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Judicial Conduct

Sources of Judicial Ethics:


1. The Constitution
2. The Rules of Court
3. Statues creating courts
4. The New Canons of Judicial Conduct for
the Philippine Judiciary (took effect on
June 1, 2004 per A.M. 03-05-01-SC)
which was patterned after the Bangalore
Draft of Code of Judicial Conduct; and
5. Code of Judicial Conduct
Qualifying to the Bench
1. Members of the Supreme Court and lower appellate courts
• SECTION 7(1), ARTICLE VIII, 1987 Constitution mandates that a
Justice of the Supreme Court and all collegiate appellate courts must
be a natural born Filipino. A justice of the Supreme Court must at
least be 40 years old, must have been for 15 years or more a judge of
a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.
2. Members of the lower courts (regional trial courts and first
level courts)
• SECTION 7(2), ARTICLE VIII, 1987 Constitution provides that
Congress shall provide for qualifications but one must be citizen of
the Philippines and member of the Philippine Bar.
3. Common qualification for all members of the judiciary
• SECTION 7(3), ARTICLE VIII, 1987 Constitution provides:
“A member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence,
integrity, probity and independence.”
Manner of Selection and Appointment (Section 8, Article VIII, 1987
Constitution Judicial and Bar Council)
1. The Judicial and Bar Council causes the publication of any vacancy in
the judiciary and sets a deadline for submission of applications.
2. A lawyer who meets the qualifications may either apply or be
nominated to the post. If nominated, the lawyer must affix his
conformity.
3. The applicant/nominee must submit all the requirements with the
Judicial and Bar Council.
4. The Judicial and Bar Council validates all the submitted documents
and conducts a background information check on the
applicant/nominee.
5. The Judicial and Bar Council causes the publication of the names of
applications/nominees and the schedule of their interviews.
6. The Judicial and Bar Council submits to the Office of the President
the names of three applicants/nominees for each vacant post from
which the President may choose. (Section 9, Article VIII, 1987
Constitution)
Please note that:
• Appointments made by the President in the judiciary do
not need any confirmation by the Commission on
Appointments. (Section 9. Article VIII, 1987
Constitution)
• Any vacancy in the Supreme Court must be filled within 90
days from the occurrence thereof. (Section 4(1), Article VIII,
1987 Constitution)
• For lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments
within 90 days from the submission of the list. (Section 9,
Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
Discipline of justices and lower court judges
A member of the Supreme Court may be removed
only by impeachment. (Section 2, Article XI, 1987
Constitution)
Section 11, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution
 The Supreme Court en banc shall have the
power to discipline appellate justices and lower
court judges.
 Vote required dismiss a member of the
judiciary: A majority vote of all justices who
actually took part in the deliberations on the
issues in the case and voted thereon.
Constitutional Prescriptions on Members of the Judiciary
1. All matters pending with the Supreme Court must be resolved
with 24 months; 12 months for all collegiate appellate courts and 3
months for all other lower courts. (Sec. 15(1), 1987 Const.)
2. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing
therein clearly and distinctly, the facts and law on which it is
based. (Sec. 14, Article VIII)
3. Members of the judiciary shall not be designated to any agency
performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions. (Sec. 12,
Article VIII)
4. Members of the Supreme Court shall not only report all their
assets, liabilities, and net worth upon assumption to duty but they
must disclose such to the PUBLIC in the manner provided by law.
(Sec. 17, Article XI )
• The New Canons of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary took effect on June 1, 2004. (A.M. 03-05-01-
SC) The same was patterned after the Bangalore Draft of
Code of Judicial Conduct.

• Under the New Code of Judicial Conduct, a judge should


be the embodiment of:
• independence
• integrity
• impartiality
• propriety
• equality
• competence and diligence
Canon 1 - Independence
• Institutional Judicial Independence - is the
capacity of courts to function effectively and
independently of the executive and legislative
departments of government.
• Individual Judicial Independence - means the
capacity of individual judges to perform their task
without fear or favor, unfettered by outside
influence, or pressure from any source so that
their decisions shall be based only upon the
applicable law and the facts established by
evidence.
What is expected of judges: - to discharge their functions based
solely on a fair assessment of the facts and invoking the appropriate
provision of law in resolving issues presented before the court; and
shield themselves from any kind of influence from any party
involved in the case.

What judges should be: they should be —


- free from inappropriate connections with, and influence by,
executive and legislative branches of government and appears to
be so to a reasonable observer (Sec. 5) independence from the
legislative and executive ; and
- independent, in relation to society in general and in relation to
the particular parties to a dispute which they have to adjudicate
(Sec. 6) independence from society and litigants.
What judges shall do: they shall —
- exercise their judicial functions independently on the basis of their assessment
of the facts and in accordance with a conscientious understanding of the law,
free of any extraneous influence, inducement, pressure, threat or interference,
direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason (Sec. 1) individual judicial
independence;
- perform their judicial duties independently from judicial colleagues in respect
of decisions which they are to render (Sec. 2) independence from judicial
colleagues;
- encourage and uphold safeguards for the discharge of judicial duties in order
to maintain and enhance the institutional and operational independence of the
judiciary (Sec. 7); and
- exhibit and promote high standards of judicial conduct (Sec. 8).

