“What the nation needs is honest lawyers, if there are any.”

23rd IBP Board Oath Taking, July 11, 2017 [IBP website]

By JoeAm

I recently wrote about how self-destructive the Philippines tends to be. I won’t go back over that. You can just read the article or look around to see for yourself. You won’t have to look far.

There are solutions for this. It is possible to run a decent, straight-dealing, competent government that serves the citizens of the land well.

If the nation ever hopes to mature and become capable and prosperous, leaders must do a better job with laws and lawyers. Laws are the way societies codify civility and fairness and assure prosperity. Lawyers are supposed to be agents of discipline . . . but in the Philippines, they are more often agents of corruption and strife. They paper over the bad deeds of law-breakers and entice judges to make favorable rulings. They help landowners and businessmen and Senator Manny Pacquiao evade taxes. They get the plunderers out of jail and make sure the whistle-blowers are put away until they are feeble of brain and body.

If the nation is to end corruption, its lawmakers and enforcers must be held to account for letting the nation down.

A whole lot of attorneys in the Philippines . . . Panelo, Roque, Calida, and Aguirre among them . . . need to be disbarred. They should be relegated to harvesting coconuts for a living to understand how the majority of Filipinos scrape to get by. And so others appreciate what being an attorney means.

Harry Roque illustrates what happens to too many lawyers in the Philippines. They advance by facilitating favor, impunity, and corruption. They become spokesmen for cheating and for people who make no distinction between lies and truth. They just make stories up and posture as if they were the voice of God Himself.

Or they become Supreme Court justices who cannot even discern conflict of interest.

Lawyers here seem to get their credentials and immediately turn amoral money-grubber, prostitutes who peddle their wares to the quickest and highest bidder.

Now it is true, every criminal is entitled to a defense. But in the Philippines, attorneys are on offense. They are hired attack dogs for corrupt thinking and political game-playing. They are like the VACC scoundrels making up spurious cases or POA Atty Acosta who presents herself as a medical expert to attack political foes of President Duterte. She should be top of the list for disbarment. We all know she is striving for fame and fortune, not for laws. Or justice.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has lost the thread. It will not discipline even the most egregious of sins. When Harry Roque egged the German boyfriend over the jailhouse fence in the Laude murder case, or conflated the VFA and Laude cases intentionally, he should have been disbarred. Aguirre should be disbarred for the disgraceful way he managed cases. Panelo for telling lies and misleading the public. Calida for willful conflict of interest. How hard is it for intelligent, grown men and women of the IBP to seek a better standard for lawyers?

Attorneys are smart people. I think it is time the entire profession agreed that it is a failed profession . . . until it finds its ethical bearings. Attorneys are leading the nation to destruction, not prosperity.

Filipinos should demand the highest ethical bearing from those who make or break the law, make or break justice, and make or break the ethical character of the Philippines.

Gadon and Topaciao still have credentials? How do upstanding lawyers stand for that? They don’t grasp that ethical bearing is the great brush that paints them all, either as upstanding professionals or as slimeballs? The profession’s ethical bearing is as good as the worst of them.

The Philippines will never be a productive and prosperous nation until it gets rid of those who abuse the dignity and letter of the law.

The IBP is accountable for the abuses. It’s Board has nowhere else to point. It is the ethical watchdog for lawyers. The IBP Mission Statement says so. The organization exists:

  1. To elevate the standards of the legal profession
  2. To improve the administration of justice
  3. To enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively

Marlu B. Ubano [IBP website]

Here is a link that identifies the Board of Governors of the IBP and the executive officers. I would like to point to one individual in particular:

MARLOU B. UBANO, National Director for Bar Discipline

I don’t know Mr. Ubano from Adam. I do know his function is failed. I suggest the IBP spend time, effort, and money to upgrade this part of the organization, to include the creation of a prosecution unit that will aggressively investigate complaints against lawyers and judges and levy disbarment decisions quickly.

Here is a link to IRB 139-A reciting the Rules of the Court.

