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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 100113 September 3, 1991

RENATO CAYETANO, petitioner,


vs.
CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT, and HON.
GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget and Management, respondents.

Renato L. Cayetano for and in his own behalf.

Sabina E. Acut, Jr. and Mylene Garcia-Albano co-counsel for petitioner.

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..C.S. 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
mattersconnected 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. FOZ. Before we suspend the 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?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir).

The Commissioner will please proceed.

MR. FOZ. This has to do with 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".

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
Muoz-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 issine 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, etc. . . . (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 " . . . is what
people ordinarily mean by the practice of 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.

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) If the United States Senate (which is the confirming body in the U.S. Congress) decides
to confirma Presidential nominee, it would be incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would
still reverse the U.S. Senate.

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.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. L-35469 October 9, 1987

ENCARNACION BANOGON, ZOSIMA MUNOZ, and DAVIDINA MUNOZ, petitioners,


vs.
MELCHOR ZERNA, CONSEJO ZERNA DE CORNELIO, FRANCISCO ZERNA, and the HON.
CIPRIANO VAMENTA, JR., Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental (Branch III).

CRUZ, J.:
It's unbelievable. The original decision in this case was rendered by the cadastral court way back on February 9,
1926, sixty one years ago. A motion to amend that decision was filed on March 6, 1957, thirty one years later. This
was followed by an amended petition for review of the judgment on March 18, 1957, and an opposition thereto on
March 26, 1957. On October 11, 1971, or after fourteen years, a motion to dismiss the petition was filed. The
petition was dismissed on December 8, 1971, and the motion for reconsideration was denied on February 14,
1972. 1 The petitioners then came to us on certiorari to question the orders of the respondent judge. 2

These dates are not typographical errors. What is involved here are errors of law and lawyers.

The respondent court dismissed the petition for review of the decision rendered in 1926 on the ground that it had
been filed out of time, indeed thirty one years too late. Laches, it was held, had operated against the petitioners. 3

The petitioners contend that the said judgment had not yet become final and executory because the land in dispute
had not yet been registered in favor of the private respondents. The said judgment would become so only after one
year from the issuance of the decree of registration. If any one was guilty of laches, it was the private respondents
who had failed to enforce the judgment by having the land registered in their the pursuant thereto. 4

For their part, the private respondents argue that the decision of February 9, 1926, became final and executory after
30 days, same not having been appealed by the petitioners during that period. They slept on their rights forthirty one
years before it occurred to them to question the judgment of the cadastral court. In fact, their alleged predecessor-in-
interest, Filomeno Banogon, lived for nineteen more years after the 1926 decision and did not see fit to challenge it
until his death in 1945. The herein petitioners themselves waited another twelve years, or until 195 7, to file their
petition for review. 5

While arguing that they were not guilty of laches because the 1926 decision had not yet become final and executory
because the land subject thereof had not yet been registered, the petitioners rationalize: "If an aggrieved party is
allowed the remedy of re-opening the case within one year after the issuance of the decree, why should the same
party be denied this remedy before the decree is issued? 6

Why not indeed? Why then did they not file their petition earlier? Why do they now pretend that they have all the
time in the world because the land has not yet been registered and the one-year reglementary period has not yet
expired?

Thinking to support their position, the petitioners cite Rivera v. Moran 7 where it was held:

... It is conceded that no decree of registration has been entered and section 38 of the Land
Registration Act provides that a petition for review of such a decree on the grounds of fraud must
be filed "within one year after entry of the decree." Giving this provision a literal interpretation, it
may first blush seem that the petition for review cannot be presented until the final decree has
been entered. But on further reflection, it is obvious that such could not have been the intention of
the Legislatureand that what it meant would have been better expressed by stating that such
petitioners must be presented before the expiration of one year from the entry of the decree.
Statutes must be given a reasonable construction and there can be no possible reason for requiring
the complaining party to wait until the final decree is entered before urging his claim of fraud. We
therefore hold that a petition for review under section 38, supra, may be filed at any time the
rendition of the court's decision and before the expiration of one year from the entry of the final
decree of registration. (Emphasissupplied).

A reading thereof will show that it is against their contentions and that under this doctrine they should not have
delayed in asserting their claim of fraud. Their delay was not only for thirty one days but for thirty one years.Laches
bars their petition now. Their position is clearly contrary to law and logic and to even ordinary common sense.

This Court has repeatedly reminded litigants and lawyers alike:


"Litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is assent essential to an
effective and efficient administration of justice that, once a judgment has become final, the
winning party be not, through a mere subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts must
therefore guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that result. Constituted as they are to
put an end to controversies, courts should frown upon any attempt to prolong them." 8

There should be a greater awareness on the part of litigants that the time of the judiciary, much
more so of this Court, is too valuable to be wasted or frittered away by efforts, far from
commendable, to evade the operation of a decision final and executory, especially so, where, as
shown in this case, the clear and manifest absence of any right calling for vindication, is quite
obvious and indisputable. 9

This appeal moreover, should fail, predicated as it is on an insubstantial objection bereft of any
persuasive force. Defendants had to display ingenuity to conjure a technicality. From Alonso v.
Villamor, a 1910 decision, we have left no doubt as to our disapproval of such a practice. The aim
of a lawsuit is to render justice to the parties according to law. Procedural rules are precisely
designed to accomplish such a worthy objective. Necessarily, therefore, any attempt to pervert the
ends for which they are intended deserves condemnation. We have done so before. We do so
again. 10

Regarding the argument that the private respondents took fourteen years to move for the dismissal of the petition for
review, it suffices to point out that an opposition thereto had been made as early as March 26, 1957, or nine days
after the filing of the petition. 11 Moreover, it was for the petitioners to move for the hearing of the petition instead
of waiting for the private respondents to ask for its dismissal. After all, they were the parties asking for relief, and it
was the private respondents who were in possession of the land in dispute.

One reason why there is a degree of public distrust for lawyers is the way some of them misinterpret the law to the
point of distortion in a cunning effort to achieve their purposes. By doing so, they frustrate the ends of justice and at
the same time lessen popular faith in the legal profession as the sworn upholders of the law. While this is not to say
that every wrong interpretation of the law is to be condemned, as indeed most of them are only honest errors, this
Court must express its disapproval of the adroit and intentional misreading designed precisely to circumvent or
violate it.

As officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist in the proper administration of justice. They do not
discharge this duty by filing pointless petitions that only add to the workload of the judiciary, especially this Court,
which is burdened enough as it is. A judicious study of the facts and the law should advise them when a case, such
as this, should not be permitted to be filed to merely clutter the already congested judicial dockets. They do not
advance the cause of law or their clients by commencing litigations that for sheer lack of merit do not deserve the
attention of the courts.

This petition is DISMISSED, with costs against the petitioners. This decision is immediately executory. It is so
ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

August 15, 1961


IN RE: PETITION OF ARTURO EFREN GARCIA for admission to the Philippine Bar without taking the
examination. ARTURO EFREN GARCIA, petitioner.

R ES OLUTION

BARRERA, J.:

Arturo E. Garcia has applied for admission to the practice of law in the Philippines without submitting to the
required bar examinations. In his verified petition, he avers, among others, that he is a Filipino citizen born in
Bacolor City, Province of Negros Occidental, of Filipino parentage; that he had taken and finished in Spain, the
course of "Bachillerato Superior"; that he was approved, selected and qualified by the "Instituto de Cervantes" for
admission to the Central University of Madrid where he studied and finished the law course graduating there as
"Licenciado En Derecho"; that thereafter he was allowed to practice the law profession in Spain; and that under the
provision of the Treaty of Academic Degrees and the Exercise of Professions between the Republic of the
Philippines and the Spanish state, he is entitled to practice the law profession in the Philippines without submitting
to the required bar examinations.

After due consideration, the Court resolved to deny the petition on the following grounds:

(1) the provisions of the Treaty on Academic Degrees and the Exercise of Professions between the Republic of the
Philippines and the Spanish State can not be invoked by applicant. Under Article 11 thereof;

The Nationals of each of the two countries who shall have obtained recognition of the validity of their
academic degrees by virtue of the stipulations of this Treaty, can practice their professions within the
territory of the Other, . . .. (Emphasis supplied).

from which it could clearly be discerned that said Treaty was intended to govern Filipino citizens desiring to practice
their profession in Spain, and the citizens of Spain desiring to practice their professions in the Philippines. Applicant
is a Filipino citizen desiring to practice the legal profession in the Philippines. He is therefore subject to the laws of
his own country and is not entitled to the privileges extended to Spanish nationals desiring to practice in the
Philippines.

(2) Article I of the Treaty, in its pertinent part, provides .

The nationals of both countries who shall have obtained degree or diplomas to practice the liberal
professions in either of the Contracting States, issued by competent national authorities, shall be deemed
competent to exercise said professions in the territory of the Other, subject to the laws and regulations of
the latter. . . ..

It is clear, therefore, that the privileges provided in the Treaty invoked by the applicant are made expressly subject to
the laws and regulations of the contracting State in whose territory it is desired to exercise the legal profession; and
Section 1 of Rule 127, in connection with Sections 2,9, and 16 thereof, which have the force of law, require that
before anyone can practice the legal profession in the Philippine he must first successfully pass the required bar
examinations; and

(3) The aforementioned Treaty, concluded between the Republic of the Philippines and the Spanish State could not
have been intended to modify the laws and regulations governing admission to the practice of law in the Philippines,
for the reason that the Executive Department may not encroach upon the constitutional prerogative of the Supreme
Court to promulgate rules for admission to the practice of law in the Philippines, the lower to repeal, alter or
supplement such rules being reserved only to the Congress of the Philippines. (See Sec. 13, Art VIII, Phil.
Constitution).
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

A.M. No. 1162 August 29, 1975

IN RE: VICTORIO D. LANUEVO, former Bar Confidant and Deputy Clerk of Court, respondent.

A.C. No. 1163 August 29, 1975

IN RE: RAMON E. GALANG, alias ROMAN E. GALANG, 1971 Bar Examinee, respondent.

A.M. No. 1164 August 29, 1975

IN RE: HON. BERNARDO PARDO, HON. RAMON PAMATIAN, ATTY. MANUEL TOMACRUZ, ATTY.
FIDEL MANALO and ATTY. GUILLERMO PABLO, JR., Members, 1971 Bar Examining
Committee, respondent.

MAKASIAR, J.:

Administrative proceedings against Victorio D. Lanuevo for disbarment; Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E.
Galang for disbarment; Hon. Bernardo Pardo, Hon. Ramon Pamatian, Atty. Manuel C. Tomacruz; Atty. Manuel
G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel Manalo and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr. for disciplinary action for their acts and
omissions during the 1971 Bar Examinations.

In his request dated March 29, 1972 contained in a confidential letter to the Court for re-correction and re-evaluation
of his answer to the 1971 Bar Examinations question, Oscar Landicho who flunked in the 1971, 1968 and 1967
Bar Examinations with a grade of 70.5%, 65.35% and 67.55%, respectively invited the attention of the Court
to "The starling fact that the grade in one examination (Civil Law) of at least one bar candidate was raised for one
reason or another, before the bar results were released this year" (Confidential Letter, p. 2. Vol. I, rec.). This was
confirmed, according to him, by the Civil Law Examiner himself (Hon. Ramon C. Pamatian) as well as by Bar
Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo. He further therein stated "that there are strong reasons to believe that the grades in
other examination notebooks in other subjects also underwent alternations to raise the grades prior to the
release of the results. Note that this was without any formal motion or request from the proper parties, i.e., the bar
candidates concerned. If the examiners concerned reconsidered their grades without formal motion, there is no
reason why they may not do so now when proper request answer motion therefor is made. It would be contrary
to due process postulates. Might not one say that some candidates got unfair and unjust treatment, for their grades
were not asked to be reconsidered 'unofficially'? Why the discrimination? Does this not afford sufficient reason for
the Court en banc to go into these matters by its conceded power to ultimately decide the matter of admission to the
bar?" (p. 2, Confidential Letter, Vol. I, rec.).
Acting on the aforesaid confidential letter, the Court checked the records of the 1971 Bar Examinations and found
that the grades in five subjects Political Law and Public International Law, Civil Law, Mercantile Law, Criminal
Law and Remedial Law of a successful bar candidate with office code No. 954 underwent some changes which,
however, were duly initialed and authenticated by the respective examiner concerned. Further check of the records
revealed that the bar candidate with office code No. 954 is one Ramon E. Galang, a perennial bar candidate, who
flunked in the 1969, 1966, 1964, 1963, and 1962 bar examinations with a grade of 67.55%, 68.65%, 72.75%,
68.2%, 56.45% and 57.3%, respectively. He passed in the 1971 bar examinations with a grade of 74.15%, which
was considered as 75% by virtue of a Court of 74.15%, which was considered as 75% as the passing mark for the
1971 bar examinations.

Upon the direction of the Court, the 1971 Bar Examination Chairman requested Bar Confidant Victorio D. Lanuevo
and the five (5) bar examiners concerned to submit their sworn statements on the matter, with which request they
complied.

In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, said Bar Confidant admitted having brought the five examination
notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Ramon E. Galang, back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation and/or
re-checking, stating the circumstances under which the same was done and his reasons for doing the same.

Each of the five (5) examiners in his individual sworn statement admitted having re-evaluated and/or re-checked the
notebook involved pertaining to his subject upon the representation to him by Bar Confidant Lanuevo that he has the
authority to do the same and that the examinee concerned failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the
borderline of passing.

Finding a prima facie case against the respondents warranting a formal investigation, the Court required, in a
resolution dated March 5, 1973, Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo "to show cause within ten (10) days from
noticewhy his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 34, rec.).
Considering that the re-evaluation of the examination papers of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang,
was unauthorized, and therefore he did not obtain a passing average in the 1971 bar examinations, the Court
likewise resolved on March 5, 1971 to requires him "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why his name
should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys" (Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 99, rec.). The five examiners concerned
were also required by the Court "to show cause within ten (10) days from notice why no disciplinary action should
be taken against them" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 31, rec.).

Respondent Tomacruz filed his answer on March 12, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.). while respondents
Pardo, Pamatian, Montecillo, Manalo and Lanuevo filed theirs on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 60-63,
32-35, 40-41, 36-39 and 35-38, rec.). At the hearing on August 27, 1973, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn
statement in addition to, and in amplication of, his answer filed on March 19, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47,
rec.). Respondent Galang filed his unverified answer on March 16, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.).
He was required by the Court to verify the same and complaince came on May 18, 1973 (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp.
106-110,) rec.).

In the course of the investigation, it was found that it was not respondent Bernardo Pardo who re-evaluated and/or
re-checked examination booklet with Office Code No. 954 in Political Law and Public International Law of
examinee Ramon Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, but Guillermo Pablo, Jr., examiner in Legal Ethics and Practical
Exercise, who was asked to help in the correction of a number of examination notebooks in Political Law and Public
International Law to meet the deadline for submission (pp. 17-24, Vol. V, rec.). Because of this development, Atty.
Guillermo Pablo, Jr. was likewise included as respondent in Administrative Case No. 1164. Hon. Bernardo Pardo
remainded as a respondent for it was also discovered that another paper in Political Law and Public International
Law also underwent re-evaluation and/or re-checking. This notebook with Office Code No. 1662 turned out to be
owned by another successful candidate by the name of Ernesto Quitaleg. Further investigation resulted in the
discovery of another re-evaluation and/or re-checking of a notebook in the subject of Mercantile Law resulting in the
change of the grade from 4% to 50% This notebook bearing Office Code No. 110 is owned by another successful
candidate by the name of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz and the latter's father were summoned to
testify in the investigation.

An investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation upon request of the Chairman of the 1971 Bar
Examination Committee as Investigation Officer, showed that one Romy Galang y Esguerra, alias Ramon E. Galang,
a student in the School of Law of Manuel L. Quezon University, was, on September 8, 1959, charged with the crime
of slight physical injuries in the Municipal Court of Manila committed on Eufrosino F. de Vera, another student of
the same university. Confronted with this information at the hearing of August 13, 1973 (Vol. V, pp. 20-21, 32, rec.),
respondent Galang declared that he does not remember having been charged with the crime of slight physical
injuries in that case. (Vol. VI, pp. 45-60, rec.).

Respondent Galang, in all his application to take the bar examinations, did not make mention of this fact which he is
required under the rules to do.

The joint investigation of all the cases commenced on July 17, 1973 and was terminated on October 2, 1973.
Thereafter, parties-respondents were required to submit their memoranda. Respondents Lanuevo, Galang and Pardo
submitted their respective memorandum on November 14, 1973.

Before the joint hearing commenced, Oscar Landicho took up permanent residence in Australia, where he is
believed to be gainfully employed. Hence, he was not summoned to testify.

At the joint investigation, all respondents, except respondent Pablo, who offered as evidence only his oral testimony,
submitted as their direct evidence only his oral testimony, submitted as their direct evidence the affidavits and
answers earlier submitted by them to the Court. The same became the basis for their cross-examination.

In their individual sworn statements and answer, which they offered as their direct testimony in the investigation
conducted by the Court, the respondent-examiners recounted the circumstances under which they re-evaluated
and/or re-checked the examination notebooks in question.

In His affidavit dated April 11, 1972, respondent Judge (later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) Ramon C.
Pamatian, examiner in Civil Law, affirmed:

2. That one evening sometime in December last year, while I was correcting the examination
notebooks, Atty. Lanuevo, Bar Confidant, explained to me that it is the practice and the policy in
bar examinations that he (Atty. Lanuevo) make a review of the grades obtained in all subjects and
if he finds that candidate obtained an extraordinary high grade in one subject and a rather low
one in another, he will bring back the latter to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation and
change of grade;

3. That sometime in the latter part of January of this year, he brought back to me an examination
booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, because according to him the owner of the paper is on the
borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will get passing
mark;
4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and policy of the
Supreme Court to do so in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in doing so,
I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%;

5. That only one notebook in Civil Law was brought back to me for such re-evaluation and upon
verifying my files I found that the notebook is numbered '95;

6. That the original grade was 64% and my re-evaluation of the answers were based on the same
standard used in the correction and evaluation of all others; thus, Nos. 3 and 4 with original grades
of 7% each was reconsidered to 10%; No. 5 with 4% to 5%; No. 7 with 3% to 5%; and No. 8 with
8% to 10% (emphasis supplied).

His answer dated March 19, 1973 substantially reiterated his allegations in his April 11, 1972 affidavit with
following additional statements:

xxx xxx xxx

3. ... However the grades in Nos. 1, 2, 6, 9 and 10, were not reconsidered as it is no longer to make
the reconsideration of these answers because of the same evaluation and standard; hence, Nos. 1, 2
and 10 remainded at 5% and Nos. 6 and 9 at 10%;

4. That at the time I made the reconsideration of examination booklet No. 951 I did not know the
identity of its owner until I received this resolution of the Honorable Supreme Court nor the
identities of the examiners in other subjects;

5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am authorized
to do so in view of the misrepresentation of said Atty. Lanuevo, based on the following
circumstances:

a) Since I started correcting the papers on or about October 16, 1971,


relationship between Atty. Lanuevo and myself had developed to the point that
with respect to the correction of the examination booklets of bar candidates I
have always followed him and considered his instructions as reflecting the rules
and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court with respect to the same; that I have
no alternative but to take his words;

b) That considering this relationship and considering his misrepresentation to


me as reflecting the real and policy of the Honorable Supreme Court, I did not
bother any more to get the consent and permission of the Chairman of the Bar
Committee. Besides, at that time, I was isolating myself from all members of the
Supreme Court and specially the chairman of the Bar Committee for fear that I
might be identified as a bar examiner;

xxx xxx xxx

e) That no consideration whatsoever has been received by me in return for such recorrection, and
as proof of it, I declined to consider and evaluate one booklet in Remedial Law aforesaid because I
was not the one who made the original correction of the same (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-35,
rec.; emphasis supplied).

