You are on page 1of 23

JUDICIAL ETHICS

1. SISON-BARIAS VS RUBIA

Facts:

Complainant Emilie Sison-Barias is involved in three cases pending
before the sala of respondent Judge Marino Rubia.

The first case is an intestate proceeding. 1 Complainant filed a
petition for letters of administration over the intestate estate of her late
husband, Ramon A. Barias. This was opposed by her mother-in-law,
Romelias Almeda-Barias.

The second case is a guardianship proceeding over Romelias
Almeda-Barias. Evelyn Tanael, the guardian appointed by the court,
submitted a property inventory report that included not only the
properties of Romelias Almeda-Barias but also properties forming
part of the estate of complainant's late husband.

The third case is a civil action 5 for annulment of contracts and
reconveyance of real properties filed by Romelias Almeda-Barias,
represented by Evelyn Tanael, against complainant, among others.
Complainant alleged that there was delay in the publication of the
notice in the petition for issuance of letters of administration filed. She
was then informed by her brother, Enrique "Ike" Sison, that
respondent Eileen Pecaña, the daughter of his good friend, was a
data encoder in the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial
Court of Biñan, Laguna. 8

Complainant, together with her two brothers, Enrique and Perlito
"Jun" Sison, Jr., met with respondent Pecaña on February 20, 2010.
During this meeting,
complainant informed respondent Pecaña of the delay in the
publication of the notice in the petition for issuance of letters of
administration. She then asked respondent Pecaña to check the
status of the publication of the notice. 11 Respondent Pecaña asked
for complainant's number so that she could inform her as soon as any

development takes place in the case. 12 Enrique 13 and Perlito 14
executed affidavits to corroborate these allegations.

Respondent Pecaña asked complainant to meet her again at her
house in Biñan,

Laguna. Complainant went there with Enrique. 16 Respondent
Pecaña then informed complainant that she could no longer assist
her since respondent Judge Rubia had already given administration
of the properties to Evelyn Tanael. 17

Complainant stated that she was not interested in the grant of
administration to Tanael because these concerned the properties of
her mother-in-law, Romelias Almeda-Barias. She was only
concerned with the administration of the properties of her late
husband, to which respondent Pecaña replied, "Ah ganun ba? Iba
pala ung kaso mo." Complainant called respondent Pecaña who
informed her that respondent Judge Rubia wanted to talk to her. 21
Complainant agreed to meet with respondent Judge Rubia over
dinner, on the condition that respondent Pecaña would be present as
well.

On March 3, 2010 23 at around 7:00 p.m., complainant picked up
respondent Pecaña at 6750 Ayala Avenue in Makati City. They
proceeded to Café Juanita in The Fort, Bonifacio Global City.
Respondent Pecaña said that respondent Judge Rubia would arrive
late as he would be coming from a Rotary Club meeting held at the
Mandarin Hotel.

Respondent Judge Rubia arrived at Café Juanita around 8:30 p.m.
During the dinner meeting, respondents allegedly asked complainant
inappropriate questions. Respondent Judge Rubia allegedly asked
whether she was still connected with Philippine Airlines, which she
still was at that time. 25 Complainant was then informed that
respondent Judge Rubia knew of this fact through Atty. Noe Zarate,
counsel of Romelias Almeda-Barias. This disclosure surprised
complainant, as she was under the impression that opposing counsel
and respondent Judge Rubia had no business discussing matters
that were not relevant to their pending cases. 27

and despite their non-compliance on four (4) separate pre-trials that were postponed. Complainant was appalled by such suggestion and replied[. partiality. counsel for the oppositor.] 'Why will I talk to him? Judge di ko yata kaya gawin un. 2010. were never discussed in the pleadings or in the course of the trial. complainant filed a complaint affidavit 51 before the Office of the Court Administrator charging respondent Pecaña for gross misconduct and respondent Judge Rubia for conduct unbecoming of a judge. as represented by their counsel. respondents then allegedly "told complainant to just talk to Atty. The impression of complainant was that respondent Judge Rubia was actively taking a position in favor of Atty. This was denied on October 6. Atty. when in fact it was the oppositor. or Tanael and Almeda-Barias. and gross misconduct. incompetence. These details. Thus. gross ignorance of the law or procedure. On November 11. She alleged that respondent Judge Rubia failed to require a timely filing of the pre-trial brief on the part of Evelyn Tanael and Romelias Almeda-Barias. Complainant then filed a motion for reconsideration denied in an order 49 dated November 15. 2010. Noe Zarate. namely. 44 She also alleged that respondent Judge Rubia stated that the burden to prove ownership of the property was on complainant. Complainant moved for respondent Judge Rubia's inhibition. according to complainant. Romelias Almeda-Barias and Evelyn Tanael. Zarate.Respondent Judge Rubia also allegedly asked her questions about her supposed involvement with another man and other accusations made by Romelias Almeda-Barias. 2010. Tanael and Almeda-Barias were not declared in default. ISSUE: . she inferred that respondent Judge Rubia had been talking to the opposing counsel regarding these matters outside of the court proceedings. claiming that he is a nice person. who had the burden of proof to show that the land was fraudulently transferred to her late husband. To confirm her suspicion.'" Complainant alleged that respondent Judge Rubia acted in a manner that showed manifest partiality in favor of the opposing parties. Zarate.