Here is a link to the IRB Rule 139-B that outlines procedures for disbarment and discipline of attorneys. As with most things legal in the Philippines, it is more administrative rigmarole and loophole than discipline. The IBP appoints counsel to defend the defendant! Stop being nice! Get the rats out of the profession, the oath breakers, the unethical gameplayers, the facilitators of corruption and crime!

These rules need to be reconfigured to err on the side of ethics rather than lawyer rights.

The nation will never be honest until the IBP demonstrates the will to clean up the ethical foundations of justice in the Philippines.


91 Responses to ““What the nation needs is honest lawyers, if there are any.””
  1. With this article, I would like to return to the discussion format of staying for the most part ‘on topic’ and setting aside the open discussion format. Elections will be coming soon, and I’d like to focus on some specific topics. This one is about lawyer ethics in the Philippines.

    Also, I’d like to encourage original thoughts. If links are pertinent, please post the link with a brief statement of what it is about, rather than posting the entire article here. The idea is to make the blog one of the best places to go for original insight and ideas.

  2. edgar lores says:

    1. This post is on target.

    2. Among the first lawyers to be disbarred would be the President for planting evidence and for breaking his oath to preserve and defend the Constitution.

    3. Perhaps rather than harvesting coconuts, a more appropriate form of rehabilitation for him would be to plant kamote.

    4. The tragicomedy of the turnover of speakers in the House of Representatives has forever dispelled the myth that the President is in control. The armor of strength and invincibility has slipped… showing a bloodied kamiseta that not even a tambay would wear.

    • I presume a lot of the House members are attorneys. They are the worst in the nation in terms of ethical bearing as far as I can tell. They are even willing to have a majority and a minority from the majority, pushing the legitimate minority to the sidelines.

      Yes, President Duterte should be on the list for immediate disbarment, as well as former Speaker Alvarez and House Justice Committee Chair Umali.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    The Public attorney’s office is direly needed,but Acosta’s bias is showing.
    What will happen? She will pretend to defend the poor, but deep inside she does not want to?

    Next is, I don’t understand those who shout: Where is the CHR when this rape happened?
    True, it is a human rights case, but the CHR are after the HR violations of the state.

    • Yes, CHR is not a policing agency. I wonder if they ever got the case files that Bato promised them during a committee hearing. I’d guess not. That is the most gross of human rights violations, hiding the facts of organized brutality from the People. The rape case is fallacious troll argument.

      Acosta is absolutely the worst ethical model possible, supposedly serving the needy but wasting her time pretending she is a doctor to go after President Aquino, along with another pack of ethical challenged malcontents, VACC. Acosta’s dramatics alone are enough to say she is professionally unstable and a poor representative of the legal community’s dignified manner.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    Since it is the former and the current ombudsman are retired justices, they can not be disbarred, what kind of punishment can the current ombudsman receive if he fouls up?

    Old people can still commit crimes but for humanitarian reasons, they walk freely. Ahem, Enrile!

    • I think impeachment, or maybe quo warranto petition ala Sereno now that it has been used. Plus public condemnation, but he seems immune to that, given that his voting record has been highly controversial. I do think there needs to be a broad ethical awakening in the Philippines, to stop the nonsense and cheating and cheapening of professions that ought to be esteemed.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Broad Ethical Awakening or even what Contributor Pablo clamours for: R.E.S.P.E.C.T

        • Yes, I noted Pablo’s comment. “Switzerland is based on respect not laws” and he elaborates something like “respect for life, respect for property, respect for other people’s ways” which is actually what the law should embody, not what it is in the Philippines “due palusot” for those that it favors (those in power or with money) or The Spanish Inquisition for those that it disfavors (those out of power or without money). But Pablo’s first comment is quite clear: lawyers in the Philippines have given law a bad name. I for my part think it would be enough if most people in the Philippines developed mere consideration for others. Respect possibly will come later, as many people in the Philippines have little more than disdain for outsiders.

          Laws are just codifications, if people are decent simple laws are enough. In fact Philippine laws to me look like a crazy toolbox where lawyers can pick out anything they need – hammer and nails or instruments of torture. Possibly, possibly, the De Lima reform of the Criminal Code in 2014 (German-sponsored) was exactly what many Congressmen as lawyers don’t want: easily understandable laws where trials usually don’t take that long. Sources of income for city jail employees would be gone if poor people stayed in jail shorter because their trials don’t take 10 years. Or like reactionary Filipino lawyers would say “if people can easily know crimes and punishments, they can avoid them in advance”. (what!)