Then Assistant Solicitor General, now CFI Judge, Bernardo Pardo, examiner in Political Law and Public
International Law, confirmed in his affidavit of April 8, 1972 that:

On a day or two after the Bar Confidant went to my residence to obtain from me the last bag of
two hundred notebooks (bearing examiner's code numbers 1200 to 1400) which according to my
record was on February 5, 1972, he came to my residence at about 7:30 p.m. riding in a
Vokswagen panel of the Supreme Court, with at least two companions. The bar confidant had with
him an examinee's notebook bearing code number 661, and, after the usual amenties, he requested
me if it was possible for me to review and re-examine the said notebook because it appears that
the examinee obtained a grade of 57, whereas, according to the Bar Confidant, the said examinee
had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84, if I recall correctly, in
remedial law.

I asked the Bar Confidant if I was allowed to receive or re-examinee the notebook as I had
submitted the same beforehand, and he told me that I was authorized to do so because the same
was still within my control and authority as long as the particular examinee's name had not been
identified or that the code number decode and the examinee's name was revealed. The Bar
Confidant told me that the name of the examinee in the case present bearing code number 661 had
not been identified or revealed; and that it might have been possible that I had given a particularly
low grade to said examinee.

Accepting at face value the truth of the Bar Confidant's representations to me, and as it was
humanly possible that I might have erred in the grading of the said notebook, I re-examined the
same, carefully read the answer, and graded it in accordance with the same standards I had used
throughout the grading of the entire notebooks, with the result that the examinee deserved an
increased grade of 66. After again clearing with the Bar Confidant my authority to correct the
grades, and as he had assured me that the code number of the examinee in question had not been
decoded and his name known, ... I therefore corrected the total grade in the notebook and the
grade card attached thereto, and properly initia(l)ed the same. I also corrected the itemized grades
(from item No. 1 to item No. 10) on the two sets of grading sheets, my personal copy thereof, and
the Bar Confidant brought with him the other copy thereof, and the Bar Confidant brought with
him the other copy the grading sheet" (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-59; rec.; emphasis supplied)

In his answer dated March 17, 1973 which he denominated as "Explanation", respondent Bernardo P. Pardo adopted
and replaced therein by reference the facts stated in his earlier sworn statement and in additional alleged that:

xxx xxx xxx

3. At the time I reviewed the examinee's notebook in political and international law, code
numbered 661, I did know the name of the examinee. In fact, I came to know his name only upon
receipt of the resolution of March 5, 1973; now knowing his name, I wish to state that I do not
know him personally, and that I have never met him even up to the present;

4. At that time, I acted under the impression that I was authorized to make such review, and had
repeatedly asked the Bar Confidant whether I was authorized to make such revision and was so
assured of my authority as the name of the examinee had not yet been decoded or his identity
revealed. The Bar Confidant's assurance was apparently regular and so appeared to be in the
regular course of express prohibition in the rules and guidelines given to me as an examiner, and
the Bar Confidant was my official liaison with the Chairman, as, unless called, I refrained as much
as possible from frequent personal contact with the Chairman lest I be identified as an
examiner. ...;

5. At the time the Bar Confidant came to see me at about 7:30 o'clock in the evening at my
residence, I felt it inappropriate to verify his authority with the Chairman. It did not appear to me
that his representations were unauthorized or suspicious. Indeed, the Bar Confidant was riding in
the official vehicle of the Supreme Court, a Volkswagen panel, accompanied by two companions,
which was usual, and thus looked like a regular visit to me of the Bar Confidant, as it was about
the same hour that he used to see me:

xxx xxx xxx

7. Indeed, the notebook code numbered 661 was still in the same condition as when I submitted
the same. In agreeing to review the said notebook code numbered 661, my aim was to see if I
committed an error in the correction, not to make the examinee pass the subject. I considered it
entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that particular notebook on December
31, 1971, considering especially the representation of the Bar Confidant that the said examinee
had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84% in remedial law, if I
recall correctly. Of course, it did not strike me as unusual that the Bar Confidant knew the grades
of the examinee in the position to know and that there was nothing irregular in that:

8. In political and international law, the original grade obtained by the examinee with notebook
code numbered 661 was 57%. After review, it was increased by 9 points, resulting in a final grade
of 66%. Still, the examinee did not pass the subject, and, as heretofore stated, my aim was not to
make the examinee pass, notwithstanding the representation that he had passed the other
subjects. ...

9. I quite recall that during the first meeting of the Bar Examiners' Committee consensus was that
where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner in said subject
would review the notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular. At the time of the Committee's first
meeting, we still did not know the names of the candidates.

10. In fine, I was a victim of deception, not a party to it. It had absolutely no knowledge of the
motives of the Bar Confidant or his malfeasance in office, and did not know the examinee
concerned nor had I any kind of contract with him before or rather the review and even up to the
present (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 60-63; rec.; emphasis supplied).

Atty. Manuel Tomacruz, examiner in Criminal Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 12, 1972:

1. xxx xxx xxx

2. That about weekly, the Bar Confidant would deliver and collect examination books to my
residence at 951 Luna Mencias, Mandaluyong, Rizal.
3. That towards the end when I had already completed correction of the books in Criminal Law
and was helping in the correction of some of the papers in another subject, the Bar
Confidant brought back to me one (1) paper in Criminal Law saying that that particular examinee
had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his paper in Criminal Law
would be raised a few points to 75% then he would make the general passing average.

4. That seeing the jurisdiction, I raised the grade to 75%, that is, giving a raise of, if I remember
correctly, 2 or 3 points, initialled the revised mark and revised also the mark and revised also the
mark in the general list.

5. That I do not recall the number of the book of the examinee concerned" (Adm. Case No. 1164,
p. 69, rec.; emphasis supplied).

In his answer dated March 12, 1973, respondent Tomacruz stated that "I accepted the word of the Bar Confidant in
good faith and without the slightest inkling as to the identity of the examinee in question who up to now remains a
total stranger and without expectation of nor did I derive any personal benefit" (Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 70, rec.;
emphasis supplied).

Atty. Fidel Manalo, examiner in Remedial Law, stated in his affidavit dated April 14, 1972, that:

xxx xxx xxx

2. Sometime about the late part of January or early part of February 1972, Attorney Lanuevo, Bar
Confidant of the Supreme Court, saw me in my house at No. 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal.
He produced to me an examinee's notebook in Remedial Law which I had previously graded and
submitted to him. He informed me that he and others (he used the words "we") had reviewed the
said notebook. He requested me to review the said notebook and possibly reconsider the grade
that I had previously given. He explained that the examine concerned had done well in other
subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade that I had given him in Remedial Law
his general average was short of passing. Mr. Lanuevo remarked that he thought that if the paper
were reviewed I might find the examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar. As far as I can
recall, Mr. Lanuevo particularly called my attention to the fact in his answers the examinee
expressed himself clearly and in good enough English. Mr. Lanuevo however informed me that
whether I would reconsider the grades I had previously given and submitted was entirely within
my discretion.

3. Believing fully that it was within Mr. Lanuevo's authority as Bar Confidant to address such a
request to me and that the said request was in order, I, in the presence of Mr. Lanuevo, proceeded
tore-read and re-evaluate each and every item of the paper in question. I recall that in my re-
evaluation of the answers, I increased the grades in some items, made deductions in other items,
and maintained the same grades in other items. However, I recall that after Mr. Lanuevo and I had
totalled the new grades that I had given after re-evaluation, the total grade increased by a few
points, but still short of the passing mark of 75% in my subject.

xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 74-75, rec.; emphasis supplied).

In his answer (response) dated March 18, 1973, respondent Manalo reiterated the contents of his sworn statement,
adding the following:
xxx xxx xxx

5. In agreeing to re-evaluate the notebook, with resulted in increasing the total grade of the
examinee-concerned in Remedial Law from 63.75% to 74.5%, herein respondent acted in good
faith. It may well be that he could be faulted for not having verified from the Chairman of the
Committee of Bar Examiners the legitimacy of the request made by Mr. Lanuevo. Herein
respondent, however, pleads in attenuation of such omission, that

a) Having been appointed an Examiner for the first time, he was not aware, not
having been apprised otherwise, that it was not within the authority of the Bar
Confidant of the Supreme Court to request or suggest that the grade of a
particular examination notebook be revised or reconsidered. He had every right
to presume, owing to the highly fiduciary nature of the position of the Bar
Confidant, that the request was legitimate.

xxx xxx xxx

c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent


carefully evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the
answers by the criteria laid down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the
benefit of doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's representation that it was only in that
particular subject that the said examine failed, herein respondent became
convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that previously
given to him, but that he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal,
to be given the passing grade of 75%. It should also be mentioned that, in
reappraising the answers, herein respondent downgraded a previous rating of an
answer written by the examinee, from 9.25% to 9% (Adm. Case No. 1164, pp.
36-39, rec.; emphasis supplied).

Atty. Manuel Montecillo, examiner in Mercantile Law, affirmed in his affidavit dated April 17, 1972:

xxx xxx xxx

That during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners' Committee after the Bar Examinations
were held, I was informed that one Bar examinee passed all other subjects except Mercantile Law;

That I informed the Bar Examiners' Committee that I would be willing to re-evaluate the paper of
this particular Bar candidate;.

That the next day, the Bar Confidant handed to me a Bar candidate's notebook (No. 1613) showing
a grade of 61%;

That I reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers of this particular Bar
candidate I decided to increase his final grade to 71%;

That consequently, I amended my report and duly initialed the changes in the grade sheet (Adm.
Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.; emphasis supplied).
In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Montecillo restated the contents of his sworn statement of April 17,
1972, and

xxx xxx xxx

2. Supplementary to the foregoing sworn statement, I hereby state that I re-evaluated the
examination notebook of Bar Candidate No. 1613 in Mercantile Law in absolute good faith and in
direct compliance with the agreement made during one of the deliberations of the Bar Examiners
Committee that where a candidate fails in only one subject, the Examiner concerned should make
a re-evaluation of the answers of the candidate concerned, which I did.

3. Finally, I hereby state that I did not know at the time I made the aforementioned re-evaluation
that notebook No. 1613 in Mercantile Law pertained to bar examine Ramon E. Galang, alias
Roman E. Galang, and that I have never met up to this time this particular bar examinee (Adm.
Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, rec.; emphasis supplied).

In his sworn statement dated April 12, 1972, Bar Confidant Lanuevo stated:

xxx xxx xxx

As I was going over those notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and the posting on
the record of ratings, I was impressed of the writing and the answers on the first notebook. This
led me to scrutinize all the set of notebooks. Believing that those five merited re-evalation on the
basis of the memorandum circularized to the examiners shortly earlier to the effect that

... in the correction of the papers, substantial weight should then be given to
clarify of language and soundness of reasoning' (par. 4),

I took it upon myself to bring them back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation and/or re-
checking.

It is our experience in the Bar Division that immediately after the release of the results of the
examinations, we are usually swarmed with requests of the examinees that they be shown their
notebooks. Many of them would copy their answers and have them checked by their professors.
Eventually some of them would file motions or requests for re-correction and/or re-evaluation.
Right now, we have some 19 of such motions or requests which we are reading for submission to
the Honorable Court.

Often we feel that a few of them are meritorious, but just the same they have to be denied because
the result of the examinations when released is final and irrevocable.

It was to at least minimize the occurrence of such instances that motivated me to bring those
notebooks back to the respective examiners for re-evaluation" (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 24, rec.;
emphasis supplied).

In his answer dated March 19, 1973, respondent Lanuevo avers:


That he submitted the notebooks in question to the examiners concerned in his hotest belief that
the same merited re-evaluation; that in so doing, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the
trust reposed in him as bar confidant but on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned;
that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner, because the matter of whether or not re-
evaluation was inorder was left alone to the examiners' decision; and that, to his knowledge, he
does not remember having made the alleged misrepresentation but that he remembers having
brought to the attention of the Committee during the meeting a matter concerning another
examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a grade below 50% in Mercantile Law.
As the Committee agreed to remove the disqualification by way of raising the grade in said
subject, respondent brought the notebook in question to the Examiner concerned who thereby
raised the grade thus enabling the said examinee to pass. If he remembers right, the examinee
concerned is one surnamed "de la Cruz" or "Ty-de la Cruz".

Your Honors, respondent never entertained a notion that his act would stir such serious charges as
would tend to undermine his integrity because he did it in all good faith.

xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 35, rec.; emphasis supplied).

On August 27, 1973, during the course of the investigation, respondent Lanuevo filed another sworn statement in
addition to, and in amplification of, his answer, stating:

xxx xxx xxx

1. That I vehemently deny having deceived the examiners concerned into believing that the
examinee involved failed only in their respective subjects, the fact of the matter being that the
notebooks in question were submitted to the respective examiners for re-evaluation believing in all
good faith that they so merited on the basis of the Confidential Memorandum (identified and
marked as Exh. 1-Lanuevo, particularly that portion marked as Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo)which was
circulated to all the examiners earlier, leaving to them entirely the matter of whether or not re-
evaluation was in order,

2. That the following coincidence prompted me to pry into the notebooks in question:

Sometime during the latter part of January and the early part of February, 1972,
on my way back to the office (Bar Division) after lunch, I though of buying a
sweepstake ticket. I have always made it a point that the moment I think of so
buying, I pick a number from any object and the first number that comes into my
sight becomes the basis of the ticket that I buy. At that moment, the first number
that I saw was "954" boldly printed on an electrical contribance (evidently
belonging to the MERALCO) attached to a post standing along the right
sidewalk of P. Faura street towards the Supreme Court building from San
Marcelino street and almost adjacent to the south-eastern corner of the fence of
the Araullo High School(photograph of the number '954', the contrivance on
which it is printed and a portion of the post to which it is attached is identified
and marked as Exhibit 4-Lanuevo and the number "954" as Exh. 4-a-Lanuevo).

With this number (954) in mind, I proceeded to Plaza Sta. Cruz to look for a
ticket that would contain such number. Eventually, I found a ticket, which I then
bought, whose last three digits corresponded to "954". This number became
doubly impressive to me because the sum of all the six digits of the ticket
number was "27", a number that is so significant to me that everything I do I try
somewhat instinctively to link or connect it with said number whenever
possible. Thus even in assigning code numbers on the Master List of examinees
from 1968 when I first took charge of the examinations as Bar Confidant up to
1971, I either started with the number "27" (or "227") or end with said number.
(1968 Master List is identified and marked as Exh. 5-Lanuevo and the figure
"27" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 5-a Lanuevo; 1969 Master List as Exh.
6-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the beginning of the list, as Exh. 6-a-
Lanuevo; 1970 Master List as Exh. 7-Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the
beginning of the list as Exh. 7-a-Lanuevo; and the 1971 Master List as Exh. 8-
Lanuevo and the figure "227" at the end of the list as Exh. 8-a-Lanuevo).

The significance to me of this number (27) was born out of these incidents in my
life, to wit: (a) On November 27, 1941 while with the Philippine Army stationed
at Camp Manacnac, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, I was stricken with pneumonia
and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija Provincial Hospital as a result. As will
be recalled, the last Pacific War broke out on December 8, 1941. While I was
still confined at the hospital, our camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese
planes on December 13, 1941 resulting in many casualties. From then on, I
regarded November 27, 1941 as the beginning of a new life for me having been
saved from the possibility of being among the casualties;(b) On February 27,
1946, I was able to get out of the army byway of honorable discharge; and (c) on
February 27, 1947, I got married and since then we begot children the youngest
of whom was born on February 27, 1957.

Returning to the office that same afternoon after buying the ticket, I resumed my
work which at the time was on the checking of the notebooks. While thus
checking, I came upon the notebooks bearing the office code number "954". As
the number was still fresh in my mind, it aroused my curiosity prompting me to
pry into the contents of the notebooks. Impressed by the clarity of the writing
and language and the apparent soundness of the answers and, thereby, believing
in all good faith on the basis of the aforementioned Confidential Memorandum
(Exh. 1-Lanuevo and Exh. 1-a-Lanuevo) that they merited re-evaluation, I set
them aside and later on took them back to the respective examiners for possible
review recalling to them the said Confidential Memorandum but leaving
absolutely the matter to their discretion and judgment.

3. That the alleged misrepresentation or deception could have reference to either of the two cases
which I brought to the attention of the committee during the meeting and which the Committee
agreed to refer back to the respective examines, namely:

(a) That of an examinee who obtained a passing general average but with a
grade below 50% (47%) in Mercantile Law(the notebooks of this examinee bear
the Office Code No. 110, identified and marked as Exh. 9-Lanuevo and the
notebook in Mercantile Law bearing the Examiner's Code No. 951 with the
original grade of 4% increased to 50% after re-evaluation as Exh. 9-a-Lanuevo);
and

(b) That of an examinee who obtained a borderline general average of 73.15%


with a grade below 60% (57%) in one subject which, at the time, I could not
pinpoint having inadvertently left in the office the data thereon. It turned out that
the subject was Political and International Law under Asst. Solicitor General
Bernardo Pardo (The notebooks of this examinee bear the Office Code No. 1622
identified and marked as Exh. 10-Lanuevo and the notebook in Political and
International Law bearing the Examiner's Code No. 661 with the original grade
of 57% increased to 66% after re-evaluation, as Exh. 10-a-Lanuevo). This
notebook in Political and International Law is precisely the same notebook
mentioned in the sworn statement of Asst. Solicitor General Bernardo
Pardo(Exh. ------- Pardo).

4. That in each of the two cases mentioned in the next preceding paragraph, only one (1) subject or
notebook was reviewed or re-evaluated, that is, only Mercantile Law in the former; and only
Political and International Law in the latter, under the facts and circumstances I made known to
the Committee and pursuant to which the Committee authorized the referral of the notebooks
involved to the examiners concerned;

5. That at that juncture, the examiner in Taxation even volunteered to review or re-check some 19,
or so, notebooks in his subject but that I told the Committee that there was very little time left and
that the increase in grade after re-evaluation, unless very highly substantial, may not alter the
outcome since the subjec carries the weight of only 10% (Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-47, rec.).

The foregoing last-minute embellishment only serves to accentuate the fact that Lanuevo's story is devoid of truth.
In his sworn statement of April 12, 1972, he was "led to scrutinize all the set of notebooks" of respondent Galang,
because he "was impressed of the writing and the answers on the first notebook "as he "was going over those
notebooks, checking the entries in the grading sheets and the posting on the record of ratings." In his affidavit of
August 27, 1973, he stated that the number 954 on a Meralco post provoked him "to pry into the contents of the
notebooks" of respondent Galang "bearing office code number '954."

Respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, asserted, among others;

1. That herein respondent is not acquainted with former BarConfidant Victorio Lanuevo and never
met him before except once when, as required by the latter respondent submitted certain papers
necessary for taking the bar examinations.

xxx xxx xxx

4. That it has been the consistent policy of the Supreme Court not to reconsider "failure" cases;
after the official release thereof; why should it now reconsider a "passing" case, especially in a
situation where the respondent and the bar confidant do not know each other and, indeed, met only
once in the ordinary course of official business?

It is not inevitable, then, to conclude that the entire situation clearly manifests a reasonable doubt
to which respondent is richly entitled?
5. That respondent, before reading a copy of this Honorable Court's resolution dated March 5,
1973, had no knowledge whatsoever of former Bar Confidant Victorio Lanuevo's actuations which
are stated in particular in the resolution. In fact, the respondent never knew this man intimately
nor, had the herein respondent utilized anyone to contact the Bar Confidant Lanuevo in his behalf.

