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E. 650) A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when all times under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon
[ G.R. No. 100113, September 03, 1991 ] he: all attorneys." (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1953
RENATO L. CAYETANO, PETITIONER, VS. CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. "x x x for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising ed.], p. 665-666, citing In re Opinion of the Justices [Mass.], 194 N. E.
JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS, AND HON. person, firms, associations or corporations as to their rights under the 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.]
GUILLERMO CARAGUE, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF BUDGET law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in 179 A. 139, 144]). (Italics ours)
AND MANAGEMENT, RESPONDENTS. proceedings pending or prospective, before any court,
commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation
DECISION constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and there, in briefing for new lawyers (1974--1975) listed the dimensions of the
PARAS, J.: such representative capacity performs any act or acts for the practice of law in even broader terms as advocacy, counseling and
purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under the public service.
We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching proportions. law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, "One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of
While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's decision in engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the employment in the profession. If what he does exacts knowledge of
this case would indubitably have a profound effect on the political law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or the law and is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in the active
aspect of our national existence. outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law." practice of their profession, and he follows some one or more lines of
(State ex. rel. Mckittrick v. C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 employment such as this he is a practicing attorney at law within the
The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C: Mo. 852) meaning of the statute.'" (Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW 312)
"There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v. Agrava, (105 Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires
and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Phil. 173, 176-177) stated: the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and
Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five experience. "To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts
years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been "The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation which are characteristics of the profession. Generally, to practice law
candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device or service
elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill." (111 ALR
be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and 23)
practice of law for at least ten years." (Italics supplied) courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients,
The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section 1(1), Article XII-C and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law The following records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that
of the 1973 Constitution which similarly provides: incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services it has adopted a liberal interpretation of the term "practice of law."
"There shall be an independent Commission on Elections composed contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the "MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I make a manifestation
of a Chairman and eight Commissioners who shall be natural-born foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in which I forgot to do during our review of the provisions on the
citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting Commission on Audit. May I be allowed to make a very brief
least thirty-five years of age and holders of a college degree. proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and statement?
However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the
members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done "THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). The Commissioner will please
practice of law for at least ten years." (Italics supplied) involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal proceed.
Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what effect of facts and conditions." (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). (Italics supplied)
constitutes practice of law as a legal qualification to an appointive "MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the members of the
office. "Practice of law under modern conditions consists in no small part of Commission on Audit. Among others, the qualifications provided for
work performed outside of any court and having no immediate by Section 1 is that 'They must be Members of the Philippine Bar' - I am
Black defines "practice of law" as: relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the quoting from the provision 'who have been engaged in the practice
"The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects, and the of law for at least ten years.'"
application of legal principles and technique to serve the interest of preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive
another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or field of business and trust relations and other affairs. Although these "To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding
advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, members of the Bar who are now employed in the COA or
preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and they are always subject to become involved in litigation. They require Commission on Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this
special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of legal in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with provision on qualifications regarding members of the Bar does not
instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and necessarily refer or involve actual practice of law outside the COA.
embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken for them in complex situations. These customary functions of an attorney or We have to interpret this to mean that as long as the lawyers who are
matters connected with the law. An attorney engages in the counselor at law bear an intimate relation to the administration of employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge or legal talent
practice of law by maintaining an office where he is held out to be justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the in their respective work within COA, then they are qualified to be
an attorney, using a letterhead describing himself as an attorney, question set forth in the order, can be drawn between that part of the considered for appointment as members or commissioners, even
counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part chairman, of the Commission on Audit.
about pending litigation, and fixing and collecting fees for services which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is of
rendered by his associate." (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.) importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold "This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. customary functions be performed by persons possessed of Commissions and Agencies and we deem it important to take it up
(Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken, 129 Ohio St. 23, 193 N. adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at on the floor so that this interpretation may be made available
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whenever this provision on the qualifications as regards members of practice of law as that which lawyers do. (Charles W. Wolfram, mediation are both effective for many clients and a source of
the Philippine Bar engaging in the practice of law for at least ten years Modern Legal Ethics [West Publishing Co.: Minnesota, 1986], p. 593). employment. (Ibid.).
is taken up. The practice of law is defined as "the performance of any acts . . . in
or out of court, commonly understood to be the practice of law. Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in litigation
"MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one question. (State Bar Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145 Conn. 222, 140 work that is constrained in very important ways, at least theoretically,
A.2d 863, 870 [1958] [quoting Grievance Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn. so as to remove from it some of the salient features of adversarial
"MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626 [1941]). Because lawyers perform almost every litigation. Of these special roles, the most prominent is that of
function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a prosecutor. In some lawyers' work the constraints are imposed both
"MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA by a lawyer definition would obviously be too global to be workable. (Wolfram, by the nature of the client and by the way in which the lawyer is
is equivalent to the requirement of a law practice that is set forth in op. cit.). organized into a social unit to perform that work. The most common
the Article on the Commission on Audit? of these roles are those of corporate practice and government legal
The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a client is at once service. (Ibid.).
"MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of COA, although the most publicly familiar role for lawyers as well as an uncommon role
it is auditing, will necessarily involve legal work: it will involve legal for the average lawyer. Most lawyers spend little time in courtrooms, In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, hereinbelow
work. And, therefore, lawyers who are employed in COA now would and a large percentage spend their entire practice without litigating quoted are emerging trends in corporate law practice, a departure
have the necessary qualifications in accordance with the provision a case. (Ibid., p. 593). Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue to from the traditional concept of practice of law.
on qualifications under our provisions on the Commission on Audit. litigate and the litigating lawyer's role colors much of both the public We are experiencing today what truly may be called a revolutionary
And, therefore, the answer is yes. image and the self-perception of the legal profession. (Ibid.). transformation in corporate law practice. Lawyers and other
professional groups, in particular those members participating in
"MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is that this is In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public mind various legal-policy decisional contexts, are finding that
equivalent to the practice of law. reflects history, not reality. (Ibid.). Why is this so? Recall that the late understanding the major emerging trends in corporation law is
Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer, once articulated on the indispensable to intelligent decision-making.
"MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. importance of a lawyer as a business counselor in this wise: "Even
today, there are still uninformed laymen whose concept of an Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today
"Mr. OPLE, Thank you." attorney is one who principally tries cases before the courts. The requires an accurate understanding of the nature and implications of
members of the bench and bar and the informed laymen such as the corporate law research function accompanied by an
x x x (Italics supplied) businessmen, know that in most developed societies today, accelerating rate of information accumulation. The recognition of
Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among substantially more legal work is transacted in law offices than in the the need for such improved corporate legal policy formulation,
others, that the Chairman and two Commissioners of the Commission courtrooms. General practitioners of law who do both litigation and particularly "model-making" and "contingency planning," has
on Audit (COA) should either be certified public accountants with not non-litigation work also know that in most cases they find themselves impressed upon us the inadequacy of traditional procedures in many
less than ten years of auditing practice, or members of the Philippine spending more time doing what [is] loosely describe[d] as business decisional contexts.
Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten counseling than in trying cases. The business lawyer has been
years. (Italics supplied) described as the planner, the diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be processed,
surgeon. I[t] need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine, the sorting and weighing of significant conditional factors, the
Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many surgery should be avoided where internal medicine can be appraisal of major trends, the necessity of estimating the
ways synonymous with the word "lawyer." Today, although many effective." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. consequences of given courses of action, and the need for fast
lawyers do not engage in private practice, it is still a fact that the 4). decision and response in situations of acute danger have prompted
majority of lawyers are private practitioners. (Gary Munneke, the use of sophisticated concepts of information flow theory,
Opportunities in Law Careers [VGM Career Horizons: Illinois), 1986], p. In the course of a working day the average general practitioner will operational analysis, automatic data processing, and electronic
15]). engage in a number of legal tasks, each involving different legal computing equipment. Understandably, an improved decisional
doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal institutions, clients, and structure must stress the predictive component of the policy-making
At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. The term, other interested parties. Even the increasing numbers of lawyers in process, wherein a "model", of the decisional context or a segment
as commonly understood, means "an individual or organization specialized practice will usually perform at least some legal services thereof is developed to test projected alternative courses of action in
engaged in the business of delivering legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers outside their specialty. And even within a narrow specialty such as terms of futuristic effects flowing therefrom.
who practice alone are often called "sole practitioners." Groups of tax practice, a lawyer will shift from one legal task or role such as
lawyers are called "firms." The firm is usually a partnership and advice-giving to an importantly different one such as representing a Although members of the legal profession are regularly engaged in
members of the firm are the partners. Some firms may be organized client before an administrative agency. (Wolfram, supra, p. 687). predicting and projecting the trends of the law, the subject of
as professional corporations and the members called shareholders. In corporate finance law has received relatively little organized and
either case, the members of the firm are the experienced attorneys. By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer formalized attention in the philosophy of advancing corporate legal
In most firms, there are younger or more inexperienced salaried is one of the relatively rare types a litigator who specializes in this work education. Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary approach to legal
attorneys called "associates." (Ibid.). to the exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will require the lawyer research has become a vital necessity.
to have mastered the full range of traditional lawyer skills of client
The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional areas of counseling, advice-giving, document drafting, and negotiation. And Certainly, the general orientation for productive contributions by
law practice is essentially tautologous, unhelpfully defining the increasingly lawyers find that the new skills of evaluation and those trained primarily in the law can be improved through an early
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introduction to multi-variable decisional contexts and the various coveted by corporate lawyers. In most cases, however, the overseas that differ from older, more adversarial relationships and traditional
approaches for handling such problems. Lawyers, particularly with jobs go to experienced attorneys while the younger attorneys do their forms of seeking to influence governmental policies. And there are
either a master's or doctorate degree in business administration or "international practice" in law libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law lessons to be learned from other countries. In Europe, Esprit, Eureka
management, functioning at the legal-policy level of decision- Practice," May 25, 1990, p. 4). and Race are examples of collaborative efforts between
making now have some appreciation for the concepts and analytical governmental and business Japan's MITI is world famous. (Italics
techniques of other professions which are currently engaged in similar This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer in the realm supplied)
types of complex decision-making. of finance. To borrow the lines of Harvard-educated lawyer Bruce
Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who fails to spot problems, a Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of the
Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent Corporate Counsel comprises a distinct group within the managerial
would require the services of an astute attorney because of the lawyer is one who surmounts them." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance structure of all kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of both long-term
complex legal implications that arise from each and every necessary Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4) and temporary groups within organizations has been found to be
step in securing and maintaining the business issue raised. (Business related to indentifiable factors in the group-context interaction such
Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a "shot in the as the groups actively revising their knowledge of the environment,
arm," so to speak. No longer are we talking of the traditional law coordinating work with outsiders, promoting team achievements
In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously teaching method of confining the subject study to the Corporation within the organization. In general, such external activities are better
referred to as the "abogado de campanilla." He is the "big-time" Code and the Securities Code but an incursion as well into the predictors of team performance than internal group processes.
lawyer, earning big money and with a clientele composed of the intertwining modern management issues.
tycoons and magnates of business and industry. In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the corporate
Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily with three (3) lawyer vis-a-vis the managerial mettle of corporations are
Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people types of learning: (1) acquisition of insights into current advances challenged. Current research is seeking ways both to anticipate
could not explain what it is that a corporate lawyer does. For one, which are of particular significance to the corporate counsel; (2) an effective managerial procedures and to understand relationships of
the number of attorneys employed by a single corporation will vary introduction to usable disciplinary skills applicable to a corporate financial liability and insurance considerations. (Underscoring
with the size and type of the corporation. Many smaller and some counsel's management responsibilities; and (3) a devotion to the supplied)
large corporations farm out all their legal problems to private law organization and management of the legal function itself.
firms. Many others have in-house counsel only for certain matters. Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel, three factors
Other corporations have a staff large enough to handle most legal These three subject areas may be thought of as intersecting circles, are apropos:
problems in-house. with a shared area linking them. Otherwise known as "intersecting
managerial jurisprudence," it forms a unifying theme for the corporate First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been found
A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who counsel's total learning. an effective tool for new managerial thinking regarding both
handles the legal affairs of a corporation. His areas of concern or planning and pressing immediate problems. An understanding of the
jurisdiction may include, inter alia: corporate legal research, tax laws Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences affect the role of feedback loops, inventory levels, and rates of flow, enable
research, acting out as corporate secretary (in board meetings), counsel's role. For that matter, the corporate lawyer reviews the users to simulate all sorts of systematic problems physical, economic,
appearances in both courts and other adjudicatory agencies globalization process, including the resulting strategic repositioning managerial, social, and psychological. New programming
(including the Securities and Exchange Commission), and in other that the firms he provides counsel for are required to make, and the techniques now make the systems dynamics principles more
capacities which require an ability to deal with the law. need to think about a corporation's strategy at multiple levels. The accessible to managers including corporate counsels. (Italics
salience of the nation-state is being reduced as firms deal both with supplied)
At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume responsibilities other global multinational entities and simultaneously with sub-national
than the legal affairs of the business of the corporation he is governmental units. Firms increasingly collaborate not only with Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better decisions
representing. These include such matters as determining policy and public entities but with each other often with those who are involving complexity and uncertainty. In the context of a law
becoming involved in management. (Italics supplied) competitors in other arenas. department, it can be used to appraise the settlement value of
litigation, aid in negotiation settlement, and minimize the cost and risk
In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-making within involved in managing a portfolio of cases. (Italics supplied)
isolated from the action, or not understanding how one's work the corporation is rapidly changing. The modern corporate lawyer
actually fits into the work of the organization. This can be frustrating has gained a new role as a stakeholder in some cases participating Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer-based
to someone who needs to see the results of his work first hand. In short, in the organization and operations of governance through models can be used directly by parties and mediators in all kinds of
a corporate lawyer is sometimes offered this fortune to be more participation on boards and other decision-making roles. Often these negotiations. All integrated set of such tools provide coherent and
closely involved in the running of the business. new patterns develop alongside existing legal institutions and laws effective negotiation support, including hands-on on instruction in
are perceived as barriers. These trends are complicated as these techniques. A simulation case of an international joint venture
Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be engaged corporations organize for global operations. (Italics supplied) may be used to illustrate the point.
by a multinational corporation (MNC). Some large MNCs provide one
of the few opportunities available to corporate lawyers to enter the The practicing lawyer of today is familiar as well with governmental [Be this as it may,] the organization and management of the legal
international law field. After all, international law is practiced in a policies toward the promotion and management of technology. function, concern three pointed areas of consideration, thus:
relatively small number of companies and law firms. Because working New collaborative arrangements for promoting specific technologies
in a foreign country is perceived by many as glamorous, this is an area or competitiveness more generally require approaches from industry
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Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills that Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Central Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. 11). (Underscoring
comprise a major part of the general counsel's responsibilities. They Appointments of Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a citizen and supplied)
differ from those of remedial law. Preventive lawyering is concerned taxpayer, filed the instant petition for Certiorari and Prohibition
with minimizing the risks of legal trouble and maximizing legal rights for praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's Constitution; it
such legal entities at that time when transactional or similar facts are Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null lays down the law as far as the loan transaction is concerned. Thus,
being considered and made. and void. the meat of any Loan Agreement can be compartmentalized into
five (5) fundamental parts: (1) business terms; (2) borrower's
Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having representation; (3) conditions of closing; (4) covenants; and (5) events
undertaken those activities of the firm to which legal consequences passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86.55%. He has of default. (Ibid., p. 13).
attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this nation's evolving been a dues paying member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
economic and organizational fabric as firms change to stay since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt
competitive in a global, interdependent environment. The practice license fees as a lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo) restructuring program. For aside from performing the tasks of
and theory of "law" is not adequate today to facilitate the legislative drafting and legal advising, they score national
relationships needed in trying to make a global economy work. After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having hurdled development policies as key factors in maintaining their countries'
the bar, Atty. Monsod worked in the law office of his father. During his sovereignty. (Condensed from the work paper, entitled "Wanted:
Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's Office. The stint in the World Bank Group (1963-1970), Monsod worked as an Development Lawyers for Developing Nations," submitted by L.
general counsel has emerged in the last decade as one of the most operations officer for about two years in Costa Rica and Panama, Michael Hager, regional legal adviser of the United States Agency for
vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The corporate counsel bear which involved getting acquainted with the laws of member- International Development, during the Session on Law for the
responsibility for key aspects of the firm's strategic issues, including countries, negotiating loans and coordinating legal, economic, and Development of Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in Ivory
structuring its global operations, managing improved relationships project work of the Bank. Upon returning to the Philippines in 1970, he Coast, sponsored by the World Peace Through Law Center on August
with an increasingly diversified body of employees, managing worked with the Meralco Group, served as chief executive officer of 26-31, 1973). (Italics supplied)
expanded liability exposure, creating new and varied interactions an investment bank and subsequently of a business conglomerate,
with public decision-makers, coping internally with more complex and since 1986, has rendered services to various companies as a legal Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than
make or by decisions. and economic consultant or chief executive officer. As former purely renegotiation policies, demand expertise in the law of
Secretary-General (1986) and National Chairman (1987) of NAMFREL, contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting and in renegotiation.
This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing corporate law Monsod's, work involved being knowledgeable in election law. He Necessarily, a sovereign lawyer may work with an international
is not enough to make one a good general corporate counsel nor to appeared for NAMFREL in its accredition hearings before the business specialist or an economist in the formulation of a model loan
give him a full sense of how the legal system shapes corporate Comelec. In the field of advocacy, Monsod, in his personal capacity agreement. Debt restructuring contract agreements contain such a
activities. And even if the corporate lawyer's aim is not to understand and as former Co-Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's Conference mixture of technical language that they should be carefully drafted
all of the law's effects on corporate activities, he must, at the very for Human Development, has worked with the under privileged and signed only with the advise of competent counsel in conjunction
least, also gain a working knowledge of the management issues if sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor groups, in initiating, with the guidance of adequate technical support personnel. (See
only to be able to grasp not only the basic legal "constitution" or lobbying for and engaging in affirmative action for the agrarian International Law Aspects of the Philippine External Debts, an
make-up of the modern corporation. (Business Star, "The Corporate reform law and lately the urban land reform bill. Monsod also made unpublished dissertation, U.S.T. Graduate School of Law, 1987, p. 321).
Counsel," April 10, 1991, p. 4).. use of his legal knowledge as a member of the Davide Commission, (Italics supplied)
a guasi-judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings (1990)
The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench) is to have and as a member of the Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and A critical aspect of sovereign debt restructuring/contract
more than a passing knowledge of financial law affecting each Chairman of its Committee on Accountability of Public Officers, for construction is the set of terms and conditions which determines the
aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit to ignorance of vast which he was cited by the President of the Commission, Justice contractual remedies for a failure to perform one or more elements
tracts of the financial law territory. What transpires next is a dilemma Cecilia-Munoz--Palma for "innumerable amendments to reconcile of the contract. A good agreement must not only define the
of professional security: Will the lawyer admit ignorance and risk government functions with individual freedoms and public responsibilities of both parties, but must also state the recourse open
opprobrium?; or will he feign understanding and risk exposure? accountability and the party-list system for the House of to either party when the other fails to discharge an obligation. For a
(Business Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). Representative." (pp. 128-129 Rollo) (Italics supplied) compleat debt restructuring represents a devotion to that principle
Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon which in the ultimate analysis is sine qua non for foreign loan
C. Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which Atty. agreements an adherence to the rule of law in domestic and
received by the Secretariat of the Commission on Appointments on Monsod used to be a member. international affairs of whose kind U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver
April 25, 1991. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said; 'They carry no banners, they beat no
Monsod does not possess the required qualification of having been team, and which is adequately constituted to meet the various drums; but where they are, men learn that bustle and bush are not
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. contingencies that arise during a negotiation. Besides top officials of the equal of quiet genius and serene mastery.' (See Ricardo J.
the Borrower concerned, there are the legal officer (such as the legal Romulo, "The Role of Lawyers in Foreign Investments," Integrated Bar
On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the counsel), the finance manager, and an operations officer (such as an of the Philippine Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth
nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC. On June 18, official involved in negotiating the contracts) who comprise the Quarters, 1977, p. 265).
1991, he took his oath of office. On the same day, he assumed office members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven, "Loan Negotiating
as Chairman of the COMELEC. Strategies for Developing Country Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term "practice
of law", particularly the modern concept of law practice, and taking
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into consideration the liberal construction intended by the framers of notion of law practice, as distinguished from the modern concept of in effect confirm the appointment? Clearly, the answer is in the
the Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer- the practice of law, which modern connotation is exactly what was negative.
economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a intended by the eminent framers of the 1987 Constitution. Moreover,
lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the Justice Padilla's definition would require generally a habitual law (2)
rich and the poor - verily more than satisfy the constitutional practice, perhaps practised two or three times a week and would In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee, whom the
requirement - that he has been engaged in the practice of law for at outlaw say, law practice once or twice a year for ten consecutive Commission has confirmed? The answer is likewise clear.
least ten years. years. Clearly, this is far from the constitutional intent.
Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143 (3)
SCRA 327, the Court said: Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz If the United States Senate (which is the confirming body in the U.S.
"Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be states that in my written opinion, I made use of a definition of law Congress) decides to confirm a Presidential nominee, it would be
performed by the officer in which it is vested according to his best practice which really means nothing because the definition says that incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would still reverse the U.S.
lights, the only condition being that the appointee should possess the law practice "... is what people ordinarily mean by the practice of Senate.
qualifications required by law. If he does, then the appointment law." True I cited the definition but only by way of sarcasm as evident
cannot be faulted on the ground that there are others better from my statement that the definition of law practice by "traditional Finally, one significant legal maxim is:
qualified who should have been preferred. This is a political question areas of law practice is essentially tautologous" or defining a phrase "We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit that
involving considerations of wisdom which only the appointing by means of the phrase itself that is being defined. giveth life."
authority can decide." (italics supplied) Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the
No less emphatic was the Court in the case of Central Bank v. Civil Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the law covers procurator of Judea asked Delilah (who was Samson's beloved) for
Service Commission, 171 SCRA 744) where it stated: almost all situations, most individuals, in making use of the law, or in help in capturing Samson. Delilah agreed on condition that
"It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this case, advising others on what the law means, are actually practicing law. "No blade shall touch his skin; No blood shall flow from his veins."
and all the other legal requirements are satisfied, the Commission has In that sense, perhaps, but we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr. When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured, the
no alternative but to attest to the appointment in accordance with Monsod is a lawyer, a member of the Philippine Bar, who has been procurator placed an iron rod burning white-hot two or three inches
the Civil Service Law. The Commission has no authority to revoke an practicing law for over ten years. This is different from the acts of away from in front of Samson's eyes. This blinded the man. Upon
appointment on the ground that another person is more qualified for persons practicing law, without first becoming lawyers. hearing of what had happened to her beloved, Delilah was beside
a particular position. It also has no authority to direct the herself with anger, and fuming with righteous fury, accused the
appointment of a substitute of its choice. To do so would be an Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even disqualify an procurator of reneging on his word. The procurator calmly replied:
encroachment on the discretion vested upon the appointing elected President of the Philippines, say, on the ground that he lacks "Did any blade touch his skin? Did any blood flow from his veins?" The
authority. An appointment is essentially within the discretionary one or more qualifications. This matter, I greatly doubt. For one thing, procurator was clearly relying on the letter, not the spirit of the
power of whomsoever it is vested, subject to the only condition that how can an action or petition be brought against the President? And agreement.
the appointee should possess the qualifications required by law." even assuming that he is indeed disqualified, how can the action be
(Italics supplied) entertained since he is the incumbent President? IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this petition is hereby DISMISSED.
The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the case at
bar, consists of four (4) stages: (1) nomination; (2) confirmation by the We now proceed:
Commission on Appointments; (3) issuance of a commission (in the
Philippines, upon submission by the Commission on Appointments of The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted during the public [ A.C. No. 5281, February 12, 2008 ]
its certificate of confirmation, the President issues the permanent hearings on Monsod's confirmation, implicitly determined that he MANUEL L. LEE, Complainant, vs. ATTY. REGINO B. TAMBAGO,
appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath-taking, posting of possessed the necessary qualifications as required by law. The Respondent.
bond, etc.... (Lacson v. Romero, No. L-3081, October 14, 1949; judgment rendered by the Commission in the exercise of such an
Gonzales, Law on Public Officers, p. 200) acknowledged power is beyond judicial interference except only RESOLUTION
upon a clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to CORONA, J.:
The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its consent to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only
the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on where such grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court In a letter-complaint dated April 10, 2000, complainant Manuel L. Lee
Elections is mandated by Section 1(2) Sub-Article C, Article IX of the interfere with the Commission's judgment. In the instant case, there is charged respondent Atty. Regino B. Tambago with violation of the
Constitution which provides: no occasion for the exercise of the Court's corrective power, since no Notarial Law and the ethics of the legal profession for notarizing a
"The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the abuse, much less a grave abuse of discretion, that would amount to spurious last will and testament.
President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a lack or excess of jurisdiction and would warrant the issuance of the
term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, writs prayed, for has been clearly shown. In his complaint, complainant averred that his father, the decedent
three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five Vicente Lee, Sr., never executed the contested will. Furthermore, the
years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Additionally, consider the following: spurious will contained the forged signatures of Cayetano Noynay
Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of and Loreto Grajo, the purported witnesses to its execution.
the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or (1)
designated in a temporary or acting capacity." If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee by the In the said will, the decedent supposedly bequeathed his entire
Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice it to say that President, may the Supreme Court reverse the Commission, and thus estate to his wife Lim Hock Lee, save for a parcel of land which he
his definition of the practice of law is the traditional or stereotyped
6

