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Special points of interest: 2ND SEM SY 12-13

February 9, 2013
New Code of Judicial Conduct (Canon 2)
Case Digests and Doctrines
Inputs on Court Observation

Canon 2: Quick Reference


JUDGE EVELYN NERY

CANON 2 Code of Judicial Conduct

Canon 2. Integrity is essential not only to the


proper discharge of judicial office but also
to the personal demeanor of judges.
Section 1. Conduct above reproach. Judges shall ensure that not
only is their conduct above reproach, but that is perceived to
be so in view of a reasonable observer.
LEGAL ETHICS

Section 2. Reaffirm peoples faith. The behavior and conduct of


judges must reaffirm the peoples faith in the integrity of the
Judiciary. Justice must not merely be done but must also be
seen to be done.
Members

CAJITA, MARIE GRACE 1


Section 3. Disciplinary action. Judges MARBAN, CHARLEMAGNE II 2
should take or initiate appropriate dis- MACARIO, LOVELY MELCHITA 3
ciplinary measures against lawyers or
NOTARTE, JESSA IRENE ANNE 4
court personnel for unprofessional
SAMACO, LEA AURORA 5
conduct of which the judge may be-
GROUP 3

VASQUEZ, RAYMOND 6
come aware. VILLO, VIKTORIA MARY ANTONETTE 7

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Page 2 CANON 2 CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT

DIGESTED CASES AND IMPORTANT CASE DOCTRINES


I. ALFONSO V JUANSON Re: Sec. 1 Conduct above reproach
AM No. RTJ-92-904
December 7, 1993 The imputation of illicit sexual acts upon the incumbent judge must be
proven by substantial evidence, which is the quantum of proof required in
Digested by: Villo, Viktoria administrative cases.

FACTS:

The case involves a complaint filed by a doctor of medicine, Dr. Norbert L. Alfonso, charging Judge Juanson with im-
morality and violation of the Code of Judicial ethics, alleging that Juanson and his wife Sol were having an affair. The
complainant has in his possession love letters written by Sol to prove his claim, provided by Judge Juansons wife. Sol,
however, denied this claim several times.

Other evidence for the prosecution includes files of a private investigator hired by Dr. Alfonsos father showing that
Sol had met with Judge Juanson on 17 July 1992 in a condominium unit in Mandaluyong and that they stayed there for
approximately three hours.

Dr. Alfonso confronted Sol about the evidence that was gathered by his father. At first she denied the affair but later in
the evening she admitted having an illicit affair with Judge Juanson. Sol also admitted to the Complainant that when
she went to Hongkong on December 26, 1989 up to December 29, 1989 she was with Respondent Judge, and records
of the Commission on Immigration for said dates show that both Sol Alfonso and Respondent Judge Modesto Juanson
departed for Hongkong via Cathay Pacific plane on December 26, 1989 and returned to Manila on December 29, 1989
The Alfonso spouses decided to live in separate house.

In defense, Judge Juanson claims that he first knew Sol in 1987 when she engaged his professional services in connec-
tion with the criminal cases filed by her office. In June 1992 (while the Alfonso spouses were in the US) he received an
overseas call from Sol asking him for advice concerning her problem with her employer. They met up after the return
of Sol in the Philippines to discuss her problem. He added that it was impossible for him to have sexual intercourse
with Sol because he has been suffering from two debilitating diseases diabetes mellitus and prostatitis (which have
seriously affected his sexual potency).

ISSUE:
Whether or not Judge Juansons alleged sexual impropriety is a ground for him to be dismissed from the Judiciary.

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2ND SEM SY 12-13 Page 3

RULING:
No.

There is no doubt in our minds that a very special relation-


ship existed between the respondent and the complainant's
wife as evidenced by cards or notes (love letters). It is clear
that their affair began before Sol and Dr. Alfonso were mar-
ried on 10 December 1988 and might have blossomed from
the attorney-client relationship between respondent and Sol.
The Supreme Court of the Philippines.

However, the evidence presented was insufficient to prove that he and Sol continued their extramarital affair after
Judge Juanson was appointed to the judiciary. Sols admission to her husband that she had carnal knowledge with the
judge made no reference to specific dates and the side of Dr. Alfonso exerted no further effort to obtain clarifications
as to the dates. It cannot be safely presumed that Juanson committed any sexual indiscretion after he became a judge.
He is not charged for immorality committed before his appointment.

