2013 (Legal Ethics) Bar Exam Questions: Essay Question 2

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Atty. Serafin Roto is the Corporate Secretary of a construction corporation that has secured a multi-million infrastructure project from the government. In the course of his duties as corporate secretary, he learned from the company president that the corporation had resorted to bribery to secure the project and had falsified records to cut implementing costs after the award of the project.

The government filed a civil action to annul the infrastructure contract and has subpoenaed Atty. Roto to testify against the company president and the corporation regarding the bribery. Atty. Roto moved to quash the subpoena,asserting that lawyer-client privilege prevents him from testifying against the president and the corporation.

Resolve the motion to quash. (8%)


  1. The motion to quash should be granted. Atty. Roto should not be compelled to testify on information that he obtained during the course of his employment. The attorney-client privilege prevails.

    In as much as the practices of the corporation are illegal and despicable, and as a lawyer Atty. Roto has a duty to society to ensure that the laws of the land are implemented, he likewise has a duty to his client to ensure that all information gathered in the course of his employment remains confidential.

    In deciding the motion to quash, Atty. Roto must no be put in a precarious position that he would violate his duty to the court to ensure that the highest level of fidelity and truthfulness is observed. To deny the motion, Atty. Roto would either perjure himself and lie on the stand at the expese of his duty to the court or speak truthfully at the expense of his duty to his client and the confidence entrusted upon him.

  2. i answered that the motion to quash should not be granted.

    atty. roto will be testifying in his capacity as the corporate secretary of the construction corporation and as such no attorney-client relationship exists.

  3. Naisip ko rin yan, na Corporate Secretary naman siya. But, then again, when does his being a corporate secretary end and when does his being a lawyer begin?

  4. This was a former bar question daw and ang suggested answer daw is yung sinabi ni benj. Wala daw atty-client relationship kasi hindi siya counsel ng corporation. Mali ako dito. Hahaha

  5. Actually nagtagal ako sa question na to. I even skipped it to answer other essay Qs muna and some MCQ. Was thinking kasi nga privileged na yung Question 1 alangan namang privileged pa rin yung Question na to. Just went with my gut feel na lawyer siya ano man ang mangyari so dealings with him, generally covered by privilege. Saka naisip ko na karamihan ng Corp Sec ng mga big companies ay mga lawyers on secondment from retained law firms.

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