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Republic of the Philippines There shall be an independent Commission on Elections composed of a

SUPREME COURT Chairman and eight Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of
Manila the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five
years of age and holders of a college degree. However, a majority
SECOND DIVISION 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.'
G.R. No. 100113 September 3, 1991 (Emphasis supplied)

RENATO CAYETANO, petitioner, Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what


vs. constitutes practice of law as a legal qualification to an appointive office.
CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION
ON APPOINTMENT, and HON. GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his Black defines "practice of law" as:
capacity as Secretary of Budget and Management, respondents.
The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the
Renato L. Cayetano for and in his own behalf. application of legal principles and technique to serve the interest
of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court,
Sabina E. Acut, Jr. and Mylene Garcia-Albano co-counsel for petitioner. or advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces
the preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions
and special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of legal
instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to
clients. It embraces all advice to clients and all actions taken for
them in matters connected with the law. An attorney engages in
PARAS, J.: the practice of law by maintaining an office where he is held out
to be-an attorney, using a letterhead describing himself as an
We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching proportions. While attorney, counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with
ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's decision in this case opposing counsel about pending litigation, and fixing and
would indubitably have a profound effect on the political aspect of our collecting fees for services rendered by his associate. (Black's
national existence. Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.)

The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C: The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. (Land
Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken, 129 Ohio St. 23, 193 N.E. 650)
There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he:
Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born
citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at ... for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising
least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and person, firms, associations or corporations as to their rights under
must not have been candidates for any elective position in the the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in
immediately preceding -elections. However, a majority thereof, proceedings pending or prospective, before any court,
including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission
who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and there,
years. (Emphasis supplied) in such representative capacity performs any act or acts for the
purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under
The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), Article XII-C of the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity,
the 1973 Constitution which similarly provides: engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights
under the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting
either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in at all times under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests
the practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v..C.S. Dudley and upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol.
Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852) 3 [1953 ed.] , p. 665-666, citing In re Opinion of the
Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v.
This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v.Agrava, (105 Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A. 139,144). (Emphasis
Phil. 173,176-177) stated: ours)

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation
or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and briefing for new lawyers (1974-1975) listed the dimensions of the practice
other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the of law in even broader terms as advocacy, counselling and public
management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients service.
before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general,
all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of
matters connected with the law incorporation services, employment in the profession. If what he does exacts knowledge
assessment and condemnation services contemplating an of the law and is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in the
appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, active practice of their profession, and he follows some one or
enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency more lines of employment such as this he is a practicing attorney
proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in at law within the meaning of the statute. (Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW
matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute 312)
law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal
instruments, where the work done involves the determination by Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the
the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience.
Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). (Emphasis supplied) "To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are
characteristics of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give
Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no small part notice or render any kind of service, which device or service requires the
of work performed outside of any court and having no immediate use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill." (111 ALR 23)
relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the
giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects, and the The following records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that it
preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an has adopted a liberal interpretation of the term "practice of law."
extensive field of business and trust relations and other
affairs. Although these transactions may have no direct MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I make a
connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to manifestation which I forgot to do during our review of the
become involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a provisions on the Commission on Audit. May I be allowed to
high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, make a very brief statement?
and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and complex
situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir).
at law bear an intimate relation to the administration of justice by
the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the question
set forth in the order, can be drawn between that part of the work The Commissioner will please proceed.
of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part
which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the members of
of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold the Commission on Audit. Among others, the qualifications
customary functions be performed by persons possessed of provided for by Section I is that "They must be Members of the
Philippine Bar" — I am quoting from the provision — "who have Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among
been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years". others, that the Chairman and two Commissioners of the Commission on
Audit (COA) should either be certified public accountants with not less
To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding members than ten years of auditing practice, or members of the Philippine Bar who
of the Bar who are now employed in the COA or Commission on have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this provision on (emphasis supplied)
qualifications regarding members of the Bar does not necessarily refer or
involve actual practice of law outside the COA We have to interpret this Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many
to mean that as long as the lawyers who are employed in the COA are ways synonymous with the word "lawyer." Today, although many lawyers
using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their respective work within do not engage in private practice, it is still a fact that the majority of
COA, then they are qualified to be considered for appointment as lawyers are private practitioners. (Gary Munneke, Opportunities in Law
members or commissioners, even chairman, of the Commission on Audit. Careers [VGM Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986], p. 15).

This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. The term, as
Commissions and Agencies and we deem it important to take it up on the commonly understood, means "an individual or organization engaged in
floor so that this interpretation may be made available whenever this the business of delivering legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who practice
provision on the qualifications as regards members of the Philippine Bar alone are often called "sole practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called
engaging in the practice of law for at least ten years is taken up. "firms." The firm is usually a partnership and members of the firm are the
partners. Some firms may be organized as professional corporations and
MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one question. the members called shareholders. In either case, the members of the firm
are the experienced attorneys. In most firms, there are younger or more
MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. inexperienced salaried attorneyscalled "associates." (Ibid.).

MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA by a The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional areas of law
lawyer is equivalent to the requirement of a law practice that is practice is essentially tautologous, unhelpful defining the practice of law
set forth in the Article on the Commission on Audit? as that which lawyers do. (Charles W. Wolfram, Modern Legal
Ethics [West Publishing Co.: Minnesota, 1986], p. 593). The practice of
law is defined as the performance of any acts . . . in or out of court,
MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of COA,
commonly understood to be the practice of law. (State Bar Ass'n v.
although it is auditing, will necessarily involve legal work; it will
Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145 Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870 [1958]
involve legal work. And, therefore, lawyers who are employed in
[quoting Grievance Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626
COA now would have the necessary qualifications in accordance
[1941]). Because lawyers perform almost every function known in the
with the Provision on qualifications under our provisions on the
commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would obviously
Commission on Audit. And, therefore, the answer is yes.
be too global to be workable.(Wolfram, op. cit.).
MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is that this
The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a client is at once the
is equivalent to the practice of law.
most publicly familiar role for lawyers as well as an uncommon role for
the average lawyer. Most lawyers spend little time in courtrooms, and a
MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. large percentage spend their entire practice without litigating a case.
(Ibid., p. 593). Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue to litigate and the
MR. OPLE. Thank you. litigating lawyer's role colors much of both the public image and the self
perception of the legal profession. (Ibid.).
... ( Emphasis supplied)
In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public mind reflects In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, herein below
history, not reality. (Ibid.). Why is this so? Recall that the late Alexander quoted are emerging trends in corporate law practice, a departure from
SyCip, a corporate lawyer, once articulated on the importance of a lawyer the traditional concept of practice of law.
as a business counselor in this wise: "Even today, there are still
uninformed laymen whose concept of an attorney is one who principally We are experiencing today what truly may be called a
tries cases before the courts. The members of the bench and bar and the revolutionary transformation in corporate law practice. Lawyers
informed laymen such as businessmen, know that in most developed and other professional groups, in particular those members
societies today, substantially more legal work is transacted in law offices participating in various legal-policy decisional contexts, are
than in the courtrooms. General practitioners of law who do both litigation finding that understanding the major emerging trends in
and non-litigation work also know that in most cases they find themselves corporation law is indispensable to intelligent decision-making.
spending more time doing what [is] loosely desccribe[d] as business
counseling than in trying cases. The business lawyer has been described Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today
as the planner, the diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the surgeon. I[t] requires an accurate understanding of the nature and implications
need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine, surgery should be of the corporate law research function accompanied by an
avoided where internal medicine can be effective." (Business Star, accelerating rate of information accumulation. The recognition of
"Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). the need for such improved corporate legal policy formulation,
particularly "model-making" and "contingency planning," has
In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig impressed upon us the inadequacy of traditional procedures in
engage in a number of legal tasks, each involving different legal many decisional contexts.
doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal institutions, clients, and other
interested parties. Even the increasing numbers of lawyers in specialized In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be
practice wig usually perform at least some legal services outside their processed, the sorting and weighing of significant conditional
specialty. And even within a narrow specialty such as tax practice, a factors, the appraisal of major trends, the necessity of estimating
lawyer will shift from one legal task or role such as advice-giving to an the consequences of given courses of action, and the need for
importantly different one such as representing a client before an fast decision and response in situations of acute danger have
administrative agency. (Wolfram, supra, p. 687). prompted the use of sophisticated concepts of information flow
theory, operational analysis, automatic data processing, and
By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer is electronic computing equipment. Understandably, an improved
one of the relatively rare types — a litigator who specializes in this work decisional structure must stress the predictive component of the
to the exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will require the lawyer to policy-making process, wherein a "model", of the decisional
have mastered the full range of traditional lawyer skills of client context or a segment thereof is developed to test projected
counselling, advice-giving, document drafting, and negotiation. And alternative courses of action in terms of futuristic effects flowing
increasingly lawyers find that the new skills of evaluation and mediation therefrom.
are both effective for many clients and a source of employment. (Ibid.).
Although members of the legal profession are regularly engaged
Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in litigation work in predicting and projecting the trends of the law, the subject of
that is constrained in very important ways, at least theoretically, so as to corporate finance law has received relatively little organized and
remove from it some of the salient features of adversarial litigation. Of formalized attention in the philosophy of advancing corporate
these special roles, the most prominent is that of prosecutor. In some legal education. Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary approach to
lawyers' work the constraints are imposed both by the nature of the client legal research has become a vital necessity.
and by the way in which the lawyer is organized into a social unit to
perform that work. The most common of these roles are those of Certainly, the general orientation for productive contributions by
corporate practice and government legal service. (Ibid.). those trained primarily in the law can be improved through an
early introduction to multi-variable decisional context and the In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being
various approaches for handling such problems. Lawyers, isolated from the action, or not understanding how one's work
particularly with either a master's or doctorate degree in business actually fits into the work of the orgarnization. This can be
administration or management, functioning at the legal policy frustrating to someone who needs to see the results of his work
level of decision-making now have some appreciation for the first hand. In short, a corporate lawyer is sometimes offered this
concepts and analytical techniques of other professions which are fortune to be more closely involved in the running of the business.
currently engaged in similar types of complex decision-making.
Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be
Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems engaged by a multinational corporation (MNC). Some large
would require the services of an astute attorney because of the MNCs provide one of the few opportunities available to corporate
complex legal implications that arise from each and every lawyers to enter the international law field. After all, international
necessary step in securing and maintaining the business issue law is practiced in a relatively small number of companies and
raised. (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, law firms. Because working in a foreign country is perceived by
p. 4). many as glamorous, tills is an area coveted by corporate lawyers.
In most cases, however, the overseas jobs go to experienced
In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously attorneys while the younger attorneys do their "international
referred to as the "abogado de campanilla." He is the "big-time" practice" in law libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law
lawyer, earning big money and with a clientele composed of the Practice," May 25,1990, p. 4).
tycoons and magnates of business and industry.
This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer in the
Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people realm of finance. To borrow the lines of Harvard-educated lawyer
could not explain what it is that a corporate lawyer does. For one, Bruce Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who fails to spot
the number of attorneys employed by a single corporation will problems, a good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and
vary with the size and type of the corporation. Many smaller and the excellent lawyer is one who surmounts them." (Business Star,
some large corporations farm out all their legal problems to "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
private law firms. Many others have in-house counsel only for
certain matters. Other corporation have a staff large enough to Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a "shot in
handle most legal problems in-house. the arm," so to speak. No longer are we talking of the traditional
law teaching method of confining the subject study to the
A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who Corporation Code and the Securities Code but an incursion as
handles the legal affairs of a corporation. His areas of concern or well into the intertwining modern management issues.
jurisdiction may include, inter alia: corporate legal research, tax
laws research, acting out as corporate secretary (in board Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily with
meetings), appearances in both courts and other adjudicatory three (3) types of learning: (1) acquisition of insights into current
agencies (including the Securities and Exchange Commission), advances which are of particular significance to the corporate
and in other capacities which require an ability to deal with the counsel; (2) an introduction to usable disciplinary skins applicable
law. to a corporate counsel's management responsibilities; and (3) a
devotion to the organization and management of the legal
At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume responsibilities other function itself.
than the legal affairs of the business of the corporation he is
representing. These include such matters as determining policy These three subject areas may be thought of as intersecting
and becoming involved in management. ( Emphasis supplied.) circles, with a shared area linking them. Otherwise known as
"intersecting managerial jurisprudence," it forms a unifying theme such external activities are better predictors of team performance
for the corporate counsel's total learning. than internal group processes.

Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences affect the In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the
counsel's role. For that matter, the corporate lawyer reviews the corporate lawyer vis-a-vis the managerial mettle of corporations
globalization process, including the resulting strategic are challenged. Current research is seeking ways both to
repositioning that the firms he provides counsel for are required to anticipate effective managerial procedures and to understand
make, and the need to think about a corporation's; strategy at relationships of financial liability and insurance considerations.
multiple levels. The salience of the nation-state is being reduced (Emphasis supplied)
as firms deal both with global multinational entities and
simultaneously with sub-national governmental units. Firms Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel, three
increasingly collaborate not only with public entities but with each factors are apropos:
other — often with those who are competitors in other arenas.
First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been
Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-making found an effective tool for new managerial thinking regarding both
within the corporation is rapidly changing. The modem corporate planning and pressing immediate problems. An understanding of
lawyer has gained a new role as a stakeholder — in some cases the role of feedback loops, inventory levels, and rates of flow,
participating in the organization and operations of governance enable users to simulate all sorts of systematic problems —
through participation on boards and other decision-making roles. physical, economic, managerial, social, and psychological. New
Often these new patterns develop alongside existing legal programming techniques now make the system dynamics
institutions and laws are perceived as barriers. These trends are principles more accessible to managers — including corporate
complicated as corporations organize for global operations. ( counsels. (Emphasis supplied)
Emphasis supplied)
Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better
The practising lawyer of today is familiar as well with decisions involving complexity and uncertainty. In the context of a
governmental policies toward the promotion and management of law department, it can be used to appraise the settlement value
technology. New collaborative arrangements for promoting of litigation, aid in negotiation settlement, and minimize the cost
specific technologies or competitiveness more generally require and risk involved in managing a portfolio of cases. (Emphasis
approaches from industry that differ from older, more adversarial supplied)
relationships and traditional forms of seeking to influence
governmental policies. And there are lessons to be learned from Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer-based
other countries. In Europe, Esprit, Eureka and Race are models can be used directly by parties and mediators in all lands
examples of collaborative efforts between governmental and of negotiations. All integrated set of such tools provide coherent
business Japan's MITI is world famous. (Emphasis supplied) and effective negotiation support, including hands-on on
instruction in these techniques. A simulation case of an
Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of the international joint venture may be used to illustrate the point.
Corporate Counsel comprises a distinct group within the
managerial structure of all kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of [Be this as it may,] the organization and management of the legal
both long-term and temporary groups within organizations has function, concern three pointed areas of consideration, thus:
been found to be related to indentifiable factors in the group-
context interaction such as the groups actively revising their
Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills
knowledge of the environment coordinating work with outsiders,
that comprise a major part of the general counsel's
promoting team achievements within the organization. In general,
responsibilities. They differ from those of remedial law. Preventive
lawyering is concerned with minimizing the risks of legal trouble Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C.
and maximizing legal rights for such legal entities at that time Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received
when transactional or similar facts are being considered and by the Secretariat of the Commission on Appointments on April 25, 1991.
made. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not
possess the required qualification of having been engaged in the practice
Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are of law for at least ten years.
undertaken those activities of the firm to which legal
consequences attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the
nation's evolving economic and organizational fabric as firms nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC. On June 18,
change to stay competitive in a global, interdependent 1991, he took his oath of office. On the same day, he assumed office as
environment. The practice and theory of "law" is not adequate Chairman of the COMELEC.
today to facilitate the relationships needed in trying to make a
global economy work. Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on
Appointments of Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a citizen and
Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's Office. taxpayer, filed the instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition praying
The general counsel has emerged in the last decade as one of that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as
the most vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The corporate Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null and void.
counsel hear responsibility for key aspects of the firm's strategic
issues, including structuring its global operations, managing Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed
improved relationships with an increasingly diversified body of the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86-55%. He has been a
employees, managing expanded liability exposure, creating new dues paying member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its
and varied interactions with public decision-makers, coping inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license
internally with more complex make or by decisions. fees as lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo)

This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having hurdled the
corporate law is not enough to make one a good general bar, Atty. Monsod worked in the law office of his father. During his stint in
corporate counsel nor to give him a full sense of how the legal the World Bank Group (1963-1970), Monsod worked as an operations
system shapes corporate activities. And even if the corporate officer for about two years in Costa Rica and Panama, which involved
lawyer's aim is not the understand all of the law's effects on getting acquainted with the laws of member-countries negotiating loans
corporate activities, he must, at the very least, also gain a and coordinating legal, economic, and project work of the Bank. Upon
working knowledge of the management issues if only to be able returning to the Philippines in 1970, he worked with the Meralco Group,
to grasp not only the basic legal "constitution' or makeup of the served as chief executive officer of an investment bank and subsequently
modem corporation. "Business Star", "The Corporate Counsel," of a business conglomerate, and since 1986, has rendered services to
April 10, 1991, p. 4). various companies as a legal and economic consultant or chief executive
officer. As former Secretary-General (1986) and National Chairman
The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench) is to (1987) of NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being knowledgeable in
have more than a passing knowledge of financial law affecting election law. He appeared for NAMFREL in its accreditation hearings
each aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit to ignorance of before the Comelec. In the field of advocacy, Monsod, in his personal
vast tracts of the financial law territory. What transpires next is a capacity and as former Co-Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's
dilemma of professional security: Will the lawyer admit ignorance Conference for Human Development, has worked with the under
and risk opprobrium?; or will he feign understanding and risk privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor groups, in
exposure? (Business Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan. 11, initiating, lobbying for and engaging in affirmative action for the agrarian
1989, p. 4). reform law and lately the urban land reform bill. Monsod also made use
of his legal knowledge as a member of the Davide Commission, a quast
judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings (1990) and as a contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting and in
member of the Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and Chairman of renegotiation. Necessarily, a sovereign lawyer may work with an
its Committee on Accountability of Public Officers, for which he was cited international business specialist or an economist in the
by the President of the Commission, Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma for formulation of a model loan agreement. Debt restructuring
"innumerable amendments to reconcile government functions with contract agreements contain such a mixture of technical language
individual freedoms and public accountability and the party-list system for that they should be carefully drafted and signed only with the
the House of Representative. (pp. 128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis supplied) advise of competent counsel in conjunction with the guidance of
adequate technical support personnel. (See International Law
Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which Atty. Monsod Aspects of the Philippine External Debts, an unpublished
used to be a member. dissertation, U.S.T. Graduate School of Law, 1987, p. 321). (
Emphasis supplied)
In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a
team, and which is adequately constituted to meet the various A critical aspect of sovereign debt restructuring/contract
contingencies that arise during a negotiation. Besides top officials construction is the set of terms and conditions which determines
of the Borrower concerned, there are the legal officer (such as the the contractual remedies for a failure to perform one or more
legal counsel), the finance manager, and an operations elements of the contract. A good agreement must not only define
officer (such as an official involved in negotiating the contracts) the responsibilities of both parties, but must also state the
who comprise the members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven, recourse open to either party when the other fails to discharge an
"Loan Negotiating Strategies for Developing Country Borrowers," obligation. For a compleat debt restructuring represents a
Staff Paper No. 2, Central Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, devotion to that principle which in the ultimate analysis is sine qua
p. 11). (Emphasis supplied) non for foreign loan agreements-an adherence to the rule of law
in domestic and international affairs of whose kind U.S. Supreme
After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said: "They carry
Constitution; it lays down the law as far as the loan transaction is no banners, they beat no drums; but where they are, men learn
concerned. Thus, the meat of any Loan Agreement can be that bustle and bush are not the equal of quiet genius and serene
compartmentalized into five (5) fundamental parts: (1) business mastery." (See Ricardo J. Romulo, "The Role of Lawyers in
terms; (2) borrower's representation; (3) conditions of closing; (4) Foreign Investments," Integrated Bar of the Philippine Journal,
covenants; and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p. 13). Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth Quarters, 1977, p. 265).

In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term Practice of
restructuring program. For aside from performing the tasks of law". particularly the modern concept of law practice, and taking into
legislative drafting and legal advising, they score national consideration the liberal construction intended by the framers of the
development policies as key factors in maintaining their countries' Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer-
sovereignty. (Condensed from the work paper, entitled "Wanted: economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a
Development Lawyers for Developing Nations," submitted by L. lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and
Michael Hager, regional legal adviser of the United States Agency the poor — verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement — that
for International Development, during the Session on Law for the he has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
Development of Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in Ivory
Coast, sponsored by the World Peace Through Law Center on Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143
August 26-31, 1973). ( Emphasis supplied) SCRA 327, the Court said:

Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be
purely renegotiation policies, demand expertise in the law of performed by the officer in which it is vested according to his best
lights, the only condition being that the appointee should possess
the qualifications required by law. If he does, then the Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting
appointment cannot be faulted on the ground that there are capacity.
others better qualified who should have been preferred. This is a
political question involving considerations of wisdom which only Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice it to say
the appointing authority can decide. (emphasis supplied) that his definition of the practice of law is the traditional or
stereotyped notion of law practice, as distinguished from the
No less emphatic was the Court in the case of (Central Bank v. Civil modern concept of the practice of law, which modern connotation
Service Commission, 171 SCRA 744) where it stated: is exactly what was intended by the eminent framers of the 1987
Constitution. Moreover, Justice Padilla's definition would require
It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this generally a habitual law practice, perhaps practised two or three
case, and all the other legal requirements are satisfied, the times a week and would outlaw say, law practice once or twice a
Commission has no alternative but to attest to the appointment in year for ten consecutive years. Clearly, this is far from the
accordance with the Civil Service Law. The Commission has no constitutional intent.
authority to revoke an appointment on the ground that another
person is more qualified for a particular position. It also has no Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz states
authority to direct the appointment of a substitute of its choice. To that in my written opinion, I made use of a definition of law practice which
do so would be an encroachment on the discretion vested upon really means nothing because the definition says that law practice " . . . is
the appointing authority. An appointment is essentially within the what people ordinarily mean by the practice of law." True I cited the
discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested, subject to the definition but only by way of sarcasm as evident from my statement that
only condition that the appointee should possess the the definition of law practice by "traditional areas of law practice is
qualifications required by law. ( Emphasis supplied) essentially tautologous" or defining a phrase by means of the phrase
itself that is being defined.
The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the case at bar,
consists of four (4) stages: (1) nomination; (2) confirmation by the Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the law covers
Commission on Appointments; (3) issuance of a commission (in the almost all situations, most individuals, in making use of the law, or in
Philippines, upon submission by the Commission on Appointments of its advising others on what the law means, are actually practicing law. In
certificate of confirmation, the President issues the permanent that sense, perhaps, but we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr.
appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath-taking, posting of bond, etc. . Monsod is a lawyer, a member of the Philippine Bar, who has been
. . (Lacson v. Romero, No. L-3081, October 14, 1949; Gonzales, Law on practising law for over ten years. This is different from the acts of persons
Public Officers, p. 200) practising law, without first becoming lawyers.

The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its consent to the Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even disqualify an
nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections is elected President of the Philippines, say, on the ground that he lacks one
mandated by Section 1(2) Sub-Article C, Article IX of the Constitution or more qualifications. This matter, I greatly doubt. For one thing, how
which provides: can an action or petition be brought against the President? And even
assuming that he is indeed disqualified, how can the action be
The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed by the entertained since he is the incumbent President?
President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments
for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first We now proceed:
appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two
Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted doling the public
without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only hearings on Monsod's confirmation, implicitly determined that he
for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any possessed the necessary qualifications as required by law. The judgment
rendered by the Commission in the exercise of such an acknowledged word. The procurator calmly replied: "Did any blade touch his skin? Did
power is beyond judicial interference except only upon a clear showing of any blood flow from his veins?" The procurator was clearly relying on the
a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. letter, not the spirit of the agreement.
(Art. VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only where such grave abuse of
discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Commission's In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby DISMISSED.
judgment. In the instant case, there is no occasion for the exercise of the
Court's corrective power, since no abuse, much less a grave abuse of SO ORDERED.
discretion, that would amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction and would
warrant the issuance of the writs prayed, for has been clearly shown.
Fernan, C.J., Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
Feliciano, J., I certify that he voted to dismiss the petition. (Fernan, C.J.)
Additionally, consider the following:
Sarmiento, J., is on leave.
(1) If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee by the
President, may the Supreme Court reverse the Commission, and
Regalado, and Davide, Jr., J., took no part.
thus in effect confirm the appointment? Clearly, the answer is in
the negative.

(2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee, whom the
Commission has confirmed? The answer is likewise clear.

(3) If the United States Senate (which is the confirming body in


the U.S. Congress) decides to confirm a Presidential nominee, it
would be incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would Separate Opinions
still reverse the U.S. Senate.

Finally, one significant legal maxim is:


NARVASA, J., concurring:
We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit that
giveth life. I concur with the decision of the majority written by Mr. Justice Paras,
albeit only in the result; it does not appear to me that there has been an
Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the procurator adequate showing that the challenged determination by the Commission
of Judea asked Delilah (who was Samson's beloved) for help in capturing on Appointments-that the appointment of respondent Monsod as
Samson. Delilah agreed on condition that — Chairman of the Commission on Elections should, on the basis of his
stated qualifications and after due assessment thereof, be confirmed-was
No blade shall touch his skin; attended by error so gross as to amount to grave abuse of discretion and
consequently merits nullification by this Court in accordance with the
second paragraph of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution. I therefore
No blood shall flow from his veins.
vote to DENY the petition.
When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured, the procurator
placed an iron rod burning white-hot two or three inches away from in
front of Samson's eyes. This blinded the man. Upon hearing of what had
happened to her beloved, Delilah was beside herself with anger, and PADILLA, J., dissenting:
fuming with righteous fury, accused the procurator of reneging on his
The records of this case will show that when the Court first deliberated on Therefore, a doctor of medicine who is employed and is habitually
the Petition at bar, I voted not only to require the respondents to performing the tasks of a nursing aide, cannot be said to be in the
comment on the Petition, but I was the sole vote for the issuance of a "practice of medicine." A certified public accountant who works as a clerk,
temporary restraining order to enjoin respondent Monsod from assuming cannot be said to practice his profession as an accountant. In the same
the position of COMELEC Chairman, while the Court deliberated on his way, a lawyer who is employed as a business executive or a corporate
constitutional qualification for the office. My purpose in voting for a TRO manager, other than as head or attorney of a Legal Department of a
was to prevent the inconvenience and even embarrassment to all parties corporation or a governmental agency, cannot be said to be in the
concerned were the Court to finally decide for respondent Monsod's practice of law.
disqualification. Moreover, a reading of the Petition then in relation to
established jurisprudence already showed prima facie that respondent As aptly held by this Court in the case of People vs. Villanueva:2
Monsod did not possess the needed qualification, that is, he had not
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years prior to his Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in
appointment as COMELEC Chairman. frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same
kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State vs-
After considering carefully respondent Monsod's comment, I am even Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of
more convinced that the constitutional requirement of "practice of law for law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted as
at least ten (10) years" has not been met. customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public as a
lawyer and demanding payment for such services (State vs.
The procedural barriers interposed by respondents deserve scant Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644,647.) ... (emphasis supplied).
consideration because, ultimately, the core issue to be resolved in this
petition is the proper construal of the constitutional provision requiring a It is worth mentioning that the respondent Commission on Appointments
majority of the membership of COMELEC, including the Chairman thereof in a Memorandum it prepared, enumerated several factors determinative
to "have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." of whether a particular activity constitutes "practice of law." It states:
(Art. IX(C), Section 1(1), 1987 Constitution). Questions involving the
construction of constitutional provisions are best left to judicial resolution. 1. Habituality. The term "practice of law" implies customarily or
As declared in Angara v. Electoral Commission, (63 Phil. 139) "upon the habitually holding one's self out to the public as a lawyer (People
judicial department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of vs. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Boyen, 4 S.E. 522, 98
interpreting the Constitution and defining constitutional boundaries." N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the
establishment of a law office for the general practice of law (U.S.
The Constitution has imposed clear and specific standards for a v. Ney Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the oath of office
COMELEC Chairman. Among these are that he must have been as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with
"engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." It is the the Supreme Court informing it of his intention to practice law in
bounden duty of this Court to ensure that such standard is met and all courts in the country (People v. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968).
complied with.
Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in
What constitutes practice of law? As commonly understood, "practice" frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same
refers to the actual performance or application of knowledge as kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v.
distinguished from mere possession of knowledge; it connotes Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87
an active, habitual, repeated or customary action.1 To "practice" law, or Kan, 864).
any profession for that matter, means, to exercise or pursue an
employment or profession actively, habitually, repeatedly or customarily. 2. Compensation. 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 compensation, as a service of his livelihood or in Given the employment or job history of respondent Monsod as appears
consideration of his said services. (People v. Villanueva, supra). from the records, I am persuaded that if ever he did perform any of the
Hence, charging for services such as preparation of documents tasks which constitute the practice of law, he did not do so HABITUALLY
involving the use of legal knowledge and skill is within the term for at least ten (10) years prior to his appointment as COMELEC
"practice of law" (Ernani Paño, Bar Reviewer in Legal and Judicial Chairman.
Ethics, 1988 ed., p. 8 citing People v. People's Stockyards State
Bank, 176 N.B. 901) and, one who renders an opinion as to the While it may be granted that he performed tasks and activities which
proper interpretation of a statute, and receives pay for it, is to that could be latitudinarianly considered activities peculiar to the practice of
extent, practicing law (Martin, supra, p. 806 citing Mendelaun v. law, like the drafting of legal documents and the rendering of legal
Gilbert and Barket Mfg. Co., 290 N.Y.S. 462) If compensation is opinion or advice, such were isolated transactions or activities which do
expected, all advice to clients and all action taken for them in not qualify his past endeavors as "practice of law." To become engaged
matters connected with the law; are practicing law. (Elwood in the practice of law, there must be a continuity, or a succession of acts.
Fitchette et al., v. Arthur C. Taylor, 94A-L.R. 356-359) As observed by the Solicitor General in People vs. Villanueva:4

3. Application of law legal principle practice or procedure which Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must
calls for legal knowledge, training and experience is within the have presented himself to be in the activeand continued practice
term "practice of law". (Martin supra) of the legal profession and that his professional services are
available to the public for a compensation, as a source of his
4. Attorney-client relationship. Engaging in the practice of law livelihood or in consideration of his said services.
presupposes the existence of lawyer-client relationship. Hence,
where a lawyer undertakes an activity which requires knowledge ACCORDINGLY, my vote is to GRANT the petition and to declare
of law but involves no attorney-client relationship, such as respondent Monsod as not qualified for the position of COMELEC
teaching law or writing law books or articles, he cannot be said to Chairman for not having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten
be engaged in the practice of his profession or a lawyer (Agpalo, (10) years prior to his appointment to such position.
Legal Ethics, 1989 ed., p. 30).3
CRUZ, J., dissenting:
The above-enumerated factors would, I believe, be useful aids in
determining whether or not respondent Monsod meets the constitutional I am sincerely impressed by the ponencia of my brother Paras but find I
qualification of practice of law for at least ten (10) years at the time of his must dissent just the same. There are certain points on which I must
appointment as COMELEC Chairman. differ with him while of course respecting hisviewpoint.

