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PALE CASES – I. PRACTICE OF LAW actions brought by or against him.

He sued, as well, the public

prosecutors, the Judges of the Trial Courts, and the Justices of
C. APPEARANCE OF NON-LAWYERS the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court who at one time or
another, rendered a judgment, resolution or order adverse to
him, as well as the Clerks of Court and other Court employees
signing the notices thereof. In the aggregate, he has initiated or
Republic of the Philippines spawned in different fora the astounding number of no less-than
SUPREME COURT fifty (50) original or review proceedings, civil, criminal,
Manila administrative. For some sixteen (16) years now, to repeat, he
has been continuously cluttering the Courts with his repetitive,
and quite baseless if not outlandish complaints and contentions.

A.M. No. 93-7-696-0 February 21, 1995 The first bank that Joaquin T. Borromeo appears to have dealt
with was the Traders Royal Bank (TRB). On June 2, 1978, he
In Re JOAQUIN T. BORROMEO, Ex Rel. Cebu City got a loan from it in the sum of P45,000.00. This he secured by a
Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. real estate mortgage created over two parcels of land covered by
TCT No. 59596 and TCT No. 59755 owned, respectively, by
RESOLUTION Socorro Borromeo-Thakuria (his sister) and Teresita Winniefred
Lavarino. On June 16, 1978, Borromeo obtained a second loan
from TRB in the amount of P10,000.00, this time giving as
security a mortgage over a parcel of land owned by the Heirs of
Vicente V. Borromeo, covered by TCT No. RT-7634. Authority
PER CURIAM: to mortgage these three lots was vested in him by a Special
Power of Attorney executed by their respective owners.
It is said that a little learning is a dangerous thing; and that he
who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client. There would Additionally, on April 23, 1980, Borromeo obtained a Letter of
seem to be more than a grain of truth in these aphorisms; and Credit from TRB in the sum of P80,000.00, in consideration of
they appear to find validation in the proceeding at bench, at which he executed a Trust Receipt (No. 595/80) falling due on
least. July 22, 1980.2

The respondent in this case, Joaquin T. Borromeo, is not a Borromeo failed to pay the debts as contracted despite demands
lawyer but has apparently read some law books, and ostensibly therefor. Consequently, TRB caused the extra-judicial
come to possess some superficial awareness of a few substantive foreclosure of the mortgages given to secure them. At the public
legal principles and procedural rules. Incredibly, with nothing sale conducted by the sheriff on September 7, 1981, the three
more than this smattering of learning, the respondent has, for mortgaged parcels of land were sold to TRB as the highest
some sixteen (16) years now, from 1978 to the present, been bidder, for P73,529.09.
instituting and prosecuting legal proceedings in various courts,
dogmatically pontificating on errors supposedly committed by Within the redemption period, Borromeo made known to the
the courts, including the Supreme Court. In the picturesque Bank his intention to redeem the properties at their auction
language of former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, he has price. TRB manager Blas C. Abril however made clear that
"with all the valor of ignorance," 1 been verbally jousting with Borromeo would also have to settle his outstanding account
various adversaries in diverse litigations; or in the words of a under Trust Receipt No. 595/80 (P88,762.78), supra. Borromeo
well-known song, rushing into arenas "where angels fear to demurred, and this disagreement gave rise to a series of lawsuits
tread." Under the illusion that his trivial acquaintance with the commenced by him against the Bank, its officers and counsel, as
law had given him competence to undertake litigation, he has aforestated.
ventured to represent himself in numerous original and review
proceedings. Expectedly, the results have been disastrous. In the
process, and possibly in aid of his interminable and quite A. CIVIL CASES
unreasonable resort to judicial proceedings, he has seen fit to
compose and circulate many scurrilous statements against 1. RTC Case No. R-
courts, judges and their employees, as well as his adversaries, 22506; CA G.R.
for which he is now being called to account. CV
No. 07015; G.R. No. 833
Respondent Borromeo's ill-advised incursions into lawyering 06
were generated by fairly prosaic transactions with three (3)
banks which came to have calamitous consequences for him On October 29, 1982 Borromeo filed a complaint in the Cebu
chiefly because of his failure to comply with his contractual City Regional Trial Court for specific performance and
commitments and his stubborn insistence on imposing his own damages against TRB and its local manager, Blas
terms and conditions for their fulfillment. These banks were: Abril, docketed as Civil Case No. R-22506. The complaint
Traders Royal Bank (TRB), United Coconut Planters Bank sought to compel defendants to allow redemption of the
(UCPB), Security Bank & Trust Co. (SBTC). Borromeo foreclosed properties only at their auction price, with stipulated
obtained loans or credit accommodation from them, to secure interests and charges, without need of paying the obligation
which he constituted mortgages over immovables belonging to secured by the trust receipt above mentioned. Judgment was
him or members of his family, or third persons. He failed to pay rendered in his favor on December 20, 1984 by Branch 23 of the
these obligations, and when demands were made for him to do Cebu City RTC; but on defendants' appeal to the Court of
so, laid down his own terms for their satisfaction which were Appeals — docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 07015 — the
quite inconsistent with those agreed upon with his obligees or judgment was reversed, by decision dated January 27, 1988. The
prescribed by law. When, understandably, the banks refused to Court of Appeals held that the "plaintiff (Borromeo) has lost his
let him have his way, he brought suits right and left, right of redemption and can no longer compel defendant to
successively if not contemporaneously, against said banks, its allow redemption of the properties in question."
officers, and even the lawyers who represented the banks in the

Borromeo elevated the case to this court where his appeal was 4. RTC Case No. CEB-
docketed as G.R. No. 83306. By Resolution dated August 15, 10368;
1988, this Court's First Division denied his petition for review CA-G.R. SP No. 27100
"for failure . . . to sufficiently show that the respondent Court of
Appeals had committed any reversible error in its questioned Before Case No. CEB-9845 was finally decided, Borromeo
judgment, it appearing on the contrary that the said decision is filed, on May 30, 1991, still another civil action for the same
supported by substantial evidence and is in accord with the facts cause against TRB, its manager, Jacinto Jamero, and its
and applicable law." Reconsideration was denied, by Resolution lawyers, Atty. Mario Ortiz and the HERSINLAW law office. This
dated November 23, 1988. A second motion for reconsideration action was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-10368, and was
was denied by Resolution dated January 30, 1989, as was a third described as one for "Recovery of Sums of Money, Annulment
such motion, by Resolution dated April 19, 1989. The last of Titles with Damages." The case met the same fate as the
resolution also directed entry of judgment and the remand of the others. It was, on defendants' motion, dismissed on September 9,
case to the court of origin for prompt execution of judgment. 1991 by the RTC (Branch 145) on the ground of litis pendentia.
Entry of judgment was made on May 12, 1989. By Resolution
dated August 7, 1989, the Court denied another motion of
Borromeo to set aside judgment; and by Resolution dated The RTC ruled that —
December 20, 1989, the Court merely noted without action his
manifestation and motion praying that the decision of the Court Civil Case No. CEB-9485 will readily show
of Appeals be overturned, and declared that "no further motion that the defendants therein, namely the
or pleading . . . shall be entertained . . . ." Honorable Jufelinito Pareja, Enriqueta
Belarmino, Eva Igot, Traders Royal Bank,
2. RTC Case No. CEB Arceli Bustamante, Jacinto Jamero, Mario
8750; Ortiz and HERSINLAW are the same
CA-G.R. SP No. 22356 persons or nearly all of them who are
impleaded as defendants in the present Civil
Case No. CEB-10368, namely, the Traders
The ink was hardly dry on the resolutions just mentioned before Royal Bank, Jacinto Jamero, Mario Ortiz
Borromeo initiated another civil action in the same Cebu City and HERSINLAW. The only difference is
Regional Court by which he attempted to litigate the same that more defendants were impleaded in
issues. The action, against the new TRB Branch Manager, Civil Case No. CEB-9485, namely, City
Jacinto Jamero, was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-8750. As Prosecutor Jufelinito Pareja and his
might have been anticipated, the action was, on motion of the assistants Enriqueta Belarmino and Eva Igot.
defense, dismissed by Order dated May 18, 1990, 3 on the ground The inclusion of the City Prosecutor and his
of res judicata, the only issue raised in the second action — i.e., two assistants in Civil Case No. CEB-9485
Borromeo's right to redeem the lots foreclosed by TRB — was however merely incidental as
having been ventilated in Civil Case No. R-22506 (Joaquin T. apparently they had nothing to do with the
Borromeo vs. Blas C. Abril and Traders Royal Bank) (supra) questioned transaction in said case. . . .
and, on appeal, decided with finality by the Court of Appeals
and the Supreme Court in favor of defendants therein.
The Court likewise found that the reliefs prayed for were the
same as those sought in Civil Case No. CEB-9485, and the
The Trial Court's judgment was affirmed by the Court of factual bases of the two cases were essentially the same — the
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 22356. alleged fraudulent foreclosure and consolidation of the three
properties mortgaged years earlier by Borromeo to TRB.
3. RTC Case No. CEB-
9485; For some reason, the Order of September 9, 1991 was set aside
CA-G.R. SP No. 28221 by an Order rendered by another Judge on November 11,
1991 6 — the Judge who previously heard the case having
In the meantime, and during the pendency of Civil Case No. R- inhibited himself; but this Order of November 11, 1991 was, in
22506, TRB consolidated its ownership over the foreclosed turn, nullified by the Court of Appeals (9th Division), by
immovables. Contending that act of consolidation amounted to a Decision promulgated on March 31, 1992 in CA-G.R. SP No.
criminal offense, Borromeo filed complaints in the Office of the 27100 (Traders Royal Bank vs. Hon. Celso M. Gimenez, etc.
City Prosecutor of Cebu against the bank officers and lawyers. and Joaquin T. Borromeo), 7 which decision also directed
These complaints were however, and quite correctly, given short dismissal of Borromeo's complaint.
shrift by that Office. Borromeo then filed suit in the Cebu City
RTC, this time not only against the TRB, TRB officers Jacinto 5. RTC Case No. CEB-
Jamero and Arceli Bustamante, but also against City Prosecutor 6452
Jufelinito Pareja and his assistants, Enriqueta Belarmino and
Eva A. Igot, and the TRB lawyers, Mario Ortiz and the law,
firm, HERSINLAW. The action was docketed as Civil Case No. When a new branch manager, Ronald Sy, was appointed for
CEB-9485. The complaint charged Prosecutors Pareja, TRB, Cebu City, Borromeo forthwith made that event the
Belarmino and Igot with manifest partiality and bias for occasion for another new action, against TRB, Ronald Sy, and
dismissing the criminal cases just mentioned; and faulted TRB the bank's attorneys — Mario Ortiz, Honorato Hermosisima, Jr.,
and its manager, Jamero, as well as its lawyers, for consolidating Wilfredo Navarro and HERSINLAW firm. This action was
the titles to the foreclosed properties in favor of the bank despite docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-6452, and described as one for
the pendency of Case No. R-22506. This action also failed. On "Annulment of Title with Damages." The complaint, dated
defendants' motion, it was dismissed on February 19, 1992 by October 20, 1987, again involved the foreclosure of the three (3)
the RTC. (Branch 22) on the ground of res judicata (being immovables above mentioned, and was anchored on the alleged
identical with Civil Case Nos. R-22506 and CEB-8750, already malicious, deceitful, and premature consolidation of titles in
decided with finality in favor of TRB), and lack of cause of TRB's favor despite the pendency of Civil Case No. 22506. On
action (as to defendants Pareja, Belarmino and Igot). defendant's motion, the trial court 8 dismissed the case on the
ground of prematurity, holding that "(a)t this point . . ., plaintiff's
right to seek annulment of defendant Traders Royal Bank's title
Borromeo's certiorari petition to the Court of Appeals (CA G.R. will only accrue if and when plaintiff will ultimately and finally
SP No. 28221) was dismissed by that Court's 16th Division 4 on win Civil Case No. R-22506."
October 6, 1992, for the reason that the proper remedy was

6. RTC Case No. CEB- 19344. After a while, Borromeo moved to dismiss the case on
8236 the ground of denial of his right to a speedy trial. His motion
was denied by Order of Judge Pampio A. Abarintos dated April
Having thus far failed in his many efforts to demonstrate to the 10, 1992. In the same order, His Honor set an early date for
courts the "merit" of his cause against TRB and its officers and Borromeo's arraignment and placed the case "under a continuous
lawyers, Borromeo now took a different tack by also suing (and trial system on the dates as may be agreed by the defense and
thus also venting his ire on) the members of the appellate courts prosecution." Borromeo moved for reconsideration. When his
who had ruled adversely to him. He filed in the Cebu City RTC, motion was again found without merit, by Order dated May 21,
Civil Case No. CEB-8236, impleading as defendants not only 1992, he betook himself to the Court of Appeals on a special
the same parties he had theretofore been suing — TRB and its civil action of certiorari, to nullify these adverse orders, his
officers and lawyers (HERSINLAW, Mario Ortiz) — but also the action being docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 28275.
Chairman and Members of the First Division of the Supreme
Court who had repeatedly rebuffed him in G.R. No. 83306 (SEE Here again, Borromeo failed. The Court of Appeals declared
sub-head I, A, 1, supra), as well as the Members of the 5th, 9th that the facts did not show that there had been unreasonable
and 10th Divisions of the Court of Appeals who had likewise delay in the criminal action against him, and denied his petition
made dispositions unfavorable to him. His complaint, dated for being without merit. 14
August 22, 1989, aimed to recover damages from the defendants
Justices for — Borromeo then filed a petition for review with this Court (G.R.
No. 112928), but by resolution dated January 31, 1994, the same
. . . maliciously and deliberately stating was dismissed for failure of Borromeo to comply with the
blatant falsehoods and disregarding evidence requisites of Circulars Numbered 1-88 and 19-91. His motion
and pertinent laws, rendering manifestly for reconsideration was subsequently denied by Resolution
unjust and biased resolutions and decisions dated March 23, 1994.
bereft of signatures, facts or laws in support
thereof, depriving plaintiff of his cardinal a. Clarificatory
rights to due process and against deprivation Communications to
of property without said process, tolerating, Borromeo Re "Minute
approving and legitimizing the patently Resolutions"
illegal, fraudulent, and contemptuous acts of
defendants TRB, (which) constitute a)
GRAVE DERELICTION OF DUTY AND He next filed a Manifestation dated April 6, 1994 calling the
ABUSE OF POWER emanating from the Resolution of March 23, 1994 "Un-Constitutional, Arbitrary and
people, b) FLAGRANT VIOLATIONS OF tyrannical and a gross travesty of 'Justice,'" because it was
THE CONSTITUTION, CARDINAL "signed only by a mere clerk and . . . (failed) to state clear facts
PRIMARY RIGHTS DUE PROCESS, and law," and "the petition was not resolved on MERITS nor by
ART. 27, 32, CIVIL CODE, Art. 208, REV. any Justice but by a mere clerk." 15
PENAL CODE, and R.A. 3019, for which
defendants must be held liable under said The Court responded with another Resolution, promulgated on
laws. June 22, 1994, and with some patience drew his attention to the
earlier resolution "in his own previous case (Joaquin T.
The complaint also prayed for reconveyance of the "fake titles Borromeo vs. Court of Appeals and Samson Lao, G.R. No.
obtained fraudulently by TRB/HERSINLAW," and recovery of 82273, 1 June 1990; 186 SCRA 1) 16 and on the same issue he
"100,000.00 moral damages; 30,000.00 exemplary damages; and now raises." Said Resolution of June 22, 1994, after reiterating
P5,000.00 litigation expenses." This action, too, met a quick and that the notices sent by the Clerk of Court of the Court En
unceremonious demise. On motion of defendants TRB and Banc or any of the Divisions simply advise of and quote the
HERSINLAW, the trial court, by Order dated November 7, resolution actually adopted by the Court after deliberation on a
1989,9 dismissed the case. particular matter, additionally stated that Borromeo "knew, as
well, that the communications (notices) signed by the Clerk of
Court start with the opening clause —
7. RTC Case No. CEB-
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a
resolution of the First Division of this Court
It appears that Borromeo filed still another case to litigate the dated. _________,
same cause subject of two (2) prior actions instituted by him.
This was RTC Case No. CEB-13069, against TRB and the
latter's lawyers, Wilfredo Navarro and Mario Ortiz. The action thereby indisputably showing that it is not the Clerk of Court
was dismissed in an Order dated October 4, 1993, 10 on the who prepared or signed the resolutions."
ground of res judicata — the subject matter being the same as
that in Civil Case No. R-22506, decision in which was affirmed This was not, by the way, the first time that the matter had been
by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 07015 as well as by explained to Borromeo. The record shows that on July 10, 1987,
this Court in G.R. No. 83306 11 — and litis pendentia — the he received a letter from Clerk of Court Julieta Y. Carreon (of
subject matter being also the same as that in Civil Case No. this Court's Third Division) dealing with the subject, in relation
CEB-8750, decision in which was affirmed by the Court of to G.R. No. 77243. 17 The same matter was also dealt with in the
Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 22356.12 letter received by him from Clerk of Court Luzviminda D. Puno,
dated April 4, 1989, and in the letter to him of Clerk of Court
8. RTC Criminal Case (Second Division) Fermin J. Garma, dated May 19, 1989.18 And
No. CBU-19344; the same subject was treated of in another Resolution of this
CA-G.R. SP Court, notice of which was in due course served on him, to wit:
No. 28275; G.R. No. 112 that dated July 31, 1989, in G.R. No. 87897.19
On April 17, 1990 the City Prosecutor of Cebu City filed an
information with the RTC of Cebu (Branch 22) against Mention has already been made of Borromeo's attempt — with
Borromeo charging him with a violation of the Trust Receipts "all the valor of ignorance" — to fasten not only civil, but also
Law.13 The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. CBU- criminal liability on TRB, its officers and lawyers. 20 Several

other attempts on his part to cause criminal prosecution of those 2. I.S.Nos. 88-205 to 88-
he considered his adversaries, will now be dealt with here. 207

