Recent Jurisprudence In Legal Ethics

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LEGAL ETHICS AND JUDICIAL ETHICS RECENT JURISPRUDENCE I. LEGAL ETHICS CASE Orlando S. Castelo, et al. v. Atty. Ronald Segundino C. Ching AC. No. 11165 | February 06, 2017 | CAGUIOA, J.

FACTS An ejectment case was filed by the Delens against the Castellos, complainants herein. The Castellos discovered that the property was previously titled in the name of their parents but this was cancelled in favor of the Delens by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale, which had been notarized by respondent Atty. Ching. Irregularities were present in the execution and authorization of the said deed, hence this administrative complaint.

Liang Fuji v. Atty. Gemma Armi M. Dela Cruz A.C. No. 11043 | March 08, 2017 | Leonen, J.

In a Summary Deportation Order, Fuji, a Chinese national, was ordered deported for overstaying. Special Prosecutor Dela Cruz brought the formal charge against Fuji. The Board of Commissioners, however, dismissed the charge on the ground that “the records show that Liang has a working visa valid until 30 April 2016.” In this administrative complaint, Fuji alleged that Special Prosecutor Dela Cruz failed miserably in discharging her duties because a simple initial review of the Bureau of Immigration records would have revealed that he was not overstaying.

Mapalad, Sr. vs. Echanez A.C. No. 10911 | June 6, 2017

The Notice of Appeal and Appellants’ Brief filed by Echanez, as counsel of the defendants in a case involving complainant as plaintiff, indicated Echanez’ MCLE Compliance No. II-0014038 without indicating the date of issue thereof. Upon inquiry with the MCLE Office, complainant discovered that respondent had

HELD Atty. Ching is found guilty of gross negligence in the performance of his duties as notary public. His existing notarial commission is REVOKED and he is perpetually DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as notary public. Moreover, he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for 6 months. Respondent is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for 3 months. Atty. Dela Cruz failed to observe Rule 18.03 of the Code of the Professional Responsibility, which mandates that "a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable."

DOCTRINE It is gross negligence for a notary public to fail to properly store and secure his notarial equipment in order to prevent other people from notarizing documents by forging his signature and affixing his notarial seal, and recording such documents in his notarial books, without his knowledge and consent.

Generally, the Court defers from taking cognizance of disbarment complaints against lawyers in government service arising from their administrative duties, and refers the complaint first either to the proper administrative body or the Ombudsman. This case is an exception due to the termination of the administrative proceedings before the Office of the Ombudsman and the apparent inaction of the Bureau of Immigration on the administrative complaint. Despite non-compliance The Lawyer's Oath in with Bar Matter No. Rule 138, Section 3 850, respondent requires commitment to repeatedly indicated a obeying laws and legal false MCLE compliance orders, doing no number in his pleadings falsehood, and acting before the trial courts. with fidelity to both The respondent also court and client. repeatedly failed to obey legal orders of the trial court, the IBP-CBD,

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Murray v. Cervantes A.C. No. 5408 | February 7, 2017


FACTS no MCLE compliance as required under Bar Matter No. 850.


HELD and also this Court despite due notice. Enchavez is DISBARRED from the practice of law. Complainant paid respondent a Respondent is P80,000 acceptance fee for his suspended from the legal assistance in the practice of law for 1 year naturalization of her son, a and 6 months and British national. However, three ordered to restitute months passed without complainant the sum of respondent doing “anything P80,000. This amount substantial.” Complainant wrote was delivered to respondent to terminate his respondent during services and demanded the complainant's return of the P80,000. As he engagement of his failed to return the fee, professional services, or complainant instituted criminal in the context of an proceedings and this complaint attorney-client against respondent. relationship. This is neither an extraneous nor purely civil matter.