What the judges shall not do: they shall not —


- influence in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending before
another court or administrative agency (Sec.3) – meddling with another court or
admin agency ; and
- allow family, social or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or
judgment; or use or lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the
private interests of others or convey or permit others to convey the impression
that they are in a special position to influence the judge (Sec. 4) Individual
independence from private interests and influence.
• At no time should a judge be moved by a desire to cater to public opinion to the
detriment of the administration of justice. (In re: Justice Badoy, Jr. 395 SCRA
231)
• Judges should not allow themselves to be harassed and prevented from
performing their tasks by malicious and irresponsible media reports. (OCA vs.
Lorenzo, 575 SCRA 9)
• The influence-peddling or intercession in a case by a judge is reprehensible.
(Velez vs. Flores, 397 SCRA 92)
• A judge should refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of any
litigation or dispute pending before another court or administrative agency.
(Manaois vs. Leomo, 409 SCRA 596)
• A judge should not allow family, social, or other relationship to influence judicial
conduct or judgment. A judicial office should not be used to advance the private
interest of others. Neither should a judge convey or allow others to create the
impression that some people are in a special position to influence him. (Abundo
vs, Manio, Jr., 312 SCRA 1)
• Judges should not live in seclusion nor avoid all social interrelations. (Molina
vs. Paz, 417 SCRA 174). But a judge’s social relation, business relation, or
relationship should not constitute an element in determining his judicial course.
(Canon 30, CJE)
CANON 2 – INTEGRITY - Integrity is essential not only to the
proper discharge of the judicial office but also to the personal
demeanor of judges. (Sections 1-3)
- In the hierarchy of judicial values, integrity occupies the
highest place.
- A judge has integrity if he possesses an impeccable character,
characterized by fairness, fidelity, truthfulness, high-
mindedness, honesty, honor, moral strength, and rectitude.
JUDICIAL INTEGRITY
- embraces all the other canons in the New Code of Judicial
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, namely: independence,
impartiality, propriety, equality, diligence, and competence. It
is a virtue required of a judge, not only in his public but also in
his private life.
What judges shall do: they shall —
- ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach but that it is
perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable observer (Sec. 1);
- reaffirm, through their behavior and conduct, the people’s faith in
the integrity of the judiciary, and ensure that justice must not
merely be done but must also be seen to be done (Sec. 2); and
- initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against lawyers or court
personnel for unprofessional conduct of which the judge may have
become aware (Sec. 3).

