SOPHIA ALAWI, complainant, v. ASHARY M. ALAUYA (A.M. SDC-97-2-P, February 24, 1997)

by | Mar 25, 2021

Doctrine: 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. 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.

A.M. SDC-97-2-P | February 24, 1997

SOPHIA ALAWI, complainant,

v.

ASHARY M. ALAUYA, respondent.

Ponente: Narvasa, C.J.

Narrative:

Sophia Alawi was a sales representative of a real estate and housing company, while Ashari M. Alauya is the incumbent executive clerk of court of the 4th Judicial Shari’a District in Marawi City. They were classmates and friends. Through Alawi’s agency, a contract was executed for the purchase on installments by Alauya of one of the housing units, and a housing loan was also granted to Alauya by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC). Payment of said loan was done by monthly salary deductions of P4,333.10 taken from Alauya’s salary. Not long afterwards, Alauya wrote a letter to the President of Villarosa & Co. advising the termination of his contract on the grounds that his consent was vitiated by gross misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, dishonesty, and abuse of confidence by Alawi which made said contract void ab initio. He also claimed that Alawi manipulated the said contract and unlawfully secured and pursued the housing loan against his will.

Upon learning of Alauya’s letter, Alawi filed with the Court a verified complaint accusing Alauya of imputation of malicious and libelous charges with no solid grounds through manifest ignorance and evident bad faith; causing undue injury to, and blemishing her honor and established reputation; 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 replied to the complaint stating that he does not consider himself as a lawyer. He justified the use of the title, “Attorney,” in writing his letters by the assertion that it is synonymous with “Counsellors-at-law”, a title to which Shari’a lawyers have a rightful claim. Furthermore, 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.

The Court stated that in respect to Alauya’s alleged unauthorized use of the franking privilege, the record contains no evidence adequately establishing the accusation.

As ruled, the persons who passed the Sharia Bar are not full-fledged members of the Bar and may only practice law before a Sharia Court. 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.

Alauya’s disinclination to use the title of counselor-at-law does not warrant his use of the title of an attorney. Alauya is reprimanded for usurping the title of an Attorney.

Digested by Sittie Ashnifah Mangompia, Louise Shayne Montefalcon, and Joshua Matthew Sanchez, 2 – JD, S.Y. 2020-2021, Mindanao State University – College of Law Iligan Extension