          • I really heard the latter comment long ago (Martial Law era) – it was the spirit of the law used to intimidate the commoner, still the spirit of the law written in Spanish and Latin to scare the native, whose sense was “don’t go against us or we’ll throw it at you”. The kind Rizal hated while he praised the efficient and fair justice system of English colonies. The kind Rizal also hated because it was used to grab land, something that happened to his family in Laguna.

  5. The Code of Conduct for PH lawyers should be read by all Filipinos. It should be translated in all Filipino dialects and made available to citizens so lawyers could be called out/sued for their transgressions.

    I can see that the President is in violation of of Canon 1. He is not practicing law at the moment. Is he still an active member of the profession?

    Every US profession, requires a valid license and certain number of continuing education units annually. Is this also the case in PH?


    Another interesting link that enumerates the grounds for disbarment or suspension of a Lawyer in PH:


    • Those are excellent questions, Juana, and something the IBP should emphasize and enforce. If they fail to, then I suppose it would fall to private citizens to form an ethical advocacy organization and start filing cases.


      Yes, the President would seem in violation of this rule.


      This is where Gadon and Tapaciao and others who file spurious cases are in violation. They do not use true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information. They are pursuing a political advocacy. And Acosta is the worst of the lot, even wearing medical clothing.

      The other canons also ASPIRE toward a dignified profession, but, clearly, legislators and political advocacy attorneys violate the norms.

      Thank you for providing that document.

    • edgar lores says:

      The planting of evidence is a violation of Rule 6.01 of Canon 6.

    • The Grounds for Disbarment make challenges difficult in that attorneys are given latitude to ‘act up’. For example, 3. Grossly Immoral Conduct seems to focus on personal acts that are clearly despicable. But what about an attorney like Roque who relentlessly makes up stories and gets caught from time to time when the President or others say just the opposite? Is that in violationn of Rule 1?

      As I read this, it is clear that disbarment would be difficult under these standards. Perhaps the IBP needs to reconsider the standards because the current ones for sure are not working well.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I googled and Roque has many disbarment cases.

        • Yes, I followed him on the Laude murder prosecution, one of those disbarment cases I am sure, and he was grossly out of line.

        • Found in a roundabout way that PH has what is called CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Act of 2016 which was sponsored by Sen Trillanes and it is very controversial because a number of professionals do want to abide by it. It is the equivalent of the continuing education requirement I mentioned on my post above. It looks like there is a pressure to abolish the law. What is wrong with lifelong learning and being on top of what is going on in your chosen field of study? Why are they (Filipino professionals) against it? Pahirap daw sa buhay nila. How so?

          • Francis says:

            I’ve heard on Reddit that many of the professionals don’t like how they have to pay expensive fees for CPD or how agencies like the PRC aren’t overseeing CPD well.

            The implementation of the law seems to have made many professionals dismayed. It is not that they don’t like CPD—but that CPD has been haphazardly implemented, in their eyes.

          • edgar lores says:

            I know nurses and merchant seamen are affected by this law. A nurse friend is two-minds about it. She begrudges the expense of going to Manila and taking up refresher courses but, at the same time, she acknowledges the need to keep up with the advances in technology and new scientific findings.

            As to seamen, I could be wrong but the advances in technology are not that rapid (?). On-the-job training would probably suffice.

            What might be beneficial for lawyers would be professional development courses in Ethics. Courses that they have to take continuously until they learn.

          • They get tired of feeling guilty during the ethics lessons.

          • karlgarcia says:

            @dcmeyer83 My comments are below. Thanks.

            • karlgarcia says:

              My bad again, they are not below, but above.

              • That’s cool. Read them and responded to some. It is good you started a new thread the one above is getting unwieldy.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I think CLE can be done without further disruption.

                Our legislation is also hole in the dike problem solving which is even worse than band aid solutions.

                The legislators try to plug every hole then the bicam removes one plug then the presidents signs a law with one big hole.

