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Legal and Judicial Ethics

ANTONIO L. DEL MUNDO v. JUDGE LIZABETH GUTIERREZ-TORRES A.M. No. MTJ-05-1611 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A judge who incurs unreasonable delay in resolving motions or pending incidents is violates the canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct and is guilty of gross inefficiency. Antonio L. Del Mundo filed an ejectment case against Victoriano G. Sanchez. Sanchez filed a Motion to Dismiss which was opposed by Del Mundo. However, Sanchez failed to file a reply to the opposition. Del Mundo likewise file a Motion for Sanchez to Deposit Rentals. After Del Mundo filed several Motions to Resolve Motions to Dismiss and to Deposit Rentals, Judge Lizabeth Gutierrez-Torres failed to resolve the said motions. Thus, Del Mundo administratively charged Judge Gutierrez-Torres for her inefficiency. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Gutierrez-Torres is guilty of gross inefficiency HELD: As a trial judge, Judge Gutierrez-Torres ought to know that by clear mandate of the Constitution, she must promptly dispose of cases or matters within 90 days. This mandate applies even to motions or interlocutory matters or incidents pending before a magistrate. Any unreasonable delay in resolving motions or pending incidents is also a violation of the canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and constitutes gross inefficiency which warrants the imposition of an administrative sanction. Trial court judges being the paradigm of justice in the first instance have, time and again, been exhorted to dispose of the court's business promptly and decide cases within the required period, for delays undermine the people's faith in the judiciary from whom the prompt hearing of their supplications is anticipated and expected, and reinforce in the minds of the litigants the impression that the wheels of justice grind ever so slowly. An ejectment case falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of first level courts, hence, Judge Gutierrez-Tan as MeTC judge must not only be familiar with Rule 70 of the Rules of Court and the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure the rules governing ejectment, among other cases, but must exhibit professional competence in deciding and resolving cases of such nature and all cases for that matter.

FIDEL D. AQUINO v. ATTY. OSCAR MANESE A.C. No. 4958, 3 April 2003, THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J. ) A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. Complainant Fidel D. Aquino (Aquino) charged respondent Atty. Oscar Manese (Atty. Manese) with falsification of public document for notarizing a Deed of Absolute Sale with Lilia D. Cardona (Cardona) as one of the vendors-signatories, when in fact, Cardona had already died 4 years ago. Atty. Manese asserted that he is merely doing his duty as a Notary Public. Also, he cannot be expected to know every person who comes to his office for notarization of documents.
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In a Resolution issued by the IBP Board of Governors, it ruled that Atty. Manese was gravely remiss in his obligation as a notary public and recommended that Atty. Maneses commission as a Notary Public be revoked and be suspended with disqualification for appointment as Notary Public for a period of 2 years. ISSUE: Whether or not the IBP Board of Governors recommendation to revoke and suspend Atty. Maneses commission as a Notary Public for 2 years is proper HELD: IBP Board of Governors Resolution, which is before this Court for final action pursuant to Sec. 12 par. (b), Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, is well-taken. The death on November 25, 1990 of Lilia Cardona is documented. Her Death Certificate shows so. The National Bureau of Investigation, which made a comparative examination of her specimen signatures and that appearing in the Deed of Absolute Sale, found that the signature on the latter and the specimen signatures were not written by one and the same person. In the Acknowledgment in the deed, Manese affirmed that before him personally appeared said vendors [including the late Lilia Cardona] whose (sic) personal circumstances are shown above below their names and signatures, all known to [him] and to [him] known to be the same individual (sic) who executed th[e] instrument and acknowledged to [him] that the same is their free act and voluntary deed. The said acknowledgment notwithstanding, Manese asseverated in his Comment to the lettercomplaint that he is not expected to personally know every person who goes to him for notarization of documents. Such jaunty indifference betrays his deplorable failure to heed the importance of the notarial act and observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of his duties as a notary public which include the ascertainment that the persons who signed the document are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him. The importance attached to the act of notarization cannot be overemphasized. Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization converts a private document into a public document thus making that document admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. A notarial document is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. Courts, administrative agencies and the public at large must be able to rely upon the acknowledgment executed by a notary public and appended to a private instrument. For this reason notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of conveyance would be undermined. Hence a notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. The purpose of this requirement is to enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the partys free act and deed. (Underscoring and emphasis supplied.) By Maneses reckless act of notarizing the Deed of Absolute Sale without ascertaining that the vendors-signatories thereto were the very same persons who executed it and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what were stated therein, he has undermined the confidence of the public on notarial documents and he thereby breached Canon I of the Code of Professional
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Responsibility which requires lawyers to uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal processes, and Rule 1.01 thereof which proscribes lawyers from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

ATTY. IRENEO L. TORRES AND MRS. NATIVIDAD CELESTINO v. ATTY. JOSE CONCEPCION JAVIER A.M. No. 5910 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Inclusion of derogatory statements actuated by his giving vent to ill-feelings stated in the pleading is not covered by the absolute immunity or privileged communication. Atty. Ireneo L. Torres and Mrs. Natividad Celestino charged Atty. Jose Concepcion Javier for malpractice, gross misconduct in office as an attorney and/or violation of the lawyer's oath for employing statements and remarks on his pleadings which are false, unsubstantiated, with malicious imputation, abusive, offensive and improper with the character of an attorney as a quasi-judicial officer. Atty. Javier professes that he was angry while he was preparing his pleadings considering that his wife was included to the burglary exposed in the present case. Also, he invokes that those statements he made are privileged communication, it forming part of a judicial proceeding. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Javier is administratively liable for the alleged offensive statements he made in his pleadings HELD: It is well entrenched in Philippine jurisprudence that for reasons of public policy, utterances made in the course of judicial proceedings, including all kinds of pleadings, petitions and motions, are absolutely privileged so long as they are pertinent and relevant to the subject inquiry, however false or malicious they may be. A matter, however, to which the privilege does not extend must be so palpably wanting in relation to the subject matter of the controversy that no reasonable man can doubt its irrelevancy or impropriety. That matter alleged in a pleading need not be in every case material to the issues presented by the pleadings. It must, however, be legitimately related thereto, or so pertinent to the subject of the controversy that it may become the subject of inquiry in the course of the trial. Clearly, Atty. Javiers primordial reason for the offensive remark stated in his pleadings was his emotional reaction in view of the fact that herein Complainant was in a legal dispute with his wife. This excuse cannot be sustained; that the Atty. Javier is representing his wife is not at all an excuse. In keeping with the dignity of the legal profession, a lawyer's language must be dignified and choice of language is important in the preparation of pleadings. In the assertion of his client's rights, a lawyer even one gifted with superior intellect is enjoined to rein up his temper. Thus, the inclusion of the derogatory statements by respondent was actuated by his giving vent to his ill-feelings towards Atty. Torres, a purpose to which the mantle of absolute immunity does not extend.
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ATTY. MELVIN D.C. MANE v. JUDGE MEDEL ARNALDO B. BELEN A.M. No. RTJ-08-2119, 30 June 2008, SECOND DIVISION, (Carpio Morales, J.) An alumnus of a particular law school has no monopoly of knowledge of the law. Petitioner Atty. Melvin D.C. Mane filed a letter-complaint to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) charging respondent Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen of demeaning, humilating, and berating him during a hearing of Rural Bank of Cabuyao, Inc. v. Samue Malabanan, et al . where Mane was counsel for the plaintiff. During the proceedings, Belen asked Mane about the latters law school. When Mane answered that he came from Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU), Belen told him: Then youre not from UP. Then you cannot equate yourself to me because there is a saying and I know this, not all law students are created equal, not all law schools are created equal, not all lawyers are created equal despite what the Supreme Being that we all are created equal in His form and substance. Belen further lambasted Mane and lectured him on the latters person, seemingly disregarding the case at hand. Subsequently, the OCA, upon evaluation, found that Belens insulting remarks were unwarranted and inexcusable and recommended a reprimand of Belen. ISSUE: Whether or not the statements and actions made by Judge Belen during the hearing constitute conduct unbecoming of a judge and a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct H ELD: The Court held that an alumnus of a particular law school has no monopoly of knowledge of the law. By hurdling the Bar Examinations which the Court administers, taking of the Lawyers oath, and signing of the Roll of Attorneys, a lawyer is presumed to be competent to discharge his functions and duties as, inter alia an officer of the court, irrespective of where he obtained his law degree. For a judge to determine the fitness or competence of a lawyer primarily on his alma mater is clearly an engagement in an argumentum ad hominem. A judge must address the merits of the case and not the person of the counsel. If Judge Belen felt that his integrity and dignity were being assaulted, he acted properly when he directed complainant to explain why he should not be cited for contempt. He went out of bounds, however, when he engaged on a supercilious legal and personal discourse. The Court reminded members of the bench that even on the face of boorish behavior from those they deal with, they ought to conduct themselves in a manner befitting gentlemen and high officers of the court.

ANACLITO CARANDANG v. REMEDIOS BASE 550 SCRA 44 (2008), SECOND DIVISION, (Carpio Morales, J.) It is not within the ambit of the powers of a Clerk of Court to issue a commitment order.
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Anaclito Carandang charged Remedios Base (Base), Clerk of Court of Municipal Trial Court of Palawan, with gross and grave misconduct in office and violation of Republic Act No. 3019, "The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act." Carandang claims that his wife went to the office of Base, who summoned her and demanded from her a certain amount to facilitate the dismissal of the criminal case filed against him. It turned out that the criminal case against Carandang had been dismissed more than a year earlier. Carandang further alleges that despite the dismissal of the criminal case against him, he was arrested at the instance of issuance of commitment order issued by Base. ISSUE: Whether or not Base can be held liable for misconduct in official duty for the issuance of commitment order against Carandang HELD: The Court finds that by issuing a commitment order, Base arrogated upon herself a judicial function. The Clerk of Court, unlike a judicial authority, has no power to order either the commitment or the release on bail of person charged with penal offenses. The Clerk of Court may release an order "upon the order of the Judge" or "by authority of the Judge," but under no circumstance should the clerk make it appear that the judge signed the order when in fact, the judge did not. Such act of Base amounts to simple misconduct, an unlawful behavior, an unacceptable behavior that transgresses the established rules of conduct for public officers. Neglect of duty is the failure of an employee to give one's attention to a task expected of him. Gross neglect is such neglect which, from the gravity of the case or the frequency of instances, becomes so serious in its character as to endanger or threaten the public welfare. It may not be amiss to state that this Court found Base guilty of simple neglect of duty, on similar grounds, in which it imposed a penalty of suspension for three months, with a stern warning against repetition of similar acts.

ATTY. HERMOGENES DATUIN, JR. v. JUDGE ANDRES B. SORIANO, Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan 391 SCRA 1 (2002), THIRD DIVISION (CARPIO-MORALES, J.) Notatu dignum is the presumption of regularity in the performance of a judges functions, hence, bias, prejudice and even undue interest cannot be presumed. The case arose from a complaint for a sum of money filed by Olivia Natividad against Teresita Lopez before the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan (RTC) which was raffled to Judge Andres B. Soriano (Judge Soriano). Atty. Hermogenes Datuin, Jr. (Atty. Datuin) appeared as counsel of the defendant in the said case. Subsequently, Atty. Datuin filed a Motion for Disqualification against Judge Soriano for being partial and bias by shouting at Complainant Datuin without just cause, for ordering that the buyer of the parcel of land in dispute must first appear before him and for issuing an order without reciting the details thereof.
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ISSUE: Whether or not the complaint against Judge Soriano warrants punitive action from the Supreme Court HELD: Notatu dignum is the presumption of regularity in the performance of a judges functions, hence, bias, prejudice and even undue interest cannot be presumed, especially weighed against a judges sacred allegation under oath of office to administer justice without respect to any person and do equal right to the poor and the rich. It is settled that in administrative proceedings the complainant has the burden of proving, in general by substantial evidence, the allegations in the complaint. This complainant failed to discharge that Judge Soriano yelled at him, absent evidence as to its content as well as the circumstances under which it was made, its import cannot be appreciated. The argument that Judge Soriano will not be asking that the buyer be presented to him if he had no hidden agenda is unadulterated speculation, hence, deserves no weight. In respondent Judge Sorianos case, he has explained that his Order was not the pre trial order as he was wont to issue one only after the transcription of the stenographic notes taken during the pre-trial was completed to make sure that all the matters therein taken up are reflected in the order. In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are generally not subject to disciplinary action, even though such acts are erroneous. For a judge may not be held administratively accountable for every erroneous order or decision he renders. To hold otherwise would be to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment.

ANTONIO L. DEL MUNDO v. JUDGE LIZABETH GUTIERREZ-TORRES A.M. No. MTJ-05-1611 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A judge who incurs unreasonable delay in resolving motions or pending incidents is violates the canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct and is guilty of gross inefficiency. Antonio L. Del Mundo filed an ejectment case against Victoriano G. Sanchez. Sanchez filed a Motion to Dismiss which was opposed by Del Mundo. However, Sanchez failed to file a reply to the opposition. Del Mundo likewise file a Motion for Sanchez to Deposit Rentals. After Del Mundo filed several Motions to Resolve Motions to Dismiss and to Deposit Rentals, Judge Lizabeth Gutierrez-Torres failed to resolve the said motions. Thus, Del Mundo administratively charged Judge Gutierrez-Torres for her inefficiency. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Gutierrez-Torres is guilty of gross inefficiency HELD:

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As a trial judge, Judge Gutierrez-Torres ought to know that by clear mandate of the Constitution, she must promptly dispose of cases or matters within 90 days. This mandate applies even to motions or interlocutory matters or incidents pending before a magistrate. Any unreasonable delay in resolving motions or pending incidents is also a violation of the canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and constitutes gross inefficiency which warrants the imposition of an administrative sanction. Trial court judges being the paradigm of justice in the first instance have, time and again, been exhorted to dispose of the court's business promptly and decide cases within the required period, for delays undermine the people's faith in the judiciary from whom the prompt hearing of their supplications is anticipated and expected, and reinforce in the minds of the litigants the impression that the wheels of justice grind ever so slowly. An ejectment case falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of first level courts, hence, Judge Gutierrez-Tan as MeTC judge must not only be familiar with Rule 70 of the Rules of Court and the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure the rules governing ejectment, among other cases, but must exhibit professional competence in deciding and resolving cases of such nature and all cases for that matter.

ATTY. ORLANDO V. DIZON v. ATTY. MARICHU C. LAMBINO ATTY. MARICHU C. LAMBINO v. ATTY. ORLANDO V. DIZON (Consolidated) A.C. No. 6968, 9 August 2006, THIRD DIVISION (Carpio-Morales, J.) system. A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal

Dennis Venturina (Venturina), Francis Carlo Taparan (Taparan) and Raymundo Narag (Narag) were taken as suspects in the killing of a UP student. They were taken into the custody of Col. Eduardo Bentain, head of the UP Security Force. Atty. Orlando Dizon, then Chief of the Special Operations Group, requested that Taparan and Narag be taken into his custody. Atty. Marichu Lambino (Lambino), Legal Counsel of UP Diliman, opposed Atty. Dizon's move, he not being armed with a warrant for their arrest. After what appeared to be a heated discussion between Atty. Dizon and the UP officials, the students were allowed to go back to their dormitories. Atty. Villamor committed to accompany them to the NBI the following morning. Atty. Dizon filed a complaint against Atty. Lambino before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for violation of Canon 1. Rules 1.1 to 1.3 of the Code of Professional Responsibilty. He also earlier filed a criminal complaint against Atty. Lambino before the Ombudsman for violation of P.D. 1829 which makes it unlawful for anyone to obstruct the apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenses. Atty Lambino in turn charged Atty. Dizon before the IBP with violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Upon Atty. Lambinos motion, the administrative cases were consolidated. ISSUES: Whether or not Atty. Lambino or Atty. Dizon acted within their official duties HELD:
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By Report and Recommendation submitted to the Board of Governors of the IBP on June 20, 2005, CBD Investigating Commissioner Siegfrid B. Mison recommended the dismissal of the complaint against Atty. Lambino in light of a finding that she acted within her official duties as she safeguarded the rights of the students in accordance with the schools substitute parental authority and within the bounds of the law as the NBI agents had no warrants of arrest. With respect to the complaint against Atty. Dizon, the Commissioner recommended to reprimand him for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility in recklessly trying to arrest the suspects without warrant. The IBP Board of Governors, by Resolution of October 22, 2005, adopted and approved the Commissioners Report. The IBP thereupon transferred to this Court its Notice of Resolution, together with the records of the cases which this Court noted by Resolution of February 1, 2006. When the complaint of Atty. Dizon before the Ombudsman against Chancellor Posadas, Vice Chancellor Torres-Yu and Atty. Lambino was elevated on Certiorari and Prohibition, this Court addressing in the negative the two issues raised therein, to wit: (1) Whether the attempted arrest of the student suspects by the NBI could be validly made without a warrant; and (2) Whether there was probable cause for prosecuting petitioner for violation of P.D. No. 1829. x x x, held that the objection of the said UP officials to the arrest of the students cannot be construed as a violation of P.D. No. 1829, Sec. 1 (c) without rendering it unconstitutional, they having a right to prevent the arrest [of the students] at the time because their attempted arrest was illegal. By persisting in his attempt to arrest the suspected students without a warrant, Atty. Dizon violated Rule 1.02 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides, among others that a lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.

DR. JOSE S. LUNA v. JUDGE EDUARDO H. MIRAFUENTE A.M. No. MTJ-05-1610 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are generally not subject to disciplinary action, even though such acts are erroneous. Dr. Luna filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against Florencio Sadiwa and Alex Sadiwa. The Sadiwas filed an unverified answer to the complaint, seven (7) days beyond the reglementary period. Dr. Luna's counsel filed a Motion for Judgment, invoking Section 6 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, to which motion the Sadiwas did not file any opposition. However, Judge Mirafuente denied the motion. Dr. Luna later filed an Urgent Manifestation relative to the said order of Judge Mirafuente which the latter treated as a motion for reconsideration and which he denied.

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Judge Mirafuente was charged with Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, Violation of the Rules on Summary Procedure in Special Cases and Gross Ignorance of the Law for giving due course to the belatedly filed and unverified answer of the Sadiwas. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Mirafuente shall be held liable for considering the belatedly filed unverified answer of the Sadiwas HELD: As provided in Section 6 of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, failure of the defendant to answer the complaint within the period provided, the court, motu proprio, or on mmotion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein. The word "shall" in the above-quoted sections of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure underscores their mandatory character. In the present case, Judge Mirafuente gave a liberal interpretation of the above-said Rule. While it is true that litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally true that every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice. Judge Mirafuente's act, albeit a disregard of procedural rules, does not, however, constitute grave misconduct. Neither does it constitute gross ignorance of the law. In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are generally not subject to disciplinary action, even though such acts are erroneous. After considering the appreciation by Judge Mirafuenta of the fact that the defendants filed a belated and unverified answer without the assistance of counsel, and the lack of showing of malice, corrupt motives or the like on his part, the Supreme Court finds that the penalty may be as it is hereby mitigated to severe reprimand.

JUAN DULALIA, JR. v. ATTY. PABLO C. CRUZ ________, (2007), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) The primary duty of lawyers is to be well-informed of the existing laws, to keep abreast with legal developments, recent enactments, and jurisprudence, and be conversant with basic legal principles. Susan Soriano Dulalia (Susan), wife of Juan, applied for a permit in the Municipal Government to build a high rise building in Bulacan. The permit was not released due to the opposition of Atty. Cruz who sent a letter to the Municipal Engineers office, claiming that the building impedes the airspace of their property which is adjacent to the Dulalias property. Juan Dulalia (Juan) filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty. Pablo Cruz (Cruz) for immoral conduct. Juan also claimed that Cruzs illicit relationship with a woman while still married is in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Cruz invokes good faith, claiming to have had the impression
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that the applicable provision at the time was Article 83 of the Civil Code, for while Article 256 of the Family Code provides that the Code shall have retroactive application, there is a qualification. ISSUE: Whether or not Cruz violated the Code of Professional Responsibility HELD: Cruzs claim that he was not aware that the Family Code already took effect on August 3, 1988 as he was in the United States from 1986 and stayed there until he came back to the Philippines together with his second wife on October 9, 1990 does not lie, as "ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith." Immoral conduct which is proscribed under Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, as opposed to grossly immoral conduct, connotes "conduct that shows indifference to the moral norms of society and the opinion of good and respectable members of the community." Gross immoral conduct on the other hand must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree. It must be emphasized that the primary duty of lawyers is to obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal processes. This duty carries with it the obligation to be wellinformed of the existing laws and to keep abreast with legal developments, recent enactments and jurisprudence. It is imperative that they be conversant with basic legal principles. Unless they faithfully comply with such duty, they may not be able to discharge competently and diligently their obligations as members of the bar. Worse, they may become susceptible to committing mistakes. The Court therefore concludes that Atty. Pablo C. Cruz is guilty of violating Rule 1.01 and Canon 5 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is suspended from the practice of law for one year.

