms. Andres started when the latter’s husband, SPO4 Pedro Andres, left the conjugal home to cohabit with Ms. Ladaga. During the course of their illicit affair, SPO4 Andres and Ms. Ladaga begot three (3) children. The birth certificate of their eldest child is the subject of the falsification charge against Ms. Ladaga. Respondent stated that since he is the only lawyer in their family, he felt it to be his duty to accept Ms. Ladaga’s plea to be her counsel since she did not have enough funds to pay for the services of a lawyer. Respondent also pointed out that in his seven (7) years of untainted government service, initially with the Commission on Human Rights and now with the judiciary, he had performed his duties with honesty and integrity and that it was only in this particular case that he had been administratively charged for extending a helping hand to a close relative by giving a free legal assistance for “humanitarian purpose.” He never took advantage of his position as branch clerk of court since the questioned appearances were made in the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City and not in Makati where he is holding office. He stressed that during the hearings of the criminal case, he was on leave as shown by his approved leave applications attached to his comment. In our Resolution, dated June 22, 1999, we noted respondent’s comment and referred the administrative matter to the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Judge Josefina Guevarra-Salonga, for investigation, report and recommendation. In her Report, dated September 29, 1999, Judge Salonga made the following findings and recommendation:

There is no question that Atty. Misael Ladaga appeared as counsel for and in behalf of his cousin, Narcisa Naldoza Ladaga, an accused in Criminal Case No. 84-885 for

“Falsification of Public Documents” before the METC of Quezon City. It is also denied that the appearance of said respondent in said case was without the previous permission of the Court. An examination of the records shows that during the occasions that the respondent appeared as such counsel before the METC of Quezon City, he was on official leave of absence. Moreover, his Presiding Judge, Judge Napoleon Inoturan was aware of the case he was handling. That the respondent appeared as pro bono counsel likewise cannot be denied. His cousin-client Narcisa Ladaga herself positively declared that the respondent did not receive a single centavo from her. Helpless as she was and respondent being the only lawyer in the family, he agreed to represent her out of his compassion and high regard for her. It may not be amiss to point out, this is the first time that respondent ever handled a case for a member of his family who is like a big sister to him. He appeared for free and for the purpose of settling the case amicably. Furthermore, his Presiding Judge was aware of his appearance as counsel for his cousin. On top of this, during all the years that he has been in government service, he has maintained his integrity and independence. RECOMMENDATION In the light of the foregoing, it appearing that the respondent appeared as counsel for his cousin without first securing permission from the court, and considering that this is his first time to do it coupled with the fact that said appearance was not for a fee and was with the knowledge of his Presiding Judge, it is hereby respectfully recommended that he be REPRIMANDED with a stern warning that any repetition of such act would be dealt with more severely.[6]
We agree with the recommendation of the investigating judge. Respondent is charged under Sec. 7(b)(2) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees which prohibits civil servants from engaging in the private practice of their profession. A similar prohibition is found under Sec. 35, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court which disallows certain attorneys from engaging in the private practice of their profession. The said section reads:

SEC. 35. Certain attorneys not to practice.- No judge or other official or employee of the superior courts or of the Office of the Solicitor General, shall engage in private practice as a member of the bar or give professional advise to clients.
However, it should be clarified that “private practice” of a profession, specifically the law profession in this case, which is prohibited, does not pertain to an isolated court appearance;

rather, it contemplates a succession of acts of the same nature habitually or customarily holding one’s self to the public as a lawyer. In the case of People vs. Villanueva,[7] we explained the meaning of the term “private practice” prohibited by the said section, to wit:

We believe that the isolated appearance of City Attorney Fule did not constitute private practice, within the meaning and contemplation of the Rules. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State vs. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, N.S. 768) Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one’s self out to the public, as a lawyer and demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644, 647). The appearance as counsel on one occasion, is not conclusive as determinative of engagement in the private practice of law. The following observation of the Solicitor General is noteworthy: “Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to be in the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that his professional services are available to the public for a compensation, as a source of his livelihood or in consideration of his said services.” For one thing, it has never been refuted that City Attorney Fule had been given permission by his immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice, to represent the complainant in the case at bar, who is a relative.[8]
Based on the foregoing, it is evident that the isolated instances when respondent appeared as pro bono counsel of his cousin in Criminal Case No. 84885 does not constitute the “private practice” of the law profession contemplated by law. Nonetheless, while respondent’s isolated court appearances did not amount to a private practice of law, he failed to obtain a written permission therefor from the head of the Department, which is this Court as required by Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules, thus:

Sec. 12. No officer or employee shall engage directly in any private business, vocation, or profession or be connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural, or industrial undertaking without a written permission from the head of the Department: Provided, That this prohibition will be absolute in the case of those officers and employees whose duties and responsibilities require that their entire time be at the disposal of the Government; Provided, further, That if an employee is granted permission to engage in outside activities, time so devoted outside of office hours should be fixed by the agency to the end that it will not impair in any way the efficiency of the officer or employee: And provided, finally, That no permission is

necessary in the case of investments, made by an officer or employee, which do not involve real or apparent conflict between his private interests and public duties, or in any way influence him in the discharge of his duties, and he shall not take part in the management of the enterprise or become an officer of the board of directors.[9]
Respondent entered his appearance and attended court proceedings on numerous occasions, i.e., May 4-15, 1998, June 18, 1998, July 13, 1998 and August 5, 1998, as borne out by his own admission. It is true that he filed leave applications corresponding to the dates he appeared in court. However, he failed to obtain a prior permission from the head of the Department. The presiding judge of the court to which respondent is assigned is not the head of the Department contemplated by law. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Atty. Misael M. Ladaga is hereby REPRIMANDED with a stern warning that any repetition of such act would be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Pardo, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. Nos. 89591-96. January 24, 2000]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. BONIFACIO SANZ MACEDA, Presiding Judge of Branch 12, Regional Trial Court of Antique, and AVELINO T. JAVELLANA, respondents. RESOLUTION
PARDO, J.: On September 8, 1999, we denied the People’s motion seeking reconsideration of our August 13, 1990 decision in these cases. In said resolution, we held that respondent Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda committed no grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order of August 8, 1989 giving custody over private respondent Avelino T. Javellana to the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, San Jose, Antique, Atty. Deogracias del Rosario, during the pendency of Criminal Cases Nos. 3350-3355. At that time, sufficient reason was shown why private respondent Javellana should not be detained at the Antique Provincial Jail. The trial court’s order specifically provided for private respondent’s detention at the residence of Atty. del Rosario. However, private respondent was not to be allowed liberty to roam around but was to be held as detention prisoner in said residence.

This order of the trial court was not strictly complied with because private respondent was not detained in the residence of Atty. Del Rosario. He went about his normal activities as if he were a free man, including engaging in the practice of law. Despite our resolution of July 30, 1990 prohibiting private respondent to appear as counsel in Criminal Case No. 4262,[1] the latter accepted cases and continued practicing law. On April 7, 1997, Senior State Prosecutor Henrick F. Guingoyon filed with the Supreme Court a motion seeking clarification on the following questions: "(1) Does the resolution of this Honorable Court dated July 30, 1990, prohibiting Atty. Javellana from appearing as counsel refer only to Criminal Case No. 4262? (2) Is Atty. now (Judge) Deogracias del Rosario still the custodian of Atty. Javellana? and (3) Since it appears that Atty. (now Judge) del Rosario never really held and detained Atty. Javellana as prisoner in his residence, is not Atty. Javellana considered an escapee or a fugitive of justice for which warrant for his arrest should forthwith be issued?"[2] In a resolution dated June 18, 1997, we "noted" the above motion. After we denied the motion for reconsideration on September 8, 1999, the trial court resumed hearing Criminal Cases Nos. 3350-3355. Earlier, on August 2, 1999, Rolando Mijares filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, San Jose, Antique, a motion seeking the revocation of the trial court’s custody order and the imprisonment of private respondent Javellana in the provincial jail. On November 15, 1999, private respondent Javellana filed with the Supreme Court an urgent motion seeking to clarify whether the June 18, 1997 resolution finally terminated or resolved the motion for clarification filed by the State Prosecutor on April 7, 1997. Private respondent Javellana has been arrested based on the filing of criminal cases against him. By such arrest, he is deemed to be under the custody of the law. The trial court gave Atty. Deogracias del Rosario the custody of private respondent Javellana with the obligation "to hold and detain" him in Atty. del Rosario’s residence in his official capacity as the clerk of court of the regional trial court. Hence, when Atty. del Rosario was appointed judge, he ceased to be the personal custodian of accused Javellana and the succeeding clerk of court must be deemed the custodian under the same undertaking. In our mind, the perceived threats to private respondent Javelana’s life no longer exist. Thus, the trial court’s order dated August 8, 1989 giving custody over him to the clerk of court must be recalled, and he shall be detained at the Provincial Jail of Antique at San Jose, Antique. Regarding his continued practice of law, as a detention prisoner private respondent Javellana is not allowed to practice his profession as a necessary consequence of his status as a detention prisoner. The trial court’s order was clear that private respondent "is not to be allowed liberty to roam around but is to be held as a detention prisoner." The prohibition to practice law referred not only to Criminal Case No. 4262, but to all other cases as well, except in cases where private respondent would appear in court to defend himself.

As a matter of law, when a person indicted for an offense is arrested, he is deemed placed under the custody of the law. He is placed in actual restraint of liberty in jail so that he may be bound to answer for the commission of the offense.[3] He must be detained in jail during the pendency of the case against him, unless he is authorized by the court to be released on bail or on recognizance.[4] Let it be stressed that all prisoners whether under preventive detention or serving final sentence can not practice their profession nor engage in any business or occupation, or hold office, elective or appointive, while in detention. This is a necessary consequence of arrest and detention. Consequently, all the accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 3350-3355 must be confined in the Provincial Jail of Antique. Considering that the pendency of Criminal Cases Nos. 3350-3355 has dragged on for more than ten (10) years, the presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, San Jose, Antique, is ordered to continue with the trial of said criminal cases with all deliberate dispatch and to avoid further delay. WHEREFORE, the August 8, 1989 order of the trial court is hereby SET ASIDE. All accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 3350-3355, including Avelino T. Javellana and Arturo F. Pacificador are ordered detained at the Provincial Jail of Antique, San Jose, Antique, effective immediately, and shall not be allowed to go out of the jail for any reason or guise, except upon prior written permission of the trial court for a lawful purpose. Let copies of this resolution be given to the Provincial Director, PNP Antique Provincial Police Office, San Jose, Antique and to the Provincial Jail Warden, Provincial Jail of Antique, San Jose, Antique. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.2/17/00 9:54 AM
Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. L-27654 February 18, 1970 IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. VICENTE RAUL ALMACEN In L-27654, ANTONIO H. CALERO, vs. VIRGINIA Y. YAPTINCHAY. RESOLUTION

CASTRO, J.: Before us is Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen's "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title," filed on September 25, 1967, in protest against what he therein asserts is "a great injustice committed against his client by this Supreme Court." He indicts this Court, in his own phrase, as a tribunal "peopled by men who are calloused to our pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity." His client's he continues, who was deeply aggrieved by this Court's "unjust judgment," has become "one of the sacrificial victims before the altar of hypocrisy." In the same breath that he alludes to the classic symbol of justice, he ridicules the members of this Court, saying "that justice as administered by the present members of the Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb." He then vows to argue the cause of his client "in the people's forum," so that "the people may know of the silent injustice's committed by this Court," and that "whatever mistakes, wrongs and injustices that were committed must never be repeated." He ends his petition with a prayer that ... a resolution issue ordering the Clerk of Court to receive the certificate of the undersigned attorney and counsellor-at-law IN TRUST with reservation that at any time in the future and in the event we regain our faith and confidence, we may retrieve our title to assume the practice of the noblest profession. He reiterated and disclosed to the press the contents of the aforementioned petition. Thus, on September 26, 1967, the Manila Times published statements attributed to him, as follows: Vicente Raul Almacen, in an unprecedented petition, said he did it to expose the tribunal's"unconstitutional and obnoxious" practice of arbitrarily denying petitions or appeals without any reason. Because of the tribunal's "short-cut justice," Almacen deplored, his client was condemned to pay P120,000, without knowing why he lost the case. xxx xxx xxx There is no use continuing his law practice, Almacen said in this petition, "where our Supreme Court is composed of men who are calloused to our pleas for justice, who ignore without reason their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity. xxx xxx xxx He expressed the hope that by divesting himself of his title by which he earns his living, the present members of the Supreme Court "will become responsive to all cases brought to its attention without discrimination, and will purge itself of those unconstitutional and obnoxious "lack of merit" or "denied resolutions. (Emphasis supplied) Atty. Almacen's statement that

... our own Supreme Court is composed of men who are calloused to our pleas of [sic] justice, who ignore their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity was quoted by columnist Vicente Albano Pacis in the issue of the Manila Chronicle of September 28, 1967. In connection therewith, Pacis commented that Atty. Almacen had "accused the high tribunal of offenses so serious that the Court must clear itself," and that "his charge is one of the constitutional bases for impeachment." The genesis of this unfortunate incident was a civil case entitled Virginia Y. Yaptinchay vs. Antonio H. Calero,1 in which Atty. Almacen was counsel for the defendant. The trial court, after due hearing, rendered judgment against his client. On June 15, 1966 Atty. Almacen received a copy of the decision. Twenty days later, or on July 5, 1966, he moved for its reconsideration. He served on the adverse counsel a copy of the motion, but did not notify the latter of the time and place of hearing on said motion. Meanwhile, on July 18, 1966, the plaintiff moved for execution of the judgment. For "lack of proof of service," the trial court denied both motions. To prove that he did serve on the adverse party a copy of his first motion for reconsideration, Atty. Almacen filed on August 17, 1966 a second motion for reconsideration to which he attached the required registry return card. This second motion for reconsideration, however, was ordered withdrawn by the trial court on August 30, 1966, upon verbal motion of Atty. Almacen himself, who, earlier, that is, on August 22, 1966, had already perfected the appeal. Because the plaintiff interposed no objection to the record on appeal and appeal bond, the trial court elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. But the Court of Appeals, on the authority of this Court's decision in Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., L-16636, June 24, 1965, dismissed the appeal, in the following words: Upon consideration of the motion dated March 27, 1967, filed by plaintiff-appellee praying that the appeal be dismissed, and of the opposition thereto filed by defendant-appellant; the Court RESOLVED TO DISMISS, as it hereby dismisses, the appeal, for the reason that the motion for reconsideration dated July 5, 1966 (pp. 90113, printed record on appeal) does not contain a notice of time and place of hearing thereof and is, therefore, a useless piece of paper (Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., G.R. No. L-16636, June 24, 1965), which did not interrupt the running of the period to appeal, and, consequently, the appeal was perfected out of time. Atty. Almacen moved to reconsider this resolution, urging that Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. is not decisive. At the same time he filed a pleading entitled "Latest decision of the Supreme Court in Support of Motion for Reconsideration," citing Republic of the Philippines vs. Gregorio A. Venturanza, L-20417, decided by this Court on May 30, 1966, as the applicable case. Again, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration, thus: Before this Court for resolution are the motion dated May 9, 1967 and the supplement thereto of the same date filed by defendant- appellant, praying for reconsideration of the resolution of May 8, 1967, dismissing the appeal. Appellant contends that there are some important distinctions between this case and that of Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., G.R. No. L16636, June 24, 1965, relied upon by this Court in its resolution of May 8, 1967. Appellant further states that in the latest case,Republic vs. Venturanza, L-20417, May 30, 1966, decided by the Supreme Court concerning the question raised by

appellant's motion, the ruling is contrary to the doctrine laid down in the Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. case. There is no substantial distinction between this case and that of Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. In the case of Republic vs. Venturanza, the resolution denying the motion to dismiss the appeal, based on grounds similar to those raised herein was issued on November 26, 1962, which was much earlier than the date of promulgation of the decision in the Manila Surety Case, which was June 24, 1965. Further, the resolution in the Venturanza case was interlocutory and the Supreme Court issued it "without prejudice to appellee's restoring the point in the brief." In the main decision in said case (Rep. vs. Venturanza the Supreme Court passed upon the issue sub silencio presumably because of its prior decisions contrary to the resolution of November 26, 1962, one of which is that in the Manila Surety and Fidelity case. Therefore Republic vs. Venturanza is no authority on the matter in issue. Atty. Almacen then appealed to this Court by certiorari. We refused to take the case, and by minute resolution denied the appeal. Denied shortly thereafter was his motion for reconsideration as well as his petition for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration and for extension of time. Entry of judgment was made on September 8, 1967. Hence, the second motion for reconsideration filed by him after the Said date was ordered expunged from the records. It was at this juncture that Atty. Almacen gave vent to his disappointment by filing his "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title," already adverted to — a pleading that is interspersed from beginning to end with the insolent contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory remarks hereinbefore reproduced, against this Court as well as its individual members, a behavior that is as unprecedented as it is unprofessional. Nonetheless we decided by resolution dated September 28, 1967 to withhold action on his petition until he shall have actually surrendered his certificate. Patiently, we waited for him to make good his proffer. No word came from him. So he was reminded to turn over his certificate, which he had earlier vociferously offered to surrender, so that this Court could act on his petition. To said reminder he manifested "that he has no pending petition in connection with Case G.R. No. L-27654, Calero vs. Yaptinchay, said case is now final and executory;" that this Court's September 28, 1967 resolution did not require him to do either a positive or negative act; and that since his offer was not accepted, he "chose to pursue the negative act." In the exercise of its inherent power to discipline a member of the bar for contumely and gross misconduct, this Court on November 17, 1967 resolved to require Atty. Almacen to show cause "why no disciplinary action should be taken against him." Denying the charges contained in the November 17 resolution, he asked for permission "to give reasons and cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against him ... in an open and public hearing." This Court resolved (on December 7) "to require Atty. Almacen to state, within five days from notice hereof, his reasons for such request, otherwise, oral argument shall be deemed waived and incident submitted for decision." To this resolution he manifested that since this Court is "the complainant, prosecutor and Judge," he preferred to be heard and to answer questions "in person and in an open and public hearing" so that this Court could observe his sincerity and candor. He also asked for leave to file a written explanation "in the event this Court has no time to hear him in person." To give him the ampliest latitude for his defense, he was allowed to file a written explanation and thereafter was heard in oral argument.

His written answer, as undignified and cynical as it is unchastened, offers -no apology. Far from being contrite Atty. Almacen unremittingly repeats his jeremiad of lamentations, this time embellishing it with abundant sarcasm and innuendo. Thus: At the start, let me quote passages from the Holy Bible, Chapter 7, St. Matthew: — "Do not judge, that you may not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged, and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you. But why dost thou see the speck in thy brother's eye, and yet dost not consider the beam in thy own eye? Or how can thou say to thy brother, "Let me cast out the speck from thy eye"; and behold, there is a beam in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam from thy own eye, and then thou wilt see clearly to cast out the speck from thy brother's eyes." "Therefore all that you wish men to do to you, even to do you also to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets." xxx xxx xxx Your respondent has no intention of disavowing the statements mentioned in his petition. On the contrary, he refirms the truth of what he stated, compatible with his lawyer's oath that he will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court. But he vigorously DENY under oath that the underscored statements contained in the CHARGE are insolent, contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory to the individual members of the Court; that they tend to bring the entire Court, without justification, into disrepute; and constitute conduct unbecoming of a member of the noble profession of law. xxx xxx xxx Respondent stands four-square that his statement is borne by TRUTH and has been asserted with NO MALICE BEFORE AND AFTER THOUGHT but mainly motivated with the highest interest of justice that in the particular case of our client, the members have shown callousness to our various pleas for JUSTICE, our pleadings will bear us on this matter, ... xxx xxx xxx To all these beggings, supplications, words of humility, appeals for charity, generosity, fairness, understanding, sympathy and above all in the highest interest of JUSTICE, — what did we get from this COURT? One word, DENIED, with all its hardiness and insensibility. That was the unfeeling of the Court towards our pleas and prayers, in simple word, it is plain callousness towards our particular case. xxx xxx xxx Now that your respondent has the guts to tell the members of the Court that notwithstanding the violation of the Constitution, you remained unpunished, this Court in the reverse order of natural things, is now in the attempt to inflict punishment on your respondent for acts he said in good faith.

Did His Honors care to listen to our pleadings and supplications for JUSTICE, CHARITY, GENEROSITY and FAIRNESS? Did His Honors attempt to justify their stubborn denial with any semblance of reason, NEVER. Now that your respondent is given the opportunity to face you, he reiterates the same statement with emphasis, DID YOU? Sir. Is this. the way of life in the Philippines today, that even our own President, said: — "the story is current, though nebulous ,is to its truth, it is still being circulated that justice in the Philippines today is not what it is used to be before the war. There are those who have told me frankly and brutally that justice is a commodity, a marketable commodity in the Philippines." xxx xxx xxx We condemn the SIN, not the SINNER. We detest the ACTS, not the ACTOR. We attack the decision of this Court, not the members. ... We were provoked. We were compelled by force of necessity. We were angry but we waited for the finality of the decision. We waited until this Court has performed its duties. We never interfered nor obstruct in the performance of their duties. But in the end, after seeing that the Constitution has placed finality on your judgment against our client and sensing that you have not performed your duties with "circumspection, carefulness, confidence and wisdom", your Respondent rise to claim his God given right to speak the truth and his Constitutional right of free speech. xxx xxx xxx The INJUSTICES which we have attributed to this Court and the further violations we sought to be prevented is impliedly shared by our President. ... . xxx xxx xxx What has been abhored and condemned, are the very things that were applied to us. Recalling Madam Roland's famous apostrophe during the French revolution, "O Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name", we may dare say, "O JUSTICE, what technicalities are committed in thy name' or more appropriately, 'O JUSTICE, what injustices are committed in thy name." xxx xxx xxx We must admit that this Court is not free from commission of any abuses, but who would correct such abuses considering that yours is a court of last resort. A strong public opinion must be generated so as to curtail these abuses. xxx xxx xxx The phrase, Justice is blind is symbolize in paintings that can be found in all courts and government offices. We have added only two more symbols, that it is also deaf and dumb. Deaf in the sense that no members of this Court has ever heard our cries for charity, generosity, fairness, understanding sympathy and for justice; dumb in the sense, that inspite of our beggings, supplications, and pleadings to give us reasons why our appeal has been DENIED, not one word was spoken or given ... We refer to no human defect or ailment in the above statement. We only describe the. impersonal state of things and nothing more.

xxx xxx xxx As we have stated, we have lost our faith and confidence in the members of this Court and for which reason we offered to surrender our lawyer's certificate, IN TRUST ONLY. Because what has been lost today may be regained tomorrow. As the offer was intended as our self-imposed sacrifice, then we alone may decide as to when we must end our self-sacrifice. If we have to choose between forcing ourselves to have faith and confidence in the members of the Court but disregard our Constitution and to uphold the Constitution and be condemned by the members of this Court, there is no choice, we must uphold the latter. But overlooking, for the nonce, the vituperative chaff which he claims is not intended as a studied disrespect to this Court, let us examine the grain of his grievances. He chafes at the minute resolution denial of his petition for review. We are quite aware of the criticisms2 expressed against this Court's practice of rejecting petitions by minute resolutions. We have been asked to do away with it, to state the facts and the law, and to spell out the reasons for denial. We have given this suggestion very careful thought. For we know the abject frustration of a lawyer who tediously collates the facts and for many weary hours meticulously marshalls his arguments, only to have his efforts rebuffed with a terse unadorned denial. Truth to tell, however, most petitions rejected by this Court are utterly frivolous and ought never to have been lodged at all.3The rest do exhibit a first-impression cogency, but fail to, withstand critical scrutiny. By and large, this Court has been generous in giving due course to petitions for certiorari. Be this as it may, were we to accept every case or write a full opinion for every petition we reject, we would be unable to carry out effectively the burden placed upon us by the Constitution. The proper role of the Supreme Court, as Mr. Chief Justice Vinson of the U.S. Supreme Court has defined it, is to decide "only those cases which present questions whose resolutions will have immediate importance beyond the particular facts and parties involved." Pertinent here is the observation of Mr. Justice Frankfurter in Maryland vs. Baltimore Radio Show, 94 L. ed 562, 566: A variety of considerations underlie denials of the writ, and as to the same petition different reasons may read different justices to the same result ... . Since there are these conflicting, and, to the uninformed, even confusing reasons for denying petitions for certiorari, it has been suggested from time to time that the Court indicate its reasons for denial. Practical considerations preclude. In order that the Court may be enabled to discharge its indispensable duties, Congress has placed the control of the Court's business, in effect, within the Court's discretion. During the last three terms the Court disposed of 260, 217, 224 cases, respectively, on their merits. For the same three terms the Court denied, respectively, 1,260, 1,105,1,189 petitions calling for discretionary review. If the Court is to do its work it would not be feasible to give reasons, however brief, for refusing to take these cases. The tune that would be required is prohibitive. Apart from the fact that as already indicated different reasons not infrequently move different members of the Court in concluding that a particular case at a particular time makes review undesirable. Six years ago, in Novino, et al., vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 1,21098, May 31, 1963 (60 O.G. 8099), this Court, through the then Chief Justice Cesar Bengzon, articulated its considered view on this matter. There, the petitioners counsel urged that a "lack of merit" resolution violates Section 12 of Article VIII of the Constitution. Said Chief Justice Bengzon:

In connection with identical short resolutions, the same question has been raised before; and we held that these "resolutions" are not "decisions" within the above constitutional requirement. They merely hold that the petition for review should not be entertained in view of the provisions of Rule 46 of the Rules of Court; and even ordinary lawyers have all this time so understood it. It should be remembered that a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion; and so there is no need to fully explain the court's denial. For one thing, the facts and the law are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals' opinion. By the way, this mode of disposal has — as intended — helped the Court in alleviating its heavy docket; it was patterned after the practice of the U.S. Supreme Court, wherein petitions for review are often merely ordered "dismissed". We underscore the fact that cases taken to this Court on petitions for certiorari from the Court of Appeals have had the benefit of appellate review. Hence, the need for compelling reasons to buttress such petitions if this Court is to be moved into accepting them. For it is axiomatic that the supervisory jurisdiction vested upon this Court over the Court of Appeals is not intended to give every losing party another hearing. This axiom is implied in sec. 4 of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which recites: Review of Court of Appeals' decision discretionary.—A review is not a matter of right but of sound judicial discretion, and will be granted only when there are special and important reasons therefor. The following, while neither controlling nor fully measuring the court's discretion, indicate the character of reasons which will be considered: (a) When the Court of Appeals has decided a question of substance, not theretofore determined by the Supreme Court, nor has decided it in a way probably not in accord with law or with the applicable decisions of the Supreme Court; (b) When the Court of Appeals has so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings, or so far sanctioned such departure by the lower court, as to call for the exercise of the power of supervision. Recalling Atty. Almacen's petition for review, we found, upon a thoroughgoing examination of the pleadings. and records, that the Court of Appeals had fully and correctly considered the dismissal of his appeal in the light of the law and applicable decisions of this Court. Far from straying away from the "accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings," it traced the procedural lines etched by this Court in a number of decisions. There was, therefore, no need for this Court to exercise its supervisory power. As a law practitioner who was admitted to the Bar as far back as 1941, Atty. Almacen knew — or ought to have known — that for a motion for reconsideration to stay the running of the period of appeal, the movant must not only serve a copy of the motion upon the adverse party (which he did), but also notify the adverse party of the time and place of hearing (which admittedly he did not). This rule was unequivocally articulated in Manila Surety & Fidelity vs. Batu Construction & Co., supra: The written notice referred to evidently is prescribed for motions in general by Rule 15, Sections 4 and 5 (formerly Rule 26), which provides that such notice shall state the time, and place of hearing and shall be served upon all the Parties concerned at least three days in advance. And according to Section 6 of the same Rule no motion

shall be acted upon by the court without proof of such notice. Indeed it has been held that in such a case the motion is nothing but a useless piece of paper (Philippine National Bank v. Damasco, I,18638, Feb. 28, 1963; citing Manakil v. Revilla, 42 Phil. 81; Roman Catholic Bishop of Lipa v. Municipality of Unisan, 41 Phil. 866; and Director of Lands vs. Sanz, 45 Phil. 117). The reason is obvious: Unless the movant sets the time and place of hearing the Court would have no way to determine whether that party agrees to or objects to the motion, and if he objects, to hear him on his objection, since the Rules themselves do not fix any period within which he may file his reply or opposition. If Atty. Almacen failed to move the appellate court to review the lower court's judgment, he has only himself to blame. His own negligence caused the forfeiture of the remedy of appeal, which, incidentally, is not a matter of right. To shift away from himself the consequences of his carelessness, he looked for a "whipping boy." But he made sure that he assumed the posture of a martyr, and, in offering to surrender his professional certificate, he took the liberty of vilifying this Court and inflicting his exacerbating rancor on the members thereof. It would thus appear that there is no justification for his scurrilous and scandalous outbursts. Nonetheless we gave this unprecedented act of Atty. Almacen the most circumspect consideration. We know that it is natural for a lawyer to express his dissatisfaction each time he loses what he sanguinely believes to be a meritorious case. That is why lawyers are given 'wide latitude to differ with, and voice their disapproval of, not only the courts' rulings but, also the manner in which they are handed down. Moreover, every citizen has the right to comment upon and criticize the actuations of public officers. This right is not diminished by the fact that the criticism is aimed at a judicial authority,4 or that it is articulated by a lawyer.5Such right is especially recognized where the criticism concerns a concluded litigation,6 because then the court's actuations are thrown open to public consumption.7 "Our decisions and all our official actions," said the Supreme Court of Nebraska,8 "are public property, and the press and the people have the undoubted right to comment on them, criticize and censure them as they see fit. Judicial officers, like other public servants, must answer for their official actions before the chancery of public opinion." The likely danger of confusing the fury of human reaction to an attack on one's integrity, competence and honesty, with "imminent danger to the administration of justice," is the reason why courts have been loath to inflict punishment on those who assail their actuations.9 This danger lurks especially in such a case as this where those who Sit as members of an entire Court are themselves collectively the aggrieved parties. Courts thus treat with forbearance and restraint a lawyer who vigorously assails their actuations. 10 For courageous and fearless advocates are the strands that weave durability into the tapestry of justice. Hence, as citizen and officer of the court, every lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to expose the shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and judges. 11 Courts and judges are not sacrosanct. 12 They should and expect critical evaluation of their performance. 13 For like the executive and the legislative branches, the judiciary is rooted in the soil of democratic society, nourished by the periodic appraisal of the citizens whom it is expected to serve.

