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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

SECONDDIVISION

G.R.No.100113September3,1991

RENATOCAYETANO,petitioner,
vs.
CHRISTIANMONSOD,HON.JOVITOR.SALONGA,COMMISSIONONAPPOINTMENT,andHON.
GUILLERMOCARAGUE,inhiscapacityasSecretaryofBudgetandManagement,respondents.

RenatoL.Cayetanoforandinhisownbehalf.

SabinaE.Acut,Jr.andMyleneGarciaAlbanococounselforpetitioner.

PARAS,J.:p

Wearefacedherewithacontroversyoffarreachingproportions.Whileostensiblyonlylegalissuesareinvolved,
the Court's decision in this case would indubitably have a profound effect on the political aspect of our national
existence.

The1987ConstitutionprovidesinSection1(1),ArticleIXC:

ThereshallbeaCommissiononElectionscomposedofaChairmanandsixCommissionerswhoshall
benaturalborncitizensofthePhilippinesand,atthetimeoftheirappointment,atleastthirtyfiveyears
ofage,holdersofacollegedegree,andmustnothavebeencandidatesforanyelectivepositioninthe
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.
(Emphasissupplied)

The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), Article XIIC of the 1973 Constitution which similarly
provides:

ThereshallbeanindependentCommissiononElectionscomposedofaChairmanandeightCommissionerswho
shallbenaturalborncitizensofthePhilippinesand,atthetimeoftheirappointment,atleastthirtyfiveyearsofage
and holders of a college degree. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the
PhilippineBarwhohavebeenengagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears.'(Emphasissupplied)

Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what constitutes practice of law as a legal
qualificationtoanappointiveoffice.

Blackdefines"practiceoflaw"as:

Therenditionofservicesrequiringtheknowledgeandtheapplicationoflegalprinciplesandtechnique
toservetheinterestofanotherwithhisconsent.Itisnotlimitedtoappearingincourt,oradvisingand
assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of pleadings, and other papers
incidenttoactionsandspecialproceedings,conveyancing,thepreparationoflegalinstrumentsofall
kinds,andthegivingofalllegaladvicetoclients.Itembracesalladvicetoclientsandallactionstaken
fortheminmattersconnectedwiththelaw.Anattorneyengagesinthepracticeoflawbymaintaining
anofficewhereheisheldouttobeanattorney,usingaletterheaddescribinghimselfasanattorney,
counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel about pending litigation, and
fixingandcollectingfeesforservicesrenderedbyhisassociate.(Black'sLawDictionary,3rded.)

Thepracticeoflawisnotlimitedtotheconductofcasesincourt.(LandTitleAbstractandTrustCo.v.Dworken,129
OhioSt.23,193N.E.650)Apersonisalsoconsideredtobeinthepracticeoflawwhenhe:

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... for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or
corporationsastotheirrightsunderthelaw,orappearsinarepresentativecapacityasanadvocatein
proceedingspendingorprospective,beforeanycourt,commissioner,referee,board,body,committee,
orcommissionconstitutedbylaworauthorizedtosettlecontroversiesandthere,insuchrepresentative
capacity performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients
under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of
advisingclientsastotheirrightsunderthelaw,orwhilesoengagedperformsanyactoractseitherin
court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick
v..C.S.DudleyandCo.,102S.W.2d895,340Mo.852)

ThisCourtinthecaseofPhilippineLawyersAssociationv.Agrava,(105Phil.173,176177)stated:

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court it embraces the
preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the
management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in
addition,conveying.Ingeneral,alladvicetoclients,andallactiontakenfortheminmattersconnected
with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an
appearancebeforeajudicialbody,theforeclosureofamortgage,enforcementofacreditor'sclaimin
bankruptcyandinsolvencyproceedings,andconductingproceedingsinattachment,andinmattersof
estateandguardianshiphavebeenheldtoconstitutelawpractice,asdothepreparationanddraftingof
legalinstruments,wheretheworkdoneinvolvesthedeterminationbythetrainedlegalmindofthelegal
effectoffactsandconditions.(5Am.Jr.p.262,263).(Emphasissupplied)

Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of any
courtandhavingnoimmediaterelationtoproceedingsincourt.Itembracesconveyancing,thegiving
oflegaladviceonalargevarietyofsubjects,andthepreparationandexecutionoflegalinstruments
covering an extensive field of business and trust relations and other affairs. Although these
transactionsmayhavenodirectconnectionwithcourtproceedings,theyarealwayssubjecttobecome
involvedinlitigation.Theyrequireinmanyaspectsahighdegreeoflegalskill,awideexperiencewith
menandaffairs,andgreatcapacityforadaptationtodifficultandcomplexsituations.Thesecustomary
functionsofanattorneyorcounseloratlawbearanintimaterelationtotheadministrationofjusticeby
the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn
between that part of the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part which
involvesadviceanddraftingofinstrumentsinhisoffice.Itisofimportancetothewelfareofthepublic
thatthesemanifoldcustomaryfunctionsbeperformedbypersonspossessedofadequatelearningand
skill,ofsoundmoralcharacter,andactingatalltimesundertheheavytrustobligationstoclientswhich
restsuponallattorneys.(Moran,CommentsontheRulesofCourt,Vol.3[1953ed.],p.665666,citing
In re Opinion of the Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile
ServiceAssoc.[R.I.]179A.139,144).(Emphasisours)

TheUniversity of thePhilippinesLawCenterinconductingorientationbriefingfor new lawyers (19741975) listed


thedimensionsofthepracticeoflawinevenbroadertermsasadvocacy,counsellingandpublicservice.

Onemaybeapracticingattorneyinfollowinganylineofemploymentintheprofession.Ifwhathedoes
exactsknowledgeofthelawandisofakindusualforattorneysengagingintheactivepracticeoftheir
profession, and he follows some one or more lines of employment such as this he is a practicing
attorneyatlawwithinthemeaningofthestatute.(Barrv.Cardell,155NW312)

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of 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. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which
deviceorservicerequirestheuseinanydegreeoflegalknowledgeorskill."(111ALR23)

Thefollowingrecordsofthe1986ConstitutionalCommissionshowthatithasadoptedaliberalinterpretationofthe
term"practiceoflaw."

MR.FOZ.Beforewesuspendthesession,mayImakeamanifestationwhichIforgotto
doduringourreviewoftheprovisionsontheCommissiononAudit.MayIbeallowedto
makeaverybriefstatement?

THEPRESIDINGOFFICER(Mr.Jamir).

TheCommissionerwillpleaseproceed.

MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the members of the Commission on
Audit. Among others, the qualifications provided for by Section I is that "They must be

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Members of the Philippine Bar" I am quoting from the provision "who have been
engagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears".

To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding members of the Bar who are now
employed in the COA or Commission on Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this
provision on qualifications regarding members of the Bar does not necessarily refer or involve actual
practiceoflawoutsidetheCOAWehavetointerpretthistomeanthataslongasthelawyerswhoare
employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their respective work within
COA, then they are qualified to be considered for appointment as members or commissioners, even
chairman,oftheCommissiononAudit.

This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Agencies and we
deemitimportanttotakeituponthefloorsothatthisinterpretationmaybemadeavailablewhenever
thisprovisiononthequalificationsasregardsmembersofthePhilippineBarengaginginthepracticeof
lawforatleasttenyearsistakenup.

MR.OPLE.WillCommissionerFozyieldtojustonequestion.

MR.FOZ.Yes,Mr.PresidingOfficer.

MR.OPLE.Ishe,ineffect,sayingthatserviceintheCOAbyalawyerisequivalenttothe
requirementofalawpracticethatissetforthintheArticleontheCommissiononAudit?

MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of COA, although it is auditing, will
necessarilyinvolvelegalworkitwillinvolvelegalwork.And,therefore,lawyerswhoare
employed in COA now would have the necessary qualifications in accordance with the
Provision on qualifications under our provisions on the Commission on Audit. And,
therefore,theanswerisyes.

MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is that this is equivalent to the
practiceoflaw.

MR.FOZ.Yes,Mr.PresidingOfficer.

MR.OPLE.Thankyou.

...(Emphasissupplied)

Section 1(1), Article IXD of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among others, that the Chairman and two
CommissionersoftheCommissiononAudit(COA)shouldeitherbecertifiedpublicaccountantswithnotlessthan
tenyearsofauditingpractice,ormembersofthePhilippineBarwhohavebeenengagedinthepracticeoflawforat
leasttenyears.(emphasissupplied)

Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many ways synonymous with the word "lawyer."
Today, although many lawyers do not engage in private practice, it is still a fact that the majority of lawyers are
privatepractitioners.(GaryMunneke,OpportunitiesinLawCareers[VGMCareerHorizons:Illinois],[1986],p.15).

Atthispoint,itmightbehelpfultodefineprivatepractice.Theterm,ascommonlyunderstood,means"anindividual
ororganizationengagedinthebusinessofdeliveringlegalservices."(Ibid.).Lawyerswhopracticealoneareoften
called"solepractitioners."Groupsoflawyersarecalled"firms."Thefirmisusuallyapartnershipandmembersof
the firm are the partners. Some firms may be organized as professional corporations and the members called
shareholders. In either case, the members of the firm are the experienced attorneys. In most firms, there are
youngerormoreinexperiencedsalariedattorneyscalled"associates."(Ibid.).

Thetestthatdefineslawpracticebylookingtotraditionalareasoflawpracticeisessentiallytautologous,unhelpful
definingthepracticeoflawasthatwhichlawyersdo.(CharlesW.Wolfram,ModernLegalEthics[WestPublishing
Co.:Minnesota,1986],p.593).Thepracticeoflawisdefinedastheperformanceofanyacts...inoroutofcourt,
commonlyunderstoodtobethepracticeoflaw.(StateBarAss'nv.ConnecticutBank&TrustCo.,145Conn.222,
140A.2d863,870[1958][quotingGrievanceComm.v.Payne,128Conn.325,22A.2d623,626[1941]).Because
lawyers perform almost every function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would
obviouslybetooglobaltobeworkable.(Wolfram,op.cit.).

Theappearanceofalawyerinlitigationinbehalfofaclientisatoncethemostpubliclyfamiliarroleforlawyersas
well as an uncommon role for the average lawyer. Most lawyers spend little time in courtrooms, and a large
percentage spend their entire practice without litigating a case. (Ibid., p. 593). Nonetheless, many lawyers do
continuetolitigateandthelitigatinglawyer'srolecolorsmuchofboththepublicimageandtheselfperceptionofthe
legalprofession.(Ibid.).

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Inthisregardthus,thedominanceoflitigationinthepublicmindreflectshistory,notreality.(Ibid.).Whyisthisso?
Recall that the late Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer, once articulated on the importance of a lawyer as a
businesscounselorinthiswise:"Eventoday,therearestilluninformedlaymenwhoseconceptofanattorneyisone
whoprincipallytriescasesbeforethecourts.Themembersofthebenchandbarandtheinformedlaymensuchas
businessmen,knowthatinmostdevelopedsocietiestoday,substantiallymorelegalworkistransactedinlawoffices
thaninthecourtrooms.Generalpractitionersoflawwhodobothlitigationandnonlitigationworkalsoknowthatin
most cases they findthemselvesspendingmoretimedoingwhat[is]looselydesccribe[d] as business counseling
thanintryingcases.Thebusinesslawyerhasbeendescribedastheplanner,thediagnosticianandthetriallawyer,
the surgeon. I[t] need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine, surgery should be avoided where internal
medicinecanbeeffective."(BusinessStar,"CorporateFinanceLaw,"Jan.11,1989,p.4).

In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig engage in a number of legal tasks, each
involvingdifferentlegaldoctrines,legalskills,legalprocesses,legalinstitutions,clients,andotherinterestedparties.
Even the increasing numbers of lawyers in specialized practice wig usually perform at least some legal services
outsidetheirspecialty.Andevenwithinanarrowspecialtysuchastaxpractice,alawyerwillshiftfromonelegaltask
orrolesuchasadvicegivingtoanimportantlydifferentonesuchasrepresentingaclientbeforeanadministrative
agency.(Wolfram,supra,p.687).

