October 2010 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
A.M. No. 10-10-4-SC : October 19, 2010
Re: Letter of the UP Law Faculty entitled "Restoring Integrity: A Statement by the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on the Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court."
R E S O L U T I O N
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Plagiarism is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of ones own mind.1chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Allegations of this intellectual offense were hurled by Atty. Harry L. Roque, Jr. and Atty. Romel R. Bagares against Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo for his ponencia in the case of Vinuya v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 162230, April 28, 2010. In said case, the Court denied the petition for certiorari filed by Filipino comfort women to compel certain officers of the executive department2cra1aw to espouse their claims for reparation and demand apology from the Japanese government for the abuses committed against them by the Japanese soldiers during World War II. Attys. Roque and Bagares represent the comfort women in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary, which is presently the subject of a motion for reconsideration.
The authors and their purportedly plagiarized articles are: (1) Evan J. Criddle and Evan Fox-Decent from their article, "A Fiduciary Theory of Jus Cogens" published in 2009 in the Yale Journal of International Law; (2) Christian J. Tams from his book, "Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law" published by the Cambridge University Press in 2005; and (3) Mark Ellis from his article, "Breaking the Silence: On Rape as an International Crime" published in the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law in 2006. The allegations of plagiarism centered on Justice Del Castillos discussion of the principles of jus cogens and erga omnes.
On August 9, 2010, Attys. Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, Froilan M. Bacungan, Pacifico A. Agabin, Merlin M. Magallona, Salvador T. Carlota, Carmelo V. Sison, Patricia R.P. Salvador Daway, Dante B. Gatmaytan, Theodore O. Te, Florin T. Hilbay, Jay L. Batongbacal, Evelyn (Leo) D. Battad, Gwen G. De Vera, Solomon F. Lumba, Rommel J. Casis, Jose Gerardo A. Alampay, Miguel R. Armovit, Arthur P. Autea, Rosa Maria J. Bautista, Mark R. Bocobo, Dan P. Calica, Tristan A. Catindig, Sandra Marie O. Coronel, Rosario O. Gallo, Concepcion L. Jardeleza, Antonio G.M. La Viña, Carina C. Laforteza, Jose C. Laureta, Owen J. Lynch, Rodolfo Noel S. Quimbo, Antonio M. Santos, Gmeleen Faye B. Tomboc, Nicholas Felix L. Ty, Evalyn G. Ursua, Raul V. Vasquez, Susan D. Villanueva, and Dina D. Lucenario, members of the faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law published a statement on the allegations of plagiarism and misrepresentation relative to the Courts decision in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary. Essentially, the faculty of the UP College of Law, headed by its dean, Atty. Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, calls for the resignation of Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo in the face of allegations of plagiarism in his work.
Notably, while the statement was meant to reflect the educators opinion on the allegations of plagiarism against Justice Del Castillo, they treated such allegation not only as an established fact, but a truth. In particular, they expressed dissatisfaction over Justice Del Castillos explanation on how he cited the primary sources of the quoted portions and yet arrived at a contrary conclusion to those of the authors of the articles supposedly plagiarized.
Beyond this, however, the statement bore certain remarks which raise concern for the Court. The opening sentence alone is a grim preamble to the institutional attack that lay ahead. It reads:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
An extraordinary act of injustice has again been committed against the brave Filipinas who had suffered abuse during a time of war.
The first paragraph concludes with a reference to the decision in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary as a reprehensible act of dishonesty and misrepresentation by the Highest Court of the land. The authors also not only assumed that Justice Del Castillo committed plagiarism, they went further by directly accusing the Court of perpetrating extraordinary injustice by dismissing the petition of the comfort women in Vinuya v. Executive Secretary. They further attempt to educate this Court on how to go about the review of the case.
The insult to the members of the Court was aggravated by imputations of deliberately delaying the resolution of the said case, its dismissal on the basis of "polluted sources," the Courts alleged indifference to the cause of petitioners, as well as the supposed alarming lack of concern of the members of the Court for even the most basic values of decency and respect. Paragraph 9 of their published statement reads,
But instead of acting with urgency on this case, the Court delayed its resolution for almost seven years, oblivious to the deaths of many of the petitioners seeking justice from the Court. When it dismissed the Vinuya petition based on misrepresented and plagiarized materials, the Court decided this case based on polluted sources. By doing so, the Supreme Court added insult to injury by failing to actually exercise its "power to urge and exhort the Executive Department to take up the claims of the Vinuya petitioners. Its callous disposition, coupled with false sympathy and nonchalance, belies (sic) [betrays] a more alarming lack of concern for even the most basic values of decency and respect. (Emphasis supplied).
The publication of a statement by the faculty of the UP College of Law regarding the allegations of plagiarism and misrepresentation in the Supreme Court was totally unnecessary, uncalled for and a rash act of misplaced vigilance. Of public knowledge is the ongoing investigation precisely to determine the truth of such allegations. More importantly, the motion for reconsideration of the decision alleged to contain plagiarized materials is still pending before the Court. We made it clear in the case of In re Kelly3cra1aw that any publication, pending a suit, reflecting upon the court, the jury, the parties, the officers of the court, the counsel with reference to the suit, or tending to influence the decision of the controversy, is contempt of court and is punishable.