. 2010 as alleged by respondents. 2010 on the side street of Burgos Circle in Bonifacio Global City. The date indicated on the attendance sheet and on the program of meeting was March 10. Respondents Judge Rubia and Pecaña should be held administratively liable for their actions. Neither was there an indication of the time when the meeting began or ended. 2010. Pecaña took place on March 10. This means that the testimony of and the evidence presented by Rodel do not disprove the occurrence of the dinner meeting as alleged by complainant. Both the Rotary Club of Makati. by themselves or taken as corroborative evidence of Rodel's testimony. do not discount the distinct and tangible possibility that the dinner meeting as narrated by complainant took place. However. this does not discount the veracity of complainant's allegations. The attendance sheet and the program of meeting. Assuming that the alleged chance meeting between complainant and respondent Judge Rubia took place on March 10. since the meeting of the Rotary Club and the dinner meeting alleged by complainant took place on different dates. The investigation report stated that the attendance sheet and the program of meeting that Rodel submitted corroborated his testimony. This could have allowed respondent Judge Rubia ample time to travel to the dinner meeting after the meeting of the Rotary Club of Makati. This court must set aside the findings of fact and reject the report of Justice Samuel Gaerlan. On the other hand. there was nothing to indicate the time of arrival or departure of the attendees. Southwest Chapter meeting and dinner at Numa Restaurant. Southwest Chapter dinner and the dinner meeting alleged by complainant took place in the vicinity of Bonifacio Global City. 2010 more credible. on their way to the parking lot. Whether respondents Judge Rubia and Pecaña should be held administratively liable. we find the allegation that the dinner meeting took place on March 3. not March 3. 2010. after the Rotary Club of Makati. HELD: Yes.

124 However. This fact was not included in his investigation report. the calls made to respondent Pecaña as shown in the document coincided with complainant's allegations. 2010. 128 However. The totality of these circumstances places doubt on the alibi of respondent Judge Rubia and Rodel's narration of events. The content of the text messages of respondent Pecaña belied respondents' claim that the alleged dinner meeting in Burgos Circle was only a chance encounter. 4:29 p. 2010. AILEEN PECAÑA [sic] Bkt xa galit kng mkpg kta ka smin widout his knowledge. 4:30 p. (August 8. The strongest corroborative evidence to support complainant's allegations was the exchange of text messages between complainant and respondent Pecaña regarding the dinner meeting. 2010 in the document presented. 2010.) 130 (Emphasis supplied) . (August 8.Complainant presented a document containing a list of calls she made from January to March 2010. I cnt fathom y wil it end up filing an admin case. calls were made to respondent Pecaña's number.m. Justice Gaerlan failed to give any weight to the exchange of text messages.) AILEEN PECAÑA [sic] Pls Emily do something 2 pacify ur lawyer.m. 119 She identified her cellular phone number 120 as well as respondent Pecaña's. 123 Respondent Pecaña admitted that she had received a call from complainant before the latter picked her up at 6750 Makati City. 125 On the other hand. juj rubia will definitely get mad wid us. These text messages were admitted by respondent Pecaña. 121 Respondent Pecaña admitted that the number identified by complainant was her number. 122 On March 2 and 3. no calls to respondent Pecaña were recorded on March 10.

Respondent Judge Rubia would not have had a reason to get upset because of the possibility of administrative liability if an innocent and coincidental encounter happened and not a dinner meeting." which may be translated to "have a meeting. particularly respondent Judge Rubia. respondent Pecaña's text messages sent to complainant belied her claim of an innocent chance encounter. At the time of the referral of the complaint to the Office of the Court Administrator. respondent Pecaña should not have gone out to greet respondent Judge Rubia since she was dining with a litigant. Respondent Judge Rubia committed gross violations of the New Code of Judicial Conduct By meeting a litigant and advising her to talk to opposing counsel.Respondent Pecaña used the phrase. whether or not they were under . respondent Judge Rubia violated several canons of the New Code of Judicial Conduct. respondent Judge Rubia was already the Executive Judge of Branch 24 of the Regional Trial Court of Biñan. In fact. Further. Respondent Judge Rubia failed to act in a manner that upholds the dignity mandated by his office. However. he had the authority to ensure that all court employees. There was clearly no reason for respondent Pecaña to go out of her way to greet respondent Judge Rubia." "Mkpg kta" can in no way mean a chance encounter. after allegedly being repeatedly reminded that court employees should not have any dealings with litigants. She said that respondent Judge Rubia would get angry after complainant had informed her that her lawyer might file an administrative case against them. He was already made aware of the impropriety of respondent Pecaña's actions by virtue of her admissions in her comment. As a judge. "mkpg kta. Laguna. this would have logically led to a hostile reaction from respondents. if the meeting took place as alleged by complainant.