Bynomeanswillmostofthisworkinvolvelitigation,unlessthelawyerisoneoftherelativelyraretypesalitigator
who specializes in this work to the exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will require the lawyer to have
mastered the full range of traditional lawyer skills of client counselling, advicegiving, document drafting, and
negotiation.Andincreasinglylawyersfindthatthenewskillsofevaluationandmediationarebotheffectiveformany
clientsandasourceofemployment.(Ibid.).

Mostlawyerswillengageinnonlitigationlegalworkorinlitigationworkthatisconstrainedinveryimportantways,
atleasttheoretically,soastoremovefromitsomeofthesalientfeaturesofadversariallitigation.Ofthesespecial
roles, the most prominent is that of prosecutor. In some lawyers' work the constraints are imposed both by the
natureoftheclientandbythewayinwhichthelawyerisorganizedintoasocialunittoperformthatwork.Themost
commonoftheserolesarethoseofcorporatepracticeandgovernmentlegalservice.(Ibid.).

InseveralissuesoftheBusinessStar,abusinessdaily,hereinbelowquotedareemergingtrendsincorporatelaw
practice,adeparturefromthetraditionalconceptofpracticeoflaw.

We are experiencing today what truly may be called a revolutionary transformation in corporate law
practice. Lawyers and other professional groups, in particular those members participating in various
legalpolicy decisional contexts, are finding that understanding the major emerging trends in
corporationlawisindispensabletointelligentdecisionmaking.

Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today requires an accurate understanding of


thenatureandimplicationsofthecorporatelawresearchfunctionaccompaniedbyanacceleratingrate
of information accumulation. The recognition of the need for such improved corporate legal policy
formulation, particularly "modelmaking" and "contingency planning," has impressed upon us the
inadequacyoftraditionalproceduresinmanydecisionalcontexts.

In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be processed, the sorting and weighing of
significant conditional factors, the appraisal of major trends, the necessity of estimating the
consequencesofgivencoursesofaction,andtheneedforfastdecisionandresponseinsituationsof
acutedangerhavepromptedtheuseofsophisticatedconceptsofinformationflowtheory,operational
analysis, automatic data processing, and electronic computing equipment. Understandably, an
improved decisional structure must stress the predictive component of the policymaking process,
wherein a "model", of the decisional context or a segment thereof is developed to test projected
alternativecoursesofactionintermsoffuturisticeffectsflowingtherefrom.

Althoughmembersofthelegalprofessionareregularlyengagedinpredictingandprojectingthetrends
ofthelaw,thesubjectofcorporatefinancelawhasreceivedrelativelylittleorganizedandformalized
attention in the philosophy of advancing corporate legal education. Nonetheless, a crossdisciplinary
approachtolegalresearchhasbecomeavitalnecessity.

Certainly,thegeneralorientationforproductivecontributionsbythosetrainedprimarilyinthelawcan
be improved through an early introduction to multivariable decisional context and the various
approaches for handling such problems. Lawyers, particularly with either a master's or doctorate
degree in business administration or management, functioning at the legal policy level of decision
making now have some appreciation for the concepts and analytical techniques of other professions
whicharecurrentlyengagedinsimilartypesofcomplexdecisionmaking.

Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems would require the services of an
astute attorney because of the complex legal implications that arise from each and every necessary
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stepinsecuringandmaintainingthebusinessissueraised.(BusinessStar,"CorporateFinanceLaw,"
Jan.11,1989,p.4).

In our litigationprone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously referred to as the "abogado de


campanilla." He is the "bigtime" lawyer, earning big money and with a clientele composed of the
tycoonsandmagnatesofbusinessandindustry.

Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people could not explain what it is that a
corporate lawyer does. For one, the number of attorneys employed by a single corporation will vary
withthesizeandtypeofthecorporation.Manysmallerandsomelargecorporationsfarmoutalltheir
legalproblemstoprivatelawfirms.Manyothershaveinhousecounselonlyforcertainmatters.Other
corporationhaveastafflargeenoughtohandlemostlegalproblemsinhouse.

A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who handles the legal affairs of a
corporation. His areas of concern or jurisdiction may include, interalia: corporate legal research, tax
lawsresearch,actingoutascorporatesecretary(inboardmeetings),appearancesinbothcourtsand
other adjudicatory agencies (including the Securities and Exchange Commission), and in other
capacitieswhichrequireanabilitytodealwiththelaw.

Atanyrate,acorporatelawyermayassumeresponsibilitiesotherthanthelegalaffairsofthebusiness
ofthecorporationheisrepresenting.Theseincludesuchmattersasdeterminingpolicyandbecoming
involvedinmanagement.(Emphasissupplied.)

In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being isolated from the action, or not
understandinghowone'sworkactuallyfitsintotheworkoftheorgarnization.Thiscanbefrustratingto
someonewhoneedstoseetheresultsofhisworkfirsthand.Inshort,acorporatelawyerissometimes
offeredthisfortunetobemorecloselyinvolvedintherunningofthebusiness.

Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be engaged by a multinational corporation


(MNC).SomelargeMNCsprovideoneofthefewopportunitiesavailabletocorporatelawyerstoenter
the international law field. After all, international law is practiced in a relatively small number of
companies and law firms.Becauseworkinginaforeigncountryisperceivedbymany as glamorous,
tills is an area coveted by corporate lawyers. In most cases, however, the overseas jobs go to
experienced attorneys while the younger attorneys do their "international practice" in law libraries.
(BusinessStar,"CorporateLawPractice,"May25,1990,p.4).

Thisbringsustotheinevitable,i.e.,theroleofthelawyerintherealmoffinance.Toborrowthelinesof
HarvardeducatedlawyerBruceWassertein,towit:"Abadlawyerisonewhofailstospotproblems,a
good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent lawyer is one who surmounts
them."(BusinessStar,"CorporateFinanceLaw,"Jan.11,1989,p.4).

Today,thestudyofcorporatelawpracticedirelyneedsa"shotinthearm,"sotospeak.Nolongerare
wetalkingofthetraditionallawteachingmethodofconfiningthesubjectstudytotheCorporationCode
andtheSecuritiesCodebutanincursionaswellintotheintertwiningmodernmanagementissues.

Suchcorporatelegalmanagementissuesdealprimarilywiththree(3)typesoflearning:(1)acquisition
of insights into current advances which are of particular significance to the corporate counsel (2) an
introduction to usable disciplinary skins applicable to a corporate counsel's management
responsibilitiesand(3)adevotiontotheorganizationandmanagementofthelegalfunctionitself.

Thesethreesubjectareasmaybethoughtofasintersectingcircles,withasharedarealinkingthem.
Otherwiseknownas"intersectingmanagerialjurisprudence,"itformsaunifyingthemeforthecorporate
counsel'stotallearning.

Somecurrentadvancesinbehaviorandpolicysciencesaffectthecounsel'srole.Forthatmatter,the
corporate lawyer reviews the globalization process, including the resulting strategic repositioning that
the firms he provides counsel for are required to make, and the need to think about a corporation's
strategy at multiple levels. The salience of the nationstate is being reduced as firms deal both with
global multinational entities and simultaneously with subnational governmental units. Firms
increasingly collaborate not only with public entities but with each other often with those who are
competitorsinotherarenas.

Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decisionmaking within the corporation is rapidly
changing. The modem corporate lawyer has gained a new role as a stakeholder in some cases
participating in the organization and operations of governance through participation on boards and
otherdecisionmakingroles.Oftenthesenewpatternsdevelopalongsideexistinglegalinstitutionsand

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laws are perceived as barriers. These trends are complicated as corporations organize for global
operations.(Emphasissupplied)

Thepractisinglawyeroftodayisfamiliaraswellwithgovernmentalpoliciestowardthepromotionand
management of technology. New collaborative arrangements for promoting specific technologies or
competitiveness more generally require approaches from industry that differ from older, more
adversarialrelationshipsandtraditionalformsofseekingtoinfluencegovernmentalpolicies.Andthere
arelessons to be learnedfromothercountries.InEurope,Esprit,Eureka and Raceareexamplesof
collaborative efforts between governmental and business Japan's MITI is world famous. (Emphasis
supplied)

Followingtheconceptofboundaryspanning,theofficeoftheCorporateCounselcomprisesadistinct
groupwithinthemanagerialstructureofallkindsoforganizations.Effectivenessofbothlongtermand
temporary groups within organizations has been found to be related to indentifiable factors in the
groupcontext interaction such as the groups actively revising their knowledge of the environment
coordinating work with outsiders, promoting team achievements within the organization. In general,
suchexternalactivitiesarebetterpredictorsofteamperformancethaninternalgroupprocesses.

Inacrisissituation,thelegalmanagerialcapabilitiesofthecorporatelawyervisavisthemanagerial
mettle of corporations are challenged. Current research is seeking ways both to anticipate effective
managerial procedures and to understand relationships of financial liability and insurance
considerations.(Emphasissupplied)

Regardingtheskillstoapplybythecorporatecounsel,threefactorsareapropos:

First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been found an effective tool for new
managerial thinking regarding both planning and pressing immediate problems. An understanding of
the role of feedback loops, inventory levels, and rates of flow, enable users to simulate all sorts of
systematicproblemsphysical,economic,managerial,social,andpsychological.Newprogramming
techniques now make the system dynamics principles more accessible to managers including
corporatecounsels.(Emphasissupplied)

Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better decisions involving complexity and
uncertainty. In the context of a law department, it can be used to appraise the settlement value of
litigation,aidinnegotiationsettlement,andminimizethecostandriskinvolvedinmanagingaportfolio
ofcases.(Emphasissupplied)

ThirdModelingforNegotiationManagement.Computerbasedmodelscanbeuseddirectlybyparties
andmediatorsinalllandsofnegotiations.Allintegratedsetofsuchtoolsprovidecoherentandeffective
negotiation support, including handson on instruction in these techniques. A simulation case of an
internationaljointventuremaybeusedtoillustratethepoint.

[Bethisasitmay,]theorganizationandmanagementofthelegalfunction,concernthreepointedareas
ofconsideration,thus:

Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills that comprise a major part of the
general counsel's responsibilities. They differ from those of remedial law. Preventive lawyering is
concernedwithminimizingtherisksoflegaltroubleandmaximizinglegalrightsforsuchlegalentitiesat
thattimewhentransactionalorsimilarfactsarebeingconsideredandmade.

Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are undertaken those activities of the
firm to which legal consequences attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this nation's evolving
economic and organizational fabric as firms change to stay competitive in a global, interdependent
environment. The practice and theory of "law" is not adequate today to facilitate the relationships
neededintryingtomakeaglobaleconomywork.

OrganizationandFunctioningoftheCorporateCounsel'sOffice.Thegeneralcounselhasemergedin
thelastdecadeasoneofthemostvibrantsubsetsofthelegalprofession.Thecorporatecounselhear
responsibility for key aspects of the firm's strategic issues, including structuring its global operations,
managing improved relationships with an increasingly diversified body of employees, managing
expandedliabilityexposure,creatingnewandvariedinteractionswithpublicdecisionmakers,coping
internallywithmorecomplexmakeorbydecisions.

Thiswholeexercisedriveshomethethesisthatknowingcorporatelawisnotenoughtomakeonea
goodgeneralcorporatecounselnortogivehimafullsenseofhowthelegalsystemshapescorporate
activities. And even if the corporate lawyer's aim is not the understand all of the law's effects on
corporate activities, he must, at the very least, also gain a working knowledge of the management
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issues if only to be able to grasp not only the basic legal "constitution' or makeup of the modem
corporation."BusinessStar","TheCorporateCounsel,"April10,1991,p.4).

Thechallengeforlawyers(bothofthebarandthebench)istohavemorethanapassingknowledgeof
financiallawaffectingeachaspectoftheirwork.Yet,manywouldadmittoignoranceofvasttractsof
the financial law territory. What transpires next is a dilemma of professional security: Will the lawyer
admit ignorance and risk opprobrium? or will he feign understanding and risk exposure? (Business
Star,"CorporateFinancelaw,"Jan.11,1989,p.4).

