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Legal Ethics 3B

(1) PANES VS. DINOPOL 1. Whether the issuance by respondent Judge Dinopol
of the 24 March 2007 twin Orders constitutes gross
FACTS: ignorance of the law?

1. Gomba submitted a complaint to the Respondent


2. Whether respondent judge should have inhibited
Judge. The case arose when Gomba refused to
himself from a case to which one of the parties was
acknowledge the new Board of Directors in Kornadal
his wifes nephew is party thereto?
Water District (KWD)prompting the Local water
Utilities Administration to replace her by Vargas as
HELD:
the general manager of the KWD.
2. Respondent Judge issued the assailed twin orders in
1. YES, the orders assailed constitute gross ignorance
favour of GombaThe first one directing the city
that would warrant his dismissal from service.
mayor to desist and refrain from taking over the 2. Yes.
operation and management of the KWD Arellano
office; otherwise his arrest would be effected. The RATIONALE:
second Order meanwhile directed the LWUA
personnel to return properties to the KWD Arellano 1. At the outset, respondent failed to provide any
office, also under pain of arrest. legitimate reason for the issuance of the Orders on a
3. Petitioners argued that the Orders were violent, and Saturday evening when the courts were already
caused undue disturbance. were patently illegal and closed. As pointed out by the CA, if indeed there was
void and were issued with abuse of authority and robbery or looting happening in the premises, arrests
gross ignorance of law, jurisprudence and the Rules could be effected by the police officers who were
of Court, for the following reasons: already in the vicinity of the KWD office.
2. We agree with the findings of the OCA that
1. These Orders were issued past working hours, on respondents defenses neither justify his failure to
a Saturday, a nonworking day, and without the comply with due process requirements nor do they
benefit of a hearing or a notice to concerned parties. demonstrate good faith on his part that would
exculpate him from administrative liability.
2. Resistance to a lawful court order, while a ground Respondent violated the most basic requirements for
for indirect contempt, still requires the filing of a the proper observance of due process, resulting in
charge and the opportunity to be heard. the unwarranted arrest and incarceration of
powerless individuals
3. Complainants were not parties to the cases filed
before respondent judge on the legitimacy of either 3. We find that the issuance of these Orders was in
faction. total disregard of the Rules of Court and with grave
abuse of authority. Undoubtedly, respondent is guilty
4. The proceedings in Civil Case No. 1799-24 are of gross ignorance of the law.
null and void because the lawyers representing
KWD, a government-owned and controlled 4. To be held administratively liable for gross ignorance
corporation, were not authorized by the Office of the of the law, the acts complained of must not only be
Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and the contrary to existing law and jurisprudence, but must
Commission on Audit (COA have also been motivated by bad faith, fraud,
dishonesty, and corruption.26 Gross ignorance of the
4. Respondent argued that it was a necessary order for law is considered as a serious offense under Rule
a speedy disposition of the case. 140, Section 8,

ISSUES: 5. Cabel, one of the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 1839-


24, is the nephew of the wife of respondent. Section
1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, provides for the
following instances of mandatory inhibition:

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Legal Ethics 3B

Section 1.Disqualification of judges. Whether or not willful failure to pay a just


No judge or judicial officers shall sit in any debt is a ground for disciplinary action against
case in which he, or his wife or child, is
judges.
pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee,
creditor or otherwise, or in which he is
related to either party within the sixth degree HELD:
of consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel
within the fourth degree, computed Yes. The Court has repeatedly stressed that it is not
according to the rules of the civil law, or in
which he has been executor, administrator, a collection agency for the unpaid debts of its
guardian, trustee or counsel, or in which he officials and employees,but has nevertheless
has presided in any inferior court when his provided for Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of
ruling or decision is the subject of review,
Court that holds its officials and employees
without the written consent of all parties in
interest, signed by them and entered upon administratively liable in unpaid debt situations. This
the record. Section provides that willful failure to pay a just debt
is a ground for disciplinary action against judges and
2 VICTORIANO G. MANLAPAZ vs. JUDGE
justices.
MANUEL T. SABILLO,

A.M. No. MTJ-10-1771; February 13, 2013;


Brion, J.:
Just debts, as defined in Section 23, Rule
(formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-2160-MTJ)
XIV of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of
E.O. No. 292, refer to (1) claims adjudicated by a
court of law; or (2) claims, the existence and

FACTS: justness of which are admitted by the debtor. Section


8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court classifies willful
Complainant Victoriano Manlapaz charged failure to pay a just debt as a serious charge.
respondent Manuel Sabillo, then a practicing lawyer,
with serious and gross misconduct for failure to While reference to a debt necessarily

return an amount arising from a transaction before implies a transaction that is private and outside of

the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela City. official transactions, the rules do not thereby intrude
into public officials private lives; they simply look at
their actions from the prism of public service and
consider these acts unbecoming of a public
The RTC and the CA, on appeal, ruled in official. These rules take into account that these are
favor of Manlapaz. actions of officials who are entrusted with public
duties and who, even in their private capacities,
ISSUE:
should continually act to reflect their status as public
servants. Employees of the judiciary should be living
examples of uprightness not only in the performance

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of official duties but also in their personal and private going out with a woman not his wife, and for him
dealings with other people so as preserve at all to be involved in rearing game cocks.
times the good name and standing of the courts in
the community. 3. OCA recommended that Judge Achas be
reprimanded as to the charge of immorality. It was
further recommended that he be ordered to refrain
from going to cockpits or avoid such places
Here, the complainants claim is a just debt.
altogether, with a warning that the same or similar
The willfulness of Judge Sabillo in not paying is
complaint in the future shall be dealt with more
shown by his continuous failure to settle despite
severely. The other charges were recommended to
demand letters sent to him. Thus, the court imposed
be dismissed for lack of merit.
the penalty of fine.

ISSUE:
1. Whether or not anonymous complaints may
(3) ANONYMOUS, complainant vs.JUDGE RIO be filed against judges.
ACHAS, respondent 2. Whether or not the alleged acts committed by
A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801
Judge Achas constitute immorality thus
27 February 2013
violating New Code of Judicial Ethics
FACTS:
specifically Canon 2 and Canon 4.

1. A letter-complaint was filed before the court


RULING:
alleging the immorality and conduct unbecoming
of a judge against Judge Rio Achas (Judge
1. Yes anonymous complaints may be filed
Achas) which alleges the following:
against judges under Section 1 of Rule 140 of
a. it is of public knowledge in the city that Judge
the Rules of Court, but they must be supported
Achas is living scandalously with a woman who
by public records of indubitable integrity. Thus,
is not his wife;
for anonymous complaints, the burden of proof
b. he lives beyond his means;
c. he is involved with illegal activities through his in administrative proceedings must be
connection with bad elements, the kuratongs; buttressed by indubitable public records and by
d. he comes to court very untidy and dirty;
what is sufficiently proven during the
e. he decides his cases unfairly in exchange for
investigation. If the burden of proof is not
material and monetary consideration;
f. he is involved with cockfighting/gambling. overcome, the respondent is under no
obligation to prove his defense. In the present
2. In his comment, Judge Achas denied all
case, no evidence was attached to the letter-
allegations and claimed that these were hatched
complaint. The complainant never appeared,
to harass him. RTC through Judge Dungog found
and no public records were brought forth during
that it is not commendable, proper or moral per
the investigation. The charges that he (1) lives
Canons of Judicial Ethics to be perceived as
beyond his means, (2) is involved with illegal

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activities through his connection with the duties, must be beyond reproach, for he is
kuratongs, (3) comes to court very untidy and perceived to be the personification of law and
dirty, and (4) decides his cases unfairly in justice. Thus, any demeaning act of a judge
exchange for material and monetary degrades the institution he represents.
consideration were, therefore, properly
recommended dismissed by the OCA for lack of (4) RE: Complaint of Leonardo A. Velasco
evidence. Against Associate Justices Francisco H.
Villaruz,Alex Quiroz and Samuel Martirez of the
2. The charges that (1) it is of public knowledge
SANDIGANBAYAN
that he is living scandalously with a woman not
A.M. OCA IPI No. 10-25-SB-J January 15, 2013
his wife and that (2) he is involved with
FACTS:
cockfighting/gambling are, however, violative of
Mayor Pacifico C. Velasco (Pacifico) was
the New Code of Judicial Ethics. Judge Achas
convicted by the Sandiganbayan guilty for the
clearly violated Canon 2 and Canon 4 by going
violation of R.A. 3019 (Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices
out in public with a woman who is not his wife.
Act). Pacifico sought several reconsiderations before
There is no evidence to prove that Judge Achas
the Supreme Court but the latter denied all of it.
is engaged in gambling, but he admitted that he
These motions and pleadings delayed the execution
is rearing cocks for leisure. Although it is not
of his sentence despite the finality of his conviction.
illegal, Judge Achas should avoid mingling with
In a hearing for the execution of Pacificos sentence
a crowd of cockfighting enthusiast and bettors
before the Sandiganbayan his counsel made several
as it is undoubtedly impair the respect due him.
manifestations stating that Pacifico was confined in a
The court further stated that as a judge, he
hospital and was due for surgery. Nonetheless, the
must impose upon himself personal restrictions
Sandiganbayan issued a warrant of arrest but
that might be viewed as burdensome by the
allowed Pacifico to stay in the hospital. The
ordinary citizen and should do so freely and
accuseds counsel filed several motions to recall the
willingly. Lastly, the court said that no position
warrants issued on the ground of humanitarian
demands greater moral righteousness and
considerations.
uprightness from its occupant than does the
Complainant Leonardo Velasco (Leonardo)
judicial office. Judges in particular must be
filed an administrative case against the Justices
individuals of competence, honesty and probity,
claiming that upon the finality of the decision it was
charged as they are with safeguarding the
the ministerial duty of the latter to execute such
integrity of the court and its proceedings. He
decision. In not doing so and in granting the wishes
should behave at all times so as to promote
of Pacifico, they have shown evident partiality.
public confidence in the integrity and impartiality
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent
of the judiciary, and avoid impropriety and the
Sandiganbayan Justices may be held
appearance of impropriety in all his activities.
administratively liable for their actions which unduly
His personal behaviour outside the court, and
not only while in the performance of his official

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delayed the execution of the final sentence of 4. In a Sealed Report, Judge Cruz recommended
conviction of Pacifico? (NO) that respondent (who retired May 22, 2002) be
HELD: found guilty of the violation of Notarial Law by
Respondents did not commit grave notarizing documents without commission,
misconduct or any violation of a specific provision of tardiness in submission of notarial reports and
the Code of Judicial Conduct. Such Justices merely non-forwarding of notarial register to Clerk of
afforded Pacifico and his camp the legal remedies Court upon expiration of his commission and that
given to them by law. for these infractions he be suspended from
However, by extending too much modesty, practice of law and barred from being
the Justices deserve admonition. They should have commissioned as notary public for one year.
ISSUE:
executed the decision immediately unless TRO or
Whether or not a retired judge charged with
preliminary injunction has been issued.
notarizing documents without the requisite notary
commission more than twenty years ago be
disciplined therefore

(5) HEINZ R. HECK, complainant, vs. JUDGE


HELD:
ANTHONY E. SANTOS, Regional Trial Court, The fact that a judge has retired or has
Branch 19. Cagayan De Oro City, respondent otherwise been separated from the service does
(A.M. No. RTJ-01-1657; En Banc; J. Callejo Sr.;
not necessarily divest the Court of its jurisdiction
February 23, 2004)
to determine the veracity of the allegations of the
FACTS:
1. The instant case arose when in a verified Letter- complaint, pursuant to its disciplinary authority
Complaint Heinz Heck prayed for the disbarment over members of the bench. Jurisdiction was not
of Judge Anthony Santos alleging that prior to the lost by the mere fact that respondent, had ceased
respondents appointment as RTC judge he in office during the pendency of his case. The
violated the notarial law by subscribing and Court retains jurisdiction either to pronounce the
forwarding on a non-regular basis notarized respondent innocent of the charges or declare
documents to the Clerk of Court despite his non- him guilty thereof. A contrary rue would be
commission as notary public. fraught with injustice and pregnant with dreadful
2. In his Answer, the respondent judge categorically
and dangerous implications. If innocent, it taints
denied the charges against him contending that
his name and integrity as he leaves the institution
there was no proper recording of the
which he has served well; if guilty, he deserves to
commissioned lawyers in the City of Cagayan de
receive the corresponding censure and penalty.
Oro as well as the submitted notarized It must be remembered that notarization is
documents/ notarial register. not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. On the
3. Pursuant to the report of the Office of the Court
contrary it is invested with substantive public
Administrator recommending a full-blown
interest such that only those qualified or
investigation, the case was referred to Associate
authorized may act as notaries public.
Justice Edgardo Cruz of the Court of Appeals.
Notarization converts a private document into a

5
Legal Ethics 3B

public one, making it admissible in evidence of circulating calling cards containing self-laudatory
without the necessity of preliminary proof of statements regarding qualifications in violation of
authenticity and due execution. In the case, the Canon 2, Rule 2.02, Canons of Judicial Conduct; for
respondent did not object to the complainants rendering resolutions without written orders in
formal offer of evidence, prompting the violation of Rule 36, Section 1, 1997 Rules of
Investigating Justice to decide the case on the Procedures; his alleged partiality in criminal cases
basis of the pleadings filed. Furthermore, he did where he declares that he is pro-accused which is
not present any evidence of his commission as contrary to Canon 2, Rule 2.01, Canons of Judicial
well as proof of submission of notarial reports Conduct; for appearing in personal cases without
and notarial register. Then, too, by making it prior authority from the Supreme Court and without
appear that he is duly commissioned when he is filing the corresponding applications for leaves of
not, he committed falsehood in violation of the absence on the scheduled dates of hearing; for
Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 Code of Judicial
Responsibility. Conduct when he openly criticized the Rules of
Finally, an administrative Complaint against
Court and the Philippine justice system; for the use
a member of the Bar does not prescribe. The
of highly improper and intemperate language during
qualification of good moral character is a
court proceedings; for violation of Circular No.
requirement which is not dispensed with upon
135 dated 1 July 1987.
admission to membership of the Bar. It is not only a
condition precedent to admission to the legal
profession, but its continued possession is essential
to maintain ones good standing in the profession. Judge Floro also claimed that he has certain
psychic powers such as the power to see the future,
the power of bilocation, the power to type letters
(6) OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR vs.
while he is in a trance and the power to see and
JUDGE FLORENTINO V. FLORO, JR.
consult with his little friends or the duwendes.

A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460

March 31, 2006


Issue/s:Whether or not Judge Floro is unfit to serve
as a judge

Facts:

Held:
Judge Florentino V. Floro of Branch 73,
Malabon City faced a total of 13 charges calling for
Judge Floro must be relieved of his position
his disbarment and removal from his office as a
as Judge of RTC Malabon Branch due to a medically
judge. Some of the charges against him were the act

6
Legal Ethics 3B

disabling condition of the mind that renders him unfit A judge should avoid being queer in his
to discharge the functions of his office behavior, appearance and movements. He must
always keep in mind that he is the visible
Ratio: representative of the law. Judge Floro, Jr.s claims
that he is endowed with psychic powers, that he can
With the foregoing, we find the act of Judge
inflict pain and sickness to people, that he is the
Floro in circulating calling cards containing self-
angel of death and that he has unseen "little friends"
laudatory statements constitutive of simple
are manifestations of his psychological instability
misconduct in violation of Canon 2, Rule 2.02 of the
and therefore casts doubt on his capacity to carry
Code of Judicial Conduct. Judge Floro also violated
out the functions and responsibilities of a judge.
the Code of Judicial Ethics when he declared that he
was pro-accused. The findings of mental and psychological
incapacity are thus substantially supported by
Canon 2.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct states:
evidence. Based on the three[3] psychological tests
"A judge should so behave at all times as to promote
and evaluation of the two[2] psychiatrists, the
public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of
undersigned has no other recourse but to
the judiciary." This means that a judge whose duty is
recommend that Judge Florentino Floro be declared
to apply the law and dispense justice "should not
unfit to discharge his duties as a Judge, effective
only be impartial, independent and honest but
immediately.
should be believed and perceived to be impartial,
independent and honest" as well.

He is guilty of unbecoming conduct for signing a


pleading wherein he indicated that he is the
presiding judge of RTC, Branch 73, Malabon City
and for appending to the pleading a copy of his oath
with a picture of his oath-taking. The only logical
explanation we can reach for such acts is that Judge
Floro was obviously trying to influence or put
pressure on a fellow judge by emphasizing that he
(7) ALEN ROSS RODRIGUEZ and REGIDOR
himself is a judge and is thus in the right. Verily, TULALI vs. The Hon. BIENVENIDO
Canon 2, Rule 2.04 of the Code of Judicial Conduct BLANCAFLOR, in his capacity as the Acting
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
mandates that a "judge shall refrain from influencing Palawan, Branch 52, and PEOPLE OF THE
in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 190171
pending before another court or administrative March 14, 2011
agency." By doing what he did, Judge Floro, to say
FACTS:
the least, put a fellow judge in a very awkward
position. Previously pending before Judge Blancaflor was
Criminal Case No. 22240 for arson (arson

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Legal Ethics 3B

case), entitled People of the Philippines v. Teksan same for correction and preservation of the dignity of
Ami, in which Tulali was the trial prosecutor. During the court, and not for retaliation or vindictiveness. It
the pendency of the case, Tulali was implicated in a bears stressing that the power to declare a person in
controversy involving an alleged bribery initiated by contempt of court must be exercised on the
Randy Awayan (Awayan), the driver assigned to preservative, not the vindictive principle; and on the
Judge Blancaflor under the payroll of the Office of corrective, not the retaliatory, idea of
the Governor of Palawan, and one Ernesto punishment. Such power, being drastic and
Fernandez (Fernandez), to assure the acquittal of extraordinary in its nature, should not be resorted to
the accused, Rolly Ami (Ami), and the dismissal of unless necessary in the interest of justice.
the arson case on the other hand before the day of
the scheduled promulgation of the decision in the In this case, the Court cannot sustain Judge
arson case, Tulali filed an Ex-Parte Manifestation Blancaflors order penalizing petitioners for direct
withdrawing his appearance in the said case to contempt on the basis of Tulalis Ex-
prevent any suspicion of misdemeanor and Parte Manifestation.
collusion, then Judge Blancaflor rendered his
Direct contempt is any misbehavior in the presence
decision acquitting Ami of the crime of arson.
of or so near a court as to obstruct or interrupt the
Purportedly on the basis of the administrative
proceedings before the same, including disrespect
complaint filed against Awayan and Rodriguez,
toward the court, offensive personalities toward
Judge Blancaflor summoned several witnesses
others, or refusal to be sworn or to answer as a
including Tulali and heard their testimonies, then he
witness, or to subscribe an affidavit or deposition
issued an order summoning Rodriguez to appear
when lawfully required to do so.
before him for the purpose of holding an inquiry on
matters pertaining to his possible involvement in Based on the foregoing definition, the act of Tulali in
Tulalis filing of the ex-parte manifestation and the filing the Ex-Parte Manifestation cannot be
administrative complaint against Awayan, among construed as contumacious within the purview of
others. During the pendency of the case Rodriguez direct contempt. It must be recalled that the subject
filed his Motion for Clarification as to the purpose of manifestation bore Tulalis voluntary withdrawal from
Judge Blancaflors continued inquiries considering the arson case to dispel any suspicion of collusion
that the decision in the arson case had already been between him and the accused. Its filing on the day
promulgated however in an order, Judge Blancaflor before the promulgation of the decision in the
informed the petitioners that he was proceeding pending criminal case, did not in any way disrupt the
against them for direct contempt and violation of proceedings before the court. Accordingly, he should
their oath of office on the basis of Tulalis Ex- not be held accountable for his act which was done
Parte Manifestation. in good faith and without malice.
ISSUE:Whether or not Judge Blancaflors disregard Neither should Rodriguez be liable for direct
of due process constituted grave abuse of discretion contempt as he had no knowledge of, or
which was further aggravated by the unlawful participation in, the preparation and filing of the
manner of simultaneously conducting suspension subject manifestation. It was signed and filed by
and contempt proceedings against them. Tulali alone in his capacity as the trial prosecutor in
the arson case. The attached complaint against
HELD:
Awayan was filed with the Office of the Palawan
The power to punish a person in contempt of court is Governor, and not with the RTC.
inherent in all courts to preserve order in judicial
Apparently, Judge Blancaflors conclusion, that the
proceedings and to uphold the orderly administration
subject manifestation containing derogatory matters
of justice. However, judges are enjoined to exercise
was purposely filed to discredit the administration of
the power judiciously and sparingly, with utmost
justice in court, is unfounded and without basis.
restraint, and with the end in view of utilizing the
There being no factual or legal basis for the charge

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Legal Ethics 3B

of direct contempt, it is clear that Judge Blancaflor In the case at bench, there was no prior and
gravely abused his discretion in finding petitioners separate notice issued to petitioners setting forth the
guilty as charged. facts constituting the misconduct and requiring them,
within a specified period from receipt thereof, to
In the present case, Judge Blancaflor failed to show cause why they should not be suspended from
observe the elementary procedure which requires the practice of their profession. Neither were they
written charge and due hearing. There was no order given full opportunity to defend themselves, to
issued to petitioners. Neither was there any written produce evidence on their behalf and to be heard by
or formal charge filed against them. In fact, themselves and counsel. Undoubtedly, the
Rodriguez only learned of the contempt proceedings suspension proceedings against petitioners are null
upon his receipt of the July 30, 2009 Order, requiring and void, having violated their right to due process.
him to appear before the Court in order to clarify
certain matters contained in the said order. Tulali, on (8) INSTANCE SHOWING SIMPLE MISCONDUCT
the other hand, only learned of the proceedings OF A JUDGE (Judicial Ethics)
when he was ordered to submit his compliance to Aida R. Campos, Alistair R. Campos, and Charmaine R.
explain how he came in possession of the Campos v. Judge Eliseo M. Campos
administrative complaint against Awayan. A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761, February 8, 2012
Carpio, J.
The fact that petitioners were afforded the
opportunity to file their appropriate pleadings is not FACTS:
sufficient as the proceedings ex-parte to hear the
witnesses testimonies had already been completed. This is a complaint for serious misconduct,
immorality and dishonesty filed by complainants
Indeed, Judge Blancaflor failed to conform to the against respondent, former Presiding Judge of the
MTC of Bayugan,Agusan del Sur.
standard of honesty and impartiality required of
judges as mandated under Canon 3 of the Code of
Complainant Aida and respondent were married in
Judicial Conduct.
1981 and had two children, complainants Alistair and
Charmaine.
As a public servant, a judge should perform his
duties in accordance with the dictates of his
In 2008, respondent filed a petition for Declaration of
conscience and the light that God has given him. A Nullity of Marriage, alleging that he and Aida were
judge should never allow himself to be moved by both psychologically incapacitated to comply with the
pride, prejudice, passion, or pettiness in the essential marital obligations; for his part, respondent
performance of his duties. He should always bear in is a homosexual who could not be intimate with his
mind that the power of the court to punish for wife unless he imagined he was with another man,
contempt should be exercised for purposes that are while his wife had affairs with other men as a result
of his homosexuality.
impersonal, because that power is intended as a
safeguard not for the judges as persons but for the
To her defense, Aida denied the allegations and filed
functions that they exercise. for legal separation. According to her, respondent
wanted their marriage annulled so that he could
Contempt and suspension proceedings are marry another woman with whom he was having a
supposed to be separate and distinct. They have relationship. In the meantime, a separate case was
different objects and purposes for which different pending against the respondent, to which a
procedures have been established. Judge Blancaflor certain parcel of registered land might be taken from
should have conducted separate proceedings their property in the event of loss. Facts show that
the title to such land was kept by respondent in his
Granting that the simultaneous conduct of contempt drawer. When respondent could not find the title in
and suspension proceedings is permitted, the his usual place for safekeeping, he sought the
advice of the Register of Deeds who told him to
suspension of petitioners must still fail.
execute the affidavit of loss, to which he did.