1. I. S. Nos. 90-1187 and While Joaquin Borromeo's appeal (G.R. No. 83306) was still
90-1188 pending before the Supreme Court, 22 an affidavit was executed
in behalf of TRB by Arceli Bustamante, in connection with the
On March 7, 1990, Borromeo filed criminal complaints with the former's fire insurance claim over property registered in its name
Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor against Jacinto Jamero (then — one of two immovables formerly owned by Socorro B.
still TRB Branch Manager), "John Doe and officers of Traders Thakuria (Joaquin Borromeo's sister) and foreclosed by said
Royal Bank." The complaints (docketed as I.S. Nos. 90-1187- bank. 23 In that affidavit, dated September 10, 1987, Bustamante
88) accused the respondents of "Estafa and Falsification of stated that "On 24 June 1983, TRB thru foreclosure acquired
Public Documents." He claimed, among others that the bank and real property together with the improvements thereon which
its officers, thru its manager, Jacinto Jamero, sold properties not property is located at F. Ramos St., Cebu City covered by TCT
owned by them: that by fraud, deceit and false pretenses, No. 87398 in the name or TRB." The affidavit was notarized by
respondents negotiated and effected the purchase of the Atty. Manuelito B. Inso.
(foreclosed) properties from his (Borromeo's) mother, who "in
duress, fear and lack of legal knowledge," agreed to the sale Claiming that the affidavit was "falsified and perjurious"
thereof for only P671,000.00, although in light of then because the claim of title by TRB over the foreclosed lots was a
prevailing market prices, she should have received P588,030.00 "deliberate, wilful and blatant fasehood in that, among others: . .
more. . the consolidation was premature, illegal and invalid,"
Borromeo filed a criminal complaint with the Cebu City Fiscal's
In a Joint Resolution dated April 11, 1990, 21 the Cebu City Office against the affiant (Bustamante) and the notarizing
Fiscal's office dismissed the complaints observing that actually, lawyer (Atty. Inso) for "falsification of public document, false
the Deed of Sale was not between the bank and Borromeo's pretenses, perjury." On September 28, 1988, the Fiscal's Office
mother, but between the bank and Mrs. Thakuria (his sister), one dismissed the complaint. 24 It found no untruthful statements in
of the original owners of the foreclosed properties; and that the affidavit or any malice in its execution, considering that
Borromeo, being a stranger to the sale, had no basis to claim Bustamante's statement was based on the Transfer Certificate of
injury or prejudice thereby. The Fiscal ruled that the bank's Title in TRB's file, and thus the document that Atty. Inso
ownership of the foreclosed properties was beyond question as notarized was legally in order.
the matter had been raised and passed upon in a judicial
litigation; and moreover, there was no proof of the document 3. OMB-VIS-89-00136
allegedly falsified nor of the manner of its falsification.
This Resolution of this Court (First Division) in G.R. No. 83306
a. I.S. Nos. 87-3795 and dated August 15, 1988 — sustaining the judgment of the Court
89-4234 of Appeals (10th Division) of January 27, 1988 in CA-G.R. CV
No. 07015, supra, was made the subject of a criminal complaint
Evidently to highlight Borromeo's penchant for reckless filing of by Borromeo in the Office of the Ombudsman, Visayas,
unfounded complaints, the Fiscal also adverted to two other docketed as OMB-VIS-89-00136. His complaint — against
complaints earlier filed in his Office by Borromeo — involving "Supreme Court Justice (First Div.) and Court of Appeals
the same foreclosed properties and directed against respondent Justice (10th Div)" — was dismissed for lack of merit in a
bank officers' predecessors (including the former Manager, Resolution issued on February 14, 1990 25 which, among other
Ronald Sy) and lawyers — both of which were dismissed for things, ruled as follows:
lack of merit. These were:
It should be noted and emphasized that
a. I. S. No. 87-3795 (JOAQUIN T. complainant has remedies available under
BORROMEO vs. ATTY. MARIO ORTIZ the Rules of Court, particularly on civil
and RONALD SY) for "Estafa Through procedure and existing laws. It is not the
Falsification of Public Documents, Deceit prerogative of this Office to make a review
and False Pretenses." — This case was of Decisions and Resolutions of judicial
dismissed by Resolution dated January 19, courts, rendered within their competence.
1988 of the City Prosecutor's Office because The records do not warrant this Office to
based on nothing more than a letter dated take further proceedings against the
June 4, 1985, sent by Bank Manager Ronald respondents.
Sy to the lessee of a portion of the
foreclosed immovables, advising the latter to In addition, Sec. 20. of R.A. 6770, "the
remit all rentals to the bank as new owner Ombudsman Act states that the Office of the
thereof, as shown by the consolidated title; Ombudsman may not conduct the necessary
and there was no showing that respondent investigation of any administrative act or
Atty. Ortiz was motivated by fraud in omission complained of if it believes that (1)
notarizing the deed of sale in TRB's favor the complainant had adequate remedy in
after the lapse of the period of redemption, another judicial or quasi-judicial body;" and
or that Ortiz had benefited pecuniarily from Sec. 21 the same law provides that the
the transaction to the prejudice of Office of the Ombudsman does not have
complainant; and disciplinary authority over members of the
b. I.S. No. 89-4234 (JOAQUIN T.
for "Estafa Through False Pretenses and PLANTERS BANK (UCPB)
Falsification of Public Documents." — This
case was dismissed by Resolution dated As earlier stated, 26 Borromeo (together with a certain Mercader)
January 31, 1990. also borrowed money from the United Coconut Planters Bank
(UCPB) and executed a real estate mortgage to secure
repayment thereof. The mortgage was constituted over a 122-

square-meter commercial lot covered by TCT No. 75680 in judgment, Borromeo having failed to move for reconsideration
Borromeo's name. This same lot was afterwards sold on August within the reglementary period, the same was simply noted
7, 1980 by Borromeo to one Samson K. Lao for P170,000.00, without action, in a Resolution dated November 27, 1989.
with a stipulation for its repurchase (pacto de retro) by him
(Borromeo, as the vendor). The sale was made without the Notices of the foregoing Resolutions were, in accordance with
knowledge and consent of UCPB. established rule and practice, sent to Borromeo over the
signatures of the Clerk of Court and Assistant Clerk of Court
A. CIVIL CASES (namely: Attys. Julieta Y. CARREON and Alfredo
MARASIGAN, respectively).
Now, just as he had defaulted in the payment of the loans and
credit accommodations he had obtained from the Traders Royal a. RTC Case No. CEB-
Bank, Borromeo failed in the fulfillment of his obligations to the 8679
Following the same aberrant pattern of his judicial campaign
Shortly after learning of Borromeo's default, and obviously to against Traders Royal Bank, Borromeo attempted to vent his
obviate or minimize the ill effects of the latter's delinquency, resentment even against the Supreme Court officers who, as just
Lao applied with the same bank (UCPB) for a loan, offering the stated, had given him notices of the adverse dispositions of this
property he had purchased from Borromeo as collateral. UCPB Court's Third Division. He filed Civil Case No. CEB-8679 in the
was not averse to dealing with Lao but imposed several Cebu City RTC (CFI) for recovery of damages against "Attys.
conditions on him, one of which was for Lao to consolidate his Julieta Y. Carreon and Alfredo Marasigan, Division Clerk of
title over the property. Lao accordingly instituted a suit for Court and Asst. Division Clerk of Court, Third Division, and
consolidation of title, docketed as Civil Case No. R-21009. Atty. Jose I. Ilustre, Chief of Judicial Records Office." He
However, as will shortly be narrated, Borromeo opposed the charged them with usurpation of judicial functions, for allegedly
consolidation prayed for. As a result, UCPB cancelled Lao's "maliciously and deviously issuing biased, fake, baseless and
application for a loan and itself commenced proceedings unconstitutional 'Resolution' and 'Entry of Judgment' in G.R.
foreclose the mortgage constituted by Borromeo over the No. 82273."
Summonses were issued to defendants by RTC Branch 18
This signaled the beginning of court battles waged by Borromeo (Judge Rafael R. Ybañez, presiding). These processes were
not only against Lao, but also against UCPB and the latter's brought to the attention of this Court's Third Division. The latter
lawyers, battles which he (Borromeo) fought resolved to treat the matter as an incident in G.R. No. 82273,
contemporaneously with his court war with Traders Royal Bank. and referred it to the Court En Banc on April 25, 1990. By
Resolution (issued in said G.R. No. 82273, supra) dated June 1,
1. RTC Case No. R- 1990, the Court En Banc ordered Judge Ybañez to quash the
21009; AC-G.R. summonses, to dismiss Civil Case No. CEB-8679, and "not to
No. CV- issue summons or otherwise to entertain cases of similar nature
07396; G.R. No. 82273 which may in the future be filed in his court." Accordingly,
Judge Ibañez issued an Order on June 6, 1990 quashing the
summonses and dismissing the complaint in said Civil Case No.
The first of this new series of court battles was, as just stated, CEB-8679.
the action initiated by Samson Lao in the Regional Trial Court
of Cebu (Branch 12), docketed as Case No. R-21009, for
consolidation of title in his favor over the 122-square-meter lot The Resolution of June 1, 1990 27 explained to Borromeo in no
subject of the UCPB mortgage, in accordance with Article 1007 little detail the nature and purpose of notices sent by the Clerks
of the Civil Code. In this suit Lao was represented by Atty. of Court of decisions or resolutions of the Court En Banc or the
Alfredo Perez, who was later substituted by Atty. Antonio Divisions, in this wise:
Regis. Borromeo contested Lao's application.
This is not the first time that Mr. Borromeo
Judgment was in due course rendered by the RTC (Branch 12, has filed charges/complaints against officials
Hon. Francis Militante, presiding) denying consolidation of the Court. In several letter complaints
because the transaction between the parties could not be filed with the courts and the Ombudsman,
construed as a sale with pacto de retro being in law an equitable Borromeo had repeatedly alleged that he
mortgage; however, Borromeo was ordered to pay Lao the sum "suffered injustices," because of the
of P170,000.00, representing the price stipulated in the sale a disposition of the four (4) cases he
retro, plus the amounts paid by Lao for capital gains and other separately appealed to this Court which were
taxes in connection with the transaction (P10,497.50). resolved by minute resolutions, allegedly in
violation of Sections 4 (3), 13 and 14 of
Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. His
Both Lao and Borromeo appealed to the Court of Appeals. Lao's invariable complaint is that the resolutions
appeal was dismissed for failure of his lawyer to file brief in his which disposed of his cases do not bear the
behalf. Borromeo's appeal — AC-G.R. No. CV-07396 — signatures of the Justices who participated in
resulted in a Decision by the Court of Appeals dated December the deliberations and resolutions and do not
14, 1987, affirming the RTC's judgment in toto. show that they voted therein. He likewise
complained that the resolutions bear no
The Appellate Court's decision was, in turn, affirmed by this certification of the Chief Justice and that
Court (Third Division) in a four-page Resolution dated they did not state the facts and the law on
September 13, 1989, promulgated in G.R. No. 82273 — an which they were based and were signed only
appeal also taken by Borromeo. Borromeo filed a motion for by the Clerks of Court and therefore
reconsideration on several grounds, one of which was that the "unconstitutional, null and void."
resolution of September 13, 1989 was unconstitutional because
contrary to "Sec. 4 (3), Art. VIII of the Constitution," it was not xxx xxx xxx
signed by any Justice of the Division, and there was "no way of
knowing which justices had deliberated and voted thereon, nor
of any concurrence of at least three of the members." Since the The Court reminds all lower courts, lawyers,
motion was not filed until after there had been an entry of and litigants that it disposes of the bulk of its

cases by minute resolutions and decrees resolutions issued would not only unduly
them as final and executory, as were a case delay the issuance of its resolutions but a
is patently without merit, where the issues great amount of their time would be spent on
raised are factual in nature, where the functions more properly performed by the
decision appealed from is in accord with the Clerk of Court and which time could be
facts of the case and the applicable laws, more profitably used in the analysis of cases
where it is clear from the records that the and the formulation of decisions and orders
petition is filed merely to forestall the early of important nature and character. Even with
execution of judgment and for non- the use of this procedure, the Court is still
compliance with the rules. The resolution struggling to wipe out the backlogs
denying due course always gives the legal accumulated over the years and meet the
basis. As emphasized in In Re: Wenceslao ever increasing number of cases coming to
Laureta, 148 SCRA 382, 417 [1987], "[T]he it. . . .
Court is not 'duty bound' to render signed
Decisions all the time. It has ample b. RTC CIVIL CASE
discretion to formulate Decisions and/or NO. CEB-(6501)
Minute Resolutions, provided a legal basis 6740; G.R. No. 84054
is given, depending on its evaluation of a
case" . . . This is the only way whereby it
can act on all cases filed before it and, It is now necessary to digress a little and advert to actions
accordingly, discharge its constitutional which, while having no relation to the UCPB, TRB or SBTC,
functions. . . . are relevant because they were the predicates for other suits filed
by Joaquin Borromeo against administrative officers of the
Supreme Court and the Judge who decided one of the cases
. . . (W)hen the Court, after deliberating on a adversely to him.
petition and any subsequent pleadings,
manifestations, comments, or motions
decides to deny due course to the petition The record shows that on or about December 11, 1987,
and states that the questions raised are Borromeo filed a civil action for damages against a certain
factual, or no reversible error in the Thomas B. Tan and Marjem Pharmacy, docketed as Civil Case
respondent court's decision is shown, or for No. CEB-6501. On January 12, 1988, the trial court dismissed
some other legal basis stated in the the case, without prejudice, for failure to state a cause of action
resolution, there is sufficient compliance and prematurity (for non-compliance with P.D. 1508).
with the constitutional requirement . . . (of
Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution What Borromeo did was simply to re-file the same complaint
"that no petition for review or motion for with the same Court, on March 18, 1988. This time it was
reconsideration shall be refused due course docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-6740, and assigned to Branch
or denied without stating the legal basis 17 of the RTC of Cebu presided by Hon. Mario Dizon. Again,
thereof"). however, on defendants' motion, the trial court dismissed the
case, in an order dated May 28, 1988. His first and second
For a prompt dispatch of actions of the motions for reconsideration having been denied, Borromeo filed
Court, minute resolutions are promulgated a petition for review before this Court, docketed as G.R. No.
by the Court through the Clerk of Court, 84054 (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Tomas Tan and Non. Mario
who takes charge of sending copies thereof Dizon).
to the parties concerned by quoting verbatim
the resolution issued on a particular case. It In a Resolution dated August 3, 1988, the Court required
is the Clerk of Court's duty to inform the petitioner to comply with the rules by submitting a verified
parties of the action taken on their cases statement of material dates and paying the docket and legal
quoting the resolution adopted by the Court. research fund fees; it also referred him to the Citizens Legal
The Clerk of Court never participates in the Assistance Office for help in the case. His petition was
deliberations of a case. All decisions and eventually dismissed by Resolution of the Second Division
resolutions are actions of the Court. The dated November 21, 1988, for failure on his part to show any
Clerk of Court merely transmits the Court's reversible error in the trial court's judgment. His motion for
action. This was explained in the case — reconsideration was denied with finality, by Resolution dated
G.R. No. 56280, "Rhine Marketing Corp. v. January 18, 1989.
Felix Gravante, et al.," where, in a resolution
dated July 6, 1981, the Court Borromeo wrote to Atty. Fermin J. Garma (Clerk of Court of the
said — "[M]inute resolutions of this Court Second Division) on April 27, 1989 once more remonstrating
denying or dismissing unmeritorious that the resolutions received by him had not been signed by any
petitions like the petition in the case at bar, Justice, set forth no findings of fact or law, and had no
are the result of a thorough deliberation certification of the Chief Justice. Atty. Garma replied to him on
among the members of this Court, which May 19, 1989, pointing out that "the minute resolutions of this
does not and cannot delegate the exercise of Court denying dismissing petitions, like the petition in the case
its judicial functions to its Clerk of Court or at bar, which was denied for failure of the counsel and/or
any of its subalterns, which should be petitioner to sufficiently show that the Regional Trial Court of
known to counsel. When a petition is denied Cebu, Branch 17, had committed any reversible error in the
or dismissed by this Court, this Court questioned judgment [resolution dated November 21, 1988], are
sustains the challenged decision or order the result of a thorough deliberation among the members of this
together with its findings of facts and legal Court, which does not and cannot delegate the exercise of its
conclusions. judicial function to its Clerk of Court or any of its subalterns.
When the petition is denied or dismissed by the Court, it sustains
Minute resolutions need not be signed by the the challenged decision or order together with its findings of
members of the Court who took part in the facts and legal conclusions."
deliberations of a case nor do they require
the certification of the Chief Justice. For to Borromeo obviously had learned nothing from the extended
require members of the Court to sign all Resolution of June 1, 1990 in G.R. No. 82273, supra (or the

