2015 BAR EXAMINATIONS
LEGAL ETHICS
November 29, 20152:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. This Questionnaire contains ten (10) pages including these Instructions pages. Check the number of pages and the page numbers at the upper right hand corner of each page of this Questionnaire and make sure it has the correct number of pages and their proper numbers.

There are 24 items (I to XXIV) to be answered within/our (4) hours.

2. Read each question very carefully and write your answers in your Bar Examination Notebook in the same order the questions are posed. Write your answers only on the front, not the back, page of every sheet in your Notebook. Note well the allocated percentage points for each number, question, or sub-question. In your answers, use the numbering system in the questionnaire.

If the sheets provided in your Examination Notebook are not sufficient for your answers, use the back page of every sheet of your Examination Notebook, starting at the back page of the first sheet and the back of the succeeding sheets thereafter.

3. Answer the Essay questions legibly, clearly, and concisely. Start each number on a separate page. An answer to a sub-question under the same number may be written continuously on the same page and the immediately succeeding pages until completed.

Your answer should demonstrate your ability to analyze the facts presented by the question, to select the material from the immaterial facts, and to discern the points upon which the question turns. It should show your knowledge and understanding of the pertinent principles and theories of law involved and their qualifications and limitations. It should demonstrate your ability to apply the law to the given facts, to reason logically in a lawyer-like manner, and to form a sound conclusion from the given premises.

A mere "Yes" or "No" answer without any corresponding explanation or discussion will not be given any credit. Thus, always briefly but fully explain your answers although the question does not expressly ask for an explanation. At the same time, remember that a complete explanation does not require that you volunteer information or discuss legal doctrines that are not necessary or pertinent to the solution to the problem. You do not need to re-write or repeat the question in your Notebook.

4. Make sure you do not write your name or any extraneous note/s or distinctive marking/s on your Notebook that can serve as an identifying mark/s (such as names that are not in the given questions, prayers, or private notes to the Examiner).

Writing, leaving or making any distinguishing or identifying mark in the exam Notebook is considered cheating and can disqualify you for the Bar examinations.

You can use the questionnaire for notes you may wish/need to write during the examination.

YOU CAN BRING HOME THIS QUESTIONNAIRE OR SUBMIT IT TOGETHER WITH YOUR NOTEBOOK

JUSTICE TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
Chairperson
2015 Bar Examinations

  1. Define the following terms:

    a. counsel de oficio

    b. counsel de parte

    c. amicus curiae

    d. attorney of record (4%)

  2. In open court, accused Marla manifested that she had already settled in full the civil aspect of the criminal case filed against her in the total amount of P58,000.00. Marla further alleged that she paid directly to private complainant Jasmine the amount of P25,000.00. The balance of P33,000.00 was delivered to Atty. Jeremiah, Jasmine's lawyer, evidenced by a receipt signed by Atty. Jeremiah himself.

    However, Jasmine manifested that she did not receive the amount of P33,000.00 which Marla turned over to Atty. Jeremiah. Despite Jasmine's requests to turn over the money, Atty. Jeremiah failed to do so. It was only after Jasmine already filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Jeremiah that the latter finally paid the P33,000.00 to the former, but in three installment payments of Pl1,000.00 each. Atty. Jeremiah claimed that he decided to hold on to the P33,000.00 at first because Jasmine had not yet paid his attorney's fees.

    Is Atty. Jeremiah administratively liable? Explain. (3%)

  3. Maria and Atty. Evangeline met each other and became good friends at zumba class. One day, Maria approached Atty. Evangeline for legal advice. It turned out that Maria, a nurse, previously worked in the Middle East. So she could more easily leave for work abroad, she declared in all her documents that she was still single. However, Maria was already married with two children. Maria again had plans to apply for work abroad but this time, wished to have all her papers in order. Atty. Evangeline, claiming that she was already overloaded with other cases, referred Maria's case to another lawyer. Maria found it appalling that after Atty. Evangeline had learned of her secrets, the latter refused to handle her case.

