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CANON 5 -EQUALITY

ENSURING EQUALITY OF TREATMENT


TO ALL
BEFORE THE COURTS IS ESSENTIAL TO
THE
DUE PERFORMANCE OF THE JUDICIAL
OFFICE.

Note: A judge must be able to render


substantial
justice and maintain public confidence in
the judicial
system, by being aware of the diversity in
society.
With that awareness, a judge should not
yield to first
impression, reach hasty conclusions or
prejudge matters. (Castillo v. Judge Juan,
62 SCRA 124)
Sec. 1,Canon 5,NCJC: Judges shall be
aware
of and understand diversity in society
and
differences arising from various
sources,
including, but not limited to, race,
color, sex,
religion, national origin, caste,
disability,
age, marital status, sexual
orientation, social
and economic status, and other like
causes.
Q: What is the reason for this rule?
A: To render substantial justice and
maintain
public confidence in the judicial system,
judges
are expected to be aware of the diversity
in
society that results from an increased
worldwide
exchange of people and ideas.
Note: Judges should be mindful of the
various

international instruments and treaties


ratified by the
Philippines, which affirm the equality of all
human
beings and establish a norm of nondiscrimination
without distinction as to race, sex,
language, or
religion.
Judges should not yield to first impression,
reach
hasty conclusions or prejudge matters.
They have a
duty to ensure that the minority status of
a party
plays no part in their decisions.
Sec. 2, Canon 5, NCJC: Judges shall
not, in
the performance of judicial duties, by
words
or conduct, manifest bias or
prejudice
towards any person or group on
irrelevant
grounds.
Note: Magistrates of law must comport
themselves
at all times in such a manner that their
conduct, can
withstand the highest level of public
scrutiny.
Judges should avoid private remarks,
hasty
conclusions, or distasteful jokes that may
give even
erroneous impressions of prejudice and
lead the
public to believe that cases before them
are being
prejudged.
Sec. 3, Canon 5, NCJC: Judges shall
carry out judicial duties with
appropriate consideration for all
persons, such as the parties,
witnesses, lawyers, court staff and
judicial colleagues, without
differentiation on any irrelevant
ground, immaterial to the proper
performance of such duties.

Note: As arbiters of the law, judges


should be
conscientious, studious, courteous, patient
and
punctual in the discharge of their judicial
duties,
recognizing that time of litigants,
witnesses and
counsel is of value.
Judges should act with decorum toward
jurors,
parties, court staff, spectators, and alike.
Q: Judge Tormis made a comment in a
certain
case to the effect that the same
should be
dismissed as the act complained of
was already
decriminalized by a special law.
Thereafter,
Judge Navarro, who previously
handled the case
before he was appointed as a judge,
barged into
the office of Judge Tormis telling to
the staff that
their judge does not know her law.
Judge Tormis
then retaliated by saying that to her,
the office
of Judge Navarro does not exist. Are
the judges
guilty of conduct unbecoming of a
judge?
A: Yes. Judges, being dispensers of justice
should
not act in a way that would cast suspicion
in order
to preserve faith in the administration of
justice.
They should so behave to avoid poor
public
impression on the judiciary. Here, the
judges act
of fighting each other by uttering
derogatory
remarks against each other is a conduct
unbecoming of a judge for which they
should be disciplined as their fight has
impaired the image
of the judiciary. (Navarro v. Tormis, A.M.
No. MTJ00-1337, Apr. 27, 2004)

