*additional speakers to be confirmed
MANILA, Philippines—Just because you are a University of the Philippines (UP) law graduate doesn’t make you smarter than others. So says the Supreme Court, in effect.
Saying no school had monopoly of knowledge of the law, the high court reprimanded a Calamba City Regional Trial Court judge who told a lawyer that since the latter did not graduate from the UP College of Law, he and the judge could not be equals.
The court sanctioned Judge Medel Belen with a reprimand after finding him guilty of conduct unbecoming of a judge, and warned him that he would be sanctioned more severely if he repeated such an act.The lawyer, Melvin Mane, had filed a complaint against Belen over the judge’s remarks but later withdrew the complaint, saying he filed it because of his impulsiveness.
But the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) pursued the administrative proceedings against Belen.
In its June 30 decision penned by Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, the high court said a lawyer’s competence should not be judged based on the law school he went to.
“An alumnus of a particular law school has no monopoly of knowledge of the law,” the court said.
“By hurdling the bar examinations which this court administers, taking the lawyer’s oath, and signing the Roll of Attorneys, a lawyer is presumed to be competent to discharge his functions and duties as an officer of the court, irrespective of where he obtained his law degree,” the court added.