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CASE

Burbe v Magulta

Uy v Gonzales

FACTS
Petitioner engaged the services of the respondent
to help him recover a claim of money against a creditor.
Petitioner paid the lawyer his fees and included also amounts
for the filing of the case.
A couple of months passed but the petitioner has
not yet received any feedback as to the status of his case.
Petitioner made several follow-ups in the lawyers office but
to no avail. The lawyer, to prove that the case has already
been filed even invited petitioner to come with him to the
Justice Hall to verify the status of the case. Petitioner was
made to wait for hours in the prosecutors office while the
lawyer allegedly went to the Clerk of Court to inquire about
the case. The lawyer went back to the petitioner with the
news that the Clerk of Court was absent that day.
Suspicious of the acts of the lawyer, petitioner
personally went to the office of the clerk of court to see for
himself the status of his case. Petitioner found out that no
such case has been filed.
Petitioner confronted Atty. Magulta where he
continued to lie to with the excuse that the delay was being
caused by the court personnel, and only when shown the
certification did he admit that he has not at all filed the
complaint because he had spent the money for the filing fee
for his own purpose; and to appease petitioners feelings, he
offered to reimburse him by issuing two (2) checks,
postdated June 1 and June 5, 1999, in the amounts of
P12,000.00 and P8,000.00, respectively
Complainant engaged the services of respondent
lawyer to prepare and file a petition for the issuance of a new
certificate of title. After confiding with respondent the
circumstances surrounding the lost title and discussing the
fees and costs, respondent prepared, finalized and submitted
to him a petition to be filed before the Regional Trial Court.
When the petition was about to be filed, respondent
went to complainants office demanding a certain amount
other than what was previously agreed upon. Expecting that
said petition would be filed, he was shocked to find out later
that instead of filing the petition for the issuance of a new
certificate of title, respondent filed a letter-complaint against
him with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for
Falsification of Public Documents. The letter-complaint
contained facts and circumstances pertaining to the transfer
certificate of title that was the subject matter of the petition
which respondent was supposed to have filed.
Respondent claims that he gave complainant a
handwritten letter telling complainant that he is withdrawing
the petition he prepared and that complainant should get
another lawyer to file the petition thereby terminating the
lawyer-client relationship between him and complainant; that
there was no longer any professional relationship between
the two of them when he filed the letter-complaint for
falsification of public document; that the facts and allegations
contained in the letter-complaint for falsification were culled
from public documents procured from the Office of the
Register of Deeds.

DOCTRINE

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the


Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP as follows: It is
evident that the P25,000 deposited by complainant with the
Respicio Law Office was for the filing fees of the Regwill
complaint. With complainants deposit of the filing fees for the
Regwill complaint, a corresponding obligation on the part of
respondent was created and that was to file the Regwill
complaint within the time frame contemplated by his client.
The failure of respondent to fulfill this obligation due to
his misuse of the filing fees deposited by complainant,
and his attempts to cover up this misuse of funds of the
client, which caused complainant additional damage and
prejudice, constitutes highly dishonest conduct on his
part, unbecoming a member of the law profession. The
subsequent reimbursement by the respondent of part of
the money deposited by complainant for filing fees, does
not exculpate the respondent for his misappropriation of
said funds.

Respondent volunteered his service to hasten the


issuance of the certificate of title of the land he has
redeemed from complainant. Clearly, there was no
attorney-client relationship between respondent and
complainant. The preparation and the proposed filing of
the petition was only incidental to their personal
transaction.
Whatever facts alleged by respondent against
complainant were not obtained by respondent in his
professional capacity but as a redemptioner of a
property originally owned by his deceased son and
therefore, when respondent filed the complaint for estafa
against herein complainant, which necessarily involved
alleging facts that would constitute estafa, respondent
was not, in any way, violating Canon 21. There is no way
we can equate the filing of the affidavit-complaint against
herein complainant to a misconduct that is wanting in moral
character, in honesty, probity and good demeanor or that
renders him unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.
To hold otherwise would be precluding any lawyer from
instituting a case against anyone to protect his personal
or proprietary interests.

CASE
Mercado v Vitriolo

FACTS
In August 1992, Atty. Anastacio P. de Leon, counsel of
complainant, died. On February 7, 1994, respondent entered
his appearance before the trial court as collaborating counsel
for complainant. On March 16, 1994, respondent filed his
Notice of Substitution of Counsel, informing the RTC of Pasig
City that he has been appointed as counsel for the
complainant, in substitution of Atty. de Leon.
On April 13, 1999, respondent filed a criminal action
against complainant before the Office of the City Prosecutor,
Pasig City for violation of Articles 171 and 172 of the Revised
Penal Code. Respondent alleged that complainant made
false entries in the Certificates of Live Birth of her children by
indicating in said Certificates of Live Birth that she is married
to a certain Ferdinand Fernandez when in truth, she is legally
married to Ruben G. Mercado.
She claims that, in filing the criminal case for
falsification, respondent is guilty of breaching their privileged
and confidential lawyer-client relationship, and should be
disbarred.
On June 21, 2003, the IBP Board of Governors
approved the report of investigating commissioner Datiles,
finding the respondent guilty of violating the rule on privileged
communication between attorney and client, and
recommending his suspension from the practice of law for
one (1) year.

Alcala v de Vera
In a civil case for annulment of a sale of 2 lots filed
by one Semenchuk against Sps. Alcala on the ground that
one of the lots cannot be located or did not exist, herein
respondent represented sps. Alcala. Trial Court rendered
judgement against the sps.
On April 19, 1963, respondent Atty. de Vera
received a copy of the decision but he failed to inform his
clients of the judgment against them. On July 17, 1963, a
sheriff came to complainants' house to serve a writ of
execution issued in said case. Totally caught by surprise,
Jose Alcala immediately wrote to the trial court and inquired
for the status of case 2478. The deputy Clerk of Court, in his
reply dated July 22, 1963, informed Alcala that the case was
decided on April 17, 1963, that a copy of the decision was
received by respondent attorney on April 19, 1963, and that
since no appeal was taken, a writ of execution was issued by
the trial court on motion of the plaintiff Semenchuk.
Spouses Alcala instituted civil case 2723 for
damages against Atty. Honesto de Vera for having failed to
inform them of the decision in case 2478 as a result of which
they lost their right to appeal from said decision. The court
denied it for failure to show that they indeed suffered
damages.
Complainants instituted this complaint for
disbarment against their former counsel.

DOCTRINE
The Court held that the evidence on record fails to
substantiate complainants allegations.
The Supreme Court explained that in engaging
the services of an attorney, the client reposes on him
special powers of trust and confidence. Their
relationship is strictly personal and highly confidential
and fiduciary. The relation is of such delicate, exacting
and confidential nature that is required by necessity and
public interest.
Thus, the duty of a lawyer to preserve his clients
secrets and confidence outlasts the termination of the
attorney-client relationship, and continues even after the
clients death.
The factors essential to establish the existence
of the privilege are:
1. There exists an attorney-client relationship, or a
prospective attorney-client relationship, and it
is by reason of this relationship that the client
made the communication.
2. The client made the communication in
confidence. The mere relation of attorney and
client does not raise a presumption of
confidentiality. The client must intend the
communication to be confidential.
3. The legal advice must be sought from the
attorney in his professional capacity. The
communication made by a client to his attorney
must not be intended for mere information, but
for the purpose of seeking legal advice from his
attorney as to his rights or obligations.
For gross negligence and malpractice committed
by respondent for failure to inform his clients of the
decision in the civil case.
Petitioners do not appear to have suffered any
material or pecuniary damage by the failure of respondent
Atty. De Vera to notify them of the decision in Civil Case No.
2478 since the decision rendered was fair and justified. It is
no less true, however, that in failing to inform his clients,
the petitioners, of the decision in said civil case,
respondent failed to exercise "such skill, care, and
diligence as men of the legal profession commonly
possess and exercise in such matters of professional
employment"
The correctness of the decision in the civil case
is no ground for exonerating respondent of the charge
but at most will serve only to mitigate his liability. While
there is no finding of malice, deceit, or deliberate intent to
cause damage to his clients, there is, nonetheless, proof of
negligence, inattention, and carelessness on the part of
respondent in his failure to give timely notice of the decision
in question. Fortunately for respondent, his negligence did
not result in any material or pecuniary damage to the herein
complainants and for this reason We are not disposed to
impose upon him what may be considered in a lawyer's
career as the extreme penalty of disbarment.
Act of respondent manifests a lack of total dedication
or devotion to their interest expected of him under his
lawyer's oath and the Canons of Professional Ethics.
Respondent's inaction merits a severe censure from the
Court.

CASE

FACTS

Lim v Villarosa

Atty. Villarosa was hired by Lumot Jalandoni (Chairman of


ORC). Without due notice prior to the hearing, Villarosa filed a
motion to withdraw as counsel, resulting in Jalandonis defeat.
Villarosa claims he wothdre as counsel because he is a retained
counsel of Dennis Jalbuena (son-in-law).
Nortwhithsatnding the fact that Jalandoni was still
hisclient, villarosa opted to represent opposing clients at the
same time. Villarosa also deliberately withheld the entire case
file despite demands. He capitalized on said documents. His
defense was that the documents were public documents.

Pormento v
Pontevedra

Complaint against Atty. Elias A. Pontevedra with


malpractice and misconduct with prayer for disbarment.
Respondent was the Pormento familys legal counsel
between 1964 and 1994. The familys relationship with the
respondent extends beyond the mere lawyer-client relations.
The rift between complainant and respondent began
when the complainants counterclaim in a civil case filed with the
RTC of Bacolod City was dismissed. Respondent failed to inform
complainant Pormento of the dismissal of his counterclaim which
resulted to the latter being deprived of his right to appeal. In
order to recover his ownership over a parcel of land, Pormento
was forced to hire a new lawyer as Atty. Pontevedra refused to
institute an action to recover the subject property.
In a separate incident, In 1967, he bought a parcel of
land located at Negros Occidental. The Deed of Declaration of
Heirship and Sale of said land was prepared and notarized by
respondent. Since there was another person who claims
ownership of the property, complainant alleges that he heeded
respondents advice to build a small house on the property and
to allow his (complainants) nephew and his family to occupy the
house in order for complainant to establish his possession of the
said property. Subsequently, complainants nephew refused to
vacate the property prompting the former to file an ejectment
case with the Municipal Trial Court of Escalante, Negros
Occidental. Respondent acted as the counsel of complainants
nephew

Garcia v Manuel

Garcia, divorced from her husband, approached


Manuel for legal advice concerning child support and her condo
unit, which her husband refused to vacate. Garcia paid
PhP10,000 as advance fee. It was paid for the filing fee in the
ejectment case. Garcia made several follow-ups and later
founded the ejectment case had not yet been filed. Manuel
asserted that it was because he had not yet received the registry
return card evedincing receipt by husband of the demand letter.
Investigating commissioner concluded that Manuel displayed
lack of candor and fidelity to her cause.

Yu v Tajanlangit

Yu alleged that he engaged the services of Tajanlangit.


As defense counsel in a criminal case which esulted in a
judgment of conviction. I
nstead of filing an appeal, Tajanlangit filed a petition for
certiorari. Due to his error in the choice of remedy, the period to
appeal lapsed. Yu claims Tajanlangit violated Rule 16.01 for
failing to return the bail bond.

DOCTRINE
There is a violation of Canon 15, Rule 15.03.
It is only upon full disclosure that a lawyer may
appear against his client. There is a conflict when a lawyer
accepts a new retainer requiring him to do anything injurios
to the first client; and when the new relation will prevent an
attorney from the full discharge of his duty. A lawyer owes
undivided allegiance to his client.
The attorney-client relationship may be terminated
by the client, lawyer, or court, by reason of circumstances
beyond their control. A lawyer is allowed to withdraw
representation only with the written consent of his client or
permission of the court.
Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility provides: A lawyer shall not represent
conflicting interests except by written consent of all
concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.
Jurisprudence instructs that there is a representation of
conflicting interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will
require the attorney to do anything which will injuriously affect
his first client in any matter in which he represents him and also
whether he will be called upon in his new relation, to use against
his first client any knowledge acquired through their connection.
Another test to determine if there is a representation of
conflicting interests is whether the acceptance of a new
relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge of
his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or
invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the
performance thereof.
A lawyer is forbidden from representing a subsequent
client against a former client when the subject matter of the
present controversy is related, directly or indirectly, to the
subject matter of the previous litigation in which he
appeared for the former client. Conversely, he may properly
act as counsel for a new client, with full disclosure to the latter,
against a former client in a matter wholly unrelated to that of the
previous employment, there being in that instance no conflict of
interests. Where, however, the subject matter of the present
suit between the lawyers new client and his former client is
in some way connected with that of the former clients
action, the lawyer may have to contend for his new client
that which he previously opposed as counsel for the former
client or to use against the latter information confided to
him as his counsel.
There is a violation of Rule 18.04. The lawyer-client
relationship is one of confidence; there is present need of
the client to be adequately and fully informed of the
developments of the case.
Manuel also violated Rule 16.01 and Canon 16. For
receiving PhP10,000, Manuel was under the obligation to
render an accounting of the same. A lawyer who obtains
possession of funds & properties of his client shall deliver
the same to the client; a) when they become due and b)
upon demand. Manuel failed to return the PhP10,000 despite
Garcias repeated demands. An attorneys lien is not an
excuse for a lawyers non-rendition of accounting.
For Rule 18.01, considering Tajanlangit was only hired after
the denial for motion for reconsideration. Yu was silent whether an
appeal was still available to him. Yu failed to state the material facts
and dates. He cannot have acted in negligence in handling the legal
matter entrusted to him.
For 16.01, it was not all improper for respondent to have
withdrawn the cash bond as there was evidence showing that
Yu and Tajanlangit entered into a special fee agreement. But
however justified Tajanlangit was in applying the cash bond, he
is not excused from rendering an accounting of the same.