Accordingly, proof of prior immoral conduct cannot be a basis for his administrative discipline in this case. Judge Juan-
son may have undergone moral reformation after his appointment, or his appointment could have completely trans-
formed him upon the solemn realization that a public office is a public trust and public officers and employees must at
all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with
patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.

However, considering their prior special relationship, the respondent and Sol's meetings could reasonably incite suspi-
cion of either its continuance or revival and the concomitant intimacies expressive of such relationship. Such indiscre-
tions indubitably cast upon his conduct an appearance of impropriety. He thus violated:

Canon 3 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics which mandates that a judge's official conduct should be free from the ap-
pearance of impropriety, and his personal behavior, not only upon the bench and in the performance of judicial duties,
but also in his everyday life, should be beyond reproach," and;

Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which provides that


"a judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities."

It is to be noted that 17 July 1992 fell on a Friday. On that date, the respondent left his office at the City Hall of Manila
at about 11:00 o'clock in the morning and arrived at Unit 412-A Citihomes thirty minutes later. It is, therefore, clear
that on 17 July 1992 the respondent had left his office during office hours and, considering the distance between Man-

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Page 4 CANON 2 CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT

daluyong and his office at the City Hall of Manila and the usual traffic condition, it was impossible for him to have
reached his office if at all he did proceed to it in time for the commencement of the official session hours in the
afternoon, i.e., 2:00 p.m. Thus, for purely personal sessions, he violated the rule regarding the official sentence. Such
violation amounted to neglect of duty.

It has been said that a magistrate of the law must comport himself at all times in such manner that his conduct, offi-
cial or otherwise, can bear the most searching scrutiny of the public that looks up to him as the epitome of integrity
and justice. The ethical principles and sense of propriety of a judge are essential to the preservation of the faith of the
people in the judiciary.
It is settled that immorality has not been confined to sexual matters, but includes conduct inconsistent with rectitude
or indicative of corruption, indecency, depravity, and dissoluteness; or is willful, flagrant, or shameless conduct show-
ing moral indifference to opinions of respectable members of the community, and as an inconsiderate attitude toward
good order and public welfare.

WHEREFORE, for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, the Canons of Judicial Ethics, and the rule on official
time, respondent JUDGE MODESTO C. JUANSON is hereby sentenced to pay a FINE of TWO THOUSAND
PESOS (P2,000.00) and, further, sternly warned that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more
severely.

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2ND SEM SY 12-13 Page 5

II. TOBIAS V LIMSIACO, JR. Re: Sec. 1 Conduct above reproach


A.M. No. MTJ-09-1734
January 19, 2011 Respondent committed acts unbecoming of a judge, in particular,
talking to a prospective litigant in his court, recommending a lawyer to
Digested by: Samaco, Lea
the litigant, and preparing a motion for the litigant, which pleading
FACTS: was filed in his court and was acted upon by him.
This is an administrative case
The aforementioned acts of respondent constitute gross misconduct.
filed by complainant Florenda V. To-
Misconduct means a transgression of some established and definite
bias charging the respondent with cor- rule of action, wilful in character, improper or wrong behavior. Gross
ruption for allegedly offering package has been defined as out of all measure, beyond allowance; flagrant;
shameful; such conduct as is not to be excused.
deals to litigants who plan to file cases
in court.
It all started when the complainant asked her sister, Lorna V. Vollmer, to inquire at the MCTC the needed re-
quirements for filing an ejectment case. The court stenographer, with whom the sister inquired, allegedly brought up
the name of Judge Limsiaco and his package deals. This deal, allegedly sums up to 30,000 pesos wherein the respon-
dent would provide for a lawyer, prepare all the necessary pleadings, and ensure a favorable decision. So, Lorna
Vollmer accepted such deal and on June 23, 2006, she was allegedly accompanied by the court stenographer to the re-
spondent's residence to deliver 10,000 pesos. Respondent allegedly assigned Atty. Robert G. Juanillo to represent the
complainant in the ejectment case. However, complainant alleged that respondent immediately asked for another
10,000 pesos to which she refused to pay and earned the ire of respondent. She then asked her sister, Lorna Vollmer,
to ask Atty. Juanillo to voluntarily withdraw as counsel and file for a Motion to Withdraw from the ejectment case. Re-
spondent, however, denies all these allegations and contends that he only advised Lorna Vollmer about the ejectment
case which was about to be filed in his court, helped her prepare the Motion to Withdraw, and recommend Atty. Jua-
nillo as counsel. All of these, respondent contends, were just because he wanted to help the complainant. An investiga-
tion conducted showed that these acts were indeed done by the respondent but the package deal which constituted
the corruption could not be substantiated because of the absence of Lorna Vollmer, who was the one who primarily
transacted with the court stenographer, during the investigation.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent is administratively liable for the charges brought against him.