EDWIN A. ACEBEDO v. EDDIE P. ARQUERO 399 SCRA 10 (2003), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio-Morales, J.) Position in the judiciary requires greater moral righteousness and uprightness. Edwin A. Acebedo charged Eddie P. Arquero, Process Server of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Brookes Point, Palawan for immorality, alleging that his wife, Dedje Irader Acebedo, a former stenographer of the MTC Brookes Point, and Arquero unlawfully and scandalously cohabited as husband and wife. Arquero claimed that Acebedo himself had been cohabitating with another woman. Based on Arqueros testimony, he justified his having a relationship with Irader solely on the written document purportedly a Kasunduan or agreement entered into by Acebedo and Irader, consenting to and giving freedom to either of them to seek any partner and to live with him or her. ISSUE:
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Whether or not Arquero should be held guilty of immorality HELD: Arqueros justification fails. Being an employee of the judiciary, Arquero ought to have known that the Kasunduan had absolutely no force and effect on the validity of the marriage between Acebedo and Irader. Article 1 of the Family Code provides that marriage is an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation. It is an institution of public order or policy, governed by rules established by law which cannot be made inoperative by the stipulation of the parties. Although every office in the government service is a public trust, no position exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness and uprightness from an individual than in the judiciary. That is why the Court has firmly laid down exacting standards of morality and decency expected of those in the service of the judiciary. Their conduct, not to mention behavior, is circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility, characterized by, among other things, propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep the publics respect and confidence in the judicial service. It must be free from any whiff of impropriety, not only with respect to their duties in the judicial branch but also to their behavior outside the court as private individuals Arqueros act of having illicit relations with Irader is, within the purview of Section 46 (5) of Subtitle A, Title I, Book V of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987, a disgraceful and immoral conduct.

NELDA APOSTOL v. JUNIE JOVENIO IPAC A.M. No.P-04-1865, 28 July 2005, THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J. ) Writ of execution, as a rule, may only be effected against the property of the judgment debtor, who must necessarily be a party to the case, and a sheriff who levies upon property other than that of the judgment debtors acts beyond the limit s of his authority. Nelda Apostol filed a complaint against Junie Jovencio G. Ipac, Sheriff IV of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos City for grave abuse of authority. In a civil case, the RTC of Malolos rendered judgment against CWB Plastic Corporation and directed the issuance of a writ of execution. Assigned to implement the said writ was Ipac. Subsequently, Ipac served on CWB a Notice of Levy on Execution of its properties. Consequently, Ipac took possession of a Toyota Corolla. Apostol, however, claims that she owns the said vehicle. The ownership was transferred to Apostol by CWB. Apostol charged Ipac with grave abuse of authority. Ipac contends that the ownership of vehicle is fictitious and was designed to defraud CWBs creditor. Ipac likewise contends that Apostol should proceed against the indemnity bond post ed by Silver Spirit.

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The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), in its report, found that Ipac gravely erred in implementing the writ of execution by levying on the vehicle despite the claim of ownership of Apostol as evidence by a certificate of registration over it; that it was not within Ipacs authority as sheriff to ignore Apostols claim over the vehicle as Ipac did not have any discretion to determine who among the parties was entitled to the possession of it. ISSUE: Whether or not Ipac gravely abused his authority by levying on the vehicle allegedly owned by Apostol HELD: The rule is that execution may only be effected against the property of judgment debtor, who must necessarily be a party to the case, and sheriff who levies upon property other than that of judgment debtors acts beyond the limits of his authority. When Ipac levied and took possession of the vehicle, however, he relied on the Official Receipt covering the payment of registration fees in the name of CWB. Complainant being a secretary/accountant of CWB, it can reasonably be inferred that she was aware of the case for ejectment filed against CWB et al. by Silver Spirit and the developments thereon. It is in this light that this Court finds well-founded Ipac's doubts on the motive behind the transfer to her by her employer CWB of its ownership of the vehicle by a Deed of Sale, after the Writ of Execution of the decision had been served upon CWB. A sheriffs duty in execution of a writ issued by a court is purely ministerial. When he levies on a property, which is claimed by one other than the judgment obligor, Rule 39, Section 16 of the Rules of Court directs him to observe such procedure.

ALICIA E. ASTURIAS v. ATTYS. MANUEL SERRANO AND EMILIANO SAMSON 476 SCRA 97 (2005) (CarpioMorales, J.) In order for perjury to lie, it must be shown and proved that the defendant willfully and deliberately made the false statement. Dr. Alicia E. Asturias filed a complaint for specific performance and damages against Fedman Development Corporation (FDC) and Fedman Suite Condominium Corporation (FSCC) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. The RTC ruled in favor of Dr. Asturias. The sheriff assigned at the RTC served a Notice of Garnishment upon unit owners including respondents, tenants, and occupants of the FSCC building. FSCC filed a Petition to Annul Judgment before the Court of Appeals alleging that no motion for new trial, appeal, petition for relief from judgment or other appropriate remedies could have been availed of by Austria because the assailed RTC Decision has attained finality without their fault when it was discovered in March 2003. Serrano and Samson verified the same under oath.

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Dr. Asturias lodged before the IBP an administrative complaint against Serrano and Samson, alleging that they committed perjury by knowingly making an untruthful statement under oath for the petition is false because FSCC had been duly notified of the assailed RTC Decision citing the Sheriff's Report showing that copies of the Decision of the appellate court and the Writ of Execution issued by the trial court were personally served upon Norma Estella, Administrative Secretary of FSCC. ISSUE: Whether or not Serrano and Samson are guilty of perjury HELD: The burden of proof in administrative complaints against lawyers rests on the complainant who must establish his charge by clear, convincing and satisfactory proof. To hold one liable for perjury which is the deliberate making of untruthful statements upon any material matter, before a competent person authorized to administer oath, in cases in which the law requires such oath, Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code requires that the following requisites must concur: (a) the accused made a statement under oath or executed an affidavit upon a material matter; (b) the statement or affidavit was made before a competent officer, authorized to receive and administer oaths; (c) in the statement or affidavit, the accused made a willful and deliberate assertion of a falsehood; and (d) the sworn statement or affidavit containing the falsity is required by law or made for a legal purpose. As to the third requisite, good faith or lack of malice is a defense. This Court finds that complainant failed to prove that respondents deliberately and willfully made the questioned assertion in the verification vis a vis the allegation in the Petition for Annulment of Judgment. The Sheriff's Report merely shows that copy of the appellate court's decision was received by one Norma Estella. The Motion to Archive/Suspend Proceedings in the Petition to Annul the RTC decision, which was filed not by respondents but by another counsel, merely shows that copy of the trial court's decision was received by a certain Atty. Quintin Bautista. And the records do not show that respondents, who were not parties to the complaint for specific performance filed by complainant, themselves received a copy of the decision of the RTC or knew about it prior to March 2003. This Court will not hesitate to mete out proper disciplinary punishment upon lawyers who are shown to have failed to live up to their sworn duties, but neither will it hesitate to extend its protective arm to them when the accusation against them is not indubitably proven. In fine, since complainant failed to discharge the onus of proving her charges against respondents by clear, convincing and satisfactory evidence, her present petition for review of the IBP's dismissal of her complaint must fail.

ALFERO C. BAGANO v. JUDGE AGAPITO L. HONTANOSAS and REGIONAL TRIAL COURT 458 SCRA 59 (2005) (Carpio Morales, J.) To hold a judge administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law, the assailed act must not only be contrary to existing law or jurisprudence, but must also be motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption on his part.

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Complainant Alfero C. Bagano (Bagano) charges respondent Judge Agapito L. Hontanosas (Judge Hontanosas) for gross ignorance of the law and procedure, undue delay in rendering an order, and grave abuse of discretion. This complaint rooted from Judge Hontanosas sudden approval of an earlier denied Motion to Cancel Statutory Lien by Claudio Reyes without even Reyes filing for motion for reconsideration and without setting the same for hearing and posting of notice of hearing in the locality where the lot is situated. In addition to the complaint of Bagano, the Motion to Cancel Subsequent Titles was resolved only after four (4) months following the submission of resolution when it should be within 30 days, while the motion for reconsideration was resolved only after five months following its submission. Finally, complainant faults Judge Hontanosas for grave abuse of discretion and gross ignorance of the law in denying his "Motion to Cancel Subsequent Certificates of Titles." Judge Hontanosas thus asks for the dismissal of the complaint which, so he claims, was intended purely for harassment. Both the Office of the Court Administrator and the Court found Judge Hontanosas guilty of the Gross Ignorance of the law. ISSUES: Whether or not respondent Judge Agapito L. Hontanos committed gross ignorance of the law and procedure, undue delay in rendering an order, and grave abuse of discretion HELD: It is a basic rule that all written motions should be heard. Excepted from this rule are nonlitigious motions those which may be acted upon by the court without prejudice the rights of the adverse party. As correctly found by the OCA, the "Motion to Cancel Statutory Lien" filed by Reyes cannot be considered a non-litigious motion to exempt it from the requirement of a hearing or notice to complainant, the lawful possessor of Lot No. 7708. To hold a judge administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law, the assailed act must not only be contrary to existing law or jurisprudence, but must also be motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption on his part. This is the general rule. When, however, the law or rule is so elementary, as that which requires written motions to be heard, not knowing about it constitutes gross ignorance of the law even in the absence of malicious intent.

FERDINAND S. BASCOS v. ATTY. RAYMUNDO A. RAMIREZ 543 SCRA 238 (2008) (Carpio Morales, J.) Executive judges are required under Presidential Decree 1079 to distribute Judicial Notices, Advertisements for Public Biddings, Notices of Auction Sales and Other Similar Notices by raffle for publication to qualified newspapers or periodicals. Ferdiand Bascos reported, by letter, to then Executive Judge Juan Bigornia, Jr., that Atty. Raymundo Ramirez had failed to follow the judges verbal order to designate a day of the week for the raffling of judicial and extra-judicial notices and other court processes requiring publication and for Faculty of Civil Law Digest Pool 2010

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having acted partially, by awarding to another newspaper, the Isabela Profile, 13 of the 14 notices of extra-judicial foreclosure filed by the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag Ibig Fund), all without the benefit of raffle and the requisite notices to the public. A complaint was thereafter filed against Ramirez for neglect of duty, arrogance and willful and deliberate violation of the circulars of the Supreme Court. Ramirez denied the allegations of Bascos, claiming that he was merely a victim of the business rivalry between Bascos and the Isabela Profile. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found Ramirezs defenses untenable and thus recommended that he be fined and sternly warned that similar infractions in the future will be dealt with more severely ISSUE: Whether or not Ramirez may be held liable for dereliction of duty, gross neglect, insubordination and for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility of Lawyers HELD: Executive judges are required under Presidential Decree 1079 to distribute those notices for publication, by raffle, to qualified newspapers or periodicals, and such raffle is to be conducted personally by the executive judge after designating a regular working day and a definite time each week for such purpose. Corollarily, a failure to follow this procedure shall merit the penalty of fine of not less than P5,000 nor more than P20,000 and imprisonment for not less than 6 months nor more than 2 years. In addition, the offending executive judge or court personnel will be perpetually disqualified from holding any public office in the government. The stringent provisions of P.D. 1079 were intended to prevent unfair competition, meant ultimately for the protection of the press. Moreover, the Supreme Court, in En Banc Resolution No. A.M. 01-01-07-SC dated October 16, 2001, clearly provided uniform and comprehensive guidelines in the accreditation of newspapers and other periodicals seeking to publish notices mentioned in PD 1079 and Circular 5-98 dated January 12, 1998. Thus, Ramirez, as a lawyer and an employee of the Court, ought, therefore, to know the requirements in and the importance of distributing notices for publication. He is expected to keep his own record of the applications for extra-judicial foreclosure and the minutes of the raffle thereof, in order to effectively assist the judge in the performance of his functions. In the same vein, it is incumbent upon him to help the judge devise an efficient and recording and filing system in the court so that no disorderliness can affect the flow of cases, particularly, foreclosure cases, and their speedy disposition. Corollarily, Ramirezs failure to heed the mandate of the Supreme Court directives constitutes unjustified and neglectful conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the judicial system and the public, and signifies inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties. As a member of the bar, Ramirez is, moreover, charged with the duty to obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. Irrefragably, Ramirezs continued failure to submit to the Executive Judge, copies of all applications for extra-judicial foreclosure from December, 2002 up to February 27, 2003, his stand of ignoring the Executive Judges earlier directive for him to comment on Bascoss letter complaint and the more than 20 instances that he failed to include in the raffle the notices for publication, not only reveals
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an obstinate refusal to perform his official duty and to comply with a direct order of a superior but, more importantly, points to a clear dereliction and gross neglect of duty and violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

SERVILLANO BATAC, JR., et al. v. ATTY. PONCIANO V. CRUZ, JR. 538 SCRA 135 (2007), SPECIAL THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) If it is the first time for the respondent to commit the offense charged, the Court can impose a lower penalty. Atty. Ponciano Cruz filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Courts decision, suspending him from the practice of law for six months for non-appearance in scheduled hearings. He was found to (1) have committed dishonesty concerning the excuses for his failure to attend the hearings, and (2) have exhibited a blatant disrespect for legal orders and processes by failing to submit the pertinent travel orders to substantiate his excuse or even an appropriate explanation for his inability to submit the same and, in either case, a manifestation of available dates. ISSUES: Whether or not the penalty imposed upon Atty. Cruz is too severe in light of the circumstances surrounding the case HELD: At two scheduled hearings in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) case after causing the cancellation and resetting of eight hearings precisely to adjust to his unavailability, Atty. Cruz failed to appear before the SEC Hearing Panel and comply with the subpoenas ad testificandum/duces tecum. For his non-appearance at the October 28, 1998 hearing, Atty. Cruz stated that he had to be prepared and ready to leave at a moments notice for he had every good faith and reason to believe that he would, in the final round, be part of the delegation to an international conference, owing to the nature of his position. Atty. Cruz assured the Court that he had neither deliberate attempt nor malicious intent behind his failure to attend the hearings, as he could not have even remotely thought of deliberately avoiding attending the hearings or defying the orders of the hearing panel. It must be emphasized that it was not so much for his non-attendance of the hearings that Atty. Cruz was called upon to account in this disciplinary proceeding, but for his lack of respect for legal orders and his lack of candor in his explanations. And so Atty. Cruz was found to (1) have committed dishonesty concerning the excuses for his failure to attend the hearings, and (2) have exhibited a blatant disrespect for legal orders and processes by failing to submit the pertinent travel orders to substantiate his excuse or even an appropriate explanation for his inability to submit the same and, in either case, a manifestation of available dates. The latter omission, coupled with his last-minute tactics, speaks well of his indifferent and uncooperative attitude.

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Upon a second look at the circumstances of the case vis--vis the commensurate penalty imposed in parallel cases, this Court holds that a one-month suspension would suffice, considering further that this is Atty. Cruzs first offense.

SERVILLANO BATAC, JR., et al. v. ATTY. PONCIANO V. CRUZ, JR. 538 SCRA 135 (2004), THIRD DIVISION ( Carpio Morales, J.) The Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice. Servillano Batac, Jr. and Antonio Bonoan are petitioners in a case pending before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) where they seek to respondent Atty. Ponciano V. Cruz, Jr. as an adverse party witness and requested the issuance of subpoena ad testificandum/duces tecum upon him. The SEC Hearing Panel issued subpoenas ad testificandum to Atty. Cruz for several hearings but the latter failed to appear in all the scheduled hearings. Thus, Batac charged Cruz and his counsel Atty. Eric Paul I. Fetalino with several counts of indirect contempt before the SEC. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Cruz is guilty of indirect contempt for his failure to attend the several scheduled hearings HELD: Not only by disobedience to SECs orders did Atty. Cruz violate his oath as a lawyer. He likewise committed dishonesty concerning his excuses for his failure to attend two hearings. Atty. Cruz fully knew that several hearings had been postponed due to his unavailability, and they were reset on dates to adjust to his availability. The least he could have done was, as correctly pointed out by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), to take steps to cooperate and accommodate in his schedule the hearings set by the hearing panel. He cannot deny the importance of his would-be testimony as shown by the continuous request of the petitioners in the SEC case for his appearance. It was thus very inconsiderate, to say the least, on his part not to have taken time off from what he wanted to convey to be a hectic schedule. His last minute motions and manifestations that he be excused from the scheduled hearings confirm his indifference to the orders of the SEC hearing panel.

BIENVENIDO BERNAL, JR v. JOCELYN FERNANDEZ 465 SCRA 386 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Willful failure to pay just debts by court employee is proscribed by law and hence, subject to disciplinary action.

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Jocelyn Fernandez, Court Stenographer of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Caba, La Union, got some grocery items on credit amounting to P20,108.00 from complainant Bienvenido Bernal, Jr. Fernandez refused to pay her bills. This prompted Bernal to file a complaint against her for willful failure to pay just debt. Nothing has been heard from Fernandez. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), noting the failure of Fernandez to comment on the complaint, considered her to have waived her right to submit controverting evidence. It thus finds Fernandez guilty of willful failure to pay just debt and misconduct, and recommends that she be suspended from office for 3 Months, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall be dealt with more severely. Still, nothing has been heard from her. ISSUE: Whether or not the failure of Fernandez to pay just debts may be a subject of disciplinary action HELD: For willful failure to pay just debt and misconduct, Fernandez is SUSPENDED from office for 3 Months, with a STERN WARNING that repetition of the same or similar offense shall be dealt with more severely. By Fernandez failure to comment on the Letter-Complaint, the three opportunities for her to give her side thereon notwithstanding, she is deemed to have admitted the existence and justness of the claim against her. That the just obligation has remained unpaid since the expiration of the 30-day credit extended to her sometime in January 2003 conclusively speaks of her willful refusal to settle the same. No doubt, willful failure to pay just debt does not become a court employee, hence proscribed and subject to disciplinary action under Book V, Title I, Chapter 7, Subtitle A, Section 46(b)(22) of the Revised Administrative Code (E.O. 292). The offense is classified and penalized under Sec. 22(i), Rule XIV of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19, s. 1999.

RUFINO CASIMIRO v. JUDGE OCTAVIO FERNANDEZ, et al. 422 SCRA 293 (2004), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) The Code of Judicial Conduct dictates that a judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities. Petitioner Rufino Casimiro filed complaint against respondents Judge Octavio Fernandez and Clerk of Court Teresita Esteban for refusing to return his P4,000.00 cash bond which he posted for his provincial liberty in a criminal case despite its dismissal. Casimiro gave the cash bond to Fernandez who, in turn, handed it to Esteban with the directive that the latter issue the corresponding receipt. No receipt was issued, however. As despite the order directing Esteban to release Casimiros cash bond, the latter failed to secure it. Esteban asserted that Casimiro did not post the cash bond with her, in support of which she submitted a copy of an undated
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letter from Mrs. R. Fernandez, the wife of Judge Fernandez, wherein Mrs. Fernandez stated that she had sent [complainant] P4,000.00 [via] Allied [Bank] check addressed to Atty. [Lamberto] Magbintang. Fernandez averred that the cash bond of P4,000 of Mr. Rufino Casimiro was already received by him, when [he] personally sent him a check for refund thereof, which the latter had encashed. ISSUES: 1.) Whether or not Fernandez is guilty of Grave Misconduct and Dishonesty when they did not follow the usual procedure for the acceptance of cash bail bonds and the return thereof HELD: While there is no direct and hard evidence that Judge Fernandez made personal use of the cash bond, his wifes issuance of her personal check to Casi miro in the amount of the cash bond, to have been drawn from an account which was treated as a joint account with his wife, indicates so. His subsequent justification for such issuance of a check by his wife - mistaken belief - is too shallow to merit persuasion. By his actuations then Judge Fernandez placed his honesty and integrity under serious doubt. Judge Fernandezs paying back of the collection does not thus absolve him.

COMPLAINTS AGAINST MR. ALEXANDER R. BLANCA, CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE GENERAL FOREMAN, HALL OF JUSTICE, MORONG, RIZAL. A.M. No. 2005-09-SC (2007), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.) No matter how petty, thievery has no place in the judiciary since it tarnishes the image of the institution which is in the forefront in the campaign against the commission of crimes. On several occasions, several letter-complaints were filed against Alexander R. Blanca (Blanca), a Construction and Maintenance General Foreman of Hall of Justice of Rizal. Among the complaints include: Unauthorized taking out of one gallon Vulca Seal, rotting parts of the building that should have been repaired but unattended that poses great risks and danger to the life to the life of court employees and the litigants and an overbearing and arrogant manner of supervision. It has also been alleged that Blanca, on separate occasions took out several items from the Hall of Justice of Morong which includes: 1 pc. Plyboard, 1 roll electrical tube and 1 pc. Plywood. After investigation, the Office of the Administrative Services (OAS) recommended the termination of Blancas services without prejudice, however, to reemployment. The Supreme Court affirmed the evaluation of the OAS. ISSUE: Whether or not petty thievery should be a valid cause for termination of an employee
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HELD: Section 5 of Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel mandates that court personnel shall use the resources, property and funds under their official custody in a judicious manner and solely in accordance with the prescribed statutory and regulatory guidelines or procedure. Similarly, Section 4(A)(a) of Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, requires that all government resources must b e employed and used efficiently, effectively, honestly and economically, particularly to avoid wastage in public funds and revenues. Court supplies are intended for public use. That is why Court personnel are charged with the duty and responsibility of safeguarding and protecting court property in whatever condition or state it may be found. Pilferage of such property by those employed in the judiciary is reprehensible as it tarnishes the image of the institution which is in the forefront in the campaign against the commission of crimes. No matter how petty, thievery has no place in the judiciary. Under Section 52 of Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, dismissal is the prescribed penalty for grave misconduct and dishonesty, being classified as grave offenses, even for first-time offenders. Section 58 thereof provides that the penalty of dismissal shall carry with it that of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and the perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service, unless otherwise provided in the decision. Section 53, however, of the same Rules acknowledges the applicability of mitigating, aggravating and alternative circumstances which attended the commission of the offense in the determination of the penalties to be imposed, such as habituality and length of service. Since Blanca has been employed for quite a long period of time since March 9, 1998 as a casual Construction and Maintenance General Foreman, and considering that this is his first offense, the recommendation of the OAS to immediately terminate his services, without prejudice to reemployment in any branch of the government, including government-owned-and-controlled corporations, is in order.

