By Rey Panaligan
The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered all trial court judges and court employees to observe strictly proper office attire while in court.
In Memorandum Order No. 12-2020, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta said judges and court employees who fail to comply with the proper court attire prescribed since 2015 “shall be a ground for appropriate disciplinary action.”
Also, the memorandum directs trial court judges “to strictly implement the proper attire of lawyers appearing before the courts and should not hesitate to use their powers to discipline erring lawyers appearing before them.”
Peralta said the memorandum was issued last February 3 as the SC acted “on persistent reports and personal observation that some judges and court personnel do not observe proper conduct and office attire while in court.”
The SC said the proper office attire and appearance of judges and court personnel:
1. “Judges at all times shall be in business attire.
2. “Skirts of office uniforms or casual office attire should be knee-length (one inch above the knee may be allowed).
3. “Appropriate footwear shall mean closed formal shoes; however, mules, sling-back shoes and peep-toe shoes are allowed (for females).
4. “The following are prohibited office attire when performing official functions – gauzy, transparent or net-like blouses or shirts; sando, sleeveless, strapless or spaghetti-strapped blouses, tank tops (unless worn as undershirts), blouses with over-plunging necklines; collarless t-shirts for men; micro-mini skirts, walking shorts, cycling shorts, leggings, tights, jogging pants, pedal pushers; sandals and step-ins exposing the toes; and rubber sandals, slippers and ‘bakya.
5. “The sporting of long and unkempt hair, as well as wearing of earrings and other body ornaments by male judges and court personnel, is not allowed.
6. The identification card (ID) forms part of the official uniform/appropriate office attire. Thus, it must be worn al all times while on official duty.”
Also, the SC said: “The appropriate business attire for male judges requires the wearing of long-sleeved ‘barong’ or coat and tie. The wearing of ‘maong’ or denim pants is strictly prohibited.”
At the same time, the SC said “judges shall always ‘maintain order and decorum by acting with dignity and courtesy to all those present in the courtroom.’”
The behavior and conduct of the judges “must reaffirm the people’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary,” it added.