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Legal Ethics 3B

Respondent then registered the title but in the name Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct due to his
of Alistair, a minor at that time.
friendly greeting to a party and for acting as counsel
ISSUE: Is respondent guilty of immorality, for the latter by raising questions on the respondents
dishonesty, and serious misconduct? during their testimonies. Finally, in In Civil Case No.
7065, for allegedly acting with undue delay in
HELD: NO, respondent is not guilty of immorality,
dishonesty and serious misconduct but only simple resolving a simple Motion to Dismiss, and in his
misconduct. First, the complainants failed to present
alleged tardiness in trying cases before his bench.
any proof of respondents alleged relationship with
another woman, so as to justify a charge for ISSUE: WON Judge Canoy is guilty of gross
immorality. There was no evidence presented that
ignorance of law and procedure, undue interference
respondent engaged in scandalous conduct that
would warrant the imposition of disciplinary action and gross inefficiency in violation of the Canons of
against him. However, the Court reminded
Judicial Ethics.
respondent of the judge's duty to conduct himself in
a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial HELD: In Civil Case No. 707, Supreme Court held
office. As such, he must comport himself at all times
that an injunction cannot be issued to transfer
in such a manner that his conduct, official or
otherwise, can bear the most searching scrutiny of possession or control of a property to another when
the public that looks up to him as the epitome of
the legal title is in dispute between the parties and
integrity and justice. Second, respondent was not
guilty of dishonesty as regards the declaration of the legal title has not been clearly established. X X X
loss of title.
When the law involved is simple and elementary,
lack of conversance with it constitutes gross
(9) ATTY. RENE O. MEDINA and ATTY. CLARITO
ignorance of the law.
SERVILLAS vs. JUDGE VICTOR A. CANOY
In Spec. Proc. No. 7101, On the charge of violation
(February 22, 2012)
of Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, we find
the same bereft of merit. A judge may properly
FACTS:
intervene in the presentation of evidence to expedite
Relative to cases filed before Judge Canoy, an
and prevent unnecessary waste of time and clarify
administrative complaint was filed against him for
obscure and incomplete details in the course of the
gross ignorance of law and procedure, undue
testimony of the witness. X X X On the charge of
interference and gross inefficiency. In Civil Case No.
gross ignorance of procedure and undue
7077, the complainants alleged that the Judge acts
interference in the administrative functions of the
of issuing TRO and preliminary injunction are
Bureau of Immigration, complainants failed to prove
improper remedies for to transfer possession of one
the charge with substantial evidence. In the absence
property to another whose title has not been clearly
of contrary evidence, what will prevail is the
established, and also for failure to decide Motion for
presumption that the respondent judge has regularly
Recommendation within the 30 days as required by
performed his duties. On the charge of tardiness,
rules and jurisprudence. In In Spec. Proc. No. 7101,
the same likewise without merit, without evidence as
for allegedly interfering with administrative functions
to their truthfulness or veracity.
of the Bureau on Immigration by ordering the release
In Civil Case No. 7065, Respondent judge resolved
of the expired passport to a party, preparing the said
the said Motion after more than a year and only after
Order outside of the courts premises, and violating

10
Legal Ethics 3B

the filing of the instant complaint. Failure to decide RULING: Petition GRANTED.
cases and other matters within Section 5, Rule 4 of the Rules of the JBC provides:
the reglementaryperiod of ninety (90) days Disqualification. - The following are disqualified from
constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the being nominated for appointment to any judicial post
imposition of administrative sanction against the or as Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman:
erring magistrate. This is not only a blatant 1. Those with pending criminal or regular
transgression of the Constitution but also of the administrative cases;
Code of Judicial Conduct (CANON 6 SECTION 5), 2. Those with pending criminal cases in
judges shall perform all judicial duties including the foreign courts or tribunals; and
delivery of reserved decisions efficiently, fairly and 3. Those who have been convicted in any
with reasonable promptness. criminal case; or in an administrative case,
where the penalty imposed is at least a fine
(10) A.M. No. 12-2-6-SC March 6, 2012 of more than P10,000, unless he has been
RE: PETITION FOR JUDICIAL CLEMENCY OF granted judicial clemency."
JUDGE IRMA ZITA V. MASAMAYOR, Considering Judge Masamayors previous record,
FACTS: Judge Irma Zita Masamayor, Executive and she is indeed disqualified from being further
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court at nominated for appointment to any judicial post,
Talibon, Bohol applied for a lateral transfer to the unless she be accorded judicial clemency.
Regional Trial Courts of Tagbilaran City. However, In A.M. No. 07-7-17-SC (Re: Letter of Judge
she received a letter from the Judicial and Bar Augustus C. Diaz, Metropolitan Trial Court of
Council dated January 24, 2012 informing her that Quezon City, appealing for Clemency),7 the Court
she was not included in the list of nominees for laid down the following guidelines in resolving
RTCs in Tagbilaran City. She attributes her requests for judicial clemency, thus:
disqualification to her previous administrative record 1st.There must be proof of remorse and reformation.
of gross inefficiency in 1999 and 2000 for belatedly (These shall include but should not be limited to
filing her motions for extension of time to resolve the certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or
cases then pending before her sala. Thus, she was chapter(s) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines,
ordered to pay a fine of P5,000.00 in A.M. No. 99-1- judges or judges associations and prominent
16-RTC; P10,000.00 in A.M. No. 98-12-381-RTC; members of the community with proven integrity and
and P12,000.00 in A.M. No. 99-2-79-RTC. She was probity. A subsequent finding of guilt in an
likewise earlier fined P5,000.00 for a similar violation administrative case for the same or similar
of Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial misconduct will give rise to a strong presumption of
Conduct in A.M. No. 98-10-338-RTC. To reverse she non-reformation.)
disqualification, she filed a petition for judicial 2nd. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the
clemency in the Supreme Court. imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of
ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Masamayor is reform.
qualified for judicial clemency.

11
Legal Ethics 3B

3rd. The age of the person asking for clemency must period sought, except in A.M. No. 99-2-79-RTC
show that he still has productive years ahead of him where she submitted her compliance beyond the
that can be put to good use by giving him a chance approved 45-day extended period. Nevertheless,
to redeem himself. petitioner has subsequently shown diligence in the
th
4 . There must be a showing of promise (such as performance of her duties and has not committed
intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or any similar act or omission.
contribution to legal scholarship and the Under the 5th guideline, petitioner's dedicated
development of the legal system or administrative service of 23 years to the judiciary, having been first
and other relevant skills), as well as potential for appointed as Municipal Circuit Trial Court judge in
public service. 1989, merits compassion from the Court. It bears to
th
5 . There must be other relevant factors and note that petitioner does not seek for promotion to a
circumstances that may justify clemency." higher position but only a lateral transfer to a place
Applying the foregoing standards to this case, the of work near her residence.
Court finds merit in petitioner's request. Note : 2 cases
st
Under the 1 guideline, notwithstanding her (11) RE: PETITION FOR JUDICIAL CLEMENCY
disqualification, the IBP Bohol Chapter has shown its OF THEN JUDGE HERMIN E. ARCEO
high regard for her per the letter of support signed by A.M. No. RTJ-96-1336
a number of its members addressed to the IBP Perlas-Bernabe,J.
during the pendency of her administrative cases and FACTS:
the IBP Resolution No. 11, Series of 2009 endorsing For resolution is the Petition for Judicial
her application for lateral transfer to the RTC of Clemency filed by Hermin Arceo, former Presiding
Tagbilaran City. Judge of RTC San Fernando Pampanga, seeking to
In addition, in the Memorandum of the Office of the lift the ban against his employment in any branch of
Court Administrator, it was stated that her prompt the government. According to him, he had
compliance with the judicial audit requirements of immensely suffered from and endured the stigma
pending cases was acknowledged and she was caused by his dismissal from the service and claims
even commended for her good performance in the to have been humbled by his experience and has
effective management of her court and in the become remorseful of his previous acts causing him
handling of court records. to reform his ways and treat each person with dignity
nd
Under the 2 guideline, a review of the records and respect.
reveals that petitioner has exhibited remorse for her ISSUE: WON the petition for Judicial Clemency
past misdeeds, which occurred more than ten (10) should be granted.
years ago. RULING:
rd
Under the 3 guideline, while she was found to have YES. In Re: Letter of Judge Augustus Diaz,
belatedly filed her motions for additional time to MTC of Quezon City, Appealing for Clemency,
resolve the aforecited cases, the Court noted that the Court laid down the following guidelines in
she had disposed of the same within the extended resolving requests for judicial clemency, to wit:

12
Legal Ethics 3B

1. There must be proof of remorse and reformation. court also notes the many years that had elapsed
These shall include but should not be limited to from the time of the dismissal and recognizes the
certifications or testimonials of officers or respondents dedication, citations and contributions
chapters of the IBP, judges or judges to the legal profession and to the judiciary prior to his
associations and prominent members of the dismissal from the service.
community with proven integrity and probity. A Respondent has sufficiently shown his
subsequent finding of guilt in an administrative remorse and reformation after his dismissal from the
case for the same or similar misconduct will give service meriting the Courts liberality. While it may be
rise to a strong presumption of non-reformation. conceded that respondent at 71 years old had
2. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the
already reached retirement age and can no longer
imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of
be eligible for regular employment in the public
reform.
service, yet, considering his achievements and
3. The age of the person asking for clemency must
mental aptitude, it cannot be doubted that he could
show that he still has productive years ahead of
still be of service to the government in some other
him that can be put to good use by giving him a
capacity.
chance to redeem himself.
4. There must be showing of promise (such as (12) JOCELYN TALENS-DABON vs. JUDGE
intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or HERMIN ARCEO
contribution to the legal scholarship and the A.M. No. RTJ-96-1336, July 25, 1996
development of the legal system or administrative FACTS:
or other relevant skills), as well as potential for A complaint was filed by Atty. Jocelyn
public service. Talens-Dabon, Clerk of Court of RTC Pampanga,
charging Judge Hermin Arceo, Executive Judge of
5. There must be other relevant factors and
said court, with gross misconduct and immorality.
circumstances that may justify clemency.
The complaint stemmed from the acts of Judge
Arceo towards his personnel wherein said Judge
Applying the foregoing standards to this
constantly made bodily contact with the complainant
case, the Court finds merit in respondents prayer for
and other female personnel whenever he had the
the lifting of the ban against his re-employment in
chance and that he even kissed one of them on
the government service.
several occasions. According to the complainant, the
Records show that after his dismissal from
Judge wrote poems manifesting his sexual intentions
the service, respondent engaged in private practice
towards her and the latter likewise kissed her
and most of his cases involve poor litigants,
violently against her will.
neighbors and close friends. He also submitted a
Certificate of Good Moral Character from the Acting
ISSUE: WON the Judge is guilty of Gross
Executive Judge of RTC Malolos and Certificate of
Misconduct and Immorality.
Favorable Endorsement from the President of the
RULING:
IBP attesting to his reformation and recognizing his
valuable contributions to the bar and the bench. The

13
Legal Ethics 3B

YES. The integrity of the Judiciary rests not expectations and diminished the esteem in which
only upon the fact that it is able to administer justice they hold the judiciary in general.
but also upon the perception and confidence of the The audacity under which the lewd and
community that the people who run the system have lustful acts were committed and the seeming
done justice. At times, the strict manner by which we impunity with which they were perpetrated shock our
apply the law may, in fact, do justice but may not sense of morality. All roads lead us to the conclusion
necessarily create confidence among the people that that respondent judge has failed to behave in a
justice, indeed, is served. Hence, in order to create manner that will promote confidence in the judiciary.
such confidence, the people who run the judiciary, His actuations, if condoned, would damage the
particularly judges and justices, must not only be integrity of the judiciary, fomenting distrust in the
proficient in both the substantive and procedural system. Hence, his acts deserve no less than the
aspects of the law, but more importantly, they must severest form of disciplinary sanction of dismissal
possess the highest integrity, probity, and from the service.
unquestionable moral uprightness, both in their The actuations of respondent are
public and private lives. Only then can the people be aggravated by the fact that complainant is one of his
reassured that the wheels of justice in this country subordinates over whom he exercises control and
run with fairness and equity, thus creating supervision, he being the executive judge. He took
confidence in the judicial system. advantage of his position and power in order to carry
With the avowed objective of promoting out his lustful and lascivious desires. Instead of he
confidence in the Judiciary, we have the following being in loco parentis over his subordinate
provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct: employees, respondent was the one who preyed on
Canon I them, taking advantage of his superior position.
Rule 1.01: A Judge should be the Judge Hermin Arceo was dismissed from the
embodiment of competence, integrity and service.
independence.
Canon II
Rule 2.00: A Judge should avoid (12) Re: Subpoena Duces Tecum
impropriety and the appearance of FACTS:
impropriety in all activities. Atty. Lozano and Atty. Evangeline Lozano- Endriano
Rule 2.01: A judge should so behave at all were indefinitely suspended from the practice of law
times as to promote public confidence in the integrity when they were found guilty of professional
and impartially of the judiciary. misconduct when they misquoted or misused
Respondent has failed to measure up these constitutional provisions in their pleadings to impute
exacting standards. He has behaved in a manner unjust acts to the members of the Court. However,
unbecoming of a judge and as model of moral Atty. Endraino was reinstated because of lesser
uprightness. He has betrayed the people's high culpability on her part.

14
Legal Ethics 3B

ISSUE: WON the misuse of constitutional provisions


is a breach of standards of being a member in good Held: Yes. Judge Indar is guilty of gross misconduct
standing and dishonesty . Judge Indar violated the following
HELD: Yes. However, the indefinite suspension was Canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility:
lifted because for a period of 2 years, Atty. Lozano CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE
did not do any act that would indicate that he acted CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND
in any unscrupulous practices unsuitable for him to AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND FOR
be a member of the bar. LEGAL PROCESSES.

(13) Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
Cader P. Indar dishonest, immoral or deceitful act.
A.M. No. RTJ-10-223, April 10 2012
Per Curiam CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES
Facts: UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE
Local Civil Registrars of Manila and Quezon City LEGAL PROFESSION.
reported to the Office of the Court Administrator In addition, Judge Indars dishonest act of issuing
(OCA) that they have received an alarming numbers decisions making it appear that the annulment cases
of decisions, resolutions and orders on annulment of underwent trial and complied with the Rules of
marriage cases allegedly issued by Judge Indar. Court, laws, and established jurisprudence violates
Judge Indar issued decisions on numerous the lawyers oath to do no falsehood, nor consent to
annulment of marriage cases which do not exist in the doing of any in court.
the records of RTC-Shariff Aguak, Branch 15 or the It cannot be denied that respondents dishonesty did
Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial not only affect the image of the judiciary, it also put
Court, Cotabato City. There is nothing to show that his moral character in serious doubt and rendered
(1) proceedings were had on the questioned cases; him unfit to continue in the practice of law.
(2) docket fees had been paid; (3) the parties were Possession of good moral character is not only a
notified of a scheduled hearing as calendared; (4) prerequisite to admission to the bar but also a
hearings had been conducted; or (5) the cases were continuing requirement to the practice of law. If the
submitted for decision. In other words, Judge Indar, practice of law is to remain an honorable profession
who had sworn to faithfully uphold the law, issued and attain its basic ideals, those counted within its
decisions on the questioned annulment of marriage ranks should not only master its tenets and
cases, without any showing that such cases principles but should also accord continuing fidelity
underwent trial and complied with the statutory and to them. The requirement of good moral
jurisprudential requisites for voiding marriages. character is of much greater import, as far as the
general public is concerned, than the
Issue: Whether or not Judge Indar is guilty of gross possession of legal learning.
misconduct and dishonest.

15
Legal Ethics 3B

official and employee shall observe in the discharge


Judge Indar is DISBARRED for violation of Canons and execution of their official duties, specifically
1 and 7 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional providing that they shall at all times respect the
Responsibility and his name ORDERED STRICKEN rights of others, and refrain from doing acts contrary
from the Roll of Attorneys. to law, good morals, good customs, public policy,
public order, and public interest. Thus, any conduct
(14) ROMANCITO AND JULIANA LUARCA v. contrary to these standards would qualify as conduct
JUDGE IRENEO MOLATO unbecoming of a government employee.
A.M. No. MTJ-08-1711 and A.M. No. MTJ-08-1716, Absent any showing that Judge Molato defrauded
23 APRIL 2012,THIRD DIVISION (Abad, J.) complainants of their money or committed acts that
Facts: Spouses Ramoncito and Juliana Luarca (the detract from the dignity of his position, the mere fact
Luarcas) and Jenny Agbay charged Judge Ireneo B. that the corporation of which his wife was the
Molato of the Municipal Trial Court of Bongabong, president had difficulties meeting its obligations does
Oriental Mindoro, with conduct unbecoming a not per se make him lacking in moral integrity and of
member of the judiciary, alleging that Judge Molato questionable character as would make him liable for
and his wife, Nilalina, enticed them to invest money conduct unbecoming a judge. Of course, there is
in Lucky Socorro Investor and Credit Corporation of evidence that the corporations Board of Directors
which Nilalina was president. The Luarcas and issued Resolution 1-2000 that authorized Judge
Agbay invested in that company to earn interest of Molato and three other persons to serve as the
2.5% per month. The Luarcas and Agbay claim that companys alternate bank signatories, with their
they got the monthly interest promised them but only signatures appearing on the document. But
up to 2003 when Lucky Corporation started missing complainants presented no evidence that Judge
on its obligations Luarcas asked Lucky Corporation Molato in fact performed such function for Lucky
to return their investments with the corresponding Corporation. The complainants presented no
interests. But Judge Molato and his wife failed to company withdrawal slips or checks where his
comply. signature appears. No evidence has been adduced
that he was a stockholder of that corporation, proof
that he engaged in private business without the
Issues: Supreme Courts consent, or served as one of its
1. Is Judge Molato , apart from being the corporate or line officers.
husband of Lucky Corporations president, Still, Judge Molato is to be reprimanded for agreeing
involve in its affairs; and to serve as one of Lucky Corporations alternate
2. In the affirmative, what shall the nature of bank signatories even if he may not have performed
his administrative liability be? such service for the corporation. He has no business
Held: Section 4 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical agreeing to the performance of such service. His
Standards for Public Officials and Employees lays offense constitutes a violation of Administrative
down the norms of conduct which every public Circular 5 which in essence prohibits public officials

16
Legal Ethics 3B

from performing or agreeing to perform functions or honesty in the public service. In essence, it is the
services outside of their official functions for the consensus of the Justices of the above-mentioned
reason that the entire time of the officials and courts and the various judges associations that while
employees of the judiciary shall be devoted to their the Constitution holds dear the right of the people to
official work to ensure the efficient and speedy have access to matters of concern, the Constitution
administration of justice. also holds sacred the independence of the Judiciary.
Thus, although no direct opposition to the disclosure
(15) RE: REQUEST FOR COPY OF 2008 of SALN and other personal documents is being
STATEMENT OF ASSETS, LIABILITIES AND
expressed, it is the uniform position of the said
NETWORTH
[SALN] AND PERSONAL DATA SHEET magistrates and the various judges associations
ORCURRICULUM VITAE OF THE JUSTICES OF
that the disclosure must be made in accord with the
THE
SUPREME COURT AND OFFICERS AND guidelines set by the Court and under such
EMPLOYEES OF THE JUDICIARY
circumstances that would not undermine the
A. M. No. 09-8-6-SC
June 13, 2012. independence of the Judiciary.

FACTS:
Rowena Paraan, Research Director of the PCIJ, Like all constitutional guarantees, however, the right
sought copies of the SALN of the Justices of the to information, with its companion right of access to
Supreme Court for the year 2008. She also official records, is not absolute. While providing
requested for copies of the Personal Data Sheet of guaranty for that right, the Constitution also provides
the Justices of this Court for the purpose of updating that the peoples right to know is limited to matters
their database of information on government of public concern and is further subject to such
officials. limitations as may be provided by law.

