“PWEDE KA BA MAGBIGAY NG LEGAL ADVICE SA FACEBOOK KAHIT HINDI KA LAWYER?”
“ATTY., ANO BA PARUSA SA TAONG NAGPAPANGGAP NA LAWYER?”
ANG “PRACTICE OF LAW” AY ANUMANG GAWAIN SA LOOB AT LABAS NG KORTE NA GINAGAMITAN NG KAALAMAN SA BATAS, LEGAL PROCEDURE, KNOWLEDGE, TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE O ANUMANG PAGBIBIGAY NG NOTICE O SERVICE SA PUBLIKO GAMIT ANG KAALAMAN SA BATAS KATULAD NG PAGBIBIGAY NG LEGAL ADVICE.
ANG PRACTICE OF LAW AY PARA LAMANG SA LISENSYADONG ABOGADO AT ANG SINUMANG TAO NA WALANG LISENSYA NA MAGPRACTICE NG LAW AY PWEDENG MAKULONG FOR INDIRECT CONTEMPT UNDER SECTION 3 (E) RULE 71 OF THE RULES OF COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES.
Marami ngayon ang naloloko dahil sa mga nagpapangap na lawyer. Marami din ngayon na mga Facebook pages and groups na ang topic ay about legal issues at marami ang nagtatanong kung tama ba ang mga binibigay na mga legal advice ng mga members dito kahit hindi abogado. Ganito ang question ng isang reader ng E-Lawyers Online:
“Paano ba atty habulin ang nagpakilalang lawyer pero hindi naman pala totoo. Nagpakilala siya sa FB group namin na lawyer pero wala naman pala lisensya?”
“Ask ko lang po atty if tama ba ang ginagawa sa isang FB group na napuntahan ko. Meron kasi legal topic about annulment, sabi ng admin na sigurado na daw aprobahan ng korte ang annulment if nahuli mambabae ang lalaki. Tapos po kahit hindi na daw umattend sa hearing ang petitioner matutuloy din ito. Tama po ba yon?”
May kasabihan na “a little learning is a dangerous thing” ayon kay Alexander Pope. Ang sakit sa katawan ay dapat malunasan ng doktor, ang tamang tao na nakakaalam sa medisina. ganun din ang legal na problema, ito ay dapat malunasan ng taong may sapat na kaalaman sa batas at lisensyado. Kung ang isang tao ay may legal na problema, ang kanyang mga gagawin na aksyon ay dapat tama at kalkulado dahil kung may gagawin siya na walang guide, ito ay may malaking epekto sa kanyang magiging kaso sa korte. Ang nakataya sa isang legal na problema ay ang buhay, kalayaan at ari-arian ng isang tao at mahalaga na tama ang guidance na makuha ng taong involved dahil maraming technicalities ang napapaloob sa isang kaso na nasa korte. Kung kaya ang practice of law ay binibigay lamang sa mga lisensyadong abogado dahil ito ang pinag-aralan nila.
Ayon sa Supreme Court case na Cayetano vs Monsod [G.R. No. 100113, September 3, 1991] ang “practice of law” ay isang malawak na activity na hindi lamang sa loob pati na rin sa labas ng korte.
“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)
“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.”
Ang pagbibigay ng legal advice sa publiko ng isang tao na hindi lisensyado ay tinatawag na “unauthorized practice of law” at isang krimen na kung tawagin ay “indirect contempt” na pinaparusahan under Section 3(e), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court which provides:
Section 3. Indirect contempt to be punished after charge and hearing. After a charge in writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the respondent to comment thereon within such period as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by himself or counsel, a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt:
x x x x
(e) Assuming to be an attorney or an officer of a court, and acting as such without authority;
x x x x.
Ang parusang kulong sa indirect contempt ay 1 month to 6 months plus fine ayon sa Section 7 of Rule 71 ng Rules of Court.
Section 7. Punishment for indirect contempt. — If the respondent is adjudged guilty of indirect contempt committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, he may be punished by a fine not exceeding thirty thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months, or both. If he is adjudged guilty of contempt committed against a lower court, he may be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding one (1) month, or both. If the contempt consists in the violation of a writ of injunction, temporary restraining order or status quo order, he may also be ordered to make complete restitution to the party injured by such violation of the property involved or such amount as may be alleged and proved.
The writ of execution, as in ordinary civil actions, shall issue for the enforcement of a judgment imposing a fine unless the court otherwise provides. (6a)
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