RespondentChristianMonsodwasnominatedbyPresidentCorazonC.AquinotothepositionofChairmanofthe
COMELECinaletterreceivedbytheSecretariatoftheCommissiononAppointmentsonApril25,1991.Petitioner
opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not possess the required qualification of having been
engagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears.

On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the
COMELEC.OnJune18,1991,hetookhisoathofoffice.Onthesameday,heassumedofficeasChairmanofthe
COMELEC.

ChallengingthevalidityoftheconfirmationbytheCommissiononAppointmentsofMonsod'snomination,petitioner
asacitizenandtaxpayer,filedtheinstantpetitionforcertiorariandProhibitionprayingthatsaidconfirmationandthe
consequentappointmentofMonsodasChairmanoftheCommissiononElectionsbedeclarednullandvoid.

Atty.ChristianMonsodisamemberofthePhilippineBar,havingpassedthebarexaminationsof1960withagrade
of8655%.HehasbeenaduespayingmemberoftheIntegratedBarofthePhilippinessinceitsinceptionin1972
73.Hehasalsobeenpayinghisprofessionallicensefeesaslawyerformorethantenyears.(p.124,Rollo)

AftergraduatingfromtheCollegeofLaw(U.P.)andhavinghurdledthebar,Atty.Monsodworkedinthelawofficeof
hisfather.DuringhisstintintheWorldBankGroup(19631970),Monsodworkedasanoperationsofficerforabout
two years in Costa Rica and Panama, which involved getting acquainted with the laws of membercountries
negotiatingloansandcoordinatinglegal,economic,andprojectworkoftheBank.UponreturningtothePhilippines
in 1970, he worked with the Meralco Group, served as chief executive officer of an investment bank and
subsequentlyofabusinessconglomerate,andsince1986,hasrenderedservicestovariouscompaniesasalegal
and economic consultant or chief executive officer. As former SecretaryGeneral (1986) and National Chairman
(1987)ofNAMFREL.Monsod'sworkinvolvedbeingknowledgeableinelectionlaw.HeappearedforNAMFRELin
its accreditation hearings before the Comelec. In the field of advocacy, Monsod, in his personal capacity and as
former CoChairman of the Bishops Businessmen's Conference for Human Development, has worked with the
under privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor groups, in initiating, lobbying for and engaging in
affirmativeactionfortheagrarianreformlawandlatelytheurbanlandreformbill.Monsodalsomadeuseofhislegal
knowledge as a member of the Davide Commission, a quast judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings
(1990) and as a member of the Constitutional Commission (19861987), and Chairman of its Committee on
AccountabilityofPublicOfficers,forwhichhewascitedbythePresidentoftheCommission,JusticeCeciliaMuoz
Palma for "innumerable amendments to reconcile government functions with individual freedoms and public
accountabilityandthepartylistsystemfortheHouseofRepresentative.(pp.128129Rollo)(Emphasissupplied)

JustawordabouttheworkofanegotiatingteamofwhichAtty.Monsodusedtobeamember.

In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a team, and which is adequately
constitutedtomeetthevariouscontingenciesthatariseduringanegotiation.Besidestopofficialsofthe
Borrowerconcerned,therearethelegalofficer(suchasthelegalcounsel),thefinancemanager,and
an operations officer (such as an official involved in negotiating the contracts) who comprise the
members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven, "Loan Negotiating Strategies for Developing Country
Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Central Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. 11). (Emphasis
supplied)

Afterafashion,theloanagreementislikeacountry'sConstitutionitlaysdownthelawasfarasthe
loantransactionisconcerned.Thus,themeatofanyLoanAgreementcanbecompartmentalizedinto
five(5)fundamentalparts:(1)businessterms(2)borrower'srepresentation(3)conditionsofclosing
(4)covenantsand(5)eventsofdefault.(Ibid.,p.13).

In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt restructuring program. For aside from
performingthetasksoflegislativedraftingandlegaladvising,theyscorenationaldevelopmentpolicies
as key factors in maintaining their countries' sovereignty. (Condensed from the work paper, entitled
"Wanted:DevelopmentLawyersforDevelopingNations,"submittedbyL.MichaelHager,regionallegal
adviseroftheUnitedStatesAgencyforInternationalDevelopment,duringtheSessiononLawforthe
Development of Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in Ivory Coast, sponsored by the World
PeaceThroughLawCenteronAugust2631,1973).(Emphasissupplied)

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Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than purely renegotiation policies,
demand expertise in the law of contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting and in renegotiation.
Necessarily,asovereignlawyermayworkwithaninternationalbusinessspecialistoraneconomistin
the formulation of a model loan agreement. Debt restructuring contract agreements contain such a
mixtureoftechnicallanguagethattheyshouldbecarefullydraftedandsignedonlywiththeadviseof
competent counsel in conjunction with the guidance of adequate technical support personnel. (See
International Law Aspects of the Philippine External Debts, an unpublished dissertation, U.S.T.
GraduateSchoolofLaw,1987,p.321).(Emphasissupplied)

Acriticalaspectofsovereigndebtrestructuring/contractconstructionisthesetoftermsandconditions
which determines the contractual remedies for a failure to perform one or more elements of the
contract.Agoodagreementmustnotonlydefinetheresponsibilitiesofbothparties,butmustalsostate
therecourseopentoeitherpartywhentheotherfailstodischargeanobligation.Foracompleatdebt
restructuringrepresentsadevotiontothatprinciplewhichintheultimateanalysisissinequanon for
foreignloanagreementsanadherencetotheruleoflawindomesticandinternationalaffairsofwhose
kindU.S.SupremeCourtJusticeOliverWendellHolmes,Jr.oncesaid:"Theycarrynobanners,they
beatnodrumsbutwheretheyare,menlearnthatbustleandbusharenottheequalofquietgenius
and serene mastery." (See Ricardo J. Romulo, "The Role of Lawyers in Foreign Investments,"
Integrated Bar of the Philippine Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth Quarters, 1977, p.
265).

InterpretedinthelightofthevariousdefinitionsofthetermPracticeoflaw".particularlythemodernconceptoflaw
practice, and taking into consideration the liberal construction intended by the framers of the Constitution, Atty.
Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyereconomist, a lawyermanager, a lawyerentrepreneur of industry, a
lawyernegotiatorofcontracts,andalawyerlegislatorofboththerichandthepoorverilymorethansatisfythe
constitutionalrequirementthathehasbeenengagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears.

BesidesintheleadingcaseofLuegov.CivilServiceCommission,143SCRA327,theCourtsaid:

Appointmentisanessentiallydiscretionarypowerandmustbeperformedbytheofficerinwhichitis
vested according to his best lights, the only condition being that the appointee should possess the
qualifications required by law. If he does, then the appointment cannot be faulted on the ground that
thereareothersbetterqualifiedwhoshouldhavebeenpreferred.Thisisapoliticalquestioninvolving
considerationsofwisdomwhichonlytheappointingauthoritycandecide.(emphasissupplied)

NolessemphaticwastheCourtinthecaseof(CentralBankv.CivilServiceCommission,171SCRA744)whereit
stated:

It is wellsettled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this case, and all the other legal
requirements are satisfied, the Commission has no alternative but to attest to the appointment in
accordancewiththeCivilServiceLaw.TheCommissionhasnoauthoritytorevokeanappointmenton
the ground that another person is more qualified for a particular position. It also has no authority to
direct the appointment of a substitute of its choice. To do so would be an encroachment on the
discretionvestedupontheappointingauthority.Anappointmentisessentiallywithinthediscretionary
powerofwhomsoeveritisvested,subjecttotheonlyconditionthattheappointeeshouldpossessthe
qualificationsrequiredbylaw.(Emphasissupplied)

Theappointingprocessinaregularappointmentasinthecaseatbar,consistsoffour(4)stages:(1)nomination(2)
confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (3) issuance of a commission (in the Philippines, upon
submission by the Commission on Appointments of its certificate of confirmation, the President issues the
permanentappointmentand(4)acceptancee.g.,oathtaking,postingofbond,etc....(Lacsonv.Romero,No.L
3081,October14,1949Gonzales,LawonPublicOfficers,p.200)

ThepoweroftheCommissiononAppointmentstogiveitsconsenttothenominationofMonsodasChairmanofthe
CommissiononElectionsismandatedbySection1(2)SubArticleC,ArticleIXoftheConstitutionwhichprovides:

The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the
Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first
appointed,threeMembersshallholdofficeforsevenyears,twoMembersforfiveyears,andthelast
Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the
unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a
temporaryoractingcapacity.

AnentJusticeTeodoroPadilla'sseparateopinion,sufficeittosaythathisdefinitionofthepracticeof
lawisthetraditionalorstereotypednotionoflawpractice,asdistinguishedfromthemodernconceptof
thepracticeoflaw,whichmodernconnotationisexactlywhatwasintendedbytheeminentframersof
the 1987 Constitution. Moreover, Justice Padilla's definition would require generally a habitual law
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practice,perhapspractisedtwoorthreetimesaweekandwouldoutlawsay,lawpracticeonceortwice
ayearfortenconsecutiveyears.Clearly,thisisfarfromtheconstitutionalintent.

Upontheotherhand,theseparateopinionofJusticeIsaganiCruzstatesthatinmywrittenopinion,Imadeuseofa
definition of law practice which really means nothing because the definition says that law practice " . . . is what
peopleordinarilymeanbythepracticeoflaw."TrueIcitedthedefinitionbutonlybywayofsarcasmasevidentfrom
my statement that the definition of law practice by "traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous" or
definingaphrasebymeansofthephraseitselfthatisbeingdefined.

JusticeCruzgoesontosayinsubstancethatsincethelawcoversalmostallsituations,mostindividuals,inmaking
useofthelaw,orinadvisingothersonwhatthelawmeans,areactuallypracticinglaw.Inthatsense,perhaps,but
we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr. Monsod is alawyer,a member of the Philippine Bar, who has been
practising law for over ten years. This is different from the acts of persons practising law, without first becoming
lawyers.

JusticeCruzalsosaysthattheSupremeCourtcanevendisqualifyanelectedPresidentofthePhilippines,say,on
thegroundthathelacksoneormorequalifications.Thismatter,Igreatlydoubt.Foronething,howcananactionor
petitionbebroughtagainstthePresident?Andevenassumingthatheisindeeddisqualified,howcantheactionbe
entertainedsinceheistheincumbentPresident?

Wenowproceed:

TheCommissiononthebasisofevidencesubmitteddolingthepublichearingsonMonsod'sconfirmation,implicitly
determined that he possessed the necessary qualifications as required by law. The judgment rendered by the
Commissionintheexerciseofsuchanacknowledgedpowerisbeyondjudicialinterferenceexceptonlyuponaclear
showingofagraveabuseofdiscretionamountingtolackorexcessofjurisdiction.(Art.VIII,Sec.1Constitution).
Thus, only where such grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Commission's
judgment.Intheinstantcase,thereisnooccasionfortheexerciseoftheCourt'scorrectivepower,sincenoabuse,
much less a grave abuse of discretion, that would amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction and would warrant the
issuanceofthewritsprayed,forhasbeenclearlyshown.

Additionally,considerthefollowing:

(1)IftheCommissiononAppointmentsrejects a nominee by the President, may the Supreme Court


reverse the Commission, and thus in effect confirm the appointment? Clearly, the answer is in the
negative.

(2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee, whom the Commission has confirmed? The
answerislikewiseclear.

(3)IftheUnitedStatesSenate(whichistheconfirmingbodyintheU.S.Congress)decidestoconfirma
Presidentialnominee,itwouldbeincrediblethattheU.S.SupremeCourtwouldstillreverse the U.S.
Senate.

Finally,onesignificantlegalmaximis:

Wemustinterpretnotbytheletterthatkilleth,butbythespiritthatgivethlife.

Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the procurator of Judea asked Delilah (who was
Samson'sbeloved)forhelpincapturingSamson.Delilahagreedonconditionthat

Nobladeshalltouchhisskin

Nobloodshallflowfromhisveins.

WhenSamson(hislonghaircutbyDelilah)wascaptured,theprocuratorplacedanironrodburningwhitehottwoor
threeinchesawayfrominfrontofSamson'seyes.Thisblindedtheman.Uponhearingofwhathadhappenedtoher
beloved,Delilahwasbesideherselfwithanger,andfumingwithrighteousfury,accusedtheprocuratorofreneging
onhisword.Theprocuratorcalmlyreplied:"Didanybladetouchhisskin?Didanybloodflowfromhisveins?"The
procuratorwasclearlyrelyingontheletter,notthespiritoftheagreement.

Inviewoftheforegoing,thispetitionisherebyDISMISSED.

SOORDERED.

Fernan,C.J.,GrioAquinoandMedialdea,JJ.,concur.

Feliciano,J.,Icertifythathevotedtodismissthepetition.(Fernan,C.J.)
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Sarmiento,J.,isonleave.

Regalado,andDavide,Jr.,J.,tooknopart.

SeparateOpinions

NARVASA,J.,concurring:

IconcurwiththedecisionofthemajoritywrittenbyMr.JusticeParas,albeitonlyintheresultitdoesnotappearto
me that there has been an adequate showing that the challenged determination by the Commission on
AppointmentsthattheappointmentofrespondentMonsodasChairmanoftheCommissiononElectionsshould,on
thebasisofhisstatedqualificationsandafterdueassessmentthereof,beconfirmedwasattendedbyerrorsogross
astoamounttograveabuseofdiscretionandconsequentlymeritsnullificationbythisCourtinaccordancewiththe
secondparagraphofSection1,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitution.IthereforevotetoDENYthepetition.

PADILLA,J.,dissenting:

The records of this case will show that when the Court first deliberated on the Petition at bar, I voted not only to
require the respondents to comment on the Petition, but I was the sole vote for the issuance of a temporary
restrainingordertoenjoinrespondentMonsodfromassumingthepositionofCOMELECChairman,whiletheCourt
deliberated on his constitutional qualification for the office. My purpose in voting for a TRO was to prevent the
inconvenience and even embarrassment to all parties concerned were the Court to finally decide for respondent
Monsod'sdisqualification.Moreover,areadingofthePetitiontheninrelationtoestablishedjurisprudencealready
showedprimafaciethatrespondentMonsoddidnotpossesstheneededqualification,thatis,hehadnotengaged
inthepracticeoflawforatleastten(10)yearspriortohisappointmentasCOMELECChairman.

After considering carefully respondent Monsod's comment, I am even more convinced that the constitutional
requirementof"practiceoflawforatleastten(10)years"hasnotbeenmet.

Theproceduralbarriersinterposedbyrespondentsdeservescantconsiderationbecause,ultimately,thecoreissue
to be resolved in this petition is the proper construal of the constitutional provision requiring a majority of the
membershipofCOMELEC,includingtheChairmanthereofto"havebeenengagedinthepracticeoflawforatleast
ten (10) years." (Art. IX(C), Section 1(1), 1987 Constitution). Questions involving the construction of constitutional
provisionsarebestlefttojudicialresolution.AsdeclaredinAngarav.ElectoralCommission,(63Phil.139)"uponthe
judicial department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and defining
constitutionalboundaries."

The Constitution has imposed clear and specific standards for a COMELEC Chairman. Among these are that he
musthavebeen"engagedinthepracticeoflawforatleastten(10)years."ItistheboundendutyofthisCourtto
ensurethatsuchstandardismetandcompliedwith.

What constitutes practice of law? As commonly understood, "practice" refers to the actual performance or
application of knowledge as distinguished from mere possession of knowledge it connotes an active, habitual,
repeated or customary action. 1 To "practice" law, or any profession for that matter, means, to exercise or pursue an
employmentorprofessionactively,habitually,repeatedlyorcustomarily.

Therefore,adoctorofmedicinewhoisemployedandishabituallyperformingthetasksofanursingaide,cannotbe
said to be in the "practice of medicine." A certified public accountant who works as a clerk, cannot be said to
practicehisprofessionasanaccountant.Inthesameway,alawyerwhoisemployedasabusinessexecutiveora
corporate manager, other than as head or attorney of a Legal Department of a corporation or a governmental
agency,cannotbesaidtobeinthepracticeoflaw.

AsaptlyheldbythisCourtinthecaseofPeoplevs.Villanueva:2

Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in frequent or customary actions, a
successionofactsofthesamekind.Inotherwords,itisfrequenthabitualexercise(StatevsCotner,
127,p.1,87Kan.864,42LRA,M.S.768).Practiceoflawtofallwithintheprohibitionofstatutehas
been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public as a lawyer and
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demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644,647.) ... (emphasis
supplied).

ItisworthmentioningthattherespondentCommissiononAppointmentsinaMemorandumitprepared,enumerated
severalfactorsdeterminativeofwhetheraparticularactivityconstitutes"practiceoflaw."Itstates:

1.Habituality.Theterm"practiceoflaw"impliescustomarilyorhabituallyholdingone'sselfouttothe
publicasalawyer(Peoplevs.Villanueva,14SCRA109citingStatev.Boyen,4S.E.522,98N.C.644)
such as when one sends a circular announcing the establishment of a law office for the general
practice of law (U.S. v. Ney Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the oath of office as a lawyer
beforeanotarypublic,andfilesamanifestationwiththeSupremeCourtinformingitofhisintentionto
practicelawinallcourtsinthecountry(Peoplev.DeLuna,102Phil.968).

Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in frequent or customary action, a
successionofactsofthesamekind.Inotherwords,itisahabitualexercise(Peoplev.Villanueva,14
SCRA109citingStatev.Cotner,127,p.1,87Kan,864).

2.Compensation.Practiceoflawimpliesthatonemusthavepresentedhimselftobeintheactiveand
continuedpracticeofthelegalprofessionandthathisprofessionalservicesareavailabletothepublic
for compensation, as a service of his livelihood or in consideration of his said services. (People v.
Villanueva,supra).Hence,chargingforservicessuchaspreparationofdocumentsinvolvingtheuseof
legalknowledgeandskilliswithintheterm"practiceoflaw"(ErnaniPao,BarReviewerinLegaland
JudicialEthics,1988ed.,p.8citingPeoplev.People'sStockyardsStateBank,176N.B.901)and,one
who renders an opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, and receives pay for it, is to that
extent,practicinglaw(Martin,supra,p.806citingMendelaunv.GilbertandBarketMfg.Co.,290N.Y.S.
462) If compensation is expected, all advice to clients and all action taken for them in matters
connectedwiththelawarepracticinglaw.(ElwoodFitchetteetal.,v.ArthurC.Taylor,94AL.R.356
359)

3.Applicationoflawlegalprinciplepracticeorprocedurewhichcallsforlegalknowledge,trainingand
experienceiswithintheterm"practiceoflaw".(Martinsupra)

4. Attorneyclient relationship. Engaging in the practice of law presupposes the existence of lawyer
clientrelationship.Hence,wherealawyerundertakesanactivitywhichrequiresknowledgeoflawbut
involvesnoattorneyclientrelationship,suchasteachinglaworwritinglawbooksorarticles,hecannot
besaidtobeengagedinthepracticeofhisprofessionoralawyer(Agpalo,LegalEthics,1989ed.,p.
30).3

Theaboveenumeratedfactorswould,Ibelieve,beusefulaidsindeterminingwhether or not respondent Monsod


meetstheconstitutionalqualificationofpracticeoflawforatleastten(10)yearsatthetimeofhisappointmentas
COMELECChairman.

Thefollowingrelevantquestionsmaybeasked:

1.DidrespondentMonsodperformanyofthetaskswhicharepeculiartothepracticeoflaw?

2.Didrespondentperformsuchtaskscustomarilyorhabitually?

3.Assumingthatheperformedanyofsuchtaskshabitually,didhedosoHABITUALLYFORATLEASTTEN(10)
YEARSpriortohisappointmentasCOMELECChairman?

Given the employment or job history of respondent Monsod as appears from the records, I am persuaded that if
everhedidperformanyofthetaskswhichconstitutethepracticeoflaw,hedidnotdosoHABITUALLYforatleast
ten(10)yearspriortohisappointmentasCOMELECChairman.

Whileitmaybegrantedthatheperformedtasksandactivitieswhichcouldbelatitudinarianlyconsideredactivities
peculiartothepracticeoflaw,likethedraftingoflegaldocumentsandtherenderingoflegalopinionoradvice,such
were isolated transactions or activities which do not qualify his past endeavors as "practice of law." To become
engaged in the practice of law, there must be a continuity, or a succession of acts. As observed by the Solicitor
GeneralinPeoplevs.Villanueva:4

Essentially,thewordprivatepracticeoflawimpliesthatonemusthavepresentedhimselftobeinthe
activeandcontinuedpracticeofthelegalprofessionandthathisprofessionalservicesareavailableto
thepublicforacompensation,asasourceofhislivelihoodorinconsiderationofhissaidservices.

ACCORDINGLY, my vote is to GRANT the petition and to declare respondent Monsod as not qualified for the
positionofCOMELECChairmanfornothavingengagedinthepracticeoflawforatleastten(10)yearspriortohis
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appointmenttosuchposition.

CRUZ,J.,dissenting:

I am sincerely impressed by the ponencia of my brother Paras but find I must dissent just the same. There are
certainpointsonwhichImustdifferwithhimwhileofcourserespectinghisviewpoint.

Tobeginwith,Idonotthinkweareinhibitedfromexaminingthequalificationsoftherespondentsimplybecausehis
nominationhasbeenconfirmedbytheCommissiononAppointments.Inmyview,thisisnotapoliticalquestionthat
wearebarredfromresolving.Determinationoftheappointee'scredentialsismadeonthebasisoftheestablished
facts, not the discretion of that body. Even if it were, the exercise of that discretion would still be subject to our
review.

InLuego,whichiscitedintheponencia,whatwasinvolvedwasthediscretionoftheappointingauthoritytochoose
between two claimants to the same office who both possessed the required qualifications. It was that kind of
discretionthatwesaidcouldnotbereviewed.

If a person elected by no less than the sovereign people may be ousted by this Court for lack of the required
qualifications, I see no reason why we cannot disqualified an appointee simply because he has passed the
CommissiononAppointments.

Even the President of the Philippines may be declared ineligible by this Court in an appropriate proceeding
notwithstanding that he has been found acceptable by no less than the enfranchised citizenry. The reason is that
whatwewouldbeexaminingisnotthewisdomofhiselectionbutwhetherornothewasqualifiedtobeelectedin
thefirstplace.

Comingnowtothequalificationsoftheprivaterespondent,Ifearthattheponenciamayhavebeentoosweepingin
itsdefinitionofthephrase"practiceoflaw"astorenderthequalificationpracticallytoothless.Fromthenumerous
activitiesacceptedasembracedintheterm,Ihavetheuncomfortablefeelingthatonedoesnotevenhavetobea
lawyertobeengagedinthepracticeoflawaslongashisactivitiesinvolvetheapplicationofsomelaw,however
peripherally. The stock broker and the insurance adjuster and the realtor could come under the definition as they
dealwithorgiveadviceonmattersthatarelikely"tobecomeinvolvedinlitigation."

The lawyer is considered engaged in the practice of law even if his main occupation is another business and he
interpretsandappliessomelawonlyasanincidentofsuchbusiness.Thatcoverseverycompanyorganizedunder
the Corporation Code and regulated by the SEC under P.D. 902A. Considering the ramifications of the modern
society,thereishardlyanyactivitythatisnotaffectedbysomelaworgovernmentregulationthebusinessmanmust
knowaboutandobserve.Infact,againgoingbythedefinition,alawyerdoesnotevenhavetobepartofabusiness
concerntobeconsideredapractitioner.Hecanbesodeemedwhen,onhisown,herentsahouseorbuysacaror
consultsadoctorastheseactsinvolvehisknowledgeandapplicationofthelawsregulatingsuchtransactions.Ifhe
operatesapublicutilityvehicleashismainsourceoflivelihood,hewouldstillbedeemedengagedinthepracticeof
lawbecausehemustobeythePublicServiceActandtherulesandregulationsoftheEnergyRegulatoryBoard.