Q: Atty. Quinto was the defense


counsel in a
criminal case. In his verified
complaint, he
alleged that during the hearing, he
manifested
that he was waiving the presentation
of
evidence for the accused. Judge Vios
then
allegedly got angry, shouted and
scolded him,
stating that the defense had no right
to waive
the presentation of evidence. He did
not even
listen to Atty. Quintos explanation
and,
thereafter, compelled the latter to
withdraw his
appearance as counsel of the
accused, under
pain of contempt. In the presence of
the
complainant, Judge Vios appointed a
counsel de
officio. May Judge Vios be held
administratively liable for compelling
the lawyer to withdraw as
counsel for the accused under pain of
contempt?
A: Yes. A judge should avoid
unconsciously falling
into the attitude of mind that the litigants
are
made for the courts, instead of the courts
for the
litigants. Here, the judge should be held
liable for
misconduct when he threatened to punish
complainant for contempt of court if he
would
refuse to withdraw his appearance, as
counsel for
the accused, when the latter insisted on
waiving
the presentation of the evidence for the
defense.
(Atty. Quinto v. Judge Vios, A.M. No. MTJ041551, May 21, 2004)

Note: Unequal and disparate treatment in


the
courthouse, whether intentional or
perceived, is
unacceptable and can negatively impact
the
professional lives of attorneys and
employees, the
assessment of claims of litigants, and the
respect
and credibility of the justice system.

Sec. 5, Canon 5, NCJC: Judges shall


require
lawyers in proceedings before the
court to
refrain from manifesting, by words or
conduct, bias or prejudice based on
irrelevant
grounds, except such as are legally
relevant
to an issue in proceedings and may
be the
subject of legitimate advocacy.

Sec. 4, Canon 5, NCJC: Judges shall


not
knowingly permit court staff or
others
subject to his or her influence,
direction or
control to differentiate between
persons
concerned, in a matter before the
judge, on
any irrelevant ground.

Note: Judges should conduct proceedings


in court
with dignity and in a manner that reflects
the
importance and seriousness of
proceedings. They
should maintain order and proper decorum
in the
court. (Rule 3.03, Canon 3, 1989 Code of
Judicial
Conduct) Judges have the duty to prevent
lawyers from abusing witnesses with
unfair treatment. As courts are expected
to ensure equality, any lawyer who makes
an insensitive or demeaning comment in
court should be admonished.

Q: What are the duties of judges


under this
section?
A:
1. To ensure that court personnel under
their supervision do not discriminate by
dispensing special favors or disclosing
confidential information to any
unauthorized person, regardless of
whether such information came from
authorized or unauthorized sources; and
2. To organize their courts to ensure the
prompt and convenient dispatch of
business and should not tolerate
misconduct by clerks, sheriffs and other
assistants who are sometimes prone to
expect favors or special treatment due to
their professional relationship with the
judge.
Note: All personnel involved in the
dispensation of
justice should conduct themselves with a
high
degree of responsibility. (Mataga v.
Rosete, A.M. No.
MTJ-03-1488, Oct. 13, 2004)

Q: During the hearing of a case for


statutory
rape filed against X, the lawyer is
asking the 6year-old victim to relate exactly and
step by step
the sexual intercourse between her
and the
accused. The lawyer is also asking
questions
whether at the time of the alleged
rape, the
accuseds penis is hard, and whether
at the
time they were caught, the accused
was still
pushing and pulling his penis inside
her vagina.
Should the judge allow such
questions?
A: No. The judge shall require lawyers to
refrain
from making abusive and uncalled for
queries.

Here, the fact that the victim of rape is a


child of
tender years, there is more reason to
require the
lawyer to be tactful. No woman especially
child of
tender years would exactly remember
step by
step the sexual intercourse in the hands of
the
maniacal beast. Hence, all the questions
asked are excessive. (People v. Boras, G.R.
No. 127495,
Dec. 22, 2000)
Note: This line of questioning may be
relevant if the
aggrieved party is an adult but not to a
child. The
Rule on the examination of a child witness
(A.M. No.
004-07-SC) protects children so that
developmentally appropriate questions
can only be
asked.
CANON 6 -COMPETENCE AND
DILIGENCE
COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE ARE
PREREQUISITES
TO THE DUE PERFORMANCE OF
JUDICIAL OFFICE.
Q: What are the pre-requisites to the
due performance of judicial office?
A: Competence and diligence. (Canon 6,
NCJC)
A judge upon assumption to office,
becomes the visible representation of law
and of justice, hence, the Constitution
(Section 7 (3), Article VIII), prescribes that
he must be a person of proven
competence as a requisite of his
membership in the judiciary.
A judge should be the epitome of
competence, integrity and independence
to be able to render justice and uphold
public confidence in the legal system. He
must be conversant with basic legal
principles and well-settled doctrines. He
should strive for excellence and seek the
truth with passion. (Rino v. Judge
Cawaling, A.M. No. MTJ02-1391, June 7, 2004)

