Supreme Court censures lawyer for ‘mokong’ remark
MANILA, Philipines — The Supreme Court has reprimanded a Sandiganbayan lawyer after he referred to a resource speaker as “mokong” (a moron, idiot, or goofball) during an online seminar for the antigraft court’s officials and personnel.
In a resolution last June made public only on Nov. 21, the Supreme Court’s Second Division adopted the recommendation of the Judicial Integrity Board (JIB) finding lawyer Albert Sordan guilty of “vulgar and unbecoming conduct.”
The reprimand on Sordan also came with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or any similar act would be dealt with more severely.
According to the high court, Sordan blurted out in Filipino, “Nobody understands what that goofball is talking about,” apparently referring to Pierce Miralles, a resource speaker of Microsoft Philippines, during the seminar held on Feb. 18, 2022, on the utilization and navigation of Philippine Judiciary 365, the judiciary’s official platform for electronic communications and other functions.
The Philippine Judicial Academy (Philja), which conducted the seminar, said the incident brought embarrassment to the organization and to the Supreme Court, the Sandiganbayan, and Miralles.
Sordan explained, however, that he must have blurted out those words in the heat of the moment, adding that he felt frustrated after being “helplessly bombarded with incomprehensible gobbledygook.”
According to him, two other justices were also at a loss with the technical jargon overload.
Sordan said his words “were not meant to debase, demean, and degrade his (Miralles’) intrinsic worth.”
He said “mokong” was merely a “faux pas” on his part and should not be taken seriously, considering how that word is often used in comedies and in pop culture.
Sordan asked the high court to understand the context of his remark, which he said was made in good faith. He also asked Miralles, Philja, and the Sandiganbayan to forgive him.
The JIB recommended a fine of P35,000, but the Supreme Court stopped short of imposing that penalty.
The high court acknowledged that Sordan’s remark was “made without ill will or intent to humiliate Miralles [but] at the spur of the moment; and apparently borne out of his technological immaturity, if not ignorance.”