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G.R. No.

100113 September 3, 1991 Regrettably, however, there seems to be no


jurisprudence as to what constitutes practice of
law as a legal qualification to an appointive
office.
RENATO CAYETANO, petitioner,
vs. Black defines "practice of law" as:
CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA,
COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT, and HON. The rendition of services requiring the
GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as knowledge and the application of legal
Secretary of Budget and principles and technique to serve the interest of
Management, respondents. another with his consent. It is not limited to
appearing in court, or advising and assisting in
Renato L. Cayetano for and in his own behalf. the conduct of litigation, but embraces the
preparation of pleadings, and other papers
Sabina E. Acut, Jr. and Mylene Garcia-Albano co-
incident to actions and special proceedings,
counsel for petitioner.
conveyancing, the preparation of legal
instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all
legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to
PARAS, J.:p clients and all actions taken for them in matters
connected with the law. An attorney engages in
We are faced here with a controversy of far- the practice of law by maintaining an office
reaching proportions. While ostensibly only where he is held out to be-an attorney, using a
legal issues are involved, the Court's decision in letterhead describing himself as an attorney,
this case would indubitably have a profound counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating
effect on the political aspect of our national with opposing counsel about pending litigation,
existence. and fixing and collecting fees for services
rendered by his associate. (Black's Law
The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Dictionary, 3rd ed.)
Article IX-C:
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct
There shall be a Commission on Elections of cases in court. (Land Title Abstract and Trust
composed of a Chairman and six Co. v. Dworken,129 Ohio St. 23, 193 N.E. 650) A
Commissioners who shall be natural-born person is also considered to be in the practice
citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of of law when he:
their appointment, at least thirty-five years of
age, holders of a college degree, and must not ... for valuable consideration engages in the
have been candidates for any elective position business of advising person, firms, associations
in the immediately preceding -elections. or corporations as to their rights under the law,
However, a majority thereof, including the or appears in a representative capacity as an
Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine advocate in proceedings pending or
Bar who have been engaged in the practice of prospective, before any court, commissioner,
law for at least ten years. (Emphasis supplied) referee, board, body, committee, or
commission constituted by law or authorized to
The aforequoted provision is patterned after settle controversies and there, in such
Section l(l), Article XII-C of the 1973 representative capacity performs any act or
Constitution which similarly provides: acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending
the rights of their clients under the law.
There shall be an independent Commission on
Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative
Elections composed of a Chairman and eight
capacity, engages in the business of advising
Commissioners who shall be natural-born
clients as to their rights under the law, or while
citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of
so engaged performs any act or acts either in
their appointment, at least thirty-five years of
court or outside of court for that purpose, is
age and holders of a college degree. However,
engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. rel.
a majority thereof, including the Chairman,
Mckittrick v..C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d
shall be members of the Philippine Bar who
895, 340 Mo. 852)
have been engaged in the practice of law for at
least ten years.' (Emphasis supplied)
This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers obligations to clients which rests upon all
Association v.Agrava, (105 Phil. 173,176-177) attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of
stated: Court, Vol. 3 [1953 ed.] , p. 665-666, citing In re
Opinion of the Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313,
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile
of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the Service Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A. 139,144). (Emphasis
preparation of pleadings and other papers ours)
incident to actions and special proceedings, the
management of such actions and proceedings The University of the Philippines Law Center in
on behalf of clients before judges and courts, conducting orientation briefing for new lawyers
and in addition, conveying. In general, (1974-1975) listed the dimensions of the
all advice to clients, and all action taken for practice of law in even broader terms as
them in mattersconnected with the advocacy, counselling and public service.
law incorporation services, assessment and
condemnation services contemplating an One may be a practicing attorney in following
appearance before a judicial body, the any line of employment in the profession. If
foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a what he does exacts knowledge of the law and
creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in the
proceedings, and conducting proceedings in active practice of their profession, and he
attachment, and in matters of estate and follows some one or more lines of employment
guardianship have been held to constitute law such as this he is a practicing attorney at law
practice, as do the preparation and drafting of within the meaning of the statute. (Barr v.
legal instruments, where the work done Cardell, 155 NW 312)
involves the determination by the trained legal
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of
mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions.
court, which requires the application of law,
(5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). (Emphasis supplied)
legal procedure, knowledge, training and
Practice of law under modem conditions experience. "To engage in the practice of law is
consists in no small part of work performed to perform those acts which are characteristics
outside of any court and having no immediate of the profession. Generally, to practice law is
relation to proceedings in court. It embraces to give notice or render any kind of service,
conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a which device or service requires the use in any
large variety of subjects, and the preparation degree of legal knowledge or skill." (111 ALR
and execution of legal instruments covering an 23)
extensive field of business and trust relations
The following records of the 1986 Constitutional
and other affairs. Although these transactions
Commission show that it has adopted a liberal
may have no direct connection with court
interpretation of the term "practice of law."
proceedings, they are always subject to
become involved in litigation. They require in MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I
many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a make a manifestation which I forgot to do
wide experience with men and affairs, and during our review of the provisions on the
great capacity for adaptation to difficult and Commission on Audit. May I be allowed to make
complex situations. These customary functions a very brief statement?
of an attorney or counselor at law bear an
intimate relation to the administration of justice THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir).
by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as
concerns the question set forth in the order, The Commissioner will please proceed.
can be drawn between that part of the work of
the lawyer which involves appearance in court MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications
and that part which involves advice and of the members of the Commission on Audit.
drafting of instruments in his office. It is of Among others, the qualifications provided for
importance to the welfare of the public that by Section I is that "They must be Members of
these manifold customary functions be the Philippine Bar" I am quoting from the
performed by persons possessed of adequate provision "who have been engaged in the
learning and skill, of sound moral character, practice of law for at least ten years".
and acting at all times under the heavy trust
To avoid any misunderstanding which would certified public accountants with not less than
result in excluding members of the Bar who are ten years of auditing practice, or members of
now employed in the COA or Commission on the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in
Audit, we would like to make the clarification the practice of law for at least ten years.
that this provision on qualifications regarding (emphasis supplied)
members of the Bar does not necessarily refer
or involve actual practice of law outside the Corollary to this is the term "private
COA We have to interpret this to mean that as practitioner" and which is in many ways
long as the lawyers who are employed in the synonymous with the word "lawyer." Today,
COA are using their legal knowledge or legal although many lawyers do not engage in
talent in their respective work within COA, then private practice, it is still a fact that the
they are qualified to be considered for majority of lawyers are private practitioners.
appointment as members or commissioners, (Gary Munneke, Opportunities in Law
even chairman, of the Commission on Audit. Careers [VGM Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986],
p. 15).
This has been discussed by the Committee on
Constitutional Commissions and Agencies and At this point, it might be helpful to
we deem it important to take it up on the floor define private practice. The term, as commonly
so that this interpretation may be made understood, means "an individual or
available whenever this provision on the organization engaged in the business of
qualifications as regards members of the delivering legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who
Philippine Bar engaging in the practice of law practice alone are often called "sole
for at least ten years is taken up. practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called
"firms." The firm is usually a partnership and
MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just members of the firm are the partners. Some
one question. firms may be organized as professional
corporations and the members called
MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. shareholders. In either case, the members of
the firm are the experienced attorneys. In most
MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in
firms, there are younger or more inexperienced
the COA by a lawyer is equivalent to the
salaried attorneyscalled "associates." (Ibid.).
requirement of a law practice that is set forth in
the Article on the Commission on Audit? The test that defines law practice by looking to
traditional areas of law practice is essentially
MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the
tautologous, unhelpful defining the practice of
work of COA, although it is auditing, will
law as that which lawyers do. (Charles W.
necessarily involve legal work; it will involve
Wolfram, Modern Legal Ethics [West Publishing
legal work. And, therefore, lawyers who are
Co.: Minnesota, 1986], p. 593). The practice of
employed in COA now would have the
law is defined as the performance of any
necessary qualifications in accordance with the
acts . . . in or out of court, commonly
Provision on qualifications under our provisions
understood to be the practice of law. (State Bar
on the Commission on Audit. And, therefore,
Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145
the answer is yes.
Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870 [1958]
MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to [quoting Grievance Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn.
this is that this is equivalent to the practice of 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626 [1941]). Because
law. lawyers perform almost every function known
in the commercial and governmental realm,
MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. such a definition would obviously be too global
to be workable.(Wolfram, op. cit.).
MR. OPLE. Thank you.
The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in
... ( Emphasis supplied) behalf of a client is at once the most publicly
familiar role for lawyers as well as an
Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 uncommon role for the average lawyer. Most
Constitution, provides, among others, that the lawyers spend little time in courtrooms, and a
Chairman and two Commissioners of the large percentage spend their entire practice
Commission on Audit (COA) should either be without litigating a case. (Ibid., p. 593).
Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue to the new skills of evaluation and mediation are
litigate and the litigating lawyer's role colors both effective for many clients and a source of
much of both the public image and the self employment. (Ibid.).
perception of the legal profession. (Ibid.).
Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal
In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation work or in litigation work that is constrained in
in the public mind reflects history, not reality. very important ways, at least theoretically, so
(Ibid.). Why is this so? Recall that the late as to remove from it some of the salient
Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer, once features of adversarial litigation. Of these
articulated on the importance of a lawyer as a special roles, the most prominent is that of
business counselor in this wise: "Even today, prosecutor. In some lawyers' work the
there are still uninformed laymen whose constraints are imposed both by the nature of
concept of an attorney is one who principally the client and by the way in which the lawyer is
tries cases before the courts. The members of organized into a social unit to perform that
the bench and bar and the informed laymen work. The most common of these roles are
such as businessmen, know that in most those of corporate practice and government
developed societies today, substantially more legal service. (Ibid.).
legal work is transacted in law offices than in
the courtrooms. General practitioners of law In several issues of the Business Star, a
who do both litigation and non-litigation work business daily, herein below quoted are
also know that in most cases they find emerging trends in corporate law practice, a
themselves spending more time doing what [is] departure from the traditional concept of
loosely desccribe[d] as business counseling practice of law.
than in trying cases. The business lawyer has
We are experiencing today what truly may be
been described as the planner, the
called a revolutionary transformation in
diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the surgeon.
corporate law practice. Lawyers and other
I[t] need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in
professional groups, in particular those
medicine, surgery should be avoided where
members participating in various legal-policy
internal medicine can be effective." (Business
decisional contexts, are finding that
Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p.
understanding the major emerging trends in
4).
corporation law is indispensable to intelligent
In the course of a working day the average decision-making.
general practitioner wig engage in a number of
Constructive adjustment to major corporate
legal tasks, each involving different legal
problems of today requires an accurate
doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal
understanding of the nature and implications of
institutions, clients, and other interested
the corporate law research function
parties. Even the increasing numbers of
accompanied by an accelerating rate of
lawyers in specialized practice wig usually
information accumulation. The recognition of
perform at least some legal services outside
the need for such improved corporate legal
their specialty. And even within a narrow
policy formulation, particularly "model-making"
specialty such as tax practice, a lawyer will
and "contingency planning," has impressed
shift from one legal task or role such as advice-
upon us the inadequacy of traditional
giving to an importantly different one such as
procedures in many decisional contexts.
representing a client before an administrative
agency. (Wolfram, supra, p. 687). In a complex legal problem the mass of
information to be processed, the sorting and
By no means will most of this work involve
weighing of significant conditional factors, the
litigation, unless the lawyer is one of the
appraisal of major trends, the necessity of
relatively rare types a litigator who
estimating the consequences of given courses
specializes in this work to the exclusion of
of action, and the need for fast decision and
much else. Instead, the work will require the
response in situations of acute danger have
lawyer to have mastered the full range of
prompted the use of sophisticated concepts of
traditional lawyer skills of client counselling,
information flow theory, operational analysis,
advice-giving, document drafting, and
automatic data processing, and electronic
negotiation. And increasingly lawyers find that
computing equipment. Understandably, an
improved decisional structure must stress the corporation have a staff large enough to handle
predictive component of the policy-making most legal problems in-house.
process, wherein a "model", of the decisional
context or a segment thereof is developed to A corporate lawyer, for all intents and
test projected alternative courses of action in purposes, is a lawyer who handles the legal
terms of futuristic effects flowing therefrom. affairs of a corporation. His areas of concern or
jurisdiction may include, inter alia: corporate
Although members of the legal profession are legal research, tax laws research, acting out as
regularly engaged in predicting and projecting corporate secretary (in board meetings),
the trends of the law, the subject of corporate appearances in both courts and other
finance law has received relatively little adjudicatory agencies (including the Securities
organized and formalized attention in the and Exchange Commission), and in other
philosophy of advancing corporate legal capacities which require an ability to deal with
education. Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary the law.
approach to legal research has become a vital
necessity. At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume
responsibilities other than the legal affairs of
Certainly, the general orientation for productive the business of the corporation he is
contributions by those trained primarily in the representing. These include such matters as
law can be improved through an early determining policy and becoming involved in
introduction to multi-variable decisional context management. ( Emphasis supplied.)
and the various approaches for handling such
problems. Lawyers, particularly with either a In a big company, for example, one may have a
master's or doctorate degree in business feeling of being isolated from the action, or not
administration or management, functioning at understanding how one's work actually fits into
the legal policy level of decision-making now the work of the orgarnization. This can be
have some appreciation for the concepts and frustrating to someone who needs to see the
analytical techniques of other professions results of his work first hand. In short, a
which are currently engaged in similar types of corporate lawyer is sometimes offered this
complex decision-making. fortune to be more closely involved in the
running of the business.
Truth to tell, many situations involving
corporate finance problems would require the Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may
services of an astute attorney because of the sometimes be engaged by a multinational
complex legal implications that arise from each corporation (MNC). Some large MNCs provide
and every necessary step in securing and one of the few opportunities available to
maintaining the business issue raised. corporate lawyers to enter the international law
(Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. field. After all, international law is practiced in a
11, 1989, p. 4). relatively small number of companies and law
firms. Because working in a foreign country is
In our litigation-prone country, a corporate perceived by many as glamorous, tills is an
lawyer is assiduously referred to as the area coveted by corporate lawyers. In most
"abogado de campanilla." He is the "big-time" cases, however, the overseas jobs go to
lawyer, earning big money and with a clientele experienced attorneys while the younger
composed of the tycoons and magnates of attorneys do their "international practice" in
business and industry. law libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law
Practice," May 25,1990, p. 4).
Despite the growing number of corporate
lawyers, many people could not explain what it This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of
is that a corporate lawyer does. For one, the the lawyer in the realm of finance. To borrow
number of attorneys employed by a single the lines of Harvard-educated lawyer Bruce
corporation will vary with the size and type of Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who
the corporation. Many smaller and some large fails to spot problems, a good lawyer is one
corporations farm out all their legal problems to who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent
private law firms. Many others have in-house lawyer is one who surmounts them." (Business
counsel only for certain matters. Other Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p.
4).
Today, the study of corporate law practice New collaborative arrangements for promoting
direly needs a "shot in the arm," so to speak. specific technologies or competitiveness more
No longer are we talking of the traditional law generally require approaches from industry that
teaching method of confining the subject study differ from older, more adversarial relationships
to the Corporation Code and the Securities and traditional forms of seeking to influence
Code but an incursion as well into the governmental policies. And there are lessons to
intertwining modern management issues. be learned from other countries. In
Europe, Esprit, Eureka and Race are examples
Such corporate legal management issues deal of collaborative efforts between governmental
primarily with three (3) types of learning: (1) and business Japan's MITI is world famous.
acquisition of insights into current advances (Emphasis supplied)
which are of particular significance to the
corporate counsel; (2) an introduction to usable Following the concept of boundary spanning,
disciplinary skins applicable to a corporate the office of the Corporate Counsel comprises a
counsel's management responsibilities; and (3) distinct group within the managerial structure
a devotion to the organization and of all kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of
management of the legal function itself. both long-term and temporary groups within
organizations has been found to be related to
These three subject areas may be thought of as indentifiable factors in the group-context
intersecting circles, with a shared area linking interaction such as the groups actively revising
them. Otherwise known as "intersecting their knowledge of the environment
managerial jurisprudence," it forms a unifying coordinating work with outsiders, promoting
theme for the corporate counsel's total team achievements within the organization. In
learning. general, such external activities are better
predictors of team performance than internal
Some current advances in behavior and policy
group processes.
sciences affect the counsel's role. For that
matter, the corporate lawyer reviews the In a crisis situation, the legal managerial
globalization process, including the resulting capabilities of the corporate lawyer vis-a-vis the
strategic repositioning that the firms he managerial mettle of corporations are
provides counsel for are required to make, and challenged. Current research is seeking ways
the need to think about a corporation's; both to anticipate effective managerial
strategy at multiple levels. The salience of the procedures and to understand relationships of
nation-state is being reduced as firms deal both financial liability and insurance considerations.
with global multinational entities and (Emphasis supplied)
simultaneously with sub-national governmental
units. Firms increasingly collaborate not only Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate
with public entities but with each other often counsel, three factors are apropos:
with those who are competitors in other arenas.
First System Dynamics. The field of systems
Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in dynamics has been found an effective tool for
decision-making within the corporation is new managerial thinking regarding both
rapidly changing. The modem corporate lawyer planning and pressing immediate problems. An
has gained a new role as a stakeholder in understanding of the role of feedback loops,
some cases participating in the organization inventory levels, and rates of flow, enable users
and operations of governance through to simulate all sorts of systematic problems
participation on boards and other decision- physical, economic, managerial, social, and
making roles. Often these new patterns psychological. New programming techniques
develop alongside existing legal institutions now make the system dynamics principles
and laws are perceived as barriers. These more accessible to managers including
trends are complicated as corporations corporate counsels. (Emphasis supplied)
organize for global operations. ( Emphasis
supplied) Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to
make better decisions involving complexity and
The practising lawyer of today is familiar as uncertainty. In the context of a law department,
well with governmental policies toward the it can be used to appraise the settlement value
promotion and management of technology. of litigation, aid in negotiation settlement, and
minimize the cost and risk involved in give him a full sense of how the legal system
managing a portfolio of cases. (Emphasis shapes corporate activities. And even if the
supplied) corporate lawyer's aim is not the understand all
of the law's effects on corporate activities, he
Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. must, at the very least, also gain a working
Computer-based models can be used directly knowledge of the management issues if only to
by parties and mediators in all lands of be able to grasp not only the basic legal
negotiations. All integrated set of such tools "constitution' or makeup of the modem
provide coherent and effective negotiation corporation. "Business Star", "The Corporate
support, including hands-on on instruction in Counsel," April 10, 1991, p. 4).
these techniques. A simulation case of an
international joint venture may be used to The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and
illustrate the point. the bench) is to have more than a passing
knowledge of financial law affecting each
[Be this as it may,] the organization and aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit to
management of the legal function, concern ignorance of vast tracts of the financial law
three pointed areas of consideration, thus: territory. What transpires next is a dilemma of
professional security: Will the lawyer admit
Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers
ignorance and risk opprobrium?; or will he feign
requires special skills that comprise a major
understanding and risk exposure? (Business
part of the general counsel's responsibilities.
Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan. 11, 1989, p.
They differ from those of remedial law.
4).
Preventive lawyering is concerned with
minimizing the risks of legal trouble and Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated
maximizing legal rights for such legal entities by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position
at that time when transactional or similar facts of Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter
are being considered and made. received by the Secretariat of the Commission
on Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner
Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the
opposed the nomination because allegedly
framework within which are undertaken those
Monsod does not possess the required
activities of the firm to which legal
qualification of having been engaged in the
consequences attach. It needs to be directly
practice of law for at least ten years.
supportive of this nation's evolving economic
and organizational fabric as firms change to On June 5, 1991, the Commission on
stay competitive in a global, interdependent Appointments confirmed the nomination of
environment. The practice and theory of "law" Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC. On June
is not adequate today to facilitate the 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the
relationships needed in trying to make a global same day, he assumed office as Chairman of
economy work. the COMELEC.
Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Challenging the validity of the confirmation by
Counsel's Office. The general counsel has the Commission on Appointments of Monsod's
emerged in the last decade as one of the most nomination, petitioner as a citizen and
vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The taxpayer, filed the instant petition for certiorari
corporate counsel hear responsibility for key and Prohibition praying that said confirmation
aspects of the firm's strategic issues, including and the consequent appointment of Monsod as
structuring its global operations, managing Chairman of the Commission on Elections be
improved relationships with an increasingly declared null and void.
diversified body of employees, managing
expanded liability exposure, creating new and Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the
varied interactions with public decision-makers,Philippine Bar, having passed the bar
coping internally with more complex make or examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86-55%.
by decisions. He has been a dues paying member of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its
This whole exercise drives home the thesis that inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying
knowing corporate law is not enough to make his professional license fees as lawyer for more
one a good general corporate counsel nor to than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo)
After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) officer (such as an official involved in
and having hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod negotiating the contracts) who comprise the
worked in the law office of his father. During his members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven,
stint in the World Bank Group (1963- "Loan Negotiating Strategies for Developing
1970), Monsod worked as an operations officer Country Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Central
for about two years in Costa Rica and Panama, Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. 11).
which involved getting acquainted with the (Emphasis supplied)
laws of member-countries negotiating loans
and coordinating legal, economic, and project After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a
work of the Bank. Upon returning to the country's Constitution; it lays down the law as
Philippines in 1970, he worked with the Meralco far as the loan transaction is concerned. Thus,
Group, served as chief executive officer of an the meat of any Loan Agreement can be
investment bank and subsequently of a compartmentalized into five (5) fundamental
business conglomerate, and since 1986, has parts: (1) business terms; (2) borrower's
rendered services to various companies as a representation; (3) conditions of closing; (4)
legal and economic consultant or chief covenants; and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p.
executive officer. As former Secretary-General 13).
(1986) and National Chairman (1987) of
In the same vein, lawyers play an important
NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being
role in any debt restructuring program. For
knowledgeable in election law. He appeared for
aside from performing the tasks of legislative
NAMFREL in its accreditation hearings before
drafting and legal advising, they score national
the Comelec. In the field of advocacy, Monsod,
development policies as key factors in
in his personal capacity and as former Co-
maintaining their countries' sovereignty.
Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's
(Condensed from the work paper, entitled
Conference for Human Development, has
"Wanted: Development Lawyers for Developing
worked with the under privileged sectors, such
Nations," submitted by L. Michael Hager,
as the farmer and urban poor groups, in
regional legal adviser of the United States
initiating, lobbying for and engaging in
Agency for International Development, during
affirmative action for the agrarian reform law
the Session on Law for the Development of
and lately the urban land reform bill. Monsod
Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in
also made use of his legal knowledge as a
Ivory Coast, sponsored by the World Peace
member of the Davide Commission, a quast
Through Law Center on August 26-31, 1973).
judicial body, which conducted numerous
( Emphasis supplied)
hearings (1990) and as a member of the
Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps
Chairman of its Committee on Accountability of even more so than purely renegotiation
Public Officers, for which he was cited by the policies, demand expertise in the law of
President of the Commission, Justice Cecilia contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting
Muoz-Palma for "innumerable amendments to and in renegotiation. Necessarily, a sovereign
reconcile government functions with individual lawyer may work with an international business
freedoms and public accountability and the specialist or an economist in the formulation of
party-list system for the House of a model loan agreement. Debt restructuring
Representative. (pp. 128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis contract agreements contain such a mixture of
supplied) technical language that they should be
carefully drafted and signed only with the
Just a word about the work of a negotiating
advise of competent counsel in conjunction
team of which Atty. Monsod used to be a
with the guidance of adequate technical
member.
support personnel. (See International Law
In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating Aspects of the Philippine External Debts, an
panel acts as a team, and which is adequately unpublished dissertation, U.S.T. Graduate
constituted to meet the various contingencies School of Law, 1987, p. 321). ( Emphasis
that arise during a negotiation. Besides top supplied)
officials of the Borrower concerned, there are
A critical aspect of sovereign debt
the legal officer (such as the legal counsel), the
restructuring/contract construction is the set of
finance manager, and an operations
terms and conditions which determines the
contractual remedies for a failure to perform It is well-settled that when the appointee is
one or more elements of the contract. A good qualified, as in this case, and all the other legal
agreement must not only define the requirements are satisfied, the Commission has
responsibilities of both parties, but must also no alternative but to attest to the appointment
state the recourse open to either party when in accordance with the Civil Service Law. The
the other fails to discharge an obligation. For a Commission has no authority to revoke an
compleat debt restructuring represents a appointment on the ground that another person
devotion to that principle which in the ultimate is more qualified for a particular position. It also
analysis issine qua non for foreign loan has no authority to direct the appointment of a
agreements-an adherence to the rule of law in substitute of its choice. To do so would be an
domestic and international affairs of whose encroachment on the discretion vested upon
kind U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell the appointing authority. An appointment is
Holmes, Jr. once said: "They carry no banners, essentially within the discretionary power of
they beat no drums; but where they are, men whomsoever it is vested, subject to the only
learn that bustle and bush are not the equal of condition that the appointee should possess
quiet genius and serene mastery." (See Ricardo the qualifications required by law. ( Emphasis
J. Romulo, "The Role of Lawyers in Foreign supplied)
Investments," Integrated Bar of the Philippine
Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth The appointing process in a regular
Quarters, 1977, p. 265). appointment as in the case at bar, consists of
four (4) stages: (1) nomination; (2) confirmation
Interpreted in the light of the various definitions by the Commission on Appointments; (3)
of the term Practice of law". particularly the issuance of a commission (in the Philippines,
modern concept of law practice, and taking into upon submission by the Commission on
consideration the liberal construction intended Appointments of its certificate of confirmation,
by the framers of the Constitution, Atty. the President issues the permanent
Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer- appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath-
economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer- taking, posting of bond, etc. . . . (Lacson v.
entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of Romero, No. L-3081, October 14, 1949;
contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the Gonzales, Law on Public Officers, p. 200)
rich and the poor verily more than satisfy the
constitutional requirement that he has been The power of the Commission on Appointments
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten to give its consent to the nomination of Monsod
years. as Chairman of the Commission on Elections is
mandated by Section 1(2) Sub-Article C, Article
Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil IX of the Constitution which provides:
Service Commission, 143 SCRA 327, the Court
said: The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be
appointed by the President with the consent of
Appointment is an essentially discretionary the Commission on Appointments for a term of
power and must be performed by the officer in seven years without reappointment. Of those
which it is vested according to his best lights, first appointed, three Members shall hold office
the only condition being that the appointee for seven years, two Members for five years,
should possess the qualifications required by and the last Members for three years, without
law. If he does, then the appointment cannot be reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy
faulted on the ground that there are others shall be only for the unexpired term of the
better qualified who should have been predecessor. In no case shall any Member be
preferred. This is a political question involving appointed or designated in a temporary or
considerations of wisdom which only the acting capacity.
appointing authority can decide. (emphasis
supplied) Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate
opinion, suffice it to say that his definition of
No less emphatic was the Court in the case of the practice of law is the traditional or
(Central Bank v. Civil Service Commission, 171 stereotyped notion of law practice, as
SCRA 744) where it stated: distinguished from the modern concept of the
practice of law, which modern connotation
is exactly what was intended by the eminent
framers of the 1987 Constitution. Moreover, judgment. In the instant case, there is no
Justice Padilla's definition would require occasion for the exercise of the Court's
generally a habitual law practice, perhaps corrective power, since no abuse, much less a
practised two or three times a week and would grave abuse of discretion, that would amount
outlaw say, law practice once or twice a year to lack or excess of jurisdiction and would
for ten consecutive years. Clearly, this is far warrant the issuance of the writs prayed, for
from the constitutional intent. has been clearly shown.

Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Additionally, consider the following:
Justice Isagani Cruz states that in my written
opinion, I made use of a definition of law (1) If the Commission on
practice which really means nothing because Appointments rejects a nominee by the
the definition says that law practice " . . . is President, may the Supreme Court reverse the
what people ordinarily mean by the practice of Commission, and thus in effect confirm the
law." True I cited the definition but only by way appointment? Clearly, the answer is in the
of sarcasm as evident from my statement that negative.
the definition of law practice by "traditional
(2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the
areas of law practice is essentially tautologous"
nominee, whom the Commission
or defining a phrase by means of the phrase
has confirmed? The answer is likewise clear.
itself that is being defined.
(3) If the United States Senate (which is the
Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that
confirming body in the U.S. Congress) decides
since the law covers almost all situations, most
to confirma Presidential nominee, it would be
individuals, in making use of the law, or in
incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would
advising others on what the law means, are
still reverse the U.S. Senate.
actually practicing law. In that sense, perhaps,
but we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr. Finally, one significant legal maxim is:
Monsod is a lawyer, a member of the Philippine
Bar, who has been practising law for over ten We must interpret not by the letter that killeth,
years. This is different from the acts of persons but by the spirit that giveth life.
practising law, without first becoming lawyers.
Take this hypothetical case of Samson and
Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court Delilah. Once, the procurator of Judea asked
can even disqualify an elected President of the Delilah (who was Samson's beloved) for help in
Philippines, say, on the ground that he lacks capturing Samson. Delilah agreed on condition
one or more qualifications. This matter, I that
greatly doubt. For one thing, how can an action
or petition be brought against the President? No blade shall touch his skin;
And even assuming that he is indeed
disqualified, how can the action be entertained No blood shall flow from his veins.
since he is the incumbent President?
When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was
We now proceed: captured, the procurator placed an iron rod
burning white-hot two or three inches away
The Commission on the basis of evidence from in front of Samson's eyes. This blinded the
submitted doling the public hearings on man. Upon hearing of what had happened to
Monsod's confirmation, implicitly determined her beloved, Delilah was beside herself with
that he possessed the necessary qualifications anger, and fuming with righteous fury, accused
as required by law. The judgment rendered by the procurator of reneging on his word. The
the Commission in the exercise of such an procurator calmly replied: "Did any blade touch
acknowledged power is beyond judicial his skin? Did any blood flow from his veins?"
interference except only upon a clear showing The procurator was clearly relying on the letter,
of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to not the spirit of the agreement.
lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1
Constitution). Thus, only where such grave In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby
abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the DISMISSED.
Court interfere with the Commission's
SO ORDERED. CELEDONIO AGRAVA, in his capacity as Director
of the Philippines Patent Office, respondent.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT Arturo A. Alafriz for petitioner.
Manila Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla
and Solicitor Pacifico P. de Castro for
EN BANC respondent.

MONTEMAYOR, J.:

This is the petition filed by the Philippine


Lawyer's Association for prohibition and
injunction against Celedonio Agrava, in his
capacity as Director of the Philippines Patent
Office.

On may 27, 1957, respondent Director issued a


circular announcing that he had scheduled for
June 27, 1957 an examination for the purpose
of determining who are qualified to practice as
patent attorneys before the Philippines Patent
Office, the said examination to cover patent
law and jurisprudence and the rules of practice
before said office. According to the circular,
members of the Philippine Bar, engineers and
other persons with sufficient scientific and
technical training are qualified to take the said
examination. It would appear that heretofore,
respondent Director has been holding similar
examinations.

It is the contention of the petitioner Philippine


Lawyer's Association that one who has passed
the bar examinations and is licensed by the
Supreme Court to practice law in the
Philippines and who is in good standing, is duly
qualified to practice before the Philippines
Patent Office, and that consequently, the cat of
the respondent Director requiring members of
the Philippine Bar in good standing to take and
pass an examination given by the Patent Office
as a condition precedent to their being allowed
to practice before said office, such as
representing applicants in the preparation and
prosecution of applications for patent, is in
excess of his jurisdiction and is in violation of
the law.

