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Re-issued* ~epublic of tbe llbilippines ~upreme ctourt ;ilfilanila EN BANC NOTICE Sirs/Mesdames: Please take notice that the Court en bane issued a Resolution dated AUGUST 12, 2014, which reads as follows: A.M. No. 13-11-09-SC (Re: Interview with Atty. Lorna Kapunan on Corruption in the Judiciary.) - Submitte
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  Re-issued* Sirs/Mesdames: ~epu lic of t e llbilippines ~upr m ctourt ilfilanila EN BANC NOTI E Please take notice that the Court en bane issued a Resolution dated AUGUST 12, 2014, which reads as follows: A.M. No. 13-11-09-SC Re: Interview with Atty. Lorna Kapunan on Corruption n the Judiciary.) - Submitted to the Court for disposition is the Compliance, dated December 12, 2013, of Atty. oma Patajo-Kapunan Atty. Kapunan), pursuant to the directive of the Court in its November 26, 2013 Resolution. In the said Resolution, the Court directed Atty. Kapunan to explain her answers in an interview by Anthony Tabema Taberna) in his show Umagang Kay Ganda on November 21, 2013 regarding corruption in the judiciary, within ten (10) days from notice. The Court required Atty. Kapunan to submit an explanation because, in an interview before a nationwide television audience, she made unwarranted remarks which tended to erode public trust and confidence in the judiciary. She made unfounded insinuations that some members of the judiciary can easily be bribed at the expense of ustice. Attached to her Compliance, as Annex A, is the verbatim transcript of the subject interview by Tabema, and, as Annex B, the reproduction in CD form of the said interview. In the said Compliance, Atty. Kapunan avers that, generally, the topic in the one hour face-to-face interview was her life as a lawyer, which started with her family background and flowed into a discussion of her law practice and her experiences with the courts and the justice system. In the course of the discussion, she made certain statements pertaining to corruption in the judiciary. Atty. Kapunan, however, claims that, mindful of a lawyer's duty to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial officers, she refrained from using grossly disrespectful, contemptuous and derogatory language against the courts and individual judges. This can be noted, Re-issued with Concurring Opinion of Justice Brion and revised Concurring Opinion of /l Justice Leonen  Notice of Resolution -2 - A.M. No. 13-11-09-SC August 12, 2014 according to her, from the replies she gave during the interview as shown in the transcript, the relevant portions of which she quoted as follows: . ,,· · ' .At: Paano m.wo M> sasabihin na ang isang abugado ay mahina? -:_:, ã. 'ftã ~ ~~~ .-'_' .:.. : ~ . ?I ã ; ã .. .; ' , ã _ .. * ,ã · L: Mahina 111 the·sense na-Kasi ang duty ng abugado tatlo e. First of all your duty is to the courts. Because we are all officers of the . . court., And df, course your duty is also to your client, fidelity to :. 1 · ·~ ·· client. =And~tfi~n~ the third duty is duty to the bar, to your legal profession. siitt'l·ang hindi magaling na abugado, number one, yung has total disrespect to the courts. Meaning, nambabayad ng judge, 'di ba? That is disrespect because it shows you na you can buy justice in this country and that disrespects the integrity of the judicial system. Yung kliyente, your duty to your client. Kung lagi mong sinasabi sa kliyente, mananalo ka bayaran natin si ganoon, what skills did you give your client? Or you do not advise your client well. Or you just don't know the law. Disservice yun sa kliyente. Hindi magaling na abugado yun. xxx (Annex A at page 2-3 A: Meron na po ba kayong nakalaban na nagbayad po sa judge, talo kayo? · L: Ah, yes. Actually, wala namang natatalong kaso e. Nadadaya. (Laughs) Parang candidate. Hindi naman natatalo 'yung kandidato. Nadadaya. No, sadly there are quite a number still. Although the clean up has started from the time of former CJ Puno. At naidentify niya lahat ng mga kailangang tanggalin. There was not enough time. Or 'yung mga notorious ay may kanya-kanyang padrino. (Annex A at page 3-4) A: May kilala po kayong justice ng SC na nababayaran? L:Oo. A: Kwan po, sittingjustice? L: Ah, sitting justice? Mas lalong hindi ko sasabihin kung sitting justice, ano. (Laughs) That means may kaso kami <loon. No. Yes. Some justice both in the CA and the SC have been known to receive. Known to receive. Because sometimes, hindi mo naman alam kung totoo yun hindi e. Kasi that's the problem with bribery, wala namang resibo ang bribe. At wala namang mag-aamin na nagbigay at walang mag-aamin na tumanggap. That's why the SC is having such a difficult time to remove-anong tawag <loon? Thieves in robes. (T: Hoodlums in robes.) Hoodlums in robes. Because walang gustong mag-testify, whether kliyente or lawyer because babalikan ka e. A: Sa pagkakaalam