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RENATO CAYETANO vs.CHRISTIAN MONSOD G.R. No. 100113 September 3, 1991

PARAS, J.:p

We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching proportions. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's decision

in this case would indubitably have a profound effect on the political

aspect of our national existence.

The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C:

There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding -elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (Emphasis supplied)

The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), Article XII- C of the 1973 Constitution which similarly provides:

There shall be an independent Commission on Elections composed of

a Chairman and eight Commissioners who shall be natural-born

citizens of 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 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.' (Emphasis supplied)

Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what constitutes practice of law as a legal qualification to an appointive office.

Black defines "practice of law" as:

The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and technique to serve the interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, 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 the practice of law by maintaining an office where he is held out to be-an attorney, using a letterhead describing himself as an attorney, counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel about pending litigation, and fixing and collecting fees for services rendered by his associate. (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.)

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) A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he:

for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their rights under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and there, in such representative capacity performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the law, or

while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852)

This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v.Agrava, (105 Phil. 173,176-177) stated:

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). (Emphasis supplied)

Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of any court and having no immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects, and the preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations and other affairs. Although these transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to become involved in litigation. They require

in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and complex situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor 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 of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed by persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 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. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A. 139,144). (Emphasis ours)

The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation briefing for new lawyers (1974-1975) listed the dimensions of the practice of law in even broader terms as advocacy, counselling and public service.

One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of employment in the profession. If what he does exacts knowledge of the law and is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in the active practice of their profession, and he follows some one or more lines of employment such as this he is a practicing attorney at law within the meaning of the statute. (Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW 312)

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. "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 notice or

render any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill." (111 ALR

23)

The following records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that it has adopted a liberal interpretation of the term "practice of law."

MR.

session, may I make a manifestation which I forgot to do during our review of the provisions on the Commission on Audit. May I be allowed to make a very brief statement?

FOZ.

Before

we

suspend

the

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir).

The Commissioner will please proceed.

the

qualifications of the members of the Commission on Audit. Among others, the qualifications provided for by Section I is that "They must be Members of the Philippine Bar" — I am quoting from the provision — "who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years".

MR. FOZ. This has

to

do

with

To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding members of the Bar who are now employed in the COA or Commission on Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this provision on qualifications regarding members of the Bar does not necessarily refer or involve actual practice of law outside the COA We have to interpret this to mean that as long as the lawyers who are employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their respective work within COA, then they are qualified to be considered for appointment as

members or commissioners, even chairman, of the Commission on Audit.

This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Agencies and we deem it important to take it up on the floor so that this interpretation may be made available whenever this provision on the qualifications as regards members of the Philippine Bar engaging in the practice of law for at least ten years is taken up.

MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one question.

MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.

MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA by a lawyer is equivalent to the requirement of a law practice that is set forth in the Article on the Commission on Audit?

MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of COA, although it is auditing, will necessarily involve legal work; it will involve legal work. And, therefore, lawyers who are employed in COA now would have the necessary qualifications in accordance with the Provision on qualifications under our provisions on the Commission on Audit. And, therefore, the answer is yes.

MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is that this is equivalent to the practice of law.

MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.

MR. OPLE. Thank you.

( Emphasis supplied)

Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among others, that the Chairman and two Commissioners of the Commission on Audit (COA) should either be certified public accountants with not less than ten years of auditing practice, or members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (emphasis supplied)

Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many ways synonymous with the word "lawyer." Today, although many lawyers do not engage in private practice, it is still a fact that the majority of lawyers are private practitioners. (Gary Munneke, Opportunities in Law Careers [VGM Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986], p. 15).

At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. The term, as commonly understood, means "an individual or organization engaged in the business of delivering legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who practice alone are often called "sole practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called "firms." The firm is usually a partnership and members of the firm are the partners. Some firms may be organized as professional corporations and the members called shareholders. In either case, the members of the firm are the experienced attorneys. In most firms, there are younger or more inexperienced salaried attorneyscalled "associates." (Ibid.).

The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous, unhelpful defining the practice of law 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, commonly understood to be the practice of law. (State Bar Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145 Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870 [1958] [quoting Grievance Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626 [1941]). Because lawyers perform almost every function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would obviously be too global to be workable.(Wolfram, op. cit.).

The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a client is at once the 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 large percentage spend their entire practice without litigating a case. (Ibid., p. 593). Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue to litigate and the litigating lawyer's role colors much of both the public image and the self perception of the legal profession. (Ibid.).

In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public mind reflects history, not reality. (Ibid.). Why is this so? Recall that the late Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer, once articulated on the importance of a lawyer as a business counselor in this wise: "Even today, there are still uninformed laymen whose concept of an attorney is one who principally tries cases before the courts. The members of the bench and bar and the informed laymen such as businessmen, know that in most developed societies today, substantially more legal work is transacted in law offices than in the courtrooms. General practitioners of law who do both litigation and non-litigation work also know that in most cases they find themselves spending more time doing what [is] loosely desccribe[d] as business counseling than in trying cases. The business lawyer has been described as the planner, the diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the surgeon. I[t] need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine, surgery should be avoided where internal medicine can be effective." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig engage in a number of legal tasks, each involving different legal doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal institutions, clients, and other interested parties. Even the increasing numbers of lawyers in specialized practice wig usually perform at least some legal services outside their specialty. And even within a narrow specialty such as tax practice, a lawyer will shift from one legal task or role such as advice-giving to an importantly different one such as representing a client before an administrative agency. (Wolfram, supra, p. 687).

By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer is one of the relatively rare types — a litigator who specializes in this work to the exclusion of much else. Instead, the

work will require the lawyer to have mastered the full range of traditional lawyer skills of client counselling, advice-giving, document drafting, and negotiation. And increasingly lawyers find that the new skills of evaluation and mediation are both effective for many clients and a source of employment. (Ibid.).

Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in litigation work that is constrained in very important ways, at least theoretically, so as to remove from it some of the salient features of adversarial litigation. Of these special roles, the most prominent is that of prosecutor. In some lawyers' work the constraints are imposed both by the nature of the client 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 corporate practice and government legal service. (Ibid.).

In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, herein below quoted are emerging trends in corporate law practice, a departure from the traditional concept of practice of law.

We are experiencing today what truly may be called a revolutionary transformation in corporate law practice. Lawyers and other professional groups, in particular those members participating in various legal-policy decisional contexts, are finding that understanding the major emerging trends in corporation law is indispensable to intelligent decision-making.

Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today requires an accurate understanding of the nature and implications of the corporate law research function accompanied by an accelerating rate of information accumulation. The recognition of the need for such improved corporate legal policy formulation, particularly "model-making" and "contingency planning," has impressed upon us the inadequacy of traditional procedures in many decisional contexts.

In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be processed, the sorting and weighing of significant conditional factors, the appraisal of major trends, the

necessity of estimating the consequences of given courses of action, and the need for fast decision and response in situations of acute danger have prompted the use of sophisticated concepts of information flow theory, operational analysis, automatic data processing, and electronic computing equipment. Understandably, an improved decisional structure must stress the predictive component of the policy- making process, wherein a "model", of the decisional context or a segment thereof is developed to test projected alternative courses of action in terms of futuristic effects flowing therefrom.

Although members of the legal profession are regularly engaged in predicting and projecting the trends of the law, the subject of corporate finance law has received relatively little organized and formalized attention in the philosophy of advancing corporate legal education. Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary approach to legal research has become a vital necessity.

Certainly, the general orientation for productive contributions by those trained primarily in the law can be improved through an early introduction to multi- variable decisional context and the various approaches for handling such problems. Lawyers, particularly with either a master's or doctorate degree in business administration or management, functioning at the legal policy level of decision-making now have some appreciation for the concepts and analytical techniques of other professions which are currently engaged in similar types of complex decision-making.

Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems would require the services of an astute attorney because of the complex legal implications that arise from each and every necessary step in securing and maintaining the business issue raised. (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously referred to as the "abogado de campanilla." He is the "big-time" lawyer, earning big money and with a clientele composed of the tycoons and magnates of business and industry.

Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people could not explain what it is that a corporate lawyer does. For one, the number of attorneys employed by a single corporation will vary with the size and type of the corporation. Many smaller and some large corporations farm out all their legal problems to private law firms. Many others have in-house counsel only for certain matters. Other corporation have a staff large enough to handle most legal problems in-house.

A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who handles the legal affairs of a corporation. His areas of concern or jurisdiction may include, inter alia: corporate legal research, tax laws research, acting out as corporate secretary (in board meetings), appearances in both courts and other adjudicatory agencies (including the Securities and Exchange Commission), and in other capacities which require an ability to deal with the law.

At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume responsibilities other than the legal affairs of the business of the corporation he is representing. These include such matters as determining policy and becoming involved in management. ( Emphasis supplied.)

In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being isolated from the action, or not understanding how one's work actually fits into the work of the orgarnization. This can be frustrating to someone who needs to see the results of his work first hand. In short, a corporate lawyer is sometimes

offered this fortune to be more closely involved in the running of the business.

Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be engaged by a multinational corporation (MNC). Some large MNCs provide one of the few opportunities available to corporate lawyers to enter the international law field. After all, international law is practiced in a relatively small number of companies and law firms. Because working in a foreign country is perceived by many as glamorous, tills is an area coveted by corporate lawyers. In most cases, however, the overseas jobs go to experienced attorneys while the younger attorneys do their "international practice" in law libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law Practice," May 25,1990, p. 4).

This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer in the realm of finance. To borrow the lines of Harvard-educated lawyer Bruce Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who fails to spot problems, a good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent lawyer is one who surmounts them." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a "shot in the arm," so to speak. No longer are we talking of the traditional law teaching method of confining the subject study to the Corporation Code and the Securities Code but an incursion as well into the intertwining modern management issues.

Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily with three (3) types of learning: (1) acquisition of insights into current advances which are of particular significance to the corporate counsel; (2) an introduction to usable disciplinary skins applicable to a corporate counsel's management responsibilities; and (3) a devotion to the organization and management of the legal function itself.

These three subject areas may be thought of as intersecting circles, with a shared area linking them. Otherwise known as "intersecting managerial jurisprudence," it forms a unifying theme for the corporate counsel's total learning.

Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences affect the counsel's role. For that matter, the corporate lawyer reviews the globalization process, including the resulting strategic repositioning that the firms he provides counsel for are required to make, and the need to think about a corporation's; strategy at multiple levels. The salience of the nation-state is being reduced as firms deal both with global multinational entities and simultaneously with sub- national governmental units. Firms increasingly collaborate not only with public entities but with each other — often with those who are competitors in other arenas.

Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-making within the corporation is rapidly changing. The modem corporate lawyer has gained a new role as a stakeholder — in some cases participating in the organization and operations of governance through participation on boards and other decision-making roles. Often these new patterns develop alongside existing legal institutions and laws are perceived as barriers. These trends are complicated as corporations organize for global operations. ( Emphasis supplied)

The practising lawyer of today is familiar as well with governmental policies toward the promotion and management of technology. New collaborative arrangements for promoting specific technologies or competitiveness more generally require approaches from industry that differ from older, more adversarial relationships and traditional forms of seeking to influence governmental policies. And there are lessons to be learned from other countries. In Europe, Esprit,

Eureka and Race are examples of collaborative efforts between governmental and business Japan's MITI is world famous. (Emphasis supplied)

Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of the Corporate Counsel comprises a distinct group within the managerial structure of all kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of both long-term and temporary groups within organizations has been found to be related to indentifiable factors in the group- context interaction such as the groups actively revising their knowledge of the environment coordinating work with outsiders, promoting team achievements within the organization. In general, such external activities are better predictors of team performance than internal group processes.

In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the corporate lawyer vis-a-vis the managerial mettle of corporations are challenged. Current research is seeking ways both to anticipate effective managerial procedures and to understand relationships of financial liability and insurance considerations. (Emphasis supplied)

Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel, three factors are apropos:

First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been found an effective tool for new managerial thinking regarding both planning and pressing immediate problems. An understanding of the role of feedback loops, inventory levels, and rates of flow, enable users to simulate all sorts of systematic problems — physical, economic, managerial, social, and psychological. New programming techniques now make the system dynamics principles more accessible to managers — including corporate counsels. (Emphasis supplied)

Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better decisions involving complexity and uncertainty. In the context of a law department, it can be used to appraise the settlement value of litigation, aid in negotiation settlement, and minimize the cost and risk involved in managing a portfolio of cases. (Emphasis supplied)

Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer-based models can be used directly by parties and mediators in all lands of negotiations. All integrated set of such tools provide coherent and effective negotiation support, including hands-on on instruction in these techniques. A simulation case of an international joint venture may be used to illustrate the point.

[Be this as it may,] the organization and management of the legal function, concern three pointed areas of consideration, thus:

Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills that comprise a major part of the general counsel's responsibilities. They differ from those of remedial law. Preventive lawyering is concerned with minimizing the risks of legal trouble and maximizing legal rights for such legal entities at that time when transactional or similar facts are being considered and made.

Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are undertaken those activities of the firm to which legal consequences attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this nation's evolving economic and organizational fabric as firms change to stay competitive in a global, interdependent environment. The practice and theory of "law" is not adequate today to facilitate the relationships needed in trying to make a global economy work.

Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's Office. The general counsel has emerged in the last decade as one of the most vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The corporate counsel hear responsibility for key aspects of the firm's strategic issues, including structuring its global operations, managing improved relationships with an increasingly diversified body of employees, managing expanded liability exposure, creating new and varied interactions with public decision-makers, coping internally with more complex make or by decisions.

This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing corporate law is not enough to make one a good general corporate counsel nor to give him a full sense of how the legal system shapes corporate activities. And even if the corporate lawyer's aim is not the understand all of the law's effects on corporate activities, he must, at the very least, also gain a working knowledge of the management issues if only to be able to grasp not only the basic legal "constitution' or makeup of the modem corporation. "Business Star", "The Corporate Counsel," April 10, 1991, p. 4).

The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench) is to have more than a passing knowledge of financial law affecting each aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit to ignorance of vast tracts of the financial law territory. What transpires next is a dilemma of professional security: Will the lawyer admit ignorance and risk opprobrium?; or will he feign understanding and risk exposure? (Business Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by the Secretariat of the Commission on Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not

possess the required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC. On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the same day, he assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC.

Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null and void.

Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86-55%. He has been a dues paying member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license fees as lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo)

After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod worked in the law office of his father. During his stint in the World Bank Group (1963-1970), Monsod worked as an operations officer for about two years in Costa Rica and Panama, which involved getting acquainted with the laws of member- countries negotiating loans and coordinating legal, economic, and project work of the Bank. Upon returning to the Philippines in 1970, he worked with the Meralco Group, served as chief executive officer of an investment bank and subsequently of a business conglomerate, and since 1986, has rendered services to various companies as a legal and economic consultant or chief executive officer. As former Secretary-General (1986) and National Chairman (1987) of NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being knowledgeable in election law. He appeared for NAMFREL in its accreditation hearings before the Comelec. In the field of advocacy, Monsod, in his personal capacity and as former Co-Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's Conference for Human Development, has worked with the under privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor groups, in initiating, lobbying for and engaging in affirmative action for the

agrarian 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 member of the Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and Chairman of its Committee on Accountability of Public Officers, for which he was cited by the President of the Commission, Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma for "innumerable amendments to reconcile government functions with individual freedoms and public accountability and the party-list system for the House of Representative. (pp. 128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis supplied)

Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which Atty. Monsod used to be a member.

