IBP Integration Story
Legal Education began in the country in 1733 when the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas established its Faculties of Canon Law and Civil Law. After the ratification of the Malolos Constitution in 1899, the Universidad Literia de Filipinas was established in the Historic city of Malolos, Bulacan. Included in its curricula is a course on law and Notary Public. In 1910, the University of the Philippines opened its College of Law. As of July 2008, the office of Bar Confidant listed 105 accredited law schools in the country. Since 1903, the first Bar examination, over 58,000 were enrolled into the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. The great minds of the legal profession of the recent past set great store by the integration of the Philippine Bar.
Taken to the Western experience in the integration of the Bar notably in England, France and the United States in terms of setting the legal profession in good order, George A. Malcolm – an American lawyer who was appointed by U.S President Woodrow Wilson to the Philippines Supreme Court on October 17, 1917as its 17th Associate Justice where he served until February 1, 1936 – initiated the idea of integrating the legal profession at the time then still incipient. Atty. Jose Abad Santos, who served as Justice Secretary during the prewar years, specifically from 1938 to 1941, took up the cudgels. Shortly before the war, he encouraged the Philippines Bar Association to draft a charter for an integrated Bar. Overtaken by World War II, the plan did not take ground. A foremost statesman of his generation, jurist, nationalist and poet, who became the President of the 1934 Constitutional Convention which drafted the 1935 Constitution and a Senator of the Republic, Atty. Claro M. Recto also carried on the advocacy, but to no avail. On May 7, 1958, at the conference of the Philippines and at a conference of judges and lawyers, former Senator Vicente J. Francisco spoke for the Integration of the Philippine Bar. The issue of the integrating the Bar also came up in Congress. In 1934, the first bill for the purpose did not prosper. On March 2, 1950, Senators Lorenzo Sumulong and Emiliano Tria Tirona authored Bill No. 83, seeking the creation of a corporation to be called, Philippines Integrated Bar, but still to no avail.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is the official organization of all Philippine lawyers whose names appear in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. The IBP came into being when the Supreme Court created on October 5, 1970 the Commission on Bar Integration which was tasked “not only to ascertain the advisability of integration of the Bar, but even more, to serve as a common vehicle of the Court and the Bar in fashioning a blueprint for integration and putting the same into actual operation.” Republic Act No. 6397, which became effective September 17, 1971, confirmed the power of the Supreme Court to adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar. Then on January 9, 1973, the Supreme Court, by a per curiam resolution, pursuant to its constitutional mandate, ordained the integration of the Bar in accordance with its Rule 139-A, effective January 16, 1973. Within the next succeeding months, the IBP was organized. On February 17, 1973, local chapters all over the country were finally formed and elections for chapter officers were held. Then on March 17, 1973, the first batch of representatives to the IBP House of Delegates composed of 104 delegates representing the IBP Chapters nationwide convened in Manila and elected its first set of IBP Governors.
It is an official organization – and by “official” we mean that it is established by the State. Republic Act No. 6397 confirmed the power of the Supreme Court to adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar. Presidential Decree. No. 181 was promulgated on May 4, 1973 constituting the IBP into a body corporate and providing government assistance thereto for the accomplishment of its purposes.
Official Organization of Lawyers
It is an official organization – and by “official”, it means that it is established by the State through Republic Act 6397. The law also confirmed the power of the Supreme Court to adopt Rules of Court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar. Presidential Decree No. 181 was promulgated on May 4, 1973 constituting the IBP into a body corporate and providing government assistance thereto for the accomplishment of its purposes.
The IBP is composed of all Philippine attorneys now numbering about 50,000. All persons whose names appear in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court (having qualified for and passed the Bar examinations and taken their attorney’s oath, unless otherwise disbarred) are members of the IBP. If any such person does not agree to join the organization and regulations (such as payments of annual membership dues, now fixed at P1,000), he does not become, or he ceases to be, an IBP member, and at the same time his name is removed from the Roll of Attorneys. The effect of the removal is that he ceases to be an attorney. He loses the privilege to practice law in the Philippines.