But, assuming as true, the said actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as stated in the Resolution,
which are evidently purported to show as having redounded to the benefit of herein respondent,
these questions arise: First, was the re-evaluation of Respondent's examination papers by the Bar
Examination Committee done only or especially for him and not done generally as regards the
paper of the other bar candidates who are supposed to have failed? If the re-evaluation of
Respondent's grades was done among those of others, then it must have been done as a matter of
policy of the Committee to increase the percentage of passing in that year's examination and,
therefore, the insinuation that only respondent's papers were re-evaluated upon the influence of
Bar Confidant Lanuevo would be unjustifiable, if not far fetched. Secondly, is the fact that
BarConfidant Lanuevo's actuations resulted in herein Respondent's benefit an evidence per se of
Respondent's having caused actuations of Bar confidant Lanuevo to be done in former's behalf? To
assume this could be disastrous in effect because that would be presuming all the members of the
Bar Examination Committee as devoid of integrity, unfit for the bar themselves and the result of
their work that year, as also unworthy of anything. All of these inferences are deductible from the
narration of facts in the resolution, and which only goes to show said narration of facts an
unworthy of credence, or consideration.

xxx xxx xxx

7. This Honorable Tribunal's Resolution of March 5, 1973 would make this Respondent Account
or answer for the actuations of Bar Confidant Lanuevo as well as for the actuations of the Bar
Examiners implying the existence of some conspiracy between them and the Respondent. The
evident imputation is denied and it is contended that the Bar Examiners were in the performance
of their duties and that they should be regarded as such in the consideration of this case.

xxx xxx xxx (Adm. Case No. 1163, pp. 100-104, rec.).

The evidence thus disclosed clearly demonstrates how respondent Lanuevo systematically and cleverly initiated and
prepared the stage leading to the re-evalation and/or recorrection of the answers of respondent Galang by deceiving
separately and individually the respondents-examiners to make the desired revision without prior authority from the
Supreme Court after the corrected notebooks had been submitted to the Court through the respondent Bar Confidant,
who is simply the custodian thereof for and in behalf of the Court.

It appears that one evening, sometime around the middle part of December, 1971, just before Christmas day,
respondent Lanuevo approached Civil Law examiner Pamatian while the latter was in the process of correcting
examination booklets, and then and there made the representations that as BarConfidant, he makes a review of the
grades obtained in all subjects of the examinees and if he finds that a candidate obtains an extraordinarily high grade
in one subject and a rather low one on another, he will bring back to the examiner concerned the notebook for re-
evaluation and change of grade(Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 55-56; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.).
Sometime in the latter part of January, 1972, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondent-examiner Pamatian
an examination booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation, representing that the examinee who owned the particular
notebook is on the borderline of passing and if his grade in said subject could be reconsidered to 75%, the said
examine will get a passing average. Respondent-examiner Pamatian took respondent Lanuevo's word and under the
belief that was really the practice and policy of the Supreme Court and in his further belief that he was just
manifesting cooperation in doing so, he re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the examinee's grade in said subject
to 75% from 64%. The particular notebook belonged to an examinee with Examiner's Code Number 95 and with
Office Code Number 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. Respondent Pamatian did not
know the identity of the examinee at the time he re-evaluated the said booklet (Exhs. 1-Pamatian, 2-Pamatian, and 3-
Pamatian, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 32-33, 55-56, 57; Vol. V, pp. 3-4, rec.).

Before Justice Pamatian made the revision, Examinee Galang failed in seven subjects including Civil Law. After
such revision, examinee Galang still failed in six subjects and could not obtain the passing average of 75% for
admission to the Bar.

Thereafter, about the latter part of January, 1972 or early part of February, 1972, respondent Lanuevo went to the
residence of respondent-examiner Fidel Manalo at 1854 Asuncion Street, Makati, Rizal, with an examinee's
notebook in Remedial Law, which respondent Manalo and previously corrected and graded. Respondent Lanuevo
then requested respondent Manalo to review the said notebook and possibly to reconsider the grade given,
explaining and representing that "they" has reviewed the said notebook and that the examinee concerned had done
well in other subjects, but that because of the comparatively low grade given said examinee by respondent Manalo
in Remedial Law, the general average of said examinee was short of passing. Respondent Lanuevo likewise made
the remark and observation that he thought that if the notebook were reviewed, respondent Manalo might yet find
the examinee deserving of being admitted to the Bar. Respondent Lanuevo also particularly called the attention of
respondent Manalo to the fact that in his answers, the examinee expressed himself clearly and in good English.
Furthermore, respondent Lanuevo called the attention of respondent Manalo to Paragraph 4 of the Confidential
Memorandum that read as follows:

4. Examination questions should be more a test of logic, knowledge of legal fundamentals, and
ability to analyze and solve legal problems rather than a test of memory; in the correction of
papers, substantial weight should be given to clarify of language and soundness of reasoning.

Respondent Manalo was, however, informed by respondent Lanuevo that the matter of reconsideration was entirely
within his (Manalo's) discretion. Respondent Manalo, believing that respondent Lanuevo, as Bar Confidant, had the
authority to make such request and further believing that such request was in order, proceeded to re-evaluate the
examinee's answers in the presence of Lanuevo, resulting in an increase of the examinee's grade in that particular
subject, Remedial Law, from 63.25% to 74.5%. Respondent Manalo authenticated with his signature the changes
made by him in the notebook and in the grading sheet. The said notebook examiner's code number is 136, instead of
310 as earlier mentioned by him in his affidavit, and belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1
& 2- Manalo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 36-39, 74-75; Vol. V, pp. 50-53, rec.).

But even after the re-evaluation by Atty. Manalo, Examinee Galang could not make the passing grade due to his
failing marks in five subjects.

Likewise, in the latter part of January, 1972, on one occasion when respondent Lanuevo went to deliver to
respondent Guillermo Pablo, Jr. in the latter's house a new batch of examination papers in Political Law and Public
International Law to be corrected, respondent Lanuevo brought out a notebook in Political Law bearingExaminer's
Code Number 1752 (Exh. 5-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 66, rec.), informing respondent Pablo that particular
examinee who owns the said notebook seems to have passed in all other subjects except in Political Law and Public
International Law; and that if the said notebook would be re-evaluated and the mark be increased to at least 75%,
said examinee will pass the bar examinations. After satisfying himself from respondent that this is possible the
respondent Bar Confidant informing him that this is the practice of the Court to help out examinees who are failing
in just one subject respondent Pablo acceded to the request and thereby told the Bar Confidant to just leave the
said notebook. Respondent Pablo thereafter re-evaluated the answers, this time with leniency. After the re-
evaluation, the grade was increased to 78% from 68%, or an increase of 10%. Respondent Pablo then made the
corresponding corrections in the grading sheet and accordingly initialed the charges made. This notebook with
Office Code Number 954 also belonged to Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Vol. V, pp. 43-46, rec.).

After the re-evaluation by Atty. Pablo, Jr., examinee Galang's general average was still below the passing grade,
because of his failing marks in four subjects.

Towards the end of the correction of examination notebooks, respondent Lanuevo brought back to respondent
Tomacruz one examination booklet in Criminal Law, with the former informing the latter, who was then helping in
the correction of papers in Political Law and Public International Law, as he had already finished correcting the
examination notebooks in his assigned subject Criminal Law that the examinee who owns that particular
notebook had missed the passing grade by only a fraction of a percent and that if his grade in Criminal Law would
be raised a few points to 75%, then the examinee would make the passing grade. Accepting the words of respondent
Lanuevo, and seeing the justification and because he did not want to be the one causing the failure of the
examinee, respondent Tomacruz raised the grade from 64% to 75% and thereafter, he initialed the revised mark and
also revised the mark in the general list and likewise initialed the same. The examinee's Examiner Code Number is
746 while his Office Code Number is 954. This examinee is Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang (Exhs. 1, 2 &
3-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 65, 66 and 71; Vol. V, pp. 24-25, 60-61, rec.).

Respondent Tomacruz does not recall having been shown any memo by respondent Lanuevo when the latter
approached him for this particular re-evaluation; but he remembers Lanuevo declaring to him that where a
candidate had almost made the passing average but had failed in one subject, as a matter of policy of the Court,
leniency is applied in reviewing the examinee's notebook in the failing subject. He recalls, however, that he was
provided a copy of the Confidential Memorandum but this was long before the re-evaluation requested by
respondent Lanuevo as the same was received by him before the examination period (Vol. V, p. 61, rec.).

However, such revision by Atty. Tomacruz could not raise Galang's general average to a passing grade because of
his failing mark in three more subjects, including Mercantile Law. For the revision of examinee Galang's notebook
in Mercantile Law, respondent Lanuevo neatly set the last phase of his quite ingenious scheme by securing
authorization from the Bar Examination Committee for the examiner in Mercantile Law tore-evaluate said notebook.

At the first meeting of the Bar Examination Committee on February 8, 1972, respondent Lanuevo suggested that
where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed the rest, the examiner concerned would review the
notebook. Nobody objected to it as irregular and the Committee adopted the suggestion (Exhs. A & B-Montecillo,
Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 41, 72, 63; Vol. Vi, p. 16, rec.).

At a subsequent meeting of the Bar Examination Committee, respondent Montecillo was informed by respondent
Lanuevo that a candidate passed all other subjects except Mercantile Law. This information was made during the
meeting within hearing of the order members, who were all closely seated together. Respondent Montecillo made
known his willingness tore-evaluate the particular paper. The next day, respondent Lanuevo handed to respondent
Montecillo a bar candidate's notebook with Examiner's Code Number 1613 with a grade of 61%. Respondent
Montecillo then reviewed the whole paper and after re-evaluating the answers, decided to increase the final grade to
71%. The matter was not however thereafter officially brought to the Committee for consideration or decision (Exhs.
A& B-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, 70-71; Vol. V, pp. 33-34, rec.).

Respondent Montecillo declared that without being given the information that the particular examinee failed only in
his subject and passed all the others, he would not have consented to make the re-evaluation of the said paper(Vol.
V, p. 33, rec.).Respondent Montecillo likewise added that there was only one instance he remembers, which is
substantiated by his personal records, that he had to change the grade of an examinee after he had submitted his
report, referring to the notebook of examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, with Examiner's Code
Number 1613 and with Office Code Number 954 (Vol. V, pp. 34-35, rec.).

A day or two after February 5, 1972, when respondent Lanuevo went to the residence of respondent-examiner Pardo
to obtain the last bag of 200 notebooks, respondent Lanuevo returned to the residence of respondent Pardo riding in
a Volkswagen panel of the Supreme Court of the Philippines with two companions. According to respondent
Lanuevo, this was around the second week of February, 1972, after the first meeting of the Bar Examination
Committee. respondent Lanuevo had with him on that occasion an examinee's notebook bearing Examiner's Code
No. 661. Respondent Lanuevo, after the usual amenities, requested respondent Pardo to review and re-examine, if
possible, the said notebook because, according to respondent Lanuevo, the examine who owns that particular
notebook obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which is 84% in Remedial Law. After clearing
with respondent Lanuevo his authority to reconsider the grades, respondent Pardo re-evaluated the answers of the
examine concerned, resulting in an increase of grade from 57% of 66%. Said notebook has number 1622 as office
code number. It belonged to examinee Ernesto Quitaleg (Exhs. 1 & 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 58-63; Vol. V,
pp. 12-24, 29-30, rec.).

II

Re: Administrative Case No. 1162, Victorio D. Lanuevo, respondent.

UNAUTHORIZED RE-EVALUATION OF THE ANSWERS OF EXAMINE RAMON E. GALANG, alias


ROMAN E. GALANG, IN ALL FIVE (5) MAJOR SUBJECTS.

Respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having requested on his own initiative the five examiners concerned to
re-evaluate the five notebooks of Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, that eventually resulted in the increase
of Galang's average from 66.25% to the passing grade 74.15%, or a total increase of eight (8) weighted points, more
or less, that enabled Galang to hurdle the 1971 Bar examinations via a resolution of the Court making 74% the
passing average for that year's examination without any grade below fifty percent (50%) in any subject. Galang
thereafter took his lawyer's oath. It is likewise beyond dispute that he had no authority from the Court or the
Committee to initiate such steps towards the said re-evaluation of the answers of Galang or of other examinees.

Denying that he made representations to the examiners concerned that respondent Galang failed only in their
respective subjects and/or was on the borderline of passing, Respondent Lanuevo sought to justify his actuations on
the authority of the aforequoted paragraph 4 of the Confidential Memorandum(Exhs. 1 and 1-A-Lanuevo, Adm.
Cases Nos. 1162 & 1164, p. 51, Adm. Case No. 1162; Vol. VII, p. 4, rec.) distributed to the members of the Bar
Examination Committee. He maintains that he acted in good faith and "in his honest belief that the same merited re-
evaluation; that in doing so, it was not his intention to forsake or betray the trust reposed in him as BarConfidant but
on the contrary to do justice to the examinee concerned; and that neither did he act in a presumptuous manner
because the matter of whether or not re-evaluation was in order was left alone to the examiners' decision ..." (Exh. 2-
Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-37, rec.).

But as openly admitted by him in the course of the investigation, the said confidential memorandum was intended
solely for the examiners to guide them in the initial correction of the examination papers and never as a basis for him
to even suggest to the examiners the re-evaluation of the examination papers of the examinees (Vol. VII, p. 23, rec.).
Any such suggestion or request is not only presumptuous but also offensive to the norms of delicacy.

We believe the Examiners Pablo, Manalo, Montecillo, Tomacruz, Pardo and Pamatian whose declarations on
the matter of the misrepresentations and deceptions committed by respondent Lanuevo, are clear and consistent as
well as corroborate each other.

For indeed the facts unfolded by the declarations of the respondents-examiners (Adm. Case No. 1164) and clarified
by extensive cross-examination conducted during the investigation and hearing of the cases show how respondent
Lanuevo adroitly maneuvered the passing of examinee Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang in the 1971 Bar
Examinations. It is patent likewise from the records that respondent Lanuevo too undue advantage of the trust and
confidence reposed in him by the Court and the Examiners implicit in his position as BarConfidant as well as the
trust and confidence that prevailed in and characterized his relationship with the five members of the 1971 Bar
Examination Committee, who were thus deceived and induced into re-evaluating the answers ofonly respondent
Galang in five subjects that resulted in the increase of his grades therein, ultimately enabling him to be admitted a
member of the Philippine Bar.

It was plain, simple and unmitigated deception that characterized respondent Lanuevo's well-studied and well-
calculated moves in successively representing separately to each of the five examiners concerned to the effect that
the examinee failed only in his particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing. To repeat, the before the
unauthorized re-evaluations were made, Galang failed in the five (5) major subjects and in two (2) minor subjects
while his general average was only 66.25% which under no circumstances or standard could it be honestly
claimed that the examinee failed only in one, or he was on the borderline of passing. In fact, before the first
notebook of Galang was referred back to the examiner concerned for re-evaluation, Galang had only one passing
mark and this was in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, a minor subject, with grade of 81%. The averages and
individual grades of Galang before and after the unauthorized re-evaluation are as follows:

BAI

1. Political Law Public


International Law 68% 78% = 10 pts.
or 30 weighted points

BAI

Labor Laws and Social


Legislations 67% 67% = no re-
evaluation made.

2. Civil Law 64% 75% = 1 points


or 33 weighted points.
Taxation 74% 74% = no re-
evaluation made.

3. Mercantile Law 61% 71% = 10 pts.


or 30 weighted points.

4. Criminal Law 64% 75% = 11 pts. or


22 weighted points.

5. Remedial Law 63.75% (64) 75.5% (75%) =


11 pts. or 44 weighted points.

Legal Ethics and Practical


Exercises 81% 81% = no re-
evaluation made.

General Weighted Averages 66.25% 74.15%

Hence, by the simple expedient of initiating the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang in the five (5) subjects under
the circumstances already narrated, Galang's original average of 66.25% was increased to 74.15% or an increase of
7.9 weighted points, to the great damage and prejudice of the integrity of the Bar examinations and to the
disadvantage of the other examinees. He did this in favor only of examinee Galang, with the possible addition of
examinees Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz. But only one notebook was re-evaluated for each of the latter
who Political Law and Public International Law for Quitaleg and Mercantile Law for Ty dela Cruz.

The Office of the Bar Confidant, it must be stressed, has absolutely nothing to do in the re-evaluation or
reconsideration of the grades of examinees who fail to make the passing mark before or after their notebooks are
submitted to it by the Examiners. After the corrected notebooks are submitted to him by the Examiners, his only
function is to tally the individual grades of every examinee in all subjects taken and thereafter compute the general
average. That done, he will then prepare a comparative data showing the percentage of passing and failing in
relation to a certain average to be submitted to the Committee and to the Court and on the basis of which the Court
will determine the passing average, whether 75 or 74 or 73, etc. The Bar Confidant has no business evaluating the
answers of the examinees and cannot assume the functions of passing upon the appraisal made by the Examiners
concerned. He is not the over-all Examiner. He cannot presume to know better than the examiner. Any request for
re-evaluation should be done by the examinee and the same should be addressed to the Court, which alone can
validly act thereon. A Bar Confidant who takes such initiative, exposes himself to suspicion and thereby
compromises his position as well as the image of the Court.

Respondent Lanuevo's claim that he was merely doing justice to Galang without any intention of betraying the trust
and confidence reposed in him by the Court as Bar Confidant, can hardly invite belief in the fact of the
incontrovertible fact that he singled out Galang's papers for re-evaluation, leaving out the papers of more than ninety
(90) examinees with far better averages ranging from 70% to 73.9% of which he was fully aware (Vol. VI, pp. 46-
47, 101, rec.), which could be more properly claimed as borderline cases. This fact further betrays respondent
Lanuevo's claim of absolute good faith in referring back the papers of Galang to the Examiners for re-evaluation.
For certainly, as against the original weighted average of 66.25% of Galang, there can hardly be any dispute that the
cases of the aforesaid more than ninety (90) examinees were more deserving of reconsideration. Hence, in trying to
do justice to Galang, as claimed by respondent Lanuevo, grave injustice was inflicted on the other examinees of the
1971 Bar examinations, especially the said more than ninety candidates. And the unexplained failure of respondent
Lanuevo to apprise the Court or the Committee or even the Bar Chairman of the fact of re-evaluation before or after
the said re-evaluation and increase of grades, precludes, as the same is inconsistent with, any pretension of good
faith.

His request for the re-evaluation of the notebook in Political Law and International Law of Ernesto Quitaleg and the
notebook in Mercantile Law of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz to give his actuations in the case of Galang a semblance of
impartiality, hoping that the over ninety examinees who were far better situated than Galang would not give him
away. Even the re-evaluation of one notebook of Quitaleg and one notebook of Ty dela Cruz violated the agreement
of the members of the 1971 Bar Examination Committee to re-evaluate when the examinee concerned fails only in
one subject. Quitaleg and Ty dela Cruz failed in four (4) and three (3) subjects respectively as hereinafter shown.

The strange story concerning the figures 954, the office code number given to Galang's notebook, unveiled for the
first time by respondent Lanuevo in his suplemental sworn statement(Exh. 3- Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 45-
47. rec.) filed during the investigation with this Court as to why he pried into the papers of Galang deserves scant
consideration. It only serves to picture a man desperately clutching at straws in the wind for support. Furthermore, it
was revealed by respondent Lanuevo for the first time only on August 27, 1973 or a period of more than five 95)
months after he filed his answer on March 19, 1973(Exh. 2-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, pp. 35-36, rec.), showing
that it was just an after-thought.

REFERRAL OF EXAMINEE ALFREDO TY DELA CRUZ NOTEBOOK IN MERCHANTILE LAW TO RAISE


HIS GRADE OF 47% TO 50% TO EXAMINER MANUEL MONTECILLO AND OF EXAMINEE ERNESTO
QUITALEG'S NOTEBOOK IN POLITICAL LAW TO EXAMINER BERNARDO PARDO FOR RE-
EVALUATION, RESULTING IN THE INCREASE OF HIS GRADE IN THAT SUBJECT FROM 57% TO 66%.

Likewise, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo admitted having referred back the aforesaid notebooks on Mercantile
Law and Political Law respectively of Alfredo Ty dela Cruz and Ernesto Quitaleg to the Examiners concerned.

