Who can I complain to about my attorney

can anyone tell me is there a governing body who I can complain to about the poor service my attorney in the Philippines is providing he's costing me more money because he didn't read the court papers and because there were so many mistakes they have to be done again and re published in the newspaper I'm not happy with his negligence can I complain to some one please help if you can many thanks jay

Moderated by Priscilla 3 years ago
Reason : Generalised comment not accepted

Hi Jay,

All lawyers in the Philippines falls under the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) -

Check the link and you can find out if your lawyer's name is in the roster of active or Bar-passers; and not somebody who went to law school but did not pass the Bar.
On that link is also the contact address, phone, email etc... as shown herein.

Contact them directly:
Main Office: IBP Building, No.15 Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines
Trunkline: +63 (02) 631.3014 / +63 (02) 631.3018
TeleFax: +63 (02) 631.3014 / +63 (02) 634.4697
E-mail: ibp_national[at]yahoo.com / tech[at]ibp.ph

If you are personally in Manila, you can research several law firms first before acquiring their services.
If you need some recommendations, that can be given to you if you can indicate the nature of your case e.g. corporate, annulment, immigration, visa etc....

If it is about visa, you may not need a lawyer if you can appear personally in the DFA (Dept of Foreign Affairs).
There's a couple of lawyers working inside the DFA that you can inquire with directly. 

A general rule of thumb, regardless of what you need in the Philippines, make sure to NEVER hire a "fixer" to do what you need.

Thank you for your reply it's a really great help I do appreciate your time to help and advice me

You could try the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in Ortigas.

Best thing you can drop is service. If you think your lawyer is ripping you off. haven't you imagine what are the things he can do to you if you complain him. Unless you have no plan of coming back in ph. Why would you give a shit to this problem have some you know who can look a reliable lawyer for you.

One out of 100 lawyers in the Philippines are OK.

In fairness to the law profession in the Phils, there are a lot of good and honest lawyers. It all depends on how you deal with them and the nature of your case. Good lawyers do not need to cheat or steal as they can simply charge you a sizable fee wherein you can either accept or reject. The acceptance fee alone ia enough for the lawyer to get things moving. Those lawyers that cheats are the ones that can't get a case hence the need to "invent stories".  Do not be afraid to file a complaint against a lawyer, although understandably,  being a foreigner may make you feel a bit paranoid. The objective of filing a complaint with the IBP is to see if your best interest was served by the lawyer you hired; which is what your hired lawyer is supposed to do in the first place; and throughout the duration of his service to you (his client).

witty.monkey :

Best thing you can drop is service. If you think your lawyer is ripping you off. haven't you imagine what are the things he can do to you if you complain him. Unless you have no plan of coming back in ph. Why would you give a shit to this problem have some you know who can look a reliable lawyer for you.

This is true and great advice. Better find someone who is good.

As you begin, understand this is a high mountain to climb.  Your agreement and fees paid are for services rendered by the attorney via a contract and results in his/her ethical & fiduciary duties to you.  His/her "bad faith" actions or failure to perform must be met with a clear written list of issues, oversights and errors sent to him/her in writing.  Attorneys that fail in clear areas can be subject to "Legal Malpractice" actions.

You need to show a clear case for "Legal Malpractice" due to his/her poor performance in order to really consider serious action against an attorney.  The Philippine Supreme Court has enforced this topic with the grounds for disbarment or suspension of an attorney are: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice or other gross misconduct in office.  Additionally, remember that here in the PI "bad faith cannot be presumed; it is a question of fact that must be proven by clear and convincing evidence". 

Therefore, make sure you put this attorney on notice (via written documentation with clear examples) that said performance is unacceptable and merits immediate corrections along with adjustments in the fee/performance/timeline schedules.  Give very clear yet limited time to correct all errors and avoid any future errors in completing your legal case.   

Do not threaten or mention "Legal Malpractice" but word your letter in a way that says the continued failure to perform his/her duties in a professional manner may include your processing administrative action against his/her  license.  Make sure that if your letter is not responded to or no clear written adjustments are made, in your future emails you BCC the above mentioned bodies to establish a record or starting point of possible future complaint.  Try to avoid any meetings where the details of your concerns were not first responded to, point by point, in writing.  Best wishes!

I rented from an employee of the government who is also an attorney here in Cebu.

I was due to get my rental deposit back at the start of July, but only have only been offered 55k PHP back from 225K PHP.

I disagree with the valuations made for the damages/expenditure that the owner will have to fix/make. A lot of the damages are for the ordinary wear and tear of the house (such as fixing plumbing).