earlier communications to him on the same subject) which had Borromeo perfected an appeal to the Court of Appeals where it
so clearly pointed out that minute resolutions of the Court are as was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 10951. That Court, thru its
much the product of the Members' deliberations as full-blown Ninth Division (per Martinez, J., ponente, with de la Fuente and
decisions or resolutions, and that the intervention of the Clerk Pe, JJ., concurring), dismissed his appeal and affirmed the Trial
consists merely in the ministerial and routinary function of Court's judgment.
communicating the Court's action to the parties concerned.
Borromeo filed a petition far review with the Supreme Court
c. RTC Case No. CEB- which, in G.R. No. 87897 dismissed it for insufficiency in form
9042 and substance and for being "largely unintelligible." Borromeo's
motion for reconsideration was denied by Resolution dated June
What Borromeo did next, evidently smarting from this latest 25, 1989. A second motion for reconsideration was denied in a
judicial rebuff, yet another in an already long series, was to Resolution dated July 31, 1989 which directed as well entry of
commence a suit against Supreme Court (Second Division) judgment (effected on August 1, 1989). In this Resolution, the
Clerk of Court Fermin J. Garma and Assistant Clerk of Court Court (First Division) said:
Tomasita Dris. They were the officers who had sent him notices
of the unfavorable resolutions in G.R. No. 84054, supra. His The Court considered the Motion for
suit, filed on June 1, 1990, was docketed as Case No. CEB-9042 Reconsideration dated July 4, 1989 filed by
(Branch 8, Hon. Bernardo Salas presiding). Therein he petitioner himself and Resolved to DENY
complained essentially of the same thing he had been harping on the same for lack of merit, the motion
all along: that in relation to G.R. No. 91030 — in which the having been filed without "express leave of
Supreme Court dismissed his petition for "technical reasons" court" (Section 2, Rule 52, Rules of Court)
and failure to demonstrate any reversible error in the challenged apart from being a reiteration merely of the
judgment — the notice sent to him — of the "unsigned and averments of the Petition for Review dated
unspecific" resolution of February 19, 1990, denying his motion April 14, 1989 and the Motion for
for reconsideration — had been signed only by the defendant Reconsideration dated May 25, 1989. It
clerks of court and not by the Justices. According to him, he had should be noted that petitioner's claims have
thereupon written letters to defendants demanding an already been twice rejected as without merit,
explanation for said "patently unjust and un-Constitutional first by the Regional Trial Court of Cebu
resolutions," which they ignored; defendants had usurped and then by the Court of Appeals. What
judicial functions by issuing resolutions signed only by them petitioner desires obviously is to have a third
and not by any Justice, and without stating the factual and legal ruling on the merits of his claims, this time
basis thereof; and defendants' "wanton, malicious and patently by this Court. Petitioner is advised that a
abusive acts" had caused him "grave mental anguish, severe review of a decision of the Court of Appeals
moral shock, embarrassment, sleepless nights and worry;" and is not a matter of right but of sound judicial
consequently, he was entitled to moral damages of no less than discretion and will be granted only when
P20,000.00 and exemplary damages of P10,000.00, and there is a special and important reason
litigation expenses of P5,000.00. therefor (Section 4, Rule 45); and a petition
for review may be dismissed summarily on
On June 8, 1990, Judge Renato C. Dacudao ordered the records the ground that "the appeal is without merit,
of the case transmitted to the Supreme Court conformably with or is prosecuted manifestly for delay or the
its Resolution dated June 1, 1990 in G.R. No. 82273, entitled question raised is too unsubstantial to
"Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Hon. Court of Appeals and Samson- require consideration" (Section 3, Rule 45),
Lao," supra — directing that all complaints against officers of or that only questions of fact are raised in
that Court be forwarded to it for appropriate action. 28 the petition, or the petition otherwise fails to
comply with the formal requisites prescribed
therefor (Sections 1 and 2, Rule 45; Circular
Borromeo filed a "Manifestation/Motion" dated June 27, 1990 No. 1-88). Petitioner is further advised that
asking the Court to "rectify the injustices" committed against the first sentence of Section 14, Article VIII
him in G.R. Nos. 83306, 84999, 87897, 77248 and 84054. This of the 1987 Constitution refers to a decision,
the Court ordered expunged from the record (Resolution, July and has no application to a resolution as to
19, 1990). which said section pertinently provides that
a resolution denying a motion for
2. RTC Case No. R- reconsideration need state only the legal
21880; CA-G.R. basis therefor; and that the resolution of
CV June 26, 1989 denying petitioner's first
No. 10951; G.R. No. 878 Motion for Reconsideration dated May 25,
97 1989 does indeed state the legal reasons
therefor. The plain and patent signification
Borromeo also sued to stop UCPB from foreclosing the of the grounds for denial set out in the
mortgage on his property. In the Cebu City RTC, he filed a Resolution of June 26, 1989 is that the
complaint for "Damages with Injunction," which was docketed petitioner's arguments — aimed at the
as Civil Case No. R-21880 (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. United setting aside of the resolution denying the
Coconut Planters Bank, et al.). Named defendants in the petition for review and consequently
complaint were UCPB, Enrique Farrarons (UCPB Cebu Branch bringing about a review of the decision of
Manager) and Samson K. Lao. UCPB was represented in the the Court of Appeals — had failed to
action by Atty. Danilo Deen, and for a time, by Atty. Honorato persuade the Court that the errors imputed to
Hermosisima (both being then resident partners of ACCRA Law the Court of Appeals had indeed been
Office). Lao was represented by Atty. Antonio Regis. Once committed and therefore, there was no cause
again, Borromeo was rebuffed. The Cebu RTC (Br. 11, Judge to modify the conclusions set forth in that
Valeriano R. Tomol, Jr. presiding) dismissed the complaint, judgment; and in such a case, there is
upheld UCPB's right to foreclose, and granted its counterclaim obviously no point in reproducing and
for moral damages in the sum of P20,000.00; attorney's fees restating the conclusions and reasons
amounting to P10,000.00; and litigation expenses of P1,000.00. therefor of the Court of Appeals.

Premises considered, the Court further Predictably, another action, Civil Case No. CEB-8178, was
Resolved to DIRECT ENTRY OF commenced by Borromeo in the RTC of Cebu City, this time
JUDGMENT. against the Trial Judge who had lately rendered judgment
adverse to him, Judge Generoso Juaban. Also impleaded as
On August 13, 1989 Borromeo wrote to Atty. Estrella C. defendants were UCPB, and Hon. Andres Narvasa (then
Pagtanac, then the Clerk of Court of the Court's First Division, Chairman, First Division), Estrella G.Pagtanac and Marissa
denouncing the resolution above mentioned as "a LITANY OF Villarama (then, respectively, Clerk of Court and Assistant
LIES, EVASIONS, and ABSURD SELF-SERVING LOGIC Clerk of Court of the First Division), and others. Judge German
from a Supreme Court deluded and drunk with power which it G. Lee of Branch 15 of said Court — to which the case was
has forgotten emanates from the people," aside from being raffled — caused issuance of summonses which were in due
"patently UNCONSTITUTIONAL for absence of signatures and course served on September 22, 1989, among others, on said
facts and law: . . . and characterizing the conclusions therein as defendants in and of the Supreme Court. In an En
"the height of ARROGANCE and ARBITRARINESS assuming Banc Resolution dated October 2, 1989 — in G.R. No. 84999 —
a KING-LIKE AND EVEN GOD-LIKE this Court, required Judge Lee and the Clerk of Court and
POWER totally at variance and contradicted by . . . Assistant Clerk of Court of the Cebu RTC to show cause why no
CONSTITUTIONAL provisions . . ." To the letter Borromeo disciplinary action should be taken against them for issuing said
attached copies of (1) his "Open Letter to the Ombudsman" summonses.
dated August 10, 1989 protesting the Court's "issuing
UNSIGNED, UNSPECIFIC, and BASELESS 'MINUTE Shortly thereafter, Atty. Jose L. Cerilles — who, as already
RESOLUTIONS;'" (2) his "Open Letter of Warning" dated stated, had for a time represented Borromeo in G.R. No. 84999
August 12, 1989; and (3) a communication of Domingo M. — filed with this Court his withdrawal of appearance, alleging
Quimlat, News Ombudsman, Phil. Daily Inquirer, dated August that there was "no compatibility" between him and his client,
10, 1989. His letter was ordered expunged from the record Borromeo — because "Borromeo had been filing pleadings,
because containing "false, impertinent and scandalous matter papers; etc. without . . . (his) knowledge and advice" — and
(Section 5, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court)." Another letter of the declaring that he had "not advised and . . . (had) no hand in the
same ilk, dated November 7, 1989, was simply "NOTED filing of (said) Civil Case CEB 8178 before the Regional Trial
without action" by Resolution promulgated on December 13, Court in Cebu. On the other hand, Judge Lee, in his
1989. "Compliance" dated October 23, 1989, apologized to the Court
and informed it that he had already promulgated an order
3. RTC Case No. CEB- dismissing Civil Case No. CEB-8178 on motion of the principal
4852; CA G.R. defendants therein, namely, Judge Generoso Juaban and United
SP Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB). Atty. Cerilles' withdrawal of
No. 14519; G.R. No. 849 appearance, and Judge Lee's compliance, were noted by the
99 Court in its Resolution dated November 29, 1989.

In arrant disregard of established rule and practice, Borromeo 4. RTC Case No. CEB-
filed another action to invalidate the foreclosure effected at the 374; CA-G.R.
instance of UCPB, which he had unsuccessfully tried to prevent CV
in Case No. CEB-21880. This was Civil Case No. CEB-4852 of No. 04097; G.R. No. 772
the Cebu City RTC (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. UCPB, et al.) for 48
"Annulment of Title with Damages." Here, UCPB was
represented by Atty. Laurence Fernandez, in consultation with It is germane to advert to one more transaction between
Atty. Deen. Borromeo and Samson K. Lao which gave rise to another action
that ultimately landed in this Court. 29 The transaction involved
On December 26, 1987, the Cebu City RTC (Br. VII, Hon. a parcel of land of Borromeo's known as the "San Jose Property"
Generoso A. Juaban, presiding) dismissed the complaint on the (TCT No. 34785). Borromeo sued Lao and another person
ground of litis pendentia and ordered Borromeo to pay attorney's (Mariano Logarta) in the Cebu Regional Trial Court on the
fees (P5,000.00) and litigation expenses (P1,000.00). theory that his contract with the latter was not an absolute sale
but an equitable mortgage. The action was docketed as Case No.
CEB-374. Judgment was rendered against him by the Trial
Borromeo instituted a certiorari action in the Court of Appeals Court (Branch 12) declaring valid and binding the purchase of
to annul this judgment (CA G.R. SP No. 14519); but his action the property by Lao from him, and the subsequent sale thereof
was dismissed by the Appellate Court on June 7, 1988 on by Lao to Logarta. Borromeo appealed to the Court of Appeals,
account of his failure to comply with that Court's Resolution of but that Court, in CA-G.R. CV No. 04097, affirmed the Trial
May 13, 1988 for submission of certified true copies of the Trial Court's judgment, by Decision promulgated on October 10,
Court's decision of December 26, 1987 and its Order of 1986.
February 26, 1988, and for statement of "the dates he received . .
. (said) decision and . . . order."
Borromeo came up to this Court. on appeal, his review petition
being docketed as G.R. No. 77248. By Resolution of the Second
Borromeo went up to this Court on appeal, his appeal being Division of March 16, 1987, however, his petition was denied
docketed as G.R. No. 84999. In a Resolution dated October 10, for the reason that "a) the petition as well as the docket and legal
1988, the Second Division required comment on Borromeo's research fund fees were filed and paid late; and (b) the issues
petition for review by the respondents therein named, and raised are factual and the findings thereon of the Court of
required Borromeo to secure the services of counsel. On Appeals are final." He moved for reconsideration; this was
November 9, 1988, Atty. Jose L. Cerilles entered his appearance denied by Resolution dated June 3, 1987.
for Borromeo. After due proceedings, Borromeo's petition was
dismissed, by Resolution dated March 6, 1989 of the Second
Division for failure to sufficiently show that the Court of He thereafter insistently and persistently still sought
Appeals had committed any reversible error in the questioned reconsideration of said adverse resolutions through various
judgment. His motion for reconsideration dated April 4, 1989, motions and letters, all of which were denied. One of his letters
again complaining that the resolution contained no findings of — inter alia complaining that the notice sent to him by the Clerk
fact and law, was denied. of Court did not bear the signature of any Justice — elicited the
following reply from Atty. Julieta Y. Carreon, Clerk of Court of
the Third Division, dated July 10, 1987, reading as follows:
a. RTC Case No. CEB-

Dear Mr. Borromeo: 1. Case No; OMB-VIS-
This refers to your letter dated June 9, 1987
requesting for a copy of the actual resolution In relation to the dispositions made of Borromeo's appeals and
with the signatures of all the Justices of the other attempts to overturn the judgment of the RTC in Civil
Second Division in Case G.R. No. 77243 Case No. 21880, 30 Borromeo filed with the Office of the
whereby the motion for reconsideration of Ombudsman (Visayas) on August 18, 1989, a complaint against
the dismissal of the petition was denied for the Chairman and Members of the Supreme Court's First
lack of merit. Division; the Members of the Ninth Division of the Court of
Appeals, Secretary of Justice Sedfrey Ordoñez, Undersecretary
In connection therewith, allow us to cite for of Justice Silvestre Bello III, and Cebu City Prosecutor
your guidance, Resolution dated July 6, Jufelinito Pareja, charging them with violations of the Anti-
1981 in G.R. No. 56280, Rhine Marketing Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Revised Penal Code.
Corp. v. Felix Gravante, Jr., et al., wherein
the Supreme Court declared that "(m)inute By Resolution dated January 12, 1990, 31 the Office of the
resolutions of this Court denying or Ombudsman dismissed Borromeo's complaint, opining that the
dismissing unmeritorious petitions like the matters therein dealt with had already been tried and their merits
petition in the case at bar, are the result of a determined by different courts including the Supreme Court
thorough deliberation among the members (decision, June 26, 1989, in G.R. No. 87987). The
of this Court, which does not and cannot resolution inter alia stated that, "Finally, we find it unreasonable
delegate the exercise of its judicial functions for complainant to dispute and defiantly refuse to acknowledge
to its Clerk of Court or any of its subalterns, the authority of the decree rendered by the highest tribunal of
which should be known to counsel. When a the land in this case. . . ."
petition is denied or dismissed by this Court,
this Court sustains the challenged decision 2. Case No. OMB-VIS-
or order together with its findings of facts 90-00418
and legal conclusions." It is the Clerk of
Court's duty to notify the parties of the
action taken on their case by quoting the A second complaint was filed by Borromeo with the Office of
resolution adopted by the Court. the Ombudsman (Visayas), dated January 12, 1990, against
Atty. Julieta Carreon, Clerk of Court of the Third Division,
Supreme Court, and others, charging them with a violation of
R.A. 3019 (and the Constitution, the Rules of Court, etc.) for
e functions in that they issued
supposedly usurping judicial
Supreme Court resolutions r (actually, notices of resolutions) in
connection with G.R. No.y82273 which did not bear the justices'
signatures. 32 In a Resolution dated March 19, 1990, the Office
of the Ombudsman dismissed t his complaint for "lack of merit"
r all the questioned actuations of the
declaring inter alia that "in
respondents alleged to constitute usurpation . . . it cannot be
reasonably and fairly inferred that respondents really were the
ones rendering them," and y "it is not the prerogative of this office
to review the correctness of judicial resolutions." 33

J 1. RTC Case
U No. 21615; CA-
L G.R. No. 20617; G.R. N
I o. 94769
T which Joaquin T. Borromeo
The third banking institution
engaged in running courtAbattles, was the Security Bank & Trust
Company (SBTC). From it Borromeo had obtained five (5)
loans in the aggregate sumY of P189,126.19, consolidated in a
single Promissory Note on . May 31, 1979. To secure payment
thereof, Summa Insurance Corp. (Summa) issued a performance
bond which set a limit ofCP200,000.00 on its liability thereunder.
A obligations to Traders Royal Bank
Again, as in the case of his
and UCPB, Borromeo failed R to discharge his contractual
obligations. Hence, SBTCR brought an action in the Cebu City
RTC against Borromeo and E Summa for collection.
The action was docketed as Civil Case No. R-21615, and was
assigned to Branch 10, Judge Leonardo Cañares, presiding.
B. CRIMINAL CASES Plaintiff SBTC was represented by Atty. Edgar Gica, who later
withdrew and was substituted by the law firm, HERSINLAW.
Just as he had done with regard to the cases involving the The latter appeared in the suit through Atty. Wilfredo Navarro.
Traders Royal Bank, and similarly without foundation,
Borromeo attempted to hold his adversaries in the cases Judgment by default was rendered in the case on January 5,
concerning the UCPB criminally liable. 1989; both defendents were sentenced to pay to SBTC,