In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a team, and which is adequately constituted to meet the various contingencies that arise during a negotiation. Besides top officials of the Borrower concerned, there are the legal officer (such as the legal counsel), the finance manager, and an operations officer (such as an official involved in negotiating the contracts) who comprise the members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven, "Loan Negotiating Strategies for Developing Country Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Central Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. 11). (Emphasis supplied)

After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's Constitution; it lays down the law as far as the loan transaction is concerned. Thus, the meat of any Loan Agreement can be compartmentalized into five (5) fundamental parts: (1) business terms; (2) borrower's representation; (3) conditions of closing; (4) covenants; and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p. 13).

In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt restructuring program. For aside from performing the tasks of legislative drafting and legal advising, they score national development policies as key factors in maintaining their countries' sovereignty. (Condensed from the work paper, entitled "Wanted:

Development Lawyers for Developing Nations," submitted by L. Michael Hager, regional legal adviser of the United States Agency for International Development, during the Session on Law for the Development of Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in Ivory Coast, sponsored by the World

Peace Through Law Center on August 26-31, 1973). (

Emphasis supplied)

Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than purely renegotiation policies, demand expertise in the law of contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting and in renegotiation. Necessarily, a sovereign lawyer may work with an international business specialist or an economist in the formulation of a model loan agreement. Debt restructuring contract agreements contain such a mixture of technical language that they should be carefully drafted and signed only with the advise of competent counsel in conjunction with the guidance of adequate technical support personnel. (See International Law Aspects of the Philippine External Debts, an unpublished dissertation, U.S.T. Graduate School of Law, 1987, p. 321). ( Emphasis supplied)

A critical aspect of sovereign debt

restructuring/contract construction is the set of terms

and conditions which determines the contractual remedies for a failure to perform one or more elements of the contract. A good agreement must not

only define the responsibilities of both parties, but

must

also state the recourse open to either party

when

the other fails to discharge an obligation. For a

compleat debt restructuring represents a devotion to that principle which in the ultimate analysis is sine qua non for foreign loan agreements-an adherence to the rule of law in domestic and international affairs of whose kind U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said: "They carry no banners, they beat no drums; but where they are, men learn that

bustle and bush are not the equal of quiet genius and

serene mastery." (See Ricardo J. Romulo, "The Role of Lawyers in Foreign Investments," Integrated Bar of the Philippine Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth Quarters, 1977, p. 265).

Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term Practice of law". particularly the modern concept of law practice, and taking into consideration the liberal construction intended by the framers of the Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor — verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement — that he has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143 SCRA 327, the Court said:

Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be 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 appointment cannot be faulted on the ground that there are others better qualified who should have been preferred. This is a political question involving considerations of wisdom which only the appointing authority can decide. (emphasis supplied)

No less emphatic was the Court in the case of (Central Bank v. Civil Service Commission, 171 SCRA 744) where it stated:

It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this case, and all the other legal requirements are satisfied, the Commission has no alternative but to attest to the appointment in accordance with the Civil Service Law. The Commission has no authority to revoke an appointment on the ground that another person is more qualified for a particular position. It also has no authority to direct the appointment of a

substitute of its choice. To do so would be an encroachment on the discretion vested upon the appointing authority. An appointment is essentially within the discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested, subject to the only condition that the appointee should possess the qualifications required by law. ( Emphasis supplied)

The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the case at bar, consists of four (4) stages: (1) nomination; (2) confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; (3) issuance of a commission (in

the Philippines, upon submission by the Commission on Appointments of its certificate of confirmation, the President issues the permanent appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath-taking,

posting of bond,

(Lacson v. Romero, No. L-3081, October

14, 1949; Gonzales, Law on Public Officers, p. 200)

The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its consent to the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections is mandated by Section 1(2) Sub-Article C, Article IX of the Constitution which provides:

The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.

Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice it to say that his definition of the practice of law is the traditional or stereotyped notion of law practice, as distinguished from the modern concept of the practice of law, which modern connotation is exactly what was intended by the eminent framers of the 1987 Constitution. Moreover, Justice Padilla's

definition would require generally a habitual law practice, perhaps practised two or three times a week and would outlaw say, law practice once or twice a year for ten consecutive years. Clearly, this is far from the constitutional intent.

Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz

states that in my written opinion, I made use of a definition of law practice which really means nothing because the definition says that

law practice "

law." True I cited the definition but only by way of sarcasm as evident from my statement that the definition of law practice by "traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous" or defining a phrase by means of the phrase itself that is being defined.

is what people ordinarily mean by the practice of

Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the law covers almost all situations, most individuals, in making use of the law, or in advising others on what the law means, are actually practicing law. In that sense, perhaps, but we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr. Monsod is a lawyer, a member of the Philippine Bar, who has been practising law for over ten years. This is different from the acts of persons practising law, without first becoming lawyers.

Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even disqualify an elected President of the Philippines, say, on the ground that he lacks one or more qualifications. This matter, I greatly doubt. For one thing, how can an action or petition be brought against the President? And even assuming that he is indeed disqualified, how can the action be entertained since he is the incumbent President?

We now proceed:

The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted doling the public hearings on Monsod's confirmation, implicitly determined that he possessed the necessary qualifications as required by law. The judgment rendered by the Commission in the exercise of such an acknowledged power is beyond judicial interference except only upon a clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only where such grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Commission's 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 discretion, that would amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction and would warrant the issuance of the writs prayed, for has been clearly shown.

Additionally, consider the following:

(1) If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee by the President, may the Supreme Court reverse the Commission, and 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)

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

If the United States Senate (which is the

Finally, one significant legal maxim is:

We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit that giveth life.

Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the procurator of Judea asked Delilah (who was Samson's beloved) for help in capturing Samson. Delilah agreed on condition that —

No blade shall touch his skin;

No blood shall flow from his veins.

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 fuming with righteous fury, accused the procurator of reneging on his word. The procurator calmly replied:

"Did any blade touch his skin? Did any blood flow from his veins?" The procurator was clearly relying on the letter, not the spirit of the agreement.

In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Fernan, C.J., Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

Feliciano, J., I certify that he voted to dismiss the petition. (Fernan, C.J.)

Sarmiento, J., is on leave.

Regalado, and Davide, Jr., J., took no part.

Ulep vs. Legal Clinic Bar Matter No. 553 June 17, 1993

FACTS:

The petitioner contends that the advertisements reproduced by the respondents are champertous, unethical, demeaning of the law profession, and destructive of the confidence of the community in the integrity of the members of the bar and that, to which as a member of the legal profession, he is ashamed and offended by the following advertisements:

Annex A SECRET MARRIAGE? P560.00 for a valid marriage. Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE. ANNULMENT. VISA. THE Please call:521-0767, LEGAL 5217232,5222041 CLINIC, INC. 8:30 am-6:00 pm 7-Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Mla.

Annex B GUAM DIVORCE DON PARKINSON an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning Monday to Friday during office hours. Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special Retiree's Visa. Declaration of Absence Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Force Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children. Call Marivic.

THE 7F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave., LEGAL Ermita, Manila nr. US Embassy CLINIC, INC. Tel. 521-7232; 521-7251; 522-2041; 521-0767

In its answer to the petition, respondent admits the fact of publication of said advertisements at its instance, but claims that it is not engaged in the practice of law but in the rendering of "legal support services" through paralegals with the use of modern computers and electronic machines. Respondent further argues that assuming that the services advertised are legal services, the act of advertising these services should be allowed supposedly in the light of the case of John R. Bates and Van O'Steen vs. State Bar of Arizona, reportedly decided by the United States Supreme Court on June 7, 1977.

ISSUE:

Whether or not, the advertised services offered by the Legal Clinic, Inc., constitutes practice of law and whether the same are in violation of the Code of Professional responsibility

HELD:

The advertisement of the respondent is covered in the term practice of law as defined in the case of Cayetano vs. Monsod. There is a restricted concept and limited acceptance of paralegal services in the Philippines. It is allowed that some persons not duly licensed to practice law are or have been permitted with a limited representation in behalf of another or to render legal services, but such allowable services are limited in scope and extent by the law, rules or regulations granting permission therefore.

Canon 3 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer in making known his legal services shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or statement of facts. Canon 3.01 adds that he is not supposed to use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services. Nor shall he pay or give something of value to representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business (Canon 3.04). The Canons of Professional Ethics, before the adoption of the CPR, had also warned that lawyers should not resort to indirect advertisements for professional employment, such as furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments, or procuring his photograph to be published in connection with causes in which the lawyer have been engaged of concerning the manner of the conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved, the importance the lawyer's position, and all other like self-laudation. There are existing exceptions under the law on the rule prohibiting the advertisement of a lawyer’s services. However, taking into consideration the nature and contents of the advertisements for which respondent is being taken to task, which even includes a quotation of the fees charged by said respondent corporation for services rendered, the court found and held that the same definitely do not and conclusively cannot fall under any of the exceptions.

The respondent’s defense with the case of Bates vs. State Bar applies only when there is an exception to the prohibition against advertisements by lawyers, to publish a statement of legal fees for an initial consultation or the availability upon request of a written schedule of fees or an estimate of the fee to be charged for the specific services. No such exception is provided for, expressly or impliedly whether in our former Canons of Professional Ethics or the present Code of Professional Responsibility. Besides, even the disciplinary rule in the Bates case contains a proviso that the exceptions stand therein are "not applicable in any state unless and until it is implemented by such authority in that state.”

The Court Resolved to RESTRAIN and ENJOIN The Legal Clinic, Inc., from issuing or causing the publication or dissemination of any advertisement in any form which is of the same or similar tenor and purpose as Annexes "A" and "B" of this petition, and from conducting, directly or indirectly, any activity,

operation or transaction proscribed by law or the Code of Professional Ethics as indicated herein.

Bar Matter No. 553 June 17, 1993 MAURICIO C. ULEP vs. THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.

REGALADO, J.:

Petitioner prays this Court "to order the respondent to cease and desist from issuing advertisements similar to or of the same tenor as that of annexes "A" and "B" (of said petition) and to perpetually prohibit persons or entities from making advertisements pertaining to the exercise of the law profession other than those allowed by law."

The advertisements complained of by herein petitioner are as follows:

Annex A

SECRET

MARRIAGE?

P560.00

for

a

valid

marriage.

Info

on

DIVORCE.

ABSENCE.

ANNULMENT. VISA.

THE Please call: 521-0767 LEGAL 5217232, 5222041 CLINIC, INC. 8:30 am— 6:00 pm 7-Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Mla.

Annex B

GUAM DIVORCE.

DON PARKINSON

an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning Monday to Friday during office hours.

Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special Retiree's Visa. Declaration of Absence. Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children. Call Marivic.

THE 7F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave., LEGAL Ermita, Manila nr. US Embassy CLINIC, INC. 1 Tel. 521-7232; 521-7251; 522-2041;

521-0767

It is the submission of petitioner that the advertisements above reproduced are champterous, unethical, demeaning of the law profession, and destructive of the confidence of the community in the integrity of the members of the bar and that, as a member of the legal profession, he is ashamed and offended by the said advertisements, hence the reliefs sought in his petition as hereinbefore quoted.

In its answer to the petition, respondent admits the fact of publication of said advertisement at its instance, but claims that it is not engaged in the practice of law but in the rendering of "legal support services" through paralegals with the use of modern computers and electronic machines. Respondent further argues that assuming that the services advertised are legal services, the act of advertising these services should be allowed supposedly in the light of the case of John R. Bates and Van O'Steen vs. State Bar of Arizona, 2 reportedly decided by the United States Supreme Court on June 7,

1977.

Considering the critical implications on the legal profession of the issues raised herein, we required the (1) Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), (2) Philippine Bar Association (PBA), (3) Philippine Lawyers' Association (PLA), (4) U.P. Womens Lawyers' Circle (WILOCI), (5) Women Lawyers Association of the Philippines (WLAP), and (6) Federacion International de Abogadas (FIDA) to submit their respective position papers on the controversy and, thereafter, their memoranda. 3 The said bar associations readily responded and extended their valuable services and cooperation of which this Court takes note with appreciation and gratitude.

The main issues posed for resolution before the Court are whether or not the services offered by respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., as advertised by it constitutes practice of law and, in either case, whether the same can properly be the subject of the advertisements herein complained of.

Before proceeding with an in-depth analysis of the merits of this case, we deem it proper and enlightening to present hereunder excerpts from the respective position papers adopted by the aforementioned bar associations and the memoranda submitted by them on the issues involved in this bar matter.

1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines:

xxx xxx xxx

Notwithstanding the subtle manner by which respondent endeavored to distinguish the two terms, i.e., "legal support services" vis-a-vis "legal services", common sense would readily dictate that the same are essentially without substantial distinction. For who could deny that document search, evidence gathering, assistance to layman in need of basic institutional services from government or non-government agencies like

birth, marriage, property, or business registration, obtaining documents like clearance, passports, local or foreign visas, constitutes practice of law?

xxx xxx xxx

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) does not wish to make issue with respondent's foreign citations. Suffice it to state that the IBP has made its position manifest, to wit, that it strongly opposes the view espoused by respondent (to the effect that today it is alright to advertise one's legal services).

The IBP accordingly declares in no uncertain terms its opposition to respondent's act of establishing a "legal clinic" and of concomitantly advertising the same through newspaper publications.

The IBP would therefore invoke the administrative supervision of this Honorable Court to perpetually restrain respondent from undertaking highly unethical activities in the field of law practice as aforedescribed. 4

xxx xxx xxx

A. The use of the name "The Legal Clinic, Inc." gives the impression that respondent corporation is being operated by lawyers and that it renders legal services.

While the respondent repeatedly denies that it offers legal services to the public, the advertisements in question give the impression that respondent is offering legal services. The Petition in fact simply assumes this to be so, as earlier mentioned, apparently because this (is) the effect that the advertisements have on the reading public.

The impression created by the advertisements in question can

be traced, first of all, to the very name being used by

respondent — "The Legal Clinic, Inc." Such a name, it is

respectfully submitted connotes the rendering of legal services

for legal problems, just like a medical clinic connotes medical

services for medical problems. More importantly, the term "Legal Clinic" connotes lawyers, as the term medical clinic connotes doctors.