RULING:
The court agrees that the allegations for corruption could not be substantiated because of the absence of Lorna
Vollmer. However, the acts of the respondent violated Section 1 of Canon 2, Section 2 of Canon 3, and Section 1 of
Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct. The acts constitute gross misconduct which is seriously charged by the
Ruled of Court. Therefore, the court found respondent guilty and is FINED in the amount of Twenty Five Thousand
Pesos to be deducted from his retirement benefits.

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Page 6 CANON 2 CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT

III. ROMERO V VALLE FACTS:


AM No. R-192-RTJ
Herein complainant charged herein respondent with grave misconduct & oppression.
January 9, 1987
Respondent was the presiding judge of the RTC Laoag City, Branch XII while com-
Digested by: Notarte, Jessa
plainant was one of the 2 counsels for plaintiff in the case Iglesia Filipina
Independiente v Rafael Albano, et. al. which was being tried in the respondents
sala.

The Intermediate Appellate Court Associate Justice Abdulwahid Bidin-


was tasked to investigate the case. The case arose from a dispute between
Romero & Valle as to the proper marking of Iglesia Filipina's inventory book.
Re: Sec. 1 Conduct above reproach Complainant insisted that it should be marked as Exh Whereas respondent
claimed that it should be Exh G since an Exh F was already marked during the
Respondent judge was also at fault for
his shortness of temper and previous trial where counsel was absent. Complainant continued insist-
impatience, contrary to the duties and ing in a loud voice that it should be Exh F because what respondent
restriction imposed upon him by reason
referred to was not initialled by the Clerk of Court. Respondent admon-
of his office. He failed to observe the
proper decorum expected of judicial ished complainant not to bring his passion to the court & that he
officers. Judicial officers are given should respect the court. Respondent then banged his gavel, left the
contempt powers so that they can
remind counsels of their duties in court rostrum & went to his chamber.
without being arbitrary, unreasonable
or unjust. Respondent should have cited
the complainant in contempt of court Complainants version:
instead of throwing tantrums by Before leaving the rostrum, respondent told complainant You step out. We finish
banging his gavel loudly and
the matter outside. Prior to this, respondent was already uttering em-
unceremoniously walking out of the
courtroom. barrassing remarks which hurt herein complainant. While complainant
made further explanations calmly, respondent banged his gavel without
Although respondent had a valid declaring a recess. He unceremoniously removed his coat and then ut-
explanation for carrying a gun, his act
of carrying it in plain view of the tered said remark. Complainant then saw respondent outside waiting
lawyers (including the complainant) for him to come out. The respondent held a gun with his right hand.
and considering what just happened,
Complainant couldnt move since he was unarmed and shocked. He
cannot be taken as an innocent
gesture. It was calculated to instill fear asked the court stenographer to put it on record that the judge was holding a
and intimidate the complainant. gun. Subsequently, the respondent was pacified and he returned to the
Respondent's behavior constitutes
grave misconduct. A judge's conduct court. Complainant asked respondent to inhibit himself from trying the
should be free from the appearance of case but the latter denied it and instead reset thecae.
impropriety not only in his official
duties but in his everyday life. One
Respondents version:
who lives by the precept that might is
right is unworthy to be a judicial What he said was five minutes recess. Defendant's counsel that was
officer. on trial and complainants co-counsel & witness corroborated this.

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2ND SEM SY 12-13 Page 7

From his chamber, he went to the stairs passing the corridor holding his coat and a gun which was inside its holster.
Upon reaching the stairs, he was informed by his clerk that there are still cases in the calendar ready for trial. Thus, he
returned to his chamber & placed his gun inside his table. When trial resumed, complainant asked Valle to inhibit him-
self from the hearing. Judge informed counsel to put his request in writing and he then reset the case to another date.
Another judge now handles case.