devised to Vicente Lee, Jr. and Elena Lee, half-siblings of In a resolution dated October 17, 2001, the Court referred the case to
complainant. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and An acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed a deed in
recommendation.[10] going before some competent officer or court and declaring it to be
The will was purportedly executed and acknowledged before his act or deed. It involves an extra step undertaken whereby the
respondent on June 30, 1965.[1] Complainant, however, pointed out In his report, the investigating commissioner found respondent guilty signatory actually declares to the notary public that the same is his or
that the residence certificate[2] of the testator noted in the of violation of pertinent provisions of the old Notarial Law as found in her own free act and deed.[21] The acknowledgment in a notarial
acknowledgment of the will was dated January 5, 1962.[3] the Revised Administrative Code. The violation constituted an will has a two-fold purpose: (1) to safeguard the testator's wishes long
Furthermore, the signature of the testator was not the same as his infringement of legal ethics, particularly Canon 1[11] and Rule after his demise and (2) to assure that his estate is administered in the
signature as donor in a deed of donation[4] (containing his purported 1.01[12] of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).[13] Thus, the manner that he intends it to be done.
genuine signature). Complainant averred that the signatures of his investigating commissioner of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline
deceased father in the will and in the deed of donation were "in any recommended the suspension of respondent for a period of three A cursory examination of the acknowledgment of the will in question
way (sic) entirely and diametrically opposed from (sic) one another in months. shows that this particular requirement was neither strictly nor
all angle[s]."[5] substantially complied with. For one, there was the conspicuous
The IBP Board of Governors, in its Resolution No. XVII-2006-285 dated absence of a notation of the residence certificates of the notarial
Complainant also questioned the absence of notation of the May 26, 2006, resolved: witnesses Noynay and Grajo in the acknowledgment. Similarly, the
residence certificates of the purported witnesses Noynay and Grajo. [T]o ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, notation of the testator's old residence certificate in the same
He alleged that their signatures had likewise been forged and merely with modification, the Report and Recommendation of the acknowledgment was a clear breach of the law. These omissions by
copied from their respective voters' affidavits. Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case, herein made respondent invalidated the will.
part of this Resolution as Annex "A"; and, finding the recommendation
Complainant further asserted that no copy of such purported will was fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws As the acknowledging officer of the contested will, respondent was
on file in the archives division of the Records Management and and rules, and considering Respondent's failure to comply with the required to faithfully observe the formalities of a will and those of
Archives Office of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts laws in the discharge of his function as a notary public, Atty. Regino notarization. As we held in Santiago v. Rafanan:[22]
(NCCA). In this connection, the certification of the chief of the B. Tambago is hereby suspended from the practice of law for one The Notarial Law is explicit on the obligations and duties of notaries
archives division dated September 19, 1999 stated: year and Respondent's notarial commission is Revoked and public. They are required to certify that the party to every document
Doc. 14, Page No. 4, Book No. 1, Series of 1965 refers to an AFFIDAVIT Disqualified from reappointment as Notary Public for two (2) years.[14] acknowledged before him had presented the proper residence
executed by BARTOLOME RAMIREZ on June 30, 1965 and is available We affirm with modification. certificate (or exemption from the residence tax); and to enter its
in this Office['s] files.[6] number, place of issue and date as part of such certification.
Respondent in his comment dated July 6, 2001 claimed that the A will is an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities These formalities are mandatory and cannot be disregarded,
complaint against him contained false allegations: (1) that prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of his considering the degree of importance and evidentiary weight
complainant was a son of the decedent Vicente Lee, Sr. and (2) that estate, to take effect after his death.[15] A will may either be notarial attached to notarized documents.[23] A notary public, especially a
the will in question was fake and spurious. He alleged that or holographic. lawyer,[24] is bound to strictly observe these elementary
complainant was "not a legitimate son of Vicente Lee, Sr. and the last requirements.
will and testament was validly executed and actually notarized by The law provides for certain formalities that must be followed in the
respondent per affidavit[7] of Gloria Nebato, common-law wife of execution of wills. The object of solemnities surrounding the execution The Notarial Law then in force required the exhibition of the residence
Vicente Lee, Sr. and corroborated by the joint affidavit[8] of the of wills is to close the door on bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution certificate upon notarization of a document or instrument:
children of Vicente Lee, Sr., namely Elena N. Lee and Vicente N. Lee, of wills and testaments and to guarantee their truth and Section 251. Requirement as to notation of payment of [cedula]
Jr. xxx."[9] authenticity.[16] residence tax. Every contract, deed, or other document
acknowledged before a notary public shall have certified thereon
Respondent further stated that the complaint was filed simply to A notarial will, as the contested will in this case, is required by law to that the parties thereto have presented their proper [cedula]
harass him because the criminal case filed by complainant against be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself. In addition, residence certificate or are exempt from the [cedula] residence tax,
him in the Office of the Ombudsman "did not prosper." it should be attested and subscribed by three or more credible and there shall be entered by the notary public as a part of such
witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another.[17] certificate the number, place of issue, and date of each [cedula]
Respondent did not dispute complainant's contention that no copy residence certificate as aforesaid.[25]
of the will was on file in the archives division of the NCCA. He claimed The will in question was attested by only two witnesses, Noynay and The importance of such act was further reiterated by Section 6 of the
that no copy of the contested will could be found there because Grajo. On this circumstance alone, the will must be considered Residence Tax Act[26] which stated:
none was filed. void.[18] This is in consonance with the rule that acts executed When a person liable to the taxes prescribed in this Act acknowledges
against the provisions of mandatory or prohibitory laws shall be void, any document before a notary public xxx it shall be the duty of such
Lastly, respondent pointed out that complainant had no valid cause except when the law itself authorizes their validity. person xxx with whom such transaction is had or business done, to
of action against him as he (complainant) did not first file an action require the exhibition of the residence certificate showing payment
for the declaration of nullity of the will and demand his share in the The Civil Code likewise requires that a will must be acknowledged of the residence taxes by such person xxx.
inheritance. before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses.[19] The In the issuance of a residence certificate, the law seeks to establish
importance of this requirement is highlighted by the fact that it was the true and correct identity of the person to whom it is issued, as well
segregated from the other requirements under Article 805 and as the payment of residence taxes for the current year. By having
embodied in a distinct and separate provision.[20] allowed decedent to exhibit an expired residence certificate,
7

