Bar Top-notching Lawyers in Manila? Not This Year!

It has been a national notion the when we hear the words “top attorneys in the Philippines,” there’s an automatic conclusion that these guys must have come from one of the most famous universities in the Philippines, specifically in NCR like University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)...

Philippine Penal Code: The Insanity Plea

You are probably here because you are interested in the things that can get you off a crime. We’re not saying that you have a criminal mind, but you do have a curious one, you don’t want to go asking a Philippine attorney, and you want to know if insanity can get a person off the legal hook.

Philippines Social Media And How it Contributes To Cyberbullying

Bullying has always been an issue that is extremely difficult to address despite the government’s continued reinforcement of the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 and the growing support from different organization to put a stop on it and continued encouragement of law firms for people to legally address cyber criminality. And...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What Kind of Lawyer in Manila Do you Want to Be Part 1

The road to becoming a lawyer in the Philippines is hard, stressful, and will leave you with eye bags but why do people still want to go into learning the law & passing the board exams? Not only is lawyering a very prestigious job in that your become an agent of justice, being a lawyer in Manila especially means that you are also potentially going to enjoy a lucrative career life.

When taking up law in the Philippines, you have to learn the whole of the law but after you graduate law school and pass the board exam, you will eventually designate yourself to a specialization or area of law where you can be known for. Not every specialization pays as good as the next but if you’re into law with the dream of becoming rich or well connected, there are 5 law branches that either pay well or get  you known.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal defense lawyers are the ones that most people would be familiar with as they are the ones most commonly portrayed in popular media. They are the lawyers that represent people who are jailed for criminal offenses. Criminal defense cases are many which means that you’d have a lot to work with if you choose to go down this road even though pay isn’t that good (depending on the client). Winning criminal cases will eventually make you more popular enough for you to transition into other roads of lawyering or charge more for your services.

Civil Lawyer
Marriage certificate

Civil law attorneys represent people who have disputes with other people or organizations outside the scope of criminality. There is a very wide range of other field that are included in civil law or categorized as civil cases but some of the more popular are family law, medical law, and law on claims by individuals against their employers which brings us to the next type of lawyer.

Corporate Lawyer

Big businesses have their own group of lawyers that represent them as well as does internal checks to see if the actions of the business are legal. They are called corporate lawyers. In case a civil case lawyer represents a distressed employee, they would be going against the corporate lawyers of the employer. You’ll find a lot of corporate lawyers in Manila, Makati, Quezon City, and basically most of NCR because the bigger corporations take office there.

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Labor Lawyer

A more specific type of a civil attorney is the labor lawyer. They are civil case lawyers that specialize on labor cases, representing the workforce among others. Labor law is a good field to be in because there is a modest amount of cases and winning cases not only gets you more popularity, you get to win your client claims as well as be granted a portion of it—a win-win situation, to be honest.

Professor of Law

This is one of the penultimate goal of lawyers in the Philippines mostly because it is very stable (you work as an employee) and at the same time, it is a mark that you have a very good grasp of the law enough for you to teach it. But professorship is only especially attainable for lawyers who have already proven themselves through practice as well as peripheral education.

If you want to pursue becoming a lawyer in Manila, regardless of your prospective future specialty, you will need to learn the law in its full to be able to get through law school and pass the board exam but knowing what kind of lawyer you eventually want to be might help you stay focused and motivated. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bar Top-notching Lawyers in Manila? Not This Year!

It has been a national notion the when we hear the words “top attorneys in the Philippines,” there’s an automatic conclusion that these guys must have come from one of the most famous universities in the Philippines, specifically in NCR like University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU), San Beda University, Arellano University, and other U-Belt big names.

This year however, we saw a peculiar but delightful phenomenon: the 2016 Bar Exam Top 10 was swept by schools outside Manila! Really, great lawyers in the Philippines aren’t just found in Manila but all over the country.

According to Inquirer, “all topnotchers of the 2016 Bar Exams came from law schools outside Metro Manila,” annexing that only 2 from the 12 from the top 10 were from law schools in Luzon. This year, Visayas and Mindanao did some major representing of adding to the brilliant pool of attorneys in the Philippines.

On the top of all the other ‘notchers is Karen Mae Calam of the University of San Carlos (USC) with a rating of 89.05%. Since the bar exams are in the form of question and response essays, Calam says, “It’s how barristers answer and how the examiners appreciate the answer,” and that, because of this, no one school can claim supremacy over law education and that brilliance can still be discovered in and out of Manila. She is joined in the top 10 by 3 other USC graduates Fiona Cristy Lao, Anne Margaret Momongan, and Jefferson Gomez.

Not only has the result of this year’s exam challenge the notion that Metro means better, we also observed the highest turn out of board passers since raising the passing grade back to 75% (the SC lowered the passing rate to 70% in 2007 due to low passing probability at only 5% of 5,626 of applicants) and the majority of the top 10 (8/12) is female.

Becoming an attorney in the Philippines is a road filled with much struggles but also of colorful stories like that of the security guard in Baguio who worked and studied his way to becoming a lawyer while also supporting a family. Truly, lawyers in Manila are without question competent and amazing but the same can be said about any other hardworking and dignified attorney anywhere else in the Philippines.

Article by: NDV Law

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Current Situation of Public Legal Service in the Philippines

Discussion about the rules and law of the land is always sensitive and complex. It requires deep understanding on how process and procedures are conducted. Studying about it also takes years. As a matter of fact, a lawyer before being able to give legal services in the Philippines should undergo undergrad education that usually takes 4 years and another 4 for law school. After studying, there is still the need to pass the bar exam—a feat that is known to be nothing less than difficult. In the 2015, only 26.21% of the bar takers passed and this has only been the highest passing percentage since 2011. In 1999, only 16.59 percent passed—the lowest percentage of law bar exam passer in the history of the Philippines to date. And even after all of that, a bar passer should still practice law and take mandatory continuing education to be able to provide legal services to the public.

But the thing is that not every lawyer that passes the bar exam wants to work for the government or for the public. Most of these lawyers go after big law firms or apply for a position in a legal department of some big company. As lawyers have become the central the way business is done concerning issues that needs the application of law and prevailing regulations, the pull for demand for lawyers to stay in this private companies heightens, not to mention the compensation that they can get.

In Feb 23 2010, Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the Republic Act. 9999—an act authored by Senator Lito Lapid. The republic act is also known as the act providing mechanism for free legal assistance and for other purposes. The section 5 of the said law grants lawyers up to 10 percent deduction from their annual taxable income to encourage them to render free legal services. This is provided that the actual free legal services herein contemplated shall be exclusive of the minimum sixty (60)-hour mandatory legal aid services rendered to indigent litigants as required under the Rule on Mandatory Legal Aid Services for Practicing Lawyers, under BAR Matter No. 2012, issued by the Supreme Court

While this sounds like huge incentives for lawyers and a wonderful attempt of the government to pull private lawyers into the aid of the public that needs legal service, there might still be huge need for lawyers to fill. Even though it has been reported last August 2016 that the crime rate in the country has lowered, there is no denying that legal aid or service is something that is should be readily available for Filipino citizen when they need it.

Now with the things mentioned above, you may now have a picture on the situation of how accessible legal services are in the Philippines. As we enter a new era in Philippine governance, and with another lawyer leading the country in Rodrigo Duterte, who knows, we might see a drastic change on how legal services are catered in the Philippines.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Lawyers Making Laws: A Closer Look at the Lawyers in the Senate

Being an attorney is probably one of the highest regarded careers in the Philippines. In fact, majority of the elected presidents, vice-presidents, and even members of the legislative department are from this profession. Some names that are worth mentioning are the three highest political positions in the country: the current head of state of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte; the current vice-president of the Philippines, Leni Robredo; and the Senate President, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. Even though some may say what made them famous is their reputation as public servants and politicians, the mere fact that eight out of the past fifteen president Philippines are attorneys is enough proof to support how the profession has helped them to get to their position and carry out their duties.

Currently, there are 24 senators in the legislative department. Their main duties are to pass laws and investigate national issues. In this light, it is only reasonable that someone from the legislative department has a good background on law.

Among the these 24 senators in the Philippines, eight are lawyers or attorneys and they are the following:

Sonny Angara – Angara has passed on more than 60 laws. He finished his law degree at the University of the Philippines College of Law, and earned his Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.

Pia Cayetano – During her young career as a lawyer, she has specialized in corporate law and intellectual property laws. She graduated from University of the Philippines with an academic distinction.

Alan Peter Cayetano – He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University. He is also the Chair of the Philippine Agrarian Reform Committee.

Leila De Lima – In 1985, De Lima has placed 8th in the Bar Examination, bringing pride to her alma mater, San Beda College, where she earned her law degree.

Franklin M. Drilon - Drilon is probably one of the most seasoned senators in the Philippines. He completed his degree in 1969 in UP College of Law and placed third in the bar examination of the same year.