Furthermore, the respondent's name, as published in the advertisements subject of the present case, appears with (the)

scale(s) of justice, which all the more reinforces the impression that it is being operated by members of the bar and that it offers legal services. In addition, the advertisements in question appear with a picture and name of a person being represented as a lawyer from Guam, and this practically removes whatever doubt may still remain as to the nature of the service or services being offered.

It thus becomes irrelevant whether respondent is merely offering "legal support services" as claimed by it, or whether it offers legal services as any lawyer actively engaged in law practice does. And it becomes unnecessary to make a distinction between "legal services" and "legal support services," as the respondent would have it. The advertisements in question leave no room for doubt in the minds of the reading public that legal services are being offered by lawyers, whether true or not.

B. The advertisements in question are meant to induce the performance of acts contrary to law, morals, public order and public policy.

It may be conceded that, as the respondent claims, the advertisements in question are only meant to inform the general public of the services being offered by it. Said advertisements, however, emphasize to Guam divorce, and any law student ought to know that under the Family Code, there is only one instance when a foreign divorce is recognized, and that is:

Article

Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine Law.

It must not be forgotten, too, that the Family Code (defines) a marriage as follows:

Article 1. Marriage is special contract of permanent union between a man and woman entered into accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable

social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relation during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.

By simply reading the questioned advertisements, it is obvious that the message being conveyed is that Filipinos can avoid the legal consequences of a marriage celebrated in accordance with our law, by simply going to Guam for a divorce. This is not only misleading, but encourages, or serves to induce, violation of Philippine law. At the very least, this can be considered "the dark side" of legal practice, where certain defects in Philippine laws are exploited for the sake of profit. At worst, this is outright malpractice.

Rule 1.02. — A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.

In addition, it may also be relevant to point out that advertisements such as that shown in Annex "A" of the Petition, which contains a cartoon of a motor vehicle with the words "Just Married" on its bumper and seems to address those planning a "secret marriage," if not suggesting a "secret marriage," makes light of the "special contract of permanent union," the inviolable social institution," which is how the Family Code describes marriage, obviously to emphasize its sanctity and inviolability. Worse, this particular advertisement appears to encourage marriages celebrated in secrecy, which is suggestive of immoral publication of applications for a marriage license.

If the article "Rx for Legal Problems" is to be reviewed, it can readily be concluded that the above impressions one may gather from the advertisements in question are accurate. The Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion example alone confirms what the advertisements suggest. Here it can be seen that criminal acts are being encouraged or committed (a bigamous marriage in Hong Kong or Las Vegas) with impunity simply because the jurisdiction of Philippine courts does not extend to the place where the crime is committed.

Even if it be assumed, arguendo, (that) the "legal support services" respondent offers do not constitute legal services as commonly understood, the advertisements in question give the impression that respondent corporation is being operated by lawyers and that it offers legal services, as earlier discussed.

Thus, the only logical consequence is that, in the eyes of an ordinary newspaper reader, members of the bar themselves are encouraging or inducing the performance of acts which are contrary to law, morals, good customs and the public good, thereby destroying and demeaning the integrity of the Bar.

xxx xxx xxx

It is respectfully submitted that respondent should be enjoined from causing the publication of the advertisements in question, or any other advertisements similar thereto. It is also submitted that respondent should be prohibited from further performing or offering some of the services it presently offers, or, at the very least, from offering such services to the public in general.

The IBP is aware of the fact that providing computerized legal research, electronic data gathering, storage and retrieval, standardized legal forms, investigators for gathering of evidence, and like services will greatly benefit the legal profession and should not be stifled but instead encouraged. However, when the conduct of such business by non-members of the Bar encroaches upon the practice of law, there can be no choice but to prohibit such business.

Admittedly, many of the services involved in the case at bar can

be better performed by specialists in other fields, such as

computer experts, who by reason of their having devoted time and effort exclusively to such field cannot fulfill the exacting requirements for admission to the Bar. To prohibit them from "encroaching" upon the legal profession will deny the profession

of the great benefits and advantages of modern technology. Indeed, a lawyer using a computer will be doing better than a lawyer using a typewriter, even if both are (equal) in skill.

Both the Bench and the Bar, however, should be careful not to allow or tolerate the illegal practice of law in any form, not only

for the protection of members of the Bar but also, and more

importantly, for the protection of the public. Technological development in the profession may be encouraged without tolerating, but instead ensuring prevention of illegal practice.

There might be nothing objectionable if respondent is allowed to perform all of its services, but only if such services are made available exclusively to members of the Bench and Bar. Respondent would then be offering technical assistance, not legal services. Alternatively, the more difficult task of carefully distinguishing between which service may be offered to the public in general and which should be made available

exclusively to members of the Bar may be undertaken. This, however, may require further proceedings because of the factual considerations involved.

It must be emphasized, however, that some of respondent's services ought to be prohibited outright, such as acts which tend to suggest or induce celebration abroad of marriages which

are bigamous or otherwise illegal and void under Philippine law.

While respondent may not be prohibited from simply disseminating information regarding such matters, it must be required to include, in the information given, a disclaimer that it is not authorized to practice law, that certain course of action may be illegal under Philippine law, that it is not authorized or capable of rendering a legal opinion, that a lawyer should be consulted before deciding on which course of action to take, and that it cannot recommend any particular lawyer without subjecting itself to possible sanctions for illegal practice of law.

If respondent is allowed to advertise, advertising should be directed exclusively at members of the Bar, with a clear and unmistakable disclaimer that it is not authorized to practice law or perform legal services.

The benefits of being assisted by paralegals cannot be ignored.

But nobody should be allowed to represent himself as a "paralegal" for profit, without such term being clearly defined by rule or regulation, and without any adequate and effective means of regulating his activities. Also, law practice in a corporate form may prove to be advantageous to the legal profession, but before allowance of such practice may be considered, the corporation's Article of Incorporation and By- laws must conform to each and every provision of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Rules of Court. 5

2. Philippine Bar Association:

xxx xxx xxx.

Respondent asserts that it "is not engaged in the practice of law

but engaged in giving legal support services to lawyers and

laymen, through experienced paralegals, with the use of modern computers and electronic machines" (pars. 2 and 3, Comment). This is absurd. Unquestionably, respondent's acts of holding out itself to the public under the trade name "The Legal Clinic, Inc.," and soliciting employment for its enumerated services fall within the realm of a practice which thus yields itself to the regulatory powers of the Supreme Court. For respondent to say that it is merely engaged in paralegal work is

to stretch credulity. Respondent's own commercial advertisement which announces a certain Atty. Don Parkinson to be handling the fields of law belies its pretense. From all indications, respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc." is offering and rendering legal services through its reserve of lawyers. It has been held that the practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court, but includes drawing of deeds, incorporation, rendering opinions, and advising clients as to their legal right and then take them to an attorney and ask the latter to look after their case in court See Martin, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 1984 ed., p. 39).

It is apt to recall that only natural persons can engage in the practice of law, and such limitation cannot be evaded by a corporation employing competent lawyers to practice for it. Obviously, this is the scheme or device by which respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc." holds out itself to the public and solicits employment of its legal services. It is an odious vehicle for deception, especially so when the public cannot ventilate any grievance for malpractice against the business conduit. Precisely, the limitation of practice of law to persons who have been duly admitted as members of the Bar (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court) is to subject the members to the discipline of the Supreme Court. Although respondent uses its business name, the persons and the lawyers who act for it are subject to court discipline. The practice of law is not a profession open to all who wish to engage in it nor can it be assigned to another (See 5 Am. Jur. 270). It is a personal right limited to persons who have qualified themselves under the law. It follows that not only respondent but also all the persons who are acting for respondent are the persons engaged in unethical law practice. 6

3. Philippine Lawyers' Association:

The Philippine Lawyers' Association's position, in answer to the issues stated herein, are wit:

1. The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law;

2. Such practice is unauthorized;

3. The advertisements complained of are not only unethical, but

also misleading and patently immoral; and

4. The Honorable Supreme Court has the power to supress and

punish the Legal Clinic and its corporate officers for its

unauthorized practice of law and for its unethical, misleading

and

immoral advertising.

xxx

xxx xxx

Respondent posits that is it not engaged in the practice of law. It claims that it merely renders "legal support services" to answers, litigants and the general public as enunciated in the Primary Purpose Clause of its Article(s) of Incorporation. (See pages 2 to 5 of Respondent's Comment). But its advertised services, as enumerated above, clearly and convincingly show that it is indeed engaged in law practice, albeit outside of court.

As advertised, it offers the general public its advisory services

on Persons and Family Relations Law, particularly regarding

foreign divorces, annulment of marriages, secret marriages, absence and adoption; Immigration Laws, particularly on visa related problems, immigration problems; the Investments Law of the Philippines and such other related laws.

Its advertised services unmistakably require the application of

the aforesaid law, the legal principles and procedures related

thereto, the legal advices based thereon and which activities call

for legal training, knowledge and experience.

Applying the test laid down by the Court in the aforecited Agrava Case, the activities of respondent fall squarely and are embraced in what lawyers and laymen equally term as "the practice of law." 7

4. U.P. Women Lawyers' Circle:

In resolving, the issues before this Honorable Court, paramount consideration should be given to the protection of the general public from the danger of being exploited by unqualified persons or entities who may be engaged in the practice of law.

At present, becoming a lawyer requires one to take a rigorous

four-year course of study on top of a four-year bachelor of arts

or sciences course and then to take and pass the bar

examinations. Only then, is a lawyer qualified to practice law.

While the use of a paralegal is sanctioned in many jurisdiction as an aid to the administration of justice, there are in those jurisdictions, courses of study and/or standards which would qualify these paralegals to deal with the general public as such.

While it may now be the opportune time to establish these courses of study and/or standards, the fact remains that at present, these do not exist in the Philippines. In the meantime, this Honorable Court may decide to make measures to protect the general public from being exploited by those who may be dealing with the general public in the guise of being "paralegals" without being qualified to do so.

In the same manner, the general public should also be protected from the dangers which may be brought about by advertising of legal services. While it appears that lawyers are prohibited under the present Code of Professional Responsibility from advertising, it appears in the instant case that legal services are being advertised not by lawyers but by an entity staffed by "paralegals." Clearly, measures should be taken to protect the general public from falling prey to those who advertise legal services without being qualified to offer such services. 8

A perusal of the questioned advertisements of Respondent,

however, seems to give the impression that information regarding validity of marriages, divorce, annulment of marriage, immigration, visa extensions, declaration of absence, adoption and foreign investment, which are in essence, legal matters , will be given to them if they avail of its services. The

Respondent's name — The Legal Clinic, Inc. — does not help matters. It gives the impression again that Respondent will or can cure the legal problems brought to them. Assuming that Respondent is, as claimed, staffed purely by paralegals, it also gives the misleading impression that there are lawyers involved

in The Legal Clinic, Inc., as there are doctors in any medical

clinic, when only "paralegals" are involved in The Legal Clinic, Inc.

Respondent's allegations are further belied by the very admissions of its President and majority stockholder, Atty. Nogales, who gave an insight on the structure and main purpose of Respondent corporation in the aforementioned "Starweek" article." 9

5. Women Lawyer's Association of the Philippines:

Annexes "A" and "B" of the petition are clearly advertisements

to solicit cases for the purpose of gain which, as provided for

under the above cited law, (are) illegal and against the Code of

Professional Responsibility of lawyers in this country.

Annex "A" of the petition is not only illegal in that it is an

advertisement to solicit cases, but it is illegal in that in bold letters it announces that the Legal Clinic, Inc., could work out/cause the celebration of a secret marriage which is not only illegal but immoral in this country. While it is advertised that

one has to go to said agency and pay P560 for a valid marriage

it is certainly fooling the public for valid marriages in the Philippines are solemnized only by officers authorized to do so

under the law. And to employ an agency for said purpose of contracting marriage is not necessary.

No amount of reasoning that in the USA, Canada and other

countries the trend is towards allowing lawyers to advertise their special skills to enable people to obtain from qualified

practitioners legal services for their particular needs can justify

the use of advertisements such as are the subject matter of the

petition, for one (cannot) justify an illegal act even by whatever merit the illegal act may serve. The law has yet to be amended

so that such act could become justifiable.

We submit further that these advertisements that seem to

project that secret marriages and divorce are possible in this country for a fee, when in fact it is not so, are highly reprehensible.

It would encourage people to consult this clinic about how they could go about having a secret marriage here, when it cannot

nor should ever be attempted, and seek advice on divorce,

where in this country there is none, except under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws in the Philippines. It is also against good morals and is deceitful because it falsely represents to the public to be able to do that which by our laws cannot be done (and) by our Code of Morals should not be done.

In the case (of) In re Taguda, 53 Phil. 37, the Supreme Court held that solicitation for clients by an attorney by circulars of advertisements, is unprofessional, and offenses of this character justify permanent elimination from the Bar. 10

6. Federacion Internacional de Abogados:

xxx xxx xxx

1.7 That entities admittedly not engaged in the practice of law, such as management consultancy firms or travel agencies, whether run by lawyers or not, perform the services rendered by Respondent does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that

Respondent is not unlawfully practicing law. In the same vein, however, the fact that the business of respondent (assuming it can be engaged in independently of the practice of law) involves knowledge of the law does not necessarily make respondent guilty of unlawful practice of law.

. Of necessity, no one

consultant can render effective service unless

he is familiar with such statutes and regulations. He must be careful not to suggest

a course of conduct which the law forbids. It

seems

knowledge of the law, and his use of that knowledge as a factor in determining what

measures he shall recommend, do not

constitute the practice of law

only presumed that all men know the law, but

it is a fact that most men have considerable

acquaintance with broad features of the law

. . Our knowledge of the law — accurate or

inaccurate — moulds our conduct not only when we are acting for ourselves, but when we are serving others. Bankers, liquor dealers and laymen generally possess rather precise knowledge of the laws touching their particular business or profession. A good example is the

It is not

acting as a

.clear that (the consultant's)

architect, who must be familiar with zoning, building and fire prevention codes, factory and tenement house statutes, and who draws plans and specification in harmony with the law. This

is not practicing law.

But suppose the architect, asked by his client to omit a fire tower, replies that it is required by the statute. Or the industrial relations expert cites, in support of some measure that he recommends, a decision of the National Labor Relations Board. Are they practicing law? In my opinion, they are not, provided no separate fee is charged for the legal advice or information, and the legal question is subordinate and incidental to a major non-legal

problem.

It

is largely a matter of degree and of custom.

If

it

were usual for

one intending to erect a

building on

his

land to

engage a

lawyer to

advise him and the architect in respect to the building code and the like, then an architect who performed this function would probably be considered to be trespassing on territory reserved for licensed attorneys. Likewise, if the industrial relations field had been pre-empted by lawyers, or custom placed a lawyer always at the elbow of the lay personnel man. But this is not the case. The most important body of the industrial relations experts are the officers and business agents of the labor unions and few of them are lawyers. Among the larger corporate employers, it has been the practice for some years to delegate special responsibility in employee matters to a management group chosen for their practical knowledge and skill in such matter, and without regard to legal thinking or lack of it. More recently, consultants like the defendants have the same service that the larger employers get from their own specialized staff.

