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Republic of the Philippines ignominy, and with the use of force and violence, that is, by taking ANGEL

and with the use of force and violence, that is, by taking ANGEL ALQUIZA y
SUPREME COURT LAGMAN into a warehouse, covering her mouth, slashing her vagina, hitting her head with
Manila a thick piece of wood and stabbing her neck did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have carnal knowledge of the person of said ANGEL ALQUIZA y LAGMAN, a
EN BANC minor, seven (7) years of age, against the latter's will and consent and on said occasion the
said ABUNDIO LAGUNDAY, a.k.a. "LANDO" and others, caused her fatal injuries which
were the direct cause of her death immediately thereafter.

CONTRARY TO LAW.
G.R. Nos. 119987-88 October 12, 1995

Subsequently thereafter, Ernesto Cordero y Maristela, a.k.a. "Booster," of 1198 Sunflower


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, St., Tondo, Manila, Rolando Manlangit y Mamerta, a.k.a. "Lando," of 1274 Kagitingan St.,
vs. Tondo, Manila, Richard Baltazar y Alino, a.k.a. "Curimao," also of 1274 Kagitingan St.,
HON. LORENZO B. VENERACION, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Tondo, Manila, and Catalino Yaon y Aberin, a.k.a. "Joel," of 1282 Lualhati St., Tondo,
Judicial Region, Branch 47, Manila, HENRY LAGARTO y PETILLA and ERNESTO Manila were accused of the same crime of Rape with Homicide in an Information dated
CORDERO, respondents. August 11, 1994, docketed as Criminal Case No. 94-138138, allegedly committed as
follows:

That on or about the 2nd day of August, 1994, in the City of Manila,
KAPUNAN, J.: Philippines, the said accused conspiring and confederating with
ABUNDIO LAGUNDAY Alias "JR," JEOFREY and HENRY LAGARTO y
PETILLA who have already been charged in the Regional Trial Court of
The sole issue in the case at bench involves a question of law. After finding that an accused individual in a
Manila of the same offense under Criminal Case No. 94-138071, and
criminal case has, on the occasion of Rape, committed Homicide, is the judge allowed any discretion in
helping one another, with treachery, taking advantage of their superior
imposing either the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua or Death?
strength and nocturnity and ignominy, and with the use of force and
violence, that is, by taking ANGEL ALQUIZA y LAGMAN into a pedicab,
The facts antecedent to the case before this Court, as narrated by petitioner, 1 involve the perpetration of acts and once helpless, forcibly bringing her to a nearby warehouse, covering
so bizarre and devoid of humanity as to horrify and numb the senses of all civilized men: her mouth, slashing her vagina, hitting her head with a thick piece of
wood and stabbing her neck, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
On August 2, 1994, the cadaver of a young girl, later identified as Angel Alquiza wrapped feloniously have carnal knowledge of the person of said ANGEL
in a sack and yellow table cloth tied with a nylon cord with both feet and left hand ALQUIZA y LAGMAN, a minor, seven (7) years of age, against the latter's
protruding from it was seen floating along Del Pan St. near the corner of Lavesares St., will and consent and on said occasion the said accused together with
Binondo, Manila. their confederates ABUNDIO LAGARTO y PETILLA caused her fatal
injuries which were the direct cause of her death immediately thereafter.
When untied and removed from its cover, the lifeless body of the victim was seen clad only
in a light colored duster without her panties, with gaping wounds on the left side of the CONTRARY TO LAW.
face, the left chin, left ear, lacerations on her genitalia, and with her head bashed in.
The two criminal cases were consolidated to Branch 47 of the Regional Trial Court of
On the basis of sworn statements of witnesses, booking sheets, arrest reports and the necropsy report of the Manila, presided over by respondent Judge.
victim, Abundio Lagunday, a.k.a. Jr. Jeofrey of no fixed address, and Henry Lagarto y Petilla, of 288 Area H.
Parola Compound, Tondo, Manila were later charged with the crime of Rape with Homicide in an Information Duly arraigned, all the accused, except Abundio Lagunday who was already dead,
dated August 8, 1994 filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, National Capital Judicial Region. Said (allegedly shot by police escorts after attempting to fire a gun he was able to grab from
Information, docketed as Criminal Case No. 94-138071, reads: SPO1 D. Vidad on August 12, 1994), pleaded "Not Guilty." Abundio Lagunday was dropped
from the Information.
That on or about August 2, 1994, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused,
conspiring and confederating together with one alias "LANDO" and other persons whose After trial and presentation of the evidence of the prosecution and the defense, the trial court rendered a
true names, identifies and present whereabouts are still unknown and helping one decision2 on January 31, 1995 finding the defendants Henry Lagarto y Petilla and Ernesto Cordero y
another, with treachery, taking advantage of their superior strength and nocturnity, and Maristela guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape with Homicide and sentenced both accused
with the "penalty of reclusion perpetua with all the accessories provided for by law." 3 Disagreeing with the Sec. 11. Article 335 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
sentence imposed, the City Prosecutor of Manila on February 8, 1995, filed a Motion for Reconsideration,
praying that the Decision be "modified in that the penalty of death be imposed" against respondents Lagarto Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. Rape is committed by having carnal
and Cordero, in place of the original penalty (reclusion perpetua). Refusing to act on the merits of the said knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
Motion for Reconsideration, respondent Judge, on February 10, 1995, issued an Order denying the same for
lack of jurisdiction. The pertinent portion reads: 1. By using force or intimidation.

The Court believes that in the above-entitled cases, the accused Lagarto and Cordero have 2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
complied with the legal requirements for the perfection of an appeal. Consequently, for lack
of jurisdiction, this Court cannot take cognizance of the Motion for Reconsideration of the
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
Public Prosecutor of Manila.

The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.


WHEREFORE, the order earlier issued by this Court regarding the Notices of Appeal filed
by both herein accused is hereby reiterated.
Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or
more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
The Clerk of this Court is hereby directed to transmit the complete records of these cases,
together with the notices of appeal, to the Honorable Supreme Court, in accordance with
Sec. 8, Rule 122 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has become insane, the penalty
shall be death.
SO ORDERED.
When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is committed by reason or on the
occasion thereof, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
Hence, the instant petition.

When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, a homicide is committed, the penalty shall be
The trial court's finding of guilt is not at issue in the case at bench. The basis of the trial court's
determination of guilt and its conclusions will only be subject to our scrutiny at an appropriate time on death. . . . 6
appeal. We have thus clinically limited our narration of events to those cold facts antecedent to the instant
case relevant to the determination of the legal question at hand, i.e., whether or not the respondent judge Clearly, under the law, the penalty imposable for the crime of Rape with Homicide is not Reclusion
acted with grave abuse of discretion and in excess of jurisdiction when he failed and/or refused to impose the Perpetua but Death. While Republic Act 7659 punishes cases of ordinary rape with the penalty of Reclusion
mandatory penalty of death under Republic Act No. 7659, after finding the accused guilty of the crime of Perpetua, it allows judges the discretion depending on the existence of circumstances modifying the
Rape with Homicide. offense committed to impose the penalty of either Reclusion Perpetua only in the three instances
mentioned therein. Rape with homicide is not one of these three instances. The law plainly and
We find for petitioner. unequivocably provides that "[w]hen by reason or on the occasion of rape, a homicide is committed, the
penalty shall be death." The provision leaves no room for the exercise of discretion on the part of the trial
judge to impose a penalty under the circumstances described, other than a sentence of death.
Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our system of justice. If judges, under the guise of religious
or political beliefs were allowed to roam unrestricted beyond boundaries within which they are required by
law to exercise the duties of their office, then law becomes meaningless. A government of laws, not of men We are aware of the trial judge's misgivings in imposing the death sentence because of his religious
excludes the exercise of broad discretionary powers by those acting under its authority. Under this system, convictions. While this Court sympathizes with his predicament, it is its bounden duty to emphasize that a
judges are guided by the Rule of Law, and ought "to protect and enforce it without fear or favor," 4 resist court of law is no place for a protracted debate on the morality or propriety of the sentence, where the law
encroachments by governments, political parties, 5 or even the interference of their own personal beliefs. itself provides for the sentence of death as a penalty in specific and well-defined instances. The discomfort
faced by those forced by law to impose the death penalty is an ancient one, but it is a matter upon which
judges have no choice. Courts are not concerned with the wisdom, efficacy or morality of laws. In People
In the case at bench, respondent judge, after weighing the evidence of the prosecution and the defendant at
vs. Limaco 7 we held that:
trial found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape with Homicide. Since the law in
force at the time of the commission of the crime for which respondent judge found the accused guilty was
Republic Act No. 7659, he was bound by its provisions. [W]hen . . . private opinions not only form part of their decision but constitute a decisive
factor in arriving at a conclusion and determination of a case or the penalty imposed,
resulting in an illegality and reversible error, then we are constrained to state our opinion,
Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659 provides:
not only to correct the error but for the guidance of the courts. We have no quarrel with
the trial judge or with anyone else, layman or jurist as to the wisdom or folly of the death The complaint alleges the following:
penalty. Today there are quite a number of people who honestly believe that the supreme
(1) Complainant is a 61-year old retiree, married to Ruth Jovellar, by whom he has five children, namely, Farley,
penalty is either morally wrong or unwise or ineffective. However, as long as that penalty
Lydia, Ben Jr., Nikki and Allan. Complainant and the members of his family are residents of the BRC Village,
remains in the statute books, and as long as our criminal law provides for its imposition in Catalunan Pequeo, Davao City.
certain cases, it is the duty of judicial officers to respect and apply the law regardless of
their private opinions. It is a well settled rule that the courts are not concerned with the In 1984 the spouses Wilfredo and Flordeliza Caas moved into complainants neighborhood. They became the nearest
wisdom, efficacy or morality of laws. That question falls exclusively within the province of neighbors of the complainant, their houses being only 45 meters apart. In that year, a domestic helper of the Caases
sought complainants help for alleged maltreatment she had received from her employers. Complainant, who was the
the Legislature which enacts them and the Chief Executive who approves or vetoes them.
incumbent Purok leader, referred the matter to the barangay authorities. The dispute was resolved, but the relation
The only function of the judiciary is to interpret the laws and, if not in disharmony with of the Marces and the Caas families became strained.
the Constitution, to apply them. And for the guidance of the members of the judiciary we
feel it incumbent upon us to state that while they as citizens or as judges may regard a On September 27, 1990, Mrs. Flordeliza Caas had an exchange of words with Mrs. Ruth Marces and the latters
certain law as harsh, unwise or morally wrong, and may recommend to the authority or daughter, Lydia, during which they hurled invectives at each other. The incident was triggered by a relatively minor
department concerned, its amendment, modification, or repeal, still, as long as said law is matter involving a fight between the turkeys owned by the two families but which, because of the bad blood between
them, became a major issue.
in force, they must apply it and give it effect as decreed by the law-making body. 8
The following day, September 28, Mrs. Caas, together with her sister and a neighbor, boarded a passenger jeepney
Finally, the Rules of Court mandates that after an adjudication of guilt, the judge should impose "the proper despite the fact that there were no more seats available because complainant was riding on that vehicle. It turned
out that Mrs. Caas had intended to cause the complainants arrest, because as the jeepney neared the police station,
penalty and civil liability provided for by the law on the accused." 9 This is not a case of a magistrate ignorant
Mrs. Caas asked the driver to stop the vehicle. Mrs. Caas then got off and called a policeman and had the
of the law. This is a case in which a judge, fully aware of the appropriate provisions of the law, refuses to complainant Ben D. Marces arrested.
impose a penalty to which he disagrees. In so doing, respondent judge acted without or in excess of his
jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to a lack of jurisdiction in imposing the penalty The arrest was made on the basis of alias warrants of arrest handed to the policeman by Mrs. Caas. The warrants
of Reclusion Perpetua where the law clearly imposes the penalty of Death. had been issued by MTCC Judge Edipolo Sarabia in three criminal cases against the herein complainant for
violations of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. Complainant was detained for one night without the knowledge of his family,
a fact of which Mrs. Caas allegedly boasted in the neighborhood.
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition is GRANTED. The case is hereby REMANDED
to the Regional Trial Court for the imposition of the penalty of death upon private respondents in consonance The following day, complainant saw Judge Sarabia and explained that the criminal cases against him, in connection
with respondent judge's finding that the private respondents in the instant case had committed the crime of with which the alias warrants were issued, had long been amicably settled. Judge Sarabia told the complainant that
he really did not know anything about the cases and that he had only been requested by respondent Judge Paul
Rape with Homicide under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of Republic Act
Arcangel to issue the warrants.
No. 7659, subject to automatic review by this Court of the decision imposing the death penalty.
(2) As a result of the September 27, 1990 shouting incident, Mrs. Caas also filed a complaint with the Barangay
SO ORDERED. Captain against complainants wife and daughter, Lydia. Mediation conferences between the two families were
conducted on October 27, 1990 and on November 3, 1990. Although he had not been asked to, respondent Judge
Arcangel attended the conferences. It is alleged that respondent judge
Feliciano, Padilla, Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Mendoza, Francisco and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
disturbed the proceedings by walking in and out of the Barangay Hall where the conferences were being held;

introduced himself as the Executive Judge of the RTC of Davao City in an obvious attempt to influence the Barangay
Officials; and

accompanied Mrs. Caas and acted as the baby-sitter of the latters daughter.

During the October 27, 1990 conference, respondent judge allegedly confronted the complainant, accusing him of
EN BANC sending the judge a death threat by means of a letter which purported to have been sent by the New Peoples Army.

[A.M. No. RTJ-91-712. July 9, 1996] The barangay officials failed to amicably settle the dispute. It is averred that Mrs. Caas showed arrogance and
callousness at all times as if to prove that she is protected by a hard rock and impregnable when she is with the
BEN D. MARCES, SR., complainant, vs. JUDGE PAUL T. ARCANGEL, Presiding Judge, Branch 12, Regional judge.
Trial Court Davao City, respondent.
(3) The feud between the Marces and Caas families worsened. On December 29, 1990, there was a violent
DECISION confrontation between members of the two families. Some of the parties were injured as a result of
hacking. Investigations were conducted by the police during which, according to complainant, he saw respondent
MENDOZA, J.: Judge Arcangel talking to the policemen.

Respondent was, at the time material to this case, the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, at (4) On the night of January 2, 1991, armed men in uniform arrived in two military vehicles and arrested members
Davao City.[1] He is charged with serious misconduct, grave abuse of authority, harassment, and immorality. of the complainants family and took them to the Davao Metrodiscom Headquarters. The arrests were made on orders
of a certain Col. Nelson Estares. A summary inquest was conducted which complainant laments to be irregular as On February 27, 1992, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report
the arrests were pre-arranged and the complaint sheet was fabricated. Complainant avers that the illegal issuance and recommendation. A Reply was subsequently filed by the complainant, alleging harassment by respondent judge,
and service of the warrant (i.e., so-called Arrest Orders) by the Commander of the Davao Metrodiscom can only be as follows: (a) respondent judge wrote the Administrator of the Social Security System, pretending to be interested in
done by a person with a strong connection, power and influence, such as respondent judge, considering his high purchasing an acquired asset consisting of a house and lot, which happens to be the residence of the complainant;
position in the government and close relations with the Caas family. (b) the management of the Philippine Airlines was asked by a fictitious person to revive the criminal cases against
the complainant; (c) the respondent judge, together with a certain Fiscal Dumlao, had been visiting witnesses to the
(5) In a resolution dated May 11, 1991 the investigating prosecutor, Albert Axalan, found probable cause and filed December 29, 1990 hacking incident; (d) the respondent judge filed an administrative case with the Professional
charges of attempted murder against complainant Ben D. Marces, his wife and his son, Farley. Complainants Regulations Commission against Nikki Marces, daughter of the complainant who had just passed the Nursing Board
countercharges were dropped. Three days after, warrants of arrest were issued by the RTC against complainant, his Examinations; and (e) respondent still visited the house of Mr. and Mrs. Caas.
wife Ruth and son Farley respectively. Complainant alleges that respondent Judge Arcangel, taking advantage of his
position, influenced the conduct of the preliminary investigation. Complainant further avers that the criminal cases against him are all business-related, being cases for violation of
Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and for estafa arising from the issuance of bouncing checks. He calls attention to the fact
(6) Subsequently, complainants son, Farley, was arrested. He was handcuffed and taken to the Ma-a City Jail. It is that respondent judge discussed in his pleadings the merits of the December 29, 1990 hacking incident and
alleged that respondents Toyota car, with plate number LBT 555, followed the car of the arresting policemen as if to contends that this is improper and unethical.
make sure that the evil plan allegedly authored by Judge Arcangel is well followed and executed. To add insult to
injury, it is alleged that while the applications for bail bond of complainant, his wife and Farley were being processed On May 26, 1992, the Court referred the case to Associate Justice Luis Javellana of the Court of Appeals for
at Branch 8 of RTC of Davao City, respondent Judge Arcangel arrived and questioned the validity of the bond investigation, report and recommendation. Unfortunately, Associate Justice Javellana suddenly died on August 25,
posted, telling the representative of the bonding company, Hindi puwede ito, who gave you the authority to issue? He 1993. The case was thereafter reassigned to Associate Justice Fidel P. Purisima, but the reception of the evidence
then removed the receipts and arrogantly left with the receipts. was assigned to Executive Judge Romeo D. Marasigan of Branch XVI, RTC-Davao City. On September 18, 1993,
Judge Marasigan forwarded the records of the case, together with the evidence adduced before him, to this
(8) Because of these events, complainant started asking why a judge should have a special interest in his familys Court. The records were later transmitted to Justice Purisima.
feud with the Caas family. All he knew before was that the judges car was often parked in front of the house of Mrs.
Caas, especially when Mr. Caas was away working overtime. In his Report and Recommendation dated May 30, 1994, Associate Justice Purisima recommends dismissal of the
charges against respondent judge for insufficiency of evidence, except the charge that respondent judge attended
In his Comment submitted in compliance with the resolution of this Court, respondent judge alleges (1) that the mediation conferences between the feuding families and tried to intervene. As to this charge the Investigating Justice
charges against him are not only false and malicious but utterly baseless; (2) that the same were filed merely to finds that the evidence establishes the same. Justice Purisima recommends that respondent judge be admonished
gratify complainants personal spite and animosity against him; and (3) that the complaint was filed in anticipation and sternly warned that repetition of the acts of impropriety by respondent will be dealt with more severely. The
of the cases which the respondent intends to file against the complainant for slander and threats. pertinent portions of Justice Purisimas report states:

Respondent judge further avers: The charge concerning the frequent visits by respondent Judge at the residence of Mrs. Flordeliza Caas in Barangay
Catalunan Pequeo, Davao City, and allusion that the former has illicit relation with the latter are utterly devoid of
Anent the charge of causing the issuance of warrants of arrest against the complainant and the handing of the same
sufficient substantiation. The mere suspicion on the part of the complainant and members of his family that the
to Mrs. Caas for enforcement, it was Mrs. Esperanza Deiparine and Mrs. Flordeliza Caas who obtained the
respondent Judge has an affair with Mrs. Flordeliza Caas has been completely effaced and reduced to nothing
warrants. He only requested Judge Sarabia of the MTCC of Davao City to issue them. [2] Respondent judge claims the
reprehensible or censurable by the unequivocal and straightforward testimonies of Flordelizas husband and parents
warrants were valid, having been issued in connection with pending cases and that there were other warrants
that the respondent Judge is just a family friend whose visits did not have any immoral implication. According to
against complainant which could not be served because of complainants close connections with the officers of the
these knowledgeable witnesses, the latter was their frequent visitor in 1990, when respondent Judge and Engr.
warrant section.[3]
Wilfredo B. Caas, were engaged in the manufacture of appliance protectors.
As to the allegation that he disturbed the barangay conciliation proceedings in the case between the Marces and
Obviously, Engr. Wilfredo B. Caas, the lifetime partner of Mrs. Flordeliza Caas, day and night, should be in the best
Caas families and allegedly acted as an escort of Mrs. Caas and baby-sitter of her daughter, respondent judge denies
position to observe her. Whether or not his wife is unfaithful to him is a matter within the sphere of the husband to
he acted as escort and baby-sitter and claims that he could not have disturbed the proceedings because none were
detect. Here, Engr. Wilfredo B. Caas having given his wife clean slate, We can do no less. A different conclusion and
held on November 3, 1990. He claims that he went to the barangay hall because he filed his own complaint against
ruling could ruin families, which society cherishes and protects (Article 215, New Civil Code; Article 149, Family
Ruth Marces and her daughter Lydia. Apparently, respondent judge is referring to the incident on September 27,
Code).
1990 during which Mrs. Marces and daughter Lydia allegedly called Mrs. Caas kabit, kabit, kabit sa abogado
(paramour, paramour, paramour of a lawyer).[4] The judge probably felt alluded to. ....

Respondent judge likewise denies that he pressured the police officers and the prosecutors to file charges in court So also, respondent Judge cannot be held administratively liable for the handcapping [sic] of a son of complainant,
as a result of the December 29, 1990 hacking incident. who was allegedly handcapped [sic] and brought to the Ma-a jail, while working at the Davao Light and Power
company. Absent any admissible evidence that the respondent Judge was the one who caused such malfeasance to
Respondent vehemently denies having illicit relations with Mrs. Caas and that he went to the house of the Caas
happen, he is not answerable therefore
family whenever Mr. Wilfredo Caas was away. Respondent claims that he has known the Caas family since 1983,
when he was still a City Judge. According to him, in 1989 he used to go to the Caas residence on request by Mrs. ....
Caas to mediate in the latters family problem. After this was settled, he continued going there because he and Mr.
Caas had business interests in the manufacture of appliance protectors. But the charge that the respondent Judge was present during the mediation conference between the Marces family
and Caas family on October 27 and November 3, 1990, before the Lupon Tagapayapa of Catalunan Pequeo, Davao
Finally, it is alleged that complainant is actually a fugitive from justice, who has a string of criminal cases [5] and is City, and that during such conference, respondent Judge was in and out of the conference room, trying to interfere
notorious in the community. Respondent further discusses the merits of the December 29, 1990 hacking incident with the proceedings, and to wield influence as Regional Trial Court Judge, is firmly anchored on Complainants
pointing to complainant, his wife and son as the felons and the guilty parties. evidence, which has not been effectively traversed and negated by respondents evidence.
From the evidence on hand, it is clear that on October 27, 1990, the respondent Judge arrived at the Barangay Hall THIS IS TO CERTIFY, that according to the records of this Court, the three (3) Estafa Cases against MR. BEN
of Catalunan Pequeo, Davao City, in the company of Mrs. Flordeliza Caas, and the latters small child. During the MARCES under Criminal Cases Nos. 9-CM, 10-CM and 11-CM has been in archive since December 28, 1983 due to
said mediation conference between the Marces family and Caas family, respondent Judge entered the conference non-arrest of the accused and an alias warrant of arrest was issued against the accused.
room and made it known to all and sundry that he is the Presiding Judge of Branch 12 of the Regional Trial Court of
Davao. Such actuation was indiscreet and improper because the disputes and controversies between the two That its discovery and revival was made possible upon the request for verification of its status and information by
warring families could develop into a litigation before any of the courts of Davao. Judge Paul T. Arcangel that accused is back in town and that ultimately resulted to the dismissal of the three (3)
cases on March 11, 1991, without which verification the said cases would have remained pending to date.
All things studiedly considered, with due regard to the testimonial and documentary evidence adduced, pro and con,
before Honorable Executive Judge Romeo D. Marasigan of the Regional Trial Court, Davao City; the ineluctable Instead of being delivered to the warrant officer, the warrants were actually given to Mrs. Caas. The entry in the
conclusion is that on October 27, and November 3, 1990, the respondent Judge intruded into the conference room, Daily Record of Events of the Ulas Police Substation [7] stated that [e]lements of this unit led by P/Cpl. VA Secretaria
and interfered with a mediation conference then being held between the family of the herein complainant and the arrested with alias warrant of arrest one BEN MARCES Y DOMANILLO. . . who was charge[d] with violation of Batas
Caas family, before the Lupon Tagapayapa of Catalunan Pequeo, Davao City, and while inside said room, tried to Pambansa Blg. 22 with Criminal Case No[s]. 9-CM, 11CM, duly signed by Judge Edipolo Sarabia this 28th of
influence barangay officials thereat, by identifying himself as the Presiding Judge of Branch 12 of the Davao September 1990 at Davao City. The warrant was given by one FLORDELIZA CAAS Y Pelegrino, 26 years old,
Regional Trial Court; a misbehavior and an improper actuation under the premises. married, housewife. . . .

Equally anemic of evidentiary support is the charge that the respondent Judge influenced the prosecutors and To cap it all, respondent judge himself admitted in his Comment, dated December 27, 1991, that Mrs. Esperanza
police authorities of Davao City to harass the family of complainant. Deiparine and Mrs. Flordeliza Caas requested him to have the warrants renewed, thus, he requested Judge Sarabia
for the issuance of the new warrants[8] against the complainant.
The Court finds the conclusions of the investigator that respondent judge is guilty of improper conduct to be fully
supported by the evidence in the record. It only needs to be added that the claim of respondent judge that he was at Respondent judge justifies his intervention on the ground that complainant Ben D. Marces had been able to evade
the mediation conference held on October 27, 1990 because he had himself filed a complaint against Ruth Marces service of the warrants because of connections with the warrant officers of Davao City. Even if this had been the
and the latters daughter, Lydia, is belied by the fact that respondent judges complaint was filed only on November 3, case it would not excuse respondent judge in using his own influence.
1990.
Indeed this is the same excuse given for respondent judges interceding with the Metrodiscom authorities for the
The report of the Investigating Justice fails to consider other serious allegations in the complaint, of which there is issuance of a so-called order of arrest as a result of which complainant Ben D. Marces, his wife Ruth and his
also sufficient evidence in the record, to wit: children Farley, Lydia, Nikki and Allan were arrested on January 2, 1991. Respondents own witness, Wilfredo Caas,
stated that he was accompanied by respondent to Col. Nelson Estares. It was Col. Estares who ordered the arrest of
(1) That respondent judge caused the issuance of alias warrants of arrest by requesting another judge, before whom complainant and members of his family. Thus, in his affidavit dated August 23, 1991, Wilfredo Caas stated:
the case against the complainant was pending, to issue the warrants; and
13. That when my wife and mother-in-law were attacked and hacked by Ben Marces and his family within the
(2) That the arrest of the members of the Marces family on January 2, 1991 would not have been made without the premises of our house on December 29, 1990, I called Judge Arcangel for assistance because Ben Marces was trying
intervention of respondent judge. to manipulate the case by making it appear that they were the victims....

These charges have not only been proven by substantial and convincing evidence, but have actually been admitted 14. That when I followed up the case at the Talomo Police Station and at the Tugbok Police Station, I was given a
by respondent judge. Thus, complainant alleges that he was informed by Judge Sarabia that the warrants had been run around by the police authorities and I sensed that a ranking police officer was interceding in behalf of Ben
issued by him upon the request of respondent judge. This allegation is supported by a handwritten note (Exh. E) of Marces and his family;
respondent judge, which reads:
15. That when the police authorities could not come up with a report of the incident after more than three days, I
Judge Edipolo Sarabia sought the assistance of Judge Arcangel, who accompanied me to Metrodiscom Chief Col. Nelson Estares, to whom I
explained the entire incident and treatment I received from the police who was investigating the case;
Br. 3, City Trial Court
In addition, Wilfredo Caas testified in the investigation and affirmed that it was because of the help of respondent
Davao City judge that he was able to talk with Col. Estares, thus:[9]

Dear Ed: [JUDGE ARCANGEL conducting examination:]

If these cases (Cr. Case Nos. 9-C-M, 10-C-M & 11-C-M) are still pending, please issue another alias warrants as the Q: In connection with the hacking of your wife and mother-in-law, what action did you take?
accused is now in town.
A: I tried to follow up the complaint to the police station about the hacking incident. I even went to the Tugbok police
Thanks, station.

(Sgd.) Paul Arcangel Q: What action was taken at the police station?

In addition, complainant presented a certification by the Clerk of Court [6] of the MTCC-Davao City, Branch 3, stating A: The police station did not entertain my complaint and they tried to pass me around.
the following:
Q: When no action was taken in your complaint by the police station, what did you do?
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
A: Sensing that there is no hope (to go to the) police, I asked Judge Arcangel to accompany me to Col. Estares.

Q: When Judge Arcangel accompanied you to the Office of Col. Estares, what did you do?
A: He introduced me to Col. Estares and I told Col. Estares that my wife and my mother-in-law were attacked by the knew it was improper to decide the case, and was guilty of delay in deciding the case. On the other hand,
Marces family and they were hacked and I requested Col. Estares to help me because the police did not take any in Sabitsana, Jr. v. Villamor[18] the respondent was found guilty of attempting to influence another judge to acquit the
action and I even sensed that somebody was supporting the Marces family. accused in a criminal case and, in addition, of making untruthful statements in the certificate of service.

With the above-cited charges having been duly proven, in addition to the factual findings of Justice Purisima, it is In the case at bar, there is no other charge against respondent judge. This is his first administrative case. On the
clear that (1) respondent judge intervened in the feud between the complainants family and the Caas family and (2) other hand his record as City Judge of Davao City, from 1975 to 1983, and as Regional Trial Court Judge in the
such interference was not limited to the barangay mediation proceedings but extended as well to the various stages same city since 1983 is otherwise exemplary. In the circumstances of this case, the penalty of reprimand with
of the conflict. These acts of respondent judge must be viewed not as single, isolated actuations but in their totality warning that commission of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely, should suffice to
and in the context of the enmity between the two feuding families. Thus viewed we find the actuations of respondent accomplish the purpose of disciplining an erring member of the judiciary who has not shown himself to be beyond
judge improper and censurable. correction. As the Book of Proverbs says, A single reprimand does more for a man of intelligence than a hundred
lashes for a fool. (17:10)
Respondent is, as we have so often said, the visible representation of the law, [10] the intermediary between conflicting
interests,[11] and the embodiment of the peoples sense of justice. [12] Unless it was a case filed with his court, it was WHEREFORE, respondent is hereby REPRIMANDED with WARNING that commission of similar acts of impropriety
improper for him to intervene in a dispute or controversy. The Code of Judicial Conduct provides: on his part in the future will be dealt with more severely. All other charges are hereby DISMISSED for insufficiency
of evidence.
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.[13] SO ORDERED.

He should not suffer his conduct to create the impression that any person can unduly influence him or enjoy his Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Vitug, Kapunan, Francisco, Hermosisima,
favor.[14] Panganiban, and Torres, JJ., concur.

