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    L EGAL E THICS D IGESTS  J USTICE H OFILENA   ALS2014B ALS2014B " #$ "%& I NTRODUCTION   01   -   Religious Affairs v. Bayot (1955)   (advertisement) Doctrines: •   Law is a profession  and not a trade. •   Section 25 of Rule 127 provides that “the practice of soliciting cases at law for purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents of brokers, constitutes malpractice.” Facts: Attorney Estanislao Bayot is charged with malpractice for publishing an advertisement in the Sunday Tribune on June 13, 2943. It states that he provides the service of securing marriage licenses and performing marriage ceremonies. Marriage license promptly secured thru our assistance & the annoyance of delay publicity avoided if desired, and marriage arranged to wishes of parties. Consultation on any matter free for the  poor. Everything confidential. Legal assistance service 12 Escolta, Manila, Room, 105 Tel. 2-41-60. Initially, he appeared in his own behalf and denied having the advertisement published. Subsequently, he admitted, through his attorney, that he caused its publication. He asked for “the indulgence and mercy” of the Court,  promising “not to repeat such professional misconduct in the future and to abide himself to the strict ethical rules of the law profession.” He added that it was only published once and that he never had any case by reason of the advertisement. Issues: 1.   W/N the advertisement is a violation of legal ethics. Held/Ratio: 1.   YES. Section 25 of Rule 127 provides that “the practice of soliciting cases at law for purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents of brokers, constitutes malpractice.” It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents as a merchant advertises his wares. By advertising his services, the lawyer degrades himself and his  profession. “The most worth and effective advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer, ... is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome of character and conduct.” (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.) In the Tagorda  case, the attorney involved repeatedly made solicitations. As a result, he was suspended from the  practice of law. This case is less serious in nature. Considering Bayot”s plea for leniency and his promise to not repeat his actions, the Court merely reprimanded Bayot.    L EGAL E THICS D IGESTS  J USTICE H OFILENA   ALS2014B ALS2014B ( #$ "%& 02   -   In Re: Cunanan (1954)   (Bar Flunkers Law) Doctrines: •   It is 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. Facts: 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. Republic Act Number 972, commonly known as the “Bar Flunkers” Act of 1953” admitted to the bar those candidates (they took they Bar examinations during the war so reading materials were scarce) who had obtained an average of 72 per cent by raising it to 75 percent. After its approval, many of the unsuccessful postwar candidates filed  petitions for admission to the bar invoking its provisions, while other 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. Issues: 1.   W/N RA No. 972 is constitutional and valid. Held/Ratio: 1.   No. The law 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. 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.  By the disputed law, Congress has exceeded its legislative power  to repeal, alter and supplement the rules on admission to the Bar. It is 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.      L EGAL E THICS D IGESTS  J USTICE H OFILENA   ALS2014B ALS2014B ) #$ "%& 03 - Ledesma v. Climaco (1974)  Doctrines: •   Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. The law is dedicated to the ideal of service and not a mere trade. Facts: Ledesma was appointed Election Registrar for the Municipality of Cadiz, Negros Occidental. He was also the counsel de parte for one of the accused in a case pending in the sala of Judge Climaco. Because of his appointment, he filed a motion to withdraw as counsel de parte. Judge Climaco denied Ledesma”s motion. Further, Judge Climaco appointed Ledesma as counsel de oficio for the two defendants in the case. Ledesma then filed an urgent motion to be allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio, premised on the policy of the Comelec to require full time service. Judge Climaco denied this as well. Issues: 1.   W/N Ledesma should be allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio? Held/Ratio: 1.    NO. Judge Climaco, in denying the urgent motion of Ledesma, said that when Ledesma assumed office as Election Registrar on October 13, 1964, he knew since October 2 when trial would resume. The case dragged on for almost a year because of the postponements obtained by the defense. Judge Climaco noted that there was no incompatibility between the duty of Ledesma to the accused and to the court and the performance of his task as an election registrar of the Comelec and that the ends of justice would be served by allowing and requiring Ledesma to continue as counsel de oficio, since the prosecution has already rested its case. The SC held that Ledesma was less than duly mindful of his obligation as counsel de oficio. Ledesma ought to have known that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. It could be that for some lawyers  being appointed counsel de oficio is an irksome chore. But for lawyers of repute and of eminence welcome such appointments. The law is indeed a profession dedicated to the ideal of service and not a mere trade. Hence, a high degree of fidelity to duty is required of one so designated. The fact that a lawyers” services are rendered without remuneration should not occasion a diminution in his zeal. Rather the contrary. A lawyer has an indispensable role in the defense of an accused in a criminal case. Such should be enough to disallow Ledesma from withdrawing. Though Ledesma is an election registrar, there is not likely an exorbitant demand on his time now. The SC said that Ledesma should now 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.    L EGAL E THICS D IGESTS  J USTICE H OFILENA   ALS2014B ALS2014B * #$ "%& 04 - Jesus Ma. Cui v. Antonio Ma. Cui, Romulo Cui (1964)   Doctrine: •   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. Facts: The Hospicio is a charitable institution established by the spouses Don Pedro Cui and Doña Benigna Cui (deceased) “for the care and support, free of charge, of indigent invalids, and incapacitated and helpless persons.” It acquired corporate existence by Act No. 3239 and endowed with extensive properties by the said spouses through a series of donations, principally the deed of donation. When the spouses died, administration eventually passed to Dr. Teodoro Cui. Section 2 of the Act (in Spanish) 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.” Jesus Ma. Cui and Antonio Ma. Cui are brothers, being the sons of Mariano Cui, one of the nephews of the spouses Don Pedro Cui and Doña Benigna Cui. 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, 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. When Dr. Teodoro Cui died, the plaintiff wrote a letter to the defendant demanding that the office be turned over to him. When it was not complied with, he 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. However, before the test of age may be, applied the deed of donation provides for a lawyer. 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. The specific point in dispute is the meaning of the term “ titulo de abogado .” Jesus Ma. Cui holds the degree of Bachelor of Laws from the University of Santo Tomas 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, was reinstated by resolution, about two weeks before he assumed the position of administrator of the  Hospicio de Barili . Issue: 1.   W/N Jesus Ma. Chui is entitled to the office of administrator. Held/Ratio: 1.    NO. 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 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. For this purpose, however,  possession of the degree itself is not indispensable: completion of the prescribed courses may be shown in some other way.    L EGAL E THICS D IGESTS  J USTICE H OFILENA   ALS2014B ALS2014B + #$ "%& The founders of the  Hospicio de San Jose de Barili must have intended for an actual lawyer because under Act  No. 3239 the duties of the managers or trustees of the  Hospicio do work that requires, it is to be presumed, a working knowledge of the law and a license to practice the profession would be a distinct asset. 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 of ineptitude in the discharge of his office or lack of evident sound moral character. 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. As for the claim of intervenor, Romulo Cui, he 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 Antonio Ma. Cui, who is a son of Mariano Cui, another one of the said nephews. 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. 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.  NOTE: 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.
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