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Metro

SC removes IBP’s power to dismiss cases vs lawyers

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has revised the rules on administrative cases against lawyers.

In an order entitled “Bar Matter No. 1645” approved last Oct. 13, the high court removed the power of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to dismiss complaints against erring members of the Bar.

It approved the amendments to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court covering the disbarment and discipline of lawyers and also directed the IBP to revise its rules of procedure in accordance with the amendments.

The high tribunal cited Article VIII, Section 5(5) of the 1987 Constitution, which confers upon the SC the power to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law, in approving the amendments.

The amendments specifically covered Sections 1 (How Instituted), 5 (Service or Dismissal), 12 (Review and Recommendation by the Board of Governors), 13 (Investigation of Complaints), and 15 (Suspension of Attorney by the Supreme Court) of Rule 139-B.

Previously, the IBP-Board of Governors (IBP-BOG) may dismiss any complaint against a lawyer upon the recommendation of the investigator.

Section 5 of Bar Matter No. 1645 now only grants the IBP recommendatory powers, “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 Investigator will recommend to the Board of Governors the dismissal of the complaint.”

Under the new rules, only the SC can order the dismissal of any complaint against a lawyer.

The amendments also include the procedure, which the IBP-BOG shall follow if they recommend to the SC the dismissal of the complaint or the imposition of disciplinary action against the respondent-lawyer.

The new rules will take effect 15 days after their publication in a newspaper of general circulation, according to the SC.

B OF THE RULES OF COURT

BAR MATTER NO

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

COMPLAINT

HOW INSTITUTED

IBP

INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES

INVESTIGATION OF COMPLAINTS

REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION

SUPREME COURT

SUSPENSION OF ATTORNEY

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