NESTOR F. DANTES v. JUDGE RAMON S. CAGUIOA 461 SCRA 236 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Where the law violated is so elementary for a judge not to know it or to act as if he does not know it constitutes gross ignorance. Atty. Nestor Dantes (Dantes) was the counsel in a case for the declaration of nullity of a deed of sale with a right to repurchase, which was filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Judge Philbert Iturralde dismissed the complaint. The court found Dantes and his clients guilty of direct contempt for willful and deliberate forum shopping. Atty. Dantes filed a motion for reconsideration. Judge Ramon Caguioa (Caguioa) was thereafter appointed as the Presiding Judge and took over the pending case. The motion was dismissed on the ground of res judicata. The plaintiffs, through Atty. Dantes, filed a motion for clarification of said order. Respondent judge directed plaintiffs and Atty. Dantes to show cause and explain why they should not be cited in contempt of Court for using disrespectful language in their pleadings.
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Atty. Dantes filed a motion requesting Judge Caguioa to specify/particularize the disrespectful language used in the pleadings he submitted, which was denied. Judge Caguioa then ordered the arrest of Atty. Dantes. He requested respondent judge to allow him to post a bond for his provisional liberty but the same was denied. Consequently, an administrative case was filed against Judge Caguiao. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Caguioa is guilty gross ignorance of the law for not grating the petition to post bail HELD: Not every error bespeaks ignorance of the law, for if committed in good faith, it does not warrant administrative sanctions. To hold otherwise would be nothing short of harassment and would make his position doubly unbearable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in judgment. Good faith, however, in situations of fallible discretion inheres only within the parameters of tolerable judgment and does not apply where the issues are so simple and the applicable legal principles evident and basic as to be beyond possible margins of error. Thus where the law violated is so elementary, like Rule 71 which provides the sc ope of a judges authority to punish for contempt and the procedure to be followed, for a judge not to know it or to act as if he does not know it constitutes gross ignorance. Judge Caguioas denial of Atty. Dantes request to post a bond for his provisional liberty violated Atty. Dantes right to due process his right to avail of the remedies of certiorari or prohibition pending resolution of which the execution of the judgment should have been suspended. His denial of the request betrayed his ignorance.

JOAQUIN VDA. DE AGREGADO v. BELLOSILLO, et al. 466 SCRA 29 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A judge is expected to observe the care and diligence required of him in the performance of his duties. Complainant Susana Joaquin Vda. de Agregado filed a complaint for a sum of money and damages against Jose Marcell Panlilio et al. before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC). A Motion to Declare Panlilio et al. in default was filed for their failure to file any responsive pleading within the reglementary period. The same was granted by Judge Edgardo B. Bellosillo. De Agregado subseqently filed a Motion for Execution. Panlilio et al., through Atty. Dennis G. Manicad, appealed the decision rendered by Judge Bellosillo to the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Judge Bellosillo denied de Agregados Motion for
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Execution because the filing of the Notice of Appeal by Panlilio et al. was within the reglementary period. De Agregado then filed a Motion for Reconsideration. On the scheduled hearing of such, she was informed by r Leonila S. Huerto that there was no hearing on that day and that her motion was deemed submitted for resolution. About a week later, de Agregado inquired about the status of her Motion for Reconsideration from Huerto who claimed not having seen it. De Agregados counsel later to receive a notice from the Office of the Clerk of Court of RTC setting the raffle of the appealed case. This prompted de Agregado to administratively charge 1) Judge Bellosillo, 2) Huerto, and 3) Clerk III Theresa T. Banaban (Banaban). The Court Administrator recommended that the complaint be dismissed as against Judge Bellosillo and Banaban for lack of merit. Huerto is found guilty of simple neglect of duty and sentencing her to suffer the penalty of suspension for 1month and 1 day. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Bellosillo, Huerto and Banaban are administratively liable for not acting upon the Motion of Reconsideration of Joaquin vda. de Agregado HELD: A judge is expected to observe the care and diligence required of him in the performance of his duties. The only conclusion that can thus be derived from Judge Bellosillos reliance on Atty. Manicads representation is that he did not verify the record of the case or, if he did, he did not do so carefully. Clearly, Judge Bellosillo was remiss in observing the care and diligence expected of him in the discharge of his duties. As against respondent Theresa Banaban, the complaint alleged that she was the one 'who confirmed the setting of the hearing at 2:00 p.m. on June 20, 2003 as approved by OIC-Branch Clerk of Court Leonila Huerto. Even if true, there is nothing wrong about that confirmation. In her Comment, respondent Banaban stated that the motion for reconsideration did not pass through her and that she had no participation in any office work related to the appeal. Said respondent Banaban should be exonerated.

DR. JOSEFA T. DIGNUM v. PALAO M. DIAMLA et al. A.M. No. P-06-2166 (2006), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A sheriff's duty in the execution of a writ is purely ministerial; he is to execute the order of the court strictly to the letter, thus, when a writ is placed in the hands of a sheriff, it is his duty, in the absence of any instructions to the contrary, to proceed with reasonable celerity and promptness to execute it according to its mandate. Following a collection of money over a civil judgement for damages, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) assigned Sheriffs Palao Dimala (Diamla) and Acmad C. Aliponto (Aliponto) to seize several properties for auction owned by Dr. Josefa T. Dignum (Dignum) until her debt is satisfied. Palao then proceeded to seize the land, accompanied by several armed guards who later turned out to be the police. Over the course of a few weeks, Palao seized a total of four (4) properties owned by Dignum. Faculty of Civil Law Digest Pool 2010

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After the seizure, Dignum filed a complaint against Diamla and Aliponto. Dignum alleges that Palao and Aliponto exceeded their authority, in violation of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel, for despite the fact that the value of her auctioned properties was more than enough to cover the amount of the judgment debt, they still went on to search and levy some more of her properties. Dignum also alleged that Diamla and Aliponto were negligent in their duty in failing to provide reports during the execution of the court order. In defense, Diamla and Aliponto contended that the property seized was the one stipulated by the court. They fault Dignum for not stating the true value of her property. They contended that they relied on the tax declarations for the value of the properties. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended that respondents Diamla and Aliponto be suspended from office for one month and one day. Hence, this petition. ISSUES: Whether or not Diamla and Aliponto were guilty of violating Code of Conduct for Court Personnel by seizing property which exceeded the obligation. HELD: A sheriff's duty in the execution of a writ is purely ministerial; he is to execute the order of the court strictly to the letter. He has no discretion whether to execute the judgment or not. He is mandated to uphold the majesty of the law as embodied in the decision. When a writ is placed in the hands of a sheriff, it is his duty, in the absence of any instructions to the contrary, to proceed with reasonable celerity and promptness to execute it according to its mandate. Diamla and Aliponto explanation that they relied on the values of the auctioned properties reflected in their respective Tax Declarations is welltaken. Diamla and Aliponto cannot escape administrative liability, however, for their failure to make periodic reports on the status of the Writ. Section 14 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court explicitly mandates compliance with the manner in which a writ of execution is to be returned to the court, as well as the submission of periodic reports every 30 days until the judgment is fully satisfied, the reason behind which being to update the court on the status of the execution so it could take necessary steps to ensure its speedy satisfaction.

GASPAR R. DUTOSME v. ATTY. REY D. CAAYON 594 SCRA 542 (2009), (Carpio Morales, J.) The Manual for Clerks of Court proscribes the collection of Commissioners fee in ex -parte proceedings. Gaspar R. Dutosme (Dutosme) charged Atty. Rey D. Caayon (Atty. Caayon), Branch Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court (RTC), for soliciting and receiving the amount of P2, 500 representing commissioners and stenographers fees and not issuing an official receipt therefore. Dut osme claims that when he asked for a copy of a decision of one case, Atty. Caayon solicited the amount from him as commissioners and stenographers fee" which Dutosme consequently gave. Atty. Caayon issued a written receipt instead an official receipt.
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Atty. Caayon claims that Dutosme was looking for the stenographer who has the copy of the case but because the stenographer was absent, Atty. Caayon furnished Dutosme with a copy instead. Dutosme later tendered to him money requesting that the same be given to the court stenographer who has the copy of the case. He refused to receive the money so that Dutosme pleaded with him to accept it. Thus, in good faith, he received the money and prepared the above-stated handwritten receipt. By Report and Recommendation, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) came up with the evaluation that Atty. Caayon should be held responsible for exacting an amount from a Dutosme based on Section B, Chapter II of the Manual for Clerks of Court which provides that: "No Branch Clerk of Court shall demand and/or receive commissioners fees for the reception of evidence ex-parte." ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Caayon should be held guilty of misconduct for violating the provisions of the Manual for Clerks of Court proscribing the collection of Commissioners fee in ex-parte proceedings HELD: Atty. Caayons claim of having received the P2,500 in trust for Belle representing stenographic fees is belied by the written acknowledgment receipt he himself issued to complainant stating that the amount was for "commissioners and stenographers fees." In Nieva v. Alvarez-Edad, the Court found the therein respondent Clerk of Court guilty of demanding/receiving commissioners fee in violation of Section B, Chapter II and Section D (7), Chapter IV of the Manual for Clerks of Court and affirmed the OCAs finding that the respondent issued a receipt in the guise of collecting payment for TSN in behalf of a court stenographer when, in fact, part of the amount indicated in the receipt was du e her as commissioners fee. The Court in that case referred to the Manual as the "Bible for Clerks of Court."

JESUS M. FERRER v. ATTY. JOSE ALLAN M. TEBELIN 461 SCRA 207(2005), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.) A lawyer shall perform his duties with diligence and competence. Complainant Jesus Ferrer (Ferrer) sought the legal service of Atty. Jose Allan Tebelin in order to claim for damages against Global Link Multimodal Transport Inc. (Global Link) during a vehicular accident. Atty. Tebelin agreed to render service and pursuance to this, he charged P5, 000 as acceptance fee to Ferrer. Ferrer thereafter filed a complaint against Atty. Tebelin for allegedly abandoning his case and refusing to talk and see him. For his part, Atty. Tebelin contends that he advised Ferrer that it would take time, as he needs to talk to Global Link. Conversely, he offered to return the P5, 000 and the records of the case. The hearing of the case was set but Atty.Tebelin did not show up to the scheduled hearings. Due to this, the case was acted on the pleadings and reports. Based on the reports submitted by Integrated Bar of the Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD), Atty. Tebelin appeared and informed the Commission that he was willing to return the money to Ferrer but he failed to do so. It was recommended that Atty. Tebelin be suspended for 2 years for failure to perform his services.
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ISSUE: Whether or not Tebelin is liable for abandonment of his obligation as a lawyer to his client HELD: Under Canon 18, a lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. Rule 18.03, on the other hand, provides that a lawyer shall not neglect legal matters entrusted to him. In this case the respondent lawyer has an obligation to his client. The Court faults Atty. Tebelin for ignoring the notices of hearing sent to him at his address which he himself furnished, or to notify the IBP-CBD his new address if indeed he had moved out of his given address. His actuation betrays his lack of courtesy, his irresponsibility as a lawyer. This Court faults respondent too for welching on his manifestation-undertaking to return the P5,000.00, not to mention the documents bearing on the case, to complainant or his heirs. Such is reflective of his reckless disregard of the duty imposed on him by Rule 22.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer who withdraws or is discharged shall, subject to a retaining lien, immediately turn over all papers and property to which the client is entitled, and shall cooperate with his successor in the orderly transfer of the matter, including all information necessary for the proper handling of the matter.

PROV. PROSECUTOR DORENTINO Z. FLORESTA v. JUDGE ELIODORO G. UBIADAS A.M. No. RTJ-03-1774, 27 May 2004, THIRD DIVISION, (Carpio-Morales, J.) Judges owe it the public and the legal profession to know the very law they are supposed to apply to a given controversy. Then Provincial Prosecutor, now Regional Trial Court Judge Dorentino Z. Floresta administratively charged Judge Eliodoro G. Ubiadas of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) with gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of authority and violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct in hearing and deciding several cases. Judge Floresta faults Judge Ubiadas for dismissing a criminal case for illegal entry, for lack of jurisdiction. Complainant likewise faults Judge Ubiadas for failure to resolve, as he has yet to resolve, the Motion for Reconsideration and/or Clarification of the Order dismissing said criminal case, despite the lapse of more than two years since the filing of the motion. By such failure, he charges Judge Ubiadas with violation of Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which enjoins judges to dispose of the courts business promptly and decide cases within the required periods, and of SC Circular No. 13 (July 1, 1987) which requires lower courts to resolve cases or matters before them within three months or ninety days from date of submission. Judge Floresta furthermore faults Judge Ubiadas for granting, "without giving notice to the prosecution," the petition for bail of Jose Mangohig, Jr. who was arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by the Municipal Trial Court of Subic, Zambales which found probable cause against him for violation of Section 5(b), Art. III of Republic Act No. 7610 ("Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act"). Finally, he faults Judge Ubiadas for disqualifying petitioner judge
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from appearing in a criminal case despite petitioner judges designation to handle the prosecution of the case by the Ombudsman. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Ubiadas acted with gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of authority and violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct in hearing and deciding cases HELD: Judge Eliodoro G. Ubiadas is found GUILTY of undue delay in resolving a motion and of gross ignorance of the law or procedure in granting an application for bail without affording the prosecution due process. On innumerable occasions this Court has impressed upon judges that, as mandated by the Code of Judicial Conduct, they owe it to the public and the legal profession to know the very law they are supposed to apply to a given controversy. They are called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules, to be conversant with the basic law, and to maintain the desired professional competence. The propriety of the dismissal, on motion of the accused, on jurisdictional grounds is, however, a matter for judicial adjudication and the proper recourse of a party aggrieved by the decision of a judge is to appeal to the proper court, not file an administrative complaint. However, having failed to resolve the Motion for Reconsideration, Judge Ubiadas is liable for undue delay in rendering a decision or order which is a less serious charge under Section 9 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court. The Court takes the occasion to reiterate the injunction that a judge is called upon to balance the interests of the accused who is entitled to the presumption of innocence until his guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt, and to enable him to prepare his defense without being subject to punishment prior to conviction, against the right of the State to protect the people and the peace of the community from dangerous elements. In the exercise of his power to investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient, the Ombudsman is authorized to call on prosecutors or lawyers in the government service for assistance. Judge Ubiadas was not only aware of complainants designation, hence, belying his explanation that he must have overlooked the same. It also shows his ignorance of the provision of the Ombudsman Act which does not require the presence of a special reason for the designation or deputization by the Ombudsman of any prosecutor or government lawyer to assist him.

CELESTINO A. GARCERA II v. OTHELLO A. PARRONE 463 SCRA 440 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) It is a ministerial duty on the part of a sheriff to implement a valid writ.
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Celestino Garcera IIs (Garcera II) and Salvacion Garcera (Salvacion) filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against Ramon Muoz (Muoz) at Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Naga City. MTCC rendered decision in favor of Salvacion, ordering Muoz to vacate the premises. Muoz appealed before the Regional Trial Court but it was dismissed. Subsequently, the decision of MTCC became final and executory. Since there were improvements on the property subject of unlawful detainer, Salvacion filed a Writ of Demolition and it was issued accordingly. Respondent Othello Parrone (Parrone), MTCC Sheriff III, failed to serve the writ of demolition. For unduly delaying the service of a writ of demolition, Garcera II filed a complaint against Parrone before the Office of the Court Administrator. Parrone contends that he has been religious in the performance of assigned task as deputy sheriff; that the Writ of Demolition has been fully satisfied as evidenced by a Sheriffs Return dated April 16, 2004; and if ever there was a little delay in the implementation of the writ, it was because he acceded, for humanitarian reasons. ISSUE: Whether or not Parrone is guilty of Dereliction of Duty HELD: Section 14 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court directs an officer who is tasked to implement a writ of execution immediately after the judgment has been satisfied in part or in full. If the judgment cannot be satisfied in full within thirty (30) days after his receipt of the writ, the officer shall report to the court and state the reason therefor. A sheriffs duty to execute a valid writ is purely ministerial, not discretionary. The duty of a sheriff to execute a writ being ministerial, he has no discretion to delay the execution thereof. Absent any instructions by a court to the contrary, he is mandated to proceed with reasonable celerity and promptness with the strict implementation of the writ. If for any reason he cannot implement the writ in part or in full, his duty is outlined in the above-quoted provision of Section 14 of Rule 39. The nature of the duty of court personnel including sheriffs to perform their assigned tasks promptly and with great care and diligence highlights the importance of their role in the administration of justice.

ERLINDA K. ILUSORIO-BILDNER v. ATTY. LUIS K. LOKIN, JR., et al. 477 SCRA 634 (2005) (Carpio Morales, J.) A lawyer is prohibited from representing an interest contrary to that earlier espoused by his firm. Erlinda K. Ilusorio-Bildner filed a disbarment complaint against Atty. Luis Lokin, Jr.. This sprung from the time that her father, the late Potenciano Ilusorio, engaged the services of the law office of Lokin to represent him in the Sandiganbayan where the Republic was claiming, among other properties, shareholdings in Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) and Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (PHILCOMSAT).
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Ilusorio, with the assistance of Lokin, entered into a Compromise Agreement where Ilusorio was to get 673 POTC shares. Ilusorio-Bildner alleges that the informal gathering, through the "high-handed and deceitful maneuvers" of Lokin, was suddenly and without notice transformed into a Special Stockholders Meeting at which directors and officers of PHILCOMSAT were elected. Her father contested the validity of the meeting by filing before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Manuel Nieto, et al. who were purportedly elected directors and officers of PHILCOMSAT, in which SEC case Lokin appeared as the counsel of Nieto, et al., contrary to his oath not to represent conflicting interests. Ilusorio, had earlier filed with the IBP a disbarment complaint. However, on account of the death of Ilusorio, his complaint was dismissed without prejudice to the filing of a new complaint by Ilusorio's children. Ilusorio-Bildner now filed the complaint but the IBP Board of Governors dismissed it. No copy of the notice of resolution was served upon petitioner. Ilusorio-Bildner, nonetheless, learned about the matter. ISSUE: Whether or not Lokin was personally barred by the rules of ethics from representing an interest contrary to that earlier espoused by his firm HELD: Notwithstanding his acknowledged involvement in both the Sandiganbayan and SEC cases, respondent denies that he was guilty of representing conflicting interests, he proffering that, in the first place, the case of Ilusorio in the Sandiganbayan "has been the personal account of Atty. Raval, separate and apart from the accounts of the law partnership." Not only is this claim unsubstantiated, however. It is contradicted by respondent's own evidence and statements. As earlier noted, respondent has stated that Ilusorio was represented by his firm in the Sandiganbayan case. In light thereof, respondent was personally barred by the rules of ethics from representing an interest contrary to that earlier espoused by his firm. Plainly, when Lokin represented Nieto, et al. in the SEC, he was advocating an interest hostile to the implementation of the same Compromise Agreement that he had priorly negotiated for Ilusorio. The Board thus erred when, while acknowledging that Ilusorio was represented by respondent's firm in his negotiations with the PCGG, it nonetheless maintained that there was no conflict of interest upon a finding that the subsequent SEC case "did not in any way involve the validity of the compromise agreement forged with the PCGG."

ACTING EXECUTIVE JUDGE HENRI JP INTING v. LANDI D. BORJA A.M. No. P-01-1707, 24 July 2004, THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Simple Neglect of Duty has been defined as the failure of an employee to give attention to a task expected of him and signifies a disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or indifference.

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There was a pending case concerning the dishonesty and misconduct of a sheriff, namely Landi Borja (Borja). During the trial, the stenographic notes of the testimony of the complainant in that case were not transcribed, which delayed the rendering of judgment in the said case. The defense of Borja anent the complainant was that she took home with her the stenographic notes and, on the way home while aboard a jeepney, someone snatched her bag which contained the notes. Attached to her explanation was an ALARM REPORT she made to the police. The complainant filed a request for investigation to the Office of the Court Administrator. The same found Borja administratively liable for negligence, it appearing that the same failed to ask prior permission from her immediate supervisor to bring home the records and to provide proper protection and measures to prevent the loss of the same record while in transit. The complainant sought to hold Borja liable for simple neglect of duty. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is guilty of neglect of duty HELD: Simple Neglect of Duty has been defined as the failure of an employee to give attention to a task expected of him and signifies a disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or indifference. That Borja failed to seek prior the authority of her immediate superior to bring home the stenographic notes and to safeguard them reflect her disregard of a duty arising from carelessness or indifference.

