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Practice of Law as a matter of Privilege and as a matter of Right.

In re Edillion 84 SCRA 568 The practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege and as such must bow tothe inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyers publicresponsibilities. Power to admit applicants to the practice of law. Art.8 Sec. 5 par. 6: 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. The power of the Supreme Court to regulate the practice of law includes: 1.authority to define the term 2.prescribe the qualifications of a candidate to and the subjects of the bar examinations 3.decide who will be admitted to practice 4.discipline, suspend or disbar any unfit and unworthy member of the bar 5.reinstate any disbarred or indefinitely suspended attorney 6.ordain the integration of the Philippine Bar 7.punish for contempt any person for unauthorized practice of law 8.in general, exercise overall supervision of the legal profession. In re Cunanan, 94 Phil. 543 The Legislature, in the exercise of its police power, may however, enact laws regulating thepractice of law to protect the public and promote the public welfare. But the legislature may notpass a law that will control the Supreme Court in the performance of its function to decide whomay enjoy the privilege of practicing law, and any law of that kind is unconstitutional as an invalidexercise. Any legislative or executive judgment substituting that of the Supreme Court in mattersconcerning the admission to the practice of law or the suspension, disbarment or reinstatement of an attorney infringes upon and constitutes an invalid exercise of the legislative or executivepower. The legislature may pass a law prescribing additional qualifications for candidates for admission to practice or filling up deficiencies in the requirements for admission to the bar. Such a law may not, however, be given retroactive effect so as to entitle a person, not otherwisequalified, to be admitted to the bar, nor will such a law preclude the Supreme Court from fixingother qualifications or requirements for the practice of law.The Supreme Court acts through a Bar Examination Committee to the Exercise of his judicial function to admit candidates to the legal profession. of legislative power. Who may practice Law? Rule 138, Section 1. - Any person hereto fore duly admitted as a member of the bar, or hereafter admitted as such in accordance with the provisions of this rule, and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law. Requirements for all applicants for admission to the Bar: 1.citizen of the Philippines 2.at least 21 years of age 3.of good moral character; Good moral character is a continuing qualification required of every member of the Bar, it is not only a qualification precedent to the practice of law. (Narag, 291SCRA 451, June 29, 1998) 4.Philippine resident 5.Production before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of a. good moral character; and b. no charges against him, involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending inany court in the Philippines Moral Turpitude - conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or

good morals. Academic Requirements for Candidates: 1.a bachelors degree in arts or sciences (a.k.a Pre-law course)2.completed course on a.civil law b.commercial law c.remedial law d.criminal law e.public and private international law f.political law g.labor and social legislation h.medical jurisprudence i.taxation j.legal ethics In re: Admission, Vicente Ching FACTS: Petitioner, who resided in the Philippines since his birth during the 1935 Constitution, is a legitimate son of a Filipina married to a Chinese citizen. Subsequently, petitioner elected Philippine citizenship 14 years after he reached the age of majority. OSG recommends the relaxation of the standing rule on the construction of the phrase reasonable period and the allowance of the petitioner to elect Philippine citizenship due to circumstances like petitioner having lived in the Philippines all his life and his consistent belief that he is a Filipino. ISSUE: Whether or not a legitimate child under the 1935 Constitution of a Filipino mother and an alien father validly elect Philippine citizenship 14 years after he has reached the age of majority. HELD: No, despite the special circumstances, Petitioner failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship. The span of 14 years that lapsed from the time he reached the age of majority until he finally expressed his intention to elect Philippine citizenship is clearly way beyond the contemplation of the requirement upon reaching the age of majority. In addition, there was no reason why he delayed his election of Philippine citizenship. [Re: Application for Admission to the Phil. Bar, 113 SCAD 488, C.A. No. 625 does not provide a specific period for the election of Phil. Citizenship, jurisprudence has evolved a period of 3 years after attaining the age of majority]. [In Re: Petition of Ramon Quisimbing for Admission to the Bar, Bar Matter No. 419, the court held that Filipino citizens who obtained their law degree abroad are required to take the bar examinations for admission to the Philippine bar]. [In Tan vs Sandabal, Bar Matter No. 44, Feb. 24, 1992, the court admonished that good moral character admits of broad dimensions, including at least common honesty]. Where non-lawyers may practice law 1. Personally of with the aid of a friend or agent appointed by him for that purpose; 2. In localities where a duly licensed member of the bar is not available; 3. Under the Labor Code, a union representative may appear for his organization; 4. A person representing a land claimant in cadastral court; 5. In case of law student practice as permitted by the rules; 6. In case of those authorized to represent the government. Limitations of Appearance of non-lawyers

