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Marco O.

Arpon

In the Matter of the Disqualification of Bar Examinee Haron S. Meiling in


the 2002 Bar Examinations

FACTS:

Atty. Froilan R. Melendrez filed with the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) a
Petition to disqualify Haron S. Meiling from taking the 2002 Bar Examinations and to
impose on him the appropriate disciplinary penalty as a member of the Philippine
Sharia Bar.

The gist of the case was Meiling allegedly uttered defamatory words against
Melendrez and his wife in front of media practitioners and other people. Meiling also
purportedly attacked and hit the face of Melendrez wife causing the injuries to the
latter. In the Petition of Melendrez it was alleged that Meiling did not disclose in his
Petition to take the 2002 Bar Examinations that he has three (3) pending criminal
cases both for Grave Oral Defamation and for Less Serious Physical Injuries. It was
also alleged that Meiling has been using the title Attorney in his communications
as Secretatry to the Mayor of Cotabato City, despite the fact that he is not a
member of the Bar.

Meiling explains that he did not disclose the criminal cases because retired
Judge Corocoy Moson, their former professor, advised him to settle
misunderstanding. Believing in good faith that the case would be settled because
the said Judge has moral ascendancy over them, considered the three cases that
arose from a single incident closed and terminated. Meiling denies the charges
and added that the acts do not involve moral turpitude. He also admits that some
of his communications really contained the word Attorney as they were typed by
the office clerk. Office of Bar Confidant disposed of the charge of non-disclosure
against Meling. He should have known that only the court of competent jurisdiction
can dismiss cases, not a retired judge nor a law professor. In fact, the cases filed
against Meling are still pending. Even if these cases were already dismissed, he is
still required to disclose the same for the Court to ascertain his good moral
character.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Meilings act of concealing cases constitutes dishonesty.

RULING:

Petition is granted. Membership is suspended until further orders from the


Court, the suspension to take effect immediately. It prevented Haron S. Meiling
from taking the Lawyerss Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys as a member of
the Philippine Bar, Meiling did not pass the bar.

The requirement of good moral character is not only a condition precedent to


admission to the practice of law , its continued possession is also essential for
remaining in the practice of law. By concealing the existence of such pending cases,
the applicant then flunks the test of fitness even if the cases are ultimately proven
to be unwarranted or insufficient to impugn or affect the good moral character of
the applicant.
Philippine Lawyers Association vs Agrava 105 Phil. 173

FACTS:

A petition was filed by the petitioner for prohibition and injunction against
Celedonio Agrava, in his capacity as Director of the Philippines Patent Office. On
May 27, 1957, respondent Director issued a circular announcing that he had
scheduled for June 27, 1957 an examination for the purpose of determining who are
qualified to practice as patent attorneys before the Philippines Patent Office. The
petitioner contends that one who has passed the bar examinations and 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.

RULING:

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.
People vs Villanueva 14 SCRA 111

FACTS:

In 1959, Villanueva was charged with Malicious Mischief in the municipality of


Alaminos in Laguna. In said case, the private offended party asked his lawyer friend,
Ariston Fule to prosecute said case. Apparently, Fule was the fiscal in San Pablo,
Laguna. Villanueva the opposed the appearance of Fule as counsel for the offended
party as he said that according to the Rules of Court when an attorney had been
appointed to the position of Assistant Provincial Fiscal or City Fiscal and therein
qualified, by operation of law, he ceased to engage in private law practice.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Ariston Fule is engaged in private law practice.

RULING:

No. Private practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to
be in the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that his
professional services are available to the public for a compensation, as a source of
his livelihood or in consideration of his said services. In the case at bar, Fule is not
being compensated but rather hes doing it for free for his friend who happened to
be the offended party. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists
in frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other
words, it is frequent habitual exercise. Further, the fact that the Secretary of Justice
approved Fules appearance for his friend should be given credence.