Respondent judge allowed himself to be dragged into what was a purely private matter between feuding families. In Bellosillo, J., see dissenting opinion.
attending, at the request of Mrs. Caas, the barangay conciliation proceedings and introducing himself there as the
Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court in an obvious demonstration of support for Mrs. Caas, respondent lent Melo, J., took no part.
the prestige of his office to a party in a case.
Puno, J., no part due to close association with respondent.
Respondents request to the judge of a lower court to issue warrants of arrest against the complainant is no less
censurable. As the Court had occasion to state in Sabitsana, Jr. v. Villamor:[15]

Cardinal is the rule that a Judge should avoid impropriety in all activities. The Canons mince no words in EN BANC
mandating that a Judge shall refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending
before another Court (Canon 2, Rule 2.04). Interference by members of the bench in pending suits with the end in
view of influencing the course or the result of litigation does not only subvert the independence of the judiciary but SHERLITA O. TAN, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982
also undermines the peoples faith in its integrity and impartiality. Complainant, (Formerly A.M. No. 05-12-757-RTC)

Respondent judge also acted improperly in accompanying Wilfredo Caas to Col. Nelson Estares who ordered the - versus -
arrest of complainant and members of the latters family. It would have been impossible for the Caas family to
procure the arrest of complainant and of members of his family by the Davao Metrodiscom were it not for the JUDGE REXEL M. PACURIBOT, Regional Trial Court,
intervention of respondent judge. Branch 27, GingoogCity,
Respondent.
Wilfredo Caas claim that he had to seek the help of respondent judge because even after three days the police still x---------------------x
had not made a report on the incident on December 29, 1990 cannot justify respondents intervention in the
quarrel. The possibility that the incident could become the subject of litigation in his court should have deterred JOHANNA M. VILLAFRANCA,
him from getting involved in the feud. Complainant,
A.M. No. RTJ-06-1983
Nothing can bring courts into disrepute more than the failure of the occupants thereof to be ever scrupulous in their - versus - (Formerly A.M. No. 05-12-757-RTC)
conduct. Canon 30 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics cautions judges in pending or prospective litigation before him
JUDGE REXEL M. PACURIBOT, Regional Trial Court, Present:
[to] be scrupulously careful to avoid such action as may reasonably tend to waken the suspicion that his social or
PUNO, C.J.,
business relations or friendships constitute an element in determining his judicial course. It cannot be Branch 27, GingoogCity,
QUISUMBING,
overemphasized that a judges official conduct should be free from appearance of impropriety, and his personal Respondent.
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
behavior, not only upon the bench and in the performance of official duties but also in everyday life, should be x---------------------x
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
beyond reproach.[16] CARPIO,
ANONYMOUS LETTER-WRITERS,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
For the foregoing reasons, we find respondent judge guilty of improper conduct. We do not agree with complainant, Complainant,
CORONA,
however, that respondents misconduct justifies his dismissal from the service. While in some cases involving similar CARPIO MORALES,
acts the penalties imposed on the erring judges were dismissal, there were in those cases other grounds warranting - versus -
AZCUNA,
the imposition of such drastic disciplinary penalty. For example, in Ubarra v. Mapalad,[17] respondent, aside from TINGA,
pressuring complainants to drop criminal charges against the accused, likewise refused to inhibit herself when she JUDGE REXEL M. PACURIBOT, Regional Trial Court,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
Branch 27, GingoogCity,
Respondent. VELASCO, JR., 4. Judge Pacurribot be suspended immediately until further orders from this Court. [6]
NACHURA,
REYES, and
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, JJ. On 7 March 2006, we issued a resolution amending Section 8 of A.M. No. 03-03-13-SC, approving all the other
recommendations of OCA and suspending Judge Pacuribot, thus:
Promulgated:
With respect to all the other recommendations of the OCA, finding them to be in accord with
December 14, 2007 existing laws, the same are hereby APPROVED. In particular, Judge Rexel Pacuribot is immediately
SUSPENDED until further notice from this Court. He is likewise DIRECTED to comment on the
complaints of Mesdames Tan and Villafranca within ten days. The complaint, however, of Ms. Sherlita
Tan should be docketed as a regular administrative matter to be consolidated with that of Ms. Johanna
M. Villafrancas for proper disposition in line with the foregoing discussions.[7]

On 25 October 2006, the court referred the case to Justice Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores of the Court of Appeals, Cagayan
De Oro City Station, for investigation, report and recommendation within 90 days from notice thereof.

On 8 October 2007, Investigating Justice Dy Liacco Flores submitted her Report [8] with the following findings:

Tans story

Ms. Tans nightmare as an underling of respondent judge started on 20 October 2004 a


Wednesday. Having officially filed a half-day leave, she went to Cagayan de Oro City to attend a wedding
ceremony at six oclock in the evening at Pryce Plaza Hotel. She stood as one of the principal sponsors to
a couple named Kimberly Castillon and Thomas Elliot. At around 8:00 oclock in the evening, while
relishing the gala portion during the wedding reception (when the newly weds dance and guests pin
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x peso bills on their attire), she received from [Judge Pacuribot] a call through her mobile phone, asking
when is she going back to Gingoog City. She said she intends to go back right after the wedding
reception. [Judge Pacuribot] offered to bring her to Agora Bus Terminal but she politely refused the
DECISION offer saying that she will just take a taxi in going there. Taking her answer as declining his offer, he
ordered her to come out, displaying short temper, saying he was already waiting outside the hotel. To
hint at urgency, he told her that he just slipped out from the Masonic Meeting he was attending and will
Per Curiam: immediately return to it right after he will have shuttled her there. Aware that he has the tendency to
humiliate anyone in public when he is angry, she decided to abruptly leave the wedding reception and
These consolidated-complaints filed against Executive Judge Rexel M. Pacuribot (Judge Pacuribot) of the Regional comply.
Trial Court (RTC) of Gingoog City, Branch 27, consist of the following: xxxx

1. Affidavit-Complaint[1] dated 4 December 2005 filed by Sherlita O. Tan (Ms. Tan), Court Stenographer of RTC, Coming out into the lobby of the hotel, Ms. Tan saw respondent judge [Judge Pacuribot] inside his car,
Branch 27, Gingoog City, and affidavit-complaint[2]dated 20 December 2005 filed by Johanna M. Villafranca (Ms. Villafranca), alone. When she came near, he opened the car door for her and she took her seat. Then, angrily he
Clerk II, Gingoog City Parole and Probation Office, charging Judge Pacuribot with sexual harassment; asked: What took you so long? She kept mum. She saw in between their seats his clutch bag with his
short firearm. That sight frightened her although she was consoled by the thought that she would soon
2. Letter[3] dated 4 April 2005 from concerned citizens, asking for the relief of Judge Pacuribot on the grounds that get rid of him at the bus terminal. Pryce Plaza Hotel to the bus terminal would be about twenty (20)
he has been terrorizing and harassing most of the employees, both casual and contractual, of the Hall of Justice of Gingoog minutes ride, traffic considered.
City; and
Unfortunately, [Judge Pacuribot] had other ideas. Along the way to the bus terminal, he drove in to
3. An undated letter[4] from concerned citizens also asking the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to what looked like a compound. She unexpectedly saw that his car entered a small garage, and when it
investigate the illicit relationship of Judge Pacuribot and a certain Sheryl Gamulo. They informed the OCA that Sheryl stopped, the roll down shutter quickly locked up from behind. She was brought not to the bus terminal
Gamulo bore two acknowledged children of Judge Pacuribot, the eldest of whom named Rexell Pacuribot was born on 15 but to a motel whose name she came to recognize only after the incident as the City Lodge Motel in
October 2004, and the second child was born on 2 September 2005, both at Maternity Hospital, Cagayan de Oro City. Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City. She felt deceived. Knowing the implications, she protested: Why did you
bring me here, sir? Didnt I tell you that I will just take a taxicab to the Agora Terminal? He rudely told
On 14 December 2005, OCA issued a Memorandum[5] recommending that: her: Shut up! As if you are still a virgin! Respondent judge [Judge Pacuribot] then directed her to get
down the car. Timorously, she obeyed. As soon as she went down his car, she looked for a possible exit
1. The complaint of Ms. Sherlita Tan be referred to the Committee on Decorum and and found none. All she saw was a door which opened. He ushered her into the room, walking closely
Investigation of the Regional Trial Court of Gingoog City for investigation; from behind her. He locked the door.

2. the complaint of Ms. Johanna M. Villafrancia be docketed as a regular administrative Ms. Tan, scared and confused, walked to the comfort room, where she pretended to relieve
matter herself. There, she again looked for a possible exit. Again, she found none. After a short while, she
heard [Judge Pacuribot] asking: What are you doing there? Whats taking you so long? Remembering,
3. Judge Pacuribot be required to comment on the complaint of Ms. Villafranca; and that he has a gun, she came out of the comfort room. To her dismay, she found him nude in bed and
fear overcame her more.
Q: Why did you stop?
[Judge Pacuribot] ordered Ms. Tan to undress. Her reluctance made her move slowly. He let out more A: I was disgusted with what I was doing and with him.
impatience asking: Whats taking you so long to undress? Excite me! She refused at first, but he became
furious. At that moment too, she saw his gun on what seemed to her was headboard of the Q: What was his reaction, if any?
bed. Frightened, she undressed, retaining her bra and panty. He asked her to kiss him and she obeyed A: He angrily told me: You dont know how to make love! How do you do it with Ramon? You simply have
half-heartedly. While she was kissing his neck, he expressed dissatisfaction by asking: You dont know sex without foreplay? Kayati ba sab?
how to kiss! How do you do it with Ramon? Get into sex right away without any preliminaries? Ramon
is her husband. She was quiet. Q: What was your reaction, if any?
A: I felt helpless and kept quiet.
[Judge Pacuribot] ordered her to lie down on the bed. She yielded out of fear. He pulled her bra and
panty, kissed her neck and lips, and sucked her tongue and breasts. Minutes after, he inserted his Q: What happened next, if any?
penis to her vagina. While he did a push and pull motion, she was complaining: You are so rude, Sir! A: He ordered me saying: Suck it!
We work in the same office yet you disgrace me! He told her angrily: Shut up! Concentrate! See! Its
softening.... She recalled that he tried several times to stiffen his penis but he seemingly has some Q: What did he want you to suck on him?
erection problem. At his attempt for coitus, she felt the penetration was just slight. Later, he was getting A: His penis.
exhausted and was breathing hard. He would rest each time he failed to have full enjoyment. While he
rested, she would ask him to let her go, but angrily he refused. Instead, he would forcibly ride on top of Q: What did you do, if any?
her again and make more attempts at coitus until he finally gave up. He said to her: It wont stiffen A: I refused.
because I have been forbidden to eat many kinds of food such as meat which gives energy.
Q: What was his reaction, if any?
After a while, Ms. Tan saw [Judge Pacuribot] got up from bed, took his gun, and peeped through the A: He got angry, pulled my hair and pushed my face to his penis saying: suck it! Let it in till deep your
window of the motel. This time, she once again implored him, Sir, Ill just take a taxi to Agora. He throat! Let my penis reach your throat!
answered: Ill bring you there. At the time, she was so confused that she cannot recall whether he made
payment in the motel. She could not concentrate anymore. Q: What did you do, if any?
A: I gasped for breath so that when I opened my mouth, his penis entered my mouth.
The two left the motel in his car. However, instead of conducting her to the bus terminal, again [Judge
Pacuribot] brought Ms. Tan to another place . . . this time to Discovery Hotel adjacent Q: What happened next, if any?
to Limketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro City. When she protested, he told her that it would be safer for her A: He tightened his hold on me so I was forced to suck his penis afraid that he might break my neck.
to sleep there instead of traveling alone. It was around 10 oclock in the evening. Still unrelieved of her
fright which Ms. Tan calls shock, or rattled, she failed to ask for help, nor did she think of Q: What happened next, if any?
escaping. She was not even able to call her husband. She was even wondering whether anyone will help A: His penis reached my throat and I felt nauseated so I ran to the bathroom and vomited.
her if the judge will do anything to her. After he partially settled the rooms bill, he warned her not to
leave until his return the following morning saying he was returning to the Masonic Conference. After Q: What happened next, if any?
he left, she asked a bellboy if she could leave, but the bellboy told her that she should first settle the A: I stayed in the bathroom for a while because I was not feeling well.
hotel bill before she can check out.Unfortunately, she had no money enough to pay the balance of the
hotel bill. Meantime, through his cell phone, he kept calling her that night and threatening her to watch Q: What was his reaction, if any?
out in the office if she would disobey. She was crying in the hotel. She was terrified of what he will do to A: He angrily ordered me to go to him and lie beside him and I obeyed.
her and her family, and what reaction her husband would make once he learns of what happened to
her. She was scared that her husband might kill [Judge Pacuribot] and her husband would be harmed Q: What happened next, if any?
in turn. A: He rode on top of me again and tried to insert his penis into my vagina.

At around 7 a.m. of the following morning, [Judge Pacuribot] arrived. He came panting and rested in Q: What happened next, if any?
bed while Ms. Tan just stood by. She saw him put his gun near the bed. She recounted the events that A: His penis could hardly stiffen.
happened after, as follows:
Q: What was his reaction, if any?
Q: What did he do, if any? A: He got angry saying: It cant enter! Your vaginas too small.
A: He ordered me again saying: Make Love to me!
Q: What did he do next, if any?
Q: What was your reaction, if any? A: He spread my two (2) legs wide apart and tried to insert his penis but it did not stiffen.
A: I refused.
Q: What happened next, if any?
Q: What was his reaction, if any? A: He pulled my head towards him by pulling my hair.
A: He angrily shouted at me: My goodness! Why are you so slow? As if you are a virgin!
Q: What was your reaction, if any?
Q: What did you feel, if any? A: I told him: Dont pull my hair, sir! Its very painful! What a sadist you are!
A: I was terrified of him.
Q: What was his reaction, if any?
Q: What did you do, if any? A: He just kissed my lips, neck, sucked my nipple and mashed my breast by saying: This is the breast
A: I was forced to go near him, kissed his neck, but [I] stopped. of a lustful woman while continuing to suck my neck and breast.
Q: What happened next, if any? Because of the very oppressive ways of [Judge Pacuribot], Ms. Tan eventually suffered from what
A: He said: Im going to plant lots of kiss marks here to let the people know that you passed through my doctors call chronic fatigue syndrome and was hospitalized in December 2005. Dr. Virgilio Lim of
hands. Lipunan Hospital of Gingoog City treated her. Dr. Lim testified that emotional stresses of a patient could
lead to chronic fatigue syndrome.
Q: What was he referring to as here?
A: My neck. Ms. Tans helplessness against the sexual abuses and advances of her judge was gnawing on her. She
found it revolting. She finally mustered enough courage to come out in the open to free herself. She
Q: What was your reaction, if any? executed an Affidavit Complaint sworn before a woman Clerk of Court of Cagayan de Oro City on 06
A: I cried. December 2005. She flew to Manila and went to the Supreme Court on 08 December 2005 to file her
administrative case against her superior. In February 2006, she filed criminal charges of rape, acts of
Q: What happened after that, if any? lasciviousness and sexual harassments against [Judge Pacuribot] before the City Prosecutor of Gingoog
A: He rested while I went crying to the bathroom, washed my body then dressed up. City. At the onset, no lawyer in Gingoog City would even want to accept her case. The criminal cases
were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. She re-filed the case with the Prosecutors Office of Cagayan de
Ms. Tan again pleaded for [Judge Pacuribot] to let her go. This time, [Judge Pacuribot] assented, but he Oro City. They were also dismissed.
offered to bring her to the bus terminal. Traumatized, she refused the offer. She told him that she will
just take a taxi and will have breakfast at the Ororama. Still he insisted to shuttle her there. Thus, at Villafrancas Story
about past 8:00 oclock in the morning, he left her at Ororama Cogon, Cagayan de Oro City.
Ms. Villafranca first met respondent judge [Judge Pacuribot] sometime in November 2004 at the lobby
Ms. Tan did not report to the office the next working day, that was 22 October 2004 a Friday. She near the Probation Office at the Hall of Justice of Gingoog City where she holds office.When [Judge
absented herself from her work because she still had noticeable number of kiss marks on her neck. She Pacuribot] passed by, she was then talking to a certain Dondi Palugna, her childhood friend who at that
only reported on Monday and covered her kiss marks with her hair. At the office, [Judge Pacuribot] told time was [Judge Pacuribots] driver. Short introductions followed.
her not to file anymore her leave for October 20 and 21, 2004 while bragging, Ako na gud ni, kinsay
magbuot nako? (It is me, who will prevail against me?) On 18 December 2004, Ms. Villafranca received a call through her cell phone from [Judge Pacuribot]. To
Ms. Villafranca, the call was unexpected. After their talk, he asked her if he could call again for
Ms. Tan told no one of her traumatic experience and carried on as if nothing happened. But from then chitchat. She answered Ok lang. She asked him how he got her mobile number. He said he got it from
on, [Judge Pacuribots] advances on her went on unabated even in the office. Whenever she would go Dondi Palugna. Later, she began to receive text messages from him, telling her how beautiful and sexy
inside his chamber, at times, he would grab her blouse, mash her breast, and kiss her neck saying that she is, how the mini skirt suited her, etc. She courteously acknowledged his praises and said thank you
she smells so sweet. At times, he would touch the crotch of her pants or pull the string of her to him. Then, he started inviting her for dinner. Knowing him to be married and the fact that she is
panty. On 13 October 2005, he did the same indignities to her in the presence of Placido Abellana, the married, she declined these invitations citing an inoffensive excuse which is her evening teaching
court aide, and the latter just pretended to see nothing by turning his back.Every time she would resist sessions at Bukidnon State College, Gingoog City. But she found him persistent. One time, he took
and/or evade his sexual advances, he would shame her before her officemates at a later time. He also offense at her refusal, saying Why dont you come with me? I AM A JUDGE! Why should you refuse me?
told her to send him text messages of endearment. She was warned that her failure to comply, or to Why do you go with Dondi and not with me when I AM A JUDGE? At another instance, he even asked
receive his call, or reply to his text messages will have an adverse effect on her performance rating. her why she goes with Dondi Pallugna, a drug addict, and not him a judge. Although scared of his
outbursts, which by reputation he was known, she politely explained to him that his driver Dondi
The situation got worse for Ms. Tan when respondent judge [ Judge Pacuribot] indicated his interest in Pallugna was her childhood friend. Still, she had to dodge his persistence.
renting a room in her house which she used as her home office. Ms. Tans house is near the Police
Station and the courthouse. Initially, she candidly told him that the said room is not for rent. She even In avoidance, Ms. Villafranca requested for a transfer to Probation Office, Cagayan de Oro City. This was
refused him in the presence of her officemates who cannot comprehend why she should not allow him in February 2005. She was asked to make a written request which she failed to file due to heavy work
to rent the room considering that it would be an additional income for her. At that time, they were load. At that time, the Regional Office of the Probation Office for Region X was about to hold a Timestral
unaware what she was going through. Conference. Venue of the Conference was Gingoog City and so the host office for that conference was
the Gingoog City Parole Office where Ms. Villafranca works. She was assigned to take charge of the
Ms. Tan brought her commercial calendar to their office. It has her picture. Having seen it, [Judge hotel accommodations of participants in the conference.For that reason, she was too busy attending to
Pacuribot], in the presence of Ms. Tan, instructed Placido Abellana, the court aide, to mount her her assigned task that she failed to prepare the written request. Accordingly, nothing materialized out
calendar at the door of his chamber, saying: Whoever removes the calendar would take a scolding from of her intended transfer.
me. Dont remove Shirleys calendar. I like that hot babes. Then, pointing to her picture, he added: Thats
my idol, the hot babes Kikay! As he was still trying to persuade her then to let him rent a room in her Although calls of [Judge Pacuribots] were unwanted, but Ms. Villafranca wanted to be polite to him for
house, he said in jest to Placido Abellana: If I rent the room, I will call Shirly she will massage me and two (2) reasons: his status as a judge and his reputation, in the Hall of Justice, as terror which caused
step on my back and I will feel good because Shirley is sexy. most people to fear him. So, she took his calls politely, gave him respect, and when she had to turn
down his call, she had to do it courteously like: Ok, sir, I still have work to do, I cannot talk long.
With the pressure on her to rent him a room being kept, Ms. Tan eventually yielded, but she erected a
wall between his rented room and her house, and provided for him a separate ingress and In the last week of February 2005, Ms. Villafranca got a call from [Judge Pacuribot] who was fuming
egress. Nonetheless, when her husband is not around, she would find him knocking on her window and mad because she refused his dinner invitations. Scared, she finally relented. It was scheduled on 22
ordering her to go to his room. February 2005 which turned out to be her worst nightmare.

Ms. Tan claims that if [Judge Pacuribot] could not have his way with her because she resists, he would February 22, 2005 came. [Judge Pacuribot] asked Ms. Villafranca to choose a restaurant. She singled
scold her in his chamber and would also humiliate her in the presence of her officemates.She would out The Mansion in Gingoog City for good reasons. The Mansion is owned by her relative.On that
also receive threats from him as regards her performance rating. In fact, her Very Satisfactory rating in account, she thought that in the place she will be safe. She planned to invite one of her relatives in that
the previous years of her service went down to Satisfactory for the period of January to June 2005, the restaurant during the dinner. By arrangement, she was to be picked up at 7 p.m. at the school gate.
first and only time that she was given such a rating.
A few minutes past 7 p.m., on the appointed date, [Judge Pacuribot], driving his car, fetched Ms.
Villafranca. He opened the car door to her and she took her seat. While she was talking to him, she saw Q: Were you undressed at that time?
him brought out his clutch bag, took out his gun, cocked it and put it in between them. Frightened that A: I am sorry?
it may blow off anytime, she voiced out her fears of guns. He quickly replied that guns are for the safety
of judges who are prone to ambushes. Q: Were you undressed?
A: Undressed? He undressed me.
Noticing that [Judge Pacuribot] was driving towards the opposite direction of The Mansion, she told him
they are driving the wrong way. But she was told that they are going to Butuan City as he knew a great Q: He undressed you?
dining place there. While driving with his left hand, [Judge Pacuribot] would hold his gun with his right A: Yes.
hand and put it down every now and then when he had to change gear.This scared her even more and
she started shaking in fear. She observed that he was over speeding and would honk his horn furiously Q: Nothing left?
so the other drivers would allow him to overtake. She started having frightening thoughts like imagining (No reply).
being killed if she resists and be left along the road. She feared for her life, and of her children.
Ms. Villafranca felt that her legs were being parted as [Judge Pacuribot] tried to insert his penis into her
After about an hour, Ms. Villafranca noticed that [Judge Pacuribot] turned right from the national vagina, but she could sense he had difficulty with erection. She felt penetration was slight. She recalled
highway, and a little farther, he honked his horn, entered a garage which then immediately closed as that he tried penetration more than three times, but was unsuccessful. She felt his heavy breathing
soon as his car entered. It was late for her to realize that he brought her to a motel in Butuan City. She while he planted vile kisses on her neck and chest. Her repeated pleas for mercy had not done her any
became numbed with fear. He alighted from the car carrying his gun, and opened the door on her good. Not long after, he rolled over with her and she found herself on top of him. He grabbed her hair
side. She asked him: Why are you taking me here? You told me we were going to a restaurant. He and pushed down her face to his penis, and forced her to do oral sex on him instead. She resisted, but
ignored her. He told her to get out of the car. Sensing she was uncooperative because she would not get he insisted saying that it was what he wanted, otherwise she would be put to harm. She took it to mean
down, he grabbed her from the car. She tried to resist but she was numbed with fear. She wanted to get that he will kill her if she refuses him. Scared, she relented and had oral sex on him. She felt shamed
away but she could not seem to move. He pushed her in the room. She attempted to go out of the room as she sucked his limp penis. She was disgusted with him, with herself and the very act itself. Still not
but he locked the door and blocked it with his body. She pleaded to him to let her go because her having an erection, he released his grip on her. While she was physically and emotionally exhausted,
children and family are looking for her. Then, [Judge Pacuribot] grabbed Ms. Villafranca by her she continued crying for mercy, but [Judge Pacuribot] was boasting that nobody in his right mind
shoulders and tried to kiss her. She evaded by backing out from him and turning her face away. As she would refuse his demands as he could easily cause damage to anybodys honor if he wanted to.
continued to back away from him, she fell on the bed while he immediately laid on top of her. She felt
his hands groping all over her body, as he tried to kiss her. She kept on pleading to him to let her go; Ms. Villafranca then got up, and put on her underwear and pants. [Judge Pacuribot] also got up and
that she wants to go home because her kids are looking for her. He lifted her blouse, unbuttoned and took his cell phone. She pulled the sheets to cover herself because her blouse was on the opposite side
unzipped her pants while she was pushing him away. But he was too strong and big for her. She tried to of the bed. However, he pulled the sheets from her and pushed her to the bed half naked. She braced
get up when he took off his pants and brief, but he was fast and was soon on top of her. As he pinned herself with her arms so that the she would not be pinned down on the bed again. But to her surprise,
her down on the bed, she could hardly move and found him too heavy. All along she was trembling in he took a picture of her, using his cell phone. She was petrified. He then looked at the picture
fear and was crying while pleading to him for mercy. But he could not be dissuaded. On cross commenting that it was no good because she was not smiling, so he ordered her to smile as he will take
examination, [Judge Pacuribots] counsel asked her some details on this incident, as follows: another picture of her. Although she defied him, yet he did take another picture of her. She the
hurriedly put on her blouse while he dressed up, fixed himself and tucked his shirt and his gun.
Atty. Kho:
After [Judge Pacuribot] settled the bill, he led her out of the room. Ms. Villafranca shrugged him off. At
Q: You said you were brought to Butuan City in a motel. Do you remember the name of the motel? the garage, she was ushered to the front seat of the car. She was dying to go home. He drove back
A: No, I dont. to Gingoog City. On their way back, she turned her back on him, closed her eyes, covered her face with
hand, and pretended to be asleep. Later, he informed her of their approach to Gingoog City. She asked
Q: Could you remember the size of the room that you were in on that day which you claim on February him to drop her off at the old Caltex gasoline station along the national highway. From there, she hailed
22, 2004? a motorela, went home, took a long bath to wash his marks of her. At about 11 p.m., she fetched her
A: Im sorry, Attorney, everything seems to be so blurred during that time. All I could really remember children from her fathers house. When asked where she had been, she gave her father a lame excuse
was asking him to take me home because it was not agreed that I go with him in a motel but that she went out with her friends.
in a restaurant at Mansion by the sea at Gingoog City.
Ms. Villafranca reported to work the next day. There had been some phone calls in their office. Like any
Q: So you dont remember really anything else? other office, whoever has the convenience to answer at the time would pick up the phone. [Judge
A: I remember what happened to me. Pacuribot] had called twice their office already and when her officemates answer the phone, he would
just hang the line. When the phone rung again, she picked it up. It was [Judge Pacuribot] on the other
Q: Why, what happened to you? end. After recognizing her voice, he belittled her yelling: Prostitute! Devil! Animal! Why dont you pick up
A: When he forced himself to me. the phone? She was consumed with fear, and meekly told him that she was just busy. Days passed as
he continued to threaten her with the publication of her half naked picture. She tried to pacify him
Q: When you say he forced himself to you, what do you mean? sensing that he could make real his threats.Being married to an overseas worker with two kids, she was
A: When he was on top of me and he was kissing me. God, I can feel and I can remember how heavily so scared of figuring in a scandal. Her fright of him was burdensome. He would send her text messages
he was breathing in my face and he was kissing me all over and he was trying to position telling her of sweet nothings, but every time she would ignore them, he would burst in anger and would
himself inside of me. Those are what I can remember and I kept on telling him: No! I want to renew his threats. At times, she made excuses, like having no cell phone load, but he would insist that
go home to my children. I wanted to go home because my family will be looking for me. What? she should secure a load, otherwise he would shame her. He was far too wise to accept excuses. Her
Did he listen to me? No, he kept on telling me I am emancipated. Nobody will look for me. constant fear made her succumb to his blackmails.

Q: What were you wearing at that time on February 22? [Judge Pacuribot] was always demanding that Ms. Villafranca send him text messages and letters
A: I was wearing pants and a blouse. expressing nonsense, a matter she could not understand then. She thought it was only to feed his
ego. On cross examination, [Judge Pacuribots] counsel asked why she complied with these orders. She Q: Also attached to the Comment of respondent are some notes already marked as Annex 9. Could you
answered: go over some of these notes and tell us if this is your handwriting? Annexes 9 and 9B.
A: I will not deny that I wrote these letters but they were under his supervision just like the ones he
Atty. Kho: made to my mother-in-law and to my husband.

Q: In your affidavit, do you remember having said that the respondent is forcing you to send to him text Q: You mean to say you were writing the letters?
messages? A: Yes. He will dictate to me what to do, what to say.
A: Yes.
xxxx
Q: And you complied with the sending of these text messages?
A: Yes, because one day when I was not able to text he called me and he screamed at me over the phone Q: So you were acting like a stenographer who writes down his dictation?
and then he said: Burikat, animal ka, yawa ka, imo gibuhat dili ko nimo i-ignore. This will be A: I did not act like a stenographer who wrote down his dictation. But I acted like a victim who is under
the last time na imo ko i-ignore sa text or sa tawag nako. Otherwise, you will pay for it. threat by some

Atty. Ignes translating: Q: The words here in Annexes 9-A and 9-B, you mean to say all of these are his words, the respondent?
You whore, you devil, you animal, dont you dare! This will be the last time you will ignore me in my call, A: As I said Attorney, yes, under his dictation, under his supervision. Do you know what is this?
otherwise you will pay for it.
Atty. Kho:
Atty. Kho:
No. Do not ask me a question. You are not allowed to do that.
Q: Why did you allow him to do that to you?
A: Because he constantly tells me that he will develop that picture, he will show that to my mother-in- Witness (continuing)
law and then he will destroy me and he will create scandal in Gingoog City.
While I was doing those writing, I felt that all my limbs were so tired. I felt so heavy writing those
Q: Is it not that you are well-connected? Your grandmother is the mayor. Did you not report it to her? letters.
A: My husband is not around, Attorney.
Atty. Kho:
Q: And?
A: And what? How would I explain to them that I was there? How he took my picture? How am I going Q: So you admit sending the respondent a lot more letters that the ones Ive presented you?
to? I dont know. I just wanted to protect my family from any shame, from any scandal.And he A: I admit that I wrote those letters under his supervision, yes.
knew that it would be his hold to me. And he knew that I would be very careful with the
name that my family had, that is why he is constantly threatening me with such same Q: All of the letters that you sent were all under his supervision?
arguments, you know. Ikaw and madaot ani. Imo ning kuan tana. A: As I said, yes, under his supervision. There were times that he would even call me to his chamber to
have some cards signed.
Atty. Ignes:
Q: So, aside from notes, you also sent him cards?
You will be destroyed because of this. A: Yes, I recall signing them because he would ask me to do so.

Atty. Kho: xxxx


Justice Flores:
Q: So, you admit that you sent him a lot of text messages?
A: I did not deny it in my affidavit. I had it in my affidavit, that there were text messages and forced Q: When you said that the judge would even call you to his chamber to sign cards, what kinds of cards?
notes written for him. A: Greeting cards, Your Honor.

[Judge Pacuribot] also asked her to send him cards with amorous messages. On these, she Atty. Kho:
was also grilled on cross examination. It went as follows:
Q: Hallmark?
Atty. Kho: A: I dont recall. I would just easily sign them, do whatever he wanted and then after he is done touching
me I would ask myself to leave.
Q: You mean you often wrote some notes?
A: Yes. I may even have some drafts there wherein he even edited it. Q: So, you also sent him lots of greeting cards?
A: I did not send your client. He gave it to himself.
Q: What kind of notes were they?
A: Love notes and there was a time he made me write a letter to my mother-in-law which the very next Q: I am going to show you one last card. Tell me, is this one of the cards that you said you signed? Im
day I was posting myself at the Post Office awaiting for that letter to come so that I could going to give this to you. For submission.
intercept it. A: Yes.

xxxx Q: This is one of the cards that you signed?


A: One of those cards that I signed.
xxxx Q: During those 8 times which you said you went to the room of respondent at Sherlita Tans place
which is near the police station and the LTO, was there a time that you shouted?
Q: Miss Witness, the handwriting on this card now marked as Exhibit 6, on the second line of the A: I could not shout, Im scared.
handwriting are the words Love you, Bi. Could you tell us what is the meaning of the
word Bi, if you know? Q: You were scared of what?
A: It has no significance with me because your client dictated it to me. A: Scared of your client.

Q: So, it was dictated only. Q: Of the person?


A: As I said, he dictated words to me. A: Yes and how intimidating he could be and how evil he could be.