In his answer, respondent Director, through the


Solicitor General, maintains that the
prosecution of patent cases "does not involve
G.R. No. L-12426 February 16, entirely or purely the practice of law but
1959 includes the application of scientific and
technical knowledge and training, so much so
PHILIPPINE LAWYER'S ASSOCIATION, petitioner, that, as a matter of actual practice, the
vs. prosecution of patent cases may be handled
not only by lawyers, but also engineers and
other persons with sufficient scientific and management of such actions and proceedings
technical training who pass the prescribed on behalf of clients before judges and courts,
examinations as given by the Patent Office; . . . and in addition, conveying. In general, alladvice
that the Rules of Court do not prohibit the to clients, and all action taken for them in
Patent Office, or any other quasi-judicial body matters connected with the law corporation
from requiring further condition or qualification services, assessment and condemnation
from those who would wish to handle cases services contemplating an appearance before a
before the Patent Office which, as stated in the judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage,
preceding paragraph, requires more of an enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy
application of scientific and technical and insolvency proceedings, and conducting
knowledge than the mere application of proceedings in attachment, and in matters of
provisions of law; . . . that the action taken by estate and guardianship have been held to
the respondent is in accordance with Republic constitute law practice as do the preparation
Act No. 165, otherwise known as the Patent and drafting of legal instruments, where the
Law of the Philippines, which similar to the work done involves the determination by the
United States Patent Law, in accordance with trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts
which the United States Patent Office has also and conditions. (5 Am. Jur. p. 262, 263).
prescribed a similar examination as that (Emphasis supplied).
prescribed by respondent. . . .
Practice of law under modern conditions
Respondent further contends that just as the consists in no small part of work performed
Patent law of the United States of America outside of any court and having no immediate
authorizes the Commissioner of Patents to relation to proceedings in court. It embraces
prescribe examinations to determine as to who conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a
practice before the United States Patent Office, large variety of subjects, and the preparation
the respondent, is similarly authorized to do so and execution of legal instruments covering an
by our Patent Law, Republic Act No. 165. extensive field of business and trust relations
and other affairs. Although these transactions
Although as already stated, the Director of may have no direct connection with court
Patents, in the past, would appear to have been proceedings, they are always subject to
holding tests or examinations the passing of become involved in litigation. They require in
which was imposed as a required qualification many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a
to practice before the Patent Office, to our wide experience with men and affairs, and
knowledge, this is the first time that the right of great capacity for adaptation to difficult and
the Director of Patents to do so, specially as complex situations. These customary functions
regards members of the bar, has been of an attorney or counselor at law bear an
questioned formally, or otherwise put in issue. intimate relation to the administration of justice
And we have given it careful thought and by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as
consideration. concerns the question set forth in the order,
can be drawn between that part which involves
The Supreme Court has the exclusive and
advice and drafting of instruments in his office.
constitutional power with respect to admission
It is of importance to the welfare of the public
to the practice of law in the Philippines1 and to
that these manifold customary functions be
any member of the Philippine Bar in good
performed by persons possessed of adequate
standing may practice law anywhere and
learning and skill, of sound moral character,
before any entity, whether judicial or quasi-
and acting at all times under the heavy trust
judicial or administrative, in the Philippines.
obligations to clients which rests upon all
Naturally, the question arises as to whether or
attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of
not appearance before the patent Office and
Court, Vol. 3 (1953 ed.), p. 665-666, citing In re
the preparation and the prosecution of patent
Opinion of the Justices (Mass.), 194 N.E. 313,
applications, etc., constitutes or is included in
quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. vs. Automobile
the practice of law.
Service Assoc. (R. I. ) 179 A. 139, 144).
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct (Emphasis ours).
of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
In our opinion, the practice of law includes such
preparation of pleadings and other papers
appearance before the Patent Office, the
incident to actions and social proceedings, the
representation of applicants, oppositors, and reasonable terms or by reason of the condition
other persons, and the prosecution of their attached by him to the license, purchase or use
applications for patent, their oppositions of the patented article or working of the
thereto, or the enforcement of their rights in patented process or machine of production, the
patent cases. In the first place, although the establishment of a new trade or industry in the
transaction of business in the Patent Office Philippines is prevented; or if the patent or
involves the use and application of technical invention relates to food or medicine or is
and scientific knowledge and training, still, all necessary to public health or public safety. All
such business has to be rendered in these things involve the applications of laws,
accordance with the Patent Law, as well as legal principles, practice and procedure. They
other laws, including the Rules and Regulations call for legal knowledge, training and
promulgated by the Patent Office in accordance experience for which a member of the bar has
with law. Not only this, but practice before the been prepared.
Patent Office involves the interpretation and
application of other laws and legal principles, In support of the proposition that much of the
as well as the existence of facts to be business and many of the act, orders and
established in accordance with the law of decisions of the Patent Director involve
evidence and procedure. For instance: Section questions of law or a reasonable and correct
8 of our Patent Law provides that an invention evaluation of facts, the very Patent Law,
shall not be patentable if it is contrary to public Republic Act No. 165, Section 61, provides that:
order or morals, or to public health or welfare.
. . . . The applicant for a patent or for the
Section 9 says that an invention shall not be
registration of a design, any party to a
considered new or patentable if it was known or
proceeding to cancel a patent or to obtain a
used by others in the Philippines before the
compulsory license, and any party to any other
invention thereof by the inventor named in any
proceeding in the Office may appeal to the
printed publication in the Philippines or any
Supreme Court from any final order or decision
foreign country more than one year before the
of the director.
application for a patent therefor, or if it had
been in public use or on sale in the Philippines In other words, the appeal is taken to this
for more than one year before the application Tribunal. If the transaction of business in the
for the patent therefor. Section 10 provides that Patent Office and the acts, orders and decisions
the right to patent belongs to the true and of the Patent Director involved exclusively or
actual inventor, his heirs, legal representatives mostly technical and scientific knowledge and
or assigns. Section 25 and 26 refer to training, then logically, the appeal should be
connection of any mistake in a patent. Section taken not to a court or judicial body, but rather
28 enumerates the grounds for cancellation of to a board of scientists, engineers or technical
a patent; that although any person may apply men, which is not the case.
for such cancellation, under Section 29, the
Solicitor General is authorized to petition for Another aspect of the question involves the
the cancellation of a patent. Section 30 consideration of the nature of the functions and
mentions the requirements of a petition for acts of the Head of the Patent Office.
cancellation. Section 31 and 32 provide for a
notice of hearing of the petition for cancellation . . . . The Commissioner, in issuing or
of the patent by the Director of Patents in case withholding patents, in reissues, interferences,
the said cancellation is warranted. Under and extensions, exercises quasi-judicial
Section 34, at any time after the expiration of functions. Patents are public records, and it is
three years from the day the patent was the duty of the Commissioner to give
granted, any person patent on several grounds, authenticated copies to any person, on
such as, if the patented invention is not being payment of the legal fees. (40 Am. Jur. 537).
worked in the Philippines on a commercial (Emphasis supplied).
scale, or if the demand for the patented article
in the Philippines on a commercial scale, or if . . . . The Commissioner has the only original
the demand for the patented article in the initiatory jurisdiction that exists up to the
Philippines is not being met to an adequate granting and delivering of a patent, and it is his
extent and reasonable terms, or if by reason of duty to decide whether the patent is new and
the patentee's refusal to grant a license on whether it is the proper subject of a patent; and
his action in awarding or refusing a patent is fulfills the requirements and complied with the
a judicial function. In passing on an application provisions of these rules may be admitted to
the commissioner should decide not only practice before the Patent Office and have his
questions of law, but also questions of fact, as name entered on the register of attorneys.
whether there has been a prior public use or
sale of the article invented. . . . (60 C.J.S. 460). xxx xxx xxx
(Emphasis supplied).
(c) Requirement for registration. No person
The Director of Patents, exercising as he does will be admitted to practice and register unless
judicial or quasi-judicial functions, it is he shall apply to the Commissioner of Patents
reasonable to hold that a member of the bar, in writing on a prescribed form supplied by the
because of his legal knowledge and training, Commissioner and furnish all requested
should be allowed to practice before the Patent information and material; and shall establish to
Office, without further examination or other the satisfaction of the Commissioner that he is
qualification. Of course, the Director of Patents, of good moral character and of good repute
if he deems it advisable or necessary, may and possessed of the legal and scientific and
require that members of the bar practising technical qualifications necessary to enable
before him enlist the assistance of technical him to render applicants for patent valuable
men and scientist in the preparation of papers service, and is otherwise competent to advise
and documents, such as, the drawing or and assist him in the presentation and
technical description of an invention or prosecution of their application before the
machine sought to be patented, in the same Patent Office. In order that the Commissioner
way that a lawyer filing an application for the may determine whether a person seeking to
registration of a parcel of land on behalf of his have his name placed upon either of the
clients, is required to submit a plan and registers has the qualifications specified,
technical description of said land, prepared by satisfactory proof of good moral character and
a licensed surveyor. repute, and of sufficient basic training in
scientific and technical matters must be
But respondent Director claims that he is submitted and an examination which is held
expressly authorized by the law to require from time to time must be taken and passed.
persons desiring to practice or to do business The taking of an examination may be waived in
before him to submit an examination, even if the case of any person who has served for
they are already members of the bar. He three years in the examining corps of the
contends that our Patent Law, Republic Act No. Patent Office.
165, is patterned after the United States Patent
Law; and of the United States Patent Office in Respondent states that the promulgation of the
Patent Cases prescribes an examination similar Rules of Practice of the United States Patent
to that which he (respondent) has prescribed Office in Patent Cases is authorized by the
and scheduled. He invites our attention to the United States Patent Law itself, which reads as
following provisions of said Rules of Practice: follows:

Registration of attorneys and agents. A The Commissioner of Patents, subject to the


register of an attorneys and a register agents approval of the Secretary of Commerce may
are kept in the Patent Office on which are prescribe rules and regulations governing
entered the names of all persons recognized as the recognition of agents, attorneys, or other
entitled to represent applicants before the persons representing applicants or other
Patent Office in the preparation and parties before his office, and may require of
prosecution of applicants for patent. such persons, agents, or attorneys, before
Registration in the Patent Office under the being recognized as representatives of
provisions of these rules shall only entitle the applicants or other persons, that they shall
person registered to practice before the Patent show they are of good moral character and in
Office. good repute, are possessed of the necessary
qualifications to enable them to render to
(a) Attorney at law. Any attorney at law in applicants or other persons valuable service,
good standing admitted to practice before any and are likewise to competent to advise and
United States Court or the highest court of any assist applicants or other persons in the
State or Territory of the United States who presentation or prosecution of their
applications or other business before the Office. called to any express provision of our Patent
The Commissioner of Patents may, after notice Law, giving such authority to determine the
and opportunity for a hearing, suspend or qualifications of persons allowed to practice
exclude, either generally or in any particular before the Patent Office.
case from further practice before his office any
person, agent or attorney shown to be Section 551 of the Revised Administrative Code
incompetent or disreputable, or guilty of gross authorizes every chief of bureau to prescribe
misconduct, or who refuses to comply with the forms and make regulations or general orders
said rules and regulations, or who shall, with not inconsistent with law, to secure the
intent to defraud in any matter, deceive, harmonious and efficient administration of his
mislead, or threaten any applicant or branch of the service and to carry into full
prospective applicant, or other person having effect the laws relating to matters within the
immediate or prospective applicant, or other jurisdiction of his bureau. Section 608 of
person having immediate or prospective Republic Act 1937, known as the Tariff and
business before the office, by word, circular, Customs Code of the Philippines, provides that
letter, or by advertising. The reasons for any the Commissioner of Customs shall, subject to
such suspension or exclusion shall be duly the approval of the Department Head, makes
recorded. The action of the Commissioner may all rules and regulations necessary to enforce
be reviewed upon the petition of the person so the provisions of said code. Section 338 of the
refused recognition or so suspended by the National Internal Revenue Code,
district court of the United States for the Commonwealth Act No. 466 as amended,
District of Columbia under such conditions and states that the Secretary of Finance, upon
upon such proceedings as the said court may recommendation of the Collector of Internal
by its rules determine. (Emphasis supplied) Revenue, shall promulgate all needful rules and
regulations for the effective enforcement of the
Respondent Director concludes that Section 78 provisions of the code. We understand that
of Republic Act No. 165 being similar to the rules and regulations have been promulgated
provisions of law just reproduced, then he is not only for the Bureau of Customs and Internal
authorized to prescribe the rules and Revenue, but also for other bureaus of the
regulations requiring that persons desiring to Government, to govern the transaction of
practice before him should submit to and pass business in and to enforce the law for said
an examination. We reproduce said Section 78, bureaus.
Republic Act No. 165, for purposes of
comparison: Were we to allow the Patent Office, in the
absence of an express and clear provision of
SEC. 78. Rules and regulations. The Director law giving the necessary sanction, to require
subject to the approval of the Secretary of lawyers to submit to and pass on examination
Justice, shall promulgate the necessary rules prescribed by it before they are allowed to
and regulations, not inconsistent with law, for practice before said Patent Office, then there
the conduct of all business in the Patent Office. would be no reason why other bureaus
specially the Bureau of Internal Revenue and
The above provisions of Section 78 certainly Customs, where the business in the same area
and by far, are different from the provisions of are more or less complicated, such as the
the United States Patent Law as regards presentation of books of accounts, balance
authority to hold examinations to determine sheets, etc., assessments exemptions,
the qualifications of those allowed to practice depreciation, these as regards the Bureau of
before the Patent Office. While the U.S. Patent Internal Revenue, and the classification of
Law authorizes the Commissioner of Patents to goods, imposition of customs duties, seizures,
require attorneys to show that they possess the confiscation, etc., as regards the Bureau of
necessary qualifications and competence to Customs, may not also require that any lawyer
render valuable service to and advise and practising before them or otherwise transacting
assist their clients in patent cases, which business with them on behalf of clients, shall
showing may take the form of a test or first pass an examination to qualify.
examination to be held by the Commissioner,
our Patent Law, Section 78, is silent on this In conclusion, we hold that under the present
important point. Our attention has not been law, members of the Philippine Bar authorized
by this Tribunal to practice law, and in good
standing, may practice their profession before
the Patent Office, for the reason that much of
the business in said office involves the
interpretation and determination of the scope
and application of the Patent Law and other
laws applicable, as well as the presentation of
evidence to establish facts involved; that part
of the functions of the Patent director are
judicial or quasi-judicial, so much so that
appeals from his orders and decisions are,
under the law, taken to the Supreme Court.

For the foregoing reasons, the petition for


prohibition is granted and the respondent
Director is hereby prohibited from requiring
members of the Philippine Bar to submit to an
examination or tests and pass the same before
being permitted to appear and practice before
the Patent Office. No costs.
Under date of January 4, 1961, counsel for the
accused presented a "Motion to Inhibit Fiscal
Fule from Acting as Private Prosecutor in this
Case," this time invoking Section 32, Rule 27,
now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court,
which bars certain attorneys from practicing.
Counsel claims that City Attorney Fule falls
under this limitation. The JP Court ruled on the
motion by upholding the right of Fule to appear
and further stating that he (Fule) was not
actually enagaged in private law practice. This
G.R. No. L-19450 May 27, 1965 Order was appealed to the CFI of Laguna,
presided by the Hon. Hilarion U. Jarencio, which
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-
rendered judgment on December 20, 1961, the
appellee,
pertinent portions of which read:
vs.
SIMPLICIO VILLANUEVA, defendant-appellant. The present case is one for malicious mischief.
There being no reservation by the offended
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-
party of the civil liability, the civil action was
appellee.
deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal
Magno T. Buese for defendant-appellant.
action. The offended party had, therefore, the
PAREDES, J.: right to intervene in the case and be
represented by a legal counsel because of her
On September 4, 1959, the Chief of Police of interest in the civil liability of the accused.
Alaminos, Laguna, charged Simplicio Villanueva
with the Crime of Malicious Mischief before the Sec. 31, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court provides
Justice of the Peace Court of said municipality. that in the court of a justice of the peace a
Said accused was represented by counsel de party may conduct his litigation in person, with
officio but later on replaced by counsel de the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him
parte. The complainant in the same case was for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney.
represented by City Attorney Ariston Fule of Assistant City Attorney Fule appeared in the
San Pablo City, having entered his appearance Justice of the Peace Court as an agent or friend
as private prosecutor, after securing the of the offended party. It does not appear that
permission of the Secretary of Justice. The he was being paid for his services or that his
condition of his appearance as such, was that appearance was in a professional capacity. As
every time he would appear at the trial of the Assistant City Attorney of San Pablo he had no
case, he would be considered on official leave control or intervention whatsoever in the
of absence, and that he would not receive any prosecution of crimes committed in the
payment for his services. The appearance of municipality of Alaminos, Laguna, because the
City Attorney Fule as private prosecutor was prosecution of criminal cases coming from
questioned by the counsel for the accused, Alaminos are handled by the Office of the
invoking the case of Aquino, et al. vs. Blanco, et Provincial Fiscal and not by the City Attornev of
al., San Pablo. There could be no possible conflict
L-1532, Nov. 28, 1947, wherein it was ruled in the duties of Assistant City Attorney Fule as
that "when an attorney had been appointed to Assistant City Attorney of San Pablo and as
the position of Assistant Provincial Fiscal or City private prosecutor in this criminal case. On the
Fiscal and therein qualified, by operation of law, other hand, as already pointed out, the
he ceased to engage in private law practice." offended party in this criminal case had a right
Counsel then argued that the JP Court in to be represented by an agent or a friend to
entertaining the appearance of City Attorney protect her rights in the civil action which was
Fule in the case is a violation of the above impliedly instituted together with the criminal
ruling. On December 17, 1960 the JP issued an action.
order sustaining the legality of the appearance
In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that
of City Attorney Fule.
Asst. City Attorney Ariston D. Fule may appear
before the Justice of the Peace Court of
Alaminos, Laguna as private prosecutor in this For one thing, it has never been refuted that
criminal case as an agent or a friend of the City Attorney Fule had been given permission
offended party. by his immediate superior, the Secretary of
Justice, to represent the complainant in the
WHEREFORE, the appeal from the order of the case at bar, who is a relative.
Justice of the Peace Court of Alaminos, Laguna,
allowing the apprearance of Ariston D. Fule as CONFORMABLY WITH ALL THE FOREGOING, the
private prosecutor is dismissed, without costs. decision appealed from should be, as it is
hereby affirmed, in all respects, with costs
The above decision is the subject of the instant against appellant..
proceeding.

The appeal should be dismissed, for patently


being without merits.1wph1.t

Aside from the considerations advanced by the


learned trial judge, heretofore reproduced, and
which we consider plausible, the fallacy of the
theory of defense counsel lies in his confused
interpretation of Section 32 of Rule 127 (now
Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules), which
provides that "no judge or other official or
employee of the superior courts or of the office
of the Solicitor General, shall engage in private
practice as a member of the bar or give
professional advice to clients." He claims that
City Attorney Fule, in appearing as private
prosecutor in the case was engaging in private
practice. We believe that the isolated
appearance of City Attorney Fule did not
constitute private practice within the meaning
and contemplation of the Rules. Practice is
more than an isolated appearance, for it
consists in frequent or customary actions, a
succession of acts of the same kind. In other
words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State vs.
Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S.
768). Practice of law to fall within the
prohibition of statute has been interpreted as
customarily or habitually holding one's self out
to the public, as customarily and demanding
payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4
S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644, 647). The appearance as
counsel on one occasion is not conclusive as
determinative of engagement in the private
practice of law. The following observation of the
Solicitor General is noteworthy:

Essentially, the word private practice of law


implies that one must have presented himself
to be in the active and continued practice of
the legal profession and that his professional
services are available to the public for a
compensation, as a source of his livelihood or
in consideration of his said services.
the defendant, Antonio Ma. Cui, and by the
intervenor, Romulo Cui.

The Hospicio is a charitable institution


established by the spouses Don Pedro Cui and
Doa Benigna Cui, now deceased, "for the care
and support, free of charge, of indigent
invalids, and incapacitated and helpless
persons." It acquired corporate existence by
legislation (Act No. 3239 of the Philippine
Legislature passed 27 November 1925) and
endowed with extensive properties by the said
spouses through a series of donations,
principally the deed of donation executed on 2
January 1926.