                Then the law becomes out of touch with reality when it is time for the agencies to submit the IRR draft then another round of hearings, like what is happening to our CPD.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Maybe things look bad because our media documents all our complaints, sometimes I agree with the MMDA spokesperson of telling people who throw trash indiscrimately that they have no right to complain about floods.

                Abroad we comply, why do we have to complain here, is it because there is a microphone in front of us (actual and virtual)
                That makes us attention whores, sorry for being harsh( incidentally, the oldest profession wants worldwide decriminalization).

    • Thank you. That was May 2015. He noted that the Philippine legal system is weak and focused on three ideas for strengthening it: education for prospective attorneys, Civil Liberties Union, and class action lawsuits. These are excellent suggestions.

      My article centers on ethics, a problem in many professions. However, if Filipino governing institutions are to be strong and upright, the legal profession is the place to start. Then the push can spread to doctors and other professions.

  6. NHerrera says:

    Thanks again for a very important and timely article. I would like to dwell on a related aspect: the per capita population of lawyers in the Philippines compared to other countries and some associated aspects.


    Googling gives 40,000 as the number of current lawyers. For a population of about 100 million, that comes to 1 lawyer in 2,500 people in the PH. Compare that with these numbers from at least 3 developed countries: US: 1 lawyer for every 300 people, UK: 1 lawyer for every 401, Germany: 1 lawyer for every 593. Thus, we do not have as many lawyers per capita as one would tend to believe.


    While the spirit and the letter of the Constitution and the Laws are drummed into the law student while in school, out of school and after passing the Bar Exams we have a different matter. Firstly, contrary to my previous comments here in TSH, I have to admit that the graduates of law have something between their ears in addition to their and their parents’ persistence — the latter sacrificing a lot, including selling their carabaos and land to send their precious law student through school. Note among others that it takes about 8 years to mint a lawyer, not considering the time spent studying for the Bar Exams (4 years as an undergrad in such courses as Political Science, Philosophy, English, Economics, History; and 4 years in Law School).

    It seems very plausible to me that the new lawyer have to recoup those expenses, if only in behalf of their parents and siblings who sacrificed for him to go through that 8 years of schooling. So the mindset is to make money, much like a businessman would. Out of the 1500 municipalities, the new graduates as well as the accomplished ones are to be found mostly in the cities, when the other municipalities cry for the services of lawyers too. So forget the letter and the spirit of the law: if a legal problem is not solved by the spirit of the law, go to the letter of the law or vice versa; if not pound the table, so to speak.

    Is it any wonder that in the PH the Legislative and the Executive branches, are populated by lawyers, not to speak of the Judiciary?

    Statistics show that the most (average) salaried are the lawyers. Good correlation to what I cited above, isn’t it?

    Another note. There are about 500,000 graduates every year of which most go to Business Admin and related courses, next, Medical and related courses — most of whom end up as sales people and hotel employees (?). About 1 in 7 are graduates of IT and related courses — but end up working other than what they are trained for. BPO? I tried but failed to get the percentage of the other STEM graduates from this 500,000. Is it part of the IT and related course graduates?

  7. Caesar regalado says:

    The Filipinos crafted a unique sense of justice. The wheels of justice only start to grind if a complaint is filed. No complaint, no action from authorities can be expected. The lenghty process itself to prosecute an offense is itself so tedious that complainants ultimately choose not to pursue their quest for justice. And lawyer? Well, they contribute to injustice. They delay the progress of the case and eventually wear down the complainant to frustration and lose interest in their case resulting to its dismissal or plainly archived. The judges? They too don’t give a damn. They sit on the case and go home each day with their monthly salaries and allowances intact. And the litigants? They bear the brunt, emotionally, financially, and physically. Litigation is such an energy draining, mind boggling activity.

    • Nice summary of the legal environment. Dysfunctional up and down the line. Thanks.

    • madlanglupa says:

      It’s why the idea of adapting aspects of cowboy justice and sharia punishment is popular among the so-called “tito” Filipinos — exasperated with conventional system of justice — because the penalties are harsh, quick, and lasting (i.e. amputation).

