Legal Ethics

Judge Ray Alan Drilon and Atty. Corazon Romero vs Atty. Ariel Maglalang

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A.C. No. 8471 – Legal Ethics – Falsification of a court order by a lawyer

In 2006, Atty. Maglalang was paid Php100k by a client in a petition for nullity of marriage case. Atty Maglalang assured the client that he will have the marriage annulled in three months. In the same year, he delivered to the client an order allegedly promulgated by Judge Ray Alan Drilon which declared the client’s spouse presumptively dead and that the client may re-marry again.

In 2008, Judge Drilon and his clerk of court, Atty. Romero, found out about the order. It turns out that Judge Drilon never promulgated the order.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Maglalang should be disciplined.

HELD: Yes. Atty. Maglalang never denied authoring the fabricated order. His client admitted that the order was delivered to him by Maglalang. Such act contravene Canon II on Propriety and Canon III on Fidelity of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA). Maglalang’s use of the fabricated order reflects poorly on his fitness to practice law, and brings discredit upon the entire legal profession. Under the CPRA, falsification of documents is a serious offense. Maglalang is disbarred.

NOTE: This is the first case where the CPRA was applied.

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