The handling of industrial relations is growing into a recognized profession for which appropriate courses are offered by our leading universities. The court should be very cautious about declaring [that] a widespread, well- established method of conducting business is unlawful, or that the considerable class of men who customarily perform a certain function have no right to do so, or that the technical education given by our schools cannot be used by the graduates in their business.

In determining whether a man is practicing law, we should consider his work for any particular client or customer, as a whole. I can imagine defendant being engaged primarily to advise as to the law defining his client's obligations to his employees, to guide his client's obligations to his employees, to guide his client along the path charted by law. This, of course, would be the practice of the law. But such is not the fact in the case before me. Defendant's primarily efforts are along economic and psychological lines. The law only provides the frame within which he must work, just as the zoning code limits the kind of building the limits the kind of building the

architect may plan. The incidental legal advice or information defendant may give, does not transform his activities into the practice of law. Let me add that if, even as a minor feature of his work, he performed services which are customarily reserved to members of the bar, he would be practicing law. For instance, if as part of a welfare program, he drew employees' wills.

Another branch of defendant's work is the representations of the employer in the adjustment of grievances and in collective bargaining, with or without a mediator. This is not per se the practice of law. Anyone may use an agent for negotiations and may select an agent particularly skilled in the subject under discussion, and the person appointed is free to accept the employment whether or not he is a member of the bar. Here, however, there may be an exception where the business turns on a question of law. Most real estate sales are negotiated by brokers who are not lawyers. But if the value of the land depends on a disputed right-of-way and the principal role of the negotiator is to assess the probable outcome of the dispute and persuade the opposite party to the same opinion, then it may be that only a lawyer can accept the assignment. Or if a controversy between an employer and his men grows from differing interpretations of a contract, or of a statute, it is quite likely that defendant should not handle it. But I need not reach a definite conclusion here, since the situation is not presented by the proofs.

Defendant also appears to represent the employer before administrative agencies of the federal government, especially before trial examiners of the National Labor Relations Board. An agency of the federal government, acting by virtue of an authority granted by the Congress, may regulate the representation of parties before such agency. The State of New Jersey is without power to interfere with such determination or to forbid representation before the agency by one whom the agency admits. The rules of the National Labor Relations Board give to a party the right to

appear in person, or by counsel, or by other representative. Rules and Regulations, September 11th, 1946, S. 203.31. 'Counsel' here means a licensed attorney, and ther representative' one not a lawyer. In this phase of his work, defendant may lawfully do whatever the Labor Board allows, even arguing questions purely legal. (Auerbacher v. Wood, 53 A. 2d 800, cited in Statsky, Introduction to Paralegalism [1974], at pp. 154-156.).

1.8 From the foregoing, it can be said that a person engaged in a lawful calling (which may involve knowledge of the law) is not engaged in the practice of law provided that:

(a) The legal question is subordinate and incidental to a major non-legal problem;.

(b) The services performed are not customarily reserved to members of the bar; .

(c)

information.

No

separate

fee

is

charged

for

the

legal

advice

or

All these must be considered in relation to the work for any particular client as a whole.

1.9. If the person involved is both lawyer and non-lawyer, the Code of Professional Responsibility succintly states the rule of conduct:

Rule 15.08 — A lawyer who is engaged in another profession or occupation concurrently with the practice of law shall make clear to his client whether he is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.

1.10. In the present case. the Legal Clinic appears to render wedding services (See Annex "A" Petition). Services on routine, straightforward marriages, like securing a marriage license, and making arrangements with a priest or a judge, may not constitute practice of law. However, if the problem is as complicated as that described in "Rx for Legal Problems" on the Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion-Richard Gomez case, then what may be involved is actually the practice of law. If a non- lawyer, such as the Legal Clinic, renders such services then it is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

1.11. The Legal Clinic also appears to give information on divorce, absence, annulment of marriage and visas (See Annexes "A" and "B" Petition). Purely giving informational materials may not constitute of law. The business is similar to that of a bookstore where the customer buys materials on the subject and determines on the subject and determines by himself what courses of action to take.

It is not entirely improbable, however, that aside from purely giving information, the Legal Clinic's paralegals may apply the law to the particular problem of the client, and give legal advice. Such would constitute unauthorized practice of law.

It cannot be claimed that the publication of a legal text which publication of a legal text which purports to say what the law is amount to legal practice. And the mere fact that the principles or rules stated in the text may be accepted by a particular reader as a solution to his problem does not affect Apparently it is urged that the conjoining of these two, that is, the text and the forms, with advice as to how the forms should be filled out, constitutes the unlawful practice of law. But that is the situation with many approved and accepted texts. Dacey's book is sold to the public at large. There is no personal contact or relationship with a particular individual. Nor does there exist that relation of confidence and trust so necessary to the status of attorney and client. THIS IS THE ESSENTIAL OF LEGAL PRACTICE — THE REPRESENTATION AND ADVISING OF A PARTICULAR PERSON IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION. At most the book assumes to offer general advice on common problems, and does not purport to give personal advice on a specific problem peculiar to a designated or readily identified person. Similarly the defendant's publication does not purport to give personal advice on a specific problem peculiar to a designated or readily identified person in a particular situation — in their publication and sale of the kits, such publication and sale did not constitutes the

unlawful practice of law

legal impediment under the statute to the sale of the kit, there was no proper basis for the

injunction against defendant maintaining an office for the purpose of selling to persons

There being no

seeking a divorce, separation, annulment or separation agreement any printed material or writings relating to matrimonial law or the prohibition in the memorandum of modification of the judgment against defendant having an interest in any publishing house publishing his manuscript on divorce and against his having any personal contact with any prospective purchaser. The record does fully support, however, the finding that for the change of $75 or $100 for the kit, the defendant gave legal advice in the course of personal contacts concerning particular problems which might arise in the preparation and presentation of the purchaser's asserted matrimonial cause of action or pursuit of other legal remedies and assistance in the preparation of necessary documents (The injunction therefore sought to) enjoin conduct constituting the practice of law, particularly with reference to the giving of advice and counsel by the defendant relating to specific problems of particular individuals in connection with a divorce, separation, annulment of separation agreement sought and should be affirmed. (State v. Winder, 348, NYS 2D 270 [1973], cited in Statsky, supra at p.

101.).

1.12. Respondent, of course, states that its services are "strictly

non-diagnostic, non-advisory. "It is not controverted, however, that if the services "involve giving legal advice or counselling," such would constitute practice of law (Comment, par. 6.2). It is in this light that FIDA submits that a factual inquiry may be necessary for the judicious disposition of this case.

xxx xxx xxx

2.10. Annex "A" may be ethically objectionable in that it can

give the impression (or perpetuate the wrong notion) that there

is a secret marriage. With all the solemnities, formalities and other requisites of marriages (See Articles 2, et seq., Family Code), no Philippine marriage can be secret.

2.11. Annex "B" may likewise be ethically objectionable. The

second paragraph thereof (which is not necessarily related to the first paragraph) fails to state the limitation that only "paralegal services?" or "legal support services", and not legal services, are available." 11

A prefatory discussion on the meaning of the phrase "practice of law" becomes

exigent for the proper determination of the issues raised by the petition at bar. On this score, we note that the clause "practice of law" has long been the subject of judicial construction and interpretation. The courts have laid down general principles and doctrines explaining the meaning and scope of the term, some of which we now take into account.

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedures, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristic of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give advice or render any kind of service that involves legal knowledge or skill. 12

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. It includes legal advice and counsel, and the preparation of legal instruments and contract by which legal rights are secured, although such matter may or may not be pending in a court. 13

In the practice of his profession, a licensed attorney at law generally engages in three principal types of professional activity: legal advice and instructions to clients to inform them of their rights and obligations, preparation for clients of documents requiring knowledge of legal principles not possessed by ordinary layman, and appearance for clients before public tribunals which possess power and authority to determine rights of life, liberty, and property according to law,

in order to assist in proper interpretation and enforcement of law. 14

When a person participates in the a trial and advertises himself as a lawyer, he

is in the practice of law. 15 One who confers with clients, advises them as to their

legal rights and then takes the business to an attorney and asks the latter to look after the case in court, is also practicing law. 16 Giving advice for compensation regarding the legal status and rights of another and the conduct with respect thereto constitutes a practice of law. 17 One who renders an opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, and receives pay for it, is, to that extent, practicing law. 18

In the recent case of Cayetano vs. Monsod, 19 after citing the doctrines in several cases, we laid down the test to determine whether certain acts constitute "practice of law," thus:

Black defines "practice of law" as:

The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and technique to serve the interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, 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.

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases on court.(Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken , 129 Ohio St. 23, 193N. E. 650). A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he:

for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their right under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings, pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and there, in such representative capacity, performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their clients under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v. C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S. W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852).

This Court, in the case of Philippines Lawyers Association v. Agrava (105 Phil. 173, 176-177),stated:

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters or estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263).

Practice of law under modern conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of any court and having no immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces

conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects and the preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations and other affairs. Although these transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to become involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and complex situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor 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 of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed by persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules o Court, Vol. 3 [1973 ed.], pp. 665-666, citing In Re Opinion of the Justices [Mass], 194 N. E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 197 A. 139, 144).

The practice of law, therefore, covers a wide range of activities in and out of court. Applying the aforementioned criteria to the case at bar, we agree with the perceptive findings and observations of the aforestated bar associations that the activities of respondent, as advertised, constitute "practice of law."

The contention of respondent that it merely offers legal support services can neither be seriously considered nor sustained. Said proposition is belied by respondent's own description of the services it has been offering, to wit:

Legal support services basically consists of giving ready information by trained paralegals to laymen and lawyers, which are strictly non-diagnostic, non-advisory, through the extensive use of computers and modern information technology in the gathering, processing, storage, transmission and reproduction of information and communication, such as computerized legal research; encoding and reproduction of documents and pleadings prepared by laymen or lawyers; document search; evidence gathering; locating parties or witnesses to a case; fact finding investigations; and assistance to laymen in need of basic institutional services from government or non-government agencies, like birth, marriage, property, or business registrations; educational or employment records or certifications, obtaining documentation like clearances, passports, local or foreign visas; giving information about laws of other countries that they may find useful, like foreign

divorce, marriage or adoption laws that they can avail of preparatory to emigration to the foreign country, and other matters that do not involve representation of clients in court; designing and installing computer systems, programs, or software for the efficient management of law offices, corporate legal departments, courts and other entities engaged in dispensing or administering legal services. 20

While some of the services being offered by respondent corporation merely involve mechanical and technical knowhow, such as the installation of computer systems and programs for the efficient management of law offices, or the computerization of research aids and materials, these will not suffice to justify an exception to the general rule.

What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation gives out legal information to laymen and lawyers. Its contention that such function is non-advisory and non-diagnostic is more apparent than real. In providing information, for example, about foreign laws on marriage, divorce and adoption, it strains the credulity of this Court that all the respondent corporation will simply do is look for the law, furnish a copy thereof to the client, and stop there as if it were merely a bookstore. With its attorneys and so called paralegals, it will necessarily have to explain to the client the intricacies of the law and advise him or her on the proper course of action to be taken as may be provided for by said law. That is what its advertisements represent and for the which services it will consequently charge and be paid. That activity falls squarely within the jurisprudential definition of "practice of law." Such a conclusion will not be altered by the fact that respondent corporation does not represent clients in court since law practice, as the weight of authority holds, is not limited merely giving legal advice, contract drafting and so forth.

The aforesaid conclusion is further strengthened by an article published in the January 13, 1991 issue of the Starweek/The Sunday Magazine of the Philippines Star, entitled "Rx for Legal Problems," where an insight into the structure, main purpose and operations of respondent corporation was given by its own "proprietor," Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales:

This is the kind of business that is transacted everyday at The Legal Clinic, with offices on the seventh floor of the Victoria Building along U. N. Avenue in Manila. No matter what the client's problem, and even if it is as complicated as the Cuneta- Concepcion domestic situation, Atty. Nogales and his staff of lawyers, who, like doctors are "specialists" in various fields can take care of it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor, litigation, and family law. These specialist are backed up by a battery of paralegals, counsellors and attorneys.

Atty. Nogales set up The Legal Clinic in 1984. Inspired by the trend in the medical field toward specialization, it caters to clients who cannot afford the services of the big law firms.

The Legal Clinic has regular and walk-in clients. "when they come, we start by analyzing the problem. That's what doctors do also. They ask you how you contracted what's bothering you, they take your temperature, they observe you for the symptoms and so on. That's how we operate, too. And once the problem has been categorized, then it's referred to one of our specialists.

There are cases which do not, in medical terms, require surgery or follow-up treatment. These The Legal Clinic disposes of in a matter of minutes. "Things like preparing a simple deed of sale or an affidavit of loss can be taken care of by our staff or, if this were a hospital the residents or the interns. We can take care of these matters on a while you wait basis. Again, kung baga sa hospital, out-patient, hindi kailangang ma-confine. It's just like a common cold or diarrhea," explains Atty. Nogales.

Those cases which requires more extensive "treatment" are dealt with accordingly. "If you had a rich relative who died and named you her sole heir, and you stand to inherit millions of pesos of property, we would refer you to a specialist in taxation. There would be real estate taxes and arrears which would need to be put in order, and your relative is even taxed by the state for the right to transfer her property, and only a specialist in taxation would be properly trained to deal with the problem. Now, if there were other heirs contesting your rich relatives will, then you would need a litigator, who knows how to arrange the problem for presentation in court, and gather evidence to support the case. 21

That fact that the corporation employs paralegals to carry out its services is not controlling. What is important is that it is engaged in the practice of law by virtue of the nature of the services it renders which thereby brings it within the ambit of the statutory prohibitions against the advertisements which it has caused to be published and are now assailed in this proceeding.

Further, as correctly and appropriately pointed out by the U.P. WILOCI, said reported facts sufficiently establish that the main purpose of respondent is to serve as a one-stop-shop of sorts for various legal problems wherein a client may avail of legal services from simple documentation to complex litigation and corporate undertakings. Most of these services are undoubtedly beyond the domain of paralegals, but rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers engaged in the practice of law. 22

It should be noted that in our jurisdiction the services being offered by private respondent which constitute practice of law cannot be performed by paralegals. Only a person duly admitted as a member of the bar, or hereafter admitted as such in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court, and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law. 23

Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character. The permissive right conferred on the lawyers is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the client and the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the court. 24

The same rule is observed in the american jurisdiction wherefrom respondent would wish to draw support for his thesis. The doctrines there also stress that the practice of law is limited to those who meet the requirements for, and have been admitted to, the bar, and various statutes or rules specifically so provide. 25 The practice of law is not a lawful business except for members of the bar who have complied with all the conditions required by statute and the rules of court. Only those persons are allowed to practice law who, by reason of attainments previously acquired through education and study, have been recognized by the courts as possessing profound knowledge of legal science entitling them to advise, counsel with, protect, or defend the rights claims, or liabilities of their clients, with respect to the construction, interpretation, operation and effect of law. 26 The justification for excluding from the practice of law those not admitted to the bar is found, not in the protection of the bar from competition, but in the protection of the public from being advised and represented in legal matters by incompetent and unreliable persons over whom the judicial department can exercise little control. 27

We have to necessarily and definitely reject respondent's position that the concept in the United States of paralegals as an occupation separate from the law profession be adopted in this jurisdiction. Whatever may be its merits, respondent cannot but be aware that this should first be a matter for judicial rules or legislative action, and not of unilateral adoption as it has done.

