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I.

There was no encroachment upon the rule making power of


the Supreme Court and its power to regulate the admission
to the Bar

Republic Act No. 7662 is constitutional as it does not encroach on the


power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning the admission to
the practice of law and legal assistance to underprivileged, thus, it does not
violate the doctrine of separation of powers.

Section 5, Par. 5, Article 8 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the


Supreme Court has the exclusive power to 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 under-privileged. x x x.
(Emphasis supplied)

Matters covered under the term admission to the practice of law

The power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning the


admission to the practice of law or to the bar refers to the following matters:

1. Persons who may practice law;


2. Requirements for all applicants for admission to the bar;
3. Requirements for lawyers who are citizens of the United States of
America;
4. Requirements for applicants from other jurisdictions;
5. Additional requirements for other applicants;
6. Pre-law;
7. Time for filing proof of qualifications;
8. Notice of applications;
9. Examination; subjects;
10. Bar examination, by questions and answers, and in writing;
11. Annual examination;
12. Committee of examiners;
13. Disciplinary measures;
14. Passing average;
15. Report of the committee; filing of examination papers;
16. Failing candidates to take review course;
17. Admission and oath of successful applicants;
18. Certificate;
19. Attorney's roll;
20. Duties of attorneys;
21. Authority of attorney to appear;
22. Attorney who appears in lower court presumed to represent
client on appeal;
23. Authority of attorneys to bind clients;
24. Compensation of attorneys; agreement as to fees;
25. Unlawful retention of client's funds; contempt;
26. Change of attorneys;
27. Attorneys removed or suspended by Supreme Court on what
grounds;
28. Suspension of attorney by the Court of Appeals or a Court of First
Instance;
29. Upon suspension by the Court of Appeals or Court of First
Instance, further proceedings in Supreme Court;
30. Attorney to be heard before removal or suspension;
31. Attorneys for destitute litigants;
32. Compensation for attorneys de oficio;
33. Standing in court of person authorized to appear for
Government;
34. By whom litigation conducted;
35. Certain attorneys not to practice;
36. Amicus Curiae;
37. Attorneys' liens.
(Rule 138 of the Rules of Court)
In this case, the Legal Memorandum Order only prescribes the minimum
standards for law admission test, a matter not included under Rule 138 of
the Rules of Court. Under the maxim expression unius est exclusion alterius,
it is a settled rule of statutory construction that the express mention of one
person, thing, or consequences implies the exclusion of all others. 1 Hence,
the said Rule, by its terms, is expressly limited to certain matters, and may
not be extended to other matters not expressly included.

Definition of practice of law

Practice of law is the doing or performing of services in a court of


justice, in any matter pending therein. In a larger sense, it includes legal
advice and counsel and the preparation of legal instruments and contracts
although such matter may not be pending in court. 2

1 (Agpalo, 2003)

2 (De Leon, 2008)


While the court has declared that in the judicial system from which
ours has been derived, the act of admitting, suspending, disbarring and
reinstating attorneys at law in the practice of the profession is concededly
judicial3, law school admission test can hardly be considered as practice of
law. Hence, law school admission test does not fall under the regulatory
power of the Supreme Court.

No violation of separation of powers

The prerogative of the Supreme Court, acknowledged in Section 5(5)


which authorizes it to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the
practice of law has not been encroached by the Legal Memorandum Order.
Under the doctrine of separation of powers, each department is not
permitted to encroach upon the powers confided to the others. It must be
noted, however, that there can only be encroachment if the power that is
said to have been violated belongs to particular body. In this case, the Legal
Memorandum Order that prescribes for the minimum standards for law
admission test for applicants to the basic law courses in all law schools in the
country does not belong to the Supreme Court. There being no
encroachment, the doctrine of separation of powers has not been violated.

3 94 Phil. 534; see Petition for Leave to Resume Practice of Law, Benjamin M.
Dacanay, B.M. No. 678, December 17, 2007, 540 SCRA 424.