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A. On Judgeship
It is a truth universally acknowledged that every lawyer who chooses to practice
their profession must be able to have spent some of their precious time inside the
courts. If not half of their practice is spent inside the courts, then, most of it could have
been dedicated to it. These lawyers however dont remain in the same development
level as regards to their profession. As lawyers acquire knowledge through practice of
law, they increase their potential to know what specific area to master on. Others use
such flow of the nature of their job to eventually guide them as to how will they expand
their careers. Numerous lawyers usually end up creating their own firm. While others,
vie for higher titles in their workplace. To be named Partner, after all, is such a
rewarding event in ones life. It appears like another trophy in ones career, after the
years of preparation, hurdling of the most difficult exam in the land, and dedicating
years for pure practice of the law.
However, not all lawyers are called to litigate. Not all lawyers are meant to stay in
their firm, whether its a grandiose or a mid-sized firm. Most lawyers specialize, yes, at
some extent theres a truth to that. But others become judges too. For the group, judges
are deemed to be in a different level. They are considered by the society as the
personification of justice itself. They hold the scales as they resolve based on the merits
of the case. They are deemed to be in a blindfold, an indication of impartiality in their
adjudication. The judges, hence, can be related with this famous saying: Justice is truth

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in action- Benjamin Disraeli. These kind of highly intellectual individuals are considered
to be deeply in love with the law. Its a mad relationship since the law demands that
Judges must know almost everything, if not all. The group agrees that theres that
certain grace and aura that only them can bring into a room full of different people. One
can sense their omnipotence. One can shiver with their gaze.
But first and foremost, who is a judge? Merriam-Webster provides that it
originated from the Latin word judicare and from the words jus right, law + dicere
which means, to decide (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2014). As Oxford Dictionary
defined it, a Judge is a noun referring to a public official appointed to decide cases in a
court of law (Oxford Dictionary, 2014). On the other hand, Agpalo (2009) defined the
word in by merging the principles found in our legal jurisprudence:
The word Judge is employed to designate a public officer selected to
preside and to administer law in court.
He is a judge who is a man of learning who spends tirelessly the weary
hours after midnight acquainting himself with the great body of traditions
and the learning of the law. He bears himself in the community with friends
but without familiars; almost lonely, evoking himself exclusively to the
most exacting mistress that a man ever had, the law as a profession in its
highest reaches where he not only interprets the law but applies it, fearing
neither friend nor foe, daring only one in the world that in a moment of
abstraction, or due to human weakness, he may in fact commit some error
and fail to do justice. He is the symbol of rectitude and impropriety,
comporting himself in a manner that will receive no doubt whatsoever
about his honesty. He is a public officer who, by virtue of his office, is

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clothed with judicial authority to decide litigated questions according to
law. He is the judge.
As abovementioned, it is clear at this point that the common notion of the
ordinary people, including the group, is somehow near with the description given by the
lexicon and even by the cases decided by the Supreme Court. There are several good
virtues that must be attached to them. No stain of conduct unbecoming must be linked
to their names. Hence, theres a bigger demand on their part in every role they play,
since the profession or the vocation they swore to have a keen eye. Every action they
undertake is under scrutiny, making them always on guard to almost everything. With
such, it is the thesis of this paper that although the exclusive set of problems faced by a
Judge in his/her profession, especially with legal ethics, calls for a distinctive set of
solutions, becoming a Judge calls for a flawless reputation and the adherence to the
New Code of Judicial Ethics (CJE) inside and outside the courts of justice. Moreover,
that in order to thrive in their chosen field without being entangled with the issue of
partiality, they adopt certain rules or limitations that they themselves formulate in order
to avoid situations which will negatively influence them.
Given such huge pressure on their part, the group became curious as to what are
the common problems of a Judge, the solutions they adopt and the ways in which they
try to live their lives and fulfill their other roles without appearing to be improper. Hence,
the group aims to write a paper that concentrates on both the silent and ubiquitous facts
relating to the life of a Judge. The group, firmly believing in such cause, would like to
write a paper regarding the facts obtained, which will effectively relay as to the nature of

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Judgeship here in the Philippines. Hopefully, through this small-scoped paper, the
groups noble aim will broaden to the point of encouraging other more experienced or
knowledgeable writer or experts for additional literature on the subject of Judgeship in
the Philippines.
But before delving deeper into developing a small-scoped index or measure, it is
important to set up the factors and limitations of the study. This paper will focus mainly
on the interviews of the group with Judges of their choice. The group opted to interview
at least two judges in order to learn more and corroborate information gained. In making
such choice, the group thought of factoring in the experience of the Judge, thus the
interviewees were one Retired Judge and one active Judge in the Regional Trial Court
of Makati. The group, aside from learning from the interview, opted also to undergo a
court observation mainly to observe the Judge at work.
Having in mind the possible legal correspondence and formalities to be taken,
the group sent letters addressed to the Honorable Judge of choice, primarily requesting
for their consent for such group activity and also relaying the need for a court
certification after the field observation by members of the group. It is also promised by
the members that there will be minimal interference, so as to provide, a more exacting
and normal course of affairs inside the court. After all, the paper would like to confine
the details as to what is happening in the normal course of things inside a Judges
workplace and hence, any deviation from that ordinary course of events would not be
reflective of the essential aim of the study. No interference is expected from the group,
as much as possible, so as to avoid certain alterations on the usual conduct of the

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personalities involved in the case/s. After the whole activity, the group will digest the
observations and will put into ink the relevant wisdom gained.
As the paper will go along, the group will also present information based from the
books and such information will be cross-referred to those things learned from the
interview. The group would also like to note that every detail or account in the interview
with the judges would be presented like a story coming from those who experienced
such happening. The group opted for such in order to emphasize, preserve and share
the emotion of such experience. Therefore, a little deviation from the rules on formality
will be expected in this report.

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A. The Judiciary
The Judiciary is considered to be an indispensable department of every
democratic government, because it has the power to determine the proper distribution
of powers between the branches of the government. More so, as aptly stated by Chief
Justice Renato S. Puno, The Judiciary may not have the power of the sword, may not
have the power of the purse, but it has the power to interpret the Constitution, and the
unerring lessons of history tell us that rightly wielded, that power can make a difference
for good.
The Constitution of the Philippines proclaimed that judicial power shall be vested
in One Supreme Court and such lower courts as may be established by law. It further
stated that judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.
(Sec. 1, par. 2, Art VIII)
A.1 As a System
The Philippine judicial system consists of four main levels of courts and several
special courts, as provided for in the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 or Batas
Pambansa Blg. 129the local and regional trial courts; a national Court of Appeals; the
Supreme Court; and a local system for arbitrating or mediating certain disputes outside

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the formal court system. A Shariah court system, which mainly governs Islamic law, is
also a part of the Philippine judiciary.
The legal system of the Philippines is mainly based on both civil and common
law which was primarily influenced by Spanish and Anglo-American laws.
A.2 As a Branch of the Government
The Judiciary is that branch of the government, which interprets laws and
tempers abuses that may arise from any wrongful interpretation thereof. More so, it has
the power to apply the laws to settle disputes between the State and private persons.
The judiciary also has an adjudicatory power, the power of judicial review and an
incidental power. The adjudicatory power of the judiciary refers to that power to settle
controversies involving rights and the power to determine the legality of ones actions.
The Judicial review, on the other hand, refers to that power of the judiciary to interpret
the laws and make binding judgments; and to decide on the constitutionality of the laws.
Lastly, the incidental power of the judiciary refers to that which is essential for the
discharge of their judiciary function such as contempt of court and subpoena.

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B. Levels of Judiciary
The Judiciary is primarily classified into regular courts, special courts and quasi-
judicial courts.
The regular courts are those courts, which derive their authority from the
Constitution. It has the power to engage in the general administration of justice. There
are four levels of courts in the Philippines as provided for by Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
At the lowest level of hierarchy are the first-level courts, which are the Metropolitan Trial
Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, and Municipal Trial Circuit Trial Courts
which have original jurisdiction over less serious cases. The next level consists of the
Regional Trial Courts which have original jurisdiction over more serious cases. At the
national level is the Intermediate Appellate Court or latter known as the Court of
Appeals which has jurisdiction over appeals from the decisions of the Regional Trial
Courts and certain quasi-judicial agencies, board or commissions. Lastly, at the apex is
the Supreme Court which the final arbiter of any and all judicial issues.
The special courts, however, are those, which have limited jurisdiction over
certain types of cases or controversies. It can only hear cases that are specifically
provided in the special law creating them. Among the special courts are: the Court of
Tax Appeals which has the jurisdiction to review on appeal decisions of the
Commissioner of Customs and in tax or tax-related cases; the Sandiganbayan which
has the jurisdiction to try and decide criminal cases involving government officials; and

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the Sharia Courts which have limited jurisdiction over controversies applicable only to
The quasi-judicial courts, on the other hand, refer to those administrative
agencies that are allowed to exercise adjudicatory powers in certain types of
controversies. The Constitution provided for that the Civil Service Commission,
Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit have quasi-judicial powers.

C. Appointment to the Judiciary
The officials and employees of the Judiciary are all appointed by the Supreme
Court in accordance with the Civil Service Law, as provide for in Sec. 5, Art. VIII of the
1987 Constitution. Also the Supreme Court shall have the administrative supervision
over all courts and its personnel as stated in Sec. 6, Art. VIII.
For one to be appointed as member of the Supreme Court, as provided for in the
Constitution, he must be a natural-born citizen; at least 40 years old; has been
practicing for 15 years or more as a judge of a lower court or has been engaged in the
practice of law in the Philippines for the same period; and a person of proven
competence, integrity, probity and independence.
The Justices and Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals have the same
qualifications as those provided for Justices of the Supreme Court.

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The Regional Trial Court Judges, on the other hand, must be a citizen of the
Philippines; at least 35 years old; and has been engaged for at least 5 years in the
practice of law in the Philippines or has held public office in the Philippines requiring
admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite; and that he is a person of
proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.
More so, the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit
Trial Court Judges must be a citizen of the Philippines; at least 30 years old; and has
been engaged for at least 5 years in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held
public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an
indispensible requisite; and that he is a person of proven competence, integrity, probity
and independence.
The appointment of the officials of the Judiciary is made by the President. He
shall choose among a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar
Council for ever vacancy.

