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G.R. No.

L-12426

February 16, 1959

HEL#/ ,-. The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court) it e"braces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and social proceedings, the "anage"ent of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. &n general, alladvice to clients, and all action ta%en for the" in "atters connected with the law corporation services, assess"ent and conde"nation services conte"plating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a "ortgage, enforce"ent of a creditor's clai" in ban%ruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attach"ent, and in "atters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice as do the preparation and drafting of legal instru"ents, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. ,1 A". 2ur. p. /3/, /34.. ,5"phasis supplied.. the practice of law includes such appearance before the Patent ffice, the representation of applicants, oppositors, and other persons, and the prosecution of their applications for patent, their oppositions thereto, or the enforce"ent of their rights in patent cases. &n the first place, although the transaction of business in the Patent ffice involves the use and application of technical and scientific %nowledge and training, still, all such business has to be rendered in accordance with the Patent Law, as well as other laws, including the *ules and *egulations pro"ulgated by the Patent ffice in accordance with law. 6ot only this, but practice before the Patent ffice involves the interpretation and application of other laws and legal principles, as well as the e!istence of facts to be established in accordance with the law of evidence and procedure. &n support of the proposition that "uch of the business and "any of the act, orders and decisions of the Patent Director involve #uestions of law or a reasonable and correct evaluation of facts, the very Patent Law, *epublic Act 6o. -31, 'ection 3-, provides that7 . . . . The applicant for a patent or for the registration of a design, any party to a proceeding to cancel a patent or to obtain a co"pulsory license, and any party to any other proceeding in the ffice "ay appeal to the 'upre"e Court fro" any final order or decision of the director. ,/. 'ection 11- of the *evised Ad"inistrative Code authori8es every chief of bureau to prescribe for"s and "a%e regulations or general orders not inconsistent with law, to secure the har"onious and efficient ad"inistration of his branch of the service and to carry into full effect the laws relating to "atters within the jurisdiction of his bureau. 'ection 39: of *epublic Act -;4<, %nown as the Tariff and Custo"s Code of the Philippines, provides that the Co""issioner of Custo"s shall, subject to the approval of the Depart"ent 0ead, "a%es all

PHILIPPINE LAWYER'S ASS !IA"I N, petitioner, vs. !ELE# NI AGRA$A, %& '%( )a*a)%+y a( #%re)+or o, +'e P'%-%**%&e( Pa+e&+ ,,%)e, respondent. . N"E.AY R, J./ FA!"S/ This is the petition filed by the Philippine Lawyer's Association for prohibition and injunction against Celedonio Agrava, in his capacity as Director of the Philippines Patent ffice. Director Agrava issued a circular announcing that he had scheduled an e!a"ination for the purpose of deter"ining who are #ualified to practice as patent attorneys before the Philippines Patent ffice, the said e!a"ination to cover patent law and jurisprudence and the rules of practice before said office. According to the circular, "e"bers of the Philippine $ar are #ualified to ta%e the said e!a"ination. &t would appear that heretofore, respondent Director has been holding si"ilar e!a"inations. &t is the contention of the petitioner Philippine Lawyer's Association that one who has passed the bar e!a"inations and is licensed by the 'upre"e Court to practice law in the Philippines and who is in good standing, is duly #ualified to practice before the Philippines Patent ffice, and that conse#uently, the cat of the respondent Director re#uiring "e"bers of the Philippine $ar in good standing to ta%e and pass an e!a"ination given by the Patent ffice as a condition precedent to their being allowed to practice before said office. &n his answer, respondent Director "aintains that the prosecution of patent cases (does not involve entirely or purely the practice of law but includes the application of scientific and technical %nowledge and training, so "uch so that, as a "atter of actual practice, the prosecution of patent cases "ay be handled not only by lawyers, but also engineers and other persons with sufficient scientific and technical training who pass the prescribed e!a"inations as given by the Patent ffice) . . . that the *ules of Court do not prohibit the Patent ffice, or any other #uasi+judicial body fro" re#uiring further condition or #ualification fro" those who would wish to handle cases before the Patent ffice which. The 'upre"e Court has the e!clusive and constitutional power with respect to ad"ission to the practice of law in the Philippines and to any "e"ber of the Philippine $ar in good standing "ay practice law anywhere and before any entity, whether judicial or #uasi+judicial or ad"inistrative ISS0E/ ,-. whether or not appearance before the patent ffice and the preparation and the prosecution of patent applications, etc., constitutes or is included in the practice of law. ,/. Another aspect of the #uestion involves the consideration of the nature of the functions and acts of the 0ead of the Patent ffice.