The following relevant questions may be asked: To begin with, I do not think we are inhibited from examining the
qualifications of the respondent simply because his nomination has been
1. Did respondent Monsod perform any of the tasks which are peculiar to confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. In my view, this is not a
the practice of law? political question that we are barred from resolving. Determination of the
appointee's credentials is made on the basis of the established facts, not
2. Did respondent perform such tasks customarily or habitually? the discretion of that body. Even if it were, the exercise of that discretion
would still be subject to our review.
3. Assuming that he performed any of such tasks habitually, did he do so
HABITUALLY FOR AT LEAST TEN (10) YEARS prior to his appointment In Luego, which is cited in the ponencia, what was involved was the
as COMELEC Chairman? discretion of the appointing authority to choosebetween two claimants to
the same office who both possessed the required qualifications. It was
that kind of discretion that we said could not be reviewed.
If a person elected by no less than the sovereign people may be ousted The effect of the definition given in the ponencia is to consider virtually
by this Court for lack of the required qualifications, I see no reason why every lawyer to be engaged in the practice of law even if he does not
we cannot disqualified an appointee simply because he has passed the earn his living, or at least part of it, as a lawyer. It is enough that his
Commission on Appointments. activities are incidentally (even if only remotely) connected with some
law, ordinance, or regulation. The possible exception is the lawyer whose
Even the President of the Philippines may be declared ineligible by this income is derived from teaching ballroom dancing or escorting wrinkled
Court in an appropriate proceeding notwithstanding that he has been ladies with pubescent pretensions.
found acceptable by no less than the enfranchised citizenry. The reason
is that what we would be examining is not the wisdom of his election but The respondent's credentials are impressive, to be sure, but they do not
whether or not he was qualified to be elected in the first place. persuade me that he has been engaged in the practice of law for ten
years as required by the Constitution. It is conceded that he has been
Coming now to the qualifications of the private respondent, I fear that engaged in business and finance, in which areas he has distinguished
the ponencia may have been too sweeping in its definition of the phrase himself, but as an executive and economist and not as a practicing
"practice of law" as to render the qualification practically toothless. From lawyer. The plain fact is that he has occupied the various positions listed
the numerous activities accepted as embraced in the term, I have the in his resume by virtue of his experience and prestige as a businessman
uncomfortable feeling that one does not even have to be a lawyer to be and not as an attorney-at-law whose principal attention is focused on the
engaged in the practice of law as long as his activities involve the law. Even if it be argued that he was acting as a lawyer when he lobbied
application of some law, however peripherally. The stock broker and the in Congress for agrarian and urban reform, served in the NAMFREL and
insurance adjuster and the realtor could come under the definition as the Constitutional Commission (together with non-lawyers like farmers
they deal with or give advice on matters that are likely "to become and priests) and was a member of the Davide Commission, he has not
involved in litigation." proved that his activities in these capacities extended over the prescribed
10-year period of actual practice of the law. He is doubtless eminently
The lawyer is considered engaged in the practice of law even if his main qualified for many other positions worthy of his abundant talents but not
occupation is another business and he interprets and applies some law as Chairman of the Commission on Elections.
only as an incident of such business. That covers every company
organized under the Corporation Code and regulated by the SEC under I have much admiration for respondent Monsod, no less than for Mr.
P.D. 902-A. Considering the ramifications of the modern society, there is Justice Paras, but I must regretfully vote to grant the petition.
hardly any activity that is not affected by some law or government
regulation the businessman must know about and observe. In fact, again GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:
going by the definition, a lawyer does not even have to be part of a
business concern to be considered a practitioner. He can be so deemed When this petition was filed, there was hope that engaging in the practice
when, on his own, he rents a house or buys a car or consults a doctor as of law as a qualification for public office would be settled one way or
these acts involve his knowledge and application of the laws regulating another in fairly definitive terms. Unfortunately, this was not the result.
such transactions. If he operates a public utility vehicle as his main
source of livelihood, he would still be deemed engaged in the practice of Of the fourteen (14) member Court, 5 are of the view that Mr. Christian
law because he must obey the Public Service Act and the rules and Monsod engaged in the practice of law (with one of these 5 leaving his
regulations of the Energy Regulatory Board. vote behind while on official leave but not expressing his clear stand on
the matter); 4 categorically stating that he did not practice law; 2 voting in
The ponencia quotes an American decision defining the practice of law the result because there was no error so gross as to amount to grave
as the "performance of any acts ... in or out of court, commonly abuse of discretion; one of official leave with no instructions left behind
understood to be the practice of law," which tells us absolutely nothing. on how he viewed the issue; and 2 not taking part in the deliberations
The decision goes on to say that "because lawyers perform almost every and the decision.
function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a
definition would obviously be too global to be workable."
There are two key factors that make our task difficult. First is our appears that Mr. Monsod has never practiced law except for an alleged
reviewing the work of a constitutional Commission on Appointments one year period after passing the bar examinations when he worked in
whose duty is precisely to look into the qualifications of persons his father's law firm. Even then his law practice must have been
appointed to high office. Even if the Commission errs, we have no power extremely limited because he was also working for M.A. and Ph. D.
to set aside error. We can look only into grave abuse of discretion or degrees in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania during that
whimsically and arbitrariness. Second is our belief that Mr. Monsod period. How could he practice law in the United States while not a
possesses superior qualifications in terms of executive ability, proficiency member of the Bar there?
in management, educational background, experience in international
banking and finance, and instant recognition by the public. His integrity The professional life of the respondent follows:
and competence are not questioned by the petitioner. What is before us
is compliance with a specific requirement written into the Constitution. 1.15.1. Respondent Monsod's activities since his passing the Bar
examinations in 1961 consist of the following:
Inspite of my high regard for Mr. Monsod, I cannot shirk my constitutional
duty. He has never engaged in the practice of law for even one year. He 1. 1961-1963: M.A. in Economics (Ph. D. candidate), University of
is a member of the bar but to say that he has practiced law is stretching Pennsylvania
the term beyond rational limits.
2. 1963-1970: World Bank Group — Economist, Industry
A person may have passed the bar examinations. But if he has not Department; Operations, Latin American Department; Division
dedicated his life to the law, if he has not engaged in an activity where Chief, South Asia and Middle East, International Finance
membership in the bar is a requirement I fail to see how he can claim to Corporation
have been engaged in the practice of law.
3. 1970-1973: Meralco Group — Executive of various companies,
Engaging in the practice of law is a qualification not only for COMELEC i.e., Meralco Securities Corporation, Philippine Petroleum
chairman but also for appointment to the Supreme Court and all lower Corporation, Philippine Electric Corporation
courts. What kind of Judges or Justices will we have if there main
occupation is selling real estate, managing a business corporation,
4. 1973-1976: Yujuico Group — President, Fil-Capital
serving in fact-finding committee, working in media, or operating a farm
Development Corporation and affiliated companies
with no active involvement in the law, whether in Government or private
practice, except that in one joyful moment in the distant past, they
happened to pass the bar examinations? 5. 1976-1978: Finaciera Manila — Chief Executive Officer

The Constitution uses the phrase "engaged in the practice of law for at 6. 1978-1986: Guevent Group of Companies — Chief Executive
least ten years." The deliberate choice of words shows that the practice Officer
envisioned is active and regular, not isolated, occasional, accidental,
intermittent, incidental, seasonal, or extemporaneous. To be "engaged" in 7. 1986-1987: Philippine Constitutional Commission — Member
an activity for ten years requires committed participation in something
which is the result of one's decisive choice. It means that one is occupied 8. 1989-1991: The Fact-Finding Commission on the December
and involved in the enterprise; one is obliged or pledged to carry it out 1989 Coup Attempt — Member
with intent and attention during the ten-year period.
9. Presently: Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
I agree with the petitioner that based on the bio-data submitted by of the following companies:
respondent Monsod to the Commission on Appointments, the latter has
not been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. In fact, if a. ACE Container Philippines, Inc.
b. Dataprep, Philippines The deliberations before the Commission on Appointments show an
effort to equate "engaged in the practice of law" with the use of legal
c. Philippine SUNsystems Products, Inc. knowledge in various fields of endeavor such as commerce, industry,
civic work, blue ribbon investigations, agrarian reform, etc. where such
d. Semirara Coal Corporation knowledge would be helpful.

e. CBL Timber Corporation I regret that I cannot join in playing fast and loose with a term, which even
an ordinary layman accepts as having a familiar and customary well-
defined meaning. Every resident of this country who has reached the age
Member of the Board of the Following:
of discernment has to know, follow, or apply the law at various times in
his life. Legal knowledge is useful if not necessary for the business
a. Engineering Construction Corporation of the Philippines executive, legislator, mayor, barangay captain, teacher, policeman,
farmer, fisherman, market vendor, and student to name only a few. And
b. First Philippine Energy Corporation yet, can these people honestly assert that as such, they are engaged in
the practice of law?
c. First Philippine Holdings Corporation
The Constitution requires having been "engaged in the practice of law for
d. First Philippine Industrial Corporation at least ten years." It is not satisfied with having been "a member of the
Philippine bar for at least ten years."
e. Graphic Atelier
Some American courts have defined the practice of law, as follows:
f. Manila Electric Company
The practice of law involves not only appearance in court in
g. Philippine Commercial Capital, Inc. connection with litigation but also services rendered out of court,
and it includes the giving of advice or the rendering of any
h. Philippine Electric Corporation services requiring the use of legal skill or knowledge, such as
preparing a will, contract or other instrument, the legal effect of
i. Tarlac Reforestation and Environment Enterprises which, under the facts and conditions involved, must be carefully
determined. People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. Tinkoff, 399 Ill.
282, 77 N.E.2d 693; People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v.
j. Tolong Aquaculture Corporation People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill. 462,176 N.E. 901, and
cases cited.
k. Visayan Aquaculture Corporation
It would be difficult, if not impossible to lay down a formula or
l. Guimaras Aquaculture Corporation (Rollo, pp. 21-22) definition of what constitutes the practice of law. "Practicing law"
has been defined as "Practicing as an attorney or counselor at
There is nothing in the above bio-data which even remotely indicates that law according to the laws and customs of our courts, is the giving
respondent Monsod has given the lawenough attention or a certain of advice or rendition of any sort of service by any person, firm or
degree of commitment and participation as would support in all sincerity corporation when the giving of such advice or rendition of such
and candor the claim of having engaged in its practice for at least ten service requires the use of any degree of legal knowledge or
years. Instead of working as a lawyer, he has lawyers working for him. skill." Without adopting that definition, we referred to it as being
Instead of giving receiving that legal advice of legal services, he was the substantially correct in People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v.
oneadvice and those services as an executive but not as a lawyer.
People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill. 462,176 N.E. 901. especially, one of a class of persons authorized to appear and act
(People v. Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773, 776) for suitors or defendants in legal proceedings. Strictly, these
professional persons are attorneys at law, and non-professional
For one's actions to come within the purview of practice of law they agents are properly styled "attorney's in fact;" but the single word
should not only be activities peculiar to the work of a lawyer, they should is much used as meaning an attorney at law. A person may be an
also be performed, habitually, frequently or customarily, to wit: attorney in facto for another, without being an attorney at law.
Abb. Law Dict. "Attorney." A public attorney, or attorney at law,
xxx xxx xxx says Webster, is an officer of a court of law, legally qualified to
prosecute and defend actions in such court on the retainer of
clients. "The principal duties of an attorney are (1) to be true to
Respondent's answers to questions propounded to him were
the court and to his client; (2) to manage the business of his client
rather evasive. He was asked whether or not he ever prepared
with care, skill, and integrity; (3) to keep his client informed as to
contracts for the parties in real-estate transactions where he was
the state of his business; (4) to keep his secrets confided to him
not the procuring agent. He answered: "Very seldom." In answer
as such. ... His rights are to be justly compensated for his
to the question as to how many times he had prepared contracts
services." Bouv. Law Dict. tit. "Attorney." The transitive verb
for the parties during the twenty-one years of his business, he
"practice," as defined by Webster, means 'to do or perform
said: "I have no Idea." When asked if it would be more than half a
frequently, customarily, or habitually; to perform by a succession
dozen times his answer was I suppose. Asked if he did not recall
of acts, as, to practice gaming, ... to carry on in practice, or
making the statement to several parties that he had prepared
repeated action; to apply, as a theory, to real life; to exercise, as
contracts in a large number of instances, he answered: "I don't
a profession, trade, art. etc.; as, to practice law or medicine,'
recall exactly what was said." When asked if he did not remember
etc...." (State v. Bryan, S.E. 522, 523; Emphasis supplied)
saying that he had made a practice of preparing deeds,
mortgages and contracts and charging a fee to the parties
therefor in instances where he was not the broker in the deal, he In this jurisdiction, we have ruled that the practice of law denotes
answered: "Well, I don't believe so, that is not a practice." frequency or a succession of acts. Thus, we stated in the case of People
Pressed further for an answer as to his practice in preparing v. Villanueva (14 SCRA 109 [1965]):
contracts and deeds for parties where he was not the broker, he
finally answered: "I have done about everything that is on the xxx xxx xxx
books as far as real estate is concerned."
... Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in
xxx xxx xxx frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In
other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State v. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87
Respondent takes the position that because he is a real-estate Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of law to fall within the prohibition
broker he has a lawful right to do any legal work in connection of statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's
with real-estate transactions, especially in drawing of real-estate self out to the public, as a lawyer and demanding payment for such
contracts, deeds, mortgages, notes and the like. There is no services. ... . (at p. 112)
doubt but that he has engaged in these practices over the years
and has charged for his services in that connection. ... (People v. It is to be noted that the Commission on Appointment itself
Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773) recognizes habituality as a required component of the meaning of
practice of law in a Memorandum prepared and issued by it, to wit:
xxx xxx xxx
l. Habituality. The term 'practice of law' implies customarilyor
... An attorney, in the most general sense, is a person designated habitually holding one's self out to the public as a lawyer (People
or employed by another to act in his stead; an agent; more v. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98
N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the I vote to GRANT the petition.
establishment of a law office for the general practice of law (U.S.
v. Noy Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the oath of office Bidin, J., dissent
as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with
the Supreme Court informing it of his intention to practice law in
all courts in the country (People v. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968).
Separate Opinions
Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in
frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same
NARVASA, J., concurring:
kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v.
Villanueva, 14 SCRA 1 09 citing State v. Cotner, 1 27, p. 1, 87
Kan, 864)." (Rollo, p. 115) I concur with the decision of the majority written by Mr. Justice Paras,
albeit only in the result; it does not appear to me that there has been an
adequate showing that the challenged determination by the Commission
xxx xxx xxx
on Appointments-that the appointment of respondent Monsod as
Chairman of the Commission on Elections should, on the basis of his
While the career as a businessman of respondent Monsod may have stated qualifications and after due assessment thereof, be confirmed-was
profited from his legal knowledge, the use of such legal knowledge is attended by error so gross as to amount to grave abuse of discretion and
incidental and consists of isolated activities which do not fall under the consequently merits nullification by this Court in accordance with the
denomination of practice of law. Admission to the practice of law was not second paragraph of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution. I therefore
required for membership in the Constitutional Commission or in the Fact- vote to DENY the petition.
Finding Commission on the 1989 Coup Attempt. Any specific legal
activities which may have been assigned to Mr. Monsod while a member
Melencio-Herrera, J., concur.
may be likened to isolated transactions of foreign corporations in the
Philippines which do not categorize the foreign corporations as doing
business in the Philippines. As in the practice of law, doing business also PADILLA, J., dissenting:
should be active and continuous. Isolated business transactions or
occasional, incidental and casual transactions are not within the context The records of this case will show that when the Court first deliberated on
of doing business. This was our ruling in the case of Antam Consolidated, the Petition at bar, I voted not only to require the respondents to
Inc. v. Court of appeals, 143 SCRA 288 [1986]). comment on the Petition, but I was the sole vote for the issuance of a
temporary restraining order to enjoin respondent Monsod from assuming
Respondent Monsod, corporate executive, civic leader, and member of the position of COMELEC Chairman, while the Court deliberated on his
the Constitutional Commission may possess the background, constitutional qualification for the office. My purpose in voting for a TRO
competence, integrity, and dedication, to qualify for such high offices as was to prevent the inconvenience and even embarrassment to all parties
President, Vice-President, Senator, Congressman or Governor but the concerned were the Court to finally decide for respondent Monsod's
Constitution in prescribing the specific qualification of having engaged in disqualification. Moreover, a reading of the Petition then in relation to
the practice of law for at least ten (10) years for the position of established jurisprudence already showed prima facie that respondent
COMELEC Chairman has ordered that he may not be confirmed for that Monsod did not possess the needed qualification, that is, he had not
office. The Constitution charges the public respondents no less than this engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years prior to his
Court to obey its mandate. appointment as COMELEC Chairman.

I, therefore, believe that the Commission on Appointments committed After considering carefully respondent Monsod's comment, I am even
grave abuse of discretion in confirming the nomination of respondent more convinced that the constitutional requirement of "practice of law for
Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC. at least ten (10) years" has not been met.
The procedural barriers interposed by respondents deserve scant It is worth mentioning that the respondent Commission on Appointments
consideration because, ultimately, the core issue to be resolved in this in a Memorandum it prepared, enumerated several factors determinative
petition is the proper construal of the constitutional provision requiring a of whether a particular activity constitutes "practice of law." It states:
majority of the membership of COMELEC, including the Chairman thereof
to "have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." 1. Habituality. The term "practice of law" implies customarily or
(Art. IX(C), Section 1(1), 1987 Constitution). Questions involving the habitually holding one's self out to the public as a lawyer (People
construction of constitutional provisions are best left to judicial resolution. vs. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Boyen, 4 S.E. 522, 98
As declared in Angara v. Electoral Commission, (63 Phil. 139) "upon the N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the
judicial department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of establishment of a law office for the general practice of law (U.S.
interpreting the Constitution and defining constitutional boundaries." v. Ney Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the oath of office
as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with
The Constitution has imposed clear and specific standards for a the Supreme Court informing it of his intention to practice law in
COMELEC Chairman. Among these are that he must have been all courts in the country (People v. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968).
"engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years." It is the
bounden duty of this Court to ensure that such standard is met and Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in
complied with. frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same
kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v.
What constitutes practice of law? As commonly understood, "practice" Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87
refers to the actual performance or application of knowledge as Kan, 864).
distinguished from mere possession of knowledge; it connotes
an active, habitual, repeated or customary action.1 To "practice" law, or 2. Compensation. Practice of law implies that one must have
any profession for that matter, means, to exercise or pursue an presented himself to be in the active and continued practice of the
employment or profession actively, habitually, repeatedly or customarily. legal profession and that his professional services are available to
the public for compensation, as a service of his livelihood or in
Therefore, a doctor of medicine who is employed and is habitually consideration of his said services. (People v. Villanueva, supra).
performing the tasks of a nursing aide, cannot be said to be in the Hence, charging for services such as preparation of documents
"practice of medicine." A certified public accountant who works as a clerk, involving the use of legal knowledge and skill is within the term
cannot be said to practice his profession as an accountant. In the same "practice of law" (Ernani Paño, Bar Reviewer in Legal and Judicial
way, a lawyer who is employed as a business executive or a corporate Ethics, 1988 ed., p. 8 citing People v. People's Stockyards State
manager, other than as head or attorney of a Legal Department of a Bank, 176 N.B. 901) and, one who renders an opinion as to the
corporation or a governmental agency, cannot be said to be in the proper interpretation of a statute, and receives pay for it, is to that
practice of law. extent, practicing law (Martin, supra, p. 806 citing Mendelaun v.
Gilbert and Barket Mfg. Co., 290 N.Y.S. 462) If compensation is
As aptly held by this Court in the case of People vs. Villanueva:2 expected, all advice to clients and all action taken for them in
matters connected with the law; are practicing law. (Elwood
Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in Fitchette et al., v. Arthur C. Taylor, 94A-L.R. 356-359)
frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same
kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State vs- 3. Application of law legal principle practice or procedure which
Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of calls for legal knowledge, training and experience is within the
law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted as term "practice of law". (Martin supra)
customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public as a
lawyer and demanding payment for such services (State vs. 4. Attorney-client relationship. Engaging in the practice of law
Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644,647.) ... (emphasis supplied). presupposes the existence of lawyer-client relationship. Hence,
where a lawyer undertakes an activity which requires knowledge ACCORDINGLY, my vote is to GRANT the petition and to declare
of law but involves no attorney-client relationship, such as respondent Monsod as not qualified for the position of COMELEC
teaching law or writing law books or articles, he cannot be said to Chairman for not having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten
be engaged in the practice of his profession or a lawyer (Agpalo, (10) years prior to his appointment to such position.
Legal Ethics, 1989 ed., p. 30).3
CRUZ, J., dissenting:
The above-enumerated factors would, I believe, be useful aids in
determining whether or not respondent Monsod meets the constitutional I am sincerely impressed by the ponencia of my brother Paras but find I
qualification of practice of law for at least ten (10) years at the time of his must dissent just the same. There are certain points on which I must
appointment as COMELEC Chairman. differ with him while of course respecting hisviewpoint.

The following relevant questions may be asked: To begin with, I do not think we are inhibited from examining the
qualifications of the respondent simply because his nomination has been
1. Did respondent Monsod perform any of the tasks which are peculiar to confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. In my view, this is not a
the practice of law? political question that we are barred from resolving. Determination of the
appointee's credentials is made on the basis of the established facts, not
2. Did respondent perform such tasks customarily or habitually? the discretion of that body. Even if it were, the exercise of that discretion
would still be subject to our review.
3. Assuming that he performed any of such tasks habitually, did he do so
HABITUALLY FOR AT LEAST TEN (10) YEARS prior to his appointment In Luego, which is cited in the ponencia, what was involved was the
as COMELEC Chairman? discretion of the appointing authority to choosebetween two claimants to
the same office who both possessed the required qualifications. It was
Given the employment or job history of respondent Monsod as appears that kind of discretion that we said could not be reviewed.
from the records, I am persuaded that if ever he did perform any of the
tasks which constitute the practice of law, he did not do so HABITUALLY If a person elected by no less than the sovereign people may be ousted
for at least ten (10) years prior to his appointment as COMELEC by this Court for lack of the required qualifications, I see no reason why
Chairman. we cannot disqualified an appointee simply because he has passed the
Commission on Appointments.
While it may be granted that he performed tasks and activities which
could be latitudinarianly considered activities peculiar to the practice of Even the President of the Philippines may be declared ineligible by this
law, like the drafting of legal documents and the rendering of legal Court in an appropriate proceeding notwithstanding that he has been
opinion or advice, such were isolated transactions or activities which do found acceptable by no less than the enfranchised citizenry. The reason
not qualify his past endeavors as "practice of law." To become engaged is that what we would be examining is not the wisdom of his election but
in the practice of law, there must be a continuity, or a succession of acts. whether or not he was qualified to be elected in the first place.
As observed by the Solicitor General in People vs. Villanueva:4
Coming now to the qualifications of the private respondent, I fear that
Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must the ponencia may have been too sweeping in its definition of the phrase
have presented himself to be in the activeand continued practice "practice of law" as to render the qualification practically toothless. From
of the legal profession and that his professional services are the numerous activities accepted as embraced in the term, I have the
available to the public for a compensation, as a source of his uncomfortable feeling that one does not even have to be a lawyer to be
livelihood or in consideration of his said services. engaged in the practice of law as long as his activities involve the
application of some law, however peripherally. The stock broker and the
insurance adjuster and the realtor could come under the definition as
they deal with or give advice on matters that are likely "to become the Constitutional Commission (together with non-lawyers like farmers
involved in litigation." and priests) and was a member of the Davide Commission, he has not
proved that his activities in these capacities extended over the prescribed
The lawyer is considered engaged in the practice of law even if his main 10-year period of actual practice of the law. He is doubtless eminently
occupation is another business and he interprets and applies some law qualified for many other positions worthy of his abundant talents but not
only as an incident of such business. That covers every company as Chairman of the Commission on Elections.
organized under the Corporation Code and regulated by the SEC under
P.D. 902-A. Considering the ramifications of the modern society, there is I have much admiration for respondent Monsod, no less than for Mr.
hardly any activity that is not affected by some law or government Justice Paras, but I must regretfully vote to grant the petition.
regulation the businessman must know about and observe. In fact, again
going by the definition, a lawyer does not even have to be part of a GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:
business concern to be considered a practitioner. He can be so deemed
when, on his own, he rents a house or buys a car or consults a doctor as When this petition was filed, there was hope that engaging in the practice
these acts involve his knowledge and application of the laws regulating of law as a qualification for public office would be settled one way or
such transactions. If he operates a public utility vehicle as his main another in fairly definitive terms. Unfortunately, this was not the result.
source of livelihood, he would still be deemed engaged in the practice of
law because he must obey the Public Service Act and the rules and
Of the fourteen (14) member Court, 5 are of the view that Mr. Christian
regulations of the Energy Regulatory Board.
Monsod engaged in the practice of law (with one of these 5 leaving his
vote behind while on official leave but not expressing his clear stand on
The ponencia quotes an American decision defining the practice of law the matter); 4 categorically stating that he did not practice law; 2 voting in
as the "performance of any acts . . . in or out of court, commonly the result because there was no error so gross as to amount to grave
understood to be the practice of law," which tells us absolutely nothing. abuse of discretion; one of official leave with no instructions left behind
The decision goes on to say that "because lawyers perform almost every on how he viewed the issue; and 2 not taking part in the deliberations
function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a and the decision.
definition would obviously be too global to be workable."
There are two key factors that make our task difficult. First is our
The effect of the definition given in the ponencia is to consider virtually reviewing the work of a constitutional Commission on Appointments
every lawyer to be engaged in the practice of law even if he does not whose duty is precisely to look into the qualifications of persons
earn his living, or at least part of it, as a lawyer. It is enough that his appointed to high office. Even if the Commission errs, we have no power
activities are incidentally (even if only remotely) connected with some to set aside error. We can look only into grave abuse of discretion or
law, ordinance, or regulation. The possible exception is the lawyer whose whimsically and arbitrariness. Second is our belief that Mr. Monsod
income is derived from teaching ballroom dancing or escorting wrinkled possesses superior qualifications in terms of executive ability, proficiency
ladies with pubescent pretensions. in management, educational background, experience in international
banking and finance, and instant recognition by the public. His integrity
The respondent's credentials are impressive, to be sure, but they do not and competence are not questioned by the petitioner. What is before us
persuade me that he has been engaged in the practice of law for ten is compliance with a specific requirement written into the Constitution.
years as required by the Constitution. It is conceded that he has been
engaged in business and finance, in which areas he has distinguished Inspite of my high regard for Mr. Monsod, I cannot shirk my constitutional
himself, but as an executive and economist and not as a practicing duty. He has never engaged in the practice of law for even one year. He
lawyer. The plain fact is that he has occupied the various positions listed is a member of the bar but to say that he has practiced law is stretching
in his resume by virtue of his experience and prestige as a businessman the term beyond rational limits.
and not as an attorney-at-law whose principal attention is focused on the
law. Even if it be argued that he was acting as a lawyer when he lobbied
in Congress for agrarian and urban reform, served in the NAMFREL and
A person may have passed the bar examinations. But if he has not 2. 1963-1970: World Bank Group — Economist, Industry
dedicated his life to the law, if he has not engaged in an activity where Department; Operations, Latin American Department; Division
membership in the bar is a requirement I fail to see how he can claim to Chief, South Asia and Middle East, International Finance
have been engaged in the practice of law. Corporation

Engaging in the practice of law is a qualification not only for COMELEC 3. 1970-1973: Meralco Group — Executive of various companies,
chairman but also for appointment to the Supreme Court and all lower i.e., Meralco Securities Corporation, Philippine Petroleum
courts. What kind of Judges or Justices will we have if there main Corporation, Philippine Electric Corporation
occupation is selling real estate, managing a business corporation,
serving in fact-finding committee, working in media, or operating a farm 4. 1973-1976: Yujuico Group — President, Fil-Capital
with no active involvement in the law, whether in Government or private Development Corporation and affiliated companies
practice, except that in one joyful moment in the distant past, they
happened to pass the bar examinations? 5. 1976-1978: Finaciera Manila — Chief Executive Officer

The Constitution uses the phrase "engaged in the practice of law for at 6. 1978-1986: Guevent Group of Companies — Chief Executive
least ten years." The deliberate choice of words shows that the practice Officer
envisioned is active and regular, not isolated, occasional, accidental,
intermittent, incidental, seasonal, or extemporaneous. To be "engaged" in
7. 1986-1987: Philippine Constitutional Commission — Member
an activity for ten years requires committed participation in something
which is the result of one's decisive choice. It means that one is occupied
and involved in the enterprise; one is obliged or pledged to carry it out 8. 1989-1991: The Fact-Finding Commission on the December
with intent and attention during the ten-year period. 1989 Coup Attempt — Member

I agree with the petitioner that based on the bio-data submitted by 9. Presently: Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
respondent Monsod to the Commission on Appointments, the latter has of the following companies:
not been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. In fact, if
appears that Mr. Monsod has never practiced law except for an alleged a. ACE Container Philippines, Inc.
one year period after passing the bar examinations when he worked in
his father's law firm. Even then his law practice must have been b. Dataprep, Philippines
extremely limited because he was also working for M.A. and Ph. D.
degrees in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania during that c. Philippine SUNsystems Products, Inc.
period. How could he practice law in the United States while not a
member of the Bar there? d. Semirara Coal Corporation

The professional life of the respondent follows: e. CBL Timber Corporation

1.15.1. Respondent Monsod's activities since his passing the Bar Member of the Board of the Following:
examinations in 1961 consist of the following:
a. Engineering Construction Corporation of the Philippines
1. 1961-1963: M.A. in Economics (Ph. D. candidate), University of
Pennsylvania b. First Philippine Energy Corporation

c. First Philippine Holdings Corporation


d. First Philippine Industrial Corporation The Constitution requires having been "engaged in the practice of law for
at least ten years." It is not satisfied with having been "a member of the
e. Graphic Atelier Philippine bar for at least ten years."

f. Manila Electric Company Some American courts have defined the practice of law, as follows:

g. Philippine Commercial Capital, Inc. The practice of law involves not only appearance in court in
connection with litigation but also services rendered out of court,
h. Philippine Electric Corporation and it includes the giving of advice or the rendering of any
services requiring the use of legal skill or knowledge, such as
preparing a will, contract or other instrument, the legal effect of
i. Tarlac Reforestation and Environment Enterprises
which, under the facts and conditions involved, must be carefully
determined. People ex rel. Chicago Bar Ass'n v. Tinkoff, 399 Ill.
j. Tolong Aquaculture Corporation 282, 77 N.E.2d 693; People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v.
People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill. 462,176 N.E. 901, and
k. Visayan Aquaculture Corporation cases cited.

