[Retrieved 14 December 2011 from: Resolutions&docid=1312955338893424697

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http://elibrary.judiciary.gov.ph/resolutions.php?doctype=Minute%20

EN BANC [May 02, 1989] RE: REQUEST OF JOSE M. ALEJANDRINO Gentlemen: Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of the Court En Banc dated MAY 2, 1989 “Re: Request of Jose M. Alejandrino The Clerk of Court referred to the Court en banc a letter from Atty. Jose M. Alejandrino asking for certified Xerox copies of: “1. Statement of Assets and Liabilities of Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan filed with you upon his assumption of office and that filed by him for 1988. “2. Statements of Assets and Liabilities of Associate Justices Andres R. Narvasa, Emilia A. Gancayco, Abdulwahid A. Bidin, Isagani A. Cruz, Abraham Sarmiento, Irene R. Cortes, Carolina C. Griño-Aquino, Leo Medialdea and Florenz D. Regalado filed respectively by them upon assumption of office and those filed by them for 1988.” upon payment of a reasonable fee to cover the cost of reproduction and mailing. Not lost upon the Court, in considering the request, is the significance of certain facts bearing an indubitable relevance thereto and to what is plainly discernible as the motive behind its making: 1. Atty. Alejandrino was the private respondent in G.R. No. 70766, “American Express International Co., Inc. vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al.,” where in a recent en banc decision, the Court reduced from P2,400,000.00 to P100,000.00 the damages awarded him by the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Pasay City Branch, (and affirmed by the Intermediate Appellate Court) in an action for breach of contract; said decision the Court thereafter declined to reconsider and has since become final and executory; 2. Atty. Alejandrino’s motion of December 1, 1988 for reconsideration of said decision states, inter alia, that the Court “show(ed) patent partiality towards petitioner” in giving due course to the petition, and that “the reduction * * of the damage awards of the two lower courts would be

scandalous and might invite Congressional inquiry whether certain people in the Court enjoyed Christmas in November as a result of the manner of disposition of this case”; in his letter of January 18, 1989 to the Chief Justice, Atty. Alejandrino also expresses his “hope that the ponente and his legal researchers do not fall into the error of providing grounds for impeachment of those concerned,” referring to the Justices who participated in the decision of November 9, 1988 which cites and relies upon the allegedly “ancient” and “obsolete” ruling in Alonso vs. Villamor, 16 Phil. 315. 3. The request singles out the Members of the Court who took part in the decision and conspicuously excludes the Justices who, for one reason or another, abstained therefrom. Be that as it may, the Court was unanimous in expressing its willingness to have the Clerk of Court furnish copies of the statements of assets and liabilities Of the Chief Justice and any Associate Justice to any person upon request, provided there is a legitimate reason for the request, it being in fact “unlawful for any person to obtain or use any statement filed under Rep. Act No. 6713 for (a) any purpose contrary to morals or public policy; or (b) any commercial purpose other than by news and communications media for dissemination to the general public.” (Sec. 4(D)) Considering, however, that similar requests may be made upon the Justices and Judges of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, Regional Trial Courts, Sharia Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts under circumstances which may endanger, diminish or destroy their independence and objectivity in the performance of their judicial functions or expose them to revenge for adverse decisions, kidnapping, extortion, blackmail, or other untoward consequences, the COURT RESOLVED to ISSUE the fallowing guidelines: 1. All requests for copies of statements of assets and liabilities of any Justice or Judge shall be filed with the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court or with the Court Administrator, as the case may be (Section 8 [A][2], R.A. 6713), and shall state the purpose of the request. 2. The independence of the Judiciary is constitutionally as important as the right to information which is subject to the limitations provided by law. Under specific circumstances, the need for the fair and just adjudication of litigations may require a court to be wary of deceptive requests for information which shall otherwise be freely available. Where the request is directly or indirectly traced to a litigant, lawyer, or interested party in a case pending before the court, or where the court is reasonably certain that a disputed matter will come before it under circumstances from which it may, also not made in good reasonably, be assumed that the request is faith and for a legitimate purpose,

but to fish for information and, with the implicit threat of its disclosure, to influence a decision or to warn the court of the unpleasant consequences of an adverse judgment, the request may be denied. 3. Where a decision has just been rendered by a court against the person making the request and the request for information appears to be a “fishing expedition” intended to harass or get back at the Judge, the request may be denied. 4. In the few areas where there is extortion by rebel elements or where the nature of their work exposes Judges to assaults against their personal safety, the request shall not only be denied but should be immediately reported to the military. 5. The reason for the denial shall be given in all cases.” Gancayco, J., is on leave. Very truly yours, (Sgd.) DANIEL T. MARTINEZ Clerk of Court

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