Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier talks during the fifth and final leg of the Supreme Court’s "Ethics Caravan" held at the Dr. Robert C. Sy Grand Ballroom in the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building on Friday, Jan. 27. (Photo by Josh Nikkolai S. Bravo/ The Varsitarian)

MORE than winning cases, lawyers should be ethical, an associate justice said during the ethics caravan for the proposed Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability held at the UST Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building on Jan. 27.

Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier, the chairperson of the sub-committee for the revision of the Code of Professional Responsibility, emphasized that morals define lawyers.

“Better lawyers mean better society, and better lawyers are lawyers who do not just win cases, [but those] whose characters are not questionably loyal, lawyers who are ethical,” Javier said.

“We do not aspire to be ethical lawyers, we ought to be already. A lawyer must be ethical and it is necessary for them to be ethical.”

Led by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, the ethics caravan sought to introduce the proposed code as part of the high court’s efforts to update the 34-year-old Code of Professional Responsibility.

Among the proposed changes in the code is the addition of “Accountability” in the code’s title.

The word “justice” was also added for the first time, as well as guidelines on lawyers’ responsible use of social media, specifically on sharing and giving legal advice.

In his message, Associate Justice Samuel Gaerlan said that the proposed code accurately reflected the lawyers’ daily personal and professional challenges.

He specified the seven core values that must guide lawyers: independence, propriety, competence, fidelity, diligence, equality, and accountability.

“The [code] will never suffice unless lawyers themselves do what is right… [Being a lawyer] is not simply a career but a lifelong calling,” he said.

The ethics caravan held in UST was the fifth and final leg of the caravan. It was previously held in Cebu City, Davao, Naga, and Baguio.


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