D. Powers and Limitations
Essentially the powers and duties of the judges are similar to that of the courts,
since they are the one who administers justice. As provided for in Sec. 5, Rule 135 of
the Rules of Court, every court shall have power to preserve and enforce order in its
immediate presence; to enforce order in proceedings before a person or persons
empowered to conduct a judicial investigation under its authority; to compel obedience

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to its judgments, orders and processes, and to the lawful order of judge out of court, in a
case pending therein; to control, in furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial
officers, and of all other persons in any manner connected with a case before it, in every
manner appertaining thereto; to compel the attendance of persons to testify in a case
pending therein; to administer or cause to be administered oaths in a case pending
therein, and in all other cases where it may be necessary in the exercise of its
powers; to amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conformable
to law and justice; and to authorize copy of a lost or destroyed pleading or other paper
to be filed and used instead of the original, and to restore, and supply deficiencies in its
records and proceedings.
More so, the courts also have limitations to its powers and so thus its officials.
One of these limitations is political restraint. This refers to the ability of the other
branches of the government to interfere with the decisions made by the courts when the
former believes it to be unconscionable.
The Constitution has also provided for that judicial power is limited only to cases
and controversies, meaning there must be an actual dispute involving the legal relations
of adverse parties for which the judiciary can provide some type of relief.
In line with the powers of the officials of the Judiciary, being a member thereof
has its benefits. For starters, justices or judges are being deemed by the society as
someone who is of highly intellectual, important and powerful because they are primarily

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perceived by the public as the beacon of justice. However, though the public puts
them on a high pedestal, their remuneration says otherwise.

E. Income and Other Benefits
In the paper published by Transparency International in 2007 (Computed with the
average US Dollar - Peso exchange rate of 2007: Php 46.148, National Statistical
Coordination Board), it provided that the Judges salary at start of their career is USD
5,996 or Php 276, 703.408, while a Supreme Court of the Philippines Judges salary is
USD 32,545 or Php 1,501,886.66

Also, judges enjoy the privilege of being exempt from the number coding scheme
as long as they are using the protocol plate 5 for the Chief Justice, 9 for the Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court, 10 for the Presiding Justice and other Justices of the
Court of Appeals, 16 for Regional Trial Court Judges, and 17 for the First Level Court
Judges. The Philippine Judges Association enumerates some of the benefits that the
trial court judges can avail (Philippine Judges Association, n.d.)

I. Hospitalization/medical claims
A member-judge may claim on an ANNUAL BASIS for the following amounts:
i. P30,000.00 for the member-judge
ii. P15,000.00 for the spouse of a member-judge

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iii. P10,000.00 for a minor child of the member-judge
II. Death claims (abuloyan)
Death claims are based on the following amounts:
i. P60,000.00 for the spouse of deceased member-judge
ii. P50,000.00 for the following claimants:
- Widow/widower of deceased member-judge
- Children of the widow/widower deceased member-judge
- Unmarried member-judge (re: parental death)
- Nearest kin of bachelor/bachelorette deceased member-judge
- Spouse/children/nearest kin of member-judge who has retired, resigned,
been promoted or whose services had been terminated and who have
stopped contributions and passed away within 60 days after the date of
retirement, effectivity of resignation, promotion or termination of services

III. Legal assistance claims
A member-judge may avail of the legal fund ANNUALLY in the amount of
P15,000.00 to be released as follows:
i. First tranche of P7,500.00 during preliminary investigation
ii. Last tranche of P7,500.00 upon submission of the resolution of dismissal of
the complaint

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Also, with the amendment of Republic Act No. 910, Republic Act No. 9946 which
was signed into law by the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, granted
additional retirement, survivorship, and other benefits to members of the Judiciary. Its
salient features, insofar as it pertains to Judges of the trial courts, are summarized as
a. While the mandatory retirement age is still seventy (70) years, a Judge may now
opt to retire at the age of sixty (60) years, provided he/she has rendered at least
fifteen (15) years of service in the Government, the last three (3) of which shall
have been continuously rendered in the Judiciary. (Section 1)
b. Upon retirement (mandatory or optional), a Judge shall be entitled to receive
during the residue of his/her natural life a monthly pension consisting of his/her
salary plus the highest monthly aggregate of transportation, representation and
other allowances such as personal economic relief allowance (PERA) and
additional compensation allowance which he/she was then receiving and the
non-wage benefit in the form of education scholarship to one (1) child by way of
free tuition in a state university or college. (Section 1)
c. A Judge with less than fifteen (15) years service in the Government or Judiciary
upon retirement (mandatory or optional), shall be entitled to a pro-rata monthly
pension computed as follows:

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No. of years in
the government

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ x

Basic pay plus the highest monthly
or judiciary aggregate transportation,
representation and other allowances
(PERA, 15 Years additional
compensation allowance)

d. A Judge or his/her surviving spouse receiving the benefits of this law, during the
period that he/she is receiving the monthly pension is prohibited from:
i. appearing as counsel before any court in any civil case wherein the
Government or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof is the adverse
party, or in any criminal case wherein an incumbent or former officer or
employee of the Government is accused of an offense committed in
relation to his/her office; and
ii. collecting any fee for his/her appearance in any administrative
proceedings to maintain an interest to the Government, national, provincial
or municipal, or to any of its legally constituted officers. (Section 1)
e. A Judge or his/her surviving spouse entitled to the benefits of this Act, upon
his/her assumption of an elective public office and during his/her term, shall not
receive the monthly pension due to him/her. (Section 1)
f. In case a Judge dies while in actual service, regardless of his/her age and length
of service, his/her heirs shall receive a lump sum of five (5) years gratuity
computed on the basis of the highest monthly salary plus the highest monthly
aggregate of transportation, representation and other allowances such as

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personal economic relief allowance (PERA) and additional compensation
allowance received by him/her. (Section 2)
g. When a Judge is killed intentionally while in service, the presumption is that the
death is work-related. If a Judge has served in Government for at least five (5)
years, regardless of age at the time of death, and he/she is killed because of
his/her work as a Judge, the said lump sum of ten (10) years gratuity shall be
received by his/her heirs. (Section 2)
h. Upon retirement, a Judge shall be automatically entitled to a lump sum of five (5)
years gratuity computed on the basis of the highest monthly salary plus the
highest monthly aggregate of transportation, representation and other allowances
such as personal economic relief allowance (PERA) and additional compensation
allowance he/she was receiving on the date of his/her retirement. Thereafter, if
the Judge is still surviving after the expiration of five (5) years, he/she is entitled
to receive.
i. If deceased Judge has rendered at least fifteen (15) years either in the Judiciary
or in any other branch of Government, or both, his/her heirs shall instead be
entitled to a lump sum of ten (10) years gratuity. (Section monthly
annuity/pension during the residue of his/her natural life. (Section 3)
j. If the reason for the retirement of the Judge be any permanent disability
contracted during his/her incumbency in office and prior to the date of retirement,
he/she shall receive a gratuity equivalent to ten (10) years salary and the same
allowances. However, should the retirement be with the attendance of any partial

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permanent disability contracted during his/her incumbency and prior to the date
of retirement, he/she shall receive an additional gratuity equivalent to two (2)
years lump sum that he/she is entitled to. If he/she survives after ten (10) years
or seven (7) years, as the case may be, he/she shall continue to receive a
monthly annuity/pension during the residue of his/her natural life. A Judge who
has retired with the attendance of any partial permanent disability five (5) years
prior to the effectivity of this Act shall be entitled to the same benefits. (Section 3)
k. Upon the death of a Judge, whether he/she has retired, or was eligible to retire
optionally at the time of death, the surviving legitimate spouse shall be entitled to
receive all the retirement benefits that the deceased Judge would have received
had the Judge not died. The surviving spouse shall continue to receive such
retirement benefits until the surviving spouses death or remarriage. (Section 3)
l. All pension benefits or a retired Judge shall be automatically increased whenever
there is an increase in the salary of the same position from which he/she retired.
(Section 4)
m. The same benefits under this Act shall be granted to all those who have retired
prior to its effectivity. However, the said benefits shall be applicable only to
members of the Judiciary and the benefits to be granted shall be prospective.
(Section 4)

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F. Supreme Court Decisions on the Conduct of Judges
Indeed, members of the Judiciary are viewed as individuals who are highly
respected not only in the legal profession but also in the society. Judges and Justices,
being instruments in the administration of justice, are expected to observe proper
conduct and behavior, which must be demonstrative of impartiality, integrity,
competence, independence, and freedom from improprieties.
Thus, the Supreme Court, in the case of Anonymous vs Judge Achas (A.M. No.
MTJ- 11- 1801, February 27, 2013), held that:
No position demands greater moral righteousness and uprightness
from its occupant than does the judicial office. Judges in particular
must be individuals of competence, honesty and probity, charged as
they are with safeguarding the integrity of the court and its
proceedings. He should behave at all times so as to promote public
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and avoid
impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities. His
personal behaviour outside the court, and not only while in the
performance of his official duties, must be beyond reproach, for he is
perceived to be the personification of law and justice. Thus, any
demeaning act of a judge degrades the institution he represents.
It must be noted however, that Judges and Justices must not only
conduct themselves accordingly in the discharge of their official
functions and duties but also in their everyday lives.

In the case of Tan vs Pacuribot (A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982, December 14, 2007),

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the Supreme Court held that:
Members of the Judiciary must so conduct themselves as to be
beyond reproach and suspicion, and to be free from any appearance
of impropriety in their personal behavior, not only in the discharge of
their official duties but also in their everyday lives. For no position
exacts a greater demand on the moral righteousness and
uprightness of an individual than a seat in the Judiciary. Judges are
mandated to maintain good moral character and are at all times
expected to observe irreproachable behavior so as not to outrage
public decency. We have adhered to and set forth the exacting
standards of morality and decency, which every member of the
judiciary must observe. A magistrate is judged not only by his official
acts but also by his private morals, to the extent that such private
morals are externalized. He should not only possess proficiency in
law but should likewise possess moral integrity for the people look up
to him as a virtuous and upright man.
Judges should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety
in all of their activities. Judges should conduct themselves in a way
that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial office. Judges, like
any other citizen, are entitled to freedom of expression, belief,
association and assembly, but in exercising such rights, they should
always conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the
dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of
the judiciary.

Also, A judge may not involve himself in any activity that is an aspect of the
private practice of law. His acceptance of an appointment to the Bench inhibits him from

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engaging in the private practice of law, regardless of the beneficiary of the activity being
a member of his immediate family. He is guilty of conduct unbecoming of a judge
Section 35 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court expressly prohibits sitting judges
like Judge Malanyaon from engaging in the private practice of law or giving professional
advice to clients. Section 11,Canon 4 (Impropriety) of the New Code of Judicial Conduct
and Rule 5.07 of the Code of Judicial Conduct reiterate the prohibition from engaging in
the private practice of law or giving professional advice to clients. The prohibition is
based on sound reasons of public policy, considering that the rights, duties, privileges
and functions of the office of an attorney are inherently incompatible with the high
official functions, duties, powers, discretion and privileges of a sitting judge. It also aims
to ensure that judges give their full time and attention to their judicial duties, prevent
them from extending favors to their own private interests, and assure the public of their
impartiality in the performance of their functions. These objectives are dictated by a
sense of moral decency and desire to promote the public interest.
Judges and Justices must also be courteous especially to the young and
inexperienced lawyers. Although they may criticize and correct unprofessional conduct
of a lawyer, they must not do the same in an insulting or humiliating manner.
In the case of Decena vs Judge Malanyaon (A.M. No. RTJ- 10- 2217, April 8,
2013), the Supreme Court emphasized that:
The Code of Judicial Ethics mandates that the conduct of a judge

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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 impropriety at all times.
As we have very recently explained, a judges official life cannot
simply be detached or separated from his personal existence. Thus:
Being a subject of constant public scrutiny, a judge should freely and
willingly accept restrictions on conduct that might be viewed as
burdensome by the ordinary citizen.
A judge should personify judicial integrity and exemplify honest public
service. The personal behavior of a judge, both in the performance of
official duties and in private life should be above suspicion.