CONTEMPT OF COURT
- defiance of the authority, justice or dignity of the court; such conduct as
tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect
or to interfere with or prejudice parties litigant or their witnesses during
litigation (Halili vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 136 SCRA 57).
Rex M. Tupal v. Judge Remegio V. Rojo, etc., A.M. No. MTJ-14-1842.
February 24, 2014.The Court held Judge Rojo guilty of violating the New
Code of Judicial Conduct and Circular No. 1–90, and of gross ignorance of
the law. He was suspended for six months for having notarized affidavits
of cohabitation, which were documents not connected with the exercise
of his official functions and duties as solemnizing officer. He also
notarized affidavits of cohabitation without certifying that lawyers or
notaries public were lacking in his court’s territorial jurisdiction. As a
solemnizing officer, the judge’s only duty involving the affidavit of
cohabitation is to examine whether the parties have indeed lived
together for at least five years without legal impediment to marry. The
Guidelines does not state that the judge can notarize the parties’ affidavit of
cohabitation. Notarizing affidavits of cohabitation is inconsistent with the
duty to examine the parties’ requirements for marriage. Circular No. 1–90
dated February 26, 1990. Circular No. 1–90 allows municipal trial court
judges to act as notaries public ex officio and notarize documents only
if connected with their official functions and duties.
Lorenzana v. Judge Austria, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2200, April 2, 2014. The
Court held the conduct of Judge Austria of and posting a picture with
an indecent attire for the public’s consumption in her Friendster
account is inappropriate. The Court held that she was guilty of
impropriety. While judges are not prohibited from
becoming members of and from taking part in social networking
activities, they do not shed off their status as judges. They carry with
them in cyberspace the same ethical responsibilities and duties that
every judge is expected to follow in his/her everyday activities. Judge
Austria was guilty of impropriety when she posted her pictures in a
manner viewable by the public. Joining Friendster per se does not
violate the New Code of Judicial Conduct. The Court said Judge
Austria disregarded the propriety and appearance of propriety
required of her when she posted Friendster photos of herself wearing
an “off-shouldered” suggestive dress and made this available for public
viewing.
• Samson v. Judge Caballero, A. M. No. RT J-08- 213, 595 SCRA 423.
The newly appointed judge was not allowed to assume his post as RTC
judge of Cabanatuan City for his material misrepresentation in his
application form. Caballero did not disclose that a graft and corruption
charge was filed against him before the Office of the Ombudsman when he
served as a prosecutor.
• Santos v. Judge Arcaya- Chua, A. M. No. MT J-07-20093, February 17,
2009. A judge was suspended by the Court for having accepted money
to intercede on behalf of her husband’s relative in a pending case
before the Supreme Court where she was previously employed.
• Inonog v. Judge Ibay, A. M. No. RT J-09-2175, July 28, 2009, 594
SCRA 168. A judge was fined by the Court for “oppressive” conduct for
citing a driver in contempt of court for having parked the car of his
employer in the parking slot assigned to the judge. The judge imposed
upon the driver a monetary fine.
Suarez v. Dilag, A. M. No. RT J-06-2014, March 4, 2009, 580 SCRA 491.
• A judge is the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence
to uphold and maintain public confidence in the legal system. Thus,
while he is expected to keep abreast of developments in law and
jurisprudence, he is presumed to have more than a cursory knowledge
of the rules of procedure. Not every error is indicative of ignorance, for if
committed in good faith, no administrative sanction is imposed. Good
faith, however, inheres only within the parameters of tolerable
judgment. It does not apply where the issues are so simple and the
applicable legal procedures evident and basic as to be beyond possible
margins of error. In the case at bench, respondent Judge failed to follow
basic legal procedures which are not excusable but renders him liable to
administrative sanction for gross ignorance of the law and procedure.
• A judge should administer his office with due regard to the integrity of the
system of the law itself, remembering that he is not a depository of
arbitrary power, but a judge under the sanction of law. (Conducto vs.
Monzon, 291 SCRA 619)
 The standard of integrity imposed on judges is and should
be higher than that of an average person for it is their
integrity that gives them the right to judge. (Samson vs.
Caballero, 595 SCRA 423)
 Judges are not required that they measure up to the
standards of conduct of saints and martyrs but they are
expected to be like Ceasar’s wife in all their activities.
(Pascual vs. Bonifacio, 398 SCRA 695)
 Judges must not only be “good judges” but must also
appear to be “good persons.” (Catbagan vs. Barte, 555
SCRA 1)
 A judge cannot judge the conduct of others when his own
needs judgment. (Fidel vs. Caraos, 394 SCRA 47)
CANON 3 – IMPARTIALITY
What judges should do: they should
- perform their judicial duties without fear or favor, bias, or
prejudice (Sec. 1);
- ensure that their conduct, both in and out of court, maintain and
enhance the confidence of the public, the legal profession and
litigants in their impartiality and that of the judiciary (sec. 2);
- conduct themselves as to minimize the occasions on which it will
be necessary for them to be disqualified from hearing and
deciding cases (Sec. 3); and
- disqualify themselves from participating in any proceeding in
which they are unable to decide the matter impartially or in
which it may appear to a reasonable observer that they are
unavailable to decide the matter impartially (Sec. 5).
What judges may do: they may
- if, disqualified under Section 5, Canon 3, instead of withdrawing
from the proceeding, disclose on the records the basis of their
disqualification and if the parties and their lawyers agree in
writing and signed by them stating that the reason for inhibition is
immaterial or unsubstantial, they (judges) may then participate in
the proceeding (Sec. 6);
What judges shall not do: they shall not
- knowingly, while a proceeding is before, or could come before
them, make any comment that might reasonably be expected to
affect the outcome of such proceeding or impair the manifest
fairness of the process and neither should they make any comment
in public or otherwise that might affect the fair trial of any person
or issue (Sec. 4)
BANDOY v. JUDGE JACINTO, JR., A.M. No. RTJ-14-2399, 11/19/2014
• Everyone, especially a judge, is presumed to know the law. One who accepts
the exalted position of a judge owes the public and the Court the duty to
maintain professional competence at all times.
• In this case, Judge Jacinto, Jr. was directly confronted with an allegation that
he arraigned De Jesus, Jr. inside his chambers. He was given the opportunity
to answer, but he chose not to delve into it.
• Given the exacting standards required of magistrates in the application of the law
and procedure, the Court finds Judge Jacinto, Jr. administratively maintain
professional competence. Indeed, competence and diligence are prerequisites
to the due performance of judicial guilty of gross ignorance of Rule 116 of
the Revised Rules of Court, specifically Section 1(a) thereof requiring
arraignment of an accused to be made in open court
• Canon 2, Rule 2.01 and Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct emphasize
that judges, as officers of the court, have the duty to see to it that justice is
dispensed with evenly and fairly. Not only must they be honest and
impartial, but they must also appear to be honest and impartial in the
dispensation of justice. Judges should make sure that their acts are
circumspect and do not arouse suspicion in the minds of the public.
Dulang v. Judge Regencia, A.M. No. MTJ -14-1841, 6/2/2014
• The Supreme Court held that pursuant to Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct,
prompt disposition of cases is attained basically through the efficiency and dedication to duty of
judges. If judges do not possess those traits, delay in the disposition of cases is inevitable to the
prejudice of the litigants.
• While rules prescribing the time within which certain acts must be done are indispensable to prevent
needless delays in the orderly and speedy disposition of cases and, thus, should be regarded as
mandatory, the Court has nevertheless been mindful of the plight of judges and has been
understanding of circumstances that may hinder them from promptly disposing of their businesses
and, as such, has allowed extensions of time due to justifiable reasons.
Malabed vs. Judge Asis AM RTJ -07-1031, august 4, 2009
• Before a judge can be declared as biased and partial in favor of a party, the court has to be
shown acts and conducts of the judge that clearly indicates arbitrariness or prejudice. Mere
suspicion that the judge is partial to a party is not enough there should be adequate evidence
to prove the charge. Burden to prove that respondent judge committed the acts complained of
rest with complainant.
• A magistrate of the law must comport himself in a manner that his conduct must be free of a
whiff of impropriety, not only with respect to the performance of his official duties, but also in
his behavior outside of his sala as a private individual. His conduct must be able to withstand
the most searching public scrutiny, for the ethical principles and sense of propriety of a judge
are essential to the preservation of the people’s faith in the judicial system lest public
confidence in the judiciary would be eroded by the incompetent, irresponsible and negligent
conduct of judges.
Montemayor v. Bermejo, Jr., A. M. No. MT J-04-1538, 425
SCRA 413.
• A judge has both the duty of rendering a just decision and
the duty of doing it in a manner completely free from
suspicion as to his fairness and integrity. The appearance
of bias or prejudice can be as damaging to public
confidence and the administration of justice as actual bias
or prejudice.
• In disposing of a criminal case, a judge should avoid
appearing like an advocate for either party. It is also
improper for a judge to push actively for amicable settlement
against the wishes of a party. A judge’s unwelcome
persistence makes the judge vulnerable to suspicions of
favoritism.
• In Ty v. Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank, GR Nos.
149797-98, February 13, 2004, 422 SCRA 649 the judge ordered the
presentation of specific documentary evidence without a
corresponding motion from any party or without the participation
of the parties. The act of the judge constituted undue interference
in the conduct of the trial which tended to build or bolster the
case of one of the parties. The judge’s act violates the canon of
impartiality.
• Certainly, a judge can ask questions from witnesses but this
should be limited to clarifying vague points in the narration of
witnesses. Questions designed to disentangle obscurity in the
testimony and to elicit additional relevant evidence to fill in the
gaps in a testimony are not improper. Paco v. Quilala, et. al.,
A.M. No. RTJ-02-1699, October 15, 2003, 413 SCRA 364. In other
words, what is prohibited is the asking of adversarial or
impeaching questions.
Kilosbayan Foundation vs. Janolo, Jr., et. Al, GR # 180543, July 27,
2010
• The issue of voluntary inhibition is primarily a matter of conscience
and sound discretion on the part of the judge. It is a subjective test,
the result of which the reviewing tribunal will not disturb in the
absence of any manifest finding of arbitrariness and whimsically. The
discretion given to trial judges is an acknowledgment of the fact that
they are in a better position to determine the issue of inhibition, as
they are the ones who directly deal with the private litigants in their
courtroom.