Paralegals in the United States are trained professionals. As admitted by respondent, there are schools and universities there which offer studies and degrees in paralegal education, while there are none in the Philippines. 28 As the concept of the "paralegals" or "legal assistant" evolved in the United States, standards and guidelines also evolved to protect the general public. One of the major standards or guidelines was developed by the American Bar Association which set up Guidelines for the Approval of Legal Assistant Education Programs (1973). Legislation has even been proposed to certify legal assistants. There are also associations of paralegals in the United States with their own code of professional ethics, such as the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. and the American Paralegal Association. 29

In the Philippines, we still have a restricted concept and limited acceptance of what may be considered as paralegal service. As pointed out by FIDA, some persons not duly licensed to practice law are or have been allowed limited representation in behalf of another or to render legal services, but such allowable services are limited in scope and extent by the law, rules or regulations granting permission therefor. 30

Accordingly, we have adopted the American judicial policy that, in the absence of constitutional or statutory authority, a person who has not been admitted as an attorney cannot practice law for the proper administration of justice cannot be hindered by the unwarranted intrusion of an unauthorized and unskilled person into the practice of law. 31 That policy should continue to be one of encouraging persons who are unsure of their legal rights and remedies to seek legal assistance only from persons licensed to practice law in the state. 32

Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned advertisements, the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer in making known his legal services shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or statement of facts. 33 He is not supposed to use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services. 34 Nor shall he pay or give something of value to representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business. 35 Prior to the adoption of the code of Professional Responsibility, the Canons of Professional Ethics had also warned that lawyers should not resort to indirect advertisements for professional employment, such as furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments, or procuring his photograph to be published in connection with causes in which the lawyer has been or is engaged or concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved, the importance of the lawyer's position, and all other like self-laudation. 36

The standards of the legal profession condemn the lawyer's advertisement of his talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of his profession. advertise his talents or skill as in a manner similar to a merchant advertising his goods. 37 The prescription against advertising of legal services or solicitation of legal business rests on the fundamental postulate that the that the practice of law is a profession. Thus, in the case of The Director of Religious Affairs. vs. Estanislao R. Bayot 38 an advertisement, similar to those of respondent which are involved in the present proceeding, 39 was held to constitute improper advertising or solicitation.

The pertinent part of the decision therein reads:

It is undeniable that the advertisement in question was a flagrant violation by the respondent of the ethics of his profession, it being a brazen solicitation of business from the public. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among other things that "the practice of soliciting cases at law for the

purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice." It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares. Law is a profession and not a trade. The lawyer degrades himself and his profession who stoops to and

adopts the practices of mercantilism by advertising his services or offering them to the public. As a member of the bar, he defiles the temple of justice with mercenary activities as the money-changers of old defiled the temple of Jehovah. "The most worthy and effective advertisement possible, even for a

young lawyer,

is the establishment of a well-merited

reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust. This

cannot be forced but must be the outcome of character and conduct." (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.).

We repeat, the canon of the profession tell us that the best advertising possible for a lawyer is a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the outcome of character and conduct. Good and efficient service to a client as well as to the community has a way of publicizing itself and catching public attention. That publicity is a normal by-product of effective service which is right and proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to generate it and to magnify his success. He easily sees the difference between a normal by-product of able service and the unwholesome result of propaganda. 40

Of course, not all types of advertising or solicitation are prohibited. The canons of the profession enumerate exceptions to the rule against advertising or solicitation and define the extent to which they may be undertaken. The exceptions are of two broad categories, namely, those which are expressly allowed and those which are necessarily implied from the restrictions. 41

The first of such exceptions is the publication in reputable law lists, in a manner consistent with the standards of conduct imposed by the canons, of brief biographical and informative data. "Such data must not be misleading and may include only a statement of the lawyer's name and the names of his professional associates; addresses, telephone numbers, cable addresses; branches of law practiced; date and place of birth and admission to the bar; schools attended with dates of graduation, degrees and other educational distinction; public or quasi-public offices; posts of honor; legal authorships; legal teaching positions; membership and offices in bar associations and committees thereof, in legal and scientific societies and legal fraternities; the fact of listings in other reputable law lists; the names and addresses of references; and, with their written consent, the names of clients regularly represented." 42

The law list must be a reputable law list published primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade journal or periodical which is published principally for other purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not properly publish his brief biographical and informative data in a

daily paper, magazine, trade journal or society program. Nor may a lawyer permit his name to be published in a law list the conduct, management or contents of which are calculated or likely to deceive or injure the public or the bar, or to lower the dignity or standing of the profession. 43

The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted. The card may contain only a statement of his name, the name of the law firm which he is connected with, address, telephone number and special branch of law practiced. The publication of a simple announcement of the opening of a law firm or of changes in the partnership, associates, firm name or office address, being for the convenience of the profession, is not objectionable. He may likewise have his name listed in a telephone directory but not under a designation of special branch of law. 44

Verily, taking into consideration the nature and contents of the advertisements for which respondent is being taken to task, which even includes a quotation of the fees charged by said respondent corporation for services rendered, we find and so hold that the same definitely do not and conclusively cannot fall under any of the above-mentioned exceptions.

The ruling in the case of Bates, et al. vs. State Bar of Arizona, 45 which is repeatedly invoked and constitutes the justification relied upon by respondent, is obviously not applicable to the case at bar. Foremost is the fact that the disciplinary rule involved in said case explicitly allows a lawyer, as an exception to the prohibition against advertisements by lawyers, to publish a statement of legal fees for an initial consultation or the availability upon request of a written schedule of fees or an estimate of the fee to be charged for the specific services. No such exception is provided for, expressly or impliedly, whether in our former Canons of Professional Ethics or the present Code of Professional Responsibility. Besides, even the disciplinary rule in the Bates case contains a proviso that the exceptions stated therein are "not applicable in any state unless and until it is implemented by such authority in that state." 46 This goes to show that an exception to the general rule, such as that being invoked by herein respondent, can be made only if and when the canons expressly provide for such an exception. Otherwise, the prohibition stands, as in the case at bar.

It bears mention that in a survey conducted by the American Bar Association after the decision in Bates, on the attitude of the public about lawyers after viewing television commercials, it was found that public opinion dropped significantly 47 with respect to these characteristics of lawyers:

Trustworthy

from

71%

to

14%

Professional

from

71%

to

14%

Honest

from

65%

to

14%

Dignified from 45% to 14%

Secondly, it is our firm belief that with the present situation of our legal and judicial systems, to allow the publication of advertisements of the kind used by

respondent would only serve to aggravate what is already a deteriorating public opinion of the legal profession whose integrity has consistently been under attack lately by media and the community in general. At this point in time, it is of utmost importance in the face of such negative, even if unfair, criticisms at times, to adopt and maintain that level of professional conduct which is beyond reproach, and to exert all efforts to regain the high esteem formerly accorded to the legal profession.

In sum, it is undoubtedly a misbehavior on the part of the lawyer, subject to disciplinary action, to advertise his services except in allowable instances 48 or to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice of law. 49 Considering that Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales, who is the prime incorporator, major stockholder and proprietor of The Legal Clinic, Inc. is a member of the Philippine Bar, he is hereby reprimanded, with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts which are involved in this proceeding will be dealt with more severely.

While we deem it necessary that the question as to the legality or illegality of the purpose/s for which the Legal Clinic, Inc. was created should be passed upon and determined, we are constrained to refrain from lapsing into an obiter on that aspect since it is clearly not within the adjudicative parameters of the present proceeding which is merely administrative in nature. It is, of course, imperative that this matter be promptly determined, albeit in a different proceeding and forum, since, under the present state of our law and jurisprudence, a corporation cannot be organized for or engage in the practice of law in this country. This interdiction, just like the rule against unethical advertising, cannot be subverted by employing some so-called paralegals supposedly rendering the alleged support services.

The remedy for the apparent breach of this prohibition by respondent is the concern and province of the Solicitor General who can institute the corresponding quo warranto action, 50 after due ascertainment of the factual background and basis for the grant of respondent's corporate charter, in light of the putative misuse thereof. That spin-off from the instant bar matter is referred to the Solicitor General for such action as may be necessary under the circumstances.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to RESTRAIN and ENJOIN herein respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., from issuing or causing the publication or dissemination of any advertisement in any form which is of the same or similar tenor and purpose as Annexes "A" and "B" of this petition, and from conducting, directly or indirectly, any activity, operation or transaction proscribed by law or the Code of Professional Ethics as indicated herein. Let copies of this resolution be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Office of the Solicitor General for appropriate action in accordance herewith.

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Quiason, JJ., concur

Resolution

March 18, 1954

In the Matter of the Petitions for Admission to the Bar of

Unsuccessful Candidates ALBINO CUNANAN

of

1946

to

1953;

DIOKNO, J.:

In recent years few controversial issues have aroused so much public interest and concern as Republic Act No. 972, popularly known as the "Bar Flunkers' Act of 1953." Under the Rules of Court governing admission to the bar, "in order that a candidate (for admission to the Bar) may be deemed to have passed his examinations successfully, he must have obtained a general average of 75 per cent in all subjects, without falling below 50 per cent in any subject." (Rule 127, sec. 14, Rules of Court). Nevertheless, considering the varying difficulties of the different bar examinations held since 1946 and the varying degree of strictness with which the examination papers were graded, this court passed and admitted to the bar those candidates who had obtained an average of only 72 per cent in 1946, 69 per cent in 1947, 70 per cent in 1948, and 74 per cent in 1949. In 1950 to 1953, the 74 per cent was raised to 75 per cent.

Believing themselves as fully qualified to practice law as those reconsidered and passed by this court, and feeling conscious of having been discriminated against (See Explanatory Note to R.A. No. 972), unsuccessful candidates who obtained averages of a few percentage lower than those admitted to the Bar agitated in Congress for, and secured in 1951 the passage of Senate Bill No. 12 which, among others, reduced the passing general average in bar examinations to 70 per cent effective since 1946. The President requested the views of this court on the bill. Complying with that request, seven members of the court subscribed to and submitted written comments adverse thereto, and shortly thereafter the President vetoed it. Congress did not override the veto. Instead, it approved Senate Bill No. 371, embodying substantially the provisions of the vetoed bill. Although the members of this court reiterated their unfavorable views on the matter, the President allowed the bill to become a law on June 21, 1953 without his signature. The law, which incidentally was enacted in an election year, reads in full as follows:

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972

AN ACT TO FIX THE PASSING MARKS FOR BAR EXAMINATIONS FROM NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FORTY-SIX UP TO AND INCLUDING NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE.

Be

it

enacted

by

the

Senate

and

House

of

Representatives

of

the

Philippines

in

Congress

assembled:

 

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of section fourteen, Rule numbered one hundred twenty-seven of the Rules of Court, any bar candidate who obtained a general average of seventy per cent in any bar examinations after July fourth, nineteen hundred and forty-six up to the August nineteen hundred and fifty-one bar examinations; seventy- one per cent in the nineteen hundred and fifty-two bar examinations; seventy-two per cent in the in the nineteen hundred and fifty-three bar examinations; seventy-three per cent in the nineteen hundred and fifty-four bar examinations; seventy-four per cent in the nineteen hundred and fifty-five bar examinations without a candidate obtaining a grade below fifty per cent in any subject, shall be allowed to take and subscribe the corresponding oath of office as member of the Philippine Bar: Provided, however, That for the purpose of this Act, any exact one-half or more of a fraction, shall be considered as one and included as part of the next whole number.

SEC. 2. Any bar candidate who obtained a grade of seventy- five per cent in any subject in any bar examination after July fourth, nineteen hundred and forty-six shall be deemed to have passed in such subject or subjects and such grade or grades shall be included in computing the passing general average that said candidate may obtain in any subsequent examinations that he may take.

SEC. 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Enacted on June 21, 1953, without the Executive approval.

After its approval, many of the unsuccessful postwar candidates filed petitions for admission to the bar invoking its provisions, while others whose motions for the revision of their examination papers were still pending also invoked the aforesaid law as an additional ground for admission. There are also others who have sought simply the reconsideration of their grades without, however, invoking the law in question. To avoid injustice to individual petitioners, the court first reviewed the motions for reconsideration, irrespective of whether or not they had invoked Republic Act No. 972. Unfortunately, the court has found no reason to revise their grades. If they are to be admitted to the bar, it must be pursuant to Republic Act No. 972 which, if declared valid, should be applied equally to all concerned whether they have filed petitions or not. A complete list of the petitioners, properly classified, affected by this decision, as well as a more detailed account of the history of Republic Act No. 972, are appended to this decision as Annexes I and II. And to realize more readily the effects of the law, the following statistical data are set forth:

(1) The unsuccessful bar candidates who are to be benefited by section 1 of Republic Act No. 972 total 1,168, classified as follows:

1946

(August)

206

121

18

1946

(November)

477

228

43

1947

749

340

0

1948

899

409

11

1949

1,218

532

164

1950

1,316

893

26

1951

2,068

879

196

1952

2,738

1,033 426

1953

 

2,555

968

284

TOTAL

12,230 5,421 1,168

Of the total 1,168 candidates, 92 have passed in subsequent examination, and only 586 have filed either motions for admission to the bar pursuant to said Republic Act, or mere motions for reconsideration.

(2) In addition, some other 10 unsuccessful candidates are to be benefited by section 2 of said Republic Act. These candidates had each taken from two to five different examinations, but failed to obtain a passing average in any of them. Consolidating, however, their highest grades in different subjects in previous examinations, with their latest marks, they would be sufficient to reach the passing average as provided for by Republic Act No. 972.

(3) The total number of candidates to be benefited by this Republic Acts is therefore 1,094, of which only 604 have filed petitions. Of these 604 petitioners, 33 who failed in 1946 to 1951 had individually presented motions for reconsideration which were denied, while 125 unsuccessful candidates of 1952, and 56 of 1953, had presented similar motions, which are still pending because they could be favorably affected by Republic Act No. 972, — although as has been already stated, this tribunal finds no sufficient reasons to reconsider their grades

UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972

Having been called upon to enforce a law of far-reaching effects on the practice of the legal profession and the administration of justice, and because some doubts have been expressed as to its validity, the court set the hearing of the afore-mentioned petitions for admission on the sole question of whether or not Republic Act No. 972 is constitutional.

