Supreme Court Underscores Importance of Lawyers’ Role in SPJI
November 11, 2022
The Supreme Court’s Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022- 2027 (SPJI) may only come into fruition if the members of the legal profession, together with the other justice stakeholders, will commit themselves to deliver timely and fair justice.
This was underscored by Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo in his inspirational message during the third leg of the Ethics Caravan for the Proposed Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA) held in University of Nueva Caceres in Naga City on November 10, 2022.
“Our goal to deliver timely and fair justice is one that can be achieved if we work together. Efficiency, innovation, and access, the outcomes of the SPJI, may only be attained through meaningful cooperation between the members of the bar, the bench, court officials and employees, other public officials, and court users,” said Chief Justice Gesmundo.
He further stressed: “It is high time for all of us to take responsibility of giving dignity and nobility to our profession, and by so doing, we will strengthen and fortify the trust of our people, not only in lawyers, but in the justice system as a whole.”
The Ethics Caravan is part of the Supreme Court’s efforts to update the 34-year old Code of Professional Responsibility and craft a modern,
relevant, and responsive guide for lawyers’ conduct. It seeks to incorporate in the CPRA the underlying ethical considerations of a technology-driven Judiciary and legal profession in line with the Supreme Court’s SPJI.
“Apart from aiming to inform members of the bar from every region of the country about the proposed amendments to the Code, our goal for this Ethics Caravan is to allow for a more inclusive and consultative dialogue with all relevant stakeholders including practitioners, the academe, and other stakeholders, to refine the proposed provisions and address any concern which might have been previously overlooked,” added the Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice was joined in Naga City by Senior Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen; Associate Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier (Chairperson of the Sub-Committee for the Revision of the Code of Professional Responsibility); Associate Justice Samuel H. Gaerlan (Co-Vice Chairperson of the Sub-Committee for the Revision of the Code of Professional Responsibility); and Associate Justice Maria Filomena D. Singh (Co-Vice Chairperson of the Sub-Committee for the Revision of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Justice Lazaro-Javier delivered the opening remarks and reiterated that it was the choice and wish of the Chief Justice to hold every Ethics Caravan in the academe where the teaching of ethics all begins and where the values we learned from home are fortified. “What binds us today is our deep commitment to the rule of law,” she said.
Senior Associate Justice Leonen highlighted the proposed changes in the Lawyers’ Oath, including adding the word “justice” for the first time, underscoring the value of the Lawyer’s Oath as forming “the basic foundation of what a lawyer means.”
Justice Singh presented the proposed CPRA, while Justice Gaerlan gave the closing remarks.
Also present were Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva; Assistant Court Administrator and Public Information Office Chief Brian Keith F. Hosaka; and Deputy Clerk of Court and Judicial Reform Program Administrator Laura C.H. Del Rosario.
The European Union, Justice Sector Reform Program: Governance in Justice (GOJUST) Programme Team Leader Mr. Christian Eldon and The Asia Foundation Country Representative Mr. Sam Chittick, through a recorded video, gave messages of support to the Court’s undertaking, while University of Nueva Caceres President Dr. Fay Lea Patria M. Lauraya welcome the participants.
The Ethics Caravan is organized by the Supreme Court Sub- Committee for the Revision of the Code of Professional Responsibility with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-Australia, The Asia Foundation, The GOJUST Programme, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Philippine Association of Law Schools. It will culminate in the National Summit on Ethical Standards for Lawyers which will be held in February 2023. (Courtesy of the Supreme Court – Public Information Office)