  8. National Union of People’s Lawyers suing the PH military and local government officials on behalf of the indigenous people of South Cotabato. Hats off to you all for living up to your oath.

    Please, NUPL, see if the Lumads’ complaints have a leg to stand on and file a case for them too.


  9. NHerrera says:

    True. Worse, if the judges are motivated by something else. And I do not mean the “spirit of the law” that they were trained to do in law school.

  10. Francis says:

    “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

    Mt 19:24

    Lawyers are corrupt because they are unaccountable. They are—as a whole—among the most powerful and influential sectors in society. They form a bulk of our political class; their influence is interwoven in almost every major institution public and private.

    Ethics is hard—when either no one is watching or no one who is watching can stop you.

    Colonial history

    •US colonial rule encouraged the supremacy of law degrees by having US corporate lawyers manage PH colony
    •Law was an encouraged career almost from the start; partly a holdover from Spanish rule & ilustrado ascendancy
    •PH power structure follows US power structure: lawyers become politicians, build ties with oligarch families (also with the Church & with US colonialists)—greatest US endorser: Gov. Gen. William H. Taft
    •Colonial legal education connected PH lawyers to US lawyers; PH lawyers familiar with US-style traditional politics, but also reform rhetoric, both turn-of-the-century American movements
    •Central state & civil service remain weak; power lies with lawyer-politicians, who fight à la Game of Thrones
    •Lawyers used to defend elite interests, either as incorporators of their businesses, or as advocates of elites accused of corruption, crime, etc.
    •Huge overlap in “business, law, politics”; “if a business must succeed, it must get into politics”
    •Politicians with law degrees know how to manipulate the law to secure private wealth & power

    Example: Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Sr
    •son of a governor, brother of a future VP; studied in Ateneo, UP, Harvard
    •used legal training to expand landholdings & media, and to diversify into other industries
    enemy to the Marcoses, but close friends with other trapos, the Church, and US elites (esp. Harvard alumni)
    •Allies & underlings: Jovito Salonga & Lorenzo Tañada (lawyers for Lopez interests; it’s implied they fought Marcos for him)

    Example: Jovito Salonga
    •active in Sigma Rho (legal frat)
    •studied abroad (also Harvard, later Yale) to attach himself to foreign-educated elites, professors, “statesmen”
    •befriended the Laurels (also lawyers & jurists); set up a firm with JP Laurel’s son, assisted in JPL’s second (failed) presidential run in 1949
    cofounder of Lyceum with the Laurels & Claro

    M. Recto
    •Lopez Group lawyer starting 1953
    •Political career begins in 1961

    PH corporate law firms as power brokers

    •Foreign origins: Sycip Salazar (formerly defended US servicemen, 1960s); Ponce Enrile, Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Belo (evolved from expat firms, defended foreign clients, e.g. Monsanto, pre-“independence”)
    •Law firms can sell influence & help disguise illegal businesses; if they know the law, they know the loopholes
    •Political ties: ACCRA to Marcos & Erap
    •Example: Felipe Gozon (studied in UP, then Yale; Ponce Enrile employee; head of PAL legal, 1972. Also, unmentioned, but he heads GMA-7 now, sort of a counterpart to the Lopezes with ABS-CBN.)

    Chinese business involvement (indirect)

    •Chinese in PH didn’t themselves go into law, but preferred non-Chinese PH lawyers; partly a result of work discrimination
    •Exceptions: Alexander Sycip, the Teehankees
    A. Sycip’s brother Washington: himself an accountant, but started AIM, on Geny Lopez’ land
    •Chinese taipans generally use a single lawyer as go-betweens, or small Binondo firms, usu. not the great corp. law firms
    •Taipans don’t usually take sides in elections or go heavily into politics, but they hedge their bets by being friends with most everyone in power