respondent failed to comply with the requirements of both the old the confidence of the public in the integrity of notarized deeds will be Disbarment is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction.[46] We
Notarial Law and the Residence Tax Act. As much could be said of undermined.[33] have held in a number of cases that the power to disbar must be
his failure to demand the exhibition of the residence certificates of exercised with great caution[47] and should not be decreed if any
Noynay and Grajo. Defects in the observance of the solemnities prescribed by law render punishment less severe such as reprimand, suspension, or fine will
the entire will invalid. This carelessness cannot be taken lightly in view accomplish the end desired.[48] The rule then is that disbarment is
On the issue of whether respondent was under the legal obligation to of the importance and delicate nature of a will, considering that the meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect the
furnish a copy of the notarized will to the archives division, Article 806 testator and the witnesses, as in this case, are no longer alive to standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court.[49]
provides: identify the instrument and to confirm its contents.[34] Accordingly,
Art. 806. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by respondent must be held accountable for his acts. The validity of the Respondent, as notary public, evidently failed in the performance of
the testator and the witness. The notary public shall not be required will was seriously compromised as a consequence of his breach of the elementary duties of his office. Contrary to his claims that he
to retain a copy of the will, or file another with the office of the Clerk duty.[35] "exercised his duties as Notary Public with due care and with due
of Court. (emphasis supplied) regard to the provision of existing law and had complied with the
Respondent's failure, inadvertent or not, to file in the archives division In this connection, Section 249 of the old Notarial Law provided: elementary formalities in the performance of his duties xxx," we find
a copy of the notarized will was therefore not a cause for disciplinary Grounds for revocation of commission. The following derelictions of that he acted very irresponsibly in notarizing the will in question. Such
action. duty on the part of a notary public shall, in the discretion of the proper recklessness warrants the less severe punishment of suspension from
judge of first instance, be sufficient ground for the revocation of his the practice of law. It is, as well, a sufficient basis for the revocation of
Nevertheless, respondent should be faulted for having failed to make commission: his commission[50] and his perpetual disqualification to be
the necessary entries pertaining to the will in his notarial register. The commissioned as a notary public.[51]
old Notarial Law required the entry of the following matters in the xxx xxx xxx
notarial register, in chronological order: WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Regino B. Tambago is hereby found
nature of each instrument executed, sworn to, or acknowledged (b) The failure of the notary to make the proper entry or entries in his guilty of professional misconduct. He violated (1) the Lawyer's Oath;
before him; notarial register touching his notarial acts in the manner required by (2) Rule 138 of the Rules of Court; (3) Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the
person executing, swearing to, or acknowledging the instrument; law. Code of Professional Responsibility; (4) Art. 806 of the Civil Code and
witnesses, if any, to the signature; (5) the provisions of the old Notarial Law.
date of execution, oath, or acknowledgment of the instrument; xxx xxx xxx
fees collected by him for his services as notary; Atty. Regino B. Tambago is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of
give each entry a consecutive number; and (f) The failure of the notary to make the proper notation regarding law for one year and his notarial commission REVOKED. Because he
if the instrument is a contract, a brief description of the substance of cedula certificates.[36] has not lived up to the trustworthiness expected of him as a notary
the instrument.[27] These gross violations of the law also made respondent liable for public and as an officer of the court, he is PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED
In an effort to prove that he had complied with the abovementioned violation of his oath as a lawyer and constituted transgressions of from reappointment as a notary public.
rule, respondent contended that he had crossed out a prior entry and Section 20 (a), Rule 138 of the Rules of Court[37] and Canon 1[38] and
entered instead the will of the decedent. As proof, he presented a Rule 1.01[39] of the CPR. Let copies of this Resolution be furnished to all the courts of the land,
photocopy of his notarial register. To reinforce his claim, he presented the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Bar
a photocopy of a certification[28] stating that the archives division The first and foremost duty of a lawyer is to maintain allegiance to the Confidant, as well as made part of the personal records of
had no copy of the affidavit of Bartolome Ramirez. Republic of the Philippines, uphold the Constitution and obey the laws respondent.
of the land.[40] For a lawyer is the servant of the law and belongs to
A photocopy is a mere secondary evidence. It is not admissible unless a profession to which society has entrusted the administration of law SO ORDERED.
it is shown that the original is unavailable. The proponent must first and the dispensation of justice.[41]
prove the existence and cause of the unavailability of the original,[29]
otherwise, the evidence presented will not be admitted. Thus, the While the duty to uphold the Constitution and obey the law is an [ A.C. No. 2387, September 10, 1998 ]
photocopy of respondent's notarial register was not admissible as obligation imposed on every citizen, a lawyer assumes responsibilities CLETO DOCENA, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. DOMINADOR Q. LIMON,
evidence of the entry of the execution of the will because it failed to well beyond the basic requirements of good citizenship. As a servant RESPONDENT.
comply with the requirements for the admissibility of secondary of the law, a lawyer should moreover make himself an example for
evidence. others to emulate.[42] Being a lawyer, he is supposed to be a model DECISION
in the community in so far as respect for the law is concerned.[43] PER CURIAM
In the same vein, respondent's attempt to controvert the certification
dated September 21, 1999[30] must fail. Not only did he present a The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions.[44] A On April 15, 1982, a complaint for disbarment was filed by Cleto
mere photocopy of the certification dated March 15, 2000;[31] its breach of these conditions justifies disciplinary action against the Docena against Atty. Dominador Q. Limon, Sr., on grounds of
contents did not squarely prove the fact of entry of the contested will erring lawyer. A disciplinary sanction is imposed on a lawyer upon a malpractice, gross misconduct, and violation of attorney's oath.
in his notarial register. finding or acknowledgment that he has engaged in professional
misconduct.[45] These sanctions meted out to errant lawyers include It appears that respondent Atty. Limon was complainant's lawyers on
Notaries public must observe with utmost care[32] and utmost fidelity disbarment, suspension and reprimand. appeal in Civil Case No. 425 for Forcible Entry. While the appeal was
the basic requirements in the performance of their duties, otherwise, pending before the then Court of First Instance of Eartern Samar,
Branch I, respondent required therein defendants-appellants Docena
8