Ms. Villafrancas resistance would always be met with a threat to divulge the incident in the After eating, Ms. Villafranca would be ordered to take off her clothes; then, [Judge Pacuribot]
motel. Although she yielded to these promptings of sending him text messages or cards or notes, she would lay on top of her for his sexual pleasures. But penetration would be slight because, as usual, he
never understood why [Judge Pacuribot] behaved so. It was late in the day when enlightenment came to had difficulty with erection. As a consequence, he would push her down to his organ and order her to
her that all his orders to her to send him amorous text messages, letters and cards were not to feed his do oral sex on him. She detested his routine of putting kiss marks on her neck and chest which he
ego but to prepare for his defense even while she was as submissive as a lamb. In his Comment to the intentionally used so that, as he told her, people would know that he owned her. At times, she left his
administrative charge against him, he cited the text messages, letters and cards he induced her to send rented room wearing a hooded jacket in order o hide her face fearful that certain people might recognize
to him to deflect her charges of rape and unprofessional conduct and prove them untrue. He cited them her along the way. There were times she also left his room without underwear because he would not
in his Comment as her manifestation of fatal attraction to him. give it to her. She hated his sexual abuses, but she was more afraid of causing scandal to her family.

xxxx In April 2005, after having dinner with [Judge Pacuribot] in his rented room, Ms. Villafranca
was pulled by her hair and was asked, [w]ho owns you now? She answered in fear you. He looked very
There had been occasions when [Judge Pacuribot] summoned Ms. Villfranca to his chambers on the pleased. Then, he told her to leave her husband and promised to help her file a marriage annulment
pretext of discussing probation matters, but once inside his chamber, he would lock the door, grab her, complaint in Gingoog City. She did not say a word. He went on top of her and pulled her hair
kiss her, put kiss marks on her neck and chest. He would pull her hair and push her down to his crotch demanding for an answer. Terrified, she said opo. Then, she was forced to have sex with him.
and demand that she performs oral sex on him. Her overpowering fear of him and the scandal he can
inflict on her family made her yield to him. When she would disobey him he would call her cell phone [Judge Pacuribot] wanted to destroy the relationship Ms. Villafranca has with her husband
with lots of insults like calling her burikat or with his threats. and his family. He forced her to write a letter, asking for a break up of marriage from her husband
which [Judge Pacuribot] edited. He also ordered her to write to her mother-in-law with whom she had
Also, [Judge Pacuribot] demanded food from Ms. Villafranca which the latter had to bring to his room in some difficulty in their in-law relationship, to say she wanted a marriage break-up. She told him she
Ms. Tans house. Her fear of dire consequences of her resistance absorbed her. When demanded to bring does not need to write letters to her mother-in-law. What for? But he insisted. Her hands felt heavy
food, she would comply out of fear. In her words, Yes, I went because he would put me under pressure writing them, in fact it took her three drafts to write as shown in Exhibits B, C and D of Ms.
and under fire. She went not only because of his constant threat of making public his cell phone picture Villafranca. Discontented with her drafts, he took away the last from her, edited it, and told her he will
of her, half naked, but also because of his added threat that he is going to tell my mother-in-law; that he mail it to her mother-in-law. Thinking he will make good of his threat, the following day she posted
is going to destroy me; that I am nobody; that my family is no good and he would call me burikat, burikat herself outside the Gingoog City Post Office for a long time and waited for the mailing of said letter so
(whore). He would call me that name yawa ka, animal ka. Sumunod ka nako. She was angst-ridden with that she can intercept it. No one came. She instructed the postal clerk that if there is a letter intended
the set up. She was fearful that somebody might see her in his rented room or on her way to it or for her mother-in-law, she should not give it to her mother-in-law but to her instead.
back. She was made to go there about eight (8) times. All these instances, she saw him display his
gun. She found him too selfish and an ingrate. Once, on his demand to bring food, she brought him Meantime, Ms. Villafrancas morbid fear of [Judge Pacuribot], his threat to mire her and her
only pansit and lumpia which was no longer crisp. Unappreciative, he furiously stabbed his plate with family in scandal and her guilt toward her family had been sucking her into a vortex of emotional and
fork, breaking it and carped that she served him food which is not fit for a judge, and suited only to her physical collapse. She bore the immense pain of yielding to him. She seemingly could not withstand the
seaman husband. He also made her eat with him on occasions which she abhorred so much because humiliation for being involved in forced sordid incidents with [Judge Pacuribot] whom she detested.
according to her he ate like a pig eating fast with shoulders hunched, elbows on the table, mouth
noisily chewing the food. On 9 May 2005, seemingly depressed for her accumulated frustrations for not being able to
see her way out of her predicament, Ms. Villafranca, sent a text message to her husband who was then
When grilled on those eight (8) times, the following exchanges between [Judge Pacuribots] counsel and working aboard a foreign vessel. Her text message went this way: Whatever will happen to me, you take
Ms. Villafranca took place: care of the kids. He asked: Whats wrong? She answered: I cannot fully disclose to you everything but in
due time I will. Whatever happens to me, just take care of the kids and that I love them. Her disturbing
Atty. Kho: message constrained her husband to pre-terminate his employment contract and rushed home
to Gingoog City on 15 May 2005. She then personally told [Judge Pacuribot] to stop calling her or
Q: In all of these times, 8 times which you said, you did not care to offer any resistance? asking for food, but he grabbed her hair, twisted her head and planted a kiss mark on her neck, telling
A: I had offered a lot of resistance, Attorney, but your client would make it a point that I should not her that it would send a message to her husband that he, not her husband, owned her. Still, she was
refuse him. not prepared to make her revelations to her husband.

Q: You tried to resist? In the third week of May 2005, Ms. Villafranca was persistently instigated by [Judge
A: I had evaded him many times, many times but he would always point out that I should not refuse Pacuribot] to file an annulment case against her husband. Later, he asked her to sign what Ms.
him, otherwise he will destroy me and he did eventually when I finally had the courage to put Villafranca calls a ridiculous document he drafted wherein it purported to show that she and her
up with him, you know. husband agreed that each of them may freely cohabit with a third person. She signed it in the face of
his threats. Worse, he asked her to ask her husband to sign the same document.
(The witness is crying at the witness stand)
On 25 May 2005, at the Hall of Justice in Gingoog City, Ms. Villafranca was summoned to knowledge that his mistress Sheryl Gamulo, whom [Judge Pacuribot] housed in Motomull St., Gingoog
[Judge Pacuribots] chamber. Once inside, he slapped her for not filing her petition for annulment of City, gave birth to two (2) children by [Judge Pacuribot] on 16 October 2004 and 02 September 2005 at
marriage and hit her head with clenched fist. Then, he planted on her neck kiss marks which he said the Maternity Hospital, Cagayan de Oro City; that the eldest child was baptized in Opol, Misamis
he wanted her husband to see. Indeed, when her husband found her with kiss marks, she suffered Oriental with Atty. Wilfredo Bibera, his clerk of Court, and Dondi Pallugna, his driver, as baptismal
from her husbands beating. sponsors. Ms. Villafranca claims therein that respondent judge is also known to have sired a daughter
in Ozamiz Citynow about ten (10) years old whose picture has been circulated in the Hall of Justice and
Citing her husbands beating her, Ms. Villafranca pleaded to [Judge Pacuribot] to stop that [Judge Pacuribots] immorality most probably inflicted on victimized women is a sick source of
molesting her. He countered with an unusual suggestion File a rape case against him. When she scandal and gossip in the city.
refused, the threat of the dire consequences of her refusal came again. She still kept from her husband
what she was going through. To be able to put behind her harrowing experience, Ms. Villafranca applied for leave of
absence with their office to work abroad knowing that [Judge Pacuribots] order in People v. Anude and
But [JudgePacuribot] seized another incident to destroy her more. On 15 June 2005, he his letter to her superiors have effectively made her lose that desired promotion. Eventually she left the
reported in writing to the superiors of Ms. Villafranca superiors in local office and superiors country on 2 October 2006 for Dubai, UAE to work and forget her past even if her leave of absence in
in Manila alleging her negligence allegedly committed on 6 June 2005 in forgetting to shut off the air- their office was not yet approved. On 18 March 2007, she returned to testify in this case after struggling
con unit in their Probation Office. Her local superior in the Probation Office referred to her the letter of against employment restrictions and financial constraints, she not having been half a year yet
[Judge Pacuribot]. She prepared an explanation which her local superior used as letter to the abroad. On 22 March 2007, when asked on the witness stand when she will leave again for Dubai, she
judge. Thinking that because she authored that letter, the explanation there covered already her side, said: I want to leave the country as much as possible and stay out of here. I dont want to be reminded
she did not write nor see the judge anymore. This further infuriated him. of what happened to me. At the time she testified in March 2007 in this case, her leave of absence in
the Probation Office was not yet granted.
xxxx

In July 2006, Ms. Villafrancas request for transfer was granted and she started working in In his Comment,[9] Judge Pacuribot denied the charges of Ms. Tan and Villafranca for lack of factual and legal
Cagayan de Oro City on 17 July 2006. The transfer of assignment resulted in her constant separation bases; and opposed the allegations on the ground that the same were motivated by revenge and were part of a
from her nine (9) year old son and four (4) year old daughter, plus the great inconvenience of a 2 hours comprehensive and sinister plan to drive him out of service.
bus ride from Gingoog City one way, and transportation expenses. She would usually go home
to Gingoog City to be with her family and children on weekends, or every now and then, and sometimes Judge Pacuribot made total denial of Ms. Tans charges against him and claimed that the alleged incidents on 20
late at night. and 21 October 2004 were big lie[s], a fraud, a hoax and deception. He insisted that he could not have committed the acts
complained of by Ms. Tan because in his first five months in office, he was busy planning what to do and how to quickly
After her transfer to the Probation Office in Cagayan de Oro City on 17 July 2006, Ms. dispose of the almost 500 cases he inherited, including the new ones raffled to him.
Villafranca was able to tell her husband what she went through. Before that, she just could not find the
courage to tell him because she was scared. When she was twitted on cross examination on how so long In particular, Judge Pacuribot denied the alleged rape incidents on 20-21 October 2004 in Cagayan de Oro City,
that she was scared, she said: and interposed the defense of alibi. He contended that he was in faraway Gingoog City, which is 120 kilometers away from
Cagayan de Oro City. He stated that on Mondays, he reports for his duties in Gingoog City, and goes home to Cagayan de Oro
Atty. Kho: City only on Fridays. He maintained that on 20 October 2004, a Wednesday, at 7:00 p.m., he went out of his chambers with
his court aide Placido Abellana, Jr., and his security officer SPO1 Ronald Espejon. They proceeded to Garahe Sugbahan Grill
Q: So, what you told him at that time was that you were scared? for dinner. After dinner, Espejon and Abellana escorted him back to his boarding house.Abellana left him at 9:00 p.m. while
A: Attorney, I was walking in fear most of those times and even up to now when I came home I am Espejon went home at about 11:00 p.m.
walking in fear. I dont know if Im safe. I dont know if the next day I will be dead. I dont
know. Those were the times when I asked my husband to accompany me because Im always Judge Pacuribot admitted that he did not hold trial on 21 October 2004, a Thursday, because the scheduled
scared all the time. Even if I just go out of the gate ask my husband to accompany me. settings were all cancelled that day which cancellation was made a week before. He averred that on the same day, he was
writing decisions in his chambers. In the evening, he asked Abellana to buy food and they ate supper with Espejon.Abellana
(At this juncture, witness is sobbing) left him about 8:00 p.m. while Espejon left at about 10:00 p.m.

He, thus, concluded that it was impossible for him to be with Ms. Tan on 20 and 21 October 2004, a Wednesday
Ms. Villafranca decided to fight back with this administrative charge. She subscribed her and a Thursday, respectively. He argued that no proof existed to show his physical presence in Cagayan de Oro City on those
Affidavit-Complaint before State Prosecutor Roberto A. Escaro on 13 December 2005. In Ms. dates; hence, the presumption of his continuing physical presence in his station during the inclusive period alluded to ran in
Villafrancas Complaint she prayed that [Judge Pacuribot] be found guilty of gross violation of the his favor.
Judicial Code Of Professional Responsibility (Code of Judicial Conduct) for being totally unfit to stay in
the Judiciary and she prayed that he be ordered immediately dismissed from service. She also prayed Judge Pacuribot also cited several factors which made Ms. Tans allegations unbelievable:
that [Judge Pacuribot] be immediately ordered to cease and desist from causing any further assault on
her person, in her personal and professional capacity. 1. Ms. Tans behavior was not reflective of a rape victim. Ms. Tan did not immediately report the incident to the
authorities. As a 43-year-old lady who is no longer nave and having assisted as stenographer in countless rape cases, she
On the same day, Ms. Villafranca submitted her Affidavit-Complaint to the Office of the Court should know how important it is to immediately report the incident.
Administrator. [Judge Pacuribot] filed his Comment. Among others, he cited that Ms. Villafranca was 2. Judge Pacuribot pointed to Ms. Tans admission that she did not put up a struggle when he allegedly brought
fatally attracted to him and that he refused to reciprocate because he is a judge and happily married, her to City Lodge Motel and Discovery Hotel. Had she wanted to catch the attention of employees, she could have done so. He
and for the reason that Ms. Villafrancas misdirected adoration is atrociously immoral. Ms. Villafranca also stressed that what Ms. Tan called a headboard where he allegedly put his gun in the motel room was merely less than
filed a Rejoinder refuting point by point the defenses of [Judge Pacuribot] and calling them lies. Ms. one inch in width, too narrow for a .45 cal. gun to rest.
Villafranca said his defenses are presumptuous and revolting because in the Hall of Justice, female
personnel invariably veer away from his path in trepidation. She asserts that [Judge Pacuribots] 3. On 25 November 2004, a month and three days after the alleged rape, Ms. Tan invited all her officemates,
extramarital indiscretions are well known, if not well documented, in Gingoog City, that it is common including him, to her birthday party held at her home, where she sang and danced. She displayed her dancing skills
then. She even taught him how to dance the swing. Again, during the Courts Christmas Party in December 2004, she he asked Ms. Tan to be more focused on the job; that he was going to move to a new house; and when he did not let her
socialized with her fellow workers, including him, and even performed the kikay dance during the program. borrow P200,000.00, or at least be a guarantor of her loan.

4. On 1 Septemeber 2005, all the staff of Judge Pacuribot, including Ms. Tan, attended his birthday party at his Anent the written charges of Ms. Villafranca, Judge Pacuribot specifically denied all material allegations therein
house in Cagayan de Oro City, where she merrily danced with dance instructors and posed with Judge Pacuribots wife. for being untrue. In particular, he denied the alleged rape incident on 22 February 2005 in Butuan City. He asserted that he
never went out alone at night in Gingoog City, knowing the place to be dangerous, and the fact that PNP confirmed to him
5. On May 2006, five months after she filed the administrative charge against Judge Pacuribot, Ms. Tan joined the that he was in the list of those slated for liquidation by the NPA. Hence, he insisted that he neither invited Ms. Villafranca for
Search for Mrs. Gingoog City Contest as one of the candidates and she paraded in the gymnasium, all smiles, while attired dinner, nor did he travel from Gingoog City to Butuan City during night time.
in an elegant gown.
Judge Pacuribot claimed that on 22 February 2005, at 5:00 oclock more or less in the afternoon, he asked a
6. Judge Pacuribot alleged that Ms. Tan and her husband were publicly known to be putting up a faade that all certain Fil Sumaylo to buy and cook a big fish and ten pieces of small octopus because they would have dinner at the latters
was well with them, although they constantly quarreled and had been sleeping in separate rooms already. house. At about 6:30 p.m., respondent went with his security officer Espejon and court aide Abellana to Sumaylos
house. His branch clerk of court, Atty. Bibera, was also there. After dinner, Espejon and Abellana escorted him back to his
Judge Pacuribot disputed Ms. Tans version of how he became the lessee of a room at Ms. Tans house. He claimed boarding house at about 11:00 p.m. Abellana left ahead, while Espejon left at about 11:30 p.m.
that in January 2005, she came to know that he was looking for a new boarding house and she offered two small rooms at
her house available for rent. He chose the one facing the Police Station of Gingoog City, which he claimed to be only about Also, Judge Pacuribot gave several reasons why he would not venture at all to go to Butuan City alone. He said he
five meters more or less from the room he rented. He paid an advance rental of P5,000.00. was security conscious, considering that he handled drug cases and other high-profile cases. He had also received NPA
threats on his life. He claimed that Butuan City was about 80 kilometers from Gingoog City and he would not go there and
Judge Pacuribot denied sexually harassing Ms. Tan. In refuting her claim that he sexually harassed her in his risk his life for a woman he barely knew.
chambers, he countered that this could not have happened as his court aide, Placido Abellana, was always in his chamber
with him. If Abellana was out on an errand, his security officer, SPO1 Ronald Espejon, temporarily took over. There had In denying Ms. Villafrancas allegations of sexual harassment and acts of lasciviousness, Judge Pacuribot pointed
never been any moment in his chambers that he was without companion. There was always either his court aide or his out that the acts of grabbing, kissing and performing oral sex in his chambers could not have happened as his court aide,
security officer with him. Even when he had visitors, his court aide was still in his chambers to maintain transparency and Abellana, who is the uncle of Ms. Villafranca, was always present in his chambers, aside from the fact that his chamber was
avoid unwarranted talk. Once in a while, his branch clerk of court, Atty. Willfredo Bibera, Jr., would go to his chambers to just beside the room of the staff.
confer with him regarding cases. Sometimes, too, his security officer Espejon would take his blood pressure in his
chambers. Under these circumstances, Judge Pacuribot argued that no sexual harassment could have occurred. He also Judge Pacuribot contended that Ms. Villafrancas charges were improbable. He assessed her to be a very intelligent
called attention to the fact that Ms. Tans affidavit and testimony presented the dates of the alleged sexual harassments as woman with a strong personality. Ms. Villafranca is well connected, because she is a recognized illegitimate daughter of a
follows: certain Polkem Motomull, a one-time member of the Provincial Board of Misamis Oriental and nephew of Mrs. Ruthie
27 October 2004 06 January 2005 Guingona, incumbent City Mayor of Gingoog City. A sister of her father is the Assistant City Auditor of Gingoog City, while
03 November 2004 08 August 2005 Judge Pacuribots predecessor, Judge Potenciano de los Reyes, is her fathers first cousin-in-law. RTC Judge Downey
25 November 2004 03 October 2005 Valdevilla of Cagayan de Oro City is also her uncle; and even Judge Pacuribots court aide, Abellana, is her fathers first
08 December 2004 04 October 2005 cousin. Considering the big family of Ms. Villafranca, anyone will think, not just twice, but several times, before doing
09 December 2004 11 October 2005 anything against her. Ms. Villafranca will not just allow herself to be raped and beaten by a stranger like him in Gingoog
05 January 2005 13 October 2005[10] City. He found out that, as indicated in the police blotter of Gingoog City, Ms. Villafranca reported that she was raped and
mauled by Mr. Ricky Lee Villfranca, her husband, who carted away important belongings at about 2:00 a.m. of 26 May
2005. He claimed that if Ms. Villafranca could report her husband to the police for said offense, then she should have
The 6 January 2005 alleged incidents were followed only on 8 August 2005, thus, belying Ms. Tans claim that the sexual reported him also to the police if her allegations were true.
harassments were done regularly. Also, Ms. Tans allegation that he sexually harassed her on 25 November 2005 was
incredible, because on that date she was on her birthday leave, and was busy preparing the dishes she was going to serve Judge Pacuribot denied calling Ms. Villafranca through her cellphone. On the contrary, it was she who was calling
them during her party. He emphasized that the criminal complaints for rape, acts of lasciviousness and sexual harassments him. She also sent him adoring or alluring text messages including seductive notes and poems. He claimed that being a
filed by Ms. Tan against him with the City Prosecutors Office in Gingoog City and Cagayan de Oro City were all dismissed. happily married man, he ignored the flirtatious and seductive advances of Ms. Villafranca, to her consternation and
bewilderment. He claimed that her adulation of him came to an abrupt end and metamorphosed into an intense hatred and
Judge Pacuribot explained that these administrative and criminal charges filed against him by Tan and Villafranca dislike after he issued the 6 June 2005 Order in Criminal Case No. 2004-2879 entitled, People v. Anunde pointing out her
were part and parcel of a grand plot hatched by Ronnie Waniwan, a radio commentator, to oust him from office. He claimed incompetence, inexperience and unprofessional attitude toward her work. He opined that the charges of Ms. Villafranca are
that Waniwan was then facing four counts of libel in his sala. The City Prosecutor recommended P50,000.00 bail for typical under the adage, Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned.
each. When Waniwan filed a motion to reduce bail bond, respondent denied it for several reasons, i.e., (1) there was a
previous conviction, (2) he was not from GingoogCity, and (3) when a warrant for his arrest was issued, he went into hiding Judge Pacuribot further complained that Ms. Villafranca would follow up cases of her relatives in his sala.
instead of surrendering. Waniwan filed a motion for respondent to inhibit himself, which the latter denied. As a consequence,
Waniwan spent 13 days in jail for failure to put up a bail bond. Judge Pacuribot learned that Waniwan had contacted the
NPA for Judge Pacuribots liquidation as revealed in the affidavits of two captured NPA sparrow unit members. He discovered After weighing the evidences and arguments of all the parties, Investigating Justice Dy-Liacco Flores found:
that Waniwan with Mesdames Tan and Villafranca plotted and conspired to destroy him after his personal talk with other
media men including Jonas Bustamante, Jerry Orcullo and Jessie Mongcal. FATHERHOOD UNPROVEN

Judge Pacuribot believed that Ms. Tan succumbed to the egging of Waniwan to jump the gun on him. Ms. Tan On the Anonymous Letters about [Judge Pacuribots] illegitimate fatherhood, the Investigator
knew that her job was in danger because of her growing inefficiency, a subject of his several warnings, since her inefficiency finds the claim unsupported by any documentary evidence. Although the certification of the hospitals
would essentially affect the performance of his court, a scenario which he abhorred, having been a consistent performer in administrative officer proves correct the claim in the anonymous letter as to (1) the hospital; (2) the
the disposal of cases during his days as labor arbiter. In fact, he considered Ms. Tan the most inefficient among the four identity of the mother; (3) the number of children delivered; and (4) the date of birth of the two children,
stenographers he had. She was allegedly lazy, inarticulate in the English language, and flawed in spelling, which hampered but it did not shed light on the identity of the childrens father. In this case, the certificates of birth of
her effectiveness in preparing transcriptions. Worse, due to her moonlighting as manager of the Tan-Hoegee Internet Caf, she the two (2) children mentioned in the anonymous letter showing [Judge Pacuribots] fatherhood would
would usually go home during office hours to catch some sleep. He believed that his good relationship with her soured when
be the best evidence adequate to prove the claim. With no-record-of-birth-certifications issued by the claims is very intelligent fall for such character. Thus, [Judge Pacuribots] claim of Ms. Villafrancas fatal
local civil city registrar and the office of the Civil Registrar General, no finding of guilt can be made. attraction and misdirected adoration of him becomes incredible.

RAPE AND SEXUAL HARASSMENTS PROVEN BEYOND REASONBLE DOUBT [Judge Pacuribot] asks why did Ms. Villafranca allow herself to be raped and victimized over a
prolonged period of time when there were people capable of helping or protecting her considering her
Ms. Villafrancas story of rape and repeated sexual harassments is credible. [Judge illustrious, although illegitimate, lineage? Further, if he committed sexual abuses on Ms. Villafranca at
Pacuribots] defense of denial and alibi failed to overcome complainants evidence. his rented room which was very near the police station, why did she not shout or report to the police?

On the rape in Butuan City motel, [Judge Pacuribot] insists on the improbability of his The fact that Ms. Villafranca is well connected in Gingoog City was actually not a boon but a
presence at the scene of the crime because he alleges that he does not go out at night in Gingoog City bane. It was on that account that she wanted to protect at all costs their family from any
without company for two (2) reasons that he is security conscious and that there is an NPA threat on scandal. [Judge Pacuribot] capitalized on it with his constant threat that he will bring scandal to them
his person. by making public her half naked picture taken in the motel. Her wanting to protect her family from
shame cowed her into silence and submission. Her testimony demonstrates that. It reads:
Firstly, [Judge Pacuribots] being security conscious is no proof of improbability in going to
Butuan City. So many criminals are security conscious yet they go out alone at night to commit a Atty. Kho:
crime. Hence, his being security conscious could not have deterred him to go out.
Q: A cellphone picture that is what you are afraid of?
Secondly, his claim of an NPA threat on his person is suspect. He claims that he learned he A: No, also his added threats that he is going to tell my mother-in-law, that he is going to destroy me,
was marked for NPA liquidation when he was given a copy of the affidavits of two (2) captured NPAs that I am nobody, that my family is no good, and that he would call me burikat, burikat. He
named Marvin Lumod and Rico Roselem marked as Exhibits 22 and 23 respectively. Unfortunately, would call me that name. Yawa ka. Animal ka. Sumunod ka nako.
these two (2) affidavits will not help [Judge Pacuribot]. Marvin E. Lumods Affidavit is dated 20 June
2006 while Rico A. Roselems Affidavit is dated 19 June 2006. The incident in Butuan City occurred on (Atty. Ignes Div. Clerk of Court interpreting:)
22 February 2005. The reason, therefore, in not wanting to go out at night without company on 22
February 2005 was still absent. [Judge Pacuribots] alibi that he was in Gingoog City on 22 February Burikat means a whore. You lewd devil, and you have to follow me.
2005 is backed up by the testimonies of SPO1 Ronald Espejon and Placido Abellana. But these two are
his loyals aside from the fact that Abellana, as his court aide, is also one whose employment is under xxxx
control and supervision of [Judge Pacuribot]. Thus, on that account, their testimony must be taken
with grain of salt. Their testimony cannot discredit the straightforward testimony of Ms. Villafranca on Q: Why did you allow him to do that to you?
how [Judge Pacuribot] deceived her twice on the purpose and on the place. He invited her for dinner A: Because he constantly tells me that he will develop that picture, he will show that to my mother-in-
but ravished her instead. They agreed on The Mansion in Gingoog City for the dinner, yet drove her to a law and then he will destroy me and he will create a scandal in Gingoog City.
Butuan City motel.
Q: Is it not that you are well-connected?
[Judge Pacuribot] asks: Why did Ms. Villafranca not report to the authorities that he sexually A: My husband is not around, Attorney.
assaulted her, if true, when she even reported to the police that her husband raped her on 26 May
2005? [Judge Pacuribot], to prove that Ms. Villafranca reported to the Police, presented Annex 3, a Q: And?
certified copy of an entry in the Police Blotter of Gingoog City. [Judge Pacuribot] should have noted that A: And what? How could I explain to them that I was there? How he took my picture? How am I going
in that certified copy, it is shown that it was his security officer, SPO1 Ronald Espejon, not Ms. to? I dont know. I just wanted to protect my family from my shame, from any scandal.And he
Villafranca, who had the report entered in the police blotter. The certification did not say that Ms. knew that it would be his hold to me. And he knew that I would be very careful with the
Villafranca appeared at all in the Police Station and had the incident blottered. All that Ms. Villafranca name that my family had, that is why he is constantly threatening me with such same
did was to ask Espejon for assistance because he was beaten by her husband. argument, you know: Ikaw and madaot ani. Ino ning huan tanan.

[Judge Pacuribot] claims that the administrative charge is Ms. Villafrancas reprisal against (Atty. Ignes:)
him. He claims that Ms. Villafranca appears to be fatally attracted to him and that he remains steadfast
in his refusal to reciprocate he atrociously immoral and misdirected adoration to him. He claims the You will be destroyed because of this.
administrative charge is proof of the fury of a woman scorned. On the fatal attraction [Judge Pacuribot]
cited the text messages, notes and cards he claims Ms. Villfranca sent him. Ms. Villaffranca explained Ms. Villafranca said she was scared of [Judge Pacuribots] person and how intimidating he
how he has always demanded of her to send him those, the reason for which she could not fathom could be and how evil he could be. She feared him because when she resists him he would tell
then. He would even have cards in his chamber and then summon her to sign them. When she resists, her madaot ka ani. (You will be destroyed because of this.) So she had to yield to him because she knew
he would let out a barge of insults and threats.[Judge Pacuribots] possession of those letters, cards, he could do what he threatens to do to destroy her. She points to the Order dated 6 June 2005
and text messages was adequately explained by Ms. Villafranca. in People v. Anude of how indeed he had destroyed her.

[Judge Pacuribots] theory of Ms. Villafrancas fatal attraction and misdirected adoration of [Judge Pacuribot] claims in his Comment and Consolidated Memorandum that Ms.
him is funny. He never disputed the testimony of the two (2) complainants that [Judge Pacuribot] is Villafranca is a very intelligent girl and with strong personality, reasons why it is improbable to make
reputed in the Hall of Justice as terror, that he is fond of humiliating people in public, using excoriating her a victim of rape and sexual harassments. And yet, when he issued the Anude Order, he made her
language on his victim, that female employees avoid him and veer away from him when they meet in the look like she is an irredeemable incompetent who cannot spell, who uses high falutin words in her Post
Hall of Justice. He also failed to specifically deny the claim of Ms. Villafranca that he housed his Sentence Investigation Report which she herself may not have understood, whose sentence construction
mistress, Sheryl Gamulo, in Motomul St., Gingoog City. He also failed to specifically deny her claim that is horrendous, her proper noun is written with small letter and that her adjectives or adverbs do not fit
he sired a ten (10) year old daughter in Ozamis City. Will all the dark side of his character publicly the things or persons described. [Judge Pacuribot] engages in double talk.
known, hardly would a twenty-nine (29) year-old, very pretty married woman who [Judge Pacuribot]
In the three paged Anude Order, [Judge Pacuribot] tried to show that Ms. Villafrancas While [Judge Pacuribot] committed physical assault on Ms. Villafranca on 25 May 2005 when
incompetence is toxically mixed with acute haughtiness because Ms. Villafranca refuses to consult the after summoning her to his chamber, he slapped her for not filing the petition to annul her marriage
judge or see him or refused to come to him even when summoned repeatedly. [Judge Pacuribot] should and hit her head with his clenched fist, the same is deemed absorbed by the offense of sexual
not gripe. He summoned Ms. Villafranca to his chamber on 25 May 2005. Once inside, [Judge harassment considering that brute force and intimidation had always been used by [Judge Pacuribot] to
Pacuribot] slapped her for not filing her petition for annulment of marriage and her head with his commit said offenses.
clenched fist. He planted on her neck kiss marks which he said he wanted her husband to see. When
Ms. Villafrancas husband saw them later, he beat her. At 2:00 am of 26 May 2005, SPO1 Ronald On the eight (8) occasions that [Judge Pacuribot] had carnal knowledge of Ms. Villafranca in
Espejon claims that Ms. Villafranca called him for assistance. It was the start of Ms. Villafrancas his rented room while [Judge Pacuribots] gun was always displayed on the table, implying the
growing defiance to [Judge Pacuribot], a fact that roiled him to point of issuing the Anude Order eleven commission of rape, the same are treated as sexual harassments only for Ms. Villafrancas failure to
(11) days later. state when they were committed and to provide details on those occasions.

