Law book on municipal court work by CSur judge out now

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: The Work of a First-Level Court Judge in the Rinconada District of Camarines Sur by Judge Soliman M. Santos, Jr. is now off the press from major law book publisher Central Book Supply, Inc. (Central Books). It is a different kind of law book on municipal-level court work that is a good read for members of the bench and the bar, and a must-read particularly for new first-level court judges. Unlike most law books for judges that are about the rules of procedure, this new book contains insights, learnings and examples from practice, in the case of Judge Santos, of more than five years at the first-level.

Judge Santos was the Presiding Judge of the 9th Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Nabua-Bato, Camarines Sur for most of 2010-15. During this period, he was also Acting Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Balatan, Camarines Sur for about four years. He was likewise a Judge-Designate for inhibited cases in the MTCs of Baao and Buhi, Camarines Sur and in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) of Iriga City. These mentioned localities constitute the peculiar and challenging Rinconada District of Camarines Sur, the province’s largely rural south-eastern corner. He is a member of the Camarines Sur Chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Philippine Trial Judges League, Inc. (PTJLI). Judge Santos was just very recently promoted to the second-level judgeship of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 61 of Naga City in Camarines Sur.

Judge Santos’ book hews to the famous quote from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. that “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” Experience is not only real-life cases that become jurisprudence. Experience is also the practical nitty-gritty from start to finish of cases, and oftentimes also their before (e.g. pre-filing proceedings usually at the barangay level, or also what might be called the demand letter stage) and after (e.g. implementation/execution of the decision/judgment/final order or resolution finally disposing of the case). Practice is not only a matter of dealing with the law, rules, facts, issues, evidence and arguments. It is also a matter of dealing with people of all sorts, institutions, the social environment, and cultural attitudes.

As Judge Santos writes in the book’s Introduction, “It is time, even for (continuing) legal (and judicial) education purposes, that more of the experience from trial court practice is shared. This book hopes to be a modest contribution for that kind of sharing – of which it seems there is not enough of.” The book is organized in five Parts: Part I – A Report to Stakeholders, A Letter to the Staff; Part II – Amicable Settlement: Policy, Philosophy, Practice; Part III -- On the Merits: Decisions, Judgments, Final Resolutions; Part IV – Special Issuances, Miscellaneous Handouts; and Part V – Judicial Reforms: A View from the “Boondocks.”

The book’s Foreword was written by former Supreme Court Justice and now Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, before whom author Judge Santos had taken his oath as MCTC Judge in 2010 when Morales was a Supreme Court Justice. She writes: “Russian theater director Constantin Stanislavski (1863-1938) stated that ‘there are no small parts, only small actors,’ in driving home the point that all roles are important and must be performed well. After half a decade, the author continues to stand tall… I commend the author, Judge Soliman Melchor Santos, Jr. for his devotion to the pursuit of judicial excellence. This book… is a testament to his passion and dedication…This worthy publication deserves the attention and accolade of all members of the bench and bar.”

The book Justice of the Peace is available at P500 per copy at all outlets/branches of Central Books: in Quezon City (at its main office, 927 Quezon Ave., Tel. 3723550, Cel. 0917-5049977, Email:,; in Mandaluyong City (at SM Mega Mall Building A, 5th Level, Tel. 6381088); in Manila (at Ever Gotesco, Manila Plaza Mall, C.M. Recto Ave., Tel. 7346178); in Makati City (at Lyceum-Makati, 109 SDC Building, Leviste St., Brgy. Bel-Air, Tel. 8875245); in Cebu City (at GV Building, P. del Rosario St., Tel. 2530784); and in Davao City (19A, Building D, Aldevinco Shopping Center, Roxas St.,Tel. 2241070). Online inquiries and orders may be made through the Central Books website The book is also available at: Solidaridad Bookshop (531 Padre Faura, Ermita, Manila, Te. 2541086); Popular Book Store (305 Tomas Morato Ave., Quezon City, Tel. 3722162); and the office of author Judge Santos at the RTC Branch 61, 3rd Floor, Hall of Justice, City Hall Complex, J. Miranda Ave., Naga City.


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