In defense of IBP
I am writing this in reaction to “Lawyers don’t ‘hide’ their misdeeds” (Letters, 10/23/17). I feel sorry for the frustration of Juniper Dominguez over a case he filed against a certain lawyer, who notarized two deeds of sale. I do not know if this is already a decided case by the Supreme Court. If it is not, then confidentiality rule applies and we cannot discuss this in public.
However, I take exception to what he said that “IBP is a livelihood center to protect erring lawyers.” Such statement is not fair. Having been a commissioner of the Commission on Bar
Discipline for 12 years and past Integrated Bar of the Philippines governor in Central Luzon, I cannot accept a statement that dishonors the IBP and the Supreme Court.
Commissioners decide all administrative cases based on merit since it is the duty of the complainant to prove the case. The burden of proof lies on the complainant. The reason for dismissal is due to the failure of the complainant to prove the case against a lawyer. The Board of Governors reviews the findings and makes recommendations, but it is the Supreme Court that will ultimately decide.
We do punish lawyers who commit infractions and the Supreme Court website will show how many lawyers were either suspended or disbarred. However, we have no other choice but to dismiss cases where the complainant was not able to prove the cause of action against the respondent. Definitely, the IBP being an independent body, is not a livelihood center as erroneously concluded in the letter.
JOSE I. DE LA RAMA JR., dean, Tarlac State University College of Law
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