[Judge Pacuribot] also belittled Ms. Villafranca repeatedly in said Order by referring to here Ms. Tans agony started with [Judge Pacuribots] deception. He made her believe he will bring
as MERE Clerk II/understudy Johanna M. Villafranca of Gingoog City Parole and Probation Office, her in his car to the bus terminal from Pryce Plaza Hotel, only to surprise her after riding with him by
calling her visibly inexperienced mere clerk, very raw, and that her report was atrocious. He ordered her bringing her to the City Lodge Motel to ravish her. Again, while about to leave City Lodge Motel, he
Post Sentence Investigation Report returned OFFICIALLY to the superior of Ms. Villafranca for proper deceived her again by telling her that he will bring her now to the bus terminal, only to bring her to the
corrections. [Judge Pacuribot] stated therein that Ms. Villafranca cannot be located in her office as she Discovery Hotel, so that he can ravish her some more later. Aside from deception, [Judge Pacuribot]
is always absent per information in her office. He stated that she should not be allowed to practice uses extravagantly another tool intimidation. Immediately after Ms. Tan settled herself on the front seat
making post sentence investigation in preparation for a desired promotion. on that infelicitous night of 20 October 2004, he immediately had his bag between them, the bag Ms.
Tan knows contains [Judge Pacuribots] gun.Also, he used on her an uncouth language in a loud voice,
The Anude Order is the classic proof of how Ms. Villafrancas disobedience to [Judge an irrational temper, a fake message of urgency to rattle Ms. Tan and make her jump to obedience
Pacuribot] ended up in her destruction Madaut ka ani. The Order destroyed her person and her without thinking. By the time Ms. Tan realized [Judge Pacuribots] repulsive intentions, it was too late to
career. Therein, he has beaten Ms. Villafrancas career to a pulp. Any superior of Ms. Villafranca who fight back because she had been trapped in the motel.
will read the Anude Order will block any desire of Ms. Villafranca for promotion which the latter was
aiming for at the time. She rued with tears how the Anude Order displaced her from her job. His repeated intimidating warnings on Ms. Tan that she could harm her if she disobeys were
indeed proven true. On 24 November 2004, Ms. Tan was severely and publicly scolded before her office
[Judge Pacuribots] repeated harping in said Order about Ms. Villafrancas failure to consult mates, a fact that was affirmed by Atty. Wilfredo Bibera. Her performance rating from Very Satisfactory
him and to come to him even when summoned, rendered more believable Ms. Villafrancas claim that slipped down to Satisfactory in 2005.
[Judge Pacuribot] would summon her to his chamber on the pretext of official matters and thereafter
subject her to his lasciviousness conduct. [Judge Pacuribot] uses force and cruelty on his hapless victims. When he ordered her to do
oral sex on him and she refused, he pulled her hair and pushed her face to his penis with an order:
[Judge Pacuribots] claim that Ms. Villafranca was part of Ms. Waniwans conspiracy was Suck it. Let it in till deep your throat. Let my penis reach your throat. He tightened his hold on her that
unproven. All the Sun Star pictures of Ms. Tans filing of the criminal complaint before the City she was frightened he might break her neck. In pain, she had to plead: Dont pull my hair, sir. Its very
Prosecutors Office did not show at any instance the face of Ms. Villafranca. Also, she made it clear in painful. What a sadist you are. While he was sucking her nipple and mashing her breasts, he was
her testimony that sometime in February 2006, when Ms. Tan filed her criminal complaint with the telling her: This is the breast of a lustful woman. While he was planting vile kisses on her neck to
Office of the City Prosecutor, two other media men called her up to see if they can get a copy of her produce chiquinini on her, he told her: I am going to plant lots of kiss marks here to let the people know
Affidavit-Complaint. But she refused to prevent the public from knowing what she went through. that you passed through my hands. Upon hearing it, Ms. Tan cried. Indeed, [Judge Pacuribot] is a
sadist beyond description capable of declaring his unconcealed intention to parade her to the public as
Indubitably, Ms. Villafrancas testimony and the anguish that came with it can only come his victim.
from a very sad experience. Even on the very delicate matters where [Judge Pacuribot] had stripped her
mercilessly of her dignity and womanhood, Ms. Villafranca was frank and straightforward, proof of how At the trial, when issues would touch on her tender feelings towards her family or when it
outraged she was when [Judge Pacuribot] had raped her and had sexually harassed her repeatedly. would recall [Judge Pacuribots] cruelty that crushed her respectability or the delicateness of her
womanhood, she would invariably sob on the witness stand. The way he ravished her and sexually
Her spontaneity in answering the cross examination questions, the anguish she revealed in harassed her showed how irrationally lewd or unbearably cruel he was.
court, her very natural and coherent way of telling how she was ravished and abused repeatedly as an
underling leaves no room to doubt her testimony and the things she said under oath in her Affidavit Even when Ms. Tan was already abused, still the thought that he is her superior had never
Complaint, her Rejoinder, and her Sworn Statement. Her tears could only be the clues to her righteous been lost to her. Ms. Tan has always addressed him Sir.
indignation against the indignities she suffered from [Judge Pacuribot]. Indeed, the conviction to reveal
the truth must have been so strong that she had to come back to the country hurdling employment Why did you bring me here, Sir? Didnt I tell you I will just take a taxi to Agora Terminal?
restrictions and the difficulty of not having saved enough yet for her trip back just to testify in this case.
Dont pull my hair, Sir. It is very painful. What a sadist you are.
[Judge Pacuribots] claim that her administrative charge is a fabrication is unacceptable
against the avalanche of Ms. Villafrancas evidence. The Investigator cannot find any valid reason to You are so rude, Sir, we work in the same office yet you disgrace me.
sustain [Judge Pacuribots] denial and alibi as a defense.
Sir, I just take a taxi to Agora.
[Judge Pacuribot] is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the charge of rape in Butuan City and
guilty of multiple sexual harassment committed inside respondent judges chamber and in his rented [Judge Pacuribots] moral ascendancy over Ms. Tan was an undeniable factor to her blind
room in Gingoog City. His claim that Ms. Villafrancas charge is a fabrication is unacceptable submission to his depravity.
considering the avalanche of evidence against him.
[Judge Pacuribot] pointed to Ms. Tans inefficiency, her not being a happily married woman,
that her husband is a wife beater and a violent man, that she is in financial straits who even run to him
for help. It is precisely these weaknesses, personal problems, and economic difficulties which added to difficulties, she is the ideal prey. Her fear of losing a source of livelihood has made her behave
Ms. Tans inability to fight back and made her so submissive. She was the ideal prey. As she was made submissive to him.
to admit during her cross examination, she is the lone breadwinner in the family with two (2) children
to support. [Judge Pacuribots] alibi that on October 20 and 21, 2004, he was in Gingoog City and it was
impossible for him to be in Cagayan de Oro City on those days does not impress. It fails to establish the
[Judge Pacuribot] challenges Ms. Tans claim of rape and repeated sexual harassments by impossibility of his presence at the scene of the crime. With the convenience of his car, [Judge
arguing, to wit: Pacuribot] could travel and be in different places, one after another in a short time.After all, the
incidents on October 20 and 21, 2004 were all beyond office hours.
Why did she not refuse to go with respondent when he allegedly fetch her at Pryce Plaza Hotel on 20 October
2004 and instead go voluntarily with him? To support [Judge Pacuribots] claim that he was present on those days in Gingoog City, he
presented his Certificate of Service for the month which shows that he was only on leave on October 4
At the Discovery Hotel, if indeed she stayed and slept there all by herself, why did she not escape or call for help to 7, 2004.
and instead wait for respondent to arrive the next morning? So that he can sexually assault her
again? Or why did she fail to ask for help from any of the hotel staff or from anybody while in the Noteworthy is the testimony of Ms. Tan stating that when she met [Judge Pacuribot] on
Discovery Hotel? Monday in their office after the rape incident, the latter told her not to file anymore her leave for
October 20 and 21, 2004 and bragging, Ako na gud ni, kinsay magbuot nako? (It is me, who will prevail
If she immediately reported to the police authorities the maltreatment of her son by her husband, why did she not against me). If he can forego the filing of application for leave for his subordinates, much more is there
complain of the alleged incidents of sexual harassments and acts of lasciviousness she experienced reason for him not to submit an application for leave for his own absence reason why his Certificate of
from the respondent? Service for the month of October is not reliable.

Despite her claims of having been subjected to rape, sexual harassment and acts of lasciviousness, why did she On 21 October 2004 a Thursday, all schedule of hearing were cancelled and [Judge
gleefully socialize with respondent during their Christmas party and respondents birthday celebration? Pacuribot] said that they were cancelled the week before. Was the cancellation the week before due to
the fact that [Judge Pacuribot] received the notice of their Masonic Conference scheduled on October 20
Ms. Tan had only two (2) options in Cagayan de Oro City? It was [Judge Pacuribot] who informed Ms. Tan of that Masonic Conference
that evening of October 20. Ms. Tan could not just have invented that idea of a Masonic
Lose her job by promptly fighting back at [Judge Pacuribot]; or Conference. That is the reason why the cancellation of hearing on October 21 casts doubt on [Judge
Pacuribots] alibi.
Keep her job tolerating him with muffled defiance.
Mere denial cannot prevail over the positive testimony of a witness. A mere denial, like alibi,
is a self-serving negative evidence, which cannot be accorded greater evidentiary weight than the
Ms. Tan had correctly assessed the far reaches of his influence. When she was looking for a declaration of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters. As between a categorical testimony
lawyer to help her file the administrative charge, no lawyer in Gingoog City would like to accept her that rings of truth on one hand, and a bare denial on the other, the former is generally held to prevail.
case. She had to look for one in Cagayan de Oro City. She was thus correct to wonder while she was in
Discovery Hotel whether anyone there would come her aid if [Judge Pacuribot] will start harming her. [Judge Pacuribot] cites Ms. Tans merry behavior during the Christmas Party and his
Birthday Party in Cagayan de Oro City as hardly the behavior of a rape victim or a victim or repeated
Ms. Tan as a victim cannot be put in the same footing as other rape victims where the sexual harassments. Normally, such a victim is expected to behave with animosity and grievance toward
offender holds no control on the victims survival and has no moral ascendancy over her. Fighting back the offender. Unfortunately for her, she cannot afford to display such animosity and grievance unless it
immediately against the offender is a rational move. In the case at bench, [Judge Pacuribots] moral is at the cost of her job. If she cannot defy his demands when he victimizes her, shouldnt her economic
ascendancy and influence over her was a given. It was that together with his flair to humiliate people realities prompt her to win her war with friendship? [Judge Pacuribot] should be reminded that in
and his blackmails which made her succumb to his sexual abuses. Ms. Tan values her job; in fact, she sexual harassments under Section 3 of RA No. 7877, an offense is committed regardless of whether the
consciously keeps track of her performance ratings. An underling who believes that her immediate demand, request or requirement for submission is accepted by the subject of said act.
superior wields control over her continued employment or sudden separation from service will cower in
fear to the point of tolerating the indignities committed on her. As [Judge Pacuribot] impressed on her, Ms. Tans testimony was clear, frank and consistent. Her candid and clear-cut account of how
looking for a new job at her age is not easy. respondent judge had been deceitful and intimidating in his dealings with her that evening has inspired
belief. And throughout her testimony, she succeeded in revealing how [Judge Pacuribot] took full
At the time that [Judge Pacuribot] was taking advantage of Ms. Tan, [Judge Pacuribots] advantage of his moral ascendancy over her as his underling, destroying whatever resistance she could
proverbial explosives temper and short fuse were being put to good use to terrorize her with remarkable put up by belittling her, outwitting her and insulting her to reduce her to submission.
frequency. That dark spot in his character which has been brought up front in other peoples
consciousness in the months following his arrival in the Hall of Justice as a terror is enough There is no standard reaction of a victim in a rape incident. In fact, not every victim of rape
intimidation. To Ms. Tan, to submit now and complain later is a good, albeit temporary, shelter against can be expected to act in conformity with the expectations of anyone who has not been subjected to the
immediate public humiliation or job separation. Thus, Ms. Tans failure to report to the police is same danger at any time. The workings of a human mind placed under emotional stress are
understandable. unpredictable; people react differently.

Also, [Judge Pacuribot] seems to have a masterful skill on how to exploit his victims Investigator, thus, finds [Judge Pacuribot] guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the charges of
weaknesses. Ms. Tan is a stenographer, a position she has difficulty coping with because as [Judge rape committed on October 20 and 21, 2004 in Cagayan de Oro City, and guilty of sexual harassments
Pacuribot] noted, her spelling, her grammar and her knowledge of the English language are not at par committed in respondent judges chamber in RTC, Branch 27, Hall of Justice, Gingoog City against Ms.
with the demands of her job. He has warned her of her inefficiency and of staying late in the evening as Sherlita O. Tan.
manager of the internet caf. He pointed to her joining without prior SC permission a trip to Hongkong
on a weekend in a packaged tour for stenographers in Cagayan de Oro City.Thus, with such faults and
One can see in these two cases a common strategy used by [Judge Pacuribot] in achieving his Nor can we accept the argument that the rape was improbable due to the presence of
vile purposes. He used deceit on Ms. Tan. He used deceit on Ms. Villafranca. He used intimidation on Nonilunas sons by her side. This Court has repeatedly declared that lust is no respecter of time and
Ms. Tan and he used it on Ms. Villafranca. He makes use of a substantial blackmail against both. place and rape can be committed even in places where people congregate: in parks, along the roadside,
within the school premises, inside the house where there are several occupants and even in the same
In the case of People v. Fernandez, the Supreme Court had occasion to instruct us on the room where other members of the family are sleeping. x x x.
effects of intimidation, thus:
[Judge Pacuribots] defense of improbability cannot, therefore, be accepted.
Physical resistance need not be established in rape when threats and intimidation are
employed, and the victim submits herself to her attackers because of fear. Besides, physical resistance [Judge Pacuribot] declares that the charges against him are complainants tools of revenge
is not the sole test to determine whether a woman involuntarily succumbed to the lust of an against him. He cites his Order in People v. Anude and his letter reporting Ms. Villafrancas negligence as
accused. Rape victims show no uniform reaction. Some may offer strong resistance while others may be reasons from Ms. Villafrancas anger and resentment. Against Ms. Tan, he cites his warning against her
too intimidated to offer any resistance at all. The use of a weapon, by itself, is strongly suggestive of inefficiency as stenographer, her moonlighting in her internet cafhis refusal to grant her a loan
force or at least intimidation, and threatening the victim with a gun is sufficient to bring her into of P200,000.00 or being her guarantor.
submission. Thus, the law does not impose upon the private complainant the burden of proving
resistance. In the case of Simbajon v. Esteban, the Supreme Court in believing the testimony of the
complainant saying:
[Judge Pacuribot] computed nine (9) months, twenty-one (21) days as interval from the time
Ms. Villafranca claimed she was raped on 22 February 2005 to 13 December 2005 when she filed the The investigating judge correctly disregarded the respondents imputation of ill motive on the
complaint. Ms. Tan also filed her administratively charge only thirteen (13) months of being his part of complainant. No married woman would cry sexual assault, subject herself and her family to
superiors prey. Did delay cast doubt on the truthfulness of their claim? public scrutiny and humiliation, and strain her marriage in order to perpetuate a falsehood.

In the case of People v. Aguero, Jr., where there was a two (2) years delay in the filing of the Indeed, it is against human nature for a married woman to fabricate a story that would not
complaint for rape, the Supreme Court said: only expose herself to a lifetime of dishonor, but destry her family as well. Besides, there is no sufficient
evidence of any ill-motive imputable to Mesdames Tan and Villafranca to narrate anything other than
As to the alleged two-year delay in the filing of the complaint, suffice it to say, that their respective desire to tell the truth and seek redress for the wrong inflicted on each of them. For the
complainants failure to promptly report the incident does not sufficiently detract from her credibility kind of reputation [Judge Pacuribot] has in the Hall of Justice and by his behavior where he projects
and cannot be taken against her. It has been held that a rape victims delay or hesitation in reporting himself as full of influence and power, these two women will be the last to even cross the path of
the crime does not destroy the truth of the complaint and is not an indication of deceit as it is common respondent judge without just cause. Thus, the presumption applies that, one will not act and
for a rape victim to prefer silence for fear for her aggressor and lack of courage to face the public stigma prevaricate and cause damnation to one who brought him no harm or injury.
of having been sexually abused.
[Judge Pacuribots] theory that all these charges are part of the sinister plan to oust [Judge
In the case of People v. Espinosa, where the criminal complaint was filed about one and a half Pacuribot] from office at the instigation of Ms. Waniwan is far fetched.
years from commission of the offense, the Supreme Court said:
On 8 December 205, or earlier, when Ms. Tan filed her complaint, there was no Mr. Waniwan
x x x Delay in reavealing the commission of rape is not an indication of a fabricated to speak of. Mr. Waniwan only materialized in February 2006 when she filed the same charges against
charge. Many victims of rape never complain or file criminal charges against the rapist, for they prefer [Judge Pacuribot] before the City Prosecutor of Gingoog City. Media men at the slightest clue of a scoop
to silently bear the ignominy and pain, rather than reveal their shame to the world or risk the offenders hound without let up those who could be sources of information. When the media men became nosey, it
making good on his threats. This is understandable, considering the inbred modesty of Filipinas and was already in February 2006 when Ms. Tan filed the case in the Prosecutors Office. By then, the filing
their aversion to the public disclosure of matters affecting their honor. of the administrative charge of Ms. Tan and Ms. Villafranca was fait accompli. In the case of Ms.
Villafranca, the Waniwan theory is patently absurd. Two media men were eager in February 2006 to
Delay in the filing of the charges does not necessarily undermine the credibility of witnesses. take hold of Ms. Villafrancas affidavit but she refused them staunchly. It is incredible that two (2)
married women would prevaricate against a person who has power and control over their jobs at the
The Supreme Court has deemed delay as justified when there is fear of reprisal, social mere urging of Mr. Waniwan is irrelevant. In People v. Mortales, the Supreme Court, speaking through
humiliation, familial considerations and economic reasons. In the case of Ms. Tan, her tormentor is her now Chief Justice Renato Puno, appositely said:
superior who constantly dangles his influence and power over her and her job. As regards Ms.
Villafranca, the threat to destroy her, her family and her familys good name was ever present; thus, No married woman would subject herself to public scrutiny and humiliation to foist a false
haunting her emotionally and psychologically. The delay in reporting the rape cases committed by charge of rape. Neither would she take the risk of being alienated from her husband and her family. The
[Judge Pacuribot] has been justified. fact that the victim resolved to face the ordeal and relate in public what many similarly situated would
have kept secret evinces that she did so to obtain justice. Her willingness and courage to face the
On the repeated sexual harassments and violence committed separately on the persons of authorities as well as to submit to medical examination are mute but eloquent confirmation of her
Ms. Tan and Ms. Villafranca within the chamber of [Judge Pacuribot], the latter deems them improbable sincere resolve.
because of the situation in his chamber. He points out that outside his chamber is the staff room and
there is a glassed window that divides them. Ms. Villafranca cited the incident on 13 October 2005 Finally, it may be true there are minor and trivial discrepancies in Ms. Tans testimony, but
where [Judge Pacuribot] did lascivious acts on her inside the chamber in the presence of Placido they neither impair the integrity of the victims evidence as a whole nor reflect negatively on the witness
Abellana, the court aide, and the latters just turned his back and pretended to see nothing. honesty. Such inconsistencies, which might have been caused by the natural fickleness of memory, even
tend to strengthen, rather than weaken the credibility of the witness, for they shake off the suspicion of
In the case of People v. Lavador, the rapist-appellant argued that rape was impossible due to a rehearsed testimony.
the presence of the victims son on her side. The Supreme Court said:
In sum, [Judge Pacuribot] should be made administratively liable for the charges against him
in A.M. Nos. RTJ-06-1982 and RTJ-06-1983.
would ordinarily suffice to support a finding of guilt, the rule is a bit different
Blacks Law Dictionary defines integrity to mean soundness or moral principle and where the proceedings involve judges charged with grave offense. Administrative
character. It is said to be synonymous with probity, honesty, and uprightness. The evidence adduced proceedings against judges are, by nature, highly penal in character and are to be
indubitably show that [Judge Pacuribot] lacks the honesty in dealing with his two subordinates governed by the rules applicable to criminal cases. The quantum of proof required
herein. Not only did he fail to live up to the high moral standard expected of a member of the Judiciary to support the administrative charges or to establish the ground/s for the removal
but he has transgressed the norms of morality expected of every person. of a judicial officer should thus be more than substantial; they must be proven
beyond reasonable doubt. To borrow from Reyes v. Mangino:
[Judge Pacuribots] offenses in raping his victims and sexually harassing them were
committed with aggravation. He knew they were married but instead of helping strengthen or protect Inasmuch as what is imputed against respondent Judge connotes a
their marriage, he tried his best to destroy their marital bonds. misconduct so grave that, if proven, would entail dismissal from the
bench, the quantum of proof required should be more than substantial.
Indeed, [Judge Pacuribots] reprehensible acts amount to gross misconduct, and immorality
the depravity of which is quite rare. They undoubtedly violated the Code of Judicial Conduct.They are It is doctrinal that the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt in criminal law does not mean
classified as severe charges under Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court. such a degree of proof as to exclude the possibility of error and produce absolute certainty.Only moral
certainty is required or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind. The
Under Section 22 of the same Rules, any of the following sanctions may be imposed if the evidence adduced here overwhelmingly established moral certainty that respondent judge raped and
respondent is guilty of a serious charge: sexually harassed complainant Mesdames Tan and Villafranca on separate and repeated occasions.

1. Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may xxxx
determine, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office, including
government owned or controlled corporations. Provided, however, That the forfeiture of benefits shall in Having found [Judge Pacuribot] guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offenses of rape and
no case include accrued leave credits; repeated sexual harassments, the penalty of dismissal from service with forfeiture of retirement
benefits except accrued leave credits is hereby recommended.[11]
2. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more that three (3) but not
exceeding six (6) months; or
We agree in the recommendation of the Investigating Justice.
3. A fine of more than P20,000.00 but not exceeding P40,000.00.
We have reviewed the record of this case and are thereby satisfied that the findings and recommendations of the
In Simbajon v. Esteban, the respondent Judge Esteban, for his sexual advances on one of his Investigating Justice are in truth adequately supported by the evidence and are in accord with applicable legal principles. We
female subordinates which consisted of grabbing her, kissing her all over her face, embracing her and therefore resolve to adopt such findings and recommendations relative to the administrative liability of the respondent judge
touching her right breast was preventively suspended for the duration of the investigation until further for grave misconduct and immorality.
notice AND was subsequently dismissed from service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits except
leave credits and with prejudice to reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, The integrity of the Judiciary rests not only upon the fact that it is able to administer justice, but also upon the
including government owned or controlled corporations. perception and confidence of the community that the people who run the system have administered justice. At times, the
strict manner by which we apply the law may, in fact, do justice but may not necessarily create confidence among the people
Herein [Judge Pacuribots] conduct is far worse that those of Judge Esteban. [Judge that justice, indeed, has been served. Hence, in order to create such confidence, the people who run the judiciary,
Pacuribots] acts indubitably went far beyond the bounds of decency and morality. He raped and particularly judges and justices, must not only be proficient in both the substantive and procedural aspects of the law, but
repeatedly sexually assaulted, not only one, but two female, married subordinates. He did not only more importantly, they must possess the highest integrity, probity, and unquestionable moral uprightness, both in their
violate his victims womanhood and their dignities as persons but he aimed to weaken, then eventually public and in their private lives. Only then can the people be reassured that the wheels of justice in this country run with
destroy two families. By such act, [Judge Pacuribot] disgraced his noble office, as well as the judiciary, fairness and equity, thus creating confidence in the judicial system.
in the eyes of the public. He has shown himself unworthy of the judicial robe.
With the avowed objective of promoting confidence in the Judiciary, the Code of Judicial Conduct has the following
When the fading sobs of two tearful women finally died down and their copious tears dried in provisions:
the numerous hankies that absorbed them what emerges is a figure that unmistakably exudes the
abominable torpedo of marital bonds, a practicing deceiver and a merciless pervert whose face is
unrecognizable as he is hooded with a judicial robe that helps conceal his dark side.His family, wife and Canon I
children may have all been innocently kept away from knowing this dark side and to spare them from
Rule 1.01: A Judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence.
the afflictive and crushing humiliation of having a husband and father of such a character, may the
foregoing description be a for your eyes only to the members of the highest court and the court Canon II
administrator.
Rule 2.00: A Judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all
activities.
Thus, Investigating Justice Dy-Liacco Flores recommended:
Rule 2.01: A judge should so behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the
This finding is made with full awareness of the recent Supreme Court ruling on quantum of integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
evidence required in the cases at bench. In the 7 August 2007 case of Alquizar v. Carpio, et al., the
Supreme Court pronounced that:
We have repeatedly reminded members of the Judiciary to so conduct themselves as to be beyond reproach and
x x x. In administrative or disciplinary proceedings, the burden of proving the suspicion, and to be free from any appearance of impropriety in their personal behavior, not only in the discharge of their
allegations in the complaint rests on the complainant. While substantial evidence official duties but also in their everyday lives. For no position exacts a greater demand on the moral righteousness and
uprightness of an individual than a seat in the Judiciary. Judges are mandated to maintain good moral character and are at damage the integrity of the Judiciary, fomenting distrust in the system. Hence, his acts deserve no less than the severest
all times expected to observe irreproachable behavior so as not to outrage public decency. We have adhered to and set forth form of disciplinary sanction -- dismissal from the service.
the exacting standards of morality and decency, which every member of the judiciary must observe. [12] A magistrate is judged
not only by his official acts but also by his private morals, to the extent that such private morals are externalized. [13] He On his part, Judge Pacuribot put up the defense of denial, attributing ill feelings and bad motives to Ms. Tan and
should not only possess proficiency in law but should likewise possess moral integrity for the people look up to him as a Ms. Villafranca.
virtuous and upright man.
Already beyond cavil is the evidentiary rule that mere denial does not overturn the relative weight and probative
We explained the rationale for requiring judges to possess impeccable moral integrity, thus: value of an affirmative assertion. Denial is inherently a weak defense. To be believed, it must be buttressed by strong
evidence of non-culpability; otherwise, such denial is purely self-serving and is with no evidentiary value. Like the defense
The personal and official actuations of every member of the Bench must be beyond reproach of alibi, denial crumbles in the light of positive declarations. [19] Denial cannot prevail over the positive identification of the
and above suspicion. The faith and confidence of the public in the administration of justice cannot be accused by the witnesses who had no ill motive to testify falsely. Moreover, in the case at bar, there is utter lack of basis to
maintained if a judge who dispenses it is not equipped with the cardinal judicial virtue of moral sustain the purported ill motives attributed by Judge Pacuribot to the complainants. The Investigating Justice correctly
integrity, and if he obtusely continues to commit an affront to public decency. In fact, moral integrity is disregarded Judge Pacuribots imputation. No married woman would cry sexual assault, subject herself and her family to
more than a virtue; it is a necessity in the judiciary.[14] public scrutiny and humiliation, and strain her marriage in order to perpetrate a falsehood. [20] The only plausible and
satisfactory explanation for us is that the charges against respondent are true.
Judge Pacuribot and his witnesses failed to overcome the evidence presented by the complainants.
We also stressed in Castillo v. Calanog, Jr.[15] that:
Let it be remembered that respondent has moral ascendancy and authority over complainants, who are mere
The code of Judicial Ethics mandates that the conduct of a judge must be free of [even] a employees of the court of which he is an officer. His actuations are aggravated by the fact that complainants are his
whiff of impropriety not only with respect to his performance of his judicial duties, but also to his subordinates over whom he exercises control and supervision, he being the executive judge. He took advantage of his
behavior outside his sala and as a private individual. There is no dichotomy of morality: a public official position and power in order to carry out his lustful and lascivious desires. Instead of acting in loco parentis over his
is also judged by his private morals. The Code dictates that a judge, in order to promote public subordinate employees, he was even the one who preyed on them, taking advantage of his superior position. [21]
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, must behave with propriety at all times. As
we have very recently explained, a judges official life can not simply be detached or separated from his In sum, we concur with the Investigating Justice in holding that complainants were able to muster the requisite
personal experience. Thus: quantum of evidence to prove their charges against Judge Pacuribot. By having sexual intercourse with Ms Tan and Ms.
Villafranca, his subordinates, respondent violated the trust reposed on his high office and completely failed to live up to the
Being the subject of constant public scrutiny, a judge should freely and noble ideals and strict standards of morality required of members of the Judiciary.
willingly accept restrictions on conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by
the ordinary citizen. Having tarnished the image of the Judiciary, we hold, without any hesitation, that Judge Pacuribot be meted out
the severest form of disciplinary sanction - dismissal from the service for the charges of sexual harassment against him.
A judge should personify integrity and exemplify honest public service.
The personal behavior of a judge, both in the performance of official duties and in
We, however, find the complaints of the Anonymous Letter Writers without merit. Beyond the bare allegations that
private life should be above suspicion.
Judge Pacuribot maintained an illicit relationship with a certain Sheryl Gamulo and fathered two children with her, there is
nothing in the records that would indicate that he, indeed, committed the crime charged. We have stressed time and again
that allegations must be proven by sufficient evidence. Mere allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof. [22] The
Judge Pacuribot miserably failed to measure up to these exacting standards. He behaved in a manner
letter dated 4 April 2005 from concerned citizens asking for the relief of Judge Pacuribot on the grounds that he has been
unbecoming a judge and model of moral uprightness. He betrayed the people's high expectations and diminished the esteem
terrorizing and harassing most of the employees has been rendered moot by the disposition of these cases.
in which they hold the Judiciary in general.
All those who don the judicial robe must always instill in their minds the exhortation that [T]he administration of
It is well settled that in administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving by substantial evidence justice is a mission. Judges, from the lowest to the highest levels are the gems in the vast government bureaucracy, beacon
the allegations in his complaint. Substantial evidence is that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might lights looked upon as the embodiments of all that is right, just and proper, the ultimate weapons against injustice and
accept as adequate to support a conclusion. [16] In the cases at bar, the complainants Ms. Tan and Ms. Villafranca were able oppression. The Judiciary hemorrhages every time a Judge himself transgresses the very law he is sworn to uphold and
to adequately substantiate their allegations. defend at all costs. This should not come to pass.[23]

WHEREFORE, Judge Rexel M. Pacuribot is hereby DISMISSED from the service for gross misconduct and
We find totally unacceptable the temerity of Judge Pacuribot in subjecting the complainants, both his immorality prejudicial to the best interests of the service, with forfeiture of all retirement benefits and with prejudice to re-
subordinates, to his unwelcome sexual advances and acts of lasciviousness. Over long periods of time, he persistently employment in any branch of the government, including government-owned and controlled corporations, except the money
solicited sexual favors from Ms.Tan and Ms. Villafranca. When they refused, he made their working conditions so unbearable value of accrued earned leave credits. Respondent judge is hereby ORDERED to cease and desist immediately from
that Ms. Tan was eventually forced to transfer to another office and Ms. Villafranca to seek employment abroad. Certainly, no rendering any order or decision; or from continuing any proceedings, in any case whatsoever, effective upon receipt of a copy
judge has a right to solicit sexual favors from any court employee, even from a woman of loose morals. [17] Judge of this Decision. Lastly, respondent judge is REQUIRED to SHOW CAUSE why he should not be disbarred as a member of
Pacuribots conduct indubitably bears the marks of impropriety and immorality. Not only do his actions fall short of the the Philippine Bar.
exacting standards for members of the judiciary; they stand no chance of satisfying the standards of decency even of society
at large. His severely abusive and outrageous acts, which are an affront to women, unmistakably constitute sexual Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Department of Justice for appropriate action.
harassment because they necessarily x x x result in an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for the employee[s]. [18]
This Decision is immediately executory. The Office of the Court Administrator shall see to it that a copy of this
We need not detail again all the lewd and lustful acts committed by Judge Pacuribot in order to conclude that he resolution be immediately served on respondent.
is indeed unworthy to remain in office. The narration of the Investigating Justice was sufficiently thorough and
complete. The audacity under which the sexual violation of the complainants were committed and the seeming impunity with
which they were perpetrated by Judge Pacuribot shock our sense of morality. All roads lead us to the conclusion that Judge
SO ORDERED.
Pacuribot has failed to behave in a manner that will promote confidence in the Judiciary. His actuations, if condoned, would
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

EN BANC

Attys. ROWENA V. GUANZON and PEARL R. A.M. No. RTJ-07-2038


MONTESINO of the Gender Watch (formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 05-2250-RTJ)
Coalition, Assistant City Prosecutor ROSANNA
SARIL-TOLEDANO, Bacolod City, and Atty. ERFE
DEL CASTILLO-CALDIT,
Present:
Complainants,
On March 14, 2006, the Court referred the case to Justice Rebecca De Guia-Salvador of the Court
PUNO, C.J. of Appeals for investigation, report and recommendation.

