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IN RE: ATTY.

MARCIAL EDILLON
August 3, 1978 | Castro, C.J.
Judicial Department > Supreme Court > Administrative Powers > Integration of the Bar

DOCTRINE: The Constitution explicitly and unequivocally granted SC the precise power to promulgate rules with regard to Bar
integration. IBP is a State-organized to which every lawyer must belong.
CASE SUMMARY: Atty. Marcial Edillon refused to pay the IBP membership dues despite the demands of the IBP. IBP issued a
resolution to the SC recommending his disbarment. SC disbarred him!

FACTS:
Marcial Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines.
IBP Board of Governors issued a resolution recommending to the SC the removal of Edillon from the Roll of Attorneys for
the stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues. In his comment, Edillon reiterated his refusal to pay the membership
dues on the following grounds:
1. It impinges on his constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to associate)
2. The requirement to pay membership fees is unconstitutional.
3. The penalty imposed on the refusal to pay the fees is a deprivation of property without due process.
4. SC does not have the jurisdiction to strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys.

ISSUE: W/N a member of the IBP may be compelled to pay membership fees and the non-compliance therewith may result to the
members disbarment? YES, mems are required to pay!

RULING:
IBP is a State-organized to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished from bar association organized by individual
lawyers themselves in which membership is voluntary. Organized by or under the direction of the State, an integrated
Bar is an official nation body of which all lawyers are required to be members. They are therefore subject to all the rules
prescribed for the governance of the bar, including payment of fees.
The practice of law is not a vested right, but a privilege clothe with public interest, since lawyers take part in one of the most
important function of the State the administration of justice.
The Constitution explicitly and unequivocally granted SC the precise power to promulgate rules with regard to Bar
integration. CONST (1973), art. X, sec. 5(5), now CONST, art. 8, sec. 5(5), provides 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. This constitutional declaration vests the SC
with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision of the practice of law.
Such power was also granted in Section 1, RA 6397 (An Act Providing For The Integration Of The Philippine Bar).
SC also answered the grounds raised by the respondent, as follows: (Please refer to the above-mentioned grounds)
1. Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. He is free to attend
or not attend meetings, vote or refuse to not vote, etc. The only compulsion he is subjected is the payment of annual
dues.
2. Nothing in the Constitution prevents SC from requiring members of privileged class to pay a reasonabl fee.
3. Assuming that the practice of law is a property right, it is still subject to regulation and inquiry. The penalty imposed
is designed to enforce its payments. But, remember, practice of is not a property right but a mere privilege and
must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court.
4. Matters of admission, suspension, disbarment, and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision
have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions.

DISPOSITION: WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is the unanimous sense of the Court that the respondent Marcial A. Edillon
should be as he is hereby disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court.

NOTES: