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In Re: Vicente Almacen

31 SCRA 562 Legal Ethics A Lawyers Right to Criticize the Courts


Facts: Atty. Almacen was the counsel of one Virginia Yaptinchay in a civil
case. They lost in said civil case but Almacen filed a Motion for
Reconsideration. He notified the opposing party of said motion but he failed
to indicate the time and place of hearing of said motion. Hence, his motion
was denied. He then appealed but the Court of Appeals denied his appeal as
it agreed with the trial court with regard to the motion for reconsideration.
Eventually, Almacen filed an appeal on certiorari before the Supreme Court
which outrightly denied his appeal in a minute resolution.
This earned the ire of Almacen who called such minute resolutions as
unconstitutional. He then filed before the Supreme Court a petition to
surrender his lawyers certificate of title as he claimed that it is useless to
continue practicing his profession when members of the high court are men
who are calloused to pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons their own
applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with
impunity. He further alleged that due to the minute resolution, his client was
made to pay P120k without knowing the reasons why and that he became
one of the sacrificial victims before the altar of hypocrisy. He also stated
that justice as administered by the present members of the Supreme Court
is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb.
The Supreme Court did not immediately act on Almacens petition as the
Court wanted to wait for Almacen to ctually surrender his certificate.
Almacen did not surrender his lawyers certificate though as he now argues
that he chose not to. Almacen then asked that he may be permitted to give
reasons and cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against
him . . . in an open and public hearing. He said he preferred this considering
that the Supreme Court is the complainant, prosecutor and Judge. Almacen
was however unapologetic.
ISSUE: Whether or not Almacen should be disciplined.
HELD: Yes. The Supreme Court first clarified that minute resolutions are
needed because the Supreme Court cannot accept every case or write full
opinion for every petition they reject otherwise the High Court would be
unable to effectively carry out its constitutional duties. The proper role of the
Supreme Court is to decide only those cases which present questions whose
resolutions will have immediate importance beyond the particular facts and

parties involved. It should be remembered that a petition to review the


decision of the Court of Appeals is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial
discretion; and so there is no need to fully explain the courts denial. For one
thing, the facts and the law are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals
opinion.
On Almacens attack against the Supreme Court, the High Court regarded
said criticisms as uncalled for; that such is insolent, contemptuous, grossly
disrespectful and derogatory. It is true that a lawyer, both as an officer of the
court and as a citizen, has the right to criticize in properly respectful terms
and through legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges. His right as a
citizen to criticize the decisions of the courts in a fair and respectful manner,
and the independence of the bar, as well as of the judiciary, has always been
encouraged by the courts. But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism
that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of decency and
propriety. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of
respect to courts.
In the case at bar, Almacens criticism is misplaced. As a veteran lawyer, he
should have known that a motion for reconsideration which failed to notify
the opposing party of the time and place of trial is a mere scrap of paper and
will not be entertained by the court. He has only himself to blame and he is
the reason why his client lost. Almacen was suspended indefinitely.

PHILIPPINE LAWYER'S ASSOCIATION vs. CELEDONIO AGRAVA


G.R. No. L-12426. February 16, 1959.
FACTS: On May 27, 1957, respondent Director issued a circular announcing
that he had scheduled an examination for the purpose of determining who
are qualified to practice as patent attorneys before the Philippines Patent
Office. According to the circular, members of the Philippine Bar, engineers
and other persons with sufficient scientific and technical training are
qualified to take the said examination. The petitioner contends that one who
has passed the bar examination sand is licensed by the Supreme Court to
practice law in the Philippines and who is in good standing is duly qualified to
practice before the Philippines Patent Office and that the respondent
Directors holding an examination for the purpose is in excess of his
jurisdiction and is in violation of the law.The respondent, in reply, maintains
the prosecution of patent cases does not involve entirely or purely the

practice of law but includes the application of scientific and technical


knowledge and training as a matter of actual practice so as to include
engineers and other individuals who passed the examination can practice
before the Patent office. Furthermore, he stressed that for the long time he is
holding tests, this is the first time that his right has been questioned formally.
ISSUE: Whether or not the appearance before the patent Office and the
preparation and the prosecution of patent application, etc., constitutes or is
included in the practice of law.
HELD: The Supreme Court held that the practice of law includes such
appearance before the Patent Office, the representation of applicants,
oppositors, and other persons, and the prosecution of their applications for
patent, their opposition thereto, or the enforcement of their rights in patent
cases. Moreover, the practice before the patent Office involves the
interpretation and application of other laws and legal principles, as well as
the existence of facts to be established in accordance with the law of
evidence and procedure. The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of
cases or litigation in court but also embraces all other matters connected
with the law and any work involving the determination by the legal mind of
the legal effects of facts and conditions. Furthermore, the law provides that
any party may appeal to the Supreme Court from any final order or decision
of the director. Thus, if the transactions of business in the Patent Office
involved exclusively or mostly technical and scientific knowledge and
training, then logically, the appeal should be taken not to a court or judicial
body, but rather to a board of scientists, engineers or technical men, which is
not the case.

In re shoop, 41 Phil 231 (1920)


Facts: Max Shoop, already admitted to practice law in N.Y. and practiced for
five years in the said state, requested to be admitted to the Philippine Bar.
The pertinent rule to be applied, by comity, is the N.Y. rule for admitting
laywers to practice without examinations subject only to the discretion of the
N.Y. Appellate Division. The paragraph 2 of the said N.Y. rule states that:
"Any person admitted to practice and who has practiced five years in another
country
whose
jurisprudence is based on the principles of the English Common Law".

Issue: Whether the jurisprudence of the Philippines is based on the


principles of the English Common Law as required by the paragraph 2 of the
N.Y. rule for admission to the bar in the said state
Decisions: Yes. The Philippines, after the change of sovereignty from Spain
to the U.S., has adopted the principles of the English Common Law through
the present-day form of the Anglo-American common law. The Philippines, in
deciding cases, adopts the common law principles subject to the limitation
where the old civil law theories of Spain as applied to the country are welldefined and when the theories and precedents of the Anglo-American cases
are inconstent with the local customs and institutions. This principle is
named the Philippine common law.

IN RE: EDILLON (AC 1928 12/19/1980)


FACTS: The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing
Attorney in the Philippines. The IBP Board of Governors recommended to the
Court the removal of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys
for stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues assailing the provisions of
the Rule of Court 139-A and the provisions of par. 2, Section 24, Article III, of
the IBP By-Laws pertaining to the organization of IBP, payment
of membership fee and suspension for failure to pay the same. Edillon
contends that the stated provisions constitute an invasion of his
constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled as a precondition to maintain his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a
member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a
consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to
which he is admitted personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the
rights to liberty and properly guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence,
the respondent concludes the above provisions of the Court Rule and of the
IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect.
ISSUE: Whether or not the court may compel Atty. Edillion to pay
his membership fee
to
the
IBP.
HELD: The Integrated Bar is a State-organized Bar which every lawyer must
be
a
member
of
as
distinguished
from bar
associations in
which membership is
merely
optional
and
voluntary. All

lawyers are subject to comply with the rules prescribed for the governance of
the Bar including payment a reasonable annual fees as one of
the requirements. The Rules of Court only compels him to pay his annual
dues and it is not in violation of his constitutional freedom to associate. Bar
integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free
to attend or not the meeting of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse
to vote in its election as he chooses. The only compulsion to which he is
subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court in order to
further the States legitimate interest in elevating the quality
of professional legal services, may require thet the cost of the regulatory
program

the
lawyers.
Such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the State.
The right to practice law before the courts of this country should be and is a
matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And if the power to impose the fee
as a regulatory measure is recognize then a penalty designed to enforce its
payment is not void as unreasonable as arbitrary. Furthermore, the Court has
jurisdiction over matters of admission, suspension, disbarment, and
reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation as part of its inherent judicial
functions and responsibilities thus the court may compel all members of the
Integrated Bar to pay their annual dues.

Mauricio Ulep vs The Legal Clinic


223 SCRA 378 42 SCAD 287 Legal Ethics Advertisement in the
Legal Profession Practice of Law
Facts: 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/Non-quota 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 Cuneta-Gabby 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 by-product 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:
Advertisement in a reputable law list
Use of ordinary simple professional card
Listing in a phone directory but without designation as to his specialization

Cayetano vs. Monsod


201 SCRA 210
September 1991

Facts: Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C.