Judge Alpajora v. Atty. Calayan January 10, 2018 | J. Gesmundo

Atty. Calayan filed an administrative complaint after Judge Alpajora ordered the creation of a management committee pending the resolution of a civil case, as well as 18 repetitious and prohibited pleadings and criminal charges against the opposing lawyers and their clients. The administrative complaint was dismissed and a counter complaint was filed alleging Atty. Calayan had committed serious and gross misconduct, failure to maintain respect for the courts, repeated violation of the rules on intracorporate cases, and knowingly violated the rule against multiple actions from the same cause of action

Tan v. Atty. Gumba A.C. No. 9000 | January 10, 2018

Tan filed a complaint against Atty. Gumba for violating the Lawyer’s Oath and Canon 1,


The rule excluding civil liability determination from disciplinary proceedings "remains applicable only to claimed liabilities which are purely civil in nature - for instance, when the claim involves moneys received by the lawyer from his client in a transaction separate and distinct [from] and not intrinsically linked to his professional engagement." This court has thus ordered in administrative proceedings the return of amounts representing legal fees. Atty. Calayan is guilty of A case for disbarment is violating the CPR. The not meant to grant relief filing of criminal cases to a complainant as in a against the opposing civil case. While the lawyer is clearly tainted court understands that a with malice. The lawyer must represent complaint filed against his cause with zeal, the the complainant was same should not go based on mere beyond the bounds of allegations and no decency and respect that evidence was presented. should be afforded to Respondent also fellow lawyers and the misrepresented courts. provisions of the law to suit his cause and this violated the code which demands candor from its lawyers. Finally, Atty. Calayan’s decision to file numerous criminal cases runs counter to the lawyer’s duty to aid in the speedy disposition of cases and had degraded the integrity of the courts. Respondent is The lifting of a administratively liable suspension order is not for engaging in the automatic. It is

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Tortona v. Gregorio G.R. No. 202612 | January 17, 2018

APOLINARPETILO, v. ATTY. MARAMOT A.C. No. 9067 | January 31, 2018


FACTS Rule 1.01 and Canon 7 of the CPR after she misrepresented herself to the former and for her dishonesty. She was suspended for 6 months by the IBP. Her Motion for Reconsideration was denied. However, she continued to engage in the practice of law by filing pleadings and appearing as counsel in courts.


HELD practice of law during her suspension. In this case, the Court directed respondent to comply with the guidelines for the lifting of the suspension order against her by filing a sworn statement on the matter. Instead, she filed a complaint against the OCA, the OBC and a certain Atty. Paraiso with the RTC. For having done so, respondent violated a lawful order of the Court. Petitioners, heirs of their mother The Deed of Sale is void. Rufina, demanded to know why As a notarized they were not given a share over document, it benefits a land sold by their cousins from the presumption which was co-owned by Rufina of regularity. The and their aunt Rafaela. The burden of proving that cousins alleged that Rufina had thumbmarks affixed on sold the land to Rafaela during it by an ostensible party her lifetime. Petitioners is false and simulated lies contested the said Deed of on the party assailing its Absolute Sale, underscoring that execution. Petitioners their mother was illiterate, not successfully discharged even knowing how to write her this burden. own name. They alleged that she only affixed her thumbmark on documents, and whenever she did so, she was always assisted by at least one (1) of her children. Complainant alleges that the Respondent’s penalty respondent consented to, was proper. He knew abetted and participated in the that the donees were illegal act of falsifying a public minors, nonetheless, he document in violation of Article still indicated that they 171 (4) in relation to Article 172 were of legal age. That (2) of the RPC; and that he neither Princess Anne thereby violated the Lawyer's nor Mommayda Oath, Rules 1.01 and 1.02 of acknowledged the deed Canon 1 and Rule 10.01 of of donation did not cure Canon 10 of the CPR. The the defect. His defense public document in question was of good faith, the the deed of donation executed in donor’s assurance that favor of Princess Anne and she would procure the Mommayda who were only 12 signatures of Princess years old and 16 1/2 years old, Anne’s parents, and that respectively, at the time of its the execution of the execution. The IBP Board of deed redounded to the Page 3 of 10

DOCTRINE necessary that there is an order from the Court lifting the suspension of a lawyer to practice law.

