You are on page 1of 5

6/29/2016

PeavsMartizano:AMMTJ021451:May30,2003:J.Panganiban:ThirdDivision

THIRDDIVISION

[A.M.No.MTJ021451.May30,2003]

EVELIO PEA, JEROLD PEA, AUGUSTO BARBOSA and ALVIN PILAPIL,


complainants, vs. Judge ORLANDO A. MARTIZANO, MCTC, San Jose
Presentacion,CamarinesSur,respondent.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN,J.:

When the facts stated in the complaint plainly described an election offense, the respondent
should have known that he had no jurisdiction to conduct a preliminary investigation thereon. For
having ignored the clear rule that only the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had the exclusive
power to preliminarily investigate and to prosecute election offenses, he has opened himself to
administrativesanction.Hisliabilityiscompoundedbyhissubsequentactionsshowingplainviolations
oftheRulesonCriminalProcedureandelementarydueprocess.
TheCaseandtheFacts
ThisadministrativecasearisesfromaComplaint[1]filedwiththeOfficeoftheCourtAdministrator
(OCA) on August 24, 2001 by Evelio Pea, Jerold Pea, Augusto Barbosa and Alvin Pilapil. In the
Complaint, Judge Orlando A. Martizano of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of San Jose
Presentacion, Camarines Sur, was charged with grave abuse of authority, political harassment,
evidentpartiality,ignoranceofthelawandelectionoffenses.
ThematerialavermentsintheComplaintaresummarizedbytheOCAasfollows:
ComplainantsaverthatonMay5,2001,aSaturday,theywerecriminallychargedinrespondentscourtinthe
[I]nformationwhichinpartreads:
xxxtheaccuseddidthenandthere,willfully,unlawfullyandfeloniouslyfalsifytheOfficialBallotsfortheMay
11,1998LocalandNationalElectionsfortheMunicipal[ity]ofSanJose,CamarinesSur,byswitchingthe
officialballotscastinfavorofthecomplainantwithfakedandsimulatedballotsthatlaternullifiedthevalid
ballotscastinfavorofthecomplainantxxx.
RespondentJudgewenttotheMCTC,SanJose,CamarinesSurpurposelytoreceive,admitandacton[a]
[C]omplaintentitledPeoplevs.EvelioPea,et.al.,anddocketedthesameasCriminalCaseNo.1645.The
[C]omplaintwaserroneouslydesignatedasFalsificationofPublicDocumentsallegedlyinviolationofArticle
172inrelationtoArticle171oftheRevisedPenalCode,althoughnothinginsaidpenalprovisionsappearto
havebeenviolated.
Respondentshouldnothavetakencognizanceofthecaseasthebodyofthe[C]omplaintshowsthatthesameis
electionrelated.UndertheComelecRulesofProcedure,itistheCommissiononElectionthathastheexclusive
authoritytoprosecuteoffensesfoundtobeelectionrelated.[Complainants]calledtheattentionofrespondent
JudgebyfilingaMotionforInhibitionandrefer[ed]thecasetotheProvincialProsecutorsOffice,butthe
motionwasnotactedupon.RespondentJudge,inpatentabuseofauthority,admittedthe[C]omplaintandissued
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2003/may2003/am_mtj_02_1451.htm