spouses to post a supersedeas bond in the amount of P10,000.00 After due investigation and hearing, the Intergrated Bar of the [ A.C No. 4749, January 20, 2000 ]
allegedly to stay the execution of the appealed decision. Philippines recommended that respondent be suspended from the SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR., COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. FRANCISCO R.
practice of law for one year and ordered to return the amount of LLAMAS, RESPONDENT.
To raise the required, complainant Cleto Docena obtained a loan of P8,500.00 (he had earlier paid complainant P1,500.00, but nothing
P3,000.00 from the Borongan, Eastern Samar Branch of the more) within 1 month from notice, and should he fail to do so, he shall DECISION
Development Bank of the Philippines; borrowed P2,140.00 from a be suspended indefinitely. MENDOZA, J.:
private individual; and applied for an agricultural loan of P4,860.00
from the Borongan, Samar Branch of the Philippine National Bank, The Court finds the recommended penalty too light. Truly, the amount This is a complaint for misrepresentation and non-payment of bar
wherein respondent himself acted as guarantor (tsn, Session of July 8, involved may be small, but the nature of the transgression calls for a membership dues filed against respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas.
1983, pp. 33-34). The amount of P4,860.00 was produced by heavier sanction. The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates
complainant in response to respondent's letter dated September 2, that: In a letter-complaint to this Court dated February 8, 1997,
1979 (Exh. "C", tsn, p. 26, ibid.) demanding delivery of the aforesaid Canon 1. x x x complainant Soliman M. Santos, Jr., himself a member of the bar,
amount, thus: alleged that:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Docena: Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral On my oath as an attorney, I wish to bring to your attention and
or deceitful conduct. appropriate sanction the matter of Atty. Francisco R. Llamas who, for
I wish to remind you that today is the last day for the deposit of the a number of years now, has not indicated the proper PTR and IBP O.R.
balance of P4,860.00. Canon 16. x x x Nos. and data (date & place of issuance) in his pleadings. If at all, he
only indicates "IBP Rizal 259060" but he has been using this for at least
Atty. Batica was in court yesterday verifying whether you have Canon 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or property three years already, as shown by the following attached sample
deposited the said balance and the Honorable Judge informed him collected or received from the client. pleadings in various courts in 1995, 1996 and 1997: (originals available)
that you have until today to deposit the said amount. Respondent infringed and breached these rules. Verily, good moral Annex A
character is not a condition precedent to admission to the legal -
I wish to inform you that the Honorable Judge will be in Sta. Fe profession, but it must also be possessed at all times in order to "Ex-Parte Manifestation and Submission" dated December 1, 1995 in
tomorrow for rural service. maintain one's good standing in the exclusive and honored fraternity Civil Case No. Q-95-25253, RTC, Br. 224, QC
(Villanueva vs. Atty. Teresita Sta. Ana, 245 SCRA 707 [1995]).
We will be waiting for you tomorrow September 22, 1979, at Sta. Fe as Annex B
you promised. It has been said time and again, and this cannot overemphasize, that -
the law is not a trade nor a craft but a profession (Agpalo, Legal "Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation Motion" dated November 13, 1996 in
Very truly yours, Ethics, 1983, p. 1). Its basic ideal is to render public service and to Sp. Proc. No. 95-030, RTC Br. 259 (not 257), Parañaque, MM
secure justice for those who seek its aid. [Mayer vs. State Bar, 2 Call2d
(Signed) 71, 39 P2d 206 (1934), cited in Agpalo, id.] If it has to remain an Annex C
On November 14, 1980, the Court of First Instance of Eastern Samar honorable profession and attain its basic ideal, those enrolled in its -
rendered a decision on the appealed case in favor of the Docena ranks should not only master its tenets and principles but should also, "An Urgent and Respectful Plea for extension of Time to File Required
spouses. by their live, accord continuing fidelity to them. (Agpalo, id) By Comment and Opposition" dated January 17, 1997 in CA-G.R. SP (not
extorting money from his client through deceit and misrepresentation, Civil Case) No. 42286, CA 6th Div.
After receipt of said decision, complainant went to the CFI to respondent Limon has reduced the law profession to a level so base, This matter is being brought in the context of Rule 138, Section 1 which
withdraw the supersedeas bond of P10,000.00 but he thereupon so low and dishonorable, and most contemptible. He has sullied the qualifies that only a duly admitted member of the bar "who is in good
discovered that no such bond was ever posted by respondent. integrity of his brethren in the law and has, indirectly, eroded the and regular standing, is entitled to practice law". There is also Rule
peoples' confidence in the judicial system. By his reprehensible 139-A, Section 10 which provides that "default in the payment of
When confronted, respondent promised to restitute the amount, but conduct, which is reflective of his depraved character, respondent annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in
he never complied with such undertaking despite repeated has made himself unworthy to remain in the Roll of Attorneys. He the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be
demands from the Docena spouses. should be disbarred. a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from
the Roll of Attorneys."
In his answer the herein complaint, respondent claimed that the WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Dominador Q. Limon, Sr. is hereby
P10,000.00 was his attorney's fees for representing the Docena DISBARRED. The Office of the Clerk of Court is directed to strike out his Among others, I seek clarification (e.g. a certification) and
spouses in their appeal. But this self-serving allegation is belied by the name from the Roll of Attorneys. Respondent is likewise ordered to appropriate action on the bar standing of Atty. Francisco R. Llamas
letter (quoted above) of respondent himself demanding from the return the amount of P8,500.00, the balance of the money entrusted both with the Bar Confidant and with the IBP, especially its Rizal
Docena spouses the balance of P4,860.00 supposedly to be to him by complainant Docena, within one (1) month from the finality Chapter of which Atty. Llamas purports to be a member.
deposited in court to stay the execution of the appealed decision of of this Decision.
the MTC. Moreover, the fact that he had promised to return the Please note that while Atty. Llamas indicates "IBP Rizal 259060"
P10,000.00 to the Docena spouses is also an admission that the money SO ORDERED. sometimes, he does not indicate any PTR for payment of professional
was never his, and that it was only entrusted to him for deposit. tax.
9