The owner is being very evasive using another lawyer for me to communicate with. Also, criminal charges have been filed against me - for theft of property of the house.

This I vehemently deny.

Anyway, I realise that my deposit money is pretty much gone, unless I take the 55K. However, as this petty person has filed criminal charges against me, I would like to complain to the IBP.

Question is, how do I go about this is a step-by-step way?

Thank you.

Why don't you try first filing a complaint at the barangay where you are renting; complain about the failure of your lessor in refunding your deposits considering you have complied with all the terms and conditions of your lease contract;maybe at this stage you can thresh out your differences; anyway, if you want to file a case against your landlord, you first need to go through the barangay's settlement process;

Hopefully, you already resolve that theft case and not to get entangled with the law system here;

I have no idea how to get in touch with the Barangay captain... How would I go about that?

I have already sent demand letters and even had a meeting at the Ombudsman (useless) - as the owner is a government official. I set up this meeting as I was getting no contact from the owner. Only at this meeting did I get accused of theft and given the charges for the return of deposit. Once the letter was exchanged, the meeting was over.

Also, I will not be staying here in the Philippines for the long term - perhaps another year and a half at most. So the likelihood of the criminal case getting to court is going to be extermely low (unless I am missing something).

Moderated by Priscilla 2 years ago
Reason : No free ads here please
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct
GreenTee :

I have no idea how to get in touch with the Barangay captain... How would I go about that?.

There are 42,208 Barangays in the Philippines.  You need to locate the nearest office to you.

What area do you live in ? Barangay or Municipality/city ?

I live in Cebu City

The Barangay that has jurisdiction over your case is where your rental place is located; your neighbors should know this and of course your partner; any dispute with certain exception are mandatorily settled in the Barangay; and  if just in case if they file a formal criminal complain against you, a watch list order may be filed by the complainant and it will make your leaving the country difficult; hope you clear this controversy; I am not making an opinion here!

GreenTee :

I live in Cebu City

There are 80 barangays in Cebu City
List of Barangay captains and phone numbers in Cebu City

@ Green Tee - The advice to start with your local Brgy is correct. 

Before the next part of my response, I must remind you that I am not an Atty and only share the steps I took for my case here in the PI. YMMV

Go to the Brgy but, DO NOT go there empty-handed or uninformed. 

First - Research the laws which you feel the other party has broken and write your draft Complaint-Affidavit accordingly.  Your ability to target the laws by name and related actions will serve as a golden tool in your favor, since you are demonstrating that you are serious enough to have learned a few points of law, in your case.  This is an important step since you should not count on the Brgy to help much or advise you with the law against a Filipino.

Second - Take your completed draft Complaint-Affidavit (after following the correct format & printing to the correct paper size-A4) to a notary and process it as a notarized document. 

Third - Now proceed to the Brgy.   

Most will smile but less will help if you are showing zero knowledge of your rights under the laws here.  Do not be shocked to find that most Brgy's are not equipped with any national laws or cases and can't offer any real references to assist with your initial Complaint-Affidavit draft. 

Example:  Your case can be placed under property contract law. Your research needs to focus on Tenant and Landlord rights under RA 9161.  Do not expect the Brgy to inform you or assist your written documents with the fact that your case falls under RA 9161.  In this situation look at the rendering of the highest court in the land and you see:

"….. the time-honored principle that contracts are respected as the law between the contracting parties (Castro v. Court of Appeals, 99 SCRA 722; Escano v. Court of Appeals, 100 SCRA 197). In the case at bar, the lease contract executed by the petitioner and the private respondents remains as the law between them. In litigations involving the adjudication of rights and obligations between the lessor and the lessee, the lease contract shall govern (Chua Peng Hian v. Court of Appeals, 133 SCRA 572)."

Clearly, you situation will rest on the contract you both signed and how it speaks regarding return of deposits.  Use the above Philippine Supreme Court stated case law to support your statements from the start.  Also understand that "The Rental Reform Act of 2002" (Republic Act No. 9161) regulated rentals of residential units with rents not exceeding PHP7,500 (US$141) per month in cities, and PHP4,000 (US$75) per month in all other areas.  This act was revised in 2005, which is known as the approved “Rent Control Act of 2005” and started to cover properties in the National Capital Region and urbanized cities which have rent prices not exceeding P10,000 a month, and all residential units in other places where the rent does not exceed P5,000.

Upon taking this Complaint-Affidavit document to the Brgy, insist they include (Blotter) this document, as part of your visit that day for an official complaint. If you fail to state specific laws, your case at the Brgy level may go south real fast on you.  Listen to all info and positions stated during your Brgy meetings and adjust your draft Complaint-Affidavit for formal filing with the court.  Do not provide update notes or correction for brgy meetings. 

