Chief Justice to Judges: Reexamine Yourselves, Faithfully Observe Judicial Virtues

April 1, 2022

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo reminded all judges of their mission to dispense justice and to observe these four judicial virtues―competence, integrity, probity, and independence.

“Now that we have eased into normalcy after two years of living dangerously during the pandemic, it is time to reexamine ourselves and reflect on our faithfulness to our mission of dispensing justice. Let us always be reminded that being a judge is a lifetime of discipline and training towards the faithful observance of these four virtues of competence, integrity, probity, and independence,” said Chief Justice Gesmundo as he keynoted the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) Fellowship Night with the Chief Justice, Associate Justices, and officials of the Supreme Court held on Thursday, March 31, 2022, at the Diplomatic Hall, Grand Ballroom, Marriot Hotel in Pasay City.

It was the first time that Chief Justice Gesmundo socialized in-person with the trial court judges following the easing of the alert level restrictions. Previously, the Chief Justice met with some of them but these were during hybrid occasions such as oath- taking ceremonies and the first-ever virtual town hall meeting with the judges, where the Chief Justice committed to the judges and personnel that the Supreme Court will actively look into and address their pressing concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Justice Gesmundo was accompanied by Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez, and Justice Antonio T. Kho during the Fellowship Night.

Also present were Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva, Assistant Court Administrator Maria Regina Adoracion Filomena

M. Ignacio, Assistant Court Administrator and Public Information Office Chief Brian Keith F. Hosaka, and Chief Technology Officer Jed Sherwin G. Uy.

Chief Justice Gesmundo underscored anew that the trial judges are the Judiciary’s frontliners. They form the base of the pyramid so to speak, and the foundation of the structure of the Judiciary. “The strength of the Judiciary lies on the first and second level courts; you are the base of the pyramid and the strength of the pyramid lies on its base. If the base is weak, expect that those in the upper level will collapse,” stressed the Chief Justice additing that as frontliner, they are a reflection of the Judiciary.

The Chief Justice also reiterated the importance of the use of technology in our court processes, citing that  “videoconferencing technology has proven to be convenient and useful for court hearings especially during the time when there was an alarming increase of COVID-19 cases.

Likewise, he stressed that the Supreme Court is addressing the lower courts’ concerns as he acknowledged that the Court was aware of the issues affecting them such as the lack of courtrooms and other facilities.

He disclosed that there is already a Technical Working Group on the Review of the Operations of the Office of the Court Administrator and that he had already met with Court Administrator Villanueva and PJA President Danilo S. Cruz earlier this week to discuss relevant matters.

Furthermore, he said that the Supreme Court is also proposing amendments to the Rules of Court, particularly the 2019 Amendments to the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure to further expedite trials as part of court decongestion. In closing, the Chief Justice reaffirmed the Court’s commitment to protect all judges. “I assure you all that the Supreme Court will protect the judges. But there is a caveat. If you want to be protected, make sure that you deserve the protection of the Court,” he said. ###