Respondent insisted that the accusations are exaggerated, sensationalized, fabricated and inherently improbable, con-
trary to human experience and one-sided. He had a permit to carry his licensed pistol outside his house since he received
threats from the NPA.

ISSUE:
Whether or not both counsel and judge are equally to blame for the incident

RULING:

Yes. In Lugue v Kayanan, both counsel and judge have the shared responsibility tomaintain the high es-
teem & high regard for courts. They should promote confidence and respect in the administration of justice, even if
this means restraining their prides at time. This is a crucial factor in the administration of justice. Both judge and
counsel must respect each other mutually.
As for the complainant, he should be respectful & gracious to the courts of justice and judicial offi-
cials. Raising his voice was a sign of disrespect. He should have humbly accepted his mistakes. The court ordered that
he is required to show cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against him for conduct unbecoming of an
officer of the court, within fifteen (15) days from notice.

As for respondent, he exhibited shortness of temper and impatience. Judges have contempt powers to
endeavour counsel to appreciate his duties to the court. He should have cited counsel in contempt instead of
indulging in tantrums. I n addition, carrying the gun, although permitted, was not an innocent act.
Respondent used it to instil fear in or intimidate the complainant. He violated the Canons of Judicial Ethics,
specifically Canon 2 which sheds light on upholding integrity within the courts. Judge's official con-
duct should be free from the appearance of impropriety, and his personal behaviour, not only upon
the bench and in the performance of judicial duties, but also in his everyday life, should be beyond
reproach. The court found herein respondent guilty of misconduct and was dismissed from service
without forfeiture of retirement benefits but with prejudice to reinstatement in any branch of the
government, its agencies and instrumentalities.

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Page 8 CANON 2 CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT

IV. CASTILLO V CALANOG Re: Sec. 2 Reaffirm peoples faith


AM No. RTJ-90-447
July 12, 1991
A judge must be free of a whiff of impropriety not only with respect to his
Digested by: Macario, Lovely 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.
FACTS:
Narration of facts as contained in the complainants sworn statement:

Somewhere in 1987, complainant met Judge Calanog, who was referred to her by an acquaintance, as a person who
could assist her and facilitate the early termination of the intestate estate of her common-law husband in her favour.
During their first meeting, the respondent judge advised her to see him at his law office located in Mandaluyong,
Metro Manila, which she did. During their meeting, he invited her to a restaurant but instead, the respondent brought
her to a motel where he made sexual advances on the complainant. She resisted and because of this, the respondent
proposed that the complainant be her sub-husband and promised her further to be given a condominium unit, as well
as to provide financial support for her 2 daughters. The respondent was able to convince the complainant to agree to
his proposition due to the latters situation (she has no work and because of the untimely death of her common-law
husband). As a result of their relationship, the complainant gave birth to a baby boy, sometime in 1989, with Calanog
as surname.

From the time the complainant has given birth to their son, said Judge Manuel M. Calanog, Jr. has refused to provide
them financial support nor placed her two (2) minor daughters to an exclusive school as he had promised. Worst, to
the present, he fails and refuses to pay the monthly installments of the condominium unit. Despite her repeated verbal
demands for him to give them, or at least his son Jerome Christopher Calanog, financial support, Judge Manuel M.
Calanog Jr. just ignored her pleas.
Thus, the complainant prays that proper sanction be meted out against Judge Calanog for his conduct of unbecoming
of a public official and immorality.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the circumstances shown are sufficient to convict the respondent judge for immorality and conduct
unbecoming of a public official.

RULING:
Yes. Judge Calanog has behaved in a manner not becoming of his robes and as a model of rectitude, betrayed the peo-
ple's high expectations, and diminished the esteem in which they hold the judiciary in general.

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2ND SEM SY 12-13 Page 9

It is of no import that the evidence on record is not sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt the facts of concubi-
nage having indeed existed and been committed. This is not a criminal case for concubinage but an administrative
matter that invokes the power of supervision of this Court over the members of the judiciary.
The circumstances show a lack of circumspection and delicadeza on the part of the respondent judge by failing to avoid
situations that make him suspect to committing immorality and worse, having that suspicion confirmed.

The Code of Judicial Ethics mandates that the conduct of a judge 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 pro-
priety at all times. As we have very recently explained, a judge's official life can not simply be detached or separated
from his personal existence.

Being the 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.