1/5

6/29/2016

PeavsMartizano:AMMTJ021451:May30,2003:J.Panganiban:ThirdDivision

thewarrantsofarrestdespiteknowledgethatundertheoffensecharged,noprobablecauseexists.
Respondentisignorantofthelawbecauseheassumedjurisdictionoverthecasewhichiselectionrelated.Asa
rule,itistheallegationscontainedinthebodyofthe[C]omplaintthatcontrolsnotthedesignationofthe
offense.
xxxxxxxxx
xxx[R]espondentshouldalsobeheldliableforelectionoffensesforissuingthewarrantofarrest.As
candidates,theirreputationwasbesmirchedandtheywereforcedtorefrainforaperiodfromcampaigning.This
actionbyrespondentjudgewhoisapublicofficeriseitherdirectorindirectinterventioninanelection
campaign,orinvolvesdirectlyorindirectlypartisanpoliticalactivity.[2]
InhisComment[3]datedOctober9,2001,respondentaversthattherewasnothingirregularabout
working on a Saturday. He explains that aside from his regular appointment as presiding judge of
TigaonSangay,hewasalsothedesignatedjudgeoffourothermunicipaltrialcourt(MTC)branches
inCamarinesSurnamely,thoseinLagonoy,Goa,CaramoanandSanJosePresentacion.Heswears
that his presence at the San JosePresentacion sala was not prearranged by him and Mayor Gil P.
Pacamarra,thecomplainantinCriminalCaseNo.1645.Heatteststhathewasindeedscheduledto
workinthatbranchonthatparticularSaturdaywhenthechargeagainstcomplainantswasfiled.
Respondentclaimsthathedidnotcommitanygraveabuseofauthoritywhenheconductedthe
preliminary investigation in Criminal Case No. 1645.He maintains that he was competent to do so,
becausethefactsallegedintheComplaintpointedtofalsification.Accordingtohim,theswitching(of
ballots)withfakeandsimulated(ones)constitutedtheoffenseoffalsificationasdefinedinArticle171
oftheRevisedPenalCode.Hereasonsthat[t]hefactthattheobjectsswitchedwereofficialballotsdid
notmaketheactofswitchingnolongerpunishablebytheRevisedPenalCode.
Moreover,hecastigatescomplainantsforbelatedlyraisingtheissuethatthecasewaselection
relatedandshouldhavebeenfiledwiththeprovincialprosecutorsofficeforpreliminaryinvestigation.
Accordingtohim,hehadalreadyconcludedhisinvestigationonMay9,2001,whiletheyraisedthe
matteronlyonMay11,2001.
Respondent likewise asserts that the warrants of arrest against complainants were regularly
issued. Mayor Pacamarra filed on May 11, 2001 an Urgent Motion for the Issuance of Warrants of
Arrest, because he and his family were receiving death threats. After due deliberation, respondent
grantedtheMotionandissuedthecorrespondingarrestwarrants.
Respondent relates that on May 30, 2001, complainants filed a Motion to Quash on the ground
thathehadnoauthoritytoconductthepreliminaryinvestigationinCriminalCaseNo.1645,because
the offense charged therein was an election offense. He then ordered the prosecution to file its
comment,butitfailedtodoso.Thereafter,heissuedanOrderdismissingthecase.
Finally,heclaimsthatalltheproceedingsrelativetoCriminalCaseNo.1645,fromthetimeofits
filinguntilitsdismissal,wereinaccordancewiththeRulesofCourt.Hestressesthathadhedesisted
fromgivingduecoursetothecase,hewouldhavebeenrenegingonhisduties.
ReportandRecommendationoftheOCA
InitsMay22,2002Report,[4]theOCAfoundrespondentguiltyofignoranceofthelawwhenhe
gaveduecoursetoCriminalCaseNo.1645.Itopinedthat[w]hileofficialballotsareconsideredpublic
documents, falsification of the same is not punishable under the penal code. Falsification of any
election form or document, official ballots or any other document used in the election is an election
offense punishable under the Omnibus Election Code which only the C[omelec], through its
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2003/may2003/am_mtj_02_1451.htm

