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RENATO CAYETANO vs.

CHRISTIAN MONSOD
G.R. No. 100113. September 3, 1991.
FACTS:
Monsod was nominated by President Aquino as Chairman of the Comelec. The
Commission on Appointments confirmed the appointment despite Cayetano's objection,
based on Monsod's alleged lack of the required qualification of 10 year law practice.
Cayetano filed this certiorari and prohibition. The 1987 constitution provides in Section 1,
Article IX-C: There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six
Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their
appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not
have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding
elections.However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the
Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
ISSUE:
1. Whether or not Monsod has been engaged in the practice of law for 10 years.
2. Whether or not the Commission on Appointments committed grave abuse of discretion in
confirming Monsods appointment.
HELD:
1. YES. The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court. It
embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special
proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients, and
other works where the work done involves the determination of the trained legal mind of the
legal effect of facts and conditions (PLA vs. Agrava.) The records of the 1986 constitutional
commission show that the interpretation of the term practice of law was liberal as to
consider lawyers employed in the Commission of Audit as engaged in the practice of law
provided that they use their legal knowledge or talent in their respective work. The court
also cited an article in the January 11, 1989 issue of the Business Star, that lawyers
nowadays have their own specialized fields such as tax lawyers, prosecutors, etc., that
because of the demands of their specialization, lawyers engage in other works or functions
to meet them. These days, for example, most corporation lawyers are involved in
management policy formulation. Therefore, Monsod, who passed the bar in 1960, worked
with the World Bank Group from 1963-1970, then worked for an investment bank till 1986,
became member of the CONCOM in 1986, and also became a member of the Davide
Commission in 1990, can be considered to have been engaged in the practice of law as
lawyer-economist, lawyer-manager, lawyer-entrepreneur, etc.
2. NO. The power of the COA to give consent to the nomination of the Comelec Chairman
by the president is mandated by the constitution. The power of appointment is essentially
within the discretion of whom it is so vested subject to the only condition that the appointee
should possess the qualification required by law. From the evidence, there is no occasion
for the SC to exercise its corrective power since there is no such grave abuse of discretion
on the part of the CA.

223 SCRA 378 42 SCAD 287 Legal Ethics Advertisement in the Legal
Profession Practice of Law

In 1984, The Legal Clinic was formed by Atty. Rogelio Nogales. Its aim, according to
Nogales was to move toward specialization and to cater to clients who cannot afford
the services of big law firms. Now, Atty. Mauricio Ulep filed a complaint against The
Legal Clinic because of the latters advertisements which contain the following:

SECRET MARRIAGE?
P560.00 for a valid marriage.
Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE. ANNULMENT. VISA.
THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.
Please call: 521-0767; 521-7232; 522-2041
8:30am 6:00pm
7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila
GUAM DIVORCE
DON PARKINSON
An attorney in Guam is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The Legal
Clinic beginning Monday to Friday during office hours.
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Nonquota Res. & Special Retirees Visa. Declaration of Absence. Remarriage to Filipina
Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign Visa for Filipina
Spouse/Children.
Call Marivic.
THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.
7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila nr. US Embassy
Tel. 521-7232, 521-7251, 522-2041, 521-0767
It is also alleged that The Legal Clinic published an article entitled Rx for Legal
Problems in Star Week of Philippine Star wherein Nogales stated that they The
Legal Clinic is composed of specialists that can take care of a clients problem no
matter how complicated it is even if it is as complicated as the Sharon CunetaGabby Concepcion situation. He said that he and his staff of lawyers, who, like
doctors, are specialists in various fields, can take care of it. The Legal Clinic, Inc.
has specialists in taxation and criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor, litigation
and family law. These specialists are backed up by a battery of paralegals,
counselors and attorneys.
As for its advertisement, Nogales said it should be allowed in view of the
jurisprudence in the US which now allows it (John Bates vs The State Bar of
Arizona). And that besides, the advertisement is merely making known to the public
the services that The Legal Clinic offers.
ISSUE: Whether or not The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law; whether
such is allowed; whether or not its advertisement may be allowed.
HELD: Yes, The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law however, such
practice is not allowed. The Legal Clinic is composed mainly of paralegals. The
services it offered include various legal problems wherein a client may avail of legal
services from simple documentation to complex litigation and corporate

