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In Re Dacanay

B.M. No. 1678


17 December 2007

Facts:

Mr. Benjamin Dacanay wanted to resume his practice of law. He was admitted to the Bar in 1960. However, due to
his illness, he went to Canada in 1998 and applied for Canadian citizenship to avail the benefits there. His
application was approved in 2004. Pursuant to the RA 9225, petitioner reacquired his citizenship. He took an oath of
allegiance as a Filipino citizen before the Philippine Consulate General in Canada. He returned to the Philippines
and intended resume practice law.

The Office of the Bar Confidant opined that Dacanay should be admitted to the law practice again because by the
virtue of his reacquisition of his citizenship, Dacanay has again met all the qualifications and has none of the
disqualifications. As long has he will take the lawyer’s oath again, he will be able to practice law.

Issue:

Whether petitioner Dacanay lost his membership in the Philippine Bar when he gave up his Philippines citizenship
in 2004.

Ruling:

The Supreme Court approved the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant with certain modifications.
Admission to the bar requires certain qualifications. The Rules of Court requires that the applicant must be a citizen
of the Philippines, at least 21 years old, of good moral character and a resident of the Philippines. He must also
produce evidence that no charges against him, involving moral turpitude have been filed or are pending in any court.
Moreover, there are also various phases that the applicant must undergo such as furnishing satisfactory proof of
education, moral and other qualifications; passing the bar; taking the lawyer’s oath and signing the roll of attorneys
ans receiving from the clerk of court a certificate of the license to practice.

The second requisite for the practice of law is membership in good standing. This means that a member of the bar
must have continued membership and must have continuously paid the annual membership of IBP dues; he must
have also paid the annual professional tax; compliance with the mandatory continuing legal education requirement;
faithful observance of the rules and ethics of the legal profession.

A lawyer who lost his Filipino citizenship cannot practice law anymore. However, pursuant to RA 9225, if Filipino
citizenship is lost by reason of naturalization as a citizen of another country but subsequently reacquired it, said
former member of the bar can still practice law. According to the said law, “all Philippine citizens who become
citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of RA
9225.” It is as if he never lost his citizenship. However, this is subject to certain condition according to the Supreme
Court. These are:

1) The updating and the payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP;
2) Payment of professional tax;
3) Completion of at least 36 credit hours of MCLE to refresh the applicant or petitioner’s knowledge of
Philippine laws and jurisprudence; and
4) Retaking of the lawyer’s oath.

These four requirements must be complied with first before Dacanay can practice law again.