We have been enlightened in the study of this question by the brilliant assistance of the members of the bar who have amply argued, orally an in writing, on the various aspects in which the question may be gleaned. The valuable studies of Messrs. E. Voltaire Garcia, Vicente J. Francisco, Vicente Pelaez and Buenaventura Evangelista, in favor of the validity of the law, and of the U.P. Women's Lawyers' Circle, the Solicitor General, Messrs. Arturo A. Alafriz, Enrique M. Fernando, Vicente Abad Santos, Carlos A. Barrios, Vicente del Rosario, Juan de Blancaflor, Mamerto V. Gonzales, and Roman Ozaeta against it, aside from the memoranda of counsel for petitioners, Messrs. Jose M. Aruego, M.H. de Joya, Miguel R. Cornejo and Antonio Enrile Inton, and of petitioners Cabrera, Macasaet and Galema themselves, has greatly helped us in this task. The legal researchers of the court have exhausted almost all Philippine and American jurisprudence on the matter. The question has been the Page 2 of 43

object of intense deliberation for a long time by the Tribunal, and finally, after the voting, the preparation of the majority opinion was assigned to a new member in order to place it as humanly as possible above all suspicion of prejudice or partiality.

Republic Act No. 972 has for its object, according to its author, to admit to the Bar, those candidates who suffered from insufficiency of reading materials and inadequate preparation. Quoting a portion of the Explanatory Note of the proposed bill, its author Honorable Senator Pablo Angeles David stated:

The reason for relaxing the standard 75 per cent passing grade is the tremendous handicap which students during the years immediately after the Japanese occupation has to overcome such as the insufficiency of reading materials and the inadequacy of the preparation of students who took up law soon after the liberation.

Of the 9,675 candidates who took the examinations from 1946 to 1952, 5,236 passed. And now it is claimed that in addition 604 candidates be admitted (which in reality total 1,094), because they suffered from "insufficiency of reading materials" and of "inadequacy of preparation."

By its declared objective, the law is contrary to public interest because it qualifies 1,094 law graduates who confessedly had inadequate preparation for the practice of the profession, as was exactly found by this Tribunal in the aforesaid examinations. The public interest demands of legal profession adequate preparation and efficiency, precisely more so as legal problem evolved by the times become more difficult. An adequate legal preparation is one of the vital requisites for the practice of law that should be developed constantly and maintained firmly. To the legal profession is entrusted the protection of property, life, honor and civil liberties. To approve officially of those inadequately prepared individuals to dedicate themselves to such a delicate mission is to create a serious social danger. Moreover, the statement that there was an insufficiency of legal reading materials is grossly exaggerated. There were abundant materials. Decisions of this court alone in mimeographed copies were made available to the public during those years and private enterprises had also published them in monthly magazines and annual digests. The Official Gazette had

been published continuously. Books and magazines published abroad have entered without restriction since 1945. Many law books, some even with revised and enlarged editions have been printed locally during those periods. A new set of Philippine Reports began to be published since 1946, which continued to be supplemented by the addition of new volumes. Those are facts of public knowledge.

Notwithstanding all these, if the law in question is valid, it has to be enforced.

The question is not new in its fundamental aspect or from the point of view of applicable principles, but the resolution of the question would have been easier had an identical case of similar background been picked out from the jurisprudence we daily consult. Is there any precedent in the long Anglo-Saxon legal history, from which has been directly derived the judicial system established here with its lofty ideals by the Congress of the United States, and which we have preserved and attempted to improve, or in our contemporaneous judicial history of more than half a century? From the citations of those defending the law, we can not find a case in which the validity of a similar law had been sustained, while those against its validity cite, among others, the cases of Day (In re Day, 54 NE 646), of Cannon (State vs. Cannon, 240 NW, 441), the opinion of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in 1932 (81 ALR 1061), of Guariña (24 Phil., 37), aside from the opinion of the President which is expressed in his vote of the original bill and which the postponement of the contested law respects.

This law has no precedent in its favor. When similar laws in other countries had been promulgated, the judiciary immediately declared them without force or effect. It is not within our power to offer a precedent to uphold the disputed law.

To be exact, we ought to state here that we have examined carefully the case that has been cited to us as a favorable precedent of the law — that of Cooper (22 NY, 81), where the Court of Appeals of New York revoked the decision of the Supreme court of that State, denying the petition of Cooper to be admitted to the practice of law under the provisions of a statute concerning the school of law of Columbia College promulgated on April 7, 1860, which was declared by the Court of Appeals to be consistent with the Constitution of the state of New York.

It appears that the Constitution of New York at that time provided:

They (i.e., the judges) shall not hold any other office of public trust. All votes for either of them for any elective office except that of the Court of Appeals, given by the Legislature or the people, shall be void. They shall not exercise any power of appointment to public office. Any male citizen of the age of twenty-one years, of good moral character, and who possesses the requisite qualifications of learning and ability, shall be entitled to admission to practice in all the courts of this State. (p. 93).

According to the Court of Appeals, the object of the constitutional precept is as follows:

Attorneys, solicitors, etc., were public officers; the power of appointing them had previously rested with the judges, and this was the principal appointing power which they possessed. The convention was evidently dissatisfied with the manner in which this power had been exercised, and with the restrictions which the judges had imposed upon admission to practice before them. The prohibitory clause in the section quoted was aimed directly at this power, and the insertion of the provision" expecting the admission of attorneys, in this particular section of the Constitution, evidently arose from its connection with the object of this prohibitory clause. There is nothing indicative of confidence in the courts or of a disposition to preserve any portion of their power over this subject, unless the Supreme Court is right in the inference it draws from the use of the word `admission' in the action referred to. It is urged that the admission spoken of must be by the court; that to admit means to grant leave, and that the power of granting necessarily implies the power of refusing, and of course the right of determining whether the applicant possesses the requisite qualifications to entitle him to admission.

These positions may all be conceded, without affecting the validity of the act. (p. 93.)

Now, with respect to the law of April 7, 1860, the decision seems to indicate that it provided that the possession of a diploma of the school of law of Columbia College conferring the degree of Bachelor of Laws was evidence of the legal qualifications that the constitution required of applicants for admission to the Bar. The decision does not however quote the text of the law, which we cannot find in any public or accessible private library in the country.

In the case of Cooper, supra, to make the law consistent with the Constitution of New York, the Court of Appeals said of the object of the law:

The motive for passing the act in question is apparent. Columbia College being an institution of established reputation, and having a law department under the charge of able professors, the students in which department were not only subjected to a formal examination by the law committee of the institution, but to a certain definite period of study before being entitled to a diploma of being graduates, the Legislature evidently, and no doubt justly, considered this examination, together with the preliminary study required by the act, as fully equivalent as a test of legal requirements, to the ordinary examination by the court; and as rendering the latter examination, to which no definite period of preliminary study was essential, unnecessary and burdensome.

The act was obviously passed with reference to the learning and ability of the applicant, and for the mere purpose of substituting the examination by the law committee of the college for that of the court. It could have had no other object, and hence no greater scope should be given to its provisions. We cannot suppose that the Legislature designed entirely to dispense with the plain and explicit requirements of the Constitution; and the act contains nothing whatever to indicate an intention that the authorities of the college should inquire as to the age, citizenship, etc., of the students before granting a diploma. The only rational interpretation of which the act admits is, that it was intended to make the college diploma competent evidence as to the legal attainments of the applicant, and nothing else. To this extent alone it operates as a modification of pre-existing statutes, and it is to be read in connection with these statutes and with the Page 4 of 43

Constitution itself in order to determine the present condition of the law on the subject. (p.89)

x x x

x x x

x x x

The Legislature has not taken from the court its jurisdiction over the question of admission, that has simply prescribed what shall be competent evidence in certain cases upon that question. (p.93)

From the foregoing, the complete inapplicability of the case of Cooper with that at bar may be clearly seen. Please note only the following distinctions:

(1) The law of New York does not require that any candidate of Columbia College who failed in the bar examinations be admitted to the practice of law.

(2) The law of New York according to the very decision of Cooper, has not taken from the court its jurisdiction over the question of admission of attorney at law; in effect, it does not decree the admission of any lawyer.

(3) The Constitution of New York at that time and that of the Philippines are entirely different on the matter of admission of the practice of law.

In the judicial system from which ours has been evolved, the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys at law in the practice of the profession and their supervision have been disputably a judicial function and responsibility. Because of this attribute, its continuous and zealous possession and exercise by the judicial power have been demonstrated during more than six centuries, which certainly "constitutes the most solid of titles." Even considering the power granted to Congress by our Constitution to repeal, alter supplement the rules promulgated by this Court regarding the admission to the practice of law, to our judgment and proposition that the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of the attorneys at law is a legislative function, properly belonging to Congress, is unacceptable. The function requires (1) previously established rules and principles, (2) concrete

facts, whether past or present, affecting determinate individuals. and (3) decision as to whether these facts are governed by the rules and principles; in effect, a judicial function of the highest degree. And it becomes more undisputably judicial, and not legislative, if previous judicial resolutions on the petitions of these same individuals are attempted to be revoked or modified.

We have said that in the judicial system from which ours has been derived, the act of admitting, suspending, disbarring and reinstating attorneys at law in the practice of the profession is concededly judicial. A comprehensive and conscientious study of this matter had been undertaken in the case of State vs. Cannon (1932) 240 NW 441, in which the validity of a legislative enactment providing that Cannon be permitted to practice before the courts was discussed. From the text of this decision we quote the following paragraphs:

This statute presents an assertion of legislative power without parallel in the history of the English speaking people so far as we have been able to ascertain. There has been much uncertainty as to the extent of the power of the Legislature to prescribe the ultimate qualifications of attorney at law has been expressly committed to the courts, and the act of admission has always been regarded as a judicial function. This act purports to constitute Mr. Cannon an attorney at law, and in this respect it stands alone as an assertion of legislative power. (p. 444)

Under the Constitution all legislative power is vested in a Senate and Assembly. (Section 1, art. 4.) In so far as the prescribing of qualifications for admission to the bar are legislative in character, the Legislature is acting within its constitutional authority when it sets up and prescribes such qualifications. (p. 444)

But when the Legislature has prescribed those qualifications which in its judgment will serve the purpose of legitimate legislative solicitude, is the power of the court to impose other and further exactions and qualifications foreclosed or exhausted? (p. 444)

Under our Constitution the judicial and legislative departments are distinct, independent, and coordinate branches of the government. Neither branch enjoys all the powers of sovereignty which properly belongs to its department. Neither department should so act as to embarrass the other in the discharge of its respective functions. That was the scheme and thought of the people setting upon the form of government under which we exist. State vs. Hastings, 10 Wis., 525; Attorney General ex rel. Bashford vs. Barstow, 4 Wis., 567. (p. 445)

The judicial department of government is responsible for the plane upon which the administration of justice is maintained. Its responsibility in this respect is exclusive. By committing a portion of the powers of sovereignty to the judicial department of our state government, under 42a scheme which it was supposed rendered it immune from embarrassment or interference by any other department of government, the courts cannot escape responsibility fir the manner in which the powers of sovereignty thus committed to the judicial department are exercised. (p. 445)

The relation at the bar to the courts is a peculiar and intimate relationship. The bar is an attache of the courts. The quality of justice dispense by the courts depends in no small degree upon the integrity of its bar. An unfaithful bar may easily bring scandal and reproach to the administration of justice and bring the courts themselves into disrepute. (p.445)

Through all time courts have exercised a direct and severe supervision over their bars, at least in the English speaking countries. (p. 445)

After explaining the history of the case, the Court ends thus:

Our conclusion may be epitomized as follows: For more than six centuries prior to the adoption of our Constitution, the courts of England, concededly subordinate to Parliament since the Revolution of 1688, had exercise the right of determining who should be admitted to the practice of law, which, as was said in Matter of the Sergeant's at Law, 6

Bingham's New Cases 235, "constitutes the most solid of all titles." If the courts and judicial power be regarded as an entity, the power to determine who should be admitted to practice law is a constituent element of that entity. It may be difficult to isolate that element and say with assurance that it is either a part of the inherent power of the court, or an essential element of the judicial power exercised by the court, but that it is a power belonging to the judicial entity and made of not only a sovereign institution, but made of it a separate independent, and coordinate branch of the government. They took this institution along with the power traditionally exercise to determine who should constitute its attorney at law. There is no express provision in the Constitution which indicates an intent that this traditional power of the judicial department should in any manner be subject to legislative control. Perhaps the dominant thought of the framers of our constitution was to make the three great departments of government separate and independent of one another. The idea that the Legislature might embarrass the judicial department by prescribing inadequate qualifications for attorneys at law is inconsistent with the dominant purpose of making the judicial independent of the legislative department, and such a purpose should not be inferred in the absence of express constitutional provisions. While the legislature may legislate with respect to the qualifications of attorneys, but is incidental merely to its general and unquestioned power to protect the public interest. When it does legislate a fixing a standard of qualifications required of attorneys at law in order that public interests may be protected, such qualifications do not constitute only a minimum standard and limit the class from which the court must make its selection. Such legislative qualifications do not constitute the ultimate qualifications beyond which the court cannot go in fixing additional qualifications deemed necessary by the course of the proper administration of judicial functions. There is no legislative power to compel courts to admit to their bars persons deemed by them unfit to exercise the prerogatives of an attorney at law. (p. 450)

Furthermore, it is an unlawful attempt to exercise the power of appointment. It is quite likely true that the legislature may

exercise the power of appointment when it is in pursuance of a legislative functions. However, the authorities are well-nigh unanimous that the power to admit attorneys to the practice of law is a judicial function. In all of the states, except New Jersey (In re Reisch, 83 N.J. Eq. 82, 90 A. 12), so far as our investigation reveals, attorneys receive their formal license to practice law by their admission as members of the bar of the court so admitting. Cor. Jur. 572; Ex parte Secombre, 19 How. 9,15 L. Ed. 565; Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall. 333, 18 L. Ed. 366; Randall vs. Brigham, 7 Wall. 53, 19 L. Ed. 285; Hanson vs. Grattan, 48 Kan, 843, 115 P. 646, 34 L.R.A. 519; Danforth vs. Egan, 23 S. D. 43, 119 N.W. 1021, 130 Am. St. Rep. 1030, 20 Ann. Cas. 413.