The records are not clear, however, under what circumstances the notebooks of Ty dela Cruz and Quitaleg were
referred back to the Examiners concerned. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that these two cases were officially brought
to the Bar Examination Committee during its first meeting (Vol. VI, pp. 50-51, rec.) and the latter decided to refer
them back to the Examiners concerned for re-evaluation with respect to the case of Quitaleg and to remove the
disqualification in the case of Ty dela Cruz(Vol. VI, pp. 33-39, 84-86, rec.). Respondent Lanuevo further claimed
that the date of these two cases were contained in a sheet of paper which was presented at the said first meeting of
the Committee (Vol. VI, pp. 39-43, 49-51, rec.). Likewise a record of the dates of every meeting of the Committee
was made by respondent Lanuevo (Vol. VI, p. 28, rec.). The alleged sheet containing the date of the two examinees
and record of the dates of the meeting of the Committee were not presented by respondent Lanuevo as, according to
him, he left them inadvertently in his desk in the Confidential Room when he went on leave after the release of the
Bar results (Vol. VI, pp. 28, 41-45, rec.). It appears, however, that the inventory conducted by officials of the Court
in the Confidential Room of respondent Lanuevo did not yield any such sheet of record (Exh. X, Adm. Case No.
1162, p. 74, rec.; Vol. VIII, pp. 11-13, 20-22, 29-31, rec.).

Respondent Examiner Montecillo, Mercantile Law, maintained that there was only one notebook in Mercantile Law
which was officially brought to him and this is substantiated by his personal file and record (Vol. VI, pp. 34-35,
rec.). According to him, this notebook's examiner code number is 1613 (Vol. V, p.35, rec.) and is owned by Ramon
E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang. It appears, however, that the original grade of 47% in Mercantile Law of Ty dela
Cruz was changed to 50% as appearing in the cover of the notebook of said examinee and the change is
authenticated with the initial of Examiner Montecillo. He was present when respondent Lanuevo presented in
evidence the notebook of Ty dela Cruz bearing Examiner code number 951 and Office Code Number 110 as Exhibit
9-Lanuevo in Administrative Case No. 1162, and the figures 47 crossed out, replaced by the figures 50 bearing the
initial of Examiner Montecillo as Exhibit 9-a-Lanuevo (Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 48, rec.; Vol. VI, pp. 23-24, Vol.
VIII, p. 4, rec.); but Atty. Montecillo did not interpose any objection to their admission in evidence.

In this connection, respondent Examiner Pardo testified that he remembers a case of an examinee presented to the
Committee, who obtained passing marks in all subjects except in one and the Committee agreed to refer back to the
Examiner concerned the notebook in the subject in which the examinee failed (Vol. V, pp. 15-16, rec.). He cannot
recall the subject, but he is certain that it was not Political Law (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.).Further, Pardo declared that he is
not aware of any case of an examinee who was on the borderline of passing but who got a grade below 50% in one
subject that was taken up by the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 16-17, rec.).

Examiner Montecillo testified that it was the notebook with Examiner Code Number 1613 (belonging to Galang)
which was referred to the Committee and the Committee agreed to return it to the Examiner concerned. The day
following the meeting in which the case of an examinee with Code Number 1613 was taken up, respondent Lanuevo
handed him said notebook and he accordingly re-evaluated it. This particular notebook with Office Code Number
954 belongs to Galang.

Examiner Tomacruz recalled a case of an examinee whose problem was Mercantile Law that was taken up by the
Committee. He is not certain of any other case brought to the Committee (Vol. V, pp. 59-61, rec.). Pardo declared
that there was no case of an examinee that was referred to the Committee that involved Political Law. He re-
evaluated the answers of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law upon the representation made by respondent Lanuevo to
him.

As heretofore stated, it was this consensus at the meeting on February 8, 1972 of the members of the Committee that
where an examinee failed in only one subject and passed all the others, the Examiner in whose subject the examinee
failed should re-evaluate or recheck the notebook (Vol. V, p. 16, rec.: Exh. 2-Pardo, allegation No. 9, Adm. Case No.
1164, pp. 60-63, Exh. A-Montecillo, Allegation No. 2, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and Exh. B-Montecillo,
Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 72, rec.).

At the time the notebook of Ernesto Quitaleg in Political Law with a grade of 57% was referred back to Examiner
Pardo, said examinee had other failing grades in three (3) subjects, as follows:

Labor Laws 3%

Taxation 69%

Mercantile Law 68%

Ernesto Quitaleg's grades and averages before and after the re-evaluation of his grade in Political Law are as
follows:

BA

Political Law 57% 66% = 9 pts. or 27


weighted points
Labor Laws 73% 73% = No reevaluation
Civil Law 75% 75% = "
Taxation 69% 69% = "
Mercantile Law 68% 68% = "
Criminal Law 78% 78% = "
Remedial Law 85% 85% = "
Legal Ethics 83% 83% = "

Average (weighted) 73.15% 74.5%

(Vol. VI, pp. 26-27; Exhs. 10 and 10-A-Lanuevo, Adm. Case No. 1162, rec.)

Alfredo Ty dela Cruz, at the time his notebook in Mercantile Law was referred to Examiner Montecillo to remove
the disqualification grade of 47% in said subject, had two (2) other failing grades. These are:

Political Law 70%


Taxation 72%

His grades and averages before and after the disqualifying grade was removed are as follows:

BA

Political Law 70% 70% = No reevaluation


Labor Laws 75% 75% = "
Civil Law 89% 89% = "
Taxation 72% 72% = "
Mercantile Law 47% 50% = 3 pts. or 9
weighted points
Criminal Law 78% 78% = no reevaluation
Remedial Law 88% 88% = "
Legal Ethics 79% 79% = "

Weighted Averages 74.95% 75.4%

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

The re-evaluation of the answers of Quitaleg in Political Law and the answers of Ty dela Cruz in Mercantile Law,
violated the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee in February, 1971, which violation was due to the
misrepresentation of respondent Lanuevo.

It must be stated that the referral of the notebook of Galang in Mercantile Law to Examiner Montecillo can hardly
be said to be covered by the consensus of the Bar Examination Committee because even at the time of said referral,
which was after the unauthorized re-evaluation of his answers of four (4) subjects, Galang had still failing grades in
Taxation and Labor Laws. His re-evaluated grade of 74.5% in Remedial Law was considered 75% under the
Confidential Memorandum and was so entered in the record. His grade in Mercantile Law as subsequently re-
evaluated by Examiner Montecillo was 71%.
Respondent Lanuevo is therefore guilty of serious misconduct of having betrayed the trust and confidence
reposed in him as Bar Confidant, thereby impairing the integrity of the Bar examinations and undermining public
faith in the Supreme Court. He should be disbarred.

As to whether Ernesto Quitaleg and Alfredo Ty dela Cruz should be disbarred or their names stricken from the Roll
of Attorneys, it is believed that they should be required to show cause and the corresponding investigation
conducted.

III

Re: Administrative Case No. 1163, Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, respondent.

The name of respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, should likewise be stricken off the Roll of
Attorneys. This is a necessary consequence of the un-authorized re-evaluation of his answers in five(5) major
subjects Civil Law, Political and International Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law, and Mercantile Law.

The judicial function of the Supreme Court in admitting candidates to the legal profession, which necessarily
involves the exercise of discretion, requires: (1) previous established rules and principles; (2) concrete facts, whether
past or present, affecting determinate individuals; and (3) a decision as to whether these facts are governed by the
rules and principles (In re: Cunanan Flunkers' Petition for Admission to the Bar -- 94 Phil. 534, 544-545). The
determination of whether a bar candidate has obtained the required passing grade certainly involves discretion
(Legal and Judicial Ethics, Justice Martin, 1969 ed., p. 13).

In the exercise of this function, the Court acts through a Bar Examination Committee, composed of a member of the
Court who acts as Chairman and eight (8) members of the Bar who act as examiners in the eight (8) bar subjects
with one subject assigned to each. Acting as a sort of liaison officer between the Court and the Bar Chairman, on one
hand, and the individual members of the Committee, on the other, is the Bar Confidant who is at the same time a
deputy clerk of the Court. Necessarily, every act of the Committee in connection with the exercise of discretion in
the admission of examinees to membership of the Bar must be in accordance with the established rules of the Court
and must always be subject to the final approval of the Court. With respect to the Bar Confidant, whose position is
primarily confidential as the designation indicates, his functions in connection with the conduct of the Bar
examinations are defined and circumscribed by the Court and must be strictly adhered to.

The re-evaluation by the Examiners concerned of the examination answers of respondent Galang in five (5) subjects,
as already clearly established, was initiated by Respondent Lanuevo without any authority from the Court, a serious
breach of the trust and confidence reposed by the Court in him as Bar Confidant. Consequently, the re-evaluation
that enabled respondent Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations and to be admitted to the Bar is a complete
nullity. The Bar Confidant does not possess any discretion with respect to the matter of admission of examinees to
the Bar. He is not clothed with authority to determine whether or not an examinee's answers merit re-evaluation or
re-evaluation or whether the Examiner's appraisal of such answers is correct. And whether or not the examinee
benefited was in connivance or a privy thereto is immaterial. What is decisive is whether the proceedings or
incidents that led to the candidate's admission to the Bar were in accordance with the rules.

B
Section 2 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964, in connection, among others, with the character
requirement of candidates for admission to the Bar, provides that "every applicant for admission as a member of the
Bar must be ... of good moral character ... and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good
moral character, and that no charges against him involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any
court in the Philippines." Prior to 1964, or under the old Rules of Court, a bar applicant was required to produce
before the Supreme Court satisfactory testimonials of good moral character (Sec. 2, Rule 127). Under both rules,
every applicant is duty bound to lay before the Court all his involvement in any criminal case, pending or otherwise
terminated, to enable the Court to fully ascertain or determine applicant's moral character. Furthermore, as to what
crime involves moral turpitude, is for the supreme Court to determine. Hence, the necessity of laying before or
informing the Court of one's personal record whether he was criminally indicted, acquitted, convicted or the case
dismissed or is still pending becomes more compelling. The forms for application to take the Bar examinations
provided by the Supreme Court beginning the year 1965 require the disclosure not only of criminal cases involving
moral turpitude filed or pending against the applicant but also of all other criminal cases of which he has been
accused. It is of course true that the application form used by respondent Galang when he took the Bar for the first
time in 1962 did not expressly require the disclosure of the applicant's criminal records, if any. But as already
intimated, implicit in his task to show satisfactory evidence or proof of good moral character is his obligation to
reveal to the Court all his involvement in any criminal case so that the Court can consider them in the ascertainment
and determination of his moral character. And undeniably, with the applicant's criminal records before it, the Court
will be in a better position to consider the applicant's moral character; for it could not be gainsaid that an applicant's
involvement in any criminal case, whether pending or terminated by its dismissal or applicant's acquittal or
conviction, has a bearing upon his character or fitness for admission to the Bar. In 1963 and 1964, when respondent
Galang took the Bar for the second and third time, respectively, the application form provided by the Court for use
of applicants already required the applicant to declare under oath that "he has not been accused of, indicted for or
convicted by any court or tribunal of any offense involving moral turpitude; and that there is no pending case of that
nature against him." By 1966, when Galang took the Bar examinations for the fourth time, the application form
prepared by the Court for use of applicants required the applicant to reveal all his criminal cases whether involving
moral turpitude or not. In paragraph 4 of that form, the applicant is required under oath to declare that "he has not
been charged with any offense before a Fiscal, Municipal Judge, or other officer; or accused of, indicted for or
convicted by any court or tribunal of any crime involving moral turpitude; nor is there a pending case against him"
(Adm. Case No. 1163, p. 56, rec.). Yet, respondent Galang continued to intentionally withhold or conceal from the
Court his criminal case of slight physical injuries which was then and until now is pending in the City Court of
Manila; and thereafter repeatedly omitted to make mention of the same in his applications to take the Bar
examinations in 1967, 1969 and 1971.

All told, respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, is guilty of fraudulently concealing and withholding
from the Court his pending criminal case for physical injuries in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1971; and
in 1966, 1967,1969 and 1971, he committed perjury when he declared under oath that he had no pending criminal
case in court. By falsely representing to the Court that he had no criminal case pending in court, respondent Galang
was allowed unconditionally to take the Bar examinations seven (7) times and in 1972 was allowed to take his oath.

That the concealment of an attorney in his application to take the Bar examinations of the fact that he had been
charged with, or indicted for, an alleged crime, is a ground for revocation of his license to practice law is well
settled (see 165 ALR 1151, 7 CJS 741). Thus:

[1] It requires no argument to reach the conclusion that the respondent, in withholding from the
board of law examiners and from the justice of this court, to whom he applied for admission,
information respecting so serious a matter as an indictment for a felony, was guilty of fraud upon
the court (cases cited).
[2] It is equally clear that, had the board of law examiners, or the judge to whom he applied for
admission, been apprised of the true situation, neither the certificate of the board nor of the judge
would have been forthcoming (State ex rel. Board of Law Examiners v. Podell, 207 N W
709 710).

The license of respondent Podell was revoke and annulled, and he was required to surrender to the clerk of court the
license issued to him, and his name was stricken from the roll of attorneys (p. 710).

Likewise in Re Carpel, it was declared that:

[1] The power to admit to the bar on motion is conferred in the discretion of the Appellate
Division.' In the exercise of the discretion, the court should be informed truthfully and frankly of
matters tending to show the character of the applicant and his standing at the bar of the state from
which he comes. The finding of indictments against him, one of which was still outstanding at the
time of his motion, were facts which should have been submitted to the court, with such
explanations as were available. Silence respecting them was reprehensible, as tending to deceive
the court (165 NYS, 102, 104; emphasis supplied).

Carpel's admission to the bar was revoked (p. 105).

Furthermore, respondent's persistent denial of his involvement in any criminal case despite his having been apprised
by the Investigation of some of the circumstances of the criminal case including the very name of the victim in that
case(he finally admitted it when he was confronted by the victim himself, who was called to testify thereon), and his
continued failure for about thirteen years to clear his name in that criminal case up to the present time, indicate his
lack of the requisite attributes of honesty, probity and good demeanor. He is therefore unworthy of becoming a
member of the noble profession of law.

While this aspect of the investigation was not part of the formal resolution of the Court requiring him to explain why
his name should not be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, respondent Galang was, as early as August, 1973,
apprised of his omission to reveal to the Court his pending criminal case. Yet he did not offer any explanation for
such omission.

Under the circumstances in which respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, was allowed to take the
Bar examinations and the highly irregular manner in which he passed the Bar, WE have no other alternative but to
order the surrender of his attorney's certificate and the striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys. For as
WE said in Re Felipe del Rosario:

The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted every one who demands it, but is a
privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of sound discretion. The standards of the legal
profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to escape the penalties of the
criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to receive one whose integrity is questionable
as an officer of the court, to clothe him with all the prestige of its confidence, and then to permit
him to hold himself as a duly authorized member of the bar (citing American cases) [52 Phil. 399-
401].

What WE now do with respondent Ramon E. Galang, alias Roman E. Galang, in this present case is not without any
precedent in this jurisdiction. WE had on several occasions in the past nullified the admission of successful bar
candidates to the membership of the Bar on the grounds, among others, of (a)misrepresentations of, or false
pretenses relative to, the requirement on applicant's educational attainment [Tapel vs. Publico, resolution of the
Supreme Court striking off the name of Juan T. Publico from the Roll of Attorneys on the basis of the findings of the
Court Investigators contained in their report and recommendation, Feb. 23, 1962; In re: Telesforo A. Diao, 7 SCRA
475-478; (b) lack of good moral character [In re: Peralta, 101 Phil. 313-314]; and (c) fraudulent passing of the Bar
examinations [People vs. Romualdez -- re: Luis Mabunay, 57 Phil. 151; In re: Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399 and People
vs. Castro and Doe, 54 Phil. 42]. In the cases of Romualdez (Mabunay) and Castro, the Court found that the grades
of Mabunay and Castro were falsified and they were convicted of the crime of falsification of public documents.

IV

RE: Administrative Case No. 1164, Assistant Solicitor General Bernardo Pardo (now CFI Judge), Judge Ramon
Pamatian(Later Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, now deceased)Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Atty. Fidel
Manalo, Atty. Manuel Tomacruz and Atty. Guillermo Pablo, Jr., respondents.

All respondents Bar examiners candidly admitted having made the re-evaluation and/or re-correction of the papers
in question upon the misrepresentation of respondent BarConfidant Lanuevo. All, however, professed good faith;
and that they re-evaluated or increased the grades of the notebooks without knowing the identity of the examinee
who owned the said notebooks; and that they did the same without any consideration or expectation of any. These
the records clearly demonstrate and WE are of the opinion and WE so declare that indeed the respondents-examiners
made the re-evaluation or re-correcion in good faith and without any consideration whatsoever.

Considering however the vital public interest involved in the matter of admission of members to the Bar, the
respondents bar examiners, under the circumstances, should have exercised greater care and caution and should have
been more inquisitive before acceding to the request of respondent Bar Confidant Lanuevo. They could have asked
the Chairman of the Bar Examination Committee, who would have referred the matter to the Supreme Court. At
least the respondents-examiners should have required respondent Lanuevo to produce or show them the complete
grades and/or the average of the examinee represented by respondent Lanuevo to have failed only in their respective
and particular subject and/or was on the borderline of passing to fully satisfy themselves that the examinee
concerned was really so circumstances. This they could have easily done and the stain on the Bar examinations
could have been avoided.

Respondent Bar examiners Montecillo, Pamatian, and Manalo claimed and so declared under oath that the answers
of respondent Galang really deserved or merited the increased grades; and so with respondent Pardo in connection
with the re-evaluation of Ernesto Quitaleg's answers in Political Law. With respect to respondents Tomacruz and
Pablo, it would appear that they increased the grades of Galang in their respective subject solely because of the
misrepresentations of Respondent Lanuevo. Hence, in the words of respondent Tomacruz: "You brought to me one
paper and you said that this particular examinee had almost passed, however, in my subject he received 60
something, I cannot remember the exact average and if he would get a few points higher, he would get a passing
average. I agreed to do that because I did not wish to be the one causing his failure. ..." (Vol. V, pp. 60-61, rec.; see
also allegations 3 and 4, Exh. 1-Tomacruz, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 69, rec.; emphasis ours). And respondent Pablo:
"... he told me that this particular examinee seems to have passed in allot her subject except this subject and that if I
can re-evaluate this examination notebook and increase the mark to at least 75, this particular examinee will pass the
bar examinations so I believe I asked him 'Is this being done?' and he said 'Yes, that is the practice used to be done
before to help out examinees who are failing in just one subject' so I readily acceded to his request and said 'Just
leave it with me and I will try to re-evaluate' and he left it with me and what i did was to go over the book and tried
to be as lenient as I could. While I did not mark correct the answers which were wrong, what I did was to be more
lenient and if the answers was correct although it was not complete I raise the grade so I had a total of 78 instead of
68 and what I did was to correct the grading sheet accordingly and initial the changes" (Vol. V, pp. 44-45, rec.;
emphasis supplied).

It could not be seriously denied, however, that the favorable re-evaluations made by respondents Pamatian,
Montecillo, Manalo and Pardo notwithstanding their declarations that the increases in grades they gave were
deserved by the examinee concerned, were to a certain extent influenced by the misrepresentation and deception
committed by respondent Lanuevo. Thus in their own words:

Montecillo

Q And by reason of that information you made the re-evaluation of the paper?

A Yeas, your Honor.

Q Would you have re-evaluated the paper of your own accord in the absence of
such information?

A No, your Honor, because I have submitted my report at that time" (Vol. V, p.
33, rec.; see also allegations in paragraphs 2, 3, 4 & 5, Affidavit of April 17,
1972, Exh. B-Montecillo; allegation No. 2, Answer dated march 19, 1973, Exh.
A-Montecillo, Adm. Case No. 1164, pp. 40-41, and 72, rec.).

Pamatian

3. That sometime in the later part of January of this year, he brought back to me an examination
booklet in Civil Law for re-evaluation because according to him the owner of the paper is on the
borderline and if I could reconsider his grade to 75% the candidate concerned will get passing
mark;

4. That taking his word for it and under the belief that it was really the practice and policy of the
Supreme Court to do so and in the further belief that I was just manifesting cooperation in doing
so, I re-evaluated the paper and reconsidered the grade to 75%; ..." (Exh. 2-Pamatian, Adm. Case
No. 1164, p. 55, rec.); and

5. That the above re-evaluation was made in good faith and under the belief that I am authorized to
do so in view of them is representation of said Atty. Victorio Lanuevo, ..." (Exh. 1-Pamatian, Adm.
Case No. 1164, pp. 33-34, rec.).