CASE
Solidon v Macalalad

FACTS
Atty Macalalad is the Chief of Legal Division of DENR.
Secretary of DENR gave him permission to practice privately.
While on official visit to Eastern Samar, Macalalad was
introduced to Atty. Solidon. The latter asked the former to handle
the judicial titling of a parcel of land owned by Solidons
relatives. Consideration of PhP80,000 with PhP50,000 as initial
payment.
Macalald has not filed any petition for registration over
the property. Solidon claimed he tried to contact macalalad as
testified also by Mrs. Cabo-barata. Macalalad, however, claimed
that the delay in the filing of the petition was because of
Solidans failure to communicate and to furnish needed
documents.

Aranda v Elayda
Spouses Aranda were defendants in a civil case with
Elayda as their counsel. They alleged that Elayda failed to
appear in a hearing; that they were not informed of the setting of
the hearing; that the court naturally rendered an adverse
judgment; and that Elayda failed to inform them therof. Elayda
claims that the spouses did not bother to contact them to
prepare for the case; that he cannot contact the spouse for they
failed to give their contact number.

Briones v Jimenez

Rural Bank of
Calape Inc. v
Florido

Miranda v Carpio

Atty Briones was to conduct an audit of the


administration of the estate of the late Luz Henson. Atty.
Jimenez is the counsel for Hensons heirs. Atty. Jimenez filed a
notice of appeal from the order of the court questioning the
payment of commission to Briones. Then Jimenez filed with rthe
CA a petition for mandamus alleging that respondent judge
unlawfully refused to comply with his duty to perform/approve
the appeal. Briones claimed Jimenez is guilty of forum shopping.
Another complaint of forum shopping is when Jimenez filed a
criminal complaint against Briones for disobeying the RTC order
directing the latter to deliver the residue estate to the heirs.
Jimenez claims he was only protecting the interest of his clients.
RBCI filed a complaint for disbarment against Florido,
who through force and intimidation, with armed men, forcibly
took over the management of RBCI, along with his clients. They
forcibly evicted bank Manager garay and destroyed the banks
vault and installed their own staff to run it. Florido claims he
validly acted in accordance with the authority granted upon him
by the Nazareno-Relampagos Group, the elected board of
directors of RBCI.
Miranda filed for the registration of a property seeking
the services of Atty. Carpio. They agreed that Miranda would
pay PhP20,000 as acceptance fee and PhP2,000 as
appearance fee. During the last hearing, Carpio demanded an
additional PhP10,000 for the preparation of a memorandum plus
20% of the total area of the property, as additional fees. Miranda
did not accede.
When the petition for registration was granted, Carpio
took the duplicate copy without consent from Miranda,
demanding that the latter pay the additional fees. Carpio claims
he had a lien over the property and that the agreement was not
in writing because it was founded on trust.

DOCTRINE
Atty. Macalalad was negligent of his duties. There
is a violation of Rule 18.03.
The mere failure to perform the obligations due to
the client is per se a violation. A lawyer is negligent if he
failed to do anything to protect the clients interests.
Receiving money and failing to render services is a violation of
Canon 18. The lawyer has the duty to inform the client of the
cases status and cannot shift the blame on his client for
failing to follow-up. If the client is equally at fault for lack of
communication, responsibility remains with the lawyer. A
lawyer must exercise utmost diligence. Monetary
considerations should have made it more impreaticve.
Atty Elayda is guilty of negligence. Lawyers are
expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal
proficiency and morality. As counsel for Aranda, he is
expected to monitor progress of the case and is obliged to
exert all efforts to present every remedy or defense
authorized by law.
While communication is a shared responsibility, it
is the counsels primary duty to inform the clients of the
status of the case. He cannot simply wait for them to
inquire. Close coordination is necessary. His defense that he
was not able to go hearing was that he was in another hearing is
untenable. In the first place, he should not be in anothers
hearing at the same time. He has abandoned his clients cause.
Whenever a lawyer accepts a case, it deserved his full
attention, diligence, skill, and competence. By doing so, he
maintains the respect due the legal profession.
Briones did not reply to the demand letters, so
Jimenez filed a criminal complaint for refusal to obey a lawful
order of the court. But, he should have first filed the proper
motion with RTC instead of immediately resorting to the criminal
complaint.
There was a premature criminal prosecution. Rule
19.01 states of fair play. A lawyers act must be within the
bounds of law. In rlation to Rule 19.01, while lawyers owe
devotion to their interest and zeal in defense of their rights,
lawyers must not forget that they are officers of the court
bound to assist in the efficient administration of justice.
According to IBP, Florido ought to have known clients
could not have taken over the management without court order.
The foremost duty of a lawyer is to obey the laws of the
land.
Canon 19 and Rule 15.00 is applicable in the case
at bar. A lawyer must employ only fair play and honest
means to attain the lawful objectives of his client. Lawyers
are indispensible instruments of justice and peace, and
guardians of the rule of the law. His duty is to the
administration of justice, not to his client. Clients success
is wholly subordinate.
The additional fees are not valid. There is a violation
of Canon 20. The elements of lien are the following: (1)
lawyer-client relationship, (2) lawful possession of the
clients property, (3) unsatisfied claim for attorney fees.
No proof of the agreement was presented. The
agreement covered acceptance and appearance fee only.
Carpio committed an alarming abuse of atty. Retaining lien,
which is not an absolute right. Carpio unlawfully withheld the
delivery of the title of Miranda. It is highly improper for a
lawyer to impose additional fees never mentioned nor
agreed upon. Quantum meuit or as much as he deserves
has no application.

CASE
Santeco v Avance

Bunsiong Yao v
Aurelio

Francisco v
Portugal

FACTS
Santeco filed a complaint against avance for
mishandling a civil case. The court found her guilty of gross
misconduct for abandoning the clients cause in bad faith, and
refusing to comply with lawful orders directed at her without
explanation.
While her five-year suspension was in effect, Judge
Amog-Bocar wrote to court administrator Lock, informing of
Avances active participation in 3 cases and misrepresenting
herself as Atty Liezl tanglao. In a resolution, Avance was
required to comment but failed to do so. She was fopund guilty
of indirect contempt with fine, but still failed to pay.
Yao purchased several parcel of land using his
personal funds, but were registered in the name of the
corporation. Solar Farms and Livelihood and Solar Fishing under
the advice of Atty. Aurelio, who was the brother-in-law of Yaos
wife. A dispute between Aurelio and Yaos wife happened.
He demanded for the return of his investment but Yao
refused. He filed charges of estafa and falsification against Yao
and also for non-compliance with reportorial requirements of
SEC. Yao alleges the acts were harassment and constitutes an
abuse of confidential information, which Aurelio obtained by
reason of his employment, as counsel.
SPO1 Francisco was charged for murder and
frustrated murder but was only found guilty of 2 homicide.
Francisco engaged the services of Portugal who filed a Motion
for Reconsideration but was denied. Then, he filed an urgent
Motion for Leave to file 2nd Motion for Reconsideration.
Thereafter, Farncisco never heard of Portugal again despite
frequent calls to his office. Portugal states that he was not the
original counsel, there was no formal engagement undertaken,
no adequate remuneration.

Teves v Macaburo

Macaburo was disbarred for contracting a bigamous


marriage with Teves and a 3rd marriage with one Josephine
Constantino. 8 years after, Macaburro seeks judicial clemency
and reinstatement.

DOCTRINE
Avance is guilty of contempt. It is a lawyers duty to
uphold the dignity and authority of the court. The highest
form of respect for judicial authority is shown by a lawyers
obedience to court orders. Her acts constitute
insubordination and disrespect. Atty Avance is disbarred.

Yaos refusal to disclose certain financial records


prompted Aurelio to file several charges, constituting forumshopping. Lawyers must conduct themselves with honesty
and integrity.

Portugal committed gross misconduct. At some point,


Portugals office would have received the Resolution dismissing
the petition. He could have at least informed Francisco. Even
when he knew that Francisco called, he opted not to return their
calls. For his withdrawal, he should have filed it himself instead
of the accused.
A client has the absolute right to terminate the
attorney-client relationship with or without cause. The right
of an attorney to terminate such is restricted. He is not at a
liberty to abandon it without just cause. Right to withdraw is
vested only after clients consent.
As supported by Canon 17, there is the presence
of attorney-client relationship even without fees being paid
or even when under-compensated.
Macaburro may be reinstated.
The following are guidelines in resolving requests
for judicial clemency:
1. Prrof of remorse and reformation
(certification/testimonials)
2. Sufficient time lapse from imposition of
the penalty to a period of reform
3. He has productive years ahead of him,
he can be put to good use.
4. Promise/potential for public service
5. Other relevant factors.
Macaburro has asked for forgiveness from his children
from Teves; returned to the province, to take care of his ailing
mother; assumed a position of Local Assessment Operations
Officer; took part in socio-civic activities; NBI attested that he
has no record on file; regular church goer.
While the court is mindful of the duty to discipline and
remove officer, concomitant to it is its duty to show compassion
to those who have reformed their ways.

CASE
In Re: Argosino

Olbes v
Deciembre

FACTS
Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino passed the bar
examinations held in 1993. The Court however deferred his
oath-taking due to his previous conviction for Reckless
Imprudence Resulting In Homicide.
The criminal case which resulted in petitioner' s
conviction, arose from the death of a neophyte, Raul
Camaligan, during fraternity initiation rites sometime in
September 1991.
On 18 June 1993, the trial court granted herein
petitioner's application for probation. On 11 April 1994, the
trial court issued an order recommending petitioner's
discharge from probation
On 14 April 1994, petitioner filed before this Court a
petition to be allowed to take the lawyer's oath based on the
order of his discharge from probation.
On 13 July 1995, the Court through then Senior
Associate Justice Florentino P. Feliciano issued a resolution
requiring petitioner Al C. Argosino to submit to the Court
evidence that he may now be regarded as complying with the
requirement of good moral character imposed upon those
seeking admission to the bar.
In compliance with the above resolution, petitioner
submitted no less than fifteen (15) certifications/letters
executed by among others two (2) senators, five (5) trial
court judges, and six (6) members of religious orders.
Petitioner likewise submitted evidence that a scholarship
foundation had been established in honor of Raul Camaligan,
the hazing victim, through joint efforts of the latter's family
and the eight (8) accused in the criminal case.
The Court required Atty Gilbert Camaligan, father of
Raul, to comment on petitioner's prayer.
Constituting a serious transgression of the Code of
Professional Responsibility was the malevolent act of
respondent, who filled up the blank checks entrusted to him
as security for a loan by writing on those checks amounts
that had not been agreed upon at all, despite his full
knowledge that the loan they were meant to secure had
already been paid.
In their Petition, Spouses Olbes allege that they were
government employees working at the Central Post Office,
Manila; and that Franklin was a letter carrier and Lourdes, a
mail sorter.
Through respondent, Lourdes renewed on July 1, 1999
her application for a loan from Rodela Loans, Inc., in the
amount of P10,000. As security for the loan, she issued and
delivered to respondent five Philippine National Bank (PNB)
blank checks which served as collateral for the approved
loan as well as any other loans that might be obtained in the
future.[6]
Notwithstanding the full payment of the loan,
respondent filled up four (of the five) blank PNB Checks for
the amount of P50,000 each, with different dates of maturity .
On October 19, 1999, respondent filed before the
Provincial Prosecution Office of Rizal an Affidavit-Complaint
against petitioners for estafa and violation of Batas
Pambansa (BP) 22. Several months after, or on January 20,
2000, respondent filed against petitioners another AffidavitComplaint for estafa and violation of BP 22. The former date
took place in Rizal, the latter in Quezon City.