JOSEJINA FRIA v. GEMILIANA DE LOS ANGELES 594 SCRA 530 (2004), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.) It is essential that the circumstantial evidence presented must constitute an unbroken chain which leads one to a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the person being accused, to the exclusion of others, as the guilty person. Court of Appeals stenographer and complainant Josejina Fria charged her co-stenographer, respondent Gemiliana de los Angeles with grave misconduct arising from the loss of money kept in the drawer of Frias table in the office. Fria charged de los Angeles on basis of circumstantial matter and prays that she be favored based on such evidence. ISSUE: Whether or not the circumstantial evidence is sufficient to declare the de los Angeles guilty HELD: Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules on Evidence provides for the requisites for circumstantial evidence to be considered sufficient, to wit: (a) There is more than one circumstance; (b) The facts from which the inference are derived are proven; and (c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to prove conviction beyond reasonable doubt. In the case at bar, Fria established two circumstances viz: prior to the incident, de los Angeles was in dire need of money, and that she was left alone in the office in the late afternoon of December
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20, 2001, and was seen alone in the mezzanine between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon of December 21, 2001. For the third requisite to seal the circumstantial evidence against de los Angeles, it is essential that the circumstantial evidence presented must constitute an unbroken chain which leads one to a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the person being accused, to the exclusion of others, as the guilty person. Though administrative proceedings are not strictly bound by formal rules on evidence, the liberality of procedure in administrative actions is still subject to the limitations imposed by the fundamental requirement of due process, especially if the charge, as in the case at bar, if found to be true, also warrants her indictment criminally. The circumstances proven by Fria do not completely discount the possibility that, other than de los Angeles, there could be another who could have stolen the money. As testified by Fria herself, the drawer of her table could be opened by a paperclip, the bread knife that lies around in the office, or any key, like that of an officemates, that fits. Besides, aside from Fria and de los Angeles, thre e officemates had a key to the main door. The possibility of others going inside the office at odd hours has not thus been ruled out.

JUDGE JAIME L. DOJILLO, JR. v. CONCEPCION Z. CHING 594 SCRA 530 (2009), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A Judge should be more circumspect in his choice of words and use of gender-fair language as there was no reason to emphatically describe person as a "lesbian" because the complained acts could be committed by anyone regardless of gender orientation. Petitioner Judge Jaime L. Dojillo, Jr., charged, Concepcion Z. Ching, a MTC Clerk of Court, with gross misconduct, gross incompetence and inefficiency, violation of Supreme Court Circular which prohibits smoking inside the office, violation of the Code of Ethics, conduct unbecoming of a public official, conduct prejudicial to the interest of public service, and gross dishonesty for falsifying the entries in her Daily Time Record. Judge Dojillo alleged that Ching is a lesbian who is a well-known gossiper and troublemaker in the town of Manaoag. For her part, Ching filed a counter complaint/charge against Judge Dojillo alleging that he is having an illicit affair with an officemate which was subsequently dismissed by the Office of the Court Administrator for Chings failu re to present any substantial evidence to support her allegations. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Dojillo should be reprimanded for employing gender-insensitive language HELD: Judge Dojillo, he should be admonished to be more circumspect in his choice of words and use of gender-fair language. There was no reason for him to emphatically describe Concepcion as a "lesbian" because the complained acts could be committed by anyone regardless of gender orientation. His statements like "I am a true man not a gay to challenge a girl and a lesbian like her," "the handiwork and satanic belief of dirty gossiper," and "the product of the dirty and earthly imagination of a lesbian and gossiper " were uncalled for.
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Being called to dispense justice, Judge Dojillo must demonstrate finesse in his choice of words as normally expected of men of his stature. His language, both written and spoken, must be guarded and measured lest the best of intentions be misconstrued.

REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE MCTC-DAPA, SURIGAO DEL NORTE 439 SCRA 487 (2004), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A judge should at all times remain in full control of the proceedings in his sala and should follow the time limit set for deciding cases or resolving motions. The Audit Team of the Court Management Office in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC), Dapa-Socorro, Surigao del Norte conducted a judicial audit on Judge Rolando T. Literato whose official station is at MCTC Sison-Taganaan, Surigao del Norte but was assigned as acting presiding judge of three other MCTCs. The audit reveals that several of the cases for his decision suffered an unreasonable delay caused by Judge Literatos failure to control the proceedings or course of the cases. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found Judge Literato guilty of gross inefficiency. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Literato is guilty of gross inefficiency HELD: The Court finds that, indeed, respondent judge is guilty of gross inefficiency and even gross negligence, hence, falling under the classification of less serious charge in Sec. 9 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC. A judge should at all times remain in full control of the proceedings in his sala and should follow the time limit set for deciding cases or resolving motions. He should not depend on his clerk of court for the calendaring of cases, for court management is ultimately his responsibility. That a judge must be conversant with basic legal principles and procedures is elementary. Among other things, he is expected to keep his own record of cases and to note therein their status so that he may act on them accordingly and promptly. He must thus adopt a system of record management and organize his docket in order to bolster the prompt and effective dispatch of business. Unreasonable delay in resolving a pending incident is a violation of the norms of judicial conduct.

KEPHILCO MALAYA EMPLOYEES UNION and LEONILO BURGOS v. KEPCO PHILIPPINES CORPORATION 526 SCRA 205 (2007), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.)
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In order for misconduct to be serious, it should be grave and aggravated in character. Leonilo Burgos (Burgos) was hired as a turbine operator of KEPCO Philippines Corporation (KEPCO). Four years later, he became the president of co-petitioner Kephilco Malaya Employees Union (the union), the certified collective bargaining agent of KEPCOs rank -and-file employees. The president of KEPCO visited the plant site and granted the employees the sum of US$1,000 as a sign of goodwill, which amount Burgos accepted in his capacity as union president. At the general members meeting, Burgos was overheard to say that the company offered him P700,000 in exchange of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which he refused to accept. After KEPCO learned of Burgos remarks, an initial investigation was conducted, the results of which became the basis of the filing of an administrative charge against Burgos for violating Section 7.34 of Company Code of Employee Discipline (disseminating communications which tend to discredit or cause damage to the company, its officers or its employees). After notice and hearing, KEPCO found Burgos guilty of violating Section 7.34, which is punishable by outright dismissal. KEPCO accordingly terminated his employment. Conciliation before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board having failed, Burgos filed on a complaint for illegal dismissal, unfair labor practice, and damages. The Labor Arbiter upheld the legality of the dismissal. On appeal, NLRC reversed the decision and ordered Burgos reinstatement. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not Burgos remarks in the course of a union meeting constitute serious misconduct to warrant his dismissal from employment HELD: Serious misconduct is defined as the transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, willful in character, and implies wrongful intent and not mere error of judgment. To be serious within the meaning and intendment of the law, the misconduct must be of such grave and aggravated character and not merely trivial or unimportant. The labor arbiter observed that Burgos remarks could spark unrest of dire consequences and ignite a nationwide dispute of disastrous effects. Other than the irrelevant fact that preventive mediation failed, however, the labor arbiter cited no substantial evidence to support the sweeping conclusion. In reversing the labor arbiters decision, the NLRC found that in making the questioned remarks, Burgos could have sought to prove his sincerity to the union members and disabuse their minds of any allusion of misappropriation by laying stress on his personal disinterest in pecuniary matters and by citing, in the interest of transparency, what he must have believed was an attempt at subornation, which he deemed put his integrity to the test. Moreover, serious misconduct requires a wrongful intent, the presence of which this Court fails to appreciate, the controversial remarks having been uttered in the course of a legitimate union meeting over which Burgos presided as head.

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The magnitude of the infraction must thus be weighed and equated with the penalty prescribed and must be commensurate thereto. Where a penalty less punitive would suffice, whatever missteps may have been committed by the employee ought not to be visited with a consequence so severe such as dismissal from employment.

MARCIAL GALAHAD T. MAKASIAR v. FE L. GOMINTONG 467 SCRA 411 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A Clerk III is duty bound to ensure the proper filing and keeping of transcript of stenographic notes. Complainant Galahad Makasiar (Makasiar), Clerk of Court V of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City inquired from respondent Fe Gomintong (Gomintong), Clerk III of the same court, about the transmittal of the records of the Conol case upon which Gomintong informed him that all the transcript of stenographic notes (TSNs) of the case were missing. Makasiar then filed a complaint against Gomintong for gross neglect of duty. The initial investigation showed that Gomintong, who is charged with filing and taking custody of all TSNs of all cases, knew that the TSNs were already missing but that she did not report the same. Makasiar later filed a request for the withdrawal of his complaint, out of compassion, the TSNs in the Conol case having already been re-transcribe. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), however, found that Gomintong was remiss in the discharge of her duties. And it too found that Makasiar, who has control and supervision over all court records including exhibits, properties and supplies, was remiss in the performance of his duties; and that the loss of the TSNs reflects an inefficient and disorderly system of keeping case records and the lack of close supervision by Makasiar over his subordinate personnel in the performance of their duties. The OCA thus recommended that Gomintong be reprimanded and that Makasiar be advised to exercise closer supervision. ISSUE: Whether or not Gomintong is liable for the loss of the TSNs and thus warrants her suspension HELD: One of the functions of the Clerk III is to maintain a systematic filing of criminal cases, civil cases, special civil actions, land registration cases and administrative cases. The loss of TSNs, the responsibility of insuring their proper filing and keeping of which lies on her, reflects her failure to faithfully discharge her functions. Her explanation of not complying with Makasiars instruction to file the TSNs in separate folders-shortage of folders, fasteners and the like-even if true, does not mitigate her responsibility for the loss. Neither does the re-transcription of the TSNs, for the loss of the TSNs did not only cost manpower time but caused a delay in the disposition of the Conol case and compromised the peoples faith in the judiciary. Makasiar is not, of course, without his share of the blame for the loss of the TSNs because it is his duty to supervise all subordinate personnel to ensure that they perform their duties well.

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Gomintong is found GUILTY of simple neglect of duty and is SUSPENDED from the service for 1 month and 1 day, effective immediately, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.

ELSA L. MONDEJAR v. ATTY. VIVIAN G. RUBIA 496 SCRA 1 (2006), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) An administrative complaint filed by any person against a lawyer may be acted upon by the court. Petitioner Elsa L. Mondejar (Mondejar) filed two separate complaints with the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) against respondent Atty. Vivian G. Rubia (Atty. Rubia) alleging that the latter committed deceitful acts and malpractice in violation of the code of professional responsibility and falsified public document. The administrative complaints were referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation. During the pendency of the investigation, Mondejar died. Her husband requested that the consideration of the case be continued on the basis of documentary evidence already submitted. The IBP Board of Governors (BOG) adopted the finding of the Investigating Commissioners Report that respondent violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for making a false declaration in a public document. It, however, modified the recommended sanction in that, instead of suspension from the practice of law for one month, it merely warned Atty. Rubia that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future would be dealt with more severely. Atty. Rubia filed a motion for reconsideration with the BOG but was denied. ISSUE: Whether or not an administrative complaint against lawyers may prosper when the complainant is neither a party nor a witness in a purported contract subject of said complaint HELD: An administrative complaint filed by any person against a lawyer may be acted upon by this court is settled. In re Almacen explains the raison d etre: Disciplinary proceedings [against lawyers] are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, this proceeding is not-and does not involve- a trail of an action or a suit, but is rather an investigation by the court into the conduct of its officers. Not being intended to inflict punishment, it is in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. It may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. Public interest is the primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of the member who by their misconduct have proved themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of the attorney. In such posture, there can thus be no occasion to speak of a complainant or a prosecutor.

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OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. ATTY. MARTA T. CUNANAN 484 SCRA 234 (2006), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Moral obligations, performance of household chores, traffic problems and health, domestic and financial concerns, while mitigating, do not suffice to excuse habitual tardiness. Respondent Atty. Marta T. Cunanan, Clerk of Court V, Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, is administratively charged by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for habitual tardiness. In the report, Cunanan had incurred tardiness for 12 times in September 2004 and 12 times in October 2004. She gave the following explanation for the alleged tardiness: In September and October 2004, she was suffering from respiratory ailment, aggravated by severe attacks of chronic migraine and hyperacidity which were accompanied with dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, sleepless nights and body weakness and discomfort. Aside from taking the prescribed medication, her doctor had advised her to rest. Despite her physical condition, she still reported for work so as not to hamper the smooth flow of cases pending before the court. She added that it takes two to three hours from her residence for her to reach the court and while she has to rise very early in the morning and report for work to avoid the rush hour, her physical condition in September and October 2004 slowed down her mobility, hence, the tardiness. She asked that she be accorded with kindness and understanding. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Marta T. Cunanan should be administratively charged by the office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for habitual tardiness HELD: Civil Service Memorandum Circular No. 23, Series of 1998 provides that an employee is considered habitually tardy if he incurs tardiness, regardless of the number of minutes, ten (10) times a month for at least two (2) months in a semester or at least two (2) consecutive months during the year. Cunanan admittedly committed tardiness. That her ailments had rendered her physically weak does not, however, exculpate her from compliance with the rules on punctuality and observance of official time. Moral obligations, performance of household chores, traffic problems and health, domestic and financial concerns, while mitigating, do not suffice to excuse habitual tardiness. That court officials and employees must strictly observe official time can never be overemphasized. By reason of the nature and functions of their office, they must be role models in the faithful observance of the constitutional canon that public office is a public trust. Inherent in this mandate is the observance of prescribed office hours and the efficient use thereof for public service, if only to recompense the Government and ultimately the people who shoulder the cost of maintaining the Judiciary.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. MARLON ROQUE et al. 578 SCRA 21 (2009), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.)
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The clerks of courts perform a delicate function as designated custodians of the courts funds, revenues, records, properties and premises, failure to perform such functions are punishable. Marlon Roque and Anita G. Nunag are the Clerks of Court of Municipal Trial Court in Cities of Angeles City. In a Resolution, the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed Cashier I Aurelia C. Lugue. The SC also directed Roque and Nunag to explain why they should not be disciplinary dealt with for failure in monitoring the activities of Lugue, relative to the proper handling of collections of legal fees. Roque explained that he merely followed the procedures done by his predecessor and said that he did not suspect any shortages because the Auditors of the Commission on Audit did not find any shortages. On the other hand, Nunag explained that she was not familiar with the accounting procedures and she had confidence that there was no irregularity in the work of Roque and Lugue. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found Roque and Nunag guilty of Simple Negligence for failure to monitor the transactions and discover the modus operandi of Lugue. ISSUE: Whether or not Roque and Nunag are guilty of Simple Negligence HELD: It appears that respondents supervision as well as monitoring of the financial transactions of the court was merely perfunctory, relying in the main on the Monthly Reports and the fact that the amounts deposited matched the amount of collections. Roque and Nunags lack or limited knowledge of accounting procedures does not exonerate them. To credit such defense would set similarly situated employees to lightly discharge their duty of employing reasonable skill and diligence and thus evade administrative liability. That clerks of courts perform a delicate function as designated custodians of the courts funds, revenues, records, properties and premises can never be overemphasized. They wear many hats those of treasurer, accountant, guard and physical plant manager of the court, hence, are entrusted with the primary responsibility of correctly and effectively implementing regulations regarding fiduciary funds.

LEA P. PAYOD v. ATTY. ROMEO P. METILA 528 SCRA 227 (2007), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A lawyer who accepts a case must give it his full attention, diligence, skill, and competence, and his negligence in connection therewith renders him liable. Atty. Metila failed to submit important documents to the Court of Appeals (CA) and the serious consequences brought by such act became prejudicial to the case of Lea Payod. Payod said they made sufficient follow ups with Atty. Metila but the latter failed to show up in appointed meetings at the

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Court. Pagod thereafter charged Atty. Romeo P. Metila for willful neglect and gross misconduct in the discharge of her duties. Atty. Metila denied the charges and insisted that there was no attorney-client relationship between him and Payod for there was no Special Power of Attorney authorizing Payods mother to hire him as a lawyer. After investigation, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Committee on Bar Discipline, to which the complaint was referred, found Atty. Metila guilty of simple negligence and recommended that he be seriously admonished. The IBP Board of Directors adopted the report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner that Atty. Metila be seriously admonished. ISSUE: Whether or not the failure of Atty. Metila to submit documents to the CA constitute gross negligence HELD: The circumstances attendant to Atty. Metilas initial handle of Payods case do not warrant a finding of gross negligence, or sheer absence of real effort on his part to defend her cause. Atty. Metila accepted Payods case upon her mothers insistence, with only six days for him to file a petition for review before this Court, and without her furnishing him with complete records, not to mention money, for the reproduction of the needed documents. Despite these constraints, Atty. Metila exerted efforts, albeit lacking in care, to defend his clients cause by filing two motions for extension of time to file petition. And he in fact filed the petition within the time he requested, thus complying with the guideline of this Court that lawyers should at least file their pleadings within the extended period requested should their motions for extension of time to file a pleading be not acted upon. Neither do the circumstances warrant a finding that Atty. Metila was motivated by ill-will. In the absence of proof to the contrary, a lawyer enjoys a presumption of good faith in his favor.

ROLLY PENTECOSTES v. ATTY. HERMENEGILDO 529 SCRA 146 (2007), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) The clerk of court has the duty to safely keep all records, papers, files, exhibits and public property. Atty. Hermenegildo Marasigan, Clerk of Court VI of the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court North Cotabato, was administratively charged with grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming a public officer for the loss of a motorcycle-subject matter of a criminal case which was placed under his care and custody. The administrative case against Atty. Hermenegildo stemmed from a sworn affidavit complaint filed on November 11, 2004 by Rolly Pentecostes, the owner of a Kawasaki motorcycle, which was
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recovered by members of the Philippine National Police of Mlang, North Cotabato from suspected carnappers. The release order for the motorcycle was issued but Pentecostes refused to receive it because it was already cannibalized and unserviceable. The Regional Trial Court (RTC) referred the case to the Executive Judge of RTC, Kabacan, North Cotabato, for investigation, report and recommendation. Judge Rabang recommended that the administrative complaint against Atty. Hermenegildo be dismissed because there was no proof of Pentecostes claim that the vehicle was cannibalized from the time that it was under Atty. Hermenegildos custody until its transfer to Philippine National Police (PNP) of Kabacan. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. ISSUE: Whether or not the Atty. Hermenegildo is guilty of misconduct HELD: It is the duty of the clerk of court to keep safely all records, papers, files, exhibits and public property committed to his charge.[12] Section D (4), Chapter VII of the 1991 Manual For Clerks of Court (now Section E[2], paragraph 2.2.3, Chapter VI of the 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court) which provides all exhibits used as evidence and turned over to the court and before the case/s involving such evidence shall have been terminated shall be under the custody and safekeeping of the Clerk of Court. From the above provisions, it is clear that as clerk of court of the RTC, Kabacan, Atty. Hermenegildo was charged with the custody and safekeeping of Pentecostes motorcycle, and to keep it until the termination of the case, barring circumstances that would justify its safekeeping elsewhere, and upon the prior authority of the trial court. The Court said no explanation was offered by Atty. Hermenegildo, however, for turning over the motorcycle. But whatever the reason was, Atty. Hermenegildo was mandated to secure prior consultations with and approval of the trial court. Moreover disconcerting is the fact that the acknowledgment receipt evidencing the turnover of the motorcycle from the trial court to the Kabacan police station was lost from the records, with nary a lead as to who was responsible for it. These circumstance are viewed with disfavor as it reflects badly on the safekeeping of court records, a duty entrusted to Atty. Hermenegildo as clerk of court. The Court has repeatedly emphasized that clerks of court are essential and ranking officers of our judicial system who perform delicate functions vital to the prompt and proper administration of justice. Their duties include the efficient recording, filing and management of court records and, as previously pointed out, the safekeeping of exhibits and public property committed to their charge.

ROSEMARIE L. HSIEH v. ATTY. SALVADOR QUIMPO and ATTY. NANCY QUIMPO Faculty of Civil Law Digest Pool 2010

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511 SCRA 184 (2006), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession. Rosemarie L. Hsieh, together with Pilar Cabuslay, was arrested for drug trafficking and possession of Marijuana during a buy-bust operation within the vicinity of Manila. Hsiehs car, a Mitsubishi Eclipse which she boarded in going to the site of the operation was impounded by the police authorities and she was detained at the Manila City Jail. Hsieh secured the services of spouses Attorneys Salvador and Nancy Quimpo who represented her and Cabuslay during the inquest and preliminary injunction of the case. Due to insufficient of funds, Hsieh authorized them to sell the car by signing a Deed of Sale the complete of which were left in blank. Spouses Quimpo failed to appear in her behalf, forcing her to secure the services of another lawyer and when she demanded the return of the car, they refused claiming that it would serve as payment for their legal services. Hsieh later found out that the car was already registered in the name of lawyers Quimpo by virtue of the Deed of Sale. When she was able to regain possession of the car, it was seized by the Traffic Management and charged her with carnapping. ISSUE: Whether or not the lawyers Salvador and Nancy Quimpo violated the Canons of Professional Responsibility when they acquired the car from Rosemarie as a payment for their legal services HELD: The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) found that there was a breach of trust on the part of the spouses. They took advantage of the fact that the Deed of Sale of Motor Vehicle was already signed in blank. As the breach of trust reposed upon the spouses constitutes a violation of the Canon 16 of the Canons of Professional Responsibility which reads that a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession. According to the court, although a lawyers lien over a clients property in satisfaction of his lawful fees and disbursements is recognized by the Court, the same cannot be exercised haphazardly.