The Supreme Court held that the isolate appearance of City Attorney Fule did
not constitute private practice within the meaning and contemplation of the Rules.
Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists of frequents or
customary actions, a succession of facts of the same kind or frequent
habitualexercise. Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been
interpreted as customarily or habitually holding ones self out to the public, as
customarily and demanding payment for such services. Themere appearance as
counsel on one occasion is not conclusive as determinative of engagement in the
private practice of law. It is alsoworth noted that, it has never been refuted that City
Attorney Fule had been given permission by his immediatesuperior to represent the
complainant in the case at bar, who is a relative
Cayetano Vs Monsod 201 SCRA 210

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 possesrequired qualification of having been
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. The 1987 constitutionprovides
in Section 1, Article IX-C: There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a
Chairman and sixCommissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the
Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, atleast thirty-five years of age,
holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for
any electiveposition in the immediately preceding elections. However, a majority
thereof, including the Chairman, shall bemembers of the Philippine Bar who have
been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

Issue:

Whether the respondent does not posses 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 theconduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces
the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident toactions 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 inmatters connected with the law incorporation
services, assessment and condemnation services, contemplatingan appearance
before judicial body, the foreclosure of mortgage, enforcement of a creditors claim
inbankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in
attachment, and in matters of estateand 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 practiceof law for at least ten years is incorrect since Atty. Monsods
past work experience as a lawyer-economist, alawyer-manager, 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 COMELECchairman, The respondent has been engaged in the
practice of law for at least ten years does In the view of theforegoing, the petition is
DISMISSED.***

The Supreme Court held that the appointment of Monsod is in accordance


with the requirement of law as having been engaged in the practice of law for
at least ten years. Monsods past work experiences as alawyer-economist, a lawyer-
manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer negotiator of contracts
and alawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor verily more than satisfy
the constitutional requirement that hehas been engaged in the practice of law for at
least ten years. Again, in the case of Philippine LawyersAssociation vs. Agrava, the
practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases and litigation in court;
itembraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and
social proceedings and othersimilar work which involves the determination by a
legal mind the legal effects of facts and conditions.

Ulep vs Legal Clinic Inc., 223 SCRA 378

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
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:

1.Whether or not The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law;


2. whether or not its advertisement may be allowed.

RULING:

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:
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

Bolongalanta vs Castillo 240 SCRA 310


In re:Al C. Argosino 246 SCRA 14

FACTS:
On February 4, 1992 ,Argosino, together with 13 others, was charged with the
crime of homicide in connection with the death of one Raul Camaligan. The death of
Camaligan stemmed from the affliction of severe physical injuries upon him in
course of "hazing" conducted as part of the university fraternity initiation rites. On
February 11, 1993, the accused were consequently sentenced to suffer
imprisonment for a period ranging from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1)
day to four (4) years.

Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues filed an application for
probation with the lower court. The application was granted on June 18 1993. The
period of probation was set at two (2) years, counted from the probationer's initial
report to the probation officer assigned to supervise him.

Less than a month later, Argosino filed a petition to take the bar exam. He
was allowed and he passed the exam, but was not allowed to take the lawyer's oath
of office.

On April 15, 1994, Argosino filed a petition to allow him to take the attorney's
oath and be admitted to the practice of law. He averred that his probation period
had been terminated. It is noted that his probation period did not last for more than
10 months.

ISSUE:
Whether Argosino should be allowed to take the oath of attorney and be
admitted to the practice of law

HELD:
Mr. Argosino must submit to this Court evidence that he may now be
regarded as complying with the requirement of good moral character imposed upon
those who are seeking admission to the bar. He should show to the Court how he
has tried to make up for the senseless killing of a helpless student to the family of
the deceased student and to the community at large. In short, he must show
evidence that he is a different person now, that he has become morally fit for
admission to the profession of law.

