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POWERS AND DUTIES OF PUBLIC OFFICERS PAO lawyer Atty. Quindal... upon inquiry... informed us case may be.

nformed us case may be. Consequently, the said decision became


CASE#2 that I was... convicted in the decision to be final and executory after the lapse of the reglementary
promulgated;... complainants, thereafter, received period within which the complainants might have
PETER BEJARASCO v. JUDGE ALFREDO D. another notice of promulgation at 10:00 a.m. of May 29, availed of any of the said legal remedies. Thus, according
BUENCONSEJO, AM No. MTJ-02-1417, 2004-05-27 2000. to the respondent, he issued an order of arrest against
the... complainants so that they could serve their
Facts: On the said date, the complainants' counsel argued that sentence
The instant administrative complaint stemmed from a the respondent judge could not promulgate the decision
Letter-Complaint dated January 22, 2001 filed by Peter since he had earlier inhibited himself from trying the said The case was, thereafter, referred to Executive Judge
Bejarasco, Jr. and Isabelita Bejarasco charging Judge cases,... and that the judge who actually heard the case Maximo A. Perez of the Regional Trial Court of Argao,
Alfredo Buenconsejo, Clerk of Court Secundino Piedad, had already died. The respondent judge, however, Cebu, for investigation, report and recommendation.
and Court Stenographer Leonisa Gonzales of... the ignored these arguments and proceeded with the
Municipal Trial Court of Dalaguete, Cebu, with promulgation of the Decision[4] dated November 19, In his Report and Recommendation, the Executive Judge
dereliction of duty, ignorance of the law, grave 1999, convicting both complainants. found that the respondent's actuation of promulgating
misconduct and serious irregularity relative to Criminal the decision of the late Judge Calderon in Criminal Cases
Cases Nos. R-04171 and R-4172. complainants' counsel filed a motion to nullify the Nos. R-4171 and R-4172, considering that he (the
decision... judge denied the motion, and ordered the respondent) also inhibited himself from presiding on the
According to the complainants, the respondent judge arrest of the complainant... latter's counsel filed a said... cases, constitutes misconduct. It was
inhibited himself from the said cases on the ground... of petition for certiorari... questioning the validity of the recommended that the respondent judge be fined in the
delicadeza and that Executive Judge Epifanio Llanos of decision in Criminal Cases Nos. R-4171 and R-4172 and amount of P10,000 and that respondents Piedad and
the Regional Trial Court of Argao, Cebu, Branch 26, its promulgation. Gonzales be exonerated from all the charges against
designated Judge Palmacio Calderon of the MTC of Argao, them for lack of substantial evidence.
Cebu, to hear and try the said cases During the pendency of their petition for certiorari, the
complainants requested for an expert examination of the Issues: Agree that the respondent judge is
Unfortunately, Judge Calderon died on December 31, signatures of the late Judge Calderon in his decisions administratively liable.
1999 without having rendered judgment on the said with the PNP Crime Laboratory
cases... complainants alleged that they were surprised to Ruling:
receive a notice from the MTC of Argao, Cebu, that CONCLUSION: The questioned signatures of Judge Section 1, Rule 120 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Criminal Cases Nos. R-4171 and R-4172 had been set for Palmacio L. Calderon appearing in the three copies of Procedure defines and sets forth the requirements for a
promulgation on May 15, 2000 by the respondent judge, page 6 of the Decision in Criminal Cases Nos. 4171 and valid judgment:
who was then designated as presiding judge of the said... 4172 all dated 19 November 1999 marked "Q-1" to "Q-3"
court. inclusive are forged.[7... complainants contended that SECTION 1. Judgment; definition and form. Judgment is
the respondent judge is guilty of ignorance of the law, the adjudication by the court that the accused is guilty or
The complainants alleged, thus: grave misconduct and serious irregularity, and is not guilty of the offense charged and the imposition on
presumed to be the author of the forged signature of him of the proper penalty and civil liability, if any. It must
That Judge Buenconsejo answered me (affiant husband) Judge Palmacio Calderon. be written in the official... language, personally and
in the following manner: "Tikboy, miadto mi kuyog sa directly prepared by the judge and signed by him and
akong mga clerks sa ilang Judge Calderon. Wala koy They, thus, prayed that the respondent judge be shall contain clearly and distinctly a statement of the
mahimo, order ni sa akong superior Judge Llanos. dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all benefit facts and law upon which it is based.
Huwata lang ang sunod nga notice." which in English...
means: "Tikboy, my clerks and I went to the house of In his comment, the respondent judge denied the charges Thus, a judgment, to be valid, must have been personally
Judge Calderon. There is nothing I can do, this is the and accusations against him. and directly prepared by the judge, and duly signed by
order of my superior Judge Llanos. Just wait for the next him. Corollarily, a decision or resolution of the court
notice The respondent alleged that he denied the complainants' becomes such, for all legal intents and purposes, only
motion to nullify the decision in Criminal Cases Nos. R- from the moment of its promulgation. Promulgation... of
That on May 16, 2000, at about 10:00 A.M 4171 and R-4172 as the same was not the proper remedy judgment, in turn, signifies that on the date it was made,
available under the particular circumstances of the case, the judge or judges who signed the decision continued to
but rather an appeal, or a motion for new trial as the... support it. If at the time of the promulgation, a judge or