Note: As members of the judiciary, judges


ought to know the fundamental legal
principles; otherwise, they are susceptible
to administrative sanction for gross
ignorance of the law. (Heirs of Piedad v.
Estrella, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2170, Dec. 16,
2009)
Note: To constitute gross ignorance of the
law must not only be contrary to existing
law and jurisprudence, but also motivated,
by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty and
corruption. (Duduaco v.
Laquindanum, A.M. No. MTJ-05-1601,
August 11,
2005)
Q: Judge Ramos was charged with
gross misconduct, dishonesty, gross
ignorance of the law, arbitrary
detention, incompetence, grave
abuse of discretion, and conduct
prejudicial to the best interest of the
service allegedly for erroneously
issuing a warrant of arrest against
Bayaca. It was alleged that Bayaca
was convicted by Judge Ramos in a
criminal case for arson
through reckless imprudence and
imposed upon
him the penalty of imprisonment,
with all the
accessory penalties imposed by law
in addition
to the payment of costs and
damages. On
appeal, the RTC deleted the penalty
of
imprisonment. However, Judge Ramos
subsequently issued a warrant of
arrest and
Commitment on Final Sentence which
led to
Complainants incarceration at the
Solanos District Jail from August 8 to
28, 2006. In his
comment, the judge clarified that his
issuance of
the warrant of arrest against Bacaya
was a
mistake done in good faith and that
the same
was just a simple negligence. Should
the judge

be disciplined?
A: Yes. The judge was inexcusably
negligent when
he issued a Warrant of Arrest and
Commitment to
Final Sentence despite the deletion by the
appellate court of that portion of the
judgment
imposing the penalty of imprisonment. In
the
performance of his duties, Judge Ramos
failed to
observe that diligence, prudence and
circumspection which the law requires in
the
rendition of any public service. If only
Judge
Ramos had exercised the requisite
thoroughness
and caution, he would have noted not only
the
modification of the monetary awards by
the
appellate court, but also the deletion of
the
penalty of imprisonment upon which the
Warrant
of Arrest and Commitment to Final
Sentence that
he signed was based. (Bayaca v. Judge
Ramos,
A.M. No. MTJ-07-1676, Jan. 29, 2009)
Sec.1, Canon 6, NCJC: The judicial
duties of a
judge take precedence over all
activities.
Q: What are the duties of a judge
under this
section?
A:
1. A judge must perform his judicial duties
with regard to a case where he is not
disqualified to do so and, may not divest
himself of such case if he is not so
disqualified; and
2. A judge shall not inhibit himself simply
to
avoid sitting on difficult or controversial
cases.

Q: An administrative case against


Judge
Calderon was filed for incurring
leaves of
absence for almost a straight period
of 3 years.
In his comment, he claimed that he
was
suffering from a lingering illness of
malignant hypertension which claim
was supported by
medical certificates prepared by his
personal
doctor. However, when the court
physician
conducted some tests, the same
contradicted
the diagnosis given by the judges
personal
doctor. Is Judge Calderon guilty of
gross
misconduct?
A: Yes. A judge shall be cautious of his
court
duties. Here, the judge should have been
aware
that, in frequently leaving his station, he
has
caused great disservice to many litigants
and has
denied them speedy justice. (Re: Leaves
of
Absence Without Approval of Judge Eric
Calderon,
Municipal Trial Court Judge of Calumpit,
Bulacan,
A.M. No. 98-8-105-MTC, Jan. 26, 1999)
Q: Judge Limsiaco was charged with
gross
ignorance of the law and procedure
and
violations of the Code of Judicial
Conduct when
it was established by the records and
by his own
admission that he decided an
ejectment case
before his sala more than two (2)
years after it
was declared submitted for
resolution. Due to
his delay of rendering the decision,
he was held

