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CANON 11, CPRA LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL

OFFICERS AND SHOULD INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS. (1996 Bar Question)
Rationale: Disrespect toward the court would necessarily undermine the confidence of the people in the honesty and integrity of the members of the court, and consequently to lower or degrade the administration of justice by the court. All lawyers are expected to recognize the authority of the Supreme Court and obey its lawful processes and orders. Despite errors which one may impute on the orders of the Court, these must be respected, especially by the bar or the lawyers who are themselves officers of the courts. (Yap-paras v. Atty. Paras, A.C. No. 4947, June 7, 2007) Liberally imputing sinister and devious motives and questioning the impartiality, integrity and authority of the members of the Court result in the obstruction and perversion of the dispensation of justice. (Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, GR No. 159486-88, November 2000) Note: Being an officer of the court, a lawyer occupies a quasi-judicial office and has responsibilities to the courts, to the public and to his clients. The greater burden imposed on the lawyer is his superior duty to the courts. Where duties to the courts conflict with his duties to his clients, his duties to court must yield to the former. (CPR Annotated, PhilJA)

Q: Attorney Paguia, asserts that the inhibition of the members of the Supreme Court from hearing the petition is called for under the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibiting justices or judges from participating in any partisan political activity. According to him, the justices have violated the said rule by attending the 'EDSA 2 Rally' and by authorizing the assumption of Vice-President Macapagal Arroyo to the Presidency. The subsequent decision of the Court in Estrada v. Arroyo (G.R. Nos. 146710-15, Mar. 2, 2001 and G.R. Nos. 146710-15, April 3, 2001) is a patent mockery of justice and due process. He went on to state that the act of the public officer, if lawful, is the act of the public office. But the act of the public officer, if unlawful, is not the act of the public office. Consequently, the act of the justices, if lawful, is the act of the Supreme Court. But the act of the justices, if unlawful, is not the act of the Supreme Court. It is submitted that the decision in Estrada v. Arroyo being patently unlawful in view of the Code of Judicial Conduct, is not the act of the Supreme Court but is merely the wrong of those individual Justices who falsely spoke and acted in the name of the Supreme Court (Urbano v. Chavez, G.R. No. 87977, March 19, 1990). Are Atty. Paguias comments within the bounds of fair and well-founded criticisms regarding decisions of the SC? A: No. Criticism or comment made in good faith on the correctness or wrongness, soundness or unsoundness, of a decision of the Court would be welcome for, if well-founded, and such reaction can enlighten the court and contribute to the correction of an error if committed. (In Re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595.) The ruling in Estrada v. Arroyo, being a final judgment, has long put to end any question pertaining to the legality of the ascension of Arroyo into the presidency. By reviving the issue on the validity of the assumption of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the presidency, Attorney Paguia is vainly seeking to breathe life into the carcass of a long dead issue. Attorney Paguia has not limited his discussions to the merits of his client's case within the judicial forum; indeed, he has repeated his assault on the Court in both broadcast and print media. The Supreme Court does not claim infallibility; it will not denounce criticism made by anyone against the Court for, if well-founded, can truly have constructive effects in the task of the Court, but it will not countenance any wrongdoing nor allow the erosion of our peoples faith in the judicial system, let alone, by those who have been privileged by it to practice law in the Philippines . Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that the lawyer should observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial officers and, indeed, should insist on similar conduct by others. In liberally imputing sinister and devious motives and questioning the impartiality, integrity, and authority of the members of the Court, Atty. Paguia has only succeeded in seeking to impede, obstruct and pervert the dispensation of justice. (Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 159486-88, Nov. 25, 2003) Q: The Court En Banc issued a Resolution directing respondent Atty. De Vera to explain why he should not be cited for indirect contempt of court for uttering some allegedly contemptuous statements in relation to the case involving the constitutionality of the Plunder Law which was then pending. Atty. De vera