ISSUE: Considering the foregoing legal precepts vis--vis


Whether or not the justices are obliged to disclose the various requests made, the Court finds no
their SALNs and be accessed via the right to cogent reason to deny the public access to the
information without violation against any SALN, PDS and CV of the Justices of the Court and
Constitutional rights? other magistrates of the Judiciary subject, of course,
to the limitations and prohibitions provided in R.A.
RULING: Yes. Canon 2, Sec. 1 of The New Code Of No. 6713, its implementing rules and regulations,
Judicial Conduct For The Philippine Judiciary and in the guidelines set forth in the decrial portion.
provides that:
"Judges shall ensure that not only is their The Court notes the valid concerns of the other
conduct above reproach, but that it is perceived to magistrates regarding the possible illicit motives of
be so in the view of a reasonable person" some individuals in their requests for access to such
The right to information goes hand-in-hand with the personal information and their publication. However,
constitutional policies of full public disclosure and custodians of public documents must not concern

17
Legal Ethics 3B

themselves with the motives, reasons and objects of complainants filed the instant complaint with the
the persons seeking access to the records. The OCA against the Judge for gross ignorance of the
moral or material injury which their misuse might law, rules or procedures, gross incompetency,
inflict on others is the requestors responsibility and violation of RA 3019, violation of Arts. 171 and 172
lookout. Any publication is made subject to the of the RPC and pertinent provisions of the Code of
consequences of the law. While public officers in the Judicial Conduct.
custody or control of public records have the
discretion to regulate the manner in which records Judge Lubao, in his Comment, informed the
may be inspected, examined or copied by interested Court that one of the complainants, Remberto C.
persons, such discretion does not carry with it the Karaan, Sr., is engaging in the practice of law even
authority to prohibit access, inspection, examination, though he is not a lawyer. Karaan replied by saying
or copying of the records. After all, public office is a that Judge Lubao was only evading the topic at hand
public trust. Public officers and employees must, at and thus violating again basic rules of procedure and
all times, be accountable to the people, serve them the law. The OCA dismissed the complaint saying
with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and that there was no evidence of fraud, bad faith or
efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead dishonesty of Judge Lubao in giving the said Orders.
modest lives. OCA said that the remedy of complainants is a
judicial remedy and not an administrative case. The
(16) JUVY P. CIOCON-REER, ET AL. vs. JUDGE Supreme Court, in a Resolution dated 24 November
ANTONIO C. LUBAO 2010, dismissed the complainant against Judge
A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3210-RTJ | June 20, 2012 | Lubao and ordered Karaan to show cause why he
Carpio, J. should not be cited in contempt. Thus, Karaan
FACTS: moved for a reconsideration of the dismissal before
The complainants were the plaintiffs in Civil the Supreme Court.
Case No. 7819 that was appealed from MTC ISSUE:
General Santos City to RTC, Branch 22, which was WON Judge Lubao is guilty of gross
the post of the respondent Judge. Judge Lubao then ignorance of the law, rules or procedures, gross
issued an Order on 12 September 2008 directing the incompetency, violation of RA 3019, violation of Arts.
parties to file their memoranda within 30 days from 171 and 172 of the RPC and pertinent provisions of
receipt. Complainants averred that defendants the Code of Judicial Conduct
should have received the Order by 07 October 2008,
giving them until 06 November 2008 to file the HOLD:
memoranda, but they failed to do so. That No. The SC held that not all administrative
notwithstanding, Judge Lubao still didnt decide the complainants against judges should merit sanctions
case 4 months from November 6. On 20 May 2009, to judges especially if no bad faith, dishonesty or
he even gave the defendants a last chance to file corruption is present. Judge Lubao could not be
their memoranda but the same was received by faulted for acting carefully before proceeding with
defendants only on 17 June 2009. Thus, the

18
Legal Ethics 3B

the civil case and in giving all the parties an complainant posits that the respondent betrayed her
opportunity to be heard. ignorance of the law, considering that all judicial
notices and orders emanating from the courts of
Further, the SC held that Karaan was indeed Catarman, Northern Samar should be published only
engaged in unauthorized practice of law and he was in the CWT, pursuant to Presidential Decree No.
held in indirect contempt by the SC. His act of 1079.
requiring the parties to execute a Special Power of
Attorney in his favor to allow him to be a party litigant
constituted such illegal practice. He was imposed a
The respondent, with respect to her alleged
penalty of 10,000.00 for his actions.
inaction on the petition for contempt maintains that

(17) . Eladio D. Perfecto v. Judge Alma Consuelo the summons were served on the respondents and

Desales-Esidera, A.M. No. RTJ-11-2258 that eventually, the respondents filed their Answer
with Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaim, but no
June 20, 2012, Brion, J. other pleadings followed. Relative to the issue on the
publication of court orders/notices, the respondent
submits that the CWT is not generally circulated in
the province and that according to her, [t]he [CWT]
Facts: Eladio D. Perfecto filed an administrative
caters only to those who buy commercial space from
complaint against Presiding Judge Alma Consuelo
the publisher for announcements and legal notices.
Desales-Esidera for violation of the Code of Judicial
Conduct and ignorance of the law when firstly, he
filed a Petition to Cite for Contempt against one Issue: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of
Dalmacio Grafil and a Ven S. Labro which was ignorance of the law and usurpation of authority
raffled to the court presided over by the respondent, under the Code of Judicial Conduct.
lamenting that the case has since been gathering
dust in the court of the respondent and maintains
that the respondent should be made administratively Held: Anent the allegations of ignorance of the law
liable for her failure to act on the case within a and usurpation of authority against respondent
reasonable period of time. And secondly, the Judge Esidera, for issuing a directive to the
complainant claims that he is the publisher and petitioner in a special proceedings case to cause the
Editor-in-Chief of the Catarman Weekly Tribune publication of her order in a newspaper of general
(CWT), the only accredited newspaper inNorthern publication, this Office finds the same devoid of
Samar, that in Special Proceedings Nos. C-346 (for merit.That Catarman Weekly Tribune is the only
adoption and change of name and C-352 (for accredited newspaper of general publication in
adoption), the respondent directed the petitioners to Catarman does not bar the publication of judicial
have her orders published in a newspaper of orders and notices in a newspaper of national
national circulation and through these directives, the circulation.A judicial notice/order may be published

19
Legal Ethics 3B

in a newspaper of national circulation and said was still a practicing lawyer.


newspaper does not even have to be accredited.
ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Belen's
actuations showed manifest partiality and bias,
evident bad faith, grave abuse of authority and gross
However, the Court found the respondent
ignorance of the law warranting his dismissal from
judge guilty of Gross Ignorance of the Law. With her
service as RTC Judge of Branch 36, Calamba City.
inaction on the petition for contempt, she betrayed
her unbecoming lack of familiarity with basic
HELD: Yes. Judges are expected to exhibit more
procedural rules such as what was involved in the
than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and
contempt proceedings before her
procedural laws. They must know the laws and apply
court. Respondent Judge fell short of these
them properly in good faith as judicial competence
standards when he failed in his duties to follow
requires no less.
elementary law and to keep abreast with prevailing
jurisprudence.
Judge Belen blatantly violated the injunctive writ
issued by the CA. In complete disobedience, Judge
Belen proceeded to issue (1) the Order requiring
(18)STATE PROSECUTORS II JOSEF ALBERT T.
COMILANG and MA. VICTORIA SUNEGA- State Prosecutor Comilang to explain his refusal to
LAGMAN, Complainants, versus JUDGE MEDEL file the supersedeas bond and to require his
ARNALDO B. BELEN, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
BRANCH 36, CALAMBA CITY presence in court, as well as to explain why he
A.M. No. RTJ-10-2216 should not be cited for indirect contempt; (2) the
June 6, 2012
Order seeking State Prosecutor Comilang's
FACTS: State Prosecutor Comilang filed a explanation for his defiance of the subpoena
complaint-affidavit before the Office of the Court requiring his presence at the hearing of even date,
Administrator (OCA) charging Judge Belen with and directing, once again, his attendance at the next
manifest partiality and malice, evident bad faith, hearing and to explain once more why he should not
inexcusable abuse of authority, and gross ignorance be cited for indirect contempt; and (3) the Order
of the law in issuing show cause orders, subpoenas finding State Prosecutor Comilang guilty of indirect
and contempt citations, in grave defiance to the contempt and sentencing him to pay a fine of
injunctive writ issued by the Court of Appeals. State P30,000.00 and to suffer two days' imprisonment.
Prosecutor Comilang further alleged that Judge
Belen's acts were intended to harass, oppress, Judge Belen's actuations, therefore, cannot be
persecute, intimidate, annoy, vex and coerce him, considered as mere errors of judgment that can be
and to place him in a disadvantageous and easily brushed aside. Obstinate disregard of basic
compromising position, as he was prosecuting the and established rule of law or procedure amounts to
libel case instituted by herein complainant State inexcusable abuse of authority and gross ignorance
Prosecutor Lagman against Judge Belen when he of the law. Likewise, citing State Prosecutor

20
Legal Ethics 3B

Comilang for indirect contempt notwithstanding the as well as with procedural rules. When a judge
effectivity of the CA-issued writ of injunction displays an utter lack of familiarity with the rules, he
demonstrated his vexatious attitude and bad faith erodes the publics confidence in the competence of
towards the former, for which he must be held our courts. Such is gross ignorance of the law. One
accountable and subjected to disciplinary action. who accepts the exalted position of a judge owes the
public and the court the duty to be proficient in the
(19) PROSEC. JORGE D. BACULI v. JUDGE law. Unfamiliarity with the Rules of Court is a sign of
MEDEL ARNALDO B. BELEN, A.M. No. RTJ-09- incompetence. Basic rules of procedure must be at
2179, THIRD DIVISION, September 24, 2012, the palm of a judges hands.
VELASCO, J. Thus, this Court has consistently held that a
FACTS: judge is presumed to know the law and when the law
The principal cause of action is the unlawful, is so elementary, not to be aware of it constitutes
unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, malicious, gross ignorance of the law. Verily, failure to follow
capricious and immoral orders issued by Judge basic legal commands embodied in the law and the
Belen. The adverted issuances refer to the Rules constitutes gross ignorance of the law, from
[22]
December 18, 2006 Decision, in which Baculi was which no one is excused, and surely not a judge.
found guilty of direct contempt, and the June 7, 2007
Decision, wherein Judge Belen declared Baculi
guilty of indirect contempt of court, for the
This is because judges are expected to exhibit more
contemptuous nature of pleadings that Baculi filed in
than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and
his sala.
procedural laws. They must know the laws and apply
ISSUE:
them properly in good faith as judicial competence
Whether or not Judge Belens actions showed
requires no less.
manifest partiality and bias, evident bad faith, grave
abuse of authority, and gross ignorance of the law
warranting his dismissal from service as RTC Judge.
HELD: Judge Belen's actuations, therefore, cannot be
Respondent is guilty of grave abuse of authority and considered as mere errors of judgment that can be
gross ignorance of the law easily brushed aside. Obstinate disregard of basic
[21]
In the case of Pesayco v. Layague, the and established rule of law or procedure amounts to
Court succinctly explained: inexcusable abuse of authority and gross ignorance
of the law.
No less than the Code of Judicial conduct
mandates that a judge shall be faithful to the laws
and maintain professional competence. Indeed, Accordingly, in imposing the proper penalty, the
competence is a mark of a good judge. A judge Court takes note of Judge Belens previous
must be acquainted with legal norms and precepts

21
Legal Ethics 3B

administrative cases where he was penalized in the abuse of authority, and gross ignorance of the law
following manner: warranting his dismissal from service as RTC Judge.

Our conception of good judges has been, and is, of


men who have a mastery of the principles of law, HELD:
who discharge their duties in accordance with
law. Hence, with the foregoing disquisitions and Respondent is guilty of grave abuse of authority and

Judge Belens previous infractions, which are all of gross ignorance of the law

serious nature and for which he had been severely


In the case of Pesayco v. Layague,[21] the
warned, the Court therefore adopts the
Court succinctly explained:
recommendation of the OCA to mete the ultimate
penalty of dismissal against Judge Belen for grave
No less than the Code of Judicial conduct
abuse of authority and gross ignorance of the law.
mandates that a judge shall be faithful to the laws
The Court can no longer afford to be lenient in this
and maintain professional competence. Indeed,
case, lest it give the public the impression that
competence is a mark of a good judge. A judge
incompetence and repeated offenders are tolerated
must be acquainted with legal norms and precepts
in the judiciary.
as well as with procedural rules. When a judge
displays an utter lack of familiarity with the rules, he
(20). PROSEC. JORGE D. BACULI v. JUDGE
erodes the publics confidence in the competence of
MEDEL ARNALDO B. BELEN, A.M. No. RTJ-09-
2179, THIRD DIVISION, September 24, 2012, our courts. Such is gross ignorance of the law. One
VELASCO, J.
who accepts the exalted position of a judge owes the
FACTS: public and the court the duty to be proficient in the
The principal cause of action is the unlawful, law. Unfamiliarity with the Rules of Court is a sign of
unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, malicious, incompetence. Basic rules of procedure must be at
capricious and immoral orders issued by Judge the palm of a judges hands.
Belen. The adverted issuances refer to the
December 18, 2006 Decision, in which Baculi was Thus, this Court has consistently held that a
found guilty of direct contempt, and the June 7, 2007 judge is presumed to know the law and when the law
Decision, wherein Judge Belen declared Baculi is so elementary, not to be aware of it constitutes
guilty of indirect contempt of court, for the gross ignorance of the law. Verily, failure to follow
contemptuous nature of pleadings that Baculi filed in basic legal commands embodied in the law and the
his sala. Rules constitutes gross ignorance of the law, from
which no one is excused, and surely not a judge.[22]
ISSUE:

Whether or not Judge Belens actions showed


manifest partiality and bias, evident bad faith, grave

22
Legal Ethics 3B

This is because judges are expected to exhibit more Judge Belen's actuations, therefore, cannot be
than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and considered as mere errors of judgment that can be
procedural laws. They must know the laws and apply easily brushed aside. Obstinate disregard of basic
them properly in good faith as judicial competence and established rule of law or procedure amounts to
requires no less. inexcusable abuse of authority and gross ignorance
of the law.

Docket Case Charge Penalty


No. Title Accordingly, in imposing the proper penalty, the
A.M. Mane v. Conduct Reprimand,
No. Judge Unbecomin with warning Court takes note of Judge Belens previous
RTJ-08- Belen[26] g of a Judge that a administrative cases where he was penalized in the
2119 repetition of following manner:
the same or
similar acts
shall merit a
more serious
penalty Our conception of good judges has been, and is, of
men who have a mastery of the principles of law,
A.M. Baculi Gross Suspended
No. v. Ignorance of for 6 months who discharge their duties in accordance with
RTJ-09- Judge the Law without salary law. Hence, with the foregoing disquisitions and
2176 Belen[27] and other
Judge Belens previous infractions, which are all of
benefits, with
stern warning serious nature and for which he had been severely
that a warned, the Court therefore adopts the
repetition of recommendation of the OCA to mete the ultimate
the same or
penalty of dismissal against Judge Belen for grave
similar acts
shall merit a abuse of authority and gross ignorance of the law.
more serious The Court can no longer afford to be lenient in this
penalty
A.M. Correa Conduct Fined for case, lest it give the public the impression that
No. v. Unbecomin PhP10,000.00 incompetence and repeated offenders are tolerated
RTJ-10- Judge g of a Judge with stern in the judiciary.
2242 Belen[28] warning that a
repetition of
the same or (21) ATTY. RAUL L. CORREA vs JUDGE MEDEL
similar acts ARNALDO B. BELEN
shall merit a
more serious
penalty Facts:
A.M.No Belen v. Violation of Fined for
. RTJ- Judge Section 4 of PhP11,000
A complaint has been filed by Atty. Raul L. Correa
08- Belen[29] Canon 1 with stern
2139 and Section warning that a charging respondent Judge MedelArnaldo B. Belen
1 of Canon repetition of
4 of the New the same or 23
Code of similar acts
Judicial shall merit a
Conduct more serious
penalty
Legal Ethics 3B

of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 36, Calamba SEC. 6. Judges, like any other citizen, are
City, Laguna of Misconduct entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association
and assembly, but in exercising such rights, they
Complainant claimed that, in the course of the shall always conduct themselves in such a manner
proceedings, he was asked by respondent Judge as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office and
Belen to stand up while the latter dictated his order the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.
on their Administrators Report.
A judge must consistently be temperate in words
Respondent Judge Belen even rebuked him for and in actions. Respondent Judge Belens insulting
some mistakes in managing the affairs of the estate, statements, tending to project complainants
adding that it is regrettable "because Atty. Raul ignorance of the laws and procedure, coming from
Correa is a U.P. Law Graduate and a Bar Topnotcher his inconsiderate belief that the latter mishandled the
at that. cause of his client is obviously and clearly
insensitive, distasteful, and inexcusable. Such
Issue: Whether or not Judge Belen is guilty of abuse of power and authority could only invite
conduct unbecoming of a judge. disrespect from counsels and from the public.
Patience is one virtue that members of the bench
Held: Yes. should practice at all times, and courtesy to
Indeed, the New Code of Judicial Conduct for everyone is always called for.
the Philippine Judiciary exhorts members of the
judiciary, in the discharge of their duties, to be
models of propriety at all times. Canon 4 mandates

(22) ASSISTANT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR III


ROHERMIAJ. JAMSANI-
CANON 4 RODRIGUEZ,VS.JUSTICES GREGORY S. ONG,
JOSE R. HERNANDEZ, and RODOLFO A.
PROPRIETY PONFERRADA, SANDIGANBAYAN.

A.M. No. 08-19-SB-J August 24, 2010


Propriety and the appearance of propriety
are essential to the performance of all the activities FACTS:
of a judge. The complainant initiated this administrative
matter by filing an affidavit-complaint dated October
SECTION 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety 23, 2008 to charge Sandiganbayan Justices Gregory
and the appearance of impropriety in all of their S. Ong (Justice Ong); Jose R. Hernandez (Justice
activities. Hernandez); and Rodolfo A. Ponferrada (Justice
x xx Ponferrada), who composed the Fourth Division of
the Sandiganbayan (Fourth Division), with Justice

24
Legal Ethics 3B

Ong as Chairman, at the time material to the are acting like that! Do not forget that the brain of
complaint, with Improprieties During Hearings the child follows that of their (sic) mother.
Amounting to Gross Abuse of Judicial Authority and
Grave Misconduct. ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent justices are
Allegedly, Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez liable for Improprieties During Hearings Amounting
made the following intemperate and discriminatory to Gross Abuse of Judicial Authority and Grave
utterances during hearings. Firstly, the complainant Misconduct?
alleged that Justice Ong uttered towards the
complainant during the hearing held in Cebu City in RULING OF THE COURT:Unbecoming Conduct of
September 2006 the following: Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez.
We are playing Gods here, we will do what The Court approves the Court
we want to do, your contempt is already out, we Administrators finding and recommendation that no
fined you eighteen thousand pesos, even if you will evidence supported the complainants charge that
appeal, by that time I will be there, Justice of the Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez had uttered the
Supreme Court. improper and intemperate statements attributed to
Secondly, Justice Ong often asked lawyers them.A review of the transcripts of the stenographic
from which law schools they had graduated, and notes for the hearings in which the offensive
frequently inquired whether the law school in which statements were supposedly uttered by them has
Justice Hernandez had studied and from which he failed to substantiate the complainants charge. In
had graduated was better than his (Justice Ongs) the absence of a clear showing to the contrary, the
own alma mater. The complainant opined that the Court must accept such transcripts as the faithful
query was manifestly intended to emphasize that the and true record of the proceedings, because they
San Beda College of Law, the alma mater of Justice bear the certification of correctness executed by the
Ong, and the UP College of Law, that of Justice stenographers who had prepared them.
Hernandez, were the best law schools. Even so, Justice Ong and Justice
Thirdly, on another occasion in that hearing Hernandez admitted randomly asking the counsels
in Cebu City in September 2006, Justice Hernandez appearing before them from which law schools they
discourteously shouted at Prosecutor had graduated, and their engaging during the
HazelinaTujan-Militante, who was then observing hearings in casual conversation about their
trial from the gallery: You are better than Director respective law schools. They thereby publicized their
Somido? Are you better than Director Chua? Are you professional qualifications and manifested a lack of
here to supervise Somido? Your office is wasting the requisite humility demanded of public
funds for one prosecutor who is doing nothing. magistrates. Their doing so reflected a vice of self-
Finally, Justice Hernandez berated Atty. conceit. We view their acts as bespeaking their lack
Pangalangan, the father of former UP Law Dean of judicial temperament and decorum, which no
Raul Pangalangan, thus:Just because your son is judge worthy of the judicial robes should avoid
always nominated by the JBC to Malacaang, you especially during their performance of judicial

25
Legal Ethics 3B

functions. They should not exchange banter or should live up to the high standards their noble
engage in playful teasing of each other during trial position on the Bench demands. Their language
proceedings (no matter how good-natured or even if must be guarded and measured, lest the best of
meant to ease tension, as they want us to believe). intentions be misconstrued.
Judicial decorum demands that they behave with In this regard, Section 3, Canon 5 of the
dignity and act with courtesy towards all who appear New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
before their court. Judiciary, mandates judges to carry out judicial
Indeed, Section 6, Canon 6 of the New duties with appropriate consideration for all persons,
Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff,
Judiciary clearly enjoins that: and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any
Section 6. Judges shall maintain order and decorum irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper
in all proceedings before the court and be patient, performance of such duties.
dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, In view of the foregoing, Justice Ong and
witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge Justice Hernandez were guilty of unbecoming
deals in an official capacity. Judges shall require conduct, which is defined as improper performance.
similar conduct of legal representatives, court staff Unbecoming conduct applies to a broader range of
and others subject to their influence, direction or transgressions of rules not only of social behavior
control. but of ethical practice or logical procedure or
We point out that publicizing professional prescribed method.
qualifications or boasting of having studied in and
graduated from certain law schools, no matter how
prestigious, might have even revealed, on the part of
Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez, their bias for or (23) Velasco vs. Judge Angeles
September 06, 2010
against some lawyers. Their conduct was
impermissible, consequently, for Section 3, Canon
Facts: Respondent, Presiding Judge of the
4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the
Caloocan Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 121
Philippine Judiciary, demands that judges avoid
(until her retirement on May 23, 2010), was charged
situations that may reasonably give rise to the
by then petitioner with violation of Supreme Court
suspicion or appearance of favoritism or partiality in
Circulars, the Canons of Judicial Ethics and the
their personal relations with individual members of
Code of Judicial Conduct, specifically for
the legal profession who practice regularly in their
unauthorized practice of law, unauthorized absences
courts.
and falsification of certificate of service. By
Judges should be dignified in demeanor,
petitioners allegation, respondent actively
and refined in speech. In performing their judicial
participated in the prosecution of Criminal Case No.
duties, they should not manifest bias or prejudice by
04-230908, for libel, which was, on her complaint,
word or conduct towards any person or group on
filed against him before the Manila RTC, she
irrelevant grounds. It is very essential that they
appearing at Branch 26 thereof (to which the case