It is true that notarized documents are accorded evidentiary weight as regards their due execution. Nevertheless, while notarized documents enjoy the presumption of regularity, this presumption is disputable. They can be contradicted by evidence that is clear, convincing, and more than merely preponderant.

A lawyer cannot invoke good faith and good intentions as sufficient to excuse him from discharging his obligation to be truthful and honest in his professional actions.



DIAMPOC v. BUENAVENTURA, GR No. 200383 | 19 Mar 2018 | J. Del Castillo

In Re Diuyan Apr. 2, 2018 | J. Del Castillo

Triol v. Atty. Agcaoili, Jr. A.C. No. 12011 | June 26, 2018


FACTS Governors resolved to suspend respondent from the practice of law and revoked his Notarial Commission and disqualified him from reappointment for two years.


HELD benefit of the minors does not excuse him. Moreover, the minors should have also signed the deed of donation themselves along with their assisting parents or legal guardians. Petitioner spouses Diampoc The defective filed a Complaint for Annulment notarization of the deed of Deed of Sale and Recovery of does not affect the Duplicate OCT with Damages validity of the sale of the against respondent house. Although Art. Bueneventura, alleging that they 1358 of the Civil Code were tricked into signing the states that the sale of real deed which they thought was property must appear in authorization for obtaining a a public instrument, this bank loan. The lower courts is not essential for the ruled in favor of respondent, validity of the contract disregarding the argument that but is simply for its the notary public was ‘lax’ in greater efficacy or requiring two community tax convenience, or to bind certificates from the spouses third persons, and is (only one was given) as it does merely a coercive means not affect the validity of the granted to the notarized deed. contracting parties to enable them to reciprocally compel the observance of the prescribed form. Atty. Diuyan notarized a Deed Respondent should not of Partition on July 23, 2003 be held administratively when one of its signatories had liable. The law earlier died on August 23, 2001. applicable at the time of This was treated by the SC as an the notarization only administrative complaint. required the Diuyan averred that as Chief presentation of the Public Attorney of Mati, Davao CTCs. Respondent Oriental at that time, he enjoyed notarized the document the presumption of regularity on July 23, 2003, prior to and good faith in the discharge the effectivity of the of his duty. He also narrated that 2004 Rules on Notarial the parties in the document Practice of which he is presented their Community Tax being held accountable Certificates, and that he asked by the IBP. each of the parties if the document they presented is true and correct. Complainants Triol filed a Respondent is complaint for disbarment administratively liable against Atty. Agcaoili on on the for breaching the 2004 ground that he notarized a Notarial Rules and document co-owned by therefore the CPR. He complainants to a certain also violated Rule 1.01, Fajardo when they wanted to sell Canon 1 and Rule 10.01 Page 4 of 10


A defective notarization will strip the document of its public character and reduce it to a private instrument. Consequently, when there is a defect in the notarization of a document, the clear and convincing evidentiary standard normally attached to a dulynotarized document is dispensed with, and the measure to test the validity of such document is preponderance of evidence.

The law applicable prior to the effectivity of the 2004 Rules of Notarial Practice – Title IV, Ch. 11, Art. VII of the Revised Administrative Code, Sec. 251 – merely required the presentation of the CTCs.

A breach of the said provision of the 2004 Notarial Rules would also constitute a violation of the CPR, considering that an erring lawyer who is



MALECDAN v. BALDO AC No. 12121 | 27 Jun 2018 | J. Caguioa


FACTS it to a Caparas. They said they never appeared before Agcaoili and neither did they consent to the sale. Triol also found out that the community tax certificates used for the sale were fakes and that he was not even a commissioned notary public for and within Quezon City in 2012. He was recommended the penalty of suspension for 2 years and disqualification from being commissioned as a notary public for the same period. Petitioner Malecdan filed a letter of complaint for Estafa, Breach of Contract and Damages against spouses Baldo, before the Lupon of Brgy. Pico. Respondent Atty. Baldo, who is the nephew of James Baldo, appeared as counsel of the spouses Baldo during the hearing on the subject complaint before the Punong Barangay. Malecdan filed a ComplaintAffidavit before the IBP praying that proper sanctions be imposed on Atty. Baldo for violating Sec. 9 of P.D. 1508 which states that parties must appear without assistance of counsel. Atty. Baldo claims he asked permission from the complainant to participate.