QUISUMBING, On July 13, 2006, Justice Salvador set the case for preliminary conference. Only
complainant Guanzon and respondent judge appeared. Because of the distance between Bacolod and Manila,
YNARES-SANTIAGO, the parties found it quite difficult and expensive to attend subsequent hearings of the case. Respondent
submitted a pre-trial brief proposing stipulation of facts. Complainant Guanzon, for herself and in
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
representation of complainant Montesino, filed a preliminary conference brief enumerating the charges in
- versus - CARPIO, their complaint and the probable witnesses and documentary evidence they intended to present in support
thereof. Later, complainant Guanzon submitted an affidavit of complainant Toledano, who was then a
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, resident of the United States, imputing bias and abuse of authority to respondent for granting bail in
Criminal Cases Nos. 03-24800 and 03-24801. Complainant Calditexecuted a letter withdrawing her
CORONA, complaint against respondent.

CARPIO MORALES,
In view of the parties failure to attend the proceedings, Justice Salvador resolved the case on the
AZCUNA,
bases of the pleadings and documents filed by the parties.
TINGA,
On March 5, 2007, Justice Salvador submitted her Report and Recommendation reproduced
CHICO-NAZARIO,
hereunder:
GARCIA,

Judge ANASTACIO C. RUFON, Regional Trial Court, VELASCO, JR., The Issue
Branch 52, Bacolod City,
NACHURA, and WHETHER OR NOT SUFFICIENT CAUSE EXISTS TO HOLD
Respondent.
REYES, JJ. RESPONDENT ADMINISTRATIVELY LIABLE FOR VIOLATION OF
THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR JUDGES AND THE RULE ON
GENDER-FAIR LANGUAGE, USE OF FOUL OR OBSCENE AND
DISCRIMINATORY LANGUAGE, DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
Promulgated:
LAWYERS AND LITIGANTS AS WELL AS UNETHICAL CONDUCT.

Findings and Conclusions


October 19, 2007
x-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x A careful scrutiny of the record shows sufficient ground for a reprimand and an
admonition to respondent to act with utmost temperance, sensitivity and circumspection
DECISION in the discharge of his functions.

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: xxxxxxxxx

Concededly, complainants in administrative proceedings have the burden of


proving by substantial evidence the allegations in their complaint (Araos v. Luna-Pison, 378
For our resolution is the February 11, 2005 letter-complaint filed by complainants Atty. Rowena V.
[1]

SCRA 246).The fact that, owing to the unavailability of the parties, no hearings were
Guanzon and Atty. Pearl R. Montesino of the Gender Watch Coalition, Assistant City Prosecutor Rosanna
conducted in the case to thresh out the issues presented by their various pleadings and
Saril-Toledano, Bacolod City, and Atty. Erfe del Castillo-Caldit against respondent Judge Anastacio
incidents did not, however, totally discount the existence of factual bases for the charges
C. Rufon of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, same city, for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and
the Rule on Gender-Fair Language, use of foul, or obscene and discriminatory language, discrimination leveled against respondent. In her November 8, 2006 affidavit (pp. 169-170, Rollo), Cynthia
against women lawyers and litigants and unethical conduct. Bagtas-Serios significantly gave the following account of respondents deportment which
goes into the heart of the complaint, viz.:

In his comment[2] dated January 20, 2006, respondent judge vehemently denied the charges. xxxxxxxxx
In one of the first hearings of my case, when Atty. Rowena WHEREFORE, premises considered, the REPRIMAND of respondent is
Guanzon was not assisting me but another counsel, I was shocked when recommended alongside a stern admonition that he should, henceforth, take care to act
Judge Anastacio Rufon, inside the court with so many people present, with utmost temperance, sensitivity and circumspection in the discharge of his functions.
said to me next time you see your husband, open your arms and legs. I
felt humiliated and insulted, and was glad that the hearing did not
proceed because the respondent was not present.
We sustain the finding of Justice Salvador that respondent judge uttered in open court intemperate
The following day, I called Atty. Rowena Guanzon and reported and obscene language injurious to the sensitivity and feelings of complainants who are all women.
Judge Rufons foul language and intolerable conduct to her (p.
170, ibid.).

xxxxxxxxx Judicial decorum requires a magistrate to be at all times temperate in his language, [3] refraining
from inflammatory or excessive rhetoric or from resorting to language of vilification. [4] It is very essential that
Respondent had, of course, taken great pains to refute the foregoing allegations they live up to the high standards demanded by Section 6, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for
(pp. 215-219, ibid.), complete with transcript of stenographic notes taken in Civil Case No. the Philippine Judiciary[5]which provides:
99-10985 (pp. 220-240, ibid.) as well as the orders issued in the case (pp. 241-
243, ibid.). In denying the charges leveled against him, however, appropriate note may be
taken of the fact that respondents January 20, 2006 comment admitted his use of frank
SEC. 6. Judges shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the
language in court when exhorting litigants to settle their differences and his resort to
court and be patient, dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers
strong and colorful words whenever he has had a drink or two, albeit after office hours
and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity. x x x
(pp. 81-82, ibid.). Even more significantly, the July 12, 2006 letter of complainant Caldit
which was attached as Annex 4 to respondents own Pre-Trial Brief contains the following
tell-tale assertions, viz.:
In Fidel v. Caraos,[6] we held that although respondent judge may attribute his intemperate language
xxxxxxxxx to human frailty, his noble position in the bench nevertheless demands from him courteous speech in and
out of the court. Judges are demanded to be always temperate, patient and courteous both in conduct and in
Respondent should bear in mind that a judge holds a position in the community language.[7]
that is looked up to with honor and privilege (Ramos v. Barot 420 SCRA 406). Although
judges are subject to human limitations (Misajon v. Feranil, 440 SCRA 298), it cannot be
over-emphasized that no position is more demanding as regards moral righteousness and
uprightness of any individual than a seat on the Bench (Resngit-Marquez v. Llamas, Jr., Thus, we declare respondent judge guilty of vulgar and unbecoming conduct considered a light
385 SCRA 6). Because a judge is always looked upon as being the visible representation of charge under Section 10(1), Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court, punishable under Section 11(C) of the
law and, from him, the people draw much of their will and awareness to obey legal same Rule, by:
mandates (Garcia v. Bueser, 425 SCRA 93), it has been rightfully ruled that moral integrity
is more than a cardinal virtue in the judiciary; it is a necessity (Office of the Court
Administrator v. Sayo, Jr., 381 SCRA 659).
1. A fine of not less than P1,000.00, but not exceeding P10,000.00 and/or

In closing, it would be remiss not to remind respondent of the fact that all judges
2. Censure
should always observe courtesy and civility (Fineza v. Aruelo, 385 SCRA 339) and also be
temperate, patient and courteous both in conduct and language (Fidel v. Caraos, 394
SCRA 47), especially to those appearing before him (Lastimosa-Dalawampu v. Yrastorsa, 3. Reprimand
Sr. 422 SCRA 26). The exacting standards of conduct demanded from judges are designed
to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary (Imbang v. 4. Admonition with warning
Del Rosario, 421 SCRA 523). In view of the fact that public confidence in the judiciary is
very easily eroded by irresponsible and improper conduct of judges (Navarro v. Tormis, 428
SCRA 37), respondent should remember to avoid improprieties and the appearance of
impropriety in all of his activities (Veloso v. Caminade, 434 SCRA 7). ACCORDINGLY, respondent Judge Anastacio C. Rufon is found guilty of vulgar and unbecoming
conduct and is FINED in the amount of P5,000.00, with a warning that a repetition of a similar offense in
Recommendation the future shall be dealt with more severely.

SO ORDERED.
On August 25, 1975, the Castros filed their memoranda in the two cases. Tibay failed to submit his memorandum and the
cases were deemed submitted for decision on September 9, 1975.

On January 29, 1976, complainant herein addressed a letter to this Court complaining and charging respondent with delay
ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ
in deciding CAR Case No. 1794-TP'72 (the Castro case). The said letter was referred to the respondent on February 12, 1976,
Associate Justice for comment and in the latter's 2nd Indorsement dated February 26, 1976, he submits "the information that CAR Case No.
1794-TP'72 entitled "Bonifacio Castro, et al., versus Alfonso Cruz, et al." had been decided on September 15, 1975, but the
decision was not immediately released because I wanted the same be released simultaneously with the decision,
promulgated today, in CAR Case No. 1822-TP'72, entitled "Romeo Tibay versus Felicidad Castro and Enriqueta Salcedo Cruz,"
a case closely interrelated with the subject case." (p. 4, Records)

Replying to the explanation and/or comment of respondent Judge, complainant filed the following letter:

Santuejan, Pozzorrubio Pangasinan March 24,1976

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT The Executive Officer
Manila
Administrative Supervision of Courts
FIRST DIVISION
Supreme Court of the Philippines
A.M. No. 1237-CAR August 21, 1980
Manila
FELICIDAD CASTRO, complainant,
vs. Sir:
JUDGE ARTURO MALAZO, respondent.
I have read the explanation of the Honorable Judge Arturo Malazo but I am afraid that he is not telling
the truth. According to Judge Malazo he did not release immediately the decision because he likes to
release the decision in the other case at the same time. Although I am not intelligent and almost cannot
read and write, his reason for not releasing immediately the decision is not good.
GUERRERO, J.:

I want that Justice be done to tenant like us who were removed by the landowner of the land which we
This is an administrative complaint filed by Felicidad Castro against respondent Arturo Malazo, Presiding Judge of the Court
are working. Judge Malazo only made the decision in our case after reporting him to the Supreme
of Agrarian Relations, Tayug, Pangasinan, for undue delay in deciding CAR Case No. 1794-TP'72, entitled " Bonifacio Castro
Court. This is the one true. Sir, I reported him sir because he did not decide our case for more than one
and Felicidad Torio-Castro vs. Alfonso Cruz, Enriqueta Salcedo Cruz and Romeo Tibay.
year our case in finished in the trial. We suffered damage. After reporting he made a decision against us
and our landowner of the land are now laughing at us. So, please help us, Sir, Thank you respectfully.
Briefly. the facts are:
(SGD.) FELICIDAD T. CASTRO
On July 11, 1972, Romeo Tibay filed a complaint for reliquidation, leasehold, and fixing of rental with damages with The
Court of Agrarian Relations, Tayug. Pangasinan, docketed as CAR Case No. 1822-TP'72 (hereinafter referred to as the Tibay In Our Resolution of October 7, 1977, this case was referred to Justice Corazon Agrava of the Court of Appeals, for
case) against Felicidad Castro, (the complainant herein), and Enriqueta Salcedo-Cruz, the owner of the piece of land situated investigation, report and recommendation. On August 9, 1978, Justice Agrava submitted to the Court her Report and
in Pozzorubio, Pangasinan. Alleging that he was a tenant or agricultural lessee of the said landholding, Tibay prayed that Recommendation, the gist of which is as follows:
Castro be restrained from dispossessing him of his tenancy.

Complainant has claimed that the decision in the Castro case was prepared after, but antedated to,
On August 14, 1972, the spouses Felicidad Torio-Castro and Bonifacio Castro instituted CAR Case No. 1794-TP'72 September 15, 1975. The undersigned is finding that said decision was in fact prepared and signed on
(hereinafter called the Castro case) against Romeo Tibay, Alfonso Cruz and Enriqueta Salcedo Cruz also before the Court of September 15, 1975. It was so stipulated in the agreed statement of facts. The transcript of
Agrarian Relations, alleging that they were the lessees of Francisca Quinto, the deceased mother of Enriqueta Salcedo Cruz, stenographic notes taken at the hearing of March 15, 1978 read as follows:
and that Tibay had forcibly entered the premises. They prayed for reinstatement as tenants or lessees of the landholding,
and for fixing of rental and damages.
Investigator:

On January 31, 1975, the parties in both Tibay and Castro cases were given fifteen days from receipt of the transcript of
stenographic notes within which to file their respective memoranda. Anything else. We will summarize the stipulation of facts:
(1) That the parties agreed that a joint hearing be held in both Castro and Tibay cases; There could have been a finding in the Tibay case which could call for a modification in the decision in
the Castro case.

(2) That in the Castro case a decision was rendered on September 15. 1975;
4. If respondent had issued an order in the Castro case, stating that it would be decided simultaneously
with the Tibay case, the present charge against him would be plainly without basis; that is unless it
(3) That the decision in Castro case was released on February, 26, 1976 at 3:00 o'clock in the
was specifically pleaded that respondent had unjustifiably delayed the resolution of the Tibay case.
afternoon:

5. While it is true that the decision in the Tibay case was promulgated tardily, the fact should be
(4) That on February 26, 1976 a separate decision was rendered in the Tibay case;
considered that respondent had been made to bear an overload of cases.

(5) That this decision in the Tibay case was released also on February 26, 1976;
Further, there was the complication of third parties filing a motion to intervene in the Castro case on November 25, 1974.
Resolution of that motion was deferred by respondent until after the two cases were decided. The thought was that the
(6) That in the Tibay case, on January 31, 1975 an order was issued, the paragraph of which reads as rights, if any, of the intervenors could be assessed only after the two pending cases were decided. The Castro and Tibay
follows: cases may not have been easy cases.

Upon joint motion of counsel of the parties, you are also given 15 days from receipt of the transcript of In view of the foregoing, and based mainly on the appreciation of the situation, it is respectfully recommended that
the proceedings within which to file their respective memorandum. respondent be exonerated.

(7) That on August 25, 1915, a lawyer for Castro filed a memorandum in both cases, the original copy We do not agree with the recommendation that the respondent Judge be exonerated. While the records support the claim of
being attached to the Castro case and a carbon copy attached to the Tibay case. respondent that he signed the decision on September 15, 1975 and that consequently, the charge of ante-dating the
questioned decision in CAR Case No. 1794-TP'72 (Castro case) is devoid of merit, nevertheless, by respondent's own
Atty. Artiaga: admission he deliberately, deferred the promulgation of the same. Respondent did not file the decision with the Clerk of
Court, which filing is the essential act that constitutes rendition of the decision and gives it validity and binding effect, for
otherwise, the Judge can readily change, alter, revise, or modify his decision while the same is under his personal control
Yes, your Honor.
and custody. The rule is well established that the filing of the derision, judgment or order with the Clerk of Court, not the
date of the writing of the decision or judgment, nor the signing thereof or even the promulgation thereof, that constitutes
Judge Malazo: rendition thereof. (Ago vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-17898, October 31, 1962, 6 SCRA 530; People vs. Soria, L-25175,
March 1, 1968, 22 SCRA 948; Comia, et al. vs. Nicolas, et al., L-26079, September 30, 1969, 29 SCRA 492).

Yes, your Honor.


Since there is no dispute that the Castro case was declared submitted for decision together with the Tibay case on
September 9, 1975, and the decisions in both cases were rendered only on February 26, 1976, a clear violation of Section
Investigator:
151, Republic Act No. 3844, The Agricultural Land Reform Code, has been committed by respondent Judge, which section
provides as follows:
That terminates stipulation of facts. (TSN, 3/15/78, pp. 14-16).

Sec. 151. Judge's Certification as to Work Completed.-The judges of the Courts of Agrarian Relations
The fact that the decision in the Castro case was prepared on September 15, 1975 finds corroboration in the report for shall certify at the end of each month that all petitions and motions in all cases pending decision or
September, 1975 submitted by respondent to the Court of Agrarian Relations Executive Judge. That report has the nature resolution for a period of thirty days from submission by the parties have been determined and decided
of res gestae. before the date of the making of the certificate. No leave shall be granted and no salary shall be paid
without such certificate.
The facts are as above stated. In the light of the entirety thereof, it is believed that respondent need not be found culpable for
not definitely resolving the Castro case within thirty (30) days after its submission for decision on September 9, 1975. The We must once more impress upon the members of the Judiciary their sworn duty of administering justice without undue
considerations in support of that conclusion may be stated as follows: delay under the time-honored precept that justice delayed, is justice denied. The present clogged condition of the courts'
docket in all levels of our judicial system cannot be cleared unless each and every judge earnestly and painstakingly takes it
1. The complaint in this case is on the allegation that the Castro case was not decided within the time upon himself to comply faithfully with the mandate of the law. No less important than the speedy termination of hearings
provided for in Section 151 of RA 3844. The complaint does not charge respondent with not having and trials of cases is the promptness and dispatch in the making of decisions and judgment, the signing thereof and filing
decided the Tibay case within the statutory-indicated period of time. The complaint, in a way, is penal the same with the Clerk of Court. The Judiciary Act of 1948 explicitly commands in Section 5 thereof the following duty as
in nature: and all presumptions should be in favor of respondent. follows:

2. In the purely technical sense, the Castro case decided on September 15, 1975. Sec. 5. Judge's certificate as to work completed. District judges, judges of city courts, and municipal
judges shall certify on their applications for leave, and upon salary vouchers presented by them for
payment, or upon the payrolls upon which their salaries are paid, that all special proceedings,
3. There was justification for respondent's desire to release the decision in the Castro case
applications, petitions, motions, and all civil and criminal cases which have been under submission for
simultaneously with the decision in the Tibay case. There was close relationship between the two cases.
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 A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460 March 31, 2006
without such certificate.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Petitioner,


In case any special proceeding, application, petition, motion, civil or criminal case is resubmitted upon the voluntary vs.
application or consent in writing of all the parties to the case, cause, or proceeding, and not otherwise, the ninety days JUDGE FLORENTINO V. FLORO, JR., Respondent.
herein prescribed within which a decision should be made shall begin to run from the date of such resubmission."

x--------------x
It may be true that respondent had an overload of cases in Branch II-A in Urdaneta, Pangasinan and Branch I in Lingayen,
aside from his regular duties as Presiding Judge in Branch III, Tayug, Pangasinan, but this is no valid reason for him to defer
and delay the filing of the questioned decision with the Clerk of Court after said decision had been signed by him on A.M. No. 99-7-273-RTC March 31, 2006
September 15, 1975, for the act of filing is merely a ministerial act of delivering the signed decision with the Clerk Of Court.
Neither can We excuse the respondent by reason of the claim that the two cases were closely interrelated with each other, Re: RESOLUTION DATED 11 MAY 1999 OF JUDGE FLORENTINO V. FLORO, JR.
and that respondent suspended the release of the decision in the Castro case because there were common issues in both
cases where the resolution in one case will in effect divulge the resolution of the same issues existing in the other case.
Respondent's contention is belied by his own admission that although the two cases were closely interrelated with each x--------------x
other (2nd Indorsement, February 26, 1976) the cause of action in one case is different from the other (TSN, March 15,
1978, p. 23; see Report and Recommendation, p. 144, Records). It matters not whether the resolution of any issue common A.M. No. RTJ-06-1988 March 31, 2006
to both cases may be divulged to either party, for after all, the decision may be appealed by the losing party. (Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 99-812-RTJ)

At any rate, it is apparent that from the time the Castro case was submitted for decision on September 9, 1975 up to LUZ ARRIEGO, Petitioner,
September 15, 1975 when respondent signed the decision, the interval was 6 days and up to February 26, 1976 when
vs.
respondent actually filed with the Clerk of Court the said decision, the interval was 170 days, which is obviously beyond the
JUDGE FLORENTINO V. FLORO, JR., Respondent.
30-day period required by the statute. (Sec. 151, Republic Act 3844). To absolve the respondent because he actually decided
the Castro case within the 30- day period from September 9, 1975 by making the decision and signing the same on
September 15, 1975, although he filed the same with the Clerk of Court only on February 26, 1976, would render useless DECISION
and impotent the injunction of the statute and allow Ourselves to place obstacles to the speedy pace of justice which this
Court has always exhorted. More than that, We have always taken to task respondent judges for failure to act with dispatch CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
on the cases assigned to their respective salas. (The Secretary of Justice vs. Bullecer, Administrative Case No. 190-J, March
21, 1974, 56 SCRA 24; Raval vs. Romero, Adm. Case No. 129J, July 30. 1976, 72 SCRA 172; Escabillas vs. Martinez, Adm.
Matter No. 127-MJ, August 31, 1977, 78 SCRA 367). "Equity does not demand that its suitors shall have led blameless lives." Justice Brandeis, Loughran v. Loughran 1

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, respondent is hereby reprimanded for having failed to comply with the provisions of Section THE CASES
151, Republic Act No. 3844, the Agricultural Land Reform Code. He is admonished and enjoined to comply strictly with the
law and a repetition of the offense may be dealt with more severely. Let a copy of this Resolution be spread in his record. The First Case: A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460 (Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr.)

SO ORDERED. It was in 1995 that Atty. Florentino V. Floro, Jr. first applied for judgeship. A pre-requisite psychological evaluation on him
then by the Supreme Court Clinic Services (SC Clinic) revealed "(e)vidence of ego disintegration" and "developing psychotic
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar and De Castro, JJ., concur. process." Judge Floro later voluntarily withdrew his application. In June 1998, when he applied anew, the required
psychological evaluation exposed problems with self-esteem, mood swings, confusion, social/interpersonal deficits, paranoid
ideations, suspiciousness, and perceptual distortions. Both 1995 and 1998 reports concluded that Atty. Floro was unfit to be
Fernandez, J., is on leave.
a judge.

Melencio-Herrera, J., concurs in the result. Because of his impressive academic background, however, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) allowed Atty. Floro to seek a
second opinion from private practitioners. The second opinion appeared favorable thus paving the way to Atty. Floros
appointment as Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge of Branch 73, Malabon City, on 4 November 1998.

Upon Judge Floros personal request, an audit on his sala was conducted by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA)
from 2 to 3 March 1999.2
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila After conducting the audit, the audit team, led by Atty. Mary Jane Dacarra-Buenaventura, reported its findings to erstwhile
Court Administrator, Alfredo L. Benipayo, who submitted his own report/memorandum 3 to then Chief Justice Hilario G.
Davide, Jr. dated 13 July 1999 recommending, among other things, that his report be considered as an administrative
EN BANC
complaint against Judge Floro and that Judge Floro be subjected to an appropriate psychological or mental examination.
Court Administrator Benipayo recommended as well that Judge Floro be placed under preventive suspension for the same breath, the Court resolved to place Judge Floro under preventive suspension "for the duration of the investigation of
duration of the investigation against him. the administrative charges against him." He was barely eight months into his position.

In a Resolution4 dated 20 July 1999, the Court en banc adopted the recommendations of the OCA, docketing the complaint On 20 August 1999, Judge Floro submitted a Verified Comment where he set forth both affirmative and negative
as A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460, in view of the commission of the following acts or omissions as reported by the audit team: defenses6 while he filed his "Answer/Compliance" on 26 August 1999.

(a) The act of circulating calling cards containing self-laudatory statements regarding qualifications and for On 3 March 2000, Judge Floro moved for the provisional/final dismissal of his case for failure to prosecute. 7However, on 21
announcing in open court during court session his qualification in violation of Canon 2, Rule 2.02, Canons of March 2000, he presented himself as his first witness in the hearing conducted by Justice Ramirez. 8 Subsequently, on 7 July
Judicial Conduct; 2000, Judge Floro filed a "Petition for Inhibition/Disqualification" against Justice Ramirez as investigator 9 which was denied
by Justice Ramirez in an Order dated 11 July 2000. 10 Judge Floros motion for reconsideration 11 suffered the same
fate. 12 On 27 July 2000, Judge Floro submitted the question of Justice Ramirezs inhibition/disqualification to this
(b) For allowing the use of his chambers as sleeping quarters;
Court. 13 On 8 August 2000, the Court ruled against the inhibition of Justice Ramirez. 13

(c) For rendering resolutions without written orders in violation of Rule 36, Section 1, 1997 Rules of Procedures;
On 11 September 2000, the OCA, after having been ordered by the Court to comment on Judge Floros motion to
dismiss, 15 recommended that the same should be denied.
(d) For his alleged partiality in criminal cases where he declares that he is pro-accused which is contrary to Canon
2, Rule 2.01, Canons of Judicial Conduct;
Judge Floro presented his last witness on 6 March 2001. 16 The day after, Justice Ramirez came out with a "Partial Report"
recommending the dismissal of Judge Floro from office "by reason of insanity which renders him incapable and unfit to
(e) For appearing and signing pleadings in Civil Case No. 46-M-98 pending before Regional Trial Court, Branch 83, perform the duties and functions of Judge of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Malabon, Metro
Malolos, Bulacan in violation of Canon 5, Rule 5.07, Canons of Judicial Conduct which prohibits a judge from Manila, Branch 73." 17
engaging in the private practice of law;

In the meantime, throughout the investigation of the 13 charges against him and even after Justice Ramirez came out with
(f) For appearing in personal cases without prior authority from the Supreme Court and without filing the his report and recommendation on 7 March 2001, Judge Floro had been indiscriminately filing cases against those he
corresponding applications for leaves of absence on the scheduled dates of hearing; perceived to have connived to boot him out of office.

(g) For proceeding with the hearing on the Motion for Release on Recognizance filed by the accused without the A list of the cases Judge Floro filed in the wake of his 20 July 1999 preventive suspension follows:
presence of the trial prosecutor and propounding questions in the form of examination of the custodian of the
accused;
1. OCA IPI No. 00-07-OCA against Atty. Mary Jane Dacarra-Buenaventura, Team Leader, Judicial Audit Team,
Office of the Court Administrator 18
(h) For using/taking advantage of his moral ascendancy to settle and eventually dismiss Criminal Case No.
20385-MN (for frustrated homicide) in the guise of settling the civil aspect of the case, by persuading the private
2. OCA IPI No. 00-933-RTJ against Judge Benjamin Aquino, Jr., Regional Trial Court, Branch 72, Malabon
complainant and the accused to sign the settlement even without the presence of the trial prosecutor;
City 19

(i) For motu proprio and over the strong objection of the trial prosecutor, ordering the mental and physical
3. AC No. 5286 against Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo and Judge Benjamin Aquino, Jr. 20
examination of the accused based on the ground that the accused is "mahina ang pick-up";

4. AC No. CBD-00-740 against Thelma C. Bahia, Court Management Office, Atty. Mary Jane Dacarra-
(j) For issuing an Order on 8 March 1999 which varies from that which he issued in open court in Criminal Case
Buenaventura, Atty. II, Court Management Office, both of the Office of the Court Administrator and Atty.
No. 20385-MN, for frustrated homicide;
Esmeralda G. Dizon, Branch Clerk of Court, Branch 73, Malabon21

(k) For violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 Code of Judicial Conduct when he openly criticized the Rules of Court and
5. AC No. 6282 (CPL No. C-02-0278) against former Court Administrator Justice Alfredo L. Benipayo and (Ret.)
the Philippine justice system;
Justice Pedro A. Ramirez, Consultant, Office of the Court Administrator 22

(l) For the use of highly improper and intemperate language during court proceedings;
6. A.M. No. 03-8-03-0 against (Ret.) Justice Pedro A. Ramirez 23

(m) For violation of Circular No. 135 dated 1 July 1987.


7. A.C. No. 6050 against (Ret.) Justice Pedro A. Ramirez24

Per the same resolution of the Court, the matter was referred to Retired Court of Appeals Justice Pedro Ramirez (consultant,
On 1 February 2006, Judge Floro moved that the cases he filed, now totaling seven, be dismissed. 25 On 14 February 2006,
OCA) for investigation, report and recommendation within 60 days from receipt. Judge Floro was directed to comment within
the Court granted the motion to dismiss.26
ten days from receipt of the resolution and to subject himself to an appropriate psychological or mental examination to be
conducted "by the proper office of the Supreme Court or any duly authorized medical and/or mental institution." In the
The Second Case: A.M. No. RTJ-06-1988(Luz Arriego v. Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr.)
This charge is likewise the subject matter of charge "h" in A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460: "(f)or using/taking advantage of his moral The merits of the denial of the motion for inhibition and the ruling on the motion for reconsideration are judicial matters
ascendancy to settle and eventually dismiss Criminal Case No. 20385-MN (for frustrated homicide) in the guise of settling which this Office has no authority to review. The remedy is judicial, not administrative. 29
the civil aspect of the case, by persuading the private complainant and the accused to sign the settlement even without the
presence of the trial prosecutor." The complainant Luz Arriego is the mother of the private complainant in Criminal Case No.
The OCA thus recommended that Judge Floro comment on (a) his act of ordering the raffle of the case in violation of
20385-MN.
Administrative Circular No. 1; and (b) his remark on page 5 of the subject resolution that "Justice Hermosisima, Jr. x x x
helped undersigned so much, in the JBC, regarding his nomination x x x."
On 28 June 2001, Arriego testified, while court stenographer Jocelyn Japitenga testified on 16 July 2001. On 31 July 2001,
Arriego filed her Formal Offer of Evidence which was opposed by Judge Floro on 21 August 2001. On 5 September 2001,
In a Resolution dated 17 August 1999, the Court en banc adopted the recommendations of the OCA. 30 Judge Floro, through
Judge Floro testified on his behalf while Atty. Galang testified against him on 4 October 2001. On 16 October 2001, Judge
his counsel, filed his Comment on 22 October 1999 31 which was noted by this Court on 7 December 1999. On 11 January
Floro filed a Memorandum in this case.27
2000, Judge Floro filed a Formal Offer of Evidence which this Court, in a resolution dated 25 January 2000, referred to
Justice Ramirez for inclusion in his report and recommendation.
The Third Case: A.M. No. 99-7-273-RTC (Re: Resolution Dated 11 May 1999 of Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr.)

For the record, the OCA is yet to come up with its report and recommendation in this case as well as in the second case (i.e.,
As can be gathered from the title, this case concerns a resolution issued by Judge Floro on 11 May 1999 in Special A.M. No. RTJ-06-1988). Thus, in a resolution dated 14 February 2006, the Court directed Judge Floro as well as the other
Proceeding Case No. 315-MN "In Re: Petition To Be Admitted A Citizen Of The Philippines, Mary Ng Nei, Petitioner." The parties in these two cases to inform the Court whether or not they are willing to submit A.M. RTJ-06-1988 and A.M. No. 99-
resolution disposed of the motions for voluntary inhibition of Judge Floro and the reconsideration of the order denying the 7-273-RTC for decision on the basis of the pleadings filed and the evidence so far submitted by them or to have the decision
petition for naturalization filed by petitioner in that case, Mary Ng Nei. in A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460 decided ahead of the two. On 20 February 2006, the OCA, thru Court Administrator Presbitero J.
Velasco, Jr., manifested its willingness to submit A.M. No. 99-7-273-RTC for resolution based on the pleadings and the
evidence submitted therein. Complainant Luz Arriego in A.M. No. RTJ-06-1988 likewise informed this Court, in a Letter
This resolution found its way to the OCA through a letter written by Atty. David S. Narvasa, the petitioners counsel. 28 The
dated 28 February 2006, her willingness to submit her case for decision based on the pleadings already submitted and on
OCA, through Court Administrator Benipayo, made the following evaluation:
the evidence previously offered and marked. On the other hand, on 3 March 2006, Judge Floro manifested his preference to
have A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460 decided ahead of A.M. RTJ-06-1988 and A.M. No. 99-7-273-RTC.
In the subject resolution, Judge Floro, Jr. denied the motion for inhibition and declared it as null and void.
However, he ordered the raffling of the case anew (not re-raffle due to inhibition) so that the petitioner, Mary Ng
In the interest of orderly administration of justice, considering that these are consolidated cases, we resolve to render as well
Nei, will have a chance to have the case be assigned to other judges through an impartial raffle.
a consolidated decision.

