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IBP, Senate strangely oblivious to Miriam Santiago’s rants

/ 11:49 PM April 08, 2012

This refers to the editorial caricature of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago heaping verbal abuse on the prosecution team during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. (Inquirer, 3/2/12) I have likewise read some letters to the editor criticizing Santiago for her uncalled-for and disrespectful behavior toward the prosecutors.

But in order to be effective in reforming  Santiago, her critics should rely on the law. The Code of Judicial Conduct states:

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“Rule 2.02. A judge should not seek publicity for personal vainglory.”

“Rule 3.03. A judge shall maintain order and proper decorum in the court.”

“Rule 3.04. A judge should be patient, attentive, and courteous to lawyers, especially the inexperienced, to litigants, witnesses, and others appearing before the court. A judge should avoid unconsciously falling into the attitude of mind that the litigants are made for the courts, instead of the courts for the litigants.”

As a veteran trial lawyer (since 1975), I was just wondering why the Senate, composed mostly of lawyers, has not admonished or even disciplined Santiago for her uncalled-for behavior of bamboozling key witnesses and other parties during the impeachment trial and even in committee hearings.

I am likewise wondering why the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has not taken the cudgels for the prosecutors who are mostly lawyers. IBP has the duty to protect the integrity of the members of the bar and help them retain the respect of the public, more so when someone is grandstanding at their expense, as Santiago has been doing in this case.

—PROCOPIO S. BELTRAN JR., lawyer, CVS 1, 520 Pearl St., Felix Avenue, Cainta,  Rizal 1900

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TAGS: corona impeachment, IBP, judiciary, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Senate
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