HELD Canon 10 of the CPR. By misrepresenting himself as a commissioned notary public at the time of the alleged notarization, he did not only cause damage to those directly affected by it, but he likewise undermined the integrity of the office of a notary public and degraded the function of notarization. The IBP Board of Governor were correct to hold Atty. Baldo administratively liable for participating in the Lupon. Atty. Baldo's violation of P.D. 1508 thus falls squarely within the prohibition of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the CPR. Any act or omission that is contrary to, or prohibited or unauthorized by, or in defiance of, disobedient to, or disregards the law is unlawful. Unlawful conduct does not necessarily imply the element of criminality although the concept is broad enough to include such element.

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DOCTRINE found to be remiss in his functions as a notary public is considered to have violated his oath as a lawyer as well.

The language of P.D. 1508 is mandatory in barring lawyers from appearing before the Lupon because “...a personal confrontation between the parties without the intervention of a counsel or representative would generate spontaneity and a favorable disposition to amicable settlement on the part of the disputants.” (Ledesma v. CA).




II. JUDICIAL ETHICS CASE GamboaRoces v. Perez A.M. MTJ-161887 | Jan. 9, 2017 | J. Mendoza

Marcelo v. Judge Barcillano A.M. No. RTJ16-2450| June 7, 2017

Re: Anonymous letter complaint versus Samson A.M. No. MTJ16-1870 | 6 June 2017

FACTS There was an administrative complaint filed against Judge Perez, charging her with gross ignorance of the law because he failed to render judgment on consolidated ejectment cases within the 30-day reglementary period provided by law. Even up to the filing of the complaint against him, 10 months later, he still had not yet submitted the decision on the case. OCA received a complaint for grave misconduct from PO1 Marcelo against RTC Judge Barcillano, alleging that complainant and her companion were harassed and humiliated by Judge Barcillano.

The Office of the Court Administrator received a letter complaint charging respondent Judge Samson with misconduct for hiring co-respondent Roque as Utility Worker I in her court despite knowing that Roque was convicted of the crime of illegal possession of explosives, as she was the public prosecutor who handled the case, and for knowingly abetting the concealment of such fact, which led to Roque's appointment in the Judiciary.

HELD Judge Perez was fined P10,000 for undue delay in rendering a decision.

DOCTRINE Inexperience and an excuse that the delay was not intended to prejudice the plaintiffs is not persuasive, since it is the duty of the judge to resolve the cases within the reglementary period as mandated by the law and rules.

Regardless of the reason or motive behind the altercation, Judge Barcillano, being a magistrate, should have observed judicial temperament which requires him to be always temperate, patient, and courteous, both in conduct and in language. Rather than giving respect to a police officer who was onduty at the time, Judge Barcillano, Jr. expressed mockery and a condescending attitude, or with conceited show of superiority. Respondent is fined P10,000 with a stern warning. As the Presiding Judge of the Court, Judge Samson should have been circumspect and waited for the final discharge of respondent Roque before she entertained his application, as it is only upon the final discharge of respondent Roque from probation that his case is deemed terminated and all his civil rights lost or suspended are restored. Her act violates Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The motives behind the filing of an administrative complaint are irrelevant. That a complaint is alleged to be instigated or retaliatory is not a ground which will deter the SC from exercising its power to discipline officers of the court.

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Complicity of a judge in the appointment of a probationer to the judiciary constitutes gross misconduct.