guilty of the said charge. He moved


for an
extension of time to file a motion for
reconsideration. Despite the
extension of time
given however, Judge Limsiaco failed
to file his
motion for reconsideration and the
required
explanation thrice. In another
complaint against
him for Delay in the Disposition of a
Case, the
OCA issued an order for him to file a
comment
for the administrative complaint. Is
the
respondent judge administratively
liable for
unethical conduct and gross
inefficiency under
the provisions of the New Code of
Judicial
Conduct, specifically, Sections 7 and
8 of Canon
1, and Section 5 of Canon 6?
A: Yes. 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.
For a
judge to exhibit indifference to a
resolution
requiring him to comment on the
accusations in
the complaint thoroughly and substantially
is
gross misconduct, and may even be
considered as
outright disrespect for the Court. The
office of the
judge requires him to obey all the lawful
orders of
his superiors.
After all, a resolution of the Supreme Court
is not
a mere request and should be complied
with
promptly and completely. Such failure to
comply

accordingly betrays not only a recalcitrant


streak
in character, but has likewise been
considered as
an utter lack of interest to remain with, if
not contempt of the judicial system. A
resolution of
the Supreme Court requiring comment on
an
administrative complaint against officials
and
employees of the judiciary should not be
construed as a mere request from the
Court. Nor
should it be complied with partially,
inadequately
or selectively. Respondents in
administrative
complaints should comment on all
accusations or
allegations against them in the
administrative
complaints because it is their duty to
preserve the
integrity of the judiciary.
Moreover, the Court should not and will
not
tolerate future indifference of respondents
to
administrative complaints and to
resolutions
requiring comment on such administrative
complaints. Under the circumstances, the
conduct exhibited by Judge Limsiaco
constitutes
no less than clear acts of defiance against
the
Courts authority. His conduct also reveals
his
deliberate disrespect and indifference to
the
authority of the Court, shown by his failure
to
heed our warnings and directives. Judge
Limsiascos actions further disclose his
inability to
accept our instructions. Moreover, his
conduct
failed to provide a good example for other
court
personnel, and the public as well, in
placing
siginificance to the courts directives and
the

importance of complying with them.


(Inoturan, v.
Limsiaco, Jr., A.M. No. MTJ-01-1362,
February. 22,
2011)
Sec. 2, Canon 6, NCJC: Judges shall
devote
their professional activity to judicial
duties,
which include not only the
performance of
judicial functions and responsibilities
in
court and the making of decisions,
but also
other tasks relevant to the judicial
office or
the courts operations.
Note: Violations of this section often
involve a
failure to keep records or handle funds in
compliance with court rules.
Q: Judge Daguman was charged with
neglect of
duty in failing to retain a copy and to
register
with the Local Civil Registrar a
marriage contract.
In his comment, the judge explained
that his
failure to do so was occasioned by
circumstances
beyond his control. He averred that
after the
wedding ceremony, the copies of the
marriage
contract were left on top of his desk
in his
private office where the ceremony
was held but
after few days, when he gathered all
the
documents relating to the marriage,
the copies
were already missing. He also
explained that he
was not able to inform the parties
about the fact of loss as they were
already out of the country.
Should the judge be disciplined?