• Inhibition must be for just and valid causes: mere impression of bias and
partiality is not ground for a judge to inhibit, especially when the charge is
without sufficient basis. City of Naga v. Asuncion, G.R. No. 174042, July
9, 2008, 528 SCRA 528
DISQUALIFICATION AND INHIBITION OF JUDGES
1. Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court
2. Rule 3.12 - Code of Judicial Conduct

SECTION 1, RULE 137 OF THE RULES OF COURT PROVIDES:


 “SECTION 1. Disqualification of judges. – No judge or judicial officer
shall sit in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily
interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise, or in which he is
related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or
affinity, or to counsel within the fourth degree, computed according
to the rules of the civil law, or in which he has been executor,
administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or in which he has
presided in any inferior court when his ruling or decision is the
subject of review, without the written consent of all parties in
interest, signed by them and entered upon the record. A judge may,
in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself from sitting
in case, for just or valid reasons other than those mentioned above.”
CANON 3 - CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT
“Rule 3.12. – A Judge should take no part in proceeding where the
judge’s impartially might reasonably be questioned. These cases
include, among others, proceedings where:
a. The judge has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
concerning the proceeding;
b. The judge served as executor, administrator, guardian, trustees or
lawyer in the case or matter in controversy, or a former associate of
the judge served as counsel during their association, or the judge or
lawyer was a material witness therein;
c. The judge’s ruling in a lower court is the subject of review;
d. The judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant
within the sixth degree or to counsel within the fourth degree;
e. The judge knows that his spouse or child has a financial interest, as
heir, legatee, creditor, fiduciary, or otherwise, in the subject matter in
controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that
could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.”

In every instance the judge shall indicate the legal reason for inhibition.
VOLUNTARY INHIBITION
• When voluntary inhibition be done: A judge is allowed
under the second paragraph of Section 1 of Rule 137 of the
Rules of Court, supra, to voluntary inhibit from a case for just
or valid reasons other than those grounds of disqualification.
• How voluntary inhibition is effected: A judge may motu
proprio or on motion of a party voluntarily recluse from a case
if he has good or valid reasons which render him incapable of
acting objectively on the case.
• When a judge should not inhibit himself: Absent any
ground for disqualification, a judge should not inhibit and if a
motion to that effect is filed, he should deny it if, despite the
circumstances cited by the movant, he honestly believes that
he can act on the case objectively.
REMITTAL OF DISQUALIFICATION
• Remittal of disqualification is the process by which a judge who is disqualified
to sit on a case on any of the grounds enumerated in Section 5, Canon 3, may
purge himself of such a disqualification so that he may act upon the case. This
process is allowed under Section 6 of the same Canon which provides:
• A judge disqualified as stated above may, instead of withdrawing from the
proceeding, disclose on the records the basis of disqualification. If, based on
such disclosure, the parties and lawyers, independently of the judge’s
participation, all agree in writing that the reason for inhibition is immaterial
or unsubstantial, the judge may then participate in the proceeding. The
agreement, signed by all the parties and lawyers, shall be incorporated in the
record of the proceedings.