    Courts, public admin, & law school connections

    •PH courts very much based on US courts; George Malcolm (himself on the PH Supreme Court once) prof to several “neocolonial” PH justices in the 1950s
    •Pre-1972 perception of the PH SC parallels US SC: judges were independent & stately, but under the surface they were politicised as well
    •Politicisation: Quarrels over legal minutiae, plus “lawyers all the way” from public admin to the courts, bogged down reforms, e.g. land reform
    •PH courts attempt to serve as “moral authority” when mediating elite disputes, with their more direct US influence, but are also susceptible to retarding reform & elite alliances
    •The schools: UP & Ateneo Law the most prominent
    •UP Law: more focused on teaching & research; Ateneo Law: more involved in cases & politics
    •Law fraternities: George Malcolm played a role in starting/popularising them in PH law schools
    •Law frats exist de jure in UP & de facto in Ateneo (but also de facto in UP)
    •Law schools sometimes get political, but are always diploma mills for oligarchs
    •Example: Marcos (tied to: US lawyers, law deans, & politicians; law frat brods; other legal elites, by marriage)

    TL;DR of the TL;DR & comparison with India

    •US colonialism created a weak PH state; hence weak bureaucrats, but powerful corporate lawyers & politicians; based on the weak, politicised US model
    •PH law graduates rely on ties to: oligarchs, frat brods, law deans & profs, Church, US counterparts (via US study)
    •Lots of business oligarchs also start in Law even if they end up mostly managing corporations
    •Similar colonial situation: British India, although in India, most lawyers were barristers, meaning they appeared more in court cases than in corporate offices; PH lawyers are generally more like solicitors. Still, Indian lawyers rely on UK ties & legal training. Prominent examples: Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, who were basically India’s ilustrados (but lived longer).

    Verbatim From:

    The same post on Reddit notes that it is a summary of this chapter of a book about law and its role and influence across different nations:


    • Francis says:

      I can’t help but contrast it with say, the importance of the PPE Degree in the United Kingdom:

      “‘PPE thrives,’ says Willetts, a former education minister who is writing a book about universities, ‘because a problem of English education is too much specialisation too soon, whereas PPE is much closer to the prestigious degrees for generalists available in the United States. As a PPE graduate, you end up with a broad sense of modern political history, you’ve cantered through political thought, done [philosophical] logic, wrestled with economics from monetarism to Maynard Keynes. You’ve had to get through a lot of work – 16 essays a term. That’s very useful later when you have to write a speech to a deadline.’ Willetts adds: ‘As a minister, you do sometimes think that British political life is an endless recreation of the PPE essay crisis.’

      “…frantically composing essays to present at multiple weekly tutorials, taking frequent rounds of exams, and attempting to understand topics from ‘British Constitutional and Political History Since 1760’ to the economic thought of Adam Smith and the philosophy of Aristotle.”

      “Balliol has always had more PPE students and dons than other colleges – an elite within the elite – and has taught them in its own way. ‘Balliol PPE,’ says Graham, who was a tutor there for 28 years, ‘has had the view that the disciplines should be interlinked, that you’ll be a better economist if you’ve studied some philosophy.'”

      While the article notes that this degree has its faults—that it may promote a bit of a crammed and improvised approach to governance (see Brexit) and that it may also promote an overly statist and technocratic approach to governance—I think that it is miles away better than our worship of the Law Degree, which promotes an overly legalistic view of politics.

      Take for instance, the utter stupidity of watching Congressman Lito Atienza pedantically how being a part of the “Minority” is not the same as being an “Oppositionist” and that the “Minority” are supposed to be fiscalizers from within(?!?) the government.

      Uh. The Minority is supposed to be the Opposition—supposed to go against government. Otherwise, you’re no different from the Majority.

      Jesus Christ. I am sure parliamentarians over the world (save for those in one-party states, I am sure) would all laugh their asses off. I know I was, when I saw this on ANC.


    • Love the Bible quote, and the recitation of history. Wonderfully specific case studies and the distinction between UP and Ateneo. Thanks for bringing that in. It explains a lot.

      The one point I would make is that, because the needle is so strong and the eye so small, the thread can only go through if the needle wants it to, and helps out. But as long as attorneys are fine with the current ethical posture of their profession, lots of luck to the thread . . .

  11. edgar lores says:

    Senator Leila de Lima finally got arraigned yesterday, July 27, after 17 months of incarceration.

    “I do not recognize the legitimacy and the validity of the charges against me,” De Lima said before the judge, according to a transcript forwarded to the media by the senator’s office.