l. Guimaras Aquaculture Corporation (Rollo, pp. 21-22) It would be difficult, if not impossible to lay down a formula or
definition of what constitutes the practice of law. "Practicing law"
There is nothing in the above bio-data which even remotely indicates that has been defined as "Practicing as an attorney or counselor at
respondent Monsod has given the lawenough attention or a certain law according to the laws and customs of our courts, is the giving
degree of commitment and participation as would support in all sincerity of advice or rendition of any sort of service by any person, firm or
and candor the claim of having engaged in its practice for at least ten corporation when the giving of such advice or rendition of such
years. Instead of working as a lawyer, he has lawyers working for him. service requires the use of any degree of legal knowledge or
Instead of giving receiving that legal advice of legal services, he was the skill." Without adopting that definition, we referred to it as being
oneadvice and those services as an executive but not as a lawyer. substantially correct in People ex rel. Illinois State Bar Ass'n v.
People's Stock Yards State Bank, 344 Ill. 462,176 N.E. 901.
The deliberations before the Commission on Appointments show an (People v. Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773, 776)
effort to equate "engaged in the practice of law" with the use of legal
knowledge in various fields of endeavor such as commerce, industry, For one's actions to come within the purview of practice of law they
civic work, blue ribbon investigations, agrarian reform, etc. where such should not only be activities peculiar to the work of a lawyer, they should
knowledge would be helpful. also be performed, habitually, frequently or customarily, to wit:

I regret that I cannot join in playing fast and loose with a term, which even xxx xxx xxx
an ordinary layman accepts as having a familiar and customary well-
defined meaning. Every resident of this country who has reached the age Respondent's answers to questions propounded to him were
of discernment has to know, follow, or apply the law at various times in rather evasive. He was asked whether or not he ever prepared
his life. Legal knowledge is useful if not necessary for the business contracts for the parties in real-estate transactions where he was
executive, legislator, mayor, barangay captain, teacher, policeman, not the procuring agent. He answered: "Very seldom." In answer
farmer, fisherman, market vendor, and student to name only a few. And to the question as to how many times he had prepared contracts
yet, can these people honestly assert that as such, they are engaged in for the parties during the twenty-one years of his business, he
the practice of law? said: "I have no Idea." When asked if it would be more than half a
dozen times his answer was I suppose. Asked if he did not recall
making the statement to several parties that he had prepared repeated action; to apply, as a theory, to real life; to exercise, as
contracts in a large number of instances, he answered: "I don't a profession, trade, art. etc.; as, to practice law or medicine,'
recall exactly what was said." When asked if he did not remember etc...." (State v. Bryan, S.E. 522, 523; Emphasis supplied)
saying that he had made a practice of preparing deeds,
mortgages and contracts and charging a fee to the parties In this jurisdiction, we have ruled that the practice of law denotes
therefor in instances where he was not the broker in the deal, he frequency or a succession of acts. Thus, we stated in the case of People
answered: "Well, I don't believe so, that is not a practice." v. Villanueva (14 SCRA 109 [1965]):
Pressed further for an answer as to his practice in preparing
contracts and deeds for parties where he was not the broker, he xxx xxx xxx
finally answered: "I have done about everything that is on the
books as far as real estate is concerned."
... Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in
frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In
xxx xxx xxx other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State v. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87
Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of law to fall within the prohibition
Respondent takes the position that because he is a real-estate of statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's
broker he has a lawful right to do any legal work in connection self out to the public, as a lawyer and demanding payment for such
with real-estate transactions, especially in drawing of real-estate services. ... . (at p. 112)
contracts, deeds, mortgages, notes and the like. There is no
doubt but that he has engaged in these practices over the years It is to be noted that the Commission on Appointment itself
and has charged for his services in that connection. ... (People v. recognizes habituality as a required component of the meaning of
Schafer, 87 N.E. 2d 773) practice of law in a Memorandum prepared and issued by it, to wit:

xxx xxx xxx l. Habituality. The term 'practice of law' implies customarilyor
habitually holding one's self out to the public as a lawyer (People
... An attorney, in the most general sense, is a person designated v. Villanueva, 14 SCRA 109 citing State v. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98
or employed by another to act in his stead; an agent; more N.C. 644) such as when one sends a circular announcing the
especially, one of a class of persons authorized to appear and act establishment of a law office for the general practice of law (U.S.
for suitors or defendants in legal proceedings. Strictly, these v. Noy Bosque, 8 Phil. 146), or when one takes the oath of office
professional persons are attorneys at law, and non-professional as a lawyer before a notary public, and files a manifestation with
agents are properly styled "attorney's in fact;" but the single word the Supreme Court informing it of his intention to practice law in
is much used as meaning an attorney at law. A person may be an all courts in the country (People v. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968).
attorney in facto for another, without being an attorney at law.
Abb. Law Dict. "Attorney." A public attorney, or attorney at law, Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in
says Webster, is an officer of a court of law, legally qualified to frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same
prosecute and defend actions in such court on the retainer of kind. In other words, it is a habitual exercise (People v.
clients. "The principal duties of an attorney are (1) to be true to Villanueva, 14 SCRA 1 09 citing State v. Cotner, 1 27, p. 1, 87
the court and to his client; (2) to manage the business of his client Kan, 864)." (Rollo, p. 115)
with care, skill, and integrity; (3) to keep his client informed as to
the state of his business; (4) to keep his secrets confided to him
xxx xxx xxx
as such. ... His rights are to be justly compensated for his
services." Bouv. Law Dict. tit. "Attorney." The transitive verb
"practice," as defined by Webster, means 'to do or perform While the career as a businessman of respondent Monsod may have
frequently, customarily, or habitually; to perform by a succession profited from his legal knowledge, the use of such legal knowledge is
of acts, as, to practice gaming, ... to carry on in practice, or incidental and consists of isolated activities which do not fall under the
denomination of practice of law. Admission to the practice of law was not
required for membership in the Constitutional Commission or in the Fact-
Finding Commission on the 1989 Coup Attempt. Any specific legal
activities which may have been assigned to Mr. Monsod while a member
may be likened to isolated transactions of foreign corporations in the
Philippines which do not categorize the foreign corporations as doing
business in the Philippines. As in the practice of law, doing business also
should be active and continuous. Isolated business transactions or
occasional, incidental and casual transactions are not within the context
of doing business. This was our ruling in the case of Antam Consolidated,
Inc. v. Court of appeals, 143 SCRA 288 [1986]).

Respondent Monsod, corporate executive, civic leader, and member of


the Constitutional Commission may possess the background,
competence, integrity, and dedication, to qualify for such high offices as
President, Vice-President, Senator, Congressman or Governor but the
Constitution in prescribing the specific qualification of having engaged in
the practice of law for at least ten (10) years for the position of
COMELEC Chairman has ordered that he may not be confirmed for that
office. The Constitution charges the public respondents no less than this
Court to obey its mandate.

I, therefore, believe that the Commission on Appointments committed


grave abuse of discretion in confirming the nomination of respondent
Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC.

I vote to GRANT the petition.

Bidin, J., dissent

Footnotes

1 Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary.

2 14 SCRA 109

3 Commission on Appointments' Memorandum dated 25 June


1991 RE: WHAT CONSTITUTES PRACTICE OF LAW, pp. 6-7.

4 14 SCRA 109.
Republic of the Philippines On January 27, 1976, the Court required the respondent to comment on
SUPREME COURT the resolution and letter adverted to above; he submitted his comment on
Manila February 23, 1976, reiterating his refusal to pay the membership fees
due from him.
EN BANC
On March 2, 1976, the Court required the IBP President and the IBP
A.M. No. 1928 August 3, 1978 Board of Governors to reply to Edillon's comment: on March 24, 1976,
they submitted a joint reply.
In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty.
MARCIAL A. EDILION (IBP Administrative Case No. MDD-1) Thereafter, the case was set for hearing on June 3, 1976. After the
hearing, the parties were required to submit memoranda in amplification
RESOLUTION of their oral arguments. The matter was thenceforth submitted for
resolution.

At the threshold, a painstaking scrutiny of the respondent's pleadings


would show that the propriety and necessity of the integration of the Bar
CASTRO, C.J.:
of the Philippines are in essence conceded. The respondent, however,
objects to particular features of Rule of Court 139-A (hereinafter referred
The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in to as the Court Rule) 1 — in accordance with which the Bar of the
the Philippines. Philippines was integrated — and to the provisions of par. 2, Section 24,
Article III, of the IBP By-Laws (hereinabove cited).
On November 29, 1975, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP for
short) Board of Governors unanimously adopted Resolution No. 75-65 in The authority of the IBP Board of Governors to recommend to the
Administrative Case No. MDD-1 (In the Matter of the Membership Dues Supreme Court the removal of a delinquent member's name from the Roll
Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to the Court the of Attorneys is found in par. 2 Section 24, Article Ill of the IBP By-Laws
removal of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for (supra), whereas the authority of the Court to issue the order applied for
"stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues" to the IBP since the is found in Section 10 of the Court Rule, which reads:
latter's constitution notwithstanding due notice.
SEC. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. — Subject to the
On January 21, 1976, the IBP, through its then President Liliano B. Neri, provisions of Section 12 of this Rule, default in the
submitted the said resolution to the Court for consideration and approval, payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant
pursuant to paragraph 2, Section 24, Article III of the By-Laws of the IBP, suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, and
which reads: default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for
the removal of the name of the delinquent member from
.... Should the delinquency further continue until the the Roll of Attorneys.
following June 29, the Board shall promptly inquire into
the cause or causes of the continued delinquency and The all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership in the IBP is
take whatever action it shall deem appropriate, including stated in these words of the Court Rule:
a recommendation to the Supreme Court for the removal
of the delinquent member's name from the Roll of
SECTION 1. Organization. — There is hereby organized
Attorneys. Notice of the action taken shall be sent by
an official national body to be known as the 'Integrated
registered mail to the member and to the Secretary of the
Bar of the Philippines,' composed of all persons whose
Chapter concerned.
names now appear or may hereafter be included in the and the authoritative materials and the mass of factual
Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. data contained in the exhaustive Report of the
Commission on Bar Integration, that the integration of the
The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in the following words Philippine Bar is 'perfectly constitutional and legally
of the Court Rule: unobjectionable'. ...

SEC. 9. Membership dues. Every member of the Be that as it may, we now restate briefly the posture of the Court.
Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as the Board
of Governors shall determine with the approval of the An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must
Supreme Court. ... belong, as distinguished from bar associations organized by individual
lawyers themselves, membership in which is voluntary. Integration of the
The core of the respondent's arguments is that the above provisions Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded
constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the sense that he is an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as
being compelled, as a pre-condition to maintaining his status as a lawyer well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or
in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the under the direction of the State, an integrated Bar is an official national
corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled body of which all lawyers are required to be members. They are,
financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the
personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and Bar, including the requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for
property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence, the respondent the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar, and adherence to a
concludes, the above provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By- code of professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of which
Laws are void and of no legal force and effect. constitutes sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper
cause appearing, a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the
The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to strike offending member. 2
his name from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that the said matter is
not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is rather of an The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by overriding
"administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body." considerations of public interest and public welfare to such an extent as
more than constitutionally and legally justifies the restrictions that
The case at bar is not the first one that has reached the Court relating to integration imposes upon the personal interests and personal
constitutional issues that inevitably and inextricably come up to the convenience of individual lawyers. 3
surface whenever attempts are made to regulate the practice of law,
define the conditions of such practice, or revoke the license granted for Apropos to the above, it must be stressed that all legislation directing the
the exercise of the legal profession. integration of the Bar have been uniformly and universally sustained as a
valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. The
The matters here complained of are the very same issues raised in a practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover
previous case before the Court, entitled "Administrative Case No. 526, In clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not
the Matter of the Petition for the Integration of the Bar of the Philippines, only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts,
Roman Ozaeta, et al., Petitioners." The Court exhaustively considered all and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of
these matters in that case in its Resolution ordaining the integration of the State — the administration of justice — as an officer of the
the Bar of the Philippines, promulgated on January 9, 1973. The Court court. 4 The practice of law being clothed with public interest, the holder
there made the unanimous pronouncement that it was of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the common good,
to the extent of the interest he has created. As the U. S. Supreme Court
through Mr. Justice Roberts explained, the expression "affected with a
... fully convinced, after a thoroughgoing conscientious
public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the police
study of all the arguments adduced in Adm. Case No. 526
power" (Nebbia vs. New York, 291 U.S. 502).
When, therefore, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6397 5 authorizing SECTION 1. Within two years from the approval of this
the Supreme Court to "adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Act, the Supreme Court may adopt rules of Court to effect
Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit," it did so in the the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions
exercise of the paramount police power of the State. The Act's avowal is as it shall see fit in order to raise the standards of the
to "raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration legal profession, improve the administration of justice,
of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility
effectively." Hence, the Congress in enacting such Act, the Court in more effectively.
ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution promulgated on
January 9, 1973, and the President of the Philippines in decreeing the Quite apart from the above, let it be stated that even without the enabling
constitution of the IBP into a body corporate through Presidential Decree Act (Republic Act No. 6397), and looking solely to the language of the
No. 181 dated May 4, 1973, were prompted by fundamental provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme Court the power "to
considerations of public welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all
demands of pressing public necessity. courts, and the admission to the practice of law," it at once becomes
indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court
The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with and with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and
regulate personal liberty, property and occupations. Persons and supervision of the practice of law.
property may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to secure
the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus, Thus, when the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal profession, his
31 Phil 218), for, as the Latin maxim goes, "Salus populi est supreme practice of law and his exercise of the said profession, which affect the
lex." The public welfare is the supreme law. To this fundamental principle society at large, were (and are) subject to the power of the body politic to
of government the rights of individuals are subordinated. Liberty is a require him to conform to such regulations as might be established by the
blessing without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to proper authorities for the common good, even to the extent of interfering
prevail over authority because then society win fall into anarchy with some of his liberties. If he did not wish to submit himself to such
(Calalang vs. Williams, 70 Phil. 726). It is an undoubted power of the reasonable interference and regulation, he should not have clothed the
State to restrain some individuals from all freedom, and all individuals public with an interest in his concerns.
from some freedom.
On this score alone, the case for the respondent must already fall.
But the most compelling argument sustaining the constitutionality and
validity of Bar integration in the Philippines is the explicit unequivocal The issues being of constitutional dimension, however, we now concisely
grant of precise power to the Supreme Court by Section 5 (5) of Article X deal with them seriatim.
of the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines, which reads:
1. The first objection posed by the respondent is that the Court is without
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following power to compel him to become a member of the Integrated Bar of the
powers: Philippines, hence, Section 1 of the Court Rule is unconstitutional for it
impinges on his constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to
xxx xxx xxx associate). Our answer is: To compel a lawyer to be a member of the
Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. 6
(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and
pro. procedure in all courts, and the admission to the Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is
practice of law and the integration of the Bar ..., not already a member. He became a member of the Bar when he passed
the Bar examinations. 7 All that integration actually does is to provide an
and Section 1 of Republic Act No. 6397, which reads: official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and
incohesive group of which every lawyer is a ready a member. 8
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He 4. Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the Supreme
is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter Court to strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys, it is
or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only sufficient to state that the matters of admission, suspension, disbarment
compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have
Supreme Court, in order to further the State's legitimate interest in been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and
elevating the quality of professional legal services, may require that the responsibilities, and the authorities holding such are legion. 14
cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects
and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers.9 In In Re Sparks (267 Ky. 93, 101 S.W. (2d) 194), in which the report of
the Board of Bar Commissioners in a disbarment proceeding was
Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer confirmed and disbarment ordered, the court, sustaining the Bar
to be a member of the Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an Integration Act of Kentucky, said: "The power to regulate the conduct and
exercise of the police power of the State. 10 qualifications of its officers does not depend upon constitutional or
statutory grounds. It is a power which is inherent in this court as a court
2. The second issue posed by the respondent is that the provision of the — appropriate, indeed necessary, to the proper administration of justice
Court Rule requiring payment of a membership fee is void. We see ... the argument that this is an arbitrary power which the court is
nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court, under its constitutional arrogating to itself or accepting from the legislative likewise misconceives
power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the the nature of the duty. It has limitations no less real because they are
practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X, Section inherent. It is an unpleasant task to sit in judgment upon a brother
5 of the 1973 Constitution) — which power the respondent acknowledges member of the Bar, particularly where, as here, the facts are disputed. It
— from requiring members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to is a grave responsibility, to be assumed only with a determination to
pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the uphold the Ideals and traditions of an honorable profession and to protect
profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed the public from overreaching and fraud. The very burden of the duty is
imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted. ..."
out the objectives and purposes of integration. 11
The Court's jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our 1973 Constitution
3. The respondent further argues that the enforcement of the penalty when it explicitly granted to the Court the power to "Promulgate rules
provisions would amount to a deprivation of property without due process concerning pleading, practice ... and the admission to the practice of law
and hence infringes on one of his constitutional rights. Whether the and the integration of the Bar ... (Article X, Sec. 5(5) the power to pass
practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that upon the fitness of the respondent to remain a member of the legal
entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession, we do not here profession is indeed undoubtedly vested in the Court.
pause to consider at length, as it clear that under the police power of the
State, and under the necessary powers granted to the Court to We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court 139-A
perpetuate its existence, the respondent's right to practise law before the and of the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines complained of
courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and are neither unconstitutional nor illegal.
inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is
recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is the unanimous sense of the
may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or Court that the respondent Marcial A. Edillon should be as he is hereby
arbitrary. 12 disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered stricken from the Roll of
Attorneys of the Court.
But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property
right but a mere privilege, 13 and as such must bow to the inherent Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio, Muñoz Palma,
regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyer's public Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Santos, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.
responsibilities.
Railways Employes' Dept. vs. Hanson, 351 U. S. 225, 100
L. ed. 1112, 76 S. Ct. 714.
Footnotes
7 Diokno, Jose W., "Bar Integration — A Sword and a
1 Adopted in the Supreme Court's Resolution, Shield for Justice" (Manor Press, Q.C., 1962) p. 17.
promulgated on January 9, 1973, ordaining the integration
of the Bar of the Philippines. 8 Fellers James, "Integration of the Bar — Aloha!",
Journal of the Am. Judicature Society, Vol. 47, No. 11
2 114 A.L.R. 101. (1964) p. 256. 9 Lathrop vs. Donahue, 10 Wis. 2d 230,
102, N.W. 2d 404; Lathrop vs. Donahue, 367 U.S. 820, 6
3 Memorandum of Authorities on the Constitutionality of L, ed. 2d 1191, 81 S. Ct. 1826.
Bar Integration, cited in the Report of the Commission Bar
Integration on the Integration of the Philippine Bar, Nov. 9. Lathrop vs. Donohue, 10 Wis., 2d 230, 102, N.W. 2d
30, 1972; see also Supreme Court Resolution of January 404; Lathrop vs. Donohue, 367 U.S. 820, 6L. ed. 2d 1191,
9, 1973, ordaining the integration of the Philippine Bar. 81 S. Ct. 1826.

4 In re Integrating the Bar, 222 Ark 35, 259 S. W. 2d 114; 10 Hill vs. State Bar of California, 97 P. 2d 236; Herron
Petition of Florida State Bar Association, 40 So. 2d 902; vs. State Bar of California, 24 Cal. 53, 147 P. 2d 543;
Petition of Florida State Bar Association, 134 Fla. 851, Carpenter vs. State Bar of California, 211 Cal. 358, 295
186 So. 280: In re Edwards, 45 Idaho 676, 266 P. 665; P. 23; In re Mundy, 202 La. 41, 11 SO. 2d 398; In re
Commonwealth ex rel. Ward vs. Harrington, 266 Ky. 41 Scott, 53 Nev. 24, 292 P. 291; In re Platz, 60 Nev. 24,
98 S. W. 2d 53; Ayres vs. Hadaway 303 Mich. 589, 6 N. 108 P. 2d 858, In re Gibson, 35 N. Mex. 550, 4 P. 2d 643;
W. 2d 905; Petition for Integration of Bar of Minnesota, Kelley vs. State Bar of Oklahoma, 148 Okla, 282, 298 P.
216 Minn. 195; Petition for Integration of Bar of 623.
Minnesota, 216 Minn. 195, 12 N. W. 2d 515; Clark vs.
Austin, 101 S. W. 2d 977; In Re Integration of Nebraska 11 Petition of Florida State Bar Association, 40 So. 2d
State Bar Assn., 133 Neb. 283, 275 N. W. 265, 114 902; In re Integration of Bar of Hawaii, 432 P. 2d 887;
A.L.R. 151; In re Scott, 53 Nev. 24, 292 291; Baker vs. Petition for Integration of Bar of Minnesota, 216 Minn.
Varser, 240 N.C. 260, 82 S.E. 2d 90; In re Integration of 195, 12 N. W. 2d 515; In re Scott, 53 Nev. 24, 292 P. 291;
State Bar of Oklahoma, 185 Okla, 505, 95 P. 2d 113; In re Unification of New Hampshire Bar, 248 A. 2d 709; In
State ex rel. Rice vs. Cozad, 70 S. Dak. 193, 16 N. W. 2d re Gibson, 35 N. Mex. 550, 4 P. 2d 643; State Bar of
484; Campbell vs. Third District Committee of Virginia Oklahoma vs. McGhnee 148 Okla, 219, 298 P. 580;
State Bar, 179 Va. 244, 18 S. E. 2d 883; Lathrop vs. Kelley vs. State Bar of Oklahoma, 148 Okla, 282, 298 P.
Donahue, 10 Wis. 2d 230,102 N. W. 2d 404. 623; Lathrop vs. Donahue, 10 Wis. 2d 230,102 N. W. 2d
404.
5 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE INTEGRATION OF
THE PHILIPPINE BAR AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS 12 In re Gibson, 4 P. 2d 643.
THEREFOR, approved on September 17,1971.
The following words of Justice Harlan are opposite: "The
6 In re Unification of New Hampsire Bar, 248 A. 2d 709; objection would make every Governmental exaction the
In re Gibson, 35 N. Mex. 550, 4P. 2d 643; Lathrop vs. material of a 'free speech' issue. Even the income tax
Donahue, 10 Wis. 2d 230, 102 N. W. 2d 404; Lathrop vs. would be suspect. The objection would carry us to lengths
Donahue, 367 U.S. 820, 6 L. ed. 2d 1191, 81 S. Ct. 1826; that have never been dreamed of. The conscientious
objector, if his liberties were to thus extended, might
refuse to contribute taxes in furtherance of war or of any
other end condemned by his conscience as irreligious or
immoral The right of private judgment has never yet been
exalted above the powers and the compulsion of the
agencies of Government." (Concurring opinion of
Harlan, J, joined by Frankfurter, J., in Lathrop vs.
Donahue, 367

U.S. 820, 6 L.ed. 21191, 81 S. Ct. 1826, citing Cardozo,


J. with Branders and Stone, JJ., concurring, in Hamilton
vs. Regents of Univ. of California, 293 U.S. 245, 79 L.ed.
343, 55 S. Ct. 197.)

13 Inre Scott, 53 Nev. 24, 292 P. 291.

14 Bar Flunkers Case, 50 O.G. 1602; In re Aguas, 1 Phil.


1, and others.
Republic of the Philippines The use by the person or partnership continuing the
SUPREME COURT business of the partnership name, or the name of a
Manila deceased partner as part thereof, shall not of itself make
the individual property of the deceased partner liable for
EN BANC any debts contracted by such person or partnership. 1

July 30, 1979 2. In regulating other professions, such as accountancy and engineering,
the legislature has authorized the adoption of firm names without any
PETITION FOR AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE USE OF THE FIRM NAME restriction as to the use, in such firm name, of the name of a deceased
"SYCIP, SALAZAR, FELICIANO, HERNANDEZ & CASTILLO." partner; 2 the legislative authorization given to those engaged in the
LUCIANO E. SALAZAR, FLORENTINO P. FELICIANO, BENILDO G. practice of accountancy — a profession requiring the same degree of
HERNANDEZ. GREGORIO R. CASTILLO. ALBERTO P. SAN JUAN, trust and confidence in respect of clients as that implicit in the
JUAN C. REYES. JR., ANDRES G. GATMAITAN, JUSTINO H. relationship of attorney and client — to acquire and use a trade name,
CACANINDIN, NOEL A. LAMAN, ETHELWOLDO E. FERNANDEZ, strongly indicates that there is no fundamental policy that is offended by
ANGELITO C. IMPERIO, EDUARDO R. CENIZA, TRISTAN A. the continued use by a firm of professionals of a firm name which
CATINDIG, ANCHETA K. TAN, and ALICE V. PESIGAN, petitioners. includes the name of a deceased partner, at least where such firm name
has acquired the characteristics of a "trade name." 3
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE
USE OF THE FIRM NAME "OZAETA, ROMULO, DE LEON, MABANTA 3. The Canons of Professional Ethics are not transgressed by the
& REYES." RICARDO J. ROMULO, BENJAMIN M. DE LEON, ROMAN continued use of the name of a deceased partner in the firm name of a
MABANTA, JR., JOSE MA, REYES, JESUS S. J. SAYOC, EDUARDO law partnership because Canon 33 of the Canons of Professional Ethics
DE LOS ANGELES, and JOSE F. BUENAVENTURA, petitioners. adopted by the American Bar Association declares that: têñ.£îhqwâ£

RESOLUTION ... The continued use of the name of a deceased or


former partner when permissible by local custom, is not
unethical but care should be taken that no imposition or
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:ñé+.£ªwph!1
deception is practiced through this use. ... 4
Two separate Petitions were filed before this Court 1) by the surviving
4. There is no possibility of imposition or deception because the deaths of
partners of Atty. Alexander Sycip, who died on May 5, 1975, and 2) by
their respective deceased partners were well-publicized in all
the surviving partners of Atty. Herminio Ozaeta, who died on February
newspapers of general circulation for several days; the stationeries now
14, 1976, praying that they be allowed to continue using, in the names of
being used by them carry new letterheads indicating the years when their
their firms, the names of partners who had passed away. In the Court's
respective deceased partners were connected with the firm; petitioners
Resolution of September 2, 1976, both Petitions were ordered
will notify all leading national and international law directories of the fact
consolidated.
of their respective deceased partners' deaths. 5
Petitioners base their petitions on the following arguments:
5. No local custom prohibits the continued use of a deceased partner's
name in a professional firm's name; 6 there is no custom or usage in the
1. Under the law, a partnership is not prohibited from continuing its Philippines, or at least in the Greater Manila Area, which recognizes that
business under a firm name which includes the name of a deceased the name of a law firm necessarily Identifies the individual members of
partner; in fact, Article 1840 of the Civil Code explicitly sanctions the the firm. 7
practice when it provides in the last paragraph that: têñ.£îhqwâ£
6. The continued use of a deceased partner's name in the firm name of The Court finds no sufficient reason to depart from the rulings thus laid
law partnerships has been consistently allowed by U.S. Courts and is an down.
accepted practice in the legal profession of most countries in the world.8
A. Inasmuch as "Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano, Hernandez and Castillo" and
The question involved in these Petitions first came under consideration "Ozaeta, Romulo, De Leon, Mabanta and Reyes" are partnerships, the
by this Court in 1953 when a law firm in Cebu (the Deen case) continued use in their partnership names of the names of deceased partners will
its practice of including in its firm name that of a deceased partner, C.D. run counter to Article 1815 of the Civil Code which provides: têñ.£îhqwâ£
Johnston. The matter was resolved with this Court advising the firm to
desist from including in their firm designation the name of C. D. Johnston, Art. 1815. Every partnership shall operate under a firm
who has long been dead." name, which may or may not include the name of one or
more of the partners.
The same issue was raised before this Court in 1958 as an incident in G.
R. No. L-11964, entitled Register of Deeds of Manila vs. China Banking Those who, not being members of the partnership,
Corporation. The law firm of Perkins & Ponce Enrile moved to intervene include their names in the firm name, shall be subject to
as amicus curiae. Before acting thereon, the Court, in a Resolution of the liability, of a partner.
April 15, 1957, stated that it "would like to be informed why the name of
Perkins is still being used although Atty. E. A. Perkins is already dead." In It is clearly tacit in the above provision that names in a firm name of a
a Manifestation dated May 21, 1957, the law firm of Perkins and Ponce partnership must either be those of living partners and. in the case of
Enrile, raising substantially the same arguments as those now being non-partners, should be living persons who can be subjected to liability.
raised by petitioners, prayed that the continued use of the firm name In fact, Article 1825 of the Civil Code prohibits a third person from
"Perkins & Ponce Enrile" be held proper. including his name in the firm name under pain of assuming the liability of
a partner. The heirs of a deceased partner in a law firm cannot be held
On June 16, 1958, this Court resolved: têñ.£îhqw⣠liable as the old members to the creditors of a firm particularly where they
are non-lawyers. Thus, Canon 34 of the Canons of Professional Ethics
After carefully considering the reasons given by Attorneys "prohibits an agreement for the payment to the widow and heirs of a
Alfonso Ponce Enrile and Associates for their continued deceased lawyer of a percentage, either gross or net, of the fees
use of the name of the deceased E. G. Perkins, the Court received from the future business of the deceased lawyer's clients, both
found no reason to depart from the policy it adopted in because the recipients of such division are not lawyers and because
June 1953 when it required Attorneys Alfred P. Deen and such payments will not represent service or responsibility on the part of
Eddy A. Deen of Cebu City to desist from including in the recipient. " Accordingly, neither the widow nor the heirs can be held
their firm designation, the name of C. D. Johnston, liable for transactions entered into after the death of their lawyer-
deceased. The Court believes that, in view of the predecessor. There being no benefits accruing, there ran be no
personal and confidential nature of the relations between corresponding liability.
attorney and client, and the high standards demanded in
the canons of professional ethics, no practice should be Prescinding the law, there could be practical objections to allowing the
allowed which even in a remote degree could give rise to use by law firms of the names of deceased partners. The public relations
the possibility of deception. Said attorneys are value of the use of an old firm name can tend to create undue
accordingly advised to drop the name "PERKINS" from advantages and disadvantages in the practice of the profession. An able
their firm name. lawyer without connections will have to make a name for himself starting
from scratch. Another able lawyer, who can join an old firm, can initially
Petitioners herein now seek a re-examination of the policy thus far ride on that old firm's reputation established by deceased partners.
enunciated by the Court.
B. In regards to the last paragraph of Article 1840 of the Civil Code cited purpose. ... It is not a partnership formed for the purpose
by petitioners, supra, the first factor to consider is that it is within Chapter of carrying on trade or business or of holding
3 of Title IX of the Code entitled "Dissolution and Winding Up." The property." 11 Thus, it has been stated that "the use of a
Article primarily deals with the exemption from liability in cases of a nom de plume, assumed or trade name in law practice is
dissolved partnership, of the individual property of the deceased partner improper. 12
for debts contracted by the person or partnership which continues
the business using the partnership name or the name of the deceased The usual reason given for different standards of conduct
partner as part thereof. What the law contemplates therein is a hold-over being applicable to the practice of law from those
situation preparatory to formal reorganization. pertaining to business is that the law is a profession.