niyo, magkano ria ang bayaran ngayon diyan? Pagdating sa CA saka sa SC. L: Well, I am told ah, na ang restraining order <law sa CA can be as much as s million. (T: Hmm?) And sa level naman ng prosecution, I am told that 'yung whether to file a case-whether for the fiscal to  Notice of Resolution 3 A.M. No. 13-11-09-SC August 12, 2014' file a case or not to file a case, that's half a million. Five hundred thousand. I am told A: Sa SC po? Hindi niyo binanggit. L: Ah sa SC hin i ko po alam Kung minsan retirement na e. Retirement fee na 'yan. (T: Nako, ang laki ho noon.) A: Kung sa bagay meron pong justice ng SC, hinabol pa naka-retire na. L: 'Di ba nag-midnight decision. A: Si Justice Reyes ba 'yun? L: Ay hindi ko alam. (Laughs) (Transcript, Annex A at pp. 4-5) 1/2 At any rate with reference to the above quoted responses, Atty. Kapunan explains that she made no personal accusation against any court or judge. She adds that when imparting information on corruption and bribe money based on hearsay and/or general knowledge within the legal circles, she, in the interest of candor and transparency, would use the appropriate caveats -  known t receive, I am told' and hindi ko po alam. Nonetheless, Atty. Kapunan cites the pronouncement of the Court in the case of In re Almacen 3 on the obligations and duties of the members of the Bar as officers of the court, thus: xxx Moreover, every citizen has the right to comment upon and criticize the actuations of public officers. This right is not diminished by the fact that the criticism is aimed at a ju~ici l authority, nor that it is articulated by a lawyer. xxx Judicial officers, like other public servants, must answer for their official actions before the chancery of public opinion. xxx Courts thus treat with forbearance and restraint a lawyer who vigorously assails their actuations. For courageous and fearless advocates are the strands that weave durability into the tapestry of justice. Hence, as citizen and officers of the court, every lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to expose the shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and judges. 1 Compliance, pp. 2-4. 2 The Court checked the interview in full as captured in yonipzone.tv (Tapatan ni Tonying, dated November 22, 2013) and did not notice any splicing. 3 No. L-27654, February 18, 1970, 31SCRA562 576-577. f  Notice of Resolution A.M. No. 13-11-09-SC August 12, 2014 Atty. Kapunan goes further to quote Justice Fred Ruiz Castro that criticism of the courts has, indeed, been an important part of the traditional work of the lawyer. Hence, as a citizen and officer of the court, a lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to avail of such right. No law may abridge this right. Nor is he professionally answerable for a scrutiny into the official conduct of the judges, which would not expose him to legal animadversion as a citizen. Atty. Kapunan further states that no less than the Honorable Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno, in a speech delivered on September 25, 2013 in celebration of Law Day by the Philippine Bar Association, had urged lawyers to help the Court in its effort to eliminate the so-called hoodlums in robes in the judiciary. The Chief Justice also challenged lawyers to expose cases of bribery or extortion involving judges and vowed to support whistleblowers. Atty. Kapunan, thus, claims that the remarks made in the subject interview were not intended to insult, malign, embarrass, or bring the Court into disrepute. She is not unmindful, she said, of the admonition of this Court that a lawyer is entitled to voice his criticism within the context of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech which must be exercised responsibly. After all, every right carries with it the corresponding obligation. Freedom is not freedom from responsibility, but freedom with responsibility. 4 The Court s Disposition In sum, Atty. Kapunan admits to have made remarks with reference to corruption in the judiciary, but denies to have uttered the same to degrade the court and bring it to disrepute. In invoking her constitutional guarantee to freedom of speech, she explains though that she js not unaware of the corresponding obligation to exercise said right responsibly. True, well-recognized is the right of a lawyer, both as an officer of the court and as a citizen, to criticize the courts or any of its officers. This right, however, is not without limitations. Atty. Kapunan should be reminded that comments made against the courts must not go beyond the bounds of courtesy and fairness in order not to destroy the people's trust in the judicial system. As held in In re Almacen: But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on Citing Re: Letter dated September 21 2005 o Atty. Noel S Sorreda 464 SCRA 32, 4205] sic.
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