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Gozun v.

A.M. No. MTJ-97-1136; August 30, 2000

Sira bahay, Sira buhay

Walang Notice, eh di Walang office

This case involves an administrative complaint for dismissal filed against Judge Daniel Liangcoa Municipal Trial Judge at the MTC
of San Fernando Pampanga and Acting Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court Mexico-San Luis Pampangaa serious
misconduct, gross inefficiency and incompetence. Prior to this, complainant Hermogenes T. Gozun was in possession of subject
land for more than 30 years. After which, the municipality of San Luis, Pampanga claimed to own the lot and issued a Resolution
stating its ownership and the squatting of Gozun. Vice-Mayor Batu, on behalf of the Sangguniang Bayan, filed a petition for
declaratory relief to Judge Liangcos court to rule on the validity of the resolution made. On the same day respondent judge issued a
resolution siding with the municipality and stated the validity of the resolution, the use of reasonable force through the PNP in
removing complainant from their home and declaring the squatting of complainant as nuisance per se. Pursuant to the resolution,
the municipal mayor Bondoc issued E.O. 1 ordering the PNP to implement the Resolution. Throughout all of these, Gozun was not
served with summons or given notice of the petition for declaratory relief. When complainant knew of the resolution, his wife and
other public school teachers went to the office of respondent judge who responded that Your God is Mayor Bondoc and you should
talk to him. In no time, the agents of the LGU demolished the house with the strength of respondents resolution, hence, this petition.
Gozun averred that respondent judge issuance of the resolution amounted to gross misconduct, gross inefficiency and
incompetence. He also accused the mayor to have bribed the respondent judge. The Office of the Court Administrator submitted the
petition to this court. After the OCA investigation, Court Administrator Alfredo Benipayo submitted a memorandum recommending
respondent judges dismissal.

HELD: We agree with the OCA recommendation. The judges actions of not notifying complainant not only acted without jurisdiction
but also acted blatantly the basic rules of fair play. The purpose of notice is to afford the parties a chance to be heardwhich was
not given to Gozun that led to the demolition of his home.
Respondent Judge argues that the resolution he issued was a mere expression of his legal opinion and not a judgement. Such
argument betrays either gross ignorance or contempt of law. A member of the bench must keep himself constantly abreast of legal
and jurisprudential developments. The petition involves a special proceeding and is a litigated action that needs notice given to
His argument that the resolution was an expression of his own legal opinion is an afterthoughtand such is not a function of a
judge. It is the function of the court to adjudicate actual controversies. Legal advice is the job of a lawyer. Such unfamiliarity goes
against the Code of Judicial Conduct that requires Judges to be objective.
It is also note-worthy that the resolution was released the same day on which it was filed that reinforces that idea that the judge was
partial to the municipality. A member of the bench is to avoid impression of impropriety to protect the integrity of justice. Such rule of
impartiality is more strictly construed to municipal, metropolitan and regional court judges since they are the judicial front liners.
Earlier respondent judge was suspended from office for 6 months without pay for assigning 54 cases of violation of P.D. 1602 to his
own court without raffle. 3 other administrative cases against judge are pending before the court. One for dishonesty, gross
ignorance of the law. Another is bribery wherein respondent judge was caught by the NBI in an entrapment operation.
He has shamed the judiciary. DISMISSAL. Forfeiture of all retirement benefits and accumulated leave credits and with prejudice to
reinstatement or reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of government.
Court direct Court Administrator to initiate disbarment proceedings against Judge for misconduct.