Section 2 of Act No. 3239 gave the initial


management to the founders jointly and, in
case of their incapacity or death, to "such
persons as they may nominate or designate, in
the order prescribed to them." Section 2 of the
deed of donation provides as follows:

Que en caso de nuestro fallecimiento o


incapacidad para administrar, nos sustituyan
nuestro legitime sobrino Mariano Cui, si al
tiempo de nuestra muerte o incapacidad se
hallare residiendo en la caudad de Cebu, y
nuestro sobrino politico Dionisio Jakosalem. Si
nuestro dicho sobrino Mariano Cui no estuviese
residiendo entonces en la caudad de Cebu,
designamos en su lugar a nuestro otro sobrino
legitime Mauricio Cui. Ambos sobrinos
administraran conjuntamente el HOSPICIO DE
SAN JOSE DE BARILI. A la muerte o incapacidad
de estos dos administradores, la administracion
G.R. No. L-18727 August 31, 1964 del HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE DE BARILI pasara a
una sola persona que sera el varon, mayor de
JESUS MA. CUI, plaintiff-appellee, edad, que descienda legitimainente de
vs. cualquiera de nuestros sobrinos legitimos
ANTONIO MA. CUI, defendant-appellant, Mariano Cui, Mauricio Cui, Vicente Cui y Victor
ROMULO CUI, Intervenor-appellant. Cui, y que posea titulo de abogado, o medico, o
ingeniero civil, o farmaceutico, o a falta de
Jose W. Diokno for plaintiff-appellee. estos titulos, el que pague al Estado mayor
Jaime R. Nuevas and Hector L. Hofilea for impuesto o contribution. En igualdad de
defendant-appellant. circumstancias, sera preferida el varon de mas
Romulo Cui in his own behalf as intervenor- edad descendiente de quien tenia ultimamente
appellants. la administracion. Cuando absolutamente
faltare persona de estas cualificaciones, la
MAKALINTAL, J.: administracion del HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE DE
This is a proving in quo warranto originally filed BARILI pasara al senor Obispo de Cebu o quien
in the Court of First Instance of Cebu. The office sea el mayor dignatario de la Iglesia Catolica,
in contention is that of Administrator of apostolica, Romana, que tuviere asiento en la
the Hospicio de San Jose de Barili. Judgment cabecera de esta Provincia de Cebu, y en su
was rendered on 27 April 1961 in favor of the defecto, al Gobierno Provincial de Cebu.
plaintiff, Jesus Ma. Cui, and appealed to us by
Don Pedro Cui died in 1926, and his widow University of Santo Tomas (Class 1926) but is
continued to administer the Hospicio until her not a member of the Bar, not having passed
death in 1929. Thereupon the administration the examinations to qualify him as one. Antonio
passed to Mauricio Cui and Dionisio Jakosalem. Ma. Cui, on the other hand, is a member of the
The first died on 8 May 1931 and the second on Bar and although disbarred by this Court on 29
1 July 1931. On 2 July 1931 Dr. Teodoro Cui, March 1957 (administrative case No. 141), was
only son of Mauricio Cui, became the reinstated by resolution promulgated on 10
administrator. Thereafter, beginning in 1932, a February 1960, about two weeks before he
series of controversies and court litigations assumed the position of administrator of
ensued concerning the position of theHospicio de Barili.
administrator, to which, in so far as they are
pertinent to the present case, reference will be The Court a quo, in deciding this point in favor
made later in this decision. of the plaintiff, said that the phrase "titulo de
abogado," taken alone, means that of a full-
Plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui and defendant Antonio fledged lawyer, but that has used in the deed
Ma. Cui are brothers, being the sons of Mariano of donation and considering the function or
Cui, one of the nephews of the spouses Don purpose of the administrator, it should not be
Pedro Cui and Doa Benigna Cui. On 27 given a strict interpretation but a liberal one,"
February 1960 the then incumbent and therefore means a law degree or diploma
administrator, Dr. Teodoro Cui, resigned in favor of Bachelor of Laws. This ruling is assailed as
of Antonio Ma. Cui pursuant to a "convenio" erroneous both by the defendant and by the
entered into between them and embodied in a intervenor.
notarial document. The next day, 28 February,
Antonio Ma. Cui took his oath of office. Jesus We are of the opinion, that whether taken alone
Ma. Cui, however, had no prior notice of either or in context the term "titulo de abogado"
the "convenio" or of his brother's assumption of means not mere possession of the academic
the position. degree of Bachelor of Laws but membership in
the Bar after due admission thereto, qualifying
Dr. Teodoro Cui died on 27 August 1960; on 5 one for the practice of law. In Spanish the word
September 1960 the plaintiff wrote a letter to "titulo" is defined as "testimonies o instrumento
the defendant demanding that the office be dado para ejercer un empleo, dignidad o
turned over to him; and on 13 September 1960, profesion" (Diccionario de la Lengua Espaola,
the demand not having been complied with the Real Academia Espanola, 1947 ed., p. 1224)
plaintiff filed the complaint in this case. Romulo and the word "abogado," as follows: "Perito en
Cui later on intervened, claiming a right to the el derecho positivo que se dedica a defender en
same office, being a grandson of Vicente Cui, juicio, por escrito o de palabra, los derechos o
another one of the nephews mentioned by the intereses de los litigantes, y tambien a dar
founders of theHospicio in their deed of dictmen sobre las cuestiones o puntos legales
donation. que se le consultan (Id., p.5) A Bachelor's
degree alone, conferred by a law school upon
As between Jesus and Antonio the main issue completion of certain academic requirements,
turns upon their respective qualifications to the does not entitle its holder to exercise the legal
position of administrator. Jesus is the older of profession. The English equivalent of "abogado"
the two and therefore under equal is lawyer or attorney-at-law. This term has a
circumstances would be preferred pursuant to fixed and general signification, and has
section 2 of the deed of donation. However, reference to that class of persons who are by
before the test of age may be, applied the deed license officers of the courts, empowered to
gives preference to the one, among the appear, prosecute and defend, and upon whom
legitimate descendants of the nephews therein peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities
named, "que posea titulo de abogado, o are devolved by law as a consequence.
medico, o ingeniero civil, o farmaceutico, o a
falta de estos titulos el que pague al estado In this jurisdiction admission to the Bar and to
mayor impuesto o contribucion." the practice of law is under the authority of the
Supreme Court. According to Rule 138 such
The specific point in dispute is the mealing of admission requires passing the Bar
the term "titulo de abogado." Jesus Ma. Cui examinations, taking the lawyer's oath and
holds the degree of Bachelor of Laws from the
receiving a certificate from the Clerk of Court, removed on the ground, among others, of
this certificate being his license to practice the ineptitude in the discharge of his office or lack
profession. The academic degree of Bachelor of of evident sound moral character. Reference is
Laws in itself has little to do with admission to made to the fact that the defendant was
the Bar, except as evidence of compliance with disbarred by this Court on 29 March 1957 for
the requirements that an applicant to the immorality and unprofessional conduct. It is
examinations has "successfully completed all also a fact, however, that he was reinstated on
the prescribed courses, in a law school or 10 February 1960, before he assumed the
university, officially approved by the Secretary office of administrator. His reinstatement is a
of Education." For this purpose, however, recognition of his moral rehabilitation, upon
possession of the degree itself is not proof no less than that required for his
indispensable: completion of the prescribed admission to the Bar in the first place.
courses may be shown in some other way.
Indeed there are instances, particularly under Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that
the former Code of Civil Procedure, where the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted
persons who had not gone through any formal and approved by this Honorable Court, without
legal education in college were allowed to take prejudice to the parties adducing other
the Bar examinations and to qualify as lawyers. evidence to prove their case not covered by
(Section 14 of that code required possession of this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t
"the necessary qualifications of learning
Whether or not the applicant shall be reinstated
ability.") Yet certainly it would be incorrect to
rests to a great extent in the sound discretion
say that such persons do not possess the "titulo
of the court. The court action will depend,
de abogado" because they lack the academic
generally speaking, on whether or not it
degree of Bachelor of Laws from some law
decides that the public interest in the orderly
school or university.
and impartial administration of justice will be
The founders of the Hospicio de San Jose de conserved by the applicant's participation
Barili must have established the foregoing test therein in the capacity of an attorney and
advisely, and provided in the deed of donation counselor at law. The applicant must, like a
that if not a lawyer, the administrator should be candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the
a doctor or a civil engineer or a pharmacist, in court that he is a person of good moral
that order; or failing all these, should be the character a fit and proper person to practice
one who pays the highest taxes among those law. The court will take into consideration the
otherwise qualified. A lawyer, first of all, applicant's character and standing prior to the
because under Act No. 3239 the managers or disbarment, the nature and character of the
trustees of the Hospicioshall "make regulations charge for which he was disbarred, his conduct
for the government of said institution (Sec. 3, subsequent to the disbarment, and the time
b); shall "prescribe the conditions subject to that has elapsed between the disbarment and
which invalids and incapacitated and destitute the application for reinstatement. (5 Am. Jur.,
persons may be admitted to the institute" (Sec. Sec. 301, p. 443)
3, d); shall see to it that the rules and
Evidence of reformation is required before
conditions promulgated for admission are not in
applicant is entitled to reinstatement,
conflict with the provisions of the Act; and shall
notwithstanding the attorney has received a
administer properties of considerable value
pardon following his conviction, and the
for all of which work, it is to be presumed, a
requirements for reinstatement have been held
working knowledge of the law and a license to
to be the same as for original admission to the
practice the profession would be a distinct
bar, except that the court may require a
asset.
greater degree of proof than in an original
Under this particular criterion we hold that the admission. (7 C.J.S., Attorney & Client, Sec. 41,
plaintiff is not entitled, as against the p. 815.)
defendant, to the office of administrator. But it
The decisive questions on an application for
is argued that although the latter is a member
reinstatement are whether applicant is "of good
of the Bar he is nevertheless disqualified by
moral character" in the sense in which that
virtue of paragraph 3 of the deed of donation,
phrase is used when applied to attorneys-at-
which provides that the administrator may be
law and is a fit and proper person to be
entrusted with the privileges of the office of an however, he took his oath of office before a
attorney, and whether his mental qualifications notary public only on 4 March 1950, after
are such as to enable him to discharge receiving a reply of acknowledgment, dated 2
efficiently his duty to the public, and the moral March, from the Social Welfare Commissioner,
attributes are to be regarded as a separate and who thought that he had already assumed the
distinct from his mental qualifications. (7 C.J.S., position as stated in his communication of 4
Attorney & Client, Sec. 41, p. 816). February 1950. The rather muddled situation
was referred by the Commissioner to the
As far as moral character is concerned, the Secretary of Justice, who, in an opinion dated 3
standard required of one seeking reinstatement April 1950 (op. No. 45, S. 1950), correcting
to the office of attorney cannot be less exacting another opinion previously given, in effect ruled
than that implied in paragraph 3 of the deed of that the plaintiff, not beings lawyer, was not
donation as a requisite for the office which is entitled to the administration of theHospicio.
disputed in this case. When the defendant was
restored to the roll of lawyers the restrictions Meanwhile, the question again became the
and disabilities resulting from his previous subject of a court controversy. On 4 March
disbarment were wiped out. 1950, the Hospiciocommenced an action
against the Philippine National Bank in the
This action must fail on one other ground: it is Court of First Instance of Cebu (Civ. No. R-1216)
already barred by lapse of time amounting the because the Bank had frozen
prescription or laches. Under Section 16 of Rule the Hospicio's deposits therein. The Bank then
66 (formerly sec. 16, Rule 68, taken from filed a third-party complaint against herein
section 216 of Act 190), this kind of action must plaintiff-appellee, Jesus Ma. Cui, who had, as
be filed within one (1) year after the right of stated above, taken oath as administrator. On
plaintiff to hold the office arose. 19 October 1950, having been deprived of
recognition by the opinion of the Secretary of
Plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui believed himself entitled
Justice he moved to dismiss the third-party
to the office in question as long ago as 1932.
complaint on the ground that he was
On January 26 of that year he filed a complaint
relinquishing "temporarily" his claim to the
in quo warranto against Dr. Teodoro Cui, who
administration of the Hospicio. The motion was
assumed the administration of theHospicio on 2
denied in an order dated 2 October 1953. On 6
July 1931. Mariano Cui, the plaintiff's father and
February 1954 he was able to take another
Antonio Ma. Cui came in as intervenors. The
oath of office as administrator before President
case was dismissed by the Court of First
Magsaysay, and soon afterward filed a second
Instance upon a demurrer by the defendant
motion to dismiss in Civil case No. R-1216.
there to the complaint and complaint in
President Magsaysay, be it said, upon learning
intervention. Upon appeal to the Supreme
that a case was pending in Court, stated in a
Court from the order of dismissal, the case was
telegram to his Executive Secretary that "as far
remanded for further proceedings (Cui v. Cui,
as (he) was concerned the court may disregard
60 Phil. 37, 48). The plaintiff, however, did not
the oath" thus taken. The motion to dismiss
prosecute the case as indicated in the decision
was granted nevertheless and the other parties
of this Court, but acceded to an arrangement
in the case filed their notice of appeal from the
whereby Teodoro Cui continued as
order of dismissal. The plaintiff then filed an ex-
administrator, Mariano Cui was named "legal
parte motion to be excluded as party in the
adviser" and plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui accepted a
appeal and the trial Court again granted the
position as assistant administrator.
motion. This was on 24 November 1954.
Subsequently the plaintiff tried to get the Appellants thereupon instituted
position by a series of extra-judicial maneuvers. a mandamus proceeding in the Supreme Court
First he informed the Social Welfare (G.R. No. L-8540), which was decided on 28
Commissioner, by letter dated 1 February 1950, May 1956, to the effect that Jesus Ma. Cui
that as of the previous 1 January he had "made should be included in the appeal. That appeal,
clear" his intention of occupying the office of however, after it reached this Court was
administrator of the Hospicio." He followed that dismiss upon motion of the parties, who agreed
up with another letter dated 4 February, that "the office of administrator and trustee of
announcing that he had taken over the the Hospicio ... should be ventilated in quo
administration as of 1 January 1950. Actually, warranto proceedings to be initiated against
the incumbent by whomsoever is not occupying one of the said nephews. The deed of donation
the office but believes he has a right to it" (G.R. provides: "a la muerte o incapacidad de estos
No. L-9103). The resolution of dismissal was administradores (those appointed in the deed
issued 31 July 1956. At that time the incumbent itself) pasara a una sola persona que sera el
administrator was Dr. Teodoro Cui, but no varon, mayor de edad, que descienda
action in quo warranto was filed against him by legitimamente de cualquiera de nuestros
plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui as indicated in the sobrinos legitimos Mariano Cui, Mauricio Cui,
aforesaid motion for dismissal. Vicente Cui, Victor Cui, y que posea titulo de
abogado ... En igualdad de circumstancias, sera
On 10 February 1960, defendant Antonio Ma. preferido el varon de mas edad descendiente
Cui was reinstated by this Court as member of de quien tenia ultimamente la administration."
the Bar, and on the following 27 February Dr. Besides being a nearer descendant than
Teodoro Cui resigned as administrator in his Romulo Cui, Antonio Ma. Cui is older than he
favor, pursuant to the "convenio" between and therefore is preferred when the
them executed on the same date. The next day circumstances are otherwise equal. The
Antonio Ma. Cui took his oath of office. intervenor contends that the intention of the
founders was to confer the administration by
The failure of the plaintiff to prosecute his claim
line and successively to the descendants of the
judicially after this Court decided the first case
nephews named in the deed, in the order they
of Cui v. Cui in 1934 (60 Phil. 3769), remanding
are named. Thus, he argues, since the last
it to the trial court for further proceedings; his
administrator was Dr. Teodoro Cui, who
acceptance instead of the position of assistant
belonged to the Mauricio Cui line, the next
administrator, allowing Dr. Teodoro Cui to
administrator must come from the line of
continue as administrator and his failure to file
Vicente Cui, to whom the intervenor belongs.
an action inquo warranto against said Dr. Cui
This interpretation, however, is not justified by
after 31 July 1956, when the appeal in Civil
the terms of the deed of donation.
Case No. R-1216 of the Cebu Court was
dismissed upon motion of the parties precisely IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS,
so that the conflicting claims of the parties the judgment appealed from is reversed and
could be ventilated in such an action all set aside, and the complaint as well as the
these circumstances militate against the complaint in intervention are dismissed, with
plaintiff's present claim in view of the rule that costs equally against plaintiff-appellee and
an action in quo warranto must be filed within intervenor-appellant.
one year after the right of the plaintiff to hold
the office arose. The excuse that the plaintiff
did not file an action against Dr. Teodoro Cui
after 31 July 1956 because of the latter's illness
did not interrupt the running of the statutory
period. And the fact that this action was filed
within one year of the defendant's assumption
of office in September 1960 does not make the
plaintiff's position any better, for the basis of
the action is his own right to the office and it is
from the time such right arose that the one-
year limitation must be counted, not from the
date the incumbent began to discharge the
duties of said office. Bautista v. Fajardo, 38 Phil.
624; Lim vs. Yulo, 62 Phil. 161.
G.R. No. L-27654 February 18, 1970
Now for the claim of intervenor and appellant
Romulo Cui. This party is also a lawyer, IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR
grandson of Vicente Cui, one of the nephews of DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST ATTY. VICENTE
the founders of the Hospicio mentioned by RAUL ALMACEN In L-27654, ANTONIO H.
them in the deed of donation. He is further, in CALERO,
the line of succession, than defendant Antonio
Ma. Cui, who is a son of Mariano Cui, another vs.
VIRGINIA Y. YAPTINCHAY. condemned to pay P120,000, without knowing
why he lost the case.
RESOLUTION
xxx xxx xxx