26
Legal Ethics 3B

was raffled) without her filing leaves of absence on at the hearing in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
the following dates February 2, 2005, May 3 and Manila on 3 May 2005 and on 3 August 2005.
19, 2005, June 14, 15, 22 and 30, 2005, July 12-13,
2005 and August 3 and 11, 2005. Petitioner thus
In denying respondents first motion for partial
concluded that when respondent indicated in her
reconsideration, the Court in its February 22, 2010
Certificates of Service that she had rendered service
Resolution, applied the ruling in Office of the Court
during the questioned dates, she is guilty of
Administrator v. Judge Delia H. Panganiban where it
falsification and of violation of Canons 3 and 5 of the
was held that a Judges unblemished record will not
Code of Judicial Conduct and Canons 3, 7, 22 and
justify her lapses. However, as correctly pointed out
31 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics. After concluding
by respondent in her second motion for partial
his investigation, the Investigating Justice
reconsideration, said case should not have been
considering only the remaining issues of falsification
applied, as it presupposes that respondent indeed
and incurring unauthorized absences, reported that
committed lapses which her long service and
respondent is guilty of unauthorized absences on
unblemished reputation would not justify while she
May 3 and August 3, 2005. With respect to the rest
has always maintained that she had not committed
of the questioned dates, he held that respondents
the act complained of, that is, the non-filing of the
absence thereon was legally justified as she
leaves of absence for May 3 and August 3, 2005
merely complied with the subpoenas issued by the
because she did not have to. Indeed, if respondent
trial court. Respondent filed a Motion for Partial
committed no lapse or violation, then the Courts
Reconsideration which was denied by Resolution of
denial of her first motion for partial reconsideration
February 22, 2010 of the Court of Appeals. Hence,
on the basis of the Panganiban decision deserves to
the present second Motion for Partial
be reviewed. Respecting respondents presence at
Reconsideration.
the trial court on May 3, 2005, while admittedly no
Issue: Whether or not the respondent incurred
subpoena was served on her to appear on said date
unauthorized absences during her attendance at the
that was a re-scheduled date of hearing, the earlier-
hearing in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila
scheduled hearing having been postponed. There
on 3 May 2005, where her attendance thereat as a
was thus no absolute need for her to be
private complainant was without subpoena which
subpoenaed for the purpose.
resulted in her unjustified absence from her own
court and on 3 August 2005 where respondent failed
to file a leave of absence rationalizing that she was As to the Investigating Judges observation that
out only for a few minutes which she compensated assuming that respondents attendance in the May
by staying in the office and working beyond office 3, 2005 hearing was covered by subpoena, she still
hours and the forfeiture of her leave credits in the needed to secure a Certificate of Service because
name of public service. she was the private complainant: The Court notes
that this is merely a matter of practice for
Held: No, the respondent the respondent did not
government employees who need such certification
incur unauthorized absences during her attendance

27
Legal Ethics 3B

to show to their superiors that they indeed attended Office of the Court Administrator (OCA). He denied
the hearing. In any case, the minutes of a hearing the charges hurled against him and claimed the
show the parties who are present, hence, such allegations were fabricated, false and malicious.
certification becomes a mere surplusage.
Respecting respondents going to the trial court ISSUE:
on August 3, 2005; the same did not require the Whether or not Judge Duque should be held
filing of a leave of absence. The Investigating Justice liable for impropriety and gross misconduct for
himself noted that her absence involved only a soliciting sexual favors from a party litigant
fraction of her official time.
HELD:
Yes. First, on the question of jurisdiction as
(24) SUSAN O. REYES v. JUDGE MANUEL N. DUQUE
Judge Duque is no longer a member of the judiciary
A.M. No. RTJ-08-2136, 21 September 2010, EN
having retired from the service on 21 February 2008,
BANC (Carpio, J.)
the records show that Reyes filed four similar
complaints against Judge Duque. It is clear from the
FACTS:
records that Reyes filed her intended complaint
Complainant Susan O. Reyes charged
before Judge Duque retired. Consequently, the
respondent Judge Manuel N. Duque with
Court no doubt has jurisdiction over this
Impropriety, Corruption and Gross Misconduct.
administrative case.
Reyes alleged that she was a party-in-intervention in
a land registration case. Atty. Herminio Ubana, Sr.,
On the charge of graft and corruption, the
the lawyer of Reyes, introduced her to Judge Duque.
Investigating Justice and the OCA found insufficient
When Reyes was unable to re-negotiate with the
evidence to sustain Reyes allegation that Judge
bank with regard to the pending case, she allegedly
Duque demanded and received money from her in
received a phone call from Judge Duque, instructing
consideration of a favorable ruling. Thus, this charge
her to go to his house and bring some money in
should be dismissed for being unsubstantiated.
order that he can deny the pending motion to break
open. Judge Duque demanded P100,000 but
On the charge of impropriety and gross
Reyes was unable to give the full amount. When
misconduct, and after a thorough investigation
Reyes went again to his house, he allegedly scolded
conducted by the Investigating Justice, it was
her, locked the main door of his house and asked
established, and Judge Duque admitted, that Reyes
Reyes to step into his office. Judge Duque touched
went to his house. Substantial evidence also pointed
her private parts and attempted to have sexual
to Judge Duques liability for impropriety and gross
intercourse with her.
misconduct when he sexually assaulted Reyes. The
Investigating Justice likewise observed that Judge
On the other hand, Judge Duque averred
Duque merely attempted to destroy the credibility of
that since the complaint of Reyes was filed after he
Reyes when he insinuated that she could be a
retired, he was no longer under the jurisdiction of the

28
Legal Ethics 3B

woman of ill repute or a high class prostitute or one and immorality. He failed to live up to the high moral
whose moral value is at its lowest level. However, standards of the judiciary and even transgressed the
no judge has a right to solicit sexual favors from a ordinary norms of decency of society. Had Judge
party litigant even from a woman of loose morals. Duque not retired, his misconduct would have
In Tan v. Pacuribot, this Court further stressed: merited his dismissal from the service.

We have repeatedly reminded members of (25) Re: Anonymous Letter- dated August 12,
the Judiciary to so conduct themselves as to be 2010, complaining against Judge Ofelia T. Pinto,
beyond reproach and suspicion, and to be free Regional Trial Court, Branch 60, Angeles City,
from any appearance of impropriety in their Pampanga.
personal behavior, not only in the discharge of
FACTS:
their official duties but also in their everyday lives.
For no position exacts a greater demand on the 1. A letter-complaint was filed before the Office of
moral righteousness and uprightness of an the Court Administrator against Judge Ofelia
individual than a seat in the Judiciary. Judges are Pinto where she was charged with dishonesty,
violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
mandated to maintain good moral character and Act, Gross Misconduct in violation of the Judicial
are at all times expected to observe Conduct, and knowingly rendering an unjust
irreproachable behavior so as not to outrage judgment in connection with the reopening of a
criminal case whose decision was already final
public decency. We have adhered to and set forth
and executor and subject of an entry of judgment
the exacting standards of morality and decency, in the Court of Appeals.
which every member of the judiciary must 2. OCA required Judge Pinto to comment on the
anonymous letter-complaint and Judge Pinot
observe. A magistrate is judged not only by his alleged that the outright denial of the motion to
official acts but also by his private morals, to the re-open the case was improper, without violating
extent that such private morals are externalized. the accuseds opportunity to be heard. She also
alleged that even granting that her acts were
He should not only possess proficiency in law but
indeed erroneous, they were done in the exercise
should likewise possess moral integrity for the of her adjudicative functions which cannot be
people look up to him as a virtuous and upright made subject of a disciplinary, civil, or criminal
action absent fraud, dishonest, and corruption on
man.
her part.
3. OCA recommended that Judge Pinto be held
The conduct of Judge Duque fell short of the guilty of Gross Ignorance of Law and Procedure
and be suspended from service without salary
exacting standards for members of the judiciary. He
and other benefits for a period of six month with a
failed to behave in a manner that would promote stern warning. The Court agreed with the
confidence in the judiciary. Considering that a judge resolution of OCA but changed the penalty to
dismissal from service.
is a visible representation of the law and of justice,
he is naturally expected to be the epitome of integrity ISSUE:
and should be beyond reproach. Judge Duques Whether or not Judge Pinto should be
conduct indubitably bore the marks of impropriety dismissed from service on the ground of Gross
Ignorance of Law and Procedures.

29
Legal Ethics 3B

ignorance of the law or incompetence cannot be


RULING: excused by a claim of good faith.
In this case, Judge Pintos utter disregard to
The court said that in order to render apply settled laws and rules of procedure constitutes
substantial justice and maintain public confidence in gross ignorance of the law which merits
the legal system, judges should be embodiments of administrative sanction. Section 8(9), Rule 140 of
competence, integrity and independence. They are the Rules of Court classifies gross ignorance as a
likewise expected to demonstrate mastery of the serious charge with the following imposable
principles of law, keep abreast of prevailing penalties:
jurisprudence and discharge duties in accordance 1. Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of
therewith. Judge Pintos actions clearly deviate from the benefits as the Court may determine, and
the exacting standards. disqualification from reinstatement or
appointment to any public office, including
Judge Pinto had no jurisdiction to entertain government-owned or controlled corporations.
the motion filed by the accused-movant to reopen Provided, however, that the forfeiture of
Criminal Case No. 91-937 because the CAs benefits shall in no case include accrued leave
decision, which affirmed the accused-movants credits;
conviction, had become final and executory. Judge 2. Suspension from office without salary and other
Pintos conduct was contrary to the clear language benefits for more than three (3) but not
of Section 24, Rule 119 of the 2000 Revised Rules exceeding six (6) months; or
of Criminal Procedure. In other words, a motion to 3. A fine of more than P20,000.00 but not exceeding
reopen a criminal case is not the proper procedural P40,000.00.13
recourse when there is already a final judgment of We note that this not the first time that we
conviction. This rule is consistent with the doctrine found Judge Pinto administratively liable. We
of finality of judgment which Judge Pinto failed to found her liable in two other administrative
apply. The doctrine of finality of judgment, which is cases.
grounded on fundamental considerations of public
26. Rolando Marcos vs.Judge Ofelia Pinto
policy and sound practice, dictates that at the risk of
occasional error, the judgments of the courts must A.M. OCA No. RTJ-09-2180July 26, 2010
become final and executory at some definite date set FACTS:
by law. In this case, the final decision of the CA
Judge Pinto is the presiding judge in a
should have been given effect.
criminal case for violation of R.A. 7610 where
Even granting that Judge Pinto had been Marcos is a witness. While the case is being tried,
motivated by good intentions leading her to
the DOJ Secretary issued a resolution granting the
disregard the laws and rules of procedure, these
personal motivations cannot relieve her from the motion for reconsideration filed by the defense
administrative consequences of her actions as they questioning the filing of the information against the
affect her competency and conduct as a judge in the accused. By virtue of this resolution, Judge Pinto
discharge of her official functions.
We have previously held that when a law or issued an order terminating the proceedings and
a rule is basic, judges owe it to their office to simply required the prosecution to file a comment thereon.
apply the law. Anything less is gross ignorance of The prosecution failed to file such comment within
the law. There is gross ignorance of the law when
the given period and as a result, the proceeding was
an error committed by the judge was gross or
patent, deliberate or malicious. It may also be terminated.
committed when a judge ignores, contradicts or fails Marcos filed an administrative case against
to apply settled law and jurisprudence because of
Judge Pinto for gross ignorance of the law by not
bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption. Gross

30
Legal Ethics 3B

reviewing such resolution of DOJ, for manifest bias (27). DR. JANOS B. VIZCAYNO, complainant vs.
and partiality on the basis that Judge Pinto acted as JUDGE JASPER JESSE G. DACANAY, in his
the solemnizing officer in the accused sons wedding official capacity as the Presiding judge of the
during the same year the case was terminated. In Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan-
her defense, Judge Pinto claimed that she duly Compostela, Cebu, respondent
exercised judicial discretion at every stage of the (A.M. No. MTJ-10-1772; Second Divison ; J.
proceeding and that she is allowed by law to Carpio; December 5, 2012)
solemnize marriage under the Family Code. FACTS:
Upon investigation of the presiding Justice 1. Dr. Vizcayno filed an administrative complaint
of Court of Appeals found no basis for the alleged against Judge Dacanay for gross Ignorance of
violation of Canon 2. the Law, Abuse of Authority, Manifest Partiality
and Delay relative to a Civil Case.
2. The complaint originated from the alleged ex-
ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Pinto the Code of
parte ocular inspection conducted by
Judicial Conduct? (Yes but under Section 1 of
respondent Judge without notice given to the
Canon 4)
complainant.
HELD:
3. In the Judges Comment he raised as defense
Upon assumption of office a Judge becomes
that he went to the subject property with his
the visible representation of the law and of justice.
utility personnel only to conduct his own
Faithful observance of the Canons is the price one
investigation and no one from the plaintiffs or
has to pay for being a magistrate. He must conduct
the defendant ever entertained him. He
himself in a manner that will withstand the most
argues that he made the inspection in good
searching public scrutiny, for the ethical principles
faith and with noble intentions.
and sense of propriety of a judge are essential to the 4. The Office of the Court Administrator
preservation of the peoples faith in the judicial recommended that respondent be declared
system. The Supreme Court does not require of guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest
judges that they measure up to the standards of of the service in violation of Sec. 1, Canon 4
conduct of the saints and martyrs, but we do expect of The New Code of Judicial Conduct.
them to be like Caesars wife in all their activities. ISSUES:
In acting as the solemnizing officer is 1. Whether or not Judge Dacanay should be
improper and highly unethical for a judge held administratively liable for conduct
considering that the accused is a party in a case prejudicial to the best interest of the service
pending before her sala. for conducting an ocular inspection without
*Canon 4, Section 1Judges shall avoid impropriety informing the parties
2. Whether Judge Dacanay should be held
and the appearance of impropriety in all of their
administratively liable for the delay in the
activities.
resolution of the Motion for Inhibition
HELD:

31
Legal Ethics 3B

1. Judge Dacanay is guilty of conduct prejudicial The petitioners charged respondent Judge
to the best interest of the service. Section 1, Ros for violating Canons 2 and 3 of the Code of
Canon 4 of The New Judicial Conduct states Judicial Conduct. The said letter-complaint
that judges shall avoid impropriety and the emanated from the actions and rulings of Judge Ros
appearance of impropriety in all their relative to Criminal Case Nos. 10-274696 to 10-
activities. The court previously ruled in similar 274704. Petitioners alleged that on March 23, 2010,
cases that an ocular inspection without notice the above cases were raffled to Branch 33, RTC-
to nor presence of the parties is highly Manila. However, on the very same day the said
improper. Good and noble intentions case was raffled to the respondent judge, the latter
notwithstanding, Judge Dacanays actuations issued an order dismissing the criminal cases for
gave an appearance of impropriety. His lack of probable cause.
behavior diminished public confidence in the
integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. All
those involved in the dispensation of justice,
The aforesaid incidents started to create
from the presiding justice to the lowliest clerk,
reservations in the mind of the petitioners on the
must always be beyond reproach. Their
respondent Judges impartiality. They doubted Judge
conduct must, at all times, be circumscribed
Ros fairness in handling the aforementioned
with the heavy burden of responsibility free
criminal cases because of the speed at which he
from any suspicion that may taint the judiciary.
2. The Respondent Judge expunged from the disposed them when they had just been raffled to
records the said motion because the counsel him. The petitioners could not believe that he could
of complainant failed to indicate the date of resolve the cases within the same day considering
issue and number of MCLE Compliance as that the records thereof are voluminous and that the
required by Bar Matter No. 1922. Said Order criminal cases were raffled to him on the day he
may therefore be considered as a denial of issued the order of dismissal. Nevertheless, the
the Motion for Inhibition, which was issued petitioners continued to respect the respondents
within the 90-day period to resolve a motion. order and sought other legal remedies such as the
filing of a motion for reconsideration. However, when
Judge Ros issued the order resolving the motion for
(28). AMBASSADOR HARRY C. ANGPING and reconsideration after two (2) days from the filing of
ATTY. SIXTO BRILLANTES vs.JUDGE the comment and without awaiting for PSCs reply,
REYNALDO G. ROS petitioners were convinced that respondent Judge
Ros acted with partiality and malice, thus the petition
A.M. No. 12-8-160-RTC
filed against him.

December 10, 2012


Issue/s:

Facts:

32
Legal Ethics 3B

Whether or not respondent Judge Ros is


liable for violation of Canons 2 and 3 of the Code of
Judicial Conduct. 29.

PROSECUTOR HILARIO RONSON H. TILAN vs.


JUDGE ESTER PISCOSO-FLOR, RTC, BRANCH
34, BANAUE, IFUGAO
Held:
A.M. No. RTJ-09-2188 (Formerly A.M. OCA-IPI No.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the 08-2995-RTJ)

charge against Judge Reynaldo G. Ros for violation


January 10, 2011
of Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct is
hereby DISMISSED. However, for failing to live up to
the degree of propriety required of him under Canon
FACTS:
2 of the same Code, he is
hereby ADMONISHED and STERNLY In People v. Baguilat, Judge Piscoso-Flor issued an
WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar order dated October 20, 20072 directing the parties
to submit their respective memoranda within thirty
acts would be dealt with more severely.
(30) days from receipt of the order. The complainant
alleged that the judge failed to render a decision
within the ninety (90)-day reglementary period;
instead, she issued an order, dated April 8, 2008,
Ratio: reiterating her earlier directive for the parties to
submit their respective memoranda.

Jurisprudence repeatedly teaches that


litigants are entitled to nothing less than the cold
In People v. Talanay, Judge Piscoso-Flor issued an
neutrality of an impartial judge. The other elements order dated September 25, 20074 giving the
of due process, like notice and hearing, would accused fifteen (15) days to file his formal offer of
become meaningless if the ultimate decision is evidence, and five (5) days for the prosecution to file
its comment/objections. Allegedly, Judge Piscoso-
rendered by a partial or biased judge. Judges must
Flor again failed to resolve the case within the 90-
not only render just, correct and impartial decisions, day reglementary period; instead, she issued
but must do so in a manner free of any suspicion as another order dated May 21, 20085 giving the
parties fifteen (15) days within which to file their
to their fairness, impartiality and integrity. In the
memoranda.
instant administrative complaint, while no evidence
directly shows partiality and malice on the
respondents action, this Court cannot ignore the fact Prosecutor Tilan claimed that in both cases, Judge
that the dispatch by which the respondent Judge Piscoso-Flor resorted to the issuance of an order
requiring the submission of the parties memoranda
dismissed the criminal cases provokes in the minds
to circumvent the statutory period for the resolution
of the petitioners doubt in the partiality of the of cases.
respondent.
ISSUE:

33
Legal Ethics 3B

Whether or not Judge Piscoso-Flor failed to render aspect in the administration of justice. It mandates
speedy disposition of cases. that lower courts have three (3) months or ninety
(90) days within which to decide cases or matters
Whether or not Judge Piscoso-Flor failure to decide submitted to them for resolution. Also, the Code of
cases and resolve motions within the reglementary Judicial Conduct requires judges to dispose of the
period constitutes gross inefficiency and gross Courts business promptly and decide cases within
negligence. the prescribed period.

HELD:
It cannot be over emphasized that judges need to
decide cases promptly and expeditiously. Delay in
The OCA evaluation tells us that Judge Piscoso-Flor
the disposition of cases, it must again be stated, is a
is guilty of failing to decide cases within the required
major cause in the erosion of public faith and
periods, citing Criminal Case No. 127 (People v.
confidence in the justice system. For this
Juanito Baguilat) as the principal basis of its
fundamental and compelling reason, judges are
conclusion. In this case, the OCA faulted Judge
required to decide cases and resolve motions with
Piscoso-Flor for using as justification for her inaction
dispatch within the reglementary period. Failure to
the parties failure to submit their respective
comply constitutes gross inefficiency, a lapse that
memoranda. The OCA opined that this is not a valid
warrants the imposition of administrative sanctions
reason for not deciding the case; if she believed she
against the erring magistrate.
would not be able to decide the case on time, she
could have asked the Court for an extension of the
(30) RE: SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMMITED BY
required period. The OCA acknowledged though that
JUDGE REXEL M. PACURIBOT, RTC, BR. 27,
Judge Piscoso-Flor requested for an extension to GINGOOG CITY
decide the case in her monthly report of cases and
certificate of service. AM No. RTJ-06-1983 (December 14, 2007)

We find the OCA evaluation in order. Although Judge


Piscoso-Flor claimed that she had requested for an This case deals with violence against women
extension of time to decide Criminal Case No. 127, through the commission of rape and sexual
there was no showing that the request was ever harassment, by no less than a member of the
Bench. Aside from using his position and
granted. Over and above this consideration, she
ascendancy in having his way with the women, he
allowed the parties to control the period of also attempted to discredit their testimonies by
disposition of the case through their lukewarm perpetuating gender stereotypes on how women
response to her call for the submission of victims of rape should have behaved and why the
memoranda, which she had to do twice. She could other was simply motivated by ill-will and revenge in
have acted more firmly, considering, as she said, accusing him. The Court sifted through and beyond
that she only inherited the case, which implies that it the arguments raised by the Respondent Judge,
demonstrating commendable sensitivity to the plight
had been on the docket for quite some time. In any
of the women.
event, Judge Piscoso-Flor should have known that
"[t]he Court may grant extension of time to file Facts: On December 4, 2005, A, Clerk-
memoranda, but the ninety (90) day period for Stenographer of RTC, Branch 27, Gingoog City, filed
deciding the case shall not be interrupted thereby." an affidavit-complaint against Judge Rexel Pacuribot
(Judge Pacuribot) charging him with rape. On 20
On the whole, we find Judge Piscoso-Flor guilty of December 2005, another affidavit-complaint was
undue delay in the disposition of cases. Except for filed against Judge Pacuribot by B charging him with
sexual harassment.
People v. Dimpatan, Judge Piscoso-Flor failed to
resolve the other cases within the required period, in
violation of the law and the rules. No less than the
Constitution sets the limits on this all-important * Ms. As Story

