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RL: LL11LR OI PRLSIDING JUS1ICL

CONRADO M. VASQULZ, JR. ON CA-G.R. SP NO. J03692
A.M. No. 08-8-JJ-CA, 09 September 2008, LN BANC, (Per Curiam)

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Justice Jose C. Mendoza ,Justice Mendoza, was designated by the Raííle Committee as Acting
Chairman oí the Ninth Di·ision during the absence oí Justice Reyes. Justice Mendoza was authorized to
take cognizance oí the cases íiled submitted beíore the ninth di·ision except ¡ovevcia or until Justice
Reyes reports back íor duty. Antonio V. Rosete, Manuel M. Lopez et at. as oííicers, directors or
representati·es oí the Manila Llectric Company ,Meralco,, íiled with the Court oí Appeals ,CA, a
petition íor certiorari and prohibition with prayer íor the issuance oí a writ oí preliminary injunction and
temporary restraining order ,1RO, against the Securities and Lxchange Commission ,SLC,,
Commissioner Jesus Lnrique G. Martinez, Commissioner lubert B. Gue·arra, and the Go·ernment
Ser·ice Insurance System ,GSIS,. 1he case was raííled to Justice Vicente Q. Roxas ,Justice Roxas,.
lowe·er, Presiding Justice Vasquez recei·ed a letter írom Atty. Lstrella C. Llamparo ,Atty. Llamparo,,
the chieí legal counsel oí the GSIS asking íor the re-raííling oí the case. Justice Mendoza inhibited
himselí írom the Meralco case since he used to be a counsel oí the latter. Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr.
,Justice Sabio, was assigned as Acting Chairman oí the Ninth Di·ision by raííle, in lieu oí Justice
Mendoza.` Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal ,Justice Dimaranan-Vidal, and Justice Roxas together with
Justice Sabio composed the Special Ninth Di·ision. 1he Special Ninth Di·ision issued granted the 1RO.

Upon return oí Justice Reyes, he belie·ed that it is proper that he should be the one presiding
o·er the case. Justice Reyes wrote Presiding Justice Vasquez a letter calling the attention oí Justice
Ldgardo P. Cruz ,Justice Cruz,, Chairperson oí the Committee on Rules, to the dilemma` as to who
between him and Justice Sabio should recei·e` the Meralco case. Justice Cruz opined that the case
re·erted to the regular Chairman ,Justice Reyes, oí the Ninth Di·ision upon his return. A certain Mr. de
Borja coníronted Justice Sabio asking the latter to gi·e way íor Justice Reyes in exchange íor 10 milllion
pesos. Justice Dimaranan-Vidal recei·ed a call írom Justice Sabio, iníorming her that Meralco had
oííered him a bribe oí P10 million in exchange íor his ·oluntary stepping out írom the Meralco case in
order to gi·e way to Justice B. L. Reyes,` and that the decision in the Meralco case had been
promulgated by the Lighth Di·ision. Justice Roxas was astounded when Justice Roxas did not iníorm
her as a matter oí judicial courtesy` oí the scrapping oí the decision which she signed earlier in lieu
hereoí she sent a letter to the Presiding Justice in connection with the apparent and ob·ious
irregularities in the handing oí Meralco case. 1he Supreme Court ,SC, constituted the Panel oí
In·estigators to in·estigate alleged improprieties oí the actions oí the Justices oí the Court oí Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 103692 ,.vtovio 1. Ro.ete, et at. r. ´íC, et at.,. 1he report yielded positi·ely that
irregularities ha·e been committed in the abo·e-mentioned case. lence, this petition.

ISSUL:

\hether or not the CA Justice acted with impropriety in taking cognizance oí the MLRALCO
case, CA-G.R. SP No. 103692

HLLD:

Petition GRAN1LD.
Justice Roxas inexcusably failed to act on a number of motions of the parties prior to the
promulgation of the Decision
As íound by the Panel oí In·estigators, se·eral motions were not resol·ed or acted upon by
Justice Roxas. 1hese were enumerated in the Report as íollows:
,a, 1he Urgent Lx-Parte Motion to Deíer Action on any Incident oí the Petition Pending
Resolution oí Re-Raííle` íiled by GSIS on May 29, 2008 soon aíter this case was íiled on
that date ,Rotto, pp. 185-186,

b, GSIS` Urgent Lx-Parte Motion to Inhibit` Justice Roxas, which was íiled on May 30, 2008.
As the motion raised a prejudicial question, Justice Roxas should have resolved it
before issuing the 1RO sought by Meralco, but he never did ,Rotto, pp. 220-223,