1.He should confine his work to non-adversary contentions. 2.He should not undertake purely legal work, such as the examination or cross-examinationof witnesses, or the presentation of evidence. 3.Services should not be habitually rendered. 4. Should not charge or collect attorneys fees (PAFLU vs. Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Co. 42 SCRA 302) SEC. 34. (Rule 138) By whom litigation 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. SEC. 7. (Rule 116) Appointment of counsel de oficio.The court, considering the gravity of the offense and the difficulty of the questions that may arise, shall appoint as counsel de oficio such members of the bar in good standing who, by reason of their experience and ability, can competently defend the accused. But in localities where such members of the bar are not available, the court may appoint any person, resident of the province and of good repute for probity and ability, to defend the accused. SEC. 2. Appearance (Rule 138-A).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 supervening attorney for and in behalf of the legal clinic. SEC. 33. Rule 138 Standing in court of persons authorized to appear for Government.Any official or other person appointed or designated in accordance with law to appear for the Government of the Philippines shall have all the rights of a duly authorized member of the bar to appear in any case in which said government has an interest direct or indirect. Art. 222 (Labor Code of the Philippines). Appearances and Fees. Non-lawyers may appear before the Commission or any Labor Arbiter only 1.If they represent themselves; or 2.If they represent their organization or members thereof. b.No attorneys fees, negotiation fees or similar charges of any kind arising from any collective bargaining agreement shall be imposedon any individual member of the contracting union: Provided, However, that attorneys fees may be charged against union funds inan amount to be agreed upon by the parties. Any contract, agreement or arrangement of any sort to the contrary shall be null andvoid. (As amended by Presidential Decree No. 1691, May 1, 1980) Sec. 9. (Act No. 2259) Any person claiming any interest in any part of the lands, whether named in the notice or not, shall appear before the Court byhimself, or by some person in his behalf and shall file an answer on or before the return day or within such further time as may be allowed bythe Court. The answer shall be signed and sworn to by the claimant or by some person in his behalf, and shall state whether the claimant ismarried or unmarried, and, if married, the name of the husband or wife and the date of the marriage, and shall also contain:(a) The age of the claimant.(b) The cadastral number of the lot or lots claimed, as appearing on the plan filed in the case by the Director of Lands, or the block and lotnumbers, as the case may be.(c) The name of the barrio and municipality, township, or settlement in which the lots are situated.(d) The names of the owners of the adjoining lots as far as known to the claimant.(e) If the claimant is in possession of the lots claimed and can show no express grant of the land by the Government to him or to

his predecessors in interest, the answer shall state the length of time he has held such possession and the manner in which it has been acquired,and shall also state the length of time, as far as known, during which his predecessors, if any, held possession.(f) If the claimant is not in possession or occupation of the lands, the answer shall fully set forth the interest claimed by him and the time andmanner of its acquisition.(g) If the lots have been assessed for taxation, their last assessed value.(h) The encumbrance, if any, affecting the lots and the names of the adverse claimants as far as known. Public Officials with Restrictions in the Practice of Law: 1.Senators and members of the House of Representatives No senator or member of the House of Representatives may personally appear ascounsel before any courts of justice or before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other administration bodies (Art. VI, Sec. 14, 1987 Constitution). 2.Members of the Sanggunian Under the Local Government Code (R.A. 7180, Sec. 90) Sanggunian members maypractice their professions provided that if they are members of the Bar, they shall not: a.appear as counsel before any court in any civil case wherein a local governmentunit or any unit, agency, or instrumentality of the government is the adverseparty; b.appear as counsel in any criminal case wherein an officer or employee of thenational or local government is accused of an offense committed in relation to hisoffice; c.collect any fee for their appearance in administrative proceedings involving thelocal government unit of which he is an official; and d.use property and personnel of the Government except when the Sanggunianmember concerned is defending the interest of the government. 3.Retired Justice or judge Under RA 910, Sec. 1, as amended, a retired justice or judge receiving a pension fromthe government, cannot act as counsel in any civil case in which the Government, or any of itssubdivision or agencies in the adverse party or in criminal case wherein an officer or employee of the Government is accused of an offense in relation to his office. 4.Civil service officers or employees without permit from their respective department heads. (Noriega vs. Sison 125 SCRA 293) Public Officials who cannot engage in the private practice of law in the Philippines: 1. Judges and other officials as employees of the Superior Court (Rule 148, Sec. 35, RRC). 2.Officials and employees of the OSG(Ibid). 3.Government prosecutors(Peo v. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109). - if permitted by their department head should only be in isolated cases involving relatives or close family friends 4.President, Vice-President, members of the cabinet, their deputies and assistants (Art.VIII Sec. 15, 1987 Constitution). 5.Chairmen and Members of the Constitutional Commissions

(Art. IX-A, Sec. 2, 1987 Constitution). 6.Ombudsman and his deputies (Art. IX, Sec. 8 (2nd par.), 1987 Constitution). 7.All governors, city and municipal mayors (R.A. No. 7160, Sec. 90). 8.Those who, by special law, are prohibited from engaging in the practice of their legal profession Remedies Against Unauthorized Practice 1.Petition for Injunction 2.Declaratory Relief 3.Contempt of Court 4.Disqualification and complaints for disbarment 5.Criminal complaint for estafa who falsely represented to be an attorney to the damage party