The Supreme Court has sacked a total of 17 judges as part of efforts to clean its ranks.
In a speech before the Management Association of the Philippines in Makati City last week, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the high tribunal had aggressively exercised its disciplinary powers, resulting in the dismissal of 16 judges and a justice.
The highest official dismissed under Sereno was Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong, who was linked to the pork barrel scam. The benefits of the judges were forfeited, she said.
The high court has also suspended 14 judges, fined 101, reprimanded 21 and admonished 31.
”We are also aware that our reform initiatives will not take flight unless we address issues of corruption and other forms of misconduct. It is a complex problem that has to be confronted through a variety of independent initiatives to strengthen integrity and prevent opportunities for corruption among members of the Judiciary,” Sereno said.
As for personnel of the first- and second-level courts, the 15-man high tribunal has sacked 116 employees, admonished 42, forfeited benefits of 35, censured three, fined 240, reprimanded 221 and suspended 227 since 2010.
These figures covered the stint of then chief justice Renato Corona beginning May 2010 until his conviction by the Senate Impeachment Court in May 2012. Sereno succeeded Corona on August 24, 2012.
As for members of the Philippine Bar, the court has disbarred 40 lawyers, suspended 22 from the practice of law, and suspended 33 from the practice of law and notarial practice as of September 2016.
A total of 803 lawyers have been penalized since 2012, Sereno said. Of the total, 11 lawyers were suspended from notarial practice, 38 were reprimanded, three were fined and reprimanded, 86 were admonished, three were censured, 8 were warned, 33 were fined and warned, 18 were ordered arrested and one was dropped and stricken off the roll of attorneys.