When Judge Floro, Jr. denied the motion for inhibition, he should have continued hearing and taking cognizance
But first, the ground rules: Much has been said across all fronts regarding Judge Floros alleged mental illness and its
of the case. It is improper for him to order the raffle of the case "anew" as this violates Administrative Circular No.
effects on his duties as Judge of a Regional Trial Court. For our part, figuring out whether Judge Floro is indeed
1 (Implementation of Sec. 12, Art. XVIII of the 1987 Constitution) dated January 28, 1988 which provides to wit:
psychologically impaired and/or disabled as concluded by the investigator appointed by this Court is frankly beyond our
sphere of competence, involving as it does a purely medical issue; hence, we will have to depend on the findings of the
"8. Raffle of Cases: mental health professionals who interviewed/analyzed Judge Floro. Our job is simply to wade through the evidence, filter
out the irrelevant and the irreverent in order to determine once and for all if Judge Floro is indeed guilty of the charges
xxxx against him. If the evidence makes out a case against Judge Floro, the next issue is to determine the appropriate penalty to
be imposed.

8.3 Special raffles should not be permitted except on verified application of the interested party who seeks
issuance of a provisional remedy and only upon a finding by the Executive Judge that unless the special raffle is Finally, we will have to determine whether Judge Floro acted with an evil mind or because of a psychological or mental
conducted, irreparable damage shall be suffered by the applicant. The special raffle shall be conducted by at least incapacity. Upon the resolution of this question hinges the applicability of equity.
two judges in a multiple-sala station.
As an aside, it bears pointing out that some of the charges ("c" and "g", "h" and "j", "e" and "f") will be jointly discussed as
x x x x" they had likewise been jointly discussed by the OCA. These charges involve common facts and to treat them separately will
be superfluous.

Based on the foregoing, a judge may not motu proprio order the special raffle of a case since such is only allowed upon a
verified application of the interested party seeking a provisional remedy and only upon the Executive Judges finding that if a DISCUSSION
special raffle is not conducted, the applicant will suffer irreparable damage. Therefore, Judge Floro, Jr.s order is contrary to
the above-mentioned Administrative Circular. As alleged and as proven, the 13 specified charges do not warrant the supreme penalty of dismissal against Judge Floro

Moreover, it is highly inappropriate for Judge Floro, Jr. to even mention in his resolution that Justice Regino C. (a) Re: Charge of circulating calling cards containing self-laudatory statements regarding qualifications AND for announcing
Hermosisima, Jr. is his benefactor in his nomination for judgeship. It is not unusual to hear a judge who speaks highly of a in open court during court session his qualifications in violation of Canon 2, Rule 2.02, Canons of Judicial Conduct
"padrino" (who helped him get his position). Such remark even if made as an expression of deep gratitude makes the judge
guilty of creating a dubious impression about his integrity and independence. Such flaunting and expression of feelings
As narrated by the audit team, Judge Floro was circulating calling cards bearing his name as the Presiding Judge of RTC,
must be suppressed by the judges concerned. A judge shall not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence
Branch 73, Malabon City, and indicating therein that he is a "bar exams topnotcher (87.55%)" and with "full second honors"
judicial conduct or judgment (Canon 2, Rule 2.03, Code of Judicial Conduct).
from the Ateneo de Manila University, A.B. and LL.B. 32 The audit team likewise reported that: "(b)efore the start of court
session, Judge Floro is introduced as a private law practitioner, a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University with second With the foregoing as yardstick, we find the act of Judge Floro in circulating calling cards containing self-laudatory
honors, and a bar topnotcher during the 1983 Bar Examinations with an average score of 87.55%. Afterwards, a reading of statements constitutive of simple misconduct in violation of Canon 2, Rule 2.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct as it
the Holy Bible, particularly the Book of Revelation according to Saint John, was made. The people in the courtroom were appears that Judge Floro was not motivated by any corrupt motive but, from what we can see from the evidence, a persistent
given the opportunity to ask Judge Floro questions on the matter read. No questions were asked; hence the session and unquenchable thirst for recognition. Concededly, the need for recognition is an all too human flaw and judges do not
commenced."33 cease to be human upon donning the judicial robe. Considering, however, the proscription against judges seeking publicity
for personal vainglory, they are held to a higher standard as they must act within the confines of the code they swore to
observe.
Judge Floro argues that, per commentary of Justice Ruperto G. Martin, 34 "the use of professional cards containing the
name of the lawyer, his title, his office and residence is not improper" and that the word "title" should be broad enough to
include a Judges legal standing in the bar, his honors duly earned or even his Law School. Moreover, other lawyers do As to the charge that Judge Floro, through his branch clerk of court, had been announcing in open court his qualifications,
include in their calling cards their former/present titles/positions like President of the Jaycees, Rotary Club, etc., so where we find that this is likewise violative of Canon 2, Rule 2.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct as it smacks of unnecessary
then does one draw the line? Finally, Judge Floro argues that his cards were not being circulated but were given merely as publicity. Judges should not use the courtroom as platform for announcing their qualifications especially to an audience of
tokens to close friends or by reciprocity to other callers considering that common sense dictates that he is not allowed by law lawyers and litigants who very well might interpret such publicity as a sign of insecurity. Verily, the public looks upon judges
to seek other professional employment. as the bastion of justice confident, competent and true. And to discover that this is not so, as the judge appears so unsure
of his capabilities that he has to court the litigants and their lawyers approval, definitely erodes public confidence in the
judiciary.
As to the charge that he had been announcing in open court his qualifications, Judge Floro counters that it was his branch
clerk of court, Atty. Esmeralda Galang-Dizon, who suggested that during his initial court session, she would briefly
announce his appointment with an introduction of his school, honors, bar rating and law practice. Naively, Judge Floro As it is not disputed, however, that these announcements went on for only a week, Judge Floro is guilty of simple
agreed as the introduction was done only during the first week of his assumption into office. misconduct only.

Canon 2, Rule 2.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct says in no uncertain terms that "a judge should not seek publicity for (b)Re: Charge of allowing the use of his chambers as sleeping quarters
personal vainglory." A parallel proscription, this time for lawyers in general, is found in Rule 3.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility: "a lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-
The audit team observed that "inside Judge Floros chamber[s], there is a folding bed with cushion located at the right
laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services." This means that lawyers and judges
corner of the room. A man, who was later identified as Judge Floros driver, was sleeping. However, upon seeing the audit
alike, being limited by the exacting standards of their profession, cannot debase the same by acting as if ordinary merchants
team, the driver immediately went out of the room." 42
hawking their wares. As succinctly put by a leading authority in legal and judicial ethics, "(i)f lawyers are prohibited from x x
x using or permitting the use of any undignified or self-laudatory statement regarding their qualifications or legal services
(Rule 3.01, Code of Professional Responsibility), with more reasons should judges be prohibited from seeking publicity for Judge Floro contends that this charge is without legal or factual basis. The man the audit team saw "sleeping" on his folding
vanity or self-glorification. Judges are not actors or actresses or politicians, who thrive by publicity." 35 bed, J. Torralba, was Judge Floros aide or "alalay" whom he allows to rest from time to time (in between periods and
especially during court sessions) for humanitarian reasons. J. Torralba was not sleeping during that time that the audit
team was in Branch 73 as he immediately left when he saw the members thereof.
The question, therefore, is: By including self-laudatory details in his professional card, did Judge Floro violate Canon 2, Rule
2.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct?
This charge must fail as there is nothing inherently improper or deplorable in Judge Floro having allowed another person to
use his folding bed for short periods of time during office hours and while there is no one else in the room. The situation
In Ulep v. Legal Clinic, Inc., we explained that the use of an ordinary and simple professional card by lawyers is permitted
36
would have been different if there had been any allegation of misuse or abuse of government funds and/or facilities such as
and that the card "may contain only a statement of his name, the name of the law firm which he is connected with, address,
in the case of Presado v. Genova 43 wherein Judge Genova was found guilty of serious misconduct and conduct prejudicial to
telephone number and special branch of law practiced." In herein case, Judge Floros calling cards cannot be considered as
the best interest of the service when he and his family used his chambers as residential quarters, with the provincial
simple and ordinary. By including therein the honors he received from his law school with a claim of being a bar topnotcher,
government paying for the electrical bills.
Judge Floro breached the norms of simplicity and modesty required of judges.

Be that as it may, it does not augur well for a new judge to allow such familiarity from his aide as this becomes fodder for
Judge Floro insists, however, that he never circulated his cards as these were just given by him as tokens and/or only to a
gossip as what had apparently happened in this case. Judge Floro should have been aware of and attuned to the sensibilities
few who requested the same. 37 The investigation by Justice Ramirez into the matter reveals otherwise. An eye-witness from
of his staff who were understandably uncomfortable with the uncommon arrangement of a judge allowing his aide easy
the OCA categorically stated that Judge Floro circulated these cards. 38 Worse, Judge Floros very own witness, a researcher
access to his folding bed.
from an adjoining branch, testified that Judge Floro gave her one of these cards. 39

(c) Re: Charge of rendering resolutions without written orders in violation of Rule 36, Section 1, 1997 Rules of Procedure
As this charge involves a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, it should be measured against Rule 140 of the Rules of
Court as amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC being more favorable to respondent Judge Floro. Rule 140, before its amendment,
automatically classified violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct as serious charges. As amended, a violation of the Code of (g) Re: Charge of proceeding with the hearing on the Motion for Release on Recognizance filed by the accused without the
Judicial Conduct may amount to gross misconduct, which is a serious charge, or it may amount to simple misconduct, presence of the trial prosecutor and propounding questions in the form of examination of the custodian of the accused
which is a less serious charge or it may simply be a case of vulgar and/or unbecoming conduct which is a light charge.
The memorandum report reads:
"Misconduct" is defined as wrong or improper conduct while "gross" connotes something "out of all measure; beyond
allowance; not to be excused; flagrant; shameful." 40 For serious misconduct to exist, the judicial act complained of should be c. It was reported by the staff of Branch 73 that regardless of the absence of the trial prosecutor, Judge Floro, Jr. still
corrupt or inspired by an intention to violate the law or a persistent disregard of well-known legal rules. 41 proceeded with the hearing of the following matters:
(c-1) "Motion for Release on Recognizance" filed by the accused, in Criminal Cases Nos. 20384, 20371, 20246 and 20442 The explanation given by Judge Floro betrays his liability for ignorance of the rules on probation under Presidential Decree
entitled "People vs. Luisito Beltran", "People vs. Emma Alvarez, et al.", "People vs. Rowena Camino", and "People vs. John No. 968 (Probation Law), as amended. Contrary to his remonstrations, the release of an accused on recognizance entails
Richie Villaluz", respectively. In the hearing of these motions, Judge Floro, Jr. propounded questions (in a form of direct more than a cursory interview of the custodian and the applicant. Under the Probation Law, 46 and as we explained in Poso v.
examination) to the custodian of the accused without the accused being sworn by the administering officer. (Note: initially, Judge Mijares,47 it is incumbent upon the Judge hearing the application to ascertain first that the applicant is not a
Judge Floro, Jr. ordered the Branch Clerk of Court Dizon to place the accused under oath prior to the start of his questions. "disqualified offender" as "(p)utting the discharge of the accused on hold would have allowed [the judge] more time to pass
However, COC Dizon refused). The hearing on the aforesaid motions is an offshoot of a previous hearing wherein the accused upon the request for provisional liberty."
had pleaded guilty to a lesser offense. After the reading of the sentence, Judge Floro, Jr. would automatically inform the
accused that they are qualified to apply for probation. In fact, Judge Floro, Jr. would even instruct his staff to draft the
Moreover, from Judge Floros explanations, it would seem that he completely did away with the requirement for an
application in behalf of the accused so that a motion for release on recognizance will immediately be heard and be
investigation report by the probation officer. Under the Probation Law, the accuseds temporary liberty is warranted only
consequently granted. As appearing in the minutes of the hearing (attached herewith as Annexes "3" to "6"), the custodians
during the period for awaiting the submission of the investigation report on the application for probation and the resolution
of the accused are either a barangay kagawad, barangay tanod or a member of the lupong tagapamayapa. Likewise, no
thereon.48 As we explained in Poso v. Judge Mijares49 :
written order granting the motion for release on recognizance is being issued by Judge Floro, Jr. since according to him
neither rules nor circular mandates the issuance of a written order. Instead, after granting the motion, Judge Floro, Jr. just
requires the parties to sign the minutes of the session. Photocopies of the minutes dated March 4, 1999 in Criminal Cases It must be stressed that the statutory sequence of actions, i.e., order to conduct case study prior to action on application for
Nos. 20384-MN; 20373-MN; and 20371-MN are hereto attached as Annexes "3" to "5". release on recognizance, was prescribed precisely to underscore the interim character of the provisional liberty envisioned
under the Probation Law. Stated differently, the temporary liberty of an applicant for probation is effective no longer than the
period for awaiting the submission of the investigation report and the resolution of the petition, which the law mandates as
On March 11, 1999, in Criminal Cases Nos. 20426-MN and 20442-MN, Judge Floro, Jr. granted a similar motion without
no more than sixty (60) days to finish the case study and report and a maximum of fifteen (15) days from receipt of the
issuing a written order. Copies of the minutes are hereto attached as annexes "6" to "7." 44
report for the trial judge to resolve the application for probation. By allowing the temporary liberty of the accused even before
the order to submit the case study and report, respondent Judge unceremoniously extended the pro tem discharge of the
In his Verified Comment, Judge Floro argues that he never violated any rule of procedure with respect to the cases accused to the detriment of the prosecution and the private complainants. (Emphasis supplied)
mentioned by the Audit Team, asserting that

As to the argument of Judge Floro that his Orders for the release of an accused on recognizance need not be in writing as
Contrary to the stance of the TEAM, Sec. 1 of Rule 36, Rules of Court refers only to final and not interlocutory orders. Only these are duly reflected in the transcript of stenographic notes, we refer to Echaus v. Court of Appeals 50 wherein we held that
final orders and judgments are promulgated, rendered and entered. "no judgment, or order whether final or interlocutory, has juridical existence until and unless it is set down in writing,
signed and promulgated, i.e., delivered by the Judge to the Clerk of Court for filing, release to the parties and
implementation." Obviously, then, Judge Floro was remiss in his duties as judge when he did not reduce into writing his
xxxx
orders for the release on recognizance of the accused in Criminal Cases No. 20384, 20371, 202426 and 20442 entitled,
"People v. Luisito Beltran," "People v. Emma Alvarez, et al.," "People v. Rowena Camino," and "People v. John Richie
Applying the foregoing well-settled doctrines of law to the case at bar, herein respondent faithfully complied with the Villaluz." 51 From his explanation that such written orders are not necessary, we can surmise that Judge Floros failure was
requirements of Sec. 7 of P.D. 968 as amended, regarding the applications for release on recognizance, thus: not due to inadvertence or negligence on his part but to ignorance of a procedural rule.

a. The application for release on recognizance, although captioned as MOTION FOR RELEASE ON In fine, we perceive three fundamental errors in Judge Floros handling of probation cases. First, he ordered the release on
RECOGNIZANCE, is primarily governed by Sec. 7 of P.D. 968, a Special Law on Probation. recognizance of the accused without the presence of the prosecutor thus depriving the latter of any opportunity to oppose
said release. Second, Judge Floro ordered the release without first requiring the probation officer to render a case study and
b. Any Application for Release on Recognizance, is given due course/taken cognizance of by respondent, if on its investigation report on the accused. Finally, the order granting the release of the accused on recognizance was not reduced
face, the same bears the rubber stamp mark/receipt by the Office of the City/Public Prosecutor. into writing.

c. The consistent practice both in RTC, METRO MANILA (all courts), especially in RTC, MALABON, and in It would seem from the foregoing that the release of the accused on recognizance, as well as his eventual probation, was
Malolos, Bulacan (where respondent practiced from 1985-1998 almost 14 years), [and especially the practice of already a done deal even before the hearing on his application as Judge Floro took up the cudgels for the accused by
former Judge A. V. Cabigao, Br. 73, RTC, Malabon, Metro Manila], is to interview the custodian, in the chambers, instructing his staff to draft the application for probation. This, Judge Floro did not deny. Thus, we agree in the observation
regarding his being a responsible member of the community where the accused reside/resides; the questions of the audit team that Judge Floro, as a matter of policy, had been approving applications for release on recognizance hastily
propounded are in the form of direct and even cross examination questions. and without observing the requirements of the law for said purpose. Verily, we having nothing against courts leaning
backward in favor of the accused; in fact, this is a salutary endeavor, but only when the situation so warrants. In herein
case, however, we cannot countenance what Judge Floro did as "the unsolicited fervor to release the accused significantly
d. The accused is not required to be placed on the witness stand, since there is no such requirement. All that is
deprived the prosecution and the private complainants of their right to due process." 52
required, is to inform the accused regarding some matters of probation (optional) such as whether he was
sentenced previously by a Court, whether or not he has had previous cases, etc.
Judge Floros insistence that orders made in open court need not be reduced in writing constitutes gross ignorance of the
law. Likewise, his failure to follow the basic rules on probation, constitutes gross ignorance of the law. 53
e. Even if RTC Judges in Malabon do not conduct Court hearings on application for release on recognizance,
respondent, for caution in most of the applications, included the interview/hearing on the applications for release
on recognizance, during criminal trial dates, where a fiscal/trial prosecutor is available; at other times, the Verily, one of the fundamental obligations of a judge is to understand the law fully and uphold it conscientiously. 54When the
hearing is held in the chambers.45 law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office to know and simply apply it for anything less is constitutive of gross
ignorance of the law. 55 True, not every judicial error bespeaks ignorance of the law and that, if committed in good faith, does
not warrant administrative sanctions. 56 To hold otherwise "would be nothing short of harassing judges to take the fantastic
and impossible oath of rendering infallible judgments." 57 This rule, however, admits of an exception as "good faith in
situations of fallible discretion inheres only within the parameters of tolerable judgment and does not apply where the issues (h) Re: Charge of using/taking advantage of his moral ascendancy to settle and eventually dismiss Criminal Case No. 20385-
are so simple and the applicable legal principle evident and as to be beyond permissible margins of error." 58 Thus, even if a MN (for frustrated homicide) in the guise of settling the civil aspect of the case, by persuading the private complainant and
judge acted in good faith but his ignorance is so gross, he should be held administratively liable. 59 the accused to sign the settlement even without the presence of the trial prosecutor.

(d) RE: Charge of partiality in criminal cases where he declared that he is pro-accused which is contrary to Canon 2, Rule (j) Re: Charge of issuing an Order on 8 March 1999 which varies from that which he issued in open court in Criminal Case
2.01, Canons of Judicial Conduct No. 20385-MN, for frustrated homicide.

The audit team reported that Judge Floro relayed to the members thereof that in criminal cases, he is always "pro-accused" The memorandum report states:
particularly concerning detention prisoners and bonded accused who have to continually pay for the premiums on their
bonds during the pendency of their cases.
During the arraignment and pre-trial of Criminal Case No. 20385-MN entitled: "People vs. Nenita Salvador", Judge Floro, Jr.,
in the absence of the public prosecutor and considering that the private complainant was not being represented by a private
Judge Floro denies the foregoing charge. He claims that what he did impart upon Atty. Buenaventura was the need for the prosecutor, used his moral ascendancy and influence to convince the private complainant to settle and eventually cause the
OCA to remedy his predicament of having 40 detention prisoners and other bonded accused whose cases could not be tried dismissal of the case in the guise of settling its civil aspect by making the private complainants and the accused sign the
due to the lack of a permanent prosecutor assigned to his sala. He narrated as well to Atty. Buenaventura the sufferings of settlement. (Copy of the signed stenographic notes is hereto attached as Annex "8").
detention prisoners languishing in the Malabon/Navotas jail whose cases had not been tried during the vacancy of his sala
from February 1997 to 5 November 1998. At any rate, Judge Floro submits that there is no single evidence or proof
xxxx
submitted by any litigant or private complainant that he sided with the accused.

In an Order dated March 8, 1999 in Criminal Case No. 20385-MN, for frustrated homicide, Judge Floro, Jr. put on record
Atty. Dizon, Judge Floros Clerk of Court, on the other hand, categorically stated under oath that Judge Floro, during a staff
the "manifestations" of the private complainant and the accused relative to their willingness to settle the civil aspect of the
meeting, admitted to her and the staff of Branch 73 and in the presence of his Public Attorneys Office (PAO) lawyer that he
case. In the same order, Judge Floro, Jr. reserved his ruling on the said settlement until after the public prosecutor has
is pro-accused for the reason that he commiserated with them especially those under detention as he, himself, had been
given his comment. However, per report of the court employees in Branch 73, the aforesaid order was actually a revised one
accused by his brother and sister-in-law of so many unfounded offenses. 60
or a deviation from the original order given in open court. Actually, the said criminal case was already settled even without
the presence of the public prosecutor. The settlement was in the nature of absolving not only the civil liability of the accused
Between the two versions, the testimony of Atty. Dizon is more credible especially since it is corroborated by independent but the criminal liability as well. It was further reported that the private complainants signed the compromise agreement
evidence, 61 e.g., Judge Floros unwarranted eagerness in approving application for release on recognizance as previously due to the insistence or persuasion of Judge Floro, Jr. The audit team was furnished a copy of the stenographic notes
discussed. (unsigned draft order) and the revised order (signed). Copies of the stenographic notes and the revised order are hereto
attached as Annexes "8", "13", and "14". (Note: the stenographic notes were signed by the parties to the case).

Canon 2.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct states: "A judge should so behave at all times as to promote public confidence in
the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary." This means that a judge whose duty is to apply the law and dispense justice In the meantime, the mother of the private complainant in Criminal Case No. 20385-MN, Luz Arriego, filed an administrative
"should not only be impartial, independent and honest but should be believed and perceived to be impartial, independent case against Judge Floro docketed as A.M. OCA-I.P.I. No. 99-812-RTJ. In her Affidavit Complaint 67 dated 9 August 1999, she
and honest" as well. 62 Like Caesars wife, a judge must not only be pure but above suspicion. 63 Judge Floro, by broadcasting alleged that on 8 March 1999, Judge Floro forced them to settle her daughters case against the accused therein despite the
to his staff and the PAO lawyer that he is pro-accused, opened himself up to suspicion regarding his impartiality. Prudence absence of the trial prosecutor. When the parties could not agree on the amount to be paid by the accused for the medical
and judicial restraint dictate that a judge should reserve personal views and predilections to himself so as not to stir up expenses incurred by complaining witness, they requested respondent that they be given time to study the matter and
suspicions of bias and unfairness. Irresponsible speech or improper conduct of a judge erodes public confidence in the consult a lawyer to which Judge Floro replied that the case be settled immediately, uttering, "ngayon na! ngayon na!"
judiciary. 64 "His language, both written and spoken, must be guarded and measured, lest the best of intentions be Moreover, Judge Floro allegedly made them believe that the counter-charges filed by the accused against the complaining
misconstrued." 65 witness would likewise be dismissed, so they agreed to settle the case. However, the written Order issued by respondent
Judge did not reflect the agreement entered into by the parties in open court.

On a more fundamental level, what is required of judges is objectivity if an independent judiciary is to be realized. And by
professing his bias for the accused, Judge Floro is guilty of unbecoming conduct as his capacity for objectivity is put in Judge Floro takes exception to the foregoing OCA report and the complaint filed by Mrs. Arriego, maintaining that the
serious doubt, necessarily eroding the publics trust in his ability to render justice. As we held in Castillo v. Juan 66 : hearing on said case was not only in accordance with the Rules of Court but was also beneficial to the litigants concerned as
they openly manifested their willingness to patch up their differences in the spirit of reconciliation. Then, considering that
the parties suggested that they would file the necessary pleadings in due course, Judge Floro waited for such pleadings
In every litigation, x x x, the manner and attitude of a trial judge are crucial to everyone concerned, the offended party, no
before the TSN-dictated Order could be reduced to writing. Meanwhile, in the course of a conversation between Judge Floro
less than the accused. It is not for him to indulge or even to give the appearance of catering to the at-times human failing of
and Court Administrator Benipayo, the latter opined that under Section 27 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, an offer of
yielding to first impressions. He is to refrain from reaching hasty conclusions or prejudging matters. It would be deplorable if
compromise in criminal cases is tantamount to an admission of guilt except in some cases. With this in mind, the 8 March
he lays himself open to the suspicion of reacting to feelings rather than to facts, of being imprisoned in the net of his own
1999 Order of the hearing on even date was superseded by the revised written Order likewise dated 8 March 1999.
sympathies and predilections. It must be obvious to the parties as well as the public that he follows the traditional mode of
adjudication requiring that he hear both sides with patience and understanding to keep the risk of reaching an unjust
decision at a minimum. It is not necessary that he should possess marked proficiency in law, but it is essential that he is to Judge Floro asserts that contrary to Atty. Buenaventuras stance that he has no power to revise an Order, courts have
hold the balance true. What is equally important is that he should avoid any conduct that casts doubt on his impartiality. plenary power to recall and amend or revise any orally dictated order in substance and in form even motu proprio.
What has been said is not merely a matter of judicial ethics. It is impressed with constitutional significance.

The rule on the matter finds expression in Echaus v. Court of Appeals 68


wherein we declared:
x x x [N]o judgment, or order whether final or interlocutory, has juridical existence until and unless it is set down in writing, Rule 135, Rules of Court (plenary powers to issue orders to conform to justice), manifested orally that the accused
signed and promulgated, i.e., delivered by the Judge to the Clerk of Court for filing, release to the parties and is "mahina ang pick-up";
implementation, and that indeed, even after promulgation, it does not bind the parties until and unless notice thereof is duly
served on them by any of the modes prescribed by law. This is so even if the order or judgment has in fact been orally
f. Hence, respondent exercised his sound discretion in issuing the ORDER OF MENTAL EXAMINATION.
pronounced in the presence of the parties, or a draft thereof drawn up and signed and/or copy thereof somehow read or
acquired by any party. In truth, even after promulgation (i.e., filing with the clerk of court), and even after service on the
parties of notice of an order or judgment, the Court rendering it indisputably has plenary power to recall and amend or The MENTAL examination ORDER finds legal support, since it is well-settled that "the court may order a physical or
revise it in substance or form on motion of any party or even motu proprio, provided that in the case of a final order or MENTAL examination of a party where his physical or mental condition is material to the issues involved." (27 C.J.S. p. 119,
judgment, the same has not attained finality. (Emphasis supplied) cf. MARTIN, p. 107, id.). 71

In herein case, what was involved was an interlocutory order made in open court ostensibly a judicial approval of a PAO lawyer Erwin Joy B. Gallevo took the witness stand for Judge Floro. He testified that he moved for the suspension of the
compromise agreement which was amended or revised by removing the stamp of judicial approval, the written order merely arraignment of the accused Nestor Escarlan Escancilla in order to assess his mental fitness for trial. 72 As reflected in the
stating that Judge Floro was reserving its ruling regarding the manifestations of the parties to enter into a compromise Order for suspension, however, and as admitted by Judge Floro himself in his Comment, Atty. Gallevo merely manifested that
agreement after the public prosecutor shall have submitted its comments thereto. 69 accused is "mahina ang pick-up."

Considering then that it was well within the discretion of Judge Floro to revise his oral order per the Echaus ruling and Be that as it may, we cannot fault Judge Floro for suspending the arraignment motu proprio and "over the strong objection
factoring in his explanation for resorting to such an amendment, we find no basis for the charge of dishonesty (under of the trial prosecutor." It must be remembered that the scheduled arraignment took place in February 1999 when the
paragraph "j" of the complaint). applicable rule was still Section 12(a) of Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, which reads:

Anent the charge that Judge Floro used his moral ascendancy to settle and eventually dismiss Criminal Case No. 20385-MN SEC. 12. Suspension of arraignment. The arraignment shall be suspended, if at the time thereof:
(for frustrated homicide) in the guise of settling the civil aspect of the case, by persuading the private complainant and the
accused to sign the settlement even without the presence of the trial prosecutor, the same must likewise fail for lack of basis. (a) The accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition which effectively renders him unable to fully
The controversial settlement never came to pass. It was not judicially approved as reflected in the revised Order of 8 March understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. In such case, the court shall order his mental
1999, thus, Mrs. Arriego actually had no cause for complaint. She cannot, on one hand, complain that the written order did examination and, if necessary, his confinement for such purpose.
not reflect the agreement reached during the hearing and, on the other hand, claim that this agreement was reached under
duress at the instance of Judge Floro.
The above-cited rule does not require that the suspension be made pursuant to a motion filed by the accused unlike Section
11(a), Rule 116 of the present 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure which decrees that the suspension be made "upon motion
(i) For motu proprio and over the strong objection of the trial prosecutor, ordering the mental and physical examination of by the proper party." 73 Thus, it was well within the discretion of Judge Floro to order the suspension of the arraignment
the accused based on the ground that the accused is "mahina ang pick-up" motu proprio based on his own assessment of the situation. In fact, jurisprudence imposes upon the Judge the duty to
suspend the proceedings if it is found that the accused, even with the aid of counsel, cannot make a proper defense. 74 As we
The audit team reported that in an Order dated 8 February 1999 in Criminal Case No. 20347-MN, Judge Floro "motu underscored in People v. Alcalde 75 :
proprio ordered the physical and mental examination of the accused by any physician, over the strong objection of the trial
prosecutor, on the ground that the accused is "mahina ang pick-up." 70 Settled is the rule that when a judge is informed or discovers that an accused is apparently in a present condition of insanity
or imbecility, it is within his discretion to investigate the matter. If it be found that by reason of such affliction the accused
In refutation, Judge Floro argues -- could not, with the aid of counsel, make a proper defense, it is the duty of the court to suspend the proceedings and commit
the accused to a proper place of detention until his faculties are recovered. x x x.