Secondly, Article 1840 treats more of a commercial partnership with a Dean Pound, in his recently published contribution to the
good will to protect rather than of a professional partnership, with no Survey of the Legal Profession, (The Lawyer from
saleable good will but whose reputation depends on the personal Antiquity to Modern Times, p. 5) defines a profession as
qualifications of its individual members. Thus, it has been held that a "a group of men pursuing a learned art as a common
saleable goodwill can exist only in a commercial partnership and cannot calling in the spirit of public service, — no less a public
arise in a professional partnership consisting of lawyers. 9têñ.£îhqw⣠service because it may incidentally be a means of
livelihood."
As a general rule, upon the dissolution of a commercial
partnership the succeeding partners or parties have the xxx xxx xxx
right to carry on the business under the old name, in the
absence of a stipulation forbidding it, (s)ince the name of Primary characteristics which distinguish the legal
a commercial partnership is a partnership asset profession from business are:
inseparable from the good will of the firm. ... (60 Am Jur
2d, s 204, p. 115) (Emphasis supplied)
1. A duty of public service, of which the emolument is a
byproduct, and in which one may attain the highest
On the other hand, têñ.£îhqw⣠eminence without making much money.

... a professional partnership the reputation of which 2. A relation as an "officer of court" to the administration
depends or; the individual skill of the members, such as of justice involving thorough sincerity, integrity, and
partnerships of attorneys or physicians, has no good win reliability.
to be distributed as a firm asset on its dissolution,
however intrinsically valuable such skill and reputation
3. A relation to clients in the highest degree fiduciary.
may be, especially where there is no provision in the
partnership agreement relating to good will as an asset. ...
(ibid, s 203, p. 115) (Emphasis supplied) 4. A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by
candor, fairness, and unwillingness to resort to current
business methods of advertising and encroachment on
C. A partnership for the practice of law cannot be likened to partnerships
their practice, or dealing directly with their clients. 13
formed by other professionals or for business. For one thing, the law on
accountancy specifically allows the use of a trade name in connection
with the practice of accountancy.10 têñ.£îhqw⣠"The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is in
the nature of a privilege or franchise. 14 It is limited to persons of good
moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained and
A partnership for the practice of law is not a legal entity. It
certified. 15 The right does not only presuppose in its possessor integrity,
is a mere relationship or association for a particular
legal standing and attainment, but also the exercise of a special In the case of Mendelsohn v. Equitable Life Assurance Society (33
privilege, highly personal and partaking of the nature of a public trust." 16 N.Y.S. 2d 733) which petitioners Salazar, et al. quoted in their
memorandum, the New York Supreme Court sustained the use of the
D. Petitioners cited Canon 33 of the Canons of Professional Ethics of the firm name Alexander & Green even if none of the present ten partners of
American Bar Association" in support of their petitions. the firm bears either name because the practice was sanctioned by
custom and did not offend any statutory provision or legislative policy and
It is true that Canon 33 does not consider as unethical the continued use was adopted by agreement of the parties. The Court stated
of the name of a deceased or former partner in the firm name of a law therein: têñ.£îhqwâ£
partnership when such a practice is permissible by local custom but the
Canon warns that care should be taken that no imposition or deception is The practice sought to be proscribed has the sanction of
practiced through this use. custom and offends no statutory provision or legislative
policy. Canon 33 of the Canons of Professional Ethics of
It must be conceded that in the Philippines, no local custom permits or both the American Bar Association and the New York
allows the continued use of a deceased or former partner's name in the State Bar Association provides in part as follows: "The
firm names of law partnerships. Firm names, under our custom, Identify continued use of the name of a deceased or former
the more active and/or more senior members or partners of the law partner, when permissible by local custom is not
firm. A glimpse at the history of the firms of petitioners and of other law unethical, but care should be taken that no imposition or
firms in this country would show how their firm names have evolved and deception is practiced through this use." There is no
changed from time to time as the composition of the partnership question as to local custom. Many firms in the city use the
changed. têñ.£îhqw⣠names of deceased members with the approval of other
attorneys, bar associations and the courts. The Appellate
Division of the First Department has considered the
The continued use of a firm name after the death of one
matter and reached The conclusion that such practice
or more of the partners designated by it is proper only
should not be prohibited. (Emphasis supplied)
where sustained by local custom and not where by
custom this purports to Identify the active members. ...
xxx xxx xxx
There would seem to be a question, under the working of
the Canon, as to the propriety of adding the name of a Neither the Partnership Law nor the Penal Law prohibits
new partner and at the same time retaining that of a the practice in question. The use of the firm name herein
deceased partner who was never a partner with the new is also sustainable by reason of agreement between the
one. (H.S. Drinker, op. cit., supra, at pp. 207208) partners. 18
(Emphasis supplied).
Not so in this jurisdiction where there is no local custom that sanctions
The possibility of deception upon the public, real or consequential, where the practice. Custom has been defined as a rule of conduct formed by
the name of a deceased partner continues to be used cannot be ruled repetition of acts, uniformly observed (practiced) as a social rule, legally
out. A person in search of legal counsel might be guided by the familiar binding and obligatory. 19 Courts take no judicial notice of custom. A
ring of a distinguished name appearing in a firm title. custom must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence. 20 A
local custom as a source of right cannot be considered by a court of
justice unless such custom is properly established by competent
E. Petitioners argue that U.S. Courts have consistently allowed the
evidence like any other fact. 21 We find such proof of the existence of a
continued use of a deceased partner's name in the firm name of law
local custom, and of the elements requisite to constitute the same,
partnerships. But that is so because it is sanctioned by custom.
wanting herein. Merely because something is done as a matter of
practice does not mean that Courts can rely on the same for purposes of
adjudication as a juridical custom. Juridical custom must be differentiated
from social custom. The former can supplement statutory law or be ACCORDINGLY, the petitions filed herein are denied and petitioners
applied in the absence of such statute. Not so with the latter. advised to drop the names "SYCIP" and "OZAETA" from their respective
firm names. Those names may, however, be included in the listing of
Moreover, judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws form part of individuals who have been partners in their firms indicating the years
the legal system. 22 When the Supreme Court in the Deen and Perkins during which they served as such.
cases issued its Resolutions directing lawyers to desist from including the
names of deceased partners in their firm designation, it laid down a legal SO ORDERED.
rule against which no custom or practice to the contrary, even if proven,
can prevail. This is not to speak of our civil law which clearly ordains that Teehankee, Concepcion, Jr., Santos, Fernandez, Guerrero and De
a partnership is dissolved by the death of any partner. 23 Custom which Castro, JJ., concur
are contrary to law, public order or public policy shall not be
countenanced. 24 Fernando, C.J. and Abad Santos, J., took no part.

The practice of law is intimately and peculiarly related to the


administration of justice and should not be considered like an ordinary
"money-making trade." têñ.£îhqwâ£
Separate Opinions
... It is of the essence of a profession that it is practiced in
a spirit of public service. A trade ... aims primarily at
personal gain; a profession at the exercise of powers
beneficial to mankind. If, as in the era of wide free FERNANDO, C.J., concurring:
opportunity, we think of free competitive self assertion as
the highest good, lawyer and grocer and farmer may The petitions are denied, as there are only four votes for granting them,
seem to be freely competing with their fellows in their seven of the Justices being of the contrary view, as explained in the
calling in order each to acquire as much of the world's plurality opinion of Justice Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera. It is out of
good as he may within the allowed him by law. But the delicadeza that the undersigned did not participate in the disposition of
member of a profession does not regard himself as in these petitions, as the law office of Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano, Hernandez
competition with his professional brethren. He is not and Castillo started with the partnership of Quisumbing, Sycip, and
bartering his services as is the artisan nor exchanging the Quisumbing, the senior partner, the late Ramon Quisumbing, being the
products of his skill and learning as the farmer sells wheat father-in-law of the undersigned, and the most junior partner then,
or corn. There should be no such thing as a lawyers' or Norberto J. Quisumbing, being his brother- in-law. For the record, the
physicians' strike. The best service of the professional undersigned wishes to invite the attention of all concerned, and not only
man is often rendered for no equivalent or for a trifling of petitioners, to the last sentence of the opinion of Justice Ameurfina
equivalent and it is his pride to do what he does in a way Melencio-Herrera: 'Those names [Sycip and Ozaeta] may, however, be
worthy of his profession even if done with no expectation included in the listing of individuals wtes
of reward, This spirit of public service in which the
profession of law is and ought to be exercised is a AQUINO, J., dissenting:
prerequisite of sound administration of justice according
to law. The other two elements of a profession, namely, I dissent. The fourteen members of the law firm, Sycip, Salazar,
organization and pursuit of a learned art have their Feliciano, Hernandez & Castillo, in their petition of June 10, 1975, prayed
justification in that they secure and maintain that spirit. 25 for authority to continue the use of that firm name, notwithstanding the
death of Attorney Alexander Sycip on May 5, 1975 (May he rest in
In fine, petitioners' desire to preserve the Identity of their firms in the eyes peace). He was the founder of the firm which was originally known as the
of the public must bow to legal and ethical impediment. Sycip Law Office.
On the other hand, the seven surviving partners of the law firm, Ozaeta, The petitions are denied, as there are only four votes for granting them,
Romulo, De Leon, Mabanta & Reyes, in their petition of August 13, 1976, seven of the Justices being of the contrary view, as explained in the
prayed that they be allowed to continue using the said firm name plurality opinion of Justice Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera. It is out of
notwithstanding the death of two partners, former Justice Roman Ozaeta delicadeza that the undersigned did not participate in the disposition of
and his son, Herminio, on May 1, 1972 and February 14, 1976, these petitions, as the law office of Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano, Hernandez
respectively. and Castillo started with the partnership of Quisumbing, Sycip, and
Quisumbing, the senior partner, the late Ramon Quisumbing, being the
They alleged that the said law firm was a continuation of the Ozaeta Law father-in-law of the undersigned, and the most junior partner then,
Office which was established in 1957 by Justice Ozaeta and his son and Norberto J. Quisumbing, being his brother- in-law. For the record, the
that, as to the said law firm, the name Ozaeta has acquired an undersigned wishes to invite the attention of all concerned, and not only
institutional and secondary connotation. of petitioners, to the last sentence of the opinion of Justice Ameurfina
Melencio-Herrera: 'Those names [Sycip and Ozaeta] may, however, be
Article 1840 of the Civil Code, which speaks of the use by the partnership included in the listing of individuals wtes
of the name of a deceased partner as part of the partnership name, is
cited to justify the petitions. Also invoked is the canon that the continued AQUINO, J., dissenting:
use by a law firm of the name of a deceased partner, "when permissible
by local custom, is not unethical" as long as "no imposition or deception I dissent. The fourteen members of the law firm, Sycip, Salazar,
is practised through this use" (Canon 33 of the Canons of Legal Ethics). Feliciano, Hernandez & Castillo, in their petition of June 10, 1975, prayed
for authority to continue the use of that firm name, notwithstanding the
I am of the opinion that the petition may be granted with the condition that death of Attorney Alexander Sycip on May 5, 1975 (May he rest in
it be indicated in the letterheads of the two firms (as the case may be) peace). He was the founder of the firm which was originally known as the
that Alexander Sycip, former Justice Ozaeta and Herminio Ozaeta are Sycip Law Office.
dead or the period when they served as partners should be stated
therein. On the other hand, the seven surviving partners of the law firm, Ozaeta,
Romulo, De Leon, Mabanta & Reyes, in their petition of August 13, 1976,
Obviously, the purpose of the two firms in continuing the use of the prayed that they be allowed to continue using the said firm name
names of their deceased founders is to retain the clients who had notwithstanding the death of two partners, former Justice Roman Ozaeta
customarily sought the legal services of Attorneys Sycip and Ozaeta and and his son, Herminio, on May 1, 1972 and February 14, 1976,
to benefit from the goodwill attached to the names of those respected respectively.
and esteemed law practitioners. That is a legitimate motivation.
They alleged that the said law firm was a continuation of the Ozaeta Law
The retention of their names is not illegal per se. That practice was Office which was established in 1957 by Justice Ozaeta and his son and
followed before the war by the law firm of James Ross. Notwithstanding that, as to the said law firm, the name Ozaeta has acquired an
the death of Judge Ross the founder of the law firm of Ross, Lawrence, institutional and secondary connotation.
Selph and Carrascoso, his name was retained in the firm name with an
indication of the year when he died. No one complained that the retention Article 1840 of the Civil Code, which speaks of the use by the partnership
of the name of Judge Ross in the firm name was illegal or unethical. of the name of a deceased partner as part of the partnership name, is
cited to justify the petitions. Also invoked is the canon that the continued
use by a law firm of the name of a deceased partner, "when permissible
by local custom, is not unethical" as long as "no imposition or deception
# Separate Opinions is practised through this use" (Canon 33 of the Canons of Legal Ethics).

FERNANDO, C.J., concurring:


I am of the opinion that the petition may be granted with the condition that 8 Memorandum of Salazar, et al., pp. 6-7 and pp. 16-18;
it be indicated in the letterheads of the two firms (as the case may be) Petition of Romulo. et al., p, 5.
that Alexander Sycip, former Justice Ozaeta and Herminio Ozaeta are
dead or the period when they served as partners should be stated 9 Seddal vs. Keating, 8 App. Div. 2d 44, 185 NYS 2d 630,
therein. affd 7 NY 2d 846, 196 NYS 2d 986, 164 NE 2d 860.

Obviously, the purpose of the two firms in continuing the use of the 10 Section 16-A, Commonwealth Act No. 342.
names of their deceased founders is to retain the clients who had
customarily sought the legal services of Attorneys Sycip and Ozaeta and 11 In re Crawford's Estate, 184 NE 2d 779, 783.
to benefit from the goodwill attached to the names of those respected
and esteemed law practitioners. That is a legitimate motivation.
12 H.S. Drinker, Legal Ethics (1953), p. 206; see also
Canon 33, par. 2, Canons of Professional Ethics.
The retention of their names is not illegal per se. That practice was
followed before the war by the law firm of James Ross. Notwithstanding
13 H.S, Drinker, Legal Ethics (1953) pp. 4-5.
the death of Judge Ross the founder of the law firm of Ross, Lawrence,
Selph and Carrascoso, his name was retained in the firm name with an
indication of the year when he died. No one complained that the retention 14 7 C.J.S. 708.
of the name of Judge Ross in the firm name was illegal or unethical.
15 Am Jur 270.
#Footnotestêñ.£îhqwâ£
16 In re Lavine, 41 P2d 161, all cited in Martin, Legal and
1 See Memorandum of Salazar, et al., p. 5: see also Judicial Ethics, Fifth Ed., p. 8.
Petition of Romulo, et al., p. 3.
17 Canons 1 to 32 which were adopted by the American
2 Citing Sec, 16-A, Public Act No. 3105, as amended by Bar Association in 1908 were also adopted by the
Commonwealth Act No. 342; Sec. 39, Commonwealth Act Philippine Bar Association in 1917. The American Bar
No. 294; Sec. 23, Republic Act No. 318; Sec. 39, Association adopted Canons 33 to 45 in 1928, Canon 46
Republic Act No. 184. in 1933 and Canon 47 in 1937. On April 20, 1946, when
Canons 33 to 47 where already in effect, the Revised
Constitution of the Philippine Bar Association was
3 Memorandum of Salazar, et al., pp. 7-8.
approved and it provided that the Association "adopts and
makes its own the Code of Ethics of the American Bar
4 Memorandum of Salazar, et al., pp. 8-10; Petition of Association." (Martin, Legal and Judicial Ethics, Fifth Ed.
Romulo, et al., pp. 3- 4. p, 341).

5 Memorandum of Salazar, et al., p. 13; Petition of 18 33 N.Y.S. 2d 733, 734.


Romulo, et al., p. 4.
19 JBL Reyes & RC Puno, Outline of Philippine Civil Law.
6 Petition of Romulo, et al., p. 4. Fourth Ed., Vol. I, p. 7

7 Memorandum of Salazar, et al., p. 11. 20 Article 12, Civil Code.

21 Patriarca vs. Orate, 7 Phil. 390, 395 (1907).


22 Art. 8, Civil Code

23 Art. 1830, Civil Code.

24 Art. 11, Civil Code.

25 Roscoe Pound, The Lawyer From Antiquity To Modern


Times, (1953), pp. 9-10.
EN BANC
Responsibility;[2] and constitutes sufficient ground for his disbarment under

ROBERTO SORIANO, A.C. No. 6792 Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.[3]
Complainant,
Present:
Panganiban, CJ,
Puno, Because of the failure of Atty. Dizon to submit his Answer to the
Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santiago, Complaint, the CBD issued a Notice dated May 20, 2004, informing him
Sandoval-Gutierrez,
Carpio, that he was in default, and that an ex-parte hearing had been scheduled
- versus - Austria-Martinez,
Corona, for June 11, 2004.[4]
Carpio Morales,
Callejo, Sr., After that hearing, complainant manifested that he was submitting the case
Azcuna,
Tinga, on the basis of the Complaint and its attachments.[5] Accordingly,
Chico-Nazario, and
Garcia, JJ the CBDdirected him to file his Position Paper, which he did on July 27,

Atty. MANUEL DIZON, Promulgated: 2004.[6] Afterwards, the case was deemed submitted for resolution.
Respondent. January 25, 2006
x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

On December 6, 2004, Commissioner Teresita J. Herbosa rendered


DECISION
her Report and Recommendation, which was later adopted and approved by
PER CURIAM:
the IBP Board of Governors in its Resolution No. XVI-2005-84 dated March 12,

Before us is a Complaint-Affidavit[1] for the disbarment of Atty. 2005.

Manuel Dizon, filed by Roberto Soriano with the Commission on Bar

Discipine (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). Complainant In his Complaint-Affidavit, Soriano alleged that respondent had violated

alleges that the conviction of respondent for a crime involving moral Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility; and that

turpitude, together with the circumstances surrounding the conviction, the conviction of the latter for frustrated homicide,[7] which involved moral

violates Canon 1 of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional turpitude, should result in his disbarment.
The facts leading to respondents conviction were summarized by It was the prosecution witness, Antonio Billanes, who came to the

Branch 60 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City in this wise: aid of Soriano and brought the latter to the hospital. Because the bullet had

x x x. The accused was driving his brown Toyota lacerated the carotid artery on the left side of his neck,[9] complainant would
Corolla and was on his way home after gassing up in
preparation for his trip to Concepcion, Tarlac with his wife. have surely died of hemorrhage if he had not received timely medical
Along Abanao Street, a taxi driver overtook the car driven
by the accused not knowing that the driver of the car he assistance, according to the attending surgeon, Dr. Francisco Hernandez,
had overtaken is not just someone, but a lawyer and a
prominent member of the Baguio community who was Jr. Soriano sustained a spinal cord injury, which caused paralysis on the
under the influence of liquor. Incensed, the accused tailed
the taxi driver until the latter stopped to make a turn at [the] left part of his body and disabled him for his job as a taxi driver.
Chugum and Carino Streets. The accused also stopped his
car, berated the taxi driver and held him by his shirt. To
stop the aggression, the taxi driver forced open his door
causing the accused to fall to the ground. The taxi driver The trial court promulgated its Decision dated November 29, 2001.
knew that the accused had been drinking because he
smelled of liquor. Taking pity on the accused who looked On January 18, 2002, respondent filed an application for probation, which
elderly, the taxi driver got out of his car to help him get up.
But the accused, by now enraged, stood up immediately was granted by the court on several conditions. These included satisfaction
and was about to deal the taxi driver a fist blow when the
latter boxed him on the chest instead. The accused fell of the civil liabilities imposed by [the] court in favor of the offended party,
down a second time, got up again and was about to box
the taxi driver but the latter caught his fist and turned his Roberto Soriano.[10]
arm around. The taxi driver held on to the accused until he
could be pacified and then released him. The accused
went back to his car and got his revolver making sure that
the handle was wrapped in a handkerchief. The taxi driver According to the unrefuted statements of complainant, Atty. Dizon,
was on his way back to his vehicle when he noticed the
eyeglasses of the accused on the ground. He picked them who has yet to comply with this particular undertaking, even appealed the
up intending to return them to the accused. But as he was
handing the same to the accused, he was met by the barrel civil liability to the Court of Appeals.[11]
of the gun held by the accused who fired and shot him
hitting him on the neck. He fell on the thigh of the accused
so the latter pushed him out and sped off. The incident was
witnessed by Antonio Billanes whose testimony In her Report and Recommendation, Commissioner Herbosa
corroborated that of the taxi driver, the complainant in this
case, Roberto Soriano.[8] recommended that respondent be disbarred from the practice of law for

having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.


The commissioner found that respondent had not only been

convicted of such crime, but that the latter also exhibited an obvious lack Under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, conviction for

of good moral character, based on the following facts: a crime involving moral turpitude is a ground for disbarment or suspension.

1. He was under the influence of liquor while driving his car; By such conviction, a lawyer is deemed to have become unfit to uphold the
2. He reacted violently and attempted to assault
Complainant only because the latter, driving a taxi, administration of justice and to be no longer possessed of good moral
had overtaken him;
3. Complainant having been able to ward off his attempted character.[13] In the instant case, respondent has been found guilty; and he
assault, Respondent went back to his car, got a
gun, wrapped the same with a handkerchief and stands convicted, by final judgment, of frustrated homicide. Since his
shot Complainant[,] who was unarmed;
4. When Complainant fell on him, Respondent simply conviction has already been established and is no longer open to question,
pushed him out and fled;
5. Despite positive identification and overwhelming the only issues that remain to be determined are as follows: 1) whether his
evidence, Respondent denied that he had shot
Complainant; crime of frustrated homicide involves moral turpitude, and 2) whether his
6. Apart from [his] denial, Respondent also lied when he
claimed that he was the one mauled by guilt warrants disbarment.
Complainant and two unidentified persons; and,
7. Although he has been placed on probation, Respondent
has[,] to date[,] not yet satisfied his civil liabilities to
Complainant.[12] Moral turpitude has been defined as everything which is done contrary to

justice, modesty, or good morals; an act of baseness, vileness or depravity

in the private and social duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to
On July 8, 2005, the Supreme Court received for its final action the
society in general, contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.[14]
IBP Resolution adopting the Report and Recommendation of the
The question of whether the crime of homicide involves moral
Investigating Commissioner.
turpitude has been discussed in International Rice Research Institute

(IRRI) v. NLRC,[15] a labor case concerning an employee who was


We agree with the findings and recommendations of
dismissed on the basis of his conviction for homicide. Considering the
Commissioner Herbosa, as approved and adopted by the IBP Board of
particular circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime, this
Governors.
Court rejected the employers contention and held that homicide in that
several times. These facts show that Micosa's intention
case did not involve moral turpitude. (If it did, the crime would have been was not to slay the victim but only to defend his person.
The appreciation in his favor of the mitigating
violative of the IRRIs Employment Policy Regulations and indeed a ground for circumstances of self-defense and voluntary surrender,
plus the total absence of any aggravating circumstance
dismissal.) The Court explained that, having disregarded the attendant circumstances, demonstrate that Micosa's character and intentions were
not inherently vile, immoral or unjust.[17]
the employer made a pronouncement that was precipitate. Furthermore, it was not for

the latter to determine conclusively whether a crime involved moral turpitude. That

discretion belonged to the courts, as explained thus: The present case is totally different. As the IBP correctly found, the

x x x. Homicide may or may not involve moral circumstances clearly evince the moral turpitude of respondent and his
turpitude depending on the degree of the crime. Moral
turpitude is not involved in every criminal act and is not unworthiness to practice law.
shown by every known and intentional violation of statute,
but whether any particular conviction involves moral Atty. Dizon was definitely the aggressor, as he pursued and shot
turpitude may be a question of fact and frequently depends
on all the surrounding circumstances. x x x.[16] (Emphasis complainant when the latter least expected it. The act of aggression shown
supplied)
by respondent will not be mitigated by the fact that he was hit once and his

arm twisted by complainant. Under the circumstances, those were

In the IRRI case, in which the crime of homicide did not involve reasonable actions clearly intended to fend off the lawyers assault.

moral turpitude, the Court appreciated the presence of incomplete self-

defense and total absence of aggravating circumstances. For a better We also consider the trial courts finding of treachery as a further indication

understanding of that Decision, the circumstances of the crime are quoted of the skewed morals of respondent. He shot the victim when the latter was

as follows: not in a position to defend himself. In fact, under the impression that the

x x x. The facts on record show that Micosa [the IRRI assault was already over, the unarmed complainant was merely returning
employee] was then urinating and had his back turned
when the victim drove his fist unto Micosa's face; that the the eyeglasses of Atty. Dizon when the latter unexpectedly shot him. To
victim then forcibly rubbed Micosa's face into the filthy
urinal; that Micosa pleaded to the victim to stop the attack make matters worse, respondent wrapped the handle of his gun with a
but was ignored and that it was while Micosa was in that
position that he drew a fan knife from the left pocket of his handkerchief so as not to leave fingerprints. In so doing, he betrayed his
shirt and desperately swung it at the victim who released
his hold on Micosa only after the latter had stabbed him sly intention to escape punishment for his crime.
All told, Atty. Dizon has shown through this incident that he is

The totality of the facts unmistakably bears the earmarks of moral wanting in even a basic sense of justice. He obtained the benevolence of

turpitude. By his conduct, respondent revealed his extreme arrogance and the trial court when it suspended his sentence and granted him probation.

feeling of self-importance. As it were, he acted like a god on the road, who And yet, it has been four years[21] since he was ordered to settle his civil

deserved to be venerated and never to be slighted. Clearly, his inordinate liabilities to complainant. To date, respondent remains adamant in refusing

reaction to a simple traffic incident reflected poorly on his fitness to be a to fulfill that obligation. By his extreme impetuosity and intolerance, as

member of the legal profession. His overreaction also evinced shown by his violent reaction to a simple traffic altercation, he has taken

vindictiveness, which was definitely an undesirable trait in any individual, away the earning capacity, good health, and youthful vigor of his victim.

more so in a lawyer. In the tenacity with which he pursued complainant, Still, Atty. Dizon begrudges complainant the measly amount that could

we see not the persistence of a person who has been grievously wronged, never even fully restore what the latter has lost.

but the obstinacy of one trying to assert a false sense of superiority and to exact

revenge. Conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude may relate, not to

the exercise of the profession of lawyers, but certainly to their good moral

It is also glaringly clear that respondent seriously transgressed character.[22] Where their misconduct outside of their professional dealings

Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility through his illegal is so gross as to show them morally unfit for their office and unworthy of

possession of an unlicensed firearm[18] and his unjust refusal to satisfy his the privileges conferred upon them by their license and the law, the court

civil liabilities.[19] may be justified in suspending or removing them from that office.[23]

He has thus brazenly violated the law and disobeyed the lawful orders of the

courts. We remind him that, both in his attorneys oath[20] and in the Code of
We also adopt the IBPs finding that respondent displayed an utter
Professional Responsibility, he bound himself to obey the laws of the land.
lack of good moral character, which is an essential qualification for the
privilege to enter into the practice of law. Good moral character includes at

least common honesty.[24]


Lawyers must be ministers of truth. No moral qualification for bar

membership is more important than truthfulness.[29] The rigorous ethics of

In the case at bar, respondent consistently displayed dishonest


the profession places a premium on honesty and condemns duplicitous

and duplicitous behavior. As found by the trial court, he had sought, with
behavior.[30] Hence, lawyers must not mislead the court or allow it to be

the aid of Vice-Mayor Daniel Farias, an out-of-court settlement with


misled by any artifice. In all their dealings, they are expected to act in good

complainants family.[25] But when this effort failed, respondent concocted


faith.

a complete lie by making it appear that it was complainants family that had

The actions of respondent erode rather than enhance public


sought a conference with him to obtain his referral to a neurosurgeon.[26]
perception of the legal profession. They constitute moral turpitude for

which he should be disbarred. Law is a noble profession, and the privilege


The lies of Atty Dizon did not end there. He went on to fabricate an
to practice it is bestowed only upon individuals who are competent

entirely implausible story of having been mauled by complainant and two intellectually,

academically and, equally important, morally. Because they are vanguards


other persons.[27] The trial court had this to say:
of the law and the legal system, lawyers must at all times conduct
The physical evidence as testified to by no less
than three (3) doctors who examined [Atty. Dizon] does not
themselves, especially in their dealings with their clients and the public at
support his allegation that three people including the
complainant helped each other in kicking and boxing him.
large, with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach.[31]
The injuries he sustained were so minor that it is
improbable[,] if not downright unbelievable[,] that three
people who he said were bent on beating him to death
could do so little damage. On the contrary, his injuries
The foregoing abhorrent acts of respondent are not merely
sustain the complainants version of the incident particularly
when he said that he boxed the accused on the chest. x x
dishonorable; they reveal a basic moral flaw. Considering the depravity of
x.[28]
the offense he committed, we find the penalty recommended by the IBP practice of law. Sadly, herein respondent has fallen short of the exacting

proper and commensurate. standards expected of him as a vanguard of the legal profession.

In sum, when lawyers are convicted of frustrated homicide, the attending

The purpose of a proceeding for disbarment is to protect the circumstances not the mere fact of their conviction would demonstrate their

administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise this important fitness to remain in the legal profession. In the present case, the appalling

function be competent, honorable and reliable -- lawyers in whom courts vindictiveness, treachery, and brazen dishonesty of respondent clearly show his

and clients may repose confidence.[32] Thus, whenever a clear case of unworthiness to continue as a member of the bar.

degenerate and vile behavior disturbs that vital yet fragile confidence, we

shall not hesitate to rid our profession of odious members. WHEREFORE, RESPONDENT MANUEL DIZON is

hereby DISBARRED, and his name is ORDERED STRICKEN from the

We remain aware that the power to disbar must be exercised with Roll of Attorneys. Let a copy of this Decision be entered in his record as a

great caution, and that disbarment should never be decreed when any member of the Bar; and let notice of the same be served on the Integrated

lesser penalty would accomplish the end desired. In the instant case, Bar of the Philippines, and on the Office of the Court Administrator for

however, the Court cannot extend that munificence to respondent. His circulation to all courts in the country.

actions so despicably and wantonly disregarded his duties to society and

his profession. We are convinced that meting out a lesser penalty would SO ORDERED.

be irreconcilable with our lofty aspiration for the legal profession -- that

every lawyer be a shining exemplar of truth and justice.

