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1987 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

ARTICLE VIII
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

1. Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,


pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law,
the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the under-privileged. Such rules shall
provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases,
shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or
modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial
bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.

Rule 138 - Rules of Court


Attorneys and Admission to Bar

Sec. 20. Duties of attorneys. - It is the duty of an


attorney:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
(a) To maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to support
the Constitution and obey the laws of the Philippines;

(b) To observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and
judicial officers;

(c) To counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear to him


to be just, and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable
under the law;

(d) To employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him,
such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and never seek to
mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of
fact or law;

(e) To maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to


preserve the secrets of his client, and to accept no compensation in connection
with his client's business except from him or with his knowledge and
approval;

(f) To abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial
to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice
of the cause with which he is charged;
(g) Not to encourage either the commencement or the continuance of an action
or proceeding, or delay any man's cause, from any corrupt motive or interest;

(h) Never to reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause of the
defenseless or oppressed;

(i) In the defense of a person accused of crime, by all fair and honorable
means, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, to
present every defense that the law permits, to the end that no person may be
deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of law.

SECOND DIVISION

JANG LIM, WILFREDO G.R. No. 149748


MARIGA, AMIL MAULANA,
ROLANDO SANTOS,
MARCIANO VICTORIANO, JR.,
SHERILYN TAUPAN, BADO
DELASANTOS, CELSO
ARANETA, FELIX BAGUIO,
ANECETO LAS PIAS, VICENTE
ESCALICAS, NESTOR
VARONA, RAZEL TAUPAN,
VICENTE WONG, CARLOS
BABIGA, BENJAMIN
ESTRELLADO, ZALDYVAR
JUAINI, ROGER MOSTERO,
FLORANTE AMIS, AUGUSTO
REYES, JR., VICTORIA
GOMEZ, MURSIDE HADJIROL,
SANDRA SINGAY, MINDA
LATIP, HAN AMMANG,
EDISON SINKAY, TITING
ARASAD, OMAR BAYAN,
MARITESS VERDON,
ABRAHAM BAYAN, RODELYN
DEL ROSARIO, JEFFERSON
SINGAY, SAGGA SALIAN,
CHERRY EMMANG, BANNING
ELIAS, TESSIE BAIT-IT,
ELECIO PARADAZ, JR., MOID
SAHIRON, EDDIE ELIAS,
ESMERALDA DOBLE, ADAYAN
SUKARNO, MYLA MOSTERO,
ALLAN PABLAN, MAHADUM
MOHAMMAD, JUN SALCEDO,
BRANDO DIAZ, ROLANDO
MONTEJO, ABS TAPSI,
JAKARTA SUBA, WENCESLAO
ALAYAN, CONSTANCIO
CATIVIDA, RESTIA GOMEZ,
NUKKIYA SERVANDI, SANDY
SINCAY, JAHIRIN MAULANA,
MARIAM DARIS, ALCY SAJIIN,
NURSIDA LAHAMAN, RAHIM
BAYAN, SALSON IBBOH,
BARJANA SALIAN,
JIMMYLITO AYCO,
MARIBETH LIMBA, TATAH DE
LA CRUZ, JALSUM IBBOH,
ENDANG TONDO, NURALYN
YARTE, TATAH SOLOMON,
LACAYA AGUTAN, CHELTON
EMMANG, BOY SAHIPA,
EDDIE CADION, ARMANDO DE
LA CRUZ, SUSAN ARABEHO
TATAH JOSE, AMELIA
DEGARBIS, JOHN OKOY,
LUDITHA TALBOBO,
DARWESA SALCEDO,
HUSSEIN AMMANG, IBRAHIM
ELIAS, MARRY SADJAIL,
KEMELDE OKOY, ELIZA
PARAGAS, MAULAY TAUPAN,
RUDY SERVANDI, NURMINE
SALAPUDDIN, RODRIGUEZ
ITURALDE, RAMON
ITURALDE, HENRY
ITURALDE, SONNY BOY
DELLERA, SATURNINO
ITURALDE, SAMMY
ABDURAJIK, USAY SAHIPA
and KALBI BAYAN,
Petitioners,

- versus -

THE COURT OF APPEALS, Present:


NATIONAL LABOR
RELATIONS COMMISSION PUNO, J., Chairperson,
(FIFTH DIVISION), TIMEX SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
SAWMILL AND/OR CORONA,
COTABATO TIMBERLAND AZCUNA, and
CO., INC., with MELCHOR GARCIA, JJ.
BORBON, in his capacity as
Administrative Manager, and Promulgated:
M&S COMPANY, INC., with
VICTOR A. CONSUNJI, as
Director and Operations Manager,
Respondents.
November 16, 2006

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

PUNO, J.:

The petition at bar involves the execution of our Decision dated February 19, 1999
in G.R. No. 124630 which reinstated the May 17, 1995 Decision of Executive
Labor Arbiter Rhett Julius J. Plagata of the National Labor Relations Commission
(NLRC) Regional Arbitration Branch (RAB) No. 9 of Zamboanga City in NLRC
Case No. RAB-09-1-0-0028494, holding private respondent Cotabato Timberland
Company, Inc. (CTCI) liable for separation pay, indemnity, unpaid wages, wage
differentials, night shift differentials, service incentive leave pay, 13th month pay,
cost of litigation and attorney's fees.
Records show that upon motion of the petitioners, Executive Labor Arbiter
Plagata issued a Writ of Execution[1] to enforce his reinstated May 17,
1995 Decision. Sheriff Danilo Tejada, Branch Sheriff of RAB No. 9, enforced said
writ by levying the parcels of land where private respondent CTCI's plywood plant
is situated in Recodo, ZamboangaCity. These parcels of land are covered by
Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. T-145,544, T-145,547, T-145,545, T-
145,546, T-145,550, and T-107,201 in the name of private respondent M&S
Company, Inc. (M&S). It appears that TCT Nos. T-145,544, T-145,547, T-
145,545, T-145,546, and T-145,550 replaced TCT Nos. T-110,125, T-119,331, T-
115,222, T-119,032, and T-126,661, respectively, registered in the name of private
respondent CTCI. The transfers were made based on absolute deeds of sale
dated March 23, 1999 between private respondent CTCI, as seller, and private
respondent M&S, as buyer.

On December 13, 1999, private respondent M&S filed its motion: a) to suspend the
execution proceedings; b) after the suspension, for the Executive Labor Arbiter to
conduct a hearing for the purpose of determining ownership of the subject parcels
of land; c) after the hearing, to confirm the title of private respondent M&S over
the subject parcels of land; and d) to lift the Notice of Levy dated December 6,
1999.[2] After hearing and after the parties have filed their respective pleadings, the
Executive Labor Arbiter issued an Order dated March 31, 2000[3] denying the
motion of private respondent CTCI to lift the levy made by the sheriff on the
subject parcels of land. He held that the sales of the subject lots by private
respondent CTCI, as seller, to private respondent M&S, as buyer, were null and
void for being simulated, fictitious and in fraud of the petitioners. He based his
conclusion on the following circumstances: a) the sales took place about a month
after this Court promulgated its decision which is now the subject of execution;
and b) private respondent M&S has been out of business for seven (7) years prior
to the alleged sales and hence, its purchase of the subject properties soon after the
promulgation of this Court's decision in the instant case "stirs grave doubt." The
Executive Labor Arbiter likewise found that private respondent M&S is a mere
alter ego of private respondent CTCI "in connection with the enforcement of
complainants' claims in this case" as the identities, operations and officers of both
companies were "so intertwined or so meshed together as to make each company
indistinguishable from the other." Thus, he ordered the sheriff to proceed with the
execution proceedings.

On April 26, 2000, private respondent M&S filed a Memorandum on


Appeal[4] with the NLRC pursuant to Section 2, Rule VI of the NLRC Manual on
Execution of Judgment (Sheriffs Manual). Private respondent M&S likewise filed
a petition for injunction with an application for a temporary restraining order
(TRO) with the NLRC, which application for TRO was granted pending resolution
of its appeal.

On June 6, 2000, the NLRC issued its assailed resolution, the dispositive portion of
which states:

Prescinding from the foregoing premises, the Executive Labor Arbiter's March
31, 2000 Order is hereby SET ASIDE and Sheriff Danilo Tejada and all persons
acting for and in his behalf are ordered to desist from enforcing said Order and
from proceeding with the auction sale of subject real properties covered by TCT
Nos. T-145,545, T-145,550, T-145,544, T-145,547 and T-107,201.[5]

The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Commission on April 17,


2000 is hereby made permanent and Sheriff Danilo Tejada is ordered to
immediately proceed to execute the Supreme Court's decision in this case against
the properties of Cotabato Timberland Co., Inc. in accordance with the
provisions of the NLRC Manual on Execution.

SO ORDERED.[6]
The NLRC held that its power to execute extends only to properties
"unquestionably belonging to the judgment debtor." The Executive Labor Arbiter's
conclusion that the deeds of sale over the subject properties were null and void for
being simulated was held to be "at best, speculative." It held that good faith is
presumed and the party who alleges bad faith has the burden of proving it. The
Labor Arbiter was held to be without power to determine the issue of ownership
over the real properties since the same are covered by certificates of Torrens title
and at the time of the levy, the subject properties were already registered in the
name of private respondent M&S which is not a party to the case. It held that "[i]n
the absence of evidence of fraud, not just an arbitrary speculation or conjecture of
fraud, one corporation duly organized and registered under the law should be
treated as distinct and separate from another and to pierce this veil of corporate
fiction[,] mere subjective conclusions do not suffice."

It appears that in spite of the TRO, the execution of the properties proceeded as
scheduled on April 24, 2000. Hence, private respondent M&S filed a motion to set
aside the sheriff's auction sale and to cite the sheriff in contempt. Petitioners
likewise filed a motion for reconsideration.

On December 11, 2000, the NLRC issued a resolution[7] denying petitioners'


motion for reconsideration and granting private respondent M&S's motion to
cancel and set aside the sheriff's auction sale on April 24, 2000 over the real
properties covered by TCT Nos. T-145,545, T-145,550, T-145-544, T-145,547 and
T-107,201. The motion to cite the sheriff in contempt was denied.

On February 22, 2001, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with
the Court of Appeals (CA).[8] Said petition was dismissed outright in the CA's
assailed Resolution dated March 19, 2001, based on the following grounds:
(1) The Verification and Certification of Non-Forum Shopping are signed by
counsel and not by the petitioner[s] which is in violation of the Supreme Court
[r]uling in Escorpizo v. University of Baguio (306 SCRA 497);

(2) Petitioner[s'] counsel, in the Verification as to Material Dates, only alleged the
date of receipt of the December 11, 2000 NLRC Resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration but failed to allege the date of receipt of the June 6, 2000 NLRC
Resolution;

(3) The IBP Official Receipt Number as well as the date of its issuance to
petitioner[s'] counsel are not current, in violation of the SC En Banc Resolution
dated September 26, 2000 in Bar Matter No. 287; and

(4) The petition does not contain a written explanation on the mode of service as
required under Section 11, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.[9]

Petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration on May 10, 2001[10] which was
likewise denied for being filed out of time.[11]

Hence, this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court in which
petitioners raise the issue, viz:

[WHETHER] THE [CA's] QUESTIONED RESOLUTION DATED MARCH


19, 2001, AS AFFIRMED ON JUNE 25, 2001 DISMISSING PETITIONER[S']
SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION FOR CERTIORARI ON GROUNDS OF
TECHNICALITY IS VALID AND TENABLE IN LIGHT OF THE
SUBSTANTIVE RIGHTS OF PETITIONERS AS HELD BY THE SUPREME
COURT IN G.R. NO. 124630, DATED FEBRUARY 19, 1999, OVER THE
CASE.[12]
Petitioners contend that their petition for certiorari with the CA was clearly
meritorious and was filed on time. It was allegedly the CA which "chose to be
immovable on the side of technicality," disregarding the overriding goal of the
courts to render justice where justice is due[13] and "allowing the substantial rights
of petitioner[s] to be sacrificed at the altar of technicalities to the consequent
impairment of the sacred principles of justice."[14] Petitioners contend that their
petition for certiorari with the CA being clearly meritorious, that fraudulent means
having been employed by the private respondents to frustrate the due execution of
the judgment rendered by the Supreme Court, and considering the number of
working men involved who are awaiting the realization of their case, the CA
committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the same on grounds of
technicality. Petitioners contend that the NLRC disregarded the fact that the sales
of the subject properties were made on March 23, 1999 or more than one month
after the promulgation of the decision of this Court. Moreover, the following facts
bolster the claim of fraud: a) the transfer of the subject properties was facilitated by
CTCI's counsel in the arbitration level; b) private respondent M&S had not been
operating for seven (7) years prior to the alleged sales; and c) M&S is a mere alter
ego of CTCI, their stockholders, directors and officers being practically the same
and their operations identical, making them indistinguishable from each
other. Petitioners likewise point out that in private respondent CTCI's Surety Bond
Contract with the Presidential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc. at the time private
respondent CTCI appealed the instant case to the NLRC, the person who
represented to be a director of private respondent CTCI turned out to be the
secretary of private respondent M&S also. Said pieces of evidence allegedly show
that private respondent M&S was a buyer in bad faith when the subject properties
were sold to it by private respondent CTCI. The sales were allegedly executed in
fraud of petitioners for the purpose of evading private respondent CTCI's liabilities
to petitioners.

The issues to be resolved in this case are: a) whether the instant case should be
given due course; and b) in the affirmative, whether the petition is meritorious.

Private respondents belabor the fact that petitioners filed their petition for certiorari
with the CA: a) with its verification and certification of non-forum shopping
signed by counsel instead of the parties; b) without a statement of the date of
receipt of the June 6, 2000 NLRC Resolution; c) with their counsel's IBP Official
Receipt Number being outdated; and d) without a written explanation on the mode
of service as required under Section 11, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure. Private respondents point out that petitioners' motion for
reconsideration with the CA was filed twenty-seven (27) days after the last day for
filing the same. Private respondent M&S also questions petitioners' resort to a
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with this Court. It
contends that the proper remedy with this Court from the resolution of the CA is an
appeal by certiorari under Rule 45.

We resolved to give due course to the instant petition in our Resolution


dated January 16, 2002.
Section 5(5), Article VIII of the Constitution gives this Court the power to
"[p]romulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional
rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts." It is within the inherent
power of the Court to suspend its own rules in particular cases in order to do
justice.[15] In Kathy-O Enterprises v. NLRC,[16] the Court found the reason for
the 3-day delay in the filing of the appeal with the NLRC justifiable, having been
caused by "inadvertence amounting to excusable negligence." The Court observed
that due to the presence of an upward stroke, the "5" in "25 January" appeared to
be and could have been mistaken as an "8," thus leading KATHY-O's counsel to
misread "25 January," the date of receipt stamped by his receiving clerk on the
copy of the decision intended for said counsel, as "28 January." We held:
When proper, no serious impediment bars the allowance of tardy appeals under
the Rules of Court, in recognition of this Court's inherent power to suspend
adjective rules. It is a different matter, however, when the period to appeal is
provided by statute, as in labor cases. For obvious reasons, this Court cannot
ordinarily suspend the statute's operation. x x x Nevertheless, if only to be able to
dispense substantial justice, strict observance of the period to appeal may not be
exacted. Thus, in Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. of the Philippines v.
Lariosa,[17] an appeal in a labor dispute was given due course despite the lapse
of fourteen (14) days from notice of the decision, due to the fact that the Notice
of Decision received by Lariosa's lawyer advised the parties that the appeal could
be taken to the NLRC within ten (10) "working" days not calendar days from
notice of the decision. For the same reason was the appeal in Chong Guan
Trading v. NLRC[18] allowed. While in City Fair Corporation v.
NLRC,[19] we ruled that the NLRC did not commit grave abuse of discretion
when it entertained an appeal filed one (1) day late considering that the "facts
and circumstances of the case warrant liberality considering the amount and the
issue involved."

In the same case, the Court likewise explained that the underlying purpose behind
the principle that the perfection of an appeal within the statutory or reglementary
period is not only mandatory, but jurisdictional, and failure to do so renders the
questioned decision final and executory is to prevent needless delay -- a
circumstance which would allow the employer to wear out the efforts and meager
resources of the worker to the point that the latter is constrained to settle for less
than what is due him.[20]

In the case at bar, applying the Rules strictly would result in the pernicious delay
sought to be avoided. At stake is the protection of the rights of almost a hundred
employees to the satisfaction of a judgment that has become final and executory in
a decision rendered by us more than seven (7) years ago. A scheme to thwart the
execution of our final and executory decision is extant in the records. Moreover,
barring the instant petition on technical grounds would leave the workers without
recourse since the subject real properties were levied due to the insufficiency of
judgment debtor CTCI's money and personal properties to satisfy the decision
sought to be executed.
Petitioners' resort to a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is proper considering
that petitioners are assailing the resolutions of the CA dismissing their petition
outright.Ordinarily, the proper recourse of an aggrieved party from a decision of
the CA is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
However, if the error alleged is one of jurisdiction, or the act complained of was
perpetrated by a court with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction, the proper remedy available to the aggrieved party is a petition for
certiorari under Rule 65 of the said Rules.[21]

Be that as it may, in view of the pendency of this case for more than a decade and
the delay in its execution for more than seven (7) years, we shall treat the instant
case as an appeal under Rule 45 and resolve the petition on the merits considering
that the entire records of the case have been elevated to us.

Private respondents contend that Executive Labor Arbiter Plagata had no authority
to determine the issue of ownership of the subject properties in the case at bar.
Private respondent M&S contends that Article 217 of the Labor Code which sets
out the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter does not confer him the jurisdiction to
resolve actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any
interest therein. The original and exclusive jurisdiction over this class of cases is
allegedly with the regional trial courts under Section 19(2) of Batas Pambansa Blg.
129. Both private respondents further contend that the subject properties in the
name of private respondent M&S could not be validly levied upon by Sheriff
Tejada as it (private respondent M&S) was never a party to the labor dispute
between the judgment debtor CTCI and petitioners.

We find the petition partly meritorious.


The power of the sheriff to rule on the issue of ownership is settled. The Sheriffs
Manual was promulgated pursuant to the provision of Article 218(a) of the Labor
Code, as amended, in relation to Section 4, Rule VIII of the New Rules of
Procedure of the NLRC. The Sheriffs Manual recognizes a situation wherein the
real properties to be levied may not be registered in the name of the party against
which the levy is being issued. Section 3(b), Rule 5 of the Sheriffs Manual states:

Levy on real property. -- Real property or any interest therein may be levied in
the following manner: x x x

(b) Real property, or growing crops thereon or any interest therein, belonging to
the party against whom levy is issued, and held by any other person or
standing on the records of the register of deeds in the name of any other
person, by filing with the register of deeds a copy of the decision, order or
award, together with a description of the property, and a notice that such real
property, and any interest therein on said property, held by or standing, in the
name of such other person, naming him are levied by leaving with the occupant
of the property, if any, and with such other persons, or his agents, if found within
the province or city or at the residence of either, if within the province or city a
copy of such decision, order or award, description and notice.

Rule VI of the Sheriffs Manual also provides for the procedure in case of a
third-party claim or "a claim whereby a person, not a party to the case, asserts title
to or right to the possession of the property levied upon."[22] It outlines the
following procedure:

Section 2. Proceedings.-- If property levied upon be claimed by any person other


than the losing party or his agent, such person shall make an affidavit of his title
thereto or right to the possession thereof, stating the grounds of such right or title
and shall file the same with the sheriff and copies thereof served upon the Labor
Arbiter or proper officer issuing the writ shall conduct a hearing with due notice
to all parties concerned and resolve the validity of the claim within ten (10)
working days from receipt thereof and his decision is appealable to the
Commission within ten (10) working days from notice, and the Commission
shall resolve the appeal within the same period.

However, should the prevailing party put up an indemnity bond in a sum not less
than the value of the property levied, the execution shall proceed. In case of
disagreement as to such value, the same shall be determined by the Commission
or Labor Arbiter who issued the writ.

Section 3. Resolution of the Third Party Claim, Effect.-- In the event the third
party claim is declared to be valid, the sheriff shall immediately release the
property to the third party claimant, his agent or representative and the levy on
execution shall immediately be lifted or discharged. However, should the third
party claim be found to be without factual or legal basis, the sheriff must proceed
with the execution of the property levied upon as if no third party claim had been
filed.

Thus, in Tanongan v. Samson,[23] we upheld the dismissal by the Labor Arbiter of


a third-party claim over a motor tanker that was levied to satisfy the final and
executory decision of the NLRC making employer CAYCO and its owner Olizon
liable. We held:

The Labor Code grants the National Labor Relations Commission


(NLRC) sufficient authority and power to execute final judgments and
awards. Thus, a third-party claim of ownership on a levied property should not
necessarily prevent execution, particularly where -- as in the present case -- the
surrounding circumstances point to a fraudulent claim. In fact, the disputed
contract of sale here is not merely rescissible; it is simulated or fictitious and,
hence, void ab initio.

In Tanongan, we found that the third-party claimant was a buyer in bad


faith as: a) the sale of the levied tanker was made only 5 days after the writ of
execution was issued by the labor arbiter; b) there is a presumption under Article
1387 of the Civil Code that alienations by onerous title are presumed to be
fraudulent when done by persons against whom some judgment has been rendered
or some writ of attachment issued in any instance; and c) the third-party claimant's
apparent failure to inquire whether Olizon had other unsettled obligations and
encumbrances that could burden the subject property in light of the principle that
"[a]ny person engaged in business would be wary of buying from a company that
is closing shop, because it may be dissipating its assets to defraud its creditors."

Similarly, in De Belen v. Collector of Customs and Sheriff of


Manila,[24] we held:

A simulated transfer of property made without consideration and with


intent to hinder, delay, or defraud the creditors of the grantor constitutes no
obstacle to the levy of legal process of any sort directed against the grantor. In
such case no independent action to rescind or annul the transfer is necessary. A
simulated contract lacks some of the elements necessary to make any contract
whatever and may be treated as non-existent for all purposes.
In the case at bar, five (5) out of the six (6) subject lots were registered in the name
of private respondent M&S pursuant to absolute deeds of sale dated March 23,
1999 executed between private respondent CTCI, as seller, and private respondent
M&S, as buyer. These five lots are covered by TCT Nos. T-145,544, T-145,547,
T-145,545, T-145,546, and T-145,550. With respect to these five lots, we hold that
the levy made by the sheriff was proper.

The Executive Labor Arbiter's finding that the subject deeds of absolute sale were
simulated and fictitious is supported by the evidence on record, viz:

The simulation and fictitiousness of the sales in question from CTCI to M&S
showing fraud to defeat the rights/awards of the complainants, is manifested by
the following circumstances:
1. CTCIs titles to the lands in question were under TCTs T-115,222, T-
126,661, T-119,032, T-110,125 and T-119,331, aside from T-107,201.

As annotated therein, the sales thereof from CTCI to M&S were all
made on 23 March 1999, or merely about a month after the Supreme Court
rendered its decision in Jang Lim, et al. vs. Cotabato Timberland Company,
Inc., et al., G.R. No. 124630, on 19 February 1999 (which decision is now the
subject of execution proceedings in this case). The undue haste by which CTCI
sold its said properties to M&S after the rendition of the aforementioned
decision, strongly engender doubt as to the [genuineness] of such sales from the
former to the latter.
2. M&S had last been in business in Zamboanga City on 21 January
1992, and it is thus incomprehensible why it would buy CTCIs lands at the
snap of ones fingers, so to speak, so soon after the rendition by the Supreme
Court of its decision in G.R. No. 124630 on 19 February 1999, and after
having been apparently out of business for seven (7) years(Complainants
Supplemental Opposition to M&S Co. Inc.s Motion and Supplemental
Rejoinder, Annexes F to F-5, with sub-markings; Sheriffs Notice of Levy). This,
too, stirs up grave doubt as to the veracity of the sales of land to M&S from
CTCI.

To the mind of the undersigned, the sales in question were made in fraud
of the complainants, to thwart enforcement of CTCIs obligations to them, not to
mention that such sales are simulated or fictitious. Consequently, said sales are
null and void, more so, as the same are contrary to public policy.[25]

In reversing the ruling of the Executive Labor Arbiter, the NLRC erroneously held
that the Executive Labor Arbiter had no power to rule on the issue of ownership
over the real properties. It likewise held that good faith is presumed and the
findings of the Executive Labor Arbiter were "speculative," without going through
the evidence cited by the latter. Notably, both the NLRC and private respondents
conveniently left out the detail that the sales took place a month after the
promulgation of this Court's decision in the main case (G.R. No. 124630). This
omission is not of little significance. Under Article 1387 of the New Civil Code,
alienations by onerous title are presumed fraudulent when made by persons against
whom some judgment has been rendered in any instance or some writ of
attachment has been issued. The decision or attachment need not refer to the
property alienated, and need not have been obtained by the party seeking the
rescission. The effect of this presumption is to shift the burden to private
respondents to prove that the sales were not fraudulently made. The records do not
show that private respondents were able to discharge this burden.

As to the remaining lot covered by TCT No. T-107,201, we agree with the
NLRC that the same cannot be a proper subject of execution in this case. It appears
that the basis for the levy on this property is the Executive Labor Arbiter Plagata's
finding that private respondent M&S is a mere alter ego of CTCI, to wit:

On the other hand, that M&S is a mere alter ego of CTCI, and that their
corporate identities, with respect to complainants employments, were so
intertwined and meshed together, is brought out by the following circumstances:

1. The stockholders of both CTCI and M&S are practically the same, as
can be easily gleaned from their respective articles of incorporation. Those of
M&S are Dacon Corporation, Cristina Gotianun, Ma. Edwina Laperal, Rebecca
Lock, Jesus Ferrer, Jorge Consunji, Victor Consunji, Ruperto Consunji, Isidro
Consunji, and Antonio Bernas (ibid., Annex D-1); while those of CTCI are
among those named above Isidro Consunji, Victor Consunji, Jorge Consunji,
Edwina Laperal, and Antonio Bernas (ibid., Annex E).

xxx xxx xxx

2. Then, the directors and officers of both companies are practically the
same. The president of both in any event is Isidro Consunji, while they have the
same treasurer in the person of Ma. Edwina Laperal (ibid.). Victor Consunji is
also an officer of both CTCI an M&S (ibid.).

The other officers of M&S are Jesus Ferrer and Antonio Bernas; they are
not named as officers of CTCI. On the other hand, Mario Irabagon, named as
secretary of CTCI, is not an officer of M&S (ibid.).

3. Nevertheless, it is significant that Antonio Bernas represented himself


as a director of CTCI when he entered into the Surety Bond contract with
Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc. at the time CTCI appealed this case to
the Commission's Fifth Division on 22 May 1995. He is also secretary of M&S.

In themselves, the foregoing circumstances do not justify piercing the


veil of corporate fiction. At this point, the most that can be said about CTCI and
M&S is that they are sister companies, having as they do practically the same
stockholders, directors and officers.
But where in the course of complainants' employments, both companies
acted as if they were the employers of the former, or where the officers of one
acted for or in behalf of the other company, then, there is ample reason to lift the
veil of corporate fiction, or look behind it, to determine the owners thereof and
those to be held liable for obligations due to third parties, such as the herein
complainants. That the identities, operations, and officers of CTCI and M&S
were so intertwined or so meshed together as to make each company
indistinguishable from the other-- or, in other words, practically merge the
personalities of both companies into one-- is shown by the following documents
attached to complainants' Admission of Additional Evidence, dated 06 March
2000:

1. Annex K- a certification in the stationery of M&S, dated 12 February


1991, that Teddy Arabi, the alleged contractor-employer of the complainants
herein who were held to be workers of CTCI, was connected with M&S, too, as a
contractor of M&S for fuel hauling and supply;

2. Annex K-1- a document entitled "Proposed Rates Quotation for the


Below Activities" dated 07 September 1989, submitted by the same Teddy Arabi
to M&S, and which was approved by Victor Consunji for M&S as its president,
the same Victor Consunji who is named as operations and general manager of
CTCI;

3. Annex K-2- a memorandum dated 25 October 1994, addressed to the


same Teddy Arabi by CTCI's Administative Manager, showing that the former
was treated by CTCI as its contractor, too[;]

4. Annexes K-3, K-4 and K-5- personnel requisition forms of M&S,


showing that the same Teddy Arabi was its contractor for various personnel
needs in its sawmill operations.

All these show that the complainants, through Teddy Arabi, were
employed by CTCI and/or M&S, at the whim and pleasure of said companies. It
is only therefore fair and proper to hold any or both of them- CTCI and M&S-
liable for the employment-based claims of the complainants in this case. To
reiterate, M&S is a mere alter ego of CTCI with respect to such claims.

We do not find these pieces of evidence sufficient to justify piercing the corporate
veil of private respondent M&S.
Our February 19, 1999 Decision in G.R. No. 124630 which is the subject of
execution in the case at bar recognized the separate legal personalities of private
respondents M&S and CTCI in its statement of facts, to wit:
Petitioners are regular workers of private respondent [CTCI] who were initially
hired to perform milling and pilling [sic] works [sic] at EX-ARANETA by M&S
Company, a sister company of CTCI.

Thereafter, EX-ARANETA was closed and the sawmill operation of M&S


Company was transferred to private respondent TIMEX SAWMILL, a subsidiary
of respondent CTCI where Melchor Borbon is the Administrative Manager. The
transfer was done sometime in July 1989.[26]

While the Executive Labor Arbiter cited certain pieces of documentary evidence
showing that Teddy Arabi also subcontracted for private respondent M&S, it was
not proven that the latter utilized the same people (petitioners) to do the work for
private respondent M&S. As indeed, there was no factual finding in the main case
that petitioners worked for private respondent M&S. They were merely found to
have "continued working as workers/laborers at TIMEX SAWMILL and were
working under the full control and supervision of CTCI's personnel as [c]heckers,
[y]ard [m]asters, [c]lerk[s], [a]uditors, [f]lormen (sic) and [s]upervisors."[27]

It is noteworthy that the parcel of land covered by TCT No. T-107,201 has been
registered in the name of private respondent M&S since March 16, 1993 which is
prior to the institution of the instant case on October 17, 1994. Since it was not
sufficiently proven that private respondent M&S is a mere alter ego of private
respondent CTCI and there being no proof to show that this particular property was
fraudulently transferred to private respondent M&S by private respondent CTCI,
there is no basis to make said parcel of lot covered by TCT No. T-107,201 the
subject of execution in the case at bar.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The March 19


and June 25, 2001 Resolutions of the CA, dismissing petitioners' petition, are
reversed and set aside. The Order of the Executive Labor Arbiter dated March 31,
2000 is partially reinstated with respect to the parcels of land covered by TCT Nos.
T-145,544, T-145,547, T-145,545, T-145,546, and T-145,550.
EN BANC

[SBC-585. February 29, 1984.]

EMILIA E. ANDRES, Complainant, v. STANLEY R. CABRERA, Respondent.

[SBC-571. February 29, 1984.]

LOURDES C. PEREA, Complainant, v. STANLEY R. CABRERA, Respondent.

SYLLABUS

1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SUPREME COURT; POWER TO ADMIT, SUSPEND, DISBAR AND REINSTATE
LAWYERS; NATURE. — The authority and responsibility over the admission, suspension, disbarment and
reinstatement of attorneys-at-law is vested in the Supreme Court by the Constitution. (Art. X, Sec. 5(5).
This power is indisputably a judicial function and responsibility. It is judicial in the sense that discretion is
used in its exercise. The function requires (1) previously established rules and principles, (2) concrete facts,
whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals, and (3) decision as to whether these facts are
governed by the rules and principles; in effect, a judicial function of the highest degree. (In re: Cunanan, Et
Al., 94 Phil. 534).

2. ID.; ID.; POWER TO ADMIT ATTORNEYS TO THE BAR; REQUIRES EXERCISE OF SOUND JUDICIAL
DISCRETION. — This power to admit attorneys to the Bar is not, however, an arbitrary and despotic one, to
be exercised at the pleasure of the Court, or from passion, prejudice or personal hostility, but it is the duty
of the court to exercise and regulate it by a sound and judicial discretion.

3. LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS; POWER TO PUNISH FOR CONTEMPT, INHERENT IN ALL COURTS. — The
power to punish persons for contempt is inherent in all courts and essential to the preservation of order in
judicial proceedings and to the enforcement of their lawful orders and decisions (Montalban v. Canonoy, 38
SCRA 1). A lawyer who uses intemperate, abusive, abrasive or threatening language betrays disrespect to
the court, disgraces the Bar and invites the exercise by the court of its disciplinary power. (Surigao Mineral
Reservation Board v. Cloribel, L-27072, Jan. 9, 1970, 31 SCRA 1; In re Almacen, 31 SCRA 562; Montecillo v.
Gica, 6Q SCRA 234). Such power, however, should be exercised on the preservative and not on the
vindictive principle and on the corrective and not on the retaliatory idea of punishment. (Weigal v. Shuster,
11 Phil. 340; Villavicencio v. Lucban, 39 Phil. 778; People v. Marcos, 70 Phil. 468, 480; Victorino v. Espiritu,
5 SCRA 653; Reliance Procoma, Inc. v. Phil-Asia Tobacco Corp., 57 SCRA 370, Fontelera v. Amores, 70
SCRA 37). Furthermore, contempt power should not be utilized for mere satisfaction of natural inclination to
strike back at a party who has shown lesser respect to the dignity of the court. (Royeca v. Animas, 71 SCRA
1).

4. ID.; PURPOSE THEREFOR; ACCOMPLISHED IN THE CASE AT BAR. — The dignity and authority of the
Court has been maintained and preserved when the Court punished respondent for his contumacious
conduct and he willingly and promptly paid the penalty therefor. The preservative and corrective purpose of
the contempt power of this Court has already been accomplished and achieved that to continue denying his
plea for forgiveness and mercy in his behalf and his family is not only to prolong the agony of his
misconduct which he has suffered for seven long years since 1977 when he passed the Bar examinations but
also would appear to be despotic and arbitrary. We hold that respondent has expiated enough for his
misdeed and may now be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath and thus become a more useful member of
society and of the law profession.

RESOLUTION

GUERRERO, J.:
In Our Resolution promulgated December 14, 1979 in the first above-entitled case, respondent Stanley R.
Cabrera, a successful Bar examinee in 1977 against whom petition had been filed for denial of his admission
as member of the Bar for lack of good moral character and for his proclivity to filing baseless, malicious, and
unfounded cases, was found guilty of contempt of this Court for" (b)y his improper conduct in the use of
highly disrespectful, insolent language, respondent has tended to degrade the administration of justice; he
has disparaged the dignity and brought to disrepute the integrity and authority of the Court" and was
sentenced to pay within ten days from notice a fine of P600.00 or imprisonment of 50 days. (See 94 SCRA
512.)chanrobles law lib rary

Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated January 9, 1980 which We denied on March 6, 1980
and further required respondent to pay within five (5) days from notice the aforesaid fine of P500.00.

The fine was thereafter paid on March 14, 1980 under SC Official Receipt No. 5369050X. On July 16, 1980,
respondent submitted an Urgent Motion for Admission to the Bar "in view of the foregoing (payment) and for
mercy" which We denied on August 12, 1980 since the investigation against the said respondent was still
pending before the Legal Investigator of the Court, Atty. Victor J. Sevilla.

Another Urgent Motion for Early Resolution dated August 29, 1980 was again filed with the Court by
respondent, calling attention to the fact that the case has been pending since April, 1977. We noted said
motion on September 16, 1980.

Meanwhile, respondent manifested to the Court in still another Urgent Motion for Admission to the Bar dated
September 25, 1981 that "respondent has amended his ways and has conformed to the use of polite,
courteous, and civil language as can be gleaned from (his) urgent motion for admission to the Bar dated
July 16, 1980 and (his) urgent motion for early resolution dated August 29, 1980 filed with this Honorable
Court; and that undersigned respondent reiterates his sincere apologies to this Honorable Court and its
Legal Investigator for all his actuations since this case was filed in 1977; . . . that undersigned respondent
was acquitted by Judge Priscilla Mijares of the City Court of Manila for estafa wherein Lourdes C. Perea was
the complaining witness as hereto authenticated by Annexes A, A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5, A-6 and made an
integral part of this motion. Respondent prayed that "for humanitarian considerations, considering that
undersigned respondent has seven children, a wife and a widowed mother to support," he be allowed to take
his oath of office as a lawyer and be admitted to the Bar. chanrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary

Respondent then wrote a letter dated August 25, 1982 to the Chief Justice, reiterating his sincere apologies
to the Court for all his actions which culminated in his conviction for contempt and prayed for help to enable
him "to uplift the living conditions of (his) seven children considering that up to this date (he is) a squatter
beside the railroad tracks living in abject poverty." The aforementioned letter was noted by this Court on
September 16, 1982.

In the meantime, the second case, "SBC-571 (Lourdes C. Perea v. Stanley R. Cabrera)" was ordered
archived in view of the resolutions in the first case "SBC-586 (Emilia E. Andres v. Stanley R. Cabrera)"
denying, among others, respondent’s admission to the Bar, as per Our Resolution dated September 13,
1979 in SBC-571.

On February 21, 1983, respondent wrote a second letter to the Chief Justice, once more reiterating his
sincere apologies to the Court and begged for mercy "to the end that he be allowed to take his oath of office
as a lawyer and enable him to give his children a bright future." In Our Resolution of June 14, 1983, We
resolved to deny the aforesaid letter/petition.

On July 5, 1983, there was received in this Court a letter from one Nerida V. Cabrera with address at 732
Int. 4, Bagumbayan, Bacood, Sta. Mesa, M.M., wife of the respondent herein, addressed to the Chief Justice,
appealing for kindness and humanitarian consideration to allow her husband to take his oath as a lawyer so
that he can provide food and shelter for their eight children because he is unemployed. She also apologized
for her husband for his disrespectful language to the Court and prayed that she be allowed to apologize
personally to the Chief Justice and to the Supreme Court for her husband. chanrobles vi rt ual lawli bra ry

We noted the said letter of Nerida V. Cabrera and required said respondent to appear personally before this
Court on Tuesday, August 23, 1983 at 11:00 o’clock a.m. The records further disclose that a handwritten
letter by Nerida Cabrera dated August 1, 1983 attaching a picture of the family of respondent and their eight
children and a similar handwritten letter by Presentacion Vda. de Cabrera, mother of the respondent, were
sent to the Chief Justice. Notices of the hearing set for August 23, 1983 were given to the parties.

At the said hearing, Atty. Rhodora Javier appeared and argued for the complainant Emilia E. Andres in SBC-
585 (Emilia E. Andres v. Stanley R. Cabrera). Stanley Cabrera appeared in his own behalf and answered the
questions asked by the Court. Atty. Victor Sevilla, Legal Investigator of this Court, who investigated SBC-
585, also answered the questions asked by the Court. The Court then resolved to require respondent
Cabrera to submit within five (5) days from date (1) letters of apology to the Court, to Atty. Victor Sevilla,
to complainant Emilia E. Andres, and to Fiscal Leonardo Arguelles for the contumacious and vile language
contained in his pleadings, and (2) certifications of good behavior and exemplary conduct from the Parish
Priest and from the Barangay Captain of the place where he resides. Thereafter, the petition to take the
lawyer’s oath shall be considered submitted for resolution.

On August 25, 1983, respondent forwarded to the Chief Justice his letter of apology and through him to all
the Associate Justices of the Court "for all (his) disrespectful acts and utterances thru (his) pleadings against
the Honorable Supreme Court" and promised never to commit the same. He enclosed therewith the Letter of
Apology to Atty. Victor Sevilla, Legal Investigator of the Court, Letter of Apology to Atty. Emilia E. Andres,
Legal Division, MOLE, complainant in SBC-585, Letter of Apology to Fiscal Leonardo Arguelles, Manila City
Hall, Certification of Good Moral Character from Rev. Fr. Eduardo A. Cruz, Parish Priest, Our Lady of Fatima
Parish, Fatima Village, Bacood, Lubiran St., Sta. Mesa, Manila, and Certification of Good Moral Character
from Barangay Captain Emiliano C. Masilungan of Barangay 604, Zone 60, Sta. Mesa, Manila. chanroble s.com : vi rtua l law lib rary

The authority and responsibility over the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys-
at-law is vested in the Supreme Court by the Constitution. (Art. X, Sec. 5(5). This power is indisputably a
judicial function and responsibility. It is judicial in the sense that discretion is used in its exercise. The
function requires (1) previously established rules and principles, (2) concrete facts, whether past or present,
affecting determinate individuals, and (3) decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and
principles; in effect, a judicial function of the highest degree. (In re: Cunanan, Et Al., 94 Phil. 534).

This power to admit attorneys to the Bar is not, however, an arbitrary and despotic one, to be exercised at
the pleasure of the Court, or from passion, prejudice or personal hostility, but it is the duty of the court to
exercise and regulate it by a sound and judicial discretion. (In re: Crum, 204 Pac. 948, 103 Ore. 297; 1
Thornton on Attorneys-at-Law, Sec. 2, cited in Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 6, pp. 204,
205).

On the other hand, the power to punish persons for contempt is inherent in all courts and essential to the
preservation of order in judicial proceedings and to the enforcement of their lawful orders and decisions
(Montalban v. Canonoy, 38 SCRA 1). A lawyer who uses intemperate, abusive, abrasive or threatening
language betrays disrespect to the court, disgraces the Bar and invites the exercise by the court of its
disciplinary power. (Surigao Mineral Reservation Board v. Cloribel, L-27072, Jan. 9, 1970, 31 SCRA 1; In re
Almacen, 31 SCRA 562; Montecillo v. Gica, 6Q SCRA 234). Such power, however, should be exercised on
the preservative and not on the vindictive principle and on the corrective and not on the retaliatory idea of
punishment. (Weigal v. Shuster, 11 Phil. 340; Villavicencio v. Lucban, 39 Phil. 778; People v. Marcos, 70
Phil. 468, 480; Victorino v. Espiritu, 5 SCRA 653; Reliance Procoma, Inc. v. Phil-Asia Tobacco Corp., 57
SCRA 370, Fontelera v. Amores, 70 SCRA 37). Furthermore, contempt power should not be utilized for mere
satisfaction of natural inclination to strike back at a party who has shown lesser respect to the dignity of the
court. (Royeca v. Animas, 71 SCRA 1). chanroble s.com:c ralaw:re d

In the case at bar, respondent having paid the fine imposed upon him for direct contempt against the
integrity and dignity of this Court, having apologized in repeated motions filed before this Court for his
disrespectful language and personally reiterated at the hearing conducted herein, and has furthermore
complied with the Court’s directives contained in Our Resolution dated August 23, 1983 by submitting his
letters of apology to the Chief Justice and to the members of this Court, to Atty. Victor Sevilla, Legal
Investigator of the Court, to complainant Atty. Emilia E. Andres, to Fiscal Leonardo Arguelles, and
Certifications of Good Moral Character from his parish priest, Rev. Fr. Eduardo A. Cruz, and his Barangay
Captain, Emiliano C. Masilungan of Barangay 604, Zone 60, Sta. Mesa, Manila where respondent resides, We
are convinced by these actions that he has become respectful, sincere and honest, thereby evincing that
good moral character required of a person who may be admitted to the practice of law.

The pleas of his mother and wife for the sake and the future of respondent’s family with eight young
children, altho self-serving, are strong human factors in considering, judiciously and wisely the motion of
respondent which in effect would allow him to start on a professional career as a lawyer that would certainly
mean a bright future for himself and his family, for otherwise the discretion with which the Court may admit
qualified persons to the practice of law may be clouded with vindictiveness and retaliation which is not the
basic purpose of the Court’s inherent power to punish for contempt.

The dignity and authority of the Court has been maintained and preserved when the Court punished
respondent for his contumacious conduct and he willingly and promptly paid the penalty therefor. The
preservative and corrective purpose of the contempt power of this Court has already been accomplished and
achieved that to continue denying his plea for forgiveness and mercy in his behalf and his family is not only
to prolong the agony of his misconduct which he has suffered for seven long years since 1977 when he
passed the Bar examinations but also would appear to be despotic and arbitrary. We hold that respondent
has expiated enough for his misdeed and may now be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath and thus become a
more useful member of society and of the law profession. chanrob les vi rtual lawlib rary

In SBC-571, since the charge against respondent for estafa which is the basis of the petition for
disqualification filed by complainant Lourdes C. Perea, has been dismissed and respondent acquitted in
Criminal Case No. 015429-CV by the City Court of Manila, Branch VII, the same is hereby dismissed.

WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING respondent Stanley R. Cabrera is hereby allowed to take the
lawyer’s oath.

SO ORDERED.

Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Abad Santos, De Castro, Melencio-Herrera,
Plana, Escolin and Relova, JJ., concur.

Gutierrez, Jr., J., I entertain some reservations about the respondent’s ability or willingness to maintain his
changed disposition and conduct but I concur in the decision to give him a chance to be a member of the bar
in good standing.

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-2068 October 20, 1948

DOMINADOR B. BUSTOS, Petitioner, vs. ANTONIO G. LUCERO,


Judge of First Instance of Pampanga, Respondent.

E. M. Banzali for petitioner.


Acting Provincial Fiscal Albino L. Figueroa and Assistant Provincial
Fiscal Marcelo L. Mallari for respondent

TUASON, J.: chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry

The petitioner herein, an accused in a criminal case, filed a motion


with the Court of First Instance of Pampanga after he had been
bound over to that court for trial, praying that the record of the
case be remanded to the justice of the peace court of Masantol, the
court of origin, in order that the petitioner might cross-examine the
complainant and her witnesses in connection with their testimony,
on the strength of which warrant was issued for the arrest of the
accused. The motion was denied and that denial is the subject
matter of this proceeding. chanro blesvi rtua lawlib rary c hanro bles vi rt ual law li bra ry

According to the memorandum submitted by the petitioner's


attorney to the Court of First Instance in support of his motion, the
accused, assisted by counsel, appeared at the preliminary
investigation. In that investigation, the justice of the peace
informed him of the charges and asked him if he pleaded guilty or
not guilty, upon which he entered the plea of not guilty. "Then his
counsel moved that the complainant present her evidence so that
she and her witnesses could be examined and cross-examined in
the manner and form provided by law." The fiscal and the private
prosecutor objected, invoking section 11 of rule 108, and the
objection was sustained. "In view thereof, the accused's counsel
announced his intention to renounce his right to present evidence,"
and the justice of the peace forwarded the case to the court of first
instance.chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chan roble s virtual law lib rary

Leaving aside the question whether the accused, after renouncing


his right to present evidence, and by reason of that waiver he was
committed to the corresponding court for trial, is estopped, we are
of the opinion that the respondent judge did not act in excess of his
jurisdiction or in abuse of discretion in refusing to grant the
accused's motion to return the record for the purpose set out
therein. In Dequito and Saling Buhay vs. Arellano, G.R. No. L-1336,
recently promulgated, in which case the respondent justice of the
peace had allowed the accused, over the complaint's objection, to
recall the complainant and her witnesses at the preliminary
investigation so that they might be cross-examined, we sustained
the justice of the peace's order. We said that section 11 of Rule 108
does not curtail the sound discretion of the justice of the peace on
the matter. We said that "while section 11 of Rule 108 defines the
bounds of the defendant's right in the preliminary investigation,
there is nothing in it or any other law restricting the authority,
inherent in a court of justice, to pursue a course of action
reasonably calculated to bring out the truth." chanrobles vi rtua l law lib rary
But we made it clear that the "defendant can not, as a matter of
right, compel the complaint and his witnesses to repeat in his
presence what they had said at the preliminary examination before
the issuance of the order of arrest." We called attention to the fact
that "the constitutional right of an accused to be confronted by the
witnesses against him does not apply to preliminary hearings' nor
will the absence of a preliminary examination be an infringement of
his right to confront witnesses." As a matter of fact, preliminary
investigation may be done away with entirely without infringing the
constitutional right of an accused under the due process clause to a
fair trial.
chan roblesv irtualawli bra ry chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

The foregoing decision was rendered by a divided court. The


minority went farther than the majority and denied even any
discretion on the part of the justice of the peace or judge holding
the preliminary investigation to compel the complainant and his
witnesses to testify anew. chanroble svi rtualaw lib rary chan rob les vi rtual law lib rary

Upon the foregoing considerations, the present petition is dismissed


with costs against the petitioner.

Moran, C.J., Paras, Pablo, Bengzon, and Briones, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

FERIA, J., dissenting: chanrob les vi rtual law lib rary

I am sorry to dissent from the decision. chanroblesvi rt ualawlib ra ry chanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

The petitioner in the present case appeared at the preliminary


investigation before the Justice of the Peace of Masantol,
Pampanga, and after being informed of the criminal charges against
him and asked if he pleaded guilty or not guilty, pleaded not guilty.
"Then the counsel for the petitioner moved that the complainant
present her evidence so that her witnesses could be examined and
cross-examined in the manner and form provided by law." The fiscal
and the private prosecutor objected to petitioner's motion invoking
section 11, Rule 108, and the objection was sustained. In view
thereof, the accused refused to present his evidence, and the case
was forwarded to the Court of First Instance of Pampanga. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chan roble s virtual law lib rary
The counsel for the accused petitioner filed a motion with the Court
of First Instance praying that the record of the case be remanded to
the justice of the peace of Masantol, in order that the petitioner
might cross-examine the complainant and her witnesses in
connection with their testimony. The motion was denied, and for
that reason the present special civil action of mandamus was
instituted.
chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary c hanro bles vi rtua l law li bra ry

It is evident that the refusal or waiver of the petitioner to present


his evidence during the investigation in the justice of the peace, was
not a waiver of his alleged right to be confronted with and cross-
examine the witnesses for the prosecution, that is, of the
preliminary investigation provided for in General Order No. 58 and
Act No. 194, to which he claims to be entitled, as shown by the fact
that, as soon as the case was forwarded to the Court of First
Instance, counsel for the petitioner filed a motion with said court to
remand the case to the Justice of the Peace of Masantol ordering
the latter to make said preliminary investigation. His motion having
been denied, the petitioner has filed the present action in which he
squarely attacks the validity of the provision of section 11, Rule
108, on the ground that it deprives him of the right to be confronted
with and cross-examine the witnesses for the prosecution, contrary
to the provision of section 13, Article VIII, of the Constitution. chanroblesv irtualawli bra ry chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

In the case of Dequito and Saling Buhay vs. Arellano, No. L-1336,
we did not discuss and decide the question of validity or
constitutionality of said section 11 in connection with section 1 of
Rule 108, because that question was not raised therein, and we
merely construed the provisions on preliminary investigation or Rule
108. In said case the writer of this dissenting opinion said:

It may not be amiss to state that, modesty aside, the writer of this
dissenting opinion, then a practising attorney, was the one who
prepared the draft of the Rules of Court relating to criminal
procedure, and the provisions on preliminary investigation in the
draft were the same as those of the old law, which gave the
defendant the right to be confronted with and to cross-examine the
witnesses for the prosecution. But the Supreme Court approved and
adopted in toto the draft, except the part referring to preliminary
investigation which it modified, by suppressing said right and
enacting, in its stead, the provisions of section 11 of Rule 108 in its
present form. I prefer the old to the new procedure. But I can not
subscribe to the majority decision, which is a judicial legislation and
makes the exercise of the right of a defendant to be confronted,
with and cross-examine the witnesses against him, to depend
entirely upon the whim or caprice of a judge or officer conducting
the preliminary investigation.

But now the question of the validity of said section 11, Rule 108, is
squarely presented to this Court for decision, we have perforce to
pass upon it.chanroblesvi rt ualawlib ra ry chanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

Section 13, Article VIII, of the Constitution prescribes that "the


Supreme Court shall have power to promulgate rules concerning
pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, but said rules shall
not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights." The
constitution added the last part of the above-quoted constitutional
precept in order to emphasize that the Supreme Court is not
empowered, and therefore can not enact or promulgate substantive
laws or rules, for it is obvious that rules which diminish, increase or
modify substantive rights, are substantive and not adjective laws or
rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chanrob les vi rtual law lib rary

It does not require an elaborate arguments to show that the right


granted by law upon a defendant to be confronted with and cross-
examine the witnesses for the prosecuted in preliminary
investigation as well as in the trial of the case is a substantive right.
It is based on human experience, according to which a person is not
prone to tell a lie against another in his presence, knowing fully well
that the latter may easily contradict him, and that the credibility of
a person or veracity of his testimony may be efficaciously tested by
a cross-examination. It is substantive right because by exercising it,
an accused person may show, even if he has no evidence in his
favor, that the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution are
not sufficient to indicate that there is a probability that a crime has
been committed and he is guilty thereof, and therefore the accused
is entitled to be released and not committed to prison, and thus
avoid an open and public accusation of crime, the trouble, expense,
and anxiety of a public trial, and the corresponding anxiety or moral
suffering which a criminal prosecution always entails. ch anroble svirtualawl ibra ryc hanro bles vi rt ual law li bra ry

This right is not a constitutional but a statutory right granted by law


to an accused outside of the City of Manila because of the usual
delay in the final disposition of criminal cases in provinces. The law
does not grant such right to a person charged with offenses triable
by the Court of First Instance in the City of Manila, because of the
promptness, actual or presumptive, with which criminal cases are
tried and disposed of in the Court of First Instance of said city. But
this right, though not a constitutional one, can not be modified,
abridged, or diminished by the Supreme Court, by virtue of the rule
making power conferred upon this Court by the Constitution. chanroblesvi rt ualawlib ra ry chan robles v irt ual law li bra ry

Since the provisions of section 11 of Rule 108 as construed by this


Court in several cases, (in which the question of constitutionality or
validity of said section had not been squarely raised) do away with
the defendant's right under discussion, it follows that said section
11 diminishes the substantive right of the defendant in criminal
case, and this Court has no power or authority to promulgate it and
therefore is null and void.
chanrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary cha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

The fact that the majority of this Court has ruled in the above cited
case of Dequito and Saling Buhay vs. Arellano, that the inferior or
justice of the peace courts have discretion to grant a defendant's
request to have the witnesses for the prosecution recalled to testify
again in the presence of the defendant and be cross-examined by
the latter, does not validate said provision; because to make the
exercise of an absolute right discretionary or dependent upon the
will or discretion of the court or officer making the preliminary
investigation, is evidently to diminish or modify it. chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary c hanrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

Petition is therefore granted.

PERFECTO, J., dissenting: chanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

In our concurring and dissenting opinion in the case of Dequito and


Saling Buhay vs. Arellano, No. L-1336, we said:
In our opinion, section 11 of Rule 108 must be read, interpreted,
and applied in a way that will not contravene the constitutional
provision guaranteeing to all accused the right "to meet the
witnesses face to face." (Section 1 [17], Article III.) c hanrobles vi rt ual law lib rary

Consequently, at the preliminary hearing contemplated by said


reglementary section, the defendant is entitled as a matter of
fundamental right to her the testimony of the witnesses for the
prosecution and to cross-examine them. chanroblesvi rtual awlib rary cha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

Although in such preliminary hearing the accused cannot finally be


convicted, he is liable to endure the ordeal eloquently depicted in
the decision, and the constitutional guarantee protects defendants,
not only from the jeopardy of being finally convicted and punished,
but also from the physical, mental and moral sufferings that may
unjustly be visited upon him in any one of the stages of the criminal
process instituted against him. He must be afforded the
opportunities to have the charges against him quashed, not only at
the final hearing, but also at the preliminary investigation, if by
confronting the witnesses for the prosecution he can convince the
court that the charges are groundless. There is no justice in
compelling him to undergo the troubles of a final hearing if at the
preliminary hearing the case can be terminated in his favor.
Otherwise, the preliminary investigation or hearing will be an empty
gesture that should not have a place within the framework of
dignified and solemn judicial proceedings.

On the strength of the above quoted opinion the opinion should be


granted and so we vote. chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary cha nro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

Petition dismissed.

RESOLUTION

March 8, 1949

TUASON, J.: chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry

This cause is now before us on a motion for reconsideration. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry
In the decision sought to be reconsidered, we said, citing Dequito
and Saling Buhay vs. Arellano, G.R. No. L-1336: "The constitutional
right of an accused to be confronted by the witnesses against him
does not apply to preliminary hearings; nor will the absence of a
preliminary examination be an infringement of his right to confront
witness. As a matter of fact, preliminary investigation may be done
away with entirely without infringing the constitutional right of an
accused under the due process clause to a fair trial." We took this
ruling to be ample enough to dispose the constitutional question
pleaded in the application for certiorari. Heeding the wishes of the
petitioner, we shall enlarge upon the subject. chanroblesv irt ualawli bra ry chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

It is contended that section 11 of Rule 108 of the Rules of


Court 1infringes section 13, Article VIII, of the Constitution. 2 It is
said that the rule in question deals with substantive matters and
impairs substantive rights. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

We can not agree with this view. We are of the opinion that section
11 of Rule 108, like its predecessors, is an adjective law and not a
substantive law or substantive right. Substantive law creates
substantive rights and the two terms in this respect may be said to
be synonymous. Substantive rights is a term which includes those
rights which one enjoys under the legal system prior to the
disturbance of normal relations. (60 C.J., 980.) Substantive law is
that part of the law which creates, defines and regulates rights, or
which regulates the rights and duties which give rise to a cause of
action; that part of the law which courts are established to
administer; as opposed to adjective or remedial law, which
prescribes the method of enforcing rights or obtains redress for
their invasion. (36 C. J., 27; 52 C. J. S., 1026.) chanrobles v irt ual law li bra ry

As applied to criminal law, substantive law is that which declares


what acts are crimes and prescribes the punishment for committing
them, as distinguished from the procedural law which provides or
regulates the steps by which one who commits a crime is to be
punished. (22 C. J. S., 49.) Preliminary investigation is eminently
and essentially remedial; it is the first step taken in a criminal
prosecution. chanroble svi rtualaw lib rary chan rob les vi rtual law lib rary
As a rule of evidence, section 11 of Rule 108 is also procedural.
Evidence - which is the "the mode and manner of proving the
competent facts and circumstances on which a party relies to
establish the fact in dispute in judicial proceedings" - is identified
with and forms part of the method by which, in private law, rights
are enforced and redress obtained, and, in criminal law, a law
transgressor is punished. Criminal procedure refers to pleading,
evidence and practice. (State vs. Capaci, 154 So., 419; 179 La.,
462.) the entire rules of evidence have been incorporated into the
Rules of Court. We can not tear down section 11 of Rule 108 on
constitutional grounds without throwing out the whole code of
evidence embodied in these Rules. chanro blesvi rt uala wlibra ry chan robles v irt ual law l ibra ry

In Beazell vs. Ohio, 269 U. S., 167, 70 Law. ed., 216, the United
States Supreme Court said:

Expressions are to be found in earlier judicial opinions to the effect


that the constitutional limitation may be transgressed by alterations
in the rules of evidence or procedure. See Calder vs. Bull, 3 Dall.
386, 390, 1 L. ed., 648, 650; Cummings vs. Missouri, 4 Wall. 277,
326, 18 L. ed., 356, 364; Kring vs. Missouri, 107 U. S. 221, 228,
232, 27 L. ed., 507, 508, 510, 2 Ct. Rep., 443. And there may be
procedural changes which operate to deny to the accused a defense
available under the laws in force at the time of the commission of
his offense, or which otherwise affect him in such a harsh and
arbitrary manner as to fall within the constitutional prohibition.
Kring vs. Missouri, 107 U. S., 221, 27 L. ed., 507, 2 Sup. Ct. Rep.,
443; Thompson vs. Utah, 170 U. S., 343, 42 L. ed., 1061, 18 Sup.
Ct. Rep., 620. But it is not well settled that statutory changes in the
mode of trial or the rules of evidence, which do not deprive the
accused of a defense and which operate only in a limited and
unsubstantial manner to his disadvantage, are not prohibited. A
statute which, after indictment, enlarges the class of persons who
may be witnesses at the trial, by removing the disqualification of
persons convicted of felony, is not an ex post facto law. Hopt vs.
Utah, 110 U. S., 575, 28 L. ed., 263, 4 Sup. Ct. Rep., 202, 4 Am.
Crim. Rep. 417. Nor is a statute which changes the rules of
evidence after the indictment so as to render admissible against the
accused evidence previously held inadmissible, Thompson vs.
Missouri, 171 U. S., 380, 43 L. ed., 204, 18 Sup. Ct. Rep., 922; or
which changes the place of trial, Gut. vs. Minnesota, 9 Wall. 35, 19
L. ed., 573; or which abolishes a court for hearing criminal appeals,
creating a new one in its stead. See Duncan vs. Missouri, 152 U. S.,
377, 382, 38 L. ed., 485, 487, 14 sup. Ct. Rep., 570.

Tested by this standard, we do not believe that the curtailment of


the right of an accused in a preliminary investigation to cross-
examine the witnesses who had given evidence for his arrest is of
such importance as to offend against the constitutional inhibition. As
we have said in the beginning, preliminary investigation is not an
essential part of due process of law. It may be suppressed entirely,
and if this may be done, mere restriction of the privilege formerly
enjoyed thereunder can not be held to fall within the constitutional
prohibition. chanroblesv irt ualawli bra ry chan robles v irt ual law l ibra ry

While section 11 of Rule 108 denies to the defendant the right to


cross-examine witnesses in a preliminary investigation, his right to
present his witnesses remains unaffected, and his constitutional
right to be informed of the charges against him both at such
investigation and at the trial is unchanged. In the latter stage of the
proceedings, the only stage where the guaranty of due process
comes into play, he still enjoys to the full extent the right to be
confronted by and to cross-examine the witnesses against him. The
degree of importance of a preliminary investigation to an accused
may be gauged by the fact that this formality is frequently
waived.chan roblesv irtualawli bra ry chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

The distinction between "remedy" and "substantive right" is


incapable of exact definition. The difference is somewhat a question
of degree. (Dexter vs. Edmands, 89 F., 467; Beazell vs.
Ohio, supra.) It is difficult to draw a line in any particular case
beyond which legislative power over remedy and procedure can
pass without touching upon the substantive rights of parties
affected, as it is impossible to fix that boundary by general
condition. (State vs. Pavelick, 279 P., 1102.) This being so, it is
inevitable that the Supreme Court in making rules should step on
substantive rights, and the Constitution must be presumed to
tolerate if not to expect such incursion as does not affect the
accused in a harsh and arbitrary manner or deprive him of a
defense, but operates only in a limited and unsubstantial manner to
his disadvantage. For the Court's power is not merely to compile,
revise or codify the rules of procedure existing at the time of the
Constitution's approval. This power is "to promulgate rules
concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts," which is
a power to adopt a general, complete and comprehensive system of
procedure, adding new and different rules without regard to their
source and discarding old ones. chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary cha nro bles vi rtua l law libra ry

The motion is denied.

Moran, C.J., Paras, Pablo, Bengzon, Briones, and Montemayor, JJ.,


concur.

FERIA, J., dissenting: chanrob les vi rtual law lib rary

I dissent. chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary cha nrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

The motion for reconsideration must be granted. chanroble svi rtualawl ib rary chan rob les vi rtual law libra ry

According to the resolution, the right of a defendant to be


confronted with and cross-examine the witnesses for the
prosecution in a preliminary investigation granted by law or
provided for in General Orders, No. 58, as amended, in force prior
to the promulgation of the Rules of Court, is not a substantive right
but a mere matter of procedure, and therefore this Court can
suppress it in section 11, Rule 108, of the Rules of Court, for the
following reasons: chan robles v irt ual law li bra ry

First. Because "preliminary investigation is eminently and essentially


remedial; it is the first step taken in a criminal prosecution." . . . "As
a rule of evidence, section 11 of Rule 108 is also procedural." . . .
"The entire rules of evidence have been incorporated into the Rules
of Court." And therefore "we can not tear down section 11 of Rule
108 on constitutional grounds without throwing out the whole Code
of evidence embodied in these rules." chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry

Secondly. Because, "preliminary investigation is not an essential


part of due process of law. It may be suppressed entirely, and if this
may be done, mere restriction of the privilege formerly enjoyed
thereunder can not be held to fall within the constitutional
prohibition."chanrobles vi rtua l law lib rary

Lastly. Because, "the distinction between remedy and 'substantive


right' is incapable of exact definition. The difference is somewhat a
question of degree" . . . It is difficult to draw a line in any particular
case beyond which legislative power over remedy and procedure
can pass without touching upon the substantive rights of parties
affected, as it is impossible to fix that boundary by general
condition. . . . "This being so, it is inevitable that the Supreme Court
in making rules should step on substantive rights, and the
Constitution must be presumed to tolerate if not to expect such
incursion as does not affect the accused in a harsh and arbitrary
manner or deprive him of a defense, but operates only in a limited
and unsubstantial manner to his disadvantage." chanroble s virtual law l ibra ry

Before proceeding it is necessary to distinguish substantive law from


procedure, for the distinction is not always well understood.
Substantive law is that part of the law which creates, defines, and
regulates rights as opposed to objective or procedural law which
prescribes the method of enforcing rights. What constitutes practice
and procedure in the law is the mode or proceeding by which a legal
right is enforced, "that which regulates the formal steps in an action
or judicial proceedings; the course of procedure in courts; the form,
manner and order in which proceedings have been, and are
accustomed to be had; the form, manner and order of carrying on
and conducting suits or prosecutions in the courts through their
various sages according to the principles of law and the rules laid
down by the respective courts." 31 Cyc. Law and Procedure, p.
1153; id., 32, section 405; Rapalje & Lawrence's Law Dictionary;
Anderson Law Dictionary; Bouvier's Law Dictionary. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chanroble s virtual law lib rary

Substantive rights may be created or granted either in the


Constitution or in any branch of the law, civil, criminal,
administrative or procedural law. In our old Code of Civil Procedure,
Act No. 190, as amended, there are provisions which create, define
and regulate substantive rights, and many of those provisions such
as those relating to guardianship, adoption, evidence and many
others are incorporated in the Rules of Court for the sake of
convenience and not because this Court is empowered to
promulgate them as rules of court. And our old law of Criminal
Procedure General Orders No. 58 grants the offended party the right
to commence a criminal action or file a complaint against the
offender and to intervene in the criminal prosecution against him,
and grants the defendant in the Court of First Instance (except in
the City of Manila) the right to bail, and to a preliminary
investigation including his rights during said investigation, and the
rights at the trial, which are now reproduced or incorporated in
Rules 106, 108, 110, and 111 of the Rules of Court, except the
rights now in question. And all these, and others not necessary for
us to mention, are obviously substantive rights. chanroblesv irtualawl ibra ry chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

(1) As to the first argument, the premise "the preliminary


investigation is eminently and essentially remedial is not correct.
Undoubtedly the majority means to say procedural, in line with the
conclusion in the resolution, because remedial law is one thing, and
procedural law is another. Obviously they are different branches of
the law. "Remedial statute" is "a statute providing a remedy for an
injury as distinguished from a penal statute. A statute giving a party
a mode of remedy for a wrong where he had none or a different one
before. . . . Remedial statutes are those which are made to supply
such defects, and abridge such superfluities in the common law, as
arise either from the general imperfections of all human law, from
change of time and circumstances, from the mistakes and
unadvised determination of unlearned (or even learned) judges, or
from any other cause whatsoever." (Black's Law Dictionary, third
edition, pp. 1525, 1526.) chanrobles vi rtua l law lib rary

It is also not correct to affirm that section 11 of Rule 108 relating to


right of defendant after arrest "is a rule of evidence and therefore is
also procedural." In the first place, the provisions of said section to
the effect that "the defendant, after the arrest and his delivery to
the court has the right to be informed of the complaint or
information filed against him, and also to be informed of the
testimony and evidence presented against him, and may be allowed
to testify and present witnesses or evidence for him if he so
desires," are not rules of evidence; and in the second place, it is
evident that most of the rules of evidence, if not all, are substantive
laws that define, create or regulate rights, and not procedural.
"Rules of evidence are substantive rights found in common law
chiefly and growing out of reasoning, experience and common sense
of lawyers and courts." (State vs. Pavelich, et al., 279 P., 1102.) "It
is true that weighing of evidence and the rules of practice with
respect thereto form part of the law of procedure, but the
classification of proofs is sometime determined by the substantive
law." (U. S. vs. Genato, 15 Phil., 170, 176.) How can the law on
judicial notice, conclusive as well as juris tantum presumption,
hearsay and best evidence rule, parol evidence rule, interpretation
of documents, competency of a person to testify as a witness be
considered procedural? chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry

Therefore, the argumentative conclusion that "we can not tear down
section 11 of Rule 108 on constitutional grounds without throwing
out the whole code of evidence embodied in these Rules," is
evidently wrong, not only for the reason just stated, but because
our contention that the defendant can not be deprived of his right to
be confronted with and cross-examine the witness of the
prosecution is a preliminary investigation under consideration would
not, if upheld, necessarily tear down said section. Our theory, is
that said section 11 should be so construed as to be valid and
effective, that is, that if the defendant asks the court to recall the
witness or witnesses for the prosecution to testify again in his
presence, and to allow the former to cross-examine the latter, the
court or officer making the preliminary investigation is under
obligation to grant the request. But if the defendant does not so ask
the court, he should be considered as waiving his right to be
confronted with and cross-examine the witness against him. chanroblesv irt ualawli bra ry chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

(2) With respect to the second argument or reason, it is true that


the preliminary investigation as provided for in the General Orders,
No. 58, as amended, is not an essential part of due process of law,
because "due process of law" is not iron clad in its meaning; its
does not necessarily mean a particular procedure. Due process of
law simply requires a procedure that fully protects the life, liberty
and property. For that reason the investigation to be made by the
City Fiscal of the City of Manila under Act No. 612, now section 2465
of the Administrative Code, before filing an information, was
considered by this Court as sufficient to satisfy the due process of
law constitutional requirement (U. S. vs. Ocampo, 18 Phil., 1; U.
S. vs. Grant and Kennedy, 18 Phil., 122). But it is also true that we
have already and correctly held that: "The law having explicitly
recognized and established that no person charged with the
commission of a crime shall be deprived of his liberty or subjected
to trial without prior preliminary investigation (provided for in
General orders, No. 58, as amended) that shall show that there are
reasonable grounds to believe him guilty, there can be no doubt
that the accused who is deprived of his liberty, tried and sentenced
without the proper preliminary investigation having been made in
his regard, is convicted without the process of law," (United
States vs. Banzuela, 31 Phil., 564).chanro blesvi rtualaw lib rary cha nrob les vi rtual law lib rary

The ruling in Beazell vs. Ohio, 269 U. S. 167, 70 Law. ed., 216,
quoted in the resolution, has no application to the present case, for
the question involved therein was the power of Congress to alter the
rules of evidence and procedure without violating the constitutional
precept that prohibits the passing of ex post facto law, while the
question herein involved is the power of the Supreme Court to
promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure, which
diminish the substantive right of a defendant, expressly prohibited
by the same provision of the Constitution that confers upon this
Court the power to promulgate said rules. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chan roble s virtual law l ibra ry

(3) The last reason or argument premised on the conclusion that


"the distinction between remedy and 'substantive right' is incapable
of exact definition;" indeed "the difference is somewhat a question
of degree," (Dexter vs. Edmonds, 89 F 487), is immaterial, because,
as we have already said in refuting the majority's first reason,
remedy and procedure are two completely different things. chanroblesvi rtua lawlib rary c hanro bles vi rtua l law li bra ry

As above defined, substantive law is clearly differentiated from


procedural law and practice. But even assuming arguendo that it is
difficult to draw the line in any particular case beyond which the
power of the court over procedure can not pass without touching
upon the substantial right of the parties, what this Court should do
in that case would be to abstain from promulgating such rule of
procedure which many increase, diminish or modify substantive
right in order to avoid violating the constitutional prohibition above
referred to. Because as this Supreme Court is not empowered by
the Constitution to legislate on or abrogate substantive rights, but
only to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure which
"shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights," this
Court can not step on them in making the rules, and the
Constitution must be presumed not to tolerate nor expect such
incursion as would affect the substantive rights of the accused in
any manner. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chan roble s virtual law l ib rary

Besides, depriving an accused of his right to be confronted and


cross-examine the witness against him in a preliminary investigation
would affect the accused not in a limited and unsubstantial but in a
harsh and arbitrary manner. The testimony of a witness given in the
absence of the defendant and without an opportunity on the part of
the latter to cross-examine him is a hearsay evidence, and it should
not be admitted against the defendant in a preliminary investigation
that is granted to the latter as a protection against hasty, malicious
and oppressive prosecutions (U. S. vs. Grant and Kennedy, supra).
Otherwise, an accused who is innocent and should not be arrested,
or if arrested should be released immediately a short time after his
arrest after the preliminary investigation, would have to be held for
trial and wait for a considerable period of time until the case is tried
and acquitted after trial by the Courts of First Instance in provinces
on account of the admission of such evidence in the preliminary
investigation, evidence not admissible at the trial. cha nrob lesvi rtua lawlib rary cha nro bles virtual law lib rary

Therefore, the motion for reconsideration is granted, and after the


necessary proceedings the decision of the majority reversed or
modified in accordance with my dissenting opinion.