solidarily, the amount of P436,771.32; 25% thereof as attorney's The defendants filed motions to dismiss. By Order dated August
fees (but in no case less than P20,000.00); and P5,000.00 as 30, 1991, the RTC of Cebu City, Branch 15 (Judge German G.
litigation expenses; and the costs. A writ of execution issued in Lee, Jr., presiding) dismissed the complaint on grounds of res
due course pursuant to which an immovable of Borromeo was judicata, immunity of judges from liability in the performance
levied on, and eventually sold at public auction on October 19, of their official functions, and lack of jurisdiction.
1989 in favor of the highest bidder, SBTC.
Borromeo took an appeal to the Court of Appeals, which
On February 5, 1990, Borromeo filed a motion to set aside the docketed it as CA-G.R. CV No. 39047.
judgment by default, but the same was denied on March 6, 1990.
His Motion for Reconsideration having likewise been denied, In the course thereof, he filed motions to cite Atty. Wilfredo F.
Borromeo went to the Court of Appeals for relief (CA-G.R. No. Navarro, lawyer of SBTC, for contempt of court. The motions
20617), but the latter dismissed his petition. Failing in his bid were denied by Resolution of the Court of Appeals (Special 7th
for reconsideration, Borromeo appealed to this Court Division) dated April 13, 1993. 35 Said the Court:
on certiorari — his appeal being docketed as G.R. No. 94769.
On September 17, 1990, this Court dismissed his petition, and
subsequently denied with finality his motion for reconsideration. Stripped of their disparaging and
Entry of Judgment was made on December 26, 1990. intemperate innuendoes, the subject
motions, in fact, proffer nothing but a stark
difference in opinion as to what can, or
However, as will now be narrated, and as might now have been cannot, be considered res judicata under the
anticipated in light of his history of recalcitrance and bellicosity, circumstances.
these proceedings did not signify the end of litigation
concerning Borromeo's aforesaid contractual commitments to
SBTC, but only marked the start of another congeries of actions xxx xxx xxx
and proceedings, civil and criminal concerning the same matter,
instituted by Borromeo. By their distinct disdainful tenor towards the
appellees, and his apparent penchant
2. RTC Case No. CEB- for argumentum ad hominen, it is, on the
9267 contrary the appellant who precariously
treads the acceptable limits of argumentation
and personal advocacy. The Court,
While G.R. No. 94769 was yet pending in the Supreme Court, moreover, takes particular note of the
Borromeo commenced a suit of his own in the Cebu irresponsible leaflets he admits to have
RTC against SBTC; the lawyers who represented it in Civil Case authored and finds them highly
No. R-21625 — HERSINLAW, Atty. Wilfredo Navarro, reprehensible and needlessly derogatory to
Atty. Edgar Gica; and even the Judge who tried and disposed of the dignity, honor and reputation of the
the suit, Hon. Leonardo Cañares. He denominated his action, Courts. That he is not a licensed law
docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-9267, as one for "Damages practitioner is, in fact, the only reason that
from Denial of Due Process, Breach of Contract, Fraud, Unjust his otherwise contumacious behavior is
Judgment, with Restraining Order and Injunction." His presently accorded the patience and leniency
complaint accused defendants of "wanton, malicious and it probably does not deserve. Considering
deceitful acts" in "conniving to deny plaintiff due process and the temperament he has, by far, exhibited,
defraud him through excessive attorney's fees," which acts the appellant is, however, sufficiently
caused him grave mental and moral shock, sleepless nights, warned that similar displays in the future
worry, social embarrassment and severe anxiety for which he shall accordingly be dealt with with
sought payment of moral and exemplary damages as well as commensurate severity.
litigation expenses.
By Order dated May 21, 1991, the RTC of Cebu City, Branch 16
(Hon. Godardo Jacinto, presiding) granted the demurrer to
evidence filed by defendants and dismissed the complaint, A. RTC Case No. CEB-2074; CA-G.R,
holding that "since plaintiff failed to introduce evidence to CV No. 14770; G.R. No. 98929
support . . . (his) causes of action asserted . . ., it would be
superfluous to still require defendants to present their own One other case arising from another transaction of Borromeo
evidence as there is nothing for them to controvert." with Samson K. Lao is pertinent. This is Case No. CEB-2974 of
the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. It appears that sometime in
2. RTC Case No. CEB- 1979, Borromeo was granted a loan of P165,000.00 by the
10458; Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) on the security of
CA-G.R. CV No. 39047 a lot belonging to him in San Jose Street, Cebu City, covered by
TCT No. 34785.36 Later, Borromeo obtained a letter of credit in
the amount of P37,000.00 from Republic Planters Bank, with
Nothing daunted, and running true to form, Borromeo filed on Samson Lao as co-maker. Borromeo failed to pay his
July 2, 1991 still another suit against the same parties — SBTC, obligations; Lao agreed to, and did pay Borromeo's obligations
HERSINLAW, and Judge Cañares — but now including Judge to both banks (PBCom and Republic), in consideration of which
Godardo Jacinto, 34 who had rendered the latest judgment a deed of sale was executed in his favor by Borromeo over two
against him. This suit, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-10458, (2) parcels of land, one of which was that mortgaged to PBCom,
was, according to Borromeo, one "for Damages (For Unjust as above stated. Lao then mortgaged the land to PBCom as
Judgment and Orders, Denial of Equal Protection of the Laws security for his own loan in the amount of P240,000.00.
Violation of the Constitution, Fraud and Breach of Contract)."
Borromeo faulted Judges Cañares and Jacinto "for the way they
decided the two cases (CVR-21615 & CEB NO. 9267)," and Borromeo subsequently sued PBCom, some of its personnel, and
contended that defendants committed "wanton, malicious, and Samson Lao in the Cebu Regional Trial Court alleging that the
unjust acts" by "conniving to defraud plaintiff and deny him defendants had conspired to deprive him of his property.
equal protection of the laws and due process," on account of Judgment was rendered against him by the Trial Court.
which he had been "caused untold mental anguish, moral shock, Borromeo elevated the case to the Court of Appeals where his
worry, sleepless nights, and embarrassment for which the former appeal was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 14770. On March 21,
are liable under Arts. 20, 21, 27, and 32 of the Civil Code." 1990, said Court rendered judgment affirming the Trial Court's

decision, and on February 7, 1991, issued a Resolution denying Borromeo's motion for reconsideration dated September 20,
Borromeo's motion for reconsideration. His appeal to this Court, 1994 was denied "for lack of sufficient factual and legal basis"
docketed as G.R. No. 98929, was given short shrift. On May 29, by an Order dated November 15, 1994.
1991, the Court (First Division) promulgated a Resolution
denying his petition for review "for being factual and for failure V. ADMINISTRATIVE CASE No. 3433
. . . to sufficiently show that respondent court had committed
any reversible error in its questioned judgment."
A. Complaint Against Lawyers
of his Court Adversaries
Stubbornly, in his motion for reconsideration, he insisted the
notices of the resolutions sent to him were unconstitutional and
void because bearing no signatures of the Justices who had taken Borromeo also initiated administrative disciplinary proceedings
part in approving the resolution therein mentioned. against the lawyers who had appeared for his adversaries —
UCPB and Samson K. Lao — in the actions above mentioned,
and others. As already mentioned, these lawyers were: Messrs.
B. RTC Case No. CEB-11528 Laurence Fernandez, Danilo Deen, Honorato Hermosisima,
Antonio Regis, and Alfredo Perez. His complaint against them,
What would seem to be the latest judicial dispositions rendered docketed as Administrative Case No. 3433, prayed for their
against Borromeo, at least as of date of this Resolution, are two disbarment. Borromeo averred that the respondent lawyers
orders issued in Civil Case No. CEB-11528 of the Regional connived with their clients in (1) maliciously misrepresenting a
Trial Court at Cebu City (Branch 18), which was yet another deed of sale with pacto de retro as a genuine sale, although it
case filed by Borromeo outlandishly founded on the theory that was actually an equitable mortgage; (2) fraudulently depriving
a judgment promulgated against him by the Supreme Court complainant of his proprietary rights subject of the Deed of Sale;
(Third Division) was wrong and "unjust." Impleaded as and (3) defying two lawful Court orders, all in violation of their
defendant in the action was former Chief Justice Marcelo B. lawyer's oath to do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any
Fernan, as Chairman of the Third Division at the time in in Court. Borromeo alleged that respondents Perez and Regis
question. On August 31, 1994 the presiding judge, Hon. falsely attempted to consolidate title to his property in favor of
Galicano O. Arriesgado, issued a Resolution inter Lao.
alia dismissing Borromeo's complaint "on grounds of lack of
jurisdiction and res judicata." His Honor made the following B. Answer of Respondent Lawyers
pertinent observations:
The respondent lawyers denounced the disbarment complaint as
. . . (T)his Court is of the well-considered "absolutely baseless and nothing but pure harassment." In a
view and so holds that this Court has indeed pleading dated July 10, 1990, entitled "Comments and Counter
no jurisdiction to review, interpret or reverse Motion to Cite Joaquin Borromeo in Contempt of Court;" July
the judgment or order of the Honorable 10, 1990, filed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu
Supreme Court. The acts or omissions City Chapter, signed by Domero C. Estenzo (President), Juliano
complained of by the plaintiff against the Neri (Vice-President), Ulysses Antonio C. Yap (Treasurer);
herein defendant and the other personnel of Felipe B. Velasquez (Secretary), Corazon E. Valencia
the highest Court of the land as alleged in (Director), Virgilio U. Lainid (Director), Manuel A. Espina
paragraphs 6 to 12 of plaintiff's complaint (Director), Ildefonsa A. Ybañez (Director), Sylvia G. Almase
are certainly beyond the sphere of this (Director), and Ana Mar Evangelista P. Batiguin (Auditor). The
humble court to consider and pass upon to lawyers made the following observations:
determine their propriety and legality. To try
to review, interpret or reverse the judgment
or order of the Honorable Supreme Court It is ironic. While men of the legal
would appear not only presumptuous but profession regard members of the Judiciary
also contemptuous. As argued by the lawyer with deferential awe and respect sometimes
for the defendant, a careful perusal of the to the extent of cowering before the might of
allegations in the complaint clearly shows the courts, here is a non-lawyer who, with
that all material allegations thereof are gleeful abandon and unmitigated insolence,
directed against a resolution of the Supreme has cast aspersions and shown utter
Court which was allegedly issued by the disregard to the authority and name of the
Third Division composed of five (5) courts.
justices. No allegation is made directly
against defendant Marcelo B. Fernan in his And lawyers included. For indeed, it is very
personal capacity. That being the case, how unfortunate that here is a non-lawyer who
could this Court question the wisdom of the uses the instruments of justice to harass
final order or judgment of the Supreme lawyers and courts who crosses his path
Court (Third Division) which according to more especially if their actuations do not
the plaintiff himself had issued a resolution conform with his whims and caprices.
denying plaintiffs petition and affirming the
Lower Court's decision as reflected in the Adverting to letters publicly circulated by Borromeo, inter
"Entry of Judgment." Perhaps, if there was alia charging then Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan with
such violation of the Rules of Court, due supposed infidelity and violation of the constitution, etc., the
process and Sec. 14, Art. 8 of the lawyers went on to say the following:
Constitution by the defendant herein, the
appropriate remedy should not have been
obtained before this Court. For an inferior The conduct and statement of Borromeo
court to reverse, interpret or review the acts against this Honorable Court, and other
of a superior court might be construed to a members of the Judiciary are clearly and
certain degree as a show of an uncommon grossly disrespectful, insolent and
common sense. Lower courts are without contemptuous. They tend to bring dishonor
supervising jurisdiction to interpret or to to the Judiciary and subvert the public
reverse the judgment of the higher courts. confidence on the courts. If unchecked, the
scurrilous attacks will undermine the dignity
of the courts and will result in the loss of

confidence in the country's judicial system same letter, he specified what he considered to be some of "the
and administration of justice. terrible injustices inflicted on me by this Court."

. . . (S)omething should be done to protect In another letter to Chief Justice Fernan, he observed that "3
the integrity of the courts and the legal years after EDSA, your pledges have not been fulfilled. Injustice
profession. So many baseless badmouthing continues and as you said, the courts are agents of oppression,
have been made by Borromeo against this instead of being saviours and defenders of the people. The
Honorable Court and other courts that for saddest part is that (referring again to minute resolutions) even
him to go scot-free would certainly be the Supreme Court, the court of last resort, many times,
demoralizing to members of the profession sanctions injustice and the trampling of the rule of law and due
who afforded the court with all the respect process, and does not comply with the Constitution when it
and esteem due them. should be the first to uphold and defend it . . . ." Another
circulated letter of his, dated June 21, 1989 and captioned,
Subsequently, in the same proceeding; Borromeo filed another "Open Letter to Supreme Court Justices Marcelo Fernan and
pleading protesting the alleged "refusal" of the Cebu City Andres Narvasa," repeated his plaint of having "been the victim
Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to act on his of many . . . 'Minute Resolutions' . . . which in effect sanction
disbarment cases "filed against its members." the theft and landgrabbing and arson of my properties by
BANK, AND one TOMAS B. TAN — all without stating any
C. Decision of the IBP FACT or LAW to support your dismissal of . . . (my) cases,
despite your firm assurances (Justice Fernan) that you would
On March 28, 1994, the National Executive Director, IBP (Atty. cite me such facts or laws (during our talk in your house last
Jose Aguila Grapilon) transmitted to this Court the notice and March 12 1989);" and that "you in fact have no such facts or
copy of the decision in the case, reached after due investigation, laws but simply want to ram down a most unjust Ruling in favor
as well as the corresponding records in seven (7) volumes. Said of a wrongful party. . . ."
decision approved and adopted the Report and Recommendation
dated December 15, 1993 of Atty. Manuel P. Legaspi, President, In another flyer entitled in big bold letters, "A Gov't That Lies!
IBP, Cebu City Chapter, representing the IBP Commission on Blatant attempt to fool people!" he mentions what he regards as
Bar Discipline, recommending dismissal of the complaint as "The blatant lies and contradictions of the Supreme Court, CA to
against all the respondents and the issuance of a "warning to support the landgrabbing by Traders Royal Bank of Borromeos'
Borromeo to be more cautious and not be precipitately Lands." Another flyer has at the center the caricature of a
indiscriminate in the filing of administrative complaints against person, seated on a throne marked Traders Royal Bank,
lawyers." 37 surrounded by such statements as, "Sa TRB para kami ay
royalty. Nakaw at nakaw! Kawat Kawat! TRB WILL STEAL!"
VI. SCURRILOUS WRITINGS etc Still another "circular" proclaims: "So the public may know:
Supreme Court minute resolutions w/o facts, law, or signatures
Forming part of the records of several cases in this Court are violate the Constitution" and ends with the admonition:
copies of letters ("open" or otherwise), "circulars," flyers or "Supreme Court, Justice Fernan: STOP VIOLATING THE
leaflets harshly and quite unwarrantedly derogatory of the many CHARTER." 38
court judgments or directives against him and defamatory of his
adversaries and their lawyers and employees, as well as the One other "circular" reads:
judges and court employees involved in the said adverse
dispositions — some of which scurrilous writings were adverted SC, NARVASA — TYRANTS!!!
to by the respondent lawyers in Adm. Case No. 3433, supra. — CODDLERS OF CROOKS!
The writing and circulation of these defamatory writing were — VIOLATOR OF LAWS
apparently undertaken by Borromeo as a parallel activity to his
"judicial adventures." The Court of Appeals had occasion to
refer to his "apparent penchant for argumentum ad hominen" by: JOAQUIN BORROMEO
and of the "irresponsible leaflets he admits to have authored . . .
(which were found to be) highly reprehensible and needlessly NARVASA's SC has denied being a
derogatory to the dignity, honor and reputation of the Courts." DESPOT nor has it shielded CROOKS in
the judiciary. Adding "The SCRA (SC
In those publicly circulated writings, he calls judges and lawyers Reports) will attest to this continuing
ignorant, corrupt, oppressors, violators of the Constitution and vigilance Of the supreme Court." These are
the laws, etc. lame, cowardly and self-serving denials and
another "self-exoneration" belied by
evidence which speak for themselves (Res
Sometime in July, 1990, for instance, he wrote to the editor of Ipsa Loquitor) (sic) — the SCRA itself.
the "Daily Star" as regards the reported conferment on then
Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan of an "Award from the
University of Texas for his contributions in upholding the Rule It is pure and simply TYRANNY when
of Law, Justice, etc.," stressing that Fernan "and the Supreme Narvasa and associates issued UNSIGNED,
Court persist in rendering rulings patently violative of the UNCLEAR, SWEEPING "Minute
Constitution, Due Process and Rule of Law, particularly in their Resolutions" devoid of CLEAR FACTS and
issuance of so-called Minute Resolutions devoid of FACT or LAWS in patent violation of Secs. 4(3), 14,
LAW or SIGNATURES . . ." He sent a copy of his letter in the Art. 8 of the Constitution. It is precisely
Supreme Court. through said TYRANNICAL, and
UNCONSTITUTIONAL sham rulings that
Narvasa & Co. have CODDLED CROOKS
He circulated an "OPEN LETTER TO SC justices, Fernan," like crony bank TRB, UCPB, and SBTC,
declaring that he had "suffered INJUSTICE after INJUSTICE and through said fake resolutions that
from you who are sworn to render TRUE JUSTICE but done the Narvasa has LIED or shown IGNORANCE
opposite, AND INSTEAD OF RECTIFYING THEM, labeled of the LAW in ruling that
my cases as 'frivolous, nuisance, and harassment suits' while CONSIGNATION IS NECESSARY IN
failing to refute the irrefutable evidences therein . . .;" in the RIGHT OF REDEMPTION (GR 83306).
Through said despotic resolutions,

NARVASA & CO. have sanctioned • BEING JUDGE AND
UCPB/ACCRA's defiance of court orders ACCUSED AT THE
and naked land grabbing — What are these SAME TIME AND
Was it not tyranny for the SC to issue an HIMSELF AND
Entry of Judgment without first resolving FELLOW CORRUPT
the motion for reconsideration (G.R No. JUSTICES
82273). Was it not tyranny and abuse of
power for the SC to order a case dismissed • DECLARING
against SC clerks (CEBV-8679) and declare HIMSELF, JUSTICES,
justices and said clerks "immune from suit" and even MERE
— despite their failure to file any pleading? CLERKS TO BE
Were Narvasa & Co. not in fact trampling IMMUNE FROM SUIT
on the rule of law and rules of court and AND UN-
82273). THE PEOPLE and
TYRANTS will never admit that they are ANSWER AND
tyrants. But their acts speak for themselves! REFUTE CHARGES


4(3), 14, ART. 8,




VI. IMMEDIATE ANTECEDENTS Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and (2) to
OF PROCEEDINGS AT BAR SEND to the City Sheriff, Cebu City, notice
of this resolution and copies of the Chapter's
A. Letter of Cebu City Chapter letter dated June 21, 1993 together with its
IBP, dated June 21, 1992 annexes; and

