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2. Of recognized probity and independence;

J UDICIAL E THICS 3. Member of the Philippine Bar;
4. Must have been for 10 years or more a judge or
Judicial Ethics engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines;
A branch of moral science which treats of the right and
and proper conduct to be observed by all judges and 5. Must not have been a candidate for any elective
magistrates in trying and deciding controversies office in the immediately preceding election.
brought to them for adjudication which conduct must
be demonstrative of impartiality, integrity, Regional Trial Court Judges
competence, independence, and freedom from 1. Citizen of the Philippines (JBC-009- Rules of the
improprieties(PINEDA, Judicial Ethics [2009] p.1) Judicial and Bar Council, in accordance with Art
[hereinafter PINEDA, Judicial]. VIII, Sec 7, par 2 of the Constitution)
2. At least 35 years of age; and
Court 3. For at least 10 years has been engaged in the
A board or other tribunal, which decides a litigation practice of law in the Philippines or has held a
or contest (Hidalgo v. Manglapus, 64 O.G. 3189). public office in the Philippines requiring
admission to the practice of law as an
Court Staff indispensable requisite (B.P. 129, Sec. 15).
Includes the personal staff of the judge including law
clerks. Municipal Trial Court Judges
1. Citizen of the Philippines (JBC-009- Rules of the
Judge Judicial and Bar Council, in accordance with Art
A public officer who, by virtue of his office, is clothed VIII, Sec 7, par 2 of the Constitution)
with judicial authority to decide litigated questions 2. At least 30 years of age; and
according to law. 3. For at least 5 years has been engaged in the
Any person exercising judicial power, however practice of law in the Philippines or has held
designated (People v. Manantan, G.R. No. L-14129, public office in the Philippines requiring
July 31, 1962). admission to the practice of law as an
indispensable requisite (B.P. 129, Sec. 26).
De Jure Judge
One who is exercising the office of a judge as a Judicial Department
matter of right; an officer of a court who has been
duly and legally appointed (Luna v. Rodriguez, G.R. Attitude Towards Counsel
No. 12647, November 26, 1917). He must be courteous especially to the young and
inexperienced. He should not interrupt in their
De Facto Judge arguments except to clarify his mind as to their
An officer who is not fully invested with all the positions. He must not be tempted to an
powers and duties conceded to judges, but unnecessary display of learning or premature
exercising the office of a judge under some color of judgment. He may criticize and correct
right (Luna v. Rodriguez, G.R. No. 12647, unprofessional conduct of a lawyer but not in an
November 26, 1917). insulting manner.

Qualifications of Justices and Judges Attitude Toward Litigants and Witnesses

He must be considerate, courteous and civil. He
Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Court of must not utter intemperate language during the
Tax Appeals Justices hearing of a case.
1. Natural-born citizen of the Philippines;
2. At least 40 years of age; Proper Judicial Conduct
3. Must have been for 15 years or more a judge of a Judges and justices must conduct themselves as to
lower court or engaged in the practice of law; and be beyond reproach and suspicion and be free from
4. Must be a person of proven competence, appearance of impropriety in their personal behavior
integrity, probity and independence (CONST. Art. not only in discharge of official duties but also in
VIII, Sec. 7). their everyday lives.

Ombudsman and his Deputies

1. At least 40 years old;



Cold Neutrality of an Impartial Judge

A judge should not only render just, correct and
impartial decision but should do so in a manner free
from suspicion as to its fairness and impartiality and
as to his integrity. These are indispensable JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IS A PRE-REQUISITE
requisites of due process. TO THE RULE OF LAW AND A FUNDAMENTAL
New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine SHALL, THEREFORE, UPHOLD AND EXEMPLIFY
Judiciary (A.M. No. 03-05-01-SC, June 1, 2004) JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IN BOTH ITS
This Code supersedes the Canons of Judicial Ethics INDIVIDUAL AND INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS.
and the Code of Judicial Conduct to the extent that
the provisions or concepts therein are embodied in The primary difference between the new Canon 1
this Code, provided that in case of deficiency or and the Canon 1 of the 1989 Code is the treatment
absence of specific provisions in this Code, the of independence as a single Canon.
Canons of Judicial Ethics and the Code of
Judicial Conduct should be applicable in a Independence
suppletory character. It means freedom from influence, guidance or
control of others. It refers to the freedom of courts
The New Philippine Code of Judicial Conduct from extraneous influences or control (PINEDA,
was adopted from the universal declaration of Judicial, supra at 32).
standards for ethical conduct embodied in the
Bangalore Draft as revised at the Round Table Two Independent Aspects from the Point of View
Conference of Chief Justices at The Hague. of The Judge
1. Individual Judicial Independence
The Bangalore Draft is founded upon certain Focuses on each particular case and seeks to
principles set in stone: insure his or her ability to decide cases with
1.A universal recognition that a competent, autonomy within the constraints of the law.
independent and impartial judiciary is essential if 2. Institutional Judicial Independence
the courts are to fulfil their role in upholding Focuses on the independence of the judiciary as
constitutionalism and the rule of law; a branch of government and protects judges as a
2.That public confidence in the judicial system and class (In the Matter of the Allegations Contained
in the moral authority and integrity of the judiciary in the Columns of Mr. Amado P. Macasaet
is of utmost importance in a modern democratic Published in Malaya dated September 18, 19,
society; and 20, and 21, 2007).
3.That it is essential that judges, individually and
collectively, respect and honor judicial office as a What is required of judges is objectivity. An
public trust and strive to enhance and maintain independent judiciary does not mean that judges
confidence in the judicial system. can resolve specific disputes entirely as they please.
There are both implied and explicit limits in the way
Outline of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for judges perform their role. Implicit limits include
the Philippine Judiciary accepted legal values and the explicit limits are
Canon I: Independence substantive and procedural rules of law.
Canon II: Integrity
Canon III: Impartiality Section 1 - Judges shall exercise the judicial
Canon IV: Propriety function independently on the basis of their
Canon V: Equality assessment of the facts and in accordance with
Canon VI: Competence and Diligence a conscientious understanding of the law, free of
any extraneous influence, inducement, pressure,
Purpose: To update and correlate the Code of threat or interference, direct or indirect, from any
Judicial Conduct and the Canons of Judicial Ethics quarter or for any reason.
adopted for the Philippines, and also to stress the
Philippines solidarity with the universal clamor for a An independent judiciary is one free from
universal code of judicial ethics. inappropriate outside influence. Judges are required
to reject pressure from any source maintaining
independence in the pursuit of their duties.



A judge is expected to be fearless in the pursuit of A judge who tries to influence the outcome of a
rendering justice, to be unafraid to displease any litigation pending before another court not only
person, interest or power and to be equipped with a subverts the independence of the judiciary but also
moral fiber strong enough to resist temptations undermines the peoples faith in its integrity and
(Ramirez v. Corpuz-Macandag, A.M. No. R-351- impartiality (Sabitsana, Jr. v. Villamor, RTJ-90-474,
RTJ, September 26, 1986). October 4, 1991).

Judges are required to rule fairly regardless of public Exception:

opinion. The pressure of a rally demanding the 1. If the consultation is purely on an academic or
issuance of warrant of arrest against the accused is hypothetical basis, and the judge does not
not a sufficient excuse for unjustified fixing of bail surrender his/her independent decision-making,
without hearing (Libarios v. Dabalos, A.M. No. RTJ- there is no breach of Sections 2 and 3 of this
89-286, July 11, 1991). Canon.
2. A judge may revoke the orders of another judge
More than just a breach of the rudiments laid down in litigation subsequently assigned to him
by the Code, judges who succumb to pressures and, (PINEDA, Judicial, supra at 43).
as a result, knowingly ignore proven facts or
misapply the law in rendering a decision commit A judge may properly intervene to expedite and
corruption and face both administrative and criminal prevent unnecessary waste of time. He may
prosecution under RA No. 3019 Anti-Graft and intervene to propound clarificatory questions and not
Corrupt Practices Act; and Article 204, Revised to ask searching questions after the witness had
Penal Code. given direct testimony (Id.).

Section 2 - In performing judicial duties, judges Section 4 - Judges shall not allow family, social
shall be independent from judicial colleagues in or other relationships to influence judicial
respect of decisions which the judge is obliged conduct or judgment. The prestige of judicial
to make independently. office shall not be used or lent to advance the
private interests of others, nor convey or permit
Every judge must decide independently, even in others to convey the impression that they are in
collegial court divisions. While there may be a special position to influence the judge.
discussions and exchange of ideas among judges,
at the end of such discussion, the judge must decide A judges family includes his:
on the basis of his own sole judgment. 1. Spouse;
2. Son/daughter;
Section 3 - Judges shall refrain from influencing 3. Son-in-law or daughter-in-law;
in any manner the outcome of litigation or 4. Any other relative by consanguinity or affinity
dispute pending before another court or within the sixth (6) civil degree; and
administrative agency.
5. Any person who is a companion or employee of
The inclusion of this section affirms that a judges the judge and who lives in the judges household.
restraint from exerting influence over other judicial or When a judge is related to one of the parties within
quasi-judicial bodies is required for more than just the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, his
propriety. disqualification is mandatory (Hurtado v. Judalena,
G.R No. L-40603, July 13, 1978).
Being the dispensers of justice, judges should not
act in a way that would arouse suspicion in order to Relatives Deemed Covered:
preserve the faith in the administration of justice 1. An adopted child is deemed included in the list
(OCA v. De Guzman, RTJ-93-1021, January 31, because he/she is considered legitimate child of
1997). the adopting parent/s;
2. Recognized illegitimate children of the judge, if
Any attempt, whether successful or not, to influence there are any;
the decision-making process of another judge, 3. First and second cousins by blood, and first and
especially one who is of lower rank and over which second cousin-in-law; and
he exercises supervisory authority, is serious 4. Uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces;
misconduct. grandnephews and grandnieces. In-laws are



