Ponente: DAVIDE, JR., C.J.
[C]omplainant Ana Marie Cambaliza, a former employee of respondent Atty. Ana Luz B. Cristal-Tenorio in her law office, charged the latter with deceit, grossly immoral conduct, and malpractice or other gross misconduct in office. Case on deceit and grossly immoral conduct did not pursue lacking clear and convincing evidence. On malpractice or other gross misconduct in office, the complainant alleged that the respondent cooperated in the illegal practice of law by her husband, who is not a member of the Philippine Bar and two other allegations. The respondent averred that this disbarment complaint was filed by the complainant just to get even with her. The complainant later filed a Motion to Withdraw Complaint as she is no longer interested in pursuing the case. This motion was not acted upon by the IBP and the case was pursued. The IBP found the respondent guilty of assisting in unauthorized practice of law.
Whether or not Atty. Cristal-Tenorio violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.
YES. Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months.
A lawyer who allows a non-member of the Bar to misrepresent himself as a lawyer and to practice law is guilty of violating Canon 9 and Rule 9.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which read as follows:
Canon 9 – A lawyer shall not directly or indirectly assist in the unauthorized practice of law.
Rule 9.01 – A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing.
The lawyer’s duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and policy. Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character.