    Maria's friendship with Atty. Evangeline permanently turned sour after Maria filed an administrative case against the latter for failing to return borrowed jewelry. Atty. Evangeline, on the other hand, threatened to charge Maria with a criminal case for falsification of public documents, based on the disclosures Maria had earlier made to Atty. Evangeline.

    a. Was the consultation of Maria with Atty. Evangeline considered privileged? (1%)

    b. What are the factors to establish the existence of attorney-client privilege? (3%)

  4. The Lawyer's Oath is a source of obligation and its violation is a ground for suspension, disbarment, or other disciplinary action. State in substance the Lawyer's Oath. (3%)

  5. Judge Ana P. Sevillano had an issue with the billings for the post-paid cellular phone services of her 16-year-old daughter for the last three consecutive months. Although Judge Sevillano had been repeatedly calling the Customer Service Hotline of Universal Telecoms, the billings issue was never fully settled to Judge Sevillano's satisfaction. Finally, Judge Sevillano wrote the National Telecommunications Commission a letter of complaint against Universal Telecoms, using her official court stationery and signing the letter as "Judge Ana P. Sevillano." Did Judge Sevillano violate any professional or ethical standard for judges? Justify your answer. (3%)

  6. Casper Solis graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from Achieve University in 2000 and took and passed the bar examinations given that same year. Casper passed the bar examinations and took the Attorney's Oath together with other successful bar examinees on March 19, 2001 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). He was scheduled to sign the Roll of Attorneys on May 24, 2001 but he misplaced the Notice to Sign the Roll of Attorneys sent by the Office of the Bar Confidant after he went home to the province for a vacation. Since taking his oath in 2001, Casper had been employed by several law firms and private corporations, mainly doing corporate and taxation work. When attending a seminar as part of his Mandatory Continuing Legal Education in 2003, Casper was unable to provide his roll number. Seven years later in 2010, Casper filed a Petition praying that he be allowed to sign the Roll of Attorneys. Casper alleged good faith, initially believing that he had already signed the Roll before entering PICC for his oath-taking on March 19, 2001.

    a. Can Casper already be considered a member of the Bar and be allowed to use the title of "attorney"? Explain. (1%)

    b. Did Casper commit any professional or ethical transgression for which he could be held administratively liable? (2%)

    c. Will you grant Casper's Petition to belatedly sign the Roll of Attorneys? Why? (2%)

  7. Cite some of the characteristics of the legal profession which distinguish it from business. (4%)

  8. Engr. Gilbert referred his friends, spouses Richard and Cindy Maylupa, to Atty. Jane for the institution of an action for partition of the estate of Richard's deceased father. In a letter, Atty. Jane promised to give Engr. Gilbert a commission equivalent to 15% of the attorney's fees she would receive from the spouses Maylupa. Atty. Jane, however, failed to pay Engr. Gilbert the promised commission despite already terminating the action for partition and receiving attorney's fees amounting to about P600,000.00. Engr. Gilbert repeatedly demanded payment of his commission but Atty. Jane ignored him. May Atty. Jane professionally or ethically promise a commission to Engr. Gilbert? Explain. (3%)

  9. a. Explain the doctrine of quantum meruit in determining the amount of attorney's fees. (2%)

    b. Identify the factors to be considered in determining attorney's fees on a quantum meruit basis. (2%)