A Judge has also a duty toward the court and to his public office. This was
greatly explained by the Supreme Court in the case of Judge Inoturan vs Judge
Limsiaco (A.M. No. MTJ-01-1362, February 22, 2011), where the court ruled that:
The obligation to uphold the dignity of his office and the institution
which he belongs to is also found in Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct under Rule 2.01 which mandates a judge to behave at all
times as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality
of the judiciary. Case law teaches us that a judge is the visible
representation of the law, and more importantly of justice; he or she
must, therefore, be the first to follow the law and weave an example
for the others to follow. The delay in deciding a case within the

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reglementary period constitutes a violation of Section 5, Canon 6 of
the New Code of Judicial Conduct which mandates judges to perform
all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions,
efficiently, fairly and with promptness. In line with jurisprudence,
Judge Limsiaco is also liable for gross inefficiency for his failure to
decide a case within the reglementary period.
There are also certain requirements that the fundamental law of the land requires
public officers to observe, particularly Judges and Justices. Art. XI, Section 17 of the
1987 Constitution that "a public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and
as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his
assets, liabilities, and net worth. In the case of the President, the Vice-President, the
Members of the Cabinet, and other constitutional offices, and officers of the armed
forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the
manner provided by law."
It is noteworthy to include in these discussions the impeachment case against
former Chief Justice Renato Corona, the highest among the magistrates in the Supreme
Court and the Judiciary. The former Chief Justice was charged with culpable violation of
the Constitution, Betrayal of Public Trust and Graft and Corruption. The Senate, sitting
as an impeachment court, tried Chief Justice Corona, upon these three articles of
impeachment charged against him by the House of Representatives. The court, by a
guilty vote of twenty (20) Senators found him guilty of the charge under Article II,
Betrayal of Public Trust for failure to disclose to the public his Statement of Assets,
Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), as required by the 1987 Constitution (Rappler, 2012).

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G. The Liability of Judges
g.1 Civil Liabilities under the New Civil Code:
1. Article 27- refusal or neglect without just cause by a public servant to perform his
official duty.
2. Article 32- directly or indirectly obstructing, defeating, violating or in any manner
impeding or impairing civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution

g.2 Disabilities and Restrictions under the New Civil Code:
1. Article 1491 (5)- acquisition by purchase either in person or through the
mediation of another the property and rights in litigation or levied upon upon an
execution before the court within those jurisdiction or territory they exercise their
respective functions.
2. Article 739- donations made to a judge, his wife, descendants and ascendants by
reason of his office are void.

g.3 Criminal Liabilities under the Revised Penal Code and Anti - Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act:
1. Article 204- Knowingly Rendering Unjust Judgment

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2. Article 205- Judgment rendered through negligence committed by reason of
inexcusable negligence or ignorance
3. Article 206- Knowingly rendering an unjust interlocutory order

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A. The Judges Character
There is more to the definition of a Judge than what meets the eye. A lot of
factors are needed to be considered when you talk about what a judge is, and the New
Code of Judicial Conduct provides us with six canons which a judge should embody in
their daily lives as judges, namely, independence, integrity, impartiality, impropriety,
equality, and competence and diligence. These six characteristics must be practiced
and incorporated in the hearts and minds of the judges.
The Honorable Justice Reynato S. Puno in an article entitled The New Philippine
Code of Judicial Conduct, commented on the New Philippine Code of Judicial Conduct
and the pointed out that:
The members of the Philippine judiciary have been governed for a
long time by a rigid set of rules and regulations, some already ravaged
by the ages.
Upon assumption of office as Chief Justice, CJ Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
lost no moment of time and immediately initiated a comprehensive
reform program for our judiciary. A keystone of the reform program is
the concern for the unsullied integrity of the members of our judiciary.
The program has to find an anchor on a code of conduct that can
withstand the amorphous challenges of the 21st century.
CJ Davide, Jr.s vision of the future of the judiciary was 20-20, a
perfect vision, for he focused on the need to insulate the integrity of
judges. This need is nothing less than a worldwide concern. Arguably,

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the best effort to draft a Code of Judicial Conduct applicable to all
judiciaries of the world is the Bangalore Draft. It is founded upon
certain principles set in stone: (1) a universal recognition that a
competent, independent and impartial judiciary is essential if the
courts are to fulfill their role in upholding constitutionalism and the rule
of law; (2) that public confidence in the judicial system and in the moral
authority and integrity of the judiciary is of utmost importance in a
modern democratic society; and (3) that it is essential that judges,
individually and collectively, respect and honor judicial office as a
public trust and strive to enhance and maintain confidence in the
judicial system.
From here we can see why the framers of the New Philippine Code of Judicial
Conduct found the need to amend the old Philippine Code of Judicial Conduct. The new
code now for clean and simple, but precise provisions on how a judge should conduct
A judge must be equated with justice and in order for justice to emerge; the Code
of Judicial Conduct must be obeyed and observed strictly in order to avoid a negative
reputation by the public.

B. Nature of a Judge
Again, the Honorable Justice Reynato S. Puno in the abovementioned article,
described very well what a judge in any level of the judiciary faces while performing his
functions, thus:

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Let us consider our judges performance in relation to the canon
calling for competence and diligence. The statistics on the big number
of cases decided by our High Court for the year 2004 are revealing.
They show that some 48,229 pleadings were filed for consideration by
the 15 justices of the High Court. They disposed by minute resolution
4,617 cases. They resolved by long decisions 5,691 cases. Their
collective total case disposition is about 10,000 in a year time. By any
reckoning, this output is substantial. When a visiting justice of the
Supreme Court of Israel learned of the number of cases the High
Court Justices dispose every year, he quipped: I wonder why all of
you are still alive.
We next consider our judges compliance with the canon of integrity.
Again, let us study the statistics staring at us. For the year 2004, nine
cases were filed against some of the Justices of the Court of Appeals
and none against the Justices of the Supreme Court. Not one of the
cases prospered. In the case of the Sandiganbayan (Anti-Graft Court),
one case was filed against a member and the same was dismissed.
For the year 2005, no complaint has been filed against any of Justices
of the Supreme Court and the Sandiganbayan, 6 cases were filed
against justices of the Court of Appeals but all were found to be
without merit.
Let me slide to our judges in the trial courts. The data reveal that for
the year 2004, some 246 complaints were initiated against judges of
our Regional Trial Courts. After investigation, 215 of these cases were
dismissed. For the year 2005, some 238 complaints were filed against
them. Again, 178 were dismissed. Next, let us see the statistics in our
lowest courts, the MeTCs, MTCCs, MTCs and MCTCs. For the year
2004, some new 145 complaints were filed against the judges.
Including the old pending complaints carried over from previous years,

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the records show that 147 of the complaints were dismissed. For the
year 2005, some 132 new complaints were filed against them. Again,
106 of the complaints were dismissed.
As we can see, the life of a judge is not all the time glamorous, a judge can be
faced with charges in the performance of their duties. And as we can clearly see on the
data, most of these cases instituted against them are only filed to harass them, since
most of these cases were dismissed. Being a judge entails a lot of hard work and
stamina in order to survive the challenging world of the judiciary.

C. The Prevalent Issue with the Judiciary: Corruption
c.1 What is corruption in an international scale?
Corruption is increasingly seen as a universal problem, deeply embedded in
many national legal systems and also transnational in nature. It is so endemic that it has
generated its own special vernacular, such as Code 1,000 in Honduras, mortida in
Mexico, arreglo in the Philippines, baksheesh in Egypt, dash in Kenya or pot de
vin in France. (Chodosh, Hiram. 2009)
The institutional response to corruption is nearly pervasive around the world.
Agencies like the United Nations and the IMF have for many years conditioned aid to
developing countries on their commitment to anti-corruption reforms. International laws
on many scales prohibit corruption and require that countries take affirmative steps to
prevent and prosecute it. (Chodosh, Hiram. 2009)

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The Corrupt System in the Judiciary in an international scale
Corruption deteriorates trust in democratic institutions. Beyond these general
effects, Corruption undermines the very institutions, including the judicial and legal
system which are responsible for enforcing anti-corruption norms. The ease with which
the law is undermined weakens the incentives for compliance. Low compliance with the
law imposes additional burden on the judicial system to decide greater number of
conflicts arising from violations of public and private laws. (Chodosh, Hiram. 2009)
International and regional human rights instruments recognize as fundamental
the right of everyone to due process of law, including to a fair and public hearing by a
competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law. An essential element
of the right to a fair trial is an independent and impartial tribunal. Another element is the
procedural equality of parties, the so-called equality of arms. If the judicial system is
corrupt, no such elements will exist. Judicial corruption influences unduly access to and
outcome of judicial decisions. The decisions will remain unfair and unpredictable and
consequently the rule of law will not prevail. (Langseth, Petter. 2001)
If one of the parties has bribed a judge or other court official and obtained access
to documents which the other has none, or caused documents to disappear, there can
be no equality of arms. A judge who has taken a bribe cannot be independent, impartial
or fair. When such things happen, that party immediately acquires a privileged status in

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relation to other parties who have not offered such bribe or are not in a position to offer
a bribe. (Langseth, Petter. 2001)
Judicial corruption appears to be a global problem. It is not restricted to a specific
country or region. Yet manifestations of corruption seem to be at their worse in
developing countries and countries in transition. Few studies conducted suggest that
the causes of judicial corruption vary significantly from State to State. (Langseth, Petter.