We stress that membership in the legal profession is a privilege

demanding a high degree of good moral character, not only as a condition

precedent to admission, but also as a continuing requirement for the


Republic of the Philippines We have serious doubts, about the validity of this claim, what with
SUPREME COURT respondent's failure to exhibit any certification to that effect (the
Manila equivalence) by the proper school officials. However, it is unnecessary to
dwell on this, since the second charge is clearly meritorious. Diao never
EN BANC obtained his A.A. from Quisumbing College; and yet his application for
examination represented him as an A.A. graduate (1940-1941) of such
A.C. No. 244 March 29, 1963 college. Now, asserting he had obtained his A.A. title from the Arellano
University in April, 1949, he says he was erroneously certified, due to
confusion, as a graduate of Quisumbing College, in his school records.
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR DISBARMENT OF
TELESFORO A. DIAO,
vs. Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of
SEVERINO G. MARTINEZ, petitioner. facts be admitted and approved by this Honorable Court, without
prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove their case not
covered by this stipulation of facts. 1äwphï1.ñët
BENGZON, C.J.:
This explanation is not acceptable, for the reason that the "error" or
After successfully passing the corresponding examinations held in 1953,
"confusion" was obviously of his own making. Had his application
Telesforo A. Diao was admitted to the Bar.
disclosed his having obtained A.A. from Arellano University, it would also
have disclosed that he got it in April, 1949, thereby showing that he
About two years later, Severino Martinez charged him with having falsely began his law studies (2nd semester of 1948-1949) six months before
represented in his application for such Bar examination, that he had the obtaining his Associate in Arts degree. And then he would not have been
requisite academic qualifications. The matter was in due course referred permitted to take the bar tests, because our Rules provide, and the
to the Solicitor General who caused the charge to be investigated; and applicant for the Bar examination must affirm under oath, "That previous
later he submitted a report recommending that Diao's name be erased to the study of law, he had successfully and satisfactorily completed the
from the roll of attorneys, because contrary to the allegations in his required pre-legal education(A.A.) as prescribed by the Department of
petition for examination in this Court, he (Diao) had not completed, before Private Education," (emphasis on "previous").
taking up law subjects, the required pre-legal education prescribed by the
Department of Private Education, specially, in the following particulars:
Plainly, therefore, Telesforo A. Diao was not qualified to take the bar
examinations; but due to his false representations, he was allowed to
(a) Diao did not complete his high school training; and take it, luckily passed it, and was thereafter admitted to the Bar. Such
admission having been obtained under false pretenses must be, and is
(b) Diao never attended Quisumbing College, and never obtained hereby revoked. The fact that he hurdled the Bar examinations is
his A.A. diploma therefrom — which contradicts the credentials immaterial. Passing such examinations is not the only qualification to
he had submitted in support of his application for examination, become an attorney-at-law; taking the prescribed courses of legal study
and of his allegation therein of successful completion of the in the regular manner is equally essential..
"required pre-legal education".
The Clerk is, therefore, ordered to strike from the roll of attorneys, the
Answering this official report and complaint, Telesforo A. Diao, practically name of Telesforo A. Diao. And the latter is required to return his lawyer's
admits the first charge: but he claims that although he had left high diploma within thirty days. So ordered.
school in his third year, he entered the service of the U.S. Army, passed
the General Classification Test given therein, which (according to him) is Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera,
equivalent to a high school diploma, and upon his return to civilian life, Paredes, Dizon, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.
the educational authorities considered his army service as the equivalent
of 3rd and 4th year high school.
Republic of the Philippines candidate was raised for one reason or another, before the bar results
SUPREME COURT were released this year" (Confidential Letter, p. 2. Vol. I, rec.). This was
Manila confirmed, according to him, by the Civil Law Examiner himself (Hon.
Ramon C. Pamatian) as well as by Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo. He
EN BANC further therein stated "that there are strong reasons to believe that the
grades in other examination notebooks in other subjects also underwent
alternations — to raise the grades — prior to the release of the results.
Note that this was without any formal motion or request from the proper
parties, i.e., the bar candidates concerned. If the examiners concerned
A.M. No. 1162 August 29, 1975
reconsidered their grades without formal motion, there is no reason why
they may not do so now when proper request answer motion therefor is
IN RE: VICTORIO D. LANUEVO, former Bar Confidant and Deputy made. It would be contrary to due process postulates. Might not one say
Clerk of Court, respondent. that some candidates got unfair and unjust treatment, for their grades
were not asked to be reconsidered 'unofficially'? Why the discrimination?
A.C. No. 1163 August 29, 1975 Does this not afford sufficient reason for the Court en banc to go into
these matters by its conceded power to ultimately decide the matter of
IN RE: RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, 1971 Bar admission to the bar?" (p. 2, Confidential Letter, Vol. I, rec.).
Examinee, respondent.
Acting on the aforesaid confidential letter, the Court checked the records
A.M. No. 1164 August 29, 1975 of the 1971 Bar Examinations and found that the grades in five subjects
— Political Law and Public International Law, Civil Law, Mercantile Law,
IN RE: HON. BERNARDO PARDO, HON. RAMON PAMATIAN, ATTY. Criminal Law and Remedial Law — of a successful bar candidate with
MANUEL TOMACRUZ, ATTY. FIDEL MANALO and ATTY. office code No. 954 underwent some changes which, however, were duly
GUILLERMO PABLO, JR., Members, 1971 Bar Examining initialed and authenticated by the respective examiner concerned.
Committee, respondent. Further check of the records revealed that the bar candidate with office
code No. 954 is one Ramon E. Galang, a perennial bar candidate, who
flunked in the 1969, 1966, 1964, 1963, and 1962 bar examinations with a
grade of 67.55%, 68.65%, 72.75%, 68.2%, 56.45% and
MAKASIAR, J.: 57.3%, respectively. He passed in the 1971 bar examinations with a
grade of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% by virtue of a Court of
74.15%, which was considered as 75% as the passing mark for the 1971
Administrative proceedings against Victorio D. Lanuevo — for bar examinations.
disbarment; Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang — for disbarment;
Hon. Bernardo Pardo, Hon. Ramon Pamatian, Atty. Manuel C. Tomacruz;
Upon the direction of the Court, the 1971 Bar Examination Chairman
Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo and Atty. Guillermo Pablo,
requested Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo and the five (5) bar
Jr. — for disciplinary action — for their acts and omissions during the
examiners concerned to submit their sworn statements on the matter,
1971 Bar Examinations.
with which request they complied.
In his request dated March 29, 1972 contained in a confidential letter to
the Court for re-correction and re-evaluation of his answer to the 1971 In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, said Bar
Bar Examinations question, Oscar Landicho — who flunked in the 1971, Confidant admitted having brought the five examination notebooks of
1968 and 1967 Bar Examinations with a grade of 70.5%, 65.35% and Ramon E. Galang, alias Ramon E. Galang, back to the respective
67.55%, respectively — invited the attention of the Court to "The starling examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-checking, stating the circumstances
fact that the grade in one examination (Civil Law) of at least one bar under which the same was done and his reasons for doing the same.
Each of the five (5) examiners in his individual sworn International Law also underwent re-evaluation and/or re-checking. This
statement admitted having re-evaluated and/or re-checked the notebook notebook with Office Code No. 1662 turned out to be owned by another
involved pertaining to his subject upon the representation to him by Bar successful candidate by the name of Ernesto Quitaleg. Further
Confidant Lanuevo that he has the authority to do the same and that the investigation resulted in the discovery of another re-evaluation and/or re-
examinee concerned failed only in his particular subject and/or was on checking of a notebook in the subject of Mercantile Law resulting in the
the borderline of passing. change of the grade from 4% to 50% This notebook bearing Office Code
No. 110 is owned by another successful candidate by the name
Finding a prima facie case against the respondents warranting a formal of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz and the latter's father
investigation, the Court required, in a resolution dated March 5, 1973, Bar were summoned to testify in the investigation.
Confidant Victorio Lanuevo "to show cause within ten (10) days from
notice why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of An investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation upon
Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 34, rec.). Considering that the re- request of the Chairman of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee as
evaluation of the examination papers of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman Investigation Officer, showed that one Romy Galang y Esguerra, alias
E. Galang, was unauthorized, and therefore he did not obtain a passing Ramon E. Galang, a student in the School of Law of Manuel L. Quezon
average in the 1971 bar examinations, the Court likewise resolved on University, was, on September 8, 1959, charged with the crime of slight
March 5, 1971 to requires him "to show cause within ten (10) days from physical injuries in the Municipal Court of Manila committed on Eufrosino
notice why his name should not be stricken from the Roll of F. de Vera, another student of the same university. Confronted with this
Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 99, rec.). The five examiners information at the hearing of August 13, 1973 (Vol. V, pp. 20-21, 32,
concerned were also required by the Court "to show cause within ten (10) rec.), respondent Galang declared that he does not remember having
days from notice why no disciplinary action should be taken against been charged with the crime of slight physical injuries in that case. (Vol.
them" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 31, rec.). VI, pp. 45-60, rec.).

Respondent Tomacruz filed his answer on March 12, 1973 (Adm. Case Respondent Galang, in all his application to take the bar examinations,
No. 1164, p. 70, rec.). while respondents Pardo, Pamatian, Montecillo, did not make mention of this fact which he is required under the rules to
Manalo and Lanuevo filed theirs on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. do.
1162, pp. 60-63, 32-35, 40-41, 36-39 and 35-38, rec.). At the hearing on
August 27, 1973, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in The joint investigation of all the cases commenced on July 17, 1973 and
addition to, and in amplication of, his answer filed on March 19, 1973 was terminated on October 2, 1973. Thereafter, parties-respondents
(Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.). Respondent Galang filed his were required to submit their memoranda. Respondents Lanuevo,
unverified answer on March 16, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, Galang and Pardo submitted their respective memorandum on November
rec.). He was required by the Court to verify the same and complaince 14, 1973.
came on May 18, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 106-110,) rec.).
Before the joint hearing commenced, Oscar Landicho took up permanent
In the course of the investigation, it was found that it was not respondent residence in Australia, where he is believed to be gainfully employed.
Bernardo Pardo who re-evaluated and/or re-checked examination booklet Hence, he was not summoned to testify.
with Office Code No. 954 in Political Law and Public International Law of
examinee Ramon Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, but Guillermo Pablo, At the joint investigation, all respondents, except respondent Pablo, who
Jr., examiner in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercise, who was asked to offered as evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct
help in the correction of a number of examination notebooks in Political evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct evidence the
Law and Public International Law to meet the deadline for submission affidavits and answers earlier submitted by them to the Court. The same
(pp. 17-24, Vol. V, rec.). Because of this development, Atty. Guillermo became the basis for their cross-examination.
Pablo, Jr. was likewise included as respondent in Administrative Case
No. 1164. Hon. Bernardo Pardo remainded as a respondent for it was
also discovered that another paper in Political Law and Public
In their individual sworn statements and answer, which they offered as His answer dated March 19, 1973 substantially reiterated his allegations
their direct testimony in the investigation conducted by the Court, the in his April 11, 1972 affidavit with following additional statements:
respondent-examiners recounted the circumstances under which they re-
evaluated and/or re-checked the examination notebooks in question. xxx xxx xxx

In His affidavit dated April 11, 1972, respondent Judge (later Associate 3. ... However the grades in Nos. 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10, were
Justice of the Court of Appeals) Ramon C. Pamatian, examiner in Civil not reconsidered as it is no longer to make the
Law, affirmed: reconsideration of these answers because of the same
evaluation and standard; hence, Nos. 1, 2 and 10
2. That one evening sometime in December last year, remainded at 5% and Nos. 6 and 9 at 10%;
while I was correcting the examination notebooks, Atty.
Lanuevo, Bar Confidant, explained to me that it is the 4. That at the time I made the reconsideration of
practice and the policy in bar examinations that he (Atty. examination booklet No. 951 I did not know the identity of
Lanuevo) make a review of the grades obtained in all its owner until I received this resolution of the Honorable
subjects and if he finds that candidate obtained an Supreme Court nor the identities of the examiners in other
extraordinary high grade in one subject and a rather low subjects;
one in another, he will bring back the latter to the
examiner concerned for re-evaluation and change of 5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith
grade; and under the belief that I am authorized to do so in view
of the misrepresentation of said Atty. Lanuevo, based on
3. That sometime in the latter part of January of this year, the following circumstances:
he brought back to me an examination booklet in Civil
Law for re-evaluation, because according to him the a) Since I started correcting the papers on
owner of the paper is on the borderline and if I could or about October 16, 1971, relationship
reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will between Atty. Lanuevo and myself had
get passing mark; developed to the point that with respect to
the correction of the examination booklets
4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it of bar candidates I have always followed
was really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court to him and considered his instructions as
do so in the further belief that I was just manifesting reflecting the rules and policy of the
cooperation in doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and Honorable Supreme Court with respect to
reconsidered the grade to 75%; the same; that I have no alternative but to
take his words;
5. That only one notebook in Civil Law was brought back
to me for such re-evaluation and upon verifying my files I b) That considering this relationship
found that the notebook is numbered '95; and considering his misrepresentation to
me as reflecting the real and policy of the
6. That the original grade was 64% and my re-evaluation Honorable Supreme Court, I did not
of the answers were based on the same standard used in bother any more to get the consent and
the correction and evaluation of all others; thus, Nos. 3 permission of the Chairman of the Bar
and 4 with original grades of 7% each was reconsidered Committee. Besides, at that time, I was
to 10%; No. 5 with 4% to 5%; No. 7 with 3% to 5%; and isolating myself from all members of the
No. 8 with 8% to 10% (emphasis supplied). Supreme Court and specially the
chairman of the Bar Committee for fear or revealed; and that it might have been possible that I
that I might be identified as a bar had given a particularly low grade to said examinee.
examiner;
Accepting at face value the truth of the Bar Confidant's
xxx xxx xxx representations to me, and as it was humanly possible
that I might have erred in the grading of the said
e) That no consideration whatsoever has been received notebook, I re-examined the same, carefully read the
by me in return for such recorrection, and as proof of it, I answer, and graded it in accordance with the same
declined to consider and evaluate one booklet in standards I had used throughout the grading of the entire
Remedial Law aforesaid because I was not the one who notebooks, with the result that the examinee deserved an
made the original correction of the same (Adm. Case No. increased grade of 66. After again clearing with the Bar
1164, pp. 32-35, rec.; emphasis supplied). Confidant my authority to correct the grades, and as he
had assured me that the code number of the examinee in
Then Assistant Solicitor General, now CFI Judge, Bernardo Pardo, question had not been decoded and his name known, ... I
examiner in Political Law and Public International Law, confirmed in his therefore corrected the total grade in the notebook and
affidavit of April 8, 1972 that: the grade card attached thereto, and properly initia(l)ed
the same. I also corrected the itemized grades (from item
No. 1 to item No. 10) on the two sets of grading sheets,
On a day or two after the Bar Confidant went to my
my personal copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought
residence to obtain from me the last bag of two hundred
with him the other copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant
notebooks (bearing examiner's code numbers 1200 to
brought with him the other copy the grading sheet" (Adm.
1400) which according to my record was on February 5,
Case No. 1164, pp. 58-59; rec.; emphasis supplied)
1972, he came to my residence at about 7:30 p.m. riding
in a Vokswagen panel of the Supreme Court, with at least
two companions. The bar confidant had with him an In his answer dated March 17, 1973 which he denominated as
examinee's notebook bearing code number 661, and, "Explanation", respondent Bernardo P. Pardo adopted and replaced
after the usual amenties, he requested me if it was therein by reference the facts stated in his earlier sworn statement and in
possible for me to review and re-examine the said additional alleged that:
notebook because it appears that the examinee obtained
a grade of 57, whereas, according to the Bar Confidant, xxx xxx xxx
the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other
subjects, the highest of which was 84, if I recall correctly, 3. At the time I reviewed the examinee's notebook in
in remedial law. political and international law, code numbered 661, I did
know the name of the examinee. In fact, I came to know
I asked the Bar Confidant if I was allowed to receive or re- his name only upon receipt of the resolution of March 5,
examinee the notebook as I had submitted the same 1973; now knowing his name, I wish to state that I do not
beforehand, and he told me that I was authorized to do so know him personally, and that I have never met him even
because the same was still within my control and up to the present;
authority as long as the particular examinee's name had
not been identified or that the code number decode and 4. At that time, I acted under the impression that I was
the examinee's name was revealed. The Bar Confidant authorized to make such review, and had repeatedly
told me that the name of the examinee in the case asked the Bar Confidant whether I was authorized to
present bearing code number 661 had not been identified make such revision and was so assured of my authority
as the name of the examinee had not yet been decoded
or his identity revealed. The Bar Confidant's assurance was not to make the examinee pass, notwithstanding the
was apparently regular and so appeared to be in the representation that he had passed the other subjects. ...
regular course of express prohibition in the rules and
guidelines given to me as an examiner, and the Bar 9. I quite recall that during the first meeting of the Bar
Confidant was my official liaison with the Chairman, as, Examiners' Committee consensus was that where an
unless called, I refrained as much as possible from examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest,
frequent personal contact with the Chairman lest I be the examiner in said subject would review the notebook.
identified as an examiner. ...; Nobody objected to it as irregular. At the time of the
Committee's first meeting, we still did not know the names
5. At the time the Bar Confidant came to see me at about of the candidates.
7:30 o'clock in the evening at my residence, I felt it
inappropriate to verify his authority with the Chairman. It 10. In fine, I was a victim of deception, not a party to it. It
did not appear to me that his representations were had absolutely no knowledge of the motives of the Bar
unauthorized or suspicious. Indeed, the Bar Confidant Confidant or his malfeasance in office, and did not know
was riding in the official vehicle of the Supreme Court, a the examinee concerned nor had I any kind of contract
Volkswagen panel, accompanied by two companions, with him before or rather the review and even up to the
which was usual, and thus looked like a regular visit to me present (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63; rec.; emphasis
of the Bar Confidant, as it was about the same hour that supplied).
he used to see me:
Atty. Manuel Tomacruz, examiner in Criminal Law, affirmed in his affidavit
xxx xxx xxx dated April 12, 1972:

7. Indeed, the notebook code numbered 661 was still in 1. xxx xxx xxx
the same condition as when I submitted the same. In
agreeing to review the said notebook code numbered 2. That about weekly, the Bar Confidant would deliver and
661, my aim was to see if I committed an error in the collect examination books to my residence at 951 Luna
correction, not to make the examinee pass the subject. I Mencias, Mandaluyong, Rizal.
considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred,
because I corrected that particular notebook on
3. That towards the end when I had already completed
December 31, 1971, considering especially the
correction of the books in Criminal Law and was helping
representation of the Bar Confidant that the said
in the correction of some of the papers in another subject,
examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects,
the Bar Confidant brought back to me one (1) paper in
the highest of which was 84% in remedial law, if I recall
Criminal Law saying that that particular examinee had
correctly. Of course, it did not strike me as unusual that
missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent
the Bar Confidant knew the grades of the examinee in the
and that if his paper in Criminal Law would be raised a
position to know and that there was nothing irregular in
few points to 75%then he would make the general
that:
passing average.
8. In political and international law, the original grade
4. That seeing the jurisdiction, I raised the grade to 75%,
obtained by the examinee with notebook code numbered
that is, giving a raise of, if I remember correctly, 2 or 3
661 was 57%. After review, it was increased by 9 points,
points, initialled the revised mark and revised also the
resulting in a final grade of 66%. Still, the examinee did
mark and revised also the mark in the general list.
not pass the subject, and, as heretofore stated, my aim
5. That I do not recall the number of the book of the and every item of the paper in question. I recall that in my
examinee concerned" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; re-evaluation of the answers, I increased the grades in
emphasis supplied). some items, made deductions in other items, and
maintained the same grades in other items. However, I
In his answer dated March 12, 1973, respondent Tomacruz stated that "I recall that after Mr. Lanuevo and I had totalled the new
accepted the word of the Bar Confidant in good faith and without the grades that I had given after re-evaluation, the total grade
slightest inkling as to the identity of the examinee in question who up to increased by a few points, but still short of the passing
now remains a total stranger and without expectation of nor did I derive mark of 75% in my subject.
any personal benefit" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.; emphasis
supplied). xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 74-75, rec.;
emphasis supplied).
Atty. Fidel Manalo, examiner in Remedial Law, stated in his affidavit
dated April 14, 1972, that: In his answer (response) dated March 18, 1973, respondent Manalo
reiterated the contents of his sworn statement, adding the following:
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
2. Sometime about the late part of January or early part of
February 1972, Attorney Lanuevo, Bar Confidant of the 5. In agreeing to re-evaluate the notebook, with resulted
Supreme Court, saw me in my house at No. 1854 in increasing the total grade of the examinee-concerned
Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal. He produced to me an in Remedial Law from 63.75% to 74.5%, herein
examinee's notebook in Remedial Law which I had respondent acted in good faith. It may well be that he
previously graded and submitted to him. He informed me could be faulted for not having verified from the Chairman
that he and others (he used the words "we") had reviewed of the Committee of Bar Examiners the legitimacy of the
the said notebook. He requested me to review the said request made by Mr. Lanuevo. Herein respondent,
notebook and possibly reconsider the grade that I had however, pleads in attenuation of such omission, that —
previously given. He explained that the examine
concerned had done well in other subjects, but that a) Having been appointed an Examiner for
because of the comparatively low grade that I had given the first time, he was not aware, not
him in Remedial Law his general average was short of having been apprised otherwise, that it
passing. Mr. Lanuevo remarked that he thought that if the was not within the authority of the Bar
paper were reviewed I might find the examinee deserving Confidant of the Supreme Court to request
of being admitted to the Bar. As far as I can recall, Mr. or suggest that the grade of a particular
Lanuevo particularly called my attention to the fact in his examination notebook be revised or
answers the examinee expressed himself clearly and in reconsidered. He had every right to
good enough English. Mr. Lanuevo however informed me presume, owing to the highly fiduciary
that whether I would reconsider the grades I had nature of the position of the Bar Confidant,
previously given and submitted was entirely within my that the request was legitimate.
discretion.
xxx xxx xxx
3. Believing fully that it was within Mr. Lanuevo's authority
as Bar Confidant to address such a request to me and c) In revising the grade of the particular
that the said request was in order, I, in the presence of examinee concerned, herein respondent
Mr. Lanuevo, proceeded tore-read and re-evaluate each carefully evaluated each and every
answer written in the notebook. Testing In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Montecillo restated the
the answers by the criteria laid down by contents of his sworn statement of April 17, 1972, and
the Court, and giving the said examinee
the benefit of doubt in view of Mr. xxx xxx xxx
Lanuevo's representation that it was only
in that particular subject that the said 2. Supplementary to the foregoing sworn statement, I
examine failed, herein respondent hereby state that I re-evaluated the examination notebook
became convinced that the said examinee of Bar Candidate No. 1613 in Mercantile Law in absolute
deserved a higher grade than that good faith and in direct compliance with the agreement
previously given to him, but that he did not made during one of the deliberations of the Bar
deserve, in herein respondent's honest Examiners Committee that where a candidate fails in only
appraisal, to be given the passing grade of one subject, the Examiner concerned should make a re-
75%. It should also be mentioned that, in evaluation of the answers of the candidate concerned,
reappraising the answers, herein which I did.
respondent downgraded a previous rating
of an answer written by the examinee,
3. Finally, I hereby state that I did not know at the time I
from 9.25% to 9% (Adm. Case No. 1164,
made the aforementioned re-evaluation that notebook No.
pp. 36-39, rec.; emphasis supplied).
1613 in Mercantile Law pertained to bar examine Ramon
E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, and that I have never
Atty. Manuel Montecillo, examiner in Mercantile Law, affirmed in his met up to this time this particular bar examinee (Adm.
affidavit dated April 17, 1972: Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, rec.; emphasis supplied).

xxx xxx xxx In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, Bar Confidant Lanuevo
stated:
That during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners'
Committee after the Bar Examinations were held, I was xxx xxx xxx
informed that one Bar examinee passed all other subjects
except Mercantile Law;
As I was going over those notebooks, checking the
entries in the grading sheets and the posting on the
That I informed the Bar Examiners' Committee that I record of ratings, I was impressed of the writing and the
would be willing to re-evaluate the paper of this particular answers on the first notebook. This led me to scrutinize all
Bar candidate;. the set of notebooks. Believing that those five merited re-
evalation on the basis of the memorandum circularized to
That the next day, the Bar Confidant handed to me a Bar the examiners shortly earlier to the effect that
candidate's notebook (No. 1613) showing a grade of 61%;
... in the correction of the papers,
That I reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating substantial weight should then be given to
the answers of this particular Bar candidate I decided to clarify of language and soundness of
increase his final grade to 71%; reasoning' (par. 4),

That consequently, I amended my report and duly initialed I took it upon myself to bring them back to the respective
the changes in the grade sheet (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-checking.
72, rec.; emphasis supplied).
It is our experience in the Bar Division that immediately Your Honors, respondent never entertained a notion that
after the release of the results of the examinations, we his act would stir such serious charges as would tend to
are usually swarmed with requests of the examinees that undermine his integrity because he did it in all good faith.
they be shown their notebooks. Many of them would copy
their answers and have them checked by their professors. xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 35, rec.; emphasis
Eventually some of them would file motions or requests supplied).
for re-correction and/or re-evaluation. Right now, we have
some 19 of such motions or requests which we are On August 27, 1973, during the course of the investigation, respondent
reading for submission to the Honorable Court. Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in addition to, and in amplification
of, his answer, stating:
Often we feel that a few of them are meritorious, but just
the same they have to be denied because the result of xxx xxx xxx
the examinations when released is final and irrevocable.
1. That I vehemently deny having deceived the examiners
It was to at least minimize the occurrence of such concerned into believing that the examinee involved failed
instances that motivated me to bring those notebooks only in their respective subjects, the fact of the matter
back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation" (Adm. being that the notebooks in question were submitted to
Case No. 1162, p. 24, rec.; emphasis supplied). the respective examiners for re-evaluation believing in all
good faith that they so merited on the basis of the
In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Lanuevo avers: Confidential Memorandum (identified and marked as Exh.
1-Lanuevo, particularly that portion marked as Exh. 1-a-
That he submitted the notebooks in question to the Lanuevo)which was circulated to all the examiners earlier,
examiners concerned in his hotest belief that the same leaving to them entirely the matter of whether or not re-
merited re-evaluation; that in so doing, it was not his evaluation was in order,
intention to forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as
bar confidant but on the contrary to do justice to the 2. That the following coincidence prompted me to pry into
examinee concerned; that neither did he act in a the notebooks in question:
presumptuous manner, because the matter of whether or
not re-evaluation was inorder was left alone to the Sometime during the latter part of January
examiners' decision; and that, to his knowledge, he does and the early part of February, 1972, on
not remember having made the alleged misrepresentation my way back to the office (Bar Division)
but that he remembers having brought to the attention of after lunch, I though of buying a
the Committee during the meeting a matter concerning sweepstake ticket. I have always made it
another examinee who obtained a passing general a point that the moment I think of so
average but with a grade below 50% in Mercantile Law. buying, I pick a number from any object
As the Committee agreed to remove the disqualification and the first number that comes into my
by way of raising the grade in said subject, respondent sight becomes the basis of the ticket that I
brought the notebook in question to the Examiner buy. At that moment, the first number that
concerned who thereby raised the grade thus enabling I saw was "954" boldly printed on an
the said examinee to pass. If he remembers right, the electrical contribance (evidently belonging
examinee concerned is one surnamed "de la Cruz" or to the MERALCO) attached to a post
"Ty-de la Cruz". standing along the right sidewalk of P.
Faura street towards the Supreme Court
building from San Marcelino street and Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva
almost adjacent to the south-eastern Ecija, I was stricken with pneumonia and
corner of the fence of the Araullo High was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija
School(photograph of the number '954', Provincial Hospital as a result. As will be
the contrivance on which it is printed and recalled, the last Pacific War broke out on
a portion of the post to which it is attached December 8, 1941. While I was still
is identified and marked as Exhibit 4- confined at the hospital, our camp was
Lanuevo and the number "954" as Exh. 4- bombed and strafed by Japanese planes
a-Lanuevo). on December 13, 1941 resulting in many
casualties. From then on, I regarded
With this number (954) in mind, I November 27, 1941 as the beginning of a
proceeded to Plaza Sta. Cruz to look for a new life for me having been saved from
ticket that would contain such number. the possibility of being among the
Eventually, I found a ticket, which I then casualties;(b) On February 27, 1946, I
bought, whose last three digits was able to get out of the army byway of
corresponded to "954". This number honorable discharge; and (c) on February
became doubly impressive to me because 27, 1947, I got married and since then we
the sum of all the six digits of the ticket begot children the youngest of whom was
number was "27", a number that is so born on February 27, 1957.
significant to me that everything I do I try
somewhat instinctively to link or connect it Returning to the office that same
with said number whenever possible. afternoon after buying the ticket, I
Thus even in assigning code numbers on resumed my work which at the time was
the Master List of examinees from 1968 on the checking of the notebooks. While
when I first took charge of the thus checking, I came upon the notebooks
examinations as Bar Confidant up to bearing the office code number "954". As
1971, I either started with the number "27" the number was still fresh in my mind, it
(or "227") or end with said number. (1968 aroused my curiosity prompting me to pry
Master List is identified and marked as into the contents of the notebooks.
Exh. 5-Lanuevo and the figure "27" at the Impressed by the clarity of the writing and
beginning of the list, as Exh. 5-a Lanuevo; language and the apparent soundness of
1969 Master List as Exh. 6-Lanuevo and the answers and, thereby, believing in all
the figure "227" at the beginning of the list, good faith on the basis of the
as Exh. 6-a-Lanuevo; 1970 Master List as aforementioned Confidential
Exh. 7-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the Memorandum (Exh. 1-Lanuevo and Exh.
beginning of the list as Exh. 7-a-Lanuevo; 1-a-Lanuevo) that they merited re-
and the 1971 Master List as Exh. 8- evaluation, I set them aside and later on
Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the end of took them back to the respective
the list as Exh. 8-a-Lanuevo). examiners for possible review recalling to
them the said Confidential Memorandum
The significance to me of this number (27) but leaving absolutely the matter to their
was born out of these incidents in my life, discretion and judgment.
to wit: (a) On November 27, 1941 while
with the Philippine Army stationed at
3. That the alleged misrepresentation or deception could Committee authorized the referral of the notebooks
have reference to either of the two cases which I brought involved to the examiners concerned;
to the attention of the committee during the meeting and
which the Committee agreed to refer back to the 5. That at that juncture, the examiner in Taxation even
respective examines, namely: volunteered to review or re-check some 19, or so,
notebooks in his subject but that I told the Committee that
(a) That of an examinee who obtained a there was very little time left and that the increase in
passing general average but with a grade grade after re-evaluation, unless very highly substantial,
below 50% (47%) in Mercantile Law(the may not alter the outcome since the subject carries the
notebooks of this examinee bear the weight of only 10% (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47,
Office Code No. 110, identified and rec.).
marked as Exh. 9-Lanuevo and the
notebook in Mercantile Law bearing the The foregoing last-minute embellishment only serves to accentuate the
Examiner's Code No. 951 with the original fact that Lanuevo's story is devoid of truth. In his sworn statement of April
grade of 4% increased to 50% after re- 12, 1972, he was "led to scrutinize all the set of notebooks" of respondent
evaluation as Exh. 9-a-Lanuevo); and Galang, because he "was impressed of the writing and the answers on
the first notebook "as he "was going over those notebooks, checking the
(b) That of an examinee who obtained a entries in the grading sheets and the posting on the record of ratings." In
borderline general average of 73.15% with his affidavit of August 27, 1973, he stated that the number 954 on a
a grade below 60% (57%) in one subject Meralco post provoked him "to pry into the contents of the notebooks" of
which, at the time, I could not pinpoint respondent Galang "bearing office code number '954."
having inadvertently left in the office the
data thereon. It turned out that the subject Respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, asserted, among
was Political and International Law under others;
Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo
(The notebooks of this examinee bear the 1. That herein respondent is not acquainted with former
Office Code No. 1622 identified and BarConfidant Victorio Lanuevo and never met him before
marked as Exh. 10-Lanuevo and the except once when, as required by the latter respondent
notebook in Political and International Law submitted certain papers necessary for taking the bar
bearing the Examiner's Code No. 661 with examinations.
the original grade of 57% increased to
66% after re-evaluation, as Exh. 10-a-
xxx xxx xxx
Lanuevo). This notebook in Political and
International Law is precisely the same
notebook mentioned in the sworn 4. That it has been the consistent policy of the Supreme
statement of Asst. Solicitor General Court not to reconsider "failure" cases; after the official
Bernardo Pardo(Exh. ------- Pardo). release thereof; why should it now reconsider a "passing"
case, especially in a situation where the respondent and
the bar confidant do not know each other and, indeed,
4. That in each of the two cases mentioned in the next
met only once in the ordinary course of official business?
preceding paragraph, only one (1) subject or notebook
was reviewed or re-evaluated, that is, only Mercantile Law
in the former; and only Political and International Law in It is not inevitable, then, to conclude that the entire
the latter, under the facts and circumstances I made situation clearly manifests a reasonable doubt to which
known to the Committee and pursuant to which the respondent is richly entitled?
5. That respondent, before reading a copy of this Bar Examiners were in the performance of their duties
Honorable Court's resolution dated March 5, 1973, had no and that they should be regarded as such in the
knowledge whatsoever of former Bar Confidant Victorio consideration of this case.
Lanuevo's actuations which are stated in particular in the
resolution. In fact, the respondent never knew this man xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.).
intimately nor, had the herein respondent utilized anyone
to contact the Bar Confidant Lanuevo in his behalf. I