  10. The spouses Manuel were the registered owners of a parcel of land measuring about 200,000 square meters. On May 4, 2008, the spouses Manuel sold the land for P3,500,000.00 to the spouses Rivera who were issued a certificate of title for said land in their names. Because the spouses Rivera failed to pay the balance of the purchase price for the land, the spouses Manuel, through Atty. Enriquez, instituted an action on March 18, 2010 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for sum of money and/or annulment of sale, docketed as Civil Case No. 1111. The complaint in Civil Case No. 1111 specifically alleged that Atty. Enriquez would be paid P200,000.00 as attorney's fees on a contingency basis. The RTC subsequently promulgated its decision upholding the sale of the land to the spouses Rivera. Atty. Enriquez timely filed an appeal on behalf of the spouses Manuel before the Court of Appeals. The appellate court found for the spouses Manuel, declared the sale of the land to the spouses Rivera null and void, and ordered the cancellation of the spouses Rivera's certificate of title for the land. The Supreme Court dismissed the spouses Rivera's appeal for lack of merit. With the finality of judgment in Civil Case No. 1111 on October 20, 2014, Atty. Enriquez filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution.

    Meanwhile, the spouses Rivera filed on November 10, 2014 before the RTC a case for quieting of title against the spouses Manuel, docketed as Civil Case No. 2222. The spouses Manuel, again through Atty. Enriquez, filed a motion to dismiss Civil Case No. 2222 on the ground of res judicata given the final judgment in Civil Case No. 1111.

    Pending the resolution of the motion to dismiss in Civil Case No. 2222, the RTC granted on February 9, 2015 the motion for issuance of a writ of execution in Civil Case No. 1111 and placed the spouses Manuel in possession of the land. Atty. Enriquez, based on a purported oral agreement with the spouses Manuel, laid claim to Y2 of the land, measuring 100,000.00 square meters with market value of Pl,750,000.00, as his attorney's fees. Atty. Enriquez caused the subdivision of the land in two equal portions and entered into the half he appropriated for himself.

    Based on the professional and ethical standards for lawyers, may Atty. Enriquez claim Yi of the land as his contingency fee? Why? (4%)

  11. Atty. Belinda appeared as counsel for accused Popoy in a case being heard before Judge Tadhana. After Popoy was arraigned, Atty. Belinda moved for a resetting of the pre-trial conference. This visibly irked Judge Tadhana and so before Atty. Belinda could finish her statement, Judge Tadhana cut her off by saying that if she was not prepared to handle the case, then he could easily assign a counsel de oficio for Popoy. Judge Tadhana also uttered that Atty. Belinda was wasting the precious time of the court. Atty. Belinda tried to explain that she was capable of handling the case but before she could finish her explanation, Judge Tadhana again cut her off and accused her of always making excuses for her incompetence. Judge Tadhana even declared that he did not care if Atty. Belinda filed a thousand administrative cases against him.

    According to Atty. Belinda, Judge Tadhana had also humiliated her like that in the past for the flimsiest of reasons. Even Atty. Belinda's clients were not spared from Judge Tadhana's wrath as he often scolded witnesses who failed to respond immediately to questions asked of them on the witness stand.

    Atty. Belinda filed an administrative case against Judge Tadhana. Do the acts of Judge Tadhana as described above constitute a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct? Explain. (3%)

  12. a. What is the best form of advertising possible for a lawyer? (2%)

    b. What are the allowable or permissible forms of advertising by a lawyer? (3%)

  13. In a land registration case before Judge Lucio, the petitioner is represented by the second cousin of Judge Lucio's wife.

    a. Differentiate between compulsory and voluntary disqualification and determine if Judge Lucio should disqualify himself under either circumstance. (3%)

    b. If none of the parties move for his disqualification, may Judge Lucio proceed with the case? (2%)

  14. Identify and briefly explain three of the canons under the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary. (6%)

  15. Jon served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PBB Cars, Inc. (PBB), a family-owned corporation engaged in the buying and selling of second hand cars. Atty. Teresa renders legal services to PBB on a retainer basis.

    In 2010, Jon engaged Atty. Teresa's services for a personal case. Atty. Teresa represented Jon in a BP Big. 22 case filed against him by the spouses Yuki. Jon paid a separate legal fee for Atty. Teresa's services.

