The proposed reforms in the charter and national and local structures of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) that I submitted in 2007 to the Supreme Court and which are now officially docketed therein as Bar Matter No. 1696 remain unresolved by the Supreme Court, perhaps because the IBP National Board and General Counsel, despite requests for extensions, have not yet filed with the Supreme Court their comments thereon until now.
For the record, may I reproduce below the reforms that I had proposed in 2007 to the Supreme Court to improve the organizational structure and operational effectiveness of the IBP nationwide, to wit:
“The undersigned members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) respectfully petition your good offices to effect certain proposed amendments to the Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court (“Integrated Bar of the Philippines”) and the By-Laws of the IBP as enumerated hereinbelow and to create the appropriate working Committee on Amendments of Rule 139-A and the IBP By-Laws to study the amendments proposed hereinbelow and such other additional amendments that the said Committee may deem proper and necessary to recommend to your good offices, for the good of the Philippine legal profession, to wit:
1. To constitute all cities within the National Capital Region (NCR) as separate local IBP chapters, regardless of the number of lawyers residing and/or working therein.
2. For cities with huge lawyer population (such as Quezon City, with a membership of approximately 20,000 lawyers), to constitute each congressional district in such cities as separate local IBP chapters, regardless of the number of lawyers residing and/or working therein.
3. To transfer the following local IBP Chapters from Southern
Luzon to the NCR:
a. IBP-Pasay Paranaque Las Pinas Muntinlupa (PPLM) Chapter;
b. IBP Makati Chapter;
c. IBP – Caloocan Malabon Navotas (CALMANA) Chapter;
d. IBP Pasig City Chapter;
e. Such other local chapters located in the NCR but included in the Southern Luzon Region; and
f. Such other local chapters (component cities and/or highly urbanized cities) located in other provinces/regions similarly situated above, e.g. Valenzuela City (a component city of the NCR but presently categorized under IBP Central Luzon Region).
4. To institutionalize at the local chapter level the “automatic assumption rule” provided in the existing IBP By-Laws at the national level, whereby the National IBP Executive Vice-President assumes the National IBP Presidency in the next term.
5. To adopt the amendments to Rule 139-A and the IBP By-Laws proposed by Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco in his Keynote Speech delivered before the 17th House of Delegates of the IBP on November 30, 2006, a copy of which is already on record at the IBP National Office and the Supreme Court.
It is respectfully suggested that chapter representatives from
the different IBP Regions and external consultants from active law NGO’s and prominent law schools in the country be invited to participate in the deliberations of the proposed Committee on Amendments of Rule 139-A and IBP By-Laws.”
As a concerned Filipino lawyer, I truly wish the IBP, as a mandatory national bar association, would live up to its vision and mission to unite and elevate the ethical and professional standards of the legal profession and to courageously fight for the rule of law, the sanctity of the administration of justice, the independence of the Bench and the Bar, and truth, freedom and democracy in our country, without surrendering to the selfish and destructive political and economic influences coming from hidden external sources and entities.
I feel that the Philippine Supreme Court should be proactive in improving the 40-year old charter and by-laws of the IBP to attain the noble and patriotic objectives of the said organization and to maintain its relevance in Philippine society.