Well-recognized therefore is the right of a lawyer, both as an officer of the court and as a citizen, to criticize in properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges. The reason is that An attorney does not surrender, in assuming the important place accorded to him in the administration of justice, his right as a citizen to criticize the decisions of the courts in a fair and respectful manner, and the independence of the bar, as well as of the judiciary, has always been encouraged by the courts. (In re Ades, 6 F Supp. 487) . Criticism of the courts has, indeed, been an important part of the traditional work of the bar. In the prosecution of appeals, he points out the errors of lower courts. In written for law journals he dissects with detachment the doctrinal pronouncements of courts and fearlessly lays bare for -all to see that flaws and inconsistence" of the doctrines (Hill v. Lyman, 126 NYS 2d 286). As aptly stated by Chief Justice Sharswood in Ex Parte Steinman, 40 Am. Rep. 641: No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expansion or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities for observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. ... To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood, by the judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained. ... . Hence, as a citizen and as Officer of the court a lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to avail of such right. No law may abridge this right. Nor is he "professionally answerable for a scrutiny into the official conduct of the judges, which would not expose him to legal animadversion as a citizen." (Case of Austin, 28 Am. Dee. 657, 665). Above all others, the members of the bar have the beat Opportunity to become conversant with the character and efficiency of our judges. No class is less likely to abuse the privilege, as no other class has as great an interest in the preservation of an able and upright bench. (State Board of Examiners in Law v. Hart, 116 N.W. 212, 216) To curtail the right of a lawyer to be critical of the foibles of courts and judges is to seal the lips of those in the best position to give advice and who might consider it their duty to speak disparagingly. "Under such a rule," so far as the bar is concerned, "the merits of a sitting judge may be rehearsed, but as to his demerits there must be profound silence." (State v. Circuit Court, 72 N.W. 196) But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the One hand, and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is Such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer to disciplinary action. For, membership in the Bar imposes upon a person obligations and duties which are not mere flux and ferment. His investiture into the legal profession places upon his shoulders no burden more basic, more exacting and more imperative than that of respectful behavior toward the courts. He vows solemnly to conduct himself "with all good fidelity ... to the courts; 14 and the Rules of Court constantly remind him "to observe and maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial

officers." 15 The first canon of legal ethics enjoins him "to maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme importance." As Mr. Justice Field puts it: ... the obligation which attorneys impliedly assume, if they do not by express declaration take upon themselves, when they are admitted to the Bar, is not merely to be obedient to the Constitution and laws, but to maintain at all times the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers. This obligation is not discharged by merely observing the rules of courteous demeanor in open court, but includes abstaining out of court from all insulting language and offensive conduct toward judges personally for their judicial acts. (Bradley, v. Fisher, 20 Law. 4d. 647, 652) The lawyer's duty to render respectful subordination to the courts is essential to the orderly administration of justice. Hence, in the — assertion of their clients' rights, lawyers — even those gifted with superior intellect are enjoined to rein up their tempers. The counsel in any case may or may not be an abler or more learned lawyer than the judge, and it may tax his patience and temper to submit to rulings which he regards as incorrect, but discipline and self-respect are as necessary to the orderly administration of justice as they are to the effectiveness of an army. The decisions of the judge must be obeyed, because he is the tribunal appointed to decide, and the bar should at all times be the foremost in rendering respectful submission. (In Re Scouten, 40 Atl. 481) We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual endowment That is his privilege. And he may suffer frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. That is his misfortune. Some such frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to harden into a belief that he may attack a court's decision in words calculated to jettison the timehonored aphorism that courts are the temples of right. (Per Justice Sanchez in Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer, L-22979. June 26, 1967) In his relations with the courts, a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one time and a mere citizen at another. Thus, statements made by an attorney in private conversations or communications 16 or in the course of a political, campaign, 17 if couched in insulting language as to bring into scorn and disrepute the administration of justice, may subject the attorney to disciplinary action. Of fundamental pertinence at this juncture is an examination of relevant parallel precedents. 1. Admitting that a "judge as a public official is neither sacrosanct nor immune to public criticism of his conduct in office," the Supreme Court of Florida in State v. Calhoon, 102 So. 2d 604, 608, nevertheless declared that "any conduct of a lawyer which brings into scorn and disrepute the administration of justice demands condemnation and the application of appropriate penalties," adding that: It would be contrary to, every democratic theory to hold that a judge or a court is beyond bona fide comments and criticisms which do not exceed the bounds of decency and truth or which are not aimed at. the destruction of public confidence in the judicial system as such. However, when the likely impairment of the

administration of justice the direct product of false and scandalous accusations then the rule is otherwise. 2. In In Re Glenn, 130 N.W. 2d 672, an attorney was suspended for putting out and circulating a leaflet entitled "JUSTICE??? IN OTUMWA," which accused a municipal judge of having committed judicial error, of being so prejudiced as to deny his clients a fair trial on appeal and of being subject to the control of a group of city officials. As a prefatory statement he wrote: "They say that Justice is BLIND, but it took Municipal Judge Willard to prove that it is also DEAF and DUMB!" The court did not hesitate to find that the leaflet went much further than the accused, as a lawyer, had a right to do. The entire publication evidences a desire on the part Of the accused to belittle and besmirch the court and to bring it into disrepute with the general public. 3. In In Re Humphrey, 163 Pac. 60, the Supreme Court of California affirmed the two-year suspension of an attorney who published a circular assailing a judge who at that time was a candidate for re-election to a judicial office. The circular which referred to two decisions of the judge concluded with a statement that the judge "used his judicial office to enable -said bank to keep that money." Said the court: We are aware that there is a line of authorities which place no limit to the criticism members of the bar may make regarding the capacity, impartiality, or integrity of the courts, even though it extends to the deliberate publication by the attorney capable of correct reasoning of baseless insinuations against the intelligence and integrity of the highest courts. See State Board, etc. v. Hart. 116 N.W. 212, 17 LRA (N.S.) 585, 15 Ann Cas 197 and note: Ex parte Steinman 95 Pac. 220, 40 Am. Rep. 637. In the first case mentioned it was observed, for instance: "It may be (although we do not so decide) that a libelous publication by an attorney, directed against a judicial officer, could be so vile and of such a nature as to justify the disbarment of its author." Yet the false charges made by an attorney in that case were of graver character than those made by the respondent here. But, in our view, the better rule is that which requires of those who are permitted to enjoy the privilege of practicing law the strictest observance at all times of the principles of truth, honesty and fairness, especially in their criticism of the courts, to the end that the public confidence in the due administration of justice be upheld, and the dignity and usefulness of the courts be maintained. In re Collins, 81 Pac. 220. 4. In People ex rel Chicago Bar Asso. v. Metzen, 123 N.E. 734, an attorney, representing a woman who had been granted a divorce, attacked the judge who set aside the decree on bill of review. He wrote the judge a threatening letter and gave the press the story of a proposed libel suit against the judge and others. The letter began: Unless the record in In re Petersen v. Petersen is cleared up so that my name is protected from the libel, lies, and perjury committed in the cases involved, I shall be compelled to resort to such drastic action as the law allows and the case warrants. Further, he said: "However let me assure you I do not intend to allow such dastardly work to go unchallenged," and said that he was engaged in dealing with men and not irresponsible political

manikins or appearances of men. Ordering the attorney's disbarment, the Supreme Court of Illinois declared: ... Judges are not exempt from just criticism, and whenever there is proper ground for serious complaint against a judge, it is the right and duty of a lawyer to submit his grievances to the proper authorities, but the public interest and the administration of the law demand that the courts should have the confidence and respect of the people. Unjust criticism, insulting language, and offensive conduct toward the judges personally by attorneys, who are officers of the court, which tend to bring the courts and the law into disrepute and to destroy public confidence in their integrity, cannot be permitted. The letter written to the judge was plainly an attempt to intimidate and influence him in the discharge of judicial functions, and the bringing of the unauthorized suit, together with the write-up in the Sunday papers, was intended and calculated to bring the court into disrepute with the public. 5. In a public speech, a Rhode Island lawyer accused the courts of the state of being influenced by corruption and greed, saying that the seats of the Supreme Court were bartered. It does not appear that the attorney had criticized any of the opinions or decisions of the Court. The lawyer was charged with unprofessional conduct, and was ordered suspended for a period of two years. The Court said: A calumny of that character, if believed, would tend to weaken the authority of the court against whose members it was made, bring its judgments into contempt, undermine its influence as an unbiased arbiter of the people's right, and interfere with the administration of justice. ... Because a man is a member of the bar the court will not, under the guise of disciplinary proceedings, deprive him of any part of that freedom of speech which he possesses as a citizen. The acts and decisions of the courts of this state, in cases that have reached final determination, are not exempt from fair and honest comment and criticism. It is only when an attorney transcends the limits of legitimate criticism that he will be held responsible for an abuse of his liberty of speech. We well understand that an independent bar, as well as independent court, is always a vigilant defender of civil rights. In Re Troy, 111 Atl. 723. 725. 6. In In Re Rockmore, 111 NYS 879, an attorney was suspended for six months for submitting to an appellate court an affidavit reflecting upon the judicial integrity of the court from which the appeal was taken. Such action, the Court said, constitutes unprofessional conduct justifying suspension from practice, notwithstanding that he fully retracted and withdrew the statements, and asserted that the affidavit was the result of an impulse caused by what he considered grave injustice. The Court said: We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that there is a growing habit in the profession of criticising the motives and integrity of judicial officers in the discharge of their duties, and thereby reflecting on the administration of justice and creating the impression that judicial action is influenced by corrupt or improper motives. Every attorney of this court, as well as every other citizen, has the right and it is his duty, to submit charges to the authorities in whom is vested the power to remove judicial officers for any conduct or act of a judicial officer that tends to show a violation of his duties, or would justify an inference that he is false to his trust, or has improperly administered the duties devolved upon him; and such charges to the tribunal, if based upon reasonable inferences, will be encouraged, and the person making them protected. ... While we recognize the inherent right of an attorney in a case decided

against him, or the right of the Public generally, to criticise the decisions of the courts, or the reasons announced for them, the habit of criticising the motives of judicial officers in the performance of their official duties, when the proceeding is not against the officers whose acts or motives are criticised, tends to subvert the confidence of the community in the courts of justice and in the administration of justice; and when such charges are made by officers of the courts, who are bound by their duty to protect the administration of justice, the attorney making such charges is guilty of professional misconduct. 7. In In Re Mitchell, 71 So. 467, a lawyer published this statement: I accepted the decision in this case, however, with patience, barring possible temporary observations more or less vituperative and finally concluded, that, as my clients were foreigners, it might have been expecting too much to look for a decision in their favor against a widow residing here. The Supreme Court of Alabama declared that: ... the expressions above set out, not only transcend the bounds of propriety and privileged criticism, but are an unwarranted attack, direct, or by insinuation and innuendo, upon the motives and integrity of this court, and make out a prima facie case of improper conduct upon the part of a lawyer who holds a license from this court and who is under oath to demean himself with all good fidelity to the court as well as to his client. The charges, however, were dismissed after the attorney apologized to the Court. 8. In State ex rel. Dabney v. Breckenridge, 258 Pac. 747, an attorney published in a newspaper an article in which he impugned the motives of the court and its members to try a case, charging the court of having arbitrarily and for a sinister purpose undertaken to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. The Court suspended the respondent for 30 days, saying that: The privileges which the law gives to members of the bar is one most subversive of the public good, if the conduct of such members does not measure up to the requirements of the law itself, as well as to the ethics of the profession. ... The right of free speech and free discussion as to judicial determination is of prime importance under our system and ideals of government. No right thinking man would concede for a moment that the best interest to private citizens, as well as to public officials, whether he labors in a judicial capacity or otherwise, would be served by denying this right of free speech to any individual. But such right does not have as its corollary that members of the bar who are sworn to act honestly and honorably both with their client and with the courts where justice is administered, if administered at all, could ever properly serve their client or the public good by designedly misstating facts or carelessly asserting the law. Truth and honesty of purpose by members of the bar in such discussion is necessary. The health of a municipality is none the less impaired by a polluted water supply than is the health of the thought of a community toward the judiciary by the filthy wanton, and malignant misuse of members of the bar of the confidence the public, through its duly established courts, has reposed in them to deal with the affairs of the private individual, the protection of whose rights he lends his strength and money to maintain the judiciary. For such conduct on the part of the members of the bar the law itself demands retribution — not the court.

9. In Bar Ass'n of San Francisco v. Philbrook, 170 Pac. 440, the filing of an affidavit by an attorney in a pending action using in respect to the several judges the terms criminal corrupt, and wicked conspiracies,," "criminal confederates," "colossal and confident insolence," "criminal prosecution," "calculated brutality," "a corrupt deadfall," and similar phrases, was considered conduct unbecoming of a member of the bar, and the name of the erring lawyer was ordered stricken from the roll of attorneys. 10. In State Board of Examiners v. Hart, 116 N.W. 215, the erring attorney claimed that greater latitude should be allowed in case of criticism of cases finally adjudicated than in those pending. This lawyer wrote a personal letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Minnesota impugning both the intelligence and the integrity of the said Chief Justice and his associates in the decisions of certain appeals in which he had been attorney for the defeated litigants. The letters were published in a newspaper. One of the letters contained this paragraph: You assigned it (the property involved) to one who has no better right to it than the burglar to his plunder. It seems like robbing a widow to reward a fraud, with the court acting as a fence, or umpire, watchful and vigilant that the widow got no undue advantage. ... The point is this: Is a proper motive for the decisions discoverable, short of assigning to the court emasculated intelligence, or a constipation of morals and faithlessness to duty? If the state bar association, or a committee chosen from its rank, or the faculty of the University Law School, aided by the researches of its hundreds of bright, active students, or if any member of the court, or any other person, can formulate a statement of a correct motive for the decision, which shall not require fumigation before it is stated, and quarantine after it is made, it will gratify every right-minded citizen of the state to read it. The Supreme Court of Minnesota, in ordering the suspension of the attorney for six months, delivered its opinion as follows: The question remains whether the accused was guilty of professional misconduct in sending to the Chief Justice the letter addressed to him. This was done, as we have found, for the very purpose of insulting him and the other justices of this court; and the insult was so directed to the Chief Justice personally because of acts done by him and his associates in their official capacity. Such a communication, so made, could never subserve any good purpose. Its only effect in any case would be to gratify the spite of an angry attorney and humiliate the officers so assailed. It would not and could not ever enlighten the public in regard to their judicial capacity or integrity. Nor was it an exercise by the accused of any constitutional right, or of any privilege which any reputable attorney, uninfluenced by passion, could ever have any occasion or desire to assert. No judicial officer, with due regard to his position, can resent such an insult otherwise than by methods sanctioned by law; and for any words, oral or written, however abusive, vile, or indecent, addressed secretly to the judge alone, he can have no redress in any action triable by a jury. "The sending of a libelous communication or libelous matter to the person defamed does not constitute an actionable publication." 18 Am. & Eng. Enc. Law (2d Ed.) p. 1017. In these respects the sending by the accused of this letter to the Chief Justice was wholly different from his other acts charged in the accusation, and, as we have said, wholly different principles are applicable thereto. The conduct of the accused was in every way discreditable; but so far as he exercised the rights of a citizen, guaranteed by the Constitution and sanctioned by considerations of public policy, to which reference has been made, he was immune,

as we hold, from the penalty here sought to be enforced. To that extent his rights as a citizen were paramount to the obligation which he had assumed as an officer of this court. When, however he proceeded and thus assailed the Chief Justice personally, he exercised no right which the court can recognize, but, on the contrary, willfully violated his obligation to maintain the respect due to courts and judicial officers. "This obligation is not discharged by merely observing the rules of courteous demeanor in open court, but it includes abstaining out of court from all insulting language and offensive conduct toward the judges personally for their official acts."Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. (U.S.) 355, 20 L. Ed. 646. And there appears to be no distinction, as regards the principle involved, between the indignity of an assault by an attorney upon a judge, induced by his official act, and a personal insult for like cause by written or spoken words addressed to the judge in his chambers or at his home or elsewhere. Either act constitutes misconduct wholly different from criticism of judicial acts addressed or spoken to others. The distinction made is, we think entirely logical and well sustained by authority. It was recognized in Ex parte McLeod supra. While the court in that case, as has been shown, fully sustained the right of a citizen to criticise rulings of the court in actions which are ended, it held that one might be summarily punished for assaulting a judicial officer, in that case a commissioner of the court, for his rulings in a cause wholly concluded. "Is it in the power of any person," said the court, "by insulting or assaulting the judge because of official acts, if only the assailant restrains his passion until the judge leaves the building, to compel the judge to forfeit either his own self-respect to the regard of the people by tame submission to the indignity, or else set in his own person the evil example of punishing the insult by taking the law in his own hands? ... No high-minded, manly man would hold judicial office under such conditions." That a communication such as this, addressed to the Judge personally, constitutes professional delinquency for which a professional punishment may be imposed, has been directly decided. "An attorney who, after being defeated in a case, wrote a personal letter to the trial justice, complaining of his conduct and reflecting upon his integrity as a justice, is guilty of misconduct and will be disciplined by the court." Matter of Manheim 133 App. Div. 136, 99 N.Y. Supp. 87 The same is held in Re Griffin (City Ct.) 1 N.Y. 7 and in Re Wilkes (City Ct.) 3 N.Y. In the latter case it appeared that the accused attorney had addressed a sealed letter to a justice of the City Court of New York, in which it was stated, in reference to his decision: "It is not law; neither is it common sense. The result is I have been robbed of 80." And it was decided that, while such conduct was not a contempt under the state, the matter should be "called to the attention of the Supreme Court, which has power to discipline the attorney." "If," says the court, "counsel learned in the law are permitted by writings leveled at the heads of judges, to charge them with ignorance, with unjust rulings, and with robbery, either as principals or accessories, it will not be long before the general public may feel that they may redress their fancied grievances in like manner, and thus the lot of a judge will be anything but a happy one, and the administration of justice will fall into bad repute." The recent case of Johnson v. State (Ala.) 44 South. 671, was in this respect much the same as the case at bar. The accused, an attorney at law, wrote and mailed a letter to the circuit judge, which the latter received by due course of mail, at his home, while not holding court, and which referred in insulting terms to the conduct of the judge in a cause wherein the accused had been one of the attorneys. For this it was held that the attorney was rightly disbarred in having "willfully failed to maintain respect due to him [the judge] as a judicial officer, and thereby breached his oath as an attorney." As recognizing the same principle, and in support of its application to

the facts of this case, we cite the following: Ex parte Bradley, 7 Wall (U.S.) 364, 19 L. Ed. 214; Beene v. State, 22 Ark. 149;Commonwealth v. Dandridge, 2 Va. Cas. 408; People v. Green, 7 Colo 237, 244, 3 Pac. 65, 374, 49 Am. Rep. 351; Smith's Appeal, 179 Pa. 14, 36 Atl. 134; Scouten's Appeal, 186 Pa. 270, Atl. 481. Our conclusion is that the charges against the accused have been so far sustained as to make it our duty to impose such a penalty as may be sufficient lesson to him and a suitable warning to others. ... 11. In Cobb v. United States, 172 F. 641, the court affirmed a lawyer's suspension for 18 months for publishing a letter in a newspaper in which he accused a judge of being under the sinister influence of a gang that had paralyzed him for two years. 12. In In Re Graves, 221 Pac. 411, the court held that an attorney's unjustifiable attack against the official acts and decisions of a judge constitutes "moral turpitude." There, the attorney was disbarred for criticising not only the judge, but his decisions in general claiming that the judge was dishonest in reaching his decisions and unfair in his general conduct of a case. 13. In In Re Doss, 12 N.E. 2d 659, an attorney published newspaper articles after the trial of cases, criticising the court in intemperate language. The invariable effect of this sort of propaganda, said the court, is to breed disrespect for courts and bring the legal profession into disrepute with the public, for which reason the lawyer was disbarred. 14. In State v. Grimes, 354 Pac. 2d 108, an attorney, dissatisfied with the loss of a case, prepared over a period of years vicious attacks on jurists. The Oklahoma Supreme Court declared that his acts involved such gross moral turpitude as to make him unfit as a member of the bar. His disbarment was ordered, even though he expressed an intention to resign from the bar. The teaching derived from the above disquisition and impressive affluence of judicial pronouncements is indubitable: Post-litigation utterances or publications, made by lawyers, critical of the courts and their judicial actuations, whether amounting to a crime or not, which transcend the permissible bounds of fair comment and legitimate criticism and thereby tend to bring them into disrepute or to subvert public confidence in their integrity and in the orderly administration of justice, constitute grave professional misconduct which may be visited with disbarment or other lesser appropriate disciplinary sanctions by the Supreme Court in the exercise of the prerogatives inherent in it as the duly constituted guardian of the morals and ethics of the legal fraternity. Of course, rarely have we wielded our disciplinary powers in the face of unwarranted outbursts of counsel such as those catalogued in the above-cited jurisprudence. Cases of comparable nature have generally been disposed of under the power of courts to punish for contempt which, although resting on different bases and calculated to attain a different end, nevertheless illustrates that universal abhorrence of such condemnable practices. A perusal of the more representative of these instances may afford enlightenment. 1. In Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil. 724, where counsel branded the denial of his motion for reconsideration as "absolutely erroneous and constituting an outrage to the rigths of the petitioner Felipe Salcedo and a mockery of the popular will expressed at the polls," this Court, although conceding that It is right and plausible that an attorney, in defending the cause and rights of his client, should do so with all the fervor and energy of which he is capable, but it is not,

and never will be so for him to exercise said right by resorting to intimidation or proceeding without the propriety and respect which the dignity of the courts requires. The reason for this is that respect for the courts guarantees the stability of their institution. Without such guaranty, said institution would be resting on a very shaky foundation, found counsel guilty of contempt inasmuch as, in its opinion, the statements made disclosed ... an inexcusable disrespect of the authority of the court and an intentional contempt of its dignity, because the court is thereby charged with no less than having proceeded in utter disregard of the laws, the rights to the parties, and 'of the untoward consequences, or with having abused its power and mocked and flouted the rights of Attorney Vicente J. Francisco's client ... . 2. In In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595, counsel, a senator and the author of the Press Freedom Law, reaching to, the imprisonment for contempt of one Angel Parazo, who, invoking said law, refused to divulge the source of a news item carried in his paper, caused to be published in i local newspaper a statement expressing his regret "that our High Tribunal has not only erroneously interpreted said law, but it is once more putting in evidence the incompetency or narrow mindedness of the majority of its members," and his belief that "In the wake of so many blunders and injustices deliberately committed during these last years, ... the only remedy to put an end to go much evil, is to change the members of the Supreme Court," which tribunal he denounced as "a constant peril to liberty and democracy" and "a far cry from the impregnable bulwark of justice of those memorable times of Cayetano Arellano, Victorino Mapa, Manuel Araullo and other learned jurists who were the honor and glory of the Philippine Judiciary." He there also announced that one of the first measures he would introduce in then forthcoming session of Congress would have for its object the complete reorganization of the Supreme Court. Finding him in contempt, despite his avowals of good faith and his invocation of the guarantee of free speech, this Court declared: But in the above-quoted written statement which he caused to be published in the press, the respondent does not merely criticize or comment on the decision of the Parazo case, which was then and still is pending consideration by this Court upon petition of Angel Parazo. He not only intends to intimidate the members of this Court with the presentation of a bill in the next Congress, of which he is one of the members, reorganizing the Supreme Court and reducing the number of Justices from eleven, so as to change the members of this Court which decided the Parazo case, who according to his statement, are incompetent and narrow minded, in order to influence the final decision of said case by this Court, and thus embarrass or obstruct the administration of justice. But the respondent also attacks the honesty and integrity of this Court for the apparent purpose of bringing the Justices of this Court into disrepute and degrading the administration. of justice ... . To hurl the false charge that this Court has been for the last years committing deliberately so many blunders and injustices, that is to say, that it has been deciding in favor of Que party knowing that the law and justice is on the part of the adverse party and not on the one in whose favor the decision was rendered, in many cases decided during the last years, would tend necessarily to undermine the confidence of the people in the honesty and integrity of the members of this Court, and consequently to lower ,or degrade the administration of justice by this Court. The Supreme Court of the Philippines is, under the Constitution, the last bulwark to which the Filipino people may repair to obtain relief for their grievances or protection of their rights when these are trampled upon, and if the people lose their confidence in the

honesty and integrity of the members of this Court and believe that they cannot expect justice therefrom, they might be driven to take the law into their own hands, and disorder and perhaps chaos might be the result. As a member of the bar and an officer of the courts, Atty. Vicente Sotto, like any other, is in duty bound to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court, to which he owes fidelity according to the oath he has taken as such attorney, and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice. Respect to the courts guarantees the stability of other institutions, which without such guaranty would be resting on a very shaky foundation. Significantly, too, the Court therein hastened to emphasize that ... an attorney as an officer of the court is under special obligation to be respectful in his conduct and communication to the courts; he may be removed from office or stricken from the roll of attorneys as being guilty of flagrant misconduct (17 L.R.A. [N.S.], 586, 594.) 3. In Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer: In re Proceedings against Alfonso Ponce Enrile, et al., supra, where counsel charged this Court with having "repeatedly fallen" into ,the pitfall of blindly adhering to its previous "erroneous" pronouncements, "in disregard of the law on jurisdiction" of the Court of Industrial Relations, our condemnation of counsel's misconduct was unequivocal. Articulating the sentiments of the Court, Mr. Justice Sanchez stressed: As we look back at the language (heretofore quoted) employed in the motion for reconsideration, implications there are which inescapably arrest attention. It speaks of one pitfall into which this Court has repeatedly fallen whenever the jurisdiction of the Court of Industrial Relations comes into question. That pitfall is the tendency of this Court to rely on its own pronouncements in disregard of the law on jurisdiction. It makes a sweeping charge that the decisions of this Court, blindly adhere to earlier rulings without as much as making any reference to and analysis of the pertinent statute governing the jurisdiction of the industrial court. The plain import of all these is that this Court is so patently inept that in determining the jurisdiction of the industrial court, it has committed error and continuously repeated that error to the point of perpetuation. It pictures this Court as one which refuses to hew to the line drawn by the law on jurisdictional boundaries. Implicit in the quoted statements is that the pronouncements of this Court on the jurisdiction of the industrial court are not entitled to respect. Those statements detract much from the dignity of and respect due this Court. They bring into question the capability of the members — and some former members of this Court to render justice. The second paragraph quoted yields a tone of sarcasm which counsel labelled as "so called" the "rule against splitting of jurisdiction." Similar thoughts and sentiments have been expressed in other cases 18 which, in the interest of brevity, need not now be reviewed in detail. Of course, a common denominator underlies the aforecited cases — all of them involved contumacious statements made in pleadings filed pending litigation. So that, in line with the doctrinal rule that the protective mantle of contempt may ordinarily be invoked only against scurrilous remarks or malicious innuendoes while a court mulls over a pending case and not after the conclusion thereof, 19 Atty. Almacen would now seek to sidestep the thrust of a contempt charge by his studied emphasis that the remarks for which he is now called upon to account were made only after this Court had written finis to his appeal. This is of no moment.

The rule that bars contempt after a judicial proceeding has terminated, has lost much of its vitality. For sometime, this was the prevailing view in this jurisdiction. The first stir for a modification thereof, however, came when, inPeople vs. Alarcon, 20 the then Chief Justice Manuel V. Moran dissented with the holding of the majority, speaking thru Justice Jose P. Laurel, which upheld the rule aboveadverted to. A complete disengagement from the settled rule was later to be made in In re Brillantes, 21 a contempt proceeding, where the editor of the Manila Guardianwas adjudged in contempt for publishing an editorial which asserted that the 1944 Bar Examinations were conducted in a farcical manner after the question of the validity of the said examinations had been resolved and the case closed. Virtually, this was an adoption of the view expressed by Chief Justice Moran in his dissent inAlarcon to the effect that them may still be contempt by publication even after a case has been terminated. Said Chief Justice Moran in Alarcon: A publication which tends to impede, obstruct, embarrass or influence the courts in administering justice in a pending suit or proceeding, constitutes criminal contempt which is 'summarily punishable by courts. A publication which tends to degrade the courts and to destroy public confidence in them or that which tends to bring them in any way into disrepute, constitutes likewise criminal contempt, and is equally punishable by courts. What is sought, in the first kind of contempt, to be shielded against the influence of newspaper comments, is the all-important duty of the courts to administer justice in the decision of a pending case. In the second kind of contempt, the punitive hand of justice is extended to vindicate the courts from any act or conduct calculated to bring them into disfavor or to destroy public confidence in them. In the first there is no contempt where there is no action pending, as there is no decision which might in any way be influenced by the newspaper publication. In the second, the contempt exists, with or without a pending case, as what is sought to be protected is the court itself and its dignity. Courts would lose their utility if public confidence in them is destroyed. Accordingly, no comfort is afforded Atty. Almacen by the circumstance that his statements and actuations now under consideration were made only after the judgment in his client's appeal had attained finality. He could as much be liable for contempt therefor as if it had been perpetrated during the pendency of the said appeal. More than this, however, consideration of whether or not he could be held liable for contempt for such post litigation utterances and actuations, is here immaterial. By the tenor of our Resolution of November 17, 1967, we have confronted the situation here presented solely in so far as it concerns Atty. Almacen's professional identity, his sworn duty as a lawyer and his fitness as an officer of this Court, in the exercise of the disciplinary power the morals inherent in our authority and duty to safeguard and ethics of the legal profession and to preserve its ranks from the intrusions of unprincipled and unworthy disciples of the noblest of callings. In this inquiry, the pendency or nonpendency of a case in court is altogether of no consequence. The sole objective of this proceeding is to preserve the purity of the legal profession, by removing or suspending a member whose misconduct has proved himself unfit to continue to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney. Undoubtedly, this is well within our authority to do. By constitutional mandate, 22 our is the solemn duty, amongst others, to determine the rules for admission to the practice of law. Inherent in this prerogative is the corresponding authority to discipline and exclude from the practice of law those who have proved themselves unworthy of continued membership in the Bar. Thus —
The power to discipline attorneys, who are officers of the court, is an inherent and incidental power in courts of record, and one which is essential to an orderly discharge of judicial functions. To deny its existence is equivalent to a declaration that the conduct of

attorneys towards courts and clients is not subject to restraint. Such a view is without support in any respectable authority, and cannot be tolerated. Any court having the right to admit attorneys to practice and in this state that power is vested in this court-has the inherent right, in the exercise of a sound judicial discretion to exclude them from practice. 23

This, because the admission of a lawyer to the practice of law is a representation to all that he is worthy of their confidence and respect. So much so that —
... whenever it is made to appear to the court that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust and confidence of the public and of the courts, it becomes, not only the right, but the duty, of the court which made him one of its officers, and gave him the privilege of ministering within its bar, to withdraw the privilege. Therefore it is almost universally held that both the admission and disbarment of attorneys are judicial acts, and that one is admitted to the bar and exercises his functions as an attorney, not as a matter of right, but as a privilege conditioned on his own behavior and the exercise of a just and sound judicial discretion. 24

Indeed, in this jurisdiction, that power to remove or suspend has risen above being a mere inherent or incidental power. It has been elevated to an express mandate by the Rules of Court. 25 Our authority and duty in the premises being unmistakable, we now proceed to make an assessment of whether or not the utterances and actuations of Atty. Almacen here in question are properly the object of disciplinary sanctions. The proffered surrender of his lawyer's certificate is, of course, purely potestative on Atty. Almacen's part. Unorthodox though it may seem, no statute, no law stands in its way. Beyond making the mere offer, however, he went farther. In haughty and coarse language, he actually availed of the said move as a vehicle for his vicious tirade against this Court. The integrated entirety of his petition bristles with vile insults all calculated to drive home his contempt for and disrespect to the Court and its members. Picturing his client as "a sacrificial victim at the altar of hypocrisy," he categorically denounces the justice administered by this Court to be not only blind "but also deaf and dumb." With unmitigated acerbity, he virtually makes this Court and its members with verbal talons, imputing to the Court the perpetration of "silent injustices" and "short-cut justice" while at the same time branding its members as "calloused to pleas of justice." And, true to his announced threat to argue the cause of his client "in the people's forum," he caused the publication in the papers of an account of his actuations, in a calculated effort ;to startle the public, stir up public indignation and disrespect toward the Court. Called upon to make an explanation, he expressed no regret, offered no apology. Instead, with characteristic arrogance, he rehashed and reiterated his vituperative attacks and, alluding to the Scriptures, virtually tarred and feathered the Court and its members as inveterate hypocrites incapable of administering justice and unworthy to impose disciplinary sanctions upon him. The virulence so blatantly evident in Atty. Almacen's petition, answer and oral argumentation speaks for itself. The vicious language used and the scurrilous innuendoes they carried far transcend the permissible bounds of legitimate criticism. They could never serve any purpose but to gratify the spite of an irate attorney, attract public attention to himself and, more important of all, bring ;this Court and its members into disrepute and destroy public confidence in them to the detriment of the orderly administration of justice. Odium of this character and texture presents no redeeming feature, and completely negates any pretense of passionate commitment to the truth. It is not a whit less than a classic example of gross misconduct, gross violation of the lawyer's oath and gross transgression of the Canons of Legal Ethics. As such, it cannot be allowed to go unrebuked. The way for the exertion of our disciplinary powers is thus laid clear, and the need therefor is unavoidable.

We must once more stress our explicit disclaimer of immunity from criticism. Like any other Government entity in a viable democracy, the Court is not, and should not be, above criticism. But a critique of the Court must be intelligent and discriminating, fitting to its high function as the court of last resort. And more than this, valid and healthy criticism is by no means synonymous to obloquy, and requires detachment and disinterestedness, real qualities approached only through constant striving to attain them. Any criticism of the Court must, possess the quality of judiciousness and must be informed -by perspective and infused by philosophy. 26 It is not accurate to say, nor is it an obstacle to the exercise of our authority in ;the premises, that, as Atty. Almacen would have appear, the members of the Court are the "complainants, prosecutors and judges" all rolled up into one in this instance. This is an utter misapprehension, if not a total distortion, not only of the nature of the proceeding at hand but also of our role therein. Accent should be laid on the fact that disciplinary proceedings like the present are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, this proceeding is not — and does not involve — a trial of an action or a suit, but is rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of its officers. 27 Not being intended to. inflict punishment, it is in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein It may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. 28 Public interest is its primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have proved themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. 29 In such posture, there can thus be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor. Undeniably, the members of the Court are, to a certain degree, aggrieved parties. Any tirade against the Court as a body is necessarily and inextricably as much so against the individual members thereof. But in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court acts as an entity separate and distinct from the individual personalities of its members. Consistently with the intrinsic nature of a collegiate court, the individual members act not as such individuals but. only as a duly constituted court. Their distinct individualities are lost in the majesty of their office.30 So that, in a very real sense, if there be any complainant in the case at bar, it can only be the Court itself, not the individual members thereof — as well as the people themselves whose rights, fortunes and properties, nay, even lives, would be placed at grave hazard should the administration of justice be threatened by the retention in the Bar of men unfit to discharge the solemn responsibilities of membership in the legal fraternity. Finally, the power to exclude persons from the practice of law is but a necessary incident of the power to admit persons to said practice. By constitutional precept, this power is vested exclusively in this Court. This duty it cannot abdicate just as much as it cannot unilaterally renounce jurisdiction legally invested upon it. 31 So that even if it be conceded that the members collectively are in a sense the aggrieved parties, that fact alone does not and cannot disqualify them from the exercise of that power because public policy demands that they., acting as a Court, exercise the power in all cases which call for disciplinary action. The present is such a case. In the end, the imagined anomaly of the merger in one entity of the personalities of complainant, prosecutor and judge is absolutely inexistent. Last to engage our attention is the nature and extent of the sanctions that may be visited upon Atty. Almacen for his transgressions. As marked out by the Rules of Court, these may range from mere suspension to total removal or disbarment. 32 The discretion to assess under the circumstances the

imposable sanction is, of course, primarily addressed to the sound discretion of the Court which, being neither arbitrary and despotic nor motivated by personal animosity or prejudice, should ever be controlled by the imperative need that the purity and independence of the Bar be scrupulously guarded and the dignity of and respect due to the Court be zealously maintained. That the misconduct committed by Atty. Almacen is of considerable gravity cannot be overemphasized. However, heeding the stern injunction that disbarment should never be decreed where a lesser sanction would accomplish the end desired, and believing that it may not perhaps be futile to hope that in the sober light of some future day, Atty. Almacen will realize that abrasive language never fails to do disservice to an advocate and that in every effervescence of candor there is ample room for the added glow of respect, it is our view that suspension will suffice under the circumstances. His demonstrated persistence in his misconduct by neither manifesting repentance nor offering apology therefor leave us no way of determining how long that suspension should last and, accordingly, we are impelled to decree that the same should be indefinite. This, we are empowered to do not alone because jurisprudence grants us discretion on the matter 33 but also because, even without the comforting support of precedent, it is obvious that if we have authority to completely exclude a person from the practice of law, there is no reason why indefinite suspension, which is lesser in degree and effect, can be regarded as falling outside of the compass of that authority. The merit of this choice is best shown by the fact that it will then be left to Atty. Almacen to determine for himself how long or how short that suspension shall last. For, at any time after the suspension becomes effective he may prove to this Court that he is once again fit to resume the practice of law. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS THE SENSE of the Court that Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen be, as he is hereby, suspended from the practice of law until further orders, the suspension to take effect immediately. Let copies of this resolution. be furnished the Secretary of Justice, the Solicitor General and the Court of Appeals for their information and guidance. Concepcion,. C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Teehankee, Barredo and Villamor JJ., concur. Fernando, J., took no part.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

A.M. No. 1162 August 29, 1975 IN RE: VICTORIO D. LANUEVO, former Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court, respondent. A.C. No. 1163 August 29, 1975

IN RE: RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, 1971 Bar Examinee, respondent. A.M. No. 1164 August 29, 1975 IN RE: HON. BERNARDO PARDO, HON. RAMON PAMATIAN, ATTY. MANUEL TOMACRUZ, ATTY. FIDEL MANALO and ATTY. GUILLERMO PABLO, JR., Members, 1971 Bar Examining Committee, respondent.