He is already directed to inform the Court, by appropriate written manifestation, of


the names of the
parents or brothers and sisters of Camaligan from notice.
In Matter of the Petition for Authority to Continue Use of Firm Name
Ozaeta, Romulo, Etc., 92 SCRA 1

FACTS:

The surviving parters of Atty. Herminio Ozaeta filed a petition praying that
they beallowed to continue using, in the name of their firm, the names of their
partner who passed away. One of the petitioners arguments stated
that no local custom prohibits thecontinued use of a deceased partners name in a
professional firms name in so far asGreater Manila Area is concerned. No custom
exists which recognizes that the name of alaw firm necessarily identifies the
individual members of the firm. They also stated thatthe continued use of a
deceased partners name in the firm name of law partnerships
has been consistently allowed by U.S. Courts and is an accepted practice in the lega
l profession of most countries in the world.

Issue:
Whether or not the law firm Ozaeta, Romulo, De Leon, Mabanta & Reyes is
allowed tosustain the name of their deceased partner, Atty. Herminio Ozaeta, in the
name of theirfirm.

Held:
NO. Canon 33 of the Canons of Professional Ethics adopted by the American
BarAssociation stated the following:The continued use of the name of a deceased
or former partner when
permissible by local custom,
is not unethical but care should be takenthat no imposition or deception is
practiced through this
use. No local custom permits or allows the continued use of a deceased or former p
artnersname in the firm names of law partnerships. Firm names, under Philippine
custom,identify the more active or senior partners in a firm. Firm names in the
Philippineschange and evolve when partners die, leave or a new one is added. It is
questionable toadd the new name of a partner and sustain the name of the
deceased one since they havenever been, technically, partners in the first place.
When it comes to the arguments of
the petitioners stating that U.S. Courts grant the continued use of the deceased part
nersname, this is so because in the U.S., it is a sanctioned custom as stated in the
case of
Mendelsohn v. Equitable Life Assurance Society
(33 N.Y.S 2d 733). This does not applyin the Philippines. The petition filed herein is
denied and petitioner is advised to drop thename OZAETA from the firm name.
Marcos and Concordia vs Chief of Staff, 89 Phil. 246

FACTS:
1. Alleged that the AFP Military Tribunals unlawfully excluded MARCOS and
CONDORDIA from their right to appear as counsel on the ground that they are
DISQUALIFIED/EXEMPTED/INHIBITED from SEC 17, Article 17 of the
Constitution:
1. SEC. 17: No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall
directly or indirectly be financially interested in any contract with the
Government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof, or in any
franchise or special privilege granted by the Congress during his term
of office.
2. He shall not appear as counsel before the Electoral Tribunals or
before any court in any civil case wherein the Government or any
subdivision or instrumentality thereof is the adverse party, or in any
criminal case wherein an offer or employee of the Government is
accused of an offense committed in relation to his office

ISSUE:
WON the prohibition contained in the above quoted section 17 of our Constitution is
applicable to the petitioners in the two cases. YES.

HELD:
MARCOS AND CONCONDIA DISQUALIFIED TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL FOR ACCUSED IN
COURT-MARTIALS. AFP DID NOT UNLAWFULLY EXCLUDED THEIR RIGHTS. HENCE,
PETITIONS FOR MANDAMUS ARE DENIED WITH COSTS.

1. MARCOS/CONCORDIA: applicable, because the words "any court" includes the


General Court-Martial, and a court-martial case is a criminal case within the
meaning of the above quoted provisions of our Constitution.
1. Words any court, used in prohibiting members of Congress to appear
as counsel in any criminal case in which an officer or employee of the
Government is accused of an offense committed in relation to his
office, refers not only to civil, but also to military courts.
i. General meaning must prevail over restricted
meaning UNLESS the nature of the subject matter clearly indicates that limited
sense is intended.
2. It would be a bar to another prosecution for the same case which would result
to DOUBLE JEOPARDY.
1. If a court-martial has jurisdiction to try an officer or soldier for a
crime, its judgment will be accorded the finality and conclusiveness as
to the issues involved which attend the judgments of a civil court in a
case of which it may legally take cognizance.
2. Restricting our decision to the above question of double jeopardy, the
plaintiff in error, having been acquitted of the crime of homicide, could
not be subsequently tried for the same offense in a civil court
exercising authority in that territory.
3. In Sec 17, it is obvious that the reason of prohibiting appearance of
members of the Senate/House of Representatives as counsel for the
accused in court-martials, as for inhibiting them to appear as such in
civil courts, because the independence of civil courts judges is
guaranteed by our Constitution.
4. Ubi eadem ratio ibi eadem lexi
3. A court-martial is strictly a criminal court. It has no civil jurisdiction; cannot
enforce a contract, collect a debt or award damages in favor of an individual.
1. Judgment is a criminal sentence, not a civil verdict.
2. Proper function is to award punishment upon the ascertainment of
guilt.
3 Court-martial is a lawful tribunal existing by same authority that any other
exists by, and the military law is a branch of law as valid as the others.
1. It differs from other laws only because- it applies to officers and
soldiers but not to other members of the body politic, it is limited to
beaches of military duty.

