SC Reinvigorates Two Offices to Ensure Integrity in Judiciary

July 31, 2020

It’s all systems go for the Judicial Integrity Board (JIB) and the Corruption Prevention and Investigation Office (CPIO), two offices that will further strengthen integrity and prevent corruption in the Judiciary.

This after the Supreme Court finally approved the proposed amendments to carry out the implementation of JIB, which will act on complaints against erring justices, judges, officers and employees of the Judiciary; On the other hand, the CPIO will conduct investigation on erring Justices of the tertiary courts; and judges and personnel of the lower courts, including the Shari’a Courts; and the officials and employees of the Office of the Jurisconsult, Court Administrator, Deputy Court Administrator, Assistant Court Administrators and their personnel

The resolution approving the amendments will be published tomorrow, August 1, 2020, in a newspaper of general circulation.

The reinvigoration of JIB and CPIO fulfills part of Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta’s Ten Point Program, which are to implement the JIB and strengthen the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA). The Ten Point Program can be narrowed down to four core areas ― efficiency, integrity, security, and service.

During his first meeting with reporters covering the Supreme Court a few weeks after his appointment as the 26th Chief Justice in 2019, he renewed his commitment to continue purging the Judiciary of misfits and erring individuals. He also reassured that he would strengthen OCA and implement JIB and forge a synergy between the functions of these offices through judicial audits, information gathering and sharing.

JIB and CPIO were created in 2018. However, these two separate units were put by the SC on the back burner as the Committee on the Implementation of the Judicial Integrity Board (CIJIB) called for a review of JIB’s functions in order to harmonize and prevent duplicity with those of the OCA and other offices.

Hence, the Court resolved to approve the proposed amendments to Resolution in A.M. No. 18-01-05-SC dated October 2, 2018 and to Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended.

JIB can receive administrative complaints or disciplinary actions against either the Presiding Justices and Associate Justices of the appellate courts and Judges of the lower courts, as well as act on complaints or referrals as provided for in Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, the “Internal Rules” of the JIB as approved by the SC En Banc, as well as the SC Circulars, Administrative Orders or other issuances.

Likewise, JIB was given exclusive jurisdiction over administrative complaints against (1) Court officials with Salary Grades 30 and 31, excluding those that are not within the jurisdiction of the JIB, regardless of the gravity of the offense; (2) First and Second Level Court Judges, including Shari’a Disctrict and Circuit Court Judges, charged with serious charges under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court; and (3) Court officials and or employees, with Salary Grades 27 to 29, regardless of the gravity of the violation of the “Code of Conduct for Court Personnel” and of the Civil Service Law and Rules.

If upon a preliminary assessment and evaluation of administrative complaints against all judges, however, it found less serious charges and light charges under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, the JIB may refer and delegate the investigation of those administrative complaints to OCA.

The JIB shall be composed of a Chairperson, who must be a retired Chief Justice or Associate Justice of the SC; Vice-Chairperson, who must be a retired SC Associate Justice; and three regular members, who must be retired Presiding Justices or Associate Justices of the tertiary courts ― Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals.

The SC PIO will upload in the SC website the actual resolution once available from the Office of the Clerk of Court.