MAKASIAR, J.: Administrative proceedings against Victorio D. Lanuevo — for disbarment; Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang — for disbarment; Hon. Bernardo Pardo, Hon. Ramon Pamatian, Atty. Manuel C. Tomacruz; Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. — for disciplinary action — for their acts and omissions during the 1971 Bar Examinations. In his request dated March 29, 1972 contained in a confidential letter to the Court for re-correction and re-evaluation of his answer to the 1971 Bar Examinations question, Oscar Landicho — who flunked in the 1971, 1968 and 1967 Bar Examinations with a grade of 70.5%, 65.35% and 67.55%, respectively — invited the attention of the Court to "The starling fact that the grade in one examination (Civil Law) of at least one bar candidate was raised for one reason or another, before the bar results were released this year" (Confidential Letter, p. 2. Vol. I, rec.). This was confirmed, according to him, by the Civil Law Examiner himself (Hon. Ramon C. Pamatian) as well as by Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo. He further therein stated "that there are strong reasons to believe that the grades in other examination notebooks in other subjects also underwent alternations — to raise the grades — prior to the release of the results. Note that this was without any formal motion or request from the proper parties, i.e., the bar candidates concerned. If the examiners concerned reconsidered their grades without formal motion, there is no reason why they may not do so now when proper request answer motion therefor is made. It would be contrary to due process postulates. Might not one say that some candidates got unfair and unjust treatment, for their grades were not asked to be reconsidered 'unofficially'? Why the discrimination? Does this not afford sufficient reason for the Court en banc to go into these matters by its conceded power to ultimately decide the matter of admission to the bar?" (p. 2, Confidential Letter, Vol. I, rec.). Acting on the aforesaid confidential letter, the Court checked the records of the 1971 Bar Examinations and found that the grades in five subjects — Political Law and Public International Law, Civil Law, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law and Remedial Law — of a successful bar candidate with office code No. 954 underwent some changes which, however, were duly initialed and authenticated by the respective examiner concerned. Further check of the records revealed that the bar candidate with office code No. 954 is one Ramon E. Galang, a perennial bar candidate, who flunked in the 1969, 1966, 1964, 1963, and 1962 bar examinations with a grade of 67.55%, 68.65%, 72.75%, 68.2%, 56.45% and 57.3%, respectively. He passed in the 1971 bar examinations with a grade of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% by virtue of a Court of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% as the passing mark for the 1971 bar examinations. Upon the direction of the Court, the 1971 Bar Examination Chairman requested Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo and the five (5) bar examiners concerned to submit their sworn statements on the matter, with which request they complied. In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, said Bar Confidant admitted having brought the five examination notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Ramon E. Galang, back to the respective

examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-checking, stating the circumstances under which the same was done and his reasons for doing the same. Each of the five (5) examiners in his individual sworn statement admitted having re-evaluated and/or re-checked the notebook involved pertaining to his subject upon the representation to him by Bar Confidant Lanuevo that he has the authority to do the same and that the examinee concerned failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing. Finding a prima facie case against the respondents warranting a formal investigation, the Court required, in a resolution dated March 5, 1973, Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo "to show cause within ten (10) days from noticewhy his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 34, rec.). Considering that the re-evaluation of the examination papers of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was unauthorized, and therefore he did not obtain a passing average in the 1971 bar examinations, the Court likewise resolved on March 5, 1971 to requires him "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 99, rec.). The five examiners concerned were also required by the Court "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why no disciplinary action should be taken against them" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 31, rec.). Respondent Tomacruz filed his answer on March 12, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.). while respondents Pardo, Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Lanuevo filed theirs on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 60-63, 32-35, 40-41, 36-39 and 35-38, rec.). At the hearing on August 27, 1973, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in addition to, and in amplication of, his answer filed on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.). Respondent Galang filed his unverified answer on March 16, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.). He was required by the Court to verify the same and complaince came on May 18, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 106110,) rec.). In the course of the investigation, it was found that it was not respondent Bernardo Pardo who reevaluated and/or re-checked examination booklet with Office Code No. 954 in Political Law and Public International Law of examinee Ramon Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, but Guillermo Pablo, Jr., examiner in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercise, who was asked to help in the correction of a number of examination notebooks in Political Law and Public International Law to meet the deadline for submission (pp. 17-24, Vol. V, rec.). Because of this development, Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. was likewise included as respondent in Administrative Case No. 1164. Hon. Bernardo Pardo remainded as a respondent for it was also discovered that another paper in Political Law and Public International Law also underwent re-evaluation and/or re-checking. This notebook with Office Code No. 1662 turned out to be owned by another successful candidate by the name of Ernesto Quitaleg. Further investigation resulted in the discovery of another re-evaluation and/or re-checking of a notebook in the subject of Mercantile Law resulting in the change of the grade from 4% to 50% This notebook bearing Office Code No. 110 is owned by another successful candidate by the name of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz and the latter's father were summoned to testify in the investigation. An investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation upon request of the Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee as Investigation Officer, showed that one Romy Galang y Esguerra, alias Ramon E. Galang, a student in the School of Law of Manuel L. Quezon University, was, on September 8, 1959, charged with the crime of slight physical injuries in the Municipal Court of Manila committed on Eufrosino F. de Vera, another student of the same university. Confronted with this information at the hearing of August 13, 1973 (Vol. V, pp. 20-21, 32, rec.), respondent Galang declared that he does not remember having been charged with the crime of slight physical injuries in that case. (Vol. VI, pp. 45-60, rec.).

Respondent Galang, in all his application to take the bar examinations, did not make mention of this fact which he is required under the rules to do. The joint investigation of all the cases commenced on July 17, 1973 and was terminated on October 2, 1973. Thereafter, parties-respondents were required to submit their memoranda. Respondents Lanuevo, Galang and Pardo submitted their respective memorandum on November 14, 1973. Before the joint hearing commenced, Oscar Landicho took up permanent residence in Australia, where he is believed to be gainfully employed. Hence, he was not summoned to testify. At the joint investigation, all respondents, except respondent Pablo, who offered as evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct evidence the affidavits and answers earlier submitted by them to the Court. The same became the basis for their cross-examination. In their individual sworn statements and answer, which they offered as their direct testimony in the investigation conducted by the Court, the respondent-examiners recounted the circumstances under which they re-evaluated and/or re-checked the examination notebooks in question. In His affidavit dated April 11, 1972, respondent Judge (later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) Ramon C. Pamatian, examiner in Civil Law, affirmed: 2. That one evening sometime in December last year, while I was correcting the examination notebooks, Atty. Lanuevo, Bar Confidant, explained to me that it is the practice and the policy in bar examinations that he (Atty. Lanuevo) make a review of the grades obtained in all subjects and if he finds that candidate obtained an extraordinary high grade in one subject and a rather low one in another, he will bring back the latter to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation and change of grade; 3. That sometime in the latter part of January of this year, he brought back to me an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, because according to him the owner of the paper is on the borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will get passing mark; 4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court to do so in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%; 5. That only one notebook in Civil Law was brought back to me for such re-evaluation and upon verifying my files I found that the notebook is numbered '95; 6. That the original grade was 64% and my re-evaluation of the answers were based on the same standard used in the correction and evaluation of all others; thus, Nos. 3 and 4 with original grades of 7% each was reconsidered to 10%; No. 5 with 4% to 5%; No. 7 with 3% to 5%; and No. 8 with 8% to 10% (emphasis supplied). His answer dated March 19, 1973 substantially reiterated his allegations in his April 11, 1972 affidavit with following additional statements: xxx xxx xxx

3. ... However the grades in Nos. 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10, were not reconsidered as it is no longer to make the reconsideration of these answers because of the same evaluation and standard; hence, Nos. 1, 2 and 10 remainded at 5% and Nos. 6 and 9 at 10%; 4. That at the time I made the reconsideration of examination booklet No. 951 I did not know the identity of its owner until I received this resolution of the Honorable Supreme Court nor the identities of the examiners in other subjects; 5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am authorized to do so in view of the misrepresentation of said Atty. Lanuevo, based on the following circumstances: a) Since I started correcting the papers on or about October 16, 1971, relationship between Atty. Lanuevo and myself had developed to the point that with respect to the correction of the examination booklets of bar candidates I have always followed him and considered his instructions as reflecting the rules and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court with respect to the same; that I have no alternative but to take his words; b) That considering this relationship and considering his misrepresentation to me as reflecting the real and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court, I did not bother any more to get the consent and permission of the Chairman of the Bar Committee. Besides, at that time, I was isolating myself from all members of the Supreme Court and specially the chairman of the Bar Committee for fear that I might be identified as a bar examiner; xxx xxx xxx e) That no consideration whatsoever has been received by me in return for such recorrection, and as proof of it, I declined to consider and evaluate one booklet in Remedial Law aforesaid because I was not the one who made the original correction of the same (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-35, rec.; emphasis supplied). Then Assistant Solicitor General, now CFI Judge, Bernardo Pardo, examiner in Political Law and Public International Law, confirmed in his affidavit of April 8, 1972 that: On a day or two after the Bar Confidant went to my residence to obtain from me the last bag of two hundred notebooks (bearing examiner's code numbers 1200 to 1400) which according to my record was on February 5, 1972, he came to my residence at about 7:30 p.m. riding in a Vokswagen panel of the Supreme Court, with at least two companions. The bar confidant had with him an examinee's notebook bearing code number 661, and, after the usual amenties, he requested me if it was possible for me to review and re-examine the said notebook because it appears that the examinee obtained a grade of 57, whereas, according to the Bar Confidant, the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84, if I recall correctly, in remedial law. I asked the Bar Confidant if I was allowed to receive or re-examinee the notebook as I had submitted the same beforehand, and he told me that I was authorized to do so because the same was still within my control and authority as long as the particular

examinee's name had not been identified or that the code number decode and the examinee's name was revealed. The Bar Confidant told me that the name of the examinee in the case present bearing code number 661 had not been identified or revealed; and that it might have been possible that I had given a particularly low grade to said examinee. Accepting at face value the truth of the Bar Confidant's representations to me, and as it was humanly possible that I might have erred in the grading of the said notebook, I re-examined the same, carefully read the answer, and graded it in accordance with the same standards I had used throughout the grading of the entire notebooks, with the result that the examinee deserved an increased grade of 66. After again clearing with the Bar Confidant my authority to correct the grades, and as he had assured me that the code number of the examinee in question had not been decoded and his name known, ... I therefore corrected the total grade in the notebook and the grade card attached thereto, and properly initia(l)ed the same. I also corrected the itemized grades (from item No. 1 to item No. 10) on the two sets of grading sheets, my personal copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought with him the other copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought with him the other copy the grading sheet" (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-59; rec.; emphasis supplied) In his answer dated March 17, 1973 which he denominated as "Explanation", respondent Bernardo P. Pardo adopted and replaced therein by reference the facts stated in his earlier sworn statement and in additional alleged that: xxx xxx xxx 3. At the time I reviewed the examinee's notebook in political and international law, code numbered 661, I did know the name of the examinee. In fact, I came to know his name only upon receipt of the resolution of March 5, 1973; now knowing his name, I wish to state that I do not know him personally, and that I have never met him even up to the present; 4. At that time, I acted under the impression that I was authorized to make such review, and had repeatedly asked the Bar Confidant whether I was authorized to make such revision and was so assured of my authority as the name of the examinee had not yet been decoded or his identity revealed. The Bar Confidant's assurance was apparently regular and so appeared to be in the regular course of express prohibition in the rules and guidelines given to me as an examiner, and the Bar Confidant was my official liaison with the Chairman, as, unless called, I refrained as much as possible from frequent personal contact with the Chairman lest I be identified as an examiner. ...; 5. At the time the Bar Confidant came to see me at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening at my residence, I felt it inappropriate to verify his authority with the Chairman. It did not appear to me that his representations were unauthorized or suspicious. Indeed, the Bar Confidant was riding in the official vehicle of the Supreme Court, a Volkswagen panel, accompanied by two companions, which was usual, and thus looked like a regular visit to me of the Bar Confidant, as it was about the same hour that he used to see me: xxx xxx xxx

7. Indeed, the notebook code numbered 661 was still in the same condition as when I submitted the same. In agreeing to review the said notebook code numbered 661, my aim was to see if I committed an error in the correction, not to make the examinee pass the subject. I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that particular notebook on December 31, 1971,considering especially the representation of the Bar Confidant that the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84% in remedial law, if I recall correctly. Of course, it did not strike me as unusual that the Bar Confidant knew the grades of the examinee in the position to know and that there was nothing irregular in that: 8. In political and international law, the original grade obtained by the examinee with notebook code numbered 661 was 57%. After review, it was increased by 9 points, resulting in a final grade of 66%. Still, the examinee did not pass the subject, and, as heretofore stated, my aim was not to make the examinee pass, notwithstanding the representation that he had passed the other subjects. ... 9. I quite recall that during the first meeting of the Bar Examiners' Committee consensus was that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner in said subject would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular. At the time of the Committee's first meeting, we still did not know the names of the candidates. 10. In fine, I was a victim of deception, not a party to it. It had absolutely no knowledge of the motives of the Bar Confidant or his malfeasance in office, and did not know the examinee concerned nor had I any kind of contract with him before or rather the review and even up to the present (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63; rec.; emphasis supplied). Atty. Manuel Tomacruz, examiner in Criminal Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 12, 1972: 1. xxx xxx xxx 2. That about weekly, the Bar Confidant would deliver and collect examination books to my residence at 951 Luna Mencias, Mandaluyong, Rizal. 3. That towards the end when I had already completed correction of the books in Criminal Law and was helping in the correction of some of the papers in another subject, the Bar Confidant brought back to me one (1) paper in Criminal Law saying that that particular examinee had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his paper in Criminal Law would be raised a few points to 75% then he would make the general passing average. 4. That seeing the jurisdiction, I raised the grade to 75%, that is, giving a raise of, if I remember correctly, 2 or 3 points, initialled the revised mark and revised also the mark and revised also the mark in the general list. 5. That I do not recall the number of the book of the examinee concerned" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer dated March 12, 1973, respondent Tomacruz stated that "I accepted the word of the Bar Confidant in good faith and without the slightest inkling as to the identity of the examinee in

question who up to now remains a total stranger and without expectation of nor did I derive any personal benefit" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.; emphasis supplied). Atty. Fidel Manalo, examiner in Remedial Law, stated in his affidavit dated April 14, 1972, that: xxx xxx xxx 2. Sometime about the late part of January or early part of February 1972, Attorney Lanuevo, Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court, saw me in my house at No. 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal. He produced to me an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law which I had previously graded and submitted to him. He informed me that he and others (he used the words "we") had reviewed the said notebook. He requested me to review the said notebook and possibly reconsider the grade that I had previously given. He explained that the examine concerned had done well in other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade that I had given him in Remedial Law his general average was short of passing. Mr. Lanuevo remarked that he thought that if the paper were reviewed I might find the examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar. As far as I can recall, Mr. Lanuevo particularly called my attention to the fact in his answers the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good enough English. Mr. Lanuevo however informed me that whether I would reconsider the grades I had previously given and submitted was entirely within my discretion. 3. Believing fully that it was within Mr. Lanuevo's authority as Bar Confidant to address such a request to me and that the said request was in order, I, in the presence of Mr. Lanuevo, proceeded tore-read and re-evaluate each and every item of the paper in question. I recall that in my re-evaluation of the answers, I increased the grades in some items, made deductions in other items, and maintained the same grades in other items. However, I recall that after Mr. Lanuevo and I had totalled the new grades that I had given after re-evaluation, the total grade increased by a few points, but still short of the passing mark of 75% in my subject. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 74-75, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer (response) dated March 18, 1973, respondent Manalo reiterated the contents of his sworn statement, adding the following: xxx xxx xxx 5. In agreeing to re-evaluate the notebook, with resulted in increasing the total grade of the examinee-concerned in Remedial Law from 63.75% to 74.5%, herein respondent acted in good faith. It may well be that he could be faulted for not having verified from the Chairman of the Committee of Bar Examiners the legitimacy of the request made by Mr. Lanuevo. Herein respondent, however, pleads in attenuation of such omission, that — a) Having been appointed an Examiner for the first time, he was not aware, not having been apprised otherwise, that it was not within the authority of the Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court to request or suggest that the grade of a particular examination notebook be revised or reconsidered. He had every right to presume, owing to the

highly fiduciary nature of the position of the Bar Confidant, that the request was legitimate. xxx xxx xxx c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent carefully evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answers by the criteria laid down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that particular subject that the said examine failed, herein respondent became convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that previously given to him, but that he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to be given the passing grade of 75%. It should also be mentioned that, in reappraising the answers, herein respondent downgraded a previous rating of an answer written by the examinee, from 9.25% to 9% (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 36-39, rec.; emphasis supplied). Atty. Manuel Montecillo, examiner in Mercantile Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 17, 1972: xxx xxx xxx That during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners' Committee after the Bar Examinations were held, I was informed that one Bar examinee passed all other subjects except Mercantile Law; That I informed the Bar Examiners' Committee that I would be willing to re-evaluate the paper of this particular Bar candidate;. That the next day, the Bar Confidant handed to me a Bar candidate's notebook (No. 1613) showing a grade of 61%; That I reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers of this particular Bar candidate I decided to increase his final grade to 71%; That consequently, I amended my report and duly initialed the changes in the grade sheet (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Montecillo restated the contents of his sworn statement of April 17, 1972, and xxx xxx xxx 2. Supplementary to the foregoing sworn statement, I hereby state that I reevaluated the examination notebook of Bar Candidate No. 1613 in Mercantile Law in absolute good faith and in direct compliance with the agreement made during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners Committee that where a candidate fails in only one subject, the Examiner concerned should make a re-evaluation of the answers of the candidate concerned, which I did.

3. Finally, I hereby state that I did not know at the time I made the aforementioned reevaluation that notebook No. 1613 in Mercantile Law pertained to bar examine Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, and that I have never met up to this time this particular bar examinee (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, Bar Confidant Lanuevo stated: xxx xxx xxx As I was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and the posting on the record of ratings, I was impressed of the writing and the answers on the first notebook. This led me to scrutinize all the set of notebooks. Believing that those five merited re-evalation on the basis of the memorandum circularized to the examiners shortly earlier to the effect that ... in the correction of the papers, substantial weight should then be given to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning' (par. 4), I took it upon myself to bring them back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-checking. It is our experience in the Bar Division that immediately after the release of the results of the examinations, we are usually swarmed with requests of the examinees that they be shown their notebooks. Many of them would copy their answers and have them checked by their professors. Eventually some of them would file motions or requests for re-correction and/or re-evaluation. Right now, we have some 19 of such motions or requests which we are reading for submission to the Honorable Court. Often we feel that a few of them are meritorious, but just the same they have to be denied because the result of the examinations when released is final and irrevocable. It was to at least minimize the occurrence of such instances that motivated me to bring those notebooks back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 24, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Lanuevo avers: That he submitted the notebooks in question to the examiners concerned in his hotest belief that the same merited re-evaluation; that in so doing, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as bar confidant but on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned; that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner, because the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was inorder was left alone to the examiners' decision; and that, to his knowledge, he does not remember having made the alleged misrepresentation but that he remembers having brought to the attention of the Committee during the meeting a matter concerning another examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a grade below 50% in Mercantile Law. As the Committee agreed to remove the disqualification by way of raising the grade in said subject, respondent brought the notebook in question to the Examiner concerned who thereby raised the grade thus

enabling the said examinee to pass. If he remembers right, the examinee concerned is one surnamed "de la Cruz" or "Ty-de la Cruz". Your Honors, respondent never entertained a notion that his act would stir such serious charges as would tend to undermine his integrity because he did it in all good faith. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 35, rec.; emphasis supplied). On August 27, 1973, during the course of the investigation, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in addition to, and in amplification of, his answer, stating: xxx xxx xxx 1. That I vehemently deny having deceived the examiners concerned into believing that the examinee involved failed only in their respective subjects, the fact of the matter being that the notebooks in question were submitted to the respective examiners for re-evaluation believing in all good faith that they so merited on the basis of the Confidential Memorandum (identified and marked as Exh. 1-Lanuevo, particularly that portion marked as Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo)which was circulated to all the examiners earlier, leaving to them entirely the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was in order, 2. That the following coincidence prompted me to pry into the notebooks in question: Sometime during the latter part of January and the early part of February, 1972, on my way back to the office (Bar Division) after lunch, I though of buying a sweepstake ticket. I have always made it a point that the moment I think of so buying, I pick a number from any object and the first number that comes into my sight becomes the basis of the ticket that I buy. At that moment, the first number that I saw was "954" boldly printed on an electrical contribance (evidently belonging to the MERALCO) attached to a post standing along the right sidewalk of P. Faura street towards the Supreme Court building from San Marcelino street and almost adjacent to the south-eastern corner of the fence of the Araullo High School(photograph of the number '954', the contrivance on which it is printed and a portion of the post to which it is attached is identified and marked as Exhibit 4Lanuevo and the number "954" as Exh. 4-a-Lanuevo). With this number (954) in mind, I proceeded to Plaza Sta. Cruz to look for a ticket that would contain such number. Eventually, I found a ticket, which I then bought, whose last three digits corresponded to "954". This number became doubly impressive to me because the sum of all the six digits of the ticket number was "27", a number that is so significant to me that everything I do I try somewhat instinctively to link or connect it with said number whenever possible. Thus even in assigning code numbers on the Master List of examinees from 1968 when I first took charge of the examinations as Bar Confidant up to 1971, I either started with the number "27" (or "227") or end with said number. (1968 Master List is identified and marked as Exh. 5Lanuevo and the figure "27" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 5-a

Lanuevo; 1969 Master List as Exh. 6-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 6-a-Lanuevo; 1970 Master List as Exh. 7-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list as Exh. 7-a-Lanuevo; and the 1971 Master List as Exh. 8-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the end of the list as Exh. 8-a-Lanuevo). The significance to me of this number (27) was born out of these incidents in my life, to wit: (a) On November 27, 1941 while with the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, I was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result. As will be recalled, the last Pacific War broke out on December 8, 1941. While I was still confined at the hospital, our camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13, 1941 resulting in many casualties. From then on, I regarded November 27, 1941 as the beginning of a new life for me having been saved from the possibility of being among the casualties;(b) On February 27, 1946, I was able to get out of the army byway of honorable discharge; and (c) on February 27, 1947, I got married and since then we begot children the youngest of whom was born on February 27, 1957. Returning to the office that same afternoon after buying the ticket, I resumed my work which at the time was on the checking of the notebooks. While thus checking, I came upon the notebooks bearing the office code number "954". As the number was still fresh in my mind, it aroused my curiosity prompting me to pry into the contents of the notebooks. Impressed by the clarity of the writing and language and the apparent soundness of the answers and, thereby, believing in all good faith on the basis of the aforementioned Confidential Memorandum (Exh. 1-Lanuevo and Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo) that they merited re-evaluation, I set them aside and later on took them back to the respective examiners for possible review recalling to them the said Confidential Memorandum but leaving absolutely the matter to their discretion and judgment. 3. That the alleged misrepresentation or deception could have reference to either of the two cases which I brought to the attention of the committee during the meeting and which the Committee agreed to refer back to the respective examines, namely: (a) That of an examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a grade below 50% (47%) in Mercantile Law(the notebooks of this examinee bear the Office Code No. 110, identified and marked as Exh. 9-Lanuevo and the notebook in Mercantile Law bearing the Examiner's Code No. 951 with the original grade of 4% increased to 50% after re-evaluation as Exh. 9-a-Lanuevo); and (b) That of an examinee who obtained a borderline general average of 73.15% with a grade below 60% (57%) in one subject which, at the time, I could not pinpoint having inadvertently left in the office the data thereon. It turned out that the subject was Political and International Law under Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (The notebooks of this examinee bear the Office Code No. 1622 identified

and marked as Exh. 10-Lanuevo and the notebook in Political and International Law bearing the Examiner's Code No. 661 with the original grade of 57% increased to 66% after re-evaluation, as Exh. 10-a-Lanuevo). This notebook in Political and International Law is precisely the same notebook mentioned in the sworn statement of Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo(Exh. ------- Pardo). 4. That in each of the two cases mentioned in the next preceding paragraph, only one (1) subject or notebook was reviewed or re-evaluated, that is, only Mercantile Law in the former; and only Political and International Law in the latter, under the facts and circumstances I made known to the Committee and pursuant to which the Committee authorized the referral of the notebooks involved to the examiners concerned; 5. That at that juncture, the examiner in Taxation even volunteered to review or recheck some 19, or so, notebooks in his subject but that I told the Committee that there was very little time left and that the increase in grade after re-evaluation, unless very highly substantial, may not alter the outcome since the subject carries the weight of only 10% (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.). The foregoing last-minute embellishment only serves to accentuate the fact that Lanuevo's story is devoid of truth. In his sworn statement of April 12, 1972, he was "led to scrutinize all the set of notebooks" of respondent Galang, because he "was impressed of the writing and the answers on the first notebook "as he "was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and the posting on the record of ratings." In his affidavit of August 27, 1973, he stated that the number 954 on a Meralco post provoked him "to pry into the contents of the notebooks" of respondent Galang "bearing office code number '954." Respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, asserted, among others; 1. That herein respondent is not acquainted with former BarConfidant Victorio Lanuevo and never met him before except once when, as required by the latter respondent submitted certain papers necessary for taking the bar examinations. xxx xxx xxx 4. That it has been the consistent policy of the Supreme Court not to reconsider "failure" cases; after the official release thereof; why should it now reconsider a "passing" case, especially in a situation where the respondent and the bar confidant do not know each other and, indeed, met only once in the ordinary course of official business? It is not inevitable, then, to conclude that the entire situation clearly manifests a reasonable doubt to which respondent is richly entitled? 5. That respondent, before reading a copy of this Honorable Court's resolution dated March 5, 1973, had no knowledge whatsoever of former Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo's actuations which are stated in particular in the resolution. In fact, the respondent never knew this man intimately nor, had the herein respondent utilized anyone to contact the Bar Confidant Lanuevo in his behalf.

But, assuming as true, the said actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as stated in the Resolution, which are evidently purported to show as having redounded to the benefit of herein respondent, these questions arise: First, was the re-evaluation of Respondent's examination papers by the Bar Examination Committee done only or especially for him and not done generally as regards the paper of the other bar candidates who are supposed to have failed? If the re-evaluation of Respondent's grades was done among those of others, then it must have been done as a matter of policy of the Committee to increase the percentage of passing in that year's examination and, therefore, the insinuation that only respondent's papers were reevaluated upon the influence of Bar Confidant Lanuevo would be unjustifiable, if not far fetched. Secondly, is the fact that BarConfidant Lanuevo's actuations resulted in herein Respondent's benefit an evidence per se of Respondent's having caused actuations of Bar confidant Lanuevo to be done in former's behalf? To assume this could be disastrous in effect because that would be presuming all the members of the Bar Examination Committee as devoid of integrity, unfit for the bar themselves and the result of their work that year, as also unworthy of anything. All of these inferences are deductible from the narration of facts in the resolution, and which only goes to show said narration of facts an unworthy of credence, or consideration. xxx xxx xxx 7. This Honorable Tribunal's Resolution of March 5, 1973 would make this Respondent Account or answer for the actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as well as for the actuations of the Bar Examiners implying the existence of some conspiracy between them and the Respondent. The evident imputation is denied and it is contended that the Bar Examiners were in the performance of their duties and that they should be regarded as such in the consideration of this case. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.). I The evidence thus disclosed clearly demonstrates how respondent Lanuevo systematically and cleverly initiated and prepared the stage leading to the re-evalation and/or recorrection of the answers of respondent Galang by deceiving separately and individually the respondents-examiners to make the desired revision without prior authority from the Supreme Court after the corrected notebooks had been submitted to the Court through the respondent Bar Confidant, who is simply the custodian thereof for and in behalf of the Court. It appears that one evening, sometime around the middle part of December, 1971, just before Christmas day, respondent Lanuevo approached Civil Law examiner Pamatian while the latter was in the process of correcting examination booklets, and then and there made the representations that as BarConfidant, he makes a review of the grades obtained in all subjects of the examinees and if he finds that a candidate obtains an extraordinarily high grade in one subject and a rather low one on another, he will bring back to the examiner concerned the notebook for re-evaluation and change of grade(Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 55-56; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.). Sometime in the latter part of January, 1972, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondentexaminer Pamatian an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, representing that the examinee who owned the particular notebook is on the borderline of passing and if his grade in said subject could be reconsidered to 75%, the said examine will get a passing average. Respondentexaminer Pamatian took respondent Lanuevo's word and under the belief that was really the practice

and policy of the Supreme Court and in his further belief that he was just manifesting cooperation in doing so, he re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the examinee's grade in said subject to 75% from 64%. The particular notebook belonged to an examinee with Examiner's Code Number 95 and with Office Code Number 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. Respondent Pamatian did not know the identity of the examinee at the time he re-evaluated the said booklet (Exhs. 1-Pamatian, 2-Pamatian, and 3-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-33, 55-56, 57; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.). Before Justice Pamatian made the revision, Examinee Galang failed in seven subjects including Civil Law. After such revision, examinee Galang still failed in six subjects and could not obtain the passing average of 75% for admission to the Bar. Thereafter, about the latter part of January, 1972 or early part of February, 1972, respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of respondent-examiner Fidel Manalo at 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal, with an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law, which respondent Manalo and previously corrected and graded. Respondent Lanuevo then requested respondent Manalo to review the said notebook and possibly to reconsider the grade given, explaining and representing that "they" has reviewed the said notebook and that the examinee concerned had done well in other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade given said examinee by respondent Manalo in Remedial Law, the general average of said examinee was short of passing. Respondent Lanuevo likewise made the remark and observation that he thought that if the notebook were reviewed, respondent Manalo might yet find the examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar. Respondent Lanuevo also particularly called the attention of respondent Manalo to the fact that in his answers, the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good English. Furthermore, respondent Lanuevo called the attention of respondent Manalo to Paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum that read as follows: 4. Examination questions should be more a test of logic, knowledge of legal fundamentals, and ability to analyze and solve legal problems rather than a test of memory; in the correction of papers, substantial weight should be given to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning. Respondent Manalo was, however, informed by respondent Lanuevo that the matter of reconsideration was entirely within his (Manalo's) discretion. Respondent Manalo, believing that respondent Lanuevo, as Bar Confidant, had the authority to make such request and further believing that such request was in order, proceeded to re-evaluate the examinee's answers in the presence of Lanuevo, resulting in an increase of the examinee's grade in that particular subject, Remedial Law, from 63.25% to 74.5%. Respondent Manalo authenticated with his signature the changes made by him in the notebook and in the grading sheet. The said notebook examiner's code number is 136, instead of 310 as earlier mentioned by him in his affidavit, and belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1 & 2- Manalo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 36-39, 74-75; Vol. V, pp. 50-53, rec.). But even after the re-evaluation by Atty. Manalo, Examinee Galang could not make the passing grade due to his failing marks in five subjects. Likewise, in the latter part of January, 1972, on one occasion when respondent Lanuevo went to deliver to respondent Guillermo Pablo, Jr. in the latter's house a new batch of examination papers in Political Law and Public International Law to be corrected, respondent Lanuevo brought out a notebook in Political Law bearing Examiner's Code Number 1752 (Exh. 5-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 66, rec.), informing respondent Pablo that particular examinee who owns the said notebook seems to have passed in all other subjects except in Political Law and Public International

