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THE NEW CODE OF

JUDICIAL CONDUCT

CANON
6.
COMPETENCE
AND
DILIGENCE

COMPETENCE and DILIGENCE are pre-requisites


to the due performance of judicial office.

Judicial office demands competence and diligence. The


administration
of justice, the Supreme Court affirms, is a sacred task ...
and upon
assumption to office, a judge ceases to be an ordinary
mortal. He becomes
the visible representation of the law and more importantly,
of justice..
Hence, the Constitution prescribes that he must be a
person of proven competence, (Art. VIII, sec. 7(3)) as a
requisite of his membership in the Judiciary.

SECTION 1. The judicial duties of a judge take precedence


over all other activities.

Though a judge has a duty to not sit where


disqualified, a judge has an equally strong duty not to
recuse himself when the circumstances do not require
recusal.1 Amended in 1974, an American statute
mandates that a judge sit in a case unless there is a
reasonable question as to the judges impartiality.2
Thus, a judge should not recuse himself simply to
avoid sitting on difficult or controversial cases. 3

ABA Annotated Model Code of Judicial Conduct (2004), Commentary, Canon 3B(1), citing Laird v. Tatum, 409 U.S. 824
(1972)
2
28 U.S.C.A. 445
3
Annotations to American Bar Association Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3B(1), citing United States v. Glick, 942
F.2d 335 (4th Cir. 1991)
1

SECTION 1. The judicial duties of a judge take precedence


over all other activities.

In the case, Re:Leaves of Absence Without


Approval of Judge Eric T. Calderon, Municipal Trial
Court of Calumpit, Bulacan, an MTC Judge was
dismissed from service because of gross misconduct
and abandonment of his office through his
unapproved
Leaves of absence repeatedly incurred by him. 4

Re:Leaves of Absence Without Approval of Judge Eric T. Calderon, Municipal Trial Court of Calumpit, Bulacan, [A.M.
No. 98-8-105-MTC.January 26, 1999]
4

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 courts operations.

IN RE: LONGBOAN vs. POLIG


(186 SCRA 557)
In the instant case, respondent judge even 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. Although blame can also
be conveniently laid on the court personnel's
mismanagement of the records of cases, proper and
efficient court management is as much the judge's

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 courts operations.
IN RE: CARSTENSEN
Held: Judge Carstensen failed to make and timely file accurate
and complete records of the matters pending before him in
persistent, flagrant disregard of rule 200." Rule 200 reports are
vital to the efficient administration of our judicial system, and, as
such, they are a necessary duty, which we expect to be followed
and will enforce.
Canon 3(B)(1) of the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct provides: "A
judge
should
diligently
discharge
his
administrative
responsibilities, maintain professional competence in judicial
administration, and facilitate the performance of the
administrative responsibilities of other judges and court

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.

ALMONTE vs. BIEN


461 SCRA 218 (2005)
Held: The Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to
be faithful to the law and maintain professional
competence. As advocates of justice and visible
representation of the law, they are expected to keep
abreast with the developments in law and
jurisprudence, and to be proficient in their application
and interpretation thereof. When a law or a rule is
basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply it;

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.

AJENO vs. INSERTO


(71 SCRA 166)
Held: The Canons of Judicial Ethics would not allow that such
conduct pass without any word of admonition to the erring
respondent Judge. When he accepted his position he owed it to
the dignity of the court, to the legal profession and to the public,
to know the very law he is supposed to apply to a given
controversy. Even in the remaining years of his stay in the
judiciary he should keep abreast with the changes in the law and
with the latest decisions and precedents. Although a judge is
nearing retirement he should not relax in his study of the law
and court decisions. Service in the judiciary means a continuous

SECTION 4. Judges shall keep themselves informed about


relevant developments of international law, including
international conventions and other instruments
establishing human rights norms.
The Constitution incorporates the two principal sources of
international law general or customary norms and
conventional norms. Subject to conditions set forth in the
fundamental law, both customary and conventional norms of
international law are part of Philippine law. Customary norms
are binding on all States. They are the norms of international
law referred to in Section 2, Article II of the Constitution when
it provides that [t]he Philippines adopts the generally
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of
the land. As to conventional or treaty law, the Constitution in
Section 21, Article VII prescribes that when at least two-thirds
of all the Members of the Senate concur in a treaty or
international agreement, it may become part of Philippine
domestic law. This means that the treaty becomes binding as

SECTION 4. Judges shall keep themselves informed about


relevant developments of international law, including
international conventions and other instruments
establishing human rights norms.