IGNACIO J. SALMINGO v. ATTY. RODNEY K. RUBICA 527 SCRA 1(2007), EN BANC (CARPIO MORALES, J.) In view of the nature and consequences of a disciplinary proceeding, observance of due process, as in other judicial determinations, is imperative along with a presumption of innocence in favor of the lawyer. Ignacio J. Salmingo (Salmingo), City Administrator of Silay, filed a disbarment complaint against Atty. Rodney K. Rubica (Atty. Rubica) and a petition for setting aside of the decision holding Liza Janes (Jane) marriage as annulled. Salmingo alleged that in prosecuting an annulment case, Atty. Rubica
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deliberately concealed Liza Janes address so that she could not be served with summons, thus enabling him to present evidence ex parte, and that Atty. Rubica also caused the publication of summons only in a newspaper of local circulation. Salmingo also contends that Atty Rubica did not serve a copy of his petition on the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the City or Provincial Prosecutor; and that he did not cause the registration of the decree of nullity in the Civil Registry. Salmingo contends that the conduct of Atty. Rubica did not comply with the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) investigating commissioner recommended that Atty. Rubica be suspended for three months for gross misconduct. The IBP Board of Governors resolved to dismiss the case for lack of sufficient evidence. Salmingo, meanwhile, re-appealed the decision to the Supreme Court through a letter he sent to the Chief Justice. He avers that in prosecuting the annulment case, Atty. Rubica deliberately concealed Liza Jane's address so that she could not be served with summons, thus enabling him to present evidence ex parte. ISSUES : Whether or not Atty Rubicas alleged non-compliance with the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages is tantamount to gross misconduct which warrants his disbarment HELD: The Court upholds the resolution of the IBP Board of Governors. It is settled that in view of the nature and consequences of a disciplinary proceeding, observance of due process, as in other JUDICIAL determinations, is imperative along with a presumption of innocence in favor of the lawyer. Consequently, the burden of proof is on the complainant to overcome such presumption and establish his charges by clear preponderance of evidence. To prove that Atty. Rubica knew Liza Janes true whereabou ts all along, complainant alleged that Atty. Rubica had been sending allowances to Liza Jane and their children at her residence. Atty. Rubica countered, however, that he had been sending allowances by depositing the same in a bank in Bacolod City through an automated teller machine (ATM) account, which deposit could be withdrawn at any ATM machine within the Philippines. This complainant failed to controvert. On Atty. Rubicas alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages which took effect on March 15, 2003 xxx that the petitioner should serve copies of the petition on the Office of the Solicitor General and that of the Public Prosecutor; that service of summons by publication on a respondent whose whereabouts are unknown be in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines; and that the prevailing party cause the registration and publication of the decree took effect only May 15, 2003, after respondent filed the declaration of nullity case on January 9, 2003. At the time respondent filed his petition for declaration of the nullity of marriage, what applied was the Rules of Court under which he was not required to file his petition in six copies and to serve copies on the Office of the Solicitor General and that of the City or Provincial Prosecutor. Neither was he required to cause the registration and publication of the decree of nullity.

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Atty. Rubica did comply with the procedure in the Rules of Court on service by publication on a respondent whose whereabouts are unknown, which procedure requires only publication in a newspaper of general circulation and in such places and for such time as the court may order, as opposed to a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines and in such places as the court may order required by the above-quoted Section 6 (1) of the Rule On Declaration Of Absolute Nullity Of Void Marriages And Annulment Of Voidable Marriages. The requirement that the trial court order the prosecutor to investigate whether collusion exists in case the defendant in the declaration of nullity case files no answer is addressed to the said court, not to the parties to the case nor to their counsel, absent any showing of respondents involvement in the lapse in the prescribed procedure, he cannot be faulted therefor.

ZENAIDA GONZALES SERZO v. ATTY. ROMEO M. FLORES 435 SCRA 412 (2004), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A notary public is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notary public. Petitioner Zenaida Gonzales Serzo filed a complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. Romeo M. Flores arising from his notarization of Deed of Absolute Sale covering a parcel of land owned by Serzos deceased father Neybardo Gonzales. In the Deed of Absolute Sale, the deceased Gonzales purportedly sold the land to Yolanda dela Cruz, whose signature, as well as that of Gonzales, appears thereon. Further, Amelia Gonzales Laureno, Serzos sister, signed in the document on behalf of their mother, giving marital consent. Atty. Flores does not deny having notarized the document but he alleged that the parties to the document, especially dela Cruz who is known or familiar to the staff of Atty. Flores, had previous records of executed instruments and documents relating to the land subject of the complaint. Flores also alleged that he could no longer recall the names and the parties to the Deed of Absolute Sale for they are not familiar to him and considering that the document was notarized almost two (2) years ago. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) found Flores guilty of negligence in the performance of his duty as notary public by failing to establish the identity of the person appearing before him. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Flores should be found guilty of negligence in the performance of his duty as notary public HELD: Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. For this reason notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of
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conveyance would be undermined. Hence a notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. Having, by his act, undermined the confidence of the public on notarial documents and breached Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which mandates that a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. More particularly Rule 1.01 thereof which enjoins a lawyer not to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct, Atty. Flores must indeed be faulted.

SANTOS SY v. IBRAHIM T. BINASING 538 SCRA 180 (2007), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Failure to implement the writ of execution for more than one year and six months is clearly indubitable and is neglect of duty. The Metropolitan Trial Court rendered judgment in a certain civil case in favor of Santos Sy. Its decision having become final and executory, the trial court issued a Writ of Execution. The writ of execution was referred to Sheriff Ibrahim T. Binasing. The said writ was repeatedly followed up by Sy to Binasing. Sy warned Binasing that failure to do his work may constrain them to bring the matter to the proper authority for appropriate sanctions. The warning was reiterated in a subsequent letter. Binasing replied by asking Sy for his bank account number. By a subsequent letter, Binasing informed Sy that the money judgment was "not yet in his hands", that the delay in the implementation of the writ was due to the numerous requests from different courts of Maguindanao for implementation of writs of demolition and that he was the only sheriff assigned for the purpose. Binasing avers that the complaint has become moot because he had already implemented the writ of execution, and that he deposited the money judgment to the bank account of Sy. ISSUES: Whether or not Binasing is guilty of neglect of duty HELD: Binasings liability for neglect of duty failure to implement the writ of execution for more than one year and six months is clearly indubitable. Sy's execution of an Affidavit of Desistance does not render the complaint moot. An affidavit of desistance by a complainant in an administrative case against a member of the judiciary does not divest the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction to investigate the matters alleged in the complaint or otherwise to wield its disciplinary authority because the Court has an interest in the conduct and behavior of its officials and employees and in ensuring the prompt delivery of justice to the people. Its efforts in that direction cannot thus be frustrated by any private arrangement of the parties. Neither
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can the disciplinary power of this Court be made to depend on a complainant's whims. To rule otherwise would undermine the discipline of court officials and personnel. On the penalty, under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, simple neglect of duty of which, under the facts of the case, Binasang is liable, is penalized by suspension of one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months. It appearing, however, that respondent has not been previously administratively faulted, so as not to hamper the performance of the duties of his office, instead of suspending him, he is fined an amount equivalent to his three months salary.

JOSE B. TIONGCO v. JUDGE FLORENTINO P. PEDRONIO 401 SCRA 431 (2003), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A judge is expected to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules and to apply them properly in all good faith. Jose B. Tiongco accuses Judge Florentino Pedronio of Grave Abuse of Discretion, Gross Incompetence and Inefficiency Amounting to Ignorance of the Law, and Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge. The complaint arose from the alleged failure of Judge Pedronio to decide the case pending before it within the reglementary period of 3 months and his incorrect application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. The complaint further alleges that Judge Pedronio refused to inhibit himself from deciding the case of People v. Sagutier despite Tiongcos motion that the same be submitted for decision of Judge Rene Honrado, the former presiding judge who heard and tried the case. Finally, Tiongco brings to the Courts attention, Judge Pedronios lack of mastery and command of the English language. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Pedronio is guilty of Grave Abuse of Discretion, Gross Incompetence and Inefficiency Amounting to Ignorance of the Law, and Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge HELD: Under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, the penalty for undue delay in rendering a decision, a less serious charge, is suspension from office without salary and other benefits for one (1) to two (2) months and twenty-nine (29) days or a fine of not less than P10,000.00 but not more than P19,999.00. The OCAs recommended penalty of reprimand is thus not proper. Absent any finding of malice or bad faith on the part of Judge Pedronio, however, the minimum penalty of fine in the amount of P10,000 is hereby imposed. As to the charge of gross ignorance of the law in applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the issue is not, as the OCA finds, judicial in nature, for what is at issue is Judge Pedronios lack of familiarity with the Indeterminate Sentence Law which is properly the subject of an administrative proceeding. Pedronio stresses that the penalty he imposed in People v. Mahilum carries minimum and maximum periods instead of a single penalty, which is the very essence of the Indeterminate Sentence Law.
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Pedronios imposed penalty is, however, incorrect. Under Article 51 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for an attempted crime is two degrees lower than that prescribed by law. As attempted homicide is punishable by prision correccional, applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum penalty to be imposed upon the accused is anywhere within the range of One (1) Month and One (1) Day to Six (6) Months of arresto mayor, and the maximum to be taken from the medium period of prision correccional, the range of which is Two (2) Years, Four (4) Months and One (1) Day to Four (4) Years and Two (2) Months. The Courts ruling bears repeating: Although a judge may not always be subjected to disciplinary action for every erroneous order or decision he renders, that relative immunity is not a license to be negligent or abusive and arbitrary in performing his adjudicatory prerogatives. Everyone, especially a judge, is presumed to know the law. And a judge is expected to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules, and to apply them properly in all good faith. Judicial competence requires no less. For erroneously applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, Pedronio is guilty of gross ignorance of the law. As to the charge that Pedronio refused to inhibit himself in the case of People v. Sagutier, his Order of February 28, 2000 stating the reason behind the denial of complainants Motion to Inhibit is well-taken and is, at any rate, mooted by his Order of May 23, 2000 to transmit the records of the case to Judge Honrado before whom the case was submitted for decision. And as to Pedronio's alleged lack of mastery of the English language, the evidence on record does not suffice to support the same.

EXECUTIVE JUDGE EDWIN A. VILLASOR v. JUDGE RODOLFO R. BONIFACIO et al. 510 SCRA 46 (2006), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Accommodating a person at the expense of the legal processes tends to frustrate and betray the public trust in the judicial system. Respondent Judge Rodolfo Bonifacio and Clerks of Court Rosalie San Juan and Arnel Leynes were all charged with Gross Misconduct, by Atty. Grace Belvis. Atty. Belvis alleges that they accepted a cash bond posted by a certain Rodolfo Lantano, an accused in one case filed before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. During the investigation, San Juan disclosed that, at about 6 o clock in the evening of July 22, 2004, she was approached by Leynes and a certain Atty. Naciongaling and was asked to issue a receipt on a cash bond for the release of one Rodolfo Rudy Lantano. San Juan avers that she initially refused as it was way past working hours. However, after the daughter of the accused Lantano disclosed the latters health condition and pleaded for her to accommodate their request, out of compassion, she acceded and accepted the cash bond posted by said accused. San Juan maintained, however, that she had done so only after Leynes, for his part, had already furnished her with the Criminal Docket No. assigned to the Information filed against the accused Lantano.
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Leynes, for his part, explained that he had accommodated the docketing of the Information filed by the prosecution at that hour, after he got the impression that the same was with the consent and approval of both the Prosecutors Office and Judge Bonifacio. Leynes went on to state further that, supposedly, Judge Bonifacio even directed him to enter the Information into the Criminal Docket despite the fact that the person in-charge of doing so was no longer around. The Office of the Court Adminstrator (OCA) conducted the necessary investigation and recommended that Judge Bonifacio be made to show cause why he should not be administratively sanctioned anent the foregoing incident. In compliance, Judge Bonifacio submitted his explanation. The OCA then issued its recommendation dismissing the complaint against Judge Bonifacio while reiterating its recommendations against San Juan and Leynes. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Bonifacio et al.s acts constituted Improper Conduct and for which they should all be sanctioned administratively HELD: No doubt, respondents Rosalie and Leynes are liable for simple misconduct. Misconduct has been defined as an unacceptable behavior that transgresses the established rules of conduct for public officers. The established norm of conduct for court employees has always been to maintain a hands-off attitude where unofficial and/or irregular dealings with party-litigants are concerned. Such an attitude is indispensable for two reasons: (1) to maintain the integrity of the courts, and (2) to free the court personnel from suspicion of any misconduct. For the conduct of each employee of a court of justice must, at all times, not only be characterized with propriety and decorum, but above all, beyond suspicion. In one case where a utility worker, without authority of the trial court or branch clerk of court, and in his belief that he was doing public service, detached the bailbond and the accompanying documents from the record of the case and gave them to the representative of the therein accused, this Court found him guilty of simple misconduct. Accommodating a person at the expense of the legal processes tends to frustrate and betray the public trust in the judicial system.

JESUS CLARITO ESPIA v. MIGUEL CERUJANO, et al. 550 SCRA 107 (2008), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service does not necessarily include the elements of grave misconduct. Miguel Cerujano, Alfredo Tingkingco, and Senecio Cerujano Jr. were convicted for Robbery in Band with Multiple Homicide before the Regional Trial Court of Samar and imposed upon them the death penalty which was then commuted by the Court to reclusion perpetua upon review. Jesus Clarito
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Espia, a Prosecutor of the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Lao-ang, Northern Samar, filed a Motion to Dismiss the case on the ground that the Anti-Subversion Law had already been repealed. The trial court granted the petition. Cerujano, Tingkingco, and Cerujano, Jr., thus filed an administrative complaint for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service against Espia. After investigation, the Secretary of Justice found Espia liable for grave misconduct and recommended to the President his dismissal from the service with the corresponding accessory penalties. On March 30, 1999, President Estrada issued Administrative Order No. 62 dismissing Espia from service. Espia then filed a Petition for Review before the Court of Appeals but the same was denied. ISSUE: Whether or not Espia can be held liable for grave misconduct under a charge of conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of his service HELD: Conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service may or may not be characterized by corruption or a willful intent to violate the law or to disregard established rules. Under the Civil Service law and rules, there is no concrete description of what specific acts constitute the grave offense of conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service, although the Court has considered the following acts or omissions, among others, as such: misappropriation of public funds, abandonment of office, failure to report back to work without prior notice, failure to safe keep public records and property, making false entries in public documents and falsification of court orders. The record does not show that any of the additional elements to qualify the charge of conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service to grave misconduct had been established. However, the Motion to Dismiss signed by petitioner does not absolve him of liability. The Espias reliance on the trial judges assurance that the Motion to Dismiss would touch only on the Anti-Subversion Law aspect of the case betrays his ignorance. For even if the accused therein were indeed members of the New Peoples Army, they were charged not for Subversion but for Robbery in Band with Multiple Homicide.

MA. CORAZON D. FULGENCIO v. ATTY. BIENVENIDO G. MARTIN 403 SCRA 216 (2003), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A notary public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of his duties and must not act beyond the limits of his jurisdiction. Ma. Corazon D. Fulgencio seeks imposition of disciplinary measures against Atty. Bienvenido G. Martin for falsifying and notarizing two documents of sale in Isabale, Baslian purportedly executed by Fulgencios late husband Kua Se Beng. Fulgencio contends that the two documents could not have been executed by Kua because he was confined in the hospital at the date when the documents were notarized. Martin admits that he prepared and notarized the questioned documents without Kua personally appearing before him. He asserts, however, that he prepared and notarized the deeds upon the express consent and instructions of Kua.
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The complaint was referred to the Intergrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for recommendation. Both IBP Board of Governors and IBP Commissioner submitted their recommendations. They recommended that Atty. Martin be suspended for acting beyond the limits of his jurisdiction. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Martin followed the basic requirements of the practice of notary public HELD: The Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors is well-taken. Admittedly, Kua did not appear before respondent when he notarized the deeds in Basilan as he was then in Makati. Atty. Martin likewise failed to observe with utmost care a basic requirement in the performance of his duty as a notary public. The importance attached to the act of notarization cannot be overemphasized. Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. For this reason notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of conveyance would be undermined. Hence a notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. As a lawyer commissioned as a notary public, Atty. Martin is mandated to subscribe to the sacred duties appertaining to his office, such duties being dictated by public policy and impressed with public interest. Faithful observance and utmost respect for the legal solemnity of an oath in an acknowledgment or jurat is sacrosanct and, failing therein, he must bear the commensurate consequences. More, Atty. Martin breached the injunction of the notarial law not to do any notarial act beyond the limits of his jurisdiction.

RE: REQUEST OF CHIEF JUSTICE ANDRES R. NARVASA (RET.) FOR RECOMPUTATION OF HIS CREDITABLE GOVERNMENT SERVICE 559 SCRA 296 (2008), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.) Payments of increments of judges and justices should include only those that have accrued effective January 1999 and subject further to availability of funds. The Retired Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa (Chief Justice Narvasa) asked the Court to approve his grant to monthly pension. The Supreme Court made a Resolution gr anting Chief Justice Narvasas request and directing the Fiscal Management and Budget Office (FMBO) to determine the equivalent payment of 142 days leave that Chief Justice Narvasa needs to reimburse to pave the way for the payment of his monthly pension. Chief Justice Narvasa provided in his letter his own computation for the 142 days leave, which would amount to P 386,963. Thus, Chief Justice Narvasa asked the Court to re-compute his Creditable Government Service and also to ascertain the amount he should be reimbursed with.
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ISSUE: Whether or not Chief Justice Narvasas computation as to the days leave is correct HELD: Flores clarifies that the correct amount is P386,963.61 as computed by the retired Chief Justice Narvasa, and not P393,752.45 which was deducted from his accumulated monthly pensions following the Office of Administrative Services' computation. Flores points out that in computing the total monetary value of the retired CJ's leave credits which he was asked to reimburse, the Office of Administrative Services factored the Personnel Emergency Relief Allowance (PERA) and the additional compensation (ADCOM), apparently in accordance with the Court's Resolution of February 29, 2000 in A.M. No. 99-8-05-SC holding that the same be included in the computation of retirement benefits and terminal leave pay of justices and judges. The monetary value of the leave credits actually received by the CJ did not, however, include the PERA and ADCOM in the computation thereof. It may be recalled that by Resolution of January 25, 2000 in A.M. No. 99-12-01-SB, the Court "grant[ed] justices and judges increment through length of service, in addition to their longevity pay, subject to the condition that payments of increments should include only those that have accrued effective January 1999 and subject further to availability of funds."

DOROTEO M. SALAZAR v. JUDGE ANTONIO D. MARIGOMEN 537 SCRA 25 (2007), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.) In an administrative complaint against a judge, the complainant need not be a real party in interest. Doroteo M. Salazar (Salazar) charged Judge Antonio D. Marigomen (Judge Marigomen) with gross ignorance of the law, bias, conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service and rendering a decision violative of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Rules of Procedure and the Constitution in connection with Election Case he presided. In said election case, Judge Salazar is accused of admitting in evidence uncertified photocopies of the contested ballots contrary to Section 7, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. Salazar also accuses Judge Marigomen of partiality after he ordered his Clerk of Court to coordinate with counsel for the protestee in the election case and to testify for her, despite the objection of the protestant in relation with the presentation of the plain photocopies of the contested ballots. Furthermore, Judge Marigomen allowed Atty. Reinerio Roeles, the co-counsel for the protestee, to testify despite the protestants objection on the ground that his testifying would be a violation of professional ethics and despite Judge Marigomens citation of authorities on the matter. Finally, Salazar claims that Judge Marigomen violated the COMELEC Rules of Procedure as well as the Constitution for not clearly and distinctly stating the facts and the law on which his decision was based.