There is no use continuing his law practice,


CASTRO, J.: Almacen said in this petition, "where our
Supreme Court is composed of men who are
Before us is Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen's
calloused to our pleas for justice, who ignore
"Petition to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of
without reason their own applicable decisions
Title," filed on September 25, 1967, in protest
and commit culpable violations of the
against what he therein asserts is "a great
Constitution with impunity.
injustice committed against his client by this
Supreme Court." He indicts this Court, in his xxx xxx xxx
own phrase, as a tribunal "peopled by men who
are calloused to our pleas for justice, who He expressed the hope that by divesting
ignore without reasons their own applicable himself of his title by which he earns his living,
decisions and commit culpable violations of the the present members of the Supreme
Constitution with impunity." His client's he Court "will become responsive to all cases
continues, who was deeply aggrieved by this brought to its attention without discrimination,
Court's "unjust judgment," has become "one of and will purge itself of those unconstitutional
the sacrificial victims before the altar of and obnoxious "lack of merit" or "denied
hypocrisy." In the same breath that he alludes resolutions. (Emphasis supplied)
to the classic symbol of justice, he ridicules the
members of this Court, saying "that justice as Atty. Almacen's statement that
administered by the present members of the
... our own Supreme Court is composed of men
Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf
who are calloused to our pleas of [sic] justice,
and dumb." He then vows to argue the cause of
who ignore their own applicable decisions and
his client "in the people's forum," so that "the
commit culpable violations of the Constitution
people may know of the silent injustice's
with impunity
committed by this Court," and that "whatever
mistakes, wrongs and injustices that were was quoted by columnist Vicente Albano Pacis
committed must never be repeated." He ends in the issue of the Manila Chronicle of
his petition with a prayer that September 28, 1967. In connection therewith,
Pacis commented that Atty. Almacen had
... a resolution issue ordering the Clerk of Court
"accused the high tribunal of offenses so
to receive the certificate of the undersigned
serious that the Court must clear itself," and
attorney and counsellor-at-law IN TRUST with
that "his charge is one of the constitutional
reservation that at any time in the future and in
bases for impeachment."
the event we regain our faith and confidence,
we may retrieve our title to assume the The genesis of this unfortunate incident was a
practice of the noblest profession. civil case entitled Virginia Y. Yaptinchay vs.
Antonio H. Calero,1 in which Atty. Almacen was
He reiterated and disclosed to the press the
counsel for the defendant. The trial court, after
contents of the aforementioned petition. Thus,
due hearing, rendered judgment against his
on September 26, 1967, the Manila
client. On June 15, 1966 Atty. Almacen received
Times published statements attributed to him,
a copy of the decision. Twenty days later, or on
as follows:
July 5, 1966, he moved for its reconsideration.
Vicente Raul Almacen, in an unprecedented He served on the adverse counsel a copy of the
petition, said he did it to expose the motion, but did not notify the latter of the time
tribunal's"unconstitutional and and place of hearing on said motion.
obnoxious" practice of arbitrarily denying Meanwhile, on July 18, 1966, the plaintiff
petitions or appeals without any reason. moved for execution of the judgment. For "lack
of proof of service," the trial court denied both
Because of the tribunal's "short-cut motions. To prove that he did serve on the
justice," Almacen deplored, his client was adverse party a copy of his first motion for
reconsideration, Atty. Almacen filed on August
17, 1966 a second motion for reconsideration states that in the latest case,Republic vs.
to which he attached the required registry Venturanza, L-20417, May 30, 1966, decided by
return card. This second motion for the Supreme Court concerning the question
reconsideration, however, was ordered raised by appellant's motion, the ruling is
withdrawn by the trial court on August 30, contrary to the doctrine laid down in the Manila
1966, upon verbal motion of Atty. Almacen Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. case.
himself, who, earlier, that is, on August 22,
1966, had already perfected the appeal. There is no substantial distinction between this
Because the plaintiff interposed no objection to case and that of Manila Surety & Fidelity Co.
the record on appeal and appeal bond, the trial
In the case of Republic vs. Venturanza, the
court elevated the case to the Court of Appeals.
resolution denying the motion to dismiss the
But the Court of Appeals, on the authority of appeal, based on grounds similar to those
this Court's decision in Manila Surety & Fidelity raised herein was issued on November 26,
Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction & Co., L-16636, 1962, which was much earlier than the date of
June 24, 1965, dismissed the appeal, in the promulgation of the decision in the Manila
following words: Surety Case, which was June 24, 1965. Further,
the resolution in the Venturanza case was
Upon consideration of the motion dated March interlocutory and the Supreme Court issued it
27, 1967, filed by plaintiff-appellee praying that "without prejudice to appellee's restoring the
the appeal be dismissed, and of the opposition point in the brief." In the main decision in said
thereto filed by defendant-appellant; the Court case (Rep. vs. Venturanza the Supreme Court
RESOLVED TO DISMISS, as it hereby dismisses, passed upon the issue sub silencio presumably
the appeal, for the reason that the motion for because of its prior decisions contrary to the
reconsideration dated July 5, 1966 (pp. 90-113, resolution of November 26, 1962, one of which
printed record on appeal) does not contain a is that in the Manila Surety and Fidelity case.
notice of time and place of hearing thereof and Therefore Republic vs. Venturanza is no
is, therefore, a useless piece of paper (Manila authority on the matter in issue.
Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu Construction
& Co., G.R. No. L-16636, June 24, 1965), which Atty. Almacen then appealed to this Court by
did not interrupt the running of the period to certiorari. We refused to take the case, and by
appeal, and, consequently, the appeal was minute resolution denied the appeal. Denied
perfected out of time. shortly thereafter was his motion for
reconsideration as well as his petition for leave
Atty. Almacen moved to reconsider this to file a second motion for reconsideration and
resolution, urging that Manila Surety & Fidelity for extension of time. Entry of judgment was
Co. is not decisive. At the same time he filed a made on September 8, 1967. Hence, the
pleading entitled "Latest decision of the second motion for reconsideration filed by him
Supreme Court in Support of Motion for after the Said date was ordered expunged from
Reconsideration," citing Republic of the the records.
Philippines vs. Gregorio A. Venturanza, L-20417,
decided by this Court on May 30, 1966, as the It was at this juncture that Atty. Almacen gave
applicable case. Again, the Court of Appeals vent to his disappointment by filing his "Petition
denied the motion for reconsideration, thus: to Surrender Lawyer's Certificate of Title,"
already adverted to a pleading that is
Before this Court for resolution are the motion interspersed from beginning to end with the
dated May 9, 1967 and the supplement thereto insolent contemptuous, grossly disrespectful
of the same date filed by defendant- appellant, and derogatory remarks hereinbefore
praying for reconsideration of the resolution of reproduced, against this Court as well as its
May 8, 1967, dismissing the appeal. individual members, a behavior that is as
unprecedented as it is unprofessional.
Appellant contends that there are some
important distinctions between this case and Nonetheless we decided by resolution dated
that of Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. September 28, 1967 to withhold action on his
Batu Construction & Co., G.R. No. L- 16636, petition until he shall have actually surrendered
June 24, 1965, relied upon by this Court in its his certificate. Patiently, we waited for him to
resolution of May 8, 1967. Appellant further make good his proffer. No word came from him.
So he was reminded to turn over his certificate, the speck from thy eye"; and behold, there is a
which he had earlier vociferously offered to beam in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast
surrender, so that this Court could act on his out the beam from thy own eye, and then thou
petition. To said reminder he manifested "that wilt see clearly to cast out the speck from thy
he has no pending petition in connection with brother's eyes."
Case G.R. No. L-27654, Calero vs. Yaptinchay,
said case is now final and executory;" that this "Therefore all that you wish men to do to you,
Court's September 28, 1967 resolution did not even to do you also to them: for this is the Law
require him to do either a positive or negative and the Prophets."
act; and that since his offer was not accepted,
xxx xxx xxx
he "chose to pursue the negative act."
Your respondent has no intention of disavowing
In the exercise of its inherent power to
the statements mentioned in his petition. On
discipline a member of the bar for contumely
the contrary, he refirms the truth of what he
and gross misconduct, this Court on November
stated, compatible with his lawyer's oath that
17, 1967 resolved to require Atty. Almacen to
he will do no falsehood, nor consent to the
show cause "why no disciplinary action should
doing of any in court. But he vigorously DENY
be taken against him." Denying the charges
under oath that the underscored statements
contained in the November 17 resolution, he
contained in the CHARGE are insolent,
asked for permission "to give reasons and
contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and
cause why no disciplinary action should be
derogatory to the individual members of the
taken against him ... in an open and public
Court; that they tend to bring the entire Court,
hearing." This Court resolved (on December 7)
without justification, into disrepute; and
"to require Atty. Almacen to state, within five
constitute conduct unbecoming of a member of
days from notice hereof, his reasons for such
the noble profession of law.
request, otherwise, oral argument shall be
deemed waived and incident submitted for xxx xxx xxx
decision." To this resolution he manifested that
since this Court is "the complainant, prosecutor Respondent stands four-square that his
and Judge," he preferred to be heard and to statement is borne by TRUTH and has been
answer questions "in person and in an open asserted with NO MALICE BEFORE AND AFTER
and public hearing" so that this Court could THOUGHT but mainly motivated with the
observe his sincerity and candor. He also asked highest interest of justice that in the particular
for leave to file a written explanation "in the case of our client, the members have shown
event this Court has no time to hear him in callousness to our various pleas for JUSTICE,
person." To give him the ampliest latitude for our pleadings will bear us on this matter, ...
his defense, he was allowed to file a written
explanation and thereafter was heard in oral xxx xxx xxx
argument.
To all these beggings, supplications, words of
His written answer, as undignified and cynical humility, appeals for charity, generosity,
as it is unchastened, offers -no apology. Far fairness, understanding, sympathy and above
from being contrite Atty. Almacen unremittingly all in the highest interest of JUSTICE, what
repeats his jeremiad of lamentations, this time did we get from this COURT? One word,
embellishing it with abundant sarcasm and DENIED, with all its hardiness and insensibility.
innuendo. Thus: That was the unfeeling of the Court towards our
pleas and prayers, in simple word, it is plain
At the start, let me quote passages from the callousness towards our particular case.
Holy Bible, Chapter 7, St. Matthew:
xxx xxx xxx
"Do not judge, that you may not be judged. For
with what judgment you judge, you shall be Now that your respondent has the guts to tell
judged, and with what measure you measure, it the members of the Court that notwithstanding
shall be measured to you. But why dost thou the violation of the Constitution, you remained
see the speck in thy brother's eye, and yet dost unpunished, this Court in the reverse order of
not consider the beam in thy own eye? Or how natural things, is now in the attempt to inflict
can thou say to thy brother, "Let me cast out
punishment on your respondent for acts he said xxx xxx xxx
in good faith.
We must admit that this Court is not free from
Did His Honors care to listen to our pleadings commission of any abuses, but who would
and supplications for JUSTICE, CHARITY, correct such abuses considering that yours is a
GENEROSITY and FAIRNESS? Did His Honors court of last resort. A strong public opinion
attempt to justify their stubborn denial with any must be generated so as to curtail these
semblance of reason, NEVER. Now that your abuses.
respondent is given the opportunity to face
you, he reiterates the same statement with xxx xxx xxx
emphasis, DID YOU? Sir. Is this. the way of life
The phrase, Justice is blind is symbolize in
in the Philippines today, that even our own
paintings that can be found in all courts and
President, said: "the story is current, though
government offices. We have added only two
nebulous ,is to its truth, it is still being
more symbols, that it is also deaf and dumb.
circulated that justice in the Philippines today is
Deaf in the sense that no members of this
not what it is used to be before the war. There
Court has ever heard our cries for charity,
are those who have told me frankly and
generosity, fairness, understanding sympathy
brutally that justice is a commodity, a
and for justice; dumb in the sense, that inspite
marketable commodity in the Philippines."
of our beggings, supplications, and pleadings to
xxx xxx xxx give us reasons why our appeal has been
DENIED, not one word was spoken or given ...
We condemn the SIN, not the SINNER. We We refer to no human defect or ailment in the
detest the ACTS, not the ACTOR. We attack the above statement. We only describe the.
decision of this Court, not the members. ... We impersonal state of things and nothing more.
were provoked. We were compelled by force of
necessity. We were angry but we waited for the xxx xxx xxx
finality of the decision. We waited until this
As we have stated, we have lost our faith and
Court has performed its duties. We never
confidence in the members of this Court and for
interfered nor obstruct in the performance of
which reason we offered to surrender our
their duties. But in the end, after seeing that
lawyer's certificate, IN TRUST ONLY. Because
the Constitution has placed finality on your
what has been lost today may be regained
judgment against our client and sensing that
tomorrow. As the offer was intended as our self-
you have not performed your duties with
imposed sacrifice, then we alone may decide as
"circumspection, carefulness, confidence and
to when we must end our self-sacrifice. If we
wisdom", your Respondent rise to claim his God
have to choose between forcing ourselves to
given right to speak the truth and his
have faith and confidence in the members of
Constitutional right of free speech.
the Court but disregard our Constitution and to
xxx xxx xxx uphold the Constitution and be condemned by
the members of this Court, there is no choice,
The INJUSTICES which we have attributed to we must uphold the latter.
this Court and the further violations we sought
to be prevented is impliedly shared by our But overlooking, for the nonce, the vituperative
President. ... . chaff which he claims is not intended as a
studied disrespect to this Court, let us examine
xxx xxx xxx the grain of his grievances.

What has been abhored and condemned, are He chafes at the minute resolution denial of his
the very things that were applied to us. petition for review. We are quite aware of the
Recalling Madam Roland's famous apostrophe criticisms2 expressed against this Court's
during the French revolution, "O Liberty, what practice of rejecting petitions by minute
crimes are committed in thy name", we may resolutions. We have been asked to do away
dare say, "O JUSTICE, what technicalities are with it, to state the facts and the law, and to
committed in thy name' or more appropriately, spell out the reasons for denial. We have given
'O JUSTICE, what injustices are committed in this suggestion very careful thought. For we
thy name." know the abject frustration of a lawyer who
tediously collates the facts and for many weary Cesar Bengzon, articulated its considered view
hours meticulously marshalls his arguments, on this matter. There, the petitioners counsel
only to have his efforts rebuffed with a terse urged that a "lack of merit" resolution violates
unadorned denial. Truth to tell, however, most Section 12 of Article VIII of the Constitution.
petitions rejected by this Court are utterly Said Chief Justice Bengzon:
frivolous and ought never to have been lodged
at all.3 The rest do exhibit a first-impression In connection with identical short resolutions,
cogency, but fail to, withstand critical scrutiny. the same question has been raised before; and
By and large, this Court has been generous in we held that these "resolutions" are not
giving due course to petitions forcertiorari. "decisions" within the above constitutional
requirement. They merely hold that the petition
Be this as it may, were we to accept every case for review should not be entertained in view of
or write a full opinion for every petition we the provisions of Rule 46 of the Rules of Court;
reject, we would be unable to carry out and even ordinary lawyers have all this time so
effectively the burden placed upon us by the understood it. It should be remembered that a
Constitution. The proper role of the Supreme petition to review the decision of the Court of
Court, as Mr. Chief Justice Vinson of the U.S. Appeals is not a matter of right, but of sound
Supreme Court has defined it, is to decide "only judicial discretion; and so there is no need to
those cases which present questions whose fully explain the court's denial. For one thing,
resolutions will have immediate importance the facts and the law are already mentioned in
beyond the particular facts and parties the Court of Appeals' opinion.
involved." Pertinent here is the observation of
Mr. Justice Frankfurter in Maryland vs. Baltimore By the way, this mode of disposal has as
Radio Show, 94 L. ed 562, 566: intended helped the Court in alleviating its
heavy docket; it was patterned after the
A variety of considerations underlie denials of practice of the U.S. Supreme Court, wherein
the writ, and as to the same petition different petitions for review are often merely ordered
reasons may read different justices to the same "dismissed".
result ... .
We underscore the fact that cases taken to this
Since there are these conflicting, and, to the Court on petitions for certiorari from the Court
uninformed, even confusing reasons for of Appeals have had the benefit of appellate
denying petitions for certiorari, it has been review. Hence, the need for compelling reasons
suggested from time to time that the Court to buttress such petitions if this Court is to be
indicate its reasons for denial. Practical moved into accepting them. For it is axiomatic
considerations preclude. In order that the Court that the supervisory jurisdiction vested upon
may be enabled to discharge its indispensable this Court over the Court of Appeals is not
duties, Congress has placed the control of the intended to give every losing party another
Court's business, in effect, within the Court's hearing. This axiom is implied in sec. 4 of Rule
discretion. During the last three terms the 45 of the Rules of Court which recites:
Court disposed of 260, 217, 224 cases,
respectively, on their merits. For the same Review of Court of Appeals' decision
three terms the Court denied, respectively, discretionary.A review is not a matter of right
1,260, 1,105,1,189 petitions calling for but of sound judicial discretion, and will be
discretionary review. If the Court is to do its granted only when there are special and
work it would not be feasible to give reasons, important reasons therefor. The following, while
however brief, for refusing to take these cases. neither controlling nor fully measuring the
The tune that would be required is prohibitive. court's discretion, indicate the character of
Apart from the fact that as already indicated reasons which will be considered:
different reasons not infrequently move
(a) When the Court of Appeals has decided a
different members of the Court in concluding
question of substance, not theretofore
that a particular case at a particular time
determined by the Supreme Court, nor has
makes review undesirable.
decided it in a way probably not in accord with
Six years ago, in Novino, et al., vs. Court of law or with the applicable decisions of the
Appeals, et al., 1,21098, May 31, 1963 (60 O.G. Supreme Court;
8099), this Court, through the then Chief Justice
(b) When the Court of Appeals has so far has only himself to blame. His own negligence
departed from the accepted and usual course caused the forfeiture of the remedy of appeal,
of judicial proceedings, or so far sanctioned which, incidentally, is not a matter of right. To
such departure by the lower court, as to call for shift away from himself the consequences of
the exercise of the power of supervision. his carelessness, he looked for a "whipping
boy." But he made sure that he assumed the
Recalling Atty. Almacen's petition for review, we posture of a martyr, and, in offering to
found, upon a thoroughgoing examination of surrender his professional certificate, he took
the pleadings. and records, that the Court of the liberty of vilifying this Court and inflicting
Appeals had fully and correctly considered the his exacerbating rancor on the members
dismissal of his appeal in the light of the law thereof. It would thus appear that there is no
and applicable decisions of this Court. Far from justification for his scurrilous and scandalous
straying away from the "accepted and usual outbursts.
course of judicial proceedings," it traced the
procedural lines etched by this Court in a Nonetheless we gave this unprecedented act of
number of decisions. There was, therefore, no Atty. Almacen the most circumspect
need for this Court to exercise its supervisory consideration. We know that it is natural for a
power. lawyer to express his dissatisfaction each time
he loses what he sanguinely believes to be a
As a law practitioner who was admitted to the meritorious case. That is why lawyers are given
Bar as far back as 1941, Atty. Almacen knew 'wide latitude to differ with, and voice their
or ought to have known that for a motion for disapproval of, not only the courts' rulings but,
reconsideration to stay the running of the also the manner in which they are handed
period of appeal, the movant must not only down.
serve a copy of the motion upon the adverse
party (which he did), but also notify the Moreover, every citizen has the right to
adverse party of the time and place of hearing comment upon and criticize the actuations of
(which admittedly he did not). This rule was public officers. This right is not diminished by
unequivocally articulated in Manila Surety & the fact that the criticism is aimed at a judicial
Fidelity vs. Batu Construction & Co., supra: authority,4 or that it is articulated by a
lawyer.5 Such right is especially recognized
The written notice referred to evidently is where the criticism concerns a concluded
prescribed for motions in general by Rule 15, litigation,6 because then the court's actuations
Sections 4 and 5 (formerly Rule 26), which are thrown open to public consumption.7 "Our
provides that such notice shall state the time, decisions and all our official actions," said the
and place of hearing and shall be served upon Supreme Court of Nebraska,8 "are public
all the Parties concerned at least three days in property, and the press and the people have
advance. And according to Section 6 of the the undoubted right to comment on them,
same Rule no motion shall be acted upon by criticize and censure them as they see fit.
the court without proof of such notice. Indeed it Judicial officers, like other public servants, must
has been held that in such a case the motion is answer for their official actions before the
nothing but a useless piece of paper (Philippine chancery of public opinion."
National Bank v. Damasco, I,18638, Feb. 28,
1963; citing Manakil v. Revilla, 42 Phil. 81; The likely danger of confusing the fury of
Roman Catholic Bishop of Lipa v. Municipality of human reaction to an attack on one's integrity,
Unisan, 41 Phil. 866; and Director of Lands vs. competence and honesty, with "imminent
Sanz, 45 Phil. 117). The reason is obvious: danger to the administration of justice," is the
Unless the movant sets the time and place of reason why courts have been loath to inflict
hearing the Court would have no way to punishment on those who assail their
determine whether that party agrees to or actuations.9 This danger lurks especially in
objects to the motion, and if he objects, to hear such a case as this where those who Sit as
him on his objection, since the Rules members of an entire Court are themselves
themselves do not fix any period within which collectively the aggrieved parties.
he may file his reply or opposition.
Courts thus treat with forbearance and restraint
If Atty. Almacen failed to move the appellate a lawyer who vigorously assails their
court to review the lower court's judgment, he actuations. 10 For courageous and fearless
advocates are the strands that weave durability Hence, as a citizen and as Officer of the court a
into the tapestry of justice. Hence, as citizen lawyer is expected not only to exercise the
and officer of the court, every lawyer is right, but also to consider it his duty to avail of
expected not only to exercise the right, but also such right. No law may abridge this right. Nor is
to consider it his duty to expose the he "professionally answerable for a scrutiny
shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and into the official conduct of the judges, which
judges. 11 would not expose him to legal animadversion
as a citizen." (Case of Austin, 28 Am. Dee. 657,
Courts and judges are not sacrosanct. 12 They 665).
should and expect critical evaluation of their
performance. 13 For like the executive and the Above all others, the members of the bar have
legislative branches, the judiciary is rooted in the beat Opportunity to become conversant
the soil of democratic society, nourished by the with the character and efficiency of our judges.
periodic appraisal of the citizens whom it is No class is less likely to abuse the privilege, as
expected to serve. no other class has as great an interest in the
preservation of an able and upright bench.
Well-recognized therefore is the right of a (State Board of Examiners in Law v. Hart, 116
lawyer, both as an officer of the court and as a N.W. 212, 216)
citizen, to criticize in properly respectful terms
and through legitimate channels the acts of To curtail the right of a lawyer to be critical of
courts and judges. The reason is that the foibles of courts and judges is to seal the
lips of those in the best position to give advice
An attorney does not surrender, in assuming and who might consider it their duty to speak
the important place accorded to him in the disparagingly. "Under such a rule," so far as the
administration of justice, his right as a citizen bar is concerned, "the merits of a sitting judge
to criticize the decisions of the courts in a fair may be rehearsed, but as to his demerits there
and respectful manner, and the independence must be profound silence." (State v. Circuit
of the bar, as well as of the judiciary, has Court, 72 N.W. 196)
always been encouraged by the courts. (In re
Ades, 6 F Supp. 487) . But it is the cardinal condition of all such
criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not
Criticism of the courts has, indeed, been an spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A
important part of the traditional work of the wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on
bar. In the prosecution of appeals, he points out the One hand, and abuse and slander of courts
the errors of lower courts. In written for law and the judges thereof, on the other.
journals he dissects with detachment the Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross
doctrinal pronouncements of courts and violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is
fearlessly lays bare for -all to see that flaws and Such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer to
inconsistence" of the doctrines (Hill v. Lyman, disciplinary action.
126 NYS 2d 286). As aptly stated by Chief
Justice Sharswood in Ex Parte Steinman, 40 Am. For, membership in the Bar imposes upon a
Rep. 641: person obligations and duties which are not
mere flux and ferment. His investiture into the
No class of the community ought to be allowed legal profession places upon his shoulders no
freer scope in the expansion or publication of burden more basic, more exacting and more
opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or imperative than that of respectful behavior
integrity of judges than members of the bar. toward the courts. He vows solemnly to
They have the best opportunities for observing conduct himself "with all good fidelity ... to the
and forming a correct judgment. They are in courts; 14 and the Rules of Court constantly
constant attendance on the courts. ... To say remind him "to observe and maintain the
that an attorney can only act or speak on this respect due to courts of justice and judicial
subject under liability to be called to account officers." 15 The first canon of legal ethics
and to be deprived of his profession and enjoins him "to maintain towards the courts a
livelihood, by the judge or judges whom he respectful attitude, not for the sake of the
may consider it his duty to attack and expose, temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but
is a position too monstrous to be for the maintenance of its supreme
entertained. ... . importance."
As Mr. Justice Field puts it: In his relations with the courts, a lawyer may
not divide his personality so as to be an
... the obligation which attorneys impliedly attorney at one time and a mere citizen at
assume, if they do not by express declaration another. Thus, statements made by an attorney
take upon themselves, when they are admitted in private conversations or
to the Bar, is not merely to be obedient to the communications 16 or in the course of a
Constitution and laws, but to maintain at all political, campaign, 17 if couched in insulting
times the respect due to courts of justice and language as to bring into scorn and disrepute
judicial officers. This obligation is not the administration of justice, may subject the
discharged by merely observing the rules of attorney to disciplinary action.
courteous demeanor in open court, but includes
abstaining out of court from all insulting Of fundamental pertinence at this juncture is an
language and offensive conduct toward judges examination of relevant parallel precedents.
personally for their judicial acts. (Bradley, v.
Fisher, 20 Law. 4d. 647, 652) 1. Admitting that a "judge as a public official is
neither sacrosanct nor immune to public
The lawyer's duty to render respectful criticism of his conduct in office," the Supreme
subordination to the courts is essential to the Court of Florida in State v. Calhoon, 102 So. 2d
orderly administration of justice. Hence, in the 604, 608, nevertheless declared that "any
assertion of their clients' rights, lawyers conduct of a lawyer which brings into scorn and
even those gifted with superior intellect are disrepute the administration of justice demands
enjoined to rein up their tempers. condemnation and the application of
appropriate penalties," adding that:
The counsel in any case may or may not be an
abler or more learned lawyer than the judge, It would be contrary to, every democratic
and it may tax his patience and temper to theory to hold that a judge or a court is beyond
submit to rulings which he regards as incorrect, bona fide comments and criticisms which do
but discipline and self-respect are as necessary not exceed the bounds of decency and truth or
to the orderly administration of justice as they which are not aimed at. the destruction of
are to the effectiveness of an army. The public confidence in the judicial system as
decisions of the judge must be obeyed, such. However, when the likely impairment of
because he is the tribunal appointed to decide, the administration of justice the direct product
and the bar should at all times be the foremost of false and scandalous accusations then the
in rendering respectful submission. (In Re rule is otherwise.
Scouten, 40 Atl. 481)
2. In In Re Glenn, 130 N.W. 2d 672, an attorney
We concede that a lawyer may think highly of was suspended for putting out and circulating a
his intellectual endowment That is his privilege. leaflet entitled "JUSTICE??? IN OTUMWA," which
And he may suffer frustration at what he feels accused a municipal judge of having committed
is others' lack of it. That is his misfortune. judicial error, of being so prejudiced as to deny
Some such frame of mind, however, should not his clients a fair trial on appeal and of being
be allowed to harden into a belief that he may subject to the control of a group of city officials.
attack a court's decision in words calculated to As a prefatory statement he wrote: "They say
jettison the time-honored aphorism that courts that Justice is BLIND, but it took Municipal
are the temples of right. (Per Justice Sanchez Judge Willard to prove that it is also DEAF and
in Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer, L-22979. DUMB!" The court did not hesitate to find that
June 26, 1967) the leaflet went much further than the accused,
as a lawyer, had a right to do.