148 (Citations omitted. such as ascertaining her actions. or at least reporting her actions to the Office of the Court Administrator. Respondent Judge Rubia's mere presence in the dinner meeting provides a ground for administrative liability. Furthermore. For this failure alone. conducting an inquiry to admonish or discipline her. respondent Judge Rubia should be held administratively liable. the evidence on record supports the allegations that a meeting with complainant. In Gandeza Jr. Tabin.his direct supervision. However. 142 this court reminded judges: Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct requires a judge to avoid not only impropriety but also the mere appearance of impropriety in all activities. Thus. emphasis supplied) This is telling of a culture of tolerance that has led to the decay of the exacting nature of judicial propriety. took place. Respondent Pecaña even alleged that respondent Judge Rubia made several warnings to all court employees not to intercede in any case pending before any court under his jurisdiction as Executive Judge. a litigant with several cases pending before his sala. their official conduct should be beyond reproach. v. act in accordance with the esteem of their office. nothing in the record shows that respondent Judge Rubia took action after being informed of respondent Pecaña's interactions with a litigant. They are the intermediaries between conflicting interests and the embodiments of the people's sense of justice. Instead of being outraged by .

It is never trite to caution respondent to be prudent and circumspect in both speech and action. Had it been true that a settlement was being brokered by respondent Judge Rubia. including those committed by members of the bench and bar. By participating in the dinner meeting and by failing to admonish respondent Pecaña for her admitted impropriety. administrative offenses. Delay in filing an administrative complaint should not be construed as basis to question its veracity or credibility. Thus. The eight-month delay in the filing of the administrative complaint is of no consequence. and it would require additional time and resources that litigants would rather not expend in the interest of preserving their rights in the suit. Complainant might have decided to tread with caution so as not to incur the ire of Judge Rubia for fear of the reprisal that could take place after the filing of an administrative complaint. it has often been held that a judge must be like Caesar’s wife — above suspicion and beyond reproach. This is more so for lawyers where the possibility of appearing before the judge where an administrative complaint has been filed is high. it should have been done in open court with the record reflecting such an initiative.respondent Judge Rubia's meeting an opposing party. Judge Rubia clearly failed to live up to the standards of his office. Judges and court personnel wield extraordinary control over court proceedings of cases filed. litigants are always cautious in filing administrative cases against judges and court personnel. are not subject to a fixed period within which they must be reported. . Zarate defended respondent Judge Rubia's actions. Atty. There are considerations that a litigant must think about before filing an administrative case against judges and court personnel. keeping in mind that her conduct in and outside the courtroom is always under constant observation. Respondent’s act discloses a deficiency in prudence and discretion that a member of the Judiciary must exercise in the performance of his official functions and of his activities as a private individual. Filing an administrative case against respondents is a time-consuming ordeal. In any case. To stress how the law frowns upon even any appearance of impropriety in a magistrate’s activities.

his close relationship "with Judalena notwithstanding. "with a prayer that the respondent Judge hear the motion to give him an opportunity to rectify the mistake error he had committed in taking cognizance of the case and in granting. "with the condition that the latter shall cause a subdivision survey of the portion sold in order to segregate said portion from the bigger portion. however. Hence. 2. Hurtado. Issue: Whether or not Judge Gonong acted unlike of a Judge Held: Yes. violated their agreement. the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. Hurtado filed a motion for the dissolution of the writ of preliminary injunction in order to preserve the status quo until the designation of another judge to try the case. Respondent Judge. Rule 137 of the Revised Rules of Court issued and order ex. ex-parte. HURTADO VS JUDALENA Facts: Isabel G. and despite the prohibition imposed by Section 1. The said section. Judalena had sold a portion. Judalena prayed for a "writ of preliminary injunction to restrain Hurtado. however.parte directing the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. denied the motion. the instant petition. Respondent Judge issued an order voluntarily disqualifying himself from hearing the case in view of his close relationship "with the plaintiff therein and directed the transmittal of the records of the case to the incumbent Executive Judge for proper assignment to the other Judges of the court. in . after "which the said Hurtado shall construct a concrete fence between the two lots.respondent Judge Rubia violated Canons 1 and 2 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct. containing an area of 75 square meters of her parcel of land to Hurtado. Section 1 Rule 137 of the Revised Rules of Court enumerates without ambiguity the cases in which any Judge or Judicial officer is disqualified from acting as such. Pursuant to this. respondent Judge Arsenio Gonong.

