“Kissing Judge” in the Philippines granted clemency by the Supreme Court

In international law clerk news, the Philippines Supreme Court in Manila has granted clemency to naughty boy Judge Hermin Arceo.  The Filipino judge had been released of his duties in 1996 after his then 29-year-old female clerk filed a complaint against him alleging that he sexually harassed her as well as female witnesses and other female employees.  In its 1996 opinion relieving Judge Arceo of his judicial duties, the Supreme Court included the Investigator’s detailed description of Judge Arceo’s bad behavior, which primarily targeted his clerk and his stenographer and included physical sexual assault and sexually suggestive behavior.  To wit:

  • he once invited his stenographer into his private office and, when she arrived, he stood in front of her wearing only his underwear;
  • he repeatedly pressed his bottom half against his clerk as she was walking out of the office door
  • he made a lewd sexual gesture to his clerk in front of her fiance;
  • he repeatedly kissed female employees against their will;
  • he showed a sexually explicit film to female employees in chambers and teased them about it;
  • he wrote his clerk a long and sexually explicit love poem;
  • he locked his clerk in his office and forced himself on her though she ultimately fought him off of her;

The Supreme Court dismissed Judge Arceo from the bench for “gross misconduct and immorality prejudicial to the best interests of the service” and barred him from future government service.

Last week, Judge Arceo, now 71, was granted clemency and may return to government service.  There is no word in the article of the whereabouts or well-being of the former clerk who was brave enough to come forward on her own behalf and on behalf of her female co-workers.  I’m hopeful that she is doing well and that Judge Arceo will exercise good judgment and refrain from seeking another seat on the court.  What do you think?

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