rules and regulations necessary to enforce the provisions of said code. 'ection 44: of the 6ational &nternal *evenue Code, Co""onwealth Act 6o. =33 as a"ended, states that the 'ecretary of >inance, upon reco""endation of the Collector of &nternal *evenue, shall pro"ulgate all needful rules and regulations for the effective enforce"ent of the provisions of the code. ?e understand that rules and regulations have been pro"ulgated not only for the $ureau of Custo"s and &nternal *evenue, but also for other bureaus of the @overn"ent, to govern the transaction of business in and to enforce the law for said bureaus. ?ere we to allow the Patent ffice, in the absence of an e!press and clear provision of law giving the necessary sanction, to re#uire lawyers to sub"it to and pass on e!a"ination prescribed by it before they are allowed to practice before said Patent ffice, then there would be no reason why other bureaus specially the $ureau of &nternal *evenue and Custo"s, where the business in the sa"e area are "ore or less co"plicated, such as the presentation of boo%s of accounts, balance sheets, etc., assess"ents e!e"ptions, depreciation, these as regards the $ureau of &nternal *evenue, and the classification of goods, i"position of custo"s duties, sei8ures, confiscation, etc., as regards the $ureau of Custo"s, "ay not also re#uire that any lawyer practising before the" or otherwise transacting business with the" on behalf of clients, shall first pass an e!a"ination to #ualify. &n conclusion, we hold that under the present law, "e"bers of the Philippine $ar authori8ed by this Tribunal to practice law, and in good standing, "ay practice their profession before the Patent ffice, for the reason that "uch of the business in said office involves the interpretation and deter"ination of the scope and application of the Patent Law and other laws applicable, as well as the presentation of evidence to establish facts involved) that part of the functions of the Patent director are judicial or #uasi+judicial, so "uch so that appeals fro" his orders and decisions are, under the law, ta%en to the 'upre"e Court. 1ar .a++er No. 1222. >ebruary =, /99=

e!a"ination subjects. &n the sa"e resolution, the Court resolved to create a Co""ittee co"posed of three retired "e"bers of the Court that would conduct a thorough investigation of the incident subject of the /4 'epte"ber /994 resolution. The Court designated the following retired Associate 2ustices to co"pose the &nvestigating Co""ittee having 2ustice @riDo+ A#uino as Chair"an, 2ustice Aelo and Aendo8a as "e"bers. n -1 2anuary /99=, the &nvestigating Co""ittee sub"itted its report and reco""endation to the Court finding that the lea%age ca"e fro" Atty. De @u8"an who accessed the co"puter of Atty. Aarcial $algos, who was the e!a"iner of Co""ercial Law. During the investigation Atty. $algos ad"itted that he does not %now how to operate a co"puter e!cept to type on it. 0e does not %now how to open and close his own co"puter which has a password for that purpose. &n fact, he did not %now, as he still does, the password. &t is his secretary, Cheryl Pal"a, who opened and closed his co"puter for hi". 0e was surprised to discover, when reports of the bar lea%age bro%e out, that his co"puter was in fact interconnected with the co"puters of his ; assistant attorneys. 0e #uestioned these ; people and found that Attorney Danilo De @u8"an, a "e"ber of the $eta 'ig"a La"bda fraternity, >5E chapter, downloaded the test #uestions fro" Attorney $algosF co"puter and fa!ed a copy to a fraternity brother @arvida. 0e advised @arvida to share the #uestions with other G$etanF e!a"inees. &n turn, *onan @arvida fa!ed the test #uestions to $etans *andy &Digo and 2a"es $ugain. *andy &Digo passed a copy or copies of the sa"e #uestions to another $etan, Alan @uiapal, who gave a copy to the ALHE+$eta 'ig"a ILa"bdaFsJ Aost &llustrious $rother, *onald >. Collado, who ordered the printing and distribution of 49 copies to the ALHEFs 49 bar candidates. 0e li%ewise fa!ed it to Arlan and 5rwin Tan. ISS0E7 ?hether or not De @u8"an abetted cheating or dishonesty violating *ule -.9- of Canon - and < of the Code of Professional *esponsibility. R0LING7 The Court ruled in the affir"ative and adopted the report of the &nvestigating Co""ittee. The Court disbarred Atty. De @u8"an and repri"anded Atty. $algos D&'56T&TL5 hi" fro" receiving any honorarium as an 5!a"iner in Aercantile Law. $y trans"itting and distributing the stolen test #uestions to so"e "e"bers of the $eta 'ig"a La"bda >raternity, possibly for pecuniary profit and to given the" undue advantage over the other e!a"iners in the "ercantile law e!a"ination, De @u8"an abetted cheating or dishonesty by his fraternity brothers in the e!a"ination, which is violative of *ule -.9- of Canon -, as well as Canon < of the Code of Professional *esponsibility for "e"bers of the $ar, which provide *ule -.9- + A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, i""oral or deceitful conduct Canon < + A LA?K5* '0ALL AT ALL T&A5' EP0 LD T05 &6T5@*&TK A6D D&@6&TK > T05 L5@AL P* >5''& 6 A6D 'EPP *T T05 ACT&B&T&5' > T05 &6T5@*AT5D $A*. De @u8"an was guilty of grave "isconduct unbeco"ing a "e"ber of the $ar. 0e violated the law instead of pro"oting respect for it and degraded the noble profession of law instead of upholding its dignity and integrity. 0is actuations i"paired public respect for the Court, and da"aged the integrity of the

