Judge punished for 'bad grammar' in writing decisions

Below is an excerpt from a piece of jurisprudence from the Supreme Court finding respondent judge of a municipal trial court (MTC) "inefficient and negligent" in writing a decision because of his errors in grammar and syntax.

SUPREME COURT: There can, however, be no dispute behind the errors of grammar and syntax and the fatally infirmed "dispositive portion" is the inefficiency, neglect of duty or carelessness on the part of the respondent betraying the absence of due care, diligence, conscientiousness and thoroughness — qualities which Judges must, among others, possess. Respondent could have easily avoided the errors and defects had he taken a little more time and effort to at least read its original copy before he finally affixed his signature thereon.While [the Supreme] Court cannot expect every Judge to be an expert on the English language or an authority in grammar, he must, however, do everything he can, through constant study, extraordinary diligence, and passion for excellence, to produce a decision which fosters respect for and encourages obedience to it and enhances the prestige of the court.

As [the Supreme Court sees] it then, the respondent failed to comply with two standard of conduct prescribed by the Canons of Judicial Ethics, namely: that "[h]e should exhibit an industry and application commensurate with the duties imposed upon him" and that he should be conscientious, studious and thorough. xxx

WHEREFORE, for inefficiency and neglect of duty amounting to a violation of Canons 5 and 31 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics, respondent Judge ORLANDO C. PAGUIO is hereby sentenced to pay a FINE of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00). He is further warned that a repetition of the same or similar infractions shall be dealt with more severely. (A.M. No. MTJ-93-781; November 16, 1993)

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