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Cohesive Report

(Canons 1 & 2 of New Code of Judicial Conduct, and Cases)

Upholding the Integrity and Independence of Judiciary

An honorable, competent and independent judiciary exists to
administer justice and thus promote the unity of the country, the stability of
government, and the well being of the people. It capsulate what the judiciary
should be.1

Judicial independence is not a privilege or prerogative of the individual
judge. It is the responsibility imposed on each judge to enable him or her to
adjudicate a dispute honestly and impartially on the basis of the law and the
evidence, without external pressure or influence and without fear of
interference from anyone.2 On the other hand, Integrity is the attribute of
rectitude and righteousness. The components of integrity are honesty and
judicial morality. A judge should always, not only in the discharge of official
duties, act honorably and in a manner befitting the judicial office; be free
from fraud, deceit and falsehood; and be good and virtuous in behavior and
in character. There are no degrees of integrity as so defined. Integrity is
absolute. In the judiciary, integrity is more than a virtue; it is a necessity.3


Judicial independence is a pre-requisite to the rule of law and a
fundamental guarantee of a fair trial. A judge shall therefore uphold
and exemplify judicial independence in both its individual and
institutional aspects.

Canon 1 of the previous Code of Judicial Conduct (the “1989 Code”)
dealt with upholding both the independence and integrity of the judiciary.
The new Canon 1, however, deals solely with the matter of judicial
independence as a “pre-requisite to the rule of law” and a “fundamental
guarantee of a fair trial.” More precisely, the new Canon 1 differs from the
same section of the 1989 Code in three significant ways. First, the new code
focuses on the institutional and personal independence of judicial officers,
while the 1989 Code was concerned primarily with the institutional
independence of the judiciary. Second, Canon 1 of the 1989 Code created a
weaker mandate. The 1989 Code contained three guidelines explaining what
judges “should” do, while the new code contains eight norms of conduct that
judges “shall” follow. The third and primary difference is the treatment of
independence as a single Canon. This treatment is similar to that in the
Canons of Judicial Ethics.4

1 Agpalo, Ruben E. Legal and Judicial Ethics, Eight Editions, Rex Book Store, 2009.

2 United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes. “Commentary on the Bangalore
Principles of Judicial Conduct”. September, 2007.

3 Ibid.

September 8. direct or indirect. No.M. but also on the highest standard of integrity and moral uprightness they are expected to possess.unodc. . OCA IPI No. The Court held that: “The judge should maintain a detached attitude from the case and should not waste his time by taking an active part in a proceeding which relates to official actuations in a case but should apply himself to his principal task of hearing and adjudicating the cases in his court. pressure. He is merely a nominal party to the case and has no personal interest or personality therein. 02-1207. free of any extraneous influence. 1997). direct or indirect. integrity and independence. Rosete (437 SCRA 581.5 Section 1. the court repeatedly admonished that judges shall adhere to the highest tenets of judicial conduct. 280 SCRA 623. Judges shall exercise the judicial function independently on the basis of their assessment of the facts and in accordance with a conscientious understanding of the law.” 5 Tan vs. from any quarter or for any reason. https://www. Rosete. the respondent judge was held guilty of gross ignorance of the law for acting both as a party litigant and as a judge before his own court.M. It requires that judges must reject pressure from any source by maintaining independence in the pursuit of their duties. threat or interference. e. Confidence in the judiciary is eroded if judicial decision-making is perceived to be subject to inappropriate outside influences."7 Section 1 requires judges to rule fairly regardless of public opinion. 6 Canon 1 section 1 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct provides that: Judges shall exercise the judicial function independently on the basis of their assessment of the facts and in accordance with a conscientious understanding of the law. A. inducement. The exacting standards of conduct demanded from judges are designed to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary because the people’s confidence in the judicial system is founded not only on the magnitude of legal knowledge and the diligence of the members of the bench. It is essential to judicial independence and to maintaining the public’s confidence in the justice system that the executive. MTJ-04-1563. September.MTJ).1375. A judge must not only be pure but above suspicion. No. In Macalintal v. free of any extraneous influence. October 16. pressure. They must be the embodiment of competence.M. the legislature and the judge do not create a perception that the judge’s decisions could be colored by such influences. threat or interference. Teh (280 SCRA 623. from any quarter or for any reason. 6 United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes. This is not without reason. RTJ-93. inducement. 4Canon 13 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics reads: “Independence – A judge should not be swayed by public clamor or considerations of personal popularity. In Tan v. 1992). 2007. Teh. 1997. “Commentary on the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct”. 437 SCRA 581. 2004 (formerly A.pdf 7 Macalintal v.