Re/ 2223 1AR E4A.INA"I NS

FA!"S/ The day following the /994 bar e!a"ination in Aercantile Law, 2ustice Bitug, Chair"an of the $ar 5!a"inations Co""ittee, was apprised of a ru"ored lea%age in the e!a"ination on the subject. After "a%ing his own in#uiries, he reported the "atter to the other "e"bers of the Court, reco""ending that the bar e!a"ination on the subject be nullified and that an investigation be conducted. n /4 'epte"ber /994, the Court adopted the reco""endation of 2ustice Bitug, and resolved to nullify the e!a"ination in Aercantile Law and to hold another e!a"ination on 9= ctober /994. >ollowing the issuance of the resolution, the Court received nu"erous petitions fro" various groups e!pressing agree"ent to the nullification the said subject but disagreeing the holding of another e!a"ination on that subject. &n a resolution, dated /; 'epte"ber /994, the Court, cancelled the scheduled e!a"ination and allocated -1C points a"ong the < bar

bar e!a"inations as the final "easure of a law graduateFs acade"ic preparedness to e"bar% upon the practice of law. This 0onorable court in the case of $urbe v. Aagulta, A.C. 6o. 1<-4, 2une -9, /99/, 4:4 'C*A /<3, pronounced the following re"inder for lawyers7 GAe"bers of the bar "ust do nothing that "ay tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in the fidelity, the honesty and integrity of the profession.F &n another case, it li%ewise intoned7 G?e cannot over stress the duty of a lawyer to at all ti"es uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. 0e can do this by faithfully perfor"ing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts, and to his clients.F ,*eyes v. 2avier, A.C. 6o. 11<=, >ebruary /, /99/, 4<1 'C*A 14:.. &t goes without saying that a lawyer who violates this precept of the profession by co""itting a gross "isconduct which dishonors and di"inishes the publicFs respect for the legal profession, should be disciplined.The Court, certainly will not countenance any act or conduct that can i"pair not only the integrity of the $ar 5!a"inations but the trust reposed on the Court. n the other hand, the Co""ittee finds that the theft of the test #uestions fro" Atty. $algosF co"puter could have been avoided if Atty. $algos had e!ercised due diligence in safeguarding the secrecy of the test #uestions which he prepared. >or, if he had ta%en those si"ple precautions to protect the secrecy of his papers, nobody could have stolen the" and copied and circulated the". The integrity of the bar e!a"inations would not have been sullied by the scandal. 0e ad"itted that GAali siguro a%o, but that was what happenedF L n the other hand, the Co""ittee finds that the theft of the test #uestions fro" Atty. $algosF co"puter could have been avoided if Atty. $algos had e!ercised due diligence in safeguarding the secrecy of the test #uestions which he prepared. As the co"puter is a powerful "odern "achine which he ad"ittedly is not fairly fa"iliar with, he should not have trusted it to deep secret the test #uestions that he stored in its hard dis%. 0e ad"ittedly did not %now the password of his co"puter. 0e relied on his secretary to use the password to open and close his co"puter. 0e %ept his co"puter in a roo" to which other persons had access. Enfa"iliar with the use of the "achine whose potential for "ischief he could not have been totally unaware of, he should have avoided its use for so sensitive an underta%ing as typing the #uestions in the bar e!a"ination. After all he %new how to use the typewriter in the use of which he is #uite proficient. Atty. $algos should therefore have prepared the test #uestions in his trusty typewriter, in the privacy of his ho"e, ,instead of his law office., where they would have been safe fro" the prying eyes of secretaries and assistant attorneys. Atty. $algosF negligence in the preparation and safe%eeping of his proposed test #uestions for the bar e!a"ination in "ercantile law, was not the pro!i"ate cause of the Gbar lea%age)F it was, in fact, the root cause. >or, if he had ta%en those si"ple precautions to protect the secrecy of his papers, nobody could have stolen the" and copied and circulated the". The integrity of the bar e!a"inations would not have been sullied by the scandal. 0e ad"itted that GAali siguro a%o, but that was what happenedF ,=4 tsn, ct. /=, /994.. LThis 0onorable court in the case of $urbe v. Aagulta, A.C. 6o. 1<-4, 2une -9, /99/, 4:4 'C*A /<3, pronounced the following re"inder for lawyers7 GAe"bers of the bar "ust do nothing that "ay tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in the fidelity, the honesty and integrity of the profession.F &n

another case, it li%ewise intoned7 G?e cannot overstress the duty of a lawyer to at all ti"es uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. 0e can do this by faithfully perfor"ing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts, and to his clients.F ,*eyes v. 2avier, A.C. 6o. 11<=, >ebruary /, /99/, 4<1 'C*A 14:.. &t goes without saying that a lawyer who violates this precept of the profession by co""itting a gross "isconduct which dishonors and di"inishes the publicFs respect for the legal profession, should be disciplined. L L?ith regard to reco""ending "easures to safeguard the integrity of the bar e!a"inations and prevent a repetition of future lea%age in the said e!a"inations, inas"uch as this "atter is at present under study by the CourtFs Co""ittee on Legal 5ducation and $ar Aatters, as an aspect of proposals for bar refor"s, the &nvestigating Co""ittee believes it would be well+advised to refrain fro" including in this report what "ay turn out to be duplicative, if not contrary, reco""endations on the "atter.MI4J