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Cayetano v.

September 3, 1991
Bolado, Monica B.

G.R. No. 100113

Second Division, Paras , J.
June 18, 2015

Monsod was nominated by President Aquino as COMELEC Chairman. Cayetano opposed the
nomination because allegedly, Monsod does not satisfy the qualification of 10 years in the
practice of law. The Commission on Appointments eventually approved of the appointment.
Monsod was a member of the Philippine Bar by passing the Bar exams of 1960. He has been a
member of the IBP and has been paying dues for 10 years. Since he became a lawyer, he worked
as a lawyer-economist, lawyer-manager, lawyer-entrepreneur, lawyer-negotiator and, lawyerlegislator, all for at least 10 years. However, he has not appeared in court litigations.
Is the practice of law limited to the conduct of limitation in Court?
Law Involved:
Section 1 (1), Article IX-C Section 1 (1), 1987 Constitution. There shall be a Commission on
Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of
the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a
college degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately
preceding elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of
the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years
Case History:
Cayetano seeks the declaration of the nomination and confirmation of the appointment as null
and void.
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of the Court, which requires the application of law,
legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice of law is to
perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession. To practice law is to give notice or
render any kind of service which, device or service requires the use any degree of legal
knowledge or skill.
The idea of practice of law being limited to the court is an ancient notion. The practice of law is
continuously evolving. Partaking knowledge of the law is no longer limited to the four corners of
a courtroom. Therefore, it is only practical and reasonable that the practice of law extends to any
other form of using knowledge about the law. Whether a lawyer is a consultant, businessman or a
teacher, if his knowledge of the law is being used in furtherance of his trade, then the same shall
be considered as a part of the practice of law.

In Re: Ozaeta
July 30, 1979
Bolado, Monica B.

92 SCRA 1
En Banc, Melencio-Herrerra, J.
June 18, 2015

The law firm where Sycip and Ozaeta belong respectively seeks to have the names of their
deceased partners be used continuously in the name of their firm. They argue that the Canons of
Professional Ethics are not transgressed by the continued use of the name of a deceased partner.
The law provides that doing so is not unethical provided that there would be no deception. They
likewise argue that the local customs do not prohibit its use.
Is the practice of law a right or a privilege?
Law Involved:
Canon 33, Canons of Professional Ethics. The continued use of the name of a deceased or
former partner when permissible by local custom, is not unethical but care should be taken that
no imposition or deception is practiced through this use
Case History:
Surviving partners of different law firms filed separate petitions to allow the continued use of the
names of the deceased partners in the names of their firms.
The right to practice law is in the nature of a privilege or franchise. It is limited to persons of
good moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The right does
not only presuppose in its possessor integrity, legal standing and attainment, but also the exercise
of a special privilege, highly personal and partaking the nature of a public trust.
The practice of law is a privilege. The mere presence of the Bar exam is a measure to determine
who can meet the qualifications that the profession demands and who can enjoy the privilege of
being a lawyer. In relation to this case, the use of the name of a dead person poses the risk of
deception. A deceptive person may possibly not possess the moral and honest character that a
lawyer is required to have. A lawyer must have unquestionable integrity. If the name of a
deceased partner continues to be used, clients may be deceived that such lawyer still exists and
may be led to believe that the legal services of the latter are still available. Such risk is
tantamount to breach of public trust hence, cannot form part of the privileges of a lawyer.

In Re: Cunanan
March 18, 1954

94 Phil. 534
En Banc, Diokno, J.

Bolado, Monica B.

June 18, 2015

Since 1946, the Supreme Court (SC) has allowed certain grades below 75% to be considered a
passing mark insofar as the Bar exams is concerned. IN 1950-1953, the 75% passing mark was
restored. Unsuccessful candidates caused Congress the passage of Senate Bill 12. The bill
provides that the passing mark be 70%. The bill was vetoed but another substantially the same
bill was approved and lapsed into law, RA972 The Bar Flunkers Act.
May Congress to pass a law regulating the marks necessary to pass the bar exams?
Law Involved:
Rule 128, Section 14. In order that a candidate may be deemed to have passed his examinations
successfully, he must have obtained general average of 75 percent in all subjects, without falling
below 50 percent in any subject.
Case History:
The passage of the law caused the filing of petitions for admission. However, the Court first
reviewed the motions for reconsideration regardless if RA972 was invoked.
The Court found no reason to revise their grades. Their admission is dependent on the validity of
RA 972 and if declared to be so, it shall be applied to all those affected. RA972 has for its object
to admit to the Bar candidates who have insufficiency of reading materials and inadequate
preparation. The law is contrary to public interest by its objective. Public interest demands of
legal profession adequate and efficiency. An adequate legal preparation is one of the vital
requisites for the practice of law that should be developed constantly and maintained firmly. To
approve of those inadequately prepared to dedicate themselves to such a delicate mission is to
create a serious social danger.
The admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys at law in the practice of
the profession and their supervision have been indisputably a judicial function and responsibility.
The Constitution has not conferred on Congress and the SC equal responsibilities concerning the
admission to the practice of law. The primary power continue to reside in the SC. Congress may
alter and supplement the rules made by the SC but the authority and responsibility over the
admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys at law and their supervision
remain vested with the SC
RA972 is an encroachment by Congress on judicial functions. The intention of Congress to have
certain bar candidates be admitted due to inadequate preparation is dangerous for the general
public. Regardless of the circumstances, candidates for admission to the Bar must exercise all
means in order for them to be prepared for the demands of the legal profession. Hence the SC
shall see to it that those who enter shall be deserving candidates and not brought about by mercy
caused by a law passed by Congress.

