April 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Legal and Judicial Ethics

Here are select April 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on legal and judicial ethics:

Attorney; falsification. Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a lawyer may be removed or suspended on the following grounds: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice; (3) gross misconduct in office; (4) grossly immoral conduct; (5) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; (6) violation of the lawyer’s oath; (7) willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and (8) corruptly or willfully appearing as a lawyer for a party to a case without authority so to do.

The crime of falsification of public document is contrary to justice, honesty, and good morals and, therefore, involves moral turpitude. Moral turpitude includes everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.  It involves an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.

Disbarment is the appropriate penalty for conviction by final judgment for a crime involving moral turpitude. Re: SC Decision date May 20, 2008 in G.R. No. 161455 under Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court vs. Atty. Rodolfo D. Pactolin. A.C. No. 7940, April 24, 2012.

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