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IN RE CUNANAN existing Supreme Court resolutions denying admission to the bar of an

petitioner. The same may also rationally fall within the power to
94 PHIL. 534 Congress to alter, supplement or modify rules of admission to the
practice of law.
In The Matter of Proceedings for Disciplinary Action against
Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen in G.R. No. L-27654
Congress passed Rep. Act No. 972, or what is known as the Bar
Flunkers Act, in 1952. The title of the law was, “An Act to Fix the G.R. No. L-27654 | February 18, 1970
Passing Marks for Bar Examinations from 1946 up to and
including 1955.” Facts:
Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen was the counsel for the defendant Victoria
Section 1 provided the following passing marks: Yaptinchay in the case Calero vs. Yaptinchay. They lost in said case in
the trial court. Atty. Almacen filed a Motion for Reconsideration but
1946-1951………………70% was denied because he failed to indicate the time and place of
hearing of said motion. Hence, he went to the Court of Appeals,
1952 …………………….71% which agreed with the denial of reconsideration. Atty. Almacen filed
an appeal on certiorari to the SC. To Almacen’s disappointment, the
appeal was denied in a minute resolution.
Almacen then filed before the SC a petition to surrender his Lawyer’s
1954……………………..73% Certificate of Title as he claimed that it is useless to continue
practicing his profession when members of the high court are men
1955……………………..74% who are calloused to pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons
their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the
Provided however, that the examinee shall have no grade lower Constitution with impunity. He further alleged that due to the minute
than 50%. resolution, his client was made to pay P120,000.00 without knowing
the reasons why and that he became “one of the sacrificial victims
Section 2 of the Act provided that “A bar candidate who obtained before the altar of hypocrisy.” He also stated “that justice as
a grade of 75% in any subject shall be deemed to have already administered by the present members of the Supreme Court is not
passed that subject and the grade/grades shall be included in the only blind, but also deaf and dumb.”
computation of the general average in subsequent bar
examinations.” The Supreme Court did not immediately act on Almacen’s petition as
the Court wanted to wait for Almacen to actually surrender his
certificate. Almacen did not surrender his lawyer’s certificate though
ISSUE: Whether of not, R.A. No. 972 is constitutional.
as he now argues that he chose not to. Almacen then asked that he
may be permitted “to give reasons and cause why no disciplinary
RULING: action should be taken against him in an open and public hearing.” He
said he preferred this considering that the Supreme Court is “the
Section 2 was declared unconstitutional due to the fatal defect of complainant, prosecutor and Judge.” Almacen was however
not being embraced in the title of the Act. As per its title, the Act unapologetic.
should affect only the bar flunkers of 1946 to 1955 Bar
examinations. Section2 establishes a permanent system for an Issue:
indefinite time. It was also struck down for allowing partial Whether or not Almacen should be disciplined.
passing, thus failing to take account of the fact that laws and
jurisprudence are not stationary. Held:
Yes. The Supreme Court first clarified that minute resolutions are
As to Section1, the portion for 1946-1951 was declared needed because the Supreme Court cannot accept every case or write
unconstitutional, while that for 1953 to 1955 was declared in full opinion for every petition they reject otherwise the High Court
force and effect. The portion that was stricken down was based would be unable to effectively carry out its constitutional duties. The
under the following reasons: proper role of the Supreme Court is to decide “only those cases which
present questions whose resolutions will have immediate importance
1. The law itself admits that the candidates for admission beyond the particular facts and parties involved.” It should be
who flunked the bar from 1946 to 1952 had inadequate remembered that a petition to review the decision of the Court of
preparation due to the fact that this was very close to the Appeals is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion; and
end of World War II; so there is no need to fully explain the court’s denial. For one thing,
the facts and the law are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals’
2. The law is, in effect, a judgment revoking the resolution opinion.
of the court on the petitions of the said candidates;
On Almacen’s attack against the Supreme Court, the High Court
3. The law is an encroachment on the Court’s primary
regarded said criticisms as uncalled for; that such is insolent,
prerogative to determine who may be admitted to practice
contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory. It is true that a
of law and, therefore, in excess of legislative power to
lawyer, both as an officer of the court and as a citizen, has
repeal, alter and supplement the Rules of Court. The rules
the right to criticize in properly respectful terms and through
laid down by Congress under this power are only minimum
legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges. His right as
norms, not designed to substitute the judgment of the court
a citizen to criticize the decisions of the courts in a fair and respectful
on who can practice law; and
manner, and the independence of the bar, as well as of the judiciary,
4. The pretended classification is arbitrary and amounts to has always been encouraged by the courts. But, it is the cardinal
class legislation. condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall
not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. Intemperate
As to the portion declared in force and effect, the Court could not and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect
muster enough votes to declare it void. Moreover, the law was to courts.
passed in 1952, to take effect in 1953. Hence, it will not revoke
In the case at bar, Almacen’s criticism is misplaced. As a veteran
lawyer, he should have known that a motion for reconsideration
which failed to notify the opposing party of the time and place of
trial is a mere scrap of paper and will not be entertained by the
court. He has only himself to blame and he is the reason why his
client lost. Almacen was suspended indefinitely.