A: Yes. A judge is charged with extra care


in
ensuring that records of the cases and
official
documents in his custody are intact.
Moreover,
judges must adopt a system of record
management, and organize their dockets
in order
to bolster the prompt and efficient
dispatch of
business. Here, the circumstances show
that the
loss of the documents was occasioned by
the
carelessness on the part of the judge. The
judge
should not have left such important
documents in
his table to be gathered only after few
days,
instead, he should have devised a filing
system in
his court so as to avoid such incident.
(Beso v.
Daguman, A.M. No. MTJ-99-1211, Jan. 28,
2000)
Q: X charged Judge Garillo with
dishonesty and
corrupt practices for allegedly
requiring the
former to deposit with the latter a
sum of
money in connection with a pending
case in the
latters sala but failed to give the
deposited
sums of money to the adverse party.
It was also
alleged that when X demanded the
return of
money, the judge failed to return the
same
despite his promise. Is the judge
guilty of serious
misconduct?
A: Yes. A judge should always be a symbol
of
rectitude and propriety, and should always
comport himself in a manner that will raise
no
doubt whatsoever about his honesty. Here,
the

judges act of disappropriating the money


entrusted to him by litigants in connection
with a
case pending in his court constitutes gross
misconduct. Moreover, the judge violated
Circular
No. 50-95 which provides that, fiduciary
collections should be deposited with the
Land
Bank of the Philippines. Because of his
actuations,
the image of the judiciary was impaired.
(De
Pacete v. Judge Garillo, A.M. No. MTJ-031473,
Aug. 20, 2003)
Q: Should the judge return court
records upon
retirement?
A: Yes. Since the proper and efficient
management of the court is the
responsibility of
the judge, he is the one directly
responsible for
the proper discharge of official functions.
Thus, a
judge is obliged to return to the court the
records
of the cases filed in his sala upon his
retirement.
(Office of the Court Administrator v.
Retired Judge
Carteciano,A.M. No. MTJ-07-1664, Feb. 18,
2008)
Sec. 3, Canon 6, NCJC: Judges shall
take
reasonable steps to maintain and
enhance
their knowledge, skills and personal
qualities
necessary for the proper
performance of
judicial duties, taking advantage for
this
purpose the training and other
facilities
which should be made available,
under
judicial control, to judges.
Note: Service in the judiciary means a
continuous

study and research on the law from


beginning to
end. Judges are regarded as persons
learned in the
law. Ignorance of the law excuses no
one has
special application to judges.
Though good faith and absence of malice
or
corruption are sufficient defenses, such
does not
apply where the issues are so simple and
the
applicable legal principles evident and
basic as to be
beyond possible margin of error. (Corpus
v.
Ochotoresa, A.M. No. RTJ 04-1861, July 30
2004)
Note: One who accepts the exalted
position of a
judge owes the public and the Court the
duty to
maintain professional competence at all
times.
When a judge displays an utter lack of
familiarity
with the rules, he erodes the confidence of
the
public in the courts. A judge owes the
public and the
Court the duty to be proficient in the law
and is
expected to keep abreast of laws and
prevailing
jurisprudence. Ignorance of the law by a
judge can
easily be the mainspring of injustice.
(Villanueva v.
Judge Buaya, A.M. No. RTJ-08-2131,
November 22,
2010).
Q: Judge Delos Santos averred that
Judge
Mangino of the MTC Tarlac approved
the bail
bond for provisional liberty of the
accused
Santos who was arrested and whose
criminal
cases were pending in Angeles City. It
was also

made to appear from the contents of


the said
bond that the accused appeared
before notary
public Ancanan in Makati City.
According to the
accused, she never went to Tarlac
and appeared
before said Judge Mangino. She also
alleged that
she never went to Makati City and
appeared
before Notary Public Ancanan. Is
Judge Mangino
guilty of grave misconduct?
A: Yes. Judges should be diligently
acquainted
with the law and jurisprudence. As an
advocate of
justice and a visible representation of the
law, a
judge is expected to keep abreast with
and be
proficient in the application and
interpretation of
the law. Here, by mere glancing at the bail
bond
application, the judge ought to know that
he had
absolutely no authority or jurisdiction to
approve
the bail bond of the accused as the case
was
pending with another court. By approving
the bail bond application, the judge failed
to exert such
conscientiousness, studiousness, and
thoroughness expected and demanded of
a
judge. (Judge de los Santos v. Judge
Mangino,
A.M. No. MTJ-03-1496, July 10, 2003)
Q: Judge Gacott Jr. dismissed an
election case on
the ground of non-payment of docket
fees,
although the case had been
previously admitted
and was deemed properly filed by the
original
Judge (who inhibited himself due to
relationship