The entire publication evidences a desire on


the part Of the accused to belittle and besmirch
the court and to bring it into disrepute with the
general public.

3. In In Re Humphrey, 163 Pac. 60, the


Supreme Court of California affirmed the two-
year suspension of an attorney who published a
circular assailing a judge who at that time was Further, he said: "However let me assure you I
a candidate for re-election to a judicial office. do not intend to allow such dastardly work to
The circular which referred to two decisions of go unchallenged," and said that he was
the judge concluded with a statement that the engaged in dealing with men and not
judge "used his judicial office to enable -said irresponsible political manikins or appearances
bank to keep that money." Said the court: of men. Ordering the attorney's disbarment, the
Supreme Court of Illinois declared:
We are aware that there is a line of authorities
which place no limit to the criticism members ... Judges are not exempt from just criticism,
of the bar may make regarding the capacity, and whenever there is proper ground for
impartiality, or integrity of the courts, even serious complaint against a judge, it is the right
though it extends to the deliberate publication and duty of a lawyer to submit his grievances
by the attorney capable of correct reasoning of to the proper authorities, but the public interest
baseless insinuations against the intelligence and the administration of the law demand that
and integrity of the highest courts. See State the courts should have the confidence and
Board, etc. v. Hart. 116 N.W. 212, 17 LRA (N.S.) respect of the people. Unjust criticism, insulting
585, 15 Ann Cas 197 and note: Ex parte language, and offensive conduct toward the
Steinman 95 Pac. 220, 40 Am. Rep. 637. In the judges personally by attorneys, who are officers
first case mentioned it was observed, for of the court, which tend to bring the courts and
instance: the law into disrepute and to destroy public
confidence in their integrity, cannot be
"It may be (although we do not so decide) that permitted. The letter written to the judge was
a libelous publication by an attorney, directed plainly an attempt to intimidate and influence
against a judicial officer, could be so vile and of him in the discharge of judicial functions, and
such a nature as to justify the disbarment of its the bringing of the unauthorized suit, together
author." with the write-up in the Sunday papers, was
intended and calculated to bring the court into
Yet the false charges made by an attorney in
disrepute with the public.
that case were of graver character than those
made by the respondent here. But, in our view, 5. In a public speech, a Rhode Island lawyer
the better rule is that which requires of those accused the courts of the state of being
who are permitted to enjoy the privilege of influenced by corruption and greed, saying that
practicing law the strictest observance at all the seats of the Supreme Court were bartered.
times of the principles of truth, honesty and It does not appear that the attorney had
fairness, especially in their criticism of the criticized any of the opinions or decisions of the
courts, to the end that the public confidence in Court. The lawyer was charged with
the due administration of justice be upheld, and unprofessional conduct, and was ordered
the dignity and usefulness of the courts be suspended for a period of two years. The Court
maintained. In re Collins, 81 Pac. 220. said:
4. In People ex rel Chicago Bar Asso. v. A calumny of that character, if believed, would
Metzen, 123 N.E. 734, an attorney, tend to weaken the authority of the court
representing a woman who had been granted a against whose members it was made, bring its
divorce, attacked the judge who set aside the judgments into contempt, undermine its
decree on bill of review. He wrote the judge a influence as an unbiased arbiter of the people's
threatening letter and gave the press the story right, and interfere with the administration of
of a proposed libel suit against the judge and justice. ...
others. The letter began:
Because a man is a member of the bar the
Unless the record in In re Petersen v. court will not, under the guise of disciplinary
Petersen is cleared up so that my name is proceedings, deprive him of any part of that
protected from the libel, lies, and perjury freedom of speech which he possesses as a
committed in the cases involved, I shall be citizen. The acts and decisions of the courts of
compelled to resort to such drastic action as this state, in cases that have reached final
the law allows and the case warrants. determination, are not exempt from fair and
honest comment and criticism. It is only when
an attorney transcends the limits of legitimate
criticism that he will be held responsible for an 7. In In Re Mitchell, 71 So. 467, a lawyer
abuse of his liberty of speech. We well published this statement:
understand that an independent bar, as well as
independent court, is always a vigilant I accepted the decision in this case, however,
defender of civil rights. In Re Troy, 111 Atl. 723. with patience, barring possible temporary
725. observations more or less vituperative and
finally concluded, that, as my clients were
6. In In Re Rockmore, 111 NYS 879, an attorney foreigners, it might have been expecting too
was suspended for six months for submitting to much to look for a decision in their favor
an appellate court an affidavit reflecting upon against a widow residing here.
the judicial integrity of the court from which the
appeal was taken. Such action, the Court said, The Supreme Court of Alabama declared that:
constitutes unprofessional conduct justifying
... the expressions above set out, not only
suspension from practice, notwithstanding that
transcend the bounds of propriety and
he fully retracted and withdrew the statements,
privileged criticism, but are an unwarranted
and asserted that the affidavit was the result of
attack, direct, or by insinuation and innuendo,
an impulse caused by what he considered
upon the motives and integrity of this court,
grave injustice. The Court said:
and make out a prima facie case of improper
We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that there conduct upon the part of a lawyer who holds a
is a growing habit in the profession of criticising license from this court and who is under oath to
the motives and integrity of judicial officers in demean himself with all good fidelity to the
the discharge of their duties, and thereby court as well as to his client.
reflecting on the administration of justice and
The charges, however, were dismissed after the
creating the impression that judicial action is
attorney apologized to the Court.
influenced by corrupt or improper motives.
Every attorney of this court, as well as every 8. In State ex rel. Dabney v. Breckenridge, 258
other citizen, has the right and it is his duty, to Pac. 747, an attorney published in a newspaper
submit charges to the authorities in whom is an article in which he impugned the motives of
vested the power to remove judicial officers for the court and its members to try a case,
any conduct or act of a judicial officer that charging the court of having arbitrarily and for
tends to show a violation of his duties, or would a sinister purpose undertaken to suspend the
justify an inference that he is false to his trust, writ of habeas corpus. The Court suspended the
or has improperly administered the duties respondent for 30 days, saying that:
devolved upon him; and such charges to the
tribunal, if based upon reasonable inferences, The privileges which the law gives to members
will be encouraged, and the person making of the bar is one most subversive of the public
them good, if the conduct of such members does not
protected. ... While we recognize the inherent measure up to the requirements of the law
right of an attorney in a case decided against itself, as well as to the ethics of the
him, or the right of the Public generally, to profession. ...
criticise the decisions of the courts, or the
reasons announced for them, the habit of The right of free speech and free discussion as
criticising the motives of judicial officers in the to judicial determination is of prime importance
performance of their official duties, when the under our system and ideals of government. No
proceeding is not against the officers whose right thinking man would concede for a
acts or motives are criticised, tends to subvert moment that the best interest to private
the confidence of the community in the courts citizens, as well as to public officials, whether
of justice and in the administration of justice; he labors in a judicial capacity or otherwise,
and when such charges are made by officers of would be served by denying this right of free
the courts, who are bound by their duty to speech to any individual. But such right does
protect the administration of justice, the not have as its corollary that members of the
attorney making such charges is guilty of bar who are sworn to act honestly and
professional misconduct. honorably both with their client and with the
courts where justice is administered, if
administered at all, could ever properly serve
their client or the public good by designedly association, or a committee chosen from its
misstating facts or carelessly asserting the law. rank, or the faculty of the University Law
Truth and honesty of purpose by members of School, aided by the researches of its hundreds
the bar in such discussion is necessary. The of bright, active students, or if any member of
health of a municipality is none the less the court, or any other person, can formulate a
impaired by a polluted water supply than is the statement of a correct motive for the decision,
health of the thought of a community toward which shall not require fumigation before it is
the judiciary by the filthy wanton, and stated, and quarantine after it is made, it will
malignant misuse of members of the bar of the gratify every right-minded citizen of the state
confidence the public, through its duly to read it.
established courts, has reposed in them to deal
with the affairs of the private individual, the The Supreme Court of Minnesota, in ordering
protection of whose rights he lends his strength the suspension of the attorney for six months,
and money to maintain the judiciary. For such delivered its opinion as follows:
conduct on the part of the members of the bar
The question remains whether the accused was
the law itself demands retribution not the
guilty of professional misconduct in sending to
court.
the Chief Justice the letter addressed to him.
9. In Bar Ass'n of San Francisco v. Philbrook, This was done, as we have found, for the very
170 Pac. 440, the filing of an affidavit by an purpose of insulting him and the other justices
attorney in a pending action using in respect to of this court; and the insult was so directed to
the several judges the terms criminal corrupt, the Chief Justice personally because of acts
and wicked conspiracies,," "criminal done by him and his associates in their official
confederates," "colossal and confident capacity. Such a communication, so made,
insolence," "criminal prosecution," "calculated could never subserve any good purpose. Its
brutality," "a corrupt deadfall," and similar only effect in any case would be to gratify the
phrases, was considered conduct unbecoming spite of an angry attorney and humiliate the
of a member of the bar, and the name of the officers so assailed. It would not and could not
erring lawyer was ordered stricken from the roll ever enlighten the public in regard to their
of attorneys. judicial capacity or integrity. Nor was it an
exercise by the accused of any constitutional
10. In State Board of Examiners v. Hart, 116 right, or of any privilege which any reputable
N.W. 215, the erring attorney claimed that attorney, uninfluenced by passion, could ever
greater latitude should be allowed in case of have any occasion or desire to assert. No
criticism of cases finally adjudicated than in judicial officer, with due regard to his position,
those pending. This lawyer wrote a personal can resent such an insult otherwise than by
letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court methods sanctioned by law; and for any words,
of Minnesota impugning both the intelligence oral or written, however abusive, vile, or
and the integrity of the said Chief Justice and indecent, addressed secretly to the judge
his associates in the decisions of certain alone, he can have no redress in any action
appeals in which he had been attorney for the triable by a jury. "The sending of a libelous
defeated litigants. The letters were published in communication or libelous matter to the person
a newspaper. One of the letters contained this defamed does not constitute an actionable
paragraph: publication." 18 Am. & Eng. Enc. Law (2d Ed.)
p. 1017. In these respects the sending by the
You assigned it (the property involved) to one accused of this letter to the Chief Justice was
who has no better right to it than the burglar to wholly different from his other acts charged in
his plunder. It seems like robbing a widow to the accusation, and, as we have said, wholly
reward a fraud, with the court acting as a different principles are applicable thereto.
fence, or umpire, watchful and vigilant that the
widow got no undue The conduct of the accused was in every way
advantage. ... The point is this: Is a proper discreditable; but so far as he exercised the
motive for the decisions discoverable, short of rights of a citizen, guaranteed by the
assigning to the court emasculated Constitution and sanctioned by considerations
intelligence, or a constipation of morals and of public policy, to which reference has been
faithlessness to duty? If the state bar made, he was immune, as we hold, from the
penalty here sought to be enforced. To that disciplined by the court." Matter of Manheim
extent his rights as a citizen were paramount to 133 App. Div. 136, 99 N.Y. Supp. 87 The same is
the obligation which he had assumed as an held in Re Griffin (City Ct.) 1 N.Y. 7 and in Re
officer of this court. When, however he Wilkes (City Ct.) 3 N.Y. In the latter case it
proceeded and thus assailed the Chief Justice appeared that the accused attorney had
personally, he exercised no right which the addressed a sealed letter to a justice of the City
court can recognize, but, on the contrary, Court of New York, in which it was stated, in
willfully violated his obligation to maintain the reference to his decision: "It is not law; neither
respect due to courts and judicial officers. "This is it common sense. The result is I have been
obligation is not discharged by merely robbed of 80." And it was decided that, while
observing the rules of courteous demeanor in such conduct was not a contempt under the
open court, but it includes abstaining out of state, the matter should be "called to the
court from all insulting language and offensive attention of the Supreme Court, which has
conduct toward the judges personally for their power to discipline the attorney." "If," says the
official acts."Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. (U.S.) court, "counsel learned in the law are permitted
355, 20 L. Ed. 646. And there appears to be no by writings leveled at the heads of judges, to
distinction, as regards the principle involved, charge them with ignorance, with unjust
between the indignity of an assault by an rulings, and with robbery, either as principals or
attorney upon a judge, induced by his official accessories, it will not be long before the
act, and a personal insult for like cause by general public may feel that they may redress
written or spoken words addressed to the judge their fancied grievances in like manner, and
in his chambers or at his home or elsewhere. thus the lot of a judge will be anything but a
Either act constitutes misconduct wholly happy one, and the administration of justice
different from criticism of judicial acts will fall into bad repute."
addressed or spoken to others. The distinction
made is, we think entirely logical and well The recent case of Johnson v. State (Ala.) 44
sustained by authority. It was recognized in Ex South. 671, was in this respect much the same
parte McLeod supra. While the court in that as the case at bar. The accused, an attorney at
case, as has been shown, fully sustained the law, wrote and mailed a letter to the circuit
judge, which the latter received by due course
right of a citizen to criticise rulings of the court
in actions which are ended, it held that one of mail, at his home, while not holding court,
might be summarily punished for assaulting a and which referred in insulting terms to the
judicial officer, in that case a commissioner of conduct of the judge in a cause wherein the
the court, for his rulings in a cause wholly accused had been one of the attorneys. For this
concluded. "Is it in the power of any person," it was held that the attorney was rightly
said the court, "by insulting or assaulting the disbarred in having "willfully failed to maintain
judge because of official acts, if only the respect due to him [the judge] as a judicial
assailant restrains his passion until the judge officer, and thereby breached his oath as an
leaves the building, to compel the judge to attorney." As recognizing the same principle,
forfeit either his own self-respect to the regardand in support of its application to the facts of
of the people by tame submission to the this case, we cite the following: Ex
indignity, or else set in his own person the evilparte Bradley, 7 Wall (U.S.) 364, 19 L. Ed.
example of punishing the insult by taking the 214; Beene v. State, 22 Ark.
law in his own hands? ... No high-minded, 149;Commonwealth v. Dandridge, 2 Va. Cas.
manly man would hold judicial office under 408; People v. Green, 7 Colo 237, 244, 3 Pac.
such conditions." 65, 374, 49 Am. Rep. 351; Smith's Appeal, 179
Pa. 14, 36 Atl. 134; Scouten's Appeal, 186 Pa.
That a communication such as this, addressed 270, Atl. 481.
to the Judge personally, constitutes
professional delinquency for which a Our conclusion is that the charges against the
professional punishment may be imposed, has accused have been so far sustained as to make
been directly decided. "An attorney who, after it our duty to impose such a penalty as may be
being defeated in a case, wrote a personal sufficient lesson to him and a suitable warning
letter to the trial justice, complaining of his to others. ...
conduct and reflecting upon his integrity as a
justice, is guilty of misconduct and will be
11. In Cobb v. United States, 172 F. 641, the outbursts of counsel such as those catalogued
court affirmed a lawyer's suspension for 18 in the above-cited jurisprudence. Cases of
months for publishing a letter in a newspaper in comparable nature have generally been
which he accused a judge of being under the disposed of under the power of courts to punish
sinister influence of a gang that had paralyzed for contempt which, although resting on
him for two years. different bases and calculated to attain a
different end, nevertheless illustrates that
12. In In Re Graves, 221 Pac. 411, the court universal abhorrence of such condemnable
held that an attorney's unjustifiable attack practices.
against the official acts and decisions of a
judge constitutes "moral turpitude." There, the A perusal of the more representative of these
attorney was disbarred for criticising not only instances may afford enlightenment.
the judge, but his decisions in general claiming
that the judge was dishonest in reaching his 1. In Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil. 724,
decisions and unfair in his general conduct of a where counsel branded the denial of his motion
case. for reconsideration as "absolutely erroneous
and constituting an outrage to the rigths of the
13. In In Re Doss, 12 N.E. 2d 659, an attorney petitioner Felipe Salcedo and a mockery of the
published newspaper articles after the trial of popular will expressed at the polls," this Court,
cases, criticising the court in intemperate although conceding that
language. The invariable effect of this sort of
propaganda, said the court, is to breed It is right and plausible that an attorney, in
disrespect for courts and bring the legal defending the cause and rights of his client,
profession into disrepute with the public, for should do so with all the fervor and energy of
which reason the lawyer was disbarred. which he is capable, but it is not, and never will
be so for him to exercise said right by resorting
14. In State v. Grimes, 354 Pac. 2d 108, an to intimidation or proceeding without the
attorney, dissatisfied with the loss of a case, propriety and respect which the dignity of the
prepared over a period of years vicious attacks courts requires. The reason for this is that
on jurists. The Oklahoma Supreme Court respect for the courts guarantees the stability
declared that his acts involved such gross of their institution. Without such guaranty, said
moral turpitude as to make him unfit as a institution would be resting on a very shaky
member of the bar. His disbarment was foundation,
ordered, even though he expressed an
intention to resign from the bar. found counsel guilty of contempt inasmuch as,
in its opinion, the statements made disclosed
The teaching derived from the above
disquisition and impressive affluence of judicial ... an inexcusable disrespect of the authority of
pronouncements is indubitable: Post-litigation the court and an intentional contempt of its
utterances or publications, made by lawyers, dignity, because the court is thereby charged