Manalo

(c) In revising the grade of the particular examinee concerned, herein respondent carefully
evaluated each and every answer written in the notebook. Testing the answer by the criteria laid
down by the Court, and giving the said examinee the benefit of the doubt in view of Mr. Lanuevo's
representation that it was only in that particular subject that said examinee failed, herein
respondent became convinced that the said examinee deserved a higher grade than that previously
given him, but he did not deserve, in herein respondent's honest appraisal, to be given the passing
grade of 75%. ..."(allegation 5-c, p. 38, Exh. 1-Manalo, rec.; emphasis supplied).
Pardo

... I considered it entirely humanly possible to have erred, because I corrected that particular
notebook on December 31,1971, considering especially the representation of the Bar Confidant
that the said examinee had obtained higher grades in other subjects, the highest of which was 84%
in Remedial Law, if I recall correctly. ... (allegation 7, Exh. 2-Pardo, Adm. Case No. 1164, p. 62,
rec.; emphasis supplied).

With the misrepresentations and the circumstances utilized by respondent Lanuevo to induce the herein examiners to
make the re-evaluation adverted to, no one among them can truly claim that the re-evaluation effected by them was
impartial or free from any improper influence, their conceded integrity, honesty and competence notwithstanding.

Consequently, Galang cannot justifiably claim that he deserved the increased grades given after the said re-
evaluations(Galang's memo attached to the records, Adm. Case No. 1163).

At any rate, WE are convinced, in the light of the explanations of the respondents-examiners, which were earlier
quoted in full, that their actuations in connection with the re-evaluation of the answers of Galang in five (5) subjects
do not warrant or deserve the imposition of any disciplinary action. WE find their explanations satisfactory.
Nevertheless, WE are constrained to remind herein respondents-examiners that their participation in the admission
of members to the Bar is one impressed with the highest consideration of public interest absolute purity of the
proceedings and so are required to exercise the greatest or utmost case and vigilance in the performance of their
duties relative thereto.

Respondent Atty. Victorio D. Lanuevo, in his memorandum filed on November 14, 1973, claimed that respondent-
examiner Pamatian "in bringing up this unfounded cause, or lending undue assistance or support thereto ... was
motivated with vindictiveness due to respondent's refusal to be pressured into helping his (examiner's) alleged friend
a participant in the 1971 Bar Examinations whom said examiner named as Oscar Landicho and who, the records
will show, did not pass said examinations (p. 9, Lanuevo's memo, Adm. Case No. 1162).

It must be stated that this is a very serious charge against the honor and integrity of the late Justice Ramon Pamatian,
who passed away on October 18, 1973 and therefore cannot refute Lanuevo's insinuations. Respondent Victorio D.
Lanuevo did not bring this out during the investigation which in his words is "essential to his defense. "His
pretension that he did not make this charge during the investigation when Justice Pamatian was still alive, and
deferred the filing of such charge against Justice Pamatian and possibly also against Oscar Landicho before the latter
departed for Australia "until this case shall have been terminated lest it be misread or misinterpreted as being
intended as a leverage for a favorable outcome of this case on the part of respondent or an act of reprisal", does not
invite belief; because he does not impugn the motives of the five other members of the 1971 Bar Examination
Committee, who also affirmed that he deceived them into re-evaluating or revising the grades of respondent Galang
in their respective subjects.

It appears, however, that after the release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, Oscar Landicho, who failed in
that examinations, went to see and did see Civil Law examiner Pamatian for the purpose of seeking his help in
connection with the 1971 Bar Examinations. Examiner Pamatian advised Landicho to see the Chairman of the 1971
Bar Examination Committee. Examiner Pamatian mentioned in passing to Landicho that an examination booklet
was re-evaluated by him (Pamatian) before the release of the said bar results (Vol. V, pp. 6-7, rec). Even though such
information was divulged by respondent Pamatian after the official release of the bar results, it remains an
indecorous act, hardly expected of a member of the Judiciary who should exhibit restraint in his actuations
demanded by resolute adherence to the rules of delicacy. His unseemly act tended to undermine the integrity of the
bar examinations and to impair public faith in the Supreme Court.

VI

The investigation failed to unearth direct evidence that the illegal machination of respondent Lanuevo to enable
Galang to pass the 1971 Bar examinations was committed for valuable consideration.

There are, however, acquisitions made by Respondent Lanuevo immediately after the official release of the 1971
Bar examinations in February, 1972, which may be out of proportion to his salary as Bar Confidant and Deputy
Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court.

1. On April 5, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife acquired from the BF Homes, Inc. a house
and lot with an area of 374 square meters, more or less, for the amount of P84,114.00. The deed of
sale was dated March 5, 1972 but was notarized only on April 5, 1972. On the same date, however,
respondent Lanuevo and his wife executed two (2)mortgages covering the said house and lot in
favor of BF Homes, Inc. in the total amount of P67,291.20 (First mortgage P58,879.80, Entry
No. 90913: date of instrument April 5, 1972, date of inscription April 20, 1972: Second
mortgage P8,411.40, Entry No. 90914: date of instrument April 5, 1972, date of inscription
April 20, 1972). [D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.]. Respondent Lanuevo paid as down payment the
amount of only P17,000.00, which according to him is equivalent to 20%, more or less, of the
purchase price of P84,114.00. Respondent Lanuevo claimed that P5,000.00 of the P17,000.00 was
his savings while the remaining the P12,000.00 came from his sister in Okinawa in the form of a
loan and received by him through a niece before Christmas of 1971 in dollars ($2000) [Vol. VII,
pp. 41-48; Vol. VIII, pp. 2-3, rec.]

It appears, however, that his alleged P5,000.00 savings and P12,000.00 loan from his sister; are
not fully reflected and accounted for in respondent's 1971 Statement of Assets and Liabilities
which hefiled on January 17, 1972.

In said 1971 statement, respondent Lanuevo listed under Assets a bank deposit in the amount of
only P2,000.00. In his 1972 statement, his bank deposit listed under Assets was in the amount of
P1,011.00, which shows therefore that of the P2,000.00 bank deposit listed in his 1971 statement
under Assets, only the amount of P989.00 was used or withdrawn. The amount of P18,000.00
receivable listed under Assets in his 1971 statement was not realized because the transaction
therein involved did not push through (Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent Lanuevo
from 1965 to 1972; Vol. VIII, pp. 47-48, rec.).

Likewise, the alleged December, 1971 $2000 loan of respondent from his married sister in
Okinawa is extremely doubtful. In the first place, said amount of $2000 (P12,000.00) is not
reflected in his1971 Statement of Assets and Liabilities filed on January 17, 1972. Secondly, the
alleged note which he allegedly received from his sister at the time he received the $200 was not
even presented by respondent during the investigation. And according to Respondent Lanuevo
himself, while he considered this a loan, his sister did not seriously consider it as one. In fact, no
mode or time of payment was agreed upon by them. And furthermore, during the investigation,
respondent Lanuevo promised to furnish the Investigator the address of his sister in Okinawa. Said
promise was not fulfilled as borne out by the records. Considering that there is no showing that his
sister, who has a family of her own, is among the top earners in Okinawa or has saved a lot of
money to give to him, the conclusion, therefore, that the P17,000.00 of respondent Lanuevo was
either an ill-gotten or undeclared income is inevitable under the foregoing circumstances.

On August 14, 1972, respondent Lanuevo and his wife mortgaged their BF Homes house and lot to
the GSIS for the amount of P65,000.00 (Entry No. 4992: August 14, 1972 date of
instrument;August 23, 1972 date of inscription). On February 28, 1973, the second mortgage
in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90914, was redeemed by respondent and was subsequently
cancelled on March 20,1973, Entry No. 30143. Subsequently, or on March 2, 1973 the first
mortgage in favor of BF Homes, Entry No. 90913 was also redeemed by respondent Lanuevo and
thereafter cancelled onMarch 20, 1973, (See D-2 to D-4, Vol. III, rec.). Hence, only the mortgage
in favor of GSIS remains as the encumbrance of respondent's house and lot. According to
respondent Lanuevo, the monthly amortization of the GSIS mortgage is P778.00 a month, but that
since May of 1973, he was unable to pay the same. In his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities,
which he filed in connection with his resignation and retirement (filed October 13, 1972), the
house and lot declared as part of his assets, were valued at P75,756.90. Listed, however, as an item
in his liabilities in the same statement was the GSIS real estate loan in the amount
of P64,200.00 (1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities).

2. Listed as an asset in his 1972 Statement of Assets and Liabilities is a 1956 VW car valued
atP5,200.00. That he acquired this car sometime between January, 1972 and November, 1972
could be inferred from the fact that no such car or any car was listed in his statement of assets and
liabilities of 1971 or in the years previous to 1965. It appears, however, that his listed total assets,
excluding receivables in his 1971 Statement was P19,000.00, while in his 1972 (as of November,
1972) Statement, his listed total assets, excluding the house and lot was P18,211.00, including the
said 1956 VW car worth P5,200.00.

The proximity in point of time between the official release of the 1971 Bar examinations and the
acquisition of the above-mentioned properties, tends to link or tie up the said acquisitions with the
illegal machination committed by respondent Lanuevo with respect to respondent Galang's
examination papers or to show that the money used by respondent Lanuevo in the acquisition of
the above properties came from respondent Galang in consideration of his passing the Bar.

During the early stage of this investigation but after the Court had informed respondent Lanuevo of the serious
irregularities in the 1971 Bar examinations alleged in Oscar Landicho's Confidential Letter and in fact, after
Respondent Lanuevo had filed on April 12, 1972 his sworn statement on the matter, as ordered by the Court,
respondent Lanuevo surprisingly filed his letter or resignation on October 13, 1972 with the end in view of retiring
from the Court. His resignation before he was required to show cause on March 5, 1973 but after he was informed of
the said irregularities, is indicative of a consciousness of guilt.

It must be noted that immediately after the official release of the results of the 1971 Bar examinations, respondent
Lanuevo went on vacation and sick leave from March 16, 1972 to January 15, 1973, obtaining the case value thereof
in lump sum in the amount of P11,000.00. He initially claimed at the investigation that h e used a part thereof as a
down payment for his BF Homes house and lot (Vol. VII, pp. 40-48, rec.), which he bought on April 5, 1972.
Criminal proceedings may be instituted against respondent Lanuevo under Section 3 (a & e) in relation to Section 9
of Republic Act No. 1379 (Anti-Graft Law) for:

(a) Persuading inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a
violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in
connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be presented, induced, or
influenced to commit such violation or offense.

xxx xxx xxx

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party
any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or
judicial functions through manifest partiality, evidence bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations
charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.

Section 8 of said Republic Act No. 3019 authorizes the dismissal or removal of a public officer once it is determined
that his property or money "is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his
other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property ... " (Sec. 2, Rep. Act 1379; Sec. 8, Rep.
Act 3019).

It should be stressed, however, that respondent Lanuevo's aforementioned Statements of Assets and Liabilities were
not presented or taken up during the investigation; but they were examined as they are part of the records of this
Court.

There are likewise circumstances indicating possible contacts between respondent Ramon E. Galang and/or his
father and respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo before the latter become the bar Confidant.

1. Respondent Ramon E. Galang was a beneficiary of the G.I Bill of Rights educational program of the Philippine
Veterans Board from his high school days 1951 to 1955 up to his pre-law studies at the MLQ Educational
Institution (now MLQ University) 1955 to 1958. From 1948 to 1958, respondent Victorio D. Lanuevo was
connected with the Philippine Veterans Board which is the governmental agency entrusted with the affairs of our
veterans including the implementation of the Veterans Bill of Rights. From 1955 to 1958, Respondent Lanuevo
successively held the position of Junior Investigator, Veterans Claims Investigator, Supervising Veterans Investigator
and Veterans Claims Investigator (Service Record, p. 9, Adm. Case No. 1162). During that period of time, therefore,
respondent Lanuevo had direct contacts with applicants and beneficiaries of the Veterans Bill of Rights. Galang's
educational benefits was approved on March 16, 1954, retroactive as of the date of waiver July 31, 1951, which is
also the date of filing (A, Vol. IV, rec.).

It is alleged by respondent Ramon E. Galang that it was his father who all the time attended to the availment of the
said educational benefits and even when he was already in Manila taking up his pre-law at MLQ Educational
Institution from 1955 to 1958. In 1955, respondent Galang was already 19 years old, and from 1957 to 1958, he was
employed as a technical assistant in the office of Senator Roy (Vol. V, pp. 79-80, 86-87, rec.).[Subsequently, during
the investigation, he claimed that he was the private secretary of Senator Puyat in 1957 (Vol. VI, pp. 12-13, rec.)]. It
appears, however, that a copy of the notice-letter dated June 28, 1955 of the Philippine Veterans Board to the MLQ
Educational Institution on the approval of the transfer of respondent Galang from Sta. Rita Institute to the MLQ
Educational Institution effective the first semester of the school year 1955-56 was directly addressed and furnished
to respondent Ramon E. Galang at 2292 Int. 8 Banal St., Tondo, Manila (A-12, Vol. IV, rec.).

Respondent Ramon E. Galang further declared that he never went to the Office of the Philippine Veterans to follow
up his educational benefits and claimed that he does not even know the location of the said office. He does not also
know whether beneficiaries of the G.I. Bill of Rights educational benefits are required to go to the Philippine
Veterans Board every semester to submit their ratings (Vol. V, p. 86, rec.). But respondent Galang admits that he had
gone to the GSIS and City Court of Manila, although he insists that he never bothered to take a look at the
neighboring buildings (Vol. V, pp. 93-94, rec.). The huge and imposing Philippine Veterans Building is beside the
GSIS building and is obliquely across the City Court building.

2. Respondent Lanuevo stated that as an investigator in the Philippine Veterans Board, he investigated claims for the
several benefits given to veterans like educational benefits and disability benefits; that he does not remember,
however, whether in the course of his duties as veterans investigator, he came across the application of Ramon E.
Galang for educational benefits; and that he does not know the father of Mr. Ramon E. Galang and has never met
him (Vol. VII, pp. 28, 49, rec.).

3. Respondent Lanuevo, as a member of the USAFEE, belonged to the 91st Infantry operating at Zambales and then
Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, shortly before the war (Vol. VII, pp. 48-49, rec.). Later he joined the guerrilla movement
in Samar.

He used to be a member of the Philippine Veterans Legion especially while working with the Philippine Veterans
Board(Vol. VII, p. 49, rec.).

He does not know the Banal Regiment of the guerrillas, to which Galang's father belonged. During the Japanese
occupation, his guerrilla outfit was operating in Samar only and he had no communications with other guerrilla
organization in other parts of the country.

He attended meetings of the Philippine Veterans Legion in his chapter in Samar only and does not remember having
attended its meeting here in Manila, even while he was employed with the Philippine Veterans Board. He is not a
member of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (Vol. VII, p.51, rec.).

On November 27, 1941, while respondent Lanuevo was with the Philippine Army stationed at Camp Manacnac,
Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, he was stricken with pneumonia and was hospitalized at the Nueva Ecija Provincial
Hospital as a result and was still confined there when their camp was bombed and strafed by Japanese planes on
December 13, 1941 (Sworn statement of respondent Lanuevo dated August 27, 1973, Adm. Case No. 1162, p. 46,
rec.).

German Galang, father of respondent Galang, was a member of the Banal Guerilla Forces, otherwise known as the
Banal Regiment. He was commissioned and inducted as a member thereof on January 16, 1942 and was given the
rank of first lieutenant. His unit "was attached and served into the XI-Corps, US Army; XIII-C US Army, 43rd Div.,
US Army, stationed headquarters at Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija and with the 38th Division, US army stationed at
Corregidor in the mopping-up operations against the enemies, from 9 May 1945 date of recognition to 31 December
1945, date of demobilization"(Affidavit of Jose Banal dated December 22, 1947, Vol. IV, A-3, rec.).

It should be stressed that once the bar examiner has submitted the corrected notebooks to the Bar Confidant, the
same cannot be withdrawn for any purpose whatsoever without prior authority from the Court. Consequently, this
Court expresses herein its strong disapproval of the actuations of the bar examiners in Administrative Case No. 1164
as above delineated.

WHEREFORE, IN ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1162, RESPONDENT VICTORIO D. LANUEVO IS


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

THIRD DIVISION

[A.M. SDC-97-2-P. February 24, 1997]

SOPHIA ALAWI, complainant, vs. ASHARY M. ALAUYA, Clerk of Court VI, Shari'a District Court, Marawi
City, respondent.

DECISION

NARVASA, C.J.:

Sophia Alawi was (and presumably still is) a sales representative (or coordinator) of E. B. Villarosa & Partners
Co., Ltd. of Davao City, a real estate and housing company. Ashari M. Alauya is the incumbent executive clerk of
court of the 4th Judicial Shari'a District in Marawi City. They were classmates, and used to be friends.

It appears that through Alawi's agency, a contract was executed for the purchase on installments by Alauya of
one of the housing units belonging to the above mentioned firm (hereafter, simply Villarosa & Co.); and in
connection therewith, a housing loan was also granted to Alauya by the National Home Mortgage Finance
Corporation (NHMFC).

Not long afterwards, or more precisely on December 15, 1995, Alauya addressed a letter to the President of
Villarosa & Co. advising of the termination of his contract with the company. He wrote:

" ** I am formally and officially withdrawing from and notifying you of my intent to terminate the
Contract/Agreement entered into between me and your company, as represented by your Sales Agent/Coordinator,
SOPHIA ALAWI, of your company's branch office here in Cagayan de Oro City, on the grounds that my consent
was vitiated by gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, dishonesty and abuse of confidence by the aforesaid sales
agent which made said contract void ab initio. Said sales agent acting in bad faith perpetrated such illegal and
unauthorized acts which made said contract an Onerous Contract prejudicial to my rights and interests."

He then proceeded to expound in considerable detail and quite acerbic language on the "grounds which could
evidence the bad faith, deceit, fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty and abuse of confidence by the unscrupulous
sales agent ** ;" and closed with the plea that Villarosa & Co. "agree for the mutual rescission of our contract, even
as I inform you that I categorically state on record that I am terminating the contract **. I hope I do not have to
resort to any legal action before said onerous and manipulated contract against my interest be annulled. I was
actually fooled by your sales agent, hence the need to annul the controversial contract."
Alauya sent a copy of the letter to the Vice-President of Villarosa & Co. at San Pedro, Gusa, Cagayan de Oro
City. The envelope containing it, and which actually went through the post, bore no stamps. Instead at the right hand
corner above the description of the addressee, the words, "Free Postage PD 26," had been typed.

On the same date, December 15, 1995, Alauya also wrote to Mr. Fermin T. Arzaga, Vice-President, Credit &
Collection Group of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) at Salcedo Village, Makati City,
repudiating as fraudulent and void his contract with Villarosa & Co.; and asking for cancellation of his housing loan
in connection therewith, which was payable from salary deductions at the rate of P4,338.00 a month. Among other
things, he said:

" ** (T)hrough this written notice, I am terminating, as I hereby annul, cancel, rescind and voided, the 'manipulated
contract' entered into between me and the E.B. Villarosa & Partner Co., Ltd., as represented by its sales
agent/coordinator, SOPHIA ALAWI, who maliciously and fraudulently manipulated said contract and unlawfully
secured and pursued the housing loan without my authority and against my will. Thus, the contract itself is deemed
to be void ab initio in view of the attending circumstances, that my consent was vitiated by misrepresentation, fraud,
deceit, dishonesty, and abuse of confidence; and that there was no meeting of the minds between me and the
swindling sales agent who concealed the real facts from me."

And, as in his letter to Villarosa & Co., he narrated in some detail what he took to be the anomalous actuations of
Sophia Alawi.

