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A.M. No.

RTJ-04-1856

September 30, 2004

LORETO JOAQUIN vs. JUDGE FE ALBANO MADRID, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court Second Judicial Region Branch 21, Santiago City CARPIO MORALES, J.: Nature of the Case: Administrative charge of Gross Misconduct against respondent Judge for the issuance of orders in the criminal case for Homicide of which complainant was the accused Facts: Petitioner is said to be the accused in a case of homicide brought before the court to which respondent is the presiding judge. Information was therein filed, and the petitioner posted a bailbond which was granted by the respondent. Three months after such grant or during the scheduled arraignment, respondents attention was called by the prosecution about the use of an unlicensed firearm in the killing. Upon review of the matter, she immediately ordered the detention of petitioner during the pendency of the case. The following day, petitioner filed a Motion for the Release of the Accused. However, the said motion was referred to the pairing judge, Judge Anastacio Anghad due to the respondents seminar in Baguio. The pairing judge, upon evaluation, granted the release of petitioner. Upon return, respondent issued an order setting aside the order of Judge Anghad. Petitioner then filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus at the Court of Appeals which was granted, and the present administrative complaint. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) held the respondent judge liable for gross ignorance of the law because it is basic that a person not charged with a capital offense or with an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua is entitled to bail as a matter of right, and recommended that she be fined and sternly warned. The complaint was redocketed as a regular administrative matter. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent judge is guilty of gross ignorance of the law RULING: In fine, at the time respondent ordered complainants detention on October 21, 2002, she was of the opinion that the allegation in the information that an unlicensed firearm was used in assaulting the minor victim called for the imposition of an increased penalty of reclusion perpetua, which opinion is of course erroneous. For the use of an

unlicensed firearm in the commission of Homicide (or Murder), being a special aggravating circumstance, merely calls for the application of the penalty reclusion temporal in the case of Homicide in its maximum period. At the time she gave her Comment-Answer to the Complaint, she explained that the allegation in the information contemplated the use of superior strength to qualify the killing to murder, which explanation could be tenable and puts her in good light. To warrant a finding of gross ignorance of the law, it has been repeatedly held that the error must be "so gross and patent as to produce an inference or bad faith." For to hold a judge administratively accountable for every erroneous ruling or decision he renders, assuming that he erred, would be intolerable. From the allegations of the information against complainant and the facts and circumstances surrounding respondents issuance of and justification for her order for complainants detention despite his earlier posting of bailbond, this Court is not inclined to infer that respondent acted maliciously or in bad faith, or with patent abuse of authority or in sheer ignorance of the law. This Court does not thus find respondent liable for grave misconduct or ignorance of the law. WHEREFORE, the administrative complaint against respondent, Judge Fe Albano Madrid, is hereby DISMISSED.

A.M. No. 00-7-320-RTC

November 17, 2004

REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 136, MAKATI CITY CARPIO MORALES, J.: Nature of the Case: Administrative matter against Judge Jose R. Bautista for the delay in resolving pending incidents and rendering judgment in the cases Facts: As Judge Jose Bautista, presiding judge of RTC Branch 136 of Makati City, was about to compulsorily retire, a judicial team conducted a judicial audit in the said trial court. The judicial audit team reported of 25 pending incidents for resolution and 6 cases for decision for more than 90 days. Acting on the report, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended to the Supreme Court that Judge Bautista be directed to submit status of the pending cases whether they are already resolved or not, and explain the reasons for the delay in the resolutions. The Supreme Court approved the above recommendations but reduced the benefits to be retained to P20,000.00. Judge Bautista, in a letter, replied that despite the delay, the cases were nonetheless resolved prior to his retirement date. He therein prayed that the SC reconsider and/or set aside its previous order of withholding P20,000.00 from his retirement benefits. The OCA submitted its final report to the Supreme Court on the administrative matter indicating the delays incurred by Judge Bautista in the resolution of the cases and recommended that the latters request for the release of the amount withheld be denied. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Bautista is liable for undue delay in the resolution of the cases RULING: This Court finds the recommendation of the OCA in light of the facts of the case well-taken. Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins a judge to dispose of the court's business promptly and decide cases within the required periods as delay in the

disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lowers its standards, and brings it into disrepute. Indeed, almost all the pending incidents and cases submitted for decision which were awaiting resolution/decision within 90 days were acted upon by Judge Bautista long after said period expired or only on July 2000, immediately before he retired on July 27, 2000, entailing years of delay with respect to some incidents, and even a delay of more than 6 years with respect to one case submitted for decision, as reflected in the above-reproduced tabulation prepared by the OCA. As the undue delay committed by Judge Bautista in rendering decisions and orders is a less serious offense, the recommended fine of P20,000.00 of the OCA falls within the range of the imposable penalty. WHEREFORE, Judge Jose R. Bautista is adjudged administratively liable for undue delay in rendering decisions and orders and is hereby FINED in the amount of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00)