34
Legal Ethics 3B

A was working under Judge Tan. On 20 October * Ms. Bs Story


2004, she filed a half-day leave of absence to attend
a wedding in Cagayan de Oro City. At around 8 B first met Judge Pacuribot sometime in November
oclock in the evening, while Ms. A was enjoying the 2004 at the lobby near the Probation Office where
wedding reception, she received a call from Judge she was working. Her childhood friend was the driver
Pacuribot. Judge Pacuribot asked her when she was of the Judge. One day, B received a cellphone call
going back to Gingoog City. She answered that she from Judge Pacuribot followed by text messages
would go back after the wedding reception. Judge telling her how pretty and sexy she was, how her
Pacuribot offered Ms.A a ride to the Agora Bus mini-skirt suited her, etc Thereafter, Judge Pacuribot
Station. She declined the offer. Judge Pacuribot, started inviting her to dinner, which invitations she
then, ordered her to come out of the reception area, always refused, being herself married and knowing
saying he was already waiting outside. Aware of his that the Judge was, too. In the last week of February
tendency to humiliate anyone in public when angry, 2005, she again received a call from Judge
she decided to abruptly leave the wedding reception Pacuribot. The Judge was fuming mad because she
and comply. When she went out, she saw Judge refused his dinner invitations. Scared, she finally
Pacuribot alone in his car. When A went inside the relented.
car, she saw, in between their seats, Judge
Pacuribots clutch bag containing a gun. He brought The dinner was set on 22 February 2005. She
her to a motel instead, and the Judge succeeded in picked a restaurant owned by her relative, feeling
raping A. After, A told Judge Pacuribot that she that she would be safe there. The Judge picked her
would just take the taxi to the bus station. However, up. While they were talking inside the car, Judge
instead of driving her to the bus station, Judge Pacuribot took out his gun, cocked it, and put it in
Pacuribot took her to another place. When A between them. When B noticed that the Judge was
protested, the Judge told her that it would be safer if going the wrong way, she called his attention. Judge
she slept there as it was already nearing midnight. Pacuribot responded that he knew a good place in
Still frightened, she failed to ask for help or call her Butuan City. After an hour of driving, they entered a
husband. When the judge left the place, A tried to compound. It was then that B realized that Judge
leave but the bellboy told her that she should settle Pacuribot brought her to a motel. Inside the room,
the account first, which she could not do because the judge succeeded in forcing himself on B. The
she had no money. In the meantime, the Judge kept Judge, using his mobile phone, even took a picture
calling her and threatening her. A was also afraid of of her while she was naked. Judge Pacuribot told
what the Judge would do to her family, and what her nobody in his right mind would refuse his
reaction her husband would have if she were to tell demands because he could easily cause damage to
him. The next day, Judge Pacuribot went back. The anybodys honor if he wanted to.
judge again succeeded in raping A. After, the Judge
drove her to Cogon, Cagayan de Oro City. Judge
Pacuribot left her there. The next day, A did not The next day, B reported back to work. When she
report for work. arrived, she was told that Judge Pacuribot had
already called her twice. When the judge called
again, Judge Pacuribot belittled her, yelling
A did not tell anyone of what happened to her and Prostitute, Animal, Devil. She was consumed
Judge Pacuribot. From then on, the Judges with fear. Days passed, Judge Pacuribot threatened
advances to her went unabated. Whenever she her with a publication of her naked picture. She tried
would go inside Judge Pacuribots chambers, he to pacify him sensing that he could make real his
would grab her blouse, mash her breast, and kiss threats. She was scared to figure in a scandal, being
her neck. The Judge also told A to send him text married to an overseas worker with two kids. B was
messages of endearment. He warned her that her also ordered by the judge to send him text
failure to do so would prejudice her performance messages of endearment, love letters, etc.
rating. The situation got worse when the Judge
rented a room, such that whenever As husband was
not around, the Judge would knock at her door, The Judge always threatened B that he would
ordering A to go to his room. A tolerated the judge publish her naked picture, that he was going to tell
because of his threats to her performance rating. her mother-in-law (who was the Mayor of Gingoog
Her performance rating eventually went down, from City at that time), and that he was going to destroy
very satisfactory to satisfactory. her. The Judge went so far as to order B to petition
to annul her marriage from her husband. When she

35
Legal Ethics 3B

failed to do so, she was summoned to the judges conscientiously kept track of her performance
chambers and when she was inside, he slapped her. ratings. An underling who believes that her superior
wields control over her continued employment will
* Judge Pacuribots Defenses cower in fear to the point of tolerating the indignities
committed on her. Hence, her delay in reporting the
incident was understandable.
Judge Pacuribot denied the charges of A and B. He
belied As charge, saying that her behavior was not
reflective of a rape victim, as she did not The Court also rejected Judge Pacuribots
immediately report the incident to the authorities. He contention that As behavior was not typical of a rape
contended that a 43-year old lady was no longer victim. The Judge contended that a rape victim
nave and having assisted as stenographer in a normally behaves with animosity and grievance
number of rape cases, she knew how important it toward the offender. The Court held that A could not
was to report the incident immediately. He also display her animosity and grievance toward Judge
contended that even a month after the supposed Pacuribot as this would have cost her to lose her job.
incident, A even invited Judge Pacuribot to her The Court also found that the delay of A in filing the
birthday party. case was of no moment, as she was afraid of Judge
Pacuribots power and influence.
Judge Pacuribot also belied the charge of B. He
contended that B was just a woman scorned and The Court, further, reiterated that it is against human
that she was out to seek revenge. He alleged that B nature for a married woman to fabricate a story that
was the one who called him repeatedly, sending him would not just put herself in a lifetime of dishonor,
alluring and seductive text messagesand that he but would destroy her family as well. The fact that
rejected all of these advances. He also alleged that the victim resolved to face the ordeal and relate it in
B was angry with him because, in one of his cases, public evinces that she did so to obtain justice.
he mentioned her incompetence, inexperience, and
unprofessional attitude toward her work. The Court dismissed Judge Pacuribot from service,
with forfeiture of all retirement benefits, with
Held: Judge Pacuribot was found guilty of the prejudice to re-employment in any government
charges of rape (of A) and the sexual harassment (of branch or service.
B).

The Court disbelieved Judge Pacuribots theory of 31 Re: ANONYMOUS LETTER-COMPLAINT


Bs fatal attraction towards him. The Judge was
known in the community as a terror: that he was AGAINST HON. MARILOU RUNES- TAMANG,
fond of humiliating people in public, using PRESIDING JUDGE, MeTC PATEROS, METRO
excruciating language on his victims, and that
female employees avoided him and veered away MANILA AND PRESIDING JUDGE, MeTC SAN
from him (every time they would run into him in the JUAN, METRO MANILA (April 7, 2010)
Hall of Justice). In stark contrast to his nature, the
Court found it hardly likely that a 29-year old, very
pretty married woman would fall for such character. FACTS:
The Court also found the Judges contentionthat B
was very much capable of protecting herself, having Chief Justice Hilario Davide received an anonymous
relatives in positions of powerto be not valid. The letter from Concerned Filipino Citizen which
Court held that, on the contrary, it was the fact that B
had relatives in public positions that compelled her contains a request for an investigation of an alleged
to protect them at all costs from any scandal. connivance of Judge Tamang, her husband who is a
sheriff of RTC, arresting officer and court employees
The Court rejected the argument of Judge Pacuribot
that rape could not have happened as A did not in arbitrarily approving fake bonds for a fee of
report the incident immediately. The Court held that
P1,000.00 per count ng kaso. Through a discreet
A cannot be put in the same footing as other rape
victims where the offender holds no control on the investigation conducted by the office of the Court
victims survival and has no moral ascendancy over
Administrator (OCA), it was revealed that the judge
her. In the case at bar, A valued her job, in fact, she

36
Legal Ethics 3B

had approved bail bonds issued by a blacklisted degree of incompetence on her part, we should not
assurance company (COVENANT). Although some find Judge Tamang guilty of simple misconduct, a
were secured through legitimate assurance less serious charge under Section 9, Rule
companies, it was found that judge approved bail 140, Rules of Court. Instead, we find her guilty of
bonds in San Juan despite availability of judges in simple neglect of duty, a light charge under Section
RTC of Mandaluyong to which court the cases are 10, Rule 140, Rules of Court, for we are all too
pending. In answer, Judge Tamang admitted that aware of the pitfalls that a judge like her frequently
she approved the bail bonds but she insisted that stumbles into when detailed in another station. She
she merely relied on the representation of her duly became an unwitting victim of the continuing illegal
authorized personnel that the bail bonds were in activities of Medrano, who took advantage of her
order. being too busy with her judicial and administrative
duties and tasks to have noticed and prevented his
ISSUE: WON Judge Tamang competently act in illegal activities. Her liability was mitigated Medrano
approving the bail bonds. (Clerk of Court) admitted his liability and totally
exonerated Judge Tamang of any participation in or
HELD: knowledge of the anomalous scheme of submitting
blacklisted bonds for approval; Second: It is
The New Code of Judicial Conduct for the undisputed that upon learning about the anomaly in
Philippine Judiciary requires that a magistrate be the August 2003 Judge Tamang immediately took steps
embodiment of judicial competence. According to to frontally deal with it by conducting an
Webster, competence means the quality or state of investigation, and directing Sorio at first and
being functionally adequate or having sufficient Medrano later to explain their participations in the
knowledge, judgment, skill, or strength. uncovered anomaly.[ Third: The offense is Judge
Judge Tamangs excuse of simply relying on the Tamangs first administrative charge as a judge.
representation of the court personnel who
unfortunately took advantage of her leniency and (32) A.M. No. RTJ-09-2190 April 23, 2010
kindness betrayed a deficiency in that requisite HADJA SOHURAH DIPATUAN vs JUDGE
degree of circumspection demanded of all those who MAMINDIARA MANGOTARA
don the judicial robe. She cannot now thereby
exculpate herself, or take refuge behind that excuse,
for, in fact, such reliance was actually her admission FACTS: On September 2001, a criminal case for

of being neglectful and of lacking the diligent care in murder for the killing of Elias Ali Taher was filed

paying attention to the judicial matters brought to her against Ishak Abdul and Paisal Dipatuan

for signature. (complainants husband), before


the Regional Trial Court of Marawi City then

Although her approval of the bail bonds and her presided by Judge Pangadapun but the said judge

issuance of the orders of release manifested a died during the pendency of the case which resulted
to its transfer to different judges designated by the

37
Legal Ethics 3B

Supreme Court. Later on, by virtue of Administrative Whether or not there is gross ignorance of
Order No. 201-2007, the Supreme Court designated the law on part of Judge Mangotara in
Judge Mamindiara Mangotara, Presiding Judge of
the RTC of Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte, as Acting deciding the case.

Presiding Judge. Judge Mangotara suffered a mild


stroke; hence, the Supreme Court, by virtue of
Administrative Order No. 220-2007 issued on
RULING: Petition GRANTED. WHEREFORE, the
December 26, 2007, revoked the earlier designation
Court finds JUDGE MANGOTARA, GUILTY of
of Judge Mangotara and designated Judge Busran
GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW for which he
as the new Acting Presiding Judge. On December
is FINED in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos
28, 2007, Mangotara issued the disputed
(P20,000,00), to be deducted from his retirement
Decision and found both accused Abdul and
benefits.
Dipatuan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of murder and sentenced them to
imprisonment of reclusion perpetua and likewise,
increased the accuseds bail bond from P75,000.00 On the 1st issue, the Court rule in the negative.
to P200,000.00. As a result, Hadja Sohurah
Dipatuan (spouse of the Dipatuan) filed in the
Supreme Court a complaint against Judge
As correctly observed by the Investigating Justice,
Mangotara for Gross Ignorance of the Law and
complainant indeed failed to specify the degree of
Grave Abuse of Authority alleging that the judge
relationship of respondent Judge to a party in the
displayed bias and prejudice considering that he is a
subject case. She failed to present any clear and
relative by affinity and consanguinity of the victim
convincing proof that respondent Judge was
Elias Ali Taher, he reside in the same locality where
disqualified being related within the prohibited
Taher also used to reside, and despite the
degree with the victim under Section 1, Rule 137 of
designation of Judge Busran as Acting Presiding
the Revised Rules of Court.
Judge, he acting with grave abuse of authority,
illegally and maliciously rendered
the disputed Decision as well as the two Orders
dated February 2008.
This being the case, the inhibition was indeed
discretionary or voluntary as the same was primarily
a matter of conscience and sound discretion on the
ISSUE: Whether or not there is bias or partiality on part of the respondent Judge. When Mangotara
the part of Judge Mangotara resulting to chose not to inhibit and proceed with the
promulgation of the disputed decision, he cannot be
grave abuse of authority. faulted by doing so. Significantly, complainant while
asserting that Mangotara should have inhibited in

38
Legal Ethics 3B

the said case, she nonetheless failed to institute any replacement by Judge Busran, dated December 26,
motion for inhibition. 2007, only on January 26, 2008. It must be stressed
that not every error or mistake that a judge commits
Complainant failed to cite any specific act that would in the performance of his duties renders him liable,
indicate bias, prejudice or vengeance warranting unless he is shown to have acted in bad faith or with
respondents voluntary inhibition from the deliberate intent to do an injustice. Good faith and
case. Complainant merely pointed on the alleged absence of malice, corrupt motives or improper
adverse and erroneous rulings of respondent Judge considerations are sufficient defenses in which a
to their prejudice. By themselves, however, they do judge can find refuge. In this case, complainant
not sufficiently prove bias and prejudice. adduced no evidence that Mangotara was moved by
bad faith when he issued the disputed order.
To be disqualifying, the bias and prejudice must be
shown to have stemmed from an extrajudicial source On the 2nd issue, the Court ruled on the
and result in an opinion on the merits on some basis affirmative.
other than what the judge learned from his
participation in the case. Opinions formed in the Section 5, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on
course of judicial proceedings, although erroneous, Criminal Procedure provides: Bail, when
as long as they are based on the evidence discretionary. Upon conviction by the Regional
presented and conduct observed by the judge, do Trial Court of an offense not punishable by
not prove personal bias or prejudice on the part of death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment,
the judge. As a general rule, repeated rulings against admission to bail is discretionary.xxx
a litigant, no matter how erroneous and vigorously
and consistently expressed, are not a basis for The rule is very explicit as to when admission to bail
disqualification of a judge on grounds of bias and is discretionary on the part of the respondent Judge.
prejudice. Extrinsic evidence is required to establish It is imperative that judges be conversant with basic
bias, bad faith, malice or corrupt purpose, in addition legal principles and possessed sufficient proficiency
to the palpable error which may be inferred from the in the law. In offenses punishable by reclusion
decision or order itself. Although the decision may perpetua or death, the accused has no right to bail
seem so erroneous as to raise doubts concerning a when the evidence of guilt is strong. Thus, as the
judge's integrity, absent extrinsic evidence, the accused in Criminal Case No. 3620-01 had been
decision itself would be insufficient to establish a sentenced to reclusion perpetua, the bail should
case against the judge. have been cancelled, instead of increasing it as
Moreover, we likewise found no basis to hold respondent Judge did.
respondent Judge administratively liable anent his
issuance of the Decision dated December 2007. As
aptly observed by the Investigating Justice,
Clearly, in the instant case, the act of Mangotara in
Mangotara acted in good faith when he issued the
increasing the bail bond of the accused instead of
subject decision, since he received notice of his

39
Legal Ethics 3B

cancelling it is not a mere deficiency in prudence, YES. The conduct of Judge Arcaya-Chua is
discretion and judgment on the part of respondent violative of the provisions of the New Code of
Judge, but a patent disregard of well-known rules. Judicial Conduct, thus:
When an error is so gross and patent, such error Canon 1, Sec. 4. A judge shall not allow family,
produces an inference of bad faith, making the judge social, or other relationships to influence judicial
liable for gross ignorance of the law. conduct or judgment. The prestige of judicial office
shall not be used or lent to advance the private
interests of others, nor convey or permit others to
convey the impression that they are in a special
position to influence the judge.
(33) FRANCISCO P. OCAMPO vs. JUDGE
EVELYN S. ARCAYA-CHUA
Canon 2, Sec. 1. Judges shall ensure that not only
April 23, 2010
is their conduct above reproach, but that it is
FACTS:
perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable
Sylvia Santos filed a Complaint against
observer.
Judge Arcaya-Chua for serious misconduct and
Canon 2, Sec. 2. The behavior and conduct of
dishonesty. Santos, an aunt of respondent Judges
judges must reaffirm the peoples faith in the integrity
husband, alleged that she asked for the Judges help
of the judiciary. Justice must not merely be done
regarding the cases of her friend pending before the
but must also be seen to be done.
Supreme Court. Judge Arcaya-Chua, a former
Canon 4, Sec. 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety
employee of the Supreme Court, said that she could
and the appearance of impropriety in all of their
help as she had connections with some of the
activities.
Justices therein; she just needed P100,000.00 which
All those who don the judicial robe must
she would give to an employee of the Court for the
always instill in their minds the exhortation that the
speedy resolution of the said cases. Santos gave the
administration of justice is a mission. Judges, from
Judge the P100,000.00 in the privacy of the latters
the lowest to the highest levels, are the gems in the
chamber. But when Santos followed up the cases,
vast government bureaucracy, beacon lights looked
Judge Arcaya-Chua told her that there was a
upon as the embodiments of all what is right, just
problem, as the other party was offering P10 million
and proper, the ultimate weapons against injustice
to the Justices. Complainant asked respondent to
and oppression. Those who cannot meet the
return the P100,000.00; however, respondent could
exacting standards of judicial conduct and integrity
no longer be contacted.
have no place in the judiciary.
ISSUE: WON the conduct of the judge is violative of
Judge Arcaya-Chua was suspended from
Canons 1, 2 and 4 of the New Code of Judicial
office for six months.
Conduct.

(34) Re: Letter of the UP Law Faculty, October


RULING: 19, 2010

40
Legal Ethics 3B

FACTS: A.M. NO. 10-10-4-SC, 8 MARCH 2011,

Atty. Harry Roque, Jr. and Atty. Romel Bagares (G.R.No. 162230). Counsels Attys. H. Harry L.
alleged that Justice Mariano Del Castillo committed Roque, Jr. (Atty. Roque) and Romel Regalado
Bagares (Atty.Bagares) for Vinuya, et al . (the
an intellectual offense when the latter plagiarized its
Malaya Lolas), filed a supplemental Motion for
discussion of the principles of jus cogens and erga Reconsideration, on theground that, inter alia,
omnes in Vinuya vs. Executive Secretary case. By charge of plagiarism as one of the grounds for
reconsideration of theVinuya decision and a twisting
reason of such allegation, members of UP College of
of the true intents of the plagiarized sources by
Law call for the resignation of Justice del Castillo. the ponenciawas made to suit the arguments of the
However, the statement they made was aggravated assailed Judgment for denying the Petition. Works
allegedly plagiarized in the Vinuya decision were
by additional imputations against the court and
namely: (1) Evan J. Criddle and Evan Fox-Decents
criticizing it beyond reproach. article A Fiduciary Theory of Jus Cogens; (2)
Christian J Tam s b o o k Enforcing Erga Omnes
ISSUE: WON the criticisms made by the members of
Obligations in International Law; and (3) Mark
UP College of law is proper Ellis article Breaking the Silence: On Rape as an
International Crime. Such supplemental motion for
HELD:
reconsideration appeared on internet sites.
Thereafter, a statement entitled Restoring Integrity:
No. while most agree that the right to criticize the A Statement by the Faculty of the University of the
Philippines College of Law on the Allegations of
judiciary is critical to maintaining free and democratic
Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the Supreme
society, there is also a general consensus that the Court was submitted by Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leone
to the Court through Chief Justice Renato C.
healthy criticism only goes so far. These potentially Corona. The statement basically conveys that the
plagiarism committed in the case of Vinuya v
devastating attacks and unjust criticism can threaten Executive Secretary is unacceptable, unethical and
in breach of the high standards of moral conduct and
the independence of the judiciary. The court must
judicial and professional competence expected of
insist on being permitted to proceed to the the Supreme Court. (See attachment for complete
text of the statement). The SC Ethics Committee
diposition of its business in an orderly manner, free referred this matter to the Court en banc.

from outside interference obstructive of its functions The high court said the UP law professors
statement was evidently intended to discredit its
and tending to embarrass the administration of April 28 decision on the Vinuya et al. v the Executive
Secretary et al. case. It claimed that the law faculty
justice.
wanted to undermine the courts honesty, integrity
and competence in addressing the motion for
reconsideration of 70 comfort women.
(35) RE: LETTER OF THE UP LAW FACULTY
ENTITLED RESTORING INTEGRITY: Accordingly,the Court directed the 37 UP law
A STATEMENTBYTHEFACULTYOFTHEUNIVERSITYOFTHE faculty-signatories to show cause, within ten
PHILIPPINESCOLLEGEOF LAW ON THE (10)days from receipt why they should not be
ALLEGATIONS OF PLAGIARISM AND disciplined as members of the Bar for violation of
MISREPRESENTATION IN THESUPREMECOURT Canons 1, 11 and13 and Rules 1.02 and 11.05 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.

41
Legal Ethics 3B

ISSUE: Issue:

Whether or not respondents should be


1. Whether or not there is plagiarism in the
disciplined as Members of the Bar under the
Code of Professional Responsibility case at bar.

HELD: All lawyers, whether they are judges, court


2. Whether or not Justice Del Castillo is guilty
employees, professors or privatepractitioners, are
officers of the Court and have voluntarily taken an of misconduct and gross negligence
oath, as an indispensable qualification for admission
to the Bar, to conduct themselves with good
fidelity towards the courts.

The administrative matter is decided by reminding Held:


the Thirty-five UP professors of their duty as officers
of the court while Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leonen was (1) No. It has been a long standing practice in this
admonished to be more mindful of his duty, as a
jurisdiction not to cite or acknowledge the originators
member of the Bar, an officer of the Court, and a
Dean and professor of law, to observe full candor of passages and views found in the Supreme Courts
and honesty in his dealings with the Court and decisions. These omissions are true for many of the
warned that the same or similar act in the future
decisions that have been penned and are being
shall be dealt with more severely. While a lawyer is
entitled to present his case with vigor and courage, penned daily by magistrates from the Court of
such Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax
Appeals, the Regional Trial Courts nationwide and
(36) In The Matter of Charges of Plagiarism
with them, the municipal trial courts and other first
Against Justice Mariano del Castillo
level courts. Never in the judiciarys more than 100
A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC, February 8 , 2011
years of history has the lack of attribution been
Per Curiam:
regarded and demeaned as plagiarism.
Facts: Petitioners Isabelita C. Vinuya, et al., all
members of the Malaya Lolas Organization, seek
reconsideration of the decision of the Court dated
October 12, 2010 that dismissed their charges of
As put by one author Joyce C. George from her
plagiarism, twisting of cited materials, and gross Judicial Opinion Writing Handbook:
neglect against Justice Mariano Del Castillo in
connection with the decision he wrote for the Court A judge writing to resolve a dispute, whether trial
in G.R. No. 162230, entitled Vinuya v. Romulo. or appellate, is exempted from a charge of
Petitioners claim that the Court has by its decision plagiarism even if ideas, words or phrases from
legalized or approved of the commission of a law review article, novel thoughts published in
plagiarism in the Philippines. This claim is absurd. a legal periodical or language from a partys brief
The Court, like everyone else, condemns plagiarism are used without giving attribution. Thus judges
as the world in general understands and uses the are free to use whatever sources they deem
term appropriate to resolve the matter before them,
without fear of reprisal. This exemption applies

42
Legal Ethics 3B

to judicial writings intended to decide cases for of Public Document, Perjury and Estafa was filed
two reasons: the judge is not writing a literary against her before the Office of Regional Prosecutor
work and, more importantly, the purpose of the and Ombudsman and the same was dismissed in
writing is to resolve a dispute. As a result, the former. Following her retirement, then Atty.
judges adjudicating cases are not subject to a Aguilar applied for the position of judge, supported
claim of legal plagiarism. with her accomplished Personal Data Sheet (PDS),
Question No. 23 of the PDS asked: "Is there any
pending civil, criminal or administrative (including
disbarment) case or complaint filed against you
(2) No. Justice Del Castillo is not guilty of
pending before any court, prosecution office, any
misconduct. The error here is in good faith. There
other office, agency or instrumentality of the
was no malice, fraud or corruption. Though the
government, or the Integrated Bar of the
ponencia of Justice Del Castillo accidentally deleted
Philippines?" In answer to said question, Atty. Aguilar
the attribution to them, there remained in the final
wrote "None" so Atty. Aguilar was appointed as RTC
draft of the decision attributions of the same
Judge of Burgos, Pangasinan. After her
passages to the earlier writings from which those
appointment, the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon
authors borrowed their ideas in the first place.
found no liability on Atty. Aguilars part for dishonesty
but only for misconduct and imposed the penalty of
In short, with the remaining attributions after the
one month suspension. Atty. Aguilar assumed her
erroneous clean-up, the passages as it finally
judicial position on February 8, 2006 and
appeared in the Vinuya decision still showed on their
accomplished another PDS for submission to the
face that the lifted ideas did not belong to Justice Del
Supreme Court and were asked:37. a. Have you
Castillo but to others. He did not pass them off as his
ever been formally charged? b. Have you ever been
own.
guilty of any administrative offense?38. Have you
ever been convicted of any crime or violation of any
law, decree, ordinance or regulation by any court or
The Court DENIES petitioners motion for tribunal? Judge Aguilar answered "No" to all the
reconsideration for lack of merit. questions.

