2. In Re Argosino.doc

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC B.M. No. 712 July 13, 1995 IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAKING OF SUCCESSFUL BAR APPLICANT AL C. ARGOSINO, petitioner. RESOLUTION FELICIANO, J.: A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 101, charging Mr. A.C. Argosino along with thirteen (13) other individuals, with the crime of homicide in connection with the death of one Raul Camaligan on 8 September
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  Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT ManilaEN BANC B.M. No. 712 July 13, 1995IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAIN! OFSUCCESSFU BAR APP ICANT A C. AR!OSINO, petitioner . R E S O L U T I O N  FE ICIANO,  J.: A criminal information as !le on # $ebruar% &''( ith the Re)ional Trial Court of *ue+on Cit%, Branch &-&, char)in) Mr. A.C. Ar)osino alon) ith thirteen /&01 otherin i2i uals, ith the crime of homici e in connection ith the eath of one RaulCamali)an on 3 September &''&. The eath of Raul Camali)an stemme from thein4iction of se2ere ph%sical in5uries upon him in the course of 6ha+in)6 con ucte aspart of uni2ersit% fraternit% initiation rites. Mr. Ar)osino an his co7accuse thenentere into plea bar)ainin) ith the prosecution an as a result of such bar)ainin),plea e )uilt% to the lesser o8ense of homici e throu)h rec9less impru ence. Thisplea as accepte b% the trial court. In a 5u )ment ate && $ebruar% &''0, each of the fourteen /&#1 accuse in i2i uals as sentence to su8er imprisonment for aperio ran)in) from to /(1 %ears, four /#1 months an one /&1 a% to four /#1 %ears.Ele2en /&&1 a%s later, Mr. Ar)osino an his collea)ues !le an application forprobation ith the loer court. The application for probation as )rante in anOr er ate &3 :une &''0 issue b% Re)ional Trial Court :u )e Pe ro T. Santia)o. The perio of probation as set at to /(1 %ears, counte from the probationer;sinitial report to the probation o<cer assi)ne to super2ise him.Less than a month later, on &0 :ul% &''0, Mr. Ar)osino !le a Petition for A missionto Ta9e the &''0 Bar E=aminations. In this Petition, he isclose the fact of hiscriminal con2iction an his then probation status. >e as alloe to ta9e the &''0Bar E=aminations in this Court;s En Banc  Resolution ate &# Au)ust &''0.  1   >epasse the Bar E=amination. >e as not, hoe2er, alloe to ta9e the la%er;s oathof o<ce.On &? April &''#, Mr. Ar)osino !le a Petition ith this Court to allo him to ta9ethe attorne%;s oath of o<ce an to a mit him to the practice of la, a2errin) that :u )e Pe ro T. Santia)o ha terminate his probation perio b% 2irtue of an Or er ate && April &''#. @e note that his probation perio i not last for more than ten/&-1 months from the time of the Or er of :u )e Santia)o )rantin) him probation ate &3 :une &''0. Since then, Mr. Ar)osino has !le three /01 Motions for Earl%Resolution of his Petition for A mission to the Bar.&In Re Ar)osinoProblem Areas in Le)al Ethics   The practice of la is not a natural, absolute or constitutional ri)ht to be )rante toe2er%one ho eman s it. Rather, it is a hi)h  personal  pri2ile)e limite to citi+ensof   good moral character  , ith special e ucational uali!cations, ul% ascertaine an certi!e .  2    The essentialit% of )oo moral character in those ho oul bela%ers is stresse in the folloin) e=cerpts hich e uote ith appro2al an hich e re)ar as ha2in) persuasi2e e8ect In Re Farmer     3 === === === This 6upri)ht character6 prescribe b% the statute, as a con ition prece ent to theapplicant;s ri)ht to recei2e a license to practice la in North Carolina, an of hichhe must, in addition to other requisites , satisf% the court, inclu es all the elementsnecessar% to ma9e up such a character. It is something more than an absence of bad character  . It is the )oo name hich the applicant has acuire , or shoul ha2eacuire , throu)h association ith his fellos. It means that he must ha2econ ucte himself as a man of upri)ht character or inaril% oul , or shoul , or oes. Such character expresses itself, not in negatives nor in following the line of least resistance , but quite often , in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it isright  , and the resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is wrong . . . .