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6. Public officials and practice of law

a. Absolute prohibition

1) President, Vice-President, Cabinet Members, their Deputies and Assistants (Section 13, Article VII, 1987 Constitution)

2) Constitutional Commission Chairpersons and Members (Section 2, Article IX, Ibid.)

3) Ombudsman and Deputies (Paragraph 2, Section 8, Article IX, Ibid.)

4) Judicial Bar Council members (Section 2, Article IX-A, Ibid.)

5) Solicitor General officials or employees Section 35, Rule 138, Rules of Court)

6) Government Prosecutors (People v. Villanueva, G.R. No. L-19450, 27 May 1965)

7) Judges or other official or employee of the superior courts (Section 35, Rule 138, Rules of Court)

8) Governors, City/Municipal Mayors (Section 90, Local Government Code)

9) Civil service officers/employees – whose duties and responsibilities require that their entire time be at the disposal of the Government (Section 12, Rule XVIII, Revised Civil Service Rules)

b. Relative prohibition

1) Senators and House Representatives (Section 14, Article VI, 1987 Constitution)

2) Sanggunian Members (Section 90, Local Government Code)

3) Retired Justices or Judges (Section 1, R.A. 910)

4) Court Personnel (Query of Atty. Silverio-Buffe, supra.)

5) Civil Service Officers/Employees (Section 12, Rule XVIII, Revised Civil Service Rules)

1) Senators and House Representatives

No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may personally appear as counsel before any court of justice or before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies. (Section 14, Article VI, 1987 Constitution)

This includes not allowing their names to appear in pleadings or as part of a firm name.

2) Sanggunian Members

Sanggunian members may practice their professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in schools except during session hours: Provided, That sanggunian members who are also members of the Bar shall not:

1) Appear as counsel before any court in any civil case wherein a local government unit or any office, agency, or instrumentality of the government is the adverse party;

2) Appear as counsel in any criminal case wherein an officer or employee of the national or local government is accused of an offense committed in relation to his office;

3) Collect any fee for their appearance in administrative proceedings involving the local government unit of which he is an official; and

4) Use property and personnel of the government except when the sanggunian member concerned is defending the interest of the Government. (Section 90, Local Government Code)

3) Retired Justices or Judges

It is a condition of the pension provided for herein that no retiring Justice during the time that he is receiving said pension shall appear as counsel before any court in any civil case wherein the Government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof is the adverse party, or in any criminal case wherein and officer or employee of the Government is accused of an offense committed in relation to his office, or collect any fee for his appearance in any administrative proceedings to maintain an interest adverse to the Government, insular, provincial or municipal, or to any of its legally constituted officers. (Section 1, R.A. 910)

4) Court Personnel

Court personnel – provided rules on “outside employment” is complied. (Query of Atty. Silverio-Buffe, supra.)

Outside employment may be allowed by the head of office provided it complies with all of the following requirements:

1) The outside employment is not with a person or entity that practices law before the courts or conducts business with the Judiciary;

2) The outside employment can be performed outside of normal working hours and is not incompatible with the performance of the court personnel’s duties and responsibilities;

3) That outside employment does not require the practice of law; Provided, however, that court personnel may render services as professor, lecturer, or resource person in law schools, review or continuing education centers or similar institutions;

4) The outside employment does not require or induce the court personnel to disclose confidential information acquired while performing officials duties;

5) The outside employment shall not be with the legislative or executive branch of government, unless specifically authorized by the Supreme Court. (Ibid.)

5) Civil Service Officers / Employees

Civil Service Officers/Employees:

1) Whose duties and responsibilities do not require that their entire time be at the disposal of the Government, and

2) With authority to practice from the Department Head, such as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for employees in the Local Government Units. (Section 12, Rule XVIII, Revised Civil Service Rules)

The authority to practice is required to be renewed for every term. (Monares v. Muñoz, En Banc, A.C. No. 5582, 24 January 2017)

a. Prohibition or disqualification of former government attorneys

1) Public Officials and Employees

Lawyers who are public officials or employees are prohibited from engaging in the private practice of law during their incumbency, unless otherwise allowed and subject to obtaining an authority to practice (ATP). (Subsection (b)(2), Section 7, R.A. 6713)

The prohibition continue to apply for a period of one (1) year after the public official or employee’s resignation, retirement, or separation from public office, except for the private practice of law, which can already be undertaken even within the one-year prohibition period. As an exception to this exception, the one-year prohibited period applies with respect to any matter before the office the public officer or employee used to work with. (Query of Atty. Silverio-Buffe, supra.)

As an exception, a public official or employee can engage in the practice of his or her profession under the following conditions: first, the private practice is authorized by the Constitution or by the law; and second, the practice will not conflict, or tend to conflict, with his or her official functions. (Ibid.)

2) R.A. 6713 and Rule 6.03 of the CPR combined

GENERAL RULE: No 1-year prohibition on former government lawyers

EXCEPTION: 1-year applies if lawyer intervened on any matter while in said service.

Intervention – means power to influence proceeding. (Query of Atty. Silverio-Buffe, supra.)

Any matter – refers to any discrete, isolatable act as well as identifiable transaction or conduct involving a particular situation and specific party, and not merely an act of drafting, enforcing or interpreting government or agency procedures, regulations or laws, or briefing abstract principles of law. (Ibid.)

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