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POLIREV judicata has been set aside in favor of substantial justice, which is

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT CASES after all the avowed purpose of all law and jurisprudence.
1. DE LEON v. CA 2. POLITICAL LAW; ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; CIVIL SERVICE
EN BANC RULES; INTEGRATED REORGANIZATION PLAN CLEARLY
[G.R. No. 127182. December 5, 2001.] SHOWS CAREER EXECUTIVE SERVICE (CES) ELIGIBILITY IS
HON. ALMA G. DE LEON, Chairman, HON. THELMA P. A REQUIREMENT FOR A POSITION EMBRACED IN THE CES.
GAMINDE, Commissioner, and HON. RAMON P. ERENETA, A reading . . . of the Integrated Reorganization Plan which was
JR., Commissioner, Civil Service Commission, and adopted and declared part of the law of the land by Presidential
SECRETARY RAFAEL M. ALUNAN, III, Department of Interior Decree No. 1, dated September 24, 1972, clearly shows that a
and Local Government, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF CES eligibility is indeed a requirement for a position embraced in
APPEALS and JACOB F. MONTESA, respondents. the CES.
The Solicitor General for petitioners. 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT AMENDED NOR REPEALED BY THE
Camilo Miguel M. Montesa for private respondent. FREEDOM CONSTITUTION. [I]n March 1974, the CES Board
SYNOPSIS issued CESB Circular No. 1 which laid down the requirements for
Applying the case of Achacoso v. Macaraig, this Court, in its membership in the CES [.] . . . The foregoing law and circular were
decision dated January 22, 2001, ruled that private respondent never amended nor repealed by the Freedom Constitution. A CES
Jacob F. Montesa's appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel eligibility was an existing and operative requirement at the time of
CESO IV of the Ministry of Local Government was temporary for private respondent's appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel
failure to possess the required Career Executive Service (CES) CESO IV. Neither were the said law and circular inconsistent with
eligibility for the said position. Hence, he can be transferred or the Freedom Constitution as to render them modified or
reassigned without violating his right to security of tenure. Thus, superseded. In fact, the Integrated Reorganization Plan allows the
private respondent filed the instant motion for reconsideration by appointment of non-CES eligibles, like private respondent,
invoking res judicata. He contended that his appointment can no provided they subsequently acquire the needed eligibility.
longer be passed upon and controverted in the present case 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ACHACOSO v. MACARAIG; APPLICABLE IN
considering that the said issue had already been settled in the CASE AT BAR. It bears stressing that in Achacoso v. Macaraig,
Minute Resolution of this Court dated March 17, 1992 in Jacob the questioned appointment was made on October 16, 1987,
Montesa v. Santos, et al., when his appointment was first before the CES Board was reconstituted in 1988, and before the
contested. In that case, the Court ruled that the Achacoso case first CESO examination was given in 1990, as in the present case.
was not applicable to him since he was appointed by virtue of Nevertheless, the Court, in Achacoso, ruled that a CES eligibility
Article III of the Freedom Constitution, and during that period there is required for a CES position, such that an appointment of one
was no Career Executive Service Board. The only eligibility who does not possess such eligibility shall be temporary.
required was that of the first grader, and private respondent was a Evidently, a CES eligibility has always been one of the
first grader. Therefore, having met all the requirements for the requirements for a position embraced in the CES. The Court finds
position to which he was appointed, he cannot be removed in no reason to make an exception in the instant
violation of the constitutional guarantee on security of tenure and controversy. IESDCH
due process. 5. ID.; ID.; ID.; MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY CONCEPTS IN THE
The Court was not precluded from re-examining its own ruling and ASSIGNMENT OF PERSONNEL IN THE CES JUSTIFY THE.
rectifying errors of judgment if blind and stubborn adherence to res TRANSFER TO OTHER CES POSITION WITHOUT VIOLATING
judicata would involve the sacrifice of justice to technicality. THE RIGHT TO SECURITY OF TENURE. [I]n the recent case
In this case, a reading of the Integrated Reorganization Plan which of Secretary of Justice v. Josefina Bacal, we ruled that security of
was adopted and declared part of the law of the land tenure in the CES is acquired with respect to rank and not to
by Presidential Decree No. 1 clearly showed that a CES eligibility position. Hence, assuming ex gratia argumenti that a CES
is indeed a requirement for a position embraced in the CES. The eligibility is not a requirement in the case of private respondent,
foregoing law and circular were never amended nor repealed by the mobility and flexibility concepts in the assignment of personnel
the Freedom Constitution. A CES eligibility is an existing and in the CES, which allow transfer or reassignment of CES
operative requirement at the time of private respondent's personnel to other positions of the same rank or salary, justify his
appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel CESO IV. In fact, the transfer to other CES position without violating his right to security
Integrated Reorganization Plan allows the appointment of non- of tenure.
CES eligibles, like private respondent, provided they subsequently RESOLUTION
acquire the needed eligibility. Moreover, assuming ex gratia YNARES-SANTIAGO, J p:
argumenti that a CES eligibility is not a requirement in the case of For resolution is private respondent's motion for reconsideration of
private respondent, the mobility and flexibility concepts in the the January 22, 2001 Decision of the Court, which reversed and
assignment of personnel in the CES, which allow transfer or set aside the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
reassignment of CES personnel to other positions of the same 38664 and reinstated Resolution Nos. 953268 and 955201 of the
rank or salary, justify his transfer to other CES position without Civil Service Commission.
violating his right to security of tenure. In the Decision sought to be reconsidered, we ruled that private
SYLLABUS respondent's appointment on August 28, 1986, as Ministry Legal
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; CONCLUSIVENESS Counsel - CESO IV of the Ministry of Local Government, was
OF JUDGMENT; EXCEPTION. [T]he principle on temporary. Applying the case of Achacoso v. Macaraig, 1 we held
conclusiveness of judgment set forth in Rule 39, Section 47, that since private respondent was not a Career Executive Service
paragraph (c) of the Rules of Court, would bar a re-litigation of the (CES) eligible, his appointment did not attain permanency
nature of private respondent's appointment. Indeed, once an issue because he did not possess the required CES eligibility for the
has been adjudicated in a valid final judgment of a competent CES position to which he was appointed. Hence, he can be
court, it can no longer be controverted anew and should be finally transferred or reassigned without violating his right to security of
laid to rest. Yet, the Court is not precluded from re-examining its tenure.
own ruling and rectifying errors of judgment if blind and stubborn It appears, however, that in Jacob Montesa v. Santos, et al.,
adherence to res judicata would involve the sacrifice of justice to decided on September 26, 1990, 2 where the nature of private
technicality. It must be stressed that this is not the first time in respondent's appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV,
Philippine and American jurisprudence that the principle of res of the Ministry of Local Government, was first contested, this Court
issued a Minute Resolution dated March 17, 1992, holding In fact, in March 1974, the CES Board issued CESB Circular No.
that Achacoso v. Macaraig is not applicable to the case of private 1 which laid down the requirements for membership in the CES, to
respondent. The pertinent portion thereof reads wit:
. . . The holding of this Court in the Achacoso case is not applicable a) Successful completion of CESDP shall constitute one of the
to petitioner Montesa. Petitioner was appointed on August 28, requirements for membership in the CES. Except as otherwise
1996 by virtue of Article III of the Freedom Constitution. He was provided by law, no person shall be admitted into the CES without
extended a permanent appointment by then Minister Pimentel and having satisfactorily completed the program;
subsequently confirmed as permanent by the Civil Service b) Admission into CESDP shall be limited to incumbents of
Commission. He is a first grade civil service eligible (RA 1080) the positions falling within the CES duly nominated by their
appropriate eligibility for the position at that time and a member of Department Heads;
the Philippine bar. c) Upon satisfactory completion of the program, the incumbent-
There was no Career Executive Service Board during the Freedom participant shall be enrolled in the roster of CES eligibles and shall
Constitution or at the time of appointment of petitioner. The CESO be qualified for appointment by the President to the appropriate
was only reconstituted by the appointment of its Board of six (6) rank in the CES upon recommendation of the Board. He may then
members sometime in August 1988. There was no CESO eligibility be assigned to any position in the CES by the President.
examination during petitioner's incumbency in the Department, as The foregoing law and circular were never amended nor repealed
there was no CESO board. The first CESO examination was given by the Freedom Constitution. A CES eligibility was an existing and
on August 5 and 12, 1990. The CESO eligibility was not a operative requirement at the time of private respondent's
requirement at the time of the appointment of petitioner. The only appointment as Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV. Neither were
eligibility required is that of a first grader and petitioner is a first the said law and circular inconsistent with the Freedom
grade eligible. Therefore, having met all the requirements for the Constitution as to render them modified or superseded. In fact, the
position to which he was appointed, he cannot be removed in Integrated Reorganization Plan allows the appointment of non-
violation of the constitutional guarantee on security of tenure CES eligibles, like private respondent, provided they subsequently
and due process. acquire the needed eligibility.
Invoking res judicata, private respondent contends that the nature It bears stressing that in Achacoso v. Macaraig, the questioned
of his appointment can no longer be passed upon and appointment was made on October 16, 1987, before the CES
controverted in the present case considering that said issue had Board was reconstituted in 1988, and before the first CESO
already been settled in the foregoing Minute Resolution of the examination was given in 1990, as in the present case.
Court. Nevertheless, the Court, in Achacoso, ruled that a CES eligibility
Concededly, if we follow the conventional procedural path, i.e., the is required for a CES position, such that an appointment of one
principle on conclusiveness of judgment set forth in Rule 39, who does not possess such eligibility shall be temporary.
Section 47, paragraph (c) of the Rules of Court, 3would bar a re- Evidently, a CES eligibility has always been one of the
litigation of the nature of private respondent's appointment. requirements for a position embraced in the CES. The Court
Indeed, once an issue has been adjudicated in a valid final finds no reason to make an exception in the instant
judgment of a competent court, it can no longer be controverted controversy.
anew and should be finally laid to rest. 4 Moreover, in the recent case of Secretary of Justice v. Josefina
Yet, the Court is not precluded from re-examining its own Bacal, 6 we ruled that security of tenure in the CES is acquired
ruling and rectifying errors of judgment if blind and stubborn with respect to rank and not to position. Hence, assuming ex gratia
adherence to res judicata would involve the sacrifice of argumenti that a CES eligibility is not a requirement in the case of
justice to technicality. It must be stressed that this is not the first private respondent, the mobility and flexibility concepts in the
time in Philippine and American jurisprudence that the principle assignment of personnel in the CES, which allow transfer or
of res judicata has been set aside in favor of substantial justice, reassignment of CES personnel to other positions of the same
which is after all the avowed purpose of all law and rank or salary, 7 justify his transfer to other CES position without
jurisprudence. 5 violating his right to security of tenure.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant motion for
In the March 17, 1992 Minute Resolution, we held that private reconsideration is DENIED with FINALITY.
respondent who was appointed in 1986 pursuant to the Freedom SO ORDERED.
Constitution, though not a CES eligible, possessed all the ||| (De Leon v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 127182 (Resolution),
requirements for the position of Ministry Legal Counsel - CESO IV, [December 5, 2001], 422 PHIL 755-763)
of the Ministry of Local Government, since a CES eligibility was
not, at that time, a requirement for the same position. 2. PEOPLE v. GUTIERREZ
A reading, however, of the Integrated Reorganization Plan which SECOND DIVISION
was adopted and declared part of the law of the land [G.R. No. L-32282-83. November 26, 1970.]
by Presidential Decree No. 1, dated September 24, 1972, clearly PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. MARIO J.
shows that a CES eligibility is indeed a requirement for a position GUTIERREZ, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos
embraced in the CES. Thus: Sur, CAMILO PILOTIN, FRANCISCO PIANO,DELFIN
c. Appointment. Appointment to appropriate classes in the Career PIANO, PEDRO PATAO, VINCENT CRISOLOGO, CAMILO
Executive Service shall be made by the President from a list of PIANO, CAMILO PATAO, PEDRING PIANO, ISIDRO
career executive eligibles recommended by the Board. Such PUGAL, ANTONIO TABULDO, LORENZO
appointments shall be made on the basis of rank; provided that PERALTA,VENANCIO PACLEB, ANTONIO PIANO, FERMIN
appointments to the higher ranks which qualify the incumbents to PUGAL, CARLITO PUGAL, FLOR PIANO, ERNING ABAO
assignments as undersecretary and heads of bureaus and offices and EIGHTY-TWO (82) JOHN DOES, respondents.
and equivalent positions shall be with the confirmation of the Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Assistant Solicitor General
Commission on Appointments. The President may, however, in Conrado T . Limcaoco, Solicitor Eduardo C . Abaya and Special
exceptional cases, appoint any person who is not a Career Attorney Juan A. Sison for petitioners.
Executive Service eligible; provided that such appointee shall Adaza, Adaza & Adaza for respondent Erning Abao.
subsequently take the required Career Executive Service Crisologo Law Office and Pedro Quadro for respondent Camilo
examination and that he shall not be promoted to a higher class Pilotin.
until he qualifies in such examination. Juan T . David for respondent Vincent Crisologo.
Augusto Kalaw as private prosecutor. In view of the lower court's denial of the motion to transfer the
DECISION cases to the Circuit Criminal Court, the prosecution resorted to Us
REYES, J.B.L., J p: for writs of certiorari and mandamus, charging abuse of discretion
Petition for writs of certiorari and mandamus, with preliminary and praying this Court to set aside the order of denial of the
injunction, filed by the Solicitor General and State Prosecutors, to transfer and to compel the respondent Court of First Instance to
annul and set aside the order of Judge Mario J. Gutierrez of the remand the cases to the Circuit Criminal Court of the Second
Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur (respondent herein), dated 20 Judicial District, as well as to authorize the latter to try the cases
July 1970, denying the prosecution's urgent motion to transfer (47-V and 48-V) at either San Fernando, La Union, or Baguio City.
Criminal Case Nos. 47-V and 48-V of said Court of First Instance,
entitled "People vs. Pilotin, et al.," to the Circuit Criminal Court of Respondents in their answer denied any abuse of discretion in
the Second Judicial District; to direct the respondent Judge to view of the fact that the Administrative Order No. 226 merely
effectuate such transfer; and to restrain the trial of the cases authorized the court below, but did not require or command it, to
aforesaid in the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur, sitting in transfer the cases in question to the Circuit Criminal Court, and
Vigan, capital of the province. likewise denied that the circumstances justified any such transfer.
At petitioners' request this Court enjoined the respondent Judge
FACTS: Gutierrez from proceeding with the trial of the cases until further
In the morning of 22 May 1970, a group of armed persons orders.
descended on barrio Ora Centro, municipality of Bantay, Province
of Ilocos Sur, and set fire to various inhabited houses therein. On HELD:
the afternoon of the same day, in barrio Ora Este of the same We agree with respondents that the present laws do not confer
municipality and province, several residential houses were upon the Secretary of Justice power to determine what court
likewise burned by the group, resulting in the destruction of various should hear specific cases. Any such power, even in the guise of
houses and in the death of an old woman named Vicenta Balboa. administrative regulation of executive affairs, trenches upon the
After investigation by the authorities, the provincial fiscal, with time-honored separation of the Executive and the Judiciary; and
several state prosecutors assigned by the Department of Justice while not directly depriving the courts of their independence, it
to collaborate with him, on 10 June 1970 filed in the Court of First would endanger the rights and immunities of the accused or civil
Instance of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, two informations (Criminal Cases party. It could be much too easily transformed into a means of pre-
47-V for arson with homicide and 48-V for arson) charging that the determining the outcome of individual cases, so as to produce a
seventeen private respondents herein, together with 82 other result in harmony with the Administration's preferences. The
unidentified persons, "confederating, conspiring, confabulating creation by Republic Act No. 5179 of the Circuit Criminal Courts
and helping one another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and for the purpose of alleviating the burden of the regular Courts of
feloniously burn or cause to be burned several residential houses, First Instance, and to accelerate the disposition of criminal cases
knowing the said houses to be occupied" and belonging to certain pending or to be filed therein, nowhere indicates an intent to permit
persons named in the filed informations in barrios Ora Este and the transfer of preselected individual cases to the circuit courts.