critical of the courts and their judicial with no less than having proceeded in utter
actuations, whether amounting to a crime or disregard of the laws, the rights to the parties,
not, which transcend the permissible bounds of and 'of the untoward consequences, or with
fair comment and legitimate criticism and having abused its power and mocked and
thereby tend to bring them into disrepute or to flouted the rights of Attorney Vicente J.
subvert public confidence in their integrity and Francisco's client ... .
in the orderly administration of justice,
2. In In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595, counsel, a
constitute grave professional misconduct which
senator and the author of the Press Freedom
may be visited with disbarment or other lesser
Law, reaching to, the imprisonment for
appropriate disciplinary sanctions by the
contempt of one Angel Parazo, who, invoking
Supreme Court in the exercise of the
said law, refused to divulge the source of a
prerogatives inherent in it as the duly
news item carried in his paper, caused to be
constituted guardian of the morals and ethics
published in i local newspaper a statement
of the legal fraternity.
expressing his regret "that our High Tribunal
Of course, rarely have we wielded our has not only erroneously interpreted said law,
disciplinary powers in the face of unwarranted but it is once more putting in evidence the
incompetency or narrow mindedness of the administration of justice by this Court. The
majority of its members," and his belief that "In Supreme Court of the Philippines is, under the
the wake of so many blunders and injustices Constitution, the last bulwark to which the
deliberately committed during these last years, Filipino people may repair to obtain relief for
... the only remedy to put an end to go much their grievances or protection of their rights
evil, is to change the members of the Supreme when these are trampled upon, and if the
Court," which tribunal he denounced as "a people lose their confidence in the honesty and
constant peril to liberty and democracy" and "a integrity of the members of this Court and
far cry from the impregnable bulwark of justice believe that they cannot expect justice
of those memorable times of Cayetano therefrom, they might be driven to take the law
Arellano, Victorino Mapa, Manuel Araullo and into their own hands, and disorder and perhaps
other learned jurists who were the honor and chaos might be the result. As a member of the
glory of the Philippine Judiciary." He there also bar and an officer of the courts, Atty. Vicente
announced that one of the first measures he Sotto, like any other, is in duty bound to uphold
would introduce in then forthcoming session of the dignity and authority of this Court, to which
Congress would have for its object the he owes fidelity according to the oath he has
complete reorganization of the Supreme Court. taken as such attorney, and not to promote
Finding him in contempt, despite his avowals of distrust in the administration of justice. Respect
good faith and his invocation of the guarantee to the courts guarantees the stability of other
of free speech, this Court declared: institutions, which without such guaranty would
be resting on a very shaky foundation.
But in the above-quoted written statement
which he caused to be published in the press, Significantly, too, the Court therein hastened to
the respondent does not merely criticize or emphasize that
comment on the decision of the Parazo case,
which was then and still is pending ... an attorney as an officer of the court is under
consideration by this Court upon petition of special obligation to be respectful in his
Angel Parazo. He not only intends to intimidate conduct and communication to the courts; he
the members of this Court with the may be removed from office or stricken from
presentation of a bill in the next Congress, of the roll of attorneys as being guilty of flagrant
which he is one of the members, reorganizing misconduct (17 L.R.A. [N.S.], 586, 594.)
the Supreme Court and reducing the number of
3. In Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer: In re
Justices from eleven, so as to change the
Proceedings against Alfonso Ponce Enrile, et al.,
members of this Court which decided the
supra, where counsel charged this Court with
Parazo case, who according to his statement,
having "repeatedly fallen" into ,the pitfall of
are incompetent and narrow minded, in order
blindly adhering to its previous "erroneous"
to influence the final decision of said case by
pronouncements, "in disregard of the law on
this Court, and thus embarrass or obstruct the
jurisdiction" of the Court of Industrial Relations,
administration of justice. But the respondent
our condemnation of counsel's misconduct was
also attacks the honesty and integrity of this
unequivocal. Articulating the sentiments of the
Court for the apparent purpose of bringing the
Court, Mr. Justice Sanchez stressed:
Justices of this Court into disrepute and
degrading the administration. of justice ... . As we look back at the language (heretofore
quoted) employed in the motion for
To hurl the false charge that this Court has
reconsideration, implications there are which
been for the last years committing deliberately
inescapably arrest attention. It speaks of one
so many blunders and injustices, that is to say,
pitfall into which this Court has repeatedly
that it has been deciding in favor of Que party
fallen whenever the jurisdiction of the Court of
knowing that the law and justice is on the part
Industrial Relations comes into question. That
of the adverse party and not on the one in
pitfall is the tendency of this Court to rely on its
whose favor the decision was rendered, in
own pronouncements in disregard of the law on
many cases decided during the last years,
jurisdiction. It makes a sweeping charge that
would tend necessarily to undermine the
the decisions of this Court, blindly adhere to
confidence of the people in the honesty and
earlier rulings without as much as making any
integrity of the members of this Court, and
reference to and analysis of the pertinent
consequently to lower ,or degrade the
statute governing the jurisdiction of the
industrial court. The plain import of all these is conducted in a farcical manner after the
that this Court is so patently inept that in question of the validity of the said
determining the jurisdiction of the industrial examinations had been resolved and the case
court, it has committed error and continuously closed. Virtually, this was an adoption of the
repeated that error to the point of view expressed by Chief Justice Moran in his
perpetuation. It pictures this Court as one dissent in Alarcon to the effect that them may
which refuses to hew to the line drawn by the still be contempt by publication even after a
law on jurisdictional boundaries. Implicit in the case has been terminated. Said Chief Justice
quoted statements is that the pronouncements Moran in Alarcon:
of this Court on the jurisdiction of the industrial
court are not entitled to respect. Those A publication which tends to impede, obstruct,
statements detract much from the dignity of embarrass or influence the courts in
and respect due this Court. They bring into administering justice in a pending suit or
question the capability of the members and proceeding, constitutes criminal contempt
some former members of this Court to render which is 'summarily punishable by courts. A
justice. The second paragraph quoted yields a publication which tends to degrade the courts
tone of sarcasm which counsel labelled as "so and to destroy public confidence in them or
called" the "rule against splitting of that which tends to bring them in any way into
jurisdiction." disrepute, constitutes likewise criminal
contempt, and is equally punishable by courts.
Similar thoughts and sentiments have been What is sought, in the first kind of contempt, to
expressed in other cases 18 which, in the be shielded against the influence of newspaper
interest of brevity, need not now be reviewed in comments, is the all-important duty of the
detail. courts to administer justice in the decision of a
pending case. In the second kind of contempt,
Of course, a common denominator underlies the punitive hand of justice is extended to
the aforecited cases all of them involved vindicate the courts from any act or conduct
contumacious statements made in pleadings calculated to bring them into disfavor or to
filed pending litigation. So that, in line with the destroy public confidence in them. In the first
doctrinal rule that the protective mantle of there is no contempt where there is no action
contempt may ordinarily be invoked only pending, as there is no decision which might in
against scurrilous remarks or malicious any way be influenced by the newspaper
innuendoes while a court mulls over a pending publication. In the second, the contempt exists,
case and not after the conclusion with or without a pending case, as what is
thereof, 19 Atty. Almacen would now seek to sought to be protected is the court itself and its
sidestep the thrust of a contempt charge by his dignity. Courts would lose their utility if public
studied emphasis that the remarks for which he confidence in them is destroyed.
is now called upon to account were made only
after this Court had written finis to his Accordingly, no comfort is afforded Atty.
appeal. This is of no moment. Almacen by the circumstance that his
statements and actuations now under
The rule that bars contempt after a judicial consideration were made only after the
proceeding has terminated, has lost much of its judgment in his client's appeal had attained
vitality. For sometime, this was the prevailing finality. He could as much be liable for
view in this jurisdiction. The first stir for a contempt therefor as if it had been perpetrated
modification thereof, however, came when, during the pendency of the said appeal.
inPeople vs. Alarcon, 20 the then Chief Justice
Manuel V. Moran dissented with the holding of More than this, however, consideration of
the majority, speaking thru Justice Jose P. whether or not he could be held liable for
Laurel, which upheld the rule above-adverted contempt for such post litigation utterances
to. A complete disengagement from the settled and actuations, is here immaterial. By the tenor
rule was later to be made in In re of our Resolution of November 17, 1967, we
Brillantes, 21 a contempt proceeding, where have confronted the situation here presented
the editor of the Manila Guardian was adjudged solely in so far as it concerns Atty. Almacen's
in contempt for publishing an editorial which professional identity, his sworn duty as a
asserted that the 1944 Bar Examinations were lawyer and his fitness as an officer of this
Court, in the exercise of the disciplinary power matter of right, but as a privilege conditioned
the morals inherent in our authority and duty to on his own behavior and the exercise of a just
safeguard and ethics of the legal profession and sound judicial discretion. 24
and to preserve its ranks from the intrusions of
unprincipled and unworthy disciples of the Indeed, in this jurisdiction, that power to
noblest of callings. In this inquiry, the pendency remove or suspend has risen above being a
or non-pendency of a case in court is altogether mere inherent or incidental power. It has been
of no consequence. The sole objective of this elevated to an express mandate by the Rules of
proceeding is to preserve the purity of the legal Court. 25
profession, by removing or suspending a
Our authority and duty in the premises being
member whose misconduct has proved himself
unmistakable, we now proceed to make an
unfit to continue to be entrusted with the duties
assessment of whether or not the utterances
and responsibilities belonging to the office of
and actuations of Atty. Almacen here in
an attorney.
question are properly the object of disciplinary
Undoubtedly, this is well within our authority to sanctions.
do. By constitutional mandate, 22 our is the
The proffered surrender of his lawyer's
solemn duty, amongst others, to determine the
certificate is, of course, purely potestative on
rules for admission to the practice of law.
Atty. Almacen's part. Unorthodox though it may
Inherent in this prerogative is the
seem, no statute, no law stands in its way.
corresponding authority to discipline and
Beyond making the mere offer, however, he
exclude from the practice of law those who
went farther. In haughty and coarse language,
have proved themselves unworthy of continued
he actually availed of the said move as a
membership in the Bar. Thus
vehicle for his vicious tirade against this Court.
The power to discipline attorneys, who are The integrated entirety of his petition bristles
officers of the court, is an inherent and with vile insults all calculated to drive home his
incidental power in courts of record, and one contempt for and disrespect to the Court and
which is essential to an orderly discharge of its members. Picturing his client as "a sacrificial
judicial functions. To deny its existence is victim at the altar of hypocrisy," he
equivalent to a declaration that the conduct of categorically denounces the justice
attorneys towards courts and clients is not administered by this Court to be not only blind
subject to restraint. Such a view is without "but also deaf and dumb." With unmitigated
support in any respectable authority, and acerbity, he virtually makes this Court and its
cannot be tolerated. Any court having the right members with verbal talons, imputing to the
to admit attorneys to practice and in this state Court the perpetration of "silent injustices" and
that power is vested in this court-has the "short-cut justice" while at the same time
inherent right, in the exercise of a sound branding its members as "calloused to pleas of
judicial discretion to exclude them from justice." And, true to his announced threat to
practice. 23 argue the cause of his client "in the people's
forum," he caused the publication in the papers
This, because the admission of a lawyer to the of an account of his actuations, in a calculated
practice of law is a representation to all that he effort ;to startle the public, stir up public
is worthy of their confidence and respect. So indignation and disrespect toward the Court.
much so that Called upon to make an explanation, he
expressed no regret, offered no apology.
... whenever it is made to appear to the court Instead, with characteristic arrogance, he
that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust rehashed and reiterated his vituperative
and confidence of the public and of the courts, attacks and, alluding to the Scriptures, virtually
it becomes, not only the right, but the duty, of tarred and feathered the Court and its
the court which made him one of its officers, members as inveterate hypocrites incapable of
and gave him the privilege of ministering within administering justice and unworthy to impose
its bar, to withdraw the privilege. Therefore it is disciplinary sanctions upon him.
almost universally held that both the admission
and disbarment of attorneys are judicial acts, The virulence so blatantly evident in Atty.
and that one is admitted to the bar and Almacen's petition, answer and oral
exercises his functions as an attorney, not as a argumentation speaks for itself. The vicious
language used and the scurrilous innuendoes plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein It may be
they carried far transcend the permissible initiated by the Court motu proprio. 28 Public
bounds of legitimate criticism. They could interest is its primary objective, and the real
never serve any purpose but to gratify the spite question for determination is whether or not
of an irate attorney, attract public attention to the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed
himself and, more important of all, bring ;this the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of
Court and its members into disrepute and its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls
destroy public confidence in them to the upon a member of the Bar to account for his
detriment of the orderly administration of actuations as an officer of the Court with the
justice. Odium of this character and texture end in view of preserving the purity of the legal
presents no redeeming feature, and completely profession and the proper and honest
negates any pretense of passionate administration of justice by purging the
commitment to the truth. It is not a whit less profession of members who by their
than a classic example of gross misconduct, misconduct have proved themselves no longer
gross violation of the lawyer's oath and gross worthy to be entrusted with the duties and
transgression of the Canons of Legal Ethics. As responsibilities pertaining to the office of an
such, it cannot be allowed to go unrebuked. attorney. 29 In such posture, there can thus be
The way for the exertion of our disciplinary no occasion to speak of a complainant or a
powers is thus laid clear, and the need therefor prosecutor.
is unavoidable.
Undeniably, the members of the Court are, to a
We must once more stress our explicit certain degree, aggrieved parties. Any tirade
disclaimer of immunity from criticism. Like any against the Court as a body is necessarily and
other Government entity in a viable democracy, inextricably as much so against the individual
the Court is not, and should not be, above members thereof. But in the exercise of its
criticism. But a critique of the Court must be disciplinary powers, the Court acts as an entity
intelligent and discriminating, fitting to its high separate and distinct from the individual
function as the court of last resort. And more personalities of its members. Consistently with
than this, valid and healthy criticism is by no the intrinsic nature of a collegiate court, the
means synonymous to obloquy, and requires individual members act not as such individuals
detachment and disinterestedness, real but. only as a duly constituted court. Their
qualities approached only through constant distinct individualities are lost in the majesty of
striving to attain them. Any criticism of the their office.30 So that, in a very real sense, if
Court must, possess the quality of there be any complainant in the case at bar, it
judiciousness and must be informed -by can only be the Court itself, not the individual
perspective and infused by philosophy. 26 members thereof as well as the people
themselves whose rights, fortunes and
It is not accurate to say, nor is it an obstacle to properties, nay, even lives, would be placed at
the exercise of our authority in ;the premises, grave hazard should the administration of
that, as Atty. Almacen would have appear, the justice be threatened by the retention in the
members of the Court are the "complainants, Bar of men unfit to discharge the solemn
prosecutors and judges" all rolled up into one in responsibilities of membership in the legal
this instance. This is an utter misapprehension, fraternity.
if not a total distortion, not only of the nature of
the proceeding at hand but also of our role Finally, the power to exclude persons from the
therein. practice of law is but a necessary incident of
the power to admit persons to said practice. By
Accent should be laid on the fact that constitutional precept, this power is vested
disciplinary proceedings like the present are sui exclusively in this Court. This duty it cannot
generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, abdicate just as much as it cannot unilaterally
this proceeding is not and does not involve renounce jurisdiction legally invested upon
a trial of an action or a suit, but is rather an it. 31 So that even if it be conceded that the
investigation by the Court into the conduct of members collectively are in a sense the
its officers. 27 Not being intended to. inflict aggrieved parties, that fact alone does not and
punishment, it is in no sense a criminal cannot disqualify them from the exercise of
prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a that power because public policy demands that
they., acting as a Court, exercise the power in shall last. For, at any time after the suspension
all cases which call for disciplinary action. The becomes effective he may prove to this Court
present is such a case. In the end, the imagined that he is once again fit to resume the practice
anomaly of the merger in one entity of the of law.
personalities of complainant, prosecutor and
judge is absolutely inexistent. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS THE SENSE of the Court
that Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen be, as he is
Last to engage our attention is the nature and hereby, suspended from the practice of law
extent of the sanctions that may be visited until further orders, the suspension to take
upon Atty. Almacen for his transgressions. As effect immediately.
marked out by the Rules of Court, these may
range from mere suspension to total removal or Let copies of this resolution. be furnished the
disbarment. 32 The discretion to assess under Secretary of Justice, the Solicitor General and
the circumstances the imposable sanction is, of the Court of Appeals for their information and
course, primarily addressed to the sound guidance.
discretion of the Court which, being neither
IN RE: ATTY. FELIZARDO M. DE
arbitrary and despotic nor motivated by
GUZMAN, petitioner,
personal animosity or prejudice, should ever be
controlled by the imperative need that the R E S O L U T I O N
purity and independence of the Bar be
scrupulously guarded and the dignity of and
respect due to the Court be zealously
maintained. MUOZ PALMA, J.:1wph1.t

