Monday, September 01, 2008
This day in history from:

Integrated Bar of the Philippines Statement on Corruption in the Court of Appeals

Almost a month after the first public declarations of bribery by Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jose Sabio, Jr., the issue is starting to be relegated to secondary importance in the news. The journalism cycle is swift, but the cycle of corruption in the judiciary that the media has reported is recurrent and seemingly unending. The expose on improper influences on magistrates has been described as an anomaly that was not new and has been known to exist for a long time, but has only been talked about in whispers in the corridors of justice.

The Supreme Court's creation of an investigating panel is commendable, but it is completely reactionary.We expect the inquiry to be exhaustive, and we do not question the integrity and qualifications of the investigators. But what happens after the reports and recommendations have been made and the spotlight has been turned elsewhere? The Court of Appeals members directly involved in the allegations of corruption have exposed a troubling divisiveness and a penchant for personal self-preservation that further erodes the image of what is considered to be the second highest court in the land.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines urgently calls on those CA members involved in the controversy to immediately and irrevocably submit their resignations, out of delicadeza and out of ultimate concern to salvage what is left of the integrity of the Court as an important national institution. The resignation is a necessary sacrifice that needs to be made by those whose names have been dragged into the scandal.

The need to address corruption in the judiciary goes beyond the issue of the ongoing investigations, but needs to start and end where the controversy all started. The honorable magistrates of the Court of Appeals now have the opportunity to show the entire country that there are no sacred cows, so to speak. This is a clear chance to convince the nation that indeed, corruption is a real and pressing problem and needs to collective effort of the Court to address and stamp out.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines joins the Filipino people in their fervent desire to fight corruption at the highest levels of our courts. Our call is drastic as it is urgent.

Feliciano M. Bautista
National President

Rogelio A. Vinluan
Executive Vice-President

Abelardo C. Estrada
Governor for Northern Luzon

Ernesto A. Gonzalez, Jr.
Governor for Central Luzon

Marcial M. Magsino
Governor for Greater Manila

Bonifacio T. Barondon, Jr.,
Governor for Bicolandia

Evergisto S. Escalon
Governor for Eastern Visayas

Raymond Jorge A. Mercado
Governor for Western Visayas

Ramon Edison C. Batacan
Governor for Eastern Mindanao

Carlos L. Valdez, Jr.
Governor for Western Mindanao

(Published in the Philippine Star @ page 11, 01 September 2008)

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