admitted the report in the November 6, 2002 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he suggested that the Court must take steps to dispel once and for all these ugly rumors and reports that the Court would vote in favor of or against the validity of the Plunder Law to protect the credibility of the Court. Is the statement of Atty. De Vera disrespectful to the courts? A: Indeed, freedom of speech includes the right to know and discuss judicial proceedings, but such right does not cover statements aimed at undermining the Courts integrity and authority, and interfering with the administration of justice. Freedom of speech is not absolute, and must occasionally be balanced with the requirements of equally important public interests, such as the maintenance of the integrity of the courts and orderly functioning of the administration of justice. Thus, the making of contemptuous statements directed against the Court is not an exercise of free speech; rather, it is an abuse of such right. Unwarranted attacks on the dignity of the courts cannot be disguised as free speech, for the exercise of said right cannot be used to impair the independence and efficiency of courts or public respect therefore and confidence therein. (In Re: Published Alleged Threats by Atty. Leonard de Vera, A.M. No. 01-12-03-SC, July 29, 2002) Q: Can a lawyer criticize the courts? A: GR: Canon 11 A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others. XPN: The fact that a person is a lawyer does not deprive him of the right, as enjoyed by every citizen, to comment on and criticize the actuations of a judge.
Note: What a lawyer can ordinarily say against a concluded litigation and the manner the judge handed down the decision therein may not generally be said to a pending action. The court, in a pending litigation, must be shielded from embarrassment and influence in performing the important duty of deciding it. On the other hand, once litigation is concluded, the judge who decided on it is subject to the same criticism as any other public official because then his ruling becomes public property and is thrown open to public consumption. But it is the cardinal condition of all criticisms that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. (Zaldivar v. Gonzales, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, Feb. 1, 1989)

Q: Members of the faculty of the UP College of Law published a statement on the allegations of plagiarism and misrepresentation relative to the Courts decision in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary. The authors directly ac cused the Court of perpetrating extraordinary injustice by dismissing the petition of the comfort women said case. The insult to the members of the Court was aggravated by imputations of deliberately delaying the resolution of the said case, its dismissal on the basis of polluted sources, the Courts alleged indifference to the cause of petitioners, as well as the supposed alarming lack of concern of the members of the Court for even the most basic values of decency and respect. A: While most agree that the right to criticize the judiciary is critical to maintaining a free and democratic society, there is also a general consensus that healthy criticism only goes so far. Many types of criticism leveled at the judiciary cross the line to become harmful and irresponsible attacks. These potentially devastating attacks and unjust criticism can threaten the independence of the judiciary. The court must insist on being permitted to proceed to the disposition of its business in an orderly manner, free from outside interference obstructive of its functions and tending to embarrass the administration of justice. The Court could hardly perceive any reasonable purpose for the facultys less than objective comments except to discredit the April 28, 2010 Decision in the Vinuya case and undermine the Courts honesty, integrity and competence in addressing the motion for its reconsideration. As if the case on the comfort womens claims is not controversial enough, the UP Law faculty would fan the flames and invite resentment against a resolution that would not reverse the said decision. This runs contrary to their obligation as law professors and officers of the Court to be the first to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court, to which they owe fidelity according to the oath they have taken as attorneys, and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice. Their actions likewise constitute violations of Canons 10, 11, and 13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. (Re: Letter of the UP Law Faculty entitled Restoring Integrity: A Statement by the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on the Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court.( A .M. No. 10-10-4-SC, October 19, 2010) Rule 11.03, Canon 11, CPR A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive, or menacing language or behavior before the courts. Q: After the parties had filed their respective briefs with the Court of Appeals and before the latter's resolution submitting the case for decision was released, respondent lawyers, Atty. Depasucat, and others filed a pleading "Manifestation of Usurpation of Authority of the Hon. Court of Appeals from a Self-Confessed Briber of Judges", which stated that plaintiffappellant Uy had, in fact, confessed to bribing judges. Consequently, Uy filed a verified complaint against respondent lawyers for gross misconduct. Should the respondents be disciplined for having authored and filed the Manifestation of Usurpation of Authority of the Hon. Court of Appeals from a Self-Confessed Briber of Judges?

