On October 27, 2023, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) successfully held the second leg of the rollout of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA), marking a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to create a modern, relevant, and responsive justice system. The CPRA is part of the Supreme Court’s Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027 (SPJI).
Held at the Podium Hall at the Podium in Mandaluyong City, the second leg was hosted by the IBP Southern Luzon Region primarily through the IBP Rizal RSM Chapter. 174 lawyers attended the rollout, which was MCLE-accredited and counted as attendance of a regional/national convention for IBP Lifetime Membership purposes. Court personnel and judges who also attended the rollout were considered on Official Time.
In opening the second leg, Atty. Pitero M. Reig, IBP Governor for Southern Luzon Region, said that “the foundation of civil society rests largely on the rule of law. Ethical and responsible lawyers strengthen the foundation of the rule of law. Conversely, unethical and irresponsible lawyers erode the people’s faith in the rule of law and the legal institutions.”
In his keynote speech, Supreme Court Associate Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez emphasized the addition of the word “Accountability” in the title of the old Code as a significant reinforcement of ethical commitment among lawyers. The CPRA obliges lawyers to give nobility to the profession to regain the people’s trust in the justice system. In this respect, Justice Lopez said that lawyers should maintain a profession that puts a premium on public service over any monetary consideration. He reiterated making the CPRA their way of life and recalling its provisions not just for professional functions but as reminders to live by them. He thanked the IBP for being a staunch partner of the Judiciary in the dispensation of justice. He expressed optimism for future collaborations for the fruitful adherence to the new code for lawyers.
IBP National Director on Bar Discipline, Atty. Avelino V. Sales, Jr. echoed the sentiments of the esteemed Justice that the CPRA is the legal profession’s guide to making all lawyers aware and accountable during his overview and rationale for the CPRA Rollout. Ethics and ethical conduct, as propounded by Justice Lopez, is a way of life to be embodied in not just a lawyer’s professional engagements, but likewise in his or her personal life.
The CPRA Rollout is an initiative of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to support the Supreme Court in its information campaign on the new Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability. During the rollout, deputy directors and commissioners of the IBP Commission for Bar Discipline discuss and elucidate upon the newer and salient provisions of the CPRA, as well as the notarial practice among others. The first leg was held in Cotabato last September, with the IBP CBD planning to hold 15 more legs throughout the Philippines until 2025. The third leg will be held in Cebu in December 2023.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines invites all lawyers to familiarize themselves with the updated Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability, emphasizing that adherence to this code is not just a moral obligation but also a means to elevate the standards of the legal profession.
To access the full text of the updated Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability, please visit https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/22-09-01-SC-FINAL.pdf.