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In the Matter if the Admission to the Bar and Oath-Taking of Successful Bar Applicant Al C.

Argosino
July 13, 1995
Facts:
A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, charging Mr. A.C. Argosino along with 13 other individuals, with the crime of homicide in
connection with the death of one Raul Camaligan on 8 September 1991. Raul Camaligan died 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, passing a judgment that each of the 14
accused individuals was sentenced to suffer imprisonment.
Less than a month after a probation granted by the lower court to Mr. Argosino and his
colleagues, 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. Although he was allowed to take the bar, he was not 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 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 Motions for Early Resolution of his
Petition for Admission to the Bar.
Issue:
Whether or not applicant Mr. Argosino has purged himself of the obvious deficiency in moral
character required of a lawyer, and whether or not he should be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath of
office as a result of such.
Held:
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.
In Re Farmer:
“xxx xxx xxx
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…
xxx xxx xxx
And we may pause to say that this requirement of the statute is eminently proper.

said to be properly broader than inquiry into the moral character of a lawyer in proceedings for disbarment. than the possession of legal learning. in fact. of greater importance so far as the general public and the proper administration of justice are concerned. and his advice comes home. indeed. Argosino is hereby DIRECTED to inform this Court. and more importantly. of Raul Camaligan”. in its ultimate effect. is to aid the administration of justice… xxx xxx xxx” It has also been stressed that the requirement of good moral character is. reputation. his all. The scope of such inquiry is. . indicating an evident rejection of the moral duty to take care of deceased Raul Camaligan’s life entrusted in their hands. 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 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. An attorney at law is sworn officer of the Court whose chief concern. Let a copy of this Resolution be furnished to the parents or brothers and sisters. at the time of application for admission to the bar and to take the attorney’s oath of office. to every man’s fireside. 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. Mr. as such. of Raul Camaligan. He is sought as counselor. he deals with his client’s property. All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect of those seeking admission to the Bar. if any. by appropriate manifestation. if any. brothers and sisters. he is the recipient of unbounded trust and confidence. Mr. Vast interests are committed to his care. Good moral character must be demonstrated not only at the time of application for permission to take the bar examinations but also. his life. within 10 days from notice hereof.Consider for a moment the duties of a lawyer. Argosino’s participation in the deplorable “hazing” activities certainly fell far short of the required standard of good moral character. of the names and addresses of the father and mother (in default thereof.