A: Yes. Respondents went overboard by stating in the Manifestation that complainant "had in fact confessed to bribery and telling one of the judges, after the judges allegedly refused to give in to their demands, by using illegally taped conversationsboth actual and/or by telephone". It belied their good intention and exceeded the bounds of propriety, hence not arguably protected; it is the surfacing of a feeling of contempt towards a litigant; it offends the court before which it is made. A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior before the courts. It must be remembered that the language vehicle does not run short of expressions which are emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory, illuminating but not offensive. It has been said that a lawyer's language should be dignified in keeping with the dignity of the legal profession. It is the duty of Atty. Depasucat et.al. as members of the Bar to abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which he is charged. (Uy v. Depasucat, A.C. No. 5332, July 29, 2003)
Note: The language of a lawyer, both oral and written, must be respectful and restrained in keeping with the dignity of the legal profession and with his behavioral attitude toward his brethren in the profession. The use of abusive language by counsel against the opposing counsel constitutes at the same time disrespect to the dignity of the court justice. Moreover, the use of impassioned language in pleadings, more often than not, creates more heat than light. (Buenaseda v. Flavier, G.R. No. 106719, Sept. 21, 1993) The duty to observe and maintain respect is not a one-way duty from a lawyer to a judge. A judge should also be courteous to counsel, especially those who are young and inexperienced and to all those appearing or concerned in the administration of justice. R.A. No. 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, in order to foster a healthful environment, absolutely prohibits smoking in specified public places and designates smoking and non-smoking areas in places where the absolute ban on smoking does not apply. Under this law, the Court is generally considered a place where smoking is restricted, rather than absolutely banned. Exceptions to this characterization are the Courts elevators and stairwells; the Courts medical and dental clinics; and the Courts cafeteria and other dining areas (including the Justices Lounge), together with their food preparation areas, where an absolute ban applies. In the areas where smoking restriction applies, the law requires that the Court designate smoking and non-smoking areas. Section 6, in connection with Section 1, of Office Order No. 06-2009 entitled Reiterating the Ban on Smoking as Provided for in Administrative Circular No. 09-99 and Reiterated and Clarified in Memorandum Circular No. 01-2008A covers absolute smoking prohibition areas greater than those covered by R.A. 9211, which include all interior areas of the buildings of the courts and the areas immediately adjacent to these buildings. The Office Order still allows smoking within court premises (apparently referring to exterior areas), but such smoking has to be done in designated places. (Re: Smoking at the fire exit area at the back of the Public Information Office, A.M. No. 2009-23-SC, February 26, 2010)

Q: An administrative case and disbarment proceeding was filed against MDS, a Lady Senator for uttering in her privilege speech delivered in the Senate floor where she was quoted as saying that she wanted to spit on the face of Chief Justice and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, and calling the Court a Supreme Court of idiots. She alleged that it was considered as part of her Parliamentary immunity as such was done during the session. Is she correct? A: Yes, because her statements, being part of her privilege speech as a member of Congress, were covered by the constitutional provision on parliamentary immunity. Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. However, as a member of the Bar, the Court wishes to express its deep concern about the language Senator Santiago used in her speech and its effect on the administration of justice. To the Court, the lady senator has undoubtedly crossed the limits of decency and good professional conduct. It is at once apparent that her statements in question were intemperate and highly improper in substance. MDS should have taken to heart in the first place the ensuing passage in In Re: Vicente Sotto that x x x [I]f the people lose their confidence in the honesty and integrity of this Court and believe that they cannot expect justice therefrom, they might be driven to take the law into their own hands, and disorder and perhaps chaos would be the result. No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the respect due to the courts should be allowed to er ode the peoples faith in the judiciary. In this case, the lady senator clearly violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. (Pobre v. Senator Santiago, A.C. No. 7399, Aug. 25, 2009)
Note: The lawyers duty to render respectful subordination to the courts is essential to the orderly administration of justice. Hence, in the assertion of the clients rights, lawyers even those gifted with superior intellect, are enjoined to rein up their tempers. (Zaldivar v. Gonzalez, G.R. Nos. 79690-707 October 7, 1988)

Rule 11.04, Canon 11, CPR A lawyer shall not attribute to a judge motives not supported by the record or have no materiality to the case. However, every citizen has the right to comment upon and criticize the actuations of public officers. This right is not dismissed by the fact that the criticism is aimed at a judicial authority, or that it is articulated by a lawyer. Such right is especially recognized where the criticism concerns a concluded litigation, because the courts actuations are thrown open to public consumption. Courts thus treat with forbearance and restraint a lawyer who vigorously assails their actuations for courageous and fearless advocates are the strands that weave durability into the tapestry of justice.
Note: As citizen and officer of the court, every lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to expose the shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and judges. But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety.

Post litigation utterances or publications made by lawyers, critical of the courts and their judicial actuations, whether amounting to a crime or not, which transcend the permissible bounds of fair comment and legitimate criticism and thereby tend to bring them into dispute or to subvert public confidence in their integrity and in the orderly administration of justice, constitute grave professional misconduct which may be visited with disbarment or other lesser appropriate disciplinary sanctions by the SC in the exercise of the prerogatives inherent in it as the duly constituted guardian of the morals and ethics of the legal fraternity. (In Re: Almacen, G.R. No. L27654, Feb. 18, 1970)