Ora Centro, Bantay, Ilocos Sur (Petition, Annexes B and B-1). Neither do Administrative Orders Nos. 258 and 274 evidence any
Accused Camilo Pilotin and Vincent Crisologo furnished bail, and such intention; particularly since Administrative Order No. 258,
on 15 June 1970 voluntarily appeared before respondent Judge Series of 1968, in Section 2 of its Part V, as confirmed by
Gutierrez, were arraigned and pleaded not guilty. Trial was then Administrative Order No. 274 of the same year, in Section 3 of Part
set for 27, 28 and 29 July 1970. III thereof, provides that the transfer to Circuit Criminal Courts of
cases pending in the regular Courts of First Instance should be
It appears that on the same day, 15 June, the Secretary of Justice effected by raffle, chance here operating to nullify any executive
issued Administrative Order No. 221, authorizing Judge Lino arbitration of what particular cases should be apportioned to either
Aover, of the Circuit Criminal Court of the Second Judicial tribunal. The very terms of Administrative Order No. 226, issued
District, with official station at San Fernando, La Union, to hold a on 18 June 1970 by Secretary of Justice Makasiar, relied upon by
special term in Ilocos Sur, from and after 1 July 1970. Three days the petitioners, in merely authorizing, and not directing, Judges
thereafter, on 18 June 1970, the Secretary further issued Arciaga and Gutierrez of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur
Administrative Order No. 226, authorizing Judge Mario Gutierrez to transfer Criminal Cases Nos. 44-V and 47-V (People vs. Pilotin,
to transfer Criminal Cases Nos. 47-V and 48-V to the Circuit et al.) to the Circuit Criminal Court of the Second Judicial District,
Criminal Court, "in the interest of justice and pursuant to Republic reveals that the Secretary himself was aware of the impropriety of
Act No. 5179, as implemented by Administrative Order Nos. 258 imperatively directing transfer of specified cases. Respondent
and 274" of the Department of Justice. Judge Gutierrez, therefore in construing Administrative Order
No. 226 as permissive and not mandatory, acted within the
On 22 June 1970, the prosecution moved the respondent judge for limits of his discretion and violated neither the law nor the
a transfer of cases 47-V and 48-V to the Circuit Criminal Court, Executive Orders heretofore mentioned.
invoking the Administrative Orders just mentioned and calling It is unfortunate, however, that in refusing to consider Department
attention to the circumstance that they were issued at the instance Administrative Order No. 226 of the Secretary of Justice as
of the witnesses seeking transfer of the hearing from Vigan to mandatory respondent Judge Gutierrez failed to act upon the
either San Fernando, La Union, or Baguio City, for reasons of contention of the prosecuting officers that the cases against
security and personal safety, as shown in their affidavits. The private respondents herein should be transferred to the Circuit
accused vigorously opposed such transfer, and on 20 July 1970, Criminal Court of the Second Judicial District because a
the respondent judge declined the transfer sought, on the ground miscarriage of justice was impending, in view of the refusal of
that Administrative Order No. 258 only provided for transfer of the prosecution witnesses to testify in the court sitting in Vigan,
cases to the Circuit Criminal Court where the interest of justice Ilocos Sur, where they felt their lives would be endangered. This
required it for the more expeditious disposal of the cases, and in claim was buttressed by the affidavits of the injured parties and
the cases involved the accused had already pleaded; that if the prosecution witnesses, reaffirming their fear to appear in Vigan to
objective of the proposed transfer was to subsequently obtain a testify in cases 47-V and 48-V and expressing their willingness to
change of venue from the Supreme Court under Section 4 testify if the cases are heard outside of Ilocos Sur, where they can
of Republic Act No. 5179 the same should have been done right be free from tension and terrorism (Petition, Annex J). The fear
at the very inception of these cases. thus expressed cannot be considered fanciful and unfounded
when account is taken of the circumstances that the informations that the general rule relied upon by accused respondents should
filed in the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur show that of the yield to occasional exceptions wherever there are weighty reasons
one hundred armed participants in the burning of the houses at therefor. Otherwise, the rigor of the law would become the highest
barrios Ora Este and Ora Centro, Municipality of Bantay, some injustice "summun jus, summa in juria."
eighty-two (82) are still unidentified and at large; that one of the The respondents accused can not complain that to transfer the trial
accused, private respondent Vincent Crisologo, belongs to an to a site where the prosecution's witnesses can feel free to reveal
influential family in the province, being concededly the son of the what they know would be equivalent to railroading them into a
Congressman for the first district of Ilocos Sur and of the lady conviction. Because regardless of the place where its evidence is
Governor that the reluctant witnesses are themselves the to be heard, the prosecution will be always obligated to prove the
complainants in the criminal cases, and, therefore, have reasons guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The scales of
to fear that attempts will be made to silence them; that it is not justice clearly lean in favor of the prosecution being given full
shown that the Executive branch is able or willing to give these opportunity to lay its case before a proper arbiter: for a dismissal
witnesses full security during the trial and for a reasonable time of the charges for lack of evidence is a verdict that the prosecution
thereafter, that even if armed security escorts were to be provided, can neither challenge nor appeal.
the same would be no guarantee against the possibility of We must thus reject the idea that our courts, faced by an impasse
murderous assault against the affiant witnesses, as recent events of the kind now before Us, are to confess themselves impotent to
have proved; that Constabulary reports (Annex H) show that further the cause of justice. The Constitution has vested the
between 1 January and 31 May 1970 no less than 78 murders Judicial Power in the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as
have been reported committed in said province, of which number may be established by law (Article VIII, Section 13), and such
only 21 were solved; and, finally, that the promotion and judicial power connotes certain incidental and inherent attributes
confirmation of respondent Judge Mario Gutierrez from Clerk of reasonably necessary for an effective administration of justice.
Court to Judge of the Court of First Instance of the Second Judicial The courts "can by appropriate means do all things necessary to
District, Branch III, was actively supported by Congressman and preserve and maintain every quality needful to make the judiciary
Governor Crisologo, parents of accused Vincent Crisologo an effective institution of government" (Borromeo vs. Mariano, 41
(Annexes H, H-1, and K to N-2 to petitioner's supplemental Phil. 322).
memorandum). One of these incidental and inherent powers of courts is that of
transferring the trial of cases from one court to another of equal
This just refusal to testify in Ilocos Sur manifested by the rank in a neighboring site, whenever the imperative of securing a
complaining witnesses, who had on a previous occasion fair and impartial trial, or of preventing a miscarriage of justice, so
freely given evidence before the investigators in Manila, demands. This authority was early recognized in England as
renders manifest the imperious necessity of transferring the inhering in the courts of justice even prior to the eighteenth
place of trial to a site outside of Ilocos Sur, if the cases are to century. The opinion in Crocker vs. Justices of the Superior Court,
be judicially inquired into conformably to the interest of truth 208 Mass. 162, 21 Ann. Cases 1067, has shown how the eminent
and justice and the State is to be given a fair chance to Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, in Rex vs. Cowle (Eng.) 2 Burr 834,
present its side of the case. decided in 1759, said that, in this respect, "the law is clear and
The respondents vigorously contend that a transfer of the trial site uniform as far back as it can be traced."
cannot be made, because it is a long standing rule of criminal And in Reg. vs. Conway, 7 Jr. C. J. 507, the question was fully
procedure in these Islands that one who commits a crime is discussed, and all the judges appear to have agreed as to the
amenable therefor only in the jurisdiction where the crime is power of the court, Cramption, Jr., saying at page 525:
committed, for the reason pointed out in U.S. vs. Cunanan, 26 Phil. "There is another common-law right, equally open to defendants
376, and People vs. Mercado, 65 Phil. 665, that the jurisdiction of and prosecutors, . . . that where it appears that either party cannot
a Court of First Instance in the Philippines is limited to certain well- obtain a fair and impartial trial in the prope county, then this court
defined territory and they cannot take jurisdiction of persons . . . has jurisdiction to take the case out of the proper county, as it
charged with one offense committed outside of that limited is called, and to bring it into an indifferent county . . . This
territory, and they invoke Rule 110, Section 14 (a), of the Revised jurisdiction to change the venue . . . has been exercised by this
Rules of Court providing that "in all criminal prosecutions the action court from a very early period. We have reported cases, where the
shall be instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or doctrine is laid down in emphatic language; we have the practice
province wherein the offense was committed or any one of the of the Court of Queen's Bench in England independently of any
essential ingredient thereof took place." practice of our own court . . . The general jurisdiction of the court,
It is well to note that this Court has explained in Beltran vs. Ramos, in a proper case, to change the venue from one county to any
96 Phil. 149, 150, that the purpose of the rule invoked by accused other, cannot be the subject of doubt."
respondents herein was "not to compel the defendant to move to This power to transfer trial of criminal cases in furtherance of
and appear in a different court from that of the province where the justice, exercised through writs of certiorari, has, according to the
crime was committed, as it would cause him great inconvenience weight of authority, passed to the State Supreme Courts of the
in looking for his witnesses and other evidence in another place." American Union. 1 In Cochecho R. Co. vs. Farrington, 26 N.H.
Where the convenience of the accused is opposed by that of 428, at page 436, it was held that the power to transfer the place
the prosecution, as in the case at bar, it is but logical that the of holding trials
court should have power to decide where the balance of "became thoroughly engrafted upon the common law, long before
convenience or inconvenience lies, and to determine the the independence of this country; and from that time forth, not only
most suitable place of the trial according to the exigencies of has the practice prevailed in the courts of England, but the power
truth and impartial justice. is now exercised by the Courts of very many if not all of our states,
In the particular case before Us, to compel the prosecution to either by force of express statute or the adoption of the common
proceed to trial in a locality where its witnesses will not be at liberty law in the jurisprudence of the same."
to reveal what they know is to make a mockery of the judicial That such inherent powers are likewise possessed by the
process, and to betray the very purpose for which courts have Philippine courts admits of no doubt, because they were organized
been established. Since the rigorous application of the general on the American pattern with the enactment of the first judicial
principle of Rule 110, Section 14 (a), would result here in organic law, Act 136, on 11 June 1901, by the Philippine
preventing a fair and impartial inquiry into the actual facts of the Commission, then composed by a majority of able American
case, it must be admitted that the exigencies of justice demand
lawyers, fully familiar with the institutions and traditions of the Since the requirements for proper jurisdiction have been satisfied
common law. by the filing of the criminal case in question with the Court of First
In Alzua and Arnalot vs. Johnson, 21 Phil. 300, 333, this Court Instance of Ilocos Sur, in which province the offenses charged
stated: were committed, according to the informations; since the holding
"And it is safe to say that in every volume of the Philippine Reports, of the trial in a particular place is more a matter of venue, rather
numbers of cases might be cited wherein recourse has been had than jurisdiction; since the interests of truth and justice can not be
to the rules, principles and doctrines of the common law in subserved by compelling the prosecution to proceed to trial in the
ascertaining the true meaning and scope of the legislation enacted respondent court in Ilocos Sur, because its witnesses, for just and
in and for the Philippine Islands since they passed under American weighty reasons, are unwilling to testify therein, and the
sovereignty." respondent court, ignoring their safety, has abusively denied the
"Among the earliest measures of the Philippine Commission, after motion to have the case transferred to another court, this Supreme
the establishment of Civil Government under American Court, in the exercise of judicial power possessed by it under the
sovereignty, was the enactment on June 11, 1901, of Act No. 136, Constitution and the statutes, should decree that the trial of cases
'An Act providing for the organization of courts in the Philippine 47-V and 48-V should be heard and decided by the Circuit Criminal
Islands.' This Act in express terms abolished the then Court of the Second Judicial District, either in San Fernando, La
existing Audiencia or Supreme Court and Courts of First Instance, Union, or in Baguio City, at the earlier available date. This
and substituted in their place the courts provided therein. It sets arrangement would have the advantage that the same trial judge
out in general terms the jurisdiction, duties, privileges, and powers could later be authorized to hear the defense witnesses in Vigan,
of the new courts and their judges. The majority of the members if circumstances so demanded. Furthermore, the adjudication of
of the body which enacted it were able American lawyers. The the case by a judge other than respondent Gutierrez, if resulting in
spirit with which it is informed, and indeed its very language and acquittal, would remove any doubt or suspicion that the same was
terminology would be unintelligible without some knowledge of the in any way influenced by the trial Judge's being beholden to the
judicial systems of England and the United States. Its manifest Crisologo family.
purpose and object was to replace the old judicial system, with its The solution thus adopted is in harmony with the ideals set by this
incidents and traditions drawn from Spanish sources, with a new Court in Manila Railroad Co. vs. Attorney General, 20 Phil. 523,
system modeled in all its essential characteristics upon the judicial where We said:
systems of the United States. It cannot be doubted, therefore, that ". . . The most perfect procedure that can be devised is that which
any incident of the former system which conflicts with the essential gives opportunity for the most complete and perfect exercise of the
principles and settled doctrines on which the new system rests, powers of the court within the limitations set by natural justice. It is
must be held to be abrogated by the law organizing the new that one which, in other words, gives the most perfect opportunity
system." for the powers of the court to transmute themselves into concrete
While not expressly conferred by Act 136, We find it difficult to acts of justice between the parties before it. The purpose of such
believe that the framers' intent was to deny, by silence, to the a procedure is not to restrict the jurisdiction of the court over the
Philippine Courts, and particularly upon this Supreme Court, the subject matter but to give it effective facility in righteous action.
inherent jurisdiction possessed by the English and American It may be said in passing that the most salient objection which can
courts under their common law heritage to transfer the place of be urged against procedure to-day is that it so restricts the
trial of cases in order to secure and promote the ends of justice, exercise of the court's power by technicalities that part of its
by providing fair and impartial inquiry and adjudication. authority effective for justice between the parties is many times in
Like the exemption of judges of courts of superior or general inconsiderable portion of the whole. The purpose of procedure is
authority from liability in a civil action for acts done by them in the not to thwart justice. Its proper aim is to facilitate the application of
exercise of their judicial functions, upheld in the Alzua case as justice to the rival claims of contending parties. It was created not
essentially inherent in the courts established by Act 136, even if to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the administration
not expressly provided for, the power to transfer the place of trials of justice. It does not constitute the thing itself which courts are
when so demanded by the interest of justice is equally essential always striving to secure to litigants. It is designed as the means
and possesses no inferior rank. To it apply, mutatis mutandis, the best adapted to obtain that thing. In other words, it is a means to
words of this Court in the Alzua case just cited: an end. It is the means by which the powers of the court are made
"The grounds of public policy and the reasoning upon which the effectivity in just judgments. When it loses the character of the one
doctrine is based are not less forceful and imperative in these and takes on that of the other the administration of justice
Islands than in the countries from which the new judicial system becomes incomplete and unsatisfactorily and lays itself open to
was borrowed; and an examination of the reasons assigned . . . grave criticism. (Manila Railroad Co. v. Attorney-General, 20 Phil.
leaves no room for doubt that a failure to recognize it as an incident 523, 529 [1911]. Emphasis and paragraphing supplied.)
to the new judicial system would materially impair its usefulness In resume, this Court hold, and so rules:
and tend very strongly to defeat the ends for which it was (1) That Republic Act No. 5179 creating the Circuit Criminal
established." (21 Phil. 333-334) Courts did not, and does not, authorize the Secretary of Justice to
transfer thereto specified and individual cases;
Not only has there been since then no proof of any specific (2) That this Supreme Court, in the exercise of the Judicial Power
pronouncement, by Constitution or Congress, against the exercise vested by the Constitution upon it and other statutory Courts,
by our Courts of the power discussed heretofore: on the contrary, possesses inherent power and jurisdiction to decree that the trial
the law establishing the Circuit Criminal Courts, Republic Act No. and disposition of a case pending in a Court of First Instance be
5179, in its Section 4, provides express legislative recognition of transferred to another Court of First Instance within the same
its existence: district whenever the interest of justice and truth so demand, and
"SECTION 4. The Circuit Criminal Courts may hold sessions there are serious weighty reasons to believe that a trial by the court
anywhere within their respective districts: Provided, however, that that originally had jurisdiction over the case would not result in a
cases shall be heard within the province where the crime subject fair and impartial trial and lead to a miscarriage of justice.
of the offense was committed. And provided further, that when the (3) That in the present case there are sufficient and adequate
interest of justice so demands, with prior approval of the Supreme reasons for the transfer of the hearing of Criminal Cases Nos. 47-
Court, cases may be heard in a neighboring province within the V and 48-V of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur to the Circuit
district . . ." (Emphasis supplied) Criminal Court of the Second Judicial District, in the interest of truth
and justice.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the writs of certiorari and Bar of the Philippines and the IBP By-Laws complained of are
mandamus prayed for are granted; the order of the respondent neither unconstitutional nor illegal.
Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur, dated 20 July 1970, is Respondent disbarred and his name ordered stricken from the Roll
sustained in so far as it holds that the Administrative Order No. of Attorneys.
221 of the Department of Justice is not mandatory, but only SYLLABUS
directory; nevertheless, said order is declared in grave abuse of 1. ATTORNEYS; BAR INTEGRATION; NATURE AND
discretion and set aside in so far as it declines to transfer the trial PURPOSE. An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to
of its cases Nos. 47-V and 48-V to another court within the district; which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished from bar
and said respondent Court is accordingly directed and ordered to associations organized by individual lawyers themselves,
remand the two criminal cases aforesaid to the Circuit Criminal membership in which is voluntary. Integration of the Bar is
Court of the Second Judicial District for hearing of the evidence for essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded
the prosecution either in Baguio or San Fernando, La Union, at the an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of the
earliest available date, and such other proceedings as the Circuit Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities.
Criminal Court may determine in the interest of justice. Organized by or under the direction of the State, an integrated Bar
The accused are required to file bail bonds to answer for their is an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be
appearance at the trial and sentence by the Circuit Criminal Court members. They are, therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed
for the Second Judicial District, in the same amount, and under the for the governance of the Bar, including the requirement of
same terms and conditions as their present bail bonds, which will payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of
be replaced by those herein ordered, all within fifteen (15) days the purposes of the Bar, and adherence to a code of professional
from finality of this decision. ethics or professional responsibility breach of which constitutes
No special pronouncement as to costs. sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper
||| (People v. Gutierrez, G.R. No. L-32282-83, [November 26, cause appearing, a recommendation for discipline or disbarment
1970], 146 PHIL 761-786) of the offending member.
2. ID.; ID.; INTEGRATION OF THE BAR, A VALID EXERCISE OF
3. IN RE: ATTY. MARCIAL EDILLON POLICE POWER; PRACTICE OF LAW NOT A VESTED RIGHT
EN BANC BUT A PRIVILEGE. All legislation directing the integration of
[A.C. No. 1928. August 3, 1978.] the Bar have been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid
In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of exercise of the police power over an important profession. The
Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILLON (IBP Administrative Case No. practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege
MDD - 1). moreover clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes
SYNOPSIS substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in
For respondent's stubborn refusal to pay his memebership dues the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in
to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since the one of the most important functions of the State the
latter's constitution, notwithstanding due notice, the Board of administration of justice as an officer of the Court. The practice
Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines unanimously of law being clothed with public interest, the holder of this privilege
adopted and submitted to the Supreme Court a resolution must submit to a degree of control for the common good, to the
recommending the removal of respondent's name from its Roll of extent of the interest he has created. The expression "affected with
Attorneys, pursuant to Par. 2, Sec. 24, Art. III of the By-Laws of a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the
the IBP. police power"
Respondent, although conceding the propriety and necessity of 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; LEGISLATION TO EFFECT THE INTEGRATION
the integration of the Bar of the Philippines, questions the all- OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR. The Congress in enacting Republic
encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership therein and the Act No. 6397, approved on September 17, 1971, authorizing the
obligation to pay membership dues arguing that the provisions Supreme Court to "adopt rules of court to effect the integration of
therein (Section 1 and 9 of the Court Rule 139-A) constitute an the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit," it did
invasion of his constitutional right in the sense that he is being so in the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. The
compelled, as a precondition to maintaining his status as a lawyer Act's avowal is to "raise the standards of the legal profession,
in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to
corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of this compelled discharge its public responsibility more effectively," the Supreme
financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly Court in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution
personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty promulgated on January 9, 1973, and the President of the
and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Respondent Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body
likewise questions the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike corporate through Presidential Decree No. 181 dated May 4,
his name from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that this matter is 1973, were prompted by fundamental considerations of public
not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is of an welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands of
administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body. pressing public necessity.
