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MERCEDITA MATA ARAÑES , petitioner, vs. JUDGE SALVADOR M.

OCCIANO, respondent .

Facts:
Respondent judge solemnized the marriage of petitioner and Orobia in Nabua,
Camarines Sur.

1. The place where the marriage was solemnized outside of the respondent
judge’s jurisdiction.
2. The respondent solemnized the marriage without a marriage license.
3. Withdrawal of the complaint of petitioner does not remove the liability of
respondent judge.

Respondent judge contended:
a. He solemnized the marriage outside his jurisdiction on the request of Juan Arroyo
because Orobia had a difficulty in walking.
b. He knew that petitioner and Orobia did not have a marriage license at the time of the
marriage but still proceeded to solemnize the said marriage due to the earnest pleas of the
parties, the influx of visitors, and the delivery of provisions for the occasion.
c. Respondent constantly reminded the petitioner and Orobia to submit the marriage
license. Failure to comply would result to the marriage being void.

Petitioner:
a. Filed the case of ignorance of the law on the grounds that her marriage to Orobia,
which was solemnized by respondent judge, was void due to lack of marriage license.
b. That she could not be the recipient of the estate of the deceased Orobia and his pension
as a retired Commodore of the Philippine Navy.
c. She filed an Affidavit of Desistance, withdrawing the said case because she was
bothered by her conscience and that she only filed the complaint due to her rage.

Ruling:
The respondent judge was held liable for ignorance of the law on the grounds that
respondent judge did not possess authority when he solemnized the marriage of petitioner
due to the lack of marriage license. In this respect, respondent judge acted in gross
ignorance of the law.
Respondent judge cannot be exculpated despite the Affidavit of Desistance filed
by petitioner. This Court has consistently held in a catena of cases that the withdrawal of
the complaint does not necessarily have the legal effect of exonerating respondent from
disciplinary action. Otherwise, the prompt and fair administration of justice, as well as
the discipline of court personnel, would be undermined. Disciplinary actions of this
nature do not involve purely private or personal matters. They can not be made to depend
upon the will of every complainant who may, for one reason or another, condone a
detestable act. We cannot be bound by the unilateral act of a complainant in a matter
which involves the Court's constitutional power to discipline judges. Otherwise, that
power may be put to naught, undermine the trust character of a public office and impair
the integrity and dignity of this Court as a disciplining authority.