TheponenciaquotesanAmericandecisiondefiningthepracticeoflawasthe"performanceofanyacts...inorout
ofcourt,commonlyunderstoodtobethepracticeoflaw,"whichtellsusabsolutelynothing.Thedecisiongoesonto
saythat"becauselawyersperformalmosteveryfunctionknowninthecommercialandgovernmentalrealm,sucha
definitionwouldobviouslybetooglobaltobeworkable."

Theeffectofthedefinitiongivenintheponenciaistoconsidervirtuallyeverylawyertobeengagedinthepracticeof
lawevenifhedoesnotearnhisliving,oratleastpartofit,asalawyer.Itisenoughthathisactivitiesareincidentally
(even if only remotely) connected with some law, ordinance, or regulation. The possible exception is the lawyer
whoseincomeisderivedfromteachingballroomdancingorescortingwrinkledladieswithpubescentpretensions.

Therespondent'scredentialsareimpressive,tobesure,buttheydonotpersuademethathehasbeenengagedin
the practice of law for ten years as required by the Constitution. It is conceded that he has been engaged in
businessandfinance,inwhichareashehasdistinguishedhimself,butasanexecutiveandeconomistandnotasa
practicing lawyer. Theplainfactisthathehasoccupiedthevariouspositionslisted in his resume by virtue of his
experienceandprestigeasabusinessmanandnotasanattorneyatlawwhoseprincipalattentionisfocusedonthe
law.EvenifitbearguedthathewasactingasalawyerwhenhelobbiedinCongressforagrarianandurbanreform,
servedintheNAMFRELandtheConstitutionalCommission(togetherwithnonlawyerslikefarmersandpriests)and
wasamemberoftheDavideCommission,hehasnotprovedthathisactivitiesinthesecapacitiesextendedover
the prescribed 10year period of actual practice of the law. He is doubtless eminently qualified for many other
positionsworthyofhisabundanttalentsbutnotasChairmanoftheCommissiononElections.

I have much admiration for respondent Monsod, no less than for Mr. Justice Paras, but I must regretfully vote to
grantthepetition.

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GUTIERREZ,JR.,J.,dissenting:

Whenthispetitionwasfiled,therewashopethatengaginginthepracticeoflawasaqualificationforpublicoffice
wouldbesettledonewayoranotherinfairlydefinitiveterms.Unfortunately,thiswasnottheresult.

Ofthefourteen(14)memberCourt,5areoftheviewthatMr.ChristianMonsodengagedinthepracticeoflaw(with
oneofthese5leavinghisvotebehindwhileonofficialleavebutnotexpressinghisclearstandonthematter)4
categoricallystatingthathedidnotpracticelaw2votingintheresultbecausetherewasnoerrorsogrossasto
amount to grave abuse of discretion one of official leave with no instructions left behind on how he viewed the
issueand2nottakingpartinthedeliberationsandthedecision.

Therearetwokeyfactorsthatmakeourtaskdifficult.FirstisourreviewingtheworkofaconstitutionalCommission
onAppointmentswhosedutyispreciselytolookintothequalificationsofpersonsappointedtohighoffice.Evenif
the Commission errs, we have no power to set aside error. We can look only into grave abuse of discretion or
whimsically and arbitrariness. Second is our belief that Mr. Monsod possesses superior qualifications in terms of
executive ability, proficiency in management, educational background, experience in international banking and
finance, and instant recognition by the public. His integrity and competence are not questioned by the petitioner.
WhatisbeforeusiscompliancewithaspecificrequirementwrittenintotheConstitution.

Inspite of my high regard for Mr. Monsod, I cannot shirk my constitutional duty. He has never engaged in the
practiceoflawforevenoneyear.Heisamemberofthebarbuttosaythathehaspracticedlawisstretchingthe
termbeyondrationallimits.

A person may have passed the bar examinations. But if he has not dedicated his life to the law, if he has not
engagedinanactivitywheremembershipinthebarisarequirementIfailtoseehowhecanclaimtohavebeen
engagedinthepracticeoflaw.

EngaginginthepracticeoflawisaqualificationnotonlyforCOMELECchairmanbutalsoforappointmenttothe
SupremeCourtandalllowercourts.WhatkindofJudgesorJusticeswillwehaveiftheremainoccupationisselling
real estate, managing a business corporation, serving in factfinding committee, working in media, or operating a
farm with no active involvement in the law, whether in Government or private practice, except that in one joyful
momentinthedistantpast,theyhappenedtopassthebarexaminations?

TheConstitutionusesthephrase"engagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears."Thedeliberatechoiceof
words shows that the practice envisioned is active and regular, not isolated, occasional, accidental, intermittent,
incidental, seasonal, or extemporaneous. To be "engaged" in an activity for ten years requires committed
participationinsomethingwhichistheresultofone'sdecisivechoice.Itmeansthatoneisoccupiedandinvolvedin
theenterpriseoneisobligedorpledgedtocarryitoutwithintentandattentionduringthetenyearperiod.

I agree with the petitioner that based on the biodata submitted by respondent Monsod to the Commission on
Appointments,thelatterhasnotbeenengagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears.Infact,ifappearsthatMr.
Monsodhasneverpracticedlawexceptforanallegedoneyearperiodafterpassingthebarexaminationswhenhe
workedinhisfather'slawfirm.Eventhenhislawpracticemusthavebeenextremelylimitedbecausehewasalso
workingforM.A.andPh.D.degreesinEconomicsattheUniversityofPennsylvaniaduringthatperiod.Howcould
hepracticelawintheUnitedStateswhilenotamemberoftheBarthere?

Theprofessionallifeoftherespondentfollows:

1.15.1.RespondentMonsod'sactivitiessincehispassingtheBarexaminationsin1961consistofthe
following:

1.19611963:M.A.inEconomics(Ph.D.candidate),UniversityofPennsylvania

2. 19631970: World Bank Group Economist, Industry Department Operations, Latin American
DepartmentDivisionChief,SouthAsiaandMiddleEast,InternationalFinanceCorporation

3.19701973:MeralcoGroupExecutiveofvariouscompanies,i.e.,MeralcoSecuritiesCorporation,
PhilippinePetroleumCorporation,PhilippineElectricCorporation

4. 19731976: Yujuico Group President, FilCapital Development Corporation and affiliated


companies

5.19761978:FinacieraManilaChiefExecutiveOfficer

6.19781986:GueventGroupofCompaniesChiefExecutiveOfficer

7.19861987:PhilippineConstitutionalCommissionMember

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8.19891991:TheFactFindingCommissionontheDecember1989CoupAttemptMember

9.Presently:ChairmanoftheBoardandChiefExecutiveOfficerofthefollowingcompanies:

a.ACEContainerPhilippines,Inc.

b.Dataprep,Philippines

c.PhilippineSUNsystemsProducts,Inc.

d.SemiraraCoalCorporation

e.CBLTimberCorporation

MemberoftheBoardoftheFollowing:

a.EngineeringConstructionCorporationofthePhilippines

b.FirstPhilippineEnergyCorporation

c.FirstPhilippineHoldingsCorporation

d.FirstPhilippineIndustrialCorporation

e.GraphicAtelier

f.ManilaElectricCompany

g.PhilippineCommercialCapital,Inc.

h.PhilippineElectricCorporation

i.TarlacReforestationandEnvironmentEnterprises

j.TolongAquacultureCorporation

k.VisayanAquacultureCorporation

l.GuimarasAquacultureCorporation(Rollo,pp.2122)

There is nothing in the above biodata which even remotely indicates that respondent Monsod has given the law
enoughattentionoracertaindegreeofcommitmentandparticipationaswouldsupportinallsincerityandcandor
the claim of having engaged in its practice for at least ten years. Instead of working as a lawyer, he has lawyers
working for him. Instead of giving receiving that legal advice of legal services, he was the oneadvice and those
servicesasanexecutivebutnotasalawyer.

ThedeliberationsbeforetheCommissiononAppointmentsshowanefforttoequate"engagedinthepracticeoflaw"
withtheuseoflegalknowledgeinvariousfieldsofendeavorsuchascommerce,industry,civicwork,blueribbon
investigations,agrarianreform,etc.wheresuchknowledgewouldbehelpful.

IregretthatIcannotjoininplayingfastandloosewithaterm,whichevenanordinarylaymanacceptsashavinga
familiar and customary welldefined meaning. Every resident of this country who has reached the age of
discernment has to know, follow, or apply the law at various times in his life. Legal knowledge is useful if not
necessary for the business executive, legislator, mayor, barangay captain, teacher, policeman, farmer, fisherman,
marketvendor,andstudenttonameonlyafew.Andyet,canthesepeoplehonestlyassertthatassuch,theyare
engagedinthepracticeoflaw?

TheConstitutionrequireshavingbeen"engagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears."Itisnotsatisfiedwith
havingbeen"amemberofthePhilippinebarforatleasttenyears."

SomeAmericancourtshavedefinedthepracticeoflaw,asfollows:

Thepracticeoflawinvolvesnotonlyappearanceincourtinconnectionwithlitigationbutalsoservices
renderedoutofcourt,anditincludesthegivingofadviceortherenderingofanyservicesrequiringthe
useoflegalskillorknowledge,suchaspreparingawill,contractorotherinstrument,thelegaleffectof
which,underthefactsandconditionsinvolved,mustbecarefullydetermined.Peopleexrel.Chicago
BarAss'nv.Tinkoff,399Ill.282,77N.E.2d693Peopleexrel.IllinoisStateBarAss'nv.People'sStock
YardsStateBank,344Ill.462,176N.E.901,andcasescited.

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Itwouldbedifficult,ifnotimpossibletolaydownaformulaordefinitionofwhatconstitutesthepractice
oflaw."Practicinglaw"hasbeendefinedas"Practicingasanattorneyorcounseloratlawaccordingto
the laws and customs of our courts, is the giving of advice or rendition of any sort of service by any
person,firmorcorporationwhenthegivingofsuchadviceorrenditionofsuchservicerequirestheuse
of any degree of legal knowledge or skill." Without adopting that definition, we referred to it as being
substantiallycorrectinPeopleexrel.IllinoisStateBarAss'nv.People'sStockYardsStateBank,344
Ill.462,176N.E.901.(Peoplev.Schafer,87N.E.2d773,776)

Forone'sactionstocomewithinthepurviewofpracticeoflawtheyshouldnotonlybeactivitiespeculiartothework
ofalawyer,theyshouldalsobeperformed,habitually,frequentlyorcustomarily,towit:

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Respondent'sanswerstoquestionspropoundedtohimwereratherevasive.Hewasaskedwhetheror
not he ever prepared contracts for the parties in realestate transactions where he was not the
procuringagent.Heanswered:"Veryseldom."Inanswertothequestionastohowmanytimeshehad
prepared contracts for the parties during the twentyone years of his business, he said: "I have no
Idea."WhenaskedifitwouldbemorethanhalfadozentimeshisanswerwasIsuppose.Askedifhe
didnotrecallmakingthestatementtoseveralpartiesthathehadpreparedcontractsinalargenumber
ofinstances,heanswered:"Idon'trecallexactlywhatwassaid."Whenaskedifhedidnotremember
sayingthathehadmadeapracticeofpreparingdeeds,mortgagesandcontractsandchargingafeeto
thepartiesthereforininstanceswherehewasnotthebrokerinthedeal,heanswered:"Well,Idon't
believe so, that is not a practice." Pressed further for an answer as to his practice in preparing
contractsanddeedsforpartieswherehewasnotthebroker,hefinallyanswered:"Ihavedoneabout
everythingthatisonthebooksasfarasrealestateisconcerned."