Cantimbuhan vs Cruz, Jr., 126 SCRA 190

FACTS:
Appeal from the Order, dated August 16, 1979, of respondent Judge Nicanor J.
Cruz, Jr., of the then Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila, disallowing the
appearances of petitioners Nelson B. Malana and Robert V. Lucila as private
prosecutors in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550, both for less serious physical
injuries, filed against Pat. Danilo San Antonio and Pat. Rodolfo Diaz, respectively, as
well as the Order, dated September 4, 1979, denying the motion for reconsideration
holding, among others, that "the fiscal's claim that appearances of friends of party-
litigants should be allowed only in places where there is a scarcity of legal
practitioner, to be well founded. For, if we are to allow non-members of the bar to
appear in court and prosecute cases or defend litigants in the guise of being friends
of the litigants, then the requirement of membership in the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines and the additional requirement of paying professional taxes for a lawyer
to appear in court, would be put to naught. " (p. 25, Rollo)

this petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition with prayers, among
others, that the Orders of respondent judge, dated August 16, 1979 and September
4, 1979, be set aside as they are in plain violation of Section 34, Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court and/or were issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
of jurisdiction. Upon motion, the Court, on November 8, 1979, issued a temporary
restraining order "enjoining respondent judge and all persons acting for and in his
behalf from conducting any proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 (People of the
Philippines vs. Danilo San Antonio) and 58559 (People of the Philippines vs. Rodolfo
Diaz) of the Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila on November 15, 1979 as
scheduled or on any such dates as may be fixed by said respondent judge.

ISSUE:
Whether or not senior law students may have appearance in cases held at
lower courts.

RULING:
the Orders issued by respondent judge dated August 16, 1979 and
September 4, 1979 which disallowed the appearances of petitioners Nelson B.
Malana and Robert V. Lucila as friends of party-litigant petitioner Romulo
Cantimbuhan. are hereby SET ASIDE and respondent judge is hereby ordered to
ALLOW the appearance and intervention of petitioners Malana and Lucila as friends
of Romulo Cantimbuhan. Accordingly, the temporary restraining order issued on
November 8, 1979 is LIFTED.
We find merit in the petition. Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court,
clearly provides that in the municipal court a party may conduct his litigation in
person with the aid of an agent appointed by him for the purpose. Thus, in the case
of Laput vs. Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, a law student was allowed to represent the
accused in a case pending before the then Municipal Court, the City Court of Manila,
who was charged for damages to property through reckless imprudence.
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.
Thus, a non-member of the Philippine Bar a party to an action is authorized to
appear in court and conduct his own case; and, in the inferior courts, the litigant
may be aided by a friend or agent or by an attorney. However, in the Courts of First
Instance, now Regional Trial Courts, he can be aided only by an attorney.