In Re: Lanuevo
August 29, 1975
Bolado, Monica B.

A.M. No. 1162

En Banc, Makasiar, J.
June 18, 2015

The Bar Confidants went to 5 examiners in order for the exams of a certain Galang be reevaluated. The examiners, believing in good faith that Lanuevo has the authority to ask for reevaluation, upon false representation made by the latter, reexamined the results.
Does the Bar Confidant have the authority to ask for a re-evaluation of exam results?
Law Involved:
Republic Act No. 3019, Section 8authorizes the dismissal or removal of a public officer once it is
determined that his property or money "is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such
public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately
acquired property ... "
Case History:
The case at bar is for the disbarment of the Bar Confidant and the new lawyer who benefitted
from his false representation.
Both were disbarred. The reevaluation of the examiner initiated by Lanuevo without authority of
court is a serious breach of trust and confidence. Furthermore, Galang does not satisfy the good
moral character requirement for having been involved in criminal cases and not declaring the
same. Concealment in his application to take the Bar of the fact that he had been charged with, or
indicted for, an alleged crime, is a ground for revocation of license to practice.
The examiners should have also been given disciplinary action. As examiners, they should have
exercised better diligence insofar as their authority to reevaluate the exams. The legal profession
only needs candidates who may meet its demands. In this case, even if a candidate may possibly
pass his other subjects but fail in one subject, the score shall still stand.

Tapucar v. Tapucar
July 30, 1998

A.C. No. 4148

En Banc, Per Curiam

Bolado, Monica B.

June 18, 2015

Remedios, married to Lauro Tapucar, sought the disbarment of the latter. The latter was shown
to be guilty of grossly immoral conduct by cohabiting with another woman under scandalous
circumstances. Prior to this, he has been previously charged repeatedly for conduct unbecoming
of an officer of the court. The previous charges all ruled against him.
Are repeated sanctions for conduct unbecoming of an officer of the court tantamount to violation
of the good moral character requirement for admission to the legal profession?
Law involved:
Rule 138, Sec. 27. The Court may disbar or suspend a lawyer for misconduct, whether in his
professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, in honesty,
probity, and good demeanor, thus proving unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.
Case History:
The matter was referred to the IBP for investigation, report and recommendation. The IBP
Commissioner recommends that Lauro be disbarred due to the latters continued illicit
relationship and mockery of the law.
Good moral character is not only a condition precedent for admission to the legal profession but
it must also remain intact in order to maintain ones good standing in that exclusive and honored
fraternity. They must live up to the standards and norms expected of the legal profession by
upholding the ideals and tenets of the Code of Professional Responsibility always. A high degree
of moral integrity is expected of a lawyer.
When Lauro made a mockery of the law, his integrity as a lawyer was blemished. As a lawyer,
he must have a high respect for the law at all times. Mocking the law is grossly immoral and
because of his attitude, he showed that he is no longer qualified to belong to the legal profession.

November 29, 1971

G.R. No. L-23959

En Banc, Reyes, J.B.L., J.

Bolado, Monica B.