2/5

6/29/2016

PeavsMartizano:AMMTJ021451:May30,2003:J.Panganiban:ThirdDivision

authorized legal officer, [has] the power to conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute.[5] The
OCA also noted that respondent had not been deputized by the Comelec, which was authorized to
deputizeotherofficialsofthegovernmenttoprosecuteelectionoffenses.
The OCA likewise found that respondent erred in issuing the warrants of arrest against
complainants without first resolving the Urgent Manifestation with Plea for Inhibition as well as the
SupplementalArgumentfiledbytheircounsel.Thesepleadingsquestionedhisauthoritytogivedue
coursetothecriminalcase.TheOCAobservedthat,withoutfirstwaitingforthecommentoftheOffice
oftheProvincialProsecutor,respondenthadproceededtoissuethearrestwarrantsandsubsequently
suspendedtheproceedings.
The OCA also noted that if respondent was of the honest belief that the offense charged in
[CriminalCaseNo.1645]wasnotelectionrelated,heshouldhavefirstresolvedthependingincident
and proceeded with the preliminary investigation pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 112 of the Rules of
Court, by giving [complainants] the opportunity to submit counteraffidavits and other controverting
evidence.xxx.Bysuspendingtheproceedingsafterthewarrantsofarrestwereissued,respondent
haddenied[complainants]theirrighttodueprocess.Wittinglyorunwittingly,heallowedhimselftobe
aninstrumenttoharassthepoliticalopponentsofthecomplainant[s].[6]
TheOCArecommendedthatrespondentbefinedP10,000withawarningthatarepetitionofthe
sameorasimilaroffensebedealtwithmoreseverely.
ThisCourtsRuling
WeagreewiththefindingsoftheOCA,butmodifythepenaltyinaccordancewithRule140ofthe
RulesofCourt.
RespondentsAdministrativeLiability
Judgesareexpectedtostriveforexcellenceintheperformanceoftheirduties.Asexemplarsof
lawandjustice,theyaremandatedtoembodycompetence,integrityandindependence.[7]Verily,they
oweittothepublictoknowtheverylawstheyaresupposedtoapplytocontroversies.Theyarecalled
upontoexhibitmorethanacursoryacquaintancewiththestatutesandprocedurallaws.[8]Anything
lesswouldconstitutegrossignoranceofthelaw.[9]
Inthepresentcase,respondentexceededhisauthoritywhenhepersistedingivingduecourseto
Criminal Case No. 1645 despite the objection of complainants. Elementary is the rule that the real
natureofacriminalchargecannotbedeterminedfromthetitleofthecomplaintthedesignationofthe
offensechargedortheparticularlaworpartthereofallegedlyviolated,whicharemereconclusionsof
law.Whatiscontrollingisthedescriptionofthecrimeortheactualrecitaloffactsinthecomplaintor
information.[10]
In this case, a perusal of the body of the Complaint reveals that the charge was switching of
official ballots with simulated ballots. The facts in the Complaint clearly describe an electionrelated
incident. Thus, respondent should have known that the crime charged was an election offense.
However,insteadofreviewingthematterinaccordancewithelectionlaws,hetreateditasanordinary
actoffalsificationofapublicdocumentand,thereafter,conductedapreliminaryinvestigation.Clearly,
heignoredtherulethattheComelec,throughitsauthorizedlegalofficers,hastheexclusivepowerto
conductpreliminaryinvestigationsofallelectionoffensesandtoprosecutethem.[11]
Moreover,contrarytotheclaimsofrespondent,hisactionswerenotinaccordancewiththeRules
onCriminalProcedure.Assuming that he had the authority to conduct the preliminary investigation,
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2003/may2003/am_mtj_02_1451.htm

3/5

6/29/2016

PeavsMartizano:AMMTJ021451:May30,2003:J.Panganiban:ThirdDivision

then he should have given complainants the opportunity to submit their counteraffidavits and any
evidencetosupporttheirdefense.[12]Instead,hedeprivedthemofthisright.Further,heaversthathe
finished his investigation on May 9, 2001. However, there was no mention of his transmittal of the
recordsofthecasetotheprovincialprosecutorforappropriatereview.
Respondent blames complainants for belatedly raising the issue that the Comelec has the
exclusive authority to conduct the necessary preliminary investigation.We reject this flimsy excuse.
As a judge, he is mandated in every case to diligently endeavor to ascertain the facts and the
applicable law.[13] He cannot hide his negligence or incompetence by shifting the blame to
complainants.
Likewise,respondenterredinhastilyissuingthewarrantsofarrestagainstcomplainants. Within
the reglementary period, the latter raised the issue of whether he had jurisdiction to conduct the
preliminary investigation. Respondent, however, granted the warrants for their arrest without first
resolvingthependingissue.Moreover,wefinditirregularthatevenwithoutdeterminingtheveracityof
theirclaim,heorderedtheirarrestonthesamedaytheMotionthereforwasfiled.Hesimplyreliedon
the information relayed to him by Mayor Pacamarra without conducting the necessary examination
requiredbySections4[14] and6[15] ofRule112oftheRulesofCourt.
We reiterate that judges are dutybound to be faithful to the law and to maintain professional
competenceatalltimes.Theirroleintheadministrationofjusticerequiresacontinuousstudyofthe
law and jurisprudence, lest public confidence in the judiciary be eroded by incompetence and
irresponsibleconduct.[16]
GrossignoranceofthelawconstitutesaseriouschargeunderSection8ofRule140oftheRules
ofCourt.Afindingofguiltresultsinanyofthefollowing:(a)dismissalfromservice,forfeitureofallor
part of ones benefits, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office
includinggovernmentownedorcontrolledcorporations(b)suspensionfromofficewithoutsalaryand
otherbenefitsformorethanthreebutnotexceedingsixmonthsor(c)afineofmorethanP20,000
butnotexceedingP40,000.
WHEREFORE,JudgeOrlandoA.Martizano is found guilty of gross ignorance of the law. He is
ORDERED to pay a FINEofP25,000, with a warning that a repetition of the same or a similar act
shallbedealtwithmoreseverely.
SOORDERED.
Puno,(Chairman),andCarpioMorales,JJ.,concur.
SandovalGutierrez,andCorona,onleave.
[1]Rollo,pp.12.
[2]OCAReport,pp.13rollo,pp.6466.
[3]Rollo,pp.3142.
[4]SignedbyDeputyCourtAdministratorJoseP.PerezandrecommendedforapprovalbyCourtAdministratorPresbiteroJ.

VelascoJr.
[5]OCAReport,p.7rollo,p.70.
[6]Id.,pp.89&7172.
[7]Rule1.01ofCanon1oftheCodeofJudicialConduct.
[8]Tabaov.Barataman,AMNo.MTJ011384,April11,2002.
[9]Creerv.Fabillar,337SCRA632,August14,2000Pacrisv.Pagalilauan,337SCRA638,August14,2000.
[10]Peoplev.Barrientos,285SCRA221,January28,1998Peoplev.Diaz,320SCRA168,December8,1999Peoplev.
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2003/may2003/am_mtj_02_1451.htm

4/5

6/29/2016

PeavsMartizano:AMMTJ021451:May30,2003:J.Panganiban:ThirdDivision

Tao,331SCRA449,May5,2000Peoplev.Banihit,339SCRA86,August25,2000.
[11]265oftheOmnibusElectionCode.
[12]3ofRule112oftheRulesofCourt.
[13]Rule3.02oftheCodeofJudicialConduct.
[14] SEC. 4. Resolution of investigating prosecutor and its review.If the investigating prosecutor finds cause to hold the

respondentfortrial,heshallpreparetheresolutionandinformation.Heshallcertifyunderoathintheinformationthat
he,orasshownbytherecord,anauthorizedofficer,haspersonallyexaminedthecomplainantandhiswitnesses
thatthereisreasonablegroundtobelievethatacrimehasbeencommittedandthattheaccusedisprobablyguilty
thereofthattheaccusedwasinformedofthecomplaintandoftheevidencesubmittedagainsthimandthathewas
givenanopportunitytosubmitcontrovertingevidence.Otherwise,heshallrecommenddismissalofthecomplaint.
Withinfive(5)daysfromhisresolution,heshallforwardtherecordofthecasetotheprovincialorcityprosecutororchief
stateprosecutor,ortotheOmbudsmanorhisdeputyincasesofoffensescognizablebytheSandiganbayaninthe
exerciseofitsoriginaljurisdiction.Theyshallactontheresolutionwithinten(10)daysfromtheirreceiptthereofand
shallimmediatelyinformthepartiesofsuchaction.
Nocomplaintorinformationmaybefiledordismissedbyaninvestigatingprosecutorwithoutthepriorauthorityorapproval
oftheprovincialorcityprosecutororchiefstateprosecutorortheOmbudsmanorhisdeputy.
Wheretheinvestigatingprosecutorrecommendsthedismissalofthecomplaintbuthisrecommendationisdisapprovedby
the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy on the ground that a
probable cause exists, the latter may, by himself, file the information against the respondent, or direct another
assistantprosecutororstateprosecutortodosowithoutconductinganotherpreliminaryinvestigation.
If upon petition by a proper party under such Rules as the Department of Justice may prescribe or motu propio, the
SecretaryofJusticereversesormodifiestheresolutionoftheprovincialorcityprosecutororchiefstateprosecutor,
he shall direct the prosecutor concerned either to file the corresponding information without conducting another
preliminary investigation, or to dismiss or move for dismissal of the complaint or information with notice to the
parties. The same Rule shall apply in preliminary investigations conducted by the officers of the Office of the
Ombudsman.
[15]SEC.6.Whenwarrantofarrestmayissue.

xxxxxxxxx
(b)BytheMunicipalTrialCourt.Whenrequiredpursuanttothesecondparagraphofsection1ofthisRule,thepreliminary
investigation of cases falling under the original jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in
Cities,MunicipalTrialCourt,orMunicipalCircuitTrialCourtmaybeconductedbyeitherthejudgeortheprosecutor.
When conducted by the prosecutor, the procedure for the issuance of a warrant of arrest by the judge shall be
governedbyparagraph(a)ofthissection.Whentheinvestigationisconductedbythejudgehimself,heshallfollow
theprocedureprovidedinsection3ofthisRule.Ifhisfindingsandrecommendationsareaffirmedbytheprovincial
orcityprosecutor,orbytheOmbudsmanorhisdeputy,andthecorrespondinginformationisfiled,heshallissuea
warrantofarrest.However,withoutwaitingfortheconclusionoftheinvestigation,thejudgemayissueawarrantof
arrestifhefindsafteranexaminationinwritingandunderoathofthecomplainantandhiswitnessesintheformof
searching questions and answers, that a probable cause exists and that there is a necessity of placing the
respondentunderimmediatecustodyinordernottofrustratetheendsofjustice.
[16]Belgav.Buban,331SCRA531,May9,2000.

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2003/may2003/am_mtj_02_1451.htm

5/5