The Supreme Court unanimously held that all legislation directing 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; IMPOSITION OF RESTRAINTS JUSTIFIED.
the integration of the Bar are valid exercise of the police power The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere
over an important profession; that to compel a lawyer to be a with and regulate personal liberty, property and occupations.
member of the IBP is not violative of his constitutional freedom to Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens
associate; that the requirement to pay membership fees is in order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State
imposed as a regulatory measure designed to raise funds for (U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil. 218), for, as the Latin maxim goes,
carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration; that the "Salus populi est supreme lex." The public welfare is the supreme
penalty provisions for non-payment are not void as unreasonable law. To this fundamental principle of government the rights of
or arbitrary; that the Supreme Court's jurisdiction and power to individuals are subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without which
strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys is expressly life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail over
provided by Art.X, Section 5(5) of the Constitution and held as an authority because then society will fall into anarchy (Calalang vs.
inherent judicial function by a host of decided cases; and that the Williams, 70 Phil. 726). It is an undoubted power of the State to
provisions of Rules of Court 139-A ordaining the integration of the restrain some individuals from all freedom, and all individuals from
some freedom.
5. ID.; ID.; CONSTITUTION VESTS SUPREME COURT WITH CASTRO, C.J p:
PLENARY POWER IN ALL CASES REGARDING ADMISSION The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing
TO AND SUPERVISION OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW. Even attorney in the Philippines.
without the enabling Act (Republic Act No. 6397), and looking On November 29, 1975, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP
solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting for short) Board of Governors unanimously adopted
the Supreme Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative Case No. MDD-1 (In the
pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission Matter of the Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A.
to the practice of law, "(Sec. 5[5], Art. X, 1973 Costitution) it at Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal of the name of
once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn refusal to
the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the pay his membership dues" to the IBP since the
admission to and supervision of the practice of law. latter's constitution notwithstanding due notice.
6. ID.; ID.; COMPULSORY MEMBERSHIP THEREIN NOT On January 21, 1976, the IBP, through its then President Liliano
VIOLATIVE OF A LAWYER'S CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOM TO B. Neri, submitted the said resolution to the Court for consideration
ASSOCIATE. To compel a lawyer to be a member of the and approval, pursuant to paragraph 2, Section 24, Article III of the
Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to By-Laws of the IBP, which reads:
associate. Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any ". . . . Should the delinquency further continue until the following
group of which he is not already a member. He becomes a June 29, the Board shall promptly inquire into the cause or causes
member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. All that of the continued delinquency and take whatever action it shall
integration actually does is to provide an official national deem appropriate, including a recommendation to the Supreme
organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive Court for the removal of the delinquent member's name from the
group of which every lawyer is already a member. Bar integration Roll of Attorneys. Notice of the action taken shall be sent by
does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to registered mail to the member and to the Secretary of the Chapter
attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or concerned."
vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only On January 27, 1976, the Court required the respondent to
compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual comment on the resolution and letter adverted to above; he
dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further the State's legitimate submitted his comment on February 23, 1976, reiterating his
interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may refusal to pay the membership fees due from him.
require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be On March 2, 1976, the Court required the IBP President and the
shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program IBP Board of Governors to reply to Edillon's comment: on March
the lawyers. 24, 1976, they submitted a joint reply.
7. ID.; ID.; PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEE; A REGULATORY Thereafter, the case was set for hearing on June 3, 1976. After the
MEASURE NOT PROHIBITED BY LAW. There is nothing in the hearing, the parties were required to submit memoranda in
Constitution that prohibits the Supreme Court, under its amplification of their oral arguments. The matter was thenceforth
constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the submitted for resolution.
admission to the practice of law and the integration of the At the threshold, a painstaking scrutiny of the respondent's
Philippine Bar (Article X, Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) from pleadings would show that the propriety and necessity of the
requiring members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to integration of the Bar of the Philippines are in essence conceded.
pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation The respondent, however, objects to particular features of Rule of
of the profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the Court 139-A (hereinafter referred to as the Court Rule) 1 in
fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise accordance with which the Bar of the Philippines was integrated
funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. and to the provisions of par. 2, Section 24, Article III of the IBP
8. ID.; ID.; ID.; PENALTY PROVISIONS, NOT VOID. If the By-Laws (hereinabove cited).
power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize, The authority of the IBP Board of Governors to recommend to the
then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may Supreme Court the removal of a delinquent member's name from
be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or the Roll of Attorneys is found in par. 2 Section 24, Article III of the
arbitrary. The practice of law is not a property right but a mere IBP By-Laws (supra), whereas the authority of the Court to issue
privilege, and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power the order applied for is found in Section 10 of the Court Rule, which
of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyer s public reads:
responsibilities. "SEC. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. Subject to the
9. ID.; POWER TO PASS UPON FITNESS TO REMAIN A provisions of Section 12 of this Rule, default in the payment of
MEMBER OF THE BAR VESTED IN THE SUPREME COURT. annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of
The matters of admission, suspension, disbarment and membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for
reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the
been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys."
and responsibilities. The power of the Supreme Court to regulate The all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership in the
the conduct and qualifications of its officers does not depend upon IBP is stated in these words of the Court Rule: LLphil
constitutional or statutory grounds. It has limitations no less real "SECTION 1. Organization. There is hereby organized an
because they are inherent. The very burden of the duty is itself a official national body to be known as the 'Integrated Bar of the
guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted. Philippines,' composed of all persons whose names now appear
or may hereafter be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the
10. ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. The provisions of Rule 139-A of the Supreme Court."
Rules of Court ordaining the integration of the Bar of the The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in the following
Philippines and the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the words of the Court Rule:
Philippines is neither unconstitutional nor illegal, and a lawyer's "SEC. 9. Membership dues. Every member of the Integrated
stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues to the Integrated Bar Bar shall pay such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall
of the Philippines, notwithstanding due notice, in violation of said determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. . . . ."
Rule and By-Laws, is a ground for disbarment and striking out of The core of the respondent's arguments is that the above
his name from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court. provisions constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the
RESOLUTION 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 "subject to the exercise of the police power" (Nebbia vs. New York,
and to pay the corresponding dues, and that as a consequence of 291 U.S. 502).
this compelled financial support of the said organization to which When, therefore, Congress enacted Republic Act No.
he is admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of 6397 5 authorizing the Supreme Court to "adopt rules of court to
the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions
the Constitution. Hence, the respondent concludes, the above as it shall see fit," it did so in the exercise of the paramount police
provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and power of the State. The Act's avowal is to "raise the standards of
of no legal force and effect. the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and
The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more
strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys, contending that the said effectivity." Hence, the Congress in enacting such Act, the Court
matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution
is rather of an "administrative nature pertaining to an promulgated on January 9, 1973, and the President of the
administrative body." Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body
The case at bar is not the first one that has reached the Court corporate through Presidential Decree No. 181 dated May 4,
relating to constitutional issues that inevitably and inextricably 1973, were prompted by fundamental considerations of public
come up to the surface whenever attempts are made to regulate welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands of
the practice of law, define the conditions of such practice, or pressing public necessity.
revoke the license granted for the exercise of the legal profession. The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere
The matters here complained of are the very same issues raised with and regulate personal liberty, property and occupations.
in a previous case before the Court, entitled "Administrative Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens
Case No. 526, In the Matter of the Petition for the Integration of in order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State
the Bar of the Philippines, Roman Ozaeta, et al., Petitioners." The (U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil. 218), for, as the Latin maxim goes,
Court exhaustively considered all these matters in that case in its "Salus populi est supreme lex." The public welfare is the supreme
Resolution ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines, law. To this fundamental principle of government the rights of
promulgated on January 9, 1973. The Court there made the individuals are subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without which
unanimous pronouncement that it was. life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail over
". . . . fully convinced, after a thoroughgoing conscientious study of authority because then society will fall into anarchy (Calalang vs.
all the arguments adduced in Adm. Case No. 526 and the Williams, 70 Phil. 726). It is an undoubted power of the State to
authoritative materials and the mass of factual data contained in restrain some individuals from all freedom, and all individuals from
the exhaustive Report of the Commission on Bar Integration, that some freedom.
the integration of the Philippine Bar is 'perfectly constitutional and
legally unobjectionable' . . ." But the most compelling argument sustaining the constitutionality
Be that as it may, we now restate briefly the posture of the Court. and validity of Bar integration in the Philippines is the explicit
An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to which every unequivocal grant of precise power to the Supreme Court by
lawyer must belong, as distinguished from bar associations Section 5 (5) of Article X of the 1973 Constitution of the
organized by individual lawyers themselves, membership in which Philippines, which reads:
is voluntary. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which "Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
every member of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his share xxx xxx xxx
in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to bear "(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and
his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under the procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law
direction of the State, an integrated Bar is an official national body and the integration of the Bar . . .",
of which all lawyers are required to be members. They are, and Section 1 of Republic Act No. 6397, which reads:
therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of "SECTION 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the
the Bar, including the requirement of payment of a reasonable Supreme Court may adopt rules of Court to effect the integration
annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar, of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in
and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional order to raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the
responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public
investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing, a responsibility more effectively."
recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending Quite apart from the above, let it be stated that even without the
member. 2 enabling Act (Republic Act No. 6397), and looking solely to the
The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by language of the provision of the Constitutiongranting the Supreme
overriding considerations of public interest and public welfare to Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading,
such an extent as more than constitutionally and legally justifies practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the
the restrictions that integration imposes upon the personal practice of law, " it at once becomes indubitable that this
interests and personal convenience of individual lawyers. 3 constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court with plenary
Apropos to the above, it must be stressed that all legislation power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision of
directing the integration of the Bar have been uniformly and the practice of law.
universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over Thus, when the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal
an important profession. The practice of law is not a vested right profession, his practice of law and his exercise of the said
but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with public interest profession, which affect the society at large, were (and are) subject
because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but to the power of the body politic to require him to conform to such
also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the regulations as might be established by the proper authorities for
nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of the the common good, even to the extent of interfering with some of
State the administration of justice as an officer of the his liberties. If he did not wish to submit himself to such reasonable
Court. 4 The practice of law being clothed with public interest, the interference and regulation, he should not have clothed the public
holder of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the with an interest in his concerns.
common good, to the extent of the interest he has created. As the On this score alone, the case for the respondent must already fall.
U. S. Supreme Court through Mr. Justice Roberts explained, the The issues being of constitutional dimension, however, we now
expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of concisely deal with them seriatim. prLL
1. The first objection posed by the respondent is that the Court is necessary, to the proper administration of justice . . . the argument
without power to compel him to become a member of the that this is an arbitrary power which the court is arrogating to itself
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, hence, Section 1 of the Court or accepting from the legislative likewise misconceives the nature
Rule is unconstitutional for it impinges on his constitutional right of of the duty. It has limitations no less real because they are
freedom to associate (and not to associate). Our answer is: To inherent. It is an unpleasant task to sit in judgment upon a brother
compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not member of the Bar, particularly where, as here, the facts are
violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. 6 disputed. It is a grave responsibility, to be assumed only with a
Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of determination to uphold the ideals and traditions of an honorable
which he is not already a member. He became a member of the profession and to protect the public from overreaching and fraud.
Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. 7 All that integration The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty that the power will
actually does is to provide an official national organization for the not be misused or prostituted. . ."
well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which every The Court's jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our 1973
lawyer is already a member. 8 Constitution when it explicitly granted to the Court the power to
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with "promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice . . . and the
anyone. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar . . ."
Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as (Article X, Sec. 5(5) the power to pass upon the fitness of the
he chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the respondent to remain a member of the legal profession is indeed
payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further undoubtedly vested in the Court.
the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court
professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving 139-A and of the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal. cdll
beneficiaries of the regulatory program the lawyers. 9 WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is the unanimous sense of
Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a the Court that the respondent Marcial A. Edillon should be as he
lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar, such compulsion is is hereby disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered stricken from
justified as an exercise of the police power of the state. 10 the Roll of Attorneys of the Court.
2. The second issue posed by the respondent is that the provision ||| (In re: Edillon, A.C. No. 1928 (Resolution), [August 3, 1978], 174
of the Court Rule requiring payment of a membership fee is void. PHIL 55-68)
We see nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court, under
its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning 4. DIZON v. JUDGE LOPEZ
the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Republic of the Philippines
Philippine Bar (Article X, Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) SUPREME COURT
which power the respondent acknowledges from requiring Manila
members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay a SECOND DIVISION
reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the
profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is A.M. No. RTJ-96-1338 September 5, 1997
indeed imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise funds [Formerly OCA IPI-95-21-RTJ]
for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. 11 ENGINEER FERNANDO S. DIZON, complainant,
3. The respondent further argues that the enforcement of the vs.
penalty provisions would amount to a deprivation of property JUDGE LILIA C. LOPEZ, Regional Trial Court, Branch 109,
without due process and hence infringes on one of his Pasay City, respondent.
constitutional rights. Whether the practice of law is a property right,
in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of a license to MENDOZA, J.:
practice a profession, we do not here pause to consider at length, This is a complaint charging Judge Lilia C. Lopez of the Regional
as it clear that under the police power of the State, and under the Trial Court, Branch 109, Pasay City, with violation of the
necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, Constitution, serious misconduct, inefficiency, and falsification in
the respondent's right to practice law before the courts of this connection with her decision in Criminal Case No. 91-0716 entitled
country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. "People of the Philippines v. Engineer Fernando S. Dizon."
And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is
recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which It appears that on April 22, 1993, judgment was rendered,
penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as convicting complainant of falsification of private document. The
unreasonable or arbitrary. 12 promulgation of the judgment consisted of reading the dispositive
But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a portion of the decision sentencing him to imprisonment, without
property right but a mere privilege, 13 and as such must bow to serving a copy of the decision on him. The accused and his
the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance counsel were told to return in a few days for their copy of the
with the lawyer s public responsibilities. decision, but although petitioner and his father by turns went to the
4. Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the court to obtain a copy of the decision they were not able to do so.
Supreme Court to strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of To protect his right, complainant filed a partial motion for
Attorneys, it is sufficient to state that the matters of admission, reconsideration on May 5, 1993, expressly reserving his light to
suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their submit a more elaborate one upon receipt of the decision. The
regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably hearing of the motion for reconsideration was scheduled on May
recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities, and 12, 1993, but the case was not called as complainant's counsel
the authorities holding such are legion. 14 was told that the decision had not yet been finished. On November
In In Re Sparks (267 Ky. 93, 101 S.W. (2d) 194), in which the 29, 1994, complainant filed an "Omnibus Motion to Annul
report of the Board of Bar Commissioners in a disbarment Promulgation of Sentence and to Dismiss" the case. On December
proceeding was confirmed and disbarment ordered, the court, 16, 1994, the date set for hearing the motion, complainant was
sustaining the Bar Integration Act of Kentucky, said: The power to served a copy of the decision, dated April 22, 1993, the dispositive
regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers does not portion of which states:
depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. It is a power In view of all the foregoing, the Court finds the accused Fernando
which is inherent in this court as a court appropriate, indeed Dizon guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Falsification
of Private Document as defined and penalized under Art. 172, par. violation of the Constitution to be without merit. He called attention
2 in relation to Art. 171 par. 2 and 4 thereof and hereby sentences to the written decision of respondent judge, which, albeit delivered
him to imprisonment of two (2) Years, Four (4) Months and One to complainant late, nonetheless states the facts and law on which
(1) Day to Six (6) Years and a fine of P5,000.00. it is based. He likewise finds the charge of serious misconduct and
falsification to be without basis in view of the absence of malice.
Complainant alleges that the failure of respondent judge to However, he finds the charge of inefficiency to be well founded on
furnish him a copy of the decision until almost one year and the basis of respondent's failure to furnish complainant or his
eight months after the promulgation of its dispositive portion counsel a copy of the decision within a reasonable time after its
on April 22, 1993 constitutes a violation of Art. VIII, 14 of the promulgation. Hence, the Deputy Court Administration believes
Constitution which prohibits courts from rendering decisions that Judge Lopez should be given admonition for her negligence,
without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and but recommends that the other charges against her for violation of
law on which they are based and 15 of the same Art. VIII, the Constitution, serious misconduct, and falsification be
which provides that in all cases lower courts must render dismissed for lack of merit.
their decisions within three months from the date of their
submission. He alleges further that he was denied the right to a HELD:
speedy trial in violation of Art. III, 14(2) of the Constitution and The Court finds that respondent violated Art. VIII, 15(1) of the
that Judge Lopez falsified her decision by antedating it and Constitution which provides:
including therein, as additional penalty, a fine of P5,000.00. All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution
On December 26, 1994, complainant filed another motion for must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date
reconsideration after receiving a copy of the full decision of the of submission for the Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the
court. On January 3, 1995, he moved to disqualify respondent from Supreme Court, twelve months for all lower collegiate courts and
hearing the motions for reconsideration which he had filed. three months for all other lower courts.