Copies of these circulars evidently found their way into the (b) said City Sheriff of Cebu City to CAUSE
hands, among others, of some members of the Cebu City PERSONAL SERVICE of said notice of
Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Its President resolution and a copy of the Chapter's letter
thereupon addressed a letter to this Court, dated June 21, 1992, dated June 21, 1993, together with its
which (1) drew attention to one of them — that last quoted, annexes, on Joaquin T. Borromeo at his
above — " . . . .sent to the IBP Cebu City Chapter and probably address at Mabolo, Cebu City; and
other officers . . . in Cebu," described as containing "highly
libelous and defamatory remarks against the Supreme Court and 2) to ORDER said Joaquin T. Borromeo,
the whole justice system"— and (2) in behalf of the Chapter's within ten (10) days from receipt of such
"officers and members," strongly urged the Court "to impose notice and the IBP Chapter's letter of June
sanctions against Mr. Borromeo for his condemnable act." 21, 1993 and its annexes, to file a comment
on the letter and its annexes as well as on the
B. Resolution of July 22, 1993 other matters set forth in this resolution,
serving copy thereof on the relator, the Cebu
City Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the
Acting thereon, the Court En Banc issued a Resolution on July Philippines, Palace of Justice Building,
22, 1993, requiring comment by Borromeo on the letter, notice Capitol, Cebu City.
of which was sent to him by the Office of the Clerk of Court.
The resolution pertinently reads as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
1. Atty. Puno's Letter of
April 4, 1989
The records of the Court disclose inter
alia that as early as April 4, 1989, the
Acting Clerk of Court, Atty. Luzviminda D. Clerk of Court Puno's letter to Borromeo of April 4, 1989,
Puno, wrote a four page letter to Mr. referred to in the first paragraph of the resolution just
Borromeo concerning G.R. No. 83306 mentioned, explained to Borromeo for perhaps the second time,
(Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Traders Royal precisely the principles and established practice relative to
Bank [referred to by Borromeo in the "minute resolutions" and notices thereof, treated of in several
"circular" adverted to by the relator herein, other communications and resolutions sent to him by the
the IBP Cebu City Chapter]) and two (2) Supreme Court, to wit: the letter received by him on July 10,
other cases also filed with the Court by 1987, from Clerk of Court Julieta Y. Carreon (of this Court's
Borromeo: G.R. No. 77248 (Joaquin T. Third Division) (in relation to G.R No. 77243 39) the letter to
Borromeo v. Samson Lao and Mariano him of Clerk of Court (Second Division) Fermin J. Garma, dated
Logarta) and G.R. No. 84054 (Joaquin T. May 19,
Borromeo v. Hon. Mario Dizon and Tomas 1989, 40 and three resolutions of this Court, notices of which
Tan), all resolved adversely to him by were in due course served on him, to wit: that dated July 31,
different Divisions of the Court. In that letter 1989, in G.R. No. 87897; 41 that dated June 1, 1990 in G.R. No.
Atty. Puno explained to Borromeo very 82274 (186 SCRA 1), 42 and that dated June 11, 1994 in G. R.
briefly the legal principles applicable to his No. 112928. 43
cases and dealt with the matters mentioned
in his circular. C. Borromeo's Comment of August 27, 1993

The records further disclose subsequent In response to the Resolution of July 22, 1993, Borromeo filed a
adverse rulings by the Court in other cases Comment dated August 27, 1993 in which he alleged the
instituted by Borromeo in this Court, i.e., following:
G.R. No. 87897 (Joaquin T. Borromeo v.
Court of Appeals, et al.) and No. 82273 1) the resolution of July 22, 1993 (requiring
(Joaquin T. Borromeo v. Court of Appeals comment) violates the Constitution which
and Samson Lao), as well as the existence of requires "signatures and concurrence of
other communications made public by majority of members of the High Court;"
Borromeo reiterating the arguments already hence, "a certified copy duly signed by
passed upon by the court in his cases and Justices is respectfully requested;"
condemning the court's rejection of those
2) the Chief Justice and other Members of
the Court should inhibit themselves "since
Acting on the letter dated June 21, 1993 of they cannot be the Accused and Judge at the
the Cebu City Chapter of the Integrated Bar same time, . . . (and) this case should be
of the Philippines thru its above named, heard by an impartial and independent
President, and taking account of the related body;"
facts on record, the Court Resolved:
3) the letter of Atty. Legaspi "is not verified
1) to REQUIRE: nor signed by members of said (IBP Cebu
Chapter) Board; . . . is vague, unspecific,
(a) the Clerk of Court (1) to DOCKET the and sweeping" because failing to point out
matter at bar as a proceeding for contempt "what particular statements in the circular
against Joaquin T. Borromeo instituted at are allegedly libelous and condemnable;"
the relation of said Cebu City Chapter, and does not appear that Atty. Legaspi has

authority to speak or file a complaint "in 2) the allegations in their circular are not
behalf of those accused in the "libelous libelous nor disrespectful but "are based on
circular;" the TRUTH and the LAW", namely:

4) in making the circular, he (Borromeo) a) "minute resolutions"

"was exercising his rights of freedom of bereft of signatures and
speech, of expression, and to petition the clear facts and laws are
government for redress of grievances as patent violations of
guaranteed by the Constitution (Sec. 4, Art. Secs. 4(32), 13, 14, Art.
III) and in accordance with the VIII of the Constitution;
accountability of public officials;" the
circular merely states the truth and asks for b) there is no basis nor
justice based on the facts and the thruth to this Hon.
law; . . . it is not libelous nor disrespectful Court's affirmation to
but rather to be commended and the Appelate Court's
encouraged; . . . Atty. Legaspi . . . should ruling that the
specify under oath which statements are undersigned "lost" his
false and lies; right of redemption
price, since no less than
5) he "stands by the charges in his circular this Hon. Court has
and is prepared to support them with ruled in many rulings
pertinent facts, evidence and law;" and it is that CONSIGNATION
"incumbent on the Hon. Chief Justice and IS UNNECESSARY in
members of the High Court to either refute right of redemption;
said charges or dispense the justice that they
are duty bound to dispense. c) this Hon. Court has deplorably condoned
crony banks TRB and UCPB's frauds and
D. Resolution of September 30, 1993 defiance of court orders in G.R. Nos. 83306
and 878997 and 84999.
After receipt of the comment, and desiring to accord Borromeo
the fullest opportunity to explain his side, and be reprsented by F. Borromeo's "Manifestation" of
an attorney, the Court promulgated the following Resolution on November 26, 1993
September 30, 1993, notice of which was again served on him
by the Office of the Clerk of Court. Borromeo afterwards filed a "Manifestation" under date of
November 26, 1993, adverting to "the failure of the IBP and
. . . The return of service filed by Sheriff Atty. Legaspi to substantiate his charges under oath and the
Jessie A. Belarmino, Office of the Clerk of failure of the concerned Justices to refute the charges in the
Court Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, alledged "libelous circular" and, construing these as "and
dated August 26, 1993, and the Comment of admission of the thruth in said circular," theorized that it is
Joaquin Borromeo, dated August 27, 1993, "incumbent on the said Justices to rectify their grave as well as
on the letter of President Manuel P. Legaspi to dismiss Atty. Legaspi's baseless and false charges."
of the relator dated June 21, 1993, are both
NOTED. After deliberating on the VII. THE COURT CONCLUSIONS
allegations of said Comment, the Court
Resolved to GRANT Joaquin T. Borromeo
an additional period of fifteen (15) days A. Respondent's Liability
from notice hereof within which to engage for Contempt of Court
the services or otherwise seek the assistance
of a lawyer and submit such further Upon the indubitable facts on record, there can scarcely be any
arguments in addition to or in amplification doubt of Borromeo's guilt of contempt, for abuse of and
of those set out in his Comment dated interference with judicial rules and processes, gross disrespect to
August 27, 1993, if he be so minded. courts and judges and improper conduct directly impeding,
obstructing and degrading the administration of justice.44 He has
SO ORDERED. stubbornly litigated issues already declared to be without merit,
obstinately closing his eyes to the many rulings rendered
adversely to him in many suits and proceedings, rulings which
E. Borromeo's Supplemental Comment had become final and executory, obdurately and unreasonably
of October 15, 1992 insisting on the application of his own individual version of the
rules, founded on nothing more than his personal (and quite
Borromeo filed a "Supplemental Comment" dated October 15, erroneous) reading of the Constitution and the law; he has
1992, reiterating the arguments and allegations in his Comment insulted the judges and court officers, including the attorneys
of August 27, 1993, and setting forth "additional arguments and appearing for his adversaries, needlessly overloaded the court
amplification to . . . (said) Comment," viz.: dockets and sorely tried the patience of the judges and court
employees who have had to act on his repetitious and largely
1) the IBP and Atty. Legaspi have failed "to unfounded complaints, pleadings and motions. He has wasted
specify and state under oath the alleged the time of the courts, of his adversaries, of the judges and court
'libelous' remarks contained in the circular . . employees who have had the bad luck of having to act in one
.; (they should) be ordered to file a way or another on his unmeritorious cases. More particularly,
VERIFIED COMPLAINT . . .(failing in despite his attention having been called many times to the
which, they should) be cited in contempt of egregious error of his theory that the so-called "minute
court for making false charges and wasting resolutions" of this Court should contain findings of fact and
the precious time of this Highest Court by conclusions of law, and should be signed or certified by the
filing a baseless complaint; Justices promulgating the same, 45 he has mulishly persisted in
ventilating that self-same theory in various proceedings, causing

much loss of time, annoyance and vexation to the courts, the established hierarchical organization of courts, and a more or
court employees and parties involved. less comprehensive system of review of judgments and final
orders of lower courts.
1. Untenability of
Proffered Defenses The judicial system in this jurisdiction allows for several levels
of litigation, i.e., the presentation of evidence by the parties — a
The first defense that he proffers, that the Chief Justice and other trial or hearing in the first instance — as well as a review of the
Members of the Court should inhibit themselves "since they judgments of lower courts by higher tribunals, generally by
cannot be the Accused and Judge at the same time . . . (and) this consideration anew and ventilation of the factual and legal
case should be heard by an impartial and independent body, is issues through briefs or memoranda. The procedure for review is
still another illustration of an entirely unwarranted, arrogant and fixed by law, and is in the very nature of things, exclusive to the
reprehensible assumption of a competence in the field of the courts.
law: he again uses up the time of the Court needlessly by
invoking an argument long since declared and adjudged to be 2. Paramount Need to
untenable. It is axiomatic that the "power or duty of the court to end
institute a charge for contempt against itself, without the Litigation at Some Point
intervention of the fiscal or prosecuting officer, is essential to
the preservation of its dignity and of the respect due it from It is withal of the essence of the judicial function that at some
litigants, lawyers and the public. Were the intervention of the point, litigation must end. Hence, after the procedures and
prosecuting officer required and judges obliged to file processes for lawsuits have been undergone, and the modes of
complaints for contempts against them before the prosecuting review set by law have been exhausted, or terminated, no further
officer, in order to bring the guilty to justice, courts would be ventilation of the same subject matter is allowed. To be sure,
inferior to prosecuting officers and impotent to perform their there may be, on the part of the losing parties, continuing
functions with dispatch and absolute independence. The disagreement with the verdict, and the conclusions therein
institution of charges by the prosecuting officer is not necessary embodied. This is of no moment, indeed, is to be expected; but,
to hold persons guilty of civil or criminal contempt amenable to it is not their will, but the Court's, which must prevail; and, to
trial and punishment by the court. All that the law requires is repeat, public policy demands that at some definite time, the
that there be a charge in writing duly filed in court and an issues must be laid to rest and the court's dispositions thereon
opportunity to the person charged to be heard by himself or accorded absolute finality. 47 As observed by this Court
counsel. The charge may be made by the fiscal, by the judge, or in Rheem of the Philippines v. Ferrer, a 1967 decision, 48 a party
even by a private person. . . ." 46 "may think highly of his intellectual endowment. That is his
privilege. And he may suffer frustration at what he feels is
His claim — that the letter of Atty. Legaspi "is not verified nor others' lack of it. This is his misfortune. Some such frame of
signed by members of said (IBP Cebu Chapter) Board; . . . is mind, however, should not be allowed to harden into a belief
vague, unspecific, and sweeping" because failing to point out that he may attack a court's decision in words calculated to
what particular statements in the circular are allegedly libelous jettison the time-honored aphorism that courts are the temples of
and condemnable;" and it does not appear that Atty. Legaspi has right."
authority to speak or file a complaint "in behalf of those accused
in the 'libelous' circular" — is in the premises, plainly nothing 3. Judgments of
but superficial philosophizing, deserving no serious treatment. Supreme Court
Not Reviewable
Equally as superficial, and sophistical, is his other contention
that in making the allegations claimed to be contumacious, he The sound, salutary and self-evident principle prevailing in this
"was exercising his rights of freedom of speech, of expression, as in most jurisdictions, is that judgments of the highest tribunal
and to petition the government for redress of grievances as of the land may not be reviewed by any other agency, branch,
guaranteed by the Constitution (Sec. 4, Art. III) and in department, or official of Government. Once the Supreme Court
accordance with the accountablity of public officials." The has spoken, there the matter must rest. Its decision should not
constitutional rights invoked by him afford no justification for and cannot be appealed to or reviewed by any other entity, much
repetitious litigation of the same causes and issues, for insulting less reversed or modified on the ground that it is tainted by error
lawyers, judges, court employees; and other persons, for abusing in its findings of fact or conclusions of law, flawed in its logic or
the processes and rules of the courts, wasting their time, and language, or otherwise erroneous in some other respect. 49 This,
bringing them into disrepute and disrespect. on the indisputable and unshakable foundation of public policy,
and constitutional and traditional principle.
B. Basic Principles Governing
the Judicial Function In an extended Resolution promulgated on March 12, 1987 in In
Re: Wenceslao Laureta — involving an attempt by a lawyer to
The facts and issues involved in the proceeding at bench make prosecute before the Tanod bayan "members of the First
necessary a restatement of the principles governing finality of Division of this Court collectively with having knowingly and
judgments and of the paramount need to put an end to litigation deliberately rendered an 'unjust extended minute Resolution'
at some point, and to lay down definite postulates concerning with deliberate bad faith in violation of Article 204 of the
what is perceived to be a growing predilection on the part of Revised penal Code ". . . and for deliberatly causing "undue
lawyers and litigants — like Borromeo — to resort to injury" to respondent . . . and her co-heirs because of the "unjust
administrative prosecution (or institution of civil or criminal Resolution" promulgated, in violation of the Anti-Graft and
actions) as a substitute for or supplement to the specific modes Corrupt Practices Act . . . — the following pronouncements
of appeal or review provided by law from court judgments or were made in reaffirmation of established doctrine: 50
. . . As aptly declared in the Chief Justice's
1. Reason for Statement of December 24, 1986, which the
courts; Judicial Court hereby adopts in toto, "(I)t is
Hierarchy elementary that the Supreme Court is
supreme — the third great department of
Courts exist in every civilized society for the settlement of government entrusted exclusively with the
controversies. In every country there is a more or less judicial power to adjudicate with finality all
justiciable disputes, public and private. No

other department or agency may pass upon respect by and between the three
its judgments or declare them "unjust." It is departments of the government. (Tecson vs.
elementary that "(A)s has ever been stressed Salas, 34 SCRA 275, 286-287).
since the early case of Arnedo
vs.Llorente (18 Phil. 257, 263 [1911]) 4. Final and Executory
"controlling and irresistible reasons of Judgments of
public policy and of sound practice in the Lower Courts Not
courts demand that at the risk of occasional Reviewable
error, judgments of courts determining Even by Supreme Court
controversies submitted to them should
become final at some definite time fixed by
law, or by a rule of practice recognized by In respect of Courts below the Supreme Court, the ordinary
law, so as to be thereafter beyond the control remedies available under law to a party who is adversely
even of the court which rendered them for affected by their decisions or orders are a motion for new trial
the purpose of correcting errors of fact or of (or reconsideration) under Rule 37, and an appeal to either the
law, into which, in the opinion of the court it Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, depending on whether
may have fallen. The very purpose for which questions of both fact and law, or of law only, are raised, in
the courts are organized is to put an end to accordance with fixed and familiar rules and conformably with
controversy, to decide the questions the hierarchy of courts. 51Exceptionally, a review of a ruling or
submitted to the litigants, and to determine act of a court on the ground that it was rendered without or in
the respective rights of the parties. (Luzon excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, may
Brokerage Co., Inc. vs. Maritime Bldg., Co., be had through the special civil action of certiorari or
Inc., 86 SCRA 305, 316-317) prohibition pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

xxx xxx xxx However, should judgments of lower courts — which may
normally be subject to review by higher tribunals — become
final and executory before, or without, exhaustion of all recourse
Indeed, resolutions of the Supreme Court as of appeal, they, too, become inviolable, impervious to
a collegiate court, whether an en banc or modification. They may, then, no longer be reviewed, or in
division, speak for themselves and are anyway modified directly or indirectly, by a higher court, not
entitled to full faith and credence and are even by the Supreme Court, much less by any other official,
beyond investigation or inquiry under the branch or department of Government. 52
same principle of conclusiveness of enrolled
bills of the legislature. (U.S. vs. Pons, 34
Phil. 729; Gardiner, et al. vs. Paredes, et al., C. Administrative Civil or Criminal Action
61 Phil. 118; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 against Judge. Not Substitute for Appeal;
Phil. 1) The Supreme Court's Proscribed by Law and Logic
pronouncement of the doctrine that "(I)t is
well settled that the enrolled bill . . . is Now, the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that there has
conclusive upon the courts as regards the been of late a regrettable increase in the resort to administrative
tenor of the measure passed by Congress prosecution — or the institution of a civil or criminal action —
and approved by the President. If there has as a substitute for or supplement to appeal. Whether intended or
been any mistake in the printing of the bill not, such a resort to these remedies operates as a form of threat
before it was certified by the officers of or intimidation to coerce judges into timorous surrender of their
Congress and approved by the Executive [as prerogatives, or a reluctance to exercise them. With rising
claimed by petitioner-importer who frequency, administrative complaints are being presented to the
unsuccessfully sought refund of margin Office of the Court Administrator; criminal complaints are being
fees] — on which we cannot speculate, filed with the Office of the Ombudsman or the public
without jeopardizing the principle of prosecutor's office; civil actions for recovery of damages
separation of powers and undermining one commenced in the Regional Trial Courts against trial judges,
of the cornerstones of our democractic and justices of the Court of Appeals and even of the Supreme
system — the remedy is by amendment or Court.
curative legislation, not by judicial decree"
is fully and reciprocally applicable to 1. Common Basis of
Supreme Court orders, resolutions and Complaints
decisions, mutatis mutandis. (Casco Phil. Against Judges
Chemical Co., Inc. vs. Gimenez, 7 SCRA
347, 350. (Citing Primicias vs. Paredes, 61
Phil. 118, 120; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Many of these complaints set forth a common indictment: that
Phil. 1; Macias vs. Comelec, 3 SCRA 1). the respondent Judges or Justices rendered manifestly unjust
judgments or interlocutory orders 53 — i.e., judgments or orders
which are allegedly not in accord with the evidence, or with law
The Court has consistently stressed that the or jurisprudence, or are tainted by grave abuse of discretion —
"doctrine of separation of powers calls for thereby causing injustice, and actionable and compensable
the executive, legislative and judicial injury to the complainants (invariably losing litigants).
departments being left alone to discharge Resolution of complaints of this sort quite obviously entails a
their duties as they see fit" (Tan vs. common requirement for the fiscal, the Ombudsman or the Trial
Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677). It has thus Court: a review of the decision or order of the respondent Judge
maintained in the same way that the or Justice to determine its correctness or erroneousness, as basic
judiciary has a right to expect that neither premise for a pronouncement of liability.
the President nor Congress would cast doubt
on the mainspring of its orders or decisions,
it should refrain from speculating as to 2. Exclusivity of Specific
alleged hidden forces at work that could Procedures for
have impelled either coordinate branch into Correction of Judgments
acting the way it did. The concept of and Orders
separation of powers presupposes mutual