DOCTRINE
The practice of law is a privilege granted only to
those who possess the strict intellectual and moral
qualifications required of lawyers who are instruments in
the effective and efficient administration of justice. It is
the sworn duty of this Court not only to "weed out"
lawyers who have become a disgrace to the noble
profession of the law but, also of equal importance, to
prevent "misfits" from taking the lawyer' s oath, thereby
further tarnishing the public image of lawyers which in
recent years has undoubtedly become less than
irreproachable.
In allowing Mr. Argosino to take the lawyer's oath, the
Court recognizes that Mr. Argosino is not inherently of bad
moral fiber. On the contrary, the various certifications show
that he is a devout Catholic with a genuine concern for civic
duties and public service.
The Court is persuaded that Mr. Argosino has exerted
all efforts to atone for the death of Raul Camaligan. We are
prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, taking judicial
notice of the general tendency of youth to be rash,
temerarious and uncalculating.
We stress to Mr. Argosino that the lawyer's oath is
NOT a mere ceremony or formality for practicing law.
Every lawyer should at ALL TIMES weigh his actions
according to the sworn promises he makes when taking
the lawyer's oath. If all lawyers conducted themselves
strictly according to the lawyer's oath and the Code of
Professional Responsibility, the administration of justice
will undoubtedly be faster, fairer and easier for everyone
concerned.
A lawyer is an oath-bound servant of society whose
conduct is clearly circumscribed by inflexible norms of law and
ethics, and whose primary duty is the advancement of the
quest for truth and justice, for which he [or she] has sworn to
be a fearless crusader.[18]
By taking the lawyers oath, an attorney becomes a
guardian of truth and the rule of law, and an indispensable
instrument in the fair and impartial administration of
justice.[19] Lawyers should act and comport themselves with
honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach, in order to
promote the publics faith in the legal profession.[20]
The Code of Professional Responsibility specifically
mandates the following: Canon 1. Canon 7. Rule 7.03.
A high standard of excellence and ethics is expected and
required of members of the bar.[21] Such conduct of nobility and
uprightness should remain with them, whether in their public or in
their private lives. As officers of the courts and keepers of the
publics faith, they are burdened with the highest degree of social
responsibility and are thus mandated to behave at all times in a
manner consistent with truth and honor.[22]
The oath that lawyers swear to likewise impresses upon
them the duty of exhibiting the highest degree of good faith,
fairness and candor in their relationships with others. The oath
is a sacred trust that must be upheld and kept inviolable at all
times. Thus, lawyers may be disciplined for any conduct,
whether in their professional or in their private capacity, if such
conduct renders them unfit to continue to be officers of the
court.[23]
Deception and other fraudulent acts are not merely
unacceptable
practices
that
are
disgraceful
and
dishonorable;[32] they reveal a basic moral flaw. The standards of
the legal profession are not satisfied by conduct that merely enables
one to escape the penalties of criminal laws.[33]

CASE
De Guzman v De
Dios

Melegrito v
Barba

FACTS
In 1995, complainant engaged the services of
respondent as counsel in order to form a corporation, which
would engage in hotel and restaurant business in Olongapo
City.
On January 10, 1996, with the assistance of Atty. De
Dios, complainant registered Suzuki Beach Hotel, Inc. (SBHI)
with
the
Securities
and
Exchange
Commission.[2] Complainant paid on respondent a monthly
retainer fee of P5,000.00.
On December 15, 1997, the corporation required
complainant to pay her unpaid subscribed shares of stock
amounting to two million two hundred and thirty five thousand
pesos (P2,235,000.00) or 22,350 shares, on or before
December 30, 1997.
On January 29, 1998,[3] complainant received notice of
the public auction sale of her delinquent shares and a copy of
a board resolution dated January 6, 1998 authorizing such
sale.[4] Complainant soon learned that her shares had been
acquired by Ramon del Rosario, one of the incorporators of
SBHI. The sale ousted complainant from the corporation
completely. While respondent rose to be president of the
corporation, complainant lost all her lifes savings invested
therein.
Complainant alleged that she relied on the advice of
Atty. De Dios and believed that as the majority stockholder,
Atty. de Dios would help her with the management of the
corporation.

It appears from an examination of the record that


Francisco Gonzales, the owner of the greater part of the
"Hacienda Esperanza", transferred certain portions of it to his
daughters Ramona, Guadalupe, Cristina, and Aurea
Gonzales, and that in 1914 his daughters filed separate
applications in the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija for
the registration of their respective portions of the hacienda.
The registration was opposed by Felix Melegrito and more
than 230 other persons.
In February, 1930, the complainants engaged the
respondent attorney to appeal their cases to the Supreme
Court of the United States, and agreed to pay him P6,500.
The respondent sailed for the United States in October,
1930, and returned in March, 1931. While in the United
States he went to Washington and secured a letter of
introduction from the Vice-President of the United States to
the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands in the hope of
being appointed a member of the Governor-General's staff. It
does not appear that the respondent made any attempt,
either in Manila or in Washington, to take the cases of the
complainants to the Supreme Court of the United States,
because, as the respondent states, the decision of this court
had become final and unappealable, and the records had
been returned to the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija.

DOCTRINE
Respondent claims that there was no attorney-client
relationship between her and complainant. The claim has no
merit. It was complainant who retained respondent to form a
corporation. She appeared as counsel in behalf of
complainant. There was evidence of collusion between the
board of directors and respondent.
Lawyers must conduct themselves, especially in
their dealings with their clients and the public at large,
with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond
reproach.[8]
We said:
To say that lawyers must at all times uphold and
respect the law is to state the obvious, but such
statement can never be overemphasized. Considering
that, of all classes and professions, [lawyers are] most
sacredly bound to uphold the law, it is imperative that
they live by the law. Accordingly, lawyers who violate
their oath and engage in deceitful conduct have no place
in the legal profession.[9]
Clearly, respondent violated the prohibition against
representing conflicting interests and engaging in
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.[10]
As a lawyer, respondent is bound by her oath to do
no falsehood or consent to its commission and to
conduct herself as a lawyer according to the best of her
knowledge and discretion. The lawyers oath is a source
of obligations and violation thereof is a ground for
suspension, disbarment,[11] or other disciplinary
action.[12] The acts of respondent Atty. De Dios are
clearly in violation of her solemn oath as a lawyer that
this Court will not tolerate.
Although the decision of this court appears to
have been final and unappealable when the
complainants consulted the respondent, we are satisfied
that he never so informed them, but on the contrary led
them to believe that the cases could be taken to the
Supreme Court of the United States, and that to
prosecute the appeal to the best advantage it was
necessary for him to go to Washington.
The respondent attorney is guilty of
malpractice. He collected several thousand pesos from
the complainants for the purpose of taking their cases to
the Supreme Court of The United States, but he never
removed said cases to that court or attempted to do so,
because the decision of this court had already become
final and unappealable, and he was guilty of deceit in
concealing that fact from the complainants while
collecting fees from them for the purpose of prosecuting
the appeal.
Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides
that a member of the bar may be removed or suspended
from his office as lawyer by the Supreme Court for any
deceit, malpractice of other gross misconduct in such office.
It appears from the testimony of Felix Melegrito that
in April, 1931, he made a demand on the respondent for the
return of the money which the complainants had paid him,
and the respondent promised to repay the sum of P1,500 at
once and the remainder at the rate of P50 a month, but that
the respondent has never repaid any sum to the
complainants.

CASE
Chua v Mesina

FACTS
Respondent was, for years, Ana Alvaran Chua and her
now deceased husband Chua Yap Ans legal counsel and
adviser upon whom they reposed trust and confidence. They
were in fact lessees of a building situated at Burgos Street,
Cabanatuan City (Burgos property) owned by respondents
family, and another property containing an area of 854 sq.
m., situated at Melencio Street, Cabanatuan City (Melencio
property), also owned by respondents family whereon they
(spouses Chua) constructed their house. These two
properties were mortgaged by the registered owner,
respondents mother Felicisima Melencio vda. de Mesina
(Mrs. Mesina), in favor of the Planters Development Bank to
secure a loan she obtained.
As Mrs. Mesina failed to meet her obligation to the
bank, respondent convinced complainant Ana Chua and her
husband to help Mrs. Mesina by way of settling her obligation
in consideration for which the Melencio property would be
sold to them at P850.00/sq. m.
Accommodating respondents request, the spouses
Chua and their business partner, herein co-complainant
Marcelina Hsia, settled Mrs. Mesinas bank obligation in the
amount of P983,125.40.
As complainants were later apprised of the amount of
capital gains tax they were to pay, they consulted respondent
about it. Respondent thus suggested to them that another
Deed of Absolute Sale should be executed, antedated to
1979 before the effectivity of the law mandating the payment
of capital gains tax.
Complainants were subsequently issued on January
21, 1986 a title over the Melencio property.
Not long after the execution of the February 9, 1979
Deed of Absolute Sale or in February 1986, one Juanito
Tecson (Tecson) filed an Affidavit[5] dated February 20, 1986
before the Cabanatuan City Prosecutors Office charging
respondents mother, the spouses Chua, Marcelina Hsia and
the two witnesses to the said Deed of Absolute Sale, for
Falsification of Public Document and violation of the Internal
Revenue Code.
Respondent thereupon hatched a plan to dodge the
falsification charge against Mrs. Mesina et al. He proposed
to complainants that they would simulate a deed of sale of
the Melencio property wherein complainants would resell it to
Mrs. Mesina.
A new title was accordingly issued on April 4, 1986 in
the name of Felicisima M. Melencio, the owners copy of
which was entrusted to complainants.
Some years later or on May 2, 1990, respondent
approached complainants and told them that he would
borrow the owners copy of Mrs. Mesinas title with the
undertaking that he would, in four months, let Mrs. Mesina
execute a deed of sale over the Melencio property in
complainants favor. In fact, respondent gave complainants a
written undertaking[8] dated May 2, 1990.
Despite respondents repeated promises to effect the
transfer of title in complainants name, he failed to do
so. Complainants were later informed that the Melencio
property was being offered for sale to the public.

DOCTRINE
This Court finds that indeed, respondent is guilty of
gross misconduct.
First, by advising complainants to execute another
Deed of Absolute Sale antedated to 1979 to evade payment
of capital gains taxes, he violated his duty to promote respect
for law and legal processes,28 and not to abet activities aimed
at defiance of the law;29 That respondent intended to, as he
did defraud not a private party but the government is
aggravating.30
Second, when respondent convinced complainants to
execute another document, a simulated Deed of Absolute
Sale wherein they made it appear that complainants
reconveyed the Melencio property to his mother, he
committed dishonesty.31
Third, when on May 2, 1990 respondent inveigled his
own clients, the Chua spouses, into turning over to him the
owners copy of his mothers title upon the misrepresentation
that he would, in four months, have a deed of sale executed
by his mother in favor of complainants, he likewise committed
dishonesty.
That the signature of Felicisima M. Melencio in the
1985 document32 and that in the 1979 document33 are
markedly different is in fact is a badge of falsification of either
the 1979 or the 1985 document or even both.
A propos is this Courts following pronouncement
in Nakpil v. Valdez34
As a rule, a lawyer is not barred from dealing with
his client but the business transaction must be
characterized with utmost honesty and good faith. The
measure of good faith which an attorney is required to
exercise in his dealings with his client is a much higher
standard that is required in businessdealings where the
parties trade at arms length. Business transactions
between an attorney and his client are disfavored and
discouraged by the policy of the law. Hence, courts
carefully watch these transactions to assure that no
advantage is taken by a lawyer over his client. This rule
is founded on public policy for, by virtue of his office, an
attorney is in an easy position to take advantage of the
credulity and ignorance of his client.
Thus, no
presumption of innocence or improbability of
wrongdoing is considered in an attorneys favor.35
(Underscoring supplied)
Respondent having welched on his promise to cause
the reconveyance of the Melencio property to complainants,
consideration of whether he should be ordered to honor such
promise should be taken up in the civil case filed for the
purpose, the issue there being one of ownership while that in
the case at bar is moral fitness.37
In fine, respondent violated his oath of office and, more
specifically, the following canons of the Code of Professional
Responsibility:
CANON 1. Rule 1.01. Rule 1.02. CANON 7. Rule
7.03. CANON 15. Rule 15.07. CANON 17.
WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. SIMEON M.
MESINA, JR. is, for gross misconduct, hereby DISBARRED.

CASE
Toledo v Abalos

Cojuangco v
Palma

FACTS
This is a case of a lawyer who borrowed money without
paying it back.
On July 9, 1981, Atty. Erlinda Abalos obtained a loan of
P20,000.00 from Priscila Toledo, payable within six months from
date, plus interest of 5% per month. To guarantee the payment
of said obligation, respondent executed a Promissory Note
(Exhibit B). After the lapse of six months, and despite
repeated demands, respondent failed to pay her
obligation. Afraid that she will not recover her money,
Ms.Toledo sought the help of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP), which referred the matter to the Commission
on Bar Discipline.
Despite
due
notice,
respondent
failed
to
appear. Accordingly, complainant was allowed to present her
evidence ex-parte after which, the case was considered
submitted for resolution. Respondent received this order as
shown by the registry return. However, she again did not do
anything about it.
On June 19, 1999, the Commission passed a resolution
recommending the suspension from the practice of law of
respondent for a period of six months for her flouting resistance
to lawful orders of the Court and illustrating her despiciency of
her oath of office as a lawyer. The Commission, however,
declined to discipline her for failing to meet her financial
obligation, the same having been incurred in her private
capacity.
Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. filed with this Court the
instant complaint for disbarment against Atty. Leo J. Palma,
alleging as grounds deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct in
office, violation of his oath as a lawyer and grossly immoral
conduct.
Complainant and respondent met sometime in the
70s. Complainant was a client of Angara Concepcion Regala &
Cruz Law Offices (ACCRA) and respondent was the lawyer
assigned to handle his cases. Owing to his growing business
concerns, complainant decided to hire respondent as his
personal counsel.
Consequently, respondents relationship with
complainants family became intimate. He traveled and dined
with them abroad.[2] He frequented their house and even
tutored complainants 22-year old daughter Maria Luisa
Cojuangco (Lisa), then a student of Assumption Convent.
On June 22, 1982, without the knowledge of
complainants family, respondent married Lisa in Hongkong. It
was only the next day that respondent informed complainant
and assured him that everything is legal. Complainant was
shocked, knowing fully well that respondent is a married man
and has three children. Upon investigation, complainant found
that respondent courted Lisa during their tutoring sessions.
Immediately, complainant sent his two sons to Hongkong to
convince Lisa to go home to Manila and discuss the matter with
the family. Lisa was persuaded.
Complainant also came to know that: (a) on the date
of the supposed marriage, respondent requested from his
(complainants) office an airplane ticket to and from Australia,
with stop-over in Hong Kong; (b) respondent misrepresented
himself as bachelor before the Hong Kong authorities to
facilitate his marriage with Lisa; and (c) respondent was married
to Elizabeth Hermosisima and has three children, namely:
Eugene Philippe, Elias Anton and Eduardo Lorenzo.