Aquino to the position of chairman of the COMELEC. Petitioner opposed the
nomination because allegedly Monsod does not possess required
qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten
years. 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: Whether the respondent does not possess the required qualification
of having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
Held: In the case of Philippine Lawyers Association vs. Agrava, stated: The
practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it
embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions
and special proceeding, the management of such actions and proceedings on
behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In
general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters
connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and
condemnation services, contemplating an appearance before judicial body,
the foreclosure of mortgage, enforcement of a creditors claim in bankruptcy
and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and
in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law
practice. Practice of law means any activity, in or out court, which requires
the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience.
The contention that Atty. Monsod does not posses the required qualification
of having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years is incorrect
since Atty. Monsods past work experience as a lawyer-economist, a lawyermanager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts,
and a lawyer-legislator of both rich and the poor verily more than satisfy

the constitutional requirement for the position of COMELEC chairman, The


respondent has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years
does In the view of the foregoing, the petition is DISMISSED.

IN RE: ARGOSINO (270 SCRA 26, 03/19/1997)


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.
POWER TO CONTROL AND REGULATE THE PRACTICE OF LAW
In re: Cunanan, March 18, 1985

FACTS: RA 972 Bar Fluners Act of 1953


Objectives: to admit to the Bar those candidates who suffered from:
(a) Insufficiency of reading materials and (b) inadequate preparation. By its
declared objective, the law is contrary to public interest because it qualifies
1,094 law graduates who confessedly had inadequate preparation for the
practice of the profession.

Admission to practice of law is almost without exception conceded


everywhere to be the exercise of a judicial function. Admission to practice
have also been held to be the exercise of one of the inherent powers of the
court.

If the legislature cannot indirectly control the action of the courts by


requiring of them construction of the law according to its own views, it is
very plain it cannot do so directly, by settling aside their judgments,
compelling them to grant new trials, ordering the discharge of offenders, or
directing what particular steps shall be taken in the progress of a judicial
inquiry.
HELD: In decreeing the bar candidates who obtained in the bar examinations
of 1946 to 1952, a general average of 70 per cent without falling below 50
per cent in any subject, be admitted in mass to the practice of law, the
disputed law is not a legislation; it is a judgment a judgment revoking
those promulgated by this Court during the aforecited year affecting the bar
candidates concerned; and although this Court certainly can revoke these
judgments even now, for justifiable reasons, it is no less certain that only this
Court, and not the legislative nor executive department, that may be so. Any
attempt on the part of any of these departments would be a clear usurpation
of its functions, as is the case with the law in question.
That the Constitution has conferred on Congress the power to repeal, alter or
supplement the rule promulgated by this Tribunal, concerning the admission
to the practice of law, is no valid argument. Section 13, article VIII of the
Constitution provides:
Section 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules
concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission
to the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for all courts of the same
grade and shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights. The

existing laws on pleading, practice and procedure are hereby repealed as


statutes, and are declared Rules of Court, subject to the power of the
Supreme Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have the
power to repeal, alter, or supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice,
and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines.
Constitution of the Philippines, Art. VIII, sec. 13.
RATIONALE: The public interest demands of legal profession adequate
preparation and efficiency, precisely more so as legal problem evolved by
the times become more difficult. An adequate legal preparation is one of the
vital requisites for the practice of law that should be developed constantly
and maintained firmly. To the legal profession is entrusted the protection of
property, life, honor and civil liberties. To approve officially of those
inadequately prepared individuals to dedicate themselves to such a delicate
mission is to create a serious social danger. Moreover, the statement that
there was an insufficiency of legal reading materials is grossly exaggerated.

In re: Parazo (82 Phil. 230 [1948])


Reporters refusal to reveal source of news report regarding claimed bar
examination leak favoring one school.
Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution of the Philippines authorizes this
Court to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law,
and pursuant to that authority, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court was
promulgated, under which rule, this Court conducts the Bar Examinations
yearly, appoints a Committee of Bar Examiners to be presided by one of the
Justices, to serve for one year, acts on the report of the committee and,
finally, admits to the Bar and to the practice of law, the candidates and
examinees who have passed the examinations. Any charge or insinuation
of anomaly in the conduct of the Bar Examinations, of necessity is imbued
with wide and general interest and national importance. We have the
inherent power of courts in general especially of the Supreme Court as
representative of the Judicial Department, to adopt proper and adequate
measures to preserve their integrity, and render possible and facilitate the
exercise of their functions. .. The revelation demanded of the respondent of
the identity of his informants is essential and necessary to the investigation
of the charge contained in the publication already mentioned.