Canon 5: Equality
Ensuring equality of treatment to all before the courts is essential to the due performance of the judicial office.
1) Equality of treatment, including lawyers
Complainant-lawyer claimed that, in the course of the proceedings, he was asked by respondent-judge to stand up while the latter dictated his order on their Administrator’s Report. Respondent Judge Belen even rebuked him for some mistakes in managing the affairs of the estate, adding that it is regrettable “because Atty. Raul Correa is a U.P. Law Graduate and a Bar Topnotcher at that.” Complainant regrets the actuations and statements of respondent Judge Belen, especially because the remark was uncalled for, a left-handed compliment, and a grave insult to his Alma Mater. Worse, respondent Judge Belen ousted complainant as co-administrator of the estate of Hector Tan. (Correa v. Belen, A.M. No. RTJ-10-2242, 06 August 2010)
A judge must consistently be temperate in words and in actions. Respondent-judge‘s insulting statements, tending to project complainant-lawyer’s ignorance of the laws and procedure, coming from his inconsiderate belief that the latter mishandled the cause of his client is obviously and clearly insensitive, distasteful, and inexcusable. Such abuse of power and authority could only invite disrespect from counsels and from the public. Patience is one virtue that members of the bench should practice at all times, and courtesy to everyone is always called for. (Ibid.)
Section 1: Judges shall be aware of, and understand, diversity in society and differences arising from various sources, including but not limited to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, caste, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, social and economic status and other like causes.
Section 2: Judges shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct, manifest bias or prejudice towards any person or group on irrelevant grounds.
1) No manifest bias to any person or group
Judges should be dignified in demeanor, and refined in speech. In performing their judicial duties, they should not manifest bias or prejudice by word or conduct towards any person or group on irrelevant grounds. It is very essential that they should live up to the high standards their noble position on the Bench demands. (Jasmani-Rodriguez v. Ong, A.M. No. 08-19-SB-J , 24 August 2010)
Section 3: Judges shall carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper performance of such duties.
1) Consideration for all persons
Their language must be guarded and measured, lest the best of intentions be misconstrued. In this regard, Section 3, Canon 5 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, mandates judges to carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper performance of such duties. (Ibid.)
Section 4: Judges shall not knowingly permit court staff or others subject to his or her influence, direction or control to differentiate between persons concerned, in a matter before the judge, on any irrelevant ground.
Section 5: Judges shall require lawyers in proceedings before the court to refrain from manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based on irrelevant grounds, except such as are legally relevant to an issue in proceedings and may be the subject of legitimate advocacy.
Lawyer, Author, Mentor