The question then, is whether or not these complaints are proper; judicial functions is to subvert and
whether or not in lieu of the prescribed recourses for appeal or undermine that very independence of the
review of judgments and orders of courts, a party may file an judiciary, and subordinate the judiciary to
administrative or criminal complaint against the judge for the executive. "For it is a general principle
rendition of an unjust judgment, or, having opted for appeal, of the highest importance to the proper
may nonetheless simultaneously seek also such administrative or administration of justice that a judicial
criminal remedies. officer in exercising the authority vested in
him, shall be free to act upon his own
Given the nature of the judicial function, the power vested by convictions, without apprehension of
the Constitution in the Supreme Court and the lower courts personal consequences to himself. Liability
established by law, the question submits to only one answer: the to answer to everyone who might feel
administrative or criminal remedies are neither alternative nor himself aggrieved by the action of the judge
cumulative to judicial review where such review is available, would be inconsistent with the possession of
and must wait on the result thereof. this freedom, and would destroy that
independence without which no judiciary
can be either respectable or useful."
Simple reflection will make this proposition amply clear, and (Bradley vs. Fisher, 80 U. S. 335).
demonstrate that any contrary postulation can have only
intolerable legal implications. Allowing a party who feels
aggrieved by a judicial order or decision not yet final and xxx xxx xxx
executory to mount an administrative, civil or criminal
prosecution for unjust judgment against the issuing judge would, To allow litigants to go beyond the Court's
at a minimum and as an indispensable first step, confer the resolution and claim that the members acted
prosecutor (or Ombudsman) with an incongruous function "with deliberate bad faith" and rendered an
pertaining, not to him, but to the courts: the determination of "unjust resolution" in disregard or violation
whether the questioned disposition is erroneous in its findings of of the duty of their high office to act upon
fact or conclusions of law, or both. If he does proceed despite their own independent consideration and
that impediment, whatever determination he makes could well judgment of the matter at hand would be
set off a proliferation of administrative or criminal litigation, a to destroy the authenticity, integrity and
possibility here after more fully explored. conclusiveness of such collegiate acts and
resolutions and to disregard utterly the
Such actions are impermissible and cannot prosper. It is not, as presumption of regular performance of
already pointed out, within the power of public prosecutors, or official duty. To allow such collateral attack
the Ombudsman or his deputies, directly or vicariously, to would destroy the separation of powers and
review judgments or final orders or resolutions of the Courts of undermine the role of the Supreme Court as
the land. The power of review — by appeal or special civil the final arbiter of all justiciable disputes.
action — is not only lodged exclusively in the Courts
themselves but must be exercised in accordance with a well- Dissatisfied litigants and/or their counsels
defined and long established hierarchy, and long-standing cannot without violating the separation of
processes and procedures. No other review is allowed; otherwise powers mandated by the Constitution
litigation would be interminable, and vexatiously repetitive. relitigate in another forum the final
judgment of this Court on legal issues
These principles were stressed in In Re: Wenceslao Laureta, submitted by them and their adversaries for
supra. 54 final determination to and by the Supreme
Court and which fall within the judicial
power to determine and
Respondents should know that the adjudicate exclusively vested by the
provisions of Article 204 of the Revised Constitution in the Supreme Court and in
Penal Code as to "rendering knowingly such inferior courts as may be established by
unjust judgment," refer to an individual law.
judge who does so "in any case submitted to
him for decision" and even then, it is not the
prosecutor who would pass judgment on the This is true, too, as regards judgments, otherwise appealable,
"unjustness" of the decision rendered by him which have become final and executory. Such judgments, being
but the proper appellate court with no longer reviewable by higher tribunals, are certainly not
jurisdiction to review the same, either the reviewable by any other body or authority.
Court of Appeals and/or the Supreme Court.
Respondents should likewise know that said 3. Only Courts
penal article has no application to the Authorized, under Fixed
members of a collegiate court such as this Rules to Declare
Court or its Divisions who reach their Judgments or Orders
conclusions in consultation and accordingly Erroneous or Unjust
render their collective judgment after due
deliberation. It also follows, consequently, To belabor the obvious, the determination of whether or not a
that a charge of violation of the Anti-Graft judgement or order is unjust — or was (or was not) rendered
and Corrupt Practices Act on the ground that within the scope of the issuing judge's authority, or that the
such a collective decision is "unjust" cannot judge had exceeded his jurisdiction and powers or maliciously
prosper. delayed the disposition of a case — is an essentially judicial
function, lodged by existing law and immemorial practice in a
xxx xxx xxx hierarchy of courts and ultimately in the highest court of the
land. To repeat, no other entity or official of the Government,
To subject to the threat and ordeal of not the prosecution or investigation service or any other branch;
investigation and prosecution, a judge, more nor any functionary thereof, has competence to review a judicial
so a member of the Supreme Court for order or decision — whether final and executory or not — and
official acts done by him in good faith and pronounce it erroneous so as to lay the basis for a criminal or
in the regular exercise of official duty and

administrative complaint for rendering an unjust judgment or This is not to say that it is not possible at all to prosecute judges
order. That prerogative belongs to the courts alone. for this impropriety, of rendering an unjust judgment or
interlocutory order; but, taking account of all the foregoing
4. Contrary Rule Results considerations, the indispensable requisites are that there be
in Circuitousness a final declaration by a competent court in some appropriate
and Leads to Absurd proceeding of the manifestly unjust character of the challenged
Consequences judgment or order, and there be also evidence of malice or bad
faith, ignorance or inexcusable negligence, on the part of the
judge in rendering said judgement or order. That final
Pragmatic considerations also preclude prosecution for supposed declaration is ordinarily contained in the judgment rendered in
rendition of unjust judgments or interlocutory orders of the type the appellate proceedings in which the decision of the trial court
above described, which, at bottom, consist simply of the in the civil or criminal action in question is challenged.
accusation that the decisions or interlocutory orders are seriously
wrong in their conclusions of fact or of law, or are tainted by
grave abuse of discretion — as distinguished from accusations What immediately comes to mind in this connection is a
of corruption, or immorality, or other wrongdoing. To allow decision of acquittal or dismissal in a criminal action, as to
institution of such proceedings would not only be legally which — the same being unappealable — it would be
improper, it would also result in a futile and circuitous exercise, unreasonable to deny the State or the victim of the crime (or
and lead to absurd consequences. even public-spirited citizens) the opportunity to put to the test of
proof such charges as they might see fit to press that it was
unjustly rendered, with malice or by deliberate design, through
Assume that a case goes through the whole gamut of review in inexcusable ignorance or negligence, etc. Even in this case, the
the judicial hierarchy; i.e., a judgment is rendered by a essential requisite is that there be an authoritative judicial
municipal trial court; it is reviewed and affirmed by the proper pronouncement of the manifestly unjust character of the
Regional Trial Court; the latter's judgment is appealed to and in judgment or order in question. Such a pronouncement may result
due course affirmed by the Court of Appeals; and finally, the from either (a) an action of certiorari or prohibition in a higher
appellate court's decision is brought up to and affirmed by the court impugning the validity of the; judgment, as having been
Supreme Court. The prosecution of the municipal trial court rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave
judge who rendered the original decision (for knowingly abuse of discretion; e.g., there has been a denial of due process
rendering a manifestly unjust judgment) would appear to be out to the prosecution; or (b) if this be not proper, an administrative
of the question; it would mean that the Office of the proceeding in the Supreme Court against the judge precisely for
Ombudsman or of the public prosecutor would have to find, at promulgating an unjust judgment or order. Until and unless there
the preliminary investigation, not only that the judge's decision is such a final, authoritative judicialdeclaration that the decision
was wrong and unjust, but by necessary implication that the or order in question is "unjust," no civil or criminal action
decisions or orders of the Regional Trial Court Judge, as well as against the judge concerned is legally possible or should be
the Justices of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court who entertained, for want of an indispensable requisite.
affirmed the original judgment were also all wrong and unjust
— most certainly an act of supreme arrogance and very evident
supererogation. Pursuing the proposition further, assuming that D. Judges Must be Free from
the public prosecutor or Ombudsman should nevertheless opt to Influence or Pressure
undertake a review of the decision in question — despite its
having been affirmed at all three (3) appellate levels — and Judges must be free to judge, without pressure or influence from
thereafter, disagreeing with the verdict of all four (4) courts, file external forces or factors. They should not be subject to
an information in the Regional Trial Court against the Municipal intimidation, the fear of civil, criminal or administrative
Trial Court Judge, the fate of such an indictment at the hands of sanctions for acts they may do and dispositions they may make
the Sandiganbayan or the Regional Trial Court would be fairly in the performance of their duties and functions. Hence it is
predictable. sound rule, which must be recognized independently of statute,
that judges are not generally liable for acts done within the
Even if for some reason the Municipal Trial Court Judge is scope of their jurisdiction and in good faith.
convicted by the Sandiganbayan or a Regional Trial Court, the
appeal before the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals would This Court has repeatedly and uniformly ruled that a judge may
have an inevitable result: given the antecedents, the verdict of not be held administratively accountable for every erroneous
conviction would be set aside and the correctness of the order or decision he renders. 55 To hold otherwise would be
judgment in question, already passed upon and finally resolved nothing short of harassment and would make his position doubly
by the same appellate courts, would necessarily be sustained. unbearable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret
the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible
Moreover, in such a scenario, nothing would prevent the in his judgment. 56 The error must be gross or patent, deliberate
Municipal Trial Judge, in his turn, from filing a criminal action and malicious, or incurred with evident bad faith; 57 it is only in
against the Sandiganbayan Justices, or the Regional Trial Court these cases that administrative sanctions are called for as an
Judge who should convict him of the offense, for knowingly imperative duty of the Supreme Court.
rendering an unjust judgment, or against the Justices of the
Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court who should affirm his As far as civil or criminal liability is concerned, existing
conviction. doctrine is that "judges of superior and general jurisdiction are
not liable to respond in civil action for damages for what they
The situation is ridiculous, however the circumstances of the may do in the exercise of their judicial functions when acting
case may be modified, and regardless of whether it is a civil, within their legal powers and jurisdiction."58 Based on Section 9,
criminal or administrative proceeding that is availed of as the Act No. 190, 59 the doctrine is still good law, not inconsistent
vehicle to prosecute the judge for supposedly rendering an with any subsequent legislative issuance or court rule: "No
unjust decision or order. judge, justice of the peace or assessor shall be liable to a civil
action for the recovery of damages by reason of any judicial
action or judgment rendered by him in good faith, and within the
5. Primordial Requisites limits of his legal powers and jurisdiction."
for Administrative
Criminal Prosecution
Exception to this general rule is found in Article 32 of the Civil
Code, providing that any public officer or employee, or any
private individual, who directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats,

violates or in any manner impedes or impairs any of the 1 Barrera v. Barrera, 34 SCRA 98,
enumerated rights and liberties of another person — which 106; Peo v. Catolico, 38 SCRA
rights are the same as those guaranteed in the Bill of Rights 389, 407.
(Article III of the Constitution); — shall be liable to the latter for
damages. However, such liability is not demandable from a 2 SEE Sub-Head I, A, 7, Infra.
judge unless his act or omission constitutes a violation of the
Penal Code or other penal statute. But again, to the extent that
the offenses therein described have "unjust judgment or "unjust 3 Per Judge Benigno G. Gaviola,
interlocutory order" for an essential element, it need only be Branch 9, RTC, Cebu.
reiterated that prosecution of a judge for any of them is subject
to the caveat already mentioned: that such prosecution cannot be 4 Ramirez, J., ponente, with
initiated, much less maintained, unless there be a final judicial whom concurred Francisco
pronouncement of the unjust character of the decision or order in (Cezar) and Vailoces, JJ.
5 Judge Renato C. Dacudao,
E. Afterword presiding.

Considering the foregoing antecedents and long standing 6 Judge Celso M. Gimenez,
doctrines, it may well be asked why it took no less than sixteen Branch 5.
(16) years and some fifty (50) grossly unfounded cases lodged
by respondent Borromeo in the different rungs of the Judiciary 7 Guingona, J., ponente, with
before this Court decided to take the present administrative whom concurred Javellana and
measure. The imposition on the time of the courts and the Imperial, JJ.
unnecessary work occasioned by respondent's crass adventurism
are self-evident and require no further elaboration. If the Court,
however, bore with him with Jobian patience, it was in the hope 8 Branch 24, Hon. Priscila S.
that the repeated rebuffs he suffered, with the attendant lectures Agana, presiding.
on the error of his ways, would somehow seep into his
understanding and deter him from further forays along his 9 Per Judge Jose P. Burgos,
misguided path. After all, as has repeatedly been declared, the Branch 17.
power of contempt is exercised on the preservative and not the
vindictive principle. Unfortunately the Court's forbearance had
10 Per Judge (now CA Associate
no effect on him.
Justice) Godardo Jacinto.

Instead, the continued leniency and tolerance extended to him

11 SEE Sub-Head I, A, 1, supra.
were read as signs of weakness and impotence. Worse,
respondent's irresponsible audacity appears to have influenced
and emboldened others to just as flamboyantly embark on their 12 SEE Sub-Head I, A, 2, supra.
own groundless and insulting proceedings against the courts,
born of affected bravado or sheer egocentrism, to the extent of 13 SEE Sub-Head I, supra.
even involving the legislative and executive departments, the
Ombudsman included, in their assaults against the Judiciary in
14 Decision dated May 21, 1993:
pursuit of personal agendas. But all things, good or bad, must
Austria-Martinez, J., ponente,
come to an end, and it is time for the Court to now draw the line,
with whom concurred Puno and
with more promptitude, between reasoned dissent and self-
Ramirez, JJ.
seeking pretense. The Court accordingly serves notice to those
with the same conceit or delusions that it will henceforth deal
with them, decisively and fairly, with a firm and even hand, and 15 As every lawyer knows, the
resolutely impose such punitive sanctions as may be appropriate Clerk of Court of a Division or of
to maintain the integrity and independence of the judicial the Court En Banc is, of course,
institutions of the country. not a "mere clerk," but the highest
administrative officer in the
Division or Court, next only to the
WHEREFORE, Joaquin T. Borromeo is found and declared
GUILTY of constructive contempt repeatedly committed over
time, despite warnings and instructions given to him, and to the
end that he may ponder his serious errors and grave misconduct 16 Sub-Head II, A, 1, infra.
and learn due respect for the Courts and their authority, he is
hereby sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of TEN (10) 17 Sub-Head II, A, 4, infra Sub-
DAYS in the City Jail of Cebu City and to pay a fine of ONE Heads VI, B, 1, and II, A,
THOUSAND PESOS (P1,000.00). He is warned that a 1,c, infra.
repetition of any of the offenses of which he is herein found
guilty, or any similar or other offense against courts, judges or
court employees, will merit further and more serious sanctions. 18 Sub-Heads VI, B, 1, and II, A,
1, c, infra, respectively.

19 Sub-Head II, A, 3, infra.

Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr.,

Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza 20 See sub-head I, A, 3, supra —
and Francisco, JJ., concur. Because TRB consolidated its
ownership over the foreclosed
immovables during the pendency
Puno, J., took no part. of Civil Case No. R-22506,
Borromeo filed criminal
Footnotes complaints in the Office of the

City Prosecutor of Cebu against 38 There are at least ten (10) other
the bank officers and lawyers, such."circulars, flyers, or letters in
which were however, and quite the record, all amounting more or
correctly, given short shrift by that less the same errors and
Office. defamatory imputations.

21 Per 3rd Assistant Fiscal 39 Sub-Head II; A, 1, infra.

Enriqueta Roquillano-Belarmino.
40 Sub-Heads VI, B, 1, and II, A,
22 See sub-head I, A, 1, supra. 1 c, infra, respectively.

23 See sub-head I, supra. 41 Sub-Head II, A, 3, infra.

24 By resolution of Fiscal Rodulfo 42 Sub-Head II, A, 1, a, infra.

T. Ugsal, approved by City Fiscal
Jufelinito R. Pareja. 43 Sub-Head I, A, 7, supra.

25 Per Investigator Mario E. 44 Rule 71, Sec, (c) and (d), Rules
Camomot, recommended for of Court.
approval by Director IV V. V.
Varela, and approved by Juan M.
Hagad, Deputy Ombudsman, 45 SEE Sub-head II, A, 1,
Visayas. a, supra.