Reason: To ensure that judges are spared from informing the court of the need to streamline her
potential influence of family members by court and of its personnel needs, but she asked
disqualifying them even before any opportunity for instead the LGU to employ those who were
impartiality present itself. displaced due to her downsizing (Alfonso v. Alonzo-
Legasto, A.M. No. MTJ-94-995, September 5,
Judges should ensure that their family members, 2002).
friends and associates refrain from creating the
impression that they are in a position to influence Judicial independence is the reason for leaving
the judge. exclusively to the court the authority to deal with the
internal personnel issues, even if the court
Judges should also make it clear to the members of employees are funded by the local government
their family, friends and associates that they will (Bagatsing v. Herrera, G.R. No. L-34952, July 25,
neither be influenced by anyone, nor would they 1975).
allow anyone to interfere in their judicial work.
Appearance of Independence
The actuation of respondent Judge of eating and Judges must not fraternize with such officials for that
drinking in public places with a lawyer who has will tend to create the negative impression that in the
pending cases in his sala may well arouse the near future there will be some mutual reciprocation
suspicion in the public mind, thus tending to erode for the accommodations or favors extended to one
the trust of the litigants in the impartiality of the another. This quid pro quo may expand to the
judge. This eventuality may undermine the peoples rendition of decision to the prejudice of the ends of
faith in the administration of justice. A judge should justice (PINEDA, Judicial, supra at 52).
behave at all times as to inspire public confidence in
the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. The However, congenial relationships between a judge
prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to and a provincial governor do not by itself tarnish the
advance the private interests of others, nor convey image of an independent judiciary. A local
or permit others to convey the impression that they government unit which provides a vehicle for the use
are in a special position to influence the judge of the judge does not impinge on judicial
(Padilla v. Zamora, MTJ-93-888, October 24, 1994). independence, absent any indication of corruption or
anomalous undertakings (Re: Suspension of Clerk
He should not also allow anyone to ride on his of Court Jocobo, A.M. No.93-10-1296-RTC, August
prestige for purposes of advancing private interest. 12, 1998).
Neither should he create the impression that
someone or some people are so close to him or Section 6 - Judges shall be independent in
enjoy his favor and are in special position to relation to society in general and in relation to
persuade or convince him to act on way or the other the particular parties to a dispute which he or
in the performance of his duties (Padilla v. Zamora, she has to adjudicate.
MTJ-93-888, October 24, 1994).
It is desirable that the judge should, as far as
Section 5 - Judges shall not only be free from reasonably possible, refrain from all relations which
inappropriate connections with, and influence would normally tend to arouse the suspicion that
by, the executive and legislative branches of such relations warp or bias his judgment, and
government, but must also appear to be free prevent an impartial attitude of mind in the
therefrom to a reasonable observer. administration of judicial duties.

Reason: To protect the independence and Judges are not required to live a hermits life. They
separation of the judiciary from the two other may join civil, religious or professional organization
branches of government (Bagatsing v. Herrera, G.R. as long as their membership does not interfere with
No. L-34952, July 25, 1975). their judicial tasks.

A judge did not act independently with the Local Judges should not fraternize with litigants and their
Government Unit (LGU) when she downsized her counsel; they should make a conscious effort to
staff at the MTC and asked the city to re-employ the avoid them in order to avoid the perception that their
laid-off workers without diminution of compensation independence has been compromised.
or disadvantage with regard to location of work
assignment. Said judge had acted improperly in not



A judges act of sending his staff to talk with the

complainant and show copies of his draft decisions, C ANON 2: I NTEGRITY
and his act of meeting with litigants outside the
office premises beyond office hours violate the
standard of judicial conduct required to be observed INTEGRITY IS ESSENTIAL NOT ONLY TO THE
by member of the Bench. The judges actions PROPER DISCHARGE OF THE JUDICIAL
constitute gross misconduct (Tan v. Rosete, A.M. OFFICE, BUT ALSO TO THE PERSONAL
No. MTJ-04-1563, September 8, 2004). DEMEANOR OF JUDGES.

Section 7 - Judges shall encourage and uphold Integrity

safeguards for the discharge of judicial duties in It is a steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical
order to maintain and enhance the institutional code. It is moral uprightness. It is honesty and
and operational independence of the Judiciary. honorableness put into one (American Heritage
Dictionary, 4th Edition).
Judges must be heedful, circumspect and cautious
against sporadic or systematic attempts to Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins
undermine the judiciary. judges to avoid not just impropriety in their conduct
but even the mere appearance of impropriety.
The Supreme court declared the unconstitutionality
of the law because it qualifies to membership in the In the judiciary, moral integrity is more than a
Philippine Bar, 1094 graduates who confessedly had cardinal virtue; it is a necessity (Pascual v.
inadequate preparation for the practice of the Bonifacio, A.M. No.RTJ-01-1625, March 10, 2003).
profession, as was exactly founded by the tribunals
in the results of the bar examinations. The Judges must be models of uprightness, fairness and
Constitution did not confer on Congress the honesty not only in all his official conduct but also in
authority and responsibility over the admission, his personal actuations (Rural Bank of Nuevo, Inc. v.
suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of Cartagena, A.M. No. 707-MJ, July 21, 1978).
attorney-at-law (In Re: Cunanan, March 18, 1954).
Under the 1989 Code, the values of INTEGRITY
Section 8 - Judges shall exhibit and promote and INDEPENDENCE were grouped together, but
high standards of judicial conduct in order to the New Code of Judicial Conduct separated them
reinforce public confidence in the Judiciary, to emphasize the need to maintain a life of
which is fundamental to the maintenance of PERSONAL and PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY in
judicial independence. order to properly carry out their judicial functions.

Judges are required to conduct themselves at all Section 1 - Judges shall ensure that not only is
times in a manner that is beyond reproach. their conduct above reproach, but that it is
perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable
In whatever atmosphere or environs they may observer.
happen to be, judges must remain conscious of their
character and reputation as judges and should avoid A judges personal behavior, both in the
anything which will indignify their public positions performance of his duties and in his daily life, must
and demean the institution to which they belong. be free from any appearance of impropriety as to be
beyond reproach (Tan v. Rosete, A.M. No. MTJ-04-
A judge should always be imbued with a high sense 1563, September 8, 2004).
of duty and responsibility in the discharge of his
obligation to promptly and properly administer A judge was admonished for not wearing the judicial
justice. He must view himself as a priest, for the robe in the performance of judicial functions. A judge
administration of justice is akin to a religious must take care not only to remain true to the high
crusade (Dimatulac v. Villon, G.R. No. 127107, ideals of competence and integrity his robe
October 12, 1998). represents, but also that he wears one in the first
place (Chan v. Majaducan, A.M. No. RTJ-02-1697,
October 15, 2003).

When the inefficiency springs from a failure to

consider so basic and elemental a rule, law or



principle in the discharge of his duties, a judge is self-laudatory statements in open court constitutes
either too incompetent and undeserving of the simple misconduct. Judges should not use the
position and title he holds, or he is too vicious that courtroom in announcing their qualifications
the oversight or omission was deliberately done in especially before lawyers and litigants who might
bad faith and in grave abuse of judicial authority interpret such publicity as a sign of insecurity (Office
(Macalintal v. Teh, A.M. No. RTJ-97-1375, October of the Court Administrator v. Floro, A.M. No. 99-7-
16, 1997). 273-RTC, July 12, 2007).

A judge must be free of even a whiff of impropriety, Instances of improprieties

not only with respect to the performance of his 1.In-chambers sessions without the presence
judicial duties, but also his behavior outside the of the other party and his counsel;
courtroom and as individual. A justice of the Court of 2.Judge making the courtroom as a gambling place
Appeals did not live up to these expectations when, violates the Rule;
through indiscretions, he had been mentioned in the 3.Judge who practice law is guilty of impropriety;
newspapers of having lawyered for the suspected 4.For malicious kissing his female subordinates;
drug queen and interfered with her prosecution (In 5.Habitual tardiness which amounts to serious
re: Derogatory New Items Charging CA Justice misconduct and inefficiency;
Demetria Adm. Case No. 00-09-CA, March 27, 6.Slapping of court personnel
2001). 7.Non-payment of just debt (PINEDA, Judicial,
supra at 68).
Respondent judge was also at fault for his shortness
of temper and impatience, contrary to the duties and Section 3 - Judges should take or initiate
restriction imposed upon him by reason of his office. appropriate disciplinary measures against
He could very well have cited complainant in lawyers or court personnel for unprofessional
contempt of court instead of indulging in tantrums by conduct of which the judge may have become
banging his gavel in a very forceful manner and aware.
unceremoniously walking out of the courtroom
(Romero v. Valle, A.M. No. R-192-RTJ, January 9, Judges should not be lenient in the administrative
1987). supervision of employees. As an administrator, the
judge must ensure that all court personnel perform
Section 2 - The behavior and conduct of judges efficiently and promptly in the administration of
must reaffirm the people's faith in the integrity of justice (Ramirez v. Corpuz-Macandag, A.M. No. R-
the judiciary. Justice must not merely be done, 351-RTJ, September 26, 1986).
but must also be seen to be done.
A judge should constantly keep a watchful eye on
The judge must not only appear to be a good judge the conduct of his employees. His constant scrutiny
but also appear as a good person. This must be so of the behavior of his employees would deter any
at all times (Junio v. Riviera. Jr., A.M. No. MTJ-91- abuse on the part of the latter in the exercise of their
565, August 30, 1993). duties. The slightest breach of duty by and the
slightest irregularity in the conduct of court officers
A judge has the duty to not only render a just and and employees detract from the dignity of the courts
impartial decision, but also render it in such a and erode the faith of the people in the judiciary
manner as to be free from any suspicion as to its (Buenaventura v. Benedicto, A.C. No. 137-5, March
fairness and impartiality, and also as to the judges 27, 1971).
integrity. Like Caesars wife, a judge must not only
be pure but also beyond suspicion. While judges
should possess proficiency in law in order that they C ANON 3: I MPARTIALITY
can completely construe and enforce the law, it is
more important that they should act and behave in IMPARTIALITY IS ESSENTIAL TO THE PROPER
such a manner that the parties before them should DISCHARGE OF THE JUDICIAL OFFICE. IT
have confidence in their impartiality (Sibayan- APPLIES NOT ONLY TO THE DECISION ITSELF
Joaquin v. Javellana, A.M. No. RTJ-00-1601, BUT ALSO TO THE PROCESS BY WHICH THE
November 13, 2001). DECISION IS MADE.

A judge should not seek publicity for personal This canon is the updated version of Canon 3 of the
vainglory. The circulating of calling cards containing 1989 Code. The present version maintained some of



the provisions of the earlier Canon specifically Rule or prejudice can be as damaging to public
3.07, and the provisions on Disqualification and confidence and the administration of justice as
Remittal of Disqualification. However, the actual bias or prejudice. Judges shall perform their
provisions pertaining to diligence, competence and judicial duties without favor, bias or prejudice
the like have been transferred to other provisions in (Montemayor v. Bermejo, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1535,
this New Code. March 12, 2004).