The Usual Problems faced by Judges and Solutions adopted by them to Fix it
The increased acceptance of the international dimensions of the corruption issue has
prompted countries to take initiatives to address the problem to make life tougher for
bribe giving business firms in their own countries. (Asia-Pacific Development Journal.
Some of the possible causes include low remuneration and the administrative
nature of the roles of judges, far reaching discretionary powers and weak monitoring of
the execution of those powers. The lack of transparency and the absence of
comprehensive and regularly updated databases further worsen the effects of
corruption in the judiciary. Indicators of corruption, as perceived by the public, include
the delay in the execution of court orders, unjustifiable issuance of summons and
granting of bails, prisoners not being brought to court, lack of public access to records of
court proceedings, disappearance of files, unusual variations in sentencing, delays in

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delivery of judgments, high acquittal rates, conflict of interest, prejudices for or against a
party witness, high rates of decisions in favor of the executive, legislative and all others.
(Langseth, Petter. 2001)
The Centre for International Crime Prevention and Transparency International
intend to make a difference because even though judicial integrity is critical, only a few
international institutions are currently focusing on this issue. The typical approach would
be to reform the judiciary from the outside, through the executive and/or focus on
capacity, rather than integrity of the judiciary. Trusting each other, the justices have
joined in partnership for an international cause. With vast experience and expertise on
the matter, they also have demonstrated their willingness to be self-critical and openly
address highly sensitive issues. In this regard, they have focused upon the question of
integrity of their own institution, the judiciary, for the benefit of strengthening the
judiciary across legal systems against corruption. . (Langseth, Petter. 2001)
Corruption in the judiciary is a complex problem and needs to be addressed
using a variety of approaches. In Venezuela, where 75 percent of the population
reportedly distrusts the judicial system, a US $120 million reform program aims at, inter
alia, eliminating corruption by opening up the system, with public trials, oral arguments,
public prosecutors and citizen juries. . (Langseth, Petter. 2001)
In order to ensure the correct behavior of judicial officers, the adoption of judicial
codes of conduct must be urged. Judges must be instructed in the provisions
established by such a code and the public must be informed about the existence, the

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content and the possibilities to complain in case of the violation of such a code. Newly
appointed judicial officers must formally subscribe to such a judicial code of conduct and
agree, in case of proven breach of the code, to resign from judicial or related office. .
(Langseth, Petter. 2001)
Next, widespread delays cause both opportunities for corrupt practices and the
perception of corruption. Therefore, practically tenable standards for timely delivery
must be developed and made publicly know. In this context it should be noted, however,
that reducing court delays has proven extremely difficult even in countries where the
mobilization of human and financial resources is far less problematic than in countries in
the developing world. . (Langseth, Petter. 2001)
Also, practical measures should be adopted, such as computerization of court
files. Experiences from Karnataka State in India suggest that the computerization of
case files helps not only to reduce immensely the work load of the single judge and to
speed up the administration of justice, but also helps to avoid the reality or appearance
that court files are lost to require fees for their retrieval substitution. Sentencing
guidelines could also significantly help in identifying clearly criminal sentences and other
decisions which are so exceptional as to give rise to suspicions of partiality. . (Langseth,
Petter. 2001)
Furthermore, alternative dispute resolution should also be made available
because this would give the litigants the possibility to avoid actual or suspected
corruption in the judicial branch. The importance of proper peer pressure to be brought

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to bear on judicial officers should also be noted, and that this practice should be
enhanced in order to help maintain high standards of probity within the judicature.
Establishment of an independent, credible and responsive complaint mechanism was
seen as an essential step in the fight against judicial corruption. The responsible entity
should be staffed with serving and past judges and be given the mandate to receive,
investigate and determine complaints of corruption allegedly involving judicial officers
and court staff. . (Langseth, Petter. 2001)
However, in many countries where these are standard features of the system,
the judiciary is nonetheless perceived to be corrupt. It should be acknowledged that
judges, like other citizens, are subject to the law. They have, and should have, no
immunity from obedience to the general law. Where reasonable cause exists to warrant
investigation by police and other public bodies of suspected criminal offences on the
part of judicial officers and court staff, such investigations should take their ordinary
course, according to law. . (Langseth, Petter. 2001)
Judicial officers, in their initial education and thereafter, should be regularly
assisted with instruction in binding decisions concerning the law of judicial bias (actual
and apparent) and judicial obligations to disqualify oneself for actual or perceived
partiality. In order to assure the monitoring of judicial performance, the explanation to
the public of the work of the judiciary and its importance, including the importance of
maintaining high standards of integrity, needs to be explained. . (Langseth, Petter.

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Current Disciplinary System Example: PENNSYLVANIA
In order to develop a strong and effective method for disciplining judges who act
improperly, the Judicial Discipline System of Pennsylvania reminds judges and the
public that the power of the robe comes with great responsibility. When that power and
responsibility are abused, the abuse should be dealt with harshly, yet fairly. A strong,
independent judicial discipline system must protect the public by ensuring that unethical
and illegal conduct by judges is halted and punished. (Goodman, Shira J. and Marks,
Lynn. 2011)
The Judicial Discipline System of Pennsylvania recommended changes in its
judicial discipline system to ensure that the functions the courts are tasked with are
done effectively to protect the public. It advocated for an increased funding in its Judicial
Conduct Board (JCB, for brevity) and the Court of Judicial Discipline (CJD, for brevity)
and in line with that considered separating the budget requests of the JCB from the CJD
in order to improve the transparency and accountability of these bodies. Expansion of
the information provided in the website and the participation of JCB in Public Education
Programs to promote public understanding of the work of Judges and of the Judicial
Discipline System. In addition, the standards and procedures for emergency or temporal
removal of a judge were also recommended to be clarified and to be applied constantly.
Even if the JCB defers an investigation, it should not defer taking action to protect the
public when there are allegations of judicial misconduct in office. The constitutional
confidentiality provisions should be interpreted to protect the parties to a complaint, not
the JCB. (Goodman, Shira J. and Marks, Lynn. 2011)

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Furthermore, it was also recommended that the Court of Judicial Discipline
should articulate and apply clear, consistent grounds for decisions, particularly
regarding the sanction of removal from office, in order to strengthen the judicial system
and to prevent supposed perpetrators from doing or even attempting to do malicious
deeds. (Goodman, Shira J. and Marks, Lynn. 2011)
c.2 Corruption in the Philippine Setting
Corruption in the Philippines has become a humanitarian crisis and scandals
increasingly seem to dominate the news. Corruption is a serious obstacle to the social
and economic development of a country. The benefactors of this negativity are the
Filipino people themselves. End-users are made to pay for overpriced goods or services
or are made to deal with low-quality or substandard goods or services. (Tacloban
Hotels. 2013)
But, despite the seriousness of the problem, people in the government show no
sense of urgency to fight it. Whats worse is that corruption scandals are only closed
by the fact that other corruption scandals are taking its place. Its like the new scandals
take over the old, and the old eventually fades away, unsolved. Nobody ever seems to
be punished. Its either they are left to leave the country or get confined to their
hospitals on the guise that they are sick. The idea of cultural acceptance of corruption
also needs to be re-examined in the state where Filipinos decry it as a major problem. It
facilitates criminal enterprises such as black marketing and illegal gambling syndicates,
both also prevalent. (Moratalla, Nelson Nogot)

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Corruption has both political and socio-cultural roots: the political system and its
institutions allow graft and corruption to flourish, but it is people, not institutions, who are
robbing government funds. Billions allocated to infrastructure projects, community
development, and improving the lives and health of the Filipino people have gone into
individuals pockets, or Swiss bank accounts, instead of designated projects. (Elliott,
Gary. 2008)
c.3 The Corrupt System in the Judiciary
The conflict with corruption is highlighted in the use of the alibi of a gift-giving
culture to justify bribery and extortion, or the Filipino regard for the other to justify giving
benefits to unqualified but personally known recipients. Ones kin may exclude a
bureaucrat who chooses to stay within the law. The state may, however, leave them
alone, provided they do not compromise their official role. Another case is when an
official participates in a decision involving a kin, even if they vote against that persons
interest, that official can still be charged with corruption. (Moratalla, Nelson Nogot)
Embezzlement of funds, although not really that common with judges considering
the fact that they do not really handle these funds, is sometimes evident among judges.
This can be done in connivance with people who are entrusted with the supposed
money intended for funding non-governmental organizations (NGOs). For example, if a
specific NGO will receive its own set of funds in the amount of 30M pesos, the judge
connives with the treasury or the person tasked with receiving the money so that when
such amount is received by the NGO itself, they have already gotten their share.

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Nepotism and favoritism is also another case, in which members of the judiciary
particularly those occupying high positions tend to cause appointment or employment of
their relatives and close friends to positions in the government even if they are not
qualified or eligible to discharge the functions of that office. This is one of the root
causes of inefficiency and overflowing government employees. (PCTC)
In line with this, Patronage can also be said to be a part of it, as members of the
judiciary have specific patronage privileges that they are willing to extend to a person
or some group and have never ending means of exercising it according to their whims,
to the detriment of the Filipino people.
Extortion is also rampant in the judiciary nowadays, done by members against
the parties they are handling in their courts by demanding money, valuable items, or
services from ordinary citizens who transact business with them or with their office. This
is usually rampant in performance of judicial functions relating to low profile cases
because of the lesser amount of scrutiny involved. (PCTC)
Protection Money can also be a cause for corruption. This is a form of bribery
wherein citizens performing illegal activities and operations often deliver huge amounts
of money to a member of the judiciary which has jurisdiction in the case which they are
involved, in exchange for unhampered illegal operation. The member who receives the
money will be bound to protect the citizen concerned together with his illegal activities
and prevent the law from striking him down. (PCTC)

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The Lagay System, the most common form of bribery in the judiciary, is done
by the citizens to bribe the members of the judiciary to speed up processes required in
cases. Too much paper requirements, long processing of documents, ineffective and
inefficient personnel management and the absence of professionalism in the public
service force ordinary citizens to employ illegal methods for the immediate dispatch or
judgment in their cases. Offer of a huge amount of money to a member of the judiciary
who can facilitate the flow of the trial is often the most frequently employed method of
this form of bribery. (PCTC)

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D. The Usual Problems Faced By Judges in Legal Ethics

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Quick Facts:
! Hon. Judge Gina M. Bibat-Palamos currently presides Regional Trial Court -
Branch 64 of Makati city, while Hon. Judge Lucia V. Isnani is a retired Judge and
is the current Chief Supervisor of Philippine Mediation Center in Makati city.
! The Interview happened at Makati Halls of Justice
! The group activity started around 8:00 am last February 25, 2014
d.1 Independence
As powerful as a judges authority may be inside the court, his position to render the
higher judgment is still vulnerable from malevolent intentions of the people around him
whose corrupt motives to manipulate justice leave bad impression on the judiciary
office. Those underground attempts to create negotiations that lead to favorable flow of
the case are the biggest hindrance in maintaining the appearance of independence by
the judge. In the course of the groups study of law, particularly in Legal Ethics, they
able to understand that lawyers and judges must exercise their profession to the best of
their knowledge and perform their duties in accordance with personal assessment of the
facts of a certain case before rendering decisions in order to serve justice where it is
due. As for the judges duty, they are expected to be equipped with the ability to make
independent judgment without fear or favor. However, we have also learned through
this interview that not all judges are able to remain steadfast in their decisions because
of numerous external factors. Most common among these factors is the Extraneous
influence that comes from a variety of persons - from a former classmate or colleague,

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to the closest blood relations in sixth degree of consanguinity. Having close family ties is
one of the primary reasons why Filipinos cannot easily refuse to do favors and accept
pleas from relatives. But this should not be applied in the performance of the duty of a
The group begins the interview with how the judge exercise her independence in
making decisions. Judge Palamos told the group what is arguably the best formula to
prevent such external influence in making decisions. According to her, honesty to the
profession and its separation to personal life and affairs make it easy to fulfill her duty
as a judge where she can maintain independent decision in the cases she handle. Her
demeanor as a strict and reputable judge safeguards her profession from any external
attempt to convince her to break the laws and cover the truth. We have learned how she
was able to weather the adversaries in her profession. She shared several occasions
wherein people talked to her about cases in which they might be involved or has interest
therein. She never succumb to any kind of pressure. She also shared how a former
colleagues odd conversation with her gave her a hint of a hidden agenda to try to
impose influence on her to bend a certain case. She also revealed to us numerous
attempts to bribe her in the most unbelievable and surprising means. Any offer of a
huge amount of money could blindside anyone easily regardless if its consequence is to
compromise their profession. But Judge Palamos is a great exemption to this. The
group acknowledge her selfless desire to just perform her duty and honor the profession
which exemplifies the real meaning of Independence that the first code in the New
Judicial Ethics emphasizes.