Law; and that if the said notebook would be re-evaluated and the mark be increased to at least 75%, said examinee will pass the bar examinations. After satisfying himself from respondent that this is possible — the respondent Bar Confidant informing him that this is the practice of the Court to help out examinees who are failing in just one subject — respondent Pablo acceded to the request and thereby told the Bar Confidant to just leave the said notebook. Respondent Pablo thereafter reevaluated the answers, this time with leniency. After the re-evaluation, the grade was increased to 78% from 68%, or an increase of 10%. Respondent Pablo then made the corresponding corrections in the grading sheet and accordingly initialed the charges made. This notebook with Office Code Number 954 also belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Vol. V, pp. 43-46, rec.). After the re-evaluation by Atty. Pablo, Jr., examinee Galang's general average was still below the passing grade, because of his failing marks in four subjects. Towards the end of the correction of examination notebooks, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondent Tomacruz one examination booklet in Criminal Law, with the former informing the latter, who was then helping in the correction of papers in Political Law and Public International Law, as he had already finished correcting the examination notebooks in his assigned subject — Criminal Law — that the examinee who owns that particular notebook had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his grade in Criminal Law would be raised a few points to 75%, then the examinee would make the passing grade. Accepting the words of respondent Lanuevo, and seeing the justification and because he did not want to be the one causing the failure of the examinee, respondent Tomacruz raised the grade from 64% to 75% and thereafter, he initialed the revised mark and also revised the mark in the general list and likewise initialed the same. The examinee's Examiner Code Number is 746 while his Office Code Number is 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1, 2 & 3-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 65, 66 and 71; Vol. V, pp. 24-25, 60-61, rec.). Respondent Tomacruz does not recall having been shown any memo by respondent Lanuevo when the latter approached him for this particular re-evaluation; but he remembers Lanuevo declaring to him that where a candidate had almost made the passing average but had failed in one subject, as a matter of policy of the Court, leniency is applied in reviewing the examinee's notebook in the failing subject. He recalls, however, that he was provided a copy of the Confidential Memorandum but this was long before the re-evaluation requested by respondent Lanuevo as the same was received by him before the examination period (Vol. V, p. 61, rec.). However, such revision by Atty. Tomacruz could not raise Galang's general average to a passing grade because of his failing mark in three more subjects, including Mercantile Law. For the revision of examinee Galang's notebook in Mercantile Law, respondent Lanuevo neatly set the last phase of his quite ingenious scheme — by securing authorization from the Bar Examination Committee for the examiner in Mercantile Law tore-evaluate said notebook. At the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee on February 8, 1972, respondent Lanuevo suggested that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner concerned would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular and the Committee adopted the suggestion (Exhs. A & B-Montecillo, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 41, 72, 63; Vol. Vi, p. 16, rec.). At a subsequent meeting of the Bar Examination Committee, respondent Montecillo was informed by respondent Lanuevo that a candidate passed all other subjects except Mercantile Law. This information was made during the meeting within hearing of the order members, who were all closely seated together. Respondent Montecillo made known his willingness tore-evaluate the particular

paper. The next day, respondent Lanuevo handed to respondent Montecillo a bar candidate's notebook with Examiner's Code Number 1613 with a grade of 61%. Respondent Montecillo then reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers, decided to increase the final grade to 71%. The matter was not however thereafter officially brought to the Committee for consideration or decision (Exhs. A& B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, 70-71; Vol. V, pp. 33-34, rec.). Respondent Montecillo declared that without being given the information that the particular examinee failed only in his subject and passed all the others, he would not have consented to make the re-evaluation of the said paper(Vol. V, p. 33, rec.).Respondent Montecillo likewise added that there was only one instance he remembers, which is substantiated by his personal records, that he had to change the grade of an examinee after he had submitted his report, referring to the notebook of examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, with Examiner's Code Number 1613 and with Office Code Number 954 (Vol. V, pp. 34-35, rec.). A day or two after February 5, 1972, when respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of respondent-examiner Pardo to obtain the last bag of 200 notebooks, respondent Lanuevo returned to the residence of respondent Pardo riding in a Volkswagen panel of the Supreme Court of the Philippines with two companions. According to respondent Lanuevo, this was around the second week of February, 1972, after the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee. respondent Lanuevo had with him on that occasion an examinee's notebook bearing Examiner's Code No. 661. Respondent Lanuevo, after the usual amenities, requested respondent Pardo to review and reexamine, if possible, the said notebook because, according to respondent Lanuevo, the examine who owns that particular notebook obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which is 84% in Remedial Law. After clearing with respondent Lanuevo his authority to reconsider the grades, respondent Pardo re-evaluated the answers of the examine concerned, resulting in an increase of grade from 57% of 66%. Said notebook has number 1622 as office code number. It belonged to examinee Ernesto Quitaleg (Exhs. 1 & 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-63; Vol. V, pp. 12-24, 29-30, rec.). II Re: Administrative Case No. 1162, Victorio D. Lanuevo, respondent. A UNAUTHORIZED RE-EVALUATION OF THE ANSWERS OF EXAMINE RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, IN ALL FIVE (5) MAJOR SUBJECTS. Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having requested on his own initiative the five examiners concerned to re-evaluate the five notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, that eventually resulted in the increase of Galang's average from 66.25% to the passing grade 74.15%, or a total increase of eight (8) weighted points, more or less, that enabled Galang to hurdle the 1971 Bar examinations via a resolution of the Court making 74% the passing average for that year's examination without any grade below fifty percent (50%) in any subject. Galang thereafter took his lawyer's oath. It is likewise beyond dispute that he had no authority from the Court or the Committee to initiate such steps towards the said re-evaluation of the answers of Galang or of other examinees. Denying that he made representations to the examiners concerned that respondent Galang failed only in their respective subjects and/or was on the borderline of passing, Respondent Lanuevo sought to justify his actuations on the authority of the aforequoted paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum(Exhs. 1 and 1-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Cases Nos. 1162 & 1164, p. 51, Adm. Case No. 1162; Vol. VII, p. 4, rec.) distributed to the members of the Bar Examination Committee. He

maintains that he acted in good faith and "in his honest belief that the same merited re-evaluation; that in doing so, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as BarConfidant but on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned; and that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner because the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was in order was left alone to the examiners' decision ..." (Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-37, rec.). But as openly admitted by him in the course of the investigation, the said confidential memorandum was intended solely for the examiners to guide them in the initial correction of the examination papers and never as a basis for him to even suggest to the examiners the re-evaluation of the examination papers of the examinees (Vol. VII, p. 23, rec.). Any such suggestion or request is not only presumptuous but also offensive to the norms of delicacy. We believe the Examiners — Pablo, Manalo, Montecillo, Tomacruz, Pardo and Pamatian — whose declarations on the matter of the misrepresentations and deceptions committed by respondent Lanuevo, are clear and consistent as well as corroborate each other. For indeed the facts unfolded by the declarations of the respondents-examiners (Adm. Case No. 1164) and clarified by extensive cross-examination conducted during the investigation and hearing of the cases show how respondent Lanuevo adroitly maneuvered the passing of examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang in the 1971 Bar Examinations. It is patent likewise from the records that respondent Lanuevo too undue advantage of the trust and confidence reposed in him by the Court and the Examiners implicit in his position as BarConfidant as well as the trust and confidence that prevailed in and characterized his relationship with the five members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee, who were thus deceived and induced into re-evaluating the answers of onlyrespondent Galang in five subjects that resulted in the increase of his grades therein, ultimately enabling him to be admitted a member of the Philippine Bar. It was plain, simple and unmitigated deception that characterized respondent Lanuevo's well-studied and well-calculated moves in successively representing separately to each of the five examiners concerned to the effect that the examinee failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing. To repeat, the before the unauthorized re-evaluations were made, Galang failed in the five (5) major subjects and in two (2) minor subjects while his general average was only 66.25% — which under no circumstances or standard could it be honestly claimed that the examinee failed only in one, or he was on the borderline of passing. In fact, before the first notebook of Galang was referred back to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation, Galang had only one passing mark and this was in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, a minor subject, with grade of 81%. The averages and individual grades of Galang before and after the unauthorized re-evaluation are as follows: BAI 1. Political Law Public International Law 68% 78% = 10 pts. or 30 weighted points BAI Labor Laws and Social Legislations 67% 67% = no reevaluation made.

2. Civil Law 64% 75% = 1 points or 33 weighted points. Taxation 74% 74% = no reevaluation made. 3. Mercantile Law 61% 71% = 10 pts. or 30 weighted points. 4. Criminal Law 64% 75% = 11 pts. or 22 weighted points. 5. Remedial Law 63.75% (64) 75.5% (75%) = 11 pts. or 44 weighted points. Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises 81% 81% = no reevaluation made. ———————————— General Weighted Averages 66.25% 74.15% Hence, by the simple expedient of initiating the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang in the five (5) subjects under the circumstances already narrated, Galang's original average of 66.25% was increased to 74.15% or an increase of 7.9 weighted points, to the great damage and prejudice of the integrity of the Bar examinations and to the disadvantage of the other examinees. He did this in favor only of examinee Galang, with the possible addition of examinees Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. But only one notebook was re-evaluated for each of the latter who — Political Law and Public International Law for Quitaleg and Mercantile Law for Ty dela Cruz. The Office of the Bar Confidant, it must be stressed, has absolutely nothing to do in the re-evaluation or reconsideration of the grades of examinees who fail to make the passing mark before or after their notebooks are submitted to it by the Examiners. After the corrected notebooks are submitted to him by the Examiners, his only function is to tally the individual grades of every examinee in all subjects taken and thereafter compute the general average. That done, he will then prepare a comparative data showing the percentage of passing and failing in relation to a certain average to be submitted to the Committee and to the Court and on the basis of which the Court will determine the passing average, whether 75 or 74 or 73, etc. The Bar Confidant has no business evaluating the answers of the examinees and cannot assume the functions of passing upon the appraisal made by the Examiners concerned. He is not the over-all Examiner. He cannot presume to know better than the examiner. Any request for re-evaluation should be done by the examinee and the same should be addressed to the Court, which alone can validly act thereon. A Bar Confidant who takes such initiative, exposes himself to suspicion and thereby compromises his position as well as the image of the Court. Respondent Lanuevo's claim that he was merely doing justice to Galang without any intention of betraying the trust and confidence reposed in him by the Court as Bar Confidant, can hardly invite belief in the fact of the incontrovertible fact that he singled out Galang's papers for re-evaluation, leaving out the papers of more than ninety (90) examinees with far better averages ranging from 70% to 73.9% of which he was fully aware (Vol. VI, pp. 46-47, 101, rec.), which could be more properly claimed as borderline cases. This fact further betrays respondent Lanuevo's claim of absolute good faith in referring back the papers of Galang to the Examiners for re-evaluation. For

certainly, as against the original weighted average of 66.25% of Galang, there can hardly be any dispute that the cases of the aforesaid more than ninety (90) examinees were more deserving of reconsideration. Hence, in trying to do justice to Galang, as claimed by respondent Lanuevo, grave injustice was inflicted on the other examinees of the 1971 Bar examinations, especially the said more than ninety candidates. And the unexplained failure of respondent Lanuevo to apprise the Court or the Committee or even the Bar Chairman of the fact of re-evaluation before or after the said re-evaluation and increase of grades, precludes, as the same is inconsistent with, any pretension of good faith. His request for the re-evaluation of the notebook in Political Law and International Law of Ernesto Quitaleg and the notebook in Mercantile Law of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz to give his actuations in the case of Galang a semblance of impartiality, hoping that the over ninety examinees who were far better situated than Galang would not give him away. Even the re-evaluation of one notebook of Quitaleg and one notebook of Ty dela Cruz violated the agreement of the members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee to re-evaluate when the examinee concerned fails only in one subject. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz failed in four (4) and three (3) subjects respectively — as hereinafter shown. The strange story concerning the figures 954, the office code number given to Galang's notebook, unveiled for the first time by respondent Lanuevo in his suplemental sworn statement(Exh. 3Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47. rec.) filed during the investigation with this Court as to why he pried into the papers of Galang deserves scant consideration. It only serves to picture a man desperately clutching at straws in the wind for support. Furthermore, it was revealed by respondent Lanuevo for the first time only on August 27, 1973 or a period of more than five 95) months after he filed his answer on March 19, 1973(Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-36, rec.), showing that it was just an after-thought. B REFERRAL OF EXAMINEE ALFREDO TY DELA CRUZ NOTEBOOK IN MERCHANTILE LAW TO RAISE HIS GRADE OF 47% TO 50% TO EXAMINER MANUEL MONTECILLO AND OF EXAMINEE ERNESTO QUITALEG'S NOTEBOOK IN POLITICAL LAW TO EXAMINER BERNARDO PARDO FOR RE-EVALUATION, RESULTING IN THE INCREASE OF HIS GRADE IN THAT SUBJECT FROM 57% TO 66%. Likewise, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having referred back the aforesaid notebooks on Mercantile Law and Political Law respectively of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz and Ernesto Quitaleg to the Examiners concerned. The records are not clear, however, under what circumstances the notebooks of Ty dela Cruz and Quitaleg were referred back to the Examiners concerned. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that these two cases were officially brought to the Bar Examination Committee during its first meeting (Vol. VI, pp. 50-51, rec.) and the latter decided to refer them back to the Examiners concerned for reevaluation with respect to the case of Quitaleg and to remove the disqualification in the case of Ty dela Cruz(Vol. VI, pp. 33-39, 84-86, rec.). Respondent Lanuevo further claimed that the date of these two cases were contained in a sheet of paper which was presented at the said first meeting of the Committee (Vol. VI, pp. 39-43, 49-51, rec.). Likewise a record of the dates of every meeting of the Committee was made by respondent Lanuevo (Vol. VI, p. 28, rec.). The alleged sheet containing the date of the two examinees and record of the dates of the meeting of the Committee were not presented by respondent Lanuevo as, according to him, he left them inadvertently in his desk in the Confidential Room when he went on leave after the release of the Bar results (Vol. VI, pp. 28, 41-45, rec.). It appears, however, that the inventory conducted by officials of the Court in the Confidential

Room of respondent Lanuevo did not yield any such sheet of record (Exh. X, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 74, rec.; Vol. VIII, pp. 11-13, 20-22, 29-31, rec.). Respondent Examiner Montecillo, Mercantile Law, maintained that there was only one notebook in Mercantile Law which was officially brought to him and this is substantiated by his personal file and record (Vol. VI, pp. 34-35, rec.). According to him, this notebook's examiner code number is 1613 (Vol. V, p.35, rec.) and is owned by Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. It appears, however, that the original grade of 47% in Mercantile Law of Ty dela Cruz was changed to 50% as appearing in the cover of the notebook of said examinee and the change is authenticated with the initial of Examiner Montecillo. He was present when respondent Lanuevo presented in evidence the notebook of Ty dela Cruz bearing Examiner code number 951 and Office Code Number 110 as Exhibit 9-Lanuevo in Administrative Case No. 1162, and the figures 47 crossed out, replaced by the figures 50 bearing the initial of Examiner Montecillo as Exhibit 9-a-Lanuevo (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 48, rec.; Vol. VI, pp. 23-24, Vol. VIII, p. 4, rec.); but Atty. Montecillo did not interpose any objection to their admission in evidence. In this connection, respondent Examiner Pardo testified that he remembers a case of an examinee presented to the Committee, who obtained passing marks in all subjects except in one and the Committee agreed to refer back to the Examiner concerned the notebook in the subject in which the examinee failed (Vol. V, pp. 15-16, rec.). He cannot recall the subject, but he is certain that it was not Political Law (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.).Further, Pardo declared that he is not aware of any case of an examinee who was on the borderline of passing but who got a grade below 50% in one subject that was taken up by the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 16-17, rec.). Examiner Montecillo testified that it was the notebook with Examiner Code Number 1613 (belonging to Galang) which was referred to the Committee and the Committee agreed to return it to the Examiner concerned. The day following the meeting in which the case of an examinee with Code Number 1613 was taken up, respondent Lanuevo handed him said notebook and he accordingly reevaluated it. This particular notebook with Office Code Number 954 belongs to Galang. Examiner Tomacruz recalled a case of an examinee whose problem was Mercantile Law that was taken up by the Committee. He is not certain of any other case brought to the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 59-61, rec.). Pardo declared that there was no case of an examinee that was referred to the Committee that involved Political Law. He re-evaluated the answers of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law upon the representation made by respondent Lanuevo to him. As heretofore stated, it was this consensus at the meeting on February 8, 1972 of the members of the Committee that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed all the others, the Examiner in whose subject the examinee failed should re-evaluate or recheck the notebook (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.: Exh. 2-Pardo, allegation No. 9, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63, Exh. A-Montecillo, Allegation No. 2, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and Exh. B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.). At the time the notebook of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law with a grade of 57% was referred back to Examiner Pardo, said examinee had other failing grades in three (3) subjects, as follows: Labor Laws 3% Taxation 69% Mercantile Law 68%

Ernesto Quitaleg's grades and averages before and after the re-evaluation of his grade in Political Law are as follows: BA Political Law 57% 66% = 9 pts. or 27 weighted points Labor Laws 73% 73% = No reevaluation Civil Law 75% 75% = " Taxation 69% 69% = " Mercantile Law 68% 68% = " Criminal Law 78% 78% = " Remedial Law 85% 85% = " Legal Ethics 83% 83% = " ———————————————— Average (weighted) 73.15% 74.5% (Vol. VI, pp. 26-27; Exhs. 10 and 10-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, rec.) Alfredo Ty dela Cruz, at the time his notebook in Mercantile Law was referred to Examiner Montecillo to remove the disqualification grade of 47% in said subject, had two (2) other failing grades. These are: Political Law 70% Taxation 72% His grades and averages before and after the disqualifying grade was removed are as follows: BA Political Law 70% 70% = No reevaluation Labor Laws 75% 75% = " Civil Law 89% 89% = " Taxation 72% 72% = " Mercantile Law 47% 50% = 3 pts. or 9 weighted points Criminal Law 78% 78% = no reevaluation Remedial Law 88% 88% = " Legal Ethics 79% 79% = " ————————————————— Weighted Averages 74.95% 75.4% (Vol. VI, pp. 26-27, rec.). The re-evaluation of the answers of Quitaleg in Political Law and the answers of Ty dela Cruz in Mercantile Law, violated the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee in February, 1971, which violation was due to the misrepresentation of respondent Lanuevo.

It must be stated that the referral of the notebook of Galang in Mercantile Law to Examiner Montecillo can hardly be said to be covered by the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee because even at the time of said referral, which was after the unauthorized re-evaluation of his answers of four (4) subjects, Galang had still failing grades in Taxation and Labor Laws. His reevaluated grade of 74.5% in Remedial Law was considered 75% under the Confidential Memorandum and was so entered in the record. His grade in Mercantile Law as subsequently reevaluated by Examiner Montecillo was 71%. Respondent Lanuevo is therefore guilty of serious misconduct — of having betrayed the trust and confidence reposed in him as Bar Confidant, thereby impairing the integrity of the Bar examinations and undermining public faith in the Supreme Court. He should be disbarred. As to whether Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz should be disbarred or their names stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, it is believed that they should be required to show cause and the corresponding investigation conducted. III Re: Administrative Case No. 1163, Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, respondent. A The name of respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, should likewise be stricken off the Roll of Attorneys. This is a necessary consequence of the un-authorized re-evaluation of his answers in five(5) major subjects — Civil Law, Political and International Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law, and Mercantile Law. The judicial function of the Supreme Court in admitting candidates to the legal profession, which necessarily involves the exercise of discretion, requires: (1) previous established rules and principles; (2) concrete facts, whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals; and (3) a decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and principles (In re: Cunanan — Flunkers' Petition for Admission to the Bar -- 94 Phil. 534, 544-545). The determination of whether a bar candidate has obtained the required passing grade certainly involves discretion (Legal and Judicial Ethics, Justice Martin, 1969 ed., p. 13). In the exercise of this function, the Court acts through a Bar Examination Committee, composed of a member of the Court who acts as Chairman and eight (8) members of the Bar who act as examiners in the eight (8) bar subjects with one subject assigned to each. Acting as a sort of liaison officer between the Court and the Bar Chairman, on one hand, and the individual members of the Committee, on the other, is the Bar Confidant who is at the same time a deputy clerk of the Court. Necessarily, every act of the Committee in connection with the exercise of discretion in the admission of examinees to membership of the Bar must be in accordance with the established rules of the Court and must always be subject to the final approval of the Court. With respect to the Bar Confidant, whose position is primarily confidential as the designation indicates, his functions in connection with the conduct of the Bar examinations are defined and circumscribed by the Court and must be strictly adhered to. The re-evaluation by the Examiners concerned of the examination answers of respondent Galang in five (5) subjects, as already clearly established, was initiated by Respondent Lanuevo without any authority from the Court, a serious breach of the trust and confidence reposed by the Court in him as Bar Confidant. Consequently, the re-evaluation that enabled respondent Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations and to be admitted to the Bar is a complete nullity. The Bar Confidant does not

possess any discretion with respect to the matter of admission of examinees to the Bar. He is not clothed with authority to determine whether or not an examinee's answers merit re-evaluation or reevaluation or whether the Examiner's appraisal of such answers is correct. And whether or not the examinee benefited was in connivance or a privy thereto is immaterial. What is decisive is whether the proceedings or incidents that led to the candidate's admission to the Bar were in accordance with the rules. B Section 2 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964, in connection, among others, with the character requirement of candidates for admission to the Bar, provides that "every applicant for admission as a member of the Bar must be ... of good moral character ... and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and that no charges against him involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines." Prior to 1964, or under the old Rules of Court, a bar applicant was required to produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory testimonials of good moral character (Sec. 2, Rule 127). Under both rules, every applicant is duty bound to lay before the Court all his involvement in any criminal case, pending or otherwise terminated, to enable the Court to fully ascertain or determine applicant's moral character. Furthermore, as to what crime involves moral turpitude, is for the supreme Court to determine. Hence, the necessity of laying before or informing the Court of one's personal record — whether he was criminally indicted, acquitted, convicted or the case dismissed or is still pending — becomes more compelling. The forms for application to take the Bar examinations provided by the Supreme Court beginning the year 1965 require the disclosure not only of criminal cases involving moral turpitude filed or pending against the applicant but also of all other criminal cases of which he has been accused. It is of course true that the application form used by respondent Galang when he took the Bar for the first time in 1962 did not expressly require the disclosure of the applicant's criminal records, if any. But as already intimated, implicit in his task to show satisfactory evidence or proof of good moral character is his obligation to reveal to the Court all his involvement in any criminal case so that the Court can consider them in the ascertainment and determination of his moral character. And undeniably, with the applicant's criminal records before it, the Court will be in a better position to consider the applicant's moral character; for it could not be gainsaid that an applicant's involvement in any criminal case, whether pending or terminated by its dismissal or applicant's acquittal or conviction, has a bearing upon his character or fitness for admission to the Bar. In 1963 and 1964, when respondent Galang took the Bar for the second and third time, respectively, the application form provided by the Court for use of applicants already required the applicant to declare under oath that "he has not been accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any offense involving moral turpitude; and that there is no pending case of that nature against him." By 1966, when Galang took the Bar examinations for the fourth time, the application form prepared by the Court for use of applicants required the applicant to reveal all his criminal cases whether involving moral turpitude or not. In paragraph 4 of that form, the applicant is required under oath to declare that "he has not been charged with any offense before a Fiscal, Municipal Judge, or other officer; or accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any crime involving moral turpitude; nor is there a pending case against him" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 56, rec.). Yet, respondent Galang continued to intentionally withhold or conceal from the Court his criminal case of slight physical injuries which was then and until now is pending in the City Court of Manila; and thereafter repeatedly omitted to make mention of the same in his applications to take the Bar examinations in 1967, 1969 and 1971. All told, respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, is guilty of fraudulently concealing and withholding from the Court his pending criminal case for physical injuries in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1971; and in 1966, 1967,1969 and 1971, he committed perjury when he declared under oath that he had no pending criminal case in court. By falsely representing to the

Court that he had no criminal case pending in court, respondent Galang was allowed unconditionally to take the Bar examinations seven (7) times and in 1972 was allowed to take his oath. That the concealment of an attorney in his application to take the Bar examinations of the fact that he had been charged with, or indicted for, an alleged crime, is a ground for revocation of his license to practice law is well — settled (see 165 ALR 1151, 7 CJS 741). Thus: [1] It requires no argument to reach the conclusion that the respondent, in withholding from the board of law examiners and from the justice of this court, to whom he applied for admission, information respecting so serious a matter as an indictment for a felony, was guilty of fraud upon the court (cases cited). [2] It is equally clear that, had the board of law examiners, or the judge to whom he applied for admission, been apprised of the true situation, neither the certificate of the board nor of the judge would have been forthcoming (State ex rel. Board of Law Examiners v. Podell, 207 N — W — 709 — 710). The license of respondent Podell was revoke and annulled, and he was required to surrender to the clerk of court the license issued to him, and his name was stricken from the roll of attorneys (p. 710). Likewise in Re Carpel, it was declared that: [1] The power to admit to the bar on motion is conferred in the discretion of the Appellate Division.' In the exercise of the discretion, the court should be informed truthfully and frankly of matters tending to show the character of the applicant and his standing at the bar of the state from which he comes. The finding of indictments against him, one of which was still outstanding at the time of his motion, were facts which should have been submitted to the court, with such explanations as were available. Silence respecting them was reprehensible, as tending to deceive the court (165 NYS, 102, 104; emphasis supplied). Carpel's admission to the bar was revoked (p. 105). Furthermore, respondent's persistent denial of his involvement in any criminal case despite his having been apprised by the Investigation of some of the circumstances of the criminal case including the very name of the victim in that case(he finally admitted it when he was confronted by the victim himself, who was called to testify thereon), and his continued failure for about thirteen years to clear his name in that criminal case up to the present time, indicate his lack of the requisite attributes of honesty, probity and good demeanor. He is therefore unworthy of becoming a member of the noble profession of law. While this aspect of the investigation was not part of the formal resolution of the Court requiring him to explain why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, respondent Galang was, as early as August, 1973, apprised of his omission to reveal to the Court his pending criminal case. Yet he did not offer any explanation for such omission. Under the circumstances in which respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was allowed to take the Bar examinations and the highly irregular manner in which he passed the Bar, WE have no other alternative but to order the surrender of his attorney's certificate and the striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys. For as WE said in Re Felipe del Rosario:

The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted every one who demands it, but is a privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of sound discretion. The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to escape the penalties of the criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to receive one whose integrity is questionable as an officer of the court, to clothe him with all the prestige of its confidence, and then to permit him to hold himself as a duly authorized member of the bar (citing American cases) [52 Phil. 399-401]. What WE now do with respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, in this present case is not without any precedent in this jurisdiction. WE had on several occasions in the past nullified the admission of successful bar candidates to the membership of the Bar on the grounds, among others, of (a)misrepresentations of, or false pretenses relative to, the requirement on applicant's educational attainment [Tapel vs. Publico, resolution of the Supreme Court striking off the name of Juan T. Publico from the Roll of Attorneys on the basis of the findings of the Court Investigators contained in their report and recommendation, Feb. 23, 1962; In re: Telesforo A. Diao, 7 SCRA 475-478; (b) lack of good moral character [In re: Peralta, 101 Phil. 313-314]; and (c) fraudulent passing of the Bar examinations [People vs. Romualdez -- re: Luis Mabunay, 57 Phil. 151; In re: Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399 and People vs. Castro and Doe, 54 Phil. 42]. In the cases of Romualdez (Mabunay) and Castro, the Court found that the grades of Mabunay and Castro were falsified and they were convicted of the crime of falsification of public documents. IV RE: Administrative Case No. 1164, Assistant Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (now CFI Judge), Judge Ramon Pamatian(Later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, now deceased)Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo, Atty. Manuel Tomacruz and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr., respondents. All respondents Bar examiners candidly admitted having made the re-evaluation and/or re-correction of the papers in question upon the misrepresentation of respondent BarConfidant Lanuevo. All, however, professed good faith; and that they re-evaluated or increased the grades of the notebooks without knowing the identity of the examinee who owned the said notebooks; and that they did the same without any consideration or expectation of any. These the records clearly demonstrate and WE are of the opinion and WE so declare that indeed the respondents-examiners made the reevaluation or re-correcion in good faith and without any consideration whatsoever. Considering however the vital public interest involved in the matter of admission of members to the Bar, the respondents bar examiners, under the circumstances, should have exercised greater care and caution and should have been more inquisitive before acceding to the request of respondent Bar Confidant Lanuevo. They could have asked the Chairman of the Bar Examination Committee, who would have referred the matter to the Supreme Court. At least the respondents-examiners should have required respondent Lanuevo to produce or show them the complete grades and/or the average of the examinee represented by respondent Lanuevo to have failed only in their respective and particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing to fully satisfy themselves that the examinee concerned was really so circumstances. This they could have easily done and the stain on the Bar examinations could have been avoided. Respondent Bar examiners Montecillo, Pamatian, and Manalo claimed and so declared under oath that the answers of respondent Galang really deserved or merited the increased grades; and so with respondent Pardo in connection with the re-evaluation of Ernesto Quitaleg's answers in Political Law. With respect to respondents Tomacruz and Pablo, it would appear that they increased the

grades of Galang in their respective subject solely because of the misrepresentations of Respondent Lanuevo. Hence, in the words of respondent Tomacruz: "You brought to me one paper and you said that this particular examinee had almost passed, however, in my subject he received 60 something, I cannot remember the exact average and if he would get a few points higher, he would get a passing average. I agreed to do that because I did not wish to be the one causing his failure. ..." (Vol. V, pp. 60-61, rec.; see also allegations 3 and 4, Exh. 1-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis ours). And respondent Pablo: "... he told me that this particular examinee seems to have passed in allot her subject except this subject and that if I can re-evaluate this examination notebook and increase the mark to at least 75, this particular examinee will pass the bar examinations so I believe I asked him 'Is this being done?' and he said 'Yes, that is the practice used to be done before to help out examinees who are failing in just one subject' so I readily acceded to his request and said 'Just leave it with me and I will try to re-evaluate' and he left it with me and what i did was to go over the book and tried to be as lenient as I could. While I did not mark correct the answers which were wrong, what I did was to be more lenient and if the answers was correct although it was not complete I raise the grade so I had a total of 78 instead of 68 and what I did was to correct the grading sheet accordingly and initial the changes" (Vol. V, pp. 44-45, rec.; emphasis supplied). It could not be seriously denied, however, that the favorable re-evaluations made by respondents Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Pardo notwithstanding their declarations that the increases in grades they gave were deserved by the examinee concerned, were to a certain extent influenced by the misrepresentation and deception committed by respondent Lanuevo. Thus in their own words: Montecillo — Q And by reason of that information you made the re-evaluation of the paper? A Yeas, your Honor. Q Would you have re-evaluated the paper of your own accord in the absence of such information? A No, your Honor, because I have submitted my report at that time" (Vol. V, p. 33, rec.; see also allegations in paragraphs 2, 3, 4 & 5, Affidavit of April 17, 1972, Exh. B-Montecillo; allegation No. 2, Answer dated march 19, 1973, Exh. A-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and 72, rec.). Pamatian — 3. That sometime in the later part of January of this year, he brought back to me an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation because according to him the owner of the paper is on the borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will get passing mark; 4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court to do so and in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%; ..." (Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 55, rec.); and

5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am authorized to do so in view of them is representation of said Atty. Victorio Lanuevo, ..." (Exh. 1-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 33-34, rec.). Manalo — (c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent carefully evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answer by the criteria laid down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of the doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that particular subject that said examinee failed, herein respondent became convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that previously given him, but he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to be given the passing grade of 75%. ..."(allegation 5-c, p. 38, Exh. 1-Manalo, rec.; emphasis supplied). Pardo — ... I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that particular notebook on December 31,1971, considering especially the representation of the Bar Confidant that the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84% in Remedial Law, if I recall correctly. ... (allegation 7, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 62, rec.; emphasis supplied). With the misrepresentations and the circumstances utilized by respondent Lanuevo to induce the herein examiners to make the re-evaluation adverted to, no one among them can truly claim that the re-evaluation effected by them was impartial or free from any improper influence, their conceded integrity, honesty and competence notwithstanding. Consequently, Galang cannot justifiably claim that he deserved the increased grades given after the said re-evaluations(Galang's memo attached to the records, Adm. Case No. 1163). At any rate, WE are convinced, in the light of the explanations of the respondents-examiners, which were earlier quoted in full, that their actuations in connection with the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang in five (5) subjects do not warrant or deserve the imposition of any disciplinary action. WE find their explanations satisfactory. Nevertheless, WE are constrained to remind herein respondentsexaminers that their participation in the admission of members to the Bar is one impressed with the highest consideration of public interest — absolute purity of the proceedings — and so are required to exercise the greatest or utmost case and vigilance in the performance of their duties relative thereto. V Respondent Atty. Victorio D. Lanuevo, in his memorandum filed on November 14, 1973, claimed that respondent-examiner Pamatian "in bringing up this unfounded cause, or lending undue assistance or support thereto ... was motivated with vindictiveness due to respondent's refusal to be pressured into helping his (examiner's) alleged friend — a participant in the 1971 Bar Examinations whom said examiner named as Oscar Landicho and who, the records will show, did not pass said examinations (p. 9, Lanuevo's memo, Adm. Case No. 1162).

It must be stated that this is a very serious charge against the honor and integrity of the late Justice Ramon Pamatian, who passed away on October 18, 1973 and therefore cannot refute Lanuevo's insinuations. Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo did not bring this out during the investigation which in his words is "essential to his defense. "His pretension that he did not make this charge during the investigation when Justice Pamatian was still alive, and deferred the filing of such charge against Justice Pamatian and possibly also against Oscar Landicho before the latter departed for Australia "until this case shall have been terminated lest it be misread or misinterpreted as being intended as a leverage for a favorable outcome of this case on the part of respondent or an act of reprisal", does not invite belief; because he does not impugn the motives of the five other members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee, who also affirmed that he deceived them into re-evaluating or revising the grades of respondent Galang in their respective subjects. It appears, however, that after the release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, Oscar Landicho, who failed in that examinations, went to see and did see Civil Law examiner Pamatian for the purpose of seeking his help in connection with the 1971 Bar Examinations. Examiner Pamatian advised Landicho to see the Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee. Examiner Pamatian mentioned in passing to Landicho that an examination booklet was re-evaluated by him (Pamatian) before the release of the said bar results (Vol. V, pp. 6-7, rec). Even though such information was divulged by respondent Pamatian after the official release of the bar results, it remains an indecorous act, hardly expected of a member of the Judiciary who should exhibit restraint in his actuations demanded by resolute adherence to the rules of delicacy. His unseemly act tended to undermine the integrity of the bar examinations and to impair public faith in the Supreme Court. VI The investigation failed to unearth direct evidence that the illegal machination of respondent Lanuevo to enable Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations was committed for valuable consideration. A There are, however, acquisitions made by Respondent Lanuevo immediately after the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations in February, 1972, which may be out of proportion to his salary as Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court. 1. On April 5, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife acquired from the BF Homes, Inc. a house and lot with an area of 374 square meters, more or less, for the amount of P84,114.00. The deed of sale was dated March 5, 1972 but was notarized only on April 5, 1972. On the same date, however, respondent Lanuevo and his wife executed two (2)mortgages covering the said house and lot in favor of BF Homes, Inc. in the total amount of P67,291.20 (First mortgage — P58,879.80, Entry No. 90913: date of instrument — April 5, 1972, date of inscription — April 20, 1972: Second mortgage — P8,411.40, Entry No. 90914: date of instrument — April 5, 1972, date of inscription — April 20, 1972). [D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.]. Respondent Lanuevo paid as down payment the amount of only P17,000.00, which according to him is equivalent to 20%, more or less, of the purchase price of P84,114.00. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that P5,000.00 of the P17,000.00 was his savings while the remaining the P12,000.00 came from his sister in Okinawa in the form of a loan and received by him through a niece before Christmas of 1971 in dollars ($2000) [Vol. VII, pp. 41-48; Vol. VIII, pp. 2-3, rec.]