PERFECTO, J.: chanrobles vi rt ual law li b rary

We dissent. Our opinion in the Dequito case still stands. The motion
for reconsideration should be granted.

Endnotes:

TUASON, J.:
Rights of defendant after arrest. - After the arrest of the
1

defendant and his delivery to the court, he shall be informed of the


complaint or information filed against him. He shall also be informed
of the substance of the testimony and evidence presented against
him, and, if he desires to testify or to present witnesses or evidence
in his favor, he may be allowed to do so. The testimony of the
witnesses need not be reduced to writing but that of the defendant
shall be taken in writing and subscribed by him. chanroble svirtualawl ibra ry chan roble s virtual law lib rary

The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate


2

rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and


the admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for
all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase, or
modify substantive rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice,
and procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared
Rules of Courts, subject to the power of the Supreme Court to alter
and modify the same. The National Assembly shall have the power
to repeal, alter, or supplement the rules concerning pleading,
practice, and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in
the Philippines.

EN BANC

Resolution March 18, 1954

In the Matter of the Petitions for Admission to the Bar of Unsuccessful Candidates of 1946 to
1953;
ALBINO CUNANAN, ET AL., petitioners.

Jose M. Aruego, M.H. de Joya, Miguel R. Cornejo, and Antonio Enrile Inton for petitioners.
Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag for respondent.

DIOKNO, J.:

In recent years few controversial issues have aroused so much public interest and concern as
Republic Act No. 972, popularly known as the "Bar Flunkers' Act of 1953." Under the Rules of Court
governing admission to the bar, "in order that a candidate (for admission to the Bar) may be deemed
to have passed his examinations successfully, he must have obtained a general average of 75 per
cent in all subjects, without falling below 50 per cent in any subject." (Rule 127, sec. 14, Rules of
Court). Nevertheless, considering the varying difficulties of the different bar examinations held since
1946 and the varying degree of strictness with which the examination papers were graded, this court
passed and admitted to the bar those candidates who had obtained an average of only 72 per cent
in 1946, 69 per cent in 1947, 70 per cent in 1948, and 74 per cent in 1949. In 1950 to 1953, the 74
per cent was raised to 75 per cent.

Believing themselves as fully qualified to practice law as those reconsidered and passed by this
court, and feeling conscious of having been discriminated against (See Explanatory Note to R.A. No.
972), unsuccessful candidates who obtained averages of a few percentage lower than those
admitted to the Bar agitated in Congress for, and secured in 1951 the passage of Senate Bill No. 12
which, among others, reduced the passing general average in bar examinations to 70 per cent
effective since 1946. The President requested the views of this court on the bill. Complying with that
request, seven members of the court subscribed to and submitted written comments adverse
thereto, and shortly thereafter the President vetoed it. Congress did not override the veto. Instead, it
approved Senate Bill No. 371, embodying substantially the provisions of the vetoed bill. Although the
members of this court reiterated their unfavorable views on the matter, the President allowed the bill
to become a law on June 21, 1953 without his signature. The law, which incidentally was enacted in
an election year, reads in full as follows:

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972

AN ACT TO FIX THE PASSING MARKS FOR BAR EXAMINATIONS FROM


NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FORTY-SIX UP TO AND INCLUDING NINETEEN
HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in


Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of section fourteen, Rule numbered one


hundred twenty-seven of the Rules of Court, any bar candidate who obtained a general
average of seventy per cent in any bar examinations after July fourth, nineteen hundred and
forty-six up to the August nineteen hundred and fifty-one bar examinations; seventy-one per
cent in the nineteen hundred and fifty-two bar examinations; seventy-two per cent in the in
the nineteen hundred and fifty-three bar examinations; seventy-three per cent in the nineteen
hundred and fifty-four bar examinations; seventy-four per cent in the nineteen hundred and
fifty-five bar examinations without a candidate obtaining a grade below fifty per cent in any
subject, shall be allowed to take and subscribe the corresponding oath of office as member
of the Philippine Bar: Provided, however, That for the purpose of this Act, any exact one-half
or more of a fraction, shall be considered as one and included as part of the next whole
number.

SEC. 2. Any bar candidate who obtained a grade of seventy-five per cent in any subject in
any bar examination after July fourth, nineteen hundred and forty-six shall be deemed to
have passed in such subject or subjects and such grade or grades shall be included in
computing the passing general average that said candidate may obtain in any subsequent
examinations that he may take.

SEC. 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Enacted on June 21, 1953, without the Executive approval.

After its approval, many of the unsuccessful postwar candidates filed petitions for admission to the
bar invoking its provisions, while others whose motions for the revision of their examination papers
were still pending also invoked the aforesaid law as an additional ground for admission. There are
also others who have sought simply the reconsideration of their grades without, however, invoking
the law in question. To avoid injustice to individual petitioners, the court first reviewed the motions for
reconsideration, irrespective of whether or not they had invoked Republic Act No. 972.
Unfortunately, the court has found no reason to revise their grades. If they are to be admitted to the
bar, it must be pursuant to Republic Act No. 972 which, if declared valid, should be applied equally
to all concerned whether they have filed petitions or not. A complete list of the petitioners, properly
classified, affected by this decision, as well as a more detailed account of the history of Republic Act
No. 972, are appended to this decision as Annexes I and II. And to realize more readily the effects of
the law, the following statistical data are set forth:

(1) The unsuccessful bar candidates who are to be benefited by section 1 of Republic Act No. 972
total 1,168, classified as follows:

1946 (August) 206 121 18


1946 (November) 477 228 43
1947 749 340 0
1948 899 409 11
1949 1,218 532 164
1950 1,316 893 26
1951 2,068 879 196
1952 2,738 1,033 426
1953 2,555 968 284
TOTAL 12,230 5,421 1,168

Of the total 1,168 candidates, 92 have passed in subsequent examination, and only 586 have filed
either motions for admission to the bar pursuant to said Republic Act, or mere motions for
reconsideration.

(2) In addition, some other 10 unsuccessful candidates are to be benefited by section 2 of said
Republic Act. These candidates had each taken from two to five different examinations, but failed to
obtain a passing average in any of them. Consolidating, however, their highest grades in different
subjects in previous examinations, with their latest marks, they would be sufficient to reach the
passing average as provided for by Republic Act No. 972.

(3) The total number of candidates to be benefited by this Republic Acts is therefore 1,094, of which
only 604 have filed petitions. Of these 604 petitioners, 33 who failed in 1946 to 1951 had individually
presented motions for reconsideration which were denied, while 125 unsuccessful candidates of
1952, and 56 of 1953, had presented similar motions, which are still pending because they could be
favorably affected by Republic Act No. 972, — although as has been already stated, this tribunal
finds no sufficient reasons to reconsider their grades

UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972

Having been called upon to enforce a law of far-reaching effects on the practice of the legal
profession and the administration of justice, and because some doubts have been expressed as to
its validity, the court set the hearing of the afore-mentioned petitions for admission on the sole
question of whether or not Republic Act No. 972 is constitutional.
We have been enlightened in the study of this question by the brilliant assistance of the members of
the bar who have amply argued, orally an in writing, on the various aspects in which the question
may be gleaned. The valuable studies of Messrs. E. Voltaire Garcia, Vicente J. Francisco, Vicente
Pelaez and Buenaventura Evangelista, in favor of the validity of the law, and of the U.P. Women's
Lawyers' Circle, the Solicitor General, Messrs. Arturo A. Alafriz, Enrique M. Fernando, Vicente Abad
Santos, Carlos A. Barrios, Vicente del Rosario, Juan de Blancaflor, Mamerto V. Gonzales, and
Roman Ozaeta against it, aside from the memoranda of counsel for petitioners, Messrs. Jose M.
Aruego, M.H. de Joya, Miguel R. Cornejo and Antonio Enrile Inton, and of petitioners Cabrera,
Macasaet and Galema themselves, has greatly helped us in this task. The legal researchers of the
court have exhausted almost all Philippine and American jurisprudence on the matter. The question
has been the object of intense deliberation for a long time by the Tribunal, and finally, after the
voting, the preparation of the majority opinion was assigned to a new member in order to place it as
humanly as possible above all suspicion of prejudice or partiality.

Republic Act No. 972 has for its object, according to its author, to admit to the Bar, those candidates
who suffered from insufficiency of reading materials and inadequate preparation. Quoting a portion
of the Explanatory Note of the proposed bill, its author Honorable Senator Pablo Angeles David
stated:

The reason for relaxing the standard 75 per cent passing grade is the tremendous handicap
which students during the years immediately after the Japanese occupation has to overcome
such as the insufficiency of reading materials and the inadequacy of the preparation of
students who took up law soon after the liberation.

Of the 9,675 candidates who took the examinations from 1946 to 1952, 5,236 passed. And now it is
claimed that in addition 604 candidates be admitted (which in reality total 1,094), because they
suffered from "insufficiency of reading materials" and of "inadequacy of preparation."

By its declared objective, the law is contrary to public interest because it qualifies 1,094 law
graduates who confessedly had inadequate preparation for the practice of the profession, as was
exactly found by this Tribunal in the aforesaid examinations. The public interest demands of legal
profession adequate preparation and efficiency, precisely more so as legal problem evolved by the
times become more difficult. An adequate legal preparation is one of the vital requisites for the
practice of law that should be developed constantly and maintained firmly. To the legal profession is
entrusted the protection of property, life, honor and civil liberties. To approve officially of those
inadequately prepared individuals to dedicate themselves to such a delicate mission is to create a
serious social danger. Moreover, the statement that there was an insufficiency of legal reading
materials is grossly exaggerated. There were abundant materials. Decisions of this court alone in
mimeographed copies were made available to the public during those years and private enterprises
had also published them in monthly magazines and annual digests. The Official Gazette had been
published continuously. Books and magazines published abroad have entered without restriction
since 1945. Many law books, some even with revised and enlarged editions have been printed
locally during those periods. A new set of Philippine Reports began to be published since 1946,
which continued to be supplemented by the addition of new volumes. Those are facts of public
knowledge.

Notwithstanding all these, if the law in question is valid, it has to be enforced.

The question is not new in its fundamental aspect or from the point of view of applicable principles,
but the resolution of the question would have been easier had an identical case of similar
background been picked out from the jurisprudence we daily consult. Is there any precedent in the
long Anglo-Saxon legal history, from which has been directly derived the judicial system established
here with its lofty ideals by the Congress of the United States, and which we have preserved and
attempted to improve, or in our contemporaneous judicial history of more than half a century? From
the citations of those defending the law, we can not find a case in which the validity of a similar law
had been sustained, while those against its validity cite, among others, the cases of Day (In re Day,
54 NE 646), of Cannon (State vs. Cannon, 240 NW, 441), the opinion of the Supreme Court of
Massachusetts in 1932 (81 ALR 1061), of Guariña (24 Phil., 37), aside from the opinion of the
President which is expressed in his vote of the original bill and which the postponement of the
contested law respects.

This law has no precedent in its favor. When similar laws in other countries had been promulgated,
the judiciary immediately declared them without force or effect. It is not within our power to offer a
precedent to uphold the disputed law.

To be exact, we ought to state here that we have examined carefully the case that has been cited to
us as a favorable precedent of the law — that of Cooper (22 NY, 81), where the Court of Appeals of
New York revoked the decision of the Supreme court of that State, denying the petition of Cooper to
be admitted to the practice of law under the provisions of a statute concerning the school of law of
Columbia College promulgated on April 7, 1860, which was declared by the Court of Appeals to be
consistent with the Constitution of the state of New York.

It appears that the Constitution of New York at that time provided:

They (i.e., the judges) shall not hold any other office of public trust. All votes for either of
them for any elective office except that of the Court of Appeals, given by the Legislature or
the people, shall be void. They shall not exercise any power of appointment to public office.
Any male citizen of the age of twenty-one years, of good moral character, and who
possesses the requisite qualifications of learning and ability, shall be entitled to admission to
practice in all the courts of this State. (p. 93).

According to the Court of Appeals, the object of the constitutional precept is as follows:

Attorneys, solicitors, etc., were public officers; the power of appointing them had previously
rested with the judges, and this was the principal appointing power which they possessed.
The convention was evidently dissatisfied with the manner in which this power had been
exercised, and with the restrictions which the judges had imposed upon admission to
practice before them. The prohibitory clause in the section quoted was aimed directly at this
power, and the insertion of the provision" expecting the admission of attorneys, in this
particular section of the Constitution, evidently arose from its connection with the object of
this prohibitory clause. There is nothing indicative of confidence in the courts or of a
disposition to preserve any portion of their power over this subject, unless the Supreme
Court is right in the inference it draws from the use of the word `admission' in the action
referred to. It is urged that the admission spoken of must be by the court; that to admit
means to grant leave, and that the power of granting necessarily implies the power of
refusing, and of course the right of determining whether the applicant possesses the
requisite qualifications to entitle him to admission.

These positions may all be conceded, without affecting the validity of the act. (p. 93.)

Now, with respect to the law of April 7, 1860, the decision seems to indicate that it provided that the
possession of a diploma of the school of law of Columbia College conferring the degree of Bachelor
of Laws was evidence of the legal qualifications that the constitution required of applicants for
admission to the Bar. The decision does not however quote the text of the law, which we cannot find
in any public or accessible private library in the country.

In the case of Cooper, supra, to make the law consistent with the Constitution of New York, the
Court of Appeals said of the object of the law:

The motive for passing the act in question is apparent. Columbia College being an institution
of established reputation, and having a law department under the charge of able professors,
the students in which department were not only subjected to a formal examination by the law
committee of the institution, but to a certain definite period of study before being entitled to a
diploma of being graduates, the Legislature evidently, and no doubt justly, considered this
examination, together with the preliminary study required by the act, as fully equivalent as a
test of legal requirements, to the ordinary examination by the court; and as rendering the
latter examination, to which no definite period of preliminary study was essential,
unnecessary and burdensome.

The act was obviously passed with reference to the learning and ability of the applicant, and
for the mere purpose of substituting the examination by the law committee of the college for
that of the court. It could have had no other object, and hence no greater scope should be
given to its provisions. We cannot suppose that the Legislature designed entirely to dispense
with the plain and explicit requirements of the Constitution; and the act contains nothing
whatever to indicate an intention that the authorities of the college should inquire as to the
age, citizenship, etc., of the students before granting a diploma. The only rational
interpretation of which the act admits is, that it was intended to make the college diploma
competent evidence as to the legal attainments of the applicant, and nothing else. To this
extent alone it operates as a modification of pre-existing statutes, and it is to be read in
connection with these statutes and with the Constitution itself in order to determine the
present condition of the law on the subject. (p.89)

xxx xxx xxx

The Legislature has not taken from the court its jurisdiction over the question of admission,
that has simply prescribed what shall be competent evidence in certain cases upon that
question. (p.93)

From the foregoing, the complete inapplicability of the case of Cooper with that at bar may be clearly
seen. Please note only the following distinctions:

(1) The law of New York does not require that any candidate of Columbia College who failed in the
bar examinations be admitted to the practice of law.

(2) The law of New York according to the very decision of Cooper, has not taken from the court its
jurisdiction over the question of admission of attorney at law; in effect, it does not decree the
admission of any lawyer.

(3) The Constitution of New York at that time and that of the Philippines are entirely different on the
matter of admission of the practice of law.

In the judicial system from which ours has been evolved, the admission, suspension, disbarment and
reinstatement of attorneys at law in the practice of the profession and their supervision have been
disputably a judicial function and responsibility. Because of this attribute, its continuous and zealous
possession and exercise by the judicial power have been demonstrated during more than six
centuries, which certainly "constitutes the most solid of titles." Even considering the power granted to
Congress by our Constitution to repeal, alter supplement the rules promulgated by this Court
regarding the admission to the practice of law, to our judgment and proposition that the admission,
suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of the attorneys at law is a legislative function, properly
belonging to Congress, is unacceptable. The function requires (1) previously established rules and
principles, (2) concrete facts, whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals. and (3)
decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and principles; in effect, a judicial
function of the highest degree. And it becomes more undisputably judicial, and not legislative, if
previous judicial resolutions on the petitions of these same individuals are attempted to be revoked
or modified.

We have said that in the judicial system from which ours has been derived, the act of admitting,
suspending, disbarring and reinstating attorneys at law in the practice of the profession is
concededly judicial. A comprehensive and conscientious study of this matter had been undertaken in
the case of State vs. Cannon (1932) 240 NW 441, in which the validity of a legislative enactment
providing that Cannon be permitted to practice before the courts was discussed. From the text of this
decision we quote the following paragraphs:

This statute presents an assertion of legislative power without parallel in the history of the
English speaking people so far as we have been able to ascertain. There has been much
uncertainty as to the extent of the power of the Legislature to prescribe the ultimate
qualifications of attorney at law has been expressly committed to the courts, and the act of
admission has always been regarded as a judicial function. This act purports to constitute
Mr. Cannon an attorney at law, and in this respect it stands alone as an assertion of
legislative power. (p. 444)

Under the Constitution all legislative power is vested in a Senate and Assembly. (Section 1,
art. 4.) In so far as the prescribing of qualifications for admission to the bar are legislative in
character, the Legislature is acting within its constitutional authority when it sets up and
prescribes such qualifications. (p. 444)

But when the Legislature has prescribed those qualifications which in its judgment will serve
the purpose of legitimate legislative solicitude, is the power of the court to impose other and
further exactions and qualifications foreclosed or exhausted? (p. 444)

Under our Constitution the judicial and legislative departments are distinct, independent, and
coordinate branches of the government. Neither branch enjoys all the powers of sovereignty
which properly belongs to its department. Neither department should so act as to embarrass
the other in the discharge of its respective functions. That was the scheme and thought of
the people setting upon the form of government under which we exist. State vs. Hastings, 10
Wis., 525; Attorney General ex rel. Bashford vs. Barstow, 4 Wis., 567. (p. 445)

The judicial department of government is responsible for the plane upon which the
administration of justice is maintained. Its responsibility in this respect is exclusive. By
committing a portion of the powers of sovereignty to the judicial department of our state
government, under 42a scheme which it was supposed rendered it immune from
embarrassment or interference by any other department of government, the courts cannot
escape responsibility fir the manner in which the powers of sovereignty thus committed to the
judicial department are exercised. (p. 445)

The relation at the bar to the courts is a peculiar and intimate relationship. The bar is an
attache of the courts. The quality of justice dispense by the courts depends in no small
degree upon the integrity of its bar. An unfaithful bar may easily bring scandal and reproach
to the administration of justice and bring the courts themselves into disrepute. (p.445)

Through all time courts have exercised a direct and severe supervision over their bars, at
least in the English speaking countries. (p. 445)

After explaining the history of the case, the Court ends thus:

Our conclusion may be epitomized as follows: For more than six centuries prior to the
adoption of our Constitution, the courts of England, concededly subordinate to Parliament
since the Revolution of 1688, had exercise the right of determining who should be admitted
to the practice of law, which, as was said in Matter of the Sergeant's at Law, 6 Bingham's
New Cases 235, "constitutes the most solid of all titles." If the courts and judicial power be
regarded as an entity, the power to determine who should be admitted to practice law is a
constituent element of that entity. It may be difficult to isolate that element and say with
assurance that it is either a part of the inherent power of the court, or an essential element of
the judicial power exercised by the court, but that it is a power belonging to the judicial entity
and made of not only a sovereign institution, but made of it a separate independent, and
coordinate branch of the government. They took this institution along with the power
traditionally exercise to determine who should constitute its attorney at law. There is no
express provision in the Constitution which indicates an intent that this traditional power of
the judicial department should in any manner be subject to legislative control. Perhaps the
dominant thought of the framers of our constitution was to make the three great departments
of government separate and independent of one another. The idea that the Legislature might
embarrass the judicial department by prescribing inadequate qualifications for attorneys at
law is inconsistent with the dominant purpose of making the judicial independent of the
legislative department, and such a purpose should not be inferred in the absence of express
constitutional provisions. While the legislature may legislate with respect to the qualifications
of attorneys, but is incidental merely to its general and unquestioned power to protect the
public interest. When it does legislate a fixing a standard of qualifications required of
attorneys at law in order that public interests may be protected, such qualifications do not
constitute only a minimum standard and limit the class from which the court must make its
selection. Such legislative qualifications do not constitute the ultimate qualifications beyond
which the court cannot go in fixing additional qualifications deemed necessary by the course
of the proper administration of judicial functions. There is no legislative power to compel
courts to admit to their bars persons deemed by them unfit to exercise the prerogatives of an
attorney at law. (p. 450)

Furthermore, it is an unlawful attempt to exercise the power of appointment. It is quite likely


true that the legislature may exercise the power of appointment when it is in pursuance of a
legislative functions. However, the authorities are well-nigh unanimous that the power to
admit attorneys to the practice of law is a judicial function. In all of the states, except New
Jersey (In re Reisch, 83 N.J. Eq. 82, 90 A. 12), so far as our investigation reveals, attorneys
receive their formal license to practice law by their admission as members of the bar of the
court so admitting. Cor. Jur. 572; Ex parte Secombre, 19 How. 9,15 L. Ed. 565; Ex
parteGarland, 4 Wall. 333, 18 L. Ed. 366; Randall vs. Brigham, 7 Wall. 53, 19 L. Ed. 285;
Hanson vs. Grattan, 48 Kan, 843, 115 P. 646, 34 L.R.A. 519; Danforth vs. Egan, 23 S. D. 43,
119 N.W. 1021, 130 Am. St. Rep. 1030, 20 Ann. Cas. 413.

The power of admitting an attorney to practice having been perpetually exercised by the
courts, it having been so generally held that the act of the court in admitting an attorney to
practice is the judgment of the court, and an attempt as this on the part of the Legislature to
confer such right upon any one being most exceedingly uncommon, it seems clear that the
licensing of an attorney is and always has been a purely judicial function, no matter where
the power to determine the qualifications may reside. (p. 451)

In that same year of 1932, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, in answering a consultation of the
Senate of that State, 180 NE 725, said:

It is indispensible to the administration of justice and to interpretation of the laws that there
be members of the bar of sufficient ability, adequate learning and sound moral character.
This arises from the need of enlightened assistance to the honest, and restraining authority
over the knavish, litigant. It is highly important, also that the public be protected from
incompetent and vicious practitioners, whose opportunity for doing mischief is wide. It was
said by Cardoz, C.L., in People ex rel. Karlin vs. Culkin, 242 N.Y. 456, 470, 471, 162 N.E.
487, 489, 60 A.L.R. 851: "Membership in the bar is a privilege burden with conditions." One
is admitted to the bar "for something more than private gain." He becomes an "officer of the
court", and ,like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the end of justice. His
cooperation with the court is due "whenever justice would be imperiled if cooperation was
withheld." Without such attorneys at law the judicial department of government would be
hampered in the performance of its duties. That has been the history of attorneys under the
common law, both in this country and England. Admission to practice as an attorney at law is
almost without exception conceded to be a judicial function. Petition to that end is filed in
courts, as are other proceedings invoking judicial action. Admission to the bar is accomplish
and made open and notorious by a decision of the court entered upon its records. The
establishment by the Constitution of the judicial department conferred authority necessary to
the exercise of its powers as a coordinate department of government. It is an inherent power
of such a department of government ultimately to determine the qualifications of those to be
admitted to practice in its courts, for assisting in its work, and to protect itself in this respect
from the unfit, those lacking in sufficient learning, and those not possessing good moral
character. Chief Justice Taney stated succinctly and with finality in Ex parte Secombe, 19
How. 9, 13, 15 L. Ed. 565, "It has been well settled, by the rules and practice of common-law
courts, that it rests exclusively with the court to determine who is qualified to become one of
its officers, as an attorney and counselor, and for what cause he ought to be removed."
(p.727)

In the case of Day and others who collectively filed a petition to secure license to practice the legal
profession by virtue of a law of state (In re Day, 54 NE 646), the court said in part:

In the case of Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall, 333, 18 L. Ed. 366, the court, holding the test oath
for attorneys to be unconstitutional, explained the nature of the attorney's office as follows:
"They are officers of the court, admitted as such by its order, upon evidence of their
possessing sufficient legal learning and fair private character. It has always been the general
practice in this country to obtain this evidence by an examination of the parties. In this court
the fact of the admission of such officers in the highest court of the states to which they,
respectively, belong for, three years preceding their application, is regarded as sufficient
evidence of the possession of the requisite legal learning, and the statement of counsel
moving their admission sufficient evidence that their private and professional character is
fair. The order of admission is the judgment of the court that the parties possess the requisite
qualifications as attorneys and counselors, and are entitled to appear as such and conduct
causes therein. From its entry the parties become officers of the court, and are responsible
to it for professional misconduct. They hold their office during good behavior, and can only
be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by the judgment of the court after
opportunity to be heard has been afforded. Ex parte Hoyfron, admission or their exclusion is
not the exercise of a mere ministerial power. It is the exercise of judicial power, and has
been so held in numerous cases. It was so held by the court of appeals of New York in the
matter of the application of Cooper for admission. Re Cooper 22 N. Y. 81. "Attorneys and
Counselors", said that court, "are not only officers of the court, but officers whose duties
relate almost exclusively to proceedings of a judicial nature; and hence their appointment
may, with propriety, be entrusted to the court, and the latter, in performing his duty, may very
justly considered as engaged in the exercise of their appropriate judicial functions." (pp. 650-
651).

We quote from other cases, the following pertinent portions:

Admission to practice of law is almost without exception conceded everywhere to be the


exercise of a judicial function, and this opinion need not be burdened with citations in this
point. Admission to practice have also been held to be the exercise of one of the inherent
powers of the court. — Re Bruen, 102 Wash. 472, 172 Pac. 906.

Admission to the practice of law is the exercise of a judicial function, and is an inherent
power of the court. — A.C. Brydonjack, vs. State Bar of California, 281 Pac. 1018; See
Annotation on Power of Legislature respecting admission to bar, 65, A.L. R. 1512.

On this matter there is certainly a clear distinction between the functions of the judicial and
legislative departments of the government.

The distinction between the functions of the legislative and the judicial departments is that it
is the province of the legislature to establish rules that shall regulate and govern in matters of
transactions occurring subsequent to the legislative action, while the judiciary determines
rights and obligations with reference to transactions that are past or conditions that exist at
the time of the exercise of judicial power, and the distinction is a vital one and not subject to
alteration or change either by legislative action or by judicial decree.

The judiciary cannot consent that its province shall be invaded by either of the other
departments of the government. — 16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, p. 229.

If the legislature cannot thus indirectly control the action of the courts by requiring of them
construction of the law according to its own views, it is very plain it cannot do so directly, by
settling aside their judgments, compelling them to grant new trials, ordering the discharge of
offenders, or directing what particular steps shall be taken in the progress of a judicial
inquiry. — Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, 192.

In decreeing the bar candidates who obtained in the bar examinations of 1946 to 1952, a general
average of 70 per cent without falling below 50 per cent in any subject, be admitted in mass to the
practice of law, the disputed law is not a legislation; it is a judgment — a judgment revoking those
promulgated by this Court during the aforecited year affecting the bar candidates concerned; and
although this Court certainly can revoke these judgments even now, for justifiable reasons, it is no
less certain that only this Court, and not the legislative nor executive department, that may be so.
Any attempt on the part of any of these departments would be a clear usurpation of its functions, as
is the case with the law in question.

That the Constitution has conferred on Congress the power to repeal, alter or supplement the rule
promulgated by this Tribunal, concerning the admission to the practice of law, is no valid argument.
Section 13, article VIII of the Constitution provides:
Section 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning
pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said
rules shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase or
modify substantive rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice and procedure are hereby
repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Court, subject to the power of the Supreme
Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter, or
supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure, and the admission to the
practice of law in the Philippines. — Constitution of the Philippines, Art. VIII, sec. 13.

It will be noted that the Constitution has not conferred on Congress and this Tribunal equal
responsibilities concerning the admission to the practice of law. the primary power and responsibility
which the Constitution recognizes continue to reside in this Court. Had Congress found that this
Court has not promulgated any rule on the matter, it would have nothing over which to exercise the
power granted to it. Congress may repeal, alter and supplement the rules promulgated by this Court,
but the authority and responsibility over the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of
attorneys at law and their supervision remain vested in the Supreme Court. The power to repeal,
alter and supplement the rules does not signify nor permit that Congress substitute or take the place
of this Tribunal in the exercise of its primary power on the matter. The Constitution does not say nor
mean that Congress may admit, suspend, disbar or reinstate directly attorneys at law, or a
determinate group of individuals to the practice of law. Its power is limited to repeal, modify or
supplement the existing rules on the matter, if according to its judgment the need for a better service
of the legal profession requires it. But this power does not relieve this Court of its responsibility to
admit, suspend, disbar and reinstate attorneys at law and supervise the practice of the legal
profession.

Being coordinate and independent branches, the power to promulgate and enforce rules for the
admission to the practice of law and the concurrent power to repeal, alter and supplement them may
and should be exercised with the respect that each owes to the other, giving careful consideration to
the responsibility which the nature of each department requires. These powers have existed together
for centuries without diminution on each part; the harmonious delimitation being found in that the
legislature may and should examine if the existing rules on the admission to the Bar respond to the
demands which public interest requires of a Bar endowed with high virtues, culture, training and
responsibility. The legislature may, by means of appeal, amendment or supplemental rules, fill up
any deficiency that it may find, and the judicial power, which has the inherent responsibility for a
good and efficient administration of justice and the supervision of the practice of the legal profession,
should consider these reforms as the minimum standards for the elevation of the profession, and
see to it that with these reforms the lofty objective that is desired in the exercise of its traditional duty
of admitting, suspending, disbarring and reinstating attorneys at law is realized. They are powers
which, exercise within their proper constitutional limits, are not repugnant, but rather complementary
to each other in attaining the establishment of a Bar that would respond to the increasing and
exacting necessities of the administration of justice.

The case of Guariña (1913) 24 Phil., 37, illustrates our criterion. Guariña took examination and failed
by a few points to obtain the general average. A recently enacted law provided that one who had
been appointed to the position of Fiscal may be admitted to the practice of law without a previous
examination. The Government appointed Guariña and he discharged the duties of Fiscal in a remote
province. This tribunal refused to give his license without previous examinations. The court said:

Relying upon the provisions of section 2 of Act No. 1597, the applicant in this case seeks
admission to the bar, without taking the prescribed examination, on the ground that he holds
the office of provincial fiscal for the Province of Batanes.
Section 2 of Act No. 1597, enacted February 28, 1907, is as follows:

Sec. 2. Paragraph one of section thirteen of Act Numbered One Hundred and ninety, entitled
"An Act providing a Code of Procedure in Civil Actions and Special Proceedings in the
Philippine Islands," is hereby amended to read as follows:

1. Those who have been duly licensed under the laws and orders of the Islands under the
sovereignty of Spain or of the United States and are in good and regular standing as
members of the bar of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of this
code; Provided, That any person who, prior to the passage of this act, or at any time
thereafter, shall have held, under the authority of the United States, the position of justice of
the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of First Instance, or judge or associate judge of the
Court of Land Registration, of the Philippine Islands, or the position of Attorney General,
Solicitor General, Assistant Attorney General, assistant attorney in the office of the Attorney
General, prosecuting attorney for the City of Manila, city attorney of Manila, assistant city
attorney of Manila, provincial fiscal, attorney for the Moro Province, or assistant attorney for
the Moro Province, may be licensed to practice law in the courts of the Philippine Islands
without an examination, upon motion before the Supreme Court and establishing such fact to
the satisfaction of said court.

The records of this court disclose that on a former occasion this appellant took, and failed to
pass the prescribed examination. The report of the examining board, dated March 23, 1907,
shows that he received an average of only 71 per cent in the various branches of legal
learning upon which he was examined, thus falling four points short of the required
percentage of 75. We would be delinquent in the performance of our duty to the public and to
the bar, if, in the face of this affirmative indication of the deficiency of the applicant in the
required qualifications of learning in the law at the time when he presented his former
application for admission to the bar, we should grant him license to practice law in the courts
of these Islands, without first satisfying ourselves that despite his failure to pass the
examination on that occasion, he now "possesses the necessary qualifications of learning
and ability."

But it is contented that under the provisions of the above-cited statute the applicant is entitled
as of right to be admitted to the bar without taking the prescribed examination "upon motion
before the Supreme Court" accompanied by satisfactory proof that he has held and now
holds the office of provincial fiscal of the Province of Batanes. It is urged that having in mind
the object which the legislator apparently sought to attain in enacting the above-cited
amendment to the earlier statute, and in view of the context generally and especially of the
fact that the amendment was inserted as a proviso in that section of the original Act which
specifically provides for the admission of certain candidates without examination. It is
contented that this mandatory construction is imperatively required in order to give effect to
the apparent intention of the legislator, and to the candidate's claim de jure to have the
power exercised.

And after copying article 9 of Act of July 1, 1902 of the Congress of the United States, articles 2, 16
and 17 of Act No. 136, and articles 13 to 16 of Act 190, the Court continued:

Manifestly, the jurisdiction thus conferred upon this court by the commission and confirmed
to it by the Act of Congress would be limited and restricted, and in a case such as that under
consideration wholly destroyed, by giving the word "may," as used in the above citation from
Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, or of any Act of Congress prescribing, defining or limiting
the power conferred upon the commission is to that extent invalid and void, as transcending
its rightful limits and authority.

Speaking on the application of the law to those who were appointed to the positions enumerated,
and with particular emphasis in the case of Guariña, the Court held:

In the various cases wherein applications for the admission to the bar under the provisions of
this statute have been considered heretofore, we have accepted the fact that such
appointments had been made as satisfactory evidence of the qualifications of the applicant.
But in all of those cases we had reason to believe that the applicants had been practicing
attorneys prior to the date of their appointment.

In the case under consideration, however, it affirmatively appears that the applicant was not
and never had been practicing attorney in this or any other jurisdiction prior to the date of his
appointment as provincial fiscal, and it further affirmatively appears that he was deficient in
the required qualifications at the time when he last applied for admission to the bar.

In the light of this affirmative proof of his defieciency on that occasion, we do not think that
his appointment to the office of provincial fiscal is in itself satisfactory proof if his possession
of the necessary qualifications of learning and ability. We conclude therefore that this
application for license to practice in the courts of the Philippines, should be denied.

In view, however, of the fact that when he took the examination he fell only four points short
of the necessary grade to entitle him to a license to practice; and in view also of the fact that
since that time he has held the responsible office of the governor of the Province of
Sorsogon and presumably gave evidence of such marked ability in the performance of the
duties of that office that the Chief Executive, with the consent and approval of the Philippine
Commission, sought to retain him in the Government service by appointing him to the office
of provincial fiscal, we think we would be justified under the above-cited provisions of Act No.
1597 in waiving in his case the ordinary examination prescribed by general rule, provided he
offers satisfactory evidence of his proficiency in a special examination which will be given
him by a committee of the court upon his application therefor, without prejudice to his right, if
he desires so to do, to present himself at any of the ordinary examinations prescribed by
general rule. — (In re Guariña, pp. 48-49.)

It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to grant license for the practice of law belongs
exclusively to this Court, and the law passed by Congress on the matter is of permissive character,
or as other authorities say, merely to fix the minimum conditions for the license.

The law in question, like those in the case of Day and Cannon, has been found also to suffer from
the fatal defect of being a class legislation, and that if it has intended to make a classification, it is
arbitrary and unreasonable.

In the case of Day, a law enacted on February 21, 1899 required of the Supreme Court, until
December 31 of that year, to grant license for the practice of law to those students who began
studying before November 4, 1897, and had studied for two years and presented a diploma issued
by a school of law, or to those who had studied in a law office and would pass an examination, or to
those who had studied for three years if they commenced their studies after the aforementioned
date. The Supreme Court declared that this law was unconstitutional being, among others, a class
legislation. The Court said:
This is an application to this court for admission to the bar of this state by virtue of diplomas
from law schools issued to the applicants. The act of the general assembly passed in 1899,
under which the application is made, is entitled "An act to amend section 1 of an act entitled
"An act to revise the law in relation to attorneys and counselors," approved March 28, 1884,
in force July 1, 1874." The amendment, so far as it appears in the enacting clause, consists
in the addition to the section of the following: "And every application for a license who shall
comply with the rules of the supreme court in regard to admission to the bar in force at the
time such applicant commend the study of law, either in a law or office or a law school or
college, shall be granted a license under this act notwithstanding any subsequent changes in
said rules". — In re Day et al, 54 N.Y., p. 646.

. . . After said provision there is a double proviso, one branch of which is that up to
December 31, 1899, this court shall grant a license of admittance to the bar to the holder of
every diploma regularly issued by any law school regularly organized under the laws of this
state, whose regular course of law studies is two years, and requiring an attendance by the
student of at least 36 weeks in each of such years, and showing that the student began the
study of law prior to November 4, 1897, and accompanied with the usual proofs of good
moral character. The other branch of the proviso is that any student who has studied law for
two years in a law office, or part of such time in a law office, "and part in the aforesaid law
school," and whose course of study began prior to November 4, 1897, shall be admitted
upon a satisfactory examination by the examining board in the branches now required by the
rules of this court. If the right to admission exists at all, it is by virtue of the proviso, which, it
is claimed, confers substantial rights and privileges upon the persons named therein, and
establishes rules of legislative creation for their admission to the bar. (p. 647.)

Considering the proviso, however, as an enactment, it is clearly a special legislation,


prohibited by the constitution, and invalid as such. If the legislature had any right to admit
attorneys to practice in the courts and take part in the administration of justice, and could
prescribe the character of evidence which should be received by the court as conclusive of
the requisite learning and ability of persons to practice law, it could only be done by a
general law, persons or classes of persons. Const. art 4, section 2. The right to practice law
is a privilege, and a license for that purpose makes the holder an officer of the court, and
confers upon him the right to appear for litigants, to argue causes, and to collect fees
therefor, and creates certain exemptions, such as from jury services and arrest on civil
process while attending court. The law conferring such privileges must be general in its
operation. No doubt the legislature, in framing an enactment for that purpose, may classify
persons so long as the law establishing classes in general, and has some reasonable
relation to the end sought. There must be some difference which furnishes a reasonable
basis for different one, having no just relation to the subject of the legislation. Braceville Coal
Co. vs. People, 147 Ill. 66, 35 N.E. 62; Ritchie vs. People, 155 Ill. 98, 40 N.E. 454; Railroad
Co. vs. Ellis, 165 U.S. 150, 17 Sup. Ct. 255.

The length of time a physician has practiced, and the skill acquired by experience, may
furnish a basis for classification (Williams vs. People 121 Ill. 48, II N.E. 881); but the place
where such physician has resided and practiced his profession cannot furnish such basis,
and is an arbitrary discrimination, making an enactment based upon it void (State vs.
Pennyeor, 65 N.E. 113, 18 Atl. 878). Here the legislature undertakes to say what shall serve
as a test of fitness for the profession of the law, and plainly, any classification must have
some reference to learning, character, or ability to engage in such practice. The proviso is
limited, first, to a class of persons who began the study of law prior to November 4, 1897.
This class is subdivided into two classes — First, those presenting diplomas issued by any
law school of this state before December 31, 1899; and, second, those who studied law for
the period of two years in a law office, or part of the time in a law school and part in a law
office, who are to be admitted upon examination in the subjects specified in the present rules
of this court, and as to this latter subdivision there seems to be no limit of time for making
application for admission. As to both classes, the conditions of the rules are dispensed with,
and as between the two different conditions and limits of time are fixed. No course of study is
prescribed for the law school, but a diploma granted upon the completion of any sort of
course its managers may prescribe is made all-sufficient. Can there be anything with relation
to the qualifications or fitness of persons to practice law resting upon the mere date of
November 4, 1897, which will furnish a basis of classification. Plainly not. Those who began
the study of law November 4th could qualify themselves to practice in two years as well as
those who began on the 3rd. The classes named in the proviso need spend only two years in
study, while those who commenced the next day must spend three years, although they
would complete two years before the time limit. The one who commenced on the 3rd. If
possessed of a diploma, is to be admitted without examination before December 31, 1899,
and without any prescribed course of study, while as to the other the prescribed course must
be pursued, and the diploma is utterly useless. Such classification cannot rest upon any
natural reason, or bear any just relation to the subject sought, and none is suggested. The
proviso is for the sole purpose of bestowing privileges upon certain defined persons. (pp.
647-648.)

In the case of Cannon above cited, State vs. Cannon, 240 N.W. 441, where the legislature
attempted by law to reinstate Cannon to the practice of law, the court also held with regards to its
aspect of being a class legislation:

But the statute is invalid for another reason. If it be granted that the legislature has power to
prescribe ultimately and definitely the qualifications upon which courts must admit and
license those applying as attorneys at law, that power can not be exercised in the manner
here attempted. That power must be exercised through general laws which will apply to all
alike and accord equal opportunity to all. Speaking of the right of the Legislature to exact
qualifications of those desiring to pursue chosen callings, Mr. Justice Field in the case
of Dent. vs. West Virginia, 129 U.S. 114, 121, 9 S. Ct. 232, 233, 32 L. Ed. 626, said: "It is
undoubtedly the right of every citizen of the United States to follow any lawful calling,
business or profession he may choose, subject only to such restrictions as are imposed upon
all persons of like age, sex, and condition." This right may in many respects be considered
as a distinguishing feature of our republican institutions. Here all vocations are all open to
every one on like conditions. All may be pursued as sources of livelihood, some requiring
years of study and great learning for their successful prosecution. The interest, or, as it is
sometimes termed, the "estate" acquired in them — that is, the right to continue their
prosecution — is often of great value to the possessors and cannot be arbitrarily taken from
them, any more than their real or personal property can be thus taken. It is fundamental
under our system of government that all similarly situated and possessing equal
qualifications shall enjoy equal opportunities. Even statutes regulating the practice of
medicine, requiring medications to establish the possession on the part of the application of
his proper qualifications before he may be licensed to practice, have been challenged, and
courts have seriously considered whether the exemption from such examinations of those
practicing in the state at the time of the enactment of the law rendered such law
unconstitutional because of infringement upon this general principle. State vs. Thomas Call,
121 N.C. 643, 28 S.E. 517; see, also, The State ex rel. Winkler vs. Rosenberg, 101 Wis. 172,
76 N.W. 345; State vs. Whitcom, 122 Wis. 110, 99 N.W. 468.

This law singles out Mr. Cannon and assumes to confer upon him the right to practice law
and to constitute him an officer of this Court as a mere matter of legislative grace or favor. It
is not material that he had once established his right to practice law and that one time he
possessed the requisite learning and other qualifications to entitle him to that right. That fact
in no matter affect the power of the Legislature to select from the great body of the public an
individual upon whom it would confer its favors.

A statute of the state of Minnesota (Laws 1929, c. 424) commanded the Supreme Court to
admit to the practice of law without examination, all who had served in the military or naval
forces of the United States during the World War and received a honorable discharge
therefrom and who (were disabled therein or thereby within the purview of the Act of
Congress approved June 7th, 1924, known as "World War Veteran's Act, 1924 and whose
disability is rated at least ten per cent thereunder at the time of the passage of this Act." This
Act was held |unconstitutional on the ground that it clearly violated the quality clauses of the
constitution of that state. In re Application of George W. Humphrey, 178 Minn. 331, 227 N.W.
179.

A good summary of a classification constitutionally acceptable is explained in 12 Am. Jur. 151-153


as follows:

The general rule is well settled by unanimity of the authorities that a classification to be valid
must rest upon material differences between the person included in it and those excluded
and, furthermore, must be based upon substantial distinctions. As the rule has sometimes
avoided the constitutional prohibition, must be founded upon pertinent and real differences,
as distinguished from irrelevant and artificial ones. Therefore, any law that is made
applicable to one class of citizens only must be based on some substantial difference
between the situation of that class and other individuals to which it does not apply and must
rest on some reason on which it can be defended. In other words, there must be such a
difference between the situation and circumstances of all the members of the class and the
situation and circumstances of all other members of the state in relation to the subjects of the
discriminatory legislation as presents a just and natural cause for the difference made in their
liabilities and burdens and in their rights and privileges. A law is not general because it
operates on all within a clause unless there is a substantial reason why it is made to operate
on that class only, and not generally on all. (12 Am. Jur. pp. 151-153.)

Pursuant to the law in question, those who, without a grade below 50 per cent in any subject, have
obtained a general average of 69.5 per cent in the bar examinations in 1946 to 1951, 70.5 per cent
in 1952, 71.5 per cent in 1953, and those will obtain 72.5 per cent in 1954, and 73.5 per cent in
1955, will be permitted to take and subscribe the corresponding oath of office as members of the
Bar, notwithstanding that the rules require a minimum general average of 75 per cent, which has
been invariably followed since 1950. Is there any motive of the nature indicated by the
abovementioned authorities, for this classification ? If there is none, and none has been given, then
the classification is fatally defective.

It was indicated that those who failed in 1944, 1941 or the years before, with the general average
indicated, were not included because the Tribunal has no record of the unsuccessful candidates of
those years. This fact does not justify the unexplained classification of unsuccessful candidates by
years, from 1946-1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955. Neither is the exclusion of those who failed before
said years under the same conditions justified. The fact that this Court has no record of
examinations prior to 1946 does not signify that no one concerned may prove by some other means
his right to an equal consideration.

To defend the disputed law from being declared unconstitutional on account of its retroactivity, it is
argued that it is curative, and that in such form it is constitutional. What does Rep. Act 972 intend to
cure ? Only from 1946 to 1949 were there cases in which the Tribunal permitted admission to the
bar of candidates who did not obtain the general average of 75 per cent: in 1946 those who obtained
only 72 per cent; in the 1947 and those who had 69 per cent or more; in 1948, 70 per cent and in
1949, 74 per cent; and in 1950 to 1953, those who obtained 74 per cent, which was considered by
the Court as equivalent to 75 per cent as prescribed by the Rules, by reason of circumstances
deemed to be sufficiently justifiable. These changes in the passing averages during those years
were all that could be objected to or criticized. Now, it is desired to undo what had been done —
cancel the license that was issued to those who did not obtain the prescribed 75 per cent ? Certainly
not. The disputed law clearly does not propose to do so. Concededly, it approves what has been
done by this Tribunal. What Congress lamented is that the Court did not consider 69.5 per cent
obtained by those candidates who failed in 1946 to 1952 as sufficient to qualify them to practice law.
Hence, it is the lack of will or defect of judgment of the Court that is being cured, and to complete the
cure of this infirmity, the effectivity of the disputed law is being extended up to the years 1953, 1954
and 1955, increasing each year the general average by one per cent, with the order that said
candidates be admitted to the Bar. This purpose, manifest in the said law, is the best proof that what
the law attempts to amend and correct are not the rules promulgated, but the will or judgment of the
Court, by means of simply taking its place. This is doing directly what the Tribunal should have done
during those years according to the judgment of Congress. In other words, the power exercised was
not to repeal, alter or supplement the rules, which continue in force. What was done was to stop or
suspend them. And this power is not included in what the Constitution has granted to Congress,
because it falls within the power to apply the rules. This power corresponds to the judiciary, to which
such duty been confided.

Article 2 of the law in question permits partial passing of examinations, at indefinite intervals. The
grave defect of this system is that it does not take into account that the laws and jurisprudence are
not stationary, and when a candidate finally receives his certificate, it may happen that the existing
laws and jurisprudence are already different, seriously affecting in this manner his usefulness. The
system that the said law prescribes was used in the first bar examinations of this country, but was
abandoned for this and other disadvantages. In this case, however, the fatal defect is that the article
is not expressed in the title will have temporary effect only from 1946 to 1955, the text of article 2
establishes a permanent system for an indefinite time. This is contrary to Section 21 (1), article VI of
the Constitution, which vitiates and annuls article 2 completely; and because it is inseparable from
article 1, it is obvious that its nullity affect the entire law.

Laws are unconstitutional on the following grounds: first, because they are not within the legislative
powers of Congress to enact, or Congress has exceeded its powers; second, because they create or
establish arbitrary methods or forms that infringe constitutional principles; and third, because their
purposes or effects violate the Constitution or its basic principles. As has already been seen, the
contested law suffers from these fatal defects.

Summarizing, we are of the opinion and hereby declare that Republic Act No. 972 is unconstitutional
and therefore, void, and without any force nor effect for the following reasons, to wit:

1. Because its declared purpose is to admit 810 candidates who failed in the bar examinations of
1946-1952, and who, it admits, are certainly inadequately prepared to practice law, as was exactly
found by this Court in the aforesaid years. It decrees the admission to the Bar of these candidates,
depriving this Tribunal of the opportunity to determine if they are at present already prepared to
become members of the Bar. It obliges the Tribunal to perform something contrary to reason and in
an arbitrary manner. This is a manifest encroachment on the constitutional responsibility of the
Supreme Court.

2. Because it is, in effect, a judgment revoking the resolution of this Court on the petitions of these
810 candidates, without having examined their respective examination papers, and although it is
admitted that this Tribunal may reconsider said resolution at any time for justifiable reasons, only this
Court and no other may revise and alter them. In attempting to do it directly Republic Act No. 972
violated the Constitution.

3. By the disputed law, Congress has exceeded its legislative power to repeal, alter and supplement
the rules on admission to the Bar. Such additional or amendatory rules are, as they ought to be,
intended to regulate acts subsequent to its promulgation and should tend to improve and elevate the
practice of law, and this Tribunal shall consider these rules as minimum norms towards that end in
the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers to the Bar, inasmuch as a good
bar assists immensely in the daily performance of judicial functions and is essential to a worthy
administration of justice. It is therefore the primary and inherent prerogative of the Supreme Court to
render the ultimate decision on who may be admitted and may continue in the practice of law
according to existing rules.

4. The reason advanced for the pretended classification of candidates, which the law makes, is
contrary to facts which are of general knowledge and does not justify the admission to the Bar of law
students inadequately prepared. The pretended classification is arbitrary. It is undoubtedly a class
legislation.

5. Article 2 of Republic Act No. 972 is not embraced in the title of the law, contrary to what the
Constitution enjoins, and being inseparable from the provisions of article 1, the entire law is void.

6. Lacking in eight votes to declare the nullity of that part of article 1 referring to the examinations of
1953 to 1955, said part of article 1, insofar as it concerns the examinations in those years, shall
continue in force.

RESOLUTION

Upon mature deliberation by this Court, after hearing and availing of the magnificent and
impassioned discussion of the contested law by our Chief Justice at the opening and close of the
debate among the members of the Court, and after hearing the judicious observations of two of our
beloved colleagues who since the beginning have announced their decision not to take part in
voting, we, the eight members of the Court who subscribed to this decision have voted and resolved,
and have decided for the Court, and under the authority of the same:

1. That (a) the portion of article 1 of Republic Act No. 972 referring to the examinations of 1946 to
1952, and (b) all of article 2 of said law are unconstitutional and, therefore, void and without force
and effect.

2. That, for lack of unanimity in the eight Justices, that part of article 1 which refers to the
examinations subsequent to the approval of the law, that is from 1953 to 1955 inclusive, is valid and
shall continue to be in force, in conformity with section 10, article VII of the Constitution.

Consequently, (1) all the above-mentioned petitions of the candidates who failed in the examinations
of 1946 to 1952 inclusive are denied, and (2) all candidates who in the examinations of 1953
obtained a general average of 71.5 per cent or more, without having a grade below 50 per cent in
any subject, are considered as having passed, whether they have filed petitions for admission or not.
After this decision has become final, they shall be permitted to take and subscribe the corresponding
oath of office as members of the Bar on the date or dates that the chief Justice may set. So ordered.
Bengzon, Montemayor, Jugo, Labrador, Pablo, Padilla, and Reyes, JJ., concur.

ANNEX I

PETITIONERS UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972

A resume‚ of pertinent facts concerning the bar examinations of 1946 to 1953 inclusive follows:

August, 19461
Board of Examiners: Hon. Pedro Tuason, Chairman, Prof. Gerardo
Florendo, Atty. Bernardino Guerrero, Atty. Joaquin Ramirez, Atty. Crispin
Oben, Hon. Jose Teodoro, Atty. Federico Agrava, Atty. Jose Perez
Cardenas, and Hon. Bienvenido A. Tan, members.
Number of candidates 206
Number of candidates whose grades were raised 12
73'S 6
72'S 6
Number of candidates who passed 85
Number of candidates who failed 121
Number of those affected by Republic Act No. 972 18
Percentage of success (per cent) 41.62
Percentage of failure (per cent) 58.74
Passing grade (per cent) 72
November, 1946
Board of Examiners: The same as that of August, 1946, except Hon. Jose
Teodoro who was substituted by Atty. Honesto K. Bausan.
Number of candidates 481
Number of candidates whose grades were raised 19
(72 per cent and above 73 per cent ---
Minutes of March 31, 1947)
Number of candidates who passed 249
Number of candidates who failed 228
Number of those affected by Republic Act No. 972 43
Percentage of success (per cent) 52.20
Percentage of failure (per cent) 47.80
Passing grade (per cent) 72
(By resolution of the Court).
October, 1947
Board of Examiners: Hon. Cesar Bengzon, Chairman, Hon. Guillermo B.
Guevara, Atty. Antonio Araneta, Atty. Simon Cruz, Hon. Sixto de la Costa,
Atty. Celso B. Jamora, Hon. Emilio Peña, Atty. Federico Agrava, Atty.
Carlos B. Hilado, Members.
Number of candidates 749
Number of candidates whose grades were raised 43
70.55 per cent with 2 subject below 50 per 1
cent
69 per cent 40
68 per cent 2
Number of candidates who passed 409
Number of candidates who failed 340
Number of those affected by Republic Act No. 972 972
Percentage of success (per cent) 54.59
Percentage of failure (per cent) 45.41
Passing grade (per cent) 69
(by resolution of the Court).

Note.--In passing the 2 whose grades were 68.95 per cent and 68.1
per cent respectively, the Court found out that they were not
benefited at all by the bonus of 12 points given by the Examiner in
Civil Law.
August, 1948
Board of Examiners: Hon. Marceliano R. Montemayor, Chairman Hon. Luis
P. Torres, Hon. Felipe Natividad, Hon. Jose Teodoro, Sr., Atty. Federico
Agrava, Atty. Macario Peralta, Sr., Hon. Jesus G. Barrera, Hon. Rafael
Amparo, Atty. Alfonso Ponce Enrile, Members.
Number of candidates 899
Number of candidates whose grades were raised 64
71's 29
70's 35
Number of candidates who passed 490
Number of candidates who failed 409
Number of those affected by Republic Act No. 972 11
Percentage of success (per cent) 62.40
Percentage of failure (per cent) 37.60
Passing grade (per cent) 70
(by resolution of the Court).
August, 1949
Board of Examiners: Hon. Sabino Padilla, Chairman, Hon. Fernando Jugo,
Hon. Enrique Filamor, Atty. Salvador Araneta, Hon. Pastor M. Endencia,
Atty. Federico Agrava, Hon. Mariano H. de Joya, Hon. Felipe Natividad,
Atty. Emeterio Barcelon, Members.
Number of candidates 1,218
Number of candidates whose grades were raised 55
(74's)
Number of candidates who passed 686
Number of candidates who failed 532
Number of those affected by Republic Act No. 972 164
Percentage of success (per cent) 56.28
Percentage of failure (per cent) 43.72
Passing grade (per cent) 74
(by resolution of the Court).
August, 1950
Board of Examiners: Hon. Fernando Jugo,2 Chairman, Hon. Guillermo B.
Guevara, Atty. Enrique Altavas, Atty. Marcial P. Lichauco, Atty. Carlos B.
Hilado, Atty. J. Antonio Araneta, Hon. Enrique V. Filamor, Hon. Francisco
A. Delgado, Hon. Antonio Horrilleno, Members.
Number of candidates 1,316
Number of candidates whose grades were raised 38
(The grade of 74 was raised to 75 per cent by recommendation and
authority
of the examiner in Remedial Law, Atty. Francisco Delgado).
Number of candidates who passed 432
Number of candidates who failed 894
Number of those affected by Republic Act No. 972 26
Percentage of success (per cent) 32.14
Percentage of failure (per cent) 67.86
Passing grade (per cent) 75
August, 1951
Board of Examiners: Hon. Guillermo F. Pablo, Chairman, Hon. Pastor M.
Endencia, Atty. Enrique Altavas, Hon. Manuel Lim, Hon. Felipe Natividad,
Hon. Vicente Albert, Atty. Arturo Alafriz, Hon. Enrique V. Filamor, Hon.
Alfonso Felix, Members.
Number of candidates 2,068
Number of candidates whose grades were raised 112
(74's)
Number of candidates who passed 1,189
Number of candidates who failed 879
Number of those affected by Republic Act No. 972 196
Percentage of success (per cent) 57.49
Percentage of failure (per cent) 42.51
Passing grade (per cent) 75
August, 1952
Board of Examiners: Hon. Sabino Padilla, Chairman, Hon. Pastor M.
Endencia, Hon. Enrique V. Filamor, Atty. Francisco Ortigas, Hon. Emilio
Peña, Atty. Emilio P. Virata, Hon. Alfonso Felix, Hon. Felipe Natividad, Atty.
Macario Peralta, Sr., Members.
Number of candidates 2,738
Number of candidates whose grades were raised 163
(74's)
Number of candidates who passed 1,705
Number of candidates who failed 1,033
Number of those affected by Republic Act No. 972 426
Percentage of success (per cent) 62.27
Percentage of failure (per cent) 37.73
Passing grade (per cent) 75
August, 1953
Board of Examiners: Hon. Fernando Jugo, Chairman, Hon. Pastor M.
Endencia, Atty. Enrique Altavas, Atty. Francisco Ortigas, Jr., Hon. Emilio
Peña, Atty. Jose S. de la Cruz, Hon. Alfonso Felix, Hon. Felipe Natividad,
Hon. Mariano L. de la Rosa, Members.
Number of candidates 2,555
Number of candidates whose grades were raised 100
(74's)
Number of candidates who passed 1,570
Number of candidates who failed 986
Number of those affected by Republic Act No. 972 284
Percentage of success (per cent) 61.04
Percentage of failure (per cent) 38.96
Passing grade (per cent) 75

A list of petitioners for admission to the Bar under Republic Act No. 972, grouped by the years in
which they took the bar examinations, with annotations as to who had presented motions for
reconsideration which were denied (MRD), and who filed mere motions for reconsideration without
invoking said law, which are still pending, follows:

PETITIONER UNDER THE BAR FLUNKERS' LAW


Civ. Land Merc. Int. Pol. Crim. Rem. Leg. Gen.
Av.
MRD- 1. Agunod, Filemon L. 66 71 61 76 80 83 73 75 71.4
MRD- 2. Cunanan, Albino 76 72 74 75 70 70 65 72 71.45
MRD- 3. Mejia, Flaviano V. 64 64 65 68 83 74 68 80 69.85
1948
MRD- 4. Orlina, Soledad R. 71 68 66 75 63 75 70 88 69.9
MRD- 5. Vivero, Antonio Lu. 75 73 73 65 63 66 65 80 69.95
MRD- 6. Gatchalian, Salud 72 66 71 75 78 68 65 50 69.65
1949
7. Abaya, Jesus A. 69 79 75 75 71 89 55 75 70.8
MRD- 8. Advincula, David D. 76 80 62 86 81 72 60 65 70.5
9. Agraviador, Alfredo L. 63 85 70 77 80 81 65 80 71.8
10. Alacar, Pascual C. 61 63 83 79 71 85 65 80 72.05
11. Amog, Pedro M. 75 66 76 78 81 74 55 85 72.2
12. Apolinario, Miguel S. 75 84 78 78 70 70 60 75 71.95
13. Aquino, Maximo G. 82 77 71 77 76 77 60 75 73.15
14. Asinas, Candido D. 75 83 69 80 81 83 55 85 72.65
15. Baldivino, Jose B. 75 65 72 82 82 69 60 80 71.95
16. Balintona, Bernardo 75 80 64 78 74 67 65 70 70
17. Banawa, Angel L. 78 70 70 75 81 83 60 60 72.3
18. Bandala, Anacleto A. 66 80 66 71 93 72 55 70 69.6
19. Bandon, Alawadin L. 74 79 69 77 91 73 60 80 73.35
20. Baquero, Benjamin 76 79 64 77 85 72 65 75 72.5
21. Blanco, Jose 75 75 70 75 77 76 60 90 72.5
22. Buenaluz, Victoriano T. 75 71 72 78 67 82 60 75 70.85
23. Canda, Benjamin S. 75 72 75 82 76 77 65 75 73.55
24. Canon, Guillermo 77 86 67 88 75 69 70 85 73.9
25. Carlos, Estela S. 75 81 81 79 72 73 65 70 73.8
26. Cerezo, Gregorio O. 69 76 76 79 71 80 55 80 70.4
27. Clarin, Manuel L. 75 82 76 81 73 69 70 75 73.95
28. Claudo, Conrado O. 76 62 78 77 73 72 60 70 71.4
29. Condevillamar, Antonio 68 65 74 80 85 75 60 75 71.65
V.
MRD- 30. Cornejo, Crisanto R. 72 75 69 82 83 79 65 80 73.4
31. Corona, Olvido D. 68 76 73 81 81 72 60 75 71.15
32. Dizon, Marcial C. 76 86 69 83 75 74 65 80 73.1
33. Enriquez, Agustin P. 75 77 70 81 81 77 65 80 73.75
34. Espiritu, Irineo E. 80 88 69 75 76 77 65 75 73.8
35. Fernandez, Macario J. 63 82 76 75 81 84 65 75 72.95
36. Gallardo, Amando C. 78 79 67 77 76 75 60 65 70.95
37. Garcia, Freidrich M. 76 80 66 75 72 70 60 75 69.7
38. Garcia, Julian L. 64 77 68 82 89 77 65 75 72.15
39. Garcia, Leon Mo. 77 86 71 80 60 82 65 75 71.85
40. Garcia, Pedro V. 76 82 73 81 74 83 60 85 73.6
41. Garcia, Santiago C. 62 91 79 75 72 75 65 80 71.8
42. Genoves, Pedro 75 83 70 78 87 76 55 80 72.7
43. Gonzales, Amado P. 75 71 71 75 86 75 60 75 72.65
44. Guia, Odon R. de 77 76 66 81 74 76 60 75 70.9
45. Fernandez, Simeon 62 68 71 80 74 90 65 75 70.85
46. Jakosalem, Filoteo 82 83 73 82 61 87 65 70 73.6
47. Jesus, Felipe D. de 75 83 67 79 78 85 60 75 72.45
48. Jocom, Jacobo M. 77 77 74 77 74 64 55 85 70.65
49. Juares, Nicolas 77 84 56 76 73 82 60 85 70
50. Kalalang, Remigio 65 75 74 80 70 70 65 85 70.3
51. Layumas, Vicente L. 67 84 65 75 89 66 60 80 70.3
52. Leyson, Amancio F. 69 83 75 76 81 75 65 75 73.15
53. Libanan, Marcelino 71 83 61 77 80 81 65 85 71.75
54. Lim, Jose E. 77 77 72 76 72 64 65 70 71.15
55. Lim, Jose F. 70 75 62 83 80 71 65 80 70.4
56. Linao, Mariano M. 66 84 76 78 80 75 60 75 71.75
57. Lopez, Angelo P. 67 81 75 72 79 81 55 80 71
58. Lopez, Eliezar M. 77 75 60 75 77 85 60 75 70.7
59. Lopez, Nicanor S. 72 71 70 78 77 84 60 75 71.55
60. Manoleto, Proceso D. 72 70 65 78 81 90 60 80 71.95
61. Mancao, Alfredo P. 67 64 71 83 76 76 65 80 70.95
62. Manera, Mariano A. 75 78 75 75 68 79 60 65 71
63. Mercado, Arsenio N. 67 64 71 83 76 76 65 80 70.95
64. Miranda, Benjamin G. 76 81 67 82 74 77 65 80 72.55
65. Manad, Andres B. 77 75 68 82 69 72 65 75 71.15
1948
66. Orosco, Casimiro P. 72 84 69 81 70 82 65 75 71.9
67. Padua, Manuel C. 76 76 68 80 79 79 50 75 70.1
68. Palang, Basilio S. 71 75 82 71 55 87 55 75 69.6
69. Palma, Cuadrato 62 75 69 93 80 79 55 80 69.5
70. Pañganiban, Jose V. 67 83 61 81 91 74 60 75 70.6
71. Pareja, Felipe 66 71 75 81 67 74 60 70 68.75
72. Patalinjug, Eriberto 73 77 78 73 78 71 55 75 71.25
73. Paulin, Jose C. 66 69 71 77 83 82 65 75 72.1
74. Pido, Serafin C. 72 78 63 80 71 85 70 80 72.05
75. Pimentel, Luis P. 77 75 76 81 76 68 55 80 71.6
76. Plantilla, Rodrigo C. 72 78 68 89 79 81 65 85 73.55
77. Regalario, Benito B. 72 80 64 80 75 81 55 80 69.55
78. Robis, Casto P. 62 77 74 73 68 80 70 80 70.9
79. Rodil, Francisco C. 68 69 70 81 76 75 65 75 70.75
80. Rodriguez, Mariano I. 80 75 69 80 72 80 65 80 73.35
81. Romero, Crispulo P. 78 75 66 77 76 83 65 75 72.85
82. Saez, Porfirio D. 75 75 72 81 69 77 60 75 71
83. Saliguma, Crisogono D. 79 79 74 78 69 65 65 70 71.8
84. Samano, Fortunato A. 75 84 72 77 70 82 60 75 71.9
85. Santos, Faustina C. 71 68 68 76 75 85 55 75 69.5
86. Santos, Josefina R. 68 69 76 71 77 82 65 75 72.3
87. Seludo, Ananias G. 75 80 69 79 77 82 65 75 73.25
88. Semilia, Rafael I. 68 85 55 83 89 79 65 80 71.25
89. Telan, Gaudencio 77 79 70 75 70 75 60 75 70.85
90. Tesorero, Leocadio T. 75 71 63 75 82 62 65 63 69.65
91. Torre, Valentin S. de la 85 81 71 76 69 65 55 70 70.4
92. Torres, Ariston L. 78 71 72 81 61 84 55 85 70.4
93. Veyra, Zosimo C. de 70 75 71 79 65 80 65 80 70.65
94. Viado, Jose 67 70 74 75 75 90 55 80 70.7
95. Villacarlos, Delfin A. 73 87 71 82 69 70 75 85 73.85
96. Villamil, Leonor S. 73 81 76 86 86 73 55 85 73.6
97. Zabala, Amando A. 76 70 67 75 76 76 60 75 70.6
1950
MRD-98. Cruz, Filomeno de la 70 71 78 81 76 72 64 96 73.4
99. Española, Pablo S. 71 78 55 76 85 69 65 93 70.2
100. Foronda, Clarencio J. 60 78 68 79 84 88 62 93 71.9
101. Hechanova, Vicente 59 76 75 75 69 68 75 96 71.3
MRD- Peñalosa, Osias R. 80 78 61 76 61 77 66 85 70.2
102.
103. Sarmiento, Floro A. 65 86 63 82 89 72 60 72 70.15
MRD- Torre, Catalino P. 75 85 68 78 69 67 65 69 70.25
104.
105. Ungson, Fernando S. 61 87 75 70 57 85 83 82 72.8
1951
106. Abasolo, Romulo 77 70 64 65 76 70 76 64 71.7
107. Adeva, Daniel G. 75 59 74 65 69 51 78 67 70.4
108. Aguilar, Vicente Z. 73 63 68 75 70 69 75 75 71.25
109. Amodia, Juan T. 75 76 66 75 76 60 77 76 72.35
MRD- Añosa, Pablo S. 76 78 63 75 74 61 75 79 71.6
110.
111. Antiola, Anastacio R. 68 76 75 70 71 70 81 66 73.05
112. Aquino, S. Rey A. 70 71 71 60 74 62 76 77 71.1
113. Atienza, Manuel G. 71 78 68 80 86 51 82 75 73.85
114. Avanceña, Alfonso 71 71 65 75 70 72 78 80 71.8
MRD- Balacuit, Camilo N. 75 73 75 70 72 65 75 76 73.25
115.
116. Barinaga, Jeremias L. 68 69 73 70 74 50 80 79 71.2
MRD- Barrientos, Ambrosio D. 76 60 67 55 74 63 77 62 70.25
117.
MRD- Benitez, Tomas P. 67 75 75 60 73 72 75 78 72.2
118.
119. Biason, Sixto F. 73 82 67 65 66 72 77 68 71.25
MRD- Briñas, Isagani A. 71 69 74 70 76 52 79 72 71.95
120.
121. Buela, Arcadio P. 72 77 61 70 71 58 79 71 69.75
122. Cabilao, Leonardo S. 73 50 75 75 75 60 71 79 71.25
123. Cabrera, Ireneo M. 75 66 70 65 72 81 70 79 72.4
124. Cacacho, Emilio V.
125. Calilung, Soledad C. 64 73 73 80 73 57 75 59 69.65
MRD- Calimlim, Jose B. 64 73 73 80 73 57 75 59 69.65
126.
127. Calimlim, Pedro B. 66 82 69 60 69 52 83 75 70
128. Camello, Sotero H. 70 77 63 65 75 66 84 64 71.55
129. Campos, Juan A. 71 88 70 75 64 69 71 62 70.15
130. Castillo, Antonio del 78 78 70 60 79 67 69 76 72.65
MRD- Castillo, Dominador Ad. 75 61 72 75 74 71 67 66 71.1
131.
MRD- Castro, Jesus B. 72 86 72 75 65 75 76 71 72.85
132.
133. Casuga, Bienvenido B. 75 72 72 70 69 61 75 60 70.95
134. Cabangbang, Santiago 77 67 61 80 73 59 83 76 72.2
B.
135. Cruz, Federico S. 69 74 75 75 68 65 76 70 71.65
136. Dacanay, Eufemio P. 70 73 62 75 72 69 85 71 72.05
137. Deysolong, Felisberto 66 62 72 75 70 62 83 62 70.85
MRD- Dimaano, Jr., Jose N. 78 79 63 75 73 75 81 59 73.5
138.
139. Espinosa, Domingo L. 78 63 58 70 70 67 87 63 71.6
MRD- Farol, Evencia C. 80 78 66 75 81 72 62 73 72.25
140.
141. Felix, Conrado S. 71 71 75 65 70 58 75 69 70.75
142. Fernan, Pablo L. 67 88 66 85 73 68 78 75 72.35
143. Gandioco, Salvador G. 64 58 66 65 76 70 89 75 72.1
144. Gastardo, Crispin B. 70 69 68 75 78 66 86 72 73.9
145. Genson, Angelo B. 75 57 73 65 67 54 78 56 69.55
146. Guiani, Guinald M. 68 60 75 65 74 67 75 77 71.5
147. Guina, Graciano P. 66 69 67 60 78 52 83 61 69.6
MRD- Homeres, Praxedes P. 74 74 75 75 71 69 75 71 73.35
148.
149. Ibarra, Venancio M. 60 75 74 70 74 70 80 75 71.9
150. Imperial, Monico L. 72 78 75 75 72 56 82 77 73.7
MRD- Ibasco, Jr., Emiliano M. 71 70 63 85 71 60 85 53 70.85
151.
152. Inandan, Fortunato C. 77 77 67 53 73 75 79 57 72.5
153. Jimenez, Florencio C. 75 70 70 75 72 61 75 78 72.05
154. Kintanar, Woodrow M. 70 83 72 65 76 73 75 69 72.95
155. Languido, Cesar V. 63 71 63 85 70 61 85 79 70.55
156. Lavilles, Cesar L. 61 89 75 55 73 63 75 78 70.55
157. Llenos, Francisco U. 64 70 65 60 72 65 92 75 71.75
158. Leon, Marcelo D. de 63 73 60 85 75 75 90 70 72.75
159. Llanto, Priscilla 72 68 60 65 76 67 84 68 71.35
160. Machachor, Oscar 68 59 78 70 67 57 75 75 70.15
MRD- Magsino, Encarnacion 77 66 70 70 76 71 75 61 72.75
161.
MRD- Maligaya, Demetrio M. 70 61 75 65 75 50 91 51 72.3
162.
163. Manio, Gregorio 67 67 69 80 71 67 75 75 70.65
164. Puzon, Eduardo S. 72 82 60 60 69 70 68 72 62.05
MRD- Marcial, Meynardo R. 66 75 74 70 75 67 81 75 73.15
165.
166. Martin, Benjamin S. 68 72 63 75 69 63 84 62 70.1
MRD- Monterroyo, Catalina S. 70 80 75 80 76 66 82 51 73.95
167.
MRD- Montero, Leodegario C. 73 67 66 80 81 65 81 75 73.75
168.
169. Monzon, Candido T. 70 72 74 75 67 70 77 69 72.05
170. Natividad, Alberto M. 73 79 68 65 73 69 75 79 72.2
MRD- Navallo, Capistrano C. 70 72 68 85 81 66 71 74 72.1
171.
172. Nisce, Camilo Z. 66 66 75 65 79 68 85 62 73.5
MRD- Ocampo, Antonio F. de 75 81 76 65 74 67 75 69 73.75
173.
174. Olaviar, Jose O. 72 70 69 55 66 70 77 75 70.5
MRD- Perez, Cesario Z. 75 76 66 80 72 63 82 69 72.95
175.
176. Pogado, Causin O. 70 66 65 70 75 64 75 70 69.95
177. Ramos-Balmori, Manuela 75 73 62 65 78 59 75 66 70.2
178. Recinto, Ireneo I. 73 76 68 75 74 68 80 53 72.3
MRD- Redor, Francisco K. 62 77 73 75 69 64 76 69 70
179.
MRD- Regis, Deogracias A. 76 74 68 65 65 65 88 75 73.35
180.
181. Rigor, Estelita C. 67 78 61 80 71 77 79 65 70.9
MRD- Rimorin-Gordo, Estela 70 72 62 60 88 66 67 79 70.15
182.
183. Rosario, Prisco del 70 64 70 70 72 73 85 57 72.65
184. Rosario, Vicente D. del 75 91 65 75 68 68 79 62 72.2
185. Saavedra, Felipe 73 80 63 75 76 73 68 62 70.35
186. Salazar, Alfredo N. 66 72 73 75 67 68 77 69 70.85
187. Salem, Romulo R. 77 81 72 65 73 60 76 75 73
188. Foz, Julita A. 75 72 75 75 65 70 76 64 72.5
189. Santa Ana, Candido T. 77 69 65 75 81 75 70 75 73
190. Santos, Aquilino 72 66 69 65 68 70 81 71 71.7
191. Santos, Valeriano V. 76 72 75 75 68 62 76 79 73.1
192. Suico, Samuel 73 79 72 75 71 59 84 65 73.3
193. Suson, Teodorico 74 68 66 80 66 59 79 67 70.35
194. Tado, Florentino P. 64 76 67 65 76 72 76 53 69.7
195. Tapayan, Domingo A. 69 72 69 70 76 73 82 79 73.75
MRD- 67 60 71 75 79 67 84 60 72.7
Tiausas, Miguel V.
196.
197. Torres, Carlos P. 68 71 71 70 70 63 82 71 71.6
198. Tria, Hipolito 69 72 75 60 69 54 78 66 70.05
199. Velasco, Avelino A. 65 72 75 75 71 67 78 76 72.1
200. Villa, Francisco C. 65 80 73 75 68 79 65 75 70.2
201. Villagonzalo, Job R. 78 67 74 65 72 51 69 71 70.25
202. Villarama, Jr., Pedro 75 74 75 55 75 66 67 75 71.45
1952
203. Abacon, Pablo 75 72 78 81 78 72 64 55 72.7
MRP- Abad, Agapito 73 76 73 85 75 63 62 75 70.95
204.
MRP- Abella, Ludovico B. 70 81 76 81 70 66 77 58 72.7
205.
MRP- Abellera, Geronimo F. 75 79 79 87 76 51 63 70 71.7
206.
MRP- Abenojar, Agapito N. 71 72 78 84 70 75 69 70 72.9
207.
208. Alandy, Doroteo R. 64 83 93 91 68 59 60 60 71.2
209. Alano, Fabian T. 70 83 61 83 72 87 72 70 71.9
MRP- Alcantara, Pablo V. 71 79 80 81 73 70 72 62 73.65
210.
211. Arcangel, Agustin Ag. 75 85 71 73 76 65 68 65 71.85
212. Acosta, Dionisio N. 75 81 78 87 56 65 77 70 72.8
MRP- Abinguna, Agapito C. 66 85 80 84 75 58 76 75 73.65
213.
214. Adove, Nehemias C. 76 86 78 77 66 78 69 62 73.55
215. Adrias, Inocencio C. 75 83 61 88 76 67 79 75 73.4
216. Aglugub, Andres R. 75 83 73 88 72 62 72 62 72.65
217. Andrada, Mariano L. 76 85 66 87 63 77 75 77 73.
MRP- Almeda, Serafin V. 72 72 75 81 61 67 73 65 70.75
218.
219. Almonte-Peralta, 73 71 72 91 75 67 65 53 70.7
Felicidad
MRP- Amodia, Juan T. 75 79 68 85 62 64 75 78 71.4
220.
MRP- Antonio, Felino A. 71 76 81 83 79 52 72 70 73.3
221.
MRP- Antonio, Jose S. 75 92 90 68 65 64 68 60 73.75
222.
223. Añonuevo, Ramos B. 71 87 78 81 64 63 74 76 72.7
224. Aquino, S. Rey A. 67 77 57 78 69 70 69 80 67.7
225. Arteche, Filomeno D. 78 83 50 89 76 77 70 70 70.8
MRP- Arribas, Isaac M. 75 78 70 81 73 70 67 78 72.2
226.
MRP- Azucena, Ceferino D. 72 67 78 89 72 67 77 65 73.95
227.
228. Atienza, Ricardo 72 87 70 79 66 55 75 75 70.85
229. Balacuit, Camilo N. 75 78 89 75 70 54 66 75 73.3
MRP- Baclig, Cayetano S. 77 84 83 80 69 70 61 65 73
230.
231. Balcita, Oscar C. 75 77 79 90 64 60 67 50 70.65
232. Barilea, Dominador Z. 71 67 82 77 64 61 65 80 70.5
MRP- Banta, Jose Y. 75 80 77 81 75 63 71 75 73.95
233.
MRP- Barrientos, Ambrosio D. 76 70 67 80 67 65 70 81 70.7
234.
235. Batucan, Jose M. 66 76 78 88 62 76 67 78 71.2
236. Bautista, Atilano C. 70 82 84 85 58 61 71 62 71.25
237. Bautista, Celso J. 71 68 63 87 80 67 80 70 72.75
238. Belderon, Jose 76 81 76 92 70 66 67 62 72.65
MRP- Belo, Victor B. 76 77 64 73 75 71 76 76 72.85
239.
MRP- Bejec, Conceso D. 79 80 73 82 63 77 75 50 73.15
240.
MRP- Beltran, Gervasio M. 72 75 81 73 75 57 75 80 73.95
241.
MRP- Benaojan, Robustiano O. 74 84 77 84 75 63 68 62 72.85
242.
MRP- Beriña, Roger C. 70 80 79 79 68 72 64 78 71.85
243.
MRP- Bihis, Marcelo M. 75 86 65 92 64 64 84 75 73.45
244.
MRP- Binaoro, Vicente M. 73 69 78 83 73 59 70 82 72.75
245.
MRP- Bobila, Rosalio B. 76 86 76 83 68 59 71 78 73.05
246.
247. Buenafe, Avelina R. 78 80 75 75 70 55 72 80 72.75
248. Bueno, Anastacio F. 73 78 71 78 71 67 71 60 71.15
249. Borres, Maximino L. 67 85 62 91 72 63 76 80 70.9
MRP- Cabegin, Cesar V. 72 71 76 75 74 70 71 60 72.2
250.
MRP- Cabello, Melecio F. 72 78 78 89 58 70 67 71 70.5
251.
MRP- Cabrera, Irineo M. 79 88 53 91 71 85 75 76 73.3
252.
253. Cabreros, Paulino N. 71 79 83 84 60 62 71 50 70.85
254. Calayag, Florentino R. 69 79 66 88 69 75 68 76 70.6
MRP- Calzada, Cesar de la 76 72 80 67 62 71 66 62 70.85
255.
256. Canabal, Isabel 70 82 81 77 78 51 75 75 73.7
MRP- Cabugao, Pablo N. 76 87 69 80 58 64 78 75 71.8
257.
258. Calañgi, Mateo C. 73 93 71 87 70 66 69 62 71.8
259. Canda, Benjamin S. 72 71 77 90 62 75 66 82 71.95
260. Cantoria, Eulogio 71 80 71 89 70 55 72 75 71
261. Capacio, Jr., Conrado 67 78 71 90 65 75 72 60 70.65
262. Capitulo, Alejandro P. 75 70 53 87 78 63 76 91 71.2
MRP- Calupitan, Jr., Alfredo 75 93 81 76 64 75 68 56 73.15
263.
MRP- Caluya, Arsenio V. 75 86 70 87 77 52 77 82 73.9
264.
MRP- Campanilla, Mariano B. 80 75 78 77 73 71 63 76 73.65
265.
MRP- Campos, Juan A. 66 85 83 84 67 61 80 57 73.25
266.
267. Cardoso, Angelita G. 78 71 73 76 79 56 69 60 71.8
268. Cartagena, Herminio R. 71 72 65 89 64 73 80 70 71.65
MRP- Castro, Daniel T. 65 75 77 76 85 60 75 69 73.15
269.
270. Cauntay, Gaudencio V. 70 78 72 73 77 69 64 80 71.2
271. Castro, Pedro L. de 70 68 69 87 76 75 72 70 73.35
272. Cerio, Juan A. 75 82 75 86 60 54 76 75 71.75
273. Colorado, Alfonso R. 68 75 80 74 77 66 67 80 72.6
274. Chavez, Doroteo M. 73 65 79 84 73 69 66 84 73.1
275. Chavez, Honorato A. 77 76 79 86 74 53 71 75 73.65
MRP- Cobangbang, Orlando B. 69 81 74 82 76 61 78 80 73.85
276.
277. Cortez, Armando R. 78 60 88 86 60 66 69 64 73.1
278. Crisostomo, Jesus L. 76 87 74 76 62 55 76 66 71.45
MRP- Cornejo, Crisanto R. 68 87 78 86 79 50 80 60 73.7
279.
MRP- Cruz, Raymundo 75 81 79 85 72 57 68 75 72.95
280.
MRP- Cunanan, Jose C. 78 92 63 83 76 72 68 65 72.4
281.
282. Cunanan, Salvador F. 70 82 64 92 67 75 73 76 71.45
283. Cimafranca, Agustin B. 71 76 76 80 70 71 75 71 73.35
284. Crisol, Getulio R. 70 91 78 85 68 55 71 50 70.8
MRP- Dusi, Felicisimo R. 76 82 69 82 66 62 80 71 72.85
285.
MRP- Datu, Alfredo J. 70 75 72 86 80 55 68 79 71.5
286.
287. Dacuma, Luis B. 71 67 87 83 71 50 65 70 71.25
MRP- Degamo, Pedro R. 73 80 82 74 80 67 67 57 73.65
288.
289. Delgado, Vicente N. 70 84 82 84 77 52 73 50 72.65
MRP- Diolazo, Ernesto A. 75 83 86 73 54 54 75 75 72.25
290.
291. Dionisio, Jr., Guillermo 73 84 64 89 71 78 75 66 72.8
MRP- Dichoso, Alberto M. 71 77 71 81 69 75 80 70 73.65
292.
MRP- Dipasupil, Claudio R. 70 76 82 73 79 70 72 56 73.9
293.
MRP- Delgado, Abner 75 84 63 67 64 60 70 72 68.35
294.
MRP- Domingo, Dominador T. 70 69 81 82 68 63 71 75 72.2
295.
296. Ducusin, Agapito B. 70 78 53 88 75 77 62 76 68.05
MRP- Duque, Antonio S. 75 77 78 86 76 72 64 75 73.9
297.
298. Duque, Castulo 75 80 73 83 66 67 65 66 70.65
299. Ebbah, Percival B. 70 80 85 76 66 63 76 75 73.95
300. Edisa, Sulpicio 65 77 75 89 75 62 75 65 72
301. Edradan, Rosa C. 70 75 84 84 71 59 69 86 73.4
MRP- Enage, Jacinto N. 66 70 88 93 72 67 65 75 73.2
302.
MRP- Encarnacion, Alfonso B. 75 86 73 81 63 77 69 75 72.65
303.
304. Encarnacion, Cesar 65 78 58 68 66 64 75 78 67.1
305. Estoista, Agustin A. 78 76 74 86 58 67 70 76 71.7
MRP- Fabros, Jose B. 66 75 80 82 80 71 67 70 73.05
306.
MRP- Fajardo, Balbino P. 77 69 82 83 65 60 75 75 73.9
307.
308. Fajardo, Genaro P. 70 79 77 79 79 50 73 75 72.5
309. Evangelista, Felicidad P. 75 75 72 87 63 63 77 70 72.15
310. Familara, Raymundo Z. 68 75 87 83 64 65 68 65 71.85
311. Fariñas, Dionisio 70 78 89 66 65 75 70 50 72.75
312. Favila, Hilario B. 71 84 74 70 75 67 73 59 72.2
MRP- Feliciano, Alberto I. 71 69 70 85 69 81 72 70 72.25
313.
MRP- Fernando, Lope F. 73 77 86 79 70 76 64 50 73
314.
MRP- Flores, Dionisio S. 78 72 77 83 67 60 68 73 72.05
315.
MRP- Fortich, Benjamin B. 70 82 70 70 78 65 64 75 70.35
316.
MRP- Fuente, Jose S. de la 76 88 72 74 60 71 79 79 73.55
317.
318. Fohmantes, Nazario S. 72 79 71 77 68 61 76 60 70.9
MRP- Fuggan, Lorenzo B. 76 81 74 69 71 71 73 60 72.85
319.
320. Gabuya, Jesus S. 70 83 82 83 70 63 75 65 73.75
321. Galang, Victor N. 69 83 84 76 70 57 71 60 71.95
322. Gaerlan, Manuel L. 73 87 77 90 67 61 72 75 73.15
323. Galem, Nestor R. 72 79 86 78 60 61 75 70 73.05
324. Gallardo, Jose Pe B. 75 88 75 75 63 70 70 65 71.85
MRP- Gallos, Cirilo B. 70 78 84 91 80 51 65 70 72.85
325.
326. Galindo, Eulalio D. 70 89 87 65 78 71 62 62 73.4
327. Galman, Patrocinio G. 72 72 80 85 71 56 70 53 71.15
328. Gamalinda, Carlos S. 76 79 81 86 67 63 69 55 72.55
329. Gamboa, Antonio G. 71 67 70 72 76 60 75 68 70.95
330. Gannod, Jose A. 69 80 75 81 68 62 73 68 71.25
MRP- Garcia, Matias N. 67 78 74 90 79 59 76 65 72.8
331.
MRP- Ganete, Carmelo 75 87 77 82 74 57 68 81 73.3
332.
333. Gilbang, Gaudioso R. 75 67 80 82 67 57 64 70 70.5
334. Gofredo, Claro C. 68 78 72 86 78 52 70 76 70.9
335. Gomez, Jose S. 71 76 71 81 76 63 69 62 70.85
MRP- Gosiaoco, Lorenzo V. 68 93 85 78 64 69 70 54 72.35
336.
MRP- Gonzales, Rafael C. 77 75 71 89 55 70 70 60 70.05
337.
MRP- Gracia, Eulalia L. de 66 68 90 84 77 59 69 65 73.3
338.
339. Grageda, Jose M. A. 70 85 72 67 70 60 73 73 70.75
340. Guzman, Juan de 75 86 69 84 64 79 75 76 73.6
MRP- Guzman, Mateo de 76 79 79 73 72 69 68 80 73.9
341.
342. Guzman, Salvador B. 71 61 74 72 61 66 78 75 70.75
343. Guzman, Salvador T. de 75 84 64 81 74 61 78 58 71.75
344. Habelito, Geronimo E. 71 76 71 87 73 60 67 55 69.65
345. Hedriana, Naterno G. 75 68 84 76 66 58 76 60 72.9
346. Hernandez, Quintin B. 67 75 72 81 72 72 66 76 70.6
1952
347. Homeres, Agustin R. 73 84 65 86 70 77 63 76 70.7
348. Ines, Leonilo F. 65 88 71 88 77 73 61 70 70.55
349. Jamer, Alipio S. 68 75 83 89 80 61 65 50 72
MRP- Ibasco, Jr., Emiliano M. 75 65 68 85 76 70 83 54 73.8
350.
MRP- Jardinico, Jr., Emilio 73 86 72 78 82 67 67 64 72.8
351.
MRP- Jaen, Justiniano F. 76 75 78 84 71 66 70 77 73.85
352.
353. Jaring, Antonio S. 72 77 79 70 72 57 71 50 70.75
MRP- Javier, Aquilino M. 75 84 79 78 77 61 66 66 73.05
354.
355. Jomuad, Francisco 75 75 72 88 78 58 76 43 72.4
MRP- Jose, Nestor L. 78 61 64 73 68 76 64 80 69.7
356.
357. La Q, Jose M. 75 71 75 72 70 67 81 59 73.5
358. Leon, Brigido C. de 67 75 78 91 78 51 72 80 72.55
359. Leones, Constante B. 68 81 79 84 73 60 77 60 73
360. Liboro, Horacio T. 72 69 80 87 73 62 70 61 72.4
361. Llanera, Cesar L. 77 81 80 78 64 59 75 63 73
362. Lomontod, Jose P. 75 76 69 70 73 76 74 75 73.2
363. Luna, Lucito 70 75 69 83 59 53 74 75 68.4
MRP- Luz, Lauro L. 76 90 78 88 64 58 75 77 73.95
364.
MRP- Macasaet, Tomas S. 73 81 72 83 66 75 72 70 72.5
365.
366. Magbiray, Godofredo V. 80 67 84 76 70 62 65 68 73.05
367. Majarais, Rodolfo P. 70 62 64 82 88 75 71 79 72.85
MRP- Makabenta, Eduardo 75 90 77 83 59 71 72 78 73.3
368.
MRP- Malapit, Justiniano S. 74 83 74 89 58 60 72 76 71.1
369.
370. Maloles, Iluminado M. 70 87 73 76 77 50 76 76 72.3
371. Maniquis, Daniel R. 75 80 73 91 69 71 65 70 72.1
372. Maraña, Arsenio 65 79 60 72 73 51 75 86 67.9
373. Marasigan, Napoleon 75 71 83 75 69 62 69 70 72.75
MRP- Marco, Jaime P. 75 67 74 76 64 75 75 57 71.9
374.
MRP- Martir, Osmundo P. 70 86 76 78 72 71 75 53 72.95
375.
MRP- Masancay, Amando E. 73 87 75 77 72 50 78 80 73.2
376.
MRP- Mati-ong, Ignacio T. 62 87 72 79 73 76 69 77 71.3
377.
378. Mara, Guillermo L. 70 78 78 89 75 67 66 65 72.35
MRP- Mercado, Felipe A. 73 77 82 82 78 52 69 85 73.9
379.
MRP- Miculob, Eugenio P. 70 82 73 86 77 52 79 65 72.8
380.
381. Mison, Rafael M. Jr., 79 78 73 75 71 68 69 53 71.95
MRP- Monponbanua, Antonio 79 79 68 88 64 78 69 83 73.1
382. D.
MRP- Montero, Leodegario C. 72 89 69 89 70 68 70 75 72.15
383.
384. Morada, Servillano S. 75 76 67 71 65 66 75 76 70.9
385. Mocorro, Generoso 78 84 78 84 60 73 68 70 73
MRP- Mosquera, Estanislao L. 75 78 75 85 72 55 77 66 73.15
386.
387. Motus, Rodentor P. 80 78 70 94 72 75 70 57 73.75
388. Macario, Pedro R. 70 67 74 86 78 63 72 66 72.15
MRP- Nadela, Geredion T. 72 64 64 81 73 50 75 75 69.15
389.
MRP- Nazareno, Romeo P. 67 70 71 76 76 79 75 57 72.05
390.
391. Nieto, Benedicto S. 69 79 77 77 72 62 76 76 72.9
MRP- Noguera, Raymundo 71 86 81 80 73 56 72 70 73.15
392.
MRP- Nodado, Domiciano R. 70 70 69 73 57 37 64 72 63.6
393.
394. Nono, Pacifico G. 67 77 78 67 75 59 71 76 71.35
MRP- Nuval, Manuel R. 78 72 67 90 72 68 78 67 73.65
395.
396. Ocampo, Augusto 75 90 77 72 69 55 65 67 60.7
397. Oliveros, Amado A. 72 75 68 72 84 50 75 79 71.9
398. Opiña, Jr., Pedro 76 77 74 67 73 66 68 70 71.85
MRP- Olaviar, Jose O. 70 62 85 81 74 50 68 79 71.8
399.
MRP- Olandesca, Per O. 70 91 76 87 72 66 70 79 73.45
400.
401. Orden, Apolonio J. 72 65 84 86 66 50 72 68 71.45
402. Ortiz, Melencio T. 71 75 78 81 66 67 70 78 72.1
MRP- Pablo, Fedelino S. 72 64 76 86 72 61 76 75 72.95
403.
404. Pacifico, Vicente V. 76 79 69 80 76 52 72 80 71.95
MRP- Paderna, Perfecto D. 75 69 72 75 78 58 75 70 72.6
405.
406. Padlan, Crispin M. 71 66 76 79 68 67 74 66 71.65
407. Padilla, Jose C. 70 65 67 82 78 75 78 75 73.3
408. Padilla, Jr., Estanislao E. 71 88 78 86 59 75 78 50 72.95
MRP- Palma, Bartolome 67 81 80 82 71 75 69 75 73.25
409.
MRP- Papa, Angel A. 75 72 85 85 77 59 63 71 73.45
410.
MRP- Parayno, Mario V. 71 88 74 89 69 66 76 73 73.65
411.
412. Pariña, Santos L. 70 87 85 77 64 67 63 76 71.85
MRP- Pasion, Anastacio 63 80 68 81 82 79 76 58 72.55
413.
414. Pastrana, Rizal R. 69 76 71 76 68 63 77 83 71.65
MRP- Paulin, Jose O. 70 66 80 87 75 50 65 80 70.9
415.
MRP- Pelaez, Jr., Vicente C. 79 87 73 83 69 71 68 65 73.2
416.
417. Peña, Jesus 75 75 75 62 75 70 60 66 70.4
418. Perez, Toribio R. 71 64 81 92 69 58 67 70 71.25
419. Pestaño, Melquiades 77 81 74 87 59 68 76 75 73.2
MRP- Pido, Serafin C. 77 81 72 82 69 71 60 75 71.15
420.
421. Pinlac, Filemon 67 76 74 86 65 79 65 72 70.55
422. Poblete, Celso B. 72 79 82 76 66 64 74 50 72.15
MRP- Piza, Luz 68 70 75 87 74 67 64 75 70.8
423.
424. Puzon, Eduardo S. 72 80 81 69 72 53 67 70 71.05
425. Quetulio, Josefina D. 75 90 60 93 64 78 76 83 72.9
MRP- Quipanes, Melchor V. 69 88 79 82 65 62 71 66 71.55
426.
MRP- Quietson, Bayani R. 73 75 76 77 70 81 71 53 72.85
427.
428. Racho, Macario D. 68 75 81 82 78 53 66 54 70.55
429. Ramirez, Sabas P. 71 80 73 87 62 62 75 80 71.65
MRP- Raffiñan, Jose A. 80 83 79 79 62 72 68 65 73.25
430.
MRP- Ramos, Patricio S. 75 87 76 75 72 72 61 75 72.25
431.
MRP- Ramos-Balmori, Manuela 78 84 76 90 48 75 80 65 73.45
432.
MRP- Raro, Celso 75 81 76 67 75 77 55 77 71.4
433.
MRP- Rayos, Victor S. 75 86 79 91 71 67 67 70 73.9
434.
435. Revilla, Mariano S. 75 78 81 90 70 54 69 81 73.35
436. Reyes, Abdon L. 72 64 81 78 76 73 69 53 72.85
437. Reyes, Domingo B. 72 87 78 83 72 75 62 70 72.7
438. Reyes, Francisco M. 75 85 84 68 75 71 68 50 73.9
439. Reyes, Lozano M. 80 57 78 79 78 65 64 79 73.35
MRP- Reyes, Oscar R. 75 75 82 82 76 64 68 60 73.65
440.
441. Rigonan, Cesar V. 71 85 65 86 75 70 76 70 72.7
442. Rivera, Honorio 71 56 70 90 71 65 75 71 71.2
MRP- Rivero, Buenaventura A. 72 88 72 94 68 73 66 80 72.6
443.
MRP- Robles, Enrique 75 77 75 77 82 64 69 70 73.7
444.
445. Rodriguez, Orestes 76 75 76 63 69 77 65 78 72.25
Arellano
446. Roldan, Jose V. 67 80 79 83 73 71 75 70 73.9
447. Rosario, Adelaida R. del 80 75 65 70 68 72 80 70 73.15
448. Rosario, Restituto F. del 75 75 79 90 68 65 66 63 72.1
MRP- Sabelino, Conrado S. 71 81 69 75 77 71 75 70 72.95
449.
450. San Juan, Damaso 77 86 72 89 59 76 65 72 71.6
451. Sañiel, Felix L. 72 93 76 80 67 75 66 62 72.1
452. Samaniego, Jesus B. 75 80 76 72 60 67 68 70 70.6
MRP- Sandoval, Emmanuel M. 75 83 70 83 77 67 77 60 73.95
453.
MRP- Sanidad, Emmanuel Q. 71 75 81 90 62 64 76 68 72.95
454.
455. Santiago, Jr., Cristobal 75 76 84 93 63 65 59 70 71.8
456. Santillan, Juanito Ll. 76 89 83 83 63 58 65 52 71.25
MRP- Santos, Rodolfo C. 75 75 78 82 73 76 66 70 73.7
457.
MRP- Santos, Ruperto M. 67 54 69 76 63 64 71 60 66.75
458.
MRP- Santos, Aquilino C. 72 71 73 79 73 79 71 85 73.8
459.
MRP- Santos, Rufino A. 75 81 79 85 74 72 66 54 73.3
460.
461. Suanding, Bantas 75 67 67 92 79 59 76 76 73.1
MRP- Sulit, Feliz M. 76 79 76 78 72 75 68 67 73.5
462.
463. Songco, Felicisimo G. 70 68 82 84 60 69 76 65 73.35
464. Soriano, Aniceto S. 64 79 77 80 80 53 70 65 70.7
465. Suarez, Pablo D. 73 85 70 87 76 70 64 70 71.9
MRP- Sybico, Jesus L. 79 70 70 72 75 75 72 60 73.05
466.
467. Tabaque, Benjamin R. 69 68 77 79 74 68 72 60 71.85
MRP- Tan Kiang, Clarita 81 79 72 80 62 75 73 80 73.95
468.
MRP- Tando, Amado T. 71 82 78 83 71 61 71 60 72
469.
470. Tasico, Severo E. 71 69 75 89 70 75 67 63 71.65
471. Tiburcio, Ismael P. 73 82 72 93 76 57 68 54 71.15
MRP- Tiongson, Federico T. 70 70 76 84 77 75 75 50 73.45
472.
MRP- Tolentino, Jesus C. 75 89 63 84 85 73 73 50 73.4
473.
474. Torrijas, Alfredo A. 77 66 67 83 68 75 71 63 71.3
MRP- Tobias, Artemio M. 69 58 74 81 71 55 65 57 67.55
475.
MRP- Trillana, Jr., Apolonio 76 86 76 86 70 68 75 50 73.8
476.
MRP- Trinidad, Manuel O. 66 91 83 75 63 66 67 65 70.8
477.
478. Trinidad, Pedro O. 66 78 78 85 78 51 64 75 70.8
MRP- Udarbe, Flavio J. 80 82 77 82 67 56 68 75 72.6
479.
480. Umali, Osmundo C. 68 75 81 80 71 69 68 60 71.7
481. Umayam, Juanito C. 77 75 87 85 56 56 66 60 71
MRP- Usita, Gelacio U. 75 72 75 74 73 76 71 70 73.55
482.
483. Valino, Francisco M. 72 81 80 84 62 78 71 75 73.7
484. Varela, Dominador M. 67 75 81 86 72 57 81 70 73.85
485. Vega, Macairog L. de 78 62 79 87 70 70 71 65 73.8
MRP- Velasco, Emmanuel D. 71 80 74 85 60 66 76 76 71.85
486.
487. Velez, Maria E. 73 70 89 80 56 50 72 67 71.05
MRP- Venal, Artemio V. 78 91 58 67 76 55 75 73 73.65
488.
489. Venus, Conrado B. 69 81 74 85 62 66 72 77 77.05
MRP- Verzosa, Federico B. 75 79 72 88 76 68 74 59 73.7
490.
MRP- Villafuerte, Eduardo V. 75 83 70 76 64 64 75 65 71.2
491.
MRP- Villanueva, Cecilio C. 75 85 79 88 66 77 67 70 73.95
492.
493. Villar, Custodio R. 73 69 70 88 76 66 69 50 70.75
MRP- Villaseñor, Leonidas F. 80 85 67 77 62 75 76 73 73.15
494.
495. Viterbo, Jose H. 80 77 65 93 70 65 65 65 70.65
496. Yaranon, Pedro 70 77 76 85 72 50 75 75 71.85
MRP- Yasay, Mariano R. 75 75 72 76 63 77 70 60 71.1
497.
MRP- Ygay, Venancio M. 73 80 83 84 62 59 72 77 72.65
498.
499. Yulo, Jr., Teodoro 73 82 78 75 60 81 75 75 73.95
500. Zamora, Alberto 70 65 76 79 62 77 69 82 71.3
501. Rigonan, Felipe C. 70 79 69 89 76 62 71 64 71.2

A list of those who petitioned for the consolidation of their grades in subjects passed in
previous examinations, showing the years in which they took the examinations together with
their grades and averages, and those who had filed motions for reconsideration which were
denied, indicated by the initials MRD, follows:

PETITIONERS UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 72

Civ. Land Merc. Int. Pol. Crim. Rem. Leg. Gen.


Av.
1. Amao, Sulpicio M.
1946 68 67 76 76 73 73 49 50 66.5
1950 59 80 67 77 62 80 71 57 67.4
2. Baldo, Olegario Ga.
1951 65 76 58 55 59 63 75 72 64.9
1952 65 68 75 84 72 59 73 57 69.75
1953 57 74 68 68 76 52 71 76 66.7
3. Blanco, Jose B.
MRD-1949 75 75 70 75 77 76 60 90 72.15
1951 64 71 58 65 68 70 75 71 66.95
4. Condeno, Mateo
1950 71 80 62 75 75 81 55 92 69.3
1951 70 60 61 65 77 64 67 81 67.85
5. Ducusin, Agapito B.
MRD-1949 69 70 76 73 76 71 55 60 68.65
1950 60 71 55 67 67 75 56 89 68.1
6. Garcia, Manuel N.
MRD-1949 60 70 82 79 70 69 60 80 69.25
1950 57 65 51 69 54 85 56 84 60.3
7. Luna, Lucito A.
1946 63 53 69 76 75 76 57 69 66.55
1952 70 75 69 83 59 53 74 75 68.4
8. Maraña, Arsenio s.
1949 72 68 68 75 75 72 60 75 69.35
1952 65 79 60 72 73 51 75 86 67.9
9. Montano, Manuel M.
1951 61 60 58 60 70 63 75 64 64.8
1952 70 77 65 79 66 52 70 50 66.4
1953 78 64 66 68 81 50 71 78 70.65
10. Peña, Jesus S.
1950 25 75 45 75 45 52 46 71 46.2
1951 70 77 65 79 66 52 70 50 66.4
1952 75 75 75 62 75 70 60 66 70.4
11. Placido, Sr., Isidro
1950 68 78 70 75 69 70 58 69 67.75
1951 65 62 75 60 73 57 75 71 66.8
12. Rementizo, Filemon S.
1949 65 75 72 75 60 75 55 85 66.65
1951 68 57 48 60 91 66 55 75 64.05
1952 68 53 68 67 58 56 75 64 65.7
13. Amao, Sulpicio M.
1952 67 80 51 69 69 77 73 53 66.35
1953 65 67 78 74 75 62 69 80 70.9
14. Rodulfa, Juan T.
1951 67 60 70 65 68 56 75 66 67.75
1952 70 71 67 78 67 75 71 70 70.1
15. Sanchez, Juan J.
1948 39 69 82 75 76 72 55 50 63.5
MRD-1949 67 56 69 75 72 77 60 75 68
1951 70 59 55 60 68 57 78 67 65.8
16. Santos, Constantino
1952 62 76 54 82 72 77 66 65 66.65
1953 73 71 70 65 78 64 65 78 70.4
17. Santos, Salvador H.
1951 60 64 55 70 68 52 70 75 62.85
1952 75 64 70 81 76 55 61 75 69.1
1953 70 71 79 65 72 54 66 80 70
18. Sevilla, Macario C.
MRD-1948 50 64 76 66 66 69 60 52 63.1
MRD-1949 47 66 78 64 71 86 65 85 68
1950 35 65 40 75 63 57 27 49 45
MRD-1951 68 59 72 55 69 65 75 75 69.3
1953 70 73 74 70 81 56 69 71 71.05

Finally, with regards to the examinations of 1953, while some candidates--85 in all--presented
motions for reconsideration of their grades, others invoked the provisions of Republic Act No. 972. A
list of those candidates separating those who filed mere motions for reconsideration (56) from those
who invoked the aforesaid Republic act, is as follows:

1953 PETITIONERS FOR RECONSIDERATION

Civ. Land Merc. Int. Pol. Crim. Rem. Leg. Gen.


Av.
1. Acenas, Calixto R. 73 70 68 62 82 51 67 77 73.45
2. Alcantara, Pedro N. 67 70 75 85 87 54 71 80 72.8
3. Alejandro, Exequiel 67 72 71 75 80 76 75 77 73.4
4. Andres, Gregorio M. 70 73 86 58 79 50 71 78 72.7
5. Arnaiz, Antonio E. 66 80 76 58 79 68 77 81 73.4
6. Asis, Floriano U. de 66 78 75 81 77 55 73 69 71.25
7. Bacaiso, Celestino M. 71 65 76 68 76 50 75 70 70.95
8. Bala, Florencio F. 64 82 47 70 82 58 75 82 67
9. Baldo, Olegario A. 57 74 68 68 76 52 71 76 66.7
10. Barrios, Benjamin O. 65 71 76 75 80 62 83 73 73.95
11. Buhay, Eduardo L. 73 76 71 91 76 61 74 78 73.35
12. Burgos, Dominador C. 72 80 89 61 66 37 69 68 70.05
13. Cariño, Eldo J. 79 81 60 75 74 74 76 74 73
14. Casar, Dimapuro 67 73 84 79 77 61 71 74 73.35
15. Castañeda, Gregorio 70 73 80 71 75 70 73 78 73.95
16. Estrellado, Benjamin R. 67 79 64 73 82 62 71 74 70.2
17. Fabunan, Edilberto C. 70 72 68 69 77 60 76 74 71.1
18. Feril, Domingo B. 75 71 84 65 70 60 65 70 71.6
19. Fernandez, Alejandro G. 65 75 87 80 81 63 61 80 72.8
20. Gapus, Rosita S. (Miss) 76 80 86 77 64 74 66 69 73.9
21. Garcia, Rafael B. 70 86 70 75 73 63 73 75 71.65
22. Gracia, Miguel L. de 73 68 75 59 80 51 72 71 71
23. Gungon, Armando G. 68 76 76 84 77 57 77 83 73.6
24. Gutierrez, Antonio S. 68 77 66 70 72 59 71 74 69.1
25. Ilejay, Abraham I. 77 70 76 77 81 62 70 68 73.7
26. Leon, Benjamin La. De 66 66 75 70 77 55 71 82 70.35
27. Lugtu, Felipe L. 62 70 78 65 78 56 69 81 69.9
28. Lukman, Abdul-Hamid 76 64 67 69 73 59 73 75 70.45
29. Maloles, Jr., Benjamin G. 77 76 68 68 71 51 75 78 70.85
30. Maloles, Julius G. 77 71 60 71 79 62 68 72 69.75
31. Mandi, Santiago P. 65 76 70 61 79 68 75 72 71.1
32. Margete, Rufino C. 70 76 66 75 85 73 71 75 72.75
33. Melocoton, Nestorio B. 70 81 73 78 83 52 72 75 72.35
34. Molina, Manuel C. 75 78 70 61 75 63 66 85 70.95
35. Muñoz, Mariano A. 75 80 86 67 74 57 68 76 73.75
36. Navarro, Buenaventura M. 80 75 65 75 83 55 73 79 73
37. Nodado, Domiciano R. 60 67 67 50 70 50 56 75 61.7
38. Papas, Sisenando B. 65 62 71 61 70 56 66 67 66
39. Pagulayan-Sy, Fernando 63 75 71 62 83 67 70 72 70.4
40. Padula, Benjamin C. 70 77 54 62 74 78 75 68 69.05
41. Pasno, Enrique M. 78 72 66 54 71 58 72 78 69.85
42. Peña, Jr., Narciso 70 95 81 78 67 66 67 73 72.55
43. Peralta, Rodolfo P. 70 70 52 81 68 63 59 69 63.7
44. Pigar, Leopoldo R. 76 75 78 61 72 72 71 79 73.75
45. Publico, Paciano L. 68 69 76 76 70 59 74 67 70.6
46. Radaza, Leovigildo 75 78 76 61 77 50 71 86 72.2
47. Ramos, Bernardo M. 64 62 75 93 81 52 66 80 70.1
48. Rabaino, Andres D. 68 72 75 73 78 55 69 76 70.65
49. Ravanera, Oscar N. 70 77 80 71 82 62 69 78 73.6
50. Renovilla, Jose M. 65 75 80 68 79 52 62 78 69.5
51. Sabaot, Solomon B. 69 73 80 69 82 69 69 79 73.85
52. Sumaway, Ricardo S. 66 76 69 76 74 56 72 68 69.1
53. Torrefiel, Sofronio O. 70 77 74 75 73 50 68 72 69.55
54. Vera, Federico V. de 60 61 47 77 69 50 67 77 60.9
55. Viray, Venancio Bustos 65 67 67 52 73 64 71 65 67.15
56. Ylaya, Angela P. (Miss) 63 70 56 75 68 54 70 77 64.5

PETITIONERS UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972

Civ. Land Merc. Int. Pol. Crim. Rem. Leg. Gen.


Av.

1. Ala, Narciso 70 71 73 59 73 74 81 77 73.5


2. Alcantara, Pedro N. 67 70 75 85 87 54 71 80 72.8
3. Arellano, Antonio L. 74 66 73 60 78 63 78 72 72.9
4. Buhay, Eduardo L. 73 76 71 91 76 61 74 78 73.35
5. Calautit, Celestino R. 71 78 84 75 75 61 68 72 73.2
6. Casuncad, Sulvio P. 61 73 82 69 81 68 71 84 73.05
7. Enriquez, Pelagio y 84 69 76 75 82 50 58 79 72.05
Concepcion
8. Estonina, Severino 80 74 64 89 81 56 68 82 72.4
9. Fernandez, Alejandro Q. 65 75 87 80 81 63 61 80 72.8
10. Fernandez, Luis N. 70 75 77 75 78 67 72 73 73.35
11. Figueroa, Alfredo A. 70 75 87 78 75 50 68 68 72.3
12. Formilleza, Pedro 65 75 89 68 83 51 70 75 73.25
13. Garcia, Manuel M. 69 68 83 83 73 62 62 70 71
14. Grospe, Vicente E. 68 75 78 66 79 61 69 82 71.6
15. Galema, Nestor R. (1952) 72 79 86 78 60 61 75 70 73.05
16. Jacobo, Rafael F. 76 76 75 74 76 50 72 76 72.3
17. Macalindong, Reinerio L. 67 77 79 79 74 72 68 77 72.75
18. Mangubat, Antonio M. 70 70 78 61 80 74 62 70 71.45
19. Montano, Manuel M. 78 64 66 68 81 50 71 78 70.65
20. Plomantes, Marcos 73 67 74 58 68 70 76 71 71.6
21. Ramos, Eugenio R. 70 80 76 67 72 69 72 79 72.6
22. Reyes, Juan R. 71 73 77 76 81 59 72 74 73.2
23. Reyes, Santiago R. 65 78 83 60 76 75 70 70 72.9
24. Rivera, Eulogio J. 65 67 78 74 75 62 69 80 70.9
25. Santos, Constantino P. 73 71 70 65 78 64 65 78 70.4
26. Santos, Salvador H. 70 71 79 65 72 54 66 80 70
27. Sevilla, Macario C. 70 73 74 70 81 56 69 71 71.05
28. Villavicencio, Jose A. 78 75 70 67 69 77 64 77 73.2
29. Viray, Ruperto G. 76 73 76 73 80 58 68 83 73.25

There are the unsuccessful candidates totaling 604 directly affected by this resolution. Adding 490
candidates who have not presented any petition, they reach a total of 1,094.

The Enactment of Republic Act No. 972

As will be observed from Annex I, this Court reduced to 72 per cent the passing general average in
the bar examination of august and November of 1946; 69 per cent in 1947; 70 per cent in 1948; 74
per cent in 1949; maintaining the prescribed 75 per cent since 1950, but raising to 75 per cent those
who obtained 74 per cent since 1950. This caused the introduction in 1951, in the Senate of the
Philippines of Bill No. 12 which was intended to amend Sections 5, 9, 12, 14 and 16 of Rule 127 of
the Rules of Court, concerning the admission of attorneys-at-law to the practice of the profession.
The amendments embrace many interesting matters, but those referring to sections 14 and 16
immediately concern us. The proposed amendment is as follows:

SEC. 14. Passing average. — In order that a candidate may be deemed to have passed the
examinations successfully, he must have obtained a general average of 70 per cent without
falling below 50 per cent in any subject. In determining the average, the foregoing subjects
shall be given the following relative weights: Civil Law, 20 per cent; Land Registration and
Mortgages, 5 per cent; Mercantile Law, 15 per cent; Criminal Law, 10 per cent; Political Law,
10 per cent; International Law, 5 per cent; Remedial Law, 20 per cent; Legal Ethics and
Practical Exercises, 5 per cent; Social Legislation, 5 per cent; Taxation, 5 per cent.
Unsuccessful candidates shall not be required to take another examination in any subject in
which they have obtained a rating of 70 per cent or higher and such rating shall be taken into
account in determining their general average in any subsequent examinations: Provided,
however, That if the candidate fails to get a general average of 70 per cent in his third
examination, he shall lose the benefit of having already passed some subjects and shall be
required to the examination in all the subjects.

SEC. 16. Admission and oath of successful applicants. — Any applicant who has obtained a
general average of 70 per cent in all subjects without falling below 50 per cent in any
examination held after the 4th day of July, 1946, or who has been otherwise found to be
entitled to admission to the bar, shall be allowed to take and subscribe before the Supreme
Court the corresponding oath of office. (Arts. 4 and 5, 8, No. 12).

With the bill was an Explanatory Note, the portion pertinent to the matter before us being:

It seems to be unfair that unsuccessful candidates at bar examinations should be compelled


to repeat even those subjects which they have previously passed. This is not the case in any
other government examination. The Rules of Court have therefore been amended in this
measure to give a candidate due credit for any subject which he has previously passed with
a rating of 75 per cent or higher."

Senate Bill No. 12 having been approved by Congress on May 3, 1951, the President requested the
comments of this Tribunal before acting on the same. The comment was signed by seven Justices
while three chose to refrain from making any and one took no part. With regards to the matter that
interests us, the Court said:

The next amendment is of section 14 of Rule 127. One part of this amendment provides that
if a bar candidate obtains 70 per cent or higher in any subject, although failing to pass the
examination, he need not be examined in said subject in his next examination. This is a sort
of passing the Bar Examination on the installment plan, one or two or three subjects at a
time. The trouble with this proposed system is that although it makes it easier and more
convenient for the candidate because he may in an examination prepare himself on only one
or two subjects so as to insure passing them, by the time that he has passed the last
required subjects, which may be several years away from the time that he reviewed and
passed the firs subjects, he shall have forgotten the principles and theories contained in
those subjects and remembers only those of the one or two subjects that he had last
reviewed and passed. This is highly possible because there is nothing in the law which
requires a candidate to continue taking the Bar examinations every year in succession. The
only condition imposed is that a candidate, on this plan, must pass the examination in no
more that three installments; but there is no limitation as to the time or number of years
intervening between each examination taken. This would defeat the object and the
requirements of the law and the Court in admitting persons to the practice of law. When a
person is so admitted, it is to be presumed and presupposed that he possesses the
knowledge and proficiency in the law and the knowledge of all law subjects required in bar
examinations, so as presently to be able to practice the legal profession and adequately
render the legal service required by prospective clients. But this would not hold true of the
candidates who may have obtained a passing grade on any five subjects eight years ago,
another three subjects one year later, and the last two subjects the present year. We believe
that the present system of requiring a candidate to obtain a passing general average with no
grade in any subject below 50 per cent is more desirable and satisfactory. It requires one to
be all around, and prepared in all required legal subjects at the time of admission to the
practice of law.
xxx xxx xxx

We now come to the last amendment, that of section 16 of Rule 127. This amendment
provides that any application who has obtained a general average of 70 per cent in all
subjects without failing below 50 per cent in any subject in any examination held after the 4th
day of July, 1946, shall be allowed to take and subscribe the corresponding oath of office. In
other words, Bar candidates who obtained not less than 70 per cent in any examination since
the year 1946 without failing below 50 per cent in any subject, despite their non-admission to
the Bar by the Supreme Court because they failed to obtain a passing general average in
any of those years, will be admitted to the Bar. This provision is not only prospective but
retroactive in its effects.

We have already stated in our comment on the next preceding amendment that we are not
exactly in favor of reducing the passing general average from 75 per cent to 70 per cent to
govern even in the future. As to the validity of making such reduction retroactive, we have
serious legal doubts. We should not lose sight of the fact that after every bar examinations,
the Supreme Court passes the corresponding resolution not only admitting to the Bar those
who have obtained a passing general average grade, but also rejecting and denying the
petitions for reconsideration of those who have failed. The present amendment would have
the effect of repudiating, reversing and revoking the Supreme Court's resolution denying and
rejecting the petitions of those who may have obtained an average of 70 per cent or more
but less than the general passing average fixed for that year. It is clear that this question
involves legal implications, and this phase of the amendment if finally enacted into law might
have to go thru a legal test. As one member of the Court remarked during the discussion,
when a court renders a decision or promulgate a resolution or order on the basis of and in
accordance with a certain law or rule then in force, the subsequent amendment or even
repeal of said law or rule may not affect the final decision, order, or resolution already
promulgated, in the sense of revoking or rendering it void and of no effect.

Another aspect of this question to be considered is the fact that members of the bar are
officers of the courts, including the Supreme Court. When a Bar candidate is admitted to the
Bar, the Supreme Court impliedly regards him as a person fit, competent and qualified to be
its officer. Conversely, when it refused and denied admission to the Bar to a candidate who
in any year since 1946 may have obtained a general average of 70 per cent but less than
that required for that year in order to pass, the Supreme Court equally and impliedly
considered and declared that he was not prepared, ready, competent and qualified to be its
officer. The present amendment giving retroactivity to the reduction of the passing general
average runs counter to all these acts and resolutions of the Supreme Court and practically
and in effect says that a candidate not accepted, and even rejected by the Court to be its
officer because he was unprepared, undeserving and unqualified, nevertheless and in spite
of all, must be admitted and allowed by this Court to serve as its officer. We repeat, that this
is another important aspect of the question to be carefully and seriously considered.

The President vetoed the bill on June 16, 1951, stating the following:

I am fully in accord with the avowed objection of the bill, namely, to elevate the standard of
the legal profession and maintain it on a high level. This is not achieved, however, by
admitting to practice precisely a special class who have failed in the bar examination,
Moreover, the bill contains provisions to which I find serious fundamental objections.

Section 5 provides that any applicant who has obtained a general average of 70 per cent in
all subjects without failing below 50 per cent in any subject in any examination held after the
4th day of July, 1946, shall be allowed to take and subscribed the corresponding oath of
office. This provision constitutes class legislation, benefiting as it does specifically one group
of persons, namely, the unsuccessful candidates in the 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950
bar examinations.

The same provision undertakes to revoke or set aside final resolutions of the Supreme Court
made in accordance with the law then in force. It should be noted that after every bar
examination the Supreme Court passes the corresponding resolution not only admitting to
the Bar those who have obtained a passing general average but also rejecting and denying
the petitions for reconsideration of those who have failed. The provision under consideration
would have the effect of revoking the Supreme Court's resolution denying and rejecting the
petitions of those who may have failed to obtain the passing average fixed for that year. Said
provision also sets a bad precedent in that the Government would be morally obliged to grant
a similar privilege to those who have failed in the examinations for admission to other
professions such as medicine, engineering, architecture and certified public accountancy.

Consequently, the bill was returned to the Congress of the Philippines, but it was not repassed by
2/3 vote of each House as prescribed by section 20, article VI of the Constitution. Instead Bill No.
371 was presented in the Senate. It reads as follows:

AN ACT TO FIX THE PASSING MARKS FOR BAR EXAMINATIONS FROM 1946 UP TO
AND INCLUDING 1953

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress


assembled:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 14, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court,
any bar candidate who obtained a general average of 70 per cent in any bar examinations
after July 4, 1946 up to the August 1951 Bar examinations; 71 per cent in the 1952 bar
examinations; 72 per cent in the 1953 bar examinations; 73 per cent in the 1954 bar
examinations; 74 per cent in 1955 bar examinations without a candidate obtaining a grade
below 50 per cent in any subject, shall be allowed to take and subscribe the corresponding
oath of office as member of the Philippine Bar; Provided, however, That 75 per cent passing
general average shall be restored in all succeeding examinations; and Provided, finally, That
for the purpose of this Act, any exact one-half or more of a fraction, shall be considered as
one and included as part of the next whole number.

SEC. 2. Any bar candidate who obtained a grade of 75 per cent in any subject in any bar
examination after July 4, 1945 shall be deemed to have passed in such subject or subjects
and such grade or grades shall be included in computing the passing general average that
said candidate may obtain in any subsequent examinations that he may take.

SEC. 3. This bill shall take effect upon its approval.

With the following explanatory note:

This is a revised Bar bill to meet the objections of the President and to afford another
opportunity to those who feel themselves discriminated by the Supreme Court from 1946 to
1951 when those who would otherwise have passed the bar examination but were arbitrarily
not so considered by altering its previous decisions of the passing mark. The Supreme Court
has been altering the passing mark from 69 in 1947 to 74 in 1951. In order to cure the
apparent arbitrary fixing of passing grades and to give satisfaction to all parties concerned, it
is proposed in this bill a gradual increase in the general averages for passing the bar
examinations as follows; For 1946 to 1951 bar examinations, 70 per cent; for 1952 bar
examination, 71 per cent; for 1953 bar examination, 72 per cent; for 1954 bar examination,
73 percent; and for 1955 bar examination, 74 per cent. Thus in 1956 the passing mark will be
restored with the condition that the candidate shall not obtain in any subject a grade of below
50 per cent. The reason for relaxing the standard 75 per cent passing grade, is the
tremendous handicap which students during the years immediately after the Japanese
occupation has to overcome such as the insufficiency of reading materials and the
inadequacy of the preparation of students who took up law soon after the liberation. It is
believed that by 1956 the preparation of our students as well as the available reading
materials will be under normal conditions, if not improved from those years preceding the last
world war.

In this will we eliminated altogether the idea of having our Supreme Court assumed the
supervision as well as the administration of the study of law which was objected to by the
President in the Bar Bill of 1951.

The President in vetoing the Bar Bill last year stated among his objections that the bill would
admit to the practice of law "a special class who failed in the bar examination". He
considered the bill a class legislation. This contention, however, is not, in good conscience,
correct because Congress is merely supplementing what the Supreme Court have already
established as precedent by making as low as 69 per cent the passing mark of those who
took the Bar examination in 1947. These bar candidates for who this bill should be enacted,
considered themselves as having passed the bar examination on the strength of the
established precedent of our Supreme Court and were fully aware of the insurmountable
difficulties and handicaps which they were unavoidably placed. We believe that such
precedent cannot or could not have been altered, constitutionally, by the Supreme Court,
without giving due consideration to the rights already accrued or vested in the bar candidates
who took the examination when the precedent was not yet altered, or in effect, was still
enforced and without being inconsistent with the principles of their previous resolutions.

If this bill would be enacted, it shall be considered as a simple curative act or corrective
statute which Congress has the power to enact. The requirement of a "valid classification" as
against class legislation, is very expressed in the following American Jurisprudence:

A valid classification must include all who naturally belong to the class, all who possess a
common disability, attribute, or classification, and there must be a "natural" and substantial
differentiation between those included in the class and those it leaves untouched. When a
class is accepted by the Court as "natural" it cannot be again split and then have the
dissevered factions of the original unit designated with different rules established for each.
(Fountain Park Co. vs. Rensier, 199 Ind. 95, N. E. 465 (1926).

Another case penned by Justice Cardozo: "Time with its tides brings new conditions which
must be cared for by new laws. Sometimes the new conditions affect the members of a
class. If so, the correcting statute must apply to all alike. Sometimes the condition affect only
a few. If so, the correcting statute may be as narrow as the mischief. The constitution does
not prohibit special laws inflexibly and always. It permits them when there are special evils
with which the general laws are incompetent to cope. The special public purpose will sustain
the special form. . . . The problem in the last analysis is one of legislative policy, with a wide
margin of discretion conceded to the lawmakers. Only in the case of plain abuse will there be
revision by the court. (In Williams vs. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 286 U. S. 36, 77
L. Ed. 1015, 53 Sup. Ct. 431). (1932)
This bill has all the earmarks of a corrective statute which always retroacts to the extent of
the care of correction only as in this case from 1946 when the Supreme Court first deviated
from the rule of 75 per cent in the Rules of Court.

For the foregoing purposes the approval of this bill is earnestly recommended.

(Sgd.) PABLO ANGELES DAVID


Senator

Without much debate, the revised bill was passed by Congress as above transcribed. The President
again asked the comments of this Court, which endorsed the following:

Respectfully returned to the Honorable, the Acting Executive Secretary, Manila, with the
information that, with respect to Senate Bill No. 371, the members of the Court are taking the
same views they expressed on Senate Bill No. 12 passed by Congress in May, 1951,
contained in the first indorsement of the undersigned dated June 5, 1951, to the Assistant
Executive Secretary.

(Sgd.) RICARDO PARAS

The President allowed the period within which the bill should be signed to pass without vetoing it, by
virtue of which it became a law on June 21, 1953 (Sec. 20, Art. VI, Constitution) numbered 972
(many times erroneously cited as No. 974).

It may be mentioned in passing that 1953 was an election year, and that both the President and the
author of the Bill were candidates for re-election, together, however, they lost in the polls.

Separate Opinions

LABRADOR, J., concurring and dissenting:

The right to admit members to the Bar is, and has always been, the exclusive privilege of this Court,
because lawyers are members of the Court and only this Court should be allowed to determine
admission thereto in the interest of the principle of the separation of powers. The power to admit is
judicial in the sense that discretion is used in is exercise. This power should be distinguished from
the power to promulgate rules which regulate admission. It is only this power (to promulgate
amendments to the rules) that is given in the Constitution to the Congress, not the exercise of the
discretion to admit or not to admit. Thus the rules on the holding of examination, the qualifications of
applicants, the passing grades, etc. are within the scope of the legislative power. But the power to
determine when a candidate has made or has not made the required grade is judicial, and lies
completely with this Court.

I hold that the act under consideration is an exercise of the judicial function, and lies beyond the
scope of the congressional prerogative of amending the rules. To say that candidates who obtain a
general average of 72 per cent in 1953, 73 per cent in 1954, and 74 per cent in 1955 should be
considered as having passed the examination, is to mean exercise of the privilege and discretion
judged in this Court. It is a mandate to the tribunal to pass candidates for different years with grades
lower than the passing mark. No reasoning is necessary to show that it is an arrogation of the
Court's judicial authority and discretion. It is furthermore objectionable as discriminatory. Why should
those taking the examinations in 1953, 1954 and 1955 be allowed to have the privilege of a lower
passing grade, while those taking earlier or later are not?

I vote that the act in toto be declared unconstitutional, because it is not embraced within the rule-
making power of Congress, because it is an undue interference with the power of this Court to admit
members thereof, and because it is discriminatory.

PARAS, C.J., dissenting:

Under section 145 of Rule of Court No. 127, in order that a bar candidate "may be deemed to have
passed his examinations successfully, he must have obtained a general average of 75 per cent in all
subjects, without falling below 50 per cent in any subject.' This passing mark has always been
adhered to, with certain exception presently to be specified.

With reference to the bar examinations given in August, 1946, the original list of successful
candidates included only those who obtained a general average of 75 per cent or more. Upon
motion for reconsideration, however, 12 candidates with general averages ranging from 72 to 73 per
cent were raised to 75 per cent by resolution of December 18, 1946. In the examinations of
November, 1946 the list first released containing the names of successful candidates covered only
those who obtained a general average of 75 per cent or more; but, upon motion for reconsideration,
19 candidates with a general average of 72 per cent were raised to 75 per cent by resolution of
March 31, 1947. This would indicate that in the original list of successful candidates those having a
general average of 73 per cent or more but below 75 per cent were included. After the original list of
1947 successful bar candidates had been released, and on motion for reconsideration, all
candidates with a general average of 69 per cent were allowed to pass by resolution of July 15,
1948. With respect to the bar examinations held in August, 1948, in addition to the original list of
successful bar candidates, all those who obtained a general average of 70 per cent or more,
irrespective of the grades in any one subject and irrespective of whether they filed petitions for
reconsideration, were allowed to pass by resolution of April 28, 1949. Thus, for the year 1947 the
Court in effect made 69 per cent as the passing average, and for the year 1948, 70 per cent; and
this amounted, without being noticed perhaps, to an amendment of section 14 of Rule 127.

Numerous flunkers in the bar examinations held subsequent to 1948, whose general averages
mostly ranged from 69 to 73 per cent, filed motions for reconsideration invoking the precedents set
by this Court in 1947 and 1948, but said motions were uniformly denied.

In the year 1951, the Congress, after public hearings where law deans and professors, practising
attorneys, presidents of bar associations, and law graduates appeared and argued
lengthily pro or con, approved a bill providing, among others, for the reduction of the passing general
average from 75 per cent to 70 per cent, retroactive to any bar examination held after July 4, 1946.
This bill was vetoed by the President mainly in view of an unfavorable comment of Justices Padilla,
Tuason, Montemayor, Reyes, Bautista and Jugo. In 1953, the Congress passed another bill similar
to the previous bill vetoed by the President, with the important difference that in the later bill the
provisions in the first bill regarding (1) the supervision and regulation by the Supreme Court of the
study of law, (2) the inclusion of Social Legislation and Taxation as new bar subjects, (3) the
publication of the bar examiners before the holding of the examination, and (4) the equal division
among the examiners of all the admission fees paid by bar applicants, were eliminated. This second
bill was allowed to become a law, Republic Act No. 972, by the President by merely not signing it
within the required period; and in doing so the President gave due respect to the will of the Congress
which, speaking for the people, chose to repass the bill first vetoed by him.

Under Republic Act No. 972, any bar candidates who obtained a general average of 70 per cent in
any examinations after July 4, 1946 up to August 1951; 71 per cent in the 1952 bar examinations; 72
per cent in 1953 bar examinations; 73 per cent in the 1954 bar examinations; and 74 per cent in the
1955 bar examinations, without obtaining a grade below 50 per cent in any subject, shall be allowed
to pass. Said Act also provides that any bar candidate who obtained a grade of 75 per cent in any
subject in any examination after July 4, 1946, shall be deemed to have passed in such subject or
subjects and such grade or grades shall be included in computing the passing in any subsequent
examinations.

Numerous candidates who had taken the bar examinations previous to the approval of Republic Act
No. 972 and failed to obtain the necessary passing average, filed with this Court mass or separate
petitions, praying that they be admitted to the practice of law under and by virtue of said Act, upon
the allegation that they have obtained the general averages prescribed therein. In virtue of the
resolution of July 6, 1953, this Court held on July 11, 1953 a hearing on said petitions, and members
of the bar, especially authorized representatives of bar associations, were invited to argue or submit
memoranda as amici curiae, the reason alleged for said hearing being that some doubt had "been
expressed on the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 972 in so far as it affects past bar
examinations and the matter" involved "a new question of public interest."

All discussions in support of the proposition that the power to regulate the admission to the practice
of law is inherently judicial, are immaterial, because the subject is now governed by the Constitution
which in Article VII, section 13, provides as follows:

The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice,
and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be
uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase or modify
substantive right. The existing laws on pleading, practice, and procedure are hereby
repealed as statutes and are declared Rules of Court, subject to the power of the Supreme
Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter, or
supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure, and the admission to the
practice of law in the Philippines.

Under this constitutional provision, while the Supreme Court has the power to promulgate rules
concerning the admission to the practice of law, the Congress has the power to repeal, alter or
supplement said rules. Little intelligence is necessary to see that the power of the Supreme Court
and the Congress to regulate the admission to the practice of law is concurrent.

The opponents of Republic Act No. 972 argue that this Act, in so far as it covers bar examinations
held prior to its approval, is unconstitutional, because it sets aside the final resolutions of the
Supreme Court refusing to admit to the practice of law the various petitioners, thereby resulting in a
legislative encroachment upon the judicial power. In my opinion this view is erroneous. In the first
place, resolutions on the rejection of bar candidates do not have the finality of decisions in justiciable
cases where the Rules of Court expressly fix certain periods after which they become executory and
unalterable. Resolutions on bar matters, specially on motions for reconsiderations filed by flunkers in
any give year, are subject to revision by this Court at any time, regardless of the period within which
the motion were filed, and this has been the practice heretofore. The obvious reason is that bar
examinations and admission to the practice of law may be deemed as a judicial function only
because said matters happen to be entrusted, under the Constitution and our Rules of Court, to the
Supreme Court. There is no judicial function involved, in the subject and constitutional sense of the
word, because bar examinations and the admission to the practice of law, unlike justiciable cases,
do not affect opposing litigants. It is no more than the function of other examining boards. In the
second place, retroactive laws are not prohibited by the Constitution, except only when they would
be ex post facto, would impair obligations and contracts or vested rights or would deny due process
and equal protection of the law. Republic Act No. 972 certainly is not an ex post facto enactment,
does not impair any obligation and contract or vested rights, and denies to no one the right to due
process and equal protection of the law. On the other hand, it is a mere curative statute intended to
correct certain obvious inequalities arising from the adoption by this Court of different passing
general averages in certain years.

Neither can it be said that bar candidates prior to July 4, 1946, are being discriminated against,
because we no longer have any record of those who might have failed before the war, apart from the
circumstance that 75 per cent had always been the passing mark during said period. It may also be
that there are no pre-war bar candidates similarly situated as those benefited by Republic Act No.
972. At any rate, in the matter of classification, the reasonableness must be determined by the
legislative body. It is proper to recall that the Congress held public hearings, and we can fairly
suppose that the classification adopted in the Act reflects good legislative judgment derived from the
facts and circumstances then brought out.

As regards the alleged interference in or encroachment upon the judgment of this Court by the
Legislative Department, it is sufficient to state that, if there is any interference at all, it is one
expressly sanctioned by the Constitution. Besides, interference in judicial adjudication prohibited by
the Constitution is essentially aimed at protecting rights of litigants that have already been vested or
acquired in virtue of decisions of courts, not merely for the empty purpose of creating appearances
of separation and equality among the three branches of the Government. Republic Act No. 972 has
not produced a case involving two parties and decided by the Court in favor of one and against the
other. Needless to say, the statute will not affect the previous resolutions passing bar candidates
who had obtained the general average prescribed by section 14 of Rule 127. A law would be
objectionable and unconstitutional if, for instance, it would provide that those who have been
admitted to the bar after July 4, 1946, whose general average is below 80 per cent, will not be
allowed to practice law, because said statute would then destroy a right already acquired under
previous resolutions of this Court, namely, the bar admission of those whose general averages were
from 75 to 79 per cent.

Without fear of contradiction, I think the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its rule-making power
conferred by the Constitution, may pass a resolution amending section 14 of Rule 127 by reducing
the passing average to 70 per cent, effective several years before the date of the resolution. Indeed,
when this Court on July 15, 1948 allowed to pass all candidates who obtained a general average of
69 per cent or more and on April 28, 1949 those who obtained a general average of 70 per cent or
more, irrespective of whether they filed petitions for reconsideration, it in effect amended section 14
of Rule 127 retroactively, because during the examinations held in August 1947 and August 1948,
said section (fixing the general average at 75 per cent) was supposed to be in force. In stands to
reason, if we are to admit that the Supreme Court and the Congress have concurrent power to
regulate the admission to the practice of law, that the latter may validly pass a retroactive rule fixing
the passing general average.

Republic Act No. 972 cannot be assailed on the ground that it is unreasonable, arbitrary or
capricious, since this Court had already adopted as passing averages 69 per cent for the 1947 bar
examinations and 70 per cent for the 1948 examinations. Anyway, we should not inquire into the
wisdom of the law, since this is a matter that is addressed to the judgment of the legislators. This
Court in many instances had doubted the propriety of legislative enactments, and yet it has
consistently refrained from nullifying them solely on that ground.

To say that the admission of the bar candidates benefited under Republic Act 972 is against public
interest, is to assume that the matter of whether said Act is beneficial or harmful to the general public
was not considered by the Congress. As already stated, the Congress held public hearings, and we
are bound to assume that the legislators, loyal, as do the members of this Court, to their oath of
office, had taken all the circumstances into account before passing the Act. On the question of public
interest I may observe that the Congress, representing the people who elected them, should be
more qualified to make an appraisal. I am inclined to accept Republic Act No. 972 as an expression
of the will of the people through their duly elected representatives.

I would, however, not go to the extent of admitting that the Congress, in the exercise of its
concurrent power to repeal, alter, or supplement the Rules of Court regarding the admission to the
practice of law, may act in an arbitrary or capricious manner, in the same way that this Court may
not do so. We are thus left in the situation, incidental to a democracy, where we can and should only
hope that the right men are put in the right places in our Government.

Wherefore, I hold that Republic Act No. 972 is constitutional and should therefore be given effect in
its entirety.

Separate Opinions

LABRADOR, J., concurring and dissenting:

The right to admit members to the Bar is, and has always been, the exclusive privilege of this Court,
because lawyers are members of the Court and only this Court should be allowed to determine
admission thereto in the interest of the principle of the separation of powers. The power to admit is
judicial in the sense that discretion is used in is exercise. This power should be distinguished from
the power to promulgate rules which regulate admission. It is only this power (to promulgate
amendments to the rules) that is given in the Constitution to the Congress, not the exercise of the
discretion to admit or not to admit. Thus the rules on the holding of examination, the qualifications of
applicants, the passing grades, etc. are within the scope of the legislative power. But the power to
determine when a candidate has made or has not made the required grade is judicial, and lies
completely with this Court.

I hold that the act under consideration is an exercise of the judicial function, and lies beyond the
scope of the congressional prerogative of amending the rules. To say that candidates who obtain a
general average of 72 per cent in 1953, 73 per cent in 1954, and 74 per cent in 1955 should be
considered as having passed the examination, is to mean exercise of the privilege and discretion
judged in this Court. It is a mandate to the tribunal to pass candidates for different years with grades
lower than the passing mark. No reasoning is necessary to show that it is an arrogation of the
Court's judicial authority and discretion. It is furthermore objectionable as discriminatory. Why should
those taking the examinations in 1953, 1954 and 1955 be allowed to have the privilege of a lower
passing grade, while those taking earlier or later are not?

I vote that the act in toto be declared unconstitutional, because it is not embraced within the rule-
making power of Congress, because it is an undue interference with the power of this Court to admit
members thereof, and because it is discriminatory.
PARAS, C.J., dissenting:

Under section 145 of Rule of Court No. 127, in order that a bar candidate "may be deemed to have
passed his examinations successfully, he must have obtained a general average of 75 per cent in all
subjects, without falling below 50 per cent in any subject.' This passing mark has always been
adhered to, with certain exception presently to be specified.

With reference to the bar examinations given in August, 1946, the original list of successful
candidates included only those who obtained a general average of 75 per cent or more. Upon
motion for reconsideration, however, 12 candidates with general averages ranging from 72 to 73 per
cent were raised to 75 per cent by resolution of December 18, 1946. In the examinations of
November, 1946 the list first released containing the names of successful candidates covered only
those who obtained a general average of 75 per cent or more; but, upon motion for reconsideration,
19 candidates with a general average of 72 per cent were raised to 75 per cent by resolution of
March 31, 1947. This would indicate that in the original list of successful candidates those having a
general average of 73 per cent or more but below 75 per cent were included. After the original list of
1947 successful bar candidates had been released, and on motion for reconsideration, all
candidates with a general average of 69 per cent were allowed to pass by resolution of July 15,
1948. With respect to the bar examinations held in August, 1948, in addition to the original list of
successful bar candidates, all those who obtained a general average of 70 per cent or more,
irrespective of the grades in any one subject and irrespective of whether they filed petitions for
reconsideration, were allowed to pass by resolution of April 28, 1949. Thus, for the year 1947 the
Court in effect made 69 per cent as the passing average, and for the year 1948, 70 per cent; and
this amounted, without being noticed perhaps, to an amendment of section 14 of Rule 127.

Numerous flunkers in the bar examinations held subsequent to 1948, whose general averages
mostly ranged from 69 to 73 per cent, filed motions for reconsideration invoking the precedents set
by this Court in 1947 and 1948, but said motions were uniformly denied.

In the year 1951, the Congress, after public hearings where law deans and professors, practising
attorneys, presidents of bar associations, and law graduates appeared and argued
lengthily pro or con, approved a bill providing, among others, for the reduction of the passing general
average from 75 per cent to 70 per cent, retroactive to any bar examination held after July 4, 1946.
This bill was vetoed by the President mainly in view of an unfavorable comment of Justices Padilla,
Tuason, Montemayor, Reyes, Bautista and Jugo. In 1953, the Congress passed another bill similar
to the previous bill vetoed by the President, with the important difference that in the later bill the
provisions in the first bill regarding (1) the supervision and regulation by the Supreme Court of the
study of law, (2) the inclusion of Social Legislation and Taxation as new bar subjects, (3) the
publication of the bar examiners before the holding of the examination, and (4) the equal division
among the examiners of all the admission fees paid by bar applicants, were eliminated. This second
bill was allowed to become a law, Republic Act No. 972, by the President by merely not signing it
within the required period; and in doing so the President gave due respect to the will of the Congress
which, speaking for the people, chose to repass the bill first vetoed by him.

Under Republic Act No. 972, any bar candidates who obtained a general average of 70 per cent in
any examinations after July 4, 1946 up to August 1951; 71 per cent in the 1952 bar examinations; 72
per cent in 1953 bar examinations; 73 per cent in the 1954 bar examinations; and 74 per cent in the
1955 bar examinations, without obtaining a grade below 50 per cent in any subject, shall be allowed
to pass. Said Act also provides that any bar candidate who obtained a grade of 75 per cent in any
subject in any examination after July 4, 1946, shall be deemed to have passed in such subject or
subjects and such grade or grades shall be included in computing the passing in any subsequent
examinations.

Numerous candidates who had taken the bar examinations previous to the approval of Republic Act
No. 972 and failed to obtain the necessary passing average, filed with this Court mass or separate
petitions, praying that they be admitted to the practice of law under and by virtue of said Act, upon
the allegation that they have obtained the general averages prescribed therein. In virtue of the
resolution of July 6, 1953, this Court held on July 11, 1953 a hearing on said petitions, and members
of the bar, especially authorized representatives of bar associations, were invited to argue or submit
memoranda as amici curiae, the reason alleged for said hearing being that some doubt had "been
expressed on the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 972 in so far as it affects past bar
examinations and the matter" involved "a new question of public interest."

All discussions in support of the proposition that the power to regulate the admission to the practice
of law is inherently judicial, are immaterial, because the subject is now governed by the Constitution
which in Article VII, section 13, provides as follows:

The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice,
and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be
uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase or modify
substantive right. The existing laws on pleading, practice, and procedure are hereby
repealed as statutes and are declared Rules of Court, subject to the power of the Supreme
Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter, or
supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure, and the admission to the
practice of law in the Philippines.

Under this constitutional provision, while the Supreme Court has the power to promulgate rules
concerning the admission to the practice of law, the Congress has the power to repeal, alter or
supplement said rules. Little intelligence is necessary to see that the power of the Supreme Court
and the Congress to regulate the admission to the practice of law is concurrent.

The opponents of Republic Act No. 972 argue that this Act, in so far as it covers bar examinations
held prior to its approval, is unconstitutional, because it sets aside the final resolutions of the
Supreme Court refusing to admit to the practice of law the various petitioners, thereby resulting in a
legislative encroachment upon the judicial power. In my opinion this view is erroneous. In the first
place, resolutions on the rejection of bar candidates do not have the finality of decisions in justiciable
cases where the Rules of Court expressly fix certain periods after which they become executory and
unalterable. Resolutions on bar matters, specially on motions for reconsiderations filed by flunkers in
any give year, are subject to revision by this Court at any time, regardless of the period within which
the motion were filed, and this has been the practice heretofore. The obvious reason is that bar
examinations and admission to the practice of law may be deemed as a judicial function only
because said matters happen to be entrusted, under the Constitution and our Rules of Court, to the
Supreme Court. There is no judicial function involved, in the subject and constitutional sense of the
word, because bar examinations and the admission to the practice of law, unlike justiciable cases,
do not affect opposing litigants. It is no more than the function of other examining boards. In the
second place, retroactive laws are not prohibited by the Constitution, except only when they would
be ex post facto, would impair obligations and contracts or vested rights or would deny due process
and equal protection of the law. Republic Act No. 972 certainly is not an ex post facto enactment,
does not impair any obligation and contract or vested rights, and denies to no one the right to due
process and equal protection of the law. On the other hand, it is a mere curative statute intended to
correct certain obvious inequalities arising from the adoption by this Court of different passing
general averages in certain years.

Neither can it be said that bar candidates prior to July 4, 1946, are being discriminated against,
because we no longer have any record of those who might have failed before the war, apart from the
circumstance that 75 per cent had always been the passing mark during said period. It may also be
that there are no pre-war bar candidates similarly situated as those benefited by Republic Act No.
972. At any rate, in the matter of classification, the reasonableness must be determined by the
legislative body. It is proper to recall that the Congress held public hearings, and we can fairly
suppose that the classification adopted in the Act reflects good legislative judgment derived from the
facts and circumstances then brought out.

As regards the alleged interference in or encroachment upon the judgment of this Court by the
Legislative Department, it is sufficient to state that, if there is any interference at all, it is one
expressly sanctioned by the Constitution. Besides, interference in judicial adjudication prohibited by
the Constitution is essentially aimed at protecting rights of litigants that have already been vested or
acquired in virtue of decisions of courts, not merely for the empty purpose of creating appearances
of separation and equality among the three branches of the Government. Republic Act No. 972 has
not produced a case involving two parties and decided by the Court in favor of one and against the
other. Needless to say, the statute will not affect the previous resolutions passing bar candidates
who had obtained the general average prescribed by section 14 of Rule 127. A law would be
objectionable and unconstitutional if, for instance, it would provide that those who have been
admitted to the bar after July 4, 1946, whose general average is below 80 per cent, will not be
allowed to practice law, because said statute would then destroy a right already acquired under
previous resolutions of this Court, namely, the bar admission of those whose general averages were
from 75 to 79 per cent.

Without fear of contradiction, I think the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its rule-making power
conferred by the Constitution, may pass a resolution amending section 14 of Rule 127 by reducing
the passing average to 70 per cent, effective several years before the date of the resolution. Indeed,
when this Court on July 15, 1948 allowed to pass all candidates who obtained a general average of
69 per cent or more and on April 28, 1949 those who obtained a general average of 70 per cent or
more, irrespective of whether they filed petitions for reconsideration, it in effect amended section 14
of Rule 127 retroactively, because during the examinations held in August 1947 and August 1948,
said section (fixing the general average at 75 per cent) was supposed to be in force. In stands to
reason, if we are to admit that the Supreme Court and the Congress have concurrent power to
regulate the admission to the practice of law, that the latter may validly pass a retroactive rule fixing
the passing general average.

Republic Act No. 972 cannot be assailed on the ground that it is unreasonable, arbitrary or
capricious, since this Court had already adopted as passing averages 69 per cent for the 1947 bar
examinations and 70 per cent for the 1948 examinations. Anyway, we should not inquire into the
wisdom of the law, since this is a matter that is addressed to the judgment of the legislators. This
Court in many instances had doubted the propriety of legislative enactments, and yet it has
consistently refrained from nullifying them solely on that ground.

To say that the admission of the bar candidates benefited under Republic Act 972 is against public
interest, is to assume that the matter of whether said Act is beneficial or harmful to the general public
was not considered by the Congress. As already stated, the Congress held public hearings, and we
are bound to assume that the legislators, loyal, as do the members of this Court, to their oath of
office, had taken all the circumstances into account before passing the Act. On the question of public
interest I may observe that the Congress, representing the people who elected them, should be
more qualified to make an appraisal. I am inclined to accept Republic Act No. 972 as an expression
of the will of the people through their duly elected representatives.

I would, however, not go to the extent of admitting that the Congress, in the exercise of its
concurrent power to repeal, alter, or supplement the Rules of Court regarding the admission to the
practice of law, may act in an arbitrary or capricious manner, in the same way that this Court may
not do so. We are thus left in the situation, incidental to a democracy, where we can and should only
hope that the right men are put in the right places in our Government.

Wherefore, I hold that Republic Act No. 972 is constitutional and should therefore be given effect in
its entirety.

Footnotes

1Designed as Chairman of the Committee of Bar Examiners vice Mr. Justice Roman Ozaeta,
resigned.

2In 1946 and 1947, the members of the Supreme Court were Hon. Manuel V. Moran, Chief
Justice, Ho. Ricardo Paras, Hon. Felicisimo Feria, Hon. Guillermo F. Pablo, Hon. Gregorio
Perfecto, Ho. Carlos Hilado, Hon. Cesar Bengzon, Hon. Manuel C. Briones, Hon. Jose
Hontiveros, Hon. Sabino Padilla, and Hon. Pedro Tuason, Associate Justices. In 1948,
Justices Marcelino R. Montemayor and Alex. Reyes took the place of Justice Hilado,
resigned, and Hontiveros, retired. Justice Roman Ozaeta was returned to the Court and
Justice Sabino Padilla was appointed Secretary of Justice. In June, 1949, Justice Padilla
was returned to the Tribunal, as Justice Briones resigned. In October, 1950, Justices
Fernando Jugo and Felix Bautista Angelo were appointed to t he Court, as Justice Perfecto
Jugo and Felix Bautista Angelo were appointed to the Court, as Justice Perfecto had died,
and Justice Ozaeta had resigned. In 1951, Chief Justice Manuel V. Moran resigned and
Justice Ricardo Paras was appointed Chief Justice. In 1953, Justice Felicisimo R. Feria
retired.

EN BANC

[ G.R. No. 102549, August 10, 1992 ]

ERWIN B. JAVELLANA, PETITIONER, VS. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR


AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND LUIS T. SANTOS, SECRETARY,
RESPONDENTS.

DECISION
GRINO-AQUINO, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari involves the right of a public official to
engage in the practice of his profession while employed in the Government.
Attorney Erwin B. Javellana was an elected City Councilor of Bago City,
Negros Occidental. On October 5, 1989, City Engineer Ernesto C.
Divinagracia filed Administrative Case No. C-10-90 against Javellana for:
(1) violation of Department of Local Government (DLG) Memorandum
Circular No. 80-38 dated June 10, 1980 in relation to DLG Memorandum
Circular No. 74-58 and of Section 7, paragraph b, No. 2 of Republic Act No.
6713, otherwise known as the "Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for
Public Officials and Employees," and (2) for oppression, misconduct and
abuse of authority.
Divinagracia's complaint alleged that Javellana, an incumbent member of
the City Council or Sanggunian Panglungsod of Bago City, and a lawyer by
profession, has continuously engaged in the practice of law without
securing authority for that purpose from the Regional Director. Department
of Local Government, as required by DLG Memorandum Circular No. 80-
38 in relation to DLG Memorandum Circular No. 74-58 of the same
department: that on July 8, 1989. Javellana, as counsel for Antonio Javiero
and Rolando Catapang, filed a case against City Engineer Ernesto C.
Divinagracia of Bago City for "Illegal Dismissal and Reinstatement with
Damages" putting him in public ridicule: that Javellana also appeared as
counsel in several criminal and civil cases in the city, without prior
authority of the DLG Regional Director, in violation of DLG Memorandum
Circular No. 80-38 which provides:
"MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 80-38
"TO ALL: PROVINCIAL GOVERNORS, CITY AND MUNICIPAL
MAYORS, KLGCD REGIONAL DIRECTORS AND ALL CONCERNED
"SUBJECT: AMENDING MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 80-18 ON
SANGGUNIAN SESSIONS, PER DIEMS, ALLOWANCES, STAFFING AND
OTHER RELATED MATTERS
"In view of the issuance of Circular No. 5-A by the Joint Commission on
Local Government Personnel Administration which affects certain
provisions of MC 80-18, there is a need to amend said, Memorandum
Circular to substantially conform to the pertinent provisions of Circular No.
9-A.
"xxx xxx xxx
"C. Practice of Profession
"The Secretary (now Minister) of Justice in an Opinion No. 46 Series of
1973 stated inter alia that 'members of local legislative bodies, other than
the provincial governors or the mayors, do not keep regular office hours.'
'They merely attend meetings or sessions of the provincial board or the city
or municipal council' and that provincial board members are not even
required 'to have an office in the provincial building.' Consequently, they
are not therefore required to report daily as other regular government
employees do, except when they are delegated to perform certain
administrative functions in the interest of public service by the Governor or
Mayor as the case may be. For this reason, they may
therefore, be allowed to practice their professions provided that in so doing
an authority x x x first be securedfrom the Regional Directors pursuant to
Memorandum Circular No. 74-58 provided, however, that no government
personnel, property, equipment or supplies shall be utilized in the practice
of their professions. While being authorized to practice their professions,
they should as much as possible attend regularly any and all sessions,
which are not very often of their Sanggunians for which they were elected
as members by their constituents except in very extreme cases, e.g., doctors
who are called upon to save a
life. For this purpose it is desiredthat they always keep a calendar of the dat
es of the sessions, regular or special of their Sanggunians so that conflicts of
attending courtcases in the case of lawyers and Sanggunian sessions can be
avoided.
"As to members of the bar the authority given for them to practice their
profession shall always be subject to the restrictions provided for in Section
6 of Republic Act 5185. In all
cases, the practice of any profession should be favorably recommended by t
he Sanggunianconcerned as a body and by the provincial governors, city or
municipal mayors, as the case may be." (Underscoring ours, pp. 28-30,
Rollo.)
On August 13, 1990, a formal hearing of the complaint was held in Iloilo
City in which the complainant, Engineer Divinagracia, and the respondent,
Councilor Javellana, presented their respective evidence.
Meanwhile, on September 10, 1990, Javellana requested the DLG for a
permit to continue his practice of law for the reasons stated in his letter-
request. On the same date, Secretary Santos replied as follows:
"1st Indorsement
September 10, 1990
"Respectfully returned to Councilor Erwin B. Javellana, Bago City, his
within letter dated September 10, 1990, requesting for a permit to continue
his practice of law for reasons therein stated, with the information that, as
represented and consistent with law, we interpose no objection thereto,
provided that such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with his
official functions.
"LUIS T. SANTOS
"Secretary."
(p. 60. Rollo.)
On September 21, 1991, Secretary Luis T. Santos issued Memorandum
Circular No. 90-81 setting forth guidelines for the practice of professions by
local?elective officials as follows:
"TO : All Provincial Governors, City and Municipal Mayors, Regional
Directors and All Concerned.
"SUBJECT
: Practice of Profession and Private Employment of Local Elective Officials
.
"Section 7 of Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and Employees), states in part, that 'In
addition to acts and omissions of public officials x x x now prescribed in the
Constitution and existing laws, the following shall constitute prohibited
acts and transactions of any public official x x x and are hereby declared to
be unlawful: x x x (b) Public Officials x x
x duringtheir incumbency shall not: (1) x x x accept employment as officer,
employee, consultant, counsel, broker, agent, trustee or nominee in any
private enterprise regulated, supervised or licensed by their office unless
expressly allowed by law; (2) Engage in the private practice of their
profession unless authorized by the Constitution or law provided that such
practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with their official functions: x x
x.'
"xxx xxx xxx
"Under Memorandum Circular No. 17 of the Office of the President dated
September 4, 1986, the authority to grant any
permission toaccept private employment in any capacity and to exercise pro
fession, to any government official shall be granted by
the head of theMinistry (Department) or agency in accordance with Section
12. Rule XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules, which provides, in part,
that:
"'No officer shall engage directly in any x x x vocation or profession x x x
without a written permission from the head of the Department: Provided,
that this prohibition will be absolute in the case of those officers x x x
whose duties and responsibilities require that their entire time be at the
disposal of the Government: Provided, further, That if an employee is
granted permission to engage in outside activities, the time so devoted
outside of office should be fixed by the Chief of the agency to the end that it
will not impair in anyway the efficiency of the officer or employee x x x
subject to any additional conditions which the head of the office deems
necessary in each particular case in the interest of the service, as
expressed in the various issuances of the Civil Service Commission.'
"Conformably with the foregoing, the following guidelines are to be observe
d in the grant of permission to the practice of
profession and tothe acceptance of private employment of local elective offi
cials, to wit:
"1.) The permission shall be granted by the Secretary of Local Government:
"2.) Provincial Governors, City and Municipal Mayors whose duties and
responsibilities require that their entire time be at the disposal of the
government in conformity with Sections 141, 171 and 203 of the Local
Government Code (BP337), are prohibited to engage in the practice of their
profession and to accept private employment during their incumbency:
"3) Other local elective officials may be allowed to practice their profession
or engage in private employment on a
limited basis at thediscretion of the Secretary of Local Government, subject
to existing laws and to the following conditions:
"a) That the time so devoted outside of office hours should be fixed by the
local chief executive concerned to the end that it will not impair in any way
the efficiency of the officials concerned;
"b) That no government time, personnel, funds or supplies shall be
utilized in the pursuit of one's profession or private employment;
"c) That no conflict of interests between the practice of profession or engag
ement in private employment and the
official duties of theconcerned official shall arise thereby:
"d) Such other conditions that the Secretary deems necessary to impose on
each particular case, in the interest of public service." (Emphasis supplied.
pp. 31-32. Rollo.)
On March 25, 1991, Javellana filed a Motion to Dismiss the administrative
case against him on the ground mainly that DLG Memorandum Circulars
Nos. 80-38 and 90-81 are unconstitutional because the Supreme Court has
the sole and exclusive authority to regulate the practice of law.
In an Order dated May 2, 1991, Javellana's motion to dismiss was denied by
the public respondents. His motion for reconsideration was likewise denied
on June 20, 1991.
Five months later or on October 10, 1991, the Local Government Code of
1991 (RA 7160) was signed into law, Section 90 of which provides:
"SEC. 90. Practice of Profession. - (a) All governors, city and municipal
mayors are prohibited from practicing, their profession or engaging in any
occupation other than the exercise of their functions as local chief
executives.
"(b) Sanggunian members may practice their professions, engage in an
y occupation, or teach in schools except during
session hours:Provided, That sanggunian members who are also members
of the Bar shall not:
"(1) Appear as counsel before any court in any civil case wherein a local gov
ernment unit or any office, agency, or
instrumentality of thegovernment is the adverse party;
"(2) Appear as counsel in any criminal case wherein an officer or employee
of the national or local government is accused of an offense committed in
relation to his office:
"(3) Collect any fee for their appearance in administrative
proceedings involving the local government unit of which he is an official;
and
"(4) Use property and personnel of the Government except when the
sanggunian member concerned is defending the interest of the
Government.
"(c) Doctors of medicine may practice their profession even during
official hours of work only on occasions of emergency: Provided, That the
officials concerned do not derive monetary compensation therefrom."
(Underscoring ours.)
Administrative Case No. C-10-90 was again set for hearing on November
26, 1991. Javellana thereupon filed this petition for certioraripraying that
DLG Memorandum Circulars Nos. 80-38 and 90-81 and Section 90 of the
new Local Government Code (RA 7160) be declared unconstitutional and
null and void because:
(1) they violate Article VIII. Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution, which
provides:
"SEC. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
"xxx xxx xxx
"(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of
Constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the
admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to
the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive
procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts
of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive
rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall
remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court."
(2) They constitute class legislation, being discriminatory against the legal
and medical professions for only sanggunian members who are lawyers and
doctors are restricted in the exercise of their profession while dentists,
engineers, architects, teachers, opticians, morticians and others are not so
restricted (RA 7160. Sec. 90 [b-1]).
In due time, the Solicitor General filed his Comment on the petition and the
petitioner submitted a Reply. After deliberating on the pleadings of the
parties, the Court resolved to dismiss the petition for lack of merit.
As a matter of policy, this Court accords great respect to the decisions
and/or actions of administrative authorities not only because of the
doctrine of separation of powers but also for their presumed
knowledgeability and expertise in the enforcement of laws and regulations
entrusted to their jurisdiction (Santiago vs. Deputy Executive Secretary, 192
SCRA 199, citing Cuerdo vs. COA, 166 SCRA 657). With respect to the
present case, we find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
respondent. Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), in
issuing the questioned DLG Circulars Nos. 80-30 and 90-81 and in denying
petitioner's motion to dismiss the administrative charge against him.
In the first place, complaints against public officers and employees relating
or incidental to the performance of their duties are necessarily impressed
with public interest for by express constitutional mandate, a public office is
a public trust. The complaint for illegal dismissal filed by Javiero and
Catapang against City Engineer Divinagracia is in effect a complaint against
the City Government of Bago City, their real employer of which petitioner
Javellana is a councilman. Hence, judgment against City Engineer
Divinagracia would actually be a judgment against the City Government. By
serving as counsel for the complaining employees and assisting them to
prosecute their claims against City Engineer Divinagracia, the petitioner
violated Memorandum Circular No. 74-58 (in relation to Section 7[b-2] of
RA 6713) prohibiting a government official from engaging in the private
practice of his profession, if such practice would represent interests adverse
to the government.
Petitioner's contention that Section 90 of the Local Government Code of
1991 and DLG Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 violate Article VIII.
Section 5 of the Constitution is completely off tangent. Neither the statute
nor the circular trenches upon the Supreme Court's power and authority to
prescribe rules on the practice of law. The Local Government Code and
DLG Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 simply prescribe rules of conduct
for public officials to avoid conflicts of interest between the discharge of
their public duties and the private practice of their profession, in those
instances where the law allows it.
Section 90 of the Local Government Code does not discriminate against
lawyers and doctors. It applies to all provincial and municipal officials in
the professions or engaged in any occupation. Section 90 explicitly provides
that sanggunian members "may practice their professions, engage in any
occupation, or teach in schools except during session hours." If there are
some prohibitions that apply particularly to lawyers, it is because of all the
professions, the practice of law is more likely than others to relate to, or
affect, the area of public service.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Costs against the
petitioner.
EN BANC

January 9, 1973

IN THE MATTER OF THE INTEGRATION OF THE BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES.

RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM:

On December 1, 1972, the Commission on Bar Integration1 submitted its Report dated November 30,
1972, with the "earnest recommendation" — on the basis of the said Report and the proceedings
had in Administrative Case No. 5262 of the Court, and "consistently with the views and counsel
received from its [the Commission's] Board of Consultants, as well as the overwhelming nationwide
sentiment of the Philippine Bench and Bar" — that "this Honorable Court ordain the integration of the
Philippine Bar as soon as possible through the adoption and promulgation of an appropriate Court
Rule."

The petition in Adm. Case No. 526 formally prays the Court to order the integration of the Philippine
Bar, after due hearing, giving recognition as far as possible and practicable to existing provincial and
other local Bar associations. On August 16, 1962, arguments in favor of as well as in opposition to
the petition were orally expounded before the Court. Written oppositions were admitted,3 and all
parties were thereafter granted leave to file written memoranda.4

Since then, the Court has closely observed and followed significant developments relative to the
matter of the integration of the Bar in this jurisdiction.

In 1970, convinced from preliminary surveys that there had grown a strong nationwide sentiment in
favor of Bar integration, the Court created the Commission on Bar Integration for the purpose of
ascertaining the advisability of unifying the Philippine Bar.

In September, 1971, Congress passed House Bill No. 3277 entitled "An Act Providing for the
Integration of the Philippine Bar, and Appropriating Funds Therefor." The measure was signed by
President Ferdinand E. Marcos on September 17, 1971 and took effect on the same day as Rep. Act
6397. This law provides as follows:

SECTION 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme Court may
adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such
conditions as it shall see fit in order to raise the standards of the legal profession,
improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public
responsibility more effectively.

SEC. 2. The sum of five hundred thousand pesos is hereby appropriated, out of any
funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to carry out the purposes
of this Act. Thereafter, such sums as may be necessary for the same purpose shall
be included in the annual appropriations for the Supreme Court.

SEC. 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

The Report of the Commission abounds with argument on the constitutionality of Bar integration and
contains all necessary factual data bearing on the advisability (practicability and necessity) of Bar
integration. Also embodied therein are the views, opinions, sentiments, comments and observations
of the rank and file of the Philippine lawyer population relative to Bar integration, as well as a
proposed integration Court Rule drafted by the Commission and presented to them by that body in a
national Bar plebiscite. There is thus sufficient basis as well as ample material upon which the Court
may decide whether or not to integrate the Philippine Bar at this time.

The following are the pertinent issues:

(1) Does the Court have the power to integrate the Philippine Bar?

(2) Would the integration of the Bar be constitutional?

(3) Should the Court ordain the integration of the Bar at this time?

A resolution of these issues requires, at the outset, a statement of the meaning of Bar integration. It
will suffice, for this purpose, to adopt the concept given by the Commission on Bar Integration on
pages 3 to 5 of its Report, thus:

Integration of the Philippine Bar means the official unification of the entire lawyer
population of the Philippines. This requires membership and financial support (in
reasonable amount) of every attorney as conditions sine qua non to the practice of
law and the retention of his name in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court.

The term "Bar" refers to the collectivity of all persons whose names appear in the
Roll of Attorneys. An Integrated Bar (or Unified Bar) perforce must include all
lawyers.

Complete unification is not possible unless it is decreed by an entity with power to do


so: the State. Bar integration, therefore, signifies the setting up by Government
authority of a national organization of the legal profession based on the recognition of
the lawyer as an officer of the court.

Designed to improve the position of the Bar as an instrumentality of justice and the
Rule of Law, integration fosters cohesion among lawyers, and ensures, through their
own organized action and participation, the promotion of the objectives of the legal
profession, pursuant to the principle of maximum Bar autonomy with minimum
supervision and regulation by the Supreme Court.

The purposes of an integrated Bar, in general, are:

(1) Assist in the administration of justice;

(2) Foster and maintain on the part of its members high ideals of integrity, learning,
professional competence, public service and conduct;
(3) Safeguard the professional interests of its members;

(4) Cultivate among its members a spirit of cordiality and brotherhood;

(5) Provide a forum for the discussion of law, jurisprudence, law reform, pleading,
practice and procedure, and the relations of the Bar to the Bench and to the public,
and publish information relating thereto;

(6) Encourage and foster legal education;

(7) Promote a continuing program of legal research in substantive and adjective law,
and make reports and recommendations thereon; and

(8) Enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility effectively.

Integration of the Bar will, among other things, make it possible for the legal
profession to:

(1) Render more effective assistance in maintaining the Rule of Law;

(2) Protect lawyers and litigants against the abuse of tyrannical judges and
prosecuting officers;

(3) Discharge, fully and properly, its responsibility in the disciplining and/or removal
of incompetent and unworthy judges and prosecuting officers;

(4) Shield the judiciary, which traditionally cannot defend itself except within its own
forum, from the assaults that politics and self-interest may level at it, and assist it to
maintain its integrity, impartiality and independence;

(5) Have an effective voice in the selection of judges and prosecuting officers;

(6) Prevent the unauthorized practice of law, and break up any monopoly of local
practice maintained through influence or position;

(7) Establish welfare funds for families of disabled and deceased lawyers;

(8) Provide placement services, and establish legal aid offices and set up lawyer
reference services throughout the country so that the poor may not lack competent
legal service;

(9) Distribute educational and informational materials that are difficult to obtain in
many of our provinces;

(10) Devise and maintain a program of continuing legal education for practising
attorneys in order to elevate the standards of the profession throughout the country;

(11) Enforce rigid ethical standards, and promulgate minimum fees schedules;

(12) Create law centers and establish law libraries for legal research;
(13) Conduct campaigns to educate the people on their legal rights and obligations,
on the importance of preventive legal advice, and on the functions and duties of the
Filipino lawyer; and

(14) Generate and maintain pervasive and meaningful country-wide involvement of


the lawyer population in the solution of the multifarious problems that afflict the
nation.

Anent the first issue, the Court is of the view that it may integrate the Philippine Bar in the exercise of
its power, under Article VIII, Sec. 13 of the Constitution, "to promulgate rules concerning pleading,
practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law." Indeed, the power to
integrate is an inherent part of the Court's constitutional authority over the Bar. In providing that "the
Supreme Court may adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar," Republic Act
6397 neither confers a new power nor restricts the Court's inherent power, but is a mere legislative
declaration that the integration of the Bar will promote public interest or, more specifically, will "raise
the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to
discharge its public responsibility more effectively."

Resolution of the second issue — whether the unification of the Bar would be constitutional —
hinges on the effects of Bar integration on the lawyer's constitutional rights of freedom of association
and freedom of speech, and on the nature of the dues exacted from him.

The Court approvingly quotes the following pertinent discussion made by the Commission on Bar
Integration pages 44 to 49 of its Report:

Constitutionality of Bar Integration

Judicial Pronouncements.

In all cases where the validity of Bar integration measures has been put in issue, the
Courts have upheld their constitutionality.

The judicial pronouncements support this reasoning:

— Courts have inherent power to supervise and regulate the practice of law.

— The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege; a privilege, moreover,
clothed with public interest, because a lawyer owes duties not only to his client, but
also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation; and takes part
in one of the most important functions of the State, the administration of justice, as
an officer of the court.

— Because the practice of law is privilege clothed with public interest, it is far and
just that the exercise of that privilege be regulated to assure compliance with the
lawyer's public responsibilities.

— These public responsibilities can best be discharged through collective action; but
there can be no collective action without an organized body; no organized body can
operate effectively without incurring expenses; therefore, it is fair and just that all
attorneys be required to contribute to the support of such organized body; and, given
existing Bar conditions, the most efficient means of doing so is by integrating the Bar
through a rule of court that requires all lawyers to pay annual dues to the Integrated
Bar.

1. Freedom of Association.

To compel a lawyer to be a member of an integrated Bar is not violative of his


constitutional freedom to associate (or the corollary right not to associate).

Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not
already a member. He became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar
examinations. All that integration actually does is to provide an official national
organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which
every lawyer is already a member.

Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to
attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to
vote in its elections as he chooses. The body compulsion to which he is subjected is
the payment of annual dues.

Otherwise stated, membership in the Unified Bar imposes only the duty to pay dues
in reasonable amount. The issue therefore, is a question of compelled financial
support of group activities, not involuntary membership in any other aspect.

The greater part of Unified Bar activities serves the function of elevating the
educational and ethical standards of the Bar to the end of improving the quality of the
legal service available to the people. The Supreme Court, in order to further the
State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional services, may
require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the
subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers.

Assuming that Bar integration does compel a lawyer to be a member of the


Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the
State. The legal profession has long been regarded as a proper subject of legislative
regulation and control. Moreover, the inherent power of the Supreme Court to
regulate the Bar includes the authority to integrate the Bar.

2. Regulatory Fee.

For the Court to prescribe dues to be paid by the members does not mean that the
Court levies a tax.

A membership fee in the Integrated Bar is an exaction for regulation, while the
purpose of a tax is revenue. If the Court has inherent power to regulate the Bar, it
follows that as an incident to regulation, it may impose a membership fee for that
purpose. It would not be possible to push through an Integrated Bar program without
means to defray the concomitant expenses. The doctrine of implied powers
necessarily includes the power to impose such an exaction.

The only limitation upon the State's power to regulate the Bar is that the regulation
does not impose an unconstitutional burden. The public interest promoted by the
integration of the Bar far outweighs the inconsequential inconvenience to a member
that might result from his required payment of annual dues.

3. Freedom of Speech.

A lawyer is free, as he has always been, to voice his views on any subject in any
manner he wishes, even though such views be opposed to positions taken by the
Unified Bar.

For the Integrated Bar to use a member's due to promote measures to which said
member is opposed, would not nullify or adversely affect his freedom of speech.

Since a State may constitutionally condition the right to practice law upon
membership in the Integrated Bar, it is difficult to understand why it should become
unconstitutional for the Bar to use the member's dues to fulfill the very purposes for
which it was established.

The objection would make every Governmental exaction the material of a "free
speech" issue. Even the income tax would be suspect. The objection would carry us
to lengths that have never been dreamed of. The conscientious objector, if his
liberties were to be thus extended, might refuse to contribute taxes in furtherance of
war or of any other end condemned by his conscience as irreligious or immoral. The
right of private judgment has never yet been exalted above the powers and the
compulsion of the agencies of Government.

4. Fair to All Lawyers.

Bar integration is not unfair to lawyers already practising because although the
requirement to pay annual dues is a new regulation, it will give the members of the
Bar a new system which they hitherto have not had and through which, by proper
work, they will receive benefits they have not heretofore enjoyed, and discharge their
public responsibilities in a more effective manner than they have been able to do in
the past. Because the requirement to pay dues is a valid exercise of regulatory
power by the Court, because it will apply equally to all lawyers, young and old, at the
time Bar integration takes effect, and because it is a new regulation in exchange for
new benefits, it is not retroactive, it is not unequal, it is not unfair.

To resolve the third and final issue — whether the Court should ordain the integration of the Bar at
this time — requires a careful overview of the practicability and necessity as well as the advantages
and disadvantages of Bar integration.

In many other jurisdictions, notably in England, Canada and the United States, Bar integration has
yielded the following benefits: (1) improved discipline among the members of the Bar; (2) greater
influence and ascendancy of the Bar; (3) better and more meaningful participation of the individual
lawyer in the activities of the Integrated Bar; (4) greater Bar facilities and services; (5) elimination of
unauthorized practice; (6) avoidance of costly membership campaigns; (7) establishment of an
official status for the Bar; (8) more cohesive profession; and (9) better and more effective discharge
by the Bar of its obligations and responsibilities to its members, to the courts, and to the public. No
less than these salutary consequences are envisioned and in fact expected from the unification of
the Philippine Bar.
Upon the other hand, it has been variously argued that in the event of integration, Government
authority will dominate the Bar; local Bar associations will be weakened; cliquism will be the
inevitable result; effective lobbying will not be possible; the Bar will become an impersonal Bar; and
politics will intrude into its affairs.

It is noteworthy, however, that these and other evils prophesied by opponents of Bar integration
have failed to materialize in over fifty years of Bar integration experience in England, Canada and
the United States. In all the jurisdictions where the Integrated Bar has been tried, none of the abuses
or evils feared has arisen; on the other hand, it has restored public confidence in the Bar, enlarged
professional consciousness, energized the Bar's responsibilities to the public, and vastly improved
the administration of justice.

How do the Filipino lawyers themselves regard Bar integration? The official statistics compiled by the
Commission on Bar integration show that in the national poll recently conducted by the Commission
in the matter of the integration of the Philippine Bar, of a total of 15,090 lawyers from all over the
archipelago who have turned in their individual responses, 14,555 (or 96.45 per cent) voted in favor
of Bar integration, while only 378 (or 2.51 per cent) voted against it, and 157 (or 1.04 per cent) are
non-commital. In addition, a total of eighty (80) local Bar association and lawyers' groups all over the
Philippines have submitted resolutions and other expressions of unqualified endorsement and/or
support for Bar integration, while not a single local Bar association or lawyers' group has expressed
opposed position thereto. Finally, of the 13,802 individual lawyers who cast their plebiscite ballots on
the proposed integration Court Rule drafted by the Commission, 12,855 (or 93.14 per cent) voted in
favor thereof, 662 (or 4.80 per cent) vote against it, and 285 (or 2.06 per cent) are non-committal.5 All
these clearly indicate an overwhelming nationwide demand for Bar integration at this time.

The Court is fully convinced, after a thoroughgoing conscientious study of all the arguments adduced
in Adm. Case No. 526 and the authoritative materials and the mass of factual data contained in the
exhaustive Report of the Commission on Bar Integration, that the integration of the Philippine Bar is
"perfectly constitutional and legally unobjectionable," within the context of contemporary conditions in
the Philippines, has become an imperative means to raise the standards of the legal profession,
improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility fully
and effectively.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court, by virtue of the power vested in it by Section 13 of Article VIII of the
Constitution, hereby ordains the integration of the Bar of the Philippines in accordance with the
attached COURT RULE, effective on January 16, 1973.

Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castillo, Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio
and Esguerra, JJ., concur.

Footnotes

1 Created by Supreme Court Resolution of October 5, 1970 "for the purpose of


ascertaining the advisability of the integration of the Bar in this jurisdiction," the
Commission is composed of Supreme Court Associate Justice Fred Ruiz Castro
(Chairman), Senator Jose J. Roy, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Conrado
V. Sanchez, Supreme Court Associate Justice (then Court of Appeals Presiding
Justice) Salvador V. Esguerra, U. P. Law Center Director Crisolito Pascual, Ex-
Senator Tecla San Andres Ziga, and San Beda Law Dean and Constitutional
Convention Delegate Feliciano Jover Ledesma (Members).
2 Filed on July 11, 1962 (by a Committee composed of Jose W. Diokno, Roman
Ozaeta, Jose P. Carag, Eugenio Villanueva, Jr. and Leo A. Panuncialman), the
petition represented the unanimous consensus of 53 Bar Associations (from all over
the Philippines) reached in convention at the Far Eastern University Auditorium in
Manila on June 23, 1962.

3 Written oppositions were submitted by Attys. Cesar Fajardo and Vicente L. Arcega,
the Camarines Norte Lawyers League, Atty. Fructuoso S. Villarin, the Camarines Sur
Bar Association and the Manila Bar Association.

4 The Petitioners and the Negros Occidental Bar Association submitted memoranda
in favor of Bar integration, while the Manila Bar Association submitted a memoranda
opposing Bar integration.

5 All figures are as of January 8, 1973.

[A.C. No. 1928. August 3, 1978.]

In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILLON (IBP
Administrative Case No. MDD - 1).

SYNOPSIS

For respondent’s stubborn refusal to pay his memebership dues to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
since the latter’s constitution, notwithstanding due notice, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines unanimously adopted and submitted to the Supreme Court a resolution recommending the
removal of respondent’s name from its Roll of Attorneys, pursuant to Par. 2, Sec. 24, Art. III of the By-Laws
of the IBP.

Respondent, although conceding the propriety and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines,
questions the all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership therein and the obligation to pay
membership dues arguing that the provisions therein (Section 1 and 9 of the Court Rule 139-A) constitute
an invasion of his constitutional right in the sense that he is being compelled, as a precondition to
maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the
corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization
to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property
guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Respondent likewise questions the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that this matter is not among the justiciable cases
triable by the Court but is of an administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body.

The Supreme Court unanimously held that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar are valid
exercise of the police power over an important profession; that to compel a lawyer to be a member of the
IBP is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate; that the requirement to pay membership fees
is imposed as a regulatory measure designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of
integration; that the penalty provisions for non-payment are not void as unreasonable or arbitrary; that the
Supreme Court’s jurisdiction and power to strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys is expressly
provided by Art.X, Section 5(5) of the Constitution and held as an inherent judicial function by a host of
decided cases; and that the provisions of Rules of Court 139-A ordaining the integration of the Bar of the
Philippines and the IBP By-Laws complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal.

Respondent disbarred and his name ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.
SYLLABUS

1. ATTORNEYS; BAR INTEGRATION; NATURE AND PURPOSE. — An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized


Bar, to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished from bar associations organized by individual
lawyers themselves, membership in which is voluntary. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by
which every member of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of
the Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under the direction of
the State, an integrated Bar is an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be members.
They are, therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including the
requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar,
and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of which constitutes
sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing, a recommendation for
discipline or disbarment of the offending member.

2. ID.; ID.; INTEGRATION OF THE BAR, A VALID EXERCISE OF POLICE POWER; PRACTICE OF LAW NOT A
VESTED RIGHT BUT A PRIVILEGE. — All legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been uniformly
and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. The practice
of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a
lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts,
and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State — the administration of
justice — as an officer of the Court. The practice of law being clothed with public interest, the holder of this
privilege must submit to a degree of control for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has
created. The expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the
police power"

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; LEGISLATION TO EFFECT THE INTEGRATION OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR. — The Congress in
enacting Republic Act No. 6397, approved on September 17, 1971, authorizing the Supreme Court to "adopt
rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit," it did so
in the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. The Act’s avowal is to "raise the standards of the
legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public
responsibility more effectively," the Supreme Court in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its
Resolution promulgated on January 9, 1973, and the President of the Philippines in decreeing the
constitution of the IBP into a body corporate through Presidential Decree No. 181 dated May 4, 1973, were
prompted by fundamental considerations of public welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands
of pressing public necessity.

4. ID.; ID.; ID.; IMPOSITION OF RESTRAINTS JUSTIFIED. — The State, in order to promote the general
welfare, may interfere with and regulate personal liberty, property and occupations. Persons and property
may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the
State (U.S. v. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil. 218), for, as the Latin maxim goes, "Salus populi est supreme lex." The
public welfare is the supreme law. To this fundamental principle of government the rights of individuals are
subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail
over authority because then society will fall into anarchy (Calalang v. Williams, 70 Phil. 726). It is an
undoubted power of the State to restrain some individuals from all freedom, and all individuals from some
freedom.

5. ID.; ID.; CONSTITUTION VESTS SUPREME COURT WITH PLENARY POWER IN ALL CASES REGARDING
ADMISSION TO AND SUPERVISION OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW. — Even without the enabling Act (Republic
Act No. 6397), and looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme
Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the
admission to the practice of law," (Sec. 5[5], Art. X, 1973 Costitution) it at once becomes indubitable that
this constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the
admission to and supervision of the practice of law.

6. ID.; ID.; COMPULSORY MEMBERSHIP THEREIN NOT VIOLATIVE OF A LAWYER’S CONSTITUTIONAL


FREEDOM TO ASSOCIATE. — To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his
constitutional freedom to associate. Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he
is not already a member. He becomes a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. All that
integration actually does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized
and incohesive group of which every lawyer is already a member. Bar integration does not compel the
lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar
Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only compulsion to which he is
subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further the State’s legitimate
interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the
profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the
lawyers.

7. ID.; ID.; PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEE; A REGULATORY MEASURE NOT PROHIBITED BY LAW. — There
is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Supreme Court, under its constitutional power and duty to
promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar
(Article X, Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) from requiring members of a privileged class, such as lawyers
are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to which they
belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds
for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration.

8. ID.; ID.; ID.; PENALTY PROVISIONS, NOT VOID. — If the power to impose the fee as a regulatory
measure is recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided
altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. The practice of law is not a property right
but a mere privilege, and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact
compliance with the lawyer s public responsibilities.

9. ID.; POWER TO PASS UPON FITNESS TO REMAIN A MEMBER OF THE BAR VESTED IN THE SUPREME
COURT. — The matters of admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their
regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and
responsibilities. The power of the Supreme Court to regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers
does not depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. It has limitations no less real because they are
inherent. The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted.

10. ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — The provisions of Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court ordaining the integration of
the Bar of the Philippines and the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines is neither unconstitutional
nor illegal, and a lawyer’s stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, notwithstanding due notice, in violation of said Rule and By-Laws, is a ground for disbarment
and striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court.

RESOLUTION

CASTRO, C.J.:

The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines.

On November 29, 1975, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP for short) Board of Governors
unanimously adopted Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative Case No. MDD-1 (In the Matter of the
Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal of the
name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues" to the
IBP since the latter’s constitution notwithstanding due notice.

On January 21, 1976, the IBP, through its then President Liliano B. Neri, submitted the said resolution to the
Court for consideration and approval, pursuant to paragraph 2, Section 24, Article III of the By-Laws of the
IBP, which reads: jgc:chanrobles. com.ph

". . . . Should the delinquency further continue until the following June 29, the Board shall promptly inquire
into the cause or causes of the continued delinquency and take whatever action it shall deem appropriate,
including a recommendation to the Supreme Court for the removal of the delinquent member’s name from
the Roll of Attorneys. Notice of the action taken shall be sent by registered mail to the member and to the
Secretary of the Chapter concerned." cralaw virtua1aw l ibra ry

On January 27, 1976, the Court required the respondent to comment on the resolution and letter adverted
to above; he submitted his comment on February 23, 1976, reiterating his refusal to pay the membership
fees due from him.
On March 2, 1976, the Court required the IBP President and the IBP Board of Governors to reply to Edillon’s
comment: on March 24, 1976, they submitted a joint reply.

Thereafter, the case was set for hearing on June 3, 1976. After the hearing, the parties were required to
submit memoranda in amplification of their oral arguments. The matter was thenceforth submitted for
resolution.

At the threshold, a painstaking scrutiny of the respondent’s pleadings would show that the propriety and
necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines are in essence conceded. The respondent, however,
objects to particular features of Rule of Court 139-A (hereinafter referred to as the Court Rule) 1 — in
accordance with which the Bar of the Philippines was integrated — and to the provisions of par. 2, Section
24, Article III of the IBP By-Laws (hereinabove cited).

The authority of the IBP Board of Governors to recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a
delinquent member’s name from the Roll of Attorneys is found in par. 2 Section 24, Article III of the IBP By-
Laws (supra), whereas the authority of the Court to issue the order applied for is found in Section 10 of the
Court Rule, which reads: jgc:chanro bles. com.ph

"SEC. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. — Subject to the provisions of Section 12 of this Rule, default in
the payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar,
and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent
member from the Roll of Attorneys." cralaw virt ua1aw lib ra ry

The all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership in the IBP is stated in these words of the Court
Rule:c hanro bles law l ibra ry

"SECTION 1. Organization. — There is hereby organized an official national body to be known as the
‘Integrated Bar of the Philippines,’ composed of all persons whose names now appear or may hereafter be
included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court." cralaw virt ua1aw lib rary

The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in the following words of the Court Rule: jgc:c han robles. com.ph

"SEC. 9. Membership dues. — Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as the Board
of Governors shall determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. . . . ." cralaw virtua1aw l ibra ry

The core of the respondent’s arguments is that the above provisions constitute an invasion of his
constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled, as a pre-condition to maintaining his status as
a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a
consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally
antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the
Constitution. Hence, the respondent concludes, the above provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By-
Laws are void and of no legal force and effect.

The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys,
contending that the said matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is rather of an
"administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body." cralaw virt ua1aw lib ra ry

The case at bar is not the first one that has reached the Court relating to constitutional issues that inevitably
and inextricably come up to the surface whenever attempts are made to regulate the practice of law, define
the conditions of such practice, or revoke the license granted for the exercise of the legal profession.

The matters here complained of are the very same issues raised in a previous case before the Court, entitled
"Administrative Case No. 526, In the Matter of the Petition for the Integration of the Bar of the Philippines,
Roman Ozaeta, Et Al., Petitioners." The Court exhaustively considered all these matters in that case in its
Resolution ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines, promulgated on January 9, 1973. The
Court there made the unanimous pronouncement that it was.

". . . . fully convinced, after a thoroughgoing conscientious study of all the arguments adduced in Adm. Case
No. 526 and the authoritative materials and the mass of factual data contained in the exhaustive Report of
the Commission on Bar Integration, that the integration of the Philippine Bar is ‘perfectly constitutional and
legally unobjectionable’ . . ." cralaw vi rtua 1aw lib rary
Be that as it may, we now restate briefly the posture of the Court.

An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished from bar
associations organized by individual lawyers themselves, membership in which is voluntary. Integration of
the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his share
in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities.
Organized by or under the direction of the State, an integrated Bar is an official national body of which all
lawyers are required to be members. They are, therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the
governance of the Bar, including the requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective
discharge of the purposes of the Bar, and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional
responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper
cause appearing, a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member. 2

The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by overriding considerations of public interest
and public welfare to such an extent as more than constitutionally and legally justifies the restrictions that
integration imposes upon the personal interests and personal convenience of individual lawyers. 3

Apropos to the above, it must be stressed that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been
uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. The
practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with public interest because
a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the
courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State — the
administration of justice — as an officer of the Court. 4 The practice of law being clothed with public
interest, the holder of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the common good, to the extent
of the interest he has created. As the U. S. Supreme Court through Mr. Justice Roberts explained, the
expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the police power"
(Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S. 502).

When, therefore, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6397 5 authorizing the Supreme Court to "adopt rules
of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit," it did so in
the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. The Act’s avowal is to "raise the standards of the
legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public
responsibility more effectivity." Hence, the Congress in enacting such Act, the Court in ordaining the
integration of the Bar through its Resolution promulgated on January 9, 1973, and the President of the
Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body corporate through Presidential Decree No.
181 dated May 4, 1973, were prompted by fundamental considerations of public welfare and motivated by a
desire to meet the demands of pressing public necessity.

The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with and regulate personal liberty,
property and occupations. Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to
secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U.S. v. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil. 218), for, as the Latin
maxim goes, "Salus populi est supreme lex." The public welfare is the supreme law. To this fundamental
principle of government the rights of individuals are subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a
misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then society will fall into anarchy
(Calalang v. Williams, 70 Phil. 726). It is an undoubted power of the State to restrain some individuals from
all freedom, and all individuals from some freedom.

But the most compelling argument sustaining the constitutionality and validity of Bar integration in the
Philippines is the explicit unequivocal grant of precise power to the Supreme Court by Section 5 (5) of Article
X of the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines, which reads: jgc:chan roble s.com.p h

"Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: chan rob1e s virtual 1aw lib rary

x x x

"(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the
practice of law and the integration of the Bar . . .",

and Section 1 of Republic Act No. 6397, which reads: jgc:chanrob les.com. ph
"SECTION 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme Court may adopt rules of Court to
effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in order to raise the
standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its
public responsibility more effectively."
cralaw vi rtua 1aw lib rary

Quite apart from the above, let it be stated that even without the enabling Act (Republic Act No. 6397), and
looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme Court the power "to
promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice
of law," it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court with
plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision of the practice of law.

Thus, when the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal profession, his practice of law and his exercise of
the said profession, which affect the society at large, were (and are) subject to the power of the body politic
to require him to conform to such regulations as might be established by the proper authorities for the
common good, even to the extent of interfering with some of his liberties. If he did not wish to submit
himself to such reasonable interference and regulation, he should not have clothed the public with an
interest in his concerns.

On this score alone, the case for the respondent must already fall.

The issues being of constitutional dimension, however, we now concisely deal with them seriatim. chan roble s.com.p h : virt ual law li bra ry

1. The first objection posed by the respondent is that the Court is without power to compel him to become a
member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, hence, Section 1 of the Court Rule is unconstitutional for it
impinges on his constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to associate). Our answer is: To compel
a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. 6

Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. He
became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. 7 All that integration actually does is to
provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which
every lawyer is already a member. 8

Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not attend the
meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only
compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further
the State’s legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may require that the
cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory
program — the lawyers. 9

Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated
Bar, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the state. 10

2. The second issue posed by the respondent is that the provision of the Court Rule requiring payment of a
membership fee is void. We see nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court, under its constitutional
power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and the integration of
the Philippine Bar (Article X, Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) — which power the respondent
acknowledges — from requiring members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee
toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that
the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives
and purposes of integration. 11

3. The respondent further argues that the enforcement of the penalty provisions would amount to a
deprivation of property without due process and hence infringes on one of his constitutional rights. Whether
the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of a license to
practice a profession, we do not here pause to consider at length, as it clear that under the police power of
the State, and under the necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, the
respondent’s right to practice law before the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to
regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize, then a
penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void
as unreasonable or arbitrary. 12

But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege, 13 and as
such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyer s public
responsibilities.

4. Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike the name of a lawyer
from its Roll of Attorneys, it is sufficient to state that the matters of admission, suspension, disbarment and
reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as
inherent judicial functions and responsibilities, and the authorities holding such are legion. 14

In In Re Sparks (267 Ky. 93, 101 S.W. (2d) 194), in which the report of the Board of Bar Commissioners in
a disbarment proceeding was confirmed and disbarment ordered, the court, sustaining the Bar Integration
Act of Kentucky, said: The power to regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers does not depend
upon constitutional or statutory grounds. It is a power which is inherent in this court as a court —
appropriate, indeed necessary, to the proper administration of justice . . . the argument that this is an
arbitrary power which the court is arrogating to itself or accepting from the legislative likewise misconceives
the nature of the duty. It has limitations no less real because they are inherent. It is an unpleasant task to
sit in judgment upon a brother member of the Bar, particularly where, as here, the facts are disputed. It is a
grave responsibility, to be assumed only with a determination to uphold the ideals and traditions of an
honorable profession and to protect the public from overreaching and fraud. The very burden of the duty is
itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted. . ."
cralaw virtua 1aw lib rary

The Court’s jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our 1973 Constitution when it explicitly granted to the
Court the power to "promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice . . . and the admission to the practice of
law and the integration of the Bar . . ." (Article X, Sec. 5(5) the power to pass upon the fitness of the
respondent to remain a member of the legal profession is indeed undoubtedly vested in the Court.

We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court 139-A and of the By-Laws of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal. chan roble svirtualawl ibra ry

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is the unanimous sense of the Court that the respondent Marcial A.
Edillon should be as he is hereby disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered stricken from the Roll of
Attorneys of the Court.

EN BANC

[B.M. No. 1222. February 4, 2004]

Re: 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS

RESOLUTION
PER CURIAM:

On 22 September 2003, the day following the bar examination in Mercantile Law,
Justice Jose C. Vitug, Chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations Committee, was
apprised of a rumored leakage in the examination on the subject. After making his own
inquiries, Justice Vitug reported the matter to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., and to
the other members of the Court, recommending that the bar examination on the subject
be nullified and that an investigation be conducted forthwith. On 23 September 2003,
the Court adopted the recommendation of Justice Vitug, and resolved to nullify the
examination in Mercantile Law and to hold another examination on 04 October
2003 at eight oclock in the evening (being the earliest available time and date) at the De
La Salle University, Taft Avenue, Manila. The resolution was issued without prejudice to
any action that the Court would further take on the matter.
Following the issuance of the resolution, the Court received numerous petitions and
motions from the Philippine Association of Law Schools and various other groups and
persons, expressing agreement to the nullification of the bar examinations in Mercantile
Law but voicing strong reservations against the holding of another examination on the
subject. Several reasons were advanced by petitioners or movants, among these
reasons being the physical, emotional and financial difficulties that would be
encountered by the examinees, if another examination on the subject were to be held
anew. Alternative proposals submitted to the Court included the spreading out of the
weight of Mercantile Law among the remaining seven bar subjects, i.e., to determine
and gauge the results of the examinations on the basis only of the performance of the
examinees in the seven bar subjects. In a resolution, dated 29 September 2003, the
Court, finding merit in the submissions, resolved to cancel the scheduled examination in
Mercantile Law on 04 October 2003 and to allocate the fifteen percentage points among
the seven bar examination subjects. In the same resolution, the Court further resolved
to create a Committee composed of three retired members of the Court that would
conduct a thorough investigation of the incident subject of the 23 September
2003 resolution.
In a resolution, dated 07 October 2003, the Court adopted the computation in the
allocation of the fifteen percentage points for Mercantile Law among the remaining
seven bar examination subjects, to wit:
Subject Original Adjusted Relative Adjusted
Percentage Percentage Weight Relative
Weight Weight Weight
Political and
International
Law 15% 17.647% 3 3.53%
Labor and
Social
Legislation 10% 11.765% 2 2.35%

Civil law 15% 17.647% 3 3.53%

Taxation 10% 11.765% 2 2.35%

Criminal law 10% 11.765% 2 2.35%

Remedial
Law 20% 23.529% 4 4.71%
Legal Ethics
and Practical
Exercises 5% 5.882% 1 1.18%
100% 20%
In another resolution, dated 14 October 2003, the Court designated the following
retired Associate Justices of the Supreme Court to compose the Investigating
Committee:

Chairman: Justice Carolina C. Grio-Aquino

Members: Justice Jose A.R. Melo

Justice Vicente V. Mendoza

The Investigating Committee was tasked to determine and identify the source of
leakage, the parties responsible therefor or who might have benefited therefrom,
recommend sanctions against all those found to have been responsible for, or who
would have benefited from, the incident in question and to recommend measures to the
Court to safeguard the integrity of the bar examinations.
On 15 January 2004, the Investigating Committee submitted its report and
recommendation to the Court, herein reproduced in full; thus -

In the morning of September 21, 2003, the third Sunday of the 2003 bar examinations,
the examination in commercial law was held in De la Salle University on Taft
Avenue, Manila, the venue of the bar examinations since 1995. The next day, the
newspapers carried news of an alleged leakage in the said examination. [1]

Upon hearing the news and making preliminary inquiries of his own, Justice Jose C.
Vitug, chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations Committee, reported the matter to the
Chief Justice and recommended that the examination in mercantile law be cancelled
and that a formal investigation of the leakage be undertaken.

Acting on the report and recommendation of Justice Vitug, the Court, in a resolution
dated September 23, 2003, nullified the examination in mercantile law and resolved to
hold another examination in that subject on Saturday, October 4, 2003 at eight oclock
in the evening (being the earliest available time and date) at the same venue.
However, because numerous petitions, protests, and motions for reconsideration were
filed against the retaking of the examination in mercantile law, the Court cancelled the
holding of such examination. On the recommendation of the Office of the Bar
Confidant, the Court instead decided to allocate the fifteen (15) percentage points for
mercantile law among the seven (7) other bar examination subjects (Resolution
dated October 7, 2003).

In a Resolution dated September 29, 2003, the Supreme Court created an Investigating
Committee composed of three (3) retired Members of the Court to conduct an
investigation of the leakage and to submit its findings and recommendations on or
before December 15, 2003.

The Court designated the following retired Associate Justices of the Supreme Court to
compose the Committee:

Chairman: Justice CAROLINA GRIO-AQUINO

Members: Justice JOSE A. R. MELO

Justice VICENTE V. MENDOZA

The Investigating Committee was directed to determine and identify the source of the
leakage, the parties responsible therefor and those who benefited therefrom, and to
recommend measures to safeguard the integrity of the bar examinations.

The investigation commenced on October 21, 2003 and continued up to November 7,


2003. The following witnesses appeared and testified at the investigation:

1. Associate Justice Jose C. Vitug, chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations


Committee;

2. Atty. Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, law clerk in the office of Justice Vitug

3. Atty. Marcial O. T. Balgos, examiner in mercantile law;

4. Cheryl Palma, private secretary of Atty. Balgos;

5. Atty. Danilo De Guzman, assistant lawyer in the firm of Balgos & Perez;

6. Atty. Enrico G. Velasco, managing partner of Balgos & Perez;

7. Eduardo J. F. Abella, reviewer in commercial law at


the Lex Review Center;

8. Silvestre T. Atienza, office manager of Balgos & Perez;

9. Reynita Villasis, private secretary of Atty. De Guzman;


10. Ronan Garvida, fraternity brother of Atty. De Guzman;

11. Ronald F. Collado, most illustrious brother of the Beta Sigma Lambda
Fraternity;

12. Jovito M. Salonga, Asst. Division Chief of Systems Development for


Judicial Application, MlSO;

The Committee held nine (9) meetings - six times to conduct the investigation
and three times to deliberate on its report.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JOSE C. VITUG, chairman of the Bar Examinations


Committee, testified that on Monday morning, September 22, 2003, the day after the
Bar examination in mercantile or commercial law, upon arriving in his office in the
Supreme Court, his secretary, Rose Kawada, informed him that one of the law clerks,
[2]

Atty. Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, told her that a friend of hers named Ma. Cecilia
Delgado-Carbajosa, a bar examinee from Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City,
who was staying at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Paco, confided to her that something
was wrong with the examination in mercantile law, because previous to the
examination, i.e., on Saturday afternoon, the eve of the examination, she received a
copy of the test questions in that subject. She did not pay attention to the test
questions because no answers were provided, and she was hard-pressed to finish her
review of that subject, using other available bar review materials, of which there were
plenty coming from various bar review centers.

However, upon perusing the questions after the examinations, Cecilia noticed that
many of them were the same questions that were asked in the just-concluded-
examination.

Justice Vitug requested Marlo to invite her friend to his office in the Supreme Court,
but Carbajosa declined the invitation. So, Justice Vitug suggested that Marlo and Rose
invite Carbajosa to meet them at Robinsons Place, Ermita. She agreed to do that.

Cecilia Carbajosa arrived at Robinsons Place at the appointed time and showed the
test questions to Rose and Marlo. Rose obtained a xerox copy of the leaked questions
and compared them with the bar questions in mercantile law. On the back of the
pages, she wrote, in her own hand, the differences she noted between the leaked
questions and the bar examination questions.

Rose and Marlo delivered the copy of the leaked questions to Justice Vitug who
compared them with the bar examination questions in mercantile law. He found the
leaked questions to be the exact same questions which the examiner in mercantile law,
Attorney Marcial O. T. Balgos, had prepared and submitted to him as chairman of the
Bar Examinations Committee. However, not all of those questions were asked in the
bar examination. According to Justice Vitug, only 75% of the final bar questions were
questions prepared by Atty. Balgos; 25% prepared by Justice Vitug himself, were
included in the final bar examination. The questions prepared by Justice Vitug were
not among the leaked test questions.

Apart from the published news stories about the leakage, Chief Justice Hilario G.
Davide, Jr. and Justice Vitug received, by telephone and mail, reports of the leakage
from Dean Mariano F. Magsalin, Jr. of the Arellano Law Foundation (Exh. H) and a
certain Dale Philip R. De los Reyes (Exh. B -B-3), attaching copies of the leaked
questions and the fax transmittal sheet showing that the source of the questions was
Danny De Guzman who faxed them to Ronan Garvida on September 17, 2003, four
days before the examination in mercantile law on September 21, 2003 (Exh. B-1).

ATTORNEY MARLO MAGDOZA-MALAGAR was subpoenaed by the Committee.


She identified the copy of the leaked questions that came from Cecilia Carbajosa
(Exh. A). She testified that, according to Carbajosa, the latter received the test
questions from one of her co-bar reviewees staying, like her, at the Garden Plaza
Hotel in Paco, and also enrolled in the review classes at the Lex Review Center at the
corner of P. Faura Street and Roxas Boulevard, Ermita. She did not pay for the hand-
out because the Lex Review Center gives them away for free to its bar reviewees.

ATTORNEY MARCIAL O. T. BALGOS, 71 years of age, senior partner in the law


firm of BALGOS AND PEREZ with offices in Rm. 1009 West Tektite Tower,
Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, testified that in November 2002, Justice
Jose C. Vitug, as chair of the Committee on the 2003 Bar Examinations, invited him
to be the examiner in commercial law. He accepted the assignment and almost
immediately began the preparation of test questions on the subject. Using his personal
computer in the law office, he prepared for three consecutive days, three (3) sets of
test questions which covered the entire subject of Mercantile Law (pp. 3-5, tsn, Oct.
24, 2003). As he did not know how to prepare the questionnaire in final form, he
asked his private secretary, Cheryl Palma, to format the questions (p. 13, tsn, Oct. 24,
2003). And, as he did not know how to print the questionnaire, he likewise asked
Cheryl Palma to make a print-out (Id., pp. 14-15). All of this was done inside his
office with only him and his secretary there. His secretary printed only one copy (Id.,
p. 15). He then placed the printed copy of the test questions, consisting of three sets,
in an envelope which he sealed, and called up Justice Vitug to inform him that he was
bringing the questions to the latters office that afternoon. However, as Justice Vitug
was leaving his office shortly, he advised Atty. Balgos to give the sealed envelope to
his confidential assistant who had been instructed to keep it. When Atty. Balgos
arrived in the office of Justice Vitug, he was met by Justice Vitugs confidential
assistant to whom he entrusted the sealed envelope containing the test questions (pp.
19-26, tsn, Oct. 24, 2003).

Atty. Balgos admitted that he does not know how to operate a computer except to type
on it. He does not know how to open and close his own computer which has a
password for that purpose. In fact, he did not know, as he still does, the password. It is
his secretary, Cheryl Palma, who opened and closed his computer for him (p. 45, tsn,
Oct. 24, 2003).

Atty. Balgos testified that he did not devise the password himself. It was Cheryl
Palma who devised it (Id., p. 71).

His computer is exclusively for his own use. It is located inside his room which is
locked when he is not in the office. He comes to the office every other day only.

He thought that his computer was safely insulated from third parties, and that he alone
had access to it. He was surprised to discover, when reports of the bar leakage broke
out, that his computer was in fact interconnected with the computers of his nine (9)
assistant attorneys (tsn, pp. 30,45). As a matter of fact, the employees - Jovito M.
Salonga and Benjamin R. Katly - of the Courts Management Information Systems
Office (MISO) who, upon the request of Atty. Balgos, were directed by the
Investigating Committee to inspect the computer system in his office, reported that
there were 16, not 9, computers connected to each other via Local Area Network
(LAN) and one (1) stand-alone computer connected to the internet (Exh. M). Atty.
Balgos law partner, former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez, also had a computer,
but Perez took it away when he became the Secretary of Justice.

The nine (9) assistant attorneys with computers, connected to Attorney Balgos
computer, are:

1. Zorayda Zosobrado (she resigned in July 2003)

2. Claravel Javier

3. Rolynne Torio

4. Mark Warner Rosal

5. Charlynne Subia

6. Danilo De Guzman (resigned on October 22, 2003 [Exh. D])


7. Enrico G. Velasco, managing partner

8. Concepcion De los Santos

9. Pamela June Jalandoni

Upon learning from Justice Vitug of the leakage of the bar questions prepared by him
in mercantile law, Atty. Balgos immediately called together and questioned his office
staff. He interrogated all of them except Atty. Danilo De Guzman who was absent
then. All of them professed to know nothing about the bar leakage.

He questioned Silvestre Atienza, the office manager, Atienza is only a second year
law student at MLQU. But he is an expert in installing and operating computers. It
was he and/or his brother Gregorio who interconnected the computers in the law
office, including Attorney Balgos computer, without the latters knowledge and
permission.

Atienza admitted to Attorney Balgos that he participated in the bar operations or bar
ops of the Beta Sigma Lambda law fraternity of which he is a member, but he
clarified that his participation consisted only of bringing food to the MLQU bar
examinees (Tsn, pp. 46-47, Oct. 24, 2003).

The next day, Attorney Balgos questioned Attorney Danilo De Guzman, also a
member of the Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity, FEU chapter. De Guzman admitted to
him that he downloaded the test questions from Attorney Balgos computer and faxed
a copy to a fraternity brother. Attorney Balgos was convinced that De Guzman was
the source of the leakage of his test questions in mercantile law (Tsn, p. 52, Oct. 24,
2003).

Attorney Balgos prepared a COMPARISON (Exh. E) of the juxtaposed final bar


questions and his proposed test questions, with marginal markings made by Justice
Vicente V. Mendoza (Ret.), indicating whether the questions are similar: (S); or
different: (D), together with the percentage points corresponding to each question. On
the basis of this comparative table and Atty. Balgos indications as to which questions
were the same or different from those given in the final questionnaire, Justice
Mendoza computed the credit points contained in the proposed leaked questions. The
proposed questions constituted 82% of the final bar questions. Attached to this Report
as Annex A is the comparative table and the computation of credit points marked as
Exh. E-1.

CHERYL PALMA, 34 years old, private secretary of Attorney Balgos for the past six
years, testified that she did not type the test questions. She admitted, however, that it
was she who formatted the questions and printed one copy as directed by her
employer. She confirmed Atty. Balgos testimony regarding her participation in the
operation of his personal computer. She disclosed that what appears in Atty. Balgos
computer can be seen in the neighborhood network if the other computers are open
and not in use; that Silvestre Atienza of the accounting section, can access Atty.
Balgos computer when the latter is open and not in use.

ATTORNEY ENRICO VELASCO, managing partner of the firm, testified that


on October 16, 2003, he sent De Guzman a memo (Exh. C) giving him 72 hours to
explain in writing why you should not be terminated for causing the Firm an
undeserved condemnation and dishonor because of the leakage aforesaid.

On October 22, 2003, De Guzman handed in his resignation effective immediately.


He explained that:

Causing the firm, its partners and members to suffer from undeserved condemnation
and humiliation is not only farthest from, but totally out of, my mind. It is just
unfortunate that the incident subject matter of your memorandum occurred. Rest
assured, though, that I have never been part of any deliberate scheme to malign the
good reputation and integrity of the firm, its partners and members. (Exh. D)

DANILO DE GUZMAN testified that he joined Balgos & Perez in April 2000. He
obtained his LLB degree from FEU in 1998. As a student, he was an awardee for
academic excellence. He passed the 1998 bar examinations with a grade of 86.4%. In
FEU, he joined the Beta Sigma Lambda law fraternity which has chapters in MLQU,
UE and MSU (Mindanao State University). As a member of the fraternity, he was
active during bar examinations and participated in the fraternitys bar ops.

He testified that sometime in May 2003, when he was exploring Atty. Balgos
computer, (which he often did without the owners knowledge or permission), to
download materials which he thought might be useful to save for future use, he found
and downloaded the test questions in mercantile law consisting of 12 pages. He
allegedly thought they were quizzers for a book that Atty. Balgos might be preparing.
He saved them in his hard disk.

He thought of faxing the test questions to one of his fraternity brods, a certain Ronan
Garvida who, De Guzman thought, was taking the 2003 bar examinations. Garvida is
also a law graduate from FEU. He had taken the 2002 bar examinations, but did not
pass.

On September 17, 2003, four days before the mercantile law bar examination,
De Guzman faxed a copy of the 12-page-test questions (Exhs. I, I-1, I-2, I-3) to
Garvida because earlier he was informed by Garvida that he was retaking the bar
examinations. He advised Garvida to share the questions with other Betan examinees.
He allegedly did not charge anything for the test questions. Later, after the
examination was over, Garvida texted (sent a text message on his cell phone) him (De
Guzman), that he did not take the bar examination.

Besides Garvida, De Guzman faxed the mercantile law bar questions to another
fraternity brother named Arlan (surname unknown), through Reynita (Nanette)
Villasis, his secretary (Tsn, pp. 20-28, Oct. 29, 2003). But he himself faxed the
questions to still another brod named Erwin Tan who had helped him during the bar
ops in 1998 when he (De Guzman) took the bar examinations (Id., p. 28). He obtained
the cell phone numbers of Arlan and Erwin Tan from Gabby Tanpiengco whom he
informed by text message, that they were guide questions, not tips, in the mercantile
law examination.

When he was confronted by Attorney Velasco on Wednesday after the examination,


(news of the leakage was already in all the newspapers), De Guzman admitted to
Attorney Velasco that he faxed the questions to his fraternity brothers, but he did not
reveal where he got the test questions.

De Guzman received a text message from Erwin Tan acknowledging that he received
the test questions. However, Erwin informed him that the questions were kalat na
kalat (all over the place) even if he did not share them with others (Tsn, pp. 54-55,
Oct. 29, 2003).

De Guzman also contacted Garvida who informed him that he gave copies of the test
questions to Betans Randy Iigo and James Bugain.

Arlan also texted De Guzman that almost all the questions were asked in the
examination. Erwin Tan commented that many of the leaked questions were asked in
the examination, pero hindi exacto; mi binago (they were not exactly the same; there
were some changes).

De Guzman tried to text Garvida, but he received no response.

De Guzman disclosed that he learned how to operate a computer from Silvestre


Atienza, the office manager, and through self-study, by asking those who are
knowledgeable on computers. He has been using computers since 1997, and he bought
his own computer in 2001, a Pentium 3, which he uses at home.

REYNITA VILLASIS, the 36-year-old legal secretary of Attorney De Guzman,


submitted her affidavit (Exh. F) and orally affirmed her participation in the
reproduction and transmittal by fax of the leaked test questions in mercantile law to
Ronan Garvida and Arlan, as testified by De Guzman.

RONAN GARVIDA, appeared before the Investigating Committee in compliance


with the subpoena that was issued to him. Garvida graduated from FEU College of
Law in 2000. He is about 32 years of age. While still a student in 1998, he was
afflicted with multiple sclerosis or MS, a disease of the nervous system that attacks
the nerve sheaths of the brain and spinal cord. It is a chronic disabling disease
although it may have periods of remission. It causes its victim to walk with erratic,
stiff and staggering gait; the hands and fingers may tremble in performing simple
actions; the eyesight can be impaired, and speech may be slow and slurred (p. 737,
Vol. 2, Readers Digest Medical Encyclopedia, 1971 Ed., compiled by Benjamin F.
Miller, M.D.). All these symptoms were present when Garvida testified before the
Committee on November 6, 2003 to answer its questions regarding his involvement in
the leakage of the examiners test questions in mercantile law.

Garvida testified that when he was a freshman at FEU, he became a member of the
Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity where he met and was befriended by Attorney De
Guzman who was his senior by one and a half years. Although they had been out of
touch since he went home to the province on account of the recurrence of his illness,
De Guzman was able [to] get this cell phone number from his compadre, Atty. Joseph
Pajara. De Guzman told Garvida that he was faxing him possible questions in the bar
examination in mercantile law. Because the test questions had no answers, De
Guzman stressed that they were not tips but only possible test questions.

Garvida had intended to take the 2003 bar examinations. He enrolled in


the Consortium Review Center in FEU, paying P10,000.00 as enrollment fee.
However, on his way to the Supreme Court to file his application to take the bar
examination, he suffered pains in his wrist - symptoms that his MS had recurred. His
physician advised him to go to the National Orthopedic Hospital in Quezon City for
treatment. This he did.

He gave up his plan to take the 2003 bar examinations. Nevertheless, he continued to
attend the review classes at the Consortium Review Center because he did not want to
waste completely the P10,000-enrollment fee that he paid for the review course
(Nahihinayang ako). That was presumably why De Guzman thought that Garvida was
taking the bar exams and sent him a copy of the test questions in mercantile law.

Upon receipt of the test questions, Garvida faxed a copy to his brod Randy Iigo who
was reviewing at the Consortium Review Center. Randy photocopied them for
distribution to other fraternity brods. Some of the brods doubted the usefulness of the
test questions, but Randy who has a high regard for De Guzman, believed that the
questions were tips. Garvida did not fax the questions to any other person than Randy
Iigo. He allegedly did not sell the questions to Randy. I could not do that to a brod, he
explained.

In view of the fact that one of the copies of the leaked test questions (Exh. H) bore on
the left margin a rubber stamp composed of the Greek initials BEA-MLQU, indicating
that the source of that copy was the Beta Sigma Lambda chapter at MLQU, the
Committee subpoenaed Ronald Collado, the Most Illustrious Brother of the Beta
Sigma Lambda fraternity of MLQU.

RONALD COLLADO is a senior law student at the MLQU. He admitted that his
fraternity conducted Bar Ops for the 2003 bar exams. Bar Ops are the biggest activity
of the fraternity every year. They start as soon as new officers of the fraternity are
elected in June, and they continue until the bar examinations are over. The bar
operations consist of soliciting funds from alumni brods and friends to be spent in
reproducing bar review materials for the use of their barristers (bar candidates) in the
various review centers, providing meals for their brod-barristers on examination days;
and to rent a bar site or place near De la Salle University where the examinees and the
frat members can convene and take their meals during the break time. The Betans bar
site for the 2003 bar examinations was located on Leon Guinto Street, Malate. On
September 19 and 21, before [the] start of the examination, Collados fraternity
distributed bar review materials for the mercantile law examination to the examinees
who came to the bar site. The test questions (Exh. H) were received by Collado from a
brod, Alan Guiapal, who had received them from Randy Iigo.

Collado caused 30 copies of the test questions to be printed with the logo and initials
of the fraternity (BEA-MLQU) for distribution to the 30 MLQU examinees taking the
bar exams. Because of time constraints, frat members were unable to answer the test
questions despite the clamor for answers, so, they were given out as is - without
answers.

DEAN EDUARDO J. F. ABELLA of the Jose Rizal University law school


in Mandaluyong City, was the reviewer in Mercantile Law and Practical Exercises at
the Lex Review Center which is operated by the Lex Review & Seminars Inc., of
which Dean Abella is one of the incorporators. He learned about the leakage of test
questions in mercantile law when he was delivering the pre-week lecture on Legal
Forms at the Arellano University. The leaked questions were shown to him by his
secretary, Jenylyn Domingo, after the mercantile law exam. He missed the Saturday
lecture in mercantile law because he was suffering from a touch of flu. He gave his
last lecture on the subject on Wednesday or Thursday before the exam. He denied
having bought or obtained and distributed the leaked test questions in Mercantile Law
to the bar reviewees in the Lex Review Center.
FINDINGS

The Committee finds that the leaked test questions in Mercantile Law were the
questions which the examiner, Attorney Marcial O. T. Balgos, had prepared and
submitted to Justice Jose C. Vitug, as chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations
Committee. The questions constituted 82% of the questions asked in the examination
in Mercantile Law in the morning of September 21, 2003, Sunday, in some cases with
slight changes which were not substantial and in other cases exactly as proposed by
Atty. Balgos. Hence, any bar examinee who was able to get hold of the leaked
questions before the mercantile law examination and answered them correctly, would
have been assured of passing the examination with at least a grade of 82%!

The circumstance that the leaked test questions consisted entirely of test questions
prepared by Atty. Balgos, proves conclusively that the leakage originated from his
office, not from the Office of Justice Vitug, the Bar Examinations Chairman.

Atty. Balgos claimed that the leaked test questions were prepared by him on his
computer. Without any doubt, the source of the leaked test questions was Atty. Balgos
computer. The culprit who stole or downloaded them from Atty. Balgos computer
without the latters knowledge and consent, and who faxed them to other persons, was
Atty. Balgos legal assistant, Attorney Danilo De Guzman, who voluntarily confessed
the deed to the Investigating Committee. De Guzman revealed that he faxed the test
questions, with the help of his secretary Reynita Villasis, to his fraternity brods,
namely, Ronan Garvida, Arlan (whose surname he could not recall), and Erwin Tan.

In turn, Ronan Garvida faxed the test questions to Betans Randy Iigo and James
Bugain.

Randy Iigo passed a copy or copies of the same questions to another Betan, Alan
Guiapal, who gave a copy to the MLQU-Beta Sigma [Lambdas] Most Illustrious
Brother, Ronald F. Collado, who ordered the printing and distribution of 30 copies to
the MLQUs 30 bar candidates.

Attorney Danilo De Guzmans act of downloading Attorney Balgos test questions in


mercantile law from the latters computer, without his knowledge and permission, was
a criminal act of larceny. It was theft of intellectual property; the test questions were
intellectual property of Attorney Balgos, being the product of his intellect and legal
knowledge.

Besides theft, De Guzman also committed an unlawful infraction of Attorney Balgos


right to privacy of communication, and to security of his papers and effects against
unauthorized search and seizure - rights zealously protected by the Bill of Rights of
our Constitution (Sections 2 and 3, Article III, 1987 Constitution).

He transgressed the very first canon of the lawyers Code of Professional


Responsibility which provides that [a] lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the
laws of the land, and promote respect for law and legal processes.

By transmitting and distributing the stolen test questions to some members of the Beta
Sigma Lambda Fraternity, possibly for pecuniary profit and to given them undue
advantage over the other examiners in the mercantile law examination, De Guzman
abetted cheating or dishonesty by his fraternity brothers in the examination, which is
violative of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, as well as Canon 7 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility for members of the Bar, which provide:

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct

Canon 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND


DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF
THE INTEGRATED BAR.

De Guzman was guilty of grave misconduct unbecoming a member of the Bar. He


violated the law instead of promoting respect for it and degraded the noble profession
of law instead of upholding its dignity and integrity. His actuations impaired public
respect for the Court, and damaged the integrity of the bar examinations as the final
measure of a law graduates academic preparedness to embark upon the practice of
law.

However, the Investigating Committee does not believe that De Guzman was solely
responsible for the leakage of Atty. Balgos proposed test questions in the mercantile
law examination. The Committee does not believe that he acted alone, or did not have
the assistance and cooperation of other persons, such as:

Cheryl Palma, Atty. Balgos private secretary, who, according to Atty. Balgos himself,
was the only person who knew the password, who could open and close his computer;
and who had the key to his office where his computer was kept. Since a computer may
not be accessed or downloaded unless it is opened, someone must have opened Atty.
Balgos computer in order for De Guzman to retrieve the test questions stored therein.

Silvestre Atienza, also a fraternity brod of De Guzman, who was responsible for
interconnecting Atty. Balgos computer with the other computers outside Atty. Balgos
room or office, and who was the only other person, besides Cheryl Palma, who knew
the password of Atty. Balgos computer.

The following persons who received from De Guzman, and distributed copies of the
leaked test questions, appear to have conspired with him to steal and profit from the
sale of the test questions. They could not have been motivated solely by a desire to
help the fraternity, for the leakage was widespread (kalat na kalat) according to Erwin
Tan. The possible co-conspirators were:

Ronan Garvida,
Arlan,
Erwin Tan,
Randy Iigo,
Ronald Collado, and
Allan Guiapal

The Committee does not believe that De Guzman recklessly broke the law and risked
his job and future as a lawyer, out of love for the Beta Sigma Lambda fraternity.
There must have been an ulterior material consideration for his breaking the law and
tearing the shroud of secrecy that, he very well knows, covers the bar examinations.

On the other hand, the Committee finds that the theft of the test questions from Atty.
Balgos computer could have been avoided if Atty. Balgos had exercised due diligence
in safeguarding the secrecy of the test questions which he prepared. As the computer
is a powerful modern machine which he admittedly is not fairly familiar with, he
should not have trusted it to deep secret the test questions that he stored in its hard
disk. He admittedly did not know the password of his computer. He relied on his
secretary to use the password to open and close his computer. He kept his computer in
a room to which other persons had access. Unfamiliar with the use of the machine
whose potential for mischief he could not have been totally unaware of, he should
have avoided its use for so sensitive an undertaking as typing the questions in the bar
examination. After all he knew how to use the typewriter in the use of which he is
quite proficient. Atty. Balgos should therefore have prepared the test questions in his
trusty typewriter, in the privacy of his home, (instead of his law office), where they
would have been safe from the prying eyes of secretaries and assistant attorneys. Atty.
Balgos negligence in the preparation and safekeeping of his proposed test questions
for the bar examination in mercantile law, was not the proximate cause of the bar
leakage; it was, in fact, the root cause. For, if he had taken those simple precautions to
protect the secrecy of his papers, nobody could have stolen them and copied and
circulated them. The integrity of the bar examinations would not have been sullied by
the scandal. He admitted that Mali siguro ako, but that was what happened (43
tsn, Oct. 24, 2003).
RECOMMENDATION

This Honorable court in the case of Burbe v. Magulta, A.C. No. 5713, June 10, 2002,
383 SCRA 276, pronounced the following reminder for lawyers: Members of the bar
must do nothing that may tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in
the fidelity, the honesty and integrity of the profession. In another case, it likewise
intoned: We cannot overstress the duty of a lawyer to at all times uphold the integrity
and dignity of the legal profession. He can do this by faithfully performing his duties
to society, to the bar, to the courts, and to his clients. (Reyes v. Javier, A.C. No.
5574, February 2, 2002, 375 SCRA 538). It goes without saying that a lawyer who
violates this precept of the profession by committing a gross misconduct which
dishonors and diminishes the publics respect for the legal profession, should be
disciplined.

After careful deliberation, the Investigating Committee recommends that:

1. Attorney Danilo De Guzman be DISBARRED for he had shown that he is morally


unfit to continue as a member of the legal profession, for grave dishonesty, lack of
integrity, and criminal behavior. In addition, he should make a written PUBLIC
APOLOGY and pay DAMAGES to the Supreme Court for involving it in another bar
scandal, causing the cancellation of the mercantile law examination, and wreaking
havoc upon the image of this institution.

2. Attorney Marcial O. T. Balgos should be REPRIMANDED by the Court and


likewise be required to make a written APOLOGY to the Court for the public scandal
he brought upon it as a result of his negligence and lack of due care in preparing and
safeguarding his proposed test questions in mercantile law. As the Court had to cancel
the Mercantile Law examination on account of the leakage of Attorney Balgos test
questions, which comprised 82% of the bar questions in that examination, Atty.
Balgos is not entitled to receive any honorarium as examiner for that subject.

3. FURTHER INVESTIGATION of Danilo De Guzman, Cheryl Palma, Silvestre


Atienza, Ronan Garvida, Arlan, Erwin Tan, Randy Iigo, James Bugain, Ronald
Collado and Allan Guiapal by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine
National Police, with a view to their criminal prosecution as probable co-conspirators
in the theft and leakage of the test questions in mercantile law.

With regard to recommending measures to safeguard the integrity of the bar


examinations and prevent a repetition of future leakage in the said examinations,
inasmuch as this matter is at present under study by the Courts Committee on Legal
Education and Bar Matters, as an aspect of proposals for bar reforms, the
Investigating Committee believes it would be well-advised to refrain from including
in this report what may turn out to be duplicative, if not contrary, recommendations on
the matter.[3]

The Court adopts the report, including with some modifications the
recommendation, of the Investigating Committee. The Court, certainly will not
countenance any act or conduct that can impair not only the integrity of the Bar
Examinations but the trust reposed on the Court.
The Court also takes note that Mr. Jovito M. Salonga and Mr. Benjamin R. Katly,
two of its employees assigned to the Management Information Systems Office (MISO),
who were tasked by the Investigating Committee to inspect the computer system in the
office of Atty. Balgos, found that the Courts Computer-Assisted Legal Research
(CALR) database[4] was installed in the computer used by Atty. Balgos. Mr. Salonga and
Mr. Katly reported that the system, which was developed by the MISO, was intended for
the exclusive use of the Court. The installation thereof to any external computer would
be unauthorized without the permission of the Court. Atty. Velasco informed the two
Court employees that the CALR database was installed by Atty. De Guzman on the
computer being used by Atty. Balgos. The matter would also need further investigation
to determine how Atty. De Guzman was able to obtain a copy of the Courts CALR
database.
WHEREFORE, the Court, acting on the recommendations of the Investigating
Committee, hereby resolves to -
(1) DISBAR Atty. DANILO DE GUZMAN from the practice of law effective upon his
receipt of this RESOLUTION;
(2) REPRIMAND Atty. MARCIAL O.T. BALGOS and DISENTITLE him from receiving
any honorarium as an Examiner in Mercantile Law;
(3) Direct the National Bureau of Investigation (a) to undertake further investigation of
Danilo De Guzman, Cheryl Palma, Silvestre Atienza, Ronan Garvida, Erwin Tan,
Randy Iigo, James Bugain, Ronald Collado and Allan Guiapal with a view to
determining their participation and respective accountabilities in the bar examination
leakage and to conduct an investigation on how Danilo De Guzman was able to
secure a copy of the Supreme Courts CALR database.
Let a copy of this Resolution be made part of the records of Danilo De Guzman in
the Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines, and copies to be
furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and circulated by the Office of the Court
Administrator to all courts.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago,
Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, and Callejo, Sr.,
JJ., concur.
Azcuna, J., on official leave.
Tinga, J., No part. Close to family of one of the parties involved in bar scandal.
[1]
The leakage was reported on the newspapers on Tuesday, 23 September 2003.
[2]
A Law clerk in his office, Atty. Rosalinda E. Beltran-Kawada.
[3]
Report of the Investigating Committee on the Leakage of the Examiners Bar Examination Questions in
Mercantile Law.
[4]
The CALR database contains Supreme Court decisions from May 1996 to May 2002. It also has a
proprietary search engine.

EN BANC

RE: 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS B.M. No. 1222

x ---------------------------------------- x

ATTY. DANILO DE GUZMAN,

Petitioner, Present:

Puno, C.J.,

Quisumbing,*

Ynares-Santiago,

Carpio,

Austria-Martinez,

Corona,

Carpio Morales,
Tinga,

Chico-Nazario,

Velasco, Jr.,

Nachura,

Leonardo-De Castro,

Brion,

Peralta, and

Bersamin, JJ.

Promulgated:

April 24, 2009

x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

RESOLUTION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

This treats the Petition for Judicial Clemency and Compassion dated November
10, 2008 filed by petitioner Danilo de Guzman. He prays that this Honorable Court
in the exercise of equity and compassion, grant petitioners plea for judicial
clemency, and thereupon, order his reinstatement as a member in good standing
of the Philippine Bar.[1]
To recall, on February 4, 2004, the Court promulgated a Resolution, in B.M. No.
1222, the dispositive portion of which reads in part:

WHEREFORE, the Court, acting on the recommendations of the Investigating


Committee, hereby resolves to

(1) DISBAR Atty. DANILO DE GUZMAN from the practice of law effective upon
his receipt of this RESOLUTION;

xxxx

The subject of the Resolution is the leakage of questions in Mercantile Law


during the 2003 Bar Examinations. Petitioner at that time was employed as an
assistant lawyer in the law firm of Balgos & Perez, one of whose partners, Marcial
Balgos, was the examiner for Mercantile Law during the said bar
examinations. The Court had adopted the findings of the Investigating
Committee, which identified petitioner as the person who had downloaded the
test questions from the computer of Balgos and faxed them to other persons.

The Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) has favorably recommended the
reinstatement of petitioner in the Philippine Bar. In a Report dated January 6,
2009, the OBC rendered its assessment of the petition, the relevant portions of
which we quote hereunder:
Petitioner narrated that he had labored to become a lawyer to fulfill his fathers
childhood dream to become one. This task was not particularly easy for him and his
family but he willed to endure the same in order to pay tribute to his parents.

Petitioner added that even at a very young age, he already imposed upon
himself the duty of rendering service to his fellowmen. At 19 years, he started his
exposure to public service when he was elected Chairman of the Sangguniang Kabataan
(SK) of Barangay Tuktukan, Taguig City. During this time, he initiated several projects
benefiting the youth in their barangay.

Thereafter, petitioner focused on his studies, taking up Bachelor of Arts in


Political Science and eventually pursuing Bachelor of Laws. In his second year in law
school, he was elected as the President of the Student Council of the Institute of Law of
the Far Eastern University (FEU). Here, he spearheaded various activities including the
conduct of seminars for law students as well as the holding of bar operations for bar
examinees.

Despite his many extra-curricular activities as a youth and student leader,


petitioner still managed to excel in his studies. Thus, he was conferred an Academic
Excellence Award upon his graduation in Bachelor of Laws.

Upon admission to the bar in April 1999, petitioner immediately entered


government service as a Legal Officer assigned at the Sangguniang Bayan of Taguig.
Simultaneously, he also rendered free legal services to less fortunate residents
of Taguig City who were then in need of legal assistance.

In March 2000, petitioner was hired as one of the Associate Lawyers at the
Balgos and Perez Law Offices. It was during his stay with this firm when his craft as a
lawyer was polished and developed. Despite having entered private practice, he
continued to render free legal services to his fellow Taguigeos.

Then in February 2004, by a sudden twist of fate, petitioners flourishing career


was cut short as he was stripped of his license to practice law for his alleged
involvement in the leakage in the 2003 Bar Examinations.
Devastated, petitioner then practically locked himself inside his house to avoid
the rather unavoidable consequences of his disbarment.

On March 2004, however, petitioner was given a new lease in life when he was
taken as a consultant by the City Government of Taguig. Later, he was designated as a
member of the Secretariat of the Peoples Law Enforcement Board (PLEB). For the next
five (5) years, petitioner concentrated mainly on rendering public service.

Petitioner humbly acknowledged the damaging impact of his act which


unfortunately, compromised the integrity of the bar examinations. As could be borne
from the records of the investigation, he cooperated fully in the investigation conducted
and took personal responsibility for his actions. Also, he has offered his sincerest
apologies to Atty. Balgos, to the Court as well as to all the 2003 bar examinees for the
unforeseen and unintended effects of his actions.

Petitioner averred that he has since learned from his mistakes and has taken the
said humbling experience to make him a better person.

Meanwhile, as part of his Petition, petitioner submitted the following


testimonials and endorsements of various individuals and entities all attesting to his
good moral character:

1) Resolution No. 101, Series of 2007, Resolution Expressing Full Support


to Danilo G. De Guzman in his Application for Judicial Clemency,
Endorsing his Competence and Fitness to be Reinstated as a Member of
the Philippine Bar and for Other Purposes dated 4 June 2007 of the
Sangguniang Panlungsod, City of Taguig;

2) Isang Bukas na Liham na Naglalayong Iparating sa Kataas-Taasang


Hukuman ang Buong Suporta ng Pamunuan at mga Kasapi ng Southeast
Peoples Village Homeowners Association, Inc. (SEPHVOA) kay Danilo G.
De Guzman sa Kanyang Petisyong Magawaran ng Kapatawaran at ang
Boluntaryong Pag-susulong sa Kanyang Kakayahan Upang Maibalik sa
Kanya ang mga Pribilehiyo ng Isang Abogado dated 1 June 2007 of the
Southeast Peoples Village Homeowners Association, Inc. (SEPHVOA),
Ibayo-Tipas, City of Taguig;

3) Isang Bukas na Liham na Naglalayong Iparating sa Kataas-Taasang


Hukuman ang Buong Suporta ng Pamunuan at mga Kasapi ng Samahang
Residente ng Mauling Creek, Inc. (SAREMAC) kay G. Danilo G. De
Guzman sa Kanyang Petisyong Magawaran ng Kapatawaran at ang
Boluntaryong Pag-susulong sa Kanyang Kakayahan Upang Maibalik sa
Kanya ang mga Pribilehiyo ng Isang Abogado dated 1 June 2007 of the
Samahang Residente ng Mauling Creek, Inc. (SAREMAC), Lower Bicutan,
City of Taguig;

4) Isang Bukas na Liham na Naglalayong Iparating sa Kataas-Taasang


Hukuman ang Buong Suporta ng Pamunuan at mga Kasapi ng Samahan
ng mga Maralita (PULONG KENDI) Neighborhood Association, Inc.
(SAMANA) kay G. Danilo G. De Guzman sa Kanyang Petisyong
Magawaran ng Kapatawaran at ang Boluntaryong Pag-susulong sa
Kanyang Kakayahan Upang Maibalik sa Kanya ang mga Pribilehiyo ng
Isang Abogado dated 1 June 2007 of the Samahan ng mga Maralita
(PULONG KENDI) Neighborhood Association, Inc. (SAMANA), Sta. Ana,
City of Taguig;

5) An Open Letter Attesting Personally to the Competence and Fitness of


Danilo G. De Guzman as to Warrant the Grant of Judicial Clemency and
his Reinstatement as Member of the Philippine Bar dated 8 June 2007 of
Miguelito Nazareno V. Llantino, Laogan, Trespeses and Llantino Law
Offices;

6) Testimonial to the Moral and Spiritual Competence of Danilo G. De


Guzman to be Truly Deserving of Judicial Clemency and Compassion
dated 5 July 2007 of Rev. Fr. Paul G. Balagtas, Parish Priest,
Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne;
7) Testimonial Letter dated 18 February 2008 of Atty. Loreto C. Ata,
President, Far Eastern University Law Alumni Association (FEULAA), Far
Eastern University (FEU);

8) Isang Bukas na Liham na Naglalayong Iparating sa Kataas-Taasang


Hukuman ang Buong Suporta ng Pamunuan at mga Kasapi ng Samahang
Bisig Kamay sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (SABISKA) kay G. Danilo G. De Guzman sa
Kanyang Petisyong Magawaran ng Kapatawaran at ang Boluntaryong
Pag-susulong sa Kanyang Kakayahan Upang Maibalik sa Kanya ang mga
Pribilehiyo ng Isang Abogado dated 8 July 2008 of the Samahang Bisig
Kamay sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (SABISKA);

9) Board Resolution No. 02, Series of 2008, A Resolution Recognizing the


Contributions of Danilo G. De Guzman to the Peoples Law Enforcement
Board (PLEB) Taguig City, Attesting to his Utmost Dedication and
Commitment to the Call of Civic and Social Duty and for Other Purposes
dated 11 July 2008 of the Peoples Law Enforcement Board (PLEB);

10) A Personal Appeal for the Grant of Judicial Forgiveness and Compassion
in Favor of Danilo G. De Guzman dated 14 July 2008 of Atty. Edwin R.
Sandoval, Professor, Collegeof Law, San Sebastian College Recoletos;

11) An Open Letter Personally Attesting to the Moral competence and


Fitness of Danilo G. De Guzman dated 5 September 2008 of Mr. Nixon F.
Faderog, Deputy Grand [Kn]ight, Knights of Columbus and President,
General Parent-Teacher Association, Taguig National High School, Lower
Bicutan, Taguig City;

12) Testimonial Letter dated 5 September 2008 of Atty. Primitivo C. Cruz,


President, Taguig Lawyers League, Inc., Tuktukan, Taguig City;

13) Testimonial Letter dated 21 October 2008 of Judge Hilario L. Laqui,


Presiding Judge, Regional Trail Court (RTC), Branch 218, Quezon City;
and
14) Testimonial Letter dated 28 October 2008 of Justice Oscar M. Herrera,
former Justice, Court of Appeals and former Dean, Institute of Law, Far
Eastern University (FEU).

Citing the case of In Re: Carlos S. Basa, petitioner pleaded that he be afforded
the same kindness and compassion in order that, like Atty. Basa, his promising future
may not be perpetually foreclosed. In the said case, the Court had the occasion to say:

Carlos S. Basa is a young man about 29 years of age, admitted to the bars
of California and the Philippine Islands. Recently, he was charged in the Court of
First Instance of the City of Manila with the crime of abduction with consent,
was found guilty in a decision rendered by the Honorable M.V. De Rosario,
Judge of First Instance, and was sentenced to be imprisoned for a period of two
years, eleven months and eleven days of prision correccional. On appeal, this
decision was affirmed in a judgment handed down by the second division of the
Supreme Court.

xxxx

When come next, as we must, to determine the exact action which should be
taken by the court, we do so regretfully and reluctantly. On the one hand, the
violation of the criminal law by the respondent attorney cannot be lightly
passed over. On the other hand, we are willing to strain the limits of our
compassion to the uttermost in order that so promising a career may not be
utterly ruined.

Petitioner promised to commit himself to be more circumspect in his actions


and solemnly pledged to exert all efforts to atone for his misdeeds.

There may be a reasonable ground to consider the herein Petition.


In the case of Re: Petition of Al Argosino to Take the Lawyers Oath (Bar Matter
712), which may be applied in the instant case, the Court said:

After a very careful evaluation of this case, we resolve to allow


petitioner Al Caparros Argosino to take the lawyer's oath, sign the Roll of
Attorneys and practice the legal profession with the following admonition:

In allowing Mr. Argosino to take the lawyers oath, the Court recognizes
that Mr. Argosino is not inherently of bad moral fiber. On the contrary, the
various certifications show that he is a devout Catholic with a genuine concern
for civic duties and public service.

The Court is persuaded that Mr. Argosino has exerted all efforts, to
atone for the death of Raul Camaligan. We are prepared to give him the benefit
of the doubt, taking judicial notice of the general tendency of youth to be rash,
temerarious and uncalculating.

xxxx

Meanwhile, in the case of Rodolfo M. Bernardo vs. Atty. Ismael F. Mejia


(Administrative Case No. 2984), the Court [in] deciding whether or not to reinstate Atty.
Mejia to the practice of law stated:

The Court will take into consideration the applicants character and
standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and character of the charge/s for
which he was disbarred, his conduct subsequent to the disbarment and the time
that has elapsed in between the disbarment and the application for
reinstatement.

Petitioner was barely thirty (30) years old and had only been in the practice of law for
five (5) years when he was disbarred from the practice of law. It is of no doubt that
petitioner had a promising future ahead of him where it not for the decision of the
Court stripping off his license.
Petitioner is also of good moral repute, not only before but likewise, after his
disbarment, as attested to overwhelmingly by his constituents, colleagues as well as
people of known probity in the community and society.

Way before the petitioner was even admitted to the bar, he had already manifested his
intense desire to render public service as evidenced by his active involvement and
participation in several social and civic projects and activities. Likewise, even during and
after his disbarment, which could be perceived by some as a debilitating circumstance,
petitioner still managed to continue extending his assistance to others in whatever
means possible. This only proves petitioners strength of character and positive moral
fiber.

However, still, it is of no question that petitioners act in copying the examination


questions from Atty. Balgos computer without the latters knowledge and consent, and
which questions later turned out to be the bar examinations questions in Mercantile
Law in the 2003 Bar Examinations, is not at all commendable. While we do believe that
petitioner sincerely did not intend to cause the damage that his action ensued, still, he
must be sanctioned for unduly compromising the integrity of the bar examinations as
well as of this Court.

We are convinced, however, that petitioner has since reformed and has sincerely
reflected on his transgressions. Thus, in view of the circumstances and likewise for
humanitarian considerations, the penalty of disbarment may now be commuted to
suspension. Considering the fact, however, that petitioner had already been disbarred
for more than five (5) years, the same may be considered as proper service of said
commuted penalty and thus, may now be allowed to resume practice of law.

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, it is respectfully recommended that the instant


Petition for Judicial Clemency and Compassion dated 10 November 2008 of petitioner
DANILO G. DE GUZMAN be GRANTED. Petitioners disbarment is now commuted to
suspension, which suspension is considered as served in view of the petitioners five (5)
year disbarment. Hence, petitioner may now be allowed to resume practice of law.
The recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant is well-taken in
part. We deem petitioner worthy of clemency to the extent of commuting his
penalty to seven (7) years suspension from the practice of law, inclusive of the
five (5) years he has already served his disbarment.

Penalties, such as disbarment, are imposed not to punish but to correct


offenders.[2] While the Court is ever mindful of its duty to discipline its erring
officers, it also knows how to show compassion when the penalty imposed has
already served its purpose.[3]

In cases where we have deigned to lift or commute the supreme penalty


of disbarment imposed on the lawyer, we have taken into account the remorse
of the disbarred lawyer[4] and the conduct of his public life during his years
outside of the bar.[5] For example, in Valencia v. Antiniw, we held:

However, the record shows that the long period of respondent's disbarment
gave him the chance to purge himself of his misconduct, to show his remorse and
repentance, and to demonstrate his willingness and capacity to live up once again to the
exacting standards of conduct demanded of every member of the bar and officer of the
court. During respondent's disbarment for more than fifteen (15) years to date for his
professional infraction, he has been persistent in reiterating his apologies and pleas for
reinstatement to the practice of law and unrelenting in his efforts to show that he has
regained his worthiness to practice law, by his civic and humanitarian activities and
unblemished record as an elected public servant, as attested to by numerous civic and
professional organizations, government institutions, public officials and members of the
judiciary.[6]

And in Bernardo v. Atty. Mejia,[7] we noted:


Although the Court does not lightly take the bases for Mejias disbarment, it also cannot
close its eyes to the fact that Mejia is already of advanced years. While the age of the
petitioner and the length of time during which he has endured the ignominy of
disbarment are not the sole measure in allowing a petition for reinstatement, the Court
takes cognizance of the rehabilitation of Mejia. Since his disbarment in 1992, no other
transgression has been attributed to him, and he has shown remorse. Obviously, he has
learned his lesson from this experience, and his punishment has lasted long enough. x x
x

Petitioner has sufficiently demonstrated the remorse expected of him considering


the gravity of his transgressions. Even more to his favor, petitioner has redirected
focus since his disbarment towards public service, particularly with the Peoples
Law Enforcement Board. The attestations submitted by his peers in the
community and other esteemed members of the legal profession, such as retired
Court of Appeals Associate Justice Oscar Herrera, Judge Hilario Laqui, Professor
Edwin Sandoval and Atty. Lorenzo Ata, and the ecclesiastical community such as
Rev. Fr. Paul Balagtas testify to his positive impact on society at large since the
unfortunate events of 2003.

Petitioners subsequent track record in public service affords the Court some hope
that if he were to reacquire membership in the Philippine bar, his achievements
as a lawyer would redound to the general good and more than mitigate the stain
on his record. Compassion to the petitioner is warranted. Nonetheless, we wish to
impart to him the following stern warning:
Of all classes and professions, the lawyer is most sacredly bound to uphold the laws. He
is their sworn servant; and for him, of all men in the world, to repudiate and override
the laws, to trample them underfoot and to ignore the very bands of society, argues
recreancy to his position and office and sets a pernicious example to the insubordinate
and dangerous elements of the body politic.[8]

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition for Judicial Clemency and
Compassion is hereby GRANTED IN PART. The disbarment of DANILO G. DE
GUZMAN from the practice of law is hereby COMMUTED to SEVEN (7) YEARS
SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW, reckoned from February 4, 2004.

EN BANC

[Bar Matter No. 712. July 13, 1995.]

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAKING OF SUCCESSFUL BAR
APPLICANT AL C. ARGOSINO, Petitioner.

Benedicto Malcontento for Petitioner.

SYLLABUS

1. LEGAL ETHICS; PRACTICE OF LAW; A HIGH PERSONAL PRIVILEGE LIMITED TO CITIZENS OF GOOD
MORAL CHARACTER. — The practice of law is not a natural, absolute or constitutional right to be granted to
everyone who demands it. Rather, it is a high personal privilege limited to citizens of good moral character,
with special educational qualifications, duly ascertained and certified. The essentiality of good moral
character in those who would be lawyers is stressed in the following excerpts which we quote with approval
and which we regard as having persuasive effect.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; INQUIRY AS TO THE MORAL CHARACTER IS BROADER IN SCOPE THAN IN A DISBARMENT
PROCEEDING. — It has also been stressed that the requirement of good moral character is, in fact, of
greater importance so far as the general public and the proper administration of justice are concerned, than
the possession of legal learning. All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect
of those seeking admission to the Bar. The scope of such inquiry is, indeed, said to be properly broader than
inquiry into the moral character of a lawyer in proceedings for disbarment.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; RATIONALE. — The requirement of good moral character to be satisfied by those who would
seek admission to the bar must of necessity be more stringent than the norm of conduct expected from
members of the general public. There is a very real need to prevent a general perception that entry into the
legal profession is open to individuals with inadequate moral qualifications. The growth of such a perception
would signal the progressive destruction of our people’s confidence in their courts of law and in our legal
system as we know it.
RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.:

A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch
101, charging Mr. A.C. Argosino along with thirteen (13) other individuals, with the crime of homicide in
connection with the death of one Raul Camaligan on 8 September 1991. The death of Raul Camaligan
stemmed from the infliction of severe physical injuries upon him in the course of "hazing" conducted as part
of university fraternity initiation rites. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused then entered into plea bargaining
with the prosecution and as a result of such bargaining, pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of homicide
through reckless imprudence. This plea was accepted by the trial court. In a judgment dated 11 February
1993, each of the fourteen (14) accused individuals was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a period
ranging from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years.

Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues filed an application for probation with the lower
court. The application for probation was granted in an Order dated 18 June 1993 issued by Regional Trial
Court Judge Pedro T. Santiago. The period of probation was set at two (2) years, counted from the
probationer’s initial report to the probation officer assigned to supervise him.

Less than a month later, on 13 July 1993, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition for Admission to Take the 1993 Bar
Examinations. In this Petition, he disclosed the fact of his criminal conviction and his then probation status.
He was allowed to take the;1993 Bar Examinations in this Court’s En Banc Resolution dated 14 August 1993.
1 He passed the Bar Examination. He was not, however, allowed to take the lawyer’s oath of office.

On 15 April 1994, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition with this Court to allow him to take the attorney’s oath of
office and to admit him to the practice of law, averring that Judge Pedro T. Santiago had terminated his
probation period by virtue of an Order dated 11 April 1994. We note that his probation period did not last for
more than ten.(10) months from the time of the Order of Judge Santiago granting him probation dated 18
June 1993. Since then, Mr. Argosino has filed three (3) Motions for Early Resolution of his Petition for
Admission to the Bar.

The practice of law is not a natural, absolute or constitutional right to be granted to everyone who demands
it. Rather, it is a high personal privilege limited to citizens of good moral character, with special educational
qualifications, duly ascertained and certified. 2 The essentiality of good moral character in those who would
be lawyers is stressed in the following excerpts which we quote with approval and which we regard as
having persuasive effect: chanrob1es vi rt ual 1aw li bra ry

In Re Farmer: 3

"x x x

This ‘upright character’ prescribed by the statute, as a condition precedent to the applicant’s right to receive
a license to practice law in North Carolina, and of which he must, in addition to other requisites, satisfy the
court, includes all the elements necessary to make up such a character. It is something more than an
absence of bad character. It is the good name which the applicant has acquired, or should have acquired,
through association with his fellows. It means that he must have conducted himself as a man of upright
character ordinarily would, or should, or does. Such character expresses itself, not in negatives nor in
following the line of least resistance, but quite often, in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and
the resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is wrong. . . .

x x x

And we may pause to say that this requirement of the statute is eminently proper. Consider for a moment
the duties of a lawyer. He is sought as counsellor, and his advice comes home, in its ultimate effect, to
every man’s fireside. Vast interests are committed to his care; he is the recipient of unbounded trust and
confidence; he deals with his client’s property, reputation, his life, his all. An attorney at law is a sworn
officer of the Court, whose chief concern, as such, is to aid the administration of justice. . . .
x x x" 4

In Re Application of Kaufman, 5 citing Re Law Examination of 1926 (1926) 191 Wis 359, 210 NW 710: jgc:chan robles .com.p h

"It can also be truthfully said that there exists nowhere greater temptations to deviate from the straight and
narrow path than in the multiplicity of circumstances that arise in the practice of profession. For these
reasons the wisdom of requiring an applicant for admission to the bar to possess a high moral standard
therefore becomes clearly apparent, and the board of bar examiners, as an arm of the court, is required to
cause a minute examination to be made of the moral standard of each candidate for admission to practice. .
. . It needs no further argument, therefore, to arrive at the conclusion that the highest degree of scrutiny
must be exercised as to the moral character of a candidate who presents himself for admission to the bar.
The evil must, if possible, be successfully met at its very source, and prevented, for, after a lawyer has once
been admitted, and has pursued his profession, and has established himself therein, a far more difficult
situation is presented to the court when proceedings are instituted for disbarment and for the recalling and
annulment of his license." cralaw virt ua1aw lib ra ry

In Re Keenan: 6

"The right to practice law is not one of the inherent rights of every citizen, as in the right to carry on an
ordinary trade or business. It is a peculiar privilege granted and continued only to those who demonstrate
special fitness in intellectual attainment and in moral character. All may aspire to it on an absolutely equal
basis, but not all will attain it. Elaborate machinery has been set up to test applicants by standards fair to all
and to separate the fit from the unfit. Only those who pass the test are allowed to enter the profession, and
only those who maintain the standards are allowed to remain in it." cralaw virt ua1aw li bra ry

Re Rouss: 7

"Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions, and a fair private and professional character
is one of them; to refuse admission to an unworthy applicant is not to punish him for past offense: an
examination into character, like the examination into learning, is merely a test of fitness." cralaw virt ua1aw lib ra ry

Cobb v. Judge of Superior Court: 8

"Attorney’s are licensed because of their learning and ability, so that they may not only protect the rights
and interests of their clients, but be able to assist court in the trial of the cause. Yet what protection to
clients or assistance to courts could such agents give? They are required to be of good moral character, so
that the agents and officers of the court, which they are, may not bring discredit upon the due
administration of the law, and it is of the highest possible consequence that both those who have not such
qualifications in the first instance, or who, having had them, have fallen therefrom, shall not be permitted to
appear in courts to aid in the administration of justice." cralaw v irtua 1aw lib rary

It has also been stressed that the requirement of good moral character is, in fact, of greater importance so
far as the general public and the proper administration of justice are concerned, than the possession of legal
learning: jgc:c hanrobles. com.ph

". . . (In re Applicants for License, 55 S.E. 635, 143 N.C. 1, 10 L.R.A. [N.S.] 288, 10 Ann./Cas. 187): chanrob1es v irt ual 1aw li bra ry

‘The-public policy of our state has always been to admit no person to the practice of the law unless he
covered an upright moral character. The possession of this by the attorney is more important, if anything, to
the public and to the proper administration of justice than legal learning. Legal learning may be acquired in
after years, but if the applicant passes the threshold of the bar with a bad moral character the chances are
that his character will remain bad, and that he will become a disgrace instead of an ornament to his great
calling — a curse instead of a benefit to his community — a Quirk, a Gammon or a Snap, instead of a Davis,
a Smith or a Ruffin.’ 9

All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect of those seeking admission to
the Bar, The scope of such inquiry is, indeed, said to be properly broader than inquiry into the moral
character of a lawyer in proceedings for disbarment: chan rob1es v irt ual 1aw l ibra ry

Re Stepsay: 10

"The inquiry as to the moral character of an attorney in a proceeding for his admission to practice is broader
in scope than in a disbarment proceeding." cralaw virtua1aw library

Re Wells: 11

". . . that an applicant’s contention that upon application for admission to the California Bar the court cannot
reject him for want of good moral character unless it appears that he has been guilty of acts which would be
cause for his disbarment or suspension, could not be sustained; that the inquiry is broader in its scope than
that in a disbarment proceeding, and the court may receive any evidence which tends to show the
applicant’s character as respects honesty, integrity, and general morality, and may no doubt refuse
admission upon proofs that might not establish his guilt of any of the acts declared to be causes for
disbarment." cralaw virtua1aw li bra ry

The requirement of good moral character to be satisfied by those who would seek admission to the bar must
of necessity be more stringent than the norm of conduct expected from members of the general public.
There is a very real need to prevent a general perception that entry into the legal profession is open to
individuals with inadequate moral qualifications. The growth of such a perception would signal the
progressive destruction of our people’s confidence in their courts of law and in our legal system as we know
it. 12

Mr. Argosino’s participation in the deplorable "hazing" activities certainly fell far short of the required
standard of good moral character. The deliberate (rather than merely accidental or inadvertent) infliction of
severe physical injuries which proximately led to the death of the unfortunate Raul Camaligan, certainly
indicated serious character flaws on the part of those who inflicted such injuries. Mr. Argosino and his co-
accused had failed to discharge their moral duty to protect the life and well-being of a "neophyte" who had,
by seeking admission to the fraternity involved, reposed trust and confidence in all of them that, at the very
least, he would not be beaten and kicked to death like a useless stray dog. Thus, participation in the
prolonged and mindless physical beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan constituted evident rejection of that
moral duty and was totally irresponsible behavior, which makes impossible a finding that the participant was
then possessed of good moral character.

Now that the original period of probation granted by the trial court has expired, the Court is prepared to
consider de novo the question of whether applicant A.C. Argosino has purged himself of the obvious
deficiency in moral character referred to above. We stress that good moral character is a requirement
possession of which must be demonstrated not only at the time of application for permission to take the bar
examinations but also, and more importantly, at-the time of application for admission to the bar and to take
the attorney’s oath of office.

Mr. Argosino must, therefore, submit to this Court, for its examination and consideration, evidence that he
may be now regarded as complying with the requirement of good moral character imposed upon those
seeking admission to the bar. His evidence may consist, inter alia, of sworn certifications from responsible
members of the community who have a good reputation for truth and who have actually known Mr. Argosino
for a significant period of time, particularly since the judgment of conviction was rendered by Judge
Santiago. He should show to the Court how he has tried to make up for the senseless killing of a helpless
student to the family of the deceased student and to the community at large. Mr. Argosino must, in other
words, submit relevant evidence to show that he is a different person now, that he has become morally fit
for admission to the ancient and learned profession of the law.

Finally, Mr. Argosino is hereby DIRECTED to inform this Court, by appropriate written manifestation, of the
names and addresses of the father and mother (in default thereof, brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul
Camaligan), within ten.(10) days from notice hereof. Let a copy of this Resolution be furnished to the
parents or brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan.

Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug,
Kapunan, Mendoza and Francisco, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:

1. There is some indication that clerical error attended the grant of permission to take the 1993 Bar
Examinations. The En Banc Resolution of this Court dated 24 August 1993 entitled "Re: Applications to Take
the 1993 Bar Examinations," stated on page 2 thereof: jgc:chan rob les.com.p h
"The Court further Resolved to ALLOW the following candidates with dismissed charges or complaints, to
take the 1993 Bar Examinations: chanro b1es vi rtua l 1aw li bra ry

x x x

3349. Al C. Argosino

x x x

(Emphasis supplied)

In fact, applicant Argosino had been convicted and sentenced and then paroled.

EN BANC

B.M. No. 2540, September 24, 2013

IN RE: PETITION TO SIGN IN THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS MICHAEL A. MEDADO, Petitioner.

RESOLUTION

SERENO, C.J.:

We resolve the instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys filed by petitioner Michael A. Medado
(Medado).

Medado graduated from the University of the Philippines with the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 19791and
passed the same year’s bar examinations with a general weighted average of 82.7.2 cralaw virtua law lib rary

On 7 May 1980, he took the Attorney’s Oath at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC)
together with the successful bar examinees.3 He was scheduled to sign in the Roll of Attorneys on 13 May
1980,4 but he failed to do so on his scheduled date, allegedly because he had misplaced the Notice to Sign
the Roll of Attorneys5 given by the Bar Office when he went home to his province for a vacation.6 cralaw virt ualaw lib ra ry

Several years later, while rummaging through his old college files, Medado found the Notice to Sign the Roll
of Attorneys. It was then that he realized that he had not signed in the roll, and that what he had signed at
the entrance of the PICC was probably just an attendance record.7 c ralaw virtualaw l ibra ry

By the time Medado found the notice, he was already working. He stated that he was mainly doing corporate
and taxation work, and that he was not actively involved in litigation practice. Thus, he operated “under the
mistaken belief [that] since he ha[d] already taken the oath, the signing of the Roll of Attorneys was not as
urgent, nor as crucial to his status as a lawyer”;8 and “the matter of signing in the Roll of Attorneys lost its
urgency and compulsion, and was subsequently forgotten.”9 cralaw virt ualaw lib rary

In 2005, when Medado attended Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) seminars, he was required
to provide his roll number in order for his MCLE compliances to be credited.10 Not having signed in the Roll
of Attorneys, he was unable to provide his roll number.

About seven years later, or on 6 February 2012, Medado filed the instant Petition, praying that he be
allowed to sign in the Roll of Attorneys.11 cralaw virt ualaw lib rary
The Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) conducted a clarificatory conference on the matter on 21 September
201212 and submitted a Report and Recommendation to this Court on 4 February 2013.13The OBC
recommended that the instant petition be denied for petitioner’s gross negligence, gross misconduct and
utter lack of merit.14 It explained that, based on his answers during the clarificatory conference, petitioner
could offer no valid justification for his negligence in signing in the Roll of Attorneys.15 cralaw vi rtua law lib rary

After a judicious review of the records, we grant Medado’s prayer in the instant petition, subject to the
payment of a fine and the imposition of a penalty equivalent to suspension from the practice of law.

At the outset, we note that not allowing Medado to sign in the Roll of Attorneys would be akin to imposing
upon him the ultimate penalty of disbarment, a penalty that we have reserved for the most serious ethical
transgressions of members of the Bar.

In this case, the records do not show that this action is warranted.

For one, petitioner demonstrated good faith and good moral character when he finally filed the instant
Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys. We note that it was not a third party who called this Court’s
attention to petitioner’s omission; rather, it was Medado himself who acknowledged his own lapse, albeit
after the passage of more than 30 years. When asked by the Bar Confidant why it took him this long to file
the instant petition, Medado very candidly replied: chan roble s virtua1aw 1i bra ry

Mahirap hong i-explain yan pero, yun bang at the time, what can you say? Takot ka kung anong mangyayari
sa ‘yo, you don’t know what’s gonna happen. At the same time, it’s a combination of apprehension and
anxiety of what’s gonna happen. And, finally it’s the right thing to do. I have to come here … sign the roll
and take the oath as necessary.16
For another, petitioner has not been subject to any action for disqualification from the practice of
law,17which is more than what we can say of other individuals who were successfully admitted as members
of the Philippine Bar. For this Court, this fact demonstrates that petitioner strove to adhere to the strict
requirements of the ethics of the profession, and that he has prima facie shown that he possesses the
character required to be a member of the Philippine Bar.

Finally, Medado appears to have been a competent and able legal practitioner, having held various positions
at the Laurel Law Office,18 Petron, Petrophil Corporation, the Philippine National Oil Company, and the
Energy Development Corporation.19 cralaw virtualaw l ibra ry

All these demonstrate Medado’s worth to become a full-fledged member of the Philippine Bar. While the
practice of law is not a right but a privilege,20 this Court will not unwarrantedly withhold this privilege from
individuals who have shown mental fitness and moral fiber to withstand the rigors of the profession.

That said, however, we cannot fully exculpate petitioner Medado from all liability for his years of inaction.

Petitioner has been engaged in the practice of law since 1980, a period spanning more than 30 years,
without having signed in the Roll of Attorneys.21 He justifies this behavior by characterizing his acts as
“neither willful nor intentional but based on a mistaken belief and an honest error of judgment.”22 cralaw vi rtualaw l ibra ry

We disagree.

While an honest mistake of fact could be used to excuse a person from the legal consequences of his
acts23 as it negates malice or evil motive,24 a mistake of law cannot be utilized as a lawful justification,
because everyone is presumed to know the law and its consequences.25 Ignorantia facti excusat; ignorantia
legis neminem excusat.

Applying these principles to the case at bar, Medado may have at first operated under an honest mistake of
fact when he thought that what he had signed at the PICC entrance before the oath-taking was already the
Roll of Attorneys. However, the moment he realized that what he had signed was merely an attendance
record, he could no longer claim an honest mistake of fact as a valid justification. At that point, Medado
should have known that he was not a full-fledged member of the Philippine Bar because of his failure to sign
in the Roll of Attorneys, as it was the act of signing therein that would have made him so.26 When, in spite
of this knowledge, he chose to continue practicing law without taking the necessary steps to complete all the
requirements for admission to the Bar, he willfully engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

Under the Rules of Court, the unauthorized practice of law by one’s assuming to be an attorney or officer of
the court, and acting as such without authority, may constitute indirect contempt of court,27 which is
punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.28 Such a finding, however, is in the nature of criminal
contempt29 and must be reached after the filing of charges and the conduct of hearings.30 In this case, while
it appears quite clearly that petitioner committed indirect contempt of court by knowingly engaging in
unauthorized practice of law, we refrain from making any finding of liability for indirect contempt, as no
formal charge pertaining thereto has been filed against him.

Knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of law likewise transgresses Canon 9 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, which provides:c hanrobles vi rt ua1aw 1ib ra ry

CANON 9 – A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law.
While a reading of Canon 9 appears to merely prohibit lawyers from assisting in the unauthorized practice of
law, the unauthorized practice of law by the lawyer himself is subsumed under this provision, because at the
heart of Canon 9 is the lawyer’s duty to prevent the unauthorized practice of
law. This duty likewise applies to law students and Bar candidates. As aspiring members of the Bar, they are
bound to comport themselves in accordance with the ethical standards of the legal profession.

Turning now to the applicable penalty, previous violations of Canon 9 have warranted the penalty of
suspension from the practice of law.31 As Medado is not yet a full-fledged lawyer, we cannot suspend him
from the practice of law. However, we see it fit to impose upon him a penalty akin to suspension by allowing
him to sign in the Roll of Attorneys one (1) year after receipt of this Resolution. For his transgression of the
prohibition against the unauthorized practice of law, we likewise see it fit to fine him in the amount of
P32,000. During the one year period, petitioner is warned that he is not allowed to engage in the practice of
law, and is sternly warned that doing any act that constitutes practice of law before he has signed in the Roll
of Attorneys will be dealt with severely by this Court.

WHEREFORE, the instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys is hereby GRANTED. Petitioner Michael A.
Medado is ALLOWED to sign in the Roll of Attorneys ONE (1) YEAR after receipt of this Resolution.
Petitioner is likewise ORDERED to pay a FINE of P32,000 for his unauthorized practice of law. During the
one year period, petitioner is NOT ALLOWED to practice law, and is STERNLY WARNED that doing any act
that constitutes practice of law before he has signed in the Roll of Attorneys will be dealt with severely by
this Court.

Let a copy of this Resolution be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, and the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country.
chanroble svi rtualaw lib rary

EN BANC

[B.M. No. 1154. June 8, 2004]

IN THE MATTER OF THE DISQUALIFICATION OF BAR EXAMINEE


HARON S. MELING IN THE 2002 BAR EXAMINATIONS AND FOR
DISCIPLINARY ACTION AS MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE
SHARIA BAR,
ATTY. FROILAN R. MELENDREZ, petitioner,

RESOLUTION
TINGA, J.:
The Court is here confronted with a Petition that seeks twin reliefs, one of
which is ripe while the other has been rendered moot by a supervening event.
The antecedents follow.
On October 14, 2002, Atty. Froilan R. Melendrez (Melendrez) filed with the
Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) a Petition to disqualify Haron S. Meling
[1]

(Meling) from taking the 2002 Bar Examinations and to impose on him the
appropriate disciplinary penalty as a member of the Philippine Sharia Bar.
In the Petition, Melendrez alleges that Meling did not disclose in his
Petition to take the 2002 Bar Examinations that he has three (3) pending
criminal cases before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities
(MTCC), Cotabato City, namely: Criminal Cases Noa. 15685 and 15686, both
for Grave Oral Defamation, and Criminal Case No. 15687 for Less Serious
Physical Injuries.
The above-mentioned cases arose from an incident which occurred
on May 21, 2001, when Meling allegedly uttered defamatory words against
Melendrez and his wife in front of media practitioners and other
people. Meling also purportedly attacked and hit the face of Melendrez wife
causing the injuries to the latter.
Furthermore, Melendrez alleges that Meling has been using the title
Attorney in his communications, as Secretary to the Mayor of Cotabato City,
despite the fact that he is not a member of the Bar. Attached to the Petition is
an indorsement letter which shows that Meling used the appellation and
appears on its face to have been received by the Sangguniang Panglungsod
of Cotabato City on November 27, 2001.
Pursuant to this Courts Resolution dated December 3, 2002, Meling filed
[2]

his Answer with the OBC.


In his Answer, Meling explains that he did not disclose the criminal cases
[3]

filed against him by Melendrez because retired Judge Corocoy Moson, their
former professor, advised him to settle his misunderstanding with
Melendrez. Believing in good faith that the case would be settled because the
said Judge has moral ascendancy over them, he being their former professor
in the College of Law, Meling considered the three cases that actually arose
from a single incident and involving the same parties as closed and
terminated. Moreover, Meling denies the charges and adds that the acts
complained of do not involve moral turpitude.
As regards the use of the title Attorney, Meling admits that some of his
communications really contained the word Attorney as they were, according to
him, typed by the office clerk.
In its Report and Recommendation dated December 8, 2003, the OBC
[4]

disposed of the charge of non-disclosure against Meling in this wise:

The reasons of Meling in not disclosing the criminal cases filed against him in his
petition to take the Bar Examinations are ludicrous. He should have known that only
the court of competent jurisdiction can dismiss cases, not a retired judge nor a law
professor. In fact, the cases filed against Meling are still pending. Furthermore,
granting arguendo that these cases were already dismissed, he is still required to
disclose the same for the Court to ascertain his good moral character. Petitions to take
the Bar Examinations are made under oath, and should not be taken lightly by an
applicant.

The merit of the cases against Meling is not material in this case. What matters is his
act of concealing them which constitutes dishonesty.

In Bar Matter 1209, the Court stated, thus:

It has been held that good moral character is what a person really is, as distinguished
from good reputation or from the opinion generally entertained of him, the estimate in
which he is held by the public in the place where he is known. Moral character is not a
subjective term but one which corresponds to objective reality. The standard of
personal and professional integrity is not satisfied by such conduct as it merely
enables a person to escape the penalty of criminal law. Good moral character includes
at least common honesty.

The non-disclosure of Meling of the criminal cases filed against him makes him also
answerable under Rule 7.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states
that a lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly making a false statement or
suppressing a material fact in connection with his application for admission to the
bar.[5]

As regards Melings use of the title Attorney, the OBC had this to say:

Anent the issue of the use of the appellation Attorney in his letters, the explanation of
Meling is not acceptable. Aware that he is not a member of the Bar, there was no valid
reason why he signed as attorney whoever may have typed the letters.

Although there is no showing that Meling is engaged in the practice of law, the fact is,
he is signing his communications as Atty. Haron S. Meling knowing fully well that he
is not entitled thereto. As held by the Court in Bar Matter 1209, the unauthorized use
of the appellation attorney may render a person liable for indirect contempt of court.[6]
Consequently, the OBC recommended that Meling not be allowed to take
the Lawyers Oath and sign the Roll of Attorneys in the event that he passes
the Bar Examinations. Further, it recommended that Melings membership in
the Sharia Bar be suspended until further orders from the Court. [7]

We fully concur with the findings and recommendation of the OBC. Meling,
however, did not pass the 2003 Bar Examinations. This renders
the Petition, insofar as it seeks to prevent Meling from taking the Lawyers
Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys, moot and academic.
On the other hand, the prayer in the same Petition for the Court to impose
the appropriate sanctions upon him as a member of the Sharia Bar is ripe for
resolution and has to be acted upon.
Practice of law, whether under the regular or the Sharia Court, is not a
matter of right but merely a privilege bestowed upon individuals who are not
only learned in the law but who are also known to possess good moral
character. The requirement of good moral character is not only a condition
[8]

precedent to admission to the practice of law, its continued possession is also


essential for remaining in the practice of law.[9]

The standard form issued in connection with the application to take the
2002 Bar Examinations requires the applicant to aver that he or she has not
been charged with any act or omission punishable by law, rule or regulation
before a fiscal, judge, officer or administrative body, or indicted for, or accused
or convicted by any court or tribunal of, any offense or crime involving moral
turpitude; nor is there any pending case or charge against him/her. Despite
the declaration required by the form, Meling did not reveal that he has three
pending criminal cases. His deliberate silence constitutes concealment, done
under oath at that.
The disclosure requirement is imposed by the Court to determine whether
there is satisfactory evidence of good moral character of the applicant. The[10]

nature of whatever cases are pending against the applicant would aid the
Court in determining whether he is endowed with the moral fitness demanded
of a lawyer. By concealing the existence of such cases, the applicant then
flunks the test of fitness even if the cases are ultimately proven to be
unwarranted or insufficient to impugn or affect the good moral character of the
applicant.
Melings concealment of the fact that there are three (3) pending criminal
cases against him speaks of his lack of the requisite good moral character
and results in the forfeiture of the privilege bestowed upon him as a member
of the Sharia Bar.
Moreover, his use of the appellation Attorney, knowing fully well that he is
not entitled to its use, cannot go unchecked. In Alawi v. Alauya, the Court
[11]

had the occasion to discuss the impropriety of the use of the title Attorney by
members of the Sharia Bar who are not likewise members of the Philippine
Bar. The respondent therein, an executive clerk of court of the 4thJudicial
Sharia District in Marawi City, used the title Attorney in several
correspondence in connection with the rescission of a contract entered into by
him in his private capacity. The Courtdeclared that:

persons who pass the Sharia Bar are not full-fledged members of the Philippine Bar,
hence, may only practice law before Sharia courts. While one who has been admitted
to the Sharia Bar, and one who has been admitted to the Philippine Bar, may both be
considered counselors, in the sense that they give counsel or advice in a professional
capacity, only the latter is an attorney. The title attorney is reserved to those who,
having obtained the necessary degree in the study of law and successfully taken the
Bar Examinations, have been admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and
remain members thereof in good standing; and it is they only who are authorized to
practice law in this jurisdiction.
[12]

The judiciary has no place for dishonest officers of the court, such as
Meling in this case. The solemn task of administering justice demands that
those who are privileged to be part of service therein, from the highest official
to the lowliest employee, must not only be competent and dedicated, but
likewise live and practice the virtues of honesty and integrity. Anything short of
this standard would diminish the public's faith in the Judiciary and constitutes
infidelity to the constitutional tenet that a public office is a public trust.
In Leda v. Tabang, supra, the respondent concealed the fact of his
marriage in his application to take the Bar examinations and made conflicting
submissions before the Court. As a result, we found the respondent grossly
unfit and unworthy to continue in the practice of law and suspended him
therefrom until further orders from the Court.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED insofar as it seeks the imposition
of appropriate sanctions upon Haron S. Meling as a member of the Philippine
Sharia Bar. Accordingly, the membership of Haron S. Meling in the Philippine
Sharia Bar is hereby SUSPENDED until further orders from the Court, the
suspension to take effect immediately. Insofar as the Petitionseeks to prevent
Haron S. Meling from taking the Lawyers Oath and signing the Roll of
Attorneys as a member of the Philippine Bar, the same is DISMISSED for
having become moot and academic.
Copies of this Decision shall be circulated to all the Sharia Courts in the
country for their information and guidance.
Additional Readings:

EN BANC

[B. M. No. 1036. June 10, 2003]

DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE, complainant, vs. EDWIN L.


RANA, respondent.

DECISION
CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Before one is admitted to the Philippine Bar, he must possess the requisite
moral integrity for membership in the legal profession. Possession of moral
integrity is of greater importance than possession of legal learning. The
practice of law is a privilege bestowed only on the morally fit. A bar candidate
who is morally unfit cannot practice law even if he passes the bar
examinations.

The Facts

Respondent Edwin L. Rana (respondent) was among those who passed


the 2000 Bar Examinations.
On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass oath-taking of
successful bar examinees as members of the Philippine Bar, complainant
Donna Marie Aguirre (complainant) filed against respondent a Petition for
Denial of Admission to the Bar. Complainant charged respondent with
unauthorized practice of law, grave misconduct, violation of law, and grave
misrepresentation.
The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a member of the Bar
during the scheduled oath-taking on 22 May 2001 at the Philippine
International Convention Center. However, the Court ruled that respondent
could not sign the Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of the charge
against him. Thus, respondent took the lawyers oath on the scheduled date
but has not signed the Roll of Attorneys up to now.
Complainant charges respondent for unauthorized practice of law and
grave misconduct. Complainant alleges that respondent, while not yet a
lawyer, appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001 elections before
the Municipal Board of Election Canvassers (MBEC) of Mandaon,
Masbate. Complainant further alleges that respondent filed with the MBEC a
pleading dated 19 May 2001 entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the
Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor. In this
pleading, respondent represented himself as counsel for and in behalf of Vice
Mayoralty Candidate, George Bunan, and signed the pleading as counsel for
George Bunan (Bunan).
On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that respondent is a
municipal government employee, being a secretary of the Sangguniang
Bayan of Mandaon, Masbate. As such, respondent is not allowed by law to act
as counsel for a client in any court or administrative body.
On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, complainant
accuses respondent of acting as counsel for vice mayoralty candidate George
Bunan (Bunan) without the latter engaging respondents services. Complainant
claims that respondent filed the pleading as a ploy to prevent the proclamation
of the winning vice mayoralty candidate.
On 22 May 2001, the Court issued a resolution allowing respondent to
take the lawyers oath but disallowed him from signing the Roll of Attorneys
until he is cleared of the charges against him. In the same resolution, the
Court required respondent to comment on the complaint against him.
In his Comment, respondent admits that Bunan sought his specific
assistance to represent him before the MBEC. Respondent claims that he
decided to assist and advice Bunan, not as a lawyer but as a person who
knows the law. Respondent admits signing the 19 May 2001 pleading that
objected to the inclusion of certain votes in the canvassing. He explains,
however, that he did not sign the pleading as a lawyer or represented himself
as an attorney in the pleading.
On his employment as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent
claims that he submitted his resignation on 11 May 2001 which was allegedly
accepted on the same date. He submitted a copy of the Certification of
Receipt of Revocable Resignation dated 28 May 2001 signed by Vice-Mayor
Napoleon Relox. Respondent further claims that the complaint is politically
motivated considering that complainant is the daughter of Silvestre Aguirre,
the losing candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate. Respondent prays that
the complaint be dismissed for lack of merit and that he be allowed to sign the
Roll of Attorneys.
On 22 June 2001, complainant filed her Reply to respondents Comment
and refuted the claim of respondent that his appearance before the MBEC
was only to extend specific assistance to Bunan. Complainant alleges that on
19 May 2001 Emily Estipona-Hao (Estipona-Hao) filed a petition for
proclamation as the winning candidate for mayor. Respondent signed as
counsel for Estipona-Hao in this petition. When respondent appeared as
counsel before the MBEC, complainant questioned his appearance on two
grounds: (1) respondent had not taken his oath as a lawyer; and (2) he was
an employee of the government.
Respondent filed a Reply (Re: Reply to Respondents
Comment) reiterating his claim that the instant administrative case is
motivated mainly by political vendetta.
On 17 July 2001, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar
Confidant (OBC) for evaluation, report and recommendation.

OBCs Report and Recommendation

The OBC found that respondent indeed appeared before the MBEC as
counsel for Bunan in the May 2001 elections. The minutes of the MBEC
proceedings show that respondent actively participated in the
proceedings. The OBC likewise found that respondent appeared in the MBEC
proceedings even before he took the lawyers oath on 22 May 2001. The OBC
believes that respondents misconduct casts a serious doubt on his moral
fitness to be a member of the Bar. The OBC also believes that respondents
unauthorized practice of law is a ground to deny his admission to the practice
of law. The OBC therefore recommends that respondent be denied admission
to the Philippine Bar.
On the other charges, OBC stated that complainant failed to cite a law
which respondent allegedly violated when he appeared as counsel for Bunan
while he was a government employee. Respondent resigned as secretary and
his resignation was accepted. Likewise, respondent was authorized by Bunan
to represent him before the MBEC.
The Courts Ruling

We agree with the findings and conclusions of the OBC that respondent
engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and thus does not deserve
admission to the Philippine Bar.
Respondent took his oath as lawyer on 22 May 2001. However, the
records show that respondent appeared as counsel for Bunan prior to 22 May
2001, before respondent took the lawyers oath. In the pleading entitled Formal
Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for
the Office of Vice-Mayor dated 19 May 2001, respondent signed as counsel
for George Bunan. In the first paragraph of the same pleading respondent
stated that he was the (U)ndersigned Counsel for, and in behalf of Vice
Mayoralty Candidate, GEORGE T. BUNAN. Bunan himself wrote the MBEC
on 14 May 2001 that he had authorized Atty. Edwin L. Rana as his counsel to
represent him before the MBEC and similar bodies.
On 14 May 2001, mayoralty candidate Emily Estipona-Hao also retained
respondent as her counsel. On the same date, 14 May 2001, Erly D. Hao
informed the MBEC that Atty. Edwin L. Rana has been authorized by
REFORMA LM-PPC as the legal counsel of the party and the candidate of the
said party. Respondent himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he was
entering his appearance as counsel for Mayoralty Candidate Emily
Estipona-Hao and for the REFORMA LM-PPC. On 19 May 2001,
respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in the petition filed before the
MBEC praying for the proclamation of Estipona-Hao as the winning candidate
for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate.
All these happened even before respondent took the lawyers
oath. Clearly, respondent engaged in the practice of law without being a
member of the Philippine Bar.
In Philippine Lawyers Association v. Agrava, the Court elucidated that:
[1]

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it
embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special
proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients
before judges and courts, and in addition, conveyancing. In general, all advice to
clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law,incorporation
services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a
judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in
bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment,
and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as
do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the
determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5
Am. Jur. p. 262, 263). (Italics supplied) x x x

In Cayetano v. Monsod, the Court held that practice of law means any
[2]

activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal


procedure, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice of
law is to perform acts which are usually performed by members of the legal
profession. Generally, to practice law is to render any kind of service which
requires the use of legal knowledge or skill.
Verily, respondent was engaged in the practice of law when he appeared
in the proceedings before the MBEC and filed various pleadings, without
license to do so. Evidence clearly supports the charge of unauthorized
practice of law. Respondent called himself counsel knowing fully well that he
was not a member of the Bar. Having held himself out as counsel knowing
that he had no authority to practice law, respondent has shown moral
unfitness to be a member of the Philippine Bar. [3]

The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a


privilege. It is limited to persons of good moral character with special
qualifications duly ascertained and certified.The exercise of this privilege
presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge, educational attainment,
and even public trust since a lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar candidate
[4]

does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar
examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld even from
one who has passed the bar examinations, if the person seeking admission
had practiced law without a license. [5]

The regulation of the practice of law is unquestionably strict. In Beltran,


Jr. v. Abad, a candidate passed the bar examinations but had not taken his
[6]

oath and signed the Roll of Attorneys. He was held in contempt of court for
practicing law even before his admission to the Bar. Under Section 3 (e) of
Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who engages in the unauthorized
practice of law is liable for indirect contempt of court. [7]

True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the
lawyers oath. However, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally
makes one a full-fledged lawyer. The fact that respondent passed the bar
examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only qualification to
become an attorney-at-law. Respondent should know that two essential
[8]

requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyers
oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of
Attorneys. [9]

On the charge of violation of law, complainant contends that the law does
not allow respondent to act as counsel for a private client in any court or
administrative body since respondent is the secretary of the Sangguniang
Bayan.
Respondent tendered his resignation as secretary of the Sangguniang
Bayan prior to the acts complained of as constituting unauthorized practice of
law. In his letter dated 11 May 2001 addressed to Napoleon Relox, vice-
mayor and presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent stated that
he was resigning effective upon your acceptance. Vice-Mayor Relox [10]

accepted respondents resignation effective 11 May 2001. Thus, the [11]

evidence does not support the charge that respondent acted as counsel for a
client while serving as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan.
On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, evidence
shows that Bunan indeed authorized respondent to represent him as his
counsel before the MBEC and similar bodies. While there was no
misrepresentation, respondent nonetheless had no authority to practice law.
WHEREFORE, respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED admission to the
Philippine Bar.

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 100113 September 3, 1991

RENATO CAYETANO, petitioner,


vs.
CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT, and
HON. GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget and
Management, respondents.

Renato L. Cayetano for and in his own behalf.

Sabina E. Acut, Jr. and Mylene Garcia-Albano co-counsel for petitioner.

PARAS, J.:
We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching proportions. While ostensibly only legal issues
are involved, the Court's decision in this case would indubitably have a profound effect on the
political aspect of our national existence.

The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C:

There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners


who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at
least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been
candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding -elections. However, a
majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have
been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (Emphasis supplied)

The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), Article XII-C of the 1973 Constitution which
similarly provides:

There shall be an independent Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and eight


Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their
appointment, at least thirty-five years of age and holders of a college degree. However, a majority
thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in
the practice of law for at least ten years.' (Emphasis supplied)

Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what constitutes practice of law as a


legal qualification to an appointive office.

Black defines "practice of law" as:

The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and
technique to serve the interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in
court, or advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of
pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the
preparation of legal instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It
embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken for them in matters connected with the
law. An attorney engages in the practice of law by maintaining an office where he is held out
to be-an attorney, using a letterhead describing himself as an attorney, counseling clients in
legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel about pending litigation, and fixing and
collecting fees for services rendered by his associate. (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.)

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. (Land Title Abstract and Trust Co.
v. Dworken, 129 Ohio St. 23, 193 N.E. 650) A person is also considered to be in the practice of law
when he:

... for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations
or corporations as to their rights under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an
advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee,
board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle
controversies and there, in such representative capacity performs any act or acts for the
purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under the law. Otherwise stated,
one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their
rights under the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside
of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v..C.S.
Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852)
This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v.Agrava, (105 Phil. 173,176-177) stated:

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the
management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts,
and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in
matters connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation
services contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage,
enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting
proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to
constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the
work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and
conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). (Emphasis supplied)

Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside
of any court and having no immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces
conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects, and the preparation
and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations
and other affairs. Although these transactions may have no direct connection with court
proceedings, they are always subject to become involved in litigation. They require in many
aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and great
capacity for adaptation to difficult and complex situations. These customary functions of an
attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation to the administration of justice by the
courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the question set forth in the order, can be
drawn between that part of the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and
that part which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is of importance to
the welfare of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed by persons
possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times
under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all attorneys.
(Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1953 ed.] , p. 665-666, citing In re Opinion
of the Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service
Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A. 139,144). (Emphasis ours)

The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation briefing for new lawyers
(1974-1975) listed the dimensions of the practice of law in even broader terms as advocacy,
counselling and public service.

One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of employment in the profession. If
what he does exacts knowledge of the law and is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in
the active practice of their profession, and he follows some one or more lines of employment
such as this he is a practicing attorney at law within the meaning of the statute. (Barr v.
Cardell, 155 NW 312)

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal
procedure, knowledge, training and experience. "To engage in the practice of law is to perform those
acts which are characteristics of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render
any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or
skill." (111 ALR 23)

The following records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that it has adopted a liberal
interpretation of the term "practice of law."
MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I make a manifestation which I forgot to do
during our review of the provisions on the Commission on Audit. May I be allowed to make a
very brief statement?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir).

The Commissioner will please proceed.

MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the members of the Commission on Audit.
Among others, the qualifications provided for by Section I is that "They must be Members of
the Philippine Bar" — I am quoting from the provision — "who have been engaged in the
practice of law for at least ten years".

To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding members of the Bar who are now
employed in the COA or Commission on Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this
provision on qualifications regarding members of the Bar does not necessarily refer or involve actual
practice of law outside the COA We have to interpret this to mean that as long as the lawyers who
are employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their respective work
within COA, then they are qualified to be considered for appointment as members or commissioners,
even chairman, of the Commission on Audit.

This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Agencies and we
deem it important to take it up on the floor so that this interpretation may be made available
whenever this provision on the qualifications as regards members of the Philippine Bar engaging in
the practice of law for at least ten years is taken up.

MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one question.

MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.

MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA by a lawyer is equivalent to the
requirement of a law practice that is set forth in the Article on the Commission on Audit?

MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of COA, although it is auditing, will
necessarily involve legal work; it will involve legal work. And, therefore, lawyers who are
employed in COA now would have the necessary qualifications in accordance with the
Provision on qualifications under our provisions on the Commission on Audit. And, therefore,
the answer is yes.

MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is that this is equivalent to the practice
of law.

MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.

MR. OPLE. Thank you.

... ( Emphasis supplied)

Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among others, that the Chairman and
two Commissioners of the Commission on Audit (COA) should either be certified public accountants
with not less than ten years of auditing practice, or members of the Philippine Bar who have been
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (emphasis supplied)

Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many ways synonymous with the
word "lawyer." Today, although many lawyers do not engage in private practice, it is still a fact that
the majority of lawyers are private practitioners. (Gary Munneke, Opportunities in Law Careers [VGM
Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986], p. 15).

At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. The term, as commonly understood,
means "an individual or organization engaged in the business of delivering legal services." (Ibid.).
Lawyers who practice alone are often called "sole practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called
"firms." The firm is usually a partnership and members of the firm are the partners. Some firms may
be organized as professional corporations and the members called shareholders. In either case, the
members of the firm are the experienced attorneys. In most firms, there are younger or more
inexperienced salaried attorneyscalled "associates." (Ibid.).

The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional areas of law practice is essentially
tautologous, unhelpful defining the practice of law as that which lawyers do. (Charles W.
Wolfram, Modern Legal Ethics [West Publishing Co.: Minnesota, 1986], p. 593). The practice of law
is defined as the performance of any acts . . . in or out of court, commonly understood to be the
practice of law. (State Bar Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145 Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870
[1958] [quoting Grievance Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626 [1941]). Because
lawyers perform almost every function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a
definition would obviously be too global to be workable.(Wolfram, op. cit.).

The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a client is at once the most publicly familiar role
for lawyers as well as an uncommon role for the average lawyer. Most lawyers spend little time in
courtrooms, and a large percentage spend their entire practice without litigating a case. (Ibid., p.
593). Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue to litigate and the litigating lawyer's role colors much
of both the public image and the self perception of the legal profession. (Ibid.).

In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public mind reflects history, not reality. (Ibid.).
Why is this so? Recall that the late Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer, once articulated on the
importance of a lawyer as a business counselor in this wise: "Even today, there are still uninformed
laymen whose concept of an attorney is one who principally tries cases before the courts. The
members of the bench and bar and the informed laymen such as businessmen, know that in most
developed societies today, substantially more legal work is transacted in law offices than in the
courtrooms. General practitioners of law who do both litigation and non-litigation work also know that
in most cases they find themselves spending more time doing what [is] loosely desccribe[d] as
business counseling than in trying cases. The business lawyer has been described as the planner,
the diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the surgeon. I[t] need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in
medicine, surgery should be avoided where internal medicine can be effective." (Business Star,
"Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig engage in a number of legal
tasks, each involving different legal doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal institutions, clients,
and other interested parties. Even the increasing numbers of lawyers in specialized practice wig
usually perform at least some legal services outside their specialty. And even within a narrow
specialty such as tax practice, a lawyer will shift from one legal task or role such as advice-giving to
an importantly different one such as representing a client before an administrative agency.
(Wolfram, supra, p. 687).
By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer is one of the relatively rare
types — a litigator who specializes in this work to the exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will
require the lawyer to have mastered the full range of traditional lawyer skills of client counselling,
advice-giving, document drafting, and negotiation. And increasingly lawyers find that the new skills of
evaluation and mediation are both effective for many clients and a source of employment. (Ibid.).

Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in litigation work that is constrained in very
important ways, at least theoretically, so as to remove from it some of the salient features of
adversarial litigation. Of these special roles, the most prominent is that of prosecutor. In some
lawyers' work the constraints are imposed both by the nature of the client and by the way in which
the lawyer is organized into a social unit to perform that work. The most common of these roles are
those of corporate practice and government legal service. (Ibid.).

In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, herein below quoted are emerging trends in
corporate law practice, a departure from the traditional concept of practice of law.

We are experiencing today what truly may be called a revolutionary transformation in


corporate law practice. Lawyers and other professional groups, in particular those members
participating in various legal-policy decisional contexts, are finding that understanding the
major emerging trends in corporation law is indispensable to intelligent decision-making.

Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today requires an accurate


understanding of the nature and implications of the corporate law research function
accompanied by an accelerating rate of information accumulation. The recognition of the
need for such improved corporate legal policy formulation, particularly "model-making" and
"contingency planning," has impressed upon us the inadequacy of traditional procedures in
many decisional contexts.

In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be processed, the sorting and
weighing of significant conditional factors, the appraisal of major trends, the necessity of
estimating the consequences of given courses of action, and the need for fast decision and
response in situations of acute danger have prompted the use of sophisticated concepts of
information flow theory, operational analysis, automatic data processing, and electronic
computing equipment. Understandably, an improved decisional structure must stress the
predictive component of the policy-making process, wherein a "model", of the decisional
context or a segment thereof is developed to test projected alternative courses of action in
terms of futuristic effects flowing therefrom.

Although members of the legal profession are regularly engaged in predicting and projecting
the trends of the law, the subject of corporate finance law has received relatively little
organized and formalized attention in the philosophy of advancing corporate legal education.
Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary approach to legal research has become a vital necessity.

Certainly, the general orientation for productive contributions by those trained primarily in the
law can be improved through an early introduction to multi-variable decisional context and
the various approaches for handling such problems. Lawyers, particularly with either a
master's or doctorate degree in business administration or management, functioning at the
legal policy level of decision-making now have some appreciation for the concepts and
analytical techniques of other professions which are currently engaged in similar types of
complex decision-making.
Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems would require the services
of an astute attorney because of the complex legal implications that arise from each and
every necessary step in securing and maintaining the business issue raised. (Business Star,
"Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously referred to as the "abogado


de campanilla." He is the "big-time" lawyer, earning big money and with a clientele
composed of the tycoons and magnates of business and industry.

Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people could not explain what it is
that a corporate lawyer does. For one, the number of attorneys employed by a single
corporation will vary with the size and type of the corporation. Many smaller and some large
corporations farm out all their legal problems to private law firms. Many others have in-house
counsel only for certain matters. Other corporation have a staff large enough to handle most
legal problems in-house.

A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who handles the legal affairs of a
corporation. His areas of concern or jurisdiction may include, inter alia: corporate legal
research, tax laws research, acting out as corporate secretary (in board meetings),
appearances in both courts and other adjudicatory agencies (including the Securities and
Exchange Commission), and in other capacities which require an ability to deal with the law.

At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume responsibilities other than the legal affairs of the
business of the corporation he is representing. These include such matters as determining
policy and becoming involved in management. ( Emphasis supplied.)

In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being isolated from the action, or
not understanding how one's work actually fits into the work of the orgarnization. This can be
frustrating to someone who needs to see the results of his work first hand. In short, a
corporate lawyer is sometimes offered this fortune to be more closely involved in the running
of the business.

Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be engaged by a multinational


corporation (MNC). Some large MNCs provide one of the few opportunities available to
corporate lawyers to enter the international law field. After all, international law is practiced in
a relatively small number of companies and law firms. Because working in a foreign country
is perceived by many as glamorous, tills is an area coveted by corporate lawyers. In most
cases, however, the overseas jobs go to experienced attorneys while the younger attorneys
do their "international practice" in law libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law Practice,"
May 25,1990, p. 4).

This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer in the realm of finance. To borrow
the lines of Harvard-educated lawyer Bruce Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who
fails to spot problems, a good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent
lawyer is one who surmounts them." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11,
1989, p. 4).

Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a "shot in the arm," so to speak. No
longer are we talking of the traditional law teaching method of confining the subject study to
the Corporation Code and the Securities Code but an incursion as well into the intertwining
modern management issues.
Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily with three (3) types of learning: (1)
acquisition of insights into current advances which are of particular significance to the
corporate counsel; (2) an introduction to usable disciplinary skins applicable to a corporate
counsel's management responsibilities; and (3) a devotion to the organization and
management of the legal function itself.

These three subject areas may be thought of as intersecting circles, with a shared area
linking them. Otherwise known as "intersecting managerial jurisprudence," it forms a unifying
theme for the corporate counsel's total learning.

Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences affect the counsel's role. For that
matter, the corporate lawyer reviews the globalization process, including the resulting
strategic repositioning that the firms he provides counsel for are required to make, and the
need to think about a corporation's; strategy at multiple levels. The salience of the nation-
state is being reduced as firms deal both with global multinational entities and simultaneously
with sub-national governmental units. Firms increasingly collaborate not only with public
entities but with each other — often with those who are competitors in other arenas.

Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-making within the corporation is
rapidly changing. The modem corporate lawyer has gained a new role as a stakeholder — in
some cases participating in the organization and operations of governance through
participation on boards and other decision-making roles. Often these new patterns develop
alongside existing legal institutions and laws are perceived as barriers. These trends are
complicated as corporations organize for global operations. ( Emphasis supplied)

The practising lawyer of today is familiar as well with governmental policies toward the
promotion and management of technology. New collaborative arrangements for promoting
specific technologies or competitiveness more generally require approaches from industry
that differ from older, more adversarial relationships and traditional forms of seeking to
influence governmental policies. And there are lessons to be learned from other countries. In
Europe, Esprit, Eureka and Race are examples of collaborative efforts between
governmental and business Japan's MITI is world famous. (Emphasis supplied)

Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of the Corporate Counsel comprises
a distinct group within the managerial structure of all kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of
both long-term and temporary groups within organizations has been found to be related to
indentifiable factors in the group-context interaction such as the groups actively revising their
knowledge of the environment coordinating work with outsiders, promoting team
achievements within the organization. In general, such external activities are better
predictors of team performance than internal group processes.

In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the corporate lawyer vis-a-vis the
managerial mettle of corporations are challenged. Current research is seeking ways both to
anticipate effective managerial procedures and to understand relationships of financial
liability and insurance considerations. (Emphasis supplied)

Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel, three factors are apropos:

First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been found an effective tool for
new managerial thinking regarding both planning and pressing immediate problems. An
understanding of the role of feedback loops, inventory levels, and rates of flow, enable users
to simulate all sorts of systematic problems — physical, economic, managerial, social, and
psychological. New programming techniques now make the system dynamics principles
more accessible to managers — including corporate counsels. (Emphasis supplied)

Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better decisions involving complexity
and uncertainty. In the context of a law department, it can be used to appraise the settlement
value of litigation, aid in negotiation settlement, and minimize the cost and risk involved in
managing a portfolio of cases. (Emphasis supplied)

Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer-based models can be used directly
by parties and mediators in all lands of negotiations. All integrated set of such tools provide
coherent and effective negotiation support, including hands-on on instruction in these
techniques. A simulation case of an international joint venture may be used to illustrate the
point.

[Be this as it may,] the organization and management of the legal function, concern three
pointed areas of consideration, thus:

Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills that comprise a major part
of the general counsel's responsibilities. They differ from those of remedial law. Preventive
lawyering is concerned with minimizing the risks of legal trouble and maximizing legal rights
for such legal entities at that time when transactional or similar facts are being considered
and made.

Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are undertaken those activities
of the firm to which legal consequences attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this
nation's evolving economic and organizational fabric as firms change to stay competitive in a
global, interdependent environment. The practice and theory of "law" is not adequate today
to facilitate the relationships needed in trying to make a global economy work.

Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's Office. The general counsel has
emerged in the last decade as one of the most vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The
corporate counsel hear responsibility for key aspects of the firm's strategic issues, including
structuring its global operations, managing improved relationships with an increasingly
diversified body of employees, managing expanded liability exposure, creating new and
varied interactions with public decision-makers, coping internally with more complex make or
by decisions.

This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing corporate law is not enough to
make one a good general corporate counsel nor to give him a full sense of how the legal
system shapes corporate activities. And even if the corporate lawyer's aim is not the
understand all of the law's effects on corporate activities, he must, at the very least, also gain
a working knowledge of the management issues if only to be able to grasp not only the basic
legal "constitution' or makeup of the modem corporation. "Business Star", "The Corporate
Counsel," April 10, 1991, p. 4).

The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench) is to have more than a passing
knowledge of financial law affecting each aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit to
ignorance of vast tracts of the financial law territory. What transpires next is a dilemma of
professional security: Will the lawyer admit ignorance and risk opprobrium?; or will he feign
understanding and risk exposure? (Business Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan. 11, 1989,
p. 4).
Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of
Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by the Secretariat of the Commission on
Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does
not possess the required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten
years.

On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod as


Chairman of the COMELEC. On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the same day, he
assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC.

Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Monsod's


nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition
praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the
Commission on Elections be declared null and void.

Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar examinations of
1960 with a grade of 86-55%. He has been a dues paying member of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license fees as
lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo)

After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod worked in
the law office of his father. During his stint in the World Bank Group (1963-1970), Monsod worked as
an operations officer for about two years in Costa Rica and Panama, which involved getting
acquainted with the laws of member-countries negotiating loans and coordinating legal, economic,
and project work of the Bank. Upon returning to the Philippines in 1970, he worked with the Meralco
Group, served as chief executive officer of an investment bank and subsequently of a business
conglomerate, and since 1986, has rendered services to various companies as a legal and
economic consultant or chief executive officer. As former Secretary-General (1986) and National
Chairman (1987) of NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being knowledgeable in election law. He
appeared for NAMFREL in its accreditation hearings before the Comelec. In the field of advocacy,
Monsod, in his personal capacity and as former Co-Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's
Conference for Human Development, has worked with the under privileged sectors, such as the
farmer and urban poor groups, in initiating, lobbying for and engaging in affirmative action for the
agrarian reform law and lately the urban land reform bill. Monsod also made use of his legal
knowledge as a member of the Davide Commission, a quast judicial body, which conducted
numerous hearings (1990) and as a member of the Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and
Chairman of its Committee on Accountability of Public Officers, for which he was cited by the
President of the Commission, Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma for "innumerable amendments to
reconcile government functions with individual freedoms and public accountability and the party-list
system for the House of Representative. (pp. 128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis supplied)

Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which Atty. Monsod used to be a member.

In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a team, and which is
adequately constituted to meet the various contingencies that arise during a negotiation.
Besides top officials of the Borrower concerned, there are the legal officer (such as the legal
counsel), the finance manager, and an operations officer (such as an official involved in
negotiating the contracts) who comprise the members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven,
"Loan Negotiating Strategies for Developing Country Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Central
Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. 11). (Emphasis supplied)
After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's Constitution; it lays down the law as far
as the loan transaction is concerned. Thus, the meat of any Loan Agreement can be
compartmentalized into five (5) fundamental parts: (1) business terms; (2) borrower's
representation; (3) conditions of closing; (4) covenants; and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p.
13).

In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt restructuring program. For aside
from performing the tasks of legislative drafting and legal advising, they score national
development policies as key factors in maintaining their countries' sovereignty. (Condensed
from the work paper, entitled "Wanted: Development Lawyers for Developing Nations,"
submitted by L. Michael Hager, regional legal adviser of the United States Agency for
International Development, during the Session on Law for the Development of Nations at the
Abidjan World Conference in Ivory Coast, sponsored by the World Peace Through Law
Center on August 26-31, 1973). ( Emphasis supplied)

Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than purely renegotiation
policies, demand expertise in the law of contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting and
in renegotiation. Necessarily, a sovereign lawyer may work with an international business
specialist or an economist in the formulation of a model loan agreement. Debt restructuring
contract agreements contain such a mixture of technical language that they should be
carefully drafted and signed only with the advise of competent counsel in conjunction with
the guidance of adequate technical support personnel. (See International Law Aspects of the
Philippine External Debts, an unpublished dissertation, U.S.T. Graduate School of Law,
1987, p. 321). ( Emphasis supplied)

A critical aspect of sovereign debt restructuring/contract construction is the set of terms and
conditions which determines the contractual remedies for a failure to perform one or more
elements of the contract. A good agreement must not only define the responsibilities of both
parties, but must also state the recourse open to either party when the other fails to
discharge an obligation. For a compleat debt restructuring represents a devotion to that
principle which in the ultimate analysis is sine qua non for foreign loan agreements-an
adherence to the rule of law in domestic and international affairs of whose kind U.S.
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said: "They carry no banners, they
beat no drums; but where they are, men learn that bustle and bush are not the equal of quiet
genius and serene mastery." (See Ricardo J. Romulo, "The Role of Lawyers in Foreign
Investments," Integrated Bar of the Philippine Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and
Fourth Quarters, 1977, p. 265).

Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term Practice of law". particularly the modern
concept of law practice, and taking into consideration the liberal construction intended by the framers
of the Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager,
a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both
the rich and the poor — verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement — that he has been
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143 SCRA 327, the Court said:

Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be performed by the officer in


which it is vested according to his best lights, the only condition being that the appointee
should possess the qualifications required by law. If he does, then the appointment cannot
be faulted on the ground that there are others better qualified who should have been
preferred. This is a political question involving considerations of wisdom which only the
appointing authority can decide. (emphasis supplied)

No less emphatic was the Court in the case of (Central Bank v. Civil Service Commission, 171
SCRA 744) where it stated:

It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this case, and all the other legal
requirements are satisfied, the Commission has no alternative but to attest to the
appointment in accordance with the Civil Service Law. The Commission has no authority to
revoke an appointment on the ground that another person is more qualified for a particular
position. It also has no authority to direct the appointment of a substitute of its choice. To do
so would be an encroachment on the discretion vested upon the appointing authority. An
appointment is essentially within the discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested, subject
to the only condition that the appointee should possess the qualifications required by law. (
Emphasis supplied)

The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the case at bar, consists of four (4) stages: (1)
nomination; (2) confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; (3) issuance of a commission (in
the Philippines, upon submission by the Commission on Appointments of its certificate of
confirmation, the President issues the permanent appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath-taking,
posting of bond, etc. . . . (Lacson v. Romero, No. L-3081, October 14, 1949; Gonzales, Law on
Public Officers, p. 200)

The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its consent to the nomination of Monsod as
Chairman of the Commission on Elections is mandated by Section 1(2) Sub-Article C, Article IX of
the Constitution which provides:

The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of
the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those
first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years,
and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy
shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be
appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.

Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice it to say that his definition of the
practice of law is the traditional or stereotyped notion of law practice, as 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, Justice Padilla's
definition would require generally a habitual law practice, perhaps practised two or three
times a week and would outlaw say, law practice once or twice a year for ten consecutive
years. Clearly, this is far from the constitutional intent.

Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz states that in my written opinion, I
made use of a definition of law practice which really means nothing because the definition says that
law practice " . . . is what people ordinarily mean by the practice of law." True I cited the definition but
only by way of sarcasm as evident from my statement that the definition of law practice by
"traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous" or defining a phrase by means of the
phrase itself that is being defined.

Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the law covers almost all situations, most
individuals, in making use of the law, or in advising others on what the law means, are actually
practicing law. In that sense, perhaps, but we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr. Monsod is a
lawyer, a member of the Philippine Bar, who has been practising law for over ten years. This is
different from the acts of persons practising law, without first becoming lawyers.

Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even disqualify an elected President of the
Philippines, say, on the ground that he lacks one or more qualifications. This matter, I greatly doubt.
For one thing, how can an action or petition be brought against the President? And even assuming
that he is indeed disqualified, how can the action be entertained since he is the incumbent
President?

We now proceed:

The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted doling the public hearings on Monsod's
confirmation, implicitly determined that he possessed the necessary qualifications as required by
law. The judgment rendered by the Commission in the exercise of such an acknowledged power is
beyond judicial interference except only upon a clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only where such
grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Commission's judgment.
In the instant case, there is no occasion for the exercise of the Court's corrective power, since no
abuse, much less a grave abuse of discretion, that would amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction
and would warrant the issuance of the writs prayed, for has been clearly shown.

Additionally, consider the following:

(1) If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee by the President, may the
Supreme Court reverse the Commission, and thus in effect confirm the appointment?
Clearly, the answer is in the negative.

(2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee, whom the Commission
has confirmed? The answer is likewise clear.

(3) If the United States Senate (which is the confirming body in the U.S. Congress) decides
to confirm a Presidential nominee, it would be incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would
still reverse the U.S. Senate.

Finally, one significant legal maxim is:

We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit that giveth life.

Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the procurator of Judea asked Delilah
(who was Samson's beloved) for help in capturing Samson. Delilah agreed on condition that —

No blade shall touch his skin;

No blood shall flow from his veins.

When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured, the procurator placed an iron rod burning
white-hot two or three inches away from in front of Samson's eyes. This blinded the man. Upon
hearing of what had happened to her beloved, Delilah was beside herself with anger, and fuming
with righteous fury, accused the procurator of reneging on his word. The procurator calmly replied:
"Did any blade touch his skin? Did any blood flow from his veins?" The procurator was clearly relying
on the letter, not the spirit of the agreement.
In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Fernan, C.J., Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.


Feliciano, J., I certify that he voted to dismiss the petition. (Fernan, C.J.)

Sarmiento, J., is on leave.

Regalado, and Davide, Jr., J., took no part.

Separate Opinions

NARVASA, J., concurring:

I concur with the decision of the majority written by Mr. Justice Paras, albeit only in the result; it does
not appear to me that there has been an adequate showing that the challenged determination by the
Commission on Appointments-that the appointment of respondent Monsod as Chairman of the
Commission on Elections should, on the basis of his stated qualifications and after due assessment
thereof, be confirmed-was attended by error so gross as to amount to grave abuse of discretion and
consequently merits nullification by this Court in accordance with the second paragraph of Section 1,
Article VIII of the Constitution. I therefore vote to DENY the petition.

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

The records of this case will show that when the Court first deliberated on the Petition at bar, I voted
not only to require the respondents to comment on the Petition, but I was the sole vote for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order to enjoin respondent Monsod from assuming the position
of COMELEC Chairman, while the Court deliberated on his constitutional qualification for the office.
My purpose in voting for a TRO was to prevent the inconvenience and even embarrassment to all
parties concerned were the Court to finally decide for respondent Monsod's disqualification.
Moreover, a reading of the Petition then in relation to established jurisprudence already
showed prima facie that respondent Monsod did not possess the needed qualification, that is, he
had not engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years prior to his appointment as
COMELEC Chairman.

After considering carefully respondent Monsod's comment, I am even more convinced that the
constitutional requirement of "practice of law for at least ten (10) years" has not been met.

The procedural barriers interposed by respondents deserve scant consideration because, ultimately,
the core issue to be resolved in this petition is the proper construal of the constitutional provision
requiring a majority of the membership of COMELEC, including the Chairman thereof to "have been
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." (Art. IX(C), Section 1(1), 1987
Constitution). Questions involving the construction of constitutional provisions are best left to judicial
resolution. As declared in Angara v. Electoral Commission, (63 Phil. 139) "upon the judicial
department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and
defining constitutional boundaries."

The Constitution has imposed clear and specific standards for a COMELEC Chairman. Among these
are that he must have been "engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." It is the
bounden duty of this Court to ensure that such standard is met and complied with.

What constitutes practice of law? As commonly understood, "practice" refers to the actual
performance or application of knowledge as distinguished from mere possession of knowledge; it
connotes an active, habitual, repeated or customary action.1 To "practice" law, or any profession for
that matter, means, to exercise or pursue an employment or profession actively, habitually,
repeatedly or customarily.

Therefore, a doctor of medicine who is employed and is habitually performing the tasks of a nursing
aide, cannot be said to be in the "practice of medicine." A certified public accountant who works as a
clerk, cannot be said to practice his profession as an accountant. In the same way, a lawyer who is
employed as a business executive or a corporate manager, other than as head or attorney of a
Legal Department of a corporation or a governmental agency, cannot be said to be in the practice of
law.

As aptly held by this Court in the case of People vs. Villanueva:2

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 a lawyer and demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E.
522, 98 N.C. 644,647.) ... (emphasis supplied).

It is worth mentioning that the respondent Commission on Appointments in a Memorandum it


prepared, enumerated several factors determinative of whether a particular activity constitutes
"practice of law." It states:

1. Habituality. The term "practice of law" implies customarily or habitually holding one's self
out to the public as a lawyer (People vs. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Boyen, 4
S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the establishment of
a law office for the general practice of law (U.S. v. Ney Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one
takes the oath of office as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with the
Supreme Court informing it of his intention to practice law in all courts in the country (People
v. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968).

Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in frequent or customary action,
a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v.
Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan, 864).

2. Compensation. 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 compensation, as a service of his livelihood or in consideration of
his said services. (People v. Villanueva, supra). Hence, charging for services such as
preparation of documents involving the use of legal knowledge and skill is within the term
"practice of law" (Ernani Paño, Bar Reviewer in Legal and Judicial Ethics, 1988 ed., p. 8
citing People v. People's Stockyards State Bank, 176 N.B. 901) and, one who renders an
opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, and receives pay for it, is to that extent,
practicing law (Martin, supra, p. 806 citing Mendelaun v. Gilbert and Barket Mfg. Co., 290
N.Y.S. 462) If compensation is expected, all advice to clients and all action taken for them in
matters connected with the law; are practicing law. (Elwood Fitchette et al., v. Arthur C.
Taylor, 94A-L.R. 356-359)

3. Application of law legal principle practice or procedure which calls for legal knowledge,
training and experience is within the term "practice of law". (Martin supra)

4. Attorney-client relationship. Engaging in the practice of law presupposes the existence of


lawyer-client relationship. Hence, where a lawyer undertakes an activity which requires
knowledge of law but involves no attorney-client relationship, such as teaching law or writing
law books or articles, he cannot be said to be engaged in the practice of his profession or a
lawyer (Agpalo, Legal Ethics, 1989 ed., p. 30).3

The above-enumerated factors would, I believe, be useful aids in determining whether or not
respondent Monsod meets the constitutional qualification of practice of law for at least ten (10) years
at the time of his appointment as COMELEC Chairman.

The following relevant questions may be asked:

1. Did respondent Monsod perform any of the tasks which are peculiar to the practice of law?

2. Did respondent perform such tasks customarily or habitually?

3. Assuming that he performed any of such tasks habitually, did he do so HABITUALLY FOR AT
LEAST TEN (10) YEARS prior to his appointment as COMELEC Chairman?

Given the employment or job history of respondent Monsod as appears from the records, I am
persuaded that if ever he did perform any of the tasks which constitute the practice of law, he did not
do so HABITUALLY for at least ten (10) years prior to his appointment as COMELEC Chairman.

While it may be granted that he performed tasks and activities which could be latitudinarianly
considered activities peculiar to the practice of law, like the drafting of legal documents and the
rendering of legal opinion or advice, such were isolated transactions or activities which do not qualify
his past endeavors as "practice of law." To become engaged in the practice of law, there must be
a continuity, or a succession of acts. As observed by the Solicitor General in People vs. Villanueva:4

Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to
be in the activeand 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.

ACCORDINGLY, my vote is to GRANT the petition and to declare respondent Monsod as not
qualified for the position of COMELEC Chairman for not having engaged in the practice of law for at
least ten (10) years prior to his appointment to such position.
CRUZ, J., dissenting:

I am sincerely impressed by the ponencia of my brother Paras but find I must dissent just the same.
There are certain points on which I must differ with him while of course respecting hisviewpoint.

To begin with, I do not think we are inhibited from examining the qualifications of the respondent
simply because his nomination has been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. In my
view, this is not a political question that we are barred from resolving. Determination of the
appointee's credentials is made on the basis of the established facts, not the discretion of that body.
Even if it were, the exercise of that discretion would still be subject to our review.

In Luego, which is cited in the ponencia, what was involved was the discretion of the appointing
authority to choosebetween two claimants to the same office who both possessed the required
qualifications. It was that kind of discretion that we said could not be reviewed.

If a person elected by no less than the sovereign people may be ousted by this Court for lack of the
required qualifications, I see no reason why we cannot disqualified an appointee simply because he
has passed the Commission on Appointments.

Even the President of the Philippines may be declared ineligible by this Court in an appropriate
proceeding notwithstanding that he has been found acceptable by no less than the enfranchised
citizenry. The reason is that what we would be examining is not the wisdom of his election but
whether or not he was qualified to be elected in the first place.

Coming now to the qualifications of the private respondent, I fear that the ponencia may have been
too sweeping in its definition of the phrase "practice of law" as to render the qualification practically
toothless. From the numerous activities accepted as embraced in the term, I have the uncomfortable
feeling that one does not even have to be a lawyer to be engaged in the practice of law as long as
his activities involve the application of some law, however peripherally. The stock broker and the
insurance adjuster and the realtor could come under the definition as they deal with or give advice
on matters that are likely "to become involved in litigation."

The lawyer is considered engaged in the practice of law even if his main occupation is another
business and he interprets and applies some law only as an incident of such business. That covers
every company organized under the Corporation Code and regulated by the SEC under P.D. 902-A.
Considering the ramifications of the modern society, there is hardly any activity that is not affected
by some law or government regulation the businessman must know about and observe. In fact,
again going by the definition, a lawyer does not even have to be part of a business concern to be
considered a practitioner. He can be so deemed when, on his own, he rents a house or buys a car or
consults a doctor as these acts involve his knowledge and application of the laws regulating such
transactions. If he operates a public utility vehicle as his main source of livelihood, he would still be
deemed engaged in the practice of law because he must obey the Public Service Act and the rules
and regulations of the Energy Regulatory Board.

The ponencia quotes an American decision defining the practice of law as the "performance of any
acts ... in or out of court, commonly understood to be the practice of law," which tells us absolutely
nothing. The decision goes on to say that "because lawyers perform almost every function known in
the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would obviously be too global to be
workable."

The effect of the definition given in the ponencia is to consider virtually every lawyer to be engaged
in the practice of law even if he does not earn his living, or at least part of it, as a lawyer. It is enough
that his activities are incidentally (even if only remotely) connected with some law, ordinance, or
regulation. The possible exception is the lawyer whose income is derived from teaching ballroom
dancing or escorting wrinkled ladies with pubescent pretensions.

The respondent's credentials are impressive, to be sure, but they do not persuade me that he has
been engaged in the practice of law for ten years as required by the Constitution. It is conceded that
he has been engaged in business and finance, in which areas he has distinguished himself, but as
an executive and economist and not as a practicing lawyer. The plain fact is that he has occupied
the various positions listed in his resume by virtue of his experience and prestige as a businessman
and not as an attorney-at-law whose principal attention is focused on the law. Even if it be argued
that he was acting as a lawyer when he lobbied in Congress for agrarian and urban reform, served in
the NAMFREL and the Constitutional Commission (together with non-lawyers like farmers and
priests) and was a member of the Davide Commission, he has not proved that his activities in these
capacities extended over the prescribed 10-year period of actual practice of the law. He is doubtless
eminently qualified for many other positions worthy of his abundant talents but not as Chairman of
the Commission on Elections.

I have much admiration for respondent Monsod, no less than for Mr. Justice Paras, but I must
regretfully vote to grant the petition.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:

When this petition was filed, there was hope that engaging in the practice of law as a qualification for
public office would be settled one way or another in fairly definitive terms. Unfortunately, this was not
the result.

Of the fourteen (14) member Court, 5 are of the view that Mr. Christian Monsod engaged in the
practice of law (with one of these 5 leaving his vote behind while on official leave but not expressing
his clear stand on the matter); 4 categorically stating that he did not practice law; 2 voting in the
result because there was no error so gross as to amount to grave abuse of discretion; one of official
leave with no instructions left behind on how he viewed the issue; and 2 not taking part in the
deliberations and the decision.

There are two key factors that make our task difficult. First is our reviewing the work of a
constitutional Commission on Appointments whose duty is precisely to look into the qualifications of
persons appointed to high office. Even if the Commission errs, we have no power to set aside error.
We can look only into grave abuse of discretion or whimsically and arbitrariness. Second is our belief
that Mr. Monsod possesses superior qualifications in terms of executive ability, proficiency in
management, educational background, experience in international banking and finance, and instant
recognition by the public. His integrity and competence are not questioned by the petitioner. What is
before us is compliance with a specific requirement written into the Constitution.

Inspite of my high regard for Mr. Monsod, I cannot shirk my constitutional duty. He has never
engaged in the practice of law for even one year. He is a member of the bar but to say that he has
practiced law is stretching the term beyond rational limits.

A person may have passed the bar examinations. But if he has not dedicated his life to the law, if he
has not engaged in an activity where membership in the bar is a requirement I fail to see how he can
claim to have been engaged in the practice of law.

Engaging in the practice of law is a qualification not only for COMELEC chairman but also for
appointment to the Supreme Court and all lower courts. What kind of Judges or Justices will we
have if there main occupation is selling real estate, managing a business corporation, serving in fact-
finding committee, working in media, or operating a farm with no active involvement in the law,
whether in Government or private practice, except that in one joyful moment in the distant past, they
happened to pass the bar examinations?

The Constitution uses the phrase "engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years." The
deliberate choice of words shows that the practice envisioned is active and regular, not isolated,
occasional, accidental, intermittent, incidental, seasonal, or extemporaneous. To be "engaged" in an
activity for ten years requires committed participation in something which is the result of one's
decisive choice. It means that one is occupied and involved in the enterprise; one is obliged or
pledged to carry it out with intent and attention during the ten-year period.

I agree with the petitioner that based on the bio-data submitted by respondent Monsod to the
Commission on Appointments, the latter has not been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten
years. In fact, if appears that Mr. Monsod has never practiced law except for an alleged one year
period after passing the bar examinations when he worked in his father's law firm. Even then his law
practice must have been extremely limited because he was also working for M.A. and Ph. D.
degrees in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania during that period. How could he practice
law in the United States while not a member of the Bar there?

The professional life of the respondent follows:

1.15.1. Respondent Monsod's activities since his passing the Bar examinations in 1961
consist of the following:

1. 1961-1963: M.A. in Economics (Ph. D. candidate), University of Pennsylvania

2. 1963-1970: World Bank Group — Economist, Industry Department; Operations, Latin


American Department; Division Chief, South Asia and Middle East, International Finance
Corporation

3. 1970-1973: Meralco Group — Executive of various companies, i.e., Meralco Securities


Corporation, Philippine Petroleum Corporation, Philippine Electric Corporation

4. 1973-1976: Yujuico Group — President, Fil-Capital Development Corporation and


affiliated companies

5. 1976-1978: Finaciera Manila — Chief Executive Officer

6. 1978-1986: Guevent Group of Companies — Chief Executive Officer

7. 1986-1987: Philippine Constitutional Commission — Member

8. 1989-1991: The Fact-Finding Commission on the December 1989 Coup Attempt —


Member

9. Presently: Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the following companies:

a. ACE Container Philippines, Inc.

b. Dataprep, Philippines
c. Philippine SUNsystems Products, Inc.

d. Semirara Coal Corporation

e. CBL Timber Corporation

Member of the Board of the Following:

a. Engineering Construction Corporation of the Philippines

b. First Philippine Energy Corporation

c. First Philippine Holdings Corporation

d. First Philippine Industrial Corporation

e. Graphic Atelier

f. Manila Electric Company

g. Philippine Commercial Capital, Inc.

h. Philippine Electric Corporation

i. Tarlac Reforestation and Environment Enterprises

j. Tolong Aquaculture Corporation

k. Visayan Aquaculture Corporation

l. Guimaras Aquaculture Corporation (Rollo, pp. 21-22)

There is nothing in the above bio-data which even remotely indicates that respondent Monsod has
given the lawenough attention or a certain degree of commitment and participation as would support
in all sincerity and candor the claim of having engaged in its practice for at least ten years. Instead of
working as a lawyer, he has lawyers working for him. Instead of giving receiving that legal advice of
legal services, he was the oneadvice and those services as an executive but not as a lawyer.

The deliberations before the Commission on Appointments show an effort to equate "engaged in the
practice of law" with the use of legal knowledge in various fields of endeavor such as commerce,
industry, civic work, blue ribbon investigations, agrarian reform, etc. where such knowledge would be
helpful.

I regret that I cannot join in playing fast and loose with a term, which even an ordinary layman
accepts as having a familiar and customary well-defined meaning. Every resident of this country who
has reached the age of discernment has to know, follow, or apply the law at various times in his life.
Legal knowledge is useful if not necessary for the business executive, legislator, mayor, barangay
captain, teacher, policeman, farmer, fisherman, market vendor, and student to name only a few. And
yet, can these people honestly assert that as such, they are engaged in the practice of law?
The Constitution requires having been "engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years." It is not
satisfied with having been "a member of the Philippine bar for at least ten years."

Some American courts have defined the practice of law, as follows:

The practice of law involves not only appearance in court in connection with litigation but also
services rendered out of court, and it includes the giving of advice or the rendering of any
services requiring the use of legal skill or knowledge, such as preparing a will, contract or
other instrument, the legal effect of which, under the facts and conditions involved, must be
carefully determined. People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. Tinkoff, 399 Ill. 282, 77 N.E.2d
693; People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v. People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill.
462,176 N.E. 901, and cases cited.

It would be difficult, if not impossible to lay down a formula or definition of what constitutes
the practice of law. "Practicing law" has been defined as "Practicing as an attorney or
counselor at law according to the laws and customs of our courts, is the giving of advice or
rendition of any sort of service by any person, firm or corporation when the giving of such
advice or rendition of such service requires the use of any degree of legal knowledge or
skill." Without adopting that definition, we referred to it as being substantially correct
in People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v. People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill. 462,176
N.E. 901. (People v. Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773, 776)

For one's actions to come within the purview of practice of law they should not only be activities
peculiar to the work of a lawyer, they should also be performed, habitually, frequently or customarily,
to wit:

xxx xxx xxx

Respondent's answers to questions propounded to him were rather evasive. He was asked
whether or not he ever prepared contracts for the parties in real-estate transactions where he
was not the procuring agent. He answered: "Very seldom." In answer to the question as to
how many times he had prepared contracts for the parties during the twenty-one years of his
business, he said: "I have no Idea." When asked if it would be more than half a dozen times
his answer was I suppose. Asked if he did not recall making the statement to several parties
that he had prepared contracts in a large number of instances, he answered: "I don't recall
exactly what was said." When asked if he did not remember saying that he had made a
practice of preparing deeds, mortgages and contracts and charging a fee to the parties
therefor in instances where he was not the broker in the deal, he answered: "Well, I don't
believe so, that is not a practice." Pressed further for an answer as to his practice in
preparing contracts and deeds for parties where he was not the broker, he finally answered:
"I have done about everything that is on the books as far as real estate is concerned."

xxx xxx xxx

Respondent takes the position that because he is a real-estate broker he has a lawful right to
do any legal work in connection with real-estate transactions, especially in drawing of real-
estate contracts, deeds, mortgages, notes and the like. There is no doubt but that he has
engaged in these practices over the years and has charged for his services in that
connection. ... (People v. Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773)

xxx xxx xxx


... An attorney, in the most general sense, is a person designated or employed by another to
act in his stead; an agent; more especially, one of a class of persons authorized to appear
and act for suitors or defendants in legal proceedings. Strictly, these professional persons
are attorneys at law, and non-professional agents are properly styled "attorney's in fact;" but
the single word is much used as meaning an attorney at law. A person may be an attorney in
facto for another, without being an attorney at law. Abb. Law Dict. "Attorney." A public
attorney, or attorney at law, says Webster, is an officer of a court of law, legally qualified to
prosecute and defend actions in such court on the retainer of clients. "The principal duties of
an attorney are (1) to be true to the court and to his client; (2) to manage the business of his
client with care, skill, and integrity; (3) to keep his client informed as to the state of his
business; (4) to keep his secrets confided to him as such. ... His rights are to be justly
compensated for his services." Bouv. Law Dict. tit. "Attorney." The transitive verb "practice,"
as defined by Webster, means 'to do or perform frequently, customarily, or habitually; to
perform by a succession of acts, as, to practice gaming, ... to carry on in practice, or
repeated action; to apply, as a theory, to real life; to exercise, as a profession, trade, art. etc.;
as, to practice law or medicine,' etc...." (State v. Bryan, S.E. 522, 523; Emphasis supplied)

In this jurisdiction, we have ruled that the practice of law denotes frequency or a succession of acts.
Thus, we stated in the case of People v. Villanueva (14 SCRA 109 [1965]):

xxx xxx xxx

... 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 v. 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 a lawyer and
demanding payment for such services. ... . (at p. 112)

It is to be noted that the Commission on Appointment itself recognizes habituality as a required


component of the meaning of practice of law in a Memorandum prepared and issued by it, to wit:

l. Habituality. The term 'practice of law' implies customarilyor habitually holding one's self out
to the public as a lawyer (People v. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Bryan, 4 S.E.
522, 98 N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the establishment of a law
office for the general practice of law (U.S. v. Noy Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the
oath of office as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with the Supreme
Court informing it of his intention to practice law in all courts in the country (People v. De
Luna, 102 Phil. 968).

Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary action,
a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v.
Villanueva, 14 SCRA 1 09 citing State v. Cotner, 1 27, p. 1, 87 Kan, 864)." (Rollo, p. 115)

xxx xxx xxx

While the career as a businessman of respondent Monsod may have profited from his legal
knowledge, the use of such legal knowledge is incidental and consists of isolated activities which do
not fall under the denomination of practice of law. Admission to the practice of law was not required
for membership in the Constitutional Commission or in the Fact-Finding Commission on the 1989
Coup Attempt. Any specific legal activities which may have been assigned to Mr. Monsod while a
member may be likened to isolated transactions of foreign corporations in the Philippines which do
not categorize the foreign corporations as doing business in the Philippines. As in the practice of
law, doing business also should be active and continuous. Isolated business transactions or
occasional, incidental and casual transactions are not within the context of doing business. This was
our ruling in the case of Antam Consolidated, Inc. v. Court of appeals, 143 SCRA 288 [1986]).

Respondent Monsod, corporate executive, civic leader, and member of the Constitutional
Commission may possess the background, competence, integrity, and dedication, to qualify for such
high offices as President, Vice-President, Senator, Congressman or Governor but the Constitution in
prescribing the specific qualification of having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10)
years for the position of COMELEC Chairman has ordered that he may not be confirmed for that
office. The Constitution charges the public respondents no less than this Court to obey its mandate.

I, therefore, believe that the Commission on Appointments committed grave abuse of discretion in
confirming the nomination of respondent Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC.

I vote to GRANT the petition.

Bidin, J., dissent

Separate Opinions

NARVASA, J., concurring:

I concur with the decision of the majority written by Mr. Justice Paras, albeit only in the result; it does
not appear to me that there has been an adequate showing that the challenged determination by the
Commission on Appointments-that the appointment of respondent Monsod as Chairman of the
Commission on Elections should, on the basis of his stated qualifications and after due assessment
thereof, be confirmed-was attended by error so gross as to amount to grave abuse of discretion and
consequently merits nullification by this Court in accordance with the second paragraph of Section 1,
Article VIII of the Constitution. I therefore vote to DENY the petition.

Melencio-Herrera, J., concur.

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

The records of this case will show that when the Court first deliberated on the Petition at bar, I voted
not only to require the respondents to comment on the Petition, but I was the sole vote for the
issuance of a temporary restraining order to enjoin respondent Monsod from assuming the position
of COMELEC Chairman, while the Court deliberated on his constitutional qualification for the office.
My purpose in voting for a TRO was to prevent the inconvenience and even embarrassment to all
parties concerned were the Court to finally decide for respondent Monsod's disqualification.
Moreover, a reading of the Petition then in relation to established jurisprudence already
showed prima facie that respondent Monsod did not possess the needed qualification, that is, he
had not engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years prior to his appointment as
COMELEC Chairman.

After considering carefully respondent Monsod's comment, I am even more convinced that the
constitutional requirement of "practice of law for at least ten (10) years" has not been met.
The procedural barriers interposed by respondents deserve scant consideration because, ultimately,
the core issue to be resolved in this petition is the proper construal of the constitutional provision
requiring a majority of the membership of COMELEC, including the Chairman thereof to "have been
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." (Art. IX(C), Section 1(1), 1987
Constitution). Questions involving the construction of constitutional provisions are best left to judicial
resolution. As declared in Angara v. Electoral Commission, (63 Phil. 139) "upon the judicial
department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and
defining constitutional boundaries."

The Constitution has imposed clear and specific standards for a COMELEC Chairman. Among these
are that he must have been "engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." It is the
bounden duty of this Court to ensure that such standard is met and complied with.

What constitutes practice of law? As commonly understood, "practice" refers to the actual
performance or application of knowledge as distinguished from mere possession of knowledge; it
connotes an active, habitual, repeated or customary action.1 To "practice" law, or any profession for
that matter, means, to exercise or pursue an employment or profession actively, habitually,
repeatedly or customarily.

Therefore, a doctor of medicine who is employed and is habitually performing the tasks of a nursing
aide, cannot be said to be in the "practice of medicine." A certified public accountant who works as a
clerk, cannot be said to practice his profession as an accountant. In the same way, a lawyer who is
employed as a business executive or a corporate manager, other than as head or attorney of a
Legal Department of a corporation or a governmental agency, cannot be said to be in the practice of
law.

As aptly held by this Court in the case of People vs. Villanueva:2

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 a lawyer and demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E.
522, 98 N.C. 644,647.) ... (emphasis supplied).

It is worth mentioning that the respondent Commission on Appointments in a Memorandum it


prepared, enumerated several factors determinative of whether a particular activity constitutes
"practice of law." It states:

1. Habituality. The term "practice of law" implies customarily or habitually holding one's self
out to the public as a lawyer (People vs. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Boyen, 4
S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the establishment of
a law office for the general practice of law (U.S. v. Ney Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one
takes the oath of office as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with the
Supreme Court informing it of his intention to practice law in all courts in the country (People
v. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968).

Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in frequent or customary action,
a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v.
Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan, 864).
2. Compensation. 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 compensation, as a service of his livelihood or in consideration of
his said services. (People v. Villanueva, supra). Hence, charging for services such as
preparation of documents involving the use of legal knowledge and skill is within the term
"practice of law" (Ernani Paño, Bar Reviewer in Legal and Judicial Ethics, 1988 ed., p. 8
citing People v. People's Stockyards State Bank, 176 N.B. 901) and, one who renders an
opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, and receives pay for it, is to that extent,
practicing law (Martin, supra, p. 806 citing Mendelaun v. Gilbert and Barket Mfg. Co., 290
N.Y.S. 462) If compensation is expected, all advice to clients and all action taken for them in
matters connected with the law; are practicing law. (Elwood Fitchette et al., v. Arthur C.
Taylor, 94A-L.R. 356-359)

3. Application of law legal principle practice or procedure which calls for legal knowledge,
training and experience is within the term "practice of law". (Martin supra)

4. Attorney-client relationship. Engaging in the practice of law presupposes the existence of


lawyer-client relationship. Hence, where a lawyer undertakes an activity which requires
knowledge of law but involves no attorney-client relationship, such as teaching law or writing
law books or articles, he cannot be said to be engaged in the practice of his profession or a
lawyer (Agpalo, Legal Ethics, 1989 ed., p. 30).3

The above-enumerated factors would, I believe, be useful aids in determining whether or not
respondent Monsod meets the constitutional qualification of practice of law for at least ten (10) years
at the time of his appointment as COMELEC Chairman.

The following relevant questions may be asked:

1. Did respondent Monsod perform any of the tasks which are peculiar to the practice of law?

2. Did respondent perform such tasks customarily or habitually?

3. Assuming that he performed any of such tasks habitually, did he do so HABITUALLY FOR AT
LEAST TEN (10) YEARS prior to his appointment as COMELEC Chairman?

Given the employment or job history of respondent Monsod as appears from the records, I am
persuaded that if ever he did perform any of the tasks which constitute the practice of law, he did not
do so HABITUALLY for at least ten (10) years prior to his appointment as COMELEC Chairman.

While it may be granted that he performed tasks and activities which could be latitudinarianly
considered activities peculiar to the practice of law, like the drafting of legal documents and the
rendering of legal opinion or advice, such were isolated transactions or activities which do not qualify
his past endeavors as "practice of law." To become engaged in the practice of law, there must be
a continuity, or a succession of acts. As observed by the Solicitor General in People vs. Villanueva:4

Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to
be in the activeand 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.
ACCORDINGLY, my vote is to GRANT the petition and to declare respondent Monsod as not
qualified for the position of COMELEC Chairman for not having engaged in the practice of law for at
least ten (10) years prior to his appointment to such position.

CRUZ, J., dissenting:

I am sincerely impressed by the ponencia of my brother Paras but find I must dissent just the same.
There are certain points on which I must differ with him while of course respecting hisviewpoint.

To begin with, I do not think we are inhibited from examining the qualifications of the respondent
simply because his nomination has been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. In my
view, this is not a political question that we are barred from resolving. Determination of the
appointee's credentials is made on the basis of the established facts, not the discretion of that body.
Even if it were, the exercise of that discretion would still be subject to our review.

In Luego, which is cited in the ponencia, what was involved was the discretion of the appointing
authority to choosebetween two claimants to the same office who both possessed the required
qualifications. It was that kind of discretion that we said could not be reviewed.

If a person elected by no less than the sovereign people may be ousted by this Court for lack of the
required qualifications, I see no reason why we cannot disqualified an appointee simply because he
has passed the Commission on Appointments.

Even the President of the Philippines may be declared ineligible by this Court in an appropriate
proceeding notwithstanding that he has been found acceptable by no less than the enfranchised
citizenry. The reason is that what we would be examining is not the wisdom of his election but
whether or not he was qualified to be elected in the first place.

Coming now to the qualifications of the private respondent, I fear that the ponencia may have been
too sweeping in its definition of the phrase "practice of law" as to render the qualification practically
toothless. From the numerous activities accepted as embraced in the term, I have the uncomfortable
feeling that one does not even have to be a lawyer to be engaged in the practice of law as long as
his activities involve the application of some law, however peripherally. The stock broker and the
insurance adjuster and the realtor could come under the definition as they deal with or give advice
on matters that are likely "to become involved in litigation."

The lawyer is considered engaged in the practice of law even if his main occupation is another
business and he interprets and applies some law only as an incident of such business. That covers
every company organized under the Corporation Code and regulated by the SEC under P.D. 902-A.
Considering the ramifications of the modern society, there is hardly any activity that is not affected
by some law or government regulation the businessman must know about and observe. In fact,
again going by the definition, a lawyer does not even have to be part of a business concern to be
considered a practitioner. He can be so deemed when, on his own, he rents a house or buys a car or
consults a doctor as these acts involve his knowledge and application of the laws regulating such
transactions. If he operates a public utility vehicle as his main source of livelihood, he would still be
deemed engaged in the practice of law because he must obey the Public Service Act and the rules
and regulations of the Energy Regulatory Board.

The ponencia quotes an American decision defining the practice of law as the "performance of any
acts . . . in or out of court, commonly understood to be the practice of law," which tells us absolutely
nothing. The decision goes on to say that "because lawyers perform almost every function known in
the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would obviously be too global to be
workable."

The effect of the definition given in the ponencia is to consider virtually every lawyer to be engaged
in the practice of law even if he does not earn his living, or at least part of it, as a lawyer. It is enough
that his activities are incidentally (even if only remotely) connected with some law, ordinance, or
regulation. The possible exception is the lawyer whose income is derived from teaching ballroom
dancing or escorting wrinkled ladies with pubescent pretensions.

The respondent's credentials are impressive, to be sure, but they do not persuade me that he has
been engaged in the practice of law for ten years as required by the Constitution. It is conceded that
he has been engaged in business and finance, in which areas he has distinguished himself, but as
an executive and economist and not as a practicing lawyer. The plain fact is that he has occupied
the various positions listed in his resume by virtue of his experience and prestige as a businessman
and not as an attorney-at-law whose principal attention is focused on the law. Even if it be argued
that he was acting as a lawyer when he lobbied in Congress for agrarian and urban reform, served in
the NAMFREL and the Constitutional Commission (together with non-lawyers like farmers and
priests) and was a member of the Davide Commission, he has not proved that his activities in these
capacities extended over the prescribed 10-year period of actual practice of the law. He is doubtless
eminently qualified for many other positions worthy of his abundant talents but not as Chairman of
the Commission on Elections.

I have much admiration for respondent Monsod, no less than for Mr. Justice Paras, but I must
regretfully vote to grant the petition.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:

When this petition was filed, there was hope that engaging in the practice of law as a qualification for
public office would be settled one way or another in fairly definitive terms. Unfortunately, this was not
the result.

Of the fourteen (14) member Court, 5 are of the view that Mr. Christian Monsod engaged in the
practice of law (with one of these 5 leaving his vote behind while on official leave but not expressing
his clear stand on the matter); 4 categorically stating that he did not practice law; 2 voting in the
result because there was no error so gross as to amount to grave abuse of discretion; one of official
leave with no instructions left behind on how he viewed the issue; and 2 not taking part in the
deliberations and the decision.

There are two key factors that make our task difficult. First is our reviewing the work of a
constitutional Commission on Appointments whose duty is precisely to look into the qualifications of
persons appointed to high office. Even if the Commission errs, we have no power to set aside error.
We can look only into grave abuse of discretion or whimsically and arbitrariness. Second is our belief
that Mr. Monsod possesses superior qualifications in terms of executive ability, proficiency in
management, educational background, experience in international banking and finance, and instant
recognition by the public. His integrity and competence are not questioned by the petitioner. What is
before us is compliance with a specific requirement written into the Constitution.

Inspite of my high regard for Mr. Monsod, I cannot shirk my constitutional duty. He has never
engaged in the practice of law for even one year. He is a member of the bar but to say that he has
practiced law is stretching the term beyond rational limits.
A person may have passed the bar examinations. But if he has not dedicated his life to the law, if he
has not engaged in an activity where membership in the bar is a requirement I fail to see how he can
claim to have been engaged in the practice of law.

Engaging in the practice of law is a qualification not only for COMELEC chairman but also for
appointment to the Supreme Court and all lower courts. What kind of Judges or Justices will we
have if there main occupation is selling real estate, managing a business corporation, serving in fact-
finding committee, working in media, or operating a farm with no active involvement in the law,
whether in Government or private practice, except that in one joyful moment in the distant past, they
happened to pass the bar examinations?

The Constitution uses the phrase "engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years." The
deliberate choice of words shows that the practice envisioned is active and regular, not isolated,
occasional, accidental, intermittent, incidental, seasonal, or extemporaneous. To be "engaged" in an
activity for ten years requires committed participation in something which is the result of one's
decisive choice. It means that one is occupied and involved in the enterprise; one is obliged or
pledged to carry it out with intent and attention during the ten-year period.

I agree with the petitioner that based on the bio-data submitted by respondent Monsod to the
Commission on Appointments, the latter has not been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten
years. In fact, if appears that Mr. Monsod has never practiced law except for an alleged one year
period after passing the bar examinations when he worked in his father's law firm. Even then his law
practice must have been extremely limited because he was also working for M.A. and Ph. D.
degrees in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania during that period. How could he practice
law in the United States while not a member of the Bar there?

The professional life of the respondent follows:

1.15.1. Respondent Monsod's activities since his passing the Bar examinations in 1961
consist of the following:

1. 1961-1963: M.A. in Economics (Ph. D. candidate), University of Pennsylvania

2. 1963-1970: World Bank Group — Economist, Industry Department; Operations, Latin


American Department; Division Chief, South Asia and Middle East, International Finance
Corporation

3. 1970-1973: Meralco Group — Executive of various companies, i.e., Meralco Securities


Corporation, Philippine Petroleum Corporation, Philippine Electric Corporation

4. 1973-1976: Yujuico Group — President, Fil-Capital Development Corporation and


affiliated companies

5. 1976-1978: Finaciera Manila — Chief Executive Officer

6. 1978-1986: Guevent Group of Companies — Chief Executive Officer

7. 1986-1987: Philippine Constitutional Commission — Member

8. 1989-1991: The Fact-Finding Commission on the December 1989 Coup Attempt —


Member
9. Presently: Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the following companies:

a. ACE Container Philippines, Inc.

b. Dataprep, Philippines

c. Philippine SUNsystems Products, Inc.

d. Semirara Coal Corporation

e. CBL Timber Corporation

Member of the Board of the Following:

a. Engineering Construction Corporation of the Philippines

b. First Philippine Energy Corporation

c. First Philippine Holdings Corporation

d. First Philippine Industrial Corporation

e. Graphic Atelier

f. Manila Electric Company

g. Philippine Commercial Capital, Inc.

h. Philippine Electric Corporation

i. Tarlac Reforestation and Environment Enterprises

j. Tolong Aquaculture Corporation

k. Visayan Aquaculture Corporation

l. Guimaras Aquaculture Corporation (Rollo, pp. 21-22)

There is nothing in the above bio-data which even remotely indicates that respondent Monsod has
given the lawenough attention or a certain degree of commitment and participation as would support
in all sincerity and candor the claim of having engaged in its practice for at least ten years. Instead of
working as a lawyer, he has lawyers working for him. Instead of giving receiving that legal advice of
legal services, he was the oneadvice and those services as an executive but not as a lawyer.

The deliberations before the Commission on Appointments show an effort to equate "engaged in the
practice of law" with the use of legal knowledge in various fields of endeavor such as commerce,
industry, civic work, blue ribbon investigations, agrarian reform, etc. where such knowledge would be
helpful.
I regret that I cannot join in playing fast and loose with a term, which even an ordinary layman
accepts as having a familiar and customary well-defined meaning. Every resident of this country who
has reached the age of discernment has to know, follow, or apply the law at various times in his life.
Legal knowledge is useful if not necessary for the business executive, legislator, mayor, barangay
captain, teacher, policeman, farmer, fisherman, market vendor, and student to name only a few. And
yet, can these people honestly assert that as such, they are engaged in the practice of law?

The Constitution requires having been "engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years." It is not
satisfied with having been "a member of the Philippine bar for at least ten years."

Some American courts have defined the practice of law, as follows:

The practice of law involves not only appearance in court in connection with litigation but also
services rendered out of court, and it includes the giving of advice or the rendering of any
services requiring the use of legal skill or knowledge, such as preparing a will, contract or
other instrument, the legal effect of which, under the facts and conditions involved, must be
carefully determined. People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. Tinkoff, 399 Ill. 282, 77 N.E.2d
693; People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v. People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill.
462,176 N.E. 901, and cases cited.

It would be difficult, if not impossible to lay down a formula or definition of what constitutes
the practice of law. "Practicing law" has been defined as "Practicing as an attorney or
counselor at law according to the laws and customs of our courts, is the giving of advice or
rendition of any sort of service by any person, firm or corporation when the giving of such
advice or rendition of such service requires the use of any degree of legal knowledge or
skill." Without adopting that definition, we referred to it as being substantially correct
in People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v. People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill. 462,176
N.E. 901. (People v. Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773, 776)

For one's actions to come within the purview of practice of law they should not only be activities
peculiar to the work of a lawyer, they should also be performed, habitually, frequently or customarily,
to wit:

xxx xxx xxx

Respondent's answers to questions propounded to him were rather evasive. He was asked
whether or not he ever prepared contracts for the parties in real-estate transactions where he
was not the procuring agent. He answered: "Very seldom." In answer to the question as to
how many times he had prepared contracts for the parties during the twenty-one years of his
business, he said: "I have no Idea." When asked if it would be more than half a dozen times
his answer was I suppose. Asked if he did not recall making the statement to several parties
that he had prepared contracts in a large number of instances, he answered: "I don't recall
exactly what was said." When asked if he did not remember saying that he had made a
practice of preparing deeds, mortgages and contracts and charging a fee to the parties
therefor in instances where he was not the broker in the deal, he answered: "Well, I don't
believe so, that is not a practice." Pressed further for an answer as to his practice in
preparing contracts and deeds for parties where he was not the broker, he finally answered:
"I have done about everything that is on the books as far as real estate is concerned."

xxx xxx xxx


Respondent takes the position that because he is a real-estate broker he has a lawful right to
do any legal work in connection with real-estate transactions, especially in drawing of real-
estate contracts, deeds, mortgages, notes and the like. There is no doubt but that he has
engaged in these practices over the years and has charged for his services in that
connection. ... (People v. Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773)

xxx xxx xxx

... An attorney, in the most general sense, is a person designated or employed by another to
act in his stead; an agent; more especially, one of a class of persons authorized to appear
and act for suitors or defendants in legal proceedings. Strictly, these professional persons
are attorneys at law, and non-professional agents are properly styled "attorney's in fact;" but
the single word is much used as meaning an attorney at law. A person may be an attorney in
facto for another, without being an attorney at law. Abb. Law Dict. "Attorney." A public
attorney, or attorney at law, says Webster, is an officer of a court of law, legally qualified to
prosecute and defend actions in such court on the retainer of clients. "The principal duties of
an attorney are (1) to be true to the court and to his client; (2) to manage the business of his
client with care, skill, and integrity; (3) to keep his client informed as to the state of his
business; (4) to keep his secrets confided to him as such. ... His rights are to be justly
compensated for his services." Bouv. Law Dict. tit. "Attorney." The transitive verb "practice,"
as defined by Webster, means 'to do or perform frequently, customarily, or habitually; to
perform by a succession of acts, as, to practice gaming, ... to carry on in practice, or
repeated action; to apply, as a theory, to real life; to exercise, as a profession, trade, art. etc.;
as, to practice law or medicine,' etc...." (State v. Bryan, S.E. 522, 523; Emphasis supplied)

In this jurisdiction, we have ruled that the practice of law denotes frequency or a succession of acts.
Thus, we stated in the case of People v. Villanueva (14 SCRA 109 [1965]):

xxx xxx xxx

... 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 v. 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 a lawyer and
demanding payment for such services. ... . (at p. 112)

It is to be noted that the Commission on Appointment itself recognizes habituality as a required


component of the meaning of practice of law in a Memorandum prepared and issued by it, to wit:

l. Habituality. The term 'practice of law' implies customarilyor habitually holding one's self out
to the public as a lawyer (People v. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Bryan, 4 S.E.
522, 98 N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the establishment of a law
office for the general practice of law (U.S. v. Noy Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the
oath of office as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with the Supreme
Court informing it of his intention to practice law in all courts in the country (People v. De
Luna, 102 Phil. 968).

Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary action,
a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v.
Villanueva, 14 SCRA 1 09 citing State v. Cotner, 1 27, p. 1, 87 Kan, 864)." (Rollo, p. 115)

xxx xxx xxx


While the career as a businessman of respondent Monsod may have profited from his legal
knowledge, the use of such legal knowledge is incidental and consists of isolated activities which do
not fall under the denomination of practice of law. Admission to the practice of law was not required
for membership in the Constitutional Commission or in the Fact-Finding Commission on the 1989
Coup Attempt. Any specific legal activities which may have been assigned to Mr. Monsod while a
member may be likened to isolated transactions of foreign corporations in the Philippines which do
not categorize the foreign corporations as doing business in the Philippines. As in the practice of
law, doing business also should be active and continuous. Isolated business transactions or
occasional, incidental and casual transactions are not within the context of doing business. This was
our ruling in the case of Antam Consolidated, Inc. v. Court of appeals, 143 SCRA 288 [1986]).

Respondent Monsod, corporate executive, civic leader, and member of the Constitutional
Commission may possess the background, competence, integrity, and dedication, to qualify for such
high offices as President, Vice-President, Senator, Congressman or Governor but the Constitution in
prescribing the specific qualification of having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10)
years for the position of COMELEC Chairman has ordered that he may not be confirmed for that
office. The Constitution charges the public respondents no less than this Court to obey its mandate.

I, therefore, believe that the Commission on Appointments committed grave abuse of discretion in
confirming the nomination of respondent Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC.

I vote to GRANT the petition.

Bidin, J., dissent

Footnotes

1 Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary.

2 14 SCRA 109

3 Commission on Appointments' Memorandum dated 25 June 1991 RE: WHAT


CONSTITUTES PRACTICE OF LAW, pp. 6-7.

SECOND DIVISION

[A.C. No. 5737. October 25, 2004]

FERDINAND A. CRUZ, complainant, vs. ATTY. STANLEY


CABRERA, respondent.

RESOLUTION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

In an administrative complaint dated July 7, 2002, Ferdinand A. Cruz


charges Atty. Stanley Cabrera with misconduct in violation of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
Complainant alleges that he is a fourth year law student; since the latter
part of 2001, he instituted several actions against his neighbors; he appeared
for and in his behalf in his own cases; he met respondent who acted as the
counsel of his neighbors; during a hearing on January 14, 2002, in one case
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 112, Pasay City, presided by Judge
Caridad Cuerdo, the following exchange transpired:

xxx xxx So, may we know your honor, if he is a lawyer or not?

The Court having been inhibited by the respondent from hearing the case,
replied:

You are asking for my inhibition and yet you want me to rule on his
appearance xxx xxx.

Thereafter, the respondent said:

Because your honor, he (pertaining to the complainant) is misrepresenting


himself to be a lawyer!

To this the complainant remarked:

Your Honor, Im not xxx xxx.

Respondent, this time engulfed with anger in a raising voice said:

Appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka muna; x x x.

Respondents imputations were uncalled for and the latters act of compelling
the court to ask complainant whether he is a lawyer or not was intended to
malign him before the public, inasmuch as respondent knew that complainant
is not a lawyer, having appeared for and in his behalf as a party litigant in prior
cases; respondents imputations of complainants misrepresentation as a
lawyer was patently with malice to discredit his honor, with the intention to
threaten him not to appear anymore in cases respondent was handling; the
manner, substance, tone of voice and how the words appear ka ng appear,
pumasa ka muna! were uttered were totally with the intention to annoy, vex
and humiliate, malign, ridicule, incriminate and discredit complainant before
the public.
Complainant claims that respondents display of improper attitude,
arrogance, misbehavior, misconduct in the performance of his duties both as
a lawyer and officer of the court, before the public and the court, was a patent
transgression of the very ethics that lawyers are sworn to uphold in their
dealings with society and corresponding appropriate penalty or sanctions for
the said administrative violations should be imposed on the respondent.
In his Comment, respondent contends that the complaint filed against him
is a vicious scheme to dissuade him from appearing as counsel for the Mina
family against whom complainant had filed several civil and criminal cases
including him to further complainants illegal practice of law; complainants
complaint occurred during a judicial proceeding wherein complainant was able
to represent himself considering that he was appearing in barong tagalog thus
the presiding judge was misled when she issued an order stating [i]n todays
hearing both lawyers appeared; because of which, respondent stated: Your
honor I would like to manifest that this counsel (referring to complainant) who
represents the plaintiff in this case is not a lawyer, to which complainant
replied: The counsel very well know that I am not yet a lawyer; the reason he
informed the court that complainant is not a lawyer was because the presiding
judge did not know that complainant is not a lawyer and complainant did not
inform the presiding judge that he is not a lawyer when he stated: for the
plaintiff your honor; he stated pumasa ka muna out of indignation because of
complainants temerity in misrepresenting himself as lawyer; it is surprising
that the City Prosecutor of Pasay City filed a complaint for oral defamation
against him considering that in a precedent case the Supreme Court stated: It
is a settled principle in this jurisdiction that statements made in the course of
judicial proceedings are absolutely privileged (Navarrete vs. Court of Appeals,
325 SCRA 540); in another malicious prosecution being perpetuated by the
complainant against the Mina family pending before Judge Priscilla Mijares of
RTC Branch 108, Pasay City, they were able to prohibit the appearance of
complainant as counsel for himself as authenticated by an Order of Judge
Priscilla Mijares which allegedly stated among other; to wit:

In connection with Ferdinand A. Cruzs motion to appear as counsel, the motion is


likewise denied, movant not having satisfied the requirements and conditions under
Rule 138-A, Sections 1 and 2.

Respondent alleges that when complainant filed an administrative case


against Judge Priscilla Mijares when said Judge stated in Tagalog in open
court Hay naku masama yung marunong pa sa Huwes! OK? the same was
dismissed by the Honorable Courts Third Division which stated among others:
That the questioned remarks of respondent were uttered more out of
frustration and in reaction to complainants actuations and taking into account
that complainant is not yet a lawyer but was already lecturing the court on a
matter which is not even a point of discussion was sheer arrogance on the
part of the complainant. Respondent prays that the complaint against him be
dismissed for lack of merit.
The administrative case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation.
In a report, dated March 4, 2004, IBP Commissioner Lydia A. Navarro
recommended respondents suspension from the practice of law for a period of
three months for violating Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
which provides:

A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive,
offensive or otherwise improper.

In her report, Commissioner Navarro stated:

After going over the evidence submitted by the parties, the undersigned noted that
respondents averment that the utterances he made in open court is (sic) privileged
communication does not hold water for the same was (sic) not relevant to the issue of
the case in question under trial before the said court.

Respondent did not refute the fact that the same utterances he made in open court
against the complainant had been the basis for his indictment of Oral Defamation and
later Unjust Vexation under Criminal Cases Nos. 02-1031 and No. 02-2136
respectively, pending trial before MTC Branch 45, Pasay City.

Likewise respondent did not refute complainants allegation that in 1979 he was held
in contempt and was not allowed to practice law for seven years by the Supreme
Court in the administrative case filed against him by Emilia E. Andres on December
14, 1979 docketed as A.M. L-585 for his fondness in using contumacious language in
his dealing with others.

From the facts obtaining, it is apparent that the utterance hurled by the respondent in
the manner, substance and tone of his voice which was not refuted by him that appear
ka ng appear, pumasa ka muna in whatever manner it was uttered are in itself not
only abusive but insulting specially on the part of law students who have not yet taken
nor passed the bar examination required of them.
Respondent should have been more discreet and cautious in informing the court if it
was his purpose relative to complainants appearance in court; although the latter
appeared only in his behalf but not for others if he had complied with the
requirements of Rule 138 (Sections 1 and 3) of the Rules of Court.

Respondent should have been more temperate in making utterances in his professional
dealings so as not to offend the sensitivities of the other party as in this case.

On April 16, 2004, the IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution to


annul and set aside the recommendation of the investigating commissioner
and to approve the dismissal of the case for lack of merit.
Prefatorily, we note that the IBP Board of Governors failed to observe the
procedural requirements of Sec. 12 of Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court on
review and decision by the Board of Governors which states:

SEC. 12. Review and decision by the Board of Governors. (a) Every case heard by an
investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP Board of Governors upon the record and
evidence transmitted to it by the Investigator with his report. The decision of the
Board upon such review shall be in writing and shall clearly and distinctly state
the facts and the reasons on which it is based. It shall be promulgated within a
period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next meeting of the Board following
the submittal of the Investigators report. (Emphasis supplied)

In Teodosio vs. Nava,[1] the Court stressed the important function of the
requirement that the decision of the Board of Governors state the facts and
the reasons on which it is based, which is akin to what is required of the
decisions of courts of record, thus:

For aside from informing the parties the reason for the decision to enable them to
point out to the appellate court the findings with which they are not in agreement, in
case any of them decides to appeal the decision, it is also an assurance that the judge,
or the Board of Governors in this case, reached his judgment through the process of
legal reasoning.[2]

In this case, the Board of Governors resolution absolving respondent of


any misconduct does not contain any findings of facts or law upon which it
based its ruling. Ordinarily, non-compliance with the rule would result in the
remand of the case. Nonetheless, where the controversy has been pending
resolution for quite sometime and the issues involved could be resolved on
the basis of the records on appeal, the Court has opted to resolve the case in
the interest of justice and speedy disposition of cases.[3] This case falls within
the exception.
We hold that respondents outburst of appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka
muna does not amount to a violation of Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
Based on the facts of this case, such outburst came about when
respondent pointed out to the trial court that complainant is not a lawyer to
correct the judges impression of complainants appearance, inasmuch as the
judge, in her Order of January 14, 2002, noted that complainant is a
lawyer.[4] Such single outburst, though uncalled for, is not of such magnitude
as to warrant respondents suspension or reproof. It is but a product of
impulsiveness or the heat of the moment in the course of an argument
between them. It has been said that lawyers should not be held to too strict an
account for words said in the heat of the moment, because of chagrin at losing
cases, and that the big way is for the court to condone even contemptuous
language.[5]
Nonetheless, we remind respondent that complainant is not precluded
from litigating personally his cases. A partys right to conduct litigation
personally is recognized by Section 34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court:

SEC. 34. By whom litigation conducted. -- In the court of a justice of the peace a party
may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by
him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may
conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and his appearance must be
either personal or by a duly authorized member of the bar.

In Maderada vs. Mediodea,[6] this Court expounded on the foregoing


provision, thus:

This provision means that in a litigation, parties may personally do everything during
its progress -- from its commencement to its termination. When they, however, act as
their own attorneys, they are restricted to the same rules of evidence and procedure as
those qualified to practice law; otherwise, ignorance would be unjustifiably rewarded.
Individuals have long been permitted to manage, prosecute and defend their own
actions; and when they do so, they are not considered to be in the practice of law. One
does not practice law by acting for himself any more than he practices medicine by
rendering first aid to himself.

The practice of law, though impossible to define exactly, involves the exercise of a
profession or vocation usually for gain, mainly as attorney by acting in a
representative capacity and as counsel by rendering legal advise to others. Private
practice has been defined by this Court as follows:

x x x. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or


customary action, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent
habitual exercise. Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute [referring to
the prohibition for judges and other officials or employees of the superior courts or of
the Office of the Solicitor General from engaging in private practice] has been
interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public, as a
lawyer and demanding payment for such services. x x x.

Clearly, in appearing for herself, complainant was not customarily or habitually


holding herself out to the public as a lawyer. Neither was she demanding payment for
such services. Hence, she cannot be said to be in the practice of law.[7]

On the other hand, all lawyers should take heed that lawyers are licensed
officers of the courts who are empowered to appear, prosecute and defend;
and upon whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by
law as a consequence. Membership in the bar imposes upon them certain
obligations. Mandated to maintain the dignity of the legal profession, they
must conduct themselves honorably and fairly.[8] Though a lawyers language
may be forceful and emphatic, it should always be dignified and respectful,
befitting the dignity of the legal profession. The use of intemperate language
and unkind ascriptions has no place in the dignity of judicial forum.[9]
WHEREFORE, the complaint against respondent Atty. Stanley Cabrera for
misconduct in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility is
DISMISSED for lack of merit. He is, however, admonished to be more
circumspect in the performance of his duties as an officer of the court.

RULE 138-A

Law Student Practice Rule

Section 1. Conditions for student practice. — A law student who has successfully completed
his 3rd year of the regular four-year prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized
law school's clinical legal education program approved by the Supreme Court, may appear
without compensation in any civil, criminal or administrative case before any trial court,
tribunal, board or officer, to represent indigent clients accepted by the legal clinic of the law
school.
Section 2. Appearance. — The appearance of the law student authorized by this rule, shall be
under the direct supervision and control of a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
duly accredited by the law school. Any and all pleadings, motions, briefs, memoranda or
other papers to be filed, must be signed by the supervising attorney for and in behalf of the
legal clinic.

Section 3. Privileged communications. — The Rules safeguarding privileged communications


between attorney and client shall apply to similar communications made to or received by the
law student, acting for the legal clinic.

Section 4. Standards of conduct and supervision. — The law student shall comply with the
standards of professional conduct governing members of the Bar. Failure of an attorney to
provide adequate supervision of student practice may be a ground for disciplinary action.
(Circular No. 19, dated December 19, 1986).

Supreme Court
Baguio City

THIRD DIVISION

FERDINAND A. CRUZ, G.R. No. 154207

Petitioner,

Present:

- versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,

Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

CALLEJO, SR.,

ALBERTO MINA, CHICO-NAZARIO, and

HON. ELEUTERIO F NACHURA, JJ.

GUERRERO and HON.

ZENAIDA LAGUILLES, Promulgated:

Respondents. April 27, 2007

x----------------------------------------x

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the


Rules of Court, grounded on pure questions of law, with Prayer for
Preliminary Injunction assailing the Resolution dated May 3, 2002
promulgated by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 116, Pasay
City, in Civil Case No. 02-0137, which denied the issuance of a writ of
preliminary injunction against the Metropolitan Trial Court ( MeTC),
Branch 45, Pasay City, in Criminal Case No. 00 -1705; [ 1 ] and the RTCs
Order dated June 5, 2002 denying the Motion for Reconsideration. No
writ of preliminary injunction was issued by this Court .

The antecedents:

On September 25, 2000, Ferdinand A. Cruz (petitioner) filed before


the MeTC a formal Entry of Appearance, as private prosecutor, in
Criminal Case No. 00-1705 for Grave Threats, where his father,
Mariano Cruz, is the complaining witness.

The petitioner, describing himself as a third year law student,


justifies his appearance as private prosecutor on the bases of Section
34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court and the ruling of the Court En
Banc in Cantimbuhan v. Judge Cruz, Jr. [ 2 ] that a non-lawyer may
appear before the inferior courts as an agent or friend of a party
litigant. The petitioner furthermore avers that his appearance was
with the prior conformity of the public prosecutor and a written
authority of Mariano Cruz appointing him to be his agent in the
prosecution of the said criminal case.

However, in an Order dated February 1, 2002, the MeTC denied


permission for petitioner to appear as private prosecutor on the
ground that Circular No. 19 governing limited law student practice in
conjunction with Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court (Law Student
Practice Rule) should take precedence over the ruling of the Court
laid down in Cantimbuhan; and set the case for continuation of
trial. [ 3 ]

On February 13, 2002, petitioner filed before the MeTC a


Motion for Reconsideration seeking to reverse the February 1, 2002
Order alleging that Rule 138-A, or the Law Student Practice Rule, does
not have the effect of superseding Section 34 of Rule 138, for the
authority to interpret the rule is the source itself of the rule, which is
the Supreme Court alone.

In an Order dated March 4, 2002, the MeTC denied the Motion for
Reconsideration.
On April 2, 2002, the petitioner filed before the RTC a Petition
for Certiorari and Mandamus with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction
and Temporary Restraining Order against the private respondent and
the public respondent MeTC.

After hearing the prayer for preliminary injunction to restrain


public respondent MeTC Judge from proceeding with Criminal Case
No. 00-1705 pending the Certiorari proceedings, the RTC, in a
Resolution dated May 3, 2002, resolved to deny the issuance of an
injunctive writ on the ground that the crime of Grave Threats, the
subject of Criminal Case No. 00-1705, is one that can be
prosecuted de oficio, there being no claim for civil indemnity, and
that therefore, the intervention of a private prosecutor is not legally
tenable.

On May 9, 2002, the petitioner filed before the RTC a Motion for
Reconsideration. The petitioner argues that nowhere does the law
provide that the crime of Grave Threats has no civil aspect. And last,
petitioner cites Bar Matter No. 730 dated June 10, 1997 which
expressly provides for the appearance of a non -lawyer before the
inferior courts, as an agent or friend of a party litigant, even without
the supervision of a member of the bar.
Pending the resolution of the foregoing Motion for Reconsideration
before the RTC, the petitioner filed a Second Motion for
Reconsideration dated June 7, 2002 with the MeTC seeking the
reversal of the March 4, 2002 Denial Order of the said court, on the
strength of Bar Matter No. 730, and a Motion to Hold In Abeyance the
Trial dated June 10, 2002 of Criminal Case No. 00 -1705 pending the
outcome of the certiorari proceedings before the RTC.
On June 5, 2002, the RTC issued its Order denying the petitioners
Motion for Reconsideration.

Likewise, in an Order dated June 13, 2002, the MeTC denied the
petitioners Second Motion for Reconsideration and his Motion to
Hold in Abeyance the Trial on the ground that the RTC had already
denied the Entry of Appearance of petitioner befo re the MeTC.

On July 30, 2002, the petitioner directly filed with this Court, the
instant Petition and assigns the following errors:

I.

THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS


DISCRETION WHEN IT RESOLVED TO DENY THE PRAYER FOR
THE WRIT OF INJUNCTION OF THE HEREIN PETITIONER
DESPITE PETITIONER HAVING ESTABLISHED THE NECESSITY OF
GRANTING THE WRIT;
II.

THE RESPONDENT TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION,


TANTAMOUNT TO IGNORANCE OF THE LAW, WHEN IT
RESOLVED TO DENY THE PRAYER FOR THE WRIT OF
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND THE SUBSEQUENT MOTION
FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE HEREIN PETITIONER ON THE
BASIS THAT [GRAVE] THREATS HAS NO CIVIL ASPECT, FOR THE
SAID BASIS OF DENIAL IS NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW;

III.

THE RESPONDENT METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS


DISCRETION WHEN IT DENIED THE MOTION TO HOLD IN
ABEYANCE TRIAL, WHEN WHAT WAS DENIED BY THE
RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IS THE ISSUANCE OF
THE WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND WHEN THE
RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IS YET TO DECIDE ON
THE MERITS OF THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI;

IV.

THE RESPONDENT COURT[S] ARE CLEARLY IGNORING THE LAW


WHEN THEY PATENTLY REFUSED TO HEED TO [sic] THE CLEAR
MANDATE OF THE LAPUT, CANTIMBUHAN AND BULACAN
CASES, AS WELL AS BAR MATTER NO. 730, PROVIDING FOR
THE APPEARANCE OF NON-LAWYERS BEFORE THE LOWER
COURTS (MTCS). [ 4 ]

This Court, in exceptional cases, and for compelling reasons, or if


warranted by the nature of the issues reviewed, may take cognizance
of petitions filed directly before it. [ 5 ]

Considering that this case involves the interpretation, clarification,


and implementation of Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, Bar
Matter No. 730, Circular No. 19 governing law student practice and
Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, and the ruling of the Court
in Cantimbuhan, the Court takes cognizance of herein petition.

The basic question is whether the petitioner, a law student, may


appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a party
litigant.

The courts a quo held that the Law Student Practice Rule as
encapsulated in Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, prohibits the
petitioner, as a law student, from entering his appearance in behalf
of his father, the private complainant in the criminal case without the
supervision of an attorney duly accredited by the law school.

Rule 138-A or the Law Student Practice Rule, provides:

RULE 138-A

LAW STUDENT PRACTICE RULE


Section 1. Conditions for Student Practice. A law
student who has successfully completed his 3rd year of the
regular four-year prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled
in a recognized law school's clinical legal education program
approved by the Supreme Court, may appear without
compensation in any civil, criminal or administrative case
before any trial court, tribunal, board or officer, to
represent indigent clients accepted by the legal clinic of the
law school.

Sec. 2. Appearance. The appearance of the law student


authorized by this rule, shall be under the direct supervision
and control of a member of the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines duly accredited by the law school. Any and all
pleadings, motions, briefs, memoranda or other papers to be
filed, must be signed by the supervising attorney for and in
behalf of the legal clinic.

However, in Resolution [ 6 ] dated June 10, 1997 in Bar Matter No. 730,
the Court En Banc clarified:

The rule, however, is different if the law student


appears before an inferior court, where the issues and
procedure are relatively simple. In inferior courts, a law
student may appear in his personal capacity without the
supervision of a lawyer. Section 34, Rule 138 provides:
Sec. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. - In the
court of a justic e of the peace , a party m ay conduct his
litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend
appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an
attorney. In any other court, a party may conduct his
litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and his
appearance must be either personal or by a duly
authorized member of the bar.

Thus, a law student may appear before an inferior


court as an agent or friend of a party without the
supervision of a member of the bar. [ 7 ] (Emphasis supplied)

The phrase In the court of a justice of the peace in Bar Matter


No. 730 is subsequently changed to In the court of a municipality as it
now appears in Section 34 of Rule 138, thus: [ 8 ]

SEC. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. In the Court


of a municipality a party may conduct his litigation in
person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him
for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other
court, a party may conduct his litigation personally or by aid
of an attorney and his appearance must be either personal
or by a duly authorized member of the bar. (Emphasis
supplied)

which is the prevailing rule at the time the petitioner filed his Entry
of Appearance with the MeTC on September 25, 2000. No real
distinction exists for under Section 6, Rule 5 of the Rules of Court,
the term "Municipal Trial Courts" as used in these Rules shall include
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal
Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.
There is really no problem as to the application of Section 34 of
Rule 138 and Rule 138-A. In the former, the appearance of a non -
lawyer, as an agent or friend of a party litigant, is expressly allowed,
while the latter rule provides for conditions when a law student, not
as an agent or a friend of a party litigant, may appear before the
courts.

Petitioner expressly anchored his appearance on Section 34 of Rule


138. The court a quo must have been confused by the fact that
petitioner referred to himself as a law student in his entry of
appearance. Rule 138-A should not have been used by the courts a
quo in denying permission to act as private prosecutor against
petitioner for the simple reason that Rule 138 -A is not the basis for
the petitioners appearance.

Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the inferior
courts by a non-lawyer is allowed, irrespective of whether or not he
is a law student.As succinctly clarified in Bar Matter No. 730, by
virtue of Section 34, Rule 138, a law student may appear, as an agent
or a friend of a party litigant, without the supervisi on of a lawyer
before inferior courts.
P etitioner further argues that the RTC erroneously held that, by its
very nature, no civil liability may flow from the crime of Grave
Threats, and, for this reason, the intervention of a private prosecutor
is not possible.

It is clear from the RTC Decision that no such conclusion had


been intended by the RTC. In denying the issuance of the injunctive
court, the RTC stated in its Decision that there was no claim for civil
liability by the private complainant for damag es, and that the records
of the case do not provide for a claim for indemnity; and that
therefore, petitioners appearance as private prosecutor appears to be
legally untenable.

Under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, every person criminally
liable for a felony is also civilly liable except in instances when no
actual damage results from an offense, such as espionage, violation
of neutrality, flight to an enemy country, and crime against popular
representation. [ 9 ] The basic rule applies in the instant case, such that
when a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery
of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed
instituted with criminal action, unless the offended party waives the
civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes
the civil action prior to the criminal action. [ 1 0 ]
The petitioner is correct in stating that there being no reservation,
waiver, nor prior institution of the civil aspect in Criminal Case No.
00-1705, it follows that the civil aspect arising from Grave Threats is
deemed instituted with the criminal action, and, hence, the private
prosecutor may rightfully intervene to prosecute the civil aspect.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution


and Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
116, Pasay City are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Metropolitan Trial
Court, Branch 45, Pasay City is DIRECTED to ADMIT the Entry of
Appearance of petitioner in Criminal Case No. 00 -1705 as a private
prosecutor under the direct control and supervision of the public
prosecutor.

No pronouncement as to costs.

EN BANC
[B.M. No. 1370. May 9, 2005]

LETTER OF ATTY. CECILIO Y. AREVALO, JR., REQUESTING


EXEMPTION FROM PAYMENT OF IBP DUES.

DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

This is a request for exemption from payment of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) dues filed by petitioner Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo, Jr.
In his letter, dated 22 September 2004, petitioner sought exemption from
[1]

payment of IBP dues in the amount of P12,035.00 as alleged unpaid


accountability for the years 1977-2005. He alleged that after being admitted to
the Philippine Bar in 1961, he became part of the Philippine Civil Service from
July 1962 until 1986, then migrated to, and worked in, the USA in December
1986 until his retirement in the year 2003. He maintained that he cannot be
assessed IBP dues for the years that he was working in the Philippine Civil
Service since the Civil Service law prohibits the practice of ones profession
while in government service, and neither can he be assessed for the years
when he was working in the USA.
On 05 October 2004, the letter was referred to the IBP for comment. [2]

On 16 November 2004, the IBP submitted its comment stating inter alia:
[3]

that membership in the IBP is not based on the actual practice of law; that a
lawyer continues to be included in the Roll of Attorneys as long as he
continues to be a member of the IBP; that one of the obligations of a member
is the payment of annual dues as determined by the IBP Board of Governors
and duly approved by the Supreme Court as provided for in Sections 9 and
10, Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court; that the validity of imposing dues on the
IBP members has been upheld as necessary to defray the cost of an
Integrated Bar Program; and that the policy of the IBP Board of Governors of
no exemption from payment of dues is but an implementation of the Courts
directives for all members of the IBP to help in defraying the cost of integration
of the bar. It maintained that there is no rule allowing the exemption of
payment of annual dues as requested by respondent, that what is allowed is
voluntary termination and reinstatement of membership. It asserted that what
petitioner could have done was to inform the secretary of the IBP of his
intention to stay abroad, so that his membership in the IBP could have been
terminated, thus, his obligation to pay dues could have been stopped. It also
alleged that the IBP Board of Governors is in the process of discussing
proposals for the creation of an inactive status for its members, which if
approved by the Board of Governors and by this Court, will exempt inactive
IBP members from payment of the annual dues.
In his reply dated 22 February 2005, petitioner contends that what he is
[4]

questioning is the IBP Board of Governors Policy of Non-Exemption in the


payment of annual membership dues of lawyers regardless of whether or not
they are engaged in active or inactive practice. He asseverates that the Policy
of Non-Exemption in the payment of annual membership dues suffers from
constitutional infirmities, such as equal protection clause and the due process
clause. He also posits that compulsory payment of the IBP annual
membership dues would indubitably be oppressive to him considering that he
has been in an inactive status and is without income derived from his law
practice. He adds that his removal from nonpayment of annual membership
dues would constitute deprivation of property right without due process of law.
Lastly, he claims that non-practice of law by a lawyer-member in inactive
status is neither injurious to active law practitioners, to fellow lawyers in
inactive status, nor to the community where the inactive lawyers-members
reside.
Plainly, the issue here is: whether or nor petitioner is entitled to exemption
from payment of his dues during the time that he was inactive in the practice
of law that is, when he was in the Civil Service from 1962-1986 and he was
working abroad from 1986-2003?
We rule in the negative.
An Integrated Bar is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must
belong, as distinguished from bar association organized by individual lawyers
themselves, membership in which is voluntary. Integration of the Bar is
essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded an
opportunity to do his shares in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as
obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under the
direction of the State, an Integrated Bar is an official national body of which all
lawyers are required to be members. They are, therefore, subject to all the
rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including the requirement of
payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the
purposes of the Bar, and adherence to a code of professional ethics or
professional responsibility, breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for
investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing, a
recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member. [5]
The integration of the Philippine Bar means the official unification of the
entire lawyer population. This requires membership and financial support of
every attorney as condition sine qua non to the practice of law and the
retention of his name in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. [6]

Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is
free to attend or not to attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or
vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only compulsion to
which he is subjected is the payment of his annual dues. The Supreme Court,
in order to foster the States legitimate interest in elevating the quality of
professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the
profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the
regulatory program the lawyers. [7]

Moreover, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court,


under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the
admission to the practice of law and in the integration of the Philippine Bar - [8]

which power required members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to


pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the
profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is, indeed,
imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out the
noble objectives and purposes of integration.
The rationale for prescribing dues has been explained in the Integration of
the Philippine Bar, thus:
[9]

For the court to prescribe dues to be paid by the members does not mean that the
Court is attempting to levy a tax.

A membership fee in the Bar association is an exaction for regulation, while tax
purpose of a tax is a revenue. If the judiciary has inherent power to regulate the Bar, it
follows that as an incident to regulation, it may impose a membership fee for that
purpose. It would not be possible to put on an integrated Bar program without means
to defray the expenses. The doctrine of implied powers necessarily carries with it the
power to impose such exaction.

The only limitation upon the States power to regulate the privilege of law is that the
regulation does not impose an unconstitutional burden. The public interest promoted
by the integration of the Bar far outweighs the slight inconvenience to a member
resulting from his required payment of the annual dues.

Thus, payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the


IBP, of which no one is exempt. This means that the compulsory nature of
payment of dues subsists for as long as ones membership in the IBP remains
regardless of the lack of practice of, or the type of practice, the member is
engaged in.
There is nothing in the law or rules which allows exemption from payment
of membership dues. At most, as correctly observed by the IBP, he could
have informed the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his intention to stay
abroad before he left. In such case, his membership in the IBP could have
been terminated and his obligation to pay dues could have been discontinued.
As abovementioned, the IBP in its comment stated that the IBP Board of
Governors is in the process of discussing the situation of members under
inactive status and the nonpayment of their dues during such inactivity. In the
meantime, petitioner is duty bound to comply with his obligation to pay
membership dues to the IBP.
Petitioner also contends that the enforcement of the penalty of removal
would amount to a deprivation of property without due process and hence
infringes on one of his constitutional rights.
This question has been settled in the case of In re Atty. Marcial
Edillon, in this wise:
[10]

. . . Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that
entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession, we do not here pause to
consider at length, as it [is] clear that under the police power of the State, and under
the necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondents
right to practice law before the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject
to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure
is recognize[d], then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be
avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary.

But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere
privilege, and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact
compliance with the lawyers public responsibilities.

As a final note, it must be borne in mind that membership in the bar is a


privilege burdened with conditions, one of which is the payment of
[11]

membership dues. Failure to abide by any of them entails the loss of such
privilege if the gravity thereof warrants such drastic move.
WHEREFORE, petitioners request for exemption from payment of IBP
dues is DENIED. He is ordered to pay P12,035.00, the amount assessed by
the IBP as membership fees for the years 1977-2005, within a non-extendible
period of ten (10) days from receipt of this decision, with a warning that failure
to do so will merit his suspension from the practice of law.

SECOND DIVISION

[A.C No. 4749. January 20, 2000]

SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR., complainant, vs. ATTY. FRANCISCO R.


LLAMAS, respondent.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

This is a complaint for misrepresentation and non-payment of bar membership dues


filed against respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas.

In a letter-complaint to this Court dated February 8, 1997, complainant Soliman M.


Santos, Jr., himself a member of the bar, alleged that:

On my oath as an attorney, I wish to bring to your attention and


appropriate sanction the matter of Atty. Francisco R. Llamas who, for a
number of years now, has not indicated the proper PTR and IBP O.R.
Nos. and data (date & place of issuance) in his pleadings. If at all, he
only indicates "IBP Rizal 259060" but he has been using this for at least
three years already, as shown by the following attached sample
pleadings in various courts in 1995, 1996 and 1997: (originals available)

Annex "Ex-Parte Manifestation and Submission" dated


A.......- December 1, 1995 in Civil Case No. Q-95-25253, RTC,
Br. 224, QC

Annex "Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation Motion" dated November


B.......- 13, 1996 in Sp. Proc. No. 95-030, RTC Br. 259 (not 257),
Paraaque, MM

Annex "An Urgent and Respectful Plea for extension of Time to


C.......- File Required Comment and Opposition" dated January
17, 1997 in CA-G.R. SP (not Civil Case) No. 42286, CA
6th Div.
This matter is being brought in the context of Rule 138, Section 1 which
qualifies that only a duly admitted member of the bar "who is in good
and regular standing, is entitled to practice law". There is also Rule 139-
A, Section 10 which provides that "default in the payment of annual dues
for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated
Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the
removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of
Attorneys."

Among others, I seek clarification (e.g. a certification) and appropriate


action on the bar standing of Atty. Francisco R. Llamas both with the
Bar Confidant and with the IBP, especially its Rizal Chapter of which
Atty. Llamas purports to be a member. Jksm

Please note that while Atty. Llamas indicates "IBP Rizal 259060"
sometimes, he does not indicate any PTR for payment of professional
tax.

Under the Rules, particularly Rule 138, Sections 27 and 28, suspension
of an attorney may be done not only by the Supreme Court but also by
the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court (thus, we are also copy
furnishing some of these courts).

Finally, it is relevant to note the track record of Atty. Francisco R.


Llamas, as shown by:

1........his dismissal as Pasay City Judge per Supreme Court Admin.


Matter No. 1037-CJ En Banc Decision on October 28, 1981 ( in SCRA )

2........his conviction for estafa per Decision dated June 30, 1994 in Crim.
Case No. 11787, RTC Br. 66, Makati, MM (see attached copy of the
Order dated February 14, 1995 denying the motion for reconsideration of
the conviction which is purportedly on appeal in the Court of Appeals).

Attached to the letter-complaint were the pleadings dated December 1, 1995,


November 13, 1996, and January 17, 1997 referred to by complainant, bearing, at the
end thereof, what appears to be respondents signature above his name, address and the
receipt number "IBP Rizal 259060." Also attached was a copy of the order, dated
[1] [2]

February 14, 1995, issued by Judge Eriberto U. Rosario, Jr. of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 66, Makati, denying respondents motion for reconsideration of his
conviction, in Criminal Case No. 11787, for violation of Art. 316, par. 2 of the
Revised Penal Code.
On April 18, 1997, complainant filed a certification dated March 18, 1997, by the
[3]

then president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Atty. Ida R. Macalinao-Javier,
that respondents "last payment of his IBP dues was in 1991. Since then he has not
paid or remitted any amount to cover his membership fees up to the present."

On July 7, 1997, respondent was required to comment on the complaint within ten
days from receipt of notice, after which the case was referred to the IBP for
investigation, report and recommendation. In his comment-memorandum, dated June
[4]

3, 1998, respondent alleged:[5]

3. That with respect to the complainants absurd claim that for using in
1995, 1996 and 1997 the same O.R. No. 259060 of the Rizal IBP,
respondent is automatically no longer a member in good standing.

Precisely, as cited under the context of Rule 138, only an admitted


member of the bar who is in good standing is entitled to practice law.

The complainants basis in claiming that the undersigned was no longer


in good standing, were as above cited, the October 28, 1981 Supreme
Court decision of dismissal and the February 14, 1995 conviction for
Violation of Article 316 RPC, concealment of encumbrances. Chief

As above pointed out also, the Supreme Court dismissal decision was set
aside and reversed and respondent was even promoted from City Judge
of Pasay City to Regional Trial Court Judge of Makati, Br. 150.

Also as pointed out, the February 14, 1995 decision in Crim. Case No.
11787 was appealed to the Court of Appeals and is still pending.

Complainant need not even file this complaint if indeed the decision of
dismissal as a Judge was never set aside and reversed, and also had the
decision of conviction for a light felony, been affirmed by the Court of
Appeals. Undersigned himself would surrender his right or privilege to
practice law.

4. That complainant capitalizes on the fact that respondent had been


delinquent in his dues.

Undersigned since 1992 have publicly made it clear per his Income Tax
Return, up to the present, that he had only a limited practice of law. In
fact, in his Income Tax Return, his principal occupation is a farmer of
which he is. His 30 hectares orchard and pineapple farm is located at
Calauan, Laguna.

Moreover, and more than anything else, respondent being a Senior


Citizen since 1992, is legally exempt under Section 4 of Rep. Act 7432
which took effect in 1992, in the payment of taxes, income taxes as an
example. Being thus exempt, he honestly believe in view of his
detachment from a total practice of law, but only in a limited practice,
the subsequent payment by him of dues with the Integrated Bar is
covered by such exemption. In fact, he never exercised his rights as an
IBP member to vote and be voted upon.

Nonetheless, if despite such honest belief of being covered by the


exemption and if only to show that he never in any manner wilfully and
deliberately failed and refused compliance with such dues, he is willing
at any time to fulfill and pay all past dues even with interests, charges
and surcharges and penalties. He is ready to tender such fulfillment or
payment, not for allegedly saving his skin as again irrelevantly and
frustratingly insinuated for vindictive purposes by the complainant, but
as an honest act of accepting reality if indeed it is reality for him to pay
such dues despite his candor and honest belief in all food faith, to the
contrary. Esmsc

On December 4, 1998, the IBP Board of Governors passed a resolution adopting and
[6]

approving the report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner which


found respondent guilty, and recommended his suspension from the practice of law
for three months and until he pays his IBP dues. Respondent moved for a
reconsideration of the decision, but this was denied by the IBP in a resolution, dated
[7]

April 22, 1999. Hence, pursuant to Rule 139-B, 12(b) of the Rules of Court, this case
is here for final action on the decision of the IBP ordering respondents suspension for
three months.

The findings of IBP Commissioner Alfredo Sanz are as follows:

On the first issue, Complainant has shown "respondents non-indication


of the proper IBP O.R. and PTR numbers in his pleadings (Annexes "A",
"B" and "C" of the letter complaint, more particularly his use of "IBP
Rizal 259060 for at least three years."

The records also show a "Certification dated March 24, 1997 from IBP
Rizal Chapter President Ida R. Makahinud Javier that respondents last
payment of his IBP dues was in 1991."
While these allegations are neither denied nor categorically admitted by
respondent, he has invoked and cited that "being a Senior Citizen since
1992, he is legally exempt under Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7432
which took effect in 1992 in the payment of taxes, income taxes as an
example."

....

The above cited provision of law is not applicable in the present case. In
fact, respondent admitted that he is still in the practice of law when he
alleged that the "undersigned since 1992 have publicly made it clear per
his Income tax Return up to the present time that he had only a limited
practice of law." (par. 4 of Respondents Memorandum).

Therefore respondent is not exempt from paying his yearly dues to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Esmmis

On the second issue, complainant claims that respondent has misled the
court about his standing in the IBP by using the same IBP O.R. number
in his pleadings of at least six years and therefore liable for his actions.
Respondent in his memorandum did not discuss this issue.

First. Indeed, respondent admits that since 1992, he has engaged in law practice
without having paid his IBP dues. He likewise admits that, as appearing in the
pleadings submitted by complainant to this Court, he indicated "IBP-Rizal 259060" in
the pleadings he filed in court, at least for the years 1995, 1996, and 1997, thus
misrepresenting that such was his IBP chapter membership and receipt number for the
years in which those pleadings were filed. He claims, however, that he is only
engaged in a "limited" practice and that he believes in good faith that he is exempt
from the payment of taxes, such as income tax, under R.A. No. 7432, 4 as a senior
citizen since 1992.

Rule 139-A provides:

Sec. 9. Membership dues. - Every member of the Integrated Bar shall


pay such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall determine with the
approval of the Supreme Court. A fixed sum equivalent to ten percent
(10%) of the collections from each Chapter shall be set aside as a
Welfare Fund for disabled members of the Chapter and the compulsory
heirs of deceased members thereof.
Sec. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. - Subject to the provisions of
Section 12 of this Rule, default in the payment of annual dues for six
months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar,
and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the
removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of
Attorneys.

In accordance with these provisions, respondent can engage in the practice of law only
by paying his dues, and it does not matter that his practice is "limited." While it is true
that R.A. No. 7432, 4 grants senior citizens "exemption from the payment of
individual income taxes: provided, that their annual taxable income does not exceed
the poverty level as determined by the National Economic and Development
Authority (NEDA) for that year," the exemption does not include payment of
membership or association dues.

Second. By indicating "IBP-Rizal 259060" in his pleadings and thereby


misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had paid his IBP dues to the Rizal
Chapter, respondent is guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility
which provides:

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or


deceitful conduct.

CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE


INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION, AND
SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR. Esmso

CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD


FAITH TO THE COURT.

Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the
doing of any court; nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled
by any artifice.

Respondents failure to pay his IBP dues and his misrepresentation in the pleadings he
filed in court indeed merit the most severe penalty. However, in view of respondents
advanced age, his express willingness to pay his dues and plea for a more temperate
application of the law, we believe the penalty of one year suspension from the
[8]

practice of law or until he has paid his IBP dues, whichever is later, is appropriate.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas is SUSPENDED from the


practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR, or until he has paid his IBP dues, whichever is
later. Let a copy of this decision be attached to Atty. Llamas personal record in the
Office of the Bar Confidant and copies be furnished to all chapters of the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines and to all courts in the land.

EN BANC

B.M. No. 1678 December 17, 2007

PETITION FOR LEAVE TO RESUME PRACTICE OF LAW,


BENJAMIN M. DACANAY, petitioner.

RESOLUTION

CORONA, J.:

This bar matter concerns the petition of petitioner Benjamin M. Dacanay for leave to resume the
practice of law.

Petitioner was admitted to the Philippine bar in March 1960. He practiced law until he migrated to
Canada in December 1998 to seek medical attention for his ailments. He subsequently applied for
Canadian citizenship to avail of Canada’s free medical aid program. His application was approved
and he became a Canadian citizen in May 2004.

On July 14, 2006, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act
of 2003), petitioner reacquired his Philippine citizenship.1 On that day, he took his oath of allegiance
as a Filipino citizen before the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto, Canada. Thereafter, he
returned to the Philippines and now intends to resume his law practice. There is a question,
however, whether petitioner Benjamin M. Dacanay lost his membership in the Philippine bar when
he gave up his Philippine citizenship in May 2004. Thus, this petition.

In a report dated October 16, 2007, the Office of the Bar Confidant cites Section 2, Rule 138
(Attorneys and Admission to Bar) of the Rules of Court:

SECTION 2. Requirements for all applicants for admission to the bar. – Every applicant for
admission as a member of the bar must be a citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-one
years of age, of good moral character, and a resident of the Philippines; and must produce
before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and that no
charges against him, involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in
the Philippines.

Applying the provision, the Office of the Bar Confidant opines that, by virtue of his reacquisition of
Philippine citizenship, in 2006, petitioner has again met all the qualifications and has none of the
disqualifications for membership in the bar. It recommends that he be allowed to resume the practice
of law in the Philippines, conditioned on his retaking the lawyer’s oath to remind him of his duties
and responsibilities as a member of the Philippine bar.
We approve the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant with certain modifications.

The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions.2 It is so delicately affected with public
interest that it is both a power and a duty of the State (through this Court) to control and regulate it in
order to protect and promote the public welfare.3

Adherence to rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of the highest degree of morality,
faithful observance of the rules of the legal profession, compliance with the mandatory continuing
legal education requirement and payment of membership fees to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) are the conditions required for membership in good standing in the bar and for
enjoying the privilege to practice law. Any breach by a lawyer of any of these conditions makes him
unworthy of the trust and confidence which the courts and clients repose in him for the continued
exercise of his professional privilege.4

Section 1, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides:

SECTION 1. Who may practice law. – Any person heretofore duly admitted as a member of
the bar, or thereafter admitted as such in accordance with the provisions of this Rule, and
who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law.

Pursuant thereto, any person admitted as a member of the Philippine bar in accordance with the
statutory requirements and who is in good and regular standing is entitled to practice law.

Admission to the bar requires certain qualifications. The Rules of Court mandates that an applicant
for admission to the bar be a citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-one years of age, of good
moral character and a resident of the Philippines.5 He must also produce before this Court
satisfactory evidence of good moral character and that no charges against him, involving moral
turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines.6

Moreover, admission to the bar involves various phases such as furnishing satisfactory proof of
educational, moral and other qualifications;7 passing the bar examinations;8 taking the lawyer’s
oath9 and signing the roll of attorneys and receiving from the clerk of court of this Court a certificate
of the license to practice.10

The second requisite for the practice of law ― membership in good standing ― is a continuing
requirement. This means continued membership and, concomitantly, payment of annual
membership dues in the IBP;11 payment of the annual professional tax;12 compliance with the
mandatory continuing legal education requirement;13 faithful observance of the rules and ethics of
the legal profession and being continually subject to judicial disciplinary control.14

Given the foregoing, may a lawyer who has lost his Filipino citizenship still practice law in the
Philippines? No.

The Constitution provides that the practice of all professions in the Philippines shall be limited to
Filipino citizens save in cases prescribed by law.15 Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for
admission to the bar, loss thereof terminates membership in the Philippine bar and, consequently,
the privilege to engage in the practice of law. In other words, the loss of Filipino citizenship ipso
jure terminates the privilege to practice law in the Philippines. The practice of law is a privilege
denied to foreigners.16
The exception is when Filipino citizenship is lost by reason of naturalization as a citizen of another
country but subsequently reacquired pursuant to RA 9225. This is because "all Philippine citizens
who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine
citizenship under the conditions of [RA 9225]."17Therefore, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen
of another country is deemed never to have lost his Philippine citizenship if he reacquires it in
accordance with RA 9225. Although he is also deemed never to have terminated his membership
in the Philippine bar, no automatic right to resume law practice accrues.

Under RA 9225, if a person intends to practice the legal profession in the Philippines and he
reacquires his Filipino citizenship pursuant to its provisions "(he) shall apply with the proper authority
for a license or permit to engage in such practice."18 Stated otherwise, before a lawyer who
reacquires Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 can resume his law practice, he must first secure
from this Court the authority to do so, conditioned on:

(a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP;

(b) the payment of professional tax;

(c) the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal education; this is
specially significant to refresh the applicant/petitioner’s knowledge of Philippine laws and
update him of legal developments and

(d) the retaking of the lawyer’s oath which will not only remind him of his duties and
responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also renew his pledge to
maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.

Compliance with these conditions will restore his good standing as a member of the Philippine bar.

WHEREFORE, the petition of Attorney Benjamin M. Dacanay is hereby GRANTED, subject to


compliance with the conditions stated above and submission of proof of such compliance to the Bar
Confidant, after which he may retake his oath as a member of the Philippine bar.

SO ORDERED.

Puno, C.J., Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales,


Azcuna, Tinga, Chico-Nazario, Velasco, Jr., Nachura, Reyes, Leonardo-de Castro, JJ., concur.
Quisumbing, J., on leave.

Footnotes

1As evidence thereof, he submitted a copy of his Identification Certificate No. 07-16912 duly
signed by Immigration Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan.

2In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Deliquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon, A.C. No.
1928, 19 December 1980, 101 SCRA 612.

3 Heck v. Santos, A.M. No. RTJ-01-1657, 23 February 2004, 423 SCRA 329.
4 In re Atty. Marcial Edillon, A.C. No. 1928, 03 August 1978, 84 SCRA 554.

5 Section 2, Rule 138, Rules of Court.

6 Id.

7 Sections 2, 5 and 6, id.

8 Sections 8 to 11 and 14, id.

9 Section 17, id.

10 Sections 18 and 19, id.

In re Integration of the Bar of the Philippines, 09 January 1973, 49 SCRA 22; In re Atty.
11

Marcial Edillon, supra note 3.

12 Section 139, RA 7160.

13Resolution dated August 8, 2000 in Bar Matter No. 850 (Rules on Mandatory Continuing
Legal Education for Members of the IBP).

1987 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

ARTICLE XII
NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY

Section 14. The sustained development of a reservoir of national talents consisting of Filipino
scientists, entrepreneurs, professionals, managers, high-level technical manpower and
skilled workers and craftsmen in all fields shall be promoted by the State. The State shall
encourage appropriate technology and regulate its transfer for the national benefit. The
practice of all professions in the Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens, save in cases
prescribed by law.

Lawyer's Oath
I, do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines, I will support the Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal
orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I will do no falsehood, nor
consent to the doing of any in court; I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue
any groundless, false or unlawful suit, or give aid nor consent to the same; I will
delay no man for money or malice, and will conduct myself as a lawyer according
to the best of my knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as well to the
courts as to my clients; and I impose upon myself these voluntary obligations
without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God.
CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
(Promulgated June 21, 1988)

CHAPTER I. THE LAWYER AND SOCIETY

CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE


LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW OF AND
LEGAL PROCESSES.

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or


deceitful conduct.

Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at


defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.

Rule 1.03 - A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest,
encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any man's cause.

Rule 1.04 - A lawyer shall encourage his clients to avoid, end or settle a
controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement.

CANON 2 - A LAWYER SHALL MAKE HIS LEGAL SERVICES AVAILABLE


IN AN EFFICIENT AND CONVENIENT MANNER COMPATIBLE WITH THE
INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE
PROFESSION.

Rule 2.01 - A lawyer shall not reject, except for valid reasons, the cause
of the defenseless or the oppressed.

Rule 2.02 - In such cases, even if the lawyer does not accept a case, he
shall not refuse to render legal advice to the person concerned if only to
the extent necessary to safeguard the latter's rights.

Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed
primarily to solicit legal business.

Rule 2.04 - A lawyer shall not charge rates lower than those customarily
prescribed unless the circumstances so warrant.

CANON 3 - A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN HIS LEGAL SERVICES


SHALL USE ONLY TRUE, HONEST, FAIR, DIGNIFIED AND OBJECTIVE
INFORMATION OR STATEMENT OF FACTS.
Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false,
fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair
statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.

Rule 3.02 - In the choice of a firm name, no false, misleading or assumed


name shall be used. The continued use of the name of a deceased
partner is permissible provided that the firm indicates in all its
communications that said partner is deceased.

Rule 3.03 - Where a partner accepts public office, he shall withdrawal


from the firm and his name shall be dropped from the firm name unless
the law allows him to practice law currently.

Rule 3.04 - A lawyer shall not pay or give anything of value to


representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for,
publicity to attract legal business.

Supreme Court of Arizona,En Banc.


IN RE: James Joseph HAMM, Applicant.

No. SB-04-0079-M.
Decided: December 07, 2005
James Joseph Hamm, Tempe, In Propria Persona. Monroe & McDonough, P.C., by Lawrence
McDonough, Tucson, and Juan Perez-Medrano, Phoenix, Chair Attorneys for the Committee on Character
& Fitness. Charles W. Wirken, President, Helen Perry Grimwood, President-elect, Jim D. Smith, First Vice
President, Daniel J. McAuliffe, Second Vice President, Edward F. Novak, Secretary-Treasurer, Robert B.
Van Wyck, Chief Bar Counsel, Phoenix, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae State Bar of Arizona. Michael D.
Kimerer, Marty Lieberman, Amy L. Nguyen, Phoenix, Carla Ryan, Andrew Silverman, Tucson, Attorneys
for Amicus Curiae, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice. Andrew P. Thomas, Maricopa County
Attorney, by Andrew P. Thomas, Phoenix, Attorney for Amicus Curiae Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

OPINION

¶ 1 James Hamm petitioned this Court, pursuant to Arizona Supreme Court Rule 36(g), 17A A.R.S., 1 to
review the recommendation of the Committee on Character and Fitness (the Committee) that his
application for admission to the State Bar of Arizona (the Bar) be denied. Having reviewed the record
and the Committee's report, we conclude that James Hamm has failed to establish the good moral
character necessary to be admitted to the practice of law in Arizona and deny his application.

I.

¶ 2 In September 1974, James Hamm was twenty-six years old and living on the streets of Tucson.
Although he previously had attended divinity school and worked as a part-time pastor, Hamm describes
his life in 1974 as reflecting a series of personal and social failures. In 1973, he had separated from his
wife, with whom he had a son. Although he had no criminal record, he supported himself by selling
small quantities of marijuana and, again according to Hamm, he used marijuana and other drugs and
abused alcohol.

¶ 3 On September 6, 1974, Hamm met two young men who identified themselves as college students from
Missouri. The two, Willard Morley and Zane Staples, came to Tucson to buy twenty pounds of
marijuana. Hamm agreed to sell it to them, but apparently was unable to acquire that quantity of
marijuana. Rather than call off the transaction, Hamm and two accomplices, Garland Wells and Bill
Reeser, agreed to rob Staples and Morley of the money intended for the purchase. On September 7,
Wells gave Hamm a gun to use during the robbery. Later that day, Wells and Hamm directed Morley
and Staples to drive to the outskirts of Tucson, purportedly to complete the drug transaction;  Reeser
followed in another vehicle. Both Wells and Hamm carried guns;  Morley and Staples were unarmed.
Hamm sat behind Morley, the driver, and Wells sat behind Staples. At some point, Hamm detected that
Staples was becoming suspicious. As Morley stopped the car, and without making any demand on the
victims for money, Hamm shot Morley in the back of the head, killing him. At the same time, Wells shot
Staples. Hamm then shot Staples in the back as he tried to escape and shot Morley once again. Wells
also shot Morley, then pursued Staples, whom he ultimately killed outside of the car. Hamm and Wells
took $1400.00 from the glove compartment, fled the scene in the van driven by Reeser, and left the bodies
of Morley and Staples lying in the desert.

¶ 4 Hamm took his share of the money and visited his sister in California. At the hearing held to
consider his application to the Bar, he told the Committee that he “was compelled to come back to
Tucson,” despite knowing he probably would be caught. Police officers arrested Hamm shortly after his
return. While in custody, he told the police that Morley and Staples were killed in a gun battle during
the drug deal. Initially charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed
robbery, Hamm pled guilty to one count of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, with
no possibility of parole for twenty-five years.

¶ 5 Once in prison, Hamm began taking steps toward rehabilitation and became a model prisoner. After
spending one year in maximum security, he applied for and received a job in a computer training program
that allowed him to be transferred to medium security. Once in medium security, Hamm apparently
took advantage of any and every educational opportunity the prison system had to offer. He completed
certificates in yoga and meditation and, on his own, studied Jungian psychology. He helped fellow
inmates learn to read and write and to take responsibility for their actions. He obtained a bachelor's
degree in applied sociology, summa cum laude, from Northern Arizona University through a prison study
program.

¶ 6 After Hamm completed six years in medium security, prison officials transferred him to minimum
security, where he worked on paint and construction crews. He received a significant degree of freedom,
which allowed him to live in a dormitory rather than in a cell and occasionally to drive unaccompanied to
nearby towns. He testified that he was the only inmate permitted to head a work crew. Hamm
reported to the Committee that he played an instrumental role on various prison committees, particularly
the committee that developed a new grievance procedure within the Department of Corrections. In
addition, he wrote grant proposals for libraries, for handicapped prisoners, and for obtaining greater legal
assistance for prisoners.

¶ 7 While in prison, he met and married Donna Leone. She and Hamm founded Middle Ground Prison
Reform (Middle Ground), a prisoner and prisoner family advocacy organization involved in lobbying for
laws related to the criminal justice system and prisons. Middle Ground also provides public education
about those topics.

¶ 8 In 1989, the Governor, acting on the recommendation of the Arizona Board of Pardons and Parole (the
Board), commuted Hamm's sentence. When he had served nearly seventeen years, in July 1992, the
Board released Hamm on parole, conditioned upon no use of alcohol or drugs, drug and alcohol testing,
and fifteen hours of community service each month. In December 2001, the Arizona Board of Executive
Clemency 2granted Hamm's third application for absolute discharge.
¶ 9 Between his release in August 1992 and his absolute discharge in December 2001, Hamm performed
thousands of hours of community service. He advocated for prisoners' rights in various forums by
writing position papers, appearing on radio programs, testifying in legislative hearings, and speaking at
churches, schools, and civic organizations. He also appeared in a public service video encouraging
children not to do drugs or join gangs. Hamm now works as the Director of Advocacy Services at Middle
Ground Prison Reform.

¶ 10 While on parole, Hamm graduated from the Arizona State University College of Law. In July 1999,
Hamm passed the Arizona bar examination and, in 2004, filed his Character and Fitness Report with the
Committee.

II.

¶ 11 The Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona establish the process through which the Committee and
this Court evaluate applications for admission to the Bar, and prior case law clarifies the burden an
applicant must satisfy to establish good moral character. We begin with a review of the rules.

A.

¶ 12 Rules 34 through 37 define the requirements for admission to the Bar.3 The Committee may
recommend an applicant for admission only if that applicant, in addition to meeting other requirements,
satisfies the Committee that he or she is of good moral character. Rule 34(a). The applicant bears the
burden of establishing his or her good moral character. In re Greenberg, 126 Ariz. 290, 292, 614 P.2d
832, 834 (1980) (citing In re Levine, 97 Ariz. 88, 397 P.2d 205 (1964)). In determining whether an
applicant's prior conduct indicates a lack of good moral character, the Committee must consider the
following non-exhaustive list of factors:

A. The applicant's age, experience and general level of sophistication at the time of the conduct

B. The recency of the conduct

C. The reliability of the information concerning the conduct

D. The seriousness of the conduct

E. Consideration given by the applicant to relevant laws, rules and responsibilities at the time of the
conduct

F. The factors underlying the conduct

G. The cumulative effect of the conduct

H. The evidence of rehabilitation

I. The applicant's positive social contributions since the conduct

J. The applicant's candor in the admissions process

K. The materiality of any omissions or misrepresentations by the applicant.

Rule 36(a)3.

¶ 13 When prior conduct involves the commission of a violent crime, the Committee must, at a minimum,
hold an informal hearing. Rule 36(a)4.E. If three or more Committee members who attended the
hearing or who have read the entire record do not recommend admission of an applicant, the Committee
must hold a formal hearing to consider whether to recommend the applicant for admission to the Bar. Id.
¶ 14 If the applicant fails to convince the Committee of his or her good moral character, the Committee
has a duty not to recommend that person to this Court. In re Klahr, 102 Ariz. 529, 531, 433 P.2d 977, 979
(1967);  Levine, 97 Ariz. at 91, 397 P.2d at 207 (“If the proof of good moral character falls short of
convincing the Committee on Examinations and Admissions, it is its duty not to recommend
admission.”);  In re Courtney, 83 Ariz. 231, 233, 319 P.2d 991, 993 (1957) (“In this it has no discretion;  if
the members entertain any reservations whatsoever as to the applicant's good moral character, it should
not make a favorable recommendation to this court.”). After the Committee submits its report, an
aggrieved applicant may petition this Court for review. Rule 36(g).

B.

¶ 15 This Court then independently determines whether the applicant possesses good moral character
and, based upon that determination, grants or denies the candidate's application. Although we give
serious consideration to the facts as found by and the recommendation of the Committee, “[t]he ultimate
decision in this difficult matter rests with the Supreme Court.” In re Kiser, 107 Ariz. 326, 327, 487 P.2d
393, 394 (1971) (holding applicant possessed good moral character);  see also Levine, 97 Ariz. at 92, 397
P.2d at 207 (holding the Court must, “using our independent judgment, de novo determine whether the
necessary qualifications have been shown”). We do not limit our independent review to matters of law;
 we have “the ultimate responsibility for determination of fact and law.” In re Ronwin, 139 Ariz. 576, 579,
680 P.2d 107, 110 (1983);  see also In re Walker, 112 Ariz. 134, 137, 539 P.2d 891, 894 (1975) (making a
finding regarding the credibility of testimony, although in agreement with the Committee).

¶ 16 The ultimate question in cases such as this is whether the applicant has established good moral
character, a concept with which we have wrestled as we have attempted to define its boundaries.
Greenberg, 126 Ariz. at 292, 614 P.2d at 834. As Hamm asserts, the rules and standards governing
admission to the practice of law in Arizona include no per se disqualifications. Instead, we consider each
case on its own merits. Id. In Walker, we described the principles on which we rely as follows:

‘Upright character’ * * * is something more than an absence of bad character. * * * It means that he
[an applicant for admission] must have conducted himself as a man of upright character ordinarily would,
should, or does. Such character expresses itself not in negatives nor in following the line of least
resistance, but quite often in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and the resolve not to do the
pleasant thing if it is wrong.

112 Ariz. at 138, 539 P.2d at 895 (alteration in original) (quoting In re Farmer, 191 N.C. 235, 131 S.E. 661,
663 (1926)).

¶ 17 We also agree with Hamm that, under the Rule applicable to Hamm's application, our concern must
be with the applicant's present moral character. In Greenberg, we explained that “it is [the applicant's]
moral character as of now with which we are concerned.” 126 Ariz. at 292, 614 P.2d at 834;  see also Rule
36(a)3. Past misconduct, however, is not irrelevant. Rather, this Court must determine what past bad
acts reveal about an applicant's current character.

III.

¶ 18 In compliance with Rule 36(a)4.E, the Committee conducted a formal hearing to consider Hamm's
application. The Committee heard testimony on May 20 and June 2, 2004. Hamm, representing
himself, and his wife presented extensive testimony. In addition, the Committee heard from three
licensed attorneys who had worked with Hamm and who recommended his admission and also
considered letters from those opposed to and in support of Hamm's application. In detailed findings,
the Committee specifically considered the various factors set out in Rule 36(a) to determine Hamm's
character and fitness to be admitted to the Bar. In its report, the Committee stated that, in reaching its
conclusions, it considered the following:

1) Hamm's unlawful conduct, which included the commission of two violent “execution style” murders
and his testimony as to the facts surrounding the murders.
2) Hamm's omissions on his Application and his testimony in explaining his failure to disclose all
required information.

3) Hamm's neglect of his financial responsibilities and/or violation of a longstanding child support court
order and his testimony as to his failure to comply with the court order.

4) Hamm's mental or emotional instability impairing his ability to perform the functions of an attorney
including his testimony as to any diagnosis and treatment.4

¶ 19 After reviewing all these factors, the Committee concluded that Hamm had not met his burden of
establishing that he possesses the requisite character and fitness for admission to the Bar and accordingly
recommended that his application be denied. We now consider the Committee's findings, together with
pertinent facts.

A.

¶ 20 The serious nature of Hamm's past criminal conduct is beyond dispute. Hamm acknowledges that
no more serious criminal conduct exists than committing first-degree murder. Our society reserves its
harshest punishment for those convicted of such conduct. See Tucson Rapid Transit Co. v. Rubiaz, 21 Ariz.
221, 231, 187 P. 568, 572 (1920) (describing murder as “the most serious crime known to the law”).

¶ 21 Hamm's past criminal conduct and the serious nature of that conduct affect the burden he must
meet to establish good moral character. He must first establish rehabilitation from prior criminal
conduct, a requirement that adds to his burden of showing current good moral character. See In re
Adams, 273 Ga. 333, 540 S.E.2d 609, 610 (2001) (“Where an applicant for admission to the bar has a
criminal record, his or her burden of establishing present good moral character takes on the added weight
of proving full and complete rehabilitation subsequent to conviction․”);  In re Allan S., 282 Md. 683, 387
A.2d 271, 275 (1978) (“Although a prior conviction is not conclusive of a lack of present good moral
character, ․it adds to his burden of establishing present good character by requiring convincing proof of
his full and complete rehabilitation.”).

¶ 22 The added burden becomes greater as past unlawful conduct becomes more serious. In In re
Arrotta, we considered an application for reinstatement from an attorney who, eight years earlier, pled
guilty to mail fraud and bribery. 208 Ariz. 509, 96 P.3d 213 (2004). We noted there that “the more
serious the misconduct that led to disbarment, the more difficult is the applicant's task in showing
rehabilitation.” Id. at 512 ¶ 12, 96 P.3d at 216. An applicant for initial admission to the Bar who is
attempting to overcome the negative implications of a serious felony on his current moral character
likewise must overcome a greater burden for more serious crimes. We agree with the New Jersey
Supreme Court, which recognized that “in the case of extremely damning past misconduct, a showing of
rehabilitation may be virtually impossible to make.” In re Matthews, 94 N.J. 59, 462 A.2d 165, 176
(1983). Indeed, we are aware of no instance in which a person convicted of first-degree murder has been
admitted to the practice of law.

¶ 23 To show rehabilitation, Hamm must show that he has accepted responsibility for his criminal
conduct. Hamm fully recognizes his need to make this showing. Indeed, he states that his
rehabilitation could not have proceeded absent such acceptance. We recognize the Committee's concern
that Hamm has not yet fully accepted responsibility for the two murders. Hamm says he has done so,
repeatedly and strongly, but some of his other statements indicate to the contrary. The inconsistencies
among his various statements related to accepting responsibility are most evident when he discusses
Staples' murder. Although he told the Committee that he accepts responsibility for Staples' murder, in
fact he consistently assigns that responsibility to his accomplice. His testimony revealed almost no
attention to the commission or aftermath of Staples' murder. Hamm concedes that he has focused on
his role in Morley's murder rather than on his role in Staples' murder. The difference in approach, he
explains, resulted from one postcard written to him by Morley's grandmother and his decision to use his
connection to Morley to provide motivation to overcome difficulties. We have no reason to doubt that
Hamm's focus on Morley's murder aided him, using his words, in “accomplishing things that people have
been telling me I can't do and we're [Hamm and Morley] still doing it today.” That fact, however, does
nothing to assure us that Hamm has taken responsibility for Staples' murder, as he must if he is to
establish rehabilitation.

¶ 24 We also give serious consideration to the Committee's finding that Hamm was not completely
forthright in his testimony about the murders.5 Hamm has insisted in his filings with this Court that he
did not intend to kill, but only to rob, his victims. The agreed facts, however, lead directly to the
inference that Hamm intended to kill. He conspired with his accomplices to rob the victims;  he
accepted the gun provided by Wells and took it with him in the car with the victims;  he testified that,
although he did not intend to kill the victims, he was “afraid” they would be killed when he got in the car;
 he shot Morley without ever attempting a robbery and shot him a second time to make certain he was
dead;  and he also shot Staples to prevent his escape. The Committee observed Hamm testify and was
able to judge the credibility of his testimony in light of uncontested facts. We agree that the record
shows that Hamm, despite his current protestations to the contrary, intended to kill the victims. His
failure to confront the fact that these murders were intentional undermines his statements that he fully
accepts responsibility for his actions.

¶ 25 As did the Committee, we give substantial weight to Hamm's attempts at rehabilitation. In Section
I, supra, we described in some detail the activities Hamm has undertaken, both while in and since his
release from prison. We are impressed with the sincerity and fervor of those who testified or submitted
letters on Hamm's behalf. Were rehabilitation the only showing Hamm must make to establish good
moral character, we would weigh those factors tending to show rehabilitation against those tending to
show a lack thereof. Under the facts of this case, however, we need not decide whether the facts of
record establish rehabilitation.

¶ 26 When an applicant has committed first-degree murder, a crime that demonstrates an extreme lack
of good moral character, that applicant must make an extraordinary showing of present good moral
character to establish that he or she is qualified to be admitted to the practice of law. Even assuming
that Hamm has established rehabilitation, showing rehabilitation from criminal conduct does not, in
itself, establish good moral character. Rehabilitation is a necessary, but not sufficient, ingredient of
good moral character. An applicant must establish his current good moral character, independent of
and in addition to, evidence of rehabilitation. We conclude that Hamm failed to make that showing.

B.

¶ 27 We share the Committee's deep concern about Hamm's longstanding failure to fulfill, or even
address, his child support obligation to his son, born in 1969, four years before Hamm and his first wife
separated. Not until he prepared his application for admission to the Bar in 2004 did Hamm make any
effort to meet his responsibility to provide support for his son. During the Committee hearing, Hamm
advanced several explanations for his failure to do so. Like the Committee, we find none of his
explanations credible.

¶ 28 Although Hamm attempts to excuse his failure to pay child support by pointing out that he never
received a copy of a final divorce decree, Hamm scarcely can claim that he lacked awareness of his
obligation. A few months after he and his wife separated in 1973, Hamm was arrested on a
misdemeanor charge of failing to pay child support. On May 6, 1974, James and Karen Hamm's divorce
decree set Hamm's child support payments at $75.00 a month. Hamm made no effort to learn the
extent of his financial obligation to his son from 1974, when Hamm was twenty-six years old, until 2004,
when he was fifty-five. During those nearly thirty years, he gained sophistication and attended law
school. He must have known, and certainly should have known, that he had long avoided a basic
parental obligation.6

¶ 29 Hamm also attempted to excuse his inattention to his obligation by explaining that he learned, first
from a private investigator hired by his wife in 1988, and later from his son, that his former wife's new
husband had adopted his son. His reliance on the private investigator's 1988 report to excuse his failure
is surprising, given the fact that his son was only months from the age of majority when Hamm learned of
the report;  he provides no explanation for his lack of concern prior to that date.

¶ 30 Hamm further explained that only when he applied for admission to the Bar in 2004 did he discover
that his son had not been adopted and then “calculated the child support payment [due] over the years.”
Hamm determined that he owed $10,000.00 and, even though the statute of limitations barred an action
to recover past amounts due,7 contacted his son and set up a repayment schedule.

¶ 31 “ Behavior of such long duration cannot be considered as a temporary aberration․” Walker, 112 Ariz.
at 138, 539 P.2d at 895;  see also Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Lewis, 493 Pa. 519, 426 A.2d 1138 (1981)
(holding that even when an attorney made belated restitution for funds taken from clients, because
“[s]uch actions cannot be said to be consistent with high ethical standards of the profession, with a
lawyer's fiduciary responsibility to his client, with a character that is beyond reproach, or with truth,
candor and honesty,” the attorney could not continue to practice law). Hamm's failure to meet his
parental obligation for nearly thirty years makes it more difficult for him to make the required
extraordinary showing that he “has conducted himself as a man ordinarily would, should, or does.”
Walker, 112 Ariz. at 138, 539 P.2d at 895.

¶ 32 We also agree with the Committee that Hamm did not display honesty and candor in discussing his
failure to pay child support with the Committee. Hamm testified both that his son told him personally
that he had been adopted and that his son “adamantly refused” to accept interest payments on the unpaid
child support.

¶ 33 Hamm's son testified, however, that he had never been adopted, that prior to his contact with Hamm
he had changed his name himself, and that he had not told Hamm he had been adopted. Hamm's son
also did not report adamantly refusing interest payments. In response to a question from the Committee
about interest payments, he said:

Discussions about interest? Seems like whenever we were talking about it, you know, he said it was a
large amount, and it seems like the subject of interest did come up. I can't remember exactly, you know,
what we said about it. But, you know, I didn't push the issue or anything, say, well, you know, you're
going to pay me interest for this or what, or is there any interest. It wasn't really an issue or important to
me.

¶ 34 We discern no reason that Hamm's son would have been other than forthright about these matters,
while Hamm had every reason to present himself in the best possible light.8 Like the Committee, we find
the testimony of his son to be more credible.

C.

¶ 35 We further conclude that Hamm did not adequately explain his failure to disclose an incident
involving him and his current wife, Donna, when he submitted his application to the Committee.

¶ 36 In 1996, Hamm and Donna engaged in a physical altercation outside a convenience store. Donna
“yelled the word ‘kidnap’ out of the window” of the vehicle Hamm was driving, causing him to pull over
and leave the vehicle. During their tussle, Donna tore Hamm's shirt. Both called the police, who
arrested neither Hamm nor Donna. The incident and what Donna describes as her “embellishments”
caused such great concern to the Hamms, particularly because Hamm was on parole, that Donna
submitted to a polygraph administered by a private company to demonstrate that Hamm had not
kidnapped her. The two also underwent marital counseling.

¶ 37 Nonetheless, when filling out his Character and Fitness Report, Hamm failed to disclose the incident
to the Committee. Question 25 on the report asks specifically whether the applicant, among other
things, has been “questioned” concerning any felony or misdemeanor.9 Hamm told the Committee that,
in reading the application, he missed the word “questioned” in the list of encounters with law enforcement
that Question 25 directs an applicant to report.
¶ 38 Hamm's explanation strains credulity. In Walker, this Court inferred that the son of an Army
officer would understand the requirement to register for the draft. 112 Ariz. at 138, 539 P.2d at 895.
Likewise, we infer from Hamm's knowledge of the law and his efforts in 1996 to document a defense for
the domestic incident that he fully understood its importance and must have known that the incident
would be of interest to the Committee. His failure to include it in his initial application further affects
his ability to make the needed extraordinary showing of good moral character.

D.

¶ 39 Hamm's actions during these proceedings also raise questions about his fitness to practice law.
The introduction to Hamm's petition before this Court begins:

The consequences of this case for Petitioner take it out of the ordinary realm of civil cases. If the
Committee's recommendation is followed, it will prevent him from earning a living through practicing
law. This deprivation has consequences of the greatest import for Petitioner, who has invested years of
study and a great deal of financial resources in preparing to be a lawyer․

This language repeats nearly verbatim the language of the United States Supreme Court in Konigsberg v.
State Bar, 353 U.S. 252, 77 S.Ct. 722, 1 L.Ed.2d 810 (1957), in which the Court wrote:

While this is not a criminal case, its consequences for Konigsberg take it out of the ordinary run of civil
cases. The Committee's action prevents him from earning a living by practicing law. This deprivation
has grave consequences for a man who has spent years of study and a great deal of money in preparing to
be a lawyer.

Id. at 257-58, 77 S.Ct. 722. If an attorney submits work to a court that is not his own, his actions may
violate the rules of professional conduct. Iowa Supreme Court Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Lane,
642 N.W.2d 296, 299 (Iowa 2002) (“[P]lagiarism constitute[s], among other things, a misrepresentation
to the court. An attorney may not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentation.”);   see also Rule 42, ER 8.4(c) (defining professional misconduct as including
“engag[ing] in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation”). We are concerned
about Hamm's decision to quote from the Supreme Court's opinion without attribution and are equally
troubled by his failure to acknowledge his error. When the Committee's response pointed to Hamm's
failure to attribute this language to Konigsberg, he avoided the serious questions raised and refused to
confront or apologize for his improper actions, asserting instead:  “From Petitioner's perspective, any
eloquence that might be found in the Petition does not derive from any prior case decided in any
jurisdiction, but rather from the gradual development of his own potential through study, reflection, and
devotion to the duty created by his commission of murder.” Hamm apparently either does not regard
his actions as improper or simply refuses to take responsibility. In either case, his actions here do not
assist him in making the requisite showing of good moral character.10

E.

¶ 40 When Hamm committed first-degree murder in 1974, he demonstrated his extreme lack of good
moral character. Although this Court has not adopted a per se rule excluding an applicant whose past
includes such serious criminal misconduct, we agree with those jurisdictions that have held that an
applicant with such a background must make an extraordinary showing of rehabilitation and present good
moral character to be admitted to the practice of law. Perhaps such a showing is, in practical terms, a
near impossibility. We need not decide that question today, however, because Hamm's lack of candor
before the Committee and this Court, his failure to accept full responsibility for his serious criminal
misconduct, and his failure to accept or fulfill, on a timely basis, his parental obligation of support for his
son, all show that Hamm has not met the stringent standard that applies to an applicant in his position
who seeks to show his present good moral character.

IV.
¶ 41 Hamm asserts that he was denied due process of law because two members of the Committee may
have prejudged the merits of his application. Both members, however, left the Committee proceedings
when their potential bias came to light, and neither played any role in the Committee's findings and
recommendation.

¶ 42 Hamm, like all applicants for membership in the Bar, is entitled to receive due process of law.
“The fundamental requirement of due process is the opportunity to be heard ‘at a meaningful time and in
a meaningful manner.’ ” Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 333, 96 S.Ct. 893, 47 L.Ed.2d 18 (1976)
(quoting Armstrong v. Manzo, 380 U.S. 545, 552, 85 S.Ct. 1187, 14 L.Ed.2d 62 (1965)). Also, “due
process requires that a party be given a ‘fair trial in a fair tribunal.’ ” United States v. Superior Court, 144
Ariz. 265, 280, 697 P.2d 658, 673 (1985) (quoting In re Murchison, 349 U.S. 133, 136, 75 S.Ct. 623, 99
L.Ed. 942 (1955)). Both the Committee and this Court have provided Hamm ample opportunity to be
heard through hearings and written arguments. Moreover, this Court, and not the Committee, made the
ultimate decision on Hamm's application. Hamm received a full opportunity to be heard before a fair
tribunal.

V.

¶ 43 Because James Hamm has failed to meet his burden of proving that he is of good moral character, we
deny his application for admission to the State Bar of Arizona.

FOOTNOTES

1. References in this opinion to “Rule _” are to the Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court.

2. The Board of Pardons and Paroles is now the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency. 1993 Ariz.
Sess. Laws, ch. 255, § 64.

3. Amendments to Rules 32 through 40 became effective December 1, 2005. Order Amending Rules
32-40, 46, 62, 64 & 65, Rules of Supreme Ct., Ariz. Sup.Ct. No. R-04-0032 (June 9, 2005). In this
opinion, we refer to the Rules effective when Hamm filed his application for admission to the practice of
law.

4. The Committee was divided as to the significance of complaints made concerning Hamm's alleged
unauthorized practice of law. This Court's decision does not rely upon those allegations.

5. Hamm's lack of candor on this question also impacts our analysis of whether he met his burden of
showing present good moral character. See Section III, subsections B through E, infra.

6. Hamm also cannot attribute his failure to pay child support to the absence of funds. Even while in
prison, Hamm earned “somewhere around a hundred dollars a month probably,” but used no portion of
those earnings to discharge his obligation.

7. When asked if he had taken steps to formalize his agreement with his son to pay back child support,
Hamm replied, “No. No. I simply acknowledged the debt regardless whether it is a legal debt or not and
whether it's an enforceable debt or not.” In its findings, the Committee noted that Hamm “has since
taken it upon himself to attempt to comply with his child support obligations,” but expressed concern that
he made no admission of a legal obligation to pay. Whether an action to enforce Hamm's obligation to
his son is in fact time-barred is unclear. In Huff v. Huff, the Texas Supreme Court held that a ten-year
statute of limitations under Tex.Rev.Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 5532, since repealed by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch.
959, § 9(1), eff. Sept. 1, 1985, applied to violations of child support orders. 648 S.W.2d 286, 287-88
(Tex.1983) (allowing a claim based on a 1973 divorce decree). Because Hamm's son turned eighteen in
1987, the ten-year statute of limitations expired in 1997. In 2002, however, the Texas Supreme Court
held that an administrative writ, created by constitutional amendment in 1997, could be used to enforce a
divorce decree issued in 1974, for which no order was obtained, because the administrative writ is a “new
and improved enforcement mechanism.” In re A.D., 73 S.W.3d 244, 248 (Tex.2002). We need not
resolve this question of Texas law, but share the Committee's concern over Hamm's failure to formally
investigate his legal obligations to his son.

8. Rather than acknowledge any inconsistencies between his testimony and that of his son, Hamm
lashed out at the Committee's refusal to agree with Hamm's argument, which the Committee could accept
only if it accepted Hamm's testimony on this issue as credible. Hamm accused the Committee of “totally
ignor[ing] the content of [Hamm's Petition] to which it supposedly was responding.”

9. Question 25 asks:Have you either as an adult or a juvenile, ever been served with a criminal
summons, questioned, arrested, taken into custody, indicted, charged with, tried for, pleaded guilty to or
been convicted of, or ever been the subject of an investigation concerning the violation of, any felony or
misdemeanor? (In answering this question, include all incidents, no matter how trivial or minor the
infraction or whether guilty or not, whether expunged or not, whether you believe or were advised that
you need not disclose any such instance.)

10. In addition to the matters discussed above, only four years have passed since James Hamm was
absolutely discharged. The fact that Hamm has been free of supervision for this relatively short time
weighs against his admission to the practice of law. Greenberg, 126 Ariz. at 293, 614 P.2d at 835 (noting
that “[r]ehabilitation is seldom accomplished in an instantaneous fashion” and holding that Greenberg
had “not convinced [the Court] that he as yet evidences the requisite good moral character”) (emphasis
added);  see also In re Dortch, 860 A.2d 346, 348 (D.C.2004) (finding it “would be erosive of public
confidence in the legal profession and the administration of justice were we to admit an applicant who is
still on parole for crimes as serious as those committed by Dortch”). Because Hamm otherwise failed to
establish good moral character, however, we reached our decision without considering this factor.

McGREGOR, Chief Justice.

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 97239 May 12, 1993

INTERNATIONAL RICE RESEARCH INSTITUTE, petitioner,


vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (THIRD DIVISION) AND NESTOR B.
MICOSA, respondents.

Jimenez & Associates for petitioner.

Santos & Associates for private respondent.

NOCON, J.:

Posed for determination in this petition for certiorari is the question of whether a conviction of a crime
involving moral turpitude is a ground for dismissal from employment and corollarily, whether a
conviction of a crime of homicide involves moral turpitude.
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is an international organization recognized by the
Philippine government and accorded privileges, rights and immunities normally granted to
organizations of universal character. In 1977, it hired private respondent Nestor B. Micosa as
laborer, who thereby became bound by IRRI Employment Policy and Regulations, the Miscellaneous
Provisions of which states viz:

C. Conviction and Previous Separation

l. . . .

2. An employer who has been convicted of a (sic) criminal offense involving moral
turpitude may be dismissed from the service.1

On February 6, 1967, Micosa stabbed to death one Reynaldo Ortega inside a beer house in Los
Baños, Laguna.

On September 15, 1987, Micosa was accused of the crime of homicide. During the pendency of the
criminal case, Micosa voluntarily applied for inclusion in IRRI's Special Separation Program.
However, on January 9, 1990, IRRI's Director General, Klaus L. Lampe expressed deep regret that
he had to disapprove Micosa's application for separation because of IRRI's desire to retain the skills
and talents that persons like him possess.2

On January 23, 1990, the trial court rendered a decision fending Micosa guilty of homicide, but
appreciating, however, in his favor the presence of the mitigating circumstances of (a) incomplete
self-defense and (b) voluntary surrender, plus the total absence of any aggravating circumstance.

Subsequently, Micosa applied for suspension of his sentence under the Probation Law.

On February 8, 1990, IRRI's Director General personally wrote Micosa that his appointment as
laborer was confirmed, making him a regular core employee whose appointment was for an
indefinite period and who "may not be terminated except for justifiable causes as defined by the
pertinent provisions of the Philippine Labor Code.3

On March 30, 1990, IRRI's Human Resource Development Head, J.K. Pascual wrote Micosa urging
him to resign from employment in view of his conviction in the case for homicide.

On April 4, 1990, the Laguna Parole and Probation Office No. II wrote IRRI informing the latter that
said office found Micosa's application for probation meritorious as he was evaluated "to possess
desirable social antecedents in his life."4

On April 6, 1990, Micosa informed J.K. Pascual that he had no intention of resigning from his job at
IRRI.

On April 22, 1990, J. K. Pascual replied to Micosa's letter insisting that the crime for which he was
convicted involves moral turpitude and informing him that he is thereby charged of violating Section
I-AA, Par VII, C-2 of the Institute's Personnel Manual.

On April 27, 1990, Micosa explained to J.K. Pascual that the slaying of Reynaldo Ortega on
February 6, 1987 arose out of his act of defending himself from unlawful aggression; that his
conviction did not involve moral turpitude and that he opted not to appeal his conviction so that he
could avail of the benefits of probation, which the trial court granted to him.
On May 7, 1990, Micosa sought the assistance of IRRI's Grievance Committee who recommended
to the Director General, his continued employment. However, on May 21, 1990, J.K. Pascual issued
a notice to Micosa that the latter's employment was to terminate effective May 25, 1990.

On May 29, 1990, Micosa filed a case for illegal dismissal.

On August 21, 1990, Labor Arbiter Numeriano D. Villena rendered judgment finding the termination
of Micosa illegal and ordering his reinstatement with full backwages from the date of his dismissal up
to actual reinstatement. The dispositive portion of the same is hereunder quoted:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the following orders are hereby entered:

1. Finding the termination of complainant's services illegal;

2. Ordering respondent International Rice Research Institute to reinstate complainant


Nestor B. Micosa to his former position without loss of seniority rights and other
privileges appurtenant, thereto immediately upon receipt hereof;

3. Ordering respondent International Rice Research Institute to pay complainant


Nestor B. Micosa his full backwages computed from the date of his dismissal on May
25, 1990 up to actual reinstatement based on his latest salary rate of P41,068.00 per
month.

4. Ordering respondent International Rice Research Institute, to pay complainant's


counsel the amount of Five Thousand Pesos P5,000.00, representing his attorney's
fees; and.

5. Dismissing the claim for damages for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.5

On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission was basically in agreement with the findings
and conclusions of the Labor Arbiter. Hence, in a resolution dated January 31, 1991, it affirmed the
appealed decision, the dispositive portion of which states:

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED with modification deleting the


award of attorney's fees.

SO ORDERED.6

Accordingly, petitioner filed this instant petition raising the following issues:

1. THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION HAS ACTED WITH GRAVE


ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN FINDING THAT IRRI HAD NO RIGHT NOR
AUTHORITY TO PRESCRIBE ANY OTHER CAUSE/S FOR DISMISSAL IF THE
SAME IS NOT AMONG THOSE ENUMERATED IN ARTICLE OF THE LABOR
CODE.

2. THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION COMMITTED GRAVE


ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT "THERE IS NO BASIS TO APPLY
PETITIONER'S INSTITUTE PERSONNEL MANUAL IN DISMISSING THE
COMPLAINANT ON THE SOLE GROUND THAT HIS CONVICTION OF HOMICIDE
CONSTITUTE MORAL TURPITUDE.7

The basic premise of petitioner is that Micosa's conviction of the crime of homicide, which is a crime
involving moral turpitude, is a valid ground for his dismissal under the Miscellaneous Provisions of
IRRI's Employment Policy Regulations.

In addition to its claim that it has the prerogative to issue rules and regulations including those
concerning employee discipline and that its employees are bound by the aforesaid personnel
manual, petitioner justifies its action as a legitimate act of self-defense. It admits that Micosa's
interests — in his employment and means of livelihood — are adversely affected; that a convict
should not be discriminated against in society and that he should be given the same opportunities as
those granted to other fellow citizens but claims that at times, one's right is deemed superior than
that of another. In this case, petitioner believes that it has a superior right to maintain a very high
degree or standard not only to forestall any internal problem hampering operations but also to
prevent even the smallest possibility that said problems could occur considering that it is an
international organization with concomitant obligation to the host country to avoid creating
disturbance or give occasion for such disturbance.

It should be recalled, however, that Micosa was issued an appointment with an assurance from the
IRRI's Director General that as regular core employee he "may not be terminated except for
justifiable causes as defined by the pertinent provisions of the Philippine Labor Code."8 Thus, IRRI
could not remove him from his job if there existed no justifiable cause as defined by the Labor Code.

Article 282 of the Labor Code enumerates the just causes wherein an employer may terminate an
employment. Verily, conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude is not one of these justifiable
causes. Neither may said ground be justified under Article 282 (c) nor under 282 (d) by analogy.
Fraud or willful breach by the employees of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly
authorized representative under Article 282 (c) refers to any fault or culpability on the part of the
employee in the discharge of his duty rendering him absolutely unworthy of the trust and confidence
demanded by his position. It cannot be gainsaid that the breach of trust must be related to the
performance of the employee's function.9 On the other hand, the commission of a crime by the
employee under Article 282 (d) refer to an offense against the person of his employer or any
immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representative. Analogous causes must have
an element similar to those found in the specific just cause enumerated under Article 282. Clearly
lacking in the ground invoked by petitioner is its relation to his work or to his employer.

In the case at bar, the commission of the crime of homicide was outside the perimeter of the IRRI
complex, having been committed in a restaurant after office hours and against a non-IRRI employee.
Thus, the conviction of Micosa for homicide was not work-related, his misdeed having no relation to
his position as laborer and was not directed or committed against IRRI or its authorized agent.

Besides, IRRI failed to show how the dismissal of Micosa would be in consideration of the safety and
welfare of its employees, its reputation and standing in the community and its special obligations to
its host country. It did not present evidence to show that Micosa possessed a tendency to kill without
provocation or that he posed a clear and present danger to the company and its personnel. On the
contrary, the records reveal that Micosa's service record is unblemished. There is no record
whatsoever that he was involved in any incident similar to that which transpired on that fateful night
of February 6, 1987. In fact, even after his conviction, the IRRI's Director General expressed his
confidence in him when he disapproved his application for special separation in a letter dated
January 8, 1990 and when he conveyed to him IRRI's decision to promote him to the status of a
regular core employee, with the commensurate increases in benefits in a letter dated February 1990.
Respondent IRRI derogates the letters' significance saying that they were mere pro-
forma communications which it had given to numerous other workers. But whether or not such
letters were "form letters, they expressed the message that were meant to be conveyed,i.e., that
Micosa is fit for continued employment. In addition, the employees at IRRI's Grievance Committee
interceded favorably in behalf of Micosa when they recommended his retention despite his
conviction showing that the very employees which IRRI sought to protect did not believe that they
were placing their very own lives in danger with Micosa's retention.

Likewise, noteworthy is the fact that Micosa, although found guilty as charged, was also found
worthy of probation. This means that all the information regarding his character, antecedents,
environment, as well as his mental and physical condition were evaluated as required under Section
8 of the Probation Law and it was found that there existed no undue risk that Micosa will commit
another crime during his period of probation and that his being placed on probation would be to the
benefit of society as a whole.

In the face of all these, IRRI remained adamant and insisted on Micosa's termination. Certainly, said
termination cannot be upheld for it lacked not only a legal basis but factual basis as well.

Even under IRRI's Employment Policy and Regulations, the dismissal of Micosa's on the ground of
his conviction for homicide cannot be sustained. The miscellaneous provisions of said personnel
manual mentions of conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude as a ground for dismissal. IRRI
simply assumed that conviction of the crime of homicide is conviction of a crime involving moral
turpitude. We do not subscribe to this view.

Moral turpitude has been defined in Can v. Galing 10 citing In Re Basa11 and Tak Ng v. Republic12 as
everything which is done contrary to justice, modesty, or good morals; an act of baseness, vileness
or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to society in
general, contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals.

As to what crime involves moral turpitude, is for the Supreme Court to


determine.13 Thus, the precipitate conclusion of IRRI that conviction of the crime of homicide involves
moral turpitude is unwarranted considering that the said crime which resulted from an act of
incomplete self-defense from an unlawful aggression by the victim has not been so classified as
involving moral turpitude.

IRRI argues that the crime of homicide committed by Micosa involves moral turpitude as the killing of
a man is conclusively an act against justice and is immoral in itself not merely prohibited by law. It
added that Micosa stabbed the victim more than what was necessary to repel the attack.

IRRI failed to comprehend the significance of the facts in their totality. The facts on record show that
Micosa was then urinating and had his back turned when the victim drove his fist unto Micosa's face;
that the victim then forcibly rubbed Micosa's face into the filthy urinal; that Micosa pleaded to the
victim to stop the attack but was ignored and that it was while Micosa was in that position that he
drew a fan knife from the left pocket of his shirt and desperately swung it at the victim who released
his hold on Micosa only after the latter had stabbed him several times. These facts show that
Micosa's intention was not to slay the victim but only to defend his person. The appreciation in his
favor of the mitigating circumstances of self- defense and voluntary surrender, plus the total absence
of any aggravating circumstance demonstrate that Micosa's character and intentions were not
inherently vile, immoral or unjust.

This is not to say that all convictions of the crime of homicide do not involve moral turpitude.
Homicide may or may not involve moral turpitude depending on the degree of the crime.14 Moral
turpitude is not involved in every criminal act and is not shown by every known and intentional
violation of statute, but whether any particular conviction involves moral turpitude may be a question
of fact and frequently depends on all the surrounding circumstances.15While . . . generally but not
always, crimes mala in se involve moral turpitude, while crimes mala prohibita do not, it, cannot
always be ascertained whether moral turpitude does or does not exist by classifying a crime
as malum in seor as malum prohibitum, since there are crimes which are mala in se and yet but
rarely involve moral turpitude and there are crimes which involve moral turpitude and are mala
prohibita only.16 It follows therefore, that moral turpitude is somewhat a vague and indefinite term, the
meaning of which must be left to the process of judicial inclusion or exclusion as the cases are
reached.

In fine, there is nothing in this case to show any abuse of discretion by the National Labor Relations
Commission in affirming the decision of the Labor Arbiter finding that Micosa was illegally dismissed.
For certiorari to lie, there must be capricious, arbitrary and whimsical exercise of power, the very
antithesis of the judicial prerogative in accordance with centuries of both civil and common
traditions.17 The abuse of discretion must be grave and patent, and it must be shown that the
discretion was exercised arbitrarily or despotically.18

WHEREFORE, the petition, is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.

EN BANC

ROBERTO SORIANO, A.C. No. 6792


Complainant,
Present:
Panganiban, CJ,
Puno,
Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santiago,
Sandoval-Gutierrez,
Carpio,
- versus - Austria-Martinez,
Corona,
Carpio Morales,
Callejo, Sr.,
Azcuna,
Tinga,
Chico-Nazario, and
Garcia, JJ

Atty. MANUEL DIZON, Promulgated:


Respondent. January 25, 2006
x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

PER CURIAM:

Before us is a Complaint-Affidavit[1] for the disbarment of Atty.


Manuel Dizon, filed by Roberto Soriano with the Commission on Bar
Discipine (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
Complainant alleges that the conviction of respondent for a crime
involving moral turpitude, together with the circumstances surrounding
the conviction, violates Canon 1 of Rule 1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility;[2] and constitutes sufficient ground for his
disbarment under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.[3]

Because of the failure of Atty. Dizon to submit his Answer to the


Complaint, the CBD issued a Notice dated May 20, 2004, informing him
that he was in default, and that an ex-parte hearing had been scheduled
for June 11, 2004.[4]
After that hearing, complainant manifested that he was submitting the
case on the basis of the Complaint and its attachments. [5] Accordingly,
the CBDdirected him to file his Position Paper, which he did on July 27,
2004.[6] Afterwards, the case was deemed submitted for resolution.

On December 6, 2004, Commissioner Teresita J. Herbosa rendered


her Report and Recommendation, which was later adopted and approved by
the IBP Board of Governors in its Resolution No. XVI-2005-84 dated
March 12, 2005.

In his Complaint-Affidavit, Soriano alleged that respondent had violated


Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility; and that
the conviction of the latter for frustrated homicide,[7] which involved
moral turpitude, should result in his disbarment.

The facts leading to respondents conviction were summarized by


Branch 60 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City in this wise:
x x x. The accused was driving his brown Toyota Corolla and was
on his way home after gassing up in preparation for his trip to Concepcion,
Tarlac with his wife. Along Abanao Street, a taxi driver overtook the car
driven by the accused not knowing that the driver of the car he had
overtaken is not just someone, but a lawyer and a prominent member of the
Baguio community who was under the influence of liquor. Incensed, the
accused tailed the taxi driver until the latter stopped to make a turn at [the]
Chugum and Carino Streets. The accused also stopped his car, berated the
taxi driver and held him by his shirt. To stop the aggression, the taxi driver
forced open his door causing the accused to fall to the ground. The taxi
driver knew that the accused had been drinking because he smelled of
liquor. Taking pity on the accused who looked elderly, the taxi driver got
out of his car to help him get up. But the accused, by now enraged, stood up
immediately and was about to deal the taxi driver a fist blow when the latter
boxed him on the chest instead. The accused fell down a second time, got
up again and was about to box the taxi driver but the latter caught his fist
and turned his arm around. The taxi driver held on to the accused until he
could be pacified and then released him. The accused went back to his car
and got his revolver making sure that the handle was wrapped in a
handkerchief. The taxi driver was on his way back to his vehicle when he
noticed the eyeglasses of the accused on the ground. He picked them up
intending to return them to the accused. But as he was handing the same to
the accused, he was met by the barrel of the gun held by the accused who
fired and shot him hitting him on the neck. He fell on the thigh of the
accused so the latter pushed him out and sped off. The incident was
witnessed by Antonio Billanes whose testimony corroborated that of the
taxi driver, the complainant in this case, Roberto Soriano.[8]

It was the prosecution witness, Antonio Billanes, who came to the


aid of Soriano and brought the latter to the hospital. Because the bullet
had lacerated the carotid artery on the left side of his
neck,[9] complainant would have surely died of hemorrhage if he had not
received timely medical assistance, according to the attending surgeon,
Dr. Francisco Hernandez, Jr. Soriano sustained a spinal cord injury,
which caused paralysis on the left part of his body and disabled him for
his job as a taxi driver.

The trial court promulgated its Decision dated November 29, 2001.
On January 18, 2002, respondent filed an application for probation,
which was granted by the court on several conditions. These included
satisfaction of the civil liabilities imposed by [the] court in favor of the
offended party, Roberto Soriano.[10]

According to the unrefuted statements of complainant, Atty.


Dizon, who has yet to comply with this particular undertaking, even
appealed the civil liability to the Court of Appeals.[11]

In her Report and Recommendation, Commissioner Herbosa


recommended that respondent be disbarred from the practice of law for
having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

The commissioner found that respondent had not only been


convicted of such crime, but that the latter also exhibited an obvious lack
of good moral character, based on the following facts:
1. He was under the influence of liquor while driving his car;

2. He reacted violently and attempted to assault Complainant only because


the latter, driving a taxi, had overtaken him;

3. Complainant having been able to ward off his attempted assault,


Respondent went back to his car, got a gun, wrapped the same with a
handkerchief and shot Complainant[,] who was unarmed;

4. When Complainant fell on him, Respondent simply pushed him out and
fled;

5. Despite positive identification and overwhelming evidence, Respondent


denied that he had shot Complainant;

6. Apart from [his] denial, Respondent also lied when he claimed that he
was the one mauled by Complainant and two unidentified persons;
and,

7. Although he has been placed on probation, Respondent has[,] to date[,]


not yet satisfied his civil liabilities to Complainant.[12]

On July 8, 2005, the Supreme Court received for its final action the
IBP Resolution adopting the Report and Recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner.

We agree with the findings and recommendations of


Commissioner Herbosa, as approved and adopted by the IBP Board of
Governors.
Under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, conviction for
a crime involving moral turpitude is a ground for disbarment or
suspension. By such conviction, a lawyer is deemed to have become
unfit to uphold the administration of justice and to be no longer
possessed of good moral character.[13] In the instant case, respondent has
been found guilty; and he stands convicted, by final judgment, of
frustrated homicide. Since his conviction has already been established
and is no longer open to question, the only issues that remain to be
determined are as follows: 1) whether his crime of frustrated homicide
involves moral turpitude, and 2) whether his guilt warrants disbarment.

Moral turpitude has been defined as everything which is done contrary


to justice, modesty, or good morals; an act of baseness, vileness or
depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes his
fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to justice, honesty,
modesty, or good morals.[14]

The question of whether the crime of homicide involves moral


turpitude has been discussed in International Rice Research Institute
(IRRI) v. NLRC,[15] a labor case concerning an employee who was
dismissed on the basis of his conviction for homicide. Considering the
particular circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime, this
Court rejected the employers contention and held that homicide in that
case did not involve moral turpitude. (If it did, the crime would have
been violative of the IRRIs Employment Policy Regulations and indeed a
ground for dismissal.) The Court explained that, having disregarded the attendant
circumstances, the employer made a pronouncement that was precipitate.
Furthermore, it was not for the latter to determine conclusively whether a crime
involved moral turpitude. That discretion belonged to the courts, as explained
thus:

x x x. Homicide may or may not involve moral turpitude depending


on the degree of the crime. Moral turpitude is not involved in every
criminal act and is not shown by every known and intentional violation of
statute, but whether any particular conviction involves moral turpitude may
be a question of fact and frequently depends on all the surrounding
circumstances. x x x.[16] (Emphasis supplied)

In the IRRI case, in which the crime of homicide did not involve
moral turpitude, the Court appreciated the presence of incomplete self-
defense and total absence of aggravating circumstances. For a better
understanding of that Decision, the circumstances of the crime are
quoted as follows:

x x x. The facts on record show that Micosa [the IRRI employee] was then
urinating and had his back turned when the victim drove his fist unto
Micosa's face; that the victim then forcibly rubbed Micosa's face into the
filthy urinal; that Micosa pleaded to the victim to stop the attack but was
ignored and that it was while Micosa was in that position that he drew a fan
knife from the left pocket of his shirt and desperately swung it at the victim
who released his hold on Micosa only after the latter had stabbed him
several times. These facts show that Micosa's intention was not to slay the
victim but only to defend his person. The appreciation in his favor of the
mitigating circumstances of self-defense and voluntary surrender, plus the
total absence of any aggravating circumstance demonstrate that Micosa's
character and intentions were not inherently vile, immoral or unjust.[17]

The present case is totally different. As the IBP correctly found, the
circumstances clearly evince the moral turpitude of respondent and his
unworthiness to practice law.

Atty. Dizon was definitely the aggressor, as he pursued and shot


complainant when the latter least expected it. The act of aggression
shown by respondent will not be mitigated by the fact that he was hit
once and his arm twisted by complainant. Under the circumstances,
those were reasonable actions clearly intended to fend off the lawyers
assault.

We also consider the trial courts finding of treachery as a further


indication of the skewed morals of respondent. He shot the victim when
the latter was not in a position to defend himself. In fact, under the
impression that the assault was already over, the unarmed complainant
was merely returning the eyeglasses of Atty. Dizon when the latter
unexpectedly shot him. To make matters worse, respondent wrapped the
handle of his gun with a handkerchief so as not to leave fingerprints. In
so doing, he betrayed his sly intention to escape punishment for his
crime.
The totality of the facts unmistakably bears the earmarks of moral
turpitude. By his conduct, respondent revealed his extreme arrogance
and feeling of self-importance. As it were, he acted like a god on the
road, who deserved to be venerated and never to be slighted. Clearly, his
inordinate reaction to a simple traffic incident reflected poorly on his
fitness to be a member of the legal profession. His overreaction also
evinced vindictiveness, which was definitely an undesirable trait in any
individual, more so in a lawyer. In the tenacity with which he pursued
complainant, we see not the persistence of a person who has been
grievously wronged, but the obstinacy of one trying to assert a false sense
of superiority and to exact revenge.

It is also glaringly clear that respondent seriously transgressed


Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility through his illegal
possession of an unlicensed firearm[18] and his unjust refusal to satisfy
his civil liabilities.[19]
He has thus brazenly violated the law and disobeyed the lawful orders of
the courts. We remind him that, both in his attorneys oath[20] and in the
Code of Professional Responsibility, he bound himself to obey the laws
of the land.

All told, Atty. Dizon has shown through this incident that he is
wanting in even a basic sense of justice. He obtained the benevolence of
the trial court when it suspended his sentence and granted him probation.
And yet, it has been four years[21] since he was ordered to settle his civil
liabilities to complainant. To date, respondent remains adamant in
refusing to fulfill that obligation. By his extreme impetuosity and
intolerance, as shown by his violent reaction to a simple traffic
altercation, he has taken away the earning capacity, good health, and
youthful vigor of his victim. Still, Atty. Dizon begrudges complainant
the measly amount that could never even fully restore what the latter has
lost.

Conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude may relate, not to


the exercise of the profession of lawyers, but certainly to their good
moral character.[22] Where their misconduct outside of their professional
dealings is so gross as to show them morally unfit for their office and
unworthy of the privileges conferred upon them by their license and the
law, the court may be justified in suspending or removing them from
that office.[23]

We also adopt the IBPs finding that respondent displayed an utter


lack of good moral character, which is an essential qualification for the
privilege to enter into the practice of law. Good moral character includes
at least common honesty.[24]
In the case at bar, respondent consistently displayed dishonest and
duplicitous behavior. As found by the trial court, he had sought, with the
aid of Vice-Mayor Daniel Farias, an out-of-court settlement with
complainants family.[25] But when this effort failed, respondent
concocted a complete lie by making it appear that it was complainants
family that had sought a conference with him to obtain his referral to a
neurosurgeon.[26]

The lies of Atty Dizon did not end there. He went on to fabricate
an entirely implausible story of having been mauled by complainant and
two other persons.[27] The trial court had this to say:
The physical evidence as testified to by no less than three (3) doctors
who examined [Atty. Dizon] does not support his allegation that three
people including the complainant helped each other in kicking and boxing
him. The injuries he sustained were so minor that it is improbable[,] if not
downright unbelievable[,] that three people who he said were bent on
beating him to death could do so little damage. On the contrary, his injuries
sustain the complainants version of the incident particularly when he said
that he boxed the accused on the chest. x x x.[28]

Lawyers must be ministers of truth. No moral qualification for bar


membership is more important than truthfulness.[29] The rigorous ethics
of the profession places a premium on honesty and condemns
duplicitous behavior.[30] Hence, lawyers must not mislead the court or
allow it to be misled by any artifice. In all their dealings, they are
expected to act in good faith.

The actions of respondent erode rather than enhance public


perception of the legal profession. They constitute moral turpitude for
which he should be disbarred. Law is a noble profession, and the
privilege to practice it is bestowed only upon individuals who are
competent intellectually,
academically and, equally important, morally. Because they are
vanguards of the law and the legal system, lawyers must at all times
conduct themselves, especially in their dealings with their clients and the
public at large, with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond
reproach.[31]

The foregoing abhorrent acts of respondent are not merely


dishonorable; they reveal a basic moral flaw. Considering the depravity
of the offense he committed, we find the penalty recommended by the
IBP proper and commensurate.

The purpose of a proceeding for disbarment is to protect the


administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise this
important function be competent, honorable and reliable -- lawyers in
whom courts and clients may repose confidence.[32] Thus, whenever a
clear case of degenerate and vile behavior disturbs that vital yet fragile
confidence, we shall not hesitate to rid our profession of odious
members.

We remain aware that the power to disbar must be exercised with


great caution, and that disbarment should never be decreed when any
lesser penalty would accomplish the end desired. In the instant case,
however, the Court cannot extend that munificence to respondent. His
actions so despicably and wantonly disregarded his duties to society and
his profession. We are convinced that meting out a lesser penalty would
be irreconcilable with our lofty aspiration for the legal profession -- that
every lawyer be a shining exemplar of truth and justice.

We stress that membership in the legal profession is a privilege


demanding a high degree of good moral character, not only as a
condition precedent to admission, but also as a continuing requirement
for the practice of law. Sadly, herein respondent has fallen short of the
exacting standards expected of him as a vanguard of the legal
profession.

In sum, when lawyers are convicted of frustrated homicide, the attending


circumstances not the mere fact of their conviction would demonstrate their
fitness to remain in the legal profession. In the present case, the appalling
vindictiveness, treachery, and brazen dishonesty of respondent clearly show
his unworthiness to continue as a member of the bar.
WHEREFORE, RESPONDENT MANUEL DIZON is
hereby DISBARRED, and his name is ORDERED STRICKEN from the
Roll of Attorneys. Let a copy of this Decision be entered in his record as
a member of the Bar; and let notice of the same be served on the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and on the Office of the Court
Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country.

SO ORDERED.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice

REYNATO S. PUNO LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING


Associate Justice Associate Justice

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ


Associate Justice Associate Justice
ANTONIO T. CARPIO MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
Associate Justice Associate Justice

RENATO C. CORONA CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES


Associate Justice Associate Justice

ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR. ADOLFO S. AZCUNA


Associate Justice Associate Justice

DANTE O. TINGA MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO


Associate Justice Associate Justice
CANCIO C. GARCIA
Associate Justice

[1]
Rollo, pp. 1-5.
[2]
CANON 1. - A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and
promote respect for law and legal processes.
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
[3]
Sec. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court; grounds therefor. -
A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by
the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such
office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime
involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to
take before admission to practice x x x.
[4]
Rollo, p. 32.
[5]
Id., p. 36.
[6]
Id., pp. 40-46.
[7]
The dispositive portion reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds the accused, ATTY. MANUEL
DIZON, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of FRUSTRATED
HOMICIDE, as charged. There being one mitigating circumstance of
voluntary surrender and one aggravating circumstance of treachery, the
Court hereby imposes upon him an indeterminate penalty of 6 months
of arresto mayor as minimum period to 6 years of prision correccional as
maximum period.
The accused is also adjudged civilly liable and is hereby ordered to
pay unto the private offended party, Roberto Soriano[,] the following:
a. P76,293.00 as actual damages;
b. P100,000.00 as moral damages; and
c. P100,000.00 as exemplary damages.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 27)
[8]
RTC Decision, pp. 18-19; rollo, pp. 23-24. Penned by Judge Edilberto T. Claravall of
Branch 60, Regional Trial Court, Baguio City.
[9]
Id., pp. 6-7 & 11-12.
[10]
Probation Order, p. 2; rollo, p. 29.
[11]
Rollo, p. 3.
[12]
IBP Report, pp. 4-5.
[13]
Nuez v. Astorga, 452 SCRA 353, February 28, 2005.
[14]
International Rice Research Institute v. NLRC, 221 SCRA 760, 767, May 12, 1993,
per Nocon, J. citing Can v. Galing, 155 SCRA 663, 667-668, November 27, 1987,
per Padilla, J.; Tak Ng v. Republic, 106 Phil. 727, 730, December 23, 1959, per
Barrera, J.; In Re Basa, 41 Phil. 275, 276, December 7, 1920, per Malcolm, J.
[15]
Id.
[16]
Id., p. 768. Citations omitted.
[17]
Id., pp. 767-768.
[18]
RTC Decision, p. 5; rollo, p. 10.
[19]
IBP Report, p. 5.
[20]
I, (name), of (address), do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the
Republic of the Philippines; I will support and defend its Constitution and obey
the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I
will do no falsehood nor consent to its commission; I will not wittingly or
willingly promote or sue any groundless, false, or unlawful suit nor give aid nor
consent to the same; I will not delay any mans cause for money or malice and will
conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and discretion
with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients and I impose upon
myself this obligation voluntarily, without any mental reservation or purpose of
evasion. So help me God. (Emphasis supplied)
[21]
The RTC Decision is dated November 29, 2001, while the Probation Order is dated
May 3, 2002.

FIRST DIVISION

PEDRO L. LINSANGAN, A.C. No. 6672

Complainant,

Present:
PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,

CARPIO,

- v e r s u s - CORONA,

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO and

BERSAMIN, JJ.

ATTY. NICOMEDES TOLENTINO,

Respondent. Promulgated:

September 4, 2009

x-----------------------------------------x

RESOLUTION

CORONA, J.:

This is a complaint for disbarment[1] filed by Pedro Linsangan of the


Linsangan Linsangan & Linsangan Law Office against Atty.
Nicomedes Tolentino for solicitation of clients and encroachment of
professional services.
Complainant alleged that respondent, with the help of paralegal Fe
Marie Labiano, convinced his clients[2] to transfer legal
representation. Respondent promised them financial
assistance[3] and expeditious collection on their claims.[4] To induce
them to hire his services, he persistently called them and sent them
text messages.

To support his allegations, complainant presented the sworn


affidavit[5] of James Gregorio attesting that Labiano tried to prevail
upon him to sever his lawyer-client relations with complainant and
utilize respondents services instead, in exchange for a loan
of P50,000. Complainant also attached respondents calling card:[6]

Front

NICOMEDES TOLENTINO

LAW OFFFICE

CONSULTANCY & MARITIME SERVICES

W/ FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Fe Marie L. Labiano

Paralegal

1st MIJI Mansion, 2nd Flr. Rm. M-01 Tel: 362-7820

6th Ave., cor M.H. Del Pilar Fax: (632) 362-7821

Grace Park, Caloocan City Cel.: (0926) 2701719


Back

SERVICES OFFERED:
CONSULTATION AND ASSISTANCE
TO OVERSEAS SEAMEN
REPATRIATED DUE TO ACCIDENT,
INJURY, ILLNESS, SICKNESS, DEATH
AND INSURANCE BENEFIT CLAIMS
ABROAD.

(emphasis supplied)

Hence, this complaint.

Respondent, in his defense, denied knowing Labiano and


authorizing the printing and circulation of the said calling card.[7]

The complaint was referred to the Commission on Bar Discipline


(CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation,
report and recommendation.[8]

Based on testimonial and documentary evidence, the CBD, in its


report and recommendation,[9] found that respondent had
encroached on the professional practice of complainant, violating
Rule 8.02[10] and other canons[11] of the Code of Professional
Responsibility (CPR). Moreover, he contravened the rule against
soliciting cases for gain, personally or through paid agents or
brokers as stated in Section 27, Rule 138[12] of the Rules of Court.
Hence, the CBD recommended that respondent be reprimanded
with a stern warning that any repetition would merit a heavier
penalty.
We adopt the findings of the IBP on the unethical conduct of
respondent but we modify the recommended penalty.

The complaint before us is rooted on the alleged intrusion by


respondent into complainants professional practice in violation of
Rule 8.02 of the CPR. And the means employed by respondent in
furtherance of the said misconduct themselves constituted distinct
violations of ethical rules.

Canons of the CPR are rules of conduct all lawyers must adhere to,
including the manner by which a lawyers services are to be made
known. Thus, Canon 3 of the CPR provides:

CANON 3 - A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN HIS LEGAL SERVICES SHALL


USE ONLY TRUE, HONEST, FAIR, DIGNIFIED AND OBJECTIVE
INFORMATION OR STATEMENT OF FACTS.

Time and time again, lawyers are reminded that the practice of law
is a profession and not a business; lawyers should not advertise
their talents as merchants advertise their wares.[13] To allow a
lawyer to advertise his talent or skill is to commercialize the
practice of law, degrade the profession in the publics estimation
and impair its ability to efficiently render that high character of
service to which every member of the bar is called.[14]

Rule 2.03 of the CPR provides:

RULE 2.03. A LAWYER SHALL NOT DO OR PERMIT TO BE DONE ANY ACT


DESIGNED PRIMARILY TO SOLICIT LEGAL BUSINESS.
Hence, lawyers are prohibited from soliciting cases for the purpose
of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers.[15] Such
actuation constitutes malpractice, a ground for disbarment.[16]

Rule 2.03 should be read in connection with Rule 1.03 of the


CPR which provides:

RULE 1.03. A LAWYER SHALL NOT, FOR ANY CORRUPT MOTIVE OR


INTEREST, ENCOURAGE ANY SUIT OR PROCEEDING OR DELAY ANY
MANS CAUSE.

This rule proscribes ambulance chasing (the solicitation of almost


any kind of legal business by an attorney, personally or through an
agent in order to gain employment)[17] as a measure to protect the
community from barratry and champerty.[18]

Complainant presented substantial evidence[19] (consisting of the


sworn statements of the very same persons coaxed by Labiano and
referred to respondents office) to prove that respondent indeed
solicited legal business as well as profited from referrals suits.

Although respondent initially denied knowing Labiano in his


answer, he later admitted it during the mandatory hearing.
Through Labianos actions, respondents law practice was
benefited. Hapless seamen were enticed to transfer representation
on the strength of Labianos word that respondent could produce a
more favorable result.

Based on the foregoing, respondent clearly solicited employment


violating Rule 2.03, and Rule 1.03 and Canon 3 of the CPR and
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.

With regard to respondents violation of Rule 8.02 of the CPR,


settled is the rule that a lawyer should not steal another lawyers
client nor induce the latter to retain him by a promise of better
service, good result or reduced fees for his services.[20] Again the
Court notes that respondent never denied having these seafarers in
his client list nor receiving benefits from Labianos referrals.
Furthermore, he never denied Labianos connection to his
office.[21] Respondent committed an unethical, predatory overstep
into anothers legal practice. He cannot escape liability under Rule
8.02 of the CPR.

Moreover, by engaging in a money-lending venture with his clients


as borrowers, respondent violated Rule 16.04:

Rule 16.04 A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the clients interests
are fully protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither
shall a lawyer lend money to a client except, when in the interest of justice, he
has to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the
client.
The rule is that a lawyer shall not lend money to his
client. The only exception is, when in the interest of justice, he has
to advance necessary expenses (such as filing fees, stenographers
fees for transcript of stenographic notes, cash bond or premium for
surety bond, etc.) for a matter that he is handling for the client.

The rule is intended to safeguard the lawyers independence of


mind so that the free exercise of his judgment may not be adversely
affected.[22] It seeks to ensure his undivided attention to the case he
is handling as well as his entire devotion and fidelity to the clients
cause. If the lawyer lends money to the client in connection with the
clients case, the lawyer in effect acquires an interest in the subject
matter of the case or an additional stake in its outcome.[23] Either of
these circumstances may lead the lawyer to consider his own
recovery rather than that of his client, or to accept a settlement
which may take care of his interest in the verdict to the prejudice of
the client in violation of his duty of undivided fidelity to the clients
cause.[24]

As previously mentioned, any act of solicitation constitutes


malpractice[25] which calls for the exercise of the Courts disciplinary
powers. Violation of anti-solicitation statutes warrants serious
sanctions for initiating contact with a prospective client for the
purpose of obtaining employment.[26] Thus, in this jurisdiction, we
adhere to the rule to protect the public from the Machiavellian
machinations of unscrupulous lawyers and to uphold the nobility of
the legal profession.

Considering the myriad infractions of respondent (including


violation of the prohibition on lending money to clients), the
sanction recommended by the IBP, a mere reprimand, is a wimpy
slap on the wrist. The proposed penalty is grossly incommensurate
to its findings.

A final word regarding the calling card presented in evidence by


petitioner. A lawyers best advertisement is a well-merited reputation
for professional capacity and fidelity to trust based on his character
and conduct.[27] For this reason, lawyers are only allowed to
announce their services by publication in reputable law lists or use
of simple professional cards.

Professional calling cards may only contain the following details:

(a) lawyers name;

(b) name of the law firm with which he is connected;

(c) address;

(d) telephone number and

(e) special branch of law practiced.[28]


Labianos calling card contained the phrase with financial
assistance. The phrase was clearly used to entice clients (who
already had representation) to change counsels with a promise of
loans to finance their legal actions. Money was dangled to lure
clients away from their original lawyers, thereby taking advantage of
their financial distress and emotional vulnerability. This crass
commercialism degraded the integrity of the bar and deserved no
place in the legal profession. However, in the absence of substantial
evidence to prove his culpability, the Court is not prepared to rule
that respondent was personally and directly responsible for the
printing and distribution of Labianos calling cards.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino for violating


Rules 1.03, 2.03, 8.02 and 16.04 and Canon 3 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a
period of one yeareffective immediately from receipt of this
resolution. He is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same
or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.

Let a copy of this Resolution be made part of his records in the


Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines, and
be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office
of the Court Administrator to be circulated to all courts.
SO ORDERED.

RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Chairperson

ANTONIO T. CARPIO TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice
[1]
Complaint dated February 1, 2005. Rollo, pp. 1-7.
[2]
Overseas seafarers Cenen Magno, Henry Dy, James R. Gregorio and Noel Geronimo. Id., pp. 2-3, 9-14.
[3]
Id., p. 9.
[4]
Involved benefits and disability collection cases. Id., pp. 2-3.
[5]
Complaint, Annex D. Id., pp. 12-14.
[6]
Complaint, Annex A. Id., p. 8.
[7]
Answer dated April 26, 2005. Id., pp. 20-23.
[8]
Resolution dated August 15, 2005. Id., p. 24.
[9]
Report and recommendation penned by Commissioner Lolita Quisumbing dated March 2, 2006. Id., pp. 106-111.
[10]
CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, Rule 8.02 provides:
A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon the professional employment of another lawyer;
however, it is the right of any lawyer, without fear or favor, to give proper advice and assistance to those
seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful counsel.
[11]
Rule 1.01; Canon 2; Rule 2.03; Canon 3; Rule 3.01; Canon 7; Rule 7.03; Canon 8; Rule 8.01; Canon 9; and Rule
9.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Rollo, p. 110.
[12]
RULES OF COURT, Rule 138, Section 27 provides:
Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court; grounds therefor. A member of the bar may be
disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or
other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime
involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to
practice, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or willfully
appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at
law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes
malpractice. (emphasis supplied)
[13]
In Re: Tagorda, 53 Phil. 37 (1933).
[14]
Agpalo, LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS, 7TH Edition (2002), p. 109.
[15]
Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court. See supra note 12.
[16]
Supra note 13.
[17]
Agpalo. Supra note 14, p. 72.
[18]
McCloskey v. Tobin, 252 US 107, 64 L Ed 481, 40 S Ct 306 (1920).
[19]
Or evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion even if other equally
reasonable minds might opine otherwise (Portuguez v. GSIS Family Savings Bank, G.R. No. 169570, 2
March 2007, 517 SCRA 309; Bautista v. Sula, A.M. No. P-04-1920, 17 August 2007, 530 SCRA
406; ePacific Global Contact Center, Inc. v. Cabansay, G.R. No. 167345, 23 November 2007, 538 SCRA
498). Moreover, in In re: Improper Solicitation of Court Employees Rolando H. Hernandez, Executive
Assistant 1, Office of the Court Administrator, A.M. No. 2008-12-SC, 24 April 2009, the Court adopted the
OCAs evaluation which relied on the sworn statements to support its conclusion that illegal acts were
committed by respondents in this case.

CANON 4 - A LAWYER SHALL PARTICIPATE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF


THE LEGAL SYSTEM BY INITIATING OR SUPPORTING EFFORTS IN
LAW REFORM AND IN THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATION
OF JUSTICE.

CANON 5 - A LAWYER SHALL KEEP ABREAST OF LEGAL


DEVELOPMENTS, PARTICIPATE IN CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION
PROGRAMS, SUPPORT EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE HIGH STANDARDS IN
LAW SCHOOLS AS WELL AS IN THE PRACTICAL TRAINING OF LAW
STUDENTS AND ASSIST IN DISSEMINATING THE LAW AND
JURISPRUDENCE.

CANON 6 - THESE CANONS SHALL APPLY TO LAWYERS IN


GOVERNMENT SERVICES IN THE DISCHARGE OF THEIR TASKS.

Rule 6.01 - The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution


is not to convict but to see that justice is done. The suppression of facts
or the concealment of witnesses capable of establishing the innocence
of the accused is highly reprehensible and is cause for disciplinary
action.

Rule 6.02 - A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public
position to promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the latter
to interfere with his public duties.

Rule 6.03 - A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept
engagement or employment in connection with any matter in which he
had intervened while in said service.

CHAPTER II. THE LAWYER AND THE LEGAL PROFESSION

CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY


AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE
ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.

Rule 7.01 - A lawyer shall be answerable for knowingly making a false


statement or suppressing a material fact in connection with his
application for admission to the bar.

Rule 7.02 - A lawyer shall not support the application for admission to
the bar of any person known by him to be unqualified in respect to
character, education, or other relevant attribute.
Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects
on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he whether in public or private
life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession.

CANON 8 - A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH COURTESY,


FAIRNESS AND CANDOR TOWARDS HIS PROFESSIONAL
COLLEAGUES, AND SHALL AVOID HARASSING TACTICS AGAINST
OPPOSING COUNSEL.

Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language
which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.

Rule 8.02 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon the
professional employment of another lawyer, however, it is the right of
any lawyer, without fear or favor, to give proper advice and assistance to
those seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful counsel.

CANON 9 - A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ASSIST


IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.

Rule 9.01 - A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the
performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a
member of the bar in good standing.

Rule 9.02 - A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal
services with persons not licensed to practice law,
except:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

(a) Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a partner or associate


that, upon the latter's death, money shall be paid over a reasonable
period of time to his estate or to persons specified in the agreement; or

(b) Where a lawyer undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of


a deceased lawyer; or
(c) Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer employees in a
retirement plan even if the plan is based in whole or in part, on a profit
sharing agreement.

CHAPTER III. THE LAWYER AND THE COURTS

CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH


TO THE COURT.

Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the
doing of any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be
misled by any artifice.

Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the


contents of a paper, the language or the argument of opposing counsel,
or the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as law a
provision already rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment, or
assert as a fact that which has not been proved.

Rule 10.03 - A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not
misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.

CANON 11 - A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN THE


RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND
SHOULD INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS.

Rule 11.01 - A lawyer shall appear in court properly attired.

Rule 11.02 - A lawyer shall punctually appear at court hearings.

Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or


menacing language or behavior before the Courts.

Rule 11.04 - A lawyer shall not attribute to a Judge motives not


supported by the record or have no materiality to the case.

Rule 11.05 - A lawyer shall submit grievances against a Judge to the


proper authorities only.
CANON 12 - A LAWYER SHALL EXERT EVERY EFFORT AND CONSIDER
IT HIS DUTY TO ASSIST IN THE SPEEDY AND EFFICIENT
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.

Rule 12.01 - A lawyer shall not appear for trial unless he has adequately
prepared himself on the law and the facts of his case, the evidence he
will adduce and the order of its proferrence. He should also be ready
with the original documents for comparison with the copies.

Rule 12.02 - A lawyer shall not file multiple actions arising from the same
cause.

Rule 12.03 - A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file
pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting
the same or offering an explanation for his failure to do so.

Rule 12.04 - A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede the
execution of a judgment or misuse Court processes.

Rule 12.05 - A lawyer shall refrain from talking to his witness during a
break or recess in the trial, while the witness is still under examination.

Rule 12.06 - A lawyer shall not knowingly assist a witness to


misrepresent himself or to impersonate another.

Rule 12.07 - A lawyer shall not abuse, browbeat or harass a witness nor
needlessly inconvenience him.

Rule 12.08 - A lawyer shall avoid testifying in behalf of his client,


except:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

(a) on formal matters, such as the mailing, authentication or custody of


an instrument, and the like; or

(b) on substantial matters, in cases where his testimony is essential to


the ends of justice, in which event he must, during his testimony,
entrust the trial of the case to another counsel.

CANON 13 - A LAWYER SHALL RELY UPON THE MERITS OF HIS


CAUSE AND REFRAIN FROM ANY IMPROPRIETY WHICH TENDS TO
INFLUENCE, OR GIVES THE APPEARANCE OF INFLUENCING THE
COURT.

Rule 13.01 - A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention or


hospitality to, nor seek opportunity for cultivating familiarity with
Judges.

Rule 13.02 - A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media
regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against
a party.

Rule 13.03 - A lawyer shall not brook or invite interference by another


branch or agency of the government in the normal course of judicial
proceedings.

EN BANC

RE : SUSPENSION OF ATTY. ADM. CASE No. 7006


ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO, FORMER
SENIOR STATE PROSECUTOR Present:

PUNO, C.J.,
QUISUMBING,
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ.
CARPIO,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CORONA,
CARPIO MORALES,
AZCUNA,
TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
GARCIA,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA, and
REYES, JJ.

Promulgated:
October 9, 2007
X ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ X

DECISION
AZCUNA, J.:

This administrative case stemmed from the events of the proceedings in


Crim. Case No. 5144, entitled People v. Luis Bucalon Plaza, heard before the sala
of Presiding Judge Jose Manuel P. Tan, Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Surigao City, Branch 29.

Crim. Case No. 5144 was originally raffled to the sala of Judge Floripinas C.
Buyser, RTC of Surigao City, Branch 30. In an Order dated March 14, 2002, Judge
Buyser denied the Demurrer to the Evidence of the accused, declaring that the
evidence thus presented by the prosecution was sufficient to prove the crime of
homicide and not the charge of murder. Consequently, the counsel for the defense
filed a Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond. Respondent Atty. Rogelio Z.
Bagabuyo, then Senior State Prosecutor and the deputized prosecutor of the
case, objected thereto mainly on the ground that the original charge
of murder, punishable with reclusion perpetua, was not subject to bail under Sec.
4, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court.[1]

In an Order dated August 30, 2002,[2] Judge Buyser inhibited himself from
further trying the case because of the harsh insinuation of Senior Prosecutor
Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo that he lacks the cold neutrality of an impartial magistrate, by
allegedly suggesting the filing of the motion to fix the amount of bail bond
by counsel for the accused.
The case was transferred to Branch 29 of the RTC of Surigao City, presided
by Judge Jose Manuel P. Tan. In an Order dated November 12, 2002, Judge Tan
favorably resolved the Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond, and fixed the
amount of the bond at P40,000.

Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order dated November


12, 2002, which motion was denied for lack of merit in an Order dated February
10, 2003. In October, 2003, respondent appealed from the Orders dated November
12, 2002 and February 10, 2003, to the Court of Appeals (CA).

Instead of availing himself only of judicial remedies, respondent caused the


publication of an article regarding the Order granting bail to the accused in
the August 18, 2003 issue of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily. The article,
entitled Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for allowing murder suspect to
bail out, reads:

SENIOR state prosecutor has lashed at a judge in Surigao City for


allowing a murder suspect to go out on bail.

Senior state prosecutor Rogelio Bagabuyo lambasted Judge Manuel Tan of


the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 29 based in Surigao City for ruling on a
motion that sought a bailbond for Luis Plaza who stands charged with murdering
a policeman . . . .

Plaza reportedly posted a P40-thousand bail bond.

Bagabuyo argued that the crime of murder is a non-bailable offense. But


Bagabuyo admitted that a judge could still opt to allow a murder suspect to bail
out in cases when the evidence of the prosecution is weak.

But in this murder case, Bagabuyo said the judge who previously handled
it, Judge F[lori]pinas B[uy]ser, described the evidence to be strong. B[uy]ser
inhibited from the case for an unclear reason.

xxx

Bagabuyo said he would contest Tans decision before the Court of


Appeals and would file criminal and administrative charges of certiorari against
the judge.

Bagabuyuo said he was not afraid of being cited in contempt by Judge


Tan.
This is the only way that the public would know that there are judges there
who are displaying judicial arrogance. he said.[3]

In an Order dated August 21, 2003, the RTC of Surigao City, Branch 29,
directed respondent and the writer of the article, Mark Francisco of the Mindanao
Gold Star Daily, to appear in court on September 20, 2003 to explain why they
should not be cited for indirect contempt of court for the publication of the article
which degraded the court and its presiding judge with its lies and
misrepresentation.

The said Order stated that contrary to the statements in the article, Judge
Buyser described the evidence for the prosecution as not strong, but sufficient to
prove the guilt of the accused only for homicide. Moreover, it was not true that
Judge Buyser inhibited himself from the case for an unclear reason. Judge Buyser,
in an Order dated August 30, 2002, declared in open court in the presence of
respondent that he was inhibiting himself from the case due to the harsh
insinuation of respondent that he lacked the cold neutrality of an impartial judge.

On the scheduled hearing of the contempt charge, Mark Francisco admitted


that the Mindanao Gold Star Daily caused the publication of the article. He
disclosed that respondent, in a press conference, stated that the crime of murder is
non-bailable. When asked by the trial court why he printed such lies, Mr. Francisco
answered that his only source was respondent.[4] Mr. Francisco clarified that in
the statement alleging that Judge Buyser inhibited himself from the case for an
unclear reason, the phrase for an unclear reason, was added by the newspapers
Executive Editor Herby S. Gomez.[5]

Respondent admitted that he caused the holding of the press conference, but
refused to answer whether he made the statements in the article until after he shall
have filed a motion to dismiss. For his refusal to answer, the trial court declared
him in contempt of court pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. [6] The
Courts Order dated September 30, 2003 reads:

ORDER
Mr. Mark Francisco for publishing this article which is a lie clothed in half
truth to give it a semblance of truth is hereby ordered to pay a fine
of P10,000. Prosecutor Bagabuyo, for obstinately refusing to explain why he
should not be cited for contempt and admitting that the article published in the
Mindanao Gold Star Daily on August 18, 2003 and quoted in the Order of this
Court dated August 21, 2003 which is contemptuous was caused by him to be
published, is hereby adjudged to have committed indirect contempt of Court
pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court and he is hereby ordered to
suffer the penalty of 30 days in jail. The BJMP is hereby ordered to arrest
Prosecutor Rogelio Z. Bagabuyo if he does not put up a bond of P100,000.00.

SO ORDERD.[7]

Respondent posted the required bond and was released from the custody of
the law. He appealed the indirect contempt order to the CA.

Despite the citation of indirect contempt, respondent presented himself to the


media for interviews in Radio Station DXKS, and again attacked the integrity of
Judge Tan and the trial courts disposition in the proceedings of Crim. Case No.
5144.

In an Order dated October 20, 2003, the RTC of Surigao City, Branch 29,
required respondent to explain and to show cause within five days from receipt
thereof why he should not be held in contempt for his media interviews that
degraded the court and the presiding judge, and why he should not be suspended
from the practice of law for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility,
specifically Rule 11.05 of Canon 11[8] and Rule 13.02 of Canon 13.[9]

In the Order, the trial court stated that respondent was interviewed by Jun
Clergio, and that the interview was repeatedly aired on September 30, 2003 and in
his news program between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. on October 1, 2003. He was also
interviewed by Tony Consing on October 1 and 2, 2003, between 8:00 and 9:00
a.m. in his radio program.In those radio interviews, respondent allegedly called
Judge Tan a judge who does not know the law, a liar, and a dictator who does not
accord due process to the people.

The hearing for the second contempt charge was set on December 4, 2003.
On November, 20, 2003, respondent filed an Urgent Motion for Extension of
Time to File Answer to Contempt alleging that he was saddled with work of equal
importance and needed ample time to answer the same. He also prayed for a bill of
particulars in order to properly prepare for his defense.

In an Order dated November