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Respondenttakesthepositionthatbecauseheisarealestatebrokerhehasalawfulrighttodoany
legal work in connection with realestate transactions, especially in drawing of realestate contracts,
deeds, mortgages, notes and the like. There is no doubt but that he has engaged in these practices
overtheyearsandhaschargedforhisservicesinthatconnection....(Peoplev.Schafer,87N.E.2d
773)

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...Anattorney,inthemostgeneralsense,isapersondesignatedoremployedbyanothertoactinhis
steadanagentmoreespecially,oneofaclassofpersonsauthorizedtoappearandactforsuitorsor
defendants in legal proceedings. Strictly, these professional persons are attorneys at law, and non
professional agents are properly styled "attorney's in fact" but the single word is much used as
meaninganattorneyatlaw.Apersonmaybeanattorneyinfactoforanother,withoutbeinganattorney
atlaw.Abb.LawDict."Attorney."Apublicattorney,orattorneyatlaw,saysWebster,isanofficerofa
courtoflaw,legallyqualifiedtoprosecuteanddefendactionsinsuchcourtontheretainer of clients.
"Theprincipaldutiesofanattorneyare(1)tobetruetothecourtandtohisclient(2)tomanagethe
businessofhisclientwithcare,skill,andintegrity(3)tokeephisclientinformedastothestateofhis
business(4)tokeephissecretsconfidedtohimassuch....Hisrightsaretobejustlycompensatedfor
his services." Bouv. Law Dict. tit. "Attorney." The transitive verb "practice," as defined by Webster,
means'todoorperformfrequently,customarily,orhabituallytoperformbyasuccessionofacts,as,to
practice gaming, ... to carry on in practice, or repeated action to apply, as a theory, to real life to
exercise,asaprofession,trade,art.etc.as,topracticelawormedicine,'etc...."(Statev.Bryan,S.E.
522,523Emphasissupplied)

Inthisjurisdiction,wehaveruledthatthepracticeoflawdenotesfrequencyorasuccessionofacts.Thus,westated
inthecaseofPeoplev.Villanueva(14SCRA109[1965]):

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... Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary actions, a succession of
actsofthesamekind.Inotherwords,itisfrequenthabitualexercise(Statev.Cotner,127,p.1,87Kan.864,42
LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted as customarily or
habituallyholdingone'sselfouttothepublic,asalawyeranddemandingpaymentforsuchservices.....(atp.112)

ItistobenotedthattheCommissiononAppointmentitselfrecognizeshabitualityasarequiredcomponentofthe
meaningofpracticeoflawinaMemorandumpreparedandissuedbyit,towit:

l.Habituality. The term 'practice of law' implies customarilyor habitually holding one's self out to the
publicasalawyer(Peoplev.Villanueva,14SCRA109citingStatev.Bryan,4S.E.522,98N.C.644)
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such as when one sends a circular announcing the establishment of a law office for the general
practice of law (U.S. v. Noy Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the oath of office as a lawyer
beforeanotarypublic,andfilesamanifestationwiththeSupremeCourtinformingitofhisintentionto
practicelawinallcourtsinthecountry(Peoplev.DeLuna,102Phil.968).

Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary action, a
successionofactsofthesamekind.Inotherwords,itisahabitualexercise(Peoplev.Villanueva,14
SCRA109citingStatev.Cotner,127,p.1,87Kan,864)."(Rollo,p.115)

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WhilethecareerasabusinessmanofrespondentMonsodmayhaveprofitedfromhislegalknowledge,theuseof
such legal knowledge is incidental and consists of isolated activities which do not fall under the denomination of
practiceoflaw.AdmissiontothepracticeoflawwasnotrequiredformembershipintheConstitutionalCommission
or in the FactFinding Commission on the 1989 Coup Attempt. Any specific legal activities which may have been
assigned to Mr. Monsod while a member may be likened to isolated transactions of foreign corporations in the
PhilippineswhichdonotcategorizetheforeigncorporationsasdoingbusinessinthePhilippines.Asinthepractice
oflaw,doingbusinessalsoshouldbeactiveandcontinuous.Isolatedbusinesstransactionsoroccasional,incidental
and casual transactions are not within the context of doing business. This was our ruling in the case of Antam
Consolidated,Inc.v.Courtofappeals,143SCRA288[1986]).

RespondentMonsod,corporateexecutive,civicleader,andmemberoftheConstitutionalCommissionmaypossess
thebackground,competence,integrity,anddedication,toqualifyforsuchhighofficesasPresident,VicePresident,
Senator,CongressmanorGovernorbuttheConstitutioninprescribingthespecificqualificationofhavingengagedin
thepracticeoflawforatleastten(10)yearsforthepositionofCOMELECChairmanhasorderedthathemaynotbe
confirmed for that office. The Constitution charges the public respondents no less than this Court to obey its
mandate.

I, therefore, believe that the Commission on Appointments committed grave abuse of discretion in confirming the
nominationofrespondentMonsodasChairmanoftheCOMELEC.

IvotetoGRANTthepetition.

Bidin,J.,dissent

SeparateOpinions

NARVASA,J.,concurring:

IconcurwiththedecisionofthemajoritywrittenbyMr.JusticeParas,albeitonlyintheresultitdoesnotappearto
methattherehasbeenanadequateshowingthatthechallengeddeterminationbytheCommissionon
AppointmentsthattheappointmentofrespondentMonsodasChairmanoftheCommissiononElectionsshould,on
thebasisofhisstatedqualificationsandafterdueassessmentthereof,beconfirmedwasattendedbyerrorsogross
astoamounttograveabuseofdiscretionandconsequentlymeritsnullificationbythisCourtinaccordancewiththe
secondparagraphofSection1,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitution.IthereforevotetoDENYthepetition.

MelencioHerrera,J.,concur.

PADILLA,J.,dissenting:

TherecordsofthiscasewillshowthatwhentheCourtfirstdeliberatedonthePetitionatbar,Ivotednotonlyto
requiretherespondentstocommentonthePetition,butIwasthesolevotefortheissuanceofatemporary
restrainingordertoenjoinrespondentMonsodfromassumingthepositionofCOMELECChairman,whiletheCourt
deliberatedonhisconstitutionalqualificationfortheoffice.MypurposeinvotingforaTROwastopreventthe
inconvenienceandevenembarrassmenttoallpartiesconcernedweretheCourttofinallydecideforrespondent
Monsod'sdisqualification.Moreover,areadingofthePetitiontheninrelationtoestablishedjurisprudencealready
showedprimafaciethatrespondentMonsoddidnotpossesstheneededqualification,thatis,hehadnotengaged
inthepracticeoflawforatleastten(10)yearspriortohisappointmentasCOMELECChairman.

AfterconsideringcarefullyrespondentMonsod'scomment,Iamevenmoreconvincedthattheconstitutional
requirementof"practiceoflawforatleastten(10)years"hasnotbeenmet.

Theproceduralbarriersinterposedbyrespondentsdeservescantconsiderationbecause,ultimately,thecoreissue
toberesolvedinthispetitionistheproperconstrualoftheconstitutionalprovisionrequiringamajorityofthe
membershipofCOMELEC,includingtheChairmanthereofto"havebeenengagedinthepracticeoflawforatleast
ten(10)years."(Art.IX(C),Section1(1),1987Constitution).Questionsinvolvingtheconstructionofconstitutional
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provisionsarebestlefttojudicialresolution.AsdeclaredinAngarav.ElectoralCommission,(63Phil.139)"uponthe
judicialdepartmentisthrownthesolemnandinescapableobligationofinterpretingtheConstitutionanddefining
constitutionalboundaries."

TheConstitutionhasimposedclearandspecificstandardsforaCOMELECChairman.Amongthesearethathe
musthavebeen"engagedinthepracticeoflawforatleastten(10)years."ItistheboundendutyofthisCourtto
ensurethatsuchstandardismetandcompliedwith.

Whatconstitutespracticeoflaw?Ascommonlyunderstood,"practice"referstotheactualperformanceor
applicationofknowledgeasdistinguishedfrommerepossessionofknowledgeitconnotesanactive,habitual,
repeatedorcustomaryaction.1To"practice"law,oranyprofessionforthatmatter,means,toexerciseorpursuean
employmentorprofessionactively,habitually,repeatedlyorcustomarily.

Therefore,adoctorofmedicinewhoisemployedandishabituallyperformingthetasksofanursingaide,cannotbe
saidtobeinthe"practiceofmedicine."Acertifiedpublicaccountantwhoworksasaclerk,cannotbesaidto
practicehisprofessionasanaccountant.Inthesameway,alawyerwhoisemployedasabusinessexecutiveora
corporatemanager,otherthanasheadorattorneyofaLegalDepartmentofacorporationoragovernmental
agency,cannotbesaidtobeinthepracticeoflaw.

AsaptlyheldbythisCourtinthecaseofPeoplevs.Villanueva:2

Practiceismorethananisolatedappearanceforitconsistsinfrequentorcustomaryactions,a
successionofactsofthesamekind.Inotherwords,itisfrequenthabitualexercise(StatevsCotner,
127,p.1,87Kan.864,42LRA,M.S.768).Practiceoflawtofallwithintheprohibitionofstatutehas
beeninterpretedascustomarilyorhabituallyholdingone'sselfouttothepublicasalawyerand
demandingpaymentforsuchservices(Statevs.Bryan,4S.E.522,98N.C.644,647.)...(emphasis
supplied).

ItisworthmentioningthattherespondentCommissiononAppointmentsinaMemorandumitprepared,enumerated
severalfactorsdeterminativeofwhetheraparticularactivityconstitutes"practiceoflaw."Itstates:

1.Habituality.Theterm"practiceoflaw"impliescustomarilyorhabituallyholdingone'sselfouttothe
publicasalawyer(Peoplevs.Villanueva,14SCRA109citingStatev.Boyen,4S.E.522,98N.C.644)
suchaswhenonesendsacircularannouncingtheestablishmentofalawofficeforthegeneral
practiceoflaw(U.S.v.NeyBosque,8Phil.146),orwhenonetakestheoathofofficeasalawyer
beforeanotarypublic,andfilesamanifestationwiththeSupremeCourtinformingitofhisintentionto
practicelawinallcourtsinthecountry(Peoplev.DeLuna,102Phil.968).

Practiceismorethananisolatedappearanceforitconsistsinfrequentorcustomaryaction,a
successionofactsofthesamekind.Inotherwords,itisahabitualexercise(Peoplev.Villanueva,14
SCRA109citingStatev.Cotner,127,p.1,87Kan,864).

2.Compensation.Practiceoflawimpliesthatonemusthavepresentedhimselftobeintheactiveand
continuedpracticeofthelegalprofessionandthathisprofessionalservicesareavailabletothepublic
forcompensation,asaserviceofhislivelihoodorinconsiderationofhissaidservices.(Peoplev.
Villanueva,supra).Hence,chargingforservicessuchaspreparationofdocumentsinvolvingtheuseof
legalknowledgeandskilliswithintheterm"practiceoflaw"(ErnaniPao,BarReviewerinLegaland
JudicialEthics,1988ed.,p.8citingPeoplev.People'sStockyardsStateBank,176N.B.901)and,one
whorendersanopinionastotheproperinterpretationofastatute,andreceivespayforit,istothat
extent,practicinglaw(Martin,supra,p.806citingMendelaunv.GilbertandBarketMfg.Co.,290N.Y.S.
462)Ifcompensationisexpected,alladvicetoclientsandallactiontakenfortheminmatters
connectedwiththelawarepracticinglaw.(ElwoodFitchetteetal.,v.ArthurC.Taylor,94AL.R.356
359)

3.Applicationoflawlegalprinciplepracticeorprocedurewhichcallsforlegalknowledge,trainingand
experienceiswithintheterm"practiceoflaw".(Martinsupra)

4.Attorneyclientrelationship.Engaginginthepracticeoflawpresupposestheexistenceoflawyer
clientrelationship.Hence,wherealawyerundertakesanactivitywhichrequiresknowledgeoflawbut
involvesnoattorneyclientrelationship,suchasteachinglaworwritinglawbooksorarticles,hecannot
besaidtobeengagedinthepracticeofhisprofessionoralawyer(Agpalo,LegalEthics,1989ed.,p.
30).3

Theaboveenumeratedfactorswould,Ibelieve,beusefulaidsindeterminingwhetherornotrespondentMonsod
meetstheconstitutionalqualificationofpracticeoflawforatleastten(10)yearsatthetimeofhisappointmentas
COMELECChairman.