to one of the parties). Judge Gacott


issued the
dismissal order relying on a case
(Manchester v.
CA) which states that - a case is
deemed
commenced only upon the payment
of the
proper docket fees. To his opinion,
the required
fees in this case were not yet paid by
the
protestant. Enojas charged him with
gross
ignorance of the law. Is Judge Gacott
Jr. guilty of
gross ignorance of the law?
A: Yes. A judge is duty bound to adhere to,
and
apply the recent jurisprudence, and he
cannot
feign ignorance thereof, because he is
required to
be an embodiment of, among other things,
judicial competence. Here, the ruling
relied upon
by the judge does not apply to election
cases as in
the latter case the filing fee is fixed and
the claim
for damages, to which the docket fess
shall be
made to apply, is merely ancillary to the
main
cause of action and is not even
determinative of
the courts jurisdiction. It must also be
noted that
in this case, the original judge already
made an
order that from the deposit given by the
protestant for the expenses of reopening
the
questioned ballots, an amount shall be
allocated
for the payment of the required fees.
Thus, the
election protest was already properly filed.
(Enojas v. Judge Gacott, Jr., A.M. No. RTJ99-1513,
Jan. 19, 2000)
Sec. 4, Canon 6, NCJC: Judges shall
keep

themselves informed about relevant


developments of international law,
including
international conventions and other
instruments establishing human
rights
norms.
Note: Norms of international law has
become the
concern of judges because they form part
of legal
standards by which their competence and
diligence
required by the New Code of Judicial
Conduct are to
be measured.
Sec. 5, Canon 6, NCJC: Judges shall
perform
all judicial duties, including the
delivery of
reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly
and
with reasonable promptness.
Note: A judge may be subject to an
administrative
fine for inefficiency, neglect, and
unreasonable delay
in elevating the records of a civil case to
the Court of
Appeals. A delay of three years in the
transmission of courtrecords to the
appellate court, where a period of 30 days
is required, is inexcusable. (Pataleon v.
Guidez, A.M. No. RTJ-00-1525, Jan. 2000)
Q: Why should delay be avoided in
the
administration of justice?
A: Delay results in undermining the
people's faith
in the judiciary and from whom the prompt
hearing of their supplications is
anticipated and
expected, and reinforces in the mind of
the
litigants the impression that the wheels of
justice
grind ever so slowly. Certainly, undue
delay
cannot be countenanced at a time when
the

clogging of the court dockets is still the


bane of
the judiciary. Judges are expected to
observe
utmost diligence and dedication in the
performance of their judicial functions and
the
discharge of their duties. (Imbang v. Judge
del
Rosario, A.M. No. MTJ-03-1515, Feb. 3,
2004)
Q: Judge Diaz was charged with
inefficiency
allegedly for his failure to render a
decision on
time. It was alleged that in an
unlawful detainer
case filed by De Joya against spouses
Hornillos
which was already submitted for
decision upon
the approval of a motion for summary
judgment
filed by De Joya, Judge Diaz failed to
render a
decision despite the lapse of several
months
from the submission of the case for
resolution.
In his comment, the judge explained
that his
delay was the result of an oversight
due to the
volume of work that he and his staff
had to
handle. Should the judge be
disciplined?
A: Yes. Decision-making is a primordial
and by far
the most important duty of a member of
the
bench. The Code of Judicial Conduct
mandates
that a judge must dispose of the court's
business
promptly and to act on cases pending
before him
within the prescribed periods therefore. A
judge's
failure to observe time prescriptions for
the
rendition of judgments in derogation of an
otherwise speedy administration of justice