Under the Rules, particularly Rule 138, Sections 27 and 28, suspension Also as pointed out, the February 14, 1995 decision in Crim. Case No. The records also show a "Certification dated March 24, 1997 from IBP
of an attorney may be done not only by the Supreme Court but also 11787 was appealed to the Court of Appeals and is still pending. Rizal Chapter President Ida R. Makahinud Javier that respondent's last
by the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court (thus, we are also payment of his IBP dues was in 1991."
copy furnishing some of these courts). Complainant need not even file this complaint if indeed the decision
of dismissal as a Judge was never set aside and reversed, and also While these allegations are neither denied nor categorically admitted
Finally, it is relevant to note the track record of Atty. Francisco R. had the decision of conviction for a light felony, been affirmed by the by respondent, he has invoked and cited that "being a Senior Citizen
Llamas, as shown by: Court of Appeals. Undersigned himself would surrender his right or since 1992, he is legally exempt under Section 4 of Republic Act No.
his dismissal as Pasay City Judge per Supreme Court Admin. Matter privilege to practice law. 7432 which took effect in 1992 in the payment of taxes, income taxes
No. 1037-CJ En Banc Decision on October 28, 1981 ( in SCRA ) as an example."
4. That complainant capitalizes on the fact that respondent had been
his conviction for estafa per Decision dated June 30, 1994 in Crim. delinquent in his dues. ....
Case No. 11787, RTC Br. 66, Makati, MM (see attached copy of the
Order dated February 14, 1995 denying the motion for Undersigned since 1992 have publicly made it clear per his Income The above cited provision of law is not applicable in the present case.
reconsideration of the conviction which is purportedly on appeal in Tax Return, up to the present, that he had only a limited practice of In fact, respondent admitted that he is still in the practice of law when
the Court of Appeals). law. In fact, in his Income Tax Return, his principal occupation is a he alleged that the "undersigned since 1992 have publicly made it
Attached to the letter-complaint were the pleadings dated farmer of which he is. His 30 hectares orchard and pineapple farm is clear per his Income tax Return up to the present time that he had
December 1, 1995, November 13, 1996, and January 17, 1997 referred located at Calauan, Laguna. only a limited practice of law." (par. 4 of Respondent's
to by complainant, bearing, at the end thereof, what appears to be Memorandum).
respondent's signature above his name, address and the receipt Moreover, and more than anything else, respondent being a Senior
number "IBP Rizal 259060."[1] Also attached was a copy of the Citizen since 1992, is legally exempt under Section 4 of Rep. Act 7432 Therefore respondent is not exempt from paying his yearly dues to the
order,[2] dated February 14, 1995, issued by Judge Eriberto U. Rosario, which took effect in 1992, in the payment of taxes, income taxes as Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Jr. of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, Makati, denying an example. Being thus exempt, he honestly believe in view of his
respondent's motion for reconsideration of his conviction, in Criminal detachment from a total practice of law, but only in a limited On the second issue, complainant claims that respondent has misled
Case No. 11787, for violation of Art. 316, par. 2 of the Revised Penal practice, the subsequent payment by him of dues with the Integrated the court about his standing in the IBP by using the same IBP O.R.
Code. Bar is covered by such exemption. In fact, he never exercised his rights number in his pleadings of at least six years and therefore liable for his
as an IBP member to vote and be voted upon. actions. Respondent in his memorandum did not discuss this issue.
On April 18, 1997, complainant filed a certification[3] dated March 18, First. Indeed, respondent admits that since 1992, he has engaged in
1997, by the then president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Nonetheless, if despite such honest belief of being covered by the law practice without having paid his IBP dues. He likewise admits that,
Atty. Ida R. Macalinao-Javier, that respondent's "last payment of his exemption and if only to show that he never in any manner wilfully as appearing in the pleadings submitted by complainant to this
IBP dues was in 1991. Since then he has not paid or remitted any and deliberately failed and refused compliance with such dues, he is Court, he indicated "IBP-Rizal 259060" in the pleadings he filed in court,
amount to cover his membership fees up to the present." willing at any time to fulfill and pay all past dues even with interests, at least for the years 1995, 1996, and 1997, thus misrepresenting that
charges and surcharges and penalties. He is ready to tender such such was his IBP chapter membership and receipt number for the
On July 7, 1997, respondent was required to comment on the fulfillment or payment, not for allegedly saving his skin as again years in which those pleadings were filed. He claims, however, that
complaint within ten days from receipt of notice, after which the case irrelevantly and frustratingly insinuated for vindictive purposes by the he is only engaged in a "limited" practice and that he believes in
was referred to the IBP for investigation, report and recommendation. complainant, but as an honest act of accepting reality if indeed it is good faith that he is exempt from the payment of taxes, such as
In his comment-memorandum,[4] dated June 3, 1998, respondent reality for him to pay such dues despite his candor and honest belief income tax, under R.A. No. 7432, §4 as a senior citizen since 1992.
alleged:[5] in all food faith, to the contrary.
3. That with respect to the complainant's absurd claim that for using On December 4, 1998, the IBP Board of Governors passed a Rule 139-A provides:
in 1995, 1996 and 1997 the same O.R. No. 259060 of the Rizal IBP, resolution[6] adopting and approving the report and Sec. 9. Membership dues. - Every member of the Integrated Bar shall
respondent is automatically no longer a member in good standing. recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner which found pay such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall determine with
respondent guilty, and recommended his suspension from the the approval of the Supreme Court. A fixed sum equivalent to ten
Precisely, as cited under the context of Rule 138, only an admitted practice of law for three months and until he pays his IBP dues. percent (10%) of the collections from each Chapter shall be set aside
member of the bar who is in good standing is entitled to practice law. Respondent moved for a reconsideration of the decision, but this was as a Welfare Fund for disabled members of the Chapter and the
denied by the IBP in a resolution,[7] dated April 22, 1999. Hence, compulsory heirs of deceased members thereof.
The complainant's basis in claiming that the undersigned was no pursuant to Rule 139-B, §12(b) of the Rules of Court, this case is here
longer in good standing, were as above cited, the October 28, 1981 for final action on the decision of the IBP ordering respondent's Sec. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. - Subject to the provisions of
Supreme Court decision of dismissal and the February 14, 1995 suspension for three months. Section 12 of this Rule, default in the payment of annual dues for six
conviction for Violation of Article 316 RPC, concealment of months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar,
encumbrances. The findings of IBP Commissioner Alfredo Sanz are as follows: and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the
On the first issue, Complainant has shown "respondent's non- removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of
As above pointed out also, the Supreme Court dismissal decision was indication of the proper IBP O.R. and PTR numbers in his pleadings Attorneys.
set aside and reversed and respondent was even promoted from City (Annexes "A", "B" and "C" of the letter complaint, more particularly his In accordance with these provisions, respondent can engage in the
Judge of Pasay City to Regional Trial Court Judge of Makati, Br. 150. use of "IBP Rizal 259060 for at least three years." practice of law only by paying his dues, and it does not matter that
his practice is "limited." While it is true that R.A. No. 7432, §4 grants
10

