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Moamar Pangandag vs. Presiding Judge Ottowa B.

Abinal
A.M. No. MTJ-16-1877

Acts committed:

Judge Ottowa B. Abinal, the judge of the 8th Municipal Circuit Trial
Court in Mulondo, Maguing, Lumba-Bayabao, and Taraka, Lanao del Sur,
took cognizance of a case for grave threats, a crime which carried the
penalty of reclusion temporal, a prison term that exceeded six years, and
thus his jurisdiction. However, he was of the opinion that the allegations in
the information only supported the second form of grave threats, which
merely carried the penalty of arresto mayor.
Moreover, he issued a warrant of arrest despite knowing that the
private complainant therein was his niece. 15 days later, he voluntarily
inhibited himself from hearing the case on account of such relationship. He
contended that he did not have to inhibit himself from deciding whether to
issue a warrant of arrest, as it was his ministerial duty to do so.

Canon/s violated:
Sec. 5(c), Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct1
Judges should not take part in proceedings in which their impartiality
might reasonably be questioned, including those in which a party litigant is
related to them by consanguinity or affinity.

Penalty imposed:
Judge Ottowa B. Abinal is found guilty of gross ignorance of the law or
procedure for failing to immediately inhibit himself in the case involving his
niece. Accordingly, the Court imposes the penalty of fine in the amount of
P25,000 with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or a similar
infraction shall be penalized more severely.

1In relation to Rule 137 of the Rules of Court which clearly disqualifies judges from hearing cases if they
are related to one of the parties within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity.
Department of Justice represented by Secretary Leila M. De Lima vs.
Judge Rolando G. Mislang, etc./Home Development Mutual Fund
(HDMF), represented by Atty. Jose Roberto F. Po vs. Judge Rolando G.
Mislang, etc.

A.M. No. RTJ-14-2369/A.M. No. RTJ-14-2372

Acts committed:

Judge Rolando G. Mislang issued Orders granting Delfin Lees


Petition for Injunction without waiting for the Department of Justices
memorandum, when it was previously agreed upon that the resolution of
such petition shall be made upon submission of the parties respective
memoranda. Public respondent Judge anchored his issuance of the writ on
the existence of a prejudicial question.

Unfortunately, he miserably failed to properly apply the principles and


rules on three (3) points, i.e., the prematurity of the petition, the
inapplicability of the prejudicial question, and the lack of jurisdiction of the
court.

Rule violated: Gross Ignorance of the Law

Sections 6 and 7, Rule 111, Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure

Section 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question. A petition


for suspension of the criminal action based upon the pendency of a
prejudicial question in a civil action may be filed in the office of the
prosecutor or the court conducting the preliminary investigation. When the
criminal action has been filed in court for trial, the petition to suspend shall
be filed in the same criminal action at any time before the prosecution rests.

Section 7. Elements of prejudicial question. The elements of a prejudicial


question are: (a) the previously instituted civil action involves an issue
similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent criminal
action, and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the
criminal action may proceed.

Penalty imposed:

The Court finds Judge Rolando G. Mislang, Regional Trial Court,


Pasig City, Branch 167, guilty of Gross Ignorance of the Law in A.M. No.
RTJ-14-2369 and A.M. No. RTJ-14-2372 and orders his dismissal from the
service with forfeiture of retirement benefits, except leave credits, and with
prejudice to re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the
government, including government-owned and controlled corporations.
Wilfredo F. Tuvillo Vs. Judge Henry E. Laron/Melissa J. Tuvillo a.k.a.
Michelle Jimenez Vs. Judge Henry E. Laron

A.M. No. MTJ-10-1755/A.M. No. MTJ-10-1756

Acts committed:

Judge Henry E. Laron was administratively charged for immoral


conduct, unexplained wealth, and immorality. He allegedly requested money
from Melissa Tuvillo causing her and her husband to lose their savings,
when she sought his help in her case for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. Moreover,
he was also complained of for having a Php. 9M house, several Lamarroza
paintings, expensive furniture, four Plasma televisions, a Nissan Patrol, and
private education of his three children; luxuries that are impossible for him
to acquire legally if based on his salary as a judge. In the midst of it all, he
also carried out an affair with Melissa, a married woman.

Canons violated:

Canon 4, Section 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct

A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in


all activities.

Paragraph 3 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics

Avoidance of appearance of impropriety. A judge's official conduct


should be free from the appearance of impropriety, and his personal
behavior, not only upon the bench and in the performance of official duties,
but also in his everyday life, should be beyond reproach.

Penalty imposed:

Judge Henry Laron, Presiding Judge of Branch 65, Metropolitan Trial


Court, Makati City, was found guilty of immorality and serious misconduct.
He is meted out the maximum penalty of dismissal from the service, with
forfeiture of all benefits except accrued leave credits, and with prejudice to
re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government,
including government-owned and controlled corporations.

The charge of unexplained wealth is dismissed for insufficient


evidence.