Cruz vs Mina 522 scra 387

Facts:
Ferdinand A. Cruz filed before the MeTC a formal Entry of Appearance, as private
prosecutor, where his father, Mariano Cruz, is the complaining witness.
The petitioner, describing himself as a third year law student, justifies his
appearance as private prosecutor on the bases of Section 34 of Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court and the ruling of the Court En Banc in Cantimbuhan v. Judge Cruz, Jr.
that a non-lawyer may appear before the inferior courts as an agent or friend of a
party litigant. The petitioner furthermore avers that his appearance was with the
prior conformity of the public prosecutor and a written authority of Mariano Cruz
appointing him to be his agent in the prosecution of the said criminal case.
However, in an Order dated February 1, 2002, the MeTC denied permission for
petitioner to appear as private prosecutor on the ground that Circular No. 19
governing limited law student practice in conjunction with Rule 138-A of the Rules of
Court (Law Student Practice Rule) should take precedence over the ruling of the
Court laid down in Cantimbuhan; and set the case for continuation of trial.
Issue:
whether the petitioner, a law student, may appear before an inferior court as an
agent or friend of a party litigant
Ruling:
The 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:
Sec. 34. By whom litigation is 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.
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. (Emphasis supplied)
Paar vs Borromeo, 79 Phil. 344

FACTS:

Teofilo Paar is charge in Manila with treason before the People's


Court, and prayed that he be assisted in his defense by Andres R.
Camasura who is not a member of the bar. The People's Court denied the
petition, hence, this action for mandamus

ISSUE:
Whether or not Andres R. Camasura who is not a member of the bar
assist in defense in the courts of Manila.

RULING:
The petition was denied because it was clear form the following
provisions that in Manila where there are many members of the bar,
defendants in the People's Court may be assisted only by members of the
bar.
SEC. 3. Duty of court to inform defendant of his right to have
attorney. If the defendant appears without a attorney, he must be
informed by the court that it is his right to have attorney before being
arraigned, and must be asked if he desires the aid of attorney. If he
desires and is unable to employ attorney, the court must assign attorney
de oficio to defend him. A reasonable time must be allowed for procuring
attorney.
SEC. 4. Who may be appointed attorney `de oficio'. The attorney
so employed or assigned must be a duty authorized member of the Bar.
But in provinces where duly authorized members of the bar are not
available, the court may, in its discretion, admit or assign a person,
resident in the province and of good repute for probity and ability, to aid
the defendant in his defense, although the person so admitted or assigned
be not a duly authorized member of the Bar.
SEC. 29. Attorney for destitute litigants. "A superior court
may assign an attorney to render professional aid free of charge to any
party in a case, if upon investigation it appears that the party is destitute
and unable to employ an attorney, and that the services of counsel are
necessary to secure the ends of justice and to protect the rights of the
party. It shall be the duty of the attorney so assigned to render the
required service, unless he is excused there from by the court for
sufficient cause shown."
SEC. 31. 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.lawphil.net
Tan vs Balajadia 484 SCRA 659

FACTS:
A petition for contempt filed by Rogelio Tan, Norma Tan and
Maliyawao Pagayokan against respondent Benedicto Balajadia.
Petitioners allege that on May 8, 2005, respondent filed a criminal case
against them with the Office of the City of Prosecutor of Baguio City for
usurpation of authority, grave coercion and violation of city tax ordinance
due to the alleged illegal collection of parking fees by petitioners from
respondent. In paragraph 5 of the complaint-affidavit, respondent
asserted that he is a "practicing lawyer based in Baguio City with office
address at Room B-207, 2/F Lopez Building, Session Road, Baguio City."2
However, certifications issued by the Office of the Bar Confidant3 and the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines4 showed that respondent has never been
admitted to the Philippine Bar. Hence, petitioners claim that respondent is
liable for indirect contempt for misrepresenting himself as a lawyer.
Balajadia commented that that the allegation in paragraph 5 of the
complaint affidavit that he is a practicing lawyer was an honest mistake.
He claims that the secretary of Atty. Paterno Aquino prepared the subject
complaint-affidavit which was patterned after Atty. Aquinos complaint-
affidavit.6 It appears that Atty. Aquino had previously filed a complaint-
affidavit against petitioners involving the same subject matter.
Liza Laconsay, Atty. Aquinos secretary, executed an affidavit8
admitting the mistake in the preparation of the complaint-affidavit.