But, assuming as true, the said actuations of Bar The evidence thus disclosed clearly demonstrates how respondent
Confidant Lanuevo as stated in the Resolution, which are Lanuevo systematically and cleverly initiated and prepared the stage
evidently purported to show as having redounded to the leading to the re-evalation and/or recorrection of the answers of
benefit of herein respondent, these questions arise: First, respondent Galang by deceiving separately and individually the
was the re-evaluation of Respondent's examination respondents-examiners to make the desired revision without prior
papers by the Bar Examination Committee done only or authority from the Supreme Court after the corrected notebooks had
especially for him and not done generally as regards the been submitted to the Court through the respondent Bar Confidant, who
paper of the other bar candidates who are supposed to is simply the custodian thereof for and in behalf of the Court.
have failed? If the re-evaluation of Respondent's grades
was done among those of others, then it must have been
It appears that one evening, sometime around the middle part of
done as a matter of policy of the Committee to increase
December, 1971, just before Christmas day, respondent Lanuevo
the percentage of passing in that year's examination and,
approached Civil Law examiner Pamatian while the latter was in the
therefore, the insinuation that only respondent's papers
process of correcting examination booklets, and then and there made the
were re-evaluated upon the influence of Bar Confidant
representations that as BarConfidant, he makes a review of the grades
Lanuevo would be unjustifiable, if not far fetched.
obtained in all subjects of the examinees and if he finds that a candidate
Secondly, is the fact that BarConfidant Lanuevo's
obtains an extraordinarily high grade in one subject and a rather low one
actuations resulted in herein Respondent's benefit an
on another, he will bring back to the examiner concerned the notebook
evidence per se of Respondent's having caused
for re-evaluation and change of grade(Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case No.
actuations of Bar confidant Lanuevo to be done in
1164, pp. 55-56; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.).
former's behalf? To assume this could be disastrous in
effect because that would be presuming all the members
of the Bar Examination Committee as devoid of integrity, Sometime in the latter part of January, 1972, respondent Lanuevo
unfit for the bar themselves and the result of their work brought back to respondent-examiner Pamatian an examination booklet
that year, as also unworthy of anything. All of these in Civil Law for re-evaluation, representing that the examinee who owned
inferences are deductible from the narration of facts in the the particular notebook is on the borderline of passing and if his grade in
resolution, and which only goes to show said narration of said subject could be reconsidered to 75%, the said examine will get a
facts an unworthy of credence, or consideration. passing average. Respondent-examiner Pamatian took respondent
Lanuevo's word and under the belief that was really the practice and
policy of the Supreme Court and in his further belief that he was just
xxx xxx xxx
manifesting cooperation in doing so, he re-evaluated the paper and
reconsidered the examinee's grade in said subject to 75% from 64%. The
7. This Honorable Tribunal's Resolution of March 5, 1973 particular notebook belonged to an examinee with Examiner's Code
would make this Respondent Account or answer for the Number 95 and with Office Code Number 954. This examinee is Ramon
actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as well as for the E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. Respondent Pamatian did not know
actuations of the Bar Examiners implying the existence of the identity of the examinee at the time he re-evaluated the said booklet
some conspiracy between them and the Respondent. The
evident imputation is denied and it is contended that the
(Exhs. 1-Pamatian, 2-Pamatian, and 3-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, mentioned by him in his affidavit, and belonged to Ramon E. Galang,
pp. 32-33, 55-56, 57; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.). alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1 & 2- Manalo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp.
36-39, 74-75; Vol. V, pp. 50-53, rec.).
Before Justice Pamatian made the revision, Examinee Galang failed in
seven subjects including Civil Law. After such revision, examinee Galang But even after the re-evaluation by Atty. Manalo, Examinee Galang could
still failed in six subjects and could not obtain the passing average of not make the passing grade due to his failing marks in five subjects.
75% for admission to the Bar.
Likewise, in the latter part of January, 1972, on one occasion when
Thereafter, about the latter part of January, 1972 or early part of respondent Lanuevo went to deliver to respondent Guillermo Pablo, Jr. in
February, 1972, respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of the latter's house a new batch of examination papers in Political Law and
respondent-examiner Fidel Manalo at 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Public International Law to be corrected, respondent Lanuevo brought
Rizal, with an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law, which respondent out a notebook in Political Law bearing Examiner's Code Number
Manalo and previously corrected and graded. Respondent Lanuevo then 1752 (Exh. 5-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 66, rec.), informing
requested respondent Manalo to review the said notebook and possibly respondent Pablo that particular examinee who owns the said
to reconsider the grade given, explaining and representing that "they" has notebook seems to have passed in all other subjects except in Political
reviewed the said notebook and that the examinee concerned had done Law and Public International Law; and that if the said notebook would be
well in other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade re-evaluated and the mark be increased to at least 75%, said examinee
given said examinee by respondent Manalo in Remedial Law, the general will pass the bar examinations. After satisfying himself from respondent
average of said examinee was short of passing. Respondent Lanuevo that this is possible — the respondent Bar Confidant informing him that
likewise made the remark and observation that he thought that if the this is the practice of the Court to help out examinees who are failing in
notebook were reviewed, respondent Manalo might yet find the examinee just one subject — respondent Pablo acceded to the request and thereby
deserving of being admitted to the Bar. Respondent Lanuevo also told the Bar Confidant to just leave the said notebook. Respondent Pablo
particularly called the attention of respondent Manalo to the fact that in thereafter re-evaluated the answers, this time with leniency. After the re-
his answers, the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good evaluation, the grade was increased to 78% from 68%, or an increase of
English. Furthermore, respondent Lanuevo called the attention of 10%. Respondent Pablo then made the corresponding corrections in the
respondent Manalo to Paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum that grading sheet and accordingly initialed the charges made. This notebook
read as follows: with Office Code Number 954 also belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias
Roman E. Galang (Vol. V, pp. 43-46, rec.).
4. Examination questions should be more a test of logic,
knowledge of legal fundamentals, and ability to analyze After the re-evaluation by Atty. Pablo, Jr., examinee Galang's general
and solve legal problems rather than a test of memory; in average was still below the passing grade, because of his failing marks in
the correction of papers, substantial weight should be four subjects.
given to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning.
Towards the end of the correction of examination notebooks, respondent
Respondent Manalo was, however, informed by respondent Lanuevo that Lanuevo brought back to respondent Tomacruz one examination booklet
the matter of reconsideration was entirely within his (Manalo's) discretion. in Criminal Law, with the former informing the latter, who was then
Respondent Manalo, believing that respondent Lanuevo, as Bar helping in the correction of papers in Political Law and Public
Confidant, had the authority to make such request and further believing International Law, as he had already finished correcting the examination
that such request was in order, proceeded to re-evaluate the examinee's notebooks in his assigned subject — Criminal Law — that the examinee
answers in the presence of Lanuevo, resulting in an increase of the who owns that particular notebook had missed the passing grade by only
examinee's grade in that particular subject, Remedial Law, from 63.25% a fraction of a percent and that if his grade in Criminal Law would be
to 74.5%. Respondent Manalo authenticated with his signature the raised a few points to 75%, then the examinee would make the passing
changes made by him in the notebook and in the grading sheet. The said grade. Accepting the words of respondent Lanuevo, and seeing the
notebook examiner's code number is 136, instead of 310 as earlier justification and because he did not want to be the one causing the failure
of the examinee, respondent Tomacruz raised the grade from 64% to however thereafter officially brought to the Committee for consideration
75% and thereafter, he initialed the revised mark and also revised the or decision (Exhs. A& B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, 70-
mark in the general list and likewise initialed the same. The examinee's 71; Vol. V, pp. 33-34, rec.).
Examiner Code Number is 746 while his Office Code Number is 954. This
examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1, 2 & 3- Respondent Montecillo declared that without being given the information
Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 65, 66 and 71; Vol. V, pp. 24-25, that the particular examinee failed only in his subject and passed all the
60-61, rec.). others, he would not have consented to make the re-evaluation of the
said paper (Vol. V, p. 33, rec.).Respondent Montecillo likewise added that
Respondent Tomacruz does not recall having been shown any memo by there was only one instance he remembers, which is substantiated by his
respondent Lanuevo when the latter approached him for this particular personal records, that he had to change the grade of an examinee after
re-evaluation; but he remembers Lanuevo declaring to him that where a he had submitted his report, referring to the notebook of examinee
candidate had almost made the passing average but had failed in one Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, with Examiner's Code
subject, as a matter of policy of the Court, leniency is applied in reviewing Number 1613 and with Office Code Number 954 (Vol. V, pp. 34-35, rec.).
the examinee's notebook in the failing subject. He recalls, however, that
he was provided a copy of the Confidential Memorandum but this was A day or two after February 5, 1972, when respondent Lanuevo went to
long before the re-evaluation requested by respondent Lanuevo as the the residence of respondent-examiner Pardo to obtain the last bag of 200
same was received by him before the examination period (Vol. V, p. 61, notebooks, respondent Lanuevo returned to the residence of respondent
rec.). Pardo riding in a Volkswagen panel of the Supreme Court of the
Philippines with two companions. According to respondent Lanuevo, this
However, such revision by Atty. Tomacruz could not raise Galang's was around the second week of February, 1972, after the first meeting of
general average to a passing grade because of his failing mark in three the Bar Examination Committee. respondent Lanuevo had with him on
more subjects, including Mercantile Law. For the revision of examinee that occasion an examinee's notebook bearing Examiner's Code No.
Galang's notebook in Mercantile Law, respondent Lanuevo neatly set the 661. Respondent Lanuevo, after the usual amenities, requested
last phase of his quite ingenious scheme — by securing authorization respondent Pardo to review and re-examine, if possible, the said
from the Bar Examination Committee for the examiner in Mercantile Law notebook because, according to respondent Lanuevo, the examine who
tore-evaluate said notebook. owns that particular notebook obtained higher grades in other subjects,
the highest of which is 84% in Remedial Law. After clearing with
At the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee on February 8, respondent Lanuevo his authority to reconsider the grades, respondent
1972, respondent Lanuevo suggested that where an examinee failed in Pardo re-evaluated the answers of the examine concerned, resulting in
only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner concerned would an increase of grade from 57% of 66%. Said notebook has number 1622
review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular and the as office code number. It belonged to examinee Ernesto Quitaleg (Exhs.
Committee adopted the suggestion (Exhs. A & B-Montecillo, Exh. 2- 1 & 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-63; Vol. V, pp. 12-24, 29-30,
Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 41, 72, 63; Vol. Vi, p. 16, rec.). rec.).

At a subsequent meeting of the Bar Examination Committee, respondent II


Montecillo was informed by respondent Lanuevo that a candidate passed
all other subjects except Mercantile Law. This information was made Re: Administrative Case No. 1162, Victorio D. Lanuevo, respondent.
during the meeting within hearing of the order members, who were all
closely seated together. Respondent Montecillo made known his A
willingness tore-evaluate the particular paper. The next day, respondent
Lanuevo handed to respondent Montecillo a bar candidate's notebook UNAUTHORIZED RE-EVALUATION OF THE ANSWERS OF EXAMINE
with Examiner's Code Number 1613 with a grade of 61%. Respondent RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, IN ALL FIVE (5)
Montecillo then reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the MAJOR SUBJECTS.
answers, decided to increase the final grade to 71%. The matter was not
Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having requested on his own show how respondent Lanuevo adroitly maneuvered the passing of
initiative the five examiners concerned to re-evaluate the five notebooks examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang in the 1971 Bar
of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, that eventually resulted in Examinations. It is patent likewise from the records that respondent
the increase of Galang's average from 66.25% to the passing grade Lanuevo too undue advantage of the trust and confidence reposed in him
74.15%, or a total increase of eight (8) weighted points, more or less, that by the Court and the Examiners implicit in his position as BarConfidant as
enabled Galang to hurdle the 1971 Bar examinations via a resolution of well as the trust and confidence that prevailed in and characterized his
the Court making 74% the passing average for that year's examination relationship with the five members of the 1971 Bar Examination
without any grade below fifty percent (50%) in any subject. Galang Committee, who were thus deceived and induced into re-evaluating the
thereafter took his lawyer's oath. It is likewise beyond dispute that he had answers of only respondent Galang in five subjects that resulted in the
no authority from the Court or the Committee to initiate such steps increase of his grades therein, ultimately enabling him to be admitted a
towards the said re-evaluation of the answers of Galang or of other member of the Philippine Bar.
examinees.
It was plain, simple and unmitigated deception that characterized
Denying that he made representations to the examiners concerned that respondent Lanuevo's well-studied and well-calculated moves in
respondent Galang failed only in their respective subjects and/or was on successively representing separately to each of the five examiners
the borderline of passing, Respondent Lanuevo sought to justify his concerned to the effect that the examinee failed only in his particular
actuations on the authority of the aforequoted paragraph 4 of the subject and/or was on the borderline of passing. To repeat, the before the
Confidential Memorandum(Exhs. 1 and 1-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Cases Nos. unauthorized re-evaluations were made, Galang failed in the five (5)
1162 & 1164, p. 51, Adm. Case No. 1162; Vol. VII, p. 4, rec.) distributed major subjects and in two (2) minor subjects while his general average
to the members of the Bar Examination Committee. He maintains that he was only 66.25% — which under no circumstances or standard could it
acted in good faith and "in his honest belief that the same merited re- be honestly claimed that the examinee failed only in one, or he was on
evaluation; that in doing so, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the borderline of passing. In fact, before the first notebook of Galang was
the trust reposed in him as BarConfidant but on the contrary to do justice referred back to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation, Galang had
to the examinee concerned; and that neither did he act in a only one passing mark and this was in Legal Ethics and Practical
presumptuous manner because the matter of whether or not re- Exercises, a minor subject, with grade of 81%. The averages and
evaluation was in order was left alone to the examiners' decision ..." (Exh. individual grades of Galang before and after the unauthorized re-
2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-37, rec.). evaluation are as follows:

But as openly admitted by him in the course of the investigation, the said BAI
confidential memorandum was intended solely for the examiners to guide
them in the initial correction of the examination papers and never as a 1. Political Law Public
basis for him to even suggest to the examiners the re-evaluation of the International Law 68% 78% = 10 pts.
examination papers of the examinees (Vol. VII, p. 23, rec.). Any such or 30 weighted points
suggestion or request is not only presumptuous but also offensive to the
norms of delicacy. BAI

We believe the Examiners — Pablo, Manalo, Montecillo, Tomacruz, Labor Laws and Social
Pardo and Pamatian — whose declarations on the matter of the Legislations 67% 67% = no re-
misrepresentations and deceptions committed by respondent Lanuevo, evaluation made.
are clear and consistent as well as corroborate each other.
2. Civil Law 64% 75% = 1 points
For indeed the facts unfolded by the declarations of the respondents- or 33 weighted points.
examiners (Adm. Case No. 1164) and clarified by extensive cross-
examination conducted during the investigation and hearing of the cases
Taxation 74% 74% = no re- concerned. He is not the over-all Examiner. He cannot presume to know
evaluation made. better than the examiner. Any request for re-evaluation should be done
by the examinee and the same should be addressed to the Court, which
3. Mercantile Law 61% 71% = 10 pts. alone can validly act thereon. A Bar Confidant who takes such initiative,
or 30 weighted points. exposes himself to suspicion and thereby compromises his position as
well as the image of the Court.
4. Criminal Law 64% 75% = 11 pts. or
22 weighted points. Respondent Lanuevo's claim that he was merely doing justice to Galang
without any intention of betraying the trust and confidence reposed in him
5. Remedial Law 63.75% (64) 75.5% (75%) = by the Court as Bar Confidant, can hardly invite belief in the fact of the
11 pts. or 44 weighted points. incontrovertible fact that he singled out Galang's papers for re-evaluation,
leaving out the papers of more than ninety (90) examinees with far better
averages ranging from 70% to 73.9% of which he was fully aware (Vol.
Legal Ethics and Practical
VI, pp. 46-47, 101, rec.), which could be more properly claimed as
Exercises 81% 81% = no re-
borderline cases. This fact further betrays respondent Lanuevo's claim of
evaluation made.
absolute good faith in referring back the papers of Galang to the
————————————
Examiners for re-evaluation. For certainly, as against the original
weighted average of 66.25% of Galang, there can hardly be any dispute
General Weighted Averages 66.25% 74.15% that the cases of the aforesaid more than ninety (90) examinees were
more deserving of reconsideration. Hence, in trying to do justice to
Hence, by the simple expedient of initiating the re-evaluation of the Galang, as claimed by respondent Lanuevo, grave injustice was inflicted
answers of Galang in the five (5) subjects under the circumstances on the other examinees of the 1971 Bar examinations, especially the said
already narrated, Galang's original average of 66.25% was increased to more than ninety candidates. And the unexplained failure of respondent
74.15% or an increase of 7.9 weighted points, to the great damage and Lanuevo to apprise the Court or the Committee or even the Bar
prejudice of the integrity of the Bar examinations and to the disadvantage Chairman of the fact of re-evaluation before or after the said re-
of the other examinees. He did this in favor only of examinee Galang, evaluation and increase of grades, precludes, as the same is inconsistent
with the possible addition of examinees Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty with, any pretension of good faith.
dela Cruz. But only one notebook was re-evaluated for each of the latter
who — Political Law and Public International Law for Quitaleg and His request for the re-evaluation of the notebook in Political Law and
Mercantile Law for Ty dela Cruz. International Law of Ernesto Quitaleg and the notebook in Mercantile Law
of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz to give his actuations in the case of Galang a
The Office of the Bar Confidant, it must be stressed, has absolutely semblance of impartiality, hoping that the over ninety examinees who
nothing to do in the re-evaluation or reconsideration of the grades of were far better situated than Galang would not give him away. Even the
examinees who fail to make the passing mark before or after their re-evaluation of one notebook of Quitaleg and one notebook of Ty dela
notebooks are submitted to it by the Examiners. After the corrected Cruz violated the agreement of the members of the 1971 Bar
notebooks are submitted to him by the Examiners, his only function is to Examination Committee to re-evaluate when the examinee concerned
tally the individual grades of every examinee in all subjects taken and fails only in one subject. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz failed in four (4) and
thereafter compute the general average. That done, he will then prepare three (3) subjects respectively — as hereinafter shown.
a comparative data showing the percentage of passing and failing in
relation to a certain average to be submitted to the Committee and to the The strange story concerning the figures 954, the office code number
Court and on the basis of which the Court will determine the passing given to Galang's notebook, unveiled for the first time by respondent
average, whether 75 or 74 or 73, etc. The Bar Confidant has no business Lanuevo in his suplemental sworn statement(Exh. 3- Lanuevo, Adm.
evaluating the answers of the examinees and cannot assume the Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47. rec.) filed during the investigation with this
functions of passing upon the appraisal made by the Examiners Court as to why he pried into the papers of Galang deserves scant
consideration. It only serves to picture a man desperately clutching at Respondent Examiner Montecillo, Mercantile Law, maintained that there
straws in the wind for support. Furthermore, it was revealed by was only one notebook in Mercantile Law which was officially brought to
respondent Lanuevo for the first time only on August 27, 1973 or a period him and this is substantiated by his personal file and record (Vol. VI, pp.
of more than five 95) months after he filed his answer on March 19, 34-35, rec.). According to him, this notebook's examiner code number is
1973(Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-36, rec.), showing 1613 (Vol. V, p.35, rec.) and is owned by Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman
that it was just an after-thought. E. Galang. It appears, however, that the original grade of 47% in
Mercantile Law of Ty dela Cruz was changed to 50% as appearing in the
B cover of the notebook of said examinee and the change is authenticated
with the initial of Examiner Montecillo. He was present when respondent
REFERRAL OF EXAMINEE ALFREDO TY DELA CRUZ NOTEBOOK IN Lanuevo presented in evidence the notebook of Ty dela Cruz bearing
MERCHANTILE LAW TO RAISE HIS GRADE OF 47% TO 50% TO Examiner code number 951 and Office Code Number 110 as Exhibit 9-
EXAMINER MANUEL MONTECILLO AND OF EXAMINEE ERNESTO Lanuevo in Administrative Case No. 1162, and the figures 47 crossed
QUITALEG'S NOTEBOOK IN POLITICAL LAW TO EXAMINER out, replaced by the figures 50 bearing the initial of Examiner Montecillo
BERNARDO PARDO FOR RE-EVALUATION, RESULTING IN THE as Exhibit 9-a-Lanuevo (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 48, rec.; Vol. VI, pp. 23-
INCREASE OF HIS GRADE IN THAT SUBJECT FROM 57% TO 66%. 24, Vol. VIII, p. 4, rec.); but Atty. Montecillo did not interpose any
objection to their admission in evidence.
Likewise, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having referred back
the aforesaid notebooks on Mercantile Law and Political Law respectively In this connection, respondent Examiner Pardo testified that he
of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz and Ernesto Quitaleg to the Examiners remembers a case of an examinee presented to the Committee, who
concerned. obtained passing marks in all subjects except in one and the Committee
agreed to refer back to the Examiner concerned the notebook in the
subject in which the examinee failed (Vol. V, pp. 15-16, rec.). He cannot
The records are not clear, however, under what circumstances the
recall the subject, but he is certain that it was not Political Law (Vol. V, p.
notebooks of Ty dela Cruz and Quitaleg were referred back to the
16, rec.).Further, Pardo declared that he is not aware of any case of an
Examiners concerned. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that these two
examinee who was on the borderline of passing but who got a grade
cases were officially brought to the Bar Examination Committee during its
below 50% in one subject that was taken up by the Committee (Vol. V,
first meeting (Vol. VI, pp. 50-51, rec.) and the latter decided to refer them
pp. 16-17, rec.).
back to the Examiners concerned for re-evaluation with respect to the
case of Quitaleg and to remove the disqualification in the case of Ty dela
Cruz(Vol. VI, pp. 33-39, 84-86, rec.). Respondent Lanuevo further Examiner Montecillo testified that it was the notebook with Examiner
claimed that the date of these two cases were contained in a sheet of Code Number 1613 (belonging to Galang) which was referred to the
paper which was presented at the said first meeting of the Committee Committee and the Committee agreed to return it to the Examiner
(Vol. VI, pp. 39-43, 49-51, rec.). Likewise a record of the dates of every concerned. The day following the meeting in which the case of an
meeting of the Committee was made by respondent Lanuevo (Vol. VI, p. examinee with Code Number 1613 was taken up, respondent Lanuevo
28, rec.). The alleged sheet containing the date of the two examinees handed him said notebook and he accordingly re-evaluated it. This
and record of the dates of the meeting of the Committee were not particular notebook with Office Code Number 954 belongs to Galang.
presented by respondent Lanuevo as, according to him, he left them
inadvertently in his desk in the Confidential Room when he went on leave Examiner Tomacruz recalled a case of an examinee whose problem was
after the release of the Bar results (Vol. VI, pp. 28, 41-45, rec.). It Mercantile Law that was taken up by the Committee. He is not certain of
appears, however, that the inventory conducted by officials of the Court any other case brought to the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 59-61, rec.). Pardo
in the Confidential Room of respondent Lanuevo did not yield any such declared that there was no case of an examinee that was referred to the
sheet of record (Exh. X, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 74, rec.; Vol. VIII, pp. Committee that involved Political Law. He re-evaluated the answers of
11-13, 20-22, 29-31, rec.). Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law upon the representation made by
respondent Lanuevo to him.
As heretofore stated, it was this consensus at the meeting on February 8, Political Law 70%
1972 of the members of the Committee that where an examinee failed in Taxation 72%
only one subject and passed all the others, the Examiner in whose
subject the examinee failed should re-evaluate or recheck the notebook His grades and averages before and after the disqualifying grade was
(Vol. V, p. 16, rec.: Exh. 2-Pardo, allegation No. 9, Adm. Case No. 1164, removed are as follows:
pp. 60-63, Exh. A-Montecillo, Allegation No. 2, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp.
40-41, and Exh. B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.). BA

At the time the notebook of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law with a grade Political Law 70% 70% = No reevaluation
of 57% was referred back to Examiner Pardo, said examinee had other Labor Laws 75% 75% = "
failing grades in three (3) subjects, as follows: Civil Law 89% 89% = "
Taxation 72% 72% = "
Labor Laws 3% Mercantile Law 47% 50% = 3 pts. or 9
weighted points
Taxation 69% Criminal Law 78% 78% = no reevaluation
Remedial Law 88% 88% = "
Mercantile Law 68% Legal Ethics 79% 79% = "
—————————————————
Ernesto Quitaleg's grades and averages before and after the re-
evaluation of his grade in Political Law are as follows: Weighted Averages 74.95% 75.4%

BA (Vol. VI, pp. 26-27, rec.).

Political Law 57% 66% = 9 pts. or 27 The re-evaluation of the answers of Quitaleg in Political Law and the
weighted points answers of Ty dela Cruz in Mercantile Law, violated the consensus of the
Labor Laws 73% 73% = No reevaluation Bar Examination Committee in February, 1971, which violation was due
Civil Law 75% 75% = " to the misrepresentation of respondent Lanuevo.
Taxation 69% 69% = "
Mercantile Law 68% 68% = " It must be stated that the referral of the notebook of Galang in Mercantile
Criminal Law 78% 78% = " Law to Examiner Montecillo can hardly be said to be covered by the
Remedial Law 85% 85% = " consensus of the Bar Examination Committee because even at the time
Legal Ethics 83% 83% = " of said referral, which was after the unauthorized re-evaluation of his
———————————————— answers of four (4) subjects, Galang had still failing grades in Taxation
and Labor Laws. His re-evaluated grade of 74.5% in Remedial Law was
Average (weighted) 73.15% 74.5% considered 75% under the Confidential Memorandum and was so
entered in the record. His grade in Mercantile Law as subsequently re-
(Vol. VI, pp. 26-27; Exhs. 10 and 10-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, evaluated by Examiner Montecillo was 71%.
rec.)
Respondent Lanuevo is therefore guilty of serious misconduct — of
Alfredo Ty dela Cruz, at the time his notebook in Mercantile Law was having betrayed the trust and confidence reposed in him as Bar
referred to Examiner Montecillo to remove the disqualification grade of Confidant, thereby impairing the integrity of the Bar examinations and
47% in said subject, had two (2) other failing grades. These are: undermining public faith in the Supreme Court. He should be disbarred.
As to whether Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz should be The re-evaluation by the Examiners concerned of the examination
disbarred or their names stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, it is believed answers of respondent Galang in five (5) subjects, as already clearly
that they should be required to show cause and the corresponding established, was initiated by Respondent Lanuevo without any authority
investigation conducted. from the Court, a serious breach of the trust and confidence reposed by
the Court in him as Bar Confidant. Consequently, the re-evaluation that
III enabled respondent Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations and to be
admitted to the Bar is a complete nullity. The Bar Confidant does not
Re: Administrative Case No. 1163, Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. possess any discretion with respect to the matter of admission of
Galang, respondent. examinees to the Bar. He is not clothed with authority to determine
whether or not an examinee's answers merit re-evaluation or re-
evaluation or whether the Examiner's appraisal of such answers is
A
correct. And whether or not the examinee benefited was in connivance or
a privy thereto is immaterial. What is decisive is whether the proceedings
The name of respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, or incidents that led to the candidate's admission to the Bar were in
should likewise be stricken off the Roll of Attorneys. This is a necessary accordance with the rules.
consequence of the un-authorized re-evaluation of his answers in five(5)
major subjects — Civil Law, Political and International Law, Criminal Law,
B
Remedial Law, and Mercantile Law.
Section 2 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964, in
The judicial function of the Supreme Court in admitting candidates to the
connection, among others, with the character requirement of candidates
legal profession, which necessarily involves the exercise of discretion,
for admission to the Bar, provides that "every applicant for admission as
requires: (1) previous established rules and principles; (2) concrete facts,
a member of the Bar must be ... of good moral
whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals; and (3) a
character ... and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory
decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and
evidence of good moral character, and that no charges against him
principles (In re: Cunanan — Flunkers' Petition for Admission to the Bar --
involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in
94 Phil. 534, 544-545). The determination of whether a bar candidate has
the Philippines." Prior to 1964, or under the old Rules of Court, a bar
obtained the required passing grade certainly involves discretion (Legal
applicant was required to produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory
and Judicial Ethics, Justice Martin, 1969 ed., p. 13).
testimonials of good moral character (Sec. 2, Rule 127). Under both
rules, every applicant is duty bound to lay before the Court all his
In the exercise of this function, the Court acts through a Bar Examination involvement in any criminal case, pending or otherwise terminated, to
Committee, composed of a member of the Court who acts as Chairman enable the Court to fully ascertain or determine applicant's moral
and eight (8) members of the Bar who act as examiners in the eight (8) character. Furthermore, as to what crime involves moral turpitude, is for
bar subjects with one subject assigned to each. Acting as a sort of liaison the supreme Court to determine. Hence, the necessity of laying before or
officer between the Court and the Bar Chairman, on one hand, and the informing the Court of one's personal record — whether he was criminally
individual members of the Committee, on the other, is the Bar Confidant indicted, acquitted, convicted or the case dismissed or is still pending —
who is at the same time a deputy clerk of the Court. Necessarily, every becomes more compelling. The forms for application to take the Bar
act of the Committee in connection with the exercise of discretion in the examinations provided by the Supreme Court beginning the year 1965
admission of examinees to membership of the Bar must be in require the disclosure not only of criminal cases involving moral turpitude
accordance with the established rules of the Court and must always be filed or pending against the applicant but also of all other criminal cases
subject to the final approval of the Court. With respect to the Bar of which he has been accused. It is of course true that the application
Confidant, whose position is primarily confidential as the designation form used by respondent Galang when he took the Bar for the first time in
indicates, his functions in connection with the conduct of the Bar 1962 did not expressly require the disclosure of the applicant's criminal
examinations are defined and circumscribed by the Court and must be records, if any. But as already intimated, implicit in his task to show
strictly adhered to. satisfactory evidence or proof of good moral character is his obligation to
reveal to the Court all his involvement in any criminal case so that the examiners and from the justice of this court, to whom he
Court can consider them in the ascertainment and determination of his applied for admission, information respecting so serious a
moral character. And undeniably, with the applicant's criminal records matter as an indictment for a felony, was guilty of fraud
before it, the Court will be in a better position to consider the applicant's upon the court (cases cited).
moral character; for it could not be gainsaid that an applicant's
involvement in any criminal case, whether pending or terminated by its [2] It is equally clear that, had the board of law examiners,
dismissal or applicant's acquittal or conviction, has a bearing upon his or the judge to whom he applied for admission, been
character or fitness for admission to the Bar. In 1963 and 1964, when apprised of the true situation, neither the certificate of the
respondent Galang took the Bar for the second and third time, board nor of the judge would have been forthcoming
respectively, the application form provided by the Court for use of (State ex rel. Board of Law Examiners v. Podell, 207 N —
applicants already required the applicant to declare under oath that "he W — 709 — 710).
has not been accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal
of any offense involving moral turpitude; and that there is no pending The license of respondent Podell was revoke and annulled, and he was
case of that nature against him." By 1966, when Galang took the Bar required to surrender to the clerk of court the license issued to him, and
examinations for the fourth time, the application form prepared by the his name was stricken from the roll of attorneys (p. 710).
Court for use of applicants required the applicant to reveal all his criminal
cases whether involving moral turpitude or not. In paragraph 4 of that
Likewise in Re Carpel, it was declared that:
form, the applicant is required under oath to declare that "he has not
been charged with any offense before a Fiscal, Municipal Judge, or other
officer; or accused of, indicted for or convicted by any court or tribunal of [1] The power to admit to the bar on motion is conferred in
any crime involving moral turpitude; nor is there a pending case against the discretion of the Appellate Division.' In the exercise of
him" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 56, rec.). Yet, respondent Galang the discretion, the court should be informed truthfully and
continued to intentionally withhold or conceal from the Court his criminal frankly of matters tending to show the character of the
case of slight physical injuries which was then and until now is pending in applicant and his standing at the bar of the state from
the City Court of Manila; and thereafter repeatedly omitted to make which he comes. The finding of indictments against him,
mention of the same in his applications to take the Bar examinations in one of which was still outstanding at the time of his
1967, 1969 and 1971. motion, were facts which should have been submitted to
the court, with such explanations as were available.
Silence respecting them was reprehensible, as tending to
All told, respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, is guilty
deceive the court (165 NYS, 102, 104; emphasis
of fraudulently concealing and withholding from the Court his pending
supplied).
criminal case for physical injuries in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969
and 1971; and in 1966, 1967,1969 and 1971, he committed perjury when
he declared under oath that he had no pending criminal case in court. By Carpel's admission to the bar was revoked (p. 105).
falsely representing to the Court that he had no criminal case pending in
court, respondent Galang was allowed unconditionally to take the Bar Furthermore, respondent's persistent denial of his involvement in any
examinations seven (7) times and in 1972 was allowed to take his oath. criminal case despite his having been apprised by the Investigation of
some of the circumstances of the criminal case including the very name
That the concealment of an attorney in his application to take the Bar of the victim in that case(he finally admitted it when he was confronted by
examinations of the fact that he had been charged with, or indicted for, the victim himself, who was called to testify thereon), and his continued
an alleged crime, is a ground for revocation of his license to practice law failure for about thirteen years to clear his name in that criminal case up
is well — settled (see 165 ALR 1151, 7 CJS 741). Thus: to the present time, indicate his lack of the requisite attributes of honesty,
probity and good demeanor. He is therefore unworthy of becoming a
member of the noble profession of law.
[1] It requires no argument to reach the conclusion that
the respondent, in withholding from the board of law
While this aspect of the investigation was not part of the formal resolution RE: Administrative Case No. 1164, Assistant Solicitor General Bernardo
of the Court requiring him to explain why his name should not be stricken Pardo (now CFI Judge), Judge Ramon Pamatian(Later Associate Justice
from the Roll of Attorneys, respondent Galang was, as early as August, of the Court of Appeals, now deceased)Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty.
1973, apprised of his omission to reveal to the Court his pending criminal Fidel Manalo, Atty. Manuel Tomacruz and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr.,
case. Yet he did not offer any explanation for such omission. respondents.