,c, GSIS` Motion to Liít 1RO which was íiled on May 30, 2008 ,Rotto, pp. 18¯-210,

,d, GSIS` Motion íiled on June 18, 2008, praying that it be allowed to use Power point at the
hearing on June 23, 2008 . On June 20, 2008, the SLC íiled a similar motion. Both motions
were not acted upon by Justice Roxas ,Rotto, pp. 593-621,,

,e, Meralco`s Motion íor Lxtension oí 1ime to íile their Consolidated Memorandum oí
Authorities and Reply to Repondent SLC`s Comment` íiled on June 25, 2008 ,Rotto, pp. 981-
98¯,

,í, Meralco`s Urgent Motion íor lonorable Justice Bien·enido L. Reyes to Assume
Chairmanship oí the Di·ision in the Instant Case,` which was íiled on July 10, 2008 ,Rotto,
pp. 1262-12¯4,
1he Court agrees with the Panel oí In·estigators that by ignoring or reíusing to act on the
motion íor his inhibition, Justice Roxas ·iolated Rule V, Section 3, third paragraph oí the IRCA, which
pro·ides that he should resol·e such motion in writing with copies íurnished the other members oí the
Di·ision, the Presiding Justice, the Raííle Committee, and the Di·ision Clerk oí Court.` 1he pertinent
portion oí the said pro·ision states:
Sec. 3. Motion to Inhibit a Di·ision or a Justice. - x x x
A motion íor ·oluntary inhibition oí a Justice shall be acted upon by him alone in writing, copy
íurnished the other members oí the Di·ision, the Presiding Justice, the Raííle Committee and the
Di·ision Clerk oí Court.
1his Court cannot agree with Justice Roxas` proposition that the issuance oí the 1RO
constitutes an implied denial oí the motion to inhibit since under IRCA the obligation oí the Justice to
act on such a motion is mandatory.
lurthermore, the Court íinds well-taken the Panel`s íinding that Justice Roxas` íailure to act on
the other motions oí the parties ·iolated Canon 3, Rule 3.05 oí the 1989 Coae of ]vaiciat Covavct ,which
applies in a suppletory manner to the ^er Coae of ]vaiciat Covavct íor the Philippine Judiciary, pro·iding
that:
Rule 3.05. - A judge shall dispose oí the court`s business promptly and decide cases within the required
periods.`
L·en Section 5, Canon 6 oí the ^er Coae of ]vaiciat Covavct mandates that |j|udges shall períorm
all judicial duties, including the deli·ery oí reser·ed decisions, eííiciently, íairly and with reasonable
promptness.` 1hus, it has become well-settled in jurisprudence that e·en just undue delay in the
resol·ing pending motions or incidents within the reglamentary period íixed by law is not excusable and
constitutes gross ineííiciency. \ith more reason, this Court íinds suspicious and reprehensible the íailure
oí Justice Roxas to act at all on pending motions and incidents in CA-G.R. SP No. 103692.
1his is in íact not the íirst time that Justice Roxas has been cited administrati·ely íor íailure to
resol·e pending incidents in cases assigned to him. In Orocio r. Ro·a., A.M. Nos. 0¯-115-CA-J and CA-
08-46-J, this Court imposed a P15,000 íine on Justice Roxas íor unwarranted delay in resol·ing two
motions íor reconsideration in another case and sternly warned him that íuture commission any act oí
impropriety will be dealt with more se·erely.
Justice Roxas is guilty of gross dishonesty
Apart írom Justice Roxas` inexcusable inaction on pending incidents in the Meralco case, the
Panel oí In·estigators íound that he had been dishonest and untruthíul in relation to the said case. 1he
Court adopts the íollowing íindings oí the Panel
Justice Roxas was dishonest and untruthful.