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d.2 Integrity
Not only integrity is expected to be exhibited by all members of the judiciary but it is
also the most difficult to preserve both to themselves and most importantly, to the high
courts where they owe the profession. People look upon the conduct of the judges as a
reflection of the judiciary branch and whenever an allegation of corrupt practice, no
matter how small it is, is connected to a judge, the integrity of the court is also tainted. A
tarnished integrity is the hardest to reacquire that is why judges, over the course of their
practice of profession, should guarantee that they perform in good faith and with proper
moral standing. In the groups interview with Judge Palamos and Judge Isnani, they
realized how difficult it is for the judges to remain true to their duty because according to
them, they had to deal with the biggest and most arduous task of their career just to
preserve the integrity of the court. They have to battle out series of complaints and false
accusations that were thrown to them over the years. The vicissitudes of the judicial
office can either make or break a judges career. Keeping up with what a reasonable
observer expects from a judge is never an easy thing to do. The group learned that, to
remain honest to the profession, a judge must maintain proper compliance with the
obligations in the office accompanied by humble treatment to their colleagues which
paved their way to success for a long time. There will always be those envious people,
who works in the very same halls of the building where a judge is assigned, that will
stop at nothing to create a hostile atmosphere that eventually leads to the toughest tests
of a judges character and professionalism. The group also learned how valuable it is to
maintain the trust and confidence of the public to the profession and the court as well.

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Most of the time, a judges work day does not only end by finishing their tasks but also
providing clear and satisfying performance that a reasonable observer would not doubt.
d.3 Impartiality
Before a judge could render a decision to a case, he must carefully assess all the
facts presented by both parties. A final judgment should be free from doubt in the eyes
of a reasonable observer in order to maintain the judges good standing. By being
honest in the exercise of a judges duty, he can provide a balance treatment of the case
regardless of how strong is the guilt of the accused based on the evidence presented.
What is morally right does not always tantamount to the determination of guilt in the
legal process. An accused will forever be shielded with his constitutional rights to a fair
trial. During our court observance, we noticed how Judge Palamos was keen to every
details during the direct and cross examination of the witness. It is of our understanding
that, as a judge, she must impose a strict observance of the courts procedure to be
able to provide enough merits on the case. In an another interview, we learned how
Judge Isnani was lauded by her colleagues and other court personnels by earning the
reputation of being a fair judge. The latters respect and dedication to her profession has
given her the honor and love from the people in Makati which she now enjoys even after
retirement as a judge. She even shared to us one instance where she has to inhibit
herself in one particular case so as to avoid being perceived by the public as a biased
judge. She honors her dignity by her continued excellence in her duty as a judge
throughout the years.

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d.4 Impropriety
The group learned from its interview with Judge Isnani how important it is to
establish a well respected demeanor inside and outside the courtroom. She recalls how
during her younger years as a judge, lawyers and clients look upon her as a public
figure who embodies all the necessary characteristics of a judge. From the way she
dressed elegantly in every trial, to her humble relationships with colleagues and clients.
According to her, it is always important to maintain kind attitude to every person youre
dealing with. She takes pride in her four long decades of service not only to her
community but more importantly to the lawyers who never held any grudges during her
time as a judge. Judge Isnani believes that, although a judge cannot please everybody,
she must at least gain respect and confidence from the majority of the people, clients,
lawyers, and fellow judges. She carries along her long career the importance of how the
appearance of impropriety must be shown at all times. A judges conduct towards the
public and in the performance of her duty reflects the integrity and prestige of this noble
profession. Her storied career is simply one of a kind that she had been given the
opportunity to be invited to become one of the associate justices of the Supreme Court.
However, her love for her colleagues in Makati Hall of Justice prevail over higher honor
which made her chose to live a modest life as a judge. Lifes lessons from a judge
comes not from the number of cases he or she has handled but by how people remains
faithful to the judges ability to render a well deserved justice.

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d.5 Equality
Throughout their career, both Judge Palamos and Judge Isnani were able to deliver
their best judgment in accordance with the basic principle of equality. According to
them, social and cultural diversity must not hinder their equal judgment. Social and
economic status must not dictate the outcome of any trial because in the eyes of the
law, both parties involved in a trial have rights, which shall not be impaired, not even by
the judge. Judge Isnani told the group how she mastered the way of assessing the facts
of the case without having to check on the personal lives of the persons involved. While
Judge Palamos asserts that the more she did not know the persons involved in the
case, the better it is to render equal judgment. She also imposes strict observance of
the rules of court to the witnesses in a trial regardless of the social status. In the
exercise of their duty as a judge, equality must not only be done during trial but it must
also manifest outside the courtroom such as in dealing with other legal affairs.
d.6 Competence and Diligence
In pursuing continued excellence in the practice of her profession, Judge Palamos
confessed that when she was a younger judge, she consults Justices of high repute to
serve as her mentor. As a judge, it was not always easy for her to perform her duty in
executing decisions perfectly. She learned from the bests which she now applies inside
the courtroom. She also admitted that one of the worst scenarios that she worries about
is to be accused or being filed a complaint against for being ignorant of a certain law.
Judge Palamos thrives for the betterment of her profession. She did not take up the

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usual programs offered to the lawyers and judges but instead, her other job as a
professor in San Beda College School of Law contributes a lot in furtherance of her
legal knowledge and wisdom. Another motivation for competence she revealed to us is
that, in performance of her duty, she does not meddle with the businesses of other
judges but instead, she simply focuses on whats going on inside her courtroom. She
did not mind what other judges had to say about her. In addition to that, she knows very
well the value of having to separate personal life from her duty as a judge. As
successful as she is now, she takes pride in raising her children very well without letting
her job interfere with family affairs. She arrives at her office on time because she
believes, every single minute counts in legal profession. Lastly, it is important to
remember that regardless of how prestigious the title of a judge is, if they cant carry out
their duties in accordance with what the code of judicial ethics mandates, the people
would still lose confidence in the office.

E. The Opinion and Advice of the Judges
After the Honorable Judges shared the usual problems that they encounter with
legal ethics in their job, they never forgot to give their pieces of advice to the group.
They have also shared the things that they do to handle such problems. As for what
Judge Palamos said Every judge has a reputation. It may be good or bad. Some
judges are known to accept bribes and some are known to be strict with the law. She It
is for other people to say who is ethical and who is not. The only thing that they can do

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as judges is to try and hear the case based on its merits and not be influenced by the
intrigues that they are facing. They should always maintain an image of integrity,
independence and impartiality amidst the issues.

When it comes to balancing their private and professional lives they keep it
separate meaning they do not talk about the cases they are deciding inside their homes
and they do not let their relationship with others influence them. The group thinks that
this is the most commonly faced problem by our Judges. For example as what Judge
Palamos said, It cannot be denied that she is friends with her co-professors in San
Beda and sometimes they appear as counsels in her sala. The only thing that she could
do is not to let their relationship get in the way of her judging and try and hear the case
based on the merits.

Having to become a judge is really difficult, for judges cannot do or enjoy what
ordinary people can. As what Judge Isnani said that before, she really loves to go on
social gatherings where she can sing and dance but after being appointed as a judge,
she rarely goes out anymore because she puts in mind that such actions can create a
doubt in her impartiality, independence and integrity as a Judge. There should be no
room for doubt in the mind of an ordinary man according to her. At all times a judge
must be seen as impartial and independent. Proper attire and decorum are also very
important for her because it gives an impression of competence and integrity.

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Offering bribe to public officials and judicial officers is common knowledge
especially here in the Philippines. For the two judges that the group has interviewed, it
is for the judge himself or herself to avoid. To have a good set of morals, a character not
centered on material desires and a strong self-restraint will surely avoid the temptation
of accepting big amount of money.

With the opinion and pieces of advice aforementioned, the solutions they think
would help in maintaining the integrity, independence and impartiality. Hence, it is time
for the group to share our insights about the problems and the possible solutions to
minimize the problems that our judiciary is facing.

F. Key Judicial Corruption Problems and The Recommended Solutions:

First, what is the meaning of judicial corruption? Transparency International
defined it as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This means both financial or
material gain and non-material gain, such as the furtherance of political or professional
ambitions. Judicial corruption includes any inappropriate influence on the impartiality of
the judicial process by an actor within the court system. (Transparency International,

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According to the country studies conducted by Transparency International the
most commonly identified problems which our group thinks are applicable here in the
Philippines are the following. First, is the failure to appoint judges based on merit. It is of
common knowledge here in our country that we have that Padrino System. It only
means that one can be given a position or can be appointed to an office or a court if
such person know some people who are influential in the society or someone who has a
high position in the government. This often times lead to the appointment of corruptible
officials. Second, the poor salaries and unhealthy working conditions that is common in
the Judiciary. With the type of job that our judges have, it is really not enough of what
they are receiving as compensation. Here in the Philippines, not all courts are given that
security they deserve. For example, in the provinces, when compared to courts here in
Metro Manila, one may see the difference immediately. Some courts have many guards,
some metal detectors and other devices for security purposes. From that alone, poor
working environment robs most courts of the appearance of Integrity as an effective
institution for bringing justice. Third is transparency. Cloudy court processes prevents
the media and civil society from monitoring court activity and exposing judicial
corruption. In addition, not all judges disclose their true assets. This alone makes it even
easier for some to commit evil deeds. (Transparency International, 2007)
The following are the recommended solutions to the problems identified in the
preceding paragraph. For the problem in appointing judges, the appointing body should
have an objective and transparent process for the appointment. This is to ensure that
only the highest quality candidates are selected, and that they do not feel indebted to

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the particular politician or senior judge who appointed them. For the problems about
security and salaries, the salaries of the judges must be reasonably commensurate with
their position, experience, performance and professional development for the entirety of
their tenure; fair pensions should be provided on retirement. When it comes to their
security, courts in the province should have the same kind of security as the courts
located in the cities for judges not to give in to threats or fear for their lives for they are
only human. Lastly, judges should make periodic assets disclosure, especially where
other public officials are required to do so. (Transparency International, 2007)

Some of the identified judicial problems and solutions recommended by
Transparency International were not included for reason that the group thinks that such
were already addressed by the Judicial department of the Republic of the Philippines.