=== === ===An e ma% pause to sa% that this reuirement of the statute is eminentl%proper. Consider for a moment the duties of a lawer  . >e is sou)ht as counsellor,an his a 2ice comes home, in its ultimate e8ect, to e2er% man;s !resi e. !ast interests are committed to his care  he is the recipient of  unbounded trust andcon dence  he deals with is client#s propert  , reputation , his life , his all . An attorne%at la is a sworn o$cer of the Court  , hose chief concern, as such, is to aid theadministration of %ustice . . . .=== === ===  # In Re &pplication of 'aufman ,  5   citin) Re La E=amination of &'(D /&'(D1 &'& @is0?', (&- N@ &-It can also be truthfull% sai that there e=ists nohere )reater temptations to e2iate from the strai)ht an narro path than in the multiplicit% of circumstancesthat arise in the practice of profession. $or these reasons the is om of reuirin) anapplicant for a mission to the bar to possess a hi)h moral stan ar thereforebecomes clearl% apparent, an the boar of bar e=aminers as an arm of the court, isreuire to cause a minute e=amination to be ma e of the moral stan ar of eachcan i ate for a mission to practice. . . . It nee s no further ar)ument, therefore, toarri2e at the conclusion that the highest degree of scrutin must be exercised as tothe moral character of a candidate who presents himself for admission to thebar  . (he evil must  , if possible , be successfull met at its ver source , and prevented , for, after a la%er has once been a mitte , an has pursue hisprofession, an has establishe himself therein, a far more i<cult situation ispresente to the court hen procee in)s are institute for isbarment an for therecallin) an annulment of his license.(In Re Ar)osinoProblem Areas in Le)al Ethics  In Re 'eenan   $ (he right to practice law is not one of the inherent rights of ever citi)en , as in theri)ht to carr% on an or inar% tra e or business. It is a  peculiar privilege granted andcontinued onl to those who demonstrate special tness in intellectual attainment and in moral character  . All ma% aspire to it on an absolutel% eual basis, but not allill attain it. Elaborate machiner% has been set up to test applicants b% stan ar sfair to all an to separate the !t from the un!t. Onl% those ho pass the test arealloe to enter the profession, an onl% those ho maintain the stan ar s arealloe to remain in it. Re Rouss   7 *embership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions, and a fair privateand professional character is one of them+ to refuse admission to an unworth applicant is not to punish him for past oense- an examination into character  , li9ethe e=amination into learnin), is merel a test of tness . Cobb vs. /udge of Superior Court    % Attorne%;s are license because of their learnin) an abilit%, so that the% ma% notonl% protect the ri)hts an interests of their clients, but be able to assist court in thetrial of the cause. Fet hat protection to clients or assistance to courts coul sucha)ents )i2eG The% are required to be of good moral character  , so that the agentsand o$cers of the court  , hich the% are, ma not bring discredit upon the dueadministration of the law , an it is of the highest possible consequence that boththose who have not such quali cations in the rst instance , or ho, ha2in) ha them, ha2e fallen therefrom, shall not be permitted to appear in courts to aid in theadministration of %ustice .It has also been stresse that the reuirement of )oo moral character is, in fact, of )reater importance so far as the )eneral public an the proper a ministration of  5ustice are concerne , than the possession of le)al learnin). . . /In re Applicants for License, ?? S.E. D0?, &#0 N.C. &, &- L.R.A. HN.S. (33, &-Ann.JCas. &31 The public polic% of our state has ala%s been to a mit no person to the practice of the la unless he co2ere an upri)ht moral character. (he possession of this b theattorne is more important  , if anthing , to the public