A.C. No. 6590

June 27, 2005

JESUS M. FERRER vs. ATTY. JOSE ALLAN M. TEBELIN CARPIO-MORALES, J.: Nature of the Case: Complaint against Atty. Jose Allan M. Tebelin for abandonment of case after receipt of acceptance fee Facts: Complainant Jesus Ferrer was caught up in a vehicular accident due to the reckless driving of the driver of Global Link Multimodal Transport, Inc. thereby sustaining damages. He sought the legal services of the respondent, Atty Jose Tebelin, who charged and accepted P 5,000.00 as acceptance fee. It was alleged that after the receipt thereof, Tebelin abandoned the handling of the case despite repeated calls and mails by Ferrer. The corresponding complaint was filed before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD). Respondent denied the allegations and professed to return the fee. However, the IBP-CBD submitted recommendation of his suspension and the return of the acceptance fee which was approved by the IBP. ISSUE: Whether Atty Tebelin is guilty of not of failure to perform his services for Ferrer and return the acceptance fee upon demand RULING: Given, however, respondents asseveration that he first brought to the attention of Global Link in the last week of January 2002 the claim of complainant arising from the December 3, 2001 vehicular accident, through one Mr. Bongalos and that he followed it up by a February 20, 2002 demand letter to Global Link, which asseveration was not refuted by complainant in his Comments on respondents Answer, it cannot be reasonably concluded that respondent failed to perform services for complainant when complainant, by letter of March 23, 2002 or five (5) days after he sent the March 18, 2002 letter to respondent asking for a refund of the P5,000.00, complained to the IBP. This Court faults respondent, however, for ignoring the notices of hearing sent to him at his address which he himself furnished, or to notify the IBP-CBD his new address if indeed he had moved out of his given address. His actuation betrays his lack of courtesy, his irresponsibility as a lawyer.

This Court faults respondent too for welching on his manifestation-undertaking to return the P5,000.00, not to mention the documents bearing on the case, to complainant or his heirs. Such is reflective of his reckless disregard of the duty imposed on him by Rule 22.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: Rule 22.02 A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged shall, subject to a retaining lien, immediately turn over all papers and property to which the client is entitled, and shall cooperate with his successor in the orderly transfer of the matter, including all information necessary for the proper handling of the matter. WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Jose Allan M. Tebelin is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for Two (2) Months and ORDERED to return to complainants heirs the amount of P5,000.00, with legal interest, with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar offenses will be dealt with more severely.

G.R. No. 147550

January 26, 2005

ISIDRA VDA. DE VICTORIA Substituted by MARIO VICTORIA vs.HON. COURT OF APPEALS HON. JUANITA T. GUERRERO, Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court, Branch 37, Calamba, Laguna; HON. FLORENCIO P. BUESER, Presiding Judge, Municipal Trial Court, Calauan, Laguna; EX-OFFICIO SHERIFF Regional Trial Court, Calamba, Laguna and/or his Deputies; SPOUSES LUIS GIBE and ZENAIDA GIBE and All Persons Acting on their Behalf CARPIO MORALES, J.: Nature of the Case: An appeal by certiorari which seeks to set aside Resolutions of the Court of Appeals which dismissed petitioners special civil action for certiorari and denied petitioners motion for reconsideration, respectively Facts: Respondent spouses Luis and Zenaida Gibe filed a Complaint for Ejectment and Damages with a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction against petitioner before the MTC. It was alleged that the petitioner has her house standing on the parcel of land which the respondents had acquired from the heirs of Judge Lantin, and that the former had been harvestings fruits therein without the latters permission. MTC ruled favor of the plaintiffs-spouses Gibe and granted the Motion for Immediate Execution and Demolition. A Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition was filed before the RTC contending that the MTC had no jurisdiction over the Ejectment Case. The RTC dismissed the petition ruling that Ejectment proceedings are within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court. Petitioner instituted another special civil action for certiorari, this time with CA questioning both the decisions of the RTC and MTC. CA dismissed the petition and the motion for reconsideration. Issue: Whether or not appeal be denied Ruling: The appeal must be denied.

Clearly, the Court of Appeals committed no error when it denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration for having been filed two days after the expiration of the reglementary period on June 22, 2000. Similarly, the instant petition for review must likewise be denied for having been filed on May 12, 2001, almost 11 months after the expiration of the period to appeal on June 20, 2000. Finally, this Court notes with consternation petitioners attempts, with the aid of his counsel, Atty. Abdul A. Basar, to deliberately mislead this Court as to the material dates and status of the decision appealed from, thereby impeding if not frustrating the ends of justice. In his Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review on Certiorari, petitioner declared under oath that: (1) he had "filed a timely Motion for Reconsideration" of the CA Resolution dismissing his petition for certiorari, and (2) the notice of the denial by the CA of his Motion for Reconsideration "was received by petitioner only [on] March 28, 2001," thus making it appear that he had until April 12, 2001 within which to perfect his appeal. Significantly, petitioner did not disclose, either in his motion for extension of time or in his subsequent petition, the date on which he received the Resolution of the CA denying his petition for certiorari, thereby concealing the actual period for appeal from the Court processor. It cannot be overemphasized that parties and their counsel are duty-bound to observe honesty and truthfulness in all their pleadings, motions and statements before the courts. Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states, "A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court;" while Rules 10.01 and 10.03 of the same provide: Rule 10.01 A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be mislead by any artifice. xxx Rule 10.03 A lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. Petitioner MARIO VICTORIA and his counsel, Atty. Abdul A. Basar, are hereby ORDERED TO SHOW CAUSE, within ten (10) days from receipt of a copy of this Decision, why they should not be held in contempt of court and disciplinarily dealt with for violation of Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, respectively.

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