senior citizens "exemption from the payment of individual income In his letter,[1] dated 22 September 2004, petitioner sought exemption active law practitioners, to fellow lawyers in inactive status, nor to the
taxes: provided, that their annual taxable income does not exceed from payment of IBP dues in the amount of P12,035.00 as alleged community where the inactive lawyers-members reside.
the poverty level as determined by the National Economic and unpaid accountability for the years 1977-2005. He alleged that after
Development Authority (NEDA) for that year," the exemption does not being admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1961, he became part of the Plainly, the issue here is: whether or nor petitioner is entitled to
include payment of membership or association dues. Philippine Civil Service from July 1962 until 1986, then migrated to, and exemption from payment of his dues during the time that he was
worked in, the USA in December 1986 until his retirement in the year inactive in the practice of law that is, when he was in the Civil Service
Second. By indicating "IBP-Rizal 259060" in his pleadings and thereby 2003. He maintained that he cannot be assessed IBP dues for the from 1962-1986 and he was working abroad from 1986-2003?
misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had paid his IBP years that he was working in the Philippine Civil Service since the Civil
dues to the Rizal Chapter, respondent is guilty of violating the Code Service law prohibits the practice of ones profession while in We rule in the negative.
of Professional Responsibility which provides: government service, and neither can he be assessed for the years
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral when he was working in the USA. An Integrated Bar is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must
or deceitful conduct. belong, as distinguished from bar association organized by individual
On 05 October 2004, the letter was referred to the IBP for comment.[2] lawyers themselves, membership in which is voluntary. Integration of
CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is
DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION, AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF On 16 November 2004, the IBP submitted its comment[3] stating inter afforded an opportunity to do his shares in carrying out the objectives
THE INTEGRATED BAR. alia: that membership in the IBP is not based on the actual practice of the Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities.
of law; that a lawyer continues to be included in the Roll of Attorneys Organized by or under the direction of the State, an Integrated Bar is
CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH as long as he continues to be a member of the IBP; that one of the an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be
TO THE COURT. obligations of a member is the payment of annual dues as members. They are, therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for
determined by the IBP Board of Governors and duly approved by the the governance of the Bar, including the requirement of payment of
Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the Supreme Court as provided for in Sections 9 and 10, Rule 139-A of the a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes
doing of any court; nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled Rules of Court; that the validity of imposing dues on the IBP members of the Bar, and adherence to a code of professional ethics or
by any artifice. has been upheld as necessary to defray the cost of an Integrated Bar professional responsibility, breach of which constitutes sufficient
Respondent's failure to pay his IBP dues and his misrepresentation in Program; and that the policy of the IBP Board of Governors of no reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause
the pleadings he filed in court indeed merit the most severe penalty. exemption from payment of dues is but an implementation of the appearing, a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the
However, in view of respondent's advanced age, his express Courts directives for all members of the IBP to help in defraying the offending member.[5]
willingness to pay his dues and plea for a more temperate application cost of integration of the bar. It maintained that there is no rule
of the law,[8] we believe the penalty of one year suspension from the allowing the exemption of payment of annual dues as requested by The integration of the Philippine Bar means the official unification of
practice of law or until he has paid his IBP dues, whichever is later, is respondent, that what is allowed is voluntary termination and the entire lawyer population. This requires membership and financial
appropriate. reinstatement of membership. It asserted that what petitioner could support of every attorney as condition sine qua non to the practice
have done was to inform the secretary of the IBP of his intention to of law and the retention of his name in the Roll of Attorneys of the
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas is SUSPENDED from stay abroad, so that his membership in the IBP could have been Supreme Court.[6]
the practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR, or until he has paid his IBP dues, terminated, thus, his obligation to pay dues could have been
whichever is later. Let a copy of this decision be attached to Atty. stopped. It also alleged that the IBP Board of Governors is in the Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone.
Llamas' personal record in the Office of the Bar Confidant and copies process of discussing proposals for the creation of an inactive status He is free to attend or not to attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar
be furnished to all chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for its members, which if approved by the Board of Governors and by Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The
and to all courts in the land. this Court, will exempt inactive IBP members from payment of the only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of his annual
annual dues. dues. The Supreme Court, in order to foster the States legitimate
SO ORDERED. interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may
In his reply[4] dated 22 February 2005, petitioner contends that what require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be
he is questioning is the IBP Board of Governors Policy of Non- shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program
[B.M. No. 1370. May 9, 2005] Exemption in the payment of annual membership dues of lawyers the lawyers.[7]
regardless of whether or not they are engaged in active or inactive
LETTER OF ATTY. CECILIO Y. AREVALO, JR., REQUESTING EXEMPTION practice. He asseverates that the Policy of Non-Exemption in the Moreover, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court,
FROM PAYMENT OF IBP DUES. payment of annual membership dues suffers from constitutional under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules
infirmities, such as equal protection clause and the due process concerning the admission to the practice of law and in the
DECISION clause. He also posits that compulsory payment of the IBP annual integration of the Philippine Bar[8] - which power required members
membership dues would indubitably be oppressive to him considering of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: that he has been in an inactive status and is without income derived toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to
from his law practice. He adds that his removal from nonpayment of which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is, indeed,
This is a request for exemption from payment of the Integrated Bar of annual membership dues would constitute deprivation of property imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying
the Philippines (IBP) dues filed by petitioner Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo, Jr. right without due process of law. Lastly, he claims that non-practice out the noble objectives and purposes of integration.
of law by a lawyer-member in inactive status is neither injurious to
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The rationale for prescribing dues has been explained in the penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be precedent to their being allowed to practice before said office, such
Integration of the Philippine Bar,[9] thus: avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or as representing applicants in the preparation and prosecution of
arbitrary. applications for patent, is in excess of his jurisdiction and is in violation
For the court to prescribe dues to be paid by the members does not of the law.
mean that the Court is attempting to levy a tax. But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property
right but a mere privilege, and as such must bow to the inherent In his answer, respondent Director, through the Solicitor General,
A membership fee in the Bar association is an exaction for regulation, regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyers maintains that the prosecution of patent cases "does not involve
while tax purpose of a tax is a revenue. If the judiciary has inherent public responsibilities. entirely or purely the practice of law but includes the application of
power to regulate the Bar, it follows that as an incident to regulation, scientific and technical knowledge and training, so much so that, as
it may impose a membership fee for that purpose. It would not be As a final note, it must be borne in mind that membership in the bar is a matter of actual practice, the prosecution of patent cases may be
possible to put on an integrated Bar program without means to defray a privilege burdened with conditions,[11] one of which is the payment handled not only by lawyers, but also by engineers and other persons
the expenses. The doctrine of implied powers necessarily carries with of membership dues. Failure to abide by any of them entails the loss with sufficient scientific and technical training who pass the
it the power to impose such exaction. of such privilege if the gravity thereof warrants such drastic move. prescribed examinations as given by the Patent Office; * * * that the
Rules of Court do not prohibit the Patent Office, or any other quasi-
The only limitation upon the States power to regulate the privilege of WHEREFORE, petitioners request for exemption from payment of IBP judicial body from requiring further condition or qualification from
law is that the regulation does not impose an unconstitutional burden. dues is DENIED. He is ordered to pay P12,035.00, the amount assessed those who would wish to handle cases before such bodies, as in the
The public interest promoted by the integration of the Bar far by the IBP as membership fees for the years 1977-2005, within a non- prosecution of patent cases before the Patent Office which, as
outweighs the slight inconvenience to a member resulting from his extendible period of ten (10) days from receipt of this decision, with a stated in the preceding paragraph, requires more of an application
required payment of the annual dues. warning that failure to do so will merit his suspension from the practice of scientific and technical knowledge than the mere application of
of law. provisions of law; * * * that the action taken by the respondent is in
Thus, payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in accordance with Republic Act No. 165, otherwise known as the
the IBP, of which no one is exempt. This means that the compulsory SO ORDERED. Patent Law of the Philippines, which is similar to the United States
nature of payment of dues subsists for as long as ones membership in Patent Law, in accordance with which the United States Patent
the IBP remains regardless of the lack of practice of, or the type of Office has also prescribed a similar examination as that prescribed
practice, the member is engaged in. [ G. R. No. L-12426, February 16, 1959 ] by respondent. * * *."
PHILIPPINE LAWYER'S ASSOCIATION, PETITIONER, VS. CELEDONIO
There is nothing in the law or rules which allows exemption from AGRAVA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS DIRECTOR OF THE PHILIPPINES PATENT Respondent further contends that just as the Patent Law of the United
payment of membership dues. At most, as correctly observed by the OFFICE, RESPONDENT. States of America authorizes the Commissioner of Patents to prescribe
IBP, he could have informed the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his examinations to determine as to who may practice before the United
intention to stay abroad before he left. In such case, his membership DECISION States Patent Office, the respondent, is similarly authorized to do so
in the IBP could have been terminated and his obligation to pay dues MONTEMAYOR, J.: by our Patent Law, Republic Act No. 165.
could have been discontinued.
This is a petition filed by the Philippine Lawyer's Association for Although as already stated, the Director of Patents, in the past, would
As abovementioned, the IBP in its comment stated that the IBP Board prohibition and injunction against Celedonio Agrava, in his capacity appear to have been holding tests or examinations the passing of
of Governors is in the process of discussing the situation of members as Director of the Philippines Patent Office. which was imposed as a required qualification to practice before
under inactive status and the nonpayment of their dues during such the Patent Office, to our knowledge, this is the first time that the right
inactivity. In the meantime, petitioner is duty bound to comply with his On May 27, 1957, respondent Director issued a circular announcing of the Director of Patents to do so, specially as regards members of
obligation to pay membership dues to the IBP. that he had scheduled for June 27, 1957 an examination for the the bar, has been questioned formally, or otherwise put in issue. And
purpose of determining who are qualified to practice as patent we have given it careful thought and consideration.
Petitioner also contends that the enforcement of the penalty of attorneys before the Philippines Patent Office, the said examination
removal would amount to a deprivation of property without due to cover patent law and jurisprudence and the rules of practice The Supreme Court has the exclusive and constitutional power with
process and hence infringes on one of his constitutional rights. before said office. According to the circular, members of the respect to admission to the practice of law in the Philippines[1] and
Philippine Bar, engineers and other persons with sufficient scientific any member of the Philippine Bar in good standing may practice law
This question has been settled in the case of In re Atty. Marcial and technical training are qualified to take the said examination. It anywhere and before any entity, whether judicial or quasi-judicial or
Edillon,[10] in this wise: would appear that heretofore, respondent Director has been holding administrative, in the Philippines. Naturally, the question arises as to
similar examinations. whether or not appearance before the Patent Office and the
. . . Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its preparation and prosecution of patent applications. etc., constitutes
being one that entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession, It is the contention of the petitioner Philippine Lawyer's Association or is included in the practice of law.
we do not here pause to consider at length, as it [is] clear that under that one who has passed the bar examinations and is licensed by the "The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or
the police power of the State, and under the necessary powers Supreme Court to practice law in the Philippines and who is in good litigation m court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and
granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondents standing, is duly qualified to practice before the Philippines Patent other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the
right to practice law before the courts of this country should be and Office, and that consequently, the act of the respondent Director management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients
is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to requiring members of the Philippine Bar in good standing to take before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general,
impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize[d], then a and pass an examination given by the Patent Office as a condition all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters
12