constitutes a ground for administrative


sanction.
A judge can not be excused from
complying with
the periods on the ground that he has
heavy case
loads, for in such cases, all he has to do is
to
request for additional time to decide
cases. Here,
the judges failure to decide the unlawful
detainer
case within 30 days from the submission
for
decision renders him liable for inefficiency
for
which he should be disciplined unless he
was granted, upon his request, additional
time to
decide the case. (De Joya v. Judge Diaz,
A.M. No.
MTJ-02-1450, Sept. 23, 2003)
Q: Judge Pascua was charged with
inefficiency in
resolving an election protest pending
in her sala.
It was alleged that she issued an
order archiving
the case because of her erroneous
perception
that an appeal was filed by the
parties to the SC
where in fact the same was filed with
the
COMELEC. As a result, the hearing as
well as the
resolution of the case was delayed for
6 months.
In her comment, the judge explained
that in
issuing such order, she relied on the
copy of a
petition by appeal on certiorari that
was shown
to her. Should the judge be
disciplined?
A: Yes. Judges should maintain
professional
competence and decide cases within the
required
periods. Here, had the judge carefully read
the

copy of the petition by appeal on certiorari


that
was presented to her, she would have
been able
to ascertain that the same was not filed
with the
SC. Moreover, had she been careful, she
would
not have issued such erroneous order that
caused
the undue delay in the resolution of the
case. For
her inefficiency, the judge should be
disciplined.
(Dela Cruz v. Pascua, A.M. No. RTJ-991461, June
26, 2001)
Q: A judge was due for compulsory
retirement.
The Office of the Court Administrator
found that
he had many pending cases, some of
which were
undecided beyond the 90-day period.
Should the
judge be disciplined under the
circumstance
despite his impending compulsory
retirement?
A: Yes. All judges are enjoined to attend
promptly
to the business of the court and decide
cases
within the time fixed by law. A judge is
mandated
to render judgment not more than 90 days
from
the time the case is submitted for
decision.
Failure to render the decision within the
said
period of 90 days from submission of a
case for
decision constitutes serious misconduct
and gross
inefficiency. (Re: Report on the Judicial
Audit
Conducted in the RTC, Branch 68 of
Camilang,
Tarlac, A.M. No. 97-6-182-RTC, Mar. 19,
1999)

Note: The Constitution provides that all


lower courts
must decide all cases filed within three
months.
Further, the Code of Judicial Conduct
states that a
judge shall dispose of the courts business
promptly
and decide the cases within the required
periods.
Delay in the disposition of cases erodes
the faith and
confidence of the people in the judiciary,
lowers its
standards, and brings it to disrepute.
Judges should
not abuse the grant of an extension to
decide a case,
and strive to decide the case within the
extended period granted by the Court.
Under Sec. 9, Rule 140
of the Rules of Court, undue delay in
rendering a
decision or order is classified as a less
serious charge
punishable with suspension from office
without
salary and other benefits for not less than
one (1)
nor more than three (3) months; ora fine
of more
than P10,000.00, but not exceeding
P20,000.00.
(Request of Judge Nino Batingana, A.M.
No. 05-8463-RTC, Feb. 17, 2010)
Q: Amion was charged with murder.
During the
trial, Judge Chiongson ordered that
he be
represented by counsel de oficio
because
Amions attorney is always postponing
the trial for various reasons like
illness and unavailability
for trial. Amion then charged said
judge with
ignorance of the law and oppression
because the
fact that the counsel de officio did
not know the
particulars of the case meant that
Amion would

be denied due process. Should Judge


Chiongson
be disciplined?
A: No. A judge should always be imbued
with a
high sense of duty and responsibility in
the
discharge of his obligation to promptly
administer
justice. Here, Judge Chiongson appointed a
FLAG
lawyer because of various dilatory means
used by
the complainant. Thus, the judge should
be
commended for his effort to expedite the
case.
(Amion v. Judge Chiongson, A.M. No. RTJ971371, Jan. 22, 1999)
Note: A Flag lawyer refers to a lawyer of
non-governmental organizations and
peoples organizations (POs) who by the
nature of his work already render free
legal aid to indigent and pauper litigants.
(Section 4a(iii), BAR MATTER No. 2012,
February 10, 2009)
Sec. 6, Canon 6, NCJC: Judges shall
maintain
order and decorum in all proceedings
before
the court and be patient, dignified
and
courteous in relation to litigants,
witnesses,
lawyers and others with whom the
judge
deals in an official capacity. Judges
shall
require similar conduct of legal
representatives, court staff and
others
subject to their influence, direction
or
control.
Note: Besides possessing the requisite
learning in
the law, a magistrate must exhibit that
hallmark