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Thefollowingrelevantquestionsmaybeasked:

1.DidrespondentMonsodperformanyofthetaskswhicharepeculiartothepracticeoflaw?

2.Didrespondentperformsuchtaskscustomarilyorhabitually?

3.Assumingthatheperformedanyofsuchtaskshabitually,didhedosoHABITUALLYFORATLEASTTEN(10)
YEARSpriortohisappointmentasCOMELECChairman?

GiventheemploymentorjobhistoryofrespondentMonsodasappearsfromtherecords,Iampersuadedthatif
everhedidperformanyofthetaskswhichconstitutethepracticeoflaw,hedidnotdosoHABITUALLYforatleast
ten(10)yearspriortohisappointmentasCOMELECChairman.

Whileitmaybegrantedthatheperformedtasksandactivitieswhichcouldbelatitudinarianlyconsideredactivities
peculiartothepracticeoflaw,likethedraftingoflegaldocumentsandtherenderingoflegalopinionoradvice,such
wereisolatedtransactionsoractivitieswhichdonotqualifyhispastendeavorsas"practiceoflaw."Tobecome
engagedinthepracticeoflaw,theremustbeacontinuity,orasuccessionofacts.AsobservedbytheSolicitor
GeneralinPeoplevs.Villanueva:4

Essentially,thewordprivatepracticeoflawimpliesthatonemusthavepresentedhimselftobeinthe
activeandcontinuedpracticeofthelegalprofessionandthathisprofessionalservicesareavailableto
thepublicforacompensation,asasourceofhislivelihoodorinconsiderationofhissaidservices.

ACCORDINGLY,myvoteistoGRANTthepetitionandtodeclarerespondentMonsodasnotqualifiedforthe
positionofCOMELECChairmanfornothavingengagedinthepracticeoflawforatleastten(10)yearspriortohis
appointmenttosuchposition.

CRUZ,J.,dissenting:

IamsincerelyimpressedbytheponenciaofmybrotherParasbutfindImustdissentjustthesame.Thereare
certainpointsonwhichImustdifferwithhimwhileofcourserespectinghisviewpoint.

Tobeginwith,Idonotthinkweareinhibitedfromexaminingthequalificationsoftherespondentsimplybecausehis
nominationhasbeenconfirmedbytheCommissiononAppointments.Inmyview,thisisnotapoliticalquestionthat
wearebarredfromresolving.Determinationoftheappointee'scredentialsismadeonthebasisoftheestablished
facts,notthediscretionofthatbody.Evenifitwere,theexerciseofthatdiscretionwouldstillbesubjecttoour
review.

InLuego,whichiscitedintheponencia,whatwasinvolvedwasthediscretionoftheappointingauthoritytochoose
betweentwoclaimantstothesameofficewhobothpossessedtherequiredqualifications.Itwasthatkindof
discretionthatwesaidcouldnotbereviewed.

IfapersonelectedbynolessthanthesovereignpeoplemaybeoustedbythisCourtforlackoftherequired
qualifications,Iseenoreasonwhywecannotdisqualifiedanappointeesimplybecausehehaspassedthe
CommissiononAppointments.

EventhePresidentofthePhilippinesmaybedeclaredineligiblebythisCourtinanappropriateproceeding
notwithstandingthathehasbeenfoundacceptablebynolessthantheenfranchisedcitizenry.Thereasonisthat
whatwewouldbeexaminingisnotthewisdomofhiselectionbutwhetherornothewasqualifiedtobeelectedin
thefirstplace.

Comingnowtothequalificationsoftheprivaterespondent,Ifearthattheponenciamayhavebeentoosweepingin
itsdefinitionofthephrase"practiceoflaw"astorenderthequalificationpracticallytoothless.Fromthenumerous
activitiesacceptedasembracedintheterm,Ihavetheuncomfortablefeelingthatonedoesnotevenhavetobea
lawyertobeengagedinthepracticeoflawaslongashisactivitiesinvolvetheapplicationofsomelaw,however
peripherally.Thestockbrokerandtheinsuranceadjusterandtherealtorcouldcomeunderthedefinitionasthey
dealwithorgiveadviceonmattersthatarelikely"tobecomeinvolvedinlitigation."

Thelawyerisconsideredengagedinthepracticeoflawevenifhismainoccupationisanotherbusinessandhe
interpretsandappliessomelawonlyasanincidentofsuchbusiness.Thatcoverseverycompanyorganizedunder
theCorporationCodeandregulatedbytheSECunderP.D.902A.Consideringtheramificationsofthemodern
society,thereishardlyanyactivitythatisnotaffectedbysomelaworgovernmentregulationthebusinessmanmust
knowaboutandobserve.Infact,againgoingbythedefinition,alawyerdoesnotevenhavetobepartofabusiness
concerntobeconsideredapractitioner.Hecanbesodeemedwhen,onhisown,herentsahouseorbuysacaror
consultsadoctorastheseactsinvolvehisknowledgeandapplicationofthelawsregulatingsuchtransactions.Ifhe
operatesapublicutilityvehicleashismainsourceoflivelihood,hewouldstillbedeemedengagedinthepracticeof
lawbecausehemustobeythePublicServiceActandtherulesandregulationsoftheEnergyRegulatoryBoard.

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TheponenciaquotesanAmericandecisiondefiningthepracticeoflawasthe"performanceofanyacts...inorout
ofcourt,commonlyunderstoodtobethepracticeoflaw,"whichtellsusabsolutelynothing.Thedecisiongoesonto
saythat"becauselawyersperformalmosteveryfunctionknowninthecommercialandgovernmentalrealm,sucha
definitionwouldobviouslybetooglobaltobeworkable."

Theeffectofthedefinitiongivenintheponenciaistoconsidervirtuallyeverylawyertobeengagedinthepracticeof
lawevenifhedoesnotearnhisliving,oratleastpartofit,asalawyer.Itisenoughthathisactivitiesareincidentally
(evenifonlyremotely)connectedwithsomelaw,ordinance,orregulation.Thepossibleexceptionisthelawyer
whoseincomeisderivedfromteachingballroomdancingorescortingwrinkledladieswithpubescentpretensions.

Therespondent'scredentialsareimpressive,tobesure,buttheydonotpersuademethathehasbeenengagedin
thepracticeoflawfortenyearsasrequiredbytheConstitution.Itisconcededthathehasbeenengagedin
businessandfinance,inwhichareashehasdistinguishedhimself,butasanexecutiveandeconomistandnotasa
practicinglawyer.Theplainfactisthathehasoccupiedthevariouspositionslistedinhisresumebyvirtueofhis
experienceandprestigeasabusinessmanandnotasanattorneyatlawwhoseprincipalattentionisfocusedonthe
law.EvenifitbearguedthathewasactingasalawyerwhenhelobbiedinCongressforagrarianandurbanreform,
servedintheNAMFRELandtheConstitutionalCommission(togetherwithnonlawyerslikefarmersandpriests)and
wasamemberoftheDavideCommission,hehasnotprovedthathisactivitiesinthesecapacitiesextendedover
theprescribed10yearperiodofactualpracticeofthelaw.Heisdoubtlesseminentlyqualifiedformanyother
positionsworthyofhisabundanttalentsbutnotasChairmanoftheCommissiononElections.

IhavemuchadmirationforrespondentMonsod,nolessthanforMr.JusticeParas,butImustregretfullyvoteto
grantthepetition.

GUTIERREZ,JR.,J.,dissenting:

Whenthispetitionwasfiled,therewashopethatengaginginthepracticeoflawasaqualificationforpublicoffice
wouldbesettledonewayoranotherinfairlydefinitiveterms.Unfortunately,thiswasnottheresult.

Ofthefourteen(14)memberCourt,5areoftheviewthatMr.ChristianMonsodengagedinthepracticeoflaw(with
oneofthese5leavinghisvotebehindwhileonofficialleavebutnotexpressinghisclearstandonthematter)4
categoricallystatingthathedidnotpracticelaw2votingintheresultbecausetherewasnoerrorsogrossasto
amounttograveabuseofdiscretiononeofofficialleavewithnoinstructionsleftbehindonhowheviewedthe
issueand2nottakingpartinthedeliberationsandthedecision.

Therearetwokeyfactorsthatmakeourtaskdifficult.FirstisourreviewingtheworkofaconstitutionalCommission
onAppointmentswhosedutyispreciselytolookintothequalificationsofpersonsappointedtohighoffice.Evenif
theCommissionerrs,wehavenopowertosetasideerror.Wecanlookonlyintograveabuseofdiscretionor
whimsicallyandarbitrariness.SecondisourbeliefthatMr.Monsodpossessessuperiorqualificationsintermsof
executiveability,proficiencyinmanagement,educationalbackground,experienceininternationalbankingand
finance,andinstantrecognitionbythepublic.Hisintegrityandcompetencearenotquestionedbythepetitioner.
WhatisbeforeusiscompliancewithaspecificrequirementwrittenintotheConstitution.

InspiteofmyhighregardforMr.Monsod,Icannotshirkmyconstitutionalduty.Hehasneverengagedinthe
practiceoflawforevenoneyear.Heisamemberofthebarbuttosaythathehaspracticedlawisstretchingthe
termbeyondrationallimits.

Apersonmayhavepassedthebarexaminations.Butifhehasnotdedicatedhislifetothelaw,ifhehasnot
engagedinanactivitywheremembershipinthebarisarequirementIfailtoseehowhecanclaimtohavebeen
engagedinthepracticeoflaw.

EngaginginthepracticeoflawisaqualificationnotonlyforCOMELECchairmanbutalsoforappointmenttothe
SupremeCourtandalllowercourts.WhatkindofJudgesorJusticeswillwehaveiftheremainoccupationisselling
realestate,managingabusinesscorporation,servinginfactfindingcommittee,workinginmedia,oroperatinga
farmwithnoactiveinvolvementinthelaw,whetherinGovernmentorprivatepractice,exceptthatinonejoyful
momentinthedistantpast,theyhappenedtopassthebarexaminations?

TheConstitutionusesthephrase"engagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears."Thedeliberatechoiceof
wordsshowsthatthepracticeenvisionedisactiveandregular,notisolated,occasional,accidental,intermittent,
incidental,seasonal,orextemporaneous.Tobe"engaged"inanactivityfortenyearsrequirescommitted
participationinsomethingwhichistheresultofone'sdecisivechoice.Itmeansthatoneisoccupiedandinvolvedin
theenterpriseoneisobligedorpledgedtocarryitoutwithintentandattentionduringthetenyearperiod.

IagreewiththepetitionerthatbasedonthebiodatasubmittedbyrespondentMonsodtotheCommissionon
Appointments,thelatterhasnotbeenengagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears.Infact,ifappearsthatMr.
Monsodhasneverpracticedlawexceptforanallegedoneyearperiodafterpassingthebarexaminationswhenhe
workedinhisfather'slawfirm.Eventhenhislawpracticemusthavebeenextremelylimitedbecausehewasalso
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workingforM.A.andPh.D.degreesinEconomicsattheUniversityofPennsylvaniaduringthatperiod.Howcould
hepracticelawintheUnitedStateswhilenotamemberoftheBarthere?