While most agree that the right to criticize the judiciary is critical to maintaining a free and democratic society, there is also a general consensus that healthy criticism only goes so far. Many types of criticism leveled at the judiciary cross the line to become harmful and irresponsible attacks. These potentially devastating attacks and unjust criticism can threaten the independence of the judiciary.4cra1aw The court must "insist on being permitted to proceed to the disposition of its business in an orderly manner, free from outside interference obstructive of its functions and tending to embarrass the administration of justice."5chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
The Court could hardly perceive any reasonable purpose for the facultys less than objective comments except to discredit the April 28, 2010 Decision in the Vinuya case and undermine the Courts honesty, integrity and competence in addressing the motion for its reconsideration. As if the case on the comfort womens claims is not controversial enough, the UP Law faculty would fan the flames and invite resentment against a resolution that would not reverse the said decision. This runs contrary to their obligation as law professors and officers of the Court to be the first to uphold the dignity and authority of this Court, to which they owe fidelity according to the oath they have taken as attorneys, and not to promote distrust in the administration of justice.6cra1aw Their actions likewise constitute violations of Canons 10, 11, and 137cra1aw and Rules 1.02 and 11.058cra1aw of the Code of Professional Responsibility.9chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, Attys. Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, Froilan M. Bacungan, Pacifico A. Agabin, Merlin M. Magallona, Salvador T. Carlota, Carmelo V. Sison, Patricia R.P. Salvador Daway, Dante B. Gatmaytan, Theodore O. Te, Florin T. Hilbay, Jay L. Batongbacal, Evelyn (Leo) D. Battad, Gwen G. De Vera, Solomon F. Lumba, Rommel J. Casis, Jose Gerardo A. Alampay, Miguel R. Armovit, Arthur P. Autea, Rosa Maria J. Bautista, Mark R. Bocobo, Dan P. Calica, Tristan A. Catindig, Sandra Marie O. Coronel, Rosario O. Gallo, Concepcion L. Jardeleza, Antonio G.M. La Viña, Carina C. Laforteza, Jose C. Laureta, Owen J. Lynch, Rodolfo Noel S. Quimbo, Antonio M. Santos, Gmeleen Faye B. Tomboc, Nicholas Felix L. Ty, Evalyn G. Ursua, Raul V. Vasquez, Susan D. Villanueva, and Dina D. Lucenario, members of the faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law, are directed to SHOW CAUSE, within ten (10) days from receipt of a copy of this Resolution, why they should not be disciplined as members of the Bar for violation of Canons 10, 11, and 13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Further, Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leonen is directed to SHOW CAUSE, within ten (10) days from receipt of this Resolution, why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with for violation of Canon 10, Rules 10.01, 10.02 and 10.03 for submitting, through his letter dated August 10, 2010, during the pendency of G.R. No. 162230, Vinuya v. Executive Secretary and of the investigation before the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards, for the consideration of the Court En Banc, a dummy which is not a true and faithful reproduction of the purported statement, entitled "Restoring Integrity: A Statement by the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on the Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court." Enclosed are copies of the said dummy and signed statement, respectively, attached to the said letter dated August 10, 2010 and to the Compliance dated August 31, 2010 filed by Roque & Butuyan Law Offices with the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards.
Let this matter be DOCKETED as a regular administrative matter.
Let service of this Resolution upon the above-named UP College of Law faculty members be effected by personal delivery.
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
RENATO C. CORONA
|ANTONIO T. CARPIO
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES*
|PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
|ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
|TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
|ARTURO D. BRION
|DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
|LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
|MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
ROBERTO A. ABAD*
|JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
|JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.
RENATO C. CORONA
* On leave.
1cra1aw Black, Henry Campbell, blacks law dictionary, 5th ed., St. Paul Minn., West Publishing Co., 1979, p. 1035.
2cra1aw Executive Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Delia Domingo-Albert, Secretary Merceditas N. Gutierrez, and Solicitor General Alfredo L. Benipayo.
3cra1aw 35 Phil. 944, 950-951 (1916).
4cra1aw In the Matter of the Allegations Contained in the Columns of Mr. Amado P. Macasaet Published in Malaya Dated September 18, 19, 20 and 21, 2007, A.M. No. 07-09-13-SC, August 8, 2008, 561 SCRA 395, 434.
5cra1aw Teehankee v. Director of Prisons, 76 Phil 630 (1946).
7cra1aw CANON 10 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for legal processes.
CANON 11 A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the Courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others.
CANON 13 A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from any impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the Court.
8cra1aw Rule 1.02 A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.
Rule 11.05 A lawyer shall submit grievances against a judge to the proper authorities only.
9cra1aw Promulgated by this Court on June 21, 1988.