Alauya wrote three other letters to Mr. Arzaga of the NHMFC, dated February 21, 1996, April 15, 1996, and
May 3, 1996, in all of which, for the same reasons already cited, he insisted on the cancellation of his housing loan
and discontinuance of deductions from his salary on account thereof. a He also wrote on January 18, 1996 to Ms.
Corazon M. Ordoez, Head of the Fiscal Management & Budget Office, and to the Chief, Finance Division, both of
this Court, to stop deductions from his salary in relation to the loan in question, again asserting the anomalous
manner by which he was allegedly duped into entering into the contracts by "the scheming sales agent." b

The upshot was that in May, 1996, the NHMFC wrote to the Supreme Court requesting it to stop deductions on
Alauya's UHLP loan "effective May 1996," and began negotiating with Villarosa & Co. "for the buy-back of **
(Alauya's) mortgage, and ** the refund of ** (his) payments."c

On learning of Alauya's letter to Villarosa & Co. of December 15, 1995, Sophia Alawi filed with this Court a
verified complaint dated January 25, 1996 -- to which she appended a copy of the letter, and of the above mentioned
envelope bearing the typewritten words, "Free Postage PD 26."[1] In that complaint, she accused Alauya of:

1. "Imputation of malicious and libelous charges with no solid grounds through manifest ignorance and evident bad
faith;"

2. "Causing undue injury to, and blemishing her honor and established reputation;"

3. "Unauthorized enjoyment of the privilege of free postage **;" and

4. Usurpation of the title of "attorney," which only regular members of the Philippine Bar may properly use.

She deplored Alauya's references to her as "unscrupulous, swindler, forger, manipulator, etc." without "even a
bit of evidence to cloth (sic) his allegations with the essence of truth," denouncing his imputations as irresponsible,
"all concoctions, lies, baseless and coupled with manifest ignorance and evident bad faith," and asserting that all her
dealings with Alauya had been regular and completely transparent. She closed with the plea that Alauya "be
dismissed from the service, or be appropriately disciplined (sic) ** "

The Court resolved to order Alauya to comment on the complaint. Conformably with established usage that
notices of resolutions emanate from the corresponding Office of the Clerk of Court, the notice of resolution in this
case was signed by Atty. Alfredo P. Marasigan, Assistant Division Clerk of Court.[2]

Alauya first submitted a "Preliminary Comment"[3] in which he questioned the authority of Atty. Marasigan to
require an explanation of him, this power pertaining, according to him, not to "a mere Asst. Div. Clerk of Court
investigating an Executive Clerk of Court." but only to the District Judge, the Court Administrator or the Chief
Justice, and voiced the suspicion that the Resolution was the result of a "strong link" between Ms. Alawi and Atty.
Marasigan's office. He also averred that the complaint had no factual basis; Alawi was envious of him for being not
only "the Executive Clerk of court and ex-officio Provincial Sheriff and District Registrar," but also "a scion of a
Royal Family **."[4]

In a subsequent letter to Atty. Marasigan, but this time in much less aggressive, even obsequious tones,
[5]
Alauya requested the former to give him a copy of the complaint in order that he might comment thereon. [6] He
stated that his acts as clerk of court were done in good faith and within the confines of the law; and that Sophia
Alawi as sales agent of Villarosa & Co. had, by falsifying his signature, fraudulently bound him to a housing loan
contract entailing monthly deductions of P4,333.10 from his salary.

And in his comment thereafter submitted under date of June 5, 1996, Alauya contended that it was he who had
suffered "undue injury, mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded feelings and untold financial suffering,"
considering that in six months, a total of P26,028.60 had been deducted from his salary.[7] He declared that there was
no basis for the complaint; in communicating with Villarosa & Co. he had merely acted in defense of his rights. He
denied any abuse of the franking privilege, saying that he gave P20.00 plus transportation fare to a subordinate
whom he entrusted with the mailing of certain letters; that the words: "Free Postage PD 26," were typewritten on the
envelope by some other person, an averment corroborated by the affidavit of Absamen C. Domocao, Clerk IV
(subscribed and sworn to before respondent himself, and attached to the comment as Annex J); [8] and as far as he
knew, his subordinate mailed the letters with the use of the money he had given for postage, and if those letters were
indeed mixed with the official mail of the court, this had occurred inadvertently and because of an honest mistake. [9]

Alauya justified his use of the title, "attorney," by the assertion that it is "lexically synonymous" with
"Counsellors-at-law," a title to which Shari'a lawyers have a rightful claim, adding that he prefers the title of
"attorney" because "counsellor" is often mistaken for "councilor," "konsehal or the Maranao term "consial,"
connoting a local legislator beholden to the mayor. Withal, he does not consider himself a lawyer.

He pleads for the Court's compassion, alleging that what he did "is expected of any man unduly prejudiced and
injured."[10] He claims he was manipulated into reposing his trust in Alawi, a classmate and friend.[11] He was induced
to sign a blank contract on Alawi's assurance that she would show the completed document to him later for
correction, but she had since avoided him; despite "numerous letters and follow-ups" he still does not know where
the property -- subject of his supposed agreement with Alawi's principal, Villarosa & Co. -- is situated; [12]He says
Alawi somehow got his GSIS policy from his wife, and although she promised to return it the next day, she did not
do so until after several months. He also claims that in connection with his contract with Villarosa & Co., Alawi
forged his signature on such pertinent documents as those regarding the down payment, clearance, lay-out, receipt of
the key of the house, salary deduction, none of which he ever saw.[13]
Averring in fine that his acts in question were done without malice, Alauya prays for the dismissal of the
complaint for lack of merit, it consisting of "fallacious, malicious and baseless allegations," and complainant Alawi
having come to the Court with unclean hands, her complicity in the fraudulent housing loan being apparent and
demonstrable.

It may be mentioned that in contrast to his two (2) letters to Assistant Clerk of Court Marasigan (dated April
19, 1996 and April 22, 1996), and his two (2) earlier letters both dated December 15, 1996 -- all of which he signed
as "Atty. Ashary M. Alauya" -- in his Comment of June 5, 1996, he does not use the title but refers to himself as
"DATU ASHARY M. ALAUYA."

The Court referred the case to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and
recommendation.[14]

The first accusation against Alauya is that in his aforesaid letters, he made "malicious and libelous charges
(against Alawi) with no solid grounds through manifest ignorance and evident bad faith," resulting in "undue injury
to (her) and blemishing her honor and established reputation." In those letters, Alauya had written inter alia that:

1) Alawi obtained his consent to the contracts in question "by gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, dishonesty and
abuse of confidence;"

2) Alawi acted in bad faith and perpetrated ** illegal and unauthorized acts ** ** prejudicial to ** (his) rights and
interests;"

3) Alawi was an "unscrupulous (and "swindling") sales agent" who had fooled him by "deceit, fraud,
misrepresentation, dishonesty and abuse of confidence;" and

4) Alawi had maliciously and fraudulently manipulated the contract with Villarosa & Co., and unlawfully secured
and pursued the housing loan without ** (his) authority and against ** (his) will," and "concealed the real facts **."

Alauya's defense essentially is that in making these statements, he was merely acting in defense of his rights,
and doing only what "is expected of any man unduly prejudiced and injured," who had suffered "mental anguish,
sleepless nights, wounded feelings and untold financial suffering," considering that in six months, a total
of P26,028.60 had been deducted from his salary.[15]

The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA
6713) inter alia enunciates the State policy of promoting a high standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the
public service.[16] Section 4 of the Code commands that "(p)ublic officials and employees ** at all times respect the
rights of others, and ** refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public
order, public safety and public interest."[17] More than once has this Court emphasized that "the conduct and behavior
of every official and employee of an agency involved in the administration of justice, from the presiding judge to the
most junior clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Their conduct must at all times
be characterized by, among others, strict propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep the respect of the public for
the judiciary."[18]

Now, it does not appear to the Court consistent with good morals, good customs or public policy, or respect for
the rights of others, to couch denunciations of acts believed -- however sincerely -- to be deceitful, fraudulent or
malicious, in excessively intemperate. insulting or virulent language. Alauya is evidently convinced that he has a
right of action against Sophia Alawi. The law requires that he exercise that right with propriety, without malice or
vindictiveness, or undue harm to anyone; in a manner consistent with good morals, good customs, public policy,
public order, supra; or otherwise stated, that he "act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and
good faith."[19] Righteous indignation, or vindication of right cannot justify resort to vituperative language, or
downright name-calling. As a member of the Shari'a Bar and an officer of a Court, Alawi is subject to a standard of
conduct more stringent than for most other government workers. As a man of the law, he may not use language
which is abusive, offensive, scandalous, menacing, or otherwise improper. [20] As a judicial employee, it is expected
that he accord respect for the person and the rights of others at all times, and that his every act and word should be
characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy, dignity. His radical deviation from these salutary norms might
perhaps be mitigated, but cannot be excused, by his strongly held conviction that he had been grievously wronged.

As regards Alauya's use of the title of "Attorney," this Court has already had occasion to declare that persons
who pass the Shari'a Bar are not full-fledged members of the Philippine Bar, hence may only practice law before
Shari'a courts.[21] While one who has been admitted to the Shari'a Bar, and one who has been admitted to the
Philippine Bar, may both be considered "counsellors," in the sense that they give counsel or advice in a professional
capacity, only the latter is an "attorney." The title of "attorney" is reserved to those who, having obtained the
necessary degree in the study of law and successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been admitted to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain members thereof in good standing; and it is they only who are
authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction.

Alauya says he does not wish to use the title, "counsellor" or "counsellor-at-law," because in his region, there
are pejorative connotations to the term, or it is confusingly similar to that given to local legislators. The
ratiocination, valid or not, is of no moment. His disinclination to use the title of "counsellor" does not warrant his
use of the title of attorney.

Finally, respecting Alauya's alleged unauthorized use of the franking privilege, the record contains no evidence
adequately establishing the accusation.

WHEREFORE, respondent Ashari M. Alauya is hereby REPRIMANDED for the use of excessively
intemperate, insulting or virulent language, i.e., language unbecoming a judicial officer, and for usurping the title of
attorney; and he is warned that any similar or other impropriety or misconduct in the future will be dealt with more
severely.

SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. L-23815 June 28, 1974

ADELINO H. LEDESMA, petitioner,


vs.
HON. RAFAEL C. CLIMACO, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch
I, Silay City, respondent.

Adelino H. Ledesma in his own behalf.

Hon. Rafael C. Climaco in his own behalf.

FERNANDO, J.:p

What is assailed in this certiorari proceeding is an order of respondent Judge denying a motion filed by petitioner to
be allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio. 1 One of the grounds for such a motion was his allegation that with his
appointment as Election Registrar by the Commission on Elections, he was not in a position to devote full time to
the defense of the two accused. The denial by respondent Judge of such a plea, notwithstanding the conformity of
the defendants, was due "its principal effect [being] to delay this case." 2 It was likewise noted that the prosecution
had already rested and that petitioner was previously counsel de parte, his designation in the former category being
precisely to protect him in his new position without prejudicing the accused. It cannot be plausibly asserted that such
failure to allow withdrawal of de oficio counsel could ordinarily be characterized as a grave abuse of discretion
correctible by certiorari. There is, however, the overriding concern for the right to counsel of the accused that must
be taken seriously into consideration. In appropriate cases, it should tilt the balance. This is not one of them. What is
easily discernible was the obvious reluctance of petitioner to comply with the responsibilities incumbent on the
counsel de oficio. Then, too, even on the assumption that he continues in his position, his volume of work is likely to
be very much less at present. There is not now the slightest pretext for him to shirk an obligation a member of the
bar, who expects to remain in good standing, should fulfill. The petition is clearly without merit.

According to the undisputed facts, petitioner, on October 13, 1964, was appointed Election Registrar for the
Municipality of Cadiz, Province of Negros Occidental. Then and there, he commenced to discharge its duties. As he
was counsel de parte for one of the accused in a case pending in the sala of respondent Judge, he filed a motion to
withdraw as such. Not only did respondent Judge deny such motion, but he also appointed him counselde oficio for
the two defendants. Subsequently, on November 3, 1964, petitioner filed an urgent motion to be allowed to withdraw
as counsel de oficio, premised on the policy of the Commission on Elections to require full time service as well as
on the volume or pressure of work of petitioner, which could prevent him from handling adequately the defense.
Respondent Judge, in the challenged order of November 6, 1964, denied said motion. A motion for reconsideration
having proved futile, he instituted this certiorari proceeding. 3

As noted at the outset, the petition must fail.

1. The assailed order of November 6, 1964 denying the urgent motion of petitioner to withdraw as counsel de
oficio speaks for itself. It began with a reminder that a crime was allegedly committed on February 17, 1962, with
the proceedings having started in the municipal court of Cadiz on July 11, 1962. Then respondent Judge spoke of his
order of October 16, 1964 which reads thus: "In view of the objection of the prosecution to the motion for
postponement of October 15, 1964 (alleging that counsel for the accused cannot continue appearing in this case
without the express authority of the Commission on Elections); and since according to the prosecution there are two
witnesses who are ready to take the stand, after which the government would rest, the motion for postponement is
denied. When counsel for the accused assumed office as Election Registrar on October 13, 1964, he knew since
October 2, 1964 that the trial would be resumed today. Nevertheless, in order not to prejudice the civil service status
of counsel for the accused, he is hereby designated counsel de oficio for the accused. The defense obtained
postponements on May 17, 1963, June 13, 1963, June 14, 1963, October 28, 1963, November 27, 1963, February 11,
1964, March 9, 1964, June 8, 1964 July 26, 1964, and September 7, 1964." 4 Reference was then made to another
order of February 11, 1964: "Upon petition of Atty. Adelino H. Ledesma, alleging indisposition, the continuation of
the trial of this case is hereby transferred to March 9, 1964 at 8:30 in the morning. The defense is reminded that at its
instance, this case has been postponed at least eight (8) times, and that the government witnesses have to come all
the way from Manapala." 5 After which, it was noted in such order that there was no incompatibility between the
duty of petitioner to the accused and to the court and the performance of his task as an election registrar of the
Commission on Elections and that the ends of justice "would be served by allowing and requiring Mr. Ledesma to
continue as counsel de oficio, since the prosecution has already rested its case." 6

2. What is readily apparent therefore, is that petitioner was less than duly mindful of his obligation as counsel de
oficio. He ought to have known that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. It could be that
for some lawyers, especially the neophytes in the profession, being appointed counsel de oficio is an irksome chore.
For those holding such belief, it may come as a surprise that counsel of repute and of eminence welcome such an
opportunity. It makes even more manifest that law is indeed a profession dedicated to the ideal of service and not a
mere trade. It is understandable then why a high degree of fidelity to duty is required of one so designated. A recent
statement of the doctrine is found in People v. Daban: 7 "There is need anew in this disciplinary proceeding to lay
stress on the fundamental postulate that membership in the bar carries with it a responsibility to live up to its
exacting standard. The law is a profession, not a trade or a craft. Those enrolled in its ranks are called upon to aid in
the performance of one of the basic purposes of the State, the administration of justice. To avoid any frustration
thereof, especially in the case of an indigent defendant, a lawyer may be required to act as counsel de oficio. The
fact that his services are rendered without remuneration should not occasion a diminution in his zeal. Rather the
contrary. This is not, of course, to ignore that other pressing matters do compete for his attention. After all, he has his
practice to attend to. That circumstance possesses a high degree of relevance since a lawyer has to live; certainly he
cannot afford either to neglect his paying cases. Nonetheless, what is incumbent upon him as counsel de oficio must
be fulfilled." 8

So it has been from the 1905 decision of In re Robles Lahesa, 9 where respondent was de oficio counsel, the opinion
penned by Justice Carson making clear: "This Court should exact from its officers and subordinates the most
scrupulous performance of their official duties, especially when negligence in the performance of those duties
necessarily results in delays in the prosecution of criminal cases ...." 10 Justice Sanchez in People v.
Estebia 11 reiterated such a view in these words: "It is true that he is a court-appointed counsel. But we do say that as
such counsel de oficio, he has as high a duty to the accused as one employed and paid by defendant himself.
Because, as in the case of the latter, he must exercise his best efforts and professional ability in behalf of the person
assigned to his care. He is to render effective assistance. The accused-defendant expects of him due diligence, not
mere perfunctory representation. For, indeed a lawyer who is a vanguard in the bastion of justice is expected to have
a bigger dose of social conscience and a little less of self-interest." 12

The weakness of the petition is thus quite evident.

3. If respondent Judge were required to answer the petition, it was only due to the apprehension that considering the
frame of mind of a counsel loath and reluctant to fulfill his obligation, the welfare of the accused could be
prejudiced. His right to counsel could in effect be rendered nugatory. Its importance was rightfully stressed by Chief
Justice Moran in People v. Holgado in these words: "In criminal cases there can be no fair hearing unless the
accused be given an opportunity to be heard by counsel. The right to be heard would be of little avail if it does not
include the right to be heard by counsel. Even the most intelligent or educated man may have no skill in the science
of law, particularly in the rules of procedure, and; without counsel, he may be convicted not because he is guilty but
because he does not know how to establish his innocence. And this can happen more easily to persons who are
ignorant or uneducated. It is for this reason that the right to be assisted by counsel is deemed so important that it has
become a constitutional right and it is so implemented that under rules of procedure it is not enough for the Court to
apprise an accused of his right to have an attorney, it is not enough to ask him whether he desires the aid of an
attorney, but it is essential that the court should assign one de oficio for him if he so desires and he is poor or grant
him a reasonable time to procure an attorney of his
own." 13 So it was under the previous Organic Acts. 14 The present Constitution is even more emphatic. For, in
addition to reiterating that the accused "shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel," 15 there is this new
provision: "Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to remain silent and
to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which
vitiates the free will shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall be
inadmissible in evidence." 16
Thus is made manifest the indispensable role of a member of the Bar in the defense of an accused. Such a
consideration could have sufficed for petitioner not being allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio. For he did
betray by his moves his lack of enthusiasm for the task entrusted to him, to put matters mildly. He did point though
to his responsibility as an election registrar. Assuming his good faith, no such excuse could be availed now. There is
not likely at present, and in the immediate future, an exorbitant demand on his time. It may likewise be assumed,
considering what has been set forth above, that petitioner would exert himself sufficiently to perform his task as
defense counsel with competence, if not with zeal, if only to erase doubts as to his fitness to remain a member of the
profession in good standing. The admonition is ever timely for those enrolled in the ranks of legal practitioners that
there are times, and this is one of them, when duty to court and to client takes precedence over the promptings of
self-interest.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is dismissed. Costs against petitioner.

Zaldivar (Chairman), Antonio, Fernandez and Aquino, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-18727 August 31, 1964

JESUS MA. CUI, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ANTONIO MA. CUI, defendant-appellant,
ROMULO CUI, Intervenor-appellant.

Jose W. Diokno for plaintiff-appellee.


Jaime R. Nuevas and Hector L. Hofilea for defendant-appellant.
Romulo Cui in his own behalf as intervenor-appellants.

MAKALINTAL, J.:

This is a proving in quo warranto originally filed in the Court of First Instance of Cebu. The office in contention is
that of Administrator of the Hospicio de San Jose de Barili. Judgment was rendered on 27 April 1961 in favor of the
plaintiff, Jesus Ma. Cui, and appealed to us by the defendant, Antonio Ma. Cui, and by the intervenor, Romulo Cui.

The Hospicio is a charitable institution established by the spouses Don Pedro Cui and Doa Benigna Cui, now
deceased, "for the care and support, free of charge, of indigent invalids, and incapacitated and helpless persons." It
acquired corporate existence by legislation (Act No. 3239 of the Philippine Legislature passed 27 November 1925)
and endowed with extensive properties by the said spouses through a series of donations, principally the deed of
donation executed on 2 January 1926.