ISSUE: whether or not the respondent is liable for indirect contempt

RULING:
The petition was dismissed and the respondent was warned to be
more careful and circumspect in his future actions. Respondent has
satisfactorily shown that the allegation that he is a practicing lawyer was
the result of inadvertence and cannot, by itself, establish intent as to
make him liable for indirect contempt. In the cases where we found a
party liable for the unauthorized practice of law, the party was guilty of
some overt act like signing court pleadings on behalf of his client;12
appearing before court hearings as an attorney;13 manifesting before the
court that he will practice law despite being previously denied admission
to the bar;14 or deliberately attempting to practice law and holding out
himself as an attorney through circulars with full knowledge that he is not
licensed to do so.15
In the case at bar, no evidence was presented to show that respondent
acted as an attorney or that he intended to practice law. Consequently, he
cannot be made liable for indirect contempt considering his lack of intent
to illegally practice law.
However, while the evidence on record failed to prove respondents
deliberate intent to misrepresent himself as an attorney and act as such
without authority, he is hereby warned to be more careful and circumspect
in his future actions

Tan vs Balon, Jr. A.C. No. 6483, August 31, 2007 (414 SCRA 511)

FACTS:
On July 13, 2004, Nicolas O. Tan filed a complaint against Atty.
Amadeo E. Balon, Jr. for misappropriation of funds and issuance of bum
checks. Tan alleged that he engaged the services of Atty. Balon relative to
the returned checks issued to the former by Jose G. Guisande. Atty. Balon
sent demand letters to Guisande but thereafter failed to inform Tan about
the status of the same. Tan alleged that as a fellow Rotarian, he regularly
met Atty. Balon but the latter said nothing about the case. Tan thus
engaged the services of another lawyer, Atty. Romualdo Jubay, who filed
an estafa case against Guisande. During theproceedings, Guisandes
counsel informed Tan and Atty. Jubay that out of the P96,085.00 originally
owed, P60,000.00 was already collected by Atty. Balon.
When confronted by Tan, Atty. Balon admitted that he collected the
amount ofP60,000.00 from Guisande. He then proposed to Tan that 20% of
the P60,000.00 or P12,000.00 be applied as attorneys fees. He offered to
pay the remaining balance of P48,000.00 with interest of 6% from
September 29, 1999 to January 13, 2003 by issuing two postdated checks.
However, the two checks issued by Atty. Balon bounced for reason
"account closed" when presented for payment.
During the period of the case it was learned that Atty. Balon was
already disbarred by the Court in Lemoine v Balon. However, Atty. Balon
continued to practice as a lawyer and committed malpractice , deceit and
gross misconduct in his profession.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Balon commited a grave abuse of the practice
of his profession.

RULING:
Respondent Atty. Amadeo E. Balon, Jr., is found GUILTY of
malpractice, deceit and gross misconduct in the practice of his profession
as a lawyer and he is hereby DISBARRED. The Office of the Clerk of Court
is directed to strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys and to inform
all courts and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines of this Decision.
Specifically with respect to above-quoted provision of Canon 16 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, the Filipino lawyers principal source
of ethical rules, which Canon 16 bears on the principal complaint of
complainant, a lawyer must hold in trust all moneys and properties of his
client that he may come to possess. This commandment entails certain
specific acts to be done by a lawyer such as rendering an accounting of all
money or property received for or from the client as well as delivery of the
funds or property to the client when due or upon demand.
In re: David Adm. Case No. L-98,93 Phil. 461

FACTS:
The respondent, Felix P. David was suspended for bad practices in the exercise of his
profession as a lawyer for a period of five years from the November 9, 1949. The defendant admits
this suspension in `his written report filed on March 17, 1951, yet he continued to exercise the
profession within the period of suspension, November 9, 1949 to November 8, 1954.
On Feb 28 1950 the respondent file a claim in the case of Tan Tek vs Sy not as a lawyer but as an
agent. (For and in behalf of Tan Tek Sy) CFI decided in favor of Tan Tek, subsequently Atty Felix
David filed a motion for execution. In another civil case of the CFI called Malayan Saw Mill, Inc vs
Tolentino, defendant filed a brief for an order to demolish homes.
In order - says the appeal - to show That I did not Have the intention to disregard the suspension of
the Supreme Court, I did not With The Knowledge of Tan Tek Identified Sy Even myself as the
attorney for the Appelles But In Good Faith, I signed for and in Behalf of the appellee Without
Designating That I am Practicing as attorney-at-law.