Respondent judge responded by voluntarily inhibiting herself from Although respondent judge promulgated her decision within three
further consideration of the case and ordered it forwarded to the months of the submission of the case for decision, the fact is that
Office of the Clerk of Court for re-raffle. The case was eventually only the dispositive portion was read at such promulgation.
assigned to Judge Manuel F. Dumatol of Branch 113 of the Pasay She claims that on April 22, 1993 the text of her decision,
City RTC. containing her findings and discussion of complainant's liability,
had already been prepared although it had to be put in final form
Judge Lopez claims that on April 22, 1993, when the judgment was by incorporating the dispositive portion. However, the fact is that
promulgated with the reading of the dispositive portion, her it took a year and eight months more before this was done
decision was already prepared, although to prevent leakage in the and a copy of the complete decision furnished the
process of preparing it, she withheld its dispositive portion until the complainant on December 16, 1994. Rule 120 of the Rules on
day of its promulgation. Respondent judge states that after the Criminal Procedure provides:
dispositive portion had been read to complainant, respondent gave 1. Judgment defined. The term judgment as used in this Rule
it to Ma. Cleotilde Paulo (Social Worker II, presently OIC of Branch means the adjudication by the court that the accused is guilty or is
109) for typing and incorporation into the text of the decision. The not guilty of the offense charged, and the imposition of the proper
court found complainant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of penalty and civil liability provided for by law on the accused.
falsification of private document under Art. 172, par. 2 of the 2. Form and contents of judgment. The judgment must be
Revised Penal Code. Respondent states that the delay in written in the official language, personally and directly prepared by
furnishing complainant with a copy of the decision was the judge and signed by him and shall contain clearly and distinctly
unintentional. a statement of the facts proved or admitted by the accused and
Respondent judge referred to difficulties she had in preparing the law upon which the judgment is based.
her decision and to a series of personal problems which . Promulgation of judgment. The judgment is promulgated by
contributed to this delay in the release of her decision, to wit: reading the same in the presence of the accused and any judge of
she has only two (2) stenographers to attend to daily trials in her the court in which it was rendered. However, if the conviction is for
court, making it necessary for her to make use of the Social Worker a light offense, the judgment may be pronounced in the presence
assigned to her to type her decisions. During the period January of his counsel or representative. When the judge is absent or
to December 1993 she had to dispose of 285 cases, apart from outside of the province or city, the judgment may be promulgated
the fact that there was an unusually big number of criminal, civil, by the clerk of court.
and land registration cases as well as special proceedings filed in
her court which required the holding of hearings in the mornings It is clear that merely reading the dispositive portion of the decision
and in the afternoons. During the same period, she went through to the accused is not sufficient. It is the judgment that must be read
some personal tragedies. She lost her niece, Gloria Lopez Roque, to him, stating the facts and the law on which such judgment is
whom she had raised from childhood, due to a hospital accident. based. Since this was done only on December 16, 1994 when
This was followed by the death on March 1, 1992 of her mother, a copy of the complete decision was served on complainant,
Margarita Lopez, who had been under respondent's care for the it is obvious that the respondent failed to render her decision
past eight years after suffering a stroke. On September 17, 1993, within three months as required by Art. VIII, 15 of the
respondent's father died of diabetes, renal failure, pneumonia, and Constitution.
cardiac arrest. Respondent was the one who single-handedly If indeed all that had to be done after the dispositive portion had
brought them in and out of the hospital because all her able-bodied been read in open court on April 22, 1993 was to incorporate it in
relatives are abroad. Respondent herself was found to be suffering the text of the decision allegedly then already prepared, it is
from diabetes and hypertension, necessitating her treatment and difficult to see why it took respondent judge one year and eight
leave of absence from September 27, 1994 to December 12, 1994, more months before she was able to do so. Respondent claims
in addition to her other leaves of absence. Aside from these, that she was prevented from putting out her decision by a series
respondent's family suffered financial reverses because of estafa of personal and other problems which leads the Court to believe
committed against them. that when she promulgated her sentence she had not finished the
preparation of the entire decision. At all events, she could have
On February 19, 1996, Deputy Court Administrator Bernardo P. applied for extension of time to decide the case and put off the
Abesamis submitted a memorandum, finding the charge of promulgation of judgment until she had finished it.
What respondent did in this case was to render what is known as In Mangulabnan v. Tecson,7 a joint decision in two criminal cases
a "sin perjuicio" judgment, which is a judgment without a was rendered by respondent judge on February 24, 1978, six
statement of the facts in support of its conclusion to be later months and eight days from submission of the case, and a copy
supplemented by the final judgment.1 That is why, in answer to was delivered to complainant on September 28, 1979, over 19
complainant's charge that the dispositive portion of the judgment months after rendition of the decision. Two complaints were filed
read to him did not impose a fine, respondent contends that the for violation of the constitutional provision requiring submitted
addition of the fine of P5,000.00 was within her power to do even cases to be decided by lower courts within three months and for
if no such fine had been included in the oral sentence given on violation of complainant's right to a speedy trial. Respondent judge
April 22, 1993. As respondent judge states, because the decision blamed the delay in deciding the cases on the fact that his clerks
was not complete it could be modified and cites in support of her had misfiled the records. As to the delay in furnishing complainant
contention the case of Abay, Sr. v. Garcia.2Respondent only with a copy of the decision, the judge attributed this to the mistake
succeeds in showing that the judgment promulgated on April 22, of his clerk who did not think complainant was entitled to receive
1993 was a "sin perjuicio" judgment which was incomplete and the same. The judge was reprimanded. The reason for the delay
needed a statement of the facts and law upon which the judgment in that case was even less excusable than the difficulties
was based. As early as 1923, this Court already expressed its experienced by respondent Judge Lopez, i.e., deaths in
disapproval of the practice of rendering "sin perjuicio" judgments, respondent's family, her own poor state of health, financial
what with all the uncertainties entailed because of the implied reverses suffered by her family, and the volume of work done
reservation that it is subject to modification when the decision is within the period in question, which somewhat mitigate her liability.
finally rendered.3 This Court has expressed approval of the
practice of some judges of withholding the dispositive portion from The Court believes that a similar penalty would be appropriate.
their opinions until the very last moment of promulgation of their In view of the foregoing, respondent is hereby REPRIMANDED
judgment in order to prevent leakage,4 but that refers to with WARNING that repetition of the same acts complained of will
the preparation of their decision, not its promulgation. What must be dealt with more severely.
be promulgated must be the complete decision. There would be SO ORDERED.
no more reason to keep the dispositive portion a secret at the
stage of promulgation of judgment. 5. JUDGE CAOIBES v. OMBUDSMAN
SECOND DIVISION
However, the Court finds the other charges against respondent to [G.R. No. 132177. July 19, 2001.]
be without merit. JUDGE JOSE F. CAOIBES, JR., petitioner, vs. THE
First, the claim that complainant was deprived of his right to a HONORABLE OMBUDSMAN and JUDGE FLORENTINO M.
speedy trial by reason of respondent's failure to furnish him with a ALUMBRES, respondents.
copy of the decision until after one year and eight months is without The Solicitor General for respondents.
basis. It appears that despite the destruction of records by fire in SYNOPSIS
the Pasay City Hall on January 18, 1992 the parties were required On May 20, 1997, petitioner Judge Jose F. Caoibes, Jr. and
to submit simultaneously their memoranda on August 18, 1992. respondent Judge Florentino M. Alumbres were involved in a fight
The delay, if any, was not such "vexatious, capricious, and within the court premises over a piece of furniture. Thereafter, the
oppressive delay"5 as to justify finding a denial of the right to a respondent judge lodged before the Office of the Ombudsman, a
speedy trial. The fact is that the reading of the sentence on April criminal complaint for physical injuries, malicious mischief for the
22, 1993, albeit not in compliance with the requirement for destruction of complainant's eyeglasses, and assault upon a
promulgation of judgments, nonetheless put an end to trial. person in authority. He prayed that criminal charges be filed before
the Sandiganbayan against the petitioner judge. The respondent
Second, the delay in furnishing complainant a copy of the judge also filed an administrative complaint with the Supreme
complete decision did not prejudice his right to appeal or file a Court, praying for the dismissal of petitioner judge from the
motion for reconsideration. It is true that an accused must be given judiciary on the ground of grave misconduct or conduct
a copy of the decision in order to apprise him of the basis of such unbecoming a judicial officer. Instead of filing a counter-affidavit,
decision so that he can intelligently prepare his appeal or motion petitioner judge filed an "Ex-Parte Motion for Referral to the
for reconsideration. However, in accordance with the ruling Honorable Supreme Court," praying that the Office of the
in Director of Lands v. Sanz,6 complainant's period to appeal or file Ombudsman hold its investigation of the case in abeyance, and
a motion for reconsideration did not begin to run until after he refer the same to the Supreme Court. The motion for referral was,
actually received a copy of the judgment on December 16, 1994. however, denied by the Office of the Ombudsman. Invoking
He therefore suffered no prejudice. If at all, complainant suffered Section 15 of R.A. 6770, the Office of the Ombudsman refused to
from the anxiety to refute a conviction which he could not do for refrain from taking cognizance of the cases in favor of the
lack of a statement of the basis of the conviction. Supreme Court on the ground that, allegedly, the accusations
therein against petitioner judge constitute simple criminal charges
Nonetheless, certain factors mitigate respondent judge's falling within the parameters of its constitutional power and duty to
culpability. Except for this incident, respondent's record of public investigate and prosecute any act or omission of any public officer
service as legal officer and agent of the National Bureau of or employee which appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or
Investigation, as State Prosecutor, and later Senior State inefficient. The Office of the Ombudsman denied petitioner's
Prosecutor, of the Department of Justice for 17 years and as motion for reconsideration and directed petitioner judge to submit
Regional Trial Judge for more than 13 years now is unmarred by a counter-affidavit. Petitioner sought recourse before the Supreme
malfeasance, misfeasance or wrongdoing. This is the first time she Court through a petition for certiorari.
is required to answer an administrative complaint against her. Her Under Section 6, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is the Supreme
failure to decide the case of complainant was brought about by Court, which is vested with exclusive administrative supervision
factors not within her control, to wit, lack of stenographers and over all courts and its personnel. Prescinding from this premise,
unusually big number of cases; and her personal loss as a result the Ombudsman cannot determine for itself and by itself whether
of the death of her niece and both her parents, financial reverses a criminal complaint against a judge, or court employee, involves
of the family, and poor health as a result of diabetes and an administrative matter. The Ombudsman is duty bound to have
hypertension. all cases against judges and court personnel filed before it,
referred to the Supreme Court for determination as to whether an
administrative aspect is involved therein. This rule should hold true Petitioner Jose F. Caoibes, Jr., Presiding Judge of Branch 253 of
regardless of whether an administrative case based on the act the Regional Trial Court of Las Pias City, seeks the review of the
subject of the complaint before the Ombudsman is already following orders of the Office of the Ombudsman: (1) the Order
pending with the Court. For, aside from the fact that the dated August 22, 1997 denying the ex-parte motion to refer to the
Ombudsman would not know of this matter unless he is informed Supreme Court filed by petitioner; and (2) the Order dated
of it, he should give due respect for and recognition of the December 22, 1997 denying petitioner's motion for
administrative authority of the Court, because in determining reconsideration and directing petitioner to file his counter-affidavit
whether an administrative matter is involved, the Court passes and other controverting evidences. HASDcC
upon not only administrative liabilities but also other administrative On May 23, 1997, respondent Florentino M. Alumbres, Presiding
concerns. Accordingly, the Court directed the Ombudsman to Judge of Branch 255 of the Regional Trial Court of Las Pias City,
dismiss the complaint filed by the respondent Judge and to refer filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, a Criminal
the same to the Court for appropriate action. THcEaS Complaint 1 for physical injuries, malicious mischief for the
SYLLABUS destruction of complainant's eyeglasses, and assault upon a
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT; person in authority. Respondent alleged therein that on May 20,
SUPREME COURT; HAS EXCLUSIVE ADMINISTRATIVE 1997, at the hallway on the third floor of the Hall of Justice, Las
SUPERVISION OVER ALL COURTS AND ITS PERSONNEL; Pias City, he requested petitioner to return the executive table he
ALL CASES AGAINST A JUDGE OR COURT PERSONNEL borrowed from respondent; that petitioner did not answer so
MUST BE REFERRED TO THE SUPREME COURT; respondent reiterated his request but before he could finish talking,
OMBUDSMAN HAS NO AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE petitioner blurted "Tarantado ito ah," and boxed him at his right
WHETHER A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AGAINST A JUDGE OR eyebrow and left lower jaw so that the right lens of his eyeglasses
COURT EMPLOYEE INVOLVES AN ADMINISTRATIVE was thrown away, rendering his eyeglasses unserviceable; and
MATTER. Under Section 6, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is that respondent had the incident blottered with the Las Pias
the Supreme Court which is vested with exclusive administrative Police Station. He prayed that criminal charges be filed before the
supervision over all courts and its personnel. Prescinding from this Sandiganbayan against the petitioner.
premise, the Ombudsman cannot determine for itself and by itself On June 13, 1997, respondent Judge lodged another
whether a criminal complaint against a judge, or court employee, Complaint 2 against petitioner, this time an administrative case
involves an administrative matter. The Ombudsman is duty bound with the Supreme Court, docketed as Adm. Case No. 97-387-RTJ,
to have all cases against judges and court personnel filed before praying for the dismissal of petitioner from the judiciary on the
it, referred to the Supreme Court for determination as to whether ground of grave misconduct or conduct unbecoming a judicial
an administrative aspect is involved therein. This rule should hold officer. Said complaint is based on the same facts as those in the
true regardless of whether an administrative case based on the act complaint filed earlier with the Office of the Ombudsman.
subject of the complaint before the Ombudsman is already In the Order 3 dated June 25, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman
pending with the Court. For, aside from the fact that the required petitioner to file a counter-affidavit within ten (10) days
Ombudsman would not know of this matter unless he is informed from receipt thereof. Instead of filing a counter-affidavit, petitioner
of it, he should give due respect for and recognition of the filed on July 7, 1997 an "Ex-Parte Motion for Referral to the
administrative authority of the Court, because in determining Honorable Supreme Court," 4 praying that the Office of the
whether an administrative matter is involved, the Court passes Ombudsman hold its investigation of Case No. OMB-0-97-0903 in
upon not only administrative liabilities but also other administrative abeyance, and refer the same to the Supreme Court which,
concerns, as is clearly conveyed in the case of Maceda vs. through the Office of the Court Administrator, is already
Vasquez. investigating what transpired on May 20, 1997. Petitioner
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; POWER OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION contended that the Supreme Court, not the Office of the
OVER ALL COURTS AND COURT PERSONNEL CANNOT BE Ombudsman, has the authority to make a preliminary
INTRUDED BY OTHER BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT. determination of the respective culpability of petitioner and
In Maceda vs. Vasquez, this Court resolved in the affirmative the respondent Judge who, both being members of the bench, are
issue of whether or not the Ombudsman must defer action on a under its exclusive supervision and control.
criminal complaint against a judge, or a court employee where the On August 22, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman issued an
same arises from their administrative duties, and refer the same to Order 5 denying the motion for referral to the Supreme Court.
this Court for determination whether said judge or court employee Invoking Section 15 (1) of Republic Act No. 6770, the Office of the
had acted within the scope of their administrative Ombudsman held that it is within its jurisdiction to investigate the
duties. Maceda is emphatic that by virtue of its constitutional criminal charges of respondent Judge against petitioner.
power of administrative supervision over all courts and court Petitioner moved for reconsideration 6 of the foregoing order,
personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down maintaining that the Office of the Ombudsman should either refer
to the lowest municipal trial court clerk, it is only the Supreme Court Case No. OMB-0-97-0903 to the Supreme Court for preliminary
that can oversee the judges' and court personnel's compliance evaluation, or await the latter's resolution of Adm. Case No. 97-
with all laws, and take the proper administrative action against 387-RTJ which involves the same parties and subject matter.
them if they commit any violation thereof. No other branch of Otherwise, petitioner argues, the absurd situation may result
government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of wherein the Office of the Ombudsman files criminal charges
the doctrine of separation of powers. AEHCDa against petitioner who, on the other hand, is declared without fault
3. ID.; OMBUDSMAN; FINDINGS THEREOF THAT A CASE by the Supreme Court.
DOES OR DOES NOT HAVE ADMINISTRATIVE IMPLICATIONS
ARE NOT BINDING ON THE SUPREME COURT; REASON. In the Order 7 dated December 22, 1997, the Office of the
The Ombudsman cannot dictate to, and bind the Court, to its Ombudsman denied the motion for reconsideration and required
findings that a case before it does or does not have administrative petitioner to submit a counter-affidavit within an inextendible
implications. To do so is to deprive the Court of the exercise of its period of five (5) days from receipt thereof.
administrative prerogatives and to arrogate unto itself a power not Hence, petitioner filed this petition for certiorari, asking for the
constitutionally sanctioned. This is a dangerous policy which reversal of the assailed Orders dated August 22, 1997 and
impinges, as it does, on judicial independence. December 22, 1997 of the Office of the Ombudsman and the
DECISION issuance of a writ of injunction or temporary restraining order,
BUENA, J p:
directing the Office of the Ombudsman to refrain from taking for itself and by itself whether a criminal complaint against a judge,
further action in the implementation of the challenged orders. or court employee, involves an administrative matter. The
The issue in this case is whether or not the Office of the Ombudsman is duty bound to have all cases against judges and
Ombudsman should defer action on Case No. OMB-0-97-0903 court personnel filed before it, referred to the Supreme Court for
pending resolution of Adm. Case No. 97-387-RTJ. determination as to whether an administrative aspect is involved
The issue is not novel. In Maceda vs. Vasquez, 8 this Court therein. This rule should hold true regardless of whether an
resolved in the affirmative the issue of whether or not the administrative case based on the act subject of the complaint
Ombudsman must defer action on a criminal complaint against a before the Ombudsman is already pending with the Court. For,
judge, or a court employee where the same arises from their aside from the fact that the Ombudsman would not know of this
administrative duties, and refer the same to this Court for matter unless he is informed of it, he should give due respect for
determination whether said judge or court employee had acted and recognition of the administrative authority of the Court,
within the scope of their administrative duties. because in determining whether an administrative matter is
Invoking Section 15 of R.A. 6770, the Office of the Ombudsman involved, the Court passes upon not only administrative liabilities
refuses to refrain from taking cognizance of Case No. MB-0-97- but also other administrative concerns, as is clearly conveyed in
0903 in favor of this Court on the ground that, allegedly, the the case of Maceda vs. Vasquez. 10
accusations therein against petitioner constitute simple criminal The Ombudsman cannot dictate to, and bind the Court, to its
charges falling within the parameters of its constitutional power findings that a case before it does or does not have administrative
and duty to investigate and prosecute any act or omission of any implications. To do so is to deprive the Court of the exercise of its
public officer or employee which appears to be illegal, unjust, administrative prerogatives and to arrogate unto itself a power not
improper or inefficient. constitutionally sanctioned. This is a dangerous policy which
Section 15 (1) of R.A. 6770 grants, among others, the following impinges, as it does, on judicial independence.
powers and duties to the Office of the Ombudsman: Maceda is emphatic that by virtue of its constitutional power of
"(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own, or on complaint by any administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel,
person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to the
office or agency when such act or omission appears to be illegal, lowest municipal trial court clerk, it is only the Supreme Court that
unjust, improper, or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over can oversee the judges' and court personnel's compliance with all
cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of laws, and take the proper administrative action against them if they
this primary jurisdiction, it may takeover, at any stage, from any commit any violation thereof. No other branch of government may
investigatory agency of Government, the investigation of such intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of
cases; separation of powers.