    “Now, there are two other cases pending before the other Court, this case is completely fabricated and bogus from orchestrated lies. I refuse to enter a plea. I do not recognize these charges,” she said.


  12. karlgarcia says:

    The thing that got Sereno in hot water is that the I house IT staff complained about her expensive outsourced IT consultant. Otherwise Our judiciary could have been high tech by now.


  13. karlgarcia says:

    Going Digital actually restores trust in the government.
    If it can happen in Latin America, we could make it happen here, I refuse to believe that all the good people left for abroad.


    • karlgarcia says:

      In Latin America, they trust the Judicial System and the Police in the Cities because it now more Digital, interesting?
      Maybe more police manning computers and CCTV monitoring and digitized records and facial recognition, will gain them trust in the Philippines.
      A national ID system can be a game changer, again if implemented correctly.

      As to our judicial system, there is still hope to implement Sereno’s reforms.
      It will eliminate back logs and justice will no longrr be delayed and denied.

      Still our jail system must be improved.
      This can be done by having a land use law that dedicates space for penal and rehab system.

  14. karlgarcia says:

    LEGAL ETHICS – is a branch of moral science, which treats of the duties which an attorney owes to the court, to the client, to his colleagues in the profession and to the public as embodied in the Constitution, Rules of Court, the Code of Professional Responsibility, Canons of Professional Ethics, jurisprudence, moral laws and special laws.

    Original Bases of Legal Ethics:

    Canons of Professional Ethics
    Supreme court Decisions
    Treatises and publications
    Present Basis of the Philippine Legal System: Code of Professional Responsibility.

    How can statistics be a basis for legal ethics?
    What statistic?
    Number of ethical lawyers?

  15. karlgarcia says:

    I discovered this site for Filipino professionals, it seems that they stopped updating it.
    They are drafting a Code of ethics for members.


    I hope the owners of the site will continue this.

    • It probably died for lack of popular appeal. It looks like the idea was to establish a kind of linked-In community that would promote the employment of ethical people. It reminds me of some of my more idealistic ideas that just can’t gain an audience or an inspiration (from me and others) to get beyond being ideas. Professional ethics already exist in the legal community. They just aren’t enforced and so the unethical deeds flourish. No enforcement, no ethics.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Yet we despise an authoritarian or trying hard to be authoritarian government.
        The result of this governance by fear is poor enforcement, thus, no ethics.

      • karlgarcia says:

        At least you stil have the spark, the other idealist websites lost that spark.
        We are here to keep the fire burning, our moods change, we can talk about something as if it is a new topic.
        I sometimes dig up our archives if we have discussed it before, force of habit as the librarian.

  16. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Two not entirely unrelated items:

    * One from Jim Paredes writing an article in Philstar;

    * Another about a news item from Kuwait.

    From Jim Paredes, he writes a “we shall overcome” note about Filipinos, ending his article with: One of the big things we need to do is to simply behave in our country the way we behave abroad.


    From Kuwait, we have the horrible death of an OFW domestic caused by her employer, a Lebanese couple (living in Kuwait at the time), and the consequent PH-Kuwait diplomatic row, since patched up, bearing fruit:

    – Kuwaiti authorities have since sentenced the couple to death;

    – the granting of domestics with a one-day-a-week day off and the domestics holding on to their passports instead of their employers, highlighted by this news about a Kuwaiti social media personality losing sponsors after her rant against the grant of such privileges to domestics.


    • edgar lores says:

      NHerrera, thanks for the items.

      Re Jim Paredes’ insight:

      1. What he says is true but it is a faint hope.

      2. Why? Because our behavior is situational. Meaning: we do as Filipinos do when in the Philippines, and we do as foreigners do when we are in a foreign land.

      3. Our behavior is a defense mechanism, and not even a human one. It is animal mimicry, camouflage. It is what chameleons, octopi, squids, and branch-looking insects do.

      3.1. When we behave in foreign countries, it is not because our character has changed. It is because we do not want to stand out. When we return to the Philippines, we go back to our old ways. Our character has not changed; only the situation has.

      3.2. It is as Fr. Bulatao said, “Learning is specific to a situation.” If I may paraphrase him, “Behavior is specific to a situation.”

