It is, in the words of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, that lawyers must “conduct themselves with honesty and integrity.” These two virtues were extolled by the Chief Justice during the oath-taking of the new officers and members of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
Honesty and integrity – these are seemingly forgotten in this day and age. This is why the Chief Justice also asked the lawyers what it also demands from members of the judiciary itself – that they conduct all of their affairs with transparency so that they could help restore the people’s faith in the justice system. He stressed that “lawyers have not just an equal responsibility, but also an equal role in keeping the system working.”
The IBP oath-taking also saw the Chief Justice announcing innovations in the rules and all these can be traced to his advocacy to bring back the integrity of the justice system. In fact, he wanted to put to a stop the “wrongful practice by lawyers of giving our people false hopes through the filing of cases which serve no other purpose but to clog the dockets of our courts.” In short, he is telling the lawyers to become truthful to their clients.
The Chief Justice’s call is very apt in these times. The call for honesty and integrity is not only for those who practice law but to all of us who are involved in various professions and industries. All of us are tested not only in our work but also in our daily lives if we are honest in our words and deeds. There should be no place for lies in the workplace as it corrodes trust among workers and weakens the foundation of an organization. Management experts have also said that effective leaders are also honest to their stakeholders. Honesty means building an impenetrable integrity.
His words would also be very apt for our government leaders and workers. Through time, our government has its fair share of critics who doubt its honesty and integrity. News recently has showed a Senator questioning the government’s pandemic response. There is an appropriate venue to explain government’s side and if these government agencies are honest and transparent enough to reveal all the necessary documents and evidences, then it would bring back integrity into our government. There is no short cut for this as only “truth can set it free.”
May we all remember the Chief Justice’s words before we act, speak, and do things for others.