Theprofessionallifeoftherespondentfollows:

1.15.1.RespondentMonsod'sactivitiessincehispassingtheBarexaminationsin1961consistofthe
following:

1.19611963:M.A.inEconomics(Ph.D.candidate),UniversityofPennsylvania

2.19631970:WorldBankGroupEconomist,IndustryDepartmentOperations,LatinAmerican
DepartmentDivisionChief,SouthAsiaandMiddleEast,InternationalFinanceCorporation

3.19701973:MeralcoGroupExecutiveofvariouscompanies,i.e.,MeralcoSecuritiesCorporation,
PhilippinePetroleumCorporation,PhilippineElectricCorporation

4.19731976:YujuicoGroupPresident,FilCapitalDevelopmentCorporationandaffiliated
companies

5.19761978:FinacieraManilaChiefExecutiveOfficer

6.19781986:GueventGroupofCompaniesChiefExecutiveOfficer

7.19861987:PhilippineConstitutionalCommissionMember

8.19891991:TheFactFindingCommissionontheDecember1989CoupAttemptMember

9.Presently:ChairmanoftheBoardandChiefExecutiveOfficerofthefollowingcompanies:

a.ACEContainerPhilippines,Inc.

b.Dataprep,Philippines

c.PhilippineSUNsystemsProducts,Inc.

d.SemiraraCoalCorporation

e.CBLTimberCorporation

MemberoftheBoardoftheFollowing:

a.EngineeringConstructionCorporationofthePhilippines

b.FirstPhilippineEnergyCorporation

c.FirstPhilippineHoldingsCorporation

d.FirstPhilippineIndustrialCorporation

e.GraphicAtelier

f.ManilaElectricCompany

g.PhilippineCommercialCapital,Inc.

h.PhilippineElectricCorporation

i.TarlacReforestationandEnvironmentEnterprises

j.TolongAquacultureCorporation

k.VisayanAquacultureCorporation

l.GuimarasAquacultureCorporation(Rollo,pp.2122)

ThereisnothingintheabovebiodatawhichevenremotelyindicatesthatrespondentMonsodhasgiventhelaw
enoughattentionoracertaindegreeofcommitmentandparticipationaswouldsupportinallsincerityandcandor
theclaimofhavingengagedinitspracticeforatleasttenyears.Insteadofworkingasalawyer,hehaslawyers

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workingforhim.Insteadofgivingreceivingthatlegaladviceoflegalservices,hewastheoneadviceandthose
servicesasanexecutivebutnotasalawyer.

ThedeliberationsbeforetheCommissiononAppointmentsshowanefforttoequate"engagedinthepracticeoflaw"
withtheuseoflegalknowledgeinvariousfieldsofendeavorsuchascommerce,industry,civicwork,blueribbon
investigations,agrarianreform,etc.wheresuchknowledgewouldbehelpful.

IregretthatIcannotjoininplayingfastandloosewithaterm,whichevenanordinarylaymanacceptsashavinga
familiarandcustomarywelldefinedmeaning.Everyresidentofthiscountrywhohasreachedtheageof
discernmenthastoknow,follow,orapplythelawatvarioustimesinhislife.Legalknowledgeisusefulifnot
necessaryforthebusinessexecutive,legislator,mayor,barangaycaptain,teacher,policeman,farmer,fisherman,
marketvendor,andstudenttonameonlyafew.Andyet,canthesepeoplehonestlyassertthatassuch,theyare
engagedinthepracticeoflaw?

TheConstitutionrequireshavingbeen"engagedinthepracticeoflawforatleasttenyears."Itisnotsatisfiedwith
havingbeen"amemberofthePhilippinebarforatleasttenyears."

SomeAmericancourtshavedefinedthepracticeoflaw,asfollows:

Thepracticeoflawinvolvesnotonlyappearanceincourtinconnectionwithlitigationbutalsoservices
renderedoutofcourt,anditincludesthegivingofadviceortherenderingofanyservicesrequiringthe
useoflegalskillorknowledge,suchaspreparingawill,contractorotherinstrument,thelegaleffectof
which,underthefactsandconditionsinvolved,mustbecarefullydetermined.Peopleexrel.Chicago
BarAss'nv.Tinkoff,399Ill.282,77N.E.2d693Peopleexrel.IllinoisStateBarAss'nv.People'sStock
YardsStateBank,344Ill.462,176N.E.901,andcasescited.

Itwouldbedifficult,ifnotimpossibletolaydownaformulaordefinitionofwhatconstitutesthepractice
oflaw."Practicinglaw"hasbeendefinedas"Practicingasanattorneyorcounseloratlawaccordingto
thelawsandcustomsofourcourts,isthegivingofadviceorrenditionofanysortofservicebyany
person,firmorcorporationwhenthegivingofsuchadviceorrenditionofsuchservicerequirestheuse
ofanydegreeoflegalknowledgeorskill."Withoutadoptingthatdefinition,wereferredtoitasbeing
substantiallycorrectinPeopleexrel.IllinoisStateBarAss'nv.People'sStockYardsStateBank,344
Ill.462,176N.E.901.(Peoplev.Schafer,87N.E.2d773,776)

Forone'sactionstocomewithinthepurviewofpracticeoflawtheyshouldnotonlybeactivitiespeculiartothework
ofalawyer,theyshouldalsobeperformed,habitually,frequentlyorcustomarily,towit:

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Respondent'sanswerstoquestionspropoundedtohimwereratherevasive.Hewasaskedwhetheror
notheeverpreparedcontractsforthepartiesinrealestatetransactionswherehewasnotthe
procuringagent.Heanswered:"Veryseldom."Inanswertothequestionastohowmanytimeshehad
preparedcontractsforthepartiesduringthetwentyoneyearsofhisbusiness,hesaid:"Ihaveno
Idea."WhenaskedifitwouldbemorethanhalfadozentimeshisanswerwasIsuppose.Askedifhe
didnotrecallmakingthestatementtoseveralpartiesthathehadpreparedcontractsinalargenumber
ofinstances,heanswered:"Idon'trecallexactlywhatwassaid."Whenaskedifhedidnotremember
sayingthathehadmadeapracticeofpreparingdeeds,mortgagesandcontractsandchargingafeeto
thepartiesthereforininstanceswherehewasnotthebrokerinthedeal,heanswered:"Well,Idon't
believeso,thatisnotapractice."Pressedfurtherforananswerastohispracticeinpreparing
contractsanddeedsforpartieswherehewasnotthebroker,hefinallyanswered:"Ihavedoneabout
everythingthatisonthebooksasfarasrealestateisconcerned."

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Respondenttakesthepositionthatbecauseheisarealestatebrokerhehasalawfulrighttodoany
legalworkinconnectionwithrealestatetransactions,especiallyindrawingofrealestatecontracts,
deeds,mortgages,notesandthelike.Thereisnodoubtbutthathehasengagedinthesepractices
overtheyearsandhaschargedforhisservicesinthatconnection....(Peoplev.Schafer,87N.E.2d
773)

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...Anattorney,inthemostgeneralsense,isapersondesignatedoremployedbyanothertoactinhis
steadanagentmoreespecially,oneofaclassofpersonsauthorizedtoappearandactforsuitorsor
defendantsinlegalproceedings.Strictly,theseprofessionalpersonsareattorneysatlaw,andnon
professionalagentsareproperlystyled"attorney'sinfact"butthesinglewordismuchusedas
meaninganattorneyatlaw.Apersonmaybeanattorneyinfactoforanother,withoutbeinganattorney

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atlaw.Abb.LawDict."Attorney."Apublicattorney,orattorneyatlaw,saysWebster,isanofficerofa
courtoflaw,legallyqualifiedtoprosecuteanddefendactionsinsuchcourtontheretainerofclients.
"Theprincipaldutiesofanattorneyare(1)tobetruetothecourtandtohisclient(2)tomanagethe
businessofhisclientwithcare,skill,andintegrity(3)tokeephisclientinformedastothestateofhis
business(4)tokeephissecretsconfidedtohimassuch....Hisrightsaretobejustlycompensatedfor
hisservices."Bouv.LawDict.tit."Attorney."Thetransitiveverb"practice,"asdefinedbyWebster,
means'todoorperformfrequently,customarily,orhabituallytoperformbyasuccessionofacts,as,to
practicegaming,...tocarryoninpractice,orrepeatedactiontoapply,asatheory,toreallifeto
exercise,asaprofession,trade,art.etc.as,topracticelawormedicine,'etc...."(Statev.Bryan,S.E.
522,523Emphasissupplied)

Inthisjurisdiction,wehaveruledthatthepracticeoflawdenotesfrequencyorasuccessionofacts.Thus,westated
inthecaseofPeoplev.Villanueva(14SCRA109[1965]):

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...Practiceismorethananisolatedappearance,foritconsistsinfrequentorcustomaryactions,asuccessionof
actsofthesamekind.Inotherwords,itisfrequenthabitualexercise(Statev.Cotner,127,p.1,87Kan.864,42
LRA,M.S.768).Practiceoflawtofallwithintheprohibitionofstatutehasbeeninterpretedascustomarilyor
habituallyholdingone'sselfouttothepublic,asalawyeranddemandingpaymentforsuchservices.....(atp.112)

ItistobenotedthattheCommissiononAppointmentitselfrecognizeshabitualityasarequiredcomponentofthe
meaningofpracticeoflawinaMemorandumpreparedandissuedbyit,towit:

l.Habituality.Theterm'practiceoflaw'impliescustomarilyorhabituallyholdingone'sselfouttothe
publicasalawyer(Peoplev.Villanueva,14SCRA109citingStatev.Bryan,4S.E.522,98N.C.644)
suchaswhenonesendsacircularannouncingtheestablishmentofalawofficeforthegeneral
practiceoflaw(U.S.v.NoyBosque,8Phil.146),orwhenonetakestheoathofofficeasalawyer
beforeanotarypublic,andfilesamanifestationwiththeSupremeCourtinformingitofhisintentionto
practicelawinallcourtsinthecountry(Peoplev.DeLuna,102Phil.968).

Practiceismorethananisolatedappearance,foritconsistsinfrequentorcustomaryaction,a
successionofactsofthesamekind.Inotherwords,itisahabitualexercise(Peoplev.Villanueva,14
SCRA109citingStatev.Cotner,127,p.1,87Kan,864)."(Rollo,p.115)

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WhilethecareerasabusinessmanofrespondentMonsodmayhaveprofitedfromhislegalknowledge,theuseof
suchlegalknowledgeisincidentalandconsistsofisolatedactivitieswhichdonotfallunderthedenominationof
practiceoflaw.AdmissiontothepracticeoflawwasnotrequiredformembershipintheConstitutionalCommission
orintheFactFindingCommissiononthe1989CoupAttempt.Anyspecificlegalactivitieswhichmayhavebeen
assignedtoMr.Monsodwhileamembermaybelikenedtoisolatedtransactionsofforeigncorporationsinthe
PhilippineswhichdonotcategorizetheforeigncorporationsasdoingbusinessinthePhilippines.Asinthepractice
oflaw,doingbusinessalsoshouldbeactiveandcontinuous.Isolatedbusinesstransactionsoroccasional,incidental
andcasualtransactionsarenotwithinthecontextofdoingbusiness.ThiswasourrulinginthecaseofAntam
Consolidated,Inc.v.Courtofappeals,143SCRA288[1986]).

RespondentMonsod,corporateexecutive,civicleader,andmemberoftheConstitutionalCommissionmaypossess
thebackground,competence,integrity,anddedication,toqualifyforsuchhighofficesasPresident,VicePresident,
Senator,CongressmanorGovernorbuttheConstitutioninprescribingthespecificqualificationofhavingengagedin
thepracticeoflawforatleastten(10)yearsforthepositionofCOMELECChairmanhasorderedthathemaynotbe
confirmedforthatoffice.TheConstitutionchargesthepublicrespondentsnolessthanthisCourttoobeyits
mandate.

I,therefore,believethattheCommissiononAppointmentscommittedgraveabuseofdiscretioninconfirmingthe
nominationofrespondentMonsodasChairmanoftheCOMELEC.

IvotetoGRANTthepetition.

Bidin,J.,dissent

Footnotes

1Webster's3rdNewInternationalDictionary.

214SCRA109

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3CommissiononAppointments'Memorandumdated25June1991RE:WHATCONSTITUTES
PRACTICEOFLAW,pp.67.

414SCRA109.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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