It is worth noting here that the respondent judge, in violating a judicial precept, has also committed a grave injustice
upon the complainant, who had sought his assistance in expediting the intestate estate proceedings of her deceased
common-law husband. The judge, who was in the first place, prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct 11 from inter-
vening in a case in any court, took advantage of the complainant's helplessness and state of material deprivation and
persuaded her to become his mistress. The exploitation of women becomes even more reprehensible when the of-
fender commits the injustice by the brute force of his position of power and authority, as in this case.

WHEREFORE, the respondent Judge, the Hon. Manuel M. Calanog, Jr., is found guilty of IMMORALITY and is
hereby DISMISSED from the roll of judges, with prejudice to his reinstatement or appointment to any public office
including a government-owned or controlled corporation, and forfeiture of retirement benefits, if any. Let a copy of
this resolution be included in his record and be served on all courts throughout the land.
SO ORDERED.

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Page 10 CANON 2 CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT

V. LADIGNON V GARONG
A.M. No. MTJ-08-1712 FACTS:
August 20, 2008
Digested by: Marban, Charlemagne
Respondent Judge Rixon M. Garong wrote a letter to the Chairman of the
Re: Sec. 3 Disciplinary Action Administrative Council of the First United Methodist Church in Michigan,
USA, through which, he forwarded a copy of a letter-complaint of one Ro-
While the use of the title is an lando G. Gustilo of the Banard Kelly Memorial United Methodist
official designation as well as an
honor that an incumbent has Church, complaining of the surreptitious manner of incorporating their
earned, a line still has to be church and singling out complainant Conrado M. Ladignon to be part of
drawn based on the
circumstances of the use of the the deception. The respondents letter prompted Ladignon to complain to
appellation. the Supreme Court against the respondents improper conduct as a member
of the Judiciary, for his use in a private communication of his official court
While the title can be used for stationery and his title as a judge.
social and other identification
purposes, it cannot be used with
the intent to use the prestige of ISSUE:
his judicial office to gainfully
Whether or not the respondents use of his official court stationery and his
advance his personal, family or
other pecuniary interests. Nor title as a judge in a private communication was improper.
can the prestige of a judicial
office be used or lent to advance
the private interests of others, or
to convey or permit others to RULING
convey the impression that they
are in a special position to
influence the judge. (Canon 2, YES. At issue in the case at bar is the use of a courts letterhead and a judges
Rule 2.03 of the Code of
designation for non-official transactions, which is not per se improper.
Judicial Conduct) To do any of
these is to cross into the
prohibited field of impropriety.

It is the surrounding circumstances of the use that mark it with the element of impropriety or appearance of impro-
priety. In the case at bar, respondent gave the appearance of impropriety when he used his letterhead and his title un-
der the circumstances, in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct which requires judges to avoid impropriety and the
appearance of impropriety in all of their activities (canon 2). His use of the letterhead and his designation as a Judge to
report a complaint involving an alleged violation of church rules and, possibly, of Philippine laws gave the appearance
that there is an implied or assured consent of the court to his cause.

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2ND SEM SY 12-13 Page 11

VI. ADAN V ABUCEJO-LUZANO


A.M. No. MTJ-00-1298 FACTS:
August 3, 2000
Digested by: Cajita, Marie Grace
William Adan was the complainant in 2 criminal cases for Grave Oral
Defamation tried and decided by Judge Anita Abucejo-Luzano of the
Re: Sec. 1 Conduct above reproach - MCTC of Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental. Respondent judge con-
victed the accused and sentenced them accordingly. Upon Motion for
No matter how noble her intentions
Reconsideration, however, respondent judge reversed her decision and
may have been, it was improper
for respondent therein to meet the rendered a judgement for acquittal. Adan questioned the reversal of the
accused privately without the conviction, alleging that Judge Abucejo-Luzano had modified her
presence of complainant.
Conversely, it is improper for herein judgement because having received new information from the accused,
respondent to meet with the she conducted a personal ocular inspection of the place where the
complainant and his wife to discuss
the merits of the case without the crime was committed without the presence of the parties involved.
presence of the accused and his
counsel no matter how noble his ISSUE:
intentions may have been.
Whether or not Luzano is guilty

HELD:
Guilty. Respondent Judge should have known that an ex-parte ocular inspection without notice to nor presence of
the parties and after the case had already been decided was highly improper. If respondent Judge had entertained
doubts that she wished to clarify after the trial had already terminated, she should have ordered motu proprio the
reopening of the trial for the purpose, with due notice to the parties, whose participation therein is essential to due
process.