It appears, however, that his alleged P5,000.00 savings and P12,000.00 loan from his sister; are not fully reflected and accounted for in respondent's 1971 Statement of Assets and Liabilities which hefiled on January 17, 1972. In said 1971 statement, respondent Lanuevo listed under Assets a bank deposit in the amount of only P2,000.00. In his 1972 statement, his bank deposit listed under Assets was in the amount of P1,011.00, which shows therefore that of the P2,000.00 bank deposit listed in his 1971 statement under Assets, only the amount of P989.00 was used or withdrawn. The amount of P18,000.00 receivable listed under Assets in his 1971 statement was not realized because the transaction therein involved did not push through (Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent Lanuevo from 1965 to 1972; Vol. VIII, pp. 47-48, rec.). Likewise, the alleged December, 1971 $2000 loan of respondent from his married sister in Okinawa is extremely doubtful. In the first place, said amount of $2000 (P12,000.00) is not reflected in his 1971Statement of Assets and Liabilities filed on January 17, 1972. Secondly, the alleged note which he allegedly received from his sister at the time he received the $200 was not even presented by respondent during the investigation. And according to Respondent Lanuevo himself, while he considered this a loan, his sister did not seriously consider it as one. In fact, no mode or time of payment was agreed upon by them. And furthermore, during the investigation, respondent Lanuevo promised to furnish the Investigator the address of his sister in Okinawa. Said promise was not fulfilled as borne out by the records. Considering that there is no showing that his sister, who has a family of her own, is among the top earners in Okinawa or has saved a lot of money to give to him, the conclusion, therefore, that the P17,000.00 of respondent Lanuevo was either an illgotten or undeclared income is inevitable under the foregoing circumstances. On August 14, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife mortgaged their BF Homes house and lot to the GSIS for the amount of P65,000.00 (Entry No. 4992: August 14, 1972 — date of instrument;August 23, 1972 — date of inscription). On February 28, 1973, the second mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90914, was redeemed by respondent and was subsequently cancelled on March 20,1973, Entry No. 30143. Subsequently, or on March 2, 1973 the first mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90913 was also redeemed by respondent Lanuevo and thereafter cancelled onMarch 20, 1973, (See D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.). Hence, only the mortgage in favor of GSIS remains as the encumbrance of respondent's house and lot. According to respondent Lanuevo, the monthly amortization of the GSIS mortgage is P778.00 a month, but that since May of 1973, he was unable to pay the same. In his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities, which he filed in connection with his resignation and retirement (filed October 13, 1972), the house and lot declared as part of his assets, were valued at P75,756.90. Listed, however, as an item in his liabilities in the same statement was the GSIS real estate loan in the amount of P64,200.00 (1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities). 2. Listed as an asset in his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities is a 1956 VW car valued atP5,200.00. That he acquired this car sometime between January, 1972 and November, 1972 could be inferred from the fact that no such car or any car was listed in his statement of assets and liabilities of 1971 or in the years previous to 1965. It appears, however, that his listed total assets, excluding receivables in his 1971 Statement was P19,000.00, while in his 1972 (as of November, 1972) Statement, his listed total assets, excluding the house and lot was P18,211.00, including the said 1956 VW car worth P5,200.00.

The proximity in point of time between the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations and the acquisition of the above-mentioned properties, tends to link or tie up the said acquisitions with the illegal machination committed by respondent Lanuevo with respect to respondent Galang's examination papers or to show that the money used by respondent Lanuevo in the acquisition of the above properties came from respondent Galang in consideration of his passing the Bar. During the early stage of this investigation but after the Court had informed respondent Lanuevo of the serious irregularities in the 1971 Bar examinations alleged in Oscar Landicho's Confidential Letter and in fact, after Respondent Lanuevo had filed on April 12, 1972 his sworn statement on the matter, as ordered by the Court, respondent Lanuevo surprisingly filed his letter or resignation on October 13, 1972 with the end in view of retiring from the Court. His resignation before he was required to show cause on March 5, 1973 but after he was informed of the said irregularities, is indicative of a consciousness of guilt. It must be noted that immediately after the official release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, respondent Lanuevo went on vacation and sick leave from March 16, 1972 to January 15, 1973, obtaining the case value thereof in lump sum in the amount of P11,000.00. He initially claimed at the investigation that h e used a part thereof as a down payment for his BF Homes house and lot (Vol. VII, pp. 40-48, rec.), which he bought on April 5, 1972. Criminal proceedings may be instituted against respondent Lanuevo under Section 3 (a & e) in relation to Section 9 of Republic Act No. 1379 (Anti-Graft Law) for: (a) Persuading inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be presented, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense. xxx xxx xxx (e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evidence bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. Section 8 of said Republic Act No. 3019 authorizes the dismissal or removal of a public officer once it is determined that his property or money "is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property ... " (Sec. 2, Rep. Act 1379; Sec. 8, Rep. Act 3019). It should be stressed, however, that respondent Lanuevo's aforementioned Statements of Assets and Liabilities were not presented or taken up during the investigation; but they were examined as they are part of the records of this Court. B There are likewise circumstances indicating possible contacts between respondent Ramon E. Galang and/or his father and respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo before the latter become the bar Confidant.

1. Respondent Ramon E. Galang was a beneficiary of the G.I Bill of Rights educational program of the Philippine Veterans Board from his high school days — 1951 to 1955 — up to his pre-law studies at the MLQ Educational Institution (now MLQ University) — 1955 to 1958. From 1948 to 1958, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo was connected with the Philippine Veterans Board which is the governmental agency entrusted with the affairs of our veterans including the implementation of the Veterans Bill of Rights. From 1955 to 1958, Respondent Lanuevo successively held the position of Junior Investigator, Veterans Claims Investigator, Supervising Veterans Investigator and Veterans Claims Investigator (Service Record, p. 9, Adm. Case No. 1162). During that period of time, therefore, respondent Lanuevo had direct contacts with applicants and beneficiaries of the Veterans Bill of Rights. Galang's educational benefits was approved on March 16, 1954, retroactive as of the date of waiver —July 31, 1951, which is also the date of filing (A, Vol. IV, rec.). It is alleged by respondent Ramon E. Galang that it was his father who all the time attended to the availment of the said educational benefits and even when he was already in Manila taking up his pre-law at MLQ Educational Institution from 1955 to 1958. In 1955, respondent Galang was already 19 years old, and from 1957 to 1958, he was employed as a technical assistant in the office of Senator Roy (Vol. V, pp. 79-80, 86-87, rec.).[Subsequently, during the investigation, he claimed that he was the private secretary of Senator Puyat in 1957 (Vol. VI, pp. 12-13, rec.)]. It appears, however, that a copy of the notice-letter dated June 28, 1955 of the Philippine Veterans Board to the MLQ Educational Institution on the approval of the transfer of respondent Galang from Sta. Rita Institute to the MLQ Educational Institution effective the first semester of the school year 195556 was directly addressed and furnished to respondent Ramon E. Galang at 2292 Int. 8 Banal St., Tondo, Manila (A-12, Vol. IV, rec.). Respondent Ramon E. Galang further declared that he never went to the Office of the Philippine Veterans to follow up his educational benefits and claimed that he does not even know the location of the said office. He does not also know whether beneficiaries of the G.I. Bill of Rights educational benefits are required to go to the Philippine Veterans Board every semester to submit their ratings (Vol. V, p. 86, rec.). But respondent Galang admits that he had gone to the GSIS and City Court of Manila, although he insists that he never bothered to take a look at the neighboring buildings (Vol. V, pp. 93-94, rec.). The huge and imposing Philippine Veterans Building is beside the GSIS building and is obliquely across the City Court building. 2. Respondent Lanuevo stated that as an investigator in the Philippine Veterans Board, he investigated claims for the several benefits given to veterans like educational benefits and disability benefits; that he does not remember, however, whether in the course of his duties as veterans investigator, he came across the application of Ramon E. Galang for educational benefits; and that he does not know the father of Mr. Ramon E. Galang and has never met him (Vol. VII, pp. 28, 49, rec.). 3. Respondent Lanuevo, as a member of the USAFEE, belonged to the 91st Infantry operating at Zambales and then Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, shortly before the war (Vol. VII, pp. 48-49, rec.). Later he joined the guerrilla movement in Samar. He used to be a member of the Philippine Veterans Legion especially while working with the Philippine Veterans Board(Vol. VII, p. 49, rec.). He does not know the Banal Regiment of the guerrillas, to which Galang's father belonged. During the Japanese occupation, his guerrilla outfit was operating in Samar only and he had no communications with other guerrilla organization in other parts of the country.

He attended meetings of the Philippine Veterans Legion in his chapter in Samar only and does not remember having attended its meeting here in Manila, even while he was employed with the Philippine Veterans Board. He is not a member of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (Vol. VII, p.51, rec.). On November 27, 1941, while respondent Lanuevo was with the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, he was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result and was still confined there when their camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13, 1941 (Sworn statement of respondent Lanuevo dated August 27, 1973, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 46, rec.). German Galang, father of respondent Galang, was a member of the Banal Guerilla Forces, otherwise known as the Banal Regiment. He was commissioned and inducted as a member thereof on January 16, 1942 and was given the rank of first lieutenant. His unit "was attached and served into the XI-Corps, US Army; XIII-C US Army, 43rd Div., US Army, stationed headquarters at Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija and with the 38th Division, US army stationed at Corregidor in the mopping-up operations against the enemies, from 9 May 1945 date of recognition to 31 December 1945, date of demobilization"(Affidavit of Jose Banal dated December 22, 1947, Vol. IV, A-3, rec.). It should be stressed that once the bar examiner has submitted the corrected notebooks to the Bar Confidant, the same cannot be withdrawn for any purpose whatsoever without prior authority from the Court. Consequently, this Court expresses herein its strong disapproval of the actuations of the bar examiners in Administrative Case No. 1164 as above delineated. WHEREFORE, IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1162, RESPONDENT VICTORIO D. LANUEVO IS HEREBY DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS; AND IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1163, RESPONDENT RAMON E. GALANG, alias Roman E. GALANG, IS HEREBY LIKEWISE DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ALSO ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

BAR MATTER No. 914 October 1, 1999 RE: APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE PHILIPPINE BAR, vs. VICENTE D. CHING, applicant. RESOLUTION

KAPUNAN, J.: Can a legitimate child born under the 1935 Constitution of a Filipino mother and an alien father validly elect Philippine citizenship fourteen (14) years after he has reached the age of majority? This is the question sought to be resolved in the present case involving the application for admission to the Philippine Bar of Vicente D. Ching. The facts of this case are as follows: Vicente D. Ching, the legitimate son of the spouses Tat Ching, a Chinese citizen, and Prescila A. Dulay, a Filipino, was born in Francia West, Tubao, La Union on 11 April 1964. Since his birth, Ching has resided in the Philippines. On 17 July 1998, Ching, after having completed a Bachelor of Laws course at the St. Louis University in Baguio City, filed an application to take the 1998 Bar Examinations. In a Resolution of this Court, dated 1 September 1998, he was allowed to take the Bar Examinations, subject to the condition that he must submit to the Court proof of his Philippine citizenship. In compliance with the above resolution, Ching submitted on 18 November 1998, the following documents: 1. Certification, dated 9 June 1986, issued by the Board of Accountancy of the Professional Regulations Commission showing that Ching is a certified public accountant; 2. Voter Certification, dated 14 June 1997, issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, Election Officer of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Tubao La Union showing that Ching is a registered voter of the said place; and 3. Certification, dated 12 October 1998, also issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, showing that Ching was elected as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Tubao, La Union during the 12 May 1992 synchronized elections. On 5 April 1999, the results of the 1998 Bar Examinations were released and Ching was one of the successful Bar examinees. The oath-taking of the successful Bar examinees was scheduled on 5 May 1999. However, because of the questionable status of Ching's citizenship, he was not allowed to take his oath. Pursuant to the resolution of this Court, dated 20 April 1999, he was required to submit further proof of his citizenship. In the same resolution, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was required to file a comment on Ching's petition for admission to the bar and on the documents evidencing his Philippine citizenship. The OSG filed its comment on 8 July 1999, stating that Ching, being the "legitimate child of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother born under the 1935 Constitution was a Chinese citizen and continued to be so, unless upon reaching the age of majority he elected Philippine citizenship" 1 in strict compliance with the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 625 entitled "An Act Providing for the Manner in which the Option to Elect Philippine Citizenship shall be Declared by a Person Whose Mother is a Filipino Citizen." The OSG adds that "(w)hat he acquired at best was only an inchoate Philippine citizenship which he could perfect by election upon reaching the age of majority." 2 In this regard, the OSG clarifies that "two (2) conditions must concur in order that the election of Philippine citizenship may be effective, namely: (a) the mother of the person making the election must be a citizen of the Philippines; and (b) said election must be made upon reaching the age of majority." 3 The OSG then explains the meaning of the phrase "upon reaching the age of majority:"

The clause "upon reaching the age of majority" has been construed to mean a reasonable time after reaching the age of majority which had been interpreted by the Secretary of Justice to be three (3) years (VELAYO, supra at p. 51 citing Op., Sec. of Justice No. 70, s. 1940, Feb. 27, 1940). Said period may be extended under certain circumstances, as when a (sic) person concerned has always considered himself a Filipino (ibid., citing Op. Nos. 355 and 422, s. 1955; 3, 12, 46, 86 and 97, s. 1953). But in Cuenco, it was held that an election done after over seven (7) years was not made within a reasonable time. In conclusion, the OSG points out that Ching has not formally elected Philippine citizenship and, if ever he does, it would already be beyond the "reasonable time" allowed by present jurisprudence. However, due to the peculiar circumstances surrounding Ching's case, the OSG recommends the relaxation of the standing rule on the construction of the phrase "reasonable period" and the allowance of Ching to elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with C.A. No. 625 prior to taking his oath as a member of the Philippine Bar. On 27 July 1999, Ching filed a Manifestation, attaching therewith his Affidavit of Election of Philippine Citizenship and his Oath of Allegiance, both dated 15 July 1999. In his Manifestation, Ching states: 1. I have always considered myself as a Filipino; 2. I was registered as a Filipino and consistently declared myself as one in my school records and other official documents; 3. I am practicing a profession (Certified Public Accountant) reserved for Filipino citizens; 4. I participated in electoral process[es] since the time I was eligible to vote; 5. I had served the people of Tubao, La Union as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan from 1992 to 1995; 6. I elected Philippine citizenship on July 15, 1999 in accordance with Commonwealth Act No. 625; 7. My election was expressed in a statement signed and sworn to by me before a notary public; 8. I accompanied my election of Philippine citizenship with the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the Government of the Philippines; 9. I filed my election of Philippine citizenship and my oath of allegiance to (sic) the Civil Registrar of Tubao La Union, and 10. I paid the amount of TEN PESOS (Ps. 10.00) as filing fees. Since Ching has already elected Philippine citizenship on 15 July 1999, the question raised is whether he has elected Philippine citizenship within a "reasonable time." In the affirmative, whether his citizenship by election retroacted to the time he took the bar examination.

When Ching was born in 1964, the governing charter was the 1935 Constitution. Under Article IV, Section 1(3) of the 1935 Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate child born of a Filipino mother and an alien father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age of majority, the child elected Philippine citizenship. 4 This right to elect Philippine citizenship was recognized in the 1973 Constitution when it provided that "(t)hose who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five" are citizens of the Philippines. 5 Likewise, this recognition by the 1973 Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Constitution which states that "(t)hose born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority" are Philippine citizens. 6 It should be noted, however, that the 1973 and 1987 Constitutional provisions on the election of Philippine citizenship should not be understood as having a curative effect on any irregularity in the acquisition of citizenship for those covered by the 1935 Constitution. 7 If the citizenship of a person was subject to challenge under the old charter, it remains subject to challenge under the new charter even if the judicial challenge had not been commenced before the effectivity of the new Constitution. 8 C.A. No. 625 which was enacted pursuant to Section 1(3), Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, prescribes the procedure that should be followed in order to make a valid election of Philippine citizenship. Under Section 1 thereof, legitimate children born of Filipino mothers may elect Philippine citizenship by expressing such intention "in a statement to be signed and sworn to by the party concerned before any officer authorized to administer oaths, and shall be filed with the nearest civil registry. The said party shall accompany the aforesaid statement with the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the Government of the Philippines." However, the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 did not prescribe a time period within which the election of Philippine citizenship should be made. The 1935 Charter only provides that the election should be made "upon reaching the age of majority." The age of majority then commenced upon reaching twenty-one (21) years. 9 In the opinions of the Secretary of Justice on cases involving the validity of election of Philippine citizenship, this dilemma was resolved by basing the time period on the decisions of this Court prior to the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution. In these decisions, the proper period for electing Philippine citizenship was, in turn, based on the pronouncements of the Department of State of the United States Government to the effect that the election should be made within a "reasonable time" after attaining the age of majority. 10 The phrase "reasonable time" has been interpreted to mean that the election should be made within three (3) years from reaching the age of majority. 11 However, we held in Cuenco vs. Secretary of Justice, 12 that the three (3) year period is not an inflexible rule. We said: It is true that this clause has been construed to mean a reasonable period after reaching the age of majority, and that the Secretary of Justice has ruled that three (3) years is the reasonable time to elect Philippine citizenship under the constitutional provision adverted to above, which period may be extended under certain circumstances, as when the person concerned has always considered himself a Filipino. 13 However, we cautioned in Cuenco that the extension of the option to elect Philippine citizenship is not indefinite: Regardless of the foregoing, petitioner was born on February 16, 1923. He became of age on February 16, 1944. His election of citizenship was made on May 15, 1951, when he was over twenty-eight (28) years of age, or over seven (7) years after he had reached the age of majority. It is clear that said election has not been made "upon reaching the age of majority." 14

In the present case, Ching, having been born on 11 April 1964, was already thirty-five (35) years old when he complied with the requirements of C.A. No. 625 on 15 June 1999, or over fourteen (14) years after he had reached the age of majority. Based on the interpretation of the phrase "upon reaching the age of majority," Ching's election was clearly beyond, by any reasonable yardstick, the allowable period within which to exercise the privilege. It should be stated, in this connection, that the special circumstances invoked by Ching, i.e., his continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines and his being a certified public accountant, a registered voter and a former elected public official, cannot vest in him Philippine citizenship as the law specifically lays down the requirements for acquisition of Philippine citizenship by election. Definitely, the so-called special circumstances cannot constitute what Ching erroneously labels as informal election of citizenship. Ching cannot find a refuge in the case of In re:Florencio Mallare, 15 the pertinent portion of which reads: And even assuming arguendo that Ana Mallare were (sic) legally married to an alien, Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when he came of age, constitutes a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship. It has been established that Esteban Mallare was a registered voter as of April 14, 1928, and that as early as 1925 (when he was about 22 years old), Esteban was already participating in the elections and campaigning for certain candidate[s]. These acts are sufficient to show his preference for Philippine citizenship. 16 Ching's reliance on Mallare is misplaced. The facts and circumstances obtaining therein are very different from those in the present case, thus, negating its applicability. First, Esteban Mallare was born before the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution and the enactment of C.A. No. 625. Hence, the requirements and procedures prescribed under the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 for electing Philippine citizenship would not be applicable to him. Second, the ruling in Mallare was an obiter since, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, it was not necessary for Esteban Mallare to elect Philippine citizenship because he was already a Filipino, he being a natural child of a Filipino mother. In this regard, the Court stated: Esteban Mallare, natural child of Ana Mallare, a Filipina, is therefore himself a Filipino, and no other act would be necessary to confer on him all the rights and privileges attached to Philippine citizenship (U.S. vs. Ong Tianse, 29 Phil. 332; Santos Co vs. Government of the Philippine Islands, 42 Phil. 543, Serra vs. Republic, L-4223, May 12, 1952, Sy Quimsuan vs. Republic, L-4693, Feb. 16, 1953; Pitallano vs. Republic, L-5111, June 28, 1954). Neither could any act be taken on the erroneous belief that he is a non-filipino divest him of the citizenship privileges to which he is rightfully entitled. 17 The ruling in Mallare was reiterated and further elaborated in Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 18 where we held: We have jurisprudence that defines "election" as both a formal and an informal process. In the case of In re: Florencio Mallare (59 SCRA 45 [1974]), the Court held that the exercise of the right of suffrage and the participation in election exercises constitute a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship. In the exact pronouncement of the Court, we held:

Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when he came of age constitutes a positive act of Philippine citizenship. (p. 52: emphasis supplied) The private respondent did more than merely exercise his right of suffrage. He has established his life here in the Philippines. For those in the peculiar situation of the respondent who cannot be excepted to have elected Philippine citizenship as they were already citizens, we apply the In Re Mallare rule. xxx xxx xxx The filing of sworn statement or formal declaration is a requirement for those who still have to elect citizenship. For those already Filipinos when the time to elect came up, there are acts of deliberate choice which cannot be less binding. Entering a profession open only to Filipinos, serving in public office where citizenship is a qualification, voting during election time, running for public office, and other categorical acts of similar nature are themselves formal manifestations for these persons. An election of Philippine citizenship presupposes that the person electing is an alien. Or his status is doubtful because he is a national of two countries. There is no doubt in this case about Mr. Ong's being a Filipino when he turned twenty-one (21). We repeat that any election of Philippine citizenship on the part of the private respondent would not only have been superfluous but it would also have resulted in an absurdity. How can a Filipino citizen elect Philippine citizenship? 19 The Court, like the OSG, is sympathetic with the plight of Ching. However, even if we consider the special circumstances in the life of Ching like his having lived in the Philippines all his life and his consistent belief that he is a Filipino, controlling statutes and jurisprudence constrain us to disagree with the recommendation of the OSG. Consequently, we hold that Ching failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship. The span of fourteen (14) years that lapsed from the time he reached the age of majority until he finally expressed his intention to elect Philippine citizenship is clearly way beyond the contemplation of the requirement of electing "upon reaching the age of majority." Moreover, Ching has offered no reason why he delayed his election of Philippine citizenship. The prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and painstaking process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same with the nearest civil registry. Ching's unreasonable and unexplained delay in making his election cannot be simply glossed over. Philippine citizenship can never be treated like a commodity that can be claimed when needed and suppressed when convenient. 20 One who is privileged to elect Philippine citizenship has only an inchoate right to such citizenship. As such, he should avail of the right with fervor, enthusiasm and promptitude. Sadly, in this case, Ching slept on his opportunity to elect Philippine citizenship and, as a result. this golden privilege slipped away from his grasp. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court Resolves to DENY Vicente D. Ching's application for admission to the Philippine Bar. SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur. Footnotes 1 Citing Cu vs. Republic of the Philippines, 89 Phil. 473, 476 (1951). 2 Citing CRUZ, Constitutional Law, 1991 Ed., p. 359. 3 Citing Cuenco. vs. Secretary of Justice, 5 SCRA 108, 110 (1962). 4 Sec. 1, Art. IV of the 1935 Constitution reads: Sec. 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines: (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of the Constitution; (2) Those born in the Philippine Islands of foreign parents who, before the adoption of this Constitution, had been elected to public office; (3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines; (4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines, and, upon reaching the age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship; (5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law. 5 Sec. 1(1), Article III, 1973 Constitution. 6 Sec. 1(3), Article IV, 1987 Constitution. 7 BERNAS, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines; First Ed. (1987), p. 502. 8 Ibid., citing Convention Session of November 27, 1972 and noting that it is also applicable to the 1987 Constitution. 9 Art. 402, Civil Code. 10 Lim Teco vs. Collector of Customs, 24 SCRA 84, 88 (1912). 11 Muñoz vs. Collector of Customs, 20 SCRA 494: 498 (1911); Lorenzo vs. Collector of Customs, 15 SCRA 559, 592 (1910). 12 5 SCRA 108 (1962).

13 Id., at 110. 14 Id. 15 59 SCRA 45 (1974) 16 Id., at 52. 17 Id. 18 199 SCRA 692 (1991). 19 Id., at 707-709 (Emphasis supplied). 20 Yu vs. Defensor-Santiago, 169 SCRA 364, 379 (1989).

EN BANC

[B.M. No. 1154. June 8, 2004]

IN THE MATTER OF THE DISQUALIFICATION OF BAR EXAMINEE HARON S. MELING IN THE 2002 BAR EXAMINATIONS AND FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AS MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE SHARI’A BAR, ATTY. FROILAN R. MELENDREZ, petitioner, RESOLUTION
TINGA, J.:

The Court is here confronted with a Petition that seeks twin reliefs, one of which is ripe while the other has been rendered moot by a supervening event. The antecedents follow. On October 14, 2002, Atty. Froilan R. Melendrez (Melendrez) filed with the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) a Petition[1] to disqualify Haron S. Meling (Meling) from taking the 2002 Bar Examinations and to impose on him the appropriate disciplinary penalty as a member of the Philippine Shari’a Bar. In the Petition, Melendrez alleges that Meling did not disclose in his Petition to take the 2002 Bar Examinations that he has three (3) pending criminal cases before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Cotabato City, namely: Criminal Cases Noa.

15685 and 15686, both for Grave Oral Defamation, and Criminal Case No. 15687 for Less Serious Physical Injuries. The above-mentioned cases arose from an incident which occurred on May 21, 2001, when Meling allegedly uttered defamatory words against Melendrez and his wife in front of media practitioners and other people. Meling also purportedly attacked and hit the face of Melendrez’ wife causing the injuries to the latter. Furthermore, Melendrez alleges that Meling has been using the title “Attorney” in his communications, as Secretary to the Mayor of Cotabato City, despite the fact that he is not a member of the Bar. Attached to the Petition is an indorsement letter which shows that Meling used the appellation and appears on its face to have been received by the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Cotabato City on November 27, 2001. Pursuant to this Court’s Resolution[2] dated December 3, 2002, Meling filed his Answer with the OBC. In his Answer,[3] Meling explains that he did not disclose the criminal cases filed against him by Melendrez because retired Judge Corocoy Moson, their former professor, advised him to settle his misunderstanding with Melendrez. Believing in good faith that the case would be settled because the said Judge has moral ascendancy over them, he being their former professor in the College of Law, Meling considered the three cases that actually arose from a single incident and involving the same parties as “closed and terminated.” Moreover, Meling denies the charges and adds that the acts complained of do not involve moral turpitude. As regards the use of the title “Attorney,” Meling admits that some of his communications really contained the word “Attorney” as they were, according to him, typed by the office clerk. In its Report and Recommendation[4] dated December 8, 2003, the OBC disposed of the charge of non-disclosure against Meling in this wise:

The reasons of Meling in not disclosing the criminal cases filed against him in his petition to take the Bar Examinations are ludicrous. He should have known that only the court of competent jurisdiction can dismiss cases, not a retired judge nor a law professor. In fact, the cases filed against Meling are still pending. Furthermore, granting arguendo that these cases were already dismissed, he is still required to disclose the same for the Court to ascertain his good moral character. Petitions to take the Bar Examinations are made under oath, and should not be taken lightly by an applicant. The merit of the cases against Meling is not material in this case. What matters is his act of concealing them which constitutes dishonesty. In Bar Matter 1209, the Court stated, thus:

It has been held that good moral character is what a person really is, as distinguished from good reputation or from the opinion generally entertained of him, the estimate in which he is held by the public in the place where he is known. Moral character is not a subjective term but one which corresponds to objective reality. The standard of personal and professional integrity is not satisfied by such conduct as it merely enables a person to escape the penalty of criminal law. Good moral character includes at least common honesty. The non-disclosure of Meling of the criminal cases filed against him makes him also answerable under Rule 7.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states that “a lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly making a false statement or suppressing a material fact in connection with his application for admission to the bar.”
[5]

As regards Meling’s use of the title “Attorney”, the OBC had this to say:

Anent the issue of the use of the appellation “Attorney” in his letters, the explanation of Meling is not acceptable. Aware that he is not a member of the Bar, there was no valid reason why he signed as “attorney” whoever may have typed the letters. Although there is no showing that Meling is engaged in the practice of law, the fact is, he is signing his communications as “Atty. Haron S. Meling” knowing fully well that he is not entitled thereto. As held by the Court in Bar Matter 1209, the unauthorized use of the appellation “attorney” may render a person liable for indirect contempt of court.
[6]

Consequently, the OBC recommended that Meling not be allowed to take the Lawyer’s Oath and sign the Roll of Attorneys in the event that he passes the Bar Examinations. Further, it recommended that Meling’s membership in the Shari’a Bar be suspended until further orders from the Court.[7] We fully concur with the findings and recommendation of the OBC. Meling, however, did not pass the 2003 Bar Examinations. This renders the Petition, insofar as it seeks to prevent Meling from taking the Lawyer’s Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys, moot and academic. On the other hand, the prayer in the same Petition for the Court to impose the appropriate sanctions upon him as a member of the Shari’a Bar is ripe for resolution and has to be acted upon. Practice of law, whether under the regular or the Shari’a Court, is not a matter of right but merely a privilege bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in the law but who are also known to possess good moral character. [8] The requirement of good moral character is not only a condition precedent to admission to the practice of law, its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law. [9]

The standard form issued in connection with the application to take the 2002 Bar Examinations requires the applicant to aver that he or she “has not been charged with any act or omission punishable by law, rule or regulation before a fiscal, judge, officer or administrative body, or indicted for, or accused or convicted by any court or tribunal of, any offense or crime involving moral turpitude; nor is there any pending case or charge against him/her.” Despite the declaration required by the form, Meling did not reveal that he has three pending criminal cases. His deliberate silence constitutes concealment, done under oath at that. The disclosure requirement is imposed by the Court to determine whether there is satisfactory evidence of good moral character of the applicant. [10] The nature of whatever cases are pending against the applicant would aid the Court in determining whether he is endowed with the moral fitness demanded of a lawyer. By concealing the existence of such cases, the applicant then flunks the test of fitness even if the cases are ultimately proven to be unwarranted or insufficient to impugn or affect the good moral character of the applicant. Meling’s concealment of the fact that there are three (3) pending criminal cases against him speaks of his lack of the requisite good moral character and results in the forfeiture of the privilege bestowed upon him as a member of the Shari’a Bar. Moreover, his use of the appellation “Attorney”, knowing fully well that he is not entitled to its use, cannot go unchecked. In Alawi v. Alauya,[11] the Court had the occasion to discuss the impropriety of the use of the title “Attorney” by members of the Shari’a Bar who are not likewise members of the Philippine Bar. The respondent therein, an executive clerk of court of the 4th Judicial Shari’a District in Marawi City, used the title “Attorney” in several correspondence in connection with the rescission of a contract entered into by him in his private capacity. The Court declared that:

…persons who pass the Shari’a Bar are not full-fledged members of the Philippine Bar, hence, may only practice law before Shari’a courts. While one who has been admitted to the Shari’a Bar, and one who has been admitted to the Philippine Bar, may both be considered “counselors,” in the sense that they give counsel or advice in a professional capacity, only the latter is an “attorney.” The title “attorney” is reserved to those who, having obtained the necessary degree in the study of law and successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain members thereof in good standing; and it is they only who are authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction.
[12]

The judiciary has no place for dishonest officers of the court, such as Meling in this case. The solemn task of administering justice demands that those who are privileged to be part of service therein, from the highest official to the lowliest employee, must not only be competent and dedicated, but likewise live and practice the virtues of honesty and integrity. Anything short of this standard would diminish the public's faith in the Judiciary and constitutes infidelity to the constitutional tenet that a public office is a public trust.

In Leda v. Tabang, supra, the respondent concealed the fact of his marriage in his application to take the Bar examinations and made conflicting submissions before the Court. As a result, we found the respondent grossly unfit and unworthy to continue in the practice of law and suspended him therefrom until further orders from the Court. WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED insofar as it seeks the imposition of appropriate sanctions upon Haron S. Meling as a member of the Philippine Shari’a Bar. Accordingly, the membership of Haron S. Meling in the Philippine Shari’a Bar is hereby SUSPENDED until further orders from the Court, the suspension to take effect immediately. Insofar as the Petition seeks to prevent Haron S. Meling from taking the Lawyer’s Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys as a member of the Philippine Bar, the same is DISMISSED for having become moot and academic. Copies of this Decision shall be circulated to all the Shari’a Courts in the country for their information and guidance. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

[1]

Rollo, pp. 2-25, with Annexes. Id. at 27. Id. at 28-32. Supra, note 1 at 34-38. Id. at 35-36, citing Bar Matter 1209, Petition to take the Lawyer’s Oath of Caesar Distrito and Royong v. Oblena, 7 SCRA 859. Id. at 36-37, citing Section 3, Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court and Bar Matter 1209, supra. Id. at 38. Tan v. Sabandal, Bar Matter No. 44, February 24, 1992, 206 SCRA 473. Leda v. Tabang, Adm. Case No. 2505, February 21, 1992, 206 SCRA 395. See In Re: Victorio D. Lanuevo, Adm. Cases No. 1162-1164, 29 August 1975, 66 SCRA 245, 281. A.M. No. SDC-97-2-P, February 24, 1997, 268 SCRA 628. Id. at 638-639.