That the misconduct committed by Atty. This is an administrative case involving a


Almacen is of considerable gravity cannot be member of the Bar, Atty. Felizardo M. de
overemphasized. However, heeding the stern Guzman.
injunction that disbarment should never be
decreed where a lesser sanction would In Civil Case No. 71648 of the Court of First
accomplish the end desired, and believing that Instance of Manila, entitled: "Lagrimas Lapatha,
it may not perhaps be futile to hope that in the et al. versus Vicente Floro, et al.", the Hon.
sober light of some future day, Atty. Almacen Jesus de Veyra rendered on July 23, 1968, a
will realize that abrasive language never fails to decision the dispositive portion of which
do disservice to an advocate and that in every reads: 1
effervescence of candor there is ample room
Judgment is, therefore, rendered setting aside
for the added glow of respect, it is our view
the judgment of the City Court in Civil Case No.
that suspension will suffice under the
165187 entitled Floro v. Lapatha as well as the
circumstances. His demonstrated persistence in
writ of execution issued pursuant thereto, and
his misconduct by neither manifesting
remanding this case to the City Court of Manila
repentance nor offering apology therefor leave
in order to give Petitioner her day in Court.
us no way of determining how long that
Defendant Floro shall pay the costs. Let copy of
suspension should last and, accordingly, we are
this decision be furnished the Supreme Court to
impelled to decree that the same should be
take whatever disciplinary action it may deem
indefinite. This, we are empowered to do not
fit against Atty. Felizardo de Guzman for his
alone because jurisprudence grants us
manner of behavior in the proceedings before
discretion on the matter 33 but also because,
the City Court of Manila. (Emphasis Ours)
even without the comforting support of
precedent, it is obvious that if we have Upon receipt of copy of the above-mentioned
authority to completely exclude a person from decision, this Court in its Resolution of August
the practice of law, there is no reason why 16, 1968, required Atty. Felizardo de Guzman to
indefinite suspension, which is lesser in degree answer, 2 and the latter complied on August
and effect, can be regarded as falling outside of 30, 1968. 3 On September 10, 1968 the matter
the compass of that authority. The merit of this was referred to the Solicitor General for
choice is best shown by the fact that it will then investigate report and recommendation. 4 On
be left to Atty. Almacen to determine for November 20, 1973, We received the Report
himself how long or how short that suspension and Recommendation of the Solicitor General. 5
At the hearing conducted by the Office of the request of Atty. de Guzman, the latter had
Solicitor General during which none of the written "CONFESS JUDGMENT", without her
parties, with the exception of respondent, Atty. knowledge and consent; hence her petition for
Felizardo de Guzman, appeared despite due relief from the judgment rendered by the City
notice, the following incidents were brought Court.
out:
Vicente Floro filed his Answer to the above-
Sometime on October 12, 1967, a complaint for mentioned Petition for relief and he alleged that
ejectment was filed with the City Court of the decision of the City Court was based on an
Manila by Vicente Floro against Lagrimas admission made in open court by petitioner
Lapatha which was docketed as Civil Case No. Lagrimas Lapatha on the basis of which the
165187 of said court. 6 On November 2, 1967, words "Confession of judgment" were written
a decision was rendered by the City Court, on the "expediente" of the case and
Branch VIII, presided by Judge Roman Cansino, underneath were affixed the signature of said
Jr., to this effect: 7 petitioner and that of Atty. Felizardo de
Guzman; that the alleged payments of
BY CONFESSION, judgment is hereby rendered Lagrimas Lapatha were made after the
ordering the defendant and all persons claiming rendition of the decision to forestall immediate
under her to vacate premises described in the execution of the judgment; that when petitioner
complaint and surrender the possession thereof filed with the City Court a motion for
to the plaintiff; to pay unto the plaintiff the reconsideration of the decision alleging fraud,
unpaid rentals in the sum of P795.00, with the true circumstances attending the hearing of
interest thereon at the legal rate from October November 2, 1967, were brought out to the
12, 1967 until fully paid; the sum of P150.00 as satisfaction of petitioner's counsel, for which
attorney's fees plus the costs of the suit. reason the City Court denied the motion for
reconsideration; that during the hearing on
On December 29, 1967, Lagrimas Lapatha filed
petitioner's motion for reconsideration Atty. de
with the Court of First Instance of Manila a
Guzman agreed not to press for the execution
"Petition for Relief from Judgment, Orders &
of the judgment on the assurance of petitioner
other Proceedings in the Inferior Court with a
that she vacate the premises by January 15,
Writ of Preliminary Injunction", naming therein
1968, however, petitioner did not comply with
Vicente Floro and the Sheriff of Manila as party-
her promise and instead filed the Petition for
respondents. 8 In the Petition it was alleged by
Relief. 9
petitioner Lagrimas Lapatha that at the initial
hearing of Civil Case No. 165187 in the City On July 23, 1968, His Honor, Judge Jesus de
Court of Manila held at 8:30 o'clock in the Veyra, rendered his decision 10 in the above-
morning of November 2, 1967, she appeared mentioned Petition for Relief favorable to
without counsel; she approach Atty. Felizardo petitioner Lapatha, the dispositive portion of
de Guzman, the lawyer of Vicente Floro, and which We quoted in page two of this Resolution.
begged for a five-day postponement of the trial
to which Atty. de Guzman verbally agreed; Atty. Judge de Veyra stated in his decision that due
de Guzman then asked her to affix her to the "machinations unworthy of an attorney"
signature on the court's "expediente" which she committed by respondent herein, Lagrimas
did, and after signing she left the courtroom; on Lapatha was deprived of her day in court, said
November 16, 1967, she gave to Atty. Felizardo lawyer having agreed to a postponement of the
de Guzman a check for P350.00 in partial hearing and even accepted partial payment so
payment of her arrears in the rentals; on the case would not proceed, but behind her
November 20, 1967, she was surprised to back wrote the words "confessed judgment"
receive copy of a decision from the City Court over her signature and prevailed upon the City
dated November 2, 1967, wherein it appeared Court to render judgment. 11 Judge de Veyra
that she confessed judgment when in truth and based his findings on the alleged testimonies of
in fact she asked for postponement of that Lagrimas Lapatha and one Atty. Vargas given
initial hearing with the conformity of Atty. during the trial of the Petition for Relief.
Felizardo de Guzman; upon verification of the
"expediente" of the case, she discovered that We are constrained, however, to agree with the
below the signature which she affixed at the Solicitor General that the above-mentioned
findings of Judge de Veyra were not only left
unsubstantiated at the investigation conducted 3. The only objective of Lagrimas Lapatha in
by the Solicitor General's Office for failure of filing her Petition for Relief before Judge de
said witnesses to appear notwithstanding due Veyra was to gain more time to stay in the
notice that they were satisfactorily leased premises notwithstanding her
controverted by the evidence submitted by commitment to vacate as of January 15, 1968,
respondent at said hearing. and in fact, she accomplished her purpose as
shown by the "Compromise Agreement"
Thus: entered into between her and the lessor,
Vicente Floro, before Judge de Veyra in Civil
1. The records of Civil Case No. 71648 (Petition
Case No. 71 which reads:
for Relief) show that the clerk of the City Court
of Manila testified that when the ejectment Plaintiff agrees to vacate the premises at 821
case was called for hearing on November 2, Second Floor, Isabel Street, Manila, on or before
1967, both Lagrimas Lapatha and Atty. de October 31, 1968 and in the Defendant V. Floro
Guzman made their appearances, and when agrees to condone all rentals past up to
the trial Judge asked Lapatha if she admitted October 31, 1968 plus attorney's fees and
the indebtedness alleged in the complaint, she costs.
answered in the affirmative and forthwith the
words "confessed judgment" were written on Manila, Philippines, October 22, 1968
the "expediente" of the case after which Atty.
de Guzman and Lapatha affixed their (Sgd.) LAGRIMAS LAPATHA
signatures. 12 As aptly observed in the Report
(Sgd.) VICENTE FLORO
of the Solicitor General, the aforementioned
testimony of the clerk of court deserves credit (See Exh. "B" page 53 rollo)
because the clerk was present at the hearing of
November 2 and his testimony is substantiated We agree with the Solicitor General that in the
by the decision of the City Judge 13 who, We instant case "the evidence is wanting" to
state, is presumed,sans evidence to the sustain a finding that respondent committed
contrary, to have regularly performed his any deceit or misconduct in Civil Case No.
official duty 14 and passed upon the matters 165187 of the City Court of Manila.
before him in the manner stated in his
decision. 15 On the other hand, Atty. Vargas on In Go vs. Candoy, 19 this Court said: "It is quite
whom Judge de Veyra relied, was not in Court elementary that in disbarment proceedings, the
on the date of the hearing so that his testimony burden of proof rests upon the complainant. To
was simply based on the supposed statement be made the basis suspension or disbarment of
to him of his secretary that the latter asked a lawyer, the charge against him must be
Atty. de Guzman for a postponement of the established by convincing proof. The record
trial. 16. must disclose as free from doubt a case which
compels exercise by this Court of its
2. The check for P350.00 was given by either disciplinary powers. The dubious character of
Atty. Vargas or Lagrimas Lapatha to Atty. de the act done as well as of the motivation
Guzman not for the purpose of securing a thereof must be clearly demonstrated."
postponement, for said check was paid on
November 16 several days after the hearing, An attorney enjoys the legal presumption that
but in partial payment of the arrears in the he is innocent of the charges preferred against
rentals to which Lapatha "confessed judgment" him until the contrary is proved, and as an
and in order to forestall the immediate officer of the court, that he has performed his
execution of the City Court's decision. 17 As a duty in accordance with his oath. Thus, the
matter of fact, during the hearing of Lapatha's serious consequences of disbarment or
motion for reconsideration of the decision of suspension should follow only where there is a
the City Court, Lapatha agreed to vacate the clear preponderance of evidence against a
premises by January 15, 1968, and Atty. de respondent attorney. (Moran, Revised Rules of
Guzman in turn waived the collection of the Court, 1970 Ed., vol. 6, p. 243, citing In
rentals for the months of November, 1967, up re Tionko, 43 Phil. 191)
to January 15, 1968. 18
WHEREFORE, this administrative complaint is
dismissed and respondent, Atty. Felizardo M. de
Guzman, is exonerated of the charge.

A.C. No. 244 March 29, 1963

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR


DISBARMENT OF TELESFORO A. DIAO,
vs.
SEVERINO G. MARTINEZ, petitioner.

BENGZON, C.J.:

After successfully passing the corresponding


examinations held in 1953, Telesforo A. Diao
was admitted to the Bar.

About two years later, Severino Martinez


charged him with having falsely represented in
his application for such Bar examination, that
he had the requisite academic qualifications.
The matter was in due course referred to the graduate of Quisumbing College, in his school
Solicitor General who caused the charge to be records.
investigated; and later he submitted a report
recommending that Diao's name be erased Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that
from the roll of attorneys, because contrary to the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted
the allegations in his petition for examination in and approved by this Honorable Court, without
this Court, he (Diao) had not completed, before prejudice to the parties adducing other
taking up law subjects, the required pre-legal evidence to prove their case not covered by
education prescribed by the Department of this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t
Private Education, specially, in the following
This explanation is not acceptable, for the
particulars:
reason that the "error" or "confusion" was
(a) Diao did not complete his high school obviously of his own making. Had his
training; and application disclosed his having obtained A.A.
from Arellano University, it would also have
(b) Diao never attended Quisumbing College, disclosed that he got it in April, 1949, thereby
and never obtained his A.A. diploma therefrom showing that he began his law studies (2nd
which contradicts the credentials he had semester of 1948-1949) six months before
submitted in support of his application for obtaining his Associate in Arts degree. And then
examination, and of his allegation therein of he would not have been permitted to take the
successful completion of the "required pre-legal bar tests, because our Rules provide, and the
education". applicant for the Bar examination must affirm
under oath, "That previous to the study of law,
Answering this official report and complaint, he had successfully and satisfactorily
Telesforo A. Diao, practically admits the first completed the required pre-legal
charge: but he claims that although he had left education(A.A.) as prescribed by the
high school in his third year, he entered the Department of Private Education," (emphasis
service of the U.S. Army, passed the General on "previous").
Classification Test given therein, which
(according to him) is equivalent to a high Plainly, therefore, Telesforo A. Diao was not
school diploma, and upon his return to civilian qualified to take the bar examinations; but due
life, the educational authorities considered his to his false representations, he was allowed to
army service as the equivalent of 3rd and 4th take it, luckily passed it, and was thereafter
year high school. admitted to the Bar. Such admission having
been obtained under false pretenses must be,
We have serious doubts, about the validity of and is hereby revoked. The fact that he hurdled
this claim, what with respondent's failure to the Bar examinations is immaterial. Passing
exhibit any certification to that effect (the such examinations is not the only qualification
equivalence) by the proper school officials. to become an attorney-at-law; taking the
However, it is unnecessary to dwell on this, prescribed courses of legal study in the regular
since the second charge is clearly meritorious. manner is equally essential..
Diao never obtained his A.A. from Quisumbing
College; and yet his application for examination The Clerk is, therefore, ordered to strike from
represented him as an A.A. graduate (1940- the roll of attorneys, the name of Telesforo A.
1941) of such college. Now, asserting he had Diao. And the latter is required to return his
obtained his A.A. title from the Arellano lawyer's diploma within thirty days. So ordered.
University in April, 1949, he says he was
erroneously certified, due to confusion, as a