Friday, September 22, 2023

Pinoy lawyers urged to use technology cautiously, responsibly

Supreme Court (SC) associate justice Rodil V. Zalameda said in his keynote speech at an event of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) – Capiz Chapter in Roxas City that freedom of speech comes with limitations, especially for lawyers who are officers of the court who have responsibility and accountability.

Highlighting the efforts of the SC, through the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA), to address the use of technology in the legal profession and its ethical considerations, Zalameda noted that the responsible use of social media is perhaps the most important technology-related prohibition in the CPRA.

Zalameda cited a recent case in the United States where a group of lawyers were sanctioned for having submitted a legal brief which included fictitious case citations generated by the artificial intelligence chatbot, ChatGPT.

“This is a proof that for all its limitless potentials and benefits, technology carries risk for the reckless,” lamented Zalameda, imploring those present to use technology cautiously and responsibly.

He added: “We have seen that precedented rise of lawyers glued to their social media account almost 24/7, and with this comes along the airing of one’s unsolicited thoughts and opinions on current news or stories, politicians, public figures, celebrities, and even on lawyers, the judicial system, the members of the judiciary as an institution,” said Zalameda, as he then shared a recent SC decision penalizing five lawyers for their homophobic remarks in social media.

In that decision, the high tribunal reprimanded lawyers Morgan Nicanor, Joseph Marion Peña Navarrete, Noel V. Antay Jr., and Israel P. Calderon, and imposed a P25,000 fine on Ernesto A. Tabujara III for misogynistic statements against members of the LGBT community.

Zalameda assured the IBP Capiz Chapter officers and members that the SC is doing its part in the challenge of responsible use of technology.

“We recognize that justice cannot be fully realized without considering the changes and developments of our time. As such, we continuously update and improve our rules of procedure,” he said.

He shared the SC’s approval of the 2019 Amendments to the 1989 Revised Rules on Evidence and to the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure as well as the ongoing process of revising the Rules on Special Proceedings and the Rules of Criminal Procedure.

“Also, the Supreme Court crafted the Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022 -2027, or SPJI, which serves as the courts blueprint for action to attain the lofty goal of delivering justice that is timely and fair, transparent and accountable, equal and inclusive. And technology driven,” said Zalameda.


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