In the case at bar, respondent/Court carefully observed the demeanor of the accused NESTOR ESCARLAN and noted the
manifestations of his counsel de oficio, Atty. E. Gallevo, PAO lawyer, and the comment/objections of the trial prosecutor, xxxx
Prosecutor J. Diaz, thus:
The constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him under the Bill of Rights carries
a. Atty. Gallevo manifested to the Court that the accused opted to enter a plea of not guilty; with it the correlative obligation to effectively convey to the accused the information to enable him to effectively prepare for
his defense. At the bottom is the issue of fair trial. While not every aberration of the mind or exhibition of mental deficiency
on the part of the accused is sufficient to justify suspension of the proceedings, the trial court must be fully satisfied that
b. But upon query of the Court, the accused approached the bench and he appeared trembling and stammering;
the accused would have a fair trial with the assistance the law secures or gives. x x x.

c. Atty. Gallevo, upon questions by respondent, readily admitted that accused is "nauutal", has difficulty of
Whether or not Judge Floro was indeed correct in his assessment of the accuseds mental fitness for trial is already beside
reasoning, of speaking, and very nervous;
the point. If ever he erred, he erred in the side of caution which, under the circumstances of the case, is not an actionable
wrong.
d. Atty. Gallevo also manifested that the accused often changed his mind regarding the plea, from not guilty to
guilty and to not guilty, and so forth;
(e)Re: Charge of appearing and signing pleadings in Civil Case No. 46-M-98 pending before Regional Trial Court, Branch 83,
Malolos, Bulacan in violation of Canon 5, Rule 5.07, Code of Judicial Conduct which prohibits a judge from engaging in the
e. Considering the grave situation, Atty. Gallevo, upon citation by the Court/respondent of the pertinent private practice of law
provisions of the Rules, namely Rule 28 (Mental Examination of Persons), Sec. 12 of Rule 116, and Sec. 5(g) of
(f)Re: Charge of appearing in personal cases without prior authority from the Supreme Court and without filing the Based on the above rationale, it becomes quite evident that what is envisioned by "private practice" is more than an isolated
corresponding applications for leaves of absence on the scheduled dates of hearing court appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of the same nature habitually or
customarily holding ones self to the public as a lawyer. 82 In herein case, save for the "Motion for Entry of Judgment," it does
not appear from the records that Judge Floro filed other pleadings or appeared in any other court proceedings in connection
In support of the above charges, the memorandum report states:
with his personal cases. It is safe to conclude, therefore, that Judge Floros act of filing the motion for entry of judgment is
but an isolated case and does not in any wise constitute private practice of law. Moreover, we cannot ignore the fact that
i.Judge Floro, Jr. informed the audit team that he has personal cases pending before the lower courts in Bulacan. He Judge Floro is obviously not lawyering for any person in this case as he himself is the petitioner.
admitted that Atty. Bordador, the counsel of record in some of these cases, is just signing the pleadings for him while he
(Judge Floro, Jr.) acts as collaborating counsel. When attending the hearing of the cases, Judge Floro, Jr. admitted that he
Be that as it may, though Judge Floro might not be guilty of unauthorized practice of law as defined, he is guilty of
does not file an application for leave of absence.
unbecoming conduct for signing a pleading wherein he indicated that he is the presiding judge of RTC, Branch 73, Malabon
City and for appending to the pleading a copy of his oath with a picture of his oath-taking. The only logical explanation we
Based on the reports gathered by the audit team, Judge Floro, Jr. has a pending civil case in the Regional Trial Court of can reach for such acts is that Judge Floro was obviously trying to influence or put pressure on a fellow judge by
Malolos, Bulacan and a criminal case in Municipal Trial Court, Meycauayan, Bulacan. It is reported that in these cases, he emphasizing that he himself is a judge and is thus in the right. 83 Verily, Canon 2, Rule 2.04 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
is appearing and filing pleadings in his capacity as party and counsel for himself and even indicating in the pleadings that mandates that a "judge shall refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending before
he is the Presiding Judge of Branch 73, RTC, Malabon. another court or administrative agency." By doing what he did, Judge Floro, to say the least, put a fellow judge in a very
awkward position.
Upon verification by the audit team, it was found out that Judge Floro, Jr. indeed has a pending case before the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 83, Malolos, Bulacan docketed as Civil Case No. 46-M-98, entitled: "In Re: In the Matter of the Petition As to charge (f), the OCA has failed to substantiate its claim that Judge Floro has been attending the hearing of his personal
for Habeas Corpus of Robert V. Floro, Atty. Florentino V. Floro, Jr., Petitioner - versus Jesie V. Floro and Benjamin V. cases without filing for leave of absence. As Judge Floro vehemently protests the charge as untrue, it was incumbent upon
Floro". In this case Judge Floro, Jr. filed an "Ex-Parte Motion for Issuance of Entry of Judgment with Manifestation and/or the OCA to prove its case. Time and again we have held that although administrative proceedings are not strictly bound by
Judicial Admission" wherein he signed as the petitioner and at the same time indicated that he is the presiding judge of formal rules on evidence, the liberality of procedure in administrative actions is still subject to limitations imposed by the
RTC, Branch 73, Malabon, Metro Manila. Court stenographer Marissa Garcia, RTC, Branch 83, Malolos, Bulacan confirmed fundamental requirement of due process. 84
this information. Judge Floro, Jr. even attached a copy of his oath taking and his picture together with President Joseph
Estrada to the aforesaid pleading. Photocopy of the said Motion is hereto attached as Annex "9".
(k) Re: Charge of openly criticizing the Rules of Court and the Philippine justice system

Judge Floro, Jr. has a pending request with the Court Management Office, Office of the Court Administrator, to appear as
(l) Re: Charge of use of highly improper and intemperate language during court proceedings
counsel or collaborating counsel in several civil cases (except the above-mentioned case) pending before lower courts. 76

The memorandum report reads:


Well ensconced is the rule that judges are prohibited from engaging in the private practice of law. Section 35, Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court unequivocally states that: "No judge or other official or employee of the superior courts or of the Office of the
Solicitor General, shall engage in private practice as member of the bar or give professional advice to client." Canon 5, Rule In the course of the judicial audit, the audit team was able to observe the way Judge Floro, Jr. conducts court proceedings.
5.07 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, on the other hand, provides that: "A judge shall not engage in the private practice of With the assistance of the court staff, the team was able to obtain a tape-recorded proceeding conducted by Judge Floro, Jr.
law." Attached is the transcript of the proceedings (Annex "15"). The tape record of the court proceedings is also submitted along
with this report as Exhibit "A".

Judge Floro vehemently denies the foregoing charge claiming that he hired lawyers to attend to his personal cases. 77

xxxx

A scrutiny of the voluminous records in this case does not reveal any concrete proof of Judge Floro having appeared as
counsel in his personal cases after he had already been appointed Judge except that he prepared a pleading ("Ex Parte The case for hearing that day was Civil Case No. 1256 MM. A certain Atty. Abelarde was appearing for the plaintiff while
Motion For Issuance of Entry of Judgment With Manifestation and/or Judicial Admission") jointly with his counsel of record Atty. Emmanuel Basa was appearing for the defendant. During the hearing, it seems that the counsels for both parties were
in connection with a habeas corpus case he filed against his brothers for the custody of their "mild, mentally-retarded" guiding Judge Floro, Jr. on how to proceed with the trial.
brother. He explained, however, that he prepared the said pleading in the heat of anger as he could not accept the judgment
of dismissal in that case. 78 He likewise explained that the pleading was signed by him alone due to inadvertence and that he
There was one instance when Judge Floro, Jr. criticized the Rules of Court, to wit:
had rectified the same by filing an Amended Manifestation with Affidavit of Merit. 79 Finally, during the hearing of this case,
Judge Floro argued that he filed the subject pleading as petitioner and not as counsel. 80
"Judge Floro, Jr.: Kasi nga ang may plano nito ay ang Rules of Court, hindi nila maayos ang Rules of Court natin, hindi
realistic kinopya lang sa law of California on Civil Procedure; pagdating dito eh dahil sa kanila maraming
The proscription against the private practice of law by judges is based on sound public policy, thus:
nagkakaproblema, masyadong maraming eh ako wala akong pinagkopyahan yan but ginawa ko lang yon Sabi ko si
Judge nagko-complain kasi, sabi ko nga pagka ang lawyer hindi alam yan talo na sa akin except na hindi papayag
[T]he rights, duties, privileges and functions of the office of an attorney-at-law are inherently incompatible with the high kasi marami diyang "
official functions, duties, powers, discretion and privileges of a judge. It also aims to ensure that judges give their full time
and attention to their judicial duties, prevent them from extending special favors to their own private interests and assure
In another proceeding conducted on a different day, Judge Floro, Jr., instead of holding trial, discussed, in open court, the
the public of their impartiality in the performance of their functions. These objectives are dictated by a sense of moral
case involving his brother. He even condemned the Philippine justice system and manifested his disgust on the unfairness of
decency and desire to promote the public interest. 81
the system. Thus, he said:
"Sabi ko paano ko matatagpuan ang katarungan dito sa korteng eto bulok ang hustisya. Ang kapatid ko napakayaman, ako A Judge Floro, if in the presence of all his staff, during the presence of me, the Court Interpreter, the Legal Researcher,
walang pera." maybe a Clerk, he always discuss matters regarding practitioners in our court. There is one time one Atty. Feliciano a lady
lawyer, he said, "Luka-luka, talaga yang babaing yan" and then he would call even not during court session, but during
office hours our Court Interpreter "malandi, luka-luka, may fruit of the sun". So, it did not surprise us one time when
He continued:
during a pre-trial conference in a Civil Case, for Civil Case No. 25-86-MN "Lopez v. Reyes and Mercado", he uttered offensive
language against his fellow judge. Take the transcription of this court proceeding is already adapted by the Court
"Yung kapatid ko. Hindi ko makuha kundi makita ko lang. Bawal kasi; yung kapatid ko retarded, bawal. In memory of my Administrator. It was the content of the tape he sent the Court Administrator. Actually, for consultation and advise after
brother, Robert Floro. So, ngayon nag-file ako. Sabi ni Judge Agloro senermonan pa ako, ganun ganun Sabi ko paano hearing what Judge Floro discussed in open Court, before all of us, the court staff present in the hearing and before the
ko makikita ang katarungan. Tapos ngayon ang nangyari di Judge na ako, hindi ko pa nakita ang kapatid ko. Di ngayon, lawyer and the defendants in the case, we were in quandary whether or not to attach in the record the stenographic notes or
ang ginawa ko na-dismiss na yung case, hindi ko inano kasi wala akong nakikitang katarungan dahil ang kapatid ko ay even the actual transcription of the proceedings because it contained offensive languages against the justice system, against
napakaraming pera. Alam ko naman kung ang isang court eh parehas o may kiling eh. Yung abogado niya malakas na a certain judge, against a certain Clerk of Court named Jude Assanda, against people he is disgusted with. In fact, instead of
malakas doon. Sana hindi naka-record eto (laughs) baka ako ma-contempt dito." 85 discussing the merit of the case or the possibility of the amicable settlement between the parties, he integrated this kind of
discussion. So, as a Clerk of Court, I may not use my discretion whether or not to advise the stenographer to indeed present
Judge Floro denies the foregoing accusations, emphatically arguing that these are all hearsay fabrications supplied by his the same or attach the same in the record because it contained offensive languages highly improper and intemperate
Clerk of Court, Atty. Dizon, and by disgruntled RTC personnel due to ill or ulterior motives (i.e., to allegedly cover-up their languages like for example, "putang ina", words like "ako ang anghel ng kamatayan, etcetera, etcetera". 88
consistent tardiness, habitual absenteeism and gross neglect of duties which were all unearthed by Judge Floro).
The denials of Judge Floro are insufficient to discredit the straightforward and candid declarations of Atty. Dizon especially
As to the tape recording of an alleged court hearing wherein he criticized the Philippine judicial system, Judge Floro in the light of confirming proofs from Judge Floro himself.
contends that this recording was done clandestinely by his staff in violation of the Anti-Wire Tapping Law (Republic Act No.
4200) and, to suit their plans, they twisted the facts by cutting portions thereof. They also made it appear that the The Court finds the version of Atty. Dizon more credible because subject utterances are consistent with Judge Floros claims
conversation took place in a court proceeding when, in fact, this was inside his chambers. of intellectual superiority for having graduated with several honors from the Ateneo School of Law and having placed 13th in
the bar examinations. Moreover, his utterances against the judicial system on account of his perception of injustice in the
During the investigation, it was established that the two tapes in question were submitted to the OCA sans the "yellow notes" disposition of his brothers case are not far removed from his reactions to what he perceived were injustices committed
and the official transcribed copy thereof. 86 This means that the transcribed copy that was submitted by the audit team as against him by the OCA and by the persons who were either in charge of the cases against him or had some sort of
Annex "15" is but an unofficial copy and does not, by itself, prove that what was being recorded was a court proceeding. This participation therein. Consequently, although there is no direct proof that Judge Floro said what he is claimed to have said,
being the case, the two tapes, without concrete proof that they were taken officially during a court proceeding, cannot be nonetheless, evidence that he sees himself as intellectually superior as well as evidence of his habit of crying foul when
used against Judge Floro as the unauthorized recording of a private conversation is inadmissible under Rep. Act No. 4200. 87 things do not go his way, show that it is more likely that he actually criticized the Rules of Court and the judicial system and
is thus guilty of unbecoming conduct. Verily, in administrative cases, the quantum of proof necessary for a finding of guilt is
substantial evidence or such relevant evidence as reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. 89 In
Without the tape and transcribed copies of the contents thereof, we are thus left with only Judge Floros word against that of
this case, there is ample and competent proof of violation on Judge Floros part.
Atty. Dizon, his Clerk of Court who testified under oath as to Judge Floros alleged propensity to criticize the judiciary and to
use intemperate language. Resolving these particular charges would therefore depend upon which party is more credible.
(m) Re: Charge of violating Circular No. 13-87 dated 1 July 1987

Atty. Dizon stated on the witness stand that:


The memorandum report stated that Judge Floro

Q: Is Judge Floro guilty of Violation of Canon 1 Rule 1.01 Code of Judicial Conduct when he openly criticized the Rules of
Court and the Philippine Justice System? [D]eviat[ed] from the regular course of trial when he discusses matters involving his personal life and beliefs. Canon 3, Rule
3.03 provides that "[a] judge shall maintain order and proper decorum in the court." A disorderly judge generates disorderly
work. An indecorous judge invites indecorous reactions. Hence, the need to maintain order and proper decorum in court.
A: Yes. Judge Floro has mentioned to each and everyone of us in branch 73 the alleged "kabulukan ng hustisya". Time and
When the judge respects himself, others will respect him too. When he is orderly, others will follow suit. Proceedings in court
again he said the Rules of Court is of no use. He said that since theory and the practice of law are very different, the Rules
must be conducted formally and solemnly. The atmosphere must be characterized with honor and dignity befitting the
of Court does not always apply to different cases. Not only the justice system did he criticize but likewise Judges and
seriousness and importance of a judicial trial called to ascertain the truth. Anything which tends to detract from this
Justices. He told us . . . and I quote "Dyan sa Malolos sangkatutak ang corrupt na Judges . . . Sa Court of Appeals
atmosphere must be avoided. And the judge is supposed to be in control and is therefore responsible for any detraction
P25,000.00 ang pinakamababang lagayan diyan."
therefrom.

To our mind, how can a Judge like him openly criticize the very institution he is now serving? Where is his respect to the
Circular No. 13 (Guidelines in the Administration of Justice) dated July 1, 1987 provides that trial of cases should be
court, to the bar and to the bench? How can he uphold courts as temples of justice if he himself did not believe in the justice
conducted efficiently and expeditiously. Judges should plan the course and direction of trials so that waste of time is
system?
avoided.

xxxx
Moreover, a judge should avoid being queer in his behavior, appearance and movements. He must always keep in mind that
he is the visible representative of the law. Judge Floro, Jr.s claims that he is endowed with psychic powers, that he can
Q What can you say about charge letter "L" which reads for the use of highly improper and intemperate language during inflict pain and sickness to people, that he is the angel of death and that he has unseen "little friends" are manifestations of
court proceedings? his psychological instability and therefore casts doubt on his capacity to carry out the functions and responsibilities of a
judge. Hence, it is best to subject Judge Floro, Jr. once again to psychiatric or mental examination to ascertain his fitness to
remain in the judiciary. 90
Circular No. 13-87, by itself, does not define nor punish an offense but, as its title would suggest, it merely sets the Atty. Floro was observed to be restless and very anxious during the interview. He was argumentative and over solicitous of
guidelines in the administration of justice following the ratification of the 1987 Constitution. questions asked, giving the impressions of marked suspiciousness. He centered on his academic excellence, an Ateneo de
Manila graduate of the College of Law, rated top 13th place in the bar examination. He emphasized his obsessive and
compulsive method of studying, at least 15 hours per day regardless of whether it was school days or vacation time. Vying for
The arguments forwarded by the OCA, however, best exemplify the fact that the 13 charges are inextricably linked to the
honors all the time and graduated Law as second honor, he calls this self-discipline and self-organization. He expressed
charge of mental/psychological illness which allegedly renders Judge Floro unfit to continue discharging the functions of his
dissatisfaction of his achievements, tend to be a perfectionist and cannot accept failures. To emphasize his ultra bright mind
office. This being the case, we will consider the allegation that Judge Floro proclaims himself to be endowed with psychic
and analytical system, he related that, for the past 3 to 5 years, he has been experiencing "Psychic vision" every morning and
powers, that he can inflict pain and sickness to people, that he is the angel of death and that he has unseen "little friends"
that the biggest secret of the universe are the "unseen things." He can predict future events because of "power in psychic
in determining the transcendental issue of his mental/psychological fitness to remain in office.
phenomenon" as when his bar results was to be released, he saw lights in the sky "no. 13-1," and he got the 13th place. He
has been practicing "parapsychology" seeing plenty of "dwendes" around him.
But before we even go into that, we must determine the appropriate penalty to be imposed for the seven of the 13 charges
discussed above. To recapitulate, we have found Judge Floro guilty, in one way or another, of seven of the 13 charges against
He can talk on and on of bizarre ideas, that tends (sic) to be irrelevant.
him. Thus:

Intellectually, he has high assets, however, evidence of ego disintegration are prominent findings, both in the interview
1) Charge "a" - simple misconduct
(conscious) and psychological test results. (unconscious level). 92

2) Charges "c" and "g" gross ignorance of the law


Approximately three years later, in June 1998, Judge Floro again presented himself to the Supreme Court Clinic when he
applied anew for judgeship, this time of RTC Malabon. Psychologist Beatriz O. Cruz and Celeste P. Vista, M.D. (Psychiatrist
3) Charge "d" unbecoming conduct and Medical Officer IV) did the interview and evaluation. Dr. Vista observed:

4) Charge "e" unbecoming conduct Atty. Floro has an impressive academic achievements (sic), and he takes pride in this. During the interview, he was quite
reluctant to reveal information about his family background and would rather talk about his work and academic
5) Charges "k" and "l" unbecoming conduct achievements. However, he failed to integrate his knowledge into a cohesive unit which he can utilize to cope with the various
tasks that he undertakes. This renders him confused and ambivalent with a tendency to vacillate with decision-making. He
also has a low self-esteem and prone to mood swings with the slightest provocation.
Gross ignorance of the law or procedure is a serious charge. Under Rule 140 as amended, a judge guilty of a serious charge
may be dismissed from the service, suspended from office without salary and other benefits for more than three but not
exceeding six months or fined in the amount of P 20,000.00 but not exceeding P 40,000.00 depending on the circumstances From the interview, there seems to have been no drastic change in his personality and level of functioning as a lawyer in
of the case. In herein case, considering that Judge Floro had barely warmed his seat when he was slammed with these private practice. However, he showed a pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits. He has poor social skills and
charges, his relative inexperience is to be taken in his favor. And, considering further that there is no allegation or proof that showed discomfort with close social contacts. Paranoid ideations, suspiciousness of others motives as well as perceptual
he acted in bad faith or with corrupt motives, we hold that a fine is the appropriate penalty. The fine is to be imposed in the distortions were evident during the interview.
maximum, i.e. P 40,000.00, as we will treat the findings of simple misconduct and unbecoming conduct as aggravating
circumstances. 91 Atty. Floros current intelligence function is along the mild mental retardation (68) which is below the expected cognitive
efficiency of a judge. Despite his impressive academic background and achievements, he has lapses in judgment and may
Judge Floro must be relieved of his position as Judge of RTC Malabon Branch due to a medically disabling condition of the have problems with decision-making. His character traits such as suspiciousness and seclusiveness and preoccupation with
mind that renders him unfit to discharge the functions of his office paranormal and psychic phenomena though not detrimental to his role as a lawyer, may cloud his judgment, and hamper
his primary role as a judge in dispensing justice. Furthermore, he is at present not intellectually and emotionally equipped
to hurdle the responsibilities of a judge and he may decompensate when exposed to anxiety-provoking and stress-laden
As we have explained, the common thread which binds the 13 seemingly unrelated accusations in A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460 is
situation. 93
the charge of mental illness against Judge Floro embodied in the requirement for him to undergo an appropriate mental or
psychological examination and which necessitated his suspension pending investigation. This charge of mental illness, if
true, renders him unfit to perform the functions of his office notwithstanding the fact that, in disposing of the 13 charges, It would seem that the JBC disregarded the above-quoted report as it allowed Judge Floro to seek a second opinion from
there had been no finding of dismissal from the service against Judge Floro. private practitioners. A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460, however, resurrected the issue of his mental and psychological capacity to
preside over a regional trial court. Thus, the Resolution of 20 July 1999 specifically ordered Judge Floro to submit to
"appropriate psychological or mental examination."
The Supreme Court Clinic first had occasion to interview Judge Floro when the latter applied for judgeship (which
application he later voluntarily withdrew) way back in September 1995. The psychological report, as prepared by Cecilia C.
Villegas, M.D. (Director III, Chief SC Clinic Services) and Melinda C. Grio (Psychologist), stated in part: On 1 February 2000, per recommendation of Justice Ramirez, 94 the Court clarified that the "appropriate psychological or
mental examination" being adverted to in the Resolution of 20 July 1999 is to be conducted by the SC Clinic. The Court
thereby directed Judge Floro to "submit himself to the SC Clinic for psychological or mental examination, within ten (10)
PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION:
days from notice." 95 Judge Floro sought reconsideration which was denied by the Court on 22 February 2000. 96

There are evidences of developing psychotic process at present.


The order to submit to the appropriate psychological examination by the SC Clinic was reiterated by the Court on 17 October
2000 with the admonition that Judge Floros failure to do so would result in appropriate disciplinary sanctions. 97
REMARKS:
On 24 October 2000, Judge Floro sought reconsideration of the 17 October 2000 Resolution with a conjunctive special SUMMARY OF INTELLECTUAL/COGNITIVE CHARACTERISTICS
motion for him to undergo psychiatric examination by any duly authorized medical and/or mental institution. 98 This was
denied by the Court on 14 November 2000. 99
1. FFJ can draw from above average intellectual resources to cope with everyday demands. He is able to
handle both concrete and abstract requirements of tasks. Alert to details, he has a logical approach in
On 10 November 2000, Judge Floro moved, among other things, for the inhibition or disqualification of Supreme Court Clinic evaluating the relationship between things and ideas.
doctors 100 and psychologist 101 with a manifestation that he filed cases against them for revocation of licenses before the
Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC), the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and the PAP 102 for alleged gross
2. He thrives in predictable and structured situations, where he can consider solid facts to arrived
incompetence and dishonorable conduct under Sec. 24 of Rep. Act No. 2382/1959 Medical Act/Code of Medical Ethics. 103
(sic)at concrete, tangible outcomes. Task-oriented, he can organize procedures and details so as to get
things done correctly and on schedule. He uses conventional standards to determine personal progress.
On 16 November 2000, Justice Ramirez, with the approval of Court Administrator Benipayo, moved that Judge Floro be Set in his views, he may not readily accept others ideas and contributions especially if these oppose his
sanctioned for obvious contempt in refusing to comply with the 1 February 2000 and 17 October 2000 resolutions. own.
According to Justice Ramirez, Judge Floros filing of administrative cases with the PRC against Dr. Mendoza, et al., is an
indication of the latters intention to disregard and disobey the legal orders of the Court. 104The Court en banc agreed in the
3. A serious and thorough approach to his commitments is expected of FFJ. Generally, he prefers to
report of Justice Ramirez, thus Judge Floro was ordered to submit to psychological and mental examination within 10 days
control his emotions and does not let this get in the way of his judgment and decisions.
from receipt, otherwise, he "shall be ordered arrested and detained at the jail of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) x
x x." 105
II. EMOTIONAL/INTERPERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS

Judge Floro finally complied with the directive on 13 and 15 December 2000. 106 He likewise sought the services of a private
practitioner, Dr. Eduardo T. Maaba, who came out with his own evaluation of Judge Floro on 3 January 2001. 107 FFJ is motivated by the need to be recognized and respected for his undertakings. Achievement-oriented, he sets
high personal standards and tends to judge himself and others according to these standards. When things do not
develop along desired lines, he may become restless and impatient. Nevertheless, he is careful of his social stature
Thus, Judge Floro trooped to the Supreme Court Clinic for the third time in December 2000, this time in connection with
and can be expected to comply with conventional social demands. 109
A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460. Francianina G. Sanchez, Clinical Psychologist and Chief Judicial Staff Officer reported that "(o)ver all
data strongly suggest a delusional disorder with movement in the paranoid direction." Dr. Celeste Vista, for her part, stated
that: Testifying as one of Judge Floros witnesses, Rowena A. Reyes opined on cross-examination that "psychologically speaking,"
Judge Floro was not fit to be a judge. Thus:

Based on the clinical data gathered, it appears that Judge Floro is basically a cautious, and suspicious individual with a
compulsion to analyze and observe motives in his milieu. Despite his status, cognitive assets and impressive educational JUDGE AQUINO:
background, his current functioning is gauged along the LOW AVERAGE intelligence.
Q: Now, that we are telling you that Judge Floro based on his testimony here and on every available records of the
He can function and apply his skills in everyday and routine situations. However, his test protocol is characterized by proceedings, has been claiming that he [is] possessed with Psychic Powers and he did not tell you that in the interview.
disabling indicators. There is impairment in reality testing which is an indicator of a psychotic process. He is unable to make Would you consider his failure to tell you about his Psychic Powers to be a fatal [flaw]?
an objective assessment and judgment of his milieu. Hence, he is apt to misconstrue signals from his environment resulting
to perceptual distortions, disturbed associations, and lapses in judgment. Such that, cultural beliefs in dwarfs, psychic and xxxx
paranormal phenomena and divine gifts of healing have become incorporated in a delusional (false and unshakable beliefs)
system, that it has interfered and tainted his occupational and social functioning. Hence, he is found to be unfit in
A: Yes, Sir.
performing his court duties as a judge. 108

Q: Very grave one, because it will affect the psychological outlook of the patient?
Pursuant to the aforecited December 2000 interview of Judge Floro, Supreme Court Senior Chief Staff Officer Rosa J.
Mendoza, M.D., reported to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. in March 2001 that
A: Yes, Sir.

The findings of mental and psychological incapacity is thus substantially supported by evidence. Based on the three[3]
psychological tests and evaluation of the two[2] psychiatrists, the undersigned has no other recourse but to recommend that xxxx
Judge Florentino Floro be declared unfit to discharge his duties as a Judge, effective immediately.

Q: I tell you now, Judge Floro has been claiming in [these] proceedings and you were here when we were cross-examining Mr.
Not one to take this last recommendation sitting down, Judge Floro submitted earlier psychological evaluations conducted by Licaoco and you heard that we mentioned in the course of our cross-examination. Would you consider his failure to tell you
several mental health professionals which were all favorable to him. The first three evaluations were in connection with his about his power of by location to be a fatal [flaw] and your assessment of his psychological outlook?
application as RTC Judge of Malabon City in 1998 brought about by him having "failed" the examination given by the
Supreme Court Clinic. The report dated 04 September 1998 by staff psychologist, Rowena A. Reyes as noted by clinical
xxxx
Psychologist, Ma. Teresa Gustilo-Villasor of the Metropolitan Psychological Corporation (MPC), states in part:

A: Yes, Sir.
I. INTELLECTUAL/COGNITIVE CHARACTERISTICS

Q: Fatal [flaw]?
A: Yes, Sir. Atty. Floro is an asthenic, medium height, fairly groomed, be-spectacled person with graying hair. When interviewed he was
somewhat anxious, elaborative and at times approximate in his answers. He was alert, oriented, conscious, cooperative and
articulate in Pilipino and English. He denied any perceptual disturbances. Stream of thought was logical and goal-directed.
Q: Did Judge Floro tell you also in the course of the interview that he is capable of being in a trance?
There was pressure of speech with tendency to be argumentative or defensive but there were no flight of ideas, thought
blocking, looseness of associations or neologisms. Delusions were not elicited. Affect was broad and appropriate but mood
A: He did not. was anxious. There were no abnormal involuntary movements or tics. Impulse control is good. Cognition is intact.
Judgment, insight, and other test for higher cortical functions did not reveal abnormal results.
Q: So, he did not tell you that while in a trance he could type letters?
Comments: The over-all results of this psychiatric evaluation of Atty. Florentino V. Floro, Jr. do not contradict his nomination
A: He did not. and appointment to the post he is seeking. 112

xxxx On the witness stand, however, and testifying as Judge Floros witness, Dr. Jurilla clarified that the interview had its
limitations 113 and he might have missed out certain information left out by his patient. 114 The following exchange is thus
instructive:
Q: And reality oriented and a reality oriented person is one who will not be pronouncing or making pronouncement
concerning his psychic powers. Is this not correct?
JUDGE AQUINO: x x x. Did Judge Floro tell you in the interview that he has little unseen, unheard friends known as
duwendes?
xxxx

DR. JURILLA: He did not.


A: Yes sir.

xxxx
Q: A reality oriented person is also one who will not claim that he is capable of having trances in the course of his private
activities and even in the course of the performance of his official duty as a Judge. Will you not agree with that?
Q: Did you interview Judge Floro or did he [volunteer] to you information about his claim to be the number five psychic in
the country?
A: I agree with you, Sir.

xxxx
Q: And if he will do so, he will not be actually a reality oriented person. Meaning tatagalugin ko na po nakukuha naman "na
ako ay psychic, na ako ay pwedeng ipower ng by location, na kaya kong mag trance. Gumawa pa ng ibat iba pang bagay at
the same time." Yan ay hindi compatible sa pagiging reality oriented? A: No, Your Honor.

A: Yes, Sir. Q: He did not tell you also that he is gifted also with this so called, psychic phenomena?

Q: And a person who is not reality oriented is not fit to sit as a Judge. A: He did not.

xxxx xxxx

Q: I will add the phrase Psychologically speaking. Q: He did not tell you also that in [traveling] from one place to another, at least four (4) kilometers apart, he used to ride on a
big white or whatever it is, horse?

xxxx
A: Not during our interview.

A: Yes, Sir. 110

xxxx

Another psychiatrist, Pacita Ramos-Salceda, M.D., Senior Consultant Psychiatrist of the Makati Medical Center, stated in
her report dated 3 September 1998 that at the time of the interview Judge Floro A: It is possible like any other psychiatrist or mental health doctor you might have missed some information or it is possible
that our clients or patients might not [have] told us everything.

[W]as enthusiastic and confident. He is well informed about current issues, able to discuss a wide variety of topics
intelligently without hesitation. His thinking is lucid, rational, logical and reality based. He is well oriented, intelligent, Q: And if your clients or patients did not tell you things such as those that Judge Floro did not admittedly tell you in the
emotionally stable, with very good judgment. There is no previous history of any psychological disturbances. 111 course of the interview, your opinion of the patient would be altered a little?

