Cayetano v. Monsod
Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by the Secretariat of the Commission on Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner Renato Cayetano opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not possess the required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. Atty. Monsod has worked as a lawyer in the law office of his father (1960-1963); an operations officer with the World Bank Group (1963-1970); Chief Executive Officer of an investment bank (1970-1986); legal or economic consultant on various companies (1986); Secretary General of NAMFREL (1986); member of Constitutional Commission (1986-1987); National Chairman of NAMFREL (1987); and member of the quasi-judicial Davide Commission (1990).
On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC.On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the same day, he assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC.Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Monsod’s nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null and void.
Whether or not the respondent posseses the required qualification of having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
The Supreme Court ruled that Atty. Monsod possessed the required qualification. In the case of Philippine Lawyers Association vs. Agrava: The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services, contemplating an appearance before judicial body, the foreclosure of mortgage, enforcement of a creditor’s claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice.
Practice of law means any activity, in or out court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. “To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession. In general, a practice of law requires a lawyer and client relationship, it is whether in or out of court. As such, the petition is dismissed.