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In his Comment, Judge Marigomen proffers, among other things that Salazar is not the real party in interest and, in any event, the complaint is moot and academic as the election protest had been decided on appeal by the COMELEC; and if errors were committed, they pertain to the exercise of his adjudicative functions which cannot be corrected through administrative proceedings. Subsequently, the Office of the Court Administrator recommended that Judge Marigomen be found guilty of (a) gross ignorance of the law and fined in the amount of P20,000, and (b) bias and dishonesty, amounting to grave misconduct and suspended for six months without pay. Hence, this petition. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the administrative case shall be dismissed because the complainant is not a real party in interest 2. Whether or not respondent Judge is guilty of gross ignorance of the law, bias and dishonesty HELD: Administrative matter involves the exercise of the Courts power to discipline judges. It is undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare, that is, to maintain the faith and confidence of the people in the government. Thus, unlike in ordinary cases, there is no private offended party in administrative proceedings who may be entitled to judicial relief. The complainant need not be a real party in interest, as anyone may file an administrative complaint against a judge, the only requirement being that the complaint be verified and it be in writing a nd shall state clearly and concisely the acts and omissions constituting violations of standards of conduct prescribed for Judges by law, the Rules of Court, or the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Court finds the evaluation of the case by the OCA in order. Judge Marigomens questioned acts do not conform to Canons 3 and 5 regarding impartiality and equality of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary. And respondent indeed committed falsehood, as found by the OCA. Judge Marigomens claim that he allowed the protestees counsel, Atty. Roeles, to testify over the objection of the protestants counsel because the latter failed to submit a memorandum in support of the objection, is belied by the records of the case. Thus, in a pleading captioned Manifestation, the protestants counsel submitted a memorandum of authorities on the matter. Judge Marigomen also indeed failed to state in his decision why he invalidated 90 ballots in favor of the protestant and to specify the ballots being set aside, thereby violating the Constitution.

HEINZ R. HECK v. JUDGE ANTHONY E. SANTOS 401 SCRA 46 (2003), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Delegating to a counsel of one of the parties the preparation of a decision and parroting it verbatim reflect blatant judicial sloth. Heinz R. Heck is one of the defendants in a Civil Case before the Regional Trial presided by Judge Anthony E. Santos. Heck and his co-defendant did not receive a copy of the order to schedule the
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trial on June 10 and 11, 1996. Consequently, they and their counsel failed to appear therein. Since only the plaintiffs counsel, Atty. Manuel Singson, appeared in that hearing, Judge Santos considered the non-attendance of Heck and his co-defendant as waiver of their right to present evidence. Judge Santos thereafter ordered that the case to be submitted for decision. He therefore authorized Atty. Singson to prepare the draft of the decision. The decision issued by Judge Santos was copied verbatim from the draft which Atty. Singson prepared. Hence, Heck filed an administrative complaint charging Judge Santos with violation of Section 1, Rule 36 of the Revised Rules of Court. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found Judge Santos guilty for adopting Singsons work as his own. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Santos is guilty of gross ignorance of the law HELD: The Court agrees with the findings of the OCA. Santos order for the counsel of one of the parties to draft the decision and his adoption verbatim of the draft clearly violate the Code of Judicial Conduct. The pertinent canons of which read: Canon 2, a Judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities. Canon 3, a Judge should perform official duties honestly, and with impartiality and diligence adjudicative responsibilities. By such order, Judge Santos abdicated a function exclusively granted to him by no less than the fundamental law of the land. It is axiomatic that decision-making, among other duties, is the primordial and most important duty of a member of the bench. He must use his own perceptiveness in understanding and analyzing the evidence presented before him and his own discernment when determining the proper action, resolution or decision. Delegating to a counsel of one of the parties the preparation of a decision and parroting it verbatim reflect blatant judicial sloth. Lack of malice or bad faith is not an excuse. It bears emphasis that a judge must not only render a just, correct and impartial decision. He should do so in such a manner as to be free from any suspicion as to his fairness, impartiality and integrity.

FIDEL ISIP, JR. v. JUDGE VALENTINO B. NOGOY 399 SCRA 490 (2003), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Any delay in the determination or resolution of a case, no matter how insignificant the case may seem to a judge, is, at bottom, delay in the administration of justice in general. Fidel Isip Jr. filed a petition before the Commission on Election (COMELEC) for the confirmation of his election as Vice Mayor of Macabebe, Pampanga against his rival Pedro Yabut Jr. who also claimed to have won the said position. The COMELEC En Banc ordered the convention of a new Municipal Board of Canvassers for the Municipality of Macabebe, which was later suspended. While the case before the COMELEC is pending, Yabut filed a petition against Isip charging him with Usurpation of Authority before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Macabebe with herein respondent Judge
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Valentino B. Nogoy as the presiding judge. Judge Nogoy found probable cause for Usurpation of Authority and ordered the arrest of Isip. In the meantime, the COMELEC en banc lifted the suspension of the convention of the Municipal Board of Canvassers. Thereafter, Isip filed before the MCTC a Motion to Dismiss the complaint against him. Later the Board of Canvassers proclaimed Isip as the duly elected Vice Mayor which prompted Isip to file a Second Motion to Dismiss, however Nogoy failed to resolve such motion. Hence, Isip filed a complaint charging Nogoy with gross ignorance of the law, gross misconduct and gross inefficiency. The Investigating judge appointed by the court found no probable cause for gross ignorance of law and gross misconduct, but found Nogoy liable for gross inefficiency. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Nogoy is guilty of gross inefficiency HELD: It is gathered that after Isip filed at the MCTC a Sur-Rejoinder on March 24, 2000, his Motion to Dismiss was submitted for resolution. Nogoy thus had 90 days or up to June 24, 2000 within which to resolve the motion. During the October 28, 2002 hearing conducted by the Investigating Judge, Nogoy claimed that he resolved the motion on September 7, 2000. There was no order of such date proffered by him, however. But even if Nogoy had resolved the motion on September 7, 2000, he still incurred in delay. That Nogoy was burdened with a heavy case load in MCTC Apalit-San Simon and MCTC Macabebe-Masantol is not a valid excuse, especially given the fact that while he was the Presiding Judge of the MCTC of Macabebe-Masantol since 1998, it was only on January 5, 2001, after the present complaint was filed, that he was designated Presiding Judge of the MCTC of Apalit-San Simon. When circumstances arise which prevent a judge from deciding a case or an incident thereof within the reglementary period, all he has to do is to file an application with this Court for a reasonable extension of time within which to decide or resolve the same. The record is bereft, however, of any showing that Nogoy made any such request. Instead, he preferred to keep the resolution of the motion pending, the filing of two motions for the purpose notwithstanding. The Court has always emphasized the need and the imperative for judges to promptly and expeditiously decide cases including all incidents therein. Failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency which warrants administrative sanctions. For any delay in the determination or resolution of a case, no matter how insignificant the case may seem to a judge, is, at bottom, delay in the administration of justice in general. The suffering endured by just one person whether plaintiff, defendant, or accused while awaiting a judgment that may affect his life, honor, liberty, or property, taints the entire judiciarys performance in its solemn task of administering justice.

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ILDEFONSO P. JACINTO v. SHERIFF BERNABE M. CASTRO 526 SCRA 292 (2007), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.) That sheriffs play an important role in the administration of justice, they being called upon to, among other things, serve and execute orders and processes with due care and utmost diligence, can never be overemphasized. The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Isabela found Christopher Salvador liable for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and physical injuries and ordered him to pay Ildefonso P. Jacinto for the injuries suffered. The court also found Artemio Salvador, subsidiarily liable. Having no property to levy, the court charged Sheriff Bernabe M. Castro to collect the amout from Artemio. Jacinto gave 5000 pesos to Sheriff Bernabe to execute the court order. Sheriff Bernabe appropriated the tricycle of Artemio Salvador but then returned the object of execution pending a verbal promise of Artemio to give the amount of P50,000. Artemio failed to pay the money and Jacinto again requested Sheriff Bernabe for the execution. Sheriff Bernabec failed to execute the court order. Jacinto then filed a complaint alleging that Sheriff Bernabe failed to respond to repeated requests for execution. He then filed an administrative complaint against Sheriff Bernabe, alleging that he neglected his responsibilities, violating Section 5(a) of Republic Act 6713. ISSUE: Whether or not Sheriff Bernabe violated Section 5(a) of R.A. 6713 which requires officials to respond to an order of execution 15 days from the receipt of the order HELD: That sheriffs play an important role in the administration of justice, they being called upon to, among other things, serve and execute orders and processes with due care and utmost diligence, can never be overemphasized. If they fail to execute final judgments of the courts, such judgments become empty victories for the prevailing party. Sheriff Bernabe lost sight of Section 5(a) of R.A. 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which provides that [a]ll public officials and employees shall, within fifteen (15) working days from receipt thereof, respond to letters, telegrams or other means of communications sent by the public. The reply must contain the action taken on the request.

LORETO JOAQUIN v. JUDGE FE ALBANO MADRID 439 SCRA 567 (2004), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Holding a judge administratively accountable for every erroneous ruling or decision he renders, assuming that he erred, would be intolerable.

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Loreto Joaquin filed an administrative complaint against Judge Fe Albano Madrid for Gross Misconduct for having revoked the release or bail order previously granted by the latter in favor of the former. Joaquin posted for bail after being charged of homicide. His bail was approved but was later on withdrawn by Judge Madrid after reviewing the information. A complaint against Judge Madrid was lodged with the Office of the Court Administrator for Gross Ignorance of the Law. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Madrid is guilty of Gross Ignorance of the Law HELD: As said Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code provides, the killing of another shall be guilty of murder when committed with any of the therein enumerated attendant circumstances, one of which is taking advantage of superior strength. It has been the consistent ruling of this Court that what is controlling are the actual recital of facts in the body of the information and not the caption or preamble of the information. In fine, at the time Judge Madrid ordered complainants detention on October 21, 2002, she was of the opinion that the allegation in the information that an unlicensed firearm was used in assaulting the minor victim called for the imposition of an increased penalty of reclusion perpetua, which opinion is of course erroneous. For the use of an unlicensed firearm in the commission of Homicide (or Murder), being a special aggravating circumstance, merely calls for the application of the penalty reclusion temporal in the case of Homicide in its maximum period. At the time she gave her Comment-Answer to the Complaint, she explained that the allegation in the information contemplated the use of superior strength to qualify the killing to murder, which explanation could be tenable and puts her in good light. To warrant a finding of gross ignorance of the law, it has been repeatedly held that the error must be so gross and patent as to produce an inference or bad faith. For to hold a judge administratively accountable for every erroneous ruling or decision he renders, assuming that he erred, would be intolerable. From the allegations of the information against complainant and the facts and circumstances surrounding Judge Madrids issuance of and justification for her order for Joaquins detention despite his earlier posting of bailbond, the Court is not inclined to infer that Judge Madrid acted maliciously or in bad faith, or with patent abuse of authority or in sheer ignorance of the law. In view of the foregoing, the Court does not find Judge Madrid liable for grave misconduct or ignorance of the law.

ATTY. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, Jr. v. MILA AMANTE-CASICAS 506 SCRA 705 (2006), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.)

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The failure of an employee to give ones attention to a task expected of him, and signifies a disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or indifference is guilty of simple neglect. Atty. Perfecto A.S. Laguio, Jr. filed a complaint for sum of money and deposited P1,000 for service of summons fee. The case was filed before the Pasig Metropolitan Trial Court. Two weeks later, he inquired whether summons had been served. Mila Amante-Casicas replied in the negative allegedly because no service fee had been paid. When the official receipt of payment of the fee was shown to her, Casicas assured Atty. Laguio, Jr. that she would serve the summons and furnish a copy of her return thereof within a week. Atty. Laguio Jr., filed the present administrative complaint against Casicas for the latters failure to serve summon despite numerous follow ups. Casicas avers that she had, before the administrative complaint against her, already served the summons through substituted service. Atty. Laguio Jr. subsequently brought to the attention of the Court Administrator. Casicass alleged deliberate act of delaying for 20 days the mailing of a copy of her Comment to him, for while copy of her Comment was filed at the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) on January 28, 2005, Atty. Laguios copy was mailed only on February 17, 2005. ISSUES: Whether or not respondent Mila Amante-Casicas is guilty of Simple Neglect of Duty HELD: For her failure to promptly serve the summons, Casicas is guilty of simple neglect of duty which is defined as the failure of an employee to give ones attention to a task expected of him, and signifies a disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or indifference. Under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, simple neglect of duty is classified as a less grave offense, penalized with suspension from One Month and One Day to Six Months for the first offense, and dismissal for the second offense. This Court is not unaware of the heavy workload in our Judiciary, but the same does not suffice as an excuse to evade administrative liability.

LETTER OF ATTY. SOCORRO M. VILLAMER-BASILLA on the alleged improper conduct of MANUEL L. ARIMADO 482 SCRA 455 (2006), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Sheriffs are under obligation to perform the duties of their office honestly, faithfully and to the best of their ability, and must conduct themselves with propriety and decorum, and above all else, be above suspicion.

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The administrative complaint at bar against Respondent Sheriff IV Manuel L. Arimado of the Legaspi City Regional Trial Court (RTC) arose from his enforcement of a writ of preliminary attachment issued in a civil case where he attached a different property. He also received Php 1,000.00 without furnishing the estimate or detail of expenses and without securing the approval of the Court in violation of Sec. 9, Rule 141, Revised Rules of Court. Upon evaluation of the records, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended that Arimado be held guilty of misconduct in office and that he be suspended for a period of one (1) Month. ISSUE: Whether or not the recommendation of OCA to suspend Sheriff Arimado for simple misconduct is proper HELD: The conduct and behavior of everyone connected with an office charged with the dispensation of justice is circumscribed with a heavy burden of responsibility, necessarily so if the faith and confidence of the people in the judiciary are to be maintained. The Supreme Court has repeatedly warned that by the very nature of their functions, sheriffs are under obligation to perform the duties of their office honestly, faithfully and to the best of their ability, and must conduct themselves with propriety and decorum, and above all else, be above suspicion. In the discharge of the sheriffs duty of enforcing writs issued pursuant to court orders for which expenses are to be incurred, Section 10 of Rule 141 of the Revised Rules of Court expressly provides that the interested party shall pay said expenses in an amount estimated by the sheriff, subject to the approval of the court. Upon approval of said estimated expenses, the interested party shall deposit such amount with the clerk of court and ex officio sheriff, who shall disburse the same to the deputy sheriff assigned to effect the process, subject to liquidation within the same period for rendering a return on the process. THE LIQUIDATION SHALL BE APPROVED BY THE COURT. Any unspent amount shall be refunded to the party making the deposit. A full report shall be submitted by the deputy sheriff assigned with his return, and the sheriff's expenses shall be taxed as costs against the judgment debtor. Despite the plain meaning of above-quoted procedure, Arimado failed to comply therewith. His act of receiving an amount for expenses to be incurred in the execution of the writ of preliminary attachment, without him having made an estimate thereof and securing prior approval of the court issuing the writ is clearly proscribed by the rule. Whether the amount was advanced to him by the counsel for the plaintiffs or he offered to return the excess to the plaintiff is beside the point, his mere acceptance of the amount without the prior approval of the court and without him issuing a receipt therefor is clearly a misconduct in office.

MELENCIO P. MANANSALA III v. JUDGE FATIMA G. ASDALA 391 SCRA 673 (2005), (Carpio Morales, J.)

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In administrative cases, the quantum of proof necessary to hold a respondent liable for the charge is substantial evidence or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Winfried Herbst was detained by the police for breaking the glass wall in the office of Melencio P. Manansala III. After detaining Herbst, complainant claims that respondent Judge Fatima G. Asdala called the command of the station Atty. Joel Coronel, trying to influence him to release Herbst as he was Judge Asdalas close friend. Later on, Asdala instructed sheriff Mark Cabigao and two policemen to request that the car of Herbst be turned over to their custody. Manansala filed a complaint-affidavit against Judge Asdala charging her with violation of Section 3(a) of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices (R.A. 3019) for allegedly using her position in influencing a public officer. Furthermore, she is allegedly been using a government employee for private means when she sent sheriff Cabigao and two policemen to claim Herbsts car. Judge Asdala denies the claims stating that she never spoke with Atty. Coronel but with a certain Maceren. She alleged that the sheriff was all too willing to help. Judge Asdala further averred that all charges against her were a form of payback for filing libel charges against Manansala for allegedly defaming her in a television show. After thorough investigation of the witnesses, the Court arrived to the conclusion that Respondent Judges arguments does not suffice and she was guilty of Gross Misconduct. ISSUES: Whether or not Respondent Judge abused her authority and committed an act of gross misconduct HELD: In administrative cases, the quantum of proof necessary to hold a respondent liable for the charge is substantial evidence or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion. In the case at bar, Judge Asdala denies having talked to Atty. Coronel. She admits though that she talked to one Maceren who, by her claim, butted in during her phone conversation with Herbst. She proffers, however, that when she conversed with Maceren, she identified herself as Mrs. Asdala and merely asked him if a complaint had been filed against Herbst, for what offense, and when the case would be inquested. Judge Asdalas plain denial of the charge of influencing does not suffice to discredit the straightforward claim of Atty. Coronel, however. Moreover, Asdalas vacillating version regarding the phone conversation with the police officer flaws her credibility. In her Comment to the complaint at bar, she stated that during her phone conversation with Herbst, "she heard someone in the background ask Herbst who he was in conversation with" and "[b]efore she knew it, someone other tha[n] Herbst was on the line and he introduced himself as some police officer whose name [she] cannot recall and asked what is it [she] wanted to know and who [she was] xxx." And during her interview on air by Atty. Mauricio, she likewise admitted having talked to a police officer in Station 10.

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MAIMONA MANONGGIRING v. Judge Amer R. Ibrahim 391 SCRA 673 (2002), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A judge who grants bail without conducting the required hearing to a person charged with a capital offense is guilty of ignorance of the law and incompetence. An Information was filed charging six (6) persons of the crime of arson punishable by reclusion perpetua. The No Bail entry in the information, however, was replaced with the bail amount. Subsequently, the said information was amended and No Bail was recommended. One of the accused applied for bail with the Regional Trial Court presided by Respondent Judge Amer R. Ibrahim (Judge Ibrahim). The sheriff assigned to his sala was tasked to verify whether or not the crime charged is bailable and the sheriff found that the crime was bailable there being no amended information. The application for bail was granted. Hence, the filing of administrative complaint against Judge Ibrahim. ISSUE: Whether or not Respondent Judge Ibrahim acted in gross ignorance of the law for granting bail for an offense punished by reclusion perpetua HELD: Why Judge Ibrahim did not himself verify the records of the criminal case and instead just sent his sheriff for the purpose, he has not proffered any explanation. Judge Ibrahim was, by his virtual admission, misled by the prosecutions specification of the provision of law violated compounds, rather than excuses, his ignorance. For a judge to rely blindly on the prosecutors say -so is for him to abdicate his judicial functions in favor of the prosecutor. Thus, when a judge grants bail to a person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment without conducting the required hearing, he is guilty of ignorance or incompetence which cannot be excused by a claim of good faith or excusable negligence.

