SC reminds lawyers, judges to uphold integrity of judicial institution | Inquirer News

SC reminds lawyers, judges to uphold integrity of judicial institution

/ 06:04 PM July 25, 2018

The Supreme Court reminded lawyers and judges that they are “licensed officers of the courts who are mandated to maintain the dignity of the legal profession and the integrity of the judicial institution.”

In a 28-page decision that reprimanded former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the high court said that “it is one thing to show courage and other to display arrogance.”

The SC reprimanded Sereno for making public statements and discussing the merits of the quo warranto petition which was then pending before the Supreme Court and for calling for the inhibition of some of her colleagues who testified against her in Congress.


READ: Sereno draws SC censure for attacks on former colleagues


“Her public statements covered by different media organizations incontrovertibly brings the Court in a position of disrepute and disrespect, a patent transgression of the very ethics that members of the Bar are sworn to uphold. This, the Court cannot countenance,” the high court said in the decision written by Associate Justice Noel Tijam.

Quoting a portion of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s dissenting opinion in the May 11 ruling, the high court said “ideally, a justice must be slow to make public statements, always careful that the facts before her may not be the entire reality.”

The SC said that “whatever the reasons and even at the cost of her own personal discomfort, she (Sereno) — as the leader of the Court — should not be the first to cause public shame and humiliation of her colleagues and the institution she represents.”

The high court ruling also pointed out that they are not prohibiting judges and lawyers from exercising their right to free speech, however, “they should be circumspect of their actions and statements.”

“Thus, such criticisms and discussions should only be done in a proper and legally accepted manner. The use of unnecessary language and means is proscribed if we are to promote high esteem in the courts and trust in judicial administration.”

Sereno was removed from office a via quo warranto petition as she was found to be unqualified to sit as chief justice for her failure to comply with the requirements set by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). — Carol Balita/ intern /ee

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TAGS: Supreme Court

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