[2]

[3]

[4]

[5]

[6]

[7]

[8]

[9]

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[11]

[12]

THIRD DIVISION

[A.M. SDC-97-2-P. February 24, 1997]

SOPHIA ALAWI, complainant, vs. ASHARY M. ALAUYA, Clerk of Court VI, Shari'a District Court, Marawi City, respondent. DECISION
NARVASA, C.J.:

Sophia Alawi was (and presumably still is) a sales representative (or coordinator) of E. B. Villarosa & Partners Co., Ltd. of Davao City, a real estate and housing company. Ashari M. Alauya is the incumbent executive clerk of court of the 4th Judicial Shari'a District in Marawi City. They were classmates, and used to be friends. It appears that through Alawi's agency, a contract was executed for the purchase on installments by Alauya of one of the housing units belonging to the above mentioned firm (hereafter, simply Villarosa & Co.); and in connection therewith, a housing loan was also granted to Alauya by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC). Not long afterwards, or more precisely on December 15, 1995, Alauya addressed a letter to the President of Villarosa & Co. advising of the termination of his contract with the company. He wrote:

" ** I am formally and officially withdrawing from and notifying you of my intent to terminate the Contract/Agreement entered into between me and your company, as represented by your Sales Agent/Coordinator, SOPHIA ALAWI, of your company's branch office here in Cagayan de Oro City, on the grounds that my consent was vitiated by gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, dishonesty and abuse of confidence by the aforesaid sales agent which made said contract void ab initio. Said sales agent acting in bad faith perpetrated such illegal and unauthorized acts which made said contract an Onerous Contract prejudicial to my rights and interests."
He then proceeded to expound in considerable detail and quite acerbic language on the "grounds which could evidence the bad faith, deceit, fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty and abuse of confidence by the unscrupulous sales agent ** ;" and closed with the plea that Villarosa & Co. "agree for the mutual rescission of our contract, even as I inform you that I categorically state on record that I am terminating the contract **. I hope I do not have to resort to any legal action before said onerous and manipulated contract against my interest be annulled. I was actually fooled by your sales agent, hence the need to annul the controversial contract." Alauya sent a copy of the letter to the Vice-President of Villarosa & Co. at San Pedro, Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City. The envelope containing it, and which actually went through the post, bore no stamps. Instead at the right hand corner above the description of the addressee, the words, "Free Postage — PD 26," had been typed. On the same date, December 15, 1995, Alauya also wrote to Mr. Fermin T. Arzaga, Vice-President, Credit & Collection Group of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) at Salcedo Village, Makati City, repudiating as fraudulent and

void his contract with Villarosa & Co.; and asking for cancellation of his housing loan in connection therewith, which was payable from salary deductions at the rate of P4,338.00 a month. Among other things, he said:

" ** (T)hrough this written notice, I am terminating, as I hereby annul, cancel, rescind and voided, the 'manipulated contract' entered into between me and the E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd., as represented by its sales agent/coordinator, SOPHIA ALAWI, who maliciously and fraudulently manipulated said contract and unlawfully secured and pursued the housing loan without my authority and against my will. Thus, the contract itself is deemed to be void ab initio in view of the attending circumstances, that my consent was vitiated by misrepresentation, fraud, deceit, dishonesty, and abuse of confidence; and that there was no meeting of the minds between me and the swindling sales agent who concealed the real facts from me."
And, as in his letter to Villarosa & Co., he narrated in some detail what he took to be the anomalous actuations of Sophia Alawi. Alauya wrote three other letters to Mr. Arzaga of the NHMFC, dated February 21, 1996, April 15, 1996, and May 3, 1996, in all of which, for the same reasons already cited, he insisted on the cancellation of his housing loan and discontinuance of deductions from his salary on account thereof.a He also wrote on January 18, 1996 to Ms. Corazon M. Ordoñez, Head of the Fiscal Management & Budget Office, and to the Chief, Finance Division, both of this Court, to stop deductions from his salary in relation to the loan in question, again asserting the anomalous manner by which he was allegedly duped into entering into the contracts by "the scheming sales agent." b The upshot was that in May, 1996, the NHMFC wrote to the Supreme Court requesting it to stop deductions on Alauya's UHLP loan "effective May 1996," and began negotiating with Villarosa & Co. "for the buy-back of ** (Alauya's) mortgage, and ** the refund of ** (his) payments."c On learning of Alauya's letter to Villarosa & Co. of December 15, 1995, Sophia Alawi filed with this Court a verified complaint dated January 25, 1996 -- to which she appended a copy of the letter, and of the above mentioned envelope bearing the typewritten words, "Free Postage — PD 26."[1] In that complaint, she accused Alauya of:

1. "Imputation of malicious and libelous charges with no solid grounds through manifest ignorance and evident bad faith;" 2. "Causing undue injury to, and blemishing her honor and established reputation;" 3. "Unauthorized enjoyment of the privilege of free postage **;" and

4. Usurpation of the title of "attorney," which only regular members of the Philippine Bar may properly use.

She deplored Alauya's references to her as "unscrupulous, swindler, forger, manipulator, etc." without "even a bit of evidence to cloth (sic) his allegations with the essence of truth," denouncing his imputations as irresponsible, "all concoctions, lies, baseless and coupled with manifest ignorance and evident bad faith," and asserting that all her dealings with Alauya had been regular and completely transparent. She closed with the plea that Alauya "be dismissed from the service, or be appropriately disciplined (sic) ** " The Court resolved to order Alauya to comment on the complaint. Conformably with established usage that notices of resolutions emanate from the corresponding Office of the Clerk of Court, the notice of resolution in this case was signed by Atty. Alfredo P. Marasigan, Assistant Division Clerk of Court.[2] Alauya first submitted a "Preliminary Comment"[3] in which he questioned the authority of Atty. Marasigan to require an explanation of him, this power pertaining, according to him, not to "a mere Asst. Div. Clerk of Court investigating an Executive Clerk of Court." but only to the District Judge, the Court Administrator or the Chief Justice, and voiced the suspicion that the Resolution was the result of a "strong link" between Ms. Alawi and Atty. Marasigan's office. He also averred that the complaint had no factual basis; Alawi was envious of him for being not only "the Executive Clerk of court and ex-officio Provincial Sheriff and District Registrar," but also "a scion of a Royal Family **."[4] In a subsequent letter to Atty. Marasigan, but this time in much less aggressive, even obsequious tones,[5] Alauya requested the former to give him a copy of the complaint in order that he might comment thereon.[6] He stated that his acts as clerk of court were done in good faith and within the confines of the law; and that Sophia Alawi as sales agent of Villarosa & Co. had, by falsifying his signature, fraudulently bound him to a housing loan contract entailing monthly deductions of P4,333.10 from his salary. And in his comment thereafter submitted under date of June 5, 1996, Alauya contended that it was he who had suffered "undue injury, mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded feelings and untold financial suffering," considering that in six months, a total of P26,028.60 had been deducted from his salary. [7] He declared that there was no basis for the complaint; in communicating with Villarosa & Co. he had merely acted in defense of his rights. He denied any abuse of the franking privilege, saying that he gave P20.00 plus transportation fare to a subordinate whom he entrusted with the mailing of certain letters; that the words: "Free Postage — PD 26," were typewritten on the envelope by some other person, an averment corroborated by the affidavit of Absamen C. Domocao, Clerk IV (subscribed and sworn to before respondent himself, and attached to the comment as Annex J);[8] and as far as he knew, his subordinate mailed the letters with the use of the money he had given for postage, and if those letters were indeed mixed with the official mail of the court, this had occurred inadvertently and because of an honest mistake.[9] Alauya justified his use of the title, "attorney," by the assertion that it is "lexically synonymous" with "Counsellors-at-law," a title to which Shari'a lawyers have a rightful claim, adding that he prefers the title of "attorney" because "counsellor" is often

mistaken for "councilor," "konsehal or the Maranao term "consial," connoting a local legislator beholden to the mayor. Withal, he does not consider himself a lawyer. He pleads for the Court's compassion, alleging that what he did "is expected of any man unduly prejudiced and injured."[10] He claims he was manipulated into reposing his trust in Alawi, a classmate and friend.[11] He was induced to sign a blank contract on Alawi's assurance that she would show the completed document to him later for correction, but she had since avoided him; despite "numerous letters and follow-ups" he still does not know where the property -- subject of his supposed agreement with Alawi's principal, Villarosa & Co. -- is situated;[12] He says Alawi somehow got his GSIS policy from his wife, and although she promised to return it the next day, she did not do so until after several months. He also claims that in connection with his contract with Villarosa & Co., Alawi forged his signature on such pertinent documents as those regarding the down payment, clearance, lay-out, receipt of the key of the house, salary deduction, none of which he ever saw.[13] Averring in fine that his acts in question were done without malice, Alauya prays for the dismissal of the complaint for lack of merit, it consisting of "fallacious, malicious and baseless allegations," and complainant Alawi having come to the Court with unclean hands, her complicity in the fraudulent housing loan being apparent and demonstrable. It may be mentioned that in contrast to his two (2) letters to Assistant Clerk of Court Marasigan (dated April 19, 1996 and April 22, 1996), and his two (2) earlier letters both dated December 15, 1996 -- all of which he signed as "Atty. Ashary M. Alauya" -- in his Comment of June 5, 1996, he does not use the title but refers to himself as "DATU ASHARY M. ALAUYA." The Court referred the case to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and recommendation.[14] The first accusation against Alauya is that in his aforesaid letters, he made "malicious and libelous charges (against Alawi) with no solid grounds through manifest ignorance and evident bad faith," resulting in "undue injury to (her) and blemishing her honor and established reputation." In those letters, Alauya had written inter alia that:

1) Alawi obtained his consent to the contracts in question "by gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, dishonesty and abuse of confidence;" 2) Alawi acted in bad faith and perpetrated ** illegal and unauthorized acts ** ** prejudicial to ** (his) rights and interests;" 3) Alawi was an "unscrupulous (and "swindling") sales agent" who had fooled him by "deceit, fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty and abuse of confidence;" and 4) Alawi had maliciously and fraudulently manipulated the contract with Villarosa & Co., and unlawfully secured and pursued the housing loan without ** (his) authority and against ** (his) will," and "concealed the real facts **."

Alauya's defense essentially is that in making these statements, he was merely acting in defense of his rights, and doing only what "is expected of any man unduly prejudiced and injured," who had suffered "mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded feelings and untold financial suffering," considering that in six months, a total of P26,028.60 had been deducted from his salary.[15] The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713) inter alia enunciates the State policy of promoting a high standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the public service.[16] Section 4 of the Code commands that "(p)ublic officials and employees ** at all times respect the rights of others, and ** refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest."[17] More than once has this Court emphasized that "the conduct and behavior of every official and employee of an agency involved in the administration of justice, from the presiding judge to the most junior clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Their conduct must at all times be characterized by, among others, strict propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep the respect of the public for the judiciary."[18] Now, it does not appear to the Court consistent with good morals, good customs or public policy, or respect for the rights of others, to couch denunciations of acts believed -- however sincerely -- to be deceitful, fraudulent or malicious, in excessively intemperate. insulting or virulent language. Alauya is evidently convinced that he has a right of action against Sophia Alawi. The law requires that he exercise that right with propriety, without malice or vindictiveness, or undue harm to anyone; in a manner consistent with good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, supra; or otherwise stated, that he "act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."[19] Righteous indignation, or vindication of right cannot justify resort to vituperative language, or downright name-calling. As a member of the Shari'a Bar and an officer of a Court, Alawi is subject to a standard of conduct more stringent than for most other government workers. As a man of the law, he may not use language which is abusive, offensive, scandalous, menacing, or otherwise improper. [20] As a judicial employee, it is expected that he accord respect for the person and the rights of others at all times, and that his every act and word should be characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy, dignity. His radical deviation from these salutary norms might perhaps be mitigated, but cannot be excused, by his strongly held conviction that he had been grievously wronged. As regards Alauya's use of the title of "Attorney," this Court has already had occasion to declare that persons who pass the Shari'a Bar are not full-fledged members of the Philippine Bar, hence may only practice law before Shari'a courts. [21] While one who has been admitted to the Shari'a Bar, and one who has been admitted to the Philippine Bar, may both be considered "counsellors," in the sense that they give counsel or advice in a professional capacity, only the latter is an "attorney." The title of "attorney" is reserved to those who, having obtained the necessary degree in the study of law and successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain members thereof in good standing; and it is they only who are authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction.

Alauya says he does not wish to use the title, "counsellor" or "counsellor-at-law," because in his region, there are pejorative connotations to the term, or it is confusingly similar to that given to local legislators. The ratiocination, valid or not, is of no moment. His disinclination to use the title of "counsellor" does not warrant his use of the title of attorney. Finally, respecting Alauya's alleged unauthorized use of the franking privilege, the record contains no evidence adequately establishing the accusation. WHEREFORE, respondent Ashari M. Alauya is hereby REPRIMANDED for the use of excessively intemperate, insulting or virulent language, i.e., language unbecoming a judicial officer, and for usurping the title of attorney; and he is warned that any similar or other impropriety or misconduct in the future will be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., Melo, Francisco, and Panganiban, JJ., concur.

a b

'Annexes B, B, B-1, B-3 of Alauya's Comment dated June 5, 1996 Annexes F and G, id. c Annex C-2, id.
[1]

Annexes A and A-1 of complaint; Rollo at p. 14; copies of the letter were also furnished the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation. The Finance Management and Budget Office and the Financial Division of the Supreme Court. Resolution dated March 25, 1996 Dated April 19, 1996. Rollo at p. 23. Evidently, he had since become aware of the immemorial practice that NOTICES (or communications informing) of Resolutions adopted by the Court En Banc or any of its three (3) Divisions are sent to the parties by and over the signature of the corresponding Clerk or Court or his Assistant, the Court's Resolutions being incorporated verbatim in said notices. Dated April 22, 1996 Rollo at p. 28. Id. at p. 60. Id. at p. 32. Id. at p. 34. Id. at p. 35, et seq. Id. at p. 35. Id. See Resolution of the Court en banc dated August 21, 1996; Rollo at p. 61 et seq. SEE footnote No. 7, supra. Policarpio v. Fortus, 248 SCRA 272, 275

[2]

[3]

[4]

[5]

[6]

[7]

[8]

[9]

[10]

[11]

[12]

[13]

[14]

[15]

[16]

[17]

RA. No. 6713, Section 11 of the same law punishes any violation of the Act with (1) a fine not exceeding the equivalent of six (6) months' salary, or (2) suspension not exceeding one (1) year, or (3) removal, depending on the gravity of the offense, after due notice and hearing by the appropriate body or agency, and even if no criminal prosecution is instituted against him. Apaga v. Ponce. 245 SCRA 233, 240, citing Callejo. Jr. v. Garcia, etc., 206 SCRA 491; Angeles v. Bantug, et al., 209 SCRA 413; Icasiano, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, et al., 2109 SCRA 377; Medilo, et al. v.Asodisen, etc., 233 SCRA 68; SEE also Policarpio v. Fortus, 248 SCRA 272, 275 ART. 19, Civil Code Rules 8.01 and 11.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which should apply by analogy to Members of the Shari'a Bar. The Code also proscribes behavior in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession (Rule 7.03). Resolution of the Court En Banc dated August 5, 1993 in Bar Matter No. 681, entitled "Petition to allow Shari'a law

[18]

[19]

[20]

[21]

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

A.M. No. 1162 August 29, 1975 IN RE: VICTORIO D. LANUEVO, former Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court, respondent. A.C. No. 1163 August 29, 1975 IN RE: RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, 1971 Bar Examinee, respondent. A.M. No. 1164 August 29, 1975 IN RE: HON. BERNARDO PARDO, HON. RAMON PAMATIAN, ATTY. MANUEL TOMACRUZ, ATTY. FIDEL MANALO and ATTY. GUILLERMO PABLO, JR., Members, 1971 Bar Examining Committee, respondent.

MAKASIAR, J.: Administrative proceedings against Victorio D. Lanuevo — for disbarment; Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang — for disbarment; Hon. Bernardo Pardo, Hon. Ramon Pamatian, Atty. Manuel C. Tomacruz; Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. — for disciplinary action — for their acts and omissions during the 1971 Bar Examinations. In his request dated March 29, 1972 contained in a confidential letter to the Court for re-correction and re-evaluation of his answer to the 1971 Bar Examinations question, Oscar Landicho — who flunked in the 1971, 1968 and 1967 Bar Examinations with a grade of 70.5%, 65.35% and 67.55%, respectively — invited the attention of the Court to "The starling fact that the grade in one

examination (Civil Law) of at least one bar candidate was raised for one reason or another, before the bar results were released this year" (Confidential Letter, p. 2. Vol. I, rec.). This was confirmed, according to him, by the Civil Law Examiner himself (Hon. Ramon C. Pamatian) as well as by Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo. He further therein stated "that there are strong reasons to believe that the grades in other examination notebooks in other subjects also underwent alternations — to raise the grades — prior to the release of the results. Note that this was without any formal motion or request from the proper parties, i.e., the bar candidates concerned. If the examiners concerned reconsidered their grades without formal motion, there is no reason why they may not do so now when proper request answer motion therefor is made. It would be contrary to due process postulates. Might not one say that some candidates got unfair and unjust treatment, for their grades were not asked to be reconsidered 'unofficially'? Why the discrimination? Does this not afford sufficient reason for the Court en banc to go into these matters by its conceded power to ultimately decide the matter of admission to the bar?" (p. 2, Confidential Letter, Vol. I, rec.). Acting on the aforesaid confidential letter, the Court checked the records of the 1971 Bar Examinations and found that the grades in five subjects — Political Law and Public International Law, Civil Law, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law and Remedial Law — of a successful bar candidate with office code No. 954 underwent some changes which, however, were duly initialed and authenticated by the respective examiner concerned. Further check of the records revealed that the bar candidate with office code No. 954 is one Ramon E. Galang, a perennial bar candidate, who flunked in the 1969, 1966, 1964, 1963, and 1962 bar examinations with a grade of 67.55%, 68.65%, 72.75%, 68.2%, 56.45% and 57.3%, respectively. He passed in the 1971 bar examinations with a grade of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% by virtue of a Court of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% as the passing mark for the 1971 bar examinations. Upon the direction of the Court, the 1971 Bar Examination Chairman requested Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo and the five (5) bar examiners concerned to submit their sworn statements on the matter, with which request they complied. In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, said Bar Confidant admitted having brought the five examination notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Ramon E. Galang, back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-checking, stating the circumstances under which the same was done and his reasons for doing the same. Each of the five (5) examiners in his individual sworn statement admitted having re-evaluated and/or re-checked the notebook involved pertaining to his subject upon the representation to him by Bar Confidant Lanuevo that he has the authority to do the same and that the examinee concerned failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing. Finding a prima facie case against the respondents warranting a formal investigation, the Court required, in a resolution dated March 5, 1973, Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo "to show cause within ten (10) days from noticewhy his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 34, rec.). Considering that the re-evaluation of the examination papers of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was unauthorized, and therefore he did not obtain a passing average in the 1971 bar examinations, the Court likewise resolved on March 5, 1971 to requires him "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 99, rec.). The five examiners concerned were also required by the Court "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why no disciplinary action should be taken against them" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 31, rec.). Respondent Tomacruz filed his answer on March 12, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.). while respondents Pardo, Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Lanuevo filed theirs on March 19, 1973

(Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 60-63, 32-35, 40-41, 36-39 and 35-38, rec.). At the hearing on August 27, 1973, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in addition to, and in amplication of, his answer filed on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.). Respondent Galang filed his unverified answer on March 16, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.). He was required by the Court to verify the same and complaince came on May 18, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 106110,) rec.). In the course of the investigation, it was found that it was not respondent Bernardo Pardo who reevaluated and/or re-checked examination booklet with Office Code No. 954 in Political Law and Public International Law of examinee Ramon Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, but Guillermo Pablo, Jr., examiner in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercise, who was asked to help in the correction of a number of examination notebooks in Political Law and Public International Law to meet the deadline for submission (pp. 17-24, Vol. V, rec.). Because of this development, Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. was likewise included as respondent in Administrative Case No. 1164. Hon. Bernardo Pardo remainded as a respondent for it was also discovered that another paper in Political Law and Public International Law also underwent re-evaluation and/or re-checking. This notebook with Office Code No. 1662 turned out to be owned by another successful candidate by the name of Ernesto Quitaleg. Further investigation resulted in the discovery of another re-evaluation and/or re-checking of a notebook in the subject of Mercantile Law resulting in the change of the grade from 4% to 50% This notebook bearing Office Code No. 110 is owned by another successful candidate by the name of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz and the latter's father were summoned to testify in the investigation. An investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation upon request of the Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee as Investigation Officer, showed that one Romy Galang y Esguerra, alias Ramon E. Galang, a student in the School of Law of Manuel L. Quezon University, was, on September 8, 1959, charged with the crime of slight physical injuries in the Municipal Court of Manila committed on Eufrosino F. de Vera, another student of the same university. Confronted with this information at the hearing of August 13, 1973 (Vol. V, pp. 20-21, 32, rec.), respondent Galang declared that he does not remember having been charged with the crime of slight physical injuries in that case. (Vol. VI, pp. 45-60, rec.). Respondent Galang, in all his application to take the bar examinations, did not make mention of this fact which he is required under the rules to do. The joint investigation of all the cases commenced on July 17, 1973 and was terminated on October 2, 1973. Thereafter, parties-respondents were required to submit their memoranda. Respondents Lanuevo, Galang and Pardo submitted their respective memorandum on November 14, 1973. Before the joint hearing commenced, Oscar Landicho took up permanent residence in Australia, where he is believed to be gainfully employed. Hence, he was not summoned to testify. At the joint investigation, all respondents, except respondent Pablo, who offered as evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct evidence the affidavits and answers earlier submitted by them to the Court. The same became the basis for their cross-examination. In their individual sworn statements and answer, which they offered as their direct testimony in the investigation conducted by the Court, the respondent-examiners recounted the circumstances under which they re-evaluated and/or re-checked the examination notebooks in question.

In His affidavit dated April 11, 1972, respondent Judge (later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) Ramon C. Pamatian, examiner in Civil Law, affirmed: 2. That one evening sometime in December last year, while I was correcting the examination notebooks, Atty. Lanuevo, Bar Confidant, explained to me that it is the practice and the policy in bar examinations that he (Atty. Lanuevo) make a review of the grades obtained in all subjects and if he finds that candidate obtained an extraordinary high grade in one subject and a rather low one in another, he will bring back the latter to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation and change of grade; 3. That sometime in the latter part of January of this year, he brought back to me an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, because according to him the owner of the paper is on the borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will get passing mark; 4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court to do so in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%; 5. That only one notebook in Civil Law was brought back to me for such re-evaluation and upon verifying my files I found that the notebook is numbered '95; 6. That the original grade was 64% and my re-evaluation of the answers were based on the same standard used in the correction and evaluation of all others; thus, Nos. 3 and 4 with original grades of 7% each was reconsidered to 10%; No. 5 with 4% to 5%; No. 7 with 3% to 5%; and No. 8 with 8% to 10% (emphasis supplied). His answer dated March 19, 1973 substantially reiterated his allegations in his April 11, 1972 affidavit with following additional statements: xxx xxx xxx 3. ... However the grades in Nos. 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10, were not reconsidered as it is no longer to make the reconsideration of these answers because of the same evaluation and standard; hence, Nos. 1, 2 and 10 remainded at 5% and Nos. 6 and 9 at 10%; 4. That at the time I made the reconsideration of examination booklet No. 951 I did not know the identity of its owner until I received this resolution of the Honorable Supreme Court nor the identities of the examiners in other subjects; 5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am authorized to do so in view of the misrepresentation of said Atty. Lanuevo, based on the following circumstances: a) Since I started correcting the papers on or about October 16, 1971, relationship between Atty. Lanuevo and myself had developed to the point that with respect to the correction of the examination booklets of bar candidates I have always followed him and considered his instructions as reflecting the rules and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court with respect to the same; that I have no alternative but to take his words;

b) That considering this relationship and considering his misrepresentation to me as reflecting the real and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court, I did not bother any more to get the consent and permission of the Chairman of the Bar Committee. Besides, at that time, I was isolating myself from all members of the Supreme Court and specially the chairman of the Bar Committee for fear that I might be identified as a bar examiner; xxx xxx xxx e) That no consideration whatsoever has been received by me in return for such recorrection, and as proof of it, I declined to consider and evaluate one booklet in Remedial Law aforesaid because I was not the one who made the original correction of the same (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-35, rec.; emphasis supplied). Then Assistant Solicitor General, now CFI Judge, Bernardo Pardo, examiner in Political Law and Public International Law, confirmed in his affidavit of April 8, 1972 that: On a day or two after the Bar Confidant went to my residence to obtain from me the last bag of two hundred notebooks (bearing examiner's code numbers 1200 to 1400) which according to my record was on February 5, 1972, he came to my residence at about 7:30 p.m. riding in a Vokswagen panel of the Supreme Court, with at least two companions. The bar confidant had with him an examinee's notebook bearing code number 661, and, after the usual amenties, he requested me if it was possible for me to review and re-examine the said notebook because it appears that the examinee obtained a grade of 57, whereas, according to the Bar Confidant, the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84, if I recall correctly, in remedial law. I asked the Bar Confidant if I was allowed to receive or re-examinee the notebook as I had submitted the same beforehand, and he told me that I was authorized to do so because the same was still within my control and authority as long as the particular examinee's name had not been identified or that the code number decode and the examinee's name was revealed. The Bar Confidant told me that the name of the examinee in the case present bearing code number 661 had not been identified or revealed; and that it might have been possible that I had given a particularly low grade to said examinee. Accepting at face value the truth of the Bar Confidant's representations to me, and as it was humanly possible that I might have erred in the grading of the said notebook, I re-examined the same, carefully read the answer, and graded it in accordance with the same standards I had used throughout the grading of the entire notebooks, with the result that the examinee deserved an increased grade of 66. After again clearing with the Bar Confidant my authority to correct the grades, and as he had assured me that the code number of the examinee in question had not been decoded and his name known, ... I therefore corrected the total grade in the notebook and the grade card attached thereto, and properly initia(l)ed the same. I also corrected the itemized grades (from item No. 1 to item No. 10) on the two sets of grading sheets, my personal copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought with him the other copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought with him the other copy the grading sheet" (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-59; rec.; emphasis supplied)

In his answer dated March 17, 1973 which he denominated as "Explanation", respondent Bernardo P. Pardo adopted and replaced therein by reference the facts stated in his earlier sworn statement and in additional alleged that: xxx xxx xxx 3. At the time I reviewed the examinee's notebook in political and international law, code numbered 661, I did know the name of the examinee. In fact, I came to know his name only upon receipt of the resolution of March 5, 1973; now knowing his name, I wish to state that I do not know him personally, and that I have never met him even up to the present; 4. At that time, I acted under the impression that I was authorized to make such review, and had repeatedly asked the Bar Confidant whether I was authorized to make such revision and was so assured of my authority as the name of the examinee had not yet been decoded or his identity revealed. The Bar Confidant's assurance was apparently regular and so appeared to be in the regular course of express prohibition in the rules and guidelines given to me as an examiner, and the Bar Confidant was my official liaison with the Chairman, as, unless called, I refrained as much as possible from frequent personal contact with the Chairman lest I be identified as an examiner. ...; 5. At the time the Bar Confidant came to see me at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening at my residence, I felt it inappropriate to verify his authority with the Chairman. It did not appear to me that his representations were unauthorized or suspicious. Indeed, the Bar Confidant was riding in the official vehicle of the Supreme Court, a Volkswagen panel, accompanied by two companions, which was usual, and thus looked like a regular visit to me of the Bar Confidant, as it was about the same hour that he used to see me: xxx xxx xxx 7. Indeed, the notebook code numbered 661 was still in the same condition as when I submitted the same. In agreeing to review the said notebook code numbered 661, my aim was to see if I committed an error in the correction, not to make the examinee pass the subject. I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that particular notebook on December 31, 1971,considering especially the representation of the Bar Confidant that the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84% in remedial law, if I recall correctly. Of course, it did not strike me as unusual that the Bar Confidant knew the grades of the examinee in the position to know and that there was nothing irregular in that: 8. In political and international law, the original grade obtained by the examinee with notebook code numbered 661 was 57%. After review, it was increased by 9 points, resulting in a final grade of 66%. Still, the examinee did not pass the subject, and, as heretofore stated, my aim was not to make the examinee pass, notwithstanding the representation that he had passed the other subjects. ... 9. I quite recall that during the first meeting of the Bar Examiners' Committee consensus was that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner in said subject would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it

as irregular. At the time of the Committee's first meeting, we still did not know the names of the candidates. 10. In fine, I was a victim of deception, not a party to it. It had absolutely no knowledge of the motives of the Bar Confidant or his malfeasance in office, and did not know the examinee concerned nor had I any kind of contract with him before or rather the review and even up to the present (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63; rec.; emphasis supplied). Atty. Manuel Tomacruz, examiner in Criminal Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 12, 1972: 1. xxx xxx xxx 2. That about weekly, the Bar Confidant would deliver and collect examination books to my residence at 951 Luna Mencias, Mandaluyong, Rizal. 3. That towards the end when I had already completed correction of the books in Criminal Law and was helping in the correction of some of the papers in another subject, the Bar Confidant brought back to me one (1) paper in Criminal Law saying that that particular examinee had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his paper in Criminal Law would be raised a few points to 75% then he would make the general passing average. 4. That seeing the jurisdiction, I raised the grade to 75%, that is, giving a raise of, if I remember correctly, 2 or 3 points, initialled the revised mark and revised also the mark and revised also the mark in the general list. 5. That I do not recall the number of the book of the examinee concerned" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer dated March 12, 1973, respondent Tomacruz stated that "I accepted the word of the Bar Confidant in good faith and without the slightest inkling as to the identity of the examinee in question who up to now remains a total stranger and without expectation of nor did I derive any personal benefit" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.; emphasis supplied). Atty. Fidel Manalo, examiner in Remedial Law, stated in his affidavit dated April 14, 1972, that: xxx xxx xxx 2. Sometime about the late part of January or early part of February 1972, Attorney Lanuevo, Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court, saw me in my house at No. 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal. He produced to me an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law which I had previously graded and submitted to him. He informed me that he and others (he used the words "we") had reviewed the said notebook. He requested me to review the said notebook and possibly reconsider the grade that I had previously given. He explained that the examine concerned had done well in other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade that I had given him in Remedial Law his general average was short of passing. Mr. Lanuevo remarked that he thought that if the paper were reviewed I might find the examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar. As far as I can recall, Mr. Lanuevo particularly called my attention to the fact in his answers the examinee expressed himself clearly and in

good enough English. Mr. Lanuevo however informed me that whether I would reconsider the grades I had previously given and submitted was entirely within my discretion. 3. Believing fully that it was within Mr. Lanuevo's authority as Bar Confidant to address such a request to me and that the said request was in order, I, in the presence of Mr. Lanuevo, proceeded tore-read and re-evaluate each and every item of the paper in question. I recall that in my re-evaluation of the answers, I increased the grades in some items, made deductions in other items, and maintained the same grades in other items. However, I recall that after Mr. Lanuevo and I had totalled the new grades that I had given after re-evaluation, the total grade increased by a few points, but still short of the passing mark of 75% in my subject. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 74-75, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer (response) dated March 18, 1973, respondent Manalo reiterated the contents of his sworn statement, adding the following: xxx xxx xxx 5. In agreeing to re-evaluate the notebook, with resulted in increasing the total grade of the examinee-concerned in Remedial Law from 63.75% to 74.5%, herein respondent acted in good faith. It may well be that he could be faulted for not having verified from the Chairman of the Committee of Bar Examiners the legitimacy of the request made by Mr. Lanuevo. Herein respondent, however, pleads in attenuation of such omission, that — a) Having been appointed an Examiner for the first time, he was not aware, not having been apprised otherwise, that it was not within the authority of the Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court to request or suggest that the grade of a particular examination notebook be revised or reconsidered. He had every right to presume, owing to the highly fiduciary nature of the position of the Bar Confidant, that the request was legitimate. xxx xxx xxx c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent carefully evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answers by the criteria laid down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that particular subject that the said examine failed, herein respondent became convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that previously given to him, but that he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to be given the passing grade of 75%. It should also be mentioned that, in reappraising the answers, herein respondent downgraded a previous rating of an answer written by the examinee, from 9.25% to 9% (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 36-39, rec.; emphasis supplied). Atty. Manuel Montecillo, examiner in Mercantile Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 17, 1972:

xxx xxx xxx That during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners' Committee after the Bar Examinations were held, I was informed that one Bar examinee passed all other subjects except Mercantile Law; That I informed the Bar Examiners' Committee that I would be willing to re-evaluate the paper of this particular Bar candidate;. That the next day, the Bar Confidant handed to me a Bar candidate's notebook (No. 1613) showing a grade of 61%; That I reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers of this particular Bar candidate I decided to increase his final grade to 71%; That consequently, I amended my report and duly initialed the changes in the grade sheet (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Montecillo restated the contents of his sworn statement of April 17, 1972, and xxx xxx xxx 2. Supplementary to the foregoing sworn statement, I hereby state that I reevaluated the examination notebook of Bar Candidate No. 1613 in Mercantile Law in absolute good faith and in direct compliance with the agreement made during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners Committee that where a candidate fails in only one subject, the Examiner concerned should make a re-evaluation of the answers of the candidate concerned, which I did. 3. Finally, I hereby state that I did not know at the time I made the aforementioned reevaluation that notebook No. 1613 in Mercantile Law pertained to bar examine Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, and that I have never met up to this time this particular bar examinee (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, Bar Confidant Lanuevo stated: xxx xxx xxx As I was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and the posting on the record of ratings, I was impressed of the writing and the answers on the first notebook. This led me to scrutinize all the set of notebooks. Believing that those five merited re-evalation on the basis of the memorandum circularized to the examiners shortly earlier to the effect that ... in the correction of the papers, substantial weight should then be given to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning' (par. 4), I took it upon myself to bring them back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-checking.

