Atty. Christian Monsod was appointed as Chairman of the Commission of Elections. His appointment was contested by Atty. Renato Cayetano citing that his years of experience cannot be considered that which constitutes the “practice of law”. Atty. Monsod was a member of good standing in the Bar for more than ten (10) years. He worked:
– As a lawyer in the law office of his father (1960-1963);
– As an operations officer with the World Bank Group (1963-1970);
– As a Chief Executive Officer of an investment bank (1970-1986);
– As a legal or economic consultant on various companies (1986);
– As Secretary General of NAMFREL (1986);
– As a member of Constitutional Commission (1986-1987);
– As National Chairman of NAMFREL (1987); and,
– As a member of the quasi-judicial Davide Commission (1990).
Whether or not the above mentioned activities may be considered to constitute the “practice of law”.
YES. By majority vote.
Definition of “practice of law” by:
Black’s Legal Dictionary: The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and technique to serve the interest of another with his consent.
Philippine Lawyer’s Association v. Agrava (105 Phil. 173, 176-177): 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.
Further, records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that it has adopted a liberal interpretation of the term “practice of law”.