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edesma vs.

Post under case digests, Legal Ethics at Thursday, March 01, 2012 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind

Facts: Petitioner Ledesma was assigned as counsel de

parte for an accused in a case pending in the sala of the
respondent judge.

On October 13, 1964, Ledesma was appointed Election

Registrar for the Municipality of Cadiz, Negros Occidental.
He commenced discharging his duties, and filed a motion
to withdraw from his position as counsel de parte.

The respondent Judge not only denied the motion but also
appointed him as counsel de oficio for the two defendants.

On November 3, 1964, petitioner filed an urgent motion to

be allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio, premised on
the policy of the Commission on Elections to require full
time service as well as on the volume or pressure of work
of petitioner, which could prevent him from handling
adequately the defense.

On November 6, Judge denied the motion. Hence,

Ledesma instituted this certiorari proceeding.
Issue: Whether or not a member of the bar may withdraw
as counsel de oficio due to appointment as Election

Held: The ends of justice would be served by requiring

Ledesma to continue as counsel de oficio because: the
case has been postponed at least 8 times at the defense's
instance; there was no incompatibility between duty of
petitioner to defend the accused, and his task as an
election registrar. There is not likely at present, and in the
immediate future, an exorbitant demand on his time.

Ledesma's withdrawal would be an act showing his lack of

fidelity to the duty required of the legal profession. He ought
to have known that membership in the bar is burdened with
conditions. The legal profession is dedicated to the ideal of
service, and is not a mere trade. A lawyer may be required
to act as counsel de oficio to aid in the performance of the
administration of justice. The fact that such services are
rendered without pay should not diminish the lawyer's zeal.

In People v. Holgado: “In criminal cases there can be no

fair hearing unless the accused be given an opportunity to
be heard by counsel. The right to be heard would be of little
avail if it does not include the right to be heard by counsel.
Even the most intelligent or educated man may have no
skill in the science of law, particularly in the rules of
procedure, and; without counsel, he may be convicted not
because he is guilty but because he does not know how to
establish his innocence. And this can happen more easily
to persons who are ignorant or uneducated. It is for this
reason that the right to be assisted by counsel is deemed
so important that it has become a constitutional right and it
is so implemented that under rules of procedure it is not
enough for the Court to apprise an accused of his right to
have an attorney, it is not enough to ask him whether he
desires the aid of an attorney, but it is essential that the
court should assign one de oficio for him if he so desires
and he is poor or grant him a reasonable time to procure
an attorney of his own.”

The present Constitution provides not only “that the

accused shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and
counsel” but further provides that “Any person under
investigation for the commission of an offense shall have
the right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed
of such right. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any
other means which vitiates the free will shall be used
against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this
section shall be inadmissible in evidence.” This made
manifest the indispensable role of a member of the Bar in
the defense of the accused.

Thus, Ledesma should exert himself sufficiently, if not with

zeal, if only to erase doubts as to his fitness to remain a
member of the profession in good standing. The
admonition is ever timely for those enrolled in the ranks of
legal practitioners that there are times, and this is one of
them, when duty to court and to client takes precedence
over the promptings of self-interest.



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Alawi v Alauya
January 31, 2016Thinker Bell


Sophia Alawi was a sales representative of E.B. Villarosa & Partners Co., Ltd. of Davao City, a
real estate and housing company. Ashari M. Alauya is the incumbent executive clerk of court of
the 4th Judicial Shari’a District in Marawi City, They were classmates, and used to be friends.

Through Alawi’s agency, a contract was executed for the purchase on installments by Alauya of
one of the housing units of Villarosa. In connection, a housing loan was also granted to Alauya
by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).

Not long afterwards, Alauya addressed a letter to the President of Villarosa & Co. advising of the
termination of his contract with the company. He claimed that his consent was vitiated because
Alawi had resorted to gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, dishonesty and abuse of confidence.
He laso wrote similar letters to the Vice President of Villarosa and the Vice President of

On learning of Alauya’s letters, Alawi filed an administrative complaint against him. One of her
grounds was Alauya’s usurpation of the title of “attorney,” which only regular members of the
Philippine Bar may properly use.
Alauya justified his use of the title, “attorney,” by the assertion that it is “lexically synonymous”
with “Counsellors-at-law.” a title to which Shari’a lawyers have a rightful claim, adding that he
prefers the title of “attorney” because “counsellor” is often mistaken for “councilor,” “konsehal”
or the Maranao term “consial,” connoting a local legislator beholden to the mayor. Withal, he
does not consider himself a lawyer.


Whether or not Alauya, a member of the Shari’a bar, can use the title of Attorney


He can’t. The title is only reserved to those who pass the regular Philippine bar.

As regards Alauya’s use of the title of “Attorney,” this Court has already had occasion to declare
that persons who pass the Shari’a Bar are not full-fledged members of the Philippine Bar, hence
may only practice law before Shari’a courts. While one who has been admitted to the Shari’a
Bar, and one who has been admitted to the Philippine Bar, may both be considered
“counsellors,” in the sense that they give counsel or advice in a professional capacity, only the
latter is an “attorney.” The title of “attorney” is reserved to those who, having obtained the
necessary degree in the study of law and successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been
admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain members thereof in good standing;
and it is they only who are authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction

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