JUDGE PLACIDO C. MARQUEZ v. MARIO M. PABLICO 556 SCRA 531 (2008), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Though we find the respondent answerable to the charges aired by the complainant, a meticulous perusal of the documents presented by the Marquez reveals no single instance where Pablico's neglect of duty resulted in the disruption of service to the public nor did it damage or prejudice any litigant. Judge Placido C. Marquez, then Presiding Judge, Manila Regional Trial Court, issued two lettersmemoranda to Mario Pablico, Branch Process Server, directing him to explain why he should not be recommended to be dropped from the rolls, for failure to attach registry receipts and registry return cards to the records of the some cases. In Mario M. Pablicos letter -comment, he denied the charge and attached copies of several Orders issued in the cases listed in the memoranda, together with the corresponding registry receipts and registry return cards. Marquez manifested his dissatisfaction with the
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explanation of Pablico and recommended that he be dropped from the rolls. He averred that they were accomplished only after a physical inventory of all pending cases was conducted and his attention to his failure to accomplish them was repeatedly called. ISSUE: Whether or not Pablico committed gross neglect of duty as a court process server HELD: In the meantime, this Court, in A.M. No. 06-2-92-RTC, "Re: Droping from the Rolls of Mr. Mario M. Pablico, Process Server, RTC, Br. 40, Manila ," after considering the Report dated January 31, 2006 of the OCA, issued Resolution dated June 28, 2006 dropping respondent from the rolls "for obtaining 'Unsatisfactory' performance ratings during the periods from 01 July to 31 December 2003, 01 January to 30 June 2004 and 01 July to 31 December 2004 WITHOUT PREJUDICE to the continuation of the administrative complaints filed against him." The Court thereupon declared the position of Process Server, Branch 40 of the Manila RTC vacant. The Court is not unaware of the heavy workload of court personnel in Manila, given the number of cases filed and pending before it. It does not, however, serve as a convenient excuse to evade administrative liability; otherwise, every government employee faced with negligence and dereliction of duty would resort to that excuse to evade punishment, to the detriment of the public service. To fault Pablico only for simple neglect of duty on account of the observation of Judge Eugenio that "no single instance where Pablico's neglect of duty resulted in the disruption of service to the public nor did it damage or prejudice any litigant" does not sit well with the Court. Judge Eugenio himself found that respondent's infractions were "habitual" which, under Section 53, Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, could be appreciated as either extenuating, mitigating, or aggravating. It cannot be gainsaid that respondent's habituality of infractions calls for its treatment as aggravating in the present case. Under the same Uniform Rules, gross neglect of duty is classified as a grave offense punishable by dismissal even for the first offense. This Court having, as priorly stated, ordered the dropping of respondent from the rolls in another administrative matter, in line with Sibulo v. San Jose where the therein respondent was found guilty of gross neglect in the performance of his duty but was earlier dropped from the rolls, now imposes upon him a fine in the amount of P5,000, and orders all his benefits, except accrued leave credits, forfeited, with prejudice to his re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned and controlled corporations and financial institutions.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE MOISES M. PARDO AND CLERK OF COURT JESSIE W. TULDAGUE, RTC-CABARROGUIS, QUIRINO (FORMERLY LETTER-COMPLAINT OF JUDGE MOISES M. PARDO, EXEC. JUDGE, RTC-CABARROGUIS, QUIRINO AGAINST ATTY. JESSIE W. TULDAGUE, CLERK OF COURT, SAME COURT)
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553 SCRA 40 (2008), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) An employee of the judiciary is expected to accord respect for the person and rights of others at all times, and his every act and word characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy and dignity. Respondent Judge Moises Pardo wrote letter complaint addressed to the Deputy Court Administrator Jose Perez. The letter refers to Grave and Disrespectful conduct of Atty. Jessie Tuldague, Clerk of Court, in the conduct of raffle of cases by calling only the OIC Branch Clerks of Court and only copy furnishing Judge Moises Pardo. For his part, Atty. Tuldague denied that the notice was disrespectful as he has been using such kind of notice for the past years without Judge Pardo questioning it. Atty. Tuldague further claims that Judge Pardo filed a letter complaint in retaliation for his filing of an administrative complaint against the latter. The OCA recommended that Atty. Tuldague be found guilty and be reprimanded. ISSUE: Whether or not the OCA erred in finding Atty. Tuldague guilty of the offense charged HELD: The Court finds that respondent Tuldague is guilty of gross discourtesy in the course of official duties under Rule IV, Section 52 (B) (3) of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service for failure to accord respect for the person and rights of the Judge. In Amane v. Atty. Mendoza-Arce, the Court had the occasion to expound on the matter where it held that an employee of the judiciary is expected to accord respect for the person and rights of others at all times, and his every act and word characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy and dignity. Government service is people-oriented and where high-strung and belligerent behavior is not allowed. No matter how commendable respondent's motives may be, as a public officer, courtesy should be his policy always.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. EDGARDO A. MABELIN 399 SCRA 480 (2003), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Incompetence in the Performance of Duty has been defined as the manifest lack of adequate ability and fitness for the satisfactory performance of official duties by reason of the officers vice or vicious habits. Edgardo A. Mabelin (Mabelin), who was entrusted with the custody of a firearm subject of a criminal case, was charged with dishonesty and incompetence in the performance of duty by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) after finding out that the whereabouts of the said firearm was neither in the custody of the court nor with the Firearms and Explosives Unit of the Philippine National Police. Mabelin explained that the Acting Presiding Judge Romulo SG Villanueva (Villanueva) verbally requested that the custody of the firearm be transferred to him to which he acceded. He also claimed that he was embarrassed or ashamed to ask Villanueva to acknowledge in writing the turn over to him of the firearm. On the other hand, Villanueva claim that he bought the firearm from Mabelin upon representing that he owned it and that it was a loose firearm. He also claims that he does not know that the firearm sold to him is subject of a criminal case.
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ISSUE: Whether or not Mabelin is guilty of dishonesty and incompetence in the performance of duty HELD: The Court is not prepared to hold that Mabelin represented to Villanueva that the firearm was his and that Villanueva, in good faith, bought it. Villanueva was a public prosecutor for ten years before he joined the judiciary. His detailed account of the circumstances which led to his alleged purchase of the firearm is simply incredulous. Would the Judge who had been a public prosecutor (in Rizal) for ten years be unfamiliar or unacquainted with firearms that he would not even know the model, brand or caliber of the firearm he bought? Would he readily believe that the unlicensed firearm belonged to respondent and, in any event, would he simply allow his fancy on the firearm to overpower him and fail to fault respondent for brazenly carrying in public view an unlicensed firearm? Would not the version of respondent that the Judge asked that the firearm be turned over to him be more in accordance with human experience, given the Judges ascendancy over respondent? The Court does not thus find Mabelin guilty of DISHONESTY. It finds him, however, guilty of INCOMPETENCE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY. Incompetence in the Performance of Duty has been defined as the manifest lack of adequate ability and fitness for the satisfactory performance of official duties by reason of the officers vice or vicious habits. This has reference to any physical, moral or intellectual quality the lack of which substantially incapacitates one to perform the duties of an officer. Incompetence amounts or is equivalent to inefficiency which is descriptive of Mabelins actuations. For the Manual for Branch Clerks of Court explicitly mandates that all exhibits used and turned over to the Court and before the case/s involving such evidence shall have been terminated shall be under the custody and safekeeping of the Clerk of Court. Yet Mabelin, who admittedly was aware of the above-said manual, failed to keep the firearm in his custody and safekeeping or to transfer it to the proper authorities. In any event, if he was waiting for an order, he should have, if he could not turn down the order of Villanueva for him to turnover possession of the firearm, timely made a written memorandum of such turnover on the records of the criminal case or in the list of exhibits in his custody.

PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION v. RICHARD SYHONGPAN 500 SCRA 198 (2006), THIRD DIVISIO, (Carpio Morales, J.) A government officer or employee may be dismissed for dishonesty even if the latter was not committed in the performance of duty.
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Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporations (PAGCOR) Casino FilipinoHeritage, Manila opened its expanded VIP Gaming Area. Richard Syhongpan, the Branch Manager of Casino Filipino-Davao, attended the event during which he played in the casino area with other officers of the casino and players until the next day. The incident prompted PAGCOR to mobilize its Corporate Investigation Unit (CIU) to investigate the matter since the action of Syhongpan was prohibited. Generally, PAGCOR employees are prohibited from playing in the casino. On special occasions, however, officers may be authorized by the Chairman of the Board of Directors to play, provided that they play only at the small tables, limit their bets to P5,000 per deal, and cease playing by 6:00 a.m. of the following day. After investigations and deliberations, Syhongpan was charged guilty of grave misconduct and dishonesty. The same became a basis for his dismissal by the PAGCOR. Syhongpan appealed to the Civil Service Commission which affirmed the dismissal. On appeal before the Court of Appeals, it held that Syhongpan could not be found guilty of grave misconduct and dishonesty for the offense charged does not have direct relation to, or is not connected with the performance of his official duties. It noted that the incident did not occur in Syhongpans office in Davao, but in Manila. A Motion for Reconsideration was denied. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the case on the ground that the offense charge does not have a direct relation and connection to the performance of official duties HELD: Dishonesty, to warrant dismissal, need not be committed in the performance of duty of the employee charged. In Remolona v. Civil Service Commission, the therein petitioner, a Postmaster at the Postal Office Service in Infanta, Quezon, was dismissed by the CSC for dishonesty acquiring fake eligibility for his wife who was an elementary school teacher. Posed as main issue was whether a civil service employee can be dismissed from the government service for an offense which is not work-related or which is not connected with the performance of his official duty. The Court upholds the legality of the dismissal. Under Section 23, Rule XIV of the Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292, the rule is that dishonesty, in order to warrant dismissal, need not be committed in the course of the performance of duty by the person charged. The rationale for the rule is that if a government officer or employee is dishonest or is guilty of oppression or grave misconduct, even if said defects of character are not connected with his office, they affect his right to continue in office. Syhongpan did indeed commit serious violations of casino rules and regulations and his duties as Branch Manager of Casino Filipino-Davao. By his own admission, he formed a corporation composed of persons who agreed to pool together their resources and play at the gaming tables and share in the profits or losses, thereby advancing his personal interest over that of the corporation which he was duty bound to protect, being a high officer of the corporation. Such admission, together with his other admissions detailed above which are against his interest, clearly merit his dismissal.

STATE PROSECUTOR RINGCAR B. PINOTE v. JUDGE ROBERTO L. AYCO


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502 SCRA 446 (2006) (Carpio Morales, J.) The judge's act of allowing the presentation of the defense witnesses in the absence of public prosecutor or a private prosecutor designated for the purpose is a clear transgression of the Rules. Judge Roberto L. Ayco of Regional Trial Court (RTC) of South Cotabato allowed the defense in a criminal case to present evidence consisting of the testimony of two witnesses, even in the absence of State Prosecutor Ringcar B. Pinote who was prosecuting the case. State Prosecutor Pinote was at that time undergoing medical treatment at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City. On the subsequent scheduled hearings of the criminal case, Pinote refused to cross-examine the two defense witnesses, despite being ordered by Judge Ayco, maintaining that prior proceedings conducted in his absence were void. Judge Ayco considered the prosecution to have waived its right to cross-examine the two defense witnesses. Hence, arose the present administrative complaint lodged by Pinote against Judge Ayco for "Gross Ignorance of the Law, Grave Abuse of Authority and Serious Misconduct." ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Ayco violated the Rules on Criminal Procedure for allowing the defense to present evidence in the absence of a prosecutor HELD: As a general rule, all criminal actions shall be prosecuted under the control and direction of the public prosecutor. If the schedule of the public prosecutor does not permit, however, or in case there are no public prosecutors, a private prosecutor may be authorized in writing by the Chief of the Prosecution Office or the Regional State Prosecution Office to prosecute the case, subject to the approval of the court. Once so authorized, the private prosecutor shall continue to prosecute the case until the termination of the trial even in the absence of a public prosecutor, unless the authority is revoked or otherwise withdrawn. Violation of criminal laws is an affront to the People of the Philippines as a whole and not merely to the person directly prejudiced, he being merely the complaining witness. It is on this account that the presence of a public prosecutor in the trial of criminal cases is necessary to protect vital state interests, foremost of which is its interest to vindicate the rule of law, the bedrock of peace of the people. Judge Ayco's intention to uphold the right of the accused to a speedy disposition of the case, no matter how noble it may be, cannot justify a breach of the Rules. If the accused is entitled to due process, so is the State. Judge Ayco's lament about Pinote's failure to inform the court of his inability to attend the hearings or to file a motion for postponement thereof or to subsequently file a motion for reconsideration of his Orders allowing the defense to present its two witnesses on said dates may be mitigating. It does not absolve Judge Ayco of his utter disregard of the Rules.

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WILSON PO CHAM v. ATTY. EDILBERTO PIZARRO A.C. No. 5499, 16 August 2005, THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) The misconduct of a lawyer, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good demeanor to thus render him unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him, may be sanctioned with disbarment or suspension. Upon Atty. Edilberto Pizarros representations to complainant Wilson Po Cham (Po Cham) that a certain parcel of land being offered for sale to him was alienable and disposable, Po Cham gave Atty. Pizarro two checks representing the purchase price of the said property. Po Cham subsequently took possession of the property and installed a barbed wire fence at its front portion. Soon after, however, a forest guard approached him and informed him that the property could not be fenced for the reason that it was part of the Bataan National Park. Upon investigation, Po Cham discovered that the property is not an alienable or disposable land susceptible of private ownership. Po Cham demanded the return of the purchase price but Atty. Pizarro did not heed to the demand. Po Cham thereafter charged Atty. Pizarro of violation of his oath as a member of the Bar. The Supreme Court (SC) referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation or decision. The IBP, in its Report and Recommendation, found Atty. Pizarro to have violated his oath as a member of the Bar. It recommended his suspension from the practice of law for 3 months, subject to the approval of the members of the Board of Governors. The case was forwarded to the SC for final action. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Pizarro violated his solemn oath as a lawyer HELD: The misconduct of a lawyer, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good demeanor to thus render him unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him, may be sanctioned with disbarment or suspension. Atty. Pizarro has utterly failed to substantiate his documented claim of having irrevocable rights and interests over the property which he could have conveyed to Po Cham. Atty. Pizarro must thus be faulted for fraudulently inducing Po Cham to purchase non-existent irrevocable rights, interest and participation over an inalienable property.

RE: LETTER-COMPLAINT OF CONCERNED CITIZENS AGAINST SOLICITOR GENERAL AGNES VST. DEVANADERA, ATTY. ROLANDO FALLER, AND ATTY. SANTIAGO VARELA. 556 SCRA 522 (2008), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.)

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An anonymous complaint is always received with great caution, originating as it does from an unknown author and must be substantiated and established by other competent evidence. The Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) received on September 5, 2007 an unverified lettercomplaint dated August 26, 2007 written by "Concerned Citizens" and addressed to Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno. The letter contained a complaint for disbarment/disciplinary action against former Government Corporate Counsel (GCC), now Solicitor General Agnes Vst. Devanadera and Alberto C. Agra and other lawyers of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), for "engaging directly or indirectly in partisan political activities" during the May 14, 2007 national and local elections, and for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The Solicitor General et al. filed their separate comments, praying for the outright dismissal of the complaint for being anonymous and contrary to the intent of Section 1, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court which provides. ISSUE: Whether or not an anonymous complaint can be dismissed outrightly HELD : The Court will not thus shirk from its responsibility to mete out proper disciplinary punishment to lawyers who are shown to have failed to live up to their sworn duties; but neither will it hesitate to extend its protective arm to those the accusation against whom is not indubitably proven. For a lawyer's good name is, in the ultimate analysis, his most important possession. An anonymous complaint is always received with great caution, originating as it does from an unknown author. However, a complaint of such sort does not always justify its outright dismissal for being baseless or unfounded for such complaint may be easy of verification and may, without much difficulty, be substantiated and established by other competent evidence. A reading of the letter-complaint shows that the allegations are vague. And the attachments thereto are mere photocopies, not to mention the plaint of the Solicitor General et al. that they were not furnished copies of the annexes to the August 6, 2007 complaint. The Court is thus inclined to, as it does, dismiss the complaint.

REPORT on the JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED in the REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCH 136, MAKATI CITY 442 SCRA 414 (2004), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) A judge is duty bound to render decision without undue delay. By directive of the Court Administrator, a judicial audit was conducted in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 136 of Makati City which was formerly presided by retired Judge Jose R. Bautista. Audit and inventory revealed that the pending cases resolved by said judge were resolved in July 2000 prior to the judges retirement which was decided for a palpable length of delay.

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The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended that the amount of P20,000.00 be withheld from his retirement benefits for his offense as adjudicator. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Bautista is guilty of undue delay in the rendering of decision or orders HELD: As could be observed, although Judge Bautista resolved the subject cases before he retired last July 2000, the length of the delay in the resolution thereof could not be ignored. It would appear that he only endeavored to resolve the pending incidents and decide the cases in anticipation of his retirement as almost all of the cases were solved in the months of June and July. The Court is not unaware of the awesome burden heaped on the shoulder of every judge. Very often, a judge must cope with a heavy caseload along with still other task that attach to his position. The grave responsibility notwithstanding, a judge is not excused form being remiss in all that is incumbent upon him. From the moment he takes his oath, he is beholden to the public and is expected to live up to the exacting standards of an exalted office. The Court has constantly reminded judges of the need to decide cases with dispatch because any delay in the disposition of cases can easily undermine the peoples faith and confidence in the judiciary. x x x Regrettably, respondent judge has been neglectful in the above aspect. x x x. Under Rule 140 of Section 2 of the Rules of Court, undue delay in rendering a decision is considered less serious charge sanctioned by either suspension from office without salary and other benefits for 1 nor more than 3 months or a fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00. Indeed, almost all the pending incidents and cases submitted for decision which were awaiting resolution/decision within 90 days were acted upon by Judge Bautista long after said period expired or only on July 2000, immediately before he retired on July 27, 2000, entailing years of delay with respect to some incidents, and even a delay of more than 6 years with respect to one case submitted for decision, as reflected in the above-reproduced tabulation prepared by the OCA.

RODANTE D. MARCOLETA v. RESURRECCION Z. BORRA and ROMEO A. BRAWNER 582 SCRA 474 (2009), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) An impeachable officer who is a member of the Bar cannot be disbarred without first being impeached Rodante D. Marcoleta filed a complaint for disbarment against respondents Commissioners Resurreccion Z. Borra and Romeo A. Brawner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) charging them with violating Canons 1 and 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and Canons 4, 5, 6 and 17 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics. The complaint arose from the resolution of the Comelecs First Division in favor of one Diogenes S. Osabel, the head of one of the factions in the party-list group Alagad. The
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ponencia was written by Commissioner Borra while Commissioner Brawner concurred. The dispute was elevated to the Comelec En Banc. The latter affirmed the decision of the Comelecs First Division. Brawner, in his answer asserted that the complainant should have filed an appeal via petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court, and that being members of a constitutional body he and Borra are supposed to be insulated from a disbarment complaint for being impeachable officer. For his part, Borra contends that the Code of Judicial Conduct and Canons of Judicial Ethics cannot be made to apply to him and Brawner because they are not members of the judiciary. Marcoleta argues that Brawner and Borra cannot take refuge in their being impeachable public officers to insulate them from any disbarment complaint. For him the insulation from disbarment complaint of impeachable public officers when referring particularly to the members of the Comelec applies only to the majority of its members who should all be members of the Philippine bar, citing Section 1 (1) of Article IX-C of the Constitution. ISSUES: Whether or not Borra and Brawner are supposed to be insulated from a disbarment case for being impeachable officers HELD: At the outset, the Court, guided by its pronouncements in Jarque v. Ombudsman, In Re: Raul M. Gonzales and Cuenco v. Fernan, has laid down the rule that an impeachable officer who is a member of the Bar cannot be disbarred without first being impeached. Marcoletas availment of Sect ion 1 (1) of Article IX-C of the Constitution to skirt this rule is specious. It bears emphasis that the provision that majority of Comelec members should be lawyers pertains to the desired composition of the Comelec. While the appointing authority may follow such constitutional mandate, the appointment of a full complement of lawyers in the Comelec membership is not precluded. At the time the present complaint was filed, Brawner and Borra and three other commissioners were all lawyers. As an impeachable officer who is at the same time a member of the Bar, Borra must first be removed from office via the constitutional route of impeachment before he may be held to answer administratively for his supposed errant resolutions and actions. The Court thus finds respondent Borras contention that the grounds-bases of the disbarment complaint, fastened on supposed errors of judgment or grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts, are proper for an appeal, hence, complainants remedy is judicial, not adm inistrative. As for complainants invocation of Section 58 of Article VII of the Omnibus Election Code the same relates to the quasi-judicial function of the Comelec, which function rests on judgment or discretion, so that while it is of judicial nature or character, it does not involve the exercise of functions of a judge.

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The same provision thus directs that in the exercise of the Comelecs quasi -judicial power, the chairman and members should be guided by the canons of judicial ethics. It bears emphasis that the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary applies only to courts of law, of which the Comelec is not, hence, sanctions pertaining to violations thereof are made exclusively applicable to judges and justices in the judiciary, not to quasi-judicial officers like the Comelec chairman and members, who have their own codes of conduct to steer them. Even if the Court were to gauge the assailed actions of respondent Borra under the Code of Professional Responsibility, no specific incidents and sufficient evidence can be gathered to show that respondent did engage in dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct in his capacity as a lawyer. It bears reiteration that the acts particularized in the complaint pertain to respondent Borras duties as a Comelec commissioner.

ELVISA ROSALES v. DOMINADOR MONESIT SR. 551 SCRA 80 (2008), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Willful non-payment of just obligation is considered a light offense. Elvisa Rosales filed a complaint against Dominador Monesit Sr.( Monesit Sr), Court Interpreter of the Municipal Trial Court of Surigao del Sur, for conduct unbecoming a court employee. In her complaint, Rosales alleged that she entered into a contract of sale with Monesits wife, the subject of which was a motorcycle sidecar to be paid on installment basis. She further alleged that after paying the down payment and subsequent installments, Monesits wife failed to pay the balance of the purchase price of the sidecar. When conflict ensued due to the non-payment of the balance of the purchase price, both Monesit and Rosales live-in partner intervened. Rosales demanded full payment of the balance of the price but Monesit stopped futher payment. ISSUE: Whether or not the Monesit Sr. have breached the norms and standards of the courts by intervening in the above transaction HELD: The Court believes that it was improper for Monesit Sr. to intervene in the above transaction and take the cudgel for his wife, creating, in the process, the impression that he was emboldened to act in the manner that he did because of his exalted position in the Municipal Trial Court of Tandag. Likewise, it was improper for Monesit Sr. to stop payment of the balance of the purchase price of the Sidecar, just because Rosales live-in partner charged additional penalty per day of delay in the payment. Monesit Sr.'s non-payment of just obligation, which is submitted to be willful, is considered a light offense under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. The corresponding
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penalty for the first offense is reprimand, for the second, suspension for one (1) to thirty (30) days, and for the third, dismissal. Monesit Sr.'s non-payment of just obligation, which is submitted to be willful, is considered a light offense under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. The corresponding penalty for the first offense is reprimand, for the second, suspension for one (1) to thirty (30) days, and for the third, dismissal.