• Notably, the decision to continue hearing the case, despite the existence of
reasons for disqualification should be: (1) coupled with bona fide disclosure to
the parties-in-litigation; and (2) subject to express acceptance by all the
parties of the cited reason as material or substantial. Absent such agreement,
the judge may not continue to hear the case.
Re: Letters/complaint of Rallos, IPI No. 12-203-CA-J/A.M. No. 12-9-08-CA,
12/10/2013
• The Court held that there is nothing in Rule V or in any other
part of the Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals that
specifically requires that the party-litigants be informed of the
mandatory or voluntary inhibition of a Justice.
• Nevertheless, a party-litigant who desires to be informed of
the inhibition of a Justice and of the reason for the inhibition
must file a motion for inhibition in the manner provided
under Section 3, Rule V of the Internal Rules of the Court of
Appeals.
• However, the Court held that henceforth all the parties in any
action or proceedings should be immediately notified of any
mandatory disqualification or voluntary inhibition of the
Justice who has participated in any action of the court,
stating the reason for the mandatory disqualification or
voluntary inhibition.
• The requirement of notice is a measure to ensure that the
disqualification or inhibition has not been resorted to in order
to cause injustice to or to prejudice any party or cause.
• Bare allegations of partially and prejudgment will not suffice in the absence
of clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption that the judge
will undertake his role to dispense justice according to law and evidence
without fear or favor. Heirs of Juaban v. Boncale, et. al., G.R. No. 156011,
July 6, 2008, 557 SCRA 1; Law Firm of Tungcol & Tibayan v. CA, G.R. No.
169298, July 9, 2008, 557 SCRA 451
• Inhibition must be for just and valid causes: mere impression of bias and
partiality is not ground for a judge to inhibit, especially when the charge is
without sufficient basis. City of Naga v. Asuncion, G.R. No. 174042, July 9,
2008, 528 SCRA 528
Marifel v. Cuachos, A. M. No. 2360-MII, August 31, 1981, 107 SCRA 41.
• Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, supra, and Rule 3.12 of the
Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, supra, pertain to
disqualification of judges. The reasons for disqualifications are not
limited to the circumstances cited in Section 5, Canon 3. Grounds of
substantially the same nature can support the disqualification of a judge.
CANON 4 – PROPRIETY - Propriety and the appearance of
propriety are essential to the performance of all the
activities of a judge. (Sections 1-15)
PROPRIETY is a conduct which is in accord with the
conventional practices of decorum, dignity and decency
which is demonstrative of good breeding, good manners
and refinement.
- behavior not only as a magistrate but also as a private
individual which shows his rectitude, respectability,
urbanity and graciousness. A judge should not only act
and behave with propriety but must appear to be so in
order to earn the trust of the people in the courts.
What judges shall do: they shall —
- avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all
their activities (Sec. 1);
- accept personal restrictions that might be viewed as
burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should conduct
themselves in a way that is consistent with the dignity of
the judicial office (Sec. 2);
- in their personal relations with lawyers regularly practicing
in their court, avoid situations which may reasonably give
rise to the suspicion or appearance of favoritism (Sec. 3)
- in exercising their freedom of expression, belief, association
and assembly, act and behave in such a manner as to
preserve the dignity of the judicial office and the
impartiality and independence of the judiciary (Sec. 6)
What judges may do: they may —
- subject, to the proper performance of judicial duties, teach and
participate in activities concerning the law and related matters;
appear at public hearing before an official body concerned with
matters relating to law and the legal system, the administration
of justice or related matters; engage in other activities which do
not detract from the dignity of the judicial office or otherwise
interfere with the performance of judicial duties (Sec. 10)
- form or join associations of judges or participate in other
organizations representing the interest of judges (Sec. 11) and
- subject to law and to any legal requirements of public
disclosure, receive a token gift, award or benefit as appropriate
to the occasion on which it is made provided that such gift,
award or benefit might not reasonably be perceived as intended
to influence the judge in the performance of judicial duties or
otherwise give rise to an appearance of partiality (Sec. 15).
What Judges shall not do: they shall not —
- participate in the determination of a case in which any member of their family
represents a litigant or is associated in any manner with the case; (Sec. 4)
- allow the use of their residence by a lawyer to receive clients of the latter or of
other members of the legal profession (Sec. 5);
- use or lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance their private interest
or those of any member of their family or anyone else (Sec. 8);
- use or disclose confidential information acquired by them in their judicial
capacity for any purpose unrelated to their judicial duties (Sec. 9);
- practice law (Sec. 11);
- ask for or accept, any gift, bequest, loan or favor in relation to anything done
or to be done or omitted to be done by them in connection with the
performance of judicial duties; this prohibition includes the members of their
families (Sec. 13); and
- knowingly permit court staff or others subject to their influence, direction or
authority to ask for, or accept, any gift, bequest, loan, or favor in relation to
anything done or to be done or omitted to be done in connection with their
duties and functions (Sec. 14)
OCA v. JUDGE BALUT A.M. No. RTJ-15-2426 June 16, 2015
• Judges must adhere to the highest tenets of judicial conduct. Because of the
sensitivity of his position, a judge is required to exhibit, at all times, the highest
degree of honesty and integrity and to observe exacting standards of morality,
decency and competence. He should adhere to the highest standards of public
accountability lest his action erode the public faith in the Judiciary. Judge Balut
fell short of this standard for borrowing money from the collections of the court. He
knowingly and deliberately made the clerks of court violate the circulars on the
proper administration of court funds. He miserably failed to become a role model of
his staff and other court personnel in the observance of the standards of morality
and decency, both in his official and personal conduct.
• The act of misappropriating court funds constitutes dishonesty and grave misconduct,
punishable by dismissal from the service even on the first offense. This Court has never
tolerated and will never condone any conduct which violates the norms of public
accountability, and diminish, or even tend to diminish, the faith of the people in the
justice system.
• The fact that Judge Balut fully paid his cash liabilities will not shield him from the