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G. Comparative Table

Table 1. A Comparison on the What a Judge Is Based on the Philippine
Code on Judicial Conduct and Actual Practice.




Natural-born citizen of the

At least 35 years of age if
RTC while 30 years of age if

Has been engaged for at
least ten years if RTC while
five years if MTC, in the
practice of law in the
Philippines, or has held a
public office in the Philippines
requiring admission to the
practice of law as an
indispensable requisite;

And a person of proven
competence, integrity, probity,
and independence.

Same minimum requirements
plus back-up from powerful/
reputable persons


Public officer selected to
preside and administer law in

Public official, Spouse,
Mother, Colleague, Friend,

Proficient/ Must know almost

Commits mistakes/errors and

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No stain of conduct

Dispose cases on time;

Observes proper conduct and
irreproachable behavior;

Noble, lucrative, and
glamorous profession;

learns from it;
Cites contempt for those who
are disobedient;

Experiences temptations and
rumors re their profession;
Incur backlogs in deciding

Every action is under public

Harassed with charges in the
performance of duties;


Keep abreast of legal
developments and

Participate in mandatory
continuing legal education

Participate in mandatory
continuing legal education

Consults with their mentors;

Share experiences and new
learning with colleagues;
Teaches in academe;

Maximizes the internet in
searching legal

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Table 2. A Table on the Philippine Code of Judicial Conduct and Its Canons
Based on the Interview.





1. Underground attempts of
bribery to create negotiations
by persons with corrupt
motive to manipulate justice;

1.a. Exercises ability to make
independent judgment without
fear or favor;

1.b. Just perform duty as a
judge and honor the profession

2. Extraneous influence from
various persons;

2.a. Honesty to the profession
and its separation to personal
life and affairs;

2.b. Demeanor as a strict and
reputable judge;

2.c. Do not entertain people at
home, only in the office.

1. Allegation of corrupt
practice to a judge which
taints the integrity of the

1.a. Performs tasks in good
faith and with proper moral

1.b. Proper compliance with
the obligations as a judge

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2. Envious persons within the
workplace which creates
hostile atmosphere

2.a. Mind my own business

2.b. Humble treatment to

1. Deciding cases in which
there is a strong guilt of the
accused based on evidence

1.a. Careful assessment of all
the facts presented by both

1.b. Balance treatment of the

2. Instances where a
friend/colleague is a counsel
of one of the parties

2. Impose strict observance of
the courts procedure to be
able to decide based on the
merits of the case

3. High confidentiality of

3.a. Inhibition from talking
about it outside the court;

3.b. Talking to the parties
alone without the lawyer


1. Inability to please

1.a. Maintain kind attitude to
every person you are dealing

1.b. Dress well and decently to
gain respect and confidence
from at least majority of the

1.c. Arrive in your office on

1. Social and cultural diversity

1.a. Remind oneself that both

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parties involved in a trial have
rights which shall not be
impaired, not even by a

1.b. By not checking on the
personal lives of the persons


1. Fear of not executing
decisions perfectly

1.a. Consult a mentor;

1.b. Explore other means of
broadening your knowledge

2. Being filed a complaint
against gross ignorance of
the law.

2.a. Do what is necessary (e.g.
submit a comment) once a
complaint is filed against you

2.b. Thrive for the betterment
of the profession

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H. The Band- Aid Solutions Adopted by Judges
The modern-day judges whom the group interviewed still manage to be ethical in
their dealings despite numerous problems, which challenge their adherence to the Code
of Judicial Conduct. They may not rigidly apply what the code solely provides but what
is important is that they were able to adopt solutions/ways on how to handle it without
compromising their duty as a judge. These so-called Band-aid solutions are actually
like fillers in real life scenarios, which the code does not actually speak of. It is a
combination of techniques on how a judge can delineate his supremacy over the case.
For example, inevitable circumstance occurred like when a judge walks along the
corridor and a counsel would ask him/her when will he/she grant the petition for bail.
The code simply mandates the judge to maintain independence, integrity impartiality,
impropriety, equality, competence and diligence. Thus, each judge can adopt his/her
own band-aid solution in that particular case. Like what one of our interviewees did,
she simply replied Next year. It is apparent that the petition could not be decided after
a year but her remark implied that the counsel should wait for the decision whether it is
a yes or a no.
Hence, long as judges do not violate the New Code on Judicial Ethics, they are
free to adopt certain measures, which will enable them to avoid needless situations that
can give rise to the questioning of their fitness in discharging their duties as a Judge.

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The group agreed in toto that there is a need to express each ones point of view
regarding ones inclination to become a judge after conducting the interview and on how
do we handle ourselves as a Judge if faced with the same set of unique problems
encountered by them The following are the perspectives of each one of the group
A. Abrera
I have never dreamed of becoming a judge but I am open to possibilities if ever
one will arise in the future. I believe and learned that judgeship entails a lot of hardship
and discipline. The most striking lesson for me during our interview is to manage time
wisely. Judges are not only public officers because they also have a duty to their
spouse, children, parents, friends, colleagues, and to themselves. They have to multi-
task in order to fulfill all these duties. I am open to be molded to attain the qualities
which a judge must have as early as now.
I believe that judgeship is a long process that is why the constitution mandates a
five-year (for MTC) or ten-year (for RTC) period in the practice of law, as the case may
be. Judges are trained well to handle the politics in the real world. The conduct of
independence, integrity, impartiality, impropriety, equality, competence, and diligence
must be deeply rooted in them first before sitting in the Judiciary.
Judgeship is a profession in which one uses not only his mind but his heart as
well. Love for public service and for the profession must be the principal reason why he
practices it. The perks are only incidental to the profession.

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Truly, as cited in Goodman, Shira J. and Marks, Lynn, the power of the robe
comes with great responsibility. It is really a matter of discipline whether our judges will
overuse their power or they will use it to aid it in the administration of justice. As a law
student, it is satisfying to know that we still have role models on the moral righteousness
and uprightness. If ever I will be faced with the same set of problems encountered by
our modern-day judges, I hope that I will be able to formulate my own solution/way
without violating the canons.

B. Celerian
I am now a convert. I always thought of the negative image that our Judiciary
system maintained. I never thought that there are still Judges who really adhere to the
inhibitions mandated by the law, coupled by their passion to really bring justice to where
it is due.
This substantial change does not only cover my targeted nature of expertise as a
lawyer in the future but also cover the whole outlook of one average law student who is
still under construction. When my dreams almost dwindled because of the tedious life
and unexpected delays in law school, I did not expect that there is a deeper reason for
having such standards both in academic and moral part (which, for some, is higher than
that standard required in passing the bar examinations). That is, to be equipped with
that kind of extraordinary discipline and good moral character from the very beginning
and to continue such at all times because it goes to the heart of the profession itself.

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From a perspective of a law student, it was easy as ABC to say that Ive been targeting
to become a lawyer honed in litigation. This is the most basic idea of the practice of law.
The Atticus Finch of the good old days. Then because of the interview, another hidden
desire came. I have been thinking of how our young lady judges who also happen to be
professors in law school was able to accomplish such.
I find Judgeship really appealing yet challenging because of the perks enjoyed by
the Judge. As of the moment, with my principles intact, I can see myself as a Judge who
can handle things well, in accordance to the New Code of Judicial Ethics. The problem
area to which Im fearful, however, lies on the fact that I really put value to family and
other relationships. Hence, one of the goals I think that I need to set is how to put a
demarcation line as to special favors without any fear to anyone. Re-assessing and
pumping up the passion of being in love with the law can also couple such goal.
Adherence to the letter of the New Code of Judicial Ethics in its strictest sense, I
believe, can be done with the set of preventive measures adopted by the Judges
interviewed. As long as they do not commit any violation of the inhibitions, then the
Judges are free from adopting their own system in order to mitigate all the pressure and
other external influences, which might impair the ethical fulfillment of their duties.
C. Marcaida
Certainly Yes. I am considering judgeship as a future vocation not only because
of the prestige and respect that the society has in such profession. I do want to try and
decide cases even though after the interview that my group mates and I conducted with

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two honorable judges. Having to know the problems that they normally encounter and
endure still I do consider it. Being given the chance to ask some questions to two well
respected judges I have come to realize how difficult it is to be a judge. since they
should be the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence at all times and
that they should behave in such a manner that would promote public confidence in the
integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
A judge must be impartial in decision making in the pursuit of justice. in an
adversarial system of justice cases are contests between opposing sides, which
ensures that evidence and legal arguments will be presented. the duty of the judge is to
provide an independent and impartial assessment of the facts and how the law applies
to those facts.
Being the person to decide a case a judge must also keep in mind not to let the
family, social or other relationships to influence their judicial conduct or judgment. This
is somewhat the most violated code of conduct of judges because we are Filipinos and
we are known for our being hospitable, with strong family ties and the thing that we call
utang na loob. This for me I think is the thing that would mostly influence an ordinary
man in his judgment. This is a very difficult problem that a judge must face. In the words
of judge Isnani there should be no room for doubt in the mind of an ordinary observer.
At all times a judge must be seen as impartial and independent. As for Judge Palamos
to her it is also a problem because as she said. It cannot be denied that she is friends
with her co-professors in san Beda and sometimes they appear as counsels in her sala.
The only thing that she could do is not to let their relationship get in the way of her

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judging and try and hear the case based on the merits. And also she does not talk about
the cases that she is deciding inside their home thats another way of balancing her
professional life as a judge and a private person.
After having a chance to ask Judge Palamos about some problems in legal ethics
in the judiciary of what she said that was really stuck inside my head was that every
judge has a reputation. It may be good or bad, some judges are known to accept bribes
and some are known to be strict with the law. She said it is for other people to say who
is ethical and who is not. And that statement by her really made me think that keeping
an image of being independent and impartial is the hardest thing that judges are facing.
Just by observing the facial expressions of Judge Palamos And judge Isnani and the
way they tell their experiences of being a judge I can tell that they really enjoyed their
work even though they may be restricted by it in some aspects.
With all the problems that a judge must face why am I still considering it as a
future vocation? The answer is simple. Because it is a fulfilling vocation, having to be an
instrument of justice. I want to be a judge that would somehow help the judiciary keep
its integrity. By creating an image that the people can still put their trust in our judicial
system amidst the intrigues that it is facing.

D. Romulo
Being a judge entails a lot of responsibilities. The life of a person may change
depending on the decision that a judge may make. I do not think that my calling is to be

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a judge. Judges need to maintain a certain image with the society due to their position
in the government. They are somehow constricted with what they do because they are
always in the limelight. Also, a higher standard of setting a good example to the public is
expected more from them.