Issue: Is Judge Aguilar guilty of dishonesty in filling


(37) OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. out her PDS ?
JUDGE MA. ELLEN M. AGUILAR
Held: Yes. Judge Aguilar admitted that in two of her
A.M. No. RTJ-07-2087 , 7 JUNE 2011, EN BANC PDS one accomplished in September 2004,
(Leonardo-De Castro,J.) attached to her application for judgeship position,
and the other accomplished on March 6, 2006, upon
Facts: While Judge Aguilar was still the Legal her assumption as RTC Judge of Burgos,
Officer of Olongapo City, a complaint for Falsification Pangasinan Judge Aguilar answered that she had

43
Legal Ethics 3B

no pending administrative case against her; and that (38) RE: PETITION FOR RADIO AND TELEVISION
COVERAGE OF THE MULTIPLE MURDER CASES
she had not been formally charged nor found guilty
AGAINST MAGUINDANAO GOVERNOR ZALDY
of any administrative charge. All the while, Arnel AMPATUAN, ET AL.,
AM No. 10-11-5-SC
Sisons administrative complaint against Judge
June 14, 2011
Aguilar, OMB-L-A-03-0718-G, was pending before
FACTS:
the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon. The Deputy
Ombudsman for Luzon, in a Decision dated Petitioners seek the lifting of the absolute ban on
live television and radio coverage of court
November 29, 2005 in OMB-L-A-03-0718-G, found
proceedings of the Maguindanao Massacre. They
Judge Aguilar guilty of misconduct and imposed principally urge the Court to revisit the 1991 ruling in
Re: Live TV and Radio Coverage of the Hearing of
upon her the penalty of one month suspension; and
President Corazon C. Aquinos Libel Case and the
in an Order dated January 31, 2006, denied Judge 2001 ruling in Re: Request Radio-TV Coverage of
the Trial in the Sandiganbayan of the Plunder Cases
Aguilars motion for reconsideration, but modified the
Against the Former President Joseph E. Estrada
penalty imposed by converting it to a fine equivalent which were rulings that violated the doctrine that
proposed restrictions on constitutional rights that are
to one month salary.
to be narrowly construed and outright prohibition
cannot stand when regulation is a viable alternative.
The accomplishment of the PDS is a requirement Petitioners state that the trial case has attracted
intense media coverage due to the gruesomeness of
under the Civil Service Rules and Regulations for the crime, prominence of the accused, and the
employment in the government. Since truthful number of media personnel killed. They inform that
reporters are being frisked and searched for
completion of PDS is a requirement for employment cameras, recorders, and cellular devices upon entry,
in the Judiciary, the importance of answering the and that under strict orders of the trial court against
live broadcast coverage, the number of media
same with candor need not be gainsaid. With practitioners allowed inside the courtroom has been
respect to Judge Aguilars supposed omission in her limited to one reporter for each media institution. The
record shows that NUJP Vice-Chairperson Jose
PDS submitted with her judgeship application, we Jaime Espina, by January 12, 2010 letter to Judge
are guided by the ruling in Plopinio v. Zabala-Cario Solis-Reyes, requested a dialogue to discuss
concerns over media coverage of the proceedings of
wherein we clarified that a person shall be the Maguindanao Massacre cases. Judge Solis-
considered formally charged in administrative cases Reyes replied, however, that matters concerning
media coverage should be brought to the Courts
only upon a finding of the existence of a prima facie attention through appropriate motion.
case by the disciplining authority, in case of a
ISSUE:
complaint filed by a private person. However, Judge
Aguilars failure to disclose OMB-L-A-03-0718-G in Whether or not there can be live broadcast by
television and radio of the trial court proceedings
her PDS filed upon her assumption of office when without violation of Canon 1 Section 1 of The New
she already had notice of the adverse decision Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary?
therein constitutes dishonesty, considered a grave
offense under the Administrative Code of 1987, as RULING:
well as the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in Yes. The Court partially granted pro hac vice (for this
the Civil Service (Civil Service Rules), with the occasion) petitioners prayer for a live broadcast of
the trial court proceedings. The New Code of
corresponding penalty of dismissal from service Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary Canon
even for the first offense. 1, Section 1 provides:

44
Legal Ethics 3B

Judges shall exercise the judicial function the judge. Further, when complainants wife was to
independently on the basis of their assessment of move for the postponement of the mediation of the
the facts and in accordance with a conscientious case before the Philippine Mediation Center, she
understanding og the law, free of any extraneous was informed by the clerk that Judge Tabin likewise
influence, inducement, pressure, threat or inquired about the same. Thus, the administrative
interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter of for complaint was filed by Atty. Gandeza against Judge
any reason. Tabin before the OCA, who referred the case to the
According to the ruling penned by Conchita Carpio- Executive Judge of RTC Baguio.
Morales, the indication of serious risks posed by
live media coverage to the accuseds right to due Investigation Judge Clavarall recommended
process, left unexplained and unexplored in the era the dismissal of the complaint for lack of evidence
obtaining in Aquino and Estrada, has left a blow to but OCA held that Judge Tabin was guilty of violation
the exercise of press freedom and the right to public of Canon 4, Section 1 of the New Code of Judicial
information. In this day and age, it is about time to Conduct.
craft a win-win situation that shall not compromise
rights in the criminal administration of justice, ISSUE:
sacrifice press freedom and allied rights, and
interfere with the integrity, dignity and solemnity of WON Judge Tabin is guilty of Canon 4,
judicial proceedings. Compliance with regulations, Section 1 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct on
not curtailment of a right, provides a workable Propriety
solution to the concerns raised in these
administrative matters, while, at the same time, HOLD:
maintaining the same underlying principles upheld in
the two aforementioned cases. Yes, Judge Tabin is guilty of violating said
provision. Even though there was no evidence of
malice amounting to gross misconduct and conduct
unbecoming of a judge, the acts of Judge Tabin such
as directing a second test for alcohol be taken and
(39) ATTY. CONRADO B. GANDEZA vs. JUDGE interfering in the investigation of the incident. Even
MARIA TABIN though there was no disclosure made by Judge
A.M. No. MTJ-09-1736 | July 25, 2011 | Peralta, J. Tabin of her personality, both the police and the
complainant knew her to be a judicial officer, and
FACTS: that should have been enough cause for her to
refrain from her actions.
On 20 November 2007, a car collision
between that of complainants car, driven by his To stress how the law frowns upon even
driver Guimba Digermo, and the car of the nephew any appearance of impropriety in a magistrates
of respondent Judge Tabin. When Atty. Gandeza activities, it has often been held that a judge must be
arrived at the scene, respondent Judge was like Ceasars wife above suspicion and beyond
conferring with the police investigator and when he reproach. SC held Judge Tabin guilty of impropriety,
approached complainant, he spoke in a harsh tone was reprimanded and given a stern warning that a
accusing the driver to have been driving under the repetition of the same shall be dealt with more
influence of liquor. This allegation was repeatedly severely.
said to the investigator by Judge Tabin. When they (40) Atty. Jose Vicente D. Fernandez v. Judge
were all in the hospital, Judge Tabin continued her
Angeles S. Vasquez, A.M. No. RTJ-11-2261
allegations and when the breath examination for
alcohol came out negative, she even demanded a July 26, 2011, Perez, J.
re-examination.

Complainant also suspected Judge Tabin to Facts: Atty. Jose Vicente D. Fernandez is the
be conspiring with the prosecutor since the counsel of several cases instituted for the recovery
complaint was already filed barely a week after the
collision. Additionally, complainants wife, also a of the properties against spouses Ranolas which
lawyer, even saw an employee of Judge Tabin were all raffled to the court presided over by
carrying the folder of the criminal case, which the
employee said that she was to bring it to the sala of respondent Judge Vasquez. Respondent judge

45
Legal Ethics 3B

asked complainant to file a motion for his inhibition Issue: Whether or not respondent judge is guilty of
on the ground that respondent judge was the gross dishonesty and falsification of an official
counsel, prior to his appointment as public document in violation of the Code of Judicial
prosecutor, of the Raola family. No action was Conduct.
taken by respondent judge on the Motion. It was
only after a year, after complainant filed a Held: We agree with the findings of the OCA on

Supplemental Motion for Inhibition, on the ground of respondents gross inefficiency and dishonesty

manifest bias, partiality and inexcusable delay in the although we differ with respect to the penalty

proceedings, that respondent judge ruled and denied imposed.

the two motions which according to complainant, the


The Court, in the exercise of its
Supplemental Motion for Inhibition was triggered by
administrative supervision over the lower courts, has
the apparent bias of respondent judge for the
the authority to look into the time spent by
Spouses Raola.
respondent judge in resolving the incident. As

Another matter that complainant observed by the OCA, respondent judge failed to

emphasized in his complaint was the dishonesty resolve the motion for his inhibition within the 90-day

allegedly committed by respondent when he reglementary period. In the orderly administration of

accomplished his Personal Data Sheet (PDS) for the justice, judges are required to act with dispatch in

Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when he placed an resolving motions filed in their court. The parties

"x" in the box indicating a "No" answer to the have the right to be properly informed of the

question: "Have you been charged with or convicted outcome of the motions they have filed and the

of or otherwise imposed a sanction of any law, Constitutional right to a speedy disposition of their

decree, ordinance or regulation by any court, case. Taking into account the circumstances in this

tribunal, or any other government office, agency or case, we find no reason for respondent judges

instrumentality in the Philippines or any foreign delayed action. Delay in resolving motions and

country, or found guilty of an administrative offense incidents pending before a judges sala within the

or imposed any administrative sanction? (Question reglementary period fixed by the Constitution and

No. 24), and Have you ever been retired, dismissed the law is not excusable and cannot be condoned.

or forced to resign from employment? (Question No.


That respondent is guilty of dishonesty in
25)." Respondent was alleged to had been criminally accomplishing his PDS is impossible to refute. It was
charged for indirect bribery in the early 1970s and not mere inadvertence on his part when he
answered "No" to that very simple question posed in
tendered his resignation from his position as clerk of the PDS. He knew exactly what the question called
court to evade the administrative case that may arise for and what it meant, and that he was committing
an act of dishonesty but proceeded to do it anyway.
from the indirect bribery incident, thus, in brazenly Clearly, there was an obvious lack of integrity, the
giving untruthful statements in his PDS, respondent most fundamental qualification of a member of the
judiciary.
committed dishonesty and falsification of public
documents. (41) ATTY. TOMAS ONG CABILI, Complainant,
versus JUDGE RASAD G. BALINDONG, Acting

46
Legal Ethics 3B

Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 8, Marawi City, undermines the public confidence in the judiciary
Respondent. through his demonstrated incompetence. When the
A.M. No. RTJ-10-2225 law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office
September 6, 2011 to know and to simply apply it. Anything less would
be constitutive of gross ignorance of law.
FACTS: Branch 6 of the Iligan City RTC
rendered a decision holding the Mindanao State (42) OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR V.
University (MSU) liable for damages amounting to JUDGE UYAG USMAN, A.M. No. SCC-08-12,
P2, 726, 189.90. When MSU failed to comply with Third Division, October 19, 2011, Mendoza, J.
the writ of execution, Sheriff Gerard Peter Gaje
served a Notice of Garnishment on MSUs FACTS:
depository bank, Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP),
Marawi City Branch. Consequently, MSU filed a Complainant alleged that respondent acquired a
petition for prohibition and mandamus with an brand new SUV, specifically a Kia Sorento EX,
application for the issuance of a Temporary Automatic Transmission and 2.57 CRDI Diesel for
Restraining Order (TRO) and/or preliminary 1,526,000.00; that he paid in cash the total down
injunction against the LBP and Sheriff Gaje, which payment of 344,200.00; and that the remaining
was raffled to Branch 8 Marawi City RTC presided balance was payable in 48 months with a monthly
by Judge Balindong. Respondent Judge issued the amortization of 34,844.00 to the Philippine Savings
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), hence, an Bank (PS Bank), Ozamis City Branch. Complainant
administrative complaint was filed charging him with further averred that respondent had just been
Gross Ignorance of the Law, Grave Abuse of recently appointed as a judge and since he assumed
Authority, Abuse of Discretion, and/or Grave his post, he seldom reported for work and could not
Misconduct Prejudicial to the Interest of the Judicial be located within the courts premises during office
Service for interfering with the order of a co-equal hours. Respondents financial capability to acquire
court, Branch 6 of the Iligan City RTC. said vehicle has been questioned because he is the
sole bread winner in his family and he has seven (7)
ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Balindong children, two (2) of whom were college students at
violated the principle of judicial stability. the Medina College School of Nursing, a private
school. Respondent bared that, at present, he is
HELD: YES. Respondent Judge clearly ignored the receiving a monthly take home pay of more than
principle of judicial stability by issuing a Temporary 40,000.00 including his salary and allowances plus
Restraining Order (TRO) to restrain Sheriff Gaje honorarium from the local government.
from enforcing the writ of execution issued by a co-
equal court, Branch 6 of the Iligan City RTC, and ISSUE:
from pursuing the garnishment from MSUs account
Whether or not respondent is is guilty of violating
with LBP, Marawi City Branch.
Section 7 of R.A. No. 3019 and Section 8 of R.A. No.
6713.
The doctrine of judicial stability or non-
interference in the regular orders or judgments of a HELD:
co-equal court is an elementary principle in the
administration of justice: no court can interfere by The Court agrees with the finding of the OCA that
injunction with the judgments or orders of another the charges against respondent were not fully
court of concurrent jurisdiction having the power to substantiated. The evidence adduced in the case,
grant the relief sought by the injunction. The consisting of documents submitted by respondent
rationale for the rule is founded on the concept of are sufficient to prove that it was, indeed, his mother
jurisdiction: a court that acquires jurisdiction over the who paid the down payment and the monthly
case and renders judgment therein has jurisdiction amortizations for the subject vehicle.
over its judgment, to the exclusion of all other
coordinate courts, for its execution and over all The Court also agrees with the OCA that respondent
its incidents, and to control, in furtherance of is guilty of violating Section 7 of R.A. No. 3019
justice, the conduct of ministerial officers acting otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and
in connection with this judgment. Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees
and of Section 7 of R.A. No. 3019, known as the
His lack of familiarity with the rules in Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
interfering with the acts of a co-equal court

47
Legal Ethics 3B

It is imperative that every public official or 3. Judge Ocampo Ocampo denied the charge,
government employee must make and submit a pointing out that Spelmans wife, Villan gave
complete disclosure of his assets, liabilities and net him certain household items for safekeeping
worth in order to suppress any questionable before she filed the case of theft and
accumulation of wealth. This serves as the basis of according to him when he received a copy
the government and the people in monitoring the of Spelmans complaint for grave
income and lifestyle of public officials and misconduct did he learn of the couples
employees in compliance with the constitutional separation and his unwitting part in their
policy to eradicate corruption, to promote legal battles.
transparency in government, and to ensure that all 4. OCA found Judge Ocampo guilty of
government employees and officials lead just and committing acts of impropriety and
modest lives, with the end in view of curtailing and maintaining close affinity with a litigant in
minimizing the opportunities for official corruption violation of Canons 1 and 4 of the New
and maintaining a standard of honesty in the public Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
service. Judiciary

In the present case, respondent clearly violated the ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Ocampos taking and
above-quoted laws when he failed to file his SALN keeping of the personal items belonging
for the years 2004-2008. He gave no explanation to Spelmans but supposedly given to him by the
either why he failed to file his SALN for five (5) latters wife for safekeeping constitutes a violation of
consecutive years. While every office in the the New Code of Judicial Conduct.
government service is a public trust, no position
exacts a greater demand on moral righteousness
and uprightness of an individual than a seat in the
Judiciary. Hence, judges are strictly mandated to HELD:
abide with the law, the Code of Judicial Conduct and
with existing administrative policies in order to Yes, Judge Ocampo is guilty of misconduct.
maintain the faith of our people in the administration
of justice. Judge Ocampo did not explain why, of all
people in Polomolok, Spelmans wife would entrust
to him, a municipal judge, certain personal items for
(43) ROLAND ERNEST MARIE JOSE SPELMANS
safekeeping. He also does not deny that he
vs. JUDGE GAYDIFREDO T. OCAMPO,
conducted an ocular inspection of the houses
A.M. No. MTJ-07-1663, March 26, 2010
that Spelmans used in Polomolok but
ABAD, J.
Judge Ocampo did not explain what justified it. The
charge was not robbery where he might have an
FACTS:
interest in personally looking at where and how the
break-in took place. It was a case of theft where it
1. Roland Ernest Marie Jose Spelmans, a
would be sufficient for the complainant to simply
Belgian, filed before the Office of the
state in her complaint-affidavit where the alleged
Ombudsman complaint for theft and graft
theft took place. If Judge Ocampo received the
and corruption against respondent Municipal
pieces of antique from Villan for safekeeping, this
Trial Court Judge Ocampo wherein
meant that a relation of trust existed between
Spelmans wife orchestrated a scheme of
them. Consequently, Judge Ocampo had every
removing properties in their home by filing a
reason to inhibit himself from the case from the
complaint a complaint of theft.
beginning. He of course claims that he dismissed
2. In the course of the investigation of the
the case against Rencio eventually but this is no
complaint, Judge Ocampo, together with the
excuse since his ruling could have gone the other
parties, held an ocular inspection of that
way. Besides, Spelmans claims that the complaint
rented house and another one
was just a scheme to enable Villan to steal his
where Spelmans kept some of the personal
personal properties from the two houses.
belongings of his late mother and that during
the inspection Judge Ocampo allegedly took
Further, Judge Ocampo only did return the
some of the personal properties in the
items after four years. Hence, Respondent judge
house.
should be made accountable for gross misconduct
constituting violations of the New Code of Judicial

48
Legal Ethics 3B

Conduct, specifically Section 6 of Canon 1, Section


1 of Canon 2, and Section 1 of Canon 4. From the Issue: Whether or not Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019
circumstances, his acts were motivated by malice. has been violated?
He was not a warehouseman for personal properties
of litigants in his court. He certainly would have
kept Spelmans properties had the latter not filed a Held: No.The assailed Resolutions issued by
complaint against him. He was guilty of respondents favored NICI and the Guy family does
covetousness. It affected the performance of his not necessarily render respondents guilty of violation
duties as an officer of the court and tainted the of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, absent proven
judiciarys integrity. He should be punished particular acts of manifest, evident bad faith or gross
accordingly. inexcusable negligence, good faith and regularity
being generally presumed in the performance of
official duties by public officers.
(44). 3-D INDUSTRIES, INC. and SMARTNET
PHILIPPINES, INC. vsJUSTICES VICENTE Q. While respondents may have based the assailed
ROXAS and JUAN Q. ENRIQUEZ, JR., Resolutions on mere allegations, thus disregarding
what has been established in jurisprudence that
Facts: mere allegation that a corporation is the alter ego of
the individual stockholders is insufficient, this does
Herein complainant Smartnets representative not render them administratively liable because not
Gilbert is the son of the spouses Francisco and every error or mistake that a judge commits in the
Simny Guy. The spouses organized Northern performance of his duties renders him liable, unless
Islands Co., Inc. (NICI) which is engaged in the he is shown to have acted in bad faith or with
manufacture, distribution, and sale of various home deliberate intent to do an injustice, which is not the
appliances bearing the 3-D trademark. The case here.
spouses also organized Lincoln Continental
Development Corporation, Inc. (Lincoln Continental) (45) OCA vs.LERMA October 12, 2010
as a holding company of 50% of the 20,160 shares FACTS:
of stock of NICI in trust for their three daughters Five (5) administrative cases were filed with
Geraldine, Gladys and Grace-sisters of Gilbert. the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) against
Judge Alberto L. Lerma (respondent judge) of the
Finding that their son Gilbert had been dissipating Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 256, Muntinlupa
the assets of Lincoln Continental, the spouses Guy City, for violating Supreme Court rules, directives,
caused the registration of 50% of the 20,160 shares and circulars, for making untruthful statements in his
of stock of NICI in the names of their three certificates of service, for gross ignorance of the law
daughters, thus enabling the latter to assume an and/or gross negligence, for delay in rendering an
active role in the management of NICI. order, for abusing judicial authority and discretion,
and for serious irregularity.
Herein Smartnet, one of the occupants of the NICI OCA charged respondent judge with
premises, filed on December 16, 2004 with the exceeding his authority under the Supreme Court
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Quezon City a resolution dated June 30, 1998 in A.M. No. 98-6-
complaint for forcible entry against NICI and the Guy 179-RTC. According to the OCA, the authority given
family. to respondent judge under the resolution was clearly
limited to the arraignment of the accused and the
In the meantime, the CA-Eighth Division directed the taking of his testimony; it did not authorize
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction prayed for respondent judge to decide the merits of the
by NICI and the Guy family in their new petition, CA- case. The OCA contended that the act of
G.R. SP No. 87104, and a writ was accordingly respondent judge constituted violation of a Supreme
issued on December 22, 2004. Court directive.