DOCTRINE
We agree with the Commission that respondent may
not be disciplined either by the IBP or by this Court for
failing to pay her obligation to complainant. Complainants
remedy is to file a collection case before a regular court of
justice against respondent.
The general rule is that a lawyer may not be
suspended or disbarred, and the court may not ordinarily
assume jurisdiction to discipline him, for misconduct in his
non-professional or private capacity.
We, however, find the recommendation to suspend
respondent from the practice of law for six months to be grossly
disproportionate to the act complained of , i.e., her failure to
appear before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the
IBP. With her legal knowledge and expertise, respondent may
have known all along that the Commission has no jurisdiction
over a complaint for collection of a sum of money which she
borrowed in her private capacity. Hence, her adamant refusal to
appear before said body.
It was, however, still necessary for respondent to
acknowledge the orders of the Commission in deference to its
authority over her as a member of the IBP. Her wanton
disregard of its lawful orders subjects her to disciplinary
sanction. Thus, her suspension from the practice of law for one
month is warranted.
At the outset, it must be stressed that the law
profession does not prescribe a dichotomy of standards
among its members. There is no distinction as to whether
the transgression is committed in the lawyers professional
capacity or in his private life. This is because a lawyer may
not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one
time and a mere citizen at another.[17] Thus, not only his
professional activities but even his private life, insofar as
the latter may reflect unfavorably upon the good name and
prestige of the profession and the courts, may at any time
be the subject of inquiry on the part of the proper
authorities.[18]
While, complainant himself admitted that
respondent was a good lawyer,[19] however, professional
competency alone does not make a lawyer a worthy
member of the Bar. Good moral character is always an
indispensable requirement.
The circumstances here speak of a clear case of
betrayal of trust and abuse of confidence. It was respondents
closeness to the complainants family as well as the latters
complete trust in him that made possible his intimate relationship
with Lisa. When his concern was supposed to be complainants
legal affairs only, he sneaked at the latters back and courted his
daughter. Like the proverbial thief in the night, he attacked
when nobody was looking.
The interdict upon lawyers, as inscribed in Rule 1.01
of the Code of Professional Responsibility, is that they shall not
engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
It is not by coincidence that the drafters of our Code of
Professional Responsibility ranked the above responsibility first
in the enumeration. They knew then that more than anybody
else, it is the lawyers -- the disciples of law -- who are most
obliged to venerate the law.
Corollarily, the above responsibility is enshrined
in the Attorneys Oath which every lawyer in the country
has to take before he is allowed to practice.

CASE
Lachica v Tormis

Bravo v Morales

FACTS
On July 2, 2003, Domugho was apprehended by PO3
Epifanio G. Sanjorjo at around 8:45 p.m. and was brought to
the police station for booking and custody at 9:30 p.m.[5]
However, on July 3, 2003, at around 8:30 a.m.,
complainant was surprised to receive a call from the accused
informing her that she was released from confinement on
July 2, 2003 at 10:00 p.m. Complainant inquired from the
police station if an Order of Release was issued by the court,
but she was informed that the accused was released
because the respondent judge called the police station and
told the desk officer that the accused had posted a cash bail
bond and may already be released.
Complainant checked the case records but the
expediente contained no copy of the release order. The
police blotter showed no entry that an order of release was
received by the police. Only a notation that the accused had
put up a cash bail bond was entered therein.
Complainant also averred that it was improper for the
respondent judge to receive the cash bail bond as the
function belongs exclusively to the Office of the Clerk of
Court. She claimed that respondent judge committed an act
of impropriety when she called the police station to verbally
order the release of the accused. She claimed that it was
irregular that no copy of the release order was found in the
expediente in the morning of July 3, 2003 considering that it
was supposedly issued on July 2, 2003.
These consolidated administrative cases which are
in the nature of a charge and countercharge sprang from the
same incident. Judge Crispin B. Bravo, charges his former
branch clerk of court, Atty. Miguel C. Morales with grave
misconduct and conduct unbecoming a public officer. On the
other hand, Atty. Morales charges Judge Bravo with grave
abuse of authority, slander, harassment, grave ignorance of
the law, inefficiency and grave/serious misconduct.
In his complaint in A.M. No. P-05-1950, Judge
Bravo alleged, in gist, the following:
That while serving as the Acting Presiding Judge of
MeTC, Manila, Branch 17, he requested the detail of his
branch clerk of court, Atty. Morales. Later, he recommended
to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) the immediate
dismissal of Atty. Morales from the service for corrupt
practices; that since he made the recommendation, he
observed Atty. Morales to have acted discourteously and
disrespectful toward him. He relates that whenever he greets
court employees with a "good morning ladies and gentlemen"
after every flag raising ceremony, as was his usual practice,
he noticed Atty. Morales mimicking him in a squeaky comical
voice, obviously to make fun of him; among others.
At his end, Atty. Morales avers in his countercomplaint that Judge Bravo failed to behave with due
restraint when the judge ordered his arrest. As Atty. Morales
argued, unjust vexation is covered by the Rules on Summary
Procedure, adding that unjust vexation is not a continuing
offense and, ergo, a warrantless arrest could not be effected
therefor, let alone by the responding police officers who have
no personal knowledge, as it were, of the alleged crime.

DOCTRINE
It is also undisputed that respondent judge
personally received the cash bail bond for the accused. For
this act alone, respondent is already administratively liable.
Section 14, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure specifies the persons with whom a cash bail bond
may be deposited, namely: the collector of internal revenue
or the provincial, city or municipal treasurer. A judge is not
authorized to receive the deposit of cash as bail nor should
such cash be kept in his office.
The respondent judge is guilty of gross
misconduct for having abused her judicial authority
when she personally accepted the cash bail bond of the
accused and for deliberately making untruthful
statements in her comment and during the investigation
of the instant administrative case with intent to mislead
this Court.
The foregoing acts not only seriously undermine
and adversely reflect on the honesty and integrity of
respondent judge as an officer of the court; they also betray a
character flaw which speaks ill of her person. Making false
representations is a vice which no judge should imbibe. As
the judge is the visible representation of the law, and more
importantly justice, he must therefore, be the first to abide by
the law and weave an example for the others to follow.[13]
At bottom is the sad spectacle of two officials of
the judiciary wasting the precious hours of the Court,
including theirs, that could have otherwise been devoted to a
more salutary productive judicial pursuit rather than on petty
wrangling that has no place in the judicial system. They
ought to be reminded that the nature and responsibilities of
the men and women in the judiciary, as defined in different
canons of conduct, are neither mere rhetorical words nor
idealistic sentiments but working standards and attainable
goals to be matched with actual deeds. 3
The Court has repeatedly stressed that court
employees, from the presiding judge to the lowliest
clerk, being public servants charged with dispensing
justice, should always act with a high degree of
professionalism and responsibility, if not maturity. Their
conduct must not only be characterized by propriety and
decorum, but must also be in accordance with law and
court regulations. They should avoid any act or conduct
that would or tend to diminish public trust and
confidence in the courts. Indeed, those connected with
the dispensation of justice bear a heavy burden of
responsibility. 4
We take this opportunity to remind both Judge
Bravo and Atty. Morales that government service is
people-oriented. Patience is an essential part of
dispensing justice; civility is never a sign of weakness
and courtesy is a mark of culture and good breeding.
Impatience and rudeness have no place in the
government service in which personnel are enjoined to
act with self-restraint and civility at all times. 7

CASE
In Re: MTCC
Koronadal

FACTS

This administrative case stems from the Judicial and


Financial Audit conducted in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities
(MTCC) of Koronadal City from August 5 to August 9, 2002, by an
audit team from the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA).
Judge Agustin T. Sardido, who presided over the MTCC of
Koronadal City, assumed office sometime in May 1988; and Clerk of
Court Maxima Borja, on February 18, 2002. The latter, however,
had been employed therein since 1987, serving as clerk II and
stenographer until she was appointed clerk of court. Prior to Borjas
assumption, the clerk of court was Normandie A. Ines, who
compulsorily retired on October 9, 2001.
The audit team found that Judge Sardido usually arrived late
for work. On Mondays, he would report only in the afternoons. Due
to his habitual tardiness, court sessions were usually scheduled only
in the afternoons.
The audit team also found that Judge Sardido had allowed Rufino
Vargas, a non-employee of the court, to discharge the duties and functions
of a court interpreter without the prior approval of the OCA..
The audit teams physical inventory of pending cases
revealed several anomalous findings.
The financial audit also revealed numerous anomalies and
lapses. In point: the court failed to collect filing fees in estafa and BP
22 cases; cash bonds were posted with the court without being
offcially receipted and were unaccounted; the practice of not issuing
official receipts allowed the appropriation of funds for unauthorized
purposes

In Re; Judge
Herrera

Judge Damaso A. Herrera, the former Presiding Judge of


Branch 24 of the Regional Trial Court in Bian, Laguna, filed an
application for optional retirement effective April 5, 2004. The Court
approved his application through the resolution issued on July 5,
2004.
Then Court Administrator Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., now a
Member of the Court, initiated an administrative matter for agenda
dated October 1, 2004 to report on the cases submitted for decision
before newly-retired Judge Herrera, citing 55 of such cases
mentioned in the March 2004 monthly report of Judge Herreras
branch, some of which were already beyond the reglementary
period to decide.
The report further indicated that the cases submitted for
decision as reported in the December 2003 monthly report totaling
26 increased to 55 in the March 2004 monthly report due to the
addition of 29 cases; that Judge Herrera failed to request the
extension of his time to decide the cases; that Branch 24 did not
submit the monthly reports of cases within the period required; and
that most of the cases submitted for decision had not been reflected
in the submitted reports.

DOCTRINE
Those charged with the dispensation of justice, from the
justices and judges to the lowliest clerks, should be
circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Not
only must their conduct at all times be characterized by
propriety and decorum but, above all else, it must be beyond
suspicion. Every employee should be an example of integrity,
uprightness and honesty. Integrity in a judicial office is more
than a virtue; it is a necessity. It applies, without qualification
as to rank or position, to all officials and employees, all of
whom are deemed standard-bearers of the exacting norms of
ethics and morality imposed upon courts of justice.[9]
In legal contemplation, the judge presiding over a branch of a
court is the head of that branch.[10] As such, Judge Sardido should
have served as an example to the court employees working under
him.
This Court has reiterated the need for judges to decide cases
promptly and expeditiously. It cannot be gainsaid that justice
delayed is justice denied. The failure of judges to decide cases with
dispatch constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition
of administrative sanctions.[12]
By his practice of dismissing criminal cases under preliminary
investigation without transmitting the pertinent resolution and
records to the prosecutor, Judge Sardido showed either gross
ignorance of remedial law or, worse, willful disobedience thereof.
For misappropriating court funds in concert with Ines, Judge
Sardido has been charged with grave misconduct.
Time and time again, this Court has emphasized that the
judge is the visible representation of the law, and more importantly,
of justice. It is from him that the people draw their will and
awareness to obey the law. For the judge to return that regard, he
must be the first to abide by the law and weave an example for
others to follow.[14]
Section 15(1), Article VIII, of the Constitution requires a
trial judge to dispose of all cases or matters within three
months from the time of their submission for decision.
Conformably with the constitutional prescription, Rule 3.05,
Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct admonishes all
judges to dispose of their courts business promptly and to
decide cases within the required period. Unless every trial
judge earnestly, painstakingly, and faithfully complies with this
mandate of efficiency, the present clogged dockets in our
judicial system cannot be cleared.[12]
In Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in the RTC, Br. 22,
Kabacan, North Cotabato,[13] the Court has impressed upon trial
judges the need to decide cases promptly and expeditiously to
accord with the time honored precept that justice delayed is justice
denied, viz: Every judge should decide cases with dispatch and
should be careful, punctual, and observant in the performance of his
functions for 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, a judge must display that interest in
his office which stops not at the minimum of the days labor fixed by
law, and which ceases not at the expiration of official sessions, but
which proceeds diligently on holidays and by artificial light and even
into vacation periods. Only thus can he do his part in the great work
of speeding up the administration of justice and of rehabilitating the
judiciary in the estimation of the people.
Judge Herrera should have sought additional time by
simply filing a request for extension if, to him, rendering a
decision or resolve a matter beyond the reglementary period
became unavoidable. That he did not so seek additional time
reflected his indifference to the prescription to decide within
the time limits of the law. Thus, we choose not to consider
seriously his excuses as exempting him from the due
observance of the time limits of the law or as exonerating him
from administrative liability. The excuses, assuming they were
true, could only be treated as mitigating circumstances vis-vis the properly imposable penalty.[17]

CASE

FACTS

In Re: Judge Dizon

The sole charge brought against the respondent by the


former Commissioner of Customs, Hon. Alexander A. Padilla, of
which we found him guilty is that he rendered a manifestly
erroneous decision in People of the Philippines v. Lo Chi Fa through
gross incompetence and gross ignorance of the law.
It was alleged that Judge Dizon not only acquitted Lo Chi
Fai of the crime of violation of Central Bank Circular No. 960 in spite
of the accused having been apprehended with US$355,349.57
worth of foreign currencies while boarding a plane for Hongkong,
erroneously ruling that the State must first prove the criminal intent
to violate the law and benefit from the illegal act.
This court pointed out that in offenses punished by
special laws, proof of malice or deliberate intent is not necessary.
The offenses are mala prohibita.
The respondent now comes to us appealing for a
compassionate review of the Court's judgment. He admits that his
decision was erroneous but pleads that his mistaken judgment
proceeded from good faith and not from a deliberate desire to
pervert his position. He pleads also "(E)ven for the sake of his family
alone, ... for a review of (such a) pronouncement which not only
imposes the stigma of removal from his position, but adds the
trauma of the loss of all benefits derived from his long years of
service and the forfeiture of further gainful employment in the
Government."