June 18, 2015

In an unfair labor practice case, a party litigant was declared a winner, in this case petitioner.
Counsel for petitioners then sought the payment of attorneys fees to which the latter agreed.
Quintin Muning, one of those who likewise represented the petitioner also seeks the payment of
attorneys fees even if he is not a lawyer. Counsel for petitioners opposed this.
May a non-lawyer recover attorneys fees from the legal services he rendered?
Law Involved:
Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover
from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services.
Case History:
Petitioner was involved in an unfair labor practice case. Pending the resolution of the case he
was represented and defended by his lawyers and Quintin Muning, a non-lawyer. Petitioner
eventually won the case. The award of attorneys fees to his lawyers is unquestioned but the
award of attorneys fees to Quintin Muning, another person who represented petitioner in the
case, is the question the case at bar seeks to resolve.
An agreement providing for the division of attorneys fees with a non-lawyer is condemned,
immoral and unjustified.
The practice of law is characterized by the fact that lawyers applied their knowledge of the law.
A requirement to practice law is for a person to acquire a law degree, pass the Bar examinations,
take his oath as an attorney and be recorded in the Roll of Attorneys. The process of becoming a
lawyer is a grueling task. The mere acceptance of a case to its resolution requires the lawyer to
consistently apply his knowledge of the law. The knowledge possessed by a lawyer is a byproduct of the four grueling years of study. Therefore, insofar as practice of the profession is
concerned, the practice of law should not be degraded by awarding compensation for a lawyer, to
a non-lawyer. A lawyer and a non-lawyer are not equals. While both may possess knowledge
about the law, it is the lawyer who is constrained by all the rules and regulations imposed upon
by the members of the Bar. The compensation due to a lawyer is compensation commensurate
not only to his efforts to the case presented to him but also the long preparations that he has to
endure in order to acquire the title of an attorney. Whereas a non-lawyer is an ordinary person
not subjected to all the rules and regulations imposed by the Bar. They do not endure long years
of study and preparation just to acquire the title of an attorney and practice law.

People v. Santocildes
December 21, 1999
Bolado, Monica B.

G.R. No. 109149

Second Division, Quisumbing, J.
June 18, 2015

The accused has been convicted of the crime of rape. On appeal, he contends that he has not been
afforded his right to counsel thus, he seeks acquittal.
May a non-lawyer appear as counsel for the accused in court?
Law Involved:
Article III, Section 12, 1987 Constitution. Any person under investigation for the commission
of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have
competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the
services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in
writing and in the presence of counsel
Article III, Section 14, 1987 Constitution. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal
offense without due process of law.
Case History:
The accused was charged and eventually convicted of rape. His counsel who appeared in court
was not a lawyer. He contends that since he was not represented by a lawyer, he should be
acquitted. However, the OSG contends that even if his counsel is not a lawyer, he was still given
the opportunity to be heard.
When an accused was not duly represented by a lawyer in court, the judgment should be set aside
and the case be remanded to the trial court for a new trial.
A person who misrepresents himself as a lawyer shall be held liable for indirect contempt of
The act of the alleged counsel of the accused was a degradation of the legal profession. Before a
person becomes a member of the legal profession, he has to undergo the long process in order to
finish studying law and pass the Bar exams. The counsel of the accused made a mockery of the
lawyers by participating in the proceedings in court. Moreover, the judge should have exercised a
greater degree of diligence in order to ascertain whether or not the person representing a party in
court is a genuine lawyer. It remains a question on how a non-lawyer was able to attend
proceedings and conduct examinations without being detected of his misrepresentation.

Noriega v. Sison
October 27, 1983

A.C. No. 2266

Second Division, Guerrero, J.

Bolado, Monica B.

June 18, 2015

Noriega alleges that Sison, an SEC employee, violated the CSC Rules and Regulations by
practicing his profession. He further alleged that Sison falsified his identity to circumvent the
prohibition by using Manuel, an assumed name, instead of Emmanuel, his formal name. Sison,
on the other hand, contends that he has been authorized to appear as counsel by his superior to a
close family friend. His legal services to his client were free and he did not falsify his identity
believing that his nickname and his formal name may be used interchangeably.
May a government employee appear as counsel for private individuals?
Law Involved:
Zeta v. Malinao, 87 SCRA 303. Appearing as counsel in a private case is prohibited without
permission from his superiors.
In Re: Atty. Felizarda M. De Guzman, Case No. 828, January 21, 1974. To be made the basis of
suspension or disbarment, the record must disclose as free from doubt a case which compels the
exercise by this Court of its disciplinary powers.
Case History:
Noriega files the case for disbarment against Sison on the ground of malpractice through gross
misrepresentation and falsification. Prior to the filing of this case, petitioner lost a case in the
SEC heard before the respondent.
The case is dismissed. Appearing as counsel in a private case may be allowed provided there is
permission from the government employees superior. However, Sison is advised to be more
cautious in signing his name so as to avoid confusion regarding his identity.
The case filed by herein petitioner is whimsical. The allegations of the petitioner are merely
sugarcoats to his bitterness towards respondent after the latter resolved a prior case against the
former. Insofar as the respondent is concerned, the caution given by the Supreme Court should
not be taken lightly. Confusion in the identity of a lawyer may result to injustice even if no party
is at fault and no negligence is involved. There is nothing wrong with using a nickname however,
just to avoid danger, it might be better to just use the formal name.