The power of admitting an attorney to practice having been perpetually exercised by the courts, it having been so generally held that the act of the court in admitting an attorney to practice is the judgment of the court, and an attempt as this on the part of the Legislature to confer such right upon any one being most exceedingly uncommon, it seems clear that the licensing of an attorney is and always has been a purely judicial function, no matter where the power to determine the qualifications may reside. (p. 451)

In that same year of 1932, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, in answering a consultation of the Senate of that State, 180 NE 725, said:

It is indispensible to the administration of justice and to interpretation of the laws that there be members of the bar of sufficient ability, adequate learning and sound moral character. This arises from the need of enlightened assistance to the honest, and restraining authority over the knavish, litigant. It is highly important, also that the public be protected from incompetent and vicious practitioners, whose opportunity for doing mischief is wide. It was said by Cardoz, C.L., in People ex rel. Karlin vs. Culkin, 242 N.Y. 456, 470, 471, 162 N.E. 487, 489, 60 A.L.R. 851: "Membership in the bar is a privilege burden with conditions." One is admitted to the bar "for something more than private gain." He becomes an "officer of the court", and ,like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the end of justice. His

cooperation with the court is due "whenever justice would be imperiled if cooperation was withheld." Without such attorneys at law the judicial department of government would be hampered in the performance of its duties. That has been the history of attorneys under the common law, both in this country and England. Admission to practice as an attorney at law is almost without exception conceded to be a judicial function. Petition to that end is filed in courts, as are other proceedings invoking judicial action. Admission to the bar is accomplish and made open and notorious by a decision of the court entered upon its records. The establishment by the Constitution of the judicial department conferred authority necessary to the exercise of its powers as a coordinate department of government. It is an inherent power of such a department of government ultimately to determine the qualifications of those to be admitted to practice in its courts, for assisting in its work, and to protect itself in this respect from the unfit, those lacking in sufficient learning, and those not possessing good moral character. Chief Justice Taney stated succinctly and with finality in Ex parte Secombe, 19 How. 9, 13, 15 L. Ed. 565, "It has been well settled, by the rules and practice of common-law courts, that it rests exclusively with the court to determine who is qualified to become one of its officers, as an attorney and counselor, and for what cause he ought to be removed." (p.727)

In the case of Day and others who collectively filed a petition to secure license to practice the legal profession by virtue of a law of state (In re Day, 54 NE 646), the court said in part:

In the case of Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall, 333, 18 L. Ed. 366, the court, holding the test oath for attorneys to be unconstitutional, explained the nature of the attorney's office as follows: "They are officers of the court, admitted as such by its order, upon evidence of their possessing sufficient legal learning and fair private character. It has always been the general practice in this country to obtain this evidence by an examination of the parties. In this court the fact of the admission of such officers in the highest court of the states to which they, respectively, belong for, three years preceding their application, is regarded as sufficient evidence of the possession of the requisite legal learning, and the statement

of counsel moving their admission sufficient evidence that their private and professional character is fair. The order of admission is the judgment of the court that the parties possess the requisite qualifications as attorneys and counselors, and are entitled to appear as such and conduct causes therein. From its entry the parties become officers of the court, and are responsible to it for professional misconduct. They hold their office during good behavior, and can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by the judgment of the court after opportunity to be heard has been afforded. Ex parte Hoyfron, admission or their exclusion is not the exercise of a mere ministerial power. It is the exercise of judicial power, and has been so held in numerous cases. It was so held by the court of appeals of New York in the matter of the application of Cooper for admission. Re Cooper 22 N. Y. 81. "Attorneys and Counselors", said that court, "are not only officers of the court, but officers whose duties relate almost exclusively to proceedings of a judicial nature; and hence their appointment may, with propriety, be entrusted to the court, and the latter, in performing his duty, may very justly considered as engaged in the exercise of their appropriate judicial functions." (pp. 650-651).

We quote from other cases, the following pertinent portions:

Admission to practice of law is almost without exception conceded everywhere to be the exercise of a judicial function, and this opinion need not be burdened with citations in this point. Admission to practice have also been held to be the exercise of one of the inherent powers of the court. — Re Bruen, 102 Wash. 472, 172 Pac. 906.

Admission to the practice of law is the exercise of a judicial function, and is an inherent power of the court. — A.C. Brydonjack, vs. State Bar of California, 281 Pac. 1018; See Annotation on Power of Legislature respecting admission to bar, 65, A.L. R. 1512.

On this matter there is certainly a clear distinction between the functions of the judicial and legislative departments of the government.

The distinction between the functions of the legislative and the judicial departments is that it is the province of the legislature to establish rules that shall regulate and govern in matters of transactions occurring subsequent to the legislative action, while the judiciary determines rights and obligations with reference to transactions that are past or conditions that exist at the time of the exercise of judicial power, and the distinction is a vital one and not subject to alteration or change either by legislative action or by judicial decree.

The judiciary cannot consent that its province shall be invaded by either of the other departments of the government. — 16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, p. 229.

If the legislature cannot thus indirectly control the action of the courts by requiring of them construction of the law according to its own views, it is very plain it cannot do so directly, by settling aside their judgments, compelling them to grant new trials, ordering the discharge of offenders, or directing what particular steps shall be taken in the progress of a judicial inquiry. — Cooley's Constitutional Limitations,

192.

In decreeing the bar candidates who obtained in the bar examinations of 1946 to 1952, a general average of 70 per cent without falling below 50 per cent in any subject, be admitted in mass to the practice of law, the disputed law is not a legislation; it is a judgment — a judgment revoking those promulgated by this Court during the aforecited year affecting the bar candidates concerned; and although this Court certainly can revoke these judgments even now, for justifiable reasons, it is no less certain that only this Court, and not the legislative nor executive department, that may be so. Any attempt on the part of any of these departments would be a clear usurpation of its functions, as is the case with the law in question.

That the Constitution has conferred on Congress the power to repeal, alter or supplement the rule promulgated by this Tribunal, concerning the admission to the practice of law, is no valid argument. Section 13, article VIII of the Constitution provides:

Section 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice and procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Court, subject to the power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter, or supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines. — Constitution of the Philippines, Art. VIII, sec. 13.

It will be noted that the Constitution has not conferred on Congress and this Tribunal equal responsibilities concerning the admission to the practice of law. the primary power and responsibility which the Constitution recognizes continue to reside in this Court. Had Congress found that this Court has not promulgated any rule on the matter, it would have nothing over which to exercise the power granted to it. Congress may repeal, alter and supplement the rules promulgated by this Court, but the authority and responsibility over the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys at law and their supervision remain vested in the Supreme Court. The power to repeal, alter and supplement the rules does not signify nor permit that Congress substitute or take the place of this Tribunal in the exercise of its primary power on the matter. The Constitution does not say nor mean that Congress may admit, suspend, disbar or reinstate directly attorneys at law, or a determinate group of individuals to the practice of law. Its power is limited to repeal, modify or supplement the existing rules on the matter, if according to its judgment the need for a better service of the legal profession requires it. But this power does not relieve this Court of its responsibility to admit, suspend, disbar and reinstate attorneys at law and supervise the practice of the legal profession.

Being coordinate and independent branches, the power to promulgate and enforce rules for the admission to the practice of law and the concurrent power to repeal, alter and supplement them may and should be exercised with the respect that each owes to the other, giving careful consideration to the responsibility which the nature of each department requires. These powers have existed

together for centuries without diminution on each part; the harmonious delimitation being found in that the legislature may and should examine if the existing rules on the admission to the Bar respond to the demands which public interest requires of a Bar endowed with high virtues, culture, training and responsibility. The legislature may, by means of appeal, amendment or supplemental rules, fill up any deficiency that it may find, and the judicial power, which has the inherent responsibility for a good and efficient administration of justice and the supervision of the practice of the legal profession, should consider these reforms as the minimum standards for the elevation of the profession, and see to it that with these reforms the lofty objective that is desired in the exercise of its traditional duty of admitting, suspending, disbarring and reinstating attorneys at law is realized. They are powers which, exercise within their proper constitutional limits, are not repugnant, but rather complementary to each other in attaining the establishment of a Bar that would respond to the increasing and exacting necessities of the administration of justice.

The case of Guariña (1913) 24 Phil., 37, illustrates our criterion. Guariña took examination and failed by a few points to obtain the general average. A recently enacted law provided that one who had been appointed to the position of Fiscal may be admitted to the practice of law without a previous examination. The Government appointed Guariña and he discharged the duties of Fiscal in a remote province. This tribunal refused to give his license without previous examinations. The court said:

Relying upon the provisions of section 2 of Act No. 1597, the applicant in this case seeks admission to the bar, without taking the prescribed examination, on the ground that he holds the office of provincial fiscal for the Province of Batanes.

Section 2 of Act No. 1597, enacted February 28, 1907, is as follows:

Sec. 2. Paragraph one of section thirteen of Act Numbered One Hundred and ninety, entitled "An Act providing a Code of Procedure in Civil Actions and Special Proceedings in the Philippine Islands," is hereby amended to read as follows:

1. Those who have been duly licensed under the laws and orders of the Islands under the sovereignty of Spain or of the United States and are in good and regular standing as members of the bar of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of this code; Provided, That any person who, prior to the passage of this act, or at any time thereafter, shall have held, under the authority of the United States, the position of justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of First Instance, or judge or associate judge of the Court of Land Registration, of the Philippine Islands, or the position of Attorney General, Solicitor General, Assistant Attorney General, assistant attorney in the office of the Attorney General, prosecuting attorney for the City of Manila, city attorney of Manila, assistant city attorney of Manila, provincial fiscal, attorney for the Moro Province, or assistant attorney for the Moro Province, may be licensed to practice law in the courts of the Philippine Islands without an examination, upon motion before the Supreme Court and establishing such fact to the satisfaction of said court.

The records of this court disclose that on a former occasion this appellant took, and failed to pass the prescribed examination. The report of the examining board, dated March 23, 1907, shows that he received an average of only 71 per cent in the various branches of legal learning upon which he was examined, thus falling four points short of the required percentage of 75. We would be delinquent in the performance of our duty to the public and to the bar, if, in the face of this affirmative indication of the deficiency of the applicant in the required qualifications of learning in the law at the time when he presented his former application for admission to the bar, we should grant him license to practice law in the courts of these Islands, without first satisfying ourselves that despite his failure to pass the examination on that occasion, he now "possesses the necessary qualifications of learning and ability."

But it is contented that under the provisions of the above- cited statute the applicant is entitled as of right to be admitted to the bar without taking the prescribed examination "upon motion before the Supreme Court" accompanied by satisfactory proof that he has held and now

holds the office of provincial fiscal of the Province of Batanes. It is urged that having in mind the object which the legislator apparently sought to attain in enacting the above-cited amendment to the earlier statute, and in view of the context generally and especially of the fact that the amendment was inserted as a proviso in that section of the original Act which specifically provides for the admission of certain candidates without examination. It is contented that this mandatory construction is imperatively required in order to give effect to the apparent intention of the legislator, and to the candidate's claim de jure to have the power exercised.

And after copying article 9 of Act of July 1, 1902 of the Congress of the United States, articles 2, 16 and 17 of Act No. 136, and articles 13 to 16 of Act 190, the Court continued:

Manifestly, the jurisdiction thus conferred upon this court by the commission and confirmed to it by the Act of Congress would be limited and restricted, and in a case such as that under consideration wholly destroyed, by giving the word "may," as used in the above citation from Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, or of any Act of Congress prescribing, defining or limiting the power conferred upon the commission is to that extent invalid and void, as transcending its rightful limits and authority.

Speaking on the application of the law to those who were appointed to the positions enumerated, and with particular emphasis in the case of Guariña, the Court held:

In the various cases wherein applications for the admission to the bar under the provisions of this statute have been considered heretofore, we have accepted the fact that such appointments had been made as satisfactory evidence of the qualifications of the applicant. But in all of those cases we had reason to believe that the applicants had been practicing attorneys prior to the date of their appointment.

In the case under consideration, however, it affirmatively appears that the applicant was not and never had been practicing attorney in this or any other jurisdiction prior to

the date of his appointment as provincial fiscal, and it further affirmatively appears that he was deficient in the required qualifications at the time when he last applied for admission to the bar.

In the light of this affirmative proof of his defieciency on that occasion, we do not think that his appointment to the office of provincial fiscal is in itself satisfactory proof if his possession of the necessary qualifications of learning and ability. We conclude therefore that this application for license to practice in the courts of the Philippines, should be denied.

In view, however, of the fact that when he took the examination he fell only four points short of the necessary grade to entitle him to a license to practice; and in view also of the fact that since that time he has held the responsible office of the governor of the Province of Sorsogon and presumably gave evidence of such marked ability in the performance of the duties of that office that the Chief Executive, with the consent and approval of the Philippine Commission, sought to retain him in the Government service by appointing him to the office of provincial fiscal, we think we would be justified under the above-cited provisions of Act No. 1597 in waiving in his case the ordinary examination prescribed by general rule, provided he offers satisfactory evidence of his proficiency in a special examination which will be given him by a committee of the court upon his application therefor, without prejudice to his right, if he desires so to do, to present himself at any of the ordinary examinations prescribed by general rule. — (In re Guariña, pp. 48-49.)

It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to grant license for the practice of law belongs exclusively to this Court, and the law passed by Congress on the matter is of permissive character, or as other authorities say, merely to fix the minimum conditions for the license.

The law in question, like those in the case of Day and Cannon, has been found also to suffer from the fatal defect of being a class legislation, and that if it has intended to make a classification, it is arbitrary and unreasonable.

In the case of Day, a law enacted on February 21, 1899 required of the Supreme Court, until December 31 of that year, to grant license for the practice of law to those students who began studying before November 4, 1897, and had studied for two years and presented a diploma issued by a school of law, or to those who had studied in a law office and would pass an examination, or to those who had studied for three years if they commenced their studies after the aforementioned date. The Supreme Court declared that this law was unconstitutional being, among others, a class legislation. The Court said:

This is an application to this court for admission to the bar of this state by virtue of diplomas from law schools issued to the applicants. The act of the general assembly passed in 1899, under which the application is made, is entitled "An act to amend section 1 of an act entitled "An act to revise the law in relation to attorneys and counselors," approved March 28, 1884, in force July 1, 1874." The amendment, so far as it appears in the enacting clause, consists in the addition to the section of the following: "And every application for a license who shall comply with the rules of the supreme court in regard to admission to the bar in force at the time such applicant commend the study of law, either in a law or office or a law school or college, shall be granted a license under this act notwithstanding any subsequent changes in said rules". — In re Day et al, 54 N.Y., p. 646.

After said provision there is a double proviso, one branch of which is that up to December 31, 1899, this court shall grant a license of admittance to the bar to the holder of every diploma regularly issued by any law school regularly organized under the laws of this state, whose regular course of law studies is two years, and requiring an attendance by the student of at least 36 weeks in each of such years, and showing that the student began the study of law prior to November 4, 1897, and accompanied with the usual proofs of good moral character. The other branch of the proviso is that any student who has studied law for two years in a law office, or part of such time in a law office, "and part in the aforesaid law school," and whose course of study began prior to November 4, 1897, shall be admitted upon a satisfactory examination by the examining board in the branches now

required by the rules of this court. If the right to admission exists at all, it is by virtue of the proviso, which, it is claimed, confers substantial rights and privileges upon the persons named therein, and establishes rules of legislative creation for their admission to the bar. (p. 647.)

