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University of the East

College of Law
Legal and Judicial Ethics Review
Second Semester 2015-2016
Atty. Victoria V. Loanzon
PART TWO - JUDICIAL ETHICS
I. 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
II. Membership in the Judiciary
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.
Qualifications of SC Justice: natural born Filipino, 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.
Villanueva v. JBC (2015)
Jardeleza vs. Chief Justice Sereno and JBC (2015)
4. Term of Office: Section 11, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution provides that members of the
judiciary shall hold office during good behavior until they reach 70 years old or they become
incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office.
5. Manner of Selection and Appointment (Read Section 8, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution
for the composition, powers and term of office of members of the Judicial and Bar Council)
Chavez v. JBC, et al., G.R. No. 202242, July 17, 2012
Appointments made by the President in the judiciary do not need any confirmation by the
Commission on Appointments. (Section 9. Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
Please note that:
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)

Requirements in the discharge of responsibilities of members of the judiciary:


1. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and
distinctly, the facts and law on which it is based. (Section 14, Article VIII, 1987
Constitution)
2. Dedicated service to the judiciary
3. Members of the judiciary shall not be designated to any agency performing quasijudicial or administrative functions. (Section12, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
4. SALN Requirement
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. (Section 17, Article XI, 1987 Constitution)
5. Allegiance to the Philippine Government. Any public officer owes allegiance to the
Philippine government and its Constitution and a public officer who seeks to change
citizenship or acquire the status of an immigrant of another country during his
tenure shall be dealt with by law.(Section 18, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution)
III. Qualities (I.I.I. PECd): Independence, Integrity, Impartiality, Propriety, Equality and
Competence and diligence
A. Uphold the Dignity and Independence of the Court
CANON 1 A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the Judiciary. (Sections 17)
Two aspects of independence: institutional independence and personal independence: 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.
Talens-Dabon v. Arceo, A.M. No. RTJ-96-1336, July 25, 1996
Dela Cruz v. Pascua, A. M. No. RTJ-99-146, June 26, 2001,359 SCRA 569
Go v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 101837, February 11, 1992, 206 SCRA 165
B. Avoid Impropriety: CANON 2 A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of
impropriety in all activities. (Sections 1-3)
Samson v. Judge Caballero, A. M. No. RT J-08- 213, 595 SCRA 423
Suarez v. Judge Dilag, A. M. No. RT J-06-2014, March 4, 2009, 580 SCRA 491.
Santos v. Judge Arcaya- Chua, A. M. No. MT J-07-20093, February 17, 2009
Inonog v. Judge Ibay, A. M. No. RT J-09-2175, July 28, 2009, 594 SCRA 168.
C. Maintain Impartiality
CANON 3 A judge should perform official duties honestly, and with impartiality and diligence.
(Sections 1-6)
Concerned Lawyers of Bulacan v. Judge Vilalon-Pornillos, 592 SCRA 36
Paco v. Quilala, et. Al., A. M. No. RT J-02-1699, 413 SCRA 364
Complaint against Chief Justice Corona dated Sept. 14, 2011 filed by Inter-Petal
Recreational Corp., A.M. No. 12-6-10 SC, June 13, 2012
Villaluz v. Mijares, A. M. No. RT J-98-1402, April 3, 1998, 288 SCRA 594
D. Duty to Improve the Law and the Administration of Justice
CANON 4: A judge may, with due regard to official duties, engage in activities to improve the
law, the legal system and the administration of justice. (Sections 1-15)
Albos v. Alaba, A.M. No. MTJ-91517, March 11, 1994.
E. Duty to Avoid Conflict with Judicial Responsibilities
CANON 5: A judge should regulate extra-judicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict of
judicial duties. (Sections 1 - 5)
Re. Conviction of Judge Angeles, A. M. No. RT J-06-9-5215, 543 SCRA
Guanzon v. Judge Rufon, 537 SCRA 38
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Sy v. Judge Fineza, A. M. RT J-03-1808, October 15, 2003, 413 SCRA 374