connected with the law incorporation sendees, assessment and inventor named in the application for patent, or if it was patented or Patents are public records, and it is the duty of the Commissioner to
condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a described in any printed publication in the Philippines or any foreign give authenticated copies to any person, on payment of the legal
judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a country more than one year before the application for a patent fees." (40 Am. Jur. 537). (Italics supplied).
creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and therefor, or if it had been in public use or on sale in the Philippines for
conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and more than one year before the application for the patent therefor. "* * *. The Commissioner has the only original initiatory" jurisdiction that
guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the Section 10 provides that the right to the patent belongs to the true exists up to the granting and delivering of a patent, and it is his duty
preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done and actual inventor, his heirs, legal representatives or assigns, and to decide whether the patent is new and whether it is the proper
involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal Section 12 says that an application for a patent may be filed only subject of a patent; and his action in awarding or refusing a patent
effect of facts and conditions." (5 Am. Jur. p. 262, 263). (Italics by the inventor, his heirs, legal representatives or assigns. Sections 25 is a judicial junction. In passing on an application the commissioner
supplied) and 26 refer to correction of any mistake in a patent. Section 28 should decide not only questions of law, but also questions of fact,
enumerates the grounds for cancellation of a patent; that although as whether there has been a prior public use or sale of the article
"Practice of law under modern conditions consists in no small part of any person may apply for such cancellation, under Section 29, the invented. * * *." (60 C.J.S. 460). (Italics supplied).
work performed outside of any court and having no immediate Solicitor General is authorized to petition for the cancellation of a The Director of Patents, exercising as he does judicial or quasi-judicial
relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the patent. Section 30 mentions the requirements of a petition for functions, it is reasonable to hold that a member of the bar,
giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects, and the cancellation. Sections 31 and 32 provide for a notice of hearing of because of his legal knowledge and training, should be allowed to
preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an the petition for cancellation of the patent by the Director of Patents practice before the Patent Office, without further examination or
extensive field of business and trust relations and other affairs. in case the said cancellation is warranted. Under Section 34, at any other qualification. Of course, the Director of Patents, if he deems it
Although these transactions may have no direct connection with time after the expiration of three years from the day the patent was advisable or necessary, may require that members of the bar
court proceedings, they are always subject to become involved in granted, any person may apply for the grant of a license under a practising before him enlist the assistance of technical men and
litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a particular patent on several grounds, such as, if the patented scientists in the preparation of papers and documents, such as, the
wide experience with men and affairs, and great capacity for invention is not being worked in the Philippines on a commercial drawing or technical description of an invention or machine sought
adaptation to difficult and complex situations. These customary scale, or if the demand for the patented article in the Philippines is to be patented, in the same way that a lawyer filing an application
functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation not being met to an adequate extent and reasonable terms, or if for the registration of a parcel of land on behalf of his client, is required
to the administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so by reason of the patentee's refusal to grant a license on reasonable to submit a plan and technical description of said land, prepared by
far as concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn terms or by reason of the conditions attached by him to the license, a licensed surveyor.
between that part of the work of the lawyer which involves purchase, lease or use of the patented article or working of the
appearance in court and that part which involves advice and patented process or machine of production, the establishment of a But respondent Director claims that he is expressly authorized by the
drafting of instruments in his office. It is of importance to the welfare new trade or industry in the Philippines is prevented; or if the patent or law to require persons desiring to practice or to do business before
of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed invention relates to food or medicine or is necessary to public health him to submit to an examination, even if they are already members
by persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral or public safety. All these things involve the application of laws, legal of the bar. He contends that our Patent Law, Republic Act No. 165,
character, and acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations principles, practice and procedure. They call for legal knowledge, is patterned after the United States Patent Law; and that the U. S.
to clients which rests upon all attorneys." (Moran, Comments on training and experience for which a member of the bar has been Patent Office in its Rules of Practice of the United States Patent Office
the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 (1953 ed.), p. 665-666, citing In re Opinion prepared. in Patent Cases prescribes an examination similar to that which he
of the Justices (Mass.), 194 N. E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. (respondent) has prescribed and scheduled. He invites our attention
vs. Automobile Service Assoc. (R. I.) 179 A. 139, 144). (Italics ours) In support of the proposition that much of the business and many of to the following provisions of said Rules of Practice:
In our opinion, the practice of law includes such appearance before the acts, orders and decisions of the Patent Director involve questions "Registration of attorneys and agents. A register of attorneys and a
the Patent Office, the representation of applicants, oppositors, and of law or a reasonable and correct evaluation of facts, the very register of agents are kept in the Patent Office on which are entered
other persons, and the prosecution of their applications for patent, Patent Law, Republic Act No. 165, Section 61, provides that: the names of all persons recognized as entitled to represent
their oppositions thereto, or the enforcement of their rights in patent "* * * the applicant for a patent or for the registration of a design, applicants before the Patent Office in the preparation and
cases. In the first place, although the transaction of business in the any party to a proceeding to cancel a patent or to obtain a prosecution of applications for patent. Registration in the Patent
Patent Office involves the use and application of technical and compulsory license, and any party to any other proceeding in the Office under the provisions of these rules shall only entitle the person
scientific knowledge and training, still, all such business has to be Office may appeal to the Supreme Court from any final order or registered to practice before the Patent Office.
conducted and all orders and decisions of the Director of Patents decision of the Director."
have to be rendered in accordance with the Patent Law, as well as In other words, the appeal is taken to this Tribunal. If the transaction "(a) Attorneys at law. Any attorney at law in good standing admitted
other laws, including the Rules and Regulations promulgated by the of business in the Patent Office and the acts, orders and decisions of to practice before any United States Court or the highest court of any
Patent Office in accordance with law. Not only this, but practice the Patent Director involved exclusively or mostly technical and State or Territory of the United States who fulfills the requirements and
before', the Patent Office involves the interpretation and scientific knowledge and training, then logically, the appeal should complied with the provisions of these rules may be admitted to
application of other laws and legal principles, as well as the existence be taken not to a court or judicial body, but rather to a board of practice before the Patent Office and have his name entered on the
of facts to be established in accordance with the law of evidence scientists, engineers or technical men, which is not the case. register of attorneys.
and procedure. For instance: Section 8 of our Patent Law provides
that an invention shall not be patentable if it is contrary to public Another aspect of the question involves the consideration of the *******
order or morals, or to public health or welfare. Section 9 says that an nature of the functions and acts of the Head of the Patent Office.
invention shall not be considered new or patentable if it was known "* * * commissioner in issuing or withholding patents, in reissues, "(c) Requirement for registration. No person will be admitted to
or used by others in the Philippines before the invention thereof by the interferences, and extensions, exercises quasi-judicial junctions. practice and register unless he shall apply to the Commissioner of
13

Patents in writing on a prescribed form supplied by the Commissioner regulations, not inconsistent with law, for the conduct of all business interpretation and determination of the scope and application of
and furnish all requested information and material; and shall establish in the Patent Office." the Patent Law and other laws applicable, as well as the presentation
to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that he is of good moral The above provisions of Section 78 certainly and by far,y are different of evidence to establish facts involved; that part of the functions of
character and of good repute and possessed of the legal and from the provisions of the United States Patent Law as regards the Patent Director are judicial or quasi-judicial, so much so that
scientific and technical qualifications necessary to enable him to authority to hold examinations to determine the qualifications of appeals from his orders and decisions are, under the law, taken to the
render applicants for patent valuable service, and is otherwise those allowed to practice before the Patent Office. While the U. S. Supreme Court.
competent to advise and assist him in the presentation and Patent Law authorizes the Commissioner of Patents to require
prosecution of their application before the Patent Office. In order attorneys to show that they possess the necessary qualifications and
that the Commissioner may determine whether a person seeking competence to render valuable service to and advise and assist their [ A.C. No. 5737, October 25, 2004 ]
to have his name placed upon either of the registers has the clients in patent cases, which showing may take the form of a test or FERDINAND A. CRUZ, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. STANLEY CABRERA,
qualifications specified, satisfactory proof of good moral character examination to be held by the Commissioner, our Patent Law, RESPONDENT.
and repute, and of sufficient basic training in scientific and Section 78, is silent on this important point. Our attention has not
technical matters must be submitted and an examination which is been called to any express provision of our Patent Law, giving such RESOLUTION
held from time to time must be taken and passed. The taking of an authority to determine the qualifications of persons allowed to AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
examination may be waived in the case of any person who has practice before the Patent Office.
served for three years in the examining corps of the Patent Office." In an administrative complaint dated July 7, 2002, Ferdinand A. Cruz
Respondent states that the promulgation of the Rules of Practice of Section 551 of the Revised Administrative Code authorizes every chief charges Atty. Stanley Cabrera with misconduct in violation of the
the United States Patent Office in Patent Cases is authorized by the of bureau to prescribe forms and make regulations or general orders Code of Professional Responsibility.
United States Patent Law itself, which reads as follows: not inconsistent with law, to secure the harmonious and efficient
"The Commissioner of Patents, subject to the approval of the administration of his branch of the service and to carry into full effect Complainant alleges that he is a fourth year law student; since the
Secretary of Commerce may prescribe rules and regulations the laws relating to matters within the jurisdiction of his bureau. latter part of 2001, he instituted several actions against his neighbors;
governing the recognition of agents, attorneys, or other persona Section 608 of Republic Act 1937, known as the Tariff and Customs he appeared for and in his behalf in his own cases; he met respondent
representing applicants or other parties before his office, and may Code of the Philippines, provides that the Commissioner of Customs who acted as the counsel of his neighbors; during a hearing on
require of such persons, agents, or attorneys, before being shall, subject to the approval of the Department Head, make all January 14, 2002, in one case before the Regional Trial Court, Branch
recognized as representatives of applicants or other persons, that rules and regulations necessary to enforce the provisions of said code. 112, Pasay City, presided by Judge Caridad Cuerdo, the following
they shall show they are of good moral character and in good Section 338 of the National Internal Revenue Code, Commonwealth exchange transpired:
repute, are possessed of the necessary qualifications to enable them Act No. 466 as amended, states that the Secretary of Finance, upon xxx xxx So, may we know your honor, if he is a lawyer or not?
to render to applicants or other persons valuable service, and are recommendation of the Collector of Internal Revenue, shall
likewise competent to advise and assist applicants or other persons promulgate all needful rules and regulations for the effective The Court having been inhibited by the respondent from hearing the
in the presentation or prosecution of their applications or other enforcement of the provisions of the code. We understand that rules case, replied:
business before the Office. The Commissioner of Patents may, after and regulations have been promulgated not only for the Bureaus of
notice and opportunity for a hearing, suspend or exclude, either Customs and Internal Revenue, but also for other bureaus of the You are asking for my inhibition and yet you want me to rule on his
generally or in any particular case, from further practice before his Government, to govern the transaction of business in and to enforce appearance xxx xxx.
office any person, agent, or attorney shown to be incompetent or the law for said bureaus.
disreputable, or guilty of gross misconduct, or who refuses to comply Thereafter, the respondent said:
with the said rules and regulations, or who shall, with intent to defraud Were we to allow the Patent Office, in the absence of an express and
in any manner, deceive, mislead, or threaten any applicant or clear provision of law giving the necessary sanction, to require lawyers Because your honor, he (pertaining to the complainant) is
prospective applicant, or other person having immediate or to submit to and pass on examination prescribed by it before they misrepresenting himself to be a lawyer!
prospective business before the office, by word, circular, letter, or are allowed to practice before said Patent Office, then there would
by advertising. The reasons for any such suspension or exclusion shall be no reason why other bureaus specially the Bureaus of Internal To this the complainant remarked:
be duly recorded. The action of the Commissioner may be reviewed Revenue and Customs, where the business in the same area are
upon the petition of the person so refused recognition or so more or less complicated, such as the presentation of books of "Your Honor, I'm not xxx xxx."
suspended or excluded by the district court of the United States for accounts, balance sheets, etc., assessments exemptions,
the District of Columbia under such conditions and upon such depreciation, these as regards the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and Respondent, this time engulfed with anger in a raising voice said:
proceedings as the said court may by its rules determine." (Italics the classification of goods, imposition of customs duties, seizures,
supplied). confiscation, etc., as regards the Bureau of Customs, may not also Appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka muna; x x x.
Respondent Director concludes that Section 78 of Republic Act No. require that any lawyer practising before them or otherwise Respondent's imputations were uncalled for and the latter's act of
165 being: similar to the provisions of law just reproduced, then he is transacting business with them on behalf of clients, shall first pass an compelling the court to ask complainant whether he is a lawyer or
authorized to prescribe the rules and regulations requiring that examination to qualify. not was intended to malign him before the public, inasmuch as
persons desiring to practice before him should submit to and pass an respondent knew that complainant is not a lawyer, having appeared
examination. We reproduce said Section 78, Republic Act No. 165, for In conclusion, we hold that under the present law, members of the for and in his behalf as a party litigant in prior cases; respondent's
purposes of comparison: Philippine Bar authorized by this Tribunal to practice law, and in good imputations of complainant's misrepresentation as a lawyer was
"Sec. 78. Rules and regulations. The Director subject to the approval standing, may practice their profession before the Patent Office, for patently with malice to discredit his honor, with the intention to
of the Secretary of Justice, shall promulgate the necessary rules and the reason that much of the business in said office involves the threaten him not to appear anymore in cases respondent was
14

