Nowadays, it is easier to spot a fake lawyer.
I refer to a fake lawyer to one who claims to be a "lawyer by profession" but who actually is not because he has no license to do so.
Somebody filed a criminal complaint against my client. In his complaint affidavit, he claimed he "is a lawyer by profession"
I scoured over the attachements in his complaint, and he wrote a letter against my client and referred to himself as "Atty." --short for attorney.
While he placed his Professional Tax Receipt No. (PTR), he did not place his roll number.
That raised some signals in me.
Why would a lawyer write his PTR, but not his Roll number?
A roll number is a permanent number assigned to every lawyer. Its like one's Tax Identification Number, or Social Security Number.
I have mine, 42840.
Actually, a lawyer gets this number once he signs the roll of attorneys upon passing the bar. He is given a receipt that has a number,which becomes his Roll number, meaning his number in the roll of attorneys in the Supreme Court.
Normally, it would be a little inconvenient to verify whether one who claims to be a laywer is indeed licensed to practice law.
You would have to go to the Supreme Court and get a certification, based on the records in the roll of attroneys.
But nowadays, lawyers are listed in the list of lawyers in the website of the Supreme Court at www.supremecourt.gov.ph
Just click on the law list and you will arrive at an alphabetical listing of all lawyers, dead or living, with their respective dates of admission to the bar, their homeprovince and roll numbers.
Just as my instincts told me, the complainant who claimed to be a "lawyer by profession" is not in the lawyer's list.
Of course to charge this person criminally, I would have to get an official certification from the Supreme Court.
But for me, I have no reason to doubt the integrity of the lawyers' list in the website of Supreme Court.
Even during our student days we have been told of stories about people pretending to be lawyers, even arguing in court, and arguing much better than licensed lawyers.
This one may yet be my first actual encounter of a fake lawyer.
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