February 11. October 4.11 Section 4. Section 3 is a verbatim reproduction of Rule 2. Jr. Judges shall refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending before another court or administrative agency. The inclusion of the present Section 3 in the Canon on Independence affirms that a judge’s restraint from exerting influence over other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies is required for more than just propriety. RTJ-02-1697. In performing judicial duties. 1991). Villamor (202 SCRA 445. the Supreme Court held that the trial court should not have been influenced by irrelevant consideration. However. judges shall be independent from judicial colleagues in respect of decisions which the judge is obliged to make independently This section is an expanded or more detailed articulation of Rule 1. neither are they supposed to make themselves freely accessible under such circumstances as to invite suspicions of impropriety if not bias. No. . 1991. No. G. 1992.R.M. Majaducon (413 SCRA 354.04 of Canon 2 of the 1989 Code. The current version of Section 2 is also more exacting than the weaker suggestion in Rule 1. Court of Appeals (206 SCRA 165. 101837. Majaducon. In Sabitsana. A. Villamor. No. 2003). October 15. vs.” 11 Sabitsana Jr. Judges shall not allow family. 1992).03. the provision above was part of the rules governing Propriety. While judges are not expected to shun the world. Court of Appeals. when a case has received wide and sensational publicity. 10 Canon 2 is captioned as follows: “A JUDGE SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL ACTIVITIES.10 Originally. the judge should be doubly careful not only to be fair and impartial but also to give the appearance of complete objectivity in its handling of the case. respondent judge did not realized that his very conduct of entertaining litigants and their counsels in his chamber without the presence of the adverse party or his counsel constitutes an impropriety.8 Section 2. A. 202 SCRA 445. In Chan v. v.9 Section 3. 90-474. or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. The prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the private 8 Go vs. 2003.03 of the 1989 Code focusing specifically on the influence or pressure wielded by the judges’ colleagues or contemporaries. 9 Chan vs. It is also required for compliance with the duty to respect not just the individual independence of fellow judges but also the independence of the judiciary as a whole. 206 SCRA 165. the Court held: Interference by members of the bench in pending suits with the end in view of influencing the course or the result of litigation does not only subvert the independence of the judiciary but also undermines the people's faith in its integrity and impartiality.M. In the case of Go v. 413 SCRA 354. social. remembering instead that its only guide was the mandate of the law.

