Considering the ramifications of the modern society, there is hardly anyactivity that is not affected by some law or government regulation thebusinessman must know about and observe. In fact, again going by thedefinition, a lawyer does not even have to be part of a business concern tobe considered a practitioner. He can be so deemed when, on his own, herents a house or buys a car or consults a doctor as these acts involve hisknowledge and application of the laws regulating such transactions. If heoperates a public utility vehicle as his main source of livelihood, he wouldstill be deemed engaged in the practice of law because he must obey thePublic Service Act and the rules and regulations of the Energy RegulatoryBoard.The ponencia quotes an American decision defining the practice of law as the“performance of any acts … in or out of court, commonly understood to bethe practice of law,” which tells us absolutely nothing. The decision goes onto say that “because lawyers perform almost every function known in thecommercial and governmental realm, such a definition would obviously betoo global to be workable.”The effect of the definition given in the ponencia is to consider virtually everylawyer to be engaged in the practice of law even if he does not earn his
living, or at least part of it, as a lawyer. It is enough that his activities areincidentally (even if only remotely) connected with some law, ordinance, orregulation. The possible exception is the lawyer whose income is derivedfrom teaching ballroom dancing or escorting wrinkled ladies with pubescentpretensions.The respondent’s credentials are impressive, to be sure, but they do notpersuade me that he has been engaged in the practice of law for ten yearsas required by the Constitution. It is conceded that he has been engaged inbusiness and finance, in which areas he has distinguished himself, but as anexecutive and economist and not as a practicing lawyer. The plain fact is thathe has occupied the various positions listed in his resume by virtue of hisexperience and prestige as a businessman and not as an attorney-at-lawwhose principal attention is focused on the law. Even if it be argued that hewas acting as a lawyer when he lobbied in Congress for agrarian and urbanreform, served in the NAMFREL and the Constitutional Commission (togetherwith non-lawyers like farmers and priests) and was a member of the DavideCommission, he has not proved that his activities in these capacitiesextended over the prescribed 10-year period of actual practice of the law. Heis doubtless eminently qualified for many other positions worthy of hisabundant talents but not as Chairman of the Commission on Elections.