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Rule 139B
    R  ULE 139-BD ISBARMENT  A  ND D ISCIPLINE O F  A   TTORNEYS   S ECTION 1. How Instituted . - Proceedings for the disbarment, suspension, or discipline of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court motu proprio , or by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) upon the verifiedcomplaint of any person. The complaint shall state clearly and concisely the facts complained of and shall besupported by affidavits of persons having personal knowledge of the facts therein alleged and/or by suchdocuments as may substantiate said facts. The IBP Board of Governors may, motu proprio or upon referral by the Supreme Court or by a ChapterBoard of Officers, or at the instance of any person, initiate and prosecute proper charges against erring attorneys including those in the government service.Six (6) copies of the verified complaint shall be filed with the Secretary of the IBP or the Secretary of any of its chapters who shall forthwith transmit the same to the IBP Board of Governors for assignment to aninvestigator.  A. PROCEEDING IN THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES S EC . 2. National Grievance Investigators . - The Board of Governors shall appoint from among the IBPmembers an Investigator or, when special circumstances so warrant, a panel of three (3) investigators toinvestigate the complaint. All investigators shall take an oath of office in the form prescribed by the Board of Governors. A copy of the Investigator’s appointment and oath shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court. An Investigator may be disqualified by reason of relationship within the fourth degree of consanguinity oraffinity to any of the parties or their counsel, pecuniary interest, personal bias, or his having acted as counselfor either party, unless the parties sign and enter upon the record their written consent to his acting as suchInvestigator. Where the Investigator does not disqualify himself, a party may appeal to the IBP Board of Governors, which by majority vote of the members present, there being a quorum, may order hisdisqualification. An Investigator may also be removed for cause, after due hearing, by the vote of at least six (6) membersof the IBP Board of Governors. The decision of the Board of Governors in all cases of disqualification orremoval shall be final.S EC . 3. Duties of the National Grievance Investigator. - The National Grievance Investigators shallinvestigate all complaints against members of the Integrated Bar referred to them by the IBP Board of Governors.S EC . 4. Chapter assistance to complainant. - The proper IBP Chapter may assist the complainant[s] inthe preparation and filing of his complaints.S EC . 5. Service or dismissal. - If the complaint appears to be meritorious, the Investigator shall directthat a copy thereof be served upon the respondent, requiring him to answer the same within fifteen (15) daysfrom the date of service. If the complaint does not merit action, or if the answer shows to the satisfaction of the Investigator that the complaint is not meritorious, the same may be dismissed by the Board of Governorsupon his recommendation. A copy of the resolution of dismissal shall be furnished the complainant and theSupreme Court which may review the case motu proprio or upon timely appeal of the complainant filed within 15days from notice of the dismissal of the complaint.No investigation shall be interrupted or terminated by reason of the distance, settlement, compromise,restitution, withdrawal of the charges, or failure of the complaint to prosecute the same,unless the SupremeCourt motu proprio or upon recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors, determines that there is nocompelling reason to continue with the disbarment or suspension proceedings against the respondent.(Amendment pursuant to Supreme Court Resolution dated May 27, 1993 re Bar Matter 356)  S EC . 6.  Verification and service of answer. - The answer shall be verified. The srcinal and five (5)legible copies of the answer shall be filed with the Investigator, with proof of service of a copy thereof on thecomplainant or his counsel.S EC . 7.  Administrative counsel. - The IBP Board of Governors shall appoint a suitable member of theIntegrated Bar as counsel to assist the complainant or the respondent during the investigation in case of needfor such assistance.S EC . 8. Investigation. - Upon joinder of issues or upon failure of the respondent to answer, theInvestigator shall, with deliberate speed, proceed with the investigation of the case. He shall have the power toissue subpoenas and administer oaths. The respondent shall be given full opportunity to defend himself, topresent witnesses on his behalf, and be heard by himself and counsel. However, if upon reasonable notice, therespondent fails to appear, the investigation shall proceed ex parte . The Investigator shall terminate the investigation within three(3) months from the date of itscommencement, unless extended for good cause by the Board of Governors upon prior application. Willful failure or refusal to obey a subpoena or any other lawful order issued by the Investigator shall bedealt with as for indirect contempt of court. The corresponding charge shall be filed by the Investigator beforethe IBP Board of Governors which shall require the alleged contemnor to show cause within ten (10) daysfrom notice. The IBP Board of Governors may thereafter conduct hearings, if necessary, in accordance withthe procedure set forth in the Rule for hearings before the Investigator. Such hearing shall as far as practicablebe terminated within fifteen (15) days from its commencement. Thereafter, the IBP Board of Governors shall within a like period of fifteen (15) days issue a resolution setting forth its findings and recommendation, whichshall forthwith be transmitted to the Supreme Court for final action and if warranted, the imposition of penalty.S EC . 