Section 5. Judges shall not only be free from inappropriate connections with. However. it affirms the independence of the judiciary from the two other branches of government. provided that there was no showing that such relations were for corrupt ends. a judge should ensure that his family members. nor convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. This Section gives instruction to judges not to allow their family members. the accommodation may seem a reason for the judge to ingratiate himself towards his benefactors. had this case been tried under the New Code of Judicial Conduct. “Judicial Independence: The Politics of the Supreme Court in Mexico. 32 No. see Pilar Domingo. and that the organization.13 12 For commentary on the importance of judicial independence from other branches of government. friends and associates to influence them in their judicial conduct or judgment. considering that the appointments. 3 pp. . the provisions of Section 5 require judges to uphold their solemn duty to render justice freely without any obligation to reciprocate whatever beneficence that might have been bestowed on them by the other two branches.interests of others. Also importantly. but must also appear to be free therefrom to a reasonable observer. the judge’s acts would likely have created an “appearance” of an improper connection. neither the executive nor the legislative branch can dictate or exert influence upon the judiciary. as co-equal bodies. While this section seems to share similarities with some provisions of the Canon on Propriety. promotions and movements of judges are subject to executive approval. (Oct. The case of Suspension of Clerk of Court Jacobo (294 SCRA 119. it would be advisable for judges to avoid becoming dependent on other parties. Practically. friends and associates refrain from creating the impression that they are in a position to influence the judge.03 of the 1989 Code. Vol. 2000). it deals specifically with the avoidance of inappropriate connections – as well as any situation that would give rise to the impression of the existence of such inappropriate connections – with the executive and legislative branches of the government. Section 5 is a new section adopted in the Code of Judicial Conduct. This section is an exact replication of Rule 2. 705- 735. and influence by.. as required by the Constitution. 1998) illustrates that judge in that case was on congenial terms with the governor from whom he borrowed vehicles on several occasions to travel to his judicial station. the executive and legislative branches of government. To the common person.” Journal of Latin American Studies. Legally. which may ultimately be perceived as affecting the judge’s ability to rule independently. 12 The rule set forth in Section 5 has both legal and practical value. especially for basic needs like transportation to the judge’s workstation. Therefore. The Supreme Court held that this congeniality was not necessarily detrimental to judicial independence. whether or not the congenial relationship was indeed used for corrupt ends. Thus. budget and resources of the judiciary are matters that require legislative grace. The provisions therein are closely similar to Canon 1225 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics.

No. 144 SCRA 462 15 Tan vs. MTJ-04-1563.01 of the 1989 Code. 294 SCRA 119. By her appointment to the office. No. A. Her confessed act of succumbing to this pressure on the telephone is a patent betrayal of the public trust reposed on respondent as an arbiter of the law and a revelation of her weak moral character. refrain from all relations which would normally tend to arouse the suspicion that such relations warp or bias his judgment. In Tan vs. A. No. September 8.14 Section 6. R-351-RTJ. 13 Suspension of Clerk of Court Jacobo. the focus of Section 8 is on inspiring public confidence. Section 7 requires judges to encourage and uphold safeguards for the discharge of judicial duties in order to maintain and enhance judicial independence. Corpuz-Macandog. In Ramirez vs. 02-1207. and his act of meeting with litigants outside the office premises beyond office hours violate the standard of judicial conduct required to be observed by members of the Bench. 1986. 2004). Judges shall encourage and uphold safeguards for the discharge of judicial duties in order to maintain and enhance the institutional and operational independence of the judiciary. It is desirable that the judge should. While Section 8 is. . Regrettably. 1986). in many ways. August 12.” The Supreme Court ruled that respondent judge’s actions constitute gross misconduct. OCA IPI No. 437 SCRA 581. While Section 6 is a new provision. Rosete. it is inspired by the provision on “Social relations” in the Canons of Judicial Ethics. Corpuz-Macandog (144 SCRA 462. 2004 (formerly A.M. and prevent an impartial attitude of mind in the administration of judicial duties. 14 Ramirez vs. as far as reasonably possible.M. Judges shall be independent in relation to society in general and in relation to the particular parties to a dispute which he or she has to adjudicate.MTJ). A. the public has laid on respondent their confidence that she is mentally and morally fit to pass upon the merits of their varied contentions. similar to Rule 2. which is fundamental to the maintenance of judicial independence.15 Section 7.M. Sections 7 and 8 instruct judges on what to do to maintain and enhance judicial independence. Judges shall exhibit and promote high standards of judicial conduct in order to reinforce public confidence in the judiciary. respondent judge was suspended by the High Court for gross misconduct. The Court ruled that respondent’s act of sending a member of his staff to talk with complainant and show copies of his draft decisions. M. September 26. Rosete (437 SCRA 581. 93-10-1296-RTC. respondent has dismally failed to exhibit these qualities required of those holding such office. which is punishable under Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court. 1998. a judge acted improperly when she rendered rulings based on directives she received from a government official. Section 8.