judicial temperament of utmost sobriety


and self-restraint which are indispensable
qualities of every
judge. (Rodriguez v. Bonifacio, A.M. No.
RTJ-99-1510,
Nov. 6, 2000)
Q: Judge Belen was charged with
conduct
unbecoming of a judge allegedly for
humiliating,
demeaning and berating a young
lawyer who
appeared in his sala. It was alleged
that when
the judge learned that the lawyer was
an
alumnus of MCQU and not of UP, the
judge
made the following statement:
Youre not from UP. Then you
cannot equate yourself to me
because there is a saying and I know
this, not all
law students are created equal, not
all law
schools are created equal, not all
lawyers are
created equal despite what the
Supreme Being
stated that we all are created equal
in His form
and substance. Should the judge be
disciplined?
A: Yes. The judges sarcastic, humiliating,
threatening and boastful remarks to a
young
lawyer are improper. A judge must be
aware that
an alumnus of a particular law school has
no
monopoly of knowledge of the law. By
hurdling
the Bar Examinations and taking of the
lawyers oath, and signing of the Roll of
Attorneys, a lawyer is
presumed to be competent to discharge
his
functions and duties as, inter alia, an
officer of
the court, irrespective of where he
obtained his
law degree. For a judge to determine the
fitness

or competence of a lawyer primarily on


the basis
of his alma mater is clearly an
engagement in an
argumentumad hominem. As a judge, he
must
address the merits of the case and not on
the
person of the counsel. Judges must be that
even
on the face of boorish behavior from those
they
deal with, they ought to conduct
themselves in a
manner befitting gentlemen and high
officers of
the court. (Atty. Mane v. Judge Belen, A.M.
No.
RTJ-08-2119, June 30, 2008)
Q: Judge Ante Jr. was charged with
conduct
unbecoming of a judge. It was alleged
that when
the court employee placed the docket
book on
top of the filing cabinet, the same fell
on the
floor causing loud sound.
Unexpectedly, the
judge shouted saying why did you
throw the docket book? You get out
of here, punyeta, we
dont need you! The judge also throw
a monobloc chair at the court
employee. Should
the judge be disciplined?
A: Yes. The judge, for shouting invectives
and
hitting complainant with a chair displayed
a
predisposition to use physical violence and
intemperate language which reveals a
marked
lack of judicial temperament and selfrestraint traits which, aside from the basic
equipment of
learning in the law - are indispensable
qualities of
every judge. (Briones v. Judge Ante Jr.,
A.M. No.
MTJ-02-1411, Apr. 11, 2002)

Note: Respondent Judge was found guilty


of serious
misconduct and inefficiency by reason of
habitual
tardiness. He was fined and suspended for
judicial
indolence. (Yu-Asensi v. Villanueva A.M.
No. MTJ-001245, January 2000)
Sec. 7, Canon 6, NCJC: Judges shall
not
engage in conduct incompatible with
the
diligent discharge of judicial duties.
Q: What is the duty under this
Section?
A: A judge shall not accept duties that will

interfere with his devotion to the


expeditious and
proper administration of his official
functions
Note: When a judge, along with two other
people,
acted as real estate agents for the sale of
a parcel of
land for which he agreed to give a
commission of
P100,000 to each of his companions, and
after the
transaction was completed only gave the
complainants P25,000 each, the high
Court held that
the judge violated the section of the prior
Code of
Judicial Conduct. (Catbagan v. Barte, A.M.
No. MTJ02-1452, Apr. 6, 2005)