It is our experience in the Bar Division that immediately after the release of the results of the examinations, we are usually swarmed with requests of the examinees that they be shown their notebooks. Many of them would copy their answers and have them checked by their professors. Eventually some of them would file motions or requests for re-correction and/or re-evaluation. Right now, we have some 19 of such motions or requests which we are reading for submission to the Honorable Court. Often we feel that a few of them are meritorious, but just the same they have to be denied because the result of the examinations when released is final and irrevocable. It was to at least minimize the occurrence of such instances that motivated me to bring those notebooks back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 24, rec.; emphasis supplied). In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Lanuevo avers: That he submitted the notebooks in question to the examiners concerned in his hotest belief that the same merited re-evaluation; that in so doing, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as bar confidant but on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned; that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner, because the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was inorder was left alone to the examiners' decision; and that, to his knowledge, he does not remember having made the alleged misrepresentation but that he remembers having brought to the attention of the Committee during the meeting a matter concerning another examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a grade below 50% in Mercantile Law. As the Committee agreed to remove the disqualification by way of raising the grade in said subject, respondent brought the notebook in question to the Examiner concerned who thereby raised the grade thus enabling the said examinee to pass. If he remembers right, the examinee concerned is one surnamed "de la Cruz" or "Ty-de la Cruz". Your Honors, respondent never entertained a notion that his act would stir such serious charges as would tend to undermine his integrity because he did it in all good faith. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 35, rec.; emphasis supplied). On August 27, 1973, during the course of the investigation, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in addition to, and in amplification of, his answer, stating: xxx xxx xxx 1. That I vehemently deny having deceived the examiners concerned into believing that the examinee involved failed only in their respective subjects, the fact of the matter being that the notebooks in question were submitted to the respective examiners for re-evaluation believing in all good faith that they so merited on the basis of the Confidential Memorandum (identified and marked as Exh. 1-Lanuevo, particularly that portion marked as Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo)which was circulated to all the examiners earlier, leaving to them entirely the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was in order,

2. That the following coincidence prompted me to pry into the notebooks in question: Sometime during the latter part of January and the early part of February, 1972, on my way back to the office (Bar Division) after lunch, I though of buying a sweepstake ticket. I have always made it a point that the moment I think of so buying, I pick a number from any object and the first number that comes into my sight becomes the basis of the ticket that I buy. At that moment, the first number that I saw was "954" boldly printed on an electrical contribance (evidently belonging to the MERALCO) attached to a post standing along the right sidewalk of P. Faura street towards the Supreme Court building from San Marcelino street and almost adjacent to the south-eastern corner of the fence of the Araullo High School(photograph of the number '954', the contrivance on which it is printed and a portion of the post to which it is attached is identified and marked as Exhibit 4Lanuevo and the number "954" as Exh. 4-a-Lanuevo). With this number (954) in mind, I proceeded to Plaza Sta. Cruz to look for a ticket that would contain such number. Eventually, I found a ticket, which I then bought, whose last three digits corresponded to "954". This number became doubly impressive to me because the sum of all the six digits of the ticket number was "27", a number that is so significant to me that everything I do I try somewhat instinctively to link or connect it with said number whenever possible. Thus even in assigning code numbers on the Master List of examinees from 1968 when I first took charge of the examinations as Bar Confidant up to 1971, I either started with the number "27" (or "227") or end with said number. (1968 Master List is identified and marked as Exh. 5Lanuevo and the figure "27" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 5-a Lanuevo; 1969 Master List as Exh. 6-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 6-a-Lanuevo; 1970 Master List as Exh. 7-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list as Exh. 7-a-Lanuevo; and the 1971 Master List as Exh. 8-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the end of the list as Exh. 8-a-Lanuevo). The significance to me of this number (27) was born out of these incidents in my life, to wit: (a) On November 27, 1941 while with the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, I was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result. As will be recalled, the last Pacific War broke out on December 8, 1941. While I was still confined at the hospital, our camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13, 1941 resulting in many casualties. From then on, I regarded November 27, 1941 as the beginning of a new life for me having been saved from the possibility of being among the casualties;(b) On February 27, 1946, I was able to get out of the army byway of honorable discharge; and (c) on February 27, 1947, I got married and since then we begot children the youngest of whom was born on February 27, 1957. Returning to the office that same afternoon after buying the ticket, I resumed my work which at the time was on the checking of the notebooks. While thus checking, I came upon the notebooks bearing

the office code number "954". As the number was still fresh in my mind, it aroused my curiosity prompting me to pry into the contents of the notebooks. Impressed by the clarity of the writing and language and the apparent soundness of the answers and, thereby, believing in all good faith on the basis of the aforementioned Confidential Memorandum (Exh. 1-Lanuevo and Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo) that they merited re-evaluation, I set them aside and later on took them back to the respective examiners for possible review recalling to them the said Confidential Memorandum but leaving absolutely the matter to their discretion and judgment. 3. That the alleged misrepresentation or deception could have reference to either of the two cases which I brought to the attention of the committee during the meeting and which the Committee agreed to refer back to the respective examines, namely: (a) That of an examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a grade below 50% (47%) in Mercantile Law(the notebooks of this examinee bear the Office Code No. 110, identified and marked as Exh. 9-Lanuevo and the notebook in Mercantile Law bearing the Examiner's Code No. 951 with the original grade of 4% increased to 50% after re-evaluation as Exh. 9-a-Lanuevo); and (b) That of an examinee who obtained a borderline general average of 73.15% with a grade below 60% (57%) in one subject which, at the time, I could not pinpoint having inadvertently left in the office the data thereon. It turned out that the subject was Political and International Law under Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (The notebooks of this examinee bear the Office Code No. 1622 identified and marked as Exh. 10-Lanuevo and the notebook in Political and International Law bearing the Examiner's Code No. 661 with the original grade of 57% increased to 66% after re-evaluation, as Exh. 10-a-Lanuevo). This notebook in Political and International Law is precisely the same notebook mentioned in the sworn statement of Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo(Exh. ------- Pardo). 4. That in each of the two cases mentioned in the next preceding paragraph, only one (1) subject or notebook was reviewed or re-evaluated, that is, only Mercantile Law in the former; and only Political and International Law in the latter, under the facts and circumstances I made known to the Committee and pursuant to which the Committee authorized the referral of the notebooks involved to the examiners concerned; 5. That at that juncture, the examiner in Taxation even volunteered to review or recheck some 19, or so, notebooks in his subject but that I told the Committee that there was very little time left and that the increase in grade after re-evaluation, unless very highly substantial, may not alter the outcome since the subject carries the weight of only 10% (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.). The foregoing last-minute embellishment only serves to accentuate the fact that Lanuevo's story is devoid of truth. In his sworn statement of April 12, 1972, he was "led to scrutinize all the set of notebooks" of respondent Galang, because he "was impressed of the writing and the answers on the first notebook "as he "was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets

and the posting on the record of ratings." In his affidavit of August 27, 1973, he stated that the number 954 on a Meralco post provoked him "to pry into the contents of the notebooks" of respondent Galang "bearing office code number '954." Respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, asserted, among others; 1. That herein respondent is not acquainted with former BarConfidant Victorio Lanuevo and never met him before except once when, as required by the latter respondent submitted certain papers necessary for taking the bar examinations. xxx xxx xxx 4. That it has been the consistent policy of the Supreme Court not to reconsider "failure" cases; after the official release thereof; why should it now reconsider a "passing" case, especially in a situation where the respondent and the bar confidant do not know each other and, indeed, met only once in the ordinary course of official business? It is not inevitable, then, to conclude that the entire situation clearly manifests a reasonable doubt to which respondent is richly entitled? 5. That respondent, before reading a copy of this Honorable Court's resolution dated March 5, 1973, had no knowledge whatsoever of former Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo's actuations which are stated in particular in the resolution. In fact, the respondent never knew this man intimately nor, had the herein respondent utilized anyone to contact the Bar Confidant Lanuevo in his behalf. But, assuming as true, the said actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as stated in the Resolution, which are evidently purported to show as having redounded to the benefit of herein respondent, these questions arise: First, was the re-evaluation of Respondent's examination papers by the Bar Examination Committee done only or especially for him and not done generally as regards the paper of the other bar candidates who are supposed to have failed? If the re-evaluation of Respondent's grades was done among those of others, then it must have been done as a matter of policy of the Committee to increase the percentage of passing in that year's examination and, therefore, the insinuation that only respondent's papers were reevaluated upon the influence of Bar Confidant Lanuevo would be unjustifiable, if not far fetched. Secondly, is the fact that BarConfidant Lanuevo's actuations resulted in herein Respondent's benefit an evidence per se of Respondent's having caused actuations of Bar confidant Lanuevo to be done in former's behalf? To assume this could be disastrous in effect because that would be presuming all the members of the Bar Examination Committee as devoid of integrity, unfit for the bar themselves and the result of their work that year, as also unworthy of anything. All of these inferences are deductible from the narration of facts in the resolution, and which only goes to show said narration of facts an unworthy of credence, or consideration. xxx xxx xxx 7. This Honorable Tribunal's Resolution of March 5, 1973 would make this Respondent Account or answer for the actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as well as for the actuations of the Bar Examiners implying the existence of some conspiracy between them and the Respondent. The evident imputation is denied and it is

contended that the Bar Examiners were in the performance of their duties and that they should be regarded as such in the consideration of this case. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.). I The evidence thus disclosed clearly demonstrates how respondent Lanuevo systematically and cleverly initiated and prepared the stage leading to the re-evalation and/or recorrection of the answers of respondent Galang by deceiving separately and individually the respondents-examiners to make the desired revision without prior authority from the Supreme Court after the corrected notebooks had been submitted to the Court through the respondent Bar Confidant, who is simply the custodian thereof for and in behalf of the Court. It appears that one evening, sometime around the middle part of December, 1971, just before Christmas day, respondent Lanuevo approached Civil Law examiner Pamatian while the latter was in the process of correcting examination booklets, and then and there made the representations that as BarConfidant, he makes a review of the grades obtained in all subjects of the examinees and if he finds that a candidate obtains an extraordinarily high grade in one subject and a rather low one on another, he will bring back to the examiner concerned the notebook for re-evaluation and change of grade(Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 55-56; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.). Sometime in the latter part of January, 1972, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondentexaminer Pamatian an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, representing that the examinee who owned the particular notebook is on the borderline of passing and if his grade in said subject could be reconsidered to 75%, the said examine will get a passing average. Respondentexaminer Pamatian took respondent Lanuevo's word and under the belief that was really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court and in his further belief that he was just manifesting cooperation in doing so, he re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the examinee's grade in said subject to 75% from 64%. The particular notebook belonged to an examinee with Examiner's Code Number 95 and with Office Code Number 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. Respondent Pamatian did not know the identity of the examinee at the time he re-evaluated the said booklet (Exhs. 1-Pamatian, 2-Pamatian, and 3-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-33, 55-56, 57; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.). Before Justice Pamatian made the revision, Examinee Galang failed in seven subjects including Civil Law. After such revision, examinee Galang still failed in six subjects and could not obtain the passing average of 75% for admission to the Bar. Thereafter, about the latter part of January, 1972 or early part of February, 1972, respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of respondent-examiner Fidel Manalo at 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal, with an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law, which respondent Manalo and previously corrected and graded. Respondent Lanuevo then requested respondent Manalo to review the said notebook and possibly to reconsider the grade given, explaining and representing that "they" has reviewed the said notebook and that the examinee concerned had done well in other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade given said examinee by respondent Manalo in Remedial Law, the general average of said examinee was short of passing. Respondent Lanuevo likewise made the remark and observation that he thought that if the notebook were reviewed, respondent Manalo might yet find the examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar. Respondent Lanuevo also particularly called the attention of respondent Manalo to the fact that in his answers, the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good English. Furthermore, respondent

Lanuevo called the attention of respondent Manalo to Paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum that read as follows: 4. Examination questions should be more a test of logic, knowledge of legal fundamentals, and ability to analyze and solve legal problems rather than a test of memory; in the correction of papers, substantial weight should be given to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning. Respondent Manalo was, however, informed by respondent Lanuevo that the matter of reconsideration was entirely within his (Manalo's) discretion. Respondent Manalo, believing that respondent Lanuevo, as Bar Confidant, had the authority to make such request and further believing that such request was in order, proceeded to re-evaluate the examinee's answers in the presence of Lanuevo, resulting in an increase of the examinee's grade in that particular subject, Remedial Law, from 63.25% to 74.5%. Respondent Manalo authenticated with his signature the changes made by him in the notebook and in the grading sheet. The said notebook examiner's code number is 136, instead of 310 as earlier mentioned by him in his affidavit, and belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1 & 2- Manalo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 36-39, 74-75; Vol. V, pp. 50-53, rec.). But even after the re-evaluation by Atty. Manalo, Examinee Galang could not make the passing grade due to his failing marks in five subjects. Likewise, in the latter part of January, 1972, on one occasion when respondent Lanuevo went to deliver to respondent Guillermo Pablo, Jr. in the latter's house a new batch of examination papers in Political Law and Public International Law to be corrected, respondent Lanuevo brought out a notebook in Political Law bearing Examiner's Code Number 1752 (Exh. 5-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 66, rec.), informing respondent Pablo that particular examinee who owns the said notebook seems to have passed in all other subjects except in Political Law and Public International Law; and that if the said notebook would be re-evaluated and the mark be increased to at least 75%, said examinee will pass the bar examinations. After satisfying himself from respondent that this is possible — the respondent Bar Confidant informing him that this is the practice of the Court to help out examinees who are failing in just one subject — respondent Pablo acceded to the request and thereby told the Bar Confidant to just leave the said notebook. Respondent Pablo thereafter reevaluated the answers, this time with leniency. After the re-evaluation, the grade was increased to 78% from 68%, or an increase of 10%. Respondent Pablo then made the corresponding corrections in the grading sheet and accordingly initialed the charges made. This notebook with Office Code Number 954 also belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Vol. V, pp. 43-46, rec.). After the re-evaluation by Atty. Pablo, Jr., examinee Galang's general average was still below the passing grade, because of his failing marks in four subjects. Towards the end of the correction of examination notebooks, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondent Tomacruz one examination booklet in Criminal Law, with the former informing the latter, who was then helping in the correction of papers in Political Law and Public International Law, as he had already finished correcting the examination notebooks in his assigned subject — Criminal Law — that the examinee who owns that particular notebook had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his grade in Criminal Law would be raised a few points to 75%, then the examinee would make the passing grade. Accepting the words of respondent Lanuevo, and seeing the justification and because he did not want to be the one causing the failure of the examinee, respondent Tomacruz raised the grade from 64% to 75% and thereafter, he initialed the revised mark and also revised the mark in the general list and likewise initialed the same. The

examinee's Examiner Code Number is 746 while his Office Code Number is 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1, 2 & 3-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 65, 66 and 71; Vol. V, pp. 24-25, 60-61, rec.). Respondent Tomacruz does not recall having been shown any memo by respondent Lanuevo when the latter approached him for this particular re-evaluation; but he remembers Lanuevo declaring to him that where a candidate had almost made the passing average but had failed in one subject, as a matter of policy of the Court, leniency is applied in reviewing the examinee's notebook in the failing subject. He recalls, however, that he was provided a copy of the Confidential Memorandum but this was long before the re-evaluation requested by respondent Lanuevo as the same was received by him before the examination period (Vol. V, p. 61, rec.). However, such revision by Atty. Tomacruz could not raise Galang's general average to a passing grade because of his failing mark in three more subjects, including Mercantile Law. For the revision of examinee Galang's notebook in Mercantile Law, respondent Lanuevo neatly set the last phase of his quite ingenious scheme — by securing authorization from the Bar Examination Committee for the examiner in Mercantile Law tore-evaluate said notebook. At the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee on February 8, 1972, respondent Lanuevo suggested that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner concerned would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular and the Committee adopted the suggestion (Exhs. A & B-Montecillo, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 41, 72, 63; Vol. Vi, p. 16, rec.). At a subsequent meeting of the Bar Examination Committee, respondent Montecillo was informed by respondent Lanuevo that a candidate passed all other subjects except Mercantile Law. This information was made during the meeting within hearing of the order members, who were all closely seated together. Respondent Montecillo made known his willingness tore-evaluate the particular paper. The next day, respondent Lanuevo handed to respondent Montecillo a bar candidate's notebook with Examiner's Code Number 1613 with a grade of 61%. Respondent Montecillo then reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers, decided to increase the final grade to 71%. The matter was not however thereafter officially brought to the Committee for consideration or decision (Exhs. A& B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, 70-71; Vol. V, pp. 33-34, rec.). Respondent Montecillo declared that without being given the information that the particular examinee failed only in his subject and passed all the others, he would not have consented to make the re-evaluation of the said paper(Vol. V, p. 33, rec.).Respondent Montecillo likewise added that there was only one instance he remembers, which is substantiated by his personal records, that he had to change the grade of an examinee after he had submitted his report, referring to the notebook of examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, with Examiner's Code Number 1613 and with Office Code Number 954 (Vol. V, pp. 34-35, rec.). A day or two after February 5, 1972, when respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of respondent-examiner Pardo to obtain the last bag of 200 notebooks, respondent Lanuevo returned to the residence of respondent Pardo riding in a Volkswagen panel of the Supreme Court of the Philippines with two companions. According to respondent Lanuevo, this was around the second week of February, 1972, after the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee. respondent Lanuevo had with him on that occasion an examinee's notebook bearing Examiner's Code No. 661. Respondent Lanuevo, after the usual amenities, requested respondent Pardo to review and reexamine, if possible, the said notebook because, according to respondent Lanuevo, the examine who owns that particular notebook obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which is 84% in Remedial Law. After clearing with respondent Lanuevo his authority to reconsider the

grades, respondent Pardo re-evaluated the answers of the examine concerned, resulting in an increase of grade from 57% of 66%. Said notebook has number 1622 as office code number. It belonged to examinee Ernesto Quitaleg (Exhs. 1 & 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-63; Vol. V, pp. 12-24, 29-30, rec.). II Re: Administrative Case No. 1162, Victorio D. Lanuevo, respondent. A UNAUTHORIZED RE-EVALUATION OF THE ANSWERS OF EXAMINE RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, IN ALL FIVE (5) MAJOR SUBJECTS. Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having requested on his own initiative the five examiners concerned to re-evaluate the five notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, that eventually resulted in the increase of Galang's average from 66.25% to the passing grade 74.15%, or a total increase of eight (8) weighted points, more or less, that enabled Galang to hurdle the 1971 Bar examinations via a resolution of the Court making 74% the passing average for that year's examination without any grade below fifty percent (50%) in any subject. Galang thereafter took his lawyer's oath. It is likewise beyond dispute that he had no authority from the Court or the Committee to initiate such steps towards the said re-evaluation of the answers of Galang or of other examinees. Denying that he made representations to the examiners concerned that respondent Galang failed only in their respective subjects and/or was on the borderline of passing, Respondent Lanuevo sought to justify his actuations on the authority of the aforequoted paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum(Exhs. 1 and 1-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Cases Nos. 1162 & 1164, p. 51, Adm. Case No. 1162; Vol. VII, p. 4, rec.) distributed to the members of the Bar Examination Committee. He maintains that he acted in good faith and "in his honest belief that the same merited re-evaluation; that in doing so, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as BarConfidant but on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned; and that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner because the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was in order was left alone to the examiners' decision ..." (Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-37, rec.). But as openly admitted by him in the course of the investigation, the said confidential memorandum was intended solely for the examiners to guide them in the initial correction of the examination papers and never as a basis for him to even suggest to the examiners the re-evaluation of the examination papers of the examinees (Vol. VII, p. 23, rec.). Any such suggestion or request is not only presumptuous but also offensive to the norms of delicacy. We believe the Examiners — Pablo, Manalo, Montecillo, Tomacruz, Pardo and Pamatian — whose declarations on the matter of the misrepresentations and deceptions committed by respondent Lanuevo, are clear and consistent as well as corroborate each other. For indeed the facts unfolded by the declarations of the respondents-examiners (Adm. Case No. 1164) and clarified by extensive cross-examination conducted during the investigation and hearing of the cases show how respondent Lanuevo adroitly maneuvered the passing of examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang in the 1971 Bar Examinations. It is patent likewise from the records that respondent Lanuevo too undue advantage of the trust and confidence reposed in him by the Court and the Examiners implicit in his position as BarConfidant as well as the trust and confidence that prevailed in and characterized his relationship with the five members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee, who were thus deceived and induced into re-evaluating the answers

of onlyrespondent Galang in five subjects that resulted in the increase of his grades therein, ultimately enabling him to be admitted a member of the Philippine Bar. It was plain, simple and unmitigated deception that characterized respondent Lanuevo's well-studied and well-calculated moves in successively representing separately to each of the five examiners concerned to the effect that the examinee failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing. To repeat, the before the unauthorized re-evaluations were made, Galang failed in the five (5) major subjects and in two (2) minor subjects while his general average was only 66.25% — which under no circumstances or standard could it be honestly claimed that the examinee failed only in one, or he was on the borderline of passing. In fact, before the first notebook of Galang was referred back to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation, Galang had only one passing mark and this was in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, a minor subject, with grade of 81%. The averages and individual grades of Galang before and after the unauthorized re-evaluation are as follows: BAI 1. Political Law Public International Law 68% 78% = 10 pts. or 30 weighted points BAI Labor Laws and Social Legislations 67% 67% = no reevaluation made. 2. Civil Law 64% 75% = 1 points or 33 weighted points. Taxation 74% 74% = no reevaluation made. 3. Mercantile Law 61% 71% = 10 pts. or 30 weighted points. 4. Criminal Law 64% 75% = 11 pts. or 22 weighted points. 5. Remedial Law 63.75% (64) 75.5% (75%) = 11 pts. or 44 weighted points. Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises 81% 81% = no reevaluation made. ———————————— General Weighted Averages 66.25% 74.15% Hence, by the simple expedient of initiating the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang in the five (5) subjects under the circumstances already narrated, Galang's original average of 66.25% was

increased to 74.15% or an increase of 7.9 weighted points, to the great damage and prejudice of the integrity of the Bar examinations and to the disadvantage of the other examinees. He did this in favor only of examinee Galang, with the possible addition of examinees Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. But only one notebook was re-evaluated for each of the latter who — Political Law and Public International Law for Quitaleg and Mercantile Law for Ty dela Cruz. The Office of the Bar Confidant, it must be stressed, has absolutely nothing to do in the re-evaluation or reconsideration of the grades of examinees who fail to make the passing mark before or after their notebooks are submitted to it by the Examiners. After the corrected notebooks are submitted to him by the Examiners, his only function is to tally the individual grades of every examinee in all subjects taken and thereafter compute the general average. That done, he will then prepare a comparative data showing the percentage of passing and failing in relation to a certain average to be submitted to the Committee and to the Court and on the basis of which the Court will determine the passing average, whether 75 or 74 or 73, etc. The Bar Confidant has no business evaluating the answers of the examinees and cannot assume the functions of passing upon the appraisal made by the Examiners concerned. He is not the over-all Examiner. He cannot presume to know better than the examiner. Any request for re-evaluation should be done by the examinee and the same should be addressed to the Court, which alone can validly act thereon. A Bar Confidant who takes such initiative, exposes himself to suspicion and thereby compromises his position as well as the image of the Court. Respondent Lanuevo's claim that he was merely doing justice to Galang without any intention of betraying the trust and confidence reposed in him by the Court as Bar Confidant, can hardly invite belief in the fact of the incontrovertible fact that he singled out Galang's papers for re-evaluation, leaving out the papers of more than ninety (90) examinees with far better averages ranging from 70% to 73.9% of which he was fully aware (Vol. VI, pp. 46-47, 101, rec.), which could be more properly claimed as borderline cases. This fact further betrays respondent Lanuevo's claim of absolute good faith in referring back the papers of Galang to the Examiners for re-evaluation. For certainly, as against the original weighted average of 66.25% of Galang, there can hardly be any dispute that the cases of the aforesaid more than ninety (90) examinees were more deserving of reconsideration. Hence, in trying to do justice to Galang, as claimed by respondent Lanuevo, grave injustice was inflicted on the other examinees of the 1971 Bar examinations, especially the said more than ninety candidates. And the unexplained failure of respondent Lanuevo to apprise the Court or the Committee or even the Bar Chairman of the fact of re-evaluation before or after the said re-evaluation and increase of grades, precludes, as the same is inconsistent with, any pretension of good faith. His request for the re-evaluation of the notebook in Political Law and International Law of Ernesto Quitaleg and the notebook in Mercantile Law of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz to give his actuations in the case of Galang a semblance of impartiality, hoping that the over ninety examinees who were far better situated than Galang would not give him away. Even the re-evaluation of one notebook of Quitaleg and one notebook of Ty dela Cruz violated the agreement of the members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee to re-evaluate when the examinee concerned fails only in one subject. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz failed in four (4) and three (3) subjects respectively — as hereinafter shown. The strange story concerning the figures 954, the office code number given to Galang's notebook, unveiled for the first time by respondent Lanuevo in his suplemental sworn statement(Exh. 3Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47. rec.) filed during the investigation with this Court as to why he pried into the papers of Galang deserves scant consideration. It only serves to picture a man desperately clutching at straws in the wind for support. Furthermore, it was revealed by respondent Lanuevo for the first time only on August 27, 1973 or a period of more than five 95) months after he

filed his answer on March 19, 1973(Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-36, rec.), showing that it was just an after-thought. B REFERRAL OF EXAMINEE ALFREDO TY DELA CRUZ NOTEBOOK IN MERCHANTILE LAW TO RAISE HIS GRADE OF 47% TO 50% TO EXAMINER MANUEL MONTECILLO AND OF EXAMINEE ERNESTO QUITALEG'S NOTEBOOK IN POLITICAL LAW TO EXAMINER BERNARDO PARDO FOR RE-EVALUATION, RESULTING IN THE INCREASE OF HIS GRADE IN THAT SUBJECT FROM 57% TO 66%. Likewise, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having referred back the aforesaid notebooks on Mercantile Law and Political Law respectively of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz and Ernesto Quitaleg to the Examiners concerned. The records are not clear, however, under what circumstances the notebooks of Ty dela Cruz and Quitaleg were referred back to the Examiners concerned. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that these two cases were officially brought to the Bar Examination Committee during its first meeting (Vol. VI, pp. 50-51, rec.) and the latter decided to refer them back to the Examiners concerned for reevaluation with respect to the case of Quitaleg and to remove the disqualification in the case of Ty dela Cruz(Vol. VI, pp. 33-39, 84-86, rec.). Respondent Lanuevo further claimed that the date of these two cases were contained in a sheet of paper which was presented at the said first meeting of the Committee (Vol. VI, pp. 39-43, 49-51, rec.). Likewise a record of the dates of every meeting of the Committee was made by respondent Lanuevo (Vol. VI, p. 28, rec.). The alleged sheet containing the date of the two examinees and record of the dates of the meeting of the Committee were not presented by respondent Lanuevo as, according to him, he left them inadvertently in his desk in the Confidential Room when he went on leave after the release of the Bar results (Vol. VI, pp. 28, 41-45, rec.). It appears, however, that the inventory conducted by officials of the Court in the Confidential Room of respondent Lanuevo did not yield any such sheet of record (Exh. X, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 74, rec.; Vol. VIII, pp. 11-13, 20-22, 29-31, rec.). Respondent Examiner Montecillo, Mercantile Law, maintained that there was only one notebook in Mercantile Law which was officially brought to him and this is substantiated by his personal file and record (Vol. VI, pp. 34-35, rec.). According to him, this notebook's examiner code number is 1613 (Vol. V, p.35, rec.) and is owned by Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. It appears, however, that the original grade of 47% in Mercantile Law of Ty dela Cruz was changed to 50% as appearing in the cover of the notebook of said examinee and the change is authenticated with the initial of Examiner Montecillo. He was present when respondent Lanuevo presented in evidence the notebook of Ty dela Cruz bearing Examiner code number 951 and Office Code Number 110 as Exhibit 9-Lanuevo in Administrative Case No. 1162, and the figures 47 crossed out, replaced by the figures 50 bearing the initial of Examiner Montecillo as Exhibit 9-a-Lanuevo (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 48, rec.; Vol. VI, pp. 23-24, Vol. VIII, p. 4, rec.); but Atty. Montecillo did not interpose any objection to their admission in evidence. In this connection, respondent Examiner Pardo testified that he remembers a case of an examinee presented to the Committee, who obtained passing marks in all subjects except in one and the Committee agreed to refer back to the Examiner concerned the notebook in the subject in which the examinee failed (Vol. V, pp. 15-16, rec.). He cannot recall the subject, but he is certain that it was not Political Law (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.).Further, Pardo declared that he is not aware of any case of an examinee who was on the borderline of passing but who got a grade below 50% in one subject that was taken up by the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 16-17, rec.).

Examiner Montecillo testified that it was the notebook with Examiner Code Number 1613 (belonging to Galang) which was referred to the Committee and the Committee agreed to return it to the Examiner concerned. The day following the meeting in which the case of an examinee with Code Number 1613 was taken up, respondent Lanuevo handed him said notebook and he accordingly reevaluated it. This particular notebook with Office Code Number 954 belongs to Galang. Examiner Tomacruz recalled a case of an examinee whose problem was Mercantile Law that was taken up by the Committee. He is not certain of any other case brought to the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 59-61, rec.). Pardo declared that there was no case of an examinee that was referred to the Committee that involved Political Law. He re-evaluated the answers of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law upon the representation made by respondent Lanuevo to him. As heretofore stated, it was this consensus at the meeting on February 8, 1972 of the members of the Committee that where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed all the others, the Examiner in whose subject the examinee failed should re-evaluate or recheck the notebook (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.: Exh. 2-Pardo, allegation No. 9, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63, Exh. A-Montecillo, Allegation No. 2, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and Exh. B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.). At the time the notebook of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law with a grade of 57% was referred back to Examiner Pardo, said examinee had other failing grades in three (3) subjects, as follows: Labor Laws 3% Taxation 69% Mercantile Law 68% Ernesto Quitaleg's grades and averages before and after the re-evaluation of his grade in Political Law are as follows: BA Political Law 57% 66% = 9 pts. or 27 weighted points Labor Laws 73% 73% = No reevaluation Civil Law 75% 75% = " Taxation 69% 69% = " Mercantile Law 68% 68% = " Criminal Law 78% 78% = " Remedial Law 85% 85% = " Legal Ethics 83% 83% = " ———————————————— Average (weighted) 73.15% 74.5% (Vol. VI, pp. 26-27; Exhs. 10 and 10-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, rec.) Alfredo Ty dela Cruz, at the time his notebook in Mercantile Law was referred to Examiner Montecillo to remove the disqualification grade of 47% in said subject, had two (2) other failing grades. These are:

Political Law 70% Taxation 72% His grades and averages before and after the disqualifying grade was removed are as follows: BA Political Law 70% 70% = No reevaluation Labor Laws 75% 75% = " Civil Law 89% 89% = " Taxation 72% 72% = " Mercantile Law 47% 50% = 3 pts. or 9 weighted points Criminal Law 78% 78% = no reevaluation Remedial Law 88% 88% = " Legal Ethics 79% 79% = " ————————————————— Weighted Averages 74.95% 75.4% (Vol. VI, pp. 26-27, rec.). The re-evaluation of the answers of Quitaleg in Political Law and the answers of Ty dela Cruz in Mercantile Law, violated the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee in February, 1971, which violation was due to the misrepresentation of respondent Lanuevo. It must be stated that the referral of the notebook of Galang in Mercantile Law to Examiner Montecillo can hardly be said to be covered by the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee because even at the time of said referral, which was after the unauthorized re-evaluation of his answers of four (4) subjects, Galang had still failing grades in Taxation and Labor Laws. His reevaluated grade of 74.5% in Remedial Law was considered 75% under the Confidential Memorandum and was so entered in the record. His grade in Mercantile Law as subsequently reevaluated by Examiner Montecillo was 71%. Respondent Lanuevo is therefore guilty of serious misconduct — of having betrayed the trust and confidence reposed in him as Bar Confidant, thereby impairing the integrity of the Bar examinations and undermining public faith in the Supreme Court. He should be disbarred. As to whether Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz should be disbarred or their names stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, it is believed that they should be required to show cause and the corresponding investigation conducted. III Re: Administrative Case No. 1163, Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, respondent. A The name of respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, should likewise be stricken off the Roll of Attorneys. This is a necessary consequence of the un-authorized re-evaluation of his

answers in five(5) major subjects — Civil Law, Political and International Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law, and Mercantile Law. The judicial function of the Supreme Court in admitting candidates to the legal profession, which necessarily involves the exercise of discretion, requires: (1) previous established rules and principles; (2) concrete facts, whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals; and (3) a decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and principles (In re: Cunanan — Flunkers' Petition for Admission to the Bar -- 94 Phil. 534, 544-545). The determination of whether a bar candidate has obtained the required passing grade certainly involves discretion (Legal and Judicial Ethics, Justice Martin, 1969 ed., p. 13). In the exercise of this function, the Court acts through a Bar Examination Committee, composed of a member of the Court who acts as Chairman and eight (8) members of the Bar who act as examiners in the eight (8) bar subjects with one subject assigned to each. Acting as a sort of liaison officer between the Court and the Bar Chairman, on one hand, and the individual members of the Committee, on the other, is the Bar Confidant who is at the same time a deputy clerk of the Court. Necessarily, every act of the Committee in connection with the exercise of discretion in the admission of examinees to membership of the Bar must be in accordance with the established rules of the Court and must always be subject to the final approval of the Court. With respect to the Bar Confidant, whose position is primarily confidential as the designation indicates, his functions in connection with the conduct of the Bar examinations are defined and circumscribed by the Court and must be strictly adhered to. The re-evaluation by the Examiners concerned of the examination answers of respondent Galang in five (5) subjects, as already clearly established, was initiated by Respondent Lanuevo without any authority from the Court, a serious breach of the trust and confidence reposed by the Court in him as Bar Confidant. Consequently, the re-evaluation that enabled respondent Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations and to be admitted to the Bar is a complete nullity. The Bar Confidant does not possess any discretion with respect to the matter of admission of examinees to the Bar. He is not clothed with authority to determine whether or not an examinee's answers merit re-evaluation or reevaluation or whether the Examiner's appraisal of such answers is correct. And whether or not the examinee benefited was in connivance or a privy thereto is immaterial. What is decisive is whether the proceedings or incidents that led to the candidate's admission to the Bar were in accordance with the rules. B Section 2 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964, in connection, among others, with the character requirement of candidates for admission to the Bar, provides that "every applicant for admission as a member of the Bar must be ... of good moral character ... and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and that no charges against him involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines." Prior to 1964, or under the old Rules of Court, a bar applicant was required to produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory testimonials of good moral character (Sec. 2, Rule 127). Under both rules, every applicant is duty bound to lay before the Court all his involvement in any criminal case, pending or otherwise terminated, to enable the Court to fully ascertain or determine applicant's moral character. Furthermore, as to what crime involves moral turpitude, is for the supreme Court to determine. Hence, the necessity of laying before or informing the Court of one's personal record — whether he was criminally indicted, acquitted, convicted or the case dismissed or is still pending — becomes more compelling. The forms for application to take the Bar examinations provided by the Supreme Court beginning the year 1965 require the disclosure not only of criminal cases involving moral turpitude filed or pending against the applicant but also of all

other criminal cases of which he has been accused. It is of course true that the application form used by respondent Galang when he took the Bar for the first time in 1962 did not expressly require the disclosure of the applicant's criminal records, if any. But as already intimated, implicit in his task to show satisfactory evidence or proof of good moral character is his obligation to reveal to the Court all his involvement in any criminal case so that the Court can consider them in the ascertainment and determination of his moral character. And undeniably, with the applicant's criminal records before it, the Court will be in a better position to consider the applicant's moral character; for it could not be gainsaid that an applicant's involvement in any criminal case, whether pending or terminated by its dismissal or applicant's acquittal or conviction, has a bearing upon his character or fitness for admission to the Bar. In 1963 and 1964, when respondent Galang took the Bar for the second and third time, respectively, the application form provided by the Court for use of applicants already required the applicant to declare under oath that "he has not been accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any offense involving moral turpitude; and that there is no pending case of that nature against him." By 1966, when Galang took the Bar examinations for the fourth time, the application form prepared by the Court for use of applicants required the applicant to reveal all his criminal cases whether involving moral turpitude or not. In paragraph 4 of that form, the applicant is required under oath to declare that "he has not been charged with any offense before a Fiscal, Municipal Judge, or other officer; or accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of any crime involving moral turpitude; nor is there a pending case against him" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 56, rec.). Yet, respondent Galang continued to intentionally withhold or conceal from the Court his criminal case of slight physical injuries which was then and until now is pending in the City Court of Manila; and thereafter repeatedly omitted to make mention of the same in his applications to take the Bar examinations in 1967, 1969 and 1971. All told, respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, is guilty of fraudulently concealing and withholding from the Court his pending criminal case for physical injuries in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1971; and in 1966, 1967,1969 and 1971, he committed perjury when he declared under oath that he had no pending criminal case in court. By falsely representing to the Court that he had no criminal case pending in court, respondent Galang was allowed unconditionally to take the Bar examinations seven (7) times and in 1972 was allowed to take his oath. That the concealment of an attorney in his application to take the Bar examinations of the fact that he had been charged with, or indicted for, an alleged crime, is a ground for revocation of his license to practice law is well — settled (see 165 ALR 1151, 7 CJS 741). Thus: [1] It requires no argument to reach the conclusion that the respondent, in withholding from the board of law examiners and from the justice of this court, to whom he applied for admission, information respecting so serious a matter as an indictment for a felony, was guilty of fraud upon the court (cases cited). [2] It is equally clear that, had the board of law examiners, or the judge to whom he applied for admission, been apprised of the true situation, neither the certificate of the board nor of the judge would have been forthcoming (State ex rel. Board of Law Examiners v. Podell, 207 N — W — 709 — 710). The license of respondent Podell was revoke and annulled, and he was required to surrender to the clerk of court the license issued to him, and his name was stricken from the roll of attorneys (p. 710). Likewise in Re Carpel, it was declared that: [1] The power to admit to the bar on motion is conferred in the discretion of the Appellate Division.' In the exercise of the discretion, the court should be informed

truthfully and frankly of matters tending to show the character of the applicant and his standing at the bar of the state from which he comes. The finding of indictments against him, one of which was still outstanding at the time of his motion, were facts which should have been submitted to the court, with such explanations as were available. Silence respecting them was reprehensible, as tending to deceive the court (165 NYS, 102, 104; emphasis supplied). Carpel's admission to the bar was revoked (p. 105). Furthermore, respondent's persistent denial of his involvement in any criminal case despite his having been apprised by the Investigation of some of the circumstances of the criminal case including the very name of the victim in that case(he finally admitted it when he was confronted by the victim himself, who was called to testify thereon), and his continued failure for about thirteen years to clear his name in that criminal case up to the present time, indicate his lack of the requisite attributes of honesty, probity and good demeanor. He is therefore unworthy of becoming a member of the noble profession of law. While this aspect of the investigation was not part of the formal resolution of the Court requiring him to explain why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, respondent Galang was, as early as August, 1973, apprised of his omission to reveal to the Court his pending criminal case. Yet he did not offer any explanation for such omission. Under the circumstances in which respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was allowed to take the Bar examinations and the highly irregular manner in which he passed the Bar, WE have no other alternative but to order the surrender of his attorney's certificate and the striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys. For as WE said in Re Felipe del Rosario: The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted every one who demands it, but is a privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of sound discretion. The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to escape the penalties of the criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to receive one whose integrity is questionable as an officer of the court, to clothe him with all the prestige of its confidence, and then to permit him to hold himself as a duly authorized member of the bar (citing American cases) [52 Phil. 399-401]. What WE now do with respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, in this present case is not without any precedent in this jurisdiction. WE had on several occasions in the past nullified the admission of successful bar candidates to the membership of the Bar on the grounds, among others, of (a)misrepresentations of, or false pretenses relative to, the requirement on applicant's educational attainment [Tapel vs. Publico, resolution of the Supreme Court striking off the name of Juan T. Publico from the Roll of Attorneys on the basis of the findings of the Court Investigators contained in their report and recommendation, Feb. 23, 1962; In re: Telesforo A. Diao, 7 SCRA 475-478; (b) lack of good moral character [In re: Peralta, 101 Phil. 313-314]; and (c) fraudulent passing of the Bar examinations [People vs. Romualdez -- re: Luis Mabunay, 57 Phil. 151; In re: Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399 and People vs. Castro and Doe, 54 Phil. 42]. In the cases of Romualdez (Mabunay) and Castro, the Court found that the grades of Mabunay and Castro were falsified and they were convicted of the crime of falsification of public documents. IV

RE: Administrative Case No. 1164, Assistant Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (now CFI Judge), Judge Ramon Pamatian(Later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, now deceased)Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo, Atty. Manuel Tomacruz and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr., respondents. All respondents Bar examiners candidly admitted having made the re-evaluation and/or re-correction of the papers in question upon the misrepresentation of respondent BarConfidant Lanuevo. All, however, professed good faith; and that they re-evaluated or increased the grades of the notebooks without knowing the identity of the examinee who owned the said notebooks; and that they did the same without any consideration or expectation of any. These the records clearly demonstrate and WE are of the opinion and WE so declare that indeed the respondents-examiners made the reevaluation or re-correcion in good faith and without any consideration whatsoever. Considering however the vital public interest involved in the matter of admission of members to the Bar, the respondents bar examiners, under the circumstances, should have exercised greater care and caution and should have been more inquisitive before acceding to the request of respondent Bar Confidant Lanuevo. They could have asked the Chairman of the Bar Examination Committee, who would have referred the matter to the Supreme Court. At least the respondents-examiners should have required respondent Lanuevo to produce or show them the complete grades and/or the average of the examinee represented by respondent Lanuevo to have failed only in their respective and particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing to fully satisfy themselves that the examinee concerned was really so circumstances. This they could have easily done and the stain on the Bar examinations could have been avoided. Respondent Bar examiners Montecillo, Pamatian, and Manalo claimed and so declared under oath that the answers of respondent Galang really deserved or merited the increased grades; and so with respondent Pardo in connection with the re-evaluation of Ernesto Quitaleg's answers in Political Law. With respect to respondents Tomacruz and Pablo, it would appear that they increased the grades of Galang in their respective subject solely because of the misrepresentations of Respondent Lanuevo. Hence, in the words of respondent Tomacruz: "You brought to me one paper and you said that this particular examinee had almost passed, however, in my subject he received 60 something, I cannot remember the exact average and if he would get a few points higher, he would get a passing average. I agreed to do that because I did not wish to be the one causing his failure. ..." (Vol. V, pp. 60-61, rec.; see also allegations 3 and 4, Exh. 1-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis ours). And respondent Pablo: "... he told me that this particular examinee seems to have passed in allot her subject except this subject and that if I can re-evaluate this examination notebook and increase the mark to at least 75, this particular examinee will pass the bar examinations so I believe I asked him 'Is this being done?' and he said 'Yes, that is the practice used to be done before to help out examinees who are failing in just one subject' so I readily acceded to his request and said 'Just leave it with me and I will try to re-evaluate' and he left it with me and what i did was to go over the book and tried to be as lenient as I could. While I did not mark correct the answers which were wrong, what I did was to be more lenient and if the answers was correct although it was not complete I raise the grade so I had a total of 78 instead of 68 and what I did was to correct the grading sheet accordingly and initial the changes" (Vol. V, pp. 44-45, rec.; emphasis supplied). It could not be seriously denied, however, that the favorable re-evaluations made by respondents Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Pardo notwithstanding their declarations that the increases in grades they gave were deserved by the examinee concerned, were to a certain extent influenced by the misrepresentation and deception committed by respondent Lanuevo. Thus in their own words: Montecillo —

Q And by reason of that information you made the re-evaluation of the paper? A Yeas, your Honor. Q Would you have re-evaluated the paper of your own accord in the absence of such information? A No, your Honor, because I have submitted my report at that time" (Vol. V, p. 33, rec.; see also allegations in paragraphs 2, 3, 4 & 5, Affidavit of April 17, 1972, Exh. B-Montecillo; allegation No. 2, Answer dated march 19, 1973, Exh. A-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and 72, rec.). Pamatian — 3. That sometime in the later part of January of this year, he brought back to me an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation because according to him the owner of the paper is on the borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will get passing mark; 4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court to do so and in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%; ..." (Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 55, rec.); and 5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am authorized to do so in view of them is representation of said Atty. Victorio Lanuevo, ..." (Exh. 1-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 33-34, rec.). Manalo — (c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent carefully evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answer by the criteria laid down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of the doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that particular subject that said examinee failed, herein respondent became convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that previously given him, but he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to be given the passing grade of 75%. ..."(allegation 5-c, p. 38, Exh. 1-Manalo, rec.; emphasis supplied). Pardo — ... I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that particular notebook on December 31,1971, considering especially the representation of the Bar Confidant that the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84% in Remedial Law, if I recall correctly. ... (allegation 7, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 62, rec.; emphasis supplied).

With the misrepresentations and the circumstances utilized by respondent Lanuevo to induce the herein examiners to make the re-evaluation adverted to, no one among them can truly claim that the re-evaluation effected by them was impartial or free from any improper influence, their conceded integrity, honesty and competence notwithstanding. Consequently, Galang cannot justifiably claim that he deserved the increased grades given after the said re-evaluations(Galang's memo attached to the records, Adm. Case No. 1163). At any rate, WE are convinced, in the light of the explanations of the respondents-examiners, which were earlier quoted in full, that their actuations in connection with the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang in five (5) subjects do not warrant or deserve the imposition of any disciplinary action. WE find their explanations satisfactory. Nevertheless, WE are constrained to remind herein respondentsexaminers that their participation in the admission of members to the Bar is one impressed with the highest consideration of public interest — absolute purity of the proceedings — and so are required to exercise the greatest or utmost case and vigilance in the performance of their duties relative thereto. V Respondent Atty. Victorio D. Lanuevo, in his memorandum filed on November 14, 1973, claimed that respondent-examiner Pamatian "in bringing up this unfounded cause, or lending undue assistance or support thereto ... was motivated with vindictiveness due to respondent's refusal to be pressured into helping his (examiner's) alleged friend — a participant in the 1971 Bar Examinations whom said examiner named as Oscar Landicho and who, the records will show, did not pass said examinations (p. 9, Lanuevo's memo, Adm. Case No. 1162). It must be stated that this is a very serious charge against the honor and integrity of the late Justice Ramon Pamatian, who passed away on October 18, 1973 and therefore cannot refute Lanuevo's insinuations. Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo did not bring this out during the investigation which in his words is "essential to his defense. "His pretension that he did not make this charge during the investigation when Justice Pamatian was still alive, and deferred the filing of such charge against Justice Pamatian and possibly also against Oscar Landicho before the latter departed for Australia "until this case shall have been terminated lest it be misread or misinterpreted as being intended as a leverage for a favorable outcome of this case on the part of respondent or an act of reprisal", does not invite belief; because he does not impugn the motives of the five other members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee, who also affirmed that he deceived them into re-evaluating or revising the grades of respondent Galang in their respective subjects. It appears, however, that after the release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, Oscar Landicho, who failed in that examinations, went to see and did see Civil Law examiner Pamatian for the purpose of seeking his help in connection with the 1971 Bar Examinations. Examiner Pamatian advised Landicho to see the Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee. Examiner Pamatian mentioned in passing to Landicho that an examination booklet was re-evaluated by him (Pamatian) before the release of the said bar results (Vol. V, pp. 6-7, rec). Even though such information was divulged by respondent Pamatian after the official release of the bar results, it remains an indecorous act, hardly expected of a member of the Judiciary who should exhibit restraint in his actuations demanded by resolute adherence to the rules of delicacy. His unseemly act tended to undermine the integrity of the bar examinations and to impair public faith in the Supreme Court. VI

The investigation failed to unearth direct evidence that the illegal machination of respondent Lanuevo to enable Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations was committed for valuable consideration. A There are, however, acquisitions made by Respondent Lanuevo immediately after the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations in February, 1972, which may be out of proportion to his salary as Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court. 1. On April 5, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife acquired from the BF Homes, Inc. a house and lot with an area of 374 square meters, more or less, for the amount of P84,114.00. The deed of sale was dated March 5, 1972 but was notarized only on April 5, 1972. On the same date, however, respondent Lanuevo and his wife executed two (2)mortgages covering the said house and lot in favor of BF Homes, Inc. in the total amount of P67,291.20 (First mortgage — P58,879.80, Entry No. 90913: date of instrument — April 5, 1972, date of inscription — April 20, 1972: Second mortgage — P8,411.40, Entry No. 90914: date of instrument — April 5, 1972, date of inscription — April 20, 1972). [D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.]. Respondent Lanuevo paid as down payment the amount of only P17,000.00, which according to him is equivalent to 20%, more or less, of the purchase price of P84,114.00. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that P5,000.00 of the P17,000.00 was his savings while the remaining the P12,000.00 came from his sister in Okinawa in the form of a loan and received by him through a niece before Christmas of 1971 in dollars ($2000) [Vol. VII, pp. 41-48; Vol. VIII, pp. 2-3, rec.] It appears, however, that his alleged P5,000.00 savings and P12,000.00 loan from his sister; are not fully reflected and accounted for in respondent's 1971 Statement of Assets and Liabilities which hefiled on January 17, 1972. In said 1971 statement, respondent Lanuevo listed under Assets a bank deposit in the amount of only P2,000.00. In his 1972 statement, his bank deposit listed under Assets was in the amount of P1,011.00, which shows therefore that of the P2,000.00 bank deposit listed in his 1971 statement under Assets, only the amount of P989.00 was used or withdrawn. The amount of P18,000.00 receivable listed under Assets in his 1971 statement was not realized because the transaction therein involved did not push through (Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent Lanuevo from 1965 to 1972; Vol. VIII, pp. 47-48, rec.). Likewise, the alleged December, 1971 $2000 loan of respondent from his married sister in Okinawa is extremely doubtful. In the first place, said amount of $2000 (P12,000.00) is not reflected in his 1971Statement of Assets and Liabilities filed on January 17, 1972. Secondly, the alleged note which he allegedly received from his sister at the time he received the $200 was not even presented by respondent during the investigation. And according to Respondent Lanuevo himself, while he considered this a loan, his sister did not seriously consider it as one. In fact, no mode or time of payment was agreed upon by them. And furthermore, during the investigation, respondent Lanuevo promised to furnish the Investigator the address of his sister in Okinawa. Said promise was not fulfilled as borne out by the records. Considering that there is no showing that his sister, who has a family of her own, is among the top earners in Okinawa or has saved a lot of money to give to him, the

conclusion, therefore, that the P17,000.00 of respondent Lanuevo was either an illgotten or undeclared income is inevitable under the foregoing circumstances. On August 14, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife mortgaged their BF Homes house and lot to the GSIS for the amount of P65,000.00 (Entry No. 4992: August 14, 1972 — date of instrument;August 23, 1972 — date of inscription). On February 28, 1973, the second mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90914, was redeemed by respondent and was subsequently cancelled on March 20,1973, Entry No. 30143. Subsequently, or on March 2, 1973 the first mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90913 was also redeemed by respondent Lanuevo and thereafter cancelled onMarch 20, 1973, (See D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.). Hence, only the mortgage in favor of GSIS remains as the encumbrance of respondent's house and lot. According to respondent Lanuevo, the monthly amortization of the GSIS mortgage is P778.00 a month, but that since May of 1973, he was unable to pay the same. In his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities, which he filed in connection with his resignation and retirement (filed October 13, 1972), the house and lot declared as part of his assets, were valued at P75,756.90. Listed, however, as an item in his liabilities in the same statement was the GSIS real estate loan in the amount of P64,200.00 (1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities). 2. Listed as an asset in his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities is a 1956 VW car valued atP5,200.00. That he acquired this car sometime between January, 1972 and November, 1972 could be inferred from the fact that no such car or any car was listed in his statement of assets and liabilities of 1971 or in the years previous to 1965. It appears, however, that his listed total assets, excluding receivables in his 1971 Statement was P19,000.00, while in his 1972 (as of November, 1972) Statement, his listed total assets, excluding the house and lot was P18,211.00, including the said 1956 VW car worth P5,200.00. The proximity in point of time between the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations and the acquisition of the above-mentioned properties, tends to link or tie up the said acquisitions with the illegal machination committed by respondent Lanuevo with respect to respondent Galang's examination papers or to show that the money used by respondent Lanuevo in the acquisition of the above properties came from respondent Galang in consideration of his passing the Bar. During the early stage of this investigation but after the Court had informed respondent Lanuevo of the serious irregularities in the 1971 Bar examinations alleged in Oscar Landicho's Confidential Letter and in fact, after Respondent Lanuevo had filed on April 12, 1972 his sworn statement on the matter, as ordered by the Court, respondent Lanuevo surprisingly filed his letter or resignation on October 13, 1972 with the end in view of retiring from the Court. His resignation before he was required to show cause on March 5, 1973 but after he was informed of the said irregularities, is indicative of a consciousness of guilt. It must be noted that immediately after the official release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, respondent Lanuevo went on vacation and sick leave from March 16, 1972 to January 15, 1973, obtaining the case value thereof in lump sum in the amount of P11,000.00. He initially claimed at the investigation that h e used a part thereof as a down payment for his BF Homes house and lot (Vol. VII, pp. 40-48, rec.), which he bought on April 5, 1972. Criminal proceedings may be instituted against respondent Lanuevo under Section 3 (a & e) in relation to Section 9 of Republic Act No. 1379 (Anti-Graft Law) for:

(a) Persuading inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be presented, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense. xxx xxx xxx (e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evidence bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. Section 8 of said Republic Act No. 3019 authorizes the dismissal or removal of a public officer once it is determined that his property or money "is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property ... " (Sec. 2, Rep. Act 1379; Sec. 8, Rep. Act 3019). It should be stressed, however, that respondent Lanuevo's aforementioned Statements of Assets and Liabilities were not presented or taken up during the investigation; but they were examined as they are part of the records of this Court. B There are likewise circumstances indicating possible contacts between respondent Ramon E. Galang and/or his father and respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo before the latter become the bar Confidant. 1. Respondent Ramon E. Galang was a beneficiary of the G.I Bill of Rights educational program of the Philippine Veterans Board from his high school days — 1951 to 1955 — up to his pre-law studies at the MLQ Educational Institution (now MLQ University) — 1955 to 1958. From 1948 to 1958, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo was connected with the Philippine Veterans Board which is the governmental agency entrusted with the affairs of our veterans including the implementation of the Veterans Bill of Rights. From 1955 to 1958, Respondent Lanuevo successively held the position of Junior Investigator, Veterans Claims Investigator, Supervising Veterans Investigator and Veterans Claims Investigator (Service Record, p. 9, Adm. Case No. 1162). During that period of time, therefore, respondent Lanuevo had direct contacts with applicants and beneficiaries of the Veterans Bill of Rights. Galang's educational benefits was approved on March 16, 1954, retroactive as of the date of waiver —July 31, 1951, which is also the date of filing (A, Vol. IV, rec.). It is alleged by respondent Ramon E. Galang that it was his father who all the time attended to the availment of the said educational benefits and even when he was already in Manila taking up his pre-law at MLQ Educational Institution from 1955 to 1958. In 1955, respondent Galang was already 19 years old, and from 1957 to 1958, he was employed as a technical assistant in the office of Senator Roy (Vol. V, pp. 79-80, 86-87, rec.).[Subsequently, during the investigation, he claimed that he was the private secretary of Senator Puyat in 1957 (Vol. VI, pp. 12-13, rec.)]. It appears, however, that a copy of the notice-letter dated June 28, 1955 of the Philippine Veterans Board to the MLQ Educational Institution on the approval of the transfer of respondent Galang from Sta. Rita Institute to the MLQ Educational Institution effective the first semester of the school year 195556 was directly addressed and furnished to respondent Ramon E. Galang at 2292 Int. 8 Banal St., Tondo, Manila (A-12, Vol. IV, rec.).

Respondent Ramon E. Galang further declared that he never went to the Office of the Philippine Veterans to follow up his educational benefits and claimed that he does not even know the location of the said office. He does not also know whether beneficiaries of the G.I. Bill of Rights educational benefits are required to go to the Philippine Veterans Board every semester to submit their ratings (Vol. V, p. 86, rec.). But respondent Galang admits that he had gone to the GSIS and City Court of Manila, although he insists that he never bothered to take a look at the neighboring buildings (Vol. V, pp. 93-94, rec.). The huge and imposing Philippine Veterans Building is beside the GSIS building and is obliquely across the City Court building. 2. Respondent Lanuevo stated that as an investigator in the Philippine Veterans Board, he investigated claims for the several benefits given to veterans like educational benefits and disability benefits; that he does not remember, however, whether in the course of his duties as veterans investigator, he came across the application of Ramon E. Galang for educational benefits; and that he does not know the father of Mr. Ramon E. Galang and has never met him (Vol. VII, pp. 28, 49, rec.). 3. Respondent Lanuevo, as a member of the USAFEE, belonged to the 91st Infantry operating at Zambales and then Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, shortly before the war (Vol. VII, pp. 48-49, rec.). Later he joined the guerrilla movement in Samar. He used to be a member of the Philippine Veterans Legion especially while working with the Philippine Veterans Board(Vol. VII, p. 49, rec.). He does not know the Banal Regiment of the guerrillas, to which Galang's father belonged. During the Japanese occupation, his guerrilla outfit was operating in Samar only and he had no communications with other guerrilla organization in other parts of the country. He attended meetings of the Philippine Veterans Legion in his chapter in Samar only and does not remember having attended its meeting here in Manila, even while he was employed with the Philippine Veterans Board. He is not a member of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (Vol. VII, p.51, rec.). On November 27, 1941, while respondent Lanuevo was with the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, he was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result and was still confined there when their camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13, 1941 (Sworn statement of respondent Lanuevo dated August 27, 1973, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 46, rec.). German Galang, father of respondent Galang, was a member of the Banal Guerilla Forces, otherwise known as the Banal Regiment. He was commissioned and inducted as a member thereof on January 16, 1942 and was given the rank of first lieutenant. His unit "was attached and served into the XI-Corps, US Army; XIII-C US Army, 43rd Div., US Army, stationed headquarters at Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija and with the 38th Division, US army stationed at Corregidor in the mopping-up operations against the enemies, from 9 May 1945 date of recognition to 31 December 1945, date of demobilization"(Affidavit of Jose Banal dated December 22, 1947, Vol. IV, A-3, rec.). It should be stressed that once the bar examiner has submitted the corrected notebooks to the Bar Confidant, the same cannot be withdrawn for any purpose whatsoever without prior authority from the Court. Consequently, this Court expresses herein its strong disapproval of the actuations of the bar examiners in Administrative Case No. 1164 as above delineated.

WHEREFORE, IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1162, RESPONDENT VICTORIO D. LANUEVO IS HEREBY DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS; AND IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1163, RESPONDENT RAMON E. GALANG, alias Roman E. GALANG, IS HEREBY LIKEWISE DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ALSO ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS. Makalintal, C.J., Castro, Fernando, Barredo, Esguerra, Muñoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur. Teehankee, J., concurs in the result. Antonio, J., is on official leave. Concepcion and Martin, JJ., took no part.

EN BANC

[B. M. No. 1036. June 10, 2003]

DONNA MARIE S. RANA, respondent.

AGUIRRE, complainant, DECISION

vs. EDWIN

L.

CARPIO, J.:

The Case Before one is admitted to the Philippine Bar, he must possess the requisite moral integrity for membership in the legal profession. Possession of moral integrity is of greater importance than possession of legal learning. The practice of law is a privilege bestowed only on the morally fit. A bar candidate who is morally unfit cannot practice law even if he passes the bar examinations.

The Facts Respondent Edwin L. Rana (“respondent”) was among those who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations. On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass oath-taking of successful bar examinees as members of the Philippine Bar, complainant Donna Marie Aguirre (“complainant”) filed against respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to the

Bar. Complainant charged respondent with unauthorized practice of law, grave misconduct, violation of law, and grave misrepresentation. The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a member of the Bar during the scheduled oath-taking on 22 May 2001 at the Philippine International Convention Center. However, the Court ruled that respondent could not sign the Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of the charge against him. Thus, respondent took the lawyer’s oath on the scheduled date but has not signed the Roll of Attorneys up to now. Complainant charges respondent for unauthorized practice of law and grave misconduct. Complainant alleges that respondent, while not yet a lawyer, appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001 elections before the Municipal Board of Election Canvassers (“MBEC”) of Mandaon, Masbate. Complainant further alleges that respondent filed with the MBEC a pleading dated 19 May 2001 entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor. In this pleading, respondent represented himself as “counsel for and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, George Bunan,” and signed the pleading as counsel for George Bunan (“Bunan”). On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that respondent is a municipal government employee, being a secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mandaon, Masbate. As such, respondent is not allowed by law to act as counsel for a client in any court or administrative body. On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, complainant accuses respondent of acting as counsel for vice mayoralty candidate George Bunan (“Bunan”) without the latter engaging respondent’s services. Complainant claims that respondent filed the pleading as a ploy to prevent the proclamation of the winning vice mayoralty candidate. On 22 May 2001, the Court issued a resolution allowing respondent to take the lawyer’s oath but disallowed him from signing the Roll of Attorneys until he is cleared of the charges against him. In the same resolution, the Court required respondent to comment on the complaint against him. In his Comment, respondent admits that Bunan sought his “specific assistance” to represent him before the MBEC. Respondent claims that “he decided to assist and advice Bunan, not as a lawyer but as a person who knows the law.” Respondent admits signing the 19 May 2001 pleading that objected to the inclusion of certain votes in the canvassing. He explains, however, that he did not sign the pleading as a lawyer or represented himself as an “attorney” in the pleading. On his employment as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent claims that he submitted his resignation on 11 May 2001 which was allegedly accepted on the same date. He submitted a copy of the Certification of Receipt of Revocable Resignation dated 28 May 2001 signed by Vice-Mayor Napoleon Relox. Respondent further claims that the complaint is politically motivated considering that complainant is the daughter of Silvestre Aguirre, the losing candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate. Respondent prays that the complaint be dismissed for lack of merit and that he be allowed to sign the Roll of Attorneys.

On 22 June 2001, complainant filed her Reply to respondent’s Comment and refuted the claim of respondent that his appearance before the MBEC was only to extend specific assistance to Bunan. Complainant alleges that on 19 May 2001 Emily Estipona-Hao (“Estipona-Hao”) filed a petition for proclamation as the winning candidate for mayor. Respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in this petition. When respondent appeared as counsel before the MBEC, complainant questioned his appearance on two grounds: (1) respondent had not taken his oath as a lawyer; and (2) he was an employee of the government. Respondent filed a Reply (Re: Reply to Respondent’s Comment) reiterating his claim that the instant administrative case is “motivated mainly by political vendetta.” On 17 July 2001, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar Confidant (“OBC”) for evaluation, report and recommendation. OBC’s Report and Recommendation The OBC found that respondent indeed appeared before the MBEC as counsel for Bunan in the May 2001 elections. The minutes of the MBEC proceedings show that respondent actively participated in the proceedings. The OBC likewise found that respondent appeared in the MBEC proceedings even before he took the lawyer’s oath on 22 May 2001. The OBC believes that respondent’s misconduct casts a serious doubt on his moral fitness to be a member of the Bar. The OBC also believes that respondent’s unauthorized practice of law is a ground to deny his admission to the practice of law. The OBC therefore recommends that respondent be denied admission to the Philippine Bar. On the other charges, OBC stated that complainant failed to cite a law which respondent allegedly violated when he appeared as counsel for Bunan while he was a government employee. Respondent resigned as secretary and his resignation was accepted. Likewise, respondent was authorized by Bunan to represent him before the MBEC. The Court’s Ruling We agree with the findings and conclusions of the OBC that respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and thus does not deserve admission to the Philippine Bar. Respondent took his oath as lawyer on 22 May 2001. However, the records show that respondent appeared as counsel for Bunan prior to 22 May 2001, before respondent took the lawyer’s oath. In the pleading entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of ViceMayor dated 19 May 2001, respondent signed as “counsel for George Bunan.” In the first paragraph of the same pleading respondent stated that he was the “(U)ndersigned

Counsel for, and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, GEORGE T. BUNAN.” Bunan himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he had “authorized Atty. Edwin L. Rana as his counsel to represent him” before the MBEC and similar bodies. On 14 May 2001, mayoralty candidate Emily Estipona-Hao also “retained” respondent as her counsel. On the same date, 14 May 2001, Erly D. Hao informed the MBEC that “Atty. Edwin L. Rana has been authorized by REFORMA LM -PPC as the legal counsel of the party and the candidate of the said party.” Respondent himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he was entering his “ appearance as counsel for Mayoralty Candidate Emily Estipona-Hao and for the REFORMA LM-PPC.” On 19 May 2001, respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in the petition filed before the MBEC praying for the proclamation of Estipona-Hao as the winning candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate. All these happened even before respondent took the lawyer’s oath. Clearly, respondent engaged in the practice of law without being a member of the Philippine Bar. In Philippine Lawyers Association v. Agrava,[1] the Court elucidated that:

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveyancing. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law,incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments,where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions . (5 Am. Jur. p. 262, 263). (Italics supplied) x x x
In Cayetano v. Monsod,[2] the Court held that “practice 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 acts which are usually performed by members of the legal profession. Generally, to practice law is to render any kind of service which requires the use of legal knowledge or skill. Verily, respondent was engaged in the practice of law when he appeared in the proceedings before the MBEC and filed various pleadings, without license to do so. Evidence clearly supports the charge of unauthorized practice of law. Respondent called himself “counsel” knowing fully well that he was not a member of the Bar. Having held himself out as “counsel” knowing that he had no authority to practice law, respondent has shown moral unfitness to be a member of the Philippine Bar. [3]

The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a privilege. It is limited to persons of good moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The exercise of this privilege presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge, educational attainment, and even public trust [4] since a lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar candidate does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld even from one who has passed the bar examinations, if the person seeking admission had practiced law without a license.[5] The regulation of the practice of law is unquestionably strict. In Beltran, Jr. v. Abad,[6] a candidate passed the bar examinations but had not taken his oath and signed the Roll of Attorneys. He was held in contempt of court for practicing law even before his admission to the Bar. Under Section 3 (e) of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who engages in the unauthorized practice of law is liable for indirect contempt of court. [7] True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawy er’s oath. However, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a fullfledged lawyer. The fact that respondent passed the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only qualification to become an attorney-at-law.[8] Respondent should know that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyer’s oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys.[9] On the charge of violation of law, complainant contends that the law does not allow respondent to act as counsel for a private client in any court or administrative body since respondent is the secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan. Respondent tendered his resignation as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan prior to the acts complained of as constituting unauthorized practice of law. In his letter dated 11 May 2001 addressed to Napoleon Relox, vice- mayor and presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent stated that he was resigning “effective upon your acceptance.”[10]Vice-Mayor Relox accepted respondent’s resignation effective 11 May 2001.[11] Thus, the evidence does not support the charge that respondent acted as counsel for a client while serving as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan. On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, evidence shows that Bunan indeed authorized respondent to represent him as his counsel before the MBEC and similar bodies. While there was no misrepresentation, respondent nonetheless had no authority to practice law. WHEREFORE, respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED admission to the Philippine Bar. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, YnaresSantiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., andAzcuna, JJ., concur.

[1]

105 Phil. 173 (1959). G.R. No. 100113, 3 September 1991, 201 SCRA 210. Yap Tan v. Sabandal, 211 Phil. 252 (1983). In the Matter of the Petition for Authority to Continue Use of the Firm Name Ozaeta, Romulo, etc., 30 July 1979, 92 SCRA 1. Ui v. Bonifacio, Administrative Case No. 3319, 8 June 2000, 333 SCRA 38. Bar Matter No. 139, 28 March 1983, 121 SCRA 217. People v. Santocildes, Jr., G.R. No. 109149, 21 December 1999, 321 SCRA 310. Diao v. Martinez, Administrative Case No. 244, 29 March 1963, 7 SCRA 475. Beltran, Jr. v. Abad, B.M. No. 139, 28 March 1983, 121 SCRA 217. Respondent’s Comment, Annex “A”. Ibid., Annex “B”.

[2]

[3]

[4]

[5]

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