RENERIO SAMBAJON, et al. v. ATTY. JOSE A. SUING 503 SCRA 1 (2006), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) familias. The practice of law does requires only ordinary diligence or that degree of vigilance expected of a bonus pater

Sambajon, et al. are parties to a previous labor case in which the Atty. Jose Suing is the counsel of their employer Microplast, Inc. A judgment in favor of them was rendered by the Labor Arbiter and a writ of execution was issued against Microplast, Inc. In the meantime, the Labor Arbiter dismissed the case insofar as the seven complainants are concerned on the basis of individual Release Waiver and Quitclaims purportedly signed and sworn to by them. Four of the seven who purportedly executed the Release Waiver and Quitclaims, denied having signed and sworn to before the Labor Arbiter the said documents or having received the considerations therefor. They subsequently filed an administrative complaint alleging that respondent, acting in collusion with his clients Johnny and Manuel Rodil, frustrated the implementation of the Writ of Execution by presenting before the Labor Arbiter the spurious documents. A Complaint seeking the disbarment of Atty. Jose A. Suing on the grounds of deceit, malpractice, violation of Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility was also filed. During the administrative hearings before the IBP Commissioner, it was apparent that Atty. Suing was coaching his client to prevent himself from being incriminated. It was also revealed that the Release Waiver and Quitclaims allegedly signed were not the same documents originally presented to the employees to be signed. ISSUE: Whether or not the acts of Respondent Atty. Suing is an act arguably violative of the Lawyers Code of Ethics HELD: Diligence is the attention and care required of a person in a given situation and is the opposite of negligence. A lawyer serves his client with diligence by adopting that norm of practice expected of men of good intentions. He thus owes entire devotion to the interest of his client, warm zeal in the defense and maintenance of his rights, and the exertion of his utmost learning, skill, and ability to ensure
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that nothing shall be taken or withheld from him, save by the rules of law legally applied. It is axiomatic in the practice of law that the price of success is eternal diligence to the cause of the client. The practice of law does not require extraordinary diligence (exactissima diligentia) or that extreme measure of care and caution which persons of unusual prud ence and circumspection use for securing and preserving their rights. All that is required is ordinary diligence (diligentia) or that degree of vigilance expected of a bonus pater familias. In the case at bar, not only did Atty. Suing try to coach his client or influence him to answer questions in an apparent attempt not to incriminate him. His client contradicted Atty. Suings claim that the Release Waiver and Quitclaim which he prepared was not the one presented at the Arbiters Office, as well as his implied claim that he was not involved in releasing to the complainants the money for and in consideration of the execution of the documents. As an officer of the court, a lawyer is called upon to assist in the administration of justice. He is an instrument to advance its cause. Any act on his part that tends to obstruct, perverts or impedes the administration of justice constitutes misconduct. While the Commission on Bar Discipline is not a court, the proceedings therein are nonetheless part of a judicial proceeding, a disciplinary action being in reality an investigation by the Court into the misconduct of its officers or an examination into his character.

GENARO SANTIAGO III v. JUSTICE JUAN Q. ENRIQUEZ, JR. 579 SCRA 1 (2009), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.) Under the principle of judicial immunity, judges cannot be held criminally, civilly or administratively liable for an erroneous decision rendered in good faith. The complainant Genaro Santiago III filed a Petition for Reconstitution of Lost/ Destroyed Original Certificate of Title No. 56, registered in the name of Pantaleona Santiago and Blas Fajardo. The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City granted the petition. The Republic of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General, appealed to the Supreme Court asking for its reversal. The case was raffled to Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison, Justice Vicente Veloso and herein respondent Justice Juan Enriquez. Justice Gonzales-Sison was the one who made the Report as the basis for the Divisions consultation and deliberation which upholds the decision made by the RTC of Quezon City. Justice Veloso concurred in the Report made. On the other hand, Justice Enriquez dissented to the Report and made his own Dissenting Opinion. Justice Enriquez requested for another two (2) Justices to form a Special Division, Justice Edgardo Cruz and Justice Lucas Bersamin were then included. After the deliberations, the Dissenting Opinion of Justice Enriquez became the majority opinion. The decision of the RTC of Quezon City was reversed by the decision made by the Special Division. Complainant Santiago then filed an administrative complaint against Justice Enriquez on the ground of gross ignorance of the law, and gross incompetence in connection with his rendering of alleged unjust judgment in the case of Santiago. Justice Enriquez contends that it was a mere nuisance and that it was filed prematurely. ISSUE:
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Whether or not there is a valid ground for the filing of an administrative case against Justice Enriquez HELD: The Court has to be shown acts or conduct of the judge clearly indicative of the arbitrariness or prejudice before the latter can be branded the stigma of being biased and partial. Thus, unless he is shown to have acted in bad faith or with deliberate intent to do an injustice, not every error or mistake that a judge commits in the performance of his duties renders him liable. The principle of judicial immunity insulates judges, and even Justices of superior courts, from being held to account criminally, civilly or administratively for an erroneous decision rendered in good faith. To hold otherwise would render judicial office untenable. No one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice could be infallible in his judgment. It bears particular stress in the present case that the filing of charges against a single member of a division of the appellate court is inappropriate. The Decision was not rendered by respondent in his individual capacity. It was a product of the consultations and deliberations by the Special Division of five.

PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR MANUEL F. TORREVILLAS v. JUDGE ROBERTO A. NAVIDAD 587 SCRA 39 (2009), EN BANC (Carpio Morales, J.) Judges cannot take refuge in the inefficiency or mismanagement of his court personnel since proper and efficient court management is their responsibility. On July 16, 2003, Provincial Prosecutor Manuel Torrevillas, Jr. brought to the attention of then Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. the "inapropriate actuation" of Judge Roberto A. Navidad of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Calabayog City in the handling of cases before his sala. The Chief Justice thus instructed the Provincial Prosecutor to submit a written report thereon to which he complied by letter-complaint. By 1st Indorsement, the letter-complaint was referred by the Chief Justice to then Court Administrator and now a member of this Court, Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., for comment and recommendation. By Resolution, the Court acting on the recommendations of Justice Velasco in his Memorandum to the Chief Justice, required Judge Navidad to comment on the complaint and directed the Court Management Office of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to: (1) conduct a judicial audit on "all undecided criminal cases, which include cases that are pending, submitted for decision, archived, etc. for the purpose of determining any inappropriate actuation with respect to the issuance of court orders especially on matters pertaining to the grant of bail in non-bailable offenses"; and (2) coordinate with Trial Prosecutor Cicero T. Lampasa as regards the other cases that needed to be investigated. By Resolution, the Court referred the complaint to Justice Isaias P. Dicdican of the Court of Appeals for investigation, report and recommendation.
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ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Navidad should be held administratively liable for gross inefficiency HELD: While it is well-settled that the courts cannot interfere with the discretion of the public prosecutor to determine the specificity and adequacy of the offense charged, the judge may dismiss a complaint if he finds it to be insufficient in form or substance or without any ground; otherwise, he may proceed with the case if in his view it is sufficient and proper in form. In the discharge of a judges duties, however, when the inefficiency springs from a failure to consider so basic and elemental a rule, a law or a principle, the judge is either too incompetent and undeserving of the position and title he holds, or is too vicious that the oversight or omission was deliberately done in bad faith and in grave abuse of judicial authority. If the rule or law is so elementary, as the above-quoted sections of Rule 114 are, not to know it or to act as if he does not know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law, without even the complainant having to prove malice or bad faith on the part of the judge, as it can be clearly inferred from the error committed. On this score, as reflected in the Investigating Justices and the OCAs separate reports, the Court finds respondent guilty of gross ignorance of the law. Dishonesty, especially when committed by judges who are supposedly the visible representation of the law, not only tends to mislead the Court; it also tarnishes the image of the judiciary. Dishonesty is defined as the disposition to lie, cheat, deceive or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive or betray. This is a grave offense that carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from the service, even for the first offense, with forefeiture of retirement benefirs except accrued leave credits and perpetual disqualification from re-employment in government service. Judges cannot, however, take refuge in the inefficiency or mismanagement of his court personnel since proper and efficient court management is their responsibility. Court personnel are not the guardians of judges responsibilities. It is the duty of judges to devise an efficient recording and filing system in their courts to enable them to monitor the flow of cases and to manage their speedy and timely disposition. And as correctly pointed out by the OCA, it is the judge s duty to see to it that the police officers assigned to execute the warrants comply with Section 4, Rule 113, requiring them to make a report to the judge who issued the warrant within ten days after the expiration of the period within which to execute the warrant.

OCTAVIO J. TRAYA, JR.bv. ATTY. FRANCISCO M. VILLAMOR 422 SCRA 293 (2004), EN BANC (Carpio-Morales, J.) It is the duty of the notarial officer to demand that the document presented to him for notarization should be signed in his presence.

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Engineer Cynthia de la Cruz Catalya filed an application for building permit in connection with the renovation of a building situated on a lot owned by her brother Rolando C. de la Cruz. One of the documents required in the processing of the application was an affidavit to be executed by the lot owner. Since de la Cruz was a resident abroad, an affidavit was prepared wherein it was made to appear that he was a resident Leyte, that he is the owner of the lot and that he is executing the affidavit to attest to the veracity of the facts thereby certifying the compliance with the requirements relative to the application for Locational Clearance/Certificate of Zoning Compliance. Complainant Octavio J. Traya, Jr. filed a complaint against Atty. Francisco M. Villamor for having notarized the spurious affidavit. ISSUE: Whether or not Villamor violated the legal ethics of a notary public when he failed to observe the proper procedure in determining if a person appearing before him is the same person who executed the document presented for notarization HELD: By Villamors admission, the affidavit was already signed by the purported affiant at the time it was presented to him for notarization. Thus, he failed to heed his duty as a notary public to demand that the document for notarization be signed in his presence. Also by Villamors admission, when the affidavit was brought to him, it already bore the Residence Certificate Number of the affiant which residence certificate number turned out to be that of de la Cruzs brother in law, Benjamin Catalya, husband of his sister Engineer Cynthia de la Cruz Catalya. Where a lawyer as a notary makes it appear in the acknowledgment or jurat of a contract that the affiant exhibited to him a residence certificate when in fact he did not, the notary is guilty of misconduct. Such misrepresentation is unquestionably censurable and justifies disciplinary action against him as a member of the bar and as a notary public.

ISIDRA VDA. DE VICTORIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, et al. 467 SCRA 78 (2005), THIRD DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Every lawyer pledges to act with candor, fairness and good faith to the court. The Supreme Court granted petitioner Mario Victoria (Victoria) an extended period to file the petition, conditioned, however, on the timeliness of the filing of the Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review on Certiorari. It is a basic rule of remedial law that a motion for extension of time must be filed before the expiration of the period sought to be extended. Where a motion for extension of time is filed beyond the period of appeal, the same is of no effect since there would no longer be any period to extend, and the judgment or order to be appealed from the will have become final and executory.

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In the case at bar, an examination of the records reveals that the reglementary period to appeal had in fact expired almost 10 months prior to the filing of Victorias motion for extension of time on April 10, 2001. The Registry Return Receipt of the Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) dismissing the CA Certiorari Petition shows that the same was received by counsel for Victorias agent on June 5, 2000. Hence, Victoria had only until June 20, 2000 within which to file an appeal or motion for new trial or reconsideration. In the same Decision, the Court noted that Victoria, with the aid of his counsel, Atty. Abdul Basar (Atty. Basar), made misleading statements in his Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review on Certiorari and in his subsequent Petition respecting the timeliness of his appeal and the status of the Resolutions of the CA. Consequently, the SC ordered Victoria and Atty. Basar, to show cause, within 10 days from receipt of the Decision, why they should not be held in contempt of court and disciplinarily dealt with for violation of Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. ISSUES: Whether or not Atty. Basar can be held liable in contempt of court and for misconduct HELD: As part of his or her oath, every lawyer pledges to act with candor, fairness and good faith to the court. Thus, a lawyer is honor bound to act with the highest standards of truthfulness, fair play and nobility in the conduct of litigation and in his relations with his client, the opposing part and his counsel, and the court before which he pleads his clients cause. Moreover, the Code of Professional Responsibility obligates lawyers to observe the rules of procedure and not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. It is, therefore, lamentable that Atty. Basar, by misrepresenting the timeliness of an appeal from a final and executor Resolution of the Court of Appeals, chose to disregard the fundamental tenets of the legal profession. In fact, from his explanation, he was well aware that the reglementary period for appeal from the Decision of the RTC had already lapsed, but he nevertheless persisted in filing a petition for review on certiorari.

VIRGEN SHIPPING CORPORATION, et al. v. JESUS B. BARRAQUIO 585 SCRA 541 (2009), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.) Resignation is defined as the voluntary act of an employee who finds himself in a situation where he believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service and he has no other choice but to disassociate himself from his employment. Odyssey Maritime, PTE. Ltd, through Virgen Shipping Corporation, hired respondent Jesus Barraquio as chief cook on board a vessel for a period of ten (10) months. A few days later, while the vessel was docked in Korea, Barraquio requested medical assistance and was diagnosed with suspected ischemic heart disease and hypertension. Subsequently, Barraquios wrote a letter to the captain informing them that he has decided to quit his job and will be joining the next disembarkation crew. He signed a
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Legal and Judicial Ethics


Statement of Account acknowledging set-off of his vacation leave pay from the cost of finding his replacement and the cost of repatriation. A year later, Barraquio filed a complaint for non-payment of 120 days sickness allowance under Section 20 (B) paragraph 2 of the Standard Employment Contract for Seafarers, disability benefits, legal interest, reimbursement of medical expenses, and damages. Barraquio alleged that due to constant verbal abuse from the ship master, he suffered dizziness, chest pains, headaches and irregular sleep leading to hypertension; that he was forced to execute the request for disembarkation for fear that his health would worsen; and that medical findings that he was fit to sail is proof that his condition developed while on board. The Labor Arbiter rendered judgment in favor of Barraquio finding the foreign principal and manning agency liable to pay to complainant his money claims. On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed the ruling of the Labor Arbiter and dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. They found Barraquios resignation voluntary; hence, he cannot claim entitlement to the benefits under the Standard Employment Contract of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). The Court of Appeals reversed the NLRC Decision in light of the observation that Barraquios hypertension probably developed while on board the vessel. ISSUES: Whether or not Barraquio voluntarily resigned HELD: From a considered review, the Court finds that Barraquios resignation was voluntary. Resignation is defined as the voluntary act of an employee who finds himself in a situation where he believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service and he has no other choice but to disassociate himself from his employment. Barraquios resignation can be gleaned from the unambiguous terms of his letter to Captain Cristino. Barraquios bare claim that he was forced to execute his resignation le tter deserves no merit. Bare allegations of threat or force do not constitute substantial evidence to support a finding of forced resignation. That such claim was proferred a year later all the more renders his contention bereft of merit. Barraquio claims entitlement under Section 20 (B) [2] of the Standard Employment Contract of the POEA, which must be read in conjunction with Section 20 (B) [3]. The provision requires Barraquio to submit himself to a post-medical employment examination by a company designated physician within three working days from arrival or, in Barraquios case, three working days after May 15, 2000, a Monday, when he arrived by ship or not later than May 18, 2000. Barraquio sought examinationtreatment on May 17 June 30, 2000 from Dr. Romina Alpasan who appears to be a physician of his choice. He only tried to look for a company-designated physician after treatment by Dr. Alpasan. Clearly, he did not comply with the 3-day requirement to seek the services of a company-designated physician for purposes of post-employment medical examination.

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Legal and Judicial Ethics


Barraquio goes on to claim that he underwent treatment for Ischemic heart disease which developed while employed by petitioners. Ischemic heart disease is a condition in which fatty deposits (atheroma) accumulate in the cells lining the wall of the coronary arteries. These fatty deposits build up gradually and irregularly, however, in the large branches of the two main coronary arteries which encircle the heart and are the main source of its blood supply. This process, called atherosclerosis, leads to narrowing or hardening of the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart muscle (the coronary arteries) resulting in ischemia - or the inability to provide adequate oxygen - to heart muscle and this can cause damage to the heart muscle. Complete occlusion of the blood vessel leads to a heart attack. Finally, Barraquio claims that in light of the opinion of the physician in Korea that he had suspected ischemic heart, petitioners affirmed his medical repatriation. As reflected in the immediately preceding paragraph, however, ischemic heart disease cannot develop in a short span of time that Barraquio served as chief cook for Virgin Shipping. In fact, as indicated above, the Gleneagles Maritime Medical Centre doctor who treated respondent in May 2000 for abscess in his left hand had noted respondents [h]istory of hypertension for 3 years. Moreover, the Korean physician did not make any recommendation as to respondents bill of health for petitioners to assume that he was fit for repatriation.

WAH YUEN RESTAURANT v. PRIMO JAYONA 477 SCRA 666 (2005), (Carpio-Morales, J.) Consistent with the due process requirement, the employer shall give he employee two notices Primo Jayona, hired as Assistant Manager of Wah Yuen Restaurant, filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against Wah Yuen. He was dismissed on the allegedly grounds of grave dishonesty and loss of confidence, for having twice billed a customer an amount considerably less than the actual order. The Labor Arbiter dismissed Jayona's complaint on the ground that as an assistant manager, he works for as long as he enjoys the trust and confidence of his employer, but once the trust and confidence are lost, his employment is deemed terminated. On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirmed the dismissal stating as a managerial employee, Jayona need not be subjected to the rigorous process of the twin notice requirement, more so that the act he was accused of and on which he offered no plausible defense is deleterious to the interests of Wah Yuen. The Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the NLRC Resolution stating that the right of an employer to dismiss employees on account of loss of trust and confidence must not be exercised arbitrarily. The twin requirements of notice and hearing constitute essential elements of the statutory process, and neither of these elements can be eliminated without running afoul of the procedural mandate. ISSUE: Whether or not Jayona was properly dismissed from work HELD:
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In the case at bar, Wah Yuen, which has the onus of proving that the dismissal of Jayona on account of loss of confidence arose from particular facts, failed to discharge the same. Procedural due process requires the employer to give the employee two notices. The first is to apprise him of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought, and the second is to inform him of the decision to terminate him. Failure to comply with these mandatory procedural requirements taints the dismissal with illegality and any judgment rendered by the employer without compliance therewith can be considered void and inexistent. For Wah Yuen to consider the letter-memorandum of January 5, 2000 as the first notice, and the letter of April 5, 2000 as the second notice of termination of employment is erroneous. For albeit the two letters dealt with infractions of the same nature, they were separate and distinct. The April 5, 2000 termination letter itself clearly stated that Jayona was being terminated for committing a second infraction. As such he should have been given the chance to give his side thereon. But he was not. In any event, not only did Wah Yuen fail to observe the due process requirements. It also failed to establish by substantial evidence that the alleged second infraction was committed. Loss of confidence then, which is the usual ground for the removal of a managerial employee, not having been established, like any other lawful cause, the petition must fail.

WILSON C. ONG v. ARIEL R. PASCASIO 586 SCRA 364 (2009), EN BANC, (Carpio Morales, J.) The Sheriffs failure to implement the writ of possession is inexcusable and constitute dereliction of duty. Respondent Ariel R. Pascasio is the sheriff of the Municipal Trial Cort in Cities of Olongapo City while complainant Wilson C. Ong is the plaintiff in a civil case filed in the said court. A judgment was issued in favor of Ong. When the Decision became final and executory, a Writ of Execution was issued. Pascasio then sent the judgment-debtors, Spouses Cabreros a Notice to Vacate. Pascasio received from Ong the initial amount of P1,500 and P6,000 as partial deposit in the implementation of the writ with the assurance that he would deliver the Certificate of Possession which he failed to do so. Ong claims that Pascasio had earlier assured him that Spouses Cabreros would voluntarily vacate the premises and that they needed only two weeks to move. After the lapse of two weeks, Pascasio told him that Spouses Cabreros were still residing in the premises. Pascasio however alleges that the decision of the trial court had been implemented except for the enforcement of the Notice to Vacate He admitted having received P210, 000 deposit from Spouses Cabreros but argues that Ong refused to receive the same fearing that he would not be able to recover the remaining balance of the judgment debt and that when he attempted to return the money to the Cabreros, they refused to accept it. By memorandum, the OCA found Pascasio to have violated Section 9, Rule 141 and Section 14, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.
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Legal and Judicial Ethics

ISSUE: Whether or not Pascasio committed Grave Abuse of Authority, Dishonesty, and Malfeasance in the performance of public functions as branch sheriff HELD: Pascasios failure to fully implement the writ of possession is inexcusable and constitutes dereliction of duty. His claim that he was prevented from fully implementing the writ due to lack of manpower resources is untenable. He is guilty of dereliction of duty as a sheriff for failing to execute the writ within 30 days from receipt thereof . Pursuant to Section 14, Rule 39 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, Pacasio is required to make a return and submit it to the court immediately upon satisfaction in part or in full of the judgment; and if the judgment could not be satisfied in full, to make a report to the court within thirty (30) days after his receipt of the writ and to state why full satisfaction could not be made. The sheriff shall continue to make a report every thirty (30) days on the proceedings being taken thereon until the judgment is fully satisfied. The requirement aims to update the court as to the status of the execution and to give it an idea as to why the judgment was not satisfied. It also provides the court with insights as to how efficient court processes are after judgment has been promulgated. The over-all purpose of the requirement is to ensure the speedy execution of decisions.

Faculty of Civil Law Digest Pool 2010