      3.3. What has to change is our internal character. And that can only change with certain tremendous realizations on our part. And tremendous willpower.

      I only came to these thoughts a few days ago… I believe when Francis mentioned how we behave outside the country.

      • NHerrera says:

        Yes. To many, it does require a large amount of will power — your “internal character change” — to reflect on the foreign experience and consciously apply Paredes’ prescription: One of the big things we need to do is to simply behave in our country the way we behave abroad.

        • An example some years ago comes to my mind, of some Pinoys I know who behaved – but just as long as their respected relative, a former schoolteacher, was around. Minutes after..

          Just situational mimicry, not learning. The principal leaves but principles are forgotten. Learning is to pass the exam, just hours after no one cares to remember. To behave is to conform to authority, like Joe said. Not to embody true respect (c) Pablo for other people.

      • 2.-3. also fits in neatly with my theory that Filipinos always just adapt but rarely adopt.

        Soccer/football was the game in Filipino streets during Spanish times, says FilipiKnow.

        Not a trace of it remains. Are most Filipinos Teflon minds? What remains of the 1950s?

        Senators might still speak like out of Edgar’s, sonny’s or my father’s high school yearbook.

        But believe in it, much less act on it. Edgar, sonny, Poppy preserve the old spirit somehow.

        Most Filipinos who leave are a time capsule of when they left – others drift with the crowd.


        Situational behavior also is part of the “Opo, Sir” mentality – until he turns, or new masters.

        Many PNP seemed to have turned civil in Noynoy’s time, where is that gone, suddenly?


        Obedezco, pero no cumplo. I’ll do what I’m told but otherwise why should I give a damn?

        • edgar lores says:

          1. “Adapt but not adopt.” Perfect formula. Explains a lot.

          1.1. We adapted to Democracy but did not adopt its core values of liberty, equality, and justice.
          1.2. We adapted to Christianity but did not adopt its core values of love of God and of neighbor.
          1.3. We adapted to Basketball but did not adopt its core requirement of heft and height.

          2. Our beauty is skin-deep.

          3. Note to self: must add “adaptive mimicry” — and “idolatry” — to the “Taxonomy of Philippine Cultural Malaise Factors.”

  17. John Marti Maghopoy says:

    Hello! I find this article very refreshing. I’m currently working on a legal ethics paper on the regulation of the ethical conduct of lawyer-politicians and how such regulations is so lackluster. May I ask if you know any disbarment cases against any lawyer-politician for his/her acts while in office? Thank you!

  18. Ernesto says:

    We got scammed by a contractor.
    We decided to sue him and hired a first lawyer, member of Iloilo IBP…
    We made an agreement for estafa case, he pushed us into a civil case too. In a year time he never filed the criminal but the civil case, ” just follow my planning guys, this is my strategy”, as the trial started after 18 months, the criminal case was dismissed because of prejudicial question, if the civil is initiated first, the criminal case can not prosper until the civil concludes.
    He deprived us from justice we were seeking for, but he took 150.000 php and withdrew.

    We had to hire a 2nd lawyer, son of known judge, he took 115.000 PHP acceptance fees for both cases and withdrew 7 days after, he was transferred to PAO he said. He never returned any money.

    We hired a 3rd lawyer.
    This one modified all the affidavits and removed and the evidence and exhibits but we tried to sign, out of 48 documents he left 7 documents, because of COVID-19, he communicate and submit papers without our knowledge to the court, he refused to submit the affidavits but my wife’s… That affidavit was 17 pages, he submitted hers, 7 pages, he modified that affidavit without our consent, the original was signed on each pages, this one has none but the last page
    We discovered her worked 20 years at PAO OFFICE with the lawyer of the defendants..

    Lawyers are disgusting.

    We made complaint at IBP for each. All dismissed.
    Member of IBP? Joke
    Son of judge, joke, IBP members are still lawyers, and they might have or would have a case with the judge.
    The last one? Retired judge…

    When I see how IBP of Iloilo is chasing sir Tulfo, I wished they were as zealous against their pairs, but it’s a brotherhood, they wouldn’t go against a fellow.

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