49
Legal Ethics 3B

According to the OCA, its records in the 12:00 p.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. from
Office of the Administrative Services show that Mondays to Fridays.
respondent judge has incurred absences without Notwithstanding the recommendation of the
filing a leave for such absence, wherein respondent Investigating Justice, the Court finds that the actions
judge was found playing golf on the dates of his of respondent judge constitute gross negligence
absences. and/or gross ignorance of the law.
Also, respondent judge issued divergent We have repeatedly held that to warrant a
orders raising serious questions of impropriety that finding of gross ignorance of the law, it must be
taint respondent judges credibility, probity, and shown that the error is so gross and patent as to
integrity. Coupled with the clandestine issuance of a produce an inference of bad faith.Gross negligence
second order where one party in a case and even refers to negligence characterized by want of even
the judges own staff were left completely in the dark slight care, acting or omitting to act in a situation
the action of respondent judge gives rise to an where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but
inference of bad faith. Indeed, it is reasonable to willfully and intentionally, with a conscious
believe that the second order was really intended to indifference to consequences insofar as other
give counsel of the opposing party the ammunition to persons may be affected. It is the omission of that
oppose the Urgent Manifestation and Motion to care which even inattentive and thoughtless men
Recall Writ of Execution/Garnishment , which was to never fail to take on their own property. In cases
be heard by the RTC of Makati City. involving public officials, there is gross negligence
On August 23, 2007, a complaint was filed when a breach of duty is flagrant and palpable.
with the Supreme Court, contending that respondent The totality of all these findings underscore
judge did not have the judicial authority to hear and the fact that respondent judges actions served to
decide the issues involved in Civil Case No. 2003- erode the peoples faith and confidence in
433 for want of jurisdiction. According to the judiciary. He has been remiss in the fulfillment of
complainant, this was brought to the attention of the duty imposed on all members of the bench in
respondent judge, but the latter, being grossly order to avoid any impression of impropriety to
ignorant of existing laws and rules, if not completely protect the image and integrity of the judiciary.
insolent of the same, and with grave abuse of To reiterate, officers of the court have the
discretion, took cognizance of the case. duty to see to it that justice is dispensed evenly and
fairly. Not only must they be honest and impartial,
ISSUE: whether or not respondent judge is liable for but they must also appear to be honest and impartial
violating Supreme Court rules, directives, and in the dispensation of justice. Judges should make
circulars, for making untruthful statements in his sure that their acts are circumspect and do not
certificates of service, for gross ignorance of the law arouse suspicion in the minds of the public. When
and/or gross negligence, for delay in rendering an they fail to do so, such acts cast doubt upon
order, for abusing judicial authority and discretion, their integrity and ultimately on the judiciary in
and for serious irregularity? general.[37] Courts will only succeed in their task
and mission if the judges presiding over them are
RULING: LIABLE truly honorable men, competent and independent,
These unjustified absences indubitably honest and dedicated.
established that respondent judge violated Supreme Respondent judge failed to live up to the
Court Memorandum Order dated November 19, judiciarys exacting standards, and this Court will not
1973, Administrative Circular No. 3-99 dated withhold penalty when called for to uphold the
January 15, 1999, and Administrative Circular No. 5 peoples faith in the Judiciary.
dated October 4, 1988, which provides for the
observance by judges, among other officials and (46) Villanueva vs. Judge Buaya
employees in the judiciary, of a five-day forty-hour November 22, 2010
week schedule which shall be from 8:00 a.m. to

50
Legal Ethics 3B

Facts: Complainant assisted by her father Issue: Whether or not the respondent is guilty with
Pantaleon Villanueva, charged respondent Acting Gross Ignorance of the Law and Abuse of Authority
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), because of the granting of an ex-parte motion to
Branch 17, of Palompon, Leyte, with Gross grant bail which must be set for hearing to afford the
Ignorance of the Law and Abuse of Authority. State and the prosecutor their day in court.
Villanueva accused then Vice-Mayor Constantino S.
Tupa of Palompon, Leyte, of the crime of Qualified Held: Yes, respondent is guilty with Gross Ignorance
Seduction and filed another complaint against the of the Law and Abuse of Authority because of the
same accused for violation of Section 5, paragraph granting of an ex-parte motion to grant bail which
(b), Article III of Republic Act No. 7610 otherwise must be set for hearing to afford the State and the
known as the Special Protection of Children against prosecutor their day in court.
Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act with the
The Court has always stressed the indispensable
Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Palompon, Leyte.
nature of a bail hearing in petitions for bail. Where
Judge Eric F. Menchavez, then Presiding Judge of
bail is a matter of discretion, the grant or the denial
the RTC, Branch 17, of Palompon, Leyte, issued a
of bail hinges on the issue of whether or not the
warrant for the arrest of Tupa, however, the warrant
evidence on the guilt of the accused is strong and
was not served because Tupa went into hiding and
the determination of whether or not the evidence is
could not be located. Meanwhile, Judge Menchavez
strong is a matter of judicial discretion which remains
was reassigned to the RTC in Cebu City which led to
with the judge. In order for the judge to properly
the designation of the respondent-judge as Acting
exercise this discretion, he must first conduct a
Presiding Judge of the RTC, Branch 17. Without
hearing to determine whether the evidence of guilt is
hearing and without notice to the prosecution,
strong. This discretion lies not in the determination of
respondent-judge granted the ex-parte motion and
whether or not a hearing should be held, but in the
ordered the release of Tupa on bail after the said
appreciation and evaluation of the weight of the
accused allegedly surrendered voluntarily in the
prosecutions evidence of guilt against the accused.
Ormoc City Police Station and filed with the RTC,
Branch 17 an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Grant Bail. In any event, whether bail is a matter of right or
Complainant moved to reconsider the order granting discretion, a hearing for a petition for bail is required
the ex-parte motion but without acting on the merits in order for the court to consider the guidelines set
of the said motion, respondent-judge issued an order forth in Section 9, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court in
allowing the accused to submit his comment or fixing the amount of bail. This Court has repeatedly
opposition within ten days; thereafter, the matter held in past cases that even if the prosecution fails
would be submitted for resolution. Respondent- to adduce evidence in opposition to an application
judges differing treatment of the ex-parte motion for bail of an accused, the court may still require the
and her motion for reconsideration apparently irked prosecution to answer questions in order to
complainant, prompting her to file the present ascertain, not only the strength of the State's
administrative complaint against the RTC judge. evidence, but also the adequacy of the amount of
Complainant contended that respondent-judges bail.
assailed order on the ex-parte motion was contrary
to the Rules of Court requirement that a motion to One who accepts the exalted position of a judge
grant bail must be set for hearing to afford the State owes the public and the Court the duty to maintain
and the prosecutor their day in court. She further professional competence at all time. When a judge
accused respondent-judge of being manifestly partial displays an utter lack of familiarity with the rules, he
as evidenced by the two temporary restraining erodes the confidence of the public in the courts. A
orders (TROs) he issued in favor of the accused in judge owes the public and the Court the duty to be
another case for quo warranto, then pending before proficient in the law and is expected to keep abreast
the RTC, Branch 17. of laws and prevailing jurisprudence. Ignorance of
the law by a judge can easily be the mainspring of
injustice.

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Legal Ethics 3B

(47) ATTY. JONNA M. ESCABARTE, et.al. v.


LOIDA MARCELINA J. GENABE
Whether or not respondent Genabe should
A.M. No. P-09-2602, 1 December 2010, THIRD be disciplined, making the order of suspension
DIVISION imposed by Judge Maceda proper

FACTS: HELD:

Judge Bonifacio Maceda issued an order Genabe ought to be disciplined. Without


suspending respondent Loida Marcelina Genabe for doubt, Genabes negative attitude and penchant for
30 days for neglect of duty and for being unruly and using offensive language can only prejudice the best
highly combative during the staff meeting in his interest of the service, not to mention that they
chambers, shouting disrespectfully to him and constitute conduct unbecoming a court employee. It
disrupting the meeting. Atty. Jonna M. Escabarte, et. is well to remind Genabe that "the conduct and
al. alleged that Genabe continued to render service behavior of everyone connected with x x x the
despite her 30-day suspension. Genabe denied the dispensation of justice, from the presiding judge to
allegations against her and claimed that Judge the x x x lowliest clerk x x x must be characterized
Maceda treated her oppressively to drive her out of with propriety and decorum, as Genabes attitude
her employment in the judiciary and to get even with goes against the principles of public service. Also,
her on account of her intolerance of the anomalous every "official and employee of an agency involved
practices prevailing in the court. Further, Genabe in the administration of justice, like the Court of
accused Judge Maceda of malversation when the Appeals, from the Presiding Justice to the most
judge allegedly diverted to other purposes the junior clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy
courts training budget for 2006, obtained from the burden of responsibility.
Las Pias City government.

We agree with the OCA observations that


The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) while the act of Judge Maceda in disciplining
recommended the following: (1) Genabe be found Genabe with a 30-day suspension is "not
guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the oppressive, capricious or despotic, that is, without
service and conduct unbecoming of a court color of law or reason, or without supporting facts,"
employee and be fined in an amount equivalent to he still had no authority to directly discipline her
one months salary; (2) Judge Maceda be reminded under the terms of A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC, which
to strictly comply with A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC, with a provided that the Executive Judge shall have the
warning against a similar violation in the future; and authority to act upon and investigate administrative
(3) the charge against Escabarte, Agbayani, Chavez, complaints involving light offenses as defined under
Gerero, Ortiz, Ramos and Villar be dismissed for the Civil Service Law and Rules (Administrative
lack of merit. Code of 1987), and the Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and Employees
(Republic Act No. 6713), where the penalty is
reprimand, suspension for not more than thirty (30)
ISSUE: days, or a fine not exceeding thirty (30) days salary,
and as classified in pertinent Civil Service

52
Legal Ethics 3B

resolutions or issuances, filed by (a) a judge against


a court employee, except lawyers, who both work in (48) JOVITO S. OLAZO v. JUSTICE DANTE O. TINGA
the same station within the Executive Judges area A.M. No. 10-5-7-SC December 7, 2010
of supervision; or (b) a court employee against
another court employee, except lawyers, who both FACTS
work in the same station within the Executive
Judges area of supervision. In the preceding J. Olazo filed a sales application covering a parcel of
instances, the Executive Judge shall conduct the land in Taguig. The land was previously part of Fort
necessary inquiry and submit to the Office of the Andres Bonifacio that was segregated and declared
Court Administrator the results thereof with a open for disposition. J. Olaza filed various charges
recommendation as to the action to be taken against Justice Tinga as follows:
thereon, including the penalty to be imposed, if any,
The First Charge: Violation of Rule 6.02
within thirty (30) days from termination of said
inquiry. At his/her discretion, the Executive Judge J. Olazo claimed that the Justice Tinga abused his
may delegate the investigation of complaints position as Congressman and as a member of the
involving light offenses to any of the Presiding Committee on Awards when he exerted undue
Judges or court officials within his/her area of pressure and influence over the complainants
administrative supervision. father, Miguel P. Olazo, for the latter to contest J.
Olazos sales application and claim the subject land
for himself and that Justice Tinga brokered the
transfer of rights of the subject land between Miguel
Under these terms, Judge Macedas order of Olazo and Joseph Rodriguez, nephew of Justice
December 21, 2006 was clearly out of line. But while Tingas deceased wife. As a result of Justice
the Judge overstepped the limits of his authority, we Tingas abuse of his official functions, the sales
see no reason not to ratify his action in light of its application was denied. The conveyance of rights to
obvious merits. Thus, the 30-day suspension he Joseph Rodriguez and his sales application were
imposed should stand but he should be warned subsequently given due course by the DENR.
against a repetition of the direct action he took.
The Second Charge: Violation of Rule 6.03

J. Olazo alleged that Justice Tinga persuaded


Miguel Olazo to direct Manuel to convey his rights
On the matter of the Judges handling of the Subic over a different piece of land to Joseph Rodriguez.
seminar fund in September 2006, provided by the In addition, J. Olazo alleged that Justice Tinga meet
Las Pias City, we agree with the OCA that the with Manuel for the purpose of nullifying the
conveyance of rights over the land to Joseph
judge cannot not be held liable. Nevertheless, in Rodriguez.. J. Olazo claimed that Justice Tinga
view of the nature of the fund (which required no wanted the rights over the land transferred to one
liquidation and is not an accountable judicial fund), Rolando Olazo, a Taguig Barangay Chairman.
Justice Tinga in this regard executed an "Assurance"
we believe that the Judge should have taken steps
where he stated that he was the lawyer of Ramon
such as the informing the court staff or filing of a Lee and Joseph Rodriguez.
report with the OCA on how the fund was handled.
The Third Charge: Violation of Rule 1.01
This precautionary move would have placed the
Judge above any suspicion of impropriety. We stress J. Olazo alleged that Justice Tinga engaged in
unlawful conduct considering his knowledge that
that "Judges shall avoid impropriety and the
Joseph Rodriguez was not a qualified beneficiary. J.
appearance of impropriety in all their actions. Olazo averred that Joseph Rodriguez is not a bona

53
Legal Ethics 3B

fide resident of the proclaimed areas and does not prove by clear and convincing evidence that the
qualify for an award. former committed unethical infractions warranting
the exercise of the Courts disciplinary power.
ISSUES :
(49)JOSEPHINE JAZMINES TAN vs. JUDGE
1. WON Justice Tinga constitute a breach of the SIBANAH USMAN
standard ethical conduct while he was still an
elective public official and a member of the A.M. No. RTJ-11-2666; February 15, 2011; Carpio
Committee on Awards; and Morales, J.
2. WON Justice Tinga constitute a breach of the
standard ethical conduct when he was no longer [Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3320-RTJ
a public official, but a private lawyer who
represented a client before the office he was FACTS:
previously connected with.
ComplainantJosephine Jazmines Tan filed a
RULING Motion for Inhibition against respondent
JudgeSibanahUsman. Tan alleged that during the
NO. SC ruled that there is an absence of any hearing of the Motion for Inhibition, Judge Usman
concrete proof that the Justice Tinga abused became very emotional, coerced her to testify
hisposition as a Congressman and as a member of without the assistance of counsel and demanded a
the Committee on Awards in the manner defined public apology from her; and that while she
under Rule 6.02 ofthe Code of Professional requested to refer the motion to the Executive
Responsibility. First, the records do not clearly show Judge, Judge Usman interrogated her relentlessly
if the complainants sales application wasever following which he issued an Order finding her guilty
brought before the Committee on Awards. The of Direct Contempt andordered her detention for a
circumstances do not show that Justice Tinga did in period not exceeding thirty (30) days. Tan was
any way promote, advance or use his private actually detained for 19 days.
interests in the discharge of his official duties.

NO. Under the circumstances, it should be


correlated with R.A.No. 6713 and Rule 6.03 of the ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Usman is guilty of
Code of Professional Responsibility which impose gross ignorance of the law.
certain restrictions on government lawyers to
HELD: Yes.
engage in private practice after their separation from
the service. As a rule, government lawyers are not Failure to follow basic legal commands as
allowed to engage in the private practice of their prescribed by law and the rules is tantamount to
profession during their incumbency. By way of gross ignorance of the law. By accepting the exalted
exception, a government lawyer can engage in the position of a judge, respondent ought to have been
practice of his or her profession under the following familiar with the legal norms and precepts as well as
conditions: 1) private practice is authorized by the the procedural rules.
Constitution or by the law; and 2) the practice will not
conflict or tend to conflict with his or her official
functions. As the records show, no evidence exists
showing that the respondent previously interfered Respondent judge is guilty of gross ignorance of the
with the sales application covering Manuels land law. The penalty for direct contempt if imprisonment
when the former was still a member of the is imposed should not, as Section 1 of Rule 71
Committee on Awards. provides, exceed 10 days. In this case, Complainant
was detained for 19 days or 9 days more than the
SC resolved case dismissed the administrative case limit imposed by the Rules.
against Justice Tinga for the J. Olazos failure to

54
Legal Ethics 3B

Moreover, Respondent judge did not fix the bond, in Respondent Atty. Luna B. Avance is disbarred for gr
violation of the same Section 2 of Rule 71, which oss misconduct and wilful disobedience of lawful
complainant could have posted had she desired to orders of a superior court. Her name is ordered
challenge the order. And on the same day the Order stricken off from the Roll of Attorneys.
was issued, respondent ordered the confinement of
complainant to the provincial jail. As an officer of the court, it is a lawyers duty to
uphold the dignity and authority of the court. The
Thus, the court imposed the penalty of fine. highest form of respect for judicial authority is shown
by a lawyers obedience to court orders and
processes.We have held that failure to comply with
Court directives constitutes gross misconduct,insubo
(50) TERESITA D. SANTECO, complainant, vs.
rdination or disrespect which merits a lawyers
ATTY. LUNA B. AVANCE, respondent. suspension or even disbarment. Respondents
cavalier attitude in repeatedly ignoring orders of the
FACTS: Supreme Court constitutes utter disrespect to the
judicial institution.
Teresita Santeco filed an administrative case against Respondents conduct indicates a high degree or irre
Atty. Luna Avance for mishandling an action to sponsibility. A Courts Resolution is not to be
declare a deed of absolute sale null and void and for construed as a mere request, nor should it be
reconveyance and damages; where Atty. Avance complied with partially, inadequately, or selectively.
was found guilty. She was ordered suspended from Respondents obstinate refusal to comply with the
the practice of law for five years and was directed to Courts orders not only betrays recalcitrant flaw in
return to the complainant the amount of P3,900 her character; it also underscores her disrespect of
which the complainant paid her for filing a petition for the Courts lawful orders which is only too
certiorari with the Court of Appeals which she never deserving of reproof. Under Section 27, Rule 138
filed. of the Rules of Court a member of the bar may be
disbarred or suspended from office as an attorney
During Atty. Avances five-year suspension from the
for gross misconduct and/or for a wilful disobedience
practice of law, Judge Consuelo Amog-Bocar, sent a
of any lawful order of a superior court, to wit:
letter-report to the Court Administrator, informing him
that Atty. Avance appeared and actively participated SEC. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by
in three cases wherein she misrepresented herself Supreme Court; grounds therefor. A member of
as Atty. LiezlTanglao. Acting on the report, the court the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his
required Atty. Avance to comment within ten days office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any
from notice. However, despite reiteration of the deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in
directive, Atty. Vance still failed to file the required such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of
comment, hence, the court found the respondent his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or
guilty of indirect contempt ordering her to pay a fine for any violation of the oath which he is required to
of P30,000 and stern warning. take before admission to practice, or for a willful
disobedience of any lawful order of a superior
Atty. Avance failed to pay the imposed fine despite
court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an
due notice hence, the court finds the respondent
attorney for a party to a case without authority so to
unfit to continue as a member of the bar.
do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the
ISSUE: purpose of gain, either personally or through paid
agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.
Whether or not Atty. Vance should be disbarred. (Emphasis supplied.)

RULING: In repeatedly disobeying this Courts orders,


respondent proved herself unworthy of membership

55
Legal Ethics 3B

in the Philippine Bar. Worse, she remains indifferent HELD:


to the need to reform herself. Clearly, she is unfit to
discharge the duties of an officer of the court and The counduct of Judge Limsiaco constitutes
deserves the ultimate penalty of disbarment. clear acts of defiance of the Courts authority. It is a
deliberate disrespect and indifference to the
authority of the Court which further shows his
inability to accept instructions of his superior. His
conduct failed to provide a good example for other
court personnel, and the public as well, in placing
significance to the Courts directives and the
(51) Judge Napoleon Inoturan vs. Judge Manuel importance of complying with them. The delay in
Limsiaco deciding a case is a failure to perform all judicial
duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions,
A.M. OCA No. MTJ-01-1362February 22, 2011 efficiently, fairly and with promptness.

FACTS: The Court likewise found that Judge


Limsiaco has already been held liable in several
This is a consolidated case filed against administrative cases undue delay in rendering
Judge Limsiaco. The first case is for failure to decision, gross misconduct, gross ignorance of the
comply with the directives of the Court and the law and procedure, delay in submission of monthly
second for failure to decide a case within the 90-day report of cases, and gross misconduct. Being a
reglamentary period. repeat offender exhibits his unworthiness to don the
judicial robes and merits a heavier sanction of
First Case:
dismissal from service, but having been retired, his
Judge Limsiaco ordered the release of an retirement benefits shall be forfeited instead.
accused in a criminal case. The judge was found
*Canon 1
guilty of ignorance of the law and of violating Code
of Judicial Conduct. He was directed to explain Section 7 Judge shall encourage and
within 10 days from notice why he should not be uphold safeguards for the discharge of judicial
administratively charged but failed to do so. The duties in order to maintain and enhance the
Court then granted several motions for extension to institutional and operational independence of the
file his motion for reconsideration on account of his Judiciary.
alleged physical ailment. Despite the grant of such
motions, Judge Limsiaco still failed to respond to Section 8 Judges shall exhibit and
such directive nor offered any explanation. promote high standards of judicial conduct in order
to reinforce public confidence in the Judiciary, which
Second Case: is fundamental to the maintenance of judicial
independence.
The plaintiff in an ejectment case claimed
that Judge Limsiaco failed to seasonably decide *Canon 6, Section 5Judges shall perform all
such even though the case has already been judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved
submitted for resolution as early as April 25, 2005. decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable
Judge Limsiaco admitted he only decided the case 2 promptness.
years after February 4, 2008.
(52) ASSISTANT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR III
ROHERMIA J. JAMSANI-RODRIGUEZ vs.
JUSTICES GREGORY S. ONG, JOSE R.
ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Limsiaco violated the
HERNANDEZ, and RODOLFO A. PONFERRADA,
Code of Judicial Conduct? (Yes under Sections 7 &
SANDIGANBAYAN
8 of Canon 1 and Section 5 of Canon 6)

56
Legal Ethics 3B

FACTS: professional qualifications and manifested a lack of


the requisite humility demanded of public
Respondents Sandiganbayan Associate Justices magistrates. Their doing so reflected a vice of self-
sought reconsideration of SC Decision finding them conceit. We view their acts as bespeaking their lack
guilty for simple misconduct. The charge was based of judicial temperament and decorum, which no
on the complaint of Assistant Prosecutor Rodriguez judge worthy of the judicial robes should avoid
who alleged that the respondents failed to hear especially during their performance of judicial
cases as collegial during scheduled sessions by functions. They should not exchange banter or
hearing the cases either alone or only two of the engage in playful teasing of each other during trial
three of them, and for falsification of public proceedings (no matter how good-natured or even if
documents grounded on their issuance of orders meant to ease tension, as they want us to believe).
signed by the three of them making it appear that Judicial decorum demands that they behave with
they acted as a collegial body. It was also alleged dignity and act with courtesy towards all who appear
that they have conducted themselves in gross abuse before their court. This is in violation of Section 6,
of judicial authority and grave misconduct for Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct which
intemperate and discriminatory utterances during states that Judges shall maintain order and
hearings. Justice Ong and Hernandez admitted decorum in all proceedings before the court and be
randomly asking the counsels appearing before patient, dignified and courteous in relation to
them from which law schools they had graduated, litigants, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom
and their engaging during the hearings in casual the judge deals in an official capacity.
conversation about their respective law schools.
(53) A.M. No. RTJ-09-2197 April 13, 2011
ISSUE: WON there is sufficient cause to establish
the Justices complete exoneration.
ANTONINO MONTICALBO vs JUDGE
HELD:The motion for reconsideration was denied.
CRESCENTE MARAYA
Section 2, Rule VII of the Revised Internal Rules of
the Sandiganbayan expressly requires that rulings FACTS: Fatima Credit Cooperative filed a civil case
on oral motions made or objections raised in the for collection of sum of money against Antonino
course of the trial proceedings or hearings are be Moncalbo and his wife before the Municipal Circuit
made by the Chairman of the Division. Obviously, Trial Court of Calubian-San Isidro, Leyte. The case
the rule cannot be complied with because Justice was dismissed by the said court in its February 2008
Ong, the Chairman, did not sit in the hearing of the Order on the ground that the representative of
cases heard by the other respondents. Neither could Fatima Credit Cooperative had no authority to
the other respondents properly and promptly prosecute the case but it did not rule on the
contribute to the rulings of Justice Ong in the counterclaim of Monticalbo for attorneys fees and
hearings before him X X X This necessitates the litigation expenses. Aggrieved, after his motion for
equal and full participation of each member in the reconsideration is denied, complainant elevated the
trial and adjudication of their cases. It is simply not case to the Regional Trial Court, Calubian but Judge
enough, therefore, that the three members of the Crescente Maraya dismissed the appeal for having
Fourth Division were within hearing and been filed out of time because under the rules on
communicating distance of one another at the Summary Procedure which was applied to govern
hearings in question, as they explained in hindsight, the proceedings of this case, a motion for
because even in those circumstances not all of them reconsideration is a prohibited pleading and it will
sat together in session. not suspend the period of appeal. As a result,
Monticalbo filed an administrative case in the
As applied to Justice Ong and Hernandez, SC Supreme Court against Judge Maraya for gross
maintained their initial ruling on discriminatory ignorance of the law, gross incompetence and grave
utterancces. They thereby publicized their abuse of authority thru false representation.