    Jon subsequently resigned as CEO of PBB in 2011. In 2012, Atty. Teresa filed on behalf of PBB a complaint for replevin and damages against Jon to recover the car PBB had assigned to him as a service vehicle. Atty. Teresa, however, had not yet withdrawn as Jon's counsel of record in the BP Big. 22 case, which was still then pending.

    Jon filed an administrative case for disbarment against Atty. Teresa for representing conflicting interests and violating the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Teresa countered that since the BP Blg. 22 case and the replevin case are unrelated and involved different issues, parties, and subject matters, there was no conflict of interest and she acted within the bounds of legal ethics.

    Is Atty. Teresa's contention tenable? Explain. (3%)

  16. Atty. Luna Tek maintains an account in the social media network called Twitter and has 1,000 followers there, including fellow lawyers and some clients. Her Twitter account is public so even her non-followers could see and read her posts, which are called tweets. She oftentimes takes to Twitter to vent about her daily sources of stress like traffic or to comment about current events. She also tweets her disagreement and disgust with the decisions of the Supreme Court by insulting and blatantly cursing the individual Justices and the Court as an institution.

    a. Does Atty. Luna Tek act in a manner consistent with the Code of Professional Responsibility? Explain the reasons for your answer. (3%)

    b. Describe the relationship between a lawyer and the courts. (3%)

  17. Give three instances when a lawyer is allowed to withdraw his/her services. (3%)

  18. Atty. Javier sold a piece of land in favor of Gregorio for P2,000,000.00. Atty. Javier drafted the Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase which he and Gregorio signed on August 12, 2002. Under said Deed, Atty. Javier represented that he had "the perfect right to dispose as owner in fee simple" the land and that the land is "free from all liens and encumbrances." The Deed also stated that Atty. Javier had two years within which to repurchase the property. Atty. Javier turned over the owner's copy of his certificate of title, TCT No. 12121, to Gregorio. Gregorio then immediately took possession of the land.

    Atty. Javier failed to exercise his right to repurchase within two years. Gregorio sent Atty. Javier a letter dated April 8, 2005 demanding that the latter already repurchase the property. Despite receipt of Gregorio's letter, Atty. Javier still failed to repurchase the property. Gregorio remained in peaceful possession of the land until July 25, 2013, when he received notice from Trustworthy Bank informing him that the land was mortgaged to said bank, that the bank already foreclosed on the land, and that Gregorio should therefore vacate the land. Upon investigation, Gregorio discovered that Atty. Javier's TCT No. 12121 had already been cancelled when another bank foreclosed on a previous mortgage on the land, but after a series of transactions, Atty. Javier was able to reacquire the land and secure TCT No. 34343 for the same. With TCT No. 34343, Atty. Javier constituted another mortgage on the land in favor of Trustworthy Bank on February 22, 2002. Gregorio was subsequently dispossessed of the property.

    Gregorio filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Javier. In his defense, Atty. Javier argued that he could not be held administratively liable as there was no attorney-client relationship between him and Gregorio. Moreover, the transaction was not actually one of sale with right to repurchase, but one of equitable mortgage, wherein he still had the legal right to mortgage the land to other persons.

    a. If you are tasked to investigate and report on Gregorio's administrative complaint against Atty. Javier, what will be your recommendation and finding? (3%)

    b. In the same administrative case, may Atty. Javier be ordered to return the P2,000,000.00 purchase price to Gregorio? Explain. (3%)

  19. a. What are the grounds for disbarment or suspension from office of an attorney? (4%)

    b. If Atty. Babala is also admitted as an attorney in a foreign jurisdiction, what is the effect of his disbarment or suspension by a competent court or other disciplinary authority in said foreign jurisdiction to his membership in the Philippine Bar? (2%)