undertakings. Most of these services are undoubtedly beyond the domain of


paralegals, but rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers engaged in the practice of
law. Under Philippine jurisdiction however, the services being offered by Legal Clinic
which constitute practice of law cannot be performed by paralegals. Only a person
duly admitted as a member of the bar and who is in good and regular standing, is
entitled to practice law.
Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned advertisements, the Code of
Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer in making known his legal
services shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or
statement of facts. The standards of the legal profession condemn the lawyers
advertisement of his talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of his
profession, advertise his talents or skills as in a manner similar to a merchant
advertising his goods. Further, the advertisements of Legal Clinic seem to promote
divorce, secret marriage, bigamous marriage, and other circumventions of law which
their experts can facilitate. Such is highly reprehensible.
The Supreme Court also noted which forms of advertisement are allowed. The best
advertising possible for a lawyer is a well-merited reputation for professional
capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the outcome of character and
conduct. Good and efficient service to a client as well as to the community has a
way of publicizing itself and catching public attention. That publicity is a normal byproduct of effective service which is right and proper. A good and reputable lawyer
needs no artificial stimulus to generate it and to magnify his success. He easily sees
the difference between a normal by-product of able service and the unwholesome
result of propaganda. The Supreme Court also enumerated the following as allowed
forms of advertisement:
1.

Advertisement in a reputable law list

2.

Use of ordinary simple professional card

3.

Listing in a phone directory but without designation as to his specialization

BERNARDO vs. MEJIA


FACTS:
On January 23, 1987, Rodolfo M. Bernardo, Jr. accused his retained attorney,
Ismael F. Mejia, of the following administrative offenses:
1)

Misappropriating and converting to his personal use:

a)
part of the sum of P27,710.00 entrusted to him for payment
of real estate taxes on property belonging to Bernardo, situated in a
subdivision known as Valle Verde I; and
b)
part of another sum of P40,000.00 entrusted to him for
payment of taxes and expenses in connection with the registration of title of
Bernardo to another property in a subdivision known as Valle Verde V;
2)

Falsification of certain documents, to wit:

a)
a special power of attorney dated March 16, 1985, purportedly
executed in his favor by Bernardo (Annex P, par. 51, complainants affidavit
dates October 4, 1989);
b)

a deed of sale dated October 22, 1982 (Annex O, par. 48, id.);

and
c)
a deed of assignment purportedly executed by the spouses
Tomas and Remedios Pastor, in Bernardos favor (Annex Q, par. 52, id.);
3)
issuing a check, knowing that he was without funds in the bank, in
payment of a loan obtained from Bernardo in the amount of P50,000.00, and
thereafter, replacing said check with others known also to be insufficiently
funded.
ISSUE:
Whether the applicant shall be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys
rests to a great extent on the sound discretion of the Court.
HELD:
The applicant must, like a candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the
Court that he is a person of good moral character, a fit and proper person to
practice law. The Court will take into consideration the applicants character
and standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and character of the
charge/s for which he was disbarred, his conduct subsequent to the
disbarment, and the time that has elapsed between the disbarment and the
application for reinstatement. The Court is inclined to grant the present
petition. Fifteen years has passed since Mejia was punished with the severe
penalty of disbarment. Although the Court does not lightly take the bases for
Mejias disbarment, it also cannot close its eyes to the fact that Mejia is
already of advanced years. While the age of the petitioner and the length of
time during which he has endured the ignominy of disbarment are not the
sole measure in allowing a petition for reinstatement, the Court takes
cognizance of the rehabilitation of Mejia. Since his disbarment in 1992, no
other transgression has been attributed to him, and he has shown
remorse. Obviously, he has learned his lesson from this experience, and his
punishment has lasted long enough. Thus, while the Court is ever mindful of
its duty to discipline its erring officers, it also knows how to show compassion
when the penalty imposed has already served its purpose. After all,
penalties, such as disbarment, are imposed not to punish but to correct
offenders.

We reiterate, however, and remind petitioner that the practice of law is a


privilege burdened with conditions. Adherence to the rigid standards of
mental fitness, maintenance of the highest degree of morality and faithful
compliance with the rules of the legal profession are the continuing
requirements for enjoying the privilege to practice law.

Venterez vs. Atty. Cosme

Facts:

A complaint filed by complainants against respondent Atty. Rodrigo R.


Cosme, charging the latter with Abandonment, Gross Negligence and
Dereliction of Duty. Complainants contracted the legal services of
respondent in Civil Case No. 981. They alleged that they directed the
respondent to either file a Motion for Reconsideration or a Notice of
Appeal, but respondent failed or refused to do so. Complainant Venterez
was constrained to contract another lawyer to prepare the Motion for
Reconsideration which was filed on 19 March 2004. However, said
motion was denied. On Zenaida C. de Vera, a Motion for Issuance of Writ of
Execution was filed by the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 981 but respondent
never bothered to file an opposition to or any comment on the said motion
despite receipt thereof. The motion was eventually granted.
Two months after respondent received a copy of the Decision, the
respondent filed his Notice of Retirement of Counsel with the MTC on
3 May 2004.wFeeling aggrieved by respondents actuations, complainants
filed the instant administrative complaint against him.
Issue:
Whether the respondent committed culpable negligence in handling
complainants case, as would warrant disciplinary action.
Ruling:
Yes, respondent committed culpable negligence in handling complainants
case, as would warrant disciplinary action. Assuming, nevertheless, that
respondent was justified in withdrawing his services, he, however, cannot
just do so and leave complainants in the cold, unprotected. The lawyer has
no right to presume that his petition for withdrawal will be granted by the
court. Until his withdrawal shall have been approved, the lawyer remains
counsel of record who is expected by his clients, as well as by the
court, to do what the interests of his clients require. He must still
appear before the court to protect the interest of his clients by
availing himself of the proper remedy, for the attorney-client relations are
not terminated formally until there is a withdrawal of record. All told, we rule
and so hold that on account of respondents failure to protect the interest of
complainants, respondent indeed violated Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, which states that a lawyer shall not
neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable. Respondent is reminded
that the practice of law is a special privilege bestowed only upon those
who are competent intellectually, academically and morally.

MARY JANE D. VELASCO, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. CHARLIE DOROIN AND


ATTY. HECTOR CENTENO, RESPONDENTS.
FACTS:
Mary Jane Velasco, complainant, was appointed as Administratrix of the Estate
of the Late Eduardo Doroin, Monina E. Doroin. The deceased, Eduardo Doroin,
died on 21 January 1996, in Papua New Guinea. In this Special Proceedings
case, respondents were collaborating counsels for Oppositor, Josephine
Abarquez. On 21 March 1996, Atty. Doroin fooled complainant by deceitful
means into making her sign an Extra-Judicial Settlement and Deed of
Partition, giving the paramour of complainant's father, Josephine Abarquez and
two (2) alleged illegitimate brothers and an alleged illegitimate sister a share
believing that such sharing is in accordance with law. But no share was
assigned to complainant's mother, who was the legal wife of Dr. Eduardo
Doroin. To partially satisfy complainant's share, Atty. Doroin required
complainant to sign a paper which was an alleged Confirmation of Authority to
Sell the property of complainant's father located at Kings point subdivision but
she was not able to sign the said Confirmation because complainant's lawyer,
Atty. Marapao, failed to confer and negotiate with Atty. Doroin regarding the
same. When complainant visited the lot on January 1999, there was already a
four-door townhouse constructed. Complainant learned that the property was
sold by Atty. Doroin to Evangeline Reyes-Yonemura by forging the signature of
complainant's late father. Atty. Hector B. Centeno, a Notary Public of Quezon
City, knowing that complainant's father was already dead, made it appear in
the said Deed of Absolute Sale, that complainant's father appeared before him
in Quezon City on 17 January 1997.A case for Falsification of Public Document
was filed against respondent Atty. Hector Centeno. Such was arraigned and
pleaded "not guilty. After the arraignment, Atty. Centeno did not anymore
appeared [sic] in court and jumped bail.[14]A disbarment complaint was filed
by Mary Jane D. Velasco against respondent lawyers for forgery and
falsification constitutive of malpractice. The counsel for respondents filed a
Motion for Extension to File Comment which was granted by the court.
However, no comment was ever filed by them. Resolutions of the court were
returned unserved.
RULING:
Lawyers must conduct themselves beyond reproach at all times, whether they
are dealing with their clients or the public at large,[18] and a violation of the
high moral standards of the legal profession justifies the imposition of the
appropriate penalty, including suspension and disbarment.[19] A lawyer shall
at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. The trust
and confidence necessarily reposed by clients require in the attorney a high
standard and appreciation of his duty to his clients, his profession, the courts
and the public. To this end, nothing should be done by any member of the legal
fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public
in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the profession. It bears stressing that
membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A lawyer has
the privilege and right to practice law during good behaviour and can only be
deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the
court after opportunity to be heard has afforded him. Without invading any

constitutional privilege or right, and attorney's right to practice law may be


resolved by a proceeding to suspend or disbar him, based on conduct rendering
him unfit to hold a license or to exercise the duties and responsibilities of an
attorney. [21]In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof generally rests
upon the complainant, and for the court to exercise its disciplinary powers, the
case against the respondent must be established by clear, convincing and
satisfactory proof.[22]The complained actuations of the respondent lawyers
constitute a blatant violation of the lawyer's oath to uphold the law and the
basic tenets of the Code of Professional Responsibility that no lawyer shall
engage in dishonest conduct The guilt of the respondent lawyers is beyond
dispute. They failed to answer the complaint filed against them. Hence, the
claims and allegations of the complainant remain uncontroverted. The Court is
mindful that disbarment is a grave penalty. Considering that the license to
practice law, though it is not a property right, sustains a lawyer's primary
means of livelihood and to strip someone of such license amounts to stripping
one of a career and a means to keep himself alive, we agree with the
modification submitted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines that an
indefinite suspension would be the more appropriate penalty on Atty. Charlie
Doroin. However, we cannot be as lenient with Atty. Hector Centeno who, aside
from committing a dishonest act by depriving a person of her rightful
inheritance, also committed a criminal offense when he falsificated a public
document and thereafter absconded from the criminal proceeding against him
after having posted bail.IN VIEW WHEREOF, Atty. Charlie Doroin is suspended
indefinitely, and Atty. Hector Centeno is hereby DISBARRED

OVERGAARD V. VALDEZ (DISBARMENT)


Lawyer Valdez committed multiple violations of the canons of the Code of
Professional Responsibility by having taken full retainer's fee and not having done
anything regarding Complainant Overgaard's cases to the latter's prejudice and
dismay.
Rule 139, Sec. 27 Grounds for DISBARMENT/suspension:

deceit

malpractice or other gross misconduct in such office

grossly immoral conduct

conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude

violation of the lawyer's oath

willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court

willful appearance as an attorney for a party without authority


Respondent Valdez had indubitably fallen below the exacting standards demanded
of members of the bar.
The Code of Professional Responsibility provides that:

A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or deceitful


conduct.

A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness, and loyalty in all his dealings and
transactions with his client.

A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and shall be mindful of the
trust and confidence reposed in him.

A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence.

A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence
in connection therewith shall render him liable.

A lawyer is required to keep the client informed of the status of his case and
to respond within a reasonable time to the client's request for information.

A lawyer shall account for all money and property collected or received for
and from the client.
Respondent Valdez did exactly the opposite.
The PRACTICE OF LAW IS NOT A RIGHT, BUT A PRIVILEGE. It is granted only to
those of good moral character. The Bar must maintain a high standard of honesty
and fair dealing. Lawyers must conduct themselves beyond reproach at all times,
whether they are dealing with their clients or the public at large, and a violation of
the high moral standards of the legal profession justifies the imposition of the
appropriate penalty, including suspension and disbarment.
In this case, SC finds that suspension for 3 years recommended by the IBP is not
sufficient punishment for the unacceptable acts and omissions of Respondent
Valdez. For violating elementary principles of professional ethics and failing to
observe the fundamental duties of honesty and good faith, respondent has proven
himself unworthy of membership in this noble profession.
DISBARRED.

Torben Overgaard vs Godwin Valdez


A.C. no. 7902 March 31, 2009
Facts:
Overgaard engaged the services of Atty. Valdez as his legal counsel in two cases
filed by him and two cases filed against him.
Torben Overgaard filed a disbarment case against Atty. Valdez for despite the
receipt of the full amount of legal fees ofP900,000.00 as stipulated in a Retainer
Agreement, Valdez refused to perform any of his obligations under their and,
ignored the Overgaards request for report of the status of the cases entrusted,
and rejected the complainants demands for the return of the money paid to him.
For his part, Atty. Valdez failed to neither answer the complaint against him nor
attend the hearing even with due notice.
On September 30, 2008 the Court found Valdez to be guilty of violations of the
canons of Code of Professional Responsibility his name was ordered to be stricken
the roll of attorneys.
October 21, 2008 filed a Motion for Reconsideration. He argued that he have no
knowledge of the disbarment case filed against him. In September 2006 he
abandoned his Makati office and Cavite residence and moved his office in Bukidnon
where he also resided due to a threat on his person, and he was not able to receive
the demands of Overgaard or orders and notices pertaining to the disbarment case.
He also argued that he gave the Overgaard legal advice, and that he searched for
and interviewed witnesses in relation to the cases he was handling for the latter. As
for the 900, 000.00 pesos, he claimed that he gave 300,000.00 to two intelligence
operatives to locate witnesses. He offered to return 250,000.00 but Overgaards
partner refused to accept. But he was not able to present receipt made by the
intelligence operatives nor other certification or receipts on how the money was
spent to provide sufficient accounting.
Held:
In abruptly abandoning his law office without advising his client and without making
sure that the cases he was handling for his client were properly attended to during
his absence, and without making arrangements whereby he would receive
important mail, the Valdez is clearly guilty of gross negligence. A lawyer cannot
simply disappear and abandon his clients and then rely on the convenient excuse
that there were threats to his safety. Even assuming that there were serious threats
to his person, this did not give him the permission to desert his client and leave the
cases entrusted to his care hanging. He should have at least exercised reasonable
and ordinary care and diligence by taking steps to ensure that the cases he was
handling were attended to and that his clients interest was safeguarded. If it was
not possible for him to handle the cases entrusted to his care, he should have
informed the complainant of his predicament and asked that he be allowed to
withdraw from the case to enable the client to engage the services of another
counsel who could properly present him.

The Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED. This Courts en banc decision in


Administrative Case No. 7902 dated September 30, 2008, entitled Torben B.
Overgaard v. Atty. Godwin R. Valdez, is AFFIRMED

540 SCRA 424 Civil Law Private International Law Nationality Theory
Practice of Law is Reserved for Filipinos
In 1998, Atty. Benjamin Dacanay went to Canada to seek medical help. In order for
him to take advantage of Canadas free medical aid program he became a Canadian
citizen in 2004. In 2006 however, he re-acquired his Philippine citizenship pursuant
to Republic Act 9225 of the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003. In
the same year, he returned to the Philippines and he now intends to resume his
practice of law.
ISSUE: Whether or not Benjamin Dacanay may still resume his practice of law.
HELD: Yes. As a rule, the practice of law and other professions in the Philippines
are reserved and limited only to Filipino citizens. Philippine citizenship is a
requirement for admission to the bar. So when Dacanay became a Canadian citizen
in 2004, he ceased to have the privilege to practice law in the Philippines. However,
under RA 9225, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of another country is
deemed never to have lost his Philippine citizenship if he reacquires his Filipino
citizenship in accordance with RA 9225. Hence, when Dacanay reacquires his
Filipino citizenship in 2006, his membership to the Philippine bar was deemed to
have never been terminated.
But does this also mean that he can automatically resume his practice of law right
after reacquisition?
No. Dacanay must still comply with several conditions before he can resume his
practice of law, to wit:
(a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP;
(b) the payment of professional tax;
(c) the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal
education; this is especially significant to refresh the applicant/petitioners
knowledge of Philippine laws and update him of legal developments and
(d) the retaking of the lawyers oath which will not only remind him of his duties
and responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also renew his
pledge to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.
Compliance with these conditions will restore his good standing as a member of the
Philippine bar

In Re: Argosino, 270 SCRA 26


FACTS:
This is a matter for admission to the bar and oath taking of a
successful bar applicant. Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino was previously
involved with hazing which caused the death of Raul Camaligan a neophyte
during fraternity initiation rites but he was convicted for Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Homicide. He was sentenced with 2 years and 4
months of imprisonment where he applied a probation thereafter which was
approved and granted by the court. He took the bar exam and passed but
was not allowed to take the oath. He filed for a petition to allow him to take
the lawyers oath of office and to admit him to the practice of law averring
that his probation was already terminated. The court note that he spent only
10 months of the probation period before it was terminated.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Al Argosino may take the lawyers oath office and admit him
to the practice of law.
HELD:
The practice of law is a privilege granted only to those who possess the
STRICT, INTELLECTUAL and MORAL QUALIFICATIONS required of lawyers
who are instruments in the effective and efficient administration of justice.
The court upheld the principle of maintaining the good moral character of all
Bar members, keeping in mind that such is of greater importance so far as
the general public and the proper administration of justice are concerned.
Hence he was asked by the court to produce evidence that would certify that
he has reformed and has become a responsible member of the community
through sworn statements of individuals who have a good reputation for
truth and who have actually known Mr. Argosino for a significant period of
time to certify that he is morally fit to the admission of the law profession.
The petitioner is then allowed to take the lawyers oath, sign the Roll of
Attorneys and thereafter to practice the legal profession.

IN RE: PETITION TO SIGN IN THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS


BM No. 2540 September 24, 2013

Statement of Facts:
Petitioner Michael Medado, who obtained his law degree in the year 1979, took
and passed the same years bar examinations and took the Attorneys Oath, failed to
sign the Attorneys Roll. After more than 30 years of practicing the profession of law, he
filed the instant Petition on February 2012, praying that he be allowed to sign in the Roll
of Attorneys. Medado said that he was not able to sign the Roll of Attorneys because he
misplaced the notice given to him and he believed that since he had already taken the
oath, the signing of the Roll of Attorneys is not urgent, nor as crucial to his status as a
lawyer.
The Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) after conducting clarificatory conference
on the matter recommended to the Supreme Court that the instant petition be denied for
petitioners gross negligence, gross misconduct and utter lack of merit.

Issue:
WON the petitioner be allowed to sign in the roll of attorneys?

Ruling:
Yes, the Court allowed the petitioner to sign the Roll of Attorneys subject to the
payment of a fine and the imposition of a penalty equivalent to suspension from the
practice of law.
The Court cannot forbid the petitioner from signing the Roll of Attorneys because
such action constitutes disbarment. Such penalty is reserved to the most serious ethical
transgressions of members of the Bar.
The Court cited three main points which demonstrate Medados worth to become
a full-fledged member of the Philippine Bar. First, Medado demonstrated good faith and
good moral character when he finally filed the instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of
Attorneys. It was Medado himself who admitted his own error and not any third person.
Second, petitioner has not been subject to any action for disqualification from the
practice of law. He strove to adhere to the strict requirements of the ethics of the
profession and that he has prima facie shown that he possesses the character required
to be a member of the Philippine Bar. Third, Medado appears to have been a competent

and able legal practitioner, having held various positions at the Laurel Law Office,
Petron, Petrophil Corporation, the Philippine National Oil Company, and the Energy
Development Corporation.
However, the Court cannot fully free Medado from all liability for his years of
inaction. His justification of his action, that it was neither willful nor intentional but based
on a mistaken belief and an honest error of judgment was opposed by the Court.
A mistake of law cannot be utilized as a lawful justification, because everyone is
presumed to know the law and its consequences. Although an honest mistake of fact
could be used to excuse a person from the legal consequences of his acts he could no
longer claim it as a valid justification by the moment he realized that what he had signed
was merely an attendance record. His action of continuing the practice of law in spite of
his knowledge of the need to take the necessary steps to complete all requirements for
the admission to the bar constitutes unauthorized practice of law. Such action
transgresses Canon 9 of 'the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides:
CANON 9 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized
practice of law.