Impartiality Stating to his court staff and the Public Attorneys

It is a state of mind of the judge where there is no Office (PAO) lawyer that he is pro-accused
consciousness or sense of favor for, bias or particularly concerning detention prisoners, the
prejudice against any party in a case. judge opened himself up to suspicion regarding his
impartiality (OCA v. Judge Floro, A.M. No. RTJ-99-
Allegations of partiality or bias must have factual 1460, March 31, 2006).
basis. Bare allegations or suspicions of partiality will
not be sufficient to cause the disqualification of the Section 3 - Judges shall, so far as is reasonable,
judge (Dimo Realty & Dev., Inc. v. Dimaculangan, so conduct themselves as to minimize the
G.R. No. 130991, March 11, 2004). occasions on which it will be necessary for them
to be disqualified from hearing or deciding
Two Concepts of Impartiality: cases.
1.Impartiality with respect to the decision itself; and
2.Impartiality with regards to the process in arriving Duty to Sit: It is imperative that judges ensure that
at a decision. they would not unnecessarily be disqualified from a
Section 1 - Judges shall perform their judicial
duties without favor, bias or prejudice. Judges may, in their exercise of sound discretion,
restrict themselves voluntarily from sitting in a case,
Allegations must be proved but such a decision should be based on good,
Mere allegations of bias or prejudice are not sound or ethical grounds, or for just and valid
sufficient to find a violation of this section. Burden of reasons. It is not enough that a party casts some
proof lies with the complainant; he must prove bias tenuous allegations of partiality at the judge.
sufficient to require inhibition with clear and
convincing evidence. The test to determine propriety of the denial of
the motion to inhibit is whether the movant was
Judges cannot be held accountable for erroneous deprived of a fair and impartial trial (Te v. CA, G.R.
decisions rendered in good faith; otherwise, the No. 126746, November 29, 2000).
judicial office will become untenable. After all, no
one can be infallible in his judgments. Rule of Necessity
The rule of disqualification of judges must yield to
As long as decisions made and opinions formed in demands of necessity. A judge is not disqualified to
the course of judicial proceedings are based on the sit in a case if there is no other judge available to
evidence presented, the conduct observed by the hear and decide the case. When all judges would be
magistrate, and the application of the law, such disqualified, disqualification will not be permitted to
opinions even if later found to be erroneous will destroy the only tribunal with power in the premises.
not sustain a claim of personal bias or prejudice on The doctrine operates on the principle that a basic
the part of the judge (Gochan v. Gochan, G.R. No. judge is better than no judge at all. Under such
1433089, February 27, 2003). circumstances, it is the duty of the disqualified judge
to hear and decide the controversy, however
Section 2 - Judges shall ensure that his or her disagreeable it may be (Parayno v. Meneses, G.R.
conduct, both in and out of court, maintains and No. 112684, April 26, 1994).
enhances the confidence of the public, the legal
profession and litigants in the impartiality of the Section 4 - Judges shall not knowingly, while a
judge and of the Judiciary. proceeding is before or could come before them,
make any comment that might reasonably be
A judge should behave at all times in a way that expected to affect the outcome of such
promotes public confidence in the integrity and proceeding or impair the manifest fairness of the
impartiality of the judiciary. The appearance of bias process. Nor shall judges make any comment in



public or otherwise that might affect the fair trial 3. The judge or a member of his or her family
of any person or issue. has an economic interest in the outcome of
the matter in controversy;
A judges language, both written and spoken, must
be guarded and measured, lest the best of A municipal judge who filed complaints in his own
intentions be misconstrued (Fecundo v. Berjamen, court for robbery and malicious mischief against
G.R. No. 88105, December 18, 1989). a party for the purpose of protecting the property
interests of the judges co-heirs, and then issued
Judges should avoid side remarks, hasty warrants of arrest against the party, was found
conclusions, loose statements or gratuitous guilty of serious misconduct and ordered
utterances that suggest that they are prejudging a dismissed from the bench before he was able to
case. Not only is there danger of being misquoted, recuse himself (Oktubre v. Velasco A.M. No.
but also of compromising the rights of the litigants in MTJ- 02-02-1444, July 20, 2004).
the case.
4.The judge served as executor, administrator,
However, not all comments by judges are guardian, trustee or lawyer in the case or
impermissible; if a judge expresses open- matter in controversy, or a former associate
mindedness regarding a pending issue and the of the judge served as counsel during their
judges comments do not clearly favor one side over association, or the judge or lawyer was a
the other, disqualification is not required. material witness therein;

Judges and justices are not disqualified from 5.The judge's ruling in a lower court is the
participating in a case simply because they have subject of review;
written legal articles on the law involved in the case
(Chavez v. Public Estates Authority, G.R. No. An Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals
133250, May 6, 2003). refused to inhibit himself from reviewing the
decision in a case which he had partially heard
Disqualification and Inhibition as a trial judge prior to his promotion, on the
ground that the decision was not written by him.
Section 5 - Judges shall disqualify themselves The Supreme Court upheld his refusal, but
from participating in any proceedings in which nevertheless commented that he should have
they are unable to decide the matter impartially been more prudent and circumspect and declined
or in which it may appear to a reasonable to take on the case owing to his earlier
observer that they are unable to decide the involvement in the case (Sandoval v. Court of
matter impartially. Such proceedings include, Appeals, G.R. No. 106657, August 1, 1996).
but are NOT LIMITED to instances where:
6. The judge is related by consanguinity or
1. The judge has actual bias or prejudice affinity to a party litigant within the sixth civil
concerning a party or personal knowledge of degree or to counsel within the fourth civil
disputed evidentiary facts concerning the degree; or
A preliminary injunction issued by a judge in favor
Litigants are entitled to a judge who will decide of his sister before inhibiting himself was found
on the merits of the facts presented. reprehensible (Hurtado v Judalena, G.R No. L-
40603, July 13, 1978).
No judge should preside in a case which he is not
wholly free, disinterested, impartial, and 7. The judge knows that his or her spouse or
independent (Garcia v. De La Pena, A.M.No. child has a financial interest, as heir, legatee,
MTJ-92-637, February 9, 1994). creditor, fiduciary, or otherwise, in the subject
matter in controversy or in a party to the
2. The judge previously served as a lawyer or proceeding, or any other interest that could
was a material witness in the matter in be substantially affected by the outcome of
controversy; the proceedings.

The above mentioned are instances of mandatory




Strict compliance with the rules on disqualification is the judge agree that the judge should participate,
required. The petition to disqualify a judge must be the judge may participate, and must incorporate the
filed before rendition of the judgment, and cannot be agreement into the record of the proceeding.
raised on appeal. Otherwise, the parties are deemed
to have waived any objection regarding the Grounds For Disqualification And Inhibition Of
impartiality of the judge. Judges Under The Rules Of Court:
1. Mandatory or Compulsory Disqualification
Instances When Judge Need not Inhibit (PREP)
1. The fact that an administrative case has been a. When he, or his wife, or child is Pecuniarily
filed by a party against the judge, absent a interested as heir, legatee, creditor or
factual basis of bias and prejudice (Aparicio v. otherwise;
Andal, G.R. No. 86587, July 25, 1989); b. When he is Related to either party within the
2. The fact that the judge is a next-door neighbor of sixth (6th) degree of consanguinity or affinity or
the complainant (Choa v. Chiongson, A.M. No. to counsel within the fourth (4th) civil degree;
MTJ-95-063, February 9, 1996); and c. When he has been an Executor, guardian,
3. Close personal friendship with a party, as long as administrator, trustee or counsel; or
it does not influence the judges official conduct d. When he has Presided in an inferior court
as a judge (Macariola v. Asuncion, A.M. No. 133- where his ruling or decision is subject to
J, May 31, 1982). review (RULES OF COURT, Rule 137).

Section 6 - A judge disqualified as stated above Note: If a judge is compulsorily disqualified under
may, instead of withdrawing from the any of the grounds under the first paragraph of
proceeding, disclose on the records the basis of Sec. 1 of Rule 137 Rules of Court, he has no
disqualification. If, based on such disclosure, choice but to withdraw from the case, unless all
the parties and lawyers, independently of the the parties consent thereto.
judge's participation, all agree in writing that the His continuing of the case, without written
reason for inhibition is immaterial or consent of all parties, has the following effects:
unsubstantial, the judge may then participate in i. The judge is deprived of his authority to
the proceeding. The agreement, signed by all continue to hear and decide the case. It does
parties and lawyers, shall be incorporated in the not, however, divest the court of jurisdiction.
record of the proceedings. ii. A judge who continues to hear the case in
which he is disqualified under any of those
Otherwise known as remittal of disqualification. enumerated grounds may be held
administratively liable therefore (AGPALO,
Requirements to Continue Hearing the Case Ethics, supra at 624).
Despite Existence of Reasons for
Disqualification: (DAW-R) 2. Voluntary Inhibition
1. Bona fide Disclosure to the parties-in- A judge may, in the exercise of his sound
litigation; and discretion, disqualify himself, for just and valid
2. Express Acceptance by all the parties of the reasons other than those mentioned above
cited reason as not material or substantial. (RULES OF COURT, Rule 137, Sec. 1).
3. Agreement is in Writing, signed by the
parties and counsels Reason: No judge should handle a case in which
4. Agreement incorporated in the Records of he might be perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be
the proceedings. susceptible to bias and partiality (Urbanes v. CA,
Note: Absent any of these, the judge may not G.R. No. 112884, August 30, 1994).
continue to hear the case.
Verily, a judge may, in the exercise of his sound
To effectively remit disqualification, a judge must discretion, inhibit himself voluntarily from sitting in
disclose on the record the basis of the a case, but it should be based on good, sound or
disqualification and ask the parties and lawyers to ethical standards, or for just and valid reason. It
consider, out of the presence of the judge, whether is not enough that a party throws some tenuous
to waive the disqualification. As long as the allegations of partiality at the judge. No less than
disqualification is not based upon personal bias or imperative is that it is the judges sacred duty to
prejudice, the parties and lawyers may all agree that administer justice without fear or favor (Bautista
the judge should not be disqualified. If all parties and



v. Rebueno, G.R. No. L-46117, February 22, partial. (Ramiscal, Jr. v. Hernandez, G.R. Nos.
1978). 173057-74, September 20, 2010).

Subjective Test on the Voluntary Inhibition of The filing of an administrative case against a
a Judge judge does NOT disqualify him from hearing a
Refers to the discretion to the judge, with only his case.
conscience to guide him, in deciding for himself
questions as to whether or not he will desist from Disqualification v. Inhibition
sitting in a case based on just and valid reasons.
Disqualification Inhibition
In the event, he cannot discern for himself his
inability to meet the test of the cold neutrality The Rules do not
required of him, the appellate court will see to it The Rules enumerate expressly
that he disqualifies himself. the specific and enumerate the
exclusive grounds specific grounds for
The discretion given to trial judges is an under which any judge inhibition but merely
acknowledgment of the fact that they are in a or judicial officer is give a broad basis
better position to determine the issue of disqualified from acting thereof, i.e. good,
inhibition, as they are the ones who directly deal as such. sound or ethical
with the parties-litigants in their courtrooms. grounds.

