Pau Duman \ Leg Prof \ Dean Agabin \ I-E
Fecundo vs. Berjamen
Before the Court is a prayer for a restraining order to inhibit resp judge Hon.Berjamen of the RTC Mambuso Capiz from continuing with the trial of anelection protest filed by resp Salcedo against pet Fecundo bec of hispartiality and bias against pet.
Pet alleged that the ff acts show his partiality and bias:
which states that “the implementation of the order of this Court is vehemently opposed by the municipal mayor and his
…we have a government of laws and not of
…to give in to pet is likesavages in the
jungle where might is right.
reprimanding and scolding
in open court the pet’s secretary thusexposing her to mockery and ridicule.
Personal interest of judge by
from one of the commissioners the
revision of the ballots
beholden to Cong. Villareal
whose picture is hanged on the judge’soffice. Villareal is a known supporter of the resp and that the cong hasworked for the appointment of the judge.
Statement of judge that motion of pet for
motion for reconsideration
of thedenial of the motion to inhibit him, the judge,
will be denied
The acts of the judge are
not in consonance with the standard of coldneutrality
of an impartial judge and thus he is not trusted to render a fairand impartial decision.
The incidents of the election protest are that in 1988 during the localelections,
Fecundo won with a margin of 100 votes so Salcedo filed anelection protest and was assigned to resp judge.
The resp judge issued an
order directing the Municpal Treasurer of Dumalag to deliver to the courts the ballot boxes
subject of the protest.And the Municipal Treasurer addressed a letter to the judge stating that themayor and his cohorts are threatening the treasurer of his life if he insists onbringing the ballots as stipulated in judge’s order. On the same day the judgeissued the order already adverted to after the pet has filed an answer withcounter protest.
First Division of the Court has issued a TRO but was dismissed
due tofailure to show grave abuse of discretion of lack of or excess of jurisdiction.
Pet filed a
motion for inhibition on April 18 with a notice of hearing onApril 20 but both parties failed to indicate in the records of this casewhether a hearing actually took place
on the motion but the judge
deniedthe motion for non-compliance with the 3 day notice rule.
No motion for recon was filed by pet bec of judge’s statement that the Courtwill just
deny when it receives it.
There was also an allegation that the pet was not furnished with a copy of the Feb 10 order which was the order to deliver the ballot boxes subject of protest.
Resp contends pet is just delaying the resolution of the election bec there is
a probability that pet will lose the election.
judge denies all accusations
imputing to pet wild imagination andpolitical immaturity and childish mentality. The letter they have alleged thatcame from the judge is just a part of the Treasurer’s letter and that theothers are just reminders and advice to pet to respect and recognize theauth of the court.Issue:WON the judge should inhibit himself from continuing the trial of the election protest.Held:YES. A spotless dispensation of justice requires not only that the decision rendered beintrinsically fair but that the judge rendering it must, at all times,
maintain theappearance of fairness and impartiality.
Pet alleged gross disregard of
RULE 137 of ROC
which is the Disqulificationof Judicial Officers which states how objection should be made. –In writingstating the grounds thereupon to disqualify the judge and the judge shallmake his decision in writing as well but no appeal or stay shall be allowedfrom his decision in favor of his own competency
3-day notice rule
: Court held that it was proper for the judge to dismissthe motion bec the Rules of Court clearly states that a motion which doesnot meet the req of sec 4 and 15 of ROC is considered a worthless paper.Service of copy of motion containing notice of time and place of said hearingis a mandatory requirement.
Pet alleged that the election contest has reached the
stage of presentationof evidence which is way ahead as compared with other election protests
but on this issue the Court held that this is non-sequitur. Speedy dispositiondoesn’t connote partiality considering that this is an election protest.
Although it is not enough that partiality is merely alleged; it should beproven and should not be based on mere suspicion
. There should beevidence to prove the charge.
However the Court reiterated decision in
Santos vs. Gutierrez
where in theCourt held that the “duty of rendering a just decision is the duty of doing itin
a manner that will not arouse any suspicion as to its fairness
and theintegrity of the Judge. However upright the judge is, there is peril of his
unconscious bias or prejudice, or lest any former opinion formed ex partemay still linger to affect unconsciously his present judgment.”
Appearance of strict impartiality should be maintained.
transferred to the newly appointed judge Julius Abella
and thethe proceeding should be decided upon within
from notice of thedecision.