Upon the Brgy visit that day, do the same at the local PNP station and get copies of both blotters for your records. 

Note:  You are 100% free to state what laws you feel are involved even if PNP tries to get you to remove the stated laws from your Complaint-Affidavit.  Remember, you are speaking as a foreigner and indicating what laws you feel have been violated in your case. 

As soon as you get a negative Brgy outcome, wait (that hour) for your Brgy release letter that allows you to proceed to the next level and go to the Office of the City Prosecutor and file your final draft Complaint-Affidavit. 

Once the Prosecutor finds merit in your case and agrees to accept it, the Office of the City Prosecutor will issue a subpoena against the accused, requiring that person to appear on a certain date and time to submit his Counter-Affidavit.  Upon review of this document, you may find the need to file a Reply-Affidavit to controvert the new issues the other person has raised.  This will trigger the preliminary investigation phase and will only result in a trial based on a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty and should be held for trial.

Sorry for the long post here but I do hope this gives you more detailed guidance/info.

Note: prior to my retiring here in 2013, I made a list of laws here in the PI that included the RA (Republic Act) number and related Supreme Court rulings (G.R. No.) so that I would be better prepared in case I need to stand firm on my limited rights here.  You and others may want to do the same.

The Barangay function is really to settle your differences amicably with the oppositor and and I repeat  before you and your opponent can go to court you first need a CFA so is he or she; A cfa is a clearance to file action;

Remember you are dealing with a lawyer as your oppositor; as I again repeat, the only thing that the Lupon a unit of the Barangay is for you to amicably settle; if this does not happen you go to court for "Breach of Contract" failure to return your deposit;

As to my understanding, it is the lessor who accused you of theft; am I right; before he can do anything, he also need to file in the Barangay; just remember every case is unique and even lawyers do not do lawyering for themselves because it is dangerous;

If their is a formal complaint against you, the next step is to find a reliable lawyer;

Thank you for your replies, guy. There is a lot for me to consider and take action on.

I am inclined to just bury my head in the sand. This seems way over my head.

I had a lawyer that I was dealing with, but the fees we were talking about becoming very large. Also, I am concerned that this government lawyer will just waste my 'legal' time and make sure that I just pay more and more legal fees. In fact, at the Ombudsman meeting she welcome me to take her to court - with her knowledge and training she would be much more suited to that environment and situation than I would ever be.

I appreciate the advice that Calif-Native and Cynthiavilla are giving me, but it is so much work! I guess I need to take the time or accept the consequences now...

GreenTee :

Thank you for your replies, guy. There is a lot for me to consider and take action on.

I am inclined to just bury my head in the sand. This seems way over my head.

I've lost two deposits due to to "wear and tear", and decided to just accept it and walk away.

In my own country I am happy to push to court, and have done a few times, but not here.  Now I just refuse to pay over 1 months deposit, and accept that is a cost of living here.

Me and my fiance have been taken for a ride by our attorney in Manila. Trying to get a marriage null and void she told us 4-6 months. There was no license. She has supposedly paid bribes to officials to speed this up but now it has been a year. The case has been just submitted for decision which I understand can take 90 days or more. The Embassy has only given us 4 months to comply with the 221G and for her to get her cenomar. I have never felt so raped by someone in my entire 60 years of life. Do I have any recourse?

@GreenTee - there seems to be 2 things going on with your rent issue -
(a) you're being sued for theft of property and
(b) you're claims against the Leasor for your P225K deposit.

If you're not planning to leave the Phils soon, you would still need a lawyer to defend you on the case against you.
Similarly, your lawyer will also be the one to file a complaint with the IBP or any courts for the possible disbarment of the Leasor/Lawyer.

The problem with you getting a lawyer in Cebu is that they probably know each other and might end up in collusion. If you plan on staying and pursuing/defending your cases, I can ask a lawyer buddy of mine in Manila for a referral (Cebu lawyer or high government official). If I do get a name for you, I will request for an initial meeting to go over the details and documents you have (free of charge). He/She will give you an assessment on whether it is advisable for you to pursue both cases, or just take the P55k deposit balance and walk away.  The ideal scenario would be your lawyer taking on your case as a "no cure no pay collection case" wherein he/she gets anywhere from 30-50% of collected amount.

I understand that there is a part of you that is "a matter of principle".  And putting this lawyer/government employee in check wouldn't be a bad idea too. Let me give my buddy a call tomorrow and see if he can refer someone, no harm asking.

Thanks for your offer Petersan. Let me come back to you. i am in discussion with other lawyers at the moment.

New topic