and to the proper administration of %ustice than legal learning . Le)al learnin) ma% be acuire in after%ears, but if the applicant passes the threshold of the bar with a bad moralcharacter the chances are that his character will remain bad , and that he willbecome a disgrace instead of an ornament to his great calling K a curse instead of a bene t to his communit K a *uir9, a ammon or a Snap, instea of a a2is, aSmith or a Ru<n.  9 All aspects of moral character an beha2ior ma% be inuire into in respect of thosesee9in) a mission to the Bar. The scope of such inuir% is, in ee , sai to beproperl% broa er than inuir% into the moral procee in)s for isbarment Re Stepsa   1& 0In Re Ar)osinoProblem Areas in Le)al Ethics   The inuir% as to the moral character of an attorne% in a procee in) for hisa mission to practice is broader in scope  than in a isbarment procee in). Re 0ells    11 . . . that an applicant;s contention that upon application for a mission to theCalifornia Bar the court cannot re5ect him for ant of )oo moral character unless itappears that he has been )uilt% of acts hich oul be cause for his isbarment orsuspension, coul not be sustaine  that the inquir is broader in its scope than that in a disbarment proceeding, an the court ma% recei2e an evidence which tends toshow the applicant#s character as respects honest, integrit, and generalmoralit, an ma no doubt refuse admission upon proofs that might not establishhis guilt of an of the acts declared to be causes for disbarment.  The reuirement of )oo moral character to be satis!e b% those ho oul see9a mission to the bar must of necessit% be more strin)ent than the norm of con ucte=pecte from members of the )eneral public. There is a 2er% real nee to pre2enta )eneral perception that entr% into the le)al profession is open to in i2i uals ithina euate moral uali!cations. The )roth of such a perception oul si)nal thepro)ressi2e estruction of our people;s con! ence in their courts of la an in ourle)al s%stem as e 9no it.  12 Mr. Ar)osino;s participation in the eplorable 6ha+in)6 acti2ities certainl% fell farshort of the reuire stan ar of )oo moral character. The eliberate /rather thanmerel% acci ental or ina 2ertent1 in4iction of se2ere ph%sical in5uries hichpro=imatel% le to the eath of the unfortunate Raul Camali)an, certainl% in icate serious character 4as on the part of those ho in4icte such in5uries. Mr. Ar)osinoan his co7accuse ha faile to ischar)e their moral ut% to protect the life an ell7bein) of a 6neoph%te6 ho ha , b% see9in) a mission to the fraternit% in2ol2e ,repose trust an con! ence in all of them that, at the 2er% least, he oul not bebeaten an 9ic9e to eath li9e a useless stra% o). Thus, participation in theprolon)e an min less ph%sical beatin)s in4icte upon Raul Camali)an constitute e2i ent re5ection of that moral ut% an as totall% irresponsible beha2ior, hichma9es impossible a !n in) that the participant as then possesse of )oo moralcharacter.No that the ori)inal perio of probation )rante b% the trial court has e=pire , theCourt is prepare to consi er de novo  the uestion of hether applicant A.C.Ar)osino has pur)e himself of the ob2ious e!cienc% in moral character referre toabo2e. @e stress that )oo moral character is a reuirement possession of hichmust be emonstrate not onl% at the time of application for permission to ta9e thebar e=aminations but also, an more importantl%, at the time of application fora mission to the bar an to ta9e the attorne%;s oath of o<ce.Mr. Ar)osino must, therefore, submit to this Court, for its e=amination an consi eration, e2i ence that he ma% be no re)ar e as compl%in) ith thereuirement of )oo moral character impose upon those see9in) a mission to thebar. >is e2i ence ma% consist, inter alia , of sorn certi!cations from responsiblemembers of the communit% ho ha2e a )oo reputation for truth an hoha2e actuall 1nown  Mr. Ar)osino for a signi cant period of time , particularl% sincethe 5u )ment of con2iction as ren ere b% :u )e Santia)o. >e shoul sho to the#In Re Ar)osinoProblem Areas in Le)al Ethics
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