  20. Cecilio is one of the 12 heirs of his father Vicente, who owned an agricultural land located in Bohol. Cecilio filed a complaint charging Judge Love Koto with abuse of discretion and authority for preparing and notarizing a document entitled "Extra-Judicial Partition with Simultaneous Deed of Sale" executed by Cecilio's mother Divina and brother Jose. Jose signed the Deed on his own behalf and purportedly also on behalf of his brothers and sisters, including Cecilio. Cecilio though alleged that in his Special Power of Attorney, he merely granted Jose the authority to mortgage said agricultural land but not to partition, much less to sell the same. Judge Koto contended that in a municipality where a notary public is unavailable, a municipal judge is allowed to notarize documents or deeds as ex officio notary public. He claimed that he acted in good faith and only wanted to help. Did Judge Koto violate any rules? Discuss. (3%)

  21. Judge Junior attended the 50th birthday party of his fraternity brother, Atty. Vera. Also present at the party was Atty. Rico who was Atty. Vera's classmate way back in high school and who was handling Civil Case No. 5555 currently pending before Judge Junior's court. Well-aware that Atty. Rico had a case before his sala, Judge Junior still sat next to Atty. Rico at a table, and the two conversed with each other, and ate and drank together throughout the night. Since Atty. Vera was a well-known personality, his birthday party was featured in a magazine. The opposing party to Atty. Rico's client in Civil Case No. 5555, while flipping through the pages of the magazine, came upon the pictures of Judge Junior and Atty. Rico together at the party and used said pictures as bases for instituting an administrative case against Judge Junior. Judge Junior, in his answer, reasoned that he attended Atty. Vera's party in his private capacity, that he had no control over who Atty. Vera invited to the party, and that he and Atty. Rico never discussed Civil Case No. 5555 during the party. Did Judge Junior commit an administrative infraction? Explain. (3%)

  22. a. Describe briefly the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) for a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the purpose of the same. (2%)

    b. Name three parties exempted from the MCLE. (3%)

  23. Atty. Billy, a young associate in a medium-sized law firm, was in a rush to meet the deadline for filing his appellant's brief. He used the internet for legal research by typing keywords on his favorite search engine, which led him to many websites containing text of Philippine jurisprudence. None of these sites was owned or maintained by the Supreme Court. He found a case he believed to be directly applicable to his client's cause, so he copied the text of the decision from the blog of another law firm, and pasted the text to the document he was working on. The formatting of the text he had copied was lost when he pasted it to the document, and he could not distinguish anymore which portions were the actual findings or rulings of the Supreme Court, and which were quoted portions from the other sources that were used in the body of the decision. Since his deadline was fast approaching, he decided to just make it appear as if every word he quoted was part of the ruling of the Court, thinking that it would not be discovered.

    Atty. Billy's opponent, Atty. Ally, a very conscientious former editor of her school's law journal, noticed many discrepancies in Atty. Billy's supposed quotations from the Supreme Court decision when she read the text of the case from her copy of the PhUippine Reports. Atty. Billy failed to reproduce the punctuation marks and font sizes used by the Court. Worse, he quoted the arguments of one party as presented in the case, which arguments happened to be favorable to his position, and not the ruling or reasoning of the Court, but this distinction was not apparent in his brief. Appalled, she filed a complaint against him.

    a. Did Atty. Billy fail in his duty as a lawyer? What rules did he violate, if any? (2%)

    b. How should lawyers quote a Supreme Court decision? (2%)

  24. An anonymous letter addressed to the Supreme Court was sent by one Malcolm X, a concerned citizen, complaining against Judge Hambog, Presiding Judge of the RTC of Mahangin City, Branch 7. Malcolm X reported that Judge Hambog is acting arrogantly in court; using abusive and inappropriate language; and embarrassing and insulting parties, witnesses, and even lawyers appearing before him. Attached to the letter were pages from transcripts of records in several cases heard before Judge Hambog, with Judge Hambog's arrogant, abusive, inappropriate, embarrassing and/or insulting remarks or comments highlighted.

    a. Will the Court take cognizance of the letter-complaint even coming from an anonymous source? Explain. (2%)

    b. Describe briefly the procedure followed when giving due course to a complaint against an RTC judge. (3%)

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