"(2) Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any officer or WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby GRANTED, the
employee of the Government, or of any subdivision, agency or Ombudsman is hereby directed to dismiss the complaint filed by
instrumentality thereof, as well as any government-owned or respondent Judge Florentino M. Alumbres and to refer the same
controlled corporations with original charter, to perform and of this Court for appropriate action.
expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent and SO ORDERED.
correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties; ||| (Caoibes, Jr. v. Ombudsman, G.R. No. 132177, [July 19, 2001],
"(3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against 413 PHIL 717-725)
a public officer or employee at fault or who neglects to perform an
act or discharge a duty required by law, and recommend his 6. RE: DEROGATORY NEWS ITEM CHARGING COURT OF
removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure or prosecution, and APPEALS JUSTICE DEMETRIO DEMETRIA WITH
ensure compliance therewith, or enforce its disciplinary authority INTERFERENCE ON BEHALF OF A SUSPECTED DRUG
as provided in Section 21 of this Act . . ." QUEEN
The foregoing provisions supply the legal basis for the EN BANC
Ombudsman in maintaining its jurisdiction over the charges of [A.M. No. 00-7-09-CA. March 27, 2001.]
physical injuries, malicious mischief and assault upon a person in IN RE: DEROGATORY NEWS ITEMS CHARGING COURT OF
authority filed by respondent Judge against petitioner. This APPEALS ASSOCIATE JUSTICE DEMETRIO DEMETRIA WITH
conclusion seems to be reinforced by Section 16 of R.A. INTERFERENCE ON BEHALF OF A SUSPECTED DRUG
6770 which states that the powers of the Office of the Ombudsman QUEEN:
apply to all kinds of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance COURT OF APPEALS ASSOCIATE JUSTICE DEMETRIO G.
committed by public officers and employees during their tenure of DEMETRIA, respondent.
office. DECISION
The Office of the Solicitor General in its Manifestation, in Lieu of PER CURIAM p:
Comment, correctly opined and we quote: Men and women of the courts must conduct themselves with
". . . the grant of the aforequoted powers to the Office of the honor, probity, fairness, prudence and discretion. Magistrates of
Ombudsman is not tantamount to giving it exclusive authority justice must always be fair and impartial. They should avoid not
thereon. In fact, Section 15 (1) of R.A. 6770, which is relied upon only acts of impropriety, but all appearances of impropriety. Their
by the Office of the Ombudsman in its assailed order, provides that influence in society must be consciously and conscientiously
it has primary, not exclusive, jurisdiction over graft and corruption exercised with utmost prudence and discretion. For, theirs is the
cases and felonies committed by public officers in relation to their assigned role of preserving the independence, impartiality and
office. Moreover, it was held in Sanchez vs. Demetriou, 227 SCRA integrity of the Judiciary.
627 [1993], that the Ombudsman's power under Section 15 (1) The Code of Judicial Conduct mandates a judge to "refrain from
of R.A. 6770is not an exclusive authority but rather a shared or influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or dispute
concurrent authority in respect of the offense charged." 9 pending before another court or administrative agency." 1 The
It appears that the present case involves two members of the slightest form of interference cannot be countenanced. Once a
judiciary who were entangled in a fight within court premises over judge uses his influence to derail or interfere in the regular course
a piece of office furniture. Under Section 6, Article VIII of the of a legal or judicial proceeding for the benefit of one or any of the
Constitution, it is the Supreme Court which is vested with exclusive parties therein, public confidence in the judicial system is
administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel. diminished, if not totally eroded.
Prescinding from this premise, the Ombudsman cannot determine
Such is this administrative charge triggered by newspaper The case was re-raffled to Branch 53, presided by Judge Angel V.
accounts which appeared on the 21 July 2000 issues of The Colet. Accused Yu Yuk Lai then filed a Motion to Order the
Manila Standard, The Manila Times, Malaya, The Philippine Daily Confinement of the Accused in a Hospital. Before Judge Colet
Inquirer and Today. The national dailies collectively reported that could resolve the motion, the case was handled by the Branch's
Court of Appeals Associate Justice Demetrio G. Demetria tried to Pairing Judge Manuel T. Muro. SEHaDI
intercede on behalf of suspected Chinese drug queen Yu Yuk Lai, On 15 May 2000 Judge Muro granted accused Yu Yuk Lai's motion
alias Sze Yuk Lai, who went in and out of prison to play in a Manila and allowed her to be confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital for
casino. 2 a period not exceeding seven (7) days, 12contrary to the
That same day, 21 July 2000, Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., recommendation of Dr. Jose Estrada Rosal, Chief of the Health
issued a Memorandum to Justice Demetria directing him to Services of the Manila City Jail, that Yu Yuk Lai be confined at the
comment on the derogatory allegations in the news items. 3 On 24 Philippine General Hospital. 13
July 2000, Justice Demetria submitted his Compliance. On 5 June 2000 Judge Muro granted Yu Yuk Lai's Urgent Motion
Subsequently, Chief State Prosecutor (CSP) Jovencito R. Zuo, for Extension of Medical Confinement "for a period of one (1)
who disclosed to the media the name of Justice Demetria, and month, or until such time that she is fit to be discharged from the
State Prosecutor (SP) Pablo C. Formaran III, a member of the said hospital." 14 On 7 July 2000 Judge Muro also granted Yu Yuk
Task Force on Anti-Narcotics Cases of the Department of Justice Lai's Motion for Leave of Court to File Demurrer to Evidence with
(DOJ) prosecuting the case of the suspected Chinese drug queen, Motion to Admit Demurrer to Evidence. 15 Soon, rumors circulated
filed their respective Comments on the Compliance of Justice in the Manila City Hall that Judge Muro was partial towards
Demetria. 4 accused Yu Yuk Lai.
On 8 August 2000, the Court En Banc ordered an investigation The rumors did not end there. On 6 July 2000 unidentified
and designated Mme. Justice Carolina C. Grio-Aquino as employees of the RTC Manila calling themselves "CONCERNED
Investigator and Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo as COURT EMPLOYEES" wrote the Secretary of Justice, copy
Prosecutor. An investigation then commenced on 22 August 2000 furnished the Chief State Prosecutor, the Ombudsman, and Judge
and continued until 16 November 2000. Muro. The letter alleged that Judge Muro ordered the
The Prosecution presented four (4) witnesses, namely, CSP Zuo, hospitalization of Yu Yuk Lai "even if she (was) not sick and there
SP Formaran III, Agnes P. Tuason, secretary of SP Formaran III, (was) already a rumor circulating around the City Hall, that the
and Jose H. Afalla, an employee from the Office of Asst. CSP notorious Judge had given the go signal to the counsel of the
(ACSP) Leonardo Guiyab, Jr. The defense on the other hand accused to file the Motion to Quash, which (would) be granted for
presented ten (10) witnesses: respondent Justice Demetria, Asst. a consideration of millions of pesos and the contact person (was)
Chief State Prosecutor (ACSP) Severino Gaa, Jr., Senior State allegedly the daughter of the Judge, who is an employee in the
Prosecutor (SSP) Romeo Daosos, Go Teng Kok, Yu Yuk Lai, said branch." 16
MTC Judge Orlando Siapno, Peter Young, Atty. Reinerio Paas, Accordingly on 14 July 2000, SP Formaran III filed a Motion for
lawyer of Go Teng Kok, Danilo J. Mijares, bodyguard of Go Teng Inhibition praying that Judge Muro inhibit himself "from further
Kok, and Luisito Artiaga, official of the Philippine Amateur Track handling this case and/or from resolving the demurrer to evidence
and Field Association (PATAFA). filed by the accused Yu Yuk Lai as well as any other pending
The facts as borne out by the evidence presented by the incidents therein." 17
prosecution are quite clear. In an Information dated 9 December On 16 July 2000, at around 7:30 o'clock in the morning, while she
1998, SP Formaran III charged Yu Yuk Lai, together with her was supposed to be confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital,
supposed nephew, a certain Kenneth Monceda y Sy alias William accused Yu Yuk Lai was arrested inside the VIP room of the
Sy, before the RTC of Manila, Br. 18, 5 with violation of Sec. 15, Casino Filipino at the Holiday Inn Pavilion, Manila, while playing
Art. III, RA 6425, as amended, for "conspiring, confederating and baccarat. She was unescorted at the time of her arrest.
mutually helping one another, with deliberate intent and without On 18 July 2000, at 9:00 o'clock in the morning, the Motion for
authority of law . . . (to) willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell and Inhibition of Judge Muro was heard and submitted for resolution.
deliver to a poseur-buyer three (3) kilograms, more or less, of Later, at around 11:30 o'clock, when SP Formaran III arrived in his
methylamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), which is a regulated office from the hearing, he was informed by his secretary, Agnes
drug." 6 Accused of non-bailable offense, both Yu Yuk Lai and Tuason, that the staff of Court of Appeals Justice Demetrio
Kenneth Monceda were held at the detention cell of the PNP Demetria had called earlier and said that the Justice wanted to
Narcotics Group in Camp Crame, Quezon City. On 25 June 1999, speak with him. The caller requested for a return call. As
accused Yu Yuk Lai filed a Petition for Bail on the ground that the requested, SP Formaran III immediately returned the call of
evidence of her guilt was not strong. Justice Demetria but the Justice had already gone out for lunch.
On 10 November 1999, upon receiving information that the Later in the afternoon, between 1:30 and 2:00 o'clock, Justice
accused, especially Yu Yuk Lai, had been seen regularly playing Demetria, PATAFA President Go Teng Kok and Atty. Reinerio
in the casinos of Heritage Hotel and the Holiday Inn Pavilion, SP Paas, lawyer of Go Teng Kok and a close friend of Justice
Formaran III filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Transfer the Demetria, went to the office of SP Formaran III in the DOJ which
Detention of the Accused to the City Jail. 7 On the same day, SP Formaran III shares with SP Albert Fonacier. Apparently,
Judge Perfecto A. S. Laguio, Jr., granted the motion and Justice Demetria was not familiar with SP Formaran III as he
ordered the immediate transfer of the two (2) accused to the greeted SP Fonacier "Kamusta ka, Prosecutor Formaran?" 18
Manila City Jail. 8 Soon the visitors were seated. Go Teng Kok immediately pleaded
On 18 January 2000, Judge Laguio, Jr., concluded that "the with SP Formaran III to withdraw his motion to inhibit Judge Muro
evidence standing alone and unrebutted, is strong and sufficient as this would purportedly delay the resolution of the case. Go Teng
to warrant conviction of the two accused for the crime charged" Kok also expressed his apprehension that if Judge Muro would
and denied the petition for bail of accused Yu Yuk Lai for lack of inhibit, a new judge might convict his friend, accused Yu Yuk Lai,
merit. 9 Consequently, both accused filed a Joint Motion for who was then already receiving bad publicity.
Inhibition arguing that the trial court's actuations "do not inspire the Justice Demetria then asked about the status of the case. SP
belief that its decision would be just and impartial." 10 On 28 Formaran III informed the Justice that a motion for inhibition has
January 2000, Judge Laguio, Jr., believing that the joint motion been submitted for resolution, one basis of which was the
was utterly without merit but considering the gravity of the offense unsigned letter of the concerned court employees. Justice
and for the peace of mind of the accused, inhibited himself. 11 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 In defense of respondent Justice, Atty. Paas stated that it was
cool" and asked SP Formaran III if he could do something to help actually he, not Justice Demetria, who later called up CSP Zuo to
Go Teng Kok. Apparently, prior to 18 July 2000, Go Teng Kok had inquire about the latter's decision regarding the withdrawal of the
already been asking SP Formaran III to go slow in prosecuting motion to inhibit since SP Formaran III had earlier told Go Teng
accused Yu Yuk Lai. 19 SP Formaran III at first politely declined Kok that the matter would be taken up with his superiors.
the request. But later, "just to put an end to (the) In fine, respondent Justice Demetria maintains that it is
conversation," 20 he told them that he would bring the matter to inconceivable for him to ask SP Formaran III whom he just met for
CSP Zuo. "Iyon pala," Justice Demetria replied. The Justice then the first time to do something for Go Teng Kok whom he claims he
stood up, bade good bye and left. Atty. Paas and Go Teng Kok just likewise met for the first time. Neither did he know Yu Yuk Lai,
followed closely behind. 21 a claim Yu Yuk Lai herself corroborated. It would be unthinkable
for him to intercede in behalf of someone he did not know. Indeed
Thereafter, SP Formaran III went to see CSP Zuo and informed respondent Justice asserted that his meeting Go Teng Kok on 18
the latter of what had transpired. CSP Zuo replied, "No way!" SP July 2000 at the DOJ was purely coincidence, if not accidental.
Formaran III also told ACSP Guiyab, Jr., who gave the same So, did respondent Justice Demetria really intercede in behalf of
reply. 22 suspected drug queen Yu Yuk Lai?
At around 3:00 o'clock that same afternoon, CSP Zuo received a Investigating Justice Carolina C. Grio-Aquino believes so. In her
call from Justice Demetria who requested him to instruct SP Report dated 5 January 2001, she found respondent Justice
Formaran III to withdraw the motion for inhibition of Judge Muro so Demetria "guilty of violating Rule 2.04, Canon 2, Code of Judicial
that the Judge could already issue an order. "Pakisabi mo nga kay Conduct" and recommended that "appropriate disciplinary action
State Prosecutor Formaran na i-withdraw na iyong kanyang be taken against him by this Honorable Court." 28
Motion to Inhibit para naman makagawa na ng Order si Judge Only rightly so. The evidence is clear, if not overwhelming, and
Muro," Justice Demetria was quoted as saying. 23 Politely, CSP damning. Thus, even the Senate Committee on Justice and
Zuo said that he would see what he could do. "Tingnan ko po Human Rights, after a hearing, found that "there was a conspiracy
kung ano ang magagawa ko." 24 to commit the following offenses on the part of CA Associate
On 20 July 2000, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that a Justice Demetrio Demetria and PATAFA President Go Teng Kok
"Supreme Court Justice . . . and an outspoken sports person and and Miss Yu Yuk Lai: obstruction of justice punishable
leader" 25 had been exerting "undue pressure" on the DOJ to go under PD No. 1829 and Article 3(a) of RA 3019, or the Anti-Graft
slow in prosecuting re-arrested drug queen Yu Yuk Lai. That same and Corrupt Practices Act." 29
afternoon, the names of Justice Demetria and Mr. Go Teng Kok While Justice Demetria vehemently denied interfering with the
were disclosed to the media to clear the name of the Supreme criminal case, his denial cannot stand against the positive
Court justices who might have been affected by the erroneous assertions of CSP Zuo and SP Formaran III, 30 which are
news report. The following day, 21 July 2000, several newspapers consistent with natural human experience. To accept the
named Justice Demetria and Go Teng Kok as "drug lawyers." testimony of the defense witnesses that it was Atty. Paas who
Also on 20 July 2000 the DOJ received a copy of an Order dated telephoned CSP Zuo, and not Justice Demetria, and that the
19 July 2000 of Judge Muro inhibiting himself from further hearing "help" the respondent Justice was requesting SP Formaran III was
the case of Yu Yuk Lai and Kenneth Monceda. 26 something "within legal bounds or line of duty" other than the
Respondent Justice Demetria, for his part, vehemently denied withdrawal of the motion is to strain too far one's imagination.
having interceded for Yu Yuk Lai. While he admitted that he indeed The testimony of CSP Zuo is plainly unambiguous and
visited the DOJ on 18 July 2000, he went there to "visit old friends" indubitably consistent with the other facts and circumstances
and his meeting Go Teng Kok whom he did not know until that time surrounding the case
was purely accidental. Expectedly, Atty. Paas and Go Teng Kok CSP Zuo:
corroborated the claim of respondent Justice. As far as I could recall Justice Demetria said, "Pakisabi mo nga
Justice Demetria explained that he merely requested SP kay State Prosecutor Formaran na iwithdraw na iyong kanyang
Formaran III "to do something to help Go Teng Kok about the Motion to Inhibit para naman makagawa ng Order si Judge
case" without ever specifying the kind of "help" that he requested. Muro." 31
He averred that it was purely on the basis of erroneous impression In his discussion with Go Teng Kok and Justice Demetria, SP
and conjecture on the part of SP Formaran III that he impliedly Formaran III said that he would consult his superiors regarding the
asked him to withdraw the motion "because that is what Mr. Go proposal to withdraw the motion. The timely telephone call to CSP
Teng Kok was appealing and requesting." 27 Respondent claimed Zuo was thus a logical follow-up. And no one could have made
that the "help" he was requesting could well be "within legal the call except respondent Justice since it is not uncommon for
bounds or line of duty." anyone to believe that CSP Zuo would recognize the voice of
Justice Demetria claimed that if ever he said anything else during respondent Justice who was CSP Zuo's former superior in the
the discussion between Go Teng Kok and SP Formaran III, such DOJ. Thus, the confident utterance "[p]akisabi mo nga kay State
was not a form of intervention. He only admonished Go Teng Kok Prosecutor Formaran na iwithdraw na iyong kanyang Motion to
"to cool it" when the discussion between the prosecutor and Go Inhibit para naman makagawa ng Order si Judge Muro" could not
Teng Kok became heated. While he asked about the status of the have come from anyone else but from respondent Justice who had
case this, he said, demonstrated his lack of knowledge about the moral ascendancy over CSP Zuo, he being a Justice of the Court
case and bolstered his claim that he could not have possibly of Appeals and a former Undersecretary and at one time Acting
interceded for Yu Yuk Lai. Secretary of the DOJ. CSAaDE
Respondent Justice likewise argued that the bases of his Even the requested "help" for Go Teng Kok, whom respondent
identification by CSP Zuo as the Justice exerting undue pressure Justice claims he did not know and met only that time, could not
on the DOJ were all hearsay. Respondent submitted that CSP have meant any other assistance but the withdrawal of the motion
Zuo based his identification from a newspaper account, from the to inhibit Judge Muro. True, Justice Demetria never categorically
statement of his secretary that it was he (Justice Demetria) who asked SP Formaran III to withdraw his Motion. But when
was on the other end of the telephone and from SP Formaran III respondent Justice Demetria asked the state prosecutor at that
when the latter consulted the Chief State Prosecutor about the visit particular time "to do something . . . to help Mr. Go Teng Kok," the
of the Justice and Go Teng Kok impliedly asking him to withdraw latter was pleading for the withdrawal of the motion, and nothing
the motion. else. That was the only form of "help" that Go Teng Kok wanted.
The subtle pressure exerted simply pointed to one particular act.
