Sunday, March 18, 2012

People vs. Villanueva (G.R. No. L-19450 May 27, 1965)

Facts: The complainant in the case was represented by City Attorney Ariston Fule of San Pablo City after securing permission of the Secretary of Justice. The condition for his appearance as such was that every time he would appear at trial of the case he would be considered on leave of absence and that he would not receive any payment for his services. Such appearance was questioned by herein respondents’ counsel.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Fule should be allowed to appear on behalf of the complainant

Held: The court ruled in the affirmative. The court held that in appearing as private prosecutor in the case, the isolated appearance of City Attorney Fule did not constitute private practice within the meaning and contemplation of the Rules. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise. Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public, as customarily and demanding payment for such services. The appearance as counsel on one occasion is not conclusive as determinative of engagement in the private practice of law. Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to be in the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that his professional services are available to the public for a compensation, as a source of his livelihood or in consideration of his said services. Furthermore Atty. Fule was given the permission by his immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice.

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