With respect to the penalty, previous violations of Canon 9 have warranted the
penalty of suspension from the practice of law. However, in the instant case the Court
could not warrant the penalty of suspension from the practice of law to Medado because
he is not yet a full-fledged lawyer. Instead, the Court see it fit to impose upon him a
penalty similar to suspension by allowing him to sign in the Roll of Attorneys one ( 1)
year after receipt of the Resolution and to fine him in the amount of P32,000.
The instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys is Affirmed. Petitioner Michael
A. Medado is ALLOWED to sign in the Roll of Attorneys ONE (1) YEAR after receipt of
the Resolution. Petitioner is likewise ORDERED to pay a FINE of P32,000 for his
unauthorized practice of law. During the one year period, petitioner is NOT ALLOWED to
practice law, and is STERNLY WARNED that doing any act that constitutes practice of
law before he has signed in the Roll of Attorneys will be dealt with severely by the Court.

When may a non-lawyer litigate in court?


Reiterating a previous article that I had posted on the same subject matter, in the case
of FERDINAND A. CRUZ vs. ALBERTO MINA, HON. ELEUTERIO F. GUERRERO and
HON. ZENAIDA LAGUILLES, G.R. No. 154207, April 27, 2007, the Philippine Supreme
Court interpreted, clarified and implemented:
(a) Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court,
(b) Bar Matter No. 730, Circular No. 19 governing law student practice, and
(c) Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court (Law Student Practice Rule).
The basic question was whether the petitioner, a law student, may appear before an
inferior court as an agent or friend of a party litigant.
The courts a quo held that the Law Student Practice Rule as encapsulated in Rule 138-A of
the Rules of Court, prohibits the petitioner, as a law student, from entering his appearance
in behalf of his father, the private complainant in the criminal case without the supervision of
an attorney duly accredited by the law school.
Section 1 of Rule 138-A provides that a law student who has successfully completed his 3rd
year of the regular four-year prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized law
school's clinical legal education program approved by the Supreme Court, may appear
without compensation in any civil, criminal or administrative case before any trial court,
tribunal, board or officer, to represent indigent clients accepted by the legal clinic of the law
school.
Section 2 of the said Rule provides that the appearance of the law student authorized by
this rule, shall be under the direct supervision and control of a member of the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines duly accredited by the law school. Any and all pleadings, motions, briefs,
memoranda or other papers to be filed, must be signed by the supervising attorney for and
in behalf of the legal clinic.
However, in Resolution6 dated June 10, 1997 in Bar Matter No. 730, the Court En Banc
clarified that the said Rule, however, is different if the law student appears before an inferior
court, where the issues and procedure are relatively simple. In inferior courts, a law student
may appear in his personal capacity without the supervision of a lawyer.
Section 34, Rule 138 provides that 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.
Thus, a law student may appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a
party without the supervision of a member of the bar.
The phrase "in the court of a justice of the peace" in Bar Matter No. 730 is subsequently
changed to "In the court of a municipality" as it now appears inSection 34 of Rule 138.
In Section 34 of Rule 138, the appearance of a non-lawyer, as an agent or friend of a party
litigant, is expressly allowed, while Rule 138-A provides for conditions when a law student,
not as an agent or a friend of a party litigant, may appear before the courts.
Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the inferior courts by a non-lawyer is
allowed, irrespective of whether or not he is a law student.
As succinctly clarified in Bar Matter No. 730, by virtue of Section 34, Rule 138, a law
student may appear, as an agent or a friend of a party litigant, without the
supervision of a lawyer before inferior courts.