,a, Justice Roxas admitted that the 1ranscript oí linal Decision,` which is supposed to be a
transcript oí the deliberation on July 14, 2008 oí the Lighth Di·ision on the íinal decision in the
Meralco case was not a true transcript` oí the minutes oí the meeting, but purely a transcript írom
memory` because no notes were taken, no stenographer was present, and no tape recorder was used.
It was in íact a drama which he composed írom my recollection` to comply with Sec. 9, Rule VI oí
the IRCA which requires that minutes oí the meeting, i.e., deliberation, shall be kept.` 1he so-called
transcript` is a fabrication designed to decei·e that there had been compliance - when actually there
was none -- with the prerequisite oí the IRCA that consultation and,or deliberation among the
members oí the Di·ision must precede the draíting oí a decision.

,b, 1he statement in the transcript` that it was a recap írom our pre·ious deliberations`
was another falsehood because there had been no pre·ious deliberations.

,c, 1he reíerence in the transcript` to a linal Report oí Justice Roxas` was also false íor
Justice Roxas admittedly did not submit a report` as ¡ovevte, as required by Sec. 9, Rule VI oí the
IRCA, íor deliberation by the Lighth Di·ision on July 14, 2008. 1he linal Report` which he
submitted was admittedly the decision itselí which he and Justice Bruselas, Jr. had already signed. 1he
linal Report` was merely the title oí the page that ser·ed as the co·er oí the decision. lence, Justice
B.L. Reyes` supposed closing statement in the transcript` that -- \e ha·e co·ered e·ery angle oí
the linal Report oí Justice Roxas extensi·ely` is also false. Justice B.L. Reyes testiíied at the
in·estigation that he had not seen the transcript` until the copy in the rotto was shown to him by
Justice Callejo, Sr. during his cross-examination oí Justice B. L. Reyes on August 26, 2008.

x x x

,e, Justice Roxas` testimony that when he brought the Meralco decision to Justice
Dimaranan-Vidal on July 8, 2008, it was only a draít íor her to read, because she asked ií she may read
it, not íor her to sign it, is completely false. 1his testimony was labelled by Justice Dimaranan-Vidal
as a lie, and she called Justice Roxas a liar, because she did not ask to borrow the decision íor her
reading pleasure, but Justice Roxas personally brought it to her oííice íor her to sign as a member oí
the Special Ninth Di·ision. Aíter poring o·er it the whole night, she signed it, as well as three ,3,
additional signature pages which were to be attached to three ,3, other copies oí the decision.

x x x
Indeed, the íabrications and íalsehoods that Justice Roxas blithely proíerred to the Panel in
explanation,justiíication oí his questioned handling oí the Meralco case demonstrated that he lacks the
qualiíication oí integrity and honesty expected oí a magistrate and a member oí the appellate court.
Under Rule 140 oí the Rules oí Court, dishonesty is considered a serious oííense that may warrant
the penalty oí dismissal írom the ser·ice. Under the Rule IV, Section 52 oí the Uniíorm Rules on
Administrati·e Cases in the Ci·il Ser·ice, dishonesty is likewise considered a gra·e oííense and warrants
the penalty oí dismissal e·en íor the íirst oííense. In the past, the Court has had the occasion to rule
that:
.dishonesty and íalsiíication are considered gra·e oííenses warranting the penalty oí dismissal írom
ser·ice upon the commission oí the íirst oííense. On numerous occasions, the Court did not hesitate
to impose such extreme punishment on employees íound guilty oí these oííenses.
Dishonesty, being in the nature oí a gra·e oííense, carries the extreme penalty oí dismissal
írom the ser·ice with íoríeiture oí retirement beneíits except accrued lea·e credits, and perpetual
disqualiíication íor re-employment in the go·ernment ser·ice. Dishonesty has no place in the
judiciary.
Justice Roxas showed a lack of courtesy and respect for his colleagues in the Court of Appeals
1he Panel oí In·estigators reported on this matter in this wise:
x x x
,í, Justice Roxas was thoughtlessly disrespectful to a colleague and a lady at that, when he
unceremoniously discarded, shredded, and burned the decision that Justice Dimaranan-Vidal had
signed, because he allegedly íorgot that Justice Dimaranan-Vidal and Justice Sabio, Jr. had already
been reorganized out` oí the Special Ninth Di·ision as oí July 4, 2008, hence, out oí the Meralco
case. Out oí courtesy, he should ha·e explained to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal the reason why he was
not promulgating the decision which she had signed.

