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CANON 6 - COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE

Competence and diligence are prerequisites to the due performance of judicial office.

Section. 1. The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all other activities.

 The Primary Duty of Judges


o To hear and decide cases brought to them for trial and adjudication.
 Even when the law is silent, obscure, or insufficient, they must not decline to try and decide
the cases concerned.
 Article 9 of the New Civil Code provides: No judge shall decline to render judgment
by reason of silence, obscurity, or insufficiency of the laws.
o However, if the controversy is a criminal case and there is no law covering or punishing the act
charged, the case must be dismissed.
 Judge Cannot Shirk His Responsibility
o A judge cannot simply shirk the responsibility to the Supreme Court on the pretext that the latter has
the final say on the matter.
o A judge shall endeavor diligently to ascertain the facts and the applicable laws unswayed by
partisanship interest, public opinion, or fear of criticism.
 Judicial Activities Take Preference or Priority
o Decision-making is the primordial and most important duty of a member of the judiciary.
 Padilla vs. Asuncion (518 SCRA 512)- the respondent Justice had not resolved 71 motions for
reconsiderations within the prescribed 90-day period; he had resolved 179 motions for
reconsiderations beyond the reglementary period. 82 cases submitted for decision remain
undecided even after the 12-month period prescribed by the Constitution; he had also
decided 409 cases beyond the 1-year period. HELD: respondent Justice Asuncion must be
reminded that decision-making is the primordial duty of a member of the bench. All other
tasks must give way thereto. What is alarming is that respondent Justice seemed to
have reveled in his extra-curricular activities of spearheading various celebrations and
events that are not judicial functions. These cannot take precedence over decision-making.
o Judges who give preference to their other activities rather than their judicial duties do not have a
place in the judiciary.
o Being a judge is an exalted post carrying great responsibilities. Those who cannot carry the laborious
and tedious.
 In Re: Anonymous Complaint Versus Judge Juan Echiverri- Although as a rule anonymous
complaints are not entertained, nevertheless, considering that among the matters
complained of was that Judge Echiverri does not hold sessions on Wednesdays and that
there is a backlog of cases in his sala. HELD: We cannot sanction the allegation of respondent
that he needs a "mid-week pause" on Wednesdays. The law regulating court sessions does
not permit any "mid-week pause." Judges are duty bound to comply to insure the maximum
efficiency of the trial courts for a speedy administration of justice. Daily trials at a minimum
of five hours per working day of the week will enable the judge to calendar as many cases as
possible and to dispose with regular dispatch the increasing number of litigations pending
with the court. All other matters needing the attention of the judge are to be attended to
outside of this five-hour schedule of trial.

Section. 2. Judges shall devote their professional activity to judicial duties, which include not only the performance of
judicial functions and responsibilities in court and the making of decisions, but also other tasks relevant to the
judicial office or the court’s operations.
 In the instant case, respondent judge impeded the speedy disposition of cases by his successor on account of
missing records of cases. This fact reflects an inefficient and disorderly system in the recording of cases
assigned to his sala. Proper and efficient court management is as much the judge's responsibility for the
Court personnel are not the guardians of a Judge's responsibilities. A judge is expected to ensure that the
records of cases assigned to his sala are intact. There is no justification for missing records save fortuitous
events. The loss of not one but eight records is indicative of gross misconduct and inexcusable negligence
unbecoming of a judge. [Longboan v. Polig (1990)]

Section. 3. Judges shall take reasonable steps to maintain and enhance their knowledge, skills and personal qualities
necessary for the proper performance of judicial duties, taking advantage for this purpose of the training and other
facilities which should be made available, under judicial control, to judges.

Section. 4. Judges shall keep themselves informed about relevant developments of international law, including
international conventions and other instruments establishing human rights norms.

Section. 5. Judges shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and
with reasonable promptness.

Section 6. Judges shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the court and be patient, dignified, and
courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity.
Judges shall require similar conduct of legal representatives, court staff and others subject to their influence,
direction, or control.
 Order and Proper Decorum must be maintained in court.
The ideal judge is one who looks, talks, walks, and dresses like one, with decency and respectability. He is a complete
gentleman proficient in law, upright, fearless, honest and dedicated to the cause of law as dispense of justice.
It is an impropriety for a judge to be wild, lascivious, irresponsible, drunkard, intemperate in speech, childish, and
clownish. A judge should avoid being weird and queer in his appearance and movements.
DRESS CODE: It is an impropriety for a judge to hear a case in sleeveless shirts and slippers, or attired only in “polo
jacket”, or to hold office in his residence and not in his courtroom.
 Conduct of Trial or Proceedings must not be attended with fanfare and publicity.
The courtroom atmosphere must be characterized with honor and dignity befitting the seriousness and importance
of a judicial trial called to ascertain the truth. Anything which tends to detract from this atmosphere should be
avoided. The judge should not tolerate unauthorized taking of pictures of court proceedings.
 Judge must control proceedings.

 Judge must Behave in his own court.


CASE: Briones v. Ante, Jr. (380 SCRA 409)
Judge Ante Jr. was charged with conduct unbecoming of a judge. It was alleged that when the court employee placed
the docket book on top of the filing cabinet, the same fell on the floor causing loud sound. Unexpectedly, the judge
shouted saying “why did you throw the docket book? You get out of here, punyeta, we don’t need you!” The judge
also threw a monobloc chair at the court employee.

The judge, for shouting invectives and hitting complainant with a chair displayed a predisposition to use physical
violence and intemperate language which reveals a marked lack of judicial temperament and self-restraint - traits
which, aside from the basic equipment of learning in the law - are indispensable qualities of every judge.
 Indolence of Judges are not tolerated.
 Patience and Courtesy are marks of culture and good breeding.
 Judge should not be a petty tyrant in his court.
CASE: Atty. Mane v. Judge Belen
Judge Belen was charged with conduct unbecoming of a judge allegedly for humiliating, demeaning and berating a
young lawyer who appeared in his sala. It was alleged that when the judge learned that the lawyer was an alumnus
of MCQU and not of UP, the judge made the following statement “you’re not from UP”. Then you cannot equate
yourself to me because there is a saying and I know this, not all law students are created equal, not all law schools
are created equal, not all lawyers are created equal despite what the Supreme Being stated that we all are created
equal in His form and substance.”
The judge’s sarcastic, humiliating, threatening and boastful remarks to a young lawyer are improper. A judge must be
aware that an alumnus of a particular law school has no monopoly of knowledge of the law. By hurdling the Bar
Examinations, taking of the Lawyer’s oath, and signing of the Roll of Attorneys, a lawyer is presumed to be competent
to discharge his functions and duties as, inter alia, an officer of the court, irrespective of where he obtained his law
degree. For a judge to determine the fitness or competence of a lawyer primarily on the basis of his alma mater is
clearly an engagement in an argumentumad hominem. As a judge, he must address the merits of the case and not on
the person of the counsel. Judges must be that even on the face of boorish behavior from those they deal with, they
ought to conduct themselves in a manner befitting gentlemen and high officers of the court.