Section 2 of Act No. 3239 gave the initial management to the founders jointly and, in case of their incapacity or
death, to "such persons as they may nominate or designate, in the order prescribed to them." Section 2 of the deed of
donation provides as follows:

Que en caso de nuestro fallecimiento o incapacidad para administrar, nos sustituyan nuestro legitime
sobrino Mariano Cui, si al tiempo de nuestra muerte o incapacidad se hallare residiendo en la caudad de
Cebu, y nuestro sobrino politico Dionisio Jakosalem. Si nuestro dicho sobrino Mariano Cui no estuviese
residiendo entonces en la caudad de Cebu, designamos en su lugar a nuestro otro sobrino legitime Mauricio
Cui. Ambos sobrinos administraran conjuntamente el HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE DE BARILI. A la muerte
o incapacidad de estos dos administradores, la administracion del HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE DE BARILI
pasara a una sola persona que sera el varon, mayor de edad, que descienda legitimainente de cualquiera de
nuestros sobrinos legitimos Mariano Cui, Mauricio Cui, Vicente Cui y Victor Cui, y que posea titulo de
abogado, o medico, o ingeniero civil, o farmaceutico, o a falta de estos titulos, el que pague al Estado
mayor impuesto o contribution. En igualdad de circumstancias, sera preferida el varon de mas edad
descendiente de quien tenia ultimamente la administracion. Cuando absolutamente faltare persona de estas
cualificaciones, la administracion del HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE DE BARILI pasara al senor Obispo de
Cebu o quien sea el mayor dignatario de la Iglesia Catolica, apostolica, Romana, que tuviere asiento en la
cabecera de esta Provincia de Cebu, y en su defecto, al Gobierno Provincial de Cebu.

Don Pedro Cui died in 1926, and his widow continued to administer the Hospicio until her death in 1929. Thereupon
the administration passed to Mauricio Cui and Dionisio Jakosalem. The first died on 8 May 1931 and the second on
1 July 1931. On 2 July 1931 Dr. Teodoro Cui, only son of Mauricio Cui, became the administrator. Thereafter,
beginning in 1932, a series of controversies and court litigations ensued concerning the position of administrator, to
which, in so far as they are pertinent to the present case, reference will be made later in this decision.

Plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui and defendant Antonio Ma. Cui are brothers, being the sons of Mariano Cui, one of the
nephews of the spouses Don Pedro Cui and Doa Benigna Cui. On 27 February 1960 the then incumbent
administrator, Dr. Teodoro Cui, resigned in favor of Antonio Ma. Cui pursuant to a "convenio" entered into between
them and embodied in a notarial document. The next day, 28 February, Antonio Ma. Cui took his oath of office.
Jesus Ma. Cui, however, had no prior notice of either the "convenio" or of his brother's assumption of the position.

Dr. Teodoro Cui died on 27 August 1960; on 5 September 1960 the plaintiff wrote a letter to the defendant
demanding that the office be turned over to him; and on 13 September 1960, the demand not having been complied
with the plaintiff filed the complaint in this case. Romulo Cui later on intervened, claiming a right to the same
office, being a grandson of Vicente Cui, another one of the nephews mentioned by the founders of the Hospicio in
their deed of donation.

As between Jesus and Antonio the main issue turns upon their respective qualifications to the position of
administrator. Jesus is the older of the two and therefore under equal circumstances would be preferred pursuant to
section 2 of the deed of donation. However, before the test of age may be, applied the deed gives preference to the
one, among the legitimate descendants of the nephews therein named, "que posea titulo de abogado, o medico, o
ingeniero civil, o farmaceutico, o a falta de estos titulos el que pague al estado mayor impuesto o contribucion."

The specific point in dispute is the mealing of the term "titulo de abogado." Jesus Ma. Cui holds the degree of
Bachelor of Laws from the University of Santo Tomas (Class 1926) but is not a member of the Bar, not having
passed the examinations to qualify him as one. Antonio Ma. Cui, on the other hand, is a member of the Bar and
although disbarred by this Court on 29 March 1957 (administrative case No. 141), was reinstated by resolution
promulgated on 10 February 1960, about two weeks before he assumed the position of administrator of theHospicio
de Barili.

The Court a quo, in deciding this point in favor of the plaintiff, said that the phrase "titulo de abogado," taken alone,
means that of a full-fledged lawyer, but that has used in the deed of donation and considering the function or
purpose of the administrator, it should not be given a strict interpretation but a liberal one," and therefore means a
law degree or diploma of Bachelor of Laws. This ruling is assailed as erroneous both by the defendant and by the
intervenor.

We are of the opinion, that whether taken alone or in context the term "titulo de abogado" means not mere
possession of the academic degree of Bachelor of Laws but membership in the Bar after due admission thereto,
qualifying one for the practice of law. In Spanish the word "titulo" is defined as "testimonies o instrumento dado
para ejercer un empleo, dignidad o profesion" (Diccionario de la Lengua Espaola, Real Academia Espanola, 1947
ed., p. 1224) and the word "abogado," as follows: "Perito en el derecho positivo que se dedica a defender en juicio,
por escrito o de palabra, los derechos o intereses de los litigantes, y tambien a dar dictmen sobre las cuestiones o
puntos legales que se le consultan (Id., p.5) A Bachelor's degree alone, conferred by a law school upon completion
of certain academic requirements, does not entitle its holder to exercise the legal profession. The English equivalent
of "abogado" is lawyer or attorney-at-law. This term has a fixed and general signification, and has reference to that
class of persons who are by license officers of the courts, empowered to appear, prosecute and defend, and upon
whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence.

In this jurisdiction admission to the Bar and to the practice of law is under the authority of the Supreme Court.
According to Rule 138 such admission requires passing the Bar examinations, taking the lawyer's oath and receiving
a certificate from the Clerk of Court, this certificate being his license to practice the profession. The academic
degree of Bachelor of Laws in itself has little to do with admission to the Bar, except as evidence of compliance with
the requirements that an applicant to the examinations has "successfully completed all the prescribed courses, in a
law school or university, officially approved by the Secretary of Education." For this purpose, however, possession
of the degree itself is not indispensable: completion of the prescribed courses may be shown in some other way.
Indeed there are instances, particularly under the former Code of Civil Procedure, where persons who had not gone
through any formal legal education in college were allowed to take the Bar examinations and to qualify as lawyers.
(Section 14 of that code required possession of "the necessary qualifications of learning ability.") Yet certainly it
would be incorrect to say that such persons do not possess the "titulo de abogado" because they lack the academic
degree of Bachelor of Laws from some law school or university.

The founders of the Hospicio de San Jose de Barili must have established the foregoing test advisely, and provided
in the deed of donation that if not a lawyer, the administrator should be a doctor or a civil engineer or a pharmacist,
in that order; or failing all these, should be the one who pays the highest taxes among those otherwise qualified. A
lawyer, first of all, because under Act No. 3239 the managers or trustees of the Hospicioshall "make regulations for
the government of said institution (Sec. 3, b); shall "prescribe the conditions subject to which invalids and
incapacitated and destitute persons may be admitted to the institute" (Sec. 3, d); shall see to it that the rules and
conditions promulgated for admission are not in conflict with the provisions of the Act; and shall administer
properties of considerable value for all of which work, it is to be presumed, a working knowledge of the law and
a license to practice the profession would be a distinct asset.

Under this particular criterion we hold that the plaintiff is not entitled, as against the defendant, to the office of
administrator. But it is argued that although the latter is a member of the Bar he is nevertheless disqualified by virtue
of paragraph 3 of the deed of donation, which provides that the administrator may be removed on the ground, among
others, of ineptitude in the discharge of his office or lack of evident sound moral character. Reference is made to the
fact that the defendant was disbarred by this Court on 29 March 1957 for immorality and unprofessional conduct. It
is also a fact, however, that he was reinstated on 10 February 1960, before he assumed the office of administrator.
His reinstatement is a recognition of his moral rehabilitation, upon proof no less than that required for his admission
to the Bar in the first place.

Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and approved by this
Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove their case not covered by this
stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t

Whether or not the applicant shall be reinstated rests to a great extent in the sound discretion of the court.
The court action will depend, generally speaking, on whether or not it decides that the public interest in the
orderly and impartial administration of justice will be conserved by the applicant's participation therein in
the capacity of an attorney and counselor at law. The applicant must, like a candidate for admission to the
bar, satisfy the court that he is a person of good moral character a fit and proper person to practice law.
The court will take into consideration the applicant's character and standing prior to the disbarment, the
nature and character of the charge for which he was disbarred, his conduct subsequent to the disbarment,
and the time that has elapsed between the disbarment and the application for reinstatement. (5 Am. Jur.,
Sec. 301, p. 443)

Evidence of reformation is required before applicant is entitled to reinstatement, notwithstanding the


attorney has received a pardon following his conviction, and the requirements for reinstatement have been
held to be the same as for original admission to the bar, except that the court may require a greater degree
of proof than in an original admission. (7 C.J.S., Attorney & Client, Sec. 41, p. 815.)
The decisive questions on an application for reinstatement are whether applicant is "of good moral
character" in the sense in which that phrase is used when applied to attorneys-at-law and is a fit and proper
person to be entrusted with the privileges of the office of an attorney, and whether his mental qualifications
are such as to enable him to discharge efficiently his duty to the public, and the moral attributes are to be
regarded as a separate and distinct from his mental qualifications. (7 C.J.S., Attorney & Client, Sec. 41, p.
816).

As far as moral character is concerned, the standard required of one seeking reinstatement to the office of attorney
cannot be less exacting than that implied in paragraph 3 of the deed of donation as a requisite for the office which is
disputed in this case. When the defendant was restored to the roll of lawyers the restrictions and disabilities resulting
from his previous disbarment were wiped out.

This action must fail on one other ground: it is already barred by lapse of time amounting the prescription or laches.
Under Section 16 of Rule 66 (formerly sec. 16, Rule 68, taken from section 216 of Act 190), this kind of action must
be filed within one (1) year after the right of plaintiff to hold the office arose.

Plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui believed himself entitled to the office in question as long ago as 1932. On January 26 of that
year he filed a complaint in quo warranto against Dr. Teodoro Cui, who assumed the administration of
theHospicio on 2 July 1931. Mariano Cui, the plaintiff's father and Antonio Ma. Cui came in as intervenors. The
case was dismissed by the Court of First Instance upon a demurrer by the defendant there to the complaint and
complaint in intervention. Upon appeal to the Supreme Court from the order of dismissal, the case was remanded for
further proceedings (Cui v. Cui, 60 Phil. 37, 48). The plaintiff, however, did not prosecute the case as indicated in
the decision of this Court, but acceded to an arrangement whereby Teodoro Cui continued as administrator, Mariano
Cui was named "legal adviser" and plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui accepted a position as assistant administrator.

Subsequently the plaintiff tried to get the position by a series of extra-judicial maneuvers. First he informed the
Social Welfare Commissioner, by letter dated 1 February 1950, that as of the previous 1 January he had "made clear"
his intention of occupying the office of administrator of the Hospicio." He followed that up with another letter dated
4 February, announcing that he had taken over the administration as of 1 January 1950. Actually, however, he took
his oath of office before a notary public only on 4 March 1950, after receiving a reply of acknowledgment, dated 2
March, from the Social Welfare Commissioner, who thought that he had already assumed the position as stated in his
communication of 4 February 1950. The rather muddled situation was referred by the Commissioner to the Secretary
of Justice, who, in an opinion dated 3 April 1950 (op. No. 45, S. 1950), correcting another opinion previously given,
in effect ruled that the plaintiff, not beings lawyer, was not entitled to the administration of theHospicio.

Meanwhile, the question again became the subject of a court controversy. On 4 March 1950,
the Hospiciocommenced an action against the Philippine National Bank in the Court of First Instance of Cebu (Civ.
No. R-1216) because the Bank had frozen the Hospicio's deposits therein. The Bank then filed a third-party
complaint against herein plaintiff-appellee, Jesus Ma. Cui, who had, as stated above, taken oath as administrator. On
19 October 1950, having been deprived of recognition by the opinion of the Secretary of Justice he moved to
dismiss the third-party complaint on the ground that he was relinquishing "temporarily" his claim to the
administration of the Hospicio. The motion was denied in an order dated 2 October 1953. On 6 February 1954 he
was able to take another oath of office as administrator before President Magsaysay, and soon afterward filed a
second motion to dismiss in Civil case No. R-1216. President Magsaysay, be it said, upon learning that a case was
pending in Court, stated in a telegram to his Executive Secretary that "as far as (he) was concerned the court may
disregard the oath" thus taken. The motion to dismiss was granted nevertheless and the other parties in the case filed
their notice of appeal from the order of dismissal. The plaintiff then filed an ex-parte motion to be excluded as party
in the appeal and the trial Court again granted the motion. This was on 24 November 1954. Appellants thereupon
instituted a mandamus proceeding in the Supreme Court (G.R. No. L-8540), which was decided on 28 May 1956, to
the effect that Jesus Ma. Cui should be included in the appeal. That appeal, however, after it reached this Court was
dismiss upon motion of the parties, who agreed that "the office of administrator and trustee of the Hospicio ... should
be ventilated in quo warranto proceedings to be initiated against the incumbent by whomsoever is not occupying the
office but believes he has a right to it" (G.R. No. L-9103). The resolution of dismissal was issued 31 July 1956. At
that time the incumbent administrator was Dr. Teodoro Cui, but no action in quo warranto was filed against him by
plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui as indicated in the aforesaid motion for dismissal.
On 10 February 1960, defendant Antonio Ma. Cui was reinstated by this Court as member of the Bar, and on the
following 27 February Dr. Teodoro Cui resigned as administrator in his favor, pursuant to the "convenio" between
them executed on the same date. The next day Antonio Ma. Cui took his oath of office.

The failure of the plaintiff to prosecute his claim judicially after this Court decided the first case of Cui v. Cui in
1934 (60 Phil. 3769), remanding it to the trial court for further proceedings; his acceptance instead of the position of
assistant administrator, allowing Dr. Teodoro Cui to continue as administrator and his failure to file an action inquo
warranto against said Dr. Cui after 31 July 1956, when the appeal in Civil Case No. R-1216 of the Cebu Court was
dismissed upon motion of the parties precisely so that the conflicting claims of the parties could be ventilated in
such an action all these circumstances militate against the plaintiff's present claim in view of the rule that an
action in quo warranto must be filed within one year after the right of the plaintiff to hold the office arose. The
excuse that the plaintiff did not file an action against Dr. Teodoro Cui after 31 July 1956 because of the latter's
illness did not interrupt the running of the statutory period. And the fact that this action was filed within one year of
the defendant's assumption of office in September 1960 does not make the plaintiff's position any better, for the
basis of the action is his own right to the office and it is from the time such right arose that the one-year limitation
must be counted, not from the date the incumbent began to discharge the duties of said office. Bautista v. Fajardo,
38 Phil. 624; Lim vs. Yulo, 62 Phil. 161.

Now for the claim of intervenor and appellant Romulo Cui. This party is also a lawyer, grandson of Vicente Cui, one
of the nephews of the founders of the Hospicio mentioned by them in the deed of donation. He is further, in the line
of succession, than defendant Antonio Ma. Cui, who is a son of Mariano Cui, another one of the said nephews. The
deed of donation provides: "a la muerte o incapacidad de estos administradores (those appointed in the deed itself)
pasara a una sola persona que sera el varon, mayor de edad, que descienda legitimamente de cualquiera de nuestros
sobrinos legitimos Mariano Cui, Mauricio Cui, Vicente Cui, Victor Cui, y que posea titulo de abogado ... En
igualdad de circumstancias, sera preferido el varon de mas edad descendiente de quien tenia ultimamente la
administration." Besides being a nearer descendant than Romulo Cui, Antonio Ma. Cui is older than he and therefore
is preferred when the circumstances are otherwise equal. The intervenor contends that the intention of the founders
was to confer the administration by line and successively to the descendants of the nephews named in the deed, in
the order they are named. Thus, he argues, since the last administrator was Dr. Teodoro Cui, who belonged to the
Mauricio Cui line, the next administrator must come from the line of Vicente Cui, to whom the intervenor belongs.
This interpretation, however, is not justified by the terms of the deed of donation.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the judgment appealed from is reversed and set aside, and
the complaint as well as the complaint in intervention are dismissed, with costs equally against plaintiff-appellee and
intervenor-appellant.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

Resolution March 18, 1954

In the Matter of the Petitions for Admission to the Bar of Unsuccessful Candidates of 1946 to 1953;
ALBINO CUNANAN, ET AL., petitioners.

Jose M. Aruego, M.H. de Joya, Miguel R. Cornejo, and Antonio Enrile Inton for petitioners.
Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag for respondent.

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

xxx xxx xxx

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 Guaria (1913) 24 Phil., 37, illustrates our criterion. Guaria 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 Guaria 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 Guaria, 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 Guaria, 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 ES OLUTION

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.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

B.M. No. 712 July 13, 1995

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAKING OF SUCCESSFUL BAR
APPLICANT AL C. ARGOSINO, petitioner.

RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.:

A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 101,
charging Mr. A.C. Argosino along with thirteen (13) other individuals, with the crime of homicide in connection
with the death of one Raul Camaligan on 8 September 1991. The death of Raul Camaligan stemmed from the
infliction of severe physical injuries upon him in the course of "hazing" conducted as part of university fraternity
initiation rites. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused then entered into plea bargaining with the prosecution and as a
result of such bargaining, pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of homicide through reckless imprudence. This plea
was accepted by the trial court. In a judgment dated 11 February 1993, each of the fourteen (14) accused individuals
was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a period ranging from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to
four (4) years.

Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues filed an application for probation with the lower court. The
application for probation was granted in an Order dated 18 June 1993 issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Pedro T.
Santiago. The period of probation was set at two (2) years, counted from the probationer's initial report to the
probation officer assigned to supervise him.

Less than a month later, on 13 July 1993, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition for Admission to Take the 1993 Bar
Examinations. In this Petition, he disclosed the fact of his criminal conviction and his then probation status. He was
allowed to take the 1993 Bar Examinations in this Court's En Banc Resolution dated 14 August 1993. 1 He passed
the Bar Examination. He was not, however, allowed to take the lawyer's oath of office.

On 15 April 1994, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition with this Court to allow him to take the attorney's oath of office and
to admit him to the practice of law, averring that Judge Pedro T. Santiago had terminated his probation period by
virtue of an Order dated 11 April 1994. We note that his probation period did not last for more than ten (10) months
from the time of the Order of Judge Santiago granting him probation dated 18 June 1993. Since then, Mr. Argosino
has filed three (3) Motions for Early Resolution of his Petition for Admission to the Bar.
The practice of law is not a natural, absolute or constitutional right to be granted to everyone who demands it.
Rather, it is a high personal privilege limited to citizens of good moral character, with special educational
qualifications, duly ascertained and certified. 2 The essentiality of good moral character in those who would be
lawyers is stressed in the following excerpts which we quote with approval and which we regard as having
persuasive effect:

In Re Farmer: 3

xxx xxx xxx

This "upright character" prescribed by the statute, as a condition precedent to the applicant's right
to receive a license to practice law in North Carolina, and of which he must, in addition to other
requisites, satisfy the court, includes all the elements necessary to make up such a character. It is
something more than an absence of bad character. It is the good name which the applicant has
acquired, or should have acquired, through association with his fellows. It means that he must
have conducted himself as a man of upright character ordinarily would, or should, or does. Such
character expresses itself, not in negatives nor in following the line of least resistance, but quite
often, in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and the resolve not to do the pleasant
thing if it is wrong. . . .

xxx xxx xxx

And we may pause to say that this requirement of the statute is eminently proper. Consider for a
moment the duties of a lawyer. He is sought as counsellor, and his advice comes home, in its
ultimate effect, to every man's fireside. Vast interests are committed to his care; he is the recipient
ofunbounded trust and confidence; he deals with is client's property, reputation, his life, his all.
An attorney at law is a sworn officer of the Court, whose chief concern, as such, is to aid the
administration of justice. . . .

xxx xxx xxx 4

In Re Application of Kaufman, 5 citing Re Law Examination of 1926 (1926) 191 Wis 359, 210 NW
710:

It can also be truthfully said that there exists nowhere greater temptations to deviate from the
straight and narrow path than in the multiplicity of circumstances that arise in the practice of
profession. For these reasons the wisdom of requiring an applicant for admission to the bar to
possess a high moral standard therefore becomes clearly apparent, and the board of bar examiners
as an arm of the court, is required to cause a minute examination to be made of the moral standard
of each candidate for admission to practice. . . . It needs no further argument, therefore, to arrive at
the conclusion thatthe highest degree of scrutiny must be exercised as to the moral character of a
candidate who presents himself for admission to the bar. The evil must, if possible, be successfully
met at its very source, and prevented, for, after a lawyer has once been admitted, and has pursued
his profession, and has established himself therein, a far more difficult situation is presented to the
court when proceedings are instituted for disbarment and for the recalling and annulment of his
license.