The American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial


Conduct does not have an analogous provision on
international law, although the United States Supreme
Court stated that international law is part of our law,
and must be ascertained and administered by the
courts of justice of appropriate jurisdiction as often as
questions of right depending upon it are duly
presented for their determination.5
Norms of international law become the concern of
judges because they form part of legal standards by
which
competence
and diligence required by the
The Paquete their
Habana, 175
U.S. 677, 700 (1900)
5

SECTION 5. Judges shall perform all judicial duties,


including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently,
fairly and with reasonable promptness.

JUDGE ADORACION G. ANGELES, vs. JUDGE MARIA


ELISA SEMPIO DIY (A.M. No. RTJ-10-2248, September
29, 2010)
Held: A judge cannot choose to prolong the period for
resolving pending incidents and deciding cases
beyond the period authorized by law.Let it be
underscored that it is the sworn duty of judgesto
administer justice without undue delay under the
time-honored precept that justice delayed is justice
denied. Judges should act with dispatch in resolving
pending incidents, so as not to frustrate and delay the
satisfaction of a judgment.

SECTION 5. Judges shall perform all judicial duties,


including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently,
fairly and with reasonable promptness.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR vs. JUDGE


HARUN B. ISMAEL (A.M. No. RTJ-07-2045, January 19,
2010)
Held: As aptly held inSalvador v. Judge Limsiaco:
A
judges
foremost
consideration
is
the
administration of justice. Thus, he should follow the
time limit set for deciding cases. xxx Failure to comply
within the mandated period constitutes a serious
violation of the constitutional right of the parties to a
speedy disposition of their cases. It also undermines
the peoples faith and confidence in the judiciary,
lowers its standards and brings it to disrepute.

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.

JUAN DELA CRUZ (CONCERNED CITIZEN) vs.JUDGE


CARITAS OF RTC LEGASPI CITY (A.M. No. RTJ-07-2043)
A judge who is inconsiderate, discourteous or uncivil
to lawyers, litigants or witnesses who appear in his
sala commits an impropriety and fails in his duty to
reaffirm the peoples faith in the judiciary.

The respondent Judge violated section 6 of Canon 6 of


Code of Judicial Conduct. It is reprehensible for a
judge to humiliate a lawyer, litigant or witness. The
act betrays lack of patience, prudence and restraint.
Thus, a judge must at all times be temperate in his
language. He must choose his words, written or
spoken, with utmost care and sufficient control. The
wise and just man is esteemed for his discernment.
Pleasing speech increases his persuasiveness.

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.

JOCELYN BRIONES vs. JUDGE FRANCISCO ANTE JR.


(A.M. No. MTJ-02-1411.April 11, 2002)
Held: The respondent judge was guilty of committing
acts unbecoming of a judge and abuse of authority
when he shouted invectives and threw a chair at the
complainant, resulting in wrist and other injuries to
the complainant.

SECTION 7. Judges shall not engage in conduct


incompatible with the diligent discharge of judicial duties.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR,vs.


JUDGE RAYMUNDO D. LOPEZ
(A.M. No. MTJ-11-1790, December 11, 2013)
Held:The administration of justice demands that
those who don judicial robes be able to comply fully
and faithfully with the task before them.Judges are
duty-bound not only to be faithful to the law, but
likewise to maintain professional competence.
Judge Lopezs submission of false monthly reports and
docket inventory undermines the speedy disposition
of cases and administration of justice and is
prejudicial to the interests of the parties litigants.
Judges are expected not to engage in conduct

SECTION 7. Judges shall not engage in conduct


incompatible with the diligent discharge of judicial duties.

BESO vs. DAGUMAN


(323 SCRA 566)
Held: A judge is charged with exercising extra care in
ensuring that the records of the cases and official
documents in his custody are intact. There is no
justification for missing records save fortuitous
events. However, the records show that the loss was
occasioned by carelessness on respondent Judges
part. This Court reiterates that judges must adopt a
system of record management and organize their
dockets in order to bolster the prompt and efficient
dispatch of business.It is, in fact, incumbent upon
him to devise an efficient recording and filing system

THANK YOU!
REPORTERS:
BASALLO, ALYSSA MAE
GELUZ, JOICE
ILUSTRE, VERONICA
NUGUIT, APRIL LOVE
PELAYO, RANZEL SZANIA
SANTOS, JANINE
SEMETARA, MA. RICHELLE