The reviewing tribunal will not disturb such The rules leaves the
The rules give the
exercise of discretion in the absence of any matter of inhibition
judicial officer NO
manifest finding of arbitrariness and whimsicality. to the SOUND
DISCRETION to try or
sit in a case.
Inhibition is not allowed at every instance that a judge
schoolmate or classmate appears before the
judge as counsel for one of the parties. In one The second paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137 does
case, the Court ruled that organizational affiliation not give the judge the unfettered discretion to decide
per se is not a ground for inhibition (Kilosbayan whether or not he will desist from hearing a
Foundation, et al. v. Janolo, Jr., etc., G.R. No. case. The inhibition must be for just and valid
180543, August 18, 2010). causes. The mere imputation of bias or partiality is
not enough ground for a judge to inhibit, especially
A decision to disqualify himself is not conclusive when the same is without any basis (People v. Kho,
and his competency may be determined on G.R. No. 139381, April 20, 2001).
application for mandamus to compel him to act.
Judges decision to continue hearing a case in Procedure for Disqualification
which he is not legally prohibited from trying 1. File with the official his written objection, stating
notwithstanding challenge to his objectivity may the grounds therefore.
not constitute reversible error. 2. The official shall thereupon proceed with the trial,
or withdraw therefrom, in accordance with his
Bias and prejudice must be shown to have determination of the question of his
stemmed from an extrajudicial source, and result disqualification.
in an opinion on the merits on some basis other
3. His decision shall be forthwith made in writing
than what the judge learned from his participation
and filed with the other papers in the case.
in the case.
4. No appeal or stay shall be allowed from, or by
The mere imputation of bias or partiality is not reason of, his decision in favor of his own
enough ground for inhibition, especially when the competency, until after final judgment in the case
charge is without basis. Extrinsic evidence must (RULES OF COURT, Rule 137, Sec.2).
further be presented to establish bias, bad faith,
malice, or corrupt purpose, in addition to palpable Note: This applies to BOTH civil and criminal cases.
error which may be inferred from the decision or The party aggrieved, in his appeal to the appellate
order itself. There must be a proof of act or court from the final judgment rendered in the main
conduct of the judge clearly indicative of case, may raise the question of the correctness of
arbitrariness or prejudice before he can be the determination of the judge of his competency to
branded with the stigma of being biased or sit in the case.



the official letterhead of his court and signing the

Effect of Inhibition same using the word judge in his letter-complaint
After the Judge had inhibited himself from a case, to the First United Methodist Church in Michigan,
he loses jurisdiction over the said case. (PINEDA, USA, was held to be violative of Canon 2 of the
Judicial, supra at 132). Code of Judicial Ethics and Rule 2.03 of the Code of
Judicial Conduct. In view of the foregoing, the Court
C ANON 4: P ROPRIETY found respondent judge guilty of violation of
Section 4 of Canon 1 and Section 1 of Canon 4 of
the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
PROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF Judiciary [for committing a similar act] (Belen v.
PROPRIETY ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE Belen, A.M. No. RTJ-08-2139, August 6, 2010).
JUDGE. Respondent also admitted to the practice of rearing
fighting cocks for leisure, which though not illegal,
Propriety must be limited given his position as judge. He must
This is in conformity to prevailing customs and impose upon himself personal restrictions that might
usages. In brief, it is appropriateness (PINEDA, be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen
Judicial, supra at 139). (Anonymous v. Achas, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801,
February 27, 2013).
Section 1 - Judges shall avoid impropriety and
the appearance of impropriety in all of their Section 2 - As a subject of constant public
activities. scrutiny, judges must accept personal
restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome
Reason: The public holds judges to higher by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely
standards of integrity and ethical conduct than and willingly. In particular, judges shall conduct
lawyers and other person not invested with public themselves in a way that is consistent with the
trust. dignity of the judicial office.

A judge whose duty is to apply the law and dispense A judge is subject to scrutiny for both public and
justice should not only be impartial, independent private conduct. Such scrutiny is an unavoidable
and honest but should be perceived to be impartial, consequence of occupying a judicial position.
independent and honest as well (AGPALO, Ethics, Judges are thus held liable for acts that, if
supra at 611). committed by any other person would not
necessarily be deemed improper.
The Judges act riding in defendants car deserves
the stern probation of the Court. By such act, he Act Consistent with the Dignity of the Judicial
openly exposed himself and the office he holds to Office
suspicion, thus impairing the trust and faith of the The New Code of Conduct for the Philippine
people in the administration of justice. A judges Judiciary provides that, as a subject of constant
official conduct should be free from the appearance public scrutiny, judges must accept personal
of impropriety and his personal conduct and restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by
behavior should be beyond reproach (Spouses the ordinary citizen. In particular, judges must
Cabreana v. Avelino, A.M. No. 1733, September 30, conduct themselves in a way that is consistent with
1981). the dignity of the judicial office. Occupying as he
does an exalted position in the administration of
Including self-laudatory details in his professional justice, a judge must pay a high price for the honor
calling card such as that he topped the bar bestowed upon him. Thus, the judge must comport
examinations with a grade of 87.55% and having himself at all times in such a manner that his
graduated with full second honors from the Ateneo conduct, official or otherwise, can bear the most
de Manila University, he breached the norms of searching scrutiny of the public that looks up to him
simplicity and modesty required of judges (OCA v. as the epitome of integrity and justice. There was no
Judge Floro, A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460, March 31, evidence that respondent judge engaged in
2006). scandalous conduct that would warrant the
imposition of disciplinary action against him. His
In Ladignon v. Garong (A.M. No. MTJ-08-1712, admission of homosexuality does not make him
August 20, 2008) respondent judges act of using automatically immoral. However, respondent judge



is guilty of simple misconduct in causing the Hontanosas, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1802, September 21,
registration of title in his sons name with the 2004).
intention of defrauding a possible judgment-obligee.
Simple misconduct is a transgression of some Section 6 - Judges, like any other citizen, are
established rule of action, an unlawful behavior, or entitled to freedom of expression, belief,
negligence committed by a public officer (Campos v. association and assembly, but in exercising
Campos, A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761, February 8, 2012). such rights, they shall always conduct
themselves in such a manner as to preserve the
Section 3 - Judges shall, in their personal dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality
relations with individual members of the legal and independence of the Judiciary.
profession who practice regularly in their court,
avoid situations which might reasonably give Judges, in the exercise of their civil liberties, should
rise to the suspicion or appearance of favoritism be circumspect and ever mindful of their continuing
or partiality. commitment to uphold the judiciary and its values
places upon them certain implied restraints to their
Constant company with a lawyer tends to breed freedom.
intimacy and camaraderie to the point that favors in
the future may be asked from the judge which he A judge was admonished for the appearance of
may find it hard to resist. If a judge is seen eating engaging in partisan politics when he participated in
and drinking in public places with a lawyer who has a political rally sponsored by one party, even though
cases pending in his or her sala, public suspicion he only explained the mechanics of block voting to
may be aroused, thus tending to erode the trust of the audience (Macias v. Arula, A.M. No. 1895-CFI,
litigants in the impartiality of the judge (Padilla v. July 20, 1982).
Zantua, Jr., G.R. No. 110990, October 23, 1994).
Although a judge may attribute his intemperate
A judge is commanded at all times to be mindful of language to human frailty, his noble position in the
the high calling of a dispassionate and impartial bench nevertheless demands from him courteous
arbiter expected at all times to be a cerebral man speech in and out of the court. Judges are
who deliberately holds in check the tug and pull of demanded to be always temperate, patient and
purely personal preferences which he shares with courteous both in conduct and in language (Fidel v.
his fellow mortals (Office of the Court Administrator Caraos, A.M. No. MTJ-99-1224, December 12,
v. Paderanga, A. M No. RTJ- 01-1660, August 25, 2002).
Section 7 - Judges shall inform themselves
A judge should not be too thin-skinned in his about their personal fiduciary and financial
relationship with lawyers. He should not hold a interests and shall make reasonable efforts to be
lawyer in contempt for an expression of concern informed about the financial interests of
about the impartiality of the judge, even if the judge members of their family.
may have been insulted (Felongco v. Dictado, A.M.
No. RTJ-86-50 June 28, 1993). This section simply directs judges to keep
themselves, well-informed of their financial standing,
Section 4 - Judges shall not participate in the they can better make adjustments on their family
determination of a case in which any member of expense if things are not going well. The rule is to
their family represents a litigant or is associated situate the judges from the temptations of
in any manner with the case. corruption. By knowing the financial standing of the
family, judges will not be taken by surprise when
(See discussion under Canon 3 Sec. 5). financial crisis emerges (PINEDA, Judicial, supra at
Section 5 - Judges shall not allow the use of
their residence by a member of the legal This section of the New Code of Judicial Conduct
profession to receive clients of the latter or of should be read in conjunction with Section 7 of RA
other members of the legal profession. No. 6713, which prohibits certain personal fiduciary
and financial conflicts.
It was inappropriate for a judge to have entertained
a litigant in his house particularly when the case is A judge shall refrain from financial and business
still pending before his sala (J. King and Sons v. dealings that tend to reflect adversely on the court's



impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of 2. A judge may NOT give the impression that he or
judicial activities, or increase involvement with she can be influenced to use the judicial office to
lawyers or persons likely to come before the court. advance the private interests of others.