Francis Escudero
– He finished his law degree at the University the Philippines and has passed the bar examination on 1994. In 1996, he obtained a Master’s degree in International and Comparative Law at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Richard J. Gordon – Gordon is also the current Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross. He has pursued his law degree at the University of the Philippines College of Law.

Kiko Pangilinan - In his early career as a lawyer by giving free legal assistance on-air and closely monitored case progress through the television program Hoy Gising! in ABS-CBN where he was a co-anchor and segment host.

Koko Pimentel – The aforementioned current Senate President has finished his Bachelor of Laws degree from University of the Philippines College of Law. He has also topped the 1990 Philippine Bar Examinations.

While being a public servant or politician in the Philippines doesn’t required a specific educational attainment to run for public office as it stated in the 1987 Constitution, a decent educational background still plays a big role in winning the voters’ ink. It just makes perfect sense that someone that will be implementing, making, and investigate rulings should have adequate knowledge about law itself. And with the things that has been going in politics that most of the time renders us confuse with what is exactly is going on, it will be a mild tap in the back knowing that there are several people in the legislative department that has background on how to be an attorney or lawyer in the Philippines.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Philippine Penal Code: The Insanity Plea

philippine attorney-crazy

You are probably here because you are interested in the things that can get you off a crime. We’re not saying that you have a criminal mind, but you do have a curious one, you don’t want to go asking a Philippine attorney, and you want to know if insanity can get a person off the legal hook.

First thing that you have to know is that things that get you off the hook or at least lessen your sentence are called pleas and when you start talking about how much your plea diminishes or negates the gravity of your supposed sentence, it’s called plea bargaining.

Insanity is one of many pleas but is probably among the most used in recent years and even then, at least 4 US states have disqualified the insanity defense. In the Philippines, the exemption is detailed in Item 1, Article 12, Chapter 2 of the Philippine Penal Code.

Art. 12. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. — the following are exempt from criminal liability:
1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval.
When the imbecile or an insane person has committed an act which the law defines as a felony (delito), the court shall order his confinement in one of the hospitals or asylums established for persons thus afflicted, which he shall not be permitted to leave without first obtaining the permission of the same court.

In the context of the penal code, we can see that it illustrates the condition for exemption but not what qualifies for insanity or imbecility.

There are many standards to determine mental incapacity like the M’Naughten standard and Durham rule but it all boils down to what must exist to justify a conviction. Two things have to be proven to qualify a conviction: a suspect must be proven to have both a guilty mind (mens rea) and there must be physical manifestation of the guilty act (actus reus).

Actus reus requires “if someone got murdered, then it can be proven with a dead body.” Pretty straightforward. Mens rea requires “if someone got murdered, it can be proven with the murderer’s conscious intention that he wanted his victim dead.” It is therefore the burden of the Philippine attorney’s defense to prove that mens rea was absent at the time the crime happened to be able to qualify his client and have him be objectified as insane.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Constitutional Commission and the 1987 Philippine Constitution

The bread and butter of every attorney in the Philippines are their familiarity with the Philippine constitution. More than wit, charisma, creativity, and ability to grace under pressure, an attorney should know how he can utilize the articles of the constitution into their clients’ favor.

The Constitution of the Philippines is the supreme law of our state. Our current constitution has been drafted in 1987. There have been three other constitutions that have governed our country. This includes the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution, the 1973 Constitution, and the 1986 Freedom Constitution. The 1899 Malolos Constitution was never fully implemented throughout the Philippines and was never internationally recognized due to the American occupation during the time it has been implemented.

Following the People Power and the fall of Martial Law, the late President Cory Aquino sought to ensure the freedom of the people and its return into democratic rule. The Proclamation No. 9 gave birth to the Constitutional Commission of 1986. It was a body composed of 48 national, regional, and sectorial representatives who collectively drafted the current Constitution of the Philippines. The members were appointed by Aquino and are composed by the following:

  1. Cecilia Munoz Palma (President)
  2. Ambrosio B. Padilla (Vice-President)
  3. Napoleon G. Rama (Floor Leader)
  4. Ahmad Domocao Alonto (Assistant Floor Leader)
  5. Jose D. Calderon (Assistant Floor Leader)
  6. Yusuf R. Abubakar
  7. Felicitas S. Aquino
  8. Adolfo S. Azcuna
  9. Teodoro C. Bacani
  10. Jose F. S. Bengzon, Jr.
  11. Ponciano L. Bennagen
  12. Joaquin G. Bernas
  13. Florangel Rosario Braid
  14. Crispino M. de Castro
  15. Jose C. Colayco
  16. Roberto R. Concepcion
  17. Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
  18. Vicente B. Foz
  19. Edmundo G. Garcia
  20. Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon
  21. Serafin V.C. Guingona
  22. Alberto M. K. Jamir
  23. Jose B. Laurel, Jr.
  24. Eulogio R. Lerum
  25. Regalado E. Maambong
  26. Christian S. Monsod
  27. Teodulo C. Natividad
  28. Ma. Teresa F. Nieva
  29. Jose N. Nolledo
  30. Blas F. Ople
  31. Minda Luz M. Quesada
  32. Florenz D. Regalado
  33. Rustico F. de los Reyes, Jr.
  34. Cirilo A. Rigos
  35. Francisco A. Rodrigo
  36. Ricardo J. Romulo
  37. Decoroso R. Rosales
  38. Rene V. Sarmiento
  39. Jose E. Suarez
  40. Lorenzo M. Sumulong
  41. Jaime S. L. Tadeo
  42. Christine O. Tan
  43. Gregorio J. Tingson
  44. Efrain B. Trenas
  45. Lugum L. Uka
  46. Wilfrido V. Villacorta
  47. Bernardo M. Villegas

The Members of the Constitutional Commission were from different sectors of the society to represent the interest of the public. Some of them are from the House of the Representative, former Justices of the Supreme Court, and political activists during the Marcos Regime, and a Roman Catholic Bishop.

The constitution was ratified by a nationwide plebiscite on February 2, 1987. It contains a preamble and eighteen self-contained articles with a section numbering that resets for every article.

For the attorneys in the Philippines, it is very important to know the nature of our constitution so that they can utilize it. But it is important to know that our constitution plays a big role in our history. Attorney or not, as Filipinos, we need to learn and understand it, after all, ignorance of the law excuses no one.

For best attorneys in the Philippines, visit NDV Law.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Need to Copyright

How would you know if you have the right to appeal for something you have done? How would you know if it’s you that is recognized to be the sole owner of the song you’ve written? How would you know if you are considered as the master of the lines and curves you’ve drafted on canvass? How would you know if you are the real “father” of the characters in your story? A law firm specializing in Intellectual Property in the Philippines may help you answer your seemingly unending questions of “how” but here are a few things that may help you along the way.

Intellectual Property (IP), as defined by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), pertains to anything that is created by the human mind such as literary and artistic works, inventions, symbols, designs and names used in commerce.  Intellectual property rights fall under the Republic Act 8293: Protecting the Intellectual Property in the Philippines, which includes copyright. Copyright is the author’s protection for his inventions. And if you are someone who wished to have your creation protected from infringement and theft, you may want to consider registering a copyright for your work at the National Library of the Philippines. Here’s why.

Copyright protects you and your creation. In today’s world where most of the information could be downloaded online and be posted publicly on the World Wide Web, copyright allows you to guard your creations from piracy. It gives the author authority to distribute his works according to his will. If the creation is used without the consent of the author, the affected author can sue for copyright infringement and may get money as fine. Also, the author has all the rights to make necessary revisions, prequel and/or sequel of his own literary invention. He also possesses all the rights to develop his creation into something different like turning works into movies or TV series.  

Copyright offers financial reward. If your creation is copyrighted, you have all the rights to the reproduction of copies, adaptation and/or translation. Any reproduction of copies, adaptation and/or translation rewards the author financially. In addition, if a producer or group of producers like the author’s work, they would have to pay for them to be able to use the certain work for interpretation. Copyright allows him to earn a living with his creative inventions that serves as entertainment and as a source of information for the community.

Copyright allows the author to leave a legacy. Aside from the financial reward a copyrighted creation can give the author, it also helps the work retain its own pride and dignity. Copyright allows the creation (it may be a song, a novel, an artwork or a sculpture) to stand for its master’s name even after a long time of circulation.

             Copyright retains ownership of the creation. It covers protection for the lifetime of the author and additional fifty (50) years after death. A copyrighted work of art signifies the passion and dedication the author has during and after the time of creation.
             These are just but some of the main reasons why an author or creator who take real effort, passion and dedication in making art should secure the art’s intellectual property rights. You may see the application form and requirements needed here and here. And yes, if you are able to register your work and have it copyrighted, you have all the rights to appeal for it getting stolen, abused or misquoted, and even for improper distribution without the your consent. 

For Intellectual Property Law & Litigation, visit