This was followed by the evaluation of Eduardo L. Jurilla, M.D., dated September 1998, who stated in his report that xxxx
A: The answer has something to do whether my evaluation may be altered. Yes, Your Honor in the absence of any Lastly, Judge Floro presented the psychiatric evaluation of Eduardo T. Maaba, M.D., 116
dated 3 January 2001, the relevant
corroborative contradiction. portions of which state:

Q: More so, if the presence of confirming events that transpired after the interview, would that be correct? Affect was adequate and no mood incongruity was observed. Content of thought did not reveal delusional thought. He was
proud of his achievements in line with his profession and expressed his frustration and dissatisfaction with the way his
colleagues are handling his pending administrative cases. He was observed to be reality-oriented and was not suffering from
A: The interview has its limitations.
hallucinations or abnormal perceptual distortions. Orientation, with respect to time, place and person, was unimpaired.
Judgment and decision-making capacity were adequately functioning.
Q: Let us say, what Judge Floro did [not] tell you during the interview are confirmed by events that transpired after the
interview, would you not say you have more reason to have your evaluation altered?
xxxx

A: Yes.
An open-ended clinical interview was conducted at our clinic on December 26, 2000. He talked about his family and
academic achievements. He claimed to possess a divine gift for prophecy and a gift of healing. He also talked about a
Q: Especially so if you will now know that after that interview Judge Floro has been proclaiming himself as the number five "covenant" made during a dream between him and 3 dwarf friends named Luis, Armand and Angel. He reported that the first
psychic in the country [where] no one has called him as a psychic at all? part of his ministry is to cast illness and/or disease and the second part is to heal and alleviate sufferings/pain from
disease.
xxxx
A series of psychological test was administered to Judge Floro on December 28, 2000. The battery of test consisted of the
Q: Would it be really more altered? following: (1) Otis-Lennon Mental Ability Test (2) SRA Language Test (3) Purdue Non-Language Test (4) Sacks Sentence
Completion Test and (5) Draw A Person Test. Test results and evaluation showed an individual with an Above Average
Intelligence. Projective data, showed an obsessive-compulsive person who is meticulous to details and strive for perfection in
A: I would say so.
tasks assigned to him. He is reality-oriented and is deemed capable of making day-to-day decisions in his personal as well as
professional decisions. Confusion with regard to sexual identification, was further observed.
xxxx

Based on the clinical observation and the results of the psychological tests, respondent Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr., was
Q: Returning to the confirming proofs, meaning after the interview, which are confirmations of what Judge Floro did not tell found to be a highly intelligent person who is reality-oriented and is not suffering from any major psychotic disorder. He is
you during the interview, would your finding of [J]udge Floro be drastically altered if he will tell you that he is capable or not deluded nor hallucinated and is capable of utilizing his superior intellect in making sound decisions. His belief in
possessed of the power of bilocation? supernatural abilities is culture-bound and needs further studies/work-ups.

xxxx On cross-examination by Judge Aquino, however, Dr. Maaba also stated that Judge Floro was unfit to be a judge. 117 The
relevant exchanges between Dr. Maaba and Judge Aquino are hereunder reproduced:

A: I would probably try to for a diagnosis.


JUDGE AQUINO: And would you say that something is wrong with a judge who shall claim that he is possessed with power
of [bi-location]?
Q: Which may make a drastic alteration of your evaluation of Judge Floros mental and psychological x x x?

xxxx
A: My diagnosis I will be seeking for an abnormal condition.

DR. MAABA: A reality-oriented individual would not claim to be in two (2) places at one time.
Q: When you said abnormal something would have made you suspect that there was abnormality in the person of Judge
Floro?
Q: And that something must be wrong?

A: Given the data.


A: Yes.

Q: We will give you the data or additional information. Would you also have your evaluation favorable to Judge Floro
drastically altered if I tell you that based on record Judge Floro has claimed that while in a trance he is capable of typing a Q: Okay. Would you say that something is wrong also with a judge claiming in the course of his testimony and in this very
letter? case that while [he] was so testifying there is another spirit, another person, another character unseen who is with him at
the same time or in tagalog "sumapi sa kanya".

xxxx
xxxx

A: If there is data toward that effect prior to September 1998, probably drastically altered. 115

A: The observation that Judge Floro had unseen companion "sumapi" to me is unbelievable.
Q: Unbelievable. And anyone claiming it might be suffering from some delusion? Q: And if you hear one and will be shown records of one maybe such claim you will call that person not a normal person.

xxxx A: Maybe weird.

A: It could be and it could not be considered as perceptual distortion, your Honor. Q: I will now show to you portions of the stenographic notes of the proceedings in these cases held on October 10, 2000,
afternoon session, page 30 we start with the question of Atty. Dizon. "Atty. Dizon: Mr. witness, can you tell us? Are you in
trance at this very precise moment? JUDGE FLORO, JR.: "Nakalakip sila". I call it a trance, but I distinguished not the
Q: No, Delusion.
trance that you see the nag-sa-Sto., Nino, naninigas. Thats a trance that is created by the so called Because Fr. Jaime
Bulatao, multi awarded Jesuit priest, considered that as mind projection. He is correct in a sense that those nagta-trance na
A: Delusions, no, but Hallucinations, maybe yes. yan, naninigas, the mind projection or the hypnosis do come, and there is a change in the psychological aspect of the
person. But in my case I never was changed physically or mentally. Only the lights and heat will penetrate that person.
Q: Ah, Hallucination, and which maybe worse? ATTY. DIZON: That will do. So at this very moment, Mr. witness, "meron kayong kalakip ngayon?"" "Ngayong oras na ito?"
JUDGE FLORO: Yes, they are here. Atty. DIZON: Where are they? Judge Floro, Jr.: They cannot be seen but ATTY. DIZON:
No, can you see them?" To point to us where are they in this room?", Now that you have read and seen this portion wherein
A: Both are on the same footing.
Judge Floro himself admitted that in the course of his testimony in these cases he was in a trance, would you still consider
him at least insofar as this claim of his to be a normal person?
Q: Okay. Would you say that the person declaring in a proceeding as a witness about hallucinatory matters would turn out
to be fit to become a judge?
A: No.

xxxx
Q: No, okay, so he is not normal. Now, Judge Floro in these proceedings also and I will show to you the transcript of
stenographic notes later have claimed that he had, always had and still had a socalled counter part, his other side, other
A. If these delusions or hallucinations are part and parcel of a major psychiatric disorder like schizophrenia or an organic self, what can you say to that claim, would that be the claim of a normal, mental sound person?
mental disorder, this individual suffering from hallucinations or delusions is unfit to sit as a judge, however, there is, this
symptom might also exi[s]t in a non-psychotic illness and the hallucinations and delusions could be transient and short in
A: No.
duration.

Q: And one who is not normal and mentally sound is of course not fit to sit as judge?
Q: But of doubtful capacity to sit as a judge?

xxxx
A: Yes, doubtful capacity.

A: Yes. 118

Q: Now, trance is something covered by the field of which you are practicing with psychiatry.

Based on the foregoing, the OCA, thru Justice Ramirez, reported that:
A: Yes.

Upon the testimony of his own witnesses, Drs. Eduardo T. Maaba, Ma. Nieves Celeste and Eduardo L. Jurilla, respondent
Q: Would you consider a person claiming in the course of a judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative proceedings particularly
Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr. is unfit because of insanity to remain in office as Judge of the Regional Trial Court, National
in the course of his testimony that while he was doing so, he was under trance normal.
Capital Judicial Region, Malabon, Metro Manila, Branch 73.

xxxx
It is weird for respondent Judge to state in one of his pleadings in this case that President Estrada would not finish his term
as President. It is unusual and queer of him to state in his calling card that he is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila, second
A: Let me explain the phenomenon of trance it is usually considered in the Philippines as part of a culture bound syndrome honors, bar topnotcher with a grade of 87.55% and include in his address the name Colonel Reynaldo Cabauatan who was
and it could also be an indication Basically the phenomenon of trance are often seen in cases of organic mental disorder. involved in a coup detat attempt. So is it strange of him to make use of his alleged psychic powers in writing decisions in the
It is also common in culture bound syndrome and the effect of person is usually loss of concentration in a particular cases assigned to his court. It is improper and grandiose of him to express superiority over other judges in the course of
settings or situations so that a person or a judge hearing a case in court would [lose] concentration and would not be able to hearings he is conducting and for him to say that he is very successful over many other applicants for the position he has
follow up testimony of witnesses as well as arguments given by the counsel for the defense and also for the prosecution, so I been appointed. It is abnormal for a Judge to distribute self-serving propaganda. One who distributes such self-serving
would say that there is this difficulty in manners of attention span and concentration if that person sitting as a judge propaganda is odd, queer, amusing, irresponsible and abnormal. A judge suffering from delusion or hallucination is unfit to
experience trance as in the case of Judge Floro, this trance is manifested by flashing of lights and he might not be able to be one. So is he who gets into a trance while presiding at the hearing of a case in court. One need not be a doctor of
rationalize or to control expressions or as well as physical when he is in a trance. medicine, a psychiatrist and a psychologist to determine and conclude that a person in such circumstances is mentally unfit
or insane and should not be allowed to continue discharging the duties and functions of a judge. The life, liberty and
property of the litigants in the court presided by such judge are in his hands. Hence, it is imperative that he is free from
Q: Have you heard of a judge claiming that in the course of a proceeding, he was in a trance?
doubt as to his mental capacity and condition to continue discharging the functions of his office.

A: No, I have not encountered any.


RECOMMENDATION
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that by reason of insanity which renders him incapable and unfit to perform a.) NORMANDY swore that he, Ponciano Ineria and Raul Ineria were "sinalubong" by Lando/accused on June 21,
the duties and functions of Judge of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Malabon, Metro Manila, 1987 at 2:30 a.m. at alley Wesleyan/Tangos, Navotas, and that he saw the "nagpambuno" between Raul and Ando,
Branch 73, respondent Florentino V. Floro, Jr. be REMOVED and DISMISSED from such office. 119 and that HE SAW P. INERIA dead, but HE WAS NO LONGER THERE, but he still saw the "nagpambuno"; MORE
IMPORTANTLY, he SWORE that HE NOTICED the ACCUSED P. Francisco THE FOLLOWING DAY;

We are in agreement with the OCA that Judge Floro cannot remain as RTC Judge because of the findings of mental
impairment that renders him unfit to perform the functions of his office. We hasten to add, however, that neither the OCA b.) The foregoing verily demonstrate his 11th HOUR CONCOCTION (Big Lie, having been asked to submit false
nor this Court is qualified to conclude that Judge Floro is "insane" as, in fact, the psychologists and psychiatrists on his case testimony); for how could have he witnessed the stabbing by accused when he NOTICED him the following day?
have never said so. (TSN dated May 2, 1995, pp. 1-2); assuming arguendo that the TSN was incorrect due to typographical error, or
maybe the Court Stenographer III Eloisa B. Domingo might have been SLEEPING during the testimony, so that
the word DAY should have been corrected to another word SUITABLE to Normandys FAIRY TALE, still, the Court
When Justice Ramirez recommended that Judge Floro be dismissed from the service due to "insanity," he was apparently
had synthesized the entire NARRATIVE of Normandy, but the Court found no reason that the seeming error DAY
using the term in its loose sense. Insanity is a general laymans term, a catchall word referring to various mental disorders.
should be corrected; the Courts sole/remaining conclusion is that EVEN the STENOGRAPHIC NOTES cooperated
Psychosis is perhaps the appropriate medical term 120 as this is the one used by Drs. Vista and Villegas of the Supreme
by PSYCHIC PHENOMENA perhaps of FOR SURE, in having BEEN DESTINED to be FATEFULLY INSCRIBED
Court Clinic. It is of note that the 1995, 1998 and 2000 psychological evaluations all reported signs and symptoms of
WITH THE WORDS FOLLOWING DAY (line 3, p. 3 TSN, id.) 126 (Emphasis supplied)
psychosis.

In State Prosecutors v. Muro 127


we held that
Courts exist to promote justice; thus aiding to secure the contentment and happiness of the people. 121 An honorable,
competent and independent judiciary exists to administer justice in order to promote the stability of government, and the
well-being of the people. 122 Carrying much of the weight in this daunting task of administering justice are our front liners, What is required on the part of judges is objectivity. An independent judiciary does not mean that judges can resolve specific
the judges who preside over courts of law and in whose hands are entrusted the destinies of individuals and institutions. As disputes entirely as they please. There are both implicit and explicit limits on the way judges perform their role. Implicit
it has been said, courts will only succeed in their tasks if the judges presiding over them are truly honorable men, competent limits include accepted legal values and the explicit limits are substantive and procedural rules of law. 128
and independent. 123

The judge, even when he is free, is still not wholly free. He is not to innovate at pleasure. He is not a knight-errant, roaming
There is no indication that Judge Floro is anything but an honorable man. And, in fact, in our disposition of the 13 charges at will in pursuit of his own ideal of beauty or goodness. He is to draw his inspiration from consecrated principles. He is not
against him, we have not found him guilty of gross misconduct or acts or corruption. However, the findings of psychosis by to yield to spasmodic sentiment, to vague and unregulated benevolence. He is to exercise a discretion informed by tradition,
the mental health professionals assigned to his case indicate gross deficiency in competence and independence. methodized by analogy, disciplined by system, and subordinate to the "primordial necessity of order in the social life." 129

Moreover, Judge Floro himself admitted that he believes in "psychic visions," of foreseeing the future because of his power in Judge Floro does not meet such requirement of objectivity and his competence for judicial tasks leaves much to be desired.
"psychic phenomenon." He believes in "duwendes" and of a covenant with his "dwarf friends Luis, Armand and Angel." He As reported by the Supreme Court Clinic:
believes that he can write while on trance and that he had been seen by several people to have been in two places at the
same time. He has likened himself to the "angel of death" who can inflict pains on people, especially upon those he perceived
Despite his impressive academic background and achievements, he has lapses in judgment and may have problems with
as corrupt officials of the RTCs of Malabon. He took to wearing blue robes during court sessions, switching only to black on
decision-making. His character traits such as suspiciousness and seclusiveness and preoccupation with paranormal and
Fridays. His own witness testified that Judge Floro explained that he wore black from head to foot on Fridays to recharge his
psychic phenomena though not detrimental to his role as a lawyer, may cloud his judgment, and hamper his primary role as
psychic powers. Finally, Judge Floro conducted healing sessions in his chambers during his break time. All these things
a judge in dispensing justice. x x x 130
validate the findings of the Supreme Court Clinic about Judge Floros uncommon beliefs and that such beliefs have spilled
over to action.
Judge Floros belief system, as well as his actuations in the eight months that he served as RTC judge, indubitably shows
his inability to function with the cold neutrality of an impartial judge.
Lest we be misconstrued, we do not denigrate such belief system. However, such beliefs, especially since Judge Floro acted
on them, are so at odds with the critical and impartial thinking required of a judge under our judicial system.
Verily, Judge Floro holds an exalted position in our system of government. Thus:

Psychic phenomena, even assuming such exist, have no place in a judiciary duty bound to apply only positive law and, in its
absence, equitable rules and principles in resolving controversies. Thus, Judge Floros reference to psychic phenomena in Long before a man dons the judicial robes, he has accepted and identified himself with large components of the judges role.
the decision he rendered in the case of People v. Francisco, Jr. 124 sticks out like a sore thumb. In said decision, Judge Floro Especially if he has aspired to a judges status, he is likely to have conducted himself, more or less unconsciously, in the
discredited the testimony of the prosecutions principal witness by concluding that the testimony was a "fairytale" or a fashion of one who is said to have "the judicial temperament." He is likely to have displayed the kinds of behavior that the
"fantastic story." 125 He then went to state that "psychic phenomena" was destined to cooperate with the stenographer who judges role demands. A large proportion of his experiences on the bench develop and reinforce such conformity, moreover.
transcribed the testimony of the witness. The pertinent portion of Judge Floros decision is quoted hereunder: The ritualistic elements of investiture and of court procedure, the honorific forms of address, and even the imposing
appearance of some court buildings serve to emphasize the demands upon his behavior. Even the most unscrupulous former
ambulance chaser who owes his position to a thoroughly corrupt political organization must conform at least in part to the
3. The testimony of the prosecutions PRINCIPAL witness (sole eyewitness of the incident) NORMANDY is INCREDIBLE, is full
behaviors expected of him as a judge.131
of inconsistencies (major and not regarding minor points), ergo, the court concludes that due to several indicia of
fraud/perjury (flagrant/palpable deception of the Court), his testimony is not worthy of belief, assuming ex-gratia
argumenti, that the same may be admissible, and his Court narrative is hereby declared a FAIRY TALE or a FANTASTIC The expectations concerning judicial behavior are more than those expected of other public officials. Judges are seen as
STORY of a crime scene that is acceptable only for SCREEN/cinematic viewing. The following details, are proof of the guardians of the law and they must thus identify themselves with the law to an even greater degree than legislators or
foregoing conclusion: executives. 132
As it has been said, "[j]udges administer justice judicially, i.e., not according to some abstract ideas of right and justice, but It goes without saying that Judge Floros appointment as RTC judge is fait accompli. What awaits us now is the seemingly
according to the rules laid down by society in its Code of Laws to which it gives its sanctions. The function of the judge is overwhelming task of finding the PROPER, JUST AND EQUITABLE solution to Judge Floros almost seven years of
primarily adjudication. This is not a mechanical craft but the exercise of a creative art, whether we call it legislative or not, suspension in the light of the fact that the penalty imposed herein does not merit a suspension of seven years.
which requires great ability and objectivity." 133 We, thus, quote Justice Frankfurter, in speaking of the functions of the
Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States:
Verily, the Supreme Court is vested with the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all
courts. 137 The Constitution limits this power through the admonition that such rules "shall provide a simplified and
To practice the requisite detachment and to achieve sufficient objectivity no doubt demands of judges the habit of self- inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not
discipline and self-criticism, incertitude that ones own views are incontestable and alert tolerance toward views not shared. diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights." 138
But these are precisely the presuppositions of our judicial process. They are precisely the qualities society has a right to
expect from those entrusted with judicial power.
Rule 140 of the Rules of Court outlines the procedure to be followed in administrative cases against judges. Glaringly, Rule
140 does not detail the steps to be taken in cases when the judge is preventively suspended pending investigation. This is
xxxx the state of things even after its amendment by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC which took effect on 1 October 2001.

The judicial judgment must move within the limits of accepted notions of justice and is not to be based upon the The Supreme Courts power to suspend a judge, however, is inherent in its power of administrative supervision over all
idiosyncrasies of a merely personal judgment. 134 courts and the personnel thereof. 139 This power -- consistent with the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading,
practice and procedure in all courts -- is hemmed in only by the Constitution which prescribes that an adjective law cannot,
among other things, diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.
In fine, Judge Floro lacks the judicial temperament and the fundamental requirements of competence and objectivity
expected of all judges. He cannot thus be allowed to continue as judge for to do so might result in a serious challenge to the
existence of a critical and impartial judiciary. The resolution of 20 July 1999 which put Judge Floro under preventive suspension resolved to:

Equitable considerations entitle Judge Floro backwages and other economic benefits for a period of three (3) years. (1) DIRECT Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr. to answer the foregoing charges against him within ten (10) days from notice; (2)
REFER this case to Retired Justice Pedro Ramirez, Consultant, Office of the Court Administrator for investigation, report
and recommendation, within sixty (60) days from receipt of the records thereof; (3) SUBJECT Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr.
In retrospect, we are forced to say that Judge Floro should not have joined the judiciary as RTC judge. However, we have
for appropriate psychological or mental examination to be conducted by the proper office of the Supreme Court or any duly
assiduously reviewed the history of this case and we cannot hold anyone legally responsible for such major and unfortunate
authorized medical and/or mental institution.
faux pas.

Moreover, the Court RESOLVED to place Judge Florentino Floro, effective immediately under PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION for
Judge Floro did not breach any rule of procedure relative to his application for judgeship. He went through the entire gamut
the duration of the investigation of the administrative charges against him. 140
of tests and interviews and he was nominated by the JBC on the strength of his scholastic achievements. As to having failed
the psychological examinations given by the SC Clinic, it must be pointed out that this was disregarded by the JBC upon
Judge Floros submission of psychiatric evaluations conducted by mental health professionals from the private sector and As can be gleaned from the above-quoted resolution, Judge Floros suspension, albeit indefinite, was for the duration of the
which were favorable to him. Nowhere is it alleged that Judge Floro acted less than honorably in procuring these investigation of the 13 charges against him which the Court pegged at 60 days from the time of receipt by the investigator of
evaluations. the records of the case. Rule 140, as amended, now states that "(t)he investigating Justice or Judge shall terminate the
investigation within ninety (90) days from the date of its commencement or within such extension as the Supreme Court may
grant" 141 and, "(w)ithin thirty (30) days from the termination of the investigation, the investigating Justice or Judge shall
The JBC in 1999 had all the discretion to refer Judge Floro to a private clinic for a second opinion of his mental and
submit to the Supreme Court a report containing findings of fact and recommendation." 142
psychological fitness. In performing its functions, the JBC had been guided primarily by the Constitution which prescribes
that members of the Judiciary must be, in addition to other requirements, persons of proven competence, integrity, probity
and independence. 135 It was only on 18 October 2000 when it promulgated JBC-009, the "Rules of the Judicial and Bar From the foregoing, the rule now is that a Judge can be preventively suspended not only for the entire period of his
Council," that the JBC put down in writing guidelines or criteria it had previously used in ascertaining "if one seeking such investigation which would be 90 days (unless extended by the Supreme Court) but also for the 30 days that it would take the
office meets the minimum constitutional qualifications and possesses qualities of mind and heart expected of the investigating judge or justice to come up with his report. Moreover, the Court may preventively suspend a judge until such
Judiciary." 136 Rule 6 thereof states: time that a final decision is reached in the administrative case against him or her. 143This is because

SECTION 1. Good health. Good physical health and sound mental/psychological and emotional condition of the applicant [U]nlike ordinary civil service officials and employees, judges who are charged with a serious offense warranting preventive
play a critical role in his capacity and capability to perform the delicate task of administering justice. x x x suspension are not automatically reinstated upon expiration of the ninety (90)-day period, as mandated above. The Court
may preventively suspend a judge until a final decision is reached in the administrative case especially where there is a
strong likelihood of his guilt or complicity in the offense charged. Indeed, the measure is intended to shield the public from
SEC. 2. Psychological/psychiatric tests. The applicant shall submit to psychological/psychiatric tests to be conducted by
any further damage or wrongdoing that may be caused by the continued assumption of office by the erring judge. It is also
the Supreme Court Medical Clinic or by a psychologist and/or psychiatrist duly accredited by the Council.
intended to protect the courts image as temples of justice where litigants are heard, rights and conflicts settled and justice
solemnly dispensed.
It would seem that as things stood then, the JBC could very well rely on the evaluation of a private psychologist or
psychiatrist not accredited by the JBC. Thus, the JBC cannot be faulted for accepting the psychological evaluations of
This is a necessary consequence that a judge must bear for the privilege of occupying an exalted position. Among civil
mental health professionals not affiliated with the Supreme Court Clinic.
servants, a judge is indeed in a class all its own. After all, in the vast government bureaucracy, judges are beacon lights
looked upon as the embodiment of all what is right, just and proper, the ultimate weapons against justice and oppression. 144
In the case of Judge Floro, he is under preventive suspension up to the present because of the serious charge of mental Gloria v. Court of Appeals, his suspension in excess of 90 days was already in the nature of a penalty which cannot be
unfitness aggravated by the fact that the actual investigation into his cases dragged on for a much longer period than 90 countenanced precisely because, being innocent, he cannot be penalized. Judge Floro, on the other hand, and as already
days. And the reasons for the delay, for the most part, can be directly ascribed to Judge Floro himself. From the records, it discussed, contributed to the delay in the investigation of his cases. Moreover, unlike Judge Iturralde, Judge Floro has not
would seem that not only did Judge Floro move for several re-settings of the hearings of his cases; he likewise dragged his been adjudged innocent of all the 13 charges against him.
feet with respect to the order to submit himself to the appropriate psychological/mental examination. Worse, what started
out as single case against him ballooned into 10 cases which were consolidated into one due to common questions of fact
These facts, however, as we have already discussed, do not put Judge Floro beyond the reach of equity. To paraphrase
and law. 145 All in all, Judge Floro filed seven cases against those he perceived had connived to remove and/or suspend him
Justice Brandeis, equity does not demand that its suitors are free of blame. As we are wont to say:
from office, the last of which he filed on 19 May 2003 against Justice Ramirez. 146

Equity as the complement of legal jurisdiction seeks to reach and do complete justice where courts of law, through the
Be that as it may, EQUITY demands that we exercise utmost compassion in this case considering that the rules on
inflexibility of their rules and want of power to adapt their judgments to the special circumstances of cases, are incompetent
preventive suspension of judges, not having been expressly included in the Rules of Court, are amorphous at best. We have
so to do. Equity regards the spirit of and not the letter, the intent and not the form, the substance rather than the
ruled similarly in the case of Judge Philbert Iturralde, thus:
circumstance, as it is variously expressed by different courts. 148

Be that as it may, we cannot in conscience hold that a judge who was placed under preventive suspension pending
In fine, notwithstanding the fact that Judge Floro is much to blame for the delay in the resolution of his case, equitable
investigation is not entitled to the payment of back salaries, allowances and other economic benefits for the entire duration
considerations constrain us to award him back salaries, allowances and other economic benefits for a period corresponding
of the preventive suspension. The inequity of the doctrine as applied to judges is clearly apparent, given the peculiar
to three years. This is because Judge Floros separation from the service is not a penalty as we ordinarily understand the
circumstance in which a judge finds himself preventively suspended by the Court "until further orders".
word to mean. It is imposed instead upon Judge Floro out of necessity due to a medically disabling condition of the mind
which renders him unfit, at least at present, to continue discharging the functions of his office.
In this case, Judge Iturralde was preventively suspended for 13 months, during which period he was not paid his salaries,
allowances and other benefits. Except for a teaching job that the Court permitted him to undertake pending resolution of the
The period of three years seems to us the most equitable under the circumstances. As discussed, if we were to give him more
administrative case, Judge Iturralde had no other source of income. He thus incurred several loans to provide for his familys
than three years of back salaries, etc., then it would seem that we are rewarding him for his role in delaying the resolution of
basic needs.
these cases (as well as the seven cases he filed which were only dismissed on 14 February 2006 at his own bidding). On the
other hand, if we were to peg the period at less than three years then the same would only be a pittance compared to the
It would thus be unjust to deprive Judge Iturralde of his back salaries, allowances and other economic benefits for the entire seven years suspension he had to live through with Damocles sword hanging over his head and with his hands bound as he
period that he was preventively suspended. As we have said in Gloria v. Court of Appeals, preventive suspension pending could not practice his profession.
investigation is not a penalty but only a measure intended to enable the disciplining authority to conduct an unhampered
formal investigation. We held that ninety (90) days is ample time to conclude the investigation of an administrative case.
Judge Floros separation from the service moots the case against him docketed as A.M. No. 99-7-273-RTC (Re: Resolution
Beyond ninety (90) days, the preventive suspension is no longer justified. Hence, for purposes of determining the extent of
Dated 11 May 1999 Of Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr.) A.M. No. RTJ-06-1988 (Luz Arriego v. Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr.), on
back salaries, allowances and other benefits that a judge may receive during the period of his preventive suspension, we
the other hand, is dismissed for lack of merit.
hold that the ninety-day maximum period set in Gloria v. Court of Appeals, should likewise be applied.

A.M. No. 99-7-273-RTC


Concededly, there may be instances when an investigation would extend beyond ninety (90) days and such may not be
entirely unjustified. Nevertheless, we believe that in such a situation, it would be unfair to withhold his salaries and other
economic benefits for the entire duration of the preventive suspension, moreso if the delay in the resolution of the case was It cannot be gainsaid that Judge Floros separation from the service renders moot the complaint in A.M. No. 99-7-273-RTC.
not due to his fault. Upon being found innocent of the administrative charge, his preventive suspension exceeding the ninety- As it is, even the most favorable of resolutions in this case will not cause a ripple on the Courts decision to separate Judge
day (90) period actually becomes without basis and would indeed be nothing short of punitive. It must be emphasized that Floro from the service. Thus, this charge is dismissed for being moot and academic.
his subsequent acquittal completely removed the cause for his preventive suspension in the first place. Necessarily,
therefore, we must rectify its effects on just and equitable grounds. 147 A.M. No. RTJ-06-1988

Taking off from the case of Judge Iturralde, we hold that Judge Floro is likewise entitled to the payment of back salaries, Considering that this case is a replica of charge "h" in A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460 and considering that charge "h" is without
allowances and other economic benefits being at the receiving end of a rule peculiar to judges who find themselves basis, this particular complaint filed by Luz Arriego must necessarily be dismissed for lack of merit.
preventively suspended by the Court "until further orders" or, as this case, "for the duration of the investigation." Judge
Iturraldes suspension of 13 months even pales in comparison to Judge Floros suspension of 81 months, more or less.
Judge Floros separation from the service does not carry with it forfeiture of all or part of his accrued benefits nor
During this entire excruciating period of waiting, Judge Floro could not practice his profession, thus putting him solely at
disqualification from appointment to any other public office including government-owned or controlled corporations.
the mercy of his brothers largesse. And, though he was given donations by those who came to him for healing, obviously,
these could not compensate for his loss of income as Judge.
As Judge Floros separation from the service cannot be considered a penalty, such separation does not carry with it the
forfeiture of all or part of his accrued benefits nor disqualification from appointment to any other public office including
Unlike the case of Judge Iturralde, however, wherein we held that the period of suspension exceeding 90 days should be the
government-owned or controlled corporations.
basis for the payment of back salaries, we hold that, as a matter of equity, Judge Floro is entitled to back salaries,
allowances and other economic benefits for a period corresponding to three of his almost seven years suspension. We cannot
apply the ruling in Gloria that any suspension served beyond 90 days must be compensated as we would be, in effect, In fact, the psychological and psychiatric reports, considered as the bedrock of the finding of mental impairment against
rewarding Judge Floros propensity to delay the resolution of his case through the indiscriminate filing of administrative Judge Floro, cannot be used to disqualify him from re-entering government service for positions that do not require him to
cases against those he perceived connived to oust him out of office. In Judge Iturraldes case, the investigation was not dispense justice. The reports contain statements/findings in Judge Floros favor that the Court cannot overlook in all
delayed through any fault of his. More importantly, Judge Iturralde was ultimately held innocent, thus, using by analogy
fairness as they deserve equal consideration. They mention Judge Floros assets and strengths and capacity for functionality, 1) FINE Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr. in the total amount of FORTY THOUSAND (P40,000.00) PESOS for seven of
with minor modification of work environment. Thus: the 13 charges against him in A.M. No. RTJ-99-1460;

a. High intellectual assets as a result of "self-discipline and self- organization." 149


2) RELIEVE Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr. of his functions as Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 73,
Malabon City and consider him SEPARATED from the service due to a medically disabling condition of the mind
that renders him unfit to discharge the functions of his office, effective immediately;
b. "(I)mpressive academic achievements" with "no drastic change in his personality and level of functioning as a
lawyer in private practice." 150
3) As a matter of equity, AWARD Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr. back salaries, allowances and other economic
benefits corresponding to three (3) years;
c. "(C)haracter traits of suspiciousness, seclusiveness, pre-occupation with paranormal and psychic phenomena
not detrimental to his role as a lawyer." 151
4) DISMISS the charge in A.M. No. RTJ-06-1988 (Luz Arriego v. Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr.) for LACK OF
MERIT; and
d. "Everyday situations can be comprehended and dealt with in moderate proficiency . His concern for the
details that make up a total field represents his attempts at being systematic and cautious." 152
5) DISMISS the charge in A.M. No. 99-7-273-RTC (Re: Resolution Dated 11 May 1999 Of Judge Florentino V.
Floro, Jr.) for MOOTNESS.
e. "(E)quipped with analytical power." 153

SO ORDERED.
Consequently, while Judge Floro may be dysfunctional as a judge because of the sensitive nature of said position, he may
still be successful in other areas of endeavor.
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Putting all of the above in perspective, it could very well be that Judge Floros current administrative and medical problems Associate Justice
are not totally of his making. He was duly appointed to judgeship and his mental problems, for now, appear to render him
unfit with the delicate task of dispensing justice not because of any acts of corruption and debasement on his part but
clearly due to a medically disabling condition.

Finally, if Judge Floros mental impairment is secondary to genetics 154 and/or adverse environmental factors (and,
unfortunately, such essential information is not available), we cannot condemn people for their faulty genes and/or adverse
environment factors they have no control over.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves to: