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3. How instituted


Proceedings for the removal or suspension of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court on its own motion or upon the complaint under oath of another in writing. The complaint shall set out distinctly, clearly, and concisely the facts complained of, supported by affidavits, if any, of persons having personal knowledge of the facts therein alleged and shall be accompanied with copies of such documents as may substantiate said facts. (Section 1, Rule 139, Ibid.)


1) Proceedings for the disbarment, suspension, or discipline of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court motu propio, or by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) upon the verified complaint of any person. The complaint shall state clearly and concisely the facts complained of and shall be supported by affidavits of persons having personal knowledge of the facts therein alleged and/or by such documents as may substantiate said facts. (Paragraph 1, Section 1, Rule 139-B, Ibid.)

2) The IBP Board of Governors may, motu propio or upon referral by the Supreme Court or by a Chapter Board of Officers, or at the instance of any person, initiate and prosecute proper charges against erring attorneys including those in the government service. (Paragraph 2, Section 1, Rule 139-B, Ibid.)


The Board of Governors shall appoint from among IBP members an Investigator or, when special circumstances so warrant, a panel of three (3) investigators to investigate 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. (Section 2, Rule 139-B, Ibid.)

1) Review and decision by the Board of Governors

1) Every case heard by an investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP Board of Governors upon the record and evidence transmitted to it by the Investigator with his report. The decision of the Board upon such review shall be in writing and shall clearly and distinctly state the facts and the reasons on which it is based. It shall be promulgated within a period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next meeting of the Board following the submittal of the Investigator’s Report. (Section 12 [a] Rule 139-B, Ibid.)

2) If the Board, by the vote of a majority of its total membership, determines that the respondent should be 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 the Supreme Court for final action. (Section 12 [b], Rule 139-B, Ibid.)

3) If the respondent is exonerated by the Board or the disciplinary sanction imposed by it is less than suspension 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 the complainant or other interested party filed with the Supreme Court within fifteen (15) days from notice of the Board’s resolution, the Supreme Court orders otherwise. (Section 12 [c], Rule 139-B, Ibid.)

4) Notice of the resolution or decision of the Board shall be given to all parties through their counsel. A copy of the same shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court. (Section 12 [d], Rule 139-B, Ibid.)


In proceedings initiated motu propio by the Supreme Court or in other proceedings when the interest of justice so requires, the Supreme Court may refer the case for investigation to the Solicitor-General or to any officer of the Supreme Court or judge of a lower court, in which case the investigation shall proceed in the same manner as with the IBP, save that the review of the report of investigation shall be conducted directly by the Supreme Court. (Section 13, Rule 139-B, Ibid.)

1) Report of the Solicitor General of other Court-designated Investigator

Based upon the evidence adduced at the investigation, the Solicitor General or other Investigator designated by the Supreme Court shall submit to the Supreme Court a report containing his findings of fact and recommendations for the final action of the Supreme Court. (Section 14, Rule 139, Ibid.)


Proceedings against attorneys shall be private and confidential, except that the final order of the court shall be made public as in other cases coming before the court. (Section 10, Rule 139, Ibid.)

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