When a judge, along with two other people, acted as Ticket-Fixing

real estate agents for the sale of a parcel of land for A misconduct in which judges impermissibly take
which he agreed to give a commission of P100,000 advantage of their position to avoid punishment
to each of his companions, and after the transaction for traffic violations.
was completed only gave the complainants P25,000
each, the high Court held that the judge violated the Section 9 - Confidential information acquired by
prior Code of Judicial Conduct (Catbagan v. Barte, judges in their judicial capacity shall NOT be
A.M. No. MTJ 02 1452, April 06, 2005). used or disclosed for any other purpose NOT
related to their judicial duties (Revised by SC
A judge clearly violates the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Resolution, June 6, 2006).
Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and Employees when The prohibition will discourage, if not stop judges,
he fails to file his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and from making business speculations in some
Net Worth (SALN) without justifiable reasons. While business ventures, the secrets of which he learned
every office in the government service is a public by reason of his position as a judge.
trust, no position exacts a greater demand on moral
righteousness and uprightness of an individual than Criminal Liability for the Violation of this Rule
a seat in the Judiciary. Hence, judges are strictly 1.Revelation of secrets by an officer (REVISED
mandated to abide with the law, the Code of Judicial PENAL CODE, Art. 229);
Conduct and with existing administrative policies in 2.Revelation of the secrets of a private individual
order to maintain the faith of our people in the punishable (REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 230); or
administration of justice (Office of the Court 3.Divulging valuable information of a confidential
Administrator v. Usman, A.M. No. SCC-08-12, character, acquired by his office or by him on
October 19, 2011). account of his official position to unauthorized
persons or releasing such information in advance
Section 8 - Judges shall not use or lend the of its authorized release due (RA 3019, Sec. 3[k]).
prestige of the judicial office to advance their
private interests, or those of a member of their Violation of the rule may also lead to revelation of
family or of anyone else, nor shall they convey secrets by an officer or to revelation of the secrets
or permit others to convey the impression that of a private individual punishable by Articles 229
anyone is in a special position improperly to and 230 of the Revised Penal Code respectively.
influence them in the performance of judicial
duties. Section 10- Subject to the proper performance of
judicial duties, judges may:
Two Prohibitions Covered By This Section: a.Write, lecture, teach and participate in
1. A judge may NOT use judicial office to advance activities concerning the law, the legal system,
private interests. the administration of justice or related matters;
b.Appear at a public hearing before an official
Respondent judge took advantage of his position body concerned with matters relating to the
as a Makati RTC judge, by filing in the Makati law, the legal system, the administration of
court a collection case in which he and his wife justice or related matters;
were the complainants. The Court ruled that c.Engage in other activities if such activities do
although a stipulation in the contract gave the not detract from the dignity of the judicial
judge, as creditor, choice of venue, the judge had office or otherwise interfere with the
nonetheless fallen short of what is expected of performance of judicial duties
him as a judicial officer. This act of the judge
would lead the public, and in particular the This sections tolerance of judicially-related activities
judges adversary, to suspect that the judge is limited by Section 12, Article VIII of the
would use the choice of venue as a means to Constitution, which prohibits judges from being
exert influence in favor of himself (Javier v. De designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial
Guzman, A.M. No. RTJ-89-380, December 19, or administrative functions.



A judge sought the Courts permission to accept active practice of law and receiving a share in the
membership in the Ilocos Norte Provincial attorneys fees for his efforts (AGPALO, Ethics,
Committee on Justice, an administrative body. The supra at 644)
Court denied his request, ruling that allowing the
judges membership would be a violation of the A judge who merely acted as a witness to a
constitutional provision on the discharge by document and who explained to the party waiving
members of the judiciary of administrative functions his right of redemption over the mortgaged
in quasi-judicial or administrative agencies (In Re: properties the consequences thereof does not
Designation of Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano, A.M. No. engage himself in the practice of law (De Castro v.
88-7-1861-RTC, October 5, 1988). Capulong, A.M. No. 2739- CFI, November 2, 1982).

Under Subsection (c), a judge may not engage in An attorney who accepts an appointment to the
private business without the written permission of Bench must accept that his right to practice law as a
the Supreme Court. member of the Philippine Bar is thereby suspended,
and it shall continue to be so suspended for the
Prohibition to the Practice of Law entire period of his incumbency as a judge. The term
practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases
Section 11 - Judges shall not practice law whilst in court or to participation in court proceedings, but
the holder of judicial office. extends to the preparation of pleadings or papers in
anticipation of a litigation, the giving of legal advice
The prohibition is based on the inherent to clients or persons needing the same, the
incompatibility of the rights, duties, and functions of preparation of legal instruments and contracts by
an attorney and those of a judge. which legal rights are secured, and the preparation
of papers incident to actions and special
The position of judge is a fulltime duty and proceedings (Decena v. Malanyaon, A.M. No. RTJ-
responsibility. There is no time for judges to pursue 10-2217, April 8, 2013).
another profession, occupation or calling which
equally requires attention, mindfulness and vigilance Municipal Judge as Notary Public
(PINEDA, Judicial, supra at 168). While municipal judges can administer oaths or
execute certificates on matters related to their
Section 35, Rule 138 of Rules of Court prohibits official functions, they cannot notarize private
judges, officials or employees of superior courts xxx documents. Judges assigned to municipalities and
from engaging in private practice as members of the circuits may act as notaries provided all notarial fees
bar and in giving professional advice to clients. charged be to the governments account and a
certification attesting to the lack of lawyers or notary
Private practice by a judge is more than isolated in the municipality or circuit be made (SC Circular 1-
court appearance, for it consists in frequent or 90).
customary action, a succession of acts of the same
nature habitually or customarily holding oneself to Retaining Judges Name in a Firm Name
the public as lawyer (Ziga v. Arejola, MTJ-00-1318, Apart from being prohibited from engaging in the
November 23, 2004). private practice of law, a judge should not permit a
law firm, of which he was formerly an active
Reason: To avoid the evil of possible use of the member, to continue to carry his name in the firm
power and influence of his office to affect the name because that might create the impression that
outcome of the litigation where he is retained as the firm possesses an improper influence with the
counsel. Compelling reasons of public policy lie judge (A.B.A. Op. 143, May 9, 1935).
behind this prohibition, and judges are expected to
conduct themselves in such a manner as to Section 12 - Judges may form or join
preclude any suspicion that they are representing associations of judges or participate in other
the interests of party litigant (Dia-Anonuevo v. organizations representing the interests of
Bercacio, A.M. No. 177-MTJ, November 27, 1975). judges.

Since the law does not allow a judge to practice his This rule recognizes the difference between
profession, he should not do so indirectly by being a membership in associations of judges and
silent partner in a law firm or by securing legal membership in associations of other legal
business for a friend or former associate in the professionals. While attendance at lavish events



hosted by lawyers might create an appearance of influence the judge in the performance of official
impropriety, participation in judges-only duties or otherwise give rise to an appearance of
organizations does not. partiality.

Prohibition against Accepting Gifts, Bequests, or Bribery: Direct or Indirect

Loan Acceptance of gifts given by reason of the office of
the judge is indirect bribery (REVISED PENAL
General Rule: CODE, Art. 211) and when he agrees to perform an
Section 13 - Judges and members of their act constituting a crime in connection with the
families shall neither ask for nor accept, any gift, performance of his official duties in consideration of
bequest, loan or favor in relation to anything any offer, promise, gift or present received by such
done or to be done or omitted to be done by him officer, he is guilty of direct bribery (Art. 210).
or her in connection with the performance of
judicial duties. Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
Under RA 3019, the judge is liable criminally for
Gifts directly or indirectly receiving gifts, presents or other
Refers to a thing or a right to dispose of gratuitously, pecuniary or material benefit for himself or for
or any act or liberality, in favor or another who another under conditions provided in Section 2 (b)
accepts it, and shall include a simulated sale or and (c) of the law.
ostensibly onerous disposition thereof.
Exception: Unsolicited gifts or presents of small
Loan value offered or given as a mere ordinary token of
Covers both simple loan and commodatum as well gratitude or friendship according to local custom or
as guarantees, financing arrangements or usage (RA 3019, Sec. 14).
accommodation intended to ensure its approval.
Void Donations under the Civil Code
Favor Donations given to a judge or to his wife,
It can refer to benefit or advantage received from a descendants or ascendants by reason of his office
person not related to the judge that is not included in are void (CIVIL CODE, Art. 739). Ownership does
the concept of a gift or loan. not pass to the donee. Money or property donated is
recoverable by the donor, his heirs or creditors.
It is serious misconduct for a judge to receive money
from a litigant in the form of loans which he never Loans Prohibited under the Constitution
intended to pay back. Even if the judge intends to No loan, guarantee or other form of financial
pay, it is an act of impropriety to take a loan from accommodation for any business purpose may be
party-litigant (PINEDA, Judicial, supra at 178). granted directly or indirectly by any government-
owned or controlled bank or financial institution to
Section 14 - Judges shall not knowingly permit xxx members of the Supreme Court xxx during their
court staff or others subject to their influence, tenure (CONST. Art. XI, Sec. 16).
direction or authority, to ask for, or accept, any
gift, bequest, loan or favor in relation to anything A judge violates this rule when he accepts the free
done, to be done or omitted to be done in use, for a year, of a car, and his availment for free of
connection with their duties or functions. battery recharging services of the shop of a litigant
who has a pending case before him (Capuno v.
These two sections should be read in relation to Jaramillo, A.M. No. RTJ-93-944, July 20, 1994).
Section 7(d) of RA No. 6713 which prohibits public
officials from soliciting or accepting gifts from any Taking or Receiving Loans from Litigants
person in the course of their official duties. It is a serious misconduct for a judge to receive
money from a litigant in the form of loans which he
Exception: never intended to pay back. Even if the judge
Section 15 - Subject to law and to any legal intends to pay, it is an act of impropriety to take a
requirements of public disclosure, judges may loan from a party-litigant. The judge could not be
receive a token gift, award or benefit as wholly free from bias in deciding a case where his
appropriate to the occasion on which it is made, lender is a party. A judge should always strive to be
provided that such gift, award or benefit might free from suspicion and all forms of improprieties.
not be reasonably perceived as intended to



C ANON 5: E QUALITY Judges should act with decorum toward jurors,

parties, court staff and spectators alike.

ENSURING EQUALITY OF TREATMENT TO ALL Section 4 - Judges shall not knowingly permit
BEFORE THE COURTS IS ESSENTIAL TO THE court staff or others subject to his or her
DUE PERFORMANCE OF THE JUDICIAL OFFICE. influence, direction or control to differentiate
between persons concerned, in a matter before
This is a new Canon not found in the two previous the judge, on any irrelevant ground.
Philippine Codes of Judicial Conduct.
Judges should organize their courts to ensure the
As the guardians of justice, courts must adhere to prompt and convenient dispatch of business and
the principle of equality. People expect the courts to should not tolerate misconduct by clerks, sheriffs
be unaffected by differences in social status, degree and other assistants who are sometimes prone to
of education, and even physical abilities. expect favors or special treatment due to their
professional relationship with the judge (CANONS
Section 1 - Judges shall be aware of and OF JUDICIAL ETHICS, Canon 8; 1989 Code,
understand diversity in society and differences Canon 3, Rule 3.09).
arising from various sources, including, but not
limited to, race, color, sex, religion, national All personnel involved in the dispensation of justice
origin, caste, disability, age, marital status, should conduct themselves with a high degree of
sexual orientation, social and economic status, responsibility (Mataga v. Rosete, A.M. No. MTJ-03-
and other like causes. 1488, October 13, 2004).