E. Sanson
After hearing the stories and experiences of the judges, through their profession
may sound appealing to me as a law student, I became hesitant in dreaming or aiming
to be a judge. I know that being a judge is hard as it is. But after hearing their
experiences, it made me realize that it is really a tough profession to uphold. One must
obviously be of good moral character and must always be on control of themselves to
be able to be a judge because It requires a high degree of integrity and diligence.

F. Serrano
Judgeship sounds like a lot of responsibility. I think it takes a lifetime of hard work
and continuous legal education in order to keep up with the competency in the
profession. One who aspires to be a judge must prepare himself mentally and physically
to meet all the higher standards of professionalism as well as the compliance with the
judicial ethics. Judgeship for me is the kind of career that takes a lawyer to a whole new
level of legal practice in terms of necessity to have much more wisdom and knowledge
of the profession. Upon learning about the life of a judge based on the groups interview,

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I think one of the best ways to determine if one is capable of advancing to become a
judge is his devotion and experience as a lawyer. Being a judge is not simply having the
power to decide cases and neither it is an authority to be used for personal gains. Since
they hold a higher position in the judicial office, their role is becomes much tougher
since the public expects more from them than the lawyers.
I personally once aspired to becoming a judge but never really thought much about
it nor did I contemplated well enough on how I would become one. I think it is a kind of a
long-term goal that takes a lot of years of practice in the legal service before one could
weigh in on the possibilities and qualifications. On the other hand, I believe it is the best
opportunity to provide the best service to the public specially on helping our country
preserve the integrity of the judicial branch of the government. Its like reaching ones
full potential in the legal profession and having to advance into a higher degree of
learning and service. Judgeship is a profession not just to satisfy ones career and for
personal fulfillment, it is more of providing life changing moments to the thousands of
people who still believe in due process in this country. As for me, I am positive on
accepting the position of a judge if ever I would be given a chance. Challenges would
surely come along the way but in order to succeed in this endeavor, a judge must stay
true to his duty and just comply with the code of judicial conduct to avoid complications
and instead, earn the hearts of the public. As of the moment, it may a dream far from
reach but every single moment I spend waiting to realize such dream is also an
opportunity to develop my character that would be suitable to be a judge. I would take it
as the highest honor that I could get over my lifetime. But then again, judgeship is not

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just about the prestige of the title, it is more of service to our countrymen accompanied
by much higher expectations.

G. Sevilla
Paradigm Shift: Judging the Judges
It was in 1962 that Thomas Kuhn defined and popularized the concept of
paradigm shift. He argues that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is
a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions, and in
those revolutions one conceptual world view is replaced by another. (The Structure of
Scientific Revolution [p.10]). Think of Paradigm shift as a change from one way of
thinking to another. Its a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It does
not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change.
As a noun, a judge is a public officer, lawfully appointed to decide litigated
questions according to law. (Bouvier [1856]). As a verb the term judge generally
describes a process of evaluation and decision. (West's Encyclopedia of American Law,
Ed. [2008]).
In line with tradition in the Judiciary, Judges are expected to live and work in
isolation. They are supposed to shun all previous personal, social and professional
relationships. They are placed and looked-up to at the very pinnacle of the legal
profession, often regarded as unreachable, untouchable and unaffected by any external

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However, adapting to change is inevitable in the todays Philippine setting. On
December 8, 2000, the Supreme Court approved the Action Program for Judicial
Reform. One of its core components is aimed at the transformation of judges their
persons, educations, values, habits and aptitudes. It includes Mandatory Continuing
Legal Education (MCLE), Computerized Case Management and Tracking, Electronic
Library (e-library) and New Rules of Procedure.
In the present society, to be appointed as a Judge carries with it not only
additional benefits but also a corresponding heavier, though not always burdensome,
responsibility. It is a lawyers dream to be seated and be called as a Honorable Judge,
but not all, carries that goal. One may only be driven to earn money because of the
traditional idea of it being connoted as a very lucrative profession. If we are to delve into
the idea of being a lawyer or judge for this instance, we will see that there is a clear
dichotomy in todays society. The past concept of lawyering is no longer accurate as of
today, because to become or to be called Attorney or Judge for that matter, is
susceptible of multiple understanding. Before it is for the sake of the oppressed, the
weak and helpless, a lawyer/ judge is willingly to perform his/her functions to carry out
their sworn oaths of delivering justice. Nowadays, justice cannot be seeked fairly, as the
rule of play fair no longer applies. Judges can now be bought by handling over bribes,
so that justice can be served. We are not generalizing that every Judge in todays
society is corrupt. A few still exists that remains unbended from their principle of justice
for the innocent. As from us to be a member of the judiciary is still not an option for the

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very reason that the legal system of the Philippines is very much lacking in some of its
Code of Conduct
Legal and Judicial education is intended to enhance not only the intellectual
ability of lawyers and magistrates, but also their ethical standards. Thus the court has
adopted for the judiciary the New Code of Judicial Conduct. It was patterned after the
Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct (Bangalore Draft), which had been crafted by
the Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity, under the aegis of United
Nations. To give teeth to the New Code of Judicial Conduct, the Court has amended
Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, which classifies the nature and the gravity of the
administrative offenses, as well as the sanctions for them, and provides for the proper
conduct of the administrative investigations.
Judges are often charged having no justification; more often than not it always
seemed to be unwarranted. If ever we are to be judges and we are faced with the same
dilemma of being charged groundlessly because of the choices we made, if our point is
right from the very start, we are remain calm and composed and unshaken, as one
judge said pabayaan mo sila.
In conclusion, we have been evolving and will continue to do so. Change is
difficult. We resist change; however, the process has been set in motion long ago and
we will continue to co-create our own experience. Kuhn states "awareness is

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prerequisite to all acceptable changes of theory" (The Structure of Scientific Revolution
It all begins in our minds. What we perceive, whether normal or metanormal,
conscious or unconscious, is subject to the limitations and distortions produced by our
inherited and socially conditional nature. However, we are not restricted by this for we
can change.

H. Siapno
As a kid, I have always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. And when I entered law
school, the appeal of becoming a judge dawned on me and made me realize I wanted
to become a judge too. When I met my professor judges, I was in awe of them so I
wanted to become a judge myself too. I was blinded by the prestige that it will bring to
my name, and I did not think about the consequences that I may face when I become
In the course of our interview with the judges, it got me thinking what I really
wanted to become, if I was up for the job. I know that I do not have the discipline to
keep myself out of those prying eyes of the public. I am still enjoying my childhood and
having fun with the things that I can enjoy while I am young. But since many things can
happen a long the way, I am still keeping my options open, because lets face it who
does not want to be a judge? For now, I want to find myself and be lead to where my
passion is because as I can see it, these judges are very passionate in what they do. I

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want to find my passion like they found theirs. I want to be fearless in my profession,
only upholding what is just and not to be persuaded of what others think as long as I am
doing what is right. I still would want to become a judge someday, provided that by that
time I am ready to accept the position and render my duties with passion and
conviction. But for now, I will treat these thoughts in my head as desirable difficulties,
which will aid me to become a better person in years to come.
If I were in the shoes of the judges, I will also abide strictly with the canons of the
code of judicial responsibility. As a member of the judiciary, my duty is to the public. I
myself know that my conscience will bother me if I do something illegal because I was
not raised that way by my parents. I was taught in a young age of the values of being a
Christian. I do not have the audacity to do that to people, which entrusted me with their
lives to uphold justice. We are talking of lives that will be lost, although not literally, but
the emotional and psychological aspects of their life and also of their family. I cannot
stand idly by and not do anything with the injustice that they may face because of my
own selfish affairs. When I took such job, I swore to protect and preserve the justice that
belongs to the people.

I. Soriano
I have never imagined myself to become a Judge. I have always wanted to
become a lawyer trained in the field of either corporate or taxation law. I have always
felt that I have a weak heart to handle and make decisions that will involve the life of an

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individual I do not even know. Also, as I grew up, I have always thought of the negative
image that the judiciary profession in our country upheld.
I also know that being a judge is not easy and is full of temptation. It is a hard
profession because of the well-known fact that there are tons of cases pending before
the judiciary and the trial system in the Philippines is so slow. It is likewise though
because you have to solidify your values and be competent at the same time in every
decision that you make. As the New Code of Judicial Ethics provide, a Judge must
perform judicial duties with honesty and independence in both its individual and official
capacity. In the real word, it is tough because there are several temptations from left
and right. There is bribery, corruption and inducement everywhere. It is likewise hard to
balance professional work affairs with other relationships. As one of the Judges we
interviewed said, I am a Judge, a wife, a friend but most of all, a mother.
However, after our court observation and interview with two Judges in the Makati
Hall of Justice, I can now say that, Yes, someday I would like to be a judge, if GOD
provides. The interview we had made me realize that there are still Judges who are true
to their profession, adheres the law, and upholds the prestige of their judicial office. As a
striving law student, they served as an inspiration for me to work harder to achieve my
goal on becoming a lawyer and maybe a Judge someday.
J. Tarucan
Yes. But in this world we can only limit ourselves to predictions which can only
materialize at some point in our lives. You want to become a judge but you cant exactly

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be the right kind of judge. Everything legal in our life comes unexpectedly youd
abandon your promise to yourself to become a judge the moment life offers you
something which is far greater.
So with that said, Yes, I would like to become a judge someday. But I think the
path on becoming one is not as easy as the others. With all the requirements of practice
and nominations before you even get the chance for a glimpse on the prized bench,
everything on judgeship will not materialize unless you are there. I think judgeship is a
very valuable profession, considering the weight being put into the shoulders of these
very men whenever they try to decide cases. However, I would not consider it very
appealing at all because of the fact that there are tons of cases pending before the
judiciary now, and talking about the fact that trial in the Philippines is that slow, youll
have to spend your life deciding cases that were not even there in the first place.
But thats the catch when you become a judge. YOU decide cases. You do not defend,
you do not argue, you do not point out things, you do not try to procure evidence. The
lawyers will do it and you get to decide based on those things. You have the almighty
power to either dismiss, or proceed the case. Did I ever imagine myself writing my own
decision? Did I ever imagine myself trying to watch lawyers battle their wits out in front
of me while I sit all day trying to listen to their arguments? Did I ever imagine myself
looking at evidences and saying things like Overruled! or maybe Sustained? Yes. I
sort of get these kind of feelings when I watch movies inspired by the legal profession.