57
Legal Ethics 3B

ISSUE: Whether or not there is grave misconduct on In this case, complainant has nothing but mere
the part of Judge Maraya resulting to grave assertions and conjectures to buttress his
allegations of grave misconduct and bribery on the
abuse of authority. part of respondent who, if complainant is to be
believed, accepted bribes of food and engaged in
Whether or not there is gross ignorance of drinking sprees with court employees during office
the law on part of Judge Maraya in deciding hours. Contrary to complainants statement, the
Investigating Justice found that respondent was
the case. attending to his cases during the dates when he
allegedly had those drinking sessions.
RULING: Petition DENIED.

On the 2nd issue, the Court rule in the negative.


st
On the 1 issue, the Court rule in the negative.
A cursory reading of Section 1 of the Revised Rule
In order to merit disciplinary action, it must be on Summary Procedure clearly shows that
established that respondents actions were complainants claim is covered by the said rule
motivated by bad faith, dishonesty or hatred or were which reads: Scope. This rule shall govern the
attended by fraud, dishonesty or corruption. 15 In the summary procedure in the Metropolitan Trial Courts,
absence of such proof, the decision or order in the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, the Municipal
question is presumed to have been issued in good Trial Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in
faith by respondent judge. the following cases falling within their jurisdiction:

In cases where a judge is charged with bribery or A. Civil Cases


grave misconduct, bias or partiality cannot be
presumed. Neither can bad faith or malice be xxx
inferred just because the judgment or order rendered
by respondent is adverse to complainant.
(2) All other cases, except probate proceedings,
where the total amount of the plaintiffs claim does
Before a judge can be held liable for deliberately not exceed One hundred thousand pesos
rendering an unjust judgment or order, one must be (P100,000.00) or Two hundred thousand pesos
able to show that such judgment or order is unjust (P200,000.00) in Metropolitan Manila, exclusive of
and that it was issued with malicious intent to cause interest and costs.
injustice to the aggrieved party. Well-established is
the rule in administrative proceedings that the
Evidently, the complainant has been consulting old
burden of proof rests on the complainant, who must
books. The rule now, as amended by A.M. No. 02-
be able to support and prove by substantial evidence
11-09-SC, effective November 25, 2002, has placed
his accusations against respondent. Substantial
the ceiling at P100,000.00. As such, the complainant
evidence, the quantum of proof required in
has no basis in charging that respondents
administrative cases, is that amount of relevant
"knowledge of law fell so short" and that he was
evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as
remiss in his obligation to be familiar with the law
adequate to support a conclusion. Failure of the
which "even law students these days know such x x
complainant to substantiate his claims will lead to
x."
the dismissal of the administrative complaint for lack
of merit because, in the absence of evidence to the
The complainant should have elevated his grievance
contrary, the presumption that a judge has regularly
to the higher courts. The filing of an administrative
performed his duties will prevail.
case against the judge is not an alternative to the

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Legal Ethics 3B

other judicial remedies provided by law, neither is it Sec. 1. Judges shall ensure that not only is
complementary or supplementary to such actions. their conduct above reproach, but that it is
perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable
observer.
(54) FLORENDA TOBIAS vs. JUDGE MANUEL
LIMSIACO, JR. CANON 3
A.M. No. MTJ-09-1734, January 19, 2011 IMPARTIALITY
Peralta, J. Impartiality is essential to the proper
discharge of the judicial office. It applies not only
FACTS: to the decision itself but also to the process by
Florenda Tobias requested her sister, Lorna which decision is made.
Vollmer, to inquire from the Fourth MCTC of Sec. 2. Judges shall ensure that his or her
Valladolid-San Enrique-Palupandan, Negros conduct, both in and out of court, maintains and
Occidental about the requirements needed in filing enhances the confidence of the public, the legal
an ejectment case. The Judge advised Volmer that profession and litigants in the impartiality of the
since there was no lawyer in Valladolid, Negros judge of the judiciary.
Occidental, she had to choose the nearest town
lawyer as it would lessen expenses in transportation CANON 4
and appearance fee, and mentioned the name of PROPRIETY
Atty. Robert Juanillo. After the ejectment case was Propriety and the appearance of propriety
filed, Volmer went to Judge Limsiacos court and told are essential to the performance of all the
him that she was withdrawing the services of Atty. activities of the judge.
Juanillo. Because of such, the Judge prepared the Sec. 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and
motion for the withdrawal of appearance of the said the appearance of impropriety in all of their
lawyer. activities.
Sec. 2. As a subject of constant public
ISSUE: WON the Judge violated the Code of scrutiny, judges must accept personal restrictions
Judicial Conduct. that might be viewed as burdensome by the
ordinary citizen and should so freely and willingly.
RULING: In particular, judges shall conduct themselves in
YES. The respondent judge committed acts a way that is consistent with the dignity of the
of unbecoming of a judge, in particular, talking to a judicial office.
prospective litigant in his court, recommending a
lawyer to the litigant, and preparing the Motion to The aforementioned acts of the respondent
Withdraw as Counsel of Atty. Juanillo, which Judge constitute gross misconduct. Misconduct
pleading was filed in his court and was acted upon means a transgression of some established and
by him. The conduct of the judge should be beyond definite rull of action, wilful in character, improper
reproach and reflective of the integrity of his office. and wrong behaviour. Gross has been defined as
The acts of the respondent judge violated out of all measure, beyond allowance; flagrant;
Section 1 of Canon 2, Section 2 of Canon 3, and shameful; such conduct as is not to be excused.
Section 1 of Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Respondents act of preparing the Motion to
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, thus: Withdraw the Appearance of Atty. Juanillo as
CANON 2 counsel of complainant is inexcusable. In so doing,
INTEGRITY respondent exhibited improper conduct that
Integrity is essential not only to the proper tarnished the integrity and impartiality of his court,
discharge of the judicial office but also to the considering that the said motion was filed in his own
personal demeanor of judges. sala and was acted upon by him.
-

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Judge Limsiaco was found guilty of Gross Imelda Marcos filed an administrative case against
Misconduct for which he was fined in the amount of Judge Pamintuan of Branch 3, RTC, Baguio City
P25,000.
with Gross Ignorance of the Law for reversing motu
propio the final and executory order of then Judge
(55) SY VS. DINOPOL
Reyes dated May 30, 1996 (and modified in the
FACTS:
September 2, 1996 order), The order of Judge
This case arose to a land which was mortgage to the Reyes in the said case did not rule on the
mortgagee, Metrobank. The latter foreclosed the authenticity of the Golden Buddha because it was
mortgaged land and won as the highest bidder.
Petitioner then filed an Annulment and/or Declaration not made as an issue while the questioned order of
of Nullity of the real estate mortgage. The Judge Pamintuan,10 years after, has ruled that said
respondent judge inhibited himself to the case Buddha, which is under the custody the court, was
before him on the ground that he received a call both
fake and a mere replica.
from the parties, and claimed that he wanted to
avoid being charged with partiality. However, Issue: Whether or not Judge Pamintuan was liable
notwithstanding his inhibition on the said case, he for gross ignorance of the law.
nonetheless grants the petition of Metrobank for the
Held: Yes. It is axiomatic that when a judgment is
Issuance of a Writ of Possession over the disputed
land. Petitioner charged the respondent judge of final and executory, it becomes immutable and
gross ignorance of law and conduct of unbecoming a unalterable. It may no longer be modified in any
member of the judiciary. The latter charged has been
respect either by the court which rendered it or even
founded on the ground that respondent judge
received commodity loans in the form of construction by this Court. The doctrine of immutability and
materials to be used in the construction of judges inalterability of a final judgment has a two-fold
house. Hence, this case. purpose, to wit: (1) to avoid delay in the
ISSUE: WON respondent judge is guilty of gross administration of justice and thus, procedurally, to
ignorance of law and conduct of unbecoming a make orderly the discharge of judicial business; and
member of the judiciary
(2) to put an end to judicial controversies, at the risk
HELD:On the ground of gross ignorance of law, of occasional errors, which is precisely why courts
judge Dinopol cannot be held responsiibile for he exist. Controversies cannot drag on indefinitely.
acted within the ambit of law and his jurisdiction.
However, with respect to the conduct of unbecoming Judge Pamintuan failed to conform to the high
a judge, he is found guilty by the OCA of such standards of competence required of judges under
charge. the Code of Judicial Conduct, which provides that:
Judge Dinopol violated Sections 2 and 3 of Canon 3, Rule 1.01 - A judge should be the
Section 1 of Canon 1, Sections 1 and 2 of Canon 2, embodiment of competence, integrity, and
and section 1 of Canon 4 of New code of Judicial
independence
Conduct.
Rule 3.01 - A judge shall x x x maintain
professional competence.
(56) IMELDA R. MARCOS v. JUDGE FERNANDO VIL
PAMINTUAN Competence is a mark of a good judge. When a
A.M. No. RTJ-07-2062, January 18, 2011 judge exhibits an utter lack of know-how with the
Facts:
rules or with settled jurisprudence, he erodes the

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publics confidence in the competence of our courts. he took his oath on July 17, 2008; neither could
It is highly crucial that judges be acquainted with the Judge Bacal do the same even if she had then been
law and basic legal principles. Ignorance of the law, the executive judge of the RTC, Malaybalay City.
which everyone is bound to know, excuses no one Issue: Are Judge Estrada and Judge Bacal guilty of
not even judges gross ignorance of the law for taking cognizance of
In this case, the Court finds Judge Pamintuan cases pending before another court?
accountable for gross ignorance of the law. This is
not Judge Pamintuans first and sole administrative Held: Yes. There is no question about the guilt of the
case. Having been previously warned and punished two judges. Their shared intention to uphold the right
for various infractions. of the accused to liberty cannot justify their action in
excess of their authority, in violation of existing
Judge Fernando Pamintuan of the Regional Trial regulations. The vacuum in a first level court, such
Court of Baguio City, Branch 3, is DISMISSED from as the MTCC in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, created
the service. by the absence of a presiding judge, is not remedied
by a take over of the duties of the still-to-be
(57) OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. appointed or designated judge for the court, which
JUDGE BENJAMIN P. ESTRADA AND JUDGE
JOSEFINA GENTILES-BACALA.M. No. RTJ-09- exactly was what Judge Estrada and Judge Bacal
2173, 18 JANUARY 2011, EN BANC (Brion, J.) did. The remedy lies in Chapter V of the Guidelines
in the Selection and Appointment of Executive
Facts: Atty. Nicandro A. Cruz, officer-in-charge,
Judges and Defining their Powers, Prerogatives and
Court Management Office, Office of the Court
Duties,which provides:
Administrator (OCA), addressed to then Deputy
Court Administrator (DCA) Reuben P. De la Cruz,
"Section 1. Designation of Judges of the First Level
regarding anomalies in the disposition of cases in
Courts to Try Cases. (a) The Executive Judge of the
the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC),
RTC shall have authority to designate a municipal
Malaybalay City, Bukidnon and reported that several
judge within his/her area of administrative
orders, attached to the report, that were issued by
supervision to try cases of other courts of the first
Executive Judge Josefina Gentiles-Bacal, RTC,
level within said area of administrative supervision in
Malaybalay City, and Judge Benjamin P. Estrada,
case of official leave of absence, inhibition,
RTC, Branch 9, same station, dismissing the cases
disqualification, or preventive suspension of the
then pending in the MTCC. Atty. Cruz pointed out
municipal judge concerned, or of permanent or
that the MTCC, Malaybalay City had no regular
temporary vacancy in the position. Such designation
presiding judge at the time the orders were issued,
shall be effective immediately, unless revoked by the
as Judge Estrada, the former presiding judge, had
Supreme Court.
been appointed to preside over the RTC, Branch 9,
Malaybalay City, on June 1, 2008. Atty. Cruz The Executive Judge shall furnish the Office of the
commented that Judge Estrada could no longer take Court Administrator with copies of the orders of
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designation effected under this Section within five (5) error bespeaks ignorance of the law and that, if
days from the date of such designation." committed in good faith, does not warrant
administrative sanction, but only in cases xxx of
Instead of allowing Judge Estrada and herself to act tolerable misjudgment. Where, however, the
on cases pending before the MTCC, Judge Bacal, procedure is so simple and the facts so evident as to
as executive judge of the RTC, Malaybalay City, be beyond permissible margins of error, to still err
should have designated a municipal judge within her thereon amounts to ignorance of the law."
area of supervision, to act on the pending cases.
She took time (two months as she claimed) in Clearly, Judge Estrada and Judge Bacal are guilty of
making the designation, which delayed action, by gross ignorance of the law.
itself, is a negative reflection on her performance as
an executive judge. Judge Estrada, who was the (58) VIVIAN T. DABU vs. EDUARDO RODEN E.
KAPUNAN, Presiding Judge, Branch 51 and
former presiding judge of the MTCC, Malaybalay Acting Judge, Branch 52, MA. THERESA
City, acted only on one case, but like Judge Bacal, CORTEZ, LEILA O. GALO, Both Court
Stenographers, SUZETTE O. TIONGCO, Legal
he had no authority to take over the case as he had Researcher, All of Regional Trial Court, Branch
already taken his oath as RTC judge on July 17, 51, Guagua, Pampanga
A.M. No. RTJ-00-1600
2008, almost a month before he issued the order in February 1, 2011
Criminal Case No. 878-08, People v. Bellman E.
Durango, et al., for Attempted Homicide. Either FACTS:
Judge Estrada and Judge Bacal forgot the On August 24, 2000, Complainant Assistant
guidelines or chose to ignore them, but whatever it Provincial Prosecutor Vivian T. Dabu executed an
was, they should suffer the consequences of their Affidavit citing several incidents wherein the court
actions in violation of the guidelines. records of cases for annulment of marriage, lost
titles and declaration of presumptive death were
What Judge Estrada and Judge Bacal did was worse
being falsified. The Affidavit was treated as a
than overriding the action or decision of a lower
Complaint for falsification of court records against
court.They entirely took over the judicial function of
Judge Eduardo Roden E. Kapunan and court
the lower court. While they might have been
stenographers Ma. Theresa Cortez and Leila O.
motivated by noble intentions in taking cognizance of
Galo. Respondent Suzette Tiongco was not included
the pending cases with the MTCC because they
in the charge of falsification of court records as
wanted to uphold the accuseds right to liberty, they
complainant ha[d] no evidence linking her thereto
still cannot escape liability. However well-intentioned
but the Office of the Court Administrator included her
they might have been, they still did not have the
with the charge of conduct prejudicial to the best
authority to act on the cases as these were not
interest of the service.
pending before their respective salas. Their lack of
authority was so patent and so self-evident; to
ISSUE:Whether or not Judge Kapunan is guilty of
disregard it would itself be ignorance of the law. In
falsification and for violation against Canon 2,
Mupas, the Court recognized that "not every judicial

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Legal Ethics 3B

Section 1 of Judicial Conduct For The Philippine offenses warranting the penalty of dismissal from
service upon commission of the first offense.
Judiciary
HELD:Yes. A judge's conduct should be above Furthermore, falsification of an official document is
punishable as a criminal offense under Article 171 of
reproach and in the discharge of his judicial duties
the Revised Penal Code and dishonesty is an
he should be conscientious, studious, thorough, impious act that has no place in the judiciary.
courteous, patient, punctual, just, impartial, fearless
The penalty of dismissal, however, can no longer be
of public clamor, and regardless of private influence imposed and carried out with respect to the late
Judge Kapunan. The administrative complaints
should administer justice according to law and
against him have become moot and academic and
should deal with the patronage of the position as a the case should be deemed closed and terminated
following our ruling in Loyao, Jr. v. Caube and Apiag
public trust; and he should not allow outside matters
v. Cantero
or his private interests to interfere with the prompt
and proper performance of his office.
(59) GAUDENCIO B. PANTILLO III vs. JUDGE
VICTOR A. CANOY
Taking all these into consideration, it is undeniable
A.M. No. RTJ-11-2262 | February 9, 2011 | Velasco,
that Judge Kapunan, Galo and Cortez acted Jr., J.
together in issuing questionable orders and
FACTS:
decisions through falsification of public documents.
A criminal case was pending before the sala
of respondent Judge Canoy, wherein the victim was
With regard to Tiongco, however, there is no
complainants sibling. On 03 September 2008 at
evidence against her. The inclusion of Tiongco in this
around 5:00pm, complainant along with a few police
case was only upon the initiative of the Office of the
officers escorted the accused Leonardo Melgazo to
Court Administrator. As the record is bereft of any
the City Prosecutors Office, wherein after a few
evidence to hold her liable, her exoneration is in
hours, Melgazo was released from detention and
order.
this was relayed to Pantillo. Complainant was able to
verify this from the precinct and he was also
Court employees, from the presiding judge to the
informed the release was pursuant to a 30,000php
lowliest clerk, being public servants in an office
bail posted by Melgazo.
dispensing justice, should always act with a high
degree of professionalism and responsibility. Their
Pantillo was even more puzzled when he
conduct must not only be characterized by propriety
found out that no Information was filed against
and decorum, but must also be in accordance with
Melgazo yet, but there was already approval of the
the law and court regulations. No position demands
bail. He learned that there was only a verbal order
greater moral righteousness and uprightness from its
made by the Judge for the approval of a bail. The
holder than an office in the judiciary. Court
following day, 05 September 2008, Melgazo filed a
employees should be models of uprightness,
Motion for the release of his vehicle that was object
fairness and honesty to maintain the people's
evidence to the case. He prayed that said motion be
respect and faith in the judiciary. They should avoid
heard on September 5 or on the same day of the
any act or conduct that would diminish public trust
filing, which was in clear violation of the rules. Judge
and confidence in the courts. Indeed, those
Canoy issued an Order directing the prosecutor to
connected with dispensing justice bear a heavy
file a Comment within 3 days upon receipt, and this
burden of responsibility.
was complied with, but still the motion was granted.
Pantillo filed a motion for inhibition of judge Canoy
Falsification of an official document such as court
but the same was denied. Thus, the instant
records is considered a grave offense. It also
complaint was filed with the OCA.
amounts to dishonesty. Under Section 23, Rule XIV
of the Administrative Code of 1987, dishonesty (par.
In his Comment, Judge Canoy said that he
a) and falsification (par. f) are considered grave
considered the constitutional right to bail coupled

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with the insistence of Melgazos counsel led him to Facts: Daniel G. Sevilla charged Hon. Francisco S.
allow such actions to proceed. He presents as a Lindo with delay in the disposition of a criminal case.
defense Sec. 17, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court Sevilla asserted that Judge Lindo thereby violated
which does not require a formal charge in court Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct,
before a person may post bail. He concluded that a which requires that a judge should administer justice
constructive bail was proper, lacking only the impartially and without delay; that Judge Lindo also
formal papers to finalize the same. OCA violated Section 1, Rule 135 of the Rules of Court,
recommended that the complaint be re-docketed as which mandates that justice be impartially
a regular administrative matter and that Judge administered without unnecessary delay; that Judge
Canoy be fined 40,000php with a stern warning. Lindos unreasonable resetting of the hearings 12
times rendered inconsequential his right to the
ISSUE: speedy disposition of his case; and that such
resettings were made upon the instance of Judge
WON Judge Canoy, in allowing the release Lindo, not upon motion of the parties.
of Melgazo via a constructive bail is liable for
violation of Supreme Court rules, circulars and In his comment dated July 26, 2007, Judge
decisions Lindo refuted the charge, claiming that the
postponements were upon valid grounds.
HOLD:
Issue: Whether or not retired Judge Lindo was
Yes, Judge Canoy is liable for such. Though administratively liable for the numerous
the right to bail is definitely allowed in the instant postponements in violation of the Rule 1.01, Canon
case, it is the matter of procedure that was violated 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
herein. Rule 114 requires an application or petition
for the release on bail of an accused. There was no
such written application made to the court, yet Judge Held: We agree with and adopt the report and
Canoy allowed the bail to be accepted. Also, another recommendation of the OCA that Judge Lindo be
requirement is that the bail should be deposited with held liable for delay in the disposition of his cases
the nearest collector of internal revenue or any that was tantamount to inefficiency and
municipal, city or provincial treasurer. Instead, it was incompetence in the performance of his official
the clerk of court who received and acknowledged duties. Although the postponement of a hearing in a
the bond. civil or criminal case may at times be unavoidable,
the Court disallows undue or unnecessary
Further, SC held that there was no such postponements of court hearings, simply because
specie of a constructive bond under the Rules, and they cause unreasonable delays in the
thus no validity should be given to the bail posted by administration of justice and, thus, undermine the
the accused. Judge Canoy was fined 11,000php and peoples faith in the Judiciary, aside from
was given a stern warning. aggravating the financial and emotional burdens of
(60) Daniel G. Sevilla v. Judge Francisco S. the litigants. For this reason, the Court has enjoined
that postponements and resettings should be
Lindo, M. No. MTJ-08-1714 , February 9, 2011 ,
allowed only upon meritorious grounds, and has
Bersamin, J. consistently reminded all trial judges to adopt a firm
policy against improvident postponements.

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