Gandeza v Tabin

Before us is an administrative complaint1 filed by


complainant Atty. Gandeza, Jr. against Judge Maria Clarita C. Tabin
for Gross Misconduct and Conduct Unbecoming a Judge.
Complainant alleged that on November 20, 2007, around
9 o'clock in the evening, a Mitsubishi Galant with collided head on
with a Ssangyong Musso Pick-Up driven by Marion Derez. The
Mitsubishi Galant is owned by complainant and his wife, Atty. April
B. Gandeza, while the Ssangyong Musso Pick-Up is owned by
respondent Judge's nephew, Paul N. Casuga.
Complainant recalled that when he arrived at the
accident site, he saw respondent Judge conferring with the police
investigator. He claimed that respondent Judge approached him
and in a harsh tone accused his driver to be the one at fault and
was under the influence of liquor. Respondent also kept on
reminding the police investigator to put in his report the alleged
drunken condition of his driver despite complainant's request to
respondent judge not to prejudge the situation.
Complainant claimed that at the hospital, while both
drivers were being subjected to physical examination, respondent
Judge, instead of accompanying her nephew's driver, opted to stand
closely beside complainant's driver and kept on suggesting to the
examining doctor that his driver was under the influence of liquor.
He added that when respondent Judge came to know the "negative"
result of the alcoholic breath examination of his driver, she
protested and demanded another examination on his driver. Despite
his protests and his driver's refusal to undergo a re-examination,
respondent Judge's request prevailed. Later on, complainant
alleged that a new medical certificate showing his driver was under
the influence of liquor was issued upon respondent's insistence.
Subsequent interferance also took place in a number of
instances.

DOCTRINE
This notwithstanding, there is no clear indication from the
records that the respondent's assailed decision was inspired by
corrupt motives or a reprehensible purpose to set the plainly guilty
free. There is gross misjudgment yes, but not a deliberate
twisting of facts to justify his decision. It was his egregiously
erroneous interpretation of the law which led us to discipline the
respondent.
In our February 23,1988 resolution, we stated that
"(A) judge can not be held to account or answer, criminally,
civilly, or administratively, for an erroneous decision rendered
by him in good faith." (Emphasis supplied) The foregoing
doctrine remains the law.
We do not, by any means, exonerate the respondent
from all blame nor do we completely overlook the erroneous
judgment. His act remains unjustified. It does not speak well of an
officer who must "read, study and ponder" and "personify learning
and equanimity."
It is a truism that the learning process in law does
not stop upon graduation from college and admission to the
Bar. There should be, on the contrary, more sustained
intellectual effort on the part of the members of the legal
profession. Certainly, judges are not exempt from this
obligation. It is even more incumbent on them as they are
thought of as the oracles of law. There is likely then to be a
disillusionment in the judicial process if, as did happen here,
an occupant of the bench was found to be woefully lacking in
legal knowledge ... The efforts for improvement in the mode of
administering the government in all its manifold complexity
would come to naught if our people can harbor the suspicion
that judges do not even know what the law is.
While the Court does not require perfection and
infallibility, it reasonably expects a faithful and intelligent discharge
of duty by those who are selected to fill the positions of
administrators of justice. On the basis of the foregoing
considerations, we feel he has been sufficiently punished for the
administrative infraction. We, therefore, order his reinstatement.
While we agree with the findings that respondent Judge
cannot be held liable for gross misconduct and conduct unbecoming
of a judge due to lack of evidence of malice on the part of
respondent Judge, we, however, agree with the findings of the OCA
that Judge Tabin is guilty of impropriety.
As found by the OCA, it was inappropriate for
respondent judge to direct that a second test be conducted on
complainant's driver when the first test resulted in a
"negative." Respondent judge cannot interfere in the conduct
of the investigation. Inevitably, as a result of her interference,
complainant suspected that she was influencing the outcome
of the investigation.
Even assuming that respondent Judge did not make
public her position as a judge to the examining doctor or the
investigating policeman, the fact that she knew that said police
officer and the complainant had knowledge of her being a judge
should have refrained her from further interfering in the
investigation. She cannot act oblivious as to how and what the
public will view her actions. She should have kept herself free from
any appearance of impropriety and endeavored to distance herself
from any act liable to create an impression of indecorum.
To stress how the law frowns upon even any
appearance of impropriety in a magistrates activities, it has
often been held that a judge must be like Caesars wife - above
suspicion and beyond reproach. Respondents act discloses a
deficiency in prudence and discretion that a member of the
Judiciary must exercise in the performance of his official
functions and of his activities as a private individual. It is never
trite to caution respondent to be prudent and circumspect in
both speech and action, keeping in mind that her conduct in
and outside the courtroom is always under constant
observation.

CASE

FACTS

Maceda v Vasquez

The issue in this petition for certiorari with prayer


for preliminary mandatory injunction and/or restraining order
is whether the Office of the Ombudsman could entertain a
criminal complaint for the alleged falsification of a judge's
certification submitted to the Supreme Court, and assuming
that it can, whether a referral should be made first to the
Supreme Court.
Petitioner Bonifacio Sanz Maceda, Presiding Judge
of the Regional Trial Court of Antique, seeks the review of
the following orders of the Office of the Ombudsman: (1) the
Order dated September 18, 1991 denying the ex-parte
motion to refer to the Supreme Court filed by petitioner; and
(2) the Order dated November 22, 1991 denying petitioner's
motion for reconsideration and directing petitioner to file his
counter-affidavit and other controverting evidences.
In his affidavit-complaint dated April 18, 1991 filed
before the Office of the Ombudsman, respondent Napoleon
A. Abiera of the Public Attorney's Office alleged that
petitioner had falsified his Certificate of Service 1 dated
February 6, 1989, by certifying "that all civil and criminal
cases which have been submitted for decision or
determination for a period of 90 days have been determined
and decided on or before January 31, 1989," when in truth
and in fact, petitioner knew that no decision had been
rendered in five (5) civil and ten (10) criminal cases that have
been submitted for decision. Respondent Abiera further
alleged that petitioner similarly falsified his certificates of
service for the months of February, April, May, June, July
and August, all in 1989; and the months beginning January
up to September 1990, or for a total of seventeen (17)
months.
On the other hand, petitioner contends that he had
been granted by this Court an extension of ninety (90) days
to decide the aforementioned cases.
Petitioner also contends that the Ombudsman has
no jurisdiction over said case despite this Court's ruling in
Orap vs. Sandiganbayan, since the offense charged arose
from the judge's performance of his official duties, which is
under the control and supervision of the Supreme Court.
Furthermore, the investigation of the Ombudsman constitutes
an encroachment into the Supreme Court's constitutional
duty of supervision over all inferior courts.

DOCTRINE
The Court disagrees with the first Part of
petitioner's basic argument. There is nothing in the decision
in Orap that would restrict it only to offenses committed by a
judge unrelated to his official duties. A judge who falsifies his
certificate of service is administratively liable to the Supreme
Court for serious misconduct and inefficiency under Section
1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and criminally liable to the
State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act.
However, we agree with petitioner that in the
absence of any administrative action taken against him
by this Court with regard to his certificates of service,
the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman
encroaches into the Court's power of administrative
supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation
of the doctrine of separation of powers.
Article VIII, section 6 of the 1987 Constitution
exclusively vests in the Supreme Court administrative
supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the
Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to the
lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power,
it is only the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges'
and court personnel's compliance with all laws, and take
the proper administrative action against them if they
commit any violation thereof. No other branch of
government may intrude into this power, without running
afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers.
The
Ombudsman
cannot
justify
its
investigation of petitioner on the powers granted to it by
the Constitution, for such a justification not only runs
counter to the specific mandate of the Constitution
granting supervisory powers to the Supreme Court over
all courts and their personnel, but likewise undermines
the independence of the judiciary.
Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the
matter of petitioner's certificates of service to this Court
for determination of whether said certificates reflected
the true status of his pending case load, as the Court
has the necessary records to make such a
determination. The Ombudsman cannot compel this
Court, as one of the three branches of government, to
submit its records, or to allow its personnel to testify on
this matter, as suggested by public respondent Abiera in
his affidavit-complaint.
In fine, where a criminal complaint against a Judge
or other court employee arises from their administrative
duties, the Ombudsman must defer action on said complaint
and refer the same to this Court for determination whether
said Judge or court employee had acted within the scope of
their administrative duties.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby
GRANTED. The Ombudsman is hereby directed to dismiss
the complaint filed by public respondent Atty. Napoleon A.
Abiera and to refer the same to this Court for appropriate
action.

CASE
Gutierrez v
Santos

FACTS
On August 15, 1958 Benigno Musni and others filed a complaint
with the Secretary of Public Works and Communications against Ricardo M.
Gutierrez alleging therein, inter alia, that the latter had illegally constructed
dams, dikes and other obstructions across navigable waters, waterways,
rivers and communal fishing grounds located in Barrio San Esteban,
Macabebe, Pampanga. They prayed that, pursuant to the provisions of
Republic Act No. 2056, the said obstructions be ordered removed or
destroyed.
On December 13, 1958 Gutierrez filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint upon the ground that the proceedings to be held before Julian C.
Cargullo, the investigator appointed by the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications, would be void because Republic Act 2056 was
unconstitutional as it conferred judicial powers to the Secretary of Public
Works and Communications. This motion was denied and the investigator
set the case for hearing on December 19 and 20, 1958.
On February 25, 1959 respondent de la Rosa filed a motion to
disqualify the Hon. Arsenio Santos from trying and deciding the case, upon
the ground that sometime in 1948 he had acted as counsel for fishpond
owners, like the petitioner Gutierrez, in an administrative investigation in
involving the same or at least similar issues and properties, and had
expressed views in the course of said investigation prejudicial or adverse to
the contention of the respondents in the pending case. Petitioner Gutierrez
objected to the motion aforesaid upon the ground that there was no legal
ground upon which Judge Santos could be disqualified under the provisions
of Rule 125 of the Rules of Court.
After the hearing on the matter, the respondent Judge issued an
order dated April 16, 1959 disqualifying himself and endorsing the case to
the Second Branch of the court.

In Re: Flordeliza

The charges laid against the respondent Judge are, in general:


(1) That on different occasions the respondent certified falsely as to the
status of the cases pending decision before him, in violation of section 129
of the Administrative Code; (2) that the respondent is guilty of delay and lack
of diligence in the disposition of the cases pending before him, in violation of
section 165 of the Administrative Code, and generally accepted principles
which determine judicial standards; and (3) that the respondents is guilty of
partiality in the performance of his official duties.
One charge is that the respondent Judge has proceeded in
many cases with manifest and evident partiality.
Under the subject of negligent performance of the duties of his
office to the grave prejudice of the public interest, complainants allege that
there are to many cases placed on the calendar for one day. Under the
same subject, it is further alleged that court sessions are held only for three
hours and a half each day, while section 165 of the Administrative Code
calls for not less than five-hour sessions of courts of first instance except on
Saturdays.
The last and most serious charge presented, having a close
relationship with the congestion of cases on the docket of the Court of First
Instance of Sorsogon, the delay in the disposition of these cases, especially
criminal cases, and the lack of diligence in catching up with the court work,
concerns the alleged false certification of the respondent under section 129
of the Administrative Code, in order to secure the payment of his salary.
Attention is invited to a number of cases which were decided beyond the
ninety-day period mentioned in the law, and, with certain qualifications,
these facts are admitted by the respondent.

