Bar Matter No. 1645; October 13, 2015

Below is a final note by the High Court in Vasco-Tamaray v. Daquis, A.C. No. 10868; January 26, 2016. This explains Bar Matter No. 1645 regarding the disciplinary powers of the Supreme Court and the recommendation powers of the Board of Governors and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

[START OF QUOTE] On a final note, Rule 139-B has been amended by Bar Matter No. 1645 dated October 13, 2015. Section 12 of Rule 139-B now provides that:

Rule 139-B. Disbarment and Discipline of Attorneys
Section 12. Review and recommendation by the Board of Governors.

(a) 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.

(b) After its review, the Board, by the vote of a majority of its total membership, shall recommend to the Supreme Court the dismissal of the complaint or the imposition of disciplinary action against the respondent. The Board shall issue a resolution setting forth its findings and recommendations, clearly and distinctly stating the facts and the reasons on which it is based. The resolution shall be issued within a period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next meeting of the Board following the submission of the Investigator's report.(c) The Board's resolution, together with the entire records and all evidence presented and submitted, shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court for final action within ten (10) days from issuance of the resolution.

(d) Notice of the resolution shall be given to all parties through their counsel, if any.

Under the old rule, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines was given the power to "issue a decision" if the lawyer complained of was exonerated or meted a penalty of "less than suspension or disbarment." In addition, the case would be deemed terminated unless an interested party filed a petition before this court.

The amendments to Rule 139-B is a reiteration that only the Supreme Court has the power to impose disciplinary action on members of the bar. The factual findings and recommendations of the Commission on Bar Discipline and the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines are recommendatory, subject to review by this court.