Jesus Christ had cautioned us about judging others. Christ said in the Gospel: “As you judge, so shall you be judged.”
There’s a Code for Judicial Conduct that’s meant to govern the behavior of Philippine judges. Among its most pertinent portions (as sourced from the Chan C. Robles virtual law library website) with regards the on-going impeachment trial of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona, are the following canons:
A JUDGE SHOULD UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY
RULE 1.01 — A judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence.
RULE 1.02 — A judge should administer justice impartially and without delay.
RULE 1.03. — A judge should be vigilant against any attempt to subvert the independence of the judiciary and should forthwith resist any pressure from whatever source intended to influence the performance of official functions.
A JUDGE SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL ACTIVITIES
RULE 2.01 — A judge should so behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
RULE 2.02 — A judge should not seek publicity for personal vainglory.
RULE 2.03 —A judge shall not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. The prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the private interests of others, nor convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge.
RULE 2.04 — A judge should refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending before another court or administrative agency.
A JUDGE SHOULD PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTIES HONESTLY, AND WITH IMPARTIALITY AND DILIGENCE
RULE 3.01 — A judge shall be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence.
RULE 3.02 — In every case, a judge shall endeavor diligently to ascertain the facts and the applicable law; unswayed by partisan interests, public opinion or fear of criticism.
RULE 3.03 — A judge shall maintain order and proper decorum in the court.
RULE 3.04 — A judge should be patient, attentive, and courteous to lawyers, especially the inexperienced, to litigants, witnesses, and others appearing before the court. 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.
RULE 3.05 — A judge shall dispose of the court’s business promptly and decide cases within the required periods.
RULE 3.06 — While a judge may, to promote justice, prevent waste of time or clear up some obscurity, properly intervene in the presentation of evidence during the trial, it should always be borne in mind that undue interference may prevent the proper presentation of the cause or the ascertainment of truth.
RULE 3.07 — A judge should abstain from making public comments on any pending or impending case and should require similar restraint on the part of court personnel.
RULE 3.08 — A judge should diligently discharge administrative responsibilities, maintain professional competence in court management, and facilitate the performance of the administrative functions or other judges and court personnel.
RULE 3.09 — A judge should organize and supervise the court personnel to ensure the prompt and efficient dispatch of business, and require at all times the observance of high standards of public service and fidelity.
RULE 3.10 — A judge should take or initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against lawyers or court personnel for unprofessional conduct of which the judge may have become aware.
RULE 3.11 — A judge should appoint commissioners, receivers, trustees, guardians, administrators and others strictly on the basis of merit and qualifications, avoiding nepotism and favoritism. Unless otherwise allowed by law, the same criteria should be observed in recommending appointment of court personnel. Where the payment of compensation is allowed, it should be reasonable and commensurate with the fair value of services rendered.
RULE 3.12 — A judge should take no part in a proceeding where the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned. These cases include among others, proceedings where:
(a) the judge has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;
(b) the judge served as executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or lawyer in the case or matter in controversy, or a former associate of the judge served as counsel during their association, or the judge or lawyer was a material witness therein;
(c) the judge’s ruling in a lower court is the subject of review;
(d) the judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree or to counsel within the fourth degree;
(e) the judge knows the judge’s spouse or child has a financial interest, as heir, legatee, creditor, fiduciary, or otherwise, in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.
In every instance, the judge shall indicate the legal reason for inhibition. (End of quote)
The Senator-Judges sit as our representatives during an impeachment trial and we’ll ultimately rate them. Applying the Code for Judicial Conduct, how would you rate each Senator-Judge?
Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must never unwatched go.”
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