They should be mindful of the various international Section 5 - Judges shall require lawyers in
instruments and treaties ratified by the Philippines, proceedings before the court to refrain from
which affirm the equality of all human beings and manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or
establish a norm of non-discrimination without prejudice based on irrelevant grounds, except
distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. such as are legally relevant to an issue in
proceedings and may be the subject of
Section 2 - Judges shall not, in the performance legitimate advocacy.
of judicial duties, by words or conduct, manifest
bias or prejudice towards any person or group Judges should conduct proceedings in court with
on irrelevant grounds. dignity and in a manner that reflects the importance
and seriousness of proceedings. They should
A judge shall show no signs of bias or prejudice maintain order and proper decorum in the court
toward any person on irrelevant grounds while in the (1989 CODE, Canon 3, Rule 3.03).
performance of his duties. He must constantly
exercise restraint that he must not talk or act where Judges have the duty to prevent lawyers from
his judgment may be predicted. No one should be abusing witnesses with unfair treatment.
able to read his face as to what side he will tilt the
balance of justice (PINEDA, Judicial, supra at 189).
Section 3 - Judges shall carry out judicial duties
with appropriate consideration for all persons, AND D ILIGENCE
such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court
staff and judicial colleagues, without COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE ARE PRE-
differentiation on any irrelevant ground, REQUISITES TO THE DUE PERFORMANCE OF
immaterial to the proper performance of such JUDICIAL OFFICE.
The Constitution prescribes that a member of the
As arbiters of the law, judges should be judiciary must be a person of proven competence
conscientious, studious, courteous, patient and (CONST. Art. VII, Sec. 7(3)).
punctual in the discharge of their judicial duties,
recognizing that time of litigants, witnesses and
counsel is of value.



Diligence relevant to the judicial office or the courts

Is the quality of person characterized by his earnest operations.
willingness and capability to promptly do or undo
what is required by the nature of the obligation or Management skill is an important skill for the
duty in accordance with existing rules. magistrate (Re: Suspension of Clerk of Court
Jocobo, A.M. No. 93-10-1296-RTC, August 12,
Judges must be conscientious, studious and 1998).
thorough, observing utmost diligence in the Failure to keep records or handle funds involves a
performance of their judicial functions. They have to violation of this section.
exhibit more than just cursory acquaintance with
statutes and procedural rules. Moreover, they must Section 3 - Judges shall take reasonable steps
require court personnel to observe at all times high to maintain and enhance their knowledge, skills
standards of public service and fidelity (Fabella v. and personal qualities necessary for the proper
Lee, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1518, January 15, 2004). performance of judicial duties, taking advantage
for this purpose the training and other facilities
While a judge may not be held liable for gross which should be made available, under judicial
ignorance of the law for every erroneous order that control, to judges.
he renders, it is also axiomatic that when the legal
principle involved is sufficiently basic, lack of Maintenance of Professional Competence
conversance with it constitutes gross ignorance of Service in the judiciary means a continuous study
the law. Indeed, even though a judge may not and research on the law from beginning to end.
always be subjected to disciplinary action for every Judges are regarded as persons learned in the law.
erroneous order or decision he renders, that relative Ignorance of the law excuses no one has special
immunity is not a license to be negligent or abusive application to judges (1989 CODE, Canon 3, Rule
and arbitrary in performing his adjudicatory 3.01).
prerogatives. It does not mean that a judge need
not observe propriety, discreetness and due care in The court has not been remised in reminding judges
the performance of his official functions. This is to exert diligent efforts in keeping abreast with
because if judges wantonly misuse the powers developments in jurisprudence. Needless to state,
vested on them by the law, there will not only be the process of learning the law and the legal system
confusion in the administration of justice but also is a never-ending endeavor, hence, judges should
oppressive disregard of the basic requirements of always be vigilant in their quest for knowledge so
due process (Dipatuan v. Mangotara, A.M. No. RTJ- they could discharge their duties and responsibilities
09-2190, April 23, 2010). with zeal and fervor (Office of the Court
Administrator v. Mendoza, A.M No. 00-1281-MTJ,
Section 1 - The judicial duties of a judge take September 14, 2000).
precedence over all other activities.
Judges are not, however, expected to be infallible;
The primary duty of judges is to hear and decide not every error or irregularity committed by judges in
cases brought to them for trial and adjudication the performance of official duties is subject to
administrative sanction. In the absence of bad faith,
Judges cannot malinger or refrain from their duty to fraud, dishonesty, or deliberate intent to do injustice,
decide complicated or controversial cases. Unless, incorrect rulings do not constitute misconduct and
there are clear and valid grounds for their may not give rise to a charge of gross ignorance of
disqualification or inhibition, they must not recuse the law (Cruz v. Iturralde, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1775,
from such cases (PINEDA, Judicial, supra at 212). April 30, 2003).

A judge must perform his judicial duties in a case Though good faith and absence of malice or
where he is not disqualified and, may not divest corruption are sufficient defenses, such does not
himself of such case if he is not so disqualified. apply where the issues are so simple and the
applicable legal principles evident and basic as to be
Section 2 - Judges shall devote their beyond possible margin of error (Corpus v.
professional activity to judicial duties, which Ochotoresa, A.M. No. RTJ-04-1861, July 30, 2004).
include not only the performance of judicial
functions and responsibilities in court and the Respondent Judge is guilty of gross ignorance of the
making of decisions, but also other tasks law for issuing a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)



in favor of petitioner in SP Case No. M-6373, since a Rules prescribing the time within which certain acts
TPO cannot be issued in favor of a man against his must be done are indispensable to prevent needless
wife under R.A. No. 9262, the AntiViolence Against delays in the orderly and speedy disposition of
Women and Their Children Act of 2004. Indeed, as a cases. Thus, the 90-day period is mandatory.
family court judge, Judge Arcaya-Chua is expected Judges are enjoined to decide cases with dispatch.
to know the correct implementation of R.A. No. 9262 Any delay, no matter how short, in the disposition of
(Francisco P. Ocampo v. Judge Evelyn S. Arcaya- cases undermines the peoples faith and confidence
Chua, A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2630-RTJ, April 23, in the judiciary. It also deprives the parties of their
2010). right to the speedy disposition of their cases.
Failure to decide a case within the reglementary
Section 4 - Judges shall keep themselves period is not excusable and constitutes gross
informed about relevant developments of inefficiency warranting the imposition of
international law, including international administrative sanctions on the defaulting judge.
conventions and other instruments establishing (Re: Cases submitted for decision before Hon.
human rights norms. Teresito A. Andoy, A.M. No. 09-9-163-MTC, May 6,
Norms of international law become the concern of
judges because they form part of legal standards by If for some valid reason a judge cannot decide a
which their competence and diligence required by case within the period, he must request the
this Code are to be measured. Supreme Court for an extension of time to resolve it
(Report on the Spot Judicial Audit Conducted in the
Section 5 - Judges shall perform all judicial MTC, Br. 40, Quezon City, A.M. No. 98-2-22-MeTC,
duties, including the delivery of reserved 331 SCRA 627, May 11, 2000).
decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable
promptness Judges must resolve matters pending before them
promptly and expeditiously within the constitutionally
The essence of judicial functions is that justice shall mandated three-month period. If they cannot comply
be impartially administered without unnecessary with the same, they should ask for an extension
delay. from the Supreme Court upon meritorious grounds.
The rule is that the reglementary period for deciding
Reason of the Rule on Mandatory Compliance cases should be observed by all judges, unless they
with Prescribed Periods have been granted additional time. Judges must
The honor and integrity of the judiciary is measured dispose of the courts business promptly. Delay in
not only by the fairness and correctness of the the disposition of cases erodes the faith and
decisions rendered, but also by the efficiency with confidence of our people in the judiciary, lowers its
which disputes are resolved. Thus, judges must standards, and brings it to disrepute. Hence, judges
perform their official duties with utmost diligence if are enjoined to decide cases with dispatch. Their
public confidence in the judiciary is to be preserved. failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency and
There is no excuse for mediocrity in the warrants the imposition of administrative sanctions
performance of judicial functions. The position of on them. Although there are no promulgated rules
judge exacts nothing less than faithful observance of on the conduct of judicial audit, the absence of such
the law and the Constitution in the discharge of rules should not serve as license to recommend the
official duties (Edao v. Asdala, A.M. No. RTJ-06- imposition of penalties to retired judges who, during
2007, December 6, 2010). their incumbency, were never given a chance to
explain the circumstances behind the results of the
A judge may be subject to an administrative fine for judicial audit. Judicial audit reports and the
inefficiency, neglect, and unreasonable delay in memoranda which follow them should state not only
elevating the records of a civil case to the Court of recommended penalties and plans of action for the
Appeals. violations of audited courts, but also give
commendations when they are due. To avoid similar
A delay of three (3) years in the transmission of scenarios, manual judicial audits may be conducted
court records to the appellate court, where a period at least six months before a judges compulsory
of 30 days is required, is inexcusable (Pataleon v. retirement (Office of the Court Administrator v.
Gudez, A.M. No. RTJ-00-1525, January 25, 2000). Mantua, A.M. No. RTJ-11-2291, February 8, 2012).



However, under the Revised Rule on Summary A judge should be courteous to counsel, especially
Procedure, 1st level courts are only allowed 30 days to those who are young and inexperience and also
following receipt of last affidavit and petition paper, to all those others appearing or concerned in the
or expiration of the period to file, within which to administration of justice in the court (CANONS OF
render judgment. She didnt render judgment for 20 JUDICIAL ETHICS, Canon 10)
months and counting (Garado v. Gutierrez-Torres,
A.M. No. MTJ-11-1778, June 5, 2013). Respondent judge was found guilty of serious
misconduct and inefficiency by reason of habitual
But while the rules require a judge of the cases as tardiness. He was fined and suspended for judicial
speedily as possible, he must not sacrifice for indolence (Yu-Asensi v. Villanueva, A.M. No. MTJ-
expediencys sake the fundamental requirements of 00-1245, January 19, 2000).
due process and not forget that he must
conscientiously endeavor each time to seek the Still, the Court is not convinced that Judge Barillo
truth, to know and aptly apply the law, and dispose should be held liable for gross misconduct and gross
of the controversy objectively and impartially, all to ignorance of the law absent any evidence showing
the end that justice is done to every party (Youth v. outright bad faith. It may truly be said that the
De Guzman, A.M No. RTJ -96-1365, February 18, various faux pas committed by Judge Barillo are
1999). examples of poor judgment and negligence.
However, equally important to note is the fact that
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied there is no allegation, much less a genuine showing,
The requirement that judges must decide cases that Judge Barillo was impelled by bad faith,
within specified period is intended to prevent delay dishonesty, hatred or some other corrupt motive in
in the administration of justice. Delay in the committing the acts for which he was charged.
disposition of cases impairs the faith and confidence Neither were allegations of corruption nor
of the people specially the low-income group, in the imputations of pecuniary benefit ever asserted
judiciary and lowers its standards and brings it into against him (Barillo, v. Lantion, et al./Aragones v.
disrepute (PINEDA, Judicial, supra at 245). Barillo, G.R. No. 159117/A.M. No. MTJ-10-1752,
March 10, 2010).
Section 6 - Judges shall maintain order and
decorum in all proceedings before the court and Section 7 - Judges shall not engage in conduct
be patient, dignified and courteous in relation to incompatible with the diligent discharge of
litigants, witnesses, lawyers and others with judicial duties.
whom the judge deals in an official capacity.
Judges shall require similar conduct of legal A judge manifested inefficiency in the disposition of
representatives, court staff and others subject to election protest by issuing orders indefinitely
their influence, direction or control. postponing the hearing of election protest.