consequences of his wrongdoings. His unwarranted interference in the Court
collections deserves administrative sanction and not even the full payment of his
accountabilities will exempt him from liability.
JMOT CORP. v. JUDGE PINLAC A.M. No. RTJ-14-2402), April 15, 2015
• The mere failure of a Judge to pay a loan he obtained on the due date despite
written demands cannot be instantly characterized as willful. The term
"willful" means voluntary and intentional. Thus, a Judge's failure to pay a just
debt, as would constitute a serious charge under Section 8(6) of Rule 140 of
the Rules of Court, must not only be voluntary, but also intentional, i.e., that
the Judge no longer has any intention to satisfy his obligation.
• Accordingly, before a Judge may be held administratively liable for willful
failure to pay his debts, the complainant must present substantial evidence
that would show that the respondent no longer intends to fulfill his obligation.
There must be circumstances that would support the conclusion that the
respondent no longer has any intention to pay his debt.
• Judge Pinlac does not deny having obtained a loan from JMOTC on his
purchases of animal feeds and that the same has yet to be fully satisfied. Thus,
there being no evidence that would establish that Judge Pinlac's failure to pay
his debt was intentional, he could only be held liable for impropriety.
Impropriety constitutes a light charge, which, under Section 11(C) of Rule 140
of the Rules of Court.
• Judge merely fined and warned
Lorenzana v. Judge Austria, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2200,
4/2/2014
• The Court held that in administrative cases, the complainant
bears the onus of proving the averments of his complaint by
substantial evidence. In this case, the allegations of grave abuse
of authority, irregularity in the performance of duty, grave bias
and partiality, and lack of circumspection are devoid of merit
because the complainant failed to establish Judge Austria’s bad
faith, malice or ill will.
• Even granting that the judge erred in the exercise of her judicial
functions, these are legal errors correctible not by a disciplinary
action, but by judicial remedies that are readily available to the
complainant. An administrative complaint is not the
appropriate remedy for every irregular or erroneous order or
decision issued by a judge where a judicial remedy is available,
such as a motion for reconsideration or an appeal.
Correa vs. Judge Belen AM RTJ- 10-1242 August 6, 2010
• The ethical principles and sense of propriety of a judge are essential to the
preservation of the people’s faith in the judicial system. A judge must consistently
be temperate in words and in actions. Patience is one virtue that members of the
bench should practice at all times, and courtesy to everyone is always called for.
Sinaon, Sr. v. Judge Dumlao, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1519, March 4, 2008, 547 SCRA 531
• Respondent judge failed to obey the order of the OCA to file his comment on an
administrative complaint filed against him. This was not the first time that he
failed or refused to obey an OCA order to comment on administrative complaint. In
this case, the Supreme Court held that such repeated disobedience to an order to
comment betrays not only a recalcitrant streak in character but also disrespect of
the Court Administrator’s lawful orders and directives.
Judge Capco-Umali v. Judge Acosta-Villarante, A.M. No. RTJ-082124, August 27,
2009,
• The Supreme Court ruled that both complainant judge and respondent judge
violated Section 1, Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct. By quarrelling
within the court premises, said judges failed to observe proper decorum expected of
members of the Judiciary. More detestable is the fact that their squabble arose out
of mere allowances from the local government unit.
CANON 5 – EQUALITY - Ensuring equality of treatment to all
before the courts is essential to the due performance of the
judicial office. (Sections 1-5)
EQUALITY, in its juridical sense, is equal opportunity of all persons
in the enjoyment and exercise of human rights and the
constitutional freedoms and liberties, including equal protection by
the State of people’s lives, security, properties and other interests.
• Section 1, Article III of the Constitution commands that no person
shall be denied the equal protection of the law. This principle
mandates government and all its functionaries to treat the people
alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. No
man is above the law, and the law must be applied equally to all.
Discrimination on account of race, nationality, gender, social status,
and degree of education is anathema to justice and fair play. It also
offends the Constitution and if the perpetrator is a judge, he
transgresses, in addition, Canon 5 of the New Code of Judicial
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary.
What judges shall do: they shall —
- be aware of, and understand diversity in society and
differences arising from various sources, including but not
limited to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, case,
disability, age, marital status, sexual orientations, social and
economic status and other like causes (Sec. 1);
- carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for
all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court
staff and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any
irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper performance of
such duties (Sec. 3);
- require lawyers in proceedings before the court to refrain
from manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice
based on irrelevant grounds, except such as are legally
relevant to an issue in proceedings and may be the subject
of legitimate advocacy (Sec. 5)
What judges shall not do: they shall not —
- manifest, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice
towards any person or group on irrelevant
grounds (Sec. 2);
- knowingly permit court staff or others subject to
the judges’ influence, direction or control to
differentiate between persons concerned, in a
matter before the judge; on any irrelevant
grounds (Sec. 4)
Sy v. Judge Fineza, A. M. RT J-03-1808, October 15, 2003, 413
SCRA 374.
• Conducting judicial proceedings in a manner and with an
attitude that affirms the dignity of such proceedings is crucial
to maintaining public confidence in the judiciary. Judges
should not yield to first impression, reach hasty conclusions or
prejudge matters. They have a duty to ensure that the minority
status of the accused plays no part in their decisions. Neither
should judges insult witnesses in the hallway or in pleadings
filed before the Supreme Court.
Abinag v. Estonina, Adm. Case No. 91-MJ, July 23, 1974, 58 SCRA
49; Otero v. Esguerra, Adm. Case No. 6550-MJ, May 23, 1974, 57
SCRA 47
• Judges should avoid private remarks, hasty conclusions, or
distasteful jokes that may give even erroneous impressions of
prejudice and lead the public to believe that cases before them are
being prejudged.
• For a judge to determine the fitness or competence of a
lawyer primarily on the basis of his alma mater is clearly
an engagement in argument ad hominem. It is a conduct
unbecoming of a judge. (Mane vs. Belen, 556 SCRA 555)