9. Depositions. - Depositions may be taken in accordance with Rules of Court with leave of theInvestigators. Within the Philippines, depositions may be taken before any member of the Board of Governors, thePresident of any Chapter, or any officer authorized by law to administer oaths.Depositions may be taken outside the Philippines before a diplomatic or consular representative of thePhilippine Government or before any person agreed upon by the parties or designated by the Board of Governors. Any suitable member of the Integrated Bar in the place where a deposition shall be taken may bedesignated by the Investigator to assist the complainant or the respondent in taking a deposition.S EC . 10. Report of Investigator. - Not later than thirty (30) days from the termination of theinvestigation, the Investigator shall submit a report containing his findings of fact and recommendations to theIBP Board of Governors, together with the stenographic notes and the transcript thereof, and all the evidencepresented during the investigation. The submission of the report need not await the transcription of thestenographic notes, it being sufficient that the report reproduce substantially from the Investigator’s personalnotes any relevant and pertinent testimonies.S EC . 11. Defects. - No defect in a complaint, notice, answer, or in the proceeding or the Investigator’sReport shall be considered as substantial unless the Board of Governors, upon considering the whole record,finds that such defect has resulted or may result in a miscarriage of justice, in which event the Board shall takeremedial action as the circumstances may warrant, including invalidation of the entire proceedings.S EC . 12. Review and decision by the Board of Governors. -(a) Every case heard by an investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP Board of Governors upon therecord and evidence transmitted to it by the Investigator with his report. The decision of the Board upon suchreview shall be in writing and shall clearly and distinctly state the facts and the reasons on which it is based. Itshall be promulgated within a period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next meeting of the Boardfollowing the submittal of the Investigator’s report.(b) If the Board, by the vote of a majority of its total membership, determines that the respondent shouldbe suspended from the practice of law or disbarred, it shall issue a resolution setting forth its findings and  recommendations which, together with the whole record of the case, shall forthwith be transmitted to theSupreme Court for final action.(c) If the respondent is exonerated by the Board or the disciplinary sanction imposed by it is less thansuspension or disbarment (such as admonition, reprimand, or fine) it shall issue a decision exonerating respondent or imposing such sanction. The case shall be deemed terminated unless upon petition of thecomplainant or other interested party filed with the Supreme Court within fifteen (15) days from notice of theBoard’s resolution, the Supreme Court orders otherwise.(d) Notice of the resolution or decision of the Board shall be given to all parties through their counsel. Acopy of the same shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court. B. PROCEEDINGS IN THE SUPREME COURT S EC . 13. Supreme Court Investigators. - In proceedings initiated motu proprio by the Supreme Court or inother proceedings when the interest of justice so requires, the Supreme Court may refer the case forinvestigation to the Solicitor General or to any officer of the Supreme Court or judge of a lower court, in whichcase the investigation shall proceed in the same manner provided in Sections 6 to 11 hereof, save that thereview of the report of investigation shall be conducted directly by the Supreme Court.S EC . 14. Report of the Solicitor General or other Court-designated Investigator . - Based upon theevidence adduced at the investigation, the Solicitor General or other Investigator designated by the SupremeCourt shall submit to the Supreme Court a report containing his findings of fact and recommendationstogether with the record and all the evidence presented in the investigation for the final action of the SupremeCourt. C. COMMON PROVISIONS S EC . 15. Suspension of attorney by Supreme Court. - After receipt of respondent’s answer or lapse of the period therefor, the Supreme Court, motu proprio , or at the instance of the IBP Board of Governors uponthe recommendation of the Investigators, may suspend an attorney from the practice of his profession for any of the cause specified in Rule 138, Section 27, during the pendency of the investigation until such suspension islifted by the Supreme Court.S EC . 16. Suspension of attorney by the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court. 1   - The Court of  Appeals or Regional Trial Court may suspend an attorney from practice for any of the causes named in Rule138, Section 27, 2 until further action of the Supreme Court in the case.S EC . 17. Upon suspension by Court of Appeals or Regional Trial Court, further proceedings inSupreme Court. - Upon such suspension, the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court shall forthwithtransmit to the Supreme Court a certified copy of the order of suspension and a full statement of the factsupon which the same was based. Upon receipt of such certified copy and statement, the Supreme Court shallmake a full investigation of the case and may revoke, shorten or extend the suspension, or disbar the attorney as the facts may warrant.S EC . 18. Confidentiality. - Proceedings against attorneys shall be private and confidential. However, thefinal order of the Supreme Court shall be published like its decisions in other cases.S EC . 19. Expenses. - All reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in relation to disciplinary anddisbarment proceedings are lawful charges for which the parties may be taxed as costs.S EC . 20. Effectivity and Transitory Provision. - This Rule shall take effect on June 1, 1988 and shallsupersede the present Rule 139 entitled “DISBARMENT OR SUSPENSION OF ATTORNEYS”. All casespending investigation by the Office of the Solicitor General shall be transferred to the Integrated Bar of thePhilippines Board of Governors for investigation and disposition as provided in this Rule except those cases where the investigation has been substantially completed.
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