Considering the proviso, however, as an enactment, it is clearly a special legislation, prohibited by the constitution, and invalid as such. If the legislature had any right to admit attorneys to practice in the courts and take part in the administration of justice, and could prescribe the character of

evidence which should be received by the court as conclusive of the requisite learning and ability of persons to practice law, it could only be done by a general law, persons or classes of persons. Const. art 4, section 2. The right to practice law is a privilege, and a license for that purpose makes the holder an officer of the court, and confers upon him the right to appear for litigants, to argue causes, and to collect fees therefor, and creates certain exemptions, such as from jury services and arrest on civil process while attending court. The law conferring such privileges must be general in its operation. No doubt the legislature, in framing an enactment for that purpose, may classify persons so long as the law establishing classes in general, and has some reasonable relation to the end sought. There must be some difference which furnishes a reasonable basis for different one, having no just relation to the subject of the legislation. Braceville Coal Co. vs. People, 147 Ill. 66, 35 N.E. 62; Ritchie vs. People, 155 Ill. 98, 40 N.E. 454; Railroad Co. vs. Ellis, 165 U.S. 150, 17 Sup. Ct.

255.

The length of time a physician has practiced, and the skill acquired by experience, may furnish a basis for classification (Williams vs. People 121 Ill. 48, II N.E. 881); but the place where such physician has resided and practiced his profession cannot furnish such basis, and is an arbitrary discrimination, making an enactment based upon it void (State vs. Pennyeor, 65 N.E. 113, 18 Atl. 878). Here the legislature undertakes to say what shall serve as a test of fitness for the profession of the law, and plainly, any classification must have some reference to learning, character, or ability to engage in such practice. The proviso is limited, first, to a class of persons

who began the study of law prior to November 4, 1897. This class is subdivided into two classes — First, those presenting diplomas issued by any law school of this state before December 31, 1899; and, second, those who studied law for the period of two years in a law office, or part of the time in a law school and part in a law office, who are to be admitted upon examination in the subjects specified in the present rules of this court, and as to this latter subdivision there seems to be no limit of time for making application for admission. As to both classes, the conditions of the rules are dispensed with, and as between the two different conditions and limits of time are fixed. No course of study is prescribed for the law school, but a diploma granted upon the completion of any sort of course its managers may prescribe

is made all-sufficient. Can there be anything with relation to

the qualifications or fitness of persons to practice law resting

upon the mere date of November 4, 1897, which will furnish

a basis of classification. Plainly not. Those who began the

study of law November 4th could qualify themselves to practice in two years as well as those who began on the 3rd. The classes named in the proviso need spend only two years in study, while those who commenced the next day must spend three years, although they would complete two years before the time limit. The one who commenced on the 3rd. If possessed of a diploma, is to be admitted without examination before December 31, 1899, and without any prescribed course of study, while as to the other the prescribed course must be pursued, and the diploma is utterly useless. Such classification cannot rest upon any natural reason, or bear any just relation to the subject sought, and none is suggested. The proviso is for the sole purpose of bestowing privileges upon certain defined persons. (pp. 647-648.)

In the case of Cannon above cited, State vs. Cannon, 240 N.W. 441, where the legislature attempted by law to reinstate Cannon to the practice of law, the court also held with regards to its aspect of being a class legislation:

But the statute is invalid for another reason. If it be granted that the legislature has power to prescribe ultimately and definitely the qualifications upon which courts must admit

and license those applying as attorneys at law, that power can not be exercised in the manner here attempted. That power must be exercised through general laws which will apply to all alike and accord equal opportunity to all. Speaking of the right of the Legislature to exact qualifications of those desiring to pursue chosen callings, Mr. Justice Field in the case of Dent. vs. West Virginia, 129 U.S. 114, 121, 9 S. Ct. 232, 233, 32 L. Ed. 626, said: "It is undoubtedly the right of every citizen of the United States to follow any lawful calling, business or profession he may choose, subject only to such restrictions as are imposed upon all persons of like age, sex, and condition." This right may in many respects be considered as a distinguishing feature of our republican institutions. Here all vocations are all open to every one on like conditions. All may be pursued as sources of livelihood, some requiring years of study and great learning for their successful prosecution. The interest, or, as it is sometimes termed, the "estate" acquired in them — that is, the right to continue their prosecution — is often of great value to the possessors and cannot be arbitrarily taken from them, any more than their real or personal property can be thus taken. It is fundamental under our system of government that all similarly situated and possessing equal qualifications shall enjoy equal opportunities. Even statutes regulating the practice of medicine, requiring medications to establish the possession on the part of the application of his proper qualifications before he may be licensed to practice, have been challenged, and courts have seriously considered whether the exemption from such examinations of those practicing in the state at the time of the enactment of the law rendered such law unconstitutional because of infringement upon this general principle. State vs. Thomas Call, 121 N.C. 643, 28 S.E. 517; see, also, The State ex rel. Winkler vs. Rosenberg, 101 Wis. 172, 76 N.W. 345; State vs. Whitcom, 122 Wis. 110, 99 N.W. 468.

This law singles out Mr. Cannon and assumes to confer upon him the right to practice law and to constitute him an officer of this Court as a mere matter of legislative grace or favor. It is not material that he had once established his right to practice law and that one time he possessed the requisite learning and other qualifications to entitle him to that right.

That fact in no matter affect the power of the Legislature to select from the great body of the public an individual upon whom it would confer its favors.

A statute of the state of Minnesota (Laws 1929, c. 424) commanded the Supreme Court to admit to the practice of law without examination, all who had served in the military or naval forces of the United States during the World War and received a honorable discharge therefrom and who (were disabled therein or thereby within the purview of the Act of Congress approved June 7th, 1924, known as "World War Veteran's Act, 1924 and whose disability is rated at least ten per cent thereunder at the time of the passage of this Act." This Act was held |unconstitutional on the ground that it clearly violated the quality clauses of the constitution of that state. In re Application of George W. Humphrey, 178 Minn. 331, 227 N.W. 179.

A good summary of a classification constitutionally acceptable is explained in 12 Am. Jur. 151-153 as follows:

The general rule is well settled by unanimity of the authorities that a classification to be valid must rest upon material differences between the person included in it and those excluded and, furthermore, must be based upon substantial distinctions. As the rule has sometimes avoided the constitutional prohibition, must be founded upon pertinent and real differences, as distinguished from irrelevant and artificial ones. Therefore, any law that is made applicable to one class of citizens only must be based on some substantial difference between the situation of that class and other individuals to which it does not apply and must rest on some reason on which it can be defended. In other words, there must be such a difference between the situation and circumstances of all the members of the class and the situation and circumstances of all other members of the state in relation to the subjects of the discriminatory legislation as presents a just and natural cause for the difference made in their liabilities and burdens and in their rights and privileges. A law is not general because it operates on all within a clause unless there is a substantial reason why

it is made to operate on that class only, and not generally on all. (12 Am. Jur. pp. 151-153.)

Pursuant to the law in question, those who, without a grade below 50 per cent in any subject, have obtained a general average of 69.5 per cent in the bar examinations in 1946 to 1951, 70.5 per cent in 1952, 71.5 per cent in 1953, and those will obtain 72.5 per cent in 1954, and 73.5 per cent in 1955, will be permitted to take and subscribe the corresponding oath of office as members of the Bar, notwithstanding that the rules require a minimum general average of 75 per cent, which has been invariably followed since 1950. Is there any motive of the nature indicated by the abovementioned authorities, for this classification ? If there is none, and none has been given, then the classification is fatally defective.

It was indicated that those who failed in 1944, 1941 or the years before, with the general average indicated, were not included because the Tribunal has no record of the unsuccessful candidates of those years. This fact does not justify the unexplained classification of unsuccessful candidates by years, from 1946-1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955. Neither is the exclusion of those who failed before said years under the same conditions justified. The fact that this Court has no record of examinations prior to 1946 does not signify that no one concerned may prove by some other means his right to an equal consideration.

To defend the disputed law from being declared unconstitutional on account of its retroactivity, it is argued that it is curative, and that in such form it is constitutional. What does Rep. Act 972 intend to cure ? Only from 1946 to 1949 were there cases in which the Tribunal permitted admission to the bar of candidates who did not obtain the general average of 75 per cent: in 1946 those who obtained only 72 per cent; in the 1947 and those who had 69 per cent or more; in 1948, 70 per cent and in 1949, 74 per cent; and in 1950 to 1953, those who obtained 74 per cent, which was considered by the Court as equivalent to 75 per cent as prescribed by the Rules, by reason of circumstances deemed to be sufficiently justifiable. These changes in the passing averages during those years were all that could be objected to or criticized. Now, it is desired to undo what had been done — cancel the license that was issued to those who did not obtain the prescribed 75 per cent ? Certainly not. The disputed law clearly does not propose to do so. Concededly, it approves what has

been done by this Tribunal. What Congress lamented is that the Court did not consider 69.5 per cent obtained by those candidates who failed in 1946 to 1952 as sufficient to qualify them to practice law. Hence, it is the lack of will or defect of judgment of the Court that is being cured, and to complete the cure of this infirmity, the effectivity of the disputed law is being extended up to the years 1953, 1954 and 1955, increasing each year the general average by one per cent, with the order that said candidates be admitted to the Bar. This purpose, manifest in the said law, is the best proof that what the law attempts to amend and correct are not the rules promulgated, but the will or judgment of the Court, by means of simply taking its place. This is doing directly what the Tribunal should have done during those years according to the judgment of Congress. In other words, the power exercised was not to repeal, alter or supplement the rules, which continue in force. What was done was to stop or suspend them. And this power is not included in what the Constitution has granted to Congress, because it falls within the power to apply the rules. This power corresponds to the judiciary, to which such duty been confided.

Article 2 of the law in question permits partial passing of examinations, at indefinite intervals. The grave defect of this system is that it does not take into account that the laws and jurisprudence are not stationary, and when a candidate finally receives his certificate, it may happen that the existing laws and jurisprudence are already different, seriously affecting in this manner his usefulness. The system that the said law prescribes was used in the first bar examinations of this country, but was abandoned for this and other disadvantages. In this case, however, the fatal defect is that the article is not expressed in the title will have temporary effect only from 1946 to 1955, the text of article 2 establishes a permanent system for an indefinite time. This is contrary to Section 21 (1), article VI of the Constitution, which vitiates and annuls article 2 completely; and because it is inseparable from article 1, it is obvious that its nullity affect the entire law.

Laws are unconstitutional on the following grounds: first, because they are not within the legislative powers of Congress to enact, or Congress has exceeded its powers; second, because they create or establish arbitrary methods or forms that infringe constitutional principles; and third, because their purposes or effects violate the

Constitution or its basic principles. As has already been seen, the contested law suffers from these fatal defects.

Summarizing, we are of the opinion and hereby declare that Republic Act No. 972 is unconstitutional and therefore, void, and without any force nor effect for the following reasons, to wit:

1. Because its declared purpose is to admit 810 candidates who

failed in the bar examinations of 1946-1952, and who, it admits, are

certainly inadequately prepared to practice law, as was exactly found by this Court in the aforesaid years. It decrees the admission to the Bar of these candidates, depriving this Tribunal of the opportunity to determine if they are at present already prepared to become members of the Bar. It obliges the Tribunal to perform something contrary to reason and in an arbitrary manner. This is a manifest encroachment on the constitutional responsibility of the Supreme Court.

2. Because it is, in effect, a judgment revoking the resolution of this Court on the petitions of these 810 candidates, without having examined their respective examination papers, and although it is admitted that this Tribunal may reconsider said resolution at any time for justifiable reasons, only this Court and no other may revise and alter them. In attempting to do it directly Republic Act No. 972 violated the Constitution.

3. By the disputed law, Congress has exceeded its legislative power

to repeal, alter and supplement the rules on admission to the Bar. Such additional or amendatory rules are, as they ought to be, intended to regulate acts subsequent to its promulgation and should tend to improve and elevate the practice of law, and this Tribunal shall consider these rules as minimum norms towards that end in the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers to the Bar, inasmuch as a good bar assists immensely in the daily performance of judicial functions and is essential to a worthy administration of justice. It is therefore the primary and inherent prerogative of the Supreme Court to render the ultimate decision on who may be admitted and may continue in the practice of law according to existing rules.

4. The reason advanced for the pretended classification of candidates, which the law makes, is contrary to facts which are of general knowledge and does not justify the admission to the Bar of law students inadequately prepared. The pretended classification is arbitrary. It is undoubtedly a class legislation.

5. Article 2 of Republic Act No. 972 is not embraced in the title of

the law, contrary to what the Constitution enjoins, and being inseparable from the provisions of article 1, the entire law is void.

6. Lacking in eight votes to declare the nullity of that part of article 1

referring to the examinations of 1953 to 1955, said part of article 1, insofar as it concerns the examinations in those years, shall continue in force.

R E S O L U

T

I

O

N

Upon mature deliberation by this Court, after hearing and availing of

the magnificent and impassioned discussion of the contested law by

our Chief Justice at the opening and close of the debate among the members of the Court, and after hearing the judicious observations of two of our beloved colleagues who since the beginning have announced their decision not to take part in voting, we, the eight members of the Court who subscribed to this decision have voted

and resolved, and have decided for the Court, and under the authority of the same:

1. That (a) the portion of article 1 of Republic Act No. 972 referring

to the examinations of 1946 to 1952, and (b) all of article 2 of said law are unconstitutional and, therefore, void and without force and effect.

2. That, for lack of unanimity in the eight Justices, that part of

article 1 which refers to the examinations subsequent to the approval of the law, that is from 1953 to 1955 inclusive, is valid and shall continue to be in force, in conformity with section 10, article

VII of the Constitution.

Consequently, (1) all the above-mentioned petitions of the candidates who failed in the examinations of 1946 to 1952 inclusive are denied, and (2) all candidates who in the examinations of 1953 obtained a general average of 71.5 per cent or more, without having a grade below 50 per cent in any subject, are considered as having passed, whether they have filed petitions for admission or not. After this decision has become final, they shall be permitted to take and subscribe the corresponding oath of office as members of the Bar on the date or dates that the chief Justice may set. So ordered.

Bengzon, Montemayor, Jugo, Labrador, Pablo, Padilla, and Reyes, JJ., concur.

ANNEX I

PETITIONERS UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 972

A resume‚ of pertinent facts concerning the bar examinations of 1946 to 1953 inclusive follows:

August, 1946 1

Board of Examiners: Hon. Pedro Tuason, Chairman, Prof. Gerardo Florendo, Atty. Bernardino Guerrero, Atty. Joaquin Ramirez, Atty. Crispin Oben, Hon. Jose Teodoro, Atty. Federico Agrava, Atty. Jose Perez Cardenas, and Hon. Bienvenido A. Tan, members.

Number of candidates

 

206

Number

of

candidates

whose

grades

were

12

raised

 

73'S

6

72'S

6