In Re Keenan: 6
The right to practice law is not one of the inherent rights of every citizen, as in the right to carry on
an ordinary trade or business. It is a peculiar privilege granted and continued only to those who
demonstrate special fitness in intellectual attainment and in moral character. All may aspire to it
on an absolutely equal basis, but not all will attain it. Elaborate machinery has been set up to test
applicants by standards fair to all and to separate the fit from the unfit. Only those who pass the
test are allowed to enter the profession, and only those who maintain the standards are allowed to
remain in it.

Re Rouss: 7

Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions, and a fair private and professional
character is one of them; to refuse admission to an unworthy applicant is not to punish him for
past offense: an examination into character, like the examination into learning, is merely a test of
fitness.

Cobb vs. Judge of Superior Court: 8

Attorney's are licensed because of their learning and ability, so that they may not only protect the
rights and interests of their clients, but be able to assist court in the trial of the cause. Yet what
protection to clients or assistance to courts could such agents give? They are required to be of
good moral character, so that the agents and officers of the court, which they are, may not bring
discredit upon the due administration of the law, and it is of the highest possible consequence that
both those who have not such qualifications in the first instance, or who, having had them, have
fallen therefrom, shall not be permitted to appear in courts to aid in the administration of justice.

It has also been stressed that the requirement of good moral character is, in fact, of greater importance so far as the
general public and the proper administration of justice are concerned, than the possession of legal learning:

. . . (In re Applicants for License, 55 S.E. 635, 143 N.C. 1, 10 L.R.A. [N.S.] 288, 10 Ann./Cas.
187):

The public policy of our state has always been to admit no person to the practice
of the law unless he covered an upright moral character. The possession of this
by the attorney is more important, if anything, to the public and to the proper
administration of justice than legal learning. Legal learning may be acquired in
after years, but if the applicant passes the threshold of the bar with a bad moral
character the chances are that his character will remain bad, and that he will
become a disgrace instead of an ornament to his great calling a curse
instead of a benefit to his community a Quirk, a Gammon or a Snap, instead
of a Davis, a Smith or a Ruffin. 9

All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect of those seeking admission to the Bar.
The scope of such inquiry is, indeed, said to be properly broader than inquiry into the moral proceedings for
disbarment:

Re Stepsay: 10
The inquiry as to the moral character of an attorney in a proceeding for his admission to practice
is broader in scope than in a disbarment proceeding.

Re Wells: 11

. . . that an applicant's contention that upon application for admission to the California Bar the
court cannot reject him for want of good moral character unless it appears that he has been guilty
of acts which would be cause for his disbarment or suspension, could not be sustained; that the
inquiry is broader in its scope than that in a disbarment proceeding, and the court may
receive any evidence which tends to show the applicant's character as respects honesty, integrity,
and general morality, and may no doubt refuse admission upon proofs that might not establish his
guilt of any of the acts declared to be causes for disbarment.

The requirement of good moral character to be satisfied by those who would seek admission to the bar must of
necessity be more stringent than the norm of conduct expected from members of the general public. There is a very
real need to prevent a general perception that entry into the legal profession is open to individuals with inadequate
moral qualifications. The growth of such a perception would signal the progressive destruction of our people's
confidence in their courts of law and in our legal system as we know it. 12

Mr. Argosino's participation in the deplorable "hazing" activities certainly fell far short of the required standard of
good moral character. The deliberate (rather than merely accidental or inadvertent) infliction of severe physical
injuries which proximately led to the death of the unfortunate Raul Camaligan, certainly indicated serious character
flaws on the part of those who inflicted such injuries. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused had failed to discharge their
moral duty to protect the life and well-being of a "neophyte" who had, by seeking admission to the fraternity
involved, reposed trust and confidence in all of them that, at the very least, he would not be beaten and kicked to
death like a useless stray dog. Thus, participation in the prolonged and mindless physical beatings inflicted upon
Raul Camaligan constituted evident rejection of that moral duty and was totally irresponsible behavior, which makes
impossible a finding that the participant was then possessed of good moral character.

Now that the original period of probation granted by the trial court has expired, the Court is prepared to considerde
novo the question of whether applicant A.C. Argosino has purged himself of the obvious deficiency in moral
character referred to above. We stress that good moral character is a requirement possession of which must be
demonstrated not only at the time of application for permission to take the bar examinations but also, and more
importantly, at the time of application for admission to the bar and to take the attorney's oath of office.

Mr. Argosino must, therefore, submit to this Court, for its examination and consideration, evidence that he may be
now regarded as complying with the requirement of good moral character imposed upon those seeking admission to
the bar. His evidence may consist, inter alia, of sworn certifications from responsible members of the community
who have a good reputation for truth and who have actually known Mr. Argosino for a significant period of time,
particularly since the judgment of conviction was rendered by Judge Santiago. He should show to the Court how he
has tried to make up for the senseless killing of a helpless student to the family of the deceased student and to the
community at large. Mr. Argosino must, in other words, submit relevant evidence to show that he is a different
person now, that he has become morally fit for admission to the ancient and learned profession of the law.

Finally, Mr. Argosino is hereby DIRECTED to inform this Court, by appropriate written manifestation, of the names
and addresses of the father and mother (in default thereof, brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan), within ten
(10) day from notice hereof. Let a copy of this Resolution be furnished to the parents or brothers and sisters, if any,
of Raul Camaligan.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

B.M. No. 712 March 19, 1997

RE: PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE LAWYERS OATH

RESOLUTION

PADILLA, J.:

Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino passed the bar examinations held in 1993. The Court however deferred his oath-
taking due to his previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting In Homicide.

The criminal case which resulted in petitioner's conviction, arose from the death of a neophyte during fraternity
initiation rites sometime in September 1991. Petitioner and seven (7) other accused initially entered pleas of not
guilty to homicide charges. The eight (8) accused later withdrew their initial pleas and upon re-arraignment all
pleaded guilty to reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.

On the basis of such pleas, the trial court rendered judgment dated 11 February 1993 imposing on each of the
accused a sentence of imprisonment of from two (2) years four (4) months :and one (1) day to four (4) years.

On 18 June 1993, the trial court granted herein petitioner's application for probation.

On 11 April 1994, the trial court issued an order approving a report dated 6 April 1994 submitted by the Probation
Officer recommending petitioner's discharge from probation.

On 14 April 1994, petitioner filed before this Court a petition to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath based on the
order of his discharge from probation.

On 13 July 1995, the Court through then Senior Associate Justice Florentino P. Feliciano issued a resolution
requiring petitioner Al C. Argosino to submit to the Court evidence that he may now be regarded as complying with
the requirement of good moral character imposed upon those seeking admission to the bar.

In compliance with the above resolution, petitioner submitted no less than fifteen (15) certifications/letters executed
by among others two (2) senators, five (5) trial court judges, and six (6) members of religious orders. Petitioner
likewise submitted evidence that a scholarship foundation had been established in honor of Raul Camaligan, the
hazing victim, through joint efforts of the latter's family and the eight (8) accused in the criminal case.

On 26 September 1995, the Court required Atty. Gilbert Camaligan, father of Raul, to comment on petitioner's
prayer to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath.

In his comment dated 4 December 1995, Atty. Camaligan states that:


a. He still believes that the infliction of severe physical injuries which led to the death of his son was deliberate
rather than accidental. The offense therefore was not only homicide but murder since the accused took advantage of
the neophyte's helplessness implying abuse of confidence, taking advantage of superior strength and treachery.

b. He consented to the accused's plea of guilt to the lesser offense of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide only
out of pity for the mothers of the accused and a pregnant wife of one of the accused who went to their house on
Christmas day 1991 and Maundy Thursday 1992, literally on their knees, crying and begging for forgiveness and
compassion. They also told him that the father of one of the accused had died of a heart attack upon learning of his
son's involvement in the incident.

c. As a Christian, he has forgiven petitioner and his co-accused for the death of his son. However, as a loving father
who had lost a son whom he had hoped would succeed him in his law practice, he still feels the pain of an untimely
demise and the stigma of the gruesome manner of his death.

d. He is not in a position to say whether petitioner is now morally fit for admission to the bar. He therefore submits
the matter to the sound discretion of the Court.

The practice of law is a privilege granted only to those who possess the strict intellectual and moral qualifications
required of lawyers who are instruments in the effective and efficient administration of justice. It is the sworn duty
of this Court not only to "weed out" lawyers who have become a disgrace to the noble profession of the law but, also
of equal importance, to prevent "misfits" from taking the lawyer's oath, thereby further tarnishing the public image
of lawyers which in recent years has undoubtedly become less than irreproachable.

The resolution of the issue before us required weighing and reweighing of the reasons for allowing or disallowing
petitioner's admission to the practice of law. The senseless beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan constituted
evident absence of that moral fitness required for admission to the bar since they were totally irresponsible,
irrelevant and uncalled for.

In the 13 July 1995 resolution in this case we stated:

. . . participation in the prolonged and mindless physical behavior, [which] makes impossible a
finding that the participant [herein petitioner] was then possessed of good moral character. 1

In the same resolution, however, we stated that the Court is prepared to consider de novo the question of whether
petitioner has purged himself of the obvious deficiency in moral character referred to above.

Before anything else, the Court understands and shares the sentiment of Atty. Gilbert Camaligan. The death of one's
child is, for a parent, a most traumatic experience. The suffering becomes even more pronounced and profound in
cases where the death is due to causes other than natural or accidental but due to the reckless imprudence of third
parties. The feeling then becomes a struggle between grief and anger directed at the cause of death.

Atty. Camaligan's statement before the Court- manifesting his having forgiven the accused is no less than
praiseworthy and commendable. It is exceptional for a parent, given the circumstances in this case, to find room for
forgiveness.

However, Atty. Camaligan admits that he is still not in a position to state if petitioner is now morally fit to be a
lawyer.

After a very careful evaluation of this case, we resolve to allow petitioner Al Caparros Argosino to take the lawyer's
oath, sign the Roll of Attorneys and practice the legal profession with the following admonition:
In allowing Mr. Argosino to take the lawyer's oath, the Court recognizes that Mr. Argosino is not inherently of bad
moral fiber. On the contrary, the various certifications show that he is a devout Catholic with a genuine concern for
civic duties and public service.

The Court is persuaded that Mr. Argosino has exerted all efforts to atone for the death of Raul Camaligan. We are
prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, taking judicial notice of the general tendency of youth to be rash,
temerarious and uncalculating.

We stress to Mr. Argosino that the lawyer's oath is NOT a mere ceremony or formality for practicing law. Every
lawyer should at ALL TIMES weigh his actions according to the sworn promises he makes when taking the lawyer's
oath. If all lawyers conducted themselves strictly according to the lawyer's oath and the Code of Professional
Responsibility, the administration of justice will undoubtedly be faster, fairer and easier for everyone concerned.

The Court sincerely hopes that Mr. Argosino will continue with the assistance he has been giving to his community.
As a lawyer he will now be in a better position to render legal and other services to the more unfortunate members
of society.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, petitioner Al Caparros Argosino is hereby ALLOWED to take the lawyer's oath on a
date to be set by the Court, to sign the Roll of Attorneys and, thereafter, to practice the legal profession.

SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

A.C. No. 5688 June 4, 2009

FELIPE E. ABELLA, Complainant,


vs.
ATTY. ASTERIA E. CRUZABRA, Respondent.

RESOLUTION

CARPIO, J.:

Felipe E. Abella (complainant) filed a complaint for violation of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
and Section 7(b)(2) of Republic Act No. 67131 (RA 6713) or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public
Officials and Employees against Atty. Asteria E. Cruzabra (respondent). In his affidavit-complaint2 dated 8 May
2002, complainant charged respondent with engaging in private practice while employed in the government service.

Complainant alleged that respondent was admitted to the Philippine Bar on 30 May 1986 and was appointed as
Deputy Register of Deeds of General Santos City on 11 August 1987.3 Complainant asserted that as Deputy Register
of Deeds, respondent filed a petition for commission as a notary public and was commissioned on 29 February 1988
without obtaining prior authority from the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).4Complainant claimed that
respondent has notarized some 3,000 documents.5 Complainant pointed out that respondent only stopped notarizing
documents when she was reprimanded by the Chief of the Investigation Division of the Land Registration
Authority.6

Complainant contended that respondent could not justify her act by pretending to be in good faith because even non-
lawyers are not excused from ignorance of the law. Complainant branded as incredible respondents claim that she
was merely motivated by public service in notarizing 3,000 documents. Complainant pointed out that respondent
spent money to buy the Notarial Register Books and spent hours going over the documents subscribed before her,
thereby prejudicing her efficiency and performance as Deputy Register of Deeds. Complainant believed that even if
respondent had obtained authority from the DOJ, respondent would still be guilty of violating Section 7(b)(2) of RA
6713 because her practice as a notary public conflicts with her official functions.7

In her Comment, respondent admitted that she was a notary public from 29 February 1988 to 31 December
1989.8 Respondent stated that she was authorized by her superior, the Register of Deeds, to act as a notary public.
Respondent pointed out that the Register of Deeds, Atty. Pelagio T. Tolosa, also subscribed petitions and documents
that were required to be registered.9 Respondent explained that the Register of Deeds imposed the following
conditions for her application as a notary public:

xxx

4. That the application for commission was on the condition that respondent cannot charge fees for documents
required by the Office to be presented and under oath.10

Respondent contended that when she filed her petition for commission as a notary public, the requirement of
approval from the DOJ Secretary was still the subject of a pending query by one of the Registrars and this fact was
not known to respondent.11 Respondent maintained that she had no intention to violate any rule of law. Respondent,
as a new lawyer relying on the competence of her superior, admitted that an honest mistake may have been
committed but such mistake was committed without willfulness, malice or corruption.12

Respondent argued that she was not engaged in illegal practice as a notary public because she was duly
commissioned by the court.13 Respondent denied that she violated Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713 because she was
authorized by her superior to act as a notary public. Respondent reasoned that her being a notary public
complemented her functions as Deputy Register of Deeds because respondent could immediately have documents
notarized instead of the registrants going out of the office to look for a notary public. Respondent added that she did
not charge fees for the documents required by the office to be presented under oath.14lawphi1

Respondent insisted that contrary to complainants claims, she only notarized 135 documents as certified by the
Clerk of Court of the 11th Judicial Region, General Santos City.15

In her Report and Recommendation (Report) dated 25 January 2005, Investigating Commissioner Lydia A. Navarro
recommended to the IBP Board of Governors the dismissal of the complaint against respondent for lack of merit.
The Report reads in part:

However, the fact that she applied for commission as Notary Public without securing the approval of the proper
authority although she was allowed to do so by her superior officer, was not her own undoing for having relied on
the ample authority of her superior officer, respondent being a neophyte in the law profession for having newly
passed the bar a year after at that time.

Records further showed that after having been reprimanded by Atty. Flestado for said mistake which was done in
good faith respondent ceased and desisted to perform notarial work since then up to the present as could be gleaned
from the Certification issued by Clerk of Court VI Atty. Elmer D. Lastimosa of the 11th Judicial Region General
Santos City; dated December 23, 2004 that 135 documents have been notarized by the respondent from February 29,
1988 to December 31 1989 and there was no record of any notarized documents from January 19, 1990 to December
21, 1991.16

In a Resolution dated 12 March 2005, the IBP Board of Governors, in adopting and approving the Report, dismissed
the case for lack of merit.
Complainant claims that in dismissing the complaint for "lack of merit" despite respondents admission that she
acted as a notary public for two years, the IBP Board of Governors committed a serious error amounting to lack of
jurisdiction or authority.17

Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713 provides:

Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. - In addition to acts and omissions of public officials and employees
now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the following shall constitute prohibited acts and transactions
of any public official and employee and are hereby declared to be unlawful:

xxx

(b) Outside employment and other activities related thereto. - Public officials and employees during their
incumbency shall not:

xxx

(2) Engage in the private practice of their profession unless authorized by the Constitution or law, provided, that
such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with their official functions; or

xxx

Memorandum Circular No. 1718 of the Executive Department allows government employees to engage directly in
the private practice of their profession provided there is a written permission from the Department head. It provides:

The authority to grant permission to any official or employee shall be granted by the head of the ministry or agency
in accordance with Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules, which provides:

"Sec. 12. No officer or employee shall engage directly in any private business, vocation, or profession or be
connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural, or industrial undertaking without a written permission from
the head of Department; Provided, That this prohibition will be absolute in the case of those officers and
employees whose duties and responsibilities require that their entire time be at the disposal of the Government:
Provided, further, That if an employee is granted permission to engage in outside activities, the time so devoted
outside of office hours should be fixed by the chief of the agency to the end that it will not impair in any way the
efficiency of the other officer or employee: And provided, finally, That no permission is necessary in the case of
investments, made by an officer or employee, which do not involve any real or apparent conflict between his private
interests and public duties, or in any way influence him in the discharge of his duties, and he shall not take part in
the management of the enterprise or become an officer or member of the board of directors",

Subject to any additional conditions which the head of the office deems necessary in each particular case in the
interest of the service, as expressed in the various issuances of the Civil Service Commission. (Boldfacing supplied)

It is clear that when respondent filed her petition for commission as a notary public, she did not obtain a written
permission from the Secretary of the DOJ. Respondents superior, the Register of Deeds, cannot issue any
authorization because he is not the head of the Department. And even assuming that the Register of Deeds
authorized her, respondent failed to present any proof of that written permission. Respondent cannot feign ignorance
or good faith because respondent filed her petition for commission as a notary public after Memorandum Circular
No. 17 was issued in 1986.1avvphi1

In Yumol, Jr. v. Ferrer Sr.,19 we suspended a lawyer employed in the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for
failing to obtain a written authority and approval with a duly approved leave of absence from the CHR. We
explained:
Crystal clear from the foregoing is the fact that private practice of law by CHR lawyers is not a matter of right.
Although the Commission allows CHR lawyers to engage in private practice, a written request and approval thereof,
with a duly approved leave of absence for that matter are indispensable. In the case at bar, the record is bereft of any
such written request or duly approved leave of absence. No written authority nor approval of the practice and
approved leave of absence by the CHR was ever presented by respondent. Thus, he cannot engage in private
practice.

As to respondents act of notarizing documents, records show that he applied for commission as notary public on 14
November 2000, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Fernando, Pampanga, Branch 42. This was granted
by RTC Executive Judge Pedro M. Sunga, Jr., on 01 December 2000. However, the CHR authorized respondent to
act as notary public only on 29 October 2001. Considering the acts of notarization are within the ambit of the term
"practice of law," for which a prior written request and approval by the CHR to engage into it are required, the
crucial period to be considered is the approval of the CHR on 29 October 2001 and not the approval of the RTC on
04 December 2000.20

In Muring, Jr. v. Gatcho,21 we suspended a lawyer for having filed petitions for commission as a notary public while
employed as a court attorney. We held:

Atty. Gatcho should have known that as a government lawyer, he was prohibited from engaging in notarial practice,
or in any form of private legal practice for that matter. Atty. Gatcho cannot now feign ignorance or good faith, as he
did not seek to exculpate himself by providing an explanation for his error. Atty. Gatchos filing of the petition for
commission, while not an actual engagement in the practice of law, appears as a furtive attempt to evade the
prohibition.22

Under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, engaging in the private practice of
profession, when unauthorized, is classified as a light offense punishable by reprimand.23

Wherefore, we find Atty. Asteria E. Cruzabra guilty of engaging in notarial practice without the written authority
from the Secretary of the Department of Justice, and accordingly we REPRIMAND her. She is warned that a
repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall merit a more severe sanction.

SO ORDERED.

Limited practice of law profession-written authorization to practice


law while working in a government