Job Riel) for alarms and scandals. 610 (Vicente Enriquez v. JR. Zaldy Suarez) for trespassing (sic). Judalena and their close relationship notwithstanding. it is not denied that the respondent Judge is the brother of the respondent Isabel G. A.no uncertain terms.) for highgrading. This is mandatory. PADILLA. Civil Case No. the respondent Judge took cognizance of the case and issued the controversial order directing the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.M. Issue: WON the respondent violatedSection 4 Canon 1 .complainant. and despite the prohibition mentioned above. Schneider. 3. to our mind is reprehensible as it erodes the all important confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. ROBERTO V. Atty.HON. Ventura Calzada. Augusto B. Padilla alleges that in Criminal Case Nos. after which he inhibited himself from sitting on the case for the same reasons. he is the only lawyer in the Municipality of Jose Panganiban and it is but natural for respondent Judge to be friendly with him but maintains that their friendship has never been a hindrance to the proper disposition of the cases in his sala. Jose Panganiban. 5935 and 5936 (People v. Such an action. the opposing counsel. e-pressly prohibits a Judge or Judicial Officer from sitting in a case where he is related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity. Rolando Racasa) for highgrading. 5998 (People v. ZANTUA. Respondent Judge denies that he is fraternizing with lawyers with pending cases in his sala. Camarines Norte. et al. Schneider is always seen eatingand drinking in the constant company of respondent Judge in public establishments in the Municipality of Jose Panganiban.respondent. 1994 MAYOR ROGER S. et al. Criminal Case No. 5908 (People v.vs. In the case at bar. and Criminal Case No.) for grave coercion and grave threats. Criminal Case No. Camarines Norte.. explaining that in the case of Atty. No. Facts: Mayor Roger S. Municipal Trial Court. MTJ-93-888 October 24. Efren Dalde. 5973 (People v.

When the judge himself . both still unsigned. however. respondent judge allegedly sent a member of his staff to talk to complainant. It is of no moment that Atty. but also on the highest standard of integrity and moral uprightness they are expected to possess. ROSETE Facts: Before the cases were decided. did not accede to respondent’s demand because she believed that she had a very strong case. This eventuality may undermine the people's faith in the administration of justice. The criminal cases were eventually dismissed by respondent judge. The actuation of respondent Judge of eating and drinking in public places with a lawyer who has pending cases in his sala may well arouse suspicion in the public mind. Held: We have repeatedly admonished our judges to adhere to the highest tenets of judicial conduct. Tan vs Rosete TAN V. integrity and independence. Augusto Schneider is the only lawyer in the locality.Ruling: Yes. She was told that respondent judge would reverse the disposition of the cases as soon as she remits the amount demanded.00 in exchange for the non-dismissal of the cases. well supported by evidence. Respondent is admonished. She was shown copies of respondent judge’s decision in the criminal cases. 4. They must be the embodiment of competence. dismissing the complaints against the accused.000. Constant company with a lawyer tends to breed intimacy and camaraderie to the point that favors in the future may be asked from respondent judge which he may find hard to resist. The exacting standards of conduct demanded from judges are designed to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary because the people’s confidence in the judicial system is founded not only on the magnitude of legal knowledge and the diligence of the members of the bench. Complainant. thus tending to erode the trust of the litigants in the impartiality of the judge. The staff member told complainant Tan that Judge Rosete was asking for P150.

Judge Herico informed the OfBce of the Court Administrator (OCA) that when he assumed office as Acting Judge of MCTC of Capalonga. Elena. Alba of the MTC of Mercedes. encourages disrespect for the law and impairs public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary itself. It is therefore paramount that a judge’s personal behavior both in the performance of his duties and his daily life. OCA recommended that Judge Alba be required to submit his comment on the letter-complaint of Judge . the Court approved his application. then Presiding Judge Edgar M. docketed as A. He also requested that the available funds of the MCTC be advanced to cover the amount of the missing cash bonds which would thereafter have to be paid by the person found guilty of misappropriating the same.becomes the transgressor of any law which he is sworn to apply. 5. he places his office in disrepute.Sta. be free from any appearance of impropriety as to be beyond reproach. 2 but held in abeyance the payment of his retirement benefits subject to whatever penalties the Court may impose relative to another administrative case against him. Camarines Norte applied for optional retirement. to prepare an inventory of the pending cases and found out that there were violations in the proper custody of exhibits. and his act of meeting with litigants outside the office premises beyond office hours violate the standard of judicial conduct required to be observed by members of the Bench. 1999.M. In a letter dated September 29. 1999. 1999. he discovered that there were missing cash bonds in two pending criminal cases and that both cases do not even have any release order. Saa. MTJ 99-1210. Respondent’s act of sending a member of his staff to talk with complainant and show copies of his draft decisions. They constitute gross misconduct which is punishable under Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court. Pursuant to the resolution of the Court (en banc) dated March 2. Rolando B. 3 and subject further to the availability of funds and the usual clearance requirements. He asked the Clerk of Court. Re Report of Acting Presiding Judge Herico Facts: On February 28. No.

