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UP INTEGRITY MARCH. Hundreds of law students carrying torches and candles join a march around the UP Diliman campus on Thursday night in an expression of support for 37 UP College of Law faculty members who face sanctions from the Supreme Court for calling for the resignation of an associate justice for alleged plagiarism. CHITO CHINGCUANGCO/CONTRIBUTOR





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UP Law professors ask SC for full hearing

By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:14:00 11/20/2010

Filed Under: Laws, Judiciary (system of justice), Education, Schools, Punishment, Government

MANILA, Philippines?Professors from the University of the Philippines College of Law facing sanctions from the Supreme Court for accusing it of plagiarism will insist on a full hearing should the administrative case against them be pursued.

In their 35-page ?compliance? filed at the Supreme Court on Friday, the 36 UP law professors led by college dean Marvic Leonen said they ?respectfully reserve their due process rights and remedies in respect of the Show Cause Resolution?s findings and conclusions.?

The law professors expressed concern that the order by Supreme Court that they explain themselves had already concluded that they were in contempt when they signed the ?Restoring Integrity? statement, without them being able to defend themselves before the justices.

They also asked the high court to reverse ?its adverse findings in the Show Cause Resolution.?

Restoring integrity

?Nevertheless, even as they make this reservation, respondents hereby comply with the Show Cause Resolution out of the same sense of professional responsibility, patriotic duty, and loyalty to the Court, as an institution, that animated and impelled their Restoring Integrity Statement,? they said.

The professors told the high court that their statement against plagiarism, wherein they also called for the resignation of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, was ?an exercise of ethical duties? of lawyers who were also law professors.

?It must also be considered that respondents have a special duty to vigilantly condemn misrepresentation because these unwelcome occurrences have a profound adverse impact in the academe, especially in our law schools.

Intellectual honesty

?Intellectual honesty is a bedrock principle in the academe and plagiarism is intellectual dishonesty and misrepresentation,? they said.

They said that as law professors, they would ?lose their moral authority to prevent and sanction cheating and plagiarism among students and other members of their academic community if they do not speak out on these issues, particularly in this case which has already attracted scrutiny and commentary from the legal community and legal academia here and abroad.?

They concluded: ?It is the submission of the respondents that the Supreme Court, as the ultimate dispenser of justice, is not exempt from such high standards of intellectual honesty; on the contrary, the Court is held to the highest standards precisely because its decisions affect the lives of each and every Filipino, assume the weight of precedent, and become part of the national legal memory and the law of the land.?

UP law professor, Dr. Own Lynch, who also signed the statement, submitted a separate manifestation that said he was an American citizen and not a member of the Philippine bar but of the bar of the State of Minnesota.


Exercise of freedom

A visiting professor at the UP College of Law, Lynch said he affixed his signature in the exercise of his freedoms of speech and expression.

Leonen also submitted a separate explanation, as ordered by the High Court, to explain why he allegedly submitted a ?dummy? statement to the Supreme Court.

Stressing that he ?acted on pure intentions,? Leonen, like his colleagues, asked for the Supreme Court?s resolution to be ?reconsidered, reversed, and set aside.?

Should the tribunal decline this request, Leonen said, he would ask for a hearing on the administrative case where he could be given the opportunity to ?refute the findings and conclusions? of the Show Cause Resolution.

The UP law professors were ordered by the Supreme Court to explain themselves why they should not be sanctioned for violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility when they issued the strongly worded statement in August.



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