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Observance of fairness and obedience, C2S5 CPRA

Section 5, Canon II

SECTION 5. Observance of fairness and obedience. – A lawyer shall, in every personal and professional engagement, insist on the observance of the principles of fairness and obedience to the law. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)

1. Observance of fairness and obedience

a. Insist on the observance of the principles of fairness and obedience to the law

Lawyers should always keep in mind that, although upholding the Constitution and obeying the law is an obligation imposed on every citizen, a lawyer’s responsibilities… mean more than just staying out of trouble with the law. As servants of the law and officers of the court, lawyers are required to be at the forefront of observing and maintaining the rule of law. They are expected to make themselves exemplars worthy of emulation. This, in fact, is what a lawyer’s obligation to promote respect for law and legal processes entails. (Re: Report on the Financial Audit Conducted on the Books of Account of Atty. Raquel G. Kho, A.M. No. P-06-2177, 10 April 2007)

1) Officers of the court

As officers of the court, lawyers are duty-bound to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial officers. They are to abstain from offensive or menacing language or behavior before the court and must refrain from attributing to a judge motives that are not supported by the record or have no materiality to the case. (Alpajora v. Calayan, En Banc, A.C. No. 8208, 10 January 2018)

Lawyers are particularly called upon to obey court orders and processes, and this deference is underscored by the fact that willful disregard thereof may subject the lawyer not only to punishment for contempt but to disciplinary sanctions as well In this case, respondent deliberately ignored five CA Resolutions, thereby violating his duty to observe and maintain the respect due the courts. (Re: CA-G.R. CV No. [Sps. Bayani and Partoza v. Montano] v. Santamaria, A.C. No. 11173, 11 June 2018)

The misconduct of respondent-lawyer is aggravated by his unjustified refusal to heed the orders of the IBP requiring him to file an answer to the complaint-affidavit and, afterwards, to appear at the mandatory conference. He is justly charged with conduct unbecoming a lawyer, for a lawyer is expected to uphold the law and promote respect for legal processes. Further, a lawyer must observe and maintain respect not only to the courts, but also to judicial officers and other duly constituted authorities, including the IBP. Under Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, the Court has empowered the IBP to conduct proceedings for the disbarment, suspension, or discipline of attorneys. (Caspe v. Mejica, A.C. No. 10679, 10 March 2015)

The Supreme Court notes that it repeatedly required her to comment on complainants’ petition, but respondent ignored such commands. Similarly, when the instant case was referred to the IBP for investigation, report, and recommendation, respondent again disregarded the directives of the Investigating Commissioner to attend the mandatory conference and to submit a position paper. Such audacity on the part of respondent – which caused undue delay in the resolution of the instant administrative case – contravenes Canon 11 and Rule 12.04, Canon 12 of the CPR. Undoubtedly, the Court’s patience has been tested to the limit by what in hindsight amounts to a lawyer’s impudence and disrespectful bent. At the minimum, members of the legal fraternity owe courts of justice respect, courtesy, and such other becoming conduct essential in the promotion of orderly, impartial, and speedy justice. What respondent-lawyer has done was the exact opposite, and hence, she must be disciplined accordingly. (Lopez v. Limos, A.C. No. 7618, 02 February 2016)

2) No defiance of the law

Where a lawyer by advised complainants to execute another Deed of Absolute Sale antedated to 1979 to evade payment of capital gains taxes, he violated his duty to promote respect for law and legal processes, and not to abet activities aimed at defiance of the law. That respondent intended to, as he did defraud not a private party but the government is aggravating. (Hsia v. Mesina, A.C. No. 4904, 12 August 2004)

The [respondent-lawyer] would shift the blame to his client. That a lay person like the complainant could have swayed a lawyer like the respondent into committing the simulations was patently improbable. Yet, even if he had committed the simulations upon the client’s prodding, he would be no less responsible. Being a lawyer, he was aware of and was bound by the ethical canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility, particularly those quoted earlier, which would have been enough to deter him from committing the falsification, as well as to make him unhesitatingly frustrate her prodding in deference to his sworn obligation as a lawyer to always act with honesty and to obey the laws of the land. Surely, too, he could not have soon forgotten his express undertaking under his Lawyer’s Oath to “do no falsehood, nor consent to its commission. (Madria v. Rivera, A.C. No. 11256, 07 March 2017)

References

Canon II, 2023 Code of Professional Responsibility

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