No. His conduct lacked the meticulous care expected of one ever mindful of the image of the judiciary that one portrays. In both instances. Section 1 emphasizes that a judge's conduct must not only be above reproach. Flordeliza. the Court held that since appearance and reality fuse in the performance of judicial functions. Section 1. a judge is either too incompetent and undeserving of the position and title he holds.” 17 Lachica vs.M. The actions of respondent judge were not free from all appearances of impropriety. A. the Court held that a judge’s official conduct should be free from the appearance of impropriety. 18 5 Macalintal vs. but must be perceived to be so. 16 the New Code of Judicial Conduct has separated them. MTJ-9-921. RTJ-97-1375. 1997.must not only be pure. 254 SCRA 278. Judges shall ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach. but also that he or she should so behave at all times so as to promote public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.M. Thus. No. but also in his everyday life. or he is too vicious that the oversight or omission was deliberately done in bad faith and in grave abuse of judicial authority. not only upon the bench and in the performance of judicial duties. March 4. . a law or principle in the discharge of his duties. which is the quantum of proof required in administrative cases. 16 Canon 1 of the 1989 Code is captioned: “A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary. October 16. The Court is convinced that the charge of misconduct against the respondent judge has been established by substantial evidence. the judge's dismissal is in order. A. 2001). The Code of Judicial Conduct not only provides that a judge should act with integrity. emphasizing the need for judges to maintain a life of personal and professional integrity in order to properly carry out their judicial functions. and his personal behavior. the present Canon 2 contains three separate provisions all intended to ensure the maintenance of judicial integrity. the judge -. 1996). In Lachica v. 1997).Canon 2: INTEGRITY Integrity is essential not only to the proper discharge of the judicial office but also to the personal demeanor of judges. Teh. should be beyond reproach. Teh (280 SCRA 623.18 In the case of Judge Marcos (360 SCRA 539. Flordeliza (254 SCRA 279. This section underscores the importance of public perception in the maintenance of judicial Caesar’s wife -.17 In Macalintal v. but also be beyond suspicion. 280 SCRA 623. While the 1989 Code grouped the values of integrity and independence together. the High Court held. 1996. “When the inefficiency springs from a failure to consider so basic and elemental a rule. but that it is perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable observer.

"justice must not merely be done but must also be seen to be done. The behavior and conduct of judges must reaffirm the people’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary. Mixing with the crowd of cockfighting enthusiasts and bettors is unbecoming a judge and undoubtedly impairs the respect due him. 375 SCRA 1 21 Salud vs. and warrants administrative sanction against the judge. hold departure orders.98-1169.” This phrase emphasizes the importance of the public perception of the judiciary. A judge has been admonished even for not wearing the judicial robe in the performance of judicial functions. Majaducon ( 413 SCRA 354. 494 SCRA 411. 97-253-RTC. 380 SCRA 539 20 City of Tagbilaran vs. Alumbres (404 SCRA 411. RTJ-02-1697. 2003) that judges who failed to observe the Rules of Court in such matters as issuance of warrants of arrest.M. No. constitutes gross inefficiency. A. Justice must not merely be done but must also be seen to be done. where the respondent judge delay a civil case. not because the judicial department intends to be influenced thereby. temporary restraining orders. but also that he wears one in the first place. injunctions. MTJ.M. June 20. as it erodes public confidence in the judicial system. A. the Judiciary itself suffers therefrom because a judge is a visible representation of the Judiciary. No.22 Section 2. In short. No. conducting hearings in their residence and using intemperate language. Delay ultimately affects the image of the judiciary. October 15. No. which is detrimental to the honor and integrity of judicial office. the public mind does not separate the judge from the Judiciary. 2002. July 6.It is the kind of behavior for which he must be administratively dealt with. but because it is essential that public confidence is always reposed in the judicial 19 In Re Judge Marcos. Alumbres. Failure to comply with the mandate of the Constitution and of the Code of Judicial Conduct constitutes serious misconduct. Hontanosas (375 SCRA 1. 2003). any demeaning act of a judge or court personnel demeans the institution he represents.M. A. were found to have damaged the integrity of the judiciary. 2001. November 29.19 In City of Tagbilaran v. RTJ-00-1594.20 In Salud v. and citations for contempt. 2003. Majaducon. the Supreme Court said: "A judge must take care not only to remain true to the high ideals of competence and integrity his robe represents. Respondent is administratively liable for going to cockpits and placing bets in cockfights. 2002). Most often.M. Ultimately. 22 Chan vs. 413 SCRA 354 .21 The Court held in Chan v. Section 2 adds the sentence. 2003. To the basic requirement of Section 1. A. Inability to decide a case despite ample time prescribed is inexcusable. Hontanosas. In reprimanding him. the Court stressed: Code of Judicial Conduct mandates judges to administer justice without delay and directs every judge to dispose of the courts business promptly within the period prescribed by law and rules.