A magistrate must exhibit that hallmark judicial Regulation of the Extrajudicial Activities
temperament of utmost sobriety and self-restraint A judge should regulate his extra-judicial activities
which are indispensable qualities of every judge so as to minimize the risk of conflict with judicial
(Rodriguez v. Bonifacio, A.M. No. RTJ-99-1510, duties.
November 6, 2000).
Vocational/Civic/Charitable Activities
Respondent judge was guilty of committing acts A judge may engage in the following activities
unbecoming of a judge and abuse of authority when provided that they do not interfere with the
he shouted invectives and threw a chair at the performance of judicial duties or detract from the
complainant, resulting in wrist and other injuries to dignity of the court:
the complainant. Thus, he was suspended from 1. Write, lecture, teach and speak on non-legal
office (Briones v. Ante, Jr., A.M. No. MTJ-02-1411, subjects;
April 11, 2002). 2. Engage in the arts, sports and other special
recreational activities;
A judge should conduct proceedings in court with 3. Participate in civic and charitable activities; and
fitting dignity and decorum and in such a manner as 4. Serve as an officer, director, trustee, or non-legal
to reflect the importance and seriousness of the advisor of a non-profit or non-political,
inquiry to ascertain the truth (AGPALO, Ethics, educational, religious, charitable, and fraternal or
supra at 616).



civic organization (RULES Of COURT, Code of A judge shall not accept appointment or designation
Judicial Ethics, Rule 5.01). to any agency performing quasi-judicial or
administrative functions (Rule 5.09)
Financial Activities
A judge shall refrain from financial and business The prohibition is based on Section 12, Art. VIII of
dealings: the Constitution, which provides: The members of
1. That tend to reflect adversely on the courts the Supreme Court and of other courts established
impartiality; by law shall not be designated to any agency
2. That interfere with the proper performance of performing quasi-judicial or administrative
judicial activities; or functions.
3. That increase involvement with lawyers or
persons likely to come before the court (RULES Reason: The appointment to such positions will
Of COURT, Code of Judicial Ethics, Rule 5.02) likely interfere with the performance of the judicial
functions of a judge.
A judge should so manage investments and other
financial interests as to minimize the number of Prohibition to Engage in Political Activities
cases giving grounds for disqualification. A judge is entitled to entertain personal views on
political questions. But to avoid suspicion of political
Subject to the provisions of the preceding rule, a partisanship, a judge shall not make political
judge may hold and manage investments but should speeches, contribute to party funds, publicly
not serve as an officer, director, manager, advisor, or endorse candidates for political office or participate
employee of any business except as director of a in other partisan political activities (Rule 5.10).
family business of the judge (RULES OF COURT,
Code of Judicial Ethics, Rule 5.03).
Fiduciary Activities
General Rule: A judge is not liable administratively,
Prohibition to Serve as Executor, Administrator, civilly, or criminally when he acts within his legal
etc. powers and jurisdiction, even though such acts are
General Rule: The judge shall not serve as (a)
executor, (b) administrator, (c) trustee, (d) guardian, Reason: To free the judge from apprehension of
(e) fiduciary. personal consequences to himself and to preserve
the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
Exception: When the estate, trust, ward or person
for whom he will act as executor, administrator, Exception: Where an error is gross or patent,
trustee, guardian or fiduciary is a member of the deliberate and malicious, or is incurred with evident
immediate family which is limited to the spouse bad faith; or when there is fraud, dishonesty or
and relatives within the second degree of corruption. In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or
consanguinity provided that the judges services corruption, acts of judge in his judicial capacity is not
as fiduciary shall not interfere with the performance subject to disciplinary action even though such acts
of his judicial functions (RULES OF COURT, Code are erroneous, so long as he acts in good faith. In
of Judicial Ethics, Rule 5.06). such a case, the remedy of aggrieved party is not to
file an administrative complaint against the judge but
As a family fiduciary, a judge shall not: to elevate the error to a higher court for review and
1. Serve in proceedings that might come before the correction.
court of said judge; or
2. Act as such contrary to Rules 5.02 to 5.05. When the law or procedure is so elementary, such
as the provisions of the Rules of Court, not to know,
Note: The relationship mentioned is by or to act as if one does not know the same,
consanguinity and not by affinity. constitutes gross ignorance of the law, even without
the complainant having to prove malice or bad faith
Prohibition to Be Appointed In Quasi-Judicial (Pancho v. Aguirre, et al., A.M. No. RTJ-09-2196,
And Administrative Agencies April 7, 2010).



A. Civil Liability One which is so patently against the law,

1. Article 27 public order, public policy and good morals
Refusal or neglect without just cause by a public that a person of ordinary discernment can
servant to perform his official duty. easily sense its invalidity and injustice.
2. Article 32
Directly or indirectly obstructing, defeating, In order that a judge may be held liable for
violating or in any manner impeding or impairing knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, it
civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. must be shown beyond doubt that the
judgment is unjust as it is contrary to law or is
3. Damages in General
not supported by evidence and the same was
The responsibility for damages is not, however,
made with conscious and deliberate intent to
demandable of judges except when his act or
do an injustice (In Re: Climaco, A.C. No. 134-
omission constitutes a violation of the Penal
J, January 21, 1974).
Code or other penal statute (AGPALO, Ethics,
supra at 659).
If the decision rendered by the judge is still on
General Rule: A public officer, like a judge, is not
appeal, the judge cannot be disqualified on
liable for damages which a person may suffer
the ground of knowingly rendering an unjust
arising from the just performance of his official
judgment (Abad v. Bleza A.M. No. R-227-RTJ,
duties and within the scope of his assigned tasks
October 1986).
(Orocio v. Commission on Audit, G.R no. 75959,
August 31, 1992).
Exception: He may be held liable only where it is 2. Art. 205
shown that he acted willfully and maliciously and Judgment Rendered through Negligence
with the express purpose of inflicting injury upon
the plaintiff (Zulueta v. Nicolas, G.R. No. 8252, Committed by reason of inexcusable negligence
January 31, 1958). or ignorance. It must be shown that although the
judge has acted without malice, he failed to
Restrictions observe in the performance of his duty, that
1. Art. 1491(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting diligence, prudence and care which the law is
attorneys, clerks of court of superior and inferior entitled to exact in the rendering of any public
courts and other officers and employees service (AGPALO, Ethics, supra at 665).
connected with the administration of justice
cannot acquire by purchase, even at a public or 3. Art. 206
judicial action, either in person or through the Knowingly Rendering an Unjust Interlocutory
mediation of another the property and rights in Order
litigation or levied upon an execution before the
court within whose jurisdiction or territory they Negligence and ignorance are inexcusable if they
exercise their respective functions. imply a manifest injustice, which cannot be
Note: This prohibition includes the act of explained by reasonable interpretation (In Re:
acquiring by assignment and shall apply to Climaco, A.C. No. 134-J, January 21, 1974).
lawyers, with respect to the property and rights
which may be the object of any litigation in which 4. Maliciously Delaying the Administration of
they may take part by virtue of their profession. Justice
2. Art. 739 - Donations made to a judge, his wife, The act must be committed maliciously with
descendants and ascendants by reason of his deliberate intent to prejudice a party in a case.
office are void.
C. Administrative Liability
Under the Revised Penal Code and the Anti-Graft Administrative Charges are classified as serious,
and Corrupt Practices Act less serious, or light (A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC, October
1, 2001).
B. Criminal Liability
1. Misfeasance Serious Charges
a. Article 204 Those which require sanctions from a fine of not
Knowingly Rendering Unjust Judgment. exceeding P40,000 to dismissal from service
(AGPALO, Ethics, supra at 688).
b. Manifestly Unjust Judgment
Serious Charges include:



1. Bribery, direct or indirect; Note: The commission of two or more administrative

2. Dishonesty and violations of the Anti-Graft and offenses alleged in the same administrative
Corrupt Practices Law (RA No. 3019); complaint may aggravate the offense and render the
3. Gross misconduct constituting violations of the same serious, which will warrant dismissal of the
Code of Judicial Conduct; judge from the service (AGPALO, Ethics, supra at
General Rule: Marrying for the second time while 708 citing Reyes v. Faderan, A.M. No. 581, June 14,
the first marriage is still subsisting constitutes 1990).
gross misconduct.
Exception: A Muslim judge who married the Light Charges
second time, while his first marriage exists, is not Those which entail sanctions from admonition with
guilty of immorality because by Muslim standard waning to a fine of not exceeding P10,000.00.
getting a second wife is not immoral (Sulo Islamic However, repeated violations of light offenses may
Association Of Masjid Lambayong v. Malik , A.M. render a judge liable for less serious or even serious
No. MTJ-92-691, September 10, 1993). charges (AGPALO, Ethics, supra at 718).
4. Knowingly rendering an unjust judgment or order
as determined by a competent court in an Light Charges include:
appropriate proceeding; 1. Vulgar and unbecoming conduct;
5. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; 2. Gambling in public;
6. Willful failure to pay a just debt; 3. Fraternizing with lawyers and litigants with pending
7. Borrowing money or property from lawyers and case/cases in his court; and
litigants in a case pending before the court; 4. Undue delay in the submission of monthly reports
8. Immorality; (AGPALO, Ethics, supra at 688).
9. Gross ignorance of the law or procedure;
To warrant a finding of ignorance of the law, as In order for an administrative offense to prosper, the
ground for disciplinary action, the error must be subject order or actuation of the judge in the
so gross and patent as to produce an inference of performance of his official duties must not only be
ignorance or bad faith or that the judge knowingly contrary to existing law and jurisprudence but, more
rendered an unjust decision. The error must be importantly, must be attended by bad faith, fraud,
so grave and so fundamental to a point as to dishonesty or corruption (Nio v. Pizarro, A.M. No.
warrant a condemnation of the judge as patently CA-08-45-J, February 22, 2010).
ignorant or negligent (Bengzon v. Adaoag, A.M.
No. MTJ-95-1045, November 28, 1995). Resort to and exhaustion of these judicial remedies,
10. Partisan political activities; and as well as the entry of judgment in the
11. Alcoholism and/or vicious habits. corresponding action or proceeding, are pre-
requisites for the taking of other measures against
Less Serious Charges the judge concerned, whether civil, administrative, or
Those which warrant the imposition of sanctions criminal in nature. It is only after the available
from service of not more than 3 months (AGPALO, judicial remedies against the rulings or acts
Ethics, supra at 709). performed in the exercise of their judicial power
have been exhausted and the appellate tribunals
Less Serious Charges include: have spoken with finality, that the door to an inquiry
1. Undue delay in rendering a decision or order, or into their criminal, civil or administrative liability may
in transmitting the records of a case; be said to have opened or closed (Flores v.
2. Frequently and unjustified absences without Abesamis, A.M. No. SC-96-1, July 10, 1997).
leave or habitual tardiness;
3. Unauthorized practice of law; Justices and Judges may NOT be investigated
4. Violation of Supreme Court rules, directives, and under the grievance procedure in Rule 139-B, Sec.
circulars; 1 of the Revised Rules of Court.
5. Receiving additional or double compensation
unless specifically authorized by law; Complaints against justices and judges are filed with
6. Untruthful statements in the certificate of service; the Supreme Court, which has exclusive
and administrative supervision over all courts and the
7. Simple misconduct (AGPALO, Ethics, supra at personnel thereof pursuant to Section 6, Art. VIII,
687). Constitution. The Court en banc has the power to
discipline all judges of lower courts including justices
of the Court of Appeals (CONST. Art. VIII, Sec. 6).