Q: Atty. Romeo Roxas was charged for contempt when he, in a letter addressed to Associate Justice Chico-Nazario, stated that Justice Nazario decided the cases in favor of Zuzuarregui, ordering Attys. Roxas and Pastor to pay the former P17,073,224.84 on considerations other than the pure merits of the case and called the SC a dispenser of injustice. He ended his letter by mocking her when he said sleep well if you still can and that her earthly life will be judged by the Supreme Dispenser of Justice where only the merits of your honors life will be relevant and material and where technicalities can shield no one from his or her wrongdoings. In the written explanation of Atty. Roxas, he extended apologies to Justice Nazario. He said he was merely exercising his rights to express a legitimate grievance or articulate fair criticisms of the courts ruling. Moreover, according to him, ins tead of resorting to public criticisms, he chose to ventilate his criticisms in a very discreet and private manner by writing a personal letter. Should Atty. Roxas be punished for the contents of his letter? A: Yes. Atty. Roxas letter contains defamatory statements that impaired public confidence in the integrity of the Judiciary. The making of contemptuous statements directed against the court is not an exercise of free speech; rather, it is an abuse of such right. A letter furnished to all the members of the SC, even if a copy was not disseminated to the media, does not enjoy the mantle of right to privacy. Letters addressed to the individual justices in connection with the performance of their judicial functions become part of the judicial record and are matter of concern for the entire court. Atty. Roxas is guilty of indirect contempt of court for an improper conduct tending, directly and indirectly, to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice; and with his contemptuous and defamatory statements, Atty. Roxas likewise violated Canon 11 of the CPR particularly Rules 11.03 and 11.04. (Roxas v. Zuzuarregui, et. al., G.R. No. 152072, July 12, 2007) Q: When is public comment and criticism of a court decision permissible and when would it be improper? A: A lawyer, like every citizen, enjoys the right to comment on and criticize the decision of a court. As an officer of the court, a lawyer is expected not only to exercise that right but also to consider it his duty to expose the shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and judges. But such right is subject to the limitations that it shall be bona fide. It is proper to criticize the courts and judges, but it is improper to subject them to abuse and slander, degrade them or destroy public confidence in them. Moreover, a lawyer shall not attribute to a judge, motives not supported by the record or have no materiality in the case. (Rule 11.04, CPR) (1997 Bar Question)
Note: A lawyer should be reminded of his primary duty to assist the court in the administration of justice. The relations between counsel and judge should be based on mutual respect and on a deep appreciation by one of the duties of the other. It is upon their cordial relationship and mutual cooperation that the hope of our people for speedy and efficient justice rests. ( Abiera v. Maceda, A.C. No. RTJ-91-660, June 30, 1994) If the court official or employee or a lawyer is to be disciplined, the evidence against him should be substantial, competent and derived from derived from direct knowledge, not on mere allegations, conjectures, suppositions or on the basis of hearsay. ( Cervantes v. Atty. Sabio, A.C. No. 7828, August 11, 2008

Rule 11.05, Canon 11, CPR - A lawyer shall submit grievances against a Judge to the proper authorities only. NATURE OF THE CASE If administrative in nature WHERE TO FILE It shall be filed with the Office of the Court Administrator of the Supreme Court It shall be filed with the Office of the Ombudsman It must be coursed through the House of Representative and the Senate in accordance with the rules on impeachment. (CPR Annotated, PhilJA

If criminal and not purely administrative If it involves a Justice of the Supreme Court based on impeachable offenses

Note: An administrative complaint is not an appropriate remedy where judicial recourse is still available, such as a motion for
reconsideration, an appeal, or a petition for certiorari, unless the assailed order or decision is tainted with fraud, malice, or dishonesty. (Santiago III v. Justice Enriquez, Jr. A.M. No. CA-09-47-J, February 13, 2009)

Q: What are the rights and duties of a lawyer to criticize Courts? A:

1. The fact that a person is a lawyer does not deprive him of the rights, enjoyed by every citizen, to comment on and criticize the actuations of a judge subject to ethical standard. 2. The court, in a pending litigation; must be shielded from embarrassment or influence in its all-important duty of deciding the case. Once litigation is concluded, the judge who decided it is subject to the same criticisms as any other public official because his ruling becomes public property and is thrown open to public consumption. 3. It is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety (Zaldivar v. Gonzales, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, April 7, 1993). 4. The duty of the bar to support the judge against unjust criticism and clamor does not, however, preclude a lawyer from filing administrative complaints against erring judges or from acting as counsel for clients who have legitimate grievances against them. But the lawyer should file charges against the judge before the proper authorities only and only after the proper circumspection and without the use of disrespectful language and offensive personalities so as not to unduly burden the court in the discharge of its function.
Note: Cardinal condition of criticism is that it shall be bona fide and shall not spillover the walls of decency and propriety.