DOCTRINE
Petitioner invokes the provision of section 1, Rule 126 of the
Rules of Court. Assuming arguendo that a literal interpretation of the legal
provision relied upon justifies petitioner's contention to a certain degree, it
should not be forgotten that, in construing and applying said legal provision,
we cannot disregard its true intention nor the real ground for the
disqualification of a judge or judicial officer, which is the impossibility of
rendering an impartial judgment upon the matter before him. It has been
said, in fact, that due process of law requires a hearing before an
impartial and disinterested tribunal, and that every litigant is entitled to
nothing less than the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. Moreover,
second only to the duty of rendering a just decision, is the duty of
doing it in a manner that will not arouse any suspicion as to its fairness
and the integrity of the Judge. Consequently, we take it as the true
intention of the law stated in general terms that no judge shall preside
in a case in which he is not wholly free, disinterested, impartial and
independent because
However upright the judge, and however free from the
slightest inclination but to do justice, there is peril of his unconscious
bias or prejudice, or lest any former opinion formed ex parte may still
linger to affect unconsciously his present judgment, or lest he may be
moved or swayed unconsciously by his knowledge of the facts which
may not be revealed or stated at the trial, or cannot under the rules of
evidence. No effort of the will can shut out memory; there is no art of
forgetting. We cannot be certain that the human mind will deliberate
and determine unaffected by that which it knows, but which it should
forget in that process. . . .
The fear he has thus expressed of not being able to render a
truly impartial judgment does not appear to be capricious and whimsical,
having in mind particularly that in his order of August 11, 1959 denying
petitioners' motion for reconsideration. In view of these circumstances, we
are constrained to agree with His Honor that the opinion thus expressed by
him years ago "might, some way or another, influence his decision" in the
case before him.
Judges and auxiliary judges of first instance, judges of municipal
courts, and justices of the peace shall certify on their applications for leave,
and upon salary vouchers presented by them for payment, or upon the pay
rolls upon which their salaries are paid, that all special proceedings,
applications, petitions, demurrers, motions, and all civil and criminal cases
which have been under submission for decision or determination for a period
of ninety days or more have been determined and decided on or before the
date of making the certificate, and no leave shall be granted and no salary
shall be paid without such certificate.
The law requires that before leave shall be granted or salary
shall be paid to any judge or auxiliary judge of first instance, he shall
make a certificate that all cases and proceedings which have been
under submission for determination or decision for a period of ninety
days or more have been determined and decided on or before the date
of making the certificate. The key words, needing construction, are
"determined and decided."
The word "determined" is hardly the equivalent of "decided" and
does not have quite as far-reaching a meaning. "Determine," it has been
said, does not mean more than tried. "Decided" or "decide," according to the
lexicographers, is defined as "to form a definite opinion," "to render
judgment." In this jurisdiction, upon the trial of a question of fact, the decision
of the court must be given in writing and filed with the clerk.
At common law there was an offense known as extortion in
office, which was the taking by color of office, of money or other thing
of value that is not due, before it is due, or more than is due. It has
been held that a judge is removable from office for demanding and
receiving compensation to which he is not entitled, and this is so
notwithstanding he acts in good faith and in an honest belief that he is
entitled to such compensation.
In conclusion, therefore, we have decided to pay no particular
attention to the general charges of partiality and negligence which have
been filed against Judge Flordeliza. We do find, however, that he has not
displayed that interest in his office which stops not at the minimum of the
day's labors fixed by law, and which ceases not at the expiration of official
sessions, but which proceeds diligently on holidays and by artificial light and
even into vacation periods. Only thus can he do his part in the great work of
speeding up the administration of justice and of rehabilitating the judiciary in
the estimation of the people. The mountain of six or seven hundred pending
cases in Sorsogon could be removed by a judge of first instance of alert
mind and quick decision, not afraid of work, with the aid of a helpful bar and
a sympathetic government.

CASE
Kilat v Judge
Macia

FACTS

DOCTRINE

This is an administrative complaint charging respondent Judge


Mariano S. Macias, Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28,
Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte, with immorality, conduct unbecoming of a
judicial officer, rape, and violation of the Anti-Child Abuse Law.[1]
According to complainant, Juvelyn Kilat, she was a sixteen (16)
year-old working high school student in Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur when she
met respondent in November 1999. Subsequent events had happened.
For his part, respondent claims that complainant was just being
used by his ex-wife, Margie Corpus Macias, and several other personalities
who he believed had selfish and personal axes to grind[4] against him. He
denies the accusation of raping and having illicit relations with complainant
whom he knew only as a passing acquaintance. He claims that he had been
in contact with complainant only once, when he bought her cellular phone,
and only because he pitied her.
Respondent asserts that complainant informed him that she was
kidnapped and merely forced to sign the documents used in the instant
administrative complaint.
On 1 December 2003, the Provincial Prosecutor filed the
corresponding information and the case was docketed as Criminal Case No.
L-00727, raffled to RTC Branch 28, Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte presided by
respondent judge.
On 2 December 2003, respondent issued an order for the arrest
of the persons named in the information.[13] The next day, accused moved
for the inhibition of respondent from the criminal case on the ground that
respondent is directly involved in the said case. Respondent thus issued an
order inhibiting himself from the criminal proceedings and recommended to
the Court that another judge be designated in his place.[14]
The accused in Criminal Case No. L-00727 filed a special civil
action for certiorari and prohibition (docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 80984)
with the Court of Appeals, questioning: (i) the DOJ resolution ordering the
filing of informations against them; (ii) the information filed; and (iii) the
warrant of arrest issued by respondent judge. The Court of Appeals granted
the petition, nullifying the information and quashing the warrant of arrest
earlier issued.

Administrative charges against members of the judiciary must


be supported at least by substantial evidence,[24] or such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. In
the present case, no other document or evidence was submitted to
substantiate the charges of immorality, conduct unbecoming of a judicial
officer, rape, and violation of the Anti-Child Abuse Law against respondent
judge. More importantly, complainant herself executed sworn statements
recanting her charges against respondent.
Now on the issue of abuse of authority. Rule 137 of the
Rules of Court mandatorily disqualifies a judge or judicial officer to sit
in any case in which: (a) he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily
interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise; (b) he is related to
either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to
counsel within the fourth degree, computed according to the rules of
civil law; (c) he has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or
counsel; or (d) he has presided in any inferior court when his ruling or
decision is the subject of review, without the written consent of all
parties in interest, signed by them and entered upon the record.[26]
There is no dispute that Mrs. Margie Corpus-Macias, accused in
Criminal Case No. L-00727, is the estranged wife of respondent judge. This
circumstance makes it mandatory for respondent to inhibit himself from the
case, but this he unfortunately did not do. He cannot exercise his discretion
whether to inhibit himself or not. It was a clear case of violation of the Rules
of Court.
As properly observed both by the OCA and the Investigating
Justice, the issuance of a warrant of arrest is not ministerial in nature, but
rather requires the exercise of judicial discretion on the part of the issuing
magistrate.[27] However, respondent judge issued the warrant of arrest a
mere day after the filing of the information charging accused therein
with grave coercion and serious illegal detention. Such undue alacrity casts
doubt on the motive of respondent, especially since the accused were
known to him to be the same people who instigated the present
administrative case against him, and against whom he filed a civil suit for
damages.
Plainly, the errors attributed to respondent judge pertain to
the exercise of his adjudicative functions. As a matter of policy, in the
absence of fraud, dishonesty, and corruption, the acts of a judge in his
official capacity are not subject to disciplinary action. He cannot be
subjected to liability civil, criminal, or administrative for any of his
official acts, no matter how erroneous, as long as he acts in good
faith. Only judicial errors tainted with fraud, dishonesty, gross
ignorance, bad faith, or deliberate intent to do an injustice will be
administratively sanctioned. Settled is the rule that errors committed
by a judge in the exercise of his adjudicative functions cannot be
corrected through administrative proceedings, but should instead be
assailed through judicial remedies.[7]
We note, too, that although the respondent judge erred in
issuing the Writ of Amparo, we find, as the OCA did, that there is no
evidence on record that supports the complainants allegation that the
issuance was tainted with manifest bias and partiality, bad faith, or gross
ignorance of the law. The fact that the respondent judge and Atty. Francis
Ku are members of the Masonic fraternity does not prove that the former
acted with bias and partiality. Bias and partiality can never be presumed
and must be proved with clear and convincing evidence. The
complainants allegation of partiality will not suffice in the absence of a
clear and convincing proof that will overcome the presumption that the
respondent judge dispensed justice according to law and evidence,
without fear or favor. Likewise, bad faith or malice cannot be inferred
simply because the judgment is adverse to a party. To hold a judge
administratively accountable simply because he erred in his judgment
has never been the intent of the law; reasonable competence and good
faith judgments, not complete infallibility, are what the law requires.
The more significant issue in this case is the complainants
charge of gross ignorance of the law against the respondent judge. A patent
disregard of simple, elementary and well-known rules constitutes
gross ignorance of the law. Judges are expected to exhibit more than
just cursory acquaintance with laws and procedural rules. They must
know the law and apply it properly in good faith. They are likewise
expected to keep abreast of prevailing jurisprudence. For, a judge who
is plainly ignorant of the law taints the noble office and great privilege
vested in him.[12]
More importantly, for full liability to attach for ignorance of
the law, the assailed order, decision or actuation of the judge in the
performance of official duties must not only be found to be erroneous;
it must be established that he was motivated by bad faith, dishonesty,
hatred or some other similar motive.[13]

Salcedo v
Bollozos

The complaint arose from a verified handwritten petition for the Writ
of Habeas Corpus and the Writ of Amparo (the petition) filed by Jose
Tanmalack, Jr. against the Police Officers of Police Precinct No. 3, Agora,
Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City, and Inspector Wylen Rojo. The complainant
alleged that he is a co-owner of a parcel of land (disputed property).
On January 23, 2008 at around 2:30 p.m., while the complainant was
supervising an on-going construction over the disputed property, Tanmalack
and heavily armed men arrived and forced themselves inside the fenced
premises of the disputed property.
The complainant forthwith reported the incident to the nearby police
station. The police promptly responded and arrested Tanmalack and
brought him in for questioning. That same afternoon at around 4:45 p.m.,
Tanmalack, represented by his sister, Jocelyn Tanmalack Tan, filed the
petition[1] on his behalf while Tanmalack was detained by the police for
employing self-help in preventing squatters from putting up improvements in
their titled property.
In his complaint, the complainant questions the issuance of the Writ
of Amparo which he claims had been unusually issued with haste. The
complainant claims that the handwritten petition did not give any ground to
warrant the issuance of the Writ ofAmparo; that the respondent judge acted
with grave abuse of discretion, bias, and obvious partiality, and in grave
disregard of the Rules and the rule of law when he acted upon and granted
the letter-petition for the issuance of the Writ of Amparo. The complainant
also alleges that the respondent judge accommodated the issuance of the
Writ of Amparo because he and Atty. Francis Ku (Tanmalacks counsel) are
members of the Masonic fraternity.

CASE
Belen v Judge
Belen

FACTS

Complainant filed a Verified Complaint dated 7 March 2001 with


the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) of the Supreme Court. According
to complainant,[1] sometime in March 2004, respondent judge filed a case for
Estafa against complainants father, Nezer D. Belen, but the same was
dismissed for lack of probable cause by Assistant City Prosecutor Ma.
Victoria Sunega-Lagman.
Respondent judge filed an Omnibus Motion (For
Reconsideration and Disqualif[ication]) before the Office of the City
Prosecutor of San Pablo City, alleging, inter alia, that Sunega-Lagman was
always absent during the hearings in the preliminary investigation in
the estafa case. Respondent judge likewise filed a complaint for disciplinary
action against Sunega-Lagman before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD).
Thereafter, respondent judge allegedly started harassing and
threatening complainant with the filing of several cases against the latter.
Respondent judge also wrote several letters addressed to certain local
government authorities and employees, requesting information
on complainants piggery and poultry business; advising them of the alleged
violations by the complainant of the National Building Code and certain
environmental laws; and reminding the local government authorities of their
duty to forestall the issuance of municipal clearance and license to
complainants business establishment.
All of the letters bore a letterhead indicating respondent judges official
government position

Mercado v
Salcedo
These are consolidated administrative cases filed against
Judge Erasto D. Salcedo (respondent judge), Regional Trial
Court, Branch 31, Tagum City, charging him with violations of
the Code of Judicial Conduct and the Canons of Judicial
Ethics.[1]
Administrative Matter No. RTJ-03-1781
In the letter dated January 2, 2001, the
respondent judge was accused of bias and gross partiality in
handling the investigation of the administrative case filed
against Judge Napy Agayan (Judge Agayan) of the Municipal
Circuit Trial Court of Kapalong-Talaingod, Davao del Norte;
and on Agrarian Cases.
Administrative Case No. RTJ-03-1782
On December 18, 2001, State Prosecutor Emmanuel
Y. Velasco brought to the attention of then Chief Justice
Hilario G. Davide, Jr. the indictment of the respondent judge
for violation of P.D. No. 1612 and recommended that
appropriate administrative charges be initiated by the
Supreme Court against him for violations of the provisions of
the Code of Judicial Conduct and of the Canons of Judicial
Ethics.[12]