26 In the third paragraph of this 46 Peo v. Venturanza, et al., 98

opinion. Phil. 211, cited in Gavieres v.
Falcis, 193 SCRA 649, 660
(1991); see also Fernandez v.
27 Like the letter written to Hon. Bello, 107 Phil. 1140.
Borromeo, dated July 10, 1987,
Sub-head A, 1, 5, supra.
47 Garbo v. Court of Appeals, 226
SCRA 250, G.R. No. 100474,
28 Rollo G.R. 82273. September 10, 1993; GSIS v.
Gines, 219 SCRA 724, G.R. No.
29 This concerned a fourth bank, 85273, March 9, 1993; Gesulgon
the Philippine Bank of v. NLRC, 219 SCRA 561, G.R.
Communications. No. 90349, March 5, 1993;
Paramount Insurance Corporation
30 Sub-head II, A ,3, supra. v. Japson, 211 SCRA 879, G.R.
No. 68073, July 29, 1992; Cachola
v. CA, 208 SCRA 496, G.R. No.
31 Written by Felicito C. Latoja, 97822, May 7, 1992; Enriquez v.
Asso. Graft Investigation Officer CA, 202 SCRA 487, G.R. No.
II, and approved by Juan M. 83720, October 4, 1991; Alvendia
Hagad, DOMB. v. IAC, 181 SCRA 252, G.R. No.
72138, January 22, 1990;
32 SEE Sub-Head II, A, 1, supra. Turqueza v. Hernando, 97 SCRA
483, G.R. No. L-51626, April 30,
33 SEE also sub-head II, A, 1980; Lee Bun Ting v. Aligaen, 76
2, supra. SCRA 416, G.R. No. L-30523,
April 22, 1977.

34 Judge Jacinto has, to repeat,

since been promoted to the Court 48 20 SCRA 441, 444.
of Appeals.
49 Against judgments of the
35 Rollo, Vol. VII, p. 115. Supreme Court since obviously no
appeal to a higher court or
authority is possible, the only
36 SEE Sub-Head II, A, 5, supra. remedies are those set forth in the
Rules of Court, particularly Rule
37 During the entire period that 56 in relation to Rules 52 and 53,
the administrative case was with regard to civil cases and
pending (1990 to 1994), Borromeo proceedings, and Rule 125 in
wrote an unceasing stream of relation to Rule 124, in respect of
letters, leaflets, flyers to IBP, criminal cases. SEE Calalang v.
harshly critical of the courts and Register of Deeds, 208 SCRA
the lawyers who had in one way 215, G.R. No. 76265, April 22,
or-another taken measures adverse 1992; Tan v. Court of Appeals 199
to him. One of the last was an SCRA 212 G.R. No. 97238, July
"OPEN LETTER to IBP Prexy 15, 1991; Church Assistance
Manuel Legaspi" dated April 19, Program v. Sibulo, 171 SCRA 408
1994. G.R. No. 76552, March 21, 1989;
Ver v. Quetulio, 163 SCRA 80, G.

R. No. 77526, June 29, 1988 Ang 57 Quizon v Baltazar, Jr., 65
Ping v. RTC of Manila, 154 SCRA 293 (July 25, 1975).
SCRA 77, G.R. No. 75860,
September 17, 1987; Vir-Jen 58 Alzua, et. al v. Johnson, 21
Shipping and Marine Services, Phil. 308, 326.
Inc. v. NLRC, 125 SCRA 577,
G.R. Nos. L-58011-2, November
18. 1983; Tugade v. CA 83 SCRA 59 The old Code of Civil
226; Barrera v. Barrera, 34 SCRA Procedure.
98, G.R. No. L-31589, July 31,
1970; Albert v. CFI, 23 SCRA
948, G.R. No L-23636, May 29
1968; Shoji v. Harvey, 43 Phil.
333(1922); SEE also Concurring G.R. No. L-51813-14 November 29, 1983
Opinion of Gutierrez J. in Enrile v.
Nos. 92163 and 92164, June 5, ROBERT V. LUCILA, petitioners,
1990. vs.
HON. NICANOR J. CRUZ, JR., Presiding Judge of the
50 148 SCRA 382, 417-418. Municipal Court of Parañaque, Metro Manila, and FISCAL
51 Against a final and executory
judgment, the extraordnary, Froilan M. Bacungan and Alfredo F. Tadiar for petitioners.
equitable remedy of relief from
judgment under Rule 38 may be The Solicitor General for respondents.
availed of, or in extreme
situations, an action to annul the
judgment on the ground of
extrinsic fraud.
RELOVA, J.:ñé+.£ªwph!1
52 Miranda v. CA, 141 SCRA
302, G.R. No. L-59370, February Appeal from the Order, dated August 16, 1979, of respondent
11, 1986, citing Malia v. IAC, 138 Judge Nicanor J. Cruz, Jr., of the then Municipal Court of
SCRA 116, G.R. No. L-66395, Parañaque, Metro Manila, disallowing the appearances of
August 7, 1985; Castillo v. petitioners Nelson B. Malana and Robert V. Lucila as private
Donato, 137 SCRA 210, G.R. No. prosecutors in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550, both for
L-70230, June 24, 1985; Bethel less serious physical injuries, filed against Pat. Danilo San
Temple, Inc. v. General Council of Antonio and Pat. Rodolfo Diaz, respectively, as well as the
Assemblies of God, Inc., 136 Order, dated September 4, 1979, denying the motion for
SCRA 203, G.R. No. reconsideration holding, among others, that "the fiscal's claim
L-35563, April 30, 1985; Insular that appearances of friends of party-litigants should be allowed
Bank of Asia and America only in places where there is a scarcity of legal practitioner, to
Employees' Union (IBAAEU) v. be well founded. For, if we are to allow non-members of the bar
Inciong, 132 SCRA 663, G.R. No. to appear in court and prosecute cases or defend litigants in the
L-52415, October 23, 1984 and guise of being friends of the litigants, then the requirement of
the cases cited therein pertaining membership in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the
to "immutability of judgments;" additional requirement of paying professional taxes for a lawyer
Heirs of Pedro Guminpin v. CA, to appear in court, would be put to naught. " (p. 25, Rollo)
120 SCRA 687, G.R. No. L-
34220, February 21, 1983; Records show that on April 6, 1979, petitioner Romulo
Commissioner of Internal Cantimbuhan filed separate criminal complaints against
Revenue v. Visayan Electric Co., Patrolmen Danilo San Antonio and Rodolfo Diaz for less serious
19 SCRA 696, G.R. No. L-24921, physical injuries, respectively, and were docketed as Criminal
March 31, 1967; Daquis v. Bustos, Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550 in the then Municipal Court of
94 Phil. 913; Sawit v. Rodas, 73 Parañaque, Metro Manila.
Phil. 310.
Petitioners Nelson B. Malana and Robert V. Lucila, in 1979,
53 Articles 204-206 of the were senior law students of the U.P.assistance to the needy
Revised Penal Code define and clients in the Office of the Legal Aid. Thus, in August 1979,
penalize offenses which have petitioners Malana and Lucila filed their separate appearances,
"unjust judgment" or "unjust as friends of complainant-petitioner Cantimbuhan. Herein
interlocutory order" for an respondent Fiscal Leodegario C. Quilatan opposed the
essential element. appearances of said petitioners, and respondent judge, in an
Order dated August 16, 1979, sustained the respondent fiscal
54 148 SCRA 283, 418, 419, 420- and disallowed the appearances of petitioners Malana and
42155 Rodrigo v. Quijano, etc., 79 Lucila, as private prosecutors in said criminal cases. Likewise,
SCRA 10 (Sept. 9, 1977). on September 4, 1979, respondent Judge issued an order
denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration.
56 Lopez v. Corpus, 78 SCRA 374
(Alug. 31, 1977); Pilipinas Bank Hence, this petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition
v. Tirona-Liwag, 190 SCRA 834 with prayers, among others, that the Orders of respondent judge,
(Oct. 18, 1990). dated August 16, 1979 and September 4, 1979, be set aside as
they are in plain violation of Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules
of Court and/or were issued with grave abuse of discretion

amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Upon motion, the Court, on appearance as private prosecutor. In the first place, the law does
November 8, 1979, issued a temporary restraining order not impose this condition. What the fiscal can do, if he wants to
"enjoining respondent judge and all persons acting for and in his handle the case personally is to disallow the private prosecutor's
behalf from conducting any proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. participation, whether he be a lawyer or not, in the trial of the
58549 (People of the Philippines vs. Danilo San Antonio) and case. On the other hand, if the fiscal desires the active
58559 (People of the Philippines vs. Rodolfo Diaz) of the participation of the private prosecutor, he can just manifest to
Municipal Court of Parañaque, Metro Manila on November 15, the court that the private prosecutor, with its approval, will
1979 as scheduled or on any such dates as may be fixed by said conduct the prosecution of the case under his supervision and
respondent judge. control. Further, We may add that if a non-lawyer can appear as
defense counsel or as friend of the accused in a case before the
Basis of this petition is Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of municipal trial court, with more reason should he be allowed to
Court which states: têñ.£îhqw⣠appear as private prosecutor under the supervision and control of
the trial fiscal.
SEC. 34. By whom litigation conducted. —
In the court of a justice of the peace a party In the two criminal cases filed before the Municipal Court of
may conduct his litigation in person, with Parañaque, petitioner Cantimbuhan, as the offended party, did
the aid of an agent or friend appointed by not expressly waive the civil action nor reserve his right to
him for that purpose, or with the aid of an institute it separately and, therefore, the civil action is deemed
attorney. In any other court, a party may impliedly instituted in said criminal cases. Thus, said
conduct his litigation personally or by aid of complainant Romulo Cantimbuhan has personal interest in the
an attorney, and his appearance must be success of the civil action and, in the prosecution of the same, he
either personal or by a duly authorized cannot be deprived of his right to be assisted by a friend who is
member of the bar. not a lawyer.

Thus, a non-member of the Philippine Bar — a party to an WHEREFORE, the Orders issued by respondent judge dated
action is authorized to appear in court and conduct his own case; August 16, 1979 and September 4, 1979 which disallowed the
and, in the inferior courts, the litigant may be aided by a friend appearances of petitioners Nelson B. Malana and Robert V.
or agent or by an attorney. However, in the Courts of First Lucila as friends of party-litigant petitioner Romulo
Instance, now Regional Trial Courts, he can be aided only by an Cantimbuhan. are hereby SET ASIDE and respondent judge is
attorney. hereby ordered to ALLOW the appearance and intervention of
petitioners Malana and Lucila as friends of Romulo
Cantimbuhan. Accordingly, the temporary restraining order
On the other hand, it is the submission of the respondents that issued on November 8, 1979 is LIFTED.
pursuant to Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, it
is the fiscal who is empowered to determine who shall be the
private prosecutor as was done by respondent fiscal when he SO ORDERED.1äwphï1.ñët
objected to the appearances of petitioners Malana and Lucila.
Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court Fernando, C.J., Makasiar, Concepcion Jr., Guerrero, Abad
provide: têñ.£îhqw⣠Santos, Plana, Escolin and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.

SEC. 4. Who must prosecute criminal

actions. — All criminal actions either
commenced by complaint or by information
shall be prosecuted under the direction and
control of the fiscal.
Separate Opinions
xxx xxx xxx

SEC. 15. Intervention of the offended party

in criminal action. — Unless the offended AQUINO, J., dissenting:
party has waived the civil action or
expressly reserved the right to institute it Senior law students should study their lessons anti prepare for
separately from the criminal action, and the bar. They have no business appearing in court.
subject to the provisions of section 4 hereof,
he may intervene, personally or by attorney, MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
in the prosecution of the offense.

Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically provides

And, they contend that the exercise by the offended party to that it is "a party" who may conduct his litigation in person, with
intervene is subject to the direction and control of the fiscal and the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose in
that his appearance, no less than his active conduct of the case the Court of a Justice of the Peace. Romulo Cantimbuhan, as the
later on, requires the prior approval of the fiscal. complaining witness in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550
of the then Municipal Court of Parañaque, Metro Manila, is not
We find merit in the petition. Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules a "party" within the meaning of the said Rule. The parties in a
of Court, clearly provides that in the municipal court a party criminal case are the accused and the People. A complaining
may conduct his litigation in person with the aid of an agent witness or an offended party only intervene in a criminal action
appointed by him for the purpose. Thus, in the case of Laput vs. in respect of the civil liability. The case of Laput and Salas vs.
Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, a law student was allowed to represent Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, is authority only in respect of the
the accused in a case pending before the then Municipal Court, accused, as a "party", in a criminal case.
the City Court of Manila, who was charged for damages to
property through reckless imprudence. "It is accordingly our Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, being the
view that error was committed in the municipal court in not more specific provisions in respect of criminal cases, should
allowing Crispiniano V. Laput to act as an agent or friend of take precedence over Section 34, Rule 138 and should be
Catalino Salas to aid the latter in conducting his defense." The controlling (Bagatsing vs. Hon. Ramirez, 74 SCRA 306 [1976]).
permission of the fiscal is not necessary for one to enter his

Section 4 provides that all criminal actions shall be prosecuted Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically provides
under the direction and control of the Fiscal, while Section 15 that it is "a party" who may conduct his litigation in person, with
specifically provides that the offended party may intervene, the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose in
personally or by attorney, in the prosecution of the offense. the Court of a Justice of the Peace. Romulo Cantimbuhan, as the
complaining witness in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550
I vote, therefore, to uphold the Order of respondent Municipal of the then Municipal Court of Parañaque, Metro Manila, is not
Judge, dated August 16, 1979, disallowing the appearances of a "party" within the meaning of the said Rule. The parties in a
petitioners as private prosecutors in the abovementioned criminal case are the accused and the People. A complaining
criminal cases. Orders set aside. witness or an offended party only intervene in a criminal action
in respect of the civil liability. The case of Laput and Salas vs.
Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, is authority only in respect of the
Fernando, C.J., Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, Abad accused, as a "party", in a criminal case.
Santos, Plana, Escolin and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, being the
more specific provisions in respect of criminal cases, should
take precedence over Section 34, Rule 138 and should be
controlling (Bagatsing vs. Hon. Ramirez, 74 SCRA 306 [1976]).
Section 4 provides that all criminal actions shall be prosecuted
Separate Opinions under the direction and control of the Fiscal, while Section 15
specifically provides that the offended party may intervene,
personally or by attorney, in the prosecution of the offense.

I vote, therefore, to uphold the Order of respondent Municipal

AQUINO, J., dissenting: Judge, dated August 16, 1979, disallowing the appearances of
petitioners as private prosecutors in the abovementioned
Senior law students should study their lessons anti prepare for criminal cases.
the bar. They have no business appearing in court.
De Castro, Teehankee, JJ., concurs with the dissent of Assoc.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting: Justice Herrera.

Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically provides Republic of the Philippines
that it is "a party" who may conduct his litigation in person, with SUPREME COURT
the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose in Baguio City
the Court of a Justice of the Peace. Romulo Cantimbuhan, as the
complaining witness in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550
of the then Municipal Court of Parañaque, Metro Manila, is not
a "party" within the meaning of the said Rule. The parties in a
criminal case are the accused and the People. A complaining G.R. No. 154207 April 27, 2007
witness or an offended party only intervene in a criminal action
in respect of the civil liability. The case of Laput and Salas vs. FERDINAND A. CRUZ, Petitioner,
Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, is authority only in respect of the vs.
accused, as a "party", in a criminal case. ALBERTO MINA, HON. ELEUTERIO F. GUERRERO
and HON. ZENAIDA LAGUILLES, Respondents.
Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, being the
more specific provisions in respect of criminal cases, should DECISION
take precedence over Section 34, Rule 138 and should be
controlling (Bagatsing vs. Hon. Ramirez, 74 SCRA 306 [1976]).
Section 4 provides that all criminal actions shall be prosecuted AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
under the direction and control of the Fiscal, while Section 15
specifically provides that the offended party may intervene, Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the
personally or by attorney, in the prosecution of the offense. Rules of Court, grounded on pure questions of law, with Prayer
for Preliminary Injunction assailing the Resolution dated May 3,
I vote, therefore, to uphold the Order of respondent Municipal 2002 promulgated by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch
Judge, dated August 16, 1979, disallowing the appearances of 116, Pasay City, in Civil Case No. 02-0137, which denied the
petitioners as private prosecutors in the abovementioned issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the
criminal cases. Orders set aside. Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 45, Pasay City, in
Criminal Case No. 00-1705;1 and the RTC’s Order dated June 5,
2002 denying the Motion for Reconsideration. No writ of
De Castro, Teehankee, JJ., concur preliminary injunction was issued by this Court.

The antecedents:

Separate Opinions On September 25, 2000, Ferdinand A. Cruz (petitioner) filed

before the MeTC a formal Entry of Appearance, as private
AQUINO, J., dissenting: prosecutor, in Criminal Case No. 00-1705 for Grave Threats,
where his father, Mariano Cruz, is the complaining witness.
Senior law students should study their lessons anti prepare for
the bar. They have no business appearing in court. The petitioner, describing himself as a third year law student,
justifies his appearance as private prosecutor on the bases of
Section 34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court and the ruling of
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
the Court En Banc in Cantimbuhan v. Judge Cruz, Jr.2 that a
non-lawyer may appear before the inferior courts as an agent or
friend of a party litigant. The petitioner furthermore avers that

his appearance was with the prior conformity of the public II.
prosecutor and a written authority of Mariano Cruz appointing
him to be his agent in the prosecution of the said criminal case. THE RESPONDENT TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS
However, in an Order dated February 1, 2002, the MeTC denied LAW, WHEN IT RESOLVED TO DENY THE PRAYER FOR
permission for petitioner to appear as private prosecutor on the THE WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND THE
ground that Circular No. 19 governing limited law student SUBSEQUENT MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF
practice in conjunction with Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court THE HEREIN PETITIONER ON THE BASIS THAT
(Law Student Practice Rule) should take precedence over the [GRAVE] THREATS HAS NO CIVIL ASPECT, FOR THE
ruling of the Court laid down in Cantimbuhan; and set the case SAID BASIS OF DENIAL IS NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE
for continuation of trial.3 LAW;

On February 13, 2002, petitioner filed before the MeTC a III.

