Held: Guilty of gross misconduct and abandonment of office, judge dismissed. Judge C should have been more conscious of his court duties, as well asmore cautious of his actuations, than he has shown in the performance of his functions and the discharge of his responsibilities to the Court and thecitizenry. Further, he should have been aware that, in frequently leaving his station, he has caused great disservice to many litigants and has denied themspeedy justice. From the record it could be fairly concluded that he had habitually abandoned his sala for no justifiable excuse at all. The doctrine of
, that the Court may impose its authority upon erring judges whose actuations, on their face, would show gross incompetence, ignorance of the law,or misconduct, is patently applicable to the instant case.
Case Digest on Republic of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals (296 SCRA 171) Gross Misconduct
Facts: Petitioner filed a case for recission against the Quetulios and Abadillas alleging that the former sold the land that had already been expropriated. TheQuetulios did not file an answer, but at the hearing on the motion for default, co-defendant Hernando was permitted by the judge to appear as counsel for the defendants and file an answer.Held: Case reinstated. Evidently, when respondent Hernando appeared before the trial court and filed the Answer/Motion to dismiss, he was still under suspension from the practice of law. A suspended lawyer, during his suspension, is certainly prohibited from engaging in the practice of law, and if he doesso, he may be disbarred. The reason is that, his continuing to practice the profession during his suspension constitutes a gross misconduct and a willfuldisregard of the suspension order, which should be obeyed though how erroneous it may be until set aside.
Case Digest on Flaviano B. Cortes v. Judge Emerito M. Agcaoili (249 SCRA 423) Impropriety
Facts: Respondent was charged with impropriety and gross ignorance of the law. In a case for illegal logging, he dismissed the case and returned illegallycut timber to the defendants because the search warrant was invalid. He was also seen in eating and drinking in the company of said defendants, and thissupposedly influenced his decision.Held: Judge Agcaoili is fined and suspended. Respondent erred in returning the seized articles – even though the warrant was invalid, illegal articles(illegally cut lumber) are not returned to the possessor. He also violated Canon 2, Rule 2.01 of the Code of Judicial Ethics – i.e. to avoid impropriety or evenor even the appearance of impropriety. Even though it was not proven that he was influenced by the defendants (the dismissal was proper), he should nothave fraternized with litigants who had a pending case before him. To do so erodes public confidence in the integrity and independence of the judiciary. A judge must avoid even the semblance of impropriety.
Case Digest on Carlos Dionisio v. Hon. Zosimo V. Escano (302 SCRA 411) Impropriety
Facts: E posted an advertisement for waitresses and singers to work at his restaurant at the RTC bulletin board. He also conducted interviews for this in hissala. He was later caught when a reporter from “Hoy Gising!” taped an interview which revealed that he intended to operate a drinking pub with scantily cladwaitresses.Held: SUSPENDED. Rules 2.00, 5.02 and 5.03 provide that a judge should avoid impropriety and even the appearance of impropriety. He should also refrainfrom financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on the court’s impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of judicial activities, or increase involvement with lawyers and litigants. He should also manage financial interests so as to minimize the number of cases giving grounds for disqualification. Finally, the halls of justice should not be used for unrelated purposes.
Case Digest on Benalfre J. Galang v. Judge Abelardo H. Santos (307 SCRA 582) Impropriety
Facts: S was a judge and the publisher/columnist for a tabloid; he was also a writer for another paper. G charges him with using his columns to ventilate hisviews. He has repeatedly used insulting and inflammatory language against the governor and the provincial prosecutor and legal adviser.Held: JUDGE DISMISSED. While S has the right to free speech, his writing of vicious editorials compromise his duties as judge in the impartialadministration of justice. They reflect both on his office and on the officers he ridicules. The personal behavior of a judge in his professional and everyday lifeshould be free from the appearance of impropriety. Improper conduct erodes the public confidence in the judiciary.
Case Digest on Benjamin Sia Lao vs. Hon. Felimon C. Abelila III (295 SCRA 267) Impropriety
Facts: in a family dispute over a parcel of land, respondent judge committed acts of forcible entry, attempted to deny complainant of possession despite alease in the latter’s favor. He also gave firearms to his men in order to assault complainant’s workers. Respondent also fled from police when called in for questioning.Held: Respondent DISMISSED. A judge is the visible representation of the law and the embodiment of the people’s sense of justice and that, accordingly,he should constantly keep himself away from any act of impropriety, not only in the performance of his official duties but also in his everyday actuations. Noother position exacts a greater demand on moral righteousness and uprightness of an individual than perhaps a seat in the judiciary. A judge must be thefirst to abide by the law and to weave an example for the others to follow.
Case Digest on Spouses Benedicto & Rose Godinez v. Hon. Antonio Alano and Sheriff Alberto Ricardo Alano (303 SCRA 259) Impropriety
Facts: G charged A with committing irregularities in a civil case for sum of money. In said case, a writ of preliminary attachment was issued and the effectsseized were kept in Judge A’s house. The court investigator found that the writ was improperly issued because the allegations of fraud and attempts toabscond in the affidavit were bare assertions and not substantiated by the facts.Held: FINED. The writ was issued in error. But in order to merit a disciplinary sanction, the error or mistake committed by a judge should be patent, gross,malicious, deliberate, or done in bad faith. Absent a clear showing that the judge has acted arrantly, the issue becomes judicial in character and would notproperly warrant the imposition of administrative punishment. Judge A is fined for storing the effects in his house and their intent to charge storage fees.Judges should avoid impropriety of the appearance of impropriety.
Case Digest on Gregorio & Teresita Lorena v. Judge Adolfo Encomienda (302 SCRA 632) Impropriety
Facts: Spouses Lorena were evicted from the property of Judge E’s brother. They refused to vacate. The mayor invited the parties to a conciliation meetingbut they still refused. The owners allowed them to stay on the condition that they sign a written promise to leave after the grace period. When L refused, Ephoned him and tried to convince him to sign. L still refused, E then said: “mga tarantado, mabulok kayo sa kalabos!” and slammed the phone down. Laccuses E and his conspirators of abuse of authority for later throwing them in jail.Held: REPRIMANDED. Although the charges against E were refuted by evidence, the serious nature of the tasks of judges requires them to be circumspectin both their public and their private dealings. As they are “expected to rise above human frailties” they must, in all their activities, avoid not only improprietybut even the appearance of impropriety. Hence, E should not have called L by [hone – which gave the impression of undue pressure and influence. Heshould not have cursed L over the phone as a judge’s behavior must be beyond reproach.