Alawi v. Alauya – AM SDC-97-2-P. February 24, 1997

Fact:
Complainant filed an Administrative case against the defendant for the following incident. 1. Imputation of malicious and libelous charges with no solid grounds through manifest ignorance and evident bad faith; 2. “Causing undue injury to, and blemishing her honor and established reputation 3. Unauthorized enjoyment of the privilege of free postage and Usurpation of the title of “attorney,” which only regular members of the Philippine Bar may properly use. Alauya justified his use of the title, “attorney,” by the assertion that it is “lexically synonymous” with “Counsellors-at-law.” a title to which Shari’a lawyers have a rightful claim, adding that he prefers the title of “attorney” because “counsellor” is often mistaken for “councilor,” “konsehal” or the Maranao term “consial,” connoting a local legislator beholden to the mayor. Withal, he does not consider himself a lawyer.

Issue:
Whether the respondent who passed the Shari’a Bar can use the Title Attorney?

Held:
No, that persons who pass the Shari’a Bar are not full-fledged members of the Philippine Bar, hence may only practice law before Shari’a courts. While one who has been admitted to the Shari’a Bar, and one who has been admitted to the Philippine Bar, may both be considered “counsellors,” in the sense that they give counsel or advice in a professional capacity, only the latter is an “attorney.” The title of “attorney” is reserved to those who, having obtained the necessary degree in the study of law and successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain members thereof in good standing; and it is they only who are authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction.

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