handling; the manner, substance, tone of voice and how the words part of the complainant." Respondent prays that the complaint Prefatorily, we note that the IBP Board of Governors failed to observe
"appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka muna!" were uttered were totally against him be dismissed for lack of merit. the procedural requirements of Sec. 12 of Rule 139-B of the Rules of
with the intention to annoy, vex and humiliate, malign, ridicule, Court on review and decision by the Board of Governors which states:
incriminate and discredit complainant before the public. The administrative case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the SEC. 12. Review and decision by the Board of Governors. (a) Every
Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation. case heard by an investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP Board of
Complainant claims that respondent's display of improper attitude, Governors upon the record and evidence transmitted to it by the
arrogance, misbehavior, misconduct in the performance of his duties In a report, dated March 4, 2004, IBP Commissioner Lydia A. Navarro Investigator with his report. The decision of the Board upon such
both as a lawyer and officer of the court, before the public and the recommended respondent's suspension from the practice of law for review shall be in writing and shall clearly and distinctly state the facts
court, was a patent transgression of the very ethics that lawyers are a period of three months for violating Rule 8.01 of the Code of and the reasons on which it is based. It shall be promulgated within a
sworn to uphold in their dealings with society and corresponding Professional Responsibility which provides: period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next meeting of the
appropriate penalty or sanctions for the said administrative violations A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is Board following the submittal of the Investigator's report. (Emphasis
should be imposed on the respondent. abusive, offensive or otherwise improper. supplied)
In her report, Commissioner Navarro stated: In Teodosio vs. Nava,[1] the Court stressed the important function of
In his Comment, respondent contends that the complaint filed After going over the evidence submitted by the parties, the the requirement that the decision of the Board of Governors state the
against him is a vicious scheme to dissuade him from appearing as undersigned noted that respondent's averment that the utterances facts and the reasons on which it is based, which is akin to what is
counsel for the Mina family against whom complainant had filed he made in open court is (sic) privileged communication does not required of the decisions of courts of record, thus:
several civil and criminal cases including him to further complainant's hold water for the same was (sic) not relevant to the issue of the case For aside from informing the parties the reason for the decision to
illegal practice of law; complainant's complaint occurred during a in question under trial before the said court. enable them to point out to the appellate court the findings with
judicial proceeding wherein complainant was able to represent which they are not in agreement, in case any of them decides to
himself considering that he was appearing in barong tagalog thus the Respondent did not refute the fact that the same utterances he appeal the decision, it is also an assurance that the judge, or the
presiding judge was misled when she issued an order stating "[i]n made in open court against the complainant had been the basis for Board of Governors in this case, reached his judgment through the
today's hearing both lawyers appeared;" because of which, his indictment of Oral Defamation and later Unjust Vexation under process of legal reasoning.[2]
respondent stated: "Your honor I would like to manifest that this Criminal Cases Nos. 02-1031 and No. 02-2136 respectively, pending In this case, the Board of Governors' resolution absolving respondent
counsel (referring to complainant) who represents the plaintiff in this trial before MTC Branch 45, Pasay City. of any misconduct does not contain any findings of facts or law upon
case is not a lawyer," to which complainant replied: "The counsel very which it based its ruling. Ordinarily, non-compliance with the rule
well know that I am not yet a lawyer;" the reason he informed the Likewise respondent did not refute complainant's allegation that in would result in the remand of the case. Nonetheless, where the
court that complainant is not a lawyer was because the presiding 1979 he was held in contempt and was not allowed to practice law controversy has been pending resolution for quite sometime and the
judge did not know that complainant is not a lawyer and for seven years by the Supreme Court in the administrative case filed issues involved could be resolved on the basis of the records on
complainant did not inform the presiding judge that he is not a lawyer against him by Emilia E. Andres on December 14, 1979 docketed as appeal, the Court has opted to resolve the case in the interest of
when he stated: "for the plaintiff your honor;" he stated "pumasa ka A.M. L-585 for his fondness in using contumacious language in his justice and speedy disposition of cases.[3] This case falls within the
muna" out of indignation because of complainant's temerity in dealing with others. exception.
misrepresenting himself as lawyer; it is surprising that the City
Prosecutor of Pasay City filed a complaint for oral defamation against From the facts obtaining, it is apparent that the utterance hurled by We hold that respondent's outburst of "appear ka ng appear, pumasa
him considering that in a precedent case the Supreme Court stated: the respondent in the manner, substance and tone of his voice which ka muna" does not amount to a violation of Rule 8.01 of the Code of
"It is a settled principle in this jurisdiction that statements made in the was not refuted by him "that appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka muna" Professional Responsibility.
course of judicial proceedings are absolutely privileged (Navarrete in whatever manner it was uttered are in itself not only abusive but
vs. Court of Appeals, 325 SCRA 540);" in another malicious prosecution insulting specially on the part of law students who have not yet taken Based on the facts of this case, such outburst came about when
being perpetuated by the complainant against the Mina family nor passed the bar examination required of them. respondent pointed out to the trial court that complainant is not a
pending before Judge Priscilla Mijares of RTC Branch 108, Pasay City, lawyer to correct the judge's impression of complainant's
they were able to prohibit the appearance of complainant as Respondent should have been more discreet and cautious in appearance, inasmuch as the judge, in her Order of January 14, 2002,
counsel for himself as authenticated by an Order of Judge Priscilla informing the court if it was his purpose relative to complainant's noted that complainant is a lawyer.[4] Such single outburst, though
Mijares which allegedly stated among other; to wit: appearance in court; although the latter appeared only in his behalf uncalled for, is not of such magnitude as to warrant respondent's
In connection with Ferdinand A. Cruz's motion to appear as counsel, but not for others if he had complied with the requirements of Rule suspension or reproof. It is but a product of impulsiveness or the heat
the motion is likewise denied, movant not having satisfied the 138 (Sections 1 and 3) of the Rules of Court. of the moment in the course of an argument between them. It has
requirements and conditions under Rule 138-A, Sections 1 and 2. been said that lawyers should not be held to too strict an account for
Respondent alleges that when complainant filed an administrative Respondent should have been more temperate in making utterances words said in the heat of the moment, because of chagrin at losing
case against Judge Priscilla Mijares when said Judge stated in in his professional dealings so as not to offend the sensitivities of the cases, and that the big way is for the court to condone even
Tagalog in open court "Hay naku masama yung marunong pa sa other party as in this case contemptuous language.[5]
Huwes! OK?" the same was dismissed by the Honorable Court's Third On April 16, 2004, the IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution to
Division which stated among others: "That the questioned remarks of annul and set aside the recommendation of the investigating Nonetheless, we remind respondent that complainant is not
respondent were uttered more out of frustration and in reaction to commissioner and to approve the dismissal of the case for lack of precluded from litigating personally his cases. A party's right to
complainant's actuations and taking into account that complainant merit. conduct litigation personally is recognized by Section 34 of Rule 138
is not yet a lawyer but was already lecturing the court on a matter of the Rules of Court:
which is not even a point of discussion was sheer arrogance on the
15

SEC. 34. By whom litigation conducted. -- In the court of a justice of


the peace a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid
of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the
aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may conduct his
litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and his appearance
must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the bar.
In Maderada vs. Mediodea,[6] this Court expounded on the
foregoing provision, thus:
This provision means that in a litigation, parties may personally do
everything during its progress -- from its commencement to its
termination. When they, however, act as their own attorneys, they are
restricted to the same rules of evidence and procedure as those
qualified to practice law; otherwise, ignorance would be unjustifiably
rewarded. Individuals have long been permitted to manage,
prosecute and defend their own actions; and when they do so, they
are not considered to be in the practice of law. "One does not
practice law by acting for himself any more than he practices
medicine by rendering first aid to himself."

The practice of law, though impossible to define exactly, involves the


exercise of a profession or vocation usually for gain, mainly as
attorney by acting in a representative capacity and as counsel by
rendering legal advise to others. Private practice has been defined
by this Court as follows:
x x x. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in
frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same kind.
In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise. Practice of law to fall
within the prohibition of statute [referring to the prohibition for judges
and other officials or employees of the superior courts or of the Office
of the Solicitor General from engaging in private practice] has been
interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the
public, as a lawyer and demanding payment for such services. x x x.
Clearly, in appearing for herself, complainant was not customarily or
habitually holding herself out to the public as a lawyer. Neither was
she demanding payment for such services. Hence, she cannot be
said to be in the practice of law.[7]
On the other hand, all lawyers should take heed that lawyers are
licensed officers of the courts who are empowered to appear,
prosecute and defend; and upon whom peculiar duties,
responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence.
Membership in the bar imposes upon them certain obligations.
Mandated to maintain the dignity of the legal profession, they must
conduct themselves honorably and fairly.[8] Though a lawyer's
language may be forceful and emphatic, it should always be
dignified and respectful, befitting the dignity of the legal profession.
The use of intemperate language and unkind ascriptions has no
place in the dignity of judicial forum.[9]

WHEREFORE, the complaint against respondent Atty. Stanley Cabrera


for misconduct in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility is
DISMISSED for lack of merit. He is, however, admonished to be more
circumspect in the performance of his duties as an officer of the court.

SO ORDERED.