tainted with fraud, corruption, or malice are

While it is the duty of the Court to investigate and subject of disciplinary action (In the matter of the
determine the truth behind every matter in charge of plagiarism, A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC,
complaints against judges and other court October 12, 2010).
personnel, it is also their duty to see to it that they
are protected and exonerated from baseless SC Associate Justice Del Castillo was accused of
administrative charges. The Court will not shirk from plagiarism in connection with the decision he
its responsibility of imposing discipline upon its wrote for the Court in the case entitled Vinuya v.
magistrates, but neither will it hesitate to shield them Romulo (G.R. No. 162230). The Court dismissed
from unfounded suits that serve to disrupt rather the charges against Justice Del Castillo.
than promote the orderly administration of justice Plagiarism, a term not defined by statute, has a
(Ocenar v. Mabutin, A.M. No. MTJ 05-1582, popular or common definition. To plagiarize, says
February 28, 2005). Webster, is to steal and pass off as ones own the
ideas or words of another. Stealing implies
Note: In order for the Court to acquire jurisdiction malicious taking. The presentation of another
over an administrative case, the complaint must be persons ideas as ones own must be deliberate
filed during the incumbency of the respondent. Once or premeditateda taking with ill intent. While the
jurisdiction is acquired, it is not lost by reason of academic publishing model is based on the
respondents cessation from office (Re: Missing originality of the writers thesis, the judicial
Exhibits and Court Properties, A.M. No. 10-2-41- system is based on the doctrine of stare decisis,
RTC, February 27, 2013). which encourages courts to cite historical legal
data, precedents, and related studies in their
decisions. The judge is not expected to produce
D ISCIPLINE OF M EMBERS original scholarship in every respect. Citing
OF THE B ENCH published articles or work of a number of legal
writers, the Court ruled that a judge writing to
resolve a dispute, whether trial or appellate, is
GROUNDS FOR DISCIPLINE OF JUDGES exempted from a charge of plagiarism even if
ideas, words or phrases from a law review
1. Serious Misconduct article, novel thoughts published in a legal
Implies malice or a wrongful intent, not a mere periodical or language from a partys brief are
error of judgment. For serious misconduct to used without giving attribution. As a result,
exist, there must be reliable evidence showing judges adjudicating cases are NOT subject to a
that the judicial acts complained of were corrupt claim of legal plagiarism (In matter of the charges
or inspired by an intention to violate the law or of plagiarism, etc. against Associate Justice
were in persistent disregard of well-known legal Mariano C. Del Castillo, A.M. No. 10-7-17-
rules. SC. February 8, 2011).

The Judge was found guilty of gross misconduct, 2. Inefficiency

abandonment of office and was dismissed due to Implies negligence, incompetence, ignorance and
his frequent leave of absence totaling to 3 years carelessness. A judge would be inexcusably
which were not approved and his explanations negligent if he failed to observe in the
were inexcusable. He has caused great performance of his duties that diligence,
disservice to many litigants and has denied them prudence and circumspection which the law
speedy justice (In Re: Leaves of Absence without requires in the rendition of any public service.
Approval of Judge Eric Calderon, A.M. No. 98-8-
105 MTC, January 26, 1999). The failure of a judge to decide even a single
case within the 90-day period was considered
Plagiarism presupposes intent and a deliberate, gross inefficiency warranting the imposition of
conscious effort to steal anothers work and pass fine equivalent to his one month salary (In Re:
it off as ones own. On occasions judges and Judge Danilo Tenerife, A.M. No. 94-5-42- MTC,
justices have mistakenly cited the wrong sources, March 20, 1996).
failed to use quotation marks, inadvertently
omitted necessary information from footnotes or Respondent judge failed to conduct a pre-trial
endnotes. But these do not, in every case, conference contrary to elementary rules of
amount to misconduct. Only errors that are procedure which he should have known all too



well considering his long years of service in the dreadful and dangerous implications (Pesole v.
bench. Such ignorance of a basic rule in court Rodriguez, A.M. No. 755-MJ, January 31, 1978).
procedure, as failing to conduct pre-trial, sadly Institution of Disciplinary Charges
amounts to gross ignorance and warrants a As a matter of practice, the Supreme Court has
corresponding penalty. As to the allegations of assigned complaints against Municipal or
poor judgment and gross ignorance of basic legal Metropolitan Trial Judges to an Executive Judge of a
principles in granting the motions for execution Regional Trial Court and complaints against judges
pending appeal for flimsy and unsupported of Regional Trial Courts to a Justice of the Court of
reasons, the particular reasons relied upon by Appeals, while a complaint against a member of the
respondent judge for issuing the writ of execution Court of Appeals would probably be assigned to a
pending appeal are so unreliably weak and member of the Supreme Court for investigation,
feeble that it highlights the lack of knowledge of report and recommendation. Retired SC Justices
respondent judge with regard to the proper are now tasked for this purpose.
appreciation of arguments. Dire financial
conditions of the plaintiffs supported by mere Judges and justices, being lawyers, may also be
self-serving statements as good reason for the disbarred, if found guilty of certain crimes and /or of
issuance of a writ of execution pending appeal other causes for disbarment under the Rules of
does not stand on solid footing. It does not even Court.
stand on its own (National Power Corporation, v.
Adiong, A.M. No. RTJ-07-2060. July 27, 2011). Note: Justices of the Supreme Court however
may not be disbarred unless and until they shall
Respondent judge is liable for gross inefficiency have been first impeached in accordance with the
for failing to adopt a system of record Constitution.
management in her court. Furthermore,
respondent judge resolved a motion for
reconsideration which was filed way beyond the Manner of Filing Disciplinary Charges:
required period. There was also a delay in 1. Motu proprio by the Supreme Court;
sending the records of the appealed case to the 2. Verified complaint with affidavits of persons
CA. Respondent judge violated the Code of having personal knowledge of the facts alleged or
Judicial Conduct which provides that A judge substantiating documents; or
shall dispose of the courts business promptly 3. Anonymous complaint with public record of
and decide cases within the required indubitable integrity.
periods (Bareng v. Daguna, A.M. No. RTJ-10-
2246, June 1, 2011). How to Institute Disciplinary Charges (RULES
OF COURT, Rule 140):
Effect of Resignation/Retirement of a Judge 1. Complaint, in writing and duly sworn to is filed
When There Is A Pending Administrative Case with the Supreme Court (Sec. 1). If found
Against Him meritorious, a copy thereof shall be served on the
respondent and he shall be required to comment
The retirement of a judge or any judicial officer from within 10 days of service (Sec.2).
the service does not preclude the finding of any 2. Upon filing of respondents comment or
administrative liability to which he should still be expiration of the period upon filing comment, the
answerable. The withdrawal or recantation of the SC either refers the matter to the Office of the
complaint by the administrative charges does not Court Administrator (OCA) for evaluation, report,
necessarily result in the dismissal of the case (Atty. and recommendation, or assigns a Justice of the
Molina v. Paz, A.M. No. RTJ 01- 1638, December Court of Appeals (if respondent is an RTC judge)
8, 2003). or a judge of the RTC (if respondent is a judge of
an inferior court) to investigate and hear the
The acceptance by the President of the resignation charges (Sec. 3).
does not necessarily render the case moot or 3. After hearings, the investigating justice or judge
deprive the SC of the authority to investigate the submits a report of finding of fact, conclusions of
charges. The court retains its jurisdiction either to law and recommendations to the Supreme Court
pronounce the respondent official innocent of the (Sec.5).
charges or declare him guilty thereof. A contrary rule 4. The Supreme Court takes action as the facts and
will be fraught with injustice and pregnant with the law may warrant (Sec.6).



5. Proceedings shall be PRIVATE and

CONFIDENTIAL but a copy of the decision or
resolution of the Court shall be attached to the
record of the judge in the Office of the Court
Administrator (Sec. 12).

Quantum of Evidence Required

The ground for the removal of a judicial officer
should be established beyond reasonable doubt.
Such is the rule where the charge on which the
removal is sought is misconduct in office, willful
neglect, corruption, or incompetence. The general
rules in regard to admissibility of evidence in
criminal trials apply (De Guzman v. Dy, A.M. No.
RTJ-03-1755, July 3, 2003).

For liability to attach, the assailed order, decision or

actuation of the judge in the performance of official
duties must not only found to be erroneous but,
most importantly, it must be established that he was
moved by bad faith, dishonesty, hatred or some
other like motive. Similarly, a judge will be held
administratively liable for rendering an unjust
judgment one which is contrary to law or
jurisprudence or is not supported by evidence
when he acts in bad faith, malice, revenge or some
other similar motive. In other words, in order to hold
a judge liable for knowingly rendering an unjust
judgment, it must be shown beyond reasonable
doubt that the judgment was made with a conscious
and deliberate intent to do an injustice (De Guzman
v. Dy, A.M. No. RTJ-1755, July 3, 2003).

Impeachment Proceedings Against Justices Of

The Supreme Court

Impeachment proceedings against justices of the

Supreme Court is sui generis in nature and
governed by the rules created by the impeachment
court. The Congress shall promulgate its rules on
impeachment (CONST. Art. XI, Sec. 3(8)). Only SC
justices are subject to impeachment.

Reinstatement of Judge Previously Disciplined

No indication that he is inspired by corrupt motives
or reprehensive purpose in the performance of his

Factors to be Considered:
1.Unsullied name & service of record prior to
2.Commitment to avoid situation that spur suspicion
of arbitrary conditions;
3.Complainant mellowed down in pushing from his
removal; and
4.Length of time separated from service.