F. Duty to Exhibit Competence and Diligence
CANON 6: Competence and Diligence (Sections 1-7)
Biggel v. Judge Pamintuan, A. M. No. RT J- 08-2101, 559 SCRA 344
Bayaca v. Judge Ramos, A. M. No. MT J-07-1676, 577 SCRA 93
IV. Disqualification of Justices and Judges (Rule 137)
Prohibition on practice of profession: No member of the judiciary may practice their
profession during their incumbency.
A. Prescriptive Duty to resolve pending matters
All matters pending with the Supreme Court must be resolved with 24 months;
Twelve (12) months for all collegiate appellate courts; and
Three (3) months for all other lower courts. (Section 15(1), 1987 Constitution)
B. Disqualification and Inhibition of Judges: may be voluntary or involuntary: There
are two rules governing the qualification and voluntary inhibition of judges: Section 1,
Rule 137 of the Rules of Court; and Rule 3. 12 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for
the Philippine Judiciary. Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court provides:
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. (ex. If judge served as
wedding sponsor to one of the litigants or litigant is his kasambahay.)
Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary states:
Rule 3.12. A Judge should take no part in proceeding where the judges impartially
might reasonably be questioned. These cases include, among others, proceedings
where:
The judge has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the
proceeding;
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;
The judges ruling in a lower court is the subject of review;
The judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree
or to co-counsel within the fourth degree;
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.
1. 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.
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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.
2. Remittal of Disqualification: Nature of remittal: 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.
How remittal is effected: 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 record the basis of disqualification. If, based on such disclosure, the parties and lawyers,
independently of the judges 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.
V. Discipline of Members of the Judiciary
A. Members of the Supreme Court: Impeachment. (Section 2, Article XI, 1987
Constitution); Grounds; and Proceedings
In re: Undated letter of Mr. Louis C. Biraogo, A.M. No. 09-2-19, S.C
In Re: Letter Complaint of Atty. Pena against Justices Carpio and Sereno, A.M. No. 12-611- SC
B. Discipline of Appellate Justices and Lower Court Judges: Read Section 11, Article VIII,
1987 Constitution
1. Jurisdiction over disciplinary cases: The Supreme Court en banc shall have the power to
discipline appellate justices and lower court judges.
2. Vote required to 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.
3. Grounds for disciplinary action over appellate and trial judges
4. Sanctions: fines, suspension, dismissal from office, forfeiture of benefits and disbarment
Office of the Court Administrator v. Atty. Daniel R. Liangco (A.C. No.5355, December
11, 2011)
VI. Administrative Aspects over Court Matters, Responsibilities and Discipline of Court
Personnel
A. Powers and Duties of Courts and Judicial Officers (Rule 135)
B. Court Records and General Duties of Clerks and Stenographer (Rule 136)
C. Legal Fees (Rule 141): Manner of payment: legal tender; principles of Negotiable
Instruments Law will apply; fees in lien; and persons authorized to collect legal fees
D. Costs: Recovery of costs (Rule 142):
a) Prevailing party;
b) Dismissed appeal or action
c) Frivolous appeal; d) false allegations; and
e) Non-appearance of witness
Cases:
1. Case related to sheriffs fees: Sanga v. Alcantara and Bisnar, A.M. No. P-09-2657, January 25, 2010;
Dy Teban Trading Co., Inc. v. Verga, A.M. No.-11-2914, March 16, 2011
2. Cases on misconduct of court personnel: Hernando v. Bengson, A.M. No. P-09-2686, March 10, 2010;
and March 21, 2012; Consolacion v. Gambito, A.M. Nos. P-06-2186 and P-12-3026, July 3, 2012; Judge
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Adlawan v. Capilitan, A.M. No. P-12-3080, August 23, 2012; Celavite-Vidal v. Aguam, A.M. No. SCC-1013-P, June 26, 2012
3. Cases on liability related to custody of judicial funds: OCA v. Atty. Lometillo et al., A.M. No. P-092637, March 29, 2011; OCA v. Peradilla, A.M. No. P-09-2647, July 17, 2012
4. Case for lapse in securing court premises: Re: Theft of Used G.I. Sheets in the SC Compund, Baguio
city, A.M. No.2008-15- SC, May 31, 2011
5. Cases on absenteeism and falsification of time records: OCA v. Araya, Jr, Utility Worker, A.M. No. P12-3053; OCA v. De Lemos et al., A.M. P-11-2953, September 28, 2011
6. Case on taking of monetary evidence for personal purpose: OCA v. Musni, A.M. P-11-3024, July 17,
2012
7. Case on neglect of duty: Memo of Judge Yu to Ms. Lagman and Ms. Bassig, A.M. No. P-12-3033,
August 15, 2012

In recent cases decided by the S.C. involving court personnel, the Court made the following
rulings:
1. A court stenographer must pay just obligations as there is a compelling need to preserve
decency in the judiciary.
2. Court personnel is likewise covered by the prohibition that he cannot purchase a
property involved within the jurisdiction of their courts.
3. A clerk of court who delays the transmittal of records to the appellate court is guilty of
misconduct and merits suspension without pay.
4. A clerk of court who fails to issue an Official Receipt as Commissioners fee and the
stenographers fee exhibits misconduct.
5. A clerk of court who fails to remit money received in the course of his work may be
suspended and the amount unremitted will be deducted from his salary until fully paid.
6. A clerk of court who showed oppressive conduct towards her subordinates may be
dismissed from service if the subordinates and other third parties are able to substantiate
their claims.
7. A court personnel who is found guilty of dishonesty, grave misconduct, unlawful
behavior or who is found to have a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, defraud or betray;
untrustworthiness, lack of integrity, lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; and
lack of fairness and straightforwardness may face not only administrative investigation by
the Office of the Court Administrator but may likewise be charged for violation of Civil
Service Rules and Regulations and violation of the Revised Penal Law and other Special
Penal Laws involving public officers.