CASE McLaren v. Gonzales A.M. No. MTJ16-1876 | April 26, 2017

FACTS Complainants filed an administrative complaint against MTC Judge Gonzales for gross misconduct in connection with civil case Subic International Hotel Corporation v. McLaren. One of the allegations was the non-wearing of judicial robes during the hearing. Respondent stated that the alleged arrogance in the non-wearing of the judicial robe could not be avoided due to the extreme heat, the failing air-conditioning unit and the regular daily brownouts.

Cahanap v. Judge Quinones January 10, 2018 | J. Caguioa

Prosec. Cahanap filed an administrative case against Judge Quinones alleging that the respondent judge had committed Gross Ignorance of the Law, Gross Misconduct, and had violated the Code of Judicial Conduct for habitual tardiness and disrespect towards lawyers and her staff.

Re: Application for Optional Retirement Under RA 910, as amended by RA 5095 and RA 9946, of Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr. A.M. No. 1511-01-SC | March 6, 2018

Justice Villarama applied for optional retirement under R.A. 910, as amended by R.A. No. 5095 and R.A. No. 9946. The Court granted Justice Villarama's request for optional retirement and approved the payment of Justice Villarama's retirement gratuity and terminal leave benefits, exclusive of the longevity pay component, pending the resolution of his requests for adjustments to his longevity based on earned leave credits and service rendered as a bar examiner.


HELD Respondent's act of not wearing the judicial robe during court sessions is violative of Administrative Circular No. 25 dated June 9, 1989. Under Section 9(4), Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court, violation of Supreme Court rules, directives and circulars is considered a less serious charge and punishable with suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one month nor more than three months, or a fine of more than P10,00.0.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00. The OCA aptly found that show that the sessions in respodent’s court room commenced between 9AM to 10AM but reflected the time at 8:30AM. Further, respondent judge failed to show compassion, patience, courtesy, and civility as demanded by Canon 5, Sec. 3, when she caused the assistant city prosecutor to cry and called her stenographer bobo. Whether the tacking of leave credits should be applied to optional retirees as well? Yes. The fraction of the five-year period immediately prior to Justice Villarama's optional retirement shall also be included in the computation. Whether the service rendered by a member of the judiciary as bar examiner is credited as part of judicial service? No. The regular functions of the justice or judge and the service performed as bar examiner cannot appropriately be considered as two

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DOCTRINE The wearing of robes by judges during official proceedings, which harks back to the 14th century, is not an idle ceremony. Such practice serves the dual purpose of "heightening] public consciousness on the solemnity of judicial proceedings" and of impressing upon the judge, the exacting obligations of his office.

Supervisory Circular No. 14 notes that trial courts shall hold daily sessions from Mon-Fri from 8:30AM-12nn and from 2PM-4:30PM. Corollary to this mandate, judges must be punctual at all times. The Canons of Judicial Ethics enjoin judges to be punctual as a sign of respect to the time of the litigants, witnesses, and attorneys. If a justice or judge has rendered long service in the judiciary, he or she must be rewarded even if the retirement is optional; and the purpose of the law is served no more than it would be in the case of one who is retired compulsorily.





OCA v. Judge Arreza, MTC Pitogo, Quezon A.M. No. MTJ-181911 | April 16, 2018

In the 2016 audit conducted of the MTC of Pitogo, Quezon presided over by Judge Arreza, it was found that there were 35 overdue pending cases accumulated throughout the years. The Deputy Court Administrator then issued a memorandum to Judge Arreza to immediately decide on 23 cases, take appropriate action with regard to one case, expedite the disposition of 7 cases which were already 3 years old. Judge Arreza complied and sent a report to the court administrator begging that no administrative penalty be imposed against him. He proffered up the explanation that his wife and kids left him in 2010 and that he had suffered a stroke in 2012.

