(Question VIII-A, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2017 Bar Exam)
Sancho Mahilig went to the office of Atty. Charm to engage her legal representation in the criminal case for adultery that the husband of his socialite friend had brought against him in the City Prosecutor’s Office in Manila. Atty. Charm thoroughly interviewed Sancho in her office with only Linda, the secretary/stenographer of Atty. Charm, the only other person present. On that occasion, Sancho candidly informed Atty. Charm about his illicit affair with the socialite wife, and gave many details. Linda faithfully recorded the interview.
During the trial of the criminal case for adultery, the trial prosecutor requested the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum to compel the production of the record of the interview and a subpoena ad testificandum to compel Linda to testify on the admission of the affair by Sancho. Atty. Charm objected to the request on the basis of lawyer-client confidentiality.
If you were the trial judge, how will you resolve the objection of Atty. Charm? Justify your answer. (4%)
I will sustain the objection. Answer
Under the Rules of Court, an attorney’s secretary, stenographer, or clerk cannot be examined, without the consent of the client and his employer, concerning any fact the knowledge of which has been acquired in such capacity. Rule
In the case at bar, Linda acquired knowledge of the adultery, as well as presumably recorded or wrote down the interview, in her capacity as a secretary/stenographer of Atty. Charm. Accordingly, the attorney-client confidentiality extends to her prohibiting her from testifying against the client, Mr. Sancho Mahilig. Apply
Thus, Atty. Charm’s objection will be sustained. Conclusion
(Question VIII-B, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2017 Bar Exam)
Prosecutor Regan was designated to represent the State during the trial of an action to declare the nullity of a marriage. He realized soon enough, however, that the counsels of the parties were very competent and sincere in doing their work for their respective clients. Thus, Prosecutor Regan, mindful of his large caseload of preliminary investigations, and believing that his attendance at the trial was superfluous, decided not to attend the trial anymore so that he could devote more time to the work back in his office.
Explain whether or not the decision of Prosecutor Regan to miss the trial of the action to declare the nullity of the marriage was warranted. (4%)
The decision of Prosecutor Regan to miss the trial was not warranted. Answer
Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, the primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is to see that justice is done. In line within, the Family Code mandates that, in all cases of annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage, prosecuting attorneys are required to appear on behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. Rule
In the case at bar, Prosecutor Regan is duty-bound to see that justice is done by representing the State in the action to declare the nullity of marriage. This applies regardless of whether the opposing counsels are very competent and sincere in going their work for their respective clients. Apply
Thus, Prosecutor Regan’s decision to miss the trial was not warranted. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
Lawyer, Author, Mentor