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POLITICAL LAW REVIEW Case Digests Part XI (Judiciary Department) Page 1 of

1. Salendab HON. ALMA G. DE LEON, Chairman, HON. THELMA P. GAMINDE, Commissioner, and HON. RAMON P. ERENETA, JR., Commissioner, Civil Service Commission, and SECRETARY RAFAEL M. ALUNAN, III, Department of Interior and Local Government, petitioners, vs . HON. COURT OF APPEALS and JACOB F. MONTESA, respondents. GR No. 127182. January 22, 2001
Facts: For resolution is private respondents motion for reconsideration of the January 22, 2001 Decision of the Court, which reversed and set aside the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 38664 and reinstated Resolution Nos. 953268 and 955201 of the Civil Service Commission. On Aug 28, 1986, private respondent Atty Jacob Montesa, who is not a Career Executive Service Officer (CESO) or a member of the Career Executive Service, was appointed as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV in the Ministry of Local Government (now Department of Interior and Local Government by then Minister Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. Private respondents appointment was approved as permanent by the Civil Service Commission. On July 25, 1987, then President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated Executive Order No. 262, reorganizing the Department. On April 8, 1988, then Secretary Luis T. Santos, who succeeded Minister Pimentel, designated Nicanor M. Patricio as Chief, Legal Service in place of private respondent who, in turn, was directed to report to the office of the Secretary to perform special assignments. Consequently, private respondent filed before this Court a petition for quo warranto against then Secretary Santos and Nicanor Patricio. On September 26, 1990, the SC ruled in favor of private respondent Montesa and ordered his reinstatement to his former position. Meanwhile, the Salary Standardization Law took effect on July 1, 1089. Pursuant to the laws reorganization provisions, in the execution of the decision of the SC, respondent was reinstated to the position: Department Legal Counsel and/or Director III. In 1994, Sec Rafael Alunan, issued a Dept order reassigning Montesa as Director III (Asst Regional Director), Region IX. Montesa did not report to his new assigned position. Instead he filed a 90 day sick leave after which he signified his intention to re-assume his position as Dept Legal Counsel/ Chief Legal Services. Montesa appealed to the CSC which sustained the reassignment. He then filed a Petition for Review with the CA, pending which President Ramos, upon recommendation of the Dept, issued AO 235, dropping Montesa from the roster of public sevants for serious neglect of duty and absences without leave. Eventually, the CA rendered its decision in favor of Montesa. In the SC, the decision sought to be reconsidered, it was ruled that private respondents appointment on August 28, 1986, as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV of the Ministry of Local Government, was temporary. Applying the case of Achacoso v. Macaraig, [1 we held that since private respondent was not a Career Executive Service (CES) eligible, his appointment did not attain permanency because he did not possess the required CES eligibility for the CES position to which he was appointed. Hence, he can be transferred or reassigned without violating his right to security of tenure. Issue: Whether or not Private respondent should be reinstated to his position eventhough he is not a CESO. Held: No.

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It appears, however, that in Jacob Montesa v. Santos, et al., decided on September 26, 1990, where the nature of private respondents appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV, of the Ministry of Local Government, was first contested, this Court issued a Minute Resolution dated March 17, 1992, holding that Achacoso v. Macaraig is not applicable to the case of private respondent. The pertinent portion thereof reads The holding of this Court in the Achacoso case is not applicable to petitioner Montesa. Petitioner was appointed on August 28, 1996 by virtue of Article III of the Freedom Constitution. He was extended a permanent appointment by then Minister Pimentel and subsequently confirmed as permanent by the Civil Service Commission. He is a first grade civil service eligible (RA 1080) the appropriate eligibility for the position at that time and a member of the Philippine bar. There was no CESO board during the Freedom Constittion or at the time of appointment of petitioner. The CESO was reconstituted in August 1988 and the first exam was given in 1990. Thus, having met all the requirements for the position for which he was appointed, petitioner cannot be removed in violation of his security of tenure and due process rights. Invoking res judicata, private respondent contends that his appointment can no longer be passed upon. Concededly, if we follow the conventional procedural path, i.e., the principle on conclusiveness of judgment set forth in Rule 39, Section 47, paragraph (c) of the Rules of Court, [3 would bar a re-litigation of the nature of private respondents appointment. Yet, the Court is not precluded from re-examining its own ruling and rectifying errors of judgment if blind and stubborn adherence to res judicata would involve the sacrifice of justice to technicality. A reading of the Integrated Reorganization Plan which was adopted and declared part of the law of the land by Presidential Decree No. 1, dated September 24, 1972, clearly shows that a CES eligibility is indeed a requirement for a position embraced in the CES. The law and circular were never amended nor repealed by the Freedom Constitution. A CES eligibility was an existing and operative requirement at the time of private respondents appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel CESO IV. Neither were the said law and circular inconsistent with the Freedom Constitution as to render them modified or superseded. In fact, the Integrated Reorganization Plan allows the appointment of non-CES eligibles, like private respondent, provided they subsequently acquire the needed eligibility. It bears stressing that in Achacoso v. Macaraig, the questioned appointment was made on October 16, 1987, before the CES Board was reconstituted in 1988, and before the first CESO examination was given in 1990, as in the present case. Nevertheless, the Court, in Achacoso, ruled that a CES eligibility is required for a CES position, such that an appointment of one who does not possess such eligibility shall be temporary. Evidently, a CES eligibility has always been one of the requirements for a position embraced in the CES. The Court finds no reason to make an exception in the instant controversy. Moreover, in the recent case of Secretary of Justice v. Josefina Bacal , we ruled that security of tenure in the CES is acquired with respect to rank and not to position. Hence, assuming ex gratia argumenti that a CES eligibility is not a requirement in the case of private respondent, the mobility and flexibility concepts in the assignment of personnel in the CES, which allow transfer or reassignment of CES personnel to other positions of the same rank or salary, justify his transfer to other CES position without violating his right to security of tenure. WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant motion for reconsideration is DENIED with FINALITY. 2. Santos
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FACTS: The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines. On Nov. 29, 1975, the IBP Board of Governors unanimously adopted Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative Case No. MDD-1 (In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues to the IBP since latters constitution notwithstanding due notice. At the threshold, a painstaking scrutiny of the respondents pleadings would show that the propriety and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines are in essence conceded. The respondent, however objects to particular features of Rule of Court 139-A, particularly Sections 1, 9, and 10 which reads: Section 1. Organization There is hereby organized an official national body to be known as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, composed of all persons whose names now appear or may hereafter be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. Section 9. Membership Dues Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall determine with approval of the Supreme Court Section 10. Effect of non-payment of dues Subject to the provisions of Sec.12 of this Rule, default in the payment of annual dies for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys. The core of the respondents contention is that the above provisions constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled as a pre-condition to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and pay the corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence, the respondents concludes, the above provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect. The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that the said matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is rather an Administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body. ISSUE: 1. Does the Court have the power to compel Edillon to be a member of the IBP? 2. Is the payment of membership dues void? 3. Will the enforcement of penalty provisions amount to deprivation of property without due process of law? 4. Does the Court have jurisdiction and power to strike a name off the Roll of Attorneys?
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HELD: 1. YES. To compel a lawyer to be a member of the IBP is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. He became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. All that integration actually does it to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which every lawyer is already a member. Bar integration does not compel lawyers to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected to is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further the States legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program the lawyers. Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the IBP, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the state. 2. NO. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits the Court, under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Art. X, Sec.5 of the 1973 Constitution) which power the respondent acknowledges from requiring members of a privileged clas, such as lawyers, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. 3. NO. Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession, we do not here pause to consider at length, as it is clear that under the police power, and under necessary powers granted to Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondents right to practice law before the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognized, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. But we must emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege, and as such it shall bow down to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyers public responsibilities. 4. YES. It is sufficient to state that the matters of admission, suspension disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities, and the authorities holding such are legion.

4. Tecson ENGINEER FERNANDO S. DIZON, vs . JUDGE LILIA C. LOPEZ, A.M. No. RTJ-96-1338. September 5, 1997 Mendoza, J .:
Doctrine: Sin perjuicio judgment; Promulgation of only the dispositive portion. Merely reading the dispositive portion of the decision to the accused is not sufficient. It is the judgment that must be read to him, stating the facts and the law on which such judgment is based.

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Facts: This is a complaint charging Judge Lilia C. Lopez of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 109, Pasay City, with violation of the Constitution, serious misconduct, inefficiency, and falsification in connection with her decision in Criminal Case- Falsification of a private document. It appears that on April 22, 1993, judgment was rendered, convicting complainant of falsification of private document. The promulgation of the judgment consisted of reading the dispositive portion of the decision sentencing him to imprisonment, without serving a copy of the decision on him. The accused and his counsel were told to return in a few days for their copy of the decision, but although petitioner and his father by turns went to the court to obtain a copy of the decision they were not able to do so. To protect his right, complainant filed a partial motion for reconsideration on May 5, 1993, expressly reserving his right to submit a more elaborate one upon receipt of the decision. On December 16, 1994, complainant was served a copy of the decision, dated April 22, 1993. Petitioners contentions: Complainant alleges that the failure of respondent judge to furnish him a copy of the decision until almost one year and eight months after the promulgation of its dispositive portion on April 22, 1993 constitutes a violation of Art. VIII, 14 of the Constitution which prohibits courts from rendering decisions without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and law on which they are based and 15 of the same Art. VIII, which provides that in all cases lower courts must render their decisions within three months from the date of their submission. He alleges further that he was denied the right to a speedy trial in violation of Art. III, 14(2) of the Constitution and that Judge Lopez falsified her decision by antedating it and including therein, as additional penalty, a fine ofP5,000.00. Respondents contentions : Judge Lopez claims that on April 22, 1993, when the judgment was promulgated with the reading of the dispositive portion, her decision was already prepared, although to prevent leakage in the process of preparing it, she withheld its dispositive portion until the day of its promulgation. Respondent judge states that after the dispositive portion had been read to complainant, respondent gave it to Ma. Cleotilde Paulo (Social Worker II, presently OIC of Branch 109) for typing and incorporation into the text of the decision. The court found complainant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of falsification of private document under Art. 172, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code. Respondent states that the delay in furnishing complainant with a copy of the decision was unintentional. Respondent judge referred to difficulties she had in preparing her decision and to a series of personal problems which contributed to this delay in the release of her decision, to wit: she has only two (2) stenographers to attend to daily trials in her court, making it necessary for her to make use of the Social Worker assigned to her to type her decisions. During the period January to December 1993 she had to dispose of 285 cases, apart from the fact that there was an unusually big number of criminal, civil, and land registration cases as well as special proceedings filed in her court which required the holding of hearings in the mornings and in the afternoons. During the same period, she went through some personal tragedies. She lost her niece, Gloria Lopez Roque, whom she had raised from childhood, due to a hospital accident. This was followed by the death on March 1, 1992 of her mother, Margarita Lopez, who had been under respondents care for the past eight years after suffering a stroke. On September 17, 1993, respondents father died of diabetes, renal failure, pneumonia, and cardiac arrest. Respondent was the one who single-handedly brought them in and out of the hospital because all her able-bodied relatives are abroad. Respondent herself was found to be suffering from diabetes and hypertension, necessitating her treatment and leave of absence from September 27, 1994 to December 12, 1994, in addition to her other leaves of absence. Aside from these, respondents family suffered financial reverses because of estafa committed against them. Issue: Whether respondent judge violated Art. VIII, 15(1) of the Constitution.
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Held: YES. Although respondent judge promulgated her decision within three months of the submission of the case for decision, the fact is that only the dispositive portion was read at such promulgation. She claims that on April 22, 1993 the text of her decision, containing her findings and discussion of complainants liability, had already been prepared although it had to be put in final form by incorporating the dispositive portion. However, the fact is that it took a year and eight months more before this was done and a copy of the complete decision furnished the complainant on December 16, 1994. It is clear that merely reading the dispositive portion of the decision to the accused is not sufficient. It is the judgment that must be read to him, stating the facts and the law on which such judgment is based. Since this was done only on December 16, 1994 when a copy of the complete decision was served on complainant, it is obvious that the respondent failed to render her decision within three months as required by Art. VIII, 15 of the Constitution. If indeed all that had to be done after the dispositive portion had been read in open court on April 22, 1993 was to incorporate it in the text of the decision allegedly then already prepared, it is difficult to see why it took respondent judge one year and eight more months before she was able to do so. Respondent claims that she was prevented from putting out her decision by a series of personal and other problems which leads the Court to believe that when she promulgated her sentence she had not finished the preparation of the entire decision. At all events, she could have applied for extension of time to decide the case and put off the promulgation of judgment until she had finished it. What respondent did in this case was to render what is known as a sin perjuicio judgment, which is a judgment without a statement of the facts in support of its conclusion to be later supplemented by the final judgment. As early as 1923, this Court already expressed its disapproval of the practice of rendering sin perjuicio judgments, what with all the uncertainties entailed because of the implied reservation that it is subject to modification when the decision is finally rendered. This Court has expressed approval of the practice of some judges of withholding the dispositive portion from their opinions until the very last moment of promulgation of their judgment in order to prevent leakage, but that refers to the preparation of their decision, not its promulgation. What must be promulgated must be the complete decision. There would be no more reason to keep the dispositive portion a secret at the stage of promulgation of judgment. Other issues: Did not violate right to a speedy trial: The delay, if any, was not such vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delay as to justify finding a denial of the right to a speedy trial. The fact is that the reading of the sentence on April 22, 1993, albeit not in compliance with the requirement for promulgation of judgments, nonetheless put an end to trial. Right to appeal- the delay in furnishing complainant a copy of the complete decision did not prejudice his right to appeal or file a motion for reconsideration. It is true that an accused must be given a copy of the decision in order to apprise him of the basis of such decision so that he can intelligently prepare his appeal or motion for reconsideration. However, in accordance with the ruling in Director of Lands v. Sanz, complainants period to appeal or file a motion for reconsideration did not begin to run until after he actually received a copy of the judgment on December 16, 1994. He therefore suffered no prejudice.

5. Valencia Judge Jose CAOIBES, Jr. v. Hon. Ombudsman and Judge Florentino Alumbres G.R. No. 132177 July 17, 2001 Buena,J.

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Doctrine: The Ombudsman cannot dictate to, and bind the Court, to its findings that a case before it does or does not have administrative implications. To do so is to deprive the Court of the exercise of its administrative prerogatives and to arrogate unto itself a power not constitutionally sanctioned. This is a dangerous policy which impinges, as it does, on judicial independence. Maceda v. Vasquez is emphatic that by virtue of its constitutional power of administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to the lowest municipal trial court clerk, it is only the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges and court personnels compliance with all laws, and take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation thereof. No other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers.
Facts: Respondent Alumbres, Presiding Judge of Branch 255 of the RTC of Las Pinas City, filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, a Criminal Complaint for physical injuries, malicious mischief for the destruction of complainants eyeglasses, and assault upon a person in authority. Respondent alleged therein that on May 20, 1997, at the hallway on the third floor of the Hall of Justice, Las Pinas City, he requested petitioner to return the executive table he borrowed from respondent; that petitioner did not answer so respondent reiterated his request but before he could finish talking, petitioner blurted Tarantado ito ah, and boxed him at his right eyebrow and left lower jaw so that the right lens of his eyeglasses was thrown away, rendering his eyeglasses unserviceable; and that respondent had the incident blottered with the Las Pias Police Station. He prayed that criminal charges be filed before the Sandiganbayan against the petitioner. On June 13, 1997, respondent Judge lodged another Complaint against petitioner, this time and administrative case with the SC, praying for the dismissal of petitioner from the judiciary on the ground of grave misconduct or conduct unbecoming a judicial officer. Said complaint is based on the same facts as those in the complaint filed earlier with the office of the Ombudsman. In the Order dated June 25, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman required petitioner to file a counter-affidavit within ten (10) days from receipt thereof. Instead of filing a counter-affidavit, petitioner filed on July 7, 1997 and Ex-Parte Motion for Referral to the Honorable Supreme Court, praying that the Office of the Ombudsman hold its investigation of case in abeyance, and refer the same to the Supreme Court which, through the Office of the Court Administrator, is already investigating what transpired on May 20, 1997. Petitioner contended that the Supreme Court, not the Office of the Ombudsman, has the authority to make a preliminary determination of the respective culpability of petitioner and respondent Judge who, both being members of the bench, are under its exclusive supervision and control. Office of the Ombudsman denied the motion for referral to the Supreme Court. Invoking Section 15 (1) of Republic Act No. 6770, the Office of the Ombudsman held that it is within its jurisdiction to investigate the criminal charges of respondent Judge against petitioner. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the foregoing order, maintaining that the Office of the Ombudsman should either refer Case No. OMB-0-97-0903 to the Supreme Court for preliminary evaluation, or await the latters resolution of Adm. Case No. 97-387-RTJ which involves the same parties and subject matter. Otherwise, petitioner argues, the absurd situation may result wherein the Office of the Ombudsman files criminal charges against petitioner who, on the other hand, is declared without fault by the Supreme Court. The Office of the Ombudsman denied the motion for reconsideration and required petitioner to submit a counter-affidavit within an inextendible period of five (5) days from receipt thereof. Hence, petitioner filed this petition for certiorari, asking for the reversal of the assailed Orders dated August 22, 1997 and December 22, 1997 of the Office of the Ombudsman and the issuance of a writ of injunction or temporary restraining order, directing the Office of the Ombudsman to refrain from taking further action in the implementation of the challenged orders. Issue: Whether or not the Ombudsman should defer investigation pending the resolution of the administrative case in the SC.
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Ruling: YES. It appears that the present case involves two members of the judiciary who were entangled in a fight within court premises over a piece of office furniture. Under Section 6, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is the Supreme Court which is vested with exclusive administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel. Prescinding from this premise, the Ombudsman cannot determine for itself and by itself whether a criminal complaint against a judge, or court employee, involves an administrative matter. The Ombudsman is duty bound to have all cases against judges and court personnel filed before it, referred to the Supreme Court for determination as to whether and administrative aspect is involved therein. This rule should hold true regardless of whether an administrative case based on the act subject of the complaint before the Ombudsman is already pending with the Court. For, aside from the fact that the Ombudsman would not know of this matter unless he is informed of it, he should give due respect for and recognition of the administrative authority of the Court, because in determining whether an administrative matter is involved, the Court passes upon not only administrative liabilities but also other administrative concerns, as is clearly conveyed in the case of Maceda vs. Vasquez.

DOCTRINE:Men and women of the courts must conduct themselves with honor, probity, fairness, prudence and discretion. Magistrates of justice must always be fair and impartial. They should avoid not only acts of impropriety, but all appearances of impropriety. Their influence in society must be consciously and conscientiously exercised with utmost prudence and discretion. For, theirs is the assigned role of preserving the independence, impartiality and integrity of the Judiciary. The Code of Judicial Conduct mandates a judge to "refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute pending before another court or administrative agency." The slightest form of interference cannot be countenanced. Once a judge uses his influence to derail or interfere in the regular course of a legal or judicial proceeding for the benefit of one or any of the parties therein, public confidence in the judicial system is diminished, if not totally eroded. FACTS: An administrative charge triggered by newspaper accounts which appeared on the 21 July 2000 issues of The Manila Standard, The Manila Times, Malaya , The Philippine Daily Inquirer and Today. The national dailies collectively reported that Court of Appeals Associate Justice Demetrio G. De metria tried to intercede on behalf of suspected Chinese drug queen Yu Yuk Lai, alias Sze Yuk Lai, who went in and out of prison to play in a Manila casino. That same day, 21 July 2000, Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., issued a Memorandum to Justice Demetria directing him to comment on the derogatory allegations in the news items. mments on the Compliance of Justice Demetria. On 8 August 2000, the Court En Banc ordered an investigation and designated Mme. Justice Carolina C. Grio-Aquino as Investigator and Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo as Prosecutor. An investigation then commenced.

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In an Information dated 9 December 1998, SP Formaran III charged Yu Yuk Lai, together with her supposed nephew, a certain Kenneth Monceda y Sy alias William Sy, with violation of Sec. 15, Art. III, RA 6425, as amended, for "conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, with deliberate intent and without authority of law . . . (to) willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell and deliver to a poseur-buyer three (3) kilograms, more or less, of methylamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), which is a regulated drug." On 18 January 2000, Judge Laguio, Jr., concluded that "the evidence standing alone and unrebutted, is strong and sufficient to warrant conviction of the two accused for the crime charged".Consequently, both accused filed a Joint Motion for Inhibition arguing that the trial court's actuation "do not inspire the belief that its decision would be just and impartial." On 28 January 2000, Judge Laguio, Jr., believing that the joint motion was utterly without merit but considering the gravity of the offense and for the peace of mind of the accused, inhibited himself. The case was re-raffled Judge Angel V. Colet. Yu Yuk Lai then filed a Motion to Order the Confinement of the Accused in a Hospital. Before Judge Colet could resolve the motion, the case was handled by the Branch's Pairing Judge Manuel T. Muro. On 15 May 2000 Judge Muro granted accused Yu Yuk Lai's motion and allowed her to be confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital for a period not exceeding seven (7) days, contrary to the recommendation of Dr. Jose Estrada Rosal, Chief of the Health Services of the Manila City Jail, that Yu Yuk Lai be confined at the Philippine General Hospital . On 5 June 2000 Judge Muro granted Yu Yuk Lai's Urgent Motion for Extension of Medical Confinement "for a period of one (1) month, or until such time that she is fit to be discharged from the said hospital."On 7 July 2000 Judge Muro also granted Yu Yuk Lai's Motion for Leave of Court to File Demurrer to Evidence with Motion to Admit Demurrer to Evidence. Soon, rumors circulated in the Manila City Hall that Judge Muro was partial towards accused Yu Yuk Lai. The rumors did not end there. On 6 July 2000 unidentified employees of the RTC Manila calling themselves "CONCERNED COURT EMPLOYEES" wrote the Secretary of Justice, copy furnished the Chief State Prosecutor, the Ombudsman, and Judge Muro. The letter alleged that Judge Muro ordered the hospitalization of Yu Yuk Lai "even if she (was) not sick and there (was) already a rumor circulating around the City Hall, that the notorious Judge had given the go signal to the counsel of the accused to file the Motion to Quash, which (would) be granted for a consideration of millions of pesos and the contact person (was) allegedly the daughter of the Judge, who is an employee in the said branch." Accordingly on 14 July 2000, SP Formaran III filed a Motion for Inhibition praying that Judge Muro inhibit himself "from further handling this case and/or from resolving the demurrer to evidence filed by the accused Yu Yuk Lai as well as any other pending incidents therein." On 16 July 2000, at around 7:30 o'clock in the morning, while she was supposed to be confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital, accused Yu Yuk Lai was arrested inside the VIP room of the Casino Filipino at the Holiday Inn Pavilion, Manila, while playing baccarat. She was unescorted at the time of her arrest. On 18 July 2000, at 9:00 o'clock in the morning, the Motion for Inhibition of Judge Muro was heard and submitted for resolution. Later, at around 11:30 o'clock, when SP Formaran III arrived in his office from the hearing, he was informed by his secretary, Agnes Tuason, that the staff of Court of Appeals Justice Demetrio Demetria had called earlier and said that the Justice wanted to speak with him. The caller requested for a return call. As requested, SP Formaran III immediately returned the call of Justice Demetria but the Justice had already gone
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out for lunch. Later in the afternoon, between 1:30 and 2:00 o'clock, Justice Demetria, PATAFA President Go Teng Kok and Atty. Reinerio Paas, lawyer of Go Teng Kok and a close friend of Justice Demetria, went to the office of SP Formaran III in the DOJ which SP Formaran III shares with SP Albert Fonacier. Soon the visitors were seated. Go Teng Kok immediately pleaded with SP Formaran III to withdraw his motion to inhibit Judge Muro as this would purportedly delay the resolution of the case. Go Teng Kok also expressed his apprehension that if Judge Muro would inhibit, a new judge might convict his friend, accused Yu Yuk Lai, who was then already receiving bad publicity. Justice Demetria then asked about the status of the case. SP Formaran III informed the Justice that a motion for inhibition has been submitted for resolution, one basis of which was the unsigned letter of the concerned court employees. Justice Demetria opined that it was a bit dangerous to anchor the inhibition of a judge on an unsigned, anonymous letter. The Justice then advised Go Teng Kok who was becoming persistent to "keep his cool" and asked SP Formaran III if he could do something to help Go Teng Kok. Apparently, prior to 18 July 2000, Go Teng Kok had already been asking SP Formaran III to go slow in prosecuting accused Yu Yuk Lai. SP Formaran III at first politely declined the request. But later, "just to put an end to (the) conversation," he told them that he would bring the matter to CSP Zuo. "Iyon pala," Justice Demetria replied. The Justice then stood up, bade good bye and left. Atty. Paas and Go Teng Kok followed closely behind. At around 3:00 o'clock that same afternoon, CSP Zuo received a call from Justice Demetria who requested him to instruct SP Formaran III to withdraw the motion for inhibition of Judge Muro so that the Judge could already issue an order. "Pakisabi mo nga kay State Prosecutor Formaran na i-withdraw na iyong kanyang Motion to Inhibit para naman makagawa na ng Order si Judge Muro ," Justice Demetria was quoted as saying. Politely, CSP Zuo said that he would see what he could do. "Tingnan ko po kung ano ang magagawa ko." On 20 July 2000, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that a "Supreme Court Justice . . . and an outspoken sports person and leader"25 had been exerting "undue pressure" on the DOJ to go slow in prosecuting rearrested drug queen Yu Yuk Lai. That same afternoon, the names of Justice Demetria and Mr. Go Teng Kok were disclosed to the media to clear the name of the Supreme Court justices who might have been affected by the erroneous news report. The following day, 21 July 2000, several newspapers named Justice Demetria and Go Teng Kok as "drug lawyers." In fine, Justice Demetria maintains that it is inconceivable for him to ask SP Formaran III whom he just met for the first time to do something for Go Teng Kok whom he claims he just likewise met for the first time. Neither did he know Yu Yuk Lai, a claim Yu Yuk Lai herself corroborated. It would be unthinkable for him to intercede in behalf of someone he did not know. Indeed respondent Justice asserted that his meeting Go Teng Kok on 18 July 2000 at the DOJ was purely coincidence, if not accidental. ISSUE: Did respondent Justice Demetria really intercede in behalf of suspected drug queen Yu Yuk Lai? HELD: YES. Justice Demetria is "guilty of violating Rule 2.04, Canon 2, Code of Judicial Conduct" and recommended that "appropriate disciplinary action be taken against him by this Honorable Court." Only rightly so. The evidence is clear, if not overwhelming, and damning. Thus, even the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, after a hearing, found that "there was a conspiracy to commit the
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POLITICAL LAW REVIEW Case Digests Part XI (Judiciary Department) Page 11 of

following offenses on the part of CA Associate Justice Demetrio Demetria and PATAFA President Go Teng Kok and Miss Yu Yuk Lai: obstruction of justice punishable under PD No. 1829 and Article 3(a) of RA 3019, or the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act." While Justice Demetria vehemently denied interfering with the criminal case, his denial cannot stand against the positive assertions of CSP Zuo and SP Formaran III, which are consistent with natural human experience. To accept the testimony of the defense witnesses that it was Atty. Paas who telephoned CSP Zuo, and not Justice Demetria, and that the "help" the respondent Justice was requesting SP Formaran III was something "within legal bounds or line of duty" other than the withdrawal of the motion is to strain too far one's imagination. The testimony of CSP Zuo is plainly unambiguous and indubitably consistent with the other facts and circumstances surrounding the case. In sum, we find the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses convincing and trustworthy, as compared to those of the defense which do not only defy natural human experience but are also riddled with major inconsistencies which create well-founded and overriding doubts. The conduct and behavior of everyone connected with an office charged with the dispensation of justice is circumscribed with the heavy of responsibility. His at all times must be characterized with propriety and must be above suspicion. His must be free of even a whiff of impropriety, not only with respect to the performance of his judicial duties, but also his behavior outside the courtroom and as a private individual. Although every office in the government service is a public trust, no position exacts a greater demand on moral righteousness and uprightness tha a seat in the Judiciary. High ethical principles and a sense of propriety should be maintained, without which the faith of the people in the Judiciary so indispensable in orderly society cannot be preserved. There is simply no place in the Judiciary for those who cannot meet the exacting standards of judicial conduct and integrity.

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