Thus, it is error for the judge to go alone to the place where the crime was committed and make an inspection with-
out previous knowledge or consent of the parties. The conduct of the ex-parte inspection, the result of which appar-
ently influenced her to reconsider her earlier decision, was highly improper as she, in effect, admitted additional evi-
dence without giving the prosecution a chance to object to its introduction or to controvert the same. Her actions
show an ignorance of the law and proper procedure to be followed for a situation such as this. Furthermore, respon-
dent judge has opened herself to charges of partiality and bias by meeting with the accused privately. No matter how
noble her intentions may have been, it was improper for respondent judge to meet the accused without the presence
of complainant. Respondent Judge has failed to live up to the norm that judges should not only be impartial but
should also appear impartial. She thus violated Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which provides that a judge
should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities. Judge Abucejo-Luzano was fined PhP
10,000 and issued a stern warning that any similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely.

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Page 12 CANON 2 CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT

VII. ANGELES V SEMPIO-DIY FACTS:


AM NO. RTJ-10-2248 This is an administrative complaint for disbarment and dismissal from
September 29, 2010
judiciary service filed by complainant Judge Adoracion G. Angeles (Judge
Digested by: Vasquez, Raymond
Angeles) against respondent Hon. Maria Elisa Sempio Diy (Judge Sempio
Diy), Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch
Re: Sec. 2 Reaffirm peoples faith 225, which stemmed from consolidated Criminal Case Nos. Q-95-61294
and Q-95-62690 entitled People of the Philippines v. Proclyn Pacay and
A judge ought to know the cases
submitted to her for decision or People of the Philippines v. P/Insp. Roberto Ganias, respectively. It all boils
resolution and is expected to keep down to the contention that Judge Sempio-Diy incurred delay in her deci-
her own record of cases so that she
may act on them promptly. It is sion in rendering the Joint Decision in the subject criminal cases beyond
incumbent upon her to devise an the 90-day period prescribed by the Constitution. Judge Sempio-Diy then
efficient recording and filing system countered that the delay in rendered decision is approved by the court
in her court so that no disorderliness
can affect the flow of cases and when she filed for extension twice. First was for medical reasons, and
their speedy disposition. Proper and second for a symposium in the US for religious freedom. The Court
efficient court management is as
much her responsibility. She is the finds no evidence to sustain the charges of delay against Judge Sempio
one directly responsible for the Diy in rendering the Joint Decision in the consolidated Criminal Case
proper discharge of her official
Nos. Q-95-61294 and Q-95-62690.
functions.
It appears however, that respondent has simply forgotten about the pend-
ing motion for reconsideration in Criminal Case Nos. Q-95-61294 and Q-
95-62690 after said cases became inactive due to the failure of the defense to submit its reply. The realization of the
blunder came only during the semi-annual inventory of the courts cases. This situation could have been avoided had
respondent adopted an effective system of record management and organization of dockets to monitor the flow of
cases for prompt and efficient dispatch of the courts business. Elementary court management practice requires her to
keep her own records or notes of cases pending before her sala, especially those that are pending for more than 90
days, so that she can act on them promptly and without delay.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Judge Sempio Diy incurred delay in rendering an order of Criminal Case Nos. Q-95-61294 and Q-95-
62690 and therefore violated Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct and Section 5, Canon 6 of the New
Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, requiring judges to perform all judicial duties efficiently, fairly
and with reasonable promptness.

HELD:
Respondent Judge Maria Elisa Sempio Diy is found to have been in delay in the rendition of an order in Criminal Case
Nos. Q-95-61294 and Q-95-62690. She is then admonished to be more circumspect in observing the reglementary pe-
riod for disposing of motions.