Thus, subsequently respondent Justice called CSP Zuo to ask Unfortunately, respondent Justice Demetrio Demetria failed to live
for just that the withdrawal of the motion to inhibit Judge Muro. up to this expectation. Through his indiscretions, Justice Demetria
Justice Demetria also claimed that he, together with Atty. Paas, did not only make a mockery of his high office, but also caused
went to the DOJ, first, to see Secretary Artemio Tuquero and seek incalculable damage to the entire Judiciary. The mere mention of
assistance in the appointment of Atty. Paas to the Court of his name in the national newspapers, allegedly lawyering for a
Appeals, and second, to "visit old friends," 32 and that the meeting suspected drug queen and interfering with her prosecution,
with Go Teng Kok was purely accidental. But respondent Justice seriously undermined the integrity of the entire Judiciary.
never mentioned in his earlier Compliance to the Memorandum of Although every office in the government service is a public
the Chief Justice that his primary purpose in going to the DOJ was trust, no position exacts a greater demand on moral righteousness
to see Sec. Tuquero, and since Sec. Tuquero was not in, he and uprightness than a seat in the Judiciary. 40 High ethical
instead decided to see some officials/prosecutors whom he had principles and a sense of propriety should be maintained, without
not visited for a long time. which the faith of the people in the Judiciary so indispensable in
We find this assertion difficult to accept. For, even his very own an orderly society cannot be preserved. 41 There is
witnesses belied his alibi. ACSP Gaa, Jr. testified and confirmed simply no place in the Judiciary for those who cannot meet the
that Justice Demetria only said "hi." 33 SSP Daosos, denied exacting standards of judicial conduct and integrity. 42
seeing him and claimed that it was only Atty. Paas who peeped WHEREFORE, we sustain the findings of the Investigating Justice
into his room. 34 Suspiciously, it was really in the office of SP and hold Justice Demetrio G. Demetria GUILTY of violating Rule
Formaran III, whom respondent Justice Demetria did not know, 2.04 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. He is ordered DISMISSED
where Justice Demetria, Atty. Paas and Go Teng Kok decided to from the service with forfeiture of all benefits and with prejudice to
"stay a while." 35 his appointment or reappointment to any government office,
Thus, as found by Mme. Justice Carolina C. Grio-Aquino, the agency or instrumentality, including any government-owned or
Investigating Justice, Justice Demetria and company could not controlled corporation or institution.
have been there to exchange pleasantries with SPs Formaran III SO ORDERED.
and Fonacier since they were not acquainted with each other. Prior ||| (In re Demetria, A.M. No. 00-7-09-CA, [March 27, 2001], 407
to this incident, Justice Demetria did not personally know either SP PHIL 671-686)
Formaran III or SP Fonacier, a fact corroborated by respondent
himself. 36 7. SANTIAGO v. TULFO
All of these contradict and belie respondent Justice Demetria's FIRST DIVISION
earlier Compliance to the Memorandum of the Chief Justice that [G.R. No. 205039. October 21, 2015.]
"[b]ecause Prosecutor Formaran is also a friend, we decided to SPOUSES ROZELLE RAYMOND MARTIN and CLAUDINE
drop by his office . . . (and) I stayed a while." 37 MARGARET SANTIAGO, petitioners, vs. RAFFY TULFO,
As pointed out by the Investigating Justice, respondent Justice BEN TULFO, and ERWIN TULFO, respondents.
was there "to join forces with Go Teng Kok in arguing for the DECISION
withdrawal of Formaran's Motion for Inhibition of Judge Muro, PERLAS-BERNABE, J p:
which was the real purpose of their visit to SP Formaran and to the Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari 1 are the
DOJ. The uncanny coincidence in the timing of Justice Demetria's Resolutions dated August 6, 2012 2 and January 7, 2013 3 of the
visit to SP Formaran's office, and that of Go Teng Kok, could not Regional Trial Court of Quezon City 4 (RTC) in SP No. Q-12-
have been 'accidental' but pre-arranged." 38 And, "visiting old 71275, which (a) dismissed the petition for writ of amparo filed by
friends" only came as an afterthought. The circumstances simply petitioners-spouses Rozelle Raymond Martin "Raymart"
show that Justice Demetria and Atty. Paas, together with Go Teng (Raymart) and Claudine Margaret Santiago (Claudine;
Kok, did not go to the DOJ to see Sec. Tuquero, but to visit, if not collectively, petitioners) and (b) dissolved the temporary
"pressure," CSP Zuo and SP Formaran III. protection order (TPO) previously issued therein.

Justice Demetria also claimed that it is inconceivable for him to FACTS:


help Yu Yuk Lai and Go Teng Kok, both of whom he did not At around 11:40 in the morning of May 6, 2012, petitioners arrived
personally know, and more unthinkable that he would be asking at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA 3)
help from SP Formaran III whom he had just met for the first time. aboard a Cebu Pacific Airline flight from a vacation with their family
The argument cannot be sustained. It is admitted that respondent and friends. They waited for the arrival of their baggage but were
is a very close friend of Atty. Paas, lawyer of Go Teng Kok. And, it eventually informed that it was offloaded and transferred to a
is not necessary that respondent Justice Demetria be acquainted different flight. Aggrieved, petitioners lodged a complaint before
with Go Teng Kok, Yu Yuk Lai or SP Formaran III for him to the Cebu Pacific complaint desk. As they were complaining, they
intercede in behalf of the accused. It is enough that he is a close noticed a man taking photos of Claudine with his cellular phone.
friend of the lawyer of Go Teng Kok, who has been helping the Raymart approached the man and asked what he was doing.
accused, and that he wields influence as a former DOJ Suddenly, the man, later identified as Ramon "Mon" Tulfo (Mon),
Undersecretary and later, Acting Secretary, and now, a Justice of allegedly punched and kicked Raymart, forcing the latter to fight
the Court of Appeals. back. When Claudine saw the commotion, she approached Mon
In sum, we find the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and the latter likewise allegedly kicked and pushed her back
convincing and trustworthy, as compared to those of the defense against the counter. At that instance, Raymart rushed to defend
which do not only defy natural human experience but are also his wife, while one Edoardo Benjamin Atilano (Atilano) joined in
riddled with major inconsistencies which create well-founded and the brawl. Immediately thereafter, several airport security
overriding doubts. personnel came to stop the altercation and brought them to the
The conduct and behavior of everyone connected with an office Airport Police Department for investigation. 5
charged with the dispensation of justice is circumscribed with the
heavy burden of responsibility. His at all times must be Days after the incident, respondents Raffy, Ben, and
characterized with propriety and must be above suspicion. 39 His Erwin Tulfo (respondents), brothers of Mon, aired on their TV
must be free of even a whiff of impropriety, not only with respect program comments and expletives against petitioners, and
to the performance of his judicial duties, but also his behavior threatened that they will retaliate. 6
outside the courtroom and as a private individual.
Terrified by the gravity of the threats hurled, petitioners filed a confined to cases involving extralegal killings and/or enforced
petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo against respondents disappearances, or threats thereof:
on May 11, 2012 before the RTC. 7 As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable
problem of "extralegal killings" and "enforced
On May 23, 2012, Erwin Tulfo filed a Manifestation and Motion to disappearances," its coverage, in its present form, is
Deny Issuance of Protection Order and/or Dismissal of the confined to these two instances or to threats thereof. . . .
Petition Motu Proprio 8 (May 23, 2012 Motion) which was . 25 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
opposed by petitioners for being a prohibited pleading. 9 Indeed, while amparo (which literally means "protection" in
Spanish) has been regarded as a special remedy provided for the
On May 24, 2012, then Presiding Judge Bayani Vargas (Judge enforcement of constitutional rights, the parameters of protection
Vargas) issued a Resolution 10 granting a TPO in favor of are not the same in every jurisdiction.
petitioners and directed respondents to file their return/answer. 11
In Manalo, the origins of amparo were discussed as follows:
In his return/answer, 12 Ben Tulfo claimed that the statements he The writ of amparo originated in Mexico. "Amparo" literally
uttered did not involve any actual threat and that he merely means "protection" in Spanish. In 1837, de Tocqueville's
expressed his strong sentiments to defend his brother. 13 Democracy in America became available in Mexico and stirred
great interest. Its description of the practice of judicial review in the
On June 29, 2012, Judge Vargas submitted the case for resolution U.S. appealed to many Mexican jurists. One of them, Manuel
but eventually retired on July 11, 2012. Consequently, Judge Crescencio Rejn, drafted a constitutional provision for his native
Maria Filomena Singh (Judge Singh) was designated as the Acting state, Yucatan, which granted judges the power to protect all
Presiding Judge who assumed office and handled the present persons in the enjoyment of their constitutional and legal rights.
case. 14 This idea was incorporated into the national constitution in
RTC: 1847, viz.:
In a Resolution 15 dated August 6, 2012, the RTC, through Judge The federal courts shall protect any inhabitant of the Republic in
Singh, dismissed the petition and ordered the dissolution of the the exercise and preservation of those rights granted to him by this
TPO. 16 It held that the petition is not a proper subject of a writ Constitution and by laws enacted pursuant hereto, against attacks
of amparo since the rules were intended to apply solely to cases by the Legislative and Executive powers of the federal or state
of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances, noting that the governments, limiting themselves to granting protection in the
purpose of the law is to, among others, ascertain the whereabouts specific case in litigation, making no general declaration
of an aggrieved party, recover evidence related to the death or concerning the statute or regulation that motivated the violation.
disappearance of the person identified in the petition, and Since then, the protection has been an important part of Mexican
determine the facts surrounding the death or disappearance of a constitutionalism. If, after hearing, the judge determines that a
missing person. Consequently, it held that it did not have the constitutional right of the petitioner is being violated, he orders the
authority to issue said writ in favor of petitioners. In this relation, it official, or the official's superiors, to cease the violation and to take
explained that while it is true that the May 23, 2012 Motion was a the necessary measures to restore the petitioner to the full
motion to dismiss and as such, a prohibited pleading under the enjoyment of the right in question. Amparo thus combines the
rules, it still had the discretion to dismiss the case when in its own principles of judicial review derived from the U.S. with the
determination the case is not covered by the same rule. It limitations on judicial power characteristic of the civil law tradition
expressed that the prohibition against motions to dismiss was which prevails in Mexico. It enables courts to enforce the
meant to expedite the proceedings; thus, in line with the same constitution by protecting individual rights in particular cases, but
objective, it has the primary duty to so declare if it cannot grant the prevents them from using this power to make law for the entire
remedy at the outset so as not to waste the time and resources of nation.
the litigants and the courts, both in a moot and academic The writ of amparo then spread throughout the Western
exercise. 17 Hemisphere, gradually evolving into various forms, in response to
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, 18 which was, the particular needs of each country. It became, in the words of a
however, denied for lack of merit in a Resolution 19 dated January justice of the Mexican Federal Supreme Court, one piece of
7, 2013; hence, this petition. Mexico's self-attributed "task of conveying to the world's legal
heritage that institution which, as a shield of human dignity, her
ISSUE: own painful history conceived." What began as a protection
The essential issue in this case is whether or not the RTC's against acts or omissions of public authorities in violation of
dismissal of petitioners' amparo petition was correct. constitutional rights later evolved for several purposes: (1) amparo
libertad for the protection of personal freedom, equivalent to
Petitioners argue that the issuance of a writ of amparo is not the habeas corpus writ; (2) amparo contra leyes for the judicial
limited to cases of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, review of the constitutionality of statutes; (3) amparo casacion for
or threats thereof. 20 They submit that they need not undergo the the judicial review of the constitutionality and legality of a judicial
human rights abuses such as extrajudicial killings or enforced decision; (4) amparo administrativo for the judicial review of
disappearances, as is common to landmark decisions on military administrative actions; and (5) amparo agrario for the protection of
and police abuses, before their right to life, liberty, and security peasants' rights derived from the agrarian reform process.
may be protected by a writ of amparo. 21 Further, they insist that In Latin American countries, except Cuba, the writ of amparo has
the May 23, 2012 Motion was a prohibited pleading and, hence, been constitutionally adopted to protect against human rights
should not have been allowed. 22 abuses especially committed in countries under military juntas. In
general, these countries adopted an all-encompassing writ to
HELD: protect the whole gamut of constitutional rights, including socio-
The petition is bereft of merit. economic rights. Other countries like Colombia, Chile, Germany
In the landmark case of Secretary of National Defense v. and Spain, however, have chosen to limit the protection of the writ
Manalo 23 (Manalo), the Court has already explained that the writ of amparo only to some constitutional guarantees or fundamental
of amparo, under its present procedural formulation, namely, A.M. rights. 26
No. 07-9-12-SC, 24 otherwise known as "The Rule on the Writ
of Amparo," was intended to address and, thus, is presently
In our jurisdiction, the contextual genesis, at least, for the In this case, it is undisputed that petitioners' amparo petition
present Amparo Rule has limited the remedy as a response to before the RTC does not allege any case of extrajudicial killing
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, or threats and/or enforced disappearance, or any threats thereof, in the
thereof. "Extrajudicial killings," according to case law, are senses above-described. Their petition is merely anchored on a
generally characterized as "killings committed without due process broad invocation of respondents' purported violation of their right
of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial to life and security, carried out by private individuals without any
proceedings," 27 while "enforced disappearances," according to showing of direct or indirect government participation. Thus, it is
Section 3 (g) of Republic Act No. 9851, 28 otherwise known as the apparent that their amparo petition falls outside the purview
"Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC and, perforce, must fail. Hence, the RTC,
Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity," "means the through Judge Singh, properly exercised its discretion to motu
arrest, detention, or abduction of persons by, or with the proprio dismiss the same under this principal determination,
authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political regardless of the filing of the May 23, 2012 Motion. The court,
organization followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation indeed, has the discretion to determine whether or not it has the
of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of authority to grant the relief in the first place. And when it is already
those persons, with the intention of removing from the protection apparent that the petition falls beyond the purview of the rule, it
of the law for a prolonged period of time." has the duty to dismiss the petition so as not to prejudice any of
In Navia v. Pardico, 29 the Court held that it must be shown and the parties through prolonged but futile litigation.
proved by substantial evidence that the disappearance was WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The petition for writ
carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of amparo filed by petitioners-spouses Rozelle Raymond Martin
of, the State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to and Claudine Margaret Santiago before the Regional Trial Court
acknowledge the same or give information on the fate or of Quezon City, docketed as SP No. Q-12-71275, is
whereabouts of said missing persons, with the intention of hereby DISMISSED.
removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged SO ORDERED.
period of time. Simply put, the petitioner in an amparo case has ||| (Spouses Santiago v. Tulfo, G.R. No. 205039, [October 21,
the burden of proving by substantial evidence the indispensable 2015])
element of government participation. 30 Notably, the same
requirement of government participation should also apply to 8. BARROSO v. OMELIO
extralegal killings, considering that the writ of amparo was, THIRD DIVISION
according to then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, who headed the [G.R. No. 194767. October 14, 2015.]
Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court that drafted A.M. EDGAR T. BARROSO, petitioner, vs. HON. JUDGE GEORGE E.
No. 07-9-12-SC, intended to "hold public authorities, those who OMELIO, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 14,
took their oath to defend the constitution and enforce our laws, to Davao City and TRAVELLERS INSURANCE & SURETY
a high standard of official conduct and hold them accountable to CORPORATION, ANTONIO V. BATAO, Regional
our people. [In this light] [t]he sovereign Filipino people should be Manager, respondents.
assured that if their right[s] to life and liberty are threatened or DECISION
violated, they will find vindication in our courts of PERALTA, J p:
justice." 31 Stated differently, the writ of amparo is an This deals with the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of
extraordinary remedy that is meant to balance out the the Rules of Court praying that the Order 1 dated July 29, 2009,
government's incredible power in order to curtail human rights and the Order 2 dated September 15, 2010, both of the Regional
abuses on its end. Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 14 (RTC-Br. 14), be reversed
Consistent therewith, the delimitation of our current writ and set aside.
of amparo to extralegal killings and/or enforced disappearances, FACTS:
or threats thereof, is explicit from Section 1 of A.M. No. 07-9-12- Sometime in 2007, herein petitioner filed with the Regional Trial
SC, which reads: Court of Davao City, Branch 16 (RTC-Br. 16) a Complaint for sum
Section 1. Petition. The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy of money, damages and attorney's fees against Dennis Li. The
available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is complaint included a prayer for the issuance of a writ of
violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission attachment, and after Dennis Li filed his Answer, RTC-Br. 16
of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity. granted herein petitioner's application for a Writ of Attachment and
The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced approved the corresponding attachment bond. On the other hand,
disappearances or threats thereof. Dennis Li filed a counter-attachment bond purportedly issued by
While the foregoing rule, as per Section 1 of A.M. No. 07-9-12- herein respondent Travellers Insurance & Surety
SC's first paragraph, does state that the writ is a remedy to protect Corporation (Travellers).
the right to life, liberty, and security of the person desiring to avail
of it, the same section's second paragraph qualifies that the On January 7, 2008, petitioner filed a Motion for Approval of
protection of such rights specifically pertain to extralegal killings Compromise Agreement. Thereafter, RTC-Br. 16 issued a
and enforced disappearances or threats thereof, which are more Judgment on Compromise Agreement dated January 22, 2008.
concrete cases that involve protection to the rights to life, liberty However, Dennis Li failed to pay the sums of money as provided
and security. The two paragraphs should indeed be read together for under said Judgment on Compromise Agreement. Herein
in order to construe the meaning of the provision. Clearly petitioner then filed a Motion for Execution and RTC-Br. 16 issued
applicable is the statutory construction rule that "clauses and a Writ of Execution solely against Dennis Li. When said Writ of
phrases must not be taken as detached and isolated expressions, Execution against Dennis Li was returned by the Sheriff
but the whole and every part thereof must be considered in fixing unsatisfied, petitioner then filed a Motion for Execution of
the meaning of any of its parts in order to produce a harmonious Judgment upon the Counterbond. Acting on said Motion, RTC-Br.
whole. Every part of the statute [or, in this case, procedural rule] 16 issued an Order 3 dated April 2, 2009, pertinent portions of
must be interpreted with reference to the context, i.e., that every which read as follows:
part of the statute must be considered together with other parts of Since the Writ was returned "UNSATISFIED", plaintiff filed a
the statute and kept subservient to the general intent of the whole Motion for Execution of Judgment upon the Counter-Bond, a copy
enactment." 32 of which was sent to the Head Office of Travellers Insurance
Surety Corporation. In accordance with the Rules, a summary
hearing to determine the liability under the counterbond was set. reconsideration of the afore-quoted Order was denied in the Order
Notice of said hearing was likewise sent to the Head Office of the dated September 15, 2010.
surety corporation at the address appearing on the face of the
counterbond issued. For reasons unknown, the notice was simply Hence, the instant petition was filed with this Court, alleging that
returned. respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting
The case law cited by movant . . . justifies the issuance of an Alias to lack or in excess of jurisdiction and gross ignorance of the law
Writ of Execution against the Defendant Dennis Li but this time by (1) acting on respondent Travellers' petition despite the lack of
including the Travellers Insurance Surety Corporation based on its jurisdiction of RTC-Br. 14; (2) issuing the writ of preliminary
counterbond. . . . . 4 injunction without requiring Travellers to put up an injunction bond;
An Alias Writ of Execution dated April 28, 2009 was then issued and (3) assuming jurisdiction over the action for prohibition and
against both Dennis Li and respondent Travellers based on the injunction against the executive sheriff of a co-equal court.
counterbond it issued in favor of the former, and pursuant to said
writ, Sheriff Anggot served a Demand Letter on Travellers. In a Herein petitioner, while acknowledging that the Court of
letter dated July 1, 2009 addressed to Sheriff Anggot, Travellers Appeals (CA) had concurrent jurisdiction over this petition,
asked for a period of seven (7) days within which to validate the justified his immediate resort to this Court by pointing out that
counterbond and, thereafter, for its representative to discuss the respondent judge's conduct shows his gross ignorance of the law,
matter with complainant, herein petitioner. and any other remedy under the ordinary course of law would not
However, on July 10, 2009, instead of appearing before RTC-Br. be speedy and adequate.