his subordinates all. This Section once again addresses the importance of the competence of the judge as an administrator and vanguard of justice. hostile. Bersamin. 1981.M. 2000).10 of the 1989 Code.M. No.26 In the case of Fernandez v. 292 SCRA 703. RTJ-98-1484. 25 Section 3. No. thorough. August 12. His severely abusive and outrageous acts. 436 SCRA 186. 2004. to his unwelcome sexual advances and acts of lasciviousness. 24 In Dawa v. RTJ-00-567. A. the court held: Judges must not only render just. Corpuz-Macandog. patient. the Court held that a judge’s conduct should be above reproach. July 22. De Asa. and in the discharge of his official duties. the Court found totally unacceptable the temerity of the respondent judge in subjecting the complainants. Bersamira (336 SCRA 353. the court stressed: Judges are charged with the administrative responsibility of organizing and supervising his court personnel to secure the prompt and efficient dispatch of business. 25 Dawa vs. No. 328 SCRA and processes. just. A.23 In Rallos v. 1986. No. A. In Dela Cruz v. . March 17. MTJ-98-1144. the judge must ensure that all court personnel perform efficiently and promptly in the administration of justice. A. No. Respondent Judge cannot be absolved from liability for the inefficiency of his court personnel. 27 Fernandez vs. When he exhibits actions that rise fairly or unfairly. vs. RTJ-04-1821. 1998). he should be conscientious. Not only do the actions of respondent judge fall short of the exacting standards for members of the judiciary. The judiciary would certainly inspire public confidence if all courts headed by the judges and justices were conducted with integrity. September 26. or offensive environment for the employees. requiring at all times the observance of high standards of public service and fidelity. No. to perceptions of bias. unmistakably constitute sexual harassment because they necessarily ". 1720. A. 26 Ramirez vs. A. impartial.M. punctual.M. Hamoy. 27 23 Dela Cruz vs. 2000. R-351-RTJ. 2000. Gako. 130 SCRA 353 24 Rallos vs. Judges should take or initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against lawyers or court personnel for unprofessional conduct of which the judge may have become aware. Dy Teban Hardware & Auto Supply Co. result in an intimidating. they stand no chance of satisfying the standards of decency even of society at large.M. . Tapucar. such faith and confidence are eroded. De Asa (292 SCRA 703. correct and impartial decisions. but must do so in a manner free of any suspicion as to their fairness. impartiality and integrity. This section is an exact reproduction of Rule 3. M. . We deem it important to point out that a judge must preserve the trust and faith reposed on him by the parties as an impartial and objective administrator of justice. January 31. July 25. Hamoy (436 SCRA 186. Judges should not be lenient in the administrative supervision of employees. 2000). courteous. It is therefore the duty of the judge to promote public confidence in the judiciary’s integrity. Gaco (328 SCRA 324. As an administrator. 1998. which are an affront to women. 2004). 144 SCRA 462.

. ESPINA. ORILLANA. 102 SCRA 494. ELUNA.Group 1 CONCEPCION. Gerard Lacs A. Jeremiah C. Manresa B. Joel P.