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49 SCRA 22


Republic Act. No. 6397 entitled An Act Providing for the Integration of the Philippine Bar and Appropriating Funds
Therefore was passed in September 1971, ordaining Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme Court
may adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar. The Supreme Court formed a Commission on Bar
Integration and in December 1972, the Commission earnestly recommended the integration of the bar. The Court
accepted all comments on the proposed integration.


1. Does the Court have the power to integrate the Philippine bar?
2. Would the integration of the bar be constitutional?
3. Should the Court ordain the integration of the bar at this time?


In ruling on the issues raised, the Court first adopted the definition given by the Commission to integration in this wise:
Integration of the Philippine Bar means the official unification of the entire lawyer population of the Philippines. This
requires membership and financial support (in reasonable amount) of every attorney as conditions sine qua non to the
practice of law and the retention of his name in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. The term Bar refers to the
collectivity of all persons whose names appear in the Roll of Attorneys. An Integrated Bar (or unified Bar) perforce must
include all lawyers.

Complete unification is not possible unless it is decreed by an entity with power to do so; the State. Bar integration
therefore, signifies the setting up by government authority of a national organization of the legal profession based on the
recognition of the lawyer as an officer of the court.

Designed to improve the positions of the Bar as an instrumentality of justice and the rule of law, integration fosters
cohesion among lawyers, and ensures, through their own organized action and participation, the promotion of the
objectives of the legal profession, pursuant to the principle of maximum Bar autonomy with minimum supervision and
regulation by the Supreme Court.

On the first issue, the Court held that it may integrate the Bar in the exercise of its power to promulgate rules concerning
pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Indeed, the power to integrate is
an inherent part of the Courts constitutional authority over the Bar.

The second issue hinges on the following constitutional rights: freedom of association and of speech, as well as the
nature of the dues exacted from the lawyer, i.e., whether or not the Court thus levies a tax. The Court held:

1. Integration is not violative of freedom of association because it does not compel a lawyer to become a member
of any group of which he is not already a member. All that it does is to provide an official national organization
for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which every lawyer is already a member. The
lawyer too is not compelled to attend meetings, participate of activities, etc. The only compulsion is the
payment of annual dues. Assuming, however, that it does compel a lawyer to be a member of an integrated
bar, the court held that such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the state
2. Integration is also not violative of the freedom of speech just because dues paid b the lawyer may be used for
projects or programs, which the lawyer opposes. To rule otherwise would make every government exaction a
free speech issue. Furthermore, the lawyer is free to voice out his objections to positions taken by the
integrated bar.
3. The dues exacted from lawyers is not in the nature of a levy but is purely for purposes of regulation.

As to the third issue, the Court believes in the timeliness of the integration. Survey showed an overwhelming majority of
lawyers who favored integration.

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

FACTS: The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing Attorney in the Philippines. The IBP Board of
Governors recommended to the Court the removal of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for stubborn
refusal to pay his membership dues assailing the provisions of the Rule of Court 139-A and the provisions of par. 2,
Section 24, Article III, of the IBP By-Laws pertaining to the organization of IBP, payment of membership fee and
suspension for failure to pay the same.

Edillon contends that the stated provisions constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the sense that he is being
compelled as a pre-condition to maintain his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay
the corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which
he is admitted personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and properly guaranteed to him by the
Constitution. Hence, the respondent concludes the above provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void
and of no legal force and effect.

ISSUE: Whether or not the court may compel Atty. Edillion to pay his membership fee to the IBP.

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

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