REPUBLIC v. SERENO GR No. 237428, 11 May 2018, J. Tijam

The SALNs available on record and filed by Sereno were those for the years 1985, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2002, (11 out of 25 SALNs). 5 years after her appointment as Chief Justice, an impeachment complaint was filed by Atty. Larry Gadon against her with the Committee on Justice of the House of Representatives for culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, high crimes, and betrayal of public trust. The complaint also alleged that respondent failed to make truthful declarations in her SALNs. The Republic, through the OSG, filed the present Petition for the issuance of the extraordinary writ of quo warranto to declare as void respondent's appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Office of the Court Administrator

Respondent’s salary was withheld on several occasions (May 2006, April 2008 and May 2010) for his failure to submit monthly financial


HELD separable and finite judicial services if they supposedly coincide at the same time or period. Respondent is administratively liable for gross inefficiency and undue delay in deciding cases. His reasons cannot excuse him, but at most can only mitigate his liability. Unfortunately for him, the Court shares the OCA's observation that the problems alluded to happened years before the judicial audit was conducted. Moreover, with respect to the cases already submitted for decision but not decided within the prescribed period, Judge Arreza failed to ask for extension to decide the same. The failure of the respondent to submit SALNs to the JBC JBC voids the nomination and appointment of respondent as Chief Justice. , respondent not only failed to substantially comply with the submission of the SALNs but there was no compliance at all. The JBC should no longer have considered respondent for interview as it already required the submission of, at least, the SALNs corresponding to the immediately preceding 10 years up to December 31, 2011. Respondent's failure to submit to the JBC her SALNs for several years means that her integrity was not established at the time of her application Respondent is guilty of gross neglect of duty. OCA Circular No. 113-2004’s directive is that the

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It has been previously held that "[i]n case of poor health, the Judge concerned needs only to ask this Court for an extension of time to decide cases, as soon as it becomes clear to him that there would be delay in the disposition of his cases."

• Both Section 11 of R.A. No. 6713 and Section 9 of R.A. No. 3019 require the accomplishment and submission of true, detailed and sworn statement of assets and liabilities. Further, under Section 11 of R.A. No. 6713, non-compliance with this requirement is not only punishable by imprisonment and/or fine, it may also result in disqualification to hold public office.

Clerks of court act as custodians of court funds, and as such, they are required to immediately



CASE v. Clerk of Court II Calija June 5, 2018 | Per Curiam

FACTS reports on the Judiciary Development Fund, Special Allowance Fund (SAJ), and Fiduciary Fund (FF). He explained that the delay was due to missing deposit slips which he only located recently. Respondent was charged with dereliction of duty.

Atty. Mahinay v. Hon. Daomilas A.M. No. RTJ18-2527 (Formerly OCA IPI No. 164563-RTJ) | June 18, 2018

Atty. Mahinay filed a complaint against Judge Daomilas for gross inexcusable negligence and gross ignorance of the law, alleging that respondent violated the Interim Rules of Procedure for IntraCorporate Controversies when he failed to act on the Prayer for TRO and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction despite the lapse of more than two (2) years from the date the matter was submitted for resolution.


Primo, retired Sheriff of RTC Sorsogon, gave P34,000 to petitioner Del Rosario, a Cash Clerk of the Office of the Court Administrator so that Del Rosario could process Primo’s retirement papers with the Court. Petitioner misrepresented that the papers were taking too long with GSIS, when they haven’t even been processed with the Court yet. Petitioner had allegedly misappropriated the money by spending it on his child’s hospitalization. Primo wrote a letter complaint to the OCA. In petitioner’s comment, he claimed he had paid Primo the money he misappropriated, and Primo manifested that he no longer desired to continue his complaint. The Court still found him guilty of serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of


HELD submission of Monthly Reports must be done monthly. Calija had been remiss in complying with this mandate. The various violations by respondent, committed with such frequency and without conscientious regard to their consequences, and despite constant reminder from this Court, are testament to his gross negligence. Respondent is administratively liable for undue delay, but not for gross ignorance of the law as there was no finding of bad faith. The subject Order was rendered beyond the 90-day period within which a judge should decide a case or resolve a pending matter, reckoned from the date of the filing of the last pleading, in accordance with Sec. 15, par. (1) and (2), Art. VIII of the 1987 Constitution. The petition for clemency should not be granted. Being an active member in his barangay and Parish Lay Ministry does not necessarily show true repentance and reformation, considering that what is at stake is the integrity of the Judiciary. Moreover, petitioner likewise failed to present any evidence to demonstrate his promise and potential for public service.

