Saturday, August 15, 2009


A retired Supreme Court justice has been banned for life in the practice of law. This is one fella who was unfortunate to get caught. Many more like him are out there lurking in the dark - justices, judges, lawyers and pseudo-lawyers.

Concerned lawyers' groups have been agitating for action against these crooks in robes. Even some honest justices and judges (there still are?) have admitted that there are rotten eggs in their midst and have endorsed a clean-up drive (ho-hum) before the situation gets out of hand and the people completely lose their trust in the courts. The public perception is that gone are the days when justices and judges were much respected and revered because of their probity and integrity, and when they led exemplary lives and were never seen in social functions and official parties. Today, these members of the bench can be easily seen in karaoke establishments and casinos, restaurants and hotel lobbies, enjoying themselves at the expense of people who court their favorable decisions.

It's about time for Congress to enact a Judicial Reform Act in order to attempt to clean up the judiciary and ferret out its corrupt members. Congress leaders could dig up an old judicial reform bill submitted before martial law was declared but never reached enactment because it simply got caught by events.

Among the reforms sought in the proposal were:

- No judge may serve in his own province.

- No new judge may serve in Manila before he has served for some time in another province.

- No family members may be appointed by justices and judges in their courts.

- There should be no interference in the raffling of cases among the courts.

- Recommendations by politicians for judiciary posts must be rejected.

In addition, 'judicial fixers' must also be banned by the courts. These people act as liaison officers of justices and judges, looking for the right clients since decisions can be had if the price is right.
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