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SC warns lawyers: Disrupt oath-taking ceremony decorum, face contempt

Lian Buan
SC warns lawyers: Disrupt oath-taking ceremony decorum, face contempt
The warning is interpreted as a cautious move against any possible show of opposition towards the Sereno ouster

The Supreme Court (SC) warned against disruptive behavior when new lawyers take their oath on Friday, June 1, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

“Any act that undermines the safe and orderly conduct of the Oath-Taking Ceremonies or disturbs the due decorum therefor shall be punished with direct contempt of court, and shall be dealt with summarily,” said a notice signed by SC Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, chairman of the 2017 Bar Examinations Committee.


 

The SC also prohibited live coverage of the ceremonies this year, as compared to at least last year when media organizations were allowed to broadcast the rites live.

This warning has been interpreted by some as the SC’s cautious move against any possible show of opposition towards their controversial majority decision to oust Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice through the unprecedented quo warranto route. (READ: EXPLAINER: How SC majority tried to close all doors for ousted Sereno)

Prominent legal groups have staged protests since the ouster, and have called on fellow lawyers to express their supposed dissent.

In a statement, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said: “We call on all members of the bench and the bar nationwide to step up the protests against the breakdown of the so-called rule of law and the erosion of judicial independence in all legitimate forms and fora possible.”

The SC warned that “security officials and personnel have been deputized” to “prevent or reprimand” violations of orderly conduct.

A total of 1,724 passed the 2017 Bar Examinations, or a 25.55% passing rate.

The new lawyers begin their careers at a time when the legal profession is under intense scrutiny from both members and spectators, with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) head himself saying the judiciary’s independence is threatened. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.