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member of a collegiate court has already vacated his to avoid tainting the Court's good name and standing as decisions promulgated after the judge who penned the
office, his vote is automatically... withdrawn.[18] In a temple of justice. same had been appointed to and qualified in another
criminal cases, promulgation of judgment is made by office are... null and void. To be binding, a judgment must
reading it in the presence of the accused and any judge of WHEREFORE, for gross misconduct and gross ignorance be duly signed and promulgated during the incumbency
the court in which it was rendered. Judgment may be of the law, respondent Judge Alfredo D. Buenconsejo is of the judge whose signature appears thereon. In single
promulgated by the clerk of court only when the judge is ORDERED to pay a fine in the amount of Twenty courts like the regional trial courts and the municipal
absent or... outside the province or city Thousand Pesos (P20,000). The charges against Clerk of trial courts, a decision may no longer be promulgated
Court Secundino Piedad and Court Stenographer Leonisa after the... ponente has vacated his office.[2
It is clear then, that a judge who takes over the sala of
another judge who died during office cannot validly Gonzales of the Municipal Trial Court of Dalaguete, Cebu, Any judgment or decision is valid and binding only if
promulgate a decision penned by the latter. In fact, are DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Financial both [were] penned and promulgated by the judge
decisions promulgated after the judge who penned the Management Office is ORDERED to release the amount of during his incumbency. (People v. Garcia, 313 SCRA 279).
same had been appointed to and qualified in another Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000) withheld from the
office are... null and void. To be binding, a judgment must retirement benefits of respondent Gonzales.
be duly signed and promulgated during the incumbency
of the judge whose signature appears thereon. In single Principles:
courts like the regional trial courts and the municipal Section 1, Rule 120 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
trial courts, a decision may no longer be promulgated Procedure defines and sets forth the requirements for a
after the... ponente has vacated his office.[20]... the valid judgment:
decision of... the judge may be promulgated even without
his presence so long as he is still a judge of that court. SECTION 1. Judgment; definition and form. Judgment is
Therefore, where the judge who signed the decision was the adjudication by the court that the accused is guilty or
no longer a judge of the court at the time of the not guilty of the offense charged and the imposition on
promulgation because he had already died or had him of the proper penalty and civil liability, if any. It must
retired, or had been... promoted to another position, and be written in the official... language, personally and
another judge promulgated it, the judgment is invalid directly prepared by the judge and signed by him and
shall contain clearly and distinctly a statement of the
Granting arguendo that the decision in Criminal Cases facts and law upon which it is based.
Nos. R-4171 and R-4172 was indeed signed by the late
Judge Calderon, respondent Judge Buenconsejo had no Thus, a judgment, to be valid, must have been personally
authority to promulgate the decision. Judge Calderon and directly prepared by the judge, and duly signed by
ceased to be the judge of that court, thus, the judgment... him. Corollarily, a decision or resolution of the court
which he signed cannot be promulgated by another becomes such, for all legal intents and purposes, only
judge from the moment of its promulgation. Promulgation... of
judgment, in turn, signifies that on the date it was made,
Any judgment or decision is valid and binding only if the judge or judges who signed the decision continued to
both [were] penned and promulgated by the judge support it. If at the time of the promulgation, a judge or
during his incumbency. (People v. Garcia, 313 SCRA 279). member of a collegiate court has already vacated his
office, his vote is automatically... withdrawn.[18] In
Indeed, it is the duty of a judge to so behave at all times criminal cases, promulgation of judgment is made by
as to promote public confidence in the integrity and reading it in the presence of the accused and any judge of
impartiality of the judiciary.[23] He should avoid the court in which it was rendered. Judgment may be
impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all promulgated by the clerk of court only when the judge is
activities.[24] absent or... outside the province or city.[19]

Having previously inhibited from the criminal cases, the It is clear then, that a judge who takes over the sala of
respondent should have refrained from acting thereon, another judge who died during office cannot validly
promulgate a decision penned by the latter. In fact,