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AGUIRRE vs. RANA B. M. No.

1036 June 10, 2003

FACTS: Respondent Edwin L. Rana was among those who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations. Respondent, while not yet a lawyer, appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001 elections efore the Municipal Board of Election !an"assers of Mandaon, Mas ate and filed with the MBE! a pleading dated 1# May 2001 entitled $ormal % &ection to the 'nclusion in the !an"assing of (otes in some )recincts for the %ffice of (ice*Mayor. 'n this pleading, respondent represented himself as +counsel for and in ehalf of (ice Mayoralty !andidate, ,eorge Bunan,+ and signed the pleading as counsel for ,eorge Bunan. $urthermore, respondent also signed as counsel for Emily Estipona*-ao on 1# May 2001 in the petition filed efore the MBE! praying for the proclamation of Estipona*-ao as the winning candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Mas ate. %n 21 May 2001, one day efore the scheduled mass oath*ta.ing of successful ar examinees as mem ers of the )hilippine Bar, complainant /onna Marie 0guirre filed against respondent a )etition for /enial of 0dmission to the Bar. %n 22 May 2001, respondent was allowed to ta.e the lawyer1s oath ut was disallowed from signing the Roll of 0ttorneys until he is cleared of the charges against him. ISSUE: 2hether or not respondent shall e denied 0dmission to the Bar. RULING: Respondent was engaged in the practice of law when he appeared in the proceedings efore the MBE! and filed "arious pleadings, without license to do so. E"idence clearly supports the charge of unauthori3ed practice of law. Respondent called himself +counsel+ .nowing fully well that he was not a mem er of the Bar. -a"ing held himself out as +counsel+ .nowing that he had no authority to practice law, respondent has shown moral unfitness to e a mem er of the )hilippine Bar. 4he right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right ut is a pri"ilege. 't is limited to persons of good moral character with special 5ualifications duly ascertained and certified. 4he exercise of this pri"ilege presupposes possession of integrity, legal .nowledge, educational attainment, and e"en pu lic trust since a lawyer is an officer of the court. 0 ar candidate does not ac5uire the right to practice law simply y passing the ar examinations. 4he practice of law is a pri"ilege that can e withheld e"en from one who has passed the ar examinations, if the person see.ing admission had practiced law without a license. 4rue, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and too. the lawyer1s oath. -owe"er, it is the signing in the Roll of 0ttorneys that finally ma.es one a full*fledged lawyer. 4he fact that respondent passed the ar examinations is immaterial. )assing the ar is not the only 5ualification to ecome an attorney*at*law. Respondent should .now that two essential re5uisites for ecoming a lawyer

still had to e performed, namely6 his lawyer1s oath to this !ourt and his signature in the Roll of 0ttorneys.

e administered