• A judge displayed a condescending attitude toward


lawyers in the provinces when he implied that they were
“inferior” to lawyers from Manila. (Juan dela Cruz vs.
Carretas, 532 SCRA 218)

• Members of the bench should refrain from any conduct that


would in any way give rise to a suspicion, whether unfounded
or not, that he exhibits more concern for those blessed with
affluence. (Azupordo vs. Buenviaje, 82 SCRA 369)
CANON 6 - COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE - Competence and
diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of judicial
office. (Sections 1-7)
JUDICIAL COMPETENCE is an important value which means
proficiency with the basic legal principles and well-settled and
authoritative doctrines. This value expected of a judge to strive for
excellence is exceeded only by his passion for truth to the end that
he be the personification of justice and the rule of law.

• DILIGENCE subsumes the attribute of efficiency. The most


important aspects of diligence are: a) the observance of the
reglementary periods in resolving motions, deciding cases and
undertaking a process provided for in the laws and the rules; b)
proper and effective management of the business of the court; and
c) the intensity and pertinacious attention to one’s work and the
zeal to accomplish the task.
Competence - What judges shall do: they shall —
- take reasonable steps to maintain and enhance
their knowledge, skills and personal qualities
necessary for the proper performance of judicial
duties, taking advantage for this purpose of the
training and other facilities which should be made
available under judicial control to judges (Sec. 3);
- keep themselves informed about relevant
developments of international law, including
international conventions and other instruments
establishing human rights norms (Sec. 4).
Diligence - What judges shall do: they shall —
- always keep in mind that their judicial duties take precedence over all
other activities (Sec. 1);
- devote their professional activity to judicial duties, which include not
only the performance of judicial functions and responsibilities in court
and the making of decisions, but also other tasks relevant to the judicial
office or the court’s operations (Sec. 2);
- perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions,
efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness (Sec. 5); and
- maintain order or decorum in all proceedings before the court and be
patient, dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses,
lawyers, and others subject to their influence, direction or control (Sec. 6)

What judges shall not do: they shall not —


- engage in conduct incompatible with the diligent discharge of judicial duties
(Sec. 7)
Espanol, etc. vs. Toledo-Mupas AM # MTJ-03-1462, Feb. 11, 2011
• Respondent should be aware of the basic rule that once a case is
submitted for decision, no further pleadings are required to be filed.
Moreover, there is no need to issue an order declaring a case submitted
for decision in order that the 90 day period in deciding the same shall
begin to run. Failure to promply decide cases in accordance with the
Constitution or the Rules of Court constitutes gross inefficiency.