1he truth, it seems, is that Justice Roxas, who had consulted Justice Villarama, Jr. on which
Di·ision should decide the Meralco case, may ha·e been con·inced that it should be the Special Ninth
Di·ision. 1hat is why he brought his decision to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal íor her signature. lowe·er,
somehow, somewhere, during the night, while Justice Dimaranan-Vidal was patiently poring o·er his
decision, Justice Roxas was persuaded to bring his decision to the Lighth Di·ision ,to which he and
Justice B.L. Reyes belong aíter the July 4, 2008 reorganization oí the Court,, it may ha·e dawned on
him that ií the case remained in the Special Ninth Di·ision, Justice Sabio, Jr. might dissent, requiring
the Presiding Justice to constitute a special di·ision oí íi·e. Ií he ,Justice Roxas, should íail to obtain a
majority oí the Di·ision on his side, he would lose his ¡ovevcia, someone else would become the
¡ovevte ,perhaps Justice Sabio, Jr.,. 1hat may be the reason why he junked Justices Sabio, Jr. and
Dimaranan-Vidal ,e·en ií the latter concurred with his decision, because he was unsure oí Justice
Sabio, Jr. le chose to cast his lot with his companions in the Lighth Di·ision -- Justices B. L. Reyes
and Bruselas, Jr. -- with whom he and Meralco were comíortable`.

,g, J. Roxas was disrespectful to Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. whose ruling on his
Interpleader Petition` he sought on July 21, 2008, but he promulgated the Meralco decision two ,2,
days later, on July 23, 2008, without waiting íor Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr.`s ruling which came out
on July 24, 2008, only three ,3, days aíter the Interpleader Petition was íiled by him, and two ,2, days
aíter Justice B.L. Reyes also reiterated in writing his request íor Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. to
resol·e the same chairmanship issue raised in the Interpleader. Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. was
embarrassed and humiliated by Justices B.L. Reyes` and Roxas` lack of courtesy and respect íor his
position as head oí the Court.
x x x
1here is an old adage which says to gain respect one must learn to gi·e it. Ií judges and justices
are expected to treat litigants, counsels and subordinates with respect and íairness, with more reason,
that judges and justices should gi·e their íellow magistrates the courtesy and proíessional regard due to
them as their colleagues in the Judiciary. 1hus, in Canon 5, Section 3 oí the New Code oí Judicial
Conduct, judges are expected to carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all
persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staíí and judicial colleagues, without
diííerentiation on any irrele·ant ground, immaterial to the proper períormance oí such duties.`
1his Court cannot ·iew lightly the discourteous manner that Justice Roxas, in his apparent haste
to promulgate his decision in the Meralco case, treated his colleagues in the Court oí Appeals. It
behoo·es the Court to remind all magistrates that their high oííice demands compliance with the most
exacting standards oí propriety and decorum.
Justice Roxas' questionable handling of the Meralco case demonstrates his undue interest
therein
In the Report, the Panel oí In·estigators obser·ed that Justice Roxas in íact began draíting his
decision e·en prior to the submission oí the parties` memoranda. As discussed in the Report:
x x x
,d, Although the parties were gi·en 15 days aíter the hearing on June 23, 2008, or up to July
8, 2008, to simultaneously submit their memoranda and memoranda oí authorities, and actually
submitted:
On July ¯, 2008 - GSIS`s 39 page- memorandum
On July 9, 2008 - SLC`s 62 page-memorandum
On July 10, 2008 - MLRALCO`s 555 page- memorandum ,by messenger, with
memorandum oí authorities

Justice Roxas prepared the decision beíore the parties had íiled their memoranda in the case
and submitted it to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal íor her signature on July 8, 2008. lis rush to judgment`
was indicati·e oí undue interest and unseemly haste,` according to J.Romero.

le cheated the parties` counsel oí the time, eííort, and energy that they in·ested in the
preparation oí their ponderous memoranda which, as it turned out, neither he nor the other members
oí the Lighth Di·ision bothered to read beíore signing his decision. le made a mockery oí his own
order íor the parties to submit memoranda, and rendered their compliance a íutile exercise.
x x x
1he Court agrees with Mme. Justice Romero`s obser·ation that the rush to judgment` ,e·en
beíore the íiling oí the parties` memoranda, was indicati·e oí Justice Roxas` undue interest and
unseemly haste, especially when taken together with other circumstances. 1his inexplicable haste in
resol·ing the case on the merits is likewise apparent in Justice Roxas` íailure to resol·e the se·eral
pending incidents and instead jumping ahead to deciding the case on the merits, his rushing` oí Justice
Dimaranan-Vidal into signing his draít Decision on July 8, 2008 when the parties` memoranda ha·e not
yet all been íiled with the CA, his precipitate transíer oí the case to the Lighth Di·ision íor promulgation
oí decision, without notice to Justice Dimaranan-Vidal oí the Special Ninth Di·ision who had already
signed his draít Decision and despite the unresol·ed Chairmanship dispute between Justice Reyes and
Justice Sabio which he ,Justice Roxas, e·en submitted to the Presiding Justice íor appropriate action, just
a íew days beíore the promulgation.
1he Court reiterates here that as the ·isible representation oí the law and justice, judges are
expected to conduct themsel·es in a manner that would enhance respect and coníidence oí the people in
the judicial system. 1he New Code oí Judicial Conduct íor the Philippine Judiciary mandates that judges
must not only maintain their independence, integrity and impartiality, but they must also a·oid any
appearance oí impropriety or partiality, which may erode the people`s íaith in the judiciary. 1his standard
applies not only to the decision itselí, but also to the process by which the decision is made. 1his Court
will not hesitate to sanction with the highest penalty magistrates who exhibit maniíest undue interest in
their assigned cases.
In sum, this Court íinds that Justice Roxas` multiple ·iolations oí the canons oí the Code oí
Judicial Conduct constitute gra·e misconduct, compounded by dishonesty, undue interest and conduct
prejudicial to the best interest oí the ser·ice, which warrant his DISMISSAL írom the ser·ice.
1he circumstances of the telephone call of Chairman Sabio to his brother Justice Sabio showed
that Justice Sabio failed to uphold the standard of independence and propriety expected of him
as a magistrate of the appellate court
In his testimony beíore the Panel, Chairman Sabio admits that he called up Justice Sabio on May
30, 2008 írom Da·ao City, in response to a resquest íor help írom a member oí the Board oí 1rustees oí
Meralco. Notwithstanding the íact that Chairman Sabio called to relay to Justice Sabio the rightness` oí
the GSIS` cause and asked him to help GSIS` and that Justice Sabio allegedly told his brother that he
would act in accordance with his conscience, the same still constituted a ·iolation oí Canon 13 oí the
Coae of Profe..iovat Re.¡ov.ibitit, íor lawyers, which pro·ides that:
´A lawyer shall x x x refrain from any impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the
appearance of influencing the Court.¨
As they were both members oí the Bar, it is incomprehensible to this Court how the brothers
can justiíy their improper con·ersation regarding the Meralco case. As the Panel obser·ed in its Report:
Ironically, both oí them íound nothing wrong with brother Camilo`s eííort to iníluence his
younger brother`s action in the Meralco case, because both belie·e that our lilipino culture allows
brother-to-brother con·ersation, e·en ií the purpose oí one is to iníluence the other, pro·ided the
latter does not agree to do something illegal.
lor the Panel, Justice Sabio ·iolated Sections 1, 4, and 5, Canon 1 oí the ^er Coae of ]vaiciat
Covavct for tbe Pbiti¡¡ive ]vaiciar,, which pro·ide that -
Sec. J. Judges shall exercise the judicial function independently x x x free from extraneous
influence, inducement, pressure, threat or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or
for any reason.

x x x

Sec. 4. Judges shall not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence judicial
conduct or judgment. 1he 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.

Sec. S. Judges shall not only be free from inappropriate connections with, and influence by,
the executive and legislative branches of government, but must also appear to be free
therefrom to a reasonable observer.
In the In·estigators` mind, although Justice Sabio signed the 1RO in ía·our oí Meralco contrary
to his brother`s ad·ice, Justice Sabio`s unusual interest in holding on to the Meralco case,` seemed to
indicate that he may ha·e been actually iníluenced by his brother to help GSIS.` In arri·ing at this
conclusion, the Panel noted the íollowing circumstances: ,1, Justice Sabio adamantly reíused to yield the
chairmanship oí the Special Ninth Di·ision although the regular chairman, Justice Reyes had returned to
duty on June 10, 2008, and, ,2, Justice Sabio oííiciously prepared and signed a resolution ,a chore íor the
¡ovevte Justice V. Roxas to períorm,, requiring the GSIS and the SLC to comment on Meralco`s Motion
íor Justice B. Reyes to Assume the Chairmanship oí the 9
th
Di·ision,` which he probably intended to
delay the decision on the preliminary injunction beyond the liíe oí the 1RO to the prejudice oí Meralco
and the ad·antage oí the GSIS.
Based on the íacts on record, the Court is wary oí declaring that Justice Sabio had been iníluenced
by his brother by speculating that he would ha·e ía·ored GSIS had he been a part oí the di·ision which
rendered the decision in the Meralco case. lowe·er, we do íind that it was improper íor Justice Sabio to
hold on to the chairmanship oí the Ninth Di·ision the despite the return oí Justice Reyes, when Justice
Sabio`s designation as acting chairman was clearly only íor the duration oí Justice Reyes` lea·e oí
absence. \e likewise note with disía·or his stubborn insistence on his own interpretation oí the IRCA
and hostile, dismissi·e attitude towards equally well-reasoned positions oí his colleagues on the proper
interpretation oí their rules. Such conduct on the part oí Justice Sabio did nothing to aid in the swiít and
amicable resolution oí his dispute with Justice Reyes but rather íanned the ílames oí resentment between
them. \e deem this sort oí beha·ior unbecoming íor a magistrate oí his stature.
Justice Sabio's conversations with Mr. De Borja were improper and indiscreet
On this matter, the Court accepts the íollowing íindings in the Report:
Knowing the nature oí De Borja`s proíession, Justice Sabio, Jr. should ha·e been wary oí
the íormer. le should ha·e íoreseen that De Borja had the Meralco case on his mind when he called
Justice Sabio, Jr. 1rue enough, De Borja mentioned the Meralco case and congratulated Justice Sabio,
Jr. íor ha·ing signed the 1RO in ía·our oí Meralco.

But that was not the last time Justice Sabio, Jr. would hear írom De Borja. A month later,
aíter Justice Sabio, Jr. had presided at the hearing oí Meralco`s prayer íor preliminary injunction on
June 23, 2008, and the case was ripening íor decision or resolution, De Borja again called up Justice
Sabio, Jr. and asked to meet him o·er dinner to chit chat` about the Meralco case.

Instead oí telling oíí De Borja that he could not, and would not, talk about the Meralco case,
Justice Sabio, Jr. agreed to meet De Borja in the lobby-lounge oí the Ateneo Law School aíter his
e·ening class in Legal Lthics in said school.

Justice Sabio Jr.`s action oí discussing the Meralco case with De Borja was highly
inappropriate and indiscreet. lirst, in talks with his brother, the second time in con·ersation with
De Borja, Justice Sabio, Jr. broke the shield oí confidentiality that co·ers the disposition oí cases in
the Court in order to preser·e and protect the integrity and independence oí the Court itselí. le
ignored the injunction in Canon 1, Section 8 oí the ^er Coae of ]vaiciat Covavct for tbe Pbiti¡¡ive ]vaiciar,
that: ´Judges shall exhibit and promote high standards of judicial conduct (and discretion) in
order to reinforce public confidence in the judiciary which is fundamental to the maintenance
of judicial independence.¨

It was during that meeting with De Borja in the lobby-lounge oí the Ateneo Law School,
that De Borja allegedly oííered him P10 million, in behalí oí Meralco, to step out oí the case and
allow Justice Bien·enido Reyes to assume the chairmanship oí the Special Ninth Di·ision because
Meralco was not comíortable` with him ,Justice Sabio, Jr.,. le rejected the bribe oííer because he
could not in conscience accept it.`

Justice Sabio, Jr. was allegedly shocked and insulted that De Borja would think that he
,Justice Sabio, Jr., could be bribed or bought. 1he Panel is, howe·er, honestly perplexed why in spite
oí his outraged respectability, Justice Sabio, Jr. called up De Borja two ,2, days later ,on July 3, 2008,,
to tell De Borja to stop pestering` him with his calls. 1he Panel is nonplussed because, normally, a
person who has been insulted would ne·er want to see, much less speak again, to the person who had
disrespected him. le could ha·e just shut oíí his cell phone to De Borja`s calls. De Borja denied that
he reiterated his oííer oí P10 million to Justice Sabio, Jr. le denied saying that e·en ií the case should
go up to the Supreme Court, GSIS would still lose, hence, .a,avg tavg ,vvg P10 million, ba/a .i.ibiv /a
¡a vg vga ava/ vo.` le testiíied that his reply to Justice Sabio, Jr.`s call was aeaava` or indiííerence.
Justice Sabio, Jr. blamed that call oí his to a lapse in judgment` on his part.

Be that as it may, the In·estigating Panel íinds more credible Justice Sabio, Jr.`s story about
De Borja`s P10 million-bribe-oííer on behalí oí Meralco, than De Borja`s denial that he made such an
oííer. \hy does the Panel belie·e him, and not De Borja·

lirst, because Justice Sabio, Jr. ·erbally reported the rejected bribe oííer to CA Presiding
Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. the next day - a íact admitted by Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr.

Second, e·en though Justice Sabio, Jr. did not mention the bribe-oííeror`s name in both his
·erbal and written reports to Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr., De Borja identiíied himselí to the media
as the person alluded to.

1hird, De Borja`s allegation, that Justice Sabio, Jr. wanted P50 million, not P10 million, is
not belie·able, íor, ií Justice Sabio, Jr. quoted P50 million as his price, he would not ha·e reported the
P10 million bribe oííer to Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. le would ha·e waited íor Meralco`s reply to
his counter-oííer.
x x x
Indeed, the Court agrees with the Panel that the allegation oí solicitation on the part oí Justice
Sabio is not credible. Ne·ertheless, the continued communications between Justice Sabio and Mr. De
Borja e·en aíter the latter`s rejected bribery attempt is highly inappropriate and shows poor judgment on
the part oí Justice Sabio who should ha·e acted in preser·ation oí the dignity oí his judicial oííice and
the institution to which he belongs.
Premises considered, this Court is oí the ·iew that Justice Sabio`s indiscreet and imprudent
con·ersations regarding the Meralco case with his brother and Mr. De Borja and his actuations in the
chairmanship dispute with Justice Reyes constitute simple misconduct and conduct unbecoming oí a
justice oí the Court oí Appeals which warrant the penalty oí two ,2, months suspension without pay.
Iindings regarding the conduct of Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes
As pre·iously discussed, Justice Reyes appealed to Presiding Justice Vazquez in a letter dated July
22, 2008, reiterating his ,Justice Reyes`, request that the Presiding Justice render an opinion which
Di·ision oí the Court oí Appeals - the Lighth Di·ision with him as chairman, or the Special Ninth
Di·ision chaired by Justice Sabio should resol·e the Meralco case. 1his was in conjunction with an
Interpleader íiled by Justice Roxas on the same issue with the Presiding Justice. \et, despite the íact that
the Presiding Justice iníormed Justices Reyes and Roxas that he would study the matter, Justices Reyes
and Justice Roxas, together with Justice Bruselas, promulgated the decision in the Meralco case on July
23, 2008. Justice Reyes and Justice Roxas did not withdraw their request íor a ruling nor did either oí
them ad·ise the Presiding Justice beíorehand oí their intention to proceed with the resolution oí the
Meralco case. 1hus, when the Presiding Justice issued his ruling on the chairmanship dispute on July 24,
2008, he was unaware oí the promulgation oí the Meralco decision on July 23, 2008, under the aegis oí
Justice Reyes` Lighth Di·ision. As íound by the Panel, Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. was completely
taken aback when he learned about it on July 24, 2008, the same day that he issued his opinion on the
chairmanship issue which by then had become fvvctv. oficio. le íelt belittled and humiliated by the
discourtesy oí the two justices to him.` It bears repeating here that under Canon 5, Section 3 oí the New
Code oí Judicial Conduct, judges are mandated to show the appropriate consideration and respect íor
their colleagues in the Judiciary.1hus, we adopt the íinding oí the Panel on this point and íind Justice
Reyes guilty oí simple misconduct, which is mitigated by the íact that he repeatedly asked Presiding
Justice Vasquez to act on his request to rule on the conílicting interpretation oí the IRCA. lowe·er,
Justice Reyes should be reprimanded íor taking part in the decision oí the subject case without awaiting
the ruling oí the Presiding Justice.
Iindings regarding the conduct of Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal
1he Court íinds well-taken and adopts the íindings oí the Panel oí In·estigators, to wit:
Justice Dimaranan-Vidal de·iated írom the IRCA when she allowed herselí to be rushed by
Justice Roxas to sign the Meralco decision on July 8, 2008, without reading the parties` memoranda
and without the deliberation among members oí the Di·ision required by the IRCA. She knew that
the 1RO would not expire until July 30, 2008 - some three ,3, weeks away írom July 8, 2008 - yet she
allowed herselí to belie·e Justice Roxas` misrepresentation that signing the decision was urgent. ler
compliance with certain dissembling practices oí other justices oí the Court, in ·iolation oí the IRCA,
showed weakness and lack oí independence on her part.

1he íollowing sections oí Canon 1 oí the Code oí Judicial Conduct are instructi·e in this regard:
SLC. 1. Judges shall exercise the judicial íunction independently on the basis oí their assessment oí
the íacts and in accordance with a conscientious understanding oí the law, íree oí any extraneous
iníluence, inducement, pressure, threat or interíerence, direct or indirect, írom any quarter or íor any
reason.

SLC. 2. In períorming judicial duties, judges shall be independent írom judicial colleagues in respect
oí decisions which the judge is obliged to make independently.
Allowing a íellow justice to induce her to de·iate írom established procedure constitutes conduct
unbecoming a justice íor which Justice Dimaranan-Vidal should be ADMONISlLD to be more
circumspect in the períormance oí her judicial duties.
Iindings regarding the conduct of Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez
It is the ·iew oí the Panel oí In·estigators that Presiding Justice Vasquez íailed to pro·ide the
leadership expected oí him as head oí the Court oí Appeals. 1he íollowing quote írom the Report
summarizes the percei·ed lapses on the part oí the Presiding Justice:
Clearly, Presiding Justice Vasquez, Jr. had been indecisive in dealing with the turmoil arising
írom the Meralco case. le vacillated and temporized on resol·ing the impasse between Justice
Sabio, Jr. and Justice B. L. Reyes o·er the chairmanship oí the Di·ision that should hear and decide
the Meralco case. le íailed to take action on the reported bribe-oííer by Meralco to J. Sabio, Jr. le
hesitated to assert his leadership oí the Court e·en when the parties repeatedly urged him to lay
down the rule íor them to íollow. \as he hampered by the íact that he has relati·es - two daughters
- employed in the GSIS, and a sister who is a consultant thereoí· le pleaded lack oí authority. \as
he not aware then, or did he disco·er too late, that under Section 11, Rule VIII oí the IRCA, he is in
íact authorized to act ´on any matter¨ in·ol·ing the Court and its members· 1hat Rule pro·ides:

Sec. JJ. x xx the Presiding Justice or any one acting in his place is authorized to act
on any matter not covered by these Rules. Such action shall, however, be reported
to the Court en banc.

le should ha·e con·ened the Court ev bavc as soon as the alleged bribery attempt on Justice
Sabio, Jr. was reported to him, íor it was an attempt to corrupt a member oí the Court, calling íor the
protection and preser·ation oí the integrity oí the judicial processes` oí the Court, hence, an
administrati·e matter cognizable by the Court ev bavc. Section 5 ,c,, Rule I oí the IRCA, pro·ides:

Sec. S. Matters cognizable by the Court en banc.- 1he Court en banc shall, inter
alia:
(a) x x x
(b) Adopt uniform administrative measures, procedures, and policies for the
protection and preservation of the integrity of the judicial processes, x x x.

Presiding Justice Vasquez admitted his ´lapses in judgment¨
In the light oí the íoregoing obser·ations oí the Panel, this Court is oí the ·iew that much oí the
trouble now being íaced by the Court oí Appeals could ha·e been a·erted by timely, judicious and
decisi·e action on the part oí the Presiding Justice. Certainly, this unpleasant and trying episode in íailure
to act in the early part oí his tenure as Presiding Justice has indelibly impressed upon him what is
required oí him as leader oí the second highest court in the land. Ne·ertheless, Presiding Justice Vasquez
is hereby se·erely reprimanded íor his íailure to act promptly and decisi·ely on the contro·ersy as
required oí him by the IRCA.