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AM No. SDC-97-2-P February 24 1997

SUBJECT: Canon 9 Assisting in unauthorized practice of law

Sophia Alawi was a sales representative of EB Villarosa & Partners Co., Ltd of Davao City, a
real estate housing company. Ashari M. Alauya is the incumbent executive clerk of court of
the 4th Judicial Sharia District in Marawi City.

Through Alawis agency, a contract was executed for the purchase on installment by Alauya
of one of the housing units belonging to the Villarosa & Co. and in connection therewith, a
housing loan was also granted to Alauya by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp.
(NHMFC). Not long afterwards, Alauya addressed a letter to the President of Villarosa & Co.
and to NHMFC advising of the termination of his contract with Villarosa & Co., as his
consent was vitiated by gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, dishonesty, and abuse of
confidence. According to him, he was induced by Alawi to sign a blank contract on the
assurance that Alawi would show the completed document to him later for correction, but
she never did.

Alawi, in response, filed a verified complaint praying that Alauya be dismissed or
disciplined, for the reason, among other that he usurped the title of attorney which only
regular members of the Philippine Bar may use.

In response, Alauya first submitted a preliminary comment in which he questioned the
authority of Atty. Marasigan, Asst. Div. Clerk of Court who signed the notices of resolution,
to require explanation of him, pertaining him as a mere assistant and that the resolution
was a result of strong link between Alawi and Atty. Marasigans office.

Alauya justified his use of the title attorney by the assertion that it is lexically
synonymous with counselors-at-law, a title to which Sharia lawyers have a rightful
claim, adding that he prefers the title of attorney because counselor is often mistaken
for councilor, konsehal or the Maranao term consial, connoting a local legislator
beholden to the mayor. Withal, he does not consider himself a lawyer.

ISSUE: WON respondent Alauya is allowed to used the title attorney although only
passing the Sharia Bar.

Persons who pass the Sharia Bar are not full-pledged members of the Philippines Bar,
hence may only practice law before Sharia courts. While one has been admitted to the
Sharia Bar, and one who was been admitted to the Philippines 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 of 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 IBP and remain members thereof in good standing; and it is only them
who are authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction.
Respondents disinclination to use the title of counselor does not warrant his use of the
title attorney.

As a member of the Sharis Bar and an officer of the Court, Alawi is subject to a standard of
conduct more stringent than for most other government workers. As a man of the law, he
may not use language which is abusive, offensive, scandalous, menacing, or otherwise
improper. As a judicial employee, it is expected that he accord respect for the persons and
the rights of others at all times, and that his every act and word should be characterized by
prudence, restraint, courtesy, dignity. His radical deviation from these salutary norms
might perhaps be mitigated, but cannot be excused, but his strongly held conviction that he
had been grievously wronged. Alauya was reprimanded for use of excessively intemperate
insulting or virulent language, i.e, language unbecoming a judicial officer, and for usurping
the title attorney; and is warned that any similar or other impropriety or misconduct in the
future will be dealt with more severely.