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In some aspects I think judgeship itself is not all about duties to the court. With
the New Code of Judicial Conduct in place, it comes with responsibilities. As a member
of the bench you have to exude some kind of holy aura in which lower people in the
legal profession would perceive as good and just. There are people who would use
these conduct to right wrongs and I go with those kind of judges who think they can
make changes in this already polluted judicial world. Reality check, I think that there are
lots of these kind of judges living in the Philippines right now. The common scenario of
which is that they would like to make a change, but they are afraid that wanting to
change the corrupt judicial system might make the tides turn against them, destroying
their very own life.
I believe that there are no Codes to be followed in the real world. The New Code
of Judicial Conduct is as good as a guide in making judges what the law wants them to
be, but it is up to the judge himself whether he wants to step to the shoes prepared by
the law for them. If ever Im faced with the kind of situations faced by the judges, I will
rely on my own sense of justice and understanding. I will not be confided to what is
written in the law although I will follow it because IT is the law. I will acknowledge that
there is are certain procedures under the law to be followed but I will apply my own
sense of values in producing my output. This may seem too clich of a word or saying
but if ever I become a judge, I will try as hard as I can to not be carried by the corruption
tide. This is somewhat predictable because after all, people change. But for once, Id
like to remember the fact that I, at some point in my life, tried talking to myself about

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being a judge and wanting to change the system we all have been living and suffering

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i. Becoming a Judge calls for a flawless reputation and the adherence to the
New Code of Judicial Ethics (CJE).
Because of the all-ecompassing and metamorphosing effect of the judiciary on
the lives of our people, there has been an ever-growing call for more transparency on its
part. In response, the doors of the judicial fortress have been partially opened and the
gods have become a bit more accessible. Both their persons and their lives have been
subjected to more rigid public scrutiny.
Verily, the judicial enclave has been invaded by the transparency requirements of
the Constitution, the Ethical Standards Law, the Canons of Judicial Ethics and the New
Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary.
Our people no longer accept judicial doctrines they do not understand. Neither do
they blindly defer to judgments that rest on unexplained rationale. (Panganiban,
Transparency, Unanimity & Diversity, 2000, p. 57)
Because of its vital role in the life of the nation, the judiciary has become the
focus of many credible developmental agencies. They realize that stability in the rule of
law and predictability in the rendition of decisions are indispensible to investor
confidence and economic development, and ultimately to good governance.

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ii. The exclusive set of problems faced by a Judge in his/her profession,
especially with legal ethics, calls for a distinctive set of solutions.
The magnitude and viciousness of human rights violations in our recent history
have spurred the Court to strengthen then protection of the peoples fundamental rights.
It has been uncompromising in (1) penalizing judges who failed to inform uneducated
accused persons of their rights to counsel(Gamas v. Oco, 2004), (2) annulling lower
court judgments in which the judge failed to conduct a search inquiry whenever the
accused had waived their right to be heard and plead guilty to the charge against them
(People v. Besonia, 2004), (3) voiding judgments that do not conform with the
constitutional standards as to form and substance (Velarde v. Social Justice Society,
2004), and (4) extending the protection of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to
everyone, including aliens (Domingo v. Scheer, 2004).

iii. That in order to thrive in their chosen field without being entangled with the
issue of partiality, they allow certain latitude for establishing their own limitations
as to their activities and also developing ways for preventing their exposure to
the possible external influence or factors which will go against the New Code for
Judicial Ethics.
The Supreme Court safeguards not only food but also freedom, not only jobs but
also justice, not only indulgences but also integrity, not only development but also
democracy, not only prosperity but also peace.(Panganiban, Leveling the Playing Field,
2004, p. 59)

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Four Essential Judicial Attributes.
Our Constitution mentions four: competence, integrity, probity, and independence. On
the other hand, the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, which
took effect on June 1, 2004, speak of independence, integrity, impartiality, proprietary,
equality, competence and diligence. Justice Artemio Panganiban in his book Leadership
by Example (1999) pp. 11-17, encapsulated them into four Ins; namely, integrity,
independence, industry and intelligence.
The first In, integrity goes beyond mere honesty in dealing with fellow human
beings. It is not a mere refusal to tell a falsehood; it encompasses the moral courage to
denounce a wrong and to promote the truth. By the same token, judges must not only
be free of falsehoods; they must also have the moral courage to rid society of those
numbing falsehoods. By their actions and decision, sometimes by their stirring dissents,
they reveal their character and herald the lacerating truth. Integrity also includes
intellectual decency and a deep sense of personal honor, which transcend a desire for
personal acclaim or recognition. Persons of true integrity perform their tasks faithfully,
regardless of whether their work is recognized by others, and whether it leads to their
promotion. Integrity likewise encompasses impartiality. Judges of integrity perform
duties without fear or favor, bias or prejudice. They ensure that their conduct is above
reproach. Imropriety and the appearance of impropriety are essential to the proper
performance of their duties. Thus is their credibility maintained at all times. It goes
without saying that they avoid, as far as possible, any undue social contact and

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unnecessary fellowship with litigants and lawyers.(Panganiban, Leadership by Example,
The second In is independence. While this attribute refers to both the judicial
institution and to the person of the judge, we shall speak only of the latter. Judges
decide litigations only on the basis of the rational relationship between the law and the
facts, free from any extraneous influence. They should not allow the ships that plague
public service kinships, relationships, friendships and fellowship to interfere in their
judgments. Independence requires the men and women who wear the robes to be free
not only of mental and intellectual biases, but also of emotional baggage brought about
by a misplaced sense of gratitude to the appointing authority. (Panganiban, Leadership
by Example, 1999)
Industry, the third In of a good judge, demands a personal passion for work, not
only during office hours but also in the evenings and the early mornings when free
from the hustle and bustle of the office and trial routines judges find the solitude to
wrestle with their consciences; to pray and to gather courage to accord what is due
every person, pursuant to the letter and spirit of the law, regardless of personal
consequences.(Panganiban, Leadership by Example, 1999)
The fourth In, intelligence, refers to both knowledge and wisdom. Judges must master
the law. To earn the respect of lawyers and litigants, they must be able to preside
authoritatively over the trials and rule reasonably well on fine points of law and evidence
brought before their courts. Intelligence may be equated with excellence, which in turn

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demands mastery of our chosen vocation and familiarity with all branches of knowledge.
Simply put, it means knowing everything about something and something about
everything.(Panganiban, Leadership by Example, 1999)
Importance of pumping up Legal Ethics in law school to go hand in hand with the high
academic requirements set forth.
1. To encourage to continue with their habits of excellence
2. To inspire others to aspire for excellence
3. To formulate an action plan to promote excellence in the entire judiciary

But excellence is not enough. We believe there are at least two other qualities
that we must possess: ethics and eternity. Those aspiring to be included in the judicial
whos who must rigorously follow the Canons of Judicial Ethics and the New Code of
Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary. Indeed, we are expected to be epitomes of
integrity, courage, fidelity, prudence and selflessness.

Ethics Campaign: The Supreme Court must use their influence to lawyers, judges, court
personnel and law students alike.
Ethics embraces, among others, fairness, candor and integrity in the personal
and professional lives of lawyers.

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Fairness means not only merely fighting for an even-handed treatment of ones
cause and case. It extends to a refusal to take undue advantage of the other side, being
honorable in battle, and being scrupulous in the choice of legal weapons.(Panganiban,
Judicial Renaisance, 2005, pp. 217-218)
Candor refers to straightforwardness or forthrightness in admitting a weakness or
even an error. Some lawyers are too proud to admit a mistake. There are also lawyers
who insist on equating the ratio decidendi of a decision with a mere obiter dictum.
Credibility goes up when a lawyer frankly admits that a statement in a decision is a
mere obiter and may not be binding. And respect rises even more when the learned
counsel explains why the obiter makes sense and should anyway be adopted as a
doctrine. But nothing erodes a lawyers credibility more than the deliberate misquoting
of a decision or, worse, the omission of certain words or sentences that qualify or
restrict the sense of a ruling. A candid lawyer is a humble person not only one who is
not afraid to admit an error or shortcoming, but also one who rises from a mistake and
more than makes up for it the next time around.(Panganiban, Judicial Renaisance,
2005, pp. 218-219)
By integrity, refers to honesty and truthfulness. A person with integrity acts in
accordance with what is true and honest regardless of personal consequences. To act
with integrity is to act with moral courage. It involves not only bravery in theoretical
battle but also, a priori, purity of spirit and clarity of conscience. For only one who is
pure of heart and clear of mind can act with integrity. Integrity demands not only moral
courage in denouncing the corrupt and the incompetent; it also calls for initiative in

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defending the decent and the component from malicious, unreasonable and scurrilous
attacks.(Panganiban, Judicial Renaisance, 2005, pp. 219-220)

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Agpalo, R. (2009). The Legal and Judicial Ethics (Eight Edition). Quezon City,
Philippines: Rex Printing Company, Inc.
(RET.) Justice Artemio Panganiban. (1999). Leadership by Example.

(RET.) Justice Artemio Panganiban. (2000). Transparency, Unanimity & Diversity.

(RET.) Justice Artemio Panganiban. (2004). Leveling the Playing Field.

(RET.) Justice Artemio Panganiban. (2005). Judicial Renaissance. The Supreme Court
Printing Press.


Gamas V. Oco (2004)
People V. Besonia (2004)
Velarde V. Social Justice Society (2004)
Domingo V. Scheer (2004)
Tan vs Pacuribot (A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982, December 14, 2007)
Decena vs Judge Malanyaon (A.M. No. RTJ- 10- 2217, April 8, 2013)
Inoturan vs Judge Limsiaco (A.M. No. MTJ-01-1362, February 22, 2011),
Anonymous vs Judge Achas (A.M. No. MTJ- 11- 1801, February 27, 2013)

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ABA-Asia Law Initiative. (2007). The New Philippine Code of Judicial Conduct
(Annotated). USAID: U.S. Agency for International Development Philippines Mission,
under the terms of the Cooperative Agreement No. 492-A-00-03-00018-00
Elliott, Gary. (2008) Philippine Graft and Corruption. Retrieved from
Moratalla, Nelson Nogot. (n.d.) Graft and Corruption: The Philippine Experience,
(Resource Material Series No. 56) Retrieved from
PCTC. (n.d.). PCTC Paper on Graft and Corruption. Retrieved from
Philippine Judges Association. (n.d.). Judges Exempted From The Number Coding
Scheme. Retrieved from
Puno, Reynato S. (2005). New Philippine Code of Judicial Conduct.
Tacloban Hotels. (2013). Corruption in the Philippines. Retrieved from
Transparency International. (2007). Global Corruption Report 2007. Cambridge
University Press: Edinburgh Building, Cambridge.


Batas Pambansa bilang 129
Republic Act No. 9946 - An Act Granting Additional Retirement. Survivorship, And Other
Benefits To Members Of The Judiciary, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No.
910, As Amended, Providing Funds Therefor And For Other Purposes
Rules of Court
The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.

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The New Civil Code
The New Code of Judicial Conduct


Rappler. (2012, May 29). Corona Found Guilty, Removed From Office. Retrieved from


Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. (2014) Judge. Retrieved from
Oxford Dictionary. (2014.). Judge. Retrieved from

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With Judge Gina Palamos

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With Judge Isnani
Taken at RTC-Makati

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