OCA vs. Judge Ismael, A.M. No. RTJ-07-2045, Jan. 19, 2010
• A judge’s foremost consideration is the administration of justice.
Thus, he should follow the time limit set for deciding cases. xxx
Failure to comply within the mandated period constitutes a serious
violation of the constitutional right of the parties to a speedy
disposition of their cases. It also undermines the people’s faith and
confidence in the judiciary, lowers its standards and brings it to
disrepute. Decision making, among other duties, is the most
important duty of a member of the bench.
OCA v. JUDGE FLORES, A.M. No. RTJ-12-2325, April 14, 2015
 When a law or a rule is basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply
the law. "Anything less is gross ignorance of the law.“
• Competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of
judicial office and every judge is required to observe the law. There is
gross ignorance of the law when an error committed by the judge was
gross or patent, deliberate or malicious, or when a judge ignores,
contradicts or fails to apply settled law and jurisprudence because of bad
faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption.
• No less than the Code of Judicial conduct mandates that a judge shall be
faithful to the laws and maintain professional competence. Indeed,
competence is a mark of a good judge.
• When a judge displays an utter lack of familiarity with the rules, he erodes
the public's confidence in the competence of our courts. Such is gross
ignorance of the law. One who accepts the exalted position of a judge
owes the public and the court the duty to be proficient in the law.
Unfamiliarity with the Rules of Court is a sign of incompetence. Basic
rules of procedure must be at the palm of a judge's hands.
OCA v. Judge Bustamante, A.M. No. MTJ-12-1806, 4/7/2014.
• The Court held that decision-making, among other duties, is the
primordial and most important duty of a member of the
bench. The speedy disposition of cases in the courts is a primary
aim of the judiciary so the ends of justice may not be
compromised and the judiciary will be true to its commitment to
provide litigants their constitutional right to a speedy trial and a
speedy disposition of their cases.
• The Constitution, Code of Judicial Conduct, and jurisprudence
consistently mandate that a judge must decide cases within 90 days
from submission.
• A member of the bench cannot pay mere lip service to the 90-day
requirement; he/she should instead persevere in its implementation.
• Heavy caseload and demanding workload are not valid reasons to
fall behind the mandatory period for disposition of cases. Having
failed to decide a case within the required period, without any
order of extension granted by the Court, Judge Bustamante was
held liable for undue delay that merits administrative sanction.
Dulalia v. Judge Cajigal, A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 10-32492,
12/4, 2013
• Well entrenched is the rule that a judge may not be
administratively sanctioned for mere errors of judgment in
the absence of showing of any bad faith, fraud, malice, gross
ignorance, corrupt purpose, or a deliberate intent to do an
injustice on his or her part.
• Moreover, as a matter of public policy, a judge cannot be
subjected to liability for any of his official acts, no matter how
erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith.
• To hold otherwise would be to render judicial office
untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret
the law in the process of administering justice can be
infallible in his judgment.
RE: COMPLAINT DAMAYO, AGAINST J. LAGURA-YAP, A.M. No. CA-15-53-J, July 14,
2015.
 It should be emphasized that as a matter of policy, in the absence of fraud,
dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject
to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous. He cannot be subjected
to liability - civil, criminal or administrative - for any of his official acts, no matter
how erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith. In such a case, the remedy of the
aggrieved party is not to file an administrative complaint against the judge but to elevate
the error to the higher court for review and correction.
 The Court has to be shown acts or conduct of the judge clearly indicative of arbitrariness
or prejudice before the latter can be branded with the stigma of being biased and partial.
 Good faith and absence of malice, corrupt motives or improper considerations are
sufficient defenses in which a judge charged with ignorance of the law can find
refuge.
• In this case, other than the complainant's bare allegation of fraud, there was no showing
that respondent was motivated by bad faith or ill motives in the alleged erroneous
judgment.
• This Court will not shirk from its responsibility of imposing discipline upon all employees
of the judiciary, but neither will it hesitate to shield them from unfounded suits that only
serve to disrupt rather than promote the orderly administration of justice.
TORMIS v. JUDGE PAREDES,
• A judge should always conduct himself in a manner that would preserve the dignity,
independence and respect for himself, the Court and the Judiciary as a whole. He must
exhibit the hallmark judicial temperament of utmost sobriety and self-restraint. He
should choose his words and exercise more caution and control in expressing
himself. In other words, a judge should possess the virtue of gravitas. Furthermore, a
magistrate should not descend to the level of a sharp-tongued, ill-mannered petty
tyrant by uttering harsh words, snide remarks and sarcastic comments. He is required
to always be temperate, patient and courteous, both in conduct and in language.
• Section 6, Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct recognizes that judges, like any
other citizen, are entitled to freedom of expression. Such right, however, is not without
limitation. Section 6, Canon 4 of the Code also imposes a correlative restriction on
judges: in the exercise of their freedom of expression, they should always conduct
themselves in a manner that preserves the dignity of the judicial office and the
impartiality and independence of the Judiciary. In the exercise of his right to freedom
of expression, Judge Paredes should uphold the good image of the Judiciary of which he
is a part. He should have avoided unnecessary and uncalled for remarks in his
discussions and should have been more circumspect in his language. Being a judge, he
is expected to act with greater circumspection and to speak with self-restraint. Verily,
Judge Paredes fell short of this standard.
TORMIS v. JUDGE PAREDES,
• Any impropriety on the part of Judge Paredes, whether committed
in or out of the court, should not be tolerated for he is not a judge
only occasionally. It should be emphasized that the Code of
Judicial Ethics mandates that the conduct of a judge must be free
of a whiff of impropriety not only with respect to his performance
of his judicial duties, but also to his behavior outside his sala and
as a private individual. There is no dichotomy of morality, a public
official is also judged by his private morals.
• The Code dictates that a judge, in order to promote public
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, must
behave with propriety at all times. A judge’s official life cannot
simply be detached or separated from his personal existence.
• For conduct unbecoming of a judge - admonished
Judge Barillo vs. Judge Lantion, G. R. No. 159117 A.M.
No. MTJ-10-1752, March 10, 2010
• To warrant a finding of gross ignorance of the law, as a
ground for disciplinary action, the error must be so
gross and patent as to produce an inference of bad
faith or that the judge knowingly rendered an unjust
decision. The error must be so grave and so
fundamental to a point as to warrant condemnation of
the judge as patently ignorant or negligent. Otherwise,
to hold a judge administratively accountable for every
erroneous ruling or decision he renders, assuming that
the judge erred, would be nothing short of harassment
and that would be intolerable.
Dipatuan vs. Judge Mangotara AM # RTJ-09-2190, April 23, 2010
• While a judge may not be held liable for gross ignorance of the law for every
erroneous order that he renders, it is also axiomatic that when the legal
principle involved is sufficiently basic, lack of conversance with it constitutes
gross ignorance of the law. Indeed, even though a judge may not always be
subjected to disciplinary action for every erroneous order or decision he
renders, that relative immunity is not a license to be negligent or abusive and
arbitrary in performing his adjudicatory prerogatives. It does not mean that a
judge need not observe propriety, discreetness and due care in the performance
of his official functions. This is because if judges wantonly misuse the powers
vested on them by the law, there will not only be confusion in the
administration of justice but also oppressive disregard of the basic
requirements of due process.
Pancho vs. Judge Aguirre AM # RTJ-09-2196, April 7, 2010
• When the law or procedure is so elementary, such as the provisions of the Rules of Court,
not to know it or to act as if one does not know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law.
Such ignorance of a basic rule in court procedure, as failing to conduct pre-trial, sadly
amounts to gross ignorance and warrants a corresponding penalty.
AMANTE-DESCALLAR vs. Judge RAMAS, A.M. No. RTJ-06-2015, Dec. 15, 2010
• The Court has previously held that a judge’s submission of false certificates of
service seriously undermines and reflects on the honesty and integrity expected of
an officer of the court. This is so because a certificate of service is not merely a
means to one's paycheck but is an instrument by which the Court can fulfill the
constitutional mandate of the people ' s right to a speedy disposition of cases.

Suarez v. Judge Dilag, A. M. No. RT J- 06-2014, OCA v. Judge Dilag, A. M. No. 06-07-
415-RTC, March 4, 2009, 580 SCRA 491.
• The grant by respondent judge of a Motion for New Trial in Moreno v. Moreno, (Civil
Case No. 188-0-01) was improper because the psychological report and the affidavit
of psychiatrist who conducted the examination were not attached to the motion,
pursuant to the 2nd paragraph of Section 2, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court which
requires that a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence shall be
supported by affidavits of witnesses by whom such evidence is expected to be given,
or by duly authenticated documents which are supposed to be introduced in
evidence. Moreover, the psychological report cannot be considered a newly
discovered evidence because it did not yet exist at the time of the trial as the
psychological examination was conducted only after the dismissal of the case.
Biggel v. Judge Pamintuan, A. M. No. RT J- 08-2101, 559 SCRA
344
• For failure to resolve a motion for reconsideration of an order
denying a motion for reinvestigation for four (4) months, the
Court fined the respondent judge P20,000.00 for gross
inefficiency.
Pangilinan v. Judge Jaungue, A. M. No. RT J-08-2100, 543 SCRA
251.
• Respondent judge was found to have been absent from his station
without official leave of absence. He also issued an Order without
his signature. He has misinterpreted the Resolution of the
COMELEC and despite the motion for clarification, he failed to
correct his erroneous judicial act. All these constitute, according
to the Supreme Court, serious misconduct, gross inefficiency, and
gross neglect of duty for which he was suspended for six (6)
months without pay.
Thank You !!!!!!!!!!!!