Under the circumstances in which respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias All respondents Bar examiners candidly admitted having made the re-
Roman E. Galang, was allowed to take the Bar examinations and the evaluation and/or re-correction of the papers in question upon the
highly irregular manner in which he passed the Bar, WE have no other misrepresentation of respondent BarConfidant Lanuevo. All, however,
alternative but to order the surrender of his attorney's certificate and the professed good faith; and that they re-evaluated or increased the grades
striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys. For as WE said in Re of the notebooks without knowing the identity of the examinee who
Felipe del Rosario: owned the said notebooks; and that they did the same without any
consideration or expectation of any. These the records clearly
The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be demonstrate and WE are of the opinion and WE so declare that indeed
granted every one who demands it, but is a privilege to be the respondents-examiners made the re-evaluation or re-correcion in
extended or withheld in the exercise of sound discretion. good faith and without any consideration whatsoever.
The standards of the legal profession are not satisfied by
conduct which merely enables one to escape the Considering however the vital public interest involved in the matter of
penalties of the criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the admission of members to the Bar, the respondents bar examiners, under
Judiciary to receive one whose integrity is questionable the circumstances, should have exercised greater care and caution and
as an officer of the court, to clothe him with all the should have been more inquisitive before acceding to the request of
prestige of its confidence, and then to permit him to hold respondent Bar Confidant Lanuevo. They could have asked the
himself as a duly authorized member of the bar (citing Chairman of the Bar Examination Committee, who would have referred
American cases) [52 Phil. 399-401]. the matter to the Supreme Court. At least the respondents-examiners
should have required respondent Lanuevo to produce or show them the
What WE now do with respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. complete grades and/or the average of the examinee represented by
Galang, in this present case is not without any precedent in this respondent Lanuevo to have failed only in their respective and particular
jurisdiction. WE had on several occasions in the past nullified the subject and/or was on the borderline of passing to fully satisfy
admission of successful bar candidates to the membership of the Bar on themselves that the examinee concerned was really so circumstances.
the grounds, among others, of (a)misrepresentations of, or false This they could have easily done and the stain on the Bar examinations
pretenses relative to, the requirement on applicant's educational could have been avoided.
attainment [Tapel vs. Publico, resolution of the Supreme Court striking off
the name of Juan T. Publico from the Roll of Attorneys on the basis of the Respondent Bar examiners Montecillo, Pamatian, and Manalo claimed
findings of the Court Investigators contained in their report and and so declared under oath that the answers of respondent Galang really
recommendation, Feb. 23, 1962; In re: Telesforo A. Diao, 7 SCRA 475- deserved or merited the increased grades; and so with respondent Pardo
478; (b) lack of good moral character [In re: Peralta, 101 Phil. 313-314]; in connection with the re-evaluation of Ernesto Quitaleg's answers in
and (c) fraudulent passing of the Bar examinations [People vs. Political Law. With respect to respondents Tomacruz and Pablo, it would
Romualdez -- re: Luis Mabunay, 57 Phil. 151; In re: Del Rosario, 52 Phil. appear that they increased the grades of Galang in their respective
399 and People vs. Castro and Doe, 54 Phil. 42]. In the cases of subject solely because of the misrepresentations of Respondent
Romualdez (Mabunay) and Castro, the Court found that the grades of Lanuevo. Hence, in the words of respondent Tomacruz: "You brought to
Mabunay and Castro were falsified and they were convicted of the crime me one paper and you said that this particular examinee had almost
of falsification of public documents. passed, however, in my subject he received 60 something, I cannot
remember the exact average and if he would get a few points higher, he
IV would get a passing average. I agreed to do that because I did not wish
to be the one causing his failure. ..." (Vol. V, pp. 60-61, rec.; see also Pamatian —
allegations 3 and 4, Exh. 1-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.;
emphasis ours). And respondent Pablo: "... he told me that this particular 3. That sometime in the later part of January of this year,
examinee seems to have passed in allot her subject except this subject he brought back to me an examination booklet in Civil
and that if I can re-evaluate this examination notebook and increase the Law for re-evaluation because according to him the owner
mark to at least 75, this particular examinee will pass the bar of the paper is on the borderline and if I could reconsider
examinations so I believe I asked him 'Is this being done?' and he said his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will get
'Yes, that is the practice used to be done before to help out examinees passing mark;
who are failing in just one subject' so I readily acceded to his request and
said 'Just leave it with me and I will try to re-evaluate' and he left it with 4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it
me and what i did was to go over the book and tried to be as lenient as I was really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court to
could. While I did not mark correct the answers which were wrong, what I do so and in the further belief that I was just manifesting
did was to be more lenient and if the answers was correct although it was cooperation in doing so, I re-evaluated the paper and
not complete I raise the grade so I had a total of 78 instead of 68 and reconsidered the grade to 75%; ..." (Exh. 2-Pamatian,
what I did was to correct the grading sheet accordingly and initial the Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 55, rec.); and
changes" (Vol. V, pp. 44-45, rec.; emphasis supplied).
5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith
It could not be seriously denied, however, that the favorable re- and under the belief that I am authorized to do so in view
evaluations made by respondents Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and of them is representation of said Atty. Victorio Lanuevo,
Pardo notwithstanding their declarations that the increases in grades they ..." (Exh. 1-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 33-34,
gave were deserved by the examinee concerned, were to a certain extent rec.).
influenced by the misrepresentation and deception committed by
respondent Lanuevo. Thus in their own words:
Manalo —
Montecillo —
(c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee
concerned, herein respondent carefully evaluated each
Q And by reason of that information you and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the
made the re-evaluation of the paper? answer by the criteria laid down by the Court, and giving
the said examinee the benefit of the doubt in view of Mr.
A Yeas, your Honor. Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that particular
subject that said examinee failed, herein respondent
Q Would you have re-evaluated the paper became convinced that the said examinee deserved a
of your own accord in the absence of such higher grade than that previously given him, but he did
information? not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to
be given the passing grade of
A No, your Honor, because I have 75%. ..."(allegation 5-c, p. 38, Exh. 1-Manalo, rec.;
submitted my report at that time" (Vol. V, emphasis supplied).
p. 33, rec.; see also allegations in
paragraphs 2, 3, 4 & 5, Affidavit of April Pardo —
17, 1972, Exh. B-Montecillo; allegation
No. 2, Answer dated march 19, 1973, Exh. ... I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred,
A-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. because I corrected that particular notebook on
40-41, and 72, rec.). December 31,1971, considering especially the
representation of the Bar Confidant that the said investigation which in his words is "essential to his defense. "His
examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, pretension that he did not make this charge during the investigation when
the highest of which was 84% in Remedial Law, if I recall Justice Pamatian was still alive, and deferred the filing of such charge
correctly. ... (allegation 7, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. against Justice Pamatian and possibly also against Oscar Landicho
1164, p. 62, rec.; emphasis supplied). before the latter departed for Australia "until this case shall have been
terminated lest it be misread or misinterpreted as being intended as a
With the misrepresentations and the circumstances utilized by leverage for a favorable outcome of this case on the part of respondent
respondent Lanuevo to induce the herein examiners to make the re- or an act of reprisal", does not invite belief; because he does not impugn
evaluation adverted to, no one among them can truly claim that the re- the motives of the five other members of the 1971 Bar Examination
evaluation effected by them was impartial or free from any improper Committee, who also affirmed that he deceived them into re-evaluating or
influence, their conceded integrity, honesty and competence revising the grades of respondent Galang in their respective subjects.
notwithstanding.
It appears, however, that after the release of the results of the 1971 Bar
Consequently, Galang cannot justifiably claim that he deserved the examinations, Oscar Landicho, who failed in that examinations, went to
increased grades given after the said re-evaluations(Galang's memo see and did see Civil Law examiner Pamatian for the purpose of seeking
attached to the records, Adm. Case No. 1163). his help in connection with the 1971 Bar Examinations. Examiner
Pamatian advised Landicho to see the Chairman of the 1971 Bar
At any rate, WE are convinced, in the light of the explanations of the Examination Committee. Examiner Pamatian mentioned in passing to
respondents-examiners, which were earlier quoted in full, that their Landicho that an examination booklet was re-evaluated by him
actuations in connection with the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang (Pamatian) before the release of the said bar results (Vol. V, pp. 6-7, rec).
in five (5) subjects do not warrant or deserve the imposition of any Even though such information was divulged by respondent Pamatian
disciplinary action. WE find their explanations satisfactory. Nevertheless, after the official release of the bar results, it remains an indecorous act,
WE are constrained to remind herein respondents-examiners that their hardly expected of a member of the Judiciary who should exhibit restraint
participation in the admission of members to the Bar is one impressed in his actuations demanded by resolute adherence to the rules of
with the highest consideration of public interest — absolute purity of the delicacy. His unseemly act tended to undermine the integrity of the bar
proceedings — and so are required to exercise the greatest or utmost examinations and to impair public faith in the Supreme Court.
case and vigilance in the performance of their duties relative thereto.
VI
V
The investigation failed to unearth direct evidence that the illegal
Respondent Atty. Victorio D. Lanuevo, in his memorandum filed on machination of respondent Lanuevo to enable Galang to pass the 1971
November 14, 1973, claimed that respondent-examiner Pamatian "in Bar examinations was committed for valuable consideration.
bringing up this unfounded cause, or lending undue assistance or support
thereto ... was motivated with vindictiveness due to respondent's refusal A
to be pressured into helping his (examiner's) alleged friend — a
participant in the 1971 Bar Examinations whom said examiner named as There are, however, acquisitions made by Respondent Lanuevo
Oscar Landicho and who, the records will show, did not pass said immediately after the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations in
examinations (p. 9, Lanuevo's memo, Adm. Case No. 1162). February, 1972, which may be out of proportion to his salary as Bar
Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court.
It must be stated that this is a very serious charge against the honor and
integrity of the late Justice Ramon Pamatian, who passed away on 1. On April 5, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife
October 18, 1973 and therefore cannot refute Lanuevo's insinuations. acquired from the BF Homes, Inc. a house and lot with an
Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo did not bring this out during the area of 374 square meters, more or less, for the amount
of P84,114.00. The deed of sale was dated March 5, Secondly, the alleged note which he allegedly received
1972 but was notarized only on April 5, 1972. On the from his sister at the time he received the $200 was not
same date, however, respondent Lanuevo and his wife even presented by respondent during the investigation.
executed two (2)mortgages covering the said house and And according to Respondent Lanuevo himself, while he
lot in favor of BF Homes, Inc. in the total amount of considered this a loan, his sister did not seriously
P67,291.20 (First mortgage — P58,879.80, Entry No. consider it as one. In fact, no mode or time of payment
90913: date of instrument — April 5, 1972, date of was agreed upon by them. And furthermore, during the
inscription — April 20, 1972: Second mortgage — investigation, respondent Lanuevo promised to furnish the
P8,411.40, Entry No. 90914: date of instrument — April 5, Investigator the address of his sister in Okinawa. Said
1972, date of inscription — April 20, 1972). [D-2 to D-4, promise was not fulfilled as borne out by the records.
Vol. III, rec.]. Respondent Lanuevo paid as down payment Considering that there is no showing that his sister, who
the amount of only P17,000.00, which according to him is has a family of her own, is among the top earners in
equivalent to 20%, more or less, of the purchase price of Okinawa or has saved a lot of money to give to him, the
P84,114.00. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that P5,000.00 conclusion, therefore, that the P17,000.00 of respondent
of the P17,000.00 was his savings while the remaining Lanuevo was either an ill-gotten or undeclared income is
the P12,000.00 came from his sister in Okinawa in the inevitable under the foregoing circumstances.
form of a loan and received by him through a niece before
Christmas of 1971 in dollars ($2000) [Vol. VII, pp. 41-48; On August 14, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife
Vol. VIII, pp. 2-3, rec.] mortgaged their BF Homes house and lot to the GSIS for
the amount of P65,000.00 (Entry No. 4992: August 14,
It appears, however, that his alleged P5,000.00 1972 — date of instrument; August 23, 1972 — date of
savings and P12,000.00 loan from his sister; are not fully inscription). On February 28, 1973, the second mortgage
reflected and accounted for in respondent's 1971 in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90914, was redeemed by
Statement of Assets and Liabilities which he filed on respondent and was subsequently cancelled on March
January 17, 1972. 20,1973, Entry No. 30143. Subsequently, or on March 2,
1973 the first mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No.
In said 1971 statement, respondent Lanuevo listed under 90913 was also redeemed by respondent Lanuevo and
Assets a bank deposit in the amount of only P2,000.00. In thereafter cancelled on March 20, 1973, (See D-2 to D-4,
his 1972 statement, his bank deposit listed under Assets Vol. III, rec.). Hence, only the mortgage in favor of GSIS
was in the amount of P1,011.00, which shows therefore remains as the encumbrance of respondent's house and
that of the P2,000.00 bank deposit listed in his 1971 lot. According to respondent Lanuevo, the monthly
statement under Assets, only the amount of P989.00 was amortization of the GSIS mortgage is P778.00 a month,
used or withdrawn. The amount of P18,000.00 receivable but that since May of 1973, he was unable to pay the
listed under Assets in his 1971 statement was not same. In his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities,
realized because the transaction therein involved did not which he filed in connection with his resignation and
push through (Statement of Assets and Liabilities of retirement (filed October 13, 1972), the house and lot
respondent Lanuevo from 1965 to 1972; Vol. VIII, pp. 47- declared as part of his assets, were valued at
48, rec.). P75,756.90. Listed, however, as an item in his liabilities in
the same statement was the GSIS real estate loan in the
Likewise, the alleged December, 1971 $2000 loan of amount of P64,200.00 (1972 Statement of Assets and
respondent from his married sister in Okinawa is Liabilities).
extremely doubtful. In the first place, said amount of
$2000 (P12,000.00) is not reflected in his 1971Statement 2. Listed as an asset in his 1972 Statement of Assets and
of Assets and Liabilities filed on January 17, 1972. Liabilities is a 1956 VW car valued at P5,200.00. That he
acquired this car sometime between January, 1972 and (a) Persuading inducing or influencing another public
November, 1972 could be inferred from the fact that no officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules
such car or any car was listed in his statement of assets and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority
and liabilities of 1971 or in the years previous to 1965. It or an offense in connection with the official duties of the
appears, however, that his listed total assets, excluding latter, or allowing himself to be presented, induced, or
receivables in his 1971 Statement was P19,000.00, while influenced to commit such violation or offense.
in his 1972 (as of November, 1972) Statement, his listed
total assets, excluding the house and lot was xxx xxx xxx
P18,211.00, including the said 1956 VW car worth
P5,200.00. (e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the
Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted
The proximity in point of time between the official release benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his
of the 1971 Bar examinations and the acquisition of the official administrative or judicial functions through
above-mentioned properties, tends to link or tie up the manifest partiality, evidence bad faith or gross
said acquisitions with the illegal machination committed inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to
by respondent Lanuevo with respect to respondent officers and employees of offices or government
Galang's examination papers or to show that the money corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits
used by respondent Lanuevo in the acquisition of the or other concessions.
above properties came from respondent Galang in
consideration of his passing the Bar. Section 8 of said Republic Act No. 3019 authorizes the dismissal or
removal of a public officer once it is determined that his property or
During the early stage of this investigation but after the Court had money "is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer
informed respondent Lanuevo of the serious irregularities in the 1971 Bar or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from
examinations alleged in Oscar Landicho's Confidential Letter and in fact, legitimately acquired property ... " (Sec. 2, Rep. Act 1379; Sec. 8, Rep.
after Respondent Lanuevo had filed on April 12, 1972 his sworn Act 3019).
statement on the matter, as ordered by the Court, respondent Lanuevo
surprisingly filed his letter or resignation on October 13, 1972 with the It should be stressed, however, that respondent Lanuevo's
end in view of retiring from the Court. His resignation before he was aforementioned Statements of Assets and Liabilities were not presented
required to show cause on March 5, 1973 but after he was informed of or taken up during the investigation; but they were examined as they are
the said irregularities, is indicative of a consciousness of guilt. part of the records of this Court.

It must be noted that immediately after the official release of the results of B
the 1971 Bar examinations, respondent Lanuevo went on vacation and
sick leave from March 16, 1972 to January 15, 1973, obtaining the case
There are likewise circumstances indicating possible contacts between
value thereof in lump sum in the amount of P11,000.00. He initially
respondent Ramon E. Galang and/or his father and respondent Victorio
claimed at the investigation that h e used a part thereof as a down
D. Lanuevo before the latter become the bar Confidant.
payment for his BF Homes house and lot (Vol. VII, pp. 40-48, rec.), which
he bought on April 5, 1972.
1. Respondent Ramon E. Galang was a beneficiary of the G.I Bill of
Rights educational program of the Philippine Veterans Board from his
Criminal proceedings may be instituted against respondent Lanuevo
high school days — 1951 to 1955 — up to his pre-law studies at the MLQ
under Section 3 (a & e) in relation to Section 9 of Republic Act No. 1379
Educational Institution (now MLQ University) — 1955 to 1958. From 1948
(Anti-Graft Law) for:
to 1958, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo was connected with the
Philippine Veterans Board which is the governmental agency entrusted
with the affairs of our veterans including the implementation of the educational benefits; and that he does not know the father of Mr. Ramon
Veterans Bill of Rights. From 1955 to 1958, Respondent Lanuevo E. Galang and has never met him (Vol. VII, pp. 28, 49, rec.).
successively held the position of Junior Investigator, Veterans Claims
Investigator, Supervising Veterans Investigator and Veterans Claims 3. Respondent Lanuevo, as a member of the USAFEE, belonged to the
Investigator (Service Record, p. 9, Adm. Case No. 1162). During that 91st Infantry operating at Zambales and then Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija,
period of time, therefore, respondent Lanuevo had direct contacts with shortly before the war (Vol. VII, pp. 48-49, rec.). Later he joined the
applicants and beneficiaries of the Veterans Bill of Rights. Galang's guerrilla movement in Samar.
educational benefits was approved on March 16, 1954, retroactive as of
the date of waiver — July 31, 1951, which is also the date of filing (A, Vol. He used to be a member of the Philippine Veterans Legion especially
IV, rec.). while working with the Philippine Veterans Board(Vol. VII, p. 49, rec.).

It is alleged by respondent Ramon E. Galang that it was his father who all He does not know the Banal Regiment of the guerrillas, to which
the time attended to the availment of the said educational benefits and Galang's father belonged. During the Japanese occupation, his guerrilla
even when he was already in Manila taking up his pre-law at MLQ outfit was operating in Samar only and he had no communications with
Educational Institution from 1955 to 1958. In 1955, respondent Galang other guerrilla organization in other parts of the country.
was already 19 years old, and from 1957 to 1958, he was employed as a
technical assistant in the office of Senator Roy (Vol. V, pp. 79-80, 86-87,
He attended meetings of the Philippine Veterans Legion in his chapter in
rec.).[Subsequently, during the investigation, he claimed that he was the
Samar only and does not remember having attended its meeting here in
private secretary of Senator Puyat in 1957 (Vol. VI, pp. 12-13, rec.)]. It
Manila, even while he was employed with the Philippine Veterans Board.
appears, however, that a copy of the notice-letter dated June 28, 1955 of
He is not a member of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (Vol. VII,
the Philippine Veterans Board to the MLQ Educational Institution on the
p.51, rec.).
approval of the transfer of respondent Galang from Sta. Rita Institute to
the MLQ Educational Institution effective the first semester of the school
year 1955-56 was directly addressed and furnished to respondent On November 27, 1941, while respondent Lanuevo was with the
Ramon E. Galang at 2292 Int. 8 Banal St., Tondo, Manila (A-12, Vol. IV, Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija,
rec.). he was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija
Provincial Hospital as a result and was still confined there when their
camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on December 13,
Respondent Ramon E. Galang further declared that he never went to the
1941 (Sworn statement of respondent Lanuevo dated August 27, 1973,
Office of the Philippine Veterans to follow up his educational benefits and
Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 46, rec.).
claimed that he does not even know the location of the said office. He
does not also know whether beneficiaries of the G.I. Bill of Rights
educational benefits are required to go to the Philippine Veterans Board German Galang, father of respondent Galang, was a member of the
every semester to submit their ratings (Vol. V, p. 86, rec.). But Banal Guerilla Forces, otherwise known as the Banal Regiment. He was
respondent Galang admits that he had gone to the GSIS and City Court commissioned and inducted as a member thereof on January 16, 1942
of Manila, although he insists that he never bothered to take a look at the and was given the rank of first lieutenant. His unit "was attached and
neighboring buildings (Vol. V, pp. 93-94, rec.). The huge and imposing served into the XI-Corps, US Army; XIII-C US Army, 43rd Div., US Army,
Philippine Veterans Building is beside the GSIS building and is obliquely stationed headquarters at Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija and with the 38th
across the City Court building. Division, US army stationed at Corregidor in the mopping-up operations
against the enemies, from 9 May 1945 date of recognition to 31
December 1945, date of demobilization"(Affidavit of Jose Banal dated
2. Respondent Lanuevo stated that as an investigator in the Philippine
December 22, 1947, Vol. IV, A-3, rec.).
Veterans Board, he investigated claims for the several benefits given to
veterans like educational benefits and disability benefits; that he does not
remember, however, whether in the course of his duties as veterans It should be stressed that once the bar examiner has submitted the
investigator, he came across the application of Ramon E. Galang for corrected notebooks to the Bar Confidant, the same cannot be withdrawn
for any purpose whatsoever without prior authority from the Court.
Consequently, this Court expresses herein its strong disapproval of the
actuations of the bar examiners in Administrative Case No. 1164 as
above delineated.

WHEREFORE, IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1162, RESPONDENT


VICTORIO D. LANUEVO IS HEREBY DISBARRED AND HIS NAME
ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS; AND IN
ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1163, RESPONDENT RAMON E.
GALANG, alias Roman E. GALANG, IS HEREBY LIKEWISE
DISBARRED AND HIS NAME ALSO ORDERED STRICKEN FROM THE
ROLL OF ATTORNEYS.

Makalintal, C.J., Castro, Fernando, Barredo, Esguerra, Muñoz Palma and


Aquino, JJ., concur.

Teehankee, J., concurs in the result.

Antonio, J., is on official leave.

Concepcion and Martin, JJ., took no part.


Republic of the Philippines are admittedly aliens and are found to be undesirable, and having alleged
SUPREME COURT that they are Filipino citizens, said Board has no jurisdiction to take
Manila EN BANC cognizance of the charges filed against them.

G.R. No. L-6784 March 12, 1954 While the jurisdiction of the Deportation Board as an instrument of the
Chief Executive to deport undesirable aliens exists only when the person
NATIVIDAD MIRANDA, LUIS MIRANDA, PEDRO MIRANDA, RAMON arrested is an alien, however, the mere plea of citizenship does not divest
MIRANDA and FAUSTINO MIRANDA,petitioners, the Board of its jurisdiction over the case. Petitioners should make "a
vs. showing that his claim is not frivolous" (Ng Fung Ho vs. White, 259 U.S.,
DEPORTATION BOARD, respondent. 275), and must prove by sufficient evidence that they are Filipino citizens.
[Kessler vs. Strecker (1939) 307 U.S., 21, 35-36.] If such is the primary
Jacobo Gonzales for petitioners. duty of petitioners, it follows that the Deportation Board has the
Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag and Solicitor Felix V. necessary power to pass upon the evidence that may be presented and
Makasiar for respondent. determine in the first instance if petitioners are Filipino citizens or not.
This is inherent in, or essential to the efficient exercise of, the power of
the Deportation Board (Laurencio vs. Collector of Customs, 35 Phil., 37.)
BAUTISTA, ANGELO, J.:
It is not therefore correct to state that the question of citizenship should
be determined exclusively by the courts. As this Court ruled in a recent
This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking to restrain case:
respondent from hearing the Deportation case filed against petitioners
and, incidentally, to have an order issued requiring respondent to show
Resuelto por la Junta que tiene jurisdiccion, es obvio que debe
cause why petitioners should not be released on the ground of lack of
proseguir con el caso hasta su terminacion. Si la Junta halla
jurisdiction.
infundados los cargos de indeseabilidad del recurrente, el caso
habra terminado totalmente, pero si la halla indeseable, puede
On November 17, 1952, petitioners were charged before the Deportation apelar contra el fallo, y si la apelacion fracasa, entonces sera el
Board with having entered the Philippines through fraud and tiempo de considerar si demonstrando causa razonable debe
misrepresentation in that, being the children of Chinese parents, they haber un juicio ulterior sobre la ciudadana filipina que alega
succeed in showing through misrepresentation that they are the mediante habeas corpus. (Llanco vs. The Deportation Board,
legitimate children of Faustino Miranda, a Filipino citizen, had with a G.R. No. L-6272, prom. February 22, 1954.)
woman named Puy Siok and that, by reason of such misrepresentation,
they were landed in this country as children of a Filipino citizen. Because
The foregoing disposes of the claim relative to the illegality of petitioner's
of these charges, petitioners were arrested and detained at the detention
confinement. With regard to the contention that the Deportation Board
station of the Bureau of Immigration although later they were set liberty
has acted in excess of its jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in
upon posting a bond of P1,000 each.
allowing the taking of a blood test upon the persons of petitioners to
prove that they are not Filipino citizens, the same need not now be
On June 18, 1953, petitioners filed a motion to quash the case alleging considered, it being a matter that said Board can look into in the exercise
that they are Filipino citizens and, therefore, the Deportation Board has its incidental power to pass upon the citizenship of petitioners.
no jurisdiction over them. The Deportation Board not only denied this
motion but set the case for hearing on July 7, 1953, whereupon petitioner
Wherefore petition is denied, with costs against petitioners. The writ of
filed the present petition seeking the suspension of the hearing and their
preliminary injunction issued against respondent is hereby dissolved.
release.
Paras, C.J., Reyes, Pablo, Jugo, Bengzon, Labrador, Padilla,
The main contention of petitioners is predicated upon the theory that the
Concepcion, Montemayor and Diokno, JJ., concur.
jurisdiction of the Deportation Board is confined to persons who
Republic of the Philippines Services Rendered" equivalent to 20% of the backwages. Munings
SUPREME COURT petition was opposed by Cipriano Cid & Associates the ground that he is
Manila not a lawyer.

EN BANC The records of Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo show that the charge was filed by
Cipriano Cid & Associates through Atty. Atanacio Pacis. All the hearings
were held in Bacolod City and appearances made in behalf of the
complainants were at first by Attorney Pacis and subsequently by
G.R. No. L-23959 November 29, 1971 respondent Quintin Muning.

PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF FREE LABOR UNIONS (PAFLU), On 12 May 1964, the Court of Industrial Relations awarded 25% of the
ENRIQUE ENTILA & VICTORIANO TENAZAS petitioners, backwages as compensation for professional services rendered in the
vs. case, apportioned as follows:
BINALBAGAN ISABELA SUGAR COMPANY, COURT OF
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, & QUINTIN MUNING respondents. Attys. Cipriano Cid & Associates
............................................. 10%
Cipriano Cid & Associates for petitioners.
Quintin Muning
Ceferino Magat and Manuel C. Gonzales for respondent Quintin Muning. ......................................................................... 10%

Atty. Atanacio Pacis


................................................................. 5%
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
The award of 10% to Quintin Muning who is not a lawyer according to the
order, is sought to be voided in the present petition.
May a non-lawyer recover attorney's fees for legal services rendered?
This is the issue presented in this petition for review of an order, dated 12
May 1964, and the en banc resolution, dated 8 December 1964, of the Respondent Muning moved in this Court to dismiss the present petition
Court of Industrial Relations, in its Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo, granting on the ground of late filing but his motion was overruled on 20 January
respondent Quintin Muning a non-lawyer, attorney's fees for professional 1965.1 He asked for reconsideration, but, considering that the motion
services in the said case. contained averments that go into the merits of the case, this Court
admitted and considered the motion for reconsideration for all purposes
as respondent's answer to the petitioner for review.2 The case was
The above-named petitioners were complainants in Case No. 72-ULP-
considered submitted for decision without respondent's brief.3
Iloilo entitled, "PAFLU et al. vs. Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Co., et al."
After trial, the Court of Industrial Relations rendered a decision, on 29
March 1961, ordering the reinstatement with backwages of complainants Applicable to the issue at hand is the principle enunciated
Enrique Entila and Victorino Tenazas. Said decision became final. On 18 in Amalgamated Laborers' Association, et al. vs. Court of Industrial
October 1963, Cipriano Cid & Associates, counsel of record for the Relations, et al., L-23467, 27 March 1968,4 that an agreement providing
winning complainants, filed a notice of attorney's lien equivalent to 30% for the division of attorney's fees, whereby a non-lawyer union president
of the total backwages. On 22 November 1963, Atty. Atanacio Pacis also is allowed to share in said fees with lawyers, is condemned by Canon 34
filed a similar notice for a reasonable amount. Complainants Entila and of Legal Ethics and is immoral and cannot be justified. An award by a
Tenazas on 3 December 1963, filed a manifestation indicating their non- court of attorney's fees is no less immoral in the absence of a contract, as
objection to an award of attorney's fees for 25% of their backwages, and, in the present case.
on the same day, Quentin Muning filed a "Petition for the Award of
The provision in Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 875 that — But in practically all jurisdictions statutes have now been
enacted prohibiting persons not licensed or admitted to
In the proceeding before the Court or Hearing Examiner the bar from practising law, and under statutes of this
thereof, the parties shall not be required to be kind, the great weight of authority is to the effect that
represented by legal counsel ... compensation for legal services cannot be recovered by
one who has not been admitted to practice before the
is no justification for a ruling, that the person representing the party- court or in the jurisdiction the services were rendered. 5
litigant in the Court of Industrial Relations, even if he is not a lawyer, is
entitled to attorney's fees: for the same section adds that — No one is entitled to recover compensation for services as
an attorney at law unless he has been duly admitted to
it shall be the duty and obligation of the Court or Hearing practice ... and is an attorney in good standing at the
Officer to examine and cross examine witnesses on time.6
behalf of the parties and to assist in the orderly
presentation of evidence. The reasons are that the ethics of the legal profession should not be
violated;7 that acting as an attorney with authority constitutes contempt of
thus making it clear that the representation should be exclusively court, which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both,8 and the law
entrusted to duly qualified members of the bar. will not assist a person to reap the fruits or benefit of an act or an act
done in violation of law;9 and that if were to be allowed to non-lawyers, it
would leave the public in hopeless confusion as to whom to consult in
The permission for a non-member of the bar to represent or appear or
case of necessity and also leave the bar in a chaotic condition, aside
defend in the said court on behalf of a party-litigant does not by itself
from the fact that non-lawyers are not amenable to disciplinary
entitle the representative to compensation for such representation. For
measures. 10
Section 24, Rule 138, of the Rules of Court, providing —
And the general rule above-stated (referring to non-
Sec. 24. Compensation of attorney's agreement as to
recovery of attorney's fees by non-lawyers) cannot be
fees. — An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover
circumvented when the services were purely legal, by
from his client no more than a reasonable compensation
seeking to recover as an "agent" and not as an
for his services, ...
attorney. 11
imports the existence of an attorney-client relationship as a condition to
The weight of the reasons heretofore stated why a non-lawyer may not
the recovery of attorney's fees. Such a relationship cannot exist unless
be awarded attorney's fees should suffice to refute the possible argument
the client's representative in court be a lawyer. Since respondent Muning
that appearances by non-lawyers before the Court of Industrial Relations
is not one, he cannot establish an attorney-client relationship with
should be excepted on the ground that said court is a court of special
Enrique Entila and Victorino Tenezas or with PAFLU, and he cannot,
jurisdiction; such special jurisdiction does not weigh the aforesaid
therefore, recover attorney's fees. Certainly public policy demands that
reasons and cannot justify an exception.
legal work in representation of parties litigant should be entrusted only to
those possessing tested qualifications and who are sworn, to observe the
rules and the ethics of the profession, as well as being subject to judicial The other issue in this case is whether or not a union may appeal an
disciplinary control for the protection of courts, clients and the public. award of attorney's fees which are deductible from the backpay of some
of its members. This issue arose because it was the union PAFLU, alone,
that moved for an extension of time to file the present petition for review;
On the present issue, the rule in American jurisdictions is persuasive.
union members Entila and Tenazas did not ask for extension but they
There, it is stated:
were included as petitioners in the present petition that was subsequently
filed, it being contended that, as to them (Entila and Tenazas), their 1 Rollo, page 37.
inclusion in the petition as co-petitioners was belated.
2 Rollo, page 62.
We hold that a union or legitimate labor organization may appeal an
award of attorney's fees which are deductible from the backpay of its 3 Rollo, page 75.
members because such union or labor organization is permitted to
institute an action in the industrial court, 12 on behalf of its members; and 4 22 SCRA, 1266.
the union was organized "for the promotion of the emloyees' moral, social
and economic well-being"; 13 hence, if an award is disadvantageous to its
5 4 A.L.R. 1088, Editorial note.
members, the union may prosecute an appeal as an aggrieved party,
under Section 6, Republic Act 875, which provides:
6 7 C.J.S 1022.
Sec. 6. Unfair Labor Practice cases — Appeals. — Any
person aggrieved by any order of the Court may appeal to 7 See also, Foundation Finance Co. vs. Robins, 153 So.
the Supreme Court of the Philippines ..., 833 179 La. 259, reversing (App) 149 So. 166.

since more often than not the individual unionist is not in a position to 8 Rule 71, Rules of Court.
bear the financial burden of litigations.
9 Harris v. Clark, 142 N.E. 881, 81 Ind. App. 494.
Petitioners allege that respondent Muning is engaged in the habitual
practice of law before the Court of Industrial Relations, and many of them 10 Harriman v. Straham, 33 P. 2d 1067, 47 Wyo. 208.
like him who are not licensed to practice, registering their appearances
as "representatives" and appearing daily before the said court. If true, this 11 4 A.L.R. 1089.
is a serious situation demanding corrective action that respondent court
should actively pursue and enforce by positive action to that purpose. But 12 NLU v. Dinglasan, L-7945, 23 March 1956, 52 O.G.
since this matter was not brought in issue before the court a quo, it may No. 4, 1933.
not be taken up in the present case. Petitioners, however, may file proper
action against the persons alleged to be illegally engaged in the practice 13 Section 1(a), Republic Act 875.
of law.

WHEREFORE, the orders under review are hereby set aside insofar as
they awarded 10% of the backwages as attorney's fees for respondent
Quintin Muning. Said orders are affirmed in all other respects. Costs
against respondent Muning.

Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee,


Barredo, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ. concur.

Footnotes
Republic of the Philippines Court ruled on the motion by upholding the right of Fule to appear and
SUPREME COURT further stating that he (Fule) was not actually enagaged in private law
Manila practice. This Order was appealed to the CFI of Laguna, presided by the
Hon. Hilarion U. Jarencio, which rendered judgment on December 20,
EN BANC 1961, the pertinent portions of which read:

G.R. No. L-19450 May 27, 1965 The present case is one for malicious mischief. There being no
reservation by the offended party of the civil liability, the civil
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, action was deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal action.
vs. The offended party had, therefore, the right to intervene in the
SIMPLICIO VILLANUEVA, defendant-appellant. case and be represented by a legal counsel because of her
interest in the civil liability of the accused.
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Magno T. Buese for defendant-appellant. Sec. 31, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court 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
PAREDES, J.:
that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. Assistant City
Attorney Fule appeared in the Justice of the Peace Court as an
On September 4, 1959, the Chief of Police of Alaminos, Laguna, charged agent or friend of the offended party. It does not appear that he
Simplicio Villanueva with the Crime of Malicious Mischief before the was being paid for his services or that his appearance was in a
Justice of the Peace Court of said municipality. Said accused was professional capacity. As Assistant City Attorney of San Pablo he
represented by counsel de officio but later on replaced by counsel de had no control or intervention whatsoever in the prosecution of
parte. The complainant in the same case was represented by City crimes committed in the municipality of Alaminos, Laguna,
Attorney Ariston Fule of San Pablo City, having entered his appearance because the prosecution of criminal cases coming from Alaminos
as private prosecutor, after securing the permission of the Secretary of are handled by the Office of the Provincial Fiscal and not by the
Justice. The condition of his appearance as such, was that every time he City Attornev of San Pablo. There could be no possible conflict in
would appear at the trial of the case, he would be considered on official the duties of Assistant City Attorney Fule as Assistant City
leave of absence, and that he would not receive any payment for his Attorney of San Pablo and as private prosecutor in this criminal
services. The appearance of City Attorney Fule as private prosecutor was case. On the other hand, as already pointed out, the offended
questioned by the counsel for the accused, invoking the case of Aquino, party in this criminal case had a right to be represented by an
et al. vs. Blanco, et al., agent or a friend to protect her rights in the civil action which was
L-1532, Nov. 28, 1947, wherein it was ruled that "when an attorney had impliedly instituted together with the criminal action.
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
In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that Asst. City Attorney
law practice." Counsel then argued that the JP Court in entertaining the
Ariston D. Fule may appear before the Justice of the Peace Court
appearance of City Attorney Fule in the case is a violation of the above
of Alaminos, Laguna as private prosecutor in this criminal case as
ruling. On December 17, 1960 the JP issued an order sustaining the
an agent or a friend of the offended party.
legality of the appearance of City Attorney Fule.
WHEREFORE, the appeal from the order of the Justice of the
Under date of January 4, 1961, counsel for the accused presented a
Peace Court of Alaminos, Laguna, allowing the apprearance of
"Motion to Inhibit Fiscal Fule from Acting as Private Prosecutor in this
Ariston D. Fule as private prosecutor is dismissed, without costs.
Case," this time invoking Section 32, Rule 27, now Sec. 35, Rule 138,
Revised Rules of Court, which bars certain attorneys from practicing.
Counsel claims that City Attorney Fule falls under this limitation. The JP The above decision is the subject of the instant proceeding.
The appeal should be dismissed, for patently being without
merits.1äwphï1.ñët

Aside from the considerations advanced by the learned trial judge,


heretofore reproduced, and which we consider plausible, the fallacy of
the theory of defense counsel lies in his confused interpretation of
Section 32 of Rule 127 (now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules), which
provides that "no judge or other official or employee of the superior courts
or of the office of the Solicitor General, shall engage in private practice as
a member of the bar or give professional advice to clients." He claims
that City Attorney Fule, in appearing as private prosecutor in the case
was engaging in private practice. We believe that the isolated
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 in frequent or customary actions, a
succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual
exercise (State vs. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768).
Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted
as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public, as
customarily and demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan,
4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644, 647). The appearance as counsel on one
occasion is not conclusive as determinative of engagement in the private
practice of law. The following observation of the Solicitor General is
noteworthy:

Essentially, the word 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.

For one thing, it has never been refuted that City Attorney Fule had been
given permission by his immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice, to
represent the complainant in the case at bar, who is a relative.

CONFORMABLY WITH ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed


from should be, as it is hereby affirmed, in all respects, with costs against
appellant..

Bengzon, C.J., Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala,


Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
Bautista Angelo, J., took no part.
SECOND DIVISION
To prove his claim, complainant cited the remarks made by respondent in
the course of the proceedings conducted on February 27, 2006 as
ATTY. MELVIN D.C. MANE, A.M. No. RTJ-08-2119
transcribed by stenographer Elenita C. de Guzman, viz:
Complainant, [Formerly A.M. O.C.A. IPI
No. 07-2709-RTJ]
COURT:
- versus - Present:
. . . Sir, are you from the College of Law of the
University of the Philippines?
QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson,
JUDGE MEDEL ARNALDO B. BELEN, CARPIO MORALES,
ATTY. MANE:
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH TINGA,
No[,] [Y]our Honor[,]
36, CALAMBA CITY, VELASCO, JR., and
from Manuel L. Quezon University[,] [Y]our Honor.
Respondent. BRION, JJ.
COURT:
No, youre not from UP.
Promulgated:
June 30, 2008
ATTY. MANE:
I am very proud of it.
x--------------------------------------------------x
COURT:
Then youre not from UP. Then you cannot equate
yourself to me because there is a saying and I know this,
RESOLUTION
not all law students are created equal, not all law schools
are created equal, not all lawyers are created equal despite
what the Supreme Being that we all are created equal in
His form and substance.[2] (Emphasis supplied)
CARPIO MORALES, J.:

By letter-complaint dated May 19, 2006[1] which was received by the Office
Complainant further claimed that the entire proceedings were duly
of the Court Administrator (OCA) on May 26, 2006, Atty. Melvin D.C. Mane
recorded in a tape recorder by stenographer de Guzman, and despite his
(complainant) chargedJudge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen (respondent), Presiding
motion (filed on April 24, 2006) for respondent to direct her to furnish him
Judge of Branch 36, Regional Trial Court, Calamba City, of demean[ing],
with a copy of the tape recording, the motion remained unacted as of the
humiliat[ing] and berat[ing] him during the hearing on February 27, 2006 of
date he filed the present administrative complaint on May 26, 2006. He,
Civil Case No. 3514-2003-C, Rural Bank of Cabuyao, Inc. v. Samuel
however, attached a copy of the transcript of stenographic notes taken
Malabanan, et al in which he was counsel for the plaintiff.
on February 27, 2006.
. . . The withdrawal or desistance of a complainant from
pursuing an administrative complaint does not divest the
Court of its disciplinary authority over court officials and
In his Comments[3] dated June 14, 2006 on the complaint filed in
personnel. Thus, the complainants withdrawal of the
compliance with the Ist Indorsement dated May 31, 2006[4] of the OCA, instant complaint will not bar the continuity of the instant
administrative proceeding against respondent judge.
respondent alleged that complainant filed on December 15, 2005 an
Urgent Motion to Inhibit,[5] paragraph 3[6] of which was malicious and a The issue presented before us is simple: Whether or not
the statements and actions made by the respondent judge
direct assault to the integrity and dignity of the Court and of the Presiding
during the subject February 27, 2006 hearing constitute
Judge as it succinctly implied that [he] issued the order dated 27 conduct unbecoming of a judge and a violation of the Code
September 2005 for [a] consideration other than the merits of the case. He of Judicial Conduct.

thus could not simply sit idly and allow a direct assault on his honor and After a cursory evaluation of the complaint, the
integrity. respondents comment and the documents at hand, we find
that there is no issue as to what actually transpired during
the February 27th hearing as evidenced by the
stenographic notes. The happening of the incident
On the unacted motion to direct the stenographer to furnish complainant complained of by herein complainant was never denied by
with a copy of the unedited tape recording of the proceedings, respondent the respondent judge. If at all, respondent judge merely
raised his justifications for his complained actuations.
quoted paragraphs 4 and 3[7]of the motion which, to him, implied that the
trial court was illegally, unethically and unlawfully engaged in editing the xxxx

transcript of records to favor a party litigant against the interest of . . . [A] judges official conduct and his behavior in the
[complainants] client. performance of judicial duties should be free from the
appearance of impropriety and must be beyond reproach.
Respondent thus claimed that it was on account of the two motions that he A judge must at all times be temperate in his
ordered complainant, by separate orders dated June 5, 2006, to explain language. Respondent judges insulting
statements which tend to question complainants
within 15 days[8] why he should not be cited for contempt. capability and credibility stemming from the fact that
Complainant later withdrew his complaint, by letter of September the latter did not graduated [sic] from UP Law school
is clearly unwarranted and inexcusable. When a judge
4, 2006,[9] stating that it was a mere result of his impulsiveness. indulges in intemperate language, the lawyer can return
the attack on his person and character, through an
administrative case against the judge, as in the instant
case.

Although respondent judges use in intemperate language


may be attributable to human frailty, the noble position in
In its Report dated November 7, 2007,[10] the OCA came up with the the bench demands from him courteous speech in and out
of the court.Judges are demanded to be always temperate,
following evaluation: patient and courteous both in conduct and language.
law, it is more important that they should act and behave in
xxxx such manner that the parties before them should have
confidence in their impartiality.[11] (Italics in the original;
Judge Belen should bear in mind that all judges should emphasis and underscoring supplied)
always observe courtesy and civility. In addressing
counsel, litigants, or witnesses, the judge should avoid a
controversial tone or a tone that creates animosity. Judges
The OCA thus recommended that respondent be reprimanded for violation
should always be aware that disrespect to lawyers
generates disrespect to them. There must be mutual of Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct with a warning that a repetition
concession of respect. Respect is not a one-way ticket
of the same shall be dealt with more severely.[12]
where the judge should be respected but free to insult
lawyers and others who appear in his court. Patience is
an essential part of dispensing justice and courtesy is a
By Resolution of January 21, 2008,[13] this Court required the parties to
mark of culture and good breeding. If a judge desires not
to be insulted, he should start using temperate language manifest whether they were willing to submit the case for resolution on the
himself; he who sows the wind will reap a storm.
basis of the pleadings already filed. Respondent complied on February 26,
It is also noticeable that during the subject hearing, not only 2008,[14] manifesting in the affirmative.
did respondent judge make insulting and demeaning
remarks but he also engaged in unnecessary lecturing
and debating. . .

xxxx
The pertinent provision of the Code of Judicial Conduct reads:
Respondent should have just ruled on the propriety of the
motion to inhibit filed by complainant, but, instead, he opted Rule 3.04. A judge should be patient, attentive, and
for a conceited display of arrogance, a conduct that falls courteous to lawyers, especially the inexperienced, to
below the standard of decorum expected of a judge. If litigants, witnesses, and others appearing before the court.
respondent judge felt that there is a need to admonish A judge should avoid unconsciously falling into the attitude
complainant Atty. Mane, he should have called him in his of mind that the litigants are made for the courts, instead of
chambers where he can advise him privately rather than the courts for the litigants.
battering him with insulting remarks and embarrassing
questions such as asking him from what school he came
from publicly in the courtroom and in the presence of his An author explains the import of this rule:
clients. Humiliating a lawyer is highly reprehensible.
It betrays the judges lack of patience and temperance. A
highly temperamental judge could hardly make decisions Rule 3.04 of the Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a
with equanimity. judge should be courteous to counsel, especially to those
who are young and inexperienced and also to all those
Thus, it is our view that respondent judge should shun from others appearing or concerned in the administration of
lecturing the counsels or debating with them during court justice in the court. He should be considerate of witnesses
hearings to prevent suspicions as to his fairness and and others in attendance upon his court. He should be
integrity. While judges should possess proficiency in law in courteous and civil, for it is unbecoming of a judge to
order that they can competently construe and enforce the utter intemperate language during the hearing of a
case. In his conversation with counsel in court, a judge COURT:
should be studious to avoid controversies which are apt to Tell me, what is your school?
obscure the merits of the dispute between litigants and
lead to its unjust disposition. He should not interrupt
counsel in their arguments except to clarify his mind as to ATTY. MANE:
their positions. Nor should he be tempted to
an unnecessary display of learning or premature I am proud graduate of Manuel L. Quezon University.
judgment.
COURT:
A judge without being arbitrary, unreasonable or Were you taught at the MLQU College of Law of the principle
unjust may endeavor to hold counsel to a proper of Stare Decisis and the interpretation of the
appreciation of their duties to the courts, to their clients and Supreme Court of the rules of procedure where
to the adverse party and his lawyer, so as to enforce due it states that if there is already a decision by the
diligence in the dispatch of business before the court. He Supreme Court, when that decision shall be
may utilize his opportunities to criticize and correct complied with by the Trial Court otherwise non-
unprofessional conduct of attorneys, brought to his compliance thereof shall subject the Courts to
attention, but he may not do so in an insulting judicial sanction,and I quote the decision. Thats
manner.[15] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) why I quoted the decision of the Supreme Court Sir,
because I know the problem between the bank and
the third party claimants and I state, The fair market
value is the price at which a property may be sold
by a seller, who is not compelled to sell, and bought
The following portions of the transcript of stenographic notes, quoted
by a buyer, who is not compelled to buy. Sir, thats
verbatim, taken during the February 27, 2006 hearing show that very clear, that is what fair market value and that is
not assessment value. In fact even you say
respondent made sarcastic and humiliating, even threatening and boastful
assessment value, the Court further state, the
remarks to complainant who is admittedly still young, unnecessary assessed value is the fair market value
multiplied. Not mere the basic assesses value. Sir
lecturing and debating, as well as unnecessary display of learning:
that is the decision of the Supreme Court, am I just
reading the decision or was I inventing it?

ATTY. MANE:
May I be allowed to proceed.

COURT:
COURT:
Sir, you tell me. Was I inventing the Supreme Court
xxx decision which I quoted and which you should have
researched too or I was merely imagining the
Sir do you know the principle or study the stare decisis? Supreme Court decision sir? Please answer it.

ATTY. MANE: ATTY. MANE:


Ah, with due respect your
No your Honor.
that anyone can commit errors. Because no one is
like God. Sir, I hope sir you understand that this
Court, this Judge is not God but this Judge is
COURT: human when challenge on his integrity and honor
is lodged. No matter how simple it is because that
Please answer it. is the only thing I have now.

xxxx Atty. Bantin, can you please show him my statement of


assets and liabilities?
COURT:
ATTY. MANE:
Thats why. Sir second, and again I quote from your own
pleadings, hale me to the Supreme Court I think that is not necessary your Honor.
otherwise I will hale you to the bar. Prove to me
that I am grossly ignorant or corrupt. COURT:

ATTY. MANE: No counsel because the imputations are there, thats why I
want you to see. Show him my assets and
Your Honor when this representation, your Honor . . . liabilities for the proud graduate of MLQU. Sir,
look at it. Sir, I have stock holdings in
COURT: the U.S. before I joined the bench. And it was very
clear to everyone, I would do everything not be
No, sir. tempted to accept bribe but I said I have spent my
fifteen (15) years and thats how much I have
ATTY. MANE: worked in fifteen (15) years excluding my wifes
assets which is more than what I have may be triple
Yes your Honor . . . of what I have. May be even four fold of what I
have. And look at my assets. May be even your
COURT: bank can consider on cash to cash basis my
personal assets. That is the reason I am telling you
No sir unless you apologize to the Court I will hale you to Atty. Mane. Please, look at it. If you want I can
the IBP Because hindi naman ako ganon. I am not show you even the Income Tax Return of my wife
that vindictive but if this remains. You cannot take and you will be surprised that my salary is not even
cover from the instruction of your client because her one-half month salary. Sir, she is the Chief
even if the instruction of a client is secret. Upon Executive Officer of a Multi-National Publishing
consideration, the language of the pleader must Company. Thats why I have the guts to take this
still conform with the decorum and respect to the job because doon po sa salary niya umaasa na
Court. Sir, thats the rule of practice. In my twenty lamang po ako sa aking asawa. Atty. Mane,
(20) years of practice Ive never been haled by a please you are still young. Other judges you would
judge to any question of integrity. Because even if already be haled to the IBP. Take that as a
I believed that the Court committed error in lesson. Now that you are saying that I was wrong
judgment or decision or grave abuse of discretion, in the three-day notice rule, again the Supreme
I never imputed any malicious or unethical Court decision validates me, PNB vs. Court of
behavior to the judge because I know and I believe Appeals, you want me to cite the quotation again
that any pleadings that do not conform with the know, if you act like a duck, walk like a duck,
three-day notice rule is considered as useless quack like a duck, you are a duck. But have you
scrap of paper and therefore not subject to any ever heard anything against the court. Sir in a
judicial cognizance. You know sir, you would say judicial system, in a Court, one year is time enough
but I was the one subject because the judge was for the practitioner to know whether a judge is what,
belligerent. No sir, you can go on my record and dishonest; 2), whether the judge is incompetent;
you will see that even prior to my rulings on your and 3) whether the judge is just playing loco. And I
case I have already thrown out so many motion for have sat hear for one year sir and please ask
non-compliance of a three-day notice rule. If I will around before you charge into the windmill. I am a
give you an exception because of this, then I would proud product of a public school system from
be looked upon with suspicion. So sir again, please elementary to college. And my only, and my only,
look again on the record and you will see how many the only way I can repay the taxpayers is a service
motions I threw out for non-compliance with the beyond reproach without fear or favor to
three-day notice rule. It is not only your case sir, anyone. Not even the executive, not even the one
because sir you are a practitioner and a proud sitting in Malacanang, not even the Supreme Court
graduate of the MLQU which is also the Alma if you are right. Sir, sana po naman inyo ring
Mater of my uncle. And I supposed you were igalang ang Hukuman kasi po kami, meron nga po,
taught in thought that the three-day notice rule tinatanggap ko, kung inyo pong mamarapatin,
is almost sacrosanct in order to give the other meron pong mga corrupt, maaari pong nakahanap
party time to appear and plead. In all books, na kayo ng corrupt na Judge pero hindi po lahat
Moran, Regalado and all other commentators kami ay corrupt. Maaari ko rin pong tanggapin sa
state that non-compliance with the three-day inyong abang lingcod na merong mga Hukom na
notice rule makes the pleading and motion a tanga pero hindi po naman lahat kami ay
useless scrap of paper. If that is a useless tanga. Ako po ay 8:30 or before ay nandito po ako
scrap of paper, sir, what would be my ground sa husgado ko. Aalis po ako dito sa hapon,
to grant exception to your motion? Tell me. babasahin ko lahat ang kaso ko para ko po
malaman kung any po ang kaso, para po pagharap
xxxx ko sa inyo at sa publiko hindi po ako
magmumukhang tanga. Sir, please have the
COURT: decency, not the respect, not to me but to the
Court. Because if you are a lawyer who cannot
Procedural due process. See. So please sir dont confuse respect the Court then you have no business
the Court. Despite of being away for twenty years appearing before the Court because you dont
from the college of law, still I can remember my believe in the Court system. Thats why one of my
rules, In your motion you said . . . imputing things classmates never appeared before Court because
to the Court. Sir please read your he doesnt believe in that system. He would rather
rules. Familiarize yourself, understand the stay in their airconditioned room because they say
jurisprudence before you be the Prince Valiant going to Court is useless. Then, to them I salute, I
or a Sir Gallahad in Quest of the Holy Grail. Sir, give compliment because in their own ways they
ako po ay mahirap na tao, karangalan ko lang po know the futility and they respect the Court, in that
ang aking kayang ibigay sa aking mga anak at iyan futility rather than be a hypocrite. Atty. Mane hindi
po ay hindi ko palalampasin maski kanino pa. Sir, mo ako kilala, Ive never disrespect the courts and
have you ever heard of anything about me in this I can look into your eyes. Kaya po dito ko gusto
Court for one year. Ask around, ask around. You kasi di po ako dito nagpractice para po walang
makalapit sa akin. Pero kung ako po naman ay
inyong babastusin ng ganyang handa po akong Alam mo Atty. Mane I know when one has to be vigilant
lumaban kahit saan, miski saan po. And you can and vigorous in the pursue of pride. But if you are
quote me, you can go there together to the vigilant and vigor, you should never crossed the
Supreme Court. Because the only sir, the only line.
treasure I have is my name and my integrity. I could
have easily let it go because it is the first time, but Sir, what is your interpretation to the first three
the second time is too much too soon. Sir, paragraphs?
masyado pong kwan yon, sinampal na po ninyo
ako nung primero, dinuran pa po ninyo ako ng ATTY. HILDAWA:
pangalawa. Thats adding insult to the injury
po. Hindi ko po sanagagawin ito pero ayan po ang There will be some . . .
dami diyang abugado. I challenge anyone to file a
case against me for graft and corruption, for COURT:
incompetence.
What sir?
xxxx
ATTY. HILDAWA:
COURT:
. . . indiscretion.
I will ask the lawyer to read the statement and if they
believe that you are not imputing any wrong doing COURT:
to me I will apologize to you.
Indiscretion. See, that is the most diplomatic word that an
Atty. Hildawa please come over. The Senior, I respect the old practitioner could say to the Court because of
old practitioner, whose integrity is unchallenged. respect.

Sir you said honest. Sir ganoon po ako. You still want to Sir, salamat po.
defend your position, so be it.
xxxx
Atty. Hildawa I beg your indulgence, I am sorry but I know
that you are an old practitioner hammered out by COURT:
years of practice and whose integrity by reputation
precedes you. Please read what your younger Kita po ninyo, iyan po ang matatandang
companero has written to this Honorable Court in abogado. Indiscretion na lang. Now you say that is
pleading and see for yourself the implications he your honest opinion and the old practitioner
hurled to the Court in his honest hammered through years of practice could only say
opinion. Remember he said honest.That indiscretion committed by this judge. Much more I
implication is your honest opinion of an implication who sits in this bench?
sir.
Now is that your honest opinion?[16] (Emphasis and
Sir 1, 2 and 3. Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3. If that is your honest underscoring supplied)
opinion. Remember the word you said honest
opinion.
censure; (3) reprimand; and (4) admonition with warning, the Court
imposes upon him the penalty of reprimand.

The Court thus finds the evaluation by the OCA well-taken.

An alumnus of a particular law school has no monopoly of


knowledge of the law. By hurdling the Bar Examinations which this Court
WHEREFORE, respondent, Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen, Presiding
administers, taking of the Lawyers oath, and signing of the Roll of
Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 36, Calamba City, is
Attorneys, a lawyer is presumed to be competent to discharge his functions
found GUILTY of conduct unbecoming of a judge and
and duties as, inter alia, an officer of the court, irrespective of where he
is REPRIMANDED therefor. He is further warned that a repetition of the
obtained his law degree. For a judge to determine the fitness or
same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.
competence of a lawyer primarily on the basis of his alma mater is clearly
an engagement in an argumentum ad hominem.
SO ORDERED.
A judge must address the merits of the case and not on the person
of the counsel. If respondent felt that his integrity and dignity were being
assaulted, he acted properly when he directed complainant to explain why
he should not be cited for contempt. He went out of bounds, however,
when he, as the above-quoted portions of the transcript of stenographic
notes show, engaged on a supercilious legal and personal discourse.

This Court has reminded members of the bench that even on the face of
boorish behavior from those they deal with, they ought to conduct
themselves in a manner befitting gentlemen and high officers of the
court.[17]

Respondent having exhibited conduct unbecoming of a judge, classified


as a light charge under Section 10, Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court,
which is penalized under Section 11(c) of the same Rule by any of the
following: (1) a fine of not less than P1,000 but not exceeding P10,000; (2)