A progressive Supreme Court

“Social media is an ally, indeed, but beware of its risks and dangers. Be part of the truth and an instrument for justice.

There are 3,992 new lawyers in the country. This is the result of the Bar Examinations held last September. Historically, the Bar is held every Sunday for four weeks. Each Sunday would include two tests — one subject in the morning and another one in the afternoon. The exams are handwritten. Thus, after every Sunday, test takers’ hands would be swollen from all the writing. More daunting would be the need for neat and good handwriting. If the right answers weren’t understandable, they were considered wrong answers.

In these recent exams, test takers were allowed to use their laptops and type their answers. They could delete their original answers and type in their second answer without any risk of points deducted. The test wasn’t necessarily easier but the method of taking the test had definitely become more convenient for the test takers.

All this is a result of present-day technology and the current Supreme Court’s progressive nature. The High Court has deemed it time to conform to modernity — to adapt to the way things are done day-to-day in the legal world. Today, lawyers use laptops and computers to type up their pleadings. They can edit, delete and add arguments and allegations with a few clicks. Further, lawyers can work from virtually anywhere.

Fittingly, the release of the names of the successful Bar Examinees coincided with the launch of the new Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability by the Supreme Court. Seeing the need to regulate the conduct of lawyers online and on social media platforms, the Justices unanimously approved the new rules that proscribe the right conduct of lawyers given the convenience afforded them by their online presence.

The confidentiality and integrity of court proceedings are of utmost importance. Thus, posting and publishing articles online and on social media platforms about ongoing cases are prohibited by the new rules. In the same vein, posting and uploading, or otherwise disseminating false or unverified information are strictly prohibited.

This effort to craft a more responsive set of rules is noble and admirable. We have seen the ill effects of disinformation. Misleading the public with fabricated information is just as evil as lying and betraying public trust. As lawyers, we must uphold truth and justice. The Supreme Court has contextualized the rules into the existing landscape.

To the newest lawyers in the country, I sincerely congratulate you for your hard work and determination. As you navigate through this new journey, keep the new rules close to your heart. Social media is an ally, indeed, but beware of its risks and dangers. Be part of the truth and an instrument for justice.

This article is dedicated to my late Aunt, Menchu Clavano-Cruz. She was and will always be so loved.

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