2854940. is conducting a financial audit on the collections of Mr. the P10. the Fiscal Monitoring Division. No charges have yet been filed against Mr. as evidenced by her initials "PJP. PerBdia Parale. Edgar Alba . Pertinent portions of the memorandum read: It was verified that the salaries of Clerk of Court Rolando Saa had been ordered withheld by the Fiscal Management since May 1999 for failure to submit the Report on the Monthly Collection and Withdrawal of Fiduciary Fund . Mr. Saa. Based on the report of Acting Judge Herico. Saa is pointing the blame to former Acting Judge. Saa to submit the required report. it appears that his reasons and arguments do not warrant the outright dismissal of the present matter at bar. but did not state that he and Ma. Parale. Alba. He added that per Official Receipt No. this ofBce. Liwag would keep the amount in their custody. Although the aforesaid court employees may be considered as accountable ofBcers in the Court [and] they could be held answerable . is not remiss in reporting regularly the general fund and JDF collections. had been received by two of his staff. Saa. At present. Isabel Liwag. Further verificat shows that nevertheless.000 bail bond posted by the accused. The withholding of his salaries was done only for the purpose of compliance or compelling Mr. Saa who failed to audit the two in 1995." and Ma. In seeking to be absolved from any liability.Herico and that his retirement benefits be withheld. whose signature also appeared therein. 1994 order he issued merely approved the P10. and Clerk of Court Rolando B. PerBdia J. Saa for his failure to submit the aforesaid report. Mr.000 paid by one Jerry Duazo for the bail of the accused. Isabel S. the OCA stated: After a careful evaluation of the aforesaid comment-explanation of Judge Edgar M. Judge Alba submitted a letter-answer/comment (addressed to Judge Herico) stating that the July 8. Judge Alba insisted that the ones supposed to be held liable are Isabel Liwag.

1994 with regard to the cash bond of P10. initialed "PJP" on Official Receipt No. Isabel Liwag. Camarines Norte. Judge Alba also cleared Ms. Besides. Isabel Liwag in the . after encashing the check. there is no doubt that retired Judge Alba has an active participation in the whereabouts of the missing cash bonds. In view thereof. Facts show that Talento. In Criminal Case No. Elena.000 posted by one Jerry Duazo for the accused Mario Zamala y Dasco in Criminal Case No. then Court Administrator Alfredo L. Liwag from all money and property accountabilities. In the Court's Circular No. Elena. cash bond to Ma.00. 750 for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. the prayer for the release of the retirement benefits cannot be granted. It should be noted that in the authorization given to Mr. 812. Liwag as the one responsible for the said bonds. Judge Alba could no longer pinpoint Ms. Camarines Norte. afBxed her counter-initial/signature in the same receipt. 812 in the sum of P20. Camarines Norte. Liwag Bnally tendered her resignation which was later on accepted by Judge Alba. it is respectfully submitted for the consideration of the Honorable Court with the recommendation that the retirement benefits of Judge Alba be denied. Not only that. Alejandro Pisante. 2854940 dated July 7. Benipayo directed the Judges and Clerks of Courts of the Lower Courts to observe the procedures with regard to monies received by the collecting officers of the courts: The Judiciary Development Fund and the Fiduciary Fund partake of the nature of trust funds. Ma. Elena.for the subject missing funds. handed the P20. Alejandro M. retired Judge Alba's signature appeared as the one who approved the encashment of the check payment for the cash bond in Criminal Case No. 26-97. 1997. who was appointed as the Court Stenographer and designated as the Assistant Clerk of the MCTC of Sta. After being AWOL for sometime.000. a Utility Worker of the MCTC of Sta. Court Interpreter I and designated as Acting Clerk of Court of MCTC of Sta.000. Ms. Since this matter also involves financial liability. dated May 5. Pisante. The aforesaid amount had not been deposited either in the depository bank or in the OfBce of the Municipal Treasurer.

presence of PerBdia J. if any. because Clerks of Court are the ofBcers mandated to deposit them with an authorized government depository bank. but Liwag failed to issue any official receipt corresponding to the deposit or withdrawal thereof. In the ordinary course of proceedings. 0958078 (as replacement for the prior check) in the amount of P20. 1995. Judges cannot be directly faulted if these funds are not immediately deposited. he was authorized by Judge Alba and Liwag to encash PNB Republic Bank Check No. rental deposits and other Bduciary collections. or municipal treasurer the amount of bail Bxed by the court. Thereafter. Deposit of cash as bail . . 1999. in August 1996. Rule 114 of the Rules of Court states: SEC. To repeat.000 but the same was not encashed for being a crossed check. 14. shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made the deposit. Alejandro M. Upon submission of a proper certiBcate of deposit and a written undertaking showing compliance with the requirements of Section 2 of this Rule. Talento and Judge Alba. Hence. the accused shall be discharged from custody. 10 Section 14. or recommended by the prosecutor who investigated or Bled the case. city. — The accused or any person acting in his behalf may deposit in cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue or provincial. the Clerks of Court are the ones responsible for such matters. The money deposited shall be considered as bail and applied to the payment of Bne and costs while the excess. especially since they would not normally know exactly when the Clerks of Court received them. Judges have nothing to do with the collections. In his affidavit dated June 16. 1995 in the amount of P20. he was authorized by the two to encash Check No. 611533 dated July 17.000. Clerks of Court are the custodians of all bail bonds. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Alba is liable HELD: Yes. Pisante stated that on September 29.

Saa. it should be Liwag. 50-95 and 26-97. Failure to remit the funds to the Municipal Treasurer would warrant administrative sanctions. Isabel Liwag as the Acting Clerk of Court of MCTC-Sta. as well as to receive deposits. it was her duty to collect and receive. being an accountable officer. who should be made liable for the missing cash bonds. Rolando B. On the part of Judges. 13 Clearly. Per ofBce procedure. upon receipt thereof. has the duty to ensure full compliance with the circulars of this Court and the Court Administrator on deposits or collections of court funds as set forth in Circular Nos. Municipal.A Judge is not one of those authorized to receive the deposit of cash as bail. and dues. Elena. with the City. Saa was the incumbent Clerk of Court of MCTC-Capalonga-Sta. The transaction must not only be properly receipted for but should also appear in the records of the case. As such. all monies in payment of all legal fees. to promptly issue official receipts for all monies received by them. and not Judge Alba. Liwag had the duties and responsibilities of a Branch Clerk of Court. being the Clerk of Court of MCTC-Capalonga-Sta. The proper procedure in the handling of cash submitted or given to the municipal court as bail bond is for the court to direct the Clerk of Court to offcially receive the cash and to immediately deposit it with the municipal treasurer's office. Verily. Elena. or an Acting Clerk of Court. should be . she performed the functions of an OfBcer-in-Charge. they are required to compel their collecting offcials. Elena by Judge Alba in 1991. Elena. by herself or through a duly appointed cashier. nor should such cash be kept in the ofBce of the Judge. A Clerk of Court. such as Clerks of Court. being designated the Acting Clerk of Court or OfBcer-in- Charge of MCTC of Sta. By reason of Judge Alba's designation of Ma. or Provincial Treasurer where the court was located should there be no branch of the Land Bank of the Philippines in the locality. including the accountability of fduciary funds of MCTC-Sta. She should have made sure that the bail bonds posted by the accused in the two criminal cases had been immediately deposited. Elena despite the fact that Rolando B. Camarines Norte.

Even after Judge Alba retired on February 28. In this regard. However. In Re: Report on the Judicial and Financial Audit Conducted in the MTC in Cities. systematic. since Judge Alba may no longer be dismissed or suspended by reason of his retirement. 1999.the one to sign the clearance of Liwag as to money and property accountabilities. due to health reasons. Accordingly. or in any way handled the missing cash bonds. Koronadal City Facts: . circulars of this Court shall be strictly complied with to protect the safekeeping of funds and collections and to establish full accountability of government funds. restitution of the amount lost may be deducted from his retirement pay and benefits. Further. yet due diligence dictates that as the Acting Judge of the MCTC of Capalonga-Sta. Elena. both active and archived. Judge Alba should be made to assume the responsibility of restituting the shortages incurred by her. received. In so doing. Judge Alba accepted the resignation of Liwag. he may still be held administratively accountable for the negligence and inefBciency committed during his incumbency. he should have prepared an inventory of the cases. This serves as a reminder to Judges. For the orderly administration of justice. Camarines Norte. as Interpreter I of MCTC-Capalonga- Sta. while no direct documentary or testimonial evidence will establish the fact that Judge Alba took. he should have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the correct procedure in the collections and deposits of court funds were dutifully carried out before he retired. Judge Alba would have discovered the missing cash bonds in the two pending criminal cases before issuing a certification clearing Liwag of all cash and property accountabilities. Elena. misappropriated. 6. As found by the OCA. Judges are bound to keep a record of the proceedings in their respective courts to ensure the proper. collected. The Court agrees that by clearing Liwag from all accountabilities. for an effective docket control. and efficient management of their court dockets.

court sessions were usually scheduled only in the afternoons. however. the court failed to collect filing fees in estafa and BP 22 cases. assumed office sometime in May 1988. The court was highly disorganized in its custody of exhibits. 2. Contrary to the mandate of Section 20 of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court. Financial Audit The financial audit revealed the following findings: 1. and Clerk of Court Maxima Borja. were merely kept inside her table drawers without being inventoried. Forty-three (43) criminal cases reglementary period decided beyond reglementary period 3. to discharge the duties and functions of a court interpreter without the prior approval of the OCA. Thirty-two (32) civil cases 2 remained undecided beyond the reglementary period of 90 days (or 30 days for those falling under the Rules on Summary Procedure. Worse. he would report only in the afternoons. Those turned over to Borja. 2001. The audit team's physical inventory of pending cases revealed these findings: 1. serving as clerk II and stenographer until she was appointed clerk of court. on February 18. The latter. persons unauthorized to receive exhibits had been allowed to do so. who compulsorily retired on October 9. . The audit team found that Judge Sardido usually arrived late for work. making it impossible to keep track of all the exhibits in custody. the clerk of court. The audit team also found that Judge Sardido had allowed Rufino Vargas. Prior to Borja's assumption. 2002. Judge Agustin T. Sardido. Ines. a non-employee of the court. Due to his habitual tardiness. On Mondays. had been employed therein since 1987. enabling some of them to use the items. who presided over the MTCC of Koronadal City. the clerk of court was Normandie A.

000 were posted but not officially receipted. As a result of the misappropriation of the funds. which he used to buy a car.000). An examination of the case records showed that from September 1993 to February 2001. including Judge Sardido. 3891-25 (People v. In fact. three (3) cash bonds amounting to P15.000 in Criminal Case No. however. 5. On the other hand. 1993 to September 30. the cash bonds of P40. however.200 were posted with the court without being officially receipted. for which official receipts were issued. 4818 (People v. Ortiz) and P32. found Borja's entries in the cashbook for the Clerk of Court Fiduciary Fund (CCFF) to be in order.2.836. 3. the judge himself admitted that on at least four occasions sometime in 1996. The funds were lent to court personnel. the total funds amounting to P955. 2001. he apparently received unreceipted cash bonds amounting to P460. during the incumbency of Ines — the clerk of court then — a number of cash bonds amounting to P460. 7. After Ines retired. 1996 to September 20. On November 14. the cashbooks of the MTCC of Koronadal City. 4. .200 from September 21. Santos) could not be released despite orders by the regional trial courts. As of the audit date.527 had apparently been turned over by the municipal treasurer to the Office of Municipal Judge Sardido. The amount. The practice of not issuing official receipts allowed Ines to appropriate the funds for unauthorized purposes. 2001. remained unaccounted for. 6. 2002. Records of the Office of the Municipal Treasurer of Koronadal show that the CCFF in the amount of P495. as well as the acknowledgements and vale receipts allegedly signed by Judge Sardido and other court personnel who had accountabilities against court funds. Ines received cash bonds amounting to P494. The audit team.036 — presumably collected remained unaccounted for.000 in Criminal Case No. For the period April 3. Ines filed his explanation. he had borrowed one hundred thirty thousand pesos (P130.

Lastly. he could not possibly be guilty of the charges against him. She averred that she had no background in accounting and had to make do with whatever books. because the funds were not in his possession. 2002. he also denied the charges. had been done before she assumed the position of clerk of court. which he said was due to his designation as presiding judge in four other courts. He also denied failing to issue receipts for cash bonds. Pablito W. Ines denied using court funds for the benefit of his colleagues. claiming that. being on leave at the time. Administrative Liability of Respondents Those charged with the dispensation of justice. The failure to issue official receipts for two cash bonds. the former denied knowing that it had come from court funds and averred that the sums due had already been repaid. from the justices and judges to the lowliest . Pendilla filed his explanation dated November 6. Except for the charge of being habitually tardy. he substantially admitted the material averments in all the other charges against him. they are liable. 2002. records and documents her predecessor had turned over to her. With respect to the charges of receiving an exhibit without authority and of being included among Ines' list of court personnel with outstanding accountabilities against court funds.In his explanation. Held: Yes. And while Pendilla admitted to having borrowed money from Ines. she explained. Judge Sardido filed his own explanation dated December 6. she sought this Court's understanding of her over- remittance of some amounts to the CCGF and the JDF. saying that the audit reports conducted by the Commission on Audit in South Cotabato had proved the regularity of the court finances. Allegedly. He claimed that he had received the exhibit under instruction from Judge Sardido. He justified his failure to enforce collections for the JDF from July 1989 to January 1991 by saying that no such funds accrued during that period. he could not have received them. As to the alleged fund shortages and erroneous entries in the cashbook.

Judge Sardido should have served as an example to the court employees working under him. it must be beyond suspicion. It applies. Every employee should be an example of integrity. 10 As such. It cannot be gainsaid that justice delayed .clerks. While denying habitual tardiness in reporting for work. Not only must their conduct at all times be characterized by propriety and decorum but. without qualification as to rank or position. it is a necessity. His bare allegations that his habitual tardiness was caused by his designation to other courts is untenable. When questioned by the audit team. his staff said that he would usually come in late without giving a valid explanation. should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. devised a schedule to be followed in all four courts and. all of whom are deemed standard-bearers of the exacting norms of ethics and morality imposed upon courts of justice. This Court has held that absenteeism and tardiness are impermissible. he points to the excruciating pain in his lumbar region after a slipped-disc operation as the reason for his occasional tardiness. Integrity in a judicial office is more than a virtue. and Norala-T'boli-Sto. uprightness and honesty. He also claims that his arrival at the MTCC of Koronadal City only in the afternoons was unavoidable due to his designation as acting judge of four other municipal courts in Tampakan. some of which have been submitted for resolution as early as 1994. Niño. This Court has reiterated the need for judges to decide cases promptly and expeditiously. 11 The inefficiency of Judge Sardido is evident in his failure to decide seventy-five (75) cases within the reglementary period. more important. to all officials and employees. the judge presiding over a branch of a court is the head of that branch. above all else. informed his staff of that schedule. so as to inspire public respect for the justice system. 9 Judge Sardido In legal contemplation. Suralla-Lake Sebu. It has emphasized the need for officials and employees of the judiciary to observe official time strictly. Banga-tantangan. He should have been more efficient in dividing his time among his assignments.

45-caliber pistol. when only the two of them remained there. Judge Sardido admitted having instructed Vargas — a person who had not even been appointed to any position in that court — to place the items in the latter's drawer. so that the court personnel could use them for their protection. he said that he had taken it home because of his constant fear for his safety. he even suggested that Section 3(d) of Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Court be amended to allow this practice. For misappropriating court funds in concert with Ines. 12 Judge Sardido showed gross ignorance of the law when he accepted BP 22 cases despite the fact that the corresponding filing fees had yet to be collected. He allegedly allowed Rufino Vargas to receive a . By his practice of dismissing criminal cases under preliminary investigation without transmitting the pertinent resolution and records to the prosecutor. Judge Sardido has been charged with grave misconduct. worse.000 to be able to purchase a car and thereafter borrowed intermittently through the years. for reasons ranging from the schooling needs of his children to the illness . the latter recounted that on four occasions in 1994. because these had been brought to the court past 5 p. He also admitted his ignorance of the requirement of first seeking OCA approval before allowing Rufino Vargas to assume the vacant position of court stenographer. While claiming that he never fired the gun. he had borrowed P130. The judge even admitted to having personally received another exhibit. The failure of judges to decide cases with dispatch constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of administrative sanctions. Judge Sardido showed either gross ignorance of remedial law or.is justice denied. in order to lighten the load for first-level courts. willful disobedience thereof. Admitting that he indeed "borrowed" money from court funds.m. and kept it for his own protection.45-caliber pistol. two magazines and thirty-two live ammunitions. Admitting that it was his court's practice to archive cases for preliminary investigation whenever the accused remained at large. And to make matters worse. also a .

of justice. 13 Rule 5. For the judge to return that regard." 14 Sadly. and more importantly. That he intended to repay the amounts "borrowed" is immaterial." Time and time again. he must be the first to abide by the law and weave an example for others to follow. . gross misconduct. the foregoing facts clearly show that Judge Sardido has not only miserably failed to present himself as an example to his staff and to others. These funds should never be used outside of official business. favor or loan from anyone except as may be allowed by law. were it not for the fact that he had already been dismissed from the service in another administrative case.of his parents.04 of Canon 5 of the Code of Judicial Conduct states: "A judge or any immediate member of the family shall not accept a gift. His dishonesty. as well as the rules and regulations. but has also shown no compunction in violating the law. this Court has emphasized that "the judge is the visible representation of the law. bequest. and gross ignorance of the law tarnish the image of the judiciary and would have warranted the maximum penalty of dismissal. It is from him that the people draw their will and awareness to obey the law.