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EN BANC [May 02, 1989] RE REQUEST OF JOSE M ALEJANDRINO

EN BANC [May 02, 1989] RE REQUEST OF JOSE M ALEJANDRINO

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Published by: J. O. M. Salazar on Dec 14, 2011
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[Retrieved 14 December 2011 from: http://elibrary.judiciary.gov.ph/resolutions.php?doctype=Minute%20Resolutions&docid=1312955338893424697]
EN BANC[May 02, 1989]RE: REQUEST OF JOSE M. ALEJANDRINOGentlemen:
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of the Court En Banc dated 
 
MAY2, 1989
 
Re: Request of Jose M. AlejandrinoThe Clerk of Court referred to the Court
en banc 
a letter from Atty. Jose M.Alejandrino asking for certified Xerox copies of:
1. Statement of Assets and Liabilities of Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan filedwith you upon his assumption of office and that filed by him for 1988.
2. Statements of Assets and Liabilities of Associate Justices Andres R. Narvasa,Emilia A. Gancayco, Abdulwahid A. Bidin, Isagani A. Cruz, Abraham Sarmiento,Irene R. Cortes, Carolina C. Griño-Aquino, Leo Medialdea and Florenz D.Regalado filed respectively by them upon assumption of office and those filed bythem for 1988.
 upon payment of a reasonable fee to cover the cost of reproduction and mailing.Not lost upon the Court, in considering the request, is the significance of certainfacts bearing an indubitable relevance thereto and to what is plainly discernibleas the motive behind its making:1. Atty. Alejandrino was the private respondent in G.R. No. 70766,
AmericanExpress International Co., Inc. vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al.,
 where in a recent
en banc 
decision, the Court reduced fromP2,400,000.00 to P100,000.00 the damages awarded him by the Court ofFirst Instance of Rizal, Pasay City Branch, (and affirmed by theIntermediate Appellate Court) in an action for breach of contract; saiddecision the Court thereafter declined to reconsider and has since becomefinal and executory;2. Atty. Alejandrino
s motion of December 1, 1988 for reconsideration of saiddecision states, inter alia, that the Court
show(ed) patent partialitytowards petitioner
in giving due course to the petition, and that
thereduction * * of the damage awards of the two lower courts would be
 
scandalous and might invite Congressional inquiry whether certain peoplein the Court enjoyed Christmas in November as a result of the manner ofdisposition of this case
; in his letter of January 18, 1989 to the ChiefJustice, Atty. Alejandrino also expresses his
hope that the
ponente 
andhis legal researchers do not fall into the error of providing grounds forimpeachment of those concerned,
referring to the Justices whoparticipated in the decision of November 9, 1988 which cites and reliesupon the allegedly
ancient
and
obsolete
ruling in Alonso vs. Villamor,16 Phil. 315.3. The request singles out the Members of the Court who took part in thedecision and conspicuously excludes the Justices who, for one reason oranother, abstained therefrom.Be that as it may, the Court was unanimous in expressing its willingness to havethe Clerk of Court furnish copies of the statements of assets and liabilities Of theChief Justice and any Associate Justice to any person upon request, providedthere is a legitimate reason for the request, it being in fact
unlawful for anyperson to obtain or use any statement filed under Rep. Act No. 6713 for (a) anypurpose contrary to morals or public policy; or (b) any commercial purpose otherthan by news and communications media for dissemination to the generalpublic.
(Sec. 4(D))Considering, however, that similar requests may be made upon the Justices andJudges of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, RegionalTrial Courts, Sharia Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts andMunicipal Circuit Trial Courts under circumstances which may endanger,diminish or destroy their independence and objectivity in the performance of their judicial functions or expose them to revenge for adverse decisions, kidnapping,extortion, blackmail, or other untoward consequences, the COURT
RESOLVED
 to
ISSUE
the fallowing guidelines:1. All requests for copies of statements of assets and liabilities of any Justice orJudge shall be filed with the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court or with theCourt Administrator, as the case may be (Section 8 [A][2], R.A. 6713), andshall state the purpose of the request.2. The independence of the Judiciary is constitutionally as important as the rightto information which is subject to the limitations provided by law. Underspecific circumstances, the need for the fair and just adjudication of litigationsmay require a court to be wary of deceptive requests for information whichshall otherwise be freely available. Where the request is directly or indirectlytraced to a litigant, lawyer, or interested party in a case pending before thecourt, or where the court is reasonably certain that a disputed matter willcome before it under circumstances from which it may, also not made in goodreasonably, be assumed that the request is faith and for a legitimate purpose,

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