16, Travellers filed a separate case for Declaration of Nullity,
Prohibition, Injunction with Prayer for Writ of Preliminary Injunction Private respondents, on the other hand, counter that its petition
& Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), and Damages, which was before RTC-Br. 14 involved the issue of the validity of a contract,
raffled to RTC-Br. 14. Said petition prayed for the following reliefs: hence, the court presided by respondent judge had jurisdiction to
(a) the issuance of a TRO enjoining Sheriff Anggot and herein take cognizance of the same. Private respondent then reiterated
petitioner from implementing and enforcing the Writ of Execution its arguments regarding the dubious authenticity and genuineness
dated April 28, 2009, and after hearing, the issuance of a writ of of the counterbond purportedly issued by Travellers and filed by
preliminary injunction; (b) judgment be rendered declaring the Dennis Li before RTC-Br. 16.
counterbond and its supporting documents to be null and void;
ordering Sheriff Anggot and herein petitioner to desist from further HELD:
implementing the Writ of Execution dated April 28, 2009; and (c) It must first be emphasized that trifling with the rule on hierarchy
ordering Sheriff Anggot and herein petitioner to pay Travellers of courts is looked upon with disfavor by the Court. Said rule is an
actual and moral damages, attorney's fees and costs of suit. important component of the orderly administration of justice and
After hearing on the application for a writ of preliminary injunction, not imposed merely for whimsical and arbitrary reasons. This
herein respondent judge issued the assailed Order dated July 29, doctrine was exhaustively explained in The Diocese of Bacolod,
2009 directing the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. represented by the Most Rev. Bishop Vicente M. Navarra and the
RTC-Br. 14, in its Order dated July 29, 2009, ratiocinated, thus: Bishop Himself in His Personal Capacity v. Commission on
Be it noted that under letter (b) of paragraph six (6) of respondents' Elections and the Election Officer of Bacolod City, Atty. Mavil V.
[herein petitioner among them] answer with counterclaim they Majarucon6 in this wise:
alleged that: ". . . The evidence the counter-attachment bond is . . . we explained the necessity of the application of the hierarchy
fake has yet to be proven by the petitioner [Travellers] in the proper of courts:
forum. Till then, said judicial officers enjoy the presumption of The Court must enjoin the observance of the policy on the
regularity in the performance of their judicial duties . . ." hierarchy of courts, and now affirms that the policy is not to be
Precisely, herein petitioner [comes] before this Court, which is the ignored without serious consequences. The strictness of the
"proper forum" referred to by the respondents in their answer, to policy is designed to shield the Court from having to deal with
prove that the counter-attachment bond which herein respondents causes that are also well within the competence of the lower
are about to implement, is fake. And the only remedy for the courts, and thus leave time for the Court to deal with the more
petitioner to hold in abeyance the enforcement of the subject writ fundamental and more essential tasks that the Constitution
of execution lest the decision of this Court on the merit more so if has assigned to it. The Court may act on petitions for the
favorable to the petitioner will become moot and academic or extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus only
phyrric victory, is the writ of preliminary injunction. when absolutely necessary or when serious and important
reasons exist to justify an exception to the policy.
Anent the respondents' defense that "this Court has no jurisdiction xxx xxx xxx
to interfere with the judgment of RTC, Branch 16 in Davao City" . . The doctrine that requires respect for the hierarchy of courts
., suffice it to state that this Court is not interfering with the Order was created by this court to ensure that every level of the
or judgment of RTC-Br. 16 which is a coordinate Court. On the judiciary performs its designated roles in an effective and
contrary[,] this Court is merely exercising its complementary efficient manner. Trial courts do not only determine the facts from
jurisdiction with that of the jurisdiction of RTC 16 a coordinate the evaluation of the evidence presented before them. They are
court, the latter to hypothetically state, was hoodwinked into likewise competent to determine issues of law which may include
believing as to the regularity and due production of the subject the validity of an ordinance, statute, or even an executive issuance
counter-attachment bond now subject to be executed and in relation to the Constitution. To effectively perform these
enforced against herein petitioner. While this Court is aware of functions, they are territorially organized into regions and then into
this doctrine of non-interference by a Court against the Order branches. Their writs generally reach within those territorial
or judgment of another coordinate court, this doctrine, boundaries. Necessarily, they mostly perform the all-important
however, is not without exception. The maxim is: For every task of inferring the facts from the evidence as these are physically
rule, there is an exception; for in every room, there is always presented before them. In many instances, the facts occur within
a door. This case is an exception. . . . 5 their territorial jurisdiction, which properly present the "actual case"
On July 30, 2009, the Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued, that makes ripe a determination of the constitutionality of such
commanding Sheriff Anggot to refrain from implementing the Writ action. The consequences, of course, would be national in scope.
of Execution dated April 28, 2009. Petitioner's motion for There are, however, some cases where resort to courts at their
level would not be practical considering their decisions could still
be appealed before the higher courts, such as the Court of in the administration of justice: no court can interfere by injunction
Appeals. with the judgments or orders of another court of concurrent
The Court of Appeals is primarily designed as an appellate court jurisdiction having the power to grant the relief sought by the
that reviews the determination of facts and law made by the trial injunction. The rationale for the rule is founded on the concept of
courts. It is collegiate in nature. This nature ensures more jurisdiction: a court that acquires jurisdiction over the case and
standpoints in the review of the actions of the trial court. But the renders judgment therein has jurisdiction over its judgment, to the
Court of Appeals also has original jurisdiction over most special exclusion of all other coordinate courts, for its execution and
civil actions. Unlike the trial courts, its writs can have a nationwide over all its incidents, and to control, in furtherance of justice,
scope. It is competent to determine facts and, ideally, should act the conduct of ministerial officers acting in connection with
on constitutional issues that may not necessarily be novel unless this judgment.
there are factual questions to determine.
Thus, we have repeatedly held that a case where an execution
This court, on the other hand, leads the judiciary by breaking new order has been issued is considered as still pending, so that all
ground or further reiterating in the light of new circumstances or the proceedings on the execution are still proceedings in the
in the light of some confusion of bench or bar existing suit. A court which issued a writ of execution has the inherent
precedents. Rather than a court of first instance or as a repetition power, for the advancement of justice, to correct errors of its
of the actions of the Court of Appeals, this court promulgates these ministerial officers and to control its own processes. To hold
doctrinal devices in order that it truly performs that role. 7 otherwise would be to divide the jurisdiction of the appropriate
However, in the same case, it was acknowledged that for forum in the resolution of incidents arising in execution
exceptionally compelling reasons, the Court may exercise its proceedings. Splitting of jurisdiction is obnoxious to the orderly
discretion to act on special civil actions for certiorari filed directly administration of justice.
with it. Examples of cases that present compelling reasons are: (1) xxx xxx xxx
those involving genuine issues of constitutionality that must be To be sure, the law and the rules are not unaware that an issuing
addressed at the most immediate time; (2) those where the issues court may violate the law in issuing a writ of execution and have
are of transcendental importance, and the threat to fundamental recognized that there should be a remedy against this violation.
constitutional rights are so great as to outweigh the necessity for The remedy, however, is not the resort to another co-equal body
prudence; (3) cases of first impression, where no jurisprudence yet but to a higher court with authority to nullify the action of the issuing
exists that will guide the lower courts on such issues; (4) where court. This is precisely the judicial power that the 1987
the constitutional issues raised are better decided after a thorough Constitution, under Article VIII, Section 1, paragraph 2, speaks of
deliberation by a collegiate body and with the concurrence of the and which this Court has operationalized through a petition
majority of those who participated in its discussion; (5) where time for certiorari, under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
is of the essence; (6) where the act being questioned was that of xxx xxx xxx
a constitutional body; (7) where there is no other plain, speedy, It is not a viable legal position to claim that a TRO against a writ of
and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law that could free execution is issued against an erring sheriff, not against the
petitioner from the injurious effects of respondents' acts in violation issuing Judge. A TRO enjoining the enforceability of a writ
of their constitutional rights; and (8) the issues involve public addresses the writ itself, not merely the executing sheriff. . . . As
welfare, the advancement of public policy, the broader interest of already mentioned above, the appropriate action is to assail the
justice, or where the orders complained of are patent nullities, or implementation of the writ before the issuing court in whose behalf
where appeal can be considered as clearly an inappropriate the sheriff acts, and, upon failure, to seek redress through a higher
remedy. 8 judicial body. . . . . 11
Applying the foregoing ruling, it is quite clear that, in this case, the
Verily, the issues in this case could have been competently issuance of the subject writ of preliminary injunction was improper
resolved by the CA, thus, the Court was initially inclined to reject and, thus, correctible by certiorari. Herein respondent judge
taking cognizance of this case. However, we cannot close our does not have jurisdiction to hinder the enforcement of an
eyes to the unbecoming conduct exhibited by respondent judge in order of a co-equal court. He must be aware that said co-equal
obstinately issuing an injunction against the orders of a co-equal court had the exclusive jurisdiction or authority to correct its own
court despite this Court's consistent reiteration of the time-honored issuances if ever there was, indeed, a mistake. There is no
principle that "no court has the power to interfere by injunction with question, therefore, that subject writ of preliminary injunction is null
the judgments or decrees of a court of concurrent or coordinate and void.
jurisdiction. The various trial courts of a province or city, Further, had Judge Omelio not been dismissed from the service in
having the same or equal authority, should not, cannot, and 2013 for gross ignorance of the law and violation of judicial
are not permitted to interfere with their respective cases, conduct, he could have been subjected to an investigation again
much less with their orders or judgments." 9 The issue raised for gross ignorance due to his unprecedented acts in the case at
in this case, therefore, falls under one of the exceptions to the rule bar.
on hierarchy of courts, i.e., where the order complained of is a WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED and the Orders
patent nullity. dated July 29, 2009 and September 15, 2010, both issued by the
Atty. Cabili v. Judge Balindong 10 is closely analogous to the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 14, are hereby SET
present case. In Cabili, the RTC of Iligan City issued a writ of ASIDE and declared NULL and VOID.
execution, but the judgment debtor, instead of complying with said SO ORDERED.
writ, filed a separate petition for prohibition and mandamus with ||| (Barroso v. Omelio, G.R. No. 194767 , [October 14, 2015])
application for issuance of temporary restraining
order (TRO) and/or preliminary injunction with the RTC of Marawi 9. HERNANDEZ v. GELLA
City. After the hearing, the Presiding Judge of the RTC of Marawi FIRST DIVISION
City issued the TRO restraining the sheriff from enforcing the writ [A.M. No. RTJ-13-2356. June 9, 2014.]
of execution issued by the RTC of Iligan City. [Formerly OCA No. IPI-11-3701-RTJ]
In the aforementioned case, the Court struck down such action of ARGEL D. HERNANDEZ, complainant, vs. JUDGE VICTOR C.
the RTC of Marawi City, ruling thus: GELLA, PRESIDING JUDGE, CLARINCE B. JINTALAN, LEGAL
The doctrine of judicial stability or non-interference in the regular RESEARCHER, and ROWENA B. JINTALAN, SHERIFF IV, ALL
orders or judgments of a co-equal court is an elementary principle
FROM THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 52, Legal Researcher Jintalan explained that he had been tasked to
SORSOGON CITY, respondents. assist in the implementation of the writ by Sheriff Jintalan, who was
DECISION his wife; that police assistance became necessary because
BERSAMIN, J p: Hernandez and his uncle had been resisting the writ of execution,
We reiterate that an administrative complaint against a judge is not which was a lawful court order, by threatening Sheriff Jintalan with
a substitute for a proper remedy taken in due course to review and administrative and criminal cases, and even physical harm; that
undo his acts or omissions done in the performance of his judicial although admitting having instructed the hired men to destroy the
duties and functions. For any litigant to insist otherwise is chain of the fence and the door lock of the main door of
censurable because the complaint adversely affects the Hernandez's house, he had done so only to gain entry into and to
administration of justice and harms the reputation of a judicial exit from the property; that Hernandez and the other occupants of
officer. the house had earlier padlocked the gate and parked a ten-
FACTS: wheeler truck behind the fence to block the entry of the sheriff; that
In his verified complaint dated July 8, 2011, 1 complainant Argel Hernandez had also used his children as a shield by having them
D. Hernandez charged Judge Victor C. Gella, as the Presiding barricade the door to prevent entry of the sheriff's team; that
Judge of Branch 52 of the Regional Trial Court in Sorsogon City Hernandez had taunted the implementing officers into firing at his
(RTC), with gross ignorance of the law; and Sheriff IV Rowena B. children; that no jewelry and money were taken because the
Jintalan, also of Branch 52, and Legal Researcher Clarince B. members of the sheriff's team did not go inside Hernandez's
Jintalan with abuse of authority in connection with the bedroom; and that he did not owe any money to Hernandez. 5
implementation of the writ of execution issued in Case No. 2005-
7473, a proceeding for consolidation of ownership entitled Maria On her part, Sheriff Jintalan asserted that she had only performed
Purisima Borlasa v. Spouses Jesus Hernandez and Margarita de her ministerial duty to implement the writ of execution; that cutting
Vera. the chain of the fence and breaking the door knob had been
necessary to gain entry into the house; that her team could pull out
It appears that the property involved in Case No. 2005-7473 was only a few pieces of furniture and several sacks of palay because
sold at a public auction in which Maria Purisima Borlasa was Hernandez had used his children to barricade the entrance and
declared the winning bidder; that a final bill of sale was issued to had dared them to shoot at him and the children; that at one point
Borlasa on May 30, 2007; that in 2009, Borlasa's motion for the Hernandez had poked a gun at her; that they had loaded the
issuance of the writ of execution was granted; that in 2010, Sheriff inventoried items in the truck owned by Vicente Bonaobra to be
Jintalan started implementing the writ but was unsuccessful in brought to the latter's warehouse only for safekeeping; and that
doing so because Hernandez consistently found ways to resist her only the assisting policemen had carried guns during the execution
implementation, including the filing of a petition for certiorari in the proceedings. 6
Court of Appeals.
Ultimately, on May 31, 2011, Sheriff Jintalan successfully In its Report dated March 28, 2012, 7 the Office of the Court
implemented the writ of execution and entered the house of Administrator (OCA) recommended that:
Hernandez. 1. The administrative complaint against Judge Victor C. Gella,
Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, Sorsogon City
According to Hernandez, the implementation of the writ of be DISMISSED for being premature and judicial in nature;
execution was tainted with abuse. He claimed that Sheriff Jintalan 2. The administrative complaint against Rowena B. Jintalan,
and Legal Researcher Jintalan, together with policemen and Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, Sorsogon City be RE-
goons carrying bolos and mallets, had arrived at his house; that DOCKETED as a regular administrative matter;
she ordered the goons to destroy his house despite being made 3. Respondent Rowena B. Jintalan be found Guilty of Simple
aware of the pendency of the petition for certiorari in the CA; that Neglect of Duty and be SUSPENDED from office for one (1) month
the goons entered his house, and took his family's belongings and and one (1) day without pay; and
valuables outside the house and loaded them in a truck; that his 4. The administrative complaint against Clarince B. Jintalan, Legal
family's belongings and valuables were brought to a warehouse of Researcher, Regional Trial Court Branch 52, Sorsogon City
Vicente Bonaobra, who was the brother and attorney-in-fact of the be DISMISSED for being unsubstantiated. 8
plaintiff; that his children, who witnessed the proceedings, were Ruling
traumatized; and that he had a verbal argument with Legal
Researcher Jintalan, who had owed him some money. 2 We ACCEPT the findings of the OCA because they were
Hernandez added that such acts of Sheriff Jintalan and Legal supported by the records, and, accordingly, ADOPT its
Researcher Jintalan of destroying his house and taking his family's aforequoted recommendations.
belongings and valuables were in excess of their authority; and Re: Judge Gella
that such excess of authority would not have happened had Judge Hernandez's complaint against Judge Gella, being rooted in the
Gella not authorized the execution of the writ of execution denial of Hernandez's motion for reconsideration (vis--vis the
notwithstanding the pendency of the petition for certiorari in the denial of Hernandez's motion to quash the writ of execution),
CA. 3 unquestionably related to Judge Gella's performance of his judicial
The respondents denied the charges. office, and is for that reason outrightly dismissible. We reiterate
that an administrative remedy is neither alternative nor cumulative
Judge Gella narrated the background of Case No. 2005-7473 and to any proper judicial review. A litigant like Hernandez who is
set forth the events leading to the filing of the petition aggrieved by an order or judgment of the judge must pursue his
for certiorari by Hernandez in the CA and the enforcement of the proper available judicial remedies because only a higher court
writ of execution on May 31, 2011. He insisted that the RTC had exercising appellate authority can review and correct any error of
afforded due process to Hernandez; that prior to the judgment committed in the discharge of the judicial office. As to an
implementation of the writ of execution Sheriff Jintalan had already order or judgment tainted by grave abuse of discretion or a
accommodated Hernandez by granting him concessions; and that jurisdictional defect, only a higher court invested with supervisory
Hernandez was only a disgruntled litigant who refused to accept authority can revise the order or judgment. It is always worth
and to bow to the lawful orders and processes of the RTC. 4 stressing that an administrative remedy cannot be a proper means
to undo or rectify the order or judgment.
The filing of administrative complaints or just the threats of the he may be called to account by the State in such form and
filing of such complaints do subvert and undermine the before such tribunal as the law may have provided. But as the
independence of the Judiciary and its Judges. Thus, the Court duty neglected is not a duty to the individual, civil redress, as
does not tolerate unwarranted administrative charges brought for an individual injury, is not admissible." (Bold underscoring
against sitting magistrates in respect of their judicial actions. is part of the original text)
Moreover, as the Court pointedly observed in Re: Verified Re: Legal Researcher Jintalan
Complaint of Engr. Oscar L. Ongjoco, Chairman of the Board/CEO The complaint against Legal Researcher Jintalan was similarly
of FH-GYMN Multi-Purpose and Transport Service Cooperative, bereft of factual and legal merit. There is no question that Legal
against Hon. Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr., Hon. Ramon M. Bato, Jr. and Researcher Jintalan's participation in the implementation of the
Hon. Florito S. Macalino, Associate Justices, Court of writ of execution was upon the prior authorization of Judge Gella
Appeals, 9 to wit: in order to assist Sheriff Jintalan in her proceedings to implement
It is evident to us that Ongjoco's objective in filing the the writ of execution. To hold Legal Researcher Jintalan
administrative complaint was to take respondent Justices to task administratively liable is to unreasonably disregard his having
for the regular performance of their sworn duty of upholding the acted in the execution proceedings upon official authority of the
rule of law. He would thereby lay the groundwork for getting court itself, and would be a travesty of justice.
back at them for not favoring his unworthy cause. Such
actuations cannot be tolerated at all, for even a mere threat of Re: Sheriff Jintalan
administrative investigation and prosecution made against a The OCA's recommendation to hold Sheriff Jintalan
judge to influence or intimidate him in his regular administratively liable for simple neglect of duty is well-taken.
performance of the judicial office always subverts and With the implementation of the writ of execution being her purely
undermines the independence of the Judiciary. ministerial duty, Sheriff Jintalan must perform her duty strictly to
We seize this occasion, therefore, to stress once again that the letter. She thus knew that the levied personal properties of
disciplinary proceedings and criminal actions brought Hernandez must be kept safely in and under her direct custody,
against any judge in relation to the performance of his official not in and under the custody of any of the parties. 12 Her bringing
functions are neither complementary to nor suppletory of of such personal properties to the warehouse of Vicente Bonaobra
appropriate judicial remedies, nor a substitute for such despite being aware that the latter was the plaintiff's brother and
remedies. Any party who may feel aggrieved should resort to her attorney-in-fact for purposes of the case signified that she let
these remedies, and exhaust them, instead of resorting to herself serve as the "special deputy" of the winning
disciplinary proceedings and criminal actions. 10 (Bold litigant. 13 Therein lay the irregularity. Verily, she did not live up to
emphasis supplied) the standards prescribed by her office. Her conduct as a court
personnel must be beyond reproach and free from any suspicion
The nature of adjudication by a judicial magistrate as a function of that could taint the Judiciary. She should avoid any impression of
sovereignty invests the magistrate with a great degree of immunity impropriety, misdeed or negligence in the performance of official
from administrative and other liabilities. This the Court explained duties. 14
in Re: Verified Complaint for Disbarment of AMA LAND, INC. Sheriff Jintalan was thereby guilty of simple neglect of duty the
(Represented by Joseph B. Usita) against Court of Appeals failure to give proper attention to a task expected of an employee,
Associate Justices Hon. Danton Q. Bueser, Hon. Sesinando E. thus signifying a disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or
Villon and Hon. Ricardo G. Rosario: 11 indifference. Simple neglect of duty is punishable by suspension
Indeed, no judicial officer should have to fear or apprehend being of one month and one day to six months. 15 Under the established
held to account or to answer for performing his judicial functions circumstances, the penalty for Sheriff Jintalan is suspension
and office because such performance is a matter of public duty without pay for one month and one day.
and responsibility. The office and duty to render and administer WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the administrative
justice are function of sovereignty, and should not be simply taken complaints against Judge Victor C. Gella and Legal Researcher
for granted. As a recognized commentator on public offices and Clarince B. Jintalan of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, in
public officers has written: Sorsogon City; and PRONOUNCES Sheriff Rowena B.
It is a general principle, abundantly sustained by authority and Jintalan GUILTY of SIMPLE NEGLECT OF DUTY and,
reason, that no civil action can be sustained against a judicial accordingly, SUSPENDS her from office for one month and one
officer for the recovery of damages by one claiming to have been day without pay, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same
injured by the officer's judicial action within his jurisdiction. From or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.
the very nature of the case, the officer is called upon by law SO ORDERED.
to exercise his judgment in the matter, and the law holds his ||| (Hernandez v. Gella, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2356, [June 9, 2014])
duty to the individual to be performed when he has exercised
it, however erroneous or disastrous in its consequences it 10. ALANO v. SAHI
may appear either to the party or to others. FIRST DIVISION
A number of reasons, any one of them sufficient, have been [A.M. No. P-11-3020. June 25, 2014.]
advanced in support of this rule. Thus it is said of the judge: (Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 10-3525-P)
"His doing justice as between particular individuals, when PRESIDING JUDGE JUAN GABRIEL HIZON ALANO, MARY
they have a controversy before him, is not the end and object ANNABELLE A. KATIPUNAN, SUZEE WONG JAMOTILLO,
which were in view when his court was created, and he was ANALIE DEL RIO BALITUNG, EDWINO JAYSON OLIVEROS
selected to preside over or sit in it. Courts are created on AND ROBERTO BABAO DOO, complainants, vs. PADMA
public grounds; they are to do justice as between suitors, to LATIP SAHI, COURT INTERPRETER I, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT
the end that peace and order may prevail in the political TRIAL COURT (MCTC), MALUSO, BASILAN, respondent.
society, and that rights may be protected and preserved. The DECISION
duty is public, and the end to be accomplished is public; the LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J p:
individual advantage or loss results from the proper and The present administrative matter arose from a Verified
thorough or improper and imperfect performance of a duty for Complaint 1 for Gross Inefficiency, Gross Insubordination, and for
which his controversy is only the occasion. The judge being Notoriously Undesirable, filed by complainants Presiding
performs his duty to the public by doing justice between Judge Juan Gabriel Hizon Alano (Judge Alano), Mary Annabelle
individuals, or, if he fails to do justice as between individuals, A. Katipunan (Katipunan), Suzee Wong Jamotillo (Jamotillo),
Analie Del Rio Balitung (Balitung), Edwino Jayson Oliveros As to the allegations that respondent Sahi's action is notoriously
(Oliveros), and Roberto Babao Doo (Doo), of the 2nd Municipal undesirable, complainants claim that the latter even tried to
Circuit Trial Court (MCTC), Maluso, Basilan, against respondent implicate them when she was sued for extortion in A.M. No. 08-
Padma Latip Sahi (Sahi), Court Interpreter I, of the same court. 29960-P. They also claim that respondent Sahi always acted with
The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) summarized the indifference and aloofness towards them and other court staff in
complainants' charges against respondent Sahi, thus: and out of the office. Moreover, complainants assert that
Complainant Judge Alano claims that when he assumed office as respondent Sahi would always manipulate her officemates to do
presiding judge of the 2nd MCTC, Maluso, Basilan on 18 February her job and falsely implicate those who would do otherwise. They
2004, he immediately met with the staff of the said court regarding also assert that respondent Sahi's superiority complex and
ethical and work related standards. He even made sure that each condescension, brought about by her being a senior employee
of the staff members knows his or her job description well, with coupled by her ominous hypocrisy, has earned her the reputation
emphasis on respondent Sahi, since he learned that the latter is of being notoriously undesirable. 2
not performing her job to prepare minutes of proceedings,
calendar and keep records of calendared cases. From then on, In her Comment 3 dated July 11, 2011, respondent Sahi
complainant Judge Alano noticed that respondent Sahi has been vehemently denied the charges against her and asserted that the
grossly inefficient in performing her duties and such issue was allegations in the Verified Complaint are maliciously concocted lies
even raised during their Judicial Service Team Meetings. which are just part of complainant Judge Alano's scheme to get
Complainant Judge Alano alleges that from the day he resumed back at her for earlier filing a complaint for grave abuse of authority
office, respondent Sahi never prepared any court calendar or against said Judge. Respondent Sahi contended that in just a
minutes. He further alleges that respondent Sahi does not know short period of time from complainant Judge Alano's assumption
how to speak the Yakan and Visayan dialects, which is necessary as presiding judge of the 2nd MCTC for Sumisip, Maluso and
for her position. Also, complainant Judge Hizon gathered that even Lantawan, Basilan, the latter already ousted three court personnel
prior to 2004, it was Mary Annabelle A. Katipunan (one of the from the service, including former Clerk of Court Akil Pawaki, who,
complainants) who prepared the minutes of proceedings, calendar said Judge pressured to retire. She also refuted complainant
of cases and kept records of the same. Respondent Sahi also Judge Alano's charge that she does not know how to speak the
abused her position when she required one of the complainants, Yakan and Visayan dialects, calling attention to the fact that she
Suzee Wong Jamotillo, Court Stenographer I, to fill up her Income had been a court interpreter for years and had served several
Tax Return to include names of children that are not her own. She judges without any complaint of such nature. Respondent Sahi
also required complainant Analie Del Rio Balitung to prepare a further averred that she did not expect a good performance rating
promissory note in favor of a party litigant in an election protest from complainant Judge Alano since the said Judge already
before another court. disliked her from the very beginning. She insisted that she should
Complainant Judge Alano claims that in all cases he heard since not be held solely liable for the clerical errors pointed out by
2004, he was the one who would usually interpret the testimonies complainant Judge Alano because when she approached said
of the witnesses into English, to avoid inconvenience and delay in Judge, he ignored her, and even worse, at one time, he placed his
the proceedings. He also claims that respondent Sahi's clutch bag on top of his table and pulled out his gun. Lastly,
performance deteriorated to a point bordering to recklessness, respondent Sahi alleged that because of the unfair treatment she
resulting in her consecutive unsatisfactory ratings for the first and received from complainant Judge Alano, she suffered a stroke,
second semesters of 2008. leaving her with no choice but to resign from the service. Hence,
Furthermore, complainant Judge Alano asserts that when she argued that the administrative complaint against her was
respondent Sahi was assigned in the Office of the Clerk of Court, already moot and academic and should be dismissed.
Regional Trial Court, Basilan Province, her stay was no longer
extended and she was directed by the Court to return to her official In its Report dated September 20, 2011, the OCA recommended
position at the 2nd MCTC, S[u]misip-Maluso-Lantawan, Basilan in that:
A.M. No. 08-12350-MCTC dated March 2010. Complainant Judge 1. The instant administrative complaint against Padma Latip Sahi,
Alano also asserts that from the time that respondent Sahi Court Interpreter I, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Maluso, Basilan
reported back to office, she was not in the office for more than a be RE-DOCKETED as a regular administrative matter; and
month and worse, her Daily Time Records from August 2009 to 2. Respondent Sahi be held GUILTY for Inefficiency and
May 2010 bore no signature of those authorized to sign the same. Incompetence in the Performance of Official Duties and be meted
On 28 July 2009, complainant Judge Alano claims that respondent the penalty of fine equivalent to her two (2) months salary, to be
Sahi again received an unsatisfactory rating due to her poor paid within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice. 4
performance and unjustified failure to perform her duties. Even
worse, the very next day, after respondent Sahi received her In a Resolution 5 dated November 28, 2011, the Court re-
Notice of Unsatisfactory Rating, complainant Judge Alano again docketed the instant administrative complaint against respondent
called her attention due to her inexcusable errors in formatting and Sahi as a regular administrative matter and required the parties to
grammar. manifest if they were willing to submit the case for resolution on
On 16 September 2010, respondent Sahi calendared only one the basis of the records/pleadings filed within 10 days from notice.
case. In the morning of the same day, a representative from the Only complainants submitted their Manifestation dated February
Provincial Prosecutors' Office approached complainant Katipunan 16, 2012. 6 Respondent Sahi's failure to file the required
regarding the cases that are calendared on that day, since manifestation despite notice was deemed a waiver of her right to
respondent Sahi failed to post a copy outside the courtroom. do so. Resultantly, the Court considered the case submitted for
Consequently, at around 1:00 o'clock of the same day, respondent resolution.
Sahi failed to call the case for hearing, as she was not around.
However, the court's logbook shows that she was present at that HELD:
time. Because of respondent Sahi's inefficiency and stubborn The Court agrees with the findings of the OCA that respondent
refusal to perform her duties, complainant Judge Alano decided to Sahi is administratively liable for inefficiency and incompetence in
relieve her of her duties and designated complainants Jamotillo the performance of official duties.
and Balitung as acting court interpreters. The charge that respondent Sahi was remiss in her duties as court
interpreter has been duly proven. Not only do the complainants
corroborate one another, but the documentary evidence supports exacting standards for public office, especially on the part of those
the charge. expected to preserve the image of the judiciary, shall not be
In A.M. No. 08-12-350-MCTC dated March 10, 2010, respondent countenanced. It is the imperative and sacred duty of each and
Sahi was directed to report back to her official station at the 2nd everyone in the court to maintain its good name and standing as a
MCTC Sumipsip *-Maluso-Lantawan, Basilan, after her detail at true temple of justice. (Citations omitted.)
the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court, Basilan
Province, had already ended. Yet, respondent Sahi actually The Court further reminded court employees in Rodrigo-Ebron v.
reported back to her official station only on May 18, 2010. Adolfo, 9 that as public officers, they are bound to discharge their
Respondent Sahi did not give an explanation as to where she had duties with care, caution, and attention which prudent men usually
been reporting for work during the interval. Her Daily Time exercise in the management of their affairs; and that the image of
Records from August 2009 to May 2010 were not signed by a court of justice is mirrored in the conduct, official or otherwise, of
authorized persons. HcDSaT the men and women who work in the judiciary, from the judge to
The calendar of cases actually prepared by respondent Sahi for the lowest of its personnel.
July 29, 2010 is just one example of her carelessness and
inattention to details. The calendar contained several errors (i.e., Respondent Sahi's actuations fell short of these exacting
wrong name of accused and putting two different criminal cases standards for court personnel.
under one heading even though said cases have not been During the pendency of the present administrative matter,
consolidated) which may not only cause the court and the parties respondent Sahi suffered a stroke and resigned from office in
confusion and unjustified delays, but may also make the court January 2011. Her claim for separation benefits and accrued leave
appear inefficient in the eyes of the public. There is no showing credits though cannot be processed and released for lack of
that respondent Sahi eventually corrected the errors despite being requirements. Nonetheless, respondent Sahi's resignation does
instructed to do so by complainant Judge Alano. not render this case moot. Resignation is not a way out to evade
There was also respondent Sahi's failure to prepare a calendar of administrative liability when a court employee is facing
cases for September 16, 2010. A representative of the Office of administrative sanction. 10
the Provincial Prosecutor approached complainant Katipunan Section 46 (B) (4) of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases
about the hearing schedule as no calendar of cases was posted in the Civil Service (RRACCS) classifies inefficiency and
outside the courtroom. At 1:00 p.m., respondent Sahi was not incompetence in the performance of official duties as a grave
around to call the lone case scheduled to be heard that day, offense and punishable by suspension ranging from 6 months and
although the court's registry book showed that she logged in at 1 day to 1 year, for the first offense, and dismissal for the second
1:00 p.m. Fed up with respondent Sahi, complainant Judge Alano offense. At the same time, Section 48 of the RRACCS allows the
already assigned her work to other court employees. Court to consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances in the
The foregoing incidents demonstrate respondent Sahi's determination of the penalty to be imposed on the erring public
indifference to her work and lack of effort to improve despite employee.
already receiving unsatisfactory performance ratings for the first The Court takes into account the following factors in determining
and second semesters of 2008. the proper penalty to be imposed against respondent Sahi: (a)
Respondent Sahi's general denial carries little weight. As the respondent Sahi can no longer be suspended because of her
preceding paragraphs will show, there are specific charges against resignation; (b) respondent Sahi's poor health condition as of the
her, supported by documentary evidence, which she had the moment; and (c) the delay in the processing of respondent Sahi's
opportunity to directly address and explain, but she merely glossed separation benefits claim because of her failure to complete the
over. Her allegations that complainant Judge Alano was merely requirements. Consequently, the Court metes out upon
retaliating against her after she filed an administrative case against respondent Sahi the penalty of a fine equivalent to her salary for
him; that the other complainants are mere stooges, subservient to two months, which she is to pay the Court within 30 days from
complainant Judge Alano; that Judge Alano had been pressuring receipt of a copy of this Decision.
employees to leave the court; and that complainant Judge Alano WHEREFORE, respondent Padma Latip Sahi is found GUILTY of
gave her unsatisfactory performance rating because he did not like inefficiency and incompetence and is FINED an amount equivalent
her from the very beginning, are all uncorroborated and self- to her two months salary, to be paid to the Court within 30 days
serving. from receipt of a copy of this Decision.
SO ORDERED.
In contrast, complainants have adequately shown that respondent ||| (Alano v. Sahi, A.M. No. P-11-3020, [June 25, 2014], 737 PHIL
Sahi's unsatisfactory performance ratings were warranted in view 16-25)
of the error-filled output she had consistently produced and her
indifferent attitude towards her work. While it is true that
respondent Sahi is merely human and may commit mistakes, there
is simply no excuse for making the same mistakes repeatedly
despite her superior constantly calling her attention to correct
them. 7 Granting that respondent Sahi was not good at using
computers in the beginning, she should have taken steps to learn
and hone her computer skills which were essential to her work.

As the Court pronounced in Judge Domingo-Regala v. Sultan: 8


[N]o other office in the government service exacts a greater
demand for moral righteousness and uprightness from an
employee than the judiciary. The conduct and behavior of
everyone connected with an office charged with the dispensation
of justice, from the presiding judge to the lowliest clerk, must
always be beyond reproach and must be circumscribed with the
heavy burden of responsibility. Public officers must be accountable
to the people at all times and serve them with the utmost degree
of responsibility and efficiency. Any act which falls short of the