DOCTRINE
Respondent judge wrote letters to government authorities and
employees to secure public information regarding complainants piggery
and poultry business; to inform addressees of the laws allegedly being
violated by complainant; and to remind the addressees of their duties
as government officials or employees and warn them of the possible
legal effects of neglect of public duties.
In writing these letters, respondent judges use of his
personal stationery with letterhead indicating that he is the
Presiding Judge of RTC of Calamba City, Branch 36, and stating
that the letter was from [his] chambers, clearly manifests that
respondent judge was trying to use the prestige of his office to
influence said government officials and employees, and to achieve
with prompt and ease the purpose for which those letters were
written. In other words, respondent judge used said letterhead to
promote his personal interest. This is violative of Section 4 of
Canon 1 and Section 1 of Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary.
In a similar case, the Court ruled that members of the
Judiciary should be beyond reproach and suspicion in their
conduct, and should be free from any appearance of impropriety in
the discharge of their official duties as well as in their personal
behavior and everyday life. No position exacts a greater demand
for moral righteousness and uprightness on the individual than a
seat in the Judiciary. Judges transgression was not per se in the
use of the letterhead, but in not being very careful and discerning
in considering the circumstances surrounding the use of his
letterhead and his title. The use of a letterhead should not be
considered independently of the surrounding circumstances of the
use - the underlying reason that marks the use with the element of
impropriety or appearance of impropriety.
Investigation of Judge Agayan and his court personnel
From all these, what appears clear to us is that the respondent
judge conducted a very superficial investigation, if what he did can be
labelled as an investigation at all These actions tell us that the respondent
judge deliberately covered up Judge Agayans absences and irregular
attendance.
The respondent judge apparently forgot that his first and
foremost duty was to conduct a thorough and objective investigation and to
make a complete report of his findings regardless of his personal sentiments
and beliefs. The task assigned to him was an assignment involving trust and
the exercise of his functions as a judge.
The Possession and Use of a Stolen Vehicle
The act of borrowing a vehicle by a judge or any court employee
is not per se a violation of judicial norms and standards established for
court personnel, as borrowing is a legitimate and neutral act that can
happen in everyday life. However, judges and court employees by
the nature of their functions and of the norms and standards peculiar
to their positions live their lives under restrictions not otherwise
imposed on others; specifically, they cannot simply borrow in
situations when this act may or can affect the performance of their
duties because of the nature of the thing borrowed or the identity of the
borrower, or in situations when borrowing would involve ethical
questions under express rules. In this case, the complaint alleged that
what the respondent judge borrowed was in fact a vehicle that was the
subject of a previous litigation before his sala; the respondent judge
borrowed, too, from a lender who still had cases before his sala.
The Execution of a Final Judgment in the Consolidated Agrarian Cases
The respondent judge ought to have known that the joint
decision was already final and executory and could no longer be disturbed
when he made his adjustments. This legal reality, known as the rule of
immutability of judgment, is an elementary principle of law and procedure.
Once a judgment becomes final, it may no longer be modified in any respect,
even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an
erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the
modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the
Highest Court of the land.[51] The only recognized exceptions are the
correction of clerical errors, or the making of so-called nunc pro tunc entries,
which cause no prejudice to any party, and where the judgment is
void.[52] To be sure, the respondent judges ground for modifying the joint
decision is not among these recognized exceptions.

CASE

FACTS

Macias v Judge
Macias

This involves an administrative complaint[1] filed by


complainant Margie C. Macias charging her husband,
Mariano Joaquin S. Macias (Judge Macias), with immorality
and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The complaint was filed on March 7, 2001, when respondent
was still sitting as the presiding judge of Branch 28 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte.
Complainant alleged that sometime in 1998,
respondent engaged in an illicit liaison and immoral
relationship with a certain Judilyn Seranillos (Seranillos),
single and in her early 20s. The relationship continued until
the time of the filing of the complaint.

Burias v Valencia

On 4 and 25 August 2005, respondent borrowed money


from complainant in the amounts of P5,000.00 and P2,500.00,
respectively. The loans were evidenced by promissory notes.[1]
On 25 August 2005, complainant filed a verified
complaint[2] for forcible entry and damages with prayer for the
issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction before the
MTC of Bulan, Sorsogon, presided by Judge Marie Louise A.
Guan-Aragon (Judge Guan-Aragon). On 7 November 2005, Judge
Guan-Aragon inhibited herself from the civil case.[3] Respondent
took over Civil Case No. 590 and, as the new presiding judge in the
case, issued a pre-trial conference order.[4]
On 4 and 24 January 2007, respondent again borrowed from
complainant the amounts of P15,000.00 and P3,000.00, as
evidenced by two (2) handwritten notes.[6]
On 23 March 2007, complainant filed an urgent motion for
respondents inhibition on the ground of delay in the resolution of
the civil case and apparent bias against complainant based on the
Order of 6 December 2006. Respondent denied the motion on 18
April 2007, citing the demise of her son as cause for the delay.[7]
In her administrative complaint, complainant alleged that
on 12 October 2005, respondent endorsed a check and thereafter
exchanged the same for cash in the sum of P5,000.00 that
complainant provided. Said check however was dishonored when
presented for payment by complainant. She also averred that
sometime in March 2007, respondent verbally demanded from her
the sum of P50,000.00 and that her P30,500.000 indebtedness be
written off in exchange for a favorable decision in Civil Case No.
590. According to complainant, she refused to accede to the
demands of respondent. In April 2007, respondent reportedly called
her up and threatened that she would release any of the two (2)
draft decisions she allegedly prepared favoring respondent in the
civil case. Complainant claimed that by reason of these threats, she
was constrained to file the instant administrative case.[9]

DOCTRINE
In several cases,[31] this Court has ruled that if
what is imputed to a respondent judge connotes a
misconduct that, if proven, would result in dismissal
from the bench, then the quantum of proof necessary to
support the administrative charges or to establish
grounds for the removal of a judicial officer should be
more than substantial.
In recent rulings, the Court applied substantial
evidence as the normative quantum of proof necessary in
resolving administrative complaints against judges.
Second, members of the judiciary are not a
class of their own, sui generis, in the field of public
service as to require a higher degree of proof for the
administrative cases filed against them other than,
perhaps, the fact that because of the nature of the
responsibility judges have, they are required to live up to
a higher standard of integrity, probity and morality.
When we dismiss a public officer or employee from
his position or office for the commission of a grave offense in
connection with his office, we merely require that the
complainant prove substantial evidence. When we disbar a
disgraceful lawyer, we require that complainant merely prove
a clear preponderance of evidence to establish
liability.[39] There appears no compelling reason to require a
higher degree of proof when we deal with cases filed against
judges.
Basic is the rule that in administrative proceedings,
complainant bears the onus of establishing the averments of
her complaint.[40] If complainant fails to discharge this burden,
respondent cannot be held liable for the charge.[41]

With respect to the charge of borrowing money in


exchange for a favorable judgment, Rule 5.02, Canon 5 of the
Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a judge shall refrain
from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect
adversely on the courts impartiality, interfere with the proper
performance of judicial activities, or increase involvement with
lawyers or persons likely to come before the court. A judge
should so manage investments and other financial interests as
to minimize the number of cases giving grounds for
disqualification.
Under Rule 5.04 of Canon 5, a judge may obtain a loan if no
law prohibits such loan. However, the law prohibits a judge from
engaging in financial transactions with a partylitigant. Respondent admitted borrowing money from
complainant during the pendency of the case. This act alone is
patently inappropriate.[20] The impression that respondent
would rule in favor of complainant because the former is
indebted to the latter is what the Court seeks to avoid. A
judges conduct should always be beyond reproach.
This Court has time and again emphasized that no
government position is more demanding of moral
righteousness and uprightness than a seat in the
judiciary. Judges as models of law and justice are mandated to
avoid not only impropriety, but also the appearance of
impropriety, because their conduct affects the peoples faith
and confidence in the entire judicial system.[21]

CASE
Simbulan v
Bartolome

In Re; Order of
Judge Bonifacio

Santiago III v
Enriquez

3-D Industries v
Roxas

FACTS

DOCTRINE

The criminal case of the accused was originally raffled to RTC in


San Fernando Pampanga where Aquino (complainant) presides. Aquino
received an Indorsement stating that accused Mercado voluntarily
surrendered before the MTC of Sta. Maria Bulacan and posted bail through
Summit Guarantee & Insurance Corporation approved by Bartolome.
Lercy was the clerk of court of Bartolome. Lercy misplaced and
overlooked the subject surety bond which resulted in the delay of its
transmission to RTC. Other facts complained was Bartolomes issuance of
the order of release, without certificate of Detention and Arrest Warrant
attached to the documents presented. Lercy admitted lapses and negligence
in processing the bail and was remorseful.

The approval of bail was not proper. In approving the bond,


Bartolome violated Sec 17, Rule 114.
Mercado was arrested, Mercado should have applied for bail in
RTC Pampanga. Bartolome failed also to require Mercado to produce
necessary documents. No certificate of detention was issued, thus no
legal justification for the release. The supporting paper were belatedly
filed. He failed to live up the standards of a good magistrate, as there
was flagrant disregard for procedural laws in granting bail.
As stated in Code of Judicial Counduct, judges should
supervise all court personnel to ensure prompt and efficient dispatch
of business.
Judge Mace cannot punish his personnel. As an Executive
Judge, Maceda only had the right to act upon or investigate
administrative complaints including light offenses. The power rests
within the Supreme Court.
Genabe is guilty for simple neglect of duty for failure to give
attention to the task assigned to him. It signies a disregard of duty resulting
from carelessness and indifference. She was permitted to attend a 2-day
seminar, provided no work would be left pending. He had 3 days to finish the
task, but it remained unfinished. When assigned to another, it only took 2
hours to complete.
Maceda failed to observe due process. The guidelines only
limit him to conducting inquiry only. He had no authority to impose
penalty.
The proper remedy was not to file administrative charges
against Enriquez but to elevate the assailed decision to the higher
court. An administrative complaint is not an appropriate remedy where
judicial recourse is still available, unless the assailed order is tainted
with fraud, malice, or dishonesty. Act must be clearly indicative of the
arbitrariness. Failure to interpret law or appreciate evidence presented
does not necessarily render a judge administratively liable.
Judicial immunity insulates judges/justices from being
criminally civilly, and administratively liable for erroneous decision
made in good faith. Such is to preserve the integrity and independence
of the judiciary.
The decision was not rendered in Enriquezs individual capacity.
It was a product of consultations and deliberations by the special dvivision.

Atty. Escabarte issued an inter-office memo to Genabe,


referring to her neglect, in leaving for Baguio to attend a seminar for legal
researchers, without finishing her assigned tasks, which is to summarize
statement of facts in certain criminal cases. Judge Maceda then called a
staff meeting. Genabe denied the claims and stated she was not given
sufficient time to finish her work. Maceda then issued an order for Genabe
for 30 days , using authority in disciplining personnel of courts.

Complainant Santiago filed before RTC a petition for


reconstitution of lost/destroyed original certificate. Granted by justice
Gonzales-Sison, dissented by Justice Enriquez. Justice Velasco concurred
with the dissenting opinion until it became the majority opinion of their
special division. The decision of the case was reversed and set aside.
Santiago filed a motion for inhibition against Enriquez for deliberately
twisting the law and jurisprudence to the prejudice of Santiago. Charge was
gross ignorance of law.

Herein complainant Smartnets representative Gilbert is the son of


the spouses Francisco and Simny Guy. The spouses organized Northern
Islands Co., Inc. (NICI). The spouses also organized Lincoln Continental
Development Corporation, Inc. (Lincoln Continental) as a holding company
of 50% of the shares of stock of NICI in trust for their three daughters.
Lincoln Continental filed a complaint at RTC Manila against NICI
and Gilberts parents-the spouses Guy and three sisters for annulment of the
transfer of the 50% NICI shares of stock to Gilberts sisters.
The Presiding Judge of branch 24 of RTC Manila inhibited and the
case was re-raffled to Branch 46 of the same court. NICI and the Guy family
challenged the inhibition of the Presiding Judge of Branch 24.
In the meantime, Branch 46, issued a TRO restoring the
management of NICI to Gilbert. Branch 46 subsequently issued writ of
preliminary mandatory injunction as prayed for by Lincoln Continental.
NICI and the Guy family thereafter filed a new petition which was
raffled to CA-Eight Division. It issued a TRO enjoining the implementation of
the Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction issued by the Manila RTC
Branch 46. Hence, the Guy family entered the NICI premises.
Gilbert later filed a complaint for replevin on behalf of 3-D before the
RTC of Pasig City. The complaint was given due course by Branch 71 of the
RTC Pasig which issued on a writ of replevin in favor of 3-D. This prompted
NICI and the Guy family to file before the CA-Eighth Division a Supplemental
Petition for Certiorari with Urgent Motion for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction
to Include Supervening Events alleging that Gilbert, in an attempt to
circumvent the TROs and injunctive writ issued by the CA-Eighth Division,
allowed himself to be used by 3-D by filing, on its behalf, a complaint for
replevin NICI and the Guy family later filed a Second Supplemental Petition
for Certiorari and Prohibition with Urgent Motion for the Issuance of an
Expanded Writ of Preliminary Injunction raising the allegedly continuing
forum shopping of Gilbert by continuing to use Smartnet, inter alia, as alter
ego and dummy to institute various cases in court to gain control of the
properties of NICI.
The complainants alleged that the issuance of the two resolutions
caused undue injury to them by giving the petitioners (NICI and the Guy
Family) in the new petition for Certiorari unwarranted benefits, advantage or
preference through manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross
inexcusable negligence in the discharge of their judicial functions in violation
of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Manifest partiality has been defined as a clear,


notorious or plain inclination or predilection to favor one side
rather than the other.
Bad faith connotes not only bad judgment or
negligence, but also a dishonest purpose, a conscious
wrongdoing, or a breach of duty amounting to fraud.
Gross negligence is the want of even slight care,
acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to
act, not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally, with a
conscious indifference to consequences as far as other
persons are concerned.
That the assailed Resolutions issued by respondents
favored NICI and the Guy family does not necessarily render
respondents guilty of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019,
absent proven particular acts of manifest, evident bad faith or
gross inexcusable negligence, good faith and regularity being
generally presumed in the performance of official duties by
public officers.
While respondents may have based the assailed
Resolutions on mere allegations, thus disregarding what has
been established in jurisprudence that mere allegation that a
corporation is the alter ego of the individual stockholders is
insufficient, this does not render them administratively liable
because not every error or mistake that a judge commits in the
performance of his duties renders him liable, unless he is
shown to have acted in bad faith or with deliberate intent to do
an injustice, which is not the case here.

CASE
Ocampo v Chua

FACTS

DOCTRINE

These consolidated cases[1] stemmed from the administrative


complaints filed against respondent Judge Evelyn S. Arcaya-Chua. A
decision has been rendered in Sylvia Santos v. Judge Evelyn S.
Arcaya-Chua from which the respondent sought reconsideration. The
immediately preceding case was consolidated with the subsequent
administrative complaints filed against respondent Judge in a Resolution
dated April 14, 2009 of the Court en banc.

It is settled that in administrative proceedings, the


quantum of proof required to establish malfeasance is not proof
beyond reasonable doubt, but substantial evidence, i.e., that amount of
relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.[36]
In A.M. No. RTJ-08-2141 (Judicial Audit Case), there is
substantial evidence that respondent Judge Arcaya-Chua did not report in
her Monthly Reports[37] the actual number of marriages she solemnized
during her stint and that the solemnization fees that were paid did not
correspond to the number of marriages that were solemnized by her.
The monthly reports of cases on record showed that Judge ArcayaChua reported zero or a lesser number of marriages solemnized by her
compared with the marriage certificates that were seized from her office.
In the light of the substantial evidence against her, she cannot
shift the blame to Noel Umipig absent any proof of weight that he forged her
signature in the Monthly Reports.
The Court sustains the findings of Justice SalvadorFernando in A.M. No. RTJ-08-2141 that respondents Judge Arcaya-Chua
and Victoria Jamora are guilty of gross misconduct.
In A.M. No. RTJ-07-2049 (the Chang Tan/RCBC Case), the
Court upholds the finding of Justice Salvador-Fernando that respondent
Judge Arcaya-Chua is guilty of gross ignorance of the law for issuing a TPO
in favor of petitioner Albert Chang Tan in SP Case No. M-6373,
since a TPO cannot be issued in favor of a man against his wife
under R.A. No. 9292, known as the AntiViolence Against Women and
Their Children Act of 2004. Indeed, as a family court judge, Judge ArcayaChua is expected to know the correct implementation of R.A. No. 9292.
In A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2630-RTJ (the Ocampo Case), the
Court sustains the recommendation of Justice Salvador-Fernando that the
case be dismissed in the absence of substantial evidence that respondent
Judge Arcaya-Chua is liable for the charge of harassment, grave abuse of
authority, gross ignorance of the law, gross misconduct, manifest partiality
and/or conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
In A.M. No. RTJ-07-2093, Santos was an eyewitness to the
procurement
of
the P100,000.00,
and
her
testimony
alone, found credible in this case, is sufficient to prove the
administrative liability of respondent.
The testimonies on record are evidence against respondent
Judge Arcaya-Chua. The Investigating Justice observed the demeanor
of complainant and found her a credible witness. It is settled rule that
the findings of investigating magistrates are generally given great
weight by the Court by reason of their unmatched opportunity to see
the deportment of the witnesses as they testified.[62] The Court found
no reason to depart from such rule since Justice Salvadors
observations and findings are supported by the records.
The conduct of Judge Arcaya-Chua in this case and in A.M.
No. RTJ-08-2141 is violative of the provisions of the New Code of
Judicial Conduct, thus:
Canon 1, Sec. 4. A judge shall not allow
family, social, or other relationships to influence
judicial 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.
Canon 2, Sec. 1. Judges shall ensure that
not only is their conduct above reproach, but that it is
perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable
observer.
Canon 2, Sec. 2. The behavior and conduct
of judges must reaffirm the peoples faith in the
integrity of the judiciary. Justice must not merely be
done but must also be seen to be done.
Canon 4, Sec. 1. Judges shall avoid
impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of
their activities.

1)

OCAMPO v CHUA; A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2630-RTJ


In the
Ocampo
Case,
Francisco
P.
Ocampo charged respondent Judge Arcaya-Chua with harassment, grave
abuse of authority, gross ignorance of the law, gross misconduct, manifest
partiality and/or conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
On even date, respondent Judge issued a Temporary
Protection Order (TPO), requiring complainant Ocampo to turn over the
custody of their minor daughters to his wife, to stay away from his wife's
residence, to refrain from committing acts that would harass, intimidate or
threaten and create an unreasonable risk to the health, safety or welfare of
their minor daughters and his wife, and to provide monthly support
of P50,000.00 to their minor daughters and his wife, exclusive of expenses
for medication and education.

2)

OCA v CHUA; A.M. No. RTJ-07-2049


In the Chang Tan/RCBC Case, the OCA, through then Court
Administrator Christopher O. Lock, informed the Office of the Chief Justice
in a Memorandum of the reports about the rampant selling of TPOs and
PPOs in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 144, which
was the sala presided by respondent Judge Arcaya-Chua.
OCA also pointed out that it was not the only case wherein
respondent Judge displayed unusual interest. On April 17, 2007, Judge
Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles of RTC, Branch 143, Makati City issued an
order in Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) v. Moreno, setting
the application for a writ of preliminary attachment for hearing. In view of the
leave of absence of Judge Galapate-Laguilles, respondent Judge was later
designated as the pairing judge.
Three days after, respondent judge cancelled the previously
scheduled hearing and re-scheduled the hearing, where she ordered the
issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment in favor of RCBC.

3)

OCA v CHUA; A.M. No. 08-2141RTJ


A judicial audit was conducted on May 15 to 17, 2007 at the
RTC of Makati City, Branch 144, which was the sala presided by respondent
Judge Arcaya-Chua, following reports of alleged irregularities committed by
respondent.
In a Memorandum by the OCA to Chief Justice Reynato S.
Puno, Court Administrator Christopher O. Lock submitted for the Courts
consideration the initial report of the Judicial Audit Team, informing the
Court of an incident that happened on May 17, 2007 in Branch 144 of the
RTC of Makati City.
Respondent Judge Arcaya-Chua was charged in connection
with the 1,975 copies of marriage certificates for marriages she solemnized
for the period covering January 2004 to April 2007 for the following acts: (1)
for allegedly ordering Salvador Indicio, Jr., Utility Worker I, to dispose of the
said copies of marriage certificates; (2) for the unpaid marriage
solemnization fees of one thousand eight hundred nine (1,809) marriages;
and (3) for failing to reflect said marriages in the Monthly Report of Cases.[6]

4)

SANTOS v CHUA; A.M. No. RTJ-07-2093


Sylvia Santos filed a Complaint dated July 14, 2005 against
Judge Arcaya-Chua for serious misconduct and dishonesty.
Complainant, an aunt of respondent Judges husband, alleged that in
the first week of September 2002, she asked respondents help regarding
the cases of her friend, Emerita Muoz, pending before the Supreme Court.
At that time, respondent was the Presiding Judge of the MeTC
of Makati City, Branch 63. Respondent, a former employee of the Supreme
Court, said that she could help as she had connections with some Justices
of the Court; she just needed P100,000.00 which she would give to an
employee of the Court for the speedy resolution of the said cases.
In the first week of October 2002, complainant gave
respondentP100,000.00 in the privacy of the latters chamber. When
complainant followed up the cases in February 2003, respondent told her
that there was a problem, as the other party was offering P10 million to the
Justices.
Complainant
asked
respondent
to
return
theP100,000.00; however, respondent could no longer be contacted.[49]

The Court sustains Justice Salvador-Fernandos finding


that respondent Victoria Jamora is guilty of grave misconduct in A.M. No.
RTJ-08-2141.
The Court also sustains Justice Salvador-Fernandos finding
that respondent Judge Arcaya-Chua is guilty of gross ignorance of the law
and gross misconduct in A.M. No. RTJ-07-2049 and A.M. No. RTJ-08-2141,
respectively. Respondent Judges motion for reconsideration is denied
in A.M. No. RTJ-07-2093.

CASE
Descalalr v
Ramas

Tierra Firma
Estate v Quintin

Ricon v Marquez

FACTS
Atty. Cerilles claimed to know Judge Ramas very
well since the latter is his godfather and wedding sponsor.
Atty. Cerilles admitted that he had many pending cases
before Judge Ramas sala, including Criminal Case No. 047003, entitled People v. Dizon, for Slight Illegal Detention,
which involved his grandnephews. On May 12, 2005, Atty.
Cerilles went to the RTC-Branch 18 to find out if his
grandnephews Urgent Motion for Reinvestigation could be
heard. However, upon inquiry, he was told that Judge Ramas
was not around because his estranged wife arrived. When
Atty. Cerilles returned to the RTC-Branch 18 the following
day, May 13, 2005, he was informed that Judge Ramas was
still absent. Atty. Descallar testified that Judge Ramas failed
to indicate his absences on May 12, 13, 24, and 27 to 30,
2005, and June 1 to 21, 2005 in his Certificates of Service for
the months of May and June 2005. The absence of Judge
Ramas can be gleaned from the court calendar of hearings
and his failure to attend the raffle of cases done every
Thursday of the week. Also, the Omnibus Order dated May
23, 2005 issued by Judge Ramas manifested his momentary
desistance from performing judicial functions from May 24,
2005 onwards.
This is a complaint filed against Quintin for failure
to decide a civil case within 30 days from submission as
required under Rule 70, Sec 9 of the Revised Rules of Civil
Procedure.
On Sept. 14, 2000, a complaint for unlawful
detainer was filed by Firma against Consummer
Commodities Intl Inc. The case was set for preliminary
conference on Dec. 7. Despite due notice, Quintin did not
appear. The case was submitted for decision.
Despite motions for early resolution, Judgment was
not rendered until July 10, 2001. Quintin claims the delay
was due to the heavy caseload; that he had to preside over
MCTC of Navotas, as acting judge; as a result of fire, which
destroyed the courthouse, he had to hold proceedings in a
cramped room with the barest facilities.
Atty. Ricons complaint, against respondent judge,
consisting of grave abuse of discretion and grave misconduct
are based on the following: (1) Marquez called the employers
who had worked for more than 5 years corrupt, etc.; (2) he
commence hearing only in June 2002; (3) he laid down many
rules and regulations according to his specification and for
not following such, Marquez yelled tamad; (4) described his
predecessors as walang ginawa calling himself basurero
for picking up the mess left by the former; (5) gave
unsatisfactory rating without warning or confrontation
without valid ground; (6) he used the chambers as living
quarters.
Judge Marquez in turn accused Atty. Ricon of
falsifying a motion to lift warrant of arrest. She further claims
to have full control and management of the case records.

DOCTRINE
Judge Ramas is presumed to be aware of his
duties and responsibilities under the Code of Judicial
Conduct. Canon 3 generally mandates that a judge
should perform official duties honestly, and with
impartiality and diligence. Rule 3.01 requires that a judge
be faithful to the law and maintain professional
competence, while Rule 3.09 commands a judge to
observe high standards of public service and fidelity at
all times. Judge Ramas irrefragably failed to observe
these standards by making untruthful statements in his
Certificates of Service to cover up his absences.
The Court has previously held that a judges
submission of false certificates of service seriously
undermines and reflects on the honesty and integrity
expected of an officer of the court. This is so because a
certificate of service is not merely a means to one's
paycheck but is an instrument by which the Court can
fulfill the constitutional mandate of the people ' s right to
a speedy disposition of cases.
Quintin is liable for gross inefficiency.
Actions for unlwaful detainer are governed by
the Rules on Summary Procedure, which was designed
to ensure speedy disposition. Such cases involve
perturbation of social order, which must be restored as
promptly as possible. Speedy disposition is a matter of
public policy.
The case was decided after 215 days. His
reasons for delay are insufficient, as he was not
precluded from asking an extension. Part of the reason
of the delay was that he entertained motions, which are
prohibited by the rules. Justice delayed is justice
denied.Delay undermines peoples confidence in the
judiciary.
Judge Marquez is only liable for uttering of vulgar words.
(1) Unsatisfactory rating there was no grave
abuse of discretion. Marquez is given the
discretion to rate. There is a proper forum
where ratings may be questioned, not
through an administrative complaint.
(2) On laying down Rules There was no grave
misconduct because such were to improve
the filing system in Branch 39, which he
found outrageous. In changing the covers of
the case records, Marquez only wanted to
make uniform and orderly record keeping. Any
inconvenience is inconsequential. He was
commended and not criticized.
(3) On uttering insulting words He violated his
duty to be courteous to lawyers and
litigants, through the use of foul words.
Conduct in and out of the courtroom
should be in constant observation.
(4) On Using the chambers as living quarter
This was done to finish work, those left
undecided by the former presiding judge.