ISSUE: Whether the acts of Atty Felix David is tantamount to practice of law.

HELD: Yes. Neither can he allow his name to appear in such pleading by itself or as part of firm
name under the signature of another qualified lawyer because the signature of an agent amounts to
signing of a non-qualified senator or congressman, the office of an attorney being originally an
agency, and because he will, by such act, be appearing in court or quasi-judicial or administrative
body in violation of the constitutional restriction. He cannot do indirectly what the Constitution
prohibits directly.

Rodolfo De Leon Vs Court of Appeals


FACTS:

Rodolfo De Leon the petitioner filed a special civil action for


certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. It seeks to
annul and set aside the resolution dated January 13, 1999 of the Court of
Appeals, in CA-G.R. CV No. 57989, denying petitioners motion (a) to
dismiss the appeals of private respondents, and (b) to suspend the period
to file appellees brief. Also assailed is the CA resolution dated April 19,
1999, denying petitioners motion for reconsideration.
The gist of the conflict can be traced on the antecedent facts. De
Leon filed with the Regional Trial Court of Bataan, Branch 3 a complaint for
a sum of money plus damages against Avelino and Estelita Batungbacal.
The complaint averred that private respondent Estilita Batungbacal
executed a promissory note in favour of De Leon for her Php 500,000 loan
with stipulated interest at 5 percent monthly. The loan and interest
remained unpaid allegedly because the check issued by Estelita was
dishonoured. Private respondents filed an answer with counterclaim.
Estilita admitted the loan obligation, but Avelino denied liability on the
ground that his wife was not designated administrator and therefore had
no authority to bind the conjugal partnership. Avelino further averred that
his wife conyracted the debt without his knowledge and consent.

ISSUE:

(1) whether or not the appellate court erred in taking cognizance of


the appeal
(2) whether or not the appellate court erred or committed grave
abuse of discretion when it considered the appeal as submitted for
decision without petitioners brief.

RULING:

The petition is denied and the resolutions dated January 13, 1999
and April 19, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 57989 are
affirmed and the court of appeals is ordered to proceed with the appeal
and decide the case with dispatch.
On the first issue, it was found that the Court of Appeals did not act
without jurisdiction in entertaining the appeal filed by private respondent
Estelita Batungbacal. Contrary to petitioners apparent position, the
judgments rendered by the trial court in this case are not several
judgments under the Rules of Court so that there would be multiple
periods of finality.
A several judgment is proper only when the liability of each party is
clearly separable and distinct from that of his co-parties, such that the
claims against each of them could have been the subject of separate suits,
and judgment for or against one of them will not necessarily affect the
other.21 Where a common cause of action exists against the defendants,
as in actions against solidary debtors, a several judgment is not proper. In
this case, private respondents are sued together under a common cause
of action and are sought to be held liable as solidary debtors for a loan
contracted by Estelita. This is the clear import of the allegation in the
complaint that the proceeds of the loan benefited the conjugal
partnership.
On the second issue, we hold that the Court of Appeals did not
commit grave abuse of discretion in considering the appeal submitted for
decision. The proper remedy in case of denial of the motion to dismiss is
to file the appellees brief and proceed with the appeal. Instead, petitioner
opted to file a motion for reconsideration which, unfortunately, was pro
forma. All the grounds raised therein have been discussed in the first
resolution of the respondent Court of Appeals. There is no new ground
raised that might warrant reversal of the resolution. A cursory perusal of
the motion would readily show that it was a near verbatim repetition of
the grounds stated in the motion to dismiss; hence, the filing of the
motion for reconsideration did not suspend the period for filing the
appellees brief. Petitioner was therefore properly deemed to have waived
his right to file appellees brief.