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DOCTRINE deposit the funds which they receive in their official capacity to the authorized government depositories. They are mandated to timely deposit judiciary collections as well as to submit monthly financial reports on the same.

The moment a judge dons the judicial robe, he is bound to strictly adhere to and faithfully comply with his duties delineated under the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, particularly Sec. 5, Canon 6 which reads: SEC. 5. Judges shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness. Guidelines in resolving requests for judicial clemency: 1. There must be proof of remorse and reformation. xxx 2. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of reformation. 3. The age of the person asking for clemency must show that he still has productive years ahead of him that can be put to good use by giving him a chance to redeem himself. 4. There must be a showing of promise x x x as well as potential for public service. 5. There must be other relevant factors and



Atty. Tacorda v. Judge Cabrera-Faller June 27, 2018 | J. Carpio


FACTS the service. Petitioner filed a letter requesting for clemency. In February 2018, Acting Presiding Judge of the Pasay RTC wrote the OCA that Sumangil has been absent without official leave since Dec. 2017. The records of the Employees' Leave Division show that Sumangil has not submitted his Daily Time Record (DTR) since December 27, 2017 up to the present or filed any application for leave. OCA recommended that: (a) Sumangil's name be dropped from the rolls effective December 1, 2017 for having been AWOL; (b) his position be declared vacant; and (c) he be informed about his separation from the service but he may still receive benefits which he may have been entitled to. Complainants filed a complaint against respondent judge for Gross Ignorance of the Law, Gross Inefficiency, Delay in the Administration of Justice, and Impropriety. When the parties in the case Salvilla v. Dumdum were required to submit their pre-trial briefs, the initial judge inhibited from the case and it was subsequently raffled to the sala of Judge Cabrera-Faller. The case was then set for pretrial, however, it was found that the case had already been referred for mediation, prompting the trial court to suspend the proceedings until receipt of the Mediator's Report. Meanwhile, plaintiffs in that case belatedly filed their pre-trial brief. This prompted Tacorda and Dumdum to file a Motion to Expunge plaintiff’s pre-trial brief. Two years after the Motion was filed, respondent Judge denied the motion and set the case for pretrial conference. This delay prompted the complainants to file the complaint.

DOCTRINE circumstances that may justify clemency. Sumangil's prolonged Section 107 (a) (1), Rule 20 unauthorized absences of the 2017 Rules on caused inefficiency in the Administrative Cases* in public service as it the Civil Service authorizes disrupted the normal the dropping from the rolls functions of the court, and of employees who have in this regard, contravened been continuously absent his duty as a public servant without official leave for at to serve with the utmost least thirty (30) working degree of responsibility, days, without the need for integrity, loyalty, and prior notice. efficiency. Nevertheless, dropping from the rolls is non-disciplinary in nature, and thus, Sumangil's separation from the service shall neither result in the forfeiture of his benefits nor disqualification from reemployment in the government. The respondent is not The Constitution clearly guilty of gross ignorance of provides that all lower the law as there was no courts should decide or allegation or mention of resolve cases or matters any bad faith, fraud, within three months from dishonesty, and corruption the date of submission. committed by respondent. Moreover, Section 5, Respondent is however Canon 6 of the New Code guilty of gross inefficiency of Judicial Conduct and delay in the provides: Sec. 5. Judges administration of justice shall perform all judicial for failure to promptly act duties, including the on the Motion filed by the delivery of reserved Spouses Dumdum. Since decisions, efficiently, fairly respondent judge had and with reasonable already been dismissed promptness. from service in another Section 9, Rule 140 of the case, the amount P20,000, Revised ROC punished shall be deducted from undue delay in rendering a whatever amount may still decision or order by: 1) be due Judge Cabrera- Suspension from office Faller. without salary and other benefits for not less than one nor more than three months; or 2) A fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.

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