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2ND SEM SY 12-13 Page 13

COURT OBSERVATION
POSITIVE OBSERVATIONS NEGATIVE OBSERVATIONS

Canon 6, Sec. 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct. Rule 12.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. A
Judges shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings lawyer shall not appear for trial unless he has adequately pre-
before the court and be patient, dignified and courteous in pared himself on the law and the facts of his case, the evi-
relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers and others withwhom dence he will adduce and the order of its proferrence. He
the judge deals in an official capacity. Judges shall require should also be ready with the original documents for com-
similar conduct of legal representatives, court staff and others parison with the copies.
subject to their influence, direction or control.
(1)Unprepared lawyers. The group observed that some
(1) Character/Manner of Judge during trial We have ob- lawyers came to court unprepared. One instance observed
served that the judge exerted an effort to fill in the gap/ was that the case is about concealment of bladed weapon,
lack of the prosecution or defense in presenting their case. and the hearing was set for presentation of evidence. It was
The judge conversed in a manner that is conducive for the second time that the presentation of the concealed
the accused to answer honestly without hesitation and weapon was scheduled, and the presentation failed due to
worry as to the consequences of his answers. He is vigi- the fact that it cannot be located in the prosecutors of-
lant in exacting truth for the sake of a speedy, effective fice who was allegedly in custody of the weapon.
and efficient administration of justice.
Rule 14.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. A
(2) The Group was able to observe that in a certain case in- lawyer who accepts the cause of a person unable to pay his
volving the crime of rape, the presiding Judge, before professional fees shall observe the same standard of conduct
going into the deposition of the rape victim, asked the governing his relations with paying clients.
minors to go out of the courtroom. We considered this as
an appropriate behaviour especially through this, the (2) It was also observed that three accused were arraigned for
judge was able to maintain order and decorum in the said their charges, but was not even informed of the conse-
proceeding, pursuant to the above stated canon. quences of the charges filed against them. They were left
alone in the courtroom as if no counsel was going to repre-
Canon 11, Rule 11.01 of the Code of Professional Responsi- sent them, the lawyer, is the one in the public attorneys
bility: A lawyer shall appear in court properly attired. office, did not even tried to counsel or inform them about
the charges. And it seems like they were confused when
(3) During our visit to the Hall of Justice, we observed that the asked whether to plead guilty or not. And one even frantic-
lawyers were properly attired during their appearance in ally answered yes meaning to plead guilty out of the blue,
Court. One can easily identify that they are lawyers because without full understanding of the charges and conse-
of the way they dress up. Though it cant be denied the quences. It seems like the lawyer and the accused just met
Court Rooms weve been to were not properly ventilated or for the first time, in the courtroom for the arraignment.
the capacity of air conditioning units cannot handle a lot of
audience to keep the Court Rooms cool enough, still, the Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. A
male lawyers wear barong or long-sleeved polos and the lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the
female lawyers wear blazers or long-sleeved dresses. courts and judicial officers and should insist on similar
conduct by others.
Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. A law-
yer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor (3) Bench and lousy lawyers, even with vacant seats in the
towards his professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing bar, did not sit within the bar, but instead conversed with
tactics against opposing counsel. the judge, and presented their case while they are in the
bench. Another lawyer, was seen so tired in presenting the
(4) In the same rape case, we observed that while the cross- case as early as 10 AM with lousy demeanor, and even
examination was being conducted, the prosecutors lawyer leaning on the bench while talking to the judge. As if he
sometimes helps the defense lawyer by filling in words in was just talking or conversing with a friend from old days.
the latters questions. Also, as the prosecutor questions the
witness, and the defense lawyer made an objection, the
latter tapped the shoulder of the prosecutor as if saying
sorry for making the objection. In that case, we can say
that though they were opposing counsels in the case, they
still respect each other

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2ND SEM SY 12-13 Page 14

COURT OBSERVATION
NEGATIVE OBSERVATIONS
(continuation)

Canon 3, Section 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct: Judges shall not knowingly, while a proceeding is before or could
come before them, make any comment that might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome of such proceeding or impair
the manifest fairness of the process. Nor shall judges make any comment in public or otherwise that might affect the fair trial of
any person or issue.

(4) In one of the Court Rooms weve visited, a trial for a rape case was being conducted. The person on the witness stand dur-
ing that time was the victim herself. At the exact moment that we entered the room, the judge was reprimanding the witness
for giving an answer that was not responsive to the question of the defense lawyer (as what we have deduced from the repri-
mand made by the judge). As observers, what came to mind was that the testimony of the witness (victim) as to its credibil-
ity has been put into question. In relation to the above-mentioned canon, the judge should have reminded the witness in a
nicer way which would not amount to giving an impression to the audience that he never believes what the witness was say-
ing.

- end -

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