(Question B.13, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 2019 Bar Exam)
(a) Distinguish compulsory from voluntary inhibition of judges. (3%)
(b) State at least two (2) instances when a judge must compulsorily inhibit from a case. (3%)
(a) Under compulsory disqualification, it is conclusively presumed that judges cannot actively and impartially sit in specific instances. The judge has no discretion whether to inhibit. Rather, it is required.
For voluntary inhibition, whether or not the judge can sit in and try the case is left to his discretion, depending on the existence of just and valid reasons not included in compulsory disqualification, but in exercising the discretion, he must rely only on his conscience.
(b) The judge must compulsorily inhibit from the following cases:
1) In any case in which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise; or,
2) In any case which he is related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel within the fourth degree, computed according to the rules of the civil law.
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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