Motion for Reconsideration seeking to reverse the February 1,
2002 Order alleging that Rule 138-A, or the Law Student THE RESPONDENT METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT
Practice Rule, does not have the effect of superseding Section 34 ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT DENIED THE
of Rule 138, for the authority to interpret the rule is the source MOTION TO HOLD IN ABEYANCE TRIAL, WHEN WHAT
itself of the rule, which is the Supreme Court alone. WAS DENIED BY THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL
In an Order dated March 4, 2002, the MeTC denied the Motion PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION and WHEN THE
On April 2, 2002, the petitioner filed before the RTC a Petition FOR CERTIORARI;
for Certiorari and Mandamus with Prayer for Preliminary
Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order against the private IV.
respondent and the public respondent MeTC.
After hearing the prayer for preliminary injunction to restrain THE LAW WHEN THEY PATENTLY REFUSED TO HEED
public respondent MeTC Judge from proceeding with Criminal TO [sic] THE CLEAR MANDATE OF THE LAPUT,
Case No. 00-1705 pending the Certiorari proceedings, the RTC, CANTIMBUHAN AND BULACAN CASES, AS WELL AS
in a Resolution dated May 3, 2002, resolved to deny the BAR MATTER NO. 730, PROVIDING FOR THE
issuance of an injunctive writ on the ground that the crime of APPEARANCE OF NON-LAWYERS BEFORE THE LOWER
Grave Threats, the subject of Criminal Case No. 00-1705, is one COURTS (MTC’S).4
that can be prosecuted de oficio, there being no claim for civil
indemnity, and that therefore, the intervention of a private This Court, in exceptional cases, and for compelling reasons, or
prosecutor is not legally tenable. if warranted by the nature of the issues reviewed, may take
cognizance of petitions filed directly before it.5
On May 9, 2002, the petitioner filed before the RTC a Motion
for Reconsideration. The petitioner argues that nowhere does the Considering that this case involves the interpretation,
law provide that the crime of Grave Threats has no civil aspect. clarification, and implementation of Section 34, Rule 138 of the
And last, petitioner cites Bar Matter No. 730 dated June 10, Rules of Court, Bar Matter No. 730, Circular No. 19 governing
1997 which expressly provides for the appearance of a non- law student practice and Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, and
lawyer before the inferior courts, as an agent or friend of a party the ruling of the Court in Cantimbuhan, the Court takes
litigant, even without the supervision of a member of the bar. cognizance of herein petition.

Pending the resolution of the foregoing Motion for The basic question is whether the petitioner, a law student, may
Reconsideration before the RTC, the petitioner filed a Second appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a party
Motion for Reconsideration dated June 7, 2002 with the MeTC litigant.
seeking the reversal of the March 4, 2002 Denial Order of the
said court, on the strength of Bar Matter No. 730, and a Motion
to Hold In Abeyance the Trial dated June 10, 2002 of Criminal The courts a quo held that the Law Student Practice Rule as
Case No. 00-1705 pending the outcome of the certiorari encapsulated in Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, prohibits the
proceedings before the RTC. petitioner, as a law student, from entering his appearance in
behalf of his father, the private complainant in the criminal case
without the supervision of an attorney duly accredited by the law
On June 5, 2002, the RTC issued its Order denying the school.
petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.
Rule 138-A or the Law Student Practice Rule, provides:
Likewise, in an Order dated June 13, 2002, the MeTC denied the
petitioner’s Second Motion for Reconsideration and his Motion
to Hold in Abeyance the Trial on the ground that the RTC had RULE 138-A
already denied the Entry of Appearance of petitioner before the LAW STUDENT PRACTICE RULE
Section 1. Conditions for Student Practice. – A law student who
On July 30, 2002, the petitioner directly filed with this Court, has successfully completed his 3rd year of the regular four-year
the instant Petition and assigns the following errors: prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized law
school's clinical legal education program approved by the
Supreme Court, may appear without compensation in any civil,
I. criminal or administrative case before any trial court, tribunal,
board or officer, to represent indigent clients accepted by the
the respondent regional trial court abused its discretion when it legal clinic of the law school.
resolved to deny the prayer for the writ of injunction of the
herein petitioner despite petitioner having established the
necessity of granting the writ;

Sec. 2. Appearance. – The appearance of the law student Petitioner further argues that the RTC erroneously held that, by
authorized by this rule, shall be under the direct supervision and its very nature, no civil liability may flow from the crime of
control of a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Grave Threats, and, for this reason, the intervention of a private
duly accredited by the law school. Any and all pleadings, prosecutor is not possible.
motions, briefs, memoranda or other papers to be filed, must be
signed by the supervising attorney for and in behalf of the legal It is clear from the RTC Decision that no such conclusion had
clinic. been intended by the RTC. In denying the issuance of the
injunctive court, the RTC stated in its Decision that there was no
However, in Resolution6 dated June 10, 1997 in Bar Matter No. claim for civil liability by the private complainant for damages,
730, the Court En Banc clarified: and that the records of the case do not provide for a claim for
indemnity; and that therefore, petitioner’s appearance as private
The rule, however, is different if the law student appears before prosecutor appears to be legally untenable.
an inferior court, where the issues and procedure are relatively
simple. In inferior courts, a law student may appear in his Under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, every person
personal capacity without the supervision of a lawyer. Section criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable except in
34, Rule 138 provides: instances when no actual damage results from an offense, such
as espionage, violation of neutrality, flight to an enemy country,
Sec. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. - In the court of a and crime against popular representation.9 The basic rule applies
justice of the peace, a party may conduct his litigation in in the instant case, such that when a criminal action is instituted,
person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the
that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a offense charged shall be deemed instituted with criminal action,
party may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the
attorney, and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to
authorized member of the bar. the criminal action.10

Thus, a law student may appear before an inferior court as an The petitioner is correct in stating that there being no
agent or friend of a party without the supervision of a member of reservation, waiver, nor prior institution of the civil aspect in
the bar.7 (Emphasis supplied) Criminal Case No. 00-1705, it follows that the civil aspect
arising from Grave Threats is deemed instituted with the
criminal action, and, hence, the private prosecutor may
The phrase "In the court of a justice of the peace" in Bar Matter rightfully intervene to prosecute the civil aspect.
No. 730 is subsequently changed to "In the court of a
municipality" as it now appears in Section 34 of Rule 138, thus: 8
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed
Resolution and Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 116,
SEC. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. — In the Court of a Pasay City are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
municipality a party may conduct his litigation in person, with Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 45, Pasay City is DIRECTED
the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, to ADMIT the Entry of Appearance of petitioner in Criminal
or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may Case No. 00-1705 as a private prosecutor under the direct
conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney and his control and supervision of the public prosecutor.
appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized
member of the bar. (Emphasis supplied)
No pronouncement as to costs.
which is the prevailing rule at the time the petitioner filed his
Entry of Appearance with the MeTC on September 25, 2000. No SO ORDERED.
real distinction exists for under Section 6, Rule 5 of the Rules of
Court, the term "Municipal Trial Courts" as used in these Rules MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
shall include Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts Associate Justice
in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts. WE CONCUR:

There is really no problem as to the application of Section 34 of CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO

Rule 138 and Rule 138-A. In the former, the appearance of a Associate Justice
non-lawyer, as an agent or friend of a party litigant, is expressly Chairperson
allowed, while the latter rule provides for conditions when a law
student, not as an agent or a friend of a party litigant, may
appear before the courts. ROMEO J. CALLEJO, >MINITA V. CHICO-
Petitioner expressly anchored his appearance on Section 34 of Associate Justice Asscociate Justice
Rule 138. The court a quo must have been confused by the fact
that petitioner referred to himself as a law student in his entry of ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
appearance. Rule 138-A should not have been used by the Associate Justice
courts a quo in denying permission to act as private prosecutor
against petitioner for the simple reason that Rule 138-A is not
the basis for the petitioner’s appearance.

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been

Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the inferior
reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the
courts by a non-lawyer is allowed, irrespective of whether or not
writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
he is a law student. As succinctly clarified in Bar Matter No.
730, by virtue of Section 34, Rule 138, a law student may
appear, as an agent or a friend of a party litigant, without the CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
supervision of a lawyer before inferior courts. Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division


Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Division Chairperson’s Attestation, it is hereby certified that the
conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in May a non-lawyer recover attorney's fees for legal services
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the rendered? This is the issue presented in this petition for review
opinion of the Court’s Division. of an order, dated 12 May 1964, and the en banc resolution,
dated 8 December 1964, of the Court of Industrial Relations, in
REYNATO S. PUNO its Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo, granting respondent Quintin
Chief Justice Muning a non-lawyer, attorney's fees for professional services in
the said case.

The above-named petitioners were complainants in Case No. 72-

ULP-Iloilo entitled, "PAFLU et al. vs. Binalbagan Isabela Sugar
Footnotes Co., et al." After trial, the Court of Industrial Relations rendered
a decision, on 29 March 1961, ordering the reinstatement with
backwages of complainants Enrique Entila and Victorino
Entitled, People of the Philippines v. Alberto Mina. Tenazas. Said decision became final. On 18 October 1963,
Cipriano Cid & Associates, counsel of record for the winning
2 complainants, filed a notice of attorney's lien equivalent to 30%
211 Phil. 373, 378 (1983).
of the total backwages. On 22 November 1963, Atty. Atanacio
3 Rollo, p. 26. Pacis also filed a similar notice for a reasonable amount.
Complainants Entila and Tenazas on 3 December 1963, filed a
manifestation indicating their non-objection to an award of
4 Rollo, pp. 7-9. attorney's fees for 25% of their backwages, and, on the same
day, Quentin Muning filed a "Petition for the Award of Services
5United Laboratories, Inc. v. Isip, G.R. No. 163858, Rendered" equivalent to 20% of the backwages. Munings
June 28, 2005, 461 SCRA 574, 593; Ark Travel petition was opposed by Cipriano Cid & Associates the ground
Express, Inc. v. Abrogar, G.R. No. 137010, August that he is not a lawyer.
29, 2003, 410 SCRA 148, 157.
The records of Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo show that the charge
6 273 SCRA xi. was filed by Cipriano Cid & Associates through Atty. Atanacio
Pacis. All the hearings were held in Bacolod City and
7 appearances made in behalf of the complainants were at first by
Id. at xiii-xiv.
Attorney Pacis and subsequently by respondent Quintin Muning.
8See Bulacan v. Torcino, G.R. No. L-44388, January
On 12 May 1964, the Court of Industrial Relations awarded 25%
30, 1985, 134 SCRA 252, 257-258
of the backwages as compensation for professional services
rendered in the case, apportioned as follows:
9Sanchez v. Far East Bank and Trust Co., G.R. No.
155309, November 15, 2005, 475 SCRA 97, 111.
Attys. Cipriano Cid & Associates
............................................. 10%
Chua v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 150793,
November 19, 2004, 443 SCRA 259, 267-268.
Quintin Muning
. 10%

Atty. Atanacio Pacis

Republic of the Philippines ................................................................. 5%
Manila The award of 10% to Quintin Muning who is not a lawyer
according to the order, is sought to be voided in the present
EN BANC petition.

Respondent Muning moved in this Court to dismiss the present

petition on the ground of late filing but his motion was overruled
on 20 January 1965.1 He asked for reconsideration, but,
G.R. No. L-23959 November 29, 1971
considering that the motion contained averments that go into the
merits of the case, this Court admitted and considered the
PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF FREE LABOR UNIONS motion for reconsideration for all purposes as respondent's
(PAFLU), ENRIQUE ENTILA & VICTORIANO answer to the petitioner for review.2 The case was considered
TENAZAS petitioners, submitted for decision without respondent's brief.3
Applicable to the issue at hand is the principle enunciated
in Amalgamated Laborers' Association, et al. vs. Court of
MUNING respondents.
Industrial Relations, et al., L-23467, 27 March 1968,4 that an
agreement providing for the division of attorney's fees, whereby
Cipriano Cid & Associates for petitioners. a non-lawyer union president is allowed to share in said fees
with lawyers, is condemned by Canon 34 of Legal Ethics and is
Ceferino Magat and Manuel C. Gonzales for respondent Quintin immoral and cannot be justified. An award by a court of
Muning. attorney's fees is no less immoral in the absence of a contract, as
in the present case.

The provision in Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 875 that — and also leave the bar in a chaotic condition, aside from the fact
that non-lawyers are not amenable to disciplinary measures. 10
In the proceeding before the Court or
Hearing Examiner thereof, the parties shall And the general rule above-stated (referring
not be required to be represented by legal to non-recovery of attorney's fees by non-
counsel ... lawyers) cannot be circumvented when the
services were purely legal, by seeking to
is no justification for a ruling, that the person representing the recover as an "agent" and not as an
party-litigant in the Court of Industrial Relations, even if he is attorney. 11
not a lawyer, is entitled to attorney's fees: for the same section
adds that — The weight of the reasons heretofore stated why a non-lawyer
may not be awarded attorney's fees should suffice to refute the
it shall be the duty and obligation of the possible argument that appearances by non-lawyers before the
Court or Hearing Officer to examine and Court of Industrial Relations should be excepted on the ground
cross examine witnesses on behalf of the that said court is a court of special jurisdiction; such special
parties and to assist in the orderly jurisdiction does not weigh the aforesaid reasons and cannot
presentation of evidence. justify an exception.

thus making it clear that the representation should be exclusively The other issue in this case is whether or not a union may appeal
entrusted to duly qualified members of the bar. an award of attorney's fees which are deductible from the
backpay of some of its members. This issue arose because it was
the union PAFLU, alone, that moved for an extension of time to
The permission for a non-member of the bar to represent or file the present petition for review; union members Entila and
appear or defend in the said court on behalf of a party-litigant Tenazas did not ask for extension but they were included as
does not by itself entitle the representative to compensation for petitioners in the present petition that was subsequently filed, it
such representation. For Section 24, Rule 138, of the Rules of being contended that, as to them (Entila and Tenazas), their
Court, providing — inclusion in the petition as co-petitioners was belated.

Sec. 24. Compensation of attorney's We hold that a union or legitimate labor organization may
agreement as to fees. — An attorney shall appeal an award of attorney's fees which are deductible from the
be entitled to have and recover from his backpay of its members because such union or labor
client no more than a reasonable organization is permitted to institute an action in the industrial
compensation for his services, ... court, 12 on behalf of its members; and the union was organized
"for the promotion of the emloyees' moral, social and economic
imports the existence of an attorney-client relationship as a well-being"; 13 hence, if an award is disadvantageous to its
condition to the recovery of attorney's fees. Such a relationship members, the union may prosecute an appeal as an aggrieved
cannot exist unless the client's representative in court be a party, under Section 6, Republic Act 875, which provides:
lawyer. Since respondent Muning is not one, he cannot establish
an attorney-client relationship with Enrique Entila and Victorino Sec. 6. Unfair Labor Practice cases —
Tenezas or with PAFLU, and he cannot, therefore, recover Appeals. — Any person aggrieved by any
attorney's fees. Certainly public policy demands that legal work order of the Court may appeal to the
in representation of parties litigant should be entrusted only to Supreme Court of the Philippines ...,
those possessing tested qualifications and who are sworn, to
observe the rules and the ethics of the profession, as well as
being subject to judicial disciplinary control for the protection of since more often than not the individual unionist is not in a
courts, clients and the public. position to bear the financial burden of litigations.

On the present issue, the rule in American jurisdictions is Petitioners allege that respondent Muning is engaged in the
persuasive. There, it is stated: habitual practice of law before the Court of Industrial Relations,
and many of them like him who are not licensed to practice,
registering their appearances as "representatives" and appearing
But in practically all jurisdictions statutes daily before the said court. If true, this is a serious situation
have now been enacted prohibiting persons demanding corrective action that respondent court should
not licensed or admitted to the bar from actively pursue and enforce by positive action to that purpose.
practising law, and under statutes of this But since this matter was not brought in issue before the court a
kind, the great weight of authority is to the quo, it may not be taken up in the present case. Petitioners,
effect that compensation for legal services however, may file proper action against the persons alleged to
cannot be recovered by one who has not be illegally engaged in the practice of law.
been admitted to practice before the court or
in the jurisdiction the services were
rendered. 5 WHEREFORE, the orders under review are hereby set aside
insofar as they awarded 10% of the backwages as attorney's fees
for respondent Quintin Muning. Said orders are affirmed in all
No one is entitled to recover compensation other respects. Costs against respondent Muning.
for services as an attorney at law unless he
has been duly admitted to practice ... and is
an attorney in good standing at the time.6 Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando,
Teehankee, Barredo, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ. concur.
The reasons are that the ethics of the legal profession should not
be violated;7 that acting as an attorney with authority constitutes
contempt of court, which is punishable by fine or imprisonment
or both,8 and the law will not assist a person to reap the fruits or
benefit of an act or an act done in violation of law;9 and that if
were to be allowed to non-lawyers, it would leave the public in Footnotes
hopeless confusion as to whom to consult in case of necessity

1 Rollo, page 37.

2 Rollo, page 62.

3 Rollo, page 75.

4 22 SCRA, 1266.

5 4 A.L.R. 1088, Editorial note.

6 7 C.J.S 1022.

7 See also, Foundation Finance Co. vs.

Robins, 153 So. 833 179 La. 259, reversing
(App) 149 So. 166.

8 Rule 71, Rules of Court.

9 Harris v. Clark, 142 N.E. 881, 81 Ind.

App. 494.

10 Harriman v. Straham, 33 P. 2d 1067, 47

Wyo. 208.